Wednesday, September 30, 2009

NFL Power Rankings: Week 4 edition


The Giants grab the top spot this week after the Falcons' loss to the Patriots on Sunday. The Broncos finally crack the Top Tier, almost by default, and the Jets shoot into the top ten. Take a look at the full Power Rankings for this week.

TOP TIER
1. Giants (3-0) [2]
2. Colts (3-0) [3]
3. Ravens (3-0) [4]
4. Vikings (3-0) [5]
5. Saints (3-0) [6]
6. Jets (3-0) [11]
7. Patriots (2-1) [9]
8. Falcons (2-1) [1]
9. Eagles (2-1) [10]
10. Broncos (3-0) [20]
11. Cowboys (2-1) [13]
12. Bears (2-1) [14]
13. Chargers (2-1) [19]
14. Bengals (2-1) [23]
15. Packers (2-1) [24]

The Jets once again looked impressive and moved up five spots this week... The Cowboys bounced back with an ugly win over the hapless Panthers in their new mega stadium... The Bengals rocketed up the charts after a huge win against the defending champion Steelers.

SECOND TIER
16. Cardinals (1-2) [7]
17. Steelers (1-2) [8]
18. 49ers (2-1) [18]
19. Titans (0-3) [12]
20. Bills (1-2) [15]
21. Texans (1-2) [17]
22. Jaguars (1-2) [28]
23. Dolphins (0-3) [16]
24. Lions (1-2) [30]
25. Seahawks (1-2) [21]

The Cardinals and Steelers both dropped out of the Top Tier after disappointing performances this week... The 49ers hold steady at No. 18 after a heartbreaking loss to the Vikings... The Titans put on another horrible display, but if their wide receivers could catch that game could have ended differently... The Lions shoot up six spots after their first win in 19 tries.

THIRD TIER
26. Redskins (1-2) [22]
27. Panthers (0-3) [25]
28. Raiders (1-2) [26]
29. Chiefs (0-3) [31]
30. Rams (0-3) [32]
31. Buccaneers (0-3) [27]
32. Browns (0-3) [29]

The Redskins actually looked better this week than they did against the Rams but couldn't win against a team that was due for a victory. Either way, they drop into the Third Tier... Even though the Rams didn't win, they move up simply because they actually showed some signs of life this week.

Did Ric Flair's voicemail spur the Gamecocks to victory over Ole Miss?

Any time I can sneak in a post about the limousine ridin', jet flyin', wheelin', dealin' son of a gun Ric Flair, I'm obliged to do so. The Nature Boy left a voicemail for Lance Grantham, South Carolina's director of ticket operations, in advance of last Thursday's game against Ole Miss.


I'm not sure if all the quotes in there are exactly right, but you get the gist. There are few people in wrestling that can cut a promo like the 16-time world champion and he shows here that he can cut one on just about any topic.

Via Next Round.

Dropping Links: Wednesday, September 30, 2009


As you've undoubtedly noticed, things have been a little slow around here lately. For that, once again, I apologize. I really have no excuse other than I've just had a lack of desire to post more frequently, but I'll be back later with the weekly NFL Power Rankings and hopefully whatever else I can dig up. As always, thanks for sticking around.

NEWS
Tigers still lead Central by two games after split with Twins |ESPN.com|
Dolphins trade for Kansas City's Thigpen with Pennington on IR |CBS Sports.com|
Eagles cut Jeff Garcia after short stay in Philadelphia |FOX Sports.com|
NBA says season will begin with replacement referees |SI.com|

BLOGS
Cortland Gridiron Report week three audio |The Cooch's Rant|
Yankees, Big East and Big 12 will announce formation of Yankee Bowl |No Guts, No Glory|

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dropping Links: Tuesday, September 29, 2009


NEWS
USC RB Stafon Johnson has emergency throat surgery after weight lifting accident |CBS Sports.com|
Bobby Valentine rejoins ESPN as newest baseball analyst |ESPN.com|
Surprise! Frank Gore will miss a few weeks with latest injury |FOX Sports.com|
Angels clinch AL West with win over Rangers |SI.com|
Ben Roethlisberger will be WWE Raw's guest host next Monday |WWE.com|

BLOGS
Jets WR David Clowney (who?) benched after whining about playing time via Twitter |Bob's Blitz|
Jets fans proved what idiots they can be this Sunday once again |Busted Coverage|
NHL Opening Night is this Thursday?! Action returns on Versus |Fang's Bites|
Bob Glauber's newest NFL Power Rankings now posted |Glauber's NFL Hot Reads|
What is the Pirates' ownership doing with revenue sharing money? |No Guts, No Glory|
NBA 2K10 initial gameplay impressions and review |PastaPadre.com|
Twitter Tuesday at The Hall of Very Good |HOVG|
Omar Vizquel wants to give bullfighting a shot |The Scores Report|

Monday, September 28, 2009

Six Picks for Sunday - Week Three results

Not a very good week for your esteemed blog host, as I went 1-5 in a week full of surprises. Let's take a look at the results, shall we?

Tony's Picks
TEN, HOU, CHI, PIT, OAK, ARZ

Stuart's Picks
NYJ, HOU, CHI, PIT, DEN, IND

The Rooster's Picks
NYJ, HOU, CHI, PIT, OAK, IND

Another good week for Stuart, my former "CortSide" radio colleague and current CBS Sports employee. The Rooster stayed strong with another 3-3 week, so let's get to the overall standings.

