Kibbles and Bits
First, nothing says class about an organization more than waiting eagerly to find out whether a judge will let your star defensive tackle leave the state. A Cook County judge put Tank Johnson on home confinement until he could determine whether Johnson violated the terms of his probation when he was charged with 10 weapons-related counts in Lake County earlier this season. A Lake County judge has already ruled that Johnson can travel with the team while his case their is pending. Under Cook County's order, however, Johnson can only leave his home to travel to a game or practice, and must return home immediately without making any stops. It's not clear whether that contemplates travelling to Miami. Travel restrictions on probationers are fairly common, entirely legal, and pretty much at the discretion of the presiding judge. We'll find out today whether Johnson will be anchoring the middle of the Bears' D-line, or anchored to his couch.
[EDIT/UPDATE: The judge has decided to allow Johnson to travel with the team, apparently without any further restrictions. I still suspect the Bears will keep a close eye on the Tank. Apparently crucial to the decision, that the travel was for a legitimate work reason (do you think the judge asked for evidence to corroborate Johnson's story that he was a member of some organization that was having a crucial meeting in the Miami area?), and that Johnson has complied with the terms of his house confinement up until now. Good Tank. Sit. Stay. Now kill the quarterback. NO! Not literally! Oy.]
Another story making the rounds today that doesn't fit into the warm and fuzzy category when it comes to Super Bowl hype is that Bears' coach Lovie Smith may be headed to Dallas to replace Bill Parcells. Smith is underpaid for the market, and seems to be fairly far apart from team management on a contract extension. Smith is from Texas, and would seem to be a hot commodity. Smith does have one year left on his contract, and I've heard some speculation that the Bears would gladly take a couple of first round draft picks in exchange for Smith before naming Ron Rivera head coach. While this story may give hope to Cowboy fans, and leverage to Smith, I doubt Smith will be replacing The Tuna. The Cowboys have spent several drafts targeting players specially suited for their 3-4 defensive scheme. Smith's greatest asset is the 4-3 based scheme he brings with him. I don't think the Cowboys will bring in a coach who forces them to abandon the talent they've been collecting over the past few years. Tomorrow, I'll explain why I do think Parcells is a relevant discussion point for this Super Bowl. (We call that a tease, in the business.)
Finally, I was delighted to hear that 57% of Americans voted to give today's Just Shut Up Award on Mike and Mike to ESPN's "football experts," all of whom picked the Saints to beat the Bears handily. It doesn't fix the problem that the so-called experts pushed by the mainstream media are generally clueless, but it was nice of someone at the World Wide Leader to at least admit it.