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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Middlesbrough Fans Told to be Quiet

Plenty of tough times for Middlesbrough FC. Currently, they sit in the relegation zone in 19th place, and I don’t recall them winning a Premier League game this year. If you watch Middlesbrough home matches, you’ll quickly notice the lack of a full stadium, it’s a bit quiet, and their matches are so boring.

CLEARLY the fans need to tone it down for their own home matches. This is the text from the letter written by Boro’s safety officer, Sue Watson (thanks from The Beautiful Game).

Dear Block 53A supporter

Standing at Riverside Stadium

Over the last few games this season the stewards have tried hard to persuade you all to sit down in this area of the ground.

The club are grateful of and encourage your noisy passionate support, but please remember that the Safety Certificate for the ground, issued by Middlesbrough Council, does not allow permanent standing within the seating areas.

I know when the action is exciting and the team are shooting at the north end of the ground the instinct of every fan is to stand, I do not want to stop you doing this, but then please sit down. If you could adhere to this but still maintain your level of support then all parties will be happy.

We need you to work with the stewards towards a safe environment, this compromise is the way forward and respects the wishes of other fans, which want to sit in the same area as you but cannot stand.

I am receiving more and more complaints from our own fans also seated in this area about both the persistent standing and the constant banging and noise coming from the back of this stand. Please stop, make as much noise as you like when we score, but this constant noise is driving some fans mad.

That is the dumbest request I’ve ever heard. So if they make a shot on goal you can stand, but when they don’t you must sit down and shut up? And who are these fans complaining about the other fans standing up and making noise? That’s what you are SUPPOSED to do! This isn’t cricket, and since one-third of the stadium is empty anyways you can just move to another seat!

Last year the Baltimore Orioles told its fans to tone it down when the VISITING TEAM was at-bat! It’s like these guys are wanting fans not to be fans.

Could you imagine going to a Seahawks game and the PA announcer goes “Fans, the Vikings are on offense so we suggest you do be quiet so they can hear each other!”?

How could you make such a letter at a time like this? They have had little to cheer about and now you want a portion of the stadium’s attendance to be quiet?

Singing, chanting, standing for your team is a part of being a fan, especially in Europe. Trying to limit it because supposedly some fans complained is just ludicrous.

As you can imagine, the fans who sit in the Block 53A section weren’t too happy about it, and there is now a Facebook group calling for Sue Watson to resign. They also turned their backs at the pitch in their recent game against Wigan.

Way to go, Boro! You’re losing fans by the minute, losing money by the second, and losing on the pitch! This obviously is what you’re trying to achieve!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Big Ten Basketball is Just Embarrassing

If you ever get a chance to watch 5 minutes of Big Ten basketball, you will quickly realize that not only is it the most boring conference on the planet, but the goal is to not score.

Thankfully, I wasn’t one who had to deal with the lowest scoring Division I game since 2005. If you just finished watching Penn State vs. #18 Illinois, I’m sorry. For those who didn’t watch this, want to know the final score?

Are you sure?

Are you REALLY sure?

Are you so sure you want to know the score?

Okay, your loss.

Penn State 38 Illinois 33

That’s right, the #18 team in the country against a team on the bubble combined to score fewer points than Providence did in their blowout loss to Louisville. A grand total of 28 shots were made out of 96 attempts, Illinois did not take one attempt from the free throw line, and Talor Battle led all scorers with 11 points for the Nittany Lions.

The score at the under 16:00 TV timeout was 2-0 for the home team Illini.

At half time it was 17-15 in favor of Penn State.

What is the matter with the Big Ten conference? Not one team makes for good TV and they couldn’t score consistently if they increased the diameter of the rim by 5 yards!

Anyone who attended that game should demand a refund, especially since it was Illinois, the ranked team, playing at home.

38-33 is a great football game, not a 40 minute basketball struggle.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Erin Andrews Wins Again!!

