Recent Comments by beaverboard

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

To try to maintain some sanity, I've been limiting the number of media sources I read on this topic. One of them is Mike Reiss' ESPN Pats' blog.

He is reporting that the Pats used friction, not heat to warm up the footballs before the refs inspected them. So in general, our postulating at SpoFi that the balls were overwarmed, then cooled outdoors after inspection to create the deflation seems to be on the mark.

The Pats have now fully arrived as national bad boys - here's the Saturday Night Live cold open from last night's show.

posted by beaverboard at 11:50 AM on January 25

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

Well darn those cheatin' Ravens. They're the ones that started all this trouble. (j/k)

posted by beaverboard at 11:40 AM on January 25

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

When I mentioned the Patriots' low fumble rate rather casually in the deflation mega thread the day before Sharp's piece came out, I had no idea how startling the actual numbers were.

The NYT ran an article yesterday on how the Pats cover the spread in bad weather games at a much higher rate than they do in good weather games. Sharp may have done the analytic work on that story as well.

posted by beaverboard at 07:29 PM on January 24

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

Justin Verlander has contacted the Patriots' staff asking for an off-peak hourly rate on the deflation equipment.

posted by beaverboard at 10:53 AM on January 24

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

I never got to see Ernie Banks play shortstop. I wish I had.

I thought his trademark "Let's play two" was coined early in his career. I had no idea he came up with it during the soul crushing 69 season, which I watched unfold in front of me game by game in seeming slow motion horror. The worst part of it was that there was an air of certainty and inevitability to the collapse early on.

Thank goodness the other players had Mr. Cub in their midst to help take some of the sting out of it.
That was one hell of an infield. RIP

posted by beaverboard at 09:24 AM on January 24

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

Thinking of the picks that Brady has thrown at critical moments in Denver...Professor Howard, what happens to a 12.5 or lower ball at altitude? Does the internal pressure go up or down?

Also, I expect Welker to come forward at any moment to say that if Brady had only thrown him a goddamn properly inflated ball in Super Bowl XLVI...

posted by beaverboard at 05:12 PM on January 23

Don't hit me in the mouth, I gotta play tonight

Super post, thanks. Never thought I'd see a photo of Hermeto on SpoFi.

Jeff Berlin is also big into this theme, but he went larger and softer in the midsection as he got older. Roddy Piper made a nutty cameo on one of his music instructional VHS tapes back in the day.

One diagnosable jazz guy who tries to be a pugilist at inopportune moments and hopefully has an honestly good whuppin' coming to him someday is Stanley Crouch. He likes to fight colleagues and acquaintances with no forewarning in a coat and tie in publication offices and nightclubs. He tried to get something started with a friend of mine who is short enough to be a jockey and is built like a Tim Burton stick man. I'd pay to watch Crouch and Whitlock go at it. Whichever one prevailed would be partially redeemed as having done a service to humanity.

posted by beaverboard at 04:48 PM on January 23

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

The league found that kicking units on various teams were over doctoring their own sets of K balls to their individual liking, which probably resulted in better special teams play.

However, the NFL decided that they needed to put an end to that practice and took full control of all K balls. Now all teams kick governed by the same standard. The league thought it was important to have that standard.

They made a major mistake by not doing the same to the game balls. A football is a critical piece of equipment. There's no reason why a Pats' sideline attendant couldn't go up to an official NFL ball handler and ask that the team's game balls be set at the bottom end of the inflation range before the game.

posted by beaverboard at 02:10 PM on January 23

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

Unless stark, revelatory evidence is found, the league is going to come out of this looking worse than the Patriots.

The league knows this, hence the lack of urgency to show that they are pushing forward with their investigation. Belichick and Brady know this, and are content to say and do little and let the league squirm as the firestorm continues.

The league has known for a long time that many teams tweak the footballs they bring to a game. The tweaking of the K balls got to the point where the league felt the need to take control of that set of balls. Why they didn't just take charge of all the game balls at that time is not clear. When they decided to continue letting teams doctor their own game balls, they paved the road to the present moment.

What other teams have done to their balls is now being widely discussed. No way the league didn't know about it. They have been lazy and indifferent about this issue and now it's come home to roost.

