Friday, November 30, 2012


So Detroit's defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh did not get ejected nor suspended for kicking Houston QB Matt Schaub in the groin. Hey, in professional wrestling even the fake refs admonish you for the fake groin kicks.

HOUSTON (10-1) 34
Detroit (4-7) 31
THE STATS: In overtime game, teams combined for 55 first downs, 1026 yards, 165 total offensive plays, zero defense.
THE STORY: In a game that featured 65 points and 11 scores, Houston never led until the overtime winner.

Dallas (5-6) 31
THE STATS: Washington four 2nd-quarter touchdowns.
THE STORY: Dallas made it close in the 4th quarter in a fun little game between two teams going in the same direction: Nowhere.

NEW ENGLAND (8-3) 49
NY Jets (4-7) 19
THE STATS: New England five 2nd-quarter touchdowns.
THE STORY: NY Jets were the only Thanksgiving team not to score at least 31 points.

Pittsburgh (6-5) 14
CLEVELAND (3-8) 20
THE STATS: Pittsburgh 1-9 on third downs conversions.
THE STORY: Steelers offense played like they were led by a 3rd string quarterback. Oh, yeah, it makes sense now.

Buffalo (4-7) 13
THE STATS: Indianapolis P Pat McAfee 5-51.2 average per punt.
THE STORY: Amazingly, at 7-4, Colts still have given up 43 more points than they scored.

DENVER (8-3) 17
Kansas City (1-10) 9
THE STATS: Denver defense: 116 yards passing, allow just 3-14 third down conversions, 9 points.
THE STORY: Fewest points for Broncos this season, but they still won because they were, ya know, playing the Chiefs.

Tennessee (4-7) 19
THE STATS: Jacksonville QB Chad Henne survives 7 sacks to go 17-26-261-1-2 TDs, 108.0 rating.
THE STORY: Would someone remind the Jags what they are playing for -- the top overall pick.

Minnesota (6-5) 10
CHICAGO (8-3) 28
THE STATS: Chicago WR Brandon Marshall 12-92, more than 1/2 of the team's 23 completions.
THE STORY: Minnesota now in 3rd place after starting the season 4-1.

ATLANTA (10-1) 24
Tampa Bay (6-5) 23
THE STATS: Atlanta WR Julio Jones 6-147-1 TD (24.5 avg).
THE STORY: Buccaneers still an intriguing team despite end of 4 game win streak, as Doug Martin scores 2 more TDs, 9 TDs for the season.

Seattle (6-5) 21
MIAMI (5-6) 24
THE STATS: Seattle 10 penalties to just 2 for Miami; Miami 2 first downs on penalties, none for Seattle.
THE STORY: Miami makes it a 2-0 weekend for the AFC over the NFC, but AFC still -8 on the season vs. NFC.

BALTIMORE (9-2) 16
San Diego (4-7) 13
THE STATS: Baltimore RB Ray Rice 22-97 rushing, 8-67 receiving, big 4th down reception and run with 1:37 left in regulation to set up game tying FG.
THE STORY: 4th and 29, Baltimore? Are you kidding?

New Orleans (5-6) 21
THE STATS: San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick 16-25-231-1-1 TD; 90.6 rating; 6-27-1 TD rushing.
THE STORY: Kaepernick is this season's Tim Tebow. And how is that working out for Tebow, anyway?

ST. LOUIS (4-6) 31
Arizona (4-7) 17
THE STATS: St. Louis Cornerback Janoris Jenkins 2 INT, 2 TDs (36, 39).
THE STORY: Did Arizona really start 4-0 ?

Green Bay (7-4) 10
NY GIANTS (7-4) 38
THE STATS: NY Giants defense: 201 yards passing.
THE STORY: Huge beatdown by the Giants, but actually, both teams are tied at 7-4 now.

Oakland (3-8) 10
THE STATS: Cincinnati RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis 19-129-1 TD.
THE STORY: Bengals 3rd straight win, and can continue to pad their playoff resume with games against San Diego, Dallas, and Philadelphia (combined 12-21), but finish against Pittsburgh, Baltimore (combined 15-7).

