The Daily Word in capsized cruise ship, crashing Mars probe, self-whistleblowing bank robber.
Happy Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day!
The Earth's crust in New Mexico is stretching.
Jon Huntsman to drop out of 2012 race and endorse Romney.
Lobos win first conference game 72-62 at Wyoming.
The 'atrocious' officiating of the NFL playoffs.
A word from Kim Jong Un's best friends from growing up.
May I please have all of these for my birthday?: Astronomy illustrations from 1868-1881.
Russia's Mars probe crashes into the Pacific.
Bank robber calls 911 on himself.
Jay-Z bans the "B-word" and gets a nasty response.
Taliban leader reported dead in US drone strike.
Transsexual-averse Girl Scout calls for cookie boycott.
Jimmy Fallon as Tebowie.
The Daily Word in Bigfoot's right to free speech, Robert Anton Wilson week, and (Un)-Occupy Albuquerque in Santa Fe
(Un)-Occupy Albuquerque will be protesting in Santa Fe next week.
What happens to stuff dropped off at Santa Fe recycling stations?
It is Robert Anton Wilson week!
Here is a different way of evaluating NFL teams and games.
"If you need a brassiere, wear one" and other dating tips for women circa 1938.
Too fat to fit in the CT-scanner? Try the one at the zoo.
Court finds state violated Bigfoot's right to free speech.
Hangover Sports Roundup
Lobos rolling into conference play, Giants bury Falcons, Tebow pulls off another miracle
Before the season started, fans and critics questioned the potential of this year's Lobos. Head coach Steve Alford imposed multiple non-conference tournaments into the schedule to test his team’s mental toughness. Based on its 14-2 record, it seems this team has answered the challenge. The Lobos concluded non-conference play last Saturday at home against North Dakota. Despite having starting freshman point guard Hugh Greenwood recovering from an ankle sprain, the team didn't miss a beat, with six Lobos scoring in double figures. UNM only had a 10-point lead at half time, but turned up the pressure and blew out North Dakota 85-57. Now riding a 12-game winning streak, the Lobos have an extended break before facing the Wyoming Cowboys, Jan. 14 at Laramie. Alford has his team performing extremely well, but there's no denying some of its opponents have been subpar. Only time will tell if this could come back and haunt New Mexico when facing the top Mountain West Conference teams.
The New York Giants may be experiencing deja vu during their attempt at another Super Bowl run. An underrated Eli Manning, an average regular season, great unknown wide receivers and a furious pass rush are creating a lethal combination that could lead the Giants to the promised land. But first they had to take care of the Atlanta Falcons. The Giants defense tormented Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, enabling Giants QB Eli Manning to have good field position and throw for 277 yards and 3 touchdowns. New York only allowed a safety and dominated the Falcons, 24-2. Now the Giants must face the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers for a spot in the NFC Championship. The Packers will be the favorite, but to count out Manning and the Giants would be a mistake.
For those hoping the hype surrounding Tim Tebow would eventually disappear, they’ll have to wait at least another week. Besides Denver Broncos fans, anyone who says they picked the Donkeys to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers is probably lying. The Steelers were fighting injuries to key defensive stars and Ben Roethlisberger was hampered by a leg injury. But going into the game Denver was given little chance to pull the upset, considering they lost three in a row prior to Sunday. The unsung Broncos defense stopped the Steelers in the fourth quarter to force the first new playoff overtime. That set the stage for another Tebow miracle. It only took a coin flip and one play and Tebow delivered another miraculous victory. His 80-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas not only gave the Broncos the 29-23 win but also should guaranteed Tebow's job for next season. His stats aren’t always impressive, but there's no doubt when it's crunchtime, he delivers. Tebow has to prove he can put a full game together before he can be worthy of all the media attention. Keep in mind this is Tebow’s first season as a starter. If he can improve, it wouldn't be surprising if he rises to be an elite quarterback in the NFL.
NFL playoffs begin
As the regular season finished up last week, New York Giants fans got another win to gloat about in their rivalry with the Dallas Cowboys. This one stung in a pretty spectacular manner, too, since the G-Men's win meant that the Cowboys would be nowhere to be found in this year's playoff schedule.
Things get started this wild card weekend with a quartet of games that offer plenty of excitement, plus the promise of water cooler talk to last the entire week. Cincinnati plays at Houston to open things up and then Detroit gets to play in New Orleans.
