January 03, 2005

"I got stabbed in the back.": Shaun Alexander comes up 1 yard short of the NFL rushing title, and gripes about it....

...even though the rush that could have been, ended up locking up the NFC West.

posted by lilnemo to football at 06:41 PM - 23 comments

Now there's someone with a proper sense of priorities.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 06:44 PM on January 03, 2005

Then he deserved to be second. (I'm sure he had some kind of bonus tied to winning the rushing title, and this is his free agent year, which might be the real source of the gripe.) You think Curtis Martin would have pulled that kind of attitude in the same position in a million years? I'd like to think not.

posted by chicobangs at 07:31 PM on January 03, 2005

I like how Alexander has handled his foolish comment today. More people should quickly admit to an act of stupidity to defuse a controversy. It worked for Hugh Grant -- I never thought he could resurrect his career as a romantic leading man after cheating on Elizabeth Hurley with a syphilitic street whore.

posted by rcade at 07:54 PM on January 03, 2005

I seem to be in the minority here, but when I first heard why he didn't get the rushing title, I thought how pissed I'de be if I were him. I mean no offense, but I'm glad that all of you are noble enough where if you were in the same position, you'de be OK with this. Me? Looking at 2nd and one and they QB sneak instead, damn straight I'm gonna be irate at my coach for the call. After all, it's not like he helped carry the team or anything.

posted by jmd82 at 12:48 AM on January 04, 2005

How about having Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Brandon Stokely, and Antonio Gates going into the championship game of my fantasy football league only to find that the price to pay for having a highly successful team is not being able to play the people that got me there! So I say shame, shame on those people who are worried about records! These teams did not start these guys because the playoffs loom large. That is what teams do. They don't complain. They do what it takes to win. Shame on the individual who can't do things for a team win. If S. Alexander would have not fumbled the ball in the prior meeting vs. The Jets he would have nothing to cry about! Shame! Shame! On overpaid crybabies!

posted by mrmeesethemeese at 05:17 AM on January 04, 2005

On PTI today, there was some talk that Holmgren had assitstant coaches actively monitoring the other leading rusher(s) in the league. If so, why? Mike Holmgren is also the Seahawks' Executive Vice President of Football Operations. Is it possible that he was trying to save the team a few bucks, both in bonuses and free agent re-signing -- as chicobangs began to hint towards in his comment?

posted by smithers at 08:33 AM on January 04, 2005

Very possible. I'd really like to know the particulars of Alexander's contract....because if Holmgren was looking to save, say, $100,000, he is one cheap-ass bastard. But Shaun, STFU!...for now.

posted by garfield at 08:49 AM on January 04, 2005

....and 175 pts to rcade for working in "syphilitic street whore" into the thread.

posted by garfield at 08:51 AM on January 04, 2005

with a syphilitic street whore Excellent observation. Where the hell is Divine Brown these days?

posted by usfbull at 09:00 AM on January 04, 2005

because if Holmgren was looking to save, say, $100,000, he is one cheap-ass bastard. Agreed, but I am sure that something like "NFL Rushing Title" would carry a much larger bonus than that. The other thing I was thinking about, though, was in the free agent negotiations. I am sure that Alexander's agent would have some sort of chart that showed salary increases for every past rushing champion that hit free agency, etc., etc. But when you finish second, all that goes out the window. Maybe I'm just in the mood for a conspiracy theory though.

posted by smithers at 09:59 AM on January 04, 2005

"...but when I first heard why he didn't get the rushing title, I thought how pissed I'de be if I were him." I am sure MOST of us would be pissed, but are you saying that you would also express that frustration by saying that your boss "stabbed you in the back?" The question here is putting things in perspective. "Looking at 2nd and one and they QB sneak instead, damn straight I'm gonna be irate at my coach for the call. After all, it's not like he helped carry the team or anything." There was a lot of time left on the clock when this happened and a coach is not all that wrong for thinking there could be another posession for the offence, BUT also remember Alexander FUMBLED at the one yard line in a similar situation. (I can't find the details for that comment, but it was being dicussed actively on Mike & Mike this morning). Lastly, Alexander himself shows how stupid it is to get caught up in individual season "records" when he said: "I don't even know who won the rushing title last year, but I know who won the Super Bowl." Well, Alexander, it was Jamal Lewis and he had nearly 300 more yards than you or Curtis Martin this year.

posted by scully at 10:08 AM on January 04, 2005

Alexander deserved to carry the ball, as he's been pretty much the lone bright spot in that Seahawk attack. Good luck resigning him at the end of his contract, Seattle. Personally, I think it's bush-league when coaches pull stuff like this -- it was wrong when Mike Ditka called William Perry's number insead of Walter Peyton's in the Super Bowl, and was wrong when Holmgren did it on Sunday.

