Were deflated balls an issue in the #AFC championship game?

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Tom Brady

New England’s hottie QB Tom Brady.

Fox News reports on a developing story regarding the New England Patriots – decisive 45-7 winners over the Indianapolis Colts last night in the AFC championship battle – and allegations that deflated balls were in use during the game:

The NFL has confirmed it is looking  into charges the New England Patriots cheated Sunday night when they clinched a trip to the Super Bowl Sunday night by using deflated footballs.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy confirmed the probe Monday, following the AFC championship game, in which the Patriots demolished the Indianapolis Colts, 45-7. The charge was first made Sunday night, when an Indianapolis reporter that the NFL had seized at least one game ball from the AFC championship game to examine whether pigskins were intentionally deflated to make them easier to throw and catch.

“The NFL is investigating the possibility,” Bob Kravitz, of WTHR, tweeted, adding that, “at one point the officials took a ball out of play and weighed it.”

If the Patriots did cheat, it would not be the first time. The team was penalized a first-round draft pick, fined $250,000 and head coach Belichick was personally fined $500,000 after an investigation by the NFL determined the team had illegally videotaped their opponents hand signals during a 2007 game.

NE QB Tom Brady said the allegations of deflated balls were “ridiculous”

Tom Brady dismissed allegations that the New England Patriots under-inflated footballs in a morning interview with Boston radio station WEEI, calling the accusations “ridiculous”.

When asked if he had heard the story, Brady said: “No.”

The radio hosts then asked if he felt like the Patriots had an easier time gripping their footballs than the Colts did on Sunday night.

“I think I’ve heard it all at this point,” he said on the Dennis and Callahan Morning Show.

“That’s the least of my worries,” he added later. “I don’t even respond to stuff like this.”

My observations:

1) It’s highly unlikely “properly inflated balls” would have changed the outcome of the game. In other words, deflated balls or not, the Colts played a bad game all around and still would have lost – in my humble opinion.  Whether you like the Patriots or not – and I know there is a lot of Patriot dislike out there, for various reasons – I don’t think saying they still would have won is disputable.

2) It’ll be interesting to see what the results are of the investigation – and whether they will be announced before or after the Super Bowl, assuming the investigation is completed before the big game, which will be played on February 1st in Glendale, AZ, with defending champs the Seattle Seahawks as the Patriots’ opposition.

3) I dunno about “deflated balls” at this point, but I know a lot of egos are deflated this morning – like within the entire Green Bay Packers organization.  Out of respect for Packers fans, I won’t rehash what happened yesterday outside of declaring it one of the biggest “WTH HAPPENED??” moments in NFC championship game history.

What say you?

NFL Sunday Football Open Thread: #Panthers at the Bucs

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Carolina Panthers

Grrrrrowwwlll!

The first game of the 2014-2015 NFL regular season for the Panthers is against the Tampa Bay Bucs this afternoon, and the big news of the day so far is the announcement that QB Cam Newton has been listed as “inactive”:

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton will miss his first regular-season game as a professional Sunday after the Panthers placed him on their inactives list before Sunday’s game at Tampa Bay.

Derek Anderson, who has been Newton’s backup for three years, will be the starter.

Newton has cracked ribs that he suffered two weeks ago in an exhibition. He did not practice until Thursday, though it was in a limited capacity. Newton threw more than the team expected Friday, but Ron Rivera and team officials decided the risk was too great for Newton to play Week 1.

Joe Webb will be the backup quarterback. This is Anderson’s first start for the Panthers and his first career start since the 2010 season when he was with Arizona. Anderson did not throw a pass in a game last season in four appearances.

Get well soon, Cam.

Game time today is 4:25, and the game will be broadcast locally on Fox.

 

The Left’s obsession with the Redskins

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**Posted by Phineas

Everything is political

Everything is political

Amidst all the other outrageous outrages that outrage the outraged Left these days, you may have noticed a controversy (well, controversial to the Left) over the team name of the Washington Redskins, a name the team has used for over 80 years with no one complaining (1).

Well, no one until Harry Reid, the national Democrats, and the Left (but I repeat myself) decided they needed something, anything, to distract people from the failures of Obamacare and the lousy economy (and the crashing foreign policy and… Well, you get the idea.). Hence, in the last year or so, the professional Left has turned on the Redskins, decrying their name as offensive, hateful, and …brace yourselves… “racist” against American Indians. (2) The way they carry on, you’d think they were fighting the civil rights battles of the 50s and 60s all over again.