If you can find two better examples in the last ten years of cities with everything hanging out on the line playing each other in the playoffs, your memory is better than mine. The Saints' first season after Hurricane Katrina ravaged its city was kicked off with a bang and finished almost as near as one can ask for, without winning the big prize. Of course, New Orleans is past its sportly woes after taking home the Lombardi Trophy two years ago.
Detroit, on the other hand, has been awful for a long time, and has had its troubles well-documented as a result of the auto industry's meltdown. A win for either side will represent just another level by which the respective cities have overcome the tumultuous previous decade.
The Atlanta Falcons get things kicked off on Sunday with a game against the aforementioned Giants. That great game, though, serves merely as a precursor to the ongoing drama of Tim Tebow. The Pittsburgh Steelers (they of the most championships of all time in the NFL) will face off in Denver against the Broncos, hoping to end the miraculous season of a team that virtually no one picked to even make the playoffs.
Let's be clear: This is merely the wild card weekend of the playoffs. Details haven't even been given on the top dogs in each conference, which consist of the Green Bay Packers, the San Francisco 49ers, the Baltimore Ravens, and the New England Patriots. The Packers and the Patriots are the likely favorites to win their respective conferences, but their paths to Super Bowl XLVI are by no means guaranteed.
The best time of the year for a football fan is upon us. It's only going to get better.
Hangover Sports Roundup
Lesnar retires, Lobos on fire, Giants embarrass America's Team
Brock Lesnar made his long-awaited return to the octagon when he faced top Heavyweight contender Alistair Overeem. UFC President Dana White was certainly happy to see Lesnar return as he's the biggest pay-per-view draw in mixed martial arts. Despite Lesnar's bout with diverticulitis, many critics picked him to win by overwhelming Overeem with his wrestling ability. Shockingly, when Overeem aimed to the body with knees and kicks, that ability disappeared. Eventually, Lesnar crumbled to the ground and allowed the referee to rescue him from the Overeem beatdown. In the post fight interview, Lesnar announced his retirement under pressure from his wife and kids. Despite only having eight professional fights, Lesnar accomplished a lot in his brief tenure in the sport. While professional wrestling fans will wish for Lesnar's return to the WWE, Overeem can now become a major star with American MMA fans with a victory over UFC Heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos.
Also in MMA, Jackson's fighter Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone earned his co-main-event spot against Nate Diaz by going 4-0 in 2011. Both men engaged in a war of words through interviews and press conferences before the bout. Then, when the fight started, Diaz’ trash talk seemed to take Cerrone out of his comfort zone. Diaz’ signature boxing frustrated Cerrone and gave Diaz a massive advantage headed into the later rounds. “Cowboy” mounted a decent comeback in Round 2 with huge leg kicks, but Diaz countered with multiple combinations to the head. In Round 3 Diaz continued his striking dominance en route to a 30-27, 30-27, 29-28 unanimous decision. Diaz makes a very convincing case for a title shot but most likely will have another fight against a wrestler in order to become No. 1 contender. As for Cerrone, he has six victories out of his last seven fights and is still a major player in the Lightweight division. If he gets his wish to fight on the UFC Japan card, a victory could put him back in the title mix.
After a heartbreaking overtime loss to Santa Clara, the Lobos have been on a roll, winning nine straight before their New Year’s Eve battle with St. Louis. More than 15,000 witnessed UNM hold off the Billikens for the 64-60 victory. The Billikens kept within reach, but Drew Gordon’s 18 points and 9 rebounds carried the Lobos for their 10th straight win. While UNM may have been a little rocky to start the season, it has huge momentum headed into conference play. The Lobos have a good combination of athleticism, defense and confidence that may lead them to a Mountain West Conference title.
The Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants had challenging seasons in 2011. But each team had had one last opportunity to erase the failures of the past and earn an NFC East title and a ticket to the playoffs with a win last night. Many would think with everything on the line during Sunday Night Football, this game would be competitive. Instead the Giants embarrassed the Cowboys and moved into an early 21-0 lead in the first half. The injured Tony Romo engineered a fourth quarter comeback with two touchdowns to close within seven points. But the underrated Eli Manning made the Dallas defense pay and threw a four-yard touchdown to Hakeem Nicks to seal the 34-13 victory and win the division. The Giants earned a wild card home game and will face the Atlanta Falcons next Sunday. Meanwhile, Dallas will search for answers to the many flaws they showed this season. Expect Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones to evaluate everyone’s job, from star players to the coaching staff.
