There truly are no words that can encapsulate what it felt like to watch the rug get ripped out from underneath a team that was one Marcus Williams arm tackle away from standing tall as the proud owners of one of the most improbable comebacks in playoff history. Hell, if there were, The Times Picayune provided some pretty accurate insight into what they might be...
That play (or lack thereof, depending on who you were rooting for). The one that - for better or worse - will forever be burned into the brain of every person even mildly invested in it's outcome. The one that - whether it makes you sick or aides in your health and happiness - will seem impossible to get away from. The one which is sure to soon have an obnoxious name that will immediately become common knowledge to both the richer and the poorer whenever they discuss the unpredictable nature of professional football. It will eternally be married to the memory of a game that was so much more than one mistake.
There's no shortage of directions you could run in trying to explain why the New Orleans Saints lost yesterday's game to the Minnesota Vikings. The most obvious being a scoreless first half that had a game script that essentially read like a "How To..." guide for losing playoff games on the road. Unfortunately, even taking the high road by pointing out the dozens upon dozens of other plays that went unmade eventually circles you back to the soul crushing instant in which a rookie mistake provided the sadistic irony in cruelly twisting the knife into a team whose trajectory was turned downside up by potentially the most impactful draft class of all time.
All 'the good'. Drew Brees picking himself up off the turf and penning one more chapter to his 'Hall Of Fame' career with a surgical dismantling of the most dominant defense in football. Michael Thomas giving Xavier Rhodes a twirl during his coming out party as a matchup proof pass catcher. Alvin Kamara continued rise to super stardom. Marcus Williams timing his flight to hawk a ball that officially made the game competitive. Taysom Hill proving his worth in a way you'd never expect a third string quarterback to do by forcing a punt into the outstretched hand of his teammate. A converted 4th-and-10 that had it's spot in the highlight reel stolen by the the oh-so-rare walk-off touchdown. The Saints finally scrubbing themselves of the 'finesse' label that for years followed them by resiliently battling back from a three score hole in the most hostile of environments.
All 'the bad'. An early offense that was only capable of sustaining their own punter's abdominal pain. The familiar sight of enough yellow laundry to keep George curious flying in the direction of what appeared to be DeVante Harris wearing a Ken Crawley jersey. A red zone turnover that was literally and figuratively a backhanded slap towards the quarterback who was just starting to find some rhythm. Touchdown Teddy Ginn getting a wee too antsy presnap and doing a counterproductive disservice to his sur-nick-name. An untimely sack that took them out of kicking range during a point in the game in which finding themselves a field goal would have felt like stumbling upon water in the desert. Willie Snead completely misfiring on his attempt to make Sean Payton look like a genius, and - in turn - making him out to be a damned fool. Consecutive challenges that were only successful in challenging my sanity.
It will all be forever forgotten due to the fatal nature of 'the ugly', which was quite obviously Marcus Williams actively dodging his sole responsibility in turning a game sealing tackle into a game sealing touchdown. Despite the deep, dark comedic value of the meme-worthy still shot, I know that the intent of the Saints' first year safety was good. If we are being technical about it, he was actually too successful in avoiding the pass interference and keeping Stefon Diggs in bounds so the clock would run out. Therefore, I truly feel bad for a kid who almost assuredly couldn't possibly feel worse.
Fortunately, if his play this season was an indication, he has the talent to avoid letting one abject disaster define his young career. Unfortunately, for the time being, it doesn't just define his career, but the entirety of the 60 minute effort between two teams that were in all likelihood the best remaining in the NFC. Nightmares in New Orleans will no longer be fueled by Alex Smith and Vernon Davis, but rather a visual that is somehow more haunting - Case Keenum, Stefon Diggs, and the yet-to-be-named, win-squandering whiff.
My brain says otherwise, but everyone whose heart went numb as the clock struck zero knows the following to be true. Until this team delivers on the unlimited promise that it displayed throughout a special season, that one mishap will permanently mark their place in Saints' history. It's not logical or fair, but - as that one preposterous play proved - sports rarely ever are.
Sidenote: Special shoutout to the best fans in the league...
NHL.com- On the night the New Jersey Devils won the NHL Draft Lottery and the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, general manager Ray Shero was out with Colorado Avalanche GM Joe Sakic at a Toronto restaurant where some members of the media had also gathered.
Some began hounding him, asking, "Who are you going to take?"
Shero eventually gave in to one reporter and said, "OK, I'll write it down on a piece of paper."
He took out a pen and wrote, "Vontae Mack no matter what," folded the paper, and handed it over.
Instead of a scoop, the reporter received a reference to the 2014 movie "Draft Day," in which fictional Cleveland Browns GM Sonny Weaver (played by Kevin Costner) wrote that message on a Post-it as a reminder to himself to select the player he wanted most in the NFL Draft.
Perhaps it's the fundamental familiarity with the popular culture with which his predecessor had eternally cut the cord that was responsible for plastering a shit eating grin across my face as I read this story. Maybe it's that the New Jersey Devils' current place in the standings has my ears prone to a perking for even the most inconsequential anecdote that features their General Manager. Whatever the case may be, the confidence that you would be crazy not to have in the man that flipped the franchise's entire script in two years time makes it so easy to appreciate - albeit in retrospect - Ray Shero's satirical nod to Kevin Costner's laughably unbelievable portrayal of personnel management.