CAROLINA (3-8) 30
Philadelphia (3-8) 22
THE STATS: Carolina QB Cam Newton 18-28-306-0-2 TDs, 125.0 rating; 14-52-2 TD rushing.
THE STORY: A reality show we'd like to see: "Choosing The New Eagles Head Coach"

   - 30 -

Friday, July 13, 2012


 The home run derby continues to fill an important niche in the All-Star break. I know, I know, there's nothing new about it, and if one of your favorite players isn't in the thing, there's little to root for.

You might say that the event, broadcast on ESPN, is getting old, and simply no longer interesting. But this is one time I need to defend a boring, made-for-TV sporting event.

I still remember my first (and only) All-Star game which I attended, in Philadelphia, in 1976. That year, that's all there was -- an All-Star game.  But now, thousands of fans who can't score tickets to the main event can enjoy a night at the ballpark on Monday. And there was no All-Star coverage on TV back in 1976 on the off-night before the ASG. There was no All-Star game banter on Baseball Tonight on ESPN. There wasn't even an ESPN.

So the Home Run Derby Presented by Some Corporate Sponsor fills a huge programming void for fans wanting a big baseball fix during the All-Star break. And, along with the fun All-Star Fan Fest, gives fans in the All-Star city a lot to do during the All-Star break.


Great job MLB did by making the All-Star game at least somewhat relevant by giving World Series home field advantage to the winning league. That's led to 6 of the 9 home-field-winning-All-Star league winners also going on to win the World Series.

That makes the MLB All-Star game the only contest of its type that can affect the outcome of the championship season or the playoffs. But what about the Home Run Derby? How is that going to maintain relevance in the wake of it getting stale? My suggestion? Lets try giving home field advantage in the All- Star game to the league that wins the Home Run Derby.

       - 30 -

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

From the experts in Sports and Entertainment Law:

I attended this week a sports law seminar sponsored by the Sports and Entertainment Law society at Widener University, an organization of which I am proud to say I was once a member.

Two of the featured speakers on one of the day's panels were Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman, and Andrew Brandt, ESPN's sports business analyst and former Green Bay Packers officer.

I thought I would pass along some of the more interesting commentary from the seminar, particularly in relation to the recent NFL season that just wrapped up. If you remember, the 2011 season almost did not happen, as the NFL owners' lockout went right up into the start of NFL training camp.

Andrew Brandt said that when the 400 or 500 page Collective Bargaining Agreement comes out, they (salary cap executives like he was) just go to the 4 or 5 pages that matter -- the salary cap and free agency provisions. They don't care about things like pension provisions for the players.

Howie Roseman agreed, adding that when he gets his hands on the CBA, GMs also start looking for loopholes (in the cap and free agency).

Brandt, as founder of, and author for, The National Football Post (, said that writing about the NFL labor situation last year was not fun. He described it as "messy." But, he added, matter of factly, "it was a negotiation," as if to say that negotiations are, by their nature, messy.

Brandt did most of the talking during the seminar. Not because he was intent on dominating the discussion, but more than once, the Eagles' general manager, Roseman, said that he was unable to discuss certain player-personnel issues. The seminar's moderator, player agent Christopher Cabott, said not-entirely-jokingly that while Roseman would take questions, we should not bother asking the Eagles GM about free agency, the upcoming draft, or the status of Eagles star wide receiver, DeSean Jackson.

So why was it that Philadelphia Comcast SportsNet's Neil Hartman thought he could get Roseman to talk about free agency, the upcoming draft, and the status of Eagles star wide receiver, DeSean Jackson?

Hartman showed up at the sports law seminar with a camera at Widener University in Wilmington, Delaware, about 1/2 hour outside Philadelphia. Later in the evening, Comcast SportsNite's roundup program featured the first of a series of reports of their "exclusive" interview with Roseman, which was done at the law school following Roseman's appearance on the Sports and Entertainment law panel. Hartman, a distinguished sports reporter in the area, asked Roseman about the very things which Roseman said he was unable to discuss during our Sports Law panel discussion. And Roseman's answers to the interviewer were, as expected, non-specific.

