King Kaufman's Sports Daily

Fire Schottenheimer movement fizzles. Plus: Michael Vick's water bottle. And: Big Warriors-Pacers trade.

By Salon Staff
Published January 18, 2007 5:00PM (EST)

So much for the fire Marty Schottenheimer campaign.

The San Diego Chargers announced that they'll stick with their coach for the final year of his contract, despite rumors that he might get the boot because of yet another loss in yet another first playoff game, and his cool relationship with general manager A.J. Smith.

Owner Alex Spanos even reportedly offered Schottenheimer a one-year extension, which the coach turned down.

I suppose it's the sane move. The Chargers are a team right in stride. They went 14-2 this season and would have beaten the New England Patriots Sunday if they hadn't bungled the game away. They have a fine young quarterback, a solid defense and a true great at running back.

A new coach might be just the thing to take them over the top, as Jon Gruden did in an analogous situation in Tampa Bay, taking over for Tony Dungy, who had turned the franchise around but who couldn't seem to win a playoff game.

On the other hand, a new coach might be just the thing to mess up the momentum, introduce a whole new set of problems, force the franchise to take two steps back before it takes one forward.

Schottenheimer turning down the extension makes him a lame-duck coach. Kind of like Bill Cowher this year hmm?

My first NFL prediction for the 2007 season is that the Chargers won't make the playoffs. Clip and save. Sorry, click and save. And it's not because I think Schottenheimer's a lousy coach. He's a good one.

I just think this was the year for the Chargers, in a vague, smoky, totally non-fact-based way if you know what I mean. Trick-knee analysis. They'll come back to the rest of the league anyway, as teams that go 14-2 always do, and I think there will be a sort of hangover effect that gets exacerbated by Schottenheimer's status. I know I'm talking like a snake-oil salesman, but check back in 11 months and we'll see how I did.

New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin was also rumored to be on the chopping block after his team went 2-6 in the second half and got bounced in the first round of the playoffs by the Philadelphia Eagles. The Giants were a locker-room soap opera all season, and despite Coughlin's famous über-discipline regime, with all the obsessive punctuality and whatnot, were an undisciplined, sloppy team.

I'm sure there's a management lesson in there for all you business consultants.

Prediction No. 2 for the 2007 NFL season: Things will get worse for the Giants before they get better. They're not making the playoffs either.

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Michael Vick's alleged false bottom [PERMALINK]

Let's just say for the sake of saying that Michael Vick is guilty of what he's suspected of having done at the Miami airport Wednesday. He's not, remember. At least, he's presumed innocent, hasn't even been charged in connection with the incident.

Transportation Security Administration screeners say that when they examined a water bottle they'd asked Vick to surrender at the gate, they found a false bottom, which contained "a small amount of dark particulate and a pungent aroma closely associated with marijuana," according to the Associated Press, quoting a police report.

Vick, who was recognized by the screeners, wasn't detained. He boarded his flight to Atlanta and hasn't commented on the allegation. Police say they're investigating but they consider the matter not urgent.

But let's say, hypothetically, that it's true, that the stuff in the false bottom was weed.

While I want to make it clear that no known instrument is powerful enough to detect my interest in whether Michael Vick smokes marijuana on his days off, I'm confident you'll join me in saying:

What the??

If Vick's guilty here, that means his need for marijuana is so great that he has invested in specialized equipment to help him smuggle it -- between Miami and Atlanta? I've never lived in either city, but I'm guessing that for a superstar millionaire athlete, it's not hard to find some nice smoke if you really need it. Miami is not exactly known as a dry town, drug-wise.

Or maybe Vick used his custom-made water bottle to smuggle drugs some other place. Into church or something, or across a border. It's unclear from the police report quote if the screeners found marijuana or just residue. That would make more sense, but still: Hello, Michael? Wash the bottle.

I'm hoping that Vick is innocent. I think the youth of America should be able to expect better than this from its sporting heroes. If you're going to smuggle drugs, at least put some thought into it.

More completions would also be nice.

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Blockbuster NBA trade [PERMALINK]

I was all set to try to figure out who got the better of the surprise eight-player deal between the Indiana Pacers and Golden State Warriors Wednesday.

The Pacers got Mike Dunleavy, Troy Murphy, Ike Diogu and Keith McLeod. The Warriors got Al Harrington, Stephen Jackson, Sarunas Jasikevicius and Josh Powell.

Jackson and Harrington are both players who sort of look and seem better than they really are. Lots of talent, big and athletic. They're just not great players. Jackson also comes with a well-publicized set of luggage that includes a strip-club shooting incident and his prominent role in the 2004 brawl at the Palace of Auburn Hills. The Warriors will be the fifth team of his career, now in its seventh year.

The Warriors did get rid of draft bust Dunleavy, and I think it's good for the soul to get rid of spectacular draft busts. Dunleavy and Jackson had both worn out their welcomes with their respective teams. Not exactly high praise, but Murphy, a sweet shooting, no-defense forward-center, is probably the most productive player in the trade at the moment. The Warriors helped themselves by unloading the insane, huge contracts of Dunleavy and Murphy.

The Pacers got the guy I think will end up being the key to the trade, Diogu. Assuming he's now going to play for a coach who will put him on the floor, Diogu could be the best player in the trade.

Wait, wasn't Diogu the guy the Warriors wouldn't give up to get Ron Artest last year? Now they're tossing him onto the pile in an eight-player deal because coach Don Nelson doesn't like him and won't play him.

And that's the thought that made me stop trying to figure out who won this deal. We're talking about the Golden State Warriors. End of discussion. The Pacers won the deal.

Previous column: Playoff tix for locals only

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