My gut feeling is that if/when the NFL provides info on what happened in the game from the officials' standpoint, the public will see that the refs' handling of the situation was not rigorous or diligent. They didn't carefully inspect the game balls prior to the game. I'll bet they don't have rigorous data on what the readout of the Pats balls were when they were deemed unusable.

The refs either did or didn't simply swap in the Colts balls for use by the Pats in the second half. Or they pumped up the Pats' balls and went with those. There are conflicting reports on that. If they used the Indy balls, they did it almost informally on the fly, apparently without informing the Pats. No Patriot has said that the refs advised them that their game balls were illegal and that they'd have to use the Indy balls for the rest of the game.

With what we know thus far, the story reads thus: the NFL knew something might be up with the Pats balls, they checked them during the game, and quietly made sure the Pats played with a proper ball for the duration, without confronting the Pats either on the sideline or up in the booth. The league made no statement during or after the game. The story was broken by reporters.

Goodell > league officials > refs: "There may be an issue with the balls. We've known about it. Take care of it without disrupting the game. If the subject doesn't come up, let's move on to the Super Bowl".

This is a story that the league completely doesn't want. Further poking by interested parties will show how detached from reality the league has been on this issue, like other issues.

Goodell has to do something decisive between now and noon Sunday. He can't let this continue to drift into Super Bowl week. He is reluctantly decisive at best. He can't be feeling comfortable at the moment.

At the very least, he ought to issue a decree that the league is taking full charge of all game balls starting right now.

If the league lets this go into next week without showing some sort of command and leadership, I'd love to see a few major sponsors threaten to pull their Super Bowl ads. That would get the NFL's attention. The league will allow itself to get kicked in the balls, but not in the wallet.

posted by beaverboard at 01:17 PM on January 23

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

From a local bakery:

posted by beaverboard at 03:04 AM on January 23

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

The 12th ball is for Edelman, who likes it a bit plumper than Brady.

posted by beaverboard at 02:49 AM on January 23

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

If the weather conditions are to blame for the sudden deflation of all 12 of the Pats' footballs, 11 of which were severally underinflated, how is it possible the Indy balls all checked out?

As discussed previously, it all goes back to what temperature the balls and the room they were in were at when they were initially inflated.

If the New England balls were kept at a very warm temp (90 F) before being brought up to 12.5 psi and the Colts balls were at, say 68-72 F when they were inflated, the Colts balls would not lose much pressure when they were brought into a 50 F environment outdoors.

None of the reporting mentions what pressure the Colts balls were at when they were checked by the refs prior to the game, or what pressure they were at when they were checked again at halftime. All we know is that they fell within the mandated pressure range both times. They could have been inflated to 13.2 psi when first measured and at 12.6 when measured at halftime.

Similarly, we don't know pressure the Pats balls were at prior to the game. And we don't know precisely what their pressure readings were when they were measured at halftime, just that they were below official specs and may have been as low as 2 psi too low (which some are saying is an interpretive, speculative number, not a precisely measured number.

As long as everyone is going this deep on the details, we need to know some precise measurement numbers on the Indy and NE balls.

If a team wanted soft footballs, it's clear that it would be very easy to make that happen without technically breaking the league rules. For a night game in January. If there was a 2 psi drop below league specs measured at halftime during a day game in early September, then you have a story.

posted by beaverboard at 01:18 AM on January 23

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

At this point, I'm far more interested in what's going to come from the league than from the team and at least some of the media on this.

The Commissioner has shown an aversion to addressing things that are known to be happening until public revelation and outcry forces his hand. Whether it's long term player health or spouse safety and well being.

Many teams have doctored their game balls in one way or another for a while and the league has known about it for a while. The K balls were also being doctored by teams and the league addressed that issue and resolved it, but chose not to address the game ball issue. For reasons unknown.

Apparently, the Commissioner was fine with whatever teams were doing to game balls until the current uproar arose. Now he has to deal with it. He has no choice. Being forced to act is his least favorite scenario. Avoidance is seemingly far preferable. I want to see how he is going to handle it.

For all I know, this drama is playing out just as Belichick would have it. The media is breathlessly occupied, the opponent may be distracted or spurred to look for other tricks that could be getting played at their expense, and it may be useful as a motivational tool for his own players.

