Articles By Athlon Sports

All taxonomy terms: Rachel Uchitel, Tiger Woods, News
Path: /news/rachel-uchitel-tiger-woods-ex-mistress-5-months-pregnant
Body:

Rahcel Uchitel, the first woman to come out and admit that she was Tiger Woods mistress has let the world know that she is pregnant.

But don't worry Tiger, as far as we know, you're not the baby daddy.

Uchitel was the girl who set Tiger Woods personal (and golf) life into a downard spiral that ended up costing him his wife, millions of dollars in endorsements, and the ability to win golf tournaments.

When Uchitel revealed texts that Tiger Woods had allegedly sent to her, they revelaed a guy who was trying to keep his mistress on the hook, by telling her exactly what she wanted to hear:

"I know it's brutal on you that you can't be with me all the time," he texted Rachel Uchitel in one e-mail.

"I get it. It f-----g kills me, too. I finally found someone I connect with."

In a line that had to really get to Woods' wife, Elin Nordegren, the golfer wrote Uchitel is "someone I have never found like this. Not even at home."

Uchitel later went on the Today Show with Dr. Drew, saying she suffered from a "love addiction," which probably just gave a lot of other guys the notion that they, too, had a shot with her.

There were rumors that Woods had given her $10 million in hush money, that she later returned because she wanted to go on shows like Celebrity Apprentice and thought should could make more money by building a career off being Tiger Woods' mistress instead of walking away with the ten million.

I guess that's sort of an oops.

Teaser:
<p> Tiger Woods isn't the daddy, as far as we know</p>
Post date: Thursday, December 29, 2011 - 11:19
All taxonomy terms: Bill Maher, HBO, Tim Tebow, News
Path: /news/bill-maher-tweet-outrages-tim-tebow-fans-sparks-calls-hbo-boycott
Body:

Surprise, surprise. Tim Tebow's followers want to bring down HBO after an atheist made a blasphemous joke about the annointed Denver quarterback. Tebow, who is devoutly religious (he has a knack for putting Bible scripture on his eye black) has been a polarizing figure since he came to the NFL is at the center of another debate surrounding his combination of poor quarterbacking skills and Hall of Fame-worthy worship skills.

On one hand, he's not a great traditional quarterback. He's not great at throwing or doing the things you'd expect a quarterback to do, but he somehow manages to win games (his defense and kicker help a lot, too), so that makes the pundits mad that they can't explain his success. On the other, his fervent religiousness has made him a poster child for lots of Christians who have insinuated that God is pulling for the Broncos now that Tebow is behind the helm, and that makes everyone else mad.

So when Bill Maher tweeted "Wow, Jesus just f---- #TimTebow bad! And on Xmas Eve! Somewhere in hell Satan is tebowing, saying to Hitler "Hey, Buffalo's killing them" it really made Tebow's Christian followers very, very angry. Maher, who is a devout atheist and star of his documentary "Religulous" probably couldn't be more pleased to tweak the religious right with a single tweet.

Was the tweet in bad taste? It depends on which side of the Tim Tebow fence you fall on. But regardless, there are calls to boycott HBO, which broadcasts Bill Maher's "Real Time" show.

But, as usual, the outraged have missed the point. Maher is a devout and vocal atheist. Do you really expect anything else from him? And if you hate what he says so much, you're only bringing attention to him and his show by calling for boycott's of it. Guess what all this controversy and furor is going to do for Maher's ratings when his show returns in January? They're going to be higher than ever because people are going to tune in to see what he's going to say next.

And what do you really care what he says about Tim Tebow? If you don't like his show, don't watch it. Or, if you really want to do Bill a favor, picket it. Start a petition and get the word out about what a horrible and controversial show Maher does. Because there's a pretty good chance if Christians are boycotting his show, it's win-win for Bill. He gets tons of free publicity without losing any of his audience.

Teaser:
<p> Tebow's followers don't like an atheist who makes jokes at God's expense</p>
Post date: Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - 23:24
All taxonomy terms: Don Cherry, Overtime
Path: /overtime/don-cherrys-piano-desk-why-internet-was-invented-video
Body:

There's really not much that needs to be said about this video titled Don Cherry's Piano Desk. It is what it is -- Genius. For those of you who don't know who Don Cherry is, he's Canada's answer to Glenn Beck. He's a loudmouth red neck who says a lot of wacky stuff on Hockey Night in Canada. But since he's Canadian, he's way more more loveable than Beck.

And plus, he has that sweet piano desk. Who wouldn't want that?

Teaser:
<p> This is an awesome video from Hockey Night in Canada</p>
Post date: Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - 20:49
Path: /overtime/if-politicians-were-sports-figures
Body:

With the recent state of politics, there seems to be a parallel between the major players in the Republican and Democratic parties and some major figures in the sports world. So we made a list comparing them. We're just hoping that before our economy crashes and we're all left jobless and homeless that the politicians realize that we need them to be held to a higher standard than we hold a guy who gets a bucket of Gatorade dumped on him when he's successful.


Newt Gingrich is Rex Ryan

How They're Similar: Sure, both of them are fat (clearly) but they both also have egos that match their enormous size. And they both also have sketchy/disgusting sexual histories, with Gingrich reportedly ditching his cancer-ridden wife while she was on her deathbed, and Rex filming foot fetish videos with his wife. We're pretty sure Newt's is worse, but forcing us to envision whatever it is Rex Ryan does to his wife's feet is a really close second.
Newt Gingrich Quote: "I have enormous personal ambition. I want to shift the entire planet. And I’m doing it. I am now a famous person. I represent real power."
Rex Ryan Quote: "We're going to win the Super Bowl."



Rick Perry is Les Miles

How They're Similar: Have you ever heard what comes out of Rick Perry's mouth when he's trying to explain...well, anything? Have you ever watched Les Miles try and answer a straight forward question during an LSU press conference? It's like these guys are sharing the same mouth. And while both have been successful with big programs (Perry with the state of Texas, Miles with LSU), they both do their best work when there's no microphone around.
Rick Perry Quote: "Oops."
Les Miles Quote: "I can only tell you that the only fit to me for those players on this campus is extremely good."
 


Michele Bachmann is The Runaway Cart

How They're Similar: I'm not sure which one is crazier. On one hand you've got Michele Bachmann, who said an FDA-approved vaccine is making people retarded, Democrats are responsible for the flu, and gave us her insane eyes on the Newsweek cover. And on the other hand you've got that runaway cart that mowed down lots of people at Cowboys' Stadium. Let's call it a draw.
Michele Bachmann Quote: "If we took away the minimum wage, we could potentially, virtually wipe out unemployment completely because we would be able to offer jobs on any level."
Runaway Cart Quote: "I'm a runaway cart! No one's driving me! I'm mowing people down!"
 


Ron Paul is Bill Snyder

How They're Similar: Both Ron Paul and Kansas State's football coach Bill Snyder are crazy old guys who say and do things that fly in the face of convention. For example, Ron Paul will say that a young man without health insurance should die (not the most politically savvy thing to say), and Snyder once tried to hypnotize himself to compress a full night's sleep into a one-hour trance. But guess what, there's a bit of truth on what these old codgers are going on about. Paul (who says a lot of common sense stuff between his libertarian black and white view of the world) is currently leading the Republican polls in Iowa and Snyder was just named the Sporting News' Coach of the Year after turning around the Kansas State football program. Take that non-crazy young people.
Ron Paul Quote: “With politicians like these, who needs terrorists?”
Bill Snyder Quote: "We practice in the rain. We ought to be able to play better in the rain."
 


Herman Cain is The Penn State Football Program

How They're Similar: Oh, ya know, that whole thing where they both tried to cover up decades-long sex scandals and then dropped out of sight while meakly proclaiming their innocence.
 


Mitt Romney is Bill Belichick

How They're Similar: Mitt made hundreds of millions in business while using cut throat practices of sending jobs overseas, while Belichick won three Super Bowls, routinely ran up the score on his opponents and was caught cheating in the Spygate scandal. And, yet, for as ruthless as both of them have been, they both have the personality of lukewarm water when someone is asking them questions in front of a camera. I'm not sure what's worse, getting stuck talking to Mitt Romney at a party, or having him send your job to the Philippines.
Mitt Romney Quote: "Corporations are people, my friend... of course they are. Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to the people. Where do you think it goes? Whose pockets? Whose pockets? People's pockets. Human beings, my friend."
Bill Belichick Quote: “We’re playing for 60 minutes, I don’t give a [expletive] what the score is.”
 


