Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Joe Theismann is still bitter towards ESPN

Washington Post columnist Dan Steinberg recently caught up with the former football broadcaster at a FedEx Field free prostate screening event and Theismann wasn't shy about his feelings towards ESPN or Tony Kornheiser.

Of both subjects, he had this to say:
"I still think Tony's out of place," he said. "Tony was hired to do a job in a football booth that, first of all, didn't suit him. And it didn't suit the venue, the venue being football, period. Tony doesn't belong in a booth. What he adds and what he brings, ok, has a place. But it doesn't have a place in the booth, and I think he's gonna retire after this year....

"And you've got to remember, I got fired from ESPN because I talked about football. And now, their main emphasis after two years of trying to do it the other way, is going back to talk about football."
While he's probably right about Kornheiser, a lot of people felt the same way about Theismann when he was behind the mic. I personally couldn't stand hearing the guy and though TK doesn't really know his X's and O's, he at least brings some humor to the booth. It does surprise me, though, that ESPN couldn't find a place for Theismann among their cavalcade of in-studio analysts. I mean, he's at least better than Emmitt... although that isn't saying much.

Josh's Corner: Madden misses the mark

Friend and former CortSide colleague Josh Garcia is back with a commentary on this year's Madden title.

You know I'm growing up when I get Madden as a birthday present and I've only got to play it a handful of times. That's due to work related stuff and the fact that I live with girls and they don't really enjoy watching me play. Yeah, I don't know why either, because in this Madden you can turn back time, no Dr. Brown or Delorean needed. All you need to do is press a little button and eruh errrrr, time travel. What will Madden come up with next? I would say something clever or smart alec-ish but really what is cooler than time travel?

Now that I got the cool things out of the way, my problems with this game are numerous. So I sit down to start a franchise because, let's face it, who doesn't want to be in charge of their own team? Mine being the Cowboys, I was looking forward to it. My first quibble... no Adam "Pacman" Jones. He's not on the Cowboys roster. No worries. I just have to trade for him from the Titans. It's cool, I'm looking to get rid of Terry Glenn.

Wait a minute, where is he? Maybe a free agent? Nope, he's not in the game! I know what you're thinking, quit being lazy and just make him, Josh. Well I don't like doing that because I tend to make players way better than they are. I'm too generous with the 99's.

Okay, to my second gripe. The graphics and before game introduction are amazing. I hear John Madden welcome me to the stadium I'm playing at, but then he says something that makes me do a "whaaa did he just say". We take you to some guy I don't know and Cris Collinsworth? They are going to be announcing my Madden game? Where are John and Al? You mean to tell me I've got to listen to Collinsworth's smug commentary and when I throw a pick I have to have Crissy tell me where I should have thrown it. Its called instant replay, Cris, I don't need you.

So let me get this straight. The game I'm playing is Madden 09? Yup, Favre is on the cover and that's what it says on the disc, I even checked twice. But Cris Collinsworth is calling the games with some chump. Do I at least get John and Al for the super bowl? We'll wait and see. But the straw that broke the camels back was when I was playing the other night.

I get home from work early, which is rare, so I have the TV to myself. Pop in Madden and I get the system update window. This takes a minute and I'm thinking, "maybe they are adding Pacman to my team." So I get into playing and Madden welcomes me to Texas stadium but the coin toss is sponsored by Eagle Eye. I think, "that's weird movies are advertising through Madden." No big deal, I'll just keep playing.

So my first drive, I throw to Matt Jones who I had to trade for because I lost T.O. for the whole season on some bogus injury that he would never get because he is unstoppable. (Yeah, point out the irony of me picking up another player who is trouble with the law, but Matt Jones is a great Madden pickup, and it kind of makes up for my team not having the resident bad boy Pacman. I've got even it out somehow!) So the little graphic pops up, "Matt Jones - 1 catch for 13 yards," and guess who's there....Eagle Eye. Shia get off my Madden!!!! The whole game goes like this. Every little stupid statistical update which I used to like now has my team emblem and EAGLE F'n EYE. Really???

Madden sold out and now advertises movies that are going to come out. That's where we went to John. You can't even announce my game now or point out the obvious about what my team is doing right.

Geez, I would keep venting but I've got to head out. Eagle Eye is playing at 10:45pm at the AMC down the street and I really want to see it now.

Back in the saddle again

I'm back from my blog vacation and I've missed so many good topics, like TO whining again, the Mets collapsing again, the Rams losing again and firing their head coach, and much more.

I feel like it's a little late to re-hash those topics, so we'll just move on.

I'll have a few more posts up tonight, including the Six Picks for Sunday results and a new entry from our good friend, Josh Garcia.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Six Picks for Sunday - Week 4

Putting in my Six Picks for Sunday early this week, since I'm headed to our nation's capital for a few days. I might have a few posts throughout the weekend but if not, at least you won't be worrying about us here at TONY BLOGS.

Here we go, and remember to submit your picks in the comments section.

Philadelphia Eagles @ Chicago Bears - Eagles
Arizona Cardinals @ New York Jets - Cardinals
Green Bay Packers @ Tampa Bay Bucs - Packers
Minnesota Vikings @ Tennessee Titans - Titans
Cleveland Browns @ Cincinnati Bengals - Browns
San Francisco 49ers @ New Orleans Saints - Saints

Feeling good about the Eagles, Packers and Cards on the road... The Browns, also on the road, get the edge because the Bengals look really, really bad this year... Titans 'D' will help them at home... Saints over Niners, if only because Reggie Bush is dating Kim Kardashian.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Warren Sapp shakes his groove thing on 'Dancing with the Stars'


Not bad for a guy who is well over 300 pounds. I know NFL guys usually fare well on this show, but that was a receiver and a running back. Then again, Sapp was always one of the best celebratory dancers in the league.

