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Friday, December 25, 2009

behind the numbers fantasy bowl ix

In episode #316 and the finale of season 3, behind the numbers brings you coverage of fantasy bowl ix pitting the K Rabbits against The Commish.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

behind the numbers playoffs edition

Episode #315 features week 15's playoffs edition with clips from this week's black is for sunday press conference as well as a dual interview with the icon and K Rabbits.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

behind the numbers week 14

Episode #314 features a special one on one interview showdown between K Rabbits manager/Oddsmakers founder and writer Kris Norris and your host.

Friday, December 4, 2009

behind the numbers week 13

Episode #313 offers a behind the scenes look at the making of behind the numbers and features a director's commentary on the episode.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

behind the numbers week 11

Episode #312 features a playoff preview and an interview with defending champion The Protagonist.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

behind the numbers week 10

Episode #311 features this year's theme music for each team and a final word on the "Never Forget 11/06/09" trade.

Friday, November 6, 2009

behind the numbers week 9

I'm back and in my usual format this week. Episode #310 features midseason awards and a board bet between The Commish and The Protagonist.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

wine to water

You know how I love my social causes...

Do you want to provide water for 6,000 people who could die without it? Vote for Doc Hundley on CNN below. If you want to know why, read this article from today's News & Observer and check out Wine to Water.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

don't be a goofus

Caught a little bit of Mike and Mike talking about this ESPN Page 2 list of things that make you a sports doofus. Had to share the top 5 with you.

1. Wearing a team jersey inscribed with your name

Dubious behavior: Simple. Show up to a Cleveland Cavs game in a No. 23 jersey, only with F-O-R-B-E-S stitched along the back.

Doofus factor: High. It's one thing to create yourself as the cannon-armed quarterback of your favorite squad in "Madden," living out vicarious athletic fantasies in the privacy of your home. It's quite another to drape those same fantasies across your pudgy, rounded shoulder blades as you slouch over the guardrail behind the home team's bench, waiting for a call-up that will never, ever come. Really. Your team would rather sign Jeff George.

Suggested solution: Stick to stock jerseys, the way the NFL sometimes must wish it did.

Mitigating circumstances: If you're a Seattle Seahawks fan … and you pick the retired No. 12 fan jersey … and you don't have a favorite player … or a favorite former star … and you don't mind looking just a bit like a doofus … go ahead and customize your shirt. Sigh.

Related behaviors: Women wearing pink team gear, especially Boston Red Sox hats and Dallas Cowboys jerseys. Wake up, America! Doofusdom does not discriminate on the basis of gender!


2. Owning wild-card paraphernalia

Dubious behavior: Purchasing and/or having in one's possession a hat, T-shirt, banner, wall pennant, novelty towel or framed newspaper clipping that commemorates a wild-card playoff appearance by a team you root for.

Doofus factor: Very, very high. The equivalent of putting cubic zirconium under glass, surrounded by a cat-burglar-foiling laser light array. After all, your club didn't win its division, smiting its hated rivals in the process. Uh-uh. It simply backdoored into the postseason, NHL No. 8 seed-style, the better for leagues and networks to maximize their revenue streams. Like the flash-flood river from which you pulled that ridiculous New York Yankees Wild Card '07 cap.

Suggested solution: Credit cards and scissors before the fact; gasoline and matches after.

Mitigating circumstances: If you root for the Houston Texans, and they make the playoffs for the first time ever via a wild card, you're completely excused from shame and scorn. But just this once.

Related behaviors: Wearing or owning 2008 New England Patriots 16-0 merchandise, a USA Basketball 2004 men's Olympic jersey, Memphis basketball Conference USA champions gear or anything Duke basketball that doesn't mention the Final Four.


3. Shooting an air ball in a promotional contest

Dubious behavior: Hitting everything but net (and iron) when hoisting a free throw/3-pointer that could win you a car, a couple of thousand bucks or free chalupas for everyone in the building.

Doofus factor: Moderate for missing with a rushed, halfway-decent-looking jumper. Astronomical for missing with an awkward two-handed push shot that wouldn't be out of place sailing toward a peach basket. Here's the thing: Between nerves and adrenaline, shooting in front of a large crowd can get the best of anyone. Understood. But if you can't shoot a basketball in the first place -- if you have no idea what a guide hand is, let alone when to snap your wrist -- you probably shouldn't be on the court. Even if your law firm has really great seats.

Suggested solution: DO NOT SIGN UP FOR THE CONTEST. And decline if selected. If someone asked you to retake the SAT in Mandarin Chinese, right now, in front of your entire office, would you do it? No? Exactly.

Mitigating circumstances: If you're shooting from half court or currently using crutches.

Related behaviors: Bouncing a ceremonial first pitch, blowing a trampoline slam dunk, botching a coin toss (Phil Luckett only).


4. Wearing a Bluetooth earpiece during a game

Dubious behavior: Manning your seat, strolling the concourse, standing in line for curly fries or saddling up to a urinal with one of those unobtrusively obtrusive hands-free cell phone earpieces hanging from your dome.

Doofus factor: Significant, for at least four reasons: (1) You're on hand to watch sports, not prattle on about the Hong Kong stock exchange; (2) everyone around you is on hand to watch sports, not listen to you prattle on, which you'll have to do loudly, because you are, in fact, at a game; (3) you look just as borderline Marbury-ish talking to yourself in a stadium as you do on the street; and (4) real life isn't "Star Trek," Lt. Commander La Forge!

Suggested solution: Tell your friends to text you. Alternately, stand down your electronic communiqu├ęs for a few hours. Seriously. Just try it. You'll be surprised by how unimportant you are.

Mitigating circumstances: Medical doctor on call? Work for the home team's public relations staff? You're good.

Related behaviors: Checking your BlackBerry 47 times during the fourth quarter of a tight NBA contest or the fifth inning of a baseball game. Aren't you trying to get away from work?


5. Going crazy over giveaway T-shirts and burritos when you're occupying $500 seats

Dubious behavior: Responding to ballpark freebies as if you've been ingesting nothing but prune juice and boiled sand weevils for a month, and the CO2 cannon is loaded with invitations to be the next contestant on "The Price Is Right."

Doofus factor: Moderate. Gratis goodies have a way of warping the mind -- drivers will happily spend two hours waiting for $20 of free gasoline -- but when you can afford primo seats, you also can afford room-temperature fast food and cheap, one-wash-and-it's-ruined shirts that you'd never, ever be excited about under any other circumstances. Which means it's the cheerleaders, "Austin Powers" sound snippets and annoying stadium PA guy who are whipping you into a Pavlovian froth. Which means you probably should be embarrassed.

Suggested solution: Get ahold of yourself. Step back from the ledge. Stop waving your hands as if the ballpark prize patrol is a U.N. relief convoy. To use a sports chestnut: Act as if you've been there before. And if a goody happens to land in your lap, give it to a child.

Mitigating circumstances: If you're under the age of 12 and/or still get excited about Happy Meal toys, stay pumped.

Related behaviors: Vigorously cheering for the home team to top 100 points so that everyone in attendance gets a free pizza, then putting in a last-call drink order with the courtside seats waitress.

Read on for more from Page 2...

