Articles By Athlon Sports
Enough with the prognosticating. Giants fans should simply enjoy a ride that might be the best one yet.
Everything about the 2011 Giants has been said and said again. And again.
Eli is full of crap, how dare he put his name next to Tom Brady’s! Except, actually, he might be Elite but not quite as good as Brady or Rodgers or Jesus – but wait, hold on a second, because Eli’s playing really good right now and is approaching Elite status, so now we’re seriously starting to wonder whether or not you can spell Elite without E-L-I.
Hold on. I’ve just received a call from my source, who is telling me that, yes, we’ve just now finally decided, ONCE AND FOR ALL, that ‘Elite’ cannot be spelled without its first three letters.
What have we learned from the 2011 Giants that we didn’t know before? That Antrel Rolle likes to talk? That Brandon Jacobs does too, sometimes derisively to fat people?
That Tom Coughlin’s reputation, for at least the third time in his Giants tenure, has bobbed and weaved before capsizing, like a poorly-piloted cruise ship? That not throwing millions of dollars at a possession receiver with a shakily-reconstructed knee was a shrewd, ballsy move? That eschewing a big commitment to an oft-injured tight end who had never caught more than 42 passes was similarly awesome?
We didn’t know about Victor Cruz. And now we do. So now, every sportswriter and blogger with a minimal vested interest in New York sports, go and write 4,000 words that have been written a thousand times before.
Save for my ill-fated prediction in December, I haven’t written a word about the Giants in three months. Strange, for a man who lists February 3, 2008 as one of the greatest nights of his life, a diehard whose house is lined with Giants regalia, a fan whose authentic #88 jersey hasn’t been washed in almost as long – god forbid it not be dry on game day.
Why not? Sure, I’d rather not waste my time writing old words. But, even more so, I’d rather just enjoy the ride.
That’s my message to Giants fans. Enjoy the ride. A ride that may – or frankly, may not—turn out to be the ride of your life.
Most of us have already dreamt of knocking off Brady and Belichick yet again, of silencing every doubter who calls our team’s 2007 greatness a fluke. Some have gone so far as to check airfare to Indianapolis, only to shudder at the cost. We’re already debating whether we should have the championship parade in Newark or Manhattan, which is a stupid debate not just because Newark sucks and Chris Christie is fat but because, to even reach that point, the Giants, with a record of 11-7, will need to triumph over two teams with a combined record of 29-5.
We’re getting ahead of ourselves.
But guess what? There’s nothing wrong with that. In 2007, we were behind the curve. Greatness hit us by surprise. We watched an unlikely band of misfits, future St. Louis Rams and spongebob-band-aid-wearing defensive backs fight their way to a world title. We rejoiced. We tasted greatness, but by the time we had apprehended what had happened, a bullet was in Plaxico’s leg and the parade screeched to a halt. So we wanted another taste. And it hasn’t come. Until now.
On the doorstep of similar achievement, the 2011 Giants are a different beast entirely. Their greatness comes not from their unlikeliness or from a Conference Championship game appearance or their newfound dominance on both sides of the ball.
If there’s greatness in these Giants, it’s derived from the potential of watching the perfect title run. In 2007, we experienced the purest form of an underdog story: 53-scrappy Davids unseating the undefeated behemoth thanks to a great play from a receiver who would never catch another ball as long as he lives.
This year? We’re still the underdog. We’re 9-7 going against 13-3 and hopefully 14-2. Yet we still believe – nay, we expect. In 2007, we didn’t believe. Those Giants didn’t look like they belonged on the same field as the Cowboys, or the Packers, or the Patrioits. And then suddenly, before we even knew what hit us, it happened. Greatness caught us by surprise. We won’t be caught napping again.
We’ve spent the last four years yearning for that greatness and have lamented and screamed and sulked every time it hasn’t come. Few honest Giants fans would tell you that they believed in that 2007 team. They’d tell you they were converted only when that ball glued itself to Tyree’s helmet, or maybe not even until Brady’s final pass eluded Randy Moss and fell to the turf.
Today? Find me a Giants fan who doesn’t believe that his team’s destined for Disney World. Good luck.
In 2012, we are excited because we feel it coming. That may be irrational, it may be arrogant, and it may even be self-defeating. But our readiness for greatness is no less real. These Giants haven’t scraped by four of the league’s supposed contenders, like their 2007 counterparts did; they’ve annihilated them.
We’ve watched Aaron Rodgers made to look only slightly better than Mark Sanchez, Matt Ryan made to look like Mark Sanchez and Eli Manning made to look like Aaron Rodgers. Everything is coming together at just the right time and in just the right way, with enough build-up and emphasis to keep us on the edge of our seats, shivering in anticipation. It’s all come together to make us believe.
We’ve dismissed the massive challenge of the Niners’ nasty defense and now we're ready for the Patriots high-flying attack. When and if our team take the Super Bowl crown in 2012, we’ll be ready to celebrate.
Or to cry when Tom Brady passes for four hundred yards. Either way, it will be bigger and better this time.
Steven Tyler isn't really known for having a good voice. Sure, he has an interesting voice, and that stuff he does at the end of "Dream On" sounds pretty cool, but let's face it, he squeals and screeches more than hits solid notes.
And that all became clear during his performance of the National Anthem before the Patriots and Ravens AFC Championship again.
The American Idol judge, who watched the game from Pats owner Robert Kraft's booth, was sort of like a watching a car wreck. He never really flubbed it or forgot the words, but his wavering voice just made viewers uncomfortable and he didn't really sound very strong. The only parts that got the crowd riled up was when he leaned on his classic screeching.
We doubt he'll be invited back to sing anymore national anthems in the future. But if it was up to us, we'd love to see a duet between him and Christina Aguilera before the Super Bowl.
Joe Paterno, the recently embattled Penn State football coach, has died at the age of 85 from lung cancer complications.
The man who has won more football games than anyone else and was seen, until recently, as one of the most honored and respected men in the game wasn't able to survive his fight with the deadly disease.
His family released a statement Sunday morning to announce his death.
Paterno's son Scott announced Nov. 18 that his father was being treated for lung cancer, which was diagnosed in mid-November during a follow-up visit for a bronchial illness.
Jay Paterno, one of Paterno's sons, thanked fans for their support Saturday.
"I appreciate the support & prayers. Joe is continuing to fight," Jay Paterno wrote on his own Twitter account.
The storied career of "JoePa" included 409 wins in 46 seasons and two national championships.
Paterno died at State College's Mount Nittany Medical Center, where he had been undergoing treatment.
Paterno remained connected to a ventilator into Sunday, individuals close to Paterno's family told The Washington Post.
The newspaper reported the family had communicated to the hospital his wishes not to be kept alive through extreme artificial means.
Paterno's cancer diagnosis was revealed Nov. 18, nine days after he lost his Penn State head coaching job in the fallout of sexual abuse charges against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.
But his reputation for success with honor was shattered when a former assistant was charged with molesting 10 boys during a 15-year span, including some in the Penn State athletic complex.
Critics said Paterno should have done more to stop it. He was fired Nov. 9.
How much a of a role the scandal that severely tarnished the reputation of the man whow as considered the grandfather of college football played in the speed and his ability to fight his illness will never be known. But it's probably safe to say that this whole ordeal weighed on him very, very heavily.
