Friday, September 28, 2012

Jets Joe McKnight Expected To Play Exclusively At Corner With Revis Out

I wrote about Jets running back Joe McKnight getting to play some cornerback against the Steelers a few weeks ago.

That never really materialized, but now with Darrelle Revis out for the year, the New York Daily News is reporting that McKnight will see an increased role at cornerback and could possibly remain in that role.

Rex Ryan spoke briefly about the position switch earlier.
“We’ll do that this week with Joe McKnight,” Ryan said. “He’ll have a role on offense, but we’re also teaching him how to play corner…. Not quite a full-time capacity, but he’s going to be over there a ton in the meetings and everything else.”
“He’s a guy that we saw on scout team when he was a rookie,” Ryan said. “He has the necessary skills to be able to play corner. He’s got the speed, the size, the athleticism, the ball skills. Everything you look for in a corner. So, I don’t think there’s any reason not to think that Joe McKnight couldn’t be a corner.”
“It’s just going to take time, obviously,” Ryan added. “But I think with (defensive backs coach) Dennis Thurman and (assistant defensive backs coach) Jimmy O’Neil over there, I think we got great teachers of the game. It’ll be interesting. I would not bet against Joe McKnight becoming a good corner.”
McKnight is not foreign to playing cornerback.  He hasn’t played it in some years but he has played the position.

Ken Norton Jr. who recruited McKnight to USC as a defensive back once said that if Joe McKnight focused on playing defensive back in college, he could have been the No.1 pick.

Be sure to check out other great articles at BlackSportsOnline.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Serbian National Soccer Team afraid of own fans

Many soccer fans around the world have a bad reputation when it comes to the treatment of opposing teams. However, in Serbia they aren’t averse to taking out their anger on their home team either. Because of this, the Serbian national team is trying to have its next home game moved from the city of Belgrade to the friendlier confines Novi Sad in the north of the county.

Serbia is scheduled to kickoff against Belgium in a World Cup qualifier in October, but is afraid of the hostile reception the team may receive from the fans in Belgrade. Team manager Sinisa Mihajlovic said his players would rather have the contest moved to Novi Sad because the fans there are more supportive of the team. Serbia played their last home game there earlier in September and a home crowd of 15,000 cheered them on to a 6-1 win over Wales.

Mihajlovic realizes that the team won’t to be able to pack as many fans into the smaller stadium in Novi Sad, but is hoping that UEFA will agree to the move and that the Belgian Football Association won’t have a problem with a change of venue either. The manager said it’s really up to Belgium to agree to the move and then UEFA just needs to approve the request. He said if Belgium doesn’t want to change stadiums then

Serbia won’t have a choice and the match will have to be played in Belgrade.

Mihajlovic admitted that the team is fed up of being the target of insults and jeers in Belgrade, and his team feels like the visiting squad when playing there. He feels that gives the opposition an advantage and he doesn’t want to play in that atmosphere when they’re at home since they have to play under the same circumstances when they’re on the road.

It doesn’t matter which stadium Serbia plays in while in Belgrade, since fans at the Partizan club’s ground and those at Marakana Stadium where Red Star plays, all get on the team at home and have done since it’s brutal showing during the qualifying rounds of this summer’s European Championships (EURO 2012).

Goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic of Partizan Belgrade has especially taken a lot of fan abuse since he played for the team’s main rivals before joining Partizan in 2010. Red Star Belgrade fans attacked the 29-year-old goalie prior to an away game in Genoa against Italy earlier in 2012. Serbian supporters then started a riot at the game and it was cancelled after just seven minutes with Italy being awarded a 3-0 victory.

Serbia played against Ireland in Belgrade in September and the 5,000 home fans on hand in Belgrade hurled abuse on the players and manager for their poor performances of late. Mihajlovic said he doesn’t know what may happen when the team plays in Belgrade, but doesn’t want to risk it. He said he doesn’t have a clue how many fans might show and which team they’ll be cheering for. He added that the abuse is harmful to his young players and he the team is jeered again the next time in Belgrade then he doesn’t ever want to play there again as long as he’s in charge.

However, he said if the game against Belgium can’t be changed then they’ll see how things go in Belgrade and then go from there. Serbia sits on top of their World Cup qualifying group by goal difference after beating Wales and tying Scotland 0-0 in Glasgow.

Ian Palmer

Autumn In New York

Like many business people in New York City, I work for myself and I’m able to make my own hours.  In that vain I’m able to attend to real life issues such as declaring whether the Whole Foods Market salad bar is better than Westside Market’s, or to make my Trader Joe’s shopping list (which being able to go in the afternoon rather than after traditional working hours is a godsend, since everyone and their uncle goes after work).

And like many people in New York, I’m often running errands boasting my team colors.  Today, I was bumming around in my New York Rangers shirsey, bearing the number and name of one Bradley Glenn Richards.

So it’s autumn in New York.  It’s not just a one sport town, but a multiple sport town.  There is not one but several phenomena occurring this time of year. Typically, you can count on Yankee fans getting ready for the postseason, and Mets fans get ready to root for whomever plays against them.

Football season is a few weeks old.  Jets fans typically change their mind on the team more than the weather.

Yet there’s a gaping hole this fall, and it’s not the fact that I left the Giants out of the equation (come on, no one fucking talks about them until the playoffs)…and that’s hockey.

I’m a Mets and Jets fan, yet when I wear their attire, not much gets said to me when I’m walking down the street (unless I’m with my husband, and we get the “Hey, going to the game today?” comments).  I would gather that Yankee and/or Giants fans might feel the same when they sport their team colors.

Today, as I’m walking in Trader Joe’s, not one, not two, but THREE people (each from different walks of life — one an employee, one guy who looked like he just came in from the gym and someone who was probably working in an office setting still in their business casual clothes) made a comment about the team.  Whether it was, “Man, what do you think about the lockout?”  Or “We got Nash, and now we’re not playing?”  Or “Brad Richards, huh?”  (I get that a lot, but sue me, I was excited to have him on the team last year).

Come to now with the threat of no hockey this seasons I would be willing to argue that the true heart of a New York sports fan lies in their hockey allegiance.

That’s not to say that I don’t think there are super passionate Yankees, Mets, Giants, Jets, hell even Knicks and Brooklyn Nets fans.  They certainly exist.  Hockey fans are from a different cloth.  There’s a deep rooted passion, and it’s almost as if being in a room with 18,000 like minded people, indoors mostly, makes it seem like we’ve survived a war.  Perhaps we’ve survived several different battles, each game a mini battle in and of itself.