Stuart (11-7)
The Rooster (9-9)
Tony (7-11)

Dropping Links: Monday, September 28, 2009


NEWS
Chris Mortensen says Chad Pennington is out for the season |ESPN.com|
Josh Johnson will be the Bucs' new starting quarterback |CBS Sports.com|
President Obama will make pitch for 2016 Olympics to be in Chicago |FOX Sports.com|
Yankees clinch Al East and home field with 100th win |SI.com|

BLOGS
Terrell Owens rips Rodney Harrison for steroid use via Twitter |Bob's Blitz|
MLB Network showing live games tonight and tomorrow |Fang's Bites|

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Six Picks for Sunday - Week Three

Back again for a third week of picking the six toughest games from this Sunday's NFL slate. These are determined by the six games with the closest spreads, although the games will be predicted straight up. Feel free to post your own picks in the comments section, and I'll keep you updated with the results throughout the season.

For the up-to-date results and standings, click here.

Tennessee Titans @ New York Jets - Titans
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans - Texans
Chicago Bears @ Seattle Seahawks - Bears
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals - Steelers
Denver Broncos @ Oakland Raiders - Raiders
Indianapolis Colts @ Arizona Cardinals - Cardinals

The Titans will be playing this game as the Houston Oilers, while the Jets will be playing as the Titans of New York. So in that respect, the Titans will win. Sadly for Jets fans, I mean the ones from Tennessee... Houston straightened themselves out after a horrible week one game and should be able to handle the Jags... With Matt Hasselback out, I'll go with Da Bears... The Broncos are the worst/luckiest of the 2-0 teams and the Raiders have looked better than many expected... If we see the Cardinals that showed up last week, this could be a shootout, but I'll take Arizona at home.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Dropping Links: Friday, September 25, 2009

NEWS
Derrek Lee injured during Cubs celebration |ESPN.com|
Knicks sign David Lee and Nate Robinson to one-year deals |CBS Sports.com|
Bruce Ratner says sale of Nets assures move to Brooklyn |FOX Sports.com|
LaDainian Tomlinson will miss another game with injury |SI.com|

BLOGS
Week 3 NFL announcing schedule and broadcast maps |Awful Announcing|
Kenny Phillips' injury could be career-threatening |Glauber's NFL Hot Reads|
Madden 10 roster update #4 complete details |Inside EA Blog|

Thursday, September 24, 2009

First patch for Madden 10 now available for download


The first patch for Madden 10 is now available for both the PS3 and the Xbox 360. The patch should download and install as soon as you connect to Xbox Live with the game in your system. Below are the details of what this patch includes, thanks to PastaPadre.

- Added Super Bowl and Playoff field conditions in Online Franchise
- Fixed false start griefing issue with online games
- Fixed video player issues (sometimes video would hang) in Online area
- Improved quality of uploaded video highlights
- Switched ranked online games to seven minute quarters
- Random stability fixes
- Added playable broadcast camera angle
- Tuned slider effectiveness
- Made fatigue affect ratings more
- Tuned broken tackle chances
- Reduced/removed holding on kick attempts
- Improved-toe drag catch logic
- General pursuit improvements
- Man coverage improvements
- Fixed double pass online exploit

One of the most noticeable and annoying bugs was the frequency of holding calls on field goal and extra point attempts, which has been adjusted. Online players will be happy to see the ranked quarters switched to seven minutes instead of five while still including the accelerated clock. I'm very interested to try out the new broadcast camera angle.

Dropping Links: Thursday, September 24, 2009


NEWS
Bobby Cox will manage the Braves for one more year, then retire |ESPN.com|
The richest man in Russia will buy the New Jersey Nets |FOX Sports.com|
Adrian Peterson limited in Wednesday practice with back injury |CBS Sports.com|

BLOGS
Highlights of LeBron James on The Late Show with David Letterman |The Scores Report|
A closer look at Yankees closer Mariano Rivera |The Hall of Very Good|
The new football performance enhancer: Air conditioned shoulder pads |Sports Biz|
The absurdly premature playoff picture: Week Three |Shutdown Corner|
Lamar Odom is marrying Khloe Kardashian |No Guts, No Glory|

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

NFL Power Rankings: Week 3 edition


The Falcons take over the top spot in this week's NFL Power Rankings with the Giants a very close second. The Jets were big movers, jumping seven spots, while the Steelers and Patriots each fell seven rungs and the Packers and Panthers dropped eight spots each.

TOP TIER
1. Falcons (2-0) [3]
2. Giants (2-0) [6]
3. Colts (2-0) [4]
4. Ravens (2-0) [7]
5. Vikings (2-0) [8]
6. Saints (2-0) [12]
7. Cardinals (1-1) [9]
8. Steelers (1-1) [1]
9. Patriots (1-1) [2]
10. Eagles (1-1) [5]
11. Jets (2-0) [18]
12. Titans (0-2) [10]
13. Cowboys (1-1) [11]

The Falcons continue to look strong and the addition of Tony Gonzalez is already paying big dividends... The Giants went into Dallas and their new billion dollar stadium and came out looking like a serious contender... The Colts are looking better than some of us expected... The Cardinals came back strong and have us remembering the NFC Champions again... A huge win for the Jets catapults them into the Top Tier for the first time.

SECOND TIER
14. Bears (1-1) [19]
15. Bills (1-1) [20]
16. Dolphins (0-2) [13]
17. Texans (1-1) [23]
18. 49ers (2-0) [24]
19. Chargers (1-1) [14]
20. Broncos (2-0) [21]
21. Seahawks (1-1) [15]
22. Redskins (1-1) [22]
23. Bengals (1-1) [26]
24. Packers (1-1) [16]

The Bills and Bears both bounced back from Week One disasters (check out all that alliteration!) and move up in the Power Rankings for it... The Dolphins may be the second best 0-2 team in the NFL, behind the Titans... Frank Gore magically reappeared for the 49ers and their defense looks pretty scary... The Broncos might be the worst 2-0 team in football... A big win for the Bengals at Lambeau Field and a terrible loss for the Packers at home.

