Category Archives: Just Sports

You know its bad at USC when…

You decide to return one of your school’s Heisman Trophies, and its not even the one won by a player who allegedly killed his wife and another guy, and is currently doing a long stint in prison.

Yikes.

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Filed under Just Sports, What the F%$#!!!

Drew Litton Rox!

The “I never doubted the Rox for a minute except for when Holliday hit that huge home run and I turned the channel until the bottom of the ninth” edition. I’ve never been so happy to be so tired.

See more Drew Litton cartoons here.

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Filed under Just Cool, Just Sports, What the F%$#!!!

Why the U.S. win against Algeria is the most important moment in American soccer history

I’ve needed to settle down for awhile after that riveting soccer game that saw Landon Donovan score the game winner in stoppage time before writing this post.  I’ve done that, now let me tell why this game (and win) were so important to the popularity of soccer in the U.S.A.

There’s basically three camps in the United States when it comes to soccer.

1.  There’s the “soccer sucks and the only way I’m watching is if I’m being tortured” camp.

2.  The “I’m not a soccer fan, but I watch the World Cup and I’ll go to an MLS game if I get a ticket” group.

3.  The “I have three fantasy league soccer teams with players from the leagues in Brazil, Greece, and Russia” camp.

In the past, the second and third groups have watched the U.S. soccer team with high hopes.  The team has been alleged to be good but in reality have flamed out far below expectations.  Moreover, there have been plenty of opportunities for the U.S. team to get that signature win which makes Americans take notice.  A 1-0 loss to Germany in 2002, A tie to Italy in 2006, and the 2009 Confederation loss to Brazil after leading 2-0.  In each case, the fans were told, the team played well but just was unlucky to win.  We’ll get ’em next time.

Hogwash!

It’s been obvious for years that the only way soccer gets any credibility is to get results and do some damage on Soccer’s biggest stage.  This World Cup gave the U.S. the perfect chance.  No overinflated expectations as in 2006, when the U.S. was ranked 5th in the world, nor any “just happy to be here” sentiments.  Win or failure.  An ideal most Americans, even the non-soccer fans, understand.

Then there’s been the way they played so far.  See, the only way Americans are gonna watch a sport they normally wouldn’t is if there is drama and excitement.   They need riveting theater.  This World Cup has given it to them.

First, they come back against England, yes with the help of an atrocious goal, but they came back nonetheless.

Theater.  They showed some true “American” grit.

Then they suck against Slovenia, but come back late to score two goals and the winner, only to be screwed by “the call.”

Theater.  There was action, drama, and outrage.

Everything led up to the game with Algeria, and the stakes were right where any red blooded American wants them.  Back against the wall.  Win or die.

For 90 minutes they let the drama simmer.  Lost chances?   Check.  More villainy?  Check.  The specter of those “unlucky soccer kids who played well but can’t win” hanging in the air?  Definitely check.  Add to that England’s goal that cemented the “win or die” storyline and you have the perfect set up.

And as the seconds kept ticking away, the tension built and built.  We’re talking “will they find the bomb in the schoolyard in time’ tension.

Then….as “official time” ended and all hope was lost, Tim Howard, goalkeeper, saves the day, keeping the ball out of the net and throwing (throwing?) the ball some 60 yards to a streaking Donovan…..

Hope.

Donovan pass the ball to Altidore…….

Hope.

Altidore gets the ball in to Dempsey who HAS THE SHOT SAVED!

Nooooooooooooooo!

BUT THE GOALIE CAN’T HOLD IT AND…..

long pause to hold breath.

DONOVAN SCORES!!!!!!!!!!!  OH MY GOD!!!!!!!

Bars, offices, schools, my couch, erupted in cheers.  The only people not happy were the Hollywood writers who wished they’d thought of this moment for a script.

Even more important was that millions of Americans saw a soccer game, a 1-0 soccer game, that was the total opposite of the “boring, unwatchable tripe” memo that sports talk hosts had been feeding them for years.

Now they understand what the world has known for years.  Soccer can be pretty darn exciting.

