Check out bonus footage of Howie Long’s interview with the 49ers’ linebackers.
Laces Out Latest
Fans in San Francisco discuss their appreciation of 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his sudden rise to stardom.
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock claimed this week that an unspecified injury kept him from holding up his end of a friendly bet with Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. When the Ravens beat the Broncos last week, Hancock was slated to perform Ray Lewis’ famous pregame dance. The Denver Mayor did not default on the bet but we have still yet to see the dance. The substitute for the dance showed up in the Baltimore Mayor’s office by Thursday according to the Baltimore Sun, a box of dry aged rib-eye from Lombardi Brother’s Meats.
In lieu of being physically capable to do the Ray Lewis dance, Mayor Hancock sent quality steaks to Mayor Rawlings-Blake. On Saturday, Rawlings-Blake kept the spirit of giving and the spirit of the bet alive when she gave the steaks to Baltimore Fire Department, Engine Company 52. Do not worry,the gift from the Mayor to the fire department was pre-approved by the local union president. Company 52 received the steaks because they represent Ray Lewis both numerically and in demeanor. Baltimore’s Company 52 has the reputation of being resilient and tough. The Mayor rewarded their dedication to serving the community with a small token of gratitude, and together the mayor and the fire department offer an even larger token of ‘good luck next year’ to their counter parts in Denver.
I can think of few people who would enjoy the fruits of a Baltimore Mayoral bet, won by Ray Lewis and the Ravens than a hard nosed group of fire fighters donning number 52. Good work Mayor Rawlings-Blake. Mayor Hancock, go straighten some things out with John Fox.
Everybody loves to bet on sports! Why? Because what better way to prove to your friend you know more about sports than by taking something from him.
A proud Cleveland fan might say something like, “The Browns are gonna win 10 games this year!”
“Wanna bet?” says his best friend, a rabid Steelers fan. Sports fans love to bet.
Every game is predetermined by bets, numbers, lines, over/unders and anything else that can let fans know ahead of time who will win the game. Maybe we all just want to know the future.
Some people think they can control the future, just ask Pete Rose. Some people think the future is uncontrollable, like anyone that bet the second half line of the ’93 Bills vs. Oilers game where Buffalo game back from a 32-point deficit, who saw that comin’? Face it, people bet on everything, even when they know they can’t win. Like Caribbean Stud poker, field bets in craps and the 2012 Chiefs.
Betting needs three things: two people to bet, a game and a reward.
You can always find someone to bet. That’s not a problem. And there’s almost always a game of some sort. So when it comes to a wager, people usually go with money, it’s pretty easy. When you don’t have money maybe you bet something ridiculous like eating a bar of soap, yes that actually happened, and recently. Some Nebraska fan said he’d eat a bar of soap against $200, if Texas beat his beloved Huskers, AND THEY DID! Didn’t he ever have his mouth washed out with soap? See, you don’t always need money, but you can forget about the gentleman’s bet, those days are long gone. Maybe you could bet $1 like the boys in ‘Trading Places’? Or maybe you can just get right down to business and bet on PRIDE!
That’s what the Michael Hancock, mayor of Denver, decided to wager against Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, mayor of Baltimore. The bet was, if Denver lost Hancock would perform Ray Lewis’ pregame dance publicly in Denver. Well it’s been four days since the loss and still … NO DANCE. Rumors are fluttering around Denver like the winter snow, that he hurt himself on a horse, pulled a muscle getting ready to dance and one rumor says he hurt himself sneezing. Or was that Sammy Sosa? What is this, ‘Dancing with the Stars’? How bad are you hurt that you can’t pull of the Ray Lewis shuffle? There is not worse bet than an unpaid bet! And what will come next?
Maybe Hancock feels that he’s not responsible? Maybe John Fox should do the dance for not going for it with 31 seconds left?
What about Peyton? He threw that interception to seal the game, why doesn’t he do the dance? It’s not the chicken dance, I’m sure his neck will be fine.
Champ Bailey? He watched plenty of celebration dances at his expense last Sunday.
Tim Tebow? I have no idea why he should dance for Hancock, but I’m sure if he was still in Denver he would bite that bullet.
The owner of Papa Johns? I’m sure he’d have no problem turning it into a PR stunt to sell some pies.
The bottom line is that someone is going to have to pay up, that’s how bets work, after all, a bet’s a bet.
MLB All-Stars make NFL Picks
Early Wednesday morning, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reports that the Chicago Bears have told their final three coaching candidates of their plan. They plan to hire Mark Trestman.
