Being a fan of GOLTV's loquacious soccer analyst Ray Hudson, I had to share this clip of the eccentric Englishman describing the following goal from world player of the year Lionel Messi. The clip is from Barcelona's 4-0 win over Real Zaragoza back in November, but just showed up on YouTube. Watch as Ray is able to turn a rather simple and straight forward Leo goal into a lightning bolt from the gods as only he can...
"Does it the witching way Lionel Messi! Brilliance on steroids again!! The run, wonderful. The finish, impeccable. Leo ruthless once again. Wouldn't give you the smell off his cologne when he's got the goal in his sights."
"He would find the needle in the haystack by his sense of smell."
"When you go back on your fancy machines don't slow it down. Just let it right out in front of your eyes and you'll appreciate it ten times more. FLASH."
Of course my favorite line is describing Lionel Messi as "brilliance on steroids." Brilliance on steroids. I can't believe nobody thought of using that during Barry Bonds' home run chase...
After adding Detroit Lions star defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh for this weekend's divisional playoff games, CBS's The NFL Today is looking to add another current star to its lineup for the conference championship games: Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow. According to Michael Hiestand at USA Today, CBS has a request in to Tebow's people in efforting a guest appearance on their AFC Championship studio coverage. Just when you thought you escaped, CBS goes ahead and pulls you back in...
From what attention I paid to the pregame show, Suh came off relatively well in his guest spot. He was contrite for his actions on Thanksgiving Day, and said all the right things. But it would be a whole different story with Tebow. He's a very divisive figure among NFL analysts, with guys like Skip Bayless claiming he's the savior and an elite quarterback, and Merrill Hoge claiming the opposite. It could be interesting for Tebow on the CBS set, with three former players (two of whom, Dan Marino and Boomer Esiason, are quarterback) and one former coach on the panel. Would they bow down at his presence or push him on some of his flaws as a quarterback?
Regardless of what actually happens with Tebow on the set, this news has revealed one thing about the networks: they love Tim Tebow, and are going to do everything in their power to make sure that he's in our collective consciousness at all times during the NFL season. I wouldn't be surprised to see him somehow involved in Super Bowl weekend festivities either. Hell, maybe they'll bring him to the Pro Bowl, just because.
We can't escape the madness, so the best thing to do is embrace it.
An ESPN Outside the Lines story released Sunday attacked the UFC over perceived low fighter pay. The linked piece features an interview with UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta talking about the pay of the fighters. Well, the UFC struck back by releasing part of the interview unreleased by ESPN, in which Fertitta discusses ESPN paying fighters as low as $200 per fight for participating in ESPN's Friday Night Fights.
Both sides have a valid argument in this case. While it could be argued the UFC isn't paying fighters a lot of money, there is also the possibility of a "locker room bonus", that goes unreported to the commission. This bonus is pretty much a "hey, you fought a good fight, here's an extra ten grand" kind of bonus. The UFC also offers its fighters health insurance, which is unheard of for a fight organization.
In comparison to other organizations, the UFC is spoiling its athletes. Here are the salaries from a Strikeforce Challengers card in June, before the UFC bought the company. The highest base salary was $10,000 going to Ryan Couture, son of UFC legend Randy Couture. Jason High, a veteran of both the UFC and the Japanese fighting circuit, made just $3,000 as his base for his 17th career fight. Compare that to the salaries from UFC 141 in December, where the four fighters who made the low base of $8,000 were still on their first contracts with the organization. The UFC works like any company, in that seniority results in a new contract and a raise. Fighters usually initially sign four fight deals.
I think the more telling aspect is Fertitta's point about ESPN paying fighters so little for its Friday Night Fights shows. The promoters of the Friday Night Fights cards are the ones who are paying the fighters and not ESPN, but the point stands: if ESPN can afford to buy the rights to air the show, why are the fighters not making more money? That's more of a question for the promoters than ESPN, but to say that this is just a UFC problem is incredibly short-sighted.
Also entertaining throughout this whole ordeal? The war of words on Twitter between UFC president Dana White and ESPN boxing analyst Dan Rafael. The two went back and forth for about ten tweets apiece, bickering over the pay for fighters on Friday Night Fights cards. White seemed to be arguing the point made in the video by Fertitta, while Rafael towed the company line about licensing the cards and not being in charge of the payouts. White also released a video on Youtube today, going off on ESPN. Who do you side with in this debate - UFC, ESPN, or somewhere in between?
