28 January 2012

Zdeno Chara breaks own Hardest Shot record at 108.8 MPH

One of the most exciting moments of each and every NHL Skills Compeititon is see Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara rip out his slap shot, trying to go for another record of his own. He sure did that tonight in Ottawa as he won his fifth consecutive Hardest Shot competition, with his hardest slapper of the five coming in at a record 108.8 miles-per-hour. I kid you not, that is one fast shot. Let's go to the videotape.

Towson Defeats UNC-Wilmington 66-61, Ends 41-Game Losing Streak

The longest losing streak in NCAA college basketball history come to an end today as the Towson Tigers, who had not found victory in 42 games, held on to defeat the Seahawks of UNC-Wilmington today by a 66-61 score. Towson had not won in 395 days with their last victory coming against La Salle on December 29, 2010 in overtime.

And now the longest active losing streak belongs to the Binghamton Bearcats as William Baldwin's alma mater has lost 21 straight.

Report: Manning Out in Indianapolis, Decision Made Weeks Ago

Thought when after some crossfire between Peyton Manning and Colts owner Jim Irsay and they released a joint statement saying there's no hard feelings that maybe Manning would return to Indianapolis? Well think again because Jason La Canfora reported that not only will Manning not return to the Indianapolis organization, they made the decision weeks ago. So now the story will be both sides moving on from here.

2013 NHL All-Star Game will be in Columbus

The NHL announced today that the 2013 NHL All-Star Game will be held in Columbus, Ohio at the home of the Blue Jackets, Nationwide Arena, widely considered to be one of the best venues in the league. They will be the seventh host out of the last eight to be a first-time host.

The league would not approve Columbus to host in the past due to the lack of high-end hotels in the area as well as until a new lease agreement was signed. A new lease agreement was agreed to a month ago and a new Hilton hotel will be completed before the 2012-13 blocks from the arena.

This announcement leaves the teams that have never hosted an All-Star Game are the Anaheim Ducks, Nashville Predators, Phoenix Coyotes and the Winnipeg Jets. The venues that have never hosted an All-Star Game, even though their team has hosted one before, are the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, the United Center in Chicago, the Prudential Center in Newark, the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, the Scottrade Center in St. Louis and the Verizon Center in D.C. Note that it is uncertain whether a 2014 NHL All-Star Game will be held due to the NHL has yet to decide whether players will be taking part in the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Who's Still in the Mix to Purchase the Los Angeles Dodgers?

We are getting closer to the end of the Frank McCourt nightmare in Chavez Ravine. The opening round of bidding has concluded with ten ownership groups advancing to the second round of bidding, six of which have been identified. Here they are, courtesy of ESPN Los Angeles and Pro Hardball Talk.

Roger Goodell's Interview with 60 Minutes

This Sunday evening on 60 Minutes, Steve Kroft interviewed NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. It was a fascinating profile giving light to what the commissioner does in ways we had never seen before. Comissioner Goodell, among other things, labels the league as a combination of "socialism and capitalism." Let's go to the videotape, courtesy CBS News.

Shaq Not Wearing Pants is Awesome...Wait What?

Shaquille O'Neal, the big analytical, has been hit or miss in his analysis on 'Inside the NBA' but he has been forging a strong chemistry with the crew of Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley (who has been fancying a tie this season). And so Shaq and Barkley a week ago made a bet of who would perform worse between Blake Griffin, who Shaq had, and Kevin Love, who Barkley had, when they met a week ago on Friday night. The loser had to go pantless for the next show. Griffin went for 21 and 10 while Love went for 17 and 14 but his game winning three gave him the difference. So that meant Shaq had to go pantless. Let's go to the videotape (good stuff starts around 2:50).

27 January 2012

Will Super Bowl XLVI be Tom Coughlin's Final Game?

Seems like every year there is some chatter about New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin will retire. but he's kept on plugging away, even as fans occasional call for his firing. But as the oldest active coach in the NFL prepares to lead his team to another Super Bowl showdown with the New England Patriots, could Super Bowl XLVI be his final game?

