Monday, April 30, 2007

Oakland, Detroit & Cleveland: NFL Draft & NBA Playoffs

After much fanfare, the 2007 NFL draft is in the books. Due to their miserable performances in 2006, the first three selections belonged to Oakland, Detroit, and Cleveland. At least for a weekend, these downtrodden teams were able to enjoy the spotlight and experience a sense of hope.

Sports fans in these cities have also gotten a view from the top during the NBA playoffs. Detroit and Cleveland completed first-round sweeps, while the Golden State Warriors are the talk of the league with their 3-1 series lead over the Dallas Mavericks. Here’s how these thriving hoopsters compare to their struggling football neighbors.


Coach Don Nelson hopes to beat Dallas, his former team
Raiders: Coach Lane Kiffin hopes he could beat USC, his former team

Warriors: Thriving under the leadership of Baron Davis
Raiders: Sinking under the leadership of Al Davis

Warriors: Beat out Clippers for #8 seed
Raiders: Beaten by blitzers on 3rd and 18

Warriors: Stephen Jackson drills three-pointers and gets in trouble with the law
Raiders: Sebastian Janikowski drills three-pointers and gets in trouble with the law

Warriors: Made a miraculous shot before halftime on Sunday
Raiders: Need a miracle to score before halftime on Sundays

Warriors: Jason Richardson skies high for his dunks
Raiders: In trading Randy Moss, said bye to a punk

Warriors: Have overcome the scoring of Stack and Dirk
Raiders: Quarterbacks get sacked and hit the dirt


Took down Orlando, four games out of four in the first round
Lions: Took wide receivers, four years out of five in the first round

Pistons: Have one fewer Wallace these days
Lions: Have one too many Millens these days

Pistons: Gave no chance to Jameer Nelson
Lions: Had no chance at JaMarcus Russell

Pistons: Fans love Rip Hamilton
Lions: Fans love to rip management

Pistons: Provide reminders of the Bad Boys years
Lions: Provide reminders of many bad years

Pistons: Have five quality players in the starting lineup
Lions: Have five quality players in the starting lineup

Pistons: Motivated by last season’s loss to Miami
Lions: Motivated by last season’s loss to Miami, and almost everyone else on the schedule


Led to playoffs by coach Mike Brown
Browns: Led to ruin by drafting Couch and Brown

Cavaliers: Achieved franchise’s first four-game sweep
Browns: Would love to achieve a four-yard sweep

Cavaliers: LeBron James steals and finishes drives
Browns: Curse the Steelers and The Drive

Cavaliers: Avoided showdown with Agent Zero
Browns: Put up zero in showdown with the Bengals

Cavaliers: First round victory sent the Wizards fishing
Browns: First rounder Joe Thomas spent draft day fishing

Cavaliers: Kansas product Drew Gooden is a Jayhawk
Browns: Brady Quinn’s brother-in-law is A.J. Hawk

Cavaliers: Zydrunas Ilgauskas scores, boards, and goes over 7 feet
Browns: On the scoreboard, going over 7 is a feat

Tampa Bay, which had the #4 pick in the NFL draft, does not have an NBA team. Still, Tampa ended up with as many NBA playoff victories as any other Florida city.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Raiders Use #1 Pick On Rosie O'Donnell

On Wednesday, Rosie O’Donnell announced that she will not return to The View after her contract expires in June. Today the controversial host’s future plans came into focus. A source close to the Oakland Raiders has confirmed that O’Donnell has agreed to terms to play quarterback for the Raiders. Therefore, Oakland will make Rosie the #1 overall pick in tomorrow’s NFL draft.

The scenario is similar to last year, when the Houston Texans stunned observers by choosing Mario Williams over Reggie Bush and Vince Young with the first selection. The Raiders had been expected to take LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell in the #1 spot. However, they decided to go with someone else who will bring great size to the position. O’Donnell will become the first female talk-show host to play in the NFL since Kelly Ripa returned punts for the New York Jets.

