Monthly Archives: September 2017

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Jake Elliott went to work on Sunday morning as just another anonymous kicker in the NFL. His head hit the pillow last night as a Philadelphia folk hero. Not bad for a guy signed off the Bengals’ practice squad a couple weeks ago. Could any feeling in sports — nay, life — be as good as your entire team sprinting toward you like that?

To properly contextualize the importance of Elliott’s 61-yard game-winner, you have to understand how much Eagles fans and Giants fans absolutely detest each other. It’s probably my favorite NFL fan rivalry — just an infinite flow of venom and vitriol coming from both directions for like 80 years. And to beat the Giants with an insanely unlikely kick like that? To drop New York to 0-3 and put the Eagles in first place? There’s a reason Elliott was carried off the field like he was freakin’ Rudy.

Oh dammit, I’m going to embed the end of Rudy again, aren’t I? Show some restraint, Dan.That’s the good stuff.

Donald Trump’s controversial comments on anthem protests created one of the most memorable NFL Sundays in years. Here are just a few of the scenes across the country:

 

 

 

 

 

 

What started more than a year ago as a solitary act of expression by Colin Kaepernick has evolved into the defining story of this NFL season. Real life has spilled into the nation’s favorite sport in a manner we rarely see.

 

I loved Jim Tomsula getting that sweet, sweet NBC prime-time love during the Redskins’ thorough domination of the Raiders on Sunday night. Tomsula — who was briefly off the pro football grid after being asked to rearrange the deck chairs of the Titanic (a.k.a. serve as 49ers head coach in 2015) — is now the Redskins’ defensive line coach. He’s doing pretty well for himself it appears.

You can take your sideline glory boys, the young hotshots with famous pedigrees, all the old legends with rings and documentaries and beach houses and prestige. Give me the dude who looks like he can average a 207 in your uncle’s Thursday night bowling league.

Hey Jimmy, we need you to pick up that 7-10 split!

“I got you.”

 

Here’s a nice little reminder that even gifted athletes like Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill are vulnerable to clumsy wipeouts. Stars, they’re just like us!

 

That’s Texans defensive end Jadeveon Clowney having the audacity to mimic the Gronk Spike in Foxborough. Other than the obvious difference here — you southpaws are all weirdos — Clowney seems to have a lot of the mechanics right here. And since Gronk scores a touchdown in any game he’s not sidelined with a maimed knee/back/arm/groin, we can easily double-check Clowney’s work with an example from Sunday:

 

Nice representation, Jadeveon. And kudos to Gronk, who doesn’t get enough credit for making the spike cool again.

 

You’d make this face too if you were called for three penalties in one play. A rough day for the Seahawks’ defense all around.

 

I know they got the call right. But that doesn’t mean an otherwise entertaining matchup between the Lions and Falcons had to end with a referee telling everyone to go home. I get the argument: It would be unfair to let the Lions run one more play after the review revealed that Golden Tate was down before reaching the end zone. But isn’t it equally unfair to assume Detroit wouldn’t have been able to get one more play off before time expired?

The compromise seems easy: One untimed down from the previous spot. Let the best team win. I’m not sure that happened at Ford Field on Sunday.

 

Shoot your shot, kids. That’s the life lesson here. Until next week …

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia — By the time the Elvis Presley impersonator singing tunes between whistles had left the building, the NHL’s newest franchise was well on its way to victory in its first exhibition game.

Tyler Wong scored three times and added an assist to help the expansion Vegas Golden Knights rout the Vancouver Canucks 9-4 on Sunday. Wong scored the first exhibition goal in club history.

“It’s a huge honor,” Wong said. “The city’s very excited to get a team. To be a part of excitement like that is something special. It’s a pretty cool moment for all of us.”

The Golden Knights dressed a roster of mostly prospects and fringe NHLers, leaving behind the likes of forwards James Neal, Jonathan Marchessault, David Perron and Cody Eakin, defensemen Brayden McNabb and Deryk Engelland, and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.

In the spirit of Vegas’ debut, the Elvis impersonator sang classics such as “Viva Las Vegas” and “Burning Love” during some of the TV timeouts at Rogers Arena for some added Sin City flair to what was, for the most part, a sloppy game.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity being able to be part of an expansion team,” said Golden Knights forward Cody Glass, the sixth pick in the draft this summer. “I’m just trying to take it all in.”

Vegas coach Gerard Gallant was happy with the way his youngsters performed, but like his players, he also took the opportunity to soak in the moment.

“We had two rookie games last week, but this is the first real NHL game,” Gallant said. “The first time stepping on the ice was real good, and you do feel good about it.”