I can't, in good conscience, act like the knot in my stomach wasn't large enough to hold a goddamn cruise ship at port as Ray Shero sauntered his way up to the podium on June 23rd. However, since going against all-too-conventional wisdom by skipping over the good ol' Canadian boy to select a smaller, more skilled center from a region that's not known for churning out top-end talent, he has given Devils' fans every reason to preemptively assume that each and every one of his decisions will prove fruitful.
The second the lottery balls fell their way, I personally wanted to see New Jersey pass on what's-his-insanely-fragile-and-punchable-face for Nico Hischier. That said, not even the most optimistic of fan could have imagined that he'd be centering the dominant top line of a contending team just nine months after Ray Shero was sarcastically passing his pledge of undying allegiance to a fictional pass rusher. That's a credit to the talent and maturity of the silky smooth Swiss, but it's also a credit to the man whose personality makes it even easier to sleep tighter given his increasingly accurate stamp of approval. He can replace the name Vontae Mack with any prospect of his choosing, because I'm on board with Ray Shero...no matter what.
LeBron James Took A Jab At The Measurables Of A Reporter Who Wanted To Know What's Wrong With The Cavaliers Defense
You know what, I'm not even mad, I'm just...disappointed. Much like he has the game of basketball at a professional level, LeBron James has turned passive aggressiveness into an art form. Unfortunately, a completely irrelevant insult that so obviously served as a deflection from actually answering to three straight disastrous defensive efforts was anything but artful. I don't particularly mind when athletes give reporters condescending sound bites, but I just expected more out of a guy whose always been so calculated in his insincerity.
This was like listening to your favorite musician's most recent album only to learn that it sounds like he scraped together one last money grab. It was like checking out your favorite painter's newest piece only to find that it's a handful of blue paint strewn across an overpriced canvas. It's like having to force laughs while seeing your favorite comedian live. LeBron James has set the bar so high in previous disingenuous interactions with the media that just flat out saying that a 62 year old reporter who likely stands as tall as his abdominals would be a downgrade in defensive rotations feels lazy. It's not the fact that it's a complete deviation from a pretty fair question that has me shaking my head in dissatisfaction, but rather that it was so poorly crafted by someone who's proven to be quite the architect in reconstructing narratives.
Former 49ers President, Carmen Policy, Thinks The Team Will Need Lube For Jimmy Garoppolo's Contract Negotiations
NYDN- Carmen Policy, the former president and CEO of the 49ers, appeared on 95.7 The Game in San Francisco Thursday when he offered strange advice to his former franchise on keeping free agent quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
"If I were representing the team I would enter the room and bring a large jar of Vaseline and I'd say to Jimmy's agent, 'I'm a nice guy, I really want to do the right thing, please be gentle with me,'" Policy said.
Pro Football Talk asked Policy about his comments to which he said he didn't mean for them to sound sexual.
"At my age any references would be related to Male Medical Exams and would have no sexual connotation," Policy told PFT in an email.
I can't say I woke up this morning expecting to hear about a 74 year old former NFL executive who was tasked with talking his way out of an analogous insinuation of the type of reluctantly consensual anal sex that you'd expect from a first time negotiator, but boy am I glad that I did. Anytime your defense essentially reads as "what I really meant to say is that an NFL franchise is going to given a contractual colonoscopy by the representation of their starting quarterback!", your actual offense is almost guaranteed to be amazingly awkward.
As anyone whose more weathered branches of the family tree are still hanging on by a limb will tell you, the longer an elderly (usually white) male goes without sex, the more likely he is to reference it in a way that will stifle the appetite of even the most gluttonous of dinner table. If anything, Carmen Policy's impotence makes him the exact opposite of exempt from potentially inappropriate innuendo in public. So no, I don't - for one single second - believe that he was talking about prostate exams when he satirically placed the most sexualized of product in the front office of the 49ers. Luckily, I have a sense of humor so I find hilarious the idea of Jimmy Garoppolo bending over the organization whose entire trajectory swung with his arrival and giving them the business end of...well...ya know.
For those that can't find the funny in an old man comparing the leveraging of power to the easing of penetration, I offer you this piece of mind. Considering the depths to which the San Francisco 49ers fell the last few seasons, they will gladly be spreading wide their wallet to take it deep from Jimmy GQ. It might take awhile for both parties to reach a mutually gratifying position, but with the wheels undoubtedly needing some greasing, why not bring some lube?
This 10 Year Old Bama Fan Broke Down The National Championship Game In A Way That Was Anything But Elementary
I don't want to say I wasn't left in awe by listening to a 4th grader go off the rip in giving a six minute exposition on the entirety of the National Championship game. When I was his age, my range of descriptions for sporting events I was emotionally invested in began at "stupid" and ended at "awesome". So, once I got to around the three minute mark I couldn't help but wonder if this wiz kid was wasting his seemingly limitless potential on college football's most foregone conclusion.