Are you ready for some football?
Crunch time in NCAA, NFL
After Thanksgiving, football on both the pro and collegiate level heads toward the goal line.
NCAA games come to an end for many fans—especially in Albuquerque, especially these days—long before Christmas. The bowl season extends further than it has in the past, sure, but that's mainly due to the proliferation of the so-called bowl games. We start with the New Mexico Bowl, which Temple took over Wyoming on Dec. 17, and continue all the way to the BCS.
The title game occurs on Monday, Jan. 9, when No. 2 Alabama will face first-ranked LSU. Between now and then, plenty of pretenders to the bowl throne will battle, but few of them are worth the time it'll take to play, much less to watch. Of course, no disrespect is intended, as I'm sure Michigan State and Georgia, at No.’s 17 and 16, respectively, are great football teams, and their fans care very much who wins the game. But outside that constituency, its hard to muster feelings for the Outback Bowl, amongst others.
The day before the title game, in fact, is somehow, for some reason, occupied by Arkansas State versus Northern Illinois in the GoDaddy.com Bowl. Just for fun, although I'm sure it's been done before, let's look at some of these corporate sponsorships: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl, Little Caesar's Bowl, TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl! All of these games have been or will be televised nationally. Advertising really has changed the world.
The end of the college football bowl season dovetails nicely into the end of the NFL’s regular season, where things are really heating up. The titanic Green Bay Packers are obviously still a favorite, and the Philadelphia Eagles (preseason favorites who have been extensively covered) have now been officially dismissed from the playoffs. Perhaps another year to gel will help them live up to the lofty expectations.
While Green Bay has wrecked the regular season (save a blip two weeks ago), the New England Patriots have gone under the radar to resume their traditional position atop the AFC. Plenty of spoilers await a slip from either side, including the surprising stories of the San Francisco 49ers and the Houston Texans.
With only one more week in the regular season, plenty of teams are still itching to play spoiler. The biggest end-of-season matchup, however, seems guaranteed to be the Dallas Cowboys playing in New York against the Giants. The teams will play for the NFC East Championship in the last game of the regular season, on New Year's Day.
Football's finale is always the best, save the drama regarding the need for a true playoff system in college football. This year should be no different, whether you'll be watching the boys play in the BCS title game, or following the pros as they make the final cuts for the playoffs.
The Daily Word in the Barefoot Bandit, brick weed on Broadway, boozy Blago
Six former Freddie Mac and Fannie May bigwigs sued by the SEC.
Video shows inmates escaping Santa Fe Courthouse. The cop who saw them flee takes a leisurely stroll and sets down his drink before chasing them down. Who is this guy? Dirty Harry?
55 bricks of weed found at crackdown on auto repair shop on Broadway.
Death toll up to 169 in India bootleg liquor poisoning, with 195 under treatment.
Barefoot Bandit due for sentencing today on 33 charges in a Washington state court.
Boy meets girl. Boy takes girl to movies. Boy leaves girl in theater and steals her car.
Woman’s breast implant sucked through her ribcage during Pilates maneuver.
ICC may investigate Gaddafi’s death as a war crime.
Two baby goats apparently tortured and killed in the South Valley.
In less depressing animal cruelty news, dog that was thrown from car window found alive.
Is the 1994 Chargers team cursed by the Grim Reaper?
Just when it looked like Blago was out of the picture, source tells the Sun-Times that “Rod can’t sleep without drinking.” The judge that sentenced him to 14 years recommends prison rehab.
A look at the inexplicable, divisive phenomenon
Almost everyone in the world has weighed in on Tim Tebow. His general manager—former Denver Bronco great John Elway—said a few weeks ago that he wasn't quite sold on the young gun as a franchise quarterback. Then there was Charles Barkley, coming out of the woodwork and publicly pleading the Chicago Bears to beat the Broncos. (By the way, they didn't.) The discourse even turns up in seemingly tangential corners, such as young-adult author John Green's Tumblr and the pages of Rolling Stone. So what has Tebow done to deserve, in either sense of the word, all the chatter? Let's review.
