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February 08, 2006
NFL defends the indefensible
Filed in: Current Affairs, Sports, Super Bowl XL

The NFL publically announced yesterday that the Super Bowl was properly officiated.

The league said Tuesday that no mistakes were made by the game officials...

What sort of Orwellian world do we live in?

The NFL could have easily taken the right path in this situation and could have announced an investigation into the egregious calls that affected the game's outcome. Instead they have ostensibly said: "America, don't believe your lyin' eyes. We know what's best for you. Take our position as a signal that, in our league, athletic competition is not the determining factor in the outcome of our contests - administrative management is."

When you defend fraud, you become fraud.

On the ESPN link referenced above, the Sportsnation poll disbelieves the NFL about 80% to 20%. Gosh, even the president has better numbers than that.


Pulled by Emcee on February 8, 2006 at 11:35 AM
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February 07, 2006
The day the NFL became the WWF
Filed in: Current Affairs, Sports, Super Bowl XL

So you think this is just some Seattle fan outrage that is unsustainable? Here's the latest results of the ESPN Sportsnation poll (my answers in bold):

1) What grade would you give referee Bill Leavy's officiating crew for Super Bowl XL?

49.3% F
25.6% D
14.4% C
8.8% B
1.9% A
2) How do you rate the overall state of officiating in the NFL?
34.6% Average
32.9% Bad
19.3% Good
11.2% Abysmal
1.9% Excellent
3) Did the officiating in Sunday's game unfairly favor one team?
78.5% Unfairly favored the Steelers
16.6% The right calls were made
4.9% Unfairly favored the Seahawks
4) Which played the biggest role in determining the outcome of the game?
56.2% Officials missing calls
29.2% Seahawks not making plays
14.6% Steelers making plays
5) Do you think the official made the right call on Darrell Jackson's offensive pass interference in the endzone, negating a Seattle touchdown in the first quarter?
73.1% No
21.2% Yes
5.7% I'm not sure
6) Do you think the football broke the plane of the goal line on Ben Roethlisberger's touchdown run in the second quarter?
59.0% No
26.3% Yes
14.8% I'm not sure
7) Do you think the official made the right call on Sean Locklear's holding penalty in the fourth quarter, negating an 18-yard reception to the one-yard line by Jerramy Stevens?
73.5% No
15.9% Yes
10.6% I'm not sure
8) Do you feel that you understand what constitutes a ''football move'' on plays involving potential fumbles?
65.1% Yes
34.9% No
9) How much would creating full-time officiating positions, instead of the current part-time positions, help improve the quality of NFL officiating?
44.8% A lot
42.7% A little
12.5% Not at all
10) Which major sport has the best officials?
44.8% MLB
23.5% NHL
20.1% NBA
11.6% NFL
Total Votes: 151,170

Sorry Shanoff, this one's not going to fade. What people will remember 40 years from now about this game is that it was the end of legitimate athletic competition determining the outcome of the football championship of the world. Zebra stripes, not players will come to mind.


Pulled by Emcee on February 7, 2006 at 01:27 PM
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Play's Anatomy
Filed in: Current Affairs, Sports, Super Bowl XL

(See my entire and growing series of posts on Super Bowl XL.)

DO you have a video tape or hard disk recording (that you can transfer to DVD or video tape) of the Super Bowl? I will pay you and make it worth your while for your recording - please send me an email or leave a comment if you can help me.

They hyped an ABC medical show (located in Seattle) all during the Super Bowl called Grey's Anatomy. Excuse me.

Too bad they haven't performed any autopsies on the fraudulent calls on the field so far. Guess I'll have to do it.

NFL films released a short clip about the game - at least one of the calls was left out entirely, but we've got enough to take a look at what actually happened versus what cash made happen last night.

First example: Touchdown pass to D-Jack in the first quarter...

Seahawks_steelers_highlight_300k__rmr__1

This is called Defensive Holding.  Chris Hope has both hands on D-Jack - the left hand enclosed on D-Jack's upper arm.

Seahawks_steelers_highlight_300k__rmr__1_1

He continues contact and impedes D-Jack's progress down the field actually changing his direction with the contact. After five yards from the line of scrimmage, no contact is allowed by the defensive back on a receiver. It must be that it's the Super Bowl and 'we just have to let them play' ...

