“It’s football, reimagined.”
Professional wrestling promoter and very stable genius Vince McMahon announced today that he planned on bringing the XFL back in 2020.
For anyone unfamiliar, the original XFL was a spring football league that lasted one season in 2001.
Riding a wave of popularity from the WWF’s Attitude Era, McMahon and NBC thought they could bring that same attitude to football.
The XFL was promoted as a more violent and in-your-face brand of football.
For the most part, it was bad. Like, Tommy-Maddox-is-your-best-player bad.
Aside from the quality of football, there were some positives. The XFL popularized the skycam, and contributed to the legend of Rod Smart.
So now Vince, in his infinite wisdom, has decided to bring back the XFL. But will this league bring back the same attitude as it’s predecessor?
No, as McMahon explains in this uninformative conference call.
I recommend you take the time to watch the whole thing, especially so you can hear McMahon call Darren Rovell, “Dan.”
The gist of this announcement seems to point towards the XFL appealing to the fed-up, #MAGA crowd.
- Players will be required to stand for the National Anthem, in an effort to de-politicize football.
- Players with a criminal record will not be signed.
- Rules will be simpler, which until we know what that means, doesn’t mean much. The informative XFL rap suggests there will be less penalties.
- Games will be quicker, which is genuinely appealing. McMahon says he wants to shoot for 2-hour games and eliminate halftime.
Much like the original XFL, I think this league will bring some interesting innovation to the sport, but some of the language scares me.
I don’t necessarily think you need to be “fed-up” with the NFL to enjoy a new and different league. You won’t find me complaining about having more sports to watch.
So until we know more, I’m not entirely sure what to make of the XFL.
2020 can’t come soon enough.
Fandom is a tricky thing.
Fandom can make you angry at people you genuinely like, just because you’ve arbitrarily tied your emotions to a different team than they have. Or, in this case, the same team.
You see, I’m a New England Patriots fan, and I can tell you right now that this fanbase is toxic.
It’s true that all fandoms have a rogue element, but it feels like ever since “Deflategate” became a part of the public lexicon, Patriots fans have taken it upon themselves to be extra insufferable.
We’re talking about people who actually embraced mantras like, “They hate us ’cause they ain’t us.”
Watch that scene. You’re not supposed to like James Franco, he’s a bad person. Any rational human being would empathize with Seth Rogan, who has to deal with this idiot.
That’s what being a Patriots fan is like, and this offseason made it even worse.
I’m sure you know by now, but the Patriots overcame a 28-3 deficit to win the Super Bowl last season. Instantly, 28-3 became the premier sports meme, and Patriots fans made sure to incessantly remind the people of Atlanta how badly their team choked.
I know people don’t usually say this outside of the Environmental Protection Agency, but have we not learned from Cleveland? Did we all just forget what happened at the end of that summer of 3-1 jokes?
The Patriots even had the scoreboard read 28-3 during the pregame ceremonies tonight!
And speaking of opening ceremonies, we were treated with an intro by Mark Wahlberg, Boston’s favorite former racist teenage cokehead and current Super Bowl-leaver.
I’m sure Marky Mark’s a lovely guy now, but there’s a certain demographic that reeeeeally likes Mark Wahlberg, and I am not a part of that group.
I think my biggest issue with the current state of Boston sports culture, though, is the media empire it has birthed.
Barstool Sports is a website (mostly) about sports that embraces all of the worst aspects of sports fandom. It combines frat-bro culture with the ignorance of a, well, young Mark Wahlberg.
The founder of this website is a Patriots fan and someone I have no interest in ever meeting.
In that video, Mr. Portnoy mentions an ongoing feud between Patriots fans and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Now, a sane person would tell you that those issues were resolved when the Patriots won the Super Bowl last season. Unfortunately, the world doesn’t work that way.
Mr. Portnoy and his band of numbskulls decided to hand out towels chastising the (in his own way, also terrible) commissioner. It’s like they were begging to lose this game.
I just wonder when Patriots fans stopped believing their own bullshit.
Wasn’t this the team that was so successful because of “The Patriot Way” and other platitudes? What happened to “Do your job?” Shouldn’t the team be “avoiding distractions?”
Objectively, this was poetic justice. Pride cometh before the fall, and all that stuff.
I just hope that maybe we can all calm down before Week 2.
Today is conference championship Saturday, which is a great excuse to stay at home and watch too much football.
Eyes across the nation will be glued to the SEC, ACC and B1G games to see who will make the College Football Playoff. That’s both a good and a bad thing.
The inherent problem with college sports is that the postseason is so subjective. There too many teams competing for too few spots.
One way to fix this would be a universal scheduling system handed down from the NCAA big wigs, but that seems like a pipe dream. In an ideal world, each conference champion could then be seeded into a 10-team playoff.
But for now, we’re stuck with the idea of a committee getting together and trying to determine who the four “best” teams are. There is all sorts of criteria, but it’s still pretty subjective.