So do all the Americans who cheered Donovan’s late heroics start following the MLS?  Of course not, but some will.  And do all those fans leave, if and when the U.S. loses against Ghana, or Uruguay, or South Korea?  Some, but that really doesn’t matter very much because now U.S. Soccer has produced a split second where all Americans, soccer fans and detractors experienced what the game of soccer could give them.  Drama, excitement, exhilaration.

U.S. soccer now has its moment, and nothing or no one can take that away.

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Filed under Just Cool, Just Sports, Uncategorized, What the F%$#!!!

The word of the day is…..

BRONCOS!!!!!!!!

Just ask Drew Litton

The Real Thing

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Filed under Colorado Football, Just Cool, Just Sports

A thought about the Olympics pick

I found it pretty amazing that no South American country has ever hosted an Olympics and I think it’s about time that they got one.

Congratulations to Rio and Brazil!!!!

And thank goodness ol’ Chavez didn’t get them.  Could you just imagine?

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Filed under Just Sports, Politics, What the F%$#!!!

Shannon Sharpe knows how to make an entrance

Congrats to Shannon for making the Bronco Ring of Fame.

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Filed under Just Cool, Just Sports, press box follies

Confederations Cup results: A balanced view

When looking at the U.S. finishing 2nd in the Confederations Cup, it is easy to start getting excited about the team.  I think, however, the excitement might be a little premature.

If we look at the tournament in its entirety we see, not a soccer team ready to vie for a World Cup, but rather a team that made the semifinals via the longest of long shots.  Did they deserve to be there?  Sure, they made their own luck, but that’s not to say that they’ve been a dominant team recently.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the victory over Spain was an excellent win, but it was a bit like surviving a siege.  The U.S. were dominated in every aspect of that game except on the scoreboard.  The U.S. will not get very far next summer, or even in CONCACAF letting Tim Howard get shelled every game.

That’s the problem.  The U.S. played the same way for every game of the Confederations Cup except for their game against Egypt, a team ranked considerably lower than them that they should beat every time.

When you look at each game of the tourney, it becomes even more obvious that the U.S. is not nearly ready for primetime.

Game 1:  They go up 1-0 at halftime and then let in 3 second half goals to Italy and lose 3 -1.

Game 2:  They get blown out by Brazil, who score 3 first half goals and cruise.  The final is 3 – 0.

In fact, going into the third game against Egypt, who beat Italy and nearly beat Brazil, most thought it was going to be another blowout.

Game 3:  The U.S. did a great job and finally played to win rather than not to lose, but the 3-0 win only helped them when Italy collapsed against Brazil.

Game 4:  The U.S. scored a goal early, then held on for dear life against Spain, who everyone knows overlooked the U.S..  Even then, Spain had most of the chances and were unlucky to score.  A late U.S. goal makes the final 2-0, but there was no time in that match that U.S. looked equal to Spain.

Game 5:  Finally the U.S. played like they may be ready to do something in the World Cup.  The first half against Brazil was the best they’ve played in months, but 45 minutes doesn’t make a game, and to be fair, Brazil still had most of the play.  If Tim Howard doesn’t make several huge saves, the game is tied at the half.  The U.S. comes out  and gets crushed in the second half when Brazil scores 3 (really 4) goals and ends up with the trophy.

The U.S. really played about 120 minutes of good soccer out of a possible 450 minutes played.  Not really the type of performance we should be expecting out of the 14th best team in the World, according to FIFA.

In fact, I believe that if the U.S. keeps playing the way they did for most of the Confederations Cup in CONCACAF qualifying, they might not even make it to the World Cup next summer.

The U.S. has a lot of work to do before next summer.  They would do well to study their play in the whole tourney rather than focusing on where they finished.

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Filed under Just Sports, Soccer Coaching Craziness

What hath these Nuggets wrought?

DREAD!

Long time Colorado sports fans know this feeling well, too well in fact.

It’s a feeling that is comfortable and uncomfortable at the same time, like an old wool blanket at your grandmother’s house. It’s warm and comfortable, but no matter how wonderful it feels, you know the scratchy, smoky, sneezy side will rear its ugly head.  It’s just a matter of time.