Rick Santorum is Tim Tebow

How They're Similar: Both of these guys are super religious, and they each have an interesting phenomenon named after them (Tim has "Tebowing" and if you don't know what "Santorum" is, go ahead and google it). But they're also similar in that we have no idea why we're still hearing so much about either one of them. Tebow is a 4th-rate quarterback and Santorum is the guy who will finish 6th in the Republican primaries. (In addition, this time next year, they will both be known as "Remember that guy?")
Rick Santorum Quote: "I have no problem with homosexuality. I have a problem with homosexual acts."
Tim Tebow Quote: "As iron sharpens iron, men sharpen men."
 


Barack Obama is Ryan Leaf

How They're Similar: So much promise, so much hope. And then when it came to game time, they both threw more balls to the opposing team than they did to their own.
Barack Obama Quote: "I will close Guantanamo Bay."
Ryan Leaf Quote: "I'm looking forward to a 15-year career, a couple of trips to the Super Bowl and a parade through downtown San Diego.''
 


Joe Biden is Dana Holgorsen

How They're Similar: It's mostly the hair.

Teaser:
<p> This is sadder than it is funny</p>
Post date: Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - 16:36
All taxonomy terms: News
Path: /news/runaway-cart-mows-down-people-cowboys-stadium-video
Body:

Teaser:
Post date: Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - 15:35
All taxonomy terms: cricket segway crash, Funny, Overtime
Path: /overtime/segway-crash-most-exciting-thing-ever-happen-cricket-match-video
Body:

Maybe it's a cultural thing, but I've never been able to get into cricket. Not only do the matches take weeks, but when something does happen, it's basically just a piece of wood falling off a stick. It's rare for their to be a diving catch or a bone-crushing collision.

And there's tea breaks. Don't get me wrong, I like tea as much as the next guy, but should you stop a sporting event to sip something that grandmothers drink before bed?

Or maybe it's more civilized. Either way, this video of a camerman crashing his segway is pretty enjoyable. If this happened more often, I might spend some time to understand cricket.

Teaser:
<p> This is the best thing that's ever happened at a cricket match</p>
Post date: Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - 13:12
Path: /nfl/drew-brees-breaks-dan-marinos-single-season-passing-record-video
Body:

Drew Brees is now the king of the NFL's quarterback mountain after passing Dan Marino for most passing yards in a single season. And Brees has one game left to increase his record even more.

And while the Saints demolished the Falcons on Monday Night football to clinch the NFC South division title, the story of the night was Brees. He's had arguably one of the greatest quarterbacking seasons of all time.

Arguably because this is an NFL based around passing much more than it was in Marino's time. But those who point to that as a way of taking away from what Brees did are way off base, because defenses are infinitely more complex now than they were 20 years ago.

In a show of class, Dan Marino (who you know is not happy about his record getting broken) tweeted, "Great job by such a special player."

But there's also something different about Brees record now. In the past, football records didn't really matter all that much. The rushing record was the sexy one, but after that, not a lot of people gave much thought to NFL records. It was baseball's immortal stats that really held the public's attention. 

But with the steroid scandal that permeated through that sport over the last 15 years, no one knew what to think of baseball's record book. Every feat had a dark cloud of questions hanging over it. And now, with Barry Bonds who everyone almost guarantees took steroids, holding his sport's most hallowed record, it has lessened not only the home run record, but all the others as well.

And Drew Brees is the exact opposite of Barry Bonds. A super nice guy who does tons of charity work and has never been labeled a prima donna. He's the perfect player to own one of the NFL's most important records and should help turn around the public's interest in NFL's highest achievements.

And Brees breaking of the record was dramatic, as he did it on his last throw of the game. Brees edged him by 3 yards and now has 5,087 yards to Marino's 5,084. Brees is also the first player in NFL history to throw for over 5,000 yards in more than one season, havig thrown for 5,069 in 2008.

And as if that wasn't enough, Brees' four touchdown passes against the Falcons brought him to ninth on the all-time touchdown list with with 276, passing Joe Montana (273) and Vinny Testaverde (276).

Teaser:
<p> The Saints quarterback now holds one of the NFL's most coveted records</p>
Post date: Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - 08:45
Path: /news/new-york-superiority-complex-killing-big-apples-teams
Body:

Here’s something you’ve probably heard before: New York is the greatest city in the world.

Depending on whether or not you can name the five boroughs in between bites of your hero (no, not your hoagie, grinder or submarine), that’s a statement you likely whole-heartedly agree with or reject completely.

Of course, no New Yorker can verify their claim of urban supremacy. Most of us have never been to Paris or Rome or grabbed a bite at In ‘N Out Burger, one of the few meals that, allegedly, can’t be matched in the City. (And let’s be real, there is only one City.) And oh, sure, we hear Pittsburgh is a nice place to live. But…Pittsburgh over New York? Next you’ll be telling me I should grab a Morton’s rib-eye over a Peter Luger porterhouse, or that deep dish is better than neopolitan. And you’ll be wrong, of course. Because everything is better in New York. Including our sports teams.

Except for one.

I mean, a lot of our sports teams are bad. The Jets and Giants are about to go head-to-head in the MetLife-Who-Sucks-Less Bowl, Fred Wilpon is probably cashing a welfare check as we speak, and yeah, sure, the Rangers haven’t done much since the ’94 Cup, but that’s hockey. It doesn’t really count.

There’s only one franchise – correction: one team – that we’ll admit isn’t as good as everyone else’s. It’s the one that plays in the Greatest Arena in the World (wink, wink) and that’s gone through a bit of a 38-year rough patch lately.

This may come as a surprise, but New York sports fans harbor a bit of a superiority complex. The Yankees have always been The Best, a symbol of sports royalty, the team of the decade, most successful franchise of the century. (Thank you, Bob Costas.) Yet, World Series titles wouldn’t become a Bronx birthright until King George issued his doctrine saying so. Now, perennial ticker-tape parades are the 21stcentury equivalent of Manifest Destiny. Except manifesting destiny involves less Native American genocide and more hanging Chuck Finley breaking balls.

Once Jesus Steinbrenner’s sermon became gospel, it began to trickle down to the rest of the New York sports teams and their fan bases. The idea of an “all or nothing” philosophy jived with New Yorkers, who already believed they were better than everyone else. It only made sense that their sports teams should be too.

As this insanity began to infect the rest of the city (most notably following 9/11, when the ‘Team of Destiny’ HAD TO win the World Series), the Knicks were god-awful. And they continued to be god-awful throughout the decade. As the pressure of ‘all or nothing’ continued to grip the Yankees, the Jets and Giants moved in the right direction. The Jets’ hiring of Eric Mangini and their subsequent free agency/Brett Favre binge was viewed as a masterstroke at the time. Then Rex and San-chize stole the town before they got lambasted for not stealing the country.

The Giants won a Super Bowl and now endure a chorus of boos every time they show signs of not being the best team in football.

Yet the Knicks were left in the dust. After all, the Knicks have always been a conundrum, never quite as ‘storied’ as we liked to believe. They haven’t won a title since the Nixon Administration. The best players in franchise history are probably Walt Frazier and Willis Reed. Neither would make MJ’s knee’s quake, and both were on that pre-Watergate title team.

But the last decade? Roll out the caution tape.

Nothing to see here, people. Just eight coaching changes, one winning season (last year) and $11.6 million in punitive damages, none of which went to Jerome James. Move along.
So for the last five years, Knicks fans have been harboring delusions of grandeur. We believed with every fabric of our being that the Knicks would have a chance to contend As Soon as Isiah Was Gone. And then, when he was and we weren’t, we believed that we DESERVED a winner, and that that winner would come real soon, and that it would come in the form of some salary cap and logic bending messiah that magically transformed a decade old doormat into a fucking minx rug.

We believed LeBron would come for no other reason than he COULD. He could be the guy to finally put New York back on top! This is NEW YORK after all…So, uh, why not?

(Perhaps because his second best teammate would have been Toney Douglas or some overpaid/overhyped/underinsured/injury-prone amalgam of Joe Johnson, Amare, Carlos Boozer and Chris Bosh, you Famous Original Ray’s-gobbling buffoon.)

Of course, we never let logic get in the way. Even if LeBron didn’t end up in Miami, there was no reason to believe the Knicks were next on his list. (The guy didn’t even mention the ‘Bockers when he rattled off his list of suitors during The Decision.That’s true. Check the tape.)

So we moved on. Soon, we were SO SURE Chris Paul or Dwight Howard would “revive B-Ball in the Big Apple,” even as some salary cap expert from ESPN or FoxSports or SI rolled out column after column outlining how excruciatingly unlikely this was. Um, maybe if Jimmy Dolan decides to unload Amare OR Chris Paul decides he wants to take (INSERT DOUBLE DIGIT NUMBER HERE) million dollars less to play in New York…

So there’s a chance!

