This past January, Jim Cornelison sang the national anthem at Soldier Field before the Chicago Bears' NFC Divisional Round and NFC Championship playoff games. Cornelison gained a ton of fans for his amazing, powerful ability to sing the anthem. Chicago Blackhawks fans have known how awesome he is at singing the anthem for years, as he sings before all of their home games at the United Center. But, singing the anthem before the highly viewed Bears playoff games on Fox really got him the recognition he's long deserved.
Well today, on the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Bears had Cornelison sing the anthem before their home opener against the Atlanta Falcons. It was an unbelievable scene, with the players from both teams coming out to help hold a massive American flag on the field while Cornelison sang. And Cornelison absolutely brought his A-game for this highly emotional moment.
Here's the must-watch video which is sure to give you goosebumps:
The first Sunday of the NFL season has brought us some interesting announcing moments already. Fox's Chris Myers was overheard saying something about a "bourbon on the rocks" out of a commercial during the Lions/Bucs telecast. Incidentally, viewers also have to be drunk to enjoy Myers' commentary. Then, in St. Louis, Brian Billick described the Rams' ability in using the no huddle offense in an interesting way. He noted that the Rams "have had some sex with the no huddle." I think he was trying to say "success," but who knows? Thank goodness we didn't catch him off-mic asking for a bagel.
Hold your loved ones a little tighter today and never forget what happened on this day ten years ago.
"Since this nation was founded under God, more than 200 years ago, We've been the bastion of freedom, the light which keeps the free world aglow. We do not covet the possessions of others, we are blessed with the bounty we share. We have rushed to help other nations...anything...anytime... Anywhere.
War is just not our nature...we won't start, but we will end the fight. If we are involved we shall be resolved to protect what we know is right. We've been challenged by a cowardly foe, who strikes and then hides from our view. With one voice we say there's no choice today, there is only one thing to do.
Everyone is saying the same thing And praying that we end these senseless moments we are living. As our fathers did before, We shall win this unwanted war. And our children will enjoy the future, we'll be giving."
The Pam Ward Chronicles roll on for Week 2 of the college football season. Some interesting games on the docket today including Penn State/Alabama, South Carolina/Georgia, and mediocre teams Notre Dame and Michigan getting the national spotlight under the lights in Ann Arbor for some reason. Current Pammies leader Pam Ward (who else?) will be at Lexington for Central Michigan/Kentucky at noon on ESPNU. We will update the Pammies as we can with your comments in the open thread and Tweets to us at AA throughout the day. Use the hashtag #PWAA to send in submissions via Twitter or leave a comment below. The nominees will come Monday for you to vote on and the winners will be announced on Wednesday. You can check out the winners from last week and the full Week 2 announcing schedule below. Here's a couple quotes from last night to get us started.
"It almost doesn't matter if they make the field goal in a 16-10 game." - Rod Gilmore (via Champ1192)
"6 foot 8 Brock Osweiler" - Joe Tessitore (via everyone) reminding us several times throughout last night's telecast that yes, ASU QB Brock Osweiler is indeed a tall man.
"Texas Tech is the toughest test on Oklahoma State's schedule." - Craig James (via sctvman) OK State plays five ranked teams and Tech isn't one of them. Maybe it's the beginning of his PR campaign in Lubbock.
"Is there any place better to play and coach than illinois?" - Kevin Kugler (via Benjamin Bordeau)
"Oregon State kicked the ball backwards." - Chris Spielman (via Powellabama) on a punt that went -4 yards from the line of scrimmage, but not backwards.
"BYU has a chance at getting to the #2 spot because of their defensive line." - Trevor Matich (via sctvman) saying BYU has a chance at a spot in the BCS title game. Matich is a BYU grad.
