A tip o’ the hat to Dan Goodspeed…
A tip o’ the hat to Dan Goodspeed…
My love affair with sports began at the age of seven as I watched my beloved Dodgers, the Brooklyn variety, go down in seven to the hated Yankees in the 1952 World Series. At some point during the 1957 season it became clear that the Dodgers were abandoning Brooklyn with the help of Walter O’Malley and Robert Moses, and I had to begin to come to terms with the fact that the game that I loved was a business. The business side of sports has become more problematic to me over the years, with big time Division I college sports being emblematic of a number of my concerns.
I talked with the folks at Nippertown at the Albany Jazz Fest on 9/10 about writing a piece that focused on the need for universities to treat athletes as employees with the rights and privileges that employees enjoy, including fair compensation, not simply a scholarship. Four days later, Taylor Branch’s article “The Shame of College Sports” became available online at The Atlantic (it will also be available in hard copy in the magazine’s October issue) and created quite the buzz.
Okay, try this: What if, at the end of the NFL season, the worst team in the league didn’t get the #1 draft pick and a Participation medal that said, “Better luck next time?” What if you took the three worst teams (Carolina, Denver and Arizona, for example) and banished them to a lower league where the crowds were smaller, the TV money was nonexistent, and high-priced free agents wouldn’t want anything to do with you even if you could pay them? The losers would be replaced by the three best teams from that lower league (Tuscon, Des Moines and Albany, for argument’s sake), and the losers would only get back to the NFL if they actually made the changes they needed to be a good team again.
Work for you? That’s the way it works in the Barclay’s English Premiership, Italy’s Serie A, France’s Ligue 1, and other fuβbol leagues around the world. It’s not “Go Big, or Go Home.” It’s “Go Big, or You’re Gone!” If the NFL worked that way, Al Davis would be a vague memory.
Glens Falls native Jimmer Fredette has got it going on.
The 21-year-old senior guard with the Brigham Young University Cougars is the No. 1 scorer in college basketball. He’s averaging 27.3 points per game this season. And he’s pretty much a lock to be a first round NBA draft choice.
Now, all he needs is a little more hype, right? Like his own music video, maybe?
OK, he’s not actually singing. It’s music video tribute to Jimmer, not by him. Now if only we could get Bon Jovi to record it before March Madness kicks into high gear…
It feels good to be wrong…
SUPER BOWL XLV: Green Bay Packers 31, Pittsburgh Steelers 25
JESSE JACOBS’ PREDICTION: Pittsburgh Steelers 17, Green Bay Packers 14
Yes, I predicted the Steelers to pull out their third Super Bowl win in just seven years. Even though Sunday’s result invalidated my prediction, I’m as happy today as anyone that the Green Bay Packers were able to hoist their first Lombardi trophy since 1997. Well, I’m probably not as happy as anyone. Packer fans probably one-up my enthusiasm substantially. Let’s refresh. My attitude regarding the game could be paraphrased as “oh, that’s cool.” It’s like reaching between the cushions of my couch and pullingd up a starburst I accidently dropped a week earlier. I’d be somewhat pumped about it. Hell, I might even call into work. By the end of the day however, I’d probably forget about it.
“Aaron Rodgers is better than Favre!!!” Is that the only reason you wanted the Packers to win the Super Bowl? As much as every diminishment of Favre’s legacy brings a slight twinge of joy to my heart, I know deep down that this statement simply isn’t true (yet). Rodgers has only started NFL football games for three years. Brad Johnson and Trent Dilfer each started and won the Super Bowl. Rex Grossman came damn close as well. Rodgers is far better than any of those three, but if his career were to end in the first game of next season, he would hardly be remembered as anything more. “They were all terrible” was the synopsis of that rant, in case you don’t recognize those names.
AND THE WINNER IS… TAILS
There. I just saved you four hours of your life, but unfortunately you also lost three thousand dollars. Well, not all of you. For those of you who aren’t insane and will not be betting on the coin toss, I encourage you to continue reading.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS 17, GREEN BAY PACKERS 14
Allow me to dampen my prediction with a disclaimer. I hope I’m wrong about the outcome of this game for several reasons. If the Steelers win, it likely means that defense prevailed and the game was unbearably boring. A Steelers win would mark their third Super Bowl championship in seven years, another boring premise. My personal reason for rooting against my prediction is that I like Green Bay, and they are the team I decided to root for when the playoffs began. At a base level, however, I only root for entertainment and controversy.
The over-the-top cry of “can’t wait!” by New York Jets linebacker Bart Scott served as the anthem of Jets fans everywhere leading up to last Sunday’s AFC Championship game against the Steelers. The Jets now know firsthand that patience is indeed a virtue. The contrast of style between the Steelers and Jets was glaring on Sunday. The Steelers epitomized the blue-collar mentality of their loyal fan base, putting their heads down and playing as if they’d won this game before, and unlike the Jets — they have.
Is Big Ben an all-time great QB? That question will be answered on Super Bowl Sunday when Ben Roethlisberger will attempt to win his third Super Bowl championship in just his seventh year in the league. With no co-eds to distract him, Roethlisberger appears to have finally matured into the leader of the Pittsburgh Steelers as well as a functional adult in society. I would congratulate him if he weren’t almost 30 years old. I will however commend his outstanding and unique style of play on the football field.
Big Ben lived up to his nickname on Sunday, shrugging off Jets defenders throughout the game. Roethlisberger is simply too large and too crafty to be brought down by one pass rusher. Roethlisberger bought extra time in the pocket by eluding swarming Jets during several crucial plays, allowing his receivers to get open. If Roethlisberger wins his third Super Bowl in less than a decade the hall-of-fame conversation will officially begin.
Washington Redskins wide receiver Anthony Armstrong (aka MrArmstrong13) coined the phrase “knee-gate” in a tweet on Sunday in reference to Jay Cutler’s mysterious injury which sidelined him for the better part of the most important game of his career. The Bears lost, of course, but surprisingly not by a wide margin. The Green Bay Packers held on for the 21-14 victory and are headed to the Super Bowl in Dallas.
“Alright, Jay, we’re only down 14-0,” said Coach Lovie Smith. “You’re our leader. We have faith in you. Let’s win this.”
“Aw, coach. That’s so sweet of you,” said Cutler, who certainly would not use that phrasing. “The thing is, I’m actually not going to play. My knee is bleeding and…oh…never mind, that’s Gatorade. Well, I just don’t want to.”
Midway through the second quarter, Cutler began nursing an apparent knee injury. He continued to play through the injury, though it was obviously causing him discomfort. Cutler continued to play (horribly) in the beginning of the third quarter, but would soon exit the game without warning or incident. He proceeded to pace on the sideline – the perfect remedy for a knee injury – and occasionally pouted into the camera. It is unfathomable to think that Cutler would quit on his team in the NFC championship, but it seems that is exactly what happened. Chicago fans refused to be “out-crazied” by Cutler, as many of them instantly burned their jerseys in retaliation.