Indianapolis Colts

The karma police were on hand in Indianapolis last week

Maybe it was karma that caused Indianapolis to choke away an AFC title game opportunity on Sunday. After all, the Colts were up 10-7 at halftime of their contest against San Diego last week before the botch. Now, Indy fans are scuttling to find explanations for how they let another epic showdown with New England slip through their fingers, but we say look no further than the halftime entertainment. You basically begged fate to kick you in the balls by booing a little girl.

Fourteen-year-old Anny Grant was the Patriots’ representative in the annual Punt, Pass and Kick competition. And when she was introduced along with the other winners before the fourth quarter of San Diego’s playoff win over the Colts, she was the only one booed by the crowd.

Booing a 14-year-old; shame, shame. You know what they say, karma is a bitch and apparently she works double time to get revenge when a stadium of 56,950 gang up against one little girl. Of course, the New England Patriots were quick to reward Grant for sporting their colors in a hostile environment.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft says she’ll be honored on the field this week before the AFC championship game against the Chargers.

Grant also returned from school and heard a phone message from Andre Tippett, the Patriots’ executive director of community affairs and a former star linebacker. She called back and was ecstatic when Tippett extended the invitation to the game – plus tickets for her, her parents and two brothers.


[]: Patriots to honor young fan booed in Indianapolis

San Diego Chargers

Yeah, I said shut up. Big whoop, wanna fight about it?

Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers lost his cool over the weekend when the home fans started booing the team. On replays, Rivers could be seen telling the San Diego fans to shut up. Definitely not what any diehard with a triple-digit, face-value ticket wants to see, but it turns out that Rivers is fairly sympathetic to the fanbase’s verbal disgust.

Again, it’s an emotional game. To be honest with you, I love the fans,” Rivers said with a laugh on Monday. “I mean, I really do. It was early in the game, it was the first series, you’re coming off a completion. and it wasn’t necessarily for me, it was kind of like for our team, like saying, ‘Hey, relax a little bit.’

“But again, we understand some of their frustrations in a sense that we were 5-5 and expectations were so high. Again, it was nothing more than that. Shoot, we’ve all told our sibling or brother to shut up before and then you love them five minutes later, so I hope that’s the case.

We gotta give the kid credit for owning up to his behavior and taking the criticism in a fairly mature fashion. He seems to understand why they did what they did and hopefully that’s that. But seeing him act like that conjures up memories of another hot-headed Chargers QB.


[]: Rivers doesn’t deny telling booing Chargers fans to shut up

San Diego Chargers

LT smart for turning down Madden cover? Nope, just greedy

EA Sports: LT, we want you to have the honor of being on the Madden 08 cover!
LaDanian Tomlinson: Awesome. How much does it pay?
EA: Well, $200,000 and you get to go to a bunch of personal appearances to promote the game!
LT: $200,000? What’s $200,000 to me? Ain’t s%#$. Next time I might shake my… Forget it.
EA: Vince Young was our guy all along!
Vince Young: I heard you guys sell millions of copies. Isn’t that gonna take a long time for me to pose for each cover?

According to CNBC, Tomlinson turned down the cover not because of the curse but because it didn’t pay his market value. Most athletes are willing to go below their market price because of the prestige of the Madden cover but not LT. He wanted his money. Of course LT didn’t turn it down because of the curse. Professional athletes think they’re invinceable so they’ll be the one who avoids the curse. However, when Vince Young goes down this year, Saints fans will pay Reggie Bush so he doesn’t sign when the EA folks approach him for Madden 09.

[CNBC]: Tomlinson Turns Down Madden, Rutgers Coach Cashes In, No Texting & Another MJ

San Diego Chargers

Chargers will sport white helmets with new duds

The Chargers previewed their new uniforms today and they’re going in two different ways. First the uniforms themselves are looking a little bit like AFL and NFL Europe unis (why is it that all uni changes seem to veer towards AFL unis?); however, they are going throwback with the helmets and using a yellow thunderbolt on a white helmet. They wisely decided to leave off the number on the helmet like the original franchise helmets. We have to say that the white helmet on the dark blue uniform looks really odd but maybe we’ll get used to it. The sweet sweet powder blue unis will remain as an alternate jersey.

