Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Kerrzy’s Notebook: The Fallout

Things are back to normal in the Scottish Premier League this week, after a referee strike this past weekend threw everything for a loop.

Luckily for the SPL, some bad weather helped out by cutting down the number of fixtures on the schedule and that freed up some refs to help out in other areas after certain foreign officials decided not to come over after all.

The Telegraph reports that seven cautions were handed out on the weekend, down from 21 and two red cards the week before, and for the most part, players were all on their ‘best behavior’ during the matches that were played before snow wreaked havoc on Sunday’s action.

The news didn’t stop there though – late last week the head of refereeing development for the Scottish Football Association quit, amid an email scandal and the ref at the centre of the latest round of controversy prior to the strike also hung up the whistle.

Hugh Dallas, a former SPL ref himself, cited ‘family reasons’ for his decision to leave his post, but there was also this: Dallas caught some heat for an email he forwarded to a bunch of people that had something to do with the Pope’s visit to Glasgow and was deemed “offensive” by Scotland’s Catholic community.

Former assistant referee Steven Craven has also accused Dallas of bullying refs – Craven has since resigned for his part in the Dougie McDonald controversy.

McDonald is the ref mentioned above who resigned this weekend after 13 years in the league. He’s the guy who awarded a penalty, changed his mind and then lied about his reasoning for not giving it (he said that his assistant, Craven, told him it wasn’t a penalty). That right there is what snowballed into this current scenario.

So it was quite a weekend in the SPL – you had the bad weather, a couple of guys quitting, some replacement refs backing out after being sent over by their respective federations, and then this next story, which is my favorite of the bunch:

Luxembourg ref Alain Hamer and Israeli ref Eli Hacmon both said after the games on Saturday that they wouldn’t have come over had they known about the strike, and found out after it was too late.

“I wasn’t given all the facts about my job before I came to Scotland,” said Hamer to the Scottish Sun (via ESPN) after watching over Celtic’s 2-2 draw with Inverness. “I was told that the Luxembourg Football Federation had picked me to go to Scotland but no one told me why or, until the last minute, even where I would be going.”

Meanwhile, here’s what Hacmon told the BBC after holding the whistle in Kilmarnock’s 2-0 win over Aberdeen:

“I am not happy about the reasons we came here. We did not know the reason before we came on Friday. If we knew it before, we would not have come here. We need to back up our friends and support them. If I knew the reasons was the managers didn’t give respect to our colleagues, we wouldn’t have come here.”

At face value those seem like valid comments, don’t they? I thought so too at first, but the more I read, the less I believed.

So, they’ve done the game, they’ve collected the paycheck and only then did they think about the fact that other refs might look at them at ‘scabs’ in this scenario. What should they do to soften the blow?

Plead ignorance, of course. “Oh, if only we had known! Nobody told us! We wouldn’t have come had we known!”

I don’t buy it.

I’ll tell you why I don’t believe a word of that nonsense: I live in Edmonton, Alberta, which is thousands and thousands of kilometers from Glasgow, Scotland. Despite that massive distance, it took me less than a minute to find pages and pages of articles about what was going on with the SPL refs!

If I’m a ref in country ‘A’ and my boss calls me up out of the blue and tells me that I’m needed on short notice in some other country, I’d be a little bit curious as to why, wouldn’t you?

Surely these people have the internet – it’s not like this ref crisis was kept quiet by any means. This is all it takes: Go to your preferred search engine. Type in “SPL refs.” Press enter.


That’s it!

But no, these guys were ‘kept in the dark’ or lied to about why they were coming over. Give me a break!

As for the Scottish Football Association, it says it’ll be doing its best to make sure something like this never happens again and will be putting measures in place to give the referees the support they need going forward.

I know I’ve made light of the reasons for this strike (refs tired of being criticized constantly and having their integrity questioned), but I’d like to know what you think:

Should players and managers be allowed to be critical of the refs after a game, or should all criticism be handled behind closed doors?

Let me know!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Kerrzy’s Notebook: 15 Minutes of Fame

Happy Monday!

It’s the start of another week, which means another episode of 15 Minutes of Fame, featuring myself and Geoffrey Driscoll of Any Sport Any Time.

This week we’re talking about the Edmonton Oilers and what’s missing from the mix, the NHL’s decision to not suspend Marc Staal, Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young’s text message apology and…we introduce a new feature: The Gabby’s (The Good and Bad by You).

Basically, we’ll be shouting out the three best and the three worst sports “things” (players, moments, etc.) of the week – and we’d like your help! If you see something that should be mentioned, give us a shout and let us know at 15MinutesYEG@gmail.com!

For last week’s episode, click here. Don’t forget – if you’d like to get in on the conversation, you can follow us on Twitter @15MinutesYEG or join ourFacebook group!

Thanks for watching!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Hoop & The Harm: Notes from the Hardcourt

(White) House of Pain

What is US President Barack Obama thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Probably modern medicine! President Obama is likely spending the weekend with a bag of frozen peas pressed up against his face after a tough day at the office on Friday…

The O-bomb was left needing stitches following a game of pick-up basketball at Fort McNair where he took an “inadvertent elbow” to the lip! According to the Washington Post, he arrived back at the White House a few hours later and checked into his crib’s Medical Unit, needing a total of 12 stitches!

So, you ask, whose elbow was it? The guilty party’s name is Rey Decerega and he is a (former?) member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.

Can you imagine popping the President of the United State in the face with an elbow?! I wonder how many red dots suddenly appeared on him!

No word from the White House on what Obama’s stats were for the day.


Los Angeles must be a strange place to live for a sports fan…

At the top of the pile, you’ve got the Lakers winning trophies every year. The Kings should be a good hockey team, but they aren’t quite there yet in terms of dominance. The Galaxy are pretty good, but MLS isn’t that popular and they haven’t been around long enough. The Dodgers are an average ball team, but average just doesn’t cut it in the Major Leagues. Then, you’ve got the LA Clippers.

If you didn’t know any better, you might think the Clippers were the feeder team for the Lake Show, but no, they’re just not very good. If you happen to be a Clippers fan though, I’m here to tell you that there’s hope!

His name is Blake Griffin.

LA drafted the Oklahoma Sooners prospect first overall in the 2009 draft, but fans would have to wait a whole year to see him debut because of a knee injury that didn’t heal properly. I’m sure some people though “oh herrrrrrre we go” when they heard that he’d be missing the entire 2009-10 season…but now that we’ve seen him play at the NBA level, it’s safe to say that this guy is the real deal!

In his first 17 games, Griffin is averaging over 19 points and 11 rebounds while playing about 35 minutes per game. His best performance so far came last Saturday in a 124-115 loss to the NY Knicks – the 21-year-old put up 44-points and 15 rebounds, including these two thunderous dunks:

Are you kidding me?! Oh, to be Timofey Mozgov or Danilo Gallinari…

Another Setback for Oden

I’ve often written about the horribly sad story that is Greg Oden of the Portland Trail Blazers – earlier when I said that some Clippers fans might have been worried when Blake Griffin missed his first season due to injury…Oden’s story would have been why.

