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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Divisional Championship Weekend

Quick one today amidst a flurry of house projects.

The New Orleans Saints were bulletproof, especially at home, until four weeks back and after losing their first game, pulled the chute on Brees and others for the most part, and it is dicey wondering if they've been too rested and have become rusted. I cannot imagine Arizona Cardinals QB Kurt Warner playing as great a game again ever, much less two weeks straight, as he did last week. I'm thinking the best home field advantage in the game helps some for sure. I think the short week for 'Zona after a huge energy sapping game has to hurt them. 30-10 Saints.

The Baltimore Ravens pounced on a Patriots squad that wasn't ready, and the Indianapolis Colts have been cooling off since late December and should be ready to explode after all the talk of how they were making a mistake resting players and throwing in the towel on a perfect year. I'm buying Tony Dungy's idea that they'll have a major chip on their shoulder for the abuse their coach/management had to take, and can't see the Ravens turning around with another road win in a tough place to play. Colts 34-17.

The road teams in the Division round of the NFL playoffs the last few years: 3-1 in 2008, 2-2 in '07, 2-2 in '06, 2-2, and 2-2 in '05. Guess home field isn't all it cracked up to be.

What better way to get ready for the World Cup in South Africa than to get your very own body armour rocking your fav teams flag?

If you missed Jimmy Kimmel annihilating Jay Leno on the Jay Leno Show on Thursday, to his face no less, check it out here. Fantastic stuff.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Cracking on lames since birth

Clearly, the NFL is not playing games when it comes to implementing salary control on rookies, judging by the fact they're going to move to have such a system in place effective in this year's draft.

Emmanuel Adebayor
, Togo international and Manchester City striker, was on the bus that was attacked last week in Angola. In the wake of that, we've got video of Adebayor being interviewed for his thoughts. Hey, isn't that Arsenal gear - from his old team? Adebayor, you're clueless. Thanks to GBVH for passing that on.

If there is such a thing as karma, then New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees probably deserves as much or more than any other pro athlete. Check out this great piece on the work he is doing in New Orleans to help rebuild that city, literally raising millions and giving tonnes of time to make it happen.

Check out these 25 Great Moments in Brutal Honesty.

Clark Judge - what kind of name is that? - at rates the road teams in this weekend's divisional round of the NFL playoffs to sort out who is likely done, and who could go on.

As predicted yesterday, the Old Has Been is backtracking on comments he made intimating that he'd be shocked if the Minnesota Vikings didn't beat the Dallas Cowboys. Shocking. Old Has Been changing his tune...weird.

GQ ran a piece detailing what happened that night in Philadelphia in April 2008 that led to talk that former Indianapolis Colts wideout Marvin Harrison - he of the once sterling reputation - unloaded a gun, or in this case, two, into a man's car with the man in it. Crazy stuff. The FBI is now looking at the situation. April 2008? At least they're not taking their time.

Hugh Hefner and his 21-year old twin girlfriends have broken up. Is there nothing to believe in in 2010?

If Jerome Bettis was as accurate picking games as he is predicting what his former coach Bill Cowher will do next, he'd never have to work a day in his life. Bettis' latest call is that Cowher is laying low waiting for the New York Giants job to open up.

Guessing Gilbert Arenas is finally figuring out that this whole "bring your guns to work" thing isn't a joke anymore, not when he's facing a felony gun charge that could land him in the crow bar motel for five years. Arenas is said to be working a plea deal.

Speaking of jail, Theo Fleury went to Winnipeg police and detailed his sexual abuse at the hands of Graham James as a teenaged hockey player for coach James. Now, if only the cops could actually find James to bring him in and face charges. Maybe - hopefully - he's in hell.

Ari Fleisher, the genius behind George W. Bush's ill-advised "Mission Accomplished" speech under that banner on a battleship year's ago, also advised Mark McGwire. Guess that explains the "steroids didn't help" take Big Mac is working. 0 for 2, Ari.

Five NHL teams were shut out last night, another four scored only a goal, three of those losing. Where has the offence gone?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

He said, he said...