THIRD TIER
25. Panthers (0-2) [17]
26. Raiders (1-1) [29]
27. Buccaneers (0-2) [25]
28. Jaguars (0-2) [27]
29. Browns (0-2) [28]
30. Lions (0-2) [31]
31. Chiefs (0-2) [30]
32. Rams (0-2) [32]

Dropping Links: Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sorry, once again, for the lack of posts the last few days. Posts may also be slowing down in the future as well, but I'll be trying my best to keep up with the happenings of the sports world.

NEWS
Plaxico Burress begins his two-year jail sentence |ESPN.com|
Justine Henin is un-retiring, will return to WTA Tour |CBS Sports.com|
This Roger Clemens-Brian MacNamee stuff is still going on |SI.com|

BLOGS
NBA players don't want to use replacement refs |BergerSphere|
Names you probably can't pronounce in the NFL |Club Seat|
Tom Brady is getting sued for wedding gunshot incident |Bob's Blitz|
Cortland Gridiron Report" Week 3 |The Cooch's Rant|
Monday Night Football had another good ratings week |Fang's Bites|
Redskins' LB Robert Henson is a total moron |No Guts, No Glory|
Twitter Tuesday at the HOVG |Hall of Very Good|

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Six Picks for Sunday - Week Two results

Another week of Six Picks for Sunday is in the books, let's get right down to it.

Tony's Picks
NO, SEA, KC, JAX, BAL, NYG

The Rooster's Picks
NO, SF, OAK, JAX, BAL, DAL

Stuart's Picks
NO, SEA, KC, ARZ, SD, DAL

The Rooster bounced back from his 2-4 week to go 4-2. Although Stu went 2-4 this week, he's still our overall leader. Let's take a look at the current 2009 standings.

Stuart (7-5)
Tony (6-6)
The Rooster (6-6)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Six Picks for Sunday - Week Two

Six Picks for Sunday is a weekly segment, where I'll predict six of the toughest games to call from Sunday's NFL slate. These are determined by the six games with the closest spreads, although the games will be predicted straight up. Feel free to post your own picks in the comments section, and I'll keep you updated with the results throughout the season.

For last week's results and the current standings, click here.

New Orleans Saints @ Philadelphia Eagles - Saints
Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers - Seahawks
Oakland Raiders @ Kansas City Chiefs - Chiefs
Arizona Cardinals @ Jacksonville Jaguars - Jaguars
Baltimore Ravens @ San Diego Chargers - Ravens
New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys - Giants

Even though the Eagles are at home, I have to go with the Saints simply because Donovan McNabb is injured. If he plays, he won't be as effective. I'm also not on the "Jeff Garcia is a great quarterback" bandwagon (if he even plays) because if Garcia were so great, he wouldn't have played for half the league... The 49ers looked impressive in their week one victory in Arizona but the same can be said for Seattle. I like the Seahawks and their suddenly improved running game, while Frank Gore basically has disappeared for San Francisco... I'll take Kansas City with the belief that Matt Cassel will play. Either way, the Chiefs put up a good fight against the Ravens and while the Raiders also played better than expectations, I'll go with the home team... I tend to think that the Cardinals' magical run last year was just that; a run where the team got hot at the right time. The Jags held their own last week against the Colts and I'll give them the nod at home... Ravens-Chargers is such a close call that I went to the time-tested coin flip method... Another tough one is the G-Men and Cowboys, but I like New York's defense and their receivers were much better than anyone thought they would be in week one. That, and I'm a Giants fan.

Dropping Links: Friday, September 18, 2009


NEWS
NBA referee lockout looks inevitable. Yawn. |CBS Sports.com|
Billy Wagner is back in old form, now blowing games for Boston |FOX Sports.com|
Donovan McNabb could still play with broken rib |SI.com|

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Video: Top ten teamwork plays of the 2008-2009 NBA season

This is all very "elementary school" but this is a compilation of the ten best teamwork plays of the '08-'09 NBA season. I admit many of these aren't spectacular, but I've been providing all of the NBA's "Top Ten" videos, so why stop now? Take a look.

Dropping Links: Thursday, September 17, 2009

NEWS
NCAA President Myles Brand dies from cancer at age 67 |CBS Sports.com|
Jets and Eric Mangini get fined thanks to Brett Favre |ESPN.com|
Suspensions handed out in Yankees-Jays brawl |FOX Sports.com|

BLOGS
Rex Ryan is begging season ticket holders to actually show up |Bob's Blitz|
Drew Brees is one person impressed with Jeremy Shockey |Glauber's NFL Hot Reads|
The Yankees are lowering ticket prices for the 2010 season |Sports Biz|
Is David Ortiz a Hall of Famer? |The Hall of Very Good|

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dropping Links: Wednesday, September 16, 2009

NEWS
Yankees and Jays brawl in 8th inning of ugly 10-4 game |ESPN.com|
Cliff Lee tosses six-hit shutout as Phils beat Nats |CBS Sports.com|
Bills fans took out their anger on Leodis McKelvin's lawn |FOX Sports.com|

BLOGS
Where has the old LaDainian Tomlinson gone? |Club Seat Sports|
The Week Two interview with Cortland coach Dan McNeill |The Cooch's Rant|
The top ten names in the NFL |The Shark Guys|
What we learned from college football's Week Two |No Guts, No Glory|
Are the Cubs going to try to trade Carlos Zambrano? |The Scores Report|

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

NFL Power Rankings: Week 2 edition

Week 1 is in the books so let's take a look at the ascenders and descenders in this week's NFL Power Rankings.

TOP TIER
1. Steelers (1-0) [1]
2. Patriots (1-0) [3]
3. Falcons (1-0) [4]
4. Colts (1-0) [5]
5. Eagles (1-0) [6]
6. Giants (1-0) [7]
7. Ravens (1-0) [8]
8. Vikings (1-0) [10]
9. Cardinals (0-1) [2]
10. Titans (0-1) [11]
11. Cowboys (1-0) [15]
12. Saints (1-0) [18]

The most noticeable drop is the Cardinals, who are making people that said last year was a fluke look very smart... The Cowboys and Saints both moved up quite a bit after strong performances by each team. Drew Brees looked like a man among boys on Sunday.

