Frankie O's Blog: O-Bombs?

Frankie O's Blog: O-Bombs?

Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011
2:31 p.m.

By Frankie O
CSNChicago.com

All the youngsters are adding Red Bull to almost any alcohol and making a bomb out of it. Oh to be young again! I dont go there, but if you give me some Red Bull and put me in front of my computer, this is what you get. Dont consume too quickly, or it will go straight to your head!

Are you ready for the biggest game ever? I dont know if I buy into that hype. In recent memory, it would be hard to top the San Francisco-Dallas NFC Championship games of the mid 90s. They were the 2 unquestioned powerhouses of the NFL and played for the right to win the Super Bowl 3 straight years. Those were huge games that captured the imagination of fans everywhere, no coincidence that both rosters were littered with Hall of Famers. Outside of Chicago and Green Bay, will this even be the most watched football game of the day?

I would say that it is one of the coolest games that I can remember. It defies logic, not to mention statistical probability that these 2 teams have not met in the playoffs in 70 years, let alone for a trip to the Super Bowl! In an age where old school is cool, it doesnt get more old school than this. What this game gives us, besides the obvious, is a chance to reflect on the previous 181 games that have been played by the NFLs most frequently played rivalry. I think in many ways that we dont take enough time to honor our past, this game will allow us to celebrate the many who have worn the uniform in anger and created a legacy that defines the NFL.

As far as the game against the worst playoff team ever, lost in the euphoria of the win was a play-call that could have spelled doom if the game was played against a worthy opponent. I would say it is in my top ten of worst calls ever. When leading a game 28-3, at home, with 13 minutes left and playing an opponent that has, rightfully, accomplished nothing all-day, the last thing you want to do is anything that would give them life, or a quick score. Mike Martz did something to give them both. Call me unimaginative, but I think that situation calls for running plays that will grind out the clock and not give up field position. So what does our boy do? He calls for a halfback option pass that is promptly intercepted and sets up Seattles first of three 4th quarter touchdowns. What was the risk-reward of that play? It was ALL risk! It was ALL ego! We get it. You are very smart! Just run the ball! And the knuckleheads in the bar who said it will give the Packers tape of a gadget play? Tape of what? Stupid turnovers? This response led me to ask if they were related. That kind of decision making against a real playoff team will get you beat.

One good thing, for me, is that my pre-season, and mid-season, pick of a Packer-Jets Super Bowl is still alive, not that any of my regulars want to hear that. But in the game of bar-room banter, its all about being right! So youre saying theres a chance!

Lost in the hoopla last weekend was the Cubs convention, or as I call it, a Star Trek convention in blue hats! (Im teasing! Sort of.) Im almost ready for baseball, at least the weather part. But whats this I hear of people booing Jim Hendry, among others, during his introduction? That makes a guy from Philly say, Cmon! Just proves what I say that these are not your fathers Cubs fans, this is one angry lot, even in a situation of off-season bliss. (Bliss because there is hope of NEXT YEAR!) I have no problem showing displeasure, but in the middle of a group hug? With the kids and grandparents there? At least they werent throwing their beers. I can see why theyre so upset with Ryan Theriot. What does he know? Speaking of The-riot, wow! Even I did not see that coming. Usually when someone takes shots at the Cubs, its a former child of scorn and easily discounted. But Theriot was a fan favorite, at least in the beginning. Just wondering if his comments give credence to the arrows that have been slung by others on their way out of town?

The new cult-figure in discussions at the bar is Blake Griffin. As in: Did you see what freaking Griffin did last night?!! This week it was putting up a season league high of 47 points, without a dunk! I cant believe it, but Im making sure I have the Clips game on TV at the bar while Im working. I cant wait to see what he does next, and what he has in store for the dunk contest All-Star weekend. Easy to say its been a while since I or anyone I know, has cared about that.

I was a little late driving downtown to watch the Bears game before I worked on Sunday and as it turned out I was glad I was. It enabled me to hear Jim Cornelison sing the anthem before the game. The energy just jumped out through my radio. If theres someone who does it better, I havent heard them. In this town, if its a game that means anything, you want to hear his voice before it starts!

