Talk sports, pop culture and more with SI.com's Jimmy Traina.
1/31/2007 09:57:00 AM
What's in the news?
Before I get into today's topics, I want to ask for your help in putting together an upcoming project that will feature ... you.
Left: Jimmy's friend, PT. Right: Chicago White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski.
Here's the deal: My friend PT lives in Chicago, and often gets asked if he's White Sox catcher A.J. Piersynski. Upon recently hearing another tale of his mistaken identity, I thought it would be cool to see if you or anyone you know closely resembles an athlete, or any celebrity, for that matter. Consider this a version of lookalikes, featuring SI.com readers.
So, e-mail me your pics at firstname.lastname@example.org. Put "Attn Jimmy" in the subject line and please include your name, the name of the person who resembles the athlete or celebrity, your relationship to that person and your hometown. I will gather the pics and put together a photo gallery that you will see on the Scorecard Daily page in the near future.
Now on to some thoughts on items in the news:
1. Item -- MLB's Extra Innings to DirecTV So Major League Baseball is reportedly set to announce that it is putting its Extra Innings package exclusively on DirecTV. Obviously this is a bad move that can't be defended. It makes no sense to shut out millions of fans, and once again, as usual, baseball screws up. What's hard to take, though, is how MLB is bashed mercilessly for doing something that the NFL does. You barely hear a peep about Sunday Ticket only being offered through DirecTV. And what's even worse is that the NFL doesn't offer its games online -- Major League Baseball does. But that doesn't stop people from hammering MLB while just accepting the actions of the NFL. No matter if it's steroids, bad TV deals or anything else, the NFL only comes away with a bruise while MLB gets put in a body cast. My question to you: If you're going to bash MLB for this decision, shouldn't the NFL get just as much heat?
Would you mess with this man?.
Photo by AP
2. Item -- Tank does Media Day Speaking of the NFL's ability to avoid getting ripped, let's discuss Bears defensive tackle Tank Johnson. Johnson was arrested Dec. 14 after police raided his home and found three rifles, three handguns and 500 rounds of ammunition. His bodyguard, Willie Posey, was shot and killed two days later during an early morning fight at a nightclub in Chicago, where Johnson was present. Oh yeah, all this happened while Johnson was on probation. So how does Johnson explain this during Media Day? He says the media have "overblown" the story, and that it's the media's job to "hype the hot story." The NFL should ban him from playing in the game just for those comments. One more thought: After seeing Johnson at Media Day, I just have one question -- why does he even need a bodyguard or guns? Who would mess with this 6-foot-3, 300-pound guy? My question to you: Should Johnson be allowed to play in the Super Bowl?
3. Item -- Grossman in the Super Bowl Rex Grossman has been getting bashed for a long time now, so I'm not going to pile on. But he's proving something I've always believed: Theories about what it takes to get to a Super Bowl are dumb. You usually hear "a running game and defense wins titles" or "you can't go far without a good quarterback." It's all nonsense. The Bears and Colts have completely different styles of play. All that matters is staying healthy, peaking at the right time (look at the Colts defense) and getting lucky. My question to you: Do you believe in theories about what teams need to reach a Super Bowl?
4. Item -- Movement underway for Super Bowl holiday There now is a Web site -- with a petition -- devoted to making the Monday after the Super Bowl a national holiday. I hope they succeed, but let's be honest, the chances aren't good. And while I'm all for adding as many holidays to the calendar as possible, wouldn't a better idea be to put more pressure on the NFL to move the Super Bowl from Sunday to Saturday night? Since the league is intent on having the extra week off in between Championship Games and the Super Bowl, there is no reason not play it on a Saturday night so fans can enjoy it without having to worry about getting up early for work the next day. My question to you: Would you want the Super Bowl played on Saturday instead of Sunday?
5. Item -- NHL in trouble Two weeks ago, Sports Illustrateddetailed the slew of problems -- attendance is down, ratings are down, newspapers aren't staffing road games for certain teams -- that have hit the NHL. Now we get word that ratings for the league's All-Star game were down 76 percent. I asked colleagues if they thought we could actually see a major sport fold in our lifetime? Most said no. I'm not so sure. I don't see how the league can turn things around. My question to you: Do you think there's a chance the NHL will fold in the next 10-15 years?
YOu really think the NFL should ban Tank Johnson for making that comment. Why because he made a true statement about the low-life media and what they do on a day to day basis. If you do feel this way than you should also believe that the NFL should ban the media for their stupid questions and ignorant blogs.
Jimmy - The NFL still shows some out of market games on network tv every week. You can see 5 or 6 games out of 15 per week. MLB has 2 or three out of almost 100 every week on tv. Do the math. 33% vs 3%.
