Media > Jerry Rice To Join ESPN As TV Analyst

 

~ Adding the greatest wide receiver to ever play the game to it’s coverage of the NFL is a pretty good idea. Jerry Rice will be joining ESPN as an analyst and will be featured on NFL Live, SportsCenter, and their Audibles show as reported by Sports Illustrated.

Rice has been fine tuning his tv skills by doing analyst work for the BBC television’s coverage of the NFL and also co-hosted Sports Sunday on NBC Bay Area after San Francisco 49ers games during the 2010 season.

It remains to be seen how Rice will do on the national stage as an analyst. I suppose Rice can’t do any worst than Emmitt Smith did when he was at ESPN. While Smith was a great running back, his time as an analyst though … not so much. It’s not for everyone.

Rice isn’t the only new face that will be on ESPN for the upcoming 2011 season. Ex-players Hugh Douglas, Damien Woody, and former Browns and Jets coach Eric Mangini have also been added to the mix.

NFL > Nnamdi Asomugha Ends Speculation & Signs w/ Eagles

~ The Philadelphia Eagles were already an early favorite to win their division and now they have pulled off the stunner of the free- agency signing season. In a move that no one appeared to really see coming, the Eagles have signed cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha to a reported 5-year deal for $60 million with $25 million guranteed. Asomugha was the top free agent on the market and it’s the Eagles who land him.

 The Asomugha situation has been compelling to watch play out on ESPN and throughout other sports outlets. No one could seem to figure out where the former Oakland Raiders cornerback was headed. Slowly yet surely, the dominoes began to fall.

 Houston dropped out of the race, and then the New York Jets became the favorites with Dallas getting into the mix. The thought of pairing a lockdown cornerback like Ashomugha with fellow all-pro cornerback Darrelle Revis was a scary image for everyone in the league and could have been the missing piece for the Jets. The Jets went as far as to restructure the contracts of some of their biggest names on the roster in order to help grab Asomugha. The Eagles apparently knew better and were doing their homework.

 Philadelphia now adds on to an already impressive team. They went into the off-season knowing they had to make some moves with their defense. They recently traded quarterback Kevin Kolb away to Arizona and were able to get back great value in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie at cornerback.

 Logically no one would expect the Eagles to be in the hunt for Asomugha and the Jets appeared to be a lock to get him until it became obvious there was a holdup in the deal. It’s easy to speculate on what was behind Asomugha’s reasoning for picking the Eagles. What is clear right now is that with Rodgers-Cromartie on one side of the field and Asomugha on the other, the Eagles will be a headache for NFC east teams like Eli Manning and the Giants to gameplan for.

 ESPN’s Adam Schefter has done a great job of covering every move throughout the Asomugha chase and did say that he had a feeling a mystery team perhaps could be making a power move to land Asomugha. It turns out that the Eagles were that mystery team flying under the radar.

NBA 2K12 To Feature Three Legends On Their Cover

 ~ The NBA is coming off one of their more exciting seasons in recent history. Derrick Rose had a sensational year for the Chicago Bulls that ended up being an MVP year for him. Dirk Nowitzki erased any doubt that he is a big time NBA star when he led the Dallas Mavericks to an NBA championship. The season mainly featured the year-long storyline in Miami with Lebron James and Chris Bosh teaming up with Dywane Wade. Those are all valid choices to put on the cover of the upcoming NBA 2K12 video game. Well, the makers of the game decided to take the Hall of Fame route for the 2nd year in a row.

 Michael Jordan will return for the 2nd consecutive year to the cover of NBA 2K12 and this time he will not be alone. Fellow all-time greats Ervin “Magic” Johnson and Larry Bird will also get their own covers on the video game.

 The three stars will each have his own cover with the Bird and Magic covers being made available in limited quantity at launch. Jordan will once again be the primary cover star.

 NBA2K12 is expected to be released on October 4th and just like last year it won’t have any competition from EA Sports, their next basketball game will not be out until 2012.

USC Suspends Marc Tyler For Comments

~ USC recently announced that they have suspended their senior running back Marc Tyler for their season opener and also from all team activities for comments he made that found it’s way to TMZ.

 The NCAA football season is quickly approaching and I’m sure that all the teams are eagerly anticipating it to begin. However, the anticipation may not have anything to do with the excitement of chasing the national championship or making a bowl game. The NCAA has had one of it’s more memorable off-seasons in recent history and it’s mostly been for the wrong reasons.

 The latest headline involves the one team that would love nothing more than to stay out of the trouble discussion, the USC Trojans. Read more of this post

Media > Kemba Walker Signs With Under Armour

~ Kemba Walker isn’t letting the NBA Lockout get in the way of his business off the court. The 1st round draft pick of the Charlotte Bobcats recently took a major step forward towards establishing his brand by signing with Under Armour, according to CNBC. Walker becomes the first player in this year’s draft class to sign with a shoe company.

 I know what you’re thinking … why Under Armour? It would be logical to assume that Walker would be a great fit for Nike. The owner of the Bobcats happens to be Michael Jordan, Mr. Nike himself.

