Beau Bock - TELLING THE TRUTH SINCE 1973 ON ATLANTA RADIO!!!
[H/T Jimmy Traina]
Our armed services don't get enough love from the sporting world. There is always that nice shout-out and sometimes live feed of soldiers abroad watching major US sporting events. Teams often have military appreciation days and of late a lot of coaches have made the trek overseas to visit our troops. However, outside of these moments, the heartfelt acknowledgement and appreciation of our armed services is something we really tend to reserve for special occasions like Memorial Day, Veteran's Day, and to a lesser degree the Army vs Navy football game.
Formally one of college football's most compelling games of the year, the significance of the game has diminished as you rarely find one of the teams in the top 25 and Army has had a pretty rough decade on the gridiron. The games themselves have been a bit lacking as Navy has rattled off 9 straight wins, none of which were even one score games. On the bright side, it seems both programs seem to be on solid footing as Army won their first bowl game since 1985 last year.
But this game's significance is no longer in the wins and losses but rather the unique storyline of men whose letter of intent is a commitment and sacrifice that dwarfs their peers at programs all across the country. One day a year we celebrate these individuals, what they stand for, and the rich history of the game. Thanks to CBS and Showtime, we'll get to extend this celebration and gain a deeper understanding and appreciation as today they announced a documentary series on the lead up to the game.
"With crews embedding with the teams, CBS Sports.com on Monday, Oct. 17 will kick off 10 weekly webisodes surrounding the two service academies.
A preview of the docu-drama is scheduled for No. 23 on Showtime with encores to follow, while CBS will air the network television premiere on Saturday, Dec. 3, a week before the academies renew their rivalry, this year in Washington D.C.
A Game Of Honor, which will incorporate footage and interviews leading up to the contest, as well as action during the game and immediately thereafter, is slated to bow on Showtime on Dec. 21."
The actual release of the series is a bit confusing as you'll have webisodes, a making of special, a CBS series, and then a 2 hour documentary if I am reading this correctly.
I haven't yet checked out Showtime's work on "The Franchise", but word from Giants fans is that Showtime has done a good job there.
Regardless if it's on CBS, Showtime, or relegated to webisdoes, there is definitely a lot of great stories to tell here. Why these men choose to serve, where they come from, and what their day to day lives are like all makes for great television. Both teams also have the angle of being underdogs as their football talent is definitely not on par with other D1 schools. Even though Navy has been a solid program over the years, it's hard to imagine that their physical talents and pedigree are actually the driving force behind their success.
We'll get to see just how they're able to compete and if Army can continue their march back to respectability. Definitely a great initiative and one myself and the AA team look forward to viewing. Kudos to CBS and Showtime for picking up HBO's slack with Hard Knocks on hiatus.
Dick Vitale, whose talking head graces our Mt. Awful Announcing Rushmore, is in Rome these days and had a chance to meet with the POPE, Pope Benedict XVI. We know this because he gave us the play-by-play via his Twitter account:
Heading right now to the Pope's summer home hoping & praying 4 an audience with the HOLY FATHER! [...]
So EXCITED just kissed Pope's ring - in SHOCK!
(Ed. note: The last tweet was supplemented with the following photo, which looks more like SAD DickieV after a Duke loss):
I am still shaking as I have met many many famous ppl but NOTHING COMPARES when I was called 4 my moment today with POPE BENEDICT XVI! [...]
Can't wait 4 the photos taken by the Pope's staff- in awe as we made small talk .Asked his Holiness to pray 4 peace in our world & 4 my fam, [...]
@richarddeitsch Goosebumps as it was a moment that I will treasure - usually a non stop talker- I was in such awe- he started the chatter [...]
Ran into Broncos fan in hotel lobby in Rome & he claims Brady Quinn should starr- I said it is @timtebow time. [...]
(Ed. note: A Tim Tebow tweet in the middle of talking about meeting the POPE could not have been a coincidence.)
