Bulls Knock Off Celtics In Epic Game Six

Thursday, April 30, 2009

This could quite possibly be one of the best series I've ever seen. Not only did the Bulls come back from down eight with two to go, but they took the defending champs to three overtimes and somehow forced a game seven. Here's some of the crazy video. I've split it into two parts....the first being the regulation and first two overtimes, and the second being the final minutes of the 3rd OT. Just unbelievable and complete with a Joakim Noah sighting....Enjoy!

Just unbelievable. I'm going to let the video speak for itself on that one.

Let's Play The Feud: Celtics-Bulls (Round 7)

I don't think I've seen a series this rough since the late 80s/early 90s, and the hatred continued early in Game Six of the Bulls-Celts showdown tonight. Kirk Heinrich decided to elbow Brian Scalabrine below the belt, and when boxed out Rajon Rondo on the next play to about the three point line, Rondo didn't seem to like that one bit. Let's play the feud....again!!!

Now this is Playoff Basketball! Actually that was kind of a bitch move by both, but you can't entirely blame them for getting frustrated. I'm also thinking that would be a great one-on-one fight, Heinrich vs. Rondo, but no one would want to see it come to that. Right? Of course not.

NFL Network Somehow Manages To Stay On Comcast (For The Time Being)

I have no idea how this happened, or when it happened, but apparently Comcast and the NFL Network have struck a deal! Via Fang's Bites....


“Comcast and the NFL are engaged in productive discussions toward a new agreement for NFL Network carriage on Comcast. NFL Network will continue to be carried on Comcast systems past tonight’s scheduled expiration of the current contract while both sides continue these productive discussions. We are both working to find a solution that works for NFL fans and Comcast’s customers.”
Wow. That could quite possibly be the biggest turnaround during a negotiation that I've ever seen. The two hated each other for months, and at the last minute they came together to keep the channel on the cable company. I'm certainly not complaining though.

BREAKING NEWS: NFL Network Will Remain on Comcast Systems ... For Now (Fang's Bites)

Bob Uecker Does Not Care For Your Twittering, Loves Miller Lite

Right Field Bleachers, did Yeoman's work in getting hilarious audio from last night's Brewers' game, in which announcer Bob Uecker goes off on blogging and twittering for a good two minutes. Oh and he adds in that he drinks Miller Lite for breakfast....

Now that's funny....I don't care who you are. I'm with Ueck as far as Twitter goes. Actually, that and the beer for breakfast thing as well.

Uecker on Twitter (Right Field Bleachers)

Stephen A. Awkwardly Makes His Rounds On His Last Day

It's a somber, yet hopeful day, at the "Leader". Stephen A. Smith is gracing ESPN's airwaves for the last time today, and has been oddly appearing across all of the network's platforms. He first appeared on First Take to talk about the NBA Playoffs, then went over to Shrutebag's radio show, and left without a goodbye on both shows. Here's some video and audio of the gloomy appearances....

Good lord that's depressing. One of the last moments on a network, and they're talking about meatball marinara subs from Subway! I mean, we're talking about a guy who once had a TV show, a radio show, a newspaper column and had a huge NBA analyst role on ESPN. Now he's out there looking for work. Even if you don't like the guy's schtick, you still have to feel just a little bit bad for him.

Your NBA Playoffs Announcing Schedule For The Week (UPDATED)

Obviously the majority of the week is up in the air, because some series could be ending. ESPN won't have games until Friday, so all the games are either on TNT or NBA TV. Here's your first few days of the week, and I'll be sure to update it come Thursday....

Monday, April 27th

Atlanta Hawks at Miami Heat, Game 4 (TNT, 8pm)- Dick Stockton, Mike Fratello, Cheryl Miller
Denver Nuggets at New Orleans Hornets, Game 4 (NBA TV, 8:30pm)- Sean Kelley, Gerry Vaillancourt
Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Lakers, Game 5 (TNT, 10:30pm)- Marv Albert, Reggie Miller, Craig Sager

Tuesday, April 28th

Chicago Bulls at Boston Celtics, Game 5 (TNT, 7pm)- Kevin Harlan, Doug Collins, David Aldridge
Philadelphia 76ers at Orlando Magic, Game 5 (NBA TV, 7:30pm)- David Steele, Matt Guokas
Dallas Mavericks at San Antonio Spurs, Game 5 (TNT, 9:30pm)- Matt Devlin, P.J. Carlesimo, Marty Snider
Houston Rockets at Portland Trail Blazers, Game 5 (NBA TV, 10pm)- Mike Barrett, Mike Rice

Wednesday, April 29th

Miami Heat @ Atlanta Hawks, Game 5 (TNT, 8pm)- Dick Stockton, Mike Fratello, Cheryl Miller
New Orleans Hornets @ Denver Nuggets, Game 5 (TNT, 10:30pm)- Marv Albert, Reggie Miller, Mark Fein

Thursday, April 30th

Boston Celtics @ Chicago Bulls, Game 6 (TNT, 7pm)- Kevin Harlan, Doug Collins, David Aldridge
Orlando Magic @ Philadelphia 76ers, Game 6 (NBA TV, 7:30pm)- Mark Zumoff, Steve Mix
Portland Trail Blazers at Houston Rockets, Game 6 (TNT, 9:30pm)- Matt Devlin, P.J. Carlesimo, Craig Sager

Friday, May1st

Atlanta Hawks @ Miami Heat, Game 6 (ESPN, 8pm)- Mike Breen, Mark Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy, Doris Burke

Saturday, May 2nd

Chicago Bulls at Boston Celtics, Game 7* (TNT, TBD)- TBD
Philadelphia 76ers at Orlando Magic, Game 7* (TNT, TBD)- TBD
Houston Rockets at Portland Trail Blazerss, game 7* (TNT, TBD)- TBD

Sunday, May 3rd

Miami Heat at Atlanta Hawks, Game 7* (ABC, TBD)- TBD (Or Game One Second Round Matchup)
Denver Nuggets at Dallas Mavericks, Game 1 (ABC, 3:30pm)- TBD

David Cone Should Rethink His Use Of The Phrase "Jerking Off"

There's a pantheon of phrases that announcers should never use (i.e.- face raping), but I think this one moves to the top of the list. YES announcer, David Cone recently described Joba Chamberlain's loss of form as, "jerking off", and in fact this was the second time he's done so. Here's the video proof via NYAT....

Wow. I'm not sure if he means "jerked around" or what, but that's pretty disgusting, David. Hopefully someone sets him straight on that one before the YES Network starts getting FCC complaints.

Video Proof Of Cone Incident (No, You're A Towel)

Dungy Sure Vick Is Remorseful

Tony Dungy is still planning on talking with Mike Vick soon, and today he went on the Dan Patrick Show, to explain why he's doing so and that he believes the former NFL QB is remorseful. He even went so far as to compare him to players that have actually murdered someone, and are still in the league....

Dungy is going to visit with Michael Vick before he leaves jail. Dungy says he heard Vick has found God and wants to talk to him about that and other things. Dungy said he's given other players second chances and it's worked out well. He pointed to kicker Mike Vanderjagt.

Dungy said that someone should give Vick a second chance because "it's the right thing to do." Dan and Tony pointed out that there are players in the NFL who have killed people and are still playing.

