Tiger Woods Falls Out of Top 100 in Golf: Tiger Woods, who spent 683 weeks (over 13 years) atop the rankings of world golfers, has fallen out of the top 100. He's currently at 104 and sidelined with injury. In February the 39-year-old took an indefinite break from golf and called his play "not acceptable for tournament golf," but he's hoping to be back to play the Masters in April. He has won 14 Majors, the last in 2008 at the U.S. Open.
NFL Drops Blackout Rule for 2015 Season: The National Football League is dropping its blackout rule for the 2015 season. The rule prevents games from being broadcast in a team's home market if the tickets aren't sold out. It's been around since the 1950s, when NFL games were first televised. Roughly one game out of ten was blacked out under the rule as recently as 2004, and in 1996 it was one out of three games. But there were no games blacked out last season.
Obama Proposal Could End Taxpayer-Subsidized Pro Sports Stadiums: Some interesting news from USA Today: "An obscure item in the president's new budget would put an end to the long-standing practice of states and cities using tax-exempt bonds to finance professional sports arenas, a practice that costs the U.S. Treasury $146 million, according to a 2012 Bloomberg analysis."
Tim Tebow Working Year-Round on Throwing Mechanics: Former Major League pitcher Tom House runs a performance center for pitchers and quarterbacks whose past clients include Tom Brady and Drew Brees. This interview with House describes in detail how much Tim Tebow has been doing to develop his quarterback skills in the hopes of returning to the NFL at age 27. "We've been seeing him about three days every week, year-round," House said. "Now, he works besides his time with us, but the time he spends working with us on skills, routes and all of those things works out to about two or two-and-a-half hours per day."
Formula E Racing Comes to U.S.: The first all-electric open wheel racing series, Formula E, made its United States debut Saturday in Miami. It's the fifth race of the series' inaugural season. The cars are completely battery powered -- there are no combustion engines -- and they emit a high-pitched whir instead of the roar typically heard in auto racing. There are also no pit stops during the race. Instead of running out of gas, the Formula E cars run out of battery about halfway through the 39-lap event. Before that happens the drivers must make it to the pit area where, instead of swapping batteries, they hop into an entirely different car.
Mark Teixeira: Sharing Yankee Stadium with NYCFC Will Suck: New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixiera, asked about sharing the team's stadium with the new MLS team New York City FC: "It's going to suck, but you have to deal with it. It's going to tear up the infield, but there's nothing we can do about it, so we'll deal with it." NYC FC plays its home opener Sunday. Outfielder Brett Gardiner fears that when new grass has to be put down, it will give way and cause ankle and knee injuries.
62,000 Welcome Orlando City to MLS in Franchise Opener: Kaka scored an equalizer on a free kick in extra time as Orlando City SC played to a 1-1 draw against New York City FC in the Major League Soccer franchise opener for both teams. Mix Diskerud had scored in the 76th minute on a pass from David Villa to put the visitors ahead. A crowd of 62,000 fans packed the Citrus Bowl, the second largest ever for a team's first game in MLS.
Yu Darvish May Need Tommy John Surgery: The Texas Rangers had the most games lost to injuries last season and appear to have beat the all-time record. Just a few days into spring training ball they may have lost ace Yu Darvish for the season and possibly more. He's considering Tommy John surgery after an MRI found a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow.
Bears Receiver Brandon Marshall Traded to Jets: Following the swap to send running back LeSean McCoy from Philadelphia to Buffalo in exchange for linebacker Kiko Alonso, another NFC offensive star is switching jerseys: Chicago is trading wide receiver Brandon Marshall to the New York Jets for not-yet-specified players or picks. Trades can't become finalized until free agency begins Tuesday.
Curt Schilling Declares War on Twitter Trolls Abusing His Daughter: After Curt Schilling announced that his daughter had been accepted to play softball in college, both he and his daughter were subjected to vicious sexual remarks by Twitter trolls. Schilling did some online sleuthing and found as many as he could. "She didn't do anything, she never said anything, yet she's now receiving personal messages with guys saying things to her, well let's just say I can't repeat and I'm getting beyond angry thinking about it," he writes.
High School Players: Root for Our Opponent: The Gainesville Tornados, a high school basketball team in Texas, sometimes play with zero fans in attendance because they're a juvenile correction facility. Two players for Vanguard Prep in Waco did something unusual and asked some of their fans to root for the other team. The idea took off and the Gainesville players took the court to the shock of seeing their own fan section, signs and cheerleading squad.
College Player Scores 30 Points in Final 4.5 Minutes: The good news: Florida State freshman guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes scored 30 points in the final 4:38 against Miami Wednesday night. The bad news: Florida State still lost 81-77. Rathan-Mayers racked up the points with six three-pointers, two layups and eight free throws. He says, "The arena was quiet. It was like I was in there by myself. It was a feeling I've never, ever felt before. There was nothing else happening around me."
Chargers, Raiders Pursue Shared Stadium in Los Angeles: The San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders say they'll share a new $1.7 billion stadium in Los Angeles if they don't get a stadium deal in their current cities. The teams issued this statement: "We are pursuing this stadium option in Carson for one straightforward reason: If we cannot find a permanent solution in our home markets, we have no alternative but to preserve other options to guarantee the future economic viability of our franchises." Another move-to-LA bid is being explored by St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke, who has a joint venture to build a stadium in Inglewood.
