The January 2010 Jerk List

Like any creative person, I’m always for different ways to express myself, and come up with unique viewpoints for this website.

Part of creating my own “style,” is by reading and listening to the voices of others. Most recently, I’ve taken quite a liking to Dave Dameschek, a writer for the Jimmy Kimmel Late Night show, who also happens to have a sports podcast on Accuscore.com.

One of Dameschek’s trademarks is his “Jerk List,” a weekly compilation of players, coaches and teams that have annoyed him over the past seven days.

With that, I’ve decided to borrow Dameschek’s idea, and bring it to AaronTorres-Sports.com.

With the holiday’s upon us, I’ve watched more TV than usual lately, and because of it, have seen several things that have really gotten under my skin. And it’s time for me to do my first edition of the “Jerk List.”

For those of you who find  yourselves, on this list, all I can tell you is that I’m sorry. But as Dave likes to say on his podcast, remember, “I didn’t put you on this list. You put you on this list.”

Without wasting any more time, let’s get to this week’s jerks…

The Cincinnati Football Team:

So New Year’s day was going great. Auburn and Northwestern staged an epic Outback Bowl. Terrelle Pryor and Ohio State played an inspired Rose Bowl. And I hadn’t even thrown up yet, despite consuming enough alcohol the night before to kill a water buffalo.

Again, everything was going great. Until the Sugar Bowl started, that is. Because once it did, Cincinnati was about as ready to play as I was to operate heavy machinery. Which is to say, not at all.

The offense was timid. The defense was lifeless. “Coach,” (and I use that term loosely) Jeff Quinn already had his bags packed for the University of Buffalo. And by the end of the first half, Tony Pike had taken so many shots to the midsection, that he had the same confused, glazed over look on his face that my grandma gets when someone tries to explain the internet to her.

The final score of the Sugar Bowl was 51-24, and to anyone who watched it was no where near that close. Florida dominated in every phase of the game, playing their most complete game of the season.

As for Cincinnati, they were uninspired from the opening kickoff, and embarrassed themselves and the entire Big East on national TV. Even without Coach Brian Kelly, would it have killed any of them to show a little heart? Just a little?

So while I’m sorry to do this to the players of Cincinnati, you  really leave me with no other choice. To each and every player…


Old Sports Columnist Guy:

It’s no secret that the entire newspaper industry is nothing short of dead, we all know that.

There are hundreds of reasons why, but maybe the most important, and fundamental problem is this: When was the last time you actually sat down and read a newspaper?

For no reason in particular, I decided to do exactly that Sunday morning, and was shocked at what I saw.

In what has become somewhat of a trend I guess, newspapers are bringing back old columnists, and letting them relive their glory days of 30 years ago, by giving them space to write about what they please in the Sunday sports section. They usually use that space by ranting and raving about whatever’s on the mind of someone who is 85-years-old, whether its Metamucil, impotence, the stock market, bad rashes, whatever, and call it a column. Consider me unimpressed.

So anyway, why am I bringing this up?

Because, as I said, I opened the sports section in my newspaper Sunday, and what did I find?

One of these previously mentioned old guys, with a column, writing about…not Tiger Woods…not Brett Favre…not bowl games, or the NFL playoffs…but, wait for it…wait for it…Ingemar Johannson. Ingemar motherf#*^ing Johannson!!!!!! Yes, you read that correctly.

Question, do you know who Ingemar Johannson is? Because I’m pretty sure I’m the only person under 60 who does. That’s right, Ingemar Johannson is a former heavyweight boxer, who died in February, making the story somewhat of a reflective piece. Which would be fine, except, well, the guy didn’t die in the ring a few months ago, but actually retired in…1961! 1961!!!!! Meaning that you have to be somewhere between the ages of 64, and dead yourself, to have any memory of him at all.

Did that stop old newspaper guy from writing about him anyway? Even though he died almost a year ago, and retired almost a half century before that? Of course not.

Honestly, when you’re a newspaper, and you’re taking valuable print space, which could be used to talk about the upcoming big game, or a million other topics, and giving it to a guy who’s writing about Ingemar Johnannson, is it any wonder you aren’t selling newspapers? Is it??? IS IT???? Because I want some answers.

Also, why is the newspaper industry the only profession that brings back the living dead, and allows them to have a voice at all?

Does Delta Airlines bring back 92-year-old retired pilots, and let them fly the New York to Miami route, just because they feel like it? Does MTV bring back the Commodores for a two-hour primetime special, just because they want to sing? Of course not, that’s crazy! So why the hell did I spend 15 seconds of my valuable time today reading a column, before I realized it was about, Ingemar Johannson? I can’t get over this!

I’m mad, and I’m furious, at old sports columnist guy for wasting my time with Ingemar Johannson, and Dizzy Dean and Amelia Earhart, and whoever else he’s going to write about next week. That is, if he doesn’t die first.

But mostly, I’m mad at newspapers for giving these guys a voice, and using ink and paper to print it.

