Top Story

Conan O'Brien Says Good Riddance To Struggling NBC, Could Be Headed To FOX Next

If you haven't already heard, Conan O'Brien has told NBC that he will not be moving his Tonight Show to 12:05 a.m. and therefore is leaving the network. I've always been a big Conan fan, with his Late Night show always being funnier than both Jay Leno and David Letterman combined. Conan appealed to a younger audience, which I'm still gripping to right now, and I was there in the beginning, loving every second of it. While his monologues was never the best, his skits, interviews and out-of-studio productions were almost always hilarious. When I worked at NBC years ago, me and my co-workers would always make sure to catch his Late Night show broadcast live on closed-circuit television. I've even been in the studio, and sat at the desk that I'll always remember for being chipped on the corners. I rode the elevator with Andy Ritcher and another time with one of the female writers who was worried that a skit that night wouldn't work. But she came out on television that night as Camel Toe Girl and the audience loved it. So, I'm definitely on Conan's side here.

When he moved his show to Los Angeles, it definitely lost something. Conan was best in New York and hopefully he can continue that on, most likely, FOX. Here's hoping Conan beats both Leno and Letterman in the ratings when he returns to late night and NBC is left struggling again to find an answer.

Here is Conan's full statement:

People of Earth:

In the last few days, I’ve been getting a lot of sympathy calls, and I want to start by making it clear that no one should waste a second feeling sorry for me. For 17 years, I’ve been getting paid to do what I love most and, in a world with real problems, I’ve been absurdly lucky. That said, I’ve been suddenly put in a very public predicament and my bosses are demanding an immediate decision.

Six years ago, I signed a contract with NBC to take over The Tonight Show in June of 2009. Like a lot of us, I grew up watching Johnny Carson every night and the chance to one day sit in that chair has meant everything to me. I worked long and hard to get that opportunity, passed up far more lucrative offers, and since 2004 I have spent literally hundreds of hours thinking of ways to extend the franchise long into the future. It was my mistaken belief that, like my predecessor, I would have the benefit of some time and, just as important, some degree of ratings support from the prime-time schedule. Building a lasting audience at 11:30 is impossible without both.

But sadly, we were never given that chance. After only seven months, with my Tonight Show in its infancy, NBC has decided to react to their terrible difficulties in prime-time by making a change in their long-established late night schedule.

Last Thursday, NBC executives told me they intended to move the Tonight Show to 12:05 to accommodate the Jay Leno Show at 11:35. For 60 years the Tonight Show has aired immediately following the late local news. I sincerely believe that delaying the Tonight Show into the next day to accommodate another comedy program will seriously damage what I consider to be the greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting. The Tonight Show at 12:05 simply isn’t the Tonight Show. Also, if I accept this move I will be knocking the Late Night show, which I inherited from David Letterman and passed on to Jimmy Fallon, out of its long-held time slot. That would hurt the other NBC franchise that I love, and it would be unfair to Jimmy.

So it has come to this: I cannot express in words how much I enjoy hosting this program and what an enormous personal disappointment it is for me to consider losing it. My staff and I have worked unbelievably hard and we are very proud of our contribution to the legacy of The Tonight Show. But I cannot participate in what I honestly believe is its destruction. Some people will make the argument that with DVRs and the Internet a time slot doesn’t matter. But with the Tonight Show, I believe nothing could matter more.

There has been speculation about my going to another network but, to set the record straight, I currently have no other offer and honestly have no idea what happens next. My hope is that NBC and I can resolve this quickly so that my staff, crew, and I can do a show we can be proud of, for a company that values our work.

Have a great day and, for the record, I am truly sorry about my hair; it’s always been that way.

Yours,

Conan

(AP photo)

True NFL Travesty: Charles Woodson Beats Out Darrelle Revis For Defensive Player Of The Year

A downright travesty occurred today in the NFL when Packers cornerback Charles Woodson was voted the Defensive Player of the Year. In short, the best defensive player in the NFL this year was Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis. Actually, it wasn't even close.

Woodson and Revis are completely different players, yes. Revis is the best shut-down corner in the NFL. We all know about Revis Island and him shutting down the best wide receivers in the game all season long. The list of WR's he's shut down is almost legendary - Andre Johnson (the best WR in the game), Randy Moss (twice), Terrell Owens (twice), Chad Ochocinco (twice), Carolina's Steve Smith, Reggie Wayne and Marques Colston.