Eventually, reality hit us in the face like an errant pass from Stephon Marbury. With Chris Paul cursed with a We-All-Know-It’s-Coming ACL injury in Los Angeles and Dwight Howard more likely to ball in Brooklyn than Manhattan, our dreams of a Big Apple Big Three have evaporated. In its stead is a Big Two-Point-Five, or a Big Two or perhaps something less – depending on where you stand on Tyson Chandler, Carmelo’s defense and how many games Amare has left before his knees implode.

We’ve absorbed this pretty rosy reality fairly quietly, as far as New Yorkers go.

Have any of your Knicks fans friends been crowing lately? Did SportsCenter cover the Tyson Chandler press conference for more than 3.2 seconds? Who’s being talked about on WFAN right now: Carmelo Anthony or Eli Manning?

Somehow, given our decade of pain, Knicks fans really aren’t THAT excited/enthusiastic/confident about this year’s Knicks team.You see, we could have sworn we were getting a Ferrari for Christmas. So that Audi parked in the driveway doesn’t look too hot by comparison.

But that makes absolutely no sense. It’s still a fucking Audi. We’ve been through ten years of sports fan hell that we wouldn’t wish on anyone outside of Boston. Now, finally, we emerge with the best frontcourt in the league and a true contender…and we’re sitting in the corner, twiddling our thumbs and being complacent!?

Who cares if the Knicks were supposed to get LeBron? They didn’t. They also didn’t get Chris Paul, and they’re not snatching Dwight Howard unless Dwight is willing to sign for the veteran minimum.

The Steinbrenner Doctrine states that winning a championship is the goal in any given year, implying that not winning a championship constitutes a failure. So in order to not be viewed as a “failure,” any team that adheres to The Doctrine must win a championship EVERY YEAR.

The only way to not be bitterly disappointing is to be dynastic. That perspective is unrealistic enough for an efficiently run franchise with bottomless pockets. It’s an absolute pipe dream for the Knicks.

Sure, the Knicks’ dynastic dreams were thwarted. But those dreams were self-defeating in the first place.

Here’s the bottom line: if you’re a Knicks fan, and you’re not unfathomably, incredibly, undeniably excited for the next few months of basketball, then head to Peter Luger and go choke on a piece of the Best Steak in the World. Because, with or without Gilbert Arenas or Baron Davis or whatever other half-corpse Mike D’Antoni pull out of his casket to play point, this is far and away the best team the Knicks have fielded in a long, long time. Sure, they’re not going to win a title, but so what? That’s not the goal.

The Knicks will be decent. They will be fun to watch. At least there will be hope of something more than a low playoff seed and a first-round exit. And what exactly is the problem with hope, a commodity Knicks fans haven’t exactly had in spades and that T’Wolves fans would kill – no, actually – David Kahn for?

Eddy Curry was The Guy as recently as four years ago. Shawne Williams and Jared Jeffries were our Men in the Middle in 2010. Shouldn’t the idea of the Knicks being a contender – even if they’re not THE contender – be enough?

Heck, it should be more than enough. It should be the best thing that’s happened…since, well, New York.

So go down to DiFara’s, grab a few slices, and start yelling from the rooftop of your favorite skyscraper. It’s time to get excited again. The Knicks are back, baby, and better than we ever could have expect them to be.

Jesse Golomb is the Editor-in-Chief of TheFanManifesto. Follow him on twitter, or drop him a line via email.  

Teaser:
<p> New Yorkers love themselves. And it’s affecting their ability to love their teams.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - 05:32
All taxonomy terms: camila alves, Matthew McConaughey, Overtime
Path: /overtime/camila-alves-hottie-tamed-matthew-mcconaughey-photos
Body:

Camila Alves and Matthew McConaughey are engaged. The "Dazed and Confused" and "We Are Marshall" star popped the question to his model and TV host girlfriend, who also happens to be the mother of two of his children.

Camila has been the host of "Shear Genius" as well as a model.

Their marriage isn't that big of a surprise, but McConaughey, who's known to run shirtless through most of LA has always been considered one of the biggest bachelor's on the Hollywood market. 

Camila and Matthew have been dating since 2006, but since he had never had the cojones to commit and pop the question to Camila, no one knew how serious he was about settling down. But no one really cares about that. So here's what you really want, some of the hottest photos of Camila.

Now, whether Camila and Matthew stay married is a whole other question. It seems like McConaughey was dragged into the marriage thing (he didn't exactly jump at the chance to marry the woman who had not one, but TWO of his children.) But who knows, maybe he needed to wait to make sure he was making the right decision. Do you really care? No, so just enjoy the photos.

Teaser:
<p> You can see why Matthew McConaughey popped the question</p>
Post date: Tuesday, December 27, 2011 - 04:15
Path: /nfl/afc-and-nfc-playoff-scenarios-giants-and-cowboys-play-it-all-week-17
Body:

The NFL playoffs are less than two weeks away. Which means you need more than an abacus to figure out if your team still has a chance to make the NFL postseason (we can't all be Packers fans.) So here's a breakdown of what each team that's still in the running for the playoffs needs to happen to either win their division, secure a first round bye or eke out a wild card spot to keep their dreams alive of making it to the Super Bowl.

Hey, last year the Packers won it from the last wild card spot, so anything can happen. Well, anything to any team not named the Colts, Rams, Vikings, Bucs, Jaguars and all the other crappy teams with a less than .500 record.

AFC

CLINCHED: New England Patriots -- East Division and a first-round bye.

Houston Texans -- South Division.

Baltimore Ravens -- wild-card spot.

Pittsburgh Steelers -- wild-card spot.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

New England clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:

1) NE win or tie

2) BAL loss or tie + PIT loss or tie

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Baltimore clinches AFC North Division and a first-round bye with:

1) BAL win

2) BAL tie + PIT loss or tie

3) PIT loss

Baltimore clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:

1) BAL win + NE loss

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

Pittsburgh clinches AFC North Division and a first-round bye with:

1) PIT win + BAL loss or tie

2) PIT tie + BAL loss

Pittsburgh clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:

1) PIT win + BAL loss or tie + NE loss

DENVER BRONCOS

Denver clinches AFC West Division with:

1) DEN win

2) DEN tie + OAK loss or tie

3) OAK loss

OAKLAND RAIDERS

Oakland clinches AFC West Division with:

1) OAK win + DEN loss or tie

2) OAK tie + DEN loss

Oakland clinches a wild-card spot with:

1) OAK win + CIN loss + TEN loss or tie

2) OAK win + CIN loss + NYJ win

CINCINNATI BENGALS

Cincinnati clinches a wild card spot with:

1) CIN win or tie

2) NYJ loss or tie + OAK loss or tie

3) NYJ loss or tie + DEN loss or tie

NEW YORK JETS

NY Jets clinch a wild card spot with:

1) NYJ win + CIN loss + TEN loss or tie + OAK loss or tie

2) NYJ win + CIN loss + TEN loss or tie + DEN loss or tie

TENNESSEE TITANS

Tennessee clinches a wild-card spot with:

1) TEN win + CIN loss + NYJ win + OAK loss or tie

2) TEN win + CIN loss + NYJ win + DEN loss or tie

3) TEN win + CIN loss + NYJ loss or tie + OAK win + DEN win

NFC

CLINCHED: Green Bay Packers -- North Division and home-field advantage.

San Francisco 49ers -- West Division.

New Orleans Saints -- wild-card spot.

Detroit Lions -- wild-card spot.

Atlanta Falcons -- wild-card spot.

GREEN BAY PACKERS

Green Bay clinched home-field advantage throughout NFC playoffs.

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

San Francisco clinches a first-round bye with:

1) SF win

2) SF tie + one NO loss or tie

3) one NO loss

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

New Orleans clinched NFC South Division

New Orleans clinches a first-round bye with:

One NO wis + SF loss or tie

NEW YORK GIANTS

NY Giants clinch NFC East Division with:

1) NYG win or tie

DALLAS COWBOYS

Dallas clinches NFC East Division with:

1) DAL win

 

The two biggest disappointments not on this list have got to be the Philadelphia Eagles and the San Diego Chargers. Two teams a lot of pundits picked not only to make the playoffs, but to win the Super Bowl have been eliminated two weeks before the playoffs even start. 

Teaser:
<p> With one week left in the season, here's a breakdown of what each NFL team needs to make the postseason</p>
Post date: Monday, December 26, 2011 - 20:16
Path: /news/lance-moore-active-saints-drew-brees-eyes-marinos-record
Body:

Lance Moore, will continue his great year as he is officially active for the New Orleans Saints on Monday night.

Moore tweaked his hamstring on Friday and was held out of practice on Saturday, but it seems as though this was more of a precautionary measure. According to reports, Moore was fine in pre-game exercises and looks like he's ready to go. 