Were the Memphis Grizzlies Wearing the Uniforms of the Washington Generals?

Many teams are sporting ABA retro jerseys this season and the Memphis Grizzlies are one of them. They rocked jerseys that were an homage back to the old Memphis Tams. Here they are.
I thought they were great, but they did look very similar to these jerseys:
Maybe a little like the old jerseys of the Oakland Athletics. I love throwbacks.

Matthew Broderick is Ferris Bueller for some Super Bowl XLIV Ad UPDATE

I have never met anybody that hates Ferris Bueller's Day Off. It's probably the defining film of the 1980's. And apparently, Matthew Broderick is reprising his iconic role for some Super Bowl XLIV advertisement. But for what we do not know. Here is a short preview.

UPDATE: Jalopnik reports that the advertisement will be for Honda.

26 January 2012

Watch Jason Terry Read 'U Can't Touch This' Dramatically in Greatest Thing Ever

Now this is absolute greatness from Dallas Mavericks guard Jason Terry. Considering that we were all looking for a dramatic rendition of that MC Hammer classic, "U Can't Touch This," I'm loving this. As the video description states: "In a word? Sublime." Indeed. Let's go to the videotape.

(H/T SportsGrid)

2011 NFL Season Awards

For some reason the NFL decided to make an awards show of its own (like we needed another) and it will air on NBC the night before the Super Bowl. I see why they would do it; draw nice ratings for NBC, which desperately needs it, and it makes it more exciting than a simple press release. Of course I always enjoyed the press releases because it's better than, in my opinion, a drawn-out awards show. But I digress.
Here are my awards for the 2011 NFL season.

Watch Lorenzo Brown of NC State Nail an 85 Footer Before Halftime

Because who does not love absurdly long buzzer beaters. Watch North Carolina State's Lorenzo Brown help cut North Carolina's lead with this near full court shot. To the videotape (sorry for the poor quality).

Watch Lawrence Taylor Talk About When he Solicited an Underage Prostitute

Remember when half of a year ago, Giants legend Lawrence Taylor was arrested for supposedly raping a 16-year old girl? Well a couple of weeks ago he pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct and patronizing a prostitute. He won't have to serve jail time but will have to register as a low-risk sex offender. He went on Inside the NFL on Showtime and talked about what happened. Let's go to the videotape.

Buccaneers' Hiring of Greg Schiano Now Official

A couple of hours ago, the story about Greg Schiano, head coach at Rutgers, being close to a deal to become the next head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers surprised many, including myself. Now it is official that the 45-year-old Schiano will be coaching the Bucs next season. General manager Mark Dominik said in an email to the Associated Press that he will be given a five-year contract.

Now I talked at length about the hire in the prior post but I get the feeling that the Tampa Bay organization was really looking to get a college coach to take their very young team to the next level. But the fact is, unlike say if Chip Kelly had agreed to come, Schiano will not excite the fanbase, which has been lackluster of late.

Peter King of Sports Illustrated has his take right here.

Buccaneers Close to Hiring Greg Schiano? What?

It was at the beginning of this week when we heard that Oregon head coach Chip Kelly was close to a deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before ultimately deciding to stay in Eugene. Now today there were reports that they are very close to hiring Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano, according to Adam Schefter and confirmed by the Pewter Report. Schiano was supposed to be at football powerhouse Don Bosco, in the mediocre town of Ramsey next to the great town of Allendale, recruiting but apparently did not show up according to Rivals' Mike Farrell, who also reported that a source said that Schiano did take the job and that a contract was signed.

