Monday, January 31, 2011

Fernando Torres And David Luiz! Fernando Torres And David Luiz! Fernando Torres And David Luiz!

David Luiz had to be pulled back from his flight in order to sign paperwork with Benfica, but the deal is done. David Luiz, the young Brazilian central defender and Fernando Torres, the superstar Spanish striker, are on their way to Stamford Bridge. With this, Chelsea have gotten a central defender for the future (who could probably start today) and a future replacement for Didier Drogba, who could very well be on his way out this summer.

Torres and Luiz! Chelsea are all of a sudden back in the thick of things in the English Premier League, with both of their fixtures against Manchester United yet to be played.  Now if you'll excuse me, I have a sticky mess in my pants that needs cleaning up.

Greatest Pro Bowl Touchdown Ever? Greatest Pro Bowl Touchdown Ever

That, and this idiot made that Pro Bowl entirely worth while. Oh, and the NFC dominating the AFC for once was a refreshing change of pace that made the game more enjoyable than normal.

From now on, whenever Thom Brennaman announces a game, teams should try lateral plays in the final 2 minutes of the game. It is a guaranteed touchdown. Really.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

All-Star Sunday Live Blog

Enjoy the games and leave comments! All trolls will be banned.

Friday, January 28, 2011

2011 NHL All-Star Game Rosters

Coming into this All-Star Draft, I was intrigued by the idea of this fantasy draft and interested to see it. After watching it, I hope the NHL uses this format for years to come. That was fascinating television. You had some of the best hockey players in the world being paraded around like 2nd graders on national television with a smarmy host trying to create conflict. TSN's James Duthie did an excellent job by the way. Not only did he need to fly by the seat of his pants with little time to adapt, but he succeeded and played the role the host needed to play to make this entertaining television. Anyway, here are the 2011 NHL All-Star teams.

Team Staal

F - Eric Staal
F - Ryan Kesler
F - Alexander Ovechkin
F - Daniel Sedin
F - Rick Nash
F - Patrick Sharp
F - Jeff Skinner
F - Claude Giroux
F - Corey Perry
F - Patrik Elias
F - David Backes
F - Paul Stastny

D - Mike Green
D - Zdeno Chara
D - Marc Staal
D - Dan Boyle
D - Kris Letang
D - Erik Karlsson

G - Cam Ward
G - Henrik Lundqvist
G - Carey Price

Team Staal Rookies

Logan Couture
Tyler Ennis
Michael Grabner
Jamie McBain
Tyler Seguin
P.K. Subban

Team Staal Coaches

Joel Quenneville and Mike Haviland

Team Lidstrom

F - Patrick Kane
F - Martin St. Louis
F - Steven Stamkos
F - Henrik Sedin
F - Danny Briere
F - Jonathan Toews
F - Brad Richards
F - Martin Havlat
F - Anze Kopitar
F - Matt Duchene
F - Loui Eriksson
F - Phil Kessel

D - Niklas Lidstrom
D - Duncan Keith
D - Shea Weber
D - Dustin Byfuglien
D - Keith Yandle
D - Brent Burns

G - Tim Thomas
G - Marc-Andre Fleury
G - Jonas Hiller

Team Lidstrom rookies

Evgeny Dadonov
Oliver Ekman-Larsson
Cam Fowler
Taylor Hall
Kevin Shattenkirk
Derek Stepan

Team Lidstrom coaches,

Peter Laviolette
Alain Vigneault

Even though my boy Giroux is on Team Staal, I think I have to root for Team Lidstrom in this one. They have my boys Laviolette and Briere, and overall, the team is slightly less douchier than Team Staal. Plus P.K. Subban ended up on the Staal rookie team. Even if Subban is not playing on Sunday, that fact alone makes me lean to Team Lidstrom.

SuperSkills competition tomorrow, and All-Star game on Sunday. This should be a pretty entertaining weekend of hockey, even if it is all just one big exhibition.

Bleacher Report Duped

Media sources with real credibility have reported that Jeff Fisher's agent says it is "highly unlikely" that Jeff Fisher will be the Eagles next defensive coordinator. But leave it to Bleacher Report to find an obscure (likely fake), claim it's the guy from another Twitter account who is for whatever reason using a different account to say that Fisher agreed to a 3-year, $15M contract. And then put up that suspicious, unverified on their web site as breaking news.

Bleacher Report, ladies and gentlemen! Need I say more?

Update: It appears as if Bleacher Report finally realized that they had been duped and they have offered a retraction of sorts. People need to start checking sources because apparently the guy RT'd through a fake @EaglesLnsider account (on Twitter lower a lower case "L" and upper case "I" look exactly the same, so the guy replaced the first I in "Insider" with a "L.") It's a good trick......only it's been done twice in the past month. Someone used @SL_JonHeyman (capitalization changed for illustrative purposes) to make people think the Phillies traded for Zach Greinke (which spread across the entire internet), and hours before Cliffmas arrived, a fake @KenRosenthai account reported a Cliff Lee signing (again catching on majorly with a lot of people). Does it hurt to try and verify reports? Or at the very least check to make sure the Twitter account is not a fake? A simple click of the profile showing lack of number of tweets easily proves it's a fake.