"Danny Travathan. Let's make that a synonym for a great play." - Pam Ward (via sctvman)
Tigers' announcers Mario Impemba and Rod Allen were talking about Rod Allen's favorite minor league town to play in (Mario asked him about it) and Rod's reply was Buffalo, New York. As if that wasn't eyebrow raising enough, (around the 50 second mark) Rod said it was due to the show the GM would put on for the fans and players, which would include people dancing on the dugouts, "midgets," "giants," and then delicious chicken wings. Mario Impemba laughed. (shoddy HD iPhone video below, and nevermind my fantasy player updates on MLB.tv):
Of course, because we're all material girl PC guys living in a material world PC world, Allen caught some flak for saying "midget" instead of little people or vertically challenged people. Personally, I think his comment, like his "rice and beans" comment earlier this summer, is innocent, but what do I know - I'm a Pollack. Nonetheless, he apologized for it the next half inning:
GQ Magazine was lucky enough to catch up with legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully, and get him to talk about his play-by-play calls of some great moments in baseball history. It is absolutely a must-read, and there's even audio of Scully describing a few of the calls.
Here's some of what Scully had to say to GQ...
On calling Kirk Gibson's home run (which you can see in the video above) in the 1988 World Series:
I don't know where it came from, but out came a line that later on I thought only could've come from The Boss. That line, 'In a year of the improbable, the impossible has happened'—which, I must admit, is a pretty good line—it just totally came out of nowhere. My heart, that's where it came from, and God helped me out.
On calling game one of the 1953 World Series at the age of 25, making him the youngest ever to call a World Series:
So the morning of the first game—and they were all day games back then—I was living at home with my mother and father and sister. And for my mother, a typical Irish mother, breakfast was the most important meal of the day. So we had the whole thing—the orange juice, the bacon and eggs, the toast. Everything was fine, but when I went upstairs I threw everything up. Because I'd only ever done just a little tiny bit of television and all of a sudden I'm going to be working with the great [Yankees announcer] Mel Allen.
On calling Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series:
Anyway, it was just, 'Foul ball, ball two,' because we were intimidated by the idea we were talking too much. So I can't watch it. I was just so dull professionally, and so different from what I would've done under the same circumstances today. I've never watched it again. Never.
On calling Sandy Koufax's perfect game in 1965.
That was just one of those nights, and I'll be honest, it was pretty well done on my part, but I lucked out. It's kinda like Sandy pitching a perfect game—everything has to happen and that particular night it was pretty good. It could've been another night where I was stepping on my tongue and all that stuff. I just always thought God helped me through that, and I'm glad for Sandy. That's all.
On calling Hank Aaron's 715th Home Run:
And so the biggest thing, when the ball was hit, was that I got this tremendous rush of goosebumps for this marvelous accomplishment, and the place went bananas, I mean just crazy. So I didn't want to say anything; the crowd noise to me was like a symphony, and I took the headset off and I walked to the back of the booth. I stood back there and just watched it, and loved listening. There I was, the eight-year old boy—I was under the radio again, just listening to this crowd. When I came back again, I just said what I felt, and what I felt was that it was great for Henry and his family; it was great for the team and the city and the state. But eventually, my mind kept saying, This is bigger than that. This is huge. This is a great sociological thing because a black man is being honored in the Deep South. I mean you've got yourself a monumental moment. So all of that came out. That was it. When Henry hit the home run, I guarantee you that's the longest uninterrupted crowd noise, maybe in the history of sports because there was nothing else to say. Everybody tuning in knew where he was, what happened, what it meant. There was nothing else to say—just that roar of the crowd.
Outstanding stuff. It's hard to read those quotes without having a smile on your face.
Everyone's favorite ex-ESPN announcer Joe Morgan is finding interesting ways to keep our attention since having his face removed from the AA Rushmore. He started by getting his own sports talk radio show. Ha! Nobody listens, though, so there hasn't been much to say on it. Joe Morgan's next move is leading chicken dances. No, he's not coming back to Sunday Night Baseball; these are real live chicken dances, apparently. This Morgan gold comes via The Enquirer (H/T tipster Steve):
Reds great and Baseball Hall of Famer Joe Morgan will lead the annual World’s Largest Chicken Dance at Oktoberfest next Saturday.
Morgan, a 10-time All-Star and National League MVP in 1975 and 1976 when the Reds won back-to-back World Series titles, is the second former Red to lead the Chicken Dance, joining Joe Nuxhall, who did it in 2007.
The dance will take place at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 17, on Fountain Square.
