Hosting Pro Bowl in Florida a Hard Sell for Players

The NFL has delivered its message to Hawaii’s local and state government by taking away the Pro Bowl for one year to show they’re very willing to do so permanently unless the governments put out like a good taxpayer-funded source of income for the NFL. The $185 million in repairs on Aloha Stadium should be considered a down payment, not a solution.

Pro Bowl

(Top that, Miami)

However, now the NFL has to make the Pro Bowl vaguely relevant to fans and somehow attractive to the stars of the league, who consider a weekend near South Beach de rigeur and not a family treat. (For goodness’ sake, there’s always around 170 players from Florida in the league to start with.) So how will the league sell Florida in February to the NFL elite?

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Speed Read: McAllister’s Car Dealership A Lemon

You have to feel bad for Deuce McAllister. The two-time Pro Bowler who might be the greatest running back in New Orleans Saints history (sorry, Dalton Hilliard) was cut by the team a few weeks ago, a victim of the salary cap and the Saints’ continued belief that Reggie Bush is an every down back.

Deuce McAllister

And it appears that McAllister is a victim of harsh economic realities in more ways than one. It seems that Deuce has several business interests, including Deuce McAllister Nissan in Jackson, Mississippi. As you might have heard, the US auto market is in freefall mode, and McAllister’s dealership is no exception: The JACKSON CLARION-LEDGER is reporting the dealership is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, as Nissan is looking to recover almost $7 million owed to them.

Deuce McAllister Nissan

How badly have sales slumped? Deuce McAllister Nissan sold 107 cars in February 2008. Last month they sold 28. And these are Nissans, cars that people actually want, not Fords or Chevys. McAllister was also a victim of bad timing, as he expanded the dealership just as the market tanked.

Not only does Nissan say McAllister’s dealership owes him $6.9 million, but they also claim that it exceeded its credit limit by more than $1.6 million. Which makes me wonder - shouldn’t someone at Nissan have done something when the dealership exceeded it’s credit line by, oh, say, $1 million? If I am one day late with a credit card payment, I’m getting hounded by phone calls.

Matt Vasgersian

Meanwhile, Matt Vasgersian’s potty mouth has gotten him into trouble again. Back in 2007 while working as the play-by-play voice for the Padres, he was caught making a (what he thought was off-air) expletive-laden tirade against St. Louis Cardinals fans and the city. Matt’s now the main studio host for the MLB Network, and as SHARAPOVA’S THIGH says, last night he had a slightly unprofessional (and NSFW) reaction to confusing Fernando Valenzuela and Fernando Vina:

If this is going to be what the MLB Network is all about, I might be more inclined to tune in. More swearing, less replays of Game 3 of the 2008 World Series, please.

Finally, the BBC says that a man has been arrested and charged with breaking into Manchester United player Darren Fletcher’s home and threatening his fiancee at knifepoint. Here’s the frightening part: this is believed to be the 14th soccer player from Manchester and the Merseyside area who has been attacked in the past three years. No wonder Cristiano Ronaldo was so eager to leave.

More sports stories to read while you wait for cops to arrive to handle the emergency of your missing McNuggets:

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Hawaii Turns Down NFL’s 2-Year Pro Bowl Offer

It’s rare when someone has the brass tacks to say “no” to the NFL - they are like the Mob in that way (at least). Generally, they ask you to jump, and you say “How high?”. But the HONOLULU ADVERTISER says that the Hawai’i Tourism Authority has rejected the NFL’s offer to play the Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium in 2011 and 2012, citing concerns about the plan to play the game the week before the Super Bowl. They can expect a horse head made of Spam in their beds very soon courtesy of Roger Goodell.

Sign at 2009 Pro Bowl

The HTA plans on evaluating the success of moving the date of the Pro Bowl when it is played next year in Miami. If it isn’t successful, they will ask the NFL to move the Pro Bowl back to after the Super Bowl before accepting a bid. Apparently, the integrity of having Super Bowl players in the game is something that deeply concerns the HTA:

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Kobe-LeBron Can’t Beat Pro Bowl In TV Ratings?

Admit it, you forgot the Pro Bowl was even on when you were flipping channels on Sunday. Meanwhile, ABC was showing maybe the biggest NBA game of the season with Kobe matching up with LeBron in Cleveland. So what game got more viewers? Sorry Kobe, you might be able to drop 61 at MSG, but it looks like you might never beat the NFL.