Tomas Hyka scored twice, Tomas Nosek had a goal and two assists, and Nick Suzuki added a goal and an assist. Paul Thompson and Alex Tuch also scored, Brad Hunt chipped in with three assists, and Glass had two assists.
Tomas Hyka was responsible for two of the Golden Knights’ nine goals in their preseason-opening win over the Canucks. Rich Lam/Getty Images
Wearing their road white uniforms with grey, gold and red trim, along with black pants and white-and-gold gloves, the Golden Knights survived a 5-on-3 power play for 1:44 early in the first period before Wong opened the scoring. The winger collected a chipped feed from Glass on a power play, cut down the right and beat goalie Richard Bachman with a short-side backhander at 4:58.

“The puck was finding me in good spots,” said Wong, who had 43 goals and 46 assists in 72 games with the major junior Lethbridge Hurricanes last season and signed as an undrafted free agent. “I was able to bury them.”
Brock Boeser scored twice and had an assist for Vancouver. Philip Holm and Jordan Subban also scored.

Almost all of the Canucks’ veterans were on a charter plane on their way to China for games against the Los Angeles Kings in Beijing and Shanghai. Trent Cull, the head coach of the Canucks’ AHL affiliate in Utica, New York, was behind the bench, with Travis Green and his assistants on their way to China.

The Golden Knights will play three more times on the road before their first preseason home game Sept. 26 against Los Angeles.

“I hope [Vegas fans] don’t expect that every night,” Gallant said. “It’s a lot of fun in our market, and I am sure they are going to enjoy that, but it’s an exhibition game.”

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Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker, as a 2014 NBA first-round draftee, is eligible to sign an extension from his rookie-scale contract up to Oct. 16 at 6 p.m. ET. Despite tearing his left ACL for the second time in three years last February and currently seven months through a 12-month rehab program, Parker believes he’s worth a max, five-year extension that could be worth around $148 million.

Rumor CentralBucks beat writer Gery Woelfel writes: “Multiple sources claim Parker will be seeking a contract similar to the one he expected to receive prior to his latest injury.”

When asked, agent Mark Bartelstein confirmed he has already talked to general manager Jon Horst about an extension for Parker.

“We have had discussions; there has been dialogue,” Bartelstein said. “It’s been a positive dialogue. But that’s all I can say at this time.”

While the Bucks are likely willing to offer an extension, Horst might only go as far as the deal signed by Giannis Antetokounmpo last October that will pay “The Greek Freak” $100 million from 2017-18 through the 2020-21 season.

If Parker doesn’t sign an extension by the October deadline, he will become a restricted free agent in 2018.

In 51 appearances last season, Parker averaged 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists.

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The Roberto Clemente Award goes to the Major Leaguer who “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team.” Curtis Granderson won the award last year. This year’s nominees were just announced:

Arizona Diamondbacks – Paul Goldschmidt
Atlanta Braves – Jason Motte
Baltimore Orioles – Chris Davis
Boston Red Sox – Rick Porcello
Chicago Cubs – Anthony Rizzo
Chicago White Sox – José Abreu
Cincinnati Reds – Scooter Gennett
Cleveland Indians – Carlos Carrasco
Colorado Rockies – Ian Desmond
Detroit Tigers – Miguel Cabrera
Houston Astros – Jose Altuve
Kansas City Royals – Drew Butera
Los Angeles Angels – Cameron Maybin
Los Angeles Dodgers – Justin Turner
Miami Marlins – Dee Gordon
Milwaukee Brewers – Matt Garza
Minnesota Twins – Joe Mauer
New York Mets – T.J. Rivera
New York Yankees – Brett Gardner
Oakland Athletics – Liam Hendriks
Philadelphia Phillies – Cameron Rupp
Pittsburgh Pirates – Josh Harrison
St. Louis Cardinals – Adam Wainwright
San Diego Padres – Hunter Renfroe
San Francisco Giants – Buster Posey
Seattle Mariners – Robinson Canó
Tampa Bay Rays – Evan Longoria
Texas Rangers – Cole Hamels
Toronto Blue Jays – Marcus Stroman
Washington Nationals – Ryan Zimmerman

Maybin remains the Angels’ nominee despite joining the Houston Astros at the end of August.

The league-wide winner of the Roberto Clemente Award, who will be announced during the 2017 World Series, will be selected among the group of nominees via a blue ribbon panel that includes individuals connected to the game. The blue ribbon panel includes Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr., representatives from MLB-affiliated networks (MLB Network, FOX Sports, ESPN and TBS) and MLB Advanced Media, and Vera Clemente (the late Roberto’s wife). There is also a fan voting component to this, with the winner of the fan vote, which begins in October, getting one “blue ribbon panel” vote.