Belichick and Brady could be high fiving each other in a windowless room for speeding the flow of hot lava down the mountainside while having said and done virtually nothing in their appearances.

To those who say that Belichick has wrecked the team's image, brand, etc., no one has ever viewed him as a fabulous ambassador for the organization to begin with. Anyone who cared about image would evaluate every custodian on the premises as a potential spokesperson before sending out the rumpled, reticent curmudgeon to face the cameras.

Marshawn Lynch could be looking on and saying to himself: "Once Feb 1 comes and goes, that's my man."

In a way, Belichick is a victim of his own dynastic success and longevity. No one is asking Pete Carroll what really happened when Mike Holmgren's Seahawks sent out the newest, shiniest K ball in the bag for Romo to tortuously mishandle during the Cowboys critical FG attempt in their playoff game in 2007.

posted by beaverboard at 08:08 PM on January 22

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

One of the fascinating subplots of this drama is that mistrust and hatred of the Pats has proven widespread and powerful enough to overcome even Serbian levels of historic sectarian enmity.

J. Glazer is reporting that the Ravens tipped off the Colts about the Patriots' footballs inflation issue. After what the Colts did to the city of Baltimore and how the locals feel about that franchise, I never thought anyone in that town would ever do anything to help the Indy defectors.

I guess this means that the Browns are going to help the Ravens at some point.

posted by beaverboard at 11:31 AM on January 22

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

If there is any sideline footage of balls being tampered with (which I personally think is unlikely), I would like for Goodell to do something clumsy first and THEN have the damning footage come to light as it did in the Ray Rice case. So that the Commissioner's true colors could be held up for all to admire once again - as building security escorts him from his offices at NFL Headquarters on the orders of league-wide team ownership.

One of the reasons the Patriots have an enduring image problem is because Goodell destroyed the Spygate evidence. That should have never happened. He should have been dismissed when he did that. If heads are going to roll in this deflation episode, it would be fitting if his were one of them.

posted by beaverboard at 10:31 AM on January 22

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

Good work, Howard. We're getting closer.

Just found this while poking around to see how the hometown reportage was trending.

posted by beaverboard at 01:17 AM on January 22

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

If another Malaysian jetliner disappeared right now with Eliot Spitzer and three Kardashians on board, the story would have zero chance of making either the front or the back page of the NY Daily News. The staff is just having way too much fun giddyupping the Deflatriots stampede at the moment.

The Jets have brilliantly chosen to fly under the radar by announcing Chan Gailey as their new OC during this turbulent moment in AFC East history. Ordinarily, one would expect a public uprising of some sort with such an announcement.

posted by beaverboard at 10:08 PM on January 21

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

At least one story I read said that the balls do remain under the refs' control until the ballboys bring them out onto the field before the game.

FWIW, 12.5 psi as a minimum is a significant amount of internal pressure on an object like a football. I haven't checked everywhere for data, but as a comparative measure, high quality soccer balls that are used in elite competitive matches have air pressure specs that are as low as 8.5 psi. And they watch that spec carefully, because people are heading the darn things. The upper end of the psi range for soccer balls exceeds that of footballs, but that's another matter.

So yes, IMO, a variance from spec of 2 psi is a big deal.

If Goodell wants to exhibit some proper leadership on this, he has a week and a half to lay down the law and mandate that from now on, starting with the Super Bowl, Wilson will convey all game balls and K balls directly to the refs and end the existing system of each team bringing their own balls to the stadium. That just seems so antiquated and inefficient to begin with. The refs go to two different parts of the stadium to check two sets of team game balls while the K balls go directly to them? Make everyone play with the same deck of cards.

Since this is the Super Bowl, the balls should go to the Referee Director's office and be handled from there. If you have 36 game balls and 12 K balls for each game under the direct, continuous control of the officials, this story is over for good.

Then it's just up to each offense to game the system however they seem fit. Warren Sapp was in studio today talking about the dab of pine tar that Brad Johnson kept under his QB loin cloth/hand towel. He wanted a bit of extra grip on the ball. He also had the game balls roughed up a bit apparently.