posted by herc at 10:29 AM on January 04, 2005

Actually, reading that Les Carpenter article (the second one yerfatma links), I'm far more sympathetic towards Alexander now. Granted, Alexander could have won the title outright by rushing a little further on any of the 19 carries he had Sunday, but the reality of these records is you can't predict when or how you'll break it, and usually the difference is close enough that it comes down to a few plays on the final day. And yes, as not-hallowed as NFL records are, compared to numbers like HR, RBI, wins, strikeouts, etc- players still do have a lot of pride, and those in a position to eke out a league-leading value are usually assisted by their teams in that final game. Wasn't it just last year that Lewis was getting every chance by his team to break Eric Dickerson's long-standing record? Can you imagine if Peyton Manning was benched at 47 TD for the rest of the season to prevent him from getting the TD record? Shaun should not have griped so publicly, but it does sound more and more like Holmgren- (a fucking disaster of a hire for Seattle, incidentally, a two-bit hack who only looked good because he had a Brett Favre playing for him)- actively tried to undercut his best player. The genius of great coaches, like a Phil Jackson, is to get your best players to buy into a team system as part of their excellence- not simply to cut them down in their personal achievements like some bitter school marm who silently resents the most talented kids in her class. As Carpenter notes, why risk putting your quarterback into a QB sneak on the eve of the playoffs if you don't need it, especially when the alternative would be to allow your best player to achieve a personal milestone- a win/win situation? I think Holmgren was motivated by money (keeping Alexander from making as much by denying him the rushing title), as well as sheer petulance. That'll work great, Mike, when you lose Alexander to free-agency. Effin' brilliant! Man, what is it about Seattle sports franchises and their uncanny knack for convincing top-tier talent to get the hell out of town?

posted by hincandenza at 10:33 AM on January 04, 2005

the rain?

posted by garfield at 10:45 AM on January 04, 2005

it was wrong when Mike Ditka called William Perry's number insead of Walter Peyton's in the Super Bowl, and was wrong when Holmgren did it on Sunday. true, but payton had the class not to shoot his mouth off in public about it.

posted by goddam at 10:49 AM on January 04, 2005

Excellent observation. Where the hell is Divine Brown these days? Keeping her head down.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 11:38 AM on January 04, 2005

The funny thing is, had he gotten that 1 yard TD instead of Hasselbeck's sneak, he would have tied for the league lead in rushing, not won the thing outright. At any rate, he only has to point to all of his carries for loss this year as to why he didn't get the rushing crown. I'm not sure how many times Curtis Martin was caught behind the line, but Alexander was enough for it to be a factor in this issue.

posted by bcb2k2 at 11:45 AM on January 04, 2005

great links yerfatma.....only my conspiracy theory dies a quick death. ;)

posted by smithers at 02:55 PM on January 04, 2005

Papers down here are suggesting that the Bay Area could get both of them for next season, Holmgren to coach the Niners and Alexander as Norv Turner's backfield solution in Oakland. Erickson is bad enough but would York really be foolish enough to pay off Erickson to the tune of $7.5M and pay Holmgren anything close to the contract he has in Seattle? Don't get me wrong, I can see a good case for firing Erickson and his staff, an even better one for dumping GM Terry Donohue (what he did to earn a four year extension at the beginning of this season I'll never know) but how about trying somebody fresh, a (preferably defensive) coordinator and not just another recycled white guy?

posted by billsaysthis at 04:00 PM on January 04, 2005

I think Holmgren thought that they were going to get the ball back. There was a significant amount of time left. One yard? Think of the ball-spots by the refs too, hardly precision stuff. I'm sure half a good agent can get Alexander his 'rush title' equivalent contract bonus. But who knows? Maybe Holmgren thinks that Alexander plays better when angry.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 06:46 PM on January 04, 2005

I agree that Holmgren thought they would get the ball back. And according to what I heard on local (Seattle) sports radio, Alexander's record for making the yardarge on 3rd or 4th down with 1 or 2 yards to go is less than 50%. As far as signing Alexander, at the end of this year the Seahawks will have 16 unrestricted free agents and 5 restricted free agents. Included in the free agents are the big three, Alexander, Hasselbeck and Walter Jones. It appears that the Seahawks can not afford to sign all three, some of that money (please, please, please) has got to be used to buy some defensive players. Given the durability of running backs in the NFL versus QB's and offensive LT's, I would be shocked if they let Hasselbeck or Jones go so they could sign Alexander.

posted by Chain Linq at 07:23 PM on January 04, 2005

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