Alas, Bleacher Report may have deleted the original and offered a retraction, but I still got screengrabs of the originals! And they are staying up here. Think of them as a recovered special treasure.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

All-Star Weekend Schedule

I guess I should have tried to put this up earlier in the week, but I found myself busy with school and other blogging matters. I remember as a young teenager growing up when ABC would have the NHL All-Star game and the Pro Bowl on the exact same day. Those were good times, indeed. And now, it is happening once again, only the NHL All-Star Game is on Versus and the Pro Bowl is on Fox. And yes, I will have a live blog up this weekend for both all star games (though not the NHL fantasy draft and skills competition). Now without further ado, here is your schedule for All-Star weekend! (all times ET)

Friday, January 28

NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft 8:00 (Versus) (TSN)

Saturday, January 29

NHL SuperSkills Competition: Team Lidstrom vs. Team Staal 7:00 (Versus - Mike Emrick and Eddie Olczyk, SR: Charissa Thompson and Bob Harwood) (CBC - Jim Hughson, Craig Simpson, and Glenn Healy, SR: Elliotte Friedman and Bob Harwood)

Sunday, January 30

58th annual NHL All Star Game: Team Lidstrom vs. Team Staal 4:00 (Versus - Mike Emrick and Eddie Olczyk, SR: Charissa Thompson and Bob Harwood) (CBC - Jim Hughson, Craig Simpson, and Glenn Healy, SR: Elliotte Friedman and Scott Oake)
2011 Pro Bowl: AFC vs. NFC 7:00 (Fox - Thom Brennaman, Brian Billick, and Terry Bradshaw, SR: Tony Siragusa and Jay Glazer)

I was late in getting this up, and even though I tried to search for it, I have been unable to dig deep enough in the archives of certain reliable blogs to find press releases where it is announced exactly what personnel CBC will be using this weekend. I am assuming that Jim Hughson and Craig Simpson will be the ones in the booth, but if anyone can confirm this and point me towards a link as well as list any and all "sideline reporters", I will greatly appreciate.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Trying To Make Sense Of The Union Waiving Brad Knighton

(Originally posted at The Brotherly Game)

Last night, Piotr Nowak made a shocking move when he decided to waive goalkeeper Brad Knighton.  Brad Knighton was the back-up goalkeeper behind Chris Seitz and while Seitz was dreadful, Knighton filled in admirably when he got his chances towards the end of the season.  In his eight games, he had a .697 save percentage (Seitz posted a .596 save percentage last season for that it is worth), allowed 8 goals, and recorded two clean sheets.  The Union's record in games Knighton started was 3-3-1.

Heading into the off-season, goalkeeper was something the Union were going to have to address.  While Brad Knighton may not yet be ready for a full-time starters role, Seitz needed to go.  And go he did as he was drafted in the Re-Entry Draft by the Seattle Sounders.  That left the Union with a big goalkeeping hole.  Most teams carry three goalkeepers, and yet the Union only had one.

Enter Faryd Mondragon.  He was not officially announced until after the SuperDraft but reports of his acquisition had surfaced well beforehand.  The 39-year old Colombian goalkeeper may be past his prime, but for a young team and, more specifically, a young back line, a veteran leader goalkeeper like Mondragon is a perfect fit for the Philadelphia Union.

The stunner came at the SuperDraft when the Philadelphia Union surprised everyone and selected Zac MacMath 5th overall.  Don't get me wrong, I like MacMath and I see him as a critical part to the Union's future, but honestly, there is little he will do to contribute to the Union this season.  Chances are he will spend most of the season on the reserve team.  And for a 19-year old kid coming out of college and having never played professionally before, it will be all the better for him.

As unexpected as the MacMath selection was, it did solve the Union's goalkeepers problems.  They had Mondragon, their veteran starter for this season and next season, Brad Knighton, the young competent back-up, and MacMath, the exciting young prospect in the reserves.


Over the past few days, it has come out that Andy Gray was acting much like Ron Franklin when he thought microphones were off (even though they were really on, just not on over the air). From saying that he thought lineswoman Sian Massey would miss an offsides call during a match (turns out there was a close one which Massey got right) and wondering why there were female lineswomen in soccer to asking Charlotte Jackson "if she can tuck that down there," Andy Gray got canned. His partner, Richard Keys, who asked a colleague if "he would smash it" in reference to a woman.

The evidence is overwhelming. Gray deserved to be fired and Richard Keys should be off television. All though if you ask me, Andy Gray should have been sacked a long time ago for sheer idiocy. I mean, any guy who suggests that Lionel Messi would struggle in Stoke City deserves to be fired for sheer idiocy, so justice has indeed been served to Mr. Gray, even if it was over something irrelevant to being an awful announcer who had no business being one of Britain's lead commentators for soccer. Or any commentator for soccer.

You know ESPN is not going to pick up Andy Gray. They just fired Ron Franklin for the exact same thing. You know they are not going to turn around and pick up Gray on the rebound now. Who knows where Gray will end up now, although for now and until the dust settles from this cacophony of sexist remarks, it will be good to have Andy Gray away from commentating on soccer. It is, after all, it is where he belongs.

For an excellent reading on what this means for the culture of football, check out this excellent post from Graham MacAree of SB Nation Soccer and We Ain't Got No History.

Running The Ball Is Not The Key To Winning Football Games

(Originally published, albeit in an entirely different context, at Bleeding Green Nation.  Because of the change of context, this version is slightly revised from the original, however the core of the content remains the same.  From a personal standpoint, I had too much fun writing this for BGN on Sunday Night to not put it over here as well when I got the chance.)

So often do we hear analysts say that teams need to establish the running game in order to win the game.  There is one problem with that argument:  it is not true.  Actually, quite the opposite is true.  Winning teams win by establishing the pass early on in games and running the ball late in games to kill the clock.  There have been multiple studies on this matter, and I will gladly share some of them with you.  Take for instance, the establishment clause of Football Outsiders

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Most Disgusting AFC Championship Game Ever

First up, during the opening drive of the game, Mark Sanchez was spotted on the sidelines by the CBS cameras picking a booger and wiping it on Mark Brunell's jaket.

And during the final series of the game when Ben Roethlisberger took his first knee, Rashard Mendenhall felt it necessary to give Ben a little payback for all his alleged rapings.

Nothing says celebrating an AFC Championship game quite like dry humping your quarterback.