This whole thing may not even be all about what works best for Brady. Look at the Pats fumble rate compared to other teams. If I'm toting the pigskin, hell yeah, I want the Spongebob Squarepants Edition, not the Fred Flintstone Edition.

"You know, Blount just doesn't put the wineskin on the ground all that often..."

posted by beaverboard at 08:11 PM on January 21

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

Each team uses their own balls when they're on offense. Which they each supply to the refs for approval. Which is why the Colts first noticed an anomaly after Jackson's interception of Brady.

NYT reports that the only way to deflate a ball after the refs have approved it is to use a needle.

However, if the footballs were kept very warm before inflation (above 85 F, say), were inflated to 12.6 psi with very warm air in a very warm environment, then were presented to officials for inspection shortly thereafter in a 70 degree room, when those balls were taken out into 30 or 40 degree weather, they'd go below 12.5 psi without the Pats ever having tampered with them. The weather would do the dirty work.

However, dfleming rightly says not as much as 2 psi below 12.5. But maybe how low they drop below 12.5 outdoors is a function of how they were handled before the refs examined them.

I don't own a football, but I have a bag of soccer balls. Maybe I'll run a little test.

If the Pats overwarmed the balls prior to ref inspection, they met specs at inspection, and they fell below 12.5 psi outdoors without a team employee tampering with them in any way, the Pats technically did not break the rules. They creatively interpreted the rules. As was the case with the ineligible player reporting. To haters, that would constitute major fuel to the fire.

The ballboys kept the game balls in a big bag during the game due to the horrific weather. No one has spoken about what might have been in those bags besides footballs. If there were any cold packs in there, for example, they are long gone. If you're breaking down game film primarily looking for footage of team employees poking needles into footballs (and not finding any), other details may pass unnoticed.

As to why the Pats would even think they needed to gain a small edge here or there by any means necessary, it's worth remembering that Belichick once coached his teams to play just well enough to win - to command that small winning margin in a league of relative competitive equals. His idea of a resounding victory in Cleveland and early on with the Pats was a score like...20-17 for instance. (BB was on Parcells' staff for the Giants' 1990 season, which is a great testament to this approach, whether in terms of wins or losses.) He may still have that mindset ingrained in his coaching MO despite having had players like Moss and Welker on his rosters.

posted by beaverboard at 05:16 PM on January 21

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

He who sees all and hears all. He who wears his headset OVER his hood and can hear the voices of his minions right through a solid 3/16 in. of tightly woven cotton/polyester blend.

Ever notice how Belichick always yanks his mike way to the side and covers it when he speaks to the refs? He doesn't want his coordinators to hear the conversation. If they do, they'll realize how complete his mental and cognitive control over the officiating crew is. He speaks to the refs in code that contains cues which trigger them to do his bidding without resistance or remorse.

posted by beaverboard at 04:11 PM on January 21

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

Well, that story warrants being a FPP.

There is a lot of inconsistency with how it's being reported. Either each team brings 12 primary balls of its own to the game and then they use their balls when they're on offense, or the officials just use the 12 balls that the home team provides (plus the K balls provided for the kicking game).

It is not entirely clear from what I've read which scenario is accurate.

Even if this thing is quickly found to be of no consequence with no dirty tricks on the part of the Pats, it's never going away. Brady could throw a pick next October and the defender might decide to make a celebratory show of squeezing the football to check the psi. It's a perfect set up for that kind of stuff.

The scientists among us may wish to confirm that the volume of air inside a ball can be decreased without removing any air from the ball. Simply by inflating the balls correctly in a very warm environment for inspection, then bringing them out into cold weather conditions in a night game. The volume of air is going to contract as it cools.

But I don't want to hide behind that explanation if there were shenanigans going on. If so, find them out and do what needs to be done.

This story makes me want to see condensed whole field film of how the balls are managed and handled throughout the game. Where a K ball comes from and goes to after a FG or PAT, which sideline each team's game balls come from, how a game ball that gets thrown out of bounds on the sideline opposite from the sideline it came from gets shuttled back to the original sideline, etc.

posted by beaverboard at 08:01 AM on January 21

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Fun in the sun toiling for the bumper magnate.

posted by beaverboard at 04:49 PM on January 20

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

If I understand Marrone's opt out correctly, he was going to get paid 4 mil this year for doing nothing.