The battles these days aren’t being drawn out in the ice, but rather in board rooms, with Gary Butthead, the owners and players.  Someone pointed out to me that it’s probably not the best sign that players are going back to their homeland (Russia, Sweden, Czech Republic) to play in those leagues.  It dictates that they expect this to be drawn out for a long time.

Do I need to break out the world’s smallest violin, again, for the millionaires who are arguing over pennies while the diamonds are being passed over.  Diamonds in the form of long-term relationships with the fans who support and buy into the product.

What’s most nauseating being here in New York is that I know it’s not James Dolan’s fault.  He’s a money guy, sure, but he knows that the only way he’s gonna MAKE money is if his team gets out there and plays and his fans are happy.  Fans are not happy.

But what’s more.  I am a Mets, Jets and Rangers fans.  These three teams have brought me more sorrow than joy, but there are glimpses of hope as to why I stick around long term even though they are destined to break my heart more often than not.  Two years ago, and two years in a row, the Jets made the conference championships.  The Mets…well…let’s not go there.  But let’s just say that I do remember ’86 and think that sometimes those feelings are what keep me around.

The Rangers though.  For a fan with the teams I have, this is the closest I’ve had to a championship for a long time and a team I looked forward to the last few months to watch.  A team that could take me away from the drama of Rex Ryan land and the Wilpon Follies.  As someone else pointed out to me, we get Rick Nash, and pieces are falling into place, and now these people are just agreeing to disagree and getting absolutely nowhere.

Today would have marked the first preseason game for 2012-13 season.  Yet the only thing we are marking is time.

It’s autumn in New York.  And before we know it, it will be winter in New York.

As the seasons change, one constant may not be there.  And that’s not a pleasant thought.

Taryn Cooper

Check out other great articles at A Gal For All Seasons.

Isiah Thomas Helping to Cut Down Gang Violence in Chicago

If someone hadn’t forwarded me this article about Thomas I would have never known. So, many negative stories get media attention, that sometimes a story like this falls through the cracks.
The violence in Chicago this summer has been well documented and stars like Derrick Rose have spoken out about how disgusted they are by it.

Thomas decided to not speak with his words, but his actions. He hosted a Peace Basketball Tournament on the Southside of Chicago and invited kids from all the neighborhood gangs to come out and play. His plan is simple and hopefully effective.
Here is what he had to say to
“Murder has run rampant in Chicago the last couple years, but gangs are calling a truce for this. By getting them to come together and play a sport, they might come to know each other. We believe it’s hard to kill someone if you get to know him.”
So simple, but so true. Hopefully, the truce extends beyond this weekend. Derrick Rose came out and supported event which meant a lot.

Hard enough to survive in this world without us killing off ourselves.
Be sure to check out other great articles at BlackSportsOnline.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Steelers Larry Foote Reportedly Tells Replacement Refs You should Kill Yourselfs

Man I’m not sure who has it rougher right now?

Jay Cuter, Mitt Romney, or the replacement referees.

I’m not a ref but I have played enough organized basketball and tons of football games to know refs have it rough.

You enter that kitchen though and you must deal with the heat.

These replacement refs are catching hell whether deserved or not.

Deadspin is reporting that Steelers linebacker Larry Foote was furious over a non call on a chop block against defensive end Ziggy Hood.

Foote started jawing with the refs at that point.

Coincidentally in the Raiders home stadium the visiting locker rooms and referee locker rooms are right across from each other.

Once the final seconds ran off the lock Foote made a b line to the locker room area.
Reports are that Jory Rand of CBS Pittsburgh heard the confrontation that ensued.

“Larry Foote was the first Steeler to exit the field. I was set up nearby for our postgame show, and heard someone scream, “You should go kill yourselves. Y’all (bleep)ing suck!”
I leaned around the corner and saw Foote enter the Steelers room, while several officials, entering their room, craned their neck to see who it was that had yelled at them.
Foote had already left the room by the time media was allowed in so we were unable to ask him about it.”
As usual per episodes such as this, Mr. Foote meet Mr. Goodell.
Be sure to check out other great articles at BlackSportsOnline.

Potential FBS Title Game Sites Beginning in 2015

Sources told ESPN that the Football Bowl Subdivision will consider from only six cities when deciding the host of the FBS's first playoff title game in 2015. Those six cities include the four current BCS bowls – Fiesta (Glendale) , Orange (Miami), Sugar (New Orleans), and Rose (Pasadena), plus the Cotton Bowl in Arlington and the Chick-Fil-A Bowl in Atlanta.
As if the NCAA and associated organizations didn't already rake in the profits, the post-2015 title game will go to the city with the most attractive bid (i.e., most likely the city that forks over the most dough) in a system quite similar to the one the NFL uses to decide the Super Bowl host city. The FBS was originally looking to do this for 2015, but due to time constraints they chose to expedite the process by limiting it to six cities.
Sources: BCS caps '15 final bid sites

Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.

Ravens vaunted defense: Goodbye for now

While the Baltimore Ravens celebrate their Week 3 win over conference rival New England in a down to the wire game that ended on a field goal at 31-30. Signs have begun to show that the Ravens steady and reliable defensive prowess is no longer present. It started when defensive standouts, Linebacker Jarret Johnson and Defensive End Cory Redding left via free agency and only got worse when NFL Defensive Player of the year Terrell Suggs tore his Achilles in the off-season. Add to this a new Defensive Coordinator in Dean Pees and you have a Raven defense that is struggling to generate any pass rush whatsoever and is giving up 401 total yards per game.… Read more

Be sure to check out other great articles at The Penalty Flag.

Oakland Raiders WR Darrius Heyward-Bey Released from Hospital

During the Oakland Raiders comeback 34-31 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey took a vicious helmet to helmet hit that knocked him unconscious. He left the field on a stretch, but gave the thumbs up sign on his way out. Today he was released from the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.
“He’s doing better,” Raiders head coach Dennis Allen said. “He’s, I believe, been released from the hospital. He had a concussion and he’s got a neck strain. He’ll make a full recovery. He’s going to be fine; we’ll just have to evaluate him and see where he’s at as far as when we get him back.”
On the Raiders first possession of the fourth quarter from the Pittsburgh 16 yard line, quarterback Carson Palmer threw to the endzone for Heyward-Bey. As he left his feet to make the catch, Steelers safety Ryan Mundy launched himself delivering a brutal helmet to helmet hit on Heyward-Bey. He was unconscious as he fell to the ground. The replacement referees did not throw a flag on the play, but Mundy will hear from the NFL this week with a suspension or fine.
“Listen, it’s the game of football,” Allen said. “I don’t think people are trying to go out there and hurt people. I think the safety was playing the game fast and physical. It’s a tough game to play when you’re making split second decisions on how you play the game. It’s the unfortunate thing that happens in this game, but we move on from it.”
Because of the significance of the injury, Heyward-Bey will likely miss some time for the Raiders. His next step in recovery will be to go through the NFL concussion tests and protocol before he can take the field again.
“Yeah, I talked to him this morning,” Allen said. “He sounded tired, but he’s doing okay. He was in good spirits; he’s doing fine. And we’re looking forward to getting him back.”

Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

My 2 Cents about the Scab Zebras

I have held back to this point on commenting on what is, basically, a labor dispute about a bigger piece of the pie.

After this last weekend, and last night's debacle of a football game, I am done.

The NFL needs to get in the room and find a middle ground with the referees, or they need to hire better ones than what they have.  I am dumbfounded that they couldn't at least get access to FBS level referees.  Honestly, if you had an SEC or Big 12 set of referees doing and NFL game, I doubt we would even notice.  They are used to a game at near the speed that the NFL works at, and they are used to working together, but these referees they have in place are making a mockery of the game and the profession.

I can deal with judgement calls, and I can even deal with them being slower to announce the penalties, if it means they were conferring and making sure to get it right.  What I cannot abide is a play like the one that ended the Green Bay/Seattle game where the head referee ignores his mate who is responsible for the play and makes a ludicrous call which decides the outcome of a game. 

We can debate whether the referees are in a position that needs the protection of a union, but there is no point.  They have the same right to enter into group negotiations as any other group, and they have chosen to do so.  They are trying to protect themselves against a monopoly, which we know as the NFL, and they do have an argument.

The NFL is trying to move them all directly to a 401k, without increasing the pay of the officials.  As they currently receive a league funded pension, this is basically a pay cut, with increased risk around retirement.  I would not go for that either, and I doubt that any of the rest of you would.

So, we know the cause, and we know the effect, but what is the solutions. 

I came across what I thought was a solid writeup on Malthusian Nectar.  An excerpt:

There are two reasonable solutions to the labor impasse. The first is that the NFL decides that only new referees are switched over to 401(k)s. This seems simple enough, and it’s unclear why the NFL didn’t offer this to begin with. As I said, the salaries of the refs are probably minor enough so that there’s no major economic rationale as to why the NFL can’t continue to pay the defined benefit plans for the current refs.

The other solution would be to completely eliminate the defined benefit plans, by offer payoffs for the old plan, or salary increases to compensate. Indeed, the NFL could even offer this as an option. For example, either a ref:

(a) Makes $50K and gets defined benefit, or

(b) Makes $54K and gets a 401(k)

These are so simple, and for a business that is making a reported 9 billion a year, it is ridiculous that they will not take care of the people who, for analogies sake, provide their quality control.

You can do what you want, but the NFL will be seeing no more of my money until they sort this out.  No merchandise, no tickets, no links to their websites....nothing.


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Monday, September 24, 2012

College Football Week 4

Well, week 4 is now in the past for the 2012 College Football season and we have a pretty good idea of who most of the teams are.

We know who are the good teams, who are the great teams, and who are the teams who just don't make any sense.  There are some exceptions, like Oregon State who, for some reason, has only played 2 games...but they beat Wisconsin and UCLA.  So, are they that good, or are they inflated for having had 2 weeks to prepare for each game?

There aren't many of those types of questions left though, as most everyone has shown us their true colors, more or less.  Now we get to the fun part, the conference season.  Who can improve, and who will get upset by the dastardly underdog who knows them so well?

Well, that is coming on quickly, but here is where we are for now.  The weight rating has been updated so that margin, adjusted for strength of schedule, can account for 1/3 with wins, adjusted for strength of schedule, accounting for 2/3.  A 'perfect score would be 4.0, after all, these are college kids we are talking about.  This did lead to some shuffling, and this is probably the only ranking system in the country that does not have Alabama as #1.  To be honest, they got hurt by how bad Arkansas has been.  It gave them enough of a lower SoS, that the Dawgs pulled just ahead of them.  On the flipside, the SEC is even more dominant in these rankings than they are in normal...again, SoS is to account for that.

1. Georgia Bulldogs 3.645
This Georgia team is as talented as any in the country, and has rolled to this point.  The scary thing about them is that they don't look like they have played a complete game and are just now getting their suspended players back.  They have been a little sloppy at times, but their roster is chock full of explosive athletes.

2. Alabama Crimson Tide 3.47
Noone has tested the tide yet, and their win over 'cupcake' Western Kentucky is looking surprisingly more valid than was expected after the Hilltoppers took down Kentucky in OT.  That is not to say that Kentucky is a good team, but when your cupcake is good enough to beat a team in your conference, that always helps the SoS.  Now if only Arkansas hadn't fallen apart.  The big challenge for the Tide now is to handle their business and not overlook the also-rans as they build up to LSU on November 3rd.  It will be interesting to see what happens when this Tide offense goes up against a defense with similar talent that can try to force them to throw the ball.  McCarron has looked too to this point, but he has not been under stress either.

3. Oregon Ducks 3.38
The Ducks passed their first real test of the season with flying colors, exploding past the Wildcats after a slow first half.  Their defense looked great against an Arizona defense that had been effective to this point in the season, pitching a shutout and scoring 2 TD's in it's own right.  When a slow night on offense still gets you 35 points from your offense, that says a lot about your attack.  It is a small sample size, but the defense is the most athletic I have seen out of Oregon...but again, this was a very small sample size.

4. LSU Tigers 3.16
The Tigers almost got caught in a trap game.  Do not mistake their 2 point win against Auburn to be anything more than them playing a bad game.  However, that is itself a concern.  Mettenburger needs to be a leader who makes the big play for them in the passing game when they are having trouble running the ball.  That's really the only thing they have him there for.  He has the big arm, and he needs to start making plays or one of these games the trap will work.  Their trip to the Swamp in 2 weeks should be fun to watch as these 2 physical teams try to out man each other.

5. South Carolina Gamecocks 3.09
The Gamecocks have been dancing on the razor's edge all season.  Marcus Lattimore has yet to regain his form this season, while they bounced back and forth at QB dependent on Connor Shaw's health.  It's true enough that Dylan Thompson has filled in adequately, and he may be a better pure passer, but Shaw and Lattimore are the duo that make this offense explosive....if it can be.  To this point, the defense has made life pretty easy for the offense, but they had better get it figure out quickly with one more week before they play Georgia, LSU, and Floria in consecutive games.  On the bright side, there are no Crimson Tide sightings on their schedule.