Why Hartman felt it necessary to chase Roseman all the way down to Philadelphia is unclear to me. Is the Eagles General Manager not accessible in his Philadelphia office, which is just blocks from the studio where Hartman works?

Back to the panel, Andrew Brandt managed to narrow down the issues in the recent NFL labor environment. He said that lately, escalating player costs were outpacing revenues, fans weren't willing to pay for new stadia, and those facts are what the owners presented to the players. So, in the recent negotiations, some of the financial risk was shifted from owners to players. That shift comes in the form of the types of revenue now subject to the players share. On the players side, they wanted a shift in injury risk from players to owners. So as a result, players will now practice less, get hit less at practice, and work out less in pads.

Moderator Christopher Cabott then summarized what each side wants: Owners want more revenues going to the clubs in the revenue sharing arrangement with the players, an 18-game season, and a rookie salary cap.

The players, according to Cabott, want revenue divisions similar to the last CBA, a 16-game schedule, and to maintain post-career benefits.

As expected, there would be some good-natured needling and disagreement between the player and ownership reps on the panel. Player agent Cabott stated that an average NFL player's career is 3.4 years on grass, but only 3.2 for those who play home games on artificial turf.

Cabott was trying to make two points. First, that a player's career is short, and secondly, that home-turf players careers are shorter. I'm not so certain that a .2 years (6.3 percent) difference in career length is statistically significant. But the panelist on the owners' side had another problem with Cabott's statistics.

Roseman said that Cabott's numbers may have covered all NFL players, including those on an NFL roster that never play, and players that may be cut before playing a down. He said that if you go by just players who actually play in The League, the average years for a career rises into the 4's.

As for the revenue streams that were part of the contentious negotiations last year, Brandt made the point that the percentage that was thrown back and forth for player compensation was just part of the equation. Under the previous CBA, players were getting 60% of revenues towards the salary cap that teams could spend. That percentage was based on "Total Football Revenue," or TFR.

But Brandt made the distinction that the percentage received by players is not the only factor, but instead, it matters "OF WHAT" the percentage is from.

If you remember last summer's mess, the players and owners went back and forth on a lesser base percentage. Owners wanted players to get less than 50%, the players proposed something along the lines of 52% -- still less than the 60% the players has been getting under the previous CBA. But those percentages were of TOTAL revenues, not just football revenue, as per the previous CBA. So, under the new deal, players will get 46-48% of all revenues generated by the teams, which is a larger pool than just football revenue. This larger pool might thus include merchandising, concessions, and corporate sponsorships, which may not be covered under just "football revenue."

If you are interested in sports and entertainment legal and business issues, I recommend you research local Continuing Legal Education (CLE) programs or American Bar Association programs in your area. While these seminars can be expensive, you can usually just walk in and take a seat. Just don't tell them that I said so.

- 30 -

Saturday, February 18, 2012

THE NFL STORY: The Super Bowl

So the Super Bowl went off without a hitch. Too bad we can't say the same about the halftime show.

NY GIANTS (13-7) 21
New England (15-4) 17
THE STATS: Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning 30-40-296-0-1 TD, 103.8 rating.
THE STORY: Elite quarterback? Who's laughing at that now?

- 30 -

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

DID YOU NOTICE? The Super Bowl edition

Why was Kelly Clarkson singing the national anthem? Does she have a show coming up on NBC?

I was so sure about this, but I was wrong about one thing about the Super Bowl production. During Clarkson's rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, I told my wife to wait for it....

.... the fly-by.

Oh, sure, I know they were playing the Super Bowl in a dome, so a military fly-by would have seemed ridiculous. But that didn't stop the NFL from arranging for a fly-by during the 2008 Phoenix Super Bowl -- even though the roof had been closed.

I was wrong. There was no fly-by over the dome in Indianapolis.

For the pre-pre-game show, NBC broadcast a retrospective of the 2011 NFL season, narrated by Tom Selleck. It was a good way to kick off 6 hours of football coverage -- and that's not including the time it took to play the game.

