If you’re like most Americans, you probably haven’t given winter sports much thought since the 2006 Winter Olympics. But with the 2010 Games set to get cranking in Vancouver, you’ll want to sound knowledgeable. Couple this cheat sheet with a Scandinavian accent and you’ll be golden! (Get it? Like a GOLD medal!)
>>> What the Heck is:
Skeleton: Like luge, but participants go down the track headfirst. This slightly alters the Doppler effect of the screaming human speeding by you at 80 mph.
Short track speed skating: Basically, roller derby on ice, only less orderly and with many, many, many more Koreans.
Curling: Competitors slide “stones” along a patch of ice and then use brooms to melt the ice in path of the stones so they stop in specific places. Extra points if you avoid the sawdust the janitor threw down over that little girl’s vomit.
Biathlon: This event combines cross country skiing and shooting a rifle. And it will give Kevin Costner the idea for a $700 million budget movie called “Snow World”.
Snowboardcross: A race that’s basically motocross on a snowboard. As long as we’re making up ridiculous sports, any chance we could give out medals for snow fort building?It’s our chance for Olympic glory.
Super G: A very fast downhill skiing slalom race. Not to be confused with “Supa G,” which generally refers to Nate Dogg.
Nordic Combined:Obviously, this event combines the two things Nordic nations like best: white people and disgusting pickled foodstuffs. Whichever blonde wolfs down the most herring in an hour takes the gold!
>>> Did You Know?
- That the skiing-and-shooting combination of biathlon was originally inspired by a hugely successful string of liquor store robberies in Sweden?
- That the Vancouver Games’ mascots, Sumi, Quatchi, and Miga, were taken from a rejected shirt submission to Threadless and will now haunt your dreams for weeks?
- That curling was invented by an obsessive-compulsive Canadian housewife who insisted on sweeping her family’s backyard pond each morning?
- That the Opening Ceremony has a budget of $40 million? Pathetic. For the Beijing Games, China spent that much just on adult diapers so their performers could practice 20 hours a day.
- That Ethiopia is sending a one-athlete delegation to the Games? His job is to fill up his pockets with as much free grub from the Olympic Village as he can, and then get the hell out of there.
- That NBC Winter Olympics host Bob Costas in preparation for the Games has learned more than 12,000 facts about winter sports, the Olympics and Canada? Do you have any idea how sad that is?
>>> Names to Know:
Mirai Nagasu: America’s 16-year-old figure skating phenom. Cheer for her, because if she doesn’t win, her parents might not let her eat until the 2014 Games are over. BECAUSE SHE WON’T DESERVE TO!
Apolo Anton Ono: Japanese-American Dancing with the Stars champion who also dabbles in short track speed skating and competitive soul patch growing. His five Olympic medals are impressive. But scoring with Mormon dance partner Julianne Hough would have been way more impressive.
Lindsey Vonn: American downhill skiing phenom who is currently struggling with a bruised shin. Pray for her, America; she’s our best hope. Plus, she’s cute! It’s like we finally got our wish of having a female Picabo Street.
Bode Miller: Think of every insufferable, self-righteous hippie a-hole you’ve ever met. Now, put them on skis. You’ve pretty much got the picture.
Shani Davis: American speed skater who is already the first black athlete to win an individual medal at the Winter Olympics. Try not to make racist comparisons to African-American basketball stars when describing his dominance. He’s like the Larry Bird of speed skating.
Shaun White: If you don’t already know who Shaun White is, you must really not care about sports. And we are very, very jealous of your not knowing who Shaun White is.
Count Jacques Rogge: Belgian orthopedic surgeon who is the head of the International Olympic Committee. He seems legit, but keep an eye on him. We’ve seen too many movies to trust a European count with an accent like that; he’s probably on the verge of unveiling his weather-control device.
Sidney Crosby: He’s been a Canadian legend since he was a small boy. At age 22, he’s already won a Stanley Cup and been named NHL MVP. Yet if his Canadian hockey team fails to win gold in Vancouver, he will be tarred and feathered (or syruped and beaver-haired as they do it in Canada).
Liu Yan: Chinese figure skating champion. She’s listed as being 25 years old, which means that she likely just turned seven. Wish her a happy birthday!