Some of you may have heard about the the contest being run by Playboy to find America's sexiest sportscaster. Well all the votes have been tallied, and the results are in. Once again for the second year in a row ESPN's Erin Andrews has taken the title of sexiest sportscaster in America. Not too surprising really. Congrats to Erin, although our vote here at Walker-Sports still goes with Washington D.C.'s own Lindsey Czarniak









Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Just Because the NFL Season is Over....

…..Doesn’t mean the arrests stop! In fact, we’re just getting started! The Super Bowl marked the official end of the competitive 2008-09 NFL Season (the Pro Bowl is just nothing), and the arrests were on!

Jamaal Williams of the San Diego Chargers, arrested on DUI suspicion. That’s the 2nd time the Chargers have had someone arrested for DUI in a month, with Vincent Jackson the other player.

Darrell Reid of the Indianapolis Colts, already arrested 2 years ago for marijuana possession, was arrested a few days ago on disorderly conduct and trespassing chargers. Reid refused to leave a nightclub and when asked to leave by an off-duty police officer, said this:

“I don’t have to because I am a football player with the Indianapolis Colts.”

That sense of entitlement already failed the last time, it won’t work this time.

Next up, Terry Glenn! The former wide receiver for the Patriots, Packers, and Cowboys has had numerous run-ins with the law, so he felt he needed to get in on the act. Glenn was arrested on public intoxication and marijuana possession charges. The arrest actually happened in late January, but was not made public until the 5th of this month. Glenn was also caught wandering around a hotel naked before the arrest, and he already posted bond.

Last but not least, former Falcons running back Jamal Anderson! The man who created the “dirty bird” dance is a really dirty bird, arrested on felony cocaine possession and misdemeanor marijuana possession charges.

“The patron had heard what he thought was sniffing from inside the stall and told the off-duty officer,” police spokesman Otis Redmond said, according to the newspaper. “The officer went into the restroom, heard the same sniffing and peered over the stall door. He saw Jamal Anderson and Mark Hudson sniffing two lines of powdered cocaine off the back of the toilet.”

Hudson, 20, was also arrested at the bar in the Buckhead area of Atlanta, the report said.

Police found a 1-inch square bag of cocaine and a suspected marijuana cigarette in Anderson’s pocket, according to the paper. Police said both men were in possession of cocaine, according to other local reports.

Must be a pretty interesting place if someone sniffing means it’s time to call the cops. Anderson was working as an analyst for ESPN before his arrest.

There you go folks, those are your multi-millionare football players. This is what the NFL has become, and the league is very much earning its reputation as a league of criminals.

Monday, February 9, 2009

A-Rod Test For Positive For Steroids, What's That Mean For MLB?


By now, everyone has heard the news that New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez tested positive for anabolic steroids during the 2003 baseball season. At the time A-Rod was playing shortstop for the Texas Rangers. He was also the AL's home run champion and the AL MVP. According to four different sources, A-rod tested positive for two anabolic steroids.

To be completely honest I could careless what this means for A-Rod or for the New York Yankees as I am not a fan of either. However, I do find the situation very interesting for Major League Baseball. This has not been the best week for Bud Selig and company in the home offices. Earlier this week Selig was ripped for earning $18 million last year. On Wednesday the federal government unsealed documents that will confirm the steroid use by Barry Bonds, and now you have one of the biggest names in the sport on the biggest team in the game testing positive for steroids. To be frank, MLB is hurting.

It seems that no matter what Major League Baseball does it just cannot get out of it's own way. They have tried to put the entire steroid era behind them by ignoring it, and it did not work. They confronted it with the Mitchell Report and it did not help. And now you have another major player testing positive and it just makes this whole thing feel like the nightmare you just cannot wake up from.

MLB has taken some major hits over the last 10 years. If it's not one thing it's another and obviously Bud Selig cannot right what is a very slow sinking ship. Perhaps MLB should scrap their leader bring in someone else and try start over again. Baseball will never return to it's glory days that is for sure. It is pretty sad to see how what was once an American pride has crumbled in the national spotlight.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Shaquille O'Neal Neal Anti Gay?