Friday, October 30, 2009

behind the numbers halloween special

Episode #309 is a special halloween episode of behind the numbers. If David Lynch made a Scooby Doo musical about fantasy football, it would be this podcast. Enjoy and Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

one night only

I have to be honest. I feel a little bit like Adam Sandler walking into Charlie Goodnight's trying to do stand-up comedy. Once you've made it, you've made it. (Note the perfect use of the comma splice there.) They pay you $20 million to do movies. Why are you going to slum it in some dive comedy club when you can be chilling in your trailer waiting for your next scene and chomping on some fresh fruit? But I return to show you that I am the best there is, the best there was, the best there ever will be. Just because I've advanced well beyond your primitive methods doesn't mean I don't still own your medium, Oddsmakers.

If I'm a stand-up comic in this analogy, then Oddsmakers is reality television. You're formulaic, you're scripted, there's a lot of annoying people involved, and the novelty wore off years ago. You're The Real Gilligan's Island, the real world version of the 60's sitcom they tried a few years back. You take something that used to be great that people loved and you try to steal the magic from it for your own gain. It never works. Face it. You're a poor man's me. Jeff Probst, your fifteen minutes of fame have been up for ten years. Ryan Seacrest is ashamed of your awkward, cringe-inducing jokes. You are bringing in more guest "stars" than VH1. The problem is that it doesn't matter how many co-writers you decide are the weakest link it won't be enough to get your sagging ratings to jump up. Here's a better idea. Bring in some talented young writers and comics, have them write your column every week, and let America choose who gets to stay for the next week. You could call it American Idol. Hold on. That's already taken. So you could call it Who Wants to be Brent Woodcox? I take it back. You could be the star of that show.

Enough said. Onto the picks...

SHolstonKayakPirates vs. The Commish
Rumor has it that no where is the Kyle Orton vs. Jay Cutler battle brewing stronger than inside the locker room of The Commish as he offered a trade for one Jay Cutler just before settling on Kyle Orton as a backup. Jimmy should consult Josh McDaniels on how he handled that move because that dude is cold-blooded. I was first in line doubting McDaniels moving of Cutler in the offseason, but I am all aboard the Bronco bandwagon now. McDaniels knew that for all Cutler's gifts, he lost you as many games as he won in the clutch and he was a hard-headed prima donna unlikely to accept new coaching and competing with McDaniels, a young head coach trying to gain respect and leadership in that locker room. Now Lil' Hoodie is making Orton look like an actual NFL QB. But even Rex Grossman could run this offense. Make no mistake. Kyle Orton is still Keanu Reeves... errrr, Kyle Orton.

One thing is for sure, the answer to who is better Kyle Orton or Jay Cutler is not Tony Romo. As I correctly predicted before the season, Tony Romo was in for a down year without "The Player" (who shall not be named but the Pirates have historically had a huge man-crush on). Just a couple weeks ago, Jimmy benched Romo against the Chiefs. What do you think that does to a man's ego? He's supposed to be the leader of the team and you emasculate him like that. Who is the leader of this team? Certainly not The Commish, himself. Jimmy has been making the worst decisions in leading his army since Hannibal tried to cross the Alps. (obscure historical reference requirment satisfied) Careening off course without stong leadership, the mighty Commish falls to the Pirates this week. Jeff's bad luck has to even out sometime.
Pick: Pirates

black is for sunday vs. The Institute
I wonder if the Oddsmakers ever asked The Institute for any war stories about going up against the G.O.A.T. Probably not since he would have had to step over his broken, decaying bones to even enter this fray. But suffice it to say that there is no love lost between these old foes. VZ's interminably long winning streak over me was the winter of my discontent but a new spring has sprung and that bit of history has been firmly put in the past. Umphlett says I gave up this week because I wouldn't trade him Calvin Johnson or Brandon Marshall for Joseph Addai. (Incidentally, unless Addai is switching to WR for this week, I'm not sure how he could help me anyway.) Funny, I thought refusing that trade was part of my master plan of not giving up on the season. No, this is week is my personal Rubicon and I intend to cross it in triumph. (obscure historical reference requirement satified) The rumors of my fantasy death are greatly exaggerated. Although I have made two of the worst calls in my career as a manager the past two weeks, neither time did it cost me a win and if you put those players in my lineup my point total would be right up there in competition with the top 3.

It is true that all three of my WRs are on bye this week. The good thing about facing VZ's team with no WRs is that he never has any. It doesn't matter who is on bye. So while I miscalculated my bye weeks on draft day, VZ miscalculated, you know, drafting any. Peyton Manning is going to have a huge game because he hates me and I hate him. If we got in a fight, he would probably beat me up worse than he beats his wife. But it's cool because I'll beat him on the fantasy field this week.
Pick: Black

K Rabbits v. showmedamoney!
Kris has already ordered the champagne and cigars to celebrate his halfway championship. Why not? In almost every area of his life, he is used to finishing when others are only halfway done. (vague sexual innuendo requirement satisfied) Barack Obama's Nobel Peace Prize thinks your gloating is premature. Seriously no one has celebrated anything more prematurely since GWB was waxing poetic on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln. The mission is far from accomplished, you cowboy wannabe moron. By the way you misspell your own players names (first AP/AD, now Rodgers/Rogers) I can only assume you share an IQ level with the former Prez but I didn't realize you shared political philosophies. Take note. This is a desert war that quickly can turn into a quagmire bogging down the troops and needlessly costing thousands of lives. By your draft day strategy, I would think Donnie Rumsfeld is sitting in your war room but it might be time to start ignoring his advice. You have done exactly nothing and three years from now when you're talking about your 2009 season, you'll be the only one who remembers you starting 5-2 on the way to choking out another fantasy season. Whoops, think I gave myself away too early. Somehow appropriate for this discussion. True love waits, bitch.
Pick: show

The Champ vs. 40 acres & a mule
I actually kind of agree with the Oddsmakers that this is not going to a pretty game to watch. What I mean by that is you'd have to be Steve Phillips to want to get down with that. Steve, man what are you thinking? You don't need to take a leave of absence from ESPN, you need to take a hiatus from life. You ruin your family, your marriage, and give away half your ish for that. Why, Steve, why? Rick Pitino, Mark Sanford, and Ben Roethlisberger were on a conference call to discuss your poor judgment (and apparently poor eyesight). I know you baseball guys are familiar with the concept of a "slumpbuster." But this is just to a whole new level. Even this woman feels sorry for you.

Boss Tells Woman that her Husband's been Fired sound biteAlright, somehow I have gotten through this whole diatribe without talking about the game at all. Job well done. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if Brandon came in rocking another team's jersey this week a la Jeff Fisher. Why not? Get out while you can. It's OK to be a bandwagon jumper even if you are the coach of the team. Right, Roy Williams? (Ouch. That hurt me to write that.) It's a good thing that fantasy managers don't have hot seats because no one has ever had one hotter than Brandon right now. Keep the 0-14 dream alive, bud.
Pick: 40 Acres

game of the week
The Protagonist vs. the icon
Chris is looking like a modern-day Nostradamus riding a four-game winning streak after having called his shot, but now it appears that even he is beginning to doubt. Umphlett would be starting Wes Welker anyway after his brilliant performance but hoping to negate Reggie Wayne with Austin Collie is a fool's errand. No one can predict who Peyton Manning is going to throw to on any given play. Not even Peyton Manning. Until he gets to the line, audibles 100 times, reads his progressions, and checks down to the open guy, there is no predictive indicator in the world. What I can tell you is that against the Rams, I know who Manning will be throwing to this week: anyone he wants to. Cat is going to back in the pocket playing an "Eenie Meenie Miney Mo" game on Sunday and that is not likely to favor Umphlett's best friend. Lassie! Chris fell down in a well and can't get out! Go get help!


