Articles By Rob Doster

Path: /nba/okc-thunder-scored-79-points-half

The Oklahoma City Thunder are in the middle of a season quite unlike any they’ve had, since moving from Seattle in 2008.



Burdened with title expectations for the third year in a row — a premature Finals appearance in 2012 will do that to you — OKC started the year with a litany of crucial injuries, limping to a 5-13 record without Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. Now, the championship hopefuls have a deadly sprint before them just to get into the playoffs. The Western Conference is just that good; at 20-20, the Thunder are currently three games behind the Phoenix Suns for the eigth and final conference postseason slot.


If the past two games are any indication, though, then the Thunder are trending in the right direction. OKC handled the Golden State Warriors, the best team in basketball, 127-115 on Friday night, behind a triple-double from Westbrook. And last night, they nearly set a record for the current season by dropping a whopping 79 points in the first half against the Orlando Magic.


Part of the success in their recent play is the emergence of Dion Waiters, a recent acquisition via trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Over the past two contests, the feast-or-famine Waiters is shooting 60 percent from the floor, thriving and confident in the free-roaming Oklahoma offense. He’s also been a surprising source of defensive steel, grabbing five steals over the weekend.


If the Thunder want a chance at our hearts again this Spring, they’ll have to keep it up. Phoenix is for real, and stealing the Suns' spot will likely require a 50-win season, at the minimum. That means OKC has to play .710 ball to give themselves a chance. It’s a tall order, but they look like they’re on the way to fulfilling it.


— John Wilmes


Post date: Monday, January 19, 2015 - 15:33
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-january-19-2015

This is your daily links roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Jan. 19: 


Miss Lebanon caught grief for posing with Miss Israel (pictured). Let's keep politics out of the pure, unspoiled world of beauty pageants, shall we?  


Tiger Woods showed up incognito — in a weird, creepy mask — to watch girlfriend Lindsey Vonn race.


Brandon Bostick is this morning's Packers scapegoat, but I put that loss on Mike McCarthy. As are many others.


A recap of the six minutes that saved the Seahawks' season.


This pantless Seahawks fan was rather elated by the win.


• Deflate-gate: So did the Patriots cheat again? And if so, why?


Hank Aaron reminisced about the time he spent with MLK.


The bizarre Robert Allenby story gets more bizarre.


Enjoy this supercut of fans running onto the field and getting owned.


Superagent Drew Rosenhaus was involved in a domestic incident in which his wife called the cops on him.


• Michael Bennett went for a spin on a bicycle after the Seahawks' win.


-- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

Post date: Monday, January 19, 2015 - 10:29
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-january-16-2015

This is your daily links roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Jan. 16: 


Buckle in for an AFC Championship cheerleader bikini showdown.


An Indy columnist says Tom Brady is good, but Bill Belichick is evil. For his part, Belichick rolled out of bed to say he doesn't care about your good vs. evil storylines.


The Seahawks are accusing Aaron Rodgers of sandbagging.


Hank the Dog was officially recognized for his good doggie-dom.


Golden Tate cautions that following him on social media is not the same as knowing him.


• Bill Walton, Jay Bilas and Dave Pasch called last night's Arizona-Colorado game, and things got weird.


Kobe and LeBron had fun last night, like a couple of rec league geezers.


So the Packers are obsessed with Settlers of Catan.


The Seal who shot Bin Laden is an avid golfer.


So with Cardale Jones coming back, is he the favorite to win the job?


• Rory McIlroy had his first professional hole-in-one today.


-- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

Post date: Friday, January 16, 2015 - 10:48
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-january-14-2015

This is your daily links roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Jan. 14:


Here's a slideshow of Ohio State fans in Zeke Elliott-style crop-top jerseys. Warning: Most of them are dudes.


• What is it with British royals and NBA royalty? Now it's Melo rubbing shoulders with Harry.


Mo Williams dropped half a hundred on the Pacers to help the Wolves snap a 15-game losing streak


Bears Martellus Bennett and Kyle Long had a slapfight on Twitter, then claimed they were kidding.


LeBron shoved his coach, but he had good intentions.


Todd Bowles is the latest guy to endanger his career by taking the Jets job.


Les Miles and Ed Orgeron on the same staff sounds like the world's greatest reality show.


A good read on Stuart Scott's legacy.


Miami, which previously lost to Eastern Kentucky and Green Bay, crushed Duke at Cameron. Weird sport.


Kurt Busch says his ex-girlfriend is a trained assassin. If that's the case, probably not smart to slam her head into the wall, as Busch is accused of doing.


John Elway opened his press conference by thanking John Elway for his service. Rickey Henderson approves this message.


• Ryan Suter delivered a nasty elbow to Steve Downie's face.


-- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

Post date: Wednesday, January 14, 2015 - 11:21
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-january-13-2015

This is your daily links roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Jan. 13: 


• Sorry, Oregon. At least you still have the best cheerleaders in college football.


• Patrick Reed won the Hyundai TOC with an epic comeback, but it was his hat tan that was truly epic.


This story says that Urban Meyer has closed the gap on Nick Saban. I think he passed St. Nick last night as the nation's best college football coach, and his Buckeyes look like they have staying power.


