10 Possible Replacements for Arian Foster

She’s back. We honestly can’t get rid of her. She keeps showing up on our doorstep, trying to look through the peephole to see if we’re home. We think she might also be following us around town. We figure if she’s gonna be here, might as well let her keep writing. That’s right, Diane Sevenay has another very serious and factual sports breakdown to share.


I’m not sure who received worse news about his groin this week, Arian Foster or Lenny Kravitz.  But while all Kravitz needs to do is buy a pair of pants that fit, the Houston Texans have a much tougher road ahead as they attempt to replace Foster.  Reports say that Pierre Thomas turned down the Texans’ offer to join their backfield, and this leaves Houston with only a 14-year-old girl and a department-store mannequin to play running back this year.  However, there can be help on the way if the Texans decide to bring in one of these possible replacements:

1. Ashton Kutcher – If he replaced Charlie Sheen, he can replace Arian Foster.

Us Magazine
Us Magazine

2. OJ Simpson – Pros: Outstanding slasher with a killer instinct. Cons: He’s a 68-year-old man who’s currently in prison.

Splash News
Splash News

3. Ronda Rousey – Who in their right mind would attempt to tackle Ronda Rousey?  Sign her, Houston, or she’ll beat you up.

Associated Press
Associated Press

4. Jason Pierre-Paul’s index finger – This finger was an NFL star once, and it could be again if given an opportunity.

jason-pierre-paul-happy-gilmore

5. Rudy – Could there be a better story than RUDY leading the Texans to the Super Bowl?  Yes, Rudy Ruettiger is a 66-year-old man who wasn’t very good at football when he played at Notre Dame in the 1970s, but nothing can stop this guy once he sets his mind to something.

RudyRuettiger.co
RudyRuettiger.co

6. Michael Strahan – Since joining “LIVE with Kelly and Michael,” this former NFL superstar has had people saying, “Regis who?”

Us Magazine
Us Magazine

7. Groot – He’d be the first sentient tree in the NFL.  Make this happen, Texans.

Marvel Studios
Marvel Studios

8. Donald Trump – He swears he’ll make America great.  Why not start with Houston?

LM Otero
LM Otero

9. Jim Thorpe – Pros: Thorpe is one of history’s greatest athletes and football players. Cons: He has been dead for over 60 years.

Sioux City Journal
Sioux City Journal

10. Batman – He’s not the hero Houston deserves, but the one it needs right now.

DC Entertainment
DC Entertainment

Diane Sevenay, a friend to The Scoop, is a writer and comedian who claims that she “invented the Internet.”  Follow her immediately on Twitter at @diane_7a or face dire consequences.

Football is Football

dallas elite logoThis past weekend, I ventured out to the old confines of the Alfred J Loos Stadium in Addison, Texas. The event was to decide which gridiron team would go on to Los Angeles for the annual championship of their respective 2015 season. It pitted the visiting Surge of San Diego against the hosting Elite of Dallas. One quick side note: if a team name is meant to represent something on which that city is based, is there any doubt what “Elite” means for this Dallas squad? Yes, that was a silent nod to “America’s Team.” My apologies to the REST of the football nation.

As is customary, at least for ME, I arrived to the game early. If there is a distinctive term for being earlier than early, then this would be the time and place to use it. As it happens, a friend and former classmate of mine (from American Broadcasting School) would be gearing up for this match, as a piece of the defensive front for Dallas. She had already properly warned me on Facebook that “I wasn’t ready for this kind of action!” It was merely a friendly taunt, yes, but would a player on just any ordinary football team say such a thing? I hasten to wonder, but can only achieve an unclear, ambiguous response. Clarity and ambiguity aside, it did not take long for me to realize that when the pads and helmets are thrown on, all I see is a football player.

(That’s right, read back a few lines. I said “she.”) 

