Last Dance for MI/ND and NFL Week 1 Trash Talk

BwKKlz7IgAA50kYThere is a LOT going on this weekend in the sports of Trash department. It is pretty early for in depth analysis (not that my analysis is ever particularly deep, mind you), so think we will do an overview of all that is going on and a couple of side stories of note.

As I write, I am watching qualifying at Monza for the Italian Grand Prix. As I try to convey every year, there are two GPs that are the living epitome of the sport at its best. Two weeks ago was the Belgian GP at Spa, hands down in my book the most beautiful full circuit (i.e. Monaco excluded). This week is Monza, the oldest and fastest circuit. Simply great racing. Tune in tomorrow morning on NBC Sports channel; coverage starts at 7:30 am EST.

Even though Marcy has abandoned her one time main girl, Brittney Griner, Brittney and the Phoenix Mercury are in the WNBA Finals, which start Sunday. They face the Chicago Sky and Elena Delle Donne. That said, the best player on the floor will be Phoenix’s Diana Taurasi. Bob Schacht would be proud.

But, of course, the big ticket is football, and this is the first full weekend with both college and pros. Not a real promising start Thursday night, but, man, the Squawks look like they are picking up exactly where they left off.

The big game is not in The Big House, but is instead at South Bend, where the

Wolverweenies will face the Irish for the last time. Say what you will about both, this is a compelling series historically, and it is a shame it is being discontinued. Notre Dame appears determined to destroy the soul of their program. Game appears to be a toss up, but I hope Michigan kicks Irish ass for backing out of their series. The other two great games come courtesy of the Pac-12. USC at Stanford should be fascinating. Give the Trees a slight edge because it is in Palo Alto. And 7th ranked Michigan State Spartys travel to Eugene to take on the 3rd ranked Ducks of Oregon. MSU is good, but the Quackers are better and are deadly at home. In the SEC, the interest is to see what Kenny Football and the Aggies will do this week. Jim’s Gators take on the mighty Eastern Michigan Eagles.

In the pros, the opening week schedule is, frankly, not that interesting. Luck and the Colts at Denver to face Peyton may be the class of the lot. I’ll take the Donk’s in that one. Niners at Dallas could be a lot better game than people think. Niners are going to let their latest criminal, Ray McDonald play, so there is that. Dallas is at home and has something to prove. I’d still bet on SF, but wouldn’t be surprised if the game goes differently. Bolts at Cardinals for Monday night game may be decent. The Bengals at the Ravens is a tough early season division matchup; road team may actually win that, but good game. Hard to expect much from the Brownies at the Steelers. Pittsburgh is clearly better and Johnny Football won’t see much action. Cleveland girls rock though! Have the Steelers regained their swagger, or is it another down year? We will start to see Sunday.

Okay, and now for a couple of other sports related things. Let’s start off with an honest to god feel good story from the NFL and the Cincinnati Bengals. From Yahoo Sports:

The Cincinnati Bengals appeared to have moved on from former second-round defensive tackle Devon Still when they cut him this preseason. Still, 25, certainly has looked like a bust to this point in his career, and his preseason play was not an indication he had come around.

However, Still has had much bigger and better things on his mind than football. His 4-year-old daughter, Leah, was diagnosed with stage 4 pediatric cancer back in June.

So when training camp came around, Still lost some desire to play. The Bengals had no choice but to cut him.
But there’s a silver lining to this story. The Bengals re-signed him to their practice squad, and the $6,300 weekly salary and medical insurance will go a long way to help Leah. Still is eminently grateful for the team’s gesture when he knows they simply could have made what NFL teams like to call “business decisions.”

That is a pretty heartwarming story, I hope everything comes up roses for Still and his daughter.

The second story is nowhere near as heartwarming, the continuing ageism and sexism of NFL television media. Pam Oliver, in a nice essay in Essence Magazine, opens up about being dumped by Fox Sports as their lead sideline reporter. that is a job that Oliver has had for a very long time, and that she is fantastic at. Too many of the female sideline reporters are little but eye candy with a microphone, but not Pam Oliver, she has long been a real pro.

Even before my bosses told me what was going on, there had been rumblings that my days as a sideline reporter were coming to an end. Two years earlier, Fox Sports had hired Erin Andrews, a high-profile side-line reporter from ESPN, and I knew they hadn’t brought her on just to be a benchwarmer. Colleagues, and even coaches and players, would come up to me and say things like, “Boy, you’re handling this well. You’re really a class act.” But I let the rumors roll off my back. Without official confirmation about a change in my position, I decided I was going to do my work like I always had. Still, I was humiliated.

And then Oliver hits the nail on the head:

Once the changes were announced, people started talking. Some asked, “Do you think it had something to do with your race?” No. I definitely do not. Others asked, “Does it have something to do with your age?” Well, maybe. The business is very demographic-oriented. As one executive said to me, Fox Sports will look radically different in the coming years. I assume that means they want to look younger. It’s not difficult to notice that the new on-air people there are all young, blond and “hot.”

Yup. Young, blonde and hot. And vapid. Frankly, I think Oliver was too kind to Erin Andrews in her article. Andrews is pretty, and she is okay as a reporter, but she is nowhere near the pro Pam Oliver is, and never will be. But, hey, she is younger and blonder and that is exactly the FOX profile isn’t it?

The ageism thing is troubling. Pam Oliver and Lessly Visser before her, were the avatars of quality sideline reporting and were both still in their prime journalistically, and both still very easy on the eyes. And both got punted for far less competent cookie cutter blondes. It is a despicable trend and Fox Sports should be ashamed of themselves.

Welp, that is it for now. Let the trash begin.

83 replies
  1. Brindle says:

    Hoping Wolverines can get it done in South Bend. Under Hoke UM very erratic, never know which ream will show up. Game is a toss-up, turnovers and special teams will be key.

  2. Phil Perspective says:

    It is a despicable trend and Fox Sports should be ashamed of themselves.

    Considering their parent company, I don’t think that is possible. How does one shame someone, or thing, when they have no ability, or care, to feel it?

    • bmaz says:

      Yeah, fair point. Doesn’t happen to the men though, just the women. Can you imagine “I’m sorry Vin Scully, you are still truly the best, but you are out of here”?

  3. jo6pac says:

    Yep, Pam was class and really good but would you expect anything else from classless fuax. I’ll miss Pam. I was hoping they would dump joe buck and his 9er hating buddy troy you give the achesman.

    Ray McDonald , has he been charged yet?

    Monza can’t wait and if you don’t have the sport channel it is on some Spanish channels live. That’s were I watch F-1 and the announcers can make watch grass grow exciting;) I agree on the best 2 tracks on F-1 schedule.

    Go 9ers but this season will be uphill all the way after watching Seattle the other night.

  4. emptywheel says:

    Thanks for covering Oliver, bmaz, hadn’t seen that.

    I gotta say, maybe I’m poisoned now that I’ve moved West, but I really like what I see in the Sparty program. Balls out for going to OR.

    Go Blue! I think they’ll win this bc the Domers are, as bmaz laid out, lame.

    Otherwise I think bmaz is just jaded! We got FOOTBALL! And some real games!

    And note how he refuses to believe his Cardinals are getting better? Hell, both those teams from the lower left of the country should surprise this year, and the game will be a great D against a great O.

  5. bmaz says:

    Also, Sparty looks tough, and game for the matchup. Bit the Quackers look like they have way too much explosiveness.

    • masaccio says:

      @ctuttle That would be a No. Of course the so-called Big Blue fans seem to have switched over to watch Ohio State lose. Or some other Big Ten team. Lose.

  6. Peterr says:

    Not shaping up to be a good day for the B1G. Nebraska squeaks out a win over McNeese State and Illinois has to score three TDs in the fourth quarter to come back against Western Kentucky, while the Fighting Journalists go down to Northern Illinois, Purdue loses to Central Michigan, and Spartans lose their vim against Ducks.

    Meanwhile, the Domers are shutting out the Wolvereenies and The Virginia Tech Hokies are making The Ohio State University look silly.

    I’m gonna need a bigger glass.

  7. CTuttle says:

    The Seminoles are already blowing out Citadel, and Boise State is goring the Rams, is their any other games of note on…?

  8. CTuttle says:

    I must say that my ‘Bows one-point loss to the nationally ranked Huskies was a heart breaker, but, my Bows can only improve upon last season…! ;-)

  9. scribe says:

    Yet again, my Stillers show themselves to be a class act as well as one which will continue to feel the wrath of King Roger the Clown for being that.

    Here’s hoping Silverback can make a good transition and, perhaps, come back as a coach who can inspire and instill in future Stillers his competitive fire. Anyone who gets a congratulatory note from Jack Lambert for a defensive game well played ….

    • scribe says:

      In case anyone (the odd Cleveland fan in the audience, I’m looking at you) was wondering why Johnny Football won’t play today, consider (a) they’re playing my Stillers for home opener at Heinz and (b) Football spent no small effort and time since the draft drawing huge bullseye on his back.

      In one of its rare sentient moves, Cleveland management decided to keep their multimillion-dollar partying-with-Bieber first-rounder off the field and away from the slavering Stiller defense. This will only increase their fervor for getting at Football later in the season when these teams will play in Cleveland, of course. But if this means human sacrifice in Cleveland later in the season when the Brownies’ fan base demands Football after dawdling and stumbling through the games to date, well, there’s a reason they refer to football players as “gladiators”.

  10. scribe says:

    MIA running through the NE D like it isn’t there. Biebs gonna have to step up, assuming they ever let him near the ball.

  11. bmaz says:

    Apparently the “tuck rule” does not still count for Dan FoutsBrady and the Patriots. #TheMoreYouKnowshon

    • scribe says:

      Thanks, EW. Too bad the Mankins Gap showed up. But Biebs was all about “we sucked” in his post-game. Gronk was, somewhat surprisingly, sparsely used. Not up to full football speed yet, I guess.

      Count on pissed-off Biebs next week.

      I dunno whether Tomlin can learn how to adjust both his offense and defense during halftime. The Brownies might suck, but they can adjust. Note the Stillers won half 1: 27-3. The Brownies adjusted and won half 2: 24-3. That’s the kind of Stiller team that goes 8-8. Happy, but not happy.

  12. Peterr says:

    The doc for the Chefs got worked hard today.
    “[Defensive playcaller LB Derrick] Johnson went down with his Achilles injury just before the half, and [DT Mike] DeVito was lost to a nearly identical injury on the first drive of the second half.”
    The Chefs had a suspect D to begin with, and this did not help matters. The post-game talk radio chatter in KC was brutal — not just the callers, but the radio guys too.
    Is it just my imagination, or were there a bunch of injuries today — more than the ordinary amount?

  13. CTuttle says:

    *whew* My Donkos survived another valiant Luck comeback effort…! What a tale of two halfs, just like the Patsies-Fins game…!

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