Johnny Weir – American figure skater. He is considered a very flamboyant skater. And that’s by the figure skating community. Really. He once dressed in a swan costume. Unfortunately, his experimental alt-pop is not nearly as good as Bjork’s.
Helena Jonsson: Ha! Like you didn’t already know who the best female biathlete in the world was. Very funny. What’s next, you’re going to tell us you don’t remember Justyna Kowalczyk winning last year’s cross-country skiing world title?
Stephen Colbert – The guy you’ll be getting most of your Winter Olympics news from.
>>> What’s the Difference?
Between Figure Skating and Ice Dancing: Pretty much the same, except ice dancing has less jumping, and the guys’ fathers are 40% more ashamed of their parenting choices.
Between Downhill and the Giant Slalom: Bode Miller will achieve faster speeds while failing to medal in the downhill than he will while failing to medal in the giant slalom.
Between a Triple Lutz, a Triple Salchow and a Triple Axel: Wait for the figure skating TV commentator to say "Triple Lutz!", "Triple Salchow"! or "Triple Axel!"
Between the Winter Olympics and the Summer Olympics: NBC loses even more money during the Winter Olympics. It’s like Jay Leno’s show on skates.
Between Canada and the United States: Who knows. Maybe we’ll find out in the next two weeks! YAY!
Chances are you’ll host or attend a Super Bowl party on Sunday. And chances also are approximately 97.8-percent of the people in attendance will know absolutely nothing about football.
Not a problem!
Just pass out copies of this handy Super Bowl cheat sheet, and soon all your guests will be talking football as expertly as any ex-jock (who has suffered multiple concussions).
>>> SOME CONVERSATION TIPS <<<
Don’t Question: “Why do we care what Tim Tebow thinks about a complex issue like abortion?”
Instead, Announce: “I guess it really is a shame when something dies before it ever even comes to life…like Tebow’s career as a pro quarterback!”
Don’t Wager: On the outcome of the game. You can’t win. Vegas is too good.
Instead, Bet: On the outcome of the coin flip. People will tell you it’s random chance, but heads is a lock this year.
Don’t Say: “Why is the Who playing the halftime show? Isn’t Pete Townsend a registered sex offender?”
Instead, Announce: “God, I hope this means next year’s halftime show will just be a series of short films by Roman Polanski.”
Don't Say: "The Colts' pass defense doesn't look very good."
Instead, Jeer: "A cover-two? What is this, 1997?" Don't worry about what this means. Only three or four people in the country know what a cover-two defense really is, and the chances of one of them being at your party are infinitesimally small.
Don’t Ask:“Who is winning?”
Instead, Look:At the screen and figure it out yourself. It’s somewhere on there. No, not that. That’s the game clock. And no, over there is little promo thing for a CBS show. And below that are game stats. And above that is just random scribbles on the screen done by an apparently drunk announcer with a telestrator. You know what? Just wait until the end of the game. They’ll probably announce the score then.
Don’t Say:“I just watch the game for the commercials.”
Instead, Say:Nothing! Keep your trap shut! You might talk over the commercials!
>>> KNOW THE KEY PLAYERS <<<
Peyton Manning: You know, one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. Not ringing any bells? Number 18 on the Colts. The blue and white team. Okay, fine: the guy with the giant forehead from all of the commercials. Yep, he plays football, too!
Archie Manning: Mediocre former Saints QB who has sired two Super-Bowl-winning sons. A powerful reminder that even if you are a loser, your semen could be destined for great things.
Drew Brees: The Saints’ star quarterback who’s helped rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Not just metaphorically, either. He spends the entire offseason hanging sheetrock in the Lower Ninth Ward. Heckuva job, Breesy!
Reggie Bush: The Saints’ nimble pass-catching, kick-returning running back. You may know him as the boyfriend with whom Kim Kardashian hasn’t released a sex tape. Yet.
Sean Payton: The Saints’ brilliant, exhausted-looking head coach. To be fair, you’d tired, too, if you hadn’t slept in five months. At this point, the only things keeping Payton alive are Mountain Dew and voodoo.
The football: Brown, oblong. It's the thing you were sometimes pelted with in elementary school. Remember now? Yeah, all that therapy didn't completely remove it from your memory.