And, in fact, according to Dennis Prager, that is indeed one of the reasons the Left has gone bonkers over the team name: it makes them feel good, as if they’re reliving the battles of their fathers and grandfathers. Call it a self-esteem booster shot. Writing at Real Clear Politics, he give four additional reasons for the Left’s mania. It’s a good article, so click through for the rest, but I want to highlight one that I think cuts to the root of the matter:

Fifth, and finally, the left is totalitarian at heart. Whenever possible, they seek control of others; and they love to throw their considerable weight around. The left-wing president does it so often that the Supreme Court has unanimously shot down his attempts on a dozen occasions. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, under huge pressure from leftists, just dropped conservative Pulitzer-Prize winning columnist George Will. Under pressure from left-wing professors and students, Brandeis and other universities dropped the few conservative speakers they had invited to this year’s commencement exercises. Forcing the Redskins to do their will is just the left’s latest attempt to force its views on the vast majority of its fellow citizens. That’s why it’s worth fighting for the Redskins. Today it’s the Redskins, tomorrow it’s you.

Emphasis added. Ever hear the expression “the personal is the political?” It was a rallying cry of the student movement and leftist feminists in the 60s that argued there was no separation between daily life (work, play, family, sports, &c.) and what we think of as traditional politics (elections, legislation, and so on). Every aspect of your personal life, including your recreation, is as much open to politics as is your choice of party to support. Support a team the name of which some faction finds politically incorrect, and you’ll be subject to political action to make you change your ways and the way you think. Our Betters on the Left know what’s best for us all and they have a driving urge to make sure we all conform.

Even if all you want to do is watch your favorite team and forget about the world for a while.

Footnote:
(1) There’s a survey by the Annenberg Public Policy Center showing that less than ten percent of American Indians find the name “Redskins” offensive. It’s from 2004, however, so it might be interesting to resurvey that.
(2) No disrespect intended to members of the various tribal nations, but I’ve never liked the term “Native American” when referring to the descendants of the people who were here before the European colonization. I was born here, my parents were born here, my grandparents were born here, and so were most of my great-grandparents. I’m native to America, too, and I refuse to use a term that in any way slights my right to be here.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Federal govt essentially attempting to force Washington Redskins to change name

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Washington Redskins

Should they keep it or change it?

It was only a matter of time:

The Washington Redskins’ logo is disparaging and its trademark must be cancelled, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office wrote in a ruling Wednesday. [READ THE RULING.]

The Redskins will continue to be able to use the name, but the team will not have all the legal benefits afforded to it when it is registered with the federal government.

“Based on the evidence properly before us, that these registrations must be cancelled because they were disparaging to Native Americans at the respective times they were registered,” read a ruling from the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.

“We lack statutory authority to issue rulings concerning the right to use trademarks,” the ruling continued.

The team can appeal the decision in court as it did in the past, and the trademarks will remain registered until after the review. The office made a similar ruling in 1992, but the U.S District Court for the District of Columbia reversed the board’s decision after a lengthy litigation process in 2003.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) cheered the decision, going to the Senate floor to call for the team and its owner, Daniel Snyder, to end its use of the “racist” name.

“Daniel Snyder may be the last person in the world to realize this, but it’s just a matter of time until he’s forced to do the right thing and change the name,” Reid said.

Reid has led a public charge against the Redskins name, most recently organizing a letter calling for the team to drop the name.The letter was signed by 50 Democratic senators.

[…]

The petition was brought by five Native Americans in the case Blackhorse V. Pro Football, Inc.

More from the left wing peanut gallery:

“Today’s actions by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office are in line with longstanding rules on the treatment of disparaging or offensive names,” Pelosi said in a statement. “While we respect the right to free speech, slurs have no right to trademark protections.

“The team that represents our nation’s capital should be a source of pride to all Americans. It’s long past time for the Washington football team to choose a new name.”

Frankly, it’s none of Congresses’ freaking business what the Washington Redskins call themselves, but because it’s the politically correct thing to do – and because apparently Democrats don’t have any issues more pressing than this (/sarc) to deal with, they threw their weight behind this case and are using every trick in the book short of political blackmail (and that’s debatable) to force the team to change their name.