So before tonight’s games change everything, I’m going to give you my top four seeds.
When Alabama lost this season, there was an excitement in the air. Alabama was out. Maybe this was the year we’d see someone else come out of the SEC. Maybe we’d have some variety.
Alabama is the best team in the country from the best conference in the country. They deserve the top seed in the College Football Playoff.
Oklahoma is an incredible offensive powerhouse. Baker Mayfield leads a unit that averages nearly 46 points per game. Even in the Big 12, that’s pretty special.
Oklahoma does the football equivalent of getting buckets, and for that, they get the second seed.
3. Ohio State
This is probably a controversial pick. Ohio State is a long shot to make the playoff since they’re not playing in the B1G Championship Game. The truth is, though, Iowa is the fourth-best team in the conference. I’m pretty sure the Hawkeyes played my high school at some point this season.
Michigan has three losses, so they’re out. That leaves Michigan State and Ohio State. Sparty played a tougher schedule, but Ohio State has better numbers (better than Bama!). In the end, I’m going to go with the team that didn’t lose to Nebraska.
The ACC is the weakest of the 5 big conferences, but an undefeated Clemson is better than a two-loss Stanford. Clemson’s reward for a perfect season is getting Alabama in the first round.
Song for when tonight’s games ruin your rankings
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Michigan St. vs. Iowa – 8:17 p.m. – Fox
Because life is imperfect and unfair, the winner of this game will got to the College Football Playoff. You might as well watch.
Kobe Bryant announced his retirement on Sunday with a terrible poem on a terrible website, and I’ve been through a range of emotions ever since. I’ve smiled with glee at all the hit pieces saying Kobe could never truly reach all-time greatness, and I’ve cringed at anything saying the opposite.
In fact, just this morning, I found myself yelling (internally) at Reggie Miller for suggesting that Kobe was a top-3 guard of all time.
None of this makes sense. Kobe Bryant has never done anything to me personally. He is the 5th-ish best player of his generation, and has had a top-20 NBA career. I readily admit that. Heck, I own a pair of his sneakers.
So what’s my beef with Kobe? I’m not saying this solely to setup the rest of the blog, I’m genuinely asking this question. Maybe if I put my thoughts in writing, we can discover the answer together.
The first, and most obvious answer, would lie somewhere in Eagle County, Colorado. For those of you who are unaware, that’s where Kobe Bryant was charged with sexual assault over a decade ago. The charges were eventually dropped when the accuser failed to testify in court.
Now, it’s perfectly reasonable to not like an alleged rapist. Rape is a bad thing to do. The problem I’m having, and I don’t know what this says about me as a person, is that I don’t think this is the reason I dislike Kobe.
There are people (probably too many people) that have done terrible things and I’ve given passes to. There’s some cognitive dissonance that happens when you appreciate someone’s work and ignore their deplorable actions. I mean, does anyone really get on their high horse when “Ignition” starts playing?
If we ignore the sexual assault (not a great phrase to use out of context), there’s the fact that Kobe Bryant is a lifetime Laker. It’s hard to ignore my irrational disdain for the Lakers. And this is where the Derek Jeter comparisons really start to take hold for me.
Other, non-New-Englander, people have compared the two as great players who got a lot more recognition than they deserved. I agree with that, and I’ll get to it a little bit later, but there’s an extra link between the two for me. They are the face of the enemy.
That sounds stupid, and it is. There is nothing objectively right or wrong about rooting for one team over another. I should not dislike any person based on where they go to work, but it’s an idea that’s hard to shake. And Kobe might actually be the last roadblock. I don’t think there’s anyone else on the Yankees or Lakers that I actively dislike, despite irrationally wishing that both organizations fail to achieve success.
If it’s not that, there’s only one thing I can think of. Kobe is Michael Jordan Light. He looks like him, he acts like him, he plays like him, but he’s not Michael Jordan. Kobe was never as good as Michael Jordan.
Full disclosure here, like many kids my age, I grew up worshiping MJ. Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player I’ve ever seen. LeBron’s probably close, but Kobe’s way behind.
Even this, though, is stupid. Comparing players is stupid. Comparing eras is stupid. Hatred is stupid.
I don’t know why I have this dislike for Kobe Bryant, but I’m glad he’s retiring so I don’t have to think about it anymore.
Song for when you’re done thinking about Kobe Bryant
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Maryland vs. North Carolina – 9:30 p.m. – ESPN
It’s like an ACC rivalry, but it’s not. Marcus Paige is back for North Carolina after missing their first 5 games.
Pick: Maryland +7
Hello, everyone! I’m back to lead you astray with another season preview. This time, I’m talking about basketball.
That video is ridiculous.