I'll have more on the Green Bay-Pittsburgh Super Bowl as we get closer to the day, including my official prediction.

2011 NFL Playoffs Conference Championship Sunday Live Blog


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Conference Championship Games Preview

Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears: I am sure Soldier Field will be its normal crappy self as the Green Bay Packers take on the Chicago Bears in the NFC Championship game. In terms of DVOA, the Packers were the NFC team in the playoffs. And for my money's worth, they are much better than Chicago. Soldier Field might be the great equalizer in this one, but does anyone really see Jay Cutler picking apart the Green Bay defense? There is a reason the Bears played their starters Week 17, and it was to try and avoid the very situation they found themselves in. The overall match-ups in this game favor Green Bay, both offensively and defensively. If Chicago wins this game, I'll be shocked. Final prediction: Packers 24, Bears 14.

New York Jets vs. Pittsburgh Steelers:  For some, this game will be like watching hell on a frozen football field.  The temperature in Pittsburgh is forecast to be in the teens for game time and this game features two teams that outside of their respective fanbases are for the most part rather unlikeable.  Yes, I did root for the Jets last week, but yes, the Patriots are more loathesome than the Jets, and the same thing can be said about Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers in comparison to said Jets. Both teams have seen their share of luck over the course of the season. You've two conservative offenses going up against two really good defenses, so while this game could likely be boring in spots, it should also be very close making for a fun finish. All in all, the Steelers are the better team here and should take care of the Jets who were at an emotional high after they beat the Patriots. Can Rex Ryan come up with his 3rd straight brilliant gameplan against a team who has a QB significantly better than his? Doubtful. Final prediction: Steelers 16, Jets 13.

Live blog tomorrow at Keith's Sports Journal.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Keith Olbermann Signs Off MSNBC For The Last Time

Despite there being no lead up to it, tonight was the last episode in the history of Countdown with Keith Olbermann and he signed off MSNBC for the last time.

David Shuster went on Anderson Cooper 360 this evening and stated that due to a clause in Olbermann's contract, Olbermann will not be back on TV for awhile. Once he is back, my guess is he will wind up on MLB Network doing random stuff for them. Outside of possibly Turner, he has burnt bridges at every other relevant organization.

Call me totally nutty, but I do not think it is a coincidence that this is coming three days after the Comcast and NBC merger was approved by the federal government. It's been long thought that Comcast wants a different direction with MSNBC. Now whether or not he was fired, stepping down on his own terms, or being forced to step down is a matter of which is not yet known.

Olbermann may be out at MSNBC, but he will land on his feet at somewhere doing something, I'm sure. He likely is not yet done in TV. For Olbermann fans who need to get their Olbermann fixture, you can follow him on Twitter @KeithOlbermann and he will be returning to his MLBlog The Baseball Nerd on February 14.

And for those wondering, maybe it is the ridiculous cold weather, but I am not as joyous and giddy as I thought I would be when this news eventually broke. It's true I have not watched his show in over a year, but maybe absence makes the heart grow fonder. Or maybe I'm just numb to everything about him. Or maybe I miss watching his show a bit. Or maybe it's just cold and I'm incapable of feeling anything right now because my skin gets numb real fast when it's exposed to this bitter cold for more than a few minutes. Yeah, let's go with that.

Senators-Flyers Fight Night II

Nearly 7 years ago, the Ottawa Senators and Philadelphia Flyers engaged in one of the most famous brawls in recent hockey history. The record setting 419 penalty minutes from that game is a record that still holds today. The Flyers and Senators did not get close to that number, but there were still over 126 penalty minutes, including 80 in the span of a second as the NHL's most random fighting rivalry was at once more time in the 3rd period of the Flyers 6-2 beating of the Ottawa Senators. Same teams. Same arena. Same entertainment value.

Oh, feel free to ignore the awful and clueless commentary Ottawa Senators announcers.

Fight #1

I have no idea what Denis Potvin was smoking but that was a clean hit by Giroux on Jesse Winchester. The only "cheap shot" in this video is Chris Neil jumping on top of Giroux afterwards. But I digress, and as you'll see, Chris Neil will owe up to his cheap shot later on.

Fight #2

And now Fight #3, 1 second after the Foligno-Giroux fight, comes the massive line brawl.

Sean O'Donnell has a unique way of turtleing.

What the Ottawa announcers are referring to here is Shelley turning down a fight with Matt Carkner who had wanted to fight Shelley before this incident but after the Giroux hit on Winchester, but Shelley, likely remembering Chris Neil jumping Giroux, saved his fists for Neil. Kind of a bitch move by Shelley because Neil is smaller, but at the same time, he was standing up for his teammate, so it goes both ways. One more thing about the Sens announcers: Did they have any idea what was going on in that last fight? Any? At all?

Even though it was no where close to the 419 penalty minutes of 2004 (and for the record, I don't think that record will ever go down), 126 is pretty impressive. And the Flyers came out on top in the fights and in the game, so all in all, a good night of hockey from the Wells Fargo Center.

2011 March Madness Announcers Revealed

One day after CBS accidentally leaked that Steve Kerr would be joining Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg for the Final Four, CBS and Turner have released their entire announcing roster for this year's March Madness. To try to mitigate the confusion as much as possible, I have the rounds listed below and the announcer pairings working said rounds.

