White House to use #MarchMadness to push #Obamacare enrollment

March Madness

The basketball action starts Tuesday …

Just when you thought it was safe to watch the NCAA men’s basketball tournament free from politics.Via Politico:

With the arrival of college basketball’s March Madness, the White House is looking to capitalize on the annual tournament to encourage Americans to enroll in Obamacare.

The promotional effort will include athletes and coaches as well as administration officials, according to a White House official, and will begin on Monday. Sunday was “Selection Sunday,” the day the teams in the tournament are announced and the schedule and bracket are released.

The White House plans to release its own bracket Monday as part of the effort, “16 Sweetest Reasons to Get Covered,” timed with the annual release of President Barack Obama’s bracket this week, and the president and high-ranking administration officials will conduct interviews on a variety of outlets coordinated with the push, which will also include social media.

Also Monday, a video featuring “two of the most-recognized coaches in college basketball,” according to the official, will help launch the bracket. Other athletes and coaches will be involved in PSAs and an ad starring Miami Heat star LeBron James will air across several sports channels and ABC.

Yeehaa. /sarc

The article goes on to note that this is part of the final push for the White House to get as many people enrolled before the March 31 deadline to become enrolled this year. No surprise it’s during the tournament, really, when you consider they’re not getting nearly the number of healthy young people they had hoped to have enrolled in the program in order to offset the costs of older people who are more likely to have health problems who are signing up in much higher numbers.  The tournament will present them with multiple opportunities to grab the attention of a young, impressionable audience.

In any event, try to ignore the nonsense the best you can.  Click here to view, print, and fill out your own tournament bracket.  I won’t be participating in any official pools, but will be filling out a personal bracket for grins and giggles. :)

Super Bowl Sunday Open Thread

Super Bowl 48

Are you ready to rumble?

Been a good day already as the adorable Kitten Bowl is now in progress on the Hallmark Channel. :) The very cute Puppy Bowl will be aired at 3pm ET on the Animal Planet channel.

Of course, THE game between the Seahawks and Broncos starts at 6:30 ET and will be broadcast on Fox.   Not appearing on the Fox broadcast will be Terry Bradshaw, who lost his father Thursday. Please keep him and his family in your thoughts and prayers.

I think the sentimental favorite in today’s game will be the Broncos, because everyone loves Peyton Manning, but “sentimental” doesn’t automatically  = “game winner.” Predictions?

NFC/AFC Division Championship Game Day Open Thread

NFL logo

Big games today!

Well, my team is out after an embarrassing loss last week here at home to Phineas‘ 49ers, but that won’t keep me from camping out on the sofa this afternoon for a couple of games that promise to be good ones:

Game 1: The Patriots play the Broncos at 3:00 PM ET for the AFC championship in Denver on CBS.

Game 2: The 49ers play against the Seahawks in Seattle at 6:30 PM ET on Fox.

The winner, of course, goes to Super Bowl 48, which will be played Sunday February 2nd at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ.  Kickoff is scheduled for 6:25 PM ET.  Learn more about the festivities planned for that day here.

Ok, so who wins today?

NFL Sunday Football Open Thread: #Panthers at the #Falcons

Carolina Panthers


The Carolina Panthers (11-4) sit atop the NFC South are on the road for their final game of the regular season, and they will be playing division rivals the Falcons (4-11), where Atlanta – out of playoff contention – will seek to play spoiler against the Cats, who are aiming for a first round bye in the playoffs and a one home game with a win today. The Panthers will have to do it with a QB – Cam Newton – who has a sore ankle, and without injured stars WR Steve Smith, RB Jonathan Stewart, and DT Colin Cole. Would be nice to get the win today and a bye next week so all guys can rest up and get better in time for the playoffs, which this team will be doing for the first time since 2008.

Game time is 1 pm ET and it will be broadcast locally on Fox.

