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ESPN Wisconsin Blogs - Bill Johnson

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Don't Be Mad. You Don't. Just Face It

Apr 22, 2014 -- 2:51pm





When Rod Tidwell made Jerry McGuire scream this line over and over it had a different meaning, but there couldn't be a more perfect line to describe how I feel about the Bucks new facility.




This will seem incredibly ungrateful of me, but the $200 million donated by Herb Kohl and the Bucks new owners may as well be $2. As generous as those donations are, anything short of the full price is a waste of time.




A new facility for the Bucks, Marquette, the Admirals and events will cost at least $400 million. That's the bare minimum at today's prices. By the time all of the local blowhards are heard, we will be approaching the 2017 deadline. I have to believe that will inflate the price of the facility by at least $100-$200 million. Where's that money coming from? They don't want to build another facility that will be obsolete in five years. Anything other than the best, most visionary project is a waste. We'll be back in the same spot in 10 years, likely with an empty White Elephant in Downtown Milwaukee if the new arena is anything less than a vacation spot.




Someone please tell me where the private funding will come from for this project, because they can't sell seat licenses and it's NOT coming from the tax payers. There isn't a politician stupid enough to propose a referendum on this issue, and as much as everyone admires George Petak, the bloodletting at the State House would be much more thorough this time around. No politician in his/her right mind will voluntarily fall on his/her sword for the Bucks, especially in the suburbs.


LET'S GET SOMETHING STRAIGHT. I WANT THE BUCKS TO STAY. I WOULD WILLINGLY PAY A SALES TAX, BOOZE TAX, WEED TAX, BRAT TAX….whatever it takes. (sorry for the all caps, didn't want anyone to miss that part.)


The problem is that I'm severely in the minority. The Bucks problem is the NBA's problem in many places. The league seems to lose a lot of male fans once they turn 30. I can't explain it, but I've seen it happen. My own interest in the Association isn't what it once was. More sinister objection to the NBA often lies with demographic differences, objections never heard about the NFL ironically enough.


Maybe a referendum is the answer. The NBA and the Bucks could finally see how truly unwelcome they are in Southeastern Wisconsin. They could go somewhere like Kansas City, where the community built a brand new facility without any concrete promise of a team. They could go to Seattle, a great NBA town that has hungered for their team ever since they took their Durant and went to OKC. The league would love to get a team back in Seattle.






Unfortunately, this comes down to two inescapable facts.







Have a nice day.


How Do You Say Ogie Ogelthorpe in Spanish?

Apr 21, 2014 -- 11:47am



Carlos Gomez forgot one important detail on Sunday in Pittsburgh.


If you are the pest, the instigator, you don't start throwing punches. If you're the guy that rubs it in when you hit a home run, you do what Garrett Cole did. You enflame the situation with your mouth, then you walk away.


Sunday's fight in Pittsburgh was an IQ test. Garrett Cole passed. Carlos Gomez failed, along with Martin Maldanado, Russell Martin, Travis Snyder, even Brewers bench coach Jerry Narron (a guy that should know a lot better.)


I can't figure out why Gomez would be so pissed? He's having another good season for the most surprising team in baseball. Was he mad at himself for jaking it out of the box because he could've had an inside the park home run? Maybe. I just don't get why he would snap the way he did.


Because no matter what anyone else did, Gomez' snapage is what changed the nature of the altercation. His dumb move triggered a series of dumb moves, and I believe that his larger suspension will reflect that (and it should.)


Gomez has to realize that his role on this team has changed. When he first came to Milwaukee, he was a platoon player, a great fielder with an unreliable bat that played against lefties. Now, Gomez is one of the leaders, if only because of his production. His five tools appear to be at their peak. To be successful, the Brewers need him leading off and patrolling center field every day. He can't afford those old mental lapses that we all brushed off as quaint. He isn't a pleasant surprise anymore. He's a key component that is crucial to the success of a team that looks like it can make some noise.



To quote Red Forman, "Fun time is over." Carlos Gomez needs to have more fun winning and less fun showboating.


The Future is Now!!!!

Apr 14, 2014 -- 1:19pm



I love the NFL Draft. I liked it better when it was on a Saturday and Sunday, but I still love it. I love speculating on who will go where. There are tons of mock drafts, but truth be told do we really care who the Jags, Bills, Browns or anyone else takes? For this draft, I will endeavor to predict who the Packers will take. While they may trade around, I've made these picks based on the 9 picks they currently own.


