Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday 02/29 (Very) Quickie: Leap Day

On vacation for a few days in a surprisingly un-Spring Break-ish part of Mexico. Online access spotty (for the better). Spencer Hall pinch-hitting on the Sporting News column. More later (maybe) but it's freaky Leap Day -- what more would you need? - D.S.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Thursday 02/28 A.M. Quickie:
Clemens, LeBron, Memphis, Cope, More

Today's Names to Know in today's Sporting News column: Clemens, Novitzky, LeBron, Chris Paul, Memphis, Myron Cope, WC Heinz, Gary Bettman, Will Ferrell and More!

Here's the link. NFL Free Agency starts today. Leap Day is tomorrow. March starts Saturday. Take a breath, friends: It's going to be a fantastic ride over the next month.

-- D.S.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wednesday 02/27 A.M. Quickie:
Yao, Vols, Vandy, Clemens, Kobe, More

Today's Names to Know in today's Sporting News column:

Yao Ming, Dikembe Mutombo, Shan Foster, John Q. Hammons, Kobe, Mo Williams, Roger Clemens, Debbie Clemens, Jessica Canseco, Scott Kazmir, Miguel Cabrera, Reggie Bush, Troy Williamson, Kevin Faulk, Sean Salisbury and More!

Why China owns the NBA...
Why you could see Vandy's upset coming...
Why Mizzou State is kind of awesome...
Why Kobe has the Lakers on top of the NBA...
Why Roger Clemens has 3 strikes today...
Why Miguel Cabrera is in for a big year...
Why Reggie Bush needs to give it up...
Why Troy Williamson is the Jags' problem now...
Why Kevin Faulk completes a triple crown for the Pats...
Why Sean Salisbury is the sports-blog story of the day...
And so much more... after the jump!

In case you missed it yesterday: Be sure to check out my Nationals preview as part of Deadspin's MLB Season Preview coverage.

-- D.S.

Wednesday 02/27 A.M. Quickie:
Yao, Vols, Vandy, Clemens, Kobe, More

Today's Names to Know in today's Sporting News column:

Yao Ming, Dikembe Mutombo, Shan Foster, John Q. Hammons, Kobe, Mo Williams, Roger Clemens, Debbie Clemens, Jessica Canseco, Scott Kazmir, Miguel Cabrera, Reggie Bush, Troy Williamson, Kevin Faulk, Sean Salisbury and More!

Why China owns the NBA...
Why you could see Vandy's upset coming...
Why Mizzou State is kind of awesome...
Why Kobe has the Lakers on top of the NBA...
Why Roger Clemens has 3 strikes today...
Why Miguel Cabrera is in for a big year...
Why Reggie Bush needs to give it up...
Why Troy Williamson is the Jags' problem now...
Why Kevin Faulk completes a triple crown for the Pats...
Why Sean Salisbury is the sports-blog story of the day...
And so much more... after the jump!

-- D.S.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Washington Nationals Preview on Deadspin

My 2nd annual preview of the Washington Nationals is up on Deadspin. As you'd expect, it's all about Elijah Dukes. How could it not be? Here's the link.

Tuesday 02/26 A.M. Quickie:
Texas, Bonds, Clemens, Bush, More!

Today's Names to Know in today's Sporting News column:

DJ Augustine, Michael Beasley, Barry Bonds, Tony La Russa, Roger Clemens, Jason Kidd, DeShawn Stevenson, Reggie Bush, Carl Edwards, Kodi Burns and More!

Why Texas should make your Final Four short-list...
Why Michael Beasley IS the new Kevin Durant...
Why the Rays MUST sign Barry Bonds...
Why Roger Clemens is in more trouble than ever...
Why Jason Kidd had a happy homecoming...
Why DeShawn Stevenson is the new Gilbert Arenas...
Why Reggie Bush might as well return the Heisman now...
Why spring football should start as early as possible...
And more... after the jump!

-- D.S.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Name of the Year 2008 Bracket!

Name of the Year (or "NOTY") is, quite possibly, the greatest bracket you will see all year. It is absolutely my personal favorite, annually. I'll weigh in with my picks soon, but here's the link, so you can see for yourself. (Remember: All names are real. Yes, real. You know it's a great bracket when, like, 85 percent of the match-ups are REALLY hard to decide between.)

Baseball Prospectus 2008 Arrives!

Baseball Prospectus 2008 goes on sale today. It has become an absolute must-read for any/every baseball fan. I got my copy on Friday and have been engorging myself on it all weekend. It is filled with all of the amazing insight you have come to expect.

Here's the best part: It includes a phenomenal new feature called "PECOTA Leaderboards," which is incredibly helpful if you are participating in fantasy baseball. I'd put my faith in PECOTA before I would in some random expert's qualitative opinion. (Hope Football Prospectus adopts the same feature when they do their pre-season annual in the fall.)

My only gripe? BP's PECOTA Leaderboard lists are limited to Top 10s, 15s and 20s, depending on the category. How about Top 50? Anyone in a fantasy league needs that kind of depth at the margins, particularly to unearth the gems.

Of course, you could just read through the entire BP2K8 to discover those nuggets -- come to think of it, that's probably where most of the fun is.

- D.S.

Monday 02/25 A.M. Quickie:
Vols, Woods, Combine, NBA, More!

Today's Names to Know in today's Sporting News column:

Bruce Pearl, John Calipari, Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer, Darren McFadden, Glenn Dorsey, Chris Johnson, Michael Beasley, Drake, Ben Wallace, Jason Kidd, Manu Ginobili, Zach Thomas, Rex Grossman, Stephen Ross, Barry Bonds, Terry Francona, Bartolo Colon, Brad Lidge, Terrelle Pryor and More!

Why Tennessee is a Final Four lock...
Why Tiger isn't going for Grand Slam...
Why McFadden doubters will regret it...
(And that goes double for Dorsey...)
Why the new-look Cavs look better...
Why the new-look Suns look worse...
Why the new Fins owner is a great fit...
Why Barry Bonds may end up in exile...
Why the Red Sox X-Factor is Colon...
Why Brad Lidge saves Phils fans a headache...
Why Terrelle Pryor needs to decide...
Why Indiana players need to grow up...
And more... after the jump!

Bonus post coming later today: An instant review of Baseball Prospectus 2008 (out today!)

-- D.S.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sunday 02/24 (Very) Quickie

No. 2 Tennessee beats No. 1 Memphis in Memphis: It ends the Tigers' bid for an unbeaten season... it vaults the Vols to No. 1 in the country for the first time in school history... and it positions Tennessee as not just a lock of a No. 1 NCAA Tournament seed, but probably the team best-positioned to get to the Final Four. Few have racked up as quality of a single win (Texas' win over Tennessee suddenly looks amazing), but who else has as quality of a road win?

More CBB: Kansas loses at Oklahoma State (probably losing any chance at a No. 1 NCAA seed)... UCLA survives at home vs. Oregon (what was up with those Ducks unis?)... Drake tops Butler in Bracket Buster headliner (Kent St got a huge boost with a win over St. Mary's)... Nova ends UConn's 10-game W streak... Arizona upsets Wazzu in Pullman... Indiana players put "K.S." on their shoes, then put aside the distraction to survive at Northwestern (how did IU allow NU to score 82 points?)... Stud of the Day: Michael Beasley, who had a Big 12 record 44 points in a K-State loss to Baylor. He also broke Carmelo's record for double-doubles by a freshman... NJIT set a Division I record by completing an unprecedented 0-29 season...

NBA Last Night: Another big night for Manu Ginobili (30 pts, 12 ast) in a huge Spurs win over the Hornets (reminding everyone who the champ is)... Heat lose 11th straight... Lakers win 7th straight (Gasol: 23)... No Kidd, no problem: Marcus Williams has 13 assists in Nets win over IND.