• I agree with this: Cardale Jones should turn pro. His stock will never be higher, and he didn't come to Columbus to play school anyway.


The Oregon Duck provided most of the highlights for the Gang Green, baring his (her?) breasts at one point.


Watch a sad and lonely man silently vacuum up the confetti from the national championship celebration.


A tasty collection of mean college football tweets, as read by the victims.


• I haven't linked to the Onion in a while. I'll rectify that error now.


• Feel-good video of the day: Leah Still does the Dougie.


Tom Brady's Facebook game is very, very strong.


• Watch Kevin Garnett head-butt Dwight Howard.


-- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

Post date: Tuesday, January 13, 2015 - 10:42
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-january-12-2014

This is your daily links roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Jan. 12: 


The last college football cheerleader showdown of the season is frankly a little one-sided.


I don't want to live in a world where that Dez Bryant catch wasn't a catch. Of course, the Lions are enjoying some delicious schadenfreude this morning.


• Big off-the-field NFL news today: Rex Ryan is the new head coach of the Buffalo Bills.


• Sign of the times in college football: This year's national champion will have a surprisingly weak run defense.


• This could get ugly: The Chargers are strongly hinting that they'll litigate to keep the Rams out of Los Angeles.


The Washington Post asked the Peyton Manning question we're all asking today. One of Manning's own teammates thinks he has a dead arm.


DeAngelo Williams went longform recently on the subject of social media. Dude can write.


One of the "Fail Mary" refs claims to be suffering from PTSD.


• In his rush to help, an eager Brazilian soccer trainer faceplanted on the pitch.


• Hannah Storm went Dikembe Mutombo on her makeup person, minus the finger wag.


-- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

Post date: Monday, January 12, 2015 - 10:47
All taxonomy terms: AFC, Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts, NFL, News
Path: /nfl/afc-divisional-playoff-preview-and-prediction-indianapolis-colts-vs-denver-broncos

Sunday afternoon’s Indianapolis vs. Denver AFC Divisional Round game will be the first postseason meeting between Colts quarterback Andrew Luck and the man he replaced in Indy, Peyton Manning — who is now the first quarterback to play at least 200 games with a team and then face that team in the playoffs. According to Football Perspective, the Broncos have the edge in yards per attempts, yards allowed per attempt, yards per carry and yards allowed per carry. Since 1990, there have been 16 games where a home team had the advantage in those four metrics, and the home team is 15–1 in those matchups.

Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos


Kickoff: Sunday, Jan. 11 at 4:40 p.m. ET

TV Channel: CBS

Spread: Denver -7


Indianapolis’ Key to Victory: Andrew Luck


The spotlight shines on the respective quarterbacks in this one. When the two face off Sunday afternoon it will be the third meeting between the two signal-callers and the first rubber match. In 2013, Luck led the Colts to a 39–33 victory in Manning’s first game back in Indianapolis. Both quarterbacks threw for three scores in that game, while Luck was turnover-free and Manning had an interception. Luck has had better postseason success early on in his career than Manning, arriving in Denver this week with a 2–2 playoff record in his first three seasons. It took Manning until his sixth season to win a playoff game, and it was his fourth postseason contest that he finally got his first W. If Luck protects the football, and the Colts defense can force some miscues, then the road upset becomes very realistic. 


Denver’s Key to Victory: Peyton Manning


For whatever reason, Manning is not the same quarterback in the postseason that he is during the regular season. In 23 playoff games, Manning is 11–12 and has a passer rating of 89.2. Compare that to his regular season record (179–77) and passer rating (97.5). Granted, the opponents get tougher in the postseason, but Manning hasn’t exactly risen to the occasion with any regularity under the brightest lights. It’s important that the Broncos get at least a reasonable facsimile of October Manning (102.2 career passer rating) and not January Manning (83.5). “I think Peyton’s been doing fine. I don’t know if it’s about hype; I know it’s just another playoff game. I can’t answer that question for him but I think he’ll be fine,” Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas said. “We had them the first game of the season and he was fine. It’s a playoff game so it’s a little bit different because if you lose, you’re done and if you win, you keep going. I can’t really talk for Peyton but I think he’s fine.” Okay, fine. 


Final Analysis


Peyton Manning has been one-and-done in the playoffs eight times in his career, by far the most for any quarterback in the Super Bowl era, and he’s also the record-holder with 12 postseason losses. Those numbers have to be weighing on this proud warrior, who will be looking for vindication in this postseason. This week, at least, he’ll get it. 


Prediction: Denver 31, Indianapolis 24
AFC Divisional Playoff Preview and Prediction: Indianapolis Colts vs. Denver Broncos
Post date: Friday, January 9, 2015 - 16:00
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-january-9-2014-0

This is your daily links roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Jan. 9: 


The Oregon cheerleaders have had a solid year on Instagram.


A guy gave teeth to his Oregon Ducks fandom.


Tiger Woods is starting his 2015 season at the zoo that is Phoenix, on Super Bowl Sunday. Prepare for the crazy.


Knicks fans are reaching for the paper bags. It's the players who should be wearing them.


