Nobody knows what exactly is going on in the NFL right now, but one thing all football fans can celebrate is the sanctity of the NFL Draft, with the 1st Round happening tonight. There are many questions about the lockout and the state of the NFL's CBA, but we at AA have a few different questions in anticipation of ESPN's new trim and slim coverage of tonight's 1st round. How many towels will be required to mop up Chris Berman's sweat? Will Roger Goodell be tossed any softballs by Berman between picks? How many "guys" will Jon Gruden absolutely love? Will Mel Kiper's hair actually move on set? Will any viewers be watching NFL Network instead? If you have the answers to these questions and more, feel free to leave a comment below. We'll be back on Friday to grade ESPN's coverage of Round 1 and will include the best comments in our recap so make sure you let us know what you think throughout the evening. Happy Draft Day!
Before the draft even starts, we have our first unique moment of the draft as Goodell makes his first appearence and is met with a chorus of chants for "We Want Football". He did well to shake it off, but it's hard to ignore moments like this.
We are just hours away from the start of one of the nerdiest events of the sporting year, the NFL Draft. It's the conclusion of months of daily NFL Live shows on ESPN and weeks of banter between various "draft gurus." If we are lucky, this will finally be the year that Kiper snaps and takes a swing at McShay.
Up above is the hype video from SportsCenter from DJ Steve Porter that has been making its rounds on the internet. If you've wanted to hear what Chris Berman and Mel Kiper would sound like if they were in a quasi-rap song and autotuned to hell, then you'll love this! My highlight of this video is certainly the shots of Jaws from the 94 Draft around the 2 minute mark.
Another link that you'll certainly find useful is this NFL Draft 2011 drinking game from Gunaxin. There certainly is lots of "upside" to this game. The downside is you'll be blacked out by pick 13.
Stay tuned, we'll have an open thread tonight to celebrate the draft.
As if Jets coach Rex Ryan wasn't starved for attention enough, we now have to deal with his enormously large wordhole in the offseason as well. You see, evidently Rexy's rants aren't good enough for just the spoken tongue, no, Jets coach Rex Ryan has written a book! Yay! In case you're wondering what the heck Rex Ryan would write a book about, it's not about building a dynasty (like Bill Walsh). It's not about winning the Super Bowl (like Sean Payton). It's not supposed to be inspirational (like Tony Dungy). It's not even Ditka: An Autobiography. We won't exactly know what it is until the book is released next week. However, it is titled Play Like You Mean It: Passion, Laughs, and Leadership In The World's Most Beautiful Game.
And, from the Amazon description, it looks like this book won't be about championships (Rex hasn't won any as a head coach) or inspiring people (unless it's to go get a GD snack)... no, it'll be about Rex Ryan saying obnoxious and tiresome things because that's what Rex Ryan does. Amazon's description tries to frame it nicely...
Most of all, fans will get insider access to Ryan’s headline-grabbing, brutally honest, and undeniably entertaining views on the NFL . . . and the very human side of the larger-than-life athletes who devote their lives to the game of football. From Ryan’s acceptance of the Jets head coaching job to his success in turning around a team that has long been number two in New York, from his drafting and believing in Mark Sanchez to kicking off the 2010 season with massive expectations (and a target on his back)—this book goes deep, and entertains on every level.
Here's what they mean to say: Rex Ryan is trying to make as much money as he can not from winning any championships, but from providing soundbytes. Perhaps I'm getting ahead of myself and the book will really be filled with golden words of wisdom by which to live an inspired, snack filled life. Excuse me while I hold my breath...
Last week, we had the distinct pleasure of sharing with you the 13 craziest clips of former SportsCenter anchor and current Boston Bruins announcer Jack Edwards. His greatest hits range from bizarre German accents to bizarre speeches to bizarre yelling to bizarre American history lessons. Come to think of it, all of the clips are bizarre... but definitely entertaining. I don't even think you can classify it as either "good" or "awful" announcing... it stands on its own, unique merit. Regardless, Crazy Jack is swiftly becoming one of AA's favorites. He was at it again after Boston's Game 7 OT win over the hated Canadiens. Congrats if you spun the Jack Edwards Roulette Wheel Of Insanity and landed on American history lesson. You're a winner tonight!
Thanks to @roneface for finding the full video. The ending that the original post references starts about 1:30 in
Gary Neal (temporarily) saved San Antonio's season with this amazing buzzer beater at the end of regulation in Game 5 with San Antonio trailing 97-94. The Spurs would later win in OT to force a Game 6 back in Memphis. Neal caught the inbounds pass at the top of the key with 1.7 seconds left, took a dribble, fired, and showed a little ONIONS by making the three. Unfortunately for fans watching around the country, the same could not be said for the Memphis/NBATV announcing team...
It's embarrassing for NBATV to broadcast that around the country. We chronicled this weekend how badly NBATV was dropping the ball by broadcasting playoff games with local announcers. Instead of subjecting us to the homerish San Antonio pair of Bill Land and Sean Elliott... we got the homerish Memphis pair of Pete Pranica and Brevin Knight for Game 5. All I know is I never want to hear the phrase "Z-Bound" again. But again, I don't blame them for making the homer call that they did. As Memphis announcers they are obviously disappointed, and that's their prerogative as Memphis announcers. Why NBA fans are subjected to it around the country though is another story.
Look at what ESPN quietly did for Game 4 of Celtics/Knicks. With Jim Durham out, ESPN Radio grabbed Celtics play-by-play man Mike Gorman to fill in and partner Dr. Jack Ramsay. Gorman was able to deliver a neutral, professional broadcast and left his Celtics colors at home because he was working for ESPN and not Comcast New England. Just for full disclosure, we interviewed Mike at AA last month, but his work last weekend shows that local guys are capable of doing a professional job on the national stage. I doubt ESPN would want him doing the same broadcast for ESPN Radio that he would do for CSNNE. Unfortunately for the wide majority of NBA fans, NBATV doesn't get that.
Thankfully, we now have a defining moment for the ridiculousness of using local feeds for nationally televised playoff games. The most exciting play of the NBA Playoffs thus far, and we are treated to... silence. No reaction. No words. Not even a grunt or scream of disbelief. Nothing! After a full seven seconds of silence, we did get this pathetic, someone just took a chainsaw to my stuffed teddy bear, "play-by-play" afterwards...
"And it appears we are headed to overtime. The ruling will have to be reviewed but it appears that Gary Neal has sent this game to overtime."
Could you imagine Kevin Harlan, Marv Albert, or Mike Breen on that call? Shoot, I would take Dick Stockton's incoherent ramblings over that! I would take Joe Buck! I would even take Mickey Rooney! Maybe that's fitting for the fans in Memphis or Western Tennessee, but the rest of us around the country have the same reaction to this announcing as the Grizzlies announcers did for Neal's buzzer beater.
As always, thanks for the video goes to @bubbaprog.
A bit of news from the horse racing world today. Yes, we really do cover it all at AA. Tom Durkin, who has called every Triple Crown race for the last decade on network television, will not be announcing any Triple Crown races for NBC this year or in the near future. He wasn't fired, or phased out of the broadcast. No, Durkin left on his own accord... because of the stress associated with broadcasting the races. From Daily Racing Form...
“It’s always been stressful,” said Durkin, who was prescribed Inderal, a beta blocker, to deal with the anxiety.
Looking to alleviate that stress from his life, Durkin will no longer be the voice of the Triple Crown, deciding not to seek a renewal of his contract with NBC Sports, with whom he has been affiliated for 27 years. Durkin, who has called the last 30 Triple Crown races on network television, will continue to work as the announcer at the New York Racing Association’s three tracks – Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga. Durkin is under contract with NYRA through the fall of 2015.
Who knew that announcing horse races could be so stressful? It's not one of those things that easily comes to mind, but I can imagine that having an entire national television broadcasting career come down to a few minutes each year would be very stressful. It's unfortunate because I always enjoyed Durkin's calls. He was especially fantastic at the Belmont when so many horses like Real Quiet or Smarty Jones fell just short of the Triple Crown. The following video though may be the best horse racing call of all-time, and it's from Tom Durkin..
By the way, the rumored name to replace Durkin according to DRF is Larry Collmus from Monmouth Park. It's ok if that name doesn't sound familiar, but I guarantee you've heard him announce a race before...
Seen here showcasing his uncanny ability to bring tears to the eyes of overweight beer guzzlers like myself who will never enter a stadium without a ticket, Michael Irvin delivered another rousing pre-game speech to close out the Hurricanes' 2011 spring training.
Having never moved beyond the high school level myself, I can only imagine the rigors of the spring session. Also, when I remember that it's 90 degrees and about 600% humidity, I throw up a little bit in my mouth. But that's what it takes to wear the U, ladies and gentlemen. Plain and simple. It's a process. And if that process doesn't lead to winning more than 7 games, there will be blood in the streets of South Florida until Michael Irvin is named head coach.
What do you think it costs to hire Mike as a personal life coach? Whatever it is, I'm sure I could make it if I had this guy barking at me. I'd be winning blogging championships left and right like you wouldn't believe, just killing the Internet on every level. ON EVERY LEVEL.
I like to think of myself as a fan of world sports. In watching a lot of sports from around the world, I'm often drawn down under to Aussie Rules football and rugby. One of the great things about watching these sports is the commentary and comparing it to watching American sports. The Aussie commentators are especially good in the big moments. You can look at a great Aussie rules highlights here or here or the greatest rugby match of all-time here for some examples. Well, one world sport I can say I've never seen is the NBL in Australia. However, we received a Twitter tip from @bearsfanau08 to a must-see clip from down under. In this clip you'll see the Cairns Taipans and New Zealand Breakers in Game 2 of the best of three Grand Final.
After doing some intrepid internet research, I can confidently say that the play by play man you'll hear below is not an Australian... but actually an American! Steve Carfino, who played collegiately at Iowa, played professionally in the late 80s and early 90s in the NBL and is in the league's Hall of Fame. He then stayed in Australia after his playing days and became the top media personality associated with the game in Australia. Needless to say, perhaps some of the Aussie excitement has rubbed off on him. Enjoy!
Even with the slight voice crack (ok, major voice crack), I still love the call and even a little Aussie Bill Raftery from one of the analysts with a "nothing but cotton." By the way, our crack research department has also revelaed that Taipans hero Ron Dorsey played collegiately at McNeese State and averaged 8.5 PPG in the 2004-05 season! And, in case you were wondering, Cairns is a town in North Queensland and a Taipan is a venomous Australian snake! Where else but AA can you find out so much cool information about Aussie basketball? Cairns won Game 2 in double overtime to force a deciding Game 3 Friday night... Lord only knows when that actually is in the Eastern time zone!
For those that don't know, "Player X" is a regular article written in ESPN The Magazine that has an anonymous athlete or coach write some behind the scenes stuff that fans might find interesting. Sometimes these articles provide some interesting insight into what it's like being in their situation, and sometimes they write about the difficulties of twitter. Almost all the time, you can expect the article to be just about as tame as possible, but that would not be the case in the most recent issue of ESPN The Magazine. This time Player X decided to take aim at Kevin Garnett. In the article, he bluntly calls Garnett "a punk and a coward."
You'd never confuse me for someone who regularly sympathizes with Garnett. I mean, his idea of trash talk is saying guys that have alopecia look like "cancer patients"...err, I mean, that they "are cancerous to the their team and the league." (Who knew that his 2nd bit of made up trash talk would be so accurate?) I've honestly always thought of Garnett's on the court persona as a combination of a cliche 80's movie antagonist and the Ultimate Warrior. But after reading this article, I really feel that ESPN The Magazine did Garnett dirty by printing this. Mark Jackson definitely thought this as well and spoke about it during a dull moment in a recent Knicks/Celtics Playoff game. He brought up the obvious hypocrisy of calling someone a coward in print under the name, "Player X." What also makes this interesting is the fact that Jackson and to some extent Van Gundy both openly questioned ESPN, their bosses.
On Friday Josh Elliott said goodbye to his hosting duties for the live block of morning SportsCenter from 9AM-12PM. There were many skeptics when ESPN first placed Hannah Storm with the former SI writer to host what would become the core of ESPN's daytime programming. I for one was nervous about what to expect without Stan Verrett and Neil Everett showing the same highlights throughout the morning, over, and over, and over, and over again. After all, Elliott was a newcomer to ESPN who had barely made an impact as a bit player on Around the Horn and a myriad of other appearances on the network.
But, over the last few years, Elliott has shown his worth with his performance as an anchor on ESPN's flagship show. In a world of bombastic personalties at ESPN who so often try to be larger than life, Elliott hit the mark with his mix of self-awareness, perspective, and humor. So, it was no surprise to hear the news that Elliott would move up to the big leagues to be a part ofABC's Good Morning America. His ESPN swan song was complete with a heartfelt sendoff from partner Hannah Storm and his own emotional thank yous to those who made it possible.
You might expect us to make fun of Mr. Elliott for his tearful goodbye (part of me expected canned awards show music to play him off at the end). But no, we sincerely commend Josh for showing the heartfelt appreciation he had for those who helped him make the most of his opportunity at ESPN. In fact, Josh has long been a friend of AA dating back to the first incarnation of the site, being kind enough to do a live chat with Brian Powell back in 2008 at the dawn of the live morning SportsCenter. So, we wish the best to Josh in his future endeavors at GMA.
Heck, we'll even extend Josh a standing invite to come back to AA again so that he can chat with AA Version 2.0! What with the mundane, monotonous world of the network morning shows, we know Josh will want to keep in touch with the sports blogosphere that he has consistently shown appreciation and respect for in his time at the worldwide leader. At least, Josh, we can promise you it won't be as excruciatingly awkward as your last interview with a prominent sports blog.