Madden patch #2 available now

Alas, Madden gamers, the second patch is finally available. Earlier reports indicated it was to be released last Friday, which were wrong.

Here are a few of the details, courtesy of PastaPadre.com:
1. Kicking play disconnect: If two opponents play a game with two different camera angles, in any situation where a game winning or tying kick was to be made, a disconnect could occur. “ActionCam” forces the game to go into slow-motion to add drama to these late kicks, but unfortunately the Classic camera does not, thus forcing the “disconnect”. This has been fixed…all cameras can still be used as well.

2. Stability issues in the play call / halftime highlights / postgame highlights screens (especially in Franchise mode after training games): This was a hard one to track down as not everyone was seeing it , we did find the issue however with some Instant Replay / cache corruption, and have a fix ready for patch 2.

3. Stability issues with Madden IQ end of game popup: This has been fixed.

4. “WR direct snap” exploit: Cheesers found an exploit to direct snap to a WR for easy short yardage gain. Not only are we fixing this play (i.e. we aren’t removing it), we are also going to be re-setting records for anyone with a winning record that has been found to be using this play.

5. Franchise Progression / Regression (or lack thereof): The lack of higher numbers was a tuning value that I think everyone agreed was just too low. This has been juiced up so you should see more realistic progression now.
Great work again by Pasta and more details can be found at the above link.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Quick Pic: Brian Dawkins can fly

Six Picks for Sunday - Week 3 results

The Rooster gained a game on me this week, going 4-2 while I put up another 3-3 performance. Here are the results:

The Rooster: WSH, CHI, CAR, PHI, BAL, DAL
Tony Blogs: WSH, CHI, CAR, PHI, CLE, DAL

Overall Standings
The Rooster (12-6)
Tony Blogs (10-8)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Yankee Stadium breathes its last breath tonight

Yankee Stadium will host its final game tonight. And sure, Yankee-haters, it's not the same Yankee Stadium that Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio played in. It's not the same stadium that saw Don Larsen's perfect game, the only in World Series history. You're right, Derek Jeter doesn't stand in the same batter's box as any of those greats, since they moved the plate up during the last renovations in 1973.

But in the 35 years since, the renovated Stadium has still hosted ten World Series'. Of those, the Yankees have won six, which is more than all but one other team in baseball has won in its history. It's had its memories - like Wade Boggs riding the horse after the 1996 Series win, Reggie Jackson's three home runs in the 1977 Series, three magical WS games in 2001, Aaron Boone's walkoff homer in Game 7 of 2003 ALCS, two perfect games, etc. Even on the other side of the coin, Yankee Stadium was the site where the Red Sox finished off their spectacular come-from-behind run in the 2004 ALCS. And that's not even including concerts and Papal visits.

Even without all the old memories of Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris, this building still has plenty. Think about them today while you're whining about the non-stop Yankee Stadium coverage.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Ryder Cup is missing something. No, not Tiger... Wrestling!

I'm surprisingly into this Ryder Cup. I, like most of the golf viewing population, didn't think I would care much without Tiger Woods.

But here are a few ways to make the Cup more fun for the TV audience, courtesy of NextRound.net. It's a list of ways the event would be more entertaining by adding WWE elements to it.

My personal favorite part is this one:
Why do the Ryder Cup captains have to be such glorified cheerleaders? If they have a distinct opportunity to give their team an advantage, why shouldn’t they take it? How refreshing would it be to see Azinger distract a rules official while Kenny Perry moved his ball from a divot?

Quick Pic: A new cathedral in New York

This comes from WCBS-880, through Peter Abraham's LoHud Yankees blog. It's the first picture that shows what this new stadium is going to look like.

Quick Pic: "Look, spaghetti arms, this is my dance space!"

Here are Ian Poulter and Justin Rose during today's Ryder Cup. Rose can't get the Tango down but Poulter is patient with his young understudy.

(Photo courtesy AP)

Madden Patch #2 to be released; Madden says, 'Here's a patch that when you use it, it fixes something!'

Many gamers have complained of problems with Madden 09, like being forced to use the Chicago playbook in online play unless you do a 5-minute back-and-forth with your opponent trying to get both of your playbooks selected.

There is help on the way, perhaps as early as tonight.

The aforementioned conundrum will be fixed with this update that will also fix playcalling, disconnect issues, and more.

Six Picks for Sunday - Week 3

Back again for another week of NFL forecasting. I was an average-at-best 3-3 last week, while my father - The Rooster - went 6-0 to move into the lead. If he's The Rooster, does that make me, "The Cockerel?" Let's just move on...

The Picks
Arizona Cardinals @ Washington Redskins - Redskins
Tampa Bay Bucs @ Chicago Bears - Bears
Carolina Panthers @ Minnesota Vikings - Panthers
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Philadelphia Eagles - Eagles
Cleveland Browns @ Baltimore Ravens - Browns
Dallas Cowboys @ Green Bay Packers - Cowboys

I'm taking the Redskins at home after their impressive performance last week, even though I think the Cards could win the NFC West. (That's not saying much, though) ...The Panthers are 2-0 and they get Steve Smith back this weekend... Give me the Iggles at home over Pittsburgh... Browns-Ravens may be a battle of who is "less bad." ...Finally, I'll take Dallas over the Packers, despite Green Bay's very impressive start. The Cowboys have looked pretty good, as well.

