Michael Rand started RandBall with hopes that he could keep lies from conquering the minds of the weak. So far, he's only succeeded in using the word "redacted" a lot. He welcomes suggestions, news tips, links of pure genius, and pictures of pets in Halloween costumes here, though he already knows he will regret that last part.
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Doing what we do here, we pluck a lot of other reports and try to build on them or at least bring their attention to our audience. We try to be pretty cautious and make sure that the report we're citing is credible, particularly if the outside report is using anonymous sources (like, for instance, yesterday's post about Luke Ridnour trade speculation).
But even if we somewhat accept the level of anonymous sourcing and copycat work that goes on these days, much of it in the name of shoveling coal into the furnace of the runaway page view train, that doesn't mean some of it doesn't still drive us crazy.
Like, for instance, today's ESPN.com teaser headline that reads, "Sources: RGIII has chance to start opener," which leads into a story that begins thusly: "Though it is only a little more than a month since Robert Griffin III underwent reconstructive knee surgery, Washington Redskins officials are encouraged enough with his recovery to believe he has a legitimate chance to start in the 2013 opener, according to team and league sources."
Two things: First, you DO NOT NEED SOURCES for this story. You only need a calendar. Adrian Peterson had surgery on Dec. 30, 2011, to repair his shredded knee, and we all saw what happened with him last year. Not everyone is Peterson -- news flash -- but his recovery proves that RGIII, who had surgery Jan. 9 this year, has a "legitimate chance to start the 2013 opener."
Second, all the sources are doing is speculating how fast he *might* recover: "Those who know him insist he is a physical freak, not unlike Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who was able to rush for 2,097 yards and win the MVP Award the season after undergoing major knee surgery." Aside from saying his rehab is going well, which everyone says at this point in the process, these "sources" did not provide a single piece of factual evidence to back up the premise of the story -- at least nothing that the average person could not have gleaned, again, with simple math.
Sources close to the situation say that really annoys us and diminishes the impact of stories that make legitimate use of anonymous sources.
Jon Marthaler bakes up a delicious batch of links for you every weekend. Other times, you can find him here. Jon?
Last week, Netflix released "House of Cards," a 13-episode miniseries based on a British miniseries of the same name. It's doing quite well and people seem to like it, and even better, they don't have to wait for seven days in between episodes - all 13 were released at once. It's a great deal for Netflix subscribers, a great deal for Netflix, and for sports fans, it's the latest indication that someday, the only thing on television will be sports.
Next August, FOX Sports will rebrand the Speed Channel as "Fox Sports 1," and it will immediately be the third-biggest cable sports channel. It'll also complete the network sports channel superfecta, joining NBC Sports, CBS Sports, and the ABC/ESPN family of sports networks as cable sports outlets for the Big Four. This doesn't include FOX's regional sports networks or NBC/Comcast's network of the same, or the Comcast-run Golf Channel, or the college conference networks like the Big Ten Network, or the channels run by the four pro sports leagues... you get my point.
I'm not much of a traditional TV viewer - I'm far too busy watching every one of the channels mentioned above - but I can't remember the last time I watched a live episode of a show that I do follow. Most people I know simply record the shows and watch them at their convenience, or wait until the shows are available on Netflix or Hulu and plow through them all there. Sports, however, are immune to this sort of thing - nobody waits until March to watch sixteen Vikings games in a row. So here's my prediction - someday soon, every channel on television will be a sports channel. ABC Family will show Pop Warner football. The Travel Channel will show skiing. A&E will be devoted to gymnastics and figure skating. The Military Channel will be devoted to rugby. And TNT, angling to be the most-watched thing on television, will be nothing but Charles Barkley talking for twenty-four hours a day.
I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to it. We're on our way to a future in which every sporting event, everywhere in the world, is broadcast on our televisions. And for sports junkies like me, what could be better?
*On with the links:
*Over at Deadspin, Hamilton Nolan writes about boxing's Great White Hope problem, which explains why a boxer you've never heard of was in a Super Bowl commercial.
*Also at Deadspin, the explanation of the fair-catch free-kick rule, possibly the stupidest football rule this side of Canadian football. To recap: it's a rule, borrowed from rugby, that doesn't even exist in rugby any more, but you can feel superior to your friends by knowing it, like knowing the balk rule in baseball.
*Stu tries to figure out what the next improbable Minnesota sports injury will be. This is notable because it drew responses on Twitter from both Glen Perkins and Chris Kluwe, which is both kind of awesome, and for those of us who enjoy teasing athletes on the internet, kind of terrifying because apparently THEY ARE WATCHING US.
*Hey, NFL fans! Want to get into the NHL? Sean McIndoe has a helpful guide.
*And finally: if you missed Brooklyn's Mirza Teletovic tossing up three airballs in a row, then please watch, and remember: there's still room for the Wolves to get worse.
The couple obviously reconciled, and soon after, were once again eyeing a walk down the aisle. So did Cutler actually propose again?
"Yeah, kind of," said Cavallari. "It was so silly. I was in the airport, leaving Chicago. We had just spent however many days together and we were texting and somehow it came up, like, 'Oh, shall we get married?' We're like, 'Yeah, OK.' And then he sent my ring in the mail. So I actually had my ring sitting at home for a couple of weeks before I put it on."
Who said romance is dead?
The initial Super Bowl odds for the 48th edition of the big game have been released, and if there is one thing painfully clear it is this: Vegas Insiders most certainly did not read Stu's carefully considered "Increasingly Lost Season" series.
How else to explain these numbers, via Pregame.com: The Vikings are 40-1 long shots to win the Super Bowl next year, tied with the Lions, Colts and Chargers at that number (tied for 16th longest odds).
The Packers, meanwhile, are at 10-1 -- with only three teams above them (the Patriots, 49ers and Broncos).
Even the Bears, at 30-1, are above the Vikings.
There will be plenty of lasting images from Super Bowl XLVII, from the power outage to Beyonce, um, shaking it (and pretty much killing it) to Joe Flacco carving up an overrated San Francisco defense.
But the lasting image in our mind will be poor Jim Harbaugh, who seems to be wound tighter than the world's largest ball of twine, running up and down the field, screaming at officials one final time, for a holding call that never came.
And, we should add, thankfully never came. The situation was 4th-and-goal with 1:50 left. The 49ers trailed 34-29 and had the ball at Baltimore's 5. Colin Kaepernick threw a fade pass -- probably our least favorite play, but not an awful decision considering the pressure he was under -- in the direction of Michael Crabtree. Baltimore DB Jimmy Smith engaged Crabtree in some contact. They hand-fought around the goal line. Maybe Smith lingered on Crabtree a little deeper than five yards, but Crabtree was also giving it right back. Crabtree broke free, but the pass eluded his grasp by a couple of feet. And that, essentially, was the ballgame.
Harbaugh, of course, wanted a penalty called. It wouldn't have been an outrage or a terrible call to see a yellow flag. But again, we are so glad it didn't fly. We hate all the advantages given to offenses in the modern NFL. We hate a cheap set of downs that results from questionable pass interference, the most subjective call in all of sports. And we really grew to dislike Harbaugh's sideline demeanor during the game.
Baltimore was the better team with the more composed Harbaugh brother throughout the course of the game. The Ravens deserved the win, and a very good no-call sealed it.
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