Tebow, as we see him now, is a two-time national champion from the University of Florida. He is a Heisman Trophy winner, and one of the rare college athletes who succeeded so spectacularly and still played all four years— instead of making the jump to the pros early. He is enthusiastic in his love for the game, and most of his former associates, whether they be coaches or teammates, are nothing but effusive in their praise for him.
He also just so happens to be over-the-top religious. This, for a lot of people, is a deal breaker. Tebow's parents were missionaries, and he was raised with those beliefs. He has given numerous interviews stating that his ultimate goal in the NFL is to make enough money so that he can live the same kind of lifestyle as his parents did. The religious viewpoint is not unique to the NFL, nor to the Denver Broncos, but Tebow seems to raise a fervent attitude to people on both sides of the issue.
The real crux of The Tebow Dilemma, though, comes when examining the Broncos' record since Tebow was moved into the starting position at quarterback. In the words of DJ Khaled, all the Broncos have been doing since is winning. Often in ridiculously convoluted, dramatic fashion.
The Broncos were an anemic 1-4 before Tebow was slotted in to start, and have gone 7-1 since. The schedule, derided by critics at the beginning of the win streak, has gotten more difficult. The wins, counted as lucky by those same critics, have only gotten more and more tension-filled and climactic.
By most measures, Tebow is not, and should not be counted as a good quarterback in the NFL. Objectively, most scouts looked at him two years ago, before the draft, and said that he would not amount to much. (There were, of course, notable exceptions, such as Jon Gruden.) Subjectively, though, those critics, along with those who doubted his starting position or his worth to the Broncos at all, have had quite a few words to chew on in the last eight weeks. The wins keep piling up and, as of now, Denver sits alone in the top spot of the AFC West.
Steering away from the personal reasons people may or may not like Tebow, it seems now is a good time to remind everyone that we truly do live in the Moneyball age. Will Tebow continue to defy the numbers, or do statistical averages rule all? Will he break the numbers, or eventually conform to them? A third path exists: Perhaps Tim Tebow is making his own numbers, improving as he goes along. For now, the most entertaining words that any football fan can hear on any given Sunday go something like this: "It's the fourth quarter. The Broncos are down. But Tebow's got the ball." Tune in. Something amazing is going to happen.
Hangover Sports Roundup
UFC 139, Cowboys vs. Redskins
When the Ultimate Fighting Championship finally got its television deal with FOX, UFC put all its effort into making the Heavyweight championship a major event. So when UFC 139 aired a week later, most of the fighters on the card fell under the radar. Despite the lack of hype and promotion, the fighters delivered some awesome bouts for those who ordered the pay-per-view event. Dan Henderson vs. Shogun Rua was expected to end in a knockout, but instead it resulted in one of the greatest fights in MMA history. Henderson almost finished Rua several times with his signature right hand but Rua managed to survive. Shogun was bloodied and exhausted but had his moments over the former Strikeforce champion. When both men came out for the fifth round, Rua controlled Henderson with dominant positions and ground-and-pound. So when the judges rendered their verdict, most thought the epic war would result in a draw. Instead, they awarded Dan Henderson the victory and, he’s now earned a title-shot against either the Middleweight or Light Heavyweight champion. Shogun is looking for a rematch and may fight on UFC's Japan show in February. Regardless of the future, both men put on a performance that will be remembered forever in the MMA history books.
The Dallas Cowboys have looked like a roller coaster ride more than a Super Bowl contender this season. But with Tony Romo regaining his confidence, “America's Team” might have their swagger back. Whenever the Redskins and Cowboys face off, records usually go out the window and the rivalry takes over. Washington had their chances to spring the upset, but when the game went to OT, a missed field goal by Graham Gano gave Dallas new life. Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey hit a 39-yard field goal and gave Dallas the 27-24 victory. With the Giants and Eagles appearing mediocre every week, the Cowboys are poised to make a run towards a division title.