The Rooster will be submitting his predictions in the comments section. Won't you join him?

Wee Man gives Shaq a piggy-back ride

Do I need to say anything else?


Thanks to NESW Sports for the video.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

What is the fate of this man?

The answer to that question will hinge on whether the Mets make the playoffs or not. Jerry Manuel, remember, is the interim manager and if the team collapses again, the bulk of the blame will be on him. (Even though it should be on Jose Reyes.)

The team has certainly played better under the spectacled-one than it did for Willie "I'll Be On The Yankees Coaching Staff Next Year" Randolph but the bullpen has been atrocious. Might their recent success have been more due to Carlos Delgado's hot streak than the manager?

Time will tell. If they make the playoffs and win a series or two, I think Manuel stays. If the Metropolitans fail to make the playoffs, collapsing for a second straight year, he could get the axe. If a bigger, better name is out there, those chances would certainly be greater. But Grady Little? Ned Yost?

I don't think Jerry Manuel is managing these games poorly. The team just isn't playing well. Even if the Mets miss the playoffs, they'd be all right with Manuel... and a bullpen.

Curt Schilling continues to piss people off

Nine days ago, during his weekly appearance on WEEI in Boston, Schilling ripped New Yorkers. Now with Manny Ramirez safely at a distance in Los Angeles, Schilling thought it would be a good time to air out what was going on in the Boston locker room... even though he wasn't there.

The Bloody-socked one says a lot of things that most people agree with - like that Manny gave up on the team, faked an injury, wasn't trying, etc. - but for him to do it now, after Ramirez is almost two months removed from his Red Sox tenure, just makes it seem whiny and dumb. Then again, that's how Curt the Curmudgeon does things, so we shouldn't be surprised.

You can listen to the interview here.

TBS announces MLB playoff broadcasting roster

TBS today unveiled its slate of announcers set to call this year's MLB playoff action. Tigers OF Curtis Granderson will be in the studio with Ernie Johnson, Dennis Eckersley and Cal Ripken. Another nice addition is Harold Reynolds to the booth as an analyst.

Here's a portion of the release from the Turner Network:
TBS steps up to the plate on October 1 to begin televising the 2008 MLB Postseason. The network announced today it’s broadcasting roster for its exclusive coverage of all four MLB League Division Series (LDS) and the American League Championship Series (ALCS). The play-by-play voices for the ALDS and NLDS will be “Sunday MLB on TBS” announcer Chip Caray, legendary broadcaster Dick Stockton, Boston Red Sox play-by-play man Don Orsillo and Milwaukee Brewers announcer Brian Anderson. They will be calling all the action throughout the ALDS and NLDS alongside a team of expert analysts, which includes “Sunday MLB on TBS” analysts Ron Darling and Buck Martinez, Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn and 16-year veteran broadcaster Joe Simpson, both returning to the network this postseason, along with former NL Cy Young Award winner and current Braves pitcher John Smoltz and two-time AL All-Star and veteran analyst Harold Reynolds.

In the studio for the ALDS and NLDS, two-time Emmy-award winning host Ernie Johnson will be joined by Hall of Famers Cal Ripken and Dennis Eckersley as well as one of the top lead-off batters in MLB, current Detroit Tigers centerfielder Curtis Granderson, who will break down the night’s action and offer insight throughout the night. Also contributing to the ALDS and NLDS postseason coverage will be TBS MLB insider and Sports Illustrated baseball senior writer Tom Verducci, along with field reporters Craig Sager, Marc Fein and David Aldridge.

TBS’ exclusive ALCS coverage will be called by Caray (play-by-play), Darling (analyst) and Martinez (analyst), with an on-site studio team featuring Johnson (host), Ripken (analyst), Eckersley (analyst) and Reynolds (analyst). Sager will serve as a reporter for the ALCS, with an additional reporter assigned to cover the National League Championship Series (NLCS) to be announced at a later time.
I can't argue with who they chose to go with, other than Chip Caray. That guy grabs a game and strangles it, but hopefully Ron Darling and Buck Martinez can wrestle away a few minutes of airtime.

Quick Pic: Chad Bradford puts Gumby to shame

 
That just doesn't look comfortable. New York sports fans have seen this all before, since Bradford is a former Met, but I thought I'd share it with our global readers. Hello Netherlands, France, Hong Kong and Germany!

(Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Je'Rod Cherry to raffle off Super Bowl XXXVI ring for charity

You hear a lot of stories about former athletes selling championship rings to make a little extra cash. Je'Rod Cherry is giving up his New England Patriots Super Bowl ring for a much different reason.

The ring will be a raffle prize to raise money for charities dedicated to children, primarily ones affected by slave trade in parts of Africa and Asia. Cherry chose a raffle over an auction so that even everyday fans have a chance to get the prize, not just wealthy sports memorabilia enthusiasts.

Tickets can be purchased at NetRaffle.org for $2 a piece, with a minimum of five tickets required. The grand prize winner gets the ring and "Celebrities For Charities" will also pay for the taxes incurred from winning the ring.

