Posts Tagged ‘football’

ESPN Shutting Down Grantland?

Friday, October 30th, 2015

Though the site itself is still up, EPSN has announced that it is shutting down Grantland, it’s longform sports and pop-culture essay site.

Which is a shame, since Grantland sucked considerably less than ESPN’s regular site, which TO READ THE REST OF THIS SENTENCE, SIGN UP TO BECOME AN ESPN INSIDER! Grantland did a lot of interesting, in-depth analytics stuff and essays that were actually worth reading.

This is probably part of parent company Disney’s program of cost-cutting at ESPN, despite the network being their undisputed cash cow.

And as long as I’m slinging random sports news…

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

Two random updates:

  • Texans kicker Randy Bullock has been released after missing two extra points and a 43 yard field goal against Tampa Bay. The Texans are signing veteran Nick Novak to take his place.
  • NBA guard Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls has managed to break the bone around his eye. Given his previous long history of injuries, maybe Rose should consult with specialists to see if his home is built over an old Indian burial ground…
  • Shooting at Kansas City Chiefs Facility

    Saturday, December 1st, 2012

    I know the Chiefs are sucking pretty bad this year, but shooting up the place won’t help.

    Arrowhead Stadium is on lockdown and one player has reportedly been shot.

    Putting this up mainly because I’m not seeing anything on Google News yet.

    Live updates at the Arrowhead pride blog.

    Update: Police are saying it was a player killing his girlfriend, then committing suicide at the facility. Unconfirmed reports are that player was linebacker Jovan Belcher.

    Update 2: Confirmed? “A team source tells Jason La Canfora that LB Jovan Belcher was involved in a shooting at the team’s facility.”

    Update 3: Confirmed: ” A player on the Kansas City Chiefs shot and killed his girlfriend early Saturday before shooting and killing himself at the team facility, according to police. The Kansas City Star, citing police, identified the player as 25-year-old linebacker Jovan Belcher.’s Alex Marvez reports that a Chiefs source has also confirmed Belcher as the player.”

    Update 4: There’s a lot of strangeness to this murder/suicide. First, Belcher reportedly killed his girlfriend overher her staying out late at a concert. Second, Belcher reportedly drove to Arrowhead stadium to thank coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli for everything they had done before killing himself in front of them. I know some things should be said in person, but I think in this case both of them would have preferred an email.

    Only good news? Belcher and his girlfriend’s infant daughter is safe, though obviously orphaned.

    Disasters of Event Planning

    Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

    November 16 next year, there will be a UT home football game (against OSU) and a Formula One race in Austin on the same weekend.

    What could possibly go wrong?

    The biggest winner? Hotel and motel owners in Bastrop.

    If you plan on attending either of these events, you might want to make your reservations now…

    The 2011 Houston Texans: Great Season, Disappointing End

    Monday, January 16th, 2012

    December 26, 2010: After watching the Texans lose to the Denver Broncos, making it four losses in a row to fall to 5-10, a despondent fan in the greater Houston area is preparing to commit suicide when the Angel of Football Future descends into his bedroom clothed into the divine light of truth. “Stop!” cried the angel. “I have been sent unto you to save you from despair by bestowing a vision of the 2011 Texans!”

    Fan: You mean there’s hope? Does Arian Foster lead the league in rushing again?

    Angel: No, he injures his hamstring and misses the first few games.

    Fan: What, Arian goes down? Crap! At least tell me that Andre Johnson leads the league in touchdown receptions!

    Angel: No, he also has a hamstring injury, and only appears in seven games before the regular season ends.

    Fan: Both of Houston’s top offensive weapons suffer hamstring injuries? It just gets worse! Does Mario Williams finally lead the league in sacks?

    Angel: No, Mario goes down with a torn pectoral muscle and is lost for the year after the fifth game.

    Fan: Gah! Now you’re just tormenting me! Top performers on both offense and defense injured! I suppose you’re going to tell me that Special Teams are awful as well?

    Angel: Actually, your rookie punter plays great–

    Fan: Finally, a break!

    Angel: –but then he’s lost for the year with a non-contact injury.

    Fan: Agggggh! It’s like a nightmare you can’t wake from! At least tell me that’s the worst of it, that no more major Texan players go down?

    Angel: Uh….

    Fan: Wait, more injuries? Mario, Arian, Andre, that’s all the Texan’s superstars…except…

    Angel: Uh…

    Fan: No! Not Matt Schaub! Tell me Schaub stays healthy!

    Angel: Sorry. Albert Haynesworth breaks his foot in the tenth game.

