Monthly Archives: February 2017

I don’t know, what if we were born in Kansas City or something?

Psssssst. Guess who¡¯s quietly ¡ª still even after his win at Pebble ¡ª working to put himself in brilliant position to win at Augusta once again? Spieth¡¯s get-back-to-basics approach to the offseason seems to be paying off, as he looks more like someone that¡¯s enjoying golf again rather than entering crisis mode over each shot. He seems a sure bet to contend in April, and probably this week in Mexico City, too.

We imbue banal things with importance because we need to — life must be important to live it — and because our selection is so small. Open the world, give us the time and capability to comprehend all of it and our lives might be wildly different. The lives we give ourselves would be something no doubt truer, if not better. We might find the person we love truly instead of the person we decide we must love.

I don’t know, what if we were born in Kansas City or something?
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Maybe we’d be talking about sports again.

Then consider this: Those 2008 Ravens had outscored the Pittsburgh Steelers 14-3 after falling into a 13-0 deficit at the start of the second quarter of the AFC Championship Game. A fourth quarter Troy Polamalu interception return for a touchdown sealed the game for the Steelers, however, sending them to a Super Bowl that they later won. What if the Ravens complete the comeback? The average bye of the last 12 Super Bowl winners might have dropped more than three-tenths. The average bye of Super Bowl participants would be under the league average.

Elite Youth Tyler Johnson Jersey That didn’t change when Boogie came on board. If anything it only magnified the issues. This team needs an offseason and a full training camp to get everyone up to speed. Problem is, once they have that under their belt, this experiment will be on borrowed time with Cousins’ contract coming due.

Martellus Bennett will test free-agent market

Martellus Bennett understands he will have to leave New England to cash in as a Super Bowl champion.

Now it appears he might just be one-and-done with the Patriots.

Bennett will indeed test free agency, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday. Based on his asking price as the most coveted tight end on the market, it’s a “real possibility” Bennett will play for another team in 2017, per Rapoport.

Sometimes I’m plugged into what’s going on the TV. For example, if Doug Whaley is fielding a series of escalatingly aggressive questions from Western New York sports journalists, I’m in. If offensive linemen are practicing footwork technique at the Senior Bowl, eh, not so much. On Wednesday, on an otherwise slow afternoon in the early part of the offseason, I was working on my Super Bowl expense report when a figure flashed onto the screen that demanded my attention.

That flickering visage was John Elway, age 27, giving a somber postgame interview … while wearing a terry cloth bathrobe.

So many questions. So, so, so many.

Did every player receive a Super Bowl XXII bathrobe? Was Elway instructed by team or league officials to wear this morning gown during his postgame media obligations? Was ABC sideline man Lynn Swann distracted by Elway’s “deep V”? Were professional athletes walking around locker rooms in bathrobes on a regular basis during the Reagan administration? Did the winning Super Bowl team — in this case most definitely not the Broncos — receive nicer bathrobes? Why don’t people wear bathrobes anymore? They’re pretty great.

And then, and this perhaps isn’t the most pressing question, but instead one that interests me …

they got away from the clubhouse to clear the air over an Italian dinner in north Scottsdale, Arizona.

“I think it’s important for us to get together and figure out issues about the pace of the game, and it’s best to get everybody’s opinion,” Counsell said. “We’re starting to understand the answers aren’t easy. Change is hard for all of us. But I do think it’s an issue we should keep on the front burner and be cognizant of. I think we can do better without making [fundamental] changes to the game.”

George Johnson Game Jersey It was baseball¡¯s version of a peace summit. Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon and catcher Miguel Montero finally cleared the air, months after Montero was critical of his skipper in an ESPN Radio interview the day the Cubs celebrated their World Series victory.