In the closing credits of the program, the NBC "Road to the Super Bowl" show featured media credits to just two entities: One was probably a film production company of some kind called ITN, and the other credit was to "".

I wish I had made that prop bet on whether there would be a safety in the Super Bowl.

What we learned from the pre-game interview of various players who want to be playing in the Super Bowl again, but aren't: one player said the Super Bowl players each get 15 game tickets and 2 hotel rooms. By my calculation, that's about 1350 tickets just for the participating players. Add in coaches and team officials, and I'll bet we're over 2000 tickets just for team commitments. And other NFL teams get about 1% of the seating capacity of the stadium. Each NFL player gets the chance to purchase 2 tickets. That covers another more than 1000 tickets. Don't worry, I'm sure fans can purchase a few tickets, too.

It took nearly 30 minutes of their live 4-hour pre-game show for NBC to trot out the first of the stars of their television series. The honor went to Katherine McPhee of NBC's new series, SMASH. And so, the NBC self-promotion was off to a good start. Before the hour was over, NBC promo'd another series with one of their stars, and then Parks and Recreation star Amy Pohler was featured in a comedy segment.

Later, NBC's pre-game show featured a completely non-football related promotion for a movie, "That's My Boy" and brief face time with its stars, Andy Samberg, Adam Sandler, and another of the SNL guys. I assumed the movie was connected with NBC-owner Comcast's Universal pictures division, but I couldn't find a connection to Universal. That left me with the feeling that the interview with the stars of the movie was nothing more than a not-so-subtle paid advertisement for the movie.

Later, the upcoming Marvel Avengers movie and its star also got a segment during the pre-game show. That movie is produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. Again, no Comcast / NBC / Universal connection. Yeah, definitely a paid commercial.

Can you say Product Placement? As the pre-game show wore on, Ritz crakers were highlighted by feeding the pre-game show hosts various toppings on Ritz crackers, complete with a large Ritz cracker logo on the on-air video boards. Guess those FCC laws against too many commercials per hour of TV doesn't count for in-show commercials.

NBC's pre-game show timing was well done. NBC slowly transitioned each hour of the pre-game show towards move football-related content. The first couple hours featured completely non-football-related product placements and in-program commercials. By 4:00pm, they still weren't talking much football, but did turn to the entertainment part of the Super Bowl. That's when NBC interviewed Madonna about her halftime show.

During the Madonna interview, she was asked if there would be a "wardrobe malfunction" during her 12-minute set. Madonna said, unequivocally, that she "guaranteed" there would be no wardrobe malfunction.

I think the better question to ask Madonna would have been "So, do you guarantee that none of your talentless, media-craving, publicity-seeking guest stars will try something totally insulting, stupid, obscene, and in violation of FCC rules, just to advance their careers and street cred?

Was it me, or was the Lucas Oil Stadium field devoid of that ridiculous and embarrassing scene of teenagers jumping up and down around the stage during the halftime show? Usually the NFL rolls the kids in -- and then herds them out after the halftime show -- to give the feel and excitement of a concert. Then again, with a cast of thousands, Madonna did not need extra bodies around the stage.

NBC's pre-game show also added a story about New York Giants' wide receiver Victor Cruz' unique touchdown celebration, which is a salsa dance.

BUT WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? After Victor Cruz's touchdown early in the game, NBC cut from the receiver doing his patented salsa touchdown celebration. They cut to a shot of quarterback Eli Manning trotting off the field, never returning to Cruz' TD celebration. Nor did NBC show it on replay, in spite of making a big deal of the dance on the pre-game show.

After the game, who knew that it would take longer for 78-year-old former NFLer Raymond Berry to walk the Vince Lombardi trophy from the sideline to the presentation stage at midfield, than for Kelly Clarkson to sing the national anthem?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Super Bowl 46 -- I mean, The Big Game 46-- preview


Cities virtually step all over themselves to get big conventions, sporting events, and of course, The Olympics to come to town.