What I will say is that I would simply refuse to believe this 4th grader wasn't being fed talking points off-screen if he were rolling with anyone other than the Tide. Like, if there was a fanbase that's home to elementary schoolers who take a break from their 2 percent milk to turn their lunch hour into a legitimate SEC round table that would make ESPN's coverage look lackluster then it resides in Tuscaloosa. This is just another sign of the deep South's obsession with college football, and I'd say it's one that's a litttttttle better for their brand than every Bama fan with an arrest warrant screaming 'Roll Tide' while being taken into custody.
This kid has probably considered Nick Saban an actual god since he was old enough to wipe his own ass, but - to his credit - his form of worship is anything but blind. Alabama football is definitely a religion, but - contrary to most religions - it's not one whose virtues are increasingly hard to detect.
Here's An Entire Kindergarten Class Doing 'The Sean Payton' To Remind You That This Playoff Run Is For The Children
Let's make one thing clear. It would be wholeheartedly disingenuous if I completely ignored the fact that the handful of grown ass adults that appeared in this video - equipped with visor, umbrella, and broom - looked like they were far more invested in recreating Sunday's raucous and hilarious scene from a winning locker room full of players half their age.
So, with that being said, I'm going to completely ignore the fact that the handful of grown ass adults that appeared in this video - equipped with visor, umbrella, and broom - looked like they were far more invested in recreating Sunday's raucous and hilarious scene from a winning locker room full of players half their age.
This is the postseason, and after three straight 7-9 seasons, this is no time to think rationally about my rooting interest. Therefore, while knowing full well that a good amount of these little Who Dats were lightly coerced into doing 'The Sean Payton' during the filming of a viral video by those that simply wanted to live vicariously through the carefree enthusiasm of kindergarteners, I have a declaration to make. Much like the Wu Tang Clan, this playoff run is officially for the children (and also nothin' to fuck with). Championships reign eternal, but the eternity of these kids hadn't even started yet the first (and only) time that the Black & Gold partied with the Lombardi.
So think about the possibility of that very classroom being full of sad little Super Bowl-less six year olds sporting the most heart wrenching of puppy dog faces as the Saints take on the Vikings on Sunday. I promise it will make you feel slightly better about going against the dying wish of this sweet old bird...
Brett Favre Picked A Pretty, Pretty, Preeeeeetty Convenient Time To Bring Up The 2009 NFC Championship Game
ESPN- Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre says he played through a concussion during the 2009 NFC Championship Game against the New Orleans Saints.
On a nationwide conference call Wednesday ahead of the premiere of Favre's documentary "Shocked: A Hidden Factor in the Sports Concussion Crisis," the former Vikings and Packers quarterback was asked by Minneapolis radio station KFAN about his memories of that game, which he said was the most violent he'd ever experienced after playing 20 years in the NFL.
That game later came under investigation as part of New Orleans' bounty scandal in which several members of the Saints' franchise were accused of paying out bounties for intentionally hurting opposing players. The NFL determined the allegations to be true in 2012, which led to Saints coach Sean Payton's suspension for the entire 2012 season, among a handful of fines and other sanctions.
At the time, a number of Vikings players and coaches accused the Saints of deliberately trying to knock Favre out of the game. The quarterback said the Saints "came after me with everything they had" but detailed the symptoms he was experiencing as they related to the hits he took that game, which appear to be the sign of a concussion.
"A concussion doesn't necessarily have to be knocked out cold and removed from a game, although the new protocol is in place to remove you from a game even if you're not walking sideways or your arm goes stiff or whatever," Favre said.
"You may even be able to function as if you didn't have a concussion, but if you have head ringing or fireworks or any kind of fogginess, protocol says you should be removed from the game. In that game, there was some head ringing, there was some fogginess. There were two times in which I was hit by [former Saints safety] Darren Sharper late. He lunged at my head and both of them were pretty devastating hits, but I stayed in the game. One they threw a flag, one they didn't. Why they didn't throw the other, I have no idea. If head ringing or fireworks is a concussion, yeah, I did have that."
Favre's documentary will air at 5:30 p.m. CT Thursday on Stadium Network.
You know what, I have no choice to tip my cap. My first instinct was to say "oh, not this shit again" when I saw that the then quarterback of a team that - by their own admission - also had a bounty system in place was once again referencing BountyGate as it were some isolated scandal as opposed to an obvious scapegoating. Unfortunately, as much of a hypocrite as Brett Favre is for pandering to unjustly scorned Vikings' fans just days prior to their long-awaited playoff re-matchup against the team that bullied them out a chance at Super Bowl glory so many years ago, he's equally as much of a salesman.
You can probably count the number of football fans that want to watch a documentary about concussions during the middle of the fucking postseason on one single hand, never mind one in which the focal point is a guy who knew damn well he was ignoring injury as he did whatever possible to extend his ironman streak well into his 40's. That's why it's nothing more than smart marketing to cater to an entire fanbase during the specific week in which they are desperately seeking for even the most illogical and overblown reason to conjure up hatred for the New Orleans Saints.