And the Saints are going to need all the offensive help they can get. As Drew Brees is just 305 yards away from breaking Dan Marino's record for most passing yards in a season, the Saints are without running back Mark Ingram, OT Will Robinson, TE Mike Higgins and WR Adrian Arrington. The loss of Higgins and Arrington shouldn't affect Brees' high-powered attack too much, and the Saints are so stacked at running back (with Ivory and Sproles) that their running game shouldn't miss a beat, but anytime an offensive lineman goes down, could be a cause for concern.

And this game is important to both the Saints and the Falcons (Brees' record aside). Both teams are jockeying for playoff position. The Saints have a postseason spot sealed up, as do the Falcons after last night's Bears loss, but the Falcons and Saints are vying for the division crown.

The Saints seal it with a win or tie in either one of their remaining games, while Atlanta needs the Saints to lose both games and win both their remaining games. An uphill battle for the Falcons, but a win tonight against New Orleans could make next week's games much more interesting.

Teaser:
<p> New Orleans go-to receiver will be in the lineup against the Falcons</p>
Post date: Monday, December 26, 2011 - 20:07
Path: /news/ben-roethlisberger-not-starting-against-rams
Body:

Ben Roethlisberger has a bad ankle. He didn't blame it for his poor, 3-interception performance against the 49ers last week, but it's going to cause him to be on the bench for the Steelers Week 16 game against the St. Louis Rams.

It's a mixed blessing for Roethlisberger owners. If you somehow managed to pull out a win after his crappy showing last week, at least this week you don't have to struggle with the decision to start him this week and can put all your eggs in your back-up quarterback's basket.

But this also affects Rashard Mendenhall, Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown. Charlie Batch will start in Roethlisberger's place. Normally this week, Steelers wide receivers would be salivating to go up against the Rams horrible secondary. All year opposing wideouts have been running up and down the field at will against St. Louis. 

Batch is a serviceable quarterback, but he doesn't have the timing that Ben has with his starters. They should do something here and there and put up some points, but not the kind of points you would hope for on championship week.

But, on the flipside, this is great news for Rashard Mendenhall owners. No Ben Roethlisberger means that the Steelers are going to run the ball against a very sketchy run defense all day long. And Mendenhall can put a lot of fantasy teams on his back and take them to a fantasy football crown.

Teaser:
<p> The Steelers quarterback has a bum ankle and won't hit the field in week 16</p>
Post date: Saturday, December 24, 2011 - 10:37
Path: /news/felix-jones-hamstring-wont-play-if-giants-win
Body:

Felix Jones has had an up and down fantasy football season in 2011. And the Cowboys running back is back on a down trend in week 16 against the Eagles.

With Felix Jones' hamstring injury calling him a game-time decision, the Cowboys staff is saying that he won't even play a snap if the Giants win their 1pm game against the New York Jets.

Due to playoff implications, if the Giants win, the Cowboys' game against the Eagles is meaningless, so they'd rather not test him. And as a fantasy owner, you just can't wait to roll the dice on Felix getting on the field.

And even if you could, he wouldn't be a good play given that he's a 50-50 shot to even play. And that has to hurt a lot of fantasy owner's hearts because the Eagles running game has been giving up giant chunks of yards this year to opposing running backs. And when most of them drafted him in the 3rd round of this year's draft, they probably assumed that he would be a big part of their team, especially when it came down to Championship week.

Sammy Morris will play a "significant role" according to Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones, but he's only an option if you are desperate. And if you're that desperate, there's probably a good chance that your team isn't still in the running for a Fantasy Football crown in week 16.

But this is just par for the course for Dallas' running back situation all year. It will be interesting to see how next year's drafts view the worth of Felix Jones and DeMarco Murray.

Teaser:
<p> The Cowboys' running back is a 50-50 option to play in week 16</p>
Post date: Saturday, December 24, 2011 - 10:17
Path: /nfl/if-tom-coughlin-gets-fired-year-who-will-be-giants-next-head-coach
Body:

Tom Coughlin’s seat isn’t necessarily hot. It’s more like lukewarm heading into the final two games of the NFL season. His bosses don’t want to fire him, and they might use any excuse to keep him.

It’s also possible that they’ll have no choice if he loses his last two games.

That’s the precarious position Coughlin has put himself in with two games to go in the Giants’ season gone wrong, which started at 6-2 and is now in the throes of what Justin Tuck called an “historical” collapse. They are 1-5 in the second half, coming off a hideously pathetic, 23-10 loss to the Washington Redskins. They head into their Christmas Eve showdown against the Jets, facing humiliation and possible elimination.

Coughlin can still survive. There’s a possibility he can even survive if this injury-riddled team doesn’t make the playoffs. But what he can’t survive is the spectre of his team quitting on him down the stretch, the way they did two seasons ago. When they pushed the Green Bay Packers to the final minute and followed that up with a season-saving win in Dallas, it sure didn’t look like they had any quit in them.

Now? Who knows? They’ve been a Jekyll and Hyde team all year long. They’re certainly capable of completely unraveling down the stretch.

And if they do, John Mara and Steve Tisch, the stability-loving owners of the Giants, could be forced into making the decision they don’t want to make. They love Coughlin. They admire his work ethic and preparation. They believe (correctly) the post-2006 version is respected by his players. His teams, for the most part, play the right way and stay in contention. He runs a tight, disciplined ship that rarely gets any unwanted attention.

Sometimes it’s just time for a change, though. But if Mara and Tisch do it, they better have an answer to these two questions:

Is there somebody out there who is a better coach than Coughlin? Do they really think someone could have done any better with this flawed, battered and overrated team?

If they believe the answers are yes, then the shortlist to replace Coughlin could be an incredibly short one -- and really only two or three of the potential candidates have any real appeal. They’d have to look at all the big names, of course, because it’ll be hard to fire a coach with a ring off a near-playoff season and replace him with an unknown assistant. In Pittsburgh, you can do that and cross your fingers that you’ve found Mike Tomlin. In New York you can’t take the chance that you’ve landed Ray Handley instead.

That said, here’s a look at five of the most popular names being kicked around as candidates, mostly outside of the organization. One look at this list, though, and the conclusion might be that if these are the guys on the shortlist, the Giants are better off with what they already have:

Bill Cowher
He’s No. 1 on everyone’s list outside the organization and he’s likely high on the theoretical list inside, too. He not only has a Super Bowl ring – which seems like a must when you’re replacing a Super Bowl-winning coach -- but he has a high profile and he worked for the Rooney family in Pittsburgh, which isn’t insignificant given the Rooney’s close (and family) ties to the Mara’s. He would bring instant stability, respect, credibility and he can coach, too.

Jeff Fisher
Maybe the only other candidate that fits the Giants’ profile. He coached for a long, long time in Tennessee and showed a remarkable resiliency. Whenever his teams seemed to be on a downward spiral, he found a way to turn things around. He never won a Super Bowl, but he got there (and got within a yard of winning it). Mara also knows him well from their years serving together on the NFL’s Competition Committee. The only worry is that his long term in Tennessee included a battle with a general manager and ended with him fighting with his owner over a franchise quarterback he didn’t want.

Jon Gruden
He’s the last of the Big Three on the market – the three replacement coaches the fans seem to talk about most – but he seems to be the least likely. He certainly can coach, but he brings some baggage that includes the ugly end of his tenures in both Oakland and Tampa Bay. There wasn’t a lot of winning near the end in Tampa, either. But the thing that might frighten the Giants away the most is that he’s outspoken and a bit high-octane. They prefer a more quiet, professional perception of their coach.

Steve Spagnuolo
There was a time when many people assumed he’d be the next coach of the Giants when Coughlin retired, and the Giants’ owners still like and respect “Spags.” He might even be a candidate to return as defensive coordinator if Coughlin stays and fires defensive coordinator Perry Fewell (which seems to be a longshot). The problem with Spagnuolo as head coach is the Giants can’t fire a Super Bowl-winning coach and replace him with a lesser coach who failed to win in St. Louis in the wide-open NFC West.

Romeo Crennel
OK, they’re probably not going to hire a 64-year-old coach to replace a 65-year-old coach. But you know why he makes sense? Because he fits the Giants’ profile. Their hires over the last 30 years have either been high-profile head coaches from elsewhere (Dan Reeves) or former Giants assistants they got to know and respect while they were in New York (Bill Parcells, Ray Handley, Jim Fassel, Tom Coughlin). Things have changed in the organization – most notably ownership, because this would be the first hire since Wellington Mara and Bob Tisch passed away – but Crennel did get an interview when the Giants hired Coughlin and could get a look again. Of course, he’d only be a short-term solution, and he might end up as the head coach of the Chiefs. But he does fit the old profile, and since John Fox and Sean Payton have jobs and will keep them, very few other candidates do.