I began following his progress after seeing a feature about him on TV: Oden hurt his dominant hand, so he learned to dominate with his other hand and came back with a vengeance. He wound up becoming so amazingly versatile that he was drafted first overall in 2007, ahead of Kevin Durant.

Ironically, that’s when things started to go downhill for the 7-foot wonder.

Oden needed microfracture surgery on his right knee before his pro career even started which kept him out for an entire season. As a rookie in 2008, Oden averaged 8.9 points per game and 7 rebounds in 61 games. More importantly, he only missed 21 games due to injury!

The following season though, Oden played 21 games and missed 61 after fracturing his left patella (basically, he broke his knee).

I know what you’re thinking, it can only get better right? Unfortunately, that’s not the case in this fairy tale. The Trail Blazers announced last week that Oden needed another microfracture surgery – this time on his left knee.

In four NBA seasons, Greg Oden has missed 246 of a possible 328 games, or 75 percent of his ‘potential’ career.

It’s not all bad though – NBC’s Out of Bounds reports that Oden has earned about $50,000 per basket in the 82 pro contests he has featured in. How does that compare with other pro ballers?


I know that some people will say they have a very hard time feeling sorry for a guy who has earned over $19-million playing a bit of basketball, but I can’t help it.

He seems like a good guy who just can’t catch a break – well, minus that ‘break’ he caught when he signed a big-money contract!

Other stuff…

The Miami Heat’s top rebounder is out, maybe for the season. No, not him, or him…or him.

LeBron James says he’s not worried about going, going, back, back to Cleveland, Cleveland

You’ll never guess who Kobe Bryant says his biggest mentor was…I’ll give you a hint: He’s Bad, he’s not my son and his best advice was to look at the man in the mirror…

Friday, November 26, 2010

Kerrzy's Notebook: The Spirit of Rule 75

Chris Pronger seems to be in the middle of his fair share of controversy these days, doesn't he?

When he's not shooting garbage at other players, being portrayed as a Tarzan-looking Jane, stealing pucks or trying to, Pronger can be found making life miserable for guys like Calgary Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff. The Flyers defenceman is once again at the centre of a controversial moment on the ice - this time it revolves around a disallowed goal in Philly's 3-2 shootout loss to the Flames on Friday afternoon.

With just over 1:30 to go in overtime and about 1:20 remaining in a Philly power play, Mike Richards picks up the puck in the corner and skates towards the blue line, before cutting to the middle and flipping a shot towards the net that gets past a screened Kiprusoff. Therein lies the problem, said the ref, who immediately points and Pronger and invokes the "Sean Avery" interpretation of Rule 75, waving off the goal.

Rule 75 is the "Unsportsmanlike Conduct" section of the referees handbook and the "Sean Avery" interpretation to that rule famously came into effect after the controversial forward's creative screening methods caused a stir back in 2008.

While it doesn't seem to appear anywhere in the actual rules, here is the NHL's (apparently implied) amendment to #75:

"An unsportsmanlike conduct minor penalty will be interpreted and applied, effective immediately, to a situation when an offensive player positions himself facing the opposition goaltender and engages in actions such as waving his arms or stick in front of the goaltender's face, for the purpose of improperly interfering with and/or distracting the goaltender as opposed to positioning himself to try to make a play."

Now that we've got that out of the way, lets take a look at what actually happened between Prongs and Kipper:

Alright, so first off, it's clear that Pronger didn't ever turn and face Kiprusoff. Secondly, I'm not quite sure that sticking his left hand out for half a second constitutes "waving his arms or stick in front of the goaltender's face." The third point I'd like to make is that Kiprusoff's (unpunished) slash to the back of Pronger's leg probably did just as much to throw him off kilter or "distract" him as the hand in front of his face.

Here's what really irks me about this situation though: Not only is the "interpretation" seemingly absent from the official rulebook (or very well hidden), the argument from some is that this falls under the "spirit" of the rule. I guess that's what you say when the wording of a rule doesn't support your position!

After the game Pronger had a bit of fun with reporters when they told him that the refs refused to speak with the media (via Philly.com):

"[That's] because they know they screwed up...It's infuriating that it should have been two points instead of one. I'm not going to get into a he said/she said with the refs. And I'm the he."

While I don't buy the team's claims that Pronger was motioning to his captain to put the puck on goal, I definitely disagree with the call. Here's what it says to me: A player isn't allowed to use his hands while he attempts to block the goalie from seeing the puck, even if he isn't in the crease or facing the net, but a goalie is allowed to chop a player in the back of the legs in plain view of the referee.

Ask a guy like Tomas Holmstrom if he thinks the goalies give it as good as they get it!

Kerrzy’s Notebook: Random Friday Thoughts

Ref Drama

On Thursday I blogged all about the refereeing controversy over in Scotland – here’s the update:

The Daily Mail reports that seven foreign officials will be brought in to take care of this weekend’s games after Scotland’s 31 ‘category 1’ refs decided to go on strike. Two Israeli, three Polish and two Portuguese refs will watch over the six SPL games plus a handful of other action.

(Oh, hold on a second. As I write this, it turns out the Polish refs have actually just pulled out because they are "needed for domestic games." What, did somebody call in sick? Sky Sports reports all matches will still go ahead though...Uh oh! The Portuguese officials have also decided to go back home!)

This, after the football associations of several countries refused to send people as a show of solidarity with the plight of the striking refs.

If you missed it, Scotland’s top officials are basically on strike because they are fed up with the constant criticism they take from players, coaches and the media. The last round of controversy involved a ref giving a penalty, taking it back and then admitting that he lied about the whole thing – so it’s not like all of the scrutiny is unfair…

You know at the end of the day, the refs should just be happy that people aren’t driving their cars onto the pitch!

The Special One Strikes Again

People are talking after some curious moments late in Real Madrid’s Champions League clash with Ajax Amsterdam this week…

Real manager Jose Mourinho has been charged with “unsporting conduct” and UEFA is investigating the actions of two of his players after they were accused of getting “deliberate” red cards in the 4-0 win. You’re probably asking yourself, “What would be the point of a deliberate red card?!”

Here’s how it works: If a player is shown a red card, or is cautioned in two different games, he is forced to sit a one-game suspension. Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso both saw yellow early in this week’s game, a win that clinched top spot in Group G for Real. Since they’ve still one more game before the knockout phase begins in February, the second yellow card (and subsequent red card) shown to each player means they’ll miss a meaningless game while ‘wiping the slate clean’ for the next round.

When I first heard about this incident I thought to myself “how do people know that these guys were trying to get sent off?!” Then I saw the video:

Is this brilliant strategy by Mourinho, or an incident that has damaged the game’s reputation, as suggested by Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger?

Honestly, I don’t think it’s as bad as people are making it out to be.

What makes this worse than a player throwing himself onto the ground in an effort to draw a penalty or a free kick? How is this worse than a player trying to kill time by faking an injury and writhing in pain on the ground while clock ticks away, only to get up and join the play a minute later?

It’s not the most ethical thing I’ve ever seen, but I think it’s actually pretty funny!