Simmons goes longform on Flacco. But is he elite?


Aaron Hernandez's trial starts today.


Dan Reeves shares his memories of the Ice Bowl.


Former Syracuse fullback Rob Konrad swam nine miles at night after falling off his boat.


• The Titans decided to "live-tweet" the Music City Miracle on its 15th anniversary. The St. Louis Rams had the perfect response.


Fun championship game prop bets.


• Marv Albert shared his all-time Albert Achievement Awards on Letterman.


-- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

Post date: Friday, January 9, 2015 - 10:27
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-january-8-2014-0

This is your daily links roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for January 8: 


Legendary Florida State fangirl-turned-media wannabe Jenn Sterger is claiming credit for Oregon's "No means no" chant.


A street artist did a cool tribute to Stuart Scott.


Interesting longform read about a Green Beret-slash-longsnapper.


15 years ago today: the Music City Miracle.


Newly minted Hall of Famers Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez were better playing the New York villain than the New York hero


Classic Pedro: He wants his jheri curl on his Hall of Fame plaque.


Tom Brady is single-handedly maintaining my interest in Facebook.


• This is somehow perfect: The Browns might be interested in Charlie Weis.


Former NBA great Adrian Dantley has added JV reffing to his resume, along with his crossing guard duties.


• Not sports, but interesting nonetheless: Time's list of the 100 best children's books of all time.


J.R. Smith took some parting shots at the Knicks.


• Today in Steve Ballmer insanity: The Clippers owner flails around to Fergie.


-- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

Post date: Thursday, January 8, 2015 - 12:08
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-january-7-2014-0

This is your daily links roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for January 7: 


The Oregon cheerleaders got as much game as their gridiron counterparts.


Rick Ross got a Miami Heat face tattoo.


Jameis Winston is leaving Florida State for the NFL. Watch out, bars and strip clubs of Tallahassee.


Winston's rival for top QB in this year's draft can bring out the stupid.


Watch an idiot ref take a call on his cell phone during a game.


One could argue that Pedro and the Unit comprise the best Hall of Fame pitching class duo since the inaugural class. In fact, someone did.


• Of course, yesterday's Hall of Fame announcement was a reminder that the process is fatally flawed


Kentucky's close win elicited some of the whitest roof-raising in recorded history.


Check out Phinny the chill ice-skating pig.


Stan Van Gundy had some clear advice for his troops: Form a f---ing wall.


Jimmy Fallon learned on his show that he blew his shot at Nicole Kidman — from Nicole Kidman herself.


• The Preds' Pekka Rinne made an insane backwards leg save.


-- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

Post date: Wednesday, January 7, 2015 - 10:42
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-january-6-2015

This is your daily links roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Jan. 6: 


• While we all returned to work in the cold January air following the New Year holiday, Scottie Pippen's wife Larsa grabbed some sun poolside.


Ranking the remaining quarterbacks in the NFL playoffs.


The real Hall of Fame drama today surrounds Mike Piazza. I'd vote him in.


So what's the deal with Chris Christie and Jerry Jones?


Skip Bayless basically called Johnny Manziel an alcoholic, which is apparently fine with the Worldwide Leader.


Watch Bradley Cooper shred an air guitar solo to "Down by the River."


An OIe Miss student nodded off and woke up with a $900 Uber bill.


Watch a goalie score an own goal, much to his immediate chagrin.


• More hockey fun: Watch Andre Burakovsky take a shot to the face during a goal celebration.


Steph Curry went between the legs — to the same hand.


George R.R. Martin thinks the Lions deserve ref blood after Sunday's debacle.


The best "This Is SportsCenter" commercials featuring the late, great Stuart Scott.



-- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

Post date: Tuesday, January 6, 2015 - 11:15
All taxonomy terms: Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, NFC, NFL, News
Path: /nfl/nfc-wild-card-preview-and-prediction-detroit-lions-vs-dallas-cowboys

The day your five-year-old has waited for his whole life for is finally here — the Dallas Cowboys are back in the postseason. Behind the record-setting offensive trio of Tony Romo, DeMarco Murray and Dez Bryant, Dallas won the NFC East with a 12–4 record and has returned to the NFL playoffs for the first time since 2009. A 4–0 showing in December has helped erase a stigma that surrounded a Cowboys franchise that could not win in the last month of the year, particularly under coach Jason Garrett and Romo. Dallas entered this season 8–11 in December in four seasons with Garrett, and Romo had gone 14–22 in the month.


Meanwhile, Detroit (11-5) is back in the postseason for the second time in three years after previously not having made it since 2000. The Lions are still looking for their first playoff win since a 38–6 Divisional Round win over Dallas on Jan. 12, 1992. That win was the first postseason victory for the franchise since 1957, with only two appearances in between.


Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys


Kickoff: 4:40 p.m. ET

TV Channel: FOX

Spread: Dallas -7


Detroit’s Key to Victory: Stafford to Johnson


Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford carries this unfortunate bit of baggage into this game: He is 0–16 as a starting quarterback in road games against teams that finished the season with a winning record, the third-most losses without a win in such games for any quarterback since the 1970 merger. But he’s 2–0 against Tony Romo, which gives the Lions a glimmer of hope. Both wins featured dramatic comebacks, including a 31–30 win in 2013 in which Stafford threw for 488 yards and Calvin Johnson caught 14 passes for 329 yards, the second-best yardage total in NFL history. Johnson’s yardage total of 1,077 this season marks his lowest since 2009, but expect Stafford to look Megatron’s way early and often.


