Ray Ratto

MacIntyre smells tire fire, bolts San Jose for Colorado


MacIntyre smells tire fire, bolts San Jose for Colorado

Mike MacIntyre is the ideal football hire for Colorado, for one essential reason. He knows a tire fire when he smells one.

He came to San Jose State after the Spartans had rung out the Dick Tomey era with a 2-10 year in 2009. San Jose State is one of those hardy seasonals – violent spikes surrounded by longer stretches of flatlining – so their struggles at the end of what had been largely an admirable stretch was neither unexpected nor soul-crushing.

MacIntyre came in, yanked the program to its feet in three years, and as is often the case in the quicksilver world of college football coaching, got a better deal at a bigger place. 

A place, it must be said, that is in the midst of a lower ebb than the place State was when he got there.

Colorado is a disaster, pure and simple. Has been, really, since Gary Barnett got the Buffs to the 2001 Fiesta Bowl. Even its entry into the Pacific 12 Conference has not helped its profile – 4-21, and now a national reputation for excrescence whereas its last several years in the WAC made them only a regional eyesore.

So the MacIntyre hire makes sense for a school right on its uppers. He rolls up his sleeves, he puts shovel into dirt, and he knows how to fix the irreparable. 

As for San Jose State, that is a different bucket of abalone entirely. Despite all the suggestions that Jeff Tedford would find a nice place to alight after the Cal adventure ended, and that Stanford coordinators -- offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton and defensive coordinator Derek Mason – are also on the imaginary “short list,” another intriguing choice would be Sacramento State head coach Marshall Sperbeck, who took the Hornets to a 6-5 record, including a win over (wait for it) Colorado.

Then again, San Jose State athletic director Gene Bleymaier knew this day was coming about halfway through the season, so he has no excuse for lack of preparedness. It is the wacky season, after all, and everyone not named Saban is in play somewhere.

Bortles the worst QB in the NFL? Yeah, he doesn't care


Bortles the worst QB in the NFL? Yeah, he doesn't care

Blake Bortles of America’s Jaguars represents something new and dangerous in American sports, and no, it isn’t because he is the national punch line who punches back.

Rather, the Jacksonville quarterback who is preparing for the AFC Championship Game against the New England Monolith, is dangerous because he seems genuinely not to care at all that he is routinely savaged as the worst quarterback in the National Football League. Not just passive-aggressively so, but actually and completely.

Have you any idea what this does to the smack-talking industry? If this catches on, our generation of semi-malevolent athletic parrots are stuck without a reason to talk that trash.

Of course, Bortles is unusual in this regard, in that he has been mean-mouthed not just by players but by regular citizens. He has been used as a prop for the Why-Isn’t-Colin-Kaepernick-Working movement, he has been compared unkindly to Ty Detmer, the previous low water mark in championship-level quarterbacks, and essentially disparaged almost universally.

Put another way, a case can be made that he has been savaged in his idiom as aggressively as the President.

And what does he do? Well, win, sure, but he has help, as all quarterbacks do. We always seem to forget that in our only-one-position-matters depth of understanding about the sport.

No, what he does is say with all sincerity that he doesn’t care one way or another, and that he never claps back at anyone for their more pointed views re: his skill set. If this is so, he is not only the owner of a rhinoceros hide, but he may be the living embodiment of a movement toward, “Oh, I suck? Yeah, okay, whatever. You’re probably right. You have yourself a good day.”

Andrew Luck does that after receiving a big hit. Bortles seems to do it on command, and if this is the future of sports in America, we are heading for a fascinating new world of relative silence.

But we know better. Bortles is an outlier, again, and this will not catch on. There’s no putting the mess-talk back in the tube. But if it helps, Bortles has another round of grief awaiting him this week as he is compared to Tom Brady . . . as a compost heap is compared to the Taj Mahal.

Only with more F-bombs.

Let Steve Young's brilliant Monday Night Football idea come true


Let Steve Young's brilliant Monday Night Football idea come true

Steve Young recently told KNBR’s Tom Tolbert that he still wasn’t interested in replacing new Raiders coach Jon Gruden in the Monday Night Football analyst’s chair – “still,” as in he’s been approached before and declined, for the only legitimate dodge left on the books -- family reasons.
“I cannot take a job where you disappear for four days a week for five months,” Young said, later adding, “If I could do it from my backyard, sure, I’d do it.”
And therein lies an idea – a brilliant idea, if I do steal and say so myself.
Let Young do the games from his backyard. Put a camera back there and let him work from a lounge chair beside what I imagine is a pool. He should have a beer and snacks at hand, and his kids should be allowed to run in front of him and make noise like they would normally, because that’s how most of us watch the games. Maybe he can bring the neighbors over for a little ‘cue, as long as they don’t F-bomb through his pregame chat with Sean McDonough.
After all, these are not grand secrets he will be imparting. He is not going to be able to articulate the secrets of the bubble screen or the two-deep zone any more cleverly than any other analyst – he will just sound more agreeable and less cartoonish doing it. And if the payment for that sense of informality is him in a Tommy Bahama shirt, cargo shorts, flip-flops and a frothy IPA, well, what’s the harm.
I mean, it’s not like he would be torpedoing ratings momentum. This has been another year of diminishing viewership for the NFL, which continues to struggle with the “F” in its acronym – football. Catches aren’t catches, fumbles aren’t fumbles, holds aren’t holds, first down measurements need office supplies, and nobody can explain why the overseer on the Planet Replay is no better at getting calls right than the guys on the ground.
So why not Young lounging in his backyard? Or his garage? Or the hardware store? Or the local tavern? If McDonough needs company in the booth, there is a vast wildlife preserve of ex-players roaming the hills and flats just waiting to share insipid tales of jet sweeps and momentum shifts while Young sits working the business end of a pina colada and providing the big picture the sport is so weak at providing. Frankly, I'm stupefied that it hasn't been done already.
This has been A Tramp’s View Inside The Television Garbage Fire, and I will happily accept the standard consultants fee when this is universally adapted.