Jackson out, Frerotte in for Vikings

Gus Frerotte will start Sunday for the Minnesota Vikings and for the remainder of the season, barring an injury (like headbutting a wall). Head coach Brad Childress made the announcement today, adding, "You don't crown a guy king and then the king doesn't have any clothes on and you say, 'Hey, he's still the king.'"

I don't really know what that quote means but it seems like everyone, including myself, was a little too high on Tarvaris Jackson. Childress says he's not giving up on Jackson for the long-term, but already the team has shown they don't think a lot of the guy.

First, they wanted to trade for Brett Favre, now Jackson is getting benched in favor of a 37-year-old journeyman QB. It makes sense, though, when you've got one of the best running backs in football and a very good defense. Why let the ship sink anymore?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Posada gives his "Joba-pinion" on state of Yanks

Jorge Posada thinks Joba Chamberlain is better suited as a reliever, saying so to Michael Kay while recording "Center Stage," which is set to air September 28th on the YES Network.

Joba wants to be a starter.

I think Chamberlain has the makeup and pitches to be in the bullpen, and eventually close when Mariano Rivera retires. He looked like a pretty good starter this year, too. The Yankees, though, seem so crazy about his innings limit that it seems unlikely they'll ever let him throw 200 innings. So why not leave him in the 'pen, assuming "Hankenstein" is going to open the wallet up like he says, adding CC Sabathia and who knows who else?

Ian Kennedy: Show us who you really are

Ian Kennedy looks like a Major League pitcher tonight in the SWB Yankees' AAA matchup against the Sacremento RiverCats on ESPN2. What I mean by that is, Kennedy looks like the Major League Ian Kennedy and that guy is terrible.

Ian Kennedy also looks like Alfred E. Neumann and this is an excuse to re-post this "Lookalikes" picture.

Is there a doctor in the building?

You know it's bad when you have to use your backup quarterback at wide receiver... and then he gets hurt.

The Seahawks have lost six receivers to injury already this season, including the aforementioned Wallace, Deion Branch and Bobby Engram. Today they got some help, trading for Keary Colbert and signing Koren Robinson, a former Seahawk.

The NFC West may be the worst division in football, top-to-bottom, so Seattle is very much alive, despite an 0-2 start. Don't be surprised, though, if the Arizona Cardinals come out on top when all is said and done.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Six Picks for Sunday - Week 2 Results

The Rooster posted an impressive second week showing, going a perfect 6-for-6 and sliding into first place. I, on the other hand, posted a merely adequate 3-3 mark. Here are the results and updated standings:

The Rooster: BUF, CAR, IND, TB, DEN, NE
Tony Blogs: JAX, CAR, IND, ATL, SD, NE

Overall Standings
The Rooster: 8-4
Tony Blogs: 7-5

Be sure to check back next week for more and, as always, don't be shy about making your own picks in the comments section.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Saturday looks to be a big sports day

Hurricane Ike has been wreaking its havoc for a week now, forcing the postponement of the Cubs @ Astros series this weekend, as well as many college football games and the Ravens-Texans game.

Ike also tossed some rain up the northeast, causing a lot of rain outs in last night's MLB action. So today, there are six baseball doubleheaders.

And don't forget the "Collision in the Coliseum," as ESPN has dubbed it, between Ohio State and USC. Beanie Wells won't play, but it should still be a good one. (ABC, 8:00) And don't forget the Notre Dame-Michigan matchup, featuring two programs that are falling off the map and an Irish team that barely beat San Diego State last weekend. (NBC, 3:30) But at least you can see Jimmy Clausen's flowing blond locks.

Vince Young's therapist doesn't believe in confidentiality

You heard all about the Vince Young situation earlier in the week. A lot of people, including myself, thought it was a simple misunderstanding and it was overblown by the media. VY and Coach Jeff Fisher jumped on that bandwagon, saying it was all a non-issue. But last night, several reports indicated that Young had talked about "suicide" with his therapist, clearing up the picture as to why there was all the commotion and police involvement.

Obviously this is nothing to take lightly. But doesn't this all violate patient-therapist confidentiality? I know when the police get involved, therapists and the like have to give up information, but to then have it released to the public seems a little unfair to the QB.

Maybe I'm wrong. I've never been to a therapist and I'm not one, so maybe you can just throw that info around. If there are any therapists reading, let me know.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Six Picks for Sunday - Week 2

We're back with another installment of the weekly "Six Picks for Sunday," where I'll make predictions from six of the toughest games to call from Sunday's NFL schedule. To keep the theme going, I'm not picking the Dallas-Philly winner, since it's a Monday night game, even though that's definitely one of the toughest to predict.

As always, don't forget to post your own picks in the comments section and I'll update the results as we go. If you didn't submit picks last week, have no fear - we'll also use winning percentage as a determining factor so that everyone can be in the race. Here are last week's results, in case you missed them.

Now that that's out of the way, here's the slate:

Buffalo Bills @ Jacksonville Jaguars - Jaguars
Chicago Bears @ Carolina Panthers - Panthers
Indianapolis Colts @ Minnesota Vikings - Colts
Atlanta Falcons @ Tampa Bay Bucs - Falcons
San Diego Chargers @ Denver Broncos - Chargers
New England Patriots @ New York Jets - Patriots

Going with four away teams this week, which is a little scary. The Bucs are without Jeff Garcia and Derrick Brooks, though, and it's hard to gauge how good the Broncos are from their win over the terrible-looking Raiders last week. As for the Pats-Jets game, the Green Guys barely beat the Dolphins last week, so I'm thinking even the Tom Brady-less Patriots can handle them.