Dallas’ Key to Victory: Unleash DeMarco Murray


It’s been a season-long theme for Dallas: Use a powerful running attack to set up Tony Romo for success in the passing game. This week, the Cowboys are facing the NFL’s top rushing defense (69.3 ypg), but it’s critical that DeMarco Murray find some running room against the Lions' defense to open things up for Romo and Dez Bryant — a job that gets tougher with the unexpected availability of leg-stomper Ndamukong Suh. The grind of a long NFL season seemed to catch up with Murray, whose 1,845 rushing yards broke Emmitt Smith’s franchise record and were the third most in the NFL over the last eight seasons. In Weeks 15-16, Murray could muster only a combined 139 yards on 2.6 yards per carry, including a season-low 58 yards in a Week 16 win over Indianapolis. He recaptured some of his early-season form with 100 yards on 20 carries against Washington, his 12th 100-yard game of the season (second most in NFL history). We’ll see if the wear and tear of 392 carries hampers him on the postseason stage. 


Final Analysis


In an unexpected turn of events for two somewhat downtrodden franchises, both the Detroit and Dallas saved some of their best football for late in the season, combining to go 7–1 in the month of December. So which one is prepared to take the next step and win in January? Jerry Jones sees something he likes in his Cowboys, saying that, “This team has a uniqueness to it that could serve us well in the playoffs.” We tend to agree.


Prediction: Dallas 27, Detroit 21
NFC Wild Card Preview and Prediction: Detroit Lions vs. Dallas Cowboys
Post date: Sunday, January 4, 2015 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: Overtime
Path: /overtime/notable-sports-deaths-2014

The sports world bid farewell to some legends in 2014. We mourn their passing, but celebrate the memories they leave behind.


Marvin “Bad News” Barnes, basketball legend

Died Sept. 8, Age 62

In marking his death, the New York Times called Barnes “one of basketball’s most talented and defiantly self-indulgent players, whose career dissolved in a haze of drugs and alcohol.” But, as sportscaster Bob Costas said, “The truth is that there were many nights, even when Dr. J was in the game, when the best player on the floor was Marvin Barnes.” Barnes helped lead Providence to the Final Four in 1973 before spending two seasons for the Spirits of St. Louis in the American Basketball Association and then four in the NBA.


Rob BironasRob Bironas, Tennessee Titans kicker

Died Sept. 20, Age 36

One of the most accurate kickers in NFL history, Bironas holds the NFL single-game record with eight field goals against the Texans in 2007, a year in which he earned All-Pro recognition. Bironas died in a single-car accident in Nashville; witnesses reported that he had been driving aggressively, and tests revealed a blood alcohol level of 0.218.


Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, boxer

Died April 20, Age 76

Immortalized in song by Bob Dylan and portrayed on screen by Denzel Washington, Carter was a middleweight boxer who was convicted of murder but freed after almost 20 years in prison via a petition of habeas corpus. Carter’s saga inspired the Dylan song “Hurricane” and the 1999 film “The Hurricane.”


Jimmy Ellis, boxer

Died May 6, Age 74

Ellis was a former WBA heavyweight champion who had memorable fights with Jerry Quarry, Floyd Patterson, Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali, among others. Upon Ellis’ death, Ali said: “In the world of heavyweights I always thought him one of the best.”


Tom Gola, basketball Hall of Famer

Died Jan. 26, Age 81

One of the biggest basketball stars of the 1950s, Gola led La Salle to the 1952 NIT title and the 1954 NCAA title. Gola, who still holds the NCAA record for career rebounds with 2,201, was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1976. He was later elected to the Pennsylvania State House.


Tony GwynnTony Gwynn, Baseball Hall of Famer

Died June 16, Age 54

Quite possibly the hardest-working, sweetest-swinging player in baseball history, Mr. Padre used an incomparable mind for the game, tireless hours of film study and an uncanny ability to find gaps in the defense to win eight batting titles and rap out 3,141 career hits. His death from oral cancer made him a cautionary tale against smokeless tobacco use.


Frank Jobe, pioneer sports surgeon

Died March 6, Age 88

Countless athletes owe their careers to the pioneering orthopedic surgeon, who performed the first “Tommy John surgery” on the procedure’s namesake in 1974 and also performed the first major shoulder reconstruction for a pro athlete, allowing Orel Hershiser to continue his career.


Ralph Kiner, Baseball Hall of Famer

Died Feb. 6, Age 91

In the years following World War II, Kiner was the most feared slugger in baseball, leading MLB in homers every year from 1947-52 and surpassing 50 dingers twice. He then spent 53 years as a beloved broadcaster for the Mets.


Philip Lutzenkirchen, football player

Died June 30, Age 23

The former Auburn tight end was a fan favorite who played for the 2010 National Championship team and set a school record for tight ends with 14 career touchdown catches. He died in a one-car crash in his home state of Georgia.