Draft experts were caught off-guard by the announcement. Most expressed skepticism that a 45-year-old woman with no college football experience could succeed in the NFL. Mel Kiper felt that O’Donnell’s selection would make a mockery of Saturday’s proceedings, remarking, “The NFL Draft is no place for someone who sits around and talks all day.” Expressing agreement were Chris Mortensen, Sean Salisbury, John Clayton, Chris Berman, Tom Jackson, Stuart Scott, Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski, Tony Kornheiser, Trey Wingo, Sal Paolantonio, Suzy Kolber, and about 1200 other ESPN commentators on hand for the event.

However, O’Donnell may be able to provide immediate help to the Raiders. Oakland had a woeful offense last year, but Rosie is never reluctant to go on the offensive. Inexperienced quarterbacks often lock onto the primary receiver, but O’Donnell is happy to go after numerous targets. She has held her own with Barbara Walters, so she should have no problem beating out Andrew Walter. Among her draft peers, Rosie has a staunch believer in Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn. After seeing her face appear on the screen, Quinn called O’Donnell “the greatest offensive mind in football.” Later, Quinn sheepishly admitted that he thought Rosie was Charlie Weis.

O’Donnell should fit in well with the Raiders’ history and culture. She caused nightmares with a sex scene in Nip/Tuck, while Oakland has nightmares of the Tuck Rule. She and the team both embrace conspiracy theories, whether they involve 9/11 or the referees. Her experience on A League Of Their Own was also significant, since she’ll follow the same baseball/football path as Bo Jackson. Additionally, the team’s “Just win, baby” mantra has particular meaning for Rosie. Owner Al Davis recently confirmed that the “baby” in that slogan was adopted by a lesbian couple.

O’Donnell can also relate to Davis by having a highly-publicized feud with a power broker based in New York. Pete Rozelle passed away in 1996, but Rosie’s battles with Donald Trump are continuing. When signing her contract with Oakland, Rosie reportedly remarked, “It’s so nice to be in the NFL. Hey, can someone ask Donald how that USFL thing worked out?” Reached for comment, Trump responded, “I’ve said all along she’s a loser. Well, she’s a Raider, so it’s official.”

Since O’Donnell leaves The View in June, she will be able to report to training camp on time. To ease her transition to the NFL, numerous aspects of Raider home games will temporarily be incorporated into the show. The studio audience will be filled with scary Darth Vader and biker types. During that time, the show will be called The View From The Black Hole. Also, like Raider home games, the show will be blacked out in Oakland.

Interestingly, O’Donnell’s frequent View adversary Elisabeth Hasselbeck may provide a gauge for how successful Rosie’s quarterback stint becomes. Oakland is hoping for the production of Matt Hasselbeck, rather than Tim Hasselbeck. It remains to be seen how successful she’ll be, but one former NFL player is particularly excited about Rosie’s signing. Super Bowl XXX MVP Larry Brown has announced plans to come out of retirement. He proclaimed, “If there’s an O’Donnell at quarterback, I’m there!”

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

NHL's First Round Losers & Their Political Counterparts

Wednesday night brings the start of the second round in the NHL playoffs. Eight teams still have dreams of hoisting the Stanley Cup in June. However, their first round victims face the bitter reality of an early off-season. For each of these teams, their first round disappointments mirrored the setbacks of notable United States politicians. In order of seeding, here are the first round casualties and their U.S. political counterparts.


3. Atlanta Thrashers: Jimmy Carter.
Both the team and the president hail from Georgia. Carter was bounced from the White House after four years, and Atlanta’s playoff run was also over in four. Time will tell if the Thrashers rebound to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

5. Pittsburgh Penguins: Alberto Gonzales. Like the beleaguered attorney general, the Penguins had no answers for the Senators.

7. Tampa Bay Lightning: Al Gore. Tampa Bay and Gore were ultimately undone by a loss in Florida. This time, Martin Brodeur played the part of the Supreme Court. The Lightning will spend the off-season lecturing about the dangers of melting ice rinks.

8. New York Islanders: William McKinley. Like Theodore Roosevelt’s predecessor, the Islanders met their demise in Buffalo. You weren’t expecting such an old school reference, were you?


4. Nashville Predators: Carl Weathers.
Of the three main stars of Predator (along with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse “The Body” Ventura), he’s the only one who hasn’t been elected governor. What more does Apollo Creed have to do to impress voters? The man died for his country in Rocky IV.