Crime syndicate targeted semi-pro Canadian Soccer League

Match fixing in soccer appears to be so rampant that even semi-pro teams in Canada are being targeted. Recent reports indicate that an international game-fixing syndicate infiltrated a lower league in Canada since nobody would suspect any illegal activity to be taking place. The criminal organization decided it would try fixing the outcome of games in the Canadian Soccer League (CSL) since it’s out of the spotlight and doesn’t attract many fans. The semi-pro league has teams based in the provinces of Quebec and Ontario.

According to reports, police had hundreds of hours wiretapping evidence that was produced during a court case in Germany last year which was focused on sports-fixing syndicates in Europe. Court was told that dozens of games around the world were manipulated. Many players and officials in the CSL said they were asked to fix games on a regular basis. A lawyer for one of the convicted criminals admitted that his client fixed a match in Canada and said it’s a lot easier to fix games in lower soccer leagues since there’s not much attention paid to them and there’s less control. He also stated that the players make less money so they’re more willing to take bribes.

In the CSL, some players make only approximately $5,000 for playing games on the weekends. One player said somebody at the stadium simply asked him if he wanted to make some extra money and it was a common occurrence. Gamblers found they could make easy money by betting on teams to win games as well as the total goals scored and things such as the number of yellow and red cards handed out by the referee.

Court was told that while the games might not attract much of an audience in Canada, they can still be bet on live and this is what interests gamblers in Europe, Asia, and other parts of the world. Wagers are taken on CSL games by many online betting sites and people can place up to about $180,000 on single games. Police wiretaps showed that a 2009 contest between Toronto Croatia and Trois-Rivières Attak was fixed.
Evidence showed that a man flew to Canada to organize the fix by offering a bribe of $18,000 to veteran player Antonijo Zupan, who was a former CSL All-Star who was playing for Toronto Croatia at the time. Zupan was supposed to share the money with some of his teammates to manipulate the game. A former Trois-Rivières player named Reda Aggouram said he remembers scoring a very easy goal in the game when the goaltender made a simple mistake.

The wiretap evidence showed that Zupan, along with four teammates, had agreed to make sure Toronto Croatia lost the match by a minimum of two goals so gamblers could cash their bets. Zupan had a chance to tie the game at 2-2 in the second half, but he missed a penalty kick. His team then went on to lose by a score of 4-1. Aggouram said he was surprised his team won by such a large margin as Toronto Croatia was one of the league’s top clubs.

Zupan said he doesn’t know why his name was mentioned in the wiretaps and denied taking any bribes. However, shortly after the game ended, the syndicate leaders were caught on wiretaps saying that they had been successful. The syndicate then planned on fixing more games in the CSL and even discussed entering a team in the league or buying one was the easiest possible way to fix games.

Vincent Ursini, chairman of the CSL, claimed that he didn’t know anything about match fixing, but asked FIFA to investigate the accusations.

Ian Palmer

Friday, September 21, 2012

J.J. Watt places Peyton Manning on his hit list.

After the Atlanta Falcons sacked and knocked Peyton Manning on his backside on multiple occasions despite Denver’s touted offensive line, the Houston Texans are feeling pretty good about getting in on some of that action.

In particular, defensive end J.J. Watt has stepped up and said that he plans on taking Manning to the ground when the two teams meet on Sunday.

“I want to have No. 18 on my sack list,” Watt told the Houston Chronicle. “That’s my goal.”

“I’ve always said you want the best,” Watt said. “You don’t earn your stripes playing against inferior competition you want to play against the best every single time and that’s a chance to prove yourself.”

“You’re not going to sack him every play so you need to get your hands up in the passing lanes, hopefully frustrate him,” Watt said.

“But he is a veteran quarterback, he’s seen that before, he knows people are going to try and bat his passes down. That’s another challenge. I’m excited about it. But I want to sack him, too.”

Watt’s passing lanes comment should not be taken lightly as he’s already batted down five balls through the first two games of the year.

It should also be remembered that Watt is a violently disruptive force that even coming from the end position can generate interceptions and is good to force a fumble,

His motor runs so high that he plays in a style that is similar to former Seahawk Patrick Kerney when he was at his best.

The road does not get any easier for the future Hall of Famer whom everyone in Denver is counting on to lead them back to glory.

Be sure to check out other great articles at Players View.

Kato Kaelin Says OJ Simpson Killed His Ex-Wife; Shocking Right?

Here is the most interesting part of Kaelin’s admission. They asked him what took him so long to come forward with this information and here is what he had to say via the New York Post.
“The statute of limitations has now passed . . . so I can now say . . . yes, he did it.”
Why didn’t he come forward and tell the truth? Ask why he let O.J. Simpson get away with murder, and I repeat his exact words:
“I was too scared. I was terrified.”
The statute of limitations had nothing to do with it, as soon as OJ was found not guilty that was it, he was protected by the Double Jeopardy law and couldn’t be charged again.

Kato could have walked out of the courtroom the same day, said OJ was Jason Voorhees and nothing would have happened. This is just an attempt to get another 12 seconds of fame.

A little word association.  What's the first thing that to comes to your mind after reading this story and someone mentions Kato Kaelin?
I guess it worked.

Meanwhile OJ is still chilling in a Las Vegas prison for being the dumbest person on the planet.
Be sure to check out other great articles at BlackSportsOnline.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Hunt for October Heats up with Just Over Two Weeks Left in Regular Season

With a little over two weeks left in regular season play the playoff race is red hot in Major League Baseball. With the addition of a second wild card spot in the playoffs this year baseball has gotten even more exciting in September. Teams like the Arizona Diamondbacks who are two games under .500 are finding themselves still in the middle of the conversation as we approach the race to the finish line.

On this exact day last year the St. Louis Cardinals were three and a half games behind the Atlanta Braves in the National League wild card race and they finished winning eight of their last 11 games to overcome the Braves and as we all know went on to win the 2011 World Series. So who is going to get hot this year? Below is a look at the remaining schedules for the NL wild card contenders to close out the season.

1. Atlanta Braves (85-63) Remaining teams to play: at Miami, at Philadelphia, vs. Miami, vs. New York, at Pittsburgh
The Braves are seven and a half games ahead of St. Louis for the first wild spot card and are virtually a lock for the playoffs. They are actually throwing their hat back in the divisional race in the NL East now just five games behind the Washington Nationals. Manager Fredi Gonzalez will be able to prepare for the one-game wild card playoff which will likely feature their red hot pitcher Kris Medlen. Medlen has been sensational down the stretch for the Braves. Medlen has only given up five runs in over 47 innings pitched since August. He is 7-0 in nine starts since being moved into the rotation from the bullpen.

