Each week, Dan Rubenstein, Ty Hildenbrandt and Jacob Osterhout will jump on e-mail and riff about various subjects in the news offered up by SI.com's Jimmy Traina.
Traina: With Dan Rubenstein away on assignment, SI.com's Arash Markazi is taking the third seat at the table this week. Let's start with what is literally the biggest sports story of the week -- the Cowboys' JumboTron. Jerry Jones says he's not moving it. How do you see this playing out?
Osterhout: Jones really has very little ground to stand on here. The jumbo JumboTron impedes play and he will raise the darn thing at a massive expense. When it comes to form vs. function, function should always win out in the NFL.
Hildenbrandt: Look, if the thing's going to be in the way of punts and kicks and whatever else, I think he's almost forced to move it, unless the NFL is going to adopt some rules from Wallyball and allow footballs to bounce off things and remain in play.
Markazi: This has got to be the biggest stadium structural gaffe since those old Boston Garden seats behind the poles. The only difference, of course, is this stadium was just built for more than $1 billion, and you'd think someone would want to know how high punters punt the ball. Easily the best part about this is how Jones blamed the poor punter trying to make the team for hitting it. Yeah, sorry, Jerry, but you're going to have to raise your obnoxious big screens up a bit.
Osterhout: I kind of like the Wallyball concept. It could be a tribute to the recently defunct Arena League. Maybe Jones, in a fit of defiance, could lower the JumboTron and things could get really wacky. In hindsight, this fits nicely into a fable where the lesson learned is to never be a Cowboys fan. (Or maybe that's just Washingtonians' takeaway from this whole ordeal ...)
Hildenbrandt: That's my thinking as well. If the Cowboys should find themselves in a tricky situation, late in a playoff game, Jones can pull the lever and lower the contraption to block passes, field goals and potentially even running plays. It's bulletproof, and far more feasible than the initial stadium plans that called for the construction of a giant windmill at the 50-yard line a la a miniature golf course.
Markazi: I like how the Cowboys and Wade Phillips are already talking about this thing being an advantage for them. It doesn't work that way, guys. The Lions can't build a bridge to the end zone and mechanical walls to block the other team from scoring. I don't see how the league doesn't make Jones move that thing. He's already moving it for a U2 concert; the least he could do is move it for his team.
Osterhout: This might be the first time in the history of the universe that a punter showed up a team owner. Somewhere they should erect a giant statue of A.J. Trapasso in memory of how he turned Jones into a laughingstock on national TV.
Markazi: I don't think Trapasso is going to make the Titans, but he has to make a team just for the fact that he was involved in two of the most memorable punts ever: that fake touchdown run in the Hall of Fame game and showing up Jones in the first game at his new stadium.
Traina: Excellent call on Trapasso's great preseason. Moving on, there's been lots of debate recently about the AL MVP. Who would you give the award to?
Hildenbrandt: If the Yanks end up winning the AL East, I think Derek Jeter is your winner. Not only is he batting over .330, but he's also playing better defense than anyone thought possible in the midst of his "decline." As we've seen so often with Jeter, he's the fire starter for the rest of that lineup. Likewise, you could make a case for Joe Mauer, who might be the best player in the AL this year. Dude can flat-out rake. But I'm always a little hesitant to hand out an MVP to a player whose team misses the playoffs.
Osterhout: For me, it's a two-person race between Mauer and Jeter. Mauer is a machine both at and behind the plate. Anytime a catcher is in the running, I throw my theoretical vote his way since it is easily the toughest position in baseball. Mauer is leading the AL in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging. But living in New York City -- and having idiot friends who don't know any better than to root for the Yankees -- I've seen Jeter come through all season. The guy is money in the clutch. Plus, Jeter will lead his team storming into the playoffs while Mauer's season will be over Oct. 4.
Markazi: It has to be Mauer, and the only reason it might be close is that he's playing in Minnesota and not New York or Boston. He's leading the AL in those categories Jacob cited, not to mention being one of the best defensive catcher in baseball. Oh, and he's got the best sideburns in the game if you're looking for a wild-card reason.
Traina: Nobody loves Jeter more than I do, but I don't even think he's the MVP of the team. Mark Teixeira has been more valuable in my opinion.
Osterhout: I agree that Teixeira has put up more impressive power numbers (30 homers, 86 RBIs), but he's able to knock in those runs because Jeter is doing his job ahead of him in the lineup. Talent cannot be measured in stats alone. Also, I saw Teixeira take batting practice on Letterman the other night and his swing looked lazy.
Hildenbrandt: Jimmy? Really? A Yankees fan arguing against Jeter winning the MVP award? Isn't that sacrilegious? Teixeira, as Jacob said, has better power numbers, but that shouldn't be the standard for winning an MVP award. Heck, Dustin Pedroia won it just last year because of his consistency across a number of statistical categories. In my opinion, Jeter is the leader of the best team in baseball, and he's playing like it, too.
Traina: I don't mean it as a knock on Jeter, and now I feel bad, so let's move on. Jets running back Thomas Jones took some good-natured ribbing recently for telling the New York Daily News that he likes to unwind from training camp by watching Golden Girls marathons. What's the one show you regularly watch/watched that you'd be most embarrassed to admit?
Markazi: I've never TiVo'd Two and a Half Men, but I've also never changed the channel when it's on. I usually look around to see that no one is looking at me as I chuckle at cliched jokes that laugh tracks don't even find funny, but what can I say? I like the show. If anyone has a problem with that, may I present to you the episode in which Megan Fox was sunbathing in a bikini. Yes, watching bad TV does have its perks sometimes.
Hildenbrandt: You could argue that my entire television menu is made up of potentially embarrassing shows. But I'm a big-time sucker for Is She Really Going Out With Him? on MTV. Seems like the kind of show that could run 24/7 in every major city in the United States. Hot chicks dating losers is right up there with apple pie and baseball in terms of national pastimes.
Osterhout: My girlfriend owns every single Sex and the City ever made. While I never put them on, I will admit that I get into them when I watch and I like them. Carrie Bradshaw is sexypie and I want two helpings. Plus, it gives me a little insight into what women are thinking, which is a topic I don't understand very well, even when I dress up in miniskirts and high heels.
Markazi: I learned fairly early that Sex and the City was educational viewing for guys. It was like watching a documentary for a class or reading Cliffs Notes. Simply knowing the characters and mundane storylines was the best ice breaker ever. In a weird way, I kind of miss that show, although I'd never admit it. Well, um, other than here.
Dan Rubenstein hosts and produces the SI Tour Guy video series for SI.com and co-hosts The Solid Verbal podcast. He can be reached at email@example.com. Ty Hildenbrandt writes for SI.com and co-hosts The Solid Verbal podcast. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter. Jacob E. Osterhout is a features reporter for the New York Daily News and a former writer for Sports Illustrated On Campus. His work can also be found at the College Sports Examiner.
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