The problem with voters is that they only look at stats, and that is why the vote read Woodson 28, Revis 14, which is a complete joke. The misguided voters look at Woodson's four forced fumbles and two sacks to Revis' none. But guess what? That isn't Revis' job. Woodson gets a lot of credit for the Packers turnaround on defense this year. But the Jets are the No. 1 defense in the NFL and it's all because of Revis. When the No. 1 target of the offense is completely taken away by one person, that allows the Jets to do what they do best - blitz the quarterback like crazy. Revis allows the Jets to do that because they trust him, even when the best WR in the game is opposite him.

Plus, in the playoffs, with everything on the line, Revis again shut out Ochocinco and had a huge, momentum-shifting interception. Woodson, against the Cardinals, was exposed against Larry Fitzgerald and Kurt Warner. Fitzgerald caught 6 passes for 82 yards and 2 touchdowns. On top of those numbers, Steve Breaston added 7 catches for 125 yards and a touchdown and even Early Doucett racked up 6 receptions for 77 yards and 2 scores. Are you kidding me? Sure, the Cardinals have one heck of a passing game, but is that what should be happening to the best defensive player in the NFL? Heck no.

Would that ever happen to Revis? History says no. And that's why Revis is the true Defensive Player of the Year.

By the way, follow Brad Carroll's GameDay on Facebook ... the link is on the right of the page.

(AP photo)

Mark McGwire Finally Admits To Using Steroids

Mark McGwire finally talked about the past Monday, admitting to using steroids during his home run record-setting year in 1998. In a statement given to the Associated Press Monday, McGwire said: "I wish I had never touched steroids. It was foolish and it was a mistake. I truly apologize. Looking back, I wish I had never played during the steroid era."

During an interview with the AP, McGwire said he called commissioner Bud Selig and Cardinals manager Tony La Russa earlier Monday to apologize for the steroids use.

Here is McGwire's full statement:

"Now that I have become the hitting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals, I have the chance to do something that I wish I was able to do five years ago.

I never knew when, but I always knew this day would come. It's time for me to talk about the past and to confirm what people have suspected. I used steroids during my playing career and I apologize. I remember trying steroids very briefly in the 1989/1990 off season and then after I was injured in 1993, I used steroids again. I used them on occasion throughout the '90s, including during the 1998 season.

I wish I had never touched steroids. It was foolish and it was a mistake. I truly apologize. Looking back, I wish I had never played during the steroid era.

During the mid-'90s, I went on the DL seven times and missed 228 games over five years. I experienced a lot of injuries, including a ribcage strain, a torn left heel muscle, a stress fracture of the left heel, and a torn right heel muscle. It was definitely a miserable bunch of years and I told myself that steroids could help me recover faster. I thought they would help me heal and prevent injuries, too.

I'm sure people will wonder if I could have hit all those home runs had I never taken steroids. I had good years when I didn't take any and I had bad years when I didn't take any. I had good years when I took steroids and I had bad years when I took steroids. But no matter what, I shouldn't have done it and for that I'm truly sorry.

Baseball is really different now -- it's been cleaned up. The commissioner and the players' association implemented testing and they cracked down, and I'm glad they did.

I'm grateful to the Cardinals for bringing me back to baseball. I want to say thank you to Cardinals owner Mr. DeWitt, to my GM, John Mozeliak, and to my manager, Tony La Russa. I can't wait to put the uniform on again and to be back on the field in front of the great fans in Saint Louis. I've always appreciated their support and I intend to earn it again, this time as hitting coach. I'm going to pour myself into this job and do everything I can to help the Cardinals hitters become the best players for years to come.

After all this time, I want to come clean. I was not in a position to do that five years ago in my congressional testimony, but now I feel an obligation to discuss this and to answer questions about it. I'll do that, and then I just want to help my team."

(AP photo)

Florida TE, Bristol Central Star Aaron Hernandez Enters NFL Draft

Florida tight end Aaron Hernandez, the Bristol Central grad, has decided to enter the NFL Draft early, which comes as no surprise. Hernandez led the team with 68 catches for 850 yards and five touchdowns this season. He was the first SEC player to win the Mackey Award as the nation's best tight end. He finished his career with 111 catches for 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns.