NFL cheerleaders

(well, I guess the Pro Bowl does have this going for it too)

According to national ratings from Nielsen, the Pro Bowl drew 8.8 million viewers while the Cavs-Lakers game was watched by only 6.1 million. Granted, the Pro Bowl has its share of stars, and people love football, but the game is generally derided as a joke and an afterthought. The Kobe-LeBron matchup, however, was one of the most hyped individual matchups the NBA has seen in years, given their respective heroics in New York earlier in the week. Has the NBA really fallen this far in the eyes of the general public?

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Week In Review: Super Bowl Viewers See Boner

• Super Bowl viewers in Tucson were treated to a 30-second clip of some guy’s schlong. And for those who are curious, here’s what they saw.

Larry Fitzgerald Super Bowl porn girl

• That pornographic interruption was probably more fun than actually going to a Super Bowl party.

• Should Erin Andrews and other female sports reporters get the chance to graduate from the sidelines to the broadcast booth?

• The USOC is seething over a strip club hosting its own “Pole Olympics“.

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Should Media Make a Big Flap Over Phelps Photo?

• Have corporate sponsors successfully smokescreened the media over Michael Phelps’ marijuana mess?

michael phelps bong

Jim Fassel finally finds himself a football coaching job - if you count the UFL as a stable employer.

• Golfers & wait staff, beware! Tiger Woods is back & “better than ever“!

• Wonder where some of your taxpayer money is going? How about toward Santonio Holmes’ new $85,000 Cadillac Escalade?

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Portis: Miami Pro Bowl Means DUIs, Suspensions

We mentioned a few weeks ago that the Pro Bowl was going to be moving from Hawaii to the mainland starting next year, with the 2010 game being played in Miami. At the time, we speculated that the players would be thrilled with moving the game to Miami as part of the expected rotation of sites for a variety of reasons, including the South Beach nightlife, easier travel and better facilities.

Clinton Portis wig

(This guy is the voice of reason. Seriously.)

But the factor we didn’t consider was that having the game in Hawaii protects the players from their own worst enemy: themselves. At least that’s the opinion of Redskins Pro Bowler Clinton Portis, who told the ASSOCIATED PRESS that moving the game to Miami is apparently a recipe for disaster:

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Pro Bowl May End Up Being Blacked Out In Hawaii

While the world turns it’s eyes to Tampa this weekend for Super Bowl XLIII there are a lot of people in Hawaii more concerned with the state of next week’s Pro Bowl. While the bad economy didn’t seem to have any effect on the sale of Super Bowl tickets this year, with the game selling out pretty easily, the same cannot be said of the festivities in Honolulu.

Already a little stung by the blow of finding out that next year’s Pro Bowl will be held in Miami, sales for tickets to this year’s Pro Bowl are going pretty slow. In fact, ever since the game moved to Honolulu in 1980 tickets had long been sold out before Super Bowl weekend arrived, but that’s just not the case this year. Which means that unless people start snapping up the 5,000 unsold seats over the next few days, the game is going to be blacked out in Hawaii.

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Speed Read: Gruden Notre Dame Rumors Persist

So where does a 45-year-old guy with 11 years of NFL head coaching experience and a Super Bowl title under his belt want to go next? Apparently, to a team that went 7-6 and won the mighty Hawaii Bowl this year. At least that’s what COLLEGE FOOTBALL TALK has been saying, citing Jon Gruden’s ties to South Bend and rumors that he was up for the job when it was previously open.

Jon Gruden Notre Dame

In that post, CFT basically dares Notre Dame to come out and deny the rumors before they get off the ground. Irish football media relations guy Brian Hardin did just that, and with force:

“It’s ridiculous that this rumor has even gained the traction it has over the past few days. I hesitate to respond to it at all because by dignifying this ‘report,’ I set myself up to be forced to set the record straight on future rumors. But it’s obvious that some people out there are trying to sabotage our recruiting efforts and it’s unfortunate that their agenda has been published and reproduced in recent days.” 

So, Gruden’s name isn’t coming up because it makes sense, but because of some sort of conspiracy to interfere with Notre Dame’s recruiting efforts? Hardin made this statement to BLUE AND GOLD ILLUSTRATED, which then posted a story discussing some of the other unsubstantiated rumors surrounding the program (Lou Holtz? Really?).

For now, Charlie Weis is still the head coach, though Gruden probably has healthier knees. Gruden has long been respected as a coach, but his results have been wildly inconsistent. He went 12-4 and won the Super Bowl in his first year with the Bucs, but is just 45-51 (and 0-2 in the playoffs) in six seasons since.