I wouldn't be surprised to see the NFL opt to allow Sunday Ticket on cable systems in the near future in exchange for said cable operators offering the NFL Network to basic subscribers. Time Warner, Cablevision, and Comcast currently have no incentive to offer the NFL Network cheaply. With all of the Sunday Ticket money going to DirecTV, why should they help the NFL with their own network that on which the cable operators only get 2 minutes per hour of commercial time? This could be win-win for the NFL because they can make more money offering Sunday Ticket to multiple outlets AND get more advertising revenue for an inhouse network reaching more households.
Baseball is just plain stupid if they lock out their viewers with an exclusive deal with DirecTV.
The NFL definitely gets way too much slack, Ray Lewis walks away from a murder with blood stains and nothing happens, Kobe accidently hits a player with his elbow and gets suspended. Tank Johnson shouldn't be anywhere near Miami. The game should definitely be played on Saturday night, it would also mean more business for the bars and clubs.
It makes more sense to play the Super Bowl on a saturday but then again the NFL hype machine may have to cut out the riveting stories about the ball boys and how much it means to them to hold the footballs on the sidelines in the Super Bowl. And as far as the NHL all star game viewing down by 76 percent...whatever brainiac decided that a wednesday night was a good time to play the game should be fired.
Hey Jimmy, I am a former hockey fan from the great white north. My response to question 5 is that I do not think there is a chance the NHL will fold. I think that there will be a major shake up where Gary Bettman's successor will contract the league to 20-25 teams. Getting out of Nashville and Southern Florida is key. Concentrate the league in the traditional hockey markets (Minnesota, Canada, North East) as well as the newer markets like Dallas. The level of play would also increase as NHL teams would be able to field more than one or two good lines. There is still money to be made in hockey, but the NHL definitely has to realize it is not a major sport and begin marketing itself as so. If this doesn't happen then there is a good chance the league folds within the next ten years.
Not only should MLB not be allowed to create the DirectTV monopoly, the NFL should be forced to allow other carriers to sell Sunday Ticket. I just moved from Denver to Pittsburgh, and I dont want to spend the rest of my life watching Steelers games, and since the FAA wont allow me to get the local Denver stations on my Dish Network satellite (why not - its beamed all over the country), I either have to find a bar with DirectTV, or switch to a more expensive satellite provider AND shell out almost 300 clams a year to watch 16 games. DirectTV sucks.
No, Tank shouldn't be suspended. If players were suspended every time they were arrested--not yet convicted--Cincinnatti wouldn't have been able to field a team this year. Protest a real lowlife like the Rams' Leonard Little. He killed a woman while driving drunk, then was arrested for DWI again a few years later. Save the soapbox for someone who's crimes merit attention. If you whine about every possession arrest people like Little get lost in the shuffle.
I think the NFL does get bashed over their exclusive deal with DirecTV. I hear it a lot. I was actually surprised baseball would make a similar deal because of all the negative press I'd heard about the Sunday Ticket deal.
Regarding Super Bowl theories, I agree with you Jimmy. Most people make the mistake of taking a statistic (on average, better defenses win) and try to apply it to a single game. For example, on average with a large group of people, people with an IQ of 120 will be more successful than people with an IQ of 80. However, an individual with an IQ of 120 can be a bum, and an individual with an IQ of 80 can be quite successful (like a sportwriter). Just kidding. Really.
I am all for the Super Bowl being played on Saturday night rather than Sunday. It just makes sense. The only ones who would nix this idea would be the city hosting the game. It would mean one day less of revenue.
The NFL does get slammed for its Direct TV deal, but it is not as bad as MLB's decision for two reasons. First, NFL Sunday Ticket has only been available through Direct TV. In contrast, I've been able to have extra innings through my digital cable for the past two seasons. Therefore, I'm more upset because I product I've been able to get is being taken away from me. Second, Football games are on the weekends the big Seahawks fan can go to his local bar to watch the games. Baseball is everyday and most of us cannot go to the bar each night to follow our favorite team. The NFL does get too much of a pass in this regard but at least I didn't have it and have baseball take it away from me. This is such typical baseball. I've always been a baseball fan, but the past two seasons I've really gotten into watching a bunch of games and following the sport, now they are going to yank the rug out for me. I stare at a computer all day long, don't want to do that when I come home as well. MLB should start their new slogan "Myth #1 we care about our fans."
1. Bidnezz is bidnezz. See how their bottom lines look in a couple of years.
2. Yes, Tank should play. He didn't kill anybody or hide his involvement in a death the way Killer Ray Lewis did.
3. The Super Bowl formula is good players, good coaches, no major injuries and a medium to big dose of luck (see: injuries).
4. Super Saturday? hmmm. Interesting idea. They should do it once and see how it fgoes - the same they tried having only one week before the conference championships and super bowl.
