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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

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Ben Folds Five really wants to play at a Bobcats game this season

For those of you who are not into alternative rock, Ben Folds Five is a band consisting of three members that was formed nearly 20 years ago. Apparently the musicians are also from North Carolina, which I guess in some way gives them a connection to the Charlotte Bobcats. That’s what Ben Folds himself is trying to sell, at least.

On Sunday night, Folds took to Twitter to try to convince the Bobcats and their fans to let his group be the pit band at a game at some point this season. He did so with three consecutive tweets.

Nothing like a little shameless self promotion. I’m thinking Michael Jordan probably has more important things to worry about at the moment than who the house band will be on a given night, but it’s worth a shot. That’s what Twitter’s for, right?

Calvin Johnson thinks he’ll be playing with knee pain all season

Calvin Johnson turned in one of his best performances of the season as the Detroit Lions defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, but it is a well-known fact that he did not feel his best. Johnson has been dealing with pain in his left knee that kept him out of practice all week. Unfortunately for Detroit, he feels it may limit him all season.

“It’s probably something I’m going to have to deal with,” Johnson said according to MLive.com. “As much running as we do, especially in this game, it’s stuff that really could take the whole season to get over with. It would be great if it can get over it before. It’s something that I expect to linger. You just got to stay on top of it with treatments.”

Megatron was still able to dominate against a weak defense with seven catches for 129 yards. Last week, he was held to only three catches for 46 yards against a tough Seahawks defense. The week before that he caught three balls for 34 yards against an even tougher Bears defense.

For the most part, Johnson has succeeded against lesser opponents and struggled against elite corners — just ask this Seahawks defensive back. The Megatron of old had success against pretty much anyone, so the knee has obviously been an issue. If you think a fully healthy Johnson would have only one touchdown catch in eight games, you haven’t been paying attention over the last few seasons. The 4-4 Lions are looking to crawl back into playoff contention, but Johnson’s knee could be one of the things that prevents them from getting there.

Jerry Jones was reportedly locked out of locker room and furious after Falcons loss

If Jerry Jones was unhappy with the way the Dallas Cowboys had played leading up to Sunday night’s loss to the Atlanta Falcons, he must be irate now. The Cowboys’ offense sputtered once again on its way to a 19-13 loss, lowering their record to 3-5.

After the game, Jones was looking to get into the locker room to likely share a few not-so-nice words with his team. Or maybe he was looking to inspire them with kindness. Whatever the case, he was reportedly shut down.

It could have been a simple misunderstanding, of course, but one would think he would have to have been locked out for more than a few seconds to become that angry. Before the game, it was revealed that Jones said he would have fired himself as GM by now based on some of the decisions he has made. Perhaps the team was doing him a favor.

If Jones was intentionally locked out of the locker room (and we’re not saying he was), you can’t blame him for being furious. Whether the players and coaches wanted to hear from him or not, he is their boss. They don’t really have a choice.

Christian Ponder would understand if Vikings fans boo him when team returns home

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder has not played well over the last several games. After a hot start to the season in which he led the Vikings to a 4-2 record and threw eight touchdowns and only four interceptions in six games, Ponder has struggled over the last three weeks. He was particularly bad in a loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.

Ponder was an abysmal 11-for-22 passing for 63 yards, no touchdowns and one interception in Seattle. The Vikings lost their second straight game and third in their last four, and as a result Ponder said he would not be surprised to hear some boos when returning home to Minnesota.

“It’s happened already before,” he said according to ESPN 1500. “It comes with the territory. And I don’t blame them. Obviously, we’re not — I’m not putting a product out on the field that they want to watch.”

Defensive end Jared Allen agreed, calling the Vikings’ recent performance “embarrassing.” Even in their one win in the last four weeks — a 21-14 victory over the Cardinals two weeks ago — Ponder was 8-for-17 passing for 58 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He was previously able to lead the Vikings to success by being efficient and limiting mistakes, but the second-year quarterback has gotten nothing going in the passing game as of late.