Don Meyer, basketball coach

Died May 18, Age 69

Meyer held the record for most wins by a men’s college basketball coach with 923 until his total was surpassed by Mike Krzyzewski in 2011. A highly influential coach and teacher of basketball, Meyer was credited by Pat Summitt with teaching her “how to teach others how to play the game.”


Chuck Noll, Hall of Fame NFL coach

Died June 13, Age 82

Noll’s legendary 23-year tenure as head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers produced 209 wins, four Super Bowl titles and induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993. He was the architect of the Steelers dynasty of the 1970s and also was known for providing significant opportunities for African Americans, both on the field and on the sidelines.


Dr. Jack Ramsey, NBA coach and broadcaster

Died April 28, Age 89

A highly respected coach and broadcaster, Dr. Jack led the 1977 Portland Trail Blazers to the NBA title and won a total of 864 games as an NBA head coach. He then spent nine seasons as a color commentator for the 76ers and Heat. He also authored several books on basketball.


Oscar Taveras, Baseball phenom

Died Oct. 26, Age 22

Known as "El Fenómeno,” Taveras was a highly coveted baseball prospect from the Dominican Republic who drew comparison to countryman Vladimir Guerrero and spent one season with the St. Louis Cardinals before his death in an automobile accident in his home country.


Kevin Ward Jr., driver

Died Aug. 9, Age 20

Ward was an obscure young competitor on the lower levels of professional auto racing before his death in a controversial and tragic dirt-track incident with Sprint Cup star Tony Stewart. Angered by Stewart’s aggressive driving during a sprint car race at New York’s Canandaigua Motorsports Park, Ward got out of his car on the track to confront Stewart but was struck and killed by Stewart’s car.


Don Zimmer, MLB player/manager/coach

Died June 4, Age 83

Baseball lifer Zimmer spent 65 years in professional baseball as a player, manager and coach., winning 885 games as a big-league manager. From 2008 until his death, Zim was the last former Brooklyn Dodger still in the game.


Other Notables:

Jerry Coleman, baseball player-turned-broadcaster

Lou Hudson, basketball player

Hank Lauricella, Hall of Fame football player

Earl Morrall, Super Bowl quarterback

Robert Newhouse, NFL running back

Bob Suter, hockey player and member of the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” U.S. team

Orlando Thomas, NFL lineman

Fuzzy Thurston, member of the 1960s Packers dynasty

Bob Welch, MLB pitcher

Post date: Monday, December 29, 2014 - 11:30
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-december-24-2014

This is your daily links roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Dec. 24: 


Matthew Stafford's fiancee Kelly Hall showed off her soccer skills on a basketball court.


Here's a decent list of movies to watch this time of year.


• For your Christmas Eve enjoyment, here's The Rock singing "Here Comes Santa Claus" in a yuletide onesie. Speaking of The Rock, his Christmas card this year is spectacular.


The 101 most popular Deadspin posts of 2014. I'm sure I've linked to many of these this year.


• Amazing universe we live in: The most beautiful space photos of 2014.


• Continuing our countdown theme: Funniest athlete Tweets of 2014.


The Lakers played their best game of the year — with Kobe on the bench.


The first "Entourage" trailer came out yesterday.


• This is disturbing: Jim Harbaugh once smeared a player's blood on his face. Not surprising, but disturbing.


Manti Te'o has grown weary of your fake girlfriend jokes.


• Vlade Divac sank a halfcourt shot for charity and got a round of applause from Jack Nicholson.


-- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

Post date: Wednesday, December 24, 2014 - 11:34
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-december-23-2014

This is your daily links roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Dec. 23: 


• The Jags haven't done much right in a while, but they did give us one outlet's NFL Cheerleader of the Year, Whitney Cowart.


A top prospect posted a photo of himself in a bathtub full of recruiting letters.


• BYU and Memphis played a great bowl game, then had a massive brawl.


• Related: Memphis tight end Alan Cross don't need no stinkin' helmet.


• This is actually a little depressing: Peyton Manning is finally playing like a 38-year-old. His showing against Cincy led to a Twitter debate over his arm strength.


Vince Carter turned back the clock for a sweet old-man jam. Not quite Vinsanity, but still.


Time picks the Top 100 Photos of 2014. They also show us what happens when you boil an iPhone 6 in Coca-Cola.


Is Rory McIlroy too ripped?


Dale Jr. and his girlfriend wore the tackiest Christmas sweaters imaginable.


• Peyton threw what had to be the worst pick-6 of his career last night.


-- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

Post date: Tuesday, December 23, 2014 - 11:14
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-december-22-2014

This is your daily links roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Dec. 22: 


The most popular female athletes, according to Google. No. 4 is lovely tennis player Eugenie Bouchard (pictured). 


Giants kicker Josh Brown kicked a dude in the head yesterday.


• Despite yesterday's close game, the Pats and Jets are speeding in opposite directions.


Marshawn Lynch's media trolling was particularly polite yesterday. He's turned postgame lockerroom interviews into performance art.