Bernie Williams to attend Yankee Stadium closing ceremonies

Former Yankees OF Bernie Williams told the New York Post yesterday that he plans to attend the pregame festivities Sunday, September 21st at Yankee Stadium's final game. Bernie hasn't been back to the Stadium since he went unsigned by the team after the 2006 season.

Here's a thought:

The Yankees will most likely retire Williams' number 51. No one has worn it since he left and Bernie was one of the games best outfielders during his tenure, also winning four World Series rings. Wouldn't it be special if they retired Bernie's number during those pregame ceremonies?

Perhaps it wouldn't do Bernie justice - most players get a day in their honor when their number is retired by the Yanks - but he played at this Yankee Stadium, so why not do it there and then move it across the street with the other numbers next year?

As Newsday's Alan Hahn says, just bloggin'.

Madden 09 roster update #3 to be released Friday

The third Madden 09 roster update is set to be released today by EA Sports. This update won't feature many changes in terms of attributes, but many roster changes will be made, including the injuries to Tom Brady and Vince Young. Below is the complete list, from PastaPadre.com:
Transactions
FB Reagan Mauia – Signs with Bengals
LB Jon Corto – Added to Bills
LB Blake Costanzo – Added to Bills
DT Alvin McKinley – Released by Broncos
DT Josh Shaw – Signs with Broncos
LB Antwan Peek – Released to Free Agents (IR)
WR Paul Hubbard – Released by Browns
WR Steve Sanders – Signs with Browns
LB Shantee Orr – Signs with Browns
C Pat Ross – Signs with Cardinals
FB Andrew Pinnock – Released by Chargers
FB Mike Tolbert – Added to Chargers
RT James Marten – Released by Cowboys/Signs with Raiders
QB Brooks Bollinger – Signs with Cowboys
SS Tyrone Culver – Signs with Dolphins
CB Joey Thomas – Released by Dolphins
FB Boomer Grigsby – Released by Dolphins
FB Casey Cramer – Signs with Dolphins
FS Jamaal Fudge – Signs with Falcons
DE Brent Hawkins – Released by Jaguars
G Milford Brown – Signs with Jaguars
TE Dan Campbell – Released to Free Agents (IR)
LB Chris Chamberlain – Added to Rams
RT Willie Anderson – Signs with Ravens
RG Adrien Clarke – Released by Ravens
C Matt Lehr – Released by Saints
QB Ingle Martin – Added to Titans
QB Daunte Culpepper – Retires
Ratings Up
HB Matt Forte – Bears – 80 to 82 – Looked like the real deal week 1 vs. the Colts.
LG Josh Beekman – Bears – 74 to 76 – Got the start and at LG and was able to pave the way for Forte on the ground.
HB Andre Hall – Broncos – 75 to 77 – Looked very explosive against the hapless Raiders.
WR Eddie Royal – Broncos – 77 to 80 – Made us remember why we call him DeAngelo “Fall”. Torched DeAngelo repeatedly and looked very good doing it.
LB Jamie Winborn – Broncos – 75 to 79 – Started over the oft injured Boss Bailey and made plays vs. the Raiders.
LB Matt Roth – Dolphins – 76 to 80 – Could have found his niche as a 3-4 OLB. Had 2 sacks in the opener.
WR DeSean Jackson – Eagles – 79 to 80 – Has made the most of receivers going down with injuries in Philly. Tye Hill was benched after attempting to cover him.
LB Stewart Bradley – Eagles – 79 to 80 – The new man in the middle for the Eagles, this one might stick.
HB Michael Turner – Falcons – 88 to 89 – If I had a nickel for every time someone blew up on the Lions defense…A good start none the less for the Burner Turner.
LB Parys Haralson – 49ers – 74 to 76 – Recorded 2.5 sacks getting the start for the Niners in Week 1.
HB Brandon Jacobs – Giants – 87 to 88 – My mother could average 3 yards a carry behind the Giants O-Line. But he sure is powerful.
WR Matt Jones – Jaguars – 77 to 79 – Maybe Garrard’s guy after a tough offseason. Injuries to the supposed starting WR’s have helped also.
QB Aaron Rodgers – Packers – 84 to 85 – Made it look simple vs. one of the top defenses in the NFL. Once the coach takes off the diapers watch out.
TE Dante Rosario – Panthers – 74 to 77 – Blew up in a big way in Week 1 vs. the Chargers. Caught the game winner in the back of the end zone as time expired.
Ratings Down
DE Jarvis Moss – Broncos – 81 to 77 – Inactive the 1st week in his second season for the Broncos.
LB Tully Banta-Cain – 49ers – 79 to 76 – Came to the Niners with high hopes, now he has been replaced at OLB.
CB DeAngelo Hall – Raiders – 93 to 91 – Yes after only one week. Reminded us why some people confuse speed with ability. He has speed, isn’t much of a corner though.
Injuries
FB Jeremi Johnson – Bengals – Knee IR
LB Angelo Crowell – Bills – Knee IR
WR Joe Jurevicius – Browns – Knee (PUP)
HB Carnell Wililams – Bucs – Knee (PUP)
C Al Johnson – Cardinals – Knee IR
QB Brodie Croyle – Chiefs – Shoulder (3 weeks)
C Jeff Saturday – Colts – Knee (8 weeks)
G Ryan Lilja – Colts – Knee (PUP)
DT Trey Lewis – Falcons – Knee (8 weeks)
LT Guy Whimper – Giants – Foot IR
K Lawrence Tynes – Giants – Knee (7 weeks)
LG Vince Manuwai – Jaguars – Knee IR
RG Maurice Williams – Jaguars – Arm (12 weeks)
DT Justin Harrell – Packers – Back (PUP)
QB Tom Brady – Patriots – Knee IR
G Stephen Neal – Patriots – Shoulder/Knee (PUP)
WR Drew Bennett – Rams – Foot (8 weeks)
QB Kyle Boller – Ravens – Shoulder IR
CB Dunta Robinson – Texans – Knee (PUP)
QB Vince Young – Titans – Knee (4 weeks)
Contracts
LB DJ Williams – Broncos – 6 years
WR Plaxico Burress – Giants - 5 years
RT Eric Winston – Texans – 5 years
According to PastaPadre, the producers of the game plan to release a new roster update each week, which is a great sign for online gamers.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Madden 09 outgrosses Tropic Thunder, Pineapple Express in August