That kind of money could go a long way toward taking the sting out of being passed over by the 49ers in favor of Demosthenes' pupil Tomsula.

posted by beaverboard at 03:44 PM on January 20

Patriots crush Colts in the rain

I honestly want the Colts to be competitive with every team in the league. What the HC has been through, what the GM is trying to accomplish while not knowing what to expect in regard to the principal owner from day to day...they have had to face some fire and have made some gutsy decisions. How many other teams would have made this good a transition from a Peyton to an Andrew?

They have gotten progressively better each year since Peyton went high altitude. I don't want to see them humiliated. I want to see what Luck's got under better circumstances. He can play the game.

Reggie Wayne has been too good for too long to be left sitting on the bench in the rain with a thousand mile stare on his face. C'mon y'all, crank it up in the fall.

posted by beaverboard at 09:58 PM on January 19

Patriots crush Colts in the rain

Don't know why McDaniels still had Brady throwing aggressively well into the third, with the outcome not in doubt and a good running game cranking away.

With Blount getting up big heads of steam and blasting into the Colts defense, I wondered if Marion Barber was watching and couldn't figure out how Blount was able to keep making forward progress when he got to the line of scrimmage.

I have a sense of misgiving about the upcoming SB that is similar to what I experienced prior to Game 7 of the 1986 World Series. There is no comfort in the old line about the genius Belichick having two weeks to game plan for the opponent. He had a full month in aggregate to game plan for Eli & Co. Plus, the game is returning to the scene of the Pats first devastating loss to the Giants.

BB won't want to hear any references to Shula, who calls him Belicheat, and apparently still harbors ill will after the Pats ran off 19 straight wins in 2007. Shula's teams specialized in Super Bowl lacklusterness and infamy, with his only convincing SB appearance being the Csonka-led domination of the Vikings at swank, charming Rice Stadium in the early 70's.

Jacksonville reference: I watched that Super Bowl lying in bed with my GF in a run down Holiday Inn on Golfair Blvd. With the Dolphins firing on all cylinders and the entire building shaking tectonically with every great play, the age old discussion of whether or not the earth moved took on a beguiling added dimension.

posted by beaverboard at 01:06 AM on January 19

Seahawks Advance to Super Bowl 0x31 with 16-Point Comeback

I had to listen to the 4th quarter and OT on the radio in the car. Kevin Harlan got so viscerally wrapped up in the game, I thought he was going to bring up a Rod Stewart hairball.

posted by beaverboard at 08:45 PM on January 18

Seahawks Advance to Super Bowl 0x31 with 16-Point Comeback

Brandon Bostick letting the onside kick slip through his upraised hands is reminiscent of Asante Samuel's whiff on the sure pick of Eli Manning's sideline pass that preceded the David Tyree helmet catch in the SB. Devastating missed opportunities.

posted by beaverboard at 08:39 PM on January 18

SportsFilter: The Saturday Huddle

God bless clear channel stations. I used to sit up and listen to AM stations from various parts of the country at night that were not required to power down at sunset.

posted by beaverboard at 07:10 PM on January 17

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

Disturbing clip of Tomsula. It's almost as though Harbaugh hand picked him to be his successor so that people would wring their hands and wish for the good old days.

If you're plotting this type of scenario, the optimal narrative is: "as soon as Harbaugh left, the team went to hell".

This is what Parcells so cleverly pulled off when he made sure that Ray Handley succeeded him in NY.

posted by beaverboard at 05:46 PM on January 16

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

Tune in to Chicago Pickers on the History Channel to see Bears execs open a run down storage unit in Denver. They'll be looking for more Bronc parts for the mean Midway machine they're restoring along the lakeshore.

If you look through the perimeter fence at the Chi Pickers yard in Cicero, you'll see Jay Cutler standing outside in the elements next to a rusty vintage Pepsi Cola vending machine.

posted by beaverboard at 04:19 PM on January 16

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

I'm going to check out crowdfunding sites to see if anyone's raising funds to file a complaint contesting this.

posted by beaverboard at 02:09 PM on January 16

Boy Asks All 32 NFL Teams: Why Should I Be Your Fan?

