NFL teams to offer service where fans can order cheerleader to their seat


Ever been to an NFL game and felt that the gorgeous cheerleaders patrolling the sidelines were so close yet so far away? You almost feel like you could reach out and touch them, but they’re just a little too far and, most importantly, following through on that desire might constitute a crime.

Thanks to the latest in technology, fans will soon be closer than ever to cheerleaders.

Sports Business Journal revealed on Monday that a few teams have partnered with app developer Experience to develop technology that will allow fans to order upgrades when they get to the stadium for a game. The perks will include stuff like getting on the field before a game or having a cheerleader come to your seat.

According to Darren Rovell, the Seattle Seahawks, Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are three teams that have already agreed to offer the premium experiences. League officials were expected to encourage other owners to adopt the technology at the NFL meetings this week.

The Falcons actually began offering some of the services to 3,000 of their season ticket holders last season.

“Anything from pregame on-field, to a birthday message, to cheerleader visits, to mascot visits, to the fly-by pass, which is a dedicated lane where you don’t wait to get into the stadium,” Falcons CEO Jim Smith explained. “All the experiential things sold out within the first four hours they were made available.”

[Related: Bengals cheerleaders divided by real vs. fake boobs]

Teams have spent significant time and resources over the past few years coming up with ways to improve the in-stadium experience. Stuff like offering wireless internet at games and showing fantasy stats on stadium scoreboards has done that, but plenty of people are perfectly content watching games on their 60-inch high definition TVs. But can they order a cheerleader to come visit them in their seat? Well, they could probably order someone in a cheerleader outfit … let’s not get into that.

Tony LaRussa’s daughter is an Oakland Raiders cheerleader
Doug Flutie’s daughter is a New England Patriots cheerleader

Steve Masiello not hired by USF after discovery that he never got degree

Steve MasielloOne of the more bizarre stories of the year came out on Tuesday when it was revealed that South Florida had backed out of a deal to hire Steve Masiello as its next basketball coach because of a discrepancy in his background check. On Wednesday, The Tampa Tribune reported that Masiello lied on his resume and never completed his bachelor’s degree at the University of Kentucky.

Masiello, who has been at Manhattan the past three seasons and led his team to the NCAA Tournament this year, was a student at Kentucky from 1996-2000. He was a walk-on basketball player for Rick Pitino in his first season and Tubby Smith for three years after that. The UK Office of Public Relations confirmed to The Tampa Tribune that Masiello never got his degree.

Masiello’s biography with Manhattan College says he graduated from UK in 2000 with a degree in communications. He agreed to a five-year deal that would pay him $1 million per season with USF on Tuesday, but the agreement was contingent upon the verification of his resume.

Rick Pitino told ESPN on Wednesday that he was “shocked” to hear that Masiello never graduated.

“When I left (UK for the NBA), he was on track to graduate,” Pitino said, per the Tribune.

USF will now continue its coaching search, and it is unclear if Masiello will be allowed to return to Manhattan. The 36-year-old is considered one of the better young coaches in the country and was praised by Pitino for giving “one of the best coaching jobs” he has ever seen during Louisville’s 71-64 win over Manhattan in the round of 64.

While Masiello’s success on the court speaks for itself, you have to assume he also wrote that he was a graduate of Kentucky on the resume he submitted to Manhattan. How the school reacts to that remains to be seen.

Nick Young comically celebrates early on missed 3-pointer (Video)

On Tuesday night, the Los Angeles Lakers gave us a historic performance, and Nick Young gave us a blooper for the ages.

The Lakers scored 51 points in the third quarter of their 127-96 win over the New York Knicks, which was a franchise record for most points in a quarter. They shot 57.8 percent from the field for the game, including 64.3 percent on 3-pointers. Nick Young was a standout in that regard, as he went 5-for-6 on threes as part of his 20-point performance. But it was his one miss that was oh so memorable.

Swaggy P started the game 3-for-3 from long range, so it’s safe to say that he was feeling it. In fact, he was feeling it so much that on a 3-pointer he attempted at the end of the third quarter, he began celebrating before the ball went in.

The ball, of course, rolled around the rim and went out, giving us this amazing photo, video and GIF.

Seriously, how great was that? I mean I’m just trying to figure out the best part. Was it Young turning his back to the basket like he knew the shot was going in? Was it him holding out the three symbols on his hands?

I swear, this has to be the defining image of Nick Young’s career (and the Lakers’ season, for that matter):

Nick Young 3-pointer

Image via @jose3030; Video, GIF via @cjzero 1

Jim Kelly has aggressive cancer, is in ‘a lot of pain’


Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly is preparing to undergo surgery in New York City for his cancer recurrence. Kelly was first diagnosed with cancer last June, when part of his jaw and teeth were removed to treat oral cancer. It has since returned and Kelly’s family said the cancer has spread and is aggressive.