On Monday night, they got away from the clubhouse to clear the air over an Italian dinner in north Scottsdale, Arizona.
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¡°We both wanted to talk to each other,¡± Montero said Tuesday. ¡°This is 2017. We turn the page. We both agreed on that. All I said was, ¡®Let me in. I want to be part of it. You can trust me.¡¯¡±

Here¡¯s a theoretical trade more in line with the move that shipped Cousins from the West Coast. Donald is an All-Pro lineman making relative peanuts on his rookie deal, but he could depart Los Angeles in 2019 after his fifth season with the team. If the Rams aren¡¯t contending by then, he could be a free agent casualty ¡ª just like Cousins could have been in Sacramento this summer.

That¡¯s where Oakland would swoop in. The Raiders have a dangerous defense thanks to 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack, but failed to generate a consistent pass rush. The team ranked dead last in sack rate last season, getting to opposing quarterbacks just 4.2 percent of the time. Adding Donald would instantly boost the team¡¯s defensive line, and the double teams he could induce would create plenty of space for Mack to terrorize passers.

Todd Gurley refuses medical check at NFL Combine

The medical check at the NFL Scouting Combine provides teams their first opportunity to acquire information about players they might be interested in drafting. That will not be the case with Georgia’s Todd Gurley, who has refused to allow doctors to examine him in Indianapolis, according to Mike Silver of

Gurley entered 2014 as the top draft prospect at running back. However, he tore his ACL after returning from a two-game suspension for his involvement in a sports memorabilia scandal. The injury, suffered in November, was expected to keep Gurley out of workouts until sometime after the draft. Still, it’s strange for a player to prevent teams from inspecting him.

While it’s not necessarily indicative of long-term concern, Gurley’s decision might raise red flags for NFL front offices. Not only will Gurley be asked to return later in the process for a medical recheck, but he could also be the subject of rumor and innuendo regarding his recovery until then.
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“There’s times we cuss each other out, but that’s a part of being brothers,” Durant told The Oklahoman in 2016. “Because I know if I need something, he’ll be there, and if I need to talk to someone outside of basketball, he’ll be there. It’s a real brotherhood type relationship. We’re like family.”

Some have seen the Durant-Westbrook breakup and ensuing fallout as validation they were never actually that close. Besides, Durant called them “work friends” in a Rolling Stone profile back in October. In reality, the current tension is evidence the relationship had real depth, and meaning. There was true mutual admiration between the two, and an immense amount of respect.

Jussi Jokinen Kids Jersey The messaging from both sides is this is more of a media obsession than an actual feud. They’re right in this sense: There’s no actual grudge per se; there’s just no longer a relationship.

The Cardinals’ best hope for getting back into the postseason

Game Youth Stacy McGee Jersey Injuries were a problem. Lance Lynn missed the entire season because of Tommy John surgery. Jhonny Peralta, Matt Holliday, Matt Carpenter, Matt Adams, Michael Wacha, Brandon Moss, Mike Leake and Trevor Rosenthal were among those who spent time on the disabled list. Zach Duke underwent Tommy John surgery after the season. Overall, just six teams had more DL days, though it should be noted that two of the teams that had it worse — the Dodgers and Rangers — won their respective divisions.

A return to health would help, but that alone doesn’t figure to make up a 17?-game gap. The Cardinals lost Holliday to free agency but signed Dexter Fowler to take over in center field. The move not only gives the Cardinals one of the game’s better leadoff hitters and takes a key player away from the Cubs, but it allows St. Louis to move Randal Grichuk to left field. He was above average in center, but the Cardinals were weak in left, where Holliday logged the most time. So the overall outfield defense should be much improved, as long as Fowler retains the defensive gains he made during his final season with the Cubs.

The Cardinals’ best hope for getting back into the postseason, even if they can’t run down Chicago, is to outpitch everyone. Few teams have the starting-pitching depth that a healthy Cardinals rotation would, headed up by newly enriched Carlos Martinez. If Lynn is good to go, St. Louis will go six deep, giving Wacha a low-pressure chance to get his ship righted. Plus, Rosenthal is being transitioned into a flexible role that remains to be seen but could help keep the pressure off the starters in the middle innings.
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Smith spoke honestly on a number of topics, including why the run game struggled — finishing 23rd in efficiency — in 2016.

