Category: Sports

Refreshing The Mrs.

Superbowl 50 comes to my backyard this Sunday, I predict it will be the highest rated/most watched Superbowl in history, it’s on the record. Lady Gaga is singing the National Anthem, ought to be epic.

It should surprise no one that for rabid football fans, it is not often (sometimes never, hey Santino? sorry) that your team, the object of your loyalty/obsession/passion, wins the championship. So when it does, nothing says ,”We’re Number One!!!” like given the wife (or whoever is handy) a flurry;

Cute commercial.

For anyone so inclined, you can use this post for any predictions or nuggets of wisdom.

I am torn over this one. I hate the Broncos (second only to the Cowboys) but this will be Peyton’s last game, win or lose. He deserves another ring just for his complete body of work. But Carolina has had a magical season, led by the ultimate prototype at QB. Netwon, the only real candidate for MVP, right now is the most potent most feared player in the NFL, and he knows it. I like Carolina, and am picking them to win by 14 on Sunday because they are flat out a better team. But we have seen strange things happen at Superbowls (like throwing a stupid pass instead of giving it to Marshawn Lynch);

So, who ya got this Sunday?

Oh, and bonus points if you can reference the title.

The NFL, Deflation and the Law

So the NFL season will kickoff tonight. I’m mildly excited. My main enthusiasm is for the college game, which got off to an amazing start this past weekend.

However, the NFL’s kickoff game will be Pittsburgh against New England, which took on added interest when a judge threw out Tom Brady’s suspension for his role in Deflategate, reinstating the quarterback for at least the first game of the season.

My opinion on deflategate has waxed and waned. My first reaction, as someone not overly fond of the Patriots or Brady, was to support a hefty punishment, especially in light of their previous cheating (Spygate). But as time has gone on, my opinion has changed. I skimmed through the Wells report and came away … unimpressed by the case against the Patriots and particularly against Brady. And when I read Judge Berman’s decision, I found myself nodding my head and agreeing with everything he said.

You can read Bill James for a very good evaluation.

Goodell cannot make up industrial law as he goes along. As Berman stated it, “It is the ‘Law of the Shop’ to provide professional football players with advance notice of prohibited conduct and potential discipline.” There is no trail anywhere suggesting that a player can be suspended for an equipment tampering violation. No player has ever been punished in a like manner for a like offense—and, in fact, there have been similar offenses committed in the past, with no punishment at all directed at the players who benefitted. In 2009, a New York Jets employee was caught using a sideline heater to warm up the football that would be used to a attempt a field goal, making the ball travel further. The Jets’ kicker was present and obviously aware of the activity, but no action was taken against him. The league’s Competitive Integrity Policy states that the fine for a first offense for equipment tampering is $5,512. But since Mr. Brady did not tamper with the equipment and there is no real evidence that he was even aware that it had been done, even that fine would be problematic in this situation.

A phrase in the NFL Game Operations Manual states that if the footballs are tampered with in this manner “the person responsible and, if appropriate, the head coach and other club personnel will be subject to discipline, including but not limited to, a fine of $25,000.” However, the Game Operations Manual is not provided to players, is not subject to collective bargaining, and is not a basis for disciplinary action against players, even if that disciplinary action was within the range outlined in the directive.

Even the case that the deflation happened at all is weak. The Wells report specifically says that the Colts’ balls were inflated to 0.5 PSI more than the Patriots before the game (both were within the legal range). When you account for the cold, we’re talking about 0.4 PSI that the Patriots may have let out. I think the Patriots did probably let some air out of the balls but 0.4 PSI is … not a lot to hang your hat on. And the case that Brady knew about this is even weaker. The supposed damning texts really aren’t that damning. It’s more of him complaining about the league over-inflating the balls.

The most damning evidence, to many, is that Brady destroyed his cell phone. But there’s actually no rule in the NFL against destroying evidence and players who have done so have not previously been disciplined. (In the link, James goes into many reasons that Brady may not have wanted the leak-prone NFL to have private information on his phone. I’m not completely sold, but I think he has a point).

What the should the league have done about this? Well, the rules specify a $25,000 fine on the team. Given the Patriots’ history and the importance of the game, I think they could have gotten their million dollar fine without a problem. But when Goodell decided he wanted Brady’s head on his wall, he elevated the tentative conclusions of the Wells report to certainties and then stumbled right into a briar patch of labor law.

The long and short of this, to quote the great sage Walter Sobchak: This is not ‘Nam. This is collective bargaining. There are rules. Goodell has gotten himself into trouble numerous times trying to exercise control of the league. In the media vacuum before the Super Bowl, this story became massively overhyped. He saw an opportunity to exercise his authority again and a judge slapped him down again. It pains me to say this but the judge was right.

(PS – As a Steelers fan who lives in outskirts of Steeler Country, I’d love to see Brady not under center tonight. But I can’t honestly say he shouldn’t be. Damn.)

(PPS – As I was working on this post, the Imperial March from the Empire Strikes Back came on my iTunes shuffle. How appropriate.)