In fact, the funniest part of that whole video is when we see Luis Suarez throw his arms up in protest and complain to the ref – yes, the same Luis Suarez who was just handed a seven-game ban for biting an opponent; the same Luis Suarez who helped Uruguay go through to the semi-final of the World Cup by using his hands to keep a ball from crossing the line. Yes, he’s upset that someone else is wasting time in a 4-0 game. Come on!

Prognosis Negative

If you’re an NBA fan, I would advise you to watch as much basketball as you can this winter…because there might be a drought coming!

The executive director of the NBA players association said this week that he is “99 per cent sure” that there will be a lockout next summer and that he’s been instructing players to start saving. Billy Hunter told The Associated Press he’s preparing for a lockout because he doesn’t see the two sides coming together for a deal anytime soon the way things have gone so far.

The league wants to slash salaries by up to $800-million and install a “hard” salary cap, like the one used in the NHL. The league says it’s losing in the hundreds of millions of dollars per year, something the players say they don’t quite believe.

Hunter says he doesn’t really find the NBA’s argument in favor of those changes “all that compelling,” adding that the owners are being “unreasonable.”

The Wall Street Journal reports that the players union is being proactive just incase there is a lockout, providing its members with a ton of information on how to save money, including lockout-themed podcasts by Derek Fisher of the LA Lakers. It’s tough to fathom a league full of millionaires struggling to make ends meet, but I guess when you’re accustomed to a certain amount of money coming in every two weeks, you’re not used to worrying about money!

Around the Rinks

It was a big week for Ottawa Senators forward Alex Kovalev - he picked up his 1,000th career point with a power play goal in a 3-2 win over the LA Kings on Monday, the 76th player to hit that milestone.

Kovalev is only the third Russian born player, behind Sergei Fedorov and Alex Mogilny, to put up 1,000 points.

The Detroit Red Wings pulled out a dramatic come from behind win over the Calgary Flames this week, which included a last-second tying goal from Henrik Zetterberg and a dirty dangle from captain Nick Lidstrom in overtime for the “W.”

The reason I bring it up is because Lidstrom’s goal is a must-see:

Believe it or not, the 40-year-old comes into today’s action tied for second among defensemen with 20 points in 19 games. The only thing more surprising than that is the fact that John-Michael Liles is the defenseman with the most points so far!

Speaking of the scoring race, there’s a healthy battle brewing between Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos and Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby. Right now it’s Stamkos leading the way with 38 points to Crosby’s 36 – but in terms of just goals, the third-year forward is six goals clear of everyone else!

With 21 goals in his first 22 games, Stamkos has the hockey world buzzing as he looks to become the first player since Brett Hull in 1992 to join the 50-in-50 club.

Can he do it? Absolutely. He went from 23 goals in his rookie season to 51 last year, why not over 60 this time around?

One last thing – the NY Islanders host the NJ Devils today, riding a 14-game losing skid (0-11-3). How bad are they? In 21 games, the Isles have been held to a goal or less on 10 different occasions and they haven’t won since October 21st!

If you don’t think they’re frustrated, check out this tweet from Michael Grabner (@Grabs40):


Other stuff…

Manny Pacquiao says he’ll retire in three years. Floyd Mayweather Jr. immediately releases a statement saying he’ll agree to fight Pacquiao, but only in four years…

Korean baseball player Shin-Soo Choo avoids mandatory two-year stint in the military thanks to Asia Games win…

You’ve heard of road rage, right? That’s old news – bench rage is the new thing…

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Kerrzy’s Notebook: Scotland's Refs Strike!

It’s setting up to be an interesting weekend in the Scottish Premier League...

The country’s Football Association says the show must go on, despite the league’s top referees going on strike over the criticism and abuse they say they are taking on a weekly basis

The SFA, the SPL and the Scottish Football League issued a joint statement today, throwing their full support behind Category 1 Referees and announcing new rules aimed at cutting down the amount of garbage thrown their way. There will now be “immediate” punishment for “players and club officials who abuse referees and match officials, and especially those who challenge their integrity and honesty.”

The last-ditch effort to get the whistle-blowers back on board for this weekend didn’t work though, as they voted on Wednesday night to take strike action anyway.

Where does that leave this weekend’s SPL fixtures? Well the FA has been poking around Europe trying to line up some replacement refs for Saturday and Sunday, but so far they’ve come up dry.

Sky Sports reports that Iceland seemed keen to help out, that is, until they spoke with their “Scottish colleagues.”

The move to strike comes after weeks of build-up in the Scottish media, kicked off by one game in particular a few weeks ago. Referee Dougie McDonald gave a penalty kick to Celtic, who were playing Dundee United at Tannadice, changed his mind and then later admitted that he lied to Celtic manager Neil Lennon about why the penalty was taken away.

For his part, Lennon says he may have crossed the line “once or twice” when it comes to his sideline conduct this season, but that people often “exaggerate [his] behavior.”

Obviously this whole thing doesn’t come down to that one incident, but the referees are implying that it was the ‘straw that broke the camels back,’ so to speak. The refs say they feel that they’re unfairly criticized year after year by players, managers and the media alike, and they are finally trying to do something about it.

It must be hard for teams to keep their mouths shut though when they feel like the officiating is sub-standard and then they read stuff in the papers like “four-of-five ‘top refs’ fail an SFA exam on the laws of the game!”

Aren’t referees essentially paid to have a deeper and better knowledge of the rules than anyone else?

The Daily Record reported last weekend that only five of the 31 “Category One” officials passed the 30-question test. Granted, it’s not as bad as it sounds, because to “pass” you had to score an 80%. Still though, it’s not great press for a group that definitely doesn’t need that type of negative attention.

The league and the FA can censor the teams quite easily by teaching them to bite their tongues through various sanctions, but as for the media, good luck!

What else is there to say? If you'd like to know what I think, here it is:

Taking abuse is part of being a referee, just like dealing with bad referees is part of playing a sport. I’m sorry, but it’s true. If I go and play men’s league hockey, I expect the officiating to be of a certain caliber. At the top level, I expect the officiating to be as good as it can possibly be. Anything less is unacceptable.

Perceived bias can be worse than an actual ‘out in the open’ bias. This is something referees, especially in a country like Scotland, will fight until the end of time. If you can’t call a game without being impartial, you shouldn’t be on the field but some guys make it tough on themselves by messing up over and over again against the same team. This only puts every future call under a microscope for the players, coaches and fans of that team!

Inconsistency is the worst quality a referee can have – the refs that get the most respect from players, at any level, are the ones that are easy to read. If you’re a guy that calls everything by the book, then call everything by the book. If you’re a no-nonsense, ‘let them play’ style ref, then let them play. When things are consistent, players and coaches adjust and everyone is on the same page.

Last, but not least, don’t lie. If you make a mistake, admit you made a mistake. If, as a referee, you start lying and get caught out, it takes away from your credibility. That takes us back to the point about perceived bias. Maybe you only covered up that one mistake and you’ve learned your lesson, but maybe you make a habit of that type of behavior. Only you know for sure, but there are millions of people watching you and making up their own minds.