According to WIVB in Buffalo, a family friend described Kelly as “in bad shape.” Doctors wanted to see him immediately, so he is scheduled to have surgery on Thursday at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan. Dennis DiPaolo, a friend of the Kelly family, said that Jim is in a lot of pain but is not letting it break his spirits.

“He’s like come on, don’t hang your heads,” DiPaolo said. “Like you walk in the room and he’s in a huddle and still commanding everyone and even if he’s trying to rest his eyes, he knows you’re there and he goes, ‘Thanks for coming you guys.’ He’s just a remarkable individual.”

Kelly was surrounded by family over the weekend. His daughter Erin posted the photo you see above on Instagram with the following caption:

“Watching the Syracuse game with daddy. He’s my buddy! Love him so much!! #daddysgirl #prayersforjk #Kellytough.”

Our thoughts are with Kelly and his family.

MLB players vote Bryce Harper most overrated player, Yankees most overhyped team

Bryce Harper NationalsWashington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper is one of the best young players in baseball. He has been an All-Star both of his seasons in the major leagues. He took home the Rookie of the Year Award in 2012.

Prior to breaking into the big leagues, we heard how great Bryce Harper would be and that he’s one of those “once in a generation” talents. The 21-year-old may turn out to live up to his advance billing, but for now he’s entering just his third season in the majors.

Time will tell the career path of Harper. At present, there are more than a few who feel he’s overrated. Included in that group are some of Harper’s peers.

In a feature that appears in ESPN The Magazine’s MLB Preview Issue, 143 anonymous players were interviewed on various topics. Among them, the most overrated player. Harper received the most votes with 24%. Yasiel Puig came in second (21%) and Alex Rodriguez was third (14%), because apparently there are people who still think highly of Alex Rodriguez as a baseball player.

Rodriguez’s New York Yankees grabbed the top spot for most over-hyped team, receiving 44% of the votes. The Los Angeles Dodgers (13%) and Los Angeles Angels (12%) followed.

There are few interesting responses documented in the piece, like how much more than Miguel Cabrera one player would pay Mike Trout. And, the Houston Astros received the second highest percentage of votes for most underrated team, ahead of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Tampa Bay Rays, and Kansas City Royals.

Clock malfunction in Iowa State-North Carolina leads to confusing ending (Video)

A clock malfunction at the end of the Iowa State-North Carolina game led to some confusion for both sides, but the referees made the correct call in ending the game.

DeAndre Kane made a bucket in traffic with about 1.6 seconds remaining to give the Cyclones an 85-83 lead over the Tar Heels. The major problem occurred after UNC inbounded the ball because the clock operator did not start the clock until at least a second after the ball was first touched by a Tar Heels player. UNC tried to call a timeout after dribbling past half court, but the question was whether there was any time left on the clock.

The referees ultimately decided that, despite the clock starting late, time had expired before the timeout was called, so they ended the game with Iowa State winning 85-83.

Our friend Andy Isaac also points out that the clock started to run late on the possession where Kane made his basket:

Yes, that clock operator was definitely drunk. And the refs, despite the confusion, made the right call.

Referees Iowa State North Carolina

Jason Collins says NBA player taunted him on court for being gay

Jason-Collins-NetsJason Collins knew when he decided to come out as gay that not everyone would be accepting of his sexual preference. The Brooklyn Nets forward is the first openly gay player to be on an active NBA roster, and some people don’t react well to change. As you might have expected, Collins said he has been the victim of homophobic taunts since signing with the Nets.

The good news is Collins said only one player has taunted him on the court over his sexual preference. The bad news is that there are adults in the world who are that immature.

“One player, one knucklehead from another team,” Collins told Stefan Bondy of the NY Daily News on Thursday. “He’s a knucklehead. So I just let it go. Again, that goes back to controlling what you can control. That’s how I conduct myself — just being professional.”

Collins is set to make his first trip through Bible Belt states since signing with Brooklyn, which means he is prepared for the potential of hearing more nasty comments. The Nets have a series of road games in Dallas, New Orleans and Charlotte starting on Saturday.

“You can’t control what other people are going to do,” Collins said when asked if he is concerned about the trip.

Collins also said he takes pride in the fact that the Nets are 10-3 since signing him, proving that all the “distraction” talk is overstated when it comes to having a gay player on your team. From what we know, Collins has handled himself with nothing but class. He’s not looking for trouble, or he could have easily outed the player who taunted him. He just wants to play basketball.