Those of you who like blaming relationships for athletes’ poor performances can certainly blame Ponder’s stunning new girlfriend for his recent struggles. However, it would be naive to think he is the only problem. Minnesota has become a one-dimensional team and is relying too heavily on Adrian Peterson. Ponder hasn’t helped, but play-calling and preparation have certainly played a part as well.

David Lee to Blake Griffin: Stop flopping! (Video)

Blake Griffin takes his share of abuse each game, but he also has a reputation for acting and overselling contact. Perhaps it’s his defense mechanism against the pounding he takes. During Saturday’s Clippers-Warriors game, Golden State forward David Lee decided he’d had enough.

As you can see in the video above, Lee yelled at Griffin to “stop flopping” during the fourth quarter of the game. Lee had pushed Griffin out of the key, and then gave him a forearm shove to the back, so he certainly seemed to initiate the contact, and it really didn’t seem like Griffin was acting on the play.

The Warriors won the game 114-110, so if you subscribe to the “ball don’t lie” notion, then you know who the real culprit was. This also isn’t the first time he’s been warned about flopping.

Chest bump to Game On!

Bud Adams puts Titans organization on notice after embarrassing loss

The Tennessee Titans were trounced by the Chicago Bears 51-20 on Sunday in one of the most embarrassing losses of the season. They committed five turnovers, had a punt blocked for a touchdown, and an interception returned for a touchdown. They gave up three touchdown passes from Jay Cutler to Brandon Marshall. They were down 28-2 after one quarter, and they were down 51-12 at one point. The game was going so badly that LBS writer Steve DelVecchio said over Twitter that the team should refund the fans. Apparently team owner Bud Adams felt similarly.

“In my 50 years of owning an NFL franchise, I am at a loss to recall a regular season home game that was such a disappointment for myself, and fans of the Titans,” Adams told The Tennessean. “We were grossly outcoached and outplayed from start to finish today.

“At this time, all aspects of the organization will be closely evaluated, including front office, coaches and players over the next seven games. If performance and competitiveness does not improve, I will look at all alternatives to get back to having the Titans become a playoff and championship football team.”

Things were so bad that mostly only Bears fans remained by the end of the game. Even Adams couldn’t stand to watch the disaster — he left in the third quarter.

The Tennessean has quotes from many other frustrated players, including Sen’Derrick Marks and Derrick Morgan.

Second-year coach Mike Munchak said after the game to put the blame on him for the loss, but we don’t think he heard his owner’s comments at that point. It probably doesn’t matter, because his fate will probably be the same. With the Titans at 3-6 and coming off a loss this bad, Adams will probably want to make a coaching change. And let’s be real about this too: Adams isn’t exactly the best owner around.

Jerry Jones would have fired himself as GM

Breaking sports news video. MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL highlights and more.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones admits that his performance as the team’s GM has merited a firing.

Jones made his comments during an interview with NBC Sports’ Bob Costas that aired before the Cowboys played the Atlanta Falcons on “Sunday Night Football.”

Asked by Costas for a self-critique of his work as GM, Jones responded, “I think [the criticism is] valid. We’ve had four division titles since we’ve won our last Super Bowl. We’ve had six losing seasons since we won our last Super Bowl. That’s not acceptable.

When asked if he would have fired himself, Jones said yes.

“Well I think so, because he was there to dismiss,” said Jones. “I’ve always worked for myself, and you can’t do that. You basically have to straighten that guy out in the mirror when you work for yourself. I’ve done it with coaches, and I certainly would have changed general managers.

“The truth is, in the NFL, if you’re active and involved as an owner, that’s the final thing. That’s the way it works.

“Let’s don’t kid ourselves: When it gets down to the real, heavy, hard decisions, you have owners make those decisions — that’s as it should be,” he told Costas.

Though Jones says he probably would have fired a GM who fared how he has, he thinks he can fix things.

(more…)

Giants lose to Steelers despite help from referees on questionable calls

The NFL replacement referees have not been around for over a month, but you wouldn’t have been able to tell that watching Sunday’s Pittsburgh Steelers-New York Giants game.

