Heyward-Bey a Legend in the Making?

I’ll gladly admit that it’s a little unfair to call an NFL player a bust after only one season.  Although he had an awful year after being chosen with the 7th overall selection in the 2009 NFL draft, it remains to be seen if Oakland Raiders receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey will emerge as a top pass-catching threat. 

We’ve already told you how we feel about Heyward-Bey’s potential (or lack thereof) at the professional level.  So far, we’re right.  Al Davis, on the other hand, seems to think we’ll be wrong in the long run and he even went so far as to have a press release drawn up informing the public of how well Heyward-Bey has been performing at practice this off-season.

After rattling off a list of receivers that have played for the Raiders that includes Randy Moss, Jerry Rice, and Tim Brown among others, here’s what the Raiders press release said about their young receiver:

Now Darrius Heyward-Bey, the Raiders’ top pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, is prepping to join that select group. Heyward-Bey has enjoyed a workmanlike offseason where he has put in time and energy to prepare for his second NFL campaign, when many of those whose names mentioned blossomed in professional football competition.

The list of wide receivers should make any pundit or so-called expert think twice before putting negativity on Heyward-Bey. No one has come close to the excellence at wide receivers that have worn the Silver and Black. These performers have been the greatest players who have ever played the game.

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British Goalie Robert Green on the Take?

The 2010 World Cup has opened with several blunders leading to critical goals. The biggest mistake of the tournament has been the goal allowed to Clint Dempsey by England goal keeper Robert Green. Dempsey was making a simple kick on goal and the ball went right to Green who completely muffed and mishandled the ball. The ball trickled past Green giving the U.S. a 1-1 tie with England and a point in Group C. Even though we’ve seen Green make dumb mistakes in the past, allowing a goal on an easy kick like that, especially on this stage, is inexcusable. So how did it happen?

Well, you could just say that Green’s butterfingers gave him a Buckner moment, or you can do a little math. This year’s World Cup was expected to be the most bet on event in Britain’s history with more than a billion pounds being wagered. Then, there’s the notion that the only winners in England following the 1-1 tie were the bookies because hardly anyone bets on a draw. Couple that with the knowledge that Green wants a new contract from his Premier League club, West Ham, and you have yourself a convenient little conspiracy theory. Think about it: do just enough so that the team doesn’t lose, but just enough to cash in big under the table. Hey, not saying that’s what went on, but the goal he allowed was so bad it made me ponder the issue. Here’s a video of the goal allowed by Robert Green on Spanish TV where they call him butterfingers:

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World Cup Opens With Blunders

In only three days of action, the 2010 World Cup has provided no shortage of embarrassing, game changing blunders. By now, we are all familiar with English goalkeeper Robert Green, who was affectionately dubbed by The Sunday Times as “Greenfingers” for his slip up on a routine shot that left British soccer fans who drowned the 1-1 tie with the US nursing a worse than usual hang over this morning.

Today’s historic gaffe was provided by Serbian midfield Zdravko Kuzmanovic, who needlessly handed the ball in the 85th minute, resulting in a Ghana penalty kick by Asamoah Gyan to seal the game with a 1-0 victory. The upside to this one, of course, is that it provided the nation of Ghana with the first ever World Cup victory by an African team playing a World Cup match on African soil.

Personally, I enjoy seeing some opening round jitters at the world’s greatest celebration of soccer, and it’s even better when those mishaps result in a little embarrassment for the English national team at the hand of Team USA, as well as a wonderful landmark victory in for Ghana in World Cup history. Maybe it’s just the jabulani ball, but those heartbreaking moments in sports never seem to get old.

Ghana’s Gyan converts penalty kick near end to edge Serbia [ESPN]
US works as a team to draw England [FOXSports]
Photo Credit: AP/Rebecca Blackwell

Chuck Liddell’s Career Put on Ice

Last time we checked in on Chuck Liddell he was working out naked in a video with girlfriend Heidi Northcott. Luckily for us he had some clothing on for his fight at UFC 115 in Vancouver on Saturday night. Although he managed to break Rich Franklin’s arm during their bout with a powerful kick, Liddell got knocked out towards the end of the first round. The knockout loss marks Liddell’s fifth defeat in his last six fights.