 Under Armour is an emerging brand though that is looking to make an impact in the basketball shoe market that is dominated by Nike. Walker’s star has been on the rise since leading the University of Connecticuit men’s basketball team to a national championship. If Walker makes a big impact early on his career, it could turn out to be a great move for him and Under Armour.

 Walker definitely joins pretty good company. Brandon Jennings of the Milwaukee Bucks, Tom Brady of the New England Patriots, NFL top draft pick Cam Newton, and Mets shortstop Jose Reyes are all currently signed to promote with Under Armour.

Media: Chad Pennington To Take 2011 Off & Work For FOX Sports

~  FOX Sports continues to upgrade their product in the play by play booth with NFL quarterback Chad Pennington recently letting it be known he will be working with the network for the upcoming season.

 Pennington has specialized in the art of the comeback throughout his NFL career as a quarterback with the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins. It just hasn’t been the kind of comebacks he may want to be remembered for when he looks back on his playing days.

He’s had four shoulder injuries suffered during his 11-year NFL career and is currently rehabbing from a ACL injury he suffered in a pickup basketball game. That’s definitely more than enough to make anyone re-evaluate if they want to continue a professional football career at 35 years old.

 Because of Pennington’s latest shoulder injury along with the ACL injury, he wasn’t expecting to play football in 2011 and he’s not exactly ready to retire either. It’s a good time for Pennington to explore a possible new career that he has the potential to excel at.

 “I’m actually going to take this year off, get healthy and do some work for Fox Sports,I’m going to evaluate things and see where I am physically.”

Throughout his playing career, Pennington has always been an insightful and interesting interview. He’s passionate about the game and is very articulate. This could be the beginning of something so good for him, he may just decide to close the door on his playing career.

The TFB Week In Review … June 5th – 11th, 2011 Part One

MAMA, THERE GOES THAT MAN …

~ The Golden State Warriors went for the splashy move by bringing in Mark Jackson to be their next head coach. It’s well documented by now that Jackson does not have any coaching experience. He is going to need to be surrounded by solid basketball minds both in the front office and on the sidelines. However, if his comments at his press conference is any indication, Jackson is going to bring a confident swagger to the Warriors.

“It is a great day.Not only for me, but for this organization, for this fan base. Because the Bay Area will never be the same.” … Mark Jackson , New Head Coach of The Golden State Warriors

Never mind what his coaching philosphies are right now, Jackson has presence. He’s young enough to relate to today’s NBA player and brings 17 years of basketball knowledge from his playing career. His aim right now has to be to get the Warriors a new idenity that leads them to the playoffs.

MONTA ELLIS TRADE RUMORS

Jackson inherits a Warriors team that has a talented pair of guards, Monta’ Ellis and Stephen Curry. The rumor mill is is in full swing that 1 of them will be traded. Chances are it’ll be Ellis. The 76ers and Magic are rumored to be interested. Jackson did make it clear that he would like to coach Ellis, however if he can be moved for a star or big named player I’m sure he won’t stand in the way of that.

What is also beginning to come to light is a reported beef between Ellis and teammate David Lee. Apparently Ellis does not paticularly care for Lee, according to the ever popular “sources”. If I had to make a prediction on the future of Ellis, I’d go with that he’ll be moved for as much as the Warriors can get back for an extremely talented 25 year old scoring guard. Andre Iguodala for Ellis makes a lot of sense financially and on the court.

PRYOR & OHIO STATE …

This story won’t go away anytime soon. The score as it stands now is that the NCAA is currently investigating the Ohio State football program. The head coach Jim Tressel ended up losing his job and rightfully so, resigning while under intense media pressure and scrutiny. The latest events now surround former OSU quarterback Terrelle Pryor.

The keyword in that last sentence was former. Pryor announced that he will not return to OSU in the fall. He gives up his senior season and will now look to land in the NFL via the Supplemental Draft. That is of course if the NFL takes care of it’s current lockout status.

Smart move by Pryor to get out of town when he had the chance. He was going to be suspended for the first 5 games of the upcoming season anyway. Teammates have reportedly expressed they don’t want to play with him anymore, some have even blamed him for Tressell losing his job and the school being investigated so deeply. The allegations continue to get worst with reports coming out that Pryor was guilty of NCAA violations by receiving large amounts of cash benefits. He’s not ready to be an NFL quarterback yet, at least not from what I saw of him in televised OSU games.

 It now remains to be seen just how many more allegations against OSU come to light. The judgement has been passed swiftly already against them, costing the team it’s head coach and now it’s starting quarterback. This one is a story that will continue to unfold.

NBA > Mark Jackson Named Next Head Coach of Golden State Warriors

 ~ The wait is over for Mark Jackson. The lead analyst for the ESPN / ABC coverage of the NBA will be named the next head coach of the Golden State Warriors, according to Yahoo Sports.The 46-year-old Jackson has no coaching experience, however reports have already surfaced that the Warriors will surround him with the best assistant coaches they can get.

