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25 January, 2015

2015 Royal Rumble pool entrants

and here they are... Good luck!

1 - @clepacolypse
2 - @drewsmith23
3 - @jay_g_25
4 - @sbush80012
5 - @frazier_kyle
6 - @jsross1981
7 - Joseph Bainbridge
8 - jdjigga4885
9 - @al_bogdan
10 - @kreslovric
11 - @medallaguy
12 - @midevenings
13 - @VintheHam
14 - @KiwiDegenerate
15 - @unejakey
16 - @Day_MGD
17 - @alsnack
18 - @chicorican
19 - @Jaykay3354
20 - @JMess3035
21 - @jcassady
22 - @ernestopeimbert
23 - @wbdarcy
24 - @dj1241
25 - @tgiles17
26 - @mader5507
27 - @jralpert10 
28 - @woods4_three
29 -  @starofsavage

30 - @JawnFruman

22 January, 2015

A Few Good Ballboys

With help from folks on twitter, here's a quick look at today's Tom Brady press conference

Reporter: Col. Brady, if you ordered the footballs not be touched, why would they be in danger? Why would it be necessary to re-check the PSI?
Brady: Sometimes men take footballs into their own hands.
Reporter: No, sir. You made it clear just a moment ago that ballboys never take matters into their own hands. Your ballboys follow orders or PSI changes. So the footballs shouldn't have been in any danger at all, should they have, Col. Brady?
Brady: You snotty, little bastard.
Reporter: Colonel Brady, did you order the PSI?!

PR person: don't have to answer that question!

Brady: I'll answer the question. You want answers?

Reporter: I think I'm entitled!

Brady: You want answers?!

Reporter: I want the truth!
Brady: Son, we live in a world that has balls, and those balls have to be guarded by men with guns. Not the Aaron Hernandez kind of guns, guns like Gronk has. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Adam Schefter? You Chris Mortensen?
I have a greater responsibility and hotter wife than than you could possibly fathom. You weep for the Colts and you curse the Patriots. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That the Colts loss, while sloppy, probably saved Super Bowl ratings. And my existence, while beautiful and incomprehensibly charming to everyone, saves lives. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at fantasy drafts, you want me on those balls, you need me on those balls. We use words like "Blue 90", "55 is the mike", "Omaha". We use these words as the backbone of a life spent quarterbacking. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to an audience who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the victories I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide them. I would rather you just said Go Patriots!, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a football and take a snap from center. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to.
Reporter: Did you order the PSI??
Brady: I did the job I...
Reporter: Did you order the PSI?*
Brady: You're Goddamn right I did!

15 January, 2015

2015 Royal Rumble contest

It's that time again!
It's the 4th annual Royal Rumble Pool!

Here's how it works. Leave your name and twitter handle in the comments section of this post. SENDING ME A TWEET DOES NOT ENTER YOU.
(Your name will not appear in the comments box until I approve the comment, so if you don't see it right away, don't panic. It may take a while.)


  I will randomly select 30 people on 1/24 from the comments section.
  If your number matches the entrance number of the superstar who wins the Rumble, you win.
Three years ago I used the hypothetical example "if Sheamus comes in at #22, wins and you have that number, you win." And that's what happened! Two years ago I used "Cena at #18" for my hypothetical and he came in at 19 and won. Last year I went with Batista at #14. He won from the 28 slot. This year we'll go with Dean Ambrose at #21. Regardless, you get the wrestler that comes in at the number I assign you, and if he wins, you win. Simple as $9.99 

   I will post the names of the entrants and the number they've been assigned here on the blog on 1/25.

   Prizes will include a Jim Ross barbecue sauce prize pack and a signed item from him as well as your choice of products from WWE.Com totaling $100  

  Please only submit your name once. Good luck to all.

12 January, 2015

Out Fox

   When the Denver Broncos hired John Fox I was pretty happy with the hire. I wrote a post explaining my theory on NFL coaches and the three categories they fell under.

1) Good coaches who win with talented teams.
2) Good coaches who can't win with under-talented teams.
3) Bad coaches who can't win with a team that is good or bad.

I then went on to explain why I thought Fox fell into category #1.

In the words of the great Arthur Fonzarelli, I was wr-ehrr-ehrr. I was wr-unn-gghh.
OK, Let's have the Fonz say it for me.

