Five WWE Title Matches That Were Bigger Travesties Than Deflate-Gate

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Ring the damn bell!!
Well, now we know. Or we can guess, at least. Despite vehement denials from both to the contrary, it seems to be generally assumed by most of the sorts watching public that Bill Belichick and Tom Brady were both fully aware of, if not the impetus for, the deflation of the Patriots' game balls before the AFC Title Game last Sunday.

Belichick was his usual dismissive, stone cold, poker face as he let the questions bounce off of him like tennis balls against the garage. Brady was considerably more nervous and far less comfortable lying to everyone about breaking the rules. Regardless, the two of them are the biggest teacher/student villain pairing right now since Emperor Palpatine ordered Anakin to murder all those children in Revenge of the Sith.

But honestly, specific to Sunday, what was really accomplished by deflating footballs that wouldn't have otherwise been accomplished within the rules? The Patriots won the game 45-7 over the Colts, and outscored Indy in the second half 28-0, when the balls were presumably re-inflated to regulation pressure.

Belichick and Brady may need more than just a few pounds of relieved air pressure to defeat the Seahawks. If I may, I'd like to point them to our friends in old school WWE (nee WWF) for a few ideas, and a few game changing cheating escapades that were far worse than Deflate-Gate....

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Super Bowl Bye Week: This Weekend's Best Bets

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Pro Bowl, Royal Rumble and Miss Universe? Sunday night is officially gonna be nuts.
In radio, when we randomly want to tell you about something coming up on the show later that day or later that week, we will interject with the phrase "programming note" and then convey the message to you.

So consider this paragraph the written version of a "programming note" -- I will be in Phoenix for the Super Bowl all next week doing my radio show from Radio Row, which each year is a cavalcade of really big-name guests, most of whom are NOT there merely for the fun of it. EVERYBODY is pimping something on Radio Row.

My point is that I hope to be able to provide insight and answers to questions being right there in Phoenix that I otherwise would not be able to back here in Houston, like "Is Pete Carroll's hair that fabulous in person?" and "How does Bill Belichick smell?" So there's something to look forward to.

In the meantime, even with no football this weekend, we should keep our betting muscles honed, just to stay ready for Super Bowl weekend if nothing else. So let's look at the board and see what there is to wager on this Sunday...

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Bill Belichick Speaks on Deflate-Gate: "I Had No Knowledge Whatsoever"

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Bill Belichick pushed all his chips into the middle of the table on Thursday morning.
The standards for punishments established around the sports world over the past several years appear to be very clear. There is a distinct pecking order when it comes to most transgressions -- breaking the rules is bad, but lying about breaking the rules is worse.

We saw it with the Reggie Bush situation at USC a few years back when he lied about illegal benefits that he and his family received. We saw it with Bruce Pearl when he ran afoul of NCAA recruiting rules and lied about it, resulting in his termination by the University of Tennessee.

Granted, both of those were collegiate situations, but I think sports society has generally accepted this new standard. Contrition and acceptance "GREATER THAN" trying to fib your way through wrongdoing.

If indeed that is the case with the NFL as well, that lying and getting caught is worse than the crime itself, then Bill Belichick pushed all his chips into the middle of the table on Thursday morning, denying any knowledge of the noticeable deflation of the Patriots' footballs (11 of their 12 game balls were deflated by two pounds of pressure before the game) in the AFC Title Game on Sunday.

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New England Patriots Deflate-Gate Spawns Cialis Parody Commercial (w/ VIDEO)

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Deflate-gate finally gets some comedy...
They say that comedy equals tragedy plus time, and while events like the New England Patriots' opting to (allegedly) deflate footballs before the AFC Championship Game hardly qualify as actual tragedy, people do take their football, and in turn this topic, quite seriously.

So we go through the normal stages as we process the latest Belichick-ian scandal. We first heard rumor that the Pats may have deflated the footballs, and we were incredulous. Then we got confirmation Tuesday night that the balls indeed did have less air at kickoff, and we were angry.

Then all of the conjecture about what may happen to the Patriots and how Belichick might be punished began to bubble up, and we became analytical. But now enough time has passed (yes, 48 hours is plenty of time to process this), and we are officially into the "comedy is acceptable" zone.

Thank God!

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Houston Rockets Valued By Forbes At Over 1.2 Billion Dollars

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In 2015, there is at least one immutable certainty in the sports business world -- if you're an NBA owner, business is good.

Less than four years ago, as the NBA was going through a summer of lockout and months of arduous negotiations hammering out a new collective bargaining agreement, the song from the NBA owners was one of financial strife, with claims that a third of the teams in the league (at least) were losing money, in large part because of a system of signing and paying players that led to owners being unable to protect themselves from their worst enemy -- themselves.

Despite a salary cap system that kept the salaries of the most marketable players capped at relatively reasonable levels, many owners more than ate up whatever benefit they were getting from muted superstar salaries by overspending on mid-level, highly replaceable, oftentimes journeyman players.

A new CBA didn't completely eradicate bad decisions, but it certainly minimized their impact, and a system which saw the players' percentage of basketball-related income reduced (from 57 percent to 50 percent) was the first in a series of events that have led to a boom period in franchise values.