The referee/player relationship is a two-way street but if the players, coaches and fans don’t respect the officials, this culture of criticism and abuse will never change.

Polamalu’s Hair: Week Twelve Notes

The Clash of the Titans

Almost 30 years ago, Mick Jones of The Clash famously penned the lyrics to the hit single “Should I Stay or Should I Go…”

This week, Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young was living that very thought after an apparent clash with his coach at the end of Sunday’s 19-16 loss to the Baltimore Ravens!

Things started to unravel for Young after he hurt his thumb during the game, an injury that will apparently sideline him for the rest of the year. When coach Jeff Fisher wouldn’t let him back on the field, things got heated and that culminated in a confrontation between player and coach.

The Tennessean reports that Young was swearing under his breath while Fisher prepared to address the team in the dressing room, Fisher told him to be quiet and Young decided enough was enough and walked towards the door. The coach accused his QB of running out on his teammates and his QB replied “I’m not running out on my teammates, I’m running out on you,” according to sources.

Later that night, Young said he was frustrated and cleared the air about another part of the story that had him throwing “half his uniform” into the stands on his way off the field. Young says he was giving his jersey to the daughter of Titans executive VP Don MacLachlan, adding that he throws his shoes, hat and wristbands into the stands after every single game.

That was that, for Sunday at least.

On Monday there were reports that Young was asked to leave the Titans practice facility, a rumor later denied by Fisher who said he was just told that he wasn't invited to a team meeting “for obvious reasons.”

What would you do in this situation if you were Vince Young?

If you answered “text an apology to your coach,” you’re spot on! That said, if you’re hoping for a happy ending here, I would advise you not to read this quote from coach Fisher about the textpology:

“I’m not a real big text guy. I’m not really into this new-age stuff. I don’t Twitter or tweet. But I think face-to-face is a man thing, OK? Someone could have grabbed his phone…”

In a crazy-competitive venue like pro football, these types of things happen when things aren’t going well. Everyone wants to win and everyone wants to be the guy making it happen, but sometimes there are setbacks and not everyone is equipped to deal with them properly. It sounds to me like the communication wasn’t great between these two to start with, which probably only made things worse in the end.

The most interesting part about this saga is that it’s got nothing to do with the ever-controversial Randy Moss!

Favreorable Forecast

It might not necessarily be warming up in Minnesota, but it certainly isn’t as “Chilly” at Winter Park in Eden Prairie this week.

After a 3-7 start to the season, the Minnesota Vikings fired coach Brad Childress on Monday, promoting Leslie Frazier to fill his shoes on an interim basis. Right away, it looks like one thing you might see this weekend, if Brett Favre has his way, is a less “complicated” Vikings offence. Here’s what the 41-year-old told The Associated Press this week:

“Every playbook across this league is way too thick. You never practice it all. How can you become consistent if you’re running a different play every week out of a different formation with a different motion with different guys? You think those guys crack that book, go through all 500 pages? Come on. You could hide a couple hundred-dollar bills in there.”

He’s probably got a point, because I’m sure reading and memorizing 500 pages worth of play calls is a fairly tedious task. Then again, unless it’s a completely new playbook from the one they used last season, it doesn’t quite explain how the team went from being oh-so-close to a Super Bowl appearance to where they are now.

With just three wins so far, it’ll basically take a miracle for the Vikings to salvage anything from this season, but for Brett Favre it could be the last time he suits up in the NFL. I say could be because he’s not exactly the most dependable guy when it comes to whether or not he is retiring.

Obviously he’ll want to finish strong, playoffs or not, but if the thick playbook doesn’t get him and injuries don’t put him out, Jenn Sterger still might.

That’s right – it’s not over yet!

The NY Daily News reports that the NFL is using “electronic forensics” to track the photos Brett allegedly sent of his Favre to the former NY Jets in-game emcee. He has admitted to leaving voicemails on Sterger’s phone, but denied sending lewd photos to her.

If that isn’t bad enough, the woman’s manager is claiming that Favre’s agent has inquired about how much it would cost to make this whole thing go away.

Bus Cook says that Sterger’s camp made “numerous overtures…at least 6” to him looking for a payout though.

Will this thing ever end? It probably can’t wrap up fast enough for Favre who could, in theory, end up suspended for the final games of his last* season of professional football!

What do you think: If the league determines that it was, indeed, Brett Favre who sent those racy pictures to Jenn Sterger, should they suspend him?

*I’ll believe it when I see it!

T.O.Choke Show

For a guy that hasn’t won a football game since the end of September, Cincinnati Bengals receiver Terrell Owens sure does a lot of talking.

I know he’s got a weekly TV show that he co-hosts with teammate Chad Ochocinco and for people to watch it, he probably has to try and be controversial at times…but still. The Bengals are 2-8 on the season and have lost seven in a row heading into tonight’s tilt with the NY Jets – cue the trash-talk!

Owens is calling out Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, telling reporters that he is just “average,” a “one year wonder” and a “media creation.”

Revis was a big star last year, shutting down some of the league’s best players, but started this year with a lengthy contract holdout and suffered a hamstring injury early in the season. Owens tells ESPN:

“No disrespect, he’s only done one thing for one year. You talk about shutdown corners, you need to repeatedly do it, year in and year out. I think he did it one year, and everybody made a lot of hoopla about it.”

What will happen tonight?

Even if TO gets a few catches over Revis, I don’t think the Bengals have enough in the tank to upset the Jets. After all, this is a team that gave up 49 points to the 2-8 Bills!

Other stuff…

Oakland’s Richard Seymour was fined but not suspended this week for laying out Big Ben with a shot to the mind…

What do Lil Jon and Asante Samuel have in common? They both like to Get Low

When Ron Artest is done playing pro basketball, he says he wants to give pro football a try

The Minnestoa Vkiings are in such shambles that they can’t even spell Kevin Willaims corektly!

Game to watch: The 8-2 Atlanta Falcons are undefeated at home so far this season, but they’ll face a stiff test when the 7-3 Green Bay Packers come to town on Sunday. The Falcons are one of three teams with eight wins so far, but the only one of those three playing a team with more than two wins this weekend (Pats vs. Lions, Jets vs. Bengals). Baltimore and Indianapolis are both also defending unbeaten streaks at home – the Ravens face the Bucs (both 7-3) while the Colts host the Chargers, who are 1-4 on the road.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Kerrzy’s Notebook: Butts and Bites

If you’re anything like me the words “reality TV” make you cringe, as you picture everything from Big Brother to the Bachelor to Jersey Shore. You know what though, each of those shows has something in common with professional sports – and if you’re like me, you love watching sports.

Every so often when you’re watching a reality show (because you cant find the remote, there’s nothing else on, or someone else has control), someone blows a gasket and for a moment the show is entertaining. Admit it, watching people freak out is pretty fun. Well, the same holds true in the world of sports. Every now and then a player will just lose the plot and do something so crazy that you can’t believe your eyes and you can’t wait to talk about it with your friends…

If you were checking out some Serie A action this past weekend, you would have witnessed one of those moments!