According to some gay rights groups the Big Daddy came across as being anti-gay in this commercial he filmed for ESPN. As a result ESPN chose to pull the ad before he made its way into regular circulation.

The funny part about all of this is, anyone who has checked up on Shaq's track record he is anything but anit-gay. He was one of the first players to come out a few years ago and stated he would have no problem with a gay teammate. To add to that, when Shaq was a member of the Miami Heat he once put on his sheriffs hat and chased down and arrested a group outside of a club who were taking part in a gay bashing beat down. So in reality Shaq is anything but anti gay. Nonetheless ESPN chose to air on the side of caution with this one.

Monday, February 2, 2009

How I See It: Steelers Capture Number Six in SB XLIII

As a life-long fan, I was very happy to watch the Pittsburgh Steelers defeat the underdog Arizona Cardinals last night in Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa Bay, Florida. Not only did they win their record 6th Super Bowl title by defeating Arizona 27-23, but also Ben Roethlisberger proved, once again, why he is well on his way to a Hall of Fame career. I understand he still has a lot to prove, but the fact that he already has two Super Bowl championships under his belt at age 26 is remarkable. Let's not forget about his rookie season in '04 where he went 13-0 as the starter in the regular season and took his team to the AFC Championship game against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. I will put it this way, Roethlisberger is a play-maker--that's all there really is to say about that. A clutch play-maker. Say what you want about holding on to the ball too long, but the reason why he's so good is because he uses his huge body (6 foot 5, 240 pounds) to avoid defenders and find the open man. That's exactly what Big Ben did on that final drive, which includes the last 6-yard TD toss to eventual MVP Santonio Holmes with :35 to play.

Roethlisberger, Holmes, Arizona's mental errors on defense. They all played a key role on that final, 78-yard TD drive which put Pittsburgh ahead 27-23. I don't want to hear anything about those penalties--that's not why I wrote this article. Arizona killed themselves, I will put it that way. There was no need for Adrian Wilson to run Mitch Berger over after Jeff Reed's field goal attempt. And how about all those holding calls enforced against Mike Gandy going up against James Harrison? Arizona can only blame themselves for all those penalties.

Arizona gave a valiant effort, but they truly only played one quarter of fabulous football. Pittsburgh went out there on fire in the first quarter and Arizona pretty much just dug themselves too big of a hole early on. Pittsburgh continued their first quarter donination from the rest of this season by holding on to the ball for 11:28 of the 15 minutes and producing two scoring drives, giving them an early 10-0 lead. Arizona had a nice goal line stand, stopping Roethlisberger inches from the end zone--had Ben gotten in, Pittsburgh would've had a two TD lead instead of a 10-point lead.

Warner bounced back from his three passing yards first quarter by leading his offense down the field, 83 yards, in approximately five and a half minutes. The nine-play drive was capped by a one-yard TD pass from 37-year old Kurt Warner to TE Ben Patrick. 10-7 Pittsburgh. The two teams exchanged punts for the next several minutes--with a Ben Roethlisberger INT thrown in the mix--until Arizona put together a nice little drive after the two-minute warning. Six Warner pass plays (4/6 for 33 yards) and a Tim Hightower run play later the Cards found themselves knocking on Pittsburgh's door with :18 left to go in the first half of play. After a four-yard pass complete to Anquan Boldin failed to stop the clock, head coach Ken Whisenhunt decided to call his final timeout of the half. So with no timeouts remaining and Arizona had the ball at PIT's one-yard line, Whisenhunt and his offensive coordinator Todd Haley had no choice but to put the ball in Warner's hands and pass the ball--well, duh, what else would Arizona do! Either way, Arizona ended up paying the price. The NFL's defensive player of the year, James Harrison, smelled the end zone, and after snagging the ball out of the air and running 100 yards (a new SB record, by the way), Harrison found it as well.