Joe Paterno recently told The Washington Post that he did not know how to deal with the report from Mike McQueary that his former defensive coordinator--Jerry Sandusky--was accused of abusing a boy in the showers.
"I didn't know exactly how to handle it and I was afraid to do something that might jeopardize what the university procedure was," he told The Post in an extensive two-day interview at his home. "So I backed away and turned it over to some other people, people I thought would have a little more expertise than I did. It didn't work out that way."
In all, Paterno guided five teams to unbeaten, untied seasons.
The Final Four has been set, and it might not have been the one you were expecting. The AFC did get its top two seeds through to the championship, but over in the NFC the two best teams – or what everyone thought were the two best teams (the Packers and Saints) are gone.
That leaves this: The Baltimore Ravens (13-4) vs. the New England Patriots (14-3) on one side, and the upstart New York Giants (11-7) vs. the San Francisco 49ers (14-3) on the other. On Feb. 5 two of them will meet in Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis.
We’ll find out soon enough whom those teams will be. The question right now is: Who do you want to see? Do you want a rematch of Super Bowl XLII, one of the greatest ever played? Or a rematch of Super Bowl XXXV, which might have been one of the worst. How about a battle of franchises that have 11 Super Bowl appearances and eight championship rings between them? Or maybe the Harbaugh Brothers Bowl?
Or what about any matchup that involves a team from Baltimore playing in Indianapolis, 28 years after Indianapolis stole a football team from Baltimore?
Keep all that in mind when you’re watching the championship games on Sunday. Which of these four matchups do you want to see?
New England Patriots vs. San Francisco 49ers
There have been 45 Super Bowls and 11 have featured one of these teams, but never has there been a game that involved both. The Patriots are a dismal 3-3 in the big game, while the 49ers are a sparkling 5-0. It’s been 18 years since the 49ers – one of the dominant franchises of the ‘80s – has been to the Super Bowl, and you can bet they’re still smarting over the Steelers picking up their sixth ring two years ago.
Beyond the franchise matchup, there’s Bill Belichick, arguably the greatest coach of this generation, facing Jim Harbaugh whose 14-3 rookie year as an NFL coach has been spectacular. Alex Smith, in his long-awaited breakout year, would go a long way towards proving he’s for real by beating Tom Brady. And then there’s the age-old question: Does defense really win championships? The Patriots don’t really have one. The 49ers definitely do.
New England Patriots vs. New York Giants
This might be the most tantalizing matchup of all, considering they played four years ago in Super Bowl XLII and they put on one of the greatest NFL shows ever. The Giants won that game, of course, in spectacular, come-from-behind fashion complete with the David Tyree catch that became an iconic play.
What the Pats likely remember most is this: They were 18-0 and dreaming of the NFL’s second perfect season and its longest. They were an absolutely offensive machine that year and looked nearly unbeatable, until the Giants’ pass rush left them overwhelmed. Now the Giants’ pass rush is leading their charge again, with many people finding comparisons to their miracle run in 2007.
The Patriots would love to get in their way in the end, this time with much different results.
And if that isn’t enough, how about this: Eli Manning, months after insisting he was an “elite” quarterback in Tom Brady’s class, getting a chance to beat him in the biggest game? Or what about Brady and Eli Manning battling it out for another ring in Peyton Manning’s backyard?
Baltimore Ravens vs. New York Giants
Most of the players on these teams were mere kids when the Ravens, with their all-time defense, hammered the Giants in Super Bowl XXXV, putting a stain on Jim Fassel’s pretty good coaching career in New York that he never really washed away. One guy who clearly remembers will be Jessie Armstead, now an assistant with the Giants.
In that game he had an early interception that he returned for a touchdown that was nullified by a terrible defensive holding penalty on defensive tackle Keith Hamilton. That play could’ve turned everything around. Instead the Giants fell apart and were beaten by Trent Dilfer, one of the worst quarterbacks to ever win the big game.
This game also would pit two strong defenses against each other, and linebacker Ray Lewis – arguably the greatest defensive player of his generation – against Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who might turn out to be one of the best of the next.
Baltimore Ravens vs. San Francisco 49ers
The headline would be Ravens coach John Harbaugh vs. 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, who may already be the most successful coaching brothers in any sport, ever. John has been knocking on the Super Bowl door ever since he took over the Ravens. It’s hard to imagine he wants to see Jim on the other side when he finally kicks it in.
It would be compelling TV, though, and a great storyline for the entire week. Never have two brothers faced each other with stakes this high.
And if you can get past that, this also is the matchup that probably should’ve been most likely, considering how the NFL has gone this season. It’s been the Year of the Quarterback, with three of them topping 5,000 yards and passing offenses exploding all over the league.
Wouldn’t it just figure, then, that the Super Bowl would feature two of the best defenses in the league?
By RALPH VACCHIANO
So, it's happened. Someone finally got a tattoo of Tim Tebow Tebowing. With an oversized Bronco riding over a Denver sky to boot.
Aside from the minor issue that the Tim in this tattoo isn't properly Tebowing--his fist should be on his forehead--can we just say that it's probably not a very good idea to get a tattoo of a trend or fad.
I have a hard enough time buying a jersey of a relatively young player I like, for fear that his next season will be a dud and I will have blown $150 on someone I will hate in a year (I'm looking at you Curtis Enis). But to go full tattoo on a player who is pretty close to statistically the worst quarterback in history is a level of either stupidity or faith that is unprecedented.
What happens if Tebow plays like he plays this year, but his defense and kicker doesn't bail him out of games. What happens if Tebow goes 3-13? What good is a tattoo of a quarterback if he's benched mid-season? I can take off that Curtis Enis jersey. But you can't really take off a tattoo that covers 30% of your back.
Let this be a lesson, kids. If you're going to go through with getting a tattoo, make sure it's of a guy who's already reached legend status.
For a much-hyped Top 10 matchup, this one wasn’t really close. The No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes (16-3, 4-2 Big Ten) creamed the No. 8 Indiana Hoosiers (15-3, 3-3 Big Ten) 80-63 on their home court.
With both teams coming off disappointing losses, Coach Thad Matta’s Buckeyes showed a defensive intensity that they were sorely lacking at Illinois. Indiana turned the ball over 12 times in the first half alone, which was a major factor in the 35-14 halftime deficit.
All-American sophomore Jared Sullinger, who before the game took responsibility for his team’s defensive lapses, finished with 16 points, 9 rebounds, 2 steals and a block. His performance, along with point guard Aaron Craft’s 8 points, 7 assists and 3 steals, gave the Columbus crowd a lot to cheer about.
But on this day, Lenzelle Smith Jr. stole the spotlight from his better known teammates.
The one starter that even serious fans probably don’t know much about, Smith finished with a career high 28 points on 10 of 12 shooting, including 4 of 5 from beyond the arc. Not bad for a guy who averages 5.2 points per game. His previous career high was 12.
The Hoosiers dug themselves too big of a hole in the first half and were never able to mount a serious rally. It didn’t help that their usually terrific shooting failed them. As a team, they shot 7 of 21 from deep despite leading the nation in 3-point field goal percentage coming in at just under 46%.
Freshman phenom Cody Zeller was a bright spot, however, with 16 points and 6 rebounds. He continues to impress, as he showed the ability to put the ball on the floor and muscle his way inside. With Zeller manning the middle, the Hoosiers have a bright future.