By RALPH VACCHIANO

Teaser:
<p> The New York Giants coach could lose his job, so who would replace him?</p>
Post date: Friday, December 23, 2011 - 11:44
All taxonomy terms: Funny, Skip Bayless, Stephen A. Smith, Overtime
Path: /overtime/stephen-smiths-faces-when-hes-talking-skip-bayless-photos
Body:

Stephen A. Smith spends a lot of time on ESPN's First Take arguing with Skip Bayless. For those of you who have seen Skip, you can see why he can try Stephen A's patience (although Stephen A. also holds his own in the patience-trying department.)

So here's a gallery of Stephen A. Smith's various faces he makes as he's trying to argue or listen to Skip Bayless. Most of these screenshots are from ESPN First Take. As you can see, his face ranges from exasperated to angry to completely perplexed at what comes out of Skip's mouth.

Stephen A. Smith should go into acting because he's got the facial expression range of a classically trained actor. I've never seen a face express so much emotion and pain, and he's only talking about sports. But I guess Skip Bayless can do that to someone.

Teaser:
<p> Stephen A. Smith makes some interesting faces when he's listening to Skip Bayless</p>
Post date: Thursday, December 22, 2011 - 10:05
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-rankings-week-16
Body:

We rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any Website can give you. Click here for all of our fantasy football rankings each week.

These rankings are our suggestions, but of course as always: You are responsible for setting your own lineup.

2011 NFL Week 16 Fantasy Football Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Athlon Sports Week 16 Waiver Wire

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

OFFENSIVE SCORING
All touchdowns are 6 points
1 point for 25 yards passing
1 point for 10 yards rushing/receiving
Receptions are .5 points
Interceptions/fumbles are minus-2 points

DEFENSIVE SCORING
0 points allowed = 12 points
1-6 points allowed = 10 points
7-13 points allowed = 8 pts
14-20 points allowed = 6 points
21-27 points allowed = 2 pts
28+ points allowed = 0 points
Safeties = 2 points
Fumbles recovered = 2 points
Interceptions = 2 points
Sacks = 1 point
Defensive/Special Teams TDs = 6 points

KICKER SCORING
PATs = 1 point
39 yards and under = 3 points
40-49 yards = 4 points
50-59 yards = 5 points
60+ yards = 6 points

Teaser:
<p> Athlon Sports has all the position rankings you need to help your fantasy team unwrap a win this week</p>
Post date: Thursday, December 22, 2011 - 06:24
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-kicker-rankings-week-16
Body:

We rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any Website can give you. Click here for all of our fantasy football rankings each week.

These rankings are our suggestions, but of course as always: You are responsible for setting your own lineup.

2011 NFL Week 16 — Kicker Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Athlon Sports Week 16 Waiver Wire

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

KICKER SCORING
PATs = 1 point
39 yards and under = 3 points
40-49 yards = 4 points
50-59 yards = 5 points
60+ yards = 6 points

Note: Unless specified below, games will be played on Saturday, Dec. 24 this week. 

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 David Akers SF at SEA
2 Mason Crosby GB vs. CHI (Sun.)
3 Dan Bailey DAL vs. PHI
4 John Kasay NO vs. ATL (Mon.)
5 Stephen Gostkowski NE vs. MIA
6 Sebastian Janikowski OAK at KC
7 Neil Rackers HOU at IND (Thurs.)
8 Nick Novak SD at DET
9 Jason Hanson DET vs. SD
10 Matt Bryant ATL at NO (Mon.)
11 Mike Nugent CIN vs. ARI
12 Rob Bironas TEN vs. JAC
13 Graham Gano WAS vs. MIN
14 Robbie Gould CHI at GB (Sun.)
15 Matt Prater DEN at BUF
16 Dan Carpenter MIA at NE

Teaser:
<br />
Post date: Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - 15:21
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-tight-end-rankings-week-16
Body:

We rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any Website can give you. Click here for all of our fantasy football rankings each week.

These rankings are our suggestions, but of course as always: You are responsible for setting your own lineup.

2011 NFL Week 16 — Tight End Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Athlon Sports Week 16 Waiver Wire

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

OFFENSIVE SCORING
All touchdowns are 6 points
1 point for 25 yards passing
1 point for 10 yards rushing/receiving
Receptions are .5 points
Interceptions/fumbles are minus-2 points

Note: Unless specified below, games will be played on Saturday, Dec. 24 this week. 

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Rob Gronkowski NE vs. MIA
2 Jimmy Graham NO vs. ATL (Mon.)
3 Antonio Gates SD at DET
4 Tony Gonzalez ATL at NO (Mon.)
5 Jermichael Finley GB vs. CHI (Sun.)
6 Jason Witten DAL vs. PHI
7 Aaron Hernandez NE vs. MIA
8 Brandon Pettigrew DET vs. SD
9 Brent Celek PHI at DAL
10 Dustin Keller NYJ vs. NYG
11 Vernon Davis SF at SEA
12 Kellen Winslow TB at CAR
13 Jermaine Gresham CIN vs. ARI
14 Owen Daniels HOU at IND (Thurs.)
15 Greg Olsen CAR vs. TB
16 Anthony Fasano MIA at NE
17 Heath Miller PIT vs. STL
18 Ed Dickson BAL vs. CLE
19 Jared Cook TEN vs. JAC
20 Kevin Boss OAK at KC
21 Visanthe Shiancoe MIN at WAS
22 Marcedes Lewis JAC at TEN
23 Jacob Tamme IND vs. HOU (Thurs.)
24 Scott Chandler BUF vs. DEN
25 Evan Moore CLE at BAL
26 Jeremy Shockey CAR vs. TB

Teaser:
<br />
Post date: Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - 15:15
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-quarterback-rankings-week-16
Body:

We rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any Website can give you. Click here for all of our fantasy football rankings each week.

These rankings are our suggestions, but of course as always: You are responsible for setting your own lineup.

2011 NFL Week 16 — Quarterback Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Athlon Sports Week 16 Waiver Wire

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

OFFENSIVE SCORING
All touchdowns are 6 points
1 point for 25 yards passing
1 point for 10 yards rushing/receiving
Receptions are .5 points
Interceptions/fumbles are minus-2 points

Note: Unless specified below, games will be played on Saturday, Dec. 24 this week. 

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Aaron Rodgers GB vs. CHI (Sun.)
2 Drew Brees NO vs. ATL (Mon.)
3 Tom Brady NE vs. MIA
4 Cam Newton CAR vs. TB
5 Matthew Stafford DET vs. SD
6 Matt Ryan ATL at NO (Mon.)
7 Tim Tebow DEN at BUF
8 Michael Vick PHI at DAL
9 Tony Romo DAL vs. PHI
10 Philip Rivers SD at DET
11 Eli Manning NYG at NYJ
12 Mark Sanchez NYJ vs. NYG
13 Rex Grossman WAS vs. MIN
14 Matt Moore MIA at NE
15 Carson Palmer OAK at KC
16 Andy Dalton CIN vs. ARI
17 Joe Flacco BAL vs. CLE
18 Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF vs. DEN
19 Kyle Orton KC vs. OAK
20 Josh Freeman TB at CAR
21 T.J. Yates HOU at IND (Thurs.)
22 Alex Smith SF at SEA
23 John Skelton ARI at CIN
24 Matt Hasselbeck TEN vs. JAC
25 Christian Ponder MIN at WAS
26 Tarvaris Jackson SEA vs. SF

Teaser:
<br />
Post date: Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - 14:57
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-defensespecial-teams-rankings-week-16
Body:

We rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any Website can give you. Click here for all of our fantasy football rankings each week.

These rankings are our suggestions, but of course as always: You are responsible for setting your own lineup.

2011 NFL Week 16 — Defense/Special Teams Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Athlon Sports Week 16 Waiver Wire

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

DEFENSIVE SCORING
0 points allowed = 12 points
1-6 points allowed = 10 points
7-13 points allowed = 8 pts
14-20 points allowed = 6 points
21-27 points allowed = 2 pts
28+ points allowed = 0 points
Safeties = 2 points
Fumbles recovered = 2 points
Interceptions = 2 points
Sacks = 1 point
Defensive/Special Teams TDs = 6 points

Note: Unless specified below, games will be played on Saturday, Dec. 24 this week. 

Rk Player OPPONENT
1 Baltimore Ravens vs. CLE
2 Pittsburgh Steelers vs. STL
3 San Francisco 49ers at SEA
4 Houston Texans at IND (Thurs.)
5 Green Bay Packers vs. CHI (Sun.)
6 Seattle Seahawks vs. SF
7 Cincinnati Bengals vs. ARI
8 New York Jets vs. NYG
9 Tennessee Titans vs. JAC
10 Denver Broncos at BUF
11 Chicago Bears at GB (Sun.)
12 Washington Redskins vs. MIN
13 Arizona Cardinals at CIN
14 Jacksonville Jaguars at TEN
15 Philadelphia Eagles at DAL
16 Kansas City Chiefs vs. OAK

Teaser:
<br />
Post date: Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - 13:22
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-wide-receiver-rankings-week-16
Body:

We rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any Website can give you. Click here for all of our fantasy football rankings each week.