Inter Milan striker Samuel Eto’o is in trouble with the league for an incident on Sunday that the referees missed, but the cameras didn’t. Chievo Verona defender Bostjan Cesar was working Eto’o over near the middle of the field in the first half of a 2-1 Inter loss and in doing so, hit him with a weak punch to the shoulder area (kind of like an Austin Powers judo chop).

The ref appears to give Inter the free kick, but before the play restarts Eto’o runs towards Cesar and drives his head right into the defenders chest, channeling his inner Zidane!

Somehow the officials never saw it at the time, but thanks to those pesky video replays the league decided to take action after the fact. The result? The Daily Mail reports Eto’o has been suspended for three games and fined £25,000, which likely rules him out for today’s Champions League game against FC Twente.

There’s no questioning the skill of Eto’o, but he’s a guy that has had to deal with a lot throughout his career. He’s an African man who has played most of his pro soccer in Spain and Italy, so he has been the subject of a ton of racist abuse over the years. It’s for that reason that I wish I knew what was said prior to the head-butt. He’s a guy that generally keeps his cool when most of us would go berserk, so I wonder if there was something in particular that set him off or if he was just having one of those days…

Now that we’ve covered the “butts,” it’s time to move on to the “bites” portion of this blog:

Lets flashback to the quarter-finals of this summer’s World Cup between Ghana and Uruguay - with the score tied and Ghana pressing, Luis Suarez became a ‘national hero’ in his homeland when he stuck his hand out to stop the go-ahead goal from crossing the line.

Suarez was sent off, but Uruguay went on to win on penalty kicks.

The fact that he was hailed as a hero for doing what he did never sat well with me, and I’ve disliked him ever since for being so smug about the whole thing. Once the World Cup wrapped up though, Luis Suarez wasn’t a player I really heard much about…until this week:

His club, Ajax Amsterdam of the Dutch national football league, has suspended him for two games for biting an opposing player over the weekend! In addition, The Guardian reports, the striker has also been fined an undisclosed amount, which the club says will go to a “good cause.”

The Dutch Football Federation though, says USA Today, is proposing a seven-match ban for sinking his teeth into PSV’s Otman Bakkal in a 0-0 draw on Saturday.

Have a look:

One of the reasons I can’t stand this guy is his attitude. Here’s what he said after the cameras caught him biting another player: “No, I do not regret what happened. Normally I always keep calm but I didn’t…I’m a little tired. This week I had to travel a lot.”

You just bit a guy and that’s all you’ve got to say for yourself? When we got our first big dump of snow last week it took me almost an hour to get to work – you don’t see me going around biting people!

Ajax limiting his suspension to domestic games didn’t help them much on Tuesday; they were blown out 4-0 by Real Madrid and eliminated from Champions League contention.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Kerrzy’s Notebook: Call of Duty

While they seemed to do fine without him this past weekend, there’s no question EPL giants Liverpool will miss Steven Gerrard.

The 30-year-old was hurt last week while on international duty for England for a friendly against France – he tore his hamstring, an injury that will put him out for about a month, says The Daily Mail. Even worse, Gerrard was apparently only supposed to play for an hour and suffered the injury in the 85th minute of the game.

Apparently Darren Burgess, Liverpool’s Head of Fitness, was so outraged by the news that he wrote a couple of angry ‘tweets’ and smashed up his Blackberry out of sheer frustration.

The Mail Online's Des Kelly says though, when a player is with the national team, he belongs to the national team, while lamenting the fact that in soccer international duty seems to be more about the money.

“When a rugby union or rugby league player pulls on the international jersey, it is the pinnacle of his career. Nothing else matters. It is the same mindset in the world of cricket and just about any other professional or amateur sport you care to mention. But in football, it’s about money. International matches are regarded as an inconvenience beyond the insane spikes of interest around major tournaments every two years.”

When the money is as good as it is for top players around the world though, that is bound to happen. After all, the business side of the game is what allows for top players to make hundreds of thousands of dollars per week playing a game!

Back to Wednesday’s game: the change in plans for England, when it comes to Gerrard, came when the team ran into some injury trouble. Here’s what manager Fabio Capello had to say after the 2-1 loss (via The Sun):

“If it’s possible, the players will play the time we agreed with the club. [Clubs] can’t decide how long a player plays with the national team. If it’s possible, he’d have played an hour. I understand why they’re upset and I’m also upset.”

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson says he’s “disappointed and even a little bit angry” about losing Gerrard, especially since the injury came in what was basically a meaningless game. That’s fine, but who’s going to pay Gerrard while he’s out?

The thing about high-end talent is that it costs a pretty penny to keep it around!

To soften the blow of losing a star player, the English Football Association is shelling out to compensate Liverpool for the time Gerrard misses, which could be up to five games (including a European tilt). For that, The Daily Mail reports the FA will pay about $811,600 to the club through an insurance policy taken out for just such an occasion.

The money is obviously nice, especially in today’s economic climate, but if they start to falter without Gerrard’s influence, they money won’t matter much, will it?

Liverpool are already nine points out of top spot and six points out of the top four, so they could really use all the help they can get at this point.

Do you know what the best part of a situation like this is though? It gives the English papers, most of which aren’t exactly in love with national team manager Fabio Capello, a free pass to openly mock him! I now present you with The Sun's adaptation of a Dr. Seuss classic entitled “The Prat In The Hat.” Enjoy!


Kerrzy's Notebook: The Blind Side?

After dishing out a pair of suspensions last week amid an email scandal involving his son, it’s right back to work for Colin Campbell.

The NHL’s executive vice president and head disciplinarian will definitely be taking a look at a hit by New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal on Calgary forward Matt Stajan from Monday night in a 2-1 loss for the Flames. In my opinion, it’s an important decision for Campbell, because it will test the boundaries of the league’s new “blindside” and “headshot” rules.

One problem that a lot of people, myself included, have with the NHL’s justice system is that it seems to be all over the place.

Incident A will look near identical to Incident B and Incident C, but only one will result in a suspension. For example Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke, a blindside expert, was suspended for this hit and not this one, despite striking similarities.

In fact, both hits are included in the NHL’s 2010-11 Rule Enforcement Video, which is slightly ironic.

Back to Monday night – here’s what happened: Matt Stajan skates through the neutral zone with the puck, crosses the blue line and dishes a backhand pass to his left, which is where he is looking. About ‘one Mississippi’ after the puck leaves his stick, Marc Staal lowers the boom on the Calgary forward. Here’s where it gets tricky though:

As Stajan is moving forward, Staal is coming across the ice, approaching him from the right side (remember, he is looking left). Staal appears, to me anyway, to hit Stajan with a shoulder to the head while the player is looking away.

After the game, Rangers coach John Tortorella told ESPN he thought it was a “clean” hit and Staal said he was just finishing his check. Let me just say that I don’t think it was “dirty” or that Staal was trying to injure Stajan. I just think that, within the new rules, it’s one of those hits that the league is trying to outlaw.