Zach Thomas will play for the Cowboys... The Rex Grossman Era in Chicago continues (he signed a 1-year deal)... The Klitschko "unification" win was a great (snoozy) example of why boxing is no longer relevant in today's sports world...

-- D.S.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Saturday 02/23 (Very) Quickie

Kelvin Sampson out: See my post directly below for my take.

NFL Draft: Falcons win coin flip, will pick 3rd. Raiders go 4th. Chiefs go 5th.

Celtics lose 3rd straight: Granted it was against the Suns and KG is still not 100 percent, but PHX got nil out of Shaq. Good thing they have Amare -- 28 points and dominance.

So how long before that photo of Clemens at the Canseco party gets leaked? Or is the owner looking for a little payday? Hmm: Wouldn't that give Roger a small perjury problem?

That 20-hole Woods win in the Match Play might have been his most exciting non-Major round of golf he has ever played.

Wayne Huizenga sells 50 percent of Dolphins to Stephen Ross: Let's hope Ross likes Bill Parcells. Wonder if Ross has an opinion about what the Fins should do with the No. 1 overall Draft pick.

Indy Car, Champ Car merge: Fans still don't care...

Air Jordan XX3 comes out today: It's the black (a.k.a. "Stealth") edition. Went to the shoe store to check it out, but didn't pull the trigger on a purchase. Still not sure how I feel about the "argyle" pattern that dominates. Maybe later today. We'll see.

-- D.S.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Sampson Out at Indiana, Players Mutiny

Kelvin Sampson is out at Indiana, for the bargain buy-out of $750,000. The school can quickly turn the page, either with ex-Knight protege Dan Dakich as interim coach -- or whoever they can lure in the offseason to one of the best jobs in college basketball. (Hmm: Xavier's Sean Miller?)

Here's the troubling development: A bunch of the players (including the stars) mutinized and didn't show up to practice -- presumably out of some sense of misguided loyalty to Sampson. Any self-respecting coach would have told his players to suck it up and respect both the game and their obligation to their school.

If Dan Dakich wants to set a new example, he will bench all of those players for tomorrow's game at Northwestern. Not to start. Not for a half. For the entire game, showing them that childish actions have adult consequences. If they lose to Northwestern, so be it. (NU is so sorry, they likely couldn't even beat a short-handed IU team anyway.

But that kind of insubordination -- that kind of disrespect for the institution that has given them the opportunity to go to college and play basketball... all for free -- is intolerable. Grow up: Your coach cheated, he paid a steep price. Act like you understand that.

UPDATE: The AP story made it sound like Dakich was relieved the players -- all the players -- were on the bus for the trip to Evanston. What a joke: Like they owe the new coach their attendance at the game? Their "boycott" was always bogus.

-- D.S.

Oscar Picks: A Quickie Tradition

Best Picture: There Will Be Blood
Best Actor: Daniel Day Lewis
Best Supporting Actor: Javier Bardem
Best Actress: Ellen Page
Best Supporting Actress: Cate Blanchett
Best Director: PT Anderson
Best Screenplay (Adapted): There Will Be Blood
Best Screenplay (Original): Juno

Add your own picks -- in these categories or any other -- in the Comments.

-- D.S.

Friday 02/22 A.M. Quickie:
LeBron, Memphis, Sampson, More

Today's Names to Know in today's Sporting News column:

LeBron James, Ben Wallace, Wally Szczerbiak, Sam Presti, John Calipari, Bruce Pearl, Derrick Rose, Chris Lofton, Kelvin Sampson, Manu Ginobili, Ryan Howard, Bob Stoops, Butler, Drake, Randy Moss, Candace Parker, Stuart Appleby, Phil Mickelson, Bob Hurley Sr., Tyreke Evans, Gary Sheffield and More!


Why LeBron is now "Win or Else"...
Why the big winner of NBA Trade Season was: The Sonics...
Why Tennessee-Memphis is the CBB Game of the Year...
Why Kelvin Sampson should stay one more game...
Why Manu Ginobili is the Spurs' MVP...
Why Ryan Howard wins, no matter what...
Why Bob Stoops is overpaid...
Why Butler vs. Drake is a Buster "bust"...
Why Candace Parker is awesome...
Why Phil Mickelson isn't...
Why St. Anthony is the best prep hoops team in the nation...
Why Gary Sheffield has my newfound respect...
And more... after the jump!

Huge weekend ahead. Expect morning posts on both days, along with bonus posts as warranted.

-- D.S.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Cavs Win Big at NBA Trade Deadline

Wow, the Cavs didn't get trade help -- they got 4 of a starting 5: Big Ben, Wally World, Joe Smith and Delonte West? If LeBron could win the East with last year's dregs, those 4 and LeBron could actually compete to win the East in 2008. The Bulls get Larry Hughes; not sure how he fits with both Ben Gordon and Kirk Hinrich. The Sonics get more shots for Kevin Durant and the chance to decide if they want to use their all-but-guaranteed Top 4 pick on Beasley, Rose, Gordon or Mayo.

Kelvin Sampson: Done? ('Bout Time)

Maybe, maybe not. By the end of the weekend, here's hoping we don't see this incorrigible cheater on a college sidelines for a long time.

St. Anthony: Basketball At Its Finest

If you watch one high school basketball game this year, make it tonight, when St. Anthony plays American Christian.

St. Anthony is the best team in the country, period. With SIX D-1 players on the roster (including 5 of the ESPN 150), they are as loaded as any team you'll see. (Guard Michael Rosario was just named to the McDonald's All-American Team.)

More than that, they are probably the best-coached team in the country -- prep, college or pro. Their coach? Bob Hurley Sr., the best basketball coach in America. Between Hurley and the talent, this isn't just a must-see team… but a team on the verge of completing one of the greatest prep seasons of all time.

(Meanwhile, ACA features Tyreke Evans, a 6-6 superstar and arguably the best wing player in the country. He hasn't declared a college choice yet, but he takes his recruiting visit to Memphis tomorrow and if you follow Henry Abbott's brilliant obsession with William "Uncle Wes" Wesley (who has a relationship with both Evans and Memphis), it's clear that Evans going anywhere but Memphis would be… off-script.)

But your focus should be on St. Anthony. Last year, I worked on a documentary pitch to cover Hurley and the team this season; the production company has been there all season, and it is going to be one of the great sports docs you'll see, once it debuts on-air.

So, absolutely: I'm biased. But having done so much work to try to understand this team, these players and this coach, I think it's an incredible opportunity tonight to see one of the great high school teams to take the court in a long time.

The game is at 9 on ESPN.

-- D.S.

Thursday 02/21 A.M. Quickie:
Kobe, Duke, NBA Trades, More!

Today's Names to Know in today's Sporting News column:

Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal, Coach K, Jason Kidd, Chris Paul, Kurt Thomas, Mike Bibby, Beno Udrih, Bobby Jackson, Vince Carter, Baron Davis, Matt Walsh, Dallas Clark, Chris Long, Tennessee and Memphis, Ryan Howard, Hank Steinbrenner, Alex Rodriguez, JB Holmes, Tiger Woods and More!

Why Kobe has no reason to whine anymore...
Why the Suns will be just fine with Shaq...
Why Jason Kidd is no Chris Paul...
Why Mike Bibby is no Beno Udrih...
Why Kurt Thomas is the NBA trade of the year...
Why Duke is no longer a real contender...
Why Baron Davis is just awesome...
Why Roger Goodell is disingenuous...
Why Chris Long is the combine's most intriguing...
Why Ryan Howard can't lose...
Why Hank Steinbrenner is better than George...
Why JB Holmes' 15 minutes are almost up...
Why Memphis-Tennessee is the CBB G.O.T.Y...
And more... after the jump!