At the onset of the warm-ups, the two teams defined themselves for what the outcome of the big game would ultimately be: one team was quiet and uninspiring to watch, and the other was loose and enthusiastic. If you ever get to see any pregame warm-ups, do not neglect what your instincts would tell you about each and every player on their respective teams. As I once heard Robert Parish say in his prime with the Boston Celtics of the 1980s, they often could sense whether a team was ready to win or lose just based on how they looked when they were warming up on the court right before the game. If you know anything about the Celtics of that era, then you can imagine what the results were about 90% of the time.

DallasEliteFootball.com
DallasEliteFootball.com

The fans, in decent numbers for the Dallas faithful, were exuberant and undaunted. Even when the San Diego Surge took a 14-8 lead into the 2nd quarter and marched down the field for a potential double-digit lead, they never seemed to lose their confidence, nor did the Elite players on the field. What looked like an overmatched defense in the early goings for Dallas quickly tightened like a vice grip midway through the game. By halftime, it was 22 all and in the 3rd quarter, Dallas gained a 28-22 advantage. Some questionable penalties attributed to the Elite offense, often times negating a large gain or even a touchdown to widen the lead, kept San Diego just within striking distance.

As the 4th quarter was set to begin, I overheard the rowdy bench of the Dallas Elite echoing what I can only assume is a routine chant in such situations: “We all we got! We all we need! We all we got! We all we need!” Did they know they were in trouble, only ahead by a mere six points? Did they know they were going to have the kind of 4th quarter that only championship-caliber teams are capable of having in such a big game? Did the fans share the same emotional sentiment as they chanted along with the team from the hard, aluminum bleachers?

Phoenix Lovell
Phoenix Lovell

By the 11-minute mark on the countdown clock, the lead had expanded to 34-22. The players embraced the audience, ushering in a seemingly premature celebration for the win. Perhaps it was I who was out of touch as a spectator and fan. Three consecutive turnovers for the Surge led to three quick touchdowns for the Elite, and suddenly, the game was out of reach with just under half a quarter still to play. I was mesmerized by the fierce, combative energy the Dallas Elite displayed once they had the game in hand. Their tenacity, in the midst of team struggles for much of the first three quarters, was inspiring. I was NOT just watching “football chicks” aspiring to be something they could never be. They WERE what they sought to be. They ARE what they say they are, and it is SO much more than a casual moniker.

When you attend a game in the Women’s Football Alliance, you can forget about the “no frills” experience of the presentation. I, myself, enjoyed a homemade brisket sandwich straight from a grill on the footsteps of the stadium. I sang the Star-Spangled Banner along with the crowd, hat off, facing the national flag, led by a team captain of the Dallas Elite. I smiled with a wide grin, consistently, when the un-uniformed mascot/cheerleader for the Elite urged the team and fans on with anticipation for “DE-FENSE!” dallas elite champs

I rushed the field after the game, with the rest of the fans, to feel the elation and spirits of sweat, Gatorade and water, as the team excitedly celebrated their bid to fight for the 2015 League Championship. The Dallas Elite will head to Los Angeles to play the D.C. Divas for the National Title on August 8, 2015, at Los Angeles Southwest College.

I forgot about all those fancy, typical football frills because the product I saw in Alfred J Loos Stadium that night was all that mattered. Football is football! Period.


Alex Moore is a Sports Contributor at The Scoop.

 

10 Things Tom Brady Can Do While Serving His Suspension

Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve probably heard that Tom Brady‘s four-game suspension has been upheld by the NFL.  Love him or hate him, we’ll miss Brady when he’s not on the field.  But let’s see this from Brady‘s point of view.  Every September since he was a young boy, he has been living and breathing football.  What is he going to do without an extremely deflated football in his hand and a game to win?  How can he fill this emptiness in his heart?  What can Tom Brady do while serving his suspension?