Never mind, just suffice it to say my trust may have been misplaced and my logic somewhat inaccurate.
John Fox did a fine job, just not a great job when it mattered most.
The Tebow season was what is was. Denver was forced to give him a shot and then miracle after miracle happened. Let's focus on the three Manning years when expectations were high and Fox certainly had a deep talent pool with which to work.
   First off, he won in the regular season. Denver went 28-10 the last three years.
   They dominated their division, going 17-1 vs the AFC West.
   They did very well against their conference, going 29-7, although the 0-3 mark in New England was a red flag (Fox did not coach the game in Foxboro 2 seasons ago when Denver collapsed on Sunday, but it's still his loss.)
   Mostly though, those regular season numbers are impressive. The playoff numbers are not.
   3-4. (1-1 with Tebow)
   2 home losses coming off bye weeks.
   1 huge debacle in the Super Bowl.

   For whatever reason, Denver looked overwhelmed and somewhat unprepared in the Super Bowl. They looked lethargic and incapable of in-game adjustments yesterday. They lacked courage (running on 3rd down) and common sense (Rahim Moore not deep enough) in a stunning loss to 4-seed Baltimore.
   John Fox has proven that I left out a category for my coaches theory: Coaches Who Rise to the Occasion in the Playoffs.
   Granted this is a short list. Current coaches in the NFL who make this category would be Belichick, John Harbaugh, Coughlin, Carroll and probably Tomlin and Payton. They've all won Super Bowls. Even their playoff losses are usually competitive games where they look prepared and ready to play.

   Sports Illustrated recently wrote an article on how much John Elway hates to lose. Lord knows he lost on the grandest stage in the most embarrassing fashions, so he knows as well as anyone how those kind of losses can tarnish a person, a team, an organization. John Elway watched his team generate no pass rush vs Andrew Luck and his coaching staff do next to nothing to adjust to it during the game. John Elway watched his quarterback struggle to connect with his receivers as they were being banged around the line of scrimmage by Colts defenders. A tactic they saw last year in the Super Bowl. A tactic they should have had an answer for. They didn't.
  So John Elway woke up this morning looking for his own answers and decided John Fox wasn't part of the equation any more. Fox had his chance and did more good than bad, he just wasn't very good when it mattered most. What would Belichick have done with this roster? What about Carroll? Heck, even Mike Tomlin?
   Some would argue four straight division titles and playoff appearances deserve more loyalty, more chances to continue working on what they've built. Multiple Broncos players took to Twitter to share their shock and sadness over Fox's release. By all accounts he was a coach the players loved. Maybe that was part of the problem. Maybe there was too much love and not enough toughness. Too much comfort and not enough accountability. If Elway's willing to move on from this coaching regime, maybe everyone in the locker room will play with a little more urgency in the big games. Let's not pretend John Fox didn't get a chance. He did. He got 4 years and 4 shots at the playoffs and the results were mixed. John Elway wants to win, and if Peyton Manning has one more season in him, perhaps Elway feels obligated to find a coach he thinks is better suited to help him win in his final year.
   Either way, Elway must find a coach who can get this talented team (one that will certainly look different regardless of Manning's decision about next year) to become a team other teams fear in the playoffs. A team that is prepared and shows some passion and cajones in the biggest games of the year.
   Who is that coach? I'm not smart enough to tell you that, but I am smart enough to admit when I am wr-ehrr-ehrr

It's My Fault

People are pointing fingers all over the Rocky Mountain region today.
Mostly it goes like this


but here's the truth.
here's where those fingers should be directed.

Yup. It's my fault. Here's why.
About 6 months ago my family rescued a dog. A cute little puppy who was part Dachshund part Chihuahua, aka a Chiweenie. We rescue dogs frequently, and on occasion I can't let go and we keep one. We kept this one (giving us 4 dogs) and I named him Bronco.
Bronco is a fireball with an attitude. He barks a lot, growls a lot, liks to play rough with our other 3 dogs (2 big dogs and another dog his size.) We tried to train him and get him to be less aggressive, but it wasn't really working. We contacted the woman from the rescue operation and she said she still had all his litter mates and they were doing fine. It's possible, she suggested, Bronco just had a screw loose or not being with his family was messing with him. Regardless, Bronco has been overly aggressive toward our youngest son as well as people coming to the house. We decided the best thing to do was to "surrender" Bronco and give him back to the woman with all his litter mates. It was the right decision and Bronco is probably much happier.
   When did we surrender Bronco, you ask?


   That's right. 24 hours before the Broncos were playing a playoff game,  I surrendered our dog, Bronco.


04 January, 2015


    When I was working at the NBC affiliate in Orlando in 1992 I was on the verge of becoming the next great TV sportscaster. Or so I thought. When my station announced they were going to add a third sports anchor, I was primed (in my mind, any way) to be that guy, but the station hired a guy named Stuart Scott out of Raleigh, North Carolina. Man was I pissed. Despite my not really having any chance at the job, I was mad at Stuart before he even walked in the door. All that went away 30 seconds after Stu walked through the door at WESH.