Bonus post: NBA Trade Deadline at 3 p.m. ET Today. Expect bonus posts as trades happen (or don't).

-- D.S.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wednesday 02/20 A.M. Quickie:
Shaq, Sampson, Bibby, Tiger

Today's Names to Know in today's Sporting News column:

Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, Kelvin Sampson, Mike Bibby, Pau Gasol, Drake, Tiger Woods, KG, LeBron, Deron Williams, Coach K, Roy Williams, David Ortiz, Matt Walsh, Dallas Clark, Montreal Canadiens, Miguel Tejada, Hank Aaron, "Havana Marlins" and More!

Why Shaq-Kobe is the NBA Game of the Year...
Why Kelvin Sampson says "I dare you..."
Why Bibby's debut was a dud...
Why Drake's Cindy run is over...
Why I love the Match Play...
Why KG's return didn't do much...
Why Coach K and Roy Williams deserve each other...
Why David Ortiz in February is irrelevant...
Why Miguel Tejada didn't learn from Andy Pettitte...
Why Matt Walsh can't win...
Why Montreal breaks through my non-NHL perspective...
Why Hank Aaron is an elder statesman...
Why "Havana Marlins" sounds amazing...
And more... after the jump!

-- D.S.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Ben Greenman on Roger Clemens

Now THIS is all the Clemens coverage we ever needed. Another piece of musical-theater genius from Ben Greenman. Musical parody might be my favorite genre. (My god: Remember THIS? Consider that I intentionally lined up the cadence nearly precisely with the original song.)

Tuesday 02/19 A.M. Quickie:
Pettitte, Kidd, Texas, Hank S-brenner, More

Update: Rovell on All-Star Shoes.

Today's Names to Know
in today's Sporting News column:

Andy Pettitte, Eric Gagne, Jason Kidd, Keith Van Horn, Ron Artest, DJ Augustine, Curt Schilling, Zach Thomas, Stacy Andrews, Jason Taylor, Kristi Yamaguchi, Hank Steinbrenner and More!

Why Pettitte cracked the cheaters' code...
Why Gagne didn't...
Why Kidd won't matter (but Artest might)...
Why Texas is as hot as anyone right now...
Why Curt Schilling folded...
Why Jason Taylor is the new Emmitt Smith...
Why Hank Steinbrenner is a truth-teller...
And more... after the jump!

-- D.S.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Bloggers Accurately Foresee CFB Problem

Read this. And this. And this. And this. The top-tier CFB bloggers (SMQ, EDSBS, Wiz/Odds, FH) are way ahead of their mainstream counterparts in forecasting the massive (potentially season-defining) clusterf--- we are headed for next season with the new 40-second play clock. Don't say you weren't warned.

NBA All-Star Sneakers: What Happened?

Rovell pinged me this morning, curious that I didn't have my usual post-All-Star sneaker awards -- I think it's fair to say that this year was underwhelming.

The most intriguing shoe was Steve Nash's "Trash Talk" Zoom BB II Low, but not because of style -- because of its gimmick: Made entirely from recycled materials (thus "trash talk).

The shoes in the All-Star Game were dominated by the uniform colors: Gold/White (West) and Blue/Gray (East). Gone, apparently, is the era where stars wear whatever they want.

In fact, if you wanted garish (like I did), the place to look was the Rookie-Soph game, which was a blizzard of blazing patent leather. It was my favorite moment thus far as an HDTV owner.

Maybe everyone was focused on the release of the Air Jordan XXIII (with a must-have "stealth" edition coming Saturday). Or maybe the All-Star Game is "over" as a shoe showcase.

-- D.S.

Monday 02/18 A.M. Quickie:
All-Star, Daytona, Belichick, Wake, More

Today's Names to Know in today's Sporting News column:

Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch, Roger Penske, Jeff Teague, Bill Belichick, Ray Allen, LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, Jason Kidd, Mike Bibby, Kelvin Sampson, Kevin Love, Memphis vs. UAB, Brenda Frese, Andy Pettitte, Mark Prior, NFL Combine and More!


Why this NBA All-Star Weekend ruled...
Why "push from heaven" is NASCAR's new hotness...
Why Dwight Howard is Superman...
Why Ray Allen should have been All-Star MVP...
Why Bill Belichick is disingenuous in denial...
Why Wake beating Duke should scare Duke fans...
Why trading for Kidd won't matter, but...
Why trading for Bibby will...
Why Kelvin Sampson can breathe easy (for now)...
Why Syracuse fans' season was made...
Why Brenda Frese had the Best. Weekend. Ever....
Why all eyes are on Andy Pettitte today...
And so much more... after the jump.

I'm still getting over Dwight Howard in the Dunk Contest. Vince Carter was my previous (post-Jordan) gold standard, but what Howard did arguably topped Carter. Personally, it was like an antidote to the toxicity of last week's Clemens hearings.

Happy President's Day, for those of you checking in.

-- D.S.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sunday 02/17 (Very) Quickie

Dwight Howard saves sports: He really IS Superman. Howard put on the second-best dunk contest performance ever in the post-Jordan era.

(He's behind Vince Carter... but you could make a case Howard was even more impressive, given his 6-10 frame -- say this: no "big man" has ever done what Howard did, dunk-wise).

Kelvin Sampson punches back, leads Indiana to 19-point rout of Michigan State in Bloomington.

Syracuse shocks Georgetown (and Arizona was robbed at home of an upset of Stanford). Memphis surviving at UAB should give pause to everyone who thinks they are a Final Four lock.

Kings trade Mike Bibby to Hawks: Atlanta is suddenly...whaaa?!...respectable? Bibby, Joe Johnson, Josh Smith and Al Horford (and, of course, Marvin Williams) is a nice little nucleus.

David Stern says Sonics move out of Seattle is "inevitable": This is really a shock to anyone?

Kobe to start in All-Star Game: Still don't understand why he would risk his team's regular-season on an exhibition. And if he comes out after the first play, he would be kind of selfish, too.

Daytona 500 runs today: For all you casual (or non-) NASCAR fans out there, this would be the one race to watch...

-- D.S.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Saturday 02/16 (Very) Quickie

Pats sued by ex-Rams player, fans: You can scoff and dismiss this if you want, but you know you're kind of curious what might come out in a real-live deposition of a Federal civil suit. Because you KNOW that something is there to come out...

NBA Rookie Game: Sophs roll. Boobie Gibson went absolutely nuts with 11 3-pointers. 11! (11!) Rudy Gay (my pre-game pick for MVP) had 22 (if not for Gibson...). Brandon Roy had 17 and Jordan Farmar had a break-out game with 17 of his own, setting the Rookie-Soph Game record for points by a Jewish player.

(For the Rookies, Kevin Durant had 23, but Al Horford had 19 -- a nice symbol of the way Horford has made a once-presumptive Rookie of the Year race an actual competition.)

By the way, I have had an HDTV for 2 months, and my favorite HD moment so far was last night: The players' garishly colored sneakers were absolutely amazing-looking. (Oh, and I could pick out my college roommate sitting behind the Sophs' bench -- he's a Hornets team doc. I was able to text him, then actually watch him reacting to my text on TV. Hilarious.)

College GameDay at Indiana: Can you say "AWK-ward!" Self-respecting IU fans should chant "Fire! Samp-son!" (clap-clap-clapclapclap...) The IU AD has a week to figure out what's going on (honestly, if I was the IU president, I would fire both Sampson AND the AD, if only for letting Sampson get this far).

CBB: Marquette rolls. In a rare Friday night game, between two Top 25 teams no less, Marquette thumped Pitt. 'Quette is clawing its way back to respectability.

Hoops Hall of Fame finalists named: Olajuwon and Ewing should be locks as players; Riley should be a lock as a coach.