TV stations that will be used


Tuesday Night First Four (note: First Four games will be broadcast on TruTV)

Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg, and Steve Kerr

Wednesday Night First Four

Gus Johnson and Len Elmore

2nd Round and 3rd Round (note: these are in no particular order)

Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg
Marv Albert and Steve Kerr
Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery
Gus Johnson and Len Elmore
Ian Eagle and Jim Spanarkel
Kevin Harlan, Dan Bonner, and Reggie Miller
Spero Dedes and Bob Wenzel
Tim Brando and Mike Gminski

Sweet 16 and Elite 8 announcers

Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg
Marv Albert and Steve Kerr
Gus Johnson and Len Elmore
Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery

(source: Fang's Bites; hat tip to ssreporters in the comments section

Final Four and National Championship game

Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg, and Steve Kerr

No one specific was mentioned in Richard Deitsch's article that broke the news, for the Sweet 16 and Elite 8, however, if I were to guess I think it would shape up a bit like this.

Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg: Easy, this is the top pairing.

Gus Johnson and Len Elmore: The team calling the national championship game is doing one night of First Four games. Johnson and Elmore are doing the other. CBS and Turner know who to give exposure to (or, so we think). I would not say this is a sure thing as Johnson always seemed to be the #4 in the old days of March Madness, but I think this a pretty safe bet nonetheless.

Marv Albert and Steve Kerr: Turner is going to want their broadcasters represented in the Sweet 16 and Elite 8, especially if Kerr is only joining Nantz and Kellogg in the Final Four.

Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery: Tournament veterans. Gotta have Verne and Raft, no?

If there is a 5th team lurking here, it is the Harlan/Bonner/Miller combination. Kevin Harlan does NBA games for TNT as does Miller. I would not be surprised if Harlan gets a promotion at the expense of either Johnson/Elmore, Albert/Kerr (with Kerr joining Nantz/Kellogg over a week early), or Lundquist/Raftery.

The following will act as sideline reporters during March Madness (note: sideline reporters have not been assigned broadcast teams yet, except for Tracy Wolfson and Nantz/Kellogg/Kerr on the Final Four)

Tracy Wolfson
Craig Sager
David Aldridge
Sam Ryan
Marty Snider
Lesley Visser

Now for the studio coverage. There will be two studios, one in CBS's headquarters in New York like normal, and another in Atlanta at Turner's headquarters.

Now for the list of personnel who will see at some point or another during March Madness.

Greg Gumbel
Ernie Johnson
Matt Winer
Charles Barkley
Kenny Smith
Greg Anthony
Seth Davis
Steve Smith

If you want to read a little more about the studio assignments, check out Deitsch's article.

I am not sure I am entirely thrilled about this (no Jay Bilas; too many talking heads in the studio), but everytime I think about that, my thoughts turn to the prospect of ESPN taking over an over 100 team tournament and how this is only 68 teams with every game being shown on national TV. I then realize that things could be 10 times worse. Every March Madness game is being shown on national TV. There may be some kinks in the broadcast, but at least I will no longer have to hope that Greg Gumbel changes the remote for me or that March Madness On Demand is not running 3 minutes behind.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"I Hope [David Wright] Gets Cancer Like Me"

After a ton of build-up on the internet, Onion SportsDome has been seen as less than successful than some. Having seen some segments of the show myself, I concur. But, last night they actually did something real funny. Mocking various sports show fluff pieces about kids with a disease getting a sports wish, Onion SportsDome did a satirical "WishZone" segment, where they focused on an 8-year old girl and Philadelphia Phillies fan who wanted nothing more than to heckle David Wright.

Well done, Onion SportsDome. That was funny.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

NFL Conference Championships Schedule

As fun as Super Bowl Sunday is, the conference championships are for my money the best Sunday in the NFL season. In roughly the same amount of time you watch one game championship game with added pageantry, you get to watch 2 championship games with little pageantry. Plus, the two host cities (Chicago and Pittsburgh) are cold weather cities in the midst of a weather pattern featuring below average temperatures. Also, after going all year without a sideline reporter, for whatever reason, CBS has once again seen a need to employ Steve Tasker as one. I don't get it either. But nonetheless, here is your schedule for Conference Championship Sunday in the NFL. (all times ET)

Sunday, January 23

NFC Championship Game

#6 Green Bay Packers vs. #2 Chicago Bears 3:00 (Fox - Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, SR: Pam Oliver and Chris Myers)

AFC Championship Game

#6 New York Jets vs. #2 Pittsburgh Steelers 6:30 (CBS - Jim Nantz and Phil Simms, SR: Steve Tasker)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Peter Laviolette Pwns Mike Missanelli

Mike Missanelli is a sports talk radio host for 97.5 The Fanatic. In today's Sound Off segment, he had on Flyers coach Peter Laviolette, who absolutely wasted no time in taking Missanelli to task for not paying the Flyers much attention thus far in the season. Also in this interview, Laviolette talks about practicing in Central Park, Andrej Meszaros, last night's Avery/Carle "fight", Boucher and Bobrovsky, and more. But seriously, the only reason this interview is getting posted here is because the first two minutes are absolutely hilarious.

Click here to listen to Mike Missanell's interview with Peter Laviolette on 97.5 The Fanatic

If you are keeping score at home that is Peter Laviolette 1, Mike Missanelli 0. And if Flyers fans did not have enough of a reason to love Laviolette as it already is, this is yet another one.

This Conversation Is What Happens When Two Idiots Talk

This video that surfaced is admittedly a few months old, but given the fact that Jim Mora, Jr. is a candidate for the Eagles defensive coordinator position, it is somewhat relevant and well worth the watch for hilarity sake as he "discusses" Vick and McNabb. Before McNabb Bowl I, Mora, Jr. was on ESPNRadio with Doug Gottlieb. To the surprise of no one, this interview was a complete disaster and I am pretty sure Mora, Jr. and Doug Gottlieb were ready to strangle each other through the phone.