 Jackson has been a top canidate for head coaching positions the last couple of seasons in the NBA.

 Owner Joe Lacob says Jackson’s leadership as a player will translate well to coaching. His playing resume backs that up. Jackson was a point guard in the league for 17 years and made the playoffs 14 of those years. He knows what it takes to win in the NBA and he is going to provide an different kind of energy for a team that is overall a young ballclub.

 

The Warriors have Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry, and David Lee already in place, giving Jackson a young nucleus to build around. Critics and Warriors fans may point to Jackon’s inexperience as a problem. There maybe some bumps in the road, it comes with the territory. The bottom line is that this team over the last couple of seasons has not been very good. They needed a complete makeover and idenity change.

 

 

 

Jackson’s interview must have went so well that it left the Warriors upper management completely blown away. With no coaching background at all to fall back on, it’s definitely a gamble. It’s a a roll of the dice that I think will payoff for a young team that is looking for direction.

Media > “YES!!!” … Marv Albert To Call NFL Games For CBS Sports

~ When Gus Johnson moved over to FOX, it left a void at CBS. They not only filled the void, they filled it with a Hall of Fame voice. Marv Albert will be doing play by play for CBS  NFL coverage.

 If CBS was looking at resume’s, it does not get much better than the one Albert posesses.  He did NFL games on NBC for 19 years,  he has been handling the play-by-play for Monday Night Football on Westwood One radio, and he handles play by play for TNT’s NBA coverage.

 

Albert is also handling college basketball play by play duties for CBS, so this move made a great deal of sense once Johnson left for FOX. It’s a great Public Relations move for CBS to secure Albert for this assignment. The stock of Gus Johnson has gone up big time the last couple of years and CBS needed to counter his departure with a big time replacement. Who bigger than the Marvelous one?

The NBA Should Have Suspended Joakim Noah For Anti-Gay Slur

 

~ Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls has been fined $50,000 for directing an anti-gay slur towards a fan during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Miami Heat. Noah did admit to the use of the slur and apologized for it as well. Clearly, he knew an expensive fine from the league was on the way. What Noah should’ve gotten along with that fine was a 1 game suspension.

Throughout the playoffs, the NBA has produced PSAs about the use of slurs regarding race, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.  Kobe Bryant of the Lakers in a game towards the end of the regular season was caught on national television using a gay slur in the direction of an NBA referee.

 NBA players all saw what happened, and agree or disagree with it, they know what the punishment is going to be if they get caught.

Bryant was fined $100,000 for his actions, so Noah didn’t even get punished to that extent. The fact that Noah’s incident occured so soon after Bryant’s though clearly shows a lack of discipline just as much as it showed a lack of professionalism on his part.

I understand this is basketball and trash talk on and off the court is apart of the game. It’s a very emotional game. Professional athletes have to endure the bad from the fans just as much as they love the good from them. Those bad times can be a test of ones composure. The reality of the situation though is these are also professionals that we are talking about. They are being compensated a lot of money to play this game and should be held accountable for their actions.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) wasted no time to reach out to the NBA about the Noah incident. It did the same with Kobe Bryant.

 Everyone knows going up against GLAAD is not a battle any image-conscious multi-million or multi-billion dollar business would want to take on. It’s a pubilc relations nightmare.The league wasted no time and handed out fines to Bryant and Noah the next day after their incidents.

Giving players a fine for rule violations is one thing, however when it becomes a repeat offense is when it gains the potential to become a pattern. Thats an expensive risk to take for the player, that player’s team, and the league that the team and the player represent. If the message did not get across the first time, what do you do next? Fine the player again? These are multi-million dollar athletes we are talking about!

Eventually a message has to be sent from employer to employee that clearly gets across that certain things just can’t be tolerated. Most fans who have regular 9 to 5 jobs would have been terminated by their employers for that type of conduct. The punishment has to be one where other employees know that such behavior will never be accepted.

I’m not saying Joakim Noah should lose his job. Professional Sports operates a little differently than Corporate America. The tolerance lever is higher. However in this case, the punishment did not fit the crime and a strong enough message was not sent out to the rest of the league.

Fighting had become such a major issue in the league to the point where the Commissioner implemented a stronger punishment for players who were seen leaving the bench to involve themselves. Leave the bench …  it’s now an automatic 1 game suspension … not up for debate. It’s now time for the league to make another major statement. If a player is seen on camera making anti – gay slurs or gestures, don’t just fine them for it anymore … suspend them from their next game.

In the case of Joakim Noah, the punishment would have cost him not only $50,000 it would have also cost him the next playoff game. Noah would have realized that because of his unprofessionalism the team would be punished right along with him.

Here is the reality of the situation as it stands now …

The cameras are always watching the players. They are watching as soon the players step onto the court. Noah is young, however that’s no excuse. The use of Anti-Gay Slurs has been a hot topic across the country for years now. The NBA is realizing just how hot a topic it really is.

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