Say what you want about Madden 09 - like how receivers still inexplicably run out of bounds or linebackers can jump ten feet in the air to intercept a pass - but EA really doesn't care, and apparently most gamers don't either.

I say that because the game raked in $133.5 million in August, according to Electronic Arts. Brandon Sinclair of GameSpot has more:
The publisher also offered an unusual bit of perspective on that figure, noting that Madden outgrossed the month's biggest movies, a slate of late-summer launches including Tropic Thunder ($83.9 million), Mamma Mia ($56.4 million), and Pineapple Express ($79.9 million). Although it wasn't mentioned, Madden also outpaced the month's biggest film (and source material for an Activision Blizzard game), The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, which brought in $98.6 million for the month.
No matter how much people complain on forums, blogs and message boards, everyone still runs out and buys the game on its launch day (including this guy).

Memphis writer says acquiring Zach Randolph "would be worst move Grizzlies could make"

Here's an interesting take on the potential Knicks-Grizzlies swap of Zach Randolph, courtesy of Geoff Calkins at the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
"The Trail Blazers drafted Randolph out of Michigan State. They employed him for six years. And when they assembled a locker room of promising young talent, they shipped him as far away from that locker room as possible.
Now the Grizzlies are assembling a locker room of promising young talent. And they’re thinking about making Randolph the highest-paid player — and therefore, the instant leader — of that team?"
Everyone knows this guy is a vacuum on the court and a cancer in the locker room, whining about shots and the like. A lot of people don't like the Zach-for-Marko & Darko deal because the Knicks would have to send some cash and maybe a draft pick, but if you can find someone dumb enough to take him, Donnie Walsh, you might want to do it soon.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Second Madden 09 roster update available, another coming Friday

The much-anticipated second roster update for Madden 09 is available now for XBox 360 and PS3, according to PastaPadre.com.

As you read here yesterday, this update is already out of date, since it doesn't account for Tom Brady's injury. Another update will be available Friday, according to EA Sports, that will fix that and other miscues in this current update.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Red Sox sell out 456th straight game at mini-ballpark Fenway

The Boston Red Sox set a record, selling out for the 456th consecutive game Monday night. The streak began on May 15th, 2003.

It's an impressive record, don't get me wrong, but lest we forget this tidbit that the SI.com article mentioned, way down the page, where most people have stopped reading:
"Fenway has the smallest seating capacity in the majors, 36,984 for day games when two sections of the centerfield bleachers are covered with a black material to help the hitters' background. It seats 37,400 for night games."
In contrast, every other team in the American League seats at least 40,000. The Mets, Dodgers, Braves, Rockies, Blue Jays and Yankees all seat over 50,000.

I'm not trying to diminish Boston's record - of course I am, who am I trying to fool? - but a sellout in Boston is a bad draw at Yankee Stadium. But I guess that's what gives Fenway Park all its charm.

Madden 09 second roster update info

As you probably know, the second roster update for Madden 09 was delayed. It was supposed to be available on PS3 and XBox 360 before the season started yesterday and now will need to be changed to add the injury to Tom Brady. According to sources, the Chad Ocho Cinco name change also is not in this newest update. There isn't word yet on exactly when the update will be released now. One would assume they will push it back again to adjust some of the changes they missed and account for Brady's potential IR move.

You can find all the details about the second roster update at this link, from our friends at PastaPadre.com.

Six Picks for Sunday - Week 1 Results

Here are the results from Week One's Sunday schedule:

I went with CIN, BUF, NYJ, NO, JAX and ARZ. That gave me a 4-2 record for this week.
Loyal reader and commentor (and father) Gaaaarry chose BAL, SEA, MIA, NO, JAX and SF, giving him a 2-4 mark.

Make sure to check back this weekend for a new set of picks and, again, don't be shy to post your own predictions in the comments section. We should have Gaaaarry back this week, along with the old "CortSide" gang.

Trent Dilfer wants you to know HE got the scoop on Tom Brady

Tom Brady suffered what appears to be a season-ending knee injury yesterday in the Patriots' win over the Chiefs. Of course, this is a major blow to the Patriots and new ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer was the first to report that Brady was out for the year. ESPN's bottom line said that Dilfer was told by a New England player that Matt Cassel would be the starting QB for the remainder of the 2008 campaign.