The Old Has Been is making indirect guarantee's for the Minnesota Vikings, saying they'll take care of the Dallas Cowboys this weekend. He's expected to change his mind at least twice before gametime Sunday and give interviews on the subject that will be fawned over by whatever Monday Night Football crew is in place as well as John Madden, before having it changed for him. I don't often hope for guys to get hurt, but if DeMarcus Ware folds him up like a cheap tent on Sunday afternoon, I vow that I will celebrate. Old Has Been...I hate you. Sorry for telling you all what you already know.

Liverpool dropped a 2-1 decision to Reading in the FA Cup. So much for their coach Rafa Benitez' declarations that they could salvage their season with an FA Cup win.

Sports Pickle offers up Jose Canseco's latest book proposals. Great stuff from SP, as always.

Also from the Sports Pickle, they offer up the suggestion that Blake Griffin, top pick in last year's NBA draft and now out for the year, faked a rehab setback to avoid playing for the LA Clippers.

Michael Wilbon, columnist this time and not PTI talking head, looks at how the Washington Wizards and the NBA are attempting to erase Gilbert Arenas, including not being able to buy his jersey's, even if you try to customize one in ordering. Pathetic. Dude made a bad mistake, but he's not OJ Simpson. Is it me, or when leagues get over the top heavy-handed, do you end up having sympathy for the player?

The New York Mets are in the middle of another bad run of press, after centre - that's the way we spell it here, for my American friends - fielder Carlos Beltran took his treatment into his own hands after not being satisfied with the Mets care and is having the knee operated on, putting his start of the 2010 season at risk. The Mets disapprove of him having the procedure.

The more you listen to the Alex Burrows accusations that a ref had it in for the Vancouver Canuck, the more you hear about a guy who is a notorious whiner, ref baiter and one time speared a referee in the East Coast Hockey League. He may well be telling the truth, but he'd have been wise to keep his mouth shut in the absence of a witness. Wonder if referee's will now really paint a target on him? By "wonder", I mean "he is totally screwed".

Been saving these up for a bit of a slower day, as they'll still be relevant for a bit. The picture for the NFL's labour arrangement is getting bleaker by the day ahead of a rumored 2011 lockout, and the union paints a picture of a rookie wage cap, blood testing, benefit cuts, a nearly 20 percent "giveback". I'm not sure the players need to be giving back 20% or losing benefits, especially when the schedule looks like it'll be longer soon, but there's nothing wrong with a rookie cap or salary slotting because there's no way a guy who has never done a thing on the field - think JaMarcus Russell at $13 million this year - should be making more than many other proven pivots, and just $800k less than Tom Brady. Russell has earned $33 million his first three year's in the league. Blood testing? Sure, why not if you've got nothing to hide?

Have a great Thursday.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Refs targetting players?

You're a baseball player of legendary status, recognized among the top handful of players of all time. You used something banned by the government of the day. You performed against less than the best. You injected extract from sheep's testes because you had heard its healing properties were great. Belong in the Hall of Fame? If you say no, you just booted Babe Ruth out of the Hall of Fame, because he routinely used alcohol in an era of prohibition, never faced the best of the best but the best of the white best, and injected something of questionable, non-approved pharmaceutical value. The point being is don't get too caught up in the sanctity of the Hall of Fame and ignore there are plenty of guys in there of questionable character too that performed incredibly well including legendary racist and accused murderer Ty Cobb, or spitballers like Don Sutton and Gaylord Perry. Sure, Barry Bonds might not get in first ballot (he should), or A-Rod (he should), but look at it in a vacuum of what they did in their given era that didn`t have testing until 2006. No brainer Hall of Famers, both. Mark McGwire isn`t good enough even with his apology in my opinion. Speaking of Big Mac, some photos of him through his career.

If the NHL is thinking that somehow Vancouver Canucks Alex Burrows allegations that referee Stephane Auger targeted him for a dive that embarrassed the ref in a previous game is much better than having a referee on the take like the NBA's Tim Donaghy, they're dreaming. Augar getting personal with it and calling his shot is the epitome of a lack of professionalism, and good of Burrows I say for bringing it to light. That Augar could be swayed that easily is a sign of a guy who would bend for much greater motivation (read: cash).