Ill-bred Bitches Gotta Eat Too

A lot of moral outrage this week over a recorded rant by a full of herself not so famous sports reporter over her car being towed;

The usual calls for her head have punctuated the airwaves and talk shows. And the usual perfunctory apology followed after being suspended for a week. First, I will address the rant, I thought it was brilliant. This woman has obviously dressed down an “inferior” before, look at how good she is at it. In a short one minute video she manages to cover all the bullet points (education, lack of skill sets, greed, intelligence, appearance, and a parting shot of fat shaming), and right off the cuff, impressive.

Like a pole dancer at the local strip club who describes her avocation as in the “entertainment industry” this woman thinks she is a real news reporter. And she thinks she is important because she is on TV. Go paint yourself in sheep’s blood and run naked down Penn. Ave at rush hour, you will get on TV.

Now, what to do with her? Don’t do anything, who cares that she is a bitch or was bitchy to some predatory tow company. Do people have to be nice to be good at their job (assuming she is good at her job since I never heard of her before)? There are rude low rent people out there, alert the media. I guess ESPN had to suspend her for a short period of time, but does she really need to get fired over this?

Fell sorry for her parents, but give the girl a break. She has a job and is paying taxes, let boorish vulgar sleeping dogs lie.

And Then There Were Four

Since the US is out I don’t know if any more WC posts will garner much interest, but I’ll throw it out there just in case.

Germany/Brazil in about 2 hours. While I always root for the host country, I can’t see Brazil going forward, not without their two best players (one out on yellow cards and the other with a fractured spine). While watching the Brazil/Columbia match that first half had more muggings than the Chicago South Side on a Saturday night. I was amazed that the ref. let them grab/push/kick/trip, the only thing missing was brass knuckles. It took 70 plus minutes in to see the first yellow card, and I am firmly convinced that if the ref kept a better hold on that match, Neymar would not have gotten that knee in the back.

Despite the 0-0 score at the end of regulation, that Dutch/Costa Rica match was chock full of highlights. That CR goalie looked like Tim Howard, so many shots narrowly blocked or off the cross bar, and 2 great penalty kick saves for the Dutch, very exciting. I know there is much grousing over the format, but PK’s are the only way to go, there has to be some finality and playing until someone scores is just stupid. That is my big gripe about the slams in tennis, the US Open is the only one run intelligently, allowing a tie break in the fifth set.

My favorite going into the semi’s is The Dutch, you goota love a team that goes all orange, but really, any one of these four would be fine, all are top notch teams and deserving.

I will watch the remaining 3 matches (having watched more WC matches this year then ever before) I get the appeal, the best athletes in the world playing on a world stage and for their country, the drama is baked in to the cake.

World Cup

I’m moving any WC updates to it’s own post.

A few minutes away from USA vs. Portugal…………………….this game is huge. No Jozy (hopefully he is rehabbing the shit out of that hammy). Ronaldo is playing, not sure how effective.

That Germany/Ghana match yesterday was just awesome, reminds me what a feat that was beating Ghana in the first round. Bosnia got screwed big time, check out that douche off sides call by the ref, robbing them of a goal.

Crap, they just got Jack Bauer doing the pregame commercial. This will be the biggest audience for a soccer game here, like ever.

If anyone wants to live blog any goal or any comments, lets do it.

GO U S A !!!!

Floppers Will Be Shot

I know it’s early but anybody watching the World Cup?

Keeping this post strictly on the sports aspect, Brazil is a mess, poverty as far as the eye can see, shitty economy, host country spending way more than they should have (hello, Sochi)I wonder if anyone in America is watching.

The US team being placed in the “death group” I expected little from them.

ESPN2 has none stop coverage, 3 matches a day, so I will stop by to see what’s shaking. That Dutch beat down over defending champ Spain was pretty sweet. Watching the highlights is probably the best way to go, although catching it live is pretty cool, some of the best plays are incredible saves by the goalie.

My first reaction to the couple of matches I have seen, what is up with these floppers? I saw 2 yesterday where the guy was not even touched and he dropped arms flailing like he was just shot. I know soccer is steeped in tradition, but you guys need to get modern, adopt instant replay, and either dole out some fines, or even better, some suspensions.

I look at what they did in the NBA, and see an even greater need for it here, here the field is huge and an official is expected to make a call on a play where he was either blocked by other players, or was 75 feet away. These penalty kicks awarded to floppers in the box, kicks that can literally win the game with one shot, it’s just wrong.

I’m watching the Chile/Aussie match, it’s amazing, for such great athletes every bit of contact causes mass writhing on the ground like the guy just lost an arm.

I suspect our British readers are watching, anybody else?

Sochi Thread

A few months ago I wrote a post over The America’s Cup, a post highlighting the patriotism of progressives would have gotten more attention, well, I’m doing it again.

For those so inclined to chime in on anything Sochi related, here ya go.