Meanwhile for Overbay, it's all aboard the Tom Brady hype train. Dude has one good game and everyone is daydreaming fondly of 50 touchdowns again. Stop trying to make Tom Brady happen, it's not going to happen! Someone honestly quoted the stat that he has now thrown for 10 TDs in his last 5 games. Yeah and 6 of them came in one game while he only had 4 in the other four games. Typically, NFL teams don't quit in the first quarter... unless they are the Tennessee Titans. So while Tampa is another good matchup, I just don't see the same thing happening across the pond. Still, I don't see Overbay's "London Bridge" falling completely down this week, the icon will be sitting in Buckingham Palace after this week is through, the crown jewel of the league.

Folks, you've been a great crowd. Remember to tip your waitresses. (That's called coming full circle.) I'm out.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

fantasy football and beautiful women

Matthew Berry's weekly pickups column was interesting if only because it attempted to bridge the long and dangerous chasm between fantasy football and beautiful. It also starts a good debate. BTW, I agree with those who say my girl, Kristen Bell, should have made the list. She'd be on mine.

**************************************************************************************

Waiver wire: Celebrity edition
By Matthew Berry

It has been well documented, yes.

Successful? Not so much.

I am speaking, of course, about my attraction to Anne Hathaway. I've written about it before -- some might say comprehensively; searching "Matthew Berry Anne Hathaway" on ESPN.com returns 36 results -- and, my friends, you will not be shocked to learn I have yet to meet Ms. Hathaway.

I bring this up because recently I did a podcast interview for a women's sports site. My one-sided relationship with Anne was discussed, and the host of the podcast, Erica Boeke, took issue with my choice of Anne.

She's all for my finding love; she just hates my current object of affection. No one is ever happy. Anyway, she recently wrote a column in which she suggested I get rid of Anne and suggested 14 new women for my celebrity crush. I thought that maybe a woman would have some good insight I hadn't considered. I am always open to matchmaking and have been on a number of blind dates. So, for my celebrity crush, it's good to get a fresh perspective. Or give my editor an excuse to run photos of crazy-hot (or crazy hot) women in this space.

Here's who Boeke suggested, along with my comments:
.
Jessica Biel: Get real. Even with my huge ego, I would say there's no chance. For this to work, there has to be at least a modicum of "you never know, if we were alone at a bar late, and she'd had a few and was in a 'I'm done with model-looking guys, maybe I'll slum with a funny guy' mood, it could happen." Her supposed ex brought sexy back. What am I bringing back? Not my hair, I'll tell you that.

Jennifer Love Hewitt: Known as "Love" to those closest to her, this is an immediate nonstarter. A great-looking girl who, by all accounts, is really cool, she is dating Jamie Kennedy. And, totally random, but my kid brother is actually very good friends with both of them, especially Kennedy. Like, invited-to-my-brother's-wedding close. It would be creepy and weird. OK, I realize I am talking about an unrequited celebrity crush here, so, um, it would be more creepy and weird.

January Jones: Definitely a fan, but it's important to me that I am the palest one in the relationship, and, as per "New York" magazine, just too many unanswered questions.

Amy Adams: She's been engaged for years. I'm always very respectful of relationships, and plus, this strains the credibility factor. She's a movie star and she's engaged. No way. Come on, Erica. At least with Anne, you had the fact that she was single and vulnerable, and clearly, after her relationship with the con guy, had very questionable taste in men. That I can work with!

Kate Gosselin: Single moms with eight kids are always a tough sell, especially when they are complete and total witches. And words that rhyme with that. Plus, I don't own any Ed Hardy shirts, and it seems her type of guy is the one who has a closet full of them.

Ginnifer Goodwin: Not my type. Too alliterative.

Jennifer Aniston: We talk a lot in fantasy about bye week replacement. Like last week -- OK, Peyton Manning is my quarterback, but he's on a bye. Do I love Matt Cassel? No, but I can live with him for a week. Or like the Phillies. They wanted Roy Halladay. Couldn't get him, so they get Cliff Lee. Not as good, but very solid. But if they couldn't get Halladay, they weren't going to go out and get Brian Moehler. Well, after you marry Brad Pitt, you're not going out with me. Period.

Shenae Grimes: I do love my "90210" and have been known to date younger, but not that young. She's super-cute, but I can be creepy all on my own, thank you very much.

Rachel McAdams: Very hot in "Wedding Crashers." Single. After Ryan Gosling and Josh Lucas, she might be in that "Julia Roberts, I'm sick of great-looking guys, I'll try Lyle Lovett" phase. Potential.

Danica Patrick and Natalie Coughlin: As in, a tie between two sports women, not both at the same time. I like the idea. My ideal woman loves sports. But Danica is taken and not my type. Natalie is currently on "Dancing With The Stars," and as someone who has appeared on the show as a commentator, I can't let my integrity on something as crucial as DWTS be compromised.

Kirsten Dunst: Pretty and strikes me as kind of crazy. And if you've read my column for any amount of time, you know that's my type. Another contender.

Natalie Portman: She's Jewish like me, crazy hot and brainy. She's the mother of Luke Skywalker. She did this. She is, quite frankly, too awesome for words. A good choice but perhaps ... too obvious? I don't know. I feel like she's Ray Rice in the preseason. Yes, I love him. But so does everyone. I want this one-sided celebrity crush that has no chance of materializing to be, you know, special.

Dunst, Portman and McAdams make the final cut, but I'm not ready to commit just yet. I need more information. More research. And more names. But it's been a good exercise. Looking over a list of someone I should "cut" and people I should consider "picking up"?

Not all of them work for me, some are taken in (or out of) my league, but the point of Boeke's column is interesting. Time for me to change it up. To consider different names. To get rid of someone who is not working for me.

Yep, just like fantasy football. (Saw this one coming a mile away, right?) It's time to consider cutting bait on guys like Steve Smith of Carolina. I'm not saying to drop him, but his days of being an automatic starter are long gone. We are six weeks through the season. You now know quite a bit. The days of saying, "Yeah, I love Anne Hathaway, she's my WR1" are over. Carefully consider each and every option -- including the ones listed below -- before setting your roster. ...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

behind the numbers week 6

Episode #308 features a fantasy football roundtable with President Obama, Rush Limbaugh, Jessica Simpson, and Kanye West as well as my take for The Protagonist.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

behind the numbers week 5

Episode #307 features my take on Braylon Edwards, Michael Crabtree, and Rush Limbaugh and the Rams. I also try to seperate the contenders from the pretenders among the 2-2 teams.

WARNING: Some content not suitable for all audiences.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

slaton & knox guests on fantasy focus

black is for sunday was glad to have two members of our squad, Steve Slaton and Johnny Knox, interviewing with our colleagues Nate Ravitz and Matthew Berry on ESPN's Fantasy Focus: Football podcast.

You can hear their interviews here.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

behind the numbers week 4

Episode #306 will answer your burning questions. What will become of Hines Ward? What do The Commish and Tim Tebow have in common? What is "sexile?" Who will claim the biggest upset of the week? All this and more in week 4 of behind the numbers.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

the times they are a-changin'



Bob Dylan saw it coming but not many of us did, including Michael Fabiano. Fabiano says that with the increase in the RBBC (running back by committee for those not down with the lingo) and the plethora of useful quarterback options, playing the matchup and make the right lineup decisions is more important than ever. What do you think? Is it now tougher than ever before to be a fantasy manager?

