Tag Archive | denver broncos

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 She and sister Venus had already withdrawn from doubles play due to a leg injury to Venus.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.

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High Five Headlines! A Painting Pony, Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Prayer Answered, and Archery “Catching Fire” with Girls

1–I hate—hate—cleaning the kitchen. Which is why I am especially glad I skipped it Saturday or I would have missed what is being hailed as one of the greatest college games played in recent memory. Fourth-ranked Auburn topped undefeated and top-ranked Alabama in a closely contested “Iron Bowl,” 34-28 Saturday, locking Auburn into the SEC championship next week over the current national champion Crimson Tide.

The game also saw:

–Alabama’s longest-ever receiving touchdown (T.J. McCarron to Amari Cooper for 99 yards)
–An emergency sewing machine brought out in the fourth quarter to repair Auburn defensive end LaDarius Owens’ ripped jersey (normally there would be backups, but maybe an equipment manager stayed a little too late at the Sigma Chi house Friday?)
–A missed but valiant 57-yard field goal attempt by Bama redshirt freshman kicker Adam Griffith, which was…
–Returned 109 yards by Auburn’s Chris Davis for the winning touchdown
–And an “I’m sorry” kiss to McCarron from his girlfriend and former Miss Alabama, Katherine Webb—an Auburn grad.

Ecstatic Auburn students flooded the Jordan-Hare Stadium field so densely the team could barely move, and the Tiger mascot enjoyed crowd surfing as stunned Alabama fans could only wait it out. The famous rivalry began being played primarily in Birmingham, and dubbed the Iron Bowl as a nod to Birmingham’s role in the steel industry. (As for my kitchen, well I can eat off paper plates for a few days.)

Dames hunger for archery lessons.

Dames hunger for archery lessons.

2–Normally I eschew movie blockbusters, but I freaking loved “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” A flailing dystopian society. Liam Hemsworth. My girl crush Jennifer Lawrence at her REAL WOMAN, kickass bodily best. My admittedly-weird guy crush Woody Harrelson. (Did I mention Liam Hemsworth?) The best part is how the movies have caused a wild increase in archery nationwide—especially for young girls hoping to emulate hunting heroine Katniss Everdeen. Apparently the franchise has caused a huge burst in the sport’s popularity—so much that equipment makers can’t keep up, and USA Archery, the sport’s Olympic governing body, can’t train instructors fast enough. May the odds be ever in their favor—because there are still two movies to come.

3–A horse is a horse, of course, of course—unless he is a former racetrack champion who now paints pictures raising money–not just for treatment of his own life-threatening knee condition, but to save the lives of other racetrack rejects. Meet Metro Meteor, a retired Maryland thoroughbred whose adoptive owners taught him to use his bobbing head motion to paint and raise awareness of injured and unwanted former racehorses (he’s raised more than $45,000!). The story from legendary sportswriter Frank Deford (who reminds me a little of Grandpa from “The Munsters”) played as part of a Thanksgiving series on NPR.

4—The NFL regular season is nearing its end, so every game now—at least for some teams (not my 3-9 Redskins, sadly)—really counts. Tonight, 9-2 New Orleans meets the 10-1 Seattle Seahawks for an NFC Monday Night Football battle. In another highly-anticipated matchup Sunday, the AFC West’s Denver defeated Kansas City 35-28. Yet even teams like Philadelphia and Detroit, both 7-5, and Green Bay (5-6-1) have a little life left depending on their division’s “wild card” scenario. Regardless, if you don’t watch the NFL, now is certainly a fun time to start.

5–And finally, from a kid with maybe the best holiday name ever, Huntington (Ind.) University senior Shane Merryman stunned a crowd possibly bigger than his school’s 1,000-student enrollment with this three-quarter court buzzer beater against Marian, winning with one second left, 61-59.

High 5 Headlines! Rose Wilts, Worries for Winston, and Puppy Snuggles Cost Me the BEST NFL GAME EVER!

chester

Football, or fuzzy kisses? Chester is the clear winner, no OT.