These rankings are our suggestions, but of course as always: You are responsible for setting your own lineup.

2011 NFL Week 16 — Wide Receiver Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Athlon Sports Week 16 Waiver Wire

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

OFFENSIVE SCORING
All touchdowns are 6 points
1 point for 25 yards passing
1 point for 10 yards rushing/receiving
Receptions are .5 points
Interceptions/fumbles are minus-2 points

Note: Unless specified below, games will be played on Saturday, Dec. 24 this week. 

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Calvin Johnson DET vs. SD
2 Wes Welker NE vs. MIA
3 Roddy White ATL at NO (Mon.)
4 Steve Smith CAR vs. TB
5 Larry Fitzgerald ARI at CIN
6 Brandon Marshall MIA at NE
7 Vincent Jackson SD at DET
8 Mike Wallace PIT vs. STL
9 A.J. Green CIN vs. ARI
10 Jordy Nelson GB vs. CHI (Sun.)
11 Marques Colston NO vs. ATL (Mon.)
12 Hakeem Nicks NYG at NYJ
13 Miles Austin DAL vs. PHI
14 Dwayne Bowe KC vs. OAK
15 Julio Jones ATL at NO (Mon.)
16 Victor Cruz NYG at NYJ
17 Percy Harvin MIN at WAS
18 Dez Bryant DAL vs. PHI
19 Antonio Brown PIT vs. STL
20 Santana Moss WAS vs. MIN
21 Demaryius Thomas DEN at BUF
22 Santonio Holmes NYJ vs. NYG
23 Steve Johnson BUF vs. DEN
24 Laurent Robinson DAL vs. PHI
25 Jeremy Maclin PHI at DAL
26 DeSean Jackson PHI at DAL
27 Brandon Lloyd STL at PIT
28 Michael Crabtree SF at SEA
29 Jabar Gaffney WAS vs. MIN
30 Anquan Boldin BAL vs. CLE
31 Darrius Heyward-Bey OAK at KC
32 Malcom Floyd SD at DET
33 Nate Washington TEN vs. JAC
34 Mike Williams TB at CAR
35 Mario Manningham NYG at NYJ
36 James Jones GB vs. CHI (Sun.)
37 Pierre Garcon IND vs. HOU (Thurs.)
38 Torrey Smith BAL vs. CLE
39 Lance Moore NO vs. ATL (Mon.)
40 Plaxico Burress NYJ vs. NYG
41 Reggie Wayne IND vs. HOU (Thurs.)
42 Nate Burleson DET vs. SD
43 Denarius Moore OAK at KC
44 Greg Little CLE at BAL
45 Eric Decker DEN at BUF
46 Doug Baldwin SEA vs. SF
47 Titus Young DET vs. SD
48 Davone Bess MIA at NE
49 Damian Williams TEN vs. JAC
50 David Nelson BUF vs. DEN
51 Early Doucet ARI at CIN
52 Kevin Walter HOU at IND (Thurs.)
53 Legedu Naane CAR vs. TB
54 Jacoby Jones HOU at IND (Thurs.)
55 Randall Cobb GB vs. CHI (Sun.)
56 Hines Ward PIT vs. STL
57 Robert Meachem NO vs. ATL (Mon.)
58 Andre Roberts ARI at CIN
59 Jerome Simpson CIN vs. ARI
60 Arrelious Benn TB at CAR
61 Vincent Brown SD at DET
62 Jonathan Baldwin KC vs. OAK
63 Earl Bennett CHI at GB (Sun.)
64 Riley Cooper PHI at DAL

Teaser:
<br />
Post date: Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - 13:15
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-running-back-rankings-week-16
Body:

We rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any Website can give you. Click here for all of our fantasy football rankings each week.

These rankings are our suggestions, but of course as always: You are responsible for setting your own lineup.

2011 NFL Week 16 — Running Back Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Athlon Sports Week 16 Waiver Wire

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

OFFENSIVE SCORING
All touchdowns are 6 points
1 point for 25 yards passing
1 point for 10 yards rushing/receiving
Receptions are .5 points
Interceptions/fumbles are minus-2 points

Note: Unless specified below, games will be played on Saturday, Dec. 24 this week. 

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Arian Foster HOU at IND (Thurs.)
2 Ray Rice BAL vs. CLE
3 LeSean McCoy PHI at DAL
4 Maurice Jones-Drew JAC at TEN
5 Ryan Mathews SD at DET
6 Adrian Peterson MIN at WAS
7 Reggie Bush MIA at NE
8 Michael Bush OAK at KC
9 Michael Turner ATL at NO (Mon.)
10 Rashard Mendenhall PIT vs. STL
11 Shonn Greene NYJ vs. NYG
12 Frank Gore SF at SEA
13 Chris Johnson TEN vs. JAC
14 Willis McGahee DEN at BUF
15 Cedric Benson CIN vs. ARI
16 Marshawn Lynch SEA vs. SF
17 C.J. Spiller BUF vs. DEN
18 Beanie Wells ARI at CIN
19 Steven Jackson STL at PIT
20 Darren Sproles NO vs. ATL (Mon.)
21 LeGarrette Blount TB at CAR
22 Felix Jones DAL vs. PHI
23 Roy Helu WAS vs. MIN
24 DeAngelo Williams CAR vs. TB
25 Ahmad Bradshaw NYG at NYJ
26 Jonathan Stewart CAR vs. TB
27 Kevin Smith DET vs. SD
28 BenJarvus Green-Ellis NE vs. MIA
29 Donald Brown IND vs. HOU (Thurs.)
30 Khalil Bell CHI at GB (Sun.)
31 Ben Tate HOU at IND (Thurs.)
32 Ryan Grant GB vs. CHI (Sun.)
33 Mike Tolbert SD at DET
34 Peyton Hillis CLE at BAL
35 Marion Barber CHI at GB (Sun.)
36 Brandon Jacobs NYG at NYJ
37 Pierre Thomas NO vs. ATL (Mon.)
38 Sammy Morris DAL vs. PHI
39 Chris Ivory NO vs. ATL (Mon.)
40 Lance Ball DEN at BUF
41 Jackie Battle KC vs. OAK
42 Daniel Thomas MIA at NE
43 Toby Gerhart MIN at WAS
44 LaDainian Tomlinson NYJ vs. NYG
45 Thomas Jones KC vs. OAK
46 Ricky Williams BAL vs. CLE
47 Mark Ingram NO vs. ATL (Mon.)
48 Stevan Ridley NE vs. MIA

Teaser:
<br />
Post date: Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - 13:04
All taxonomy terms: kate upton, Mark Sanchez, News
Path: /news/kate-upton-and-mark-sanchez-dating
Body:

Kate Upton, the Victoria's Secret and SI Swimsuit supermodel who's sometimes (OK, a lot of times) referred to as the hottest woman in the universe may or may not be dating New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez.

But all signs point to them being an item.

And even better, they seem to be trying to keep their budding romance a secret because Mark Sanchez has been making numerous late-night visits to Kate Upton's apartment building.

Maybe Mark has been moonlighting as a building super between Jets' practices. Or maybe his grandmother lives in that building and he's visiting her during the holiday season because he's such a sweet boy.

Or maybe Mark and Kate are just friends and he needs to talk to her about his struggles as leader of the Jets offense. It would make a lot of sense for him to make numerous visits to her after the Jets were destroyed by the Eagles 45-19. (Super side note: When was the last time a football team scored 19 points?)

But, if all those extremely plausible possibilities aren't actually true, I guess it could be constured that Kate Upton is dating New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez. 

And since it's something involving Kate Upton, here's a few pics of her. Ya know, just so it refreshes your memory in case you forgot what she looks like:

According to reports, Snachez has been seen trying to hide his appearance under a woolly hat. And this also wouldn't be the first time the two have been linked together as Kate Upton was seen attending a Jets game in September. of this year.

Sanchez has come under fire lately for not playing up to the team's expecations. It's his third year in the NFL and rumors swirling around love life will only intensify the scrutiny that comes with being the quarterback for a New York team. 

The New York Post has already run the headline "No Wonder He Can't Complete a Pass" in their piece about the link between Sanchez and Upton.

And it's only going to be worse from here.