Now this really came out of nowhere. The Buccaneers' search has been all over the place with names from Mike Sherman to Marty Schottenheimer to Wade Phillips were in the mix. And now with them close to hiring Schiano, after coming close with Kelly, it may not have come full circle once but possibly twice. I have no idea how Schiano got in the coaching search down in Tampa. Now I like Schiano a lot, he's a Jersey guy (from Wychoff where my aunt and uncle live and nearby my hometown) and he has done great work at Rutgers turning that downtrodden program into a solid Big East contender and Rutgers losing him would be really tough. But he has very limited NFL experience, two seasons with the Bears as a defensive assistant, one as a secondary coach, and it will be really hard to sell this hire to a lackluster fanbase down in Tampa. Now I don't think this is a terrible hire like Phillips or Brad Childress but it's such a surprise and we have seen how coaches coming from college that did tremendous work rescuing a downtrodden program (Dennis Ericksen (twice), Mike Riley) and the struggles they have faced in the pros.

Dirk Nowitzki's Announcing an Alley-Oop is the Greatest Thing Ever

Dirk Nowitzki is probably the greatest guest announcing in the history of the NBA. He had joined the broadcast booth multiple times and he never underperforms. His performance last night behind the mix takes the cake. Let's go to the videotape.

There will never be a Jason Terry-Brendan Wright alley-oop quite like that one ever again.

Oklahoma State's Markel Brown with the Insane Alley-Oop against Missouri

Oklahoma State upset the second ranked Missouri Tigers on Wednesday night in Stillwater and one of the key plays of the game was Markel Brown's ridiculous alley-oop. Let's take a look.

Well he did end up getting ejecting afterwards (have to love the bullshit chant) but the dunk was so damn good, maybe the best I've seen this year in collegiate hoops.
(H/T The Dagger)

25 January 2012

Forbes' Most Valuable NBA Teams, 2012

Every year for every major sports, the heroes at Forbes.com release their list of the most valuable teams. Here is their 2012 list for teams in the National Basketball Association.

Should Phil Jackson Come Out of Retirement?

Barring a stirring turnaround, it seems that Mike D'Antoni is all but done as head coach of the New York Knicks. Top of their list, and top of lists for every team as he is only one of the greatest head coaches in the history of the NBA, is Phil Jackson. Jackson, who retired after last season as his Log Angeles Lakers were taken out by the Dallas Mavericks in the conference semifinals in the West. And he has not flat-out denied returning to coaching, particularly in New York. But the question I have is should he come out of retirement?

Check Out These Awesome Redesigned NFL Logos

There is a website called Gridiron League which is a project undergone by this guy named Wes Kull, who is a graphic designer, in which he has redesigned the logos of all 32 NFL teams. The description says that he wishes that some team logos "were more Budweiser and less Bud Light." So let's take a look and some of them are fantastic.

Sammy Sosa is Getting Whiter by the Day

Sosa back in the day, before he became white
My, how has Sammy Sosa fallen. He has fallen from home run titan to accused and later confirmed performance-enhancing drug user to now a white man. We all remember when Sosa's skin became significantly whitened thanks to some cosmetic cream but some new photos have emerged of him of late (courtesy Busted Coverage) with him looking VERY white. At this rate he'll be Clay Aiken in a month. Here are the pictures in question.

Colts Hire Chuck Pagano as Head Coach

The worst team in football from a year ago has themselves a new head coach and the new boss of the Indianpolis Colts is Chuck Pagano, formerly defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens. Pagano had only been defensive coordinator in Baltimore for a season after coaching the secondary for three seasons, served before that as the defensive coordinator at North Carolina, and prior to working in Chapel Hill for a year spent two years coaching defensive backs in Oakland and four in Cleveland.

Pagano may be inexperienced in terms of working as a coordinator but throughout his career has done tremendous work coaching the defensive backs and the defense improved from 10th in defense in 2010 under the prior coordinator, Greg Mattison, to third under Pagano this year. Pagano is well liked by his players and has an infectious and upbeat personality. I like this hire and I liken it a little to Carolina hiring Ron Rivera after an awful 2010. The key for Pagano will be to bring in a guy that can turn certain top draft pick Andrew Luck into the star he can be.

Why Do Networks Do this Super Bowl Pregame Red Carpet Crap?

