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#pounditSunday, October 2, 2022

Stories by Aaron Mansfield:

Sister of Western Michigan TE runs on field to celebrate his touchdown

Western Michigan and Buffalo are currently in a very tight #MACtion matchup in Western New York. The teams are currently in the sixth overtime — it’s 59-59.

In the fourth quarter, Western Michigan quarterback Jon Wassink hit senior tight end Donnie Ernsberger for a 24-yard touchdown to put the Broncos up 31-28. It was Ernsberger’s second touchdown catch of the year.

As great as this game is, though, it wasn’t the catch that had people talking. It was the celebration.

After the tight end hauled in the touchdown, his sister, sporting an Ernsberger jersey, ran on the field to celebrate. You can’t make this up.

ESPN criticized for crooked first-down line at end of Miami-FSU game

Miami pulled out a come-from-behind, 24-20 win over Florida State at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee Saturday. It was a hard-fought ACC matchup, but the Hurricanes (4-0) were able to stay unbeaten, and will likely move up from No. 13 in the AP top 25 this week.

In the final minutes of the matchup, as Miami mounted its final drive, the Hurricanes picked up a pivotal third-and-10. ESPN’s production received criticism, however, because its yellow first-down line moved and was crooked on the play.

Check out a good slow-motion video of the yellow line below.

Florida Gators fans honor Tom Petty, sing ‘I Won’t Back Down’

Florida Gators mascot

The Florida Gators lost a tight SEC showdown to the LSU Tigers, 17-16, Saturday. It was a back-and-forth game that seemed it could have gone either way.

Earlier this week, Gainesville native and music legend Tom Petty died at the age of 66. During the Florida-LSU game, Gators fans took a moment to come together and honor Petty.

They passionately sang along as his hit “I Won’t Back Down” played in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. The Gators’ official Twitter account shared video of the moment.

LSU football reporter Cody Worsham also shared a video of the fans singing along.

The Florida athletic department announced its plan earlier this week to honor Petty.

LeBron James admits jealousy over Dwyane Wade’s ability to grow hair

LeBron James bald

After three years apart, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are reunited in Cleveland.

The former Heat teammates were brought back together last month when Wade, after reaching a buyout agreement with the Bulls, agreed to a one-year deal with the Cavaliers.

LeBron was happy to have Wade back on his team both because Wade is still a solid player, and because they’re best friends.

The best friends had some fun during a recent workout. A shirtless James poked fun at his own hairline, as he has been known to do.

Even LeBron likes to joke about his hairline: @kingjames

A post shared by Sports Blog Nation (@sbnation) on

“Is it not fair that he can grow his hair like that?” James said, turning the camera toward Wade.

Then veteran Richard Jefferson, who is bald, entered the video to joke, “Are you guys talking about me?”

James, turning his attention toward his voluptuous beard, then wondered, “Why can’t I, like, just Velcro this off… and just put it on top of here?”

During the Cavaliers’ loss Friday to Indiana, Wade put up 20 points (on 10-for-14 shooting) and five rebounds.

Kyrie Irving gives his sneakers to young fan wearing his Cavs jersey

Thanks to his electrifying offensive game, Kyrie Irving is one of the most marketable players in the NBA. Accordingly, Irving ranked fourth in the league in jersey sales last year.

There are plenty of Kyrie Irving Cleveland Cavaliers jerseys still floating around. One fan in Philadelphia threw his on for the Celtics’ preseason game against the 76ers Friday night.

Irving spotted the kid after the game and dapped him up. Then he took off the sneakers he had worn in the game, signed them, and gave them to the young man.

“You’re my favorite basketball player,” the boy told Irving.

Irving has looked good thus far in the preseason. Friday, he scored 21 points in 25 minutes in the Celtics’ 110-102 win.

He led Boston in minutes, points, field goal attempts, and three-point attempts. He also deserves to have a few assists added to his total after dishing out an unforgettable memory to this kid.

Davante Adams makes team trip to Dallas, expected to play Sunday

Danny Trevathan hit

Davante Adams took a brutal shot to the head last Thursday night in the Packers’ win over the Bears.

The hit was so brutal, in fact, that it landed Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan — the man who dished out the collision — with a two-game suspension. (The suspension was later reduced to one game after Trevathan appealed.)

Nonetheless, reports surfaced earlier this week that Adams may bounce back in time to play in Green Bay’s Week 5 matchup against Dallas.

Now, one day before the game, it appears those reports were true. Adams traveled with his team to Dallas. He has cleared the concussion protocol and is expected to play, according to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky.

Though it’s fair to assume Adams won’t be at 100 percent Sunday, it’s a shock that he’s even suiting up.

It’s an incredibly quick turnaround, considering Adams left the field last week on a stretcher and was hospitalized. It appeared the hit may have even been career-threatening.

Harbaugh, Dantonio to wear #AmazonDetroit headsets during UM-MSU

Jim Harbaugh headset

Every Michigan versus Michigan State matchup is a treat for college sports fans. Saturday night, the in-state rivals will square off in a primetime college football matchup on ABC. It’s a highly anticipated Big 10 showdown between No. 7 Michigan (4-0) and Michigan State (3-1).

Millions are expected to tune in. If you watch the game, you might notice something unusual about the headsets worn by coaches Jim Harbaugh and Mark Dantonio: they’ll both read “#AmazonDetroit.”