1. Be obscenely and arrogantly wealthy. This will be pretty easy for you to accomplish, Tom.  Instead of buying a car, buy 15.  Why just settle for a swimming pool that wraps around your house when you can also have one in your kitchen?  Or two…

tom gisele house

2. Sleep with your ridiculously good-looking model wife. You know you want to, Tom.  Now’s your chance!

gisele swimsuit

3. Run for public office. Do I see a Trump-Brady ticket in your future?

trump hair

4. Get a makeover. A new hairstyle and a snazzy new wardrobe can add up to a WHOLE NEW Tom Brady.

tom gisele

5. Write the great American novel. I’m thinking Gronk fan fiction.  Because EVERYONE loves Gronk fan fiction.

gronk book

6. Take up another sport. You’re already the Michael Jordan of football.  Now be the Michael Jordan of BASEBALL!

jordan baseball

7. Start filming “Ted 3.” According to Ted the teddy bear, “Tom Brady is a f*cking wicked awesome actor.”

ted movie

8. Start a feud with Drake and/or Nicki Minaj. You know you want to, Tom…

drake pats meme

9. Write season 3 of “True Detective.” Because it can’t be any worse than season 2.

brady belichick

10. Learn how to stop cheating at football. I know it’s going to be tough, but you can do it.  I think…

Tom Brady Crying


Diane Sevenay, a friend to The Scoop, is a writer and comedian who claims that she “invented the Internet.”  Follow her immediately on Twitter at @diane_7a or face dire consequences.

When LeSean McCoy Says “Females Only”

Diane Sevenay returns, reluctantly, to share a filthy, yet factual, account of LeSean McCoy‘s party lifestyle. Well, at least we think it’s factual. Hell, it’s probably not. Eff it. We need the page views. We should probably also warn you about a couple of mature topics within this article. Don’t read this to your kiddies before naptime. Or ever, really.


Instagram
Instagram

The Buffalo Bills traded for running back LeSean “Shady” McCoy to bring a little “heat” to their backfield.  However, this week’s news was not what the Bills had in mind. Multiple media outlets reported that McCoy posted an invitation to a private “females only” party, and the general response was disgust.  Well, not to brag or anything, but I happened to attend McCoy‘s party last year, so maybe I could shine a light on what “Shady” is all about.

I received the invitation last July.  Females only?  That could mean only one thing: ORGY.  Of course I was interested.  I put on my best orgy outfit, laced up my fanciest orgy shoes, and I put on my prettiest orgy smile.  I was totally ready to put more than several penises inside me.  Yup, it was just like any Saturday night.

So, I get there, and there’s more security than I’ve ever seen.  I have to give them several DNA samples, some “stem cells,” and all of my Social Security and banking information.  This was a small price to pay for what was to be the wildest night of my life.

I can remember walking into the club; you could only imagine what I saw.  Women as far as the eye can see, doing things that I didn’t even know existed…Spa treatments, facials, homeopathic massage.  There was an omelette station that featured fresh organic kale.  A Pilates class was in full swing.  Sara Bareilles played piano.  And in the center of it all, LeSean McCoy released a flock of doves flying in a formation that spelled out the word “FEMALE.”

@JamieSportsTalk
@JamieSportsTalk

I soon found myself exchanging recipes with former U.S. Secretary of State Madeliene Albright and Barbara Walters.  I enjoyed a soy latte with Angelina Jolie.  I was transfixed when Hillary Clinton took the stage and spoke about female empowerment.  I laughed uncontrollably at the comedic stylings of Ellen DeGeneres.  Then I finally I got what I came for: a little one-on-one time with LeSean McCoy.

@JamieSportsTalk
@JamieSportsTalk

He told me his heroes were Susan B. Anthony, Gloria Steinem, and his mother.  He said that his nickname “Shady” came from how he loved to pick flowers on a shady autumn day.  He said that he wished men could become pregnant; he yearned to have a life grow inside him.  He read from his favorite Maya Angelou poem, and I held him as he wept.

I can only hope the young women who attend this year’s party have the same transcendent experience I was lucky enough to have.  There is no more important feminist icon today than LeSean “Shady” McCoy.


Diane Sevenay, a friend to The Scoop, is a writer and comedian who claims that she “invented the Internet.”  Follow her immediately on Twitter at @diane_7a or face dire consequences.

A Lifetime of Memories

This is a special contribution from The Scoop’s Founder, Jamie Kelly. Listen to her on The Scoop Radio every Monday & Wednesday night from 9-11pm CDT on KTSR-db, part of the Texas Sports Review Radio Network.