Like practically everybody else in America, I love the Super Bowl. But without question have the pregame shows gotten out of hand. And the number one reason why pregame shows, which on Super Bowl Sunday this year will start at noon for a 6:30 game (six-and-a-half hours!) and last year's went for an excruciating four-and-a-half hours, have gotten out of hand is because of the inclusion of a red carpet for interviews with celebrities, which this year will be hosted by Nick Cannon, one of the worst "talents" in recent memory (just ask Dave Chappelle).

Ironically, this red carpet crap started that last time the Patriots and Giants were playing in the Super Bowl, Super Bowl XLII, with Ryan Seacrest on the scene on FOX. Man was that awful. Then NBC did it the next year with Al Roker, which while Roker is the man, it again was terrible. Fortunately the fine folks at CBS did not do it for Super Bowl XLIV but FOX brought it back last year inexplicably with a random pairing of Maria Menounos and the awful Michael Strahan.

Why do they keep on doing this garbage? Nobody is watching the pregame show for the B-level celebrities that are at the game. NOBODY. And nobody will be watching for the oodles of self promotion NBC will do during its red carpet, to try to boost the ratings of the fourth place network. Let's just hope that CBS spares us next year during its inevitable 12 hour pregame show.

Chad Ochocinco was Live Tweeting the State of the Union

Of all the people live tweeting the State of the Union address by Presidential Obama, Patriots bench-warmer wideout Chad Ochocinco would probably come in between Charlie Sheen and Craig Carton. And yet, here he was, live tweeting the State of the Union. Let's take a look at what he had to say.

24 January 2012

Raiders Hire Dennis Allen as Head Coach

You have to go back to 1963 to find the last time a head coach of the Oakland Raiders was not hired by al Davis, and that coach's name was Al Davis. The last coach that was hired by the Raiders with a defensive background? John Madden, way back in 1969.

That all changes today as the Raiders made their first post-Davis hire and Reggie McKenzie and the Raiders brass have hired Dennis Allen, the 39-year old defensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos. He is the sixth coach of the Raiders since Jon Gruden left for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers left after the 2001 season.

Now on first glance, this is a risky hire. Allen has only been a defensive coordinator one year and is pretty inexperienced. But I really like this hire. Allen did a really good job with the Broncos defense this year, improved it a lot and generated a very good pass rush. He built a strong defensive line and showed a creative mind in blitzes. He'll much improve this defense that was awful despite a lot of talent. The key for him will be bringing in a good offensive coordinator. And if I were him, I'd go after Packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements.

Craig James Tells Us Why He's Running for the US Senate

As one would expect, Craig James' run for the U.S. Senate from the state of Texas has been a fail. The polling has shown it. His campaign ads have been fails. So why did he run and start his pitiful bid (besides the fact that ESPN was likely to fire him)? Here he will tell us so let's go to the videotape.

Chris Kluwe Really Hates Skip Bayless

So we know that many players hate Skip Bayless. Count the punter for the Minnesota Vikings, Chris Kluwe, as one of the most notable. And boy does he have some harsh things to say about that ESPN2 charlatan. Let's take a look at some of them.

2012 NFL Mock Draft: 5th Edition

Almost as important as a franchise quarterback is a franchise left tackle to protec that quarterback. That is what makes a talent like USC OT Matt Kalil a top prospect. As the top line prospect in the 2012 NFL Draft, Kalil is a lock to go in the top five. But to whom? Continue reading to see my fifth NFL Mock Draft for 2012.

Prince Fielder Signs with the Tigers

Prince has a new palace and it's about six and a half hours due east of his old one. Today, the Detroit Tigers won the race for Prince Fielder with a nine year, $214 million contract. My analysis is after the jump.

If the Giants Win Super Bowl XLVI, Why the Parade Should Be in New Jersey

My boy Chris Christie, governor of the greatest state of the Union, New Jersey, got some press by saying if the New York Giants won Super Bowl XLVI that the victory parade be held in New Jersey. And here is why he is correct.