One of the best stories in college basketball this season is the job Coach Tom Crean has done in Bloomington. Restoring a blue-blood program to national prominence has been no easy task, but in his fourth season, Crean should be in the conversation for National Coach of the Year.
As for Ohio State, they definitely looked the part of a Final Four contender today. A few conference slipups on the road does not the change the fact that this team has the talent to go all the way. They lead the country in rebounding margin, and if they play defense like this more consistently, the Buckeyes will be one scary team come March.
By David Schuman
Jeff Fisher is no longer retired after accepting the head coaching position with the St. Louis Rams.
After going back and forth between the Rams and the Miami Dolphins, Fisher ended up with St. Louis due, in large part, to the structure of the deal. No details of the deal are known, but it sounds like Fisher got most of what he wanted. He'll essentially be able to pick who's in his front office, but he doesn't get full GM duties and final say.
So who wins and who loses when one of the most coveted head coaches in the NFL signs with a team.
The St. Louis Rams
The Rams get a very respected head coach who is not only good with the X's and O's, but he's a guy who brings stability to the team. He coached the Tennessee Titans for 16 years. And the only reason he had a falling out with Titans management is because their owner Bud Adams is a little bit looney. Fisher was never a guy who dabbled in TV, so you don't have to worry about him focusing on anything except football. This is a great score for the Rams. He also had the 5th best winning percentage during his time in TN, so that's not too shabby, either.
You want to run the ball? Then Fisher is your man. Sure, some of his stats are slightly skewed with the stellar Chris Johnson, but according to Matthew Berry, but during Fisher's last three years in Tennessee, the Titans had the 2nd most rush touchdowns, the 4th most rushing yards and the 8th most rushing attempts. Steven Jackson still has one or two good years left and Fisher knows how to use his running backs appropriately.
Aside from Magnum P.I., can anyone rock a moustache like Jeff Fisher? Didn't think so. Look for mustaches in the St. Louis stands to have a great year in 2012.
Aside from all the reasons mentioned in the St. Louis Rams section on how great Fisher is, it looks like this was the Dolphins last chance to get a big-named head coach. By all accounts John Gruden and ex-Steelers head coach Bill Cowher are staying where they are, which means the Dolphins fans will not get a celebrity coach who will help breath some life into the South Florida football team.
Sam's not necessarily a loser in this, but he should be a little concerned. Fisher struggled to deal with his quarterbacking situation in Tennessee, and his fight with owner Bud Adams over Vince Young (Fisher was against Young, Adams was for) was his ultimate undoing with the Titans. But Fisher will be scrutinized very quickly with his news team, and he knows that with an older running back, the Rams will go as Sam Bradford goes. That added pressure may shorten the leash on Bradford.
Wait, you're probably wondering how one player can be both a winner and a loser in the same article. Well, with the St. Louis Rams very high draft pick and Trent Richardson dangling there for Fisher, a run-first coach, he may be too good for Jeff to pass up. If the Rams do everything they can to get Bradford help and go for someone like Justin Blackmon, then Jackson will be a winner. If Fisher thinks Steven's best days are behind him, he may take Richardson, spelling doom for his time under the arches.
The New York Giants already have a formula for how to beat the Green Bay Packers. Other than the Kansas City Chiefs, who actually beat them, nobody came closer to doing it than the Giants did on Dec. 4.
That game was the perfect example for them of both what to do and what not to do against the defending Super Bowl champions as they head into their much-anticipated rematch in the divisional playoffs at Lambeau Field on Sunday afternoon. The Giants’ offense exposed the Packers’ defense. Meanwhile the Giants’ defense learned a tough lesson about how good Aaron Rodgers really is.
Still, the Giants pushed the Packers right to the end, losing 38-35 on Mason Crosby’s 30-yard field goal as time expired.
It left the Giants feeling like the Packers got lucky, because the Giants didn’t give them their best shot.
“We didn’t play our best game,” said Giants defensive end Justin Tuck. “I think that’s encouraging to know that we hung in with the best team in the country and didn’t come close to playing our best game. Our motto is to just go out there and play our best game and see what happens.”
It will help the Giants that they’ll have defensive end Osi Umenyiora and receiver Mario Manningham, both of whom didn’t play the first time around. Linebacker Michael Boley and Tuck will also both be seemingly at full strength, too.
So the pieces are in place for a Giants upset. Here are five things they have to do, lessons they need to learn, knock off a Packers team that has won 21 of its last 22:
1. Hammer Aaron Rodgers
Rodgers is very likely the MVP of the NFL and since late last season – starting with a 45-17 hammering of the Giants the day after Christmas, 2010 – he’s played quarterback better than almost anyone in football. He also has a deep array of receivers and can throw to as many as a dozen people in any single game.
Against the Giants he threw for 369 yards and four touchdowns. The biggest reason is because the Giants’ defense gave him plenty of time to pick them apart.
“You can’t let (Rodgers) get a breath of air,” said Giants defensive end Dave Tollefson. “You’ve just got to stay on him and keep that pressure, because as soon as you give him that ability to come up from under and catch his breath he bangs you for a 45 yard gain.”
2. Hit the Packers' receivers
Just as important as the fact that the Giants gave Rodgers time is the fact that they gave his receivers’ room. In that game, the Giants spent way too much time in a soft zone and they gave the Packers’ receivers and tight ends a cushion at the line of scrimmage.
They took advantage of that, and they will if they’re given the cushion again.
“Basically you get your hands on the receivers, disrupt those routes, disrupt the timing of the rhythm of their offense, get to the quarterback, rattle him a little bit, and get him thinking about where the next sack might come from,” said linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka. “It changes the dynamic of the game.”
3. Think deep thoughts
The third play of that first game for the Giants was a 67-yard touchdown pass from Eli Manning to tight end Travis Beckum. They knew going in they could take advantage of a porous Packers secondary. This game should be no different considering the Green Bay defense ranks 32nd overall, 32nd against the pass and has given up 71 pass plays of 20 yards or more.
The Giants are a big-play passing team and they seem to think that’s a matchup they can exploit.
“In the secondary they like to gamble a lot,” said Giants receiver Victor Cruz. “They like to take a lot of chances or risks, which means they either win or lose big, which explains why they lead the league in interceptions and lead the league in giving up the big play. We’ve seen that on film and we’ve seen the different areas we can take advantage of.
“And if it doesn’t work the first time, but we see the opening we’re going to call that play to take advantage of it. Whether it worked the first time, we’re going to come right back to it.”
4. Keep a tight grip on the tight end
Jermichael Finley had six catches for 87 yards and a touchdown against the Giants the last time, and he could’ve had a few more. He also drew a key, late illegal contact penalty on Giants linebacker Jaquian Williams who was trying to defend him. The Giants have a history of struggling against tight ends, though in their last three games they’ve shut down the Jets’ Dustin Keller, the Cowboys’ Jason Witten and the Falcons’ Tony Gonzalez.
The difference? Boley is back, and not only can he cover tight ends but he makes this defense whole.
“We can do what we do,” said safety Deon Grant. “(In the first game), guys were just out there guessing, switching around. Some guys were getting more playing time than they expected. With Boley, we’re able to play man to man with the tight ends.”