Have a look for yourself, though I would suggest watching it with the volume down because the hometown commentators are too hometown:

The reason I say “here’s where it gets tricky” is because for years making this type of hit would have earned a player a reputation as one of the league’s “best” hitters. Nowadays, there’s a fine line between a solid hit and a suspendable offence. Here’s how rule 48.1 is worded:

“A lateral or blindside hit to an opponent where the head is targeted and/or the principal point of contact is not permitted.”

You’ll notice in the wording of the rule that lateral hits targeting the head are not allowed. If you listen to the Staal/Stajan clip with the volume up, you’ll hear the announcers saying that the Rangers defenseman was clearly going “North/South” when he delivered the hit, which would make it okay according to the rules. The problem is, he is clearly skating along the blue line (East/West)!

Further to that, it looks to me as though Staal makes contact with Stajan’s head, another no-no!

Two of the comparable hits from the Rule Enforcement Video are Mike Richards on David Booth or Michael Haley on Rod Pelley (1:15 into the clip), while a similar type of hit from this season would be Shane Doan on Dan Sexton, a hit that saw the Phoenix captain sit out for a few games.

Is this a hit that falls under that new set of rules, or was it a clean hit that Matt Stajan should have seen coming?

Let me know what you think!

********** UPDATE **********

Despite what appears to be overwhelming evidence against Staal, TSN reports that the NHL has reviewed the hit and it was deemed legal. The Calgary Herald agrees with my view that it seems to go against Rule 48, while others say Stajan should have seen Staal coming. I love the NHL's wheel of justice!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Kerrzy’s Notebook: 15 Minutes of Fame

Happy Monday!

Can you believe it’s almost December? I can’t! All this snow and cold…it seems like just yesterday that it was sunny skies and smooth sailing out there on the roads. But don’t worry, “15 Minutes of Fame” is back for another week to warm you up with some sports talk.

This week, myself and Geoffrey Driscoll of Any Sport Any Time are talking about Tampa Bay’s Steve Stamkos and the development of Edmonton’s Taylor Hall, the Colin Campbell email scandal, Chris Bosh coming along in Miami after a slower start and a whole lot more. As usual, don’t forget to stick around right until the end for another installment of “Quick Hits” as well!

For last week’s episode, click here. Don’t forget – if you’d like to get in on the conversation, you can follow us on Twitter @15MinutesYEG or join our Facebook group!

Thanks for watching!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Kerrzy’s Notebook: One End Zone?

Who’s idea was this?!

The Northwestern Wildcats will face the Illinois Fighting Illini at Wrigley Field a little later on today, one of two college games taking place at baseball stadiums this afternoon. In the other, it’ll be Army vs. Notre Dame at the new Yankee Stadium.

Why is this trend of college football teams playing at MLB stadiums taking off? I’m not sure. What I am sure of though, is that this is probably the last football game we’ll see at Wrigley.

Like trying to fit into that ‘small’ you wore a few years back when you’re now clearly a ‘large,’ the organizers of this game, after 18 months of planning, appear to have waited until the last minute to finally admit “hold on a second, this doesn’t fit!”

If you haven’t already heard – the ‘Cats and the Illini will be playing with one end zone, because it turns out that the home of the Cubs is a baseball diamond and not a football field. I know that the Chicago Bears played at Wrigley for years, but clearly something has changed in the makeup of that ballpark because I’m pretty sure the NFL wouldn’t have been OK with a wall in the end zone either.

I could be wrong though, they were tougher back in them days!

The Big 10 issued a statement this week, saying that all plays will head toward the west end zone, all kickoffs will be sent towards the east end zone, and after each change of possession, the ball will be repositioned so that the offence is going west.

The reason these changes are being made is because the east end zone sits just a few feet away from the right field wall, meaning that a deep pass to the back of that end zone could leave a player with a tough decision: attempt the catch and hit a wall at full speed, or bail.

Actually, now that I think about it, a receiver could also probably climb the wall to make a catch like one of those Japanese outfielders – so I guess it’s not a good idea for a couple of reasons!

I can see the NHL wanting to play outdoor games in different venues, like Wrigley, but I don’t get these events. What’s the big difference between an outdoor football stadium and an outdoor baseball stadium?

Well, besides the size…

Friday, November 19, 2010

Kerrzy’s Notebook: Random Friday Thoughts

Is Pacquiao Beatable?

If you missed it last weekend, Filipino boxing sensation Manny Pacquiao beat the snot out of Antonio Margarito at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, winning his eighth world title in an eighth weight class…but even he still has his detractors.

The smaller Pacquiao unleashed such a beating on Margarito that he fractured his eye socket and broke his orbital bone and spent the last two rounds trying to get the ref to stop the fight! With the win he’s now 52-3-2, but until he fights Floyd Mayweather Jr., his career won’t be complete in the eyes of some.

Count Bernard Hopkins in that category – though he is taking it a lot further than anyone else. Before we get to what Hopkins had to say, let me just point out that I, along with many other people, believe that the undefeated Mayweather is ducking Pacquiao because he doesn’t want to fight him. Watching the public negotiations between the two over the last year or so, that’s just the feeling I get from the situation. Okay, good talk.

Here’s what Hopkins told Fanhouse: Basically, he thinks Pacman is avoiding fighting African-American boxers because he would lose.

“Maybe I’m biased because I’m black, but I think that this is what is said at people’s homes and around the dinner table among black boxing fans and fighters…Listen, this ain’t a racial thing, but then again, maybe it is. But the style that is embedded in most of us black fighters, that style could be a problem to any other style of fighting.”

“Floyd Mayweather would beat Manny Pacquiao because the styles that African-American fighters – and I mean black fighters from the streets or the inner cities – would be successful.”

What about Josh Clottey? He’s black!

“Clottey is ‘black,’ but not a ‘black boxer’ from the states with a slick style. So you can’t really say that Clottey is an African-American fighter in that sense.”

Oh, okay. He’s the wrong kind of black. Gotcha. On the other side of this debate is Pacquiao spokesman Michael Koncz, who Fanhouse reached out to for his response to the allegations levied by Hopkins.

“Manny has nothing left to prove to anybody. I would say to hell with all of those guys who are talking. Manny has done more than anybody in boxing has ever imagined. He has the right to select his opponents. These black fighters, you know, we’re not prejudiced. We don’t care if they’re black, green or blue.”

Does that mean that Pacquiao would fight these guys?

Koncz goes on to say that all they care about now is finding fights that are “economically feasible” for the champ.

This is all just getting ridiculous! Did Bernard Hopkins really just imply that Manny Pacquiao is racist against black people, but only if they are from the US? You can’t be serious!

Should Have Been a Hockey Player…

Meet Joey Barton – a 28-year-old midfielder playing for Newcastle United over in the English Premier League.

It’s safe to say he’s one of the ‘bad boys’ of the EPL, a fact that was on display a couple of weeks ago when he had a moment of madness in a game against the Blackburn Rovers that cost him a three-game suspension.

Barton runs to the scene of a foul, brushing shoulders with Blackburn’s Morten Gamst Pedersen along the way. At that point, he turns around and wallops him right in the chest!