No matter what side of the argument a person is on on this issue, the bullying and threats by Democratic members of the United States House and Senate should appall everyone, as should any attempts at mandating by force of law a private dispute over a non-life or death issue between two groups that could have been settled without government interference .  It’s a sad day in America when a issues like these that can and should be resolved or compromised on in the private sector by the two disagreeing factions is forcibly decided by the federal government – aided and abetted by Congressional bullies.   The death of common sense, and the demise of right and wrong, continues.

(Via Memeorandum)

Michael Sam floats insinuation late pick in #NFL draft may have been due to homophobia

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Michael Sam

Does he have a point?
(2014 NFL Combine photo courtesy
of Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

It begins:

ST. LOUIS (CBS St. Louis/AP) — Michael Sam believes he should’ve been taken sooner in the draft.

The Rams selected the former University of Missouri defensive standout with the 249th pick in the seventh round, which was the seventh-to-the-last pick in the 2014 Draft. The openly gay football player, who was SEC Defensive Player of the Year, thought a team should have chosen him during the first three rounds.

“From last season alone, I should’ve been in the first three rounds. SEC Defensive Player of the Year, All-American,” Sam said during a conference call, adding that other teams chickened out on selecting him.

The frustration mounted for Sam as the hours and rounds passed by, but he felt he would be picked.

“I knew I was going to get picked somewhere. Every team that passed me, I was thinking how I’m going to sack their quarterback,” Sam said.

Sam stopped short of directly saying his stock dropped in the draft because he came out.

“You know what, who knows? Who knows? Only the people who sit in the war room know,” he said. “They saw Michael Sam, day after day they scratched it off the board. That was their loss. But St. Louis kept me on that board. And you know what I feel like I’m a (Jadeveon) Clowney, a first draft pick. I’m proud of where I am now.”

I’ll admit I don’t pay much attention to sports stats, combines, etc so I’m not even sure he has a case here – but from what I’ve gathered from people who do read and analyze sports facts and figures and other related data, they’re saying his seventh round pick was just about right.  What do you think?

Honestly, no matter where he was picked I had hoped Sam would have said, “Great – I have a team, now let’s do this” – and then have gotten back to making his career about playing football and not about being gay, since it’s supposed to be something we’re not supposed to think about anyway.  That’s not to say he shouldn’t continue to promote gay awareness, and it’s not to say he doesn’t have a legitimate gripe.  But in some cases – especially in those situations where you’re just looking for an “in” with an organization so you can show people you’re no different than anybody else, sometimes it’s best to put certain suspicions to the side, especially when you can’t confirm them … and especially when you’re first starting out (no pun intended).

On the flip side of this, the same article that quoted Sam hinting that homophobia might have been behind his late round pick also included this bit of intriguing information:

An NFL.com writer was in the Rams’ draft room and reported late Saturday night that head coach Jeff Fisher unexpectedly suggested taking Sam, a player the team had not given much consideration to before.

Soooo … could Sam have been picked by the Rams because the team wanted to put on a show of “inclusiveness” rather than judging the athlete by his talent? Or was it a mixture of both?

Yeah, yeah – lots of questions, I know. And we’re unlikely to get concrete answers on any of it beyond people speaking “on background” due to fear that they, too, might be thrown into the “homophobia” mix.

#BostonStrong photo of the day: Couple who each lost a leg in 2013 complete #BostonMarathon

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I love it!


The story – via Fox Sports:

On April 15, 2013, the lives of Patrick Downes and Jessica Kensky changed forever.

The recently married couple were spectators at the 2013 Boston Marathon when two bombs exploded near the finish line on Bolyston Street. Downes and Kensky each lost their left leg in the first blast.

A year later, the newlyweds turned tragedy into triumph.

Downes and Kensky competed in the handcycle division of the 2014 Boston Marathon and crossed the finish line hand in hand with a time of two hours, 14 minutes and 13 seconds.

Their finish represented the end of a long journey for the couple, who were married just seven months before the 2013 marathon.

Shortly after last year’s attack, a friend posted an engagement photo of Downes and Kensky on a website created to help raise support for the couple’s recovery. The results were overwhelming, as 7,500 people contributed a total of $500,000 in just three days.

[…]

On Monday, Downes and Kensky brought their healing process full circle by crossing the finish line the same way they watched last year’??s marathon: together.

There were many more inspirational stories from today’s marathon:

Boston Strong

Heck yeah!