6. Dallas Stars: Lyndon Johnson / George W. Bush. The Stars dropped Game 7 to the Canucks in Vancouver. But they’re not the only Texans with losing efforts in foreign countries.

7. Minnesota Wild: Walter Mondale. Like the Wild versus the Ducks, Mondale hailed from Minnesota and flopped against a favorite from California.

8. Calgary Flames: John Kerry. In 2004, Kerry was damaged by right wing veterans. This year, Calgary was undone by Red Wing veterans.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Earth Day Lessons From Giants & Diamondbacks

Sunday was a major occasion for environmental advocates, as the 37th annual Earth Day was observed. Green power did not seem to be embraced by Major League Baseball, as both Shawn Green and Khalil Greene lost despite belting home runs. However, as you might expect, the lessons of Earth Day were on full display in San Francisco. The Giants’ 2-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks adhered to numerous environmentally-friendly tips. Here’s a quick recap.

Carpool: The visitors came to AT&T Park in a bus.

Turn Lights Off: The game was played in daylight.

Recycle: Saturday’s storyline was used again, as a solo home run by Barry Bonds was the difference.

Keep Water Clean: Bonds’s home run ball landed short of McCovey Cove.

Throw Fewer Things Away: Neither team committed an error.

Promote Efficiency: The game lasted less than two hours.

Conserve Energy: The teams combined for seven hits, so they didn’t have to run the bases much.

Save Trees: With just one pinch-hitter in the game, only one extra bat was used.

Avoid Over-reliance On Gas: Winning pitcher Matt Cain, while known for his fastball, can also utilize off-speed pitches.

Seek Alternative Energy Sources: Insert Bonds joke here.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

NBA Playoffs Guide, From A To Z

Last night the NBA concluded the 2006-07 regular season. 14 also-rans have put their uniforms away until next fall. The other 16 teams remain in the chase for the Larry O’Brien Trophy. For a look at the postseason participants and storylines, here’s an A-to-Z guide.

ABC: Network TV home of the playoffs. To boost ratings, expect the finals to have a Dancing With the Stars format.

Boozer: Utah forward Carlos, or what David Stern will become if he has to hand the championship trophy to Mark Cuban.

Conspiracy: The reason for any team’s defeat, if you listen to its fans.

Dirk Nowitzki: The odds-on favorite for MVP, unless Sanjaya somehow wins.

ESPYs: A July event that LeBron James will co-host with Jimmy Kimmel. To get used to working together, Kimmel has joined Cleveland’s playoff roster.

Fifty: Point total reached ten times this season by Kobe Bryant. It’s also the price of a beer at Staples Center.

GMAT: A high score is crucial to getting into a top business school. Oh sorry, that’s something for the MBA Guide From A to Z.

Harry Potter: After season-ending injuries to Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler, he might be the last healthy Wizard.

Iverson: The Denver guard left Philly early in the season. Chances are, so will Charlie Manuel.

Joker: Jack Nicholson on the Lakers’ sideline, or Charles Barkley in the TNT studio.

Kirk Hinrich: The Bulls’ point guard takes on the Heat. He can’t do any worse than the last Chicago quarterback to start a playoff game in Miami.

Leather: The material of the NBA ball, properly reinstated after an off-season change. “You’re with me, microfiber composite” never sounded right.

Mommie Dearest: The film resonates with Tim Duncan, as it showed mistreatment by a Crawford. No wire hangers, Tim!

NFL Draft: An event next week that draws WAY more interest from sports fans – 4 ½ months before any of it even matters.

Orlando: Most people there are on vacation. Before long, so will the Magic.

Prince: Detroit forward Tayshaun, or the Spurs’ inspiration as they hope to party like it’s 1999.

Quicken Loans Arena: Home venue of the Cleveland Cavaliers, unless they decide to play in Milwaukee.

Ronald Reagan: President of the United States when Jerry Sloan was hired as Utah’s head coach. Jerry’s too lazy to find a new job.

Spice Girls: They were similar to Toronto’s starting lineup: one’s a quintet with Posh, the other’s a quintet with Bosh.

Thirteen: The number of years since Golden State’s last playoff appearance. It’s also how many weeks the first round will last.

USA: The Miami Heat, unlike every other playoff team, features an all-U.S. roster. Fortunately, they don’t have to play Greece.