This week has been an emotional week for me. Today, my childhood hero and the best athlete I’ve ever seen finally takes his place among the greatest to ever wear the green and gold.

My story goes far beyond football. This is a story about a father and daughter brought immeasurably closer by the common bond of football, and watching a legend cement his place in history before our eyes.

In the 1980s, if your favorite team happened to be in another market, you had to go to some lengths to watch them on television every week. Especially if your favorite team was, shall we say, awful. My dad, being the techie geek that he was, went out and got us a home satellite dish. He mounted the large, cumbersome monstrosity on a wooden pallet, and positioned it carefully in the backyard between the sandbox and the swingset.

Sundays were part magic and part dumb luck. Dad would go out into the backyard, weather be damned, and lay under the dish, moving it ever-so-slightly in each direction, while I stood in front of the television and shouted every time the black and white fuzz showed glimmers of green and gold.

One Sunday in 1992, like many other Sundays, Dad & I were gathered around the TV watching Don Majkowski try to once again pull a rabbit out of his hat. The Packers were down 31-3 to the Bucs, and the Majik Man was sent to the bench for the entire second half. In came some wide-eyed kid named Favre. “Fa-ver? Fa-vrah? Fav-ray?” Hell, nobody knew how to pronounce his name. Nobody cared either. His first pass as a Packer was a completion to himself for a loss of 7 yards.

The following week, Majkowski went down, and the legend of Favre began. After four fumbles and a frenzied Lambeau crowd chanting for Ty Detmer, he led the Packers to a 24-23 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

What followed was a lifetime of memories. From the scrambling to the ill-advised passes to the interceptions to the Super Bowl to the retirement(s), Favre took us on a journey that will never be forgotten.

The pinnacle took place on a cool and rainy day in November 2001. By a pure stroke of luck, Dad and I found ourselves waiting outside the ticket office at Lambeau Field for the players’ tickets to be released. Through a mutual friend from Baylor, I had been put in touch with Santana Dotson, who left us two tickets for a game against the Atlanta Falcons.

The nerves were building as game time approached, and our tickets still hadn’t materialized. Had we made the long trek from Texas for nothing? Would we end up listening to the sounds of Lambeau from the parking lot? Dad and I both tried to keep our cool, but we both knew that panic was starting to set in.

Finally, the players’ tickets were released, and we headed into the building that we had only seen on television, not knowing or caring where our seats were. We were truly just happy to be there. That first glimpse of the somewhat soggy tundra was breathtaking. We stood in one of the breezeways and took it all in, replaying memories of games gone by. Making our way through the sights, sounds, and smells of game day at Lambeau, we soon realized that we had the best seats in the house: second row, 50-yard line behind the Packers bench.

It didn’t even matter to us that the day ended with a loss. It was the adventure of a lifetime, our trip to Graceland, and the memories will never die. This love affair with the Green Bay Packers, which has been made so exciting by the presence of a kid from Mississippi, was made to last.

Here I sit today with my own little Packer Backer, sharing with her the stories of that gunslinger who stole our hearts. Yes he’s a flawed man. Yes he made mistakes. But who are we to judge the mistakes of others? His pure joy in playing a kid’s game is what made us love him, and that joy is what the world will remember.

Thanks for a lifetime of memories, 4.


Jamie Kelly is the Founder of The Scoop, and hosts The Scoop Radio every Monday & Wednesday night on KTSR-db, part of the Texas Sports Review Radio Network. Follow her on Twitter @JamieSportsTalk.

 

SEC Football: What Stock Would Your Favorite Program Be?

LSU running back Leonard Fournette
Leonard Fournette via FoxSports.com

If your favorite Southeastern Conference football team was a stock in the market, who would they be? Would they be a savvy tech company, or a stodgy old blue chip? This is a look at which company each SEC most closely resembles.


MSFT_logo_pngFlorida $MSFT Florida was the top program in the country when Urban Meyer was at the helm. Now they are under new leadership and everyone needs to take a wait-and-see approach as to how Jim McElwain works out. They have immediate access to an unlimited amount of talent, and could be the trend-setter in college football with the right man in charge. Like Microsoft, they used to be great.