When Philip Rivers is done playing and is ready to be the second coming of Craig James, that's the guy I want them to throw into the both with Buck.

Joseph must have a fluster button hidden inside his blazer somewhere, and Rivers might be just the person to find it and push it.

There's no shame in liking Buck, though. I used to catch holy hell for enjoying listening to Skip Caray call Hawks and Braves games back in the sultry late 70's and early 80's. I liked Caray because he remained understatedly bemused as he observed the action in front of him, regardless of whether it contained moments of high achievement or bumbling idiocy.

posted by beaverboard at 12:16 PM on January 16

The Gaming Obsession of the Green Bay Packers

No music allowed and they're drinking filtered water. Will they be ready for the viaduct mess and the stadium noise when they get to Seattle?

posted by beaverboard at 10:35 AM on January 16

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Del Rio addressing the crowds in front of the Great Wall on W. Grand Ave.:

"Ich bin ein Oaklander"

posted by beaverboard at 02:45 PM on January 15

Boy Asks All 32 NFL Teams: Why Should I Be Your Fan?

DQ was going to name a flavor after Joe Buck, but Vanilla was already taken.

But soft serve is kind of a generic term, so they can call him that all day long.

posted by beaverboard at 01:28 PM on January 15

NASCAR's Kurt Busch Testifies Ex-Girlfriend is an Assassin

Casually traveling back in time to the early 2000's:

I wish Ray Lewis had dated her and pissed her off.

I wish Karl Rove had outed her to Robert Novak.

posted by beaverboard at 05:03 PM on January 14

Boy Asks All 32 NFL Teams: Why Should I Be Your Fan?

When the Washington team opened their letter from Pope, they put it on top of the giant pile of letters from other people all across America, all asking the same question.

(You know, when parents name a child Cade Pope, it's safe to say that they may well have a vested interest in desirable internet domain speculation.)

posted by beaverboard at 04:49 PM on January 14

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Organizational strength doesn't create Tom Bradys.

Organizational strength does identify, procure, and develop Tom Bradys, however. Wherever on the draft board, free agent dim sum cart, or scrap heap they happen to be. Won't find Belichick getting all starry eyed over any Klinglers or Andre Wares.

The landscape is littered with players who excelled for the Pats (sometimes beyond the rest of the league's expectations), then slid when they went elsewhere. It's interesting to watch GM's overpay for free agents that buffed up their market value while rostered as a Patriot, then couldn't deliver the goods in another system.

It goes the other way as well. They sometimes bring in talent that is a good value, then find out that their staff can't do anything to develop the player. Case in point: Andrew Walter. They saw he had ability and potential but cut him loose fairly quickly because "he had picked up too many bad habits in Oakland". Habits that apparently couldn't be corrected at the New England Redemption Center located at One Ochocinco Drive.

(I don't know where Albert Haynesworth picked up his habits, but Ndamukong does).

posted by beaverboard at 01:18 PM on January 14

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Rex thinks he's going to be in position to guide the reemergence of Buffalo upon the retirement of Brady and the subsequent decline of Belichick's empire.

Brady's got more gas left in the tank than Manning. Doing all the dorky ads that Peyton has done over the years takes a toll on a man.

Belichick went 11-5 with Cassel. Rex would need another Jim Kelly to be competitive.

Rex also no longer has sufficient body mass to endure late season home game weather conditions on the Bills' sideline.

posted by beaverboard at 09:37 AM on January 14

Buckeyes Win College Football Playoff

When Cardale sent his infamous tweet from way down the depth chart about coming to college to play football not school, several disapproving commenters advised him to buckle down and get that degree because he would never in his wildest dreams get a look at the NFL level.

That will in time prove to be notably incorrect. But what if you don't need another QB if/when he enters the draft? Could you use a badass tight end or strong safety?

Note to LeBron: since Cardale is now the current owner of Cleveland, you need to see if he'd be willing to rent it out to you every once in awhile.

posted by beaverboard at 01:28 PM on January 13

Colts Silence Broncos Offense, Make Peyton Manning Look Old

The AFC East already has the Jets and Upstate Rex. We mustn't be greedy.

posted by beaverboard at 11:28 AM on January 13

Buckeyes Win College Football Playoff

OSU's run over the last several games has been remarkable, and increasingly so from one game to the next. The title game was like watching the Washington - Denver Super Bowl with Timmy Smith running Hog wild.