Eventful day for Odell Beckham: Records, touchdowns and inciting a brawl.


• This is new to me, although they might have been doing it all year: Every TD from every game of Week 16, from NFL RedZone. 


Ole Miss signee Chad Kelly (Jim's nephew) vowed to get his AK-47 and shoot up a bar


Is it time for Kobe to grab some pine? 


The best college basketball photos of the week.


Here's Pau Gasol singing John Lennon's "Imagine."


• Relive Marshawn Lynch's earth-shaking Beast Mode moment from yesterday.


-- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

Post date: Monday, December 22, 2014 - 11:02
Path: /nfl/seattle-seahawks-vs-arizona-cardinals-preview-and-prediction-2014

There’s plenty on the line tonight when the Seattle Seahawks take on the Arizona Cardinals on NBC. Not only is the NFC West Division title hanging in the balance, but the top seed in the conference could be as well.


The Cardinals (11-3) secured a playoff berth in their touchdown-free win against St. Louis. It is the first postseason trip for Arizona since 2009, Kurt Warner's last season. And they could use Warner now, as they will go into Sunday's game with third-string quarterback Ryan Lindley under center after injuries to starter Carson Palmer and backup Drew Stanton.


The defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks (10-4) won the first meeting between these teams this season 19-3, a game that kick-started their current four-game winning streak. Arizona is 7-0 at home this season, while Seattle is 4-3 on the road. 


Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinalss


Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: NBC

Spread: Seattle -9


Seattle’s Key to Victory: Lower the Boom

The Legion of Boom defense is peaking at just the right time. Seattle has held its last four opponents to 27 total points and an average of 188.0 yards per game. In eliminating San Francisco this past Sunday, Seattle sacked Colin Kaepernick six times and allowed only 141 passing yards. They wouldn’t admit it, but the Seahawks’ defenders have to be licking their chops for a shot at Cardinals third-string quarterback Ryan Lindley. The Seattle pass rush has produced 16 sacks in the last four games, and the Seahawks will look to punish Lindley with frequency. “That is a real good part of our game right now,” coach Pete Carroll said of the pass rush. “We're going to try and keep pushing it. I always think it starts up front with the guys rushing the passer, but we certainly feed off one another and it will certainly be important down the stretch.”



Arizona’s Key to Victory: A First-string Performance from its Third-string Quarterback

We’re tempted here to say that the Cards’ key to victory is to force Kurt Warner out of retirement, but we’ll resist. Instead, we’ll merely say that Ryan Lindley, the Cards’ third-string quarterback, must do his best Warner impersonation and make enough plays in the passing game to keep the Legion of Boom from pinning its ears back and attacking. Lindley, who was signed off the Chargers’ practice squad a few weeks ago, feels like he’s come a long way since his 2012 start against the Seahawks — a 58–0 loss in which he completed eight passes for 59 yards. For Lindley’s sake, one would hope so. “It’s night and day,” he said. “The amount I've learned and not only grown as a person in two years, but from these guys — B.A. (Bruce Arians), from Carson (Palmer), from Drew (Stanton). I'm a totally different person and totally different player from that point.”


Final Analysis


Arizona should be able to play loose and relaxed, given that the Cardinals have clinched their first playoff appearance since 2009. But to have any shot at playing a home game on Super Sunday — the Super Bowl is at University of Phoenix Stadium — they need home-field advantage in the playoffs, meaning they need to win this game. When you’re on your third quarterback and facing the NFL’s most dominant defense, that’s too much to ask. 

Prediction: Seattle 21, Arizona 10
Seattle Seahawks vs. Arizona Cardinals Preview and Prediction
Post date: Sunday, December 21, 2014 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-december-19-2014

This is your daily links roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Dec. 19: 


Kate Upton was named People Magazine's Sexiest Woman AliveMazel tov.


Funniest sports media fails of 2014.


• Buyer beware: Jim Harbaugh is insane.


Rajon Rondo is a Maverick.


This is helpful: A gift guide for your holiday party host.


• For some reason, Claude Giroux bit his opponent's jersey during a stoppage


Frank Caliendo read The Night Before Christmas using ESPN voices.


Long, longform read on athletes and political statements


Nicki Minaj was part of an Inside the NBA rap battle


Bears players weren't happy with the way they were (or weren't) informed about the Cutler benching


A rare pair of Air Jordans will only run you $45K.


• Watch Dwight Howard take out the Nuggets mascot with a playful kick.


-- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

Post date: Friday, December 19, 2014 - 10:49
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-december-18-2014

This is your daily links roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Dec. 18: 


Kate Upton and Justin Verlander have sent out their Christmas card. Not what we're used to from Ms. Upton, is it? 


Charles Barkley feels sorry for Jay Cutler after his humiliating benching for Jimmy Clausen. When I look at this list of possible landing spots for Cutler, so do I.


Michigan really, really wants Jim Harbaugh to be its coach


Detroit's Brandon Jennings decided he preferred a jumper to a wide-open layup.


The inspirational story of Lauren Hill enters a new chapter.


DeMarcus Cousins treated a bunch of kids to a shopping spree. Gotta love this time of year.


