On the East Coast, it’s 3:30 a.m. and you’re watching Perspectives Australian Open tennis.
As we’ve reached the finals of this first major of the year, I wouldn’t say that this is a matchup I expected or even wanted. Hell, I could say that about the semifinals, too. Of course, it’s a bummer that Rafael Nadal’s knee is still giving him problems. And I think Marin Cilic’s strength and power would have been fun to watch against Federer. But this is still a very interesting pairing. Roger Federer and Andy Murray. Very similar, smart players. This could be a long match, not only because both have similar strengths and weaknesses, but because both play long points. So, since I’ve got nothing better to do at 12:30 a.m. here on the West Coast, how about a running blog?
12:35 a.m. I mean, c’mon. You’ve got important live sports going on in the middle of the night. It’s one of the finer things in life.
12:37 a.m. Federer has won the past two meetings against Murray, but that was after Murray won the previous four. As far as majors are concerned, Federer beat Murray in straight sets at the 2008 U.S. Open.
12:41 a.m. As we get underway here with Murray winning the first point, I have to admit that I am not doing this because I am a lover of tennis. I am not. (Although, I am currently reading Andre Agassi’s autobiography and it is phenomenal) This is just one of the cooler events in sports. A major being aired live in the middle of the night in America. It’s an insomniac’s dream.
12:45 a.m. First game, and you can see the players just kidding of feeling around right now. Federer holds.
12:46 a.m. Also, I didn’t give a prediction. I say Federer wins in five sets. Two extremely skilled and even players battle it out, but I’m not betting against Roger.
12:47 a.m. Murray has traditionally had a problem with his second serve and that’s something we see early on in this match.
12:49 a.m. Murray’s backhand is a strength of his, but Federer’s forehand was unbeatable to end that second game.
12:50 a.m. The first highlight point of the match comes as Federer tries to drop one in and Murray sends a great winner down his near-side line.
12:52 a.m. Murray breaks back with two fabulous points and we get our first “C’mon!” of the night. Or day. Wherever you are, it’s some time.
12:56 a.m. I wouldn’t say both players are nervous, which is resulting in some mistakes. But as we’ve learned from quotes, they may not like each other too much. They are eager to beat one another. Eager.
12:58 a.m. There is talk about how much pressure is on Murray from the British people. That’s probably one reason why he is playing so well in this tourney. This isn’t Wimbledon.
Man crunch. It’s a pretty nice duo of words. Not to be confused with man crush, which would describe my fondness for Matt Schaub. Man crunch sounds like something that could make its way onto Urban Dictionary as to define a threesome with two fat women. Or, if you think about it in another way, it sounds kind of gay.
Obviously, those at mancrunch.com are claiming discrimination because plenty of ad space remains for the Super Bowl.
From CBS’ point of view, I understand the decision. Upwards of 130-140 million people in the U.S. will be watching this game. A large majority of them will be men. So, CBS wants the ads aimed at young men who watch football so that it interests them … and then they keep watching football. So simple! And — going out on a limb here — not a lot men who love football are all that comfortable with the idea of two men dating. So, yeah, mancrunch.com gets the shaft. (Hypothetically)
Rams running back Steven Jackson has the reputation of being a beast on the playing field. Few backs run harder than him. But off of it, he is seen as extremely intelligent — he got offers to play in the Ivy League — and giving. On his own Web site, you can read about The Steven Jackson Foundation, his personal community service organization, and how he is an active contributor to charities for breast cancer awareness and childhood health.
But today, Jackson’s image is taking quite a hit as he is being accused of a very hideous crime — beating up a woman who was nine months pregnant. According to TMZ, Jackson’s former girlfriend is claiming that he beat her during an argument in March 2009. And the details can make you cringe a little.
Now that the season is over for Brett Favre, there is one thing we know for sure: Favre will announce his retirement soon.
Actually, make that two things we know for sure: Favre will announce his retirement soon and then will back out of retirement this summer.
Everyone is speculating when all this will happen, so let’s play a little game of pin the date on the quarterback! Here are the facts:
Well, I guess I haven’t written here in a while, eh? Part of that absence is due to a Las Vegas trip I took this past weekend. Good times, good times. I spent only a little more than a day in the city, but I was very ready to go home at the end. That’s when you know you’ve done Vegas right.
