Saturday, January 22, 2011

1/22 Quickie: Jets, QBs, CBB, Rays

It's a long 36 hours or so until the NFL's conference-championship double-header, which -- if form holds -- will end up being one of the most-watched days of non-Super Bowl NFL in history.

The build-up has been near-SB in volume and intensity -- Rex and Tomlin, Rodgers vs. Cutler, Big Ben and history, Bart Scott and "Can't Wait!" The Jets' LACK of trash-talk is a story.

So what can keep us occupied until then?

Today is a terrific day of college hoops, with games running from noon (Ohio State-Illinois on CBS, Villanova-Syracuse on ESPN) through midnight, when Michigan State-Purdue will probably end).

So if you've been holding off on CBB this season for all the other stuff on the sports agenda -- mainly college football and pro football, with some NBA and NHL sprinkled in -- this is your day. Pay particular attention to OSU's Jared Sullinger -- the best post player in college hoops this year -- and UConn's Kemba Walker (playing Tennessee at 4 on CBS), who is the best guard in the country this year. There: You're all caught up.

Meanwhile, the whole baseball world is having a pretty good chuckle at the expense of the Angels, who took on the expense of Vernon Wells, who is vastly overpaid and has some questionable skills. It smacks of early-90s Yankees desperation, and the Angels' performance next season should reflect that. That team went from one that should have had the playoffs on lockdown for a half-decade to one that may have the least momentum in its division.

And I love the Rays signing Manny and Johnny Damon. First of all, I think Manny still has some pop and he is going to end up having a surprisingly good year -- you can already see this coming. And the pair of them might actually put Red Sox Nation who live in the Tampa-St. Pete area into seats from time to time. But Manny for $2 million? Where's the risk?

Wrapping in a bit of non-sports news, how about that surprise exit of Keith Olbermann from MSNBC last night? I know his deal will prevent him from doing TV news for a while, but I really do think he would be great if he moved over to MLB Network for the season and put all his energy and enthusiasm into baseball. It would be therapeutic for him and a benefit to baseball fans, who recognize that -- no matter what your political affiliation or temperament -- Olbermann knows and loves baseball.

Finally, if you didn't hear about it yesterday afternoon, we announced the SXSW sports-media panel I will be moderating, and it's going to be fantastic: ESPN's Jemele Hill, CNBC's Darren Rovell, SBNation's Spencer Hall and Deadspin's AJ Daulerio. It should be a frank and fast-paced discussion of the state of the industry.

Please give Quickish a look today (or throughout the day) -- and don't forget to come by tomorrow, particularly during the NFL games. I've found that Quickish during live events like football games is particularly useful for fans who are watching the game and are looking for a "second screen" experience. Thanks in advance!

Enjoy your Saturday.

-- D.S.

Friday, January 21, 2011

1/21 Quickie: NFL Conf Title Games

There's a part of me that says we can't go wrong with any of the four possible Super Bowl combinations. Partly, that's because all four fan-bases are intolerable in their own way.

With no dog in the fight -- despite living in NYC and despite growing up a HUGE Bears fan -- I'm probably partial to Jets-Packers, for two reasons:

(1) The two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl are miserable displays of media oversaturation; the Jets will at least make it interesting.

(2) Aaron Rodgers is playing out of his mind, and presuming the Packers beat the Bears, he will still be on a roll. I would love to see him against a white-hot defense that would have stopped -- in order -- Peyton, Brady and Big Ben.

My picks: Jets over Steelers. Packers over Bears. Two road teams winning in the conference title games. Consequently: Congratulations, Steelers and Bears fans.


There is so much good stuff being posted over at Quickish on a minute-to-minute basis (ok, more like 15-minute-to-15-minute basis) that I can barely keep it all straight in my head.

If you haven't yet today, I would love it if you would pop over there to check it out. Even visiting once a day will keep you up on the real-time chatter and all the best longer-form commentary.