Teaser:
<p> Is the Victoria's Secret Supermodel dating the NY Jets quarterback?</p>
Post date: Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - 09:17
Path: /college-football/10-worst-bcs-bowl-performances
Body:

— by Mark Ross

With the 14th season of BCS bowl action about to take place, Athlon reviewed the tapes of the four (now five) biggest bowl games in college football. Since 1998, teams have been fighting to land a spot in the BCS and here are those teams whose performances didn’t live up to the spotlight and prestige attached to the bowl they played in.

Related: The Greatest BCS Offenses of the BCS Era
Related: The Greatest Non-BCS Offenses of the BCS Era

Here are the 10 Worst BCS Bowl Performances (year is the date of the game):

Also receiving votes: Illinois Fighting Illini, 2008 Rose Bowl (lost to USC 49-17); Cincinnati Bearcats, 2010 Sugar Bowl; Connecticut Huskies, 2011 Fiesta Bowl (lost to Oklahoma 48-20)

10. Hawaii Warriors, 2008 Sugar Bowl
Record headed into BCS bowl: 12-0, No. 10 in AP, Coaches Polls and BCS standings, WAC Champion
BCS Bowl result: Lost 41-10 to No. 5 Georgia
Hawaii headed into this game undefeated for the first time since 1925 and the most wins in school history. The Warriors had an offense that was piling up the yards and points and, despite being a near 10-point underdog, were embracing the opportunity to face off with Georgia, one of college football’s so-called “blue bloods.” Well, if the Warriors were trying to send a message, it’s clear the Bulldogs weren’t ready to receive it.

Georgia jumped out to a 24-3 halftime lead and had stretched it to a 38-point margin before Hawaii finally got into the end zone late in the fourth quarter to make the final score 41-10. The Bulldogs pressured and pounded Hawaii record-setting quarterback Colt Brennan all night, sacking him eight times and forcing him to commit five turnovers (three interceptions, two lost fumbles), while holding him to a career-low 169 yards passing.

Prior to this game, Hawaii had amassed no less than 430 yards of offense and scored no fewer than 28 points in any game. Georgia held the Warriors to 306 yards, a measly 10 points and forced a total of six turnovers.

9. Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 2007 Sugar Bowl
Record headed into BCS bowl: 10-2, No. 11 in AP, Coaches Polls and BCS standings
BCS Bowl result: Lost 41-14 to No. 4 LSU
Notre Dame was around an eight-point underdog headed into this game, but after LSU had jumped out to a 14-0 lead, the Fighting Irish were able to pull even late in the second quarter and at that point it looked like this game would be a close-knit affair.

That wouldn’t be the case, however, as the Tigers scored the final 27 points and Notre Dame managed just one first down and less than 30 yards of offense in the second half of the 41-14 loss. LSU overwhelmed the Irish defense to the tune of 577 total yards, including 245 on the ground alone. Notre Dame finished with less than 300 yards of offense and posted a second-straight disappointing bowl loss under Charlie Weis.

8. Pittsburgh Panthers, 2005 Fiesta Bowl
Record headed into BCS bowl: 8-3, No. 19 in AP Poll, No. 20 in Coaches Poll and No. 21 in BCS standings, Big East Champion
BCS Bowl result: Lost 35-7 to No. 6 Utah
Utah was undefeated, the champion from the Mountain West Conference and a team that had put together an impressive regular season. The Utes earned the right and privilege of becoming the first team from a non-BCS conference in a BCS bowl. Pittsburgh, on the other hand, was a team that “earned” a BCS bid by virtue of a tiebreaker between four two-loss teams within the Big East. You get the picture.

Utah then went out and made it clear which team deserved to be in a BCS bowl and which didn’t by thumping Pittsburgh 35-7 in the Fiesta Bowl. The Utes were a 16-point favorite headed into the game and looked every bit of the part, scoring 28 points before the Panthers made it into the end zone. Utah put up 467 yards of offense on Pittsburgh, while the Panthers had just 17 yards rushing and 268 yards of total offense. You can argue all you want if you think the Utes should have gotten more consideration for at least a shot at the national title, but one thing’s clear – they definitely deserved a better opponent than Pittsburgh.

7. Virginia Tech Hokies, 2011 Orange Bowl
Record headed into BCS bowl: 11-2, No. 12 in AP Poll, No. 11 in Coaches Poll, No. 13 in BCS, ACC Champion
BCS Bowl result: Lost 40-12 to No. 4 Stanford
If this list was based on worst halves in a BCS bowl, then Virginia Tech may have been at the top. The Hokies trailed Stanford by just one point, 13-12, at halftime of the 2011 Orange Bowl. Considering that the Cardinal were a three-point favorite headed into this game, indications were that this would be a close game throughout. And then the second half started.

Stanford would score four touchdowns while Virginia Tech would enter the red zone just once in the final two quarters as the Cardinal would post a convincing 40-12 win. Led by Heisman Trophy runner-up Andrew Luck’s four touchdown passes, Stanford would pile up 534 yards of total offense on the Hokies, while Virginia Tech, who came into this game with no fewer than 106 rushing yards in any game, could only manage 66 yards on the ground. This was the second-worst loss in 18 bowl games for the Hokies under Frank Beamer.

6. Maryland Terrapins, 2002 Orange Bowl
Record headed into BCS bowl: 10-1, No. 6 in AP and Coaches Polls, No. 10 in BCS standings, ACC Champion
BCS Bowl result: Lost 56-23 to No. 5 Florida
Maryland, under first-year head coach Ralph Friedgen, was looking for the storybook ending to its 2001 season. Having already posted the most wins in a season since 1976, winning the ACC and earning their first trip to the Orange Bowl since 1956, the Terrapins were looking to cap it all off with a win over the Florida Gators, one of college football’s premiere programs. The Terps’ hopes for a happy ending ended up turning into a nightmare.

In the first half alone, Maryland surrendered 28 points and 360 yards to Florida and just weren’t able to keep up with the stronger and faster Gators. To make matters worse, Florida played most of the first half with a backup quarterback as Brock Berlin took Heisman runner-up Rex Grossman’s place in the starting line up after Grossman was benched for missing curfew. Berlin threw for one touchdown, but also tossed two interceptions helping keep Maryland in the game, trailing just 14-10. Grossman replaced Berlin with 6:03 remaining the second quarter and promptly led the Gators to six straight touchdowns, including 35 unanswered points. As a team that Gators piled up an Orange Bowl-record 659 yards of total offense. Up until that point, the most Maryland had surrendered in any game was 497.

5. Nebraska Cornhuskers, 2002 Rose Bowl
Record headed into BCS bowl: 11-1, No. 4 in AP and Coaches Polls, No. 2 in BCS standings
BCS Bowl result: Lost 37-14 to No. 1 Miami (Fla.)
Nebraska, even though it was coming off of a 62-36 thrashing by Colorado which meant the Cornhuskers didn't even play in the Big 12 Championship, finished No. 2 in the BCS standings thanks in large part to its strength of schedule component of the calculations. As a result, a one-loss, non-conference-championship-winning Nebraska team was given the opportunity to play No. 1 and undefeated Miami (Fla.) in the Rose Bowl for a chance at another national title.

The Hurricanes quickly erased any and all thoughts regarding that, however, as they jumped out to a 34-0 halftime lead and coasted to a convincing 37-14 victory. Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Eric Crouch had one of the worst games of his career as the Miami defense held him to just 176 total yards.

As a team, the Cornhuskers only managed 259 yards of offense, nearly 200 less than they were averaging as a team prior to this game. On top of that, Hurricanes quarterback Ken Dorsey, who had finished third in the Heisman voting, threw for 362 yards and three touchdowns versus the vaunted Nebraska Blackshirts defense.

4. Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 2001 Fiesta Bowl
Record headed into BCS bowl: 9-2, No. 10 in AP Poll, No. 11 in BCS standings
BCS Bowl result: Lost 41-9 to No. 5 Oregon State
The Irish were anything but Fighting as Oregon State thoroughly outplayed Notre Dame in the 41-9 Fiesta Bowl debacle. At that time, this represented the sixth-worst loss for Notre Dame since 1946 and its worst bowl loss since a 40-6 defeat to Nebraska in the 1973 Orange Bowl.

Had it not been for Oregon State’s 18 penalties for 174 yards, it might have been much worse as the Irish didn’t score a touchdown until late in the fourth quarter against the Beaver reserves. Notre Dame came into this game averaging nearly 350 yards per game on offense, including more than 200 on the ground, but could only muster a total of 155 against Oregon State, including a meager 17 yards on the ground.

3. Oklahoma Sooners, 2005 Orange Bowl
Record headed into BCS bowl: 12-0, No. 2 in BCS standings, Big 12 Champion
BCS Bowl result: Lost 55-19 to No. 1 USC
Oklahoma rolled through the regular season pretty much unchallenged and was coming off of a 42-3 dismantling of Colorado in the Big 12 title game. All that remained was the much-anticipated match up with undefeated USC for the national title in the Orange Bowl.

