From the way of the Crossover Chronicles, here's comedian playing reporter, Jason Sereno, stepping into the octagon for a sparring session with the NBA's Al Harrington. There's a slight athletic mismatch here as Harrington out-everything's him by a significant margin. Unfortunately for Sereno, Harrington beats on him like he was asking for his beach cruiser back. Yes, the video and sadly the punch were I'm sure faked, but I definitely laughed watching it.
I love that Sereno is wearing socks and a green button up while throwing short jabs at Harrington. Those jabs remind me of those almost completely pointless low kicks from Mortal Kombat that did no damage.
ESPN's ludicrous decision to whiteitize Michael Vick amidst its ESPN The Vick magazine issue drew outrage, ire, and disbelief from nearly all corners of the web. Even the author of the article took offense to ESPN's labeling of his article, that specifically addresses the inability to ask wonder how things would be differeint if Michael Vick were white, with a picture of White Vick and the title "What If Michael Vick Were White?" This enitre episode crosses into realms of stubbornness, insensitivity, cluelessness, and just general laziness. Clearly, White Vick was only done to create pageviews and controversy. A comment to The Big Lead from ESPN talking about "the discussion" is all you need to know. I'm all for more meaningful discourse about racial issues in sports, but this is not the way to do it. So let's put ourselves into the shoes of ESPN the Magazine and hypothetically and pointlessly wonder, what if White Michael Vick was...
What if White Michael Vick was an Avatar...
What if White Michael Vick was a real eagle (via Joe Sports Fan)...
What if White Michael Vick was a master of disguise...
What if White Michael Vick was a cartoon character...
What if White Michael Vick promised hope and change...
And of course, what if White Michael Vick had a mullet...
What if ESPN had the common sense to never introduce White Michael Vick to the world? That would be nice.
Tomorrow, ESPN Magazine's 2011 NFL Preview will hit the shelves... more accurately, the Michael Vick Preview will hit the shelves with some other filler is thrown in. There will be other stories in the issue, but it will be totally dominated by Vick with no less than four major stories about the Eagles QB. Here's the details from ESPN's release...
In the latest issue of ESPN The Magazine on newsstands Friday, August 26, fans will get up close and personal with Philadelphia Eagles’ starting QB, Michael Vick, as The Mag shares its first ever issue committed so exclusively to one athlete. Overall, the issue offers readers a 360 degree look at how Michael Vick explains the NFL and all its fault lines, full of startling revelations and original insight into his evolution as a QB, his time in prison, and the culture wars he has started in a four-chapter series: Welcome to the Revolution, The View From Within, Zero-Sum Game, and The Dog in the Room.
The only question is... why? Why does Michael Vick need the wall to wall Favrian coverage? The reasoning is simple - the Philadelphia Eagles are this year's it team and with Michael Vick still a lightning rod for debate and controversy, ESPN will attack this story like a bunch of rabid dogs. ESPN going all-in with Vick and the Eagles is more of an entertainment decision than one that is actually about football.
Consider the "Dream Team" drama that surrounded Philly early this month. We all got our knickers in a twist when it was said the Eagles wanted to be called the Dream Team, when in reality, it was one quote from backup QB Vince Young about the additions to the roster taken out of context. But has that stopped ESPN from going all-in on the "Dream Team" narrative? Of course not... even with the Eagles struggling in their preseason game against the Steelers. Brian Kenny talked about the Dream Team possibly turning into a nightmare last night when referring to the Eagles. Mike Greenberg did the same thing at the end of Mike & Mike today. Schefter has continued to Tweet about the "Dream Team" after the story dropped. It's all Eagles, all the time. Rex Ryan is sooooo jealous.
I wonder this though... has ESPN gone all-in with the Eagles because of this planned Michael Vick issue? It seems strange because Vick's comeback from prison has largely been laid to bed as many fans have forgotten/forgiven Vick and others will never truly accept him. People largely know where they stand with Vick, so I was very surprised when I saw ESPN was devoting this much space to the Eagles QB. However, ESPN worked throughout the Summer to put the Vick Issue together, so has the leader purposely been hyping Vick and the Eagles merely to sell more magazines? Hmm...
The Vick issue is also cause for ESPN to take part in its favorite pasttime - cross promotional synergy! They get to ride these Vick stories in the Mag and fill Mike & Mike, First Take, PTI, ESPNNEWS, Around The Horn, and others with Vick debate. ESPN's programs will get to talk more about the team they have deemed to be the #1 story this season and if all else fails, they'll talk about the talk about the Eagles. We've seen it with USC football and the Miami Heat before, but in truth, it's simply an entertainment decision (that makes a lot of fans angry).