Victoria, British Columbia: The hometown of Phoenix star Steve Nash. Like the Stanley Cup, he left Canada and settled in the States.

We Built This City: A truly awful song from Starship. Similarly, the New Jersey Nets would have ugly results if they got rid of their Jefferson.

X-Men: A unit that has been unlike any of Chris Webber’s teams. In crucial situations, they have a Wolverine that delivers.

Yao Ming: Averaging 25 points in 48 games, he emulated Roger Clemens: A Houston Rocket dominating in just over half a season.

Zero: Average number of traveling calls in a game.

Monday, April 16, 2007

IRS & The Sports World

As procrastinating taxpayers are all too aware, Tuesday is the deadline for filing 2006 returns. In sports terms, the IRS is even less popular than the BCS. However, “Internal Revenue Service” is just one representation of those three letters. Here are numerous other IRS references found in the sports world.

Why one shock jock is out of a job: Imus’s Rutgers Slurs

Outcome of Super Bowl XLI: Indianapolis Reigned Supreme

What Jose Canseco did for Texas teammates: Injected Rangers’ Steroids

NCAA selection committee’s statement to Jim Boeheim: Invitation Rejected, Syracuse

Why Lendl was never embraced by the public: Ivan’s Robotic Style

Johnny Damon’s 2004 champions: Idiot Red Sox

Key to the Steelers’ offense: Impounding Roethlisberger’s Suzuki

St. John’s basketball in recent years: Impotent Red Storm

Result of 2006 World Cup: Italy Ruled Soccer

Ideal Game 3 scenario for Flames: Iginla Reverses Series

Information the Knicks don’t need: Isiah’s Ring Size

Danica Patrick: Indy Racing Starlet

What Darren McFadden will display this fall: Insane Razorback Speed

Cleveland baseball players’ thoughts on the weather: Indians Resent Snow

Marshall Faulk in retirement: Inactive Rams Superstar

What Sean May ensured in 2005: Illini’s Runner-up Status

Clint Barmes after he fell down the stairs: Incapacitated Rockies Shortstop

Why teams miss the playoffs: Inadequate Regular Season

Notre Dame’s fate in BCS bowls: Irish Routed Soundly

NHL playoff outcome from 1980 to 1983: Islanders Raised Stanley

Ed Reed: Intimidating Ravens Safety

Challenge for basketball visitors to East Lansing: Izzo’s Rugged Spartans

Common sight in Safeco Field: Ichiro Rips Singles

Ideal first round scenario for Nuggets: Iverson Repels Spurs

How a Cowboys receiver spent his off-field time: Irvin Revered Strippers

Hoosiers’ downfall against UCLA: Indiana’s Rotten Shooting

What Oklahoma encountered last fall in Eugene: Inexplicable Replay Snafu

Zach Johnson at The Masters: Iowan Reached Summit

Oakland football experience in recent years: Intolerable Raider Sundays

Result of Dancing Homer’s inspiration on The Simpsons: Isotopes Rocked Springfield

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Pope Benedict XVI To Wear Number 42 At Sunday Mass

This Sunday marks the 60th anniversary of the day Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier. To honor Robinson’s historic accomplishment, players around the league will wear his number 42 during Sunday’s games. However, the tributes will extend well beyond America’s ballparks. A spokesman for Pope Benedict XVI has confirmed that His Holiness will wear the number 42 while performing Sunday mass.

MLB has been widely praised for Sunday’s high-profile gesture, and the pope’s support is certain to delight commissioner Bud Selig. The pontiff’s participation is appropriate when you consider that the tribute was suggested to Selig by Ken Griffey, Jr. As leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Benedict XVI is dedicated to worshipping another Junior who performed amazing feats but is usually seen in an injured position. The mass will also celebrate – one day in advance – the 80th birthday of the pope, who played minor league ball with Julio Franco.

The announcement came as a surprise to many. Skeptics did not expect a Dodger to be honored by someone who consistently aligns himself with the Cardinals. They also scoffed that a two-time National League stolen bases leader would be praised by a man who implores “Thou shalt not steal.” Additionally, Robinson won the Rookie of the Year award as a first baseman, but he played most of his career at second base. The Vatican is famously unyielding when it comes to changing positions.