Jim Caldwell: The Colts’ alleged head coach, Caldwell actually just lets Manning run the team while he enjoys a soothing loop of Air Supply’s greatest hits on his headset. Look for Indy to run their vaunted “All Out of Love 37” blitz at some point during the game.
Dwight Freeney’s ankle ligament: A torn piece of connective tissue attached to a very large, very fast man who will be wearing blue and white.
Jeremy Shockey: The guy on the Saints’ sideline who looks like he should be singing in a Nickelback cover band. Occasionally plays tight end, too, while looking like a guy in a Nickelback cover band wearing a helmet.
Garrett Hartley and Matt Stover: These are the kickers on each team. Only two of four guys on the field who don’t appear to think steroids is a major food group. (The other two are the punters.) You won’t need to know their names … unless one of them misses a potentially game-winning kick at the end of the game. Then that guy will become a national punchline and you’ll want to get in on the fun.
Guacamole: Popular Mexican avocado-based dip likely to be the only interesting thing about this game after the first quarter. Try it on a tortilla chip!
>>> WHAT TO LOOK FOR <<<
When the Colts have the ball: The announcing team to talk about how great Peyton Manning is.
When the Saints have the ball: The announcing team to talk about how great Peyton Manning is.
When no one has the ball: Commercials featuring Peyton Manning.
>>> HOT TOPIC OF DEBATE <<<
Peyton Manning’s frantic hand gestures before each snap. Some say he’s communicating with teammates to change the play. Others, that he’s sending sign-language messages to a deaf girlfriend in the stands. Either way, they result in touchdowns. And meet him at the airport Hilton. Room 528. He’s staying under the name “Unitas”, baby.
>>> ODDS <<<
Odds of Both Super Bowl Teams Prominently Featuring Guys Named “Pierre”: Approximately 1,000,000,000,000:1
Odds of Both Super Bowl Teams Prominently Featuring Guys Named “Reggie”: Approximately 1:1.
>>> ETIQUETTE TIP <<<
If someone refers to the Colts as “the Baltimore Colts,” don’t correct them. They’re probably very old and will croak soon, and nobody wants to put a know-it-all in their will.
>>> BY THE NUMBERS <<<
$3.01 Million: Price of a 30-second Super Bowl ad
94%: Probability that Kim Kardashian’s ass gets permanently stuck in a stadium seat
4: Number of times your dad will call to ask what a GoDaddy is
6 hours: Length of time Tony Romo will weep uncontrollably after hearing Carrie Underwood’s national anthem
45%: Likelihood that Drew Brees’ birthmark is really just a cheap ploy to draw attention away from the fact that he’s balding.
0%: Chance the game will be worth two weeks of hype.
Did you know that the PGA Tour’s 2010 schedule started nearly three weeks ago? Of course you didn’t. With Tiger hiding out in rehab, why would you? If the PGA wants to draw any fans while its meal ticket is out of commission, it will need to get creative. Luckily for the Tour, we’ve got some ideas that will help bring the crowds back:
1. Make a Bang: Roughly 30% of the balls on the Tour should be replaced with exploding novelty balls. For maximum comedy, roughly 100% of these exploding balls should be placed in Sergio Garcia’s bag.
2. Butt Out Smoking: Seeing Angel Cabrera light up on the fairway really undercuts the game’s sophistication. Add a little bit of understated dignity back to the Tour by having him switch to chew.
3. Go Green: Scale up some of miniature golf’s best ideas. Instead of a little novelty windmill, put up a full-sized one on each green. In addition to helping generate power, a full-sized windmill won’t just reject shots; it will speed up the game by dismembering slower players. (Might want to go ahead and write a sympathy card to Jesper Parnevik’s widow now.)
4. Raise the Stakes:Another good idea to swipe from minigolf: a hole-in-one on the 18th, earns you a free 12 oz. soda in the clubhouse! That's way better than an ugly green blazer.
5. Make Some Apologies: You’ve had your differences, but with Tiger out, John Daly might be your biggest draw. Encourage his participation by eschewing cash purses in favor of cases of Busch Light.
6. Get Provocative:Sex sells, so why not encourage Mickelson show a little bit more cleavage when he leans over to pick up his ball?Down-shirt shots from the blimp aren't enough.