Fun barstool/cubicle question: Where do Hakeem and Ew rank among all-time centers (or even players?) I have always argued that Hakeem in '94 and '95 was as dominant as they come (in the ESPN Era, at least).

One of my favorite (and widely scorned) theories is that Hakeem's Rockets could have beaten a 1994 Bulls WITH Jordan...and, given the roll that the Rockets were on in '95, they could have beaten the '95 Bulls with Jordan, too.

Oh, and happy birthday to me. See my bonus post from yesterday for more.

-- D.S.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The End of My Relevancy as a Consumer

It's the end of my relevancy in the coveted "male 18-to-34-year-old" demographic: I turn 35 tomorrow.

A year ago in this space, I wondered how 34 could possibly top 33, given that 33 included the birth of my kid and the dramatic end of my career (and start of my blogging career). I wasn't sure it did…

...Except that being the parent of a toddler is even better than being the parent of a newborn. (This post on Varsity Dad points you to a must-read post by Josh Marshall, one of my favorite writers, on his birthday today and his fatherhood. Not about sports, but a great read.)

...And my adventures in blogging (Launching Varsity Dad, Deadspin guest-posts, "celebrity blogger" fantasy leagues, creating a spin-off blog…just for commenters, rejoining the "paid" ranks with, Twitter, Tumblr, writing for the New York Times, etc) were totally satisfying.

...And, totally unexpected a year ago, my incredible fortune to land a "day job" on the "business" side of the media industry that I would say is the most interesting and energizing opportunity of my career, working with the most talented and smart collection of people I have ever worked with and for a company whose mission I believe in.

So 34 was amazing, actually, now that I think about it.

Still: I come back to the end of my consumer relevancy -- unless, of course, marketers realize that at 35, I will have way more disposable income (and interest in spending it) than I had when I was 25 (let alone 18).

And they realize that I am more open to their messages now (or, at least, more impacted by intermediaries I trust, like blogs or friend recommendations) that I am making more choices (and doing more "consuming") than ever.

Do they really want to boot me? Or is it time to re-align "18-to-34" -- "21-to-38," maybe? I'm not just saying that because I want to remain part of a "coveted" demographic (and I'm not shutting out the college kids -- they deserve their own demo segmentation). I'm saying that because it's in the marketers' best interests to keep me in the fold!

Meanwhile, I share a birthday, among sports stars, with John McEnroe and Jerome Bettis. But, to be honest, I have always felt a birthday kinship with Chris Webber, who was born on March 1, 1973. It's not an exact match, but we stepped on Big Ten campuses together at the same time, and because of that birthday tie, I have always tracked his career against mine -- can you imagine that hilarity?

Anyway, it's crazy to think about now: Webber is a 15-year NBA vet. FIFTEEN YEARS! That, more than anything (like my new age or my fatherhood), makes me feel old. His career is at its end -- he has gone from franchise savior to mere star to role player.

How does that relate to me -- or to sports-bloggers?

More and more over the past year, it has become obvious that sports-blogging is a younger man's game. Cripes: Am I the Chris Webber of sports bloggers?

(Now: Pause right there. I'm not going to announce I'm "retiring" or anything, and I can reel off two dozen sports bloggers over the age of 30 -- even, ahem, 35 -- who are not just great, but consistently doing some of the most fantastic work in the industry.)

But if anything, this last year from turning 34 to turning 35 has coincided with an insane explosion of the sports-blog universe -- everything from hundreds of indie fans starting blogs of their own to leagues (and privately held sites) co-opting the Arenas Effect to give athletes their own platform to mainstream media increasing the use and impact of blogs, realizing what an phenomenal format it is for their talent to bloggers publishing books.

All these are great developments. As I've noted a bunch over the past few months, opportunities for the most talented indie sports bloggers to find mainstream (read: paid) traction have never been greater, whether it's at Sporting News, Yahoo, ESPN, AOL, Deadspin or other prominent "mainstream" places you'll see pop up in 2008.

But on the "indie" front -- where all the really cool, cutting-edge sports-blog ideas are happening -- wow, is it competitive. It's like a microcosm of what's happening to mainstream media: The more choices, the less traction any one place can or will have with an individual consumer. Every day, the more well-known sports blogs had better bring it -- or be supplanted by more talented offerings. (Either that, or be willing to accept a smaller slice of audience.)

The energy and creativity it takes to create a really, really good post is astonishing (which is why guys like Leitch, Ufford, KSK, Abbott and FJM are as successful as they are). I am regularly blown away by the blogs -- prominent and obscure -- that produce "must-read" posts.

The Quickie was built (and was built) on the idea that there is at least some audience for shallow (but timely) analysis and baseless (but provocative) conjecture.

There's obviously still a place for that (or I wouldn't wake up early every morning and do it), but I just wanted to tip my cap to all the bloggers who take so much time and energy and care to create that One Post (per day or week or whatever) that has impact, whether through biting comedy, deep analysis or provocative commentary. (Not to mention the insanely clever commenters, who have been the unrecognized driver behind sports-blog success.)

I am so curious whether a 35-year-old's perspective can continue to resonate with a reader base that generally sits right in that "18-to-34" group that I am now leaving. I'm no sports traditionalist or "purist" -- hardly -- but I'm not 21 anymore, starting my career being paid $1,500 a month (before taxes!) to write 15,000 words a week of quasi-faked college basketball game recaps for an online-sports startup.

I guess the reason I find it so hard to fathom producing such cool work is that, heading into 35, I am working just about as hard as I have ever worked in my life. Between the daily column, my intensive "day job" and my interest in having an all-consuming experience as a spouse and dad, that doesn't leave a whole lot of time or energy. (What an elaborate rationalization for not cleaning up around the house -- or, say, not finishing my half-finished book proposal!)

That's what 35 will be defined by: Really really hard work -- to a degree I'm not sure I have ever worked in my life.

But it is really fulfilling work, on all fronts. I think for the first time since I entered the "18-to-34" group, I am -- wow, this is a strange feeling -- content.

Not content with my effort -- hell, I can always work harder at everything -- but content with where things stand right now, which gives me the opportunity (if I am willing to work for it) to have all of these pieces of my life -- family, career, fun -- come together in a satisfying way like never before.

That's a hell of a birthday present.

-- D.S.

Friday 02/15 A.M. Quickie:
Bonds, All-Stars, Waxman, Sun Devils, More

Today's Names to Know in today's Sporting News column:

Barry Bonds, Kobe Bryant, Jason Kidd, Rudy Gay, Dwight Howard, H-O-R-S-E, Nike, Henry Waxman, Zach Thomas, Bobby Bowden, Arizona State, Kelvin Sampson and More!


Why knee-jerk sports punditry is ridiculous…
Why Kobe trumps Kidd as THE story of NBA All-Star Weekend…
Why Rudy Gay will win the Slam Dunk title and Dirk will win the 3 comp…
Why the D-League is sort of awesome…
Why Henry Waxman regrets holding the Clemens hearings…
Why Arizona State is playing the spoiler in the Pac-10…
Why Kelvin Sampson shouldn't last the weekend in Bloomington…
Why Kobe's feet, not his pinky, should be the object of your attention this weekend…
And more... after the jump!

Bonus post coming later today, plus the usual morning updates on both weekend days AND a fresh Sporting News column on Presidents Day Monday.

Otherwise, have a great weekend, everyone.

-- D.S.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Annual Valentine's Day Man-Crush List

Valentine's Day: It's the one day of the year where it is more appropriate than ever to tell the world about your man-crushes around the world of sports. (Not that there's anything wrong with that... I'm no Brady Quinn.)

Submit them through the Comments (feel free to say why) and I will publish them throughout the afternoon. Don't be shy, let it out for the world to know. Say, what's the chance Tim Tebow knows I exist?

