The romance of our age between Kim Kardashian and Reggie Bush has come to an end. Oh, the humanity.
The romance of our age between Kim Kardashian and Reggie Bush has come to an end. Oh, the humanity.
I think a good time was had by all at my (first annual?) Super Bowl party at the humble abode on Sunday; the company was nice and the game didn’t disappoint, despite KGNS forgetting to hit the “HD switch” in the control room until near the end of the first quarter, a glitch I called in advance in my invitation email. And while I predicted the final score exactly wrong all-in-all it was a pretty good evening, capped by a classic Office episode. A win-win-win, I’d say.
The big football news this week is that everyone’s (well, everyone except Bill Simmons’) least favorite football coach, Bill Belichick, was caught having an assistant coach videotape defensive signals in Sunday’s Patriots victory over the New York Jets. Speculation about a penalty ranges from draft picks to a Belichick suspension, but to my mind Roger Goddell should be looking to how the NCAA, NASCAR, and soccer leagues around the world punish cheaters: hitting teams in the only thing the Patriots and their owner Bob Krafft really care about—standings and the win-loss record. Make the Pats forfeit their win over the Jets, or force them to—at best—be the #6 seed in the playoffs, in effect forfeiting a potential bye and playing all their games on the road (assuming they qualify), and the sartorially-challenged self-declared football genius will curb his misbehavior much more quickly than if threatened by mere fines or a meaningless sideline ban.
The big higher education news is SIU president Glenn Poshard’s apparent plagiarism in both his master’s and doctoral theses. If SIU‘s board of trustees had any guts, not only would they can the guy, they’d also revoke his degrees. Unfortunately, being an administration stooge seems to be an essential qualification for board membership at many universities, including at SIU and now at Dartmouth too.
The Times-Picayune has a lengthy interview with departing Tulane sports law prof Gary Roberts, in which he predicts the New Orleans Hornets will be leaving the Crescent City in the next five years, soon to be followed by the New Orleans Saints. Roberts also talks about the continued viability of Tulane’s intercollegiate sports programs, the BCS, and the effects of the newly-introduced NCAA Academic Progress Rate.
Ars Technica gives an overview of much of the neat technology that CBS will be using to bring Super Bowl XLI into our homes on Sunday—in some of our homes, in glorious high definition to boot.
In the grand scheme of things, I think today’s AFC divisional game came out best for the Colts—Indy, particularly this season, fundamentally matches up better against the pass-happy Patriots than the running game of the Chargers. And, this year the Colts have two advantages: Adam Vinatieri, a definite upgrade over Mike “Liquored Up” Vanderjagt, and home field in the
Hoosier RCA Dome. So, I’m picking the Colts to make their first Super Bowl under Peyton Manning… and unless the Patriots play much better than they did today, I expect it won’t even be close.
On the NFC side, I have to say I’ve become a convert to the Saints bandwagon, and they definitely have a good shot at beating the Bears in Chicago: Drew Brees is a much more consistent passer than Rex Grossman (or Brian Griese), and the Deuce/Reggie combo should be able to pound out a lot of yardage if the weather isn’t conducive to passing. The Bears should be favored mostly due to home-field advantage, but I don’t think that will be too much of a factor in the game because of the way the Saints’ strengths line up. So I pick the Saints in a mild upset.
The NFL playoffs begin Saturday. Those of you who haven’t decided who to root for this weekend can use this handy-dandy tool from the NFL to help you decide.
Like BigJim, I’m stunned by the performance of the Saints on Sunday Night Football against the Cowboys—a team that looked like it was the best in the NFC coming into Sunday, but looked thoroughly lost tonight (along with the officiating crew). Frequent Commenter Alfie and his bride-to-be certainly picked a good game to go see in person.
I have to say I had a pretty good time in Columbia this weekend, despite Ole Miss’ general ineptitude leading to a 34–7 drubbing at the hands of Mizzou. I also enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with one of my professors from grad school days, Marvin Overby, and getting together with Frequent Commenter Alfie and the gang for a Midwestern tailgate and pub crawl.
In other football-related observations:
Maguire: What about me and Bob? We’re not doing anything Monday night.
Nessler: You’re not doing anything now.
Finally, any sports bar that has blown $5k on a widescreen flatscreen television should not be showing a stretched standard-definition broadcast of anything, much less a football game available in high definition. At the very least, switch off the damn stretch mode—am I the only person alive who thinks that exaggerating people’s width by ⅓ is a bad idea?
Craig Depken at Division of Labour looks back at the 1905–06 overhaul of football rules and looks ahead at the more modest changes to be implemented in the NFL this coming season.
Congratulations to the Dallas Cowboys on acquiring the locker room cancer known as Terrell Owens. I suppose if there’s an NFL coach that can handle Owens’ ego, it’s Bill Parcells, but I can’t see this working out over even the medium term.
Congratulations also to the Blue Devils on making it back to the Sweet 16; the only category of the contest where George Washington bested Duke was in the attractiveness of their cheerleading squad (admittedly a matchup in which the Blue Devils frequently falter).
Finally, after praising WRAL for their telecasting work the first two days of the tournament, I have to issue a major demerit to our CBS affiliate for not airing the first five game minutes (and possibly more) of the Florida/Wisconsin-Milwaukee matchup on one of the umpteen available digital channels, instead of making us all sit through the interminable foulfest at the end the Duke–GW contest.
Colts HB Edgerrin James has signed a free-agent deal to play for the Arizona Cardinals, which will probably either (a) put the Cardinals back on the NFL map or (b) relegate James to football oblivion. Given that decent backs are dime-a-dozen in the contemporary NFL, my money is more on option b.
Since I am off on an interview today, posting may be restricted to this linkfest:
That’s all I’ve got for now.
The new Monday Night Football booth is Mike Tirico, Tony Kornheiser, and Joe Theismann, along with two sideline reporters (Michele Tafoya and Suzy Kolber); this apparently clears the way for Al Michaels to stay with John Madden as the latter moves to NBC‘s Sunday night broadcast. Say what you will about Tirico’s alleged personal sleaziness, but he’s a good play-by-play guy, and the idea of Mr. Tony on an open mike for three hours a week is entertaining in and of itself (even though this may require TK to start watching some sports again).
Speaking of Mr. Tony, one wonders if a rapprochment with ESPN Radio might be in the offing; either way, canning Eric Kusileus or Colin Cowherd (or preferably both) needs to be on the agenda.
þ: Balloon Juice and others.
After a sucktacular first half, the second half of Super Bowl XL managed to restore my faith in the game. And, while the turnout at the party was minimal (consisting solely of Nick and myself), I think it was fun nonetheless—mercilessly mocking Al Michaels and John Madden is best done with an audience, methinks.
I wish I could say the same about ABC‘s presentation. Thank God that Chris Berman and Stuart Scott won’t be within 100 miles of this game for the forseeable future.
In any event, congratulations to the Pittsburgh Steelers on the occasion of their well-deserved win, and to Jerome Bettis for capping off his career with a Super Bowl victory.
Maybe the news that NFL Network will show eight regular-season games in the upcoming season will finally get Time-Warner here in Durham off their collective asses. High-def would be nice, but even the standard-definition channel would make me happy (or happier, at any rate).
I ran into Nick and one of my devoted band of lurkers yesterday and was reminded that I have been insufficiently social this, er, year or so. So, in order to rectify that, I’m proposing the first annual “Hang Out With Chris and Watch the Super Bowl on his Spankin’ New HDTV Party.” It probably needs a more catchy title, but I’m working with nothing here.
If nothing else, at least it will serve as an excuse to clean up my living room.
ABC/ESPN’s use of the Skycam to show the quarterback walking to the sideline after calling a timeout. At least Fox and CBS seem not to be doing it today.
As the 2005 NFL season draws to a close, so too do the existing television contracts. John Cole tries to sort out the details as they relate to the ESPN/ABC family of networks, which also include the end of NFL
SuckTime PrimeTime and its presumed migration to the Monday NFL Countdown slot on Mondays.
I wonder if the idea of combining Chris Berman and Stuart Scott’s powers of suck on the new Monday NFL PrimeTime will cross the minds of the ESPN powers that be. If so, we may observe some sort of implosion of the universe, as Berman’s lame nicknames (and combover) and Scott’s bogus street talk (and Urkel glasses) converge to form an intellectual black hole in Bristol on a weekly basis.
Maurice Clarett, the hero of the 2002 Ohio State national championship team, is wanted by police for allegedly robbing two people at gunpoint in Columbus early New Year’s morning, according to ESPN.com. At the time, Clarett was apparently on the cusp of signing a deal to play in NFL Europe in the hopes of returning to the NFL proper; one suspects that opportunity has now evaporated completely.
ESPN.com’s John Clayton ponders the NFL playoff format, which has contributed to a Week 17 full of uninteresting contests. While Clayton is lukewarm about expanding the playoffs (a position I agree with), he does have a more interesting suggestion:
Another idea that should be tossed around is seeding the playoffs by victories instead of giving the division winners the top four seeds. Most of this weekend’s games are meaningless because teams that have locked up home games for the playoffs will rest their key players .
If the Patriots had to worry about playing in Jacksonville instead of opening the playoffs at home against the Jaguars, they might have a big sense of panic heading into this weekend’s game against the Dolphins. Too many of this weekend’s games are like preseason games.
I’d favor a smaller adjustment: guaranteeing the top two seeds to the best two division winners in each conference. In practice, it is unlikely that this would be much different from Clayton’s proposal.
Part of the difficulty of being in job limbo: am I supposed to be rooting for the Rams or the Packers? Given the teams’ records, I’d rather not have to root for either.
Well, I’m now in the interlude between my two interviews—not much of an interlude, considering I have classes to teach, assignments to grade, and clothes to get washed, but an interlude nonetheless.
In the meantime, my only real thought of the day: who exactly told Terrell Owens that it would be a good idea for him to get a heel manager?
ESPN.com reports that, according to NFL sources, the only way the Saints are likely to come back to New Orleans is if they play in a Super Bowl. Given the team’s history of threats to leave town for greener pastures (most recently—and, in retrospect, ironically—for the Mississippi Gulf Coast), nobody should be particularly surprised.
If Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco are smart (admittedly a dubious proposition), they’ll shake down Saints owner Tom Benson for as much buyout money as possible—and then spend it on something other than luring another NFL franchise to town.