That was a real diaper dandy. I'm curious - how would DickieV rank his meeting with the Pope to one with ScarJo?
Did not have the nerve but I wanted to joke around & ask the Pope who was more popular in Germany the Pope or @swish41 -Dirk Nowitzki?
Attention football fans! Our collective prayers have been answered by the WorldWide Leader, ESPN! No longer will you lie awake at night wishing there was a more contrived, more complicated way to rate your favorite quarterback! No longer will you have to wrap your pea-sized mind around a perfect 158.3 QB rating. No, no, no, ESPN is saving the day this Friday when they unveil their brand new Total Quarterback Rating. Of course, the new Total QB Rating is only a small part of ESPN's Year of the Quarterback, which I think falls somewhere between the Year of the Tiger and the Year of the Armadillo.
Hopefully you could sense the sarcasm dripping from that paragraph, but it is true, ESPN has devised their own QB rating in their never-ending quest for world domination. But why? Sure, we've all complained at one point or another that a perfect QB rating of 158.3 makes no sense. But was there really demand for a different QB rating to muddy the waters? As SI's Kerry Byrne points out, the conventional QB rating, although contrived, actually has an excellent correlation to both individual success at the position and team success. Ask yourself, is it a fluke that Tom Brady was 1st last year in passer rating, or that Jimmy Claussen was 31st?
According to the experts at ESPN though, the arcane QB rating we're all accustomed to just doesn't reflect the demands of the "modern quarterback". So, the "far superior" ESPN Total QB Rating will be even more impossible to understand than the current system. From SportsNewser:
“Total QBR is based on all of a quarterback’s plays (rushing, passing, sacks, fumbles, interceptions, penalties, etc.), and it calculates the per-play net impact of the quarterback on the ability to score. Each play is weighted by the situation (i.e., down and distance, field position, time during the game) and its importance to the game’s outcome. For example, a completed five-yard pass on 3rd-and-3 would increase a quarterback’s QBR more than a five-yard completion on 3rd-and-15 because the former continues the drive and thus improves the team’s chance of scoring. Also, plays in closely contested games carry a greater value than plays in less competitive situations.
Division of credit is another important Total QBR principle because it assigns a percentage to how much credit a quarterback should get for a positive play – or blame for a negative play. With (Trent) Dilfer’s input, the group identified other key data to incorporate into the formula, including how far a pass travels in the air, where the ball was thrown on the field, the yards after catch, and whether the quarterback was facing defensive pressure, among other factors."
Oh great, so Trent Dilfer helped create this system! That means Bears QB Jay Cutler will automatically start out with a -9334 Total QB Rating on ESPN's new 100 point scale. Seriously though, has there ever been an analyst that carries himself with more self-importance and accomplished less than Trent Dilfer? And before you tell me that Dilfer has a Super Bowl ring let me remind you that I could have won a Super Bowl with that Ravens defense. When did he become the ultimate authority on quarterbacking? If there's anyone I WOULDN'T trust with developing a new QB rating, it's Trent Dilfer because you know he has a bias against certain QBs (Jay Cutler) and also has his favorites (Mark Sanchez, Aaron Rogers, Philip Rivers... basically everyone but Jay Cutler. Yes, I'm a Bears fan).
And as if having Trent Dilfer create this new QB rating weren't bad enough, other ESPNers like Ron Jaworski (who probably spent 800 consecutive hours in the "vault" studying QBs who "could make all the throws") and Jon Gruden are involved in the project. I'm sorry, but does Gruden have any credibility himself in this new QB rating? I think a QB would literally have to throw an INT with every attempt to get a poor rating if "THAT GUY" is involved with this new metric. Apparently the only person missing from the braintrust behind this new Total QB Rating is noted NFL "expert" Colin Cowherd. So long passer rating, it was nice knowing you and your quirky 158.3 perfect rating. Brace yourselves NFL fans, Total QB Rating is here to stay, because ESPN says so. And the jamming down our throats begins this Friday!
