Richard's Feed
May 26, 2010
via Left field

An outdoor cold-weather Super Bowl at last

Photo

Imagine a halftime show where the glare of fireworks reflects off of falling snowflakes. Cut to Times Square and other iconic Manhattan tourist destinations where the noise of shouting fans is capturing in clouds of frozen breath. Look for a crowd dressed more for snowboarding than for hitting up nightclubs after the game.

With Tuesday’s announcement that the new $1.6 billion dollar stadium shared by the New York Giants and Jets will host the 2014 Super Bowl, many fans conjure up memories of classic cold weather games. The NFL is treating the decision to host the Super Bowl in a cold weather outdoor stadium as an exception rather than the start of a potential trend. South Florida and Tampa were the two other location considered to host.

Apr 30, 2010
via Left field

Pain is an afterthought during playoffs

Photo

Often casual fans define the toughness of a sport by the extent of injury that players are willing to play through.

While basketball is often overlooked, this year’s NBA playoff run is giving us several examples of players placing the goal of a team championship above their own individual bodies.

Apr 28, 2010
via Left field

What is Pujols worth in wake of Howard deal?

Photo

Ryan Howard, 30, just inked a 5-year extension for $125 million with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Let’s look at those numbers.

His current deal expires in 2011, making the first baseman 37 years old at the completion of the contract.

Apr 2, 2010
via Left field

A Final Four To Remember

Photo

Despite concerns that the NCAA championship game will not feature an attention grabbing headline (Butler – West Virginia is not a ratings dream for CBS), this Final Four will be memorable, both on and off the court.

For starters, this might be the last year of the current format for March Madness. What started as speculation of expansion of the beloved NCAA Tournament from 65 (including the initial play-in game) to 96 teams is gaining further momentum. Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany recently told USA Today that the likelihood of expansion of the tournament for 2011 is “probable”.

Mar 25, 2010
via Left field

Surprising Sweet 16

Photo

It might sound cliché, but who doesn’t enjoy rooting for the underdog? Unless you have a connection to one of the schools still involved or your bracket still has a chance at winning, who doesn’t want to see Northern Iowa, Cornell, or St. Mary’s College push deeper into the tournament?

As the Sweet 16 begins on Thursday there are still 11 conferences being represented (only 7 conferences represented in the Sweet 16 last year). Duke vs. Purdue is the only matchup pitting the two highest possible seeds against one another. My guess is that at least one surprise team will earn themselves a ticket to the Elite 8.

Mar 24, 2010
via Left field

The stars of the NCAA Cinderella stories

Photo

We approach the Sweet 16 having witnessed magical runs by teams like Northern Iowa and St. Mary’s so let’s take a quick look back at two defining players that helped them get here. Tomorrow we’ll review the teams that are left and the possibility of an all mid-tier Final Four.

This year’s NCAA tournament opening weekend pulled out all the stops and set the stage for what could go down as one of the best tournaments ever. In particular there were the thrilling last second heroics of #9 Northern Iowa to defeat #8 UNLV and a dominating win by #10 St. Mary’s over #7 Richmond. Both teams followed up those wins with spectacular surprises against Kansas and Villanova to leap onto the national scene. It has been a good March for students, alumni and fans of both schools.

Mar 21, 2010
via Left field

Bracket busting in the year of the mid-Major

Photo

The madness of March continued today as we saw the fall of the top overall seeded Kansas Jayhawks to the #9 Northern Iowa. Additionally #2 seed Villanova collapsed against #10 St. Marys and #3 New Mexico lost to #11 Washington. Cinderella has arrived to the Sweet 16 and brought along some friends.

Brackets everywhere have been busted wide open.

Northern Iowa was not intimidated by Kansas and played solid all game long. Kansas fought back at the end, but the Panthers’ 3 point shooting solidified the upset. The Jayhawks are now the first #1 seed eliminated and the shocking loss is now the exclamation point on a growing list of surprises helping to establish this year’s tournament as a classic.

Mar 18, 2010
via Left field

NCAA Tourney Begins with Fireworks

Photo

We didn’t have to wait long for the thrills and excitement of March Madness to capture the attention of college basketball fans everywhere.

In the first three games of the 2010 NCAA tournament we witnessed an upset, overtime and a double-overtime. Not a bad start.

Mar 16, 2010
via Left field

March Madness: Who’s your Final Four?

Photo

The Ides of March may be looming for Greece and the EU, but stateside this month means only one thing: March Madness. It is estimated that as many as 50 million people will fill out a bracket for the collegiate basketball tournament this year. This has led to wild speculation that this annual event could cost companies millions of dollars in lost productivity.

March Madness is driven by several factors. Alumni bias comes into play, as pride and tradition associated with their collegiate teams drives fan into a frenzy. Others tend to be more analytical, attempting to predict the inevitable upsets and shockers.

Aug 18, 2009
via Left field

Technology and the modern sports fan

Photo

“What are you doing?” This simple question is the basic premise of Twitter, the growing social media website that has transformed how many fans get their daily dose of sports news.In addition to the newsfeeds provided by established brands (@ReutersSport is a good one!) there are feeds directly from the major sports offices (@MLB,@NFL, @NBA). Then there are the athletes themselves, providing everything from perspective on current events to personalized fan interaction.It seems that athletes have been embracing all sorts of new communication technologies over the last few years.During the Beijing Olympics, swimmer Dara Torres and NBA star Carmelo Anthony used Skype to talk with family back home.  Former MLB pitcher Curt Schilling and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban have helped bring sports blogging into the mainstream. And in the next evolutionary wave, many stars have embraced Twitter as a way to bring themselves closer to friends, family and fans.We are given a front row seat to league announcements and rumor mill fodder. Athletes and celebrities alike have been given another venue for their exhibitionist personalities and many are embracing it, even while teams and organizations search for a way to curb and regulate its use.Charlie Villanueva caused a stir last season by Twittering during NBA games.Chad Ocho Cinco’s comments about potential updates during upcoming NFL games were soon followed by an NFL announcement addressing the subject. Per the NFL’s Brian McCarthy (via Twitter), “NFL players may use Twitter. Teams have rules re: not tweeting during meetings. We prohibit use of PDAs/phones on sidelines on gameday.”Despite moments of conflict, there are examples of athletes using these new tools to connect with one another in a positive manner. The recent signing of Michael Vick with the Eagles was met with a flurry of Twitter chatter, including messages of celebration and encouragement from other players as noted in this Mashable article.Today’s announcement of Brett Favre coming out of retirement to sign with the Vikings was welcomed by a similar reaction, quickly becoming one of the top trends on the site.Like any technology, the responsibility ultimately rests with the person using it. While there are bound to be further incidents caused by outspoken athletes, as fans we have moved even closer into the flow of information. For those who want to know more than just the final scores, this is surely a large step forward.PHOTO: Milwaukee Bucks forward Charlie Villanueva watches from the bench during the second half of their NBA basketball game against the Toronto Raptors in Toronto, March 25, 2009. REUTERS/Mike Cassese