To kick things off, here are some responses I got from some notables:

Matt Ufford: Chris Paul
Jamie Mottram: Clinton Portis
Big Daddy Drew: Adrian Peterson
Awful Announcing: Eli Manning
Sarah Schorno: Laila Ali
Unsilent Majority: Andre Berto
John Gasaway: Tim Doyle
Ken Tremendous: Tom Brady ("The loss only makes him more human. And he's crazy hot.")

More guest-crushes coming. Submit yours!

Thursday 02/14 A.M. Quickie:
Valentines, Clemens, Kidd, Sampson, More

Today's Names to Know in today's Sporting News column:

Roger Clemens, Brian McNamee, Elijah Cummings, Andy Pettitte, "The Nanny," Jason Kidd, Devean George, Roger Goodell, Arlen Specter, Kelvin Sampson, Southern Illinois, Jim Calhoun, Manu Ginobili, Lamar Odom, Shaq, Brady Quinn, Erik Bedard, Ryan Dempster, a rare cameo by "Mrs. Quickie" and More!


Why Valentine's Day makes a great column gimmick...
Why "Pitchers and Catchers Report" trumps "mis-remembers"...
Why Elijah Cummings was the MVP of the Clemens hearing...
Why Devean George is kind of awesome...
Why Roger Goodell is losing the fans...
Why Kelvin Sampson should be fired today...
Why Drake ain't all that...
Why Manu Ginobili is better without Tony Parker...
Why Shaq let everyone down tonight...
Why Brady Quinn is in denial...
Why Ryan Dempster is everything that's right about "P's and C's Report" Day...

And so much more... after the jump.

Today's Bonus Post: Check back in the late-morning for the annual Valentine's Day Man-Crush List!

-- D.S.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

CSTV now "CBS College Sports Network"

CSTV is being re-branded as the CBS College Sports Network. Extraordinarily little-known fact about my long-and-winding sports-media work history:

I spent about 2 weeks working for that network in its earliest days (when it was known as "National College Sports Network"), launched by Brian Bedol, the genius (and fellow Harvard Business School graduate) behind Classic Sports Network (later bought by ESPN and re-branded ESPN Classic).

I left NCSN/CSTV to pursue the dream that would become the Daily Quickie. CSTV was sold to CBS for $395 million. I wouldn't have seen a dime of that, just so we're clear. -- D.S.

Clemens Hearing Live-Blog

Follow along with the Dan Shanoff Twitter feed.

Calling it now: "Mis-remember" is the new "Don't wanna talk about the past." (Given how damning Pettitte's depo testimony now appears to be.)

Wednesday 02/13 A.M. Quickie:
Clemens, Clemens, Clemens, More

Follow the Clemens hearing on my Twitter feed.

Kelvin Sampson: Done. Finished.
The only question is when. "Today" wouldn't be unreasonable, if Indiana wants to keep their basketball program alive. More than that, the NCAA should ban him from coaching in college basketball for at least 10 years. (But I think the market will take care of that itself -- what self-respecting school could hire him?)

Today's Names to Know
in today's Sporting News column:

Uno, Roger Clemens, Brian McNamee, Andy Pettitte, Jose Canseco, Roger Goodell, Arlen Specter, Billy Gillispie, Matt Painter, Vivian Stringer, Kelvin Sampson, Chris Paul and David West, Shawn Marion, Rajon Rondo, Shaq, Reggie Bush, Chad Johnson, Kenechi Udeze, Jeff Feagles and More!


Why Uno is the new Snoopy.
Why Pettitte crushed Clemens.
Why Specter wants Sunday Ticket.
Why Kentucky fans should mutiny.
Why Kelvin Sampson is a super-cheat.
Why Paul and West are ready for ASW.
Why Rajon Rondo makes it "Big 4"
Why Reggie Bush is insane.
Why Chad Johnson is a bad fit for DC.
And so much more... after the jump!

In case you missed it yesterday: The "Best in Show" quote rally!

Coming later today: Update on Clemens, More.

-- D.S.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tonight's Must-Watch TV: CNBC on Nike

Kudos to Darren Rovell and his colleagues on the must-see sports-business documentary of the season, "Swoosh: Inside Nike." Here's the info, but it's at 10 p.m. ET tonight on CNBC.

Now, back to figuring out what amazing sneakers everyone will be sporting during NBA All-Star Weekend...

Best Line from "Best In Show"

The final day of the Westminster Dog Show should trigger one thing: Your favorite lines and/or moments from "Best In Show," one of the funniest "sports movies" of all time.

The "Buck Loughlin" TV analyst character is the most spot-on satire of the sports-TV "jockocracy" (h/t: Cosell) in the history of popular culture.

I can't even pick a favorite quote, there are so many. Here's one from Buck, particularly appropriate for a sports blog:

"Now tell me, which one of these dogs would you want to have as your wide receiver on your football team?"

In the Comments, add in your favorite quote from "Best In Show."

-- D.S.

Tuesday 02/12 A.M. Quickie:
Pettitte, Rocker, Rutgers, Nova, Texas, More

Today's Names to Know in today's Sporting News column:

Henry Waxman, Andy Pettitte, Roger Clemens, John Rocker, Vivian Stringer, Jonathan Wallace, Damion James, Stephen Jackson, Larry Hughes, John Beck, Heinz Field, Richard Zednik, Reggie Bush, Lloyd Lake, Uno, Coach Eric Taylor and More!


Why Henry Waxman went from Congress' bulldog to its Chihuahua...

Why John Rocker is the new Jose Canseco...

Why Vivian Stringer and Villanova got screwed...

Why Texas is better without Kevin Durant than with him...

Why Stephen Jackson had a big night...

Why the Shaq deal will work out for the Suns...

Why Heinz Field still sucks...

Why the John Beck Era starts now...

Why Richard Zednik is lucky to be alive...

Why Reggie Bush is screwed...

Why Uno is the dog to watch at Westminster...

Why my life is just like Coach Eric Taylor's...

All that and more (but what more could you want after hearing that Eric Taylor thing)...after the jump.

Don't forget to check out yesterday's bonus post, directly below, using Smith Magazine's "Six-Word Memoirs" to elicit your own six=word memoir that defines your fandom. You can also read mine. I promise: It takes about 3 seconds. Be sure to leave your six-word memoir in the comments on that post.

Coming later this morning: "Best in Show" quote contest, in honor of Westminster.

-- D.S.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Smith Mag's Six-Word Memoirs
Appropriated For the Sports Fan

When SMITH Magazine first came out with their "six-word memoir" idea, I was totally transfixed, in a way anyone obsessed with "Quickie"-style writing might be.

Now they have compiled the best into a book, "Not Quite What I Was Planning" (taken from one of the memoirs, naturally).

There was a time when I spent WAY too much energy trying to create my own (you don't want to see 'em), but now I think I want to create a version entirely dedicated to my sports fandom. I think it sums it all up:

My wife's team saved my fandom.

I encourage you to submit your own six-word sports memoir through the comments. And all credit for inspiration where it's due: Check out SMITH Mag's site -- and if you're as intrigued as I am, you'll get the book, too.

-- D.S.

Monday 02/11 A.M. Quickie:
Huskies, Kobe, Zorn, Hendrick, More

Today's Names to Know in today's Sporting News column:

Washington, Purdue, Louisville, Adrian Peterson, Jim Zorn, Courtney Paris, Kobe Bryant, Shawn Marion, Kevin Garnett, Rick Hendrick, Brian McNamee, Curt Schilling, Erik Bedard and More!

Including: Why Washington had THE upset of an upset-crazy weekend in college hoops...

Why Adrian Peterson will be the No. 1 overall fantasy player taken in 2008...

Why Jim Zorn was a lame choice to coach the Redskins...

Why Kobe spoiled Shawn Marion's Miami debut, and why the Celtics changed the equation for prognosticating the NBA Finals...