For the Chargers, no gnews is good gnews. They took only a little leap from their current uniforms so there isn’t going to be a huge uproar like with the Sabres new uniforms. If anything, Bolts fans think the new uniforms might do for them what it did for the Broncos in 1997. (That’s a SB for you history impaired.) Good luck Chargers. Hope you built in a special panel on Shawne Merriman’s jersey so he can more easily inject himself in the ass.

[SignOnSanDiego]: Chargers fashion a new look

[]: Bold New Tradition

San Diego Chargers

Dysfunctional Chargers axe Martyball

So long, Marty

Almost two months after the flaming out of the playoffs, the Chargers decided that Marty Schottenheimer would be the fall guy for a disappointing 14-2 season. “Disappointing” and “14-2” rarely go together but when you have as much talent and momentum as the Chargers have, you simply can’t lose in the first round of the playoffs, especially when you had the game won on an interception. So Marty had to go.

Schottenheimer and General Manager A.J. Smith were not on speaking terms and had no working relationship to speak of. Team president Dean Spanos essentially took A.J. Smith over Marty Schottenheimer:

Events of the last month have now convinced me that it is not possible for our organization to function at a championship level under the current structure. On the contrary, and in the plainest possible language, we have a dysfunctional situation here. Today, I am resolving that situation once and for all.

Our fans deserve to know what changed for me over the last month. When I decided to move ahead with Marty Schottenheimer in mid-January, I did so with the expectation that the core of his fine coaching staff would remain intact. Unfortunately, that did not prove to be the case, and the process of dealing with these coaching changes convinced me that we simply could not move forward with such dysfunction between our head coach and general manager

So let the coaching rumors fly. Who is going to take over the Chargers and higher expectations next year? Will it be Bill Parcells? Norv Turner? Pete Carroll? Ted Cotrell? Or could it be ex-Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson? While Parcells, Carroll and Jimmy Johnson are big name coaches that will have Chargers fans salivating, our money is on a retread like Norv Turner or Ted Cottrell.

[SignOnSanDiego]: Spanos changes mind, sends Schottenheimer packing

[Yahoo]: Marty odd man out

NFL General

Just throw some Tussin on it!

San Diego Charger Terrance Kiel pleaded guilty to felony and misdemeanor charges for shipping two parcels of codeine-based cough syrup from California to Texas. His guilty plea requires gives him complete 100 hours of community work and undergo counseling for gambling. If he completes both by August 7th (oh right around the time preseason hits) then the felony charge will be dropped.

Apparently Kiel had a gambling problem and some “significant losses” forced him to find some extra cash. His lawyer said that the plea was fair.

I think the punishment fits the crime in this case. What he did was illegal, but we have to keep in mind it was cough syrup with two-percent codeine. That’s pretty low down the line for controlled substances.

This sounds about right. It’s not as if he’s Bam Morris or Nate Newton with pounds of pot in the trunk of his car. And anyway, we hear cough syrup can be used to heal practically anything.

[Sign OnSanDiego]: Kiel pleads guilty to drug char

MLB General

Jan 29 in Sports History: Inaugural Hall of Fame classes

In 1936: The first members of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY were named. The first class to be inducted was Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson and Honus Wagner. While the term hall of fame was always used metaphorically, the Baseball Hall of Fame was the first of its kind in sports. Now, there’s a Bowling Hall of Fame (St. Louis), a Motorsports Hall of Fame (Talladega, AL), even a freaking Shuffleboard Hall of Fame (St. Petersburg, FL). Although, the selection process has been tweaked over the years, it still takes 75 percent of the vote from the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA –  sounds more like a porn group on Myspace) to be enshrined.