Trestman may seem on the surface to be an unconventional hire since he has been out of the NFL for eight years, but he is more than qualified. For those plugged into the NFL coaching scene, Trestman is a familiar name, not only because he was an NFL assistant for 17 years, but because his name has been kicked around for several coaching vacancies over the last few years. For the last five years, Trestman led the Montreal Alouettes to two Grey Cup championships in the Canadian Football League. Trestman has plenty of NFL experience as well as plenty of head coaching experience. The unique aspect of this hire is that the Bears get a coach with real head coaching experience without the stink of a recent NFL firing on him.
The Bears obviously wanted to go in an offensive direction, and ideally hire a coach who can maximize performance out of Jay Cutler. Trestman is considered a QB guru having helped many in his career including coaching Rich Gannon to an MVP season. Oh ya, and Trestman also helped Cutler prepare for the 2006 NFL draft combine as a consultant. The only question left is selling this hire to the average fan.
As we inch closer to the Super Bowl, the competition gets stiffer and the lies get more absurd. Welcome to 2 Truths and a Lie, the most fun game to play to review the week in the NFL. All you need to do to play is pick out which two statements about a game in the NFL are true and which is false. Good luck!
SF 45- GB 31
- Colin Kaepernick set a playoff record with 181 rushing yards. He also threw for 263 yards.
- Jim Harbaugh looks like a genius for switching from Alex Smith to Colin Kaepernick mid-season.
- Alex Smith felt really good about himself trotting out to mid field for the coin toss on Saturday.
Bal 38- Den 35 (2 OT)
- Joe Flacco made the Homeland of throws by completing one of the most spectacular passes in playoff history.
- Peyton Manning threw an interception that all but ended the game.
- Rahim Moore always wanted to be a professional athlete growing up just like his hero, Bill Buckner.
Atl 30- Sea 28
- Matt Ryan and Tony Gonzalez got their first playoff win driving the field to win on a field goal with :08 seconds left.
- The Seahawks almost completed an epic 20 point fourth quarter comeback.
- Russell Wilson should have kept playing baseball.
NE 41- Hou 28
- Tom Brady set the record for playoff wins by a QB with 17.
- Rob Gronkowski re-injured his left forearm and will miss the rest of the season.
- Tom Brady is extremely concerned about losing one of his biggest targets because he is afraid he cannot make players like Shane Vereen look like All-Pros.
Brian Billick takes safeties to task in this week’s edition.
By Mike Botticello
In the season that Gangnam Style became an international sensation, and a stadium fixture, dancing and celebrations have become a thing of the past. Over is the era that the touchdown equated to a rehearsed, anticipated end zone jubilee. We have entered the time that the touchdown dance is no more.
The league’s top players aren’t known for their end zone dances, they’re known for…of all things…scoring touchdowns.
To officially say good bye to the end zone celebration, we should first remember where it came from. The godfather of the touchdown dance was Billy “White Shoes” Johnson, who made his living as a kick returner and his name with his take on the funky chicken. No group had a better time scoring in the 80’s than the Redskins’ Fun Bunch, who has been credited with the league’s ban on excessive celebrations. And, of course, recall the Ickey Shuffle and you will find no finer, timely and beloved scoring routine in the history of the game.
Still, the golden age of the touchdown dance was ultimately besieged by the turn of the century version of the touchdown celebration. Sharpies, cell phones, popcorn and cheerleaders became props, and what was once good, wholesome fun was now forced and over thought.
Chad Johnson was creative, a student to the end zone stage. He worked to usher in a new age of the touchdown dance, which was anything but routine. It was a sideshow. From Michael Flatley to Tiger Woods, a marriage proposal to a Hall of Fame jacket, Chad constantly had to top himself. Yet, as is star faded, so too did his celebrations. And the torch had been passed, but was ultimately too burdensome to maintain. With a continuous quest for new material, the creative well ran dry.
All was not lost for us to look forward to when the game’s best players reached pay dirt. Much to the game officials’ delight, celebrations would become far less excessive.
Former NFL vice president of officiating and current NFL on FOX rules analyst, Mike Pereira, points to coaching as the main factor, “it has everything to do with coaches and it’s because of the penalty, “ Pereira says. “It’s not just a penalty on one player, but it affects the whole team.”
A look at the top scorers in the league, Arian Foster, Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski, Calvin Johnson and Victor Cruz, we see a subdued, dignified scoring reaction. Foster’s bow, Graham and Johnson’s dunk over the uprights, Gronk’s spike, Cruz’s salsa dance (a tribute to his grandmother), and even the unthinkable, a toss of the ball to the referee (see Adrian Peterson: class act) have become the norm. They do the job, capping off the scoring play and getting the stadium rocking.
It’s not that a touchdown cannot be fun, it’s the best moment in a football game, but good players now understand something essential in scoring. They’ve done it before, many times. They’ve been there before and they know it. They score often and expect to.
So is the party over? Have we seen the end of the fun? For now, yes, but for a sport so infused with energy and passion, the joy of the touchdown will always be great. As for the dancing, that will be up to us in the stands.