Good luck, and good riddance newspaper industry, it’s no wonder you’ll be completely out of business by the end of this year. You’re all a bunch of…


Fat NFL and college place kickers:

Oh the Liberty Bowl. Maybe the least inspired bowl game I’ve ever seen.

It was cold and windy. Passes were dropped, tackles were missed and unforced fumbles were the norm. Arkansas, which had one of the highest scoring offenses in college football this season, scored all of ONE offensive touchdown in the game. And just by seeing the expressionless faces of each and every player, you could tell nobody wanted to be there, just like after awhile, I realized I didn’t even want to be watching.

But for those of us who did stay until the bitter, awful end, the story wasn’t the offenses, or defenses. It was actually the kickers. Which is never a good thing.

There were missed PAT’s and missed field goals. Lots of missed field goals, as a matter of fact. Hell, East Carolina kicker Ben Hartman missed two game winning field goals alone in the final 63 seconds of regulation, and another go-ahead kick in overtime. Poor guy. I guess.

But despite Hartman’s repeated shortcomings, despite the fact that he may be run out of Greenville, NC with burning torches, there was one thing I couldn’t help but notice every time the cameras turned to him: He was one, fat slob.

Like really fat. Like, every time his foot struck the ball, his stomach kept jiggling for at least 10 seconds after his body stopped moving.
And it got me thinking, when did it become acceptable for kickers to be such fat, obese, losers?

Maybe it started with Sebastian Janikowski, I don’t know. And I don’t care. But Hartman is a Division I, scholarship athlete. His academic coursework is being paid for, free of charge. Yet he can’t even fit into a pair of size 36 jeans. Why are we ok with this?

If a quarterback, running back or tight end shows up to camp looking like a bloated Queen Latifah, the coach would tell him to take a hike. Even offensive and defensive linemen- who are expected to be big- are held to certain weight requirements. So why are kickers the only exception?

And if you’re as big as Hartman is, your beer gut hanging over your ever shrinking football belt and chicken wing stains on your jersey (ok I made have made that one up), take some pride in yourself. You’re 23-years-old. And if you already look like a member of the Celebrity Fit Club in your early 20’s, what do you expect to look like when you’re 30? Or 40?

Even if Hartman’s weight wasn’t the difference in missing those kicks, doesn’t he have a commitment to his team and his university to be in the best shape he can possibly be in? Isn’t that his responsibility as an athlete?

So to you Ben Hartman, shame on you for looking like a castoff from an old Richard Simmons “Sweating to the Oldies,” video. And shame on you for representing everything that is wrong with our overweight country, and too many of its football kickers.

Shame on you Ben Hartman…..


Bob Huggins:

Speaking of taking pride in your appearance, let’s take a trip down those country roads of West Virginia, home of coach Bob Huggins.

Look, I like Coach Huggins. The guy has been a winner everywhere he’s gone, and is routinely one of the most underappreciated coaches in the game. Quite honestly, even though he just celebrated his 56th birthday, I’d still be terrified to see Huggins in a dark alley.

But over the last few years, Coach Huggy has taken the professionalism of a coach’s dress attire, laughed at it, mocked it, and spit in his face. In Huggy’s world, every day is Casual Friday.

I’m not quite sure when it started, but I believe it was somewhere right around the time Huggins got to West Virginia and chose to wear a windbreaker on game day’s over a shirt and tie. And I’m cool with that, I suppose. But recently, coach has taken the dress code to low and unparalleled levels, and he must be stopped.

During a nationally televised win against Seton Hall recently, there was Bob Huggins pacing the sidelines, choosing again to not only wear his windbreaker, but adding a pair of matching swishy pants as well. Honestly, the guy looked more like an old man leaving a YMCA aerobics class, than someone who’s paid millions of dollars to represent West Virginia University.

And that is where I draw the line.

Coach, I don’t care what you wear at practice, or how you dress when you’re at home with your wife watching American Idol, I really don’t. But when you’re on national television, can you at least put on a pair of pants without an elastic waistline? Please?

Also, whatever happened to just looking nice for a big event? What’s wrong with a blazer, shirt and tie? Would that kill you coach?

And even more concerning, where does this dressing-down madness end? With a mustard stained West Virginia T-Shirt in this year’s NCAA Tournament? With shorts and sandals? With no pants on at all? Where does it end, coach? Where?

Like I said before, Coach Huggy, I love you. Most any school in the country would be happy with you coaching their team. But your disregard for your own appearance is concerning. And it’s potentially opened a Pandora’s box of awful attire for coaches nationwide.

And while I hate to do it to you, I’m sorry coach, but it needs to be done…


(Who are your Jerks? Let Aaron know by commenting below, or e-mailing him at ATorres00@gmail.com)

About Aaron Torres

Aaron Torres works for Fox Sports, and was previously a best-selling author of the book 'The Unlikeliest Champion.' He currently uses Aaron Torres Sports to occasionally weigh-in on the biggest stories from around sports. He has previously done work for such outlets as Sports Illustrated, SB Nation and Slam Magazine.