Speed Read: Bills Blunder, Let Brady Off The Hook

You know the Bills have had a rough history when they can completely blow a game like they did last night, and you can think of like five worse that have happened to them over the years off the top of your head. Buffalo used a poorly-timed fumble on a kickoff that never should’ve been returned to come from ahead and lose to the Patriots, 25-24, in both teams’ season opener.

Tom Brady and Jim Kelly

(These guys have three Super Bowl rings between them)

It wasn’t a completely devastating loss for the Bills (they were, of course, supposed to lose). It’s not like Vincent Gallo’s going to make a movie about it or anything. But at this rate, the people of upstate New York are just going to start hoping the team moves to Toronto so they don’t have to be so miserable all the time. They also should be happy to know that Brady told his New England teammates that he “knew” the Bills would let them back into the game late.

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One Brett That The Nation Can Actually Care About

• The harrowing story of Brett The Goat: From awaiting ritualistic slaughter while tied up in the trunk of a freaky Favre-hater, to his daring rescue by Minnesota auto mechanics & his settling down in the safe haven of a well-known Wisconsin farm.

Brett the goat

Disney & Dreamworks are dueling for the movie rights as we speak!

• Speaking of the other Brett, the SbB Favre Embargo has officially ended. Shall we do it again?

• Punts at the new Cowboys Stadium keep getting blocked by the big HD screen above the field. Whose fault is it - Jerry Jones or the NFL?

• Venice Beach: A great place for spotting topless ladies - and their kids!

• NCAA schools are looking to trim budgets by bringing to a halt the practice of hosting football players in hotels for home games.

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Rivers Gets New Deal; NFL Rookies Still Overpaid

As we mentioned this morning, Philip Rivers just got a monster new contract to remain the Chargers’ kinda-douchey quarterback. The important particulars: 6 years, $93 million. Well, check that - there’s no way he earns all $93 million.

Philip Rivers Sad Face
(”No sir, I don’t like it.”)

That’s because he’s only guaranteed $38 million, and that figure’s likely a lot closer to the amount Rivers will actually get out of the contract than $93 million. Hey, it’s the nature of the game. Guys get released - or their contracts “restructured” - all the time. And Rivers was paid something approximating a fair market price, considering Eli Manning just got $107 million. But there’s one aspect of this that’s still troubling.

That’s the fact that Rivers, for the boatload of money he did receive, only got as much guaranteed money as if he’d been drafted 4th in 2009 instead of 2004.

Allow us to explain.

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Speed Read: Punting Momentarily Controversial

With baseball not quite into the stretch run and the NFL and college football not quite ready to get underway, sports news has been a bit slow this week. So perhaps that’s why Punting-Into-The-Giant-HD-Screen-Gate just isn’t going away. Peter King spent an inordinate amount of time talking about it in his Monday Morning QB column yesterday, and he insinuates that the NFL might have as much to do with the mistake as Jerry Jones.

Cowboys Stadium

(Can’t the Geek Squad come and pick it up and put a new one in next week?)

It’s strange that the Cowboys had everything about the new stadium approved by the league, but Colts President Bill Polian — who is on the league’s competition committee — is quoted by King as saying this:

“The irony is that our stadium architect [at new Lucas Oil Stadium] wanted to hang the videoboards the same way in our stadium,” Polian said. “So we put a metal beam about 90 feet above the ground and had our punter at the time, Hunter Smith, punt the ball up there trying to hit it. He hit it the majority of the time. That’s why we put our replay boards on the wall.”

facepalm

Seriously, nobody from the NFL or the Colts, realizing that another team was building a new stadium, said anything to anyone else at the NFL or with the Cowboys about this possible issue? A guy on the competition committee didn’t see where the screens were going to be and say “uhhh, that’s not gonna work?” Or did Jerry Jones just not want to listen to anything because his punters don’t do silly things like kick the ball high and hard? Jones, for what it’s worth, installed the screens five feet higher than is required by the NFL. So why, if 90 feet wasn’t high enough for Indianapolis, does the NFL still only require 85 feet of clearance?

Cowboys punter Mat McBriar said yesterday that he plans on kicking to the sidelines, and isn’t worried about the boards. That’s great for Mat and all, but the problem is that you don’t want to get in a position of the screen being in play at all. It’s entirely possible that it could be hit two or three times in a row, and then you’re stuck with do-overs that exhaust players and open more opportunities for injuries.