He said that although coaches Tom Cable, Pat Ruel and Brennan Carroll “did as great a job as possible” preparing the young offensive line every week, he believes the unit’s lack of experience contributed to the issues. Smith also mentioned the lack of continuity at the running back position due to injuries and Marshawn Lynch’s retirement.

SMU went through hell and back to become a college basketball contender

Something strange happened to SMU after the failed grab at a one-and-done recruit, the wide-ranging academic scandal, the subsequent NCAA Tournament ban, and the sudden departure of a Hall of Fame coach. For once, SMU has finally been allowed to focus on basketball and nothing else.

This season has been a long time coming for the Mustangs. They’re tied for first in the American, have won 18 of their last 19 games, and have legitimate aspirations at making a deep NCAA tournament run. It’s a team that’s balanced on both ends of the floor with few holes in the starting lineup and star power both up front and in the backcourt.

At 22-4, SMU is proving this is an impressive group even before you consider what it had to go through to get here and how many times it could have fallen apart. No team in America has been through this much and still come out so strong on the other end.

This is a team that became accustomed to talking about everything other than basketball over the last three years. While Larry Brown quietly lifted a dormant program to national prominence, the headlines off the court always seemed to overshadow what was happening on it.

Plank went to the University of Maryland and has chosen to headquarter his multi-billion-dollar company in Baltimore. Under Armour is arguably the most recognizable company in a deep blue state and city that both broke hard against Trump. Hillary Clinton beat Trump in Baltimore County, 56 percent to 38 percent, and obliterated him in Baltimore itself. Maryland went 60-34 for the Democratic ticket.

That’s more than Andrew Luck will receive over the first three seasons of his deal ($75 million)

If Washington does that, Cousins will have received $78.3 million over three years. That’s more than Andrew Luck will receive over the first three seasons of his deal ($75 million), without the non-guaranteed salaries Luck had to give up in future years to get all that money up front, as is the case with any long-term NFL deal. Cousins could use the Luck contract as a baseline for his deal, and it wouldn’t be a surprise, as Joel Corry suggests, to see Cousins approach Luck’s deal.
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It might not seem like Cousins is worth such a deal, but that’s beside the point. Leverage is what matters in free-agent negotiations, and Cousins has most of it. The last time a quarterback bet on himself and won as significantly as Cousins has is when Joe Flacco turned down extension offers from the Ravens in 2012 and had the performance of a lifetime in the playoffs before winning the Super Bowl. Baltimore has subsequently given Flacco $96.5 million over the past four years and is locked in for $27.5 million more over the next two seasons, despite middling play.

Cut DeAngelo Hall or restructure his deal. Safety continues to be an issue for Washington, and Hall, 33, is unlikely to make a significant impact after tearing his ACL three games into the 2016 season. Washington might want to bring him back, but his $5.1 million cap hit for 2017 is untenable. The Redskins can save $4.3 million by releasing him.

After Mariucci was fired, the 49ers finished the following season 7-9, and Owens wanted out. A dispute with the team about whether or not his agent had taken the proper steps to void Owens’ contract led to the Niners trying to trade Owens to the Ravens.

Youth Chris Clark Jersey Owens landed in Philadelphia with the Eagles and stayed there for two years, including a Super Bowl XXXIX appearance following the 2004 season. Owens broke his ankle in Week 15, and his first game back was the Super Bowl. He finished that game with nine catches for 122 yards.

Elias and his wife, Petra, have a daughter, six-year-old Sophia.

Youth Cortez Kennedy Jersey The winger has to sign by March 1 to be eligible to play this season. If he does decide to retire, Elias will most likely be bound for the Hall of Fame and have his jersey retired. Elias is the Devils¡¯ all-time leader in regular season goals (408), assists (617), and points (1,025) as well as leading in those playoff statistics. He helped lead New Jersey to Stanley Cup wins in 2000 and 2003.

