• McDonald’s All-American committee’s ‘whopper of a mistake’ leads to finger-pointing

    MJD at Prep Rally 3 yrs ago

    The McDonald's All-American Game selection committee's recently released annual list of nominees originally included two New York City basketball players who no longer play high school hoops, and of course The New York Daily News, which broke the story late last week, cleverly called it "a whopper of a mistake."

    Current Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College freshman forward Tafari Whittingham and former Pathways (Queens, N.Y.) Prep forward Jordan Washington, who has been barred from playing basketball at the school, have -- as The Daily News is wont to say -- "played as many games this season Ronald McDonald himself."

    "Shows how much they know," said Abraham Lincoln (Brooklyn, N.Y.) High head coach Dwayne "Tiny" Morton, who had Whittingham on his Railsplitters roster last season.

  • The Steelers will look, um, interesting on Sunday

    MJD at Shutdown Corner 4 yrs ago

    Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III has a thing for dopey socks. He is likely to be very jealous of the opposing Pittsburgh Steelers this weekend, because they will be sporting the dopiest socks in NFL history.

    The rest of the uniform only gets dopier as you work up from the black and gold striped socks. You can see them on various players behind Charlie Batch in the photo to the right — here's a better look at them — if you can take your eyes off of Charlie for a minute. Only on Project Runway will you find someone so proud of such ridiculous clothing.

    Fantasy football video from Yahoo! Sports:

  • Obama and Romney want to be on ‘Monday Night Football’

    MJD at Shutdown Corner 4 yrs ago

    Were you upset this past Monday night when you had to choose between watching the presidential debate live and watching "Monday Night Football" live? Worry no more. ESPN's going to mash your sports and politics together for you.

    At halftime of the Week 9 "Monday Night Football" game, according to the Sports Business Journal, ESPN's Chris Berman will likely be interviewing President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney. It's not set in stone, but the SBJ says both campaigns have asked ESPN about it, and that ESPN president Vince Doria is "strongly considering" it.

    It happened four years ago, when then-Senator Obama was running against Senator John McCain. Berman gave them separate three-minute interviews. It took place on the eve of the election and was, literally, the last chance for each candidate to reach such a broad audience before the polls opened. This year, if it happens as proposed, it would also take place the night before the election.

  • Absurdly premature 2012 playoff picture: Week 7

    MJD at Shutdown Corner 4 yrs ago

    The absurdly premature playoff picture presents one man's projection for the NFL playoffs, at each given week in the season -- even if that week is unreasonably early.

    Top AFC seeds: Houston Texans, New England Patriots Other AFC division champs: Baltimore Ravens, Denver Broncos AFC Wild Cards: Pittsburgh Steelers, Miami Dolphins

    Top NFC seeds: Atlanta Falcons, Chicago Bears Other NFC division champs: New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers NFC Wild Cards: Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks

    • Week 7 brings our biggest shakeup of the season thus far. We've got new first-round-bye teams in both conferences. It's real. Close your mouth and stop blinking at your computer screen, waiting for it to change. This is what happens here at the Absurdly Premature Playoff Picture. Minds get blown.

    • As far as the Bears go, I hope I'm not falling into the trap of over-valuing a team's performance because it happened to be seen by a national audience in prime time. I see the Giants and 49ers as the other two teams that can stake a claim to that spot, but the Bears have the lightest remaining schedule of the three. That's the biggest factor.

    Related NFL coverage on Yahoo! Sports:

  • NFL power rankings: This is what parity looks like

    MJD at Shutdown Corner 4 yrs ago

    There is, as we speak, a better than 40 percent chance that your favorite NFL team has exactly three wins. If that team is in the AFC, that chance goes up to 56 percent. Right now in the NFL, there's a few really good teams, a few really bad teams, and in the middle, one of those giant cartoon cloud of humanity with random arms and legs sticking out. Differentiating one from the other is near impossible.

    And yet, we still try. There are no ties in the Power Rankings. We dig into that giant cartoon pile, pull everyone out, and organize them into a handy chart. The biggest movers this week on the positive side are the Saints, Cowboys and Titans. Nose-diving are the Cardinals (again), Browns, Ravens and especially, the Bills.

    1. Atlanta Falcons (6-0) Last week: 1 Off this week. As the only undefeated team remaining, they deserve our No. 1 spot.

    8. Denver Broncos (3-3) Last week: 9 Off this week.

    12. Philadelphia Eagles (3-3) Last week: 10 Off this week.

    13. San Diego Chargers (3-3) Last week: 15 Off this week.

    16. Miami Dolphins (3-3) Last week: 13 Off this week.

    29. Kansas City Chiefs (1-5) Last week: 31 Off this week.

  • Week 7′s five least valuable players

    MJD at Shutdown Corner 4 yrs ago

    5. Chad Henne, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars. I guess you could view Henne as an MVP if you're concerned much about Blaine Gabbert's feelings. Because after watching a half of Henne, the people of Jacksonville may better appreciate Gabbert's special brand of mediocrity, or at least prefer it to Henne's brand of awful. When Gabbert left the game with a shoulder injury in the second quarter, he left Henne a 17-3 lead. Two and a half quarters later, the Jags had only managed two first downs and the Oakland Raiders went on a little 23-6 run to win 26-23. Henne went 9 of 20 for 71 yards and was sacked three times.