I miss the good old days.

You know, the days when I could keep studs like Dan Marino, Marshall Faulk, Barry Sanders, Emmitt Smith and Jerry Rice in my starting fantasy lineup week in and week out without every having to worry about it.

Those days are over.

Now the term “stud” refers to a much smaller handful of players. Sure, maybe you took Steve Slaton in the first round of your fantasy draft. But would you call him a stud? Certainly not this season. In fact, he’s been very replaceable if you have backfield depth. Give me Fred Jackson or Cadillac Williams. Both have been better than Slaton after three weeks.

Yes, the list of the elite fantasy players is shrinking like George Costanza after a dip in the pool.

I would argue, that at this very moment, there aren’t even 10 studs that I feel safe starting every week regardless of the matchup. That list includes Drew Brees, Tom Brady (yes, he’s still a star), Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson, Larry Fitzgerald, Randy Moss and Andre Johnson among the top three positions.

OK, so guys like Maurice Jones-Drew and Calvin Johnson are darn close. They would really have to go through some hard times to ever consider benching them. But even if we include this duo, that’s still just nine players who we keep in our lineups every week without fail.

Nine out of how many players currently being owned in your fantasy league? Maybe 192 in a 12-team league with 16-man rosters?

That’s a minute percentage. ...

It doesn’t help that more and more NFL teams are utilizing multiple running backs in their offense. Sure, it helps keep players fresher during what is a punishing 16-game season. But it does nothing but cause confusion in fantasy circles because of the clutter of talent at the position. ...

That means that in more cases than not, you’re going to have to play the matchups and make educated decisions when setting your lineup. In some scenarios, it means rolling the dice on players with great matchups.

You drafted Ryan Grant ahead of Cedric Benson, but guess who you should start this week? Here’s a hint — it’s not the guy you drafted first. Oh, and if you landed Willis McGahee somewhere in the middle to late rounds, chances are you’ll now be starting him ahead of second-round pick Clinton Portis.

Combine the decrease in must-start players with the growth of backfield committees, not to mention an increase in good quarterbacks, and this has become the most challenging time to be a fantasy owner.

Click here for the full article from NFL.com...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

behind the numbers week 3

Episode #305 features the long awaited interview with The Commish, a board update, this week's breakdown, and my take in 64 bars for the Oddsmakers.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

texas stadium fail

Not as bad as Jerry Jones picking his nose on the big screen...

Click here to visit the FAIL blog...

Friday, September 18, 2009

tony reali = sportswriter? who knew?

Who knew that Tony Reali, the man once voted most likely to portray me in a movie about my life, was also an above average sportswriter? Apart from his more visible duties for ESPN on Around the Horn and PTI, he also runs the @AroundTheHorn twitter feed, which is well worth the follow if you are so inclined. In addition, he writes a weekly fantasy football column for the Philadelphia Inquirer and his latest edition is quite impressive.

Once great is not good enough

The best thing about being a Fake General Manager - other than the chicks - is doing what the real ones won't. Example:

TRADE APPROVED: Tomlinson, LaDainian (Breaston Plants) for Bell, Mike (Orton Lets Out a Phew).

Oofa. That didn't take long. This decade's greatest fantasy player for a spot starter who torched the Lions. It happened in a friend's league two days ago and it's vintage Week 1 overreaction. It's also the right play.

Fact: Tomlinson is the best fantasy player of all time. Fact: He's won you multiple leagues. Possible fact: Shrines have been built around his aura. Would-be-cool-if-it's-fact-but-

I'm-not-sure-it-is: He tames tigers.

But I wouldn't start him over Fred Jackson this week. (Not that I have Fred Jackson. Nope, I took Reggie Bush instead. Yeah, I stink.)

It's fantasy law. Keep your friends close and your 30-year-old RBs closer. Sure they have history, but history can only get you in trouble. You fall for a guy when he's young, he wins you a league, you ride him until the last stop, and that last stop is a street called Last Place. One minute, Shaun Alexander or Marshall Faulk is winning the MVP. A minute later, the only thing their legs can do is kick you in the groin.

What do you do? Stick with him because he got you here? Or dump him for the newer model?

It's not easy being a fake GM, but occasionally you'll have to make the tough call. And it will hurt. But those equatorially hot chicks make up for it. ...

Click here for the full article...

irrational peyton manning hatred of the day



Saw this on former league member Brian Oten's Facebook page. Thanks to him for the picture and this commentary.

"So THIS is why they have great chemistry..."

Thursday, September 17, 2009

behind the numbers week 2

Episode #304 features a segment of here's my take, point-counterpoint with The Institute, a board bet update, this week's breakdown, and a special tribute to Patrick Swayze from the Oddsmakers.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

dunzo

LT2 is dunzo.

I know. It's hard to face it. It sucks. He has given you so much fantasy success, so many highlights, and been so fun to watch on Sundays over the last decade.

All good things must come to an end and this one has. Since his completely ridiculous season 2006-07 when he finished with 1815 rushing yards, 508 receiving yards and 31 touchdowns, has posted these totals the last two seasons.

2007-08: 1474 rushing yards, 475 receiving yards, 18 total TDs
2008-09: 1110 rushing yards, 426 receiving yards, 12 total TDs

I should know. I have been watching the guy deteriorate like stryofoam in a microwave over the last two seasons. This is the way it goes with running backs. You go down, you don't come back. The age of 30 is the unclimbable wall for nearly all of the greats and we have lost many a stud producer at the base of that wall.

After last night's uninspiring performance, it is clear that despite their protestations, the Chargers plan to employ a running back by committee and that Tomlinson's understudy, Darren Sproles, will be on the field for the majority of third downs.

So despite his bluster and talk that he is the only back in the league that can do it all, fantasy owners and LT2 himself are learning. Yes, he can do it all, but he doesn't do any of it as well as he used to. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

As sad as it makes me to say it. LT2 will not be a top 15 RB this season.

Put it on the board.

Tomlinson is a fantasy superstar no more

LaDainian Tomlinson is done.

I know, I know. It’s just one week. That’s what you’re telling yourself if you took him in the first round. Sure, there’s no reason to panic. He’ll be better next week — oh wait, he faces the Ravens next week. OK, but he’s L.T., a fantasy god! He’ll turn it around.

No guys, he won’t.

Tomlinson was the best running back in fantasy football for years. I loved him the second he came out of Texas Christian. But all good things must come to and end. And at the age of 30, it’s pretty clear that Tomlinson has lost a step.

Case in point. A team that he used to destroy, the Oakland Raiders, held him to one catch, 66 scrimmage yards and one touchdown.

That lone score came after Antonio Gates was stopped at Oakland’s 1-yard line, after which Tomlinson took it in for the score.

It wasn’t exactly a tough touchdown.

Despite what Chargers coach Norv Turner might have said in the offseason, Tomlinson is no longer a featured back either. He was replaced on third downs the entire game by Darren Sproles, who was far more explosive and productive than his veteran teammate.

When the game was on the line in the second half, it was Sproles, not Tomlinson, who was on the field.

Reports later indicated that Tomlinson had rolled his ankle, which was part of the reason he was on the sidelines. However, he told the San Diego Union-Tribune that “it wasn’t bad enough I couldn’t play.”