"After much deliberation with my family and coaches, I am declaring myself eligible for the 2010 NFL Draft," Hernandez said. "It is really special for me to take this first step toward my lifelong dream of playing in the NFL on the fourth anniversary of my father's passing. I know he would be proud of not only me, but my whole family, who love and support are the only reasons I am where I am today.

"My three years at Florida provided me with the foundation I need to succeed as a player and a person. I am eternally grateful to Mr. Foley, coach Meyer and the entire Gators coaching staff for bringing me to Florida and serving as my family away from home. They were constantly pushing me to become a better player and, more importantly, a better person. I am so grateful for their guidance and support.

"I also want to thank my teammates for their help on the field and their friendships off the field. I was fortunate to have been part of three great Gator teams with many great players who I know I will see at the next level. Finally, I will never forget Gator Nation. You are the reason I wanted to come to Florida and I look forward to returning to Gainesville to cheer on future Florida teams with the best fans in the country."

Florida coach Urban Meyer had this to say about the Bristol native, "Aaron was one of the very best at his position that I have ever been around. He has been a key part of our success over the years, but he now had the opportunity to fulfill a lifetime dream by playing in the NFL. He has all the tools to be successful at the next level and we wish him the best of luck."

(AP photos)

BCS National Championship Picks Column: No. 1 Alabama Will Win National Title Over No. 2 Texas

Executive Sports Editor Brad Carroll takes a look at the BCS National Championship
Bowl Season: 12-12-1 (spread); 14-11 (overall); 2-2 (upset picks)
Craig
's Bowl Season: 11-13-1 (spread)
This Season
: 62-61-3 (spread); 93-33 (overall); 10-7 (upset picks)
Craig's Season: 57-66-3 (spread)

No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 2 Texas; 8 p.m.; ABC
BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Finally, after a very long bowl season, we get to crown a national champion tonight in the Rose Bowl. Of course, I’m sure there are a large contingent of you that believe Boise State should be given its due as a possible national champion as well, but we all know that is years away from happening. So, it’s either No. 1 Alabama or No. 2 Texas that will get to raise the glass football late tonight as champions of college football. After watching the two teams in their respective conference championship games, I made up my mind rather quickly that this was Alabama’s game to lose. The Crimson Tide, led by Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram, rolled over Tim Tebow and the Florida Gators in the SEC title game. Texas, on the other hand, barely survived the upset bid of Nebraska, as quarterback Colt McCoy was saved from making one of the biggest boneheaded plays in college football history, and the Longhorns won on a field goal. McCoy, who lost the Heisman that night with his play, nonchalantly ran a play in the final seconds and tossed the ball out of bounds as the clock showed all zeroes. Luckily for him, instant replay was used and Texas had a second to kick the winning field goal. That play alone makes me question McCoy’s mental makeup in the biggest of moments — which isn’t good going into the
biggest moment of the season. With that said, I’m going with Alabama to take home the national championship. But I will put in this quote from Texas coach Mack Brown: “This is not about who had the best season. This isn’t even about the history. This isn’t even about who has the best team. It’s about whose going to play the best for 3 1/2 hours. That’s what I learned in 2005 (when Texas beat USC in the national championship game). The rest of it’s going to be chatter. It’s going to be who plays the best for 3 1/2 hours.”
Now, that won’t be true in the Battle for Carroll Supremacy, as yours truly easily clinched this year’s picks championship. With one game to play, I hold a five-game lead over brother Craig in the season-long battle. While my record isn’t anything to brag about, Craig had a terrible year. “This was one of the most unpredictable college football seasons ever,” Craig rationalized. But he stopped short of giving me props for winning the crown outright for the first time, saying “even a broken clock is right twice a day.”
Either way, I’ll gladly accept by title trophy.

BRAD'S PICK: ALABAMA (-4) WINS IT 33-23
CRAIG’S PICK: TEXAS (+4) WINS IT 24-21

(AP photo top and above photo of Joe Namath when he was at Alabama)

Thoughts From The Jets Final Regular Season Game At Meadowlands


It was quite the night Sunday at the Meadowlands as the Jets finally came through in a big moment to absolutely destroy the Cincinnati Bengals in the final (regular season) game in Giants Stadium history and advance to the playoff bracket. As most know, I was there for all the festivities and it was a great overall experience. I would still rank it below the Patriots game earlier this season, but it was completely different circumstances.