2. St. Louis Cardinals (77-70) Remaining Teams to play: vs. Houston, at Chicago, at Houston, vs. Washington, vs. Cincinnati
The Cardinals just split a four game series in Los Angeles and remain one game ahead of the Dodgers for the second wild card spot. They have to be smiling at the upcoming schedule with nine games scheduled against the two worst teams in baseball being the Houston Astros and the Chicago Cubs. They close the season with two home series against division leaders Washington and Cincinnati who could possibly be resting starters at that point so the Cardinals are in the best shape to hold on and advance to the playoffs as the second wild card team.

3. Los Angeles Dodgers (76-71, 1 game back) Remaining Teams to play: at Washington, at Cincinnati, at San Diego, vs. Colorado, vs. San Francisco
The Dodgers are in serious trouble now that ace Clayton Kershaw is done for the season with a hip injury. After the blockbuster trades they made to acquire Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez, Shane Victorino and Josh Beckett it has been a disaster for Los Angeles. All-Star Matt Kemp hasn't been the same since crashing into the outfield wall in Colorado. With their upcoming schedule on the road against the two best teams in the NL then at San Diego we at Sports Media 101 are finding it hard to see Los Angeles playing in October.

4. Milwaukee Brewers (74-72, 2.5 games back) Remaining Teams to play: at Pittsburgh, at Washington, at Cincinnati vs. Houston, vs. San Diego
The Brewers have made an impressive comeback to get themselves into the midst of the wild card race this season. The upcoming schedule looks daunting with 10 games on the road against playoff contenders however the Pirates have been struggling so a three-game series with them starting Tuesday becomes key. Milwaukee has played extremely well at Miller Park this year and have won eight of their last nine games at home including a sweep against the Braves last week to jolt them into the playoff conversation.

5. Pittsburgh Pirates (74-72, 2.5 games back) Remaining Teams to play: vs. Milwaukee, at Houston, at New York, vs. Cincinnati, vs. Atlanta
The Pirates have faded quickly in the second half of the season. They've lost 12 of their last 16 including four of six to the lowly Chicago Cubs. This week's matchup at home against the Brewers is absolutely huge for both teams. A.J. Burnett takes on Yovani Gallardo tonight in the series opener. The Pirates had a rain delay last night in Chicago and didn't finish until 1:30 a.m. CST. We'll see if the short rest affects the team when they travel home to take on Milwaukee tonight.

6. Philadelphia Phillies (74-74, 3.5 games back) Remaining Teams to play: at New York, vs. Atlanta, vs. Washington, at Miami, at Washington
The Phillies blew a golden opportunity this week dropping three out of four games at last place Houston. What an incredible rebound the team had just to get back into the thick of things. Cliff Lee has pitched phenomenal and recorded another victory last night against the Mets. Six games against the Nationals and a series against the Braves poses some issues down the stretch for Charlie Manuel's ball club and you can't sleep on Ozzie Guillen's Marlins either.

7. Arizona Diamondbacks (72-74, 4.5 games back) Remaining Teams to play: vs. San Diego, at Colorado, at San Francisco, vs. Chicago, vs. Colorado

Yes the Diamondbacks are still in the picture even though we are two games under .500. Inconsistency has been the issue all year for the Diamondbacks if it's not pitching it's the hitting, if both are on it's the defense.
They've struggled all year to put the three phases of the game together. But wait, 13 of their last 16 games are against teams with a sub .500 record so there's still hope in the desert! The Diamondbacks hope to have revenge against the Padres starting tonight after getting swept by San Diego in their last two visits to Chase Field. The D-backs will have to string together a lot of wins to say the least to have a shot here.

The division leaders in the National League seem to be in control of their own destiny. The Cincinnati Reds are 11 games ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central and the magic number for Dusty Baker and his club is at five to clinch their second division title in three seasons. They still are playing for the top spot in the NL and home field advantage in the playoffs. They are one and a half games behind the Washington Nationals for the top spot.

The Nationals are seeing their division lead in the NL East shrink to just five games over the Atlanta Braves after getting swept in Atlanta over the weekend. With all of the drama around shutting down ace Stephen Strasburg momentum isn't exactly on their side right now. However, the Nationals have continued to surprise all year and seem to find ways to win games consistently.

In the NL West the San Francisco Giants look to be in cruise control now that the Dodgers have lost ace Clayton Kershaw. The Giants hold an eight game lead over the Dodgers in the division and to everyone's surprise it's been their hitting carrying the team over the last month and not their stellar pitching rotation. The Giants could be a very dangerous team in October if both pitching and hitting are clicking at the same time.

Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.

Orange Bowl Deal Set to Lock Big East Out of Major Bowl Picture

When the Orange Bowl signed a deal with the Atlantic Coast Conference that guaranteed them a spot in the game every year, this headline was probably inevitable. The Orange Bowl is close to a deal that would pit the ACC champion against either Notre Dame, a Big 10 team or an SEC team. The Big East, which has long been affiliated with the Orange Bowl, has effectively been shut out of the game.

There were a lot of folks who thought the new college football world order would be an improvement over the current landscape. While the new four game playoff is a sight for sore eyes, the system surrounding the four game playoff seem more crooked than ever.

In the old days before the BCS, the Big 8 (precursor to the Big 12 conference) champion would be matched up against an eastern Independent, which in the 80's and early 90s, was often the home town Miami Hurricanes. When the Hurricanes moved to the Big East conference, the Orange Bowl began an affiliation with the conference that lasted until the current deal.

In the current, soon to be dead system, bowl games had a bit of latitude to take the best possible game you could configure from the six automatic qualifier champions. While bowls definitely had preferences on who would play – the Rose Bowl will hold onto its Big 10 versus Pac 12 matchup with its cold dead hand – the conference affiliations with bowls were less concrete than in the previous bowl system, allowing for a larger variety of potential matchups.

That seems to be dead. The Orange Bowl will be contractually obligated to take an ACC team, even if the ACC champion has made the four team playoff. That ACC team will play Notre Dame if it qualifies for a major bowl. Depending on what teams make the playoff and which bowl games are hosting in a given season, an SEC or Big 10 champion could be available for the Orange Bowl if Notre Dame is not qualified to play.

The one thing you will never see in an Orange Bowl again is a Big East champion getting a chance to drop 70 points on a hapless ACC champion ever again. The ACC has been involved in a decade long war with the Big East during which the ACC has won every off the field battle while largely being humiliated on the field. The ACC has the worst record of any conference in BCS games, while the Big East has one of the best.