500px-General_Electric_logo_svgAlabama $GE The Crimson Tide is the biggest, baddest football program in the country. They are a blue chip program that always produces solid results. Alabama has been the definition of consistency under Nick Saban.

Tesla-Motors-symbolTexas A&M $TSLA Like Tesla, the Aggies are led by a brilliant mind in Kevin Sumlin. Although they have had flashes of greatness,  everyone is waiting for the Aggies to explode on the field and measure up to the recruiting hype.

1000px-Goldman_Sachs.svgAuburn $GS The Tigers feature good leadership, good talent, a proven system, and are poised to be strong for years to come. Just like with Goldman Sachs, there are detractors from the outside who question whether Auburn has achieved their success through nefarious means.

ups-logo-vector-01Arkansas $UPS It is tempting to compare the Razorbacks to Walmart for obvious reasons, but the program resembles the people in brown more. Arkansas slowly grinds away and gets the job done. There is nothing exciting about the Arkansas offense, but it wins games, kind of like the way UPS does a solid job day in and day out.

king logoMississippi State $KING King Digital Entertainment produced Candy Crush Saga and was wildly successful. Their failure to produce another game that has approached Candy Crush‘s popularity has caused the stock price to drop 28 percent since their initial public offering. One must wonder whether MSU will see a similar drop-off on the field once quarterback Dak Prescott graduates.

American_Express_aiOle Miss $AXP In the 1980s, the American Express card in your wallet was a status symbol. The people at AMEX still think it is 30 years later. Similarly, Ole Miss fans think that their football program is a traditional power because they experienced success in the 1950s, and the Grove has some cache as a tailgate spot. Rebel fans can look down upon Mississippi State just like AMEX execs can look down upon Discover card holders.

apple-logo-2014-pngGeorgia $APPL Apple is an extremely successful company that produces stylish products. Georgia has been consistently successful on the field, and regularly produces first-round draft picks. Techies will argue that Droid products are more capable than their more aesthetically pleasing counterparts from Apple. Alabama and Auburn fans will point out that they have won more national titles in the last decade than UGA, despite their recent run of elite skill players and NFL talent.

900x900px-LL-0f9e13fa_jim-beam-logoKentucky $BEAM Does this need any explanation? The number-one producer of bourbon in the world happens to be located in Kentucky. Most of the Wildcat fans partake in their homegrown product while counting the days until basketball season begins. The Jim Beam distillery was de-listed after a private company purchased all the shares; some Wildcat fans believe their football team has been de-listed for the past decade.

ford logoMissouri $F Ford was the only American car company that did not require a government bailout. They quietly made a profit while no one was watching. Everyone forgets that the Tigers won the East the year before when making predictions for the next season. Mizzou is not a flashy program, but they have consistently won since joining the conference.

Twitter-Logo-Icon-by-Jon-Bennallick-02Tennessee $TWTR The Volunteers have amazing potential just like Twitter. Both the Vols and Twitter stock have under-performed up to this point, but are poised to break out in a big way. The Vols have a killer app in quarterback Josh Dobbs, while Twitter has Periscope.

McDonald's_2006LSU $MCD Everyone knows that going to McDonald’s too often will likely lead to an early demise. The same can be said for visiting teams who venture into Baton Rouge. McDonald’s has hit a lull as a company. They are no longer everyone’s favorite burger joint, as the Whataburgers and In & Outs of the world have cut into their market share. Yet, McDonald’s still serves billions of people annually. LSU has seen their win totals diminish over the past few years, yet they still produce as much NFL talent as any program in the country.

callaway-logoSouth Carolina $ELY Callaway Golf Company is one of the most successful manufacturers of golf apparel in the world. Gamecock head coach Steve Spurrier was drawn to Columbia because of all the nice golf courses in the area. Spurrier is the Gamecocks program. It is doubtful that Callaway will steal market share from Nike any time soon, just as it is doubtful that South Carolina will win the Eastern division any time soon. Spurrier will continue to play golf and the Gamecocks will be a winning program as long as he is the head coach.

internet america logVanderbilt $GEEK Internet America is a small internet service provider that will never compete with the large telecommunication companies out there. The same can be said for Vanderbilt‘s prospects for consistently competing in the SEC East. There will be outlier-type years like the period under James Franklin, but the ‘Dores cannot be expected to consistently compete for SEC championships.