The organizers of the chicken dance say they were drawn to Morgan because of the way he would flap his back arm while hitting, almost 30 years ago. You can't make that stuff up. At least this will undoubtedly give rise to stuffjoemorgan.com.
Some of you reading this will know I'm a irrationaly huge Saints fan... thus, it's very difficult to come out of the dark place in my soul to say anything about last night's game. You hate to lose games like that as a fan. The Packers won a thriller thanks to their stop of Mark Ingram from the one yard line with no time on the clock and won 42-34. As much as I'd love to talk/vent/cope about the Saints' pass defense, turnovers, red zone inefficiency, and lack of ability to get one yard... we're here to talk about the ratings bonanza the game was for NBC. It was one of the most exciting regular season games in a long time and definitely the most compelling opening to a regular season in recent league history. The game received a huge 17.2 overnight rating and NBC was all over the news...
According to Darren Rovell, it's the same number last year's BCS National Title game pulled in. Considering college football is by plenty of accounts the second most popular sport in America, it says just how far the NFL is ahead of its competition. As far as the announcers and the broadcast goes, I thought Michaels and Collinsworth were solid. For my money, they're still the best announce team in the NFL and NBC has the best game presentation although I admittedly wasn't too focused on that last night. I am surprised that the number is down from last year with all the excitement of football being back though. I would have thought the uncertainty of the lockout and the nationwide relief/excitement of a real NFL game would have brought a larger number. However, it is still the second highest NBC game in their Sunday night era. Even though last year's Saints/Vikings game pulled in a bigger rating, I'm going to give credit there to the story of the Saints winning a title for New Orleans and not the old guy with the texting. In fact, that may be the best part about the 2011 season - we're finally free of Favre! At least I have that to be happy about.
Now to watch the last play from last night 1,000 times on my DVR and hope Mark Ingram actually gets in the endzone on one of them...
Fun with facial hair is nothing new, and Aaron Rodgers has certainly not shied away from rocking his lip fuzz year after year. And while no one can really challenge Brian Wilson's wiry, black grip on the top face rug in MLB history, the NFL's annals feature a much tighter race for the #1 spot.
In his recent interview with the American Mustache Institute, Rodgers's discussed his two childhood dreams: becoming both a Super Bowl Champion and a mustached American. Now in my book, having accomplished both of those goals leaves him with only one potential future ambition: to become a Mustache Champion. Take a listen, and consider how Rodgers compares to other great hairy lipped-men of football lore.
Continuing to draw on inspiration from the world of pro wrestling, he channels the Hulkster so hard I'm inclined to pull out my protractor and certify the right angles on that lip tickler. Ok, so maybe I don't own a protractor, and maybe I don't know how to use one, but there's no denying that this man's trimmer is laser-guided and probably german-engineered.
In news that isn't too surprising, ESPN agreed to a massive extension with the NFL to keep Monday Night Football on the leader until 2021. That means ten more years of "this guy!" This eight year extension is worth a ginormous 14.4 BILLION dollars throughout the life of the deal. Yes, BILLION. That's 1.8 BILLION dollars per year according to Sports Business Journal. If I can play Darren Rovell for a bit, that's 105.8 million dollars per game for the seventeen that are televised throughout the MNF season. 26.4 million dollars per quarter. 1.7 million dollars per minute. And, 29,411 dollars for every second of NFL game action on the network. Wrap your mind around those numbers. However, those billions and billions of dollars aren't just being spent on MNF. ESPN will also keep the NFL Draft, add some mobile rights, and most importantly of all, they get back the Pro Bowl!! I'm shocked that wasn't the lead headline.
As another part of the deal, ESPN is also receiving "Expanded highlight rights across ESPN’s television and digital platforms." This leads to the other major news to come out of this new deal - several more hours of NFL programming across the ESPN networks. In fact, if somehow you aren't a fan of the NFL and think that ESPN pays way too much attention to the NFL as it is, you may just want to leave now. Frankly, this is a move that had to happen with ESPN's addition of several hundred new NFL analysts and the runaway freight train that is the Shield. You don't think ESPN signed Eric Mangini just for his congenial personality, did you? Here's the details...