Tag Archive | australian open

Baby, Baby, Baby, Ohhhh (Crap). Plus the Extra Point’s Future, Billion Dollar Brackets, and Tiger Declawed

—1—“The kick is up, and it…is…” no longer existent?

So, baby, you mean, baby, if I can't beat these charges, baby, I can't be an NFL kicker? Ohhhh.

So, baby, you mean, baby, if I can’t beat these charges, baby, I can’t be an NFL kicker? Ohhhh.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suggested this week that the league do away with the extra point or “PAT,” point after touchdown. “The extra point is almost automatic,” he told NFL Network Monday. “I believe we had five missed extra points this year out of 1,200 some odd attempts. So it’s a very small fraction of the play, and you want to add excitement with every play.” Instead he suggests making a touchdown worth seven points instead of six, with an extra play after from the scrimmage line worth an eighth point. But, if the team fails, their touchdown is only worth six points.

You would think concussions and crime would be enough “excitement” for the NFL any given day, but I must admit I am intrigued.

—2—Ahhhh, Warren Buffett. Gazillionaire, Philanthropist, College Basketball Fan. And now he and Quicken Loans are offering a $1 billion cash prize to anyone who correctly predicts this year’s men’s NCAA Tournament Bracket in the Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge. Unfortunately, the odds of getting all 63 games right, are around 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808. That’s nine quintillion. But if you do win, you get 40 annual installments of $25 million or a lump sum payment of $500 million. If there are multiple winners, the pot is divided, and the 20 brackets closest to the perfect outcome will still receive $100,000 each from Quicken Loans to purchase or remodel a home or refinance a mortgage. Contest starts March 3.

—3—There are two new sheriffs in Tennis Town. If tennis players wore hats, spurs and funny mustaches. China’s Li Na had been contemplating retirement, but defeated Dominika Cibulkova (who had ousted #3 Maria Sharapova) for the Australian Open crown, and at 31 became the oldest women’s champion in the Open Era. Known for her funny remarks in broken English, Li joked in post-match interviews about her husband and his snoring, and thanked her agent “for making me rich.”

On the men’s side, it was Switzerland’s #8 Stanislas Wawrinka who finally hoisted the trophy after defeating #1 Rafael Nadal. Nadal had previously knocked out Roger Federer to reach the Australian Open final for the third time. It would have been Rafa’s 14th Grand Slam title. But he struggled with several small but nagging injuries, including a blister on his serving hand that drew gasps from the crowd when one TV camera got a little too close. Wawrinka was the first man in 21 years to beat the #1 and #2-ranked players (Novak Djokovic) en route to a Grand Slam title.

—4—For the first time in his career, world #1 Tiger Woods failed to make the PGA Tour’s secondary cut at Torrey Pines in San Diego. His 7-over-par 79 was his worst in an event he has won seven times. And it all means….meh, nothing. It’s the start of the season, and now, with girlfriend skier Lindsey Vonn sitting out the Olympics, they’ll enjoy a few free days before heading to Dubai.

5Finally, Saturday Night Live did two great sports parodies on “Weekend Update” the other night, one with Russian villagewoman, “Olya Povlatsky.” “So Olya, are your surprised the Olympics are coming to Russia?” “I surprised anyone would come to Russia…What was the other options, Haiti or middle of ocean?” The other had Kenan Thompson playing the Miami police officer who arrested Justin Bieber for drinking and drag racing. “You must have been shocked to pull someone over and discover it was Justin Bieber.” “Oh Cecily, I work in Miami. Nothin’ shocks me. When I pull somebody over, they usually got a tiger in the back seat, and an alligator in the trunk to guard their cocaine. It’s the only city where NBA players are the best behaved people.”

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High Five Headlines! The Denver Dumbledores, Aussie Open Closes for 2 Stars, & PUPPY. BOWL. PREDICTIONS!

–1– Unless you are a vampire, or whoever those “Twilight” werewolf dudes in the jean shorts were, you may not be aware the Australian Open is going on because Melbourne is 14 hours ahead of us (or in my Australian travel experience, five glasses of chardonnay and 1 Ambien). It’s the first of tennis’ four yearly Grand Slams (also French, Wimbledon, and U.S.), and although #1 seed Serena Williams stormed through her first two matches—setting an Open record with 61 wins—she fell Sunday to #14 Ana Ivanovic. Ivanovic had been #1 herself in 2008 but has not won a Grand Slam event since.