While he's certainly right about the current state of the NFL, everyone even said it at the time, that killing dogs is/was worse than killing a human. While, I may not necessarily agree with that stance, I can definitely understand that point of view. I still believe he deserves a second chance, but only if he truly understands what he did was wrong.

The big meet and greet is set for May 5th, and I'll keep you posted.

Tony Dungy comments on Favre, plans to meet with Vick (Sports Illustrated)

Ron Artest Still Doesn't Like Charles Barkley

I linked to part of this video (in the CAC), where Ron Artest says Brandon Roy is better than Kobe and Lebron, but there's an extra tidbit that Outside the Boxscore just pointed out. Artest, talking with Craig Sager, decided to shoot more venom at Charles Barkley, and even went so far as to call him "overrated" during his playing days....

Now we know that Artest doesn't necessarily like Barkley, saying he'd smack him in the face, but calling Barkley overrated is just insane. I mean the guy averaged 22, 12 and 4, during his career, and did it with little to no help on his team. Sure he had Moses Malone, Julius Erving and Mo Cheeks at one point, but they were only teammates for three years at most. Other than that he was saddled with the likes of Hersey Hawkins, Rick Mahorn, Manute Bol and Charles Shackleford, and still took them into the second round of the playoffs. Overrated my ass, Ron Ron.

Create The Caption #383

(Usually) Everyday I'll throw out a photo, you provide the caption, and then hilarity ensues. I'm also adding a handful of links at the bottom of the page that you should check out each day.

Last Thursday's Winners....

Neil: "Bartender! Jack... this guy in face for wearing those glasses!"- Birdman

"Alright guys, which one of you is going to have a wardrobe malfunction?"- BF

"Its my dick in a desk!"- Ryan

"Yeah, this is... fun. So... uhm... this fulfills my Mouseketeer contractual obligation to Disney once and for all, right? And we'll get grandma back unharmed as agreed, right?"- Barry

Are you funny enough to create a caption for this photo of Chris Berman having a bit of a sweating problem, at a pro-am in Charlotte yesterday? (Via Deadspin)

Your Daily Links:

It's Stephen A.'s Last Day! (Fan IQ)
EA Is NOT Engaged (Hot Clicks)
Playboy Makes A Matthew Stafford Song (Playboy)
This Ballboy Is Enjoying His Job (World Of Issac)
The Mets Must Hate Santana (LOCG)
The Top Ten American Sporting Events (Real Clear Sports)
Does Dwyane Wade Now Have A Famous Baby Mama? (The Big Picture)
Talking Tea With Torre, Simms And Francona (Bigelow Tea Blog)
Ron Artest Is A Brandon Roy Fan (Lake Show Life)

Last Day For The NFL Network On Comcast

So it doesn't appear as if this whole mess is getting solved within a day (or ever), so you might want to watch the last day of NFL Network on Comcast. Comcast has even been running a banner across the screen stating that fact, and the Philly Inquirer has even more quotes from this blame game....

Football fans who subscribe to Comcast Corp.'s extra-cost sports package seem likely to lose one of their favorite viewing choices at 11:59 tonight - the 24-hour NFL Network.

The two organizations, which have battled publicly and in court, have not reached a new carriage agreement, and the old one expires.

Comcast has asked the National Football League to continue the carriage under terms of the current contract. The NFL has refused and would like Comcast to place the channel on a general-interest tier that does not require viewers to pay the extra $7 a month. About two million people get Comcast's sports package.

"Comcast wants to carry NFL Network, and we have offered to carry it under the terms of our current affiliation agreement while the litigation that the NFL brought against Comcast continues, but the NFL has not accepted our offer," Comcast's Sena Fitzmaurice said in a statement. "We believe our proposed extension is in the best interest of our customers and NFL fans so that they can continue to have the same access to the network that they now enjoy."

The NFL, according to officials and court documents, says it believes Comcast moved the network to a sports package to punish the NFL for not allowing Comcast to carry the eight live NFL games on its Versus sports channel and not allowing Comcast to negotiate for out-of-market NFL games. DirecTV, the satellite provider, exclusively carries the Sunday Ticket of out-of-market NFL games.

"As of right now, the NFL Network will no longer be available at midnight [Thursday] to Comcast," NFL Network spokesman Dennis Johnson said. "We are open to negotiating with Comcast at any time so that fans can watch the NFL Network on a wide level of service at no extra cost."
While, I'd certainly like to be able to watch the Thursday Night Football games this year, and the extra Thanksgiving game, I have to be honest here. I rarely watch the NFL Network, outside of the Combine and the Draft, and there are plenty of other channels within the Sports package (including about 8 Fox Sports, the MLB Network and NBATV). Why this is such an issue is beyond me, but I guess you have to take a stand at some point.

Oh and there is a plus to all of this. Comcast sent a letter out about the dropping of the network, and offered me either a Free Internet Speed Upgrade for 12 months, or 6 Free Movie Coupons. So I've got that going for me.....which is nice.

Comcast viewers could lose NFL Network tonight (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Jerome Bettis Reportedly Out At NBC

This is just speculation, but it's being WIDELY speculated today. Jerome Bettis will not have his contract renewed by NBC, and will be left out in the cold come this season on the network. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald mentioned this when Madden's retirement announcement came down, and now Neil Best is reporting the same thing....

Three years after his much-ballyhooed, post-Super Bowl, announced-during-the-Winter Olympics hiring, it is likely NBC football analyst Jerome Bettis will not have his contract renewed for the coming season and beyond.

Late last season NBC moved Bettis and Tiki Barber out of its crowded studio and into the field to serve primarily as well-connected reporters.

If NBC has a replacement in mind, I do not know who he is.

Hey...what about that retired quarterback the Jets released this week?
While I normally would think that a network would love to make a huge splash like this, it makes no sense for NBC. They already have twenty people on the payroll, and not nearly enough studio space or time to put them on air. As for Bettis, you knew it was a matter of time. The guy is extremely likeable, but he really just didn't belong on television.

Jerome Bettis appears to be on his way out at NBC (Watchdog)

Hawks Announcer Would Like You To Know That Dwyane Wade Is Famous

It's rare that I go with straight audio on the site, but this clip is so hilarious that I had to share it. Larry Brown Sports came across the audio from last night's Heat-Hawks game, and you just have to listen to Hawks' announcer, Steve Holman go off on Dwyane Wade.

My personal favorite was obviously the, “You can’t foul me when I go to the basket, I’m Dwyane Wade. I do commercials," one. However, using the word thuggery in a sentence is always a plus as well. Too funny.

Hawks Announcer Makes Fun of Dwyane Wade, Goes Berserk on Miami Heat (Larry Brown Sports)

Here We Go Again

The Jets granted Brett Favre's release today, and wouldn't you know it, a plane left Hattiesburg, Missippi for Minneapolis, Minnesota this morning. Not only that, but it even came back the same day. Now I'm not a betting man (actually that's a lie), but what are the odds that Favre was not on that plane?

While I'm certainly sick of the Favre nonsense every year, one good thing would come out of him signing with the Vikings. We wouldn't have to hear about ESPN hiring him right before the season.