    Fan: Bastard! So I suppose Matt Leinart is our starting quarterback for the rest of the season?

    Angel: Well, he starts for one game, but he breaks his collarbone just before the half.

    Fan: I’m in Hell! I suppose you’re going to tell me we hire some retread QB to lead the team?

    Angel: Well, they do sign Jeff Garcia–

    Fan: Aggggghhhh! Kill me now!

    Angel: And Jake Delhomme does take some in-game snaps…


    Angel: But the starting quarterback for the rest of the season is actually a fifth-round rookie named T.J. Yates.

    Fan: I’m dying here! With all that the season must suck hard! What do we finish, 5-11? 4-12?

    Angel: No–

    Fan: 3-13? 2-14?

    Angel: No–

    Fan: Aggggggghhhhh! A winless season! We’re as bad as the 2008 Detroit Lions! Life is an unending vale of misery and sorrow!

    Angel: No. The Texans go 10-6, win the AFC South and beat the Cincinnati Bengals in their first playoff game ever before losing 20-13 to the Baltimore Ravens on the road.

    Fan: What? After all that, our team makes the playoffs and wins a game there? How did we get by Indianapolis?

    Angel: Peyton Manning was out for the year with neck surgery and they went 2-14.

    Fan: But with Mario out, our defense must have sucked the farts out of dead wildebeest!

    Angel: No, after the team hired Wade Phillips and drafted two defense standouts in J. J. Watt and Brooks Reed, the defense went from 30th to 3rd in the league.

    Fan: Wow, with all that adversity, that’s a great outcome! A playoff game at Reliant Stadium will rock!

    Angel: Indeed it well.

    Fan: I guess I won’t kill myself after all! Now, can you give me any hope for the Astros?

    Angel: Uh, I think it’s time to end this vision…

    Sadly, the Texans’ offense (especially Jacoby Jones) made too many mistake for Houston to make it to the conference finals, but that shouldn’t obscure what a remarkable ride the Texans gave us this season, and what devastating string of injuries they had to overcome to get there. The Texans have both one of the youngest, and one of the best, defenses in the league, and if Schaub. Foster and Johnson can stay healthy, should be serious Superbowl contenders for at least the next few years

    Texans 31, Bengals 10

    Saturday, January 7th, 2012

    Quick Impressions of an impressive Texans victory:

  • The defensive line won the game for the Texans, keeping up pressure on Andy Dalton all day.
  • Especially rookie J. J. Watt, who justified his first round status and then some. I don’t think I’ve seen a nervier line-of-scrimmage interception than Watt’s pick-six near the end of the first half. Not only did he get his hands up and grab a bullet, he did it with a defender’s arm between him and the ball, and then ran it in.
  • Watt in the first, Brooks Reed in the second, T. J. Yates in the fifth: Rick Smith had a very good 2011 draft.
  • Not to mention the genius of hiring Wade Phillips.
  • The genius of Gary Kubiak’s downhill running game became apparent when Arian Foster was running at will in the fourth quarter. Assuming he doesn’t get injured, we need to appreciate that Foster is not just a future Hall-of-Famer, but potentially one of the best running backs of all time.
  • The Bengals have a very solid team, but their defense was obviously both tired and demoralized in the fourth.
  • Speaking of future Hall-of-Famers, Andre Johnson took a half to shake off the rust, but then he was the Andre of old.
  • Johnson abused Pacman Jones on his touchdown, and Jones went on to prove that he still has trouble keeping his emotions in check.
  • Though Kubiak has had trouble with clock management in the past, he’s gotten more competent this year. Instead it was Marvin Lewis who unwisely burned timeouts on questionable challenges. And His play-calling with his team down 21 points was just sad. Throws up the middle, burning off precious time you don’t have? Why?
  • Can this team bet the Ravens? It will be a tall order.T.J. Yates is good, but he’s not Matt Schaub. But there’s a chance.
  • With a healthy Schaub and Mario Williams next year, the Texans should be serious Superbowl contenders.
  • “My Forehead Feels Like D-Day”

    Sunday, November 13th, 2011

    If you watched last week’s Texans game against the Cleveland Browns, you might have wondered why he was bleeding so copiously. Well, that happens when an opposing player headbutts you when you’re not wearing your helmet.

    Go to the linked video for the title quote and a ref asking Cushing “Are you having a pleasant day?”

    (And the Texans won their game today against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 37-9.)

