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Desktop Sportsman - 01/29/2010

What we saw in the NFC Championship game was the best of Brett Favre and the worst of Brett Favre. We saw the grit, determination, guts and a magic arm and we also saw the juvenile stupidity too. Unfortunately for the Vikings, it was the one negative quality that proved too powerful to overcome (although in Favre's defense Adrian Peterson was just as juvenile and just as stupid). You can also not separate one from the other either, at least not anymore. It's funny because I remember hearing a radio interview Fox's Jack Buck did with WCCO's Michele Tafoya before the game where Buck stated he thought Favre had changed just enough he wouldn't make such a junior high-type mistake with the Super Bowl on the line. Yet that is exactly what he did. It just goes to show, you know when a man has truly changed when, facing similar circumstances, he does what he always does or he does something different. I think we know now what the answer is now.

Reporters and editors in the Twin Cities and around Minnesota and the league itself can safe themselves and the rest of us a lot of grief by not asking whether Favre is coming back. Since he probably doesn't know himself right now, anything else written or said is just speculation and nothing more than wasted space, bandwith and hot air. When he finally does make up his mind then you can report something, and then take it with a grain of salt. Chances are more than likely we'll only know what Favre is doing at the beginning of August.

Yes, if I was Zigy Wilf and was being told I had a fat chance of getting money from the state of Minnesota for a new stadium, I too would look to see if I could get federal stimulus money. Just imagine all those Packer fans with all their tax money building a new palace for their arch-rivals. Classic

The Packers had a decent season compared to the one preceding it and they showed good judgment by promoting Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. They also showed good judgment drafting two persons who made the NFL All-Rookie team on defense. If they keep it up, they'll back in the Super Bowl sooner rather than later.

UW's mens basketball team lost one of its best players in Jon Leuer and yet so far has handled the fallout as well as could be expected, going 3-2 for the duration. They may not be able to catch Michigan State for the Big Ten regular season title (especially the way the Spartans are playing) but if Leuer is back by the time of the Big Ten Tournament then a tournament title run is a strong possibility. By contrast, the U has lost one player to grades, one to suspension and two players haven't so much as even suited up yet this season. How have the Gophers handled it? Like they were a "realty show". So much for the dream season.

I was not against the concept of the proposed football playoff structure. I just knew it needed a lot of tweaking if it was going to pass the WIAA. It turns out there wasn't enough tweaking done but don't think we've heard the last of this issue. There's plenty of time to tweak before then.

Think Spring. With warmer weather just around the corner (or, at least, down the block) Here's the spring post-season assignments for Pierce County's prep teams.

In track and field, the D-2 sectional is back at Colby and Ellsworth and Prescott will compete in the Somerset Regional. It's still the same old, same old in Division 3 where Spring Valley and Elmwood-Plum City travel to Colfax for the regional and sectional meets. Ellsworth and Prescott's boys golf teams will travel to Durand for the regional and Somerset for the sectional. The boys tennis subsectional for Ellsworth is also in Durand and the sectional is in Marshfield hosted by Columbus.

The big news in spring playoff assignments is Prescott hosting a Division 2 baseball sectional, which of course includes Ellsworth. Both teams once again are in the same regional along with Baldwin-Woodville, Osceola, St. Croix Falls and Somerset. The other three county teams will be in a Division 4 regional together along with Glenwood City, Pepin and Clear Lake. The sectional is again at Bruce.

Softball will different this season with the sectionals taking place at just one site and the sectional semifinals at a different site like basketball. So, Ellsworth is grouped together with Baldwin-Woodville, Amery, Durand, New Richmond, Osceola, (basically an MBC tournament) in Division 2. Prescott and Spring Valley-Plum City are in the same Division 3 bracket along with Arcadia, Mondovi, Osseo-Fairchild and Eleva-Strum. In Division 4, Elmwood is put together with Augusta, Eau Claire Immanuel Lutheran, Glenwood City and Chippewa Falls McDonell.

Kudos to fellow Beloiter Jim Caldwell as he leads to Colts into next weekend's Super Bowl. Caldwell led my alma mater Beloit Memorial High School to a state championship in basketball back in 1973 and a conference title in football the year before. He has been toiling in the football vinyards for at least four decades and now all that hard work has him on the game's biggest stage as a rookie head coach. And remember all the criticism he received for benching his starters in the last few weeks of the regular season? Doesn't look like it hurt the Colts too much did it? He certainly knows what he's doing.

For a town that often wakes up to a lot of cloudy days, this is a nice ray of sunshine.