But with their Orange Bowl deal, their Notre Dame deal and the various raids of Big East schools, the ACC seems to have cemented its supremacy over the Big East. The Big East has yet to align itself with a major bowl game and seems cut out of the system altogether. "There are no automatic qualifier conferences" actually means "there is one fewer automatic qualifier conference."

Notre Dame's role in all of this is a bit curious. The Fighting Irish, for all intents and purposes, are members of the ACC when it comes time to decide who will go to the second tier and lower bowls. But when it comes time to decide who will play in the major bowls, Notre Dame is considered a separate entity. And given Notre Dame's scheduling deal with the ACC, it's very likely the Orange Bowl could feature a rematch of a game the public already saw.

The whole arrangement is farcical and nakedly corrupt. It is therefore the most fitting college football deal imaginable.

Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

44-year-old former world boxing champion Fitz Vanderpool wins comeback bout

It’s not really unusual these days for retired boxers to make a comeback and about half of them are successful. You can add another name to that list now as 44-year-old Fitz Vanderpool beat Phil Rose by a unanimous decision in Guelph, Ontario, Canada on Sept 15. Vanderpool is a former WBF World Jr. Middleweight Champion and former Canadian welterweight titleholder.

Vanderpool retired from the sport seven years ago and was fighting the 30-year-old Rose at a catch weight of 165 lbs., up quite a bit from his days as a junior middleweight. Vanderpool’s corner men wore shirts with “unfinished business” written on them at the bout in front of about 1, 500 people at the Sleeman Centre. The scores were 58-56, 58-56, and 59-55.

After the fight, Vanderpool stated that a lot of people didn’t want him to win the bout as they were against him making a comeback for some reason. He said many people asked him why he was returning to the ring with some of them even sending hateful messages. He added that he was willing to put in a lot of hard work to be successful and believed in his abilities. He feels some boxers may have been a little upset with him because he put in the work and they don’t want to put the same amount of effort into their careers. He claimed that’s not a legitimate reason to be mad at him for making a comeback.

As expected, Vanderpool got off to a relatively slow start since he had seven years of ring rust to shake off. He spent too much time with his back on the ropes in the early going, but got stronger as the fight went on. He used his experience against Rose and actually had better stamina than his younger opponent. Vanderpool said he went into the fight with a lot of pressure on him as one of Canada’s most-ever successful boxers. He knew he had a reputation to live up to and said there was no way he was going to be beaten because of all the preparation and training he put in. He said he was happy with the win and did what he had to do to earn the decision.

He admitted that he’s always been a slow starter and that didn’t discourage him against Rose. Vanderpool stated that he usually gets going after the third or fourth round but knew that wouldn’t be good enough in a six-round fight. He said his corner told him to use his jab to keep Rose at bay, so he followed the advice and used his speed advantage and boxing skills to score from the outside. He just wanted to outbox his opponent and not knock him out. It’s possible that Vanderpool will enter the ring again after he turns 45 in November and hopes to get a shot at the Canadian middleweight or junior middleweight titles sometime in early 2013.

With the win, Vanderpool, who was born in Trinidad and Tobago, ups his pro record to 25-7-4 with 13 KOs. Rose of Whitby, Ontario falls to 4-2-1, with 3 KOs.

Ian Palmer

Dwight Howard never wanted everyone to hate him

The Los Angeles Lakers’ center Dwight Howard recently opened up in regards to his feelings on the back-and-forth process that has taken him from being one of the most respected and beloved players in the NBA to one of its most hated.

He is what LeBron James used to be. The only difference is that most people would rather try to avoid multiple trips to Cleveland than Disney World.

He spoke to ESPN in regards to how he felt trying to avoid LeBron’s fate.

“And it was a tug of war between my feelings and the fans and everybody else and their feelings and what happened to LeBron,” And I saw him — everybody hated him for leaving Cleveland and what he did,” Howard said.  ”I never wanted anybody to hate me, you know. I wanted everybody to love me, you know, like me, for sticking around and doing what they wanted me to do. And making everybody else happy. And that was a valuable lesson for me, you know.

“I can’t make everybody happy.”

This is true but the way that Howard conducted his business was a series of public missteps that caused him to come across as well…a tool.

Now that he is in Los Angeles, if he is serious about fixing his public persona he will do everything he can not to lose access to Disney Land as well.

He seemingly would do it all over again.

“I don’t have any regrets, you know. I think everything happened the way that it was meant to happen,” Howard said. “I really just wish some of the lies and some of the things being said didn’t come out the way it did, you know.

“But I have an opportunity to do something great here in L.A, and I can’t look back and think about everything that’s behind me.”

True…very true.

Be sure to check out other great articles at Players View.


The "best all-around athletes" list are always "subjective." Sport fans have their "favorite's." Michael Jordan fans say he's the greatest - Jim Brown fans will claim he's No.1. I'm sure you have your own list, your own "best" athlete ever in the history of sports.......

Here's ESPN's "TOP TEN" list. See if you agree with their selection.

Lou Gehrig/MLB - called the "IRON HORSE." Columnist Jim Murray once wrote "Gehrig was a symbol of indestructibility - a "Gibraltar" in cleats. A reference to Gehrig's football skills. Before Yankee fame, he played football at Columbia. He was strong and tough enough to play fullback and linebacker. He was also Columbia's ace pitcher.

Gordie Howe/NHL - On ice, Howe could do it all. Skate-shoot-pass-fight and score. As an 18-year-old-rookie in 1946 he played his first game in the NHL. He played his last game in 1980 as a 52 year-old icon. Among Howe's accomplishments, most lifetime goals (1,071), most lifetime assists (1,518), most All-Star appearances (29), and most MVP awards (7). Gordie Howe use to work out with the Detroit Tigers. He loved taking batting practice with them. Tiger officials (and Al Kaline) say if Howe had put the effort into the American pastime, he would have been great at it.

Michael Jordan/NBA - Super quick on the floor - great jumper, could high-jump six foot without even trying, pausing in mid-air to slam home "dunks." Jordan had the ability to see things on the court no one else could - he was an incredible defender. After basketball, at age 32, he went to baseball's minor leagues to play. His fans say he's the "greatest" athlete of all time.

Jackie Robinson/MLB - Broke baseball's color barrier in 1947. Robinson's on and off the field career, "legendary." First UCLA athlete ever to letter in four sports. As a Bruin, Robinson was an All-American running back. In basketball he led the Pac-10 in scoring - and in 1940 was NCAA champion in the long jump. In MLB he hit for power, hit for average, and stole bases with the best. We could say more about Jackie's strength, speed, stamina and extraordinary character but certainly you know it already. If you don't, "shame on you."