Two more requests: (1) If you haven't dropped by during an NFL playoff game, give it a try on Sunday. Oh, watch the game on TV for sure. But fire up your laptop, phone or iPad and head over to Quickish; I really do think it is the very best "live" online companion you will find.

(And I wouldn't say that if I thought something else out there was better -- I'd point you to THAT and then tell you to try Quickish anyway. But I monitor all the big live-blogs and comment sections during the games, looking for good comments -- and Quickish is faster, easier to consume and smarter.)

(2) By design and necessity, Quickish doesn't have a huge marketing budget and no big distribution partners (yet). It really relies on people who enjoy it telling their friends, co-workers, whoever -- your recommendation is the most powerful thing out there.

So tell some friends. Tell all your friends. Tweet it out. Like the Quickish Facebook page (or just drop a status update on Facebook about it). It would really help.

OK: I'll stop now. (As soon as we get to a million users, I'm happy to stop being so pushy!)

Enjoy the games, and hopefully another update later.

-- D.S.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

1/20 Quickie: Melo and More

Good for the Nets. You can mock them for being suckers in all this, but it was obvious from the beginning -- and throughout -- that Carmelo Anthony had NO interest in playing for them.

The Nets' pursuit of him was pathetic, given that he wouldn't -- and would never -- reciprocate. (And even if he did sign an extension with them, is there any doubt he'd bolt in three years as soon as the deal was up?)

The Nets are better off without him -- and instead focusing on getting players who WANT to be there. Or drafting good young talent and being entertaining, if not winning. I think fans can live with entertaining basketball; only 3-4 teams a year have a legit shot at the title.

As for the Nuggets, good luck getting any more than dimes on the dollar for Carmelo, who almost surely seems destined for New York. Fine -- especially if NY can get Chris Paul or Deron Williams in the summer of 2012.


NFL Conference Championships: Everyone wants to talk about Rex Ryan and the Jets -- with good reason -- but I love this Packers-Bears game in Chicago. After what Green Bay did to the Falcons, I find it hard to believe they won't keep rolling through the Bears all the way to the SB.


Charles Barkley being part of the NCAA Tournament broadcast is the best thing to happen to the Tournament on TV since they created the "on-demand" service that lets you watch any game you want online for free. The more Charles the better; they cannot have him on-air enough.


This Tom Jackson thing won't go away: He picked the Pats to win by a lot, then back-tracked to say that he only did it to motivate the Jets. This is ludicrous. All Jackson has is the trust of fans that he is offering up an honest opinion. I don't expect him to be right; I expect him to be earnest. And now I'll never believe a prediction from him again. (To the extent that pre-game picks EVER matter, given that there is zero accountability for being wrong.)


Yikes, it is a slow sports day. Last night's frenzy over Carmelo was worth it though. Did you check out Quickish's coverage? Finding that Quickish is super-helpful to keep up or catch up on those big stories in the hour or two after they break.

-- D.S.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

1/19 Quickie: Ugh

Apologies to everyone for the lack of a post today. A doctor's appointment for one of my kids threw the whole well-oiled machine off track. Back in full force tomorrow a.m., for sure.

In the meantime, I hope you looked for all the quick-ish goodness over at Quickish throughout the day. If you haven't been yet today, take 30 seconds -- a minute, tops! -- to head over and catch up now.

Apologies again.

-- D.S.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Revisiting Comcast-NBC Sports

With today's FCC approval of Comcast's acquisition of NBC-Universal, it's a good moment to re-visit my post from a year ago about the potential of this on the sports-media front, with updates on my recommendations based on new realities a year later:

ORIGINAL (12/03/09):

I had been sitting on an analysis of the sports-media potential of a Comcast merger with NBC-Universal for a month, until the deal looked sealed. The NYT's Richard Sandomir beat me to it, but I want to drill into it just a little bit.