However, the major leagues did have someone called “The Pope” – Paul Owens, general manager of the Phillies from 1972 to 1984. Also, there is precedent for a pontiff to honor a deceased athlete during services in St. Peter’s Square. After Wilt Chamberlain’s death in 1999, John Paul II conducted mass in a Philadelphia Warriors throwback jersey.

Born in Germany as Joseph Ratzinger, the current pope shares the same initials as Jackie Robinson. They both became something that seemed impossible when they were children: a non-white major leaguer, and a non-Italian pope. The two men also have direct experience with infallibility, albeit on opposite sides. His Holiness enjoys papal infallibility, whereas Robinson was frustrated by Don Larsen infallibility.

Worshippers will be eager to witness Sunday’s unique appearance of the pope in St. Peter’s Square, temporarily called St. Peter’s Diamond. Since he will be in the midst of Rome, the 42 on the back of his papal attire will actually read “XLII.” Instead of the traditional mitre on his head, Benedict XVI will sport a Brooklyn Dodgers cap. Also, the Ring of the Fisherman will be replaced on his finger by a 1955 World Series ring.

The mass itself will incorporate numerous details to pay tribute to Robinson. Instead of Scripture, Benedict XVI will read passages from Roger Kahn’s The Boys of Summer. During communion, the chosen hymn will be “Take Me Out To The Ballgame,” with participants receiving peanuts and Cracker Jack. Also, the pope will be flanked by signs which read “God Is Love” and “No Pepper Allowed.”

35 years after his death, the man who so honorably wore number 42 will continue to serve as an inspiration. Benedict XVI will fondly remember Jackie Robinson as he stands in front of St. Peter’s Basilica. The massive domed structure is sure to put another baseball thought into his head: “The Indians could have used this place last week!”

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

NBC Adds "Law & Order: Pacman Jones Unit" To Schedule

Next month, television networks will unveil their fall primetime schedules. Between now and then, they’ll face difficult decisions regarding the fate of current shows, as well as which pilots to pick up as series. Today NBC made an announcement about one newcomer to its upcoming schedule. The network has added Law & Order: Pacman Jones Unit to its fall lineup.

The news comes one day after Jones was suspended for the entire 2007 season by the NFL due to repeated off-the-field incidents. The Tennessee Titans’ defensive back was joined in punishment by former West Virginia teammate Chris Henry, who is slated to miss eight games for the Cincinnati Bengals. With the suspensions, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell sent a strong message that off-the-field misconduct will not be condoned by the league. In response, NBA counterpart David Stern expressed admiration for Goodell’s hard line. Then he fined Mark Cuban.

Pacman’s disappointment quickly turned to opportunity, thanks to Law & Order franchise creator Dick Wolf. Special Victims Unit has already been renewed by NBC for next season, but the status of Criminal Intent and the original Law & Order remain in limbo. Jones’s endless rap sheet ensured that Wolf would have plenty of material for another “ripped from the headlines” series. The show will be shot in New York, as will anyone who looks at Pacman the wrong way.

The series revolves around a police unit specifically created to investigate crimes committed by Pacman Jones. Admittedly, the show may lack the suspense of other crime dramas, since the criminal will be known in every episode. However, Jones will star as himself and will provide far more open-field highlights than a creepy serial killer. A police lineup will be part of every episode, with Mel Kiper Jr. assessing the draft stock of each person in the lineup.

The new show will contain numerous elements familiar to Law & Order fans. This opening statement will be used: “In the criminal justice system, a cornerback who takes punts to the house and makes it rain is considered especially dangerous. In New York City, the dedicated detectives who investigate this player are members of an elite squad known as the Pacman Jones Unit. These are their stories…” Also, the iconic “Dun-Dun” cellblock sound will be slightly revised to a quarterback shouting “Hut-Hut!” Crossovers among the L&O shows will continue, and Wolf even plans some crossover between his franchise and the Titans. Therefore, expect to see Vince Young tossing passes to Mariska Hargitay.