Hilarious, and yet, this is the guy the Eagles are considering for a defensive coordinator job. Why could not Reid and the Eagles wise up and take a look at Mike Trgovac, Winston Moss, or just a guy with half the brain. Why does it have to be Dick Jauron (a guy whose never had great success), Mora, Jr. (another guy whose never had great success), and Billy Davis (a guy who was a complete and utter failure in Arizona)? The good news is no hire has been made. The bad news is I have this sinking feeling in my stomach that this guy will be the Eagles next defensive coordinator.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

2011 NFL Playoffs Divisional Sunday Live Blog

Leave comments and don't troll

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sean McDermott Fired

Chris Mortensen first broke the news on Twitter during the 1st half of the Ravens-Steelers game.

My thoughts are this: McDermott had worn out his welcome and deserves this boot. That being said, it still comes as a surprise because earlier in the week Andy Reid had given McDermott a vote of confidence and there had been no prior rumblings that a firing was about to be made. Dick Jauron, meanwhile, was getting a defensive coordinator job offer from Cleveland, and in order to prevent him from bolting, the Eagles fired McDermott hastily. Jauron is certainly a candidate to succeed McDermott, though it is now being reported that he is not a lock for the job.

Even though it would mean changing to a 3-4 system, I am hoping the Eagles give the job to Rob Ryan. Jauron as a defensive coordinator scares me just as much as McDermott. The Eagles may not have all the personnel, but it's not like most of their front 7 has been that good anyway the past two years. Bradley dropped off, Sims flat out sucks, and Trent Cole did a disappearing act the 2nd half of this season. So yeah, switching to a 3-4 may not be as hard as it sounds, especially when you figure that the defense is going to get tinkered with anyway this off-season. Mike Singletary is also looking for a job. A report is saying the Eagles have no interest. I feel relieved.

2011 NFL Playoffs Divisional Saturday Live Blog


Friday, January 14, 2011

Joe Theismann Has Created A Unique Nickname For Danny Woodhead

I am sure bloopers happen all the time, but rarely are they as funny as this one. While taping a segment of No Huddle for the NFL Network, Joe Theismann and Deion Sanders (with others in the background) were discussing how the New York Jets could defend the New England Patriots offensive weapons. And inevitably, the tight ends and running backs were going to be mentioned. In particular, running back Danny Woodhead. Only, Joe Theismann did not exactly call him Danny Woodhead. And as you can imagine, the NFL Network guys (particularly Deion Sanders) handled this with the kind of aplomb you would expect; laughing uncontrollably for over 2 minutes. Enjoy!

Well then. It's good to know what Joe Theismann is thinking about, and all the while, disturbing to know that is what he's thinking about. Regardless, this blooper is excellent to watch if you are ever having a bad day.

For The Philadelphia Market, This March Madness Could Be Epic

Now that the Eagles are done, I need to find other things to blog about other than the Flyers. Which is why I am very thankful for college basketball. This has the potential to be a very big year for Philadelphia schools, in addition to Penn State. The first couple days of March Madness are much more fun when there are multiple local teams that I can support and root for. And that may very well be the case this year. Here's a team by team look at the Big 5 schools thus far and some others in the area.

Villanova: Even though I like quite a few, Villanova is my favorite college basketball team, and this year they could very well be in the running for a spot in the Final Four. While they are just entering the heart of their Big East schedule now, they are playing very good basketball and in their last game had a very impressive showing against a good Louisville squad. With 1st and 2nd round games in Washington D.C. and Sweet 16 and Elite games in Newark, New Jersey, Villanova could find themselves surrounded by a lot of their own supporters should they perform good enough for the NCAA to reward them with these close cities.

Temple: Even though Temple is not my #1 favorite, they are #2, in large part because of the multiple family ties I have to that school. Add to that the fact that Fran Dunphy is their coach, and you have a winning combination. Oh, and that team is real good as well. Juan Fernandez and Lavoy Allen are beasts. Temple is currently ranked in the Top 25 and could conceivably earn a Top 4 seed if they continue to play well in the A-10.

Penn State: I pick on Penn State basketball a lot. They are an easy target, especially for someone who has spent his college basketball watching life a Villanova fan. But they are not that bad this year. In fact, they defeated Michigan State and Illinois in consecutive games, the first time they beat ranked teams back-to-back since the 1950s. They may get knocked down back to earth a little bit when they play Ohio State on Saturday. Sure they lost to Maine earlier this year, but if they can continue to win games in the Big 10 and maybe win some games in the Big 10 tournament, and Penn State may finally crack the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2001.

Drexel: Drexel comes from the same conference similar to George Mason. And despite having six teams in the RPI top 100 and five in the RPI top 75, the CAA does not have the respect that a similar conference, the A-10 does. And Drexel may find themselves as a much talked about bubble team if they do not win the CAA tournament. This is a team that has a good non-conference schedule and has beaten Louisville this year. Of all the teams here, Drexel may be the most interesting team to follow. Drexel is a very good engineering school in Philadelphia not really known for its athletics. Even if Drexel gets in and ends up a 16 seed and loses 103-51 to Duke, just getting there would be a huge accomplishment.

Bucknell: The engineering school known for it's NCAA tournament has a decent out of conference record and could threaten for the Patriot League title. It goes without say that this conference won't get any at larges.

Lehigh: They won the Patriot League title last year.....

Lafayette: Lost the Patriot League championship last year to their bitter rivals, the aforementioned Lehigh. This team is a no-hoper unless they make an improbable run at the Patriot League tournament.

Saint Joseph's: My how this team has fallen since the days of Jameer Nelson. 5-11 overall, 0-2 in the A-10. Barring a miraculous tournament victory, you can count out the Hawks this year.

La Salle: A slightly better team than St. Joe's, but again, a team that probably has no chance at an at-large bid. Once again, the only hope here is an NCAA Tournament bid.

Pennsylvania: When Fran Dunphy left, so did Penn's NCAA tournament appearances. Coincidence? I think not.

