For all the talk of parity in the NFL, three of the four teams contesting their respective conference championship games are returnees from last year. Only the Atlanta Falcons represent a change from 2012. In alternating fashion, this year it's the AFC Championship Game that gets the primetime slot. National radio announcers are also included.
Sunday, January 20
NFC Conference Championship
San Francisco 49ers (12-4-1) @ Atlanta Falcons (14-3)
(FOX 3PM) Joe Buck & Troy Aikman; Reporters: Pam Oliver & Erin Andrews
(Dial Global Radio) Dave Sims & James Lofton; Reporter: Tony Boselli
AFC Conference Championship
Baltimore Ravens (12-6) @ New England Patriots (13-4)
(CBS 6:30PM) Jim Nantz & Phil Simms; Reporters: Steve Tasker & Solomon Wilcots
(Dial Global Radio) Kevin Harlan & Dan Fouts; Reporter: Mark Malone
ESPN has wasted no time putting this whole Te'o fiasco at the top of their Breaking News queue. On a day filled with lots of coaching news, Te'o trumps all with this elaborate scheme he is now claiming to be the victim of. Although SportsCenter led with Chip Kelly going to the Eagles, Te'o got the breaking news treatment.
There are probably millions of facts we have yet to find out and some we probably never will. But every media outlet in the nation, the same ones that were lauding Te'o for his emotional bravery, are now falling all over themselves to get the real story.
Here is ESPN's somber announcement of the coverage:
It will be interesting to see how this plays out - for now, we certainly will not have to worry about lack of speculation or coverage. From anyone.
Deadspin dropped one of the biggest bombs the sports world may have ever seen with the article by Tim Burke and Jack Dickey on Manti Te'o's girlfriend who passed away earlier this season being an elaborate hoax. We're way too early in this story to know what the reprecussions will be for Te'o or Notre Dame, but it has stunned the sports world in a way like few stories have. Already Notre Dame has come out and said Te'o is a victim in the scheme. I can't remember seeing my Twitter timeline filled with every single person talking about the same story like this before. The Heisman Trophy runner-up, one of the most popular and most well respected players in all of sports... having a relationship with an imaginary girlfriend? Then drawing inspiration from her staged death? It has to be real because nobody could conjure up fiction this unbelievable. So what does the sports world have to say about the most mysterious hoax its ever seen? As always these are Real (?) Tweets from Real (?) People...
With NBC winning the rights to the English Premier League and the impending reshuffling taking place at Fox Sports, the future of Fox Soccer Channel is firmly up in the air. An LA Times report indicates Fox Soccer's parent company News Corp. may transform Fox Soccer into an entertainment channel, which would develop into a sister network to FX. Although nothing is set in stone, Fox's soccer programming would then move to Fox Sports One...
Houston Chronicle sportswriter John McClain was welcomed on Nashville's 104.5 The Zone for a regularly scheduled interview when silence met the show's hosts. For several minutes, the hosts try to wake McClain up to no avail as you can hear something breathing on the other end of the line. At around the 3:30 mark, you can hear what sounds like a snore from McClain. Finally, the interview is lost as a dial tone emerges from McClain's end of the line. To McClain's credit, at least he fell asleep before the interview, and not during like Francesa did a few months ago.
McClain called it "some of the best radio I've ever done" on Twitter.
While the sports world is focused on Lance Armstrong's admission of drug use in a two-part interview with Oprah that will air on Thursday and Friday night this week, the mainstream media is picking up on the story too. Unfortunately for CBC today, they left out a key letter in their headline on News Now with Suhana Meharchand, which completely changes the meaning of what happened.
Lance Armstrong: wig enthusiast? Lance Armstrong: not a fan of hardwood floors? The possibilities are limitless. Oh, the importance of one letter...
I'm not going to pretend to know any of the background involved in the following story, but Diamondbacks pitcher Brandon McCarthy was involved in one of the funniest Twitter Wars I've ever seen earlier this week. The former A's and current Diamondbacks pitcher is regarded as one of the best athletes to follow on Twitter for his humor, especially when it comes to his relationship with his wife Amanda.