As for Jones, the new series will help keep him occupied while he’s out of football action. In fact, he will have numerous television opportunities. NBC also plans to use him on the next season of The Apprentice. After Donald Trump says, “You’re fired!” to a contestant, Jones and his posse will add insult to injury by pummeling the castoff in the boardroom. Pacman also plans to join Henry and new West Virginia basketball coach Bob Huggins in an ad campaign for the university. Echoing the “This is our country” Chevy commercials, images of the trio will be accompanied by John Mellencamp’s singing of “These are our convicts…”

It remains to be seen how Tennessee will address the absence of Jones in the secondary. Perhaps the Titans can work out a deal with the Kansas City Chiefs to bring Ty Law to Nashville. Pacman can’t follow the law, but maybe the Law can follow him.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Zach Johnson: This Year's George Mason

Before the NCAA tournament, everyone insisted on asking, “Who is this year’s George Mason?” However, the 2007 edition of March Madness had no Cinderellas to replicate the Patriots’ magical run of last year. Major upsets were almost nonexistent, and the Final Four consisted of all #1 and #2 seeds. Therefore, the answer to “Who is this year’s George Mason?” seemed to be “no one.”

As it turned out, the question should have focused on a different sporting event to culminate in Georgia during early April. Sunday, the Masters Tournament was won by a man who had missed the cut in his previous three majors. The 2004 BellSouth Classic was his only PGA Tour victory before this weekend. As such an unlikely winner, Zach Johnson truly became this year’s George Mason. He may not have been coached by Jim Larranaga, but here’s how Johnson compares to last year’s Final Four longshots.

Zach Johnson: Wore the green jacket
George Mason: Wore green uniforms

Zach Johnson: Celebrated his victory in Butler Cabin
George Mason: Celebrated thanks to guard Lamar Butler

George Mason: As a D.C.-area team, inspired fans of the Washington Nationals
Zach Johnson: Inspired fans (excuse me, PATRONS!) at Augusta National

Zach Johnson: Went 1 over par in signature victory at Augusta
George Mason: Went 1 overtime in signature victory over UConn

George Mason: Namesake was a Founding Father
Zach Johnson: Namesake was a founding member of The Fray

Zach Johnson: Moment of glory came after 11 uneventful appearances in majors
George Mason: Moment of glory came as an 11th-seeded mid-major

George Mason: Ended North Carolina’s reign as champion
Zach Johnson: Ended Phil Mickelson’s reign as champion

Zach Johnson: Has two PGA victories in the state of Georgia
George Mason: Had two CAA victories over Georgia State

George Mason: Eliminated the Missouri Valley Conference’s Wichita State Shockers
Zach Johnson: As a Drake alumnus, he’s a Missouri Valley member who pulled a shocker

Zach Johnson: After finishing his round, watched Tiger Woods come up short
George Mason: After finishing their season, watched the LSU Tigers come up short

George Mason: Played in the presence of Jim Nantz and Billy Packer
Zach Johnson: Played in the presence of Jim Nantz and Billy Payne

Zach Johnson: Faced numerous water hazards
George Mason: Eliminated by Gators, which are hazardous in the water

Zach Johnson: Survived Amen Corner
George Mason: Shouted “Amen!” after Denham Brown missed from the corner

George Mason: Refused to listen to skeptics on the outside
Zach Johnson: Won at a club that refuses to listen to ANYONE on the outside

Zach Johnson: Played under the radar on the Hooters Tour
George Mason: Players were under-the-radar hoopsters

Friday, April 06, 2007

Jesus & The NHL

This Sunday is Easter, when Christians worldwide celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s also the final day of the regular season in the National Hockey League. Long before Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier, Jesus was considered The Great One AND The Messiah. The “turn the other cheek” policy might not be popular on the ice, but many other parallels to Jesus can be found in the NHL. Here are a few.