5. Don’t do anything stupid
The flip side to the Packers’ porous secondary? Green Bay led the NFL with 31 interceptions. It’s a high-risk, high-reward team, but considering how good their offense is the rewards are extremely high. The Packers average more than 40 points per game at home and have averaged 35 points per game over their entire season.
The worst thing the Giants can do is shoot themselves in the foot with bad penalties, or give the Packers a gift with a turnover in a key spot. Because no team in the NFL is better equipped than the Packers to make a mistake-prone opponent pay.
By RALPH VACCHIANO
Source: H&R Block
The shortened NBA season will have some serious implications. And not just on the players who have to play more games crammed into a shorter amount of time. There's also a tax and income implication for a shortened NBA season that affects not only the players, but the economy around where the games are played.
Here's a look at some of the big numbers affected by the NBA Lockout (and a few other fun numbers as well.)
If I were a betting man (and I’m not because, well, it’s illegal) I might just be inclined to lay a couple dollars on the Houston Texans coming out of Baltimore this weekend with a win. I know they’re dogs by 9 points, but why not the Texans?
This is a team that nobody is paying any attention to. I understand that the country can’t take their eyes off Tebowmania but have people forgotten that at one point, Houston was 10-3 and the top seed in the AFC? Yes, it’s true that they are down to their third-string rookie quarterback T.J. Yates after losing Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart to injury. But Mark Sanchez was a rookie too. Bear with me here.
At the risk of reminding bitter New York Jets fans of the “glory days,” the Texans are a lot like the 2009 Jets that reached the AFC Championship. Think about it. Great running game? Check. Great defense? Check. Serviceable game-managing quarterback? Check.
Coach Gary Kubiak is in the fortunate position where his team’s biggest weakness, the quarterback, does not have to be a deciding factor in the game Sunday. Expect him to lean heavily on the two-headed monster of Arian Foster and Ben Tate. They’ve been doing it all year too, finishing second in the league in rushing at 153 yards per game.
Just the thought of Foster and Tate will rob Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano of a good night’s sleep. It also helps that the offensive line is anchored by one of the NFL’s more underrated centers in Chris Myers. He and his mates paved the way for Foster’s 153-yard day last week in the win over the Bengals.
As for the other side of the ball, defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has worked wonders with this Houston defense. Ranking near the bottom of the league in every defensive category last year, they fielded the second best defense in football this year, yielding only 285.7 yards per game.
There are great players at every level of the defense. On the line, look no further than rookie defensive end J.J. Watt, a wrecking ball who broke out against the Bengals with an incredible interception return for a touchdown and a sack. The linebacking corps boasts Brian Cushing, a 3rd-year man out of USC, who led the team with 114 tackles. Finally, the secondary got a big boost with free agent signing Johnathan Joseph. He was brought in to improve the atrocious pass defense from a year ago, and they ended up with the third-best pass defense in football.
Well, you say, Yates is still a liability since quarterback is the most important position on the field. That may be true, but all-universe wide receiver Andre Johnson is as good a safety net as any for Yates in the unfriendly confines of M&T Bank Stadium. As long as he limits his mistakes, the run game and the defense might be able to do just enough to pull an upset.
By David Schuman
In 2007, Wes Welker lead the NFL in receptions with 112. In 2010, Arian Foster’s All-Pro season came out of nowhere as he led the National Football League in rushing with 1,616 yards. This year, it was the explosive Victor Cruz and his 1,536 receiving yards, good for third in the league. What do these two have in common? Not one of those players was selected by a team in the NFL draft.
Every April, the NFL draft is a wellspring of hope for every team, be it the Super Bowl champions or the worst team in the league. Each franchise’s scouting department scours the college ranks, searching for that one player who will take them to the next level. It is well documented, however, that the draft is an inexact science.
Here Are The Remaining Undrafted Starters Still Left in this year’s playoffs:
Texans undrafted free agent starters:
Mike Brisiel, G
Arian Foster, RB
Vonta Leach, FB
Jameel McClain, LB
Wes Welker, WR
Brian Waters, G
Stephen Neal, G
Kyle Arrington, CB
Daniel Fells, TE
Jed Collins, FB
Remi Ayodele, DT
Jo-Lonn Dunbar, LB
Jabari Greer, CB
Jake Ballard, TE
Victor Cruz, WR
Ryan Grant, RB
Cullen Jenkins, DT
Tramon Williams, CB
It seems like for every Cam Newton there is a Ryan Leaf. Despite this, the conventional thinking is that teams will find their franchise cornerstone in the first round or two. That’s what makes the stories of guys like Welker, Foster and Cruz so amazing. I’m not a general manager and probably never will be, but signing a rookie free agent who goes on to become one of the best at his position has to be an unbelievable feeling.
Judging by the statistics from his years at Tennessee, Foster looks to be one of those guys that might have slipped under the radar because of a weak senior season. After rushing for 1,193 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior in 2007, he only managed 570 yards and 1 TD as a senior. Either way, Foster has obviously been a huge steal for the Houston Texans, who are hoping he will lead them to a divisional round playoff win over the Baltimore Ravens this weekend.
At least Foster played for a big-time SEC program. Cruz spent his college years at UMass. Not exactly a powerhouse. He managed to garner some attention in the 2010 preseason when he caught 3 TDs against the Jets. The promising start fizzled though, as he missed the season with an injured hamstring. This year, Cruz developed into Eli Manning’s favorite target, setting a Giants single season record for receiving yards. Not too shabby.
They may not all be Pro Bowlers like Welker, Foster and Cruz, but there are certainly a handful of undrafted players who turn out to be reliable starters. The eight remaining playoff teams average 2.25 starters who never got drafted. The Saints and Patriots tie for the most with four, while the 49ers have none.
So Andrew Luck can get all the publicity in the world, but don’t sleep on the guys who slip through the cracks. Your team just may be the one to find that hidden gem ready to break out, leaving Mel Kiper Jr. scratching his head.
By David Schuman
There were a few minutes in the second half of Wednesday night’s game between Syracuse and Villanova where it looked like the Wildcats would make it an exciting finish. But the Syracuse Orange (18-0, 5-0 Big East) did what they’ve done against every other opponent this year: they won. The final score is closer than this one felt. The Villanova Wildcats (8-9, 1-4 Big East) looked out of sorts all night, as the Orange rode a 20-2 first half run to an easy victory.
The star for the Orange was sophomore and Philadelphia native Dion Waiters, who put up 20 points on 8 of 13 shooting in front of several family and friends in attendance.
The kid is a flat out stud, even causing Fran Fraschilla to make a comparison to Dwyane Wade during the broadcast. The amazing part is Waiters comes off the bench. That’s how talented Syracuse is. If tonight’s game is any indication, Coach Jim Boeheim has one special team on his hands.
Villanova, on the other hand, is probably going to limp to the finish of a season that will likely end the program’s streak of seven straight NCAA tournament berths. Maalik Wayns and Dominic Cheek have struggled to fill the “go-to guy” void left by the departures of Scottie Reynolds, Corey Fisher and Corey Stokes. Wayns averages just over 17 points on the year but was held to merely 3 by the vaunted Syracuse 2-3 zone.
The success of Syracuse’s zone has always been based on the length and effort of the Orange players. It is by no means a lazy zone. The movement, help defense and traps are a beauty to behold. Perhaps the key to the whole defense this year though is Fab Melo, the 7’0 sophomore from Brazil.