Right now if I were to make a prediction, I would say that Villanova, Temple, and Penn State get in the tournament, with everyone else on the outside. I think Drexel will end up just short because the NCAA does not like the CAA, and there is too much competition in that conference to beleive that Drexel will win it.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

NFL Divisional Round Schedule

No more Eagles, but the NFL Playoffs will go on. Interesting here, after being announced as going to Chicago, Joe Buck and co. have been moved to Atlanta now that Green Bay-Atlanta is by far the better NFC match-up on paper. Here is the schedule without further ado. (all times ET)

Saturday, January 15

#5 Baltimore Ravens vs. #2 Pittsburgh Steelers 4:30 (CBS - Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf)
# 6 Green Bay Packers vs. #1 Atlanta Falcons 8:00 (Fox - Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, SR: Pam Oliver and Chris Myers)

Sunday, January 16

#4 Seattle Seahawks vs. #2 Chicago Bears 1:00 (Fox - Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, and Tony Siragusa)
#6 New York Jets vs. #1 New England Patriots 4:30 (CBS - Jim Nantz and Phil Simms)

The Philadelphia Union Might Want To Think Their Jersey Sponsorships Through A Bit More

This just looks wrong.

The good news: The Philadelphia Union have a sponsorship and will make a lot of money.

The bad news: The sponsor is the worst named sponsor in all of soccer. As you can see from this picture, Bimbo, the world's largest bakery, is the Philadelphia Union's 1st jersey sponsor. While it is pronounced "BEEM-BO," the spelling of the word reminds everyone of "Bimbo," a word for a woman with low intelligence and sexual promiscuity.

Not only that, but the red, white, and blue symbol looks absolutely ugly on the dark blue and gold kits.

Now this is a positive step in reaching out to the Latin America community, something that the Union have struggled with in the past. Bimbo are also the company rumored to be buying TaskyKake a few years down the line. Also, one of their big plants is in Horsham, PA, outside of Philadelphia. So this is a company with local ties that financially may bring some good things down the line.

But I'm never going to get past the spelling of the name.

(Check out The Brotherly Game for more Bimbo coverage.)

Auburn Takes All The Tostitos Away From Columbus, Ohio

And some other thing called the BCS National Championship game. But all the Tostitos in the world now belong to Auburn! And that's the prize!

And now in 2-5 years, Auburn will be giving back all the Tostitos. But for now, you can expect Auburn's new rally cry to be "War Tostito." In 2-5 years when the NCAA investigates Auburn and a punishment is soon to be handed down, Gene Chizik will utter his soon to be famous war cry: "Give me liberty, OR GIVE ME TOSTITOS!"

Brent Musburger did have a bit of an interesting night in Glendale that included more than naming a small section of Alabama the winner of a bunch of corn chips. His over-eagerness to call a play a touchdown finally bit him in the ass.

When a guy is at the 10 and is being chased by someone on the opposing team, that is not quite the time to call touchdown. Making that whole gaffe more hilarious, Oregon would ultimately turn the ball over on downs that series. Not only did they not get a touchdown, they did not get any points on that drive.

But going back to "All The Tostitos," this is not even the first time Brent Musburger has declared them a winnable item.

"Maurice Clarett, Jim Tressel, and the Buckeyes will head to Arizona where they will play for All The Tostitos in the Fiesta Bowl." - Brent Musburger in 2002.

Ohio State beat Miami and have spent 8 years with All The Tostitos, but now it's Auburn's turn. All The Tostitos are leaving Columbus and are on their way to Auburn!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Eagles Wild Card Weekend Recap: Defensive Failings Make Me Want Asomugha