Barton is a player with a long history of violence, both on and off the field: He’s been suspended for as many as 12 games at a time, he’s spent six months in prison (with a four month ‘suspended sentence’ for a different incident) and he was successfully sued by a former teammate after he stubbed a lit cigar into his eye at a Christmas party.

Here are some of Barton’s comments on the incident from The Daily Mail:

“Everyone knows I have anger issues and on the pitch people are going to test my temperament…I’m not a changed man because it’s who I am. It’s something inside me, a natural instinct that makes me stand and fight. I just continue to work at it…It was a moment of stupidity from me. I shouldn’t have reacted like that even if I was slightly provoked. I can’t condone it and I deserve a ban. I am human but I have made a mistake I regret.”

You know, I kind of feel bad for the guy because he’s obviously got issues and he has given up alcohol in an effort to keep his rage in check. Some of the stuff he’s done to other people though is just crazy.

If he played hockey at least he could get rid of some of that anger and it would be totally acceptable (on the ice, anyway)!

Tiger joins the Twitterverse

It’s true – Tiger Woods is the latest big name to launch a Twitter account and have hundreds of thousands of followers after just six tweets.

That’s not all – Woods appears to be on an all-out media blitz in the hopes of becoming the lovable guy that we all knew before we knew what he was really up to in his private life. I’m sure he’s been looking for a chance to try and become a ‘good guy’ again for a while now, but we’re also closing in on the one-year anniversary of that crash outside his house that set this whole thing in motion. It’s all about timing, folks.

Following a bunch of mistresses, a divorce and a slip from the top of golf’s world rankings, Woods is all over the place – he wrote a first-person essay for Newsweek, he’s got a Facebook page, he revamped his website and he’s giving a few interviews.

Not everyone is impressed though!

Mike Paul of MGP & Associates PR tells USA Today that Woods is “failing miserably,” while another person from the industry called Woods the most “arrogant” sports brand out there.

The big problem people have is that he still won’t talk about what happened. People want to know what was going through his mind when he started seeing women behind his wife’s back. They want to know what really happened the night he smashed his vehicle outside of his own house. It’s one of the biggest falls from grace we’ve seen in a while, and people want to know.

Do people have the right to know? Of course not, but we live in an odd society where people are strangely fascinated with scandal, especially when it happens to a stinkin’ rich celebrity like Woods. We live in the type of society where Celebrity A will cheat on his wife, and Anonymous Person B will demand an apology before he can forgive that celebrity. Bizarre? Absolutely.

By the way, if you decide to follow Tiger on Twitter (like over 229,000 people already have, you follower), here’s a preview of the awesome stuff you can expect to read:


Other stuff…

MLB commissioner Bud Selig says there’s ‘no opposition’ to expanding the playoffs…

Former Blue Jay Roy Halladay wins the National League Cy Young, to go with the one he won in Toronto…

Portugal forward Nani apologizes for ruining a magical Cristiano Ronaldo moment by running in and putting his head on a ball that was already on it’s way in…and going offside in the process.

Kerrzy’s Notebook: Around the Rinks

‘Tricks of the Trade

It’s been a great couple of days for young forwards in the NHL with Jonathan Toews, Eric Staal, Steve Stamkos and Milan Lucic all scoring hat tricks in the last 48 hours.

Toews lit up the Oilers as his Blackhawks beat Edmonton 5-0, Staal’s five points helped Carolina to a 7-1 win over the Sens, Stamkos had five points as well in an 8-7 victory for the Bolts over the Flyers and Lucic potted three as Boston blanked Florida 4-0.

Here are some interesting things about those games: As bad as the Oilers have been this season (4-10-3, last in the league), they beat the ‘Hawks twice before their Wednesday meeting. The Hurricanes are playing more inconsistently than any team I’ve ever seen before right now – they beat the Oil 7-1, lost 8-1 to Philly, fell 7-2 to Montreal and then pounded Ottawa 7-1. How does that even happen? Onto Lucic - who would have thought the team with the second overall pick at this year’s draft would have the sixth best record at this point?

That brings us to Steven Stamkos.

If there’s one thing I dislike about the start of a new season, it’s that I get too excited and try to project what a player is going to do too early. Four points in two games to start the year doesn’t mean a player is going to get 164 points, you know what I mean? I need a little context.

With a five-point effort on Thursday night in a come-from-behind 8-7 win against the Flyers in Philly, a game that featured nine first period goals, Stamkos had three goals and five points to bring his totals to 19 goals and 35 points…in 19 games.

I’m not here to tell you that he’s on pace for 82 goals and 151 points if he keeps on motoring the way he is. No, I’m not here to tell you that at all. These projections mean nothing, after all! Okay but seriously: if he stays healthy and doesn’t taper off as the season goes on, we could be witnessing something special here…

Here are Stammer’s three goals from Thursday:

Wheel of Justice

The NHL handed out two suspensions this week for a total of five games – one for a crosscheck to the head and another for a hit from behind.

First up, Calgary’s Olli Jokinen was suspended for three games for giving Wojtek Wolski the business in front of the Phoenix bench in a 3-1 Coyotes win on Wednesday. Wolski and Nik Hagman are pushing back and forth when Jokinen comes out of nowhere and creams him with a stick to the face, for which he was given five and a game. Have a look:

The Fin, who will give up over $48,000 for missing those three games, said he is “upset” with the ruling but will abide by it.

Up next, it’s Tampa Bay Lightning forward Mattias Ritola, who faces a two game ban for a hit from behind on Matt Moulson of the NY Islanders, also on Wednesday night.

This one is pretty clear cut – Moulson is facing the boards, looking to corral a loose puck, when Ritola charges at him from behind, jumps and elbows him in the back of the head. Can’t really argue with that:

Do you agree with these two calls? For me, I’m going to say yes. The league set a precedent with the Danny Briere suspension earlier this season when it comes to crosschecks to the head. As for the Ritola hit on Moulson, it’s so obviously a suspension that I doubt anyone is surprised.

Ups and Downs

Remember Jaroslav Halak?

The 25-year-old Slovakian was the savior in Montreal last year when the Habs made that long playoff run, earning the number one spot ahead of Carey Price down the stretch. He became the odd man out once free agency rolled around though, and much to the dismay of some Canadiens fans, Halak left La Belle Province this summer and wound up in St. Louis.

He got off to a great start this year going 8-1-0 in his first nine games…but he’s hit a bump in the road as of late. Here are the stats: Halak allowed a total of 15 goals over those first nine starts and since then, he’s given up 19 in just four games!

Things started to go south when he let in the first four goals of an 8-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets (before getting yanked), which snapped a seven game win streak for the Blues. After allowing a pair in an OT loss to the Preds, Halak gave up six in a loss to the Avalanche and seven more against the Red Wings – including one that he put into his own net, in hilarious fashion:

It’s sure been a funny couple of weeks in the NHL!

Bonus Footage: Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk (5’11, 194lbs) shows us that size doesn’t always mean everything out there as he steps into 6’4, 245-pound Dustin Penner:

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Polamalu’s Hair: Week Eleven Notes

Starting Early

Rather than wait for the off-season this time around, 41-year-old Brett Favre is up to his usual tricks…but does he mean it this time?