Rated the 14th overall prospect coming out of high school by ESPN, Melo’s freshman season was largely disappointing. Coming into 2011-2012 though, he was thinner, better conditioned and has become a force in the middle, averaging 2.9 blocks per game. He had 10 blocks in a 75-49 win over Seton Hall earlier this year.
All of this raises a few inevitable questions: When will Syracuse lose? Can anyone in the Big East challenge them for the conference title? How far will the Orange go in March?
Let me say this.
Syracuse has the deepest team in the country. They play a true nine-man rotation and everyone is capable of contributing, as evidenced by their leading the nation in bench scoring. I haven’t even mentioned Kris Joseph or Scoop Jardine!
They just happen to be on the Preseason All-Big East First and Second Teams, respectively. Throw in experienced point guard Brandon Triche and big men CJ Fair, Baye Keita and James Southerland, and we have a bona-fide national championship contender, ladies and gentlemen. Look for the Orange to remain undefeated for a while too, as they don’t face a ranked team until February 8 when Georgetown visits the Carrier Dome.
By David Schuman
Tim Tebow is a very earnest person. The thing about earnest people is that they don't often have a good sense of humor. Add in Tebow's very apparent love of God and you've got yourself a joke-killer. Here are 12 classic joke setups with a Tebow twist. Keep reading to see what it sounds like when God's All-Pro Life QB tells a joke.
Jesus Christ, your lord and savior.
How many blondes does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
I don't know, but I can't have sex with any of them unless I marry one.
What's black and white and read all over?
A priest, a rabbi and a muslim walk into a bar.
Only the priest will go to heaven.
What's the definition of a perfect woman?
One with three holes...the Holy Spirit, the Holy Ghost and the Holy Scripture.
A doctor gives a man 6 months to live.
He couldn't pay his bill, so he gave him another six months. But the power of Christ gives a man a life of eternity, for free.
Champ Bailey, Von Miller and Tim Tebow are stranded on a desert island when a genie shows up and grants them each a wish. Champ wished for more money, Von wished for more fame, and Tim wished he had more time for circumcisions.
Why did the chicken cross the road?
To get to the other side, where there's a church to pray in.
Your mama's so fat...but if she works hard, maintains a positive attitude and prays every day, she can definitely lose enough weight to become the beautiful woman on the outside that she is on the inside.
Why is 6 afraid of 7?
Because John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
You might be a redneck if...you actually wear a Bible belt.
Take my wife...to church!
If you have any more jokes from the Tim Tebow joke book, add them to the comments or on our Facebook Page. And we'll add them here.
This is how you get yourself on camera when you see a reporter at a basketball game. Don't freak out and jum up and down and scream like some kind of jack-hole. Act like you've been there before.
This gentleman knows what's up. The reporter at this Philadelphia Sixers game has no clue what's going on, and he let's everybody know that he is the coolest person in that stadium, with a little "what up" nod of his head.
This is a lesson, people. Learn it.
Created by: MBA Online
Everyone knows about Apple, the giant computer company lead by the uber-genius Steve Jobs. People like to talk about how Apple changed the world and the way that we interact at work, with each other and in basically everywhere.
But what about the good old-fashioned apple. As in the fruit and not the company. Here's a quick look at how the fruit and the corportation stack up against each other. And to be honest, they're more alike than you might think (they're also very very different, so, ya know.)
God is a big Tim Tebow fan. And he's not a big fan of Ben Roethlisberger. At least that's the only logical answer I can take away after the Broncos beat the Steelers 29-23 in overtime of the playoffs.
Let's break it down. After being the worst quarterback in the history of the game with more than 15 starts (that's a statistical fact, look it up) Tim Tebow, the good boy who prays really hard (and loud), eats his vegetables and probably helps little old ladies cross the street at halftime, erupted for the greatest game of his career against the Steelers.
The Pittsburgh Steelers, who happen to be lead by Ben Roethlisberger, a guy who gets called a rapist everywhere he goes for his numerous sexual assault allegations that have had caused him thousands in lawyer fees and brushes with the law, had a terrible game that cost his team a chance at the Super Bowl.
Let's look at this match-up through God's eyes and see why he may have given Tim a helpful nudge over Ben:
Let's face it, God hasn't had this great of a PR spokesman since Moses. In the past, God's had a bit of a backlash after letting sleazebags like Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker speak for him, only to later get exposed for philanderers and embezzlers. Tebow is the real deal. He's not going to get caught in bed with a Playmate or get busted for huffing crack in some Boulder back alley. God has been waiting to put his money on the right guy, someone who is not only a man of character, but puts his faith (and his circumsizing) where is mouth is. (Well, he doesn't put the circumsizing where his mouth is...you know what I mean.)
God Doesn't Like (Alleged) Rapists
So, in the first Testament there are some questionable parts that are kind of OK with rape (check Deuteronomy and Judges), but since he let us know about John 3 16 where he sent his only begotten son to save the world (Jesus, not Tebow) he's been pretty clear on the whole "I don't like rape" argument. So it would be really hard for him to let a guy who's been accused of numerous sexual assaults to go on the road and take down a guy who's basically a poster boy for Jesus. This was God's great chance to draw a pretty clear line in the sand in rapist vs non-rapist and he took it.
A Friendly Reminder Who's In Charge
God himself admits that he's a jealous God, so I'm sure he's been a little peeved at all the press the Mayans have gotten about 2012 being the end of the world. Giving Tebow the win was his little way of letting us all know exactly who's going to decide when the world will be engulfed in flames and who will fill men's hearts with fear and set the seas roaring before the Kingdom of Heaven will return to reign over it for all of eternity. God, not the silly little Mayans.
As we all knew, on paper, Roethlisberger is head and shoulders above Tebow in ability and experience. Roethlisberger, who threw one of the great Super Bowl winning passes of all time against the Cardinals (lead by an almost-but-not-quite-as-pious Kurt Warner) already has two NFL crowns notched into his belt. Tebow, on the other hand was the fourth-string quarterback for a team picked to lose more games than it won just four months ago. But when you put God on his team, we know who's going to win that game every time.
Having said all that, Tebow has no chance against Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the Patriots.
Tim Tebow makes no sense. By all account the Broncos quarterback flat out sucks. I know the Tebow-backers don't want to believe it and point to his 7-game winning streak in the middle of the season as proof that he has that special intangible that doesn't show up in the box score and makes him a winning quarterback. Which is what really counts (they say), forgetting about the Bronco defense and kicking game that had a much larger hand in that winning streak than Tebow.
But up until the second quarter of the Broncos playoff game against the Steelers, Denver hadn't scored a touchdown in 22 drives. 22! This is a player in his second year. This is a player who is an alternate in the pro-bowl based solely on his myth than his reality. He sucks, right? Right?
Wrong, I guess. Because he destroyed the vaunted Steelers defense, which was the #1 overrall ranked defense in the NFL this year for 185 yards (in the second quarter alone) tossing one touchdown and running for another. It's not often ANY quarterback makes the Steelers defense look confused and out of sorts. But Tim Tebow managed to do that in the second quarter of this playoff game.
After Tebow launched four passes of 30 yards or more, Pittsburgh's cornerbacks and safeties were left looking at each other and pointing fingers.
So how do the pundits explain this performance by Tebow? The thing is, they can't, and they end up looking exactly like the Steelers secondary, pointing fingers at each other and shrugging their shoulders.