Here's the top-line: The sports-media monster that comes from Comcast-NBCU has the potential to be the biggest alternative to ESPN in the history of sports media. Note how I avoid using "competitor," because I'm coming at this from a consumer/fan perspective: More choice is a good thing. No one will ever replace ESPN, but this might offer another comprehensive high-end option.

The fundamental thing Comcast-NBCU needs to do is -- like ESPN within Disney -- create one all-encompassing sports brand that will be the focal point for all sports on NBC, Versus, Golf Channel, Universal Sports, all the Comcast regional nets and across every media platform -- sorry, Versus, you're gone. Let's call it "NBC Sports Network" (NBCSN)

There are plenty of TV assets currently accessible to Comcast/NBCU to make NBCSN a compelling network, across multiple channels:

*NFL Sunday Night Football
*NFL Red Zone channel (!!!)
*Notre Dame football
*Grand Slam tennis finals
*US Open (USA)
*MMA/UFC (via Versus -- thanks, reader Zak W.)
*At least one golf major championship
*Mountain West college football
*Golf Channel
*Bull Riding, Cycling, MMA and other Versus sports
*The 76ers and Flyers (fwiw)
*Bob Costas
*Dan Patrick (via FNIA)
*Tony Dungy (via FNIA)
*Keith Olbermann (via MSNBC)
*Peter King (via FNIA)
*10 regional sports TV networks in some of the biggest markets, all of which could feed a "mother" channel.

But they need more, a lot more: National studio programming, and lots of it. And not cheesy ones either. Take sports coverage as seriously as fans do. As Sandomir pointed out, they need a SportsCenter franchise. I'll go one better: They need a PTI-like franchise, too.

Then there are the TV assets that a cash-flow powerhouse like Comcast-NBCU could afford to buy, like the NCAA Tournament, more Olympics, NFL Thursday Night Football. And I'd cut a deal with the NBA and MLB networks to get access to cut in to any game they want.

(By the way, here's a memo to NBCU's new Comcast overlords: Now that you own MSNBC, try to recruit MSNBC's brilliant primetime programming honcho Bill Wolff -- an ESPN veteran, by the way -- to be your head of all programming for NBC Sports Network under Dick Ebersol.)

But I'm actually equally intrigued by the online sports powerhouse that could be created. Again, let's review the assets that the new company has access to right now:

NEW (1/18/10):

*Pro Football Talk (via
*The other "Talk" sport blogs.
*10 regional TV networks' online sites (getting huge investment for video and reported content)
*Darren Rovell (via CNBC)
*Rick Chandler (Deadspin alum and lead blogger)
*RotoWorld (via
*Access to all of the NBC Local online sports content talent, including Deadspin's Drew Magary.
*The front-page firehose

And, again, with Comcast's cash flow powering it, here are the simple, logical and efficient moves that NBC Sports Network could combine with the existing assets to instantly turn it into a Top 2-3 site online, with massive growth potential in local media and social/mobile media:

*Acquire SBNation, which exponentially boosts Comcast's local online efforts. (Comcast's VC unit is already an investor in SBNation.)

*Gobble up as many early-stage sports-media and sports-tech start-ups as you can. For example, FanVibe (which is trying to be Foursquare for sports); numberFire (which cleaned house in fantasy football projections in 2010); and, yes, self-servingly, they should at least ask about Quickish.

*Fanhouse just flooded the market with 100 talented writers, bloggers and web producers. You can cherry-pick any you want: Leave the newspaper alums to Sporting News and start with the folks who have already achieved online virality: Clay Travis, Bethlehem Shoals and a few others. They're all available.

*Partner with Yahoo! Sports, which has the massive online reach but lacks a TV presence.

*Build your own version of, an online-only cable network.

The idea of a new sports TV network gets all the headlines, because it involves a lot bigger dollars spent and generated. But much more efficiently, the new company can massively expand its existing footprint online, bringing together all of these various (and valuable) assets -- along with a couple quick acquisitions -- to become a leader in emerging sports media, not just televised sports media.

-- D.S.

