Couch Potato Alert: 1/30

It’s finally here.

After months of preparation and endless promotion, Super Bowl XLIII will be played this Sunday. The game is scheduled to kickoff at 6:28 PM, but the pregame show festivities will begin at 10 AM with NFL Countdown on ESPN. If that is too early to begin your tailgating day, then tune into the NFL Network at 11:30 AM for their six and half hour NFL GameDay show. For those who are late arrivals to the party, NBC will begin their coverage of Super Sunday at 1 PM with Bob Costas hosting The Super Bowl Pregame Show that features a cast of thousands breaking down the premier matchup of the season.

All times ET…

Sunday, 6:28 PM: Super Bowl XLIII — Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Arizona Cardinals at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL. (NBC)

Friday, 7 PM: Boston Celtics @ Detroit Pistons (ESPN)
Friday, 9:30 PM: Golden State Warriors @ New Orleans Hornets (ESPN)
Saturday, 7:30 PM: Dallas Mavericks @ Miami Heat (NBA TV)
Sunday, 2:30 PM: Cleveland Cavaliers @ Detroit Pistons (ABC)

Friday, 7 PM: Pittsburgh Penguins @ New Jersey Devils
Saturday, 1 PM: New York Rangers @ Boston Bruins
Saturday, 10:30 PM: Chicago Black Hawks @ San Jose Sharks

College Basketball
Saturday, 12 PM: #22 Notre Dame @ #3 Pittsburgh (ESPN)
Saturday, 1 PM: Michigan @ #17 Purdue (CBS)
Saturday, 2 PM: #23 Georgetown @ #8 Marquette (ESPN Full Court)
Saturday, 6 PM: San Diego @ #25 Gonzaga (ESPN2)

Tennis: Australian Open
Friday, 3:30 AM: Men’s Semi-Final (ESPN2)
Saturday, 3:30 AM: Women’s Final (ESPN2)
Sunday, 3:30 AM: Men’s Final (ESPN2)

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Ladies and gentlemen, your…Toronto Tarantulas?

A city’s reaction to becoming the permanent home of a professional sports expansion franchise isn’t all that different than that of a married couple that learns of an impending pregnancy – nervous excitement.

At the press conference, political leaders will slap each other on their back for their efforts in securing the franchise and take on the role of grandparents to the city’s newest acquisition. Oh, they promise to be there every step in the development of the franchise, but in reality, they will only show up at events covered by the media (i.e. opening night, first playoff appearance, and the celebration ceremony of a championship, etc.). And they will remind everyone within an ear’s distance about their role in giving the franchise life and an opportunity to succeed.

The owner and the fans take on the role of the expecting parents. Each will have a significant role in choosing team colors, mascot, and most importantly – the team’s nickname. A great article posted on list the top ten runner-up names of existing franchises.

Here is an example of a team’s name that fans almost cheered for:
The Toronto Tarantulas
Few team names seem quite as dated as the Toronto Raptors’. The team started play in 1995 with a mascot that was obviously a nod to Jurassic Park, which had destroyed box-office records a couple of years earlier. However, looking at the list of names the Toronto franchise could have chosen, the Raptors seems like a terrific choice. The other nine finalists were the Tarantulas, Beavers, Bobcats, Dragons, Grizzlies, Hogs, Scorpions, T-Rex, and Terriers. “The Hogs” makes sense since Toronto’s historic nickname is Hogtown, but it lacks a certain menace and would have been catastrophic when the team picked Oliver Miller in the expansion draft. The rest of the finalists, however, look largely like they were culled from a list of things 13-year-old boys think are awesome, so kudos on picking the Raptors name. (This decision might mark the last time a franchise under Isiah Thomas’ direction made a wise choice.)

The article reminded me of a time when my brother and I attended the NFL Experience at the 2003 Super Bowl in San Diego. A booth was selling t-shirts used in the football movie Any Given Sunday starring Al Pacino and Cameron Diaz. One shirt that caught my eye had George Washington as the mascot of the fictitious D.C. team. He had an intense, crazed look on his face that would have made Junior Seau cringe on the field. Well a purchase had to be made, and a revelation came to me after wearing the shirt in public a few times…a team’s name and their mascot must be attractive to the public for a franchise to be successful. People went ga-ga over my shirt even though it was completely fictitious and ridiculous, but it’s still better than wearing a tarantula on your chest.

Jay Cutler is a punk

At least according to San Diego’s Matt Wilhelm he’s a punk.

During my turn guest-hosting yesterday on XX 1090, Matt Wilhelm came on the show, and I suggested at the start of the interview, “Jay Cutler is a punk, isn’t he?”

I was joking. I mean, I think Jay Cutler is arrogant and off-putting, but I was totally joking and never expected a response. I was saying it for a laugh. I had suggested the same thing in an earlier interview with Clinton Hart.

But Wilhelm, who is a great interview, took my suggestion and ran.

“He is a punk,” Wilhelm said. “I’m just not a huge fan of his.”

Wilhelm compared Philip Rivers and Jay Cutler, saying both were leaders and wanted to win badly.

“But Jay Cutler,” Wilhelm said, “he and Tony Gonzalez are the biggest crybabies in the league.”

Does anyone want to disgree with Wilhelm? Cutler is the humble genius who claimed that his arm was stronger than John Elway’s arm.

Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Beall via Flickr.


Bill Simmons on Ladainian Tomlinson:

There are five open secrets in the NFL right now. The first is that LaDainian Tomlinson, for whatever reason, is washed up. (Running backs are like NBA big men, porn stars, singers, wrestlers and female sideline reporters in HD: When it goes, it goes. You can’t stop it.)

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