Was the Pres. Obama/David Ortiz WH Twitter “selfie” a Samsung promo stunt?

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David Ortiz and President Obama

Image via @DavidOrtiz’s Twitter page.

Via The Hill:

Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz’s selfie with President Obama may have been a promotional stunt as part of the All Star’s recent endorsement deal with cell phone manufacturer Samsung, according to the Boston Globe.

During the championship ceremony Tuesday at the White House, Ortiz presented Obama with a Red Sox jersey and then whipped out his cell phone to take a picture with the president.

“He wants to take a selfie!” Obama said. “It’s the Big Papi selfie.”

The picture was later posted to the slugger’s account, where it had more than 38,000 retweets within 24 hours.

One of those retweets was Samsung’s official account, which also asked Twitter users what kind of camera Ortiz used, highlighting that it was one of the company’s phones.

In a statement, Samsung said that they were “thrilled to see the special, historic moment David Ortiz captured with his Galaxy Note 3 during his White House visit.”

“It was an honor to help him capture such an incredible and genuine moment of joy and excitement. Similar to the selfie Ellen was able to capture during the Oscars, this was an opportunity for David to share the incredible moment with his fans,” the phone manufacturer said.

“When we heard about the visit to the White House, we worked with David and the team on how to share images with fans. We didn’t know if or what he would be able to capture using his Note 3 device.”

The corporate stunt could raise new questions for the White House about the president’s participation in a social media advertising campaign.

While I don’t think the photo being part of a sponsorship deal with Samsung detracts from the “cool factor” of taking a selfie with the President of the United States (no matter who he or she is, ya gotta admit it’s pretty cool to take a self portrait with the POTUS), in my view it does take a bit of the sheen off the “spontaneous” and “pure” aspect of the picture – which some will now speculate was staged rather than a spur of the moment decision.

In any event, I predict the Ortiz selfie with the President is not going to overtake the Ellen’s multi-celeb selfie record from the Academy Awards in terms of the number of retweets.  As of this writing, Ortiz is just short of 40,000 RTs, while Ellen’s stands at over 3,400,000 and counting.  Interestingly enough, there’s also been speculation that her epic selfie pic was also part of a Samsung promotional stunt.

Go figure!

Best major league baseball opening day flyover photo ever?

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Wowsers. Talk about incredible!


Now, if that doesn’t give you the warm fuzzies and make you wanna stand up and salute ‘Merica, I don’t know what will. :) **==

To find out how you can own your very own copy of that amazing photo, click here.

In other opening day news, a call was overturned today during the Milwaukee/Braves game using expanded instant replay:

MILWAUKEE — The first call overturned by instant replay in Major League Baseball history occurred Monday in Milwaukee, as Milwaukee Brewers right fielder Ryan Braun’s infield single was changed to an out.

It took just 58 seconds for a decision to be made, as the process seemed to work smoothly. Multiple replays were shown on the scoreboard at Miller Park while crew chief Ted Barrett received word from umpires at the replay command center in New York.

Braun hit a slow roller to Braves third baseman Chris Johnson to start the bottom of the sixth inning. Johnson double clutched to make the play close, and first-base umpire Greg Gibson called Braun safe.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez didn’t waste much time and challenged the play almost immediately. Barrett then signaled Braun was out after removing the headset.

The Brewers won the game 2-0.

Play ball!

Word!
(Image via Khabar.com)

Weekend Open Thread

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March Madness continues, and I’m still enjoying watching all the games … although my beloved Blue Devils are out.  :(  Enjoy your weekend, everyone. Pretty weather here. Think I’ll finally get out and try to enjoy it.

Cheers!

March Madness

#MarchMadness Open Thread

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March Madness

The madness starts today …

Dunno about y’all but I’m fired up about the official start to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament today, which kicks off shortly after noon Eastern time.  Enjoyed the First Four games, where several of the teams showed a lot of grit, determination and hustle, and now I’m ready for the next round – which is where things get really exciting.

CBS Sports has provided a handy dandy TV schedule of what times the games start and what channels they’ll be broadcast on for the first few rounds, and you can view and print a bracket here to follow along with the action.  You can also watch the games on your phone, tablet, or online if you have an account with participating cable providers.

Please feel free to use this thread to comment on today’s tournament action, predict who you think will pull off an upset, etc.  Enjoy the games!