I can't believe how quickly Urban has gotten the Buckeyes firing on all 12 cylinders. With Harbaugh in the picture, the rivalry with Michigan is now right back up into the "huge for the whole country" category.

During the game, I thought back to some of Urban's Florida teams, and as skilled and athletic as they were, I wasn't sure that any of them would be able to compete with the dominant squad he sent out there last night. The player development, depth, and execution he has going now is at a next level. And they have speed to boot.

posted by beaverboard at 11:12 AM on January 13

Colts Silence Broncos Offense, Make Peyton Manning Look Old

You can only put part of the blame for the Pats first loss to the Giants on Brady's discomfort under the impressive NY pass rush.

Among other things, Belichick didn't trust his new kicker Gostkowski. He declined to send him out for a FG attempt that he would have let Vinatieri kick. He also called desperation bombs to Moss on the Pats' last possession rather than trying to work the ball down the field methodically so they could kick it to tie and go to OT.

The yakkers made a big deal out of the Luck and Manning narrative yesterday. When the Colts come to Foxboro, if the weather adds a wrinkle to things, the theme of the day could be Vinatieri and Gostkowski.

They could go deep on this motif to fill idle broadcast time. Such as: Manning hasn't won a title either before or since being a teammate of Vinatieri's. And the Pats haven't won a title since Vinatieri left.

Skip and Stephen, are you with me on this? It's Bristol Bucks in the bank. You could run with it for at least part of an afternoon, and then keep coming back to it later. It's real content, guys. Trust me.

posted by beaverboard at 04:24 PM on January 12

Colts Silence Broncos Offense, Make Peyton Manning Look Old

Since beating the Rex Grossman Bears in the Super Bowl doesn't really count as a crowning achievement (and Peyton had a rather ordinary QB rating in that game anyway), to me, Peyton's grand career moment is the game he played previous to that, the 2006-07 AFC Championship game, when he brought the Colts back from a serious halftime deficit to beat the Pats. He was unstoppable in the second half when it had looked in the first half like the Pats had gotten inside his helmet as usual and were going to ruin his day once again.

It was a monumental comeback under intense do or die circumstances.

posted by beaverboard at 11:11 AM on January 12

Packers Rally Past Cowboys, Who No Longer Love the Refs

That was a gutsy call and damn near an unbelievable throw and catch. Heroic attempt. Makes you wish the NFL judged plays on degree of difficulty like Olympic dives. On a merit basis, the Cowboys deserved to gain some sort of positive outcome from that play.

On the other hand, it's 4th and 2. You've got over 4 minutes left to go. You've got a helluva running game. Are you sure you don't want to call a high percentage short throw that gets you the first down and keeps the drive alive, then grind out a TD on the ground and kick the ball back to GB with a short clock remaining?

Similar deal yesterday with Baltimore going long on second down with 5 yards needed for a first down well inside Patriots territory and ample time left on the clock with which to score. Even if Flacco had hit Torrey Smith for the TD instead of getting picked on that play, Brady still would have had around a minute and a half left to try to get the Pats in position for a tying field goal.

Both the Cowboys and Ravens are headed home because they valiantly went for the biscuit when they didn't have to and probably shouldn't have.

posted by beaverboard at 11:25 PM on January 11

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

Bobby Petrino jumped ship in Atlanta after 13 games.

Lou Holtz quit the Jets after one season.

Both of them went directly to Arkansas.

Something about the bright lights of Fayetteville must be hard to resist.

posted by beaverboard at 02:53 PM on January 11

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

How to close a USA Today tab on your desktop as quickly as humanly possible:

Scrolling down through "Top Stories" and seeing a headline that reads:

Rex Ryan Hire Would Be Coup For New Bills Owners

(Maybe I should go back. They might have been just talking about a coordinator position.)

posted by beaverboard at 10:50 AM on January 11

Patriots Edge Ravens as Belichick Displays Some Trick Mojo

I distinguish between rivalry games and nemesis games. Ravens - Patriots is a nemesis game. I was sure the Pats were gonna be toast again.

