Friday, January 31, 2014

NASCAR cheapens their championship

From where I sit it looks like NASCAR is getting desperate...

The latest changes to the championship are pathetic.  It's only cheapening the sport. It now means one driver can win every race on the schedule, but if he has a poor showing at Miami in November he doesn't win the title. That's just dumb. Is this a race or not? The point of having races on different courses picking up points is to find out who the best driver is over the year, not just who gets all the breaks in the last race. What happens if there's a massive wreck and the 4 drivers are unable to continue? Or the teams have to work to get the cars back on the track? We could end up having 4 beat up cars limping around the edge of the track engaging in a battle for 35th, all to win the championship. The point of car racing isn't to crate a 'game 7' style finish to the season. Each race is it's own 'game 7'. That's the point. It's a winner-take-all event, following a weekend of battle. If there's a tight case to the championship, great. If there's not, so be it. If it wasn't like that, there wouldn't be the celebration you see after every race at any level. This is just a stupid gimmick and cheapens the entire sport.

At least that's how I see it...and I sit in the cheap seats.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Scrivens gives Oilers a record performance

From where I sit it looks like the Sharks might have sore arms after Ben Scrivens performed heroics...


100 shot attempts. That's one every 36 seconds or so. Yes, Scrivens made 59 saves, but that leaves 41 shots that were either blocked (22) or missed (19). It's an impressive feat in a couple of ways. Scrivens was in a shooting gallery, with only about 30 of those saves being difficult. Equally amazing were the Sharks refusing to back off. Even as the seconds ticked off the clock San Jose kept shooting. Edmonton fans have had precious little to really get excited about in the past few seasons. But, on Wednesday night there were repeated standing ovations for Scrivens. When even the opposition coach and players concede the performance was amazing, you know it's been a special night. Yes, the Oilers need to play better defensively, don't expect to win giving up 100 shot attempts every night. Sure, the offence has to do more to keep the puck at the other end of the ice. But, that doesn't matter at this point in time. Right now is a chance to marvel at a record setting performance.

At least that's how I see it...and I sit in the cheap seats.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Super Bowl Media Day is useless

From where I sit it looks like the Super Bowl is almost here, mercifully...

Thankfully, that means an end to this ridiculous build up to the big game. I fully understand why the NFL does it, anything to sell tickets and generate interest. But that doesn't preclude the fact that it's boring. Even the famous media day doesn't accomplish much. What was learned during the Tuesday afternoon Q-and-A session? I don't mean that Manning doesn't want to retire, or that Richard Sherman is quick on his feet. But what was really learned about the up coming game? Not much. The bigger issue was the same as it's been for far too long...namely how the hell do some of these people get accredited? It's idiotic. It's a mindless feature that's become a big deal. It shouldn't be. I'm more interested in the actual game, than a bunch of inane questions. The teams aren't going to reveal anything useful. In fact, the best quip as of late was Manning a couple weeks ago explaining what 'Omaha' means. Can we please just get to Sunday and play the game?

At least that's how I see it...and I sit in the cheap seats.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

NHL monitoring security in Sochi

From where I sit it looks like the NHL is keeping a careful eye on security in Sochi...

I really don't blame them. Honestly, it's a scary situation. I really don't think there will be an attack, but that doesn't mean terrorist groups aren't taking advantage of the situation to at least get some publicity. Even the perceived threat of terrorist action has the sporting world keeping a careful eye on the security measures in Russia. Several groups have made threats against athletes, all that serves to do is bring more attention. On the plus side, apparently Sochi is a 'gay free' zone, at least according to the mayor. I sincerely doubt even a city that small (under 350,000) doesn't have any homosexual people. Even if he's right, there will be soon. The US delegation will see to that just by itself. That doesn't cover up the fact that after the game are over, international focus will shift away from Russia and on to more pressing issues. Meaning, state condoned persecution will resume. That's almost as scary as the threats of terrorism.

At least that's how I see it...and I sit in the cheap seats.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Another boring Pro Bowl

From where I sit it looks like the Pro Bowl tried some new ideas, and got the same boring result...