McCarthy began this Twitter War by taunting a DragonBall Z fan (parody?) account @Love_that_Goku, which he follows on Twitter. I'm also not going to pretend to know anything about DragonBall Z. The two then exchange amazing insults and threats that seem to be out of a video game. I have no idea if this is supposed to be an elaborate ruse or not, (Deadspin's Patrick Burns called it fanfiction come to life) but it's hilarious either way...
Brent Musburger has finally spoken about his fondness of Katherine Webb to one of the top investigative journalism networks in the world... TMZ? Ok, whatever. Whoever was behind the camera for TMZ started off on the right foot with Musburger saying that no one in their office thought Brent did anything wrong and asked if he had spoken with Webb yet. He has not. There's three main takeaways from Musburger's impromptu interview with TMZ.
1) Muburger doesn't think he did anything wrong. He paused for longer than expected before answering that question, but he still said no.
2) He doesn't think he launched Webb's career, though there is strong evidence to the contrary. Sure, she may have been Miss Alabama, but while the game was still being played she gained over 100K Twitter followers (now has over 200K). The morning after the game she was on The Today Show. Then it was announced she'd be in the 2013 Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, and yesterday she announced she'd be covering the Super Bowl for Inside Edition. I mean... really, Brent? You don't think you and Herbie fawning all over her and her subsequent close ups on national television had anything to do with her newfound fame? Oh, okay.
3) About ESPN's apology over his remarks he says, “Individuals say what individuals say, and corporations do what corporations do. Obviously, they felt it was the right thing for them to do."
I really think, at this point, this whole thing is being blown out of proportion. Musburger was fawning over her, yes, but never crossed the line into anything overtly creepy. Although Musburger was diplomatic to his employer, he didn't seem to appreciate ESPN apologizing on his behalf. (Although I think TMZ saying Musburger is "Pissed at ESPN" is too strong.)
Webb herself has said she wasn't offended. How could she be, though? She has a whole new career she probably didn't imagine would quite literally happen overnight.
If Miss Alabama/AJ McCarron squeeze/Brent Musburger mega-crush Katherine Webb is riding 15 minutes of fame stemming from all of the attention she received when McCarron and the Crimson Tide rocked out in the BCS National Championship Game, the 15th minute won't expire until -- at the very earliest -- Feb. 3.
That's because Webb announced to her 270,000-odd Twitter followers Tuesday night that she'd be covering Super Bowl XLVII for syndicated news magazine program Inside Edition.
So excited to be chosen to cover the Super Bowl XLVII for @insideedition in New Orleans!
Inside Edition typically goes for behind-the-scenes coverage. I'm not surprised the red-hot Webb is involved the hype surrounding this year's biggest sporting event -- it only makes sense -- but I'm surprised it's with them. If I were asked to bet which show she'd represent down in New Orleans before seeing this news, I'd have gone with The Insider, which always gets hot chicks with relatively high Q ratings to hijack media day.
It's gone completely under the radar, but the NBA is following in the footsteps of the NFL and playing a midseason regular season game in London. The PIstons will play a home game at the O2 Arena Wednesday afternoon with it being televised on NBA TV.
Tuesday, January 15
Portland Trail Blazers @ Denver Nuggets (NBAtv 9PM) Ernie Johnson, Chris Webber, Greg Anthony
Wednesday, January 16
Houston Rockets @ Dallas Mavericks (ESPN 8PM) Mike Breen, Hubie Brown
Miami Heat @ Golden State Warriors (ESPN 10:30PM) Dave Pasch, Jon Barry
Thursday, January 17
New York Knicks v Detroit Pistons @ London (NBAtv 3PM) Local Broadcast
Los Angeles Clippers @ Minnesota Timberwolves (TNT 8PM) TBA
Miami Heat @ Los Angeles Lakers (TNT 10:30PM) TBA
Friday, January 18
Chicago Bulls @ Boston Celtics (ESPN 8PM) Mike Breen, Hubie Brown
Oklahoma City Thunder @ Dallas Mavericks (ESPN 10:30PM) Dave Pasch, Jeff Van Gundy