(Via PFT)

According To Collinsworth, Madden Asked Him To Be His Replacement

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I don't know if there's a higher honor in the Sports World, but during his first interview since taking over for John Madden, Cris Collinsworth admitted that the legend actually asked him to be his successor. Via the Cincy Inquirer....

But Collinsworth wanted to talk about the man with 15 Emmys: Madden.
“John asked me to replace him. That’s as high of a tribute as you can get in this business,” Collinsworth says.

The two finally spoke Monday for the first time since Madden, 73, retired.
“It’s something that I’ll treasure for a lifetime. He was so gracious and wonderful … It was about as special a moment as I’ve ever had in my professional career,” says Collinsworth, who joined WLW-AM and cable’s “Inside the NFL” after leaving football. “I want to make him proud.”

NBC had planned for Collinsworth to succeed Madden for some time. Collinsworth’s contract named him successor for either Madden or announcer Al Michaels, he says. He just didn’t expect it to happen this soon.
It's a shame that Madden is retiring now, because he's so much fun to watch on Sunday nights, but if anyone can fill in right away it's Collinsworth. Now we just have to wait to see and see who will replace him on the NFL Network.

Collinsworth praises Madden (Cincinnati Inquirer)

Vasgersian Is Sorry For Making Light Of The Injured

Matt Vasgersian doesn't seem to have a filter at times, and if you asked him about it, I think he'd be the first to admit that. Yesterday, the MLB Network host thought about what he had done, and issued an on-air apology. Via the Biz of Baseball....

Obviously it was a poor choice of joke, and the timing was just terrible. There was no ill intent and hopefully people don't hold it against Vasgersian. Moving on....

Vasgersian: "I certainly didn't mean to trivialize an injury." (Biz of Baseball)

Your Round Two NHL Playoffs Announcing Schedule

I think I'm dying today (stupid swine flu), but I wanted to pass along the second round NHL Playoffs schedule for you to discuss. If last night's game sevens weren't enough to get you interested in this year's Playoffs, I don't know what to tell you. The games start this Friday, so be ready!

#1 Boston Bruins vs. #6 Carolina Hurricanes

Friday, May 1- at Boston (VERSUS/TSN, 7:30pm)
Sunday, May 3- at Boston (VERSUS/TSN, 7:30pm)
Wednesday, May 6- at Carolina (VERSUS/TSN, 7:30pm)
Friday, May 8- at Carolina (VERSUS/TSN, 7:30pm)
*Sunday, May 10- at Boston (VERSUS/TSN, 7:30pm)
*Tuesday, May 12- at Carolina (VERSUS/TSN, 7pm)
*Thursday, May 14- at Boston(TSN, TBD)

#2 Washington Capitals vs. #4 Pittsburgh Penguins

Saturday, May 2- at Washington (NBC/CBC/RDS, 1pm)
Monday, May 4- at Washington (VERSUS/CBC/RDS, 7pm)
Wednesday, May 6- at Pittsburgh (VERSUS/CBC/RDS, 7pm)
Friday, May 8- at Pittsburgh (VERSUS/CBC/RDS, 7pm)
*Saturday, May 9- at Washington (VERSUS/CBC/RDS, 7pm)
*Monday, May 11- at Pittsburgh (VERSUS/CBC/RDS, TBD)
*Wednesday, May 13- at Washington (VERSUS/CBC/RDS, 7pm)

#2 Detroit Red Wings vs. #8 Anaheim Ducks

Friday, May 1- at Detroit (VERSUS/TSN2, 7pm)
Sunday, May 3- at Detroit (NBC/TSN, 2pm)
Tuesday, May 5- at Anaheim (VERSUS/TSN, 10:30pm)
Thursday, May 7- at Anaheim (VERSUS/TSN, 10:30pm)
*Sunday, May 10- at Detroit (TSN, 5pm)
*Tuesday, May 12- at Anaheim (VERSUS/TSN, TBD)
*Thursday, May 14- at Detroit (VERSUS/TSN, TBD)

#3 Vancouver Canucks vs. #4 Chicago Blackhawks

Thursday, April 30- at Vancouver (CBC/VERSUS, 9pm)
Saturday, May 2- at Vancouver (CBC/VERSUS, 9pm)
Tuesday, May 5- at Chicago (CBC/VERSUS, 8pm)
Thursday, May 7- at Chicago (CBC/VERSUS, 8pm)
*Saturday, May 9- at Vancouver (CBC/VERSUS, 10:30pm)
*Monday, May 11- at Chicago (CBC/VERSUS, 9pm)
*Thursday, May 14- at Vancouver (CBC/VERSUS, TBD)

(*- If Necessary)

HBO Wants Bengals To Be On Next Hard Knocks

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Please, please, please let this happen! The Cincy Enquirer, via First Cuts, is reporting that the producers of HBO's Hard Knocks are seriously considering following the Bengals for the show this Summer....

The Bengals are being considered to be the featured team on this year's Hard Knocks:Training Camp series, which is aired on HBO in late July and August. No final decision has been made though by HBO or NFL Films, which produces the series. Both HBO and NFL Films like teams that train away from their home complexes during training camp, which makes the Bengals a fit. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis also has experience with what the series entails. He was the defensive coordinator at Baltimore during the first year the series ran in 2000. There is one factor though that would make this seem like a weird arrangement -- team owner Mike Brown rarely gives interviews anymore (and he would have to be on TV plenty for this series).
What a great idea, HBO! This will bring an entirely new meaning to the term "Hard Knocks", especially when you consider that they just brought in head case Andre Smith into the fold. This better happen!

HBO Considers Bengals For 'Hard Knocks' (First Cuts)

Sky Sports' Fanzone Gets Feminine For A Day

Sky Sports' Fanzone is one of the best ideas as far as broadcasting goes. You get two fans do to commentary for the network, talk trash, and hilarity ensues. Well for the first time the channel allowed women to games and the results were just as amazing. SS Reporters has your first look at the future Pam Wards of America....

While I love the effort from the two ladies, I can't really understand what the heck is going on in the game. I'm surprised that more fans don't get into brawls during these sessions. Good times.

Women’s Fanzone Makes Debut (SS Reporters)

The "Leader" Is Going Back To Its Roots, Will Air Table Tennis Tounament

ESPN in the 80s was a haven for off the wall Sports. There was strongman events, timber sports, heck I even remember archery on the network. Well come this June, ESPN will be airing two hours of the Hardbat Classic, a table tennis touney, from Vegas. Via Variety....

ESPN is set to televise two hours of the Hardbat Classic, a three-day table-tennis tournament being held at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas on June 26-28. Telecast will be delayed and shown in September.

Tourney is being pitched as not only sporting competition in which amateurs and pros will vie for $100,000 first-place prize, but a lifestyle event with branding viability.

"We saw a unique opportunity to create an unparalleled live sports and entertainment event that would inspire everyday players to rise from underground table tennis pros to mainstream sports stars as they compete while millions of fans watch," said David Ellender, CEO of FremantleMedia Enterprises, one of the backers of the event.
Now that's what I'm talking about. Let's take a break from showing the Yankees and Red Sox every single night and get some old fashioned ping pong action! I think I'm going to apply for credentials right now.