So which Tebow will show up in the rest of this game, playoffs and career? You can't have a quarterback score zero touchdowns in 22 straight quarters and hope for one explosive quarter in every 5 games. Even if it is a playoff.
The Houston Texans have had a year of football firsts. After locking up their first division title and their first playoff birth in team history, they just added first playoff win to this year's resume after beating the Cincinnati Bengals 31-10.
And it was a good day for Texans' with letters for their first names. Oh, and a guy named Arian.
After the Bengals had controlled the ball and seemingly moved it at will down the field in the first half, rookie defensive lineman J.J. Watt took the momentum back with an incredible interception at the line of scrimmage that he took 29 yards for a touchdown. See the video of J.J. Watt's interception here. And to put a cherry on top, Watt added a sack on the last play of the first half when Dalton was going back for a hail mary.
The first half ended with a Texans' 17-10 lead, but Houston had to feel pretty good to get pushed around and come out of the first 30 minutes with a lead. In reality, the Bengals should have had the lead at the end of the half.
But from that point on, the Texans controlled the game, holding the Bengals offense to very few yards in the second half. Bengals' quarterback Andy Dalton looked like a seasoned veteran in the first half, but looked a little lost and out of his rhythm in the second.
And what the Bengals desperately needed was a strong first drive in the second half, but instead they looked discombulated, burning a timeout, which made furious and had him screaming at the sideline.
When T.J. Yates connected on a 40-yard touchdown to Andre Johnson to put the Texans up 24-10 with 1:08 left in the third quarter, the Bengals all but fell apart.
PacMan Jones was seen arguing on the sideline with coaches and quarterback Andy Dalton threw his helmet over the bench.
The one lopsided stat of the game, that told a huge story was the success of Houston's running game against the vaunted Bengals rush defense. Arian Foster had a monster game on the ground and needing only the first three quarters to go over 100 yards.
And Dalton threw his third interception of the game when he hung up a ball with 6 minutes left in the fourth quarter, when the Bengals were desperate to get their offense going, Daneal Manning picked it off and set up a 42-yard touchdown run by Arian Foster where it looked like the Bengals defense wasn't very interested in tackling him. With the Texans up 31-10 with five minutes left, the Texans had all but sewn up team history with their first playoff victory behind a very loud and fired up home crowd.
Foster finished with 153 yards rushing.
And after the rash of injuries the Texans' have dealt with, Houston's head coach Gary Kubiak should be a front runner for coach of the year. No team has had to deal with injuries to more star players, Matt Schaub, Arian Foster, Andre Johnson and Mario Williams, just to name a few. And for him to lead that team not not only a playoff berth, but a division title and a playoff win deserves all the honors you can give Kubiak.
And not to mention, Wade Philips' genius job with the Texans defense, taking them from one of the worst in the league last year to a top 10 defense this year is a historic turnaround. His free agent pick-up of ex-Bengal coernerback Jonathan Joseph played a huge part in shutting down the Bengals' star rookie wide receiver A.J. Green.
On the flipside, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis will have to answer questions about burning all of his coaching challenges on questionable calls in the first half. WIth the Texans running away with it, it didn't really matter, but the Bengals had no challenges in the second half if they needed them. Lewis lost both of his challenges in the first half.
J.J. Watt wasn't a household name before the Houston Texans' first playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
But he will be now after making a game-changing and unbelievably athletic interception at the line of scrimmage off of Andy Dalton to put the Texans up 17-10 at the end of the first half.
The Bengals had moved the ball all day, but didn't have much to show for it. They were trying to drive down to get at least a field goal at the end of the first half, but J.J. Watt had other plans. At the line of scrimmage, Watt, who used to be a tight end for the Wisconsin Badgers showed off some amazing hands as he snatched Dalton's seemingly point blank pass out of the air after pushing off the offensive lineman, and Watt took it to the end zone with less than a minute left in the half.
Watt needed oxygen after his 29-yard interception return for the touchdown. While Dalton was seen rolling his eyes, knowing that there was nothing he could do and that was just a top-notch play by Watt.
If the Texans go ahead to win this game, everyone will point to this play by Watt as the reason why. The Texans were getting beat in the momentum department before J.J.'s play.
To make matters worse, the Badgers, who J.J. Watt played for beat Andy Dalton's TCU Horned Frogs in their last college game against each other.
If you were feeling sorry for Elin Nordegren after having to go through the ordeal of Tiger Woods cheating on her with multitudes of strippers and half-prostitutes, well...
You probably don't have to feel sorry for her anymore.
I know money doesn't buy happiness, but it sure can put a nice down payment on it. Elin, who was living in a $12 million, 17,000 square foot mansion in Palm Beach, Florida decided that just a little renovation wasn't going to do the job.
So instead of adding on a nice breakfast nook, she tore the whole sucker down and has plans to build something that's being called a "dream house."
I guess she dreams bigger than most of us. Because if I woke up in a $12 million mansion in southern Florida, I might think I was still dreaming, instead of thinking that I had to tear this nightmare down so I could finally have the house I REALLY wanted. (Yes, that's sarcasm.)
Will this brazen act of spending turn the public's feelings for her? Before, she was the beautiful, wronged wife. And Tiger was the dirty dog. But now, with the economy still struggling and unemployment at 8.5%, she looks more like a Real Wife of Palm Beach; someone who is not living in the same world as the rest of the 99%.
And while we knew she made out with mad cash, tossing away $12 million dollars just feels a little gross.
Words being thrown around the Internet are "obscene," "disgusting" and "insane."
In a time when $12 million could go to clothe the homeless or feed starving children (it was just Christmas, after all), it seems like there's something more to this than meets the eye, because by all accounts, it makes no sense financially.
But maybe she's doing it to give Tiger a little jab as he watches millions of what used to be his dollars get pushed over by a bulldozer. And really, if you could do something like that to someone who humiliated you in front of the world, well, that would be pretty awesome.
No word on where Tiger was when this house was torn down. But we're still guessing Elin wouldn't mind if he was in the house when the walls came crashing down.
Jim Rome, the outspoken radio and TV personality is leaving ESPN for CBS Sports, according to reports.
ESPN had reportedly offered Rome a multi-year deal to keep his TV show "Jim Rome is Burning" with the worldwide leader in sports, but he declined and took a deal with CBS, who offered him an "expanded role". Seeing as Rome already had a daily TV show with ESPN, what an "expanded role" means for him at CBS is still unclear.
We're guessing he's going to take his trademark speaking voice (who is imitated by impressionists everywhere, including Frank Caliendo on Fox's Sunday Morning NFL show--which happens to go up against CBS' Sunday Morning NFL show) to do more TV and possibly more reporting.
Will CBS give him a more primetime platform? He's on at 4:30 every afternoon on ESPN (he's been on the station since 2004) so he might be looking for either a later time slot, or possibly his own show on Sunday morning.
According to James Andrew Miller, who authored the ESPN tell-all "Those Guys Have All the Fun" Rome makes an estimated $30 million a year from his radio show alone.
We will update as more information becomes available, or when a replacement for Rome is announced.
We look back at the 2010 NBA season and pull out some of the more unusual, weird, funny and sad moments that occurred on certain dates. And yes, these are all real.
Aug. 2 — Former center Rony Seikaly, now billed on his website as “one of the most sought-after DJs in the world,” releases his first track on eMusic.com — the 7 1/2-minute progressive house beatfest, “Come With Me.”