Serena, as it turned out, had been struggling with back pain. She and sister Venus had already withdrawn from doubles play due to a leg injury to Venus. But experts say Serena, at 32, is playing some of the best tennis of her life. At least the sisters can rest now from a record Melbourne heat wave. Also ousted in unlucky Round 4 was #3 Maria Sharapova to #20 Dominika Cibulkova.

"Lily" whose goal is "not to step on own ears."

“Lily,” whose goal in life is simple yet profound: “not to step on own ears.”

–2– “Really CBS? Brady/Manning—it’s not the moon landing.” – My Friend Camilo.

Yeah, you might have heard there were a couple of NFL games yesterday, like the AFC Championship in which Denver’s Peyton Manning and New England’s Tom Brady, interchangeably labeled “best quarterback,” met for perhaps the last time in their wizened careers (Brady is 36; Manning is 37, which pretty much makes you Dumbledore in football). And they did not disappoint in perfect 60-degree Denver weather. Maybe that’s what threw the Patriots off, that weird yellow sphere-thing in the sky instead of Boston snow. Losing cornerback Aqib Talib to a knee injury after a questionable hit from Wes Welker, a former Patriot, didn’t help, because Manning was the victor, throwing 400 yards and two TDs for the 26-16 win. It will mean the first Super Bowl for cornerback Champ Bailey in his 15-year career (another Dumbledore at 35).

The opposite matchup played out in the NFC Championship between Seattle’s Russell Wilson, 25, and San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick, 26. After a stunning National Anthem from Ann Wilson of Heart—a nod to a Seattle music heritage as rich as its coffee—The 12th Man cheered its Seahawks to a 23-17 win, despite a Wilson fumble on the first play of the game that resulted in a 49ers field goal. But the first play has been long forgotten after the last play, when Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman tipped the ball away from receiver Michael Crabtree, in the endzone, sealing the win. What followed became more “Real Housewives” than pro football. Sherman tried to shake Crabtree’s hand, and Crabtree shoved Sherman away by the facemask. Then, while interviewed by Fox’s Erin Anderson, Sherman went off, forcing a confused Anderson to throw back to the announcers when it seemed Sherman might go too far.

“I’m the best corner in the game. When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that’s the result you gonna get!”

The two men have taken their beef to Twitter now, which will surely keep us all entertained as we take a week off before the Super Bowl Feb. 2.

–3— It’s bad enough I will be traveling for work Super Bowl Sunday (although it is to Vegas), but I know I must be really busy if I missed the announcement of the lineups for PUPPY. BOWL. X. Yes, last week, Animal Planet announced the 40-odd pups who will tackle our hearts on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 2, three hours before kickoff. Don’t miss Suri the Siberian Husky who “thinks they should cut Miley Cyrus some slack” or Tyga the pit bull, who “knows what the Fox says.” It will also be the first year of the Kitten Bowl, airing on the Hallmark Channel.

–4– Remember hurdler Lolo Jones? Who tripped and fell during the Beijing Olympics 100-meter final, an event she was sure to win? And then finished fourth in the London Games? Now she has another shot at an Olympic medal—as a bobsledder in Sochi. Jones and sprinter Lauryn Williams were named to Team USA Sunday night, two of only a handful of athletes who have competed in both the Summer and Winter Games. Aja Evans was the third choice in the “push” position, rounding out the team with “drivers” Jamie Greubel, Elana Meyers and Jazmine Fenlator.

Will the third time be the golden charm?

Will the third time be the golden charm?

–5– Kevin Durant scored 54 points in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 127-121 win Friday night over the Golden State Warriors. It was the first individual 50-point game of this season, and good evidence that the NBA scoring leader might have an MVP title in his future.

Not doing so well despite starting the week with the traditional White House trophy presentation, were the reigning champion Miami Heat, who then lost three games in a row, including one to the Washington Wizards who at times led by as much as 32 points. They seemed to turn things around by their stop in Philly, though, winning 101-86 after the 76ers beat them in October.