7. Get With the People: New wrinkle for this year: only hold tournaments at courses with greens fees of $25 or less. True champions should be able to adjust their shots to play the bounce off of the stripped Honda Civic that’s rusting out on the 14thfairway.
8. Lighten Up: Don’t just allow fans to talk during players’ backswings; encourage it! If Ernie Els can’t concentrate while spectators yell “Goat penis!” does he really deserve to win?
9. Bring Back Michelle Wie.Americans are willing to put up with creepy stage parents and losing as long as they’re attached to a luscious C-cup. She's kind of like Phil Mickelson for people who are more into the Asian look.
10. Raise Your Standards: To avoid another Tiger-with-a-Perkins-waitress debacle, have a sit-down with the players to talk about making good decisions with the ladies. This is the PGA, so not just any old waitress will do. From now on, it’s Olive Garden or better, boys. You’ll look more dignified, AND you’ll get unlimited free breadsticks.
11. Say No to Drugs:Hide Colin Montgomerie’s pills. Trust us, this will lead to riveting television. The spike in ratings should generate more than enough cash to cover his caddie’s medical bills from the inevitable beating.
12. Cultivate New Personalities:Someone named Steve Stricker was second on the Tour’s money list last year. Not to fault your PR department, but well over 99.99% of Americans wouldn’t recognize Steve Stricker even if he walked into their homes and robbed them. You might want to work on that.
13. Wait, That’s a Great Idea:Actually, you know what? Just have Steve Stricker start robbing people. Should generate some buzz for the Tour and a nice supplemental income for Steve.
14. Emulate Vince McMahon:Say what you will about professional wrestling, but it embraces the sort of showmanship that leads to big ratings. How hard can it be to find one person on the Tour who’s willing to hit Rory Sabbatini with a folding chair? Vijay Singh’s been brining a chair to tournaments for years just waiting for his chance.
15. Be More Literal: The stakes in this year’s Skins Game should involve actual flesh. Sure, missing a putt to lost $50,000 hurts, but nowhere near as much as losing a credit-card-sized patch of your skin will. It puts the ball in the hole or it gets the hose again.
Even die-hard "Jersey Shore"fanatics may be surprised to learn that cast member Sammi “Sweetheart” played four seasons of NCAA Division III soccer as a midfielder for William Paterson University.
Even more surprising is that her housemates have all had similar forays into the sporting world. Here’s a look at the guidos’ and guidettes’ athletic exploits.
Cast Member: Sammi Sweetheart
Secret Ability: Although she might not have been the most physically gifted, Sammi could whine, pout, and flop for calls with a shamelessness that even the Italian national team envied.
Eventual Downfall: Quit the team mid-game after a coach gave her an encouraging pat on the back. Left the stadium in tears, yelling: “No! You just traumatized me! No man will ever lay a hand on me like that again!”
With dire warnings about the fate of the environment coming at an ever-increasing clip, it’s a good time for sports fans to start trying to go green. While changing your sports-watching behavior may not sound like the easiest way to help the environment, it’s surprisingly simple. Just follow these simple tips, and Mother Earth will thank you.
Tip #1 Reduce your paper consumption In order to save paper, you should stop buying newspapers just to read the sports section. Oh, wait. Off to a good start!
Tip #2 Plan ahead Just in case this whole global warming thing comes to pass, start planning ahead for how you can still enjoy your favorite sports if they’re played in 10 feet of water. Bad news on this front: swimming and diving will still be excruciatingly boring to watch.
Tip #3 Protect animals Your “D-(fence)” sign is a cruel reminder of years of fenced-in oppression for our animal brothers. May we suggest you switch to a chant of “Free range! Free range!” This change will be most appropriate for fans of Big 12 football.
Tip #4 Go organic Convert to organic tailgates. This will help the environment on two fronts: first, you’ll put fewer pesticides into our water, and second, people will stop driving to attend your tailgates.
Tip #5 Recycle Remember: just because something is by all indications worthless doesn’t mean you can’t keep recycling it. Just look at Kyle Farnsworth’s career!
Tip #6 Don't change, adjustDon’t think that going green means you have to lose all of your beloved traditions. For example, you can still burn couches to celebrate a big win. Just switch from gasoline to biodiesel when you select your accelerant.