    4. Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers. Cam Newton's postgame press conferences are about as uplifting as watching "Old Yeller" in a Malaysian prison cell. Newton's Panthers had every chance to beat the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, and probably would have, had Newton had a better game. Being hit as he chucked the ball, Newton threw a first-half interception in the end zone. The Cowboys won 19-14 and Newton had a QB rating under 80 for the third time in the last four games.

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  • Week 7′s five most valuable players

    MJD at Shutdown Corner 4 yrs ago

    5. Jonathan Dwyer, Pittsburgh Steelers. He's a round-ish running back in a Steelers uniform, so it's easy to compare him to Jerome Bettis, but I don't know that it can be avoided. It wasn't just that he looked like Bettis, either. The Steelers got to hand the ball to a mauler with nifty feet and let him salt away a game, while the opposition stood there helpless. If that doesn't evoke Bettis, nothing will.

    4. Victor Cruz, WR, New York Giants. The opposing secondary was awfully accommodating on the play, but someone still had to run the route, catch the ball and take it to the painted grass. It seems like Victor Cruz comes up with at least one game-changer a week, and this one gave the Giants a 27-23 win over the Washington Redskins.

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    Not only that, it put the Giants in first place in the NFC East and had to wound the Redskins emotionally. The underdogs played well, and Robert Griffin III was brilliant, and just before the buzzer, Eli Manning and Victor Cruz did what they do and snatched a crucial win out of the Redskins' hungry mouths.

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  • Tim Tebow at running back is something Rex Ryan would consider

    MJD at Shutdown Corner 4 yrs ago

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    The Jets continue to try to find new ways to use backup quarterback Tim Tebow, either despite or because everything else they've tried with him has failed.

    Tebow's only real success so far this season came on the gorgeously thrown textbook pass he made to Nick Bellore on a fake punt this past Sunday (see video above). Aside from that, the Tebow in New York experiment has been pretty much a bust. He's only attempted three passes, and on 18 rushing attempts is averaging just 3.6 yards a carry, despite one of those attempts going for 22 yards.

    But he can always expand his horizons. Up next: Running back. And why not? The young man still doesn't have a handle on the position he practiced for four years in college, so why not assume he can play a different position at an NFL level immediately?

    Head coach Rex Ryan talked about Tebow the running back on Thursday.

    Well sure, they can . If they want to, they can sign Kerri Strug and start her at middle linebacker, but that doesn't make it a good idea.

  • Jets linebacker complains that Patriots offense is ‘borderline illegal’

    MJD at Shutdown Corner 4 yrs ago

    The New England Patriots are accustomed to accusations of illegal behavior. This one, though, they won't lose any sleep over.

    Calvin Pace, linebacker for the rival New York Jets, complained about the tempo at which the Patriots run their offense, calling it "borderline illegal." I believe he meant it as flattery more than an accusation, but you can decide how to interpret it. Here's the quote, via ESPN's Rich Cimini:

    "It's borderline illegal because sometimes the guys aren't always set when they snap the ball," Pace said Wednesday. "But it's smart. Why not hurry a team up? I wish we would do it. For a defense, it just puts pressure on you."

    Pace even said he wishes the Jets would do it, which is a nice thought, but maybe the Jets should first get to a point where they can successfully execute plays at a normal pace. There's no reason to rush all those three-and-outs.

  • Absurdly premature 2012 playoff picture: Week 6

    MJD at Shutdown Corner 4 yrs ago

    Top AFC seeds: Houston Texans, Baltimore Ravens Other AFC division champs: New England Patriots, Denver Broncos AFC Wild Cards: Pittsburgh Steelers, Miami Dolphins

    Top NFC seeds: Atlanta Falcons, New York Giants Other NFC division champs: San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers NFC Wild Cards: Chicago Bears, Philadelphia Eagles

    • Your eyes do not deceive you, and no one mixed LSD into your cereal this morning. That is indeed the Miami Dolphins in the Absurdly Premature Playoff Picture. I'll do my best to explain.

    • It pretty much boils down to the AFC being an indistinguishable jumble of teams that will finish between 7-9 and 9-7. There are precisely two teams with winning records, and they occupy the top two spots ‒ the Ravens and Texans. After that, if you eliminate the Browns, Titans, Jaguars, Raiders and Chiefs on the ground of being at two games or more under .500 already, you're left with the Chargers, Steelers, Bengals, and the scrap heap that is the AFC East. It's not an attractive list of options. I'll take you through how I landed on Miami.