Yes, the game was closer and more defensive than normal. And it was amusing to watch teammates clobber each other. However, those weren't players from my favourite team, so I wasn't too concerned about it. However, if I was a Browns fan I would be very upset to see Josh Gordon sending T. J. Ward spinning with a low hit. Yes, it spiced things up a bit to have a draft, but football is still a collision sport, even at the Pro Bowl. How awful would it be to have a star injured by his own teammate in a meaningless game. Secondarily, the Pro Bowl is the NFL's all star game. Without all it's stars. The record setting quarterback? Beast mode? The Legion of Boom? None of them were there. They were on their way to New York for the Super Bowl. It's not easy to get sports fan to sit and watch an all star game at the best of times. For all it's the chance for stars to showcase their talents, it's played in a half-assed way with little emphasis on actually winning. It's certainly not a good way to market to the casual fan. The Pro Bowl is bad, the NHL All Star game is worse. The NBA is a glorified shoot around. MLB tries to make the game count, but still few players take it seriously. It's useless and boring. Wake me up when they start playing real games again.

At least that's how I see it...and I sit in the cheap seats.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Super Bowl tickets drop in price...a little

From where I sit it looks like Super Bowl tickets are getting cheaper...


Well, sort of cheaper. The price on resale sites has dropped to $1,700 for cheap seats. Keep in mind, face value for those is $500, with the top ticket face value at $2,600. Even as a Seahawks fan, those prices make me gag. Seattle played 8 home games this season, plus 2 pre-season games. For the cheapest price of a single ticket to the Super Bowl, you can get a lower bowl season ticket to the Seahawks. Yes, I would love to go to the Super Bowl. But honestly, that will never be in my price range. And judging by the quick price drop, a lot of people seem to feel the same way. The other thing to keep in mind, is how much the quality of the home experience is constantly improving. That's not just the game we see on the screen, but everything that's available. For starters, the Super Bowl ads are half the show. Add to that all the information through various on-line sources that allow access to instant review and updates to stats. What's Lynch's yards per carry? How about Wilson's? Has Manning thrown more to his left or right? And how many times has he said 'Omaha'? Plus the food is really all you can eat and there's no line-ups. It will always be expensive to go to the Super Bowl. And it will always be a sell out. But now the game is facing a challenge. It's quickly becoming more fun to stay home. 
At least that's how I see it...and I sit in the cheap seats.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Good choices made for NBA All-Star game

From where I sit it looks like the fan got the NBA All-Star voting right...


At least for the most part. As long as fans are the ones selecting the starting line-up for any sport there will be problems. This is nothing more than a popularity contest. With the exception of Kobe, it's a good list of the top players. Which is exactly what an all-star game is. The NHL will be doing the same thing next year after a 2-year break thanks to the lock-out and Winter Olympics. And just like the NBA and MLB it will be a chance for everyone to see who the most popular players are regardless of their current standing in the game. Kobe has played 6 games this season and looked old in all of them before getting hurt again. At least he's doing the right thing and encouraging the NBA to pick someone else. I'm sure a suitable replacement will be found (Tony Parker, Damian Lillard, James Harden). In the mean time, there will be the traditional complaining about the voting process. Let's face it, this is an All-Star game. Not a real game. The players show up, put on a show that bares only a passing resemblance to an actual game, and leave. Just like every other all-star game I'll tune in for 5 minutes, get bored and move on.

At least that's how I see it...and I sit in the cheap seats.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

NASCAR revamps qualifying and Team USA gets ugly

From where I sit it looks like NASCAR is stealing a page from Formula 1 and IndyCar...

I must admit I think this is a great idea. Honestly, the single car timed lap is dull. One guy pounding around all by himself, then someone else comes out. Miss your favourite driver? You're out of luck. This is going to create a race before the race. It's not just about all 43 cars on track competing with each other. It's about drafting and team work. The spotters will be in full use, plus talking to each other to find a partner or 3 to get everyone a quick lap. In fact, anyone trying to do a solo run will almost certainly be shuffled down the grid in a hurry. There will also be more chance for drivers getting pissed off. Blocking? There will be plenty of it. And lots of mad drivers after. It's made for TV. And it will be fun to watch.

The US Olympic team has released their uniform for the opening ceremonies...


It's not often that words fail me...but these are comically bad. It looks like someone's 4-year-old cut up a catalogue.  But, seriously, who looked at those and said, "Yes, this is the perfect look."?  All that Americans can hope for is that their athletes manage to look better than the outfits.

At least that's how I see it...and I sit in the cheap seats.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Good seats remain with 16 days to Sochi 2014

From where I sit it looks like there's still tickets available for the Olympics...