SECOND TIER
13. Dolphins (0-1) [12]
14. Chargers (1-0) [14]
15. Seahawks (1-0) [19]
16. Packers (1-0) [16]
17. Panthers (0-1) [9]
18. Jets (1-0) [23]
19. Bears (0-1) [13]
20. Bills (0-1) [21]
21. Broncos (1-0) [22]
22. Redskins (0-1) [20]
23. Texans (0-1) [17]
24. 49ers (1-0) [27]
25. Buccaneers (0-1) [24]

The Panthers probably could have dropped even farther but I wasn't exactly shocked to see Jake Delhomme turn the ball over five times... The Jets were impressive but that might have had something to do with Houston being a bit overhyped... Jay Cutler looked awful but should settle in as the season goes on, but the injury to Brian Urlacher doesn't bode well for the Bears.

BOTTOM TIER
26. Bengals (0-1) [25]
27. Jaguars (0-1) [26]
28. Browns (0-1) [28]
29. Raiders (0-1) [29]
30. Chiefs (0-1) [30]
31. Lions (0-1) [32]
32. Rams (0-1) [31]

A tough loss for the Bengals on a wacky final play but they didn't look very good for the rest of the game either... The Browns, Raiders, Chiefs and Lions all played much better than most people expected.

Dropping Links: Tuesday, September 15, 2009


NEWS
The Bills found another spectacular way to lose a game |ESPN.com|
Juan Martin Del Potro upsets Roger Federer in US Open Final |CBS Sports.com|
Eagles bring back Jeff Garcia in case McNabb can't go |FOX Sports.com|
Troy Polamalu likely out 3-6 weeks with injury |SI.com|

Monday, September 14, 2009

Juan Manuel Marquez enjoys drinking his own urine

A lot of you have probably seen this already but thanks to the awesome Olivia Munn, I can bring it to you now. It's a clip from HBO's 24/7 documentary about the upcoming Floyd Mayweather-Juan Manuel Marquez fight, which shows each fighter's training regime. Marquez, let's just say, has quite a strange routine at the end of his workouts.


So he does this because there are a lot of proteins and vitamins in the urine and he figures he might as well drink them again instead of wasting them. Most normal people would just make a protein shake and pop some Flintstone vitamins, but not Marquez.

I'm wholeheartedly rooting for Mayweather now, case closed.

Six Picks for Sunday - Week One results

The first week of this season's Six Picks for Sunday competition is in the books. Friend and former "CortSide" colleague Stuart Millstein joins last year's runner up, The Rooster, and I, the defending champion, for the 2009 challenge. Let's take a look at how it all went down.

Tony's Picks
ATL, CIN, MIN, HOU, CAR, GB

The Rooster's Picks
ATL, CIN, CLE, HOU, CAR, GB

Stuart's Picks
ATL, CIN, MIN, NYJ, PHI, GB

What a debut week for Stu, going 5-1. That clearly puts him in the lead heading into next week. Let's take a look at the overall standings after the first week.

Stuart (5-1)
Tony (3-3)
The Rooster (2-4)

Brian Urlacher out for the season after dislocating wrist

ESPN is reporting that Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher will miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery to repair the dislocated right wrist he suffered in last night's loss to the Packers.

ESPN's Adam Schefter is also reporting that the Bears have been in contact with free agent linebacker Derrick Brooks to come in and replace Urlacher, or at least try to replace what Urlacher gave the Bears.

Obviously this is a big blow to the Bears, who lost last night thanks to a disappointing performance from new quarterback Jay Cutler. The defense is Chicago's bread and butter, but now even more pressure will be on the shoulders of Cutler.

Dropping Links: Monday, September 14, 2009

NEWS
Donovan McNabb suffers broken rib in Eagles win over Panthers |ESPN.com|
Drew Brees throws six touchdowns as Saints crush Lions |CBS Sports.com|
Michigan back in Top 25, Notre Dame out in newest poll |FOX Sports.com|
Ichiro sets record with ninth straight 200-hit season |SI.com|
Broncos win on crazy final play against Bengals |NFL.com|
WWE Breaking Point pay-per-view results and recap |Rajah.com|
Jay Cutler throws four picks in Chicago debut |NBC Sports.com|

BLOGS
Serena Williams is a very classy woman (NSFW) |Bob's Blitz|
It's pretty hard to hate Derek Jeter |Detroit4lyfe|
Adrian Peterson did the work, but Favre will get the attention |The Scores Report|

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Video: Brandon Stokley's amazing game winning catch vs. Bengals

What an incredible finish to an otherwise lackluster game between the Broncos and Bengals. Trailing 7-6 with :28 to go the Broncos were the benificiaries of some incredible luck when Brandon Stokley grabbed a tipped ball and took it to the house. It's an amazing play and it sounded like Gus Johnson was going to explode while he was making the screaming call on the play.


Hat tip to BlackSportsOnline for the video.

Observations from NFL's week one Sunday afternoon action

A few thoughts from the 1:00 and 4:15 games as the Bears and Packers get set to kick off at Lambeau Field.

- The Jets were very impressive in Houston. The defense looked strong, bringing a lot of pressure, and Mark Sanchez looked very poised and did a lot of good things. I expected him to be terrible against the tough Texans' defense, but that wasn't the case.

Having said that, let's not get carried away. Perhaps Matt Schaub is showing us the quarterback he really is. The Jets blitzed a lot this week, but that strategy won't work next week against the Patriots. Tom Brady and Wes Welker will be begging for New York to blitz them all game.

- Jake Delhomme is just not a very good quarterback anymore and I'm not just saying that based on today's putrid performance. He was awful at times last year too, including their playoff loss where he threw five interceptions. Today he tossed up four (and fumbled once), but coach John Fox claims Delhomme is still the starter going forward.

