Although Matt Millen still leads the 2012 Pammies, there are several contenders beginning to emerge. The Gameday duo of Lee Corso and Desmond Howard sit in the Top 5 as does another of ESPN's studio crew. In fact, ESPNers make up our entire Top 5 so far this year... and that's without Craig James and Pam Ward! Here's your Top 10 for Week 5...
I would imagine it's the only time an official has appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and who better than the 24 inch pythons of Ed Hochuli. Hochuli has always been one of the NFL's most recognizable officials, but he became the rallying cry for fans yearning for the real refs to return. While it was nice to see the real refs receive ovations all around the country before Week 4's games, predictably, the honeymoon period was short lived. And that's the way it should be. At least SI was smart enough not to put Jeff Triplette on the cover.
If any of our readers live in the Windermere area, or are looking to spread their wings a bit in purchasing their next home... and have a few extra million lying around, Warren Sapp's Florida mansion is going through a US bankuptcy auction November 1st. Sapp's financial difficulties are well documented, and comes along at a time when athletes and their handling of finances are a topic of conversation in the sports world thanks to 30 for 30's Broke.
If you're someone looking for a house that features all the stupid amenities only a millionaire pro athlete could have like a home theatre, wine cellar, library, lazy river (score!), and covered boat house, this could be the home for you! If someone were to buy it, hopefully they have enough money leftover for housekeeping help, as I can't even fathom the amount of energy and effort that it would take for the upkeep and cleaning of a property that gigantic!
Has any athlete had a hard luck year quite like Lolo Jones? She didn't medal at the Olympics, she was savaged for having the nerve to be attractive and marketable, and then her own teammates threw her under the bus. Since the Olympics have come and gone, Lolo has been out of the spotlight, but she unwittingly stepped into another firestorm with one of the great Twitter mishaps of all-time Tuesday night.
It all started with an innocent tweet from former Rutgers player Eric LeGrand to Lolo, jokingly challenging her to a race. LeGrand has been paralyzed since 2010, but his quest to walk again has inspired countless people around the country. LeGrand has been on the cover of Sports Illustrated, been honored at the ESPYs, served as a motivational speaker, and even signed a contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and former Rutgers coach Greg Schiano.
Lolo Jones apparently knew none of this, because she took LeGrand's challenge seriously. First, she asked if LeGrand was concussed (admittedly not the most tactful approach), and then proposed a $40,000 wager on the race saying she only races for money or Olympic medals.
Yankees analyst David Cone was describing a replay of an Ichiro Suzuki groundball and just had to go... there. Yes, he actually called Ichiro Suzuki's bat a "chopstick" during the YES Network's Yankees broadcast tonight. You see, because Ichiro is from Japan, and chopsticks are a traditional Asian eating utensil, and both products are made from wood. It's a clumsy, absent-minded analogy. When will sports announcers learn to leave ethnic humor to professional comedians?
Former Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel has been rather quiet since leaving the Buckeyes under the cloud of the tattoo scandal that unceremoniously ended his tenure in Columbus. Tress has served as a consultant for the Colts in 2011 (while serving the stupidest suspension in NFL history thanks to Roger Goodell) and now works at the University of Akron as Vice President of Strategic Engagement. And now, Tressel is dipping his toe in the television waters, at least locally in Cleveland, as a special contributor for WKYC. As reported by the Plain Dealer...
We've been waiting for this day for quite a while: with MLB's new TV deals with Fox and Turner, Saturday blackouts with Fox have been eliminated. This was the bane of many fans' existence, and starting in 2014, no one is going to have to worry about it again. Keep in mind that blackouts will still be in effect next season, but that will be the last year for that nightmare.
Other interesting tidbits that have come out today with the official signing of the new TV contracts include the final tally of rights fees doubling for MLB across the board. MLB Network will continue to air two Division Series games per season through the 2021 season, while also picking up coverage of the Futures Game and All-Star Selection Show starting in 2014. The selection show previously aired on TBS, while ESPN had the rights to the Futures game as part of their All-Star Weekend coverage.
ESPN's fractured relationship with the NHL has never been worse. SportsCenter treats the NHL with the ambivalence and disinterest usually saved for MLS and other niche sports and NHL fans have abandoned ESPN en masse. Only a token appearance from Barry Melrose out of whatever Bristol dungeon ESPN keeps him in gives professional hockey a minute presence on ESPN airwaves. In fact, it has seemed at times that ESPN has purposely avoided NHL news out of spite if nothing else.
If you've watched ESPN in the last month you would have little idea the NHL is embroiled in another lockout that threatens the sport. You would have no concept of the NHL's growth in popularity in the several seasons since the last lockout or the issues at the heart of the current one. ESPN exec Vince Doria infamously proclaimed from his Bristol ivory tower, "the sport of hockey doesn't translate to a national discussion."
Perhaps ESPN's view of hockey has changed. In spite of the NHL Lockout, ESPN will finally, once again, televise professional hockey this season.
If ESPN treated every story they cover like 30 for 30, the sports world... no, the world in general would be a much better, happier, less stressful place. ESPN's acclaimed documentary series returns under the 30 for 30 banner tonight with Broke, directed by Billy Corben. After a branding dilemma between moving forward with more 30 for 30 docs or going ahead under the generic ESPN Films moniker, Bristol has decided to return to placing new docs under the 30 for 30 banner. In spite of the name not really applying anymore, more fans will resonate with the 30 for 30 series since it was so well done and such an unmitigated success for ESPN.
Following in the footsteps of awful GM Matt Millen, former Knicks President of Basketball Operations Isiah Thomas may be coming to ESPN to be an NBA analyst. USA Today's Michael Hiestand reported Thomas had an audition with the network and notorious ogre Phil Mushnick of the New York Post says he's a candidate for a studio spot. Also, former Magic coach Stan Van Gundy will not be joining ESPN this year, despite previous reports he and Bill Simmons would be the centerpiece of a new NBA pregame show.