Rafer Johnson/Olympics - Won Silver in 1956 games despite an injured knee. Won Gold four years later in Rome. In college he set a "decathlon" world record as a freshman. Rafer played on UCLA's basketball team - under legendary coach John Wooden.

Wilt Chamberlain/NBA - Only center in NBA history to lead in assists. Chamberlain was big-fast-and agile. Did you know he was also a track and field star at Pennsylvania State? He set records in the 110-meter hurdles and shot-put. After retiring from basketball the "Dipper" as his friends called him, transformed himself into a world-class volleyball player. He also ran marathons, and had a reputation with the "ladies." Chamberlain also turned down offers to play pro football and box professionally.

ESPN rounds out their "top ten" list with -

Bo Jackson who played in MLB and the NFL and starred in both pro sports.

Dave Winfield who made his mark in MLB but was also a great basketball player. He was drafted by both the Atlanta Hawks and Utah Stars. He was also drafted by the NFL Minnesota Vikings of the NFL. No other athlete has ever been drafted in all three pro sports.

In the runner up #2 slot, ESPN picks Jim Thorpe - called by King Gustav V of Sweden, "THE GREATEST ATHLETE IN THE WORLD." Thorpe could do it all in track and field, baseball, and football. In 1950 Thorpe was named the best athlete of the first half of the 20th century.

The No.1 spot (according to ESPN) belongs to Jim Brown - Legendary NFL running back - called the NFL's "greatest" running back of all time. Brown's playing credentials/awards with the Cleveland Browns (1957-1965) would fill a book. Brown was also an All-American lacrosse player - star basketball player at Syracuse, and finished fifth in the 1956 national decathlon championship. Jim Brown was offered a baseball contract by the New York Yankees. His friends called him "Soul Brother" - very close friends, "Sex Machine." After his NFL years Brown made his way to Hollywood and became a movie star. He's still a "star" at age 76.

Jim Brown - "OUR GREATEST ATHLETE?"...Maybe, maybe not. But I'm sure we can all agree, the athletes named deserve to be on everyone's "best" list.
Be sure to check out other great articles at The Baseball Page, Where Baseball Lives.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Miller Time

Written by: Melissa Harder

Last week, Reggie Miller was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame. The Mr. Potato Head with legs, or more conventionally described 6’7” former UCLA Bruin was selected 11thoverall in the 1987 NBA Draft by the Indiana Pacers where he spent his entire 18 year career.

A pure shooter, Miller constantly came off picks and curls to drain threes, usually in the face of a too slow defender. His end of game clutch shooting became known as “Miller Time”. With 2,560 made three-pointers, he ended his career as the NBA's greatest long range shooter. He poured in 25,279 points to finish his career in 12th place on league's all-time scoring list.

So his stats check out. They’re great. Really. But what makes him great in my eyes? The trash talk, obviously. Reggie Miller was a performer. Observe: 

“He was one of the greatest trash talkers in the history of the game.” Ahmad Rashad

“He's maddening. He is a maddening human being.” Cheryl Miller

“I hated Reggie.” Patrick Ewing
Be sure to check out other great articles at FreeTheSportsman.

Broncos defense shines in Atlanta

Unable to overcome four first-period turnovers including, three Peyton Manning interceptions and a Knowshon Moreno fumble, the Denver Broncos defense, nonetheless, played spectacularly. The Bronco run-defense held the Atlanta Falcons to a paltry 69 yards rushing.

The high vaulted Falcon passing attack was also held in check, accumulating only 208 yards. The 261 yards in total offense is far below expectations for the high-powered Falcon offense.

But the real story was the Broncos’ turnovers. Falling behind 20-0, Manning led the Broncos to a touchdown at the close of the first half. They closed the score to 27-21 with just over two minutes let to play.

But that was as close as the score got.… Read more

Be sure to check out other great articles at The Penalty Flag.

College Football Week 3

Week 3 of College Football is in the books for 2012.

As I have stated prior, setting team rankings before you have seen the teams is pointless.  Further, setting the rankings before you have seem the teams play anybody in their division(yes, I am looking at you Florida State) is nearly as pointless.

But, now we have seen everybody place at least one fellow BCS team, some of them have even played a couple of good ones.  So, here is my initial ranking for the season, with a few *ahem* remarks.

These rankings do not take into account my personal projections, or upcoming schedule.  They are built entirely off the games that have been played, with the players that have been available to this point.  They us a formula developed in house that combines winning percentage, margin, and quality of opponents.  You will see some listings that seem odd to you, and they do to me as well, but my goal is to get it right at the end of the year.  So, when you see Fresno State with 1 loss listed in front of OU, remember that it is better to put Oregon on your schedule and lose than it is to have a bye week.  So, don't fret Sooner fans, you boys will be up there after they actually play someone.

Feel free to tell me how wrong I am, I would hate to be left out.

1. Alabama Crimson Tide 8.4
The Tide have just flat-out whooped everybody to this point.  They are not without a chink in their armor.  They took a half a step back at the skill positions on offense after the past few drafts, and aren't quite as dynamic in their blitz game either.  That said, noone has come close to exploiting those weaknesses, and you are still talking about high school All-Americans at every damned position, so these "weaknesses" are just relative to that past few years.  You want to beat them, you start with some beasts on the defensive line and a lot of speed.

2. LSU Tigers 7.2
The Tigers reloaded again, and this year they upgraded at Quarterback, or so the scouts tell us.  Their M.O. under Les Miles has been to out-recruit everyone and then go, take the ball away, and ram in right down their throats with a physical running attack.  This year has been more of the same to this point.  To this point, we don't know what Zach Mettenberger can do throwing the ball because noone has been good enough to make them throw the ball.  I don't see anyone really testing them before week 6 in Gainsville either, and that might be a stretch.  However, that is the start of a murderous stretch of games with Florida, South Carolina, Texas A&M, Bama, and Mississippi State in a 5 week period.  One thing about the SEC, if you can make it out with your record intact, you deserve the cudos.

3. Georgia Bulldogs 6.36
Georgia is not what they could be.  They have been missing starters all year on defense, and I congratulate their leaders for taking the stands that they did.  This team is their best shot in years with leaders on both sides of the ball, and a favorable schedule.  As for what they have done so far, They have won every game by more than 20, with low BCS schools pancaking a nice road win at Mizzou.  They found their running backs with Todd Gurley leading the way, but make no mistake, this team will go as far as Aaron Murray and Jarvis Jenkins can lead them, assuming that everyone can pass their *ahem* random tests in the meantime.