Getting back to that whole inauguration business just one more time, the SEATTLE TIMES has an article this morning about what the inauguration means to the Pac-10’s black basketball coaches. And while I’m sure it has some meaning to the likes of Lorenzo Romar and Ernie Kent, I think it might be hard to top Oregon State coach Craig Robinson, who hung out with the new president all day, since he’s his brother-in-law.

Craig Robinson

(”Do I really look like a personal assistant?”)

Unfortunately, NBC’s Brian Williams and Tom Brokaw didn’t get the memo about who Robinson is, because they first mistakenly identified him as Obama’s personal assistant, then erroneously reported that the orange and black scarf he was wearing in the parade viewing box represented his alma mater, Princeton, and not his current school. The OREGONIAN’s John Canzano was not amused.

It appears as if Kobe Bryant is not going to miss any time after dislocating the ring finger on his right hand in Monday night’s game with the Cavs. Bryant said it was the most pain he’d ever played with on a basketball court. As someone who plays his fair share of hoops, I think it’s the injury I fear most. I’m wincing and doubling over as I type this.

Kobe Bryant

(You sure it’s your finger that’s hurting, Kobe?)

I have to get my mind off that. Let’s get to some links:

• Russian figure skater Ekaterina Rubleva had a bit of a problem with her top falling down at the European Championships (I’m not using the phrase “wardrobe malfunction). Unfortunately, it didn’t impress the judges all that much as she and her partner are only in 12th place in the ice dancing competition. The full NSFW picture is available here.

Russian figure skater loses her top

• The CHICAGO TRIBUNE reports that a Blackhawks fan won $1 million last night when Martin Havlat scored at exactly the 10-minute mark of the 2nd period. The Hawks had to score at that exact moment in order for the prize to be awarded. It was the only goal Chicago scored in a 4-1 loss to Minnesota.

• Panthers linebacker Jon Beason may have been looking past that playoff game against the Cardinals, especially when he’s saying things on his personal blog like:

We want another shot at the Giants to prove we can beat them. But it would be great to play the NFC Championship Game at home. It’s the biggest game you can have at your place because the Super Bowl is at a neutral site, and we’re playing really well at home this season.”

• The NY DAILY NEWS says that Knicks rookie Danilo Gallinari isn’t all that happy that the team plays songs like “That’s Amore” when he scores, and that the PA announcer uses a thick, fake Italian accent when saying his name. Whattsa matta Danilo? Let’s a go havva some zeppoles!

• You can probably cross Kansas City off of Anquan Boldin’s wishlist if Cardinals offensive coordinator Todd Haley ends up as the coach of the Chiefs, as is cited as a possibilty by REVENGE OF THE BIRDS.

• An Aussie Rules football player is recovering from being stung by a stingray, says Australia’s HERALD SUN. The guy suffered the injury during a personal training session. Which, for some reason, was being held on a beach frequented by stingrays.

• Here’s a shocker: the Dallas Cowboys weren’t particularly disciplined this year. The DALLAS MORNING NEWS says that players held up the team’s charter flight on five of eight road trips this year, and were only fined $100 each for doing so. The same transgressions under Bill Parcells would’ve cost $5,000, but Jerry Jones wouldn’t let Wade Phillips raise the fine to encourage on-time departure.

• NEWSDAY reports that Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury. He’s had a myriad of injury problems as of late and doctors aren’t entirely sure that he’ll ever be 100% again. Good thing he only has 12 years left on his ridiculous contract.

• So, a guy who ran his team into the ground in the regular season is being replaced in the Pro Bowl by a guy who waited until a home playoff game to destroy his team. Meanwhile, the top-rated passer in the AFC is still not going to Hawaii. HATER NATION is as incredulous as I am.

• AWFUL ANNOUNCING brings word that Miller High Life has bought one second of advertising time for the Super Bowl to run a spot featuring that beer delivery guy. Only one of the following ads will air during the game:

Who should be coaching Notre Dame next season?

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Speed Read: Marbury Courtside For Knicks-Lakers

I don’t have any way of independently verifying this, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that last night’s Knicks-Lakers game at Staples Center saw an NBA first. And it wasn’t anything that happened on the floor. Well, it happened close to the floor, I guess. Look who showed up, as a “fan”:

Stephon Marbury attends Knicks-Lakers game

Yup, Stephon Marbury, who is being paid $21 million this year to stay away from the Knicks, bought his own courtside ticket to the game and showed up to watch. Steph, of course, can certainly afford the seats. But how comical is this whole thing getting? The Knicks contend they’re still working on a buyout with Starbury, but he seems to be pretty content to just be chilling, doesn’t he?