Tip #7 Focus your efforts Similarly, should you decide to flip over cars as part of your revelry, always target gas-guzzling SUVs. That way if the cops catch you, you weren’t just rioting, you were making a social statement. Go to jail, become a martyr!
Tip #8 Listen to Al Gore Take Al Gore with you to games. This one doesn’t really have anything to do with the environment; he just makes awesome jokes about the on-field action and knows a lot about the intricacies of the Cover-2. Gus Johnson wishes he was this excitable.
Tip #9 Use the power of wordsIf it snows during a game, laugh and say, “I guess global warming’s not real!” Remember, phrasing a statement in the form of a hackneyed, unfunny joke makes it true.
Tip #10 Eat local Never forget the importance of eating local. When you’re at a game, refuse to eat nachos whose cheese wasn’t produced in a petrochemical plant located within a 50-mile radius of the stadium.
Tip #11 Stay informed Keep yourself better informed about the earth’s loss of biodiversity by starting a fantasy league that guesses the next animal to go extinct. Polar bears, you’re like Adrian Peterson and Albert Pujols rolled into one doomed species! Now don't not die on me, I picked you No. 1 overall!
Tip #12 Reduce waste Switch your Super Bowl squares pool from wasteful posterboard to an earth-friendlier whiteboard. (Or at least say that’s why you’re doing it. The real benefit is that this switch makes cheating much, much easier. Also, the marker sniffing.)
Tip #13 Know your place If you were one of the early adopters of more casual, greener sports, don’t smugly ask us what we think of your hacky sack and disc golf now. The answer: they’re still lame.
Tip #14 Be an activist Encourage your favorite MLB club to switch to an organic farm system. Don’t tell us that a sack of pesticide-free oats wouldn’t be an upgrade over the Royals’ current shortstops.
Tip #15 Limit emissions Methane is one of the gases that may accelerate global warming. Time to rethink that game-day pot of chili.
Tip #16 Use alternative energy sources For instance: the wind generated by Ryan Howard’s whiffs alone can generate enough electricity to power the city of Philadelphia for a month, not including Cole Hamels' blow-dryer or hot iron.
Tip #17 Encourage research If global warming comes to pass, we’ll need to know how athletes will perform under much warmer climatic conditions. This gives us an excuse to do what we’ve always wanted to: put Brett Favre on a rocket to the sun.
Just months into his freshman season with the Blue Devils Duke freshman forward Mason Plumlee is starting to suspect that Coach Mike Krzyzewski might be a total dickhead.
Despite Krzyzewski’s pleasant, fatherly demeanor throughout the recruiting process, Plumlee says that the coach’s formerly upright behavior underwent a marked change once the highly touted young forward arrived on campus.
“When he was recruiting me, Coach K just smiled and told my mom how character was the most important thing to him,” Plumlee said. “Now I’m starting to wonder if he was the one who ran over our dog that day and just didn’t say anything.”
Plumlee said that he expected for Coach K to nurture him as he develops his game, but he’s skeptical of some of what the coach considers fundamentals, a list that includes pressure defense, never tipping more than eight percent, and saying Coach isn’t around right now if Trajan Langdon calls to ask for a job.
Plumlee added that Krzyzewski’s “nearly constant” torrent of sneers, verbal abuse, and requests to bum cigarettes without ever buying a pack of his own are making the forward question whether his coach is really the man the public thinks he is.
“Some of Coach’s motivational tactics confuse me a little," says Plumlee. "Earlier this season, he took me aside and asked if it would be cool if he hooked up with my ex-girlfriend. He said, ‘I don’t want to date her or anything, just fool around with her a little.’ I guess he was just trying to inspire me to play better, but I didn’t really get it.”
Plumlee also bristles a bit each time he walks by Krzyzewski’s Lexus, which is always double-parked in a handicapped spot because, according to Plumlee, “Coach says, ‘What, you think someone’s going to towme?’ And he's got a point. Especially since his vanity license plate is FUK-YOU.”
Even when Krzyzewski is apparently being nice, Plumlee still gets the sinking feeling that the coach is a dick.
“He gave an orphanage a donation check for five-hundred grand when I was in his office one day. When they left I said I hoped I could afford to be that generous some day, and Coach just laughed and said, ‘Lemme teach you a little something about charitable donations,’ and called his bank to stop payment on the check,’” said Plumlee.