Though Liddell battled and put forth a strong effort, he got beat up pretty badly in the fight and showed that at age 40 he should call it a career. After the event ended, UFC president Dana White told Ariel Helwani of Fanhouse that Liddell was done fighting for the UFC. It’s the right move by White and hopefully Liddell will realize it’s time to call it quits. There are other MMA promoters who could make offers to the Iceman, but he should turn them all down. Liddell has had an excellent career but when you’re on the wrong end of too many Knockouts of the Night you have to hang up the gloves. By the way, that’s Liddell above in the emergency room after the fight via Bloody Elbow.

Dana White Guarantees Chuck Liddell’s UFC Career Is Over [MMA Fighting]
Photo Credit: Heidi Northcott on Twitter

Accepting Memphis’ $10 Million Would Be Ultimate Cash Grab

One of the biggest gripes amongst those dissatisfied with the shifting landscape in college football conferences is that it’s nothing but a cash grab. While these conferences are looking to add teams to boost their overall revenue, I believe the money made from TV deals will be put to good use by the schools. For instance, the extra revenue could help balance the budgets of the various athletic departments by paying the bills of the other athletic teams. Additionally, the money could go to the university’s general fund to support institutional research and help keep tuition fees down. In stark contrast is what’s going on with Memphis. According to Gary Parrish at CBS Sports, the CEO at FedEX, Fred Smith, is willing to offer a BCS conference $10 million per year to let Memphis in as a member. If any of the six eligible conferences comply, it would be a signal of the ultimate cash grab.

The shift we’re seeing across the conferences centers around one issue: football. The football programs are the ones bringing in the money and funding the rest of the athletic teams at most schools. The football programs are generating the big bucks for the conferences. The football programs are the reason Texas A&M is negotiating with two major conferences while Kansas and its historic basketball program has become a neglected child. Great, now that we’ve established that the changes are all about football, we have the answer to why Memphis has no place in a BCS conference.

Although Memphis had good seasons in 2003 and 2004 under Tommy West and they’ve had two fine players in DeAngelo Williams and Isaac Bruce, they have no history as a program. What notable accomplishment has Memphis’ football program ever achieved? What fan base do they have? What, besides $10 million a year, could Memphis’ football team possibly offer a BCS conference? Absolutely nothing, and that’s why it would be nothing other than a straight up money grab for a conference to accept them.

FedEx CEO could provide millions if BCS-affiliated league takes Memphis [Gary Parrish/CBS Sports]

BP Cup Name Change Suggestions

Back in April it was announced that the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs would have more than just bragging rights at stake during this year’s interleague play. The winner of the series between the teams will be awarded with the BP Crosstown Cup. Although I was excited when I heard the news, I put this into the back of my mind because there was another team in town who deserved my attention (*cough Blackhawks cough*). So it wasn’t until Friday when the Crosstown Classic began that I remembered what was on the line.

I don’t think any person who has a soul would want any association with BP after what they have done to the Gulf of Mexico. Although I’m sure there are complicated contracts that bond both teams to having BP sponsor the Crosstown Cup, I really think it needs a name change. I mean what does oil have to do with baseball anyway? So below I have listed some of my suggestions for the new cup name, feel free to submit your own:

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Ozzy Osbourne Scream Record Fail

As part of the Dodgers’ ThinkCure! Weekend to promote cancer research, singer (yeller?) Ozzy Osbourne made an appearance at Dodger Stadium on Friday night. Osbourne rallied the fans in attendance to try and break the Guinness Book of World Records loudest and longest scream during the 5th inning of the Freeway Series meeting between the Angels and Dodgers. I haven’t seen any official confirmation that the collaborative scream didn’t break the record, but judging by the video, they’re not even close. Here’s the Ozzy Osbourne Dodger Stadium scream record attempt video:

The good news is they got some publicity for a good cause — ThinkCure! Weekend. The bad news (aside from the scream record fail) is that the promotion also ties in with the release of an upcoming Ozzy Osbourne album entitled “Scream,” no surprise. What a sly man. Hey, it could have been a lot worse!

Ozzy Osbourne, Dodger Fans scream for a cure [Jon Weisman/ESPN]
Video Credit: YouTube user Scorp8