When they later went to Dilfer on set, he wanted everyone to know he got the scoop. He said:
"One player told me, 'Trent, Matt Cassel is our quarterback for the rest of the year.'"
Then again, Dilfer was asked about the situation:
"A Patriots teammate told me, 'Trent, Cassel is our guy for the rest of this season.'"
Once more, Chris Berman broached the subject, and here was Dilfer's response:
"One Patriots player told me, 'Trent, Matt Cassel is our guy for the rest of the year.'"
Okay, Trent, we get it. We know you were the one who was told about it. Are you throwing your name in there just to hammer the point home, or just to make us all hate the name Trent? I know it's your first NFL Sunday at ESPN, but you don't need to insert your name into every story. Thank you.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Six Picks for Sunday - Week 1

Introducing a new (hopefully) weekly segment, where I'll predict six of the toughest games to call from Sunday's NFL slate. I had written out this post with explanations of each pick, but then my computer went all screwy. So here it is, in a more condensed version, because I'm lazy and don't feel like typing it all over again.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens - Bengals
Seattle Seahawks @ Buffalo Bills - Bills
New York Jets @ Miami Dolphins - Jets
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints - Saints
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Tennessee Titans - Jaguars
Arizona Cardinals @ San Francisco 49ers - Cardinals

Feel free to post your own picks in the comments section, and I'll keep you updated with the results throughout the season.

CBS NFL Week 1 announcing schedule

Below are the CBS announcing assignments for Week 1, from CBS Sports:
WEEK 1 - Sept. 7

GAME                                    PLAY-BY-PLAY/ANALYST
1:00 PM, ET starts:              
·Cincinnati @ Baltimore             Kevin Harlan/Rich Gannon
·N.Y. Jets @ Miami                   Jim Nantz/Phil Simms      
·Kansas City @ New England       Greg Gumbel/Dan Dierdorf
·Houston @ Pittsburgh              Gus Johnson/Randy Cross
·Jacksonville @ Tennessee         Ian Eagle/Solomon Wilcots
There are no 4pm games on CBS this weekend, and the Jets/Dolphins showdown is the lead national game.

ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown returns tomorrow

Here's what to expect from tomorrow's ESPN pregame telecast, other than way too many commentators all trying to scream over each other.

From the folks at Bristol:
ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown Presented by IBM will preview the first weekend of the 2008 NFL season Sunday at 11 a.m. ET with Chris Berman and analysts Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson, Keyshawn Johnson and Cris Carter, making his Countdown debut.  Chris Mortensen will provide the day’s headlines and league news, and Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young will contribute his weekly Sunday segment – “Young is Restless” – featuring his opinion on the week's hottest topics.

The two-hour NFL pre-game show will include reports from Rachel Nichols covering Brett Favre and the New York Jets at Miami Dolphins, Bob Holtzman at the Kansas City – New England game, and Ed Werder in Cleveland for the Cowboys – Browns game.  Other highlights:

Jets Wide Receivers Adjust to Favre
Brett Favre is a Jet and he has spent the last month making adjustments following his trade from Green Bay.  On the field, the Jets receivers might be the people making the biggest adjustments with Favre’s arrival.  Former NFL standout wide receiver Cris Carter visits with the Jets receivers to see why Jerricho Cotchery is doing extra hand-strengthening exercises and why some Jets receivers are spending extra time in practice catching passes from a high-speed JUGS machine.

Patriots: Super Bowl Hangover?
The New England Patriots were just minutes away from a perfect season at Super Bowl XLII.  Now, their challenge for the 2008 season is to avoid Super Bowl hangover.  With the recent history of Super Bowl losing teams having inauspicious seasons the following year, Rachel Nichols reports on whether the Patriots are concerned about a Super Bowl hangover in 2008?

Tony Romo’s Off-Season
Being the Cowboys starting quarterback comes with its share of celebrity, and for Tony Romo; celebrity reached a whole new level this past offseason.  With singer and actress Jessica Simpson as his girlfriend, Romo was just as likely to appear on the gossip pages as he was on the sports pages. The spotlight was on Romo whether he attended a club in Los Angeles, played in a celebrity golf tournament, or sang “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” at Wrigley Field.  Countdown recaps Romo’s offseason as he tried to rebound from another disappointing Dallas playoff defeat.

Mayne Event: Favre vs. the New York Media
Many great players have gone to New York and have been torn down by the tough New York media.  Kenny Mayne, in the season-opening edition of his self-titled “Mayne Event” segment, takes a look at how the New York media is reacting to Brett Favre's arrival, from the eyes of three "fringe" reporters.

Soundtracks: Mike Holmgren
Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren announced 2008 will be his last season in Seattle.  “Soundtracks” will feature the coach’s last training camp with the Seahawks.

Start 'Em or Sit 'Em with Matthew Berry and Merril Hoge
ESPN’s fantasy football guru Matthew Berry and NFL analyst Merril Hoge will team up this season to debate which players to start or sit each week in the enhanced “Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em” segment beginning Sunday.  Berry and Hoge will also highlight weekly trends and sleepers.