Diaz retires Penn, Ravens escape Cardinals, Steelers hold off Patriots
Despite the UFC 137 main event changes, BJ Penn and Nick Diaz delivered an exciting bout featuring a back and forth, crowd-pleasing battle. In the first round, Penn was very aggressive by getting the better of the striking and momentarily taking Diaz' back. But in the second and third rounds Diaz' conditioning enabled him to give Penn the worst beating of his career. Diaz demonstrated pinpoint accuracy by nailing Penn with lethal combinations to the head and body. Despite Penn bleeding for the first time in his career, he still showed fighting spirit by not allowing the former Strikeforce champion to finish him. But getting beat up by Diaz forced BJ Penn to unexpectedly retire from the sport. No one knows for certain if Penn has truly retired, but if he has, Penn doesn't have anything to be ashamed about. Meanwhile Diaz’ performance was enough to convince UFC President Dana White to grant him a title shot against George St. Pierre. While GSP vs. Diaz will be a money maker for the UFC, Albuquerque fighter Carlos Condit lost his title shot and will be forced to climb the ladder again to regain his spot.
It wasn't all bad news for Albuquerque fighters as Lightweight contender Donald Cerrone destroyed Dennis Siver on the Spike TV prelims. Cerrone has gone 4-0 this year and can make a case to fight for the title. But his main goal is to stay active and now is rumored to face Nate Diaz at UFC 141.
Last Monday night, the Baltimore Ravens went through a nightmare when they got embarrassed by the Jacksonville Jaguars. So when the Ravens welcomed the Arizona Cardinals, many thought Joe Flacco and Ray Lewis would take out their anger on one of the worst teams in the league. Instead, the Cardinals humbled the Ravens defense by taking a 24-6 lead into halftime. But Ravens receiver Anquan Boldin’s seven receptions for 145 yards and running back Ray Rice’s three touchdowns helped fuel a 21-point comeback. The Cardinals tied up the game in the fourth quarter but Flacco’s pass to rookie Torrey Smith set up a Ravens game winning field goal.
Steelers vs. Pats
It's rare to see the New England Patriots get bullied by any team in the NFL. Often Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick push around and frustrate their rivals. But when New England traveled to Pittsburgh, the Steelers turned the tables and dominated the Patriots defense. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger made Belichick’s defense look amateur by going 36-50 in the air with two touchdowns. Despite having long offensive drives, New England was unable to finish off their longtime AFC foe. Brady threw a red zone touchdown late in the fourth quarter to cut the lad to six. But a botched onside kick and a safety sealed Pittsburgh's 25-17 victory. With Roethlisberger finally finding his rhythm, the Steelers have recovered from their opening day disaster against the Ravens and look primed for a deep playoff run.
Hangover Sports Roundup
Aggies beatdown Lobos, Brewers take 2-0 lead, Ravens swarm Jets
To say it’s been a difficult season for UNM is a massive understatement. With former coach Mike Locksley getting axed and battling another controversy, dealing with rival New Mexico state looked impossible, to say the least. To UNM's credit, 30,091 fans showed up to support interim coach George Barlow’s chance to salvage the rest of the season. The new-felt optimism quickly disappeared as New Mexico State quarterback Matt Christian dominated the Lobo defense with three passing touchdowns in the first half. When the second half started the Lobo offense showed some signs of life, scoring 21 points. But the defense was unable to stop NMSU as the Lobos suffered its third loss in a row to the Aggies. Despite the lopsided 42-28 loss, the Lobos showed some positive signs, with quarterback B.R Holbrook making decent decisions and moving the ball. There's not a lot of positive signs to take away from an 0-5 start to the season, but the Lobos need to focus on the fundamental basics in order salvage something out of the disaster.
The Milwaukee Brewers and Arizona Diamondbacks engaged in a slug fest during game two of the National League Divisional Series. The teams combined for 22 hits, in a game marked by shifting momentum. During the fifth inning, Arizona seemed set for a comeback victory with Justin Upton tying the game with a two-run homer. But in the sixth, a Jonathan Lucroy bunt and Nyjer Morgan's two run single contributed to the Brewers scoring five runs in that frame. With the 9-4 victory the Brewers take a commanding lead in the series as they head to Arizona on Tuesday. Milwaukee is not exactly used to success of this kind, as the 2-0 series lead is the first in franchise history. If the Brewers can pull of its first sweep in its history, it might give them the momentum needed to move toward a World Series victory.