  • "Asomugha’s deal included a little-known clause that said his contract would void if he didn’t achieve his not-likely-to-be-earned incentives in 2010 -- and he didn'’t. His contract also contained a stipulation that if he didn’t achieve his incentives, the Raiders would agree not to designate him their franchise or transition player."
  • The Eagles inept defense cost them this game.  That is all.
  • I said at the beginning of the year that I expected a seven to nine win team.  I certainly did not expect them to win the NFC East.  But that is indeed what they did in a year that was seen as a rebuilding year.  Instead of Kolb, though, the Eagles did it with Vick who hopefully will sign an extension to keep him in Philadelphia.  He should be back, but if it is too long, I will pull my hair out.  Vick takes a beating game after game so his durability is definitely a question mark, especially at his age of 30, turning 31 in June.  Eagles in all likelihood will give him the extension but hopefully it is not backloaded and hopefully it is not for more than 4-5 years.  The Eagles do not get to where they were without Michael Vick.
  • I said at the beginning that if the difference between Vick and Kolb was a 1st round playoff loss versus not making the playoffs at all, the better option would be develop Kolb and miss the playoffs.  Little did I realize at the time that Vick would emerge as a franchise QB and likely NFL MVP runner-up.  So yeah, the Eagles have a QB, his name is Vick, and he should be back.
  • I would expect at least a 2nd round pick for Kevin Kolb.  If the Eagles are lucky, maybe a 1st rounder.  Andrew Luck staying at Stanford will do nothing but increase Kolb's value a bit. 
  • I want to be mad at Akers.  I really want to.  He missed 2 FGs costing the Eagles 6 points and the Eagles lost by 5.  But I know that the Eagles defense and McDermott are the real goats here.  Sure they only gave up 21 points, but the Packers dinked and dunked their way all game against them with relative ease.  It was not until the 4th quarter when the Packers got real conservative that they got their stops.  Their slow and methodical drives prevented the Eagles offense from getting on the field in the 1st half and establishing rhythm.  Basically the Packers ran the gameplan I wanted the Eagles to run. Fire McDermott.  I'm done with him.  Bring in John Fox if he is willing to take a defensive coordinator job.  Akers made his kicks all year and had one bad day.  One player can't be the sole reason the team loses.  On the other hand, an entire defensive unit coming up small in big situations is a very easy way to lose football games.  Unfortunately, Akers contract is up this year and he is talking post-game like the Eagles will not re-sign him.  Such a shame because even in spite of his bad game, he's still better than most kickers in the NFL, even at his age.
  • Eagles need offensive linemen.  Many ones.  Many good ones.  Need them.  Now.  Mankins is available, try to go after him.  Or Tyson Clabo.  Or Carl Nicks.  Or Jared Gaither.  Someone.  Anyone.  Vick is getting creamed over here!
  • Who am I rooting in the NFC now?  Fuck Atlanta.  Fuck Chicago.  Go Packers.  Go Seahawks.  If it is a Green Bay-Seattle NFC Championship game, I'll have to see how I'm feeling that day towards the Packers.
  • What about in the AFC?  Fuck Pittsburgh.  Fuck New England.  Go Jets.  Go Ravens.  If it is a Jets-Ravens AFC Title game, I will be happy with either winning.  Jets for the Ryan family, Ravens for John Harbaugh, who I always liked (unlike a certain Vikings head coach who got fired this season).
  • People will cry "Fire Reid!" over this, they always do when the Eagles lose.  But Reid's model of winning consistently just makes it a futile cry anymore.  Plus on top of that, he has made Mike Vick better than he has ever been.  The dude deserves some credit.  Who are you going to get that's better?
  • I expect Marty Mornhinweg will be a head coach next year (I'm guessing he'll take the Stanford job; his son just committed there).  If so, the Eagles are high on their QB coach, James Urban.  He would probably be the next OC should Marty leave.
  • This may have been a disappointing end to the season, but Philadelphia sports will continue:  Villanova will be making a run for the NCAA Tournament, the Flyers will be making a run at the NHL Playoffs, Spring Training will commence in  a little over month, the Sixers have a 1st round playoff loss and/or a decent draft pick to look forward to, and the Union will be entering their 2nd season with a lot of young players and promise.  If you are fans of multiple Philadelphia teams, there really is a lot to look forward to right now.
  • Win probability graph.  This is painful to look at. (
  •  Lastly, a sad and somber rest in peace to Christina-Taylor Green, granddaughter of former Phillies manager Dallas Green.  Christina-Taylor was the 9 year old girl killed in yesterday's Tucson shootings.  Her birthday was 9/11/01.  She was born on the day of a tragic event, and ultimately, she died in a shooting equally as tragic.  RIP Christina-Taylor Green.  2001-2011.

    2011 NFL Playoffs Wild Card Sunday Live Blog

    (Ed. Note: Apologies for getting this up late. I had it scheduled to post in the morning, but it never published.)

    Friday, January 7, 2011

    The Jamie Langenbrunner Sweepstakes Are On

    Surprise, surprise. The Devils are so desperate for life that they have asked longtime player and current captain Jamie Langenbrunner to waive his no-trade clause earlier today. Even more surprising, one of the top contenders to trade for Langenbrunner turned out to be the Philadelphia Flyers. In fact, the Flyers played the Devils in the Prudential Center tonight and what only seemed like an awkward game of hide and seek broke out between Paul Holmgren and Lou Lamoriello. At least according to the Flyers reporters, who kept saying that Homer was looking for Lou.

    A trade for Langenbrunner would be very interesting, and one that I am not sure is wholly necessary. The Flyers are one of the best teams in the NHL, why do you need Langenbrunner? Is Laviolette that upset with Nikolay Zherdev?

    Langenbrunner's contract expires after this year and is due to be paid $2.8M. That's a pretty big cap hit for a team that is currently just under the salary cap, an amazing feat for Holmgren whose strong points in life do not include math. Rumored offers from the Flyers include a 3rd and 5th round draft pick. Eklund has reported for hours now that Langenbrunner to Dallas is a done deal, though no one else is saying that, including the very reliable Tom Gulitti of The Record, who is saying this whole Langenbrunner saga is a big unknown amongst anyone. Flyers reporters are disagreeing with each other, from Panotch quoting Eklund's Dallas report and getting that report over the air on CSN, to Sam Carchidi of the Inquirer's above tweet that has the Flyers still in it with an exact offer, to Anthony San Filippo of the Delaware County Times yelling at me after tweeting a quote from one of his sources that the Flyers were not getting Langenbrunner moments after Eklund's "report" came out and me asking him if Eklund was his source.

    Basically, this whole thing is a huge messy unknown that Lou Lamoriello appears to be sleeping on.

    Update: Jamie Langenbrunner is a Dallas Star.

    Wednesday, January 5, 2011

    NFL Wild Card Round Schedule

    It's Wild Card weekend! Hooray! The playoffs are here, and with it, the added drama and excitement of watching 12 teams battle it out for the chance to hoist the Lombardi Trophy in Arlington, Texas. Last year, the Eagles were bounced out of the playoffs by the Dallas Cowboys in the Wild Card round. This time they are at home and facing the Packers. Home field does not mean a whole lot and the Packers are a bad match-up for the Eagles. The Eagles can win this game, but this is one of their worst possible draws in these playoffs. Put it like this, I would much rather face Atlanta at home than have to deal with the Packers anywhere. So without further ado, here is your schedule with announcers and sideline reporters! (all times ET)

    Saturday, January 8
    #5 New Orleans Saints vs. #4 Seattle Seahawks 4:30 (NBC - Tom Hammond and Mike Mayock, SR: Alex Flanagan)
    #6 New York Jets vs. #3 Indianapolis Colts 8:00 (NBC - Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth, SR: Andrea Kremer)

    Sunday, January 9
    #5 Baltimore Ravens vs. #4 Kansas City Chiefs 1:00 (CBS - Jim Nantz and Phil Simms)
    #6 Green Bay Packers vs. #3 Philadelphia Eagles 4:30 (Fox - Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, SR: Pam Oliver and Chris Myers)

    The Philadelphia Union And Freddy Adu: The Perfect Couple?