Plumlee tried to talk to the coach about some of these concerns during an elevator ride at a team hotel last month, but the meeting didn’t go as planned.
“Coach was fooling around on his BlackBerry the whole time I was talking. When I realized he wasn’t paying any attention, I asked if he was too busy to talk. He said he was just really trying to beat his high score on Tetris,” remembered Plumlee. “Then he farted and held the ‘Door Close’ button for like five minutes.”
Despite his worries that his coach is a jerk, Plumlee still believes in Krzyzewski’s coaching abilities.
“It’s hard to question his credentials when he keeps showing you his gold medals from the 2008 Olympics,” concedes Plumlee. “I’m not sure why he’s got two of them, though. I think he said he swiped the second one out of Michael Redd’s suitcase.”
When reached for comment, Krzyzewski confirmed most of the behavior Plumlee described, but offered some justifications for his actions.
“Sure, a lot of other coaches don’t cheat at poker on the team plane, but when I send my players out into the world, they’re armed with more than just a jumpshot,” explained Krzyzewski. “They’re armed with the knowledge that they should never, ever tell the woman they’re sleeping with their real name.”
Even agent Scott Boras couldn’t believe what he heard leaving his mouth on Monday at Major League Baseball’s winter meetings.
“I’ve been in this game a long time,” Boras said while reflecting at the end of the day. “I’ve made my share of ridiculous claims. Remember, I’m the guy who compared Oliver Perez to Sandy Koufax last winter. Some of the stuff I said today, though…wow.”
Boras said he first realized he was in rare form while touting the virtues of free agent third baseman Adrian Beltre to a small group of general managers during a morning coffee break.
“The great thing about statistics is that most of these guys forget to go back and verify what I say. So sometimes you can fudge the numbers a little to support a player,” Boras explained.
Philadelphia Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. was one of the executives who heard Boras’ pitch, and he left impressed.
“Never in a million years would I have thought that Beltre’s career through age 30 was actually superior to what Mike Schmidt had done at the same age. Somehow Scott had the numbers to back it up, though,” Amaro said.
GMs found Boras’ claim that in 2009 Beltre had the highest VRGO ever for a third baseman particularly compelling. If any of them realized that VRGO was a statistic Boras had only made up a few minutes earlier they didn’t appear to care.
“Can you believe that?” Boras crowed. “I don’t even know what VRGO could possibly stand for, but it sounds like a real statistic, doesn’t it? That probably made Adrian an extra five mil.”
Boras was further shocked by some of the things he said in support of his recently unemployed clients.
“It’s one thing to say that Johnny Damon projects to still have 20-homer power in four years, but it’s quite another to say Rodrigo Lopez still has the stuff to be a #2 starter for a contender,” Boras admitted.
“God, did I really say that with a straight face?” Boras wondered aloud.
Although Boras may amaze even himself at times with his utter lack of shame when discussing his clients, the players love him for it.
“Does Scott inflate his clients’ performance a bit? Sure, but that’s just what makes him the best,” said free-agent reliever Scott Schoeneweis, who Boras compared to a left-handed Mariano Rivera, the second coming of Goose Gossage, and “Jesus Christ, only with a better slider” at various points throughout the afternoon.
Boras was particularly incredulous about some of the claims he made in the infamous three-ring binders of statistics he gives teams detailing his clients’ performances and values.
“This is sort of embarrassing, but I forgot to make a binder for (free agent infielder) Felipe Lopez,” Boras confided. “I didn’t realize it until I got to the winter meetings this morning, though, and by then I didn’t have time to write one.”
At this point, Boras said he knew he had to get creative.
“Sometimes I have to remind myself that it’s not really a lie if it’s printed on three-hole-punch paper, so I found A-Rod’s old binder and changed the words ‘Alex Rodriguez’ to ‘Felipe Lopez’ throughout the entire document. I figured I was just buying myself some time, but then [Royals GM] Dayton Moore told me he hadn’t even known Lopez was such a threat to break the all-time home run record. He asked if we’d be interested in a deal in the six-year, $90 million range.”