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Gary Kubiak Introduced As Broncos Head Coach

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The Denver Broncos made it official on Tuesday afternoon -- Gary Kubiak is back as a head coach in the NFL, taking the reins of a franchise that won two Super Bowls in the late '90s (with Kubiak as part of Mike Shanahan's staff) and is on a streak of four consecutive division titles in the AFC West.

On the grand scale of "failing upward," it's probably not anywhere close to, say, Lane Kiffin, who parlayed getting fired after two seasons with the Raiders into one 7-6 season at the University of Tennessee, and then parlayed that into the USC job. But with a career record of 61-64 as a head coach, and only two playoff wins (both over a team quarterbacked by Andy Dalton, who has no playoff wins), Kubiak has to feel fortunate not only to get a second chance, but to get a second chance with one of the best organizations in football.

Kubiak met with the media on Tuesday, and there were certainly some nuggets to come out of that session, some from Kubiak and some from others, that should have made Texans fans' ears perk up a bit.

Let's examine a few of these...

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NFL Determines Patriots Deflated Footballs Used in AFC Title Win

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Parker Anderson via flickr
Inflated? Deflated?
"Win if you can, lose if you must, but at all times, cheat." -- "Classy" Freddie Blassie

Bill Belichick does not give a rat's ass about the karmic ramifications of right and wrong, whether it means the "Golden Rule" or the actual rules. If it makes his team better, and increases the chances of the Patriots winning, he will do it.

Spying on other teams, stealing signals, borderline formations that push the spirit of the rules, signing LeGarrette Blount to be his starting tailback after he walked out on his teammates in Pittsburgh...

It doesn't matter. There's no nuance with Belichick. If "x" increases the percentage chances of "y" happening (where "y" equals "a Patriots win"), he will do it. So are we all that surprised about this whole "deflated ball" thing in the AFC Title Game?

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Randy "Macho Man" Savage Selected for WWE Hall of Fame, His Definitve WWE Career Timeline (w/ VIDEO)

Categories: Game Time, Sports

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In the mid-'90s, during the Monday Night War between WWE and WCW, when the WWE bloodletting was at its most profound, stars of the '80s and early '90s were leaving Vince McMahon's company in droves, heading for the greener pastures of Ted Turner's guaranteed money in Atlanta.

Eventually, McMahon was able to ride things out and regain the upper hand in the battle, and bought WCW for his very own for pennies on the dollar in 2001. At that point, eventually, all the departed WWE stars made their way back to Vince for a few more pay days. Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Hulk Hogan, Sean Waltman, Ric Flair and many others found good work with Vince after trying to bankrupt him just years earlier.

Strangely and sadly, one of the names that never made it back was Randy "Macho Man" Savage, arguably the second-biggest star in the company during the '80s behind Hulk Hogan. In turn, year after year went by with Savage's name never coming up at Hall of Fame induction time.

Finally, this year, WWE has rectified that, announcing last week that Savage will be the flagship member of the 2015 Hall of Fame class at Wrestlemania weekend.

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Because the Leagues Want it, Nationwide Legalized Sports Betting Will Happen

Categories: Game Time

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Photo by Keith Allison
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver
It's a late Sunday evening in November. The final whistle sounds in the last game of another long weekend of NFL action. The Broncos beat the Chiefs 29-16 to run their record to 9-3, but more important to Andrew, whose final bet of the weekend was "Broncos -1," Denver covered the spread.

Andrew scurries over to his computer and opens up his browser to check the (illegal) wagering website of his (rogue) local bookmaker, and happily sees that the Broncos' win has pushed his balance above his weekly payout number, which means he'll be getting an envelope with some Christmas spending money this Tuesday. All hail Regular Season Peyton Manning!

Two days later, on Tuesday morning, Andrew meets a runner (illegal-wagering speak for "dude who collects and distributes cash") for his bookmaker in a parking lot behind an IHOP along a Houston toll road. Not wasting any time, Andrew tracks down the black Lincoln Town Car at the back of the lot, parks next to it, quickly gathers a manila envelope from the driver and then speeds away before the two can attract any attention.

Unseemly as it feels, the transaction is complete, and Andrew is $714 richer, just in time for the holidays.

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My Gary Kubiak Job Interview

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"It is flattering and humbling to be invited to interview for a number of NFL head coaching positions, and I greatly appreciate these opportunities. But I have decided to stay with the Ravens. This is a special organization and we, like [Head] Coach [John] Harbaugh says, are building something great. I want to be a part of that and contribute in whatever ways I can." -- Gary Kubiak, like a week ago

Yes, about a week ago, after a 35-31 loss to the Patriots in which he came out smelling like a rose despite the outcome of the game, Ravens offensive coordinator and former Texans head coach Gary Kubiak was all set to remain in that capacity for another season, outwardly happy to play the role of consigliere, Silvio Dante to John Harbaugh's Tony Soprano.

That said, we shouldn't have expected Kubes to have to caveat his enthusiastic return to Baltimore with a "Yeah but." Who knew when Kubiak said he'd be back for another season as part of the Ravens' staff that the Denver Broncos would have a coaching implosion, with John Fox getting shitcanned mutually agreeing to part ways with the team just two days after their season-ending loss to the Colts?

Clearly, Gary Kubiak didn't, otherwise he likely would've laid low for another week before giving a job status, because as of Sunday night, Gary Kubiak, he of the 61-64 overall record and two playoff wins in eight seasons, is the new head coach of the Denver Broncos.

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