Denver sports teams are a lot like that blanket. Fans have grown up knowing that a local team is good, maybe great, but just knowing the other shoe is going to drop as heightened expectations are dashed by reality.

You need examples? Denver has plenty.

There were the hopes of the Orange Crush in ’77 and the expectations of the three Amigos in ’88, both dashed in Super Bowl blowouts. It got so bad many of us didn’t want to see the Broncos in the Super Bowl in 1998. We didn’t think we could take the pain of another trouncing.

There was the hard-court magic in 85 and 94 where Nuggets playoff wins were tempered by the knowledge that the climb to the top was too steep and that a title was never going to be in the cards.

There was even the magic of 2007 where thoughts of a World Series title were trashed by Rockies ticket agents before even one pitch was thrown.

Even when a title has landed in Denver, most have come with a bit of tarnish. The Avs in 1996 and 2001 felt bought, not earned. Colorado’s football championship was shared, thanks to the pettiness of the Little Red’s coach who, despite no rivalry, couldn’t stand to see the Buffs win a title before him.

Yes Saint John’s Super Bowls were great, but many wonder if all the years of pain that preceded them were worth it.

Now it’s the Nuggets once again, and the dread is back. In spades.

The Nuggets look strong, but…

DREAD!

Don’t get me wrong, these Nuggets are good, but even as they fought, and clawed, and defended (defended?) their way to the second seed in the West, no one believed they could win it all. Most picked them as the team that would get upset in the first round.

DREAD!

Only these Nuggets showed them.

They not only beat the Hornets, but dismantled them so thoroughly that the sheik pick for team of the future is contemplating rebuilding.

Dallas is next. Sure Denver has dominated them the last two years, but the playoffs are different. And it sure felt different for the first quarter and a half of Game 1.

DREAD!

But the tough as nails Nuggets came back and won easily. And then the Los Angeles Lakers, the elephants in the room called the West, got beat. At home.

Denver’s chances are improving daily. And more and more people are thinking if Houston can beat the Lakers, why not the Nuggets? Suddenly talk of getting to the Finals doesn’t sound so shrink worthy. Or does it?

DREAD!

There’s a long way to go, and Dallas isn’t out by a long shot. Neither is Los Angeles. But this team feels different somehow. They feel like the type of team that worries everyone else. The Nuggets are a tough, mean, athletic, composed juggernaut that finally learned to win a playoff series and realized how good they can be. But is that good, good enough?

DREAD!

Yeah, Chauncey has worked wonders, but are the ‘Melo, Kenyon, J.R., and Nene of years past gone for good, or just waiting for the worst possible moment to…to…I can’t even go down that road.

DREAD!

So what’s a gun-shy Denver fan to do? Well, one could always just turn the television of and save themselves the pain.

Not me. I’ll be following the advice of noted Denver sports fan Alfred Lord Tennyson, who after San Francisco’s 55-10 demolition of the Broncos in 1989, wrote. “’Tis better to have loved Denver teams and lost badly then to never have been to the playoffs at all.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy Denver’s latest thrill ride.  Just try not to think about the…

DREAD!

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Filed under General Nonsense, Just Sports

WOW!!!! Just WOW!!!!

There are a lot of headlines that could have appeared today that I wouldn’t have been shocked seeing.

This isn’t one of those.

After 14 seasons and two Super Bowl wins, Mike Shanahan is out in Denver.

Excuse me while I peel my jaw off the floor.

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Filed under Colorado Football, Just Sports, What the F%$#!!!

In the press box……Denver v Kansas City

It’s a beautiful sunny day in the press box.  It looks cold outside, but I’m relaxing in a regulated 72 degree indoor environment. I am a bit non-plussed however.  A second straight game with only vanilla ice cream.  Where’s the chocolate pudding ice cream? Also the Broncos are wearing orange.  There was once a day when I was happy about this, but they don’t seem to do as well when wearing orange anymore.  I hope that changes today. More bad news.  Apparently Gidget is picking K.C.  Not good.

Kansas City wins the toss and will receive.

Get the rest

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Filed under Just Sports, press box follies