I bet that the Minnesota faithful set their DVR's to a channel that they didn't even know existed at a time that they typically wouldn't yet be home from work, and it's not because they give a shit about Brett Favre's mental health, but rather because want to walk into U.S. Bank Stadium as drunk, loud, and thirsty for some sort of overdue vengeance as possible. Time has a way of healing wounds, but poorly timed documentaries about brain damage that may or may not have been inflicted within hours of those wounds has a way of opening them back up. I'd imagine Vikings' fans will gladly relive the pain and frustration of eight years if it could make the high they are hoping to have this upcoming Sunday even slightly more euphoric.
And if not, Brett Favre can't say he didn't exhaust all options in trying to get the most amount of people to open up their mind to the worst part of football during the absolute best part of football season. He valiantly played to his crowd, even if it makes said crowd that much more susceptible to downright depression in a few short days.
A Youth Basketball Team Finally Got Booted Out Of Their League After Wearing Blatantly Racist Jerseys For Half The Season
LBS- A youth basketball team in Cincinnati will no longer be allowed to take part in its recreational league after players wore customized jerseys featuring racist and inappropriate phrases on them.
Tony Rue, a parent who sometimes coaches the West Clermont team in the Cincinnati Premier Youth Basketball League, noticed last month that kids from the Kings Mills team had inappropriate phrases printed on their jerseys. Rue’s wife pointed out on Sunday that the Kings team was calling itself the “Wet Dream Team,” and the jersey name plates had racist phrases like “Coon” and “Knee Grow.”
“This isn’t a typo, this isn’t a mistake, these are ideas that were thought of, discussed, agreed upon by adults and kids alike, printed on uniforms…and no one thought this was a bad idea or inappropriate?” Rue wrote on Facebook, according to Chris Mayhew of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
After its fourth week in the league, the Kings team was finally kicked out when a West Clermont representative stepped in to speak to referees during the second quarter of Sunday’s game.
The game was called and the players were sent home. Dawn Gould, a spokesperson for the Kings Local School District, said Monday that the team was not associated with the school district but could not say whether any students would be disciplined.
“Today we became aware of inappropriate conduct from a team of students participating in a recreational basketball league that is not affiliated with the Kings Local School District,” Gould said in a statement. “This team has been restricted from any further use of district facilities. Kings Local Schools strongly condemns any type of hateful and racist commentary. This behavior is in no way welcome or tolerated in our schools and community.”
Well, if there's a recreational basketball league in which to literally label yourself a disgustingly prejudice point guard then apparently it's the CPYBL. I wouldn't recommend slapping a slur across your back while playing any sport, but - if you're a kid that's absolutely insistent upon identifying yourself as one of Hitler's most athletic youths - then this small town in Cincinnati is the place to do it.
Like, seriously...it took four whole weeks to come to the conclusion that the starting small forward for The Wet Dream Team wasn't the product of an amicable divorce between two loving parents whose last names were 'Knee' and 'Grow'? These little inbred bastards were damn near jockeying for playoff positioning by the time one person finally put their fucking foot down and said "alright, enough is enough, we can no longer have this 'Coon' character running up and down the floor of a middle school gym!".
A story about a group of white trash teenagers klanning together - presumably after their bigoted parents oKKK'd it - to turn thee most public of place into a platform for intolerance is somehow a bigger indictment of the league that took a full month to condemn abject racism. I mean, kicking them out on their ass isn't even a punishment. They already got the attention they were desperately seeking. Probably lasted 3.5 more weeks than they thought they would. Should have just let finish out the season and hoped no one went to the press, because the time for 'Cincinnati's Caucasian Basketball Club' to be proactive was when an entire team showed up to their first game wearing all white hoodies and the darkest fan in the stands arrived late from their spray tan.
Damian Lillard Was None Too Pleased With Chris Paul For Taking The Lay-Up He Gave Him In The Final Seconds Of Last Night's Game
I actually like Damian Lillard and happen to think he is one of the most proud and competitive players in a league full of proud and competitive players. That's why it pains me to say that he's completely full of shit in trying to blame his saltiness on an absence of what quickly become the most subjective and overrated intangible in professional athletics, sportsmanship.
Look, there aren't many things that are more obnoxious than running full speed down the floor to pad your first ballot 'Hall Of Fame' caliber stats in the waning seconds of game in which both sides have already conceded the result. Unfortunately, referencing rules that remain unwritten in trying to take the moral high ground above someone with whom you've maintained a longstanding feud with going back to his days as a Clipper is undoubtedly one of them. Damian Lillard essentially gave Chris Paul shitty service and then got pissy when he didn't automatically dump his 15 cents change in the tip jar. If for some strange reason you feel as though you are owed respect from a rival then there's one very easy way to get it. Finish the job...even if it does make you look like just as much of a try-hard.
It's really as simple as this, if you don't care enough to get back on defense during a meaningless possession then you definitely shouldn't care enough to cause a scene following a meaningless, uncontested lay-up. In acting as if his team's understandable throwing of the white towel was deserving of a bleeding heart, Damian Lillard gave Chris Paul the exact reaction he was looking for when he intentionally got under his skin by giving the knife one final twist.
After Receiving His Second Technical, Rodney Hood Slapped A Ridiculously Conspicuous Fan's Phone Out Of Their Hand
Speaking as someone who isn't going to have to pay it, I can safely say the fine that Rodney Hood is going to receive for padding his defensive numbers with a smooth strip of random fan who was experiencing his life through a handheld device is totally worth it. Hell, I think even the Jazz guard would agree that thwarting someone with the most literal of social media blocks was satisfying enough to make up for the disappointment of the paycheck deduction.