1) It is a testament to the snuggliness of my dog (and maybe some wine) that I fell asleep with him on the couch last night and missed the end of an incredible NFL comeback. Denver visited Boston and brought along many storylines: two of the best quarterbacks, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady squaring off again; Denver receiver Wes Welker returning to play his former Patriots for the first time, and coming off a concussion last week; and temperatures colder than polar bear poop. Denver led 24-0 at the half, but Tom Brady returned reborn in the second,  completing more than 80 percent of his passes to erase the deficit–that Manning shredded with one last touchdown, sending the game into OT. Boston won on a field goal 34-31. Brady inked his 38th career game with 3+ TD passes and no interceptions, the second-most all-time to–guess who–Peyton Manning (42).

2) By the way, the Patriots’ Bill Belichick isn’t the only coach in the family. His daughter Amanda, a Wesleyan University grad, is the head women’s lacrosse coach at Wesleyan, where Dad himself played lacrosse in the early 70s. Both Belichicks were captains of their teams as seniors.

3) That slapping sound you are hearing is Chicago NBA fans’ collective foreheads this week as Bulls star (aka Michael Jordan 2.0) Derrick Rose is once again out for the season, requiring surgery on a torn meniscus in his right knee. He missed last season after tearing the ACL in his left knee. Rose has been Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player, and an NBA All-Star, so his frustration must be only slightly worse than Adidas, who just launched his new shoe collection and “The Return of D Rose” campaign. (Or the frustration of Memphians like me, who had our national-runner-up 2008 season erased by the NCAA over allegations that Rose had someone else take his SATs for him. Sigh.) But Rose is only 25, having turned pro after just one year of college play (otherwise snarkily known as a “one and done”). Steve Nash (39, Lakers) and Manu Ginobli (36, San Antonio Spurs) are just a couple of superstar starters playing for super teams well into their 30s. And Chicago still has their NHL champion Blackhawks, currently among the top of the Western Conference.

4) The slapping sound you are still hearing is me. My forehead. Because it just couldn’t be a football season without a sexual assault case. Oh wait, my bad. Just before the season, a group of Vanderbilt players were indicted on counts of aggravated rape and sexual battery against a victim in a dorm room. (The case is ongoing and getting uglier). Now, Florida State quarterback and Heisman Trophy hopeful Jameis Winston is at the center of a potential rape charge stemming from an encounter in December 2012. Details are still unclear, but we at least know the following: 1, The victim reported the event a year ago and asserts it was not consensual. 2, The case was only referred to the Florida State Attorney General two weeks ago. 3, There is a DNA evidence match confirmed. 4, Some affidavits support Winston; others support the alleged victim. And 5, Winston is a redshirt freshman leading the Seminoles to their first potential championship since 1999. Whatever the outcome, we can hope whoever is telling the truth will see justice, and that the athletes of a storied program won’t see their hard work overshadowed by scandal. But I have to wonder if either will happen.

5) OK, let’s end on a funny note. If you missed it last weekend (and I did because I haven’t found “Saturday Night Live” reliably funny since 1982. Yeah, I said it. Except for episodes with Justin Timberlake, also from Memphis. Naturally.), SNL really did come through with a parody of “The Red Zone” channel. Each Sunday, Red Zone allows fans to see any potential NFL scoring play–when the ball is within 20 yards of the goal line, aka “the red zone.” (I must admit I do have this channel.) But if you’re not into sports, you now have “The Rosé Zone“–a women’s channel with all the best (worst?) reality TV moments without the charity benefits and fashion shows. As one “viewer” puts it, “B*tches be crazy. But not all the time. Sometimes b*tches just be standin’ around and thinkin’.” <cut to Kim Kardashian staring vacantly>. “And mama ain’t about that.” Hilarious.

High Five! Denver Upends KC, JJ Sprints to Title, and a UFC Champ–or Is He?

1) Despite two ankles wrapped like “mummy” and not “Manning,” an injured Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos handed the Kansas City Chiefs their first defeat Sunday night, 27-17 at Denver. KC was the last undefeated team in the NFL—a surprising and commendable turn of events for a team that ended last season with a fired coach, a player’s murder-suicide, and a new head coach, Andy Reid, who himself was fired after a long, spotty career with the Eagles.  The matchup was also anticipated because Denver and KC are also in the same division, the AFC West, and are two of the nation’s best teams, both now at 9-1. Denver is still without head coach John Fox, recovering from a successful aortic valve transplant two weeks ago.