Round 1, #21 overall- LB C.J. Mosely- Alabama

- Having watched rivals San Francisco and Seattle win with velociraptors at inside linebacker, the Packers finally pick up the pace and pick a playmaker. This may or may not require the release of Brad Jones, depending on whether they believe that Jones can fill in on the outside.

Round 2, #53- TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins- Washington

- Potential character issues (a DUI conviction) will drop Seferian-Jenkins into the second round, and the Packers won't be able to pass at 53. 6'6" and 265 pounds, Seferian-Jenkins will need to be more physical at the next level. He runs good routes and will create big match-up problems for opposing defenses. Would be a nice new weapon for 12.

Round 3, #85- SS Deone Bucannon- Washington State

- An effective compliment to Morgan Burnett, Bucannon will be a physical presence against the run and a deterrent to receivers across the middle. Stout and tough, his coverage skills will need some honing.

Round 3, #98 (compensatory selection)- WR Jared Abbrederis- Wisconsin

- Badger Nation will rejoice toward the end of Day 2 as Ted Thompson has a value receiver fall into his lap. They love old QB's and will overlook the injury history. He'll be a nice surprise in 2014.

Round 4, #121- CB Chris Davis- Auburn

- Sound familiar? Yep, he's the guy that ran back the missed FG to beat 'Bama in the Iron Bowl. Obviously, he's not afraid of the big play, but this is a physical corner with some potential. He drops because he doesn't possess preferred height (5'10".) Smarts and athleticism will make up for lack of stature. 

Round 5, #161- C Brian Stork- Florida State

-A badass who was one of the leaders of the National Champion Seminoles. A true believer. Attitude coming out of his ears, along with a healthy dose of football savvy. Could challenge to start, but he'll need to strengthen his lower body starting immediately.

Round 5, #176 (compensatory selection)- QB Aaron Murray -Georgia

- Murray will fall because of his late knee injury in 2013 and his lack of ideal height (6'1"), but the Packers will see him as a Matt Flynn type with a better arm and more potential as a starter. Will challenge to back up 12 in 2014.

Round 6, #197- OLB Ronald Powell- Florida

- An injury risk the Packers will be willing to take late in the 6th round. Missed all of 2012 after tearing his ACL twice. Strong work ethic brought him back to be a speed threat off the edge for the Gators in 2013.

Round 7, #236- OT Cornelius Lucas- Kansas State


- Huge and aggressive, Lucas fits the suit, but he'll be a project. Motivation was a question as a freshman and sophomore, but an All Big 12 first teamer as a junior. Worth a flyer in the seventh.

Hope Springs Eternal.

Mar 25, 2014 -- 1:14pm



Well here it is. To quote the Prince of Darkness, "Will this season ever end?"



1. ORIOLES                      WILD CARD GAME

WC2. RED SOX               RED SOX OVER A'S




                                             ORIOLES OVER RANGERS






4. WHITE SOX                   ALCS

5. TWINS                            TIGERS OVER ORIOLES 4-2





WC2. A'S





NL EAST                           WORLD SERIES

                                            DODGERS OVER TIGERS 4-3



3. PHILLIES                      WILD CARD

4. METS                            REDS OVER BRAVES






3. BREWERS (85-77)






1. DODGERS                 DODGERS OVER REDS 4-1





Truckin', Off to Buffalo

Mar 19, 2014 -- 12:56pm



It's the start of Day 2 of my 2014 NCAA Tournament adventure with the Milwaukee Panthers. It's Wednesday, the day before the game with Villanova.


We arrived yesterday at around 1pm Eastern. This trip was different from the start. Rather than our usual nine seat puddle jumpers, the team, the band, the cheerleaders, plus coaches, administrators, extra staffers and long haired play by play men all boarded a 757. (That's 10 more than a 747) After a crisp one hour flight over three great lakes and a frozen tundra, we were in Buffalo, NY. 


We joke about Buffalo (event though WE'RE from Milwaukee.) As you fly in, you feel like Rocky and Paulie flying into Siberia to train for the Drago fight in Rocky IV. It is snow-covered and stark. Many of the buildings do have that Iron Curtain feel.


Even though it's Buffalo, the Tournament is always a great ride. It's just different. It feels like a big deal. As I walk into my hotel room, I see the difference. 



Yes, a Final Four towel adorns my temporary address. I wonder if I'm supposed to take this with me? Hmm….


After settling in, I head down for lunch with the coaches and team. Amazing how much these guys eat. I think I've done a better recently in not trying to compete with them at the training table. Team meals are also a great place to enjoy the comic stylings of the coaching staff. Some days its better than others, but it's always funny.