The debate at the bar this week is tricky. Sell or go? It seems the Big Game has created a big ticket market with absurd prices. I still dont know if Ive picked a side. The romantic in me (stop laughing!) says that you must go. Its a memory for a lifetime. But then I think, would it mean any less if I watched it on my High Def TV, lying on my side because of the bulge created by the extra 5 grand in my wallet? Through my life there have been many games of great importance to me and the amount of them that I attended is minuscule. That fact does not take away from what those games mean to me. That being said, the few that I did attend were magical and etched in my memory forever. That being said, call me old, O.K., really old, but going to a game is a lot of work. Loud crowds, waiting forever and nowhere to go and thats only on the ride there. I guess if I had to make a choice, the bartender in me says to sell the tickets and go to my favorite establishment. You would get to enjoy the game with a lot of folks rooting for the same thing as you, but the crowd hassles would be minimized. So you could still be surrounded by your friends creating a memory for a lifetime, but still have a LOT OF CASH when the game is over. Minus that is, a handsome gratuity for the guy behind the bar, because we ALL know that he made the experience better! That sounds like a win-win to me! Go Bears!!

Wonky streaks, good fortune over Cavs on the line for Bulls

Wonky streaks, good fortune over Cavs on the line for Bulls

No matter the metric or the occasion, the only thing definitive about the Bulls over the last two seasons has been their mystifying dominance over the Cleveland Cavaliers in head-to-head matchups.

That, and their fascinating streak of consecutive wins while playing at home on TNT, a streak that could end at 19 games Thursday night when the two teams with varying objectives clash at the United Center.

The Cavaliers are searching to find themselves, along with a light switch that will perhaps alert them to a lost defense over the past several weeks that has been worst in the league since the All-Star break.

The Bulls are searching for consistency, but since it’s probably a little too late in the season for that, they’ll settle for a playoff spot with eight games left.

They’ll take two straight wins for the first time in a month, if they can get it.

They’ll extend a goofy streak, if that’s what things will come down to.

“The big thing is obviously you have to execute very well against this Cleveland team,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “You have to go out there with great urgency, great energy. I anticipate them coming in and playing with a ton of energy tomorrow. We’re going to have to match that. We’re going to have to come out and play physical basketball.”

Having a big break between games this late in the season is a rarity, as the Bulls have been off since Sunday evening, but it’s just another weird detail in this weird Bulls experience.

An experience that the mild-mannered Hoiberg has to experience from his couch some nights, such as watching the Miami Heat furiously steal a game in Detroit at the buzzer with a Hasaan Whiteside tip-in to extend a lead over his team to a game, followed by another win Wednesday to put more distance between the two teams.

“I did, actually,” said Hoiberg with a smirk when asked if he’s scoreboard watching and paying attention to the teams ahead of the Bulls in the playoff race.

After being prompted to give his raw emotions when Whiteside’s tip-in occurred, he slipped right back to Robo-Hoiberg—although one can imagine how animated he must’ve been while looking to catch a break from a previous contender for the eighth spot in the Pistons.

“It is what it is,” Hoiberg said. “You have to go out and worry about yourselves at this time of year. It was a great finish for Miami, obviously, the way that game ended. But there’s nothing you can do about that. You’ve got to worry about yourselves and hopefully go out and execute.”

Going 6-1 against the Cavaliers in his two seasons as Bulls coach is probably the biggest feather in his cap, including three wins in all three meetings this go round.

The rhyme or reason doesn’t seem explainable, but Nikola Mirotic seemed to give a few keys to the Bulls’ success over LeBron James’ Cavaliers: Sharing the ball, controlling the glass and getting back on defense.

“Against big teams, we play much better,” Mirotic said. “I don’t know why is the reason for that. We need to find a way to play against everybody like that. It’s on us. We just have to prove it.”

Usually, those tenets seem to work against most teams, not just the supremely talented champions who’ve just lost a grip on first place in the conference.

But their inconsistencies have left the Bulls here with a handful of games left before the April 12th finale.

A win over Cleveland could mean everything, or nothing at all, or something in between.

“Sure, we understand,” Mirotic said. “We’ve been in a very similar situation last year. We didn’t make the playoffs so this year we want to try to make that push. I think we have a good schedule for the last. Very important game tomorrow, huge one. I think we have played very well against Cleveland until now. We have a chance. We need to get out there and play with energy.” 

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