- The Donovan McNabb injury could be a huge loss for the Eagles. Some sites are reporting that he'll be out 2-4 weeks with his broken rib. Sure they have Michael Vick, who is eligible to play after next week's game, but what if Vick comes back and is great? The Philadelphia fans already boo'ed McNabb in the preseason and chanted for Vick, so if Vick the Dogslayer actually plays well, the rabid Philly fans may not want to see him replaced.

Luckily for the Eagles' fans they may not have to worry since Vick looked pretty awful in his extended preseason action.

- Mario Manningham had a bit of a coming out party for the Giants today, but the real thing we learned was that the defense will be how New York wins. Their secondary looked a little shaky but they were also without some key pieces.

- Jason Campbell struggled mightily at the Meadowlands on Sunday and you could see that coach Jim Zorn didn't have a lot of confidence in him. I guess now we know why owner Dan Snyder tried to get Jay Cutler and/or Mark Sanchez in the offseason.

- I'm not sure where Frank Gore disappeared to. He had 22 carries for 30 yards, but it was a big win for the 49ers nonetheless, heading into the house of the defending NFC champions and getting a victory. Then again, who knows what the Cardinals will be like this year. They were pretty bad last year during the regular season also and then got hot at the right time. But the Niners won't complain after getting a division win on the road to start the season. Shaun Hill looked good and that was without Michael Crabtree.

- I'd like to know why anyone in their right mind would think Michael Turner should have been the number one pick in fantasy football drafts ahead of Adrian Peterson. Some, like ESPN's fantasy "expert" Matthew Berry, still think Turner was the right pick, but it's hard to argue how dynamic Peterson is.

- Drew Brees. Wow. That's really all I can say about this guy.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Six Picks for Sunday - Week One

Six Picks for Sunday is a weekly segment, where I'll predict six of the toughest games to call from Sunday's NFL slate. Feel free to post your own picks in the comments section, and I'll keep you updated with the results throughout the season.

Miami Dolphins @ Atlanta Falcons - Falcons
Denver Broncos @ Cincinnati Bengals - Bengals
Minnesota Vikings @ Cleveland Browns - Vikings
New York Jets @ Houston Texans - Texans
Philadelphia Eagles @ Carolina Panthers - Panthers
Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers - Packers

UPDATE: One of the comments made me realize I had forgotten something in the explanation of the game. The six games that we pick from are the six with the closest spread for the given Sunday. We pick the games straight up, though.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Dropping Links: Friday, September 11, 2009

NEWS
Steelers overcome Hines Ward's fumble to win in OT, 13-10 |CBS Sports.com|
NBA referees plan to lock out (and no one cares) |ESPN.com|
Rockies win 7th straight, widen wild card lead, close gap in West |SI.com|

BLOGS
An interview with SUNY Cortland football coach Dan McNeill |The Cooch's Rant|
Written evidence that Brett Favre is a hypocrite and liar |Glauber's NFL Hot Reads|

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Video: Prince Fielder and the Brewers go boom in home run celebration

I don't know how I missed this one but thanks to Peter Abraham of the LoHud Yankees Blog, I can bring it to you now. Below is video (until MLB removes it) of Prince Fielder and the Brewers celebrating a walk off home run against the Giants a few days ago.


A lot of people probably think this is classless and unsportsmanlike, but let's lighten up a bit. The Brewers are out of the race for the playoffs and they are having some fun. The one thing that is always so strange to me is how taunting and celebrations are accepted parts of football and basketball, but in baseball you're never supposed to have any fun. Sure this celebration was a little excessive and would be a 15 yard penalty in the NFL, but it's all about exposure these days.

Details on Madden 10 roster update No. 3

The Inside EA Blog has posted details about the third roster update for Madden 10, which will be available very soon. EA has taken their time with this one since there have been so many moves in the past few days. The full list of changes in the roster patch can be found at this link.

Some of the more notable changes in this roster update include Chad Ochocinco's kicking power and accuracy being increased, Philip Rivers' new contract and Edgerrin James being added to the Seahawks. Michael Crabtree has also been removed from the 49ers' depth chart.

There are a bunch of other roster moves, depth chart changes and jersey number fixes. This update does not include Bobby Wade being cut by the Vikings, but another update will likely be out again next week.

Dropping Links: Thursday, September 10, 2009

NEWS
John Madden will become special advisor to Commissioner Goodell |ESPN.com|
Vikings release Bobby Wade, leading receiver for last two years |CBS Sports.com|
Derek Jeter ties Lou Gehrig's Yankees all-time hit record |FOX Sports.com|
Super Secret Eric Mangini reportedly names Brady Quinn starter |SI.com|

BLOGS
Knicks would be willing to give LeBron his own channel in 2010 |BergerSphere|
NFL will make blacked out games available online with delay |Bob's Blitz|
Not so fast on the Brandon Marshall contract extension talks |Glauber's NFL Hot Reads|
Brett Favre has set the scene for failure in Minnesota |No Guts, No Glory|
Madden 10 iPhone game is now available |PastaPadre.com|
Chad Ochocinco claims to have found loopholes in NFL's Twitter policy |Shutdown Corner|
Derek Jeter is slowly becoming Mr. Yankee |The Hall of Very Good|

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Details regarding the first patch for Madden 10

The first patch for Madden 10 will be released "as early as next week," according to EA Sports' Ian Cummings. The following is the detailed list of what will be included in this patch, from the Inside EA Blog.

- Added Super Bowl and Playoff Field conditions for Online Franchise
- Fixed False Start Grieving issues with Online games
- Fixed video player issue where video would hang on latent connections
- Improved uploaded highlight quality
- Switched ranked online games to 7 min Q's
- Fixed random stability issues
- Added Broadcast Cam!