Anyway, there was a game, and it was a pretty good one. The Lakers overcame the absence of Pau Gasol — who has strep throat — and a 15-point halftime deficit, to beat New York 116-114. Lamar Odom, battling the flu himself, had season highs with 17 points and 12 rebounds.

The lamest all-star game had its participants announced yesterday. Get used to seeing a bunch of guys from New York running around Honolulu in February. The Jets had a league-high seven players named to the Pro Bowl yesterday, while the Giants are sending six players to the game, including 44-year-old kicker John Carney and 42-year-old punter Jeff Feagles.

pro bowl cheerleaders

Both Mannings made their respective teams, and are the first pair of sibling quarterbacks named to the game in the same season. Peyton will start the game for the AFC, while Kurt Warner, who looked completely done three years ago, will start for the NFC. The Gunslinger made the AFC team (but why?), as did Mario Williams, who was once considered a bad draft pick over Reggie Bush and Vince Young. You can see full AFC rosters here, and full NFC rosters here.

Joe Paterno, who has said in the recent past that he’d probably die if he stopped coaching, was given a three-year life extension yesterday. However, the door is open to shorten or lengthen the contract as necessary. So, basically, the announcement just served the purpose of assuring recruits that JoePa will at least be back next year. Of course, I don’t think Paterno’s known the names of any of his players for a decade now, so that might not make any difference.

Joe Paterno

(”Who the f*** are you? Where’s Woody Hayes?”)

Alright, let’s hit the links:

Padraig Harrington only won two golf tournaments this year, but since they were consecutive majors that was good enough to get him voted as PGA Player of the Year.  ESPN’s Jason Sobel explains why Paddy won the award over Tiger Woods.

• THE WIZ OF ODDS says Turner Gill would rather hang out for another year at Buffalo than take over Iowa State’s flailing program. That’s the shape your team is in, ‘Clone fans. Gill probably should’ve taken the job, though, considering that winning five games in two years there qualifies you to coach in the SEC.

• There’s just no words to explain the following photo, so I’m not even gonna try. Big thank you to TMZ (which has more pictures like this if you’re so inclined):

Alex Rodriguez adjusting himself

Sean Avery has been kicked to the curb by the Dallas Stars because of the “sloppy seconds” incident. I’m still completely baffled by the level of outrage this brought out. US MAGAZINE says Avery checked in to a voluntary treatment program (for what? Crude humor?), but TSN says that’s not true.

• OVER THE MONSTER says that Peter Gammons believes that Mark Teixeira is choosing between the Red Sox and Nationals and may make his decision in the next 24-48 hours. The Yankees, Orioles, and Angels are all supposedly still in on Tex as well.

• UAB’s basketball team lost four players yesterday, according to the BIRMINGHAM NEWS. Two players decided to leave the team, and another two were disqualified for the rest of the year because of poor academic standing. Things are going very well for Mike Davis.

• A lot of sports franchises have fallen on hard times, but the Chicago Blackhawks are undergoing a rejuvenation. The CHICAGO TRIBUNE’s Chris Kuc talks about how the Hawks have gone from barely drawing 10,000 fans a game to leading the NHL in attendance in one season. The resurgent Hawks are averaging 21,475 fans per game (outdrawing the Bulls), and are one of the best teams in the NHL’s Western Conference.

• The IDAHO STATESMAN says that a former Boise State football player has arranged for four copies of this billboard to be placed around the San Diego area advertising the team, which will play in the Poinsettia Bowl next week:

Boise State

They’ll probably win the game, considering they’re bringing two sledgehammers onto the field with them.

• GM is not renewing its contract as official automaker of the Yankees, says XM MLB CHAT. Toyota and Audi will take over that distinction. GM also left a similar situation with the Pirates, and is reviewing deals with six other MLB teams that expire in 2009.

• More from TMZ: Vince Young contends that three guys, including ’70s baseball player Enos Cabell, “stole” the nicknames “VY” and “INVINCEABLE” from him, which is somehow preventing him from getting endorsement deals from Reebok and video game makers. Not being very good at NFL football is apparently much less of a factor.

Which team is going to pay way too much money for Mark Teixeira?

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