When Rex Ryan was coaching the Ravens, Baltimore was the most dangerous defense in the NFL. Ryan continued improving the defensive side of the ball with the New York Jets, but on Sunday the Jets got a rude awakening. Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez looked like he was in a horror movie, suffering multiple hits and giving up three defensive touchdowns. The Ravens defense caused so much havoc, it covered up Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco’s mediocre 10-31 throwing performance. With the 34-17 loss, the Jets are now on a two-game losing streak and have a date with their heated rival the New England Patriots. The Ravens proved they're one of the top teams in the AFC, while the Jets looked terrible and should set the stage for another memorable Rex Ryan tirade.
Michael Vick signs new contract
Point of Touré's ESPN piece mainly missed
When word broke that the Philadelphia Eagles were going to make Michael Vick a hundred million dollar man again, commenters on the Internet immediately dug into their trenches and started lobbing grenades at the other side. After all, this is Vick we're talking about. If the hype on either side is to be believed, he's either a vicious, unrepentant dog killer who deserves nothing, or he's one of the greatest quarterbacks of the modern era.
All this controversy came on top of an earlier explosion, this one being totally out of Vick's control. On Thursday of last week, ESPN ran a piece that will appear in the September 5th issue of ESPN the Magazine titled "What if Michael Vick were white?". The author of that piece, Touré, says that he asked ESPN not to title it as such, but obviously that request went unfulfilled.
Touré's article was actually a nuanced piece on how asking such a question is, in the world we live in, impossible. However, the title was what a vast majority of people saw. Those who did not see the title nor read the piece, though, had plenty to take away. Accompanying the piece, ESPN commissioned a photo illustration, literally depicting the titular question. All subtlety and nuance from a gifted writer went out the window.
Instead what we were left with was very reminiscent of the political landscape of today. The aforementioned trenches were dug, opinions were honed to an even finer point, and pithy, five- to ten-second commentary abounded. No one's mind was changed by Touré's article, nor by the comments that followed as it was reposted on site after site. Those who thought we live in a post-racism world before reading the article still do. They hold up the article as an example of minorities harping on a problem that no longer exists. Those who were sympathetic to possibilities of racism in the world finished the piece by shaking their heads, finding yet another textbook case of proving their viewpoint right.
It's difficult (nigh impossible) to honestly discuss these sorts of issues nowadays. If you want to talk sports, you've got to be able to get on TV and give a thirty-second opinion. If you're not screaming, you've got to be issuing some sort of fierce rebuttal to the person who screamed before you. If you want to discuss things at length, you're an academic: out of touch with the world and only interested in perpetuating ideas, refusing to deal in reality.
There are serious questions that are raised by the Touré piece, including but not limited to: race and racism, black style and black lifestyle, the ever-changing morals of bringing up children in America—regardless of race— but keeping in mind how that race (something no person has a choice on) affects that upbringing. There are questions on the American judicial system and the penalties that any person should have to pay for any crime, whether it's against human, animal or another form of life. There are questions on how worthy any thought experiment really is.
But, at the end of the day, instead of those questions being discussed, most people saw the picture, read the headline, and started screaming.
NFL lockout is officially over
Despite grumbles, agreement is reached
On Monday morning, the good news started pouring in for fans of American football. The lockout which had threatened the country's (true, modern) pastime finally ended. The focus now turns to the actual start of the season, currently slated for September 8.
When the new NFL season begins, there will be a couple important differences, but most of them will be invisible. When it comes to the changes that both sides were pushing for, there was compromise instead of hard manifestation—at least to this point. The schedule will remain a 16-game affair —for now. Owners will be getting more money than they were previously. Practices will change, and there is already grumbling from those who are attached to the old schedule.
These differences, however, are inevitable when two sides are fighting for every inch. All told, in the process of negotiation, the NFL was officially locked out for more than 4 months, the longest lockout in NFL history. However, the good news is that no official games were lost to the labor dispute, save an exhibition game which had been scheduled for August 7.
A great summary of the winners and losers of the draft has been written up at espn.com. In regards to that article, though, I'd defy anyone to go out and talk to a football fan. There is a reason that this was the top story on ESPN for the last three days, and why it continues to get mentioned on CNN. In times like these, when people are looking toward August 2 as a potential for the United States government defaulting on its debt, Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, took the time to point out that if football can get a deal done, certainly the bureaucrats in Washington should be able to follow suit; especially when the matter is of such increased gravity. For those who prefer their sports without politics, there's a handy comparison, too: The NFL lockout being resolved in a timely fashion gives hope to the fans of the NBA, which is still engaged in a lockout of its own.