Are the Eagles worth devoting eight times more attention to than any other team? Of course not. The NFL is far from a one team league, but building up someone like Philly into a superstar team, deserved or not, makes for more compelling stories (for better or worse). It's like when the words "Dream Team" came out of Vince Young's mouth, ESPN finally saw something to do with the Heat Index during the NBA lockout - turn it into the Eagles Nest! The last two Super Bowl champions, Green Bay and New Orleans, both reside in the NFC and are probably better teams... but don't let the actual football get in the way of ESPN's story du jour.
(Click read more for an unbelievable update on the story)
Then again, Clayton could have been staring at his awesomely bizarre Twitter page for too long. Yup, it still looks like this...
From the MichiganZone comes this terrific video of George C. Scott reacting to possibly one of the worst segments in the HISTORY OF TELEVISION. It features a shameless advertisement and one of the most shameful television personalities being at his absolute worst. Personally, I'm amazed George C. Scott didn't lose it earlier and made it nearly 2 and a half minutes watching this awfulness unfold.
We despise Cowherd here at Awful Announcing, and apparently you do as well. In the reader voted tournament to replace Joe Morgan on our Mount Rushmore, Cowherd suffered a bitter defeat in an instant classic to Joe Buck after advancing all the way to the the Final Four. The dreadful consistency Cowherd has makes him a shoo-in to advance far if we ever need to replace anyone else on our Mount Rushmore.
Once you look past the actual severity of it all (and realize there were no serious injuries), the 5.8 magnitude earthquake that shook some of the east coast yesterday allowed for some laughs, and some groans.
However, Baltimore Ravens' rookie wide receiver Torrey Smith's reaction to the earthquake, while standing in the safest place imaginable filming a promo for his alma mater, had to be the best:
Remind anyone else of 'The Burglars' skit from Jackass?
[H/T to SB Nation]
In the midst of what seems like a never-ending lockout, plenty of NBA players are making decisions as to what they will be doing in lieu of the next basketball season. While some are opting to go play elsewhere, others are electing a less traditional approach to the unwelcomed extended off-season. For example, Delonte West has applied for a job at Home Depot and Stephen Curry is going back to school. But the best lockout gig has to belong to Clippers' star Blake Griffin [via Sports Illustrated]:
This week, the Los Angeles Clippers All-Star forward is interning at Funny Or Die, the comedy website co-founded by Ferrell and Adam McKay. Griffin arrived at the site's LA offices Tuesday to begin three days of work in video production.
He will help write, shoot, edit and act in several videos for the site. Funny Or Die quickly creates digital comedy videos, often with celebrity guest appearances.
"We're going to put him to work," said Mike Farah [president of production at Funny or Die]. "He's shooting a series of videos, and he's also coming to meetings. He's basically doing everything that an intern does."
This isn't Griffin's first crack at comedy, though (aside from embarrassing defenders by dunking over them, which provides comedic relief sometimes). At this year's ESPY's he and Kevin Love, amongst other NBA and NFL players, were featured in a faux-commercial -- a play off of the 1998 Grant Hill/Tim Duncan commercial -- advertising their services for odd jobs during the lockout:
Yesterday, CBS announced their broadcasting teams for NFL coverage this season. That completes the last piece of the puzzle to the full NFL Week 1 Announcing Schedule, which you can see at the link. I've always been fascinated by NFL announcing assignments, not just for who's assigned to which game and which announcers are moving up or down the ladder, but also because those assignments tell fans what the networks think of your team. If Nantz and Simms are in Cleveland, you get excited that your team gets the national stage instead of seeing Bill Macatee every week, like usual.
Earlier this month, Ryan ran down the NFL On Fox booths and now it's time to turn our attention to the CBS pairings. There's no changes at the top, but some interesting comings and goings further down the ladder - namely, the coming of Marv Albert and the going of Gus Johnson. Up and down, CBS's NFL talent is better than their Fox rivals, but that gap may be closing. Here's the CBS announcing teams, their rankings, and our thoughts. Keep in mind that CBS also has no sideline reporters.
1) Jim Nantz and Phil Simms
-This is the eighth season Nantz and Simms are together as the #1 announcing team for CBS. Nantz is a much better football play-by-play man than he gets credit for, as it's often his college basketball puns and Masters worship that draw the most criticsm. Nantz is a pro, shows some excitement, and gets the facts straight while not dominating the broadcast and letting the game tell the story. Simms is actually very similar to Troy Aikman at Fox. Both will have moments where they're actually insightful, moments where they contradict what they said earlier or guess what's happening, and moments you completely forget they are in the booth. Simms had his ups and downs last year in the booth, but like broadcast booths around the country, it's going to take a huge drop in his ability to analyze a game to move him out. With Nantz, a favorite of the CBS hierarchy, this is your #1 CBS booth for the indefinite future.
2) Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf
-I suppose you can give CBS credit for this - they know who their top announcing tandems are. Gumbel and Dierdorf enter their sixth season together at the #2 slot. Like Nantz, Gumbel doesn't quite receive the plaudits he deserves for his solid job at play-by-play. At least we know he's much better than his brother at football play-by-play. Interrogating criminals is another matter. Dierdorf is more polarizing. Even though he's been a national figure for over two decades going back to his MNF days, there are many that wish he'd step aside. Dierdorf is never going to be the best at breaking down plays or providing hard-hitting analysis, but I don't mind his work for the time being. It's getting close to the time that CBS looks for some new blood, though.
Newcastle United midfielder Joey Barton is the bad boy of the English Premier League. He's mooned opposing fans, beat up a 15 year old fan, put a lit cigar into a teammate's eye, viciously assaulted a teammate, and served time in jail on, you guessed it, assault. In spite of all that, Barton continues to play in the EPL for Newcastle and is rather unsurprisingly causing controversy on the field. His latest spat came two Saturdays ago on the opening weekend of the season when he incited new Arsenal forward Gervinho into slapping him, producing a red card. Barton is also involved in a dispute with Newcastle and may move to QPR this week. And you thought your team had it bad with PacMan Jones?
Barton's most recent incident with Gervinho meant he was a topic of discussion on ESPN UK's Talk Of The Terrace, and that's where former Arsenal player and current Fulham defender Philippe Senderos joins the fun. Senderos was talking about Barton "coming strong in the tackle" which is quite a normal thing to say when talking about aggressive soccer players. It's what Senderos said next that caused a premature end to the segment before the interview could reach its proper climax. Just like that, a hard and firm news segment was screwed as the studio bursted into laughter...
[H/T Bob's Blitz]
The Soon To Be NBC Sports Network is certainly making bold moves to beef up its original programming... and no, this time it doesn't involve Jenn Sterger. This Fall, in addition to new shows featuring Mike Florio and Darren Rovell, Versus will also be airing their first NFL programming. Turning Point will focus on two games from the previous week and examine the turning points (predictably enough) of each game...
Every game has a turning point and NFL Films and the NBC Sports Group are partnering to cover that crucial moment for football fans in a more in-depth way than ever before by launching a new one-hour program, NFL Turning Point, that will air weekly on VERSUS during the NFL regular season. It is the first NFL program ever to air on VERSUS, which will be re-named the NBC Sports Network on January 2. The announcement was made today by NFL Films President Steve Sabol and Mark Lazarus, Chairman, NBC Sports Group.
Each week, NFL Films will utilize its unprecedented access to cover two games in its traditional behind-the-scenes, award-winning style. The crucial moment in each game — its turning point — will be examined in-depth and from all angles using NFL Films’ unmatched cinematography, sideline and on-field audio as well as postgame access to players and coaches.
The new program debuts Thursday, September 15, at 10 p.m. ET/PT and airs a new episode at that time every week through November 3. Beginning on November 10, when Thursday night NFL games begin on NFL Network, new episodes of NFL Turning Point will air at midnight ET.
This new show may not seem like a big deal for Versus/NBC, but it definitely is one. Anything, and I mean anything that is branded with the NFL can only help NBC Sports Net now and in the future. In addition, teaming up with NFL Films is even better. I can almost guarantee that this program will immediately become the highest quality show on Versus, solely due to the fact that it will be produced by NFL Films. There will be plenty of NFL fans that will try to find Versus for the first time just to watch this new show. It's another option to consume the NFL that involves someone that doesn't appear on Mike & Mike, SportsCenter, or with Skip Bayless. It's a big score for Versus/NBC and for football fans. Do you know what's set to air this Thursday night on Versus? The National Dog Show. That's ruff, oh, just the way your mother likes it Trebek. Check the video preview...