...Continue reading "Play's Anatomy"

Pulled by Emcee on February 7, 2006 at 02:15 AM
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February 05, 2006
Yes Jemima, the Fix was in...
Filed in: Current Affairs, Sports, Super Bowl XL

Offensive pass interference that wasn't even close to being so...

A touchdown that wasn't a touchdown...

A holding call on a pass completion to the two yard line that wasn't even close to holding...

These are the components of a 14 point swing that makes a Super Bowl score 21-14 Seattle (or at best 21-17) instead of the 21-10 Pittsburgh travesty that it was.

I've watched football for more than 40 years and I've never seen a clearer example of a fixed game - one that should immediately generate a full scale investigation into referee bribery. No breath holding here.

Even the network announcers were amazed that these calls took place.

It's this kind of disgusting scene that denigrates sports and athletic competition and I frankly cannot believe that more is not being made of these terrible calls that affected the outcome of the game. That's not what sports are about. It's one thing to be fairly beaten - another entirely to be robbed in public view. The NFL should be ashamed.

UPDATE: In case you're thinking 'sour grapes', check out these Seattle Times quotes. And friend Hood, though dispassionate about this game, commiserates.

ESPN writer Michael Smith on the Third Team. Skip Bayless on Detroit's crime spree.

Not a single photo of any of the game result changing calls on the NFL site. Not one.


Pulled by Emcee on February 5, 2006 at 08:56 PM
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December 18, 2005
Guess I'll have to put that hoop up over the garage now...
Filed in: Current Affairs, Sports

I recently had a fun experience flying back from LA with a Beijing, China based basketball team. Really didn't think anything more of it.

Thursday, I dropped off a business associate downtown and went over to the post office. Stood in line behind a couple dozen folks for a few minutes before realizing that I was standing in line behind Lenny Wilkens. I'm pretty sure when you look up the word 'class' in the dictionary there's a picture of Lenny WIlkens there. What a credit to the game of basketball he has been for so long! He laughed good-naturedly when I said that even he had to stand in line with the rest of us at the post office.

Saturday flew to SoCal again. On the plane - sitting next to me in the exit row was a father and his son - both over 6' 8". The father's other son is playing for Stanford. Something about going for the blocked shots record.

In the land of synchronicity or whatever it is, it appears that it's time to get out the roundball again. OK! OK! I'll do it!


Pulled by Emcee on December 18, 2005 at 11:54 PM
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December 08, 2005
Flying basketballs...
Filed in: Current Affairs, Sports

When I can't make those first class upgrades, I like to get an exit row seat - for the extra leg room.

Flying back from LA yesterday I found myself sitting in 12C - with 9 other gentlemen, most of them Chinese, and most of them 6' 9" or taller.

I began talking with the guy across the aisle - former Laker Mike McGee who has two NBA ('82, '85) championship rings - he's now an assistant coach with the Beijing (yep, China) Aoshen Olympian ABA basketball team. Seated next to him was former Sonic (and Atlanta Hawk) Fred Vinson - who is a star forward for the team. Most of the rest of the players are Chinese - it literally looked like a bunch of Yao Ming-s all seated on the plane.

Having played a little roundball myself many, many years ago, it was a real treat to sit next to someone who easily reminisced about playing with Magic Johnson a couple of decades ago. Mike - indeed all of these men - were easy going and humble, which proved to be a good thing.

These nearly seven foot tall men from China were not easily comforted in terms of leg room in the exit rows. But it was better than elsewhere for them. The problem was that the flight attendant that subsequently queried those of us sitting in the exit rows quickly decided that these basketball players from China were not fluent enough in English to sit in the exit rows. She went about the plane and found as many of the people travelling with the team as she could that were fluent English speakers and asked them and the players to exchange seats. In a couple of cases, she just recruited folks nearby and asked them and players to switch places - I think there were seven in all that had to move.

Because people were continuing to board the plane, two or three of the Chinese players ended up being moved around three times before they were in a seat that they were going to stay in. I felt sorry for them - talk about chewing on your knees!

For a few moments there as I looked at these looming, giant human beings being moved from place to place, I had the distinct thought: "This looks just like a C...",

OK, I'm not going to say it - but it did.

(The Beijing team was on their way to play the Bellingham Slam last night - who beat the Olympian with a huge 4th quarter handing the Beijing team (6-1) their first loss of the year.)