With an uncapped year looming in the NFL next year, and talk that the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys would go on a huge spending spree, the Skins are in the position of cheering for a Cowboys win this weekend. Why? Seems that there are rules in place about who teams that finish in the top eight can sign, categorized as anyone playing this weekend, and further restrictions on teams that move to the final four.

He - insanely - got shut out of MVP voting despite rushing for over 2,000 yards, but the Tennessee Titans Chris Johnson did manage to nab offensive player of the year honors.

The story about Lane Kiffin bolting Tennessee for USC after only a season isn't about what is right, it is about how a guy with a career 12 wins as head coach between the pros and college has such a sterling reputation.

Somewhere, Scott Boras is smiling. After years and years as baseball's lowest spending team, the Florida Marlins have listened to the player's union complaints and agreed to boost payroll. What does it say about a team that it could so easily, and artificially, just jump payroll? The move will keep the team from violating revenue sharing rules. Now, if only they actually used more of their revenue to keep the Josh Johnson's of the world.

Best of Fails 2009, courtesy of JB.

RM returns by 3pm

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

3:49, game over

I know steroids can do some nasty damage to your nut sack. That's about the only explanation I've got for Mark McGwire taking years to tell us what we've already known for a decade or so, that he did in fact use steroids.

The Atlanta Hawks are now 3-0 against the Boston Celtics on the season after last night's 102-96 win. If you're not considering them in the East picture, you're kidding yourself.

Speaking of telling us the obvious, Curtis Joseph is announcing his retirement. Clearly, he's the last to know.

Who but the Toronto Raptors could take a 23-point lead and turn it into a loss? The Raps soiled the bed 105-101 in Indiana last night. So much for Sunday's moral victory in a loss to the Boston Celtics.

If you're the NFL, do you not want Dallas and Minnesota in Prime Time on Saturday night? That one will go at 1pm Sunday instead.

If you've never watched Entourage, you've got a great chance to start tonight on Spike TV when the series starts in syndication with the first episode at 9pm with limited commercial interruption. Love that show.

Finally today, what is more noteworthy in this KHL footage:
(A) That #68 Jaromir Jagr is in a fight
(B) That the red team's backup goalie is wearing #69, that staple of slo-pitch teams everywhere
(C) That the team's combined for 691 penalty minutes in 3:49 of play to open the game
(D) That the DJ was rocking tunes during the brawls
(E) That the penalty boxes emptied to rejoin the brawl
(F) That the game was called after 3:49.
Must see stuff here.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Last one to score wins

The Wild-Card Weekend is done, and saw three teams lose that only scored 14 points, and then one wild game that saw an NFL playoff record for points set with 96 points in a 51-45 overtime win for the Arizona Cardinals. Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers used his hand to knock the ball to his foot, then kicked it to the guy who scored. He wears #12. So does Thierry Henry. Just sayin'. For Packers fans, it had to feel very familiar to go out in a playoff game on the back of a huge turnover to close the game. Very Old Has Been like. Guess the refs missed the facemask tug on Rodgers in the picture, huh?

As for the New England Patriots, they came out like a win was a foregone conclusion and were throttled by the Baltimore Ravens 33-14. I'm sure it wasn't Bill Belichick's fault.

In somewhat related news, word is that Derek Jeter is engaged to marry Minka Kelly next November. I'm begging, Jeter: don't do it. Look what happened to Tom Brady since he got hitched to Gisele: season ending injury, repeated playoff losses, and an end to a perfect 7-0 playoff record at home. Nothing good can come of this D.J. Has your Gillette compadre Tiger Woods not taught you anything? Think of the Maxim cover girls you are forgoing!

Are the LA Lakers looking to deal for Chris Bosh? Word is they've got an offer of Andrew Bynum at the ready ahead of the February 18th trade deadline. Interesting times ahead in the next four or five weeks.

Tom Hicks Jr., an exec for his dad who owns the Texas Rangers, Dallas Stars and Liverpool responded to charges from a fan group that the team was being stingy in player acquisitions at Liverpool and more concerned with managing their debt than winning, responded via email: "Blow me fuck face. Go to hell. I'm sick of you." Classy.