This seven second clip might not be enough of a basis for a full episode of Black Mirror, but - since it teaches a far more topical and in-your-face lesson about the dangers of technological dependency - maybe they could slip it into next season's trailer. Perhaps it's a little obvious as a premise, but if you stick your phone in the face of a pissed off black man as if he were some sort of caged zoo animal then you might get the two-way mirror you strangely think you're living behind shattered.
Unfortunately, that overweight office manager probably isn't going to take anything other than a sense of false of pride in being featured in a soon-to-be viral video, but - in a perfect world - he would be forced to feel shame while spending $100 on a screen replacement. Athletes are entertainers, but no one wants to be so unabashedly gawked at while emotional. At the very least, the neckless wonder should have hidden his attempt at being the toast of the water cooler behind the guise of a text message, though - admittedly - expecting a guy who aged out of Instagram eight years before it was released to know the protocol for capturing compelling public displays in his cloud is a bit optimistic.
Look, Taylor Hall has made it very clear that he's let bygones be bygones and moved on to the next - and hopefully soon-to-be-extended - phase of what looks to be an increasingly illustrious career...
Still, I wouldn't be surprised if he's actively avoided pinching himself since October.
At this time last year, he couldn't have dreamt up a better scenario than - fingers crossed - being on pace to make his first ever appearance in the postseason as the driving force behind the long-waited resurgence of the franchise that welcomed him with open arms. Hell, if he could've then it probably would have included the imminent demise of the team looked poised for a decade of dominance after shipping him out of town for laughably less than he was worth.
Taylor Hall will never say it because it would make him look extremely petty, but this sarcastic response to all the undue criticism he received for being a young player in a dysfunctional organization has undoubtedly been burning a hole on the tip of his twitter fingers for months now. The local media that conveniently and shortsightedly turned him into a patsy for a 10 year problem are once again desperately scrounging for a scapegoat, while he sits near the top of the one of the most stacked divisions in hockey looking down at a former employer that's regressing into irrelevance.
Abe Lincoln once said said that the truth is the best vindication against slander. I suppose it's of note that Abe Lincoln didn't have social media, but there's nothing false about the immeasurable impact that Taylor Hall has had on a young Devils' team that's headed in the complete opposite direction of the offensively starved one that deemed him expendable.
Everything is currently coming up Taylor, so if you're enough of a degenerate to bet on a gimmicky All-Star game then you'd be wise to place your money on the division in which he's suddenly ascending. Eat your heart out, Edmonton. If only because a hard head makes a soft ass, so you've probably grown sore after repeatedly having to kick your own.
FanRagSports- Baseball agent Jason Wood is being investigated by the player’s union for allegedly filming numerous clients while they were using his shower, seven sources tell FanRag Sports.
Three sources say that Wood has been fired by CSE, where he was the President of Baseball. A search to replace him is underway, with the agency hoping to find someone to fill that role soon. Some players have already fired CSE and have hired new representation or are looking to do so in the near future.
Recently, a player who chose not be identified, was using a shower at Wood’s home and found a camera, sources say. The player confronted Wood, then followed by firing him immediately, sources say.
Multiple sources suggest that there were other players being filmed, with their identities being unknown.
Wood represented many players around MLB, including the Boston Red Sox’s Andrew Benintendi, Colorado Rockies’ Riley Pint and Atlanta Braves’ Joey Wentz.
Obviously the "why?" is more important than the "how?" considering this was a situation in which the privacy of multiple people was breached by someone who was both trusted and financially incentivized to keep a close eye on the type of sizable endowment that doesn't reside between his clients' legs.
Still, I can't help but wonder how Jason Wood convinced a handful of professional athletes that his residence was the right place to drop trou and give themselves a quick rinse. Like, what could the circumstances surrounding these meetings possibly have been that them in ending in an immediate, full-body lather was necessary?
Did the newly disgraced agent only talk business over 1-on-1 basketball games? Was his in-home office a sauna? Did he suggest they workout the details of the contract during an actual workout? Maybe Jason Wood veiled his predatory intentions with a cloak of genuine friendliness, but at how many homes - other than your own - have you worked yourself into a sweat that simply couldn't wait until you returned to the sanctity of the quarters where you shit, shave, and shower? Maybe I'm underselling the closeness of the agent-client relationship, but I don't seem to recall Vinny Chase making an impromptu stops at the Gold household for a self grooming.
I guess what I am trying to say is, with how well he apparently sold grown men on sprucing themselves up on the spot without it seeming odd, it's no wonder this creep was successful in the profession he'll forever be banished from. He's a sexual defiant of the highest order, but Jason Wood was (operative word) a goddamn perfectionist as a pitchman.
I think even the most optimistic Saints fan would tell you it's a toss-up as to whether this this team can waltz into the unforgiving confines of the Minnesota Vikings and pull out a victory against one of the league's best defenses while nursing a deleted offensive line. Looking at it objectively, they could put forth a praiseworthy effort and still have their Super Bowl aspirations meet an untimely demise in a less than congenial venue this upcoming weekend.