The FCC has asked for public comment in regards to the NFL's longstanding Blackout Rule, adding more momentum to fans' pleas that the reviled and dated rule be repealed. This comes on the heels of Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown's public comments calling for elimination of the nearly 40 year old rule.
This past season, 16 games were blacked out in their home markets. Over the last decade about half of the NFL (15 teams) have been subjected to a blackout with some clubs like the Raiders, Jaguars, Chargers, Lions, Bengals, and Buccaneers often finding themselves not on television to the dismay of fans. In addition to the many blackouts in recent history, many teams are forced to creatively dump tickets by selling them on the cheap to sponsors.
Fresh off the NFL's renegotiated television extensions that will bump revenue a whopping 60%, the mental gymnastics of explaining the logic of the Blackout Rule is beginning to become more strenuous (from PFT via USA Today)...
“The blackout policy is very important in supporting NFL stadiums and the ability of NFL clubs to sell tickets, keeping our games attractive as television programming with large crowds; and ensuring that we can continue to keep our games on free TV,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement to USA Today. “Playing in full stadiums with thousands of fans is an important part of what makes NFL football an exciting and special entertainment event, both live and on television. We have a limited number of games and do not want to erode the incentive to buy tickets.
I've read that quote above a handful of times and I still don't understand how it makes sense. PFT lays the wood against the NFL's stance by pointing out that changing ticket prices or stadium sizes could eliminate this problem...
Last season as an analyst for ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball, Bobby Valentine often spoke his mind and wasn't hesitant to say what he thought of certain players. One of those players was Carl Crawford, now one of Valentine's players with the Boston Red Sox. In August, Valentine criticized Crawford's open stance in the batter's box, and the outfielder was apparently none too pleased with him according to NESN.
Well, after weeks of trying, Valentine and Crawford finally had a conversation, and all appears to be well in Red Sox Nation. Crawford needs to turn his tenure in Boston around, and can't have an awful year like he did in 2011.
As for Valentine, let this be a lesson to all of the aspiring coaches out there currently hanging out in the broadcast booth: watch what you say, it might bite you in the ass at the end of the day. For a college coach like Urban Meyer, his players can easily transfer schools if they were that irritated at what a coach had to say in the booth. But in a professional league, where contracts are the norm? Yeah, that could be an issue. Jon Gruden had better watch what he says about some of the worse teams in the league, because he might be at the helm of one shortly. Maybe that's why he's gone the safer route of loving everybody.
It was last week when Joe Buck took to Twitter to defend his call of David Tyree's helmet catch in Super Bowl XLII. At the time, I reasoned that Joe's Twitter page and this lengthy explanation of his most infamous call could go a long way in getting over with fans that have never liked Joe's morbid style of announcing. Joe Buck's Twitter page has been a forum for him to interact with supporters and critics, offer insights into his announcing, and generally appear more likable and human (although there was a brief time his profile picture was him and Snooki). Joe Buck has been able to connect on his Twitter page to sports fans in a way that he previously hadn't been able to in the booth. Whether his Twitter page has anything to do with it or not, Joe Buck delivered what may be his best, most excited, and most popular performance last night in the Giants win over the Packers at Lambeau.
The major criticism since the dawn of Buck's dominance as Fox's #1 announcer has been his total lack of emotion in calling the highest profile games in sports. There have also been certain other times in the past where Buck has come off as arrogant or being more interested in becoming a late night star. Joe has always been a top pro amongst play by play men, but the main critique of Buck amongst a large section of fans has been his excitability. When we're jumping out of our chairs at home, we want to listen to someone that feels those similar emotions while telling the story of what we are seeing. That's why Gus Johnson connects with fans, or Bill Raftery, Ian Darke, and others. Dan Shulman would never be confused with a screaming lunatic, but he's as popular as any other announcer because he's able to find a balance and deliver big calls in big moments. Not everyone has to be Gus Johnson to win supporters over and last night, Joe Buck continued what is becoming a trend. He actually sounded excited and was able to connect with viewers.
The perfect example of this from last night's game was Hakeem Nicks catching a Hail Mary pass from Eli Manning at the end of the first half. The play might've taken the broadcast crew by surprise as the Giants were on the edge of field goal range with no timeouts. Instead of playing for the field goal, the Giants went for the touchdown. Here's Joe's call...
It's times like these that I'm thankful that my NFL team bowed out of the playoffs by a double-digit margin. That's because double-digit losses aren't recreated on Tecmo Bowl by some internet hero to remain in the annals of the internet until 12-21-12. For Saints fans, they sadly might want to be careful with their Youtube clicks because they might stumble on this gem spliced together with 49ers radio play-by-play announcer Ted Robinson's call of Smith to Davis.