The NEW YORK TIMES’ Richard Sandomir says that a screen like this is a completely new animal, and was specifically designed to hang at its current height. It is also designed to be able to be lowered, but not raised. One imagines that permanently raising it up would certainly be possible, but quite costly. And who foots the bill in that case? Jones (because it’s his stadium), or the NFL (because they approved it to begin with)? A Cowboys spokesman tells the DALLAS MORNING NEWS that the team doesn’t believe the height of the board will be a factor “in a competitive-game situation.” I guess they just think that A.J. Trapasso was screwing around when he plunked it.

But hey, I we’re just splitting hairs here. It’s a minor miracle that the thing still has a roof.

Cowboys Practice Dome

Don’t look now, but baseball’s 2007 darlings are well on their way to becoming baseball’s 2009 darlings. After a stunning walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the 14th inning from Ryan Spilborghs last night to crush the Giants 6-4, the Colorado Rockies are now four games up in the wild card race and just three games out of first place in the NL West heading into a huge showdown with the Dodgers at Coors.

Colorado Rockies

The Giants looked poised to pull within two games of the Rox, scoring three times in the top of the 14th to take a seemingly insurmountable 4-1 lead. But then Merkin Valdez completely blew up in the bottom of the ninth, walking pitcher Adam Eaton with the bases loaded to make it 4-2, then serving up the game-ending meatball to Spilborghs two pitches later.

Let’s be honest, here. The Giants are extremely fortunate to be anywhere near a playoff spot. It’s a testament to guys like Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain that they’re able to overcome an offense that features Bengie Molina’s .280 on-base percentage batting fourth every night. They’ve always seemed a bat or two away from being a real threat, and Freddy Sanchez wasn’t exactly the answer.

The Rockies are cruising now, and could potentially tie the Dodgers if they could pull off a sweep. Things are certainly much different this time around. The last times the Dodgers visited Denver, they swept the series and the Rockies fired Clint Hurdle the next day. Since Jim Tracy took over, Colorado is 53-26 and has cut L.A.’s lead over them from 14 games to three.

If Colorado can split the six games left with the Giants in San Francisco, they have a very favorable schedule, including 10 straight home games in September against the D-backs, Mets, and Reds. Then they get six games with San Diego down the stretch. It all leads up to a three-game showdown at Dodger Stadium to end the regular season. The Giants have nine games with Arizona and six with the Dodgers, but also have to go on the road to Philadelphia and Milwaukee while Colorado is in the midst of its long homestand.

Crazy to think that the NL West has become the best race in baseball, considering how well the Dodgers were going earlier in the year. And yes, a lot of that lead was built without Manny in the lineup.

Manny Ramirez Dodgers

 

NL West. Who ya got?

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Yeah, that’s really this kid’s name:

Mister Jones

His middle name is “Quincy,” and his entire name was devised by his grandmother, who filled out his birth certificate with his mother’s knowledge.

Mark Sanchez threw his first career touchdown pass…to the Ravens’ Haloti Ngata.

• A 13-year-old, 383-lb. football player from St. Louis collapsed and died of a heart condition last week during practice. Anthony Troupe, Jr.’s father dropped dead at the age of 45 in 2007. The AP asks if all student athletes should be tested for heart problems. I think the more reasonable question is why a 13-year-old kid was allowed to reach 383 lbs. Not to judge the kid himself, but someone around him should’ve taken some initiative to ensure that he was healthy enough to play football, considering the fate his father suffered.

• Hey, guess who just signed a $93 million extension?

Philip Rivers

• This whole Phoenix Coyotes business is just getting silly at this point. Jim Balsillie is offering $212 million to move the team to a place where it will become immediately successful, and the NHL is maintaining that they’d rather see Jerry Reinsdorf’s group buy the team for $60 million less and keep playing in a half-full building.

• SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY says that CBS and NBC are having trouble selling advertising for the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics, respectively.

• Your ridiculously violent Bolivian soccer incident of the week, courtesy of WHO ATE ALL THE PIES:

Billy Wagner has shunned the Red Sox and will stay with the Mets, according to FOX SPORTS’ Ken Rosenthal. The Mets will get two draft picks for Wagner when he walks as a free agent following the season.

• …and, Johan Santana is probably going to miss the rest of the season. I’m surprised his arm just didn’t come flying off during his last start. Even Frenchy’s on the shelf now.

• Look, I know the WNBA isn’t very popular, but the NEW YORK TIMES might want to employ a copy editor the one time they actually put something about the league on the front page:

Leslie Leslie

(I’m suddenly reminded of former Wisconsin player Duany Duany)

Plaxico Burress went on ESPN last night and said that he didn’t even realize he shot himself until he saw blood dripping on his shoe. Well, that, and the really terrible pain coming from his leg. I guess he thought he just cramped up.