   Stuart Scott was as bombastically kind as any person I've ever known. He really could never help himself. He was warm with everyone, truly caring how you were and how your family was. It didn't matter if he'd known you for 10 years or 10 seconds. One night during his first week in Orlando I asked him if he wanted to go to dinner and suggested Pizza Hut. He said that sounded great and off we went. When we got there Stu ordered a no-cheese pizza. I asked him about his odd order and he said he didn't like cheese, to which I told him "We didn't have to come here if you don't like cheese." He just smiled and said "It's ok. It seemed like you wanted to come here." That was Stu in a nut shell, putting other people first.

   Stuart was also BORN to be an entertainer, whether he was on TV or just hanging out with friends. One night Stu and I and two others went to the movies. We entered the theater just as the previews started. Stu yelled out "Ohhhhhh!!!" and took an intentional barrel roll half way down the aisle. As he got up and dusted himself off people looked on in horror as the rest of us just giggled. Fittingly, that movie was Danny DeVito's Renaissance Man, which is exactly what Stuart was.
   Another time I called Stu and asked if he wanted to go to the park to shoot hoops. He said sure and I told him I would be right over to pick him up. He and I lived in the same apartment complex so it only took me 5 minutes to get to his place. When I knocked on the door instead of opening it he just yelled "Come in!!" When I walked into his condo he was rolling around the floor in pain. I asked him what happened and he said he thought he broke his foot. So I helped him up and we went off to the ER. Once we got there I asked him what happened and he said he was getting ready for hoops and jumped over a pile of laundry on his floor and landed wrong. "But that's not what I'm going to tell people. I'll have to say there was a fire in a building and I ran in to rescue people." He was only half-kidding. It was a better story. It was a more entertaining story.

   Stu and I worked together on the weekends. I was the producer of the 6 and 11pm newscasts and would often give Stu 5 or 6 minutes for his sportscasts on a regular basis. More often than not, Stu would never get through all the things he had put into his rundown and would often wonder why. Stu would usually write lead-ins (the on camera set up to highlights) in the 40 second range. Most anchors wold target :15-:20. In the end it didn't matter that he didn't get to the last few things he had planned because the extra time he was spending on camera was what was important at that time. He was honing his craft, creating the Stuart Scott persona that would become legendary. It was like watching the molecules of a comet forming for the first time.

    In Orlando in the early 90's the type of audience that watched local news wasn't exactly prepared for "BOO-YOW!!" and all the things Stu brought to the television screen. Our news director would often tell him to tone it down because "Mr. and Mrs. Jones really don't understand what you are doing." Stu didn't ever listen to that because he was committed to being Stu Scott, not what someone else thought he should be. When Stu left for ESPN everyone at WESH knew he was going to be a star. It didn't take long.

   About a year and a half after Stu left he called to tell me ESPN had some producer openings and he set up an interview for me. I got the job and my life took an amazing turn going from producing the noon news on local TV to producing SportsCenter, in large part thanks to Stu.
   When I got to ESPN Stu would tell me how he was butting heads with management but wasn't wavering in doing things how he wanted to do them. "Just like in Orlando," I told him.
 I wasn't sure if Stu would be able to win that battle, if America was really going to embrace his style that was unlike anything else on TV at that time.
   About a year after I got there (and 3 years after Stu arrived) I took him down to my hometown of Greenwich, Ct. for my high school's homecoming football game. We got there and found a spot on the sidelines and watched the game, minding our own business. But someone noticed him, and then another person, and then another. One by one all these high school kids in one of America's whitest towns came over to him, shook his hand saying "BOO-YOW!" and Stu happily spent a little time with all of them. It was pretty clear to me in that moment that Stu was going to be just fine.

   In the fall of this year Stu tweeted about his youngest daughter scoring a hat trick in her varsity soccer debut. I immediately texted him congratulations. We got into an exchange about the joys of watching our children excel in sports. I told him that my 2nd son, Jack, made the baseball All-Stars and that his team was legit, that they had a legit shot to get to the little league World Series next summer. He responded "If I'm still around and they make it to Williamsport, you and I will go together." Stu didn't make it, but if my son's team does I know Stu will be there and he'll have the best seat in the house.

   I held Stuart's first daughter on the day she was born. Everyone is a "Proud Papa" but I've never seen anyone as proud and happy as Stu was that day. And that never waned. Selfishly my heart is broken today because I have lost a great friend, but the true pain comes from knowing that Stu will not get the chance to see his daughters grow to be the amazing women I am sure they will become, because Stu was their father.
   Goodbye Stu.

(After writing this blog I went on Bill Simmons podcast and shared some more Stu stories. You can hear that here )