Why Rick Hendrick had the best weekend of anyone in sports...

Why Brian McNamee unleashed the best rumor of the entire Clemens scandal...

Why Curt Schilling is Mr. September...

And more... after the jump.

-- D.S.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sunday 02/10 (Very) Quickie

CBB Saturday Shockers, in order: (1) Purdue beats Wisconsin IN MADISON; (2) LSU holds Tennessee to 47 points (loses by 2); (3) Louisville upsets Georgetown.

Redskins hire Jim Zorn as head coach: Fastest. Promotion. Ever.

Junior wins Bud Shootout, edging Tony Stewart: Hendrick career off to ideal start.

Clemens' lawyer says Rocket wasn't at Canseco party that McNamee claims he was at in 1998: Would this impeach McNamee's cred? Not enough.

Kirk Radomski says he believes McNamee: And who can see inside the heart of a drug-buyer/-distributor more clearly than a dealer?

Much more tomorrow...

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Saturday 02/09 (Very) Quickie

What did we learn from KG's Minnesota homecoming? That without Garnett, the Celtics are a mere buzzer-beater from being the Timberwolves...

Mariners get Erik Bedard: Between Silva and Bedard, along with King Felix, that's a nice little rotation that the M's have. The O's get OF stud prospect Adam "Not-Pacman" Jones.

LSU fires hoops coach John Brady: Was it just a few seasons ago that he was leading the Tigers on that miracle Final Four run, including that amazing win over Duke?

NBA Stud: Carmelo, who had a career-high 49 in a Nuggets win over the Wizards. Meanwhile, Kobe (36) and Pau (30) combined for 66 points; think they're getting along?

Clemens Watch: The story gets MUCH stranger. Brian McNamee said he injected Clemens' WIFE with HGH before an SI photo shoot. Put her on the witness list, Congress!

Illinois apologizes to Eric Gordon and his family for the rough treatment they received in Champaign the other night. But, come on: What did his family EXPECT would happen (and why were they there if they knew?) And what did Gordon expect would happen?

Kirk Radomski gets 5 years of probation for being baseball's most notorious PED dealer -- because he cooperated with baseball and "named names." Here's a hint for Roger Clemens: Start snitchin'.

NASCAR Speedweeks: Tony Stewart vs. Kurt Busch! The more like WWE that NASCAR can get, the better. It's all about the personal conflict.

Settling in for a day of college hoops...

-- D.S.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Friday 02/08 A.M. Quickie:
Bracket Porn, McNamee Photos, Shaq, More

Today's Names to Know from today's Sporting News column:

Brian McNamee, Shaquille O'Neal, Darren Collison, Eric Gordon, Curt Schilling, Steve Spagnuolo, Kurt William Havelock, Chris Webber, Chris Duhon, Pedro Martinez and More.

Including: Why I love NCAA bracket porn... Why Ansel Adams would appreciate Brian McNamee... why the Suns ARE going to win the NBA title... why Kevin Love is the most valuable player in college basketball... why Curt Schilling will win the media battle over his bum shoulder... why the greatest Super Bowl ever nearly turned into the most tragic Super Bowl ever... why Chris Webber's return to Golden State sucked... why the Pro Bowl is useless and more... after the jump.

Meanwhile, Big Daddy Drew's final NFL Jamberoo of the season is a must-read. It basically describes my life, so it must be right. Catch you here all weekend with all-new material.

-- D.S.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Thursday 02/07 A.M. Quickie:
Clemens, Duke, Signing Day, Shaq, Pedro!

Today's Names to Know in today's Sporting News column:

Roger Clemens, Brian McNamee, Greg Paulus, Ty Lawson, Kevin Hart, Julio Jones, Darrell Scott, Shaq, Shawn Marion, Chris Paul, Kyle Korver, Pat Knight, Ralph Wilson, Matt Walsh, Steve Spagnuolo, Gregg Williams, Pedro Martinez and More!

Why Roger Clemens has a "dirty needle" problem...
Why I have nice things to say about Duke (for once)...
Why Kevin Hart deserves a scholarship*...
Why Alabama was Signing Day's big winner...
Why I'm coming around on the Shaq trade for the Suns...
Why Kyle Korver was a bigger trade prize than Shaq...
Why Roger Goodell is like Nathan Jessup...
Why we're all Bills fans today...
Why Steve Spagnuolo is the new Gregg Williams...
And why Gregg Williams is the new Steve Spagnuolo...
Why Pedro Martinez is the new Mike Vick (or not)...
And so much more... after the jump!

Wow, was yesterday a loaded sports day or what? Amazing.

* - Best line I've written all week: "Hart may only be a 2-star football prospect, but he's a 5-star fabulist."

-- D.S.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Wednesday 02/06 A.M. Quickie:
Shaq Trade, Signing Day, UNC-Duke, More!

Today's Names to Know in today's Sporting News column:

Shaquille O'Neal, Shawn Marion, Terrelle Pryor, Roger Clemens, Jim Mora Jr., Ty Lawson, Chris Lofton, Rutgers women's hoops, Pau Gasol, Steve Spagnuolo, Mike McCarthy, Bobby Knight, Ryan Mallett, Bill Belichick and More... after the jump.

Including: What the main players in the Shaq-Marion trade must be thinking... why Signing Day is college football's NFL Draft... why Roger Clemens didn't do anything crazy in front of Congress... why the Seahawks are the new Colts... why Tennessee is the new Florida... why Rutgers is the new UConn... why Ryan Mallett is crazy... why Bill Belichick might be forgiven and more.

Click here for the column, which should be up around 8 a.m. ET.

-- D.S.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Let Your Kid Play for Bobby Knight?

Great question over at Varsity Dad for your comments and observations: Would you want your kid to play for Bobby Knight? The answer is likely either (a) absolutely or (b) never.

Look forward to hearing your personal take, whether you have a kid or not. Head over to Varsity Dad to leave your comments.

(Wow, just remembering that one of my earliest columns ever for -- back in 1997, I believe -- was saying "Never." Got a strong reaction, both ways, if I remember correctly. Columns from '97 precede Google, unfortunately.)

-- D.S.

Tuesday 02/05 A.M. Quickie:
Knight, Belichick, Clemens, Vitale, More

Today's Names to Know from today's Sporting News column:

Bob Knight, Pat Knight, Bill Belichick, Matt Walsh, Steve Spagnuolo, Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Carmelo Anthony, TJ Ford, St. Mary's, Dick Vitale, Curtis Granderson, Juan Gonzalez, Michael Vick, Tyson Gay, Tom Brady, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and More... after the jump.

Including: Why Bob Knight is as big of a prick in retirement as he was as a coach... why Bill Belichick's "walk-off" will define this Super Bowl as much as Eli-to-Tyree... Why Roger Clemens will say more than Andy Pettitte... Why Juan Gonzalez is the new Rick Ankiel... and more.

Don't forget to vote, if your state is having a primary or caucus.

-- D.S.

Monday, February 04, 2008

What About the '72 Dolphins?

The only downside of the Pats losing was that we still have to listen to the 1972 Dolphins, who remain the most obnoxious group of winners in sports history.

Have you seen Reebok's "Perfectville" ad? It had to be created before the Super Bowl. Was there an alternate version if the Pats won? Anyway: It almost makes me not hate the '72 Fins. Almost.

Giants Shock Pats: The Morning After

Three reads this morning:
Today's Sporting News column.
Last night's instant reaction.
My in-game Twitter experiment.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

AAAAAH! Giants Shock World, Beat Pats!!!

Oh my god! OH MY GOD! Count the superlatives:

This is, without hyperbole, the Greatest Upset in NFL History. (Particularly given that the Pats presumably sealed the win with that late TD.)

This is the Greatest Performance by a Defense in Super Bowl History. (Particularly given the way the Giants D shut down the Pats offense, the most devastating of our time.)