ESPN to air table-tennis tournament (Variety)

ESPN Would Like You To Work To See Their Headlines

It's no secret that ESPN's change of their website this past January, was to create more space for advertising. After initially not enjoying the new look, it started to grow on me, but that was until today. The "Leader" has decided to move the headlines on the right to a spot below the fold, so they can add EVEN MORE advertising to the front page, and they're even admitting to it. Via Sports Business Daily....

ESPN.com has altered its site design unveiled in January, shifting the list of headlines below the rotation of top stories and video links, and significantly expanding the amount of ad space available immediately to the right of those top stories. That ad position, one of the most popular slots in all of digital sports media, was initially used for a set of spots from Apple. On many standard computer monitors and laptops, the new design will require some downward scrolling to access the additional headlines.

ESPN execs said the new design, arriving organically since the January relaunch, marked an attempt at flexibility with regard to both content and advertising. "We are constantly working with our advertisers to be innovative while maintaining an optimal user experience. Today's ad is one example of a new execution we tried," said ESPN PR Manager Paul Melvin. "We'll evaluate its impact and effectiveness and use those learnings as we move forward."

Now I understand the need for advertising on the site, but you have to get the headlines back above the fold. There is plenty of room for both, especially when the two ads at the top are for the exact same company. I expect they'll be getting a pretty negative response to this move.

Do Not Ask Bobby Knight About Chairs

Bobby Knight does a lot of media in the offseason, and was in The Netherlands promoting a Basketball Clinic. A reporter decided to ask Knight about the "chair incident", and the ESPN analyst didn't take too kindly to the line of questioning (fast forward to the 2:30 mark and brace for NSFW language)....

Well then. I wonder that he meant by "you people"? Those crazy Dutch are always asking Knight about his blowups. Too funny.

Video: Foreigners Shouldn’t Ask Bob Knight About The Chair (You Been Blinded)

Matt Vasgersian Continues His On-Air Awkwardness

I don't know if it's something in his brain or what, but Matt Vasgersian must just forget that he's actually being broadcast to thousands of people at certain times. There was the Ozarks incident, the f-bomb on MLB Network, and now this. Via Bugs & Cranks....

Wow. There are times to try and make jokes, and definitely times not to make them. You can't go from serious/somber voice to lighthearted that fast! Plus that dude looked nothing like Donovan McNabb. Just plain awkward.

Update: Vasgersian has responded via KSK....
“I am an idiot .. Save the racial stuff which is just flat out wrong, almost all of what has been posted on my regrettably horrific timing is spot on .. It was a bad decision made on live tv and i can absolutely understand how that make an announcer sound insensitive. Bad on the spot judgment. Nobody feels worse about it than I do guys.”
Video: Another Awkward Moment in Television History Featuring Matt Vasgersian (Bugs and Cranks)
UPDATED: Matt Vasgersian should probably stop talking for a little while. (Kissing Suzy Kolber)

ESPN Got Pranked Yesterday

On Sports Center yesterday, ESPN reported that both Mike Green and Donald Brashear of the Capitals had been suspended. Everyone in DC scrambled to confirm the story for the next hour, but ESPN suddenly retracted their original report by saying just Brashear had been suspended. However, that wasn't the end of it. From there, Sports Center aired two more retractions before finally saying that just Brashear would be heading to a hearing at 1pm. You can read about the whole day at the Capitals Outsider.

Crazy day for Sports Center but it's not necessarily their fault. They were prank called by someone posing as a Washington Post reporter, and went with the information provided by the prankster....

"I was on my way to the rink this morning and my buddy called me and was a little upset I was missing Game 7," said Capitals defenseman Mike Green, a finalist for the Norris Trophy given to the NHL's top defenseman.

"I had no idea what for. It kind of caught me off guard."

ESPN SportsCenter hosts Josh Elliot and Hannah Storm relayed that Green and teammate Donald Brashear were suspended under a "Breaking News" banner Monday at 9:52 a.m.

Within a half hour, ESPN retracted the story.

"Our news desk received the call from someone representing themselves as a Washington Post reporter," ESPN spokesman Dan Quinn said.

"We didn't follow our own fact-checking procedures and mistakenly reported the story.

"We apologize for the error."
That's just so random. In the pantheon of prank calls, that's probably the worst one ever. Why someone would pose as a Washington Post reporter for kicks is beyond me, but whatever makes you happy.

Prankster dupes ESPN with bogus report on NHL suspension (USA Today)

Your 2009 Sports Emmy Award Winners Are....

Sorry for the abbreviated day, but I've just now been able to get on a computer. The Sports Emmy Awards were held last night in New York, and there were some surprises when the trophies were handed out. NBC won the "President's Trophy" by taking home nine awards and there was even a tie in one of the categories. Terry Bradshaw and Tom Jackson split the title of Outstanding Studio Analyst. Here are the rest of the winners....


* Bob Costas NBC/HBO


* Jim Nantz CBS


* Terry Bradshaw FOX
* Tom Jackson ESPN


* Cris Collinsworth NFL Network / NBC

Posted by Awful Announcing at 1:28 PM 8 Comments Links to this post

Mike Golic To Get Waxed On Air

Monday, April 27, 2009

This is a terribly horrible idea, but apparently Mike Golic will be getting waxed on-air to pay back a bet. Every year, Mike and Mike make a bet on who will have the better NCAA Tourney bracket (last year Greenberg had to milk a cow), and that's the payment for this year's loss. Via ESPN....

ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning co-host Mike Golic lost the “Bracket Wager” challenge to co-host Mike Greenberg and now must pay the price. Listeners voted and Golic will get waxed live during the show on Wednesday, April 29, at 8:10 a.m. The waxing can be heard on ESPN Radio and seen on the ESPN2 simulcast.

“I really have no idea what to expect with the waxing, this is really more of Greeny's world than mine,” Golic says. “I expect this to be the only waxing of my life, yet I do expect to scream.”

Greenberg says, “Mike Golic being waxed live on the air may represent a new low, not just for him, or for Mike and Mike, but perhaps for the medium. This may be the low water mark in the history of radio. I fear Marconi is spinning in his grave.”
If anyone has Howard Stern On Demand, check out "Richard Getting Waxed", just to see how painful the process is. It makes for hilarious radio though, and I'll be sure to have some of the clips for you tomorrow.

ESPN's Grades The Graders, Has A Small Problem Though

I can't stand sifting through draft grades, because they're even more pointless than mock drafts. You don't know what the criteria is (Did the team fill needs? Did the team draft the best player in that spot?), and teams drafting for defense always seem to score lower (see: Skins, Red). Well ESPN has taken such grading to a whole new level. They are grading the graders.

ESPN took a handful of people from various publications (USA Today, CBS Sportsline, etc), and averaged out their grades, to give each team a "GPA" for the draft. The Eagles scored the highest, while the Raiders failed miserably. There's only one problem....they didn't take the time to look closely at each grader's work. Larry Weisman's piece from the USA Today is from 2008. Heck he even has a photo up top of Glenn Dorsey, Chris Long and Matt Ryan....

Don't you think they would have noticed that Wiesman gave the Raiders a "C"? Well, FoxSports.com's John Czarnecki gave them one too, but you know what I mean. Plus, now all of the GPAs are completely off. Such a shame too.