Subjectively, however, I just don't see that happening. You may believe that opinion to be nothing more than a self-assuring song and dance, but now that it's accompanied by an actual song and dance? It looks the stage is being set for some postseason theatrics. The song might be a bit cheesy and the dance might be excessively "white", but the Saints already have the score and the choreography completed for their championship video. Now all that's left is to string three more victories together and make sure Sean Payton's celebratory flailing of limbs doesn't go the way of similarly skilled American Idol contestants and lives on forever in Saints lore. Big Easy, peasy.
If A Rivalry Is Sparked By Off-Handed Comments About The Weather Then I'm Pretty Sure It's Not a Rivalry At All
MercuryNews- Off-the-cuff comments by Sharks players about the city of Winnipeg that were recently made public have created some hurt feelings north of the border and possibly some friction between the Sharks organization and its broadcast partner, NBC Sports California.
In a since-deleted Jan. 7 tweet on a Sharks-dedicated account belonging to NBC Sports California, Sharks players Tomas Hertl, Justin Braun and Tim Heed all mentioned Winnipeg when they were asked by someone from the network what city was the worst in the NHL to play in.
Hertl said, “I think it’s Winnipeg cause every time it’s so cold and dark there. I don’t like there.” Braun said, “Winnipeg. Dark. Cold. Hotel is a little questionable. Internet doesn’t work ever. I don’t know if they have Wi-Fi there yet.”
The comments were made in September at the team’s annual media day, prior to the start of training camp. They also appeared on the network’s Sunday broadcast of the game between the Sharks and the Jets in Winnipeg.
Asked Tuesday about the comments from the Sharks players, Jets coach Paul Maurice had a simple message: Quit whining....
I can't speak to a contentious past that may or may not exist between the San Jose Sharks and either the current or past reiteration of the Winnipeg Jets. I'm not schooled enough on history of franchises to know of any bad blood, but - if this insanely petty "controversy" is all that remains - then history is all that it is.
If we were scoring this 'PG' quibbling by it's worth in eye-rolls, a player coming to the conclusion that he isn't fond of a city because one time he wasn't technologically savvy enough to figure out the WiFi is probably in lockstep with the opposing head coach who scolds those that don't treat every single second in which they are employed by the NHL as if it were their last.
Regardless, since the extent of this sniveling between the members of professional sports organizations is regional weather patterns and the daily solar cycle, I am proclaiming this feud deader than the notion that even the most occupationally fortunate don't have places they'd rather not go and things they'd rather not do.
Winnipeg probably is the place in which seasonal affective disorder was born, and Paul Maurice's insistence that his appreciation for his position has nevvver, evvver died is not only a crappy defense of his current city, but a prolonging of just about the least 'hockey tough' dispute in NHL history. We - as fans - are all softer for having had witnessed two teams try this desperately to manufacture hostility while playing a violent sport in which animosity is organic.
I Would Really Appreciate It If The NHL Stopped Cheating The Devils So I Could Truly Accept Their Shortcomings
I don't want to make it sound like I'm not appreciative of being granted a scapegoat. because if there is one thing that suspect officiating doesn't "challenge" it is the fan to think objectively about the performance of his own team. The Devils weren't playing a great brand of hockey going into their bye week, but - considering their shitty 5 game skid was marked by three OT losses in which a regulation goal was suspiciously taken off the board - it was easy to point to the transgressions of others in explaining their suddenly tumultuous relationship with winning.
The NHL and their inconsistent enforcement of rules have only been consistent in staying unfaithful to the Devils as of late, which is ironic because - much like a cheating significant other - it has encouraged fans to defer blame. As a general rule of thumb, no one finds out they are on the ass end of infidelity and immediately looks in the mirror to self-examine what may have led to their losing situation. That moment of shock and distress is not often immediately followed by an admission that you've become selfish, emotionally detached, and put on a couple dozen pounds. In that same vein, it was easy to push the lack of focus, discipline, and effort that was responsible for a blown lead third period lead to the back of the mind after a dominant first period was made fruitless by a ruling so drawn out and inconceivable that you'd swear it was made by a jury of O.J. Simpson's peers...
I suppose - by definition - that the above picture is goaltender interference. I'm not sure why a goaltender interfering with the clear path of an attacking forward would be enough to have a clear goal officially erased after approximately 20 minutes of deliberation, but what fun is hockey without extensive examinations into the millisecond-by-millisecond actions of those playing it at 10,000x the speed that it's rewound ad nauseam?
Whatever, that's not the point. The point is that enough time has passed for us to now move on from the adultery portion of Sunday's affair against the Islanders and step up to the 'acceptance' stage of the grieving process. In doing so, all outside excuses should be shunned, because anything that makes the Devils seem less guilty of pissing away a sure win is disingenuous. They simply have to be better in the second half of the season if they want to continue what they started in the first. That means more 60 minute efforts, less turnovers, and an equal amount of attention paid in the offensive and defensive zones. It would be a welcomed change if they stopped getting dicked by the officiating, but - over the last few weeks - they have made it pretty easy to get in on the action by submissively bending over and letting some bottom-feeding teams assume the role of the top for long stretches late in the game.