    Texans Slaughter Colts 34-7

    Sunday, September 11th, 2011

    The Texans managed to put together the most dominant half of professional football I’ve ever seen by going up 34-0 in the first half against the Manning-less Colts. The Texans dominated on both sides of the line, Mario Williams got his first sack as an outside linebacker and Ben Tate got his first career touchdown. And Jacoby Jones took a punt return 79 yards for a touchdown, turning what was a rout into a full-blown slaughter.

    Alas, there was also the second half, where conservative play-calling and some bone-headed turnovers let the Colts get on the board and prevented the Texans from padding their lead.

    Matt Schaub was 17 of 24 with 220 yards. The two interceptions are slightly deceptive, as the first one was a freak tip off Andrew Johnson’s fingers.

    I expected the Texans to win this game, but I didn’t expect it to be a laugher. The offense is still plenty potent, but the defense is radically improved from last year’s league-worst unit. Tate’s 100+ yard game proves that last year wasn’t a fluke, and yes, the offensive line is that good at opening holes, with or without Arian Foster (who sat out the game with a tweaked hamstring).

    if they can harness the intensity of the first half and avoid the miscues of the second, not only will they make the playoffs (especially in a weekend AFC South), they should actually be able to make some noise there. Of course, Texan fans felt that after last year’s opening day victory over the Colts, so we’ll see how they do against a murder’s row of an early schedule that has them visiting New Orleans, Pittsburgh and Baltimore in the first six weeks of the season.

    But all in all, I feel very good about my bet with Dwight.

    Texas Doesn’t Lead the Way (Thank God)

    Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

    In arrests of college football players, that is. SI and CBS news listed the arrest records for every team in the preseason top 25, and the two Texas teams in the list did comparatively well. Texas came in third-to-last, with only two players charged, while TCU came in dead last with none at all. Oklahoma came in tied for seventh with nine players arrested, and Pittsburgh ranked first (which is to say last) with a whopping 22 players charged.

    The usual caveats (arrest is not conviction, innocent until proven guilty, yada yada yada) apply, but this is one ranking Texas football fans are happy to see their teams rank last in.

    (“Texas leads the way” shtick blatantly stolen from Bill Crider.)

    Random Observations on the Texans beating Oakland

    Monday, October 4th, 2010

    The Texans beat the Oakland Raiders 31-24. I didn’t watch the entire game, so here are a few random observations:

    • Yeah, it’s only the Raiders, but: A.) Any road victory in the NFL is worth celebrating, B.) The Raiders have improved under Tom Cable, and C.) They did it without Andre Johnson.
    • Is there any doubt that Arian Foster is the real deal? 131 yards for two and half quarters of work. The NFL regular season is one-quarter gone and he has 537 yards. If he can average 122 yards for the rest of the season, he’ll be the seventh NFL rusher to go for over 2,000 yards.
    • With Derrick Ward getting 80 yards, we have to consider the possibility that the Texans leading the NFL in rushing isn’t a fluke. The offensive line play has gone from one of the team’s biggest weakness to one of their biggest strengths.
    • Sadly, Houston having the worst defense in the NFL isn’t a fluke either.
    • And that’s despite Houston being fifth in rushing defense and tied for ninth in sacks. Its passing defense is worst by a country mile. The Texans secondary is so bad that it made Bruce Gradkowski look like Tony Romo, it made Tony Romo look like Donavan McNabb, it made Donavan McNabb look like Peyton Manning, and it made Peyton Manning look like Jesus Christ SuperQuarterback. Forget “average;” with an even “bad but tolerable” secondary, the Texans could be a serious Superbowl contender. But they won’t get there by allowing league highs in both passing percentage and yardage.
    • I think the decision not to resign Dunta Robinson was entirely defensible on long-range budgetary considerations, but his lack is certainly hurting the team this year.
    • Texans’ GM Rick Smith should seriously consider trading Steve Slaton to some rushing-hungry team. He had a good run until injuries and fumblitis sidelined him, but he’s the third best rusher on the team right now, and when Ben Tate get’s back from injury next year he’ll probably be the fourth. Does Denver have any cornerback or safety prospects they’d be willing to swap?
    • Another sack for Mario Williams, giving him 5 (third best in the league). Antonio Smith is also playing very solid.
    • Brian Cushing comes back this week. That should help put more pressure on the quarterback, which in turn should help mask the glaring deficiencies in the secondary.
    • The Texans should be favored over the Giants at home this week. Hopefully they’ll respond better than the did for the Dallas game.
    • If you had predicted that the Texans would be 3-1 at this point, without Cushing, before the season started, I’m sure they would have taken it in a heartbeat.