If Tomlinson’s ankle wasn’t that bad, why would he not be on the field? Isn’t he the best running back on the team? I would argue that Turner knew Sproles was making more plays and decided to keep him on the field.

I would also argue that Tomlinson isn’t the best back on that team anymore.

Click here for the full article from NFL.com...

Monday, September 14, 2009

btn LIVE - 9/14/09

btn LIVE from Monday Night Football takes a look at the first half of Patriots-Bills and recaps week 1.

Friday, September 11, 2009

get me my hat

If there is anything I hope becomes a new catchphrase for this NFL season, I hope it is those four words. Yahoo's Michael Silver reports that just before taking the field for the game-winning drive in overtime for the Steelers Thursday night, Ben Roethlisberger asked a ballboy on the sidelines to "get me my hat" presumably because he expected to soon be telling the cameras and media members surrounding him how he just won another spectacular game in the clutch.

Big Ben has been taking plenty of heat lately for his sometimes unexplainable decision-making, for his propensity to hold the ball far too long, and for his general ability to strike fear into the hearts of Steelers fans. Still, you cannot tell me that if he is the QB of your football team, you wouldn't instantly feel better as soon as he had the ball in his hands with 2 minutes or less. Does he ever fail to come through? It might not be pretty. He might never make it look as easy as Brees or Brady or Manning. But the man wins and he puts on that hat to tell you how he did almost every time.

Clutch moments becoming old hat for Big Ben

PITTSBURGH – The Tennessee Titans called heads, the coin came up tails, and while 65,110 fans at Heinz Field roared their powerful roars and waved their Terrible Towels, Ben Roethlisberger(notes) sidled up to a ballboy and made a four-word request.

Get me my hat.

A brutally physical NFL season opener between the defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans was deadlocked and headed for overtime late Thursday night, and the quarterback’s statement carried an unspoken but obvious tagline: Get me my hat, because I’m about to take us down the field for the winning points, and I want to cover up my sweaty hair when I do that postgame interview with Andrea Kremer.

And what did the ballboy do?

“He got me my hat,” Roethlisberger said about half an hour later as he undressed at his locker, grinning like a schoolboy who’d just drained a game-winning jumper at the recess bell.

Smart kid, that ballboy. Clutch dude, that quarterback. Right now, with apologies to the NFL’s two reigning greats in New England and Indy, is there any passer you’d rather have with the ball in his hands and the game on the line than Big Ben? ...

Click here for the full article...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

btn LIVE - 9/10/09

btn LIVE talks with the managers of showmedamoney! and 40 Acres & a mule to get their ideas on the first half of the Steelers-Titans.

behind the numbers week 1

Episode #303 features a breakdown of teams around the league and the draft, our first board bets, and a brand new special guest.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

memo to coach jags

In honor of N.C. State kicking off the football season tonight against the O.B.C. just as the news breaks that Tampa has parted ways with offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski, Tom O'Brien's successor at Boston College.

Memo to Coach Jags: To quote an iconic piece of American cinema, Friday, "How you gonna get fired on your day off?!?" I mean, you didn't exactly have the day off in the waning days between training camp and week 1 but that doesn't change the fact you have now been fired from not one, but two jobs since the last time you actually coached a game.

Sad to say it, because former ECU coach and Triangle sports radio personality Steve Logan has your back and I have massive respect for him, but I think you might have deserved it. That is, if your job-choosing skills in any way correlate with your on-the-field capabilities, I would have zero faith in your play-calling abilities, too. It was probably for the best that the Bucs decided to break you off to spare you from further public embarassment.

First, you directly defied your employer at BC by going on an interview with the Jets. An interviw. Not a job. Not a job. An interview. Not a job that actually pays you money and puts food on your table. We're talking about an interview. (You get the picture.)

Your boss said, "If you do this, I will fire you." Here's a good job-searching tip. If you are looking for a new job. Do not quit your old job before the ink is dry on the contract for your new job. And definitely don't risk getting fired so that you can get an interview. I don't care if I was offered an interview to be the photographer and "model-tester" for the next shoot of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. Before I quit my job, I am going to get them to sign on the line that is dotted!

After that act of sheer brilliance, whiffing on the Jets job, and your subsequent completely unsurprising summarial dismissal from BC, you luckily caught on with Tampa as the new OC. Now when they came to you this week saying it wasn't a good fit, they didn't think you had the experience or the know-how to call plays, and the team was looking to go another way, you turned down a demotion to the QBs coach position. No, no, no, homie. This is a rough economy. You don't know where that next check is coming from. If your interviewing and decisionmaking skills are any indication, it's unlikely that the doors of opportunity are going to be flinging open before you any time soon. I fully expect to see you down at my neighborhood Dick's Sporting Goods trying to sell me some unnecessary golf equipment in due time... that is, if you don't blow the interview.

lame podcasts = fail

These guys suck. Their information is spotty and their jokes are not funny. Just another podcast that is not as good as mine and why on a good day I really feel like I could do this professionally.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

omg, romo has a new gf

As much as I would like to pretend that celebrity gossip is below this blog...

It's not.

Besides I have a take on Tony Romo's new girlfriend.

It's time for an intervention.

Her name is Candice Crawford. She is a local Dallas Erin Andrews wannabe and former Miss Missouri. (Please raise your hand if you know any hot chicks from Missouri. That's what I thought.) But apparently, she is most famous for being the sister of actor Chace Crawford of Gossip Girl marginal fame. In fact, the brother actually hooked that up for Romo which would only be kind of weird except that right after Romo broke up with Carrie Underwood she dated Crawford. (That elevates it from marginally weird to sword-crossing Cruel Intentions kind of weird. I mean, what's next? Romo hooks up with Nick Lachey's cousin.)

I mean... she aight. But clearly Romo is on a downward spiral when it comes to fantasy dating. He went from the incredibly beautiful Carrie Underwood who seems to be relatively non-crazy by celebrity standards to the incredibly annoying Jinxica Simpson and her incredibly creepy dad to the relatively average (by celebrity standards) Candice Crawford.

Somebody needs to remind this guy he is QB1 for the Dallas Cowboys. You do not need to run marginally famous teeny bopper guy's sister game.

And you need to focus on football. Life in Dallas is not going to be nearly as interesting or productive without the wideout that everyone loves T.O. hate. I know your man crush on Jason Witten is not going to be enough to get you through those cold Texas nights, but you do work relatively close to the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders' dressing room. A man has needs. I get that. But a lot of people are counting on Romo to come through this year and he has already shown a propensity to let off-the-field drama affect his on-the-field performance.

It's time for Romo to decide whether he wants to be a flash-in-the-pan celebrity favorite of the papparazi or if he wants to be legendary football player and fan favorite for "America's team."

By the end of this season, we'll know the verdict on Romo's football career and his game.

not so fast, my friend

LaDanian Tomlinson doesn't like that Adrian Peterson is getting the "#1 running back in the NFL" gloss. He says he's the league's best back and doesn't care if Jim Brown disagrees with him.

"Jim Brown was telling Peterson he's the best runner he'd seen in a long time," he said. "I was sitting there reading it thinking, 'Wow.'

"The difference with me is you can put me out on that field and there will be nothing I can't do. I won't have to come off the field. Adrian has to come off sometimes on third down. Running routes, he's still not there yet. Great downhill runner, powerful, fast, all that stuff. . . .

"But anything on that field you want me to do -- throw it, block -- I can do it. That's what I pride myself on is not having any weaknesses. And that's what makes me the best back."