So what goes into getting The Big Game? This story from The New York Times gives a little insight into the process of landing a Super Bowl for your hamlet:

In summary, a city gets a Super Bowl by what the Times characterizes as:

"Build or improve your stadium. Run a good franchise. Play well with others. Beg a little."

I was waiting to hear the article mention "Give us 2000 free hotel rooms."

I've always suspected that the NFL either required thousands of hotel rooms to be handed to them, or to just black out EVERY hotel room within a 50 mile radius of the host city, so the NFL could control every room. That's why my research a few years ago for The Sports Bar found that it was impossible to get a hotel room within 75 miles of the host city well before The Big Game. And if you didn't mind staying an hour or so away, it would cost hundreds per night just for a 2-star hotel room.

But while it is short on specifics of my pet research project concerning hotel rooms, the article reveals that building a new stadium (read: getting taxpayers to filter millions of dollars to NFL owners) can land you the biggest one day prize in sports.


This is the part of the show where we first recognize that nothing could be more parochial than discussing how much we hate this Super Bowl matchup.

Everyone reading this has a different viewpoint on each of the two teams. Many factors go into how you feel about the Patriots and Giants, much of it based on geography.

My neighbor's family got together to watch the AFC title game last week. Oh, how nice, I thought. A family from the Washington, DC. area, gathering to cheer on their regional foes from the other conference, the Baltimore Ravens. Not so, grandma-from-next-door told me. They were rooting AGAINST the Ravens.

Whatever your feelings about this year's game, I know that for me, I might have a hard time finding a matchup that I loathe more, or that bores me more.

It would be different if I just hated one team. That would be an easy Root-Against. But I can't stand either of them.

On the one hand, you've got a sideline that is nasty, disrespectful, and cheaters. And that's just the coach. On the other side, you've got New Yorkers.

Come to think of it, the New Yorkers aren't much different than the other sideline.

So I set out to try to determine what is the absolute worst game I could imagine seeing in the Super Bowl. Is there a game in which I could possibly be less interested?

I sat down with the NFL standings, and I went through every possible AFC v. NFC matchup. That's 16x16, or 256 possible game combinations. And here's what I came up with:

Super Bowl game I'd most like to see: Eagles against anyone.

Only Super Bowl game I hate more than New England v NY Giants: New England v. Dallas.

Most boring Super Bowl matchup (no root-for nor root-against interest): Arizona v. Houston.

Lesser of two evils Super Bowl: Oakland v. Dallas

Can't find lesser of two evils, because they both are the incarnation of blood-sucking vampires Super Bowl matchup (think Jerry Jones/Bill Belichick): Dallas v. New England

Best Super Bowl to take a nap: Buffalo v. Tampa Bay

Most overhyped Super Bowl: New York v. New York. Game played in New York.

Super Bowl that even that guy who's been to every Super Bowl would consider not showing up for: Jacksonville v. Seattle

Worst owners in the NFL Super Bowl matchup: Irsay family v. Jerry Jones.

Most sentimental matchup: (teams never to play in a Super Bowl) Cleveland v. Detroit.

Best Natural disaster matchup: New Orleans v. Tennessee (Nashville)

Old School Super Bowl: Oakland v. Green Bay

New School Super Bowl: Houston v. Carolina

Most winners of most Super Bowls matchup: Pittsburgh v. Dallas

Most losers of Super Bowls matchup: Buffalo v. Minnesota (duh!)

The Undefeated Super Bowl: Miami vs. New England (an all AFC Super Bowl).

THE NFL STORY: Conference Championships

So I guess Mr. and Mrs. Harbaugh don't have that difficult decision to make, after all.

Baltimore (13-5) 20
NEW ENGLAND (15-3) 23
THE STATS: New England: 1 penalty, 1 turnover. Baltimore: 6 penalties, 3 turnovers.
THE STORY: Patriots won in spite of a 57.5 passer rating by Tom Brady. You think the Giants can hold Brady to under 60?

NY GIANTS (12-7) 20
San Francisco(14-4) 17
THE STATS: San Francisco 1-13 3rd down conversions.
THE STORY: So the NFL got to use those wacky playoff overtime rules. I still haven't figured out the rules, but at least they got to use the rules.