On a more serious note, professional basketball has a unique distinction among the major american sports. It’s almost fluke-proof. Better teams will win games based entirely on the premise that they are better. There’s nothing to change a game dramatically like a touchdown, home run, or goal. The game centers around a large sample size of possessions.
That being said, my predictions are going to look a lot like last year’s standings. It’s just the nature of the beast. I need you to remember that I’ll probably be wrong, though.
- Toronto Raptors*
- Boston Celtics*
- Brooklyn Nets
- Philadelphia 76ers
- New York Knicks
The Atlantic is a lot like the Northwest, in that it’s a weak division that will only yield two playoff teams. The Celtics show signs of improvement, which means they’ll inexplicably finish fighting the Detroit Pistons for the last playoff spot.
- Cleveland Cavaliers*
- Chicago Bulls*
- Milwaukee Bucks*
- Indiana Pacers*
- Detroit Pistons
I like Indiana to make the playoffs. I think getting Paul George back will give them a leg to stand on.
- Atlanta Hawks*
- Washington Wizards*
- Miami Heat
- Charlotte Hornets
- Orlando Magic
If the NBA preseason means anything, the Charlotte Hornets will win the championship. The NBA preseason does not mean anything.
- Portland Trail Blazers*
- Oklahoma City Thunder*
- Utah Jazz
- Denver Nuggets
- Minnesota Timberwolves
Maybe I believe in Damian Lillard too much. Maybe I don’t trust the Thunder to stay healthy. Maybe I just wanted to throw in one crazy prediction so I could point to it if it hits. No one knows.
- Golden State Warriors*
- Los Angeles Clippers*
- Phoenix Suns
- Sacramento Kings
- Los Angeles Lakers
I don’t think there’s anything I like more than the Lakers being awful.
- San Antonio Spurs*
- Houston Rockets*
- Memphis Grizzlies*
- Dallas Mavericks*
- New Orleans Pelicans
Poor Pelicans. I just don’t think they can stay healthy enough to get back into the playoffs.
MVP: James Harden
Song for making you google “Jose Feliciano”
Was wrestling good last night?
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Ravens vs. Cardinals – 8:30 p.m. – ESPN
The Cardinals lead the NFC in scoring. Both teams lost their last game.
This trailer dropped last night during halftime of a brutal Monday Night Football game. Immediately, movie ticket websites were crashing or bogged down. I even saw the hype in the newsroom.
People who don’t even care about football were glued to ESPN. I overheard a conversation about whether or not Boba Fett died inside the sarlacc. Our floor director was jumping up and down when the trailer finally aired.
The hype for the newest Star Wars movie is certainly real, but the question is, “Am I hyped?” It’s fair to say that I don’t get hype about very many things. In fact, I can only think of one trailer that got me really, truly, hype.
That’s not to say this trailer isn’t good. In fact it showed me the things I wanted to see. Ever since the second teaser showed a giant, crashed star destroyer, I was hoping someone would explore the ship. Right off the bat in this trailer, we see our protagonist exploring the ship.
I’m also excited to see where the story goes, but not to the point of actively looking for information. I’ve kind of been avoiding information because I just want to see it on the screen. I guess I’ve changed a lot since the days of endlessly researching the backstory of Cloverfield (Where is our sequel?).
Overall, I’d say I’m excited, but I won’t be hyped until Lando shows up.
Link for you to click on
Song that has nothing to do with Star Wars
Was wrestling good last night?
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Mets vs. Cubs – 8:07 p.m. – TBS
The Mets have lost seven straight games at Wrigley Field. deGrom is facing Hendricks tonight.
I can’t stop watching this clip. Jose Bautista must have the Infinity Gauntlet, because he has complete mastery over time, space, mind, soul, reality, and power. Mostly power.
The game might have been played in Toronto, but I think the ball landed somewhere near Dallas. In 1963. That home run broke space time and killed JFK. You can see it on the director’s cut of the Zapruder film.
He smoked that ball. I’m serious. Jose Bautista hit a ball so hard that it took on a gaseous form. And then he watched it. You can see his eternal monologue. “Man, I just did something really cool, but I should probably call Bill Nye and tell him that I can alter matter.”
A lot of people focus on the bat flip, but the stare really does it for me. Nothing says “I’m a better person than you” like staring a hole into a pitcher after sending his life’s work into orbit.
Not to say the bat flip wasn’t great as well. It was a dismissive, non-verbal way for Bautista to let Sam Dyson know that he’s not even worthy of belonging to the same species as Joey Bats. It reminded me of when Jordan put my boy Harold Miner in his place.
Vicious. In all seriousness, though, The Blue Jays, Jose Bautista, and his Joe Budden facial hair are going to win this whole thing. Might as well enjoy the ride.
Link for you to click on
Song for looking like Joey Bats
Get Hype Game of the Night
Mets vs. Dodgers – 8:07 p.m. – TBS
Mets are trying to clinch their first NLCS bid since 2000. Greinke taking on deGrom.