For those of you who enjoy your video in greater than 8 bits, go here.
My highlight from Robinson's call is without a doubt his "VERNON DAVIS WITH THE PLAY OF HIS LIFE! ALEX SMITH WITH THE PLAY OF HIS LIFE!" line. It's also funny that just minutes earlier everyone thought Alex Smith had made THE PLAY OF HIS LIFE when he scampered in from 28-yards out with 2:11 remaining to put the Niners on top.
Peter Berg, the Executive Producer of TV's Friday Night Lights is said to have been “fascinated” by Leach when he came to live with him two years ago in Hollywood for a month and even had Leach film a cameo for the show.
Because of his fascination with Mike Leach, Berg sent the guys behind HBO’s sports doc On Freddie Roach to Leach’s new coaching gig in Washington State for three days to discuss the show’s possible angles. Imagine that, Washington State football the subject of a documentary!
It’s thought that the show will follow the team throughout training camp and up until a couple games into the season according to the B&C report.
Let’s consider the possible topics to be covered which will make this a must-watch:
Since it’s a documentary, will Leach take this time to frankly discuss the nasty divorce between Texas Tech and himself in greater detail?
Will Leach continue to be outspoken with the cameras on? Will he change his coaching style? Will he go on a tirade against Craig James in the first episode?
The show is on HBO. They won’t move forward with a project if it isn’t compelling and touches on at least one of the storylines noted above. HBO has a great track record with sports documentaries and there's not too many people in sports more interesting than Mike Leach. With the main attraction to the documentary being Mike Leach, expect a brutally honest behind-the-scenes view of Texas football brought to Washington State. Only, HBO will show you everything the other networks can’t or won’t.
ESPN has lost a number of talented people in the last year (with Brian Kenny, Bruce Feldman, and Pat Forde being some of the most notable examples), and they may be losing another on-air talent shortly: popular anchor and radio host Scott Van Pelt.
The Big Lead is reporting that the NBC Sports Network (freshly minted at the beginning of the year) is rumored to be going after Van Pelt, whose contract expires in April. On the heels of losing Jim Rome to CBS, losing Van Pelt would be huge, especially for ESPN Radio. Kenny's radio show was recently replaced by a show hosted by Mark Schlereth and Mike Hill, much to the chagrin of our staff. If Van Pelt were also to depart, ESPN would need to fill another hole in its radio schedule, but Van Pelt's sidekick Ryen Rusillo could be a tailor-made successor. If Van Pelt does indeed leave for NBC as speculated, it would give the network an extremely solid anchor to lead whatever coverage they're planning to go with. It's the kind of splash NBC Sports Network has to make coming out of the gates and would be a direct shot at ESPN.
Another popular ESPN talent whose contract is expiring is the cohost of SportsNation, Michelle Beadle. Ken Fang is reporting that Beadle's contract is expiring this month, and she could be a huge get for a network that is looking to get a firm grip on a studio host that can attract a younger crowd. The brass at ESPN is quite fond of Beadle though, and I don't think they'd let her go without a fight. ESPN would probably have to increase her role on the network, though, which is something I don't think they'd really hesitate doing. It could be similar to the expanded role Erin Andrews has seen in the last couple of years. Many fans are of the opnion that Beadle has supplanted EA as the queen of ESPN, and a progression in her career past hosting SportsNation with Cowherd would seem logical at this point in time.
I don't know what's more impressive about this clip - the three quarter court buzzer beater for the win, or the fact that Lindsey Wilson College from the NAIA (that's National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for the unaware) has their own YouTube channel and video coverage with slow motion instant replay capabilities! In the footage below, #14 Lindsey Wilson is trailing rival #5 Georgetown College (both located in Kentucky) by two with just seconds remaining, 78-76. After a missed free throw, Blue Raiders player Chase Spreen takes the rebound and heaves a prayer from inside his own free throw line. The end result? Nothing but net. Even better than the improbable buzzer beater is the home play by play man absolutley losing his mind over the play...
"Spreen with the rebound, half court, full court shot... GOOOOOODDD!!!! OH MY GOD!! OH MY GOD!! HE HIT IT FROM THE FREE THROW LINE ON THE OTHER SIDE!! UNBELIEVABLE!! IT'S THE MOST UNBELIEVABLE SHOT I'VE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE!!"
Indeed. Believe it or not, that was Lindsey Wilson's only lead of the game.