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'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


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, 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.


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."


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 #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 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 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,, 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 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.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

blame it on the 'tron, catch me in a zone

That's what Lendale White is doing. He showed up to Titans camp 37 pounds lighter than at the end of last season. What's his secret? He's not drinking any more Patron. Nice. Not exactly a good commercial for Patron but I support his new temperence movement. That noise you hear is the faint sound of The Commish's testicles shriveling up. (Too much? Probably.)

LenDale White: Cutting out tequila helped him drop 37 pounds

How did Titans RB LenDale White slim down from a high of 265 pounds last year to 228 when he arrived at training camp?

By cutting the sauce out of his diet.

"I was a big Patron (tequila) consumer and that's what it was," White told reporters on Saturday. "I was drinking a lot, I drank a lot of alcohol. I cut that out of my diet all the way, I don't drink at all, I stopped drinking for six months and the weight it just started falling off. It's a tremendous difference and I feel it in my body."

White said Titans owner Bud Adams told him he looked "like a brand new person."

His rushing total fell to 773 yards last year after registering 1,110 in 2007. And White said he's excited to turn his new fitness into increased performance on the field.

And he's happy to have proven his naysayers wrong, too.

"I won a lot of bets, from friends, family, some people in the locker room," White told reporters. "I made some people upset because they thought I was going to be fat coming back. It feels good. I am, really excited about this season. It was a long time coming, I finally came into town in shape and I am feeling the difference."

Monday, August 3, 2009

what the hell is this?

What do you call the gear that Jordan Palmer is sporting?

BTW, am I the only one surprised to learn that Carson Palmer has a brother and he is now a backup for the Bengals? Still, I am going to need to see these two side by side before I believe they really are two different people. I feel like Carson is just trying to make some extra dough by collecting two paychecks since his play on the field obviously hasn't merited him getting any more jack.

(HT: @OGOchoCinco)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

big ben will need that agility this year

Big Ben is going to need his Nike Air Marauder Ds to avoid trouble on and off the field this year but this commercial is pretty funny. Wonder how long the sponsors are going to hold onto Big Ben. My guess is as long as there aren't any criminal charges. Kobe lost his sponsors for a while though.