That play by Eli Manning to David Tyree may just go down as the Single-Greatest Play in Super Bowl history: "The Immaculate Escape." (Shanoff says: Firsts! AA's Brian P. has the video, and the astute observation that Joe Buck completely blew the call with his underwhelming delivery.) Eli Manning will never have to answer a single question about his career again. It's over: He'll just have to reference that play. (How about this: Greatest 4th Quarter in Super Bowl History?)

And that's before you even say: Perfection Denied. My god: Perfection Denied. From 19-0 to 18-1... there's very little distinguished about being the most accomplished Super Bowl runner-up of all time. (Except the irony that they displace the Super Bowl XXXVI-losing Rams, whose loss to these Pats was the point of such contention these last 48 hours. Dare I say: Karmic payback?)

All those superlatives -- not to mention the "perfection" stuff -- begs the question: Was this simply the greatest Super Bowl ever? Until the cheating questions came up, Super Bowl XXXVI was up there, but these Pats had so much more on the line than those Rams, and these Giants were given so much less of a chance than those Pats. I think we will look back -- tomorrow, next week and years from now -- and wonder if this is as great as a Super Bowl can ever get. I think that's quite possible.

I have never been so happy to get a prediction wrong. Did I say 41-17? I guess I had a few numbers turned around.

This is just the most incredible, unbelievable sports result I think I have experienced. (You know, that statement has had me up an hour later than I thought. I have experienced some incredible sports results -- Texas beating USC in the Rose Bowl for the national title, Duke beating UNLV in the 1991 Final Four, hell even Florida stomping Ohio State for the BCS title when no one gave them a chance. But this is the NFL, and the Pats were perfect. Again: I'm neither a Giants nor Pats fan -- but I was still blown away by this result.)

As unprecedented as 19-0 was going to be, this result is equally unprecedented, stunning and -- if you are a fan of football... sports... or just life -- completely energizing.

Here's a link to my Twitter coverage. Check out how it falls apart as the game ends!

-- D.S.

Super Bowl XLII Shanoff Twitter Event!

Shanoff on Twitter for Super Bowl XLII! There are plenty of live-blogs out there (I'll be tracking the three over at the Sporting Blog) and -- of course -- the Deadspin Comments section. But check out the Dan Shanoff Twitter page throughout the game for something a little different. I've been dabbling with it all day, but I will really ramp it up around 5:30 or so.

UPDATE: Up to 100 tweets at halftime! Be sure to check it out.

Sunday 02/03 A.M. (Very) Quickie:
XLII, Pats Scandal, CBB Upset, More

The countdown to the Super Bowl is on. Track the game through Shanoff's Super Bowl Twitter at Should start around 6 p.m. ET.

Pats XXXVII Scandal, Cont'd: The Pats deny it, of course, and the league backs them up with a flimsy "it wasn't on the tapes the Pats provided and the Pats said they didn't."

(If the Pats did it, do you think they would provide the evidence to the league and/or admit to it? Those XXXVII tapes were probably destroyed the day after the first whiff of the spying scandal with the Jets at the start of the season, if not earlier.)

Cripes: Wright Thompson is making it unfair. It's getting to the point where everything he is writing these days is off-the-charts must-read. (Like this latest, a profile of the Pats' Ernie Adams.) In my estimation, Thompson is the best sportswriter in America right now.

Penn State shocks Michigan State: I'm not willing to credit Penn State completely; the Big Ten is THAT mediocre, if the league's best team loses to Penn State. But a great win for the Nittany Lions.

UConn beats Pitt, continues sizzling streak.

Stanford shocks Wazzu in Pullman, continues Cougars' stumbling at home.

SEC: Inexperienced, thin Florida routed by Arkansas, Tennessee edges feisty Mississippi State.

Eddie Sutton hits 800 Ws: Wonder if he'll quit coaching the team today? No, I'm being serious.

Kevin Love Watch: 26 and 11 (yet another double-double) for my National Player of the Year, in a UCLA win over Arizona.

Over/under on the number of fans who watched Yao play Yi? Here's an appropriate over/under: The number of people who will watch the Super Bowl.

-- D.S.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Pats Cheating Scandal Gets Murkier:
Did the Team Tape the Rams Before XXXVI?

Must-must-must read post on Pro Football Talk about the story in today's Boston Herald blowing open the story (which had been swirling as a mere rumor) that the Pats secretly taped the Rams final walk-through before Super Bowl XXXVI, giving them just enough edge to allow them to slip past the heavily favored Rams to win the Pats' first title of the dynasty.

Given what we have seen this year, would it really surprise anyone that Bill Belichick uses rule-bending (or -breaking) videotaping techniques to gain an advantage? Like this year against the Jets (or last year against however-many teams) was the first time he did it? That doesn't pass the smell test. And there is little question that inside info like the walk-through video would have had a game-changing impact on the Super Bowl's result -- and thus sports history, connecting all the way to this weekend.

I believe these new allegations related to the Pats' XXXVI win over the Rams. Does it taint their dynasty? In theory, yes. In reality, no. Not only is it relatively ancient history, but NFL fans have shown an infinite capacity to not really care about cheating, whether it is technological or chemical. ("What competitors!") But god forbid the fantasy waiver wire malfunction.

But from the moment the New York Times broke things on Friday morning, this continues to be a really big story. Really big. Super big.

-- D.S.

Saturday 02/02 A.M. (Very) Quickie:
Gasol, Goodell, Johan, Knoblauch, More

Today's Names to Know: Pau Gasol, Johan Santana, Roger Goodell, Chuck Knoblauch, Kobe Bryant, Brandon Roy and More!

Lakers Snag Pau Gasol, Cont'd: There's a new "Big Three" in the NBA.

Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.

I would argue that trio is an even BETTER "Big Three" than Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce... at least if you want to win a title.

If the Lakers were in the East, they would now be favored to win the conference, ahead of the Celtics. As it is, they have moved from a second-tier contender in the West to the first tier, along with San Antonio and Phoenix. (Sorry, New Orleans.)

Why do Bryant, Bynum and Gasol form the better "Big Three?" Size, for one. Give me two bigs and Kobe over a jumpshooter, a bigger jumpshooter and KG.

The other factor? What's around the Big Three: Compare Lamar Odom to the Celtics' 4th-best player; that's not even a comparison. And the rising Jordan Farmar is a wash with Rajon Rondo. UPDATE: That last statement was WRONG. Rondo is better than Farmar, but I'm not quite sure he's more valuable than Odom.

What's amazing is that with this one move, the Lakers are so relevant... so now. Bethlehem Shoals and I were IM'ing about the deal shortly after it came out, and he said the Lakers were the "new Suns," the new team of fascinating, weird talents meshed together.

The wild thing is that we may get to see which "Big Three" rules: If the Celtics are the favorites to win the East, then the Lakers have to be considered a strong contender to win the West.

Celtics-Lakers might be the only thing that could save the NBA Finals. (Wow, just in time for Groundhog Day today, doesn't it seem like we're now re-living the 80s?)

Mets make a deal with Johan Santana for 6Y/$137.5M, the largest deal ever for a pitcher. What's $23 million a year between new friends?

Roger Goodell vs. Arlen Specter: So the Senator wants to know why the Commissioner destroyed the tapes involved in the Pats' cheating scandal; the Commish replied with a non-answer, focusing on his punishment of the Pats, not the underlying cover-up by the league.

Chuck Knoblauch vs. Congress: He testified and said he did truthfully, but also implied he didn't say anything about Roger Clemens. Andy Pettitte's testimony next week should be a little more interesting.

NBA Stud: Kobe was obviously excited by the Gasol deal; he scored 46 in a 20-point rout of the Raptors. (To my point before about Odom, he had 12 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists. There isn't a better "4th-option" in the NBA; the Suns' Barbosa is his closest competitor.)