Belgian Soccer Fans Lose Their Heads: Fans of the Belgian soccer team Standard Liege greeted the return of their former captain Steven Defour on the opposing team with an enormous banner that depicted his decapitated head. Belgian foreign affairs minister Didier Reynders called it "stupid, nasty and irresponsible."
McCutchen: Baseball No Longer a Sport Where Poor Kids Get Discovered: Andrew McCutchen offers an interesting take on the Little League champs from Chicago who took in players from outside their district. "Baseball used to be the sport where all you needed was a stick and a ball. It used to be a way out for poor kids. Now itís a sport that increasingly freezes out kids whose parents donít have the income to finance the travel baseball circuit," he writes. "If youíre a poor kid with raw ability, itís not enough. You need to be blessed with many mentors to step in and help you."
NFL Pick 'Em Contest, Final Scoreboard: The results have been tabulated and NerfballPro completes a wire-to-wire victory, winning by one point over Hincandenza and two over NoMich. Picking the 52 points scored in the game exactly earned a one-point bonus for the champ. Tommytrump takes home the coveted Costanza for last place, sunk by a conference championship round in which everything that could go wrong did.
James Shields Signs with San Diego Padres: The San Diego Padres have signed James Shields, the last major free agent left on the board, to a four-year deal with an option for a fifth, SBNation reports. Under new GM A.J. Preller, they've added Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Wil Myers, Derek Norris and Will Middlebrooks. The free-spending Friars last went to the playoffs in 2006.
UNC's Legendary Coach Dean Smith Dies: Legendary University of North Carolina head basketball coach Dean Smith died Saturday evening at the age of 83, according to the University of North Carolina. He had battled dementia for years, and according to a family statement provided to UNC, he "passed away peacefully" in his Chapel Hill home with his wife and five children by his side. Smith coached the Tar Heels from 1961 to 1997, tallying a record of 879-254 in 36 seasons. The school named its basketball arena for Smith in 1986, and it's referred to as "the Dean Dome."
Jerry Rice Should Catch Some Hell for This: Jerry Rice on deflating footballs: "I'm going to be point blank, I feel like it's cheating. Because you have an edge up on your opponent and its unfortunate that it happened. ... I've played in cold weather, I know how hard the football is and you can grip the leather [if deflated] just a little bit better." Jerry Rice on putting Stickum on gloves: "I know this might be a little illegal, guys, but you put a little spray, a little Stickum on them, to make sure that texture is a little sticky." Stickum was outlawed by the NFL in 1981.
Hey, NFL, Let Anyone Commentate the Next Super Bowl: Robert McMillan wants more choices for Super Bowl commentary than the same-old network announcers calling games the same-old way. "What the Super Bowl needs is a YouTube of color commentary," he writes. "We need to trash the boring veneer of impartiality that dulls down todayís NFL broadcasts. Tune into the Seahawks Fan broadcast and hear some real tears at the end of the game. Want to listen to a woman call the game? This is the way that could finally happen. Gamblersí Super Bowl? No problem. You enjoyed Drunk History? Wait till you try Drunk Super Bowl. Personally, Iíd go for a data heavy, FiveThirtyEight-style broadcast: the Databack. Let a thousand flowers bloom in color commentary land. Many will be terrible. But some will be brilliant."
Patriots Win Super Bowl 0x31 After Epic Last-Second Interception: The Seattle Seahawks were one yard away from taking the lead with under 30 seconds left, but New England Patriots defensive back Malcolm Butler jumped a route and intercepted a pass, closing out an epic 28-24 comeback win in Super Bowl 0x31. The Patriots trailed by 10 points in the second half -- the biggest deficit quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belicheck have faced in the Super Bowls they've played -- but they came back to win their fourth Super Bowl in 13 years.
NFL Playoff Pick 'Em Contest, Super Bowl 0x31 Round: The final round of SportsFilter's annual NFL playoffs prediction contest is here. Pick the winner of the game, the spread and 10 bonus categories. Nerfballpro leads by two points and is making a bid to go wire to wire.
Josh Gordon: I Am Not an Addict: Josh Gordon has written an essay on Medium about his suspension. The gist is that he's made mistakes but he's not the substance abuse addict that sports pundits who don't know him have claimed. "I am not someone who deserves to be dissected and analyzed like some tragic example of everything that can possibly go wrong for a professional athlete," he writes. "I am not going to die on account of the troubled state you wrongly believe my life to be in. I am a human being, with feelings and emotions and scars and flaws, just like anyone else. I make mistakes -- I have made a lot of mistakes -- but I am a good person, and I will persevere."
College Football Playoff Pressured to Change Dates: The College Football Playoff is under pressure on two fronts to adjust dates for its semifinals and championship games. ESPN execs are lobbying CFP officials to move next season's semis off New Year's Eve where it competes with countdown shows. The NFL is considering expanded playoffs with one new game on Monday night competing with the CFP championship. CFP executive director Bill Hancock says the games won't move: ďWe picked Monday night because it was open and it was the best night for our game. We announced that in June 2012. We established that our game was going to be on Monday night for 12 years."
New MLB Commissioner: We May Ban Defensive Shifts: In an interview with ESPN's Karl Ravetch, new Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said he's open to the idea of eliminating the crazy defensive shifts that have been cutting into offensive production and making me cry when Prince Fielder comes up to bat. Asked by Ravetch what form a rule might take to accomplish that, Manfred said, "You divide the number of players who have to be each side of second base." (Transcript on ESPN Insider.)