Jesus: Walked on water
NHL: Players skate on frozen water

Jesus: Originated in a manger
NHL: Original Six included the Rangers

Jesus: Forgave sinners
NHL: Forgives sinners – after time in the penalty box

Jesus: Worshippers drink the Lord’s blood from a cup
NHL: Features blood and worship of Lord Stanley’s Cup

Jesus: Spread love to all
NHL: Players shed gloves to brawl

Jesus: Saved souls from the devil
NHL: Martin Brodeur saves the Devils from goals

Jesus: Resurrected after dying on the cross
NHL: Pittsburgh was resurrected by Crosby

Jesus: Joined his father in immortality
NHL: Upon entering the Hall of Fame, Brett Hull will join his father in immortality

Jesus: Was called King of the Jews
NHL: Michael Cammalleri is a King and is Jewish

Jesus: Gospels were written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John
NHL: Vancouver’s roster includes Matt, Marc, Luc, and Jan

Jesus: Received death sentence from Pontius Pilate
NHL: Islanders receive depth from Pensacola Ice Pilots

Jesus: Christians praise his miracles
NHL: Dave Christian was part of the Miracle On Ice

Jesus: Savior who was denied three times by Simon Peter
NHL: Sabres denied Philly’s Simon Gagne and Peter Forsberg last year

Jesus: Spent many years as a carpenter
NHL: For many years, had Bobby Carpenter

Jesus: Inspired numerous martyred saints
NHL: Tampa Bay is inspired by Martin St. Louis

Jesus: Died at Calvary
NHL: Atlanta Flames died and moved to Calgary

Jesus: Birth was celebrated by three wise men
NHL: Detroit enjoyed three celebrations with Stevie Y’s men

Jesus: Presided over the Last Supper
NHL: Until the next generation arrives, Ron was the last Sutter

Jesus: Protected by Mary and Joseph
NHL: Phoenix net is protected by Curtis Joseph

Jesus: Followers believe he exists, even though they don’t see him
NHL: Americans believe it exists, even though they don’t see it

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

How Florida Will Continue to Dominate Sports

Last night, the Florida Gators won their second consecutive NCAA basketball championship with an 84-75 victory over Ohio State. The triumph continued a remarkable run for the school, which also defeated the Buckeyes for the national title in football.

Clearly the University of Florida is the dominant force in college sports right now. You might expect the Gators to have a low profile until the football season kicks off. However, UF will continue to have a huge impact on the sports world for the next few months. Here’s a look ahead.

Tonight: Although the title game matches Tennessee and Rutgers, the 9-22 Gators somehow win the women’s basketball national championship.

Sunday: Taurean Green replaces Phil Mickelson as champion of the Masters. Afterwards, Lefty presents him with the Taurean Green Jacket.

April 30: Inspired by Corey Brewer’s Final Four MOP performance, Milwaukee completes a perfect month for Brewers with a 26-0 record.

May 5: Billy Donovan is the winning jockey at the Kentucky Derby. Sadly for the locals, he decides not to lead humans to victory in Kentucky.

May 5: UF wins the NCAA men’s volleyball championship in Columbus, despite not fielding a varsity team. After noticing someone in a Gators shirt near the Ohio State logo, an NCAA official instinctively hands him a championship trophy.

May 27: Chris Leak triumphs at the Indianapolis 500. Furious rival drivers protest the results, claiming that Tim Tebow drove the final ten laps.

June 10: Following in his father’s footsteps, Joakim Noah captures the French Open.

June 17: After consistently putting the ball in the hole from long distance, Lee Humphrey wins golf’s U.S. Open.

June 18: Nashville becomes the third consecutive Stanley Cup champion from the southeast, after changing its nickname from the Predators to the Gators.

June 19: Proving that repeat basketball titles in Florida are a trend, the Miami Heat goes back-to-back.

July 8: Urban Meyer upsets Roger Federer to win Wimbledon. Federer consistently has to hurry his serves due to pressure from Jarvis Moss.

July 10: After Alfonso Soriano in 2004 and Miguel Tejada in 2005, Al Horford becomes the third Dominican in four years to be named MVP of the Major League All-Star Game.

July 22: Tiger Woods wins the British Open. Well, the Gators can’t change everything.

July 29: Versatile receiver Percy Harvin captures the Tour de France. Stage 1 was won by Ted Ginn Jr., who was then knocked out of the race by celebrating teammates.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Three Months Old, But Still Relevant

I'll have something new tomorrow, but my January 9 article is very appropriate tonight: Ohio State To Stop Playing Sports Versus Florida

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Deja Vu: Another Ohio State/Florida Title Game Breakdown

April 2 will be just like January 8, as Ohio State and Florida once again square off for a national championship. There are some differences this time. The Gators are favored, Michigan fans aren’t screaming that they should be involved, and the Buckeyes won’t be 51 days removed from their last game. Therefore, I can’t simply repost my December article, Ohio State vs. Florida: An Early Breakdown, and have that serve as my title game preview.