First, surprisingly, the parking lot was packed more than three hours before kickoff. I was fully expecting everyone to show up late, or at the least, huddle in the heat of their cars before game time as it was 20 degrees with a wind chill of 5 degrees. But the place was packed.
Heading into the stadium about 45 minutes before kickoff the crowd was already doing the J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets chant over and over again. It was enough to get anyone pumped up walking into the building and the players on the field warming up. When they played the NBC theme song and video on the big screen, the place was going crazy. Believe me, that video does nothing for me while watching at home, but watching it in the stadium was unbelievable.

For once, the Jets didn't screw up the player introductions. Every player got their moment, something the Jets have never done in the past, as they always rushed through the intros. The offense was introduced and the place erupted when Mark Sanchez came out third from last. I didn't think the place could get any louder, but then Thomas Jones was the last player to come out and got an even bigger reaction. Jones has come a long way from the offseason when he tried to get a new contract and was seen mostly as the bad guy in the situation. But, by season's end, Jones is getting the loudest ovation from the fans.

For the actual game, it was never in doubt. The fans were loud when the Jets were on defense, close to the noise generated during the Patriots game, but as everyone knows, there wasn't many plays on offense for the Bengals. I did think the place would clear out at halftime with the Jets up 27-0, but I would guess 90 percent stuck around for the halftime celebration honoring the best players from the Jets' days at the Meadowlands.

The biggest roars during the halftime ceremony were for Vinny Testaverde, Wayne Chrebet, Al Toon, Wesley Walker, Joe Klecko, Kris Jenkins and the biggest response was for Leon Washington, who came out with crutches. Marty Lyons gave a speech to the fans that was very well done ... better than most I've seen and heard in that type situation. He made sure to pump up the crowd even more and was probably responsible for thousands of fans sticking around for the third quarter. The only problem I had was that he thanked former owner Leon Hess for bringing the Jets to Giants Stadium, a place Jets fans never thought of as a home. The Jets and their fans were always second-class citizens and I for one will be happy to see that place destroyed. I wish he was a little more honest and said good riddance to the dump.

The crowd kept the noise coming in the third quarter, as no one wanted to see the Same Old Jets make an appearance. They didn't and it became all about the shutout in short time. In the fourth quarter, the cold finally kicked in and I was truly freezing at that point. But when the Jets got the ball back in the final couple minutes the intensity of the crowd picked up again and was cheering with each kneel down by backup quarterback Kellen Clemens. Finally, when he took the final knee, the place went crazy again. Confetti was shot off from the upper level and it was celebration time in the stands.

My group decided to stay a little longer and we were rewarded as the Jets players and coaches and even general manager Mike Tannenbaum came out to celebrate with the fans. We luckily got up against the railing, but two NBC cameras were in front of us on wooden bases, making it hard for players to reach us. But that didn't stop several guys, including Nick Mangold and Kellen Clemens, who both jumped up on the bases and high-fived us. They get major props from me. Bryan Thomas also came back to give me a high-five behind the camera setup because, as my brother Glenn says, he was the only one who recognized him without his jersey on and was chanting his name. But he owes me for flagging down a guy selling Jets jerseys on the street in NYC and getting a Joe Namath jersey (with stitching) for 40 bucks. I'm still pissed I didn't get one myself as the quality was better than my Kerry Rhodes' jersey.

So, after the celebration with players we finally headed out talking about the great experience as the player celebration was a great reward for hanging around late. It was cold, and I think I'm still trying to get warm about 20 hours later, but it was a great night.

Now, the Jets have to do it again this Saturday as they go to the Bengals in the wild card round. And to those who say that the Bengals lost the game on purpose, you're all morons. If you don't try in baseball, you'll strike out. If you don't try in football, you could end up paralyzed. We'll see what happens Saturday, but if the Jets win, what will the excuses be then?

Either way, the Jets are in the playoffs after a great (and final) night at the Meadowlands.

(Top photo is by bro Craig of Mark Sanchez celebrating with fans. Above photo is by me and is of the field from our seats.)