Rudy, Interrupted: South Carolina State's 55 Year-Old Back: "He's the only player without even a single accessory: no leggings, no wristbands, no gloves, just team-issued blue-and-white striped shorts, his No. 47 jersey and an unadorned helmet. With the pads bulking his chest and the helmet guarding the wisp of grey at the peak of his hairline, he hardly seems 55 years old."
Like everything during that era of Phoenix prosperity, the team's plans for the future moved in warp speed. Internally, the Suns imagined a new positional prototype for their high-octane system, to be unleashed in the following season. Point center, they called it. Amar’e Stoudemire, the 22-year-old future of the franchise, was to be its apostle.
The Ringer: Bill Simmons' spiritual successor to Grantland, is open for business.
Tom Brady's 4-Game Suspension Reinstated for DeflateGate: A federal appeals court has ruled that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady must serve a four-game DeflateGate suspension imposed by the NFL, overturning a lower judge and siding with the league in a battle with the players union. "We hold that the Commissioner properly exercised his broad discretion under the collective bargaining agreement and that his procedural rulings were properly grounded in that agreement and did not deprive Brady of fundamental fairness," the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday in New York.
"A Guy Like Me": John Scott on his All Star Experience. He definitely has my vote after reading this piece.
"Because, while I may not deserve to be an NHL All-Star, I know I deserve to be the judge of what my kids will — and won’t — be proud of me for."
Ranking the Super Bowl MVPs: Kind of a strange list to me as it favors players who won in blowouts.
"Shuttering of Grantland Hints at Corroding ESPN Culture, Competency, and Gumption": Awful Announcing's finance director on why he thinks ESPN's cancelling of Grantland is, "the network’s dumbest decision in the five years I have professionally been involved in tracking the company". Linked from there, ESPN.com's former ombudsman on the situation.
Harold Reynolds Feels Jackie Robinson Could Have Done Better.: Reynolds commented on Jackie Robinson’s age when he made his MLB debut, comparing him to Giants catcher Buster Posey. Robinson was 28 years old when he debuted for the Dodgers in 1947, an age that would be considered ancient in today’s game. Reynolds said Robinson did not make play in a big league until that age because they held rookies back longer during that time and he hadn’t completely figured out the game.
Former Bradford chairman linked to at least eight fires before Valley Parade disaster: '[T]here had been at least eight other fires at business premises either owned by, or connected to, Stafford Heginbotham, Bradford’s then-chairman, in the previous 18 years, resulting in huge insurance claims . . . "Could any man really be as unlucky as Heginbotham had been?"
The best 3-point shooter you never saw: "Durante’s name is still whispered on the Catawba campus four decades after his heyday. He was a lefty scoring machine with lightning in his legs. He shot often, connected often."
"Relievers behind Wright have surrendered an insane two home runs in 107 2/3 innings. That's one-fifth what we'd expect based on their typical performance. If Wright were to make 30 starts in a season, that would translate to roughly an extra win for his team. Starters were about a half-run better in ERA and a run better in FIP when the other team had been thrown off by Wright's knuckleball. Add it up, and Wright could be worth in the range of two wins simply by taking the ball, let alone what he could provide by pitching well."
Can popularity ruin a sport?: Rafa Honigstein on how success has changed the Budesliga.
"That rise to all-conquering prominence has attracted the country’s brightest minds and developed into a highly professional, productive industry. But football’s heightened social relevance is also reflected in the sort of insufferably grim, po-faced seriousness that used to be confined to political struggles or actual tribal conflicts.
"Why not go for 70?": An Oral History of Larry Bird's 60-Point Game.
DeflateGate Accusations Mean It's Time For Coach and Owner To Be Banned From NFL: In this case, Irsay and Pagano.
"Give 'em the works, Cubby! We ain't got a minute to lose!": Back before Super Bowl media week was a circus, Dick Schaap conspired with Fred Dryer and Lance Rentzel to turn it into a circus. "We came into the shop as guys from Southern Cal and left as 1920s reporters. Scoops was the ace reporter. Cubby was the cub. I was the mentor; he was the protégé."
Playing with the Big Boys (and Girls): How Koko, Beans and Flash, some color-coordinated socks and coaching are changing the face of grade-school basketball in Springfield, Illinois.
Moving Toward a Unified Theory of the A’s Offseason: FanGraphs thinks Billy Beane is trying to assemble a larger pool of lesser talents; Grantland mostly agrees and suggests it's an impressive piece of resetting forced by Oakland's salary constraints.
Served up on a platter for SportsFilter: the question of which is the superior sport, cricket or baseball?
The FSU Problem: 'The Florida State football program has become the Florida Man of college sports. Any story that begins "A Florida State player … " is liable to end almost anywhere except, remarkably, in jail.'
Helmetless Football?: "the latest innovation—practicing without helmets—is meant to ingrain safer tackling techniques into a new generation of players"