Joe Morgan Memorial Tournament "Elite 8" finisher Skip Bayless has more problems than just his daily arguments with the insufferable Rob Parker. On last night's Conan, The Big Pundit decided that the next episode of Shaq Vs. would be him against that troll, Skip Bayless. This bizarre feud started soon after Shaq's retirement was announced and Skip acted very Skip Baylessy by saying Shaq's career didn't live up to the expectations he had for his career out of college on the sports theater debate show, 1st and 10.
Last night wasn't the first time Neon called out Skip. At his retirement press conference, he also mentioned Skip by name.
This will make me feel dirty, but I support blowhards like Skip Bayless being able to have an opinion on Shaq. I certainly don't agree with Skip at all on Shaq's career being a disappointment, but if only those who are 4x NBA champions or perennial all-stars are able to have a dissenting opinion than that really just doesn't work out for me. There are plenty of well-respected analysts that either did not play professionally or were never stars. Being an analyst and an athlete are two completely different jobs. Obviously having the experience to know what you are talking about first hand goes a very long way, but that doesn't necessarily make you a good analyst.
Whatever. Skip's still awful and on my tournament bracket I had him penciled in to the Final 4. If Shaq is really upset and feels the need to bust out some of his legendary martial arts moves and he Shaq-Fu's Skip off the air, fans of rational thinking would be grateful.
Bill James didn’t agree with this, and took his obsession of baseball to another stratosphere of nerdom by creating an array of new stats in his Baseball Almanac. These Almanacs were largely made for other baseball tri-lambs that obviously represented an extreme minority of baseball fans. Still, those few fans and even GM’s that took the time to read them started to think about baseball in a completely different way. Personally, this reinvigorated my interest in baseball, once again making it my favorite professional sport. I love hearing the debate on both sides (I’m still somewhere in the middle) and I crack up whenever SportsCenter compares a player's WAR (wins above replacement) stat every couple of months. GM’s all over the league (not just in Oakland) have been influenced by sabermetrics. It even landed James a job in the Sawks front office in 2003, which he still has today.
FOX, we may have found Joe Buck's replacement with Mets Kidscaster, Jacob Resnick. Every year the Mets allow a kid to call an inning of a game and for the second year in a row they were lucky enough to get to use their Home Run call. Below is Resnick's call (THANKS MLB! EMBEDDABLE MEDIA FTW!)
Come on, you know your soft side enjoyed that. Good tone and pace as well as delivering specifics like "solo shot" "breaking ball" and "left field seats". Getting all those details into a smooth call is probably easier said than done. With that in mind, this was a job well done and something tells me Resnick is absolutely going to dominate his Bar Mitzvah.
The following picture is why I stay away from predicting season records for every team in a sport. Unless you come out to the exact right win-loss total... you end up looking like a dope. Enter a man who has his Master's degree in that field - Colin Cowherd. You see, Cowherd took his intellectually elite and pristine brain, which will one day be reserved for scientific marvel, to prognosticating the upcoming NFL season. What a waste of a rare gift to mankind. The only problem is that Cowherd's predictions are as mathematically improbable as finding the last digit of pi. Observe...
For those of you that enjoy addition, you found that those numbers add up to 268-244, as pointed out by Dan Steinberg at DC Sports Bog. Since each of the NFL's 32 teams play 16 games, that's 512 possible results. With a winner and loser in each (who predicts ties?), the league will go a collective 256-256. That... is... fact. Unless you count the Eagles of course, who will win 39 games this year.
***Update: Brady sacrificed for all of us and listened to the corresponding Cowherd audio link that makes this gaffe even more delightful. Here's Cowherd on the legitimacy of his predictions...
"There's some things I really get into and I like predicting the record of every NFL team. I go over every schedule in the league. And, unlike everybody else, I actually believe you can predict things... it's not that impossible, especially this year, to predict where teams are going to end up."
Yea, about that...
[H/T Dan Steinberg]