Oct. 9 — It was only preseason, but no one had ever seen anything like the Nets comeback from seven points down in the last 12.5 seconds as they hit a trio of triples to beat the 76ers.
Oct. 11 — John Wall’s exhibition in an exhibition game against the Bucks includes two baskets, two assists and a steal in a 40-second span.
Oct. 25 — Lamar Odom sues the IRS for not allowing him to deduct $12,000 in league fines and $178,000 in fitness expenses.
Oct. 29 — After a Halloween-costumed kid litters the court with candy that had been given to him by the Hornets PA announcer during a timeout, J.R. Smith picks it up and eats it.
Oct. 31 — For the second straight game, the Heat hold the opposition starting forwards without a field goal.
Nov. 5 — In a paradoxical night for centers, Anderson Varejao, Marc Gasol and Emeka Okafor combine to sink 34 of 36 shots, while Brook Lopez misses his first 13 en route to laying a 3-for-17 egg.
Nov. 5 — A photo of a nude Phil Jackson drinking a beer during his playing days is displayed at a National Arts Club fete of Madison Square Garden photographer George Kalinsky.
Nov. 6 — Within a two-week span, the Magic have an exhibition game in Tampa cancelled because of a slippery court, a game in New York postponed due to falling debris and now lose Vince Carter to a hip injury when he falls on a slick floor in Charlotte.
Nov. 7 — Timberwolves rookie Nikola Pekovic stops to tie his shoe as the Rockets steam downcourt, leading to a breakout by Yao Ming, who is fouled by Michael Beasley, who then must be benched because it’s his third of the first half.
Nov. 10 — The Pacers miss only the last of their 21 shots (a 26-foot heave trying to beat the buzzer) in the third period versus Denver. Had they waited 24 hours, their 54 points would have been the most scored in one quarter in exactly 20 years to the day.
Nov. 10 — Cleveland’s bench outscores its starters, 52-41, in a win over the Nets.
Nov. 10 — Paul Millsap, who was 2-for-20 from 3-land in 326 career games at tipoff, makes all three of his long-range attempts in the last 28 seconds of regulation to force OT against Miami in a Jazz victory.
Nov. 10 — David Lee’s elbow becomes intimate with former teammate Wilson Chandler’s mouth, shattering four of the New York swingman’s teeth, with a fragment from one lodging in Lee’s arm.
Nov. 12 — The Wizards ask their fans to stand until their club scores its first basket. Three minutes, 20 seconds and nine shots into the game, they are able to be seated.
Nov. 12 — With 31 rebounds against the Knicks, Kevin Love out-boards three entire teams that were in action this evening.
Nov. 15 – The Clippers (who lose to the Nets) trot out the youngest starting lineup in NBA history − one that averages 21 years, 143 days.
Nov. 17 – The Knicks put more field goals, 3-pointers, rebounds, assists and blocked shots (as well as fewer turnovers) in the boxscore than the Nuggets – but lose anyway.
Nov. 21 – The Pistons pull the plug on an in-game promotion involving their mascot and a frozen turkey giveaway because of drippage on the floor.
Nov. 22 – Three weeks after beating the 76ers, 116-115 in OT, the Wizards return the “favor,” 116-114 in OT.
Dec. 3 – The Lakers assemble a stretch of play during a 33-point blowout of the Kings during which 25 of their 30 field goals (compared to five for Sacto) are scored from the paint.
Dec. 9 – Assistant coach Mario Elie is the latest member of the Sacramento Kings organization to get pinched on a DUI charge, joining players Antoine Wright and Andres Nocioni, co-owner George Maloof and former head coach Eric Musselman in recent years.
Dec. 10 – Amare Stoudemire ties the Knicks record for consecutive 30-point games (seven) and for most turnovers in one game (11) on the same night.
Dec. 11 – Detroit scores 72 points in the first half, leads by 25 midway through the third quarter, holds a lead of 16 in the fourth and gets 23 points from Ben Wallace (his career high over 996 games), but loses to Toronto.
Dec. 12 – Nick Collison tallies only two points, but during the 20 minutes he’s on the court, Oklahoma City outscores Cleveland, 57-25.
Dec. 13 – Miami’s big three of Bron, Wade and Bosh combine to score exactly 75 points for the fourth consecutive game.
Dec. 15 – One month to the day after he misses the only free throw among the Thunder’s 34 attempts against Utah, James Harden (an 84% FT shooter in 2010-11) records the lone misfire in their 29 tries versus Houston.
Dec. 16 – Manu Ginobili scores the game-winning bucket and draws the game-saving charge in the final four seconds, one night after draining a winning jumper at the buzzer.
Dec. 17 – Five days after Nolan Carroll of the Miami Dolphins is tripped along the sidelines by a Jets coach in New York, LeBron James of the Miami Heat is tripped along the sidelines when he grazes the Knicks bench in New York.
Dec. 17 – The Suns intentionally foul Brendan Haywood three times late in the game. After he bricks five of six free throws, the Mavs replace him with Ian Mahinmi, who makes four straight.
Dec. 19 – On the same night 33-year-old Paul Pierce posts his first triple-double in 323 games, 38-year-old Grant Hill scores 30 for the first time in 359.
Dec. 22 – Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz is enlisted to help Celtics mascot Lucky with a dunk at halftime, but delays the stunt so he can capture it on his cell phone.
Dec. 25 – Derrick Rose, playing against the Knicks, misses 13 of his 18 shots inside 10 feet. Six are blocked, including four in the first quarter alone.
Dec. 28 – Tyreke Evans swishes a 3 from beyond halfcourt as the final buzzer sounds to stagger Memphis, 100-98.
Jan. 3 – Shaquille O’Neal carries Rajon Rondo, returning after a two-week injury, into the Celtics locker room and places him into a chair with the query, “Anything else King Rondo?”
Jan. 3 – On the same day Charlotte bricks a franchise-record 18 consecutive shots against Miami, the Sixers bench misfires on 32 of 40 in a defeat to New Orleans.
Jan. 7 – While New Jersey’s Sasha Vujacic is shooting 1-for-14 in Washington, the Pacers are shooting 1-for-15 in the fourth quarter in Indy.
Jan. 11 – The Timberwolves are assessed five technical fouls in 10 seconds, resulting in the ejection of coach Kurt Rambis and five made free throws by Manu Ginobili.
Jan. 12 – Although they are outscored in the paint, 70-42, Oklahoma City slides by Houston, 118-112.
Jan. 15 – To promote Derrick Rose for the All-Star Game, the Bulls PR staff places roses at each member of the media’s work space.
Jan. 18 – Only four teams are in action, and three of them – the Bulls, Hawks and Heat – combine to miss 60 of 74 three-point attempts.
Jan. 19 – Tyreke Evans scores 16 points, goes 0-for-2 from the arc, takes four free throws, pulls down five rebounds, makes three steals and blocks one shot for the second game in a row.
Jan. 23 – Carmelo Anthony, who had never sunk more than five 3-pointers in any of his previous 549 games, throws down six in a span of nine minutes, 28 seconds in the third quarter against Indiana.
Jan. 24 – Wizards rookie Kevin Seraphin unknowingly begins the game with his shorts on backwards, and must do the ol’ switcheroo at the bench while shielded by teammates.