In 1963: The first class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame was announced on the same day 27 years later. The list of inductees was much longer than baseball’s. It included Sammy Baugh, Jim Thorpe, Bronko Nagurski, Bert Bell, George Halas, Pete Henry, Cal Hubbard, George Preston Marshall, Johnny “Blood” McNally, Red Grange, Mel Hein, Ernie Nevers, Dutch Clark, Curly Lambeau, Don Hutson, Tim Mara and Joe Carr. Each member had to be inducted by a unanimous vote that year. The selection process has changed over the years, and the current voting only allows for three to six members to be enshrined every year.

In 1995: Another year, another NFC team destroying an AFC team in the Super Bowl (I’m telling you, it ruined my childhood). This time, Steve Young and the San Francisco 49ers did the honors by beating the 19-point underdog San Diego Chargers 49-26 (in one of the worst non-covers of all time). Young found Jerry Rice for a 44-yard touchdown on the game’s third play and went on to a record six touchdown passes. It was the eleventh straight win for the NFC, and the fifth Super Bowl in as many tries for San Francisco.

Denver Broncos

Jan 11 in Sports History: The Drive

In 1987: A hilarious thing happened to the Cleveland Browns on their way to Super Bowl XXI: John Elway. Old Municipal Stadium (that’s the Mistake by the Lake to you and me) was at Armageddon decibels when Brian Brennan hauled in a 48-yard touchdown pass from Bernie Kosar to tale a 20-13 lead over the Denver Broncos with 5:43 to play in the AFC Championship game. When Denver mishandled the kickoff at the two yard line, it didn’t get much quieter. Elway stepped in, however, and marched the Broncos 98 yards, converting three third downs (including a 3rd and 18) and barely escaping Cleveland’s constant pressure. The Drive, as it would forever be known, ended with an Elway bullet that found Mark Jackson in the end zone to tie the score. Still, the Browns felt confident, as they had won three overtime games already that season (including one against the Jets a week earlier in the playoffs). The Broncos won the coin toss though, and the barefooted Rich Karlis booted a 33-yard field goal minutes later for a 23-20 victory that sent the Broncos to Pasadena, the Browns to the front nine and Elway to the Hall of Fame (or at least put him on a fast track). A friend I had from Cleveland swore to me that he was at the game and most of the crowd stuck around and cheered the team for an hour after the game. I never believed him, because if it were me, I would’ve been too busy alternating between pounding alcohol and a cinder block against my skull as to kill the memories. Of course, the laughs doubled the following year…(remember Cleveland, it got better the following year)

In 1998: Ok. It would only be fair to include another Broncos victory in an AFC Championship game that happened on the same day 11 years later. Once again, Elway went on the road and broke the hearts of the home crowd, this time beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 24-21 at Three Rivers Stadium to go to Super Bowl XXXII in San Diego. Elway had help though, this time from Steelers’ quarterback Kordell Stewart, who began showing his true postseason mettle (more like metal in the space where his brain was believed to have occupied) by throwing three interceptions (two in the Broncos end zone) and losing a fumble, and Steelers’ coach Bill Cowher (who kept relying on Stewart instead of a strong Jerome Bettis). Elway was good enough to lead the Broncos to a 10-point halftime lead which Pittsburgh could never recover from. It would be Denver’s fifth Super Bowl appearance.

NFL General

Jan 3 in Sports History: The beginnings of Martyball

In 1987: It looked like the same old story for the Cleveland Browns: Have a great regular season only to choke it away in the playoffs. They were trailing the New York Jets by 10 with about 4 minutes left. Browns’ quarterback Bernie Kosar (who had complained that coach Marty Schottenheimer’s offense was too conservative in a playoff loss the previous year—I know, we couldn’t believe it either) had 489 yards passing and the Browns had out gained the Jets two to one., but still had to rally to tie the game. In overtime, it was Revenge of the Missed Chip-Shot Field Goals as kickers Pat Leahy of the Jets and Mark Moseley of Cleveland took turns pissing an AFC Championship Game trip away. Moseley finally connected in the second overtime to save the Browns’ playoff lives (and most likely his own—…we vaguely recall Marv Albert explaining how he would have been fed to the Dawg Pound had he missed again). Despite the lucky 23-20 win, the Cleveland Story continued in glorious fashion against Denver the following week.

In 1982: The San Diego Chargers defeated the Miami Dolphins 41-38 in a thrilling AFC divisional playoff game in the Orange Bowl. The Chargers jumped out to a 24-0 lead in the first quarter, but the Dolphins came right back to make it 24-17 at halftime. Miami’s final touchdown of the half came on the famous hook-and-ladder play, in which quarterback Don Strock completed a pass to Duriel Harris, who then pitched the ball to a sprinting Tony Nathan, who ran it the rest of the way for the touchdown. The Dolphins eventually took a 38-31 lead until the Chargers rallied to tie the score. A last second Uwe von Schamann field goal was blocked and the game went into overtime and was eventually won at 13:52 on a San Diego field goal. The game set records for total yardage (1,036) and points scored (79) but it is most remembered by the outstanding play of Kellen Winslow. The Chargers’ tight end caught 13 passes for 166 yards, many for critical first downs. He also blocked what would have been the game-winning field goal. After the game, Winslow was so spent he had to be helped off the field by teammates. And he was too tired to ride his motorcycle in the parking lot or violently proclaim himself a member of the Armed Forces in the postgame interview.

In 1993: Was it the greatest comeback in NFL history, or the biggest gag job ever performed on any playing surface? Either way, the Buffalo Bills overcame the largest deficit in NFL history to win an AFC Wild Card game against the Houston Oilers. A Bubba McDowell interception return put Houston ahead 35-3 in the third quarter. The Houston radio announcer proclaimed to his constituents back home that “they can turn off the lights here in Rich Stadium– it’s over!” The Oilers then went and made him look like the Douche of the Century by blowing the lead. Buffalo quarterback Frank Reich, subbing for an injured Jim Kelly, began leading the Bills down the field at will with 28 third quarter points, and they eventually took the lead 38-35 until Houston tied it with a last-second field goal. Warren Moon threw a quick interception on the first possession of overtime, and Buffalo’s Steve Christie kicked the game-winner, 41-38. The Bills were able to keep their string of losing in Super Bowls intact and the Oilers began thinking that maybe their luck would change in Tennessee a few years later.

NFL General

Nov 2 in Sports History: Useless NFL record trivia

In 1969: If you had to answer the trivia question, “Name the two quarterbacks who combined for an NFL record 12 touchdown passes in one day,” an easy guess would be something like Dan Marino and Jim Kelly in the old Miami-Buffalo shootouts, or John Elway vs. Dan Fouts, or even a Joe Namath-Johnny Unitas clash. Of course, you’d be way off. In a game at St. Louis’ Busch Stadium, two unlikely gunslingers named Billy Kilmer of the Saints and Charley Johnson of the Cardinals put on an aerial display that would’ve made Broadway Joe himself blush with inadequacy and embarrassment (not that wearing pantyhose ever did). Each tossed six TD passes and threw for well over 300 yards in the Saints 51-42 victory. Of course, neither team could keep up the pace the rest of the season (or the century, for that matter), as the Cardinals finished 4-9-1 while the Saints didn’t have a winner until 1987.

In 1997: Chargers’ running back/kick returner tied his own NFL record when he ran back two punts for scores – including an 85-yarder – in a 38-31 loss to the Bengals in Cincinnati. Metcalf also pulled the same trick in October of 1993 against the Pittsburgh Steelers while playing for the Cleveland Browns. Metcalf holds the NFL record with 10 career punt returns for touchdowns. Useless trivia to take into your weekend (we know it’s only Thursday, but hey, take a long one!): Metcalf was traded at the end of the season from San Diego to Arizona so the Chargers could move up one spot in the draft. Who did the Chargers end up jettisoning Metcalf for? Ryan Leaf. Ouch. (The ESPN Pro Football Encyclopedia).