Meanwhile, Brandon Roy had a triple-double (20 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists).

Oh, and Grizzlies fans have to feel like they were fleeced; hopefully, this leads to a sale to a better owner. I mean: Why trade for Crittenton when you just drafted Conley and traded for Navarro? Rudy Gay IS a budding superstar they can build a team around, but they will need some size. Good thing they'll have their own high draft pick to use in what should be a loaded 2008 draft class: Kevin Love or Michael Beasley will look really good paired with Gay and Conley.

CFB: The Georgia legislators who passed a resolution calling for a college football playoff are deluded; how about solutions, instead of complaints? Oh, right: Because no playoff solution solves the underlying problems.

-- D.S.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Pau Gasol to the Lakers

The Lakers just fleeced the Grizzlies and suddenly are a very legit contender in the West.

Super Bowl XXXII, 10 Years Later

I have been to one Super Bowl in my life: Super Bowl XXXII in San Diego. John Elway's first title and the scene of his career-defining "helicopter" gain.

I got to the game as an employee of the NFL. (Not sure how many of you know I worked for the league itself, about a half-dozen jobs ago.) I worked in the division that managed (at the time managed by Starwave, which also managed, where I worked before the NFL and which facilitated the role at the NFL).

For the most part, I was a low-level lackey. The culture wasn't particularly entrepreneurial and the atmosphere wasn't particularly welcoming to its nascent online division.

I did have the opportunity to do two interesting things:

(1) I got to conceive and manage that year, which would become the most widely visited single-event Web site in the young history of the consumer Web.

(2) They flew me out to San Diego for a long week of lead-up to the game. Here's where I have to tip my cap to the generosity of the league: They also provided for a companion to fly out to San Diego – and, because I was working at the game, they gave me two game tickets, along with a host of passes to all of the biggest and best parties.

I gave the tickets to my father and brother. My dad took advantage of the free flight; my brother used miles to get out to San Diego. They stayed with me in my hotel room for free and ate from the plates of food I brought from the employee dining tent. They got special access to the NFL Experience and front-row seats to MTV Rock-n-Jock and attended all those parties with me. It was one of their greatest memories ever. Mine, too.

For that, I can't thank the NFL enough, even if the experience of working for the league for those 8 months wasn't particularly fun – and, actually, kind of ruined any passion I had for the NFL.

I watched the game from an press box, and two things stand out:

(1) Jim Fassel is a genius. He did the equivalent of a "live-blog" for, providing constant chatter and answering user questions throughout the game. I don't think I truly understood how smart the REALLY smart NFL minds are until I heard him talk about the game: He knew everything – his analysis skills were jaw-dropping. He was calling plays before they happened. He might not be a fit for TV as an analyst, but the NFL should allow guys like him to call games from a special live feed you get if you care about the actual game being played. And he was a truly nice guy and treated all the lowly workers really well.

(2) I had a special league-approved locker-room pass, as part of, ostensibly to cover the game. When the game was over, I could either go to the Broncos locker room – a once-in-a-lifetime experience – or sit in the box and work on a postgame column to lead, tinker with the site and otherwise avoid a scene in the bowels of the stadium that, in all honesty, I was horrifying intimidated by. (I will never be a reporter.) Instead, I gave the pass to a co-worker and she went to the locker room. As expected, she said it was one of the coolest scenes she has ever experienced. Of course it was. In hindsight, I regret my insecurity – it is one of my greatest regrets of my professional life, if only to have experienced a Super Bowl locker-room.

I can't believe it is 10 years later. My stint at the NFL wasn't particularly memorable. But this week 10 years ago, it elevated itself to one of the most enjoyable weeks and experiences of my life. (Oh, and I have never sniffed a return to the Super Bowl.)

Commenters: What is the greatest sporting event you have ever been to live? (I know we bring this up somewhat regularly. I can't get enough of your stories. This isn't my most meaningful sporting event I have ever attended, but it is the biggest, from an "objective" standpoint.)

-- D.S.

PFT Cracks Open Today's New NFL Scandal

Earlier this morning, I mentioned the NY Times breaking a story of Arlen Specter wanting to talk to NFL Commish Roger Goodell about the NFL confiscating any/all evidence of the Pats' cheating from earlier this season. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk hits the critical point in this must-read post. This is so much bigger than just the one instance of spying (or the league's sketchy confiscation of any evidence that might prove it).

Here's the thing: Walsh might not want to talk, but if (or when) Congress asks him to testify, he can't say no. And if he's worried about the NFL pressuring him not to testify, I expect Specter would say something to the effect of: "NFL: You do NOT want to go down the road of intimidating a Congressional witness."

See, now THAT would be even worse than the league's cover-up, which itself was worse than the original spying crime. See how this works? (The league should take a lesson from its many steroid scandals: Fans don't really care, do they? So if I was Goodell I'd say: Happy to clear it all up.)

This is quickly becoming THE sub-plot outside the Super Bowl -- and I'm betting it continues to be a story long after Sunday's result has been determined and a champ has been crowned.

- D.S.

Super Bowl XLII Pick: Pats 41, Giants 17

Shanoff's Super Bowl XLII Prediction: Pats 41, Giants 17.

Quickie jinx is NOT in effect. That's how obvious it is that the Pats are going to win. (I will say, however, that my final vote in the "19-0 vs. 18-1" poll was to see the Greatest Upset Ever over the Greatest Season Ever. For superlative purposes, I can't lose, but I'd like to see the Pats lose slightly more than I'd like to see the Pats win.)

Submit your own picks in the Comments -- "Morning Quickie"-style! I want to know who you think will win, the score, your pick for MVP, your pick for a darkhorse MVP and any other (short) analysis you want to offer up.

Click here for a list of SBXLII picks from a ton of bloggers.

BTW: This story is fascinating -- Roger Goodell is going to be hauled in front of Congress to explain why the NFL destroyed any/all evidence related to the Pats' spying cheating. As he should be: It was one of the sketchiest moves of the last year in sports.

Senator Arlen Specter, driving the bus on this, echoes the old Quickie maxim, saying: "It's the same old story. What you did is never as important as the cover-up." So now the NFL's destruction of evidence is framed as a "cover-up."

And it's wild -- and a little bad-ass -- that Specter chose to make this announcement pop on the Thursday and Friday before the Super Bowl, for maximum impact. Tracking...

Oh, and about Microsoft wanting to buy Yahoo: The first thing I thought of was: Well, if MSFT kills the MSN partnership with -- which drives's traffic -- and keeps it "in-house" for Yahoo Sports, that would be massive for Yahoo Sports. 30 million unique users a month isn't out of the question, which is sort of insane.

-- D.S.

Friday 02/01 A.M. Quickie:
XLII, NFLPA, Spurs, Wazzu, Duke, More!

Today's Names to Know from today's Sporting News column:

Tom Brady, Tom Petty, Paula Abdul, Ryan Seacrest, Bud Light, FedEx, Gene Upshaw, Jacque Vaughn, Washington State, Wisconsin, Chuck Knoblauch, Johan Santana, David West, Cameron Crazies and More!

Including: Why I'm rooting for the Pats to lose (but picking them to win)... why Tom Petty will rule (but you'll be talking about Paula Abdul on Monday morning)... why Washington State is overrated (but Wisconsin is underrated)... why Chuck Knoblauch may have an "I can't recall" problem... why today is do-or-die for the Mets... why David West is a fantastic All-Star pick (despite the Al Jefferson snub)... and why the Cameron Crazies hate the environment... all after the jump.

Check back later this morning for a full discussion of the Super Bowl (prepare to share your own picks in the Comments), and be sure to check back on both Saturday and Sunday for the usual (Very) Quickies.

-- D.S.