- 30 -

Friday, January 27, 2012

JOE PATERNO: 1926-2012

I wish I could say that I grew up at Penn State, but I can't. I did, however, grow up WITH Penn State. And that meant that I grew up with Joe Paterno.

My parents went to Penn State. My brother went to Penn State. Me? I only wish I had, but I had another calling from an Ivy League school in West Philadelphia that to this day, gets confused with Penn State. Yes, there really are "Not Penn State" t-shirts available on the Penn Campus. That never bothered me when I attended Penn; I knew the difference, even if the students at Penn hated that we were confused with a "football school." What they didn't know is that Penn State was a lot more than a football school.

But football at Penn State only set a tone for the school. It created a dynamic that drew you towards the University, even as a young boy.

Saturdays in the fall are still one of my most vivid memories of growing up. My dad and I would drive off to the local farmer's market, where we'd pick up 3 sides of beef that we would wrap up for the freezer later in the day. Always on that car radio was Penn State football, the voice of Fran Fisher calling names like John Cappelletti, Chuck Fusina, and all those Bahr brothers. Joe Paterno had recruited and coached the players that made Penn State football an experience. We loved Penn State football, even if, in the days before the federal lawsuits that opened up broadcast rights, you only got to see your favorite team play live on television once or twice a season.

But that was okay, because Sundays were time for the Penn State Football Show. The one-hour package of that weekend's Penn State football game was such required viewing in our house, that my dad and I would watch separate broadcasts on separate channels over the course of those Sunday mornings.

Listening to and watching all those Penn State games, I'd like to say that my father taught me to love and respect coach Joe Paterno. But he didn't. He didn't have to. You only had to watch Paterno, and listen to Paterno, to love and respect Paterno.

I admired JoePa so much that I bought whatever cause he was selling. Joe said there should be a playoff in college football. That worked for me. Coaches should graduate their players? I couldn't have agreed more. Plain uniforms without names on the back? Fine with me. Joe once said he didn't want to leave college football to the Barry Switzers.

Well, I didn't need Joe Paterno to tell me about Barry Switzer. It was easy to see what an ass he was.

When you went to a live Penn State game, there were two things you wanted to see. The players might come and go, but you knew that you could see, and wanted to see at every game, Joe Paterno and Mount Nittany.

Rising miles beyond the stadium, but seemingly as close as that coach in the khakis on the sideline, was Mount Nittany. As stoic as Joe himself, that big hill set the tone for the beautiful valley over which it rose. Much like Joe set the tone for an entire academic community.

He wasn't just Joe the coach of the football team. He was the coach of the entire school. He was everyone's coach, and could have been everyone's grandfather. More powerful than any administrator, move loved than any professor, more a symbol of the school than the mascot, Paterno's influence was not bounded by Beaver Stadium. Joe's contributions to the library -- there's a wing in the name of he and his wife Sue -- his "grand experiment" of combining athletics with academics, and his ever-faithful position as teacher and mentor to the Penn State community, is what set the tone for the campus.

Remember the last time Joe publicly spoke to the student body? You've probably seen the video of Joe on his lawn, addressing the shocked students in the wake of his dismissal from the 2nd great love in his life, as coach of Penn State football. Remember what Joe told the students gathered on his lawn? Told them to go back and study.

Joe didn't drill the academics down your throat, mind you. He didn't have to. He wanted his players to graduate. Well, heck, if the dumb jocks can get a Penn State degree, so can I. He gave his money not to build a new athletic facility, but to a library. And on the worst day of his Penn State life (with apologies to 4th-and-1 in the Sugar Bowl) he told the kids to go study.

That's the kind of man I wanted as the coach of my favorite football team. Or to coach my own son. In fact, when my boy was born less than two years ago, I said in my Sports Bar Newsletter that I hoped my son would grow up to play for Joe Paterno. I was only half-kidding; the thought that Joe would ever not be the coach at Penn State was almost unimaginable. I would not have been surprised to see JoePa still coaching the Nittany Lions when my boy got there in 18 years.