Consensus NFL Draft Grades (ESPN)

(Thanks to reader JP for the tip)

The Cons Of Sitting On The Glass At A Hockey Game

Game 5 between the Flames and 'Hawks was dominated by Chicago, but the highlight of the night was Defenseman Matt Walker entertaining a group of ladies behind the bench. He didn't throw a water bottle at them like Rangers' Coach John Tortorella, but rather showed them his broken finger. Walker blocked a Dion Phaneuf shot in the first period, and the two ladies just happened to get a look. From Puck Daddy via Keith's Sports Journal....

I love how Walker isn't even phased by his finger looking like a staircase. Too funny.

What Women Don't Find Attractive (Keith's Sports Journal)
Video: Blackhawk Walker's mangled finger frightens the ladies (Puck Daddy)

Why Draft Mark Sanchez, When You Already Have Fallon At QB?

Larry Fitzgerald was on The Jimmy Fallon Show on Friday to promote Madden 2010, and brought along a few clips. The first were just shots of him getting tackled, but then he and Fallon brought out the big guns. Watch as Kellen Clemens goes down, and who his replacement is....

Now that's funny. Those graphics are insane, and I really hope they have the warmup bike in the game as well. Good stuff.

Jimmy Fallon Has Played Madden Already (Outside the Boxscore)

ABC Illustrates The One Sided Iverson-Billups Trade

It's no secret that Denver made out like gangbusters when picking up Chauncey Billups for Allen Iverson, and that AI hasn't done anything for Detroit, but this is just rubbing it in....

Man, that is just wrong....but very very funny.

The Hate For Allen Iverson Is Strong (BSO)

Tony Dungy To Talk With Mike Vick

I haven't figured out if this is for an interview that the network will air on NBC, but Tony Dungy will be heading to Leavenworth to talk with Michael Vick. The former coach broke the news during the Draft on Saturday, and will try to avoid any talk about Football when he meets with Vick. Via ESPN....

Former Colts and Buccaneers coach Tony Dungy said Saturday he plans to visit Michael Vick in a federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan., on May 5.

Dungy said he does not plan to talk to Vick about football, but about life.

Vick is serving a 23-month sentence for his role in a dogfighting operation and has a team of lawyers trying to settle his finances in bankruptcy court.

A major component of the bankruptcy lawyers' efforts to find a way for Vick to satisfy his creditors is based on his ability to again earn millions in pro football.

Last week, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Vick has paid a significant price for doing an "egregious thing" and will have to show genuine remorse and that the experience has changed him in order to get a chance at resuming his career in the league.
If this is an interview for NBC then it is a huge get. Of course, it would still be commendable for Dungy to go and talk to him on his own, but I think a ton of people would like to hear what Vick has to say.

The NFL Draft Has Officially Jumped The Shark

I don't know if it's ESPN's terrible Day One coverage, the length of the thing or the lack of suspense during picks, but I think the NFL Draft is now officially unwatchable. Hour after hour, it's picks being ruined by ESPN or the NFL Network showing kids getting calls on their cell phone, and analysts making up ridiculous phrases to describe said draft picks. I mean, Steve Young described Mark Sanchez as "Presidential". What the hell does that even mean?

This year was also marred by the Erin Andrews "green room" experiment. While I understand the need for interviews, you really didn't need to send her to New Jersey on Day Two, to talk to the Cosbys....

That was fun right? Especially considering Quan Cosby didn't even get drafted! I know see the difference between having someone like Suzy Kolber asking picks about their workout regiment, and Erin Andrews asking Michael Crabtree about how many texts he's received.

I know I'm going to continue to watch the Draft, but I might just stick to Day Two from here on out.

Carl Edwards Gets Up Close And Personal With NASCAR Fans

You've probably already seen this crash, but I absolutely had to make a spot for it here. Carl Edwards was sent careening into the air, during the last lap of the Aaron's 499 yesterday, in what might be the craziest NASCAR crash I've ever seen. Take a look....

Just nuts. Fortunately no one in the front few rows was seriously injured, with the most serious injury being a broken jaw from debris.

NFL Draft Day One Open Thread

Saturday, April 25, 2009

What: The 2009 NFL Draft
Where: Radio City Music Hall
When: 4pm (ESPN/NFL-N)

So another Draft is upon us and this year's should be just as fun as the last few years. We already know that Matthew Stafford will be the first pick, but the rest of the first round is up in the air. Matt Sanchez and Michael Crabtree are the current names rumored that teams are going to trade up for (the Pats are interested in Crabtree apparently), and who knows when the crazy Andre Smith will go.

Predictions, quotes and thoughts are welcome throughout the day, and feel free to make fun of my Mock Draft below, which is sure to be completely useless....

1. Detroit Lions: Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia
2. St. Louis Rams: Jason Smith, OT, Baylor
3. Kansas City Chiefs: Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest
4. Seattle Seahawks: Mark Sanchez, QB, USC
5. Cleveland Browns: Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia
6. Cincinnati Bengals: Andre Smith, OT, Alabama
7. Oakland Raiders: Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
8. Jacksonville Jaguars: Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri
9. Green Bay Packers: B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College
10. San Francisco 49ers: Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU
11. Buffalo Bills: Michael Oher, OT, Mississippi
12. Denver Broncos: Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee
13. Washington Redskins: Brian Orakpo, DE/OLB, Texas
14. New Orleans Saints: Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State
15. Houston Texans: Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State
16. San Diego Chargers: Chris "Beanie" Wells, RB, Ohio State
17. New York Jets: Josh Freeman, QB, Kansas State
18. Denver Broncos (from CHI): Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Rey Maualuga, ILB, USC
20. Detroit Lions (from DAL): Brian Cushing, OLB, USC
21. Philadelphia Eagles: Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia
22. Minnesota Vikings: Percy Harvin, WR, Florida
23. New England Patriots: Clay Matthews, OLB, USC
24. Atlanta Falcons: Peria Jerry, DT, Mississippi
25. Miami Dolphins: Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State
26. Baltimore Ravens: Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers
27. Indianapolis Colts: Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland
28. Buffalo Bills (from PHI, which received from CAR): Donald Brown, RB, Connecticut
29. New York Giants: Hakeem Nicks, WR, North Carolina
30. Tennessee Titans: Everette Brown, DE, Florida State
31. Arizona Cardinals: Phil Loadholt, OT, Oklahoma
32. Pittsburgh Steelers: Darius Butler, CB, Connecticut

Pros Vs. Joes Is Returning, And Now With More Glazer And Strahan!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

If you've heard anything about Pros vs. Joes over the past few months, it's that just about every athlete has gotten into a brawl with the contestants. Well Spike released the promos for this year's contest (Season Four), and your hosts for this year will be none other than FOX Sports', Jay Glazer and Michael Strahan! Here's a look....

Seems fun enough, right? The premier episode is this Monday, April 27th, at 11pm on Spike TV. Hopefully Pacman doesn't go postal on anyone.

Quan Cosby, Meet Bill Cosby

Quan Cosby is a potential draftee out of the University of Texas. You may remember him from his Fiesta Bowl performance, where he had 14 catches, 171 yards and 2tds (one coming with :16 left). Well, while Mark Sanchez is being followed around Southern California, Quan Cosby will be hanging with legendary comedian (and certifiably insane now), Bill Cosby! The wide receiver will be in Englewood, NJ, hanging with Mr. Huxtable, before he performs that night. Of course ESPN will be there to capture all the Cosby (no relation) goodness....