The Chicago Cubs have offered to retire Andre Dawson's #8 if he goes into the Hall of Fame as a Chicago Cub. Two things. First, what hat he wears isn't up to him now anyways as the Hall took over that territory after Wade Boggs agreed to go in as a Tampa Bay Devil Ray when he signed his last contract as a pro there. Second, your number is already retired as a Montreal Expo, Hawk. Enjoy it. The Expos are the right choice. Period.

There's a UFC Fight Night Live card tonight on Spike at 8pm (Eastern) - free, in other words - and the main event should be a good one with Gray Maynard taking on Nate Diaz. More on that, and the rest of the card, here.

Anybody figure on the Cincinnati Reds to land Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman? Seems six years and $30 million will get that done. So much for the rust belt teams not having any money. Somewhere, Scott Boras is making notes.

LaDanian Tomlinson dances. I haven't a clue if this is hilarious, or a disaster.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The number of the beast!

This is the 666th entry by yours truly. Make of this what you will.

Two dominant performances in yesterday's Wild Card games. The New York Jets trailed early but turned the tables on the Cincinnati Bengals and ran away with a 24-14 win to move on to face Indianapolis next weekend for the second time in three weeks. We had the Jets 21-10 here so not a bad pick on the score when you're four points off on each and had the margin right. In the night capper, the Dallas Cowboys throttled the Philadelphia Eagles 34-14 and send more than a few Eagles into the locker room early with some crushing hits. Loved seeing Donovan McNabb with his trademark "what happened?" look. He'll likely be taking that look elsewhere next season. DeSean Jackson's ass got stung. We had it 31-17 Cowboys here. Hope you were wagering! Tony Romo won't be hearing how he can't do it after November anymore. The Cowboys will be in Minnesota next Sunday afternoon and I'm salivating at the thought of Koko D. Ware knocking The Old Has Been into retirement.

Two more games on NFL Wild Card Weekend go today. At 1pm, Baltimore visits New England in what should be a hard hitting game as are all Ravens matchups. The Pats, despite losing Wes Welker, have been playing great in the last couple months with Tom Brady really finding his legs. Mix in home field, and Bill Belichick no doubt having something to surprise the Ravens, and I think the Pats squeeze out a win 24-17 and cover the -3.5. The 4:30pm start has the Green Bay Packers visiting the defending NFC Champion Arizona Cardinals who have had an up and down season. Word is the Cards will be minus Anquan Boldin, which will help an already stout Packers defence lock in on Larry Fitzgerald and pressure old man Kurt Warner. I'm throwing out last week's blowout win by the Packers when I say this, but still think the Packers smoke the Cards in this one. They've been playing great save for a speed bump in Tampa Bay, and Aaron Rodgers gets it done in Phoenix, with the Packers rolling to a 34-17 win.

New York Jets coach Rex Ryan, who a couple weeks ago thought his team was eliminated from playoff contention when they weren't ,was saying a few days ago that he thinks his Jets should be the Super Bowl favorites now. Not sure which is more ridiculous, even if the Jets go the distance.

Stewart Mandel at thinks that Carroll is positioned to succeed at Seattle, given he never stopped keeping tabs on the pro game. If he can go anywhere near 97-19 like he did at USC, the Seahawks will be thrilled with that hire. uncorked this gem on Pete Carroll's move to the Seahawks: Pete Carroll may coach the Seahawks, a team with significantly less payroll than USC. New York Jets QB Mark Sanchez took an awesome dig at his former coach's decision to go to the pros. Of course, it was Pete Carroll who said Sanchez wasn't ready to go to the NFL a year back.

Brutal news coming out of the African Nations Cup soccer tourney this month in Angola. The team Togo bus was ambushed by some Angolan separatists, and four in the entourage were killed. Cannot begin to imagine what kind of security there will be in South Africa come June for the World Cup. Togo pulled out of the tourney.

It would only be fitting if I close today by thanking DW, PF and especially PB for being my personal ATM's last night. Your hatred of the Cowboys was tremendous fun to take advantage of.

Have a great Sunday, enjoy the games.