NFL Sunday Football Open Thread: Saints at the #Panthers

Carolina Panthers


Huge, huge, huge game for the Panthers today as they play the Saints here at home on a rainy but unseasonably warm Sunday afternoon. The Cats got smoked two weeks ago on Sunday Night Football in front of a national audience against the Saints in New Orleans, and not only do they want revenge for that but a victory today would also secure a playoff berth for the Panthers for the first time since 2008. A win today for the Saints would see them clinch the NFC South and a first-round bye:

Saints-Panthers: A huge game. If the Saints win, they clinch the NFC South and a first-round playoff bye. If the Panthers win, they clinch at least a playoff spot and are in the driver’s seat for the NFC South and a first-round playoff bye.

Needless to say, you know which scenario I’d like to play out today and going forward. :)

Game time is 1 pm ET and it’s being aired locally on Fox.

NFL Sunday Football Open Thread: #Panthers at the #Saints

Carolina Panthers


Getting set for a huge game tonight between NFC South division rivals the Saints and the Panthers. Both teams are at 9-3 and want to make the sole claim of having the best record in their division going into the home stretch of the regular season. The Saints suffered a painful Monday night loss to the Seahawks and would love nothing better than to move past that with a resounding win on their home turf over the Panthers, while the Panthers would love to add another game to their 8 game win streak, especially being on the road.

The loser of tonight’s game will get a chance for revenge in two weeks, as these two teams will take on each other again for their second to the last game of the regular season, except they’ll be playing here in Charlotte.

Kickoff tonight is at 8:40 pm ET and it will be broadcast on NBC. Go Cats!

NFL Sunday Football Open Thread: Bucs at the #Panthers

Carolina Panthers


The Bucs (3-8) and the Panthers (8-3) are meeting up today here at home in their second match-up of the season. The Panthers won the first one and look to sweep while at the same time making it 8 wins in a row while the Bucs are looking to extend their win streak to 4 after having an extremely slow start to the season.  This is one of those scary games where on the surface you’d think the Cats could win easily – but in reality the Bucs have gotten really good at playing spoiler this year and are hungry to continue turning their season around.

These NFC South Division rivals will be playing on a fairly nice day here in Charlotte where skies are sunny and the temperatures are in the low 50s – a far cry from the bitterly cold weather we had last week.

The game is in progress and is being broadcast on Fox.

NFL Sunday Football Open Thread: #Panthers at the #Dolphins

Carolina Panthers


The Panthers (7-3) have traveled this weekend to Miami (5-5) for their next match-up and are riding high after their 24-20 Monday night win over the visiting New England Patriots. The Cats are on a 6 game win streak and hope to make it 7 today as they play a Dolphins team mired in a bullying scandal. Miami beat San Diego last week 20-16.

Game time is 1 pm ET and it will be broadcast locally on Fox.

NFL Monday Night Football Open Thread: #Patriots at the #Panthers

Carolina Panthers


It’s a huge night for the Panthers and their excited fans as we get set to try and jump our next “legitimate contenders”/relevancy hurdle by way of the visiting Tom Brady and his New England Patriots. The 6-3 Panthers are sitting firmly in 2nd place behind the New Orleans Saints in the NFC South while New England, at 7-2, is in first place in the more competitive AFC East division. The Panthers had an epic, hard-fought – and won – battle against Phineas‘ 49ers at Candlestick Park back on the 10th, and look to build on their 5 game win streak tonight. With that win, many sports analysts began talking about the Panthers in a serious light as being a top team to beat, a team that has more than a fighting chance to make it to the playoffs – and perhaps beyond. A win tonight against the storied Patriots would stoke that commentary all the more. And of course Panthers Coach Ron Rivera and company would certainly welcome it.

The local sports media has gone crazy here the last few days talking about tonight’s game, almost to the point you’d think it was the 2004 Super Bowl battle between the two teams all over again.  Needless to say, yours truly wants a much different outcome than that heartbreaking 29-32 loss. I would love a big “statement” kind of win from the Panthers.  A “there is no question we have arrived” type of victory.  Is that asking for too much? ;)

Kick-off is at 8:40 PM ET and the game will be broadcast on ESPN, and locally in the Charlotte area on WSOC-TV. Temperatures should be in the mid-50s.

Go Panthers!