I guess my boy won't grow up to experience what a great man was Joe Paterno. But he will learn it from me.

Eventually, I had the chance to go to Penn State. Took the summer before my junior year at Penn to be a real Penn State student, if only for one summer. Penn State wasn't a place I *wanted* to go to, it was a place I NEEDED to go to. I had to feel that experience of being a part of Penn State. Studied hard, got all A's and a B that summer. Our dorm won the softball intramural title, playing the title game in the shadows of Beaver Stadium. We'd might as well have been playing in the shadows of JoePa himself.

I look forward to taking my son to Penn State, to show him where his dad won the softball title, and the library where his dad studied every night.

And when we do visit Penn State, Ryan will know Joe Paterno had been there as well. He will see it in the library, he will see it in the magnificent stadium and athletic facilities that exist because of Paterno. And my boy will know who was responsible for it, because I won't let him forget it.

But while Joe set the tone for the Penn State experience, he is maybe getting too much credit. You've heard it said that Joe was the embodiment of Penn State. That he *was* Penn State. Angelo Cataldi on WIP sports radio said the university "Would not exist" without Paterno.

Okay, so that might be just so much sports-radio-host hyperbole. Whatever the case, I think this part of the accolades of Joe Paterno's life is unfair to Penn State. Penn State was a great place before Joe got there, and would have been a great place without him. The academics, the alumni community, and the beautiful college town that sprang up around it, are all top notch. Penn State has more fundraising than I think you could find on any college campus. THON, the former Sy Barash Regatta, the Lady Lions Pink Out for breast cancer. You might not have heard about this philanthropy, but trust me, everyone connected with Penn State has.

So there is lots to admire and love about Penn State, and it would have been there without Joe Paterno. JoePa just made it a better place than it ever could have been without him.

We will miss you, JoePa. GrandPa. CoachPa. Penn State, college football, and the lives of an entire educational community were a lot better off because of you. I look forward to telling that to my son.


-- Brian, somewhere near Penn State

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


We're "black" today, to join the campaign against big business interests who want to control and censor the Internet.

Friday, January 13, 2012


So maybe god is be a Tebow fan, after all.

Cincinnati (9-8) 10
HOUSTON (11-6) 31
THE STATS: Houston RB Arian Foster 24-153-2 TD.
THE STORY: The game mirrored Cincinnati's season: Get off to an early 7-0 lead (started 6-2), then struggle the rest of the way in scoring just 3 more points (3-5 record to end the season at 9-7).

Atlanta (10-7) 2
NY GIANTS (10-7) 24
THE STATS: NY Giants WR Hakeem Nicks 6-115-2 TD.
THE STORY: New York's reward for an impressive win: Green Bay.

Detroit (10-7) 28
NEW ORLEANS (14-3) 45
THE STATS: New Orleans offense 34 first downs, playoff record 626 total yards.
THE STORY: Saints still haven't lost since before Halloween.

Pittsburgh (12-5) 23
DENVER (9-8) 29
THE STATS: Denver QB Tim Tebow 10-21-316-0-2 TD, 125.6 rating;
10-50-1 TD rushing.
THE STORY: Most memorable picture of the weekend wasn't Tebow Tebowing after the win, but the media rushing to get pictures of Tebow Tebowing after the win.

- 30 -

Friday, January 6, 2012


So Tebowmania is dying down. Guess you gotta actually win to be a
pop culture icon.

Detroit (10-6) 41
GREEN BAY (15-1) 45
THE STATS: Green Bay QB Matt Flynn 31-44-380-1-6 TDs, 136.4 rating.
THE STORY: The Green Bay quarterback factory continues to turn them out.

TENNESSEE (9-7) 23
Houston (10-6) 22
THE STATS: Houston's first postseason.
THE STORY: How far can the Texans go behind T.J. Yates after losing quarterbacks Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart?

Indianapolis (2-14) 13
THE STATS: Jacksonville just one penalty, one turnover.
THE STORY: Colts horrible season proves the value of losing a premium quarterback. Now let's see if Indy goes and drafts one.