And it's not just the new/unique events. We're talking hockey tickets. Men's figure skating finals. Speed skating, short and long track. The men's gold medal curling game still has some good seats too. In fact, you can find tickets to pretty much every event. I know Vancouver wasn't 100% sold out, but good luck finding tickets to anything good. Scalpers were making a mint, even on the medal ceremonies. At the same time I can't really blame people for not wanting to go. When you see articles warning of possible suicide terrorists, or the US stepping up military presence in the area, it's hardly incentive. I understand that's standard practice now. And it's better to be safe than sorry. But let's face it, there wasn't much to worry about in Vancouver. Or Turin. To be honest, I would feel safer in Pyeongchang, and it's not that far from North Korea. This was an opportunity for Russia to show the level of safety they have achieved. Even if there isn't an attack, the level of concern globally means they have failed.

At least that's how I see it...and I sit in the cheap seats.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

the PAT may be eliminated

From where I sit it looks like one of the most boring plays in sports could be on the way out...

At least in the NFL. The PAT is simply mindless. The vast majority of PATs are made easily. Even free throws have a higher miss percentage. It's the football equivalent of an intentional walk. We all know how it's going to end and it really doesn't add much to the game. However, it has to be done because it's in the rule book. Is there a solution apart from simply eliminating it? Maybe make it a 30-yard attempt. Half the players on the field are simply there because they have to be; a good chunk of the time there isn't even any effort to make the play even appear real. That doesn't preclude the fact that in every play there is a risk of injury. For me that may be the bigger reason, including the mind-numbing boredom of it. The risk of a player, any player getting hurt for a useless play. I like Goedell's idea. It's an automatic 7 points, but if you go for 2 you risk the loss of the free PAT. It's simple. It's straight forward. It speeds up the game. And it decreases the risk of injury. 

At least that's how I see it...and I sit in the cheap seats.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Sherman runs his mouth...again

From where I sit it looks like Richard Sherman should shut up...

Please keep in mind this is coming from a Seahawks fan. His little post game rant was followed by making basically the same comments at a proper media event. Yes, he's a great cornerback, but he's also a champion trash talker. It's one thing to do some yapping on the field, but when the game's over Sherman should decline interviews until he has an opportunity to get his act together. It's also not the best idea to make yourself a target against the Broncos offence. Peyton Manning has been picking apart defences with ease all season. Now Sherman is practically daring Manning to throw at him. If it works, fantastic. If the Legion of Boom gets ripped to shreds, it really wasn't worth it. Like it or not, Sherman is great for the media. He's quick with a quote and isn't afraid to make controversial statements. For football fans that means we get a couple more weeks to put up with a player who's giving everyone something to talk about. 
At least that's how I see it...and I sit in the cheap seats.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

An NHL brawl and Cool Runnings part 2

From where I sit it looks like the NHL is facing a question...

Specifically, is there really 'no such thing as bad publicity'? The Canucks-Flames brawl has again raised the debate over fighting in hockey. To that I say, watch the people in the stands during the video, they certainly don't seem to be complaining. As for who started it, there's plenty of blame to go around. Tortorella didn't need to respond to Hartley's goonery with his own goons. At the same time, what was Hartley really trying to accomplish apart from making everyone look stupid? I know Tortorella will be in big trouble from the NHL for trying to get to the Flames lockerroom after the first period, but shouldn't Hartley be facing some sort of punishment for inciting the brawl in the first place? Despite all of that this fight has generated a ton of interest for the NHL, and a guaranteed sell-out for the next game.

The Reggae Boys are heading back to the Winter Olympics...


At least they qualified to go to Sochi. The question is whether they will be able to afford to go. It's not an easy task to even get the privilege to go, even harder to find the money. Jamaica is an Olympic power in the summer games, so the question is if they will find the funds for their 2-man bobsled crew. Since 1988, it's been an inspiring sight, watching the distinct colours of the Jamaican bobsleds hurtling down the track. However, funding has always been an issue. Hopefully, the money can be found. At the very least, we can get a sequel to Cool Runnings.
At least that's how I see it...and I sit in the cheap seats.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

NASCAR ponders another new set of points

From where I sit it looks like NASCAR is getting more advice from the drunks...