    (Originally posted at The Brotherly Game.)

    In any off-season, there are plenty of rumors and speculation.  Some of them are worth writing a story on.  Others are not.  This one most certainly is as it combines one of the United States' most talked about soccer players with the Philadelphia Union.  A writer at has suggested that the best fit for Freddy Adu is with the Philadelphia Union.

    All of this hinges upon whether or not Freddy Adu can be released from his European contract, but if he can, and if Adu decides to return to MLS, he could find a great fit with the Union. writes:

    More importantly, Adu would be a fit in the attacking style of play that Nowak and the Union have established at PPL Park. His skill and vision would mesh perfectly in a fast, young squad with a penchant for quick passing combinations and running off the ball.

    MVP candidate Sebastien Le Toux can take the forward spot alongside Danny Mwanga after Alejandro Moreno was lost in the Expansion Draft. That would allow Adu to roam as a floating No. 10 with wingers like Justin Mapp providing support.

    I do agree here and I do think that Freddy Adu could fit in perfectly with the Philadelphia Union.  75% of the people who voted on the poll on believe that Freddy Adu could fit with the Union.  What this article suggests would work.

    There is just one problem, though.  It is not going to happen.  Freddy Adu is a known headcase and has already burnt bridges with Piotr Nowak in his days at D.C. United.  His work ethic has been challenged, and even though he is only 21, any team that picks up Adu may be paying a lot of money for a gamble.  The once teen superstar is fading fast after stints in Europe that yielded little in the way of positive results.  I'd like to see Adu on the Union, but given Nowak's past relationship with him and his failures in Europe, I do not see this happening.

    Eagles Week 17 Recap: Who Cares

    On to the bullets of this pre-season game meaningless Week 17 football game.
    •  The Dallas Cowboys played their healthy available starters.  The Philadelphia Eagles played all of their back-ups.  The Cowboys only won 14-13.  Yeah.
    • What is there to take from this game?  Not much, really.  Only four regular starters (Maclin, Jean-Gilles, Patterson, and Fokou) saw any amount of time at all in this game.  Maclin played the first two series because Andy wanted to get him to 1,000 yards on the season (mission failed) and after that, the WR corps was all Chad Hall and Riley Cooper.
    • Max Jean-Gillies was the only Eagle player to get injured.  It is unknown whether or not he will play on Sunday
    • What to take from this game:  Stephen McGee is no Tony Romo, the Cowboys outside of DeMarcus Ware really are terrible, and the Eagles back-ups gave the Cowboys starters some stiff competition.
    • Some people will say that the Eagles are limping into the playoffs with two straight losses.  My answer to that is 18 of the 22 Eagles that will start on Sunday were not on the field at all for tonight's game.  This game was irrelevant, the Eagles knew that, Andy Reid knew that, and the Eagles prepared for this game by recycling last month's and studying film on the Packers, Giants, and Buccaneers.
    • If nothing else, this game showed that the Eagles should not be afraid to use Jerome Harrison during meaningful games.  Harrison used to be a starter in Cleveland last year and could probably start for some teams today.  If Andy Reid used him appropriately, he could and LeSean McCoy could make a legitimate 1-2 punch.
    • The Eagles will host the Green Bay Packers Sunday at 4:30 ET.  The Packers are a team strengths match-up perfectly with the Eagles weaknesses.  The way I see it, if this game is a passing shootout, Green Bay will win.  The Eagles best offense and defense in this game will be LeSean McCoy.  The Eagles need to give him a huge workload in this game.  Not only do the Eagles need to run the ball to neutralize Green Bay's stellar pass defense, but they need to do so to control the clock, the tempo, and to keep Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense off the field.
    • Lastly because the less said about this dull meaningless game the better, here is the win probability chart. (

      Tuesday, January 4, 2011

      Is Fred Taking His Talents Elsewhere?

      (Originally posted at The Brotherly Game.)

      This is not talking just away from the Union, we all know he was selected by the New England Revolution in the re-entry draft.  This is talking about is he moving completely away from MLS.  And at the very least, the former Philadelphia Union midfielder is at least contemplating going elsewhere in life by "pursuing other opportunities abroad."

      Fred came to MLS in 2007 to play for D.C. United before being traded to the Union in the 2010 SuperDraft.  Fred played 25 games for the Union.  The best thing anyone can say about those 25 games are that he served as a mentor to some of the younger players, like Roger Torres.  Outside of that, Fred hardly did anything memorable on the field, scoring 4 goals and notching only 1 assist as an attacking midfielder.  When the New England Revolution selected Fred in the re-entry draft a month ago, not many Union fans were heartbroken over the fact he was departing. 

      What Fred wants to do with his life his certainly his choice, although some Union fans might actually be disappointed if he does indeed decide to leave MLS.  If he decides to stay and play with the New England Revolution, for the first time ever, his on the field skills will actually benefit the Philadelphia Union.

      Sunday, January 2, 2011

      For Those Expecting An Eagles Week 17 Recap

      You are going to have to at least wait a little bit.  I missed the last 3 quarters at dinner with my family.  Even though I DVR'd the game, I have not gotten around to watching it yet.  I'll probably sit through the rest of that game sometime after I get home from work tomorrow night and I will have a brief recap either tomorrow night or Tuesday.  The Cowboys won the game 14-13 and the Eagles played their back-ups.  The Eagles did not care about this game, so I will put little effort into this recap as there is little to be said about a game that meant nothing.

      The Eagles wild card opponent is the Green Bay Packers, with the game taking place Sunday at 4:30 ET on Fox.

      NFL Week 17 Live Blog