Washington Wizards Fire Flip Saunders

I have written before in this NBA season that Wizards coach Flip Saunders had to be fired and look at this, Adrian Wojnarowski has reported that Saunders has been fired by the organization. It has been a disastrous start for this young Wizards club, they sit now at 2-15, and it is clear that this gang of knuckleheads, this may be the dumbest team I have ever seen, was going nowhere and a change was needed. Granted the problems run deeper than Saunders but it is clear he did not have control of this team. And now it is going to get worse because Randy Wittman is likely to become the interim coach and that means, based on his coaching record, wins may be sparse the rest of the season.

23 January 2012

Don't Criticize Tim Thomas for Not Going to the White House

As per tradition, the Boston Bruins went to the White House today to visit the President in celebration of their Stanley Cup Championship. But one person decided not to show and that was netminder Tim Thomas. Thomas said he was exercising his right as a free citizen and is also known to be a very strong conservative. And I, quite frankly, have no problem with Thomas not going to the White House and neither should you.

Terrell Suggs Speaks for America: Calls Skip Bayless a "Douchebag"

Terrell Suggs really hates Skip Bayless and that's been clear if you watch the trainwreck that is First Take. And Sugg was not happy this morning after his team lost a heartbreaker in the AFC Championship Game to the New England Patriots. When Suggs is pissed off, look out. Let's go to the videotape.

22 January 2012

Super Bowl XLVI TV & Radio Coverage

Super Bowl XLVI between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots will be shown on NBC Sports on February 5th. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 EST at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. In the booth for NBC will be Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth and reporting from the sidelines will be Michelle Tafoya. The "studio" crew for the pregame and halftime will be hosted by Bob Costas and Dan Patrick with analysis from Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison.
On the radio, the game will be covered by Dial Global, formerly Westwood One. On the call will be Kevin Harlan and Boomer Esiason with James Lofton and Mark Malone filing reports from the sidelines. Their pregame and halftime coverage will be hosted by Jim Gray.
Super Bowl XLVI for the second straight will be streamed live to Verizon phones via the NFL Mobile application and for the first time ever will be (legally) streamed by NBCSports.com.
(H/T Fang's Bites)

New York Giants Win the NFC, Headed to Super Bowl XLVI

Eli Manning with the George Halas Trophy
And just like in the 2008 NFC Championship Game, the New York Giants, on the road, won on a Lawrence Tynes field goal in overtime that sent them past the San Francisco 49ers to Super Bowl XLVI by a 20-17 score. It was a pretty ugly game all around due to the terrible weather at Candlestick Park and there was not much offense throughout the game. Both teams had multiple chances to come out on top in regulation as well as in overtime. What set the Giants up for the win was when 49ers punt returner Kyle Williams, filling in for an injured Ted Ginn, was stripped by the Giants' Jacquian Williams at his own 24 yard line and New York recovered. The Giants then moved the ball a little to set up Tynes for his game-winner from 31 yards out.

The Giants are going to be taking on the New England Patriots in two weeks in Indianapolis in a rematch of Super Bowl XLII and we all know how that one turned out. The Giants will be going for their fourth Super Bowl title and second under Tom Coughlin. And my predictions were right for once.

Watch the highlights of the game here and watch the presentation of the Lamar Hunt Trophy here.

Source: Chip Kelly Close to Deal with Tampa Bay Buccaneers UPDATE 2

Bet you did not see this one coming. Portland's NBC affiliate KGW is reporting that Oregon head coach Chip Kelly is reportedly close to a deal to become the next head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Kelly had been rumored to have been contacted for the Miami Dolphins' job but that was debunked.

Now why would Kelly, one of the brilliant innovators of college football, leave a job where he would seemingly have a job for life? Because the team could be headed for NCAA violations for it's connections with Will Lyles to help steer recruits to Eugene. So he could be pulling a Pete Carroll, who similarly left USC before the NCAA dropped the hammer down on that program.