NY Jets (8-8) 17
MIAMI (6-10) 19
THE STATS: Miami wins in spite of being outgained 210 to 374 yards.
THE STORY: After two consecutive runs to the AFC title game, the Jets took themselves out of the playoffs by losing their final three games to teams with a combined record of 23-25. Someone has some 'splainin to do, Lucy. I mean, Rex.

CHICAGO (8-8) 17
Minnesota (3-13) 13
THE STATS: Chicago snaps 5 game losing streak.
THE STORY: Good news for the Bears: the crowds in Florida are thin this time of year. Enjoy your vacations.

Buffalo (6-10) 21
NEW ENGLAND (13-3) 49
THE STATS: Buffalo 1-7 on 3rd down conversions.
THE STORY: Buffalo started the game 21-0, then gave up 49 straight points. Kind of a microcosm of their season (3-0, then 3-10 the rest of the way).

Carolina (6-10) 17
NEW ORLEANS (13-3) 45
THE STATS: New Orleans 617 total yards.
THE STORY: Carolina was actually 6-6 until you factor in their 0-4 against the division's two playoff teams, New Orleans and Atlanta. That's something to build on in Carolina, but shows how far they have to go.

Washington (5-11) 10
THE STATS: Philadelphia TE Brent Celek 6-86-1 TD.
THE STORY: Eagles win their last 4 games, go 5-1 in the division, score the most points and give up the fewest in the division, but still miss the playoffs. How is that possible?

St. Louis (2-14) 27
THE STATS: San Francisco K David Akers 4-4 XP, 2-3 FG, 1-1-14-0-1 TD passing, 158.3 rating.
THE STORY: So 49ers kicker David Akers threw a touchdown pass to WR Michael Crabtree, who faked like he was leaving the field on a FG attempt. But why would the Niners roll out that play a week BEFORE the playoffs?

Tampa Bay (4-12) 24
ATLANTA (10-6) 45
THE STATS: Atlanta RB Michael Turner 17-172-2 TD.
THE STORY: Atlanta led 42-0 with 6:49 left. Not left in the game, but in the first HALF.

BALTIMORE (12-4) 24
Cincinnati (9-7) 16
THE STATS: Baltimore RB Ray Rice 24-191-2 TDs.
THE STORY: Baltimore secured the #2 seed, setting up a possible showdown in the 2nd week of the playoffs against #5 seed Pittsburgh. Just what we need, another matchup in this great rivalry.

PITTSBURGH (12-4) 13
Cleveland (4-12) 9
THE STATS: Pittsburgh time of possession: 39:11.
THE STORY: Pittsburgh needed to win to have a chance at winning the division, a first-round bye, and even home field. But they got no help from around the league, and settled for the #5 seed.

Seattle (7-9) 20
ARIZONA (8-8) 23
THE STATS: Tie game in regulation produces virtually tied statistics at the end of the game: Total Yards (Seattle Arizona): 369/388; First downs: 19/20; Turnovers 1/2; Total plays: 73/73; Passes: 35/40; Completions: 21/22; Punts 8/7; Penalties 7/9; Time of Poss: 33:42 / 35:19.
THE STORY: Last year, two teams with 7 wins in the NFC West would have been playing for the division title in Week #17.

Denver (8-8) 3
THE STATS: 2nd lowest scoring game in the NFL this season (Cleveland over Seattle, 6-3 in Week #7).
THE STORY: Denver's ride to the playoffs was like a Chris Berman home run call: "Back, back, back, back, BACKED IN".

SAN DIEGO (8-8) 38
Oakland (8-8) 26
THE STATS: Combined 983 total yards of offense.
THE STORY: Disappointing season for San Diego, which started 4-1 and finished 4-1. It was the 6-game losing streak in the middle that hurt. Even more disappointing was the Raiders, who could have made the playoffs if they had won, coupled with Denver's loss.

Dallas (8-8) 14
NY GIANTS (9-7) 31
THE STATS: Dallas 2 turnovers vs. 0 for New York, 7 penalties vs. 3, 6 times sacked vs. 2.
THE STORY: Playoffs began a week early for the Giants.

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