Georges St-Pierre

You should have seen the other guy. (Accccctually the other guy looked pretty OK.)

2) In a questionable split-decision, followed by an even more bizarre statement of potential retirement, beloved—and bloodied—UFC champion Georges St-Pierre successfully defended his welterweight title a ninth time Saturday, beating Johny Hendricks. As a normally “GSP”-loving crowd booed, St-Pierre (25-2) was named the winner, then stated he was having personal problems and was going to “go away for a little bit.” Although classy in his speech, a clearly stunned Hendricks remarked how unfair it would be for St-Pierre to retire, and deny him a rematch. UFC president Dana White claimed he does not expect St-Pierre to retire and will immediately seek to line up the two fighters again. “Georges knew he lost, his corner knew he lost, Hendricks knew he won, and his corner knew they won,” said White.

3) Less than a week after No. 2 Michigan State knocked off No. 1 Kentucky, J.J. Mann set off another men’s basketball upset when he sank the go-ahead 3-pointer with 13.1 seconds left to lift unranked Belmont over No. 12 North Carolina 83-80 on Sunday in the Hall of Fame Tipoff. Mann finished with a career-best 28 points. The Tar Heels’ James McAdoo was not far behind, scoring a career-high 27 points with 13 rebounds.

4) Jimmie Johnson won his sixth NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup championship in eight years in Homestead, Fla., Sunday, putting him behind only Richard Petty and the late Dale Earnhardt Sr., each with seven titles. Johnson is the youngest driver to win six titles, reaching that mark 83 days before Petty. He’s also the fastest to six titles, as neither Petty nor Earnhardt did it in an eight-year span. Rounding out this year’s drivers, Matt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Jeff Gordon. Finishing in the middle of the Sprint Cup pack was Danica Patrick in 27th.

5) Finally, congratulations to my alma mater, Centre College, and its field hockey team, which lost in the Sweet Sixteen round of the NCAA tournament this weekend to Christopher Newport College, 1-0. It was the Lady Colonels’ first appearance in the tournament. Now, is there an American professional field hockey league? Not that I know of. Will you ever hear Shelby Judkins or Kirby Roberts on ESPN? Probably not. But you might see them owning it someday. Or in a boardroom, a corner office, maybe even the Oval Office. As the NCAA commercials say, most student-athletes will go pro in something other than sports. I can’t wait to see what these ladies do. Well done!

Can Manning Make Good?

My mom told me a popular joke yesterday: The Giants’ Eli Manning goes to his brother Peyton, QB for the Denver Broncos. The Giants are 0-6, the worst start they’ve had since 1979. Eli asks Big Bro “hey I need help – what can I do?” Peyton then simply advises: “Change your last name.”

Eli? Eli who?

Eli? Eli who?

Unfortunately for Peyton, his undefeated Broncos fell last night to his former team, the Indianapolis  Colts, 39-33 (although the Colts fans gave a classy, heartwarming pre-game tribute to the man who led them to a Super Bowl win) as he returned for the first time against the team that traded him after a season-ending neck injury.

I didn’t see much of the first half – my friend Quinn and I were analyzing her “date-that-was-not-a-date” at the Redskins game (and HUGE win over the Bears). It seemed at first the Colts were manhandling the undefeated Broncos – the score was 33-14 or something around the time I flipped the channel to “Homeland.”

When I checked back in, it was 36-30. I hoped Peyton and the Broncos’ “Four Horsemen” receiving corps of Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas and the ever-adorable Wes Welker would be able to stage a comeback – and they almost did. But Colts QB Andrew Luck held them off, finishing with 21-of-38 for 228 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions.

What was also cool, in a game already full of storylines—Peyton’s return, Indy coach Chuck Pagano back in the saddle after missing last season to undergo treatments for leukemia, Decker’s reality show with wife, country singer Jessie James—was that Luck’s dad Oliver played backup quarterback for the Houston Oilers to Archie Manning, Peyton and Eli’s dad, in the early 80s.

Eli will have a chance to redeem the family name tonight against Minnesota in Monday Night Football, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN.