It can't be easy to always bat 1.000 when doing promos, but this is a hilarious geography fail that would make Dan Quayle proud. In this promo for the Orange Bowl, Brad Nessler (one of the best in the biz) goes back in time about 150 years in looking forward to the West Virginia-Clemson game. I guess he wasn't around for the Wheeling Conventions that split West Virginia from Virginia before the Civil War. Not the annual game between Oregon and Oregon State, the real thing...
"the Clemson Tigers, champions of the ACC, take on another team from the state of Virginia... West Virginia..."
The importance of New Year's Day bowl games in the BCS era is certainly up for debate, but sports fans can all agree on one thing: Jan. 2nd, 2012 was made more enjoyable because of the absence of one Craig James. Awful Announcing and Bloguin's college football blog Crystal Ball Run were the first to tell you that Craig James was departing ESPN to pursue the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate from Texas. And now that James has officially left the network to run for office, it was only a matter of time before James' first attempt at a political ad to introduce himself to voters would become public. College football fans (and fans of sanity in general) can apparently thank those "strong business leaders in Texas" for taking James out of the booth and into politics.
Shockingly in his first official ad, James doesn't directly address that whole killing five hookers at SMU rumor. But, the rest of James' ad is about what you would expect from a Texas Republican. It's about as Texan as Texas can be, complete with a cut to James grinning in a cowboy hat while trumpeting his conservative credentials and values. Apparently, fighting your whiny kid's battles and getting Texas Tech's football coach fired while keeping your job at ESPN despite a massive conflict of interest qualifies James as a "conservative," although none of that is mentioned. On a related note, thanks to SI's Richard Deitsch for reminding everyone that it's been 123 days since ESPN's ombudsman, the Poynter Institute, promised to examine James' tenure at the network.
One other interesting takeaway from the ad is James lining himself up with former Texas Govenor Rick Perry... you know, the same Rick Perry who did this at a presidential debate. Come to think of it, James was to the broadcast booth what Perry has been to presidential debates, although somehow even more of an incompetent disgrace. Have no fear, this blog certainly won't be turning in to Politico by any stretch, but you can bet we'll be keeping an eye on Craig James' quest to make Texas great again through his belief in America! How original! How inspiring! How... absurd.
Despite a thrilling, come from behind 3-2 victory for the New York Rangers, their Winter Classic in Citizens Bank Park against the Philadelphia Flyers drew the lowest ratings in the five year history of the game, coming in with an overnight mark of 2.4. The main culprit can be one of a few reasons.
Firstly, the game wasn't on its traditional New Year's Day timeslot, and instead took place on the 2nd of January. The reason for that has more to do with the dominance of the NFL, which also forced the NCAA to shift its traditional New Year's Day bowl games to the 2nd as opposed to the 1st. Secondly, the time slot for the game was pushed back from 1 PM to 3 PM, due to more favorable weather conditions. You really can't use that as an excuse though, due to last year's game at Heinz Field between the Penguins and Capitals being shifted back because of rain earlier in the day. Then again, maybe Mike Milbury quickly turned off viewers with this quote.
The competitive nature of the Outback Bowl probably had something to do with the low ratings the game got. Michigan State, down 16-0 at the half, began a furious comeback in the third quarter, right around the time the game was starting. Our football-crazed society probably had more interest in a tight football game between a pair of top 25 teams than a midseason hockey game between two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. I'm not saying that watching the football game was the *correct* choice (because let's be honest, there really isn't a correct choice in a matter of opinion like this), but hockey takes a backseat to football. ESPN doesn't give the sport all that much airtime anymore, which greatly angers hockey fans, and because of that I'm wondering how many casual fans even knew that the Winter Classic was going on yesterday.
The game itself was very entertaining, with the Flyers blowing a two goal lead in the final 25 minutes of the game, and then having star center Danny Briere get stonewalled by Henrik Lundqvist on a penalty shot with 20 seconds remaining that would have tied the game. Many hockey fans are speculating about the refereeing in the game, with even Rangers head coach John Tortorella calling the officiating "disgusting." If more eyeballs tuned into the game and saw the horrid officiating, maybe the NHL would actually do something about it. Or maybe they'd just ignore it, and alienate more fans in the process. I'd bet on the latter, personally.
I had anticipated taking a larger look at all the announcing from the day after New Year's Day... until the Fiesta Bowl last night. That was when Matt Millen had a largely exclusive broadcast window for the nation to revel in his football knowledge, weird logic, mixed up cliches, and overall ineptitude as an announcer. As I wrote on Twitter last night, it was an epic performance in the annals of AA - on par with what Vince Young did to USC in the National Championship Game. Before your tweets about Matt Millen, here are just some of the announcing gems he laid on the nation last night. Confucius would be proud...
"He bores you with completions, he bores you with efficiency," on Andrew Luck.
"You can't make a small mistake, like falling down... which is a big mistake."
Calling Jesse Palmer - "Jesse the Body."
"Sometimes you have to lose one for the Gipper."
"They'll both do well at the next level. BRANDON WEEDEN IS 28 YEARS OLD!"
"It's not about the decision making (of Luck), it's the decision making under pressure."
"He's hungry. You feed him."
"It's strength vs weakness on both sides, but it's the weakness who is stronger.. is the team that will prevail"
"When he gets inside of a guy and bends his hips, he's pretty good"
"That was helmet to helmet... I like it."
That's a complete list of Pammies quotes all by himself! Liking helmet to helmet hits? Being bored by Andrew Luck's performance? Insulting the legacy of Jesse "The Body" Ventura?!?! What was ESPN thinking giving Matt Millen the best bowl matchup outside of the national championship game on the night of January 2nd? Stanford v Oklahoma State will certainly be memorable for being a dramatic classic, but it's also memorable for us to remember what college football fans think of ESPN's #2 analyst.
Is it too late for Millen to enter the Texas Senate race too? As always, these are Real Tweets from Real People...
It's the NHL's biggest event of the year, viewed by hockey fans across the nation. A verbal slip up was bound to happen and of course, it happened before the national anthems were even sung. Check out loathed NBC analyst Mike Milbury call the Rangers, commonly known as the "Blue shirts," the "Blue shits." Notice Jeremy Roenick tap his stick on the ice right after the miscue. Milbury is pretty reviled among hockey fans, so a lot of us are relishing the moment a day later.
Here we go, it's the final Straight Outta Stockton vote of 2011... even though we're officially in 2012. Realistically, the battle is for second with Brian Billick looking to pass Phil Simms as Dick Stockton takes his victory lap. Next week, as we did for the Pammies, we'll have a vote for the Dicky of the Year with all the best NFL announcer quotes from 2011. Here are your Week 17 nominees...
1) "He was inside the circle of love." - Dan Dierdorf on a punt fair catch (via ConnorKiesel)
2) "That's been the problem with the Mets." - Greg Gumbel (via matt_08) announcing Dolphins/Jets.
3) "No one wants to come to New England to play Greg Williams and his defense" - Joe Buck not knowing where New Orleans is. (via jleimer)
4) "No one works harder, but no one knows less about this game than I do." - Brian Billick (via ClarkbarTweets). C'mon, Billick actually said this?
5) "When you give [Michael Turner] gaping holes, he's going to hurt some people." - Dick Stockton... Ok then. (via sctvman)
6) "Eric Decker is the best." - Phil Simms (via bjo109). Umm... ok?
7) "I've always said the difference between a 10-6 team and a 6-10 team isn't much" - Rich Gannon (via SmittyK)
8) "2 episodes of Ryan's Hope(less)."- Al Michaels on the Giants beating both Ryan Brothers (via sjwest86). Punny.
9) "Is it really possible? 2012." - Dan Dierdorf, amazed we made it to the year 2012. (via mattyzucks)
10) "That last play they had five offensive linemen in for extra protection" - Randy Cross (via wyattgywon)
11) "Let's take a look at Jared Allen's sack." - Tony Siragusa
12) "Misdeception" - Brian Billick (via J_C25)
13) "People are really going to want Jordy Nelson when he becomes a free agent." - Brian Billick. He signed an extension before the year. (via Enrico_Palazzo_)
14) "There's a lot of wiggle on this guy." - Phil Simms (via SchmanthonyP)
15) "Oakland lost to the Heat, *pause* and maybe the Dolphins too"- Marv Albert (via JayAyyyy) moving on to NBA season.
16) "Cincy's the wild card, the Jets are out of the playoffs, and Cincy has their playoff hopes dashed as well." - Curt Menefee (via A_Goch)
17) "That was a penalty and that doesn't count, but that was also one of the most brilliant plays I've seen in a long time." - Cris Collinsworth (via CMehring)
Vote For Your Week 17 Dickies Nominees! (vote for up to five)
The winners and final standings for the first ever Dickies Awards will be announced later this week!
What better way to start 2012 on the right foot than with another awkward apology from an ESPN personality! Evidently, Mike Ditka wasn't watching fellow ESPN contemporary Matt Millen during the 2010 NFL Draft. Then, Matt Millen had to awkwardly come back on air with his tail between his legs to apologize for calling Ron Jaworski a "polack." Yesterday, during ESPN's morning SportsCenter, Mike Ditka said something to the effect of Colts QB Dan Orlovsky having "a good polack name." If you want to get nitpicky about it, I suppose Ditka didn't call Orlovsky a "polack" but you can bet that's still one of the hundreds of words that will cause ESPN's PC siren to go off any time it's said on the airwaves. As for Ditka's apology, I'll give it an 8.5 on the Lee Corso Apology Scale. Happy New Year from Bristol HR!
The holidays are the busiest time of year in the English Premier League calendar and a great time for soccer fans. Sunday, Sunderland upset English Premier League leaders Manchester City 1-0 on an injury time goal in the dying seconds from South Korean striker Ji Dong-Won. Even though there is a hint of offside in Ji's goal, it may prove to be one of the most dramatic moments of the season with a huge impact on the title race. City remains tied with Manchester United at the top of the table, who also suffered a huge upset this weekend against relegation strugglers Blackburn Rovers.
American soccer fans will be very familiar with Martin Tyler as the lead announcer at the 2010 World Cup for ESPN and from his work on the FIFA video games. While Ian Darke has gained cult status in the USA and become our voice for soccer, Tyler is the more notable name around the world. Nevertheless, they are simply both brilliant commentators. And while Martin Tyler may not bring the consistent excitement to his commentary like Ian Darke, but he certainly does in the big moments as shown below. Here is his call of Ji's gamewinner against Manchester City on Sky Sports in England, an early frontrunner for our favorite clips of 2012...