5. If global warming does in fact get bad enough, the NHL will indeed melt away with all the rest of the ice. Otherwise, it'll melt away from major TV and newspaper coverage but it will live on in real life and on the internet.
There is no question that the Super Bowl should be played on a Saturday or that a Monday holiday should be created (or better yet, simply moved). MLK Monday holiday is in honor of his life and is somewhat related to his birthday, but not held on his actual birthday. Presidents day in February is in honor of Lincoln's and Washington's birthdays, but is held on a Monday and not on their actual birthdays. Why not one of these dates to coincide with the Super Bowl, get the NFL to tacitly agree to hold the Super Bowl every year at the same time, and everyone walks away happy.
1. Yes, the NFL should get as much heat as MLB. The problem is the NFL negotiated Sunday Ticket when it was still somewhat of a "new" thing, so their deal didn't make much noise, and they hadn't offered it to all cable and satellite subscribers across the board prior to the exclusivity agreement with DirecTV. Still, this smacks of a monopoly, and I think both leagues are or should be getting close to losing their anti-trust exemption. Either way, I just switched to Dish Network and I was quite looking forward to getting Extra Innings this year. Nice "job", MLB.
2. Tank Johnson should be afforded the same legal rights as anyone else who can afford the bail on such charges as his. Yes, I think he's an idiot, and his comments at media day certainly prove he's waaay out of touch with reality, and I think the league should suspend him for the game under the regulations in the personal conduct policy (anyone remember Ray Lewis, the reason for the rule? Bueller? Anyone?). I don't have a problem with the court allowing him to travel, though. The court has an obligation to allow someone charged but not convicted of a crime to make a living, and like it or not this is Johnson's job. It's the league that should have stepped in. Roger, where art thou?
3. Every year you see two teams who follow different paths to the Super Bowl, and generally one of them is "breaking the rules". It's all about how they're playing when the playoffs hit, not their overall style. Steelers, anyone?
4. It should definitely be on a Saturday. The national holiday idea will only work for banks and federal employees. Since I work in the railroad industry, I'm not likely to get a day off. Saturday night would be better, but if you run a sports bar you better be ready for some business. In some places (like Kansas) bars aren't open on Sundays, so we throw parties. If it's Saturday, well, I'm not makin' a mess of my house...I'm goin' out!
5. The NHL still exists? Sorry. Seriously, I have to wonder about the long-term viability of a league that doesn't have any exposure beyond ESPN highlights, the Outdoor Channel and occasionally on NBC. Every major sports league hinges on the TV dollars, and if the NHL doesn't get them, they're...doomed!
By the way, I don't know of any look-alikes in my circle of friends, but I challenge you to look at pictures of Kurt Warner and Jim Edmonds and then tell me "no way". Try it, you'll see what I mean. They're the same guy.
MLB is bashed adn the NFL isn't for the same reason that Wade gets the calls and Artest doesn't: respect and backlash. MLB has crapped on us for so long through a series of bad decisions, and needs to win over fans so badly, that their decision blows the mind. Meanwhile, the NFL has sculpted almost the perfect fan product, so they get some slack. And... what competent pundit says you need a great qb to win the Super Bowl? The defense/running game mantra is not a theory, it is a fact, and if you haven't noticed the Colts defense and running game this post-season then you have been in a coma.
Tank Johnson should be banned from the Super Bowl because he has now twice violated his probation. He was originally arrested on firearms charges and violated his probation by continuing to own prohibited firearms. Then he hangs out with his bodyguard (who has a shady past) at a club known to be a gang hangout. Any non-famous person would not have been allowed to leave the state following his second probation violation. He'll continue his thug behavior unless there are consequences.
The NFL never gets guff for anything because people perceive the sport as god. There are way too many "die-hards" out there that can't live without their football. That is never more evident than the disgrace that is the NFL network. NFL football was fine until the league got even greedier and decided to develop a network which not all television providers carry. They fixed something that wasn't broken. Then to add insult to injury, the league says to just "switch" over to satellite which did, at the time, carry the NFL network. How asinine is this? "Switch" over like it was easier than sitting down. Why don't they just "halt production" of the NFL network and give us Thursday night football on network TV?
A lot of people seem to forget... Tank Johnson hasn't been convicted of anything. People say he's off the hook because he was allowed to travel to Miami and play in the Super Bowl. Please rememeber...he has a court date waiting for him when he returns to Chicago. He will likely be convicted. Though, he may only receive a slap on the wrist, he will still stand before a judge and receive a sentence.
Tank not convicted? How do you think he got on probation? You get on probation by either 1)pleading guilty or 2) being found guilty. He is on probation as an ALTERNATIVE to jail or prison time. Therefore, he IS guilty of the original crime. By violation the terms of his probation, he could be sent DIRECTLY back to jail. So what would you prefer - keep the convict in Illinois as a free man or just close the jail door behind him. There is no way he should be allowed to play in the Super Bowl. This judge must handle rule enforcement for the NCAA.