(HT: ProFootballTalk.com)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Friday, August 28, 2009

bill simmons: summer of mailbag revisited

If you aren't a reader of Bill Simmons, you are missing out. This guy is legitimately hilarious and seriously irreverant. His latest mailbag is a thing of beauty. Between his theories of "press box hot" and "pregnant hot" (I'm looking at you, Billy), athletes and their celebrations, and signs you spend too much time at work (which basically all apply to me), this column had me on the floor. Enjoy.

Q: I am a big fan of your idea of "Press Box Hot" in which any remotely attractive woman instantly becomes a supermodel when she walks into the press box. While in summer school this week, I realized this also applies to the awful classrooms in August full of dudes and freaky chicks. It made me think of other places where "Press Box Hot" comes into play like church, sports collector conventions and Star Wars premieres. Any others?
-- Evan, Hope Valley, R.I.


SG: You forgot Seedy Strip Joint Hot; Female Blackjack Dealer Hot; Women's Professional Athlete Hot (Danica Patrick and Jennie Finch are undeniably cute, but stick them in the sports world and they suddenly become Victoria's Secret models); American Gladiators Hot; '80s Movies Hot; Cleaning Lady Hot (we all have at least one friend who talked themselves into an older cleaning lady once and had his way with her, and if you don't have this friend, that means YOU were the friend); Nanny Hot; Sports Bar Waitress Hot (the Carla Tortelli complex); Wedding Hot; Female Musician Hot (which is what makes the bassist for Stellastarr* so hot, because she'd be hot anyway, but as a bassist in an indie band, she's jaw-droppingly, stupefyingly hot); Hip Hop Backup Singer Hot; Beach Around 3 p.m. When You're Overheated & A Little Punchy Hot; Pregnant Hot (you're damned right I went there); Goth Hot; Tattooed Hot; and my personal favorite, '80s Female Pro Wresting Hot.

Explanation for the last one: When I was 14, along with everyone else in my age range, I absolutely believed that (A) Wendi Richter was super-attractive, (B) Miss Elizabeth wasn't just beautiful, but classier than Princess Di or Nancy Reagan, and (C) I would sacrifice 10 solid years off the tail end of my life to see Missy Hyatt naked for 10 seconds. As far as I can tell, that's the widest swing between "actual attractiveness" and "perceived attractiveness," which is why '80s Female Pro Wrestling Hot tops everything else, including Press Box Hot and Sports Collector Convention Hot. I'm glad I'm here. ...

Q: Do you think Alex Ovechkin pounds the headboard after sex like he pounds the glass after a goal?
-- Justin, Lancaster, Penn


SG: There's no question. You just made me think of something, though -- each sport has its own unique celebration to some degree. Here they are:

Baseball: Walk-off hit followed by a circle with dudes jumping up and down in unison.

Football: Guy dances by himself as teammates watch him.

Basketball: Guy struts back up the court after a big shot, makes the Tony Montana "sticking out the lower jaw trying to look like a badass" face, preens for the crowd and eventually gets chest-bumped angrily by other people his size.

Hockey/soccer: Scorer gleefully skates/runs away from the goal and gets mobbed by teammates.

Golf: Awkward fist pump after a putt, followed by an extremely awkward high-five with a caddy.

Tennis: Guy sinks to his knees like he's absolutely incredulous (even if he's not).

Here's my question: Are we happy with these matches of sport and celebration? For instance, I'd love to see baseball players adopt the tennis celebration: hit a homer and just sink to your knees in complete shock for five seconds as everyone angrily stares at you. Wouldn't it be more fun if the winning tennis player sprinted 40 yards like a soccer player and acted like a crazy person? What if a golfer and caddy did a two-man jump-up-and-down celebration like baseball players after a walk-off?

Also, why are we so content with the celebrations we have? I love Ovechkin's self-check into the boards. It's fantastic. Why couldn't someone like Chris Paul make a big shot, wait for the timeout, run over to the scorer's table, then stage-dive into his sea of teammates like they're a giant mosh pit? Why couldn't a golfer hand his putter back to his caddy and his caddy could pretend to be electrocuted by it? Maybe the golfer could pretend that he's also being electrocuted, and they could stand there vibrating for a couple of seconds? We need more clever celebrations heading into this next decade. ...

Q: Can we have a "signs of too much time at work" list? I'd like to inaugurate it with "reading steve blake's wikipedia."
--@sdotsom (via Twitter)


SG: Very good start. I'd include these as well ...

1. You did mock fantasy drafts in ESPN.com's mock draft lobby picking from every position 1 through 12, just to "get a feel for how everyone else is thinking."

2. You send your friends e-mails with subject headings like, "Jeter HGH -- WOW!" and "Have you seen the topless Scarlett Johansson photos?" with tiny URL links that actually direct them to naked photos of dudes and it never stops being funny to you.

3. You spent 20 minutes looking for the most horrifying photo of a naked guy for the above reason.

4. You have a Google alert for your own name even though you're not a celebrity.

5. You change your Facebook/Twitter photos every few days to "mix it up."

6. When your company once banned certain Web sites from being surfed at work, you reacted like a cross between Norma Rae and Karen Silkwood as people wondered, "Wait, why is he/she taking this so personally?"

7. You go outside with co-workers for their cigarette breaks even if you don't smoke.

8. You're running your office's pools for NFL Picks, NFL suicide, March Madness, the Oscars, the Emmys, the Royal Rumble and the AVN Awards.

9. You heard that this mailbag was up, then wrote into your work planner for today, "2:00-2:15: Take a dump while reading new Simmons mailbag."

10. You just read No. 9 on the bowl, laughed and talked yourself into the whole thing being a total coincidence.

Click here for the full article...

behind the numbers preseason: mock draft edition

Episode 3.02 of behind the numbers features a new segment called "smart or stupid" with the icon and a mock draft first round.

Monday, August 24, 2009

why is ashton kutcher trying to be me?

But not as good.

I'll keep monitoring his progress. If he's lucky he might get an invite on the podcast later in the season.



Friday, August 21, 2009

highlights from the sportscenter fantasy draft special









fights between @RealSkipBayless and @OGOchoCinco reason enough to be on twitter

Just watching the Twitter battles between Skip Bayless and Chad Ochocinco is worth the price of admission. Their weekly dust-ups are hilarious. You be the judge of who gets the better of the latest exchange.

@RealSkipBayless: I cannot stand self-promoters who get attention for everything but what supposed to do, catch passes. Ocho Kicko not even best rec. on team.

@RealSkipBayless: Man, Ocho can tweet. He can even kick! But he slid like a scared little kicker after catching post rt. Should be fined for that.

@RealSkipBayless: The Bengal receiver to watch this yr. is Chris Henry. Carson Palmer already compared him w/ RMoss. Not that far off.

@RealSkipBayless: Every NFL has 2 or 3 tryout kickers in camp, except the cheap Bengals. Do they really want Ocho Kicko trying crucial FG? Please, child.

@OGOchoCinco: @RealSkipBayless How the fu#% did you even get a job, whoever hired you gets a short bus child pleeze without the helmet!!! Paid 2 be dumb!

@RealSkipBayless: I don't "hate." I just tell the truth. And all you gullible Ocho lovers know it, deep down. Is this circus or NFL?