Pulled by Emcee on December 8, 2005 at 11:58 PM
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December 01, 2005
Top Ten List: Caddy Responses...
Filed in: Current Affairs, Sports

My dad is playing David Letterman this week - and sent this along. This time of year, I can only dream of the Palm Desert, Phoenix, maybe Vegas. They're still playing down south ...

#10 Golfer: I think I'm going to drown myself in that lake.
Caddy: Think you can keep your head down that long?

#9 Golfer: I'd move heaven and earth to break 100 on this course.
Caddy: Try heaven... you've already moved most of the earth.

#8 Golfer: Do you think my game is improving?
Caddy: Yes sir, you miss the ball much closer now.

#7 Golfer: Do you think I can get there with a five iron?
Caddy: Eventually.

#6 Golfer: You've got to be the worst caddy in the world.
Caddy: I don't think so sir. That would be too much of a coincidence.

#5 Golfer: Please stop checking your watch all the time. It's distracting.
Caddy: It's not a watch sir, it's a compass.

#4 Golfer: How do you like my game?
Caddy: Very good sir, but I prefer golf.

#3 Golfer: Do you think it's a sin to play on Sunday?
Caddy: Sir, the way you play is a sin on any day.

#2 Golfer: This has got to be the worst course I have ever played on.
Caddy: Sir, this isn't the golf course. We've been off of it for about an hour now.

And the number one caddy response is....

...Continue reading "Top Ten List: Caddy Responses..."

Pulled by Emcee on December 1, 2005 at 01:08 PM
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October 16, 2005
How about that USC / Notre Dame game?
Filed in: Current Affairs, Sports

This is what couch potatos are occasionally rewarded with - moments that transcend sport. I'm not a USC fan or a Notre Dame fan - I just love the game. The final three minutes on Saturday afternoon were a lesson in what champions do in the face of adversity.

Trojanswin

(Photo courtesy and copyright (c) 2005, ESPN (Walt Disney Internet Group)).

When there are seven seconds left in the game - there is no tomorrow, no second chance. The safe thing to do is to spike the ball and send in the field goal unit. There's no shame in tying the game for overtime - but there's no victory either. It appeared that everyone in the stadium thought that Matt Leinart - USC quarterback (and last year's Heisman winner) would do just that - everyone except Leinart and his team mates. Instead, in front of touchdown Jesus, 80 some thousand stunned fans, and the TV audience, he ran a quarterback sneak for a touchdown.

The USC choice clearly said: "SEIZE VICTORY NOW!", which is certainly a useful lesson beyond football. It's just amazing to actually observe it in action.

ESPN's take is here.


Pulled by Emcee on October 16, 2005 at 12:56 AM
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September 25, 2005
Noguchi Wins!
Filed in: Current Affairs, Japan, Sports

Noguchi_mizuki Live National excitement here in Japan on Sunday evening.

Japan's Olympic marathon champion Mizuki Noguchi just won the Berlin marathon - her first marathon competition since winning Olympic gold in Athens.

She also lowered the Asian women's record by 27 seconds by running in two hours, nineteen minutes and twelve seconds. She was never challenged by another woman in the race.

For most of the race she was flanked by a cordon of men of different nationalities - they all passed water bottles around and worked at keeping each other cool on what looked like a very hot day. Japan television broadcast her entire effort live.

The Japanese people are ecstatic - and they should be. This lady might have a world record in her yet ...


Pulled by Emcee on September 25, 2005 at 06:54 AM
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July 24, 2005
Congratulations Lance
Filed in: Current Affairs, Sports

Lancewins As you must know, Lance Armstrong won his unprecedented seventh straight Tour de France today.

Earlier today I watched a program on CNN that described Armstrong's incredible genetic characteristics - based on studies that were done prior to him winning a single Tour. I had never heard before that Armstrong's heart can pump nearly twice the blood volume under exertion that the typical bycicling athlete can - or that his heart rate can run at nearly twice the 'normal' rate as well. I had never heard that his muscles produce only a fraction of the pain causing lactic acid that other athletes do.

I suppose that there could be a significant nature versus nurture debate about what Armstrong was born with and what he developed through training.

What impresses me the most is that Lance Armstrong has never rested on his potential - he truly exercised it. Many gifted people do not give an effort that is worthy of their gifts. Armstrong has and then some - and he deserves whatever accolades that anyone can bestow on him.


Pulled by Emcee on July 24, 2005 at 11:57 PM
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