Pro Bowl’s Move to Week Before Super Bowl Produced Strong Ratings

The numbers are in and the Pro Bowl ratings were strong — 12.3 million people watched — the most since 2000. Those were particularly strong considering the game was on ESPN instead of NBC, as it was last year. All along I thought the idea to move the Pro Bowl to the week before the Super Bowl was a good one, for many reasons. The primary reason is one expressed by me and shared by many of my listeners on Sporting News Radio, and it is that most sports fans are still in “football mode,” so it’s best to give us all the NFL action we can handle while interest level is up. I actually think they should play it on a Thursday night, a few days before the actual Super Bowl. Tell me that wouldn’t be a good appetizer for the fans.

Even with the interest and ratings for the Pro Bowl being elevated, some changes still should be made. As Colts President Bill Polian most vehemently expressed, the teams participating in the Super Bowl shouldn’t be forced to have their players show up to the game and fragment the team’s traveling plans. Though some media members downplay the importance of an entire team traveling together, it is a big deal to have the entire team make its trip to the Super Bowl together. For one, this rubs it in for players who didn’t make the Pro Bowl when they see teammates getting separate treatment. Secondly, it breaks up routines established during the season that teams don’t want altered. Lastly, the biggest leaders of teams aren’t around to help set the tone for their teammates. If you don’t think that’s important, recall that the Giants dressed in all black for business when they traveled to Glendale before beating the Patriots.

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Basketball Holy War Turns into a Fight

Max Hall famously ripped into Utah following the Holy War during football season, calling them classless and saying he hated everything about them. That sort of venom seemed to pour over into the basketball matchup on Saturday in Provo, a game that was won by BYU 82-69. The Cougars had the win in the bag in the final minute but that’s when some drama broke out. Utah freshman Marshall Henderson was trying to save a ball from going out of bounds and he threw it into Jonathan Tavernari’s face. Tavernari was upset with how hard the ball was thrown so he began to have words with Henderson. Henderson then flailed his arm in a get away from me type of motion and his hand landed on the face of Jackson Emery who did a nice flop. Check out this video from the crowd around the 1:00 mark:

The refs got things under control pretty quickly as you saw, and Henderson wound up being ejected. It’s unclear whether his motive was to strike Emery but it doesn’t matter — raising his arm like that endangered another player and he has to suffer the consequence. With another meeting between the teams coming up on March 3rd, you know there will be plenty of bad blood to go around.

Rex Ryan Talks Crap to Dolphins Fans at Strikeforce Miami

Jets coach Rex Ryan is in South Florida to serve as the coach of the AFC Pro Bowl team and he was one of several NFL people in attendance at Strikeforce Miami. Ryan was interviewed in advance of Herschel Walker’s successful MMA debut and he couldn’t help but stir something up with the fans in attendance. Wade through the beginning of this minute-long interview to hear WWE promoter Rex Ryan set Dolphins fans straight:

Gotta love sexy Rexy who’s never to shy to get in a jab at his opponents. The best part wasn’t captured on this video and that was when the interviewer introduced Rex Ryan as the “quarterback” of the Jets before correcting herself. It was pretty clear she was clueless. I’m guessing you already picked up on that by the question asking if Rex would step into the ring — he saves that for Channing Crowder.

Video: Herschel Walker Wins MMA Debut in Fight with Greg Nagy

Although Herschel Walker is 12 years past the ending of his football career, Saturday evening marked the beginning of his new career: fighting in MMA. Walker made his mixed martial arts debut on the Strikeforce Miami card, taking on Greg Nagy. Walker was in incredible shape — as always — and he dominated almost every step of the way, scoring a third round TKO. With all the publicity leading up to the fight, no doubt football fans were curious to see how Herschel would fair in his debut. Check out the Herschel Walker/Greg Nagy fight video to see for yourself:

The next video has the second and third round action for your enjoyment. Walker certainly seemed robotic at first but he definitely dominated the entire round. The best part was his salsa music rump shake.

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‘Shoeless’ Kevin Durant > ‘Durantula’

There was quite a bizarre play that took place on Friday night in Oklahoma City. Thunder forward Kevin Durant lost a shoe on a defensive possession and was slow getting up the court. Luckily the Nuggets got a steal so Durant was in perfect defensive position to stop the fast break. That’s when the following play unfolded, leading to a new and improved nickname for KD — Shoeless Kevin Durant:

Durant previously had been without a nickname until Slam ran a contest that was ended with J.E. Skeets’ selection of “Durantula.” I get the whole long limbs thing, but I just don’t like the sound of durantula, though I have to give Skeets props for the movie poster adaptation. Maybe shoeless wouldn’t be great because Joe Jackson already has rights to the name, but I’m already sick of hearing KD called “Durantula” every night on ESPN highlights, especially for a guy very early on in his NBA reign of dominance. What about good old fashioned “Stretch?”

video via The Sporting Blog and The Big Lead

Susan Finklestein’s Lawyer: She Was a Slut, Not a Prostitute

Susan FinklesteinSusan Finklestein is the Philadelphia woman who famously (infamously?) offered sex for Phillies World Series tickets. Here’s how her ad read: “DESPERATE BLONDE NEEDS WS TIX (Philadelphia) Diehard Phillies fan–gorgeous tall buxom blonde– in desperate need of two World Series Tickets. Price negotiable— I’m the creative type! Maybe we can help each other!” That sounds pretty clearly like a prostitution solicitation, but I’m no judge. Nor am I a lawyer, much less one who came up with one of the more bizarre defenses I’ve ever encountered. Check out what William J. Brennan is using as a defense of his client, as shared by the Philadelphia Inquirer via FanHouse:

“You can be a slut; that’s not illegal,” Brennan argued at a hearing this afternoon. “Here you have to be in the business of prostitution” to have broken the law.

But [Judge] Cepparulo ruled that the allegations against Finkel fit one legal description of prostitution: engaging or attempting to engage “in sexual activities as a business.”

Honestly, do lawyers have no self respect? Did he really just try to invoke the “she’s a slut” defense? How is this anything other than prostitution? It’s no different from a porn star asking someone to escort her to a Phoenix Coyotes game. There’s no defense for prostitution and this only gives sluts a bad name.

Mancrunch Gets Publicity from Canceled Super Bowl Ad

The biggest debates in the week leading up to the Super Bowl had little to do with football and everything to do with politics. First, Tim Tebow became the center of attention because he’s the spokesman for a commercial espousing a Pro Life stance on abortion. That caused a stir amongst the Pro Choice supporters of America. While it looks like that ad will air, CBS has exercised its veto right on a few other submissions. They’ve rejected one of five submissions by Go Daddy for reasons unbeknownst to me. More controversially, CBS has rejected an ad proposed by the gay dating site Mancrunch. The ad isn’t as graphic as I initially expected based on what I read:

The genius behind this whole proposition is that Mancrunch is getting about as much publicity as they could have dreamed to receive, all without paying the million dollar tab to CBS (there’s probably a submission/review fee, but it’s not as high as the price of the ad). They’re even getting it from this very post and that’s all without doing anything other than producing a rejected ad! Here’s something I don’t understand: how is it that CBS approves a Pro Life commercial but rejects one for a gay dating website? I didn’t see anything inappropriate nor graphic in the ad — what’s the problem? If you’re deciding that political messages have no place on a sports platform I understand that. But if you’re approving a commercial regarding abortion, then why not let a gay dating site ad run? I don’t have a problem with either one.