Gameplay Specific fixes:
- Tuned slider effectiveness (Run blocking and broken tackles esp.)
- Changes run blocking slider to not effect special teams
- Made fatigue effect ratings more
- Fixed WR release to where receivers release to both sides
- Fixed incorrect spotting on punts out of bounds
- Reduced/removed holding on kicking plays
- Improved toe drag catch logic
- Improved pursuit angles for outside running plays
- Fixed defenders in pursuit running away from O-Line
- Better play recognition in man coverage
- Fixed double pass online exploit


The broadcast camera angle, which I touched on about a month ago, is a pretty exciting part of this update. It should be interesting to see how much differently the game plays when being looked at from the side view, something that hasn't been available in Madden in quite some time.

Reducing the number of holding penalties on kicking plays will also be well received by the Madden community. Having a holding call on a field goal attempt can spice it up from time to time but in this year's Madden it's almost an every kick occurrence.

Dropping Links: Wednesday, September 9, 2009


NEWS
Allen Iverson tweets that he'll be joining the Grizzlies |ESPN.com|
Cleveland's QBs know who'll start, but it's still top secret |CBS Sports.com|
Richard Seymour still hasn't reported to Oakland |SI.com|

BLOGS
Byron Hout probably deserved to get punched after all |Bob's Blitz|
More people are starting to get sick of Michael Phelps |Busted Coverage|
Emmitt Smith rips Tony Romo and Wade Phillips |Glauber's NFL Hot Reads|
Madden 10 AFL Legacy DLC will feature 16 new uniforms and extras |PastaPadre.com|
The absurdly premature playoff picture: Week zero |Shutdown Corner|
Bonnie Bernstein will join Michael Kay Show on ESPN Radio 1050 |WatchDog|

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Video: A.J. Pierzynski's appearance on "WWE Raw" with Bob Barker

"WWE Raw" has been using a guest host format for the last few months and last night's host was Bob Barker. Naturally they went with a "Price is Raw" theme for the show, as a sort of comedic break in the action. "Raw" was held in Chicago last night and several White Sox players were in the crowd.


Pierzynski's love for pro wrestling has been well documented in the past and he's probably the closest thing to a "heel" in Major League Baseball.

Dropping Links: Tuesday, September 8, 2009

NEWS
Matthew Stafford named Lions' starting quarterback |FOX Sports.com|
Sam Bradford likely out 2-4 weeks with shoulder injury |CBS Sports.com|
Pirates lock up their 17th straight losing season with Monday loss |ESPN.com|
Allen Iverson, Grizzlies inching closer to a deal |SI.com|
Chris Carpenter allows one hit, strikes out ten Brewers |Yahoo.com|

BLOGS
Matt Cassel was back in uniform for Chiefs, but will he play? |Glauber's NFL Hot Reads|
Tedy Bruschi will join ESPN's group of a billion analysts |WatchDog|

And in case you missed it yesterday be sure to check out my 2009 NFL season prognostications and the first tonyblogs.net Power Rankings.

Monday, September 7, 2009

NFL Power Rankings: Week 1 edition

It's that time of year again. The weather is cooling down, baseball games are starting to get meaningful, my preseason prognostications have been posted so that leaves only one thing left: The first edition of the NFL Power Rankings.

TOP TIER
1. Steelers: The reigning Super Bowl champions get the inaugural spot.

2. Cardinals: The reigning NFC champions and Super Bowl runner-ups hold the No. 2 spot until they likely drop down after Week 1.

3. Patriots: Tom Brady is back and the offense has improved. The Pats could be very scary this year.

4. Falcons: If I picked them to make it to the Super Bowl, I've got to put them high in the first Power Rankings.

5. Colts: Peyton Manning alone could probably keep them in the fifth spot, but they've also got Reggie Wayne and Dwight Freeney.

6. Eagles: Michael Vick looked awful in his first extended preseason action, but he's got two weeks to get straightened out.

7. Giants: Hakeem Nicks came on in the last two preseason games and Eli Manning has a lot to prove.

8. Ravens: The defense will be strong even with the loss of Bart Scott and Joe Flacco will only get better.

9. Panthers: Lots of offensive weapons as long as Jake Delhomme doesn't turn the ball over too much.

10. Vikings: The rest of the team is so good, even Brett Favre might not be able to screw their whole season up.

11. Titans: Chris Johnson and LenDale White look to supplant themselves as the best running tandem in the NFL.

SECOND TIER
12. Dolphins
13. Bears
14. Chargers
15. Cowboys
16. Packers
17. Texans
18. Saints
19. Seahawks
20. Redskins
21. Bills

BOTTOM TIER
22. Broncos
23. Jets
24. Buccaneers
25. Bengals
26. Jaguars
27. 49ers
28. Browns
29. Raiders
30. Chiefs
31. Rams
32. Lions

2009 NFL prognostications

In another most likely futile attempt at looking smart, I'll try once again to look into my crystal ball and tell you the future. Here are my 2009 NFL prognostications, along with some thoughts on each division. Playoff teams are marked with an asterisk (*).

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

With Tom Brady back the Patriots could return to their 2007 form. The additions of Fred Taylor and Joey Galloway make the offense that much better and the defense, even with the losses of Tedy Bruschi and Richard Seymour, will be good as usual... The Dolphins won't be surprising anyone this year, but I could see Pat White get some playing time at quarterback in the Wildcat offense. They will be a solid team and probably win 10 games, but it won't be enough to crack the playoffs in the tough AFC... The Bills will be a better team with the addition of Terrell Owens, at least until he reverts back to his usual shtick and starts causing problems... The Jets, while they will be competitive, are still lacking a lot in my opinion. A rookie quarterback usually goes through some learning curves. Sure it worked out last year for Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan, but that was more the exception and not the rule.