I didn't think it was possible for NASCAR to find a way to cheapen their already ridiculous playoff system, but they seem to be trying. Expanding the field, eliminating drivers, leaving only 4 left for the final race. It's pathetic. It's already a confusing system, why are they wanting to make it harder to keep track? I'm a race fan, but certainly not a NASCAR expert. I don't keep track of 'the chase' or 'the race to the chase' or any other screwy titles they want to give to their flawed points system. Why don't they draw inspiration from the 'Cars' movie? After every race the last place driver is eliminated. It will make the race for the final positions as exciting as the dash for the checkered flag. It will save the lower teams some money by not having to travel to every race. By the end of the year there will be a hand full of drivers left. The championship goes to the winner of the final race. It's straight forward. Easy to understand. It increases focus on the lower drivers with the emphasis on the lower positions along with the top. And it makes as much sense as the garbage they are currently considering.

At least that's how I see it...and I sit in the cheap seats.

Friday, January 17, 2014

MLB expands replay, finally

From where I sit it looks like MLB actually got something right...


It's true that change in baseball is best measured using time-lapse photography but this is a fairly abrupt shift. It's not just about expanding what can be reviewed. It's allowing coaches to challenge the call. And, more importantly, it's setting up a 'war room' like the NHL uses. It's been glossed over a lot in the coverage, but honestly, I think this is the biggest change. For the first time the decision will not be made by the umpires on the field. Last season Angel Hernandez refused to change a call on a home run. That's not going to happen this year. The final call will be with an umpire who has nothing to do with the game in question. He will be in a booth in New York. Not on the field getting chirped at. He won't be hot and sweaty or cold and tired. He will be unaffected by the game. It's a monumental shift. And one that's a long time coming. Now, if they could do something about the length of the games...

At least that's how I see it...and I sit in the cheap seats.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Oilers make two big moves, but more are coming

From where I sit it looks like the real changes have begun in Edmonton...


Despite the two trades on Wednesday, this is only a start of the Oilers. I have a decent amount of sympathy for Devan Dubnyk...and Ben Scrivens. It wouldn't matter if the Oilers had Jonathan Quick, Tukka Rask, or any other top goalie in his prime, the team would be in trouble. It doesn't matter if you place much emphasis in the plus-minus stat or not, but when 8 of your regular players are on the last page, it's not good. With a defense corps that either can't or won't actually play defense, any goalie would be in trouble. Oilers fans will soon be furious when Dubnyk starts playing and winning in Nashville. There will also be much gnashing of teeth when Scrivens is hung out on his own by the turnstile defenders in front of him. Yes, this is a positive step, but there are still many missing pieces. At least 2 top densemen, for example. A top centre. Apart from that the team is set for a Cup run. Sadly, until that happens we will be subjected to Oiler fans grousing about the team's lack of whatever key item is missing. And endless reminiscing about how great the Oilers of the 80's were, conveniently forgetting how many times the team blew it.

At least that's how I see it...and I sit in the cheap seats.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

GSP speaks out on PEDs

From where I sit it looks like GSP has a bone to pick with the UFC...


It's not often a top performer in any sport walks away because of PEDs, usually they get thrown out. Sadly, this doesn't surprise me at all. No matter what the sport is, someone will find a way to cheat. Even in 'amateur' sports like the NCAA or Olympics there will always be people looking for an edge. There's big money to be had and someone will try to find a way to get faster, higher, stronger. This, however is different. This is a line in the sand from Georges St Pierre, not some middle card wash out, not the governing body, but one of the top fighters in the world. Sure, he's on the decline in his career, but at least he's taking a stand. Maybe, this is a power play, we will have to see what the ever bombastic Dana White has to say.

At least that's how I see it...and I sit in the cheap seats.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A-Rod get dumber and the NHL gets smarter

From where I sit it looks like the Alex Rodriguez saga has finally jumped the shark...

This really is comical. A suit against MLB and the Players Association? Who's next the media? After all they're the ones who are spreading the 'lies'. How about the bloggers? We are making observations about all of A-Rod's 'faults'. Or maybe he sues the fans. Without them he couldn't have been put in a position to feel the need to take the PEDs in the first place. To be honest this reeks of throwing shit at the wall to see what sticks. The further down the rabbit hole this goes the more I question what advice he's getting. Right now he's acting like a petulant 6-year-old....the only way to deal with him is to send him to the 'not ready chair' and tell him not to get up until he's ready to act like a big boy.

Judging from the mock-up the outdoor game at Dodger Stadium will be amazing...