Brian Billick with the sick Twitter burn of a Johnny Football fan.


Here's everything we know about the Sony hack, North Korea and "The Interview."


So it looked like Claude Giroux wiped boogers on a linesman's back.


• Tis the season: Mandatory's passive-aggressive holiday insult generator.


• Somebody strapped a GoPro to an eagle before the Eagles game. Enjoy.


-- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

Post date: Thursday, December 18, 2014 - 10:53
Path: /nfl/tennessee-titans-vs-jacksonville-jaguars-preview-and-prediction

If you’re looking forward to watching tonight’s matchup between the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars on the NFL Network, you’re either a Draftnik who wants to see who’ll have a shot at the top pick; you have a son on one of the teams; or you have a serious gambling problem.


It’s hard to imagine any other motivation for tuning in for a pairing of the two of the NFL’s worst franchises, who sport matching 2–12 records. Of course, we are talking about professional football players (of a sort), so some small measure of pride and athleticism will still be on display at EverBank Field. We hope.


Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguarss


Kickoff: 8:25 p.m. ET

TV Channel: NFL Network

Spread: Jacksonville -3.5


Tennessee’s Key to Victory: A Mistake-Free Game from Clipboard Charlie

Third-string quarterback Charlie Whitehurst is being forced back into action for the Titans following injuries to Zach Mettenberger and Jake Locker, but the news isn’t all bad on the Titans QB front. Whitehurst led the Titans to victory in the last meeting between these two teams, completing 17-of-28 passes for 233 yards in Tennessee’s 16–14 Week 6 win over Jacksonville in Nashville. If the Titans are to snap an NFL-worst eight-game losing streak, Whitehurst needs to protect the football and make some plays in the passing game. Whitehurst’s 89.1 passer rating actually leads the team (albeit in limited action), and his 5-to-2 TD-to-INT ratio is respectable. “I feel good about Charlie and what he's done. ... He started against Jacksonville the last time and played a pretty good game,” said coach Ken Whisenhunt. “He’s been a great support in the room, and we have confidence in him that when he plays he’s going to be successful.”



Jacksonville’s Key to Victory: Protect Blake Bortles

When Jags rookie Blake Bortles has had time to throw, he’s looked like a competent quarterback. Sadly, though, he’s had virtually no time to throw at any point this season. Bortles has been sacked an NFL-worst 41 times since Oct. 9 alone, and that punishment has to be adding up and putting a dent in his confidence when he drops back to pass. Bortles has 15 interceptions and a meager 70.9 passer rating, learning the hard way how tough life in the NFL can be. “In college, you can run around and do more stuff, but in the NFL guys are a lot faster and stronger,” he said. “So it’s a little more difficult. You want to be able to get rid of the ball and live another down, not lose 5, 10 yards on third down and create longer field-goal situations. Those are definitely things I’m working on.” The Jags would gladly take a repeat of Bortles’ Nov. 30 showing against the Giants, when he threw for 194 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions in a 25–24 Jags win. If given time, he can easily produce similar numbers against a struggling Titans defense. 


Final Analysis


The stats say that these teams are in the NFL’s bottom five in both offense and defense, and the stats don’t lie. The Jags have managed to force 18 turnovers, two more than the Titans, so we’ll go with that as our tiebreaker.

Prediction: Jacksonville 17, Tennessee 13
Tennessee Titans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Preview and Prediction
Post date: Thursday, December 18, 2014 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-december-17-2014

This is your daily links roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Dec. 16:


• Skill players aren't the only ones who do well with the ladies. Just ask Georgia kicker — yep, kicker — Marshall Morgan.


Andre Iguodala made fun of Mike Conley's uncalled traveling violation in a most delightful way, although it cost him a technical. 


• Well this is awkward: Jets owner Woody Johnson favorited a "Fire John Idzik" tweet. Accidentally, he said.


A Chicago sports anchor used an interesting graphic to call for cutting ties with Jay Cutler


Steph Curry has a pure jump shot — science says so.


Larry David talked golf, Jets and the Seinfeld finale on Simmons' podcast


The Browns pretty much hung Johnny Football out to dry in his first start.


The chefs try to impress Rob Gronkowski with their sausages on tonight's "Top Chef."


• This is not a new idea, but it's well executed: A bench warmer made himself a recruiting video


Evan Turner compared himself to Jesus.


Here's a heartwarming video montage of people getting puppies for Christmas.


• There was a "rain delay" at the Nets game.


-- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

Post date: Wednesday, December 17, 2014 - 11:00
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-december-16-2014

This is your daily links roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Dec. 16:


Your college football cheerleader showdown, bowl game edition


Warren Buffett took in a Cavs game in a Cavs jersey.


Jay Cutler showed up early for his press conference, spouted a few cliches, and left.


Carmelo Anthony has decided to dress like Darkwing Duck.


Bubba Watson drops a new single today as "BubbaClaus."


Average home attendance for every FBS school. It's getting tough to fill seats. 


Andrew Hawkins of the Browns had some thoughtful things to say about his protest


Here's Tom Izzo playing Christmas songs on the accordion, and reminding us all we hate the accordion.


Johnny Miller's not giving up on Tiger Woods.