Michael Taglienti is a Contributor at The Scoop. Follow him on Twitter at @MikeTag98.

The NBA Free Agency Circus, Led by Ringmaster DeAndre

In case you have been on Mars, Pluto, or in a no-Internet zone, you have missed a WHALE of an early free agency period in the NBA.

LeBron is a free agent. Okay, not really. Dwayne Wade is a free agent. Speculation was that he would join LeBron in Cleveland. He did not. He stayed in Miami, the only home he’s ever known. There are countless others who are being courted, or who have already decided where they are going to play. To check out the full list, click here.

  • Kevin Love, off the market.
  • LaMarcus Aldridge, off the market.
  • Goren Dragic, off the market.
  • DeAndre Jordan, off the market. On the Market. Off the market. On? Off?

Jordan’s story is one of intrigue, indecision and reneging on his word.

According to the NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement found hereThere is a specified time that teams can negotiate contracts BUT CANNOT SIGN them.

Each season, the NBA has a Moratorium Period in which teams may hold negotiations, but cannot sign contracts. Limited exceptions to this rule apply to Rookie Scale Contracts with first round draft picks, minimum contracts of one or two seasons (with draft picks and free agents) and acceptance of Qualifying Offers by Restricted Free Agents. The Moratorium Period for the remainder of the term of the CBA will be as follows:

  • 2015-16 July 1, 2015 through July 8, 2015
  • 2016-17 July 1, 2016 through July 11, 2016
  • 2017-18 July 1, 2017 through July 11, 2017
  • 2018-19 July 1, 2018 through July 10, 2018
  • 2019-20 July 1, 2019 through July 9, 2019
  • 2020-21 July 1, 2020 through July 8, 2020

The drama between DeAndre Jordan, the Dallas Mavericks, and the Los Angeles Clippers will surely change the landscape of this agreement. I would be surprised if this is still in effect next year.

In essence, the player holds all the cards. For example, Jordan agreed verbally with the Dallas Mavericks to join them as a free agent signing. He was courted by several Dallas sports icons, including: Dirk Nowitzki, Chandler Parsons, Dez Bryant, Tony Romo, Jerry Jones and others.

Ultimately, it was Jordan’s decision. In the NBA, verbal agreements mean nothing. In business matters, the only things that matter are signed contracts. Even then, they often aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on because of the “renegotiations” that occur.

Let’s say Player A signs a 4-year deal. After one year, he has a monster season and demands more money. He already has a signed contract, a legal, binding document. However, he is allowed to threaten to sit out games or a season if he does not get a new contract. This is where we are in sports. In real life, you would be sued in court for breach of contract.

deandre jordan dunk faceFor the purposes of this article, Jordan’s word was worth a $3 bill. It is within his right to do what he wants. It’s HIS life. His career. What he did to the Dallas Mavericks is both deplorable and juvenile, even for a 26-year-old.

How, you say?

  1. He held the Mavericks hostage, because once he agreed to terms with them, he locked up some $80 million dollars and change. Money they didn’t have to pursue others.
  2. By going back on his word, he hamstrung the Mavericks in every phase of the game. His indecision caused the Mavericks problems in going after other potential free agents. Granted, that was the Mavericks fault for not going after other big men once they thought they had landed their big fish. They let Tyson Chandler go. They let Monta Ellis go. They let Al-Farouq Aminu go. Thinking they got a good big man caused the Mavericks to pause and take a breather, and that will cost them dearly.
  3. His reported refusal to speak with Mavericks owner Mark Cuban to let him know he decided to return to the Clippers was nothing short of childish. As a man, he owed that much to a man who was willing to pay him a LOT of money.
  4. Because of this decision, the Mavericks have not only lost out on Jordan, but the wheels are likely set in motion for Rick Carlisle‘s exit, as well. Carlisle is on record stating that he will not stick around for a rebuilding session.