“His exact words were ‘This is someone I could see benching Yuniesky Betancourt for,’” the dumbfounded Boras said. “I can’t believe it. I’m not sure if I’ll even be able to look my kids in the eye after that one.”
A key running play in the Houston Texans’ loss to the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday died in the team’s running back committee, sources say. The long-awaited debut of “20 Stretch Right,” a proposed run by tailback Steve Slaton, never came to fruition due to fierce subcommittee debate.
Despite eleventh-hour attempts at a compromise to get a play in front of quarterback Matt Schaub before the play clock wound down, the team’s Committee on Running Backs could not reach an agreement. Given this inter-committee bickering, Schaub had no choice but to audible the once-promising running play into a pass, which fell incomplete when the QB overthrew wideout Andre Johnson.
The original play, which called for second-year running back Steve Slaton to run a stretch, forced the team’s running back committee to divide along partisan lines. Slaton and veteran tailback Chris Brown supported the call, while the rest of the RB committee called it “a wasteful use of our constituents’ hard-earned plays.”
The strongest opposition to the play came from recently promoted starter Ryan Moats, who explained, “I felt that I owed it to myself, my constituency, and my fantasy owners not to simply allow that play to transpire in the hands of a fumble-prone back. I got this job by promising a sure-handed change from the fumbling status quo around here, so I couldn’t let things go back to business as usual.”
Cynics noted, though, that for all his high-minded rhetoric, Moats crushed a later Texans drive with a goal-line fumble in his first game as a starter.
“Typical sleazy running back. Lures you in with promises of reform, but he’s just as bad as the rest of them,” disenchanted defensive tackle Amobi Okoye lamented.
Despite these political struggles, for a brief moment it looked as if fullback Vonta Leach might save the play when he proposed a flea-flicker amendment, but the rest of the committee shouted down the suggestion as mere “pork to endear himself to Schaub.”
Although Leach pushed hard for the amendment, no committee member would second Leach’s motion to vote, so the flea-flicker proposal fizzled. Leach accepted that any further pressing for a vote on his part might lead to a point of order being raised.
“Look, I want to get a first down as much as anyone on this team,” Leach said, “But if our committee has to break with proper parliamentary procedure to get one, I’m not sure it’s worth it.”
Other proposed amendments might have helped the play get out of committee but surely would have prompted QB Schaub to exercise his veto power.
“Frankly, I love Slaton’s ability as a football player, but there’s no way I would have approved a halfback pass on third-and-two from our own 30-yard line,” Schaub later confirmed.
Pundits suggested that a few members of the committee were actually personally in favor of running 20 Stretch Right but had been corrupted by lobbying from the team’s receiving corps.
“I don’t want to make any accusations,” an oboe-playing guard who asked to remain anonymous explained. “I’m pretty sure I saw (wide receiver Kevin) Walter put a sack of money in Moats’ locker on Sunday morning, though.”
When asked to comment on the Texans’ difficulty in choosing a running play, opposing quarterback Peyton Manning confidently responded, “See? Our efficient QB-led dictatorship doesn’t look so bad now, does it?”
As part of SportsPickle's continuing commitment to corporate espionage, we have managed to intercept yet another sensitive document. This time we’ve nabbed the house rules for the studio hosts ofFox NFL Sunday. We warn you: some of this document contains strong language and/or references to Joe Buck.
In all likelihood, your days of being able to grasp athletic glory for yourself are all but gone. That doesn’t mean you can’t find a way to pull on a new championship ring each season, though. Just get involved in coaching youth sports! It’s a good way to help spread your passion for the game to a younger generation, but even more importantly, it’s a great opportunity for you to win, thereby proving what a successful, awesome person you are.
Luckily for you, years of movies and television shows have given us a crystal clear road map to youth sports success. Follow these steps, and you’ll be getting doused in Gatorade before you know it.
Step 1: Become an Alcoholic There’s only one kind of coach who wins youth league championships: the kind who’s coaching to help him forget about his personal demons. Ideally, you’ll already have some demons; anything from a failed pro sports career to a cheating ex-wife will do.
If you need to manufacture such a tormented past, we recommend drinking. More specifically, drinking scotch. Lots of it. Be careful here, as you don’t want to reach the point of liver failure. Three to five years with a daily intake of one to two quarts of the cheapest scotch you can find should do the trick nicely.