Some U.S. cities actually want to be considered for upcoming Olympics.


• In case you were wondering, here's how the Internet actually works.


• John Wall and Liam Neeson star in a "Taken"-inspired promo.


-- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

Post date: Tuesday, December 16, 2014 - 10:44
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-december-15-2014

This is your daily links roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Dec. 15:


Merry Christmas from the Dufners


• Chad johnson tweeted out his generous tip


It was the Dez Bryant show last night


Johnny Football's dismal debut wasn't a huge surprise. Fortunately, it did lead to some fun Internet memes. Plus, for some reason, Joe Buck decided to share his thoughts

Amazing gesture from Oregon State to honor Marcus Mariota


• As if Kobe weren't depressed enough about this season, his team threw him a pathetic plane party to celebrate his passing Jordan on the scoring list


Apparently traveling is no longer against the rules in the NBA


• In case you're into legal jargon, here's the Adrian Peterson lawsuit against the Shield


The Kings fired Mike Malone out of nowhere. Merry Christmas. 


• A terrible roughing the passer ended the Niners' hopes against Seattle.


--Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

Post date: Monday, December 15, 2014 - 10:31
Path: /nfl/san-francisco-49ers-vs-seattle-seahawks-preview-and-prediction-2014

The sizzling Seattle Seahawks will go for a third straight victory over the struggling San Francisco 49ers this afternoon on FOX. Seattle (9-4) shined in the Thanksgiving nightcap, beating San Francisco (7–6) 19-3 just two weeks ago. Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick struggled, in particular, completing just 16-of-29 passes (55.2 percent) for a season-low 121 yards, zero TDs and two INTs for a season-low 36.7 passer rating.


Circumstances have only gotten worse for the 49ers, who lost 24-13 to the lowly Raiders last week. Over the past two weeks, Kaepernick has passed for a combined 295 yards, one TD and four INTs while taking nine sacks for 44 lost yards in two defeats. Kaepernick’s worst games have historically come at Seattle, where he is 0-3 with two TDs, six INTs and two lost fumbles.


San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks


Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET

TV Channel: FOX

Spread: Seattle -10


San Francisco’s Key to Victory: Rally Around Harbaugh

A report surfaced that Jim Harbaugh’s alma mater, Michigan, had reached out to the Niners’ boss about its vacant coaching job. With speculation running rampant that Harbaugh has one foot out the door — especially when you consider that CEO Jed York publicly referred to San Fran’s performance in a loss to the Raiders as “unacceptable” — it seems that the distractions swirling around the Niners’ headquarters are too much to overcome this week. But Harbaugh retains the respect of his players, who could rally around their embattled coach and strike a blow against their hated rivals from the Northwest. Harbaugh isn’t letting his job status distract from the task at hand. “My priorities are No. 1, winning football games, No. 2, with the welfare of our players, coaches and our staff, and lastly is what my personal and professional future is,” Harbaugh said. “My priorities are winning games.” 


Seattle’s Key to Victory: Don’t Look Ahead

The obvious temptation will be for the Seahawks to have one eye on a potentially division-deciding matchup with Arizona in Week 16, with the memory of their Thanksgiving domination of the Niners still fresh in their minds. Coach Pete Carroll is wary of overlooking a wounded, dangerous division rival and is alerting his team to the likelihood that the Niners will come to play. “That’s why they’re so dangerous coming in right now, because of his leadership and his toughness about the way he runs his program,” Carroll said of Harbaugh. “All the other stuff you guys thought was going on, there ain’t much to it. Really, it’s two football guys going at it and two guys who love to compete and battle and there’s nobody I’d rather play.” With that backdrop, a lapse in focus seems unlikely for a team that has won six of seven and is flexing its defensive muscles, allowing only 20 points in its last three wins.  


Final Analysis


The Niners’ season of promise has crumbled, hitting a low point in a Week 14 loss to their sad-sack Bay Area brethren Oakland Raiders. With the playoffs all but out of reach, they’ll have to settle for playing spoiler against the surging Seahawks. But given the bad blood between these two teams, expect a fierce and focused Seattle team to take care of its business. 

Prediction: Seattle 24, San Francisco 13
San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks Preview and Prediction
Post date: Sunday, December 14, 2014 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-december-12-2014

This is your daily links roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Dec. 11:


Mrs. Tom Brady took a trip to the beach, and cameras were clicking


• Urban Meyer's wife caught on fire the other night


Bruce Arians botched a challenge last night


The Bears have reached unprecedented levels of dysfunction


This guy's amazing golf trick shot involves a swimming pool and a fake cup


Gosder Cherilus is not a doctor, but he has a grim prognosis for Jadeveon Clowney.


An open letter to Johnny Manziel


A reminder for J.J. Watt that it's tough for a defensive player to win MVP.


Here's a crazy conspiracy theory behind Gary Andersen's departure from Wisconsin for Oregon State.


• Today's year-end list: The best sports media feuds of 2014


Jared Lorenzen offered his services to the Cardinals via Twitter


• Kobe had some hard words for his soft Laker teammates.


--Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

Post date: Friday, December 12, 2014 - 11:04