This is a free country where we are free to choose what we will and will not do. Once upon a time, many moons ago, the Greatest Generation (baby boomers) did business with a handshake. To them, a man’s word was his bond. You did what you said, and said what you did. If you wanted to do something, no contracts were needed. Your word was as good as gold. Not anymore.

Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News
Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News

The days of true team players like Dirk Nowitzki and Tim Duncan are coming to a close. These two men epitomize class and respect for the game. Both men have made a lot of money and left a lot of money on the table so that their respective franchises can compete for championships.

It will be a sight to see when the Clippers visit the American Airlines Center for the first time. It will probably be deafening inside, but not for the right reasons, if you are DeAndre Jordan. In fact, if you were to take a poll in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for most-hated  NBA villians, the following would probably be true:

  1. Los Angeles Clippers
  2. DeAndre Jordan
  3. James Harden
  4. Houston Rockets
  5. San Antonio Spurs

Take a step back for a moment and consider the most recent athlete to experience the ire of the entire DFW Metroplex. Bear in mind that this fan base really isn’t prone to boo. Only after exhausting their hopes and dreams will they resort to booing.

When Josh Hamilton played his last season for the Texas Rangers in 2012, he was by all estimations mailing it in. The strikeouts, jogging in the outfield, and lazy running to first base were all there for the fans to see, yet they did not boo. It wasn’t until he started making excuses for why he was not playing well that the tide started to turn, culminating in a remarkable moment in a game that would determine the 2012 AL West Champion. Hamilton dropped a fly ball in center field for a two-run error that gave the Oakland A’s a 7-5 lead in a six-run fourth inning. To make matters worse, he jogged after the dropped ball, with no concern or urgency. Fan anger began to bubble to a boil.

Then in the one-game Wild Card Playoff, after his awful at-bats where he swung at everything in the air or in the dirt, the fans finally had enough and let the boos loose.

Tim Heitman/USA Today Sports
Tim Heitman/USA Today Sports

As bad as that was, it didn’t compare to the booing he received when he came back to Texas with the Angels after he flippantly stated that Arlington was not a “baseball town.” The booing he received as an Angel was incredible. I was at a game and could not believe it. Not even Alex Rodriguez got that much hatred.

Josh Hamilton‘s experience will pale in terms of what DeAndre Jordan will get. I shudder to think of how that will sound in an enclosed stadium. Heaven forbid if he has to make free throws to win the game. It appears that he did NOT want to “be the man” in Dallas, but is perfectly happy being the “third option” behind CP3 and Blake Griffin.

Right now, I am sure Steve Ballmer, Doc Rivers, and CP3 are all removing their red noses and clown makeup. After all, this is the NBA circus.


Ronnie Garcia is the Voice of Reason at The Scoop. He is also an avid guitarist, educator, and all around smarmy guy. Ronnie co-hosts The Fanatics on Monday nights from 7-9pm on KTSR-db. You can follow him on twitter @TheRonMann.

CONCACAF Gold Cup 2015

For a large percentage of the American population, the World Cup is the only international soccer tournament that garners the attention of the masses. But there is a massive regional tournament getting ready to take place: the CONCACAF Gold Cup. And for what it’s worth, it is a tournament filled with rivalry match after rivalry match, so tension is ratcheted up as the tournament progresses.

So, what is the CONCACAF Gold Cup?

The Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football, way easier to just say CONCACAF, holds the Gold Cup tournament every two years. The USA won the last Gold Cup in 2013.

A total of twelve countries qualified for the 2015 Gold Cup. The countries are divided into three groups of four. The groups are:

Group A – USA, Honduras, Haiti and Panama

Group B – Costa Rica, Jamaica, El Salvador and Canada

Group C – Trinidad & Tobago, Guatemala, Mexico and Cuba

The tournament runs from July 7-26, and a couple of games are being played in our own backyard here in North Texas. Toyota Stadium, home of FC Dallas, will kick off the tournament today with Panama vs. Haiti, followed by USA vs. Honduras.

