This weekend Barcelona and Argentina striker Lionel Messi broke one of the most respected records in world sports with his 85th and 86th goals of the 2012 calendar year. German legend Gerd Muller had held the recognized mark with 85 goals scored in 1972. The 86 goals include an incredible 56 scored in 36 La Liga games, 3 in the Spanish Cup, 2 in the Spanish Super Cup, 13 in European play, and 12 internationally for Argentina. Although the European soccer season goes from August-May, the 86 goals scored in the year 2012 (or whatever number Messi eventually finishes with as Barcelona still has 3 games left in 2012) will go down in history along with some of the more famous records held across sports. Enjoy the magisterial genius of Messi with some fitting splashes of Ray Hudson sprinkled in for good measure.no comments
Today Sports Business Journal released their annual list of the most influential executives in sports and ESPN President John Skipper topped the list ahead of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell:no comments
On a night where competition was scarce, the UFC's fifth live show on Fox was the biggest success for the network since the UFC's second Fox show in January. Saturday's card, headlined by a lightweight title fight between champion Benson Henderson and loudmouthed challenger Nate Diaz, drew an overnight rating of 2.8 with 3.41 million viewers. Those numbers crush the 2.25 million viewers for the third UFC on Fox installment in May and the 2.36 million viewers for the fourth installment in August.
When the final ratings come in over the next couple of days, they may be even better for the UFC and Fox due to the show's overrun nearing a half hour, with the Henderson-Diaz main event going all five rounds. The show itself featured four exciting fights, though three were rather uncompetitive decision wins. Perhaps more importantly, the UFC thrust the names of Alexander Gustafsson (who defeated former light heavyweight champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua) and Rory McDonald (who dominated former lightweight and welterweight champion BJ Penn) into the consciousness of casual fans, along with increasing the name value of lightweight champion Henderson.no comments
Juan Manuel Marquez knocked out Manny Pacquiao in the 6th Round of their 4th fight Saturday night in Las Vegas. The stunning knockout didn't just send Pacquiao crashing to the canvas, it sent the dreams of boxing fans crashing down as the super fight of the millenium, Pacquiao-Mayweather, is all but a distant memory.
Pacquiao's aura of invincibility fading is certainly the headline to come out of the fight as its unknown where the former champion may turn next. But in the wake of the knockout, HBO boxing commentator Jim Lampley made the unfortunate comparison to a recent natural disaster in Pacquiao's native Phillippines.no comments
Last week CBS's NFL pregame show, The NFL Today, was widely panned for its tone-deaf coverage of the Jovan Belcher murder-suicide. While other networks were offering detailed, poignant coverage and showing great deference to the story, CBS was operating in their own universe. The NFL Today delayed addressing the Belcher story and went on with their usual product placements and yearly Victoria's Secret crossover tomfoolery. While NFL Network, Fox, and ESPN were praised for their handling of the story, CBS stood out like a sore thumb with their effort.
This week the NFL was met with another tragedy when Jerry Brown of the Dallas Cowboys was killed at 25 years old. His teammate Josh Brent was driving drunk at the time and has been jailed on an intoxication manslaughter charge. Thankfully, CBS learned their lesson from the week before and dedicated their entire first segment to the news of Brown's death and a serious discussion about the terrible events of the last week in the NFL. It was time CBS didn't devote to serious issues the week before. While CBS was ravaged on Twitter last week, the network was applauded for making a complete turnaround and serving viewers with the proper perspective...no comments
After brief moments of optimism following this week's meetings in New York, the NHL lockout appears as far from being resolved as ever thanks to the NHL's easily-mockable voicemail to the NHLPA Thursday night that blew up the negotiations. While that impacts hockey fans everywhere, how much media attention the ongoing lockout is receiving differs substantially depending on which side of the Canada-U.S. border you live on.
For example, north of that border, TSN controversially delayed live coverage of the New York Knicks-Miami Heat clash in order to show lockout press conferences from NHLPA leader Donald Fehr and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman that most American sports channels disregarded, causing many south-of-the-border hockey fans to flock to TSN's website to see them live. The most poignant example of the divide in media priorities, and one that reflects what this lockout may do to hockey's profile south of the border, may have come from a surprising source, though; Grantland editor-in-chief Bill Simmons. Here's what he tweeted Thursday night:no comments
I've never been able to wrap my mind around the conference superiority debate in college football. It seems to be a phenomenon of the last several years in that every victory and defeat by a given team is also a win or a loss for their given conference, their rivals, and that entire region of the country. I honestly have never been able to understand it. When I hear friends and family tell me they're rooting for Big Ten teams come bowl time, I would always shake my head and wonder how an Ohio State fan could root for Michigan or Northwestern or Michigan State on January 1 when rooting against them for the other 364 days of the year.
Furthermore, it seems to be a phenomenon exclusive to college football. How many fans were chanting "SEC! SEC! SEC!" when Kentucky won the national championship in April? How many columns are being written right now about the dominance of the Big Ten at the top of the college hoops rankings? Go to baseball or soccer or any other sport and this regionalized turf war doesn't exist the way it does in college football.
What's the root cause of the need for conference superiority in football? Maybe with the SEC's string of national championships there is a rise in regional pride (although living in the Midwest I don't remember a day of mourning or flags being lowered to half staff after the Big Ten's abysmal New Year's Day performance). Maybe it's the thrust of conference realignment and the arms and money and power race in college football. Maybe it's the increased passion and popularity of the sport. Maybe it's because I live in the North instead of the South.
I honestly don't know where it came from. When Miami humiliated Nebraska in the early 2000's it wasn't seen as a watershed
ACC Big East moment or an embarrassment for the Big XII. And yet, these days nearly every non-conference matchup is reflected upon that league as a whole as if Vanderbilt or Kentucky actually gain anything tangible from fans in the Georgia Dome spelling the letters of their conference.
That's why it struck me as kinda funny when Bret Bielema left Wisconsin for Arkansas this week. The major storyline to emerge from the move wasn't one about the successful coach moving onto a new challenge. It wasn't about Arkansas AD Jeff Long making a great hire after a year in the wilderness with John L. Smith and the Bobby Petrino disaster. No, everywhere you looked, from some of the top college football writers in the country, Bret Bielema leaving Wisconsin for Arkansas was a hammer blow to the Big Ten Conference...no comments
If you're a fan of Army-Navy or actual, honest to goodness college football playoffs, this is the weekend for you! The game of the week may be at the D-III level where perennial power #1 Mount Union, who has scored 72, 55, and 72 points in their first three playoff games, plays #2 Mary Hardin-Baylor in a national semifinal.
Saturday, December 8
3 PM- Navy vs. Army (CBS, cbssports.com) Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson, Tracy Wolfson
Friday, December 7
8 PM- Sam Houston State at Montana State (ESPN2) Tom Hart, John Congemi, Allison Williams
Saturday, December 8
Noon- Georgia Southern at Old Dominion (ESPN) Clay Matvick, Matt Stinchcomb
1 PM- SWAC Championship: Arkansas-Pine Bluff vs. Jackson State (ESPNU) Joe Davis, Jay Walker
3 PM- Wofford at North Dakota State- Jonathan Yardley, Ben Leber
6 PM- Illinois State at Eastern Washington- Trey Bender, Jay Taylor
All Games ESPN3 exclusives
3 PM- Valdosta State at Minnesota St.- Mankato- Shawn Kenney, John Bunting
6:30 PM- West Texas A&M at Winston- Salem State- John Sadak, Rene Ingoglia
All Games ESPN3 exclusives
2 PM- Mary Hardin-Baylor at Mount Union- Dan Gutowsky, John Gregory
3 PM- Wisconsin-Oshkosh at St. Thomas (MN)- Peter Young, Corey Chavous
H/T Daniel!no comments
On his radio program this week, WFAN sports talk host/frequent cat napper Mike Francesa admitted to forgetting to turn in his Heisman vote. He uses the late date of the Army/Navy game as his excuse for not getting his vote in on time... but the Army/Navy game is being played on the same weekend as the Heisman Trophy presentation for the fourth year in a row now... so that really doesn't make sense.
What does make sense about this clip? Nothing really, because Mike Francesa evidently has a Heisman Trophy vote he can forget to submit.no comments