The Steelers overcame at least two bad calls from the officials to beat the Giants 24-20.

In the second quarter, the Giants were down 7-0 and had a third-and-goal from the two. Eli Manning scrambled after not being able to find anything in the end zone, and then he fired for Victor Cruz. The ball was nearly intercepted by Steelers CB Ike Taylor, who stepped in front of Cruz. Safety Ryan Clark came across and crushed Cruz, laying him out with a shoulder-first hit. Clark was penalized for a personal foul after the officials say he hit Cruz in the head. Replays showed that he led with his shoulder.

FOX NFL rules analyst Mike Pereira disagreed with the call. “That is not a blow to the head and not a foul. Pass had not even hit the ground yet,” he wrote on Twitter.

Instead of having a fourth-and-goal from the two, the Giants were first-and-goal from the one and scored on the next play. That was a four-point difference.

The Giants benefited from another questionable call a few plays later.

(more…)

DeAngelo Williams, Cam Newton ticked Redskins made Panthers ‘homecoming’ game

Teams generally schedule an opponent they think they’re going to beat for their homecoming game, that way they can look good in front of fans they want to impress. That point was not lost on Carolina Panthers players DeAngelo Williams and Cam Newton.

Williams said after the Panthers beat the Redskins 21-13 that he was pretty upset when he woke up Sunday morning and saw that Washington dubbed the matchup with Carolina a “homecoming” game.

“I get over and I pick over the game day [program], and I’m looking at the [program], it’s customary,” Williams said, per D.C. Sports Bog. “And I look on there and it says homecoming. And I’m thinking to myself, like, this is the National Football League. Are you serious? Homecoming? Homecoming.

“And it’s not like you tried to hide it. You blatantly put it on the front of the game day. And you’re talking about somebody fired up today? I was pissed.”

Williams says he mentioned the slight during the team’s pregame meeting and that the entire squad was fired up by it.

“It was the whole team,” said Williams. “It was the whole team. That was definitely motivating. I mean, you don’t say you’re gonna have a homecoming in the National Football League. I mean, you do it in college. It’s [against] one of those teams that’s just terrible. You don’t book a good team for homecoming….I don’t know if they had a dance or anything; I just know you don’t give a team extra motivation by putting that on your program, just blatantly coming out and saying you’re our homecoming game.”

After the game, Cam Newton seemed to indicate he felt the same way.

According to FOX’s A.J. Perez, Newton said it was “embarrassing” to be the Redskins’ homecoming opponent.

Maybe that was the type of motivation Carolina needed. They won the game 21-13 and beat the Redskins well enough to make Mike Shanahan practically give up on the season.

The Redskins had more than 150 former players back for the game, and they honored the franchise’s top 80 players. The best way to cap a day like that? With a big fat L. Williams and Newton probably couldn’t have been happier to hang it on them.

Mike Shanahan giving up on the season?

You can call him a realist or you can call him a pessimist, but no matter how you look at Mike Shanahan’s comments, Redskins fans have to be left disappointed.

The Redskins lost at home to the Panthers on Sunday 21-13 to drop to 3-6 on the season. Leading up to the game, coach Mike Shanahan labeled the contest as a “must-win” game. He all but threw in the towel on the 2012 NFL season with his postgame comments.

“Now you’re playing to see who obviously is going to be on your football team for years to come. Now we get a chance to evaluate players and see where we’re at. Obviously, we’re not out of it statistically, but now we find out what type of character we’ve got and how guys keep on fighting through the rest of the season,” Shanahan said after the game, via The Washington Post.

Now you’re playing to see who will be on team in years to come? Jeeze Mike. I’m not an expert, but aren’t you guys just 3-6 and not 0-9? Is a 6-1 finish that far out of the question? And even if you think it is, is that something you should be saying publicly?

If the coach is saying they’re just going to be evaluating the rest of the season, you know, like the way they evaluate players during the preseason, then why should fans show up to the games?

Maybe Shanny is admitting the truth about his team this year — and with Robert Griffin III at quarterback, the team’s future seems bright — but why say that to the fans and media? What good does that serve?

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