Cosby will watch the draft with actor/comedian Bill Cosby at a theater in Englewood, N.J., where the elder Cosby (no relation) will perform that night. Bill Cosby was impressed with the Texas receiver’s play in the Fiesta Bowl, so he had his representatives contact Quan and they struck up a friendship. Quan even introduced Cosby when the comedian performed in Austin, Texas. They will watch the draft together this weekend and if Quan – projected as a late-round pick – is selected when Cosby is performing Sunday night, Cosby has pledged to stop his show and introduce Quan on stage. ESPN will be there to capture the moment.
That sounds ten times better than having to sit inside Radio City Music Hall on day one, or have your family bugging you when you drop to the third round. Plus, Bill is likely to do something completely batty when Quan finally gets picked.

Here are the slew of other players ESPN will show remotely....Sanchez; Connor Barwin (Cincinnati); Donald Brown (UConn); Everette Brown (Florida State); Vontae Davis (Illinois); Darrius Heyward-Bey (Maryland); Malcolm Jenkins (Ohio State); Jeremy Maclin (Missouri); Clay Matthews (USC); Aaron Maybin (Penn State); Knowshon Moreno (Georgia); BJ Raji (Boston College); Andre Smith (Alabama); Chris “Beanie” Wells (Ohio State); Darius Butler (UConn); Louis Delmas (Western Michigan), Cornelius Ingram (Florida); LeShon McCoy (Pittsburgh); Alphonso Smith (Wake Forest); Ian Johnson (Boise State)

A Look At Steve Nash's "Superbadge"

Ladies and Gentleman, I give you the full five minute version of "Superbadge", starring Shaquille O'Neal as "Thaddeus Thundercastle" and Alondo Tucker as "Billy Ray Badger"! (I apologize for the quality, but for some reason NBA.com doesn't let you embed videos. Click here for a better quality version)

Now that my friends is some good acting! I guess since the Suns are out of the Playoffs they have time to make movies, but if they all turn out like this, then losing out on the postseason was all worth it.

Create The Caption #382

(Usually) Everyday I'll throw out a photo, you provide the caption, and then hilarity ensues. I'm also adding a handful of links at the bottom of the page that you should check out each day.

Yesterday's Winners....

"Only three more days and I don't have to worry about Shelley Smith stalking my SoCal apartment ever again."- RJBO

"Mark, your hand is sooooooooooooooo cold!"- Edward

"Wow, I never realized how much I look like Judd from "The Real World: San Francisco."- The Genius

Mark: "Hey, look! I just got drafted by the Lions!"
Chick: "Congratulations- oh, hey, look at the time! Gotta go."
- Hard Scores

Are you funny enough to create a caption for this photo of Justin Timberlake, with Neil Everett and Stan Verrett, on Sports Center?

Your Daily Links:

About Those "Beyond Baseball" Commercials (3:10 to Joba)
Mel Kiper Scouts The Ladies (Sox and Dawgs)
Hansbrough Is Upset At Travel Call (Rush The Court)
An Article On Kings Reporter, Heidi Androl (LA Kings Examiner)
Drew Carey At WWE's Royal Rumble (Outside the Boxscore)
Converse Gave Out Dwyane Wade's Cell Phone Number? (NESW Sports)
The Next Hot Thing In Tennis (Rizzo Sports)
NFL Draft Trivia (Simon On Sports)

Cover Those Up, Lindsay!

Lindsay Soto is a sideline reporter (or sideice reporter?) for Versus, and during game three of the Sharks-Ducks series, she conducted a very interesting interview with Ducks' D, Rob Niedermayer. Not really because it was that insightful, but rather because leaning over from the bench almost caused her to come out of her shirt....

Very good catch there, Lindsay. I'm pretty sure that was the best interview that Niedermayer has ever done. Good times.

(Thanks to SS for the clip)

The Natinals Apparently Didn't Have The First Jersey Errors

Was watching Jimmy Kimmel Live last night, and the late night talk show host decided to have some fun at the Nationals expense. Take a look....

I don't care who you are....that's funny.

Justin Timberlake Stops By ESPN LA

If you haven't been watching ESPN LA, you've missed some very interesting cameos during the 1am version of Sports Center. While Snoop Dogg was highly entertaining, nothing says knowing your demographic like having Justin Timberlake grace the airwaves for a night. The pop singer even tried his hand at answering a few questions from anchors, Stan Verrett and Neil Everett. Here's the clip....

Not a bad Top Ten, if you ask me. I could have done without the Lakers' homerism, mainly because you absolutely have to pick Lebron or Dwight Howard if you're starting an NBA team, but the rest of the answers were pretty good. Again, I'm not exactly sure he's in the demographic of folks that watch Sports Center, but he knows his Sports.

Oh, and lose the Michael Douglas glasses from "Falling Down"....they're creeping me out.

A Real Life Hawk Interrupts The Hawks Game, Entertains Dick Stockton

I've seen some crazy things interrupt sporting events before, but this one might take the cake. During the first quarter of last night's Miami-Atlanta game, an actual hawk tried to get into the action, by perching on top of the basket....

I actually have to take back what I said above. Hugo the Hornet setting the court on fire during last year's Playoffs actually takes the cake, but this is a close second.

An Actual Hawk Interrupts Atlanta's Game (Fanhouse)

Your Nine Madden 2010 Cover Finalists Are?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Madden Day is still one of my favorite times of the year, even though I'm thirty years-old (shh...don't tell anyone). The suspense leading up to it is pretty fun as well, and this year EA has decided to release the nine finalists competing for the right to get injured next season....er, get the cover. Here's who they're deciding between. From SBD via EA Sports....

EA Sports has announced the nine finalists to appear on the cover of the "Madden NFL 10" videogame, with the cover athlete to be announced Friday. The finalists are Steelers S Troy Polamalu, Colts QB Peyton Manning, Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald, Chiefs QB Matt Cassel, Cowboys LB DeMarcus Ware, Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, Giants RB Brandon Jacobs, Vikings RB Adrian Peterson and Ravens S Ed Reed
Matt Cassell?!?! Seriously??? Ummm....okay....sure. Other than that, the rest of the candidates seem worthy enough. It would be cool to see someone like Polamalu or Reed get it, because I think the last defensive player on the cover was Ray Lewis. The cover athlete for Madden '10 will be announced on Friday.

EA Narrows Possible Cover Athletes To Nine (Sports Business Daily - $)

10 Questions With ESPN's NFL Draft Producer, Jay Rothman

From time to time, I like to get interviews with certain media members or player, and today's one is perfect for Draft Week. ESPN gave me the opportunity to ask NFL Draft Producer, Jay Rothman, ten questions about the "Leader's" coverage of the Draft, and here were his responses. Hope you enjoy, and gain some insight as well....

Q&A w/ ESPN Senior Coordinating Producer Jay Rothman, who will oversee ESPN's NFL Draft telecast for the 15th year in 2009:

1. Having worked on the NFL Draft with ESPN for multiple years, what are some of your favorite memories?

Every year it’s intriguing because there seems to be a different controversy of who the better quarterback is. We had the year with McNabb, Couch, Culpepper, Akili Smith and Cade McNown to Eli and Phillip Rivers and Roethlisberger. Then there’s Leinart and Young, and Aaron Rodgers and Alex Smith, and Rodgers dropping and Brady Quinn’s drama. Even Harrington and Carr. Although it was a forgone conclusion, we debated that. And who really knows with Stafford and Sanchez. Stafford seems to be the bona fide No. 1 and Sanchez the hot guy that everyone is going after. The easy thing that sticks in your head is the quarterback debate that always comes up, everybody looking for that franchise quarterback. So I would say the quarterbacks and how we broke it down.

