Jay Busbee

  • One last look at San Francisco's now-vanished Candlestick Park

    Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner 4 hrs ago

    SAN FRANCISCO—The signs are still there, directing you to parking lots for a stadium that no longer exists. Bayview Hill is still there, looming over Candlestick Point. And the wind—oh yes, the wind is still there, whipping off San Francisco Bay in unpredictable and relentless directions.

    What’s gone are the curving modernist wedges of concrete, the rickety escalators, the battered field that defined Candlestick Park. It was never the prettiest stadium, it was never the most beloved; even its most ardent defenders barely tolerated it. But as caravans of football fans head south on the 101 from San Francisco to Santa Clara, it’s hard not to glance over at the now-empty space at Candlestick Point and feel a twinge of … something.

    “It was tough to get into, tough to get out of, and miserable while you were there,” longtime San Francisco sports columnist Ray Ratto said. “It was a constant endurance test. The fans who put up with that upholstered toilet were raising a middle finger to everyone who couldn’t handle it.”

    And yet, and yet … every other stadium with such an iconic history has had armies of defenders. Candlestick had … survivors, is probably the best way to put it.

  • How would the Broncos and Panthers escape from Alcatraz?

    Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner 17 hrs ago

    SAN FRANCISCO—A mile and a half into San Francisco Bay from the teeming souvenir-seeking hordes of Super Bowl City sits Alcatraz, the legendary now-shuttered prison. More fearsome than a Denver secondary, more confining than the gridlocked traffic around San Francisco, about as enjoyable as an open-letter writer complaining about Cam Newton, Alcatraz’s very name conjures up images of somber, terrifying imprisonment.

    Over the course of its 30 years as a federal prison, from 1933 to 1963, thousands of prisoners passed through its somber halls. Only 36 tried to escape, and only two—maybe—pulled it off. You’ve got to be tough to get sent to Alcatraz, and you’ve got to be even tougher to try escaping. So we figured, why not check with some of the toughest guys in the NFL and see how they’d escape from one of the world’s most notorious prisons.

    “I’d probably have to do some rewatching of The Rock , see how that went down,” said Owen Daniels, Denver tight end, one of many players to reference a prison-break movie. “I know I’m not swimming through those waters. Maybe I need a little submersible.”

  • How 'Cam Newton Drive' didn't quite catch on in Atlanta

    Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner 1 day ago

    UNINCORPORATED SOUTH FULTON COUNTY, Ga.—Driving through the intersection of Scarborough and Welcome All roads just south of Atlanta, it is impossible not to think of Cam Newton.

    Signs from every angle honor Newton, the Heisman Trophy winner, national champion, probable NFL MVP and potential Super Bowl champion. He grew up not far from here, attended Westlake High School right down the road, and one local politician wants to make sure everyone knows it. To that end, there are 25 signs honoring Newton dotted all over the area.

    Bill Edwards, a now-former Fulton County commissioner, spearheaded the placement of the signs, but only after an attempt to get the stretch of road named after Newton himself failed.

    “He’s a hero,” Edwards said. “He’s a role model for young athletes. He’s the son everyone wants, the brother everyone wants. He’s helped put South Fulton County on the map.” 

    That poor image, both observed and self-inflicted, led Edwards to push to honor Newton, unquestionably the area’s most notable product. Fame carries weight; fame trumps the little successes of the everyday.


  • The most expensive Super Bowl souvenirs will set you back plenty

    Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner 1 day ago

    SAN FRANCISCO—The NFL Shop at the Super Bowl is the size of an airplane hangar, large enough to host every kind of souvenir imaginable. The NFL has slapped a Super Bowl 50 logo on pretty much every kind of consumer product that's not actively on fire. Now, you could grab some $35 t-shirts or $3 bumper stickers, but for the serious (and overly monied) Super Bowl fan, items with a two-digit price tag just won't do.

    Tucked into one corner of the NFL Shop is the NFL VIP Lounge, a shopping nook so exclusive you can't even get in unless you spend $300 on NFL goods. (Or, uh, have a media pass.) Let's look behind the velvet rope at the Super Bowl's priciest souvenirs. And no, a ticket isn't the costliest item. Not even close.

    Put your hand on your wallet, and let's enter the domain of disposable mortgage payments ...

    Super Bowl Wine

    A delicious blend of leather and turf. It'll knock you out! But not in a concussion-generating sense. Definitely not. Price: $150 per bottle.

    Super Bowl Patch Jacket

    Want to look like you got down on the ground and rolled around in Super Bowl logos? Of course you do! Be the envy of grandmothers' couches everywhere! Price: $250.

  • Von Miller, Josh Norman challenge video games with Conan O'Brien

    Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner 1 day ago

    The premise of Conan O'Brien's "Clueless Gamer" segment is simple and brilliant: play the most hyper-violent video games with a cast of notable stars, in this case Carolina's Josh Norman and Denver's Von Miller. It's great stuff, and make sure to stick around for the arrival of a very special guest. It's good, clean fun, except with chainsaws and disembowelment.