If they end up making it to the Super Bowl and find themselves facing the Seahawks, Brady's career will have come full circle. He'd be given about the same chance in hell of beating Seattle than he was given of beating the Rams in 2002.

I did not drive up Rt 93 to see if there were any ill-advised "Ray Lewis Retirement Party" type billboards this year. I hope/think that people know better about the kind of stuff by now.

John Harbaugh has to be careful. He's going to end up on an edition of Bad Lip Reading like his brother did.

The multiple ineligible ruse may end up being one of those inspired strategies that can only be used one time. Like the U-47 venturing into Scapa Flow. Or the drafting of Larry Bird.

Visit historic Boston, home of legend-driven professional sports rules changes and exceptions. But please, dear God, not the 2024 Olympics.

posted by beaverboard at 10:28 AM on January 11

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

As the last player to wear #44 at Syracuse, Konrad had a critical extra measure of motivation to reach shore.

Doubly sad day for Dallas sports fans with the news of Jethro Pugh's passing.

posted by beaverboard at 03:23 AM on January 10

Cowboys Defeat Lions After Controversial Penalty Non-Call

League's mission accomplished. Make the game as compelling and watchable as possible (let Suh play), then do whatever it takes to make him suffer.

If Suh had stepped on Ryan Lindley instead of Rodgers, the league wouldn't have noticed or cared. Suh got a mere 15 yard penalty for whacking McCown last month. No fine, no disciplinary action.

posted by beaverboard at 01:03 AM on January 06

Cowboys Defeat Lions After Controversial Penalty Non-Call

A sinister air is creeping in. One or two more shady subplot revelations and Oliver Stone is going to start breaking down the game film and requesting unedited crowd pans. If just one guy in the stadium is seen holding an umbrella, this is going to another level.

posted by beaverboard at 05:28 PM on January 05

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

That isn't Brady Quinn?

posted by beaverboard at 01:25 PM on January 05

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

Our local supermarket did banner business over the weekend selling their remaining inventory of holiday turkeys at a deep discount to families who found out that Dallas and Detroit were playing on a day when there was only one other game scheduled and got all disoriented.

posted by beaverboard at 07:51 AM on January 05

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

I wish that Bengals playoff games were shown at 2am, when I'm having trouble falling asleep.

posted by beaverboard at 09:43 PM on January 04

Hard hitting preview of the upcoming Cowboys/Lions wildcard game.

Safe for work if you're an overnight emergency services dispatcher in Las Vegas during the Otakon Convention.

William Clay Ford, you're better off wherever you are.

posted by beaverboard at 11:33 PM on January 03

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

RIP Showboat Hall. I can still hear his Ah HA!!! echoing in the Civic Center.

posted by beaverboard at 11:39 AM on January 02

Ducks v. Bucks in Arlington

Winston's horizontal Statue of Liberty play has been diagrammed on the daily specials whiteboard in the seafood department of my local Publix.

Boise State has looked at the game film and decided not to add that play to their bag of tricks.

To their credit, Winston and Fisher were among the minority of FSU team members who shook hands with the Ducks after the game, with most of the Noles directly exiting the sideline and refusing to take part in a post game handshake. No banner sportsmanship to be found on either side of the field.

Meanwhile, other conferences are trying to find out what the Big 10 teams poured on their breakfast cereal yesterday.

posted by beaverboard at 09:14 AM on January 02

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Good thing I'm not much of a wagering man. I would have lost the farm betting on the scores of yesterday's bowl games.

posted by beaverboard at 09:48 AM on January 01

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

I'm weary of Suh's shtick. I'm ready for him to venture into Malaysian airspace.

posted by beaverboard at 12:19 PM on December 30

New York Jets Fire Rex Ryan, GM John Idzik

I don't know why State Farm doesn't let Ryan take over the Double Check ads with Aaron Rodgers. Then they wouldn't have to pay IP costs to NBC and Saturday Nite Live for the retread use of those tired old comedy routines. Hans and Franz look like they're embalmed.

posted by beaverboard at 12:18 PM on December 30