Other memories that stick out are the crazy things: when Parcells threw Sal (Paolantonio) out of the New York Jets camp. I think that was the year Keyshawn was drafted. The lights going out at Madison Square Garden, and the show going pitch black. The Lawrence Phillips debate with Theismann and Mel. Stuff like that.

Needless to say, the best stuff is some of the unique moments that we capture, Joe Thomas fishing or David Carr’s plane landing in Houston. Somehow, some way, the bizarre seems to fall into our lap. When the Vikings failed to make a pick before the clock went out, that became absolutely frenetic. When they forgot the card and the cards started flying at the table, it made for unbelievable drama, but all of a sudden for us the planes are stacked up. It makes it really difficult for us to get out of that turbulence. Great TV can be very complicated for us, and that’s kind of the stuff that happens.

One year we had Boomer Esiason on the set and we were ready to introduce him as the new voice of Monday Night Football, and we were set to do that with the Jets on the clock. Peyton Manning was drafted that year and we came out of the break and Boomer’s on the set, the Jets traded the pick and Peyton was there on the second set ready to be interviewed. A couple of coaches popped up on the video conference ready to be interviewed. That’s the nature of the draft. You go from what you think is logical to all this stuff that happens in a moment’s notice and it’s chaos.

2. How soon before the Draft do you begin the planning and scheduling?

There are things that go on that keep the process going year-round, and it never leaves your thought process, but it really begins in earnest once the college and NFL season ends. We go full-on. It’s getting to Mel and now McShay right away to try to flush out who are the top players in this class. It’s getting a team of people together to compile the best and worst of these players on video. This year it was how can we better clean up the screen and be more innovative by going in HD – having the SD feed in the 16x9 format to take advantage of the screen. Each year we try to successfully implement the technology we used during football coverage over the last year, so this year we will utilize the EA Virtual Playbooks and ESPN Axis technology and repurpose some of it in the draft show. We also try to find those unique wrinkles to consistently raise the bar year after year. Our goal is always to create a better, more innovative presentation. We have days and days of storyline meetings, team by team, so we are on point with all 32 clubs. We also talk about how to properly highlight the great moments of the last 30 years and even our history and tradition that makes us really the voice of the draft, which we take great pride in. We also spend a lot of time on talent. What’s the best pool of talent and how do we deploy our talent in the smartest and most efficient way? How do we break them down and have them deliver information?

3. What are some of the stats that you can give? (i.e. - number of cameras, number of personalities, total coverage hours)

Well, it’s challenging on tight 51st Street in New York City. For the first time we’ve taken up both sides of the street. But it’s not so much the number of cameras per se like it is for an NFL game that’s a ‘wow.’ In Radio City we have multiple sets – three sets – plus the green room, Todd McShay back in Bristol working the “magic board,” day 2 we’ve got another set fired up. Between 32 sites of video conferencing, and 17 remotes, we are looking at close to 60 locations all told when you include player locations and draft parties that are seamlessly integrated into the show. That stat probably impresses me the most.

4. It seems like in years past, ESPN has tried to fit various different personalities into the program. What makes this year's group special?

We have scaled down the talent in the actual draft show so that on day 1 we are really bouncing from our main set of four guys to Herm and Trey, Mort for news and information, Erin Andrews in the green room, and Todd McShay on the video board, and everything else is live shots and reporters. We are more fleet-footed. We’ve scaled back. We’ve reduced the number on the main set to move the ball around and keep the show in Radio City on day 1 where the buzz is, with the exception of showing the dozens of players and their reality unfold.

Mel is the staple. He is our E.F. Hutton. It’s groundhog day for Mel, and with draft fans there’s an expectation on Mel. McShay is a guy who’s earned his stripes. He’s as credible as Mel when it comes to breaking down players and he’s done so for a while. He deserves this stage, and finally we have a foil for Mel. We’re going to give them an opportunity to debate. Todd gives us the ability to have another credible go-to guy in terms of breaking down players and educating fans about who these kids are and identifying their strengths and weaknesses. We have the ability to do some unique things with Todd and Mel together and with Todd separately with the “magic board” and the ability to forward spin the show.

This is Berman’s 29th draft and that just shows his passion for this event and for the NFL. This is the most difficult studio job out there – bar none. As we’re flying by the seat of our pants behind the scenes, he’s got to do it seamlessly in front of a camera and as flawlessly as possible. There’s a big difference there. To dance like he dances for a big guy, and rock and roll based on this unscripted, unformatted show for the length of time that it is, it’s a very difficult thing to do. And I would argue that he and Mel really made the draft what it is today. Mel certainly did for his unique skills but there’s no question Berman helped make the draft what it is today. All those years of doing this thing and to keep wanting to come back year after year.

When Steve (Young) opens his mouth, it’s a ‘wow.’ What we did unique this year is we have made Steve the lead-off hitter for the NFC teams and Keyshawn the lead-off for the AFC teams. Aside from the obvious of having Steve break down the quarterbacks and Keyshawn break down Michael Crabtree and the receivers, we split up the league with them to help us balance their roles.

By moving Mort from the main set to another set, we are basically giving him the opportunity to focus on more news and information – who’s moving in, who’s moving out, what are the trade rumors he’s hearing? He will have the ability to aggressively work the phones during the show. We’ll get to him often but it further defines his role and allows him to do what he does best and not be prohibited by sitting on a main set. Inevitably, when you have less, less is more. By sheer numbers, it will allow us to be more fleet-footed, moving from set to set rather than being mired in a large set of talent.

We want to utilize Herm as a head coach and as a guy who sat in the draft room, especially on day 1. Put us in these draft rooms and give us that perspective. What do you look for in certain types of players? What he has given us in the meetings up to this point has been great. He spent four years as a scout, so he has a unique perspective that we plan to utilize. And Trey Wingo has proven himself as the year-round voice of our NFL studio show by taking on NFL Live like he has. Obviously, he’s proven his abilities as a very able host, his ability to ad-lib and his knowledge of the game. He can set up his analysts and he’s a very good interviewer as well. He has all the skill set to do an incredible job and he takes great pride in the fact that he’s doing this show.

5. Erin Andrews is close to College Football, but she hasn't covered the NFL for the network in her tenure at ESPN. Why make her the Green Room Host?