No, I did not watch opening ceremonies last night. I figured Putin would use this to rewrite history and play out sketches of how Russia beat Napoleon single handed, had won WW1 and WW2 all by themselves, was kind enough to allow all those satellite states to go it alone, and oh, it is such a great place to live if you are into freedom and civil liberties, so I skipped it. As far as I’m concerned, the only thing good about Russia are the women, so unless they were going to parade a bunch of those around scantly clad, I just Netflixed old episodes of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. I did notice (through reporting over the internet) that the stands were conspicuously empty (I’d a guessed all the gulags emptied out to fill the seats) and their little light glitch with the Olympic Rings (tee hee).

A good choice for lighting the torch, all things politics, remember?

And, as fitting, the USA took the very first medal, a gold.

Although I will not be watching much, if anything extra ordinary happens ( and my sincerest prayer is that nothing terror related occurs, not being able to drink the water or flush the toilet is bad enough) I will post it here.

I guess I’m obligated……………..GO USA.

Gates’ ME Move

I’ve commented before on posts how cool it would be to be fabulously wealthy, but not for the reasons you think. See, to really make a difference (about as much as one individual can) in whatever problem you think needs fixing, you need a platform, a method by which your words disseminate (which btw is real easy when you got bucks, just look at clowns like Soros or Buffett) but mostly you need the funds to target as much of the world as possible to get your solutions out there.

One guy that walked this walk is Bill Gates. Yeah, I know, another lib, much in line with guys like Ted Turner (who gave all that dough to the UN, what a dolt), who could really make a difference if channeled properly. But Gates has done great things with his pocket change, AIDs relief, mosquito nets, school supplies, digging fresh wells, vaccine programs, the Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation has indeed made a difference in the world. Political leaning aside, true charity has no ideology except to make the world a better place.

Many times I have heard Gates spouting absolute nonsense. He is one of these world citizens (like Obama), those that look to the UN for guidance, a redistributionist who would rather give someone in poverty a fish, as opposed to teaching him to fish or even teaching him how to operate a fishing business in his village. We don’t need to go over the stats proving that the one bar none solution for uplifting poverty ravaged nations out of their plight, improving their economic outlook and raising all boats in the tide, is capitalism. Gates is slowly figuring this out on his own.

Yes, none of us can be good in all things, but with Gates, occasionally talking out of your ass is punctuated by playing chess the same way. This is rather amusing. Take a look at the video, I’m sure you got a minute to spare. Bill, take your time forchrissakes. Not saying I could last much longer, but hey, I watched “Searching For Bobby Fisher” enough times, why would you Castle in like the third move of the match? As soon as he brought out his queen, it was over.

Gates reportedly fancies himself as something of a chess buff, so the speed of this defeat certainly stung. On the upside, he does have an excuse to fall back on: His flight to the show was delayed and he had to rush to the studio to make it in time, which may have left him a bit frazzled. Also there’s the part where he’s a billionaire philanthropist. That probably soothes a few wounds.

Still, that was pretty pathetic. One lesson I learned in tennis years, ago, when things look hopeless, stall, your opponent might cramp up, what else you got?

Let The Curling Begin

The Sochi Olympics start in about 3 weeks and my apathy could not be greater. For a sports guy I usually live for the Olympics, although not so much winter, but ever since Lillehammer I watch most of it. As an aside, we vacationed in Norway the year after the Olympics and I remember visiting Lillihammer, one of the novelties in the gift shops were maps of all the Scandinavian countries, and in place of Sweden there was a big black hole (Norwegian humor, gotta love it). My wife, who is Swedish, was not amused. But this time around there is virtually nothing offered to hold my interest.

Probably (and sadly) the big draw for any interest in Sochi is whether those Chechnian rebels (the Russian version of AQ) will blow up the Olympic village. Putin, in his usual totalitarian way, has put the fear of God into the locals, but those crazies from Chechnya seem determined.

It is also interesting (somewhat) to see who Obama is sending to represent the USA;

I’m not coming, have some lesbians instead.”

That may not be the exact wording of Obama’s RSVP to next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. But in picking tennis star and lesbian icon, Billie Jean King, along with gay hockey player Caitlin Cahow as his delegates, the U.S. President certainly seems to be giving homophobe extraordinaire, Vladimir Putin, a star spangled middle finger.

Putin has pretty much kicked Obama’s ass all over the globe for a few years now, this is about as payback as he can muster.

What with Lindsey Vonn out and Bode Miller in (Oh goody, we get to see him fall on his butt again) and no real figure skating darling to speak of (Boy, what I give for another Tanya Harding pipe swing incident) I can’t see much of anything to grab my attention. I’ll probably watch some hockey, but ABC (anybody but Canada, sorry Santino) either the US or the home country of Russia, that would work for me.

I hope the whole of it is uneventful (no explosions or loss of life, please) and that the Americans can comport themselves well and bring home some hardware, but mostly I will view the whole process from SportsCenter on ESPN and just the highlights, I got Dexter episodes to re-watch.