By Bucky Gleason
In today’s world, where the information superhighway has become a new-and-improved, five-lane superspeedway, people demand answers sooner than yesterday. It’s a product of the 24/7 news cycle, in which they want to know what’s happening in 24 hours, seven days in advance.
It was no surprise that within minutes after the story broke about the Bills hiring Doug Marrone that someone sent me this text: “Good hire?”
On its own, it was a simple question. Unfortunately, there was no easy answer, at least not one that was guaranteed to stand the test of time.
You want the truth? I have no idea if Marrone was a good hire.
If the Bills had hired Bill Belichick, or some buffoon Ralph Wilson selected, I would have had a better idea. Marrone’s didn’t lead me to either extreme. He was like most candidates who were available. He had different gigs on different levels with varying degrees of success.
He started as a volunteer assistant at Cortland State. He spent a year at the Coast Guard Academy, another at Northeastern, two years at Georgia Tech, another year at Georgia. He was an offensive line coach and offensive coordinator in the NFL. He exceeded minimal standards for improvement as a head coach at Syracuse.
Marrone is young and has a reputation for thinking outside of the box. It beats panicking because there were eight men in the box. He worked under good people. He has a good reputation. He paid his dues. He looks like a good fit, but the same argument could have been made — and would have been made — if the Bills hired anyone else.
I’ll say it again: every coach has strengths and weaknesses and comes with risk and reward. It’s been that way since leather helmets. Marv Levy and Jim Kelly were often criticized during the Bills’ glory days. Gregg Williams, Mike Mularkey, Dick Jauron and Chan Gailey each had flashes of success.
Keep that in mind with Marrone in charge and trying to find his way. The Bills have been on a road to nowhere for 13 straight seasons. For the fans’ sake, let’s hope he takes the first exit, blows a U-turn and leads them to a Super Bowl. He may very well succeed, but there’s an equal chance he’ll fail.
Honestly, I don’t know. Neither does Sean Payton. Or Kevin Mawae. Or Russ Brandon. Or Doug Marrone, for that matter. Anybody who claims to know is either lying to you or lying to himself.
We’ll find out as things play out. Give him a chance before drawing a conclusion either way. This much is guaranteed: The results will speak for themselves.
No more ‘broken’ Jochen
Jason Pominville couldn’t have been serious Tuesday when making a pitch to bring back “Broken” Jochen Hecht for a few more twirls with the Sabres — could he?
“He looks great,” Pominville told News reporter Mike Harrington.
Great? If Hecht passes for great, I’d love to hear Pominville’s definition of “useless.”
Hecht, 35, has a history of concussion problems and was overpaid and mostly ineffective when he was healthy. He had 21 goals three years ago when, if you remember, almost everything he threw toward the crease ended up in the net. The Sabres are thin down the middle, but they can’t be that desperate.
How about playing the kids?
If they re-signed Hecht at this stage, it would mean GM Darcy Regier failed to address his biggest problem. It also would serve as yet another in a long line of examples of him being smitten with his own players. And the Sabres wonder why people, starting with me, criticize them for being stale.
Questions about Lewis
Ray Lewis was a great player and evolved into a terrific leader, but he leads the list of athletes who leave me most conflicted. The mere mention of his name still makes me wonder about exactly what happened in 2000, when he was implicated in a stabbing that left two men dead in Atlanta.
Lewis and two acquaintances were indicted on murder and assault charges. Lewis accepted a plea deal and testified against his friends, both of whom were cleared. Lewis later paid off the families of both victims an undisclosed amount of money. Police never found a white suit they claimed was bloodied in the fight and later dumped.
He played another 13 years, made roughly $80 million, was selected for 12 more Pro Bowls, won Super Bowl XXXV, was named Super Bowl MVP and had a spotless record after the slayings. He became a devout Christian, philanthropist and leader in the community. He has a street named after him in Baltimore.
By most accounts, he’s a good guy who is headed straight for the Hall of Fame. He has been showered with praise in recent weeks after announcing he would retire after the season. It must be nauseating for the families of Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar, the two victims who died in the street.