Blue Jackets 6-8-1 since winning streak. Part of that was backup issues with The Bob missing some time, but he’s started 4 of last 5 (0-3-1)

Sergei Bobrovsky has come back to earth over his last few games, and he gave up four goals on 29 shots to the Devils on Saturday. Of course, the Blue Jackets are still among the NHL¡¯s best so it will likely take a fall of epic proportions before anyone should really worry about their playoff hopes.

After a very solid All-Star weekend, Horvat has continued to show why he was selected as the Canucks best player, because he¡¯s the most exciting thing about them this year.

Per Elias Sports Bureau, the Flyers’ six shots through two periods tonight fewest since a 3-1 loss at LA on 12/4/68 when they had 5.

In fact, none of the Habs¡¯ stars have. Carey Price also pitched in with 37 saves in a win over the visiting Sabres. Pacioretty reached 24 goals with a hat trick, and Radulov assisted on two of those goals to hit 39 points in his return to the NHL. Price proved that the Canadiens could make the playoffs with just one star (him) carrying the team.

Limited Darwin Barney Jersey Now the Habs have three legitimately terrific players guiding them through opponents like a blowtorch through butter most nights.

Jeanie Buss and Magic Johnson have been close since Johnson joined the Lakers as a rookie.

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TO FULLY APPRECIATE the drama of the moment, you must first try to understand the depth of Johnson’s 38-year relationship with the Lakers’ organization and the Buss family.

Magic Johnson was 19 when Dr. Buss drafted him No. 1 overall in 1979, just a few months after he’d purchased the team from Jack Kent Cooke. Jeanie Buss was there to greet him on the day he was introduced to the city he’d soon rule.

She was just 17 at the time, and they were both a little nervous at the size of the stage. It all worked out, of course. Magic owned the Los Angeles sports scene for decades and is still one of the city’s most beloved figures. It was in those first few years, when he would come over to Dr. Buss’ house to play pool or ride with the family to Southern California football home games, that his bond with the family, especially with Jeanie, became so close. At Dr. Buss’ funeral in 2013, Magic referred to him as a “second father.”

When Marcin Gortat — a 32-year-old 7-footer with a giant goblin tattoo on his left arm — tried what’s commonly referred to as “the plank,” he went into a panic, getting on all fours to grab the board.

“It can really screw your mind up,” Gortat says. “I started bending down, trying not to fall and stuff. I was in the room, trying to figure out, like, ‘What is going on?'”
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Wall can tell you: The difference with VR is that it is immersive. Coaches will tell you it’s like pulling teeth to keep the attention of a roster for an entire film session. What if they could go over plays, study shooting drills and hammer out defensive rotations without players’ thoughts wandering to Instagram feeds?

the NFL doesn’t pay the stars for the halftime show

Lady Gaga, this year’s halftime performer, is no stranger to the Super Bowl; she sang the national anthem before last year’s game.

Now halftime isn’t about bathroom breaks. It’s about watching some of music’s greatest legends — at least for the 12 to 13 minutes of performing rather than the time it takes to set up and take down the stages. Since 2002, the Super Bowl has presented the likes of Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Prince, Madonna, The Who, Coldplay and Beyonc¨¦. Not even Brady — or even his wife, Giselle — can match that level of fame.
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Oddly, the NFL doesn’t pay the stars for the halftime show. They perform anyway because they benefit from the huge publicity and viewership. Madonna’s performance five years ago at Super Bowl XLVI, in fact, drew higher ratings than the game itself.

That’s a pretty good indication that most fans will make sure to have finished going to the bathroom and getting their beers in time to watch whatever spectacle Lady Gaga delivers.

Beyonce, Chris Martin of Coldplay and Bruno Mars took center stage during halftime of last year’s Super Bowl in Santa Clara, California. Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Jarran Reed Game Jersey Thus, marching bands and drill teams often were the main halftime performers during the Super Bowl’s first two decades, like at a typical U.S. college football game. The Grambling State University band played at six Super Bowls — or one less than New England quarterback Tom Brady will have after Sunday’s game. Fortunately, Grambling was never cited for deflating the music.