When John Cassillo first asked us to participate in TNIAAM Roast Week, we had just one question: Who is John Cassillo? Turns out he's another one of those dime-store Sean Keeley knockoffs. Much like Syracuse's endless stream of Gerry McNamara replacements, we could never quite keep straight which milquetoast white guy was which. The least one of you could have done was rack up a Devendorf-esque rap sheet to help the rest of us distinguish you.
With that said, there is no way in the world we would have passed on this opportunity. We haven't been in the "writing about sports while somehow getting paid less than a real sportswriter" game for a while, and certainly not for as long as Sean, but we have been around long enough to see his impact. Back when we started TheUConnBlog, we thought that no one was likely to read it, and damn if we were not 100-percent correct. After a while, though, Sean figured out who we were, which was one of the first signs that we might make it. It was also our first sign that Sean has fucking horrible taste.
The first thing that jumps out to anyone who visits the site is the name. As erstwhile proprietors of a UConn blog called TheUConnBlog, we know a thing or two about bad website names, so believe us when we tell you that Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician is a disaster of a name. I guess Sean was busy bringing in the annual Central New York rust harvest when they held classes on SEO. But the biggest problem isn't Sean's SEO. It's poor Troy Nunes's. Think about that poor bastard, probably down on his luck, all pumped up about his interview to be the bag man for a local YMCA. And then one google search turns up this crew of miscreants, and *poof*, that's that.
Which of course, brings us to the commenters, the heart of any site. To be honest, I've always been fond of the TNIAAM commentariat. In a way, I see them as a version of the Night's Watch. They stand guard and protect me from the real terror to the north, Syracuse.com commenters. Also most of them are probably criminals who can't get laid.
But what of the articles they're pretending to read before rushing to the comments? There's actually some good stuff there. We've always appreciated TNIAAM's coverage of a variety of topics. Topics like Syracuse losing in the NCAA Tournament, Syracuse not winning the NCAA Tournament, Syracuse not not losing in the NCAA Tournament, Syracuse unwinning NCAA Tournaments, that year Syracuse wasn't the NCAA Tournament winner, Syracuse falling short of its goal of winning the NCAA Tournament, Syracuse not so much with the NCAA Tournament wins, and lacrosse or whatever.
Of course, it wasn't all basketball. There was Sean's groundbreaking investigative work. Sure, it's a shame that your investigative reporting and transcription of extremely real, secret meetings led to the blowup of the Big East, but it happens.
Sure, we haven't liked everything Sean's done. I mean, he did employ a war criminal, not to mention actively tried to corrupt and defile America's youth, but even we -- non-Syracuse fans to the core -- have to admit that what Sean did at TNIAAM is an incredible achievement.
Sure, Sean writes less now (covering one of Toronto's lesser suburbs from one of Vancouver's lesser suburbs must be hard), and his heart might not be in it as much (who would want to complain about scheduling Wisconsin when you could blog about zoning in the Pacific Northwest?), but it is still a hell of a site.
Its performance is even backed up by the advanced stats. For instance, did you know that in the decade before Sean started this site Syracuse won a national title in men's basketball (that remains such to this day thanks to a cannily plea-bargained-for statute of limitations)? It's true! And in the decade since TNIAAM's founding, Syracuse has won zero men's basketball national titles, while UConn has won two. I think we can all agree that's a legacy that is hard to top, and that we all hope is carried forward into the future.
Jokes aside, Sean and this site made running a blog like this seem legit, which provided us plenty of cover to blog in a severely half-assed and haphazard manner. We'll always appreciate him for that, and always admire his work.
And at least he didn't go to Rutgers.