Chiefs Go For 2 and the Win, Get 0 and a Loss

Kansas City is not going to the playoffs. They’re unquestionably one of the worst teams in the NFL over the past 10 years. They’re on a third-string, 7th-round rookie QB and haven’t had the service of elite RB/lady puncher Larry Johnson in about a month. They suck.

Herm Edwards Laughing
(Like we’d use any other picture.)

And yet there they were, taking San Diego to the wire today. The Chiefs led 13-6 at the half, but gave a point away when a bad snap screwed up their extra point. That’ll come up later. Philip Rivers threw 2 TDs in the second half to give the Chargers a 20-13 lead, but Kansas City fought back and scored a dramatic touchdown with under half a minute to go. All they would need is an extra point to tie the game up and take this thing into overtime.

But Kansas City had other plans, and they all involved epic fail. Read more…

Blog Jam: Danica Not Blamed For Buckman Bump

• USA TODAY’s GAME ON races over word that Danica Patrick won’t be held responsible for Friday’s accident that sent a pit crewman to the hospital.

Danica Patrick

In the meantime, Charles Buckman is still being held for observation after suffering a fractured skull & brain hemorraging.

• THE GRAND NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS is shattered that Jack Glasscock is still not in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

• JOE SPORTS FAN honors those players who paved the way for memorable home runs - by getting on base beforehand.

• And THE LEGEND OF CECILIO GUANTE expects even more remarkable base-clearers in the near future, as starting pitching is becoming pathetic.

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Report: Chargers’ Kaeding Kicked w/Cracked Leg

Nate Kaeding Kicks With Broken Leg

It appears the Chargers like to keep their boo-boos secret. After Philip Rivers admitted to playing against the Patriots without an ACL, the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE learns that kicker Nate Kaeding was booting field goals with a broken leg.

A person “familiar with the situation” said that Kaeding’s lower left leg was injured back on Dec. 24 against the Broncos, yet the kicker continued to play in San Diego’s last 5 games. Even with a fractured plant leg, Kaeding scored all 12 of the Chargers’ points in the AFC Championship Game.

The team had claimed that Kaeding’s injury was only a ‘bruise’, while also declaring Rivers’ torn ACL as just a ’sprained MCL’. But you have to admire Nate’s bravado in soldiering on despite the broken limb.

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Blog-O-Rama: Clemens Back With Astros - Sort Of

• The ASSOCIATED PRESS tosses news that Roger Clemens has been invited to join the Astros - at one of their pitching camps.

Roger Clemens Houston Astros banner

• Speaking of comebacks, Buffalo Bills player Kevin Everett is coming out with book in February.

• 100% INJURY RATE studies the evolution of football video games.

• For your viewing pleasure, here’s another enjoyable episode of ‘Blog Show‘, with your hosts, Jamie Mottran and Dan Steinberg.

• INSIDE USC knows there won’t be many pleasantries exchanged when Pete Carroll & Norm Chow meet next season. Read more…

No Wonder Brett Favre Hasn’t Retired Just Yet

Here’s Your Recap of SbB Today …

• Packers Bikini Girls apparently have “been around for years” (see update on this post). More pics here.

Packers Bikini Girls

Dwight Howard is no Philip Rivers, but we’d be tempted too.

Royce Reed Dwight Howard Baby Momma

• NYC radio host: Pete Carroll is the Redskins’ “mystery” coaching candidate.

Dungy’s staying for one more season until failed college coach Jim Caldwell takes over Colts.

Steelers receiver’s girlfriend needs SWAT team to take her down?

• Laurence Maroney “doesnt want to blow my wad early“. Us too!

• “Coming To America” predicts Giants-Packers outcome. Really.

Right ACL of San Diego QB Rivers ‘Totally Gone’

Playing with a hurt knee during Sunday’s loss to the Patriots, Philip Rivers showed he had a lot of guts. But what the Chargers QB didn’t have was a working ACL.

Philip Rivers injured

The SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE scopes out news that the anterior cruciate ligament in the San Diego signal caller’s right knee is “totally gone,” and he’ll have to undergo reconstructive surgery. Although his recovery time is unknown, the Chargers QB expects to be 100% healthy before the start of next season.

Rivers played the entire game with a missing ACL, but didn’t come clean about his true injury until Monday, earlier saying it was just a ’sprained MCL’.

Well, if Bill Belichick can be so secretive about his players’ bumps and bruises, why not San Diego?