- Jay Busbee at Fourth-Place Medal3 days ago
Lindsey Vonn is back in action ... and even if she's a bit deeper in the standings than she'd like, it's better than being on the sidelines.
Vonn raced in a World Cup downhill at Lake Louise, Alberta on Friday afternoon, her first competition since a catastrophic wreck back in February and marks a surprisingly quick return to action after tearing her ACL less than three weeks ago. Her unofficial time of 1 minute, 59.22 seconds had her outside the top 25, but nonetheless marked an important milestone in her quest to defend her downhill Olympic gold medal.
The race was briefly delayed due to extreme cold. Temperatures at Lake Louise were minus-18, with wind chill from skiing plunging far lower.
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner3 days ago
We are football writers and commentators, yes, but unlike some of our brethren, we don't think we're geniuses. Quite the opposite, in fact. So it's not particularly surprising to see that we've been wrong, way WAY wrong, on some of our predictions for this season. In light of the Jaguars' win on Thursday night (they're still alive in the playoff race!) we consider some of the many ways we've missed out and misfired on our predictions for this season.
And hey, speaking of misfiring: we talk a little bit about Tim Tebow, that great football cipher. Sure, he's probably done in the NFL, but what's next? Why did he get so big so fast? Are there any athletes comparable to him in the gulf between fame and achievement? Busbee goes with Danica Patrick, and Frank goes with post-scandal Tiger Woods, because Frank is insane.
Also on the docket: discussion of bad New Orleans pizza, our locks and upsets of the week, and much much more.
- From The Marbles3 days ago
Well, this is just delightful. Jimmie Johnson is in Las Vegas to celebrate NASCAR Champions' Week, and the six-time Sprint Cup champion has decided to make the most of the opportunity by recreating scenes from "The Hangover." So far, we've got the baby, the tiger, the rooster, the elevator ... plus, of course, one "lost" member of the "Six Pack," crew chief Chad Knaus:
The coup de grace, so far, is this message from Mr. Chow himself, Ken Jeong:
"It started off Monday when I left L.A. to come over here," Johnsontold USA Today's Jeff Gluck. "I sent out a tweet [about the Hangover] and the response got us all thinking about things. My office is out here ... and before I knew it, I came back to my room and there was a stuffed tiger, a little chicken, a baby, little outfits for the baby, a carrier, the whole thing."
You can follow the progress of Johnson on his Instagram account. He promises more surprises ahead.
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner5 days ago
Here at Shutdown Corner, we want to help. So once a week, we'll go in and examine a team coming off a bad week, bad month, maybe a bad decade (you're in luck, Cleveland), and see what fixes can be made to turn around the season. So step aside, we've got this. Next under the microscope: the San Diego Chargers.
Where they stand: 5-7, third place in the AFC West, one game out of final wild card spot
What's gone right: This could've been a great season. Six of San Diego's seven losses are by eight points or fewer, and in many of those the Chargers have been victimized late. But this isn't college football; you don't get credit for pretty losses. This is the National Football League, son, and you don't whine. Unless you're Philip Rivers, who whines about everything. Fortunately, he's also quietly rediscovered his quarterback mojo; the Chargers rank fourth in passing yardage in the NFL. Unfortunately, this is a case where gaudy stats don't quite reach the scoreboard; the Chargers are dead-center 16th in total points scored.
- Jay Busbee at The Turnstile5 days ago
Four years from now, someone in ESPN Human Resources is going to get a letter with someone listing their previous work experience as "President, United States: 2008-2016." That ought to be enough to get at least an interview, don't you think?
While President Barack Obama was in Southern California last week, he revealed one of his post-White House hopes: to host the Top 10 list on ESPN's SportsCenter. Obama, who made a major economic speech at DreamWorks, met with many entertainment industry moguls, including Disney's Robert Iger and Alan Horn, Fox's Jim Gianopulos, Sony's Amy Pascal, and CBS' Leslie Moonves.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Obama, a noted sports fan, made his pitch to Iger at the private briefing amid much laughter. Of note: Iger didn't commit to giving Obama the gig. Perhaps he wants to get a look at the president's references.