At the end of the day, though, despite lists of winners and losers and total amount of time lost to this lockout, the easiest proof is in the pudding. Next time you're out and about, ask a sports fan—whether it's at a bar, at work, or even just at a stoplight—"Hey, how do you feel that the NFL lockout is over?" Chances are, they'll gripe a bit. They'll mention how it was millionaires fighting with billionaires. And they'll say how ridiculous it was to have to slog through the news. But, at the end of that conversation, most people, as Americans who love football above all others, will smile and say, "Hey, I'm just glad it's back."
The Daily Word with Migraines, Mullah Omar and Manatees
Taliban leader Mullah Omar may be dead.
House Republicans pass a crazy Tea Party debt plan.
Albuquerque judge arrested and charged with rape.
gives gets migraines.
Former Santa Fe county sheriff faces 250 counts of embezzlement.
Check out this fake Chinese Apple Store.
Photos from a ghost town in Cyprus, untouched by humans for almost 40 years.
McDonald's will open a 10,000 square foot, double-decker restaurant in London, for the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Your crazy wife will love these crazy milk ads.
Game of Thrones adds two new cast members.
75 ex-football players sue the NFL for concealing brain injury risks.
The Hubble Space Telescope discovers a new moon around Pluto.
South Park will continue for at least two more seasons.
Loch Ness-type cryptid sighted in Alaska.
Here's the new Spike Jonze directed Beastie Boys video!
The Summer of Our Discontent
In the bleakest of sports times, there may still be reason to cheer
This is the worst time to be a sports fan.
Late June to early August has always been a tough time. There are years when we have the Summer Olympics to get us by. There's a brief respite for the Tour de France, although it's lost some of its luster recently. And yes, I am excited about both the upcoming Women's World Cup as well as the 15th WNBA Season. But there's no denying these are dark times.
The NBA, NFL and NHL are all done with their seasons. MLB, for those who care, hasn't really picked up any steam yet by this point in the season. But most importantly, for now, the two behemoths of American sports, basketball and football, seem to be on a collision course with no righting in sight.
The NFL is already locked out and the NBA appears to be heading in that direction. As though sports fans weren't already mired in what is traditionally the worst time of the year, that slog is now compounded by the fact that it might stretch on even longer.
There's already been extensive coverage of why this is happening in both of these leagues, so for now, let's focus on the positive: There are reports that the NFL sides might be close to reconciliation. The NBA can learn from this NFL experience and perhaps avoid actually locking out.
But even more importantly, we can shift our focus from those leagues to the alternatives. The aforementioned Women's World Cup features not just a strong U.S. team, but a hungry one. The Tour de France, free from those Americans that some claim the French love to hate, might have a chance to stand on its own, as opposed to being hounded by the WADA for violations; focusing on the actual sport and its real winner could prove to be a successful formula. And the WNBA is becoming a refined product on its own, not merely the little-sister-league of the NBA.
The WNBA is trying to make summer–the ironic winter of sports–its time to shine: By celebrating 15 years of existence, the league gets to simultaneously advertise its product as well as remind viewers that this league is no longer an experiment. Love it or hate it, the WNBA appears to be here to stay. The human aspect of sports is really what captivates people, and the inclusion of fan voting on the top 30 WNBA players of all time seems a great place to start.
Bicycling Magazine says that of the 200-plus riders who will take place in this year's Tour de France, Chris Horner and Levi Leipheimer, two Americans, are some of the most worthy riders to watch. Perhaps America will once again have riders come from seemingly out of nowhere to challenge for the yellow jersey, enabling us to focus on the sport and the will of those who participate.
The Women's World Cup, taking place in Germany, presents a similar opportunity for the American women to take on the shadow that's been hanging over their program–in this case, for the last twelve years. In 1999, Brandi Chastain sealed a victory for America with her iconic penalty kick and celebration, but Team USA has been mired in mediocrity since then. The U.S. is ranked first in the world currently but needs to perform in order to maintain the enthusiasm that is beginning to dwindle.
So while the millionaires of the NBA and NFL fight with their billionaire owners, take some time in this traditionally dark period to try to get back to the great storylines that make us truly care about sports.