The Twitter hashtag was created in an attempt to lure Amazon’s $5 billion second headquarters (the first is in Seattle, Wash.) to Detroit. It would no doubt be a huge economic boon for Motown.

There is stiff competition to land Amazon’s new HQ, though. More than 100 cities are in contention – spanning both the U.S. and Canada. New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Cleveland are among the other American cities hoping to receive the business.

Amazon put out a request for proposals Sept. 7, and Detroit responded quickly. Below is the #AmazonDetroit hype video the Detroit team assembled.

Ranking the 20 best players in the NBA’s Eastern Conference

With all the shuffling in the NBA this offseason, the common sentiment among fans is that all the talent has headed West — with the exception, of course, of Mr. LeBron Raymone James.

Earlier this summer, I swung by the Big3’s tour stop in Charlotte, and the legend Clyde Drexler had this to say: “The West, in my opinion, had the majority of the good players. After all these trades, now they’ve got all the good players. If ‘Bron comes to the West, they might as well do away with the East.”

The West has won five of the past six All-Star Games and three of the past four NBA titles. It’s unquestionably the more competitive conference, and now that Jimmy Butler and Paul George have been traded to Minnesota and Oklahoma City, respectively, it’s also leaps and bounds ahead of the East in star quality.

But really — there is a case to be made that the West has 13 out of the 14 best players in the league. ESPN made that case, and also argued that the West’s second-flight All-Stars are better than the East’s first flight.

That certainly may be true, but the East still has some studs — especially in its top five. As we rev up for the 2017-18 season, below is our ranking of the 20 best players in the NBA’s Eastern Conference.

1. LeBron James, F, Cleveland Cavaliers

What more can I say about LeBron than what’s already been said? He’s the best player in our generation, and he’s unquestionably one of the three best players of all-time. What’s missing from that all-time debate is that James is still only 32, and he hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down.

Is it out of reason to say he could play another 10 years? What if he keeps posting the same numbers for another five years — then is he the G.O.A.T.? That question will be answered in the future, but the point is this: there’s still plenty left to come before we can judge James’ career against that of the other greats.

2. John Wall, G, Washington Wizards

Wall has always had the talent to be one of the best players in the league, but he really put it all together last season. Anyone who saw his vicious charge through the playoffs knows this dude is not to be slept on — Wall will take on anyone in the league. He has that Dion Waiters “I’m the best player on the floor every time I’m on the floor” mentality.

Wall got a monster contract extension this offseason, and it appears he’s entering his prime. Last year he set career marks for points (23.1) and assists (10.7).


Grading every NBA team’s offseason

Gordon Hayward

Just when it seems the NBA is giving you a break … whew! This league truly never rests. It’s a 365-day-a-year entertainment factory, as evidenced by the news of last week’s stunning trade between the Cavaliers and Celtics, which was completed on Wednesday night.

The Cavaliers received Thomas, the 5-foot-9 warrior, in addition to Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick, and a 2020 second-round pick via Miami. The Celtics received Irving, one of the most skilled and clutch players in the league. The trade will dramatically change the league.

So, are you ready for actual basketball games to be played again? It’s hard to believe — didn’t Golden State just win the title last week? — but the 2017-18 NBA season is only one month away. And though the level of preseason basketball is a far cry from the game-in-game-out intensity that’s on display in the playoffs, it’s still NBA basketball, and thank goodness it’s back, because I’m not sure fans’ hearts can handle many more transactions before seeing what their teams actually look like.

This offseason was hectic. Some of the league’s contenders bolstered their title chances during the summer months, while others appear to have taken a step back. Some teams went into full rebuild mode, while others went from fringe-playoff teams to conference semifinal contenders.

Below are our evaluations of each team’s transactions this offseason.


Christian McCaffrey talks Call of Duty, draft, Panthers in interview with LBS

Christian McCaffrey

Christian McCaffrey has Panthers fans hyped. They think he’s the future.

The rookie from Stanford represents a new breed of NFL player — the hybrid athlete who can line up just about anywhere on the field. The league is unquestionably trending in this direction, favoring young players like Green Bay’s Ty Montgomery who can play multiple positions and confuse defenses. It’s essentially the NFL version of the Golden State Warriors’ ahead-of-its-time strategy to play five versatile wings who can switch every screen.

During his historic college career, McCaffrey came to be known for much more than simply being the son of former NFL wide receiver Ed McCaffrey and being a white running back.

In his three years in Palo Alto, McCaffrey amassed 3,922 rushing yards; 99 receptions for 1,206 receiving yards; and 33 total touchdowns. As a sophomore he broke the NCAA’s record for all-purpose yards with 3,864. (The man whose record he broke, Barry Sanders, was his childhood hero.)

McCaffrey decided to stop giving Pac-12 coaches nightmares and declared for the draft after his junior year. Now that he’s a pro (McCaffrey has 87 yards rushing, 51 yards receiving, and one touchdown in three preseason games), he’s lining up endorsement deals.

This interview is brought to you by Activision and its new game, Call of Duty: WWII. This game marks a Call of Duty return to the World Wars for the first time in nearly a decade (Call of Duty: World at War was released in 2008).

Activision hosted a Twitch livestream of McCaffrey playing the beta version of the game in Charlotte Friday, and he chatted with Larry Brown Sports on the phone after the event. We discussed his transition to life in the NFL, his decision to skip the Sun Bowl, the Mayweather-McGregor fight (which was set to take place the next day), Game of Thrones, Drake and much more.

What was the livestream like? What are your early impressions of the game?