01/18 Quickie: Ryan, Griffin, Favre, More

The pace of sports news is lulling a bit, but it's still a jam-packed day of Quickish coverage:

*Jets Hangover: The prevailing opinion continues to be that if you talk, you better back it up -- and because the Jets backed it up, they're o.k. with fans.

(Ironically, the Jets have totally toned down the rhetoric in the first 36 hours since their match-up with the Steelers was set. Different set of mind-games for Rex?)

*Blake Griffin scores NBA season-high 47: And, at this point, I'm ready to throw my support behind Griffin for more than just Rookie of the Year -- how about MVP?

*Sidney Crosby vs. the NHL: Today, NHL All-Star captains are announced, and Crosby is expected to be one of them. And yet, someone is leaking that he might skip the weekend. (Check out Quickish for a tip to a Yahoo/Wyshynski explanation.)

*Brett Favre "retires": Not being sarcastic at all, I just don't believe it. And I won't believe it until not just next season goes by, but TWO seasons go by. I don't think he really wants to retire.

*Zenyatta wins Horse of the Year: As she should.

*LeBron is launching a web-based cartoon series that is described as a cross between "Fat Albert" and "The Boondocks," which doesn't make a ton of sense.

As I wrote on Quickish -- anticipating that this could turn into a "thing" across sports media -- I'm waiting for the "very special episode" where cartoon LeBron learns a tough lesson about abandoning his die-hard fans.

*What was Tom Brady huffing out of that Gatorade cup? Ammonia. It's common practice in the NFL, and I could totally see it becoming a problem with the "Won't somebody think of the children!" crowd. (Frankly, I think the ammonia-huffing is much more insidious as a bad influence on kids than steroids, which are a lot harder to come by. Ammonia-huffing is off-the-shelf.

There's tons more on Quickish today, throughout the day. Please give it a try -- or, if you're already a regular, please tell your friends and co-workers. At this point, getting the word out and getting people to (a) know about it and (b) try it is the No. 1 challenge/priority. Thanks.

-- D.S.

Monday, January 17, 2011

1/17 Quickie: J-E-T-S, Jets! Jets! Jets!

Wow. That was one of the greatest NFL wins I have ever seen.

When you consider everything: That the Pats were the overwhelming favorite, playing at home and coming off a bye week, having stomped the Jets 45-3 just a few weeks ago, with a sick offense and with the Jets having talked themselves into a corner...

And the Jets just shut them down. They racked up that Pats offense and made them look like chumps -- it was as inspired of a defensive effort as I have ever seen, including the Giants doing just enough to stop the unbeaten Pats in the Super Bowl (or, say, the '85 Bears totally shutting down the Pats in Super Bowl XX.)

Most impressively -- and folks disagree with me, and that's totally fair -- the Jets talked as big of a game as I have seen a team talk, certainly in the playoffs against a juggernaut like the Pats were...

...and the Jets backed it up. Talk and lose, and you're a huge chump. Far more of a chump than had you not talked and lost.

But talk and WIN? You're far more of a badass than had you NOT talked and won.

The fact is that the Jets' talking wasn't just a reflection of their coach or some team mentality to yap; it was a concerted effort of psy-ops to get in the heads of the Pats. I honestly think it wouldn't work -- that no Belichick-coached team would fall for that. But the Pats did.

It wasn't just the talking alone, obviously. The Jets' schemes were superlative, but the talking didn't make those schemes less effective, and if it got the Jets themselves fired up -- rather than taking the Pats out of their game -- that's also a perfectly acceptable reason to do it.

These Jets may talk -- a lot -- but they are likable, not the least of which because they dispatched the Patriots, a team loathed everywhere but New England (or by displaced Pats fans). You can find the Jets annoying, but even more, you really didn't want to see the Pats win it all.

Check out the Quickish feed from last night to re-live one of the best performances in NFL Playoff history -- and thus NFL history, period.