My only concern remains the ice. Apart from that, beach volleyball, roller hockey and a pool. KISS performing. The NHL has found a cash cow in the outdoor game. A return to Edmonton is apparently in the works. Winnipeg should be in the running too. The big question is 'what's next?' in the US. Can a game be played in Cowboy Stadium? The Vikings are getting a new field next season, Minnesota will surely get a game. But what about weaker markets? Ohio Stadium is plenty big enough for the Blue Jackets. Nashville is already home to the NFL's Titans. Overnight temperature in both cities are below freezing. And I don't expect the NHL to back off of these games one bit.

At least that's how I see it...and I sit in the cheap seats.

Monday, January 13, 2014

2 great games coming in the NFL and Sochi gets more expensive

From where I sit it looks like the NFL is getting all it could ask for in the conference finals...

This almost looks fake. It's the sort of games I would expect to see in a Madden simulation. The four best teams from the regular season face-off. But there's lots of depth to the match-ups. Brady vs Manning. History? Plenty. It's a scintillating meeting with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. Both teams bring exciting offences, in fact the early line has a total of 54.5. I wouldn't be surprised if they top it. As for the NFC West battle, it will be brutal, to say the least. The teams split the regular season, with each winning at home. Sure, Seattle blew out the 49ers in week 2, but the week 14 slug-fest in San Francisco is more indicative of how the conference final will proceed. I don't want to dare make a prediction, apart from I'm going to spend Sunday glued to my TV.

Meanwhile, at the Summer Olympics in Russia...


Yes, it's easy to call them the summer games because of the warmth. Although, it's colder in Sochi right now, than in Vancouver and those game were plagued with warm weather. Keep in mind tickets to certain mountain events got cancelled in 2010. It was embarrassing, but the host committee managed to get Canadians to over look that issue thanks to a record number of gold medals. No, these are the summer games in terms of cost. In fact, as they rapidly approach the $50-billion mark, it's the most expensive games ever. And it's not ready yet. Beijing is the next closest at $43-billion. London was a relatively paltry $10-billion. I'm not sure if I'm more disgusted at the waste or impressed at the efficiency. The amount of graft and embezzling happening in Russia is beyond imagination. And there's nothing happening to stop it. On the plus side, this is helping Vancouver's lack of snow look good.

At least that's how I see it...and I sit in the cheap seats.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

A-Rod gets 162 games. now wants to waste taxpayer money

From where I sit it looks like A-Rod is running out of options...

So, now he's planning to take his appeal to Federal Court. I'm at a loss to explain what he's doing. Rodriguez is either the victim of one of the most elaborate frame jobs in history...or he's a long way down the rabbit hole. My money is on the latter. I find it really hard to believe that an arbitrator agreed that Rodriguez should be suspended, yet he continues to claim innocence. At what point does he throw in the towel? At the very least he's lost the backing of the MLBPA. If it wasn't so pathetic it would be funny. All that being said, how much money is he wasting? And I don't just mean his own money. If he takes this to Federal Court, the taxpayer will be footing the bill. A multi-millionaire baseball player would be forcing Americans to pay for the judge, and jury if there is one. Now, not only is this a waste of time, but a waste of everyone's money. It's useless. It's self-serving. It's not surprising. Please, just sit down and take your punishment like a grown-up.

At least that's how I see it...and I sit in the cheap seats.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Tribe makes a change and more problems for the NCAA

From where I sit it looks like changes are coming in Cleveland...


At least to the Indians use of Chief Wahoo. The general consensus is that the smiling indian is, at best, a dated caricature, and at worst outright racist. Yes, this is a small step, but it's still a step in the right direction. It's also a clear indication that ownership is not just feeling the pressure, but realizing there is profit to be made. Any change in uniform, however subtle, requires the die-hard fan to make a new purchase. And, let's face it, it may be a sport, but it's really a business. Now, if only we could do something about the Reskins.

North Carolina is face more trouble for the lack of actual education for it's athletes...

Last week it was kids taking classes that don't exist. Now, this revelation. There's a certain assumption that someone in university can actually read, sadly that seems to be another fallacy. Part of what I find concerning is that these players graduated high school. At least, I think they did. How the hell did any of these children manage to get accepted? Did any of them take an SAT? If they can't read past a grade 3 level in university, they couldn't read at that level in high school, or in middle school for that matter. How much emphasis was placed on learning to read and write and how much was placed on learning to run and dunk? Yes, there should be focus on the standards at the university level. But it's time to raise questions about what's happening in basic schooling.