4. Texas Longhorns 5.42
I would like to be the first to welcome the Horns back to adult table, now let's see how long they can stay.  They have been dominant to this point, but they have not shown a lot of balance.  David Ash hasn't thrown for 400 yards total this season, but he is throwing for a very high completion %, and has yet to throw a pick, which is very encouraging in Austin.  This next game against the Cowboys is going to be an interesting contrast in styles as the Horns lean on their running game to try and keep the ball away from the high-flying Cowboys' attack. 

5. Florida State Seminoles 5.15
Well, so far the Noles look like they are as advertised, but with Wake Forest being their biggest test we just really don't know.  Their defense has dominated 3 lesser opponents like you would expect a projected top-5 defense to, but these really were lesser opponents.  I have to give them a little credit for what they did to Wake Forest and Tanner Price.  They held the Demon Deacons to 83 yards passing and 43 yards rushing.  To put that in perspective, Price threw for 362 against North Carolina.  The Noles are much like the Longhorns this year though, in that they have not been forced to throw the ball yet.  EJ Manuel has been efficient, and effective, but he has thrown the ball 59 times in 3 games.  This Clemson game is going to be interesting.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Ultimate Fighter is Back With Some New Twists And A Peculiar New Sponsor

By: Rich Bergeron

The Ultimate Fighter began yet another new season Friday night on FX, and once again the show is back to a non-live format. Fighters still had to fight their way into the house, but this time around there will be an added $5,000 bonus for every contestant who wins a fight by submission or knockout.

Another change in the dynamics of the show may not seem like that big a deal to those who aren't aware of the gritty details behind the bankruptcy and buyout of Xyience by the Fertitta brothers through Fertitta Enterprises. The "stalking horse bidder" purchase of the Xyience brand out of bankruptcy by associates of the Fertittas (who then defaulted on their payment plan) eventually put the UFC's majority owners in full control of their own sponsor. Fertitta Enterprises was the chief lien-holder of the company going into bankruptcy, and the bankruptcy trustee's counsel labeled the Fertitta takeover a "loan to own scheme" in official court paperwork.

The re-organized Xyience is still very much a pivotal UFC sponsor with fighters under contract and prominently featured advertising across multiple UFC platforms. Since one of the company's most well known products is their Xenergy line of sugarless energy drinks, it seemed extremely odd to see NOS Energy Drink in a headline sponsorship position for the new TUF season.

What's really disturbing about this sudden shift to NOS is that it comes at a time when Heavyweight Shane Carwin is a featured head coach squaring off with "Big Country" Roy Nelson this season. Carwin ran into some sponsorship trouble of his own back in October of 2010 when a sports drink (GOOD4U) that backed his career received a broad sponsorship ban imposed by Lorenzo Fertitta himself. It seemed obvious that the move was designed to benefit Xyience and Xenergy. Carwin reacted to the news of the ban with some harsh words posted on his Twitter account (which he later deleted):

"And another worthy, great, honorable company supporting fighters banned from the UFC. Thank you for making a tough road even tougher."

GOOD4U Executive Rick DeBanks was quick to speak out against the ban in an official statement posted on the company's Web-site. DeBanks called out Zuffa for the snub and connected the dots back to the
Fertitta ownership of Xyience. "GOOD4U Drinks is seen by Zuffa as a direct competitor to Xenergy (which is owned by Zuffa) and AMP Energy, which advertises heavily on both WEC events and Spike TV's 'The Ultimate Fighter' program," said Bnks in his October, 2010 statement. "Although GOOD4U are sports drinks, not energy drinks, they have been taking share from these brands."

It's no surprise that Shane Carwin appeared to completely ignore the closed can of NOS Energy drink in front of him throughout the whole first episode of this season's TUF. UFC President and Part-Owner Dana

White clearly drank from his open can, though. He might have been trying to avoid a repeat of the publicity generated by Kenny Florian's mock-drinking from a closed can of Xenergy years ago.

NOS is also owned by Coca Cola, and before the Fertittas took over Xyience there was a genuine effort to boost Xenergy to a level where it would be an attractive option for buyout by a company like Coke. That ultimate plan may still be in effect, and taking in NOS as a TUF sponsor may be the first step toward the Fertittas and Xyience possibly approaching the beverage giant with a proposal for purchasing the whole Xenergy line.

Carwin is one of the only big-name UFC fighters who maintains a day job while training and fighting for the organization. He is an engineer by day and a fighter by night, so losing a key sponsor like GOOD4U had to be frustrating. Though time heals many wounds, Carwin must have felt some level of disgust at the idea of his sponsor not being worthy enough for the UFC while NOS got the nod to sponsor one of the company's most successful offshoots.

Aside from the sponsorship tweaking, this season's fighters look top notch. Having the show air on Fridays for the prior season might have seriously hurt ratings due to the competition with ESPN's Friday Night Fights, but this time around FNF is in their off-season. Judging from the multiple flashes of dramatic preview clips at the end of the debut episode, this season may be one for the ages.

Bears LT J’Marcus Webb takes to Facebook to state his case.

24 hours ago who knew that the locker room of the Chicago Bears could be in complete disarray but as this day drags on it appears that issues may be on the rise.

After being cursed at on national television by quarterback Jay Cutler, left tackle J’Marcus Webb has become for the next day or so the most discussed offensive lineman in football.

So how does he respond not only to Cutler but to the galvanized group of Bears fans that are pointing fingers at him for playing a key role in the offense’s disastrous outing against the Packers?
He does what anyone else would do when they need to get something off their chest. He takes it to Facebook.

“There is nothing like having a bad game, but when you have it, you have to deal with it correctly. It’s not how one deals with a win. How does one deal with a loss or bad game? I’m no different than you. Time to prepare. Go Bears! “

The thinly veiled shot at both Cutler and the critics is of the those who in live in glass houses should not throw stones mold.

Meanwhile Pro Football Talk is reporting that there are insider reports that are stating that the front office is concerned that Cutler could be well on his way to having huge issues with a large percentage of the team.

Coach Lovie Smith can hope that this all blows over as they have over a week to prepare for the next game.
Or he can sit some people down and get them to explain their positions to each other and work this thing out.

But one thing is for certain, it doesn’t matter who he is, no quarterback worth his weight in salt is going to take the licking that Cutler has taken since the day he came to Chicago and not say what he has to say.

Even Tim Tebow would force to at least say…get your head in the dang game.

Be sure to check out other great articles at Players View.

Adrian Glover