I don’t want to be so nonchalant about my lack of writing at More Talk. It’s just that, well … not much had happened before this weekend. Look what we had to put up with in the first two weeks of January: Gilbert Arenas’ showdown at the Verizon Center, Pete Carroll leaving what may be the most high-profile head coaching job in football for the cloudy skies of Seattle, the Tennessee-Kiffin riots of ’10, Mark McGwire’s admission and subsequent arrogant non-admissions. Not to forget some interesting NFL playoffs and the untimely fall of Colt McCoy. Every day brought about more breaking news that could have filled up two months, much less two weeks.
The sports world needed to calm down. Just get back to the games. Even out the ratio between sports stories on the field and off it. I feel like that’s what we’ve gotten in the past couple of weeks. Now for someone like me, who isn’t a huge NBA fan, flatly ignores hockey and can’t seem to keep up with all the happenings in college basketball despite much effort, that leads to a few less posts. I don’t want to come on here and express opinions to something I’m not paying attention.
But here are some things I wanted to talk about quickly:
NFL’s Championship Sunday
If not for Vegas, I would have written a full Sunday running blog over the course of both games. Alas, Vegas limited me to seeing just a quarter of the Jets-Colts game and having to listen to the Vikings-Saints game on the radio during the drive back. I hate listening to games on the radio. I’m a visual person. I need to see things develop. I don’t trust someone to tell me what’s happening because usually they are wrong or miss the small details that I need to see. But one thing I did take away from the Westwood One broadcast was James Lofton. While he is a football HOF’er, he is not cut out to be a nation-wide NFL broadcaster. He tries to be funny, but he doesn’t realize he’s just an analyst. James, stop the shtick. Analyze the game. That’s what you get paid for. Not lines such as this one during the middle of the Vikings-Saints slopfest:
“You’ve heard of “Pants on the Ground.” This game is balls on the ground.”
Typical Chargers. Great regular season. High expectations. But once again, they find a way to lose a home playoff game. That’s three in six years. Two of them would have put the team into the conference championship game. But there is something about success that this franchise just can’t handle. It’s 17 weeks of a tease that raises the hopes. Then the playoffs come and you find out it was all for naught. And now it’s trend. If there wasn’t a five-day rain system on the way, I’m fairly confident that San Diego would be burned to the ground tonight. The fans would be to blame for it. But I wouldn’t blame them for doing it.
Jets vs. Chargers
- Nate Kaeding misses three more field goals in January. Now, you can’t expect him to make a 57-yarder, but all three were never on course. He is just 8-for-15 in the playoffs. Just to let you know, Kaeding still has two seasons remaining on a six-year deal.
- Norv Turner is a lot less safe than Kaeding. The Chargers fired a 14-2 head coach after the 2006 season. I don’t think it will have a problem firing a 13-3 head coach after this massive disappointment.
- Is Shawne Merriman hurt or out of the league or was he traded or did he quit? I didn’t hear his name once today. Turner said earlier in the week that he expects Merriman to be as healthy as he’s been all season for the Jets game. If that was the case, what a quick fall from the top for him. I doubt he’ll be back.
I guess good things come to those who wait while watching the NFL playoffs this year. Another playoff Saturday, two more matchups that looked good on paper and six more hours of my life, forever wasted. There wasn’t even some good college basketball on to distract me. I just ended up watching “From Dusk ‘Til Dawn” for the majority of the Ravens-Colts second half. With the low expectations I already have for Sunday’s Jets-Chargers game, it looks like we are now depending on Dallas and Minnesota to put on the classic that some expect. We’ll see in a few hours. Here’s what I took away from today’s bombs.
Cardinals vs. Saints
- The Cardinals spent extra time this week concentrating on tackling after getting scorched by the Packers. Good to see how that practice paid off.
- It was great to see Reggie Bush just go nuts for a couple of reasons. First, no matter how big of a draft bust he is — because he will go down as a big one due to that insane hype — he’s still fun to watch. He has the smoothest hips of any running back and just makes some crazy cuts. He’s an athletic freak and it’s fun to watch him when he’s healthy and on his game.
- But this performance also gave Bush’s supporters more reason to overrate him. This is still a running back who has never run for more than 600 yards in any season and who has missed 12 games due to injury over the past three years. This game alone raised his fantasy stock in the minds of many. But let’s not forget who Reggie Bush really is: An electrifying and fragile running back who shares carries with at least two other guys and is not a consistent producer. He’ll be drafted too high in almost all standard leagues next year. Bush’s potential always tantalizes fantasy players. The Saints’ offense and his body will always hold him back.