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

Although the Ravens lost Bart Scott to the Jets, their defense is all about Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, so they should be fine. Ray Rice could have a breakout year this season... The Bengals should be better than last year with a healthy Carson Palmer and Chad Ochocinco likely bouncing back... I expect the Browns to be pretty bad this year. Eric Mangini hasn't made any friends since his arrival in Cleveland and the team hasn't improved since last year's woeful season.

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

The loss of Marvin Harrison won't hurt the Colts too badly since they hardly even knew he was on the team last year. Anthony Gonzalez should step right in and pick up the slack. While Tony Dungy has departed, the same philosophies are in place and Peyton Manning is still a Colt, which always bodes well for Indy... The only real loss for the Titans in this offseason was Albert Haynesworth. While that certainly hurts, the defense should be able to make up for it and I expect the running game to be just as strong as last year, maybe even better with a trimmed down LenDale White... The Texans have been slowly getting better each year and could compete for a playoff spot this season. The AFC South could be this year's 2008 AFC East with one very good team getting left out.

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

This will be one of the two worst divisions in football, along with the NFC West. The Chargers take this one almost by default, although I expect them to be better than the 8-8 showing from 2008... The one bright spot this year for the Broncos could be Knowshon Moreno and they will certainly miss Jay Cutler and Mike Shanahan... I'm going with a little bit of a surprise putting the Raiders over the Chiefs, but Oakland has a few more athletic weapons than Kansas City.

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

If Michael Vick isn't horrible and doesn't cause any off-field controversy, the Iggles should take the East. If nothing else, they have a very athletic, versatile offense... The only concern I have with the Giants is at the wide receiver position, although their defense will perhaps be the best in the NFL... Dallas will be right there with New York and Philly, but every year we have high expectations for the Cowboys only to see them fail... The Redskins are the Yankees of the NFL except they're never any good. This year could be the same exact thing.

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

The Vikings win the division in spite of Brett Favre, not because of him. Look at what he did to the Jets last year. The only difference is that the Vikings have a better team than last year's Jets, and even if Favre has his usual putrid last few months, the Vikes should make the playoffs. They'll probably get ousted in their first postseason game, though... The Bears will be a better team than last year with Jay Cutler, which should make Devin Hester, Greg Olsen and Matt Forte better... The Lions should be better also, but that could mean only one win.

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

The addition of Tony Gonzalez, although at the end of his career, could push the Falcons over the top. Matt Ryan will only be better in his second year, after learning so much during his first. I don't know if Michael Turner will have the year he had again, but he should still be a very strong running back... You could say the same thing about DeAngelo Williams, but Jonathan Stewart is no slouch at the backup running back position... The Saints will be an offensive powerhouse again but the division they play in will hurt them... The only thing I'll be watching the Bucs for is to see how long it takes for Josh Freeman to be under center.

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

Here we are at the second horrible division in the NFL. The Cardinals could be 9-7 and run away with it once again... The Seahawks won't be as bad with a healthy Matt Hasselback and the addition of TJ Houshmandzadeh, but age is a concern for Seattle... The 49ers would have been higher in my predictions if they had their first-round pick Michael Crabtree. Since he's being the diva everyone said he was, it could be much the same as we've been used to with the Niners.

Super Bowl
New England Patriots defeat the Atlanta Falcons

I may be climbing far out on the proverbial limb here, but the NFC is very muddled to me. The Vikings won't make it because Brett Favre will hold them back. The Cardinals won't be surprising anyone this year. The Giants' receivers are too shaky for me to pick them. Basically each team could make a strong case as to why they could be in the big game, so I'm throwing a dart here and going with the Birds.

Video: NBA Live 10: 5-on-5 gameplay footage

Below is some sample gameplay footage from NBA Live 10 that was released a few days ago. The clip features Miami v. San Antonio, Utah v. Toronto and Golden State v. New York. It gives a look at a few different camera angles that can be used during gameplay as well as the cut scenes and some newer elements featured. NBA Live 10 hits shelves October 10th.

Gina Carano to star in Steven Soderbergh film "Knockout"

MMA fighter Gina Carano has been tabbed to star in "Knockout," a new action film about a girl from the wrong side of the tracks who gets a second chance to use her skills for good. Steven Soderbergh will direct the movie.

It will be the first big film role for Carano, who also appeared as Crush on the most recent incarnation of "American Gladiators." She had a small part in the Michael Jai White film, "Blood and Bone."

Carano could probably make the leap to the big screen full time. She will be believable in any tough girl role simply because of her MMA background and also has movie star good looks. "Knockout" is set to start filming in January and Soderbergh plans to cast other notable actors around Carano.

Dropping Links: Monday, September 7, 2009

Happy Labor Day to everyone taking a break from their usual labor or if you happen to be going into labor.

NEWS
Shawne Merriman accused of choking girlfriend, MTV's Tila Tequila |ESPN.com|
Patriots deal Richard Seymour to Raiders for a 2011 first round pick |CBS Sports.com|
Ichiro becomes second fastest player to reach 2,000 hits |FOX Sports.com|
Another triple play was turned, this time by the Brewers |SI.com|

BLOGS
The Knicks and David Lee still can't come to an agreement |CBS Sports.com|
A recap of the Syracuse quarterbacking debut of Greg Paulus |The Cooch's Rant|
Warren Moon opens up in a revealing interview |Glauber's NFL Hot Reads|
The NBA is preparing guidelines for Twitter usage |The Scores Report|

Friday, September 4, 2009

Video: LeGarrette Blount punches Byron Hout after Boise State-Oregon game

Here is the clip of Oregon's LeGarrette Blount punching Byron Hout during the postgame of the Oregon-Boise State matchup last night.


I'm not condoning Blount punching a guy from an opposing team, but clearly Hout was taunting Blount. Not only is he verbally egging him on, he slaps him on the shoulder, and who knows what was really said in there. Either way, you throw a punch at someone, and you're looking at a suspension though.