@RealSkipBayless: Again: Chad Whateverhisnameis has open invitation to debate me on 1st and 10. But apparently, he is even more afraid of me than of safeties.

fantasy sports insurance gets pimped in the wall street journal

A New Kind of Pocket Protection
Just because your fantasy team's quarterback is broken doesn't mean your hope for a payout has to be, thanks to fantasy sports insurance

By NANDO DI FINO

Fantasy sports aficionados already can claim to know how it feels to run a team as an imaginary coach or general manager.

But in the neverending push for fantasy sports to simulate every minute detail of the actual competition, two Long Island insurance brokers have developed a way for the fantasy owner to experience the bittersweet taste of an insurance payout when their superstar goes down with a season-ending injury.

That's right. Pro teams have hedged against their largest contracts with insurance for years. Now owners of fake teams can now protect themselves against the injuries of real players with actual insurance policies.

Tom Brady‘s Week One knee injury wreaked havoc on countless fantasy teams last season.
Fantasy Sports Insurance, or FSI, is the brainchild of Anthony Giaccone and Henry Olszewski, two brokers at Long Island's Intermarket Insurance Agency, Inc. It is one of the most forehead-slappingly obvious innovations that the world of fantasy sports has seen since live scoring. FSI offers the fantasy owner the ability to recoup league fees and all other related costs if one of their star players falls to an injury and misses the bulk of the season. FSI only offers football insurance for now, but its executives hope to expand soon to baseball, basketball and hockey.

The idea started when a frustrated Mr. Olszewski made an off-the-cuff comment at the office the day after New England quarterback Tom Brady was pronounced lost for the 2008 season. Mr. Brady was on his fantasy team, which now seemed to be in shambles thanks to one twist of one knee in the first week of the season.

"Henry came in and asked, 'How come nobody offers disability insurance for fantasy owners?'" Mr. Giaccone says. The two men, who had known each other for six years and worked together for just over two, researched the landscape of fantasy sports and found that no form of fantasy player protection existed. FSI was born.

The two brokers first went about getting underwriters. They found A-rated carriers (the second-highest rating an insurance carrier can get) at Lloyd's of London. Then they compiled a list — using various fantasy sites, experts, and rankings — of the top 50 fantasy players in the NFL. These 50 players comprise the marquee group eligible for insurance claims. If any of them were to suffer a season-ending injury, in FSI's opinion, it could represent a Brady-level catastrophe for a fantasy team.

The idea of FSI is laughably simple, even for someone whose only experience with insurance is sliding a $5 chip to the blackjack dealer when he's showing an ace. After drafting his team, a fantasy owner goes to FantasySportsInsurance.com, whose homepage rotates a series of stomach-turning photos of athletes, including Mr. Brady, writhing on the floor in pain.

FSI offers three options for the nervous fantasy owner to protect his investment:

1. A player misses 10 of the first 15 games due to injury

2. A player misses eight of the first 12 games due to injury

3. Three players miss a combined 18 of the first 15 games due to injury.

Before the first weekend of the NFL season, the fantasy owner selects the player he wishes to insure — let's say it's his top pick, Peyton Manning of Indianapolis. He then enters his league entry fee ($250 for this scenario, though FSI offers claims up to $1,000), transaction fees ($0), and money spent on additional expenses, like magazines and online subscriptions ($15).

FSI then determines the cost of the policy based on those numbers, with every top-50 player — from the chronically-injured Steven Jackson of the St. Louis Rams to the Atlanta Falcons' relatively sturdy Michael Turner. In this case, insuring Mr. Manning for a 15-game fantasy season would cost $29.87. For just under $30, an owner who loses Mr. Manning to injury for 10 of his 15 fantasy games would recoup the entire $265 he spent on his fantasy team from FSI. And he could still replace the star quarterback with a waiver-wire pickup and salvage the season anyway. Mr. Olszewski, for example, replaced Mr. Brady with Matt Cassell and finished fourth in his league.

It may sound macabre to profit from injury, but at least one NFL player gives it his thumbs up.

Jacksonville running back Maurice Jones-Drew has played fantasy football for the last two of his four pro seasons. He has no problem with a man he has never met "owning" him on a fantasy team, or that someone may buy insurance on him in case of injury. In fact, Mr. Jones-Drew seems a little envious of two insurance brokers in Long Island.

"Man," he says, "I wish I would have thought of that."

Click here for the full article from the Wall Street Journal...

ocho kicko

Thursday, August 20, 2009

shaq's behind the back move

O'Neal takes Suns star Nash's idea for a reality TV show and runs away with it

By Paola Boivin
The Arizona Republic

The most entertaining part of the new reality show, "Shaq Vs."? The credits.

Tuesday's debut, which featured Shaquille O'Neal taking on Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in football, was a tad long and a bit contrived. It became decidedly more interesting, though, when the credits rolled and this name popped up as one of the executive producers:

Steve Nash.

There's an interesting back story here, one that explains in part some of the fractured relationships that defined the Suns' struggles last season.

O'Neal stole Nash's idea.

Shortly after O'Neal was traded to the Suns in February 2008, Nash mentioned to his new teammate a reality show he was pursuing. It would feature the Suns point guard taking on professional athletes in their own sport.

The topic didn't come up again until early in the 2008-09 season, when O'Neal boarded the Suns bus and told the team he would be starring in a new reality show in which he would be taking on, you got it, professional athletes in their own sport.

"You mean the idea you stole from me?" one Suns representative said he heard Nash say.

Nash eventually sought out an entertainment lawyer, according to sources, which is why he now has an executive-producer credit and the compensation that comes with it.

When reached Wednesday, Nash would not confirm the story.

"We collaborated on parts of the show," he said. "I support him 100 percent. I thought the first episode was a fantastic episode, and I can't wait for the next one."

That's something you would expect Nash to say. He often has played the role of locker-room peacemaker. He is known as a teammate who diffuses tough situations before they escalate.

In reality, a source close to Nash said, "Steve was pissed. He couldn't believe Shaq's lack of integrity."

The experience set the tone for some shaky chemistry on the court. Off it, Nash found himself in a difficult situation, trying to co-exist with a teammate who had blindsided him.

"He's moved on," the source said. "He really does want the show to succeed."

Calls made to O'Neal's representatives were not returned. ...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

making fun of vz on twitter




brett favre is a fiend

Bomani Jones is a former ESPN writer and sports radio guy who does a show here in the Triangle on 620 AM. It is one of the better sports talk shows on the radio anywhere for my money. I'm sure I will be referring back to his stuff often this season.

Today, he did a hilarious bit on how Brett Favre is a fiend for football and the Vikings just need to learn how you deal with a fiend.

espn: carter rips vikings' handling of favre

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

what the hell is brett favre doing here?

As Brett Favre answers that question in his cameo appearance in the 1998 movie There's Something About Mary, "I'm in town to play the Dolphins, dumbass."

Well, he's back.

Am I really the only person on Earth excited about Brett Favre making a comeback... errrr another comeback?

This is sports drama at its best. Disney couldn't write this script if it tried. Broken down quarterback returns for one more season to exact revenge on the team that cast him aside. If the date of Monday, October 5 is not already circled on your calendar, now would be a good time to do it. Packers-Vikings matters for the first time... since I don't even know when. That game alone is worth all the drama, the will-he-won't-he, and the $12 million price of admission that Minny is reportedly going to be paying for the Brett Favre experience.