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner6 days ago
Peyton Manning: Super Bowl winner. MVP. Observer of proper wedding etiquette.
The above photo surfaced on Reddit on Monday, and sure seems to be a wedding invitation reply card signed by the Denver Broncos quarterback himself. (Here are samples of his autograph for comparison.) Manning "regretfully declined" to attend the wedding of Anna and James, presumably because he plans to be busy on every weekend from here to early February.
It's a great gesture, but as with the "ask a celebrity to prom" gag that comes back around every spring, it's going to explode. Peyton, Tom Brady, Robert Griffin III and other superstars can expect to be inundated with wedding invitations from now on. One of these days, a player is actually going to show up at one of these things — our money's on Richard Sherman — and that's going to be an absolute delight to see.
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner6 days ago
If you're lucky enough to land a job that gets you into an NFL game for free, part of the deal is that you're not permitted to pester the Gods In Attendance for autographs, photographs, loans, fathering of children, et cetera. You're all here to do a job, and part of that involves being somewhat professional in the execution of your duties.
So it's no surprise, then, that Reliant Stadium didn't look too kindly on two of its security guards posing for pictures with Tom Brady after Sunday's Texans-Patriots game. Christopher Moore (in the left photo above) and Joel Williams (in the right photo) caught Brady (whom we assume you recognize) as he was headed to the team bus after his media duties, and asked him for a quick snap. Brady complied, but immediately afterward, Williams told KHOU, the hammer dropped.
- Jay Busbee at Fourth-Place Medal7 days ago
Tom Daley, a British diver who won bronze at the London Olympic Games in 2012, has become the latest athlete to publicly declare his sexual orientation.
In a YouTube video designed to end "rumors and speculation," Daley announced that he is indeed gay. "Come spring this year my life changed massively when I met someone and they made me feel so happy, so safe and everything just feels great -- and that someone is a guy," said Daley. "Of course I still fancy girls but right now I'm dating a guy and I couldn't be happier."
Daley, age 19, tried to head off the inevitable backlash: "In an ideal world I wouldn't be doing this video because it shouldn't matter, but recently I was misquoted in an interview and it made me feel really angry and frustrated, and emotions that I've never felt before when reading something about myself, and for me honesty is something that I really do believe in."
Daley won bronze in the 10-meter dive at the London Olympics, and hopes to compete in Rio in 2016. He remains a popular figure in England.
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner7 days ago
A gun manufacturer's ad designed for the Super Bowl won't be run during the big game because it doesn't meet the NFL's standards for advertising.
Daniel Defense, a high-end gun and firearm accessory manufacturer, developed the above ad, in which a former soldier scouts his home and family and declares in a voiceover, "no one has the right to tell me how to defend them.” The father notes that he's "chosen the most effective tool for the job," which presumably is not the baby he's holding at the time.
Guns & Ammo notes that the NFL's restriction on advertisements seeking to sell firearms reads:
5. Firearms, ammunition or other weapons are prohibited; however, stores that sell firearms and ammunitions (e.g., outdoor stores and camping stores) will be permitted, provided they sell other products and the ads do not mention firearms, ammunition or other weapons.
- Jay Busbee at Shutdown Corner7 days ago
On Sunday, the Texans were pushing the Patriots around the field in the first half. But, much like the Denver-New England game the week before, the Patriots made some halftime adjustments and ended up winning the game 34-31.
There are two possibilities here: that the Patriots are exceptionally good at changing game plans on the fly, or, as Texans defensive end Antonio Smith suggests, there's something "suspicious" going on.
"I'm very suspicious," Smith said to a group of reporters after the game. "I just think it will be a big coincidence if that just happened by chance. I don't know for sure, but I just know it was something that we practiced this week ... Either teams are spying on us or scouting us." Or maybe, possibly, it's the fact that the Texans are a terrible football team who can't make halftime adjustments, but we understand why Smith wouldn't take that approach.