The veteran QB Warner makes a costly mistake with no time left in the first half and that proves to be at least a 10 point TD for Harrison, who needed his oxygen after the Jim Brown-like run to paydirt. The play was reviewed by the booth (inside two minutes) but the call on the field was confirmed and the TD stood. Despite the final drive for Pittsburgh, I think Harrison's INT returned for a TD was the play of the game. Had Arizona scored a TD there, or even just kicked a chip-shot FG, the second half may have been totally different, therefore ending a little differently.

After Bruce Springsteen's solid effort during halftime, play got back underway with a Jeff Reed kickoff to Arizona's return man, J.J. Arrington. On Arizona's first possession, Pittsburgh's defense got a heavy dose of Edgerrin James, but they held up and even forced another Warner fumble (even though it was challenged and the call was eventually overturned). Shortly afterwards, Arizona was forced to punt. Pittsburgh's first possession of half number two resulted in almost nine minutes elapsing, and after the big Adrian Wilson "unneccessary roughness" penalty gave the Steelers a first down deep inside Cards' territory, the Arizona defense got back to work. Just three short plays after the big penalty against Arizona, Pittsburgh was forced to attempt another short FG, which Reed (and his crazy dyed-blonde hair of his) kicked throught the uprights for a 20-7 lead.

But, not so fast Pittsburgh fans. With just over 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter, Arizona's offense really started clicking, and Pro Bowl WR Larry Fitzgerald finally broke out and was the heart of Arizona's eight-play, 87 yard drive which was capped by, yes, a one-yard TD pass to Larry Fitzgerald himself.

Still 20-14 with three minutes left, Pittsburgh was caught in a pickle. Arizona punter Ben Graham had a fantastic punt, downing Pittsburgh inside their own five-yard line. Ben Roethlisberger, on third and 10 at their one, threw a 19-yard bullet to Holmes for the first down. But..center Justin Hartwig was called for holding--which was quite obvious and VERY stupid, by the way--and a safety was called against Pittsburgh since the penalty took place in the end zone. As you all know, safeties are worth two points for the opposing defense. PIT 20, ARI 16.

Safeties also mean the Cardinals would get the ball on a free kick, giving them solid field position. It took just two plays for Warner to throw a short pass to Fitzgerald, who was running a 5-yard slant route. Of course, Fitzgerald has that speed burst, and he turned up the center of the field for a 64-yard TD. Kicker Neil Rackers put Arizona ahead 23-20 with his extra point, which split the uprights easily.

Arizona and their fans must not have watched much of Pittsburgh football this season, this game was certainly not over, and Arizona gave Roethlisberger way too much time to get into the end zone (just over two minutes, in fact), not to mention that Pittsburgh had two timeouts remaining plus the two-minute warning which stops the clock.

Roethlisberger got right to work, throwing a 14-yard strike to Santonio Holmes right after a 10-yard holding penalty called against guard Chris Kemoteau. That pass is really what got the GW drive going. The highlight of the drive: A 40-yard pass and catch by Holmes, who later caught the go-ahead six-yard TD catch, which was a phenomenal, tight-rope catch in the back of the end zone--the pass happened to go right over the outstretched arms of THREE Arizona defenders. Again, the play was reviewed by the officials but the call on the field stood as called--a TD--which was, in fact, the correct call.

Pittsburgh left about :30 for Arizona to drive down the field and score, but Pittsburgh's defense held up, forcing a questionable fumble (LaMarr Woodley with his second sack of the night AND the forced fumble). Defensive end Brett Kiesel recovered the fumble, wrapping up the sixth SB victory in the team's history. The officials should've reviewed the play, that certainly would've stopped most of this "controversy" and "bad officiating" talks, even though I believe the call would've stood as was. The ball was coming loose before Warner's arm went forward, the ball went forward because it was still against his body, but it was obvious Warner had no control over that ball.

