Darius Rucker has an End Zone Obsession…and he’d like to share it with you
Not that there aren’t already plenty of places on the World Wide Web where you can go to make weekly football picks, but if you’re one of the millions of people who have owned and loved Hootie and the Blowfish’s album Cracked Rear View, then it might just behoove you to offer a cursory click onto Darius Rucker’s End Zone Obsession.*
End Zone Obsession originated out of an attempt by Rucker and his “people” to figure out a more exciting way to interact with his fans, and when the talk turned to football, Rucker knew they’d hit on an idea that had serious potential. Soon, web designers were hard at work, putting together an easy-to-use site that would allow Rucker and his fans to pick the winners and losers for each week of the NFL season.
“People have been challenging me, and I’ve pretty much accepted every challenge,” said Rucker. “Last week, everybody was talking trash before the weekend, and then I won, ‘cause I picked every game right. So I was on this morning, doing the trash-talking. I’m telling them, ‘Guess you’ve got to do better next week!’”
As Rucker is a diehard Miami fan, this interview obviously took place prior to the Dolphins having been blown out of the water by the Patriots, but it’s not as though his tune will have changed as a result. Clearly, it’s far too late for that now…
* Rucker officially became a Miami Dolphins fan on January 16, 1972. “The Dolphins are playing the Cowboys in the Super Bowl, and I’m in the house with all my cousins. My two aunts are there. There’s, like, 14 kids, and every kid in there, everybody in my whole family, is pulling for the Cowboys. I decided that day that I was pulling for the Dolphins…and I remember crying when the Dolphins lost at the end. But the next year, I started playing little league football, and ever since then I’ve loved the game.”
* He has a piece of swag that would make any Dolphins fan drool. “The very first Miami Dolphins game I ever got to go to, it was a Monday night game against the Steelers back in ’94, and I got to sing the National Anthem. After that game, Dan Marino took his jersey off and gave it to his assistant and had it framed for me, and that is my favorite piece of paraphernalia that I got. I’ve lived in my house for 12 years, and my decorator laughed at me when I moved in, because that jersey was up in the house before anything else could enter.”
* There has only ever been one occasion when his devotion to Miami has wavered. “When I heard that Dave Wannstedt told Dan Marino that he thought that he had a better chance to win with Jay Fiedler than him, I really thought about switching my alliances, because I thought we had the dumbest coach that had ever coached a game of football.”
Given Rucker’s dedication to the Dolphins, he’s not afraid to admit that you can always count on him to make the same selection on End Zone Obsession week after week after week.
“I’m talking to my assistant yesterday, I’m making my picks, and he goes, ‘What do you think about the Dolphins game?’ And I said, ‘Dude, I’m picking the Dolphins sixteen times in a row.’ I can guarantee you that. I’ll be picking the Dolphins sixteen times in a row. And it’s not, like, I’m thinking in my heart, ‘Oh, well, I’ve got to pick the Dolphins.’ I truly believe they’re going to win.”
* For the record, yes, we do know that Rucker has not only continued to record well beyond Hootie’s aforementioned 1994 album but, indeed, has been shifting mass country-music units for the past several years as a solo artist, thanks to such hit singles as “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It,” “It Won’t Be Like This for Long, and “Alright.” But, damn, man, Cracked Rear View went platinum sixteen times over. I think that still warrants being cited as his predominant accomplishment, don’t you?
Posted in: Interviews, News, NFL, Super Bowl
Tags: Cowboys, Cracked Rear View, Dallas, Dallas Cowboys, Dan Marino, Darius Rucker, Darius Rucker's End Zone Obsession, Dave Wannstedt, Dolphins, End Zone Obsession, Headlines, Hootie, Hootie and the Blowfish, Jay Fiedler, Miami, Miami Dolphins, Super Bowl VI
Q&A with ESPN’s Mike Golic
If you listen to ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike In the Morning,” you know that former NFL defensive lineman Mike Golic is one half of the equation and the counterpoint to long-time “Sportscenter” anchor Mike Greenberg. While both share a passion for sports, Golic takes the role of the “man’s man” and frequently discusses his passion for food and in particular, his love for grilling out. Well, lucky for us, Golic recently teamed up with Kingsford Charcoal to promote their new and improved briquets (and their new flavors of KC Masterpiece sauce and marinade), as well as with chef Chris Lilly, who owns Big Bob Gibson’s Bar-B-Q and is an award winning barbecue chef. So we’ve got some of their special recipes on our Grub For Guys page on Bullz-Eye.com, but we also had the opportunity to interview Golic about ESPN, grilling out, and of course, football:
The Scores Report: Hey Mike, we know you love to eat and love to grill. What is your favorite KC Masterpiece new flavor and why?