But go ahead and read that article before proceeding. It’s okay, I’ll wait here. Since I was woefully wrong on picking Ohio State that time, clearly I needed to do a better job on my analysis this time around. I started fresh and came up with new angles for Monday’s showdown. Here’s the breakdown.

Greens: Ohio State just eliminated Jeff Green, so the Buckeyes will be ready for Taurean Green. Or even Brian Austin Green. Advantage: Ohio State

Georgia Dome: The Gators are used to celebrating in this venue recently, having won the SEC championships in both football and basketball there. In response, the Buckeyes unsuccessfully lobbied to move Monday’s game to The Horseshoe. Advantage: Florida

1995 World Series: The Cleveland Indians were 0-3 against the Braves on the road. So it’s tough for Ohio teams to win championships in Atlanta. Advantage: Florida

The Masters: On the other hand, OSU’s Jack Nicklaus won six times in Augusta, so Buckeyes can triumph in Georgia in early April. If they do on Monday, expect Greg Oden to put on a very large green jacket. Advantage: Ohio State

#1 Seeds: Florida hopes to replace Duke as the last repeat champion. This is the fifth time two #1 seeds have met in the title game. The previous four resulted in three UNC championships and a UConn victory over Duke – consistent disaster for Blue Devil fans. Advantage: Florida

2000 NCAA Championship Game: Florida lost to Michigan State, a Big Ten school it had played in a bowl game that January. With that in mind, expect Mike Conley Jr. to limp onto the court like Mateen Cleaves. Advantage: Ohio State

Literary Figures: (Joakim) Noah survived, but Othello (Hunter) did not. Advantage: Florida

Heisman Trophy: Only once has an athletic program won the Heisman and the NCAA basketball title in the same school year. UCLA quarterback Gary Beban and the Bruins accomplished the feat in 1967-68. After Troy Smith’s victory, the Buckeyes hope to follow suit. But they don’t have Kareem. Advantage: Florida

Hoopeston-East Lynn High School: Thad Matta went there, and the teams were known as the Cornjerkers. Therefore, the Gators shouldn’t intimidate the OSU coach. If you can succeed when you’re named Thad and called a Cornjerker, no obstacle is too large. Advantage: Ohio State

Super Bowl XLI: The hometown of Oden and Conley triumphed, while Gator Rex Grossman was the goat. Advantage: Ohio State

1987-88 Oklahoma Sooners: Before this year, OU was the last school to play for the football and basketball national titles in the same school year. Like OSU, they lost the bowl game. They fell again in hoops, so the Buckeyes are in trouble - especially if Danny Manning is in the arena. Advantage: Florida

Office Cinema: As Office Space’s Milton, UF’s Stephen Root gets no respect at Initech. But as J. Jonah Jameson in Spider-Man, OSU’s J.K. Simmons is completely in charge at The Daily Bugle. No one would dare take his red Swingline stapler. Advantage: Ohio State

Rick Pitino: Billy Donovan’s mentor also coached in consecutive national championship games. After winning in 1996, his Kentucky Wildcats lost in their bid to repeat. The consolation for Gator fans: he wasn’t in Lexington the next year. Advantage: Ohio State

Sweet 16: In that round, Florida was too much for Butler. Therefore, OSU is vulnerable with Jamar Butler. Advantage: Florida

BCS Title Matchups: The schools in the previous BCS championship game, USC and Texas, also met in this year’s tournament. The football loser came out on top in hoops. As Buckeye fans can relate, the Trojans were thrilled not to see Vince Young. Advantage: Ohio State

NHL Standings: Although both teams will miss the playoffs, Florida is better than the team from Columbus. For those who are unaware, the NHL is a hockey league. Advantage: Florida

Current Major Leaguers: Florida’s David Eckstein is the reigning World Series MVP, while Ohio State’s Nick Swisher has a name that can’t fool basketball fans. The words “Knick” and “Swish” don’t belong together. Advantage: Florida

This time around, it’s Florida 9, Ohio State 8. So expect a championship celebration in Gainesville. They definitely know the drill by now.