UPDATE: Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports that both sides hope to have a deal done within 48 hours.
UPDATE 2: Kelly has backed out according to the team.

Watch Joe Buck Leave Mike Pereira Hanging

Because sometimes when you go for a handshake, the other end fails to comply.
(H/T @cjzero)

Drew Bledsoe & Robert Kraft Kissing? Twice?

As we all know, the Patriots just won the AFC and are headed to the Super Bowl. So former Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe, who's injury in 2001 opened the door for Tom Brady and the dynasty that ensued, was doing the presentation of the Lamar Hunt Trophy when Pats owner Robert Kraft went in for the kiss on the cheek action...twice. Pretty awkward stuff, I must say. Let's go to the videotape.

New England Patriots Win the AFC, Headed to Super Bowl XLVI

Owner Robert Kraft with the Lamar Hunt Trophy
It was a wild back and forth at Gillette Stadium today but it was the New England Patriots that came out on top, defeating the Baltimore Ravens 23-20 to claim the AFC Championship and to advance to Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis. And it was a performance in which Tom Brady was arguably outplayed by Joe Flacco and that the Ravens had opportunities to win it or tie it late in Patriots territory late in the game. Ravens wideout Lee Evans had a sure touchdown reception when he relaxed a little and then Patriots corner Sterling Moore knocked it out of his hands. Then the team has the opportunity to tie it but Billy Cundiff missed the 32-yard attempt and that was the game. 

In two weeks the Patriots will be at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, taking on the New York Giants for the Vince Lombardi Trophy in a rematch of Super Bowl XLII, which if they win would be their fourth. And my predictions were right for once.

Jim Nantz and Phil Simms called the game in Foxborough for CBS Sports and here's their game recap. 

Maybe Steven Tyler Shouldn't Do the National Anthem Again

Yeah...so Steven Tyler sang the National Anthem before the AFC Championship Game today at Gillette Stadium and boy was it not pretty. Cringe-worthy is an apt word. Here's to hope that he never performs the National Anthem ever again. Let's go to the videotape.

Watch Ryan Braun Accept the NL MVP, Doesn't Mention Drug Test

At the Baseball Writers Association of America's awards banquet last night, star Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun accepted the National League MVP award. This was Braun's first actual statement since the report of his failed drug test from December. Braun has denied that he used performance enhancing drugs and has said that the urine sample that tested positive was caused by a synthetic substance.

There were talks about whether he should decline the award. He obviously did end up accepting the award but made only vague mentions of the drug test, saying that he was going to take the opportunity to grow from his challenges of late. But in a different note, he was rocking a badass velvet suit. Let's go to the videotape.

R.I.P. Joe Paterno

Joe Paterno, the winningest coach in the history of major college football, has died today due to complications from his lung cancer treatment.. He was 85 years old.

Paterno was the much-beloved and revered head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions for forty-six years and had been a part of the Penn State family since 1950. He amassed an incredible record of 409-136-3 and helped put PSU on the map. He won two national championships, 1982 and 1986, during his tenure in State College. The coach known as "Joe Pa" was renowned for for his teams' continued excellence in the classroom as well on the football field.

His tenure had come to a premature end when he was fired in the middle of the 2011 season at the height of the Jerry Sandusky scandal and his lack of action of reporting an accusation to the police. Paterno has come out afterwards and shown regret for not doing more.

And even as his tenure came to an unfortunate end, his name will live on not just at Penn State University but throughout the world of college football.

Joseph Vincent Paterno (December 21, 1926-January 21, 2012)

What is Wrong with the New York Knicks?

It has been a disappointing 6-10 start for the New York Knicks thus far in the 2011-12 NBA season, one that began with high expectations after last season's playoff berth as well as a full season with Carmelo Anthony. The fans are angry and it appears that the days are numbered for head coach Mike D'Antoni. So what exactly is wrong with the Knickerbockers and  is Mike D'Antoni done?