Jan. 27 – Dwayne Wade begins the fourth quarter on a run of 13 consecutive shots made, then misses his last seven in a loss to New York.
Jan. 27 – Fans elect Yao Ming, whose season ended on November 10, to start the All-Star Game.
Feb. 1 – Kevin Martin goes 10-for-11 from the stripe, while the rest of his Rockets teammates go 0-for-0.
Feb. 7 – The Nuggets lose to Houston as Carmelo Anthony’s 50-point game is garnished by zero assists.
Feb. 9 – Traditional non-scorers Randy Foye, DeJuan Blair and J.J. Barea each far exceed their season PPGs in the fourth quarter alone, with 17, 16 and 15 points, respectively.
Feb. 10 – Traditional non-scorer Aaron Afflalo throws in 19 points in the fourth quarter, including a buzzer-beating 3.
Feb. 11 − Traditional non-scorer Dahntay Jones tallies all 19 of his points in the fourth quarter.
Feb. 11 – To end Cleveland’s NBA-record 26-game losing streak, the Clippers find it necessary to have every one of the players post a negative plus/minus.
Feb. 12 – The visiting team wins all eight games on the schedule – an NBA first.
Feb. 12 – Under Wally Szczerbiak’s talking head − where his name is intended to appear as he is commentating on CBS’ Inside College Basketball Show − appears the graphic, “RANDOM DUDE/Guest Info Here.”
Feb. 19 – A Miami player wins the 3-point shootout for the third time in the last five years.
Feb. 22 – On a night when Gerald Wallace is the first Bobcat ever to score 20 points while taking as few as six shots, Heat teammates LeBron James and Dwyane Wade score 54 points without making a free throw.
Feb. 26 – Utah loses to Detroit despite assisting on 84.1% of its field goals and connecting on 59.5% of its attempts.
Mar. 2 – Troy Murphy reveals that he is a licensed spray-tanner, and is now accepting clients at his home facility.
Mar. 2 – A 14-0 lead to start the game is insufficient for the Bulls, who fall to the Hawks.
Mar. 3 – Down by 24 in the third quarter, the Magic use a 40-9 run to beat the Heat.
Mar. 4 – Corey Brewer commits five fouls in his five-minute stint and characterizes his Dallas debut as “a little bit too aggressive.”
Mar. 6 – Miami misses its 12th and 13th consecutive field goal attempt that would have tied the game or put them ahead in the final 10 seconds of regulation.
Mar. 12 – Dwyane Wade blocks four Memphis shots in 55 seconds.
Mar. 12 – Mike Bibby sinks his 12th bucket since joining Miami – every one of them a trifecta.
Mar. 12 – In the most pathetically arrogant legal transgression of the season, Hawks nobody Josh Powell is arrested after refusing to move his vehicle to clear the way for an approaching ambulance.
Mar. 14 – Ten days after the Spurs toast the Heat by 30 points in San Antonio, the Heat toast the Spurs by 30 in Miami.
Mar. 14 – On the same night that Samuel Dalembert sets a record for most games played (644) prior to scoring 25 points for the first time, Chuck Hayes logs his first 20-point performance in his 410th outing.
Mar. 17 – The Cavaliers, the only team not to lose a game by 20 points in 2010-11, do so for the 11th time in 2011-12 – just 10 fewer than all seven seasons of the LeBron James era combined.
Mar. 23 – The Eastern Conference-leading Celtics are upset for the second time in two weeks despite no opposing player scoring as many as 15 points in the game.
Mar. 27 – Miami defeats Houston, 125-119, which is the exact same score as their game of December 29.
Apr. 1 – The Pistons retire Dennis Rodman’s jersey – on April Fool’s Day.
Apr. 5 – Orlando beats Milwaukee despite misfiring on 18 consecutive downtowners.
Apr. 8 – Nene bags all five of his field goal attempts but none of his eight free throws for the biggest charity “oh-fer” ever by a player who was perfect from the floor.
Apr. 11 – Von Wafer soars for a wide-open dunk then, not realizing he missed it, turns to the crowd and strikes a look-at-me pose while crashing into teammate Jermaine O’Neal and causing him to double-dribble.
Apr. 25 – Andre Miller hits his fourth 3-pointer in the first five games of the postseason, equaling his regular-season total.
May 8 – In completing their upset sweep of the Lakers, the Mavericks get as many points from their bench (86) as do the vanquished from their entire team.
Goalies are used to getting goals scored on them, as opposed to scoring them, but Everton's goalie Tim Howard blasted a kick from his own goal line in a game against Bolton, it went high into the air, took a perfect bounce and sailed into the goal over the opposing goalies head.
And now, Howard feels bad about his spectacular (if albeit a bit lucky goal.)
“It's not a nice feeling for a keeper. It's really awful actually,” Howard told Sky Sports. “For the back four and the goalkeepers at both ends, there was an awful wind swirling. You could see everybody was mistiming balls. Defenders were missing clearances that normally they would put up the field. I think the wind is the hardest condition to play in. Snow, rain, sun doesn't matter, but the wind really does play tricks on you.”
Howard said he spoke with Bogdan after Everton's 2-1 loss to Bolton.
“I let him know that I was feeling for him,” Howard said. “It's not a nice place to be. I've been there before, a long, long time ago, and that was why I didn't celebrate.”
How many offensive players would apologize to the goalie they just scored on? Probably zero, but that's what happens when you truly know what it feel like to be in the other guy's cleats.
It's that time of year again, New Year's resolution time. Everyone makes crazy promises to themselves like "I'm cutting back on my carbs" or "No more Tuesday morning mojitos" only to fall right back into a rut by MLK Day. Well at least you're not alone. Apparently pro athletes also like to set goals for themselves when the calendar turns over. Here are some resolutions we uncovered during a variety of interviews* with the biggest names in sports.
Peyton Manning: Learn how to throw a deep out route from wheelchair.
Urban Meyer: Spend more quality time with the family.
Albert Pujols: Get approval from MLB to wear first ever solid gold uniform.
LeBron James: Lose weight to lessen the load on D-Wade's shoulders during the playoffs.
DeSean Jackson: Undergo surgery to replace alligator arms with human arms.
Jeff Van Gundy: Find the cure for male pattern baldness.
Stan Van Gundy: Find the cure for male pattern fatness.
Tony LaRussa: Enjoy retirement and stop using home phone to make pitching changes.
Cam Newton: Force a trade back to Auburn to get a better contract.
Tim Tebow: Pray just a little bit more.
Kris Humphries: Figure out how to get more face time on television – ESPN, TNT and NBATV don’t count.
David Stern: Use "basketball reasons" to rig the playoffs so the Lakers play the Heat in the Finals.
Derek Jeter: Change nothing.
Dwight Howard: Stop requesting trades to places like New Jersey.
Kobe Bryant: Pass the ball to Kobe Bryant more.
Baseball Hall of Fame: Take the words “integrity, sportsmanship and character” out of voting guidelines for the next ten years.
Theo Epstein: Come to senses, quit immediately.
Philadelphia Eagles: Make the playoffs.
NHL: Stop broadcasting games on public access television.
Brett Favre: Un-retire and return to a successful career in cell phone dong shots.
Ndamukong Suh: Learn how to tackle without being charged with aggravated assault.
College athletics: Do anything right.
*We made these up.