Mike Golic: I’m an original flavor kind of guy – no bells or whistles needed for me. But, I’ve tried the new KC Masterpiece Smoky Bourbon Barbecue Sauce and the smoky, sweet taste gives the original flavor some good competition for best sauce.
TSR: What are your thoughts on the new briquets, and do you use your grill year round?
MG: I have a fairly busy schedule with “Mike & Mike in the Morning,” ESPN analysis, and my family, but I definitely try to keep my grill fired up year-round whenever I have down-time. There is no better way to bring family and friends together than over the smokey flavors of a charcoal grill. In fact, when my boys where in high school, I used to travel to their football camps in early-August and grill for their entire teams during two-a-day workouts.
Kingsford MatchLight is my go-to charcoal – it has lighter fluid built into the briquet formula so it lights quickly and easily – which is especially convenient when I’m tailgating. I’ve heard that Kingsford briquets now light easier and faster, which I can also appreciate since I’m always crunched for time with my busy schedule.
TSR: Do you have any go-to items you like to grill for Super Bowl Sunday, or are you usually too busy working to cook that day?
MG: I will be working the whole week leading up to Super Bowl in Miami, but I’m excited to be able to go home and watch the actual game with my friends and family. But, while I’m in Miami, I will be firing up the grill with my buddy, world champion pitmaster, Chris Lilly earlier in the week. Chris has taught me quite a bit about grilling over the years and has inspired me to create a few tailgate recipes of my own. I will be demonstrating my BBQ Blitz Chicken Wraps for a few TV interviews with Chris before sharing a little tailgate with the lucky winner of the “On the Grill with Golic” sweepstakes that took place earlier this year. The recipe is attached in case your readers want to try it at home. For more great grilling recipes become a fan of Kingsford on Facebook at Facebook.com/KingsfordCharcoal.
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Posted in: Interviews, NFL
Tags: Arizona Cardinals, Big Bob Gibson's Bar-B-Q, Brian Kelly, Cedric Benson, Chad Ochocinco, Charlie Weis, Chicago Bears, Chris Henry, Chris Lilly, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland, College Football, Connecticut, Dallas Cowboys, ESPN, ESPN Radio, football, Grand Valley State, Grub For Guys, Indianapolis Colts, Jay Cutler, KC Masterpiece, Kingsford Charcoal, Kingsford MatchLight, MAC, Matt Forte, Miami, Michigan, Mike and Mike in the Morning, Mike Golic, Mike Greenberg, Mike Zimmer, Notre Dame, South Bend, South Euclid, SportsCenter, Super Bowl
Five players that got shafted by Pro Bowl voting
It’s easy to sit here and play armchair Pro Bowl GM, and while indeed all of us have the ability to influence the player selections, that doesn’t mean as a collective group that we get it right. So as always, there were a few players, even after injury substitutions were announced, who are home this weekend instead of playing in the Pro Bowl in Miami—players who truly deserved a spot on the NFC or AFC roster. Here are a few glaring omissions as we see it:
Cedric Benson, RB, Cincinnati Bengals—For as good as the Bengals’ defense was in 2009, they won all those games early in the season in part because their running game was downright dominant. And a big reason for that was Benson, whose 96.2 yards per game was second only to Tennessee’s Chris Johnson. Benson, who just turned 27 in December, has been injury prone most of his young career, but this was by far his best season, and he even led the NFL in rushing for a bit before Johnson caught fire. Of course, Benson’s six touchdowns are probably what kept him out of the Pro Bowl (Maurice Jones-Drew had 15 and Johnson 14), but there is no question about how valuable he was to the Bengals, helping them to exceed all expectations.
Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers—With all due respect to every other QB in the AFC, how do David Garrard and Vince Young get in ahead of Big Ben? I can sort of understand Young, who took the Titans on his back and may have even warranted MVP consideration. But Garrard? Roethlisberger had 4328 yards, 26 TDs and 12 picks, while Garrard threw for 3597 with 15 TD throws and 10 interceptions. Of course, Ben also dealt with concussions, so I can understand an injury keeping him out, but he’s not listed with the injured players selected, so that means more people than not left him off the roster. Does that make sense to anyone?
Brent Celek, TE, Philadelphia Eagles—This one was purely a numbers game, because you absolutely can’t argue with Jason Witten and Vernon Davis getting in ahead of Celek. But that’s not his fault. Look, I’m a Giants fan so it’s not easy for me to admit this, but I love this kid as a football player. He’s tough, makes big catches with consistency, and is always open for Donovan McNabb in the end zone. He’ll also take a defender’s head off if they get in his path. Of course, Celek’s numbers were stellar too–he caught 76 passes for just under 1000 yards (971) with 8 scores. They should have allowed an extra NFC tight end just this once.
Andre Carter, DE, Washington Redskins—I get why Jared Allen and Trent Cole made the Pro Bowl roster, but I don’t get how Andre Carter missed out while Julius Peppers got in. Peppers has the name recognition, but Carter led all defensive ends in solo tackles (48) and had twenty more total tackles than Peppers (62 to 42). He had 11 sacks to Peppers’ 10.5, sure, but when you look at the whole picture, somebody blew an assignment. And the thing is, everyone talks about Albert Haynesworth, but Carter never gets the credit he deserves, not even on his own team.
James Laurinaitis, LB, St. Louis Rams—I get why Jon Beason is the top dog at ILB for the NFC, and I also get why London Fletcher finally made the roster when Jonathan Vilma’s Saints reached the Super Bowl. I’m just not sure why rookie Laurinaitis didn’t make it in ahead of Vilma. Laurinaitis led all rookies in solo tackles with 107 (Vilma had 87), and in the NFL he trailed only Patrick Willis, Beason and Kirk Morrison in that department. Laurinaitis also had 2 sacks and 2 interceptions. This kid was a beast in the middle on a team that won only 1 game in 2009, and short of having to pay dues, I’m not exactly sure how he was left off the Pro Bowl roster.
Posted in: NFL
Tags: AFC, Albert Haynesworth, Andre Carter, Ben Roethlisbger, Brent Celek, Carolina Panthers, Cedric Benson, Chris Johnson, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, David Garrard, defensive ends, Donovan McNabb, football, Jacksonville Jaguars, James Laurinaitis, Jared Allen, Jason Witten, Jonathan Vilma, Julius Peppers, linebackers, London Fletcher, Maurice Jones-Drew, Miami, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, NFC, NFL, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, players left off Pro Bowl, Pro Bowl, Pro Bowl 2010, Pro Bowl roster, quarterbacks, running backs, San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams, Tennessee Titans, tight ends, Vernon Davis, Vince Young, Washington Redskins
NFL Week 12 MVP Power Rankings
Well, we can’t ignore what Drew Brees did to the Patriots on Monday night, can we? It doesn’t even really matter what Mr. Manning and Mr. Favre did. Oh, those guys are all bunched up here, but consider that in their biggest game of the season so far, the Saints’ Brees threw for 371 yards, 5 TDs to five different receivers, and zero picks in leading them to a 38-17 dismantling of New England in the Superdome. Yikes.
1. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints—See above. Brees now leads the NFL in both QB rating (112.6) and touchdown passes (27). He’s even rushed for 2 scores for good measure. And oh yeah, the Saints are 11-0 and starting to think about Miami in February.