Unfortunately, the No. 1 vs. No. 2 billing didn’t live up to the hype as the Trojans jumped out to a 38-10 halftime lead and added to it in the second half, cruising to a 55-19 win. Matt Leinart shredded the Sooners’ defense to the tune of 332 yards and five touchdowns, putting up the second-most impressive BCS National Championship performance in the process.

The Sooners couldn’t even get out of their own way as they turned the ball over five times, including three interceptions thrown by 2003 Heisman Trophy winner Jason White. This was the second straight loss by Oklahoma in the national championship game and the Sooners also would go on to lose in the 2009 BCS National Championship Game to Florida. Of the three losses, however, nothing compares to how poorly Oklahoma played against USC, as this 36-point loss represents the largest margin of defeat in BCS history to date. It’s probably little to no consolation to Sooner fans that USC ended up vacating this win in June 2010 as part of its punishment for committing numerous NCAA violations.

2. Alabama Crimson Tide, 2009 Sugar Bowl
Record headed into BCS bowl: 12-1, No. 4 in BCS standings
BCS Bowl result: Lost 31-17 to No. 6 Utah
Maybe Alabama was still smarting over its 31-20 loss to Florida in the SEC title game less than a month ago, a first loss that cost the Crimson Tide a shot at the national title. Or perhaps they just didn’t take the undefeated Mountain West Conference champion Utah Utes seriously, as the Crimson Tide was a 10-point favorite headed into their match up. But one thing’s for sure, Utah clearly showed who the better team was in New Orleans on Jan. 2, 2009.

Utah jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter and then withstood an Alabama comeback to earn a 31-17 victory and cap off a perfect 13-0 season. Alabama was on its heels from the start and could never quite recover, as the Crimson Tide allowed 336 yards passing, had just 31 yards rushing on offense, and turned the ball over three times. Alabama would rebound from this loss and go on to capture the national title the following season, but that doesn’t erase how the Tide ended their 2008 season.

1. Ohio State Buckeyes, 2007 BCS National Championship Game
Record headed into BCS bowl: 12-0, No. 1 in BCS standings, Big Ten Champion
BCS Bowl result: Lost 41-14 to No. 2 Florida
Going into the 2007 BCS National Championship Game everything seemed to be in No. 1 Ohio State’s favor. Not only were the mighty Buckeyes a touchdown-favorite, many of the so-called experts weren’t even sure the second-ranked Florida Gators could stay that close. After all this Ohio State team had Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith at quarterback and boasted one of the top defenses in the country.

When they finally kicked things off in Glendale, Ariz., on Jan. 8, 2007, Ohio State wasted no time in showing why it was the No. 1 team in the nation, as Ted Ginn Jr. returned the opening kick off 93 yards for the score. After that, however, it was all Florida as the Gators scored the next 21 points and in total out-scored Ohio State 41-7 following Ginn’s fireworks. The Gator defense dominated the line of scrimmage and, led by Derrick Harvey’s dominating performance (No. 12 among Greatest BCS National Championship Performances), held the Buckeyes to just 82 yards of offense. Smith fared even worse as he was just 4-of-14 for 35 yards passing with an interception, had minus-29 yards rushing and was sacked five times. The Gators’ offense gashed the vaunted Buckeyes defense for 370 total yards, didn’t turn the ball over once and had possession of the football for more than 40 minutes.

For Ohio State, this would be the first of consecutive losses as the No. 1 team in the BCS National Championship Game, while Florida would return to the title game two years later and beat another No. 1 to win its second national title in three seasons.

Athlon Sports Ranks the Best Teams in Every BCS League:

The Top 10 Big East Teams of the BCS Era

The Top 10 ACC Teams of the BCS Era

The Top 10 Big Ten Teams of the BCS Era
The Top 10 Pac-12 Teams of the BSC Era
The Top 10 Big 12 Teams of the BCS Era
The Top 10 SEC Teams of the BCS Era

Athlon Sports Ranks the Top Performances from each BCS Bowl:

Top 15 BCS National Championship Performances
Top 5 Rose Bowl Performances
Top 5 Orange Bowl Performances
Top 5 Sugar Bowl Performances
Top 5 Fiesta Bowl Performances

Other BCS-related content:

The BCS' Greatest Offenses
The Greatest Non-BCS Offenses

Teaser:
<p> Athlon Sports ranks the teams who didn't do too well in the BCS spotlight</p>
Post date: Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - 06:40
Path: /overtime/rooney-mara-nfl-princess-who-can-kick-your-ass
Body:

By Phil Sweetland

Few who saw “The Social Network” realized that the actress whose character breaks the heart of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in the film’s famous opening scene is part of an NFL royal family. She’s Rooney Mara, the great-granddaughter and proud Irish namesake of Art Rooney Sr. and Tim Mara, respectively the founders of the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants.

Rooney, the daughter of Kathleen Rooney Mara and longtime Giants VP of Player Evaluation Chris Mara, next plays the title character in the high-profile thriller “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo,” which hits theaters Dec. 21. John Lee Hancock, who likewise has major credentials both in sports and movies as the writer/director of the Academy Award-winning “The Blind Side,” tells us from Hollywood: “The reason for Rooney’s success is that she’s talented. In her young career, she has taken on a variety of roles and disappeared into every one, which is rare. You never see Rooney, you see her character and that is a wonderful thing.”

The young actress also clearly inherited her family’s incredible work ethic, never flinching during the whopping 99 takes director David Fincher shot on the opening scene of “The Social Network.”

“You’re like, ‘Well, God, like after 10 times, how is it possible you’re gonna feel spontaneous?’” Mara told the studio, Columbia Pictures. “But even after Take 99, we were like, ‘Let’s do one more.’”

Columbia is billing “Dragon Tattoo” as “THE FEEL BAD MOVIE OF CHRISTMAS.” It’s a dark and moody version of the Stieg Larsson bestseller, and once again, Fincher is at the helm. Mara’s title character features a Goth, tattooed and pierced look and persona, a gigantic contrast to her Boston University student role in “The Social Network.”

Fincher auditioned many of Hollywood’s top actresses for the part, but told USA Today: “I wanted her from the beginning. Rooney may be a trust-fund baby from football royalty, but she’s level-headed and hard working.”

One of Mara’s top boosters in the business is the casting director Laray Mayfield, who has worked with Fincher on both “Dragon Tattoo” and “The Social Network,” and on earlier hits including “Fight Club” and “Zodiac.” Mayfield is good friends with both Rooney and her older sister Kate Mara, who played the dark-haired waitress whose beloved boyfriend is killed with his Marshall University football teammates early in 2006’s “We Are Marshall.”

“They’re both wonderful, down-to-earth people. There’s no sense of entitlement. You’d never know where Rooney and Kate came from,” Mayfield says in a phone conversation. “The thing with Rooney for me is that is that she is tough, but she is also very feminine.”

New York Giants fans are likely more familiar with Kate, who has performed the national anthem at Giants Stadium more than half a dozen times since 2000. Kate thus became part of the fourth generation of Maras to contribute to the fabled team since her great-grandfather Tim Mara and Billy Gibson were awarded the New York Giants franchise by the nascent NFL in 1925 for $500.

“Tim Mara was a legal bookmaker. This was before parimutuel betting,” says Dave Anderson, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The New York Times.

Art Rooney Sr., who founded the Steelers in 1933, named Rooney Mara’s maternal grandfather Tim Rooney in honor of her paternal great-grandfather Tim Mara, because of a timely wager.

“The reason he’s named Tim,” Art Rooney told Anderson in a 1981 Times story on the occasion of the marriage of Rooney Mara’s mother and father, “is that the time I had my big score at Empire City in Saratoga before parimutuel betting, one of the bookmakers I was betting with was Tim Mara.”

Anderson wrote that Art Rooney never revealed how much that wager had earned him, but that “estimates range as high as $380,000.” During the Depression, that was a small fortune.

Now, all those years and all those generations later, Rooney Mara is proudly carrying on the legacy of achievement of both sides of her family, in a very different arena from the NFL stadiums where the Rooneys and Maras first found fame. And after using the screen names Patricia Mara or Tricia Mara in her early roles — her birth name is Patricia Rooney Mara — since 2008 she’s gone by the professional name Rooney Mara, which embraces both family trees.

And after “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” hits theaters, this unassuming NFL princess might just be nominated for one honor that neither the Maras nor Rooneys have ever earned — an Academy Award.

This piece originally appeared in the December issue of Athlon Sports' monthly newspaper insert.
 

Teaser:
<p> The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo comes from football royalty.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - 10:23

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