On the way out, manager Brett hands me this.



A new Adidas sweat suit. It's an XL, obviously built for someone about 6'9", but I am grateful. It brought on an old guy moment. Most of the swag that I get has a Milwaukee logo. This is an Adidas sweat suit with a D. A D? Well, I figured we're at the DoubleTree. Maybe it's a DoubleTree suit. Hmm..It was pointed out to me later that the graphic around the D was indeed a rose. D Rose, as in Derrick Rose. Bessie, get my lumbago medicine and bring my walker.


We have practiced the last two days at Mediaille College in suburban Buffalo. It's a small gym with real walls very close to the court. The practices have been very intense and spirited during this five game winning streak. Today, Coach Jeter stopped practice to question the intensity and encourage the team to turn it up a notch. When the 2013-14 Panthers need to turn it up to 11, they turn to Matt Tiby. The sophomore from Urbandale, Iowa brings it with his play, but also with his voice. Tiby's booming baritone rings through the gym as he encourages every one of his teammates personally. The starters go into a defensive scrimmage versus the scout team. The chatter and the noise is deafening. This is true competition. Tomorrow they'll play Villanova. Today they're against each other, and there is no "back down" in scout team players Quinton Gustavson, Evan Richard, the Prahl twins, and the seasoned veteran, former Penn State and Wisconsin standout Sharif Chambliss. They aren't kidding around. They want to win. 


The Black team (the starters and key subs) are at their best defensively today. Intense and encouraging, they look like velociraptors as they hunt for turnovers. It's a practice so good that it ends early.


Well, maybe it ends early to because the OFFICIAL practice is coming later today at 6:40 Eastern at the Niagara Center.


I'm lucky to be here and so grateful.



More later.


Don't Ask Don't Tell? Me?

Feb 27, 2014 -- 3:36pm



Jason and I have gotten some negative feedback over the past few weeks. There's nothing new about that. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Maybe we're too easy on Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy, or our expectations are to low, or we don't hold management's feet to the fire enough. Topics like that are the kind that sports radio is based on. People with differing opinions have a forum, and hopefully it's entertaining.


That's not what we received negative feedback on over the past few weeks.


It hasn't been over a difference of opinion, but the fact that we've brought two related topics to the show: Gay NFL Draft candidate Michael Sam and and the NFL's position on SB1062, a piece of legislation that would've given business owners in Arizona the right to deny service to gay people based on religious reasons.


For me, these were two huge topics, especially out of season. 


There have been gay players in the NFL since the beginning. They've been afraid to say anything while they were playing. Michael Sam took it a step further. He let all the NFL teams know ahead of time. We always say that things like this shouldn't matter anymore, that in these progressive times we are all the same. We all know that isn't true. The reaction of players and fans will be closely monitored, now and in years to come when more gay players enter the league. 


Seems like a pretty meaty topic with room for plenty of differing opinions. Our negative feedback didn't involve differing opinions, not directly anyway.


According to some listeners, we weren't supposed to address the topic at all.


Same thing for SB1062, a piece of legislation in Arizona that was vetoed by Governor Jan Brewer. It involved business owners being able to deny service to gay people based on religious beliefs. While I thought it was silly and unnecessary, that really wasn't our angle on the story. The NFL was, directly or indirectly, threatening to move next years Super Bowl out of Arizona if this bill had become law. My question was whether or not the NFL should get involved as, for lack of a better term, a lobbyist. A massive wing of the entertainment industry sticking it's nose in state politics. Is that right?


Again, meaty.


Again, a small yet vocal segment of our listenership complained, not that our opinions differed with theirs, but that the topic was brought up at all.


Well, I hate to brake this to you, but people aren't going to stop being gay just because it makes you uncomfortable. Gay people have lived among us through history and they will continue to do so. They will be a lot like us. Some will succeed. Some won't. Some will be good people. Some will be bad people. I'm assuming that we all want things to work, but in reading some of your messages I'm not so sure. It's seems like some of you are convinced that if we don't talk about uncomfortable issues they don't exist.


How ever you feel about gay people or any other controversial issue that affects the Packers and the NFL, we will continue to discuss everything on Green and Gold Today. We will provide a forum for all opinions, not just our own, but we will continue to discuss ALL issues that affect the Packers and the NFL. We will not side step anything just because it might make some of our listeners uncomfortable. We think that's what makes the show work.


If I've offended you and you need to contact my superiors, here are their email addresses:,,,



But some of you already knew that.

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