What we mere peons have to understand about Favre is this. He's like a drug addict who just can't turn down another fix. All of the great ones turn into this at some point. Willie Mays, Muhammad Ali, even Michael Jordan were all guilty of hanging on too long. These guys are addicts but they aren't trying to score smack in some back alley. What they want - what they need - is the adulation of an adoring fanbase in every stadium they visit, in every home tilt. They need the cheers of the crowd, the snaps of pictures, the media interviews. There is no other area in life that compares. And after the game is over and they can't play anymore, that all goes away. It's not hard to see how these guys become addicted to the attention.

Not to mention this guy for all his indecisiveness and jokes that he has recently endured has never given anyone any reason to doubt his competitive fire. He wants to win just as much as anyone out there - if not anyone ever. The only question is will his 39-year-old beatdown body allow him to do it? He's willing to find out and risk humiliation on the largest stage for one reason and one reason only. Only one force in the world will drive a man to make such a rash and obviously risky decision.

Hate.

Hatred for those who doubted him. For those who threw catcalls at him as the Jets tanked last year. For those who called him washed up the minute he was sent packing from Green Bay. But mostly hatred for Ted Thompson.

He wants to make Thompson pay for his "error" in letting him go. He wants to silence the critics once and for all. He even wants to - dare I say it - stick it to the Packers fans who would rather see him fade into oblivion than give it another go.

While I am sick of the Favre story taking over every news cycle in sight. This is something I have to see.

Friday, August 14, 2009

my vick in a box

I thoroughly underestimated just how people are all about these dogs.

People just refuse to get over what Michael Vick did. No where is this more in evidence than in Philly where the headlines read "HIDE YOUR DOGS." No, for real. Check it out.

Look. What Vick did was despicable, deplorable, detestable, but it is not unforgivable. The man did two years in prison for his crimes. If we have any faith in our judicial system at all, we have to give this a guy a second chance. Let this man get a job and do his work.

Besides, does anyone out there think that Michael Vick will be fighting dogs again? Hell no. Now does he love dogs like PETA love dogs? No and he never will. But he doesn't want to do two more years in prison so he will not be repeating his mistakes.

And, Philly fan. Get over yourself. Philly fan cheered as Michael Irvin lie motionless on the ground after a very dangerous hit. Philly fan threw snowballs at Santa Claus. If anyone does not deserve a second chance, it's Philly fan.

Luckily, Michael Vick has some good people around him now. Tony Dungy is the best guy in the NFL ever. Without a doubt. No one is more respected or a better influence on players than Dungy. As long as Vick listens to his advice, he'll be fine. Andy Reid is a guy who understands the value of second chance with his sons getting themselves in trouble very publicly and needed second and third chances themselves.

Do I think Vick is the same guy he was before he went away? No. But MV7 will always be an electric presence on the football field because of his skill set and what he can bring to quarterback position. I just hope he draws a few less headlines off the field throughout the rest of his career.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

behind the numbers preseason: keeper edition

Episode 3.01 of behind the numbers features my take on VY, Coach P, and Michael Crabtree as well as a roundtable discussion with a panel of "experts."

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

panthers back on the vick train?

The neverending saga of the potential Michael Vick signing continues to spin on this week making a stop in Charlotte as a Charlotte Observer blog reports that Panthers coach John Fox said:

"As I said before, you always keep all options open. I wouldn't say that's something we're heavily involved with. I hate ruling out anything. It's all a possibility.

"I don't think much about it. We're ever changing. I don't think it's high on the radar, but I don't like to eliminate anything.

"I haven't seen Michael Vick since the '05 Pro Bowl. I don't know what kind of condition he's in. You'll have to ask the people who worked him out."

This is not a good call for the Panthers. Yes, Michael Vick is a weapon unlike any other if he can get back to previous form. Yes, he has consistently shredded the Panthers during his career.

However, after giving Delhomme crazy amounts of jack this offseason, the last thing you need is a backup QB who the fans come calling for when the next 6 INT meltdown happens. The only thing screaming louder than PETA after the Vick signing would be the fans calling for Delhomme's job after the next time he goes with his best Brett Favre impression.

Friday, August 7, 2009

jerry rice v. emmitt smith

Skip Bayless tweets:


"I'd take Jerry Rice in his prime over Emmitt Smith in his prime to start my team any day."

Discuss.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

hot sauce in my bag

Delonte West has more fun waiting in a KFC drive-thru for 18 minutes than anyone in history. This is the coolest guy in the NBA and he will make many appearances on BTN this year.

Hot sauce in my bag. Hot sauce in my bag. Extra. Extra.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

manning (no, the other one) inks 6-year, $97 mil deal

This from @thebillyhoffman. Thanks for the tip.

Giant's Manning becomes NFL's highest paid player. WTF http://tinyurl.com/lem8jp #btn

espn becomes worldwide leader in twitter censorship

ESPN has adopted new rules for tweeters and pretty much banned their on-air personalities and employees from using the social media tool for anything not ESPN-approved. ESPN is worried that people will follow the tweets of ESPN personalities instead of viewing web content at ESPN.com. That will cost them page views and ultimately online ad revenue.

If anything, newfound interest in Twitter is likely only to drive up interest in ESPN commentators and their opinions. This can only result in more traffic to ESPN's website and a firmer grip on dominance as the "worldwide leader in sports."

This is a case of a large company not wanting to be caught by surprise. ESPN will adapt to a new social media world or one of their competitors will and then they will really see chunks of their revenue disappearing.

ESPN’S ADDITIONAL GUIDELINES FOR SOCIAL NETWORKING

ESPN regards social networks such as message boards, conversation pages and other forms of social networking such as FacebookFacebook and Twitter as important new forms of content. As such, we expect to hold all talent who participate in social networking to the same standards we hold for interaction with our audiences across TV, radio and our digital platforms. This applies to all ESPN Talent, anchors, play by play, hosts, analysts, commentators, reporters and writers who participate in any form of personal social networking that contain sports related content.

ESPN Digital Media is currently building and testing modules designed to publish Twitter and Facebook entries simultaneously on ESPN.com, SportsCenter.com, Page 2, ESPN Profile pages and other similar pages across our web site and mobile platforms. The plan is to fully deploy these modules this fall.

Specific Guidelines
* Personal websites and blogs that contain sports content are not permitted
* Prior to engaging in any form of social networking dealing with sports, you must receive permission from the supervisor as appointed by your department head
* ESPN.COM may choose to post sports related social media content
* If ESPN.com opts not to post sports related social media content created by ESPN talent, you are not permitted to report, speculate, discuss or give any opinions on sports related topics or personalities on your personal platforms
* The first and only priority is to serve ESPN sanctioned efforts, including sports news, information and content
* Assume at all times you are representing ESPN
* If you wouldn’t say it on the air or write it in your column, don’t tweet it
* Exercise discretion, thoughtfulness and respect for your colleagues, business associates and our fans
* Avoid discussing internal policies or detailing how a story or feature was reported, written, edited or produced and discussing stories or features in progress, those that haven’t been posted or produced, interviews you’ve conducted, or any future coverage plans.
* Steer clear of engaging in dialogue that defends your work against those who challenge it and do not engage in media criticism or disparage colleagues or competitors
* Be mindful that all posted content is subject to review in accordance with ESPN’s employee policies and editorial guidelines
* Confidential or proprietary company information or similar information of third parties who have shared such information with ESPN, should not be shared

Any violation of these guidelines could result in a range of consequences, including but not limited to suspension or dismissal.