Whether convicted yet or not, Tank Johnson should be banned from the Super Bowl for being an idiot thug. The NFL tolerates way too much ridiculous nonsense from these spoiled rotten millionaires. I don't care how talented someone is, they shouldn't be allowed to get away with what they do and still be allowed to play and rake in the bucks (and media attention) YES, the Super Bowl should be played on a Saturday night, that only makes sense for all involved, which then translates directly into the fact as to why the NFL won't do it.
The NFL might not get ripped in the mainstream for the exclusive DirecTV package, but I rip it all of the time. I say if the NFL is both money and fan conscious, why not give millions more fans the opportunity to get the package? If Comcast announced they had the package, I know 50 people that would subscribe today. And yes, please move the SB to Saturday, and as for the NHL- I didn't even know they played their AS game until the next day. What a shambles.
Tank Johnson if not an NFL Player would be in jail with two parole violations.
Saturday Night makes so much more sense for the game. with a kickoff time fo 6:30 ( more likley 6:45 or 7 ) the game will not be over until 10:30 PM. Many of us have jobs where we must be at work 7:00 AM on weekdays.
Every time I read something like this, I want to scream.
The American sports media has conditioned casual fans to respond to the word "hockey" with "nobody watches, nobody cares". The level of disrespect hockey endures in this country is downright shameful.
You linked to a subscriber-only column, so I don't know if Farber pointed out that, on a sellout percentage basis, the NHL is dead even with the NBA. Or that NBC's NHL game of the week has been beating college basketball on CBS in the ratings. Or that the NHL took a chance on Versus because they were sick of the battered-wife treatment they were getting from ESPN.
See ya at the Pens-Habs game Thursday night. Oh, no. I won't. You don't watch. You don't care.
On your Tank Johnson piece: Isn't this The United States of America? Where the right to bear arms is still guaranteed by our Bill of Rights?? Unless Mr. Johnson's probation specifically prohibits him from possessing firearms, then he is well within his GUARANTEED rights as an American!! Even if the probation prohibits firearm possession, I completely agree with Mr. Johnson's assessment that the media has hyped this story beyond its worth. Three rifles, three handguns and 500 rounds of ammunition would be considered minimal by the standards of most law-abiding members of the NRA. And this thought comes from someone who: (1) hates the Chicago Bears; (2) had never really heard of Tank Johnson before this story broke; and (3) does not belong to the NRA, nor owns any type of firearm. My advice to you is LAY OFF!!! I also agree with "r.rauback"'s assessment that the MEDIA should be banned for asking stupid questions. Find something else to write about, OR GET ANOTHER JOB!
i was having this exact conversation last night with a buddy about having the superbowl on saturday (which i am 100% for). his first comment was that the host cities would be the first to vote against the idea because of all the money that is spent in their town because of the game. if you move the game up a day, you're cutting into revenues for the city.
You know how he's been spending his time in Miami? Hanging out in clubs in the wee hours of the morning. I guess his "best friend's" death didn't alter his lifestyle that much. He should play power forward for the Trail Blazers.
And Super Bowl Saturday sounds really weird to me. Everyone has late nights, the game's over by 10:30. We don't need a holiday.
I think Tank being allowed to play is disgraceful. I feel the judge could have used him as an example as "if you do something stupid, there are consequences ie. sitting out the biggest game of your life." But of course, that didn't happen. I watch all sports and find it very hard to find an athlete to actually point out as a good person in our days. Unfortunately, I can say that the most professional athletes are hockey players (I have met and worked with many) but of course they dont get half the respect they deserve. Maybe the NHL will get fans when half of their players start showing up in court rooms for outrageous antics. But then again I guess thats why I still look up to hockey players, they dont commit the same stupidity as players in the NFL and NBA do!!!
NHL in trouble post: The NHL will never fold, it's too important in Canada, however more than likely there will be a lot of teams folding especially in the smaller markets in the US. The current product is too watered down. They need to increase scoring still. Increase the net size, goalies are much bigger than they were 50 years ago heck even 30 years ago As well the schedule needs to change, if you can't see the future stars every year than less fans will show up to games
2 comments....1st) As a Canadian and a fan (goes hand in hand), I feel there will always be an NHL of some form...however, it will be with many fewer teams...get rid of all of the "false" markets (Florida, Nashville, Anaheim, Phoenix, etc....) and keep them in places where people truly care.
2) Short and simple....Tank Johnson's season should have ended in mid-December, and it is a disgrace that he has played and will play in the Super Bowl...that ain't hype, Tank...if I did half the stuff he has, my employer would suspend me, no doubt!
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