The decision really started with Suzy (Kolber) whose responsibilities shifted from day 1, where she is part of the preview show and hosting an A-list group of analysts with Cris Carter, Tom Jackson and Trent Dilfer during the first two hours of the draft on ESPNEWS. She is also essentially co-hosting day 2 on Sunday with the same group. Therefore, she was taken out of the mix. It was best for Trey to remain with Herm on that second set in Radio City, so we felt Erin would be the best person to be in the green room. She’s got a great personality, she’s aggressive, she’s well-liked by the players. It was really a no-brainer to have her back there. She is eager and doing her homework, and truthfully she has a lot of contacts that we don’t necessarily have, and she’s using those contacts within the world of college football to get a lot of unique and different information for us, whether it’s calling Mark Richt at Georgia or Pete Carroll at USC. She’s going to not only do interviews but her ability and skill-set as a sideline reporter is going to lead to unique nuggets and information that she is gathering. She will also react on the fly to the drama and tension of the green room. We’re relying on her sensibilities and smarts to help us translate to the viewer the tension and drama and excitement of that room, and to react accordingly. The players’ familiarity with her from college football makes her a great fit.

6. Along those same lines....Why no Kornheiser this year?

The big reason we had Tony in 2007 was really to introduce the new Monday Night Football team, and that clearly was the play. It was a new booth and a vehicle to recognize that and introduce them in a highly-rated show to sort of get the buzz out, and that was the only year we did it. We’re actually two years removed from that, so it’s really a non-factor.

7. How has the NFL Network's broadcast of the Draft changed ESPN's approach in recent years?

It really hasn’t changed our approach. The good thing is it has made us hungrier and put our radar up to not take for granted our success. It’s great to have another player in there. It makes us sharper and makes us work harder – to be more aggressive and want to differentiate. It’s not so much what are they doing versus what are we doing. It’s just made us work harder to ensure that we are indeed the network of choice.

8. Much talk has been made of a move to primetime for the Draft. Do you feel that would be a wise timeslot, and do you see it happening anytime soon?

Given the length of the two rounds on Saturday with the start time at 4 p.m. and the off-time around 11 p.m., it already is in primetime, and I think we are in a better position right now to get more eyeballs.

9. The Draft will be aired in HD for the first time ever. Why the wait in producing the program in high def?

It really came down to a truck and facilities that we were able to obtain in New York. The picture quality will be better, and, for the HD audience, there will be an additional bar of information and Draft-related content that the SD audience will not be getting. However, the SD screen is going to be in a 16x9 letterbox format. We are giving a bigger screen to the SD audience and taking away some of the clutter by fine-tuning some of the information along the BottomLine. We probably could have gone HD a year ago but this year we were able to obtain the same truck that we use for Monday Night Football and we decided to go for it. In the past we had left and right columns of information, in addition to the BottomLine, and it was just too busy. This year we have built everything into the BottomLine, kept more video in the 16x9 and provided the HD. In using the MNF truck, we are also using a bigger truck, which we realized we needed to do this show.

Note: the Radio City and Bristol portions of the Draft will be in HD, along with taped elements. Remotes and team videoconferencing will continue to be in SD.

10. Any other surprises planned for this year's telecast?

We’re up to 17 remotes on day 1 with players in the draft who will be outside of Radio City, which is a record for us. We’re really excited about that and feel it will be a point of differentiation with our coverage. Between the nine who will be in the green room and being with 17 players, we almost have half the draft’s players on day 1. A great surprise to me is that one of our cameras will be with receiver Quan Cosby of Texas, who will be with Bill Cosby at a theater in New Jersey. They’re not related but they struck up a friendship. If Quan gets picked when Cosby is there performing his show at the theater, he’s going to stop to introduce Quan. That’s a unique twist that’s in the line of Joe Thomas fishing with his dad. We’re also going to be with the top four running backs in the draft – Beanie Wells, Donald Brown, Knowshon Moreno and LeShon McCoy.

Drew Rosenhaus will also have a group of players he’s representing with him in Pennsylvania. He’s got a group of 2nd round guys -- McCoy (Pittsburgh), Darius Butler (Connecticut), Alphonso Smith (Wake Forest), Louis Delmas (Western Michigan) and Cornelius Ingram (Florida) – so we have depth into the second round, which I like. It’s not just at the top and the buzz is over. The other big thing is that Rosenhaus represents Anquan Boldin, Plaxico Burress and Chad Johnson, so storyline guys like that who may be traded before the draft or on draft day, we have a beat on the NFL angle too.

The last thing I would add is that we had access to the Combine for the first time, which allowed us behind the scenes with 43 players. For us, it’s more of the glam that we got out of it, not so much sit-down interviews or features, per se. It allowed us to do the magazine-type poses and things like that that help the elements of our show, both in the front-end highlight package and in the bumpers coming in and out of commercial breaks. We did some really unique stuff with motion and still photography. It elevates our look and feel.

Many thanks to Jay, and ESPN, for taking the time out of their busy week(s) to answer those so thoroughly.

ESPN Releases ACC-Big Ten Challenge And SEC-Big East Invitational Schedules

It's hard to believe that the ACC-Big Ten Challenge has been around this long, but when the two conferences matchup in late November/early December, it will be the 11th installment of the Challenge. For the past few years, it seems like the same teams always played each other, but this year there a few showdowns that we have yet to see over the years.

Maryland has played Illinois, what seems like seven times (it's only three), and this year they travel to Indiana for a rematch of the 2002 National Championship game. Minnesota and Miami will face up for the first time ever, and UNC will tackle Michigan State in a rematch of the Championship Game earlier this month.

The SEC-Big East Challenge enters its 3rd year of existence, and is highlighted by UConn taking on Kentucky and Florida playing Syracuse.Here's are both schedules....


Monday, Nov. 30th

Penn State at Virginia

Tuesday, Dec. 1st

Maryland at Indiana
Michigan State at North Carolina
Northwestern at N.C. State
Virginia Tech at Iowa
Wake Forest at Purdue

Wednesday, Dec. 2nd

Boston College at Michigan
Duke at Wisconsin
Florida State at Ohio State
Illinois at Clemson
Minnesota at Miami


Wednesday, Dec. 9th (New York, NY)

Georgia vs. St. John’s
Kentucky vs. Connecticut

Thursday, Dec. 10th (Tampa, FL)

DePaul vs. Mississippi State
Syracuse vs. Florida

Create The Caption #381

(Usually) Everyday I'll throw out a photo, you provide the caption, and then hilarity ensues. I'm also adding a handful of links at the bottom of the page that you should check out each day.

Last Wednesday's Winners....

"I was trying to use this job to leverage more money out of the Clippers but they realized I sucked... so now I'm here. Excuse me but I have to go to the pharmacy to pick up some sleeping pills for my, um... daughter."- WB,SB

"I have been to the Florida in America before, but I am excited to be here at the Florida in Internationl today for the first time."- Mal

"I am here to announce that NED will be switching from football to basketball... once he gets off his crutches."- Birdman

"That's right, I plan to either trade away recruits for players with no eligibility left, or just collect selfish, moody point guards."- Charles

Are you funny enough to create a caption for this photo of Mark Sanchez at last night's Jazz-Lakers game?

Your Daily Links:

There's Now An Athlete Tweet Aggregator! (Athlete Tweets)
And Craig Sager Is Now Twittering (Half Court Heave)
Minor League Nickname Contests Rule (Bus Leagues)
Dustin Pedroia's Latest Commercial Is Terrible (Red Sox Monster)
Jason Werth Is The Shamwow Guy! (Right Field Bleachers)
Look Out Mr. Ref! (Sports Rubbish)
Thank You Adam Eaton (Five Tool Tool)
Photoshop Fun With The Mariners (More Hardball)
Sandlot Kid Arrested (Wicked Good Sports)