At least that's how I see it...and I sit in the cheap seats.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Three stars head to Baseball Hall of Fame

From where I sit it looks like 3 deserving candidates are heading to Cooperstown...


There's no doubt both Maddux and Glavine were fantastic pitchers, and Thomas was a fearsome batter. However, what can be done with the 'stars' of the steroid era? It's very much a double standard. MLB recognizes the accomplishments off all the players concerned. Bonds is still at the top of the home run list. Yet, the Baseball Writers who make the selections to the Hall of Fame are delivering their own punishment. At the same time, many of the biggest stars already in the Hall had their own artificial advantages. Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and many other played in an era where the colour of your skin determined if you were even allowed in the league. In fact that can be summed up with 2 players, Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige. How many jokes have been made about Gaylord Perry and his spitball? All that being said, this current crop of players not only allegedly cheated, but lied and some even continue to lie about their involvement. So, I'm fine with never seeing their names added to the Hall of Fame.

At least that's how I see it...and I sit in the cheap seats.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Costas calls Olympic sport 'Jackass' inspired

From where I sit it looks like Bob Costas needs to study his Olympic sports...

For starters a good number of Winter Olympic sports look to be 'Jackass' inspired. Hurtling feet first, or better yet head first, down an icy ditch at 150km/h! Jumping off the side of a mountain! There's even one where skiers have to stop every few minutes to shoot a gun! All of those sound like they belong on 'Jackass'...yet each of them is a venerable Olympic sport dating from the first Winter Games. As for whether or not sports like slopestyle or skicross belong in the Olympics, I think it's great. At the very least it's appealing to younger demographics. Do I fully understand the intricacies of slopestyle or half-pipe? No. But that doesn't mean I can't watch and marvel at what these brave (crazy) men and women are doing. It also helps to increase Canada's chances of bringing home more medals. And I certainly won't complain about that.

At least that's how I see it...and I sit in the cheap seats.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Canada ignites controversy with Olympic roster

From where I sit it looks like Canada is set for gold/doomed to failure at the Sochi Olympics*...


I honestly can't believe _______ (forward) was left off the roster. What was Yzerman thinking? It's perfectly obvious that his play with _______ (team) qualifies him for a trip to Russia. Have you looked at his stats/Corsi numbers? His play making ability from ______ (position) would have been perfect on the power play/penalty kill. On defence, it's a no brainer that _______(defenceman) shouldn't be there. He's too much of a risk taker/not risky enough. What this team really needs on the back-end is a commitment to scoring/limiting chances/an all round game. As for the goalies. Why was _______ (goalie) included? He is injury prone/inconsistent/hasn't been tested. What about ______ (different goalie) from _______ (different team)? His numbers make it clear he should have been the starter/back-up. In the end it will come down to which team can gel the fastest/has the most heart/wants it more/adjusts to the bigger ice. In spite of some questionable/brilliant choices, with this roster I firmly believe Canada will win gold/silver/bronze/not win anything.

*Feel free to use whatever names you deem appropriate in the blanks. 
At least that's how I see it...and I sit in the cheap seats.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Canada misses a medal again and the NFL playoffs get a thrilling start

From where I sit it looks like Canada needs to come to an unplesant realization...


Hockey is our game. It always will be. However, Canadians need to understand the world is learning to love hockey. And learning to play. Let's face it, we are a long way removed from the days of beating teams 15-0. Only Norway didn't win a game in the round robin, even at that they managed to beat Germany once in the relegation round. Of the teams that made the playoff round, who's the worst? Switzerland? Nope. Slovakia? They beat the Germans 9-2, and were leading Canada 3-1. This also isn't 1998, losing to Kazakhstan and finishing 8th. Out of the teams we finished behind, is there a weak team? Finland? Russia? Sweden? Nope. All of those are solid, hockey countries. It's situations like this when I'm reminded of a report of TSN's Sara Orleksy in the lead up to the Vancouver Olympics. I'll need to paraphrase since I don't have the direct quote in front of me...”Remember, if the best players Canada has take on the best in the rest of the world and win, they will have merely met expectations.” I'm not saying lower expectations, but stop being so surprised when we don't win.

The NFL playoffs started off with a bang...


The New Orleans-Philadelphia game will hardly go down as a classic. The first half was simply dull. Although the second certainly held up the entertainment value. There's also nothing like a last second field goal to cap off a game. However, the opening game was delightful. The Chiefs and Colts wound up leaving everyone questioning if that was an epic comeback or a staggering collapse. Andrew Luck threw 3 interceptions and still won. Alex Smith went over 370 yards passing, with 4 touchdowns and lost. The teams traded majors on their opening possessions. The Colts only lead once. And it was the only time that mattered. Fantastic football. It's up to everyone else to try and measure up to what we saw on day 1.