The tournament favorite is Costa Rica. They boast the highest FIFA world ranking of any nation in the tournament at 14th. No other nation is in the top 20. From the last rankings, Mexico has dropped one place to hold the 23rd spot, and USA moved up one spot to 27th in the world.

Tune in to our live pregame coverage from Toyota Stadium from 3:00-7:00pm Central, as Jamie Kelly, Steve Davis, and a host of fantastic guests get you ready for the USA-Honduras match! Just search for KTSR on TuneIn, or click here.


Matt Molina is a Contributor at The Scoop. Follow him on Twitter at @MattMMolina.

 

McDavid? Or, McSavior?

All eyes are on a once-in-a-generation player, about to join a once-proud franchise looking to turn a corner.

 Kevin Donnan


When Connor McDavid strides across the stage this week in Sunrise, Florida, he will join the likes of Bobby Orr, Guy Lafleur, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Sidney Crosby.

It’s almost unimaginable how the fortunes and optimism of a city and an organization can turn the minute a “generational player” is all but locked down for a hockey team.

Larry Wong/Edmonton Journal/CanWest News Service
Larry Wong/Edmonton Journal/CanWest News Service
If you haven’t heard, by now, Connor McDavid is lined up to become hockey’s “next one” for the team that was the home of “The Great One.” For at least the past three years, the hockey world has been abuzz about the kid from just outside Toronto.

 

For every Crosby and Lemieux, there is an Alexander Daigle and Greg Joly waiting, but every hockey expert from Moscow to Moose Jaw has the 18-year-old poised to be hockey’s next all-world, all-consuming, all-watching, talent.

Fans, players and executives of the NHL are on pins and needles to see just what kind of impact the kid will have on hockey, and especially on one of the most success-starved franchises in the league.


Oilers Looking for a Lifeline

Seven days before the 2015 NHL Draft Lottery on April 18th, the Edmonton Oilers completed another embarrassing and painful season, finishing 24-44-14. For the third time in their past six seasons, the team had finished at least 20 games below the .500 mark, and 2014-15 marked their ninth season in a row without a post-season appearance, which only the Buffalo Bills and Minnesota Timberwolves could truly envy.

But it wasn’t always this way.

NHL.com
NHL.com
The Oilers were once one of the most enviable franchises in sports. Borne out of the ashes of the old World Hockey Association, the 1980s in Edmonton were the epicenter of a hockey renaissance thanks to Gretzky and Messier and the team’s legendary Stanley Cup run that featured five wins in seven seasons.

Like all great teams, the success faded in the mid-90s, but with some savvy trades of their fading and expensive stars, they climbed out of the basement and returned to some measure of competitiveness. Always battling for a playoff spot at the bottom rung of the conference standings, the team remained relatively competitive, but never enough to truly satisfy the fan base, which hadn’t seen a conference final in 14 years since their last appearance in 1992.

The fan-base that was craving a return to prominence finally got a serious taste during a magical Stanley Cup run in 2006. But, like all things ‘magic,’ the fan-base and the organization were completely deceived into believing this was the start of a positive upswing or a return to the halcyon days of the 1980s, which was so long ago that back then Bill Cosby was a loveable ‘Dad’ and not a ‘suspect.’

The run eventually became the organization’s biggest Achilles heel. While it bought the overlord of the franchise, former Oilers defenseman Kevin Lowe, more time, all it really did was expose that the team, the media and the fan-base were living in the past with no plan for the future.

Over and over again, and with seemingly every hire of a former player, the organization became the most incestuous and ineffective old boys club in sports.

 

scoop 2The nine years of hell that this organization put their fan-base through featured a parade of ineffective and puppet coaches, one of the worst draft records by any team in any 10-year time frame outside of the first round, a pro and amateur scouting department that some estimate was 20 years behind the times, and an incompetent management team more interested in protecting their own personal legacies than making the moves necessary to get the franchise moving forward.

Since the glory days, the ‘small town’ attitude that has pervaded the organization is ultimately what sent this once proud franchