Nov 19 2008

Houston to Host NCAA Final Four in 2011 and 2016

Category: Houston,Pro Sports,SportsTim @ 3:56 pm

Correction: the Final Four will be in Houston in 2011 and 2016, not 2010 as originally reported.

Great news for Houston sports fans today:

Reliant Stadium has been selected to host the men’s basketball Final Four in 2016, the NCAA announced today.

The national finals that year will be April 2-4 in Houston.

That’s great news. We hosted a regional final this past year and it went very well. Everyone who I spoke with thought Reliant Stadium worked as a basketball venue and the environment was great. The NCAA announced other cities who will be hosting the Final Four games as well:

In addition to New Orleans getting the 2012 event, Atlanta will host it in 2013, Dallas-Fort Worth in 2014, Indianapolis in 2015 and Houston in 2016.

The 2014 Final Four in Dallas-Forth Worth will be held at the new Dallas Cowboys stadium that is in the final stages of construction.

That will be a trick to host the games in an 80,000+ seat venue. Good luck Dallas…

In the past few years we have hosted the MLB and NBA All Star games, Superbowl XXXVIII, NCAA Regional Finals, Big 12 Championship game, Bowl Games, and the World Series. Now, all we need is a real football team and maybe we could host an NFL playoff game! Here’s hoping.

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Nov 19 2008

ESPN Wins BCS TV Rights: Another Blow to Football Fans Without Cable

Category: Economy,Entertainment,Pro Sports,SportsTim @ 10:30 am

For those football fans without cable TV, you are now officially in trouble:

ESPN and the Bowl Championship Series confirmed Tuesday that they have reached agreement on a four-year television deal beginning in 2011 that gives the cable network broadcast rights to the Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Fiesta Bowl and the national championship game, which rotates among those three plus the Rose Bowl. Sources from both sides said the contract is worth $500 million.

Perhaps this is a sign of the times. It’s getting harder to find the “free lunch” in the sports world. Prime sports are moving more toward a pay-per-view option:

ESPN and other cable network providers say this isn’t a big deal, noting that in most American homes today, subscription TV is a utility, like power and water. An estimated 98 million of America’s 118 million television households have cable or satellite systems.

Moreover, some of that other 20 million are a step ahead, not a step behind. They’re iPhonegeneration kids who skip cable so they can get higher-octane Internet – and watch TV that way.

But still, for the 15 million to 20 million households that only have broadcast TV, Tuesday’s announcement is the bluntest declaration so far that they’re being shut out of one of America’s biggest cultural common denominators: major sports.

It is true, as cable and sports operators note, that this is a business with costs, and no one has a right to enjoy the product for nothing.

OK. So most of us already have ESPN and having access online helps those who do not have cable. Add to that the digital TV conversion in February and it looks like not having cable/satellite is no longer even an option for sports fans or TV viewers in general.

I know the “bottom-line” mentality has been around since the first exchange of goods, but it seems that we are getting out-of-hand. Advertising is squeezed into every possible corner, even on the field of play and the player’s uniforms. Commercials run over top of plays and have worked their way into the play-by-play. We are already paying for the right to view sports. At what point does it end?


Nov 17 2008

2008 Indianapolis Colts Most Valuable Player: Sage Rosenfels

Category: Houston,Pro Sports,SportsTim @ 8:33 am

Yesterday, Sage Rosenfels completed his campaign for team MVP; unfortunately, he was campaigning for the wrong team. So, I give to you the Most Valuable Player for the 2008 Indianapolis Colts: Sage Rosenfels.

Sage Rosenfels Colts MVP

You may ask, how can a guy who is not “officially” on the Colts roster earn such high praise? Let me present the evidence.

Exhibit A: October 5, 2008 – The Rosencopter

The Colts were facing a disastrous 1-3 start to their season and were 3 minutes and 50 seconds away from a sound beating at the hands of the Houston Texans. Just when Indianapolis fans were ready throw in the towel, on came Sage:

That’s right, Sage single-handedly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and rescued the Colts season. With reckless abandon, his love for the Colts shown threw as he spun high in the air; dropping the ball into the loving arms of Gary Brackett who scored a touchdown. But wait, that was not enough, Sage had do to more for his beloved Colts.

Sage bravely stepped to the line and rolled again to his left while extending the ball for anyone to grab. While it looked like he was trying to pass, we were not fooled. He bravely fumbled the ball and allowed the Colts to grab the lead from the Texans a few plays later.

But wait; there was still a chance for a come-back by Houston. That’s when Sage completed his masterpiece. He targeted Melvin Bullitt and threw the gameending interception to ensure the victory for his beloved Colts.

I know what you are saying, “Is that really enough for the MVP award?” With a loss, the Colts would have been 1-3 and living in the cellar of the AFC South, but is that really enough to pass the other 18 for MVP? Sage needed more.

Exhibit B: November 16, 2008 – 4th Quarter Glory

It was a hard-fought game and Sage had hidden his Colts love well. The battle continued back and forth for most of the game with the Colts finally taking the lead late in the 4th Quarter. That’s when Sage could no longer contain his love. With the Texans poised for a 4th quarter comeback, Sage spotted his favorite Colt receiver, Melvin Bullitt and drilled him with a perfect strike. Once again, Sage sealed victory for the Colts and propelled them toward the playoffs.

Bravo Sage, you are clearly the most valuable Colt.

PS. Perhaps you should move to Indianapolis today. Don’t wait, go now.

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Nov 06 2008

Al Davis’ House Cleaning – Oakland Raiders Cut DeAngelo Hall

Category: Pro Sports,SportsTim @ 6:46 am

The madness continues for Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders. First, they hire then fire coach Lane Kiffin. Now, the cut one of their best players

DeAngelo Hall Oakland Raiders

Raiders cornerback DeAngelo Hall was the first player released by team owner Al Davis on Wednesday, a move expected to trigger a major shakeup of Oakland’s roster.

Angered by the Raiders’ 2-6 start, Davis asked his front-office staff to explore the possibility of releasing several players. By releasing Hall, who was acquired from Atlanta before this season, the Raiders are washing their hands of a seven-year, $72 million contract after only eight games.

“I’ve never been in a situation where you cut one of the best players,” said safety Gibril Wilson, another of the team’s offseason acquisitions. “That’s strange to me. It’s almost like we’re throwing in the towel.”

Throwing in the towel? Yes, that is exactly what this sounds like. I can almost hear Al Davis saying, “We are not a good franchise, and we are losing money. Let’s cut salary as quickly as possible”.

The Raiders are a franchise with rabid fans and a storied past: they deserve better.

Perhaps Hall is not worth all that money:

In his eight games in Oakland, Hall was beaten 40 times for 552 yards on 66 passes thrown his way, according to data compiled by STATS LLC. He gave up more yards than any defender this season and was tied for third worst in catches allowed.

Hall said earlier this season it took him time to get used to Oakland’s man-to-man style of defense after being able to freelance frequently while playing zone with the Falcons. He had 17 interceptions in his four seasons in Atlanta, making the Pro Bowl in 2005 and ’06. He had three interceptions this year, but frequently got beaten on big plays.

Hall got about $8 million of his contract for playing in eight games. But by releasing him now, the Raiders can use some of the money they planned to give Hall to try to keep Asomugha.

$8 million for 8 games; that’s good work if you can find it. I suspect this is just the beginning of the Al Davis yard sale. Perhaps other teams can take advantage of a guy who clearly passed his prime over a decade ago. Good luck Raider fans.

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Oct 31 2008

Mike Singletary Drops His Pants – Shows Assets to the 49ers

Category: Humor,Pro Sports,SportsTim @ 7:08 am

This story is just to juicy too pass up. Apparently, as a motivational ploy, San Francisco 49ers Interim Head Coach Mike Singletary dropped his pants during last Sunday’s halftime speech:

Mike Singletary Moon

Mike Singletary’s motivational message to the 49ers on Sunday in his inaugural game as head coach also included a visual aid.

When his team hit the Candlestick Park locker room at halftime trailing the Seahawks 20-3, Singletary called everyone to attention, dropped his pants and pointed to his rear end, to fully illustrate what the coach thought of his players’ performance.

According to a report that first aired on Phoenix-area radio XTRA-910, Singletary then berated the team for three to four minutes with his pants around his ankles.

Dropped his pants as a motivational ploy! In his first game as head coach! What was he trying to say, “If you don’t want to see this again, start playing better?” How about, “This too can happen to you if you don’t start playing better?” Or, “Do you think I could join Michael Jordan in a Haynes ad?” Seriously!?!? What makes a man decide to drop his pants in front of 53 football players as he is yelling at them?

According to Salkin, Singletary told the team at halftime: “We’re getting our tails whipped out there, now let’s get back out there.”

Singletary, whose team has a bye week, issued a statement: “I used my pants to illustrate that we were getting our tails whipped on Sunday and how humiliating that should feel for all of us. I needed to do something to dramatize my point; there were other ways I could have done it but I think this got the message across. I am excited about having the team back at practice on Monday so we can get back to work.”

Sorry, I have to borrow a message from the kids here…OMG! He used his pants to illustrate humiliation. This is a guy who used to be one of the most feared players in the league. As a middle linebacker for the Chicago Bears in the 80s, he was regarded as the best there was; he would hit you and you would feel it for weeks to come. His intensity and tenacity were the stuff of legends. What does it say when a guy like that drops his pants in front of a team he is supposed to be leading?

Humiliating is a good word for the once-proud 49ers franchise and how their fans must now feel.

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Oct 31 2008

Guitar Hero World Tour Ad with Kobe Bryant, Michael Phelps, Tony Hawk, and A-Rod

Category: Entertainment,Kids & Technology,Sports,VideoTim @ 5:21 am

Guitar Hero World Tour has been released and they have hired some big name stars to promote the game. Kobe Bryant, Michael Phelps, Tony Hawk, and Alex “A-Rod” Rodriguez all do their best Tom Cruise:

Can’t say this makes we want to buy the game more, but I’m sure it will be a hit with others!

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Oct 30 2008

NFL in Trouble Again – Senators Leahy and Specter want their NFL Network

Category: Politics,Pro Sports,SportsTim @ 7:13 am

The National Football League (NFL) and its NFL Network are in trouble again with the US Senate.

A group of 13 U.S. senators wrote a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell urging the league to make the games televised on the league-owned NFL Network more widely available.

Among those signing the letter, dated Tuesday, were Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.), the committee’s ranking Republican who was highly critical of the NFL and Goodell earlier this year for the league’s handling of the videotaping scandal involving the New England Patriots.

The NFL responded in a letter to the Senate on Wednesday saying:

The NFL said that it was following a TV policy that it has had for the two decades games have been in primetime on ESPN, first on Sundays and now on Mondays.

“That same television policy makes the NFL the only league that has all of its regular season and playoff games on free TV, including our limited number of cable games that are also televised on free TV in participating markets,” the NFL said Tuesday.

At issue, the major cable companies are not happy with the fees being charged to carry the NFL Network and they want to pass the fees on to their subscribers by making the NFL Network available as a package upgrade. In Houston, with Comcast Cable, you have to order their Sports Entertainment Package and pay an additional $7.95 per month to access the NFL Network. The Senators want NFL Network to be part of “basic cable” and not an additional package. The real problems begin next week when the NFL Network starts carrying regular-season NFL games on Thursday nights and millions of Americans will not have access to those games.

The senators want quick action so fans in every market receive free TV access to games played by their closest team or the team it has been historically aligned to. Eight games will air this season on the NFL Network, which is available in less than 40 percent of households. The league is in a dispute with major cable companies over whether they should carry the channel as part of a basic package.

In a statement, the NFL said the goal is to provide the NFL Network to a national audience, but the “goal has been undercut by several of the largest cable operators.”

You bet they want quick action. After all, there are only a couple of days left until the election.

Last year, I stood on principle and refused to pay extra for the NFL Network. I believed, and still do, that I spend too much money on NFL tickets, jerseys, memorabilia, hats, jackets, decorations, etc. and paying $5 for Cokes in the stadiums on game day. The NFL seems to be the modern-day version of Count Dracula; sucking all the cash they can out of fans until they are dead or become one of them. At some point, with a worsening economy, they will go too far and realize they are breaking the backs of those who support the league the most. The problem is, I’m addicted to football.

This year, I caved and paid the fees. My boys discovered the NFL Network over the summer at their grandparent’s house (they have satellite and the NFL Network is part of the basic package) and they became hooked. The NFL Network does a great job of coverage and they also have condensed games on Tuesdays that are very cool. The boys liked it so much they agreed to pay the extra monthly fee to get the NFL Network in our house. How could you say no to that?

Hence the problem; we want the NFL Network, but we don’t want to pay for it. All I can say is, “Go Senators!”

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Oct 28 2008

Chargers Miss The Mark – Fire Ted Cottrell Instead of Norv Turner

Category: Pro Sports,SportsTim @ 4:07 pm

The San Diego Chargers almost made the right decision today, but missed and fired Defensive Coordinator Ted Cottrell instead of Head Coach Norv Turner:

The San Diego Chargers fired defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell on Tuesday and elevated inside linebackers coach Ron Rivera to the position.

Cottrell’s dismissal comes two days after the Chargers lost to Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, 37-32, in London. Brees threw for 341 yards and three touchdowns. The Chargers have the worst pass defense in the NFL and rank 28th overall.

“Hey, listen, what we’re trying to do is to put our guys in the best position to make plays, and it comes down to our players making plays,” said Turner, deflecting blame away from Cottrell. “It’s never just about one guy.

I like Turner’s claim that it is never about one guy as a way of deflecting attention from himself; the one guy who has a track record of bad coaching. Patience Charger fans, you day will come. I give it about 8 more weeks.

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Oct 23 2008

Brett Favre Giving Secrets to the Lions

Category: Pro Sports,SportsTim @ 11:45 am

This story cracks me up. Brett Farve has admitted that he talked to Matt Millen but didn’t give competitive secrets to the Detroit Lions about how to beat his former team:

The New York Jets quarterback acknowledged yesterday that he spoke to former Detroit president Matt Millen a few weeks ago, but denied reports he called Millen and gave him and Lions coaches information they could use in a game against the Green Bay Packers.

Favre, who had a bitter split with the Packers in the offseason, said Millen called to invite him to go hunting. The friends then briefly talked about football.

This is the biggest non-story in sports. Favre was with the Packers for 16 years and in the end, he experienced what many aging players experience: a team that doesn’t need him anymore. Why shouldn’t he help a friend keep his job? Farve moved on and now is helping others to beat the team that jilted him. Who wouldn’t?

Of course, his former teammates feel a bit betrayed:

Favre said he had heard quotes from the Packers locker room accusing him of sabotaging the team, but he said he was only doing what many players and coaches do around the league, which is to share information. He claimed that what he was doing was not out of bounds in the football world.

Asked about his former teammates’ reaction, he intimated that they were being influenced by higher-ups in the Packers organization who have a bone to pick with him.

If Brett did give intimate secrets to the Lions about beating the Packers, it didn’t do much good. Green Bay beat Detroit 48-25 even with Brett’s secret knowledge. Of course, giving the Lions the secrets to beating the Packers would be like giving a Rubik’s Cube to a dog: they lack the physical dexterity to do anything with the it but drop it on the floor and try to bite it.

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Oct 20 2008

Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones Says Adam “Pacman” Jones is in Rehab

Category: Pro Sports,SportsTim @ 2:58 pm

More news from the Dallas Cowboys today. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says Pacman is in rehab:

NEW YORK (AP) — Suspended Dallas Cowboys cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones has entered an alcohol treatment center.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says the player checked into a facility “in another part of the country.” The treatment plan is overseen by the NFL.

I think that is very good news for the younger Mr. Jones, but I think the NFL may be finished with this troubled young man. It seems NFL rules have changed and now the Cowboys are owing some money to the NFL:

The Dallas Cowboys are being “fined” for the suspension of Adam “Pacman” Jones under NFL policy, the league confirmed Friday.

As of Aug. 1, teams are required to submit to the league a portion of the salary forfeited by players who are suspended without pay under the personal conduct, substance abuse, or steroids policy, beginning with a team’s second such suspension in a league year.

[…]

Under this policy, the Cowboys will pay to the league office $20,588 for each game that Jones remains suspended, up to maximum of $200,000 for this suspension.

So, the Cowboys are out a player and have to pay a fine. I doubt anyone else would take a flyer on a player like Pacman Jones again. He has proven to be both a distraction and a liability to his team and there is just not room for that in the NFL. Of course, if the player is good enough, we can sell our morals for a victory.

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