Berman, Ditka, Jackson, Johnson and Smith will pick the biggest games of the day and tell fans which players will make the biggest impact in NFL’s Week 1 action.  The list of game picks will be posted on www.espn.com/sundaycountdown after the show.
Just take a look at all of those different names. Jesus, that's a lot of people. Anyway, it should be fun and there's nothing like overanalyzing every single angle of every single game for two hours before the action starts!

The Yankees are not very good right now

The Yankees, last night, were terrible. All season they've been terrible, but last night was especially bad. You're playing one of the worst teams in baseball and you almost get no-hit by a pitcher making his first career start!

I hate to bring up money talk, especially because a lot of the small market owners don't manage their revenue sharing funds properly, but when you have a $200 million dollar payroll, you should at least show signs of life. And yes, this is a greedy/pessimistic Yankees fan's view and I'm sure Pirates and Giants fans don't want to hear me whine about how my favorite team is going to miss the playoffs for the first time since the strike. But still.

Perhaps it will all be a blessing in disguise, fellow fans, and the Yanks will finally clear some of the dead-weight on their roster. Jason Giambi has to go and I'd trade Hideki Matsui if anyone would take him. He brings Japanese media attention to your team... anyone? Anyone?

But the future isn't clear. Hank Steinbrenner seems to want to follow in the footsteps of his old man and bring in every free agent they can get. (See: CC Sabathia, Ben Sheets, AJ Burnett, Mark Teixeira)

Here's the thing, though: The Yankees can not sign Teixeira. One, he wants a ten-year deal and I hope the Yankees have learned their lesson from the seven-year pact they gave Giambi. Two, Jorge Posada will have to play a lot of first base in the next three years. He wasn't a great catcher before this shoulder injury and next year when he's healthy, he probably still won't be able to throw anyone out.

One can only hope that the sensibility of Brian Cashman wins out. That is, if he is even the GM next year.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

NBA Live 09 demo hits XBox Live Marketplace

EA Sports has released the demo for NBA Live 09 on XBox Live. There is no word yet on the PS3 demo. Here's the info, from PastaPadre.com:
In the demo you can Play as the Celtics vs Lakers but EA has given the opportunity to play with them from different points in the season as a way to showcase the Live 365 and Player DNA features. You can play with them as current, from the 11/23/07 game, or from the 6/8/08 NBA Finals game. You can also shoot around in the practice gym. Several settings can be changed for the demo including difficulty level, sliders, rules, and camera angle. The quarter length is locked in at two minutes for one half of play.
The game has some new features and I like how they're giving you some depth in the demo, which was originally not expected to be released for a few more weeks.

2008 NFL Predictions

The NFL season kicks off tonight when the Defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants host the Washington Redskins at 7:00 ET. The game is starting early to respect the ongoing Republican National Convention, where you can hear politicians say overused catchphrases like "My fellow Americans" and bash each other, so at least the RNC is good for something.

Anyway, here are my picks for the 2008 campaign (* = Playoff team):

AFC East
New England Patriots*
New York Jets
Buffalo Bills
Miami Dolphins

The Bills showed improvement last year and should continue that trend but even an adamant Jet-hater like myself knows Brett Favre is a huge upgrade over Chad Pennington. Granted they were 4-12, but 8-8 might be good enough to land them in second place.

AFC North
Pittsburgh Steelers*
Cleveland Browns*
Cincinnati Bengals
Baltimore Ravens

The Steelers and Browns should be neck-and-neck all season long, with the Bengals and Ravens much farther behind. I would be surprised if Baltimore and Cincinnati won 8 games combined.

AFC South
Indianapolis Colts*
Jacksonville Jaguars*
Tennessee Titans
Houston Texans

The Colts are a little banged up, but should be strong enough to hold off the Jags. The Titans, a playoff team last year, don't make it in as a wildcard this time around.

AFC West
San Diego Chargers*
Oakland Raiders
Denver Broncos
Kansas City Chiefs

This is just a bad, bad division. I don't see much out of the Broncos or Chiefs, and the Raiders could surprise some people. Still, the Bolts might be the only team with a winning record in the group.

AFC Champions
New England Patriots

They went 18-1 in total last year, so even if they have a considerable dropoff, they'll be the team to beat.

NFC East
Dallas Cowboys*
New York Giants*
Washington Redskins
Philadelphia Eagles

Not only do I not want to jinx the Giants, but I'm also using my head instead of my heart on this one. The 'Boys were 13-3 last year and have improved, so there's no reason to think they'll be any worse.

NFC North
Minnesota Vikings*
Green Bay Packers
Detroit Lions
Chicago Bears

The Bears are just plain bad. They don't know what's going on at quarterback and Devin Hester is their #1 receiver, which says a lot. The Packers will probably regress, but should have a strong enough defense and a few weapons to help Aaron Rodgers out.

NFC South
New Orleans Saints*
Tampa Bay Buccaneers*
Carolina Panthers
Atlanta Falcons

The Saints should rebound after a disappointing '07 season, aided by the addition of Jeremy Shockey and Jonathan Vilma, among others. The Falcons will most likely compete with the Bears for "Worst Team in the NFC."

NFC West
Seattle Seahawks*
Arizona Cardinals
St. Louis Rams
San Francisco 49ers

The NFC West is a lot like the AFC West... Horrible. The 'Hawks take it by default.

NFC Champions
Dallas Cowboys

It hurts my heart to say that, but I'm a wise man and I know how hard it is for the Super Bowl Champs to repeat.

Super Bowl
Cowboys defeat Patriots