Pittsburgh 27, Arizona 23

Great game, nonetheless! One of the best in the past 10 or 15 years, and I will give the Cards credit, they played a heck of a game, but Mike Tomlin deserves this one. Six pack, one for the other thumb, whatever you want to call it, it belongs to the Pittsburgh Steelers. But, one of the best parts about all this, Pittsburgh has the chance to do this again next year, and the year after, and even the year after that. Could this be another Steeler dynasty? Who knows. But it's a good start (two of the last four SB wins). Great way to end the season, Pittsburgh. Congratulations, let's do it again!

Walker's Favorite Super Bowl Ads

Super Bowl XLIII was phenomenal. Really it was, the game far exceeded my expectations and if you lived under a rock and did not know who Larry Fitzgerald was before the game kicked off, you better realize who he is now. While the action on the field was hot, some of the biggest companies in the United States proved they did not care about the recession and went out, spent big and struck gold with some great commercials. Listed bellow are our favorite Super Bowl commercials.









Digg!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

SSR's Super Bowl Pick

This is it. Today is the day the world will watch the big game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals. So, any reason why I am not really that excited? This is the one Super Bowl where I have watched little coverage, little hype, and would really consider not watching altogether. As a Seahawks fan, do I really want a division rival winning the Super Bowl? But I digress….

Matchup: Pittsburgh Steelers (14-4) @ Arizona Cardinals (12-7)

Time: 6:28 PM ET/3:28 PM PT

Where: Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL.

Why: To avoid the Super Bowl Loser’s Curse

Network: NBC

Announcers: Al Michaels and John Madden (with 500 people on the pre-game show and roaming the sidelines).

SSR’s Pick: Steelers 23 Cardinals 14. I have picked against the Cardinals in every game, and I was very tempted to pick them in this game. However, I can’t bring myself into thinking that Pittsburgh’s defense will be unable to break down Arizona’s explosive offense. If Arizona is going to win this game it will be through their defense. As crazy as that sounds, the Cardinals have forced the most turnovers in the post-season, with 11 in total. In fact, it is probably the biggest reason why they are in the Super Bowl, by forcing turnovers and giving their offense a chance to shine. Naturally, they’ll be facing a team that turned it over just 1 time in their 2 games. On offense I think that Larry Fitzgerald can’t be stopped, so it’s up to Anquan Boldin to stop being a baby and play some football. It’s up to Steve Breaston and the rest of the receiving corp to give Kurt Warner a 2nd option against this strong Steelers secondary. The running game for Arizona has been strong throughout the post-season, but the Steelers didn’t allow a 100 yard rusher all season long, so forget about that. It’s not like you can force Arizona to pass though, and they will have a greater chance if they can somehow beat the Steelers with underneath routes and screen passes. Alas, I think Pittsburgh will win because they will not make the mistakes that the other teams Arizona faced in the past did, and that is putting relentless pressure on Warner so that he won’t get the chance for even a quick pass to his receivers. On offense I don’t expect anything spectacular, but Ben Roethlisberger is the highest rated QB on 3rd down, and the unheralded Heath Miller will also key the Bruce Arians coached offense. He is stronger, and more mobile than Kurt Warner and that is another big persuasion towards Pittsburgh. Willie Parker is my MVP, I think he will have one of the best games of his career, and break past that tough Arizona front 4.

WIS’ Pick: Cardinals 15 Steelers 10. If it comes anything close to that, then it is easily the most boring Super Bowl of all-time. The Cardinals kicked 5 field goals and did not allow a touchdown until Willie Parker scampered to the end zone with 1:43 left in the game. The Steelers had one last chance late to win the game, but Big Ben was flagged for intentional grounding on the final play of the game, as he goes just 12-23 with an INT. Kurt Warner was the MVP with a 16-28 passing day for 210 yards. I don’t know why, because Neil Rackers got them all of their points, but you can’t give it to a kicker, right?

Enjoy the game.

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