Dropping Links: Friday, September 4, 2009

NEWS
Vick very unimpressive in final preseason tilt for Eagles |ESPN.com|
Bucs fire offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski |CBS Sports.com|
Pedro Martinez shines against Tim Lincecum as Phils beat Giants |FOX Sports.com|
Roger Goodell says an uncapped 2010 season is likely |SI.com|

BLOGS
Mike Pelfrey ran laps after another pathetic performance |No Guts, No Glory|
A day after NBA Live, NBA 2K10 soundtrack revealed |PastaPadre.com|
The Raiders are the most worthless franchise in the NFL |Shutdown Corner|
The Redskins are suing a 72-year-old grandmother |The Scores Report|

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Michael Vick will be eligible to play in Week 3

Commissioner Roger Goodell has ruled that Michael Vick will be allowed to play beginning in the third week of the 2009 regular season for the Eagles. Vick and Godell met for almost an hour Thursday morning to discuss the situation.

The league clearly wants Vick to succeed because it would be good publicity for them. Goodell even said today, "Hopefully we can have a success story here, which would be good for society in general." While it may be good for society, it is much better for the NFL.

The NFL has gone out of its way to make sure Michael Vick had a smooth transition back into the league. Since his return, there really hasn't been any public outrage or criticism, and the league is now basically doing the Eagles a favor. The signing of Vick was a risk when it looked like he would miss at least five games, but now he'll only miss two.

Somewhere Donte' Stallworth is very upset about all of this.

Bruce Bowen announces his retirement from the NBA

Bruce Bowen is retiring, according to the San Antonio Express-News. He formerly was with the San Spurs and was traded to Milwaukee as part of the deal that brought Richard Jefferson to San Antonio. The Bucks released him after failing to find a taker for Bowen.

The Express-News calls Bowen a "former Spurs great." While that is very debatable, Bowen is certainly one of the better defenders of his era in the NBA. Many, though, will remember him for his less-than-noble defending tactics.

Dropping Links: Thursday, September 3, 2009

NEWS
Pacman Jones won't be playing in the CFL after all |CBS Sports.com|
Now Curt Schilling wants to run for Senate |ESPN.com|
Brad Penny strong in his first start with Giants |FOX Sports.com|
Jason Giambi's pinch hit helps Rockies keep wild card lead |SI.com|

BLOGS
The 2009 college football season kicks off tonight |Fang's Bites|
The Brandon Marshall trade to the Jets isn't going to happen |Glauber's NFL Hot Reads|
NBA Live 10 full soundtrack listing revealed |PastaPadre.com|

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Dropping Links: Wednesday, September 2, 2009

NEWS
Cole Hamels tosses two hitter as Phillies top Giants, 1-0 |ESPN.com|
Bengals rookie Andre Smith gets hurt just after ending holdout |CBS Sports.com|
Timberwolves say Rubio backed out of agreement to join team |FOX Sports.com|
Pacman Jones signs deal to play in the CFL this season |SI.com|

BLOGS
A look at the NBA Live 10 gameplay advancements |PastaPadre.com|
Is Jim Thome a Hall of Famer? |The Hall of Very Good|

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Video: Brett Favre's dirty crackback block on Eugene Wilson

From ScoutVids.com via Shutdown Corner comes the clip of Brett Favre throwing an illegal crackback block on Texans safety Eugene Wilson during Monday's preseason matchup between Houston and Minnesota. Take a look if you haven't seen it yet.


Favre is always just having fun out there. Even when he's throwing dirty blocks, he's doing it with a smile on his face and just like a child. Favre, of course, doesn't even give a peek to Wilson or check to see if he's okay. As Mike Tirico put it, it's just "not cool" to throw a block like that, which is why it's a 15 yard penalty.

The other reason this is stupid is that Brad Childress called this play. He knew that Brett Favre may have a cracked rib and already has a tear in his throwing shoulder (not to mention the offseason surgery he had) but called a play that requires his 40-year-old quarterback to throw a block? Strange.

Report: Dodgers acquire Jim Thome and Jon Garland

Jon Heyman is reporting that the Dodgers have acquired both Jim Thome and Jon Garland in separate deals. The trades apparently were completed before the midnight deadline to make players eligible for postseason rosters. Word wasn't available as to what the Dodgers would give up in exchange for each player.

Garland's name began flying around early Monday evening, with rumors that the Rockies and Yankees were both interested in the pitcher who had just cleared waivers. The Dodgers came in late and got the job done. Garland has had an up-and-down year, but has pitched well since the All-Star break. He is 4-3 in that time but hasn't allowed more than five runs in any of his ten starts since July 11.

The addition of Thome is a bit more surprising. He will likely be used as late-inning power. Thome hasn't played first base since 2007, when he played only one game there for the White Sox. He played only three games at first in 2006. In 2005, Thome's last season with the Phillies, he played in only 52 games at first base.

The acquisitions of Thome and Garland certainly make the Dodgers a scarier team as they head down the stretch. With some run support, Garland could be a key piece for Los Angeles while Thome gives them some pop.

Dropping Links: Tuesday, September 1, 2009

NEWS
Brett Favre throws cheap block in long Vikings outing |Yahoo.com|
Ricky Rubio will stay overseas for two more years |BergerSphere|
Rich Rodriguez cried a little defending his program |ESPN.com|
Rockies trade for horrible Jose Contreras |Rocky Mountain Independent|
Erin Andrews will discuss peep video on Oprah |SI.com|
Chiefs relieve Chan Gailey of offensive coordinator duties |CBS Sports.com|

BLOGS
NFL puts limit on Tweeting during NFL game days |Glauber's NFL Hot Reads|
Some Madden 10 AFL throwback DLC could be on the way |PastaPadre.com|
Favre and Vick are at the top of bestselling jersey list |Sports Biz|