The Opening Pitch: Who is the greatest coach of all time?
John Wooden. Happy to agree.
SN's list of the Top 50 coaches of all time is pretty fascinating. Vince Lombardi is No. 2. Bear Bryant is No. 3. Phil Jackson is the greatest active coach, clocking in at No. 4. Scottie Bowman is the highest-ranked NHL coach (No. 7) And the highest-ranked baseball manager is Casey Stengel (No. 9.)
Let's cover the most egregious mistake: Pat Summitt at No. 11 is embarrassingly low. If John Wooden had to coach in today's era -- men or women -- he'd have a handful of titles, max. Summitt could arguably be No. 1; I'd put her no less than 3rd. (Runner-up snub: Bill Walsh at No. 26, behind 7 other NFL coaches.)
Active coaches who made the list: Jackson (4); Summitt (11); Paterno (13); Coach K (19); Belichick (20); Bowden (24); Torre (32); LaRussa (41); Auriemma (42); Cox (46); Popovich (49). (Who from this list could move up? Another title would vault Belichick or Torre; Auriemma could go higher, too.)
Currently active coaches who have a chance of cracking the list at some point later in their careers: Urban Meyer, Pete Carroll, Mike Tomlin, Tom Izzo, Rick Pitino. Is Urban Meyer one of the Top 10 college football coaches of all time? Not yet. (Key word: "Yet." One more title, he probably cracks this list.)
Honestly? There aren't many who qualify. It speaks to the formula of what makes a coaching "legend" -- which all 50 of these folks on the list are: Very long careers plus annually sustained winning plus at least a couple of championships plus some solid myth-making help from the media.
Let's all agree: Lists like this are AMAZING debate fodder. Have at it.
Brett Favre's "staying" "retired": "I really believe this is it." So far, so good. "I truly truly believe it's over." I still don't believe you, but it's nice you're saying it. "But if someone calls Nov. 1, who knows?" [Smacks hand into face.] Please remember who warned you first.
MLB Hot Trade Action: Phils get Cliff Lee. What a coup for Philly: They retain all of their pitching, while adding the '08 AL Cy winner, who will benefit from going from a non-factor in the AL to the team that should now be considered the prohibitive favorite in the NL -- perhaps all of MLB.
Halladay Trade: Not yet. And not before Roy lost to the Mariners, who are trading like they are ... contending? So the Halladay Watch extends into Thursday. With the Phillies seemingly set, will it come down to a bidding war between AL East rivals Boston and New York?
More: Giants get Freddy Sanchez. Consider the unlikelihood this spring of the Giants or the Mariners making trade-deadline moves -- not because they had talent to unload to contenders, but because they themselves were the contenders, plucking talent from the losers?
MLB Non-Trade Talking Points Dodgers reeling?
• Pujols sends LA to 4th straight L.
• Joba: 8 scoreless IP in NYY W.
• Zack Greinke can't do it by himself.
• Fantasy Stud: Miguel Cabrera (4/6, HR, 4 RBI)
Vick Watch: Deion Sanders agrees with me that Vick is a great "hey-why-not?" fit with the Vikings. I don't know quite how to feel about that. Meanwhile, Jim Zorn said the Redskins don't have an interest in Vick "at this juncture." That's ambiguous enough to keep it an issue in DC for weeks.
How about the Jags? The LA Times is reporting Vick's top suitor might be Jacksonville. That makes sense, given that the Times could be the Jaguars' home paper if -- no, WHEN -- the Jags move from Jax to LA. Oh, wait: You meant Vick? That makes sense, too. The Jags need some sizzle -- badly.
NFL Camping: Today's Vet Openings
• Vikings (Mankato, MN): Who's that No. 4? (What?)
• Bengals (Georgetown, KY): Hey, HBO is there!
• Broncos (Englewood, CO): It's Josh McDaniels' show
• Titans (Nashville): How to replace Haynesworth?
• Saints (Metairie, LA): Brees -- NFL's best QB?
Yesterday's Camp Gossip: Is Brian Urlacher jealous of Jay Cutler? Bobby Wade said Urlacher called Cutler a nasty name; Urlacher denies this. The Bears seem off to a wonderful start to the Cutler Era! (Wait: Sorry, Brian. "Off to a wonderful new start in the Urlacher Era!")
Big 12 Media Day: How can you not love Mike Leach? He spent his podium time talking about the way the NCAA could implement a 64-team playoff (which I think is by far the best plan of any out there). No snubs, which is the downfall of the "Plus-One," 4-, 8- and even 16-team playoff ideas.
Every team would get 10 regular-season games. (Leach guarantees every team 12 games.) The most any team would play is 16 games -- no more than the lower-division champs end up playing. Bowl games would become playoff games, amping interest.
He is right: The folks suggesting a "Plus-One" or a 4-team or an 8-team or even a 16-team playoff are playing the BCS's game. This is the "public option" of CFB playoff reform.
Leach: "Hey, everybody else does it this way. There ain't nothing unique about what I'm saying. I'm the mainstream. You know, this other system, that's not mainstream. The mainstream is, everybody has playoffs."
CFB Media Day: Pac-10. The big question -- as always -- is not "Can anyone dethrone USC?" but "Which team will USC lose to that they aren't supposed to?" (at Oregon? at Cal? at Arizona State? USC plays Stanford in LA ... we know how that turned out the last time.)
Swimming: Michael Phelps wins gold in the 200 fly -- setting a new world record, obviously. (Ahh, that's more like it. This losing stuff? Freaky.)
NBA Offseason: Marvin Williams re-signs with Hawks or 5Y/$40M. Forget the "drafted ahead of Chris Paul" tag. For all his "slow" development (please: he's only 23), let's be clear: Williams is better off as an NBA player today with 4 years of NBA experience, than 3 extra years at UNC and 1 NBA year.
NBA Schedule: The Cavs will open the season against the Celtics and play the Lakers on Christmas Day, according to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. Both make sense, especially the latter for the NBA's most marquee game of the season.
The Last Word: "I did nothing wrong, and I'm being treated like [bleeping] Britney Spears." -- Erin Andrews, on a 911 call she was forced to make when she was stalked by two photographers.
Dan Shanoff writes The Wake-Up Call every weekday morning for SportingNews.com and blogs daily at DanShanoff.com. Got any comments, questions or feedback? Email Dan at shanofftsn-[at]-gmail-[dot]-com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/danshanoff.
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