Speaking with the NFL Network's Steve Mariucci last week, Favre said he is hoping for a “storybook ending” and won’t be back under centre for the 2011 NFL season (if there is one).

Lets dissect the question though: “Are you coming back in 2011?”


Knowing the player in question’s track record I think Mariucci should have been a little more specific. I can just picture a non-retired Favre saying, “Ohhhhhh, you meant back in the NFL…I thought you meant back with Minnesota!”

As for his 3-6 Vikings, Favre knows the next few games could mean the difference between a shot at a playoff spot and a series of ‘meaningless’ games to round out what has been a legendary career. Wouldn’t that be a bit of a letdown?

“There’s still some hope left, but that is diminishing,” Favre told the Associated Press.

There was some controversy earlier in the week about his throwing shoulder, but Favre won’t be letting a silly thing like ‘pain’ get in the way of him playing – he says he feels “OK” and he’s not “overly concerned” about it.

If the Vikings lose to the Packers this weekend, it may take a miracle (or at the very least, divine intervention) for Brett Favre to end his career on a high note.

What Does the Future Hold?

Sure, it was just one game, but the Washington Redskins must be wondering if they made the right move this week…

The same day that Donovan McNabb agreed to a five-year contract extension that includes about $40-million in guaranteed money, the ‘skins go out and lose 59-28 and their QB throws more interceptions than touchdown passes.

Like I said, it’s just one game…but that’s a week after McNabb was pulled in the final two minutes of a game because his coach didn’t think he was ‘fit enough’ to run a faster-paced offence. Does anyone else find the timing of this a little bit off?

Don’t worry though – if the Washington brain trust decides it made a mistake with McNabb, there’s an out clause that says they can release him after the season and not be on the hook for any money, though it’s not believed the team will go that route.

On the other side of Monday’s lopsided win, Michael Vick is playing like a man possessed – he became the first player in NFL history to throw for over 300 yards (333), run for over 50 yards (80), throw four TD passes and run for two more majors in a single game. Amazingly, he hasn’t thrown an interception in his six starts this season or lost a fumble either.

Are those MVP type numbers? Some people think so. Others are leaning more towards someone like San Diego’s Philip Rivers, though there is a lot of football left to play this season.

So what does the future hold for Vick? NFL Network Insider Jason La Canfora says the Eagles are unlikely to let him leave as a free agent - which means an extension could soon be in the works.

La Canfora reports that “some sort of franchise player distinction” will be part of a new collective bargaining agreement, if one is reached.

You Win Some, You Lose Some

The Dallas Cowboys fired coach Wade Phillips last week after a dismal 1-7 start to the season, and believe it or not, they actually won last weekend…

The celebration was almost ruined for receiver Dez Bryant though as he apparently lost a diamond earring during the game!

Why was he wearing one? Not sure. The point is, he was and he lost it at some point in the game. As the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports, the rookie says he “was a little worried,” but a security guard found it later on and gave it back to him…for which he received “a big thank you.”

Still with the Cowboys, new coach Jason Garrett has already had to lay the smack down on one of his players for disobeying his team rules.

Garrett told his players to wear slacks, coats and ties for their trip to New York, which seems like a fair request. Marion Barber, a team captain, showed up in jeans, an untucked shirt, no tie and sneakers…without socks!

It could be worse though coach, at least he showed up wearing clothes!

Other stuff…

The Bills won a game! I’m happy for them, because being on a losing team is no fun, but I was also hoping that their winless streak would go on a little bit longer!

After blaming the turf for his seventh missed field goal of the season, the Pittsburgh Steelers, umm, turf kick Jeff Reed

Is Adrian Peterson the fastest man in the NFL, or just the fastest man in downtown Minneapolis?

Alright Mr. Goodell, the NFLPA sees your 18-game schedule and raises you two bye weeks and expanded rosters…

Game to watch: I know some people will disagree with this, but how can you not be excited to watch Tom Brady duke it out with Peyton Manning on a Sunday afternoon in New England? Both clubs are in tight races at the top of the AFC, which only adds some spice to what should already be a great battle. If that’s not your cup of tea, the Giants travel to Philadelphia to face the Eagles later that night, and after the clinic put on by Michael Vick on Monday, I’m excited to see what he does! Also, if you don’t like Brett Favre you can watch his potential demise early on Sunday as the Vikings host the Packers in a must-win game.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Kerrzy’s Notebook: The Puskas Award

If you know soccer, you’ve probably heard of Ferenc Puskas, the Hungarian forward from the 40’s and 50’s who averaged almost a goal per game in over 600 league and international matches.

If you’re like me though, you are just hearing about him for the first time as you learn that FIFA is out with its shortlist for the second annual Puskas award for “most beautiful” goal of the year!

According to FIFA, goals are considered for the list based on these factors: aesthetics, the importance of the match, the absence of luck or an opposition mistake as a factor in the goal, fair play and the goal has to be from this calendar year. In 2009, a wonder strike off the boot of Cristiano Ronaldo, then with Manchester United, took the cake…he’s not on the list this year though, so we’ll have a new champion!

That’s where you come in – watch the videos below, and then click here to vote for your favorite.

Hamit Altintop – Turkey (Euro 2012 qualifiers)
Turkey 3, Kazakhstan 0; September 3, 2010

Matthew Burrows – Glentoran (Carling Premiership; Ireland)
Glentoran 1, Portadown 0; October 5, 2010

Linus Hallenius – Hammarby (Swedish second division)
Hammarby 2, Superettan 0; June 20, 2010

Lionel Messi – Barcelona (Liga BBVA; Spain)
Barcelona 3, FC Valencia 0; March 14, 2010

Samir Nasri – Arsenal (Champions League QF)
Arsenal 5, FC Porto 0; March 9, 2010

Neymar – Santos (Sao Paulo State Championship; Brazil)
Santos 2, Santo Andre 1; February 4, 2010

Arjen Robben – Bayern Munich (DFB Pokal; Germany)
Bayern Munich 1, Schalke 04 0; March 24, 2010

Siphiwe Tshabalala – South Africa (World Cup)
South Africa 1, Mexico 1; June 11, 2010

Giovanni Van Bronckhorst – Netherlands (World Cup)
Netherlands 3, Uruguay 2; July 6, 2010

Kumi Yokoyama – Japan (U-17 Women’s World Cup)
Japan 2, Korea DPR 1; September 21, 2010

I’d say FIFA did a pretty solid job of narrowing the list down to ten, wouldn’t you? If there’s one thing to take away from these videos though it’s that, now that we are months removed from the World Cup, we should all be glad that the vuvuzela was outlawed everywhere? WOW.

As a treat for making it this far, here’s a look at a goal that should have been for Qatar in extra time during quarterfinal action at the Asian Games – probably the worst miss you’ll ever see…and Uzbekistan went on to win:

Remember, vote for the best goal of the year by clicking here. If you’ve got one that should be on the list, leave it in the comments!