At least that's how I see it...and I sit in the cheap seats.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

The NFL ponders changes to playoff format

From where I sit it looks like the NFL continues to court controversy...


What's the point of winning a division if there's no guarantee of a home game in the playoffs? Re-seeding makes the situation worse, not better. Let's face it, Green Bay has no business being in the playoffs. The Packers didn't win a game against playoff teams. I don't feel bad for the 49ers going on the road, I feel bad for the Cardinals being in the best division in football. Arizona went 10-6 and missed in the NFC...they would have made it in the AFC. Want to make real changes to make it fair? Eliminate the divisions for anything other than scheduling. Base it solely on the standings by conference, although even by over-all standings the only change would be taking Green Bay out and Arizona getting in. Even the teams getting a first round bye stay the same. However, that leaves nobody from the NFC North making the playoffs. And, at least for this year, that doesn't seem like a bad idea.

At least that's how I see it...and I sit in the cheap seats.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Allegations against North Carolina and FIFA's boss gets a great idea

From where I sit it looks like the Tar Heels may be in trouble with the NCAA...


Let's face it there have always been intimations about a lack of true classes for top athletes. North Carolina has, or should that be had, a reputation of players actually needing to take real classes and get real grades to keep them in good standing. Now, this raises questions not just about what's happening at Chapel Hill, but what does this mean for other schools? If a top school is creating fake classes for athletes, whats happening at less academically intense schools? For all this is a distressing revelation, I'm honestly not all that surprised. With all the emphases and focus placed on so-called student athletes, it shouldn't be a shock to anyone that they are treated differently. After all, they aren't getting paid to risk their health for a school.

Meanwhile, Sepp Blatter has actually come up with a good idea...


As shocking as that is, I do really like the idea. Soccer (football) on this continent has a horrible reputation for the pathetic acting of 'injured' players. Let's face it, we like sports where a player can rip a tooth out and not miss a shift. Sure, there's lots to be determined, like how to gauge if a player is acting. In football (NFL, CFL, NCAA) if a player goes down injured they must sit out a minimum of following plays (3). The same should be done in soccer. Maybe a 5 minute break. That eliminates the 'sin-bin' idea and doesn't call into question whether the player is faking. As a soccer fan I'm always left embarrassed by some jack-ass rolling around like he's been shot, only to be back on his feet ready to go seconds later.

At least that's how I see it...and I sit in the cheap seats.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

USA Hockey ignites controversy with it's team

From where I sit it looks like Team USA wasn't out to win a popularity contest...


With the American Olympic hockey team announcement came the obligatory outcry from fans about omissions and snubs. What struck me the most was the response from Senators fans. Bobby Ryan was left off the team and a good number of Ottawa supporters are furious. My question is...why? The vast majority of Sens fans are Canadian. So wouldn't you want the USA to have a bad team? I sure do. Quite frankly, I think the Hockey USA has picked a wise team. I don't know if it's a winner, but it's certainly well rounded. Secondarily, I think it's great that the US is finally in a position to question selections. It's better for the game as a whole to have a strong presence in the US. A controversy about selections means Americans actually care enough about the game to be upset. Let's face it, in Canada there are still recriminations over who was not part of the team in 2010...and they won! So, the more interest that shown in the US, the better. Even if it means more of those annoying “U-S-A, U-S-A” chants.

At least that's how I see it...and I sit in the cheap seats.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Blackouts still a problem for NFL

From where I sit it looks like the NFL is at risk of biting the hand that feeds them...


There are some tantalizing match ups this coming weekend...too bad some fans might not be able to watch their home team play. Yes, once again black-outs are an issue in the NFL. The league hasn't been impacted all that much by the recession...until now. Why aren't fans buying tickets? Simple, it's too expensive. Colts playoff tickets are 63$, Tickets in Cincinnati start at 96$, Packers fans are looking at 111$. Indianapolis isn't too bad, but it's still over 120$ for a pair of the cheap seats. It's something the NFL is going to have to face. Tickets are expensive, if people can't afford to go to a game, make sure they can still see it, or they will find something else to watch.

At least that's how I see it...and I sit in the cheap seats.