    Podcast: Predicting the Super Bowl

    Grandstanding: A Yahoo Sports podcast Subscribe via iTunes or via RSS feed

    ____ Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION. Contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.

  • NFL looks to crack down on flow of counterfeit Super Bowl goods

    Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner 2 days ago

    SAN FRANCISCO—If you got that new Peyton Manning jersey for $9.99 or that Super Bowl ticket for fifty bucks, you can probably assume it's a fake. Alternately, you could take a close look at the team name and see you've just shelled out for a "Brongos" jersey.

    Some almost-convincing illegal merch out there. Go Brongos! pic.twitter.com/PFFPk36ZhQ

    The NFL is on a mission to crack down on anyone selling its goods and services without a proper license, and on Thursday morning announced some of the results of its ongoing counterfeit-busting operations. Surrounded by an array of counterfeit merchandise, members of both the NFL and federal law enforcement agencies touted their efforts, and warned fans not to get sucked in by fake merch.

    As part of the NFL's "Operation: Team Player," law enforcement agencies have seized 440,000 items in the period from last year's Super Bowl to now. In the last week, agencies have recorded 49 seizures of 12,000 items wtih a market price of $470,000.

    Podcast: The end of the Cam race debate and Eli vs. Peyton:

  • Tony Stewart will miss Daytona 500, sidelined indefinitely

    Jay Busbee at From The Marbles 2 days ago

    The ripple effect from Tony Stewart's ATV wreck earlier this week will cost him what could be his final chance at his long-desired Daytona 500 victory, and possibly much more.

    Stewart, 44, who wrecked his ATV on Sunday while vacationing on the West Coast, sustained a burst fracture of the L1 vertebra in his back. He was able to move all extremities, according to initial reports. A Thursday afternoon update provided greater detail into the specifics of Stewart's condition as well as his immediate future.

    According to a Stewart-Haas Racing statement, he was flown to North Carolina on Tuesday and underwent surgery on Wednesday. "The subsequent recovery period means Stewart will miss the beginning of the Sprint Cup season," the statement read. "A timetable for Stewart's return has not been determined, but he is expected to make a full recovery and return to the No. 14 Chevrolet in 2016." The team did not announce a replacement driver.

    Here is the full statement:

    Clint Bowyer is slated to take over as driver of the No. 14 in 2017.

  • Cam Newton helps family fulfill late son's bucket list

    Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner 3 days ago

    SAN FRANCISCO — Cam Newton's been a busy man this week, his time divided into tiny chunks by team and media obligations. But he still found a few minutes for a family whose son was one of Newton's biggest fans.

    Via WBTV, a touching story: Scot Sieczko followed Newton from the time Cam was winning a Heisman Trophy and a national championship at Auburn — a rarity for the area, considering Scot lived in San Francisco. He sported a Newton jersey and spoke often of wanting to meet Newton.

    A year after Newton was drafted No. 1 by the Carolina Panthers, Scot was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a soft-tissue cancer. He underwent treatment in San Francisco, and after 54 weeks, appeared to have cleared the cancer in November 2013. But he relapsed soon afterward, and as his condition worsened, he created a bucket list and began ticking off notches.

    Scot died in September 2014 at age 22 with only two lines left on his list: meet Cam Newton and get him to sign a jersey.

    Podcast: The end of the Cam race debate and Eli vs. Peyton:

  • John Madden recovering from surgery, will miss Super Bowl week

    Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner 3 days ago

    SAN FRANCISCO — John Madden, one of the NFL's iconic voices and minds, will win acclaim in absentia at this year's Super Bowl as he recovers from heart surgery. The game which bears his name, however, may have already predicted the outcome.

    "He's on his way back. He's just not there yet," said Madden's son Mike, according to local reports. "He could rally and make appearances, but he's choosing not to do so."

    Madden, who lives not far from the San Francisco-Santa Clara-San Jose Super Bowl nexus, underwent a successful procedure in December and will be watching the game either from home orhis famed Pleasanton, Calif. office. His sons will accept the Pat Summerall Award, named for his former broadcast partner, on his behalf in a Thursday night ceremony, and on Friday the Pro Football Hall of Fame Luncheon will honor him as well.

    Podcast: The end of the Cam race debate and Eli vs. Peyton:

  • What will Super Bowl 100 look like?

    Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner 3 days ago

    We're at Super Bowl 50, and we're so far from the grind-it-out ground game of the first Super Bowl that it's almost a completely different form of football. So what will Super Bowl 100 (in Roman numeral terms, Super Bowl C) look like? Robot referees? Two-hand touch rules? Teams in Mexico City and London? The Browns still without a championship? We have our guesses; let's hear yours in the comments below.

    [Score great deals for Super Bowl 50 tickets at SeatGeek]

    Podcast: The end of the Cam race debate and Eli vs. Peyton:

    Grandstanding: A Yahoo Sports podcast Subscribe via iTunes or via RSS feed