Step 2: Give Up The Booze Eventually, you’re going to need to drunkenly look in the mirror and make the sincere decision to clean up your act. And what better way to occupy yourself while you stay clean than coaching a kids’ team?
Step 3: Recruit a Fat Kid If our comprehensive review of sports movies has taught us nothing else, it’s that your new team needs a fat kid. A real porker. A full-on LardyPants who’s perpetually out of breath. It seems counterintuitive that you absolutelymusthave one player who hides Twinkies in between his three chins, but don’t challenge the sports gods on this one.
Step 4: Fill Out the Roster Now that you’ve got Tubso on board, you can flesh out the depth chart as you see fit. However, try to make sure each player fits into one of these rigid categories: Rich Kid, Poor Kid, Kids Whose Dad is in Jail, Vaguely Ethnic Kid, Kid with Comical Speech Impediment, Twin, Other Twin, and Nerd. Once you’ve assembled this murderers’ row of stock characters, you can…
Step 5: Have a Disastrous Training Camp We’re all familiar with the old adage “You practice like you play.” Chuck that tired cliché out the window, though. If sports movies have taught us anything, it’s that championship teamsalwayshave horrendous training camps. Players running to third base on hits, quarterbacks punting the ball away on second down…the more clueless your squad is during training camp, the better. (Note: This tactic doesn’t work for pro teams. Good try, though, 2009 Tampa Bay Bucs.)
Step 6: Go on a Losing Streak Nobody likes a wire-to-wire leader, so it’s come-from-behind underdogs who really inspire us. So you’re going to need to drop some games. Lots of them. Luckily, a horrible training camp and the presence of the fat kid are usually worth a three-game losing streak, bare minimum.
Step 7: Pick a Martyr Look, there's no easy way to say this, but if you want for this story to have emotional resonance and the accompanying victories someone's going to have to croak. Find someone who's willing to take the ultimate one for the team, preferably a player whose on-field performance was middling but who had a reputation as "the real heart and soul of the team. (A quick rule of thumb to help you find your martyr: 90% of the time this player will be white.)
Remember, this is sad, unsettling business, and if you could win that league championship without intentionally rupturing the gas lines in your player’s house, you would. Remind yourself this is necessary, though, and don’t forget to wipe down any fingerprints you might have left at the scene. You’re trying to win a title here, not spend upwards of three years in jail.
Step 8: Rally Around Your Martyr After the funeral, have a somber meeting with your team. Tell them that you’ll understand if they don’t want to go on without their fallen teammate, but that you really think this is what Joey would have wanted. When the kids remind you that the martyr’s name was Jimmy, not Joey, point out that wherever he is, he probably doesn’t care what you call him. Now, do they want to keep playing or not?
Your team will invariably tell you they want to keep playing to honor their fallen comrade. Perfect. Now’s the time to…
Step 9: Make an Improbable Playoff Run At this point, your suddenly inspired team is going to start winning games. Lots of them. It’s just going to magically start happening, and you won’t have to do any actual coaching to pick up these victories. In fact, you might want to put a Sudoku on your clipboard so you’ll look busy on the sideline when the games start winning themselves. You’ll quickly find yourself in the championship game, at which point you should…
Step 10: Fall Behind in the Championship Game At the beginning of the championship game, have your team works its way into a hole, the deeper the better. A deficit of 42-0 or so should properly set the stage for a dramatic comeback. At halftime, give your players a rousing speech in which you tell them that you don’t care whether they win or lose, you’re just so proud of them for coming this far. (Note: this is a lie. You are desperately interested in whether they win or lose, and if they can’t make this comeback, you’ll be damned if you see those little twerps get so much as a post-game orange slice.) Now, just sit back and…
Step 11: Win the Championship Game Again, the X’s and O’s of this win pretty much take care of themselves, so don’t concern yourself with in-game strategy. Spend most of the second half clapping, cheering, and wondering where you’re going to put your new championship trophy.
Congrats, Coach! You did it! Oh, God, what are the cops doing there? Didn’t we tell you to wipe off any prints? What? Security camera footage? Ah, man, this is bad. Maybe they’re bluffing. And if they’re not? That 10-year sentence will give you plenty of time to learn the intricacies of the wildcat offense in time for your next championship campaign.