Following Miss Alabama
The power of television: Katherine Webb had about 2,000 followers on Twitter before the BCS national championship game between Notre Dame and Alabama. She woke up to more than 104,000 followers and had more than 156,000 followers by Tuesday afternoon.
Who is Katherine Webb, you ask?
She’s the girlfriend of Crimson Tide quarterback A.J. McCarron and 2012 Miss Alabama. On Monday, she was known as the woman who left ESPN announcer Brent Musberger and commentator Kirk Herbstreit needing a cold shower.
In case you changed channels, here’s the exchange between Musberger and Herbstreit that should have been left in the locker room:
Musberger: “You quarterbacks, you get all the good looking women. What a beautiful woman.”
Herbstreit: “AJ’s doing some things right down in Tuscaloosa.”
Musberger: “If you’re a youngster in Alabama, start getting the football out and throw it around the backyard with pop.”
One person who wasn’t offended was Webb, who told TMZ.com that she was flattered by the attention.
“I’ve been reading on Twitter that Musburger had backlash that he’s ‘creepy’,” Webb told TMZ. “If I were to see him I would say, ‘I don’t think you’re creepy at all!’ “
Yeah, well I do.
Will Morris get Hall call?
Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens will likely take their place in the Hall of Fame, but don’t be surprised if neither receives the 75 percent of votes that are needed. Results will be released today, and it sounds as if writers will punish them after they were implicated in the steroid scandal.
No problem there, but let’s hope the Baseball Writers’ Association of America comes to its senses and sends Jack Morris to Cooperstown.
Morris had 66.7 percent of the vote last year and should be in the Hall. He had 254 wins, a 3.90 ERA and 28 shutouts among his 175 complete games.
MLB Network will air the Hall of Fame selection show today beginning at noon with the class of inductees to be announced at 2 p.m.
For years, 300 wins appeared to be a magic number for pitchers. The milestone is outdated. Starters throw fewer innings these days, giving them fewer decisions. Morris was a horse who won the World Series with three different teams — Detroit, Minnesota and Toronto — had three 20-win seasons and won 15 games or more in 12 seasons.
“I don’t know how to defend this. I really hate to have to do this,” Morris told the Pioneer Press of St. Paul, Minn. “There is a growing trend of guys who are caught up into this numbers deal: WHIP and RIP and ZIP. I don’t know what it all means. I know this: I threw more pitches, got more people out, had more complete games, did all the things starting pitchers are supposed to have done, than anybody in my time.”
The last time the BBWAA didn’t vote someone into the Hall was 1996, when the Veterans Committee added Earl Weaver and Jim Bunning. The writers didn’t add anyone in 1971, but the veterans voted for Satchel Paige. This could mark the first time since 1960 that no living member will be honored.
151 — Division I basketball teams ahead of Duke in rebounds per game even though the Blue Devils were the top-ranked team in the country at 14-0.
2 — Quarterbacks in NFL history who started a playoff game in his first five seasons after Joe Flacco joined Otto Graham.
0 — Times in which Canada failed to win a medal in the World Junior Championships since 1998 before getting shut out this year in Russia.
• Portland guard Damian Lillard is the class of NBA rookies with 18.2 points and 38.1 minutes per game. Second among rooks in points per 48 minutes, however, was former St. Bonaventure star Andrew Nicholson. He was averaging 25.4 points per 48 minutes and was 11th in actual scoring at 7.3 ppg with Orlando.
• Jets coach Rex Ryan, while explaining his team’s failures, also addressed his artwork on his right arm. Daily News photographers uncovered a tattoo depicting Ryan’s wife wearing, of all things, a Mark Sanchez jersey. “There’s a question — is that a real tattoo or not?” he said. “I’ll keep you guessing. ... I know what you’re thinking, ‘Obviously, if Sanchez doesn’t play well, that number is changing.’ That’s pretty much a given.”
• Carmelo Anthony insisted that he walked to the Celtics’ team bus looking for a discussion, not a fight, with Kevin Garnett. Anthony, who shot 6 of 26 from the floor, thought Garnett’s trash talking crossed the line. He wouldn’t repeat what was said, but Twitter was abuzz with suggestions that the comments were about Anthony’s wife, La La.