Bears throttle the Seahawks: OK, I think we can all get behind Bears-Packers at Soldier Field with the NFC's Super Bowl spot on the line.

Nets given permission by Nuggets to talk directly to Carmelo: If Mikael Prokhorov gets a chance to talk to Melo, he'll scare him into signing the extension agreeing to a trade.

(UPDATE: They might not have permission -- and even if they do, Carmelo seems REALLY disinterested in playing for them. Why are the Nets pushing if he's not into it? Even if they convince him today, he will have a count-down clock on until this new deal expires.)

Red sign Joey Votto to an extension at a very reasonable 3Y/$38M. That's a lot less than the Cardinals -- or, say, the Mets -- are going to pay for Albert Pujols.

Blake Griffin and the Clippers beat the Lakers: Coming off a win over the Heat, this would qualify as the best week in the history of the franchise.

The weekend's biggest winners: Rex Ryan, Bart Scott, Santonio Holmes, Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler, Big Ben.

-- D.S.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

1/16 Quickie: Rodgers, Ben, Jets-Pats

Here's some "realtalk": Aaron Rodgers' performance yesterday was better than any single game Brett Favre had for the Packers.

It wasn't just the finest performance by a QB in the history of the Packers franchise (oh, Starr fans, fine: In the ESPN Era), but it was one of the greatest performances by a QB in NFL Playoff history.

It was sublime to watch (and to follow on Quickish, if you did -- and you still can!) -- a QB playing about as well as you can witness one play, under any conditions, let alone a road game against the top conference seed coming off a restful bye week.

Rodgers was already a great QB -- top tier in the NFL, along with Brady, Manning and, this season, Vick. But a game like that on a stage like this elevates him to superstar status.


After watching that insanely intense Steelers-Ravens game, it seems crazy to think that it would end up the second-biggest storyline of the day, but that's how good Rodgers was.

...And how bad the Ravens' offense was in the 2nd half, even as its defense faltered just enough -- let's call it one insane 70-yard play on 3rd-and-19 late in the 4th quarter -- to let a win slip away. The offense, with its free-agent WR drops and its Flacco-ness, made it worse.

The Ravens should have won. They didn't. Even allowing that beating Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh in the playoffs is no easy task, that makes Baltimore an unlikeable loser. No moral victories here.


Pats vs. Jets: The cover of the NY Post today is outrageous -- they fully embrace the crazy, and I love it. I am no fan of the Pats -- although I love Belichick -- and I find myself enjoying the Ryan-led bluster of the Jets, who should be considered massive underdogs. I would like nothing more than the Jets to win -- not quite as much as I wanted the Giants to beat the then-unbeaten Pats in the Super Bowl, but certainly enough to be on the "rooting for Jets" side. Too bad they're going to get drilled.


It is a complete mis-read by NFL "experts" to think that Seattle making -- and hosting -- the NFC championship game would be bad for the NFL, some sort of mockery or sham. On the contrary, casual and ("non-") fans would absolutely love it, and it would only increase attention on the league from more of the country, as everyone embraces the "Cinderella."

Most of the country couldn't care less that the Seahawks are under .500 -- in fact, that's part of the charm. It's like calling Cinderella "mediocre" and insisting she isn't worthy of going to the ball unless she puts on superficially fancy clothes.

I grew up a huge -- HUGE -- Bears fan. And it was in DC, so I took a fair amount of grief from my friends, who were ALL Redskins fans. But I find myself rooting for this unique Seahawks story to continue, all the way to a home game back in Seattle with a Super Bowl bid on the line.


*Carmelo jerseys are 50% off at the Nuggets team store: Make of that what you will.

*Albert Pujols wants a new deal by the time spring training starts: And? Why won't the Cards pay the guy the rate he has earned -- and deserves? He's an all-time Top 10 player.

*Enjoy the games today. Even (or especially) if you're watching the games on TV, please drop by Quickish during the games for the best "live" accompaniment of big sports events you'll find.

-- D.S.