"We skate hard, we shoot hard. There is no more creativity, nothing, it is not pleasant to watch. I do not like the way hockey has evolved. " - Alexei Kovalev
As far as takes are concerned, I would grade this one a 'D' and - if we are being completely honest - it's only because I feel bad giving Alexei Kovalev an 'F' after how hard he worked to be a contrarian. So no, there is absolutely nothing reality-based about a critique that completely ignores the vast improvements hockey has made in terms of watchability, but if your going to claim a lack of creativity from players with never-before-seen skill sets then you damn well better do so creatively. Alexei Kovalev has clearly forgotten about the days in which a dump-and-a-chase could only be properly combatted by a clutch-and-a-grab, but hey...at least he's staying true to the philosophy of most former athletes by harboring a completely irrational disdain for everyone that's come after him.
If you watched an NHL game during Alexei Kovalev's prime and followed it up by watching a current NHL game you'd be closer to considering the entire concept of nostalgia to be a myth than you would be to longing for "the good old days" in which a simple toe drag was as mind blowing as a touch-screen cell phone. I'm not exactly Charles Darwin but I do know that the theory of evolution is reliant on adapting and improving, so I think the word Alexei Kovalev was looking for was "regressed" in his nonsensical claim that the sport of hockey - while churning out teenage sensations by the dozen - has become less aesthetically palatable. For the first time - possibly ever - the league employs multiple people that would make AK27 look as deadly as a squirt gun, so maybe he should tune in and watch the next generation dance through defenders in a way that would leave him feeling like the old white dangling around the periphery of the party.
Former Jaguars O-Lineman Tony Boselli Said The Best Thing Chris Simms Ever Did On A Football Field Was Almost Die After He Criticized Blake Bortles
In case you forgot about the twinkle in the night sky that was the NFL playing career of Chris Simms, this is what a clearly perturbed Tony Boselli was referring to:
This outrageous overreaction to what I'm certain was an ludicrously arbitrary ranking and a hyperbolic pot shot at the current quarterback of his former team undoubtedly reads like a cruel and inhumane devaluing of Chris Simms'...uhh...well...entire life basically. No question it's a ruthless ribbing (no pun intended) of a guy whose spleen nearly burst while on an NFL field so many years ago.
That being said, is it at all possible that this venomous retort from a third party is a good thing? I mean...not for humanity as a whole, or an outsider's view into a former athlete's potentially loose attachment to reality, or the NFL's insistence that their brand is built on good clean fun, but for Jacksonville's reputation as a destination? An instinctive defense of their mediocre-on-a-good-day starting quarterback isn't the worst way to show your love and support for the city in which you became a fringe Hall Of Famer.
Tony Boselli's room-silencing response to a fairly innocent joke being made at the expense of someone who threw for 87 fucking yards in a home playoff game was nothing short of barbaric, but I'll be damned if it didn't convince me that he legitimately enjoys being both a member of their 'Ring Of Honor' as well as one half of their radio broadcast team. Not even Blake Bortles harbors a passionate enough belief in Blake Bortles to counter an over-the-top insult by mocking the near-death experience of the person delivering it. That chirp had everything to do with Tony Boselli protecting the young of his beloved Jags, and careers that came to nest in Jacksonville - of all places - aren't often so tightly embraced by the players that largely suffered through them.
This is probably influenced by the fact that the NFL's most storied franchises get the most attention and thus have the most outspoken of alumnus, but when I think of teams whose most notable legends typically lash out on behalf of their former employer I think of the Steelers, Cowboys, and Packers. That's not to say one prettttty pathetic playoff appearance has put the Jaguars in that same class, but at least now there's one person that's willing to stand at the gate with a sniper rifle ready to fire shots whenever someone launches shade at a organization that's no longer a complete laughingstock. I don't know that I'd imply that watching someone keeled over with massive internal bleeding was a pleasurable viewing experience, but the person who did surely knows where his eternal allegiance lies.
ThePlayersTribune- “I learned that I was getting cut by Team SoloMid by browsing reddit.
I know. It’s the saddest thing ever. In esports you have to get used to a certain amount of chaos and mismanagement. I mean, this industry is so young, and there are so many roster moves every single offseason — and everyone knows that you’re not supposed to take a roster reshuffling personally.
But still, you’d prefer not to learn that you were out of a job from the internet. I woke up, made my way to the League of Legends subreddit as I do almost every day, and there it was at the top of the page: “TSM looking to sign Zven and Mithy.”
Our loss at worlds this year was disappointing, but if I’m being honest, I was expecting us to run back the same roster next year. I immediately grabbed my phone and called Andy Dinh, the owner of TSM and someone I still count as a close friend. I asked, “Is this true?” He gave me the usual careful non-answer: “We’re just exploring our options! Nothing is set in stone yet.”
I saw right through that fluff. I knew that TSM didn’t just wake up one Sunday morning and decide that they were better off without me. This is clearly something they’ve been mulling over for a long time. I thanked Andy, and told him that I needed to figure out what my other options are. There was no way I was gonna go into the next League season without a team. He agreed, and suddenly I was a free agent again.”
Wait, is that disrespectful? Like, are the bowels of Reddit not an acceptable medium by which to deliver bad news in the gaming world? Perhaps I need to educate myself on an increasingly popular online "athletics" and the protocol of it's participants, but - for news the average person doesn't give a shit about - a hard-to-find extension of a difficult-to-explain website seems like the perfect cycle. I didn't even know eSports had rosters or offseasons so I'm not one to call into question someone who feels slighted by how his transaction was communicated to him during his downtime, but wouldn't a private phone call, text, and e-mail seem oddly outdated for those whose competitive oats are sewn via WiFi?
Personally, I think Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng should brush off the relatively public embarrassment, and just start some anonymous thread bashing his former organization like any scorned, deep-internet dwelling technological savant would do. Even pro sports can be the coldest of cutthroat businesses, so I'm not necessarily surprised that emotional detachment is even less likely in leagues in which awkward "face-to-face" interactions can be ceased with the pulling of a plug.
The Browns' Twitter Account Tried To Flirt With The Idea Of Taking Saquon Barkley 1st Overall, And - Wouldn't You Believe It - They Failed
Honestly, the Cleveland Browns might as well walk to the podium and announce - to fans that are already expecting the worst - that instead of selecting the freakishly talented running back that shares his jersey number, they have taken his soon-to-be-sophomore teammate that is yet to be draft eligible. If we are all being upfront here, trying to pick underaged safety Jonathan Sutherland first overall stands just about as good of a chance as working out for them as does reaching for a skill position player to play in an offense where skills go to die.
Saquon Barkley's has an endless array of abilities, but - as Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott have proven - it takes a very particular set of circumstances to make a running back worthy of a top spot in the draft. I don't think I'm breaking any news by saying that the 0-16 organization - whose social media team couldn't even properly 'Google Image' one the millions of photos made readily available to them by the internet - has it "all there" in being able to foster an all-world talent whose productivity is, at least in part, dependent on the competence of others. It's quite apparent that everything turns to shit once the Cleveland Browns get their hands on it, so no - I don't think a franchise that can't execute an agreed upon trade or properly utilize a search engine can properly utilize a superior athlete at halfback.
TheState- Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera would have liked for safety Mike Adams to bat down New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees’ fourth-down pass in the final two minutes of the Saints’ 31-26 wild-card win.
Rivera also would have liked for the officials to review the play to make sure Adams actually intercepted it. Actually, Rivera said he “would have loved” for the NFL’s replay center to look at it.
Later Monday, the NFL confirmed the the replay center had done so.
Rivera said he told the side judge that officials should review it.
“I said, ‘Hey, you guys need to take a look at that because I’m being told he dropped the ball.’ And he just said, ‘Well, we’ll see,’” Rivera said Monday. “And he actually did say something into his mic. I have no idea what he said. But I did bring it up. I got no information on that (play).
I know, I know. I'm not exactly an unbiased observer that is fluent in the art of refereeing football. Luckily for me, and Ron Rivera, I'm pretty sure that means I'm only a striped shirt and whistle away from being qualified to call games at the NFL level. At the very least, I have better command of 'forward progress' than Jeff Triplette so maybe his upcoming retirement is actually the opening I needed to get into the profession.
With that said, let this explanation of late-game officiating to a losing head coach that's frantically searching for a scapegoat serve as my resume...
You see, Ron Rivera, the best way to force a 4th down incompletion is to instruct your players not to intercept it in the first place. I'm not here to declaratively state whether or not Panthers' safety Mike Adams completed the process of a catch. As even the most casual of fans know, trying to definitively do so is a fool's errand. So, when it's on behalf of a defensive team that is trying to overturn their own goddamn turnover, it's an errand that oft-scrutinized officials are less likely to run out of fear of - once again - looking foolish. While I suppose it would have been nice of the crew to save a team from its own lack of situational awareness, it's certainly shouldn't be their priority.
This might come as a surprise to Ron Rivera, but leaving a judgement call up to those that have - up until that point - granted you a 91 yard edge in penalty yards during a tightly contested road playoff game probably isn't the greatest idea. Maybe Cam Newton was out of the tackle box, maybe he wasn't. Either way it came down to a matter of inches, and those inches didn't change the fact that his attempt to make a play from the pocket literally got dragged into a desperate attempt to avoid a sack as soon as a loss of yardage appeared imminent. Devin Funchess couldn't have caught that ball with the most elongated of pool skimmers and Cam Newton damn well knew that as he "tried" to throw a 30 yard pass while falling backwards with a 290 pound All-Pro salivating on his chest. If Ron Rivera thinks that was in the "area of a receiver" then he might as well start getting directions from my un-licensed grandmother, because apparently he isn't too keen on time, space, or distance. Whether or not it was ever-so-slightly outside the imperfect box used to fit the description of 'intentional grounding', the officials stuck to the spirit of the rules in deciding that for just the second time all evening the Panthers - god forbid - actually broke them.
Hopefully I cleared that up for the coach who was trying to defer blame by pleading for more video reviews when the rest of the football-loving world is sick of staring at the ass of a ref while he squints at a monitor and - more or less - tries to save teams from themselves by the centimeter.