2. Brett Favre, Minnesota Vikings—Funny how Favre is not getting the love he should from sportswriters in the MVP conversation. Well that’s ridiculous, and you can count this writer among those who think he is extremely deserving. Against Chicago last Sunday, Favre threw for 392 more yards, with 3 TDs and no picks. If you’re keeping score at home, that’s 24 TDs to 3 interceptions on the season, and his team sitting at 10-1 and in line for a first round bye.
3. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts—Our apologies for dropping Peyton from #1 to #3 here, but he keeps flirting with disaster each week before bringing his team back. Sure, they are 11-0 just like the Saints, but we don’t feel particularly happy about those 11 interceptions so far.
4. Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans—800 yards in the month of November. 800 yards. Are you freaking kidding me? Apparently LenDale White was not in uniform against Arizona last Sunday because of being late to a meeting. I think it was more like Jeff Fisher didn’t want to make the mistake of putting White in the game for any reason, so he kept the guy in street clothes. And how about this sick run by the Titans?
5. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers—His numbers are damn near close to the guy he replaced in Green Bay, Mr. Favre…a.k.a. #2. 3136 yards, 22 TDs, and just 5 interceptions. Imagine if Rodgers (44 sacks) wasn’t running for his life most of the time.
Honorable Mention—Philip Rivers, Chargers; Adrian Peterson, Vikings; Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars, Reggie Wayne, Colts; Cedric Benson, Bengals; Jared Allen, Vikings; Tom Brady, Patriots; Randy Moss, Patriots; Miles Austin, Cowboys; Vince Young, Titans; Andre Johnson, Texans; Elvis Dumervil, Broncos; Darren Sharper, Saints
Posted in: NFL
Tags: Aaron Rodgers, Adrian Peterson, Andre Johnson, Brett Favre, Cedric Benson, Chicago Bears, Chris Johnson, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Darren Sharper, Denver Broncos, Drew Brees, Elvis Dumervil, football, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Jared Allen, Jeff Fisher, LenDale White, Maurice Jones-Drew, Miami, Miles Austin, Minnesota Vikings, Most Valuable Player, MVP, National Football League, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, NFL, NFL MVP power rankings, Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, Randy Moss, Reggie Wayne, San Diego Chargers, Super Bowl, Superdome, Tennessee Titans, Tom Brady, Vince Young
Heisman Movers & Shakers: Week 5
In their Week 5 recap of college football, the Draft Zoo writes that Miami’s Jacory Harris and Minnesota’s Eric Decker are risers in this year’s Heisman race.
3.) Jacory Harris, QB, Miami
He’s back too. Harris was wiped from this list after a poor performance in a loss to Virginia Tech, but he rebounded in a big way. His second half against OU was a microcosm for his season. Despite rugged starts, he’s coming through in a big way for his team. Beating OU was a signature moment for Harris.
Week 5 Stats: 19/28 202 yards 3 TD 2 INT, 4 carries -30 yards
5.) Eric Decker, WR, Minnesota
I don’t care that he has no chance to actually win the award. I don’t care that receivers are an afterthought. And I don’t care that Minnesota is no place for a Heisman candidate to call home. Decker is the most consistently uncoverable wideout in the country, and he is single handedly making the Golden Gophers an interesting team. He hasn’t caught fewer than eight passes in a single game this season.
Week 5 Stats: 8 catches 140 yards 1 TD
Outside of Miami’s Week 4 loss to Virginia Tech when the Hokies constantly harassed him with pressure, Harris has been outstanding this season. He just doesn’t panic and with him under center, the Canes have a shot every week.
I absolutely love Decker and I couldn’t agree more with the guys at the Draft Zoo. If you haven’t watched this kid play, you’re truly missing out because he is Minnesota’s offense.
Every time the Golden Gophers need a play in the passing game, he’s there. Every time they need a huge first down in the second half, Decker is the one making the catch. He has NFL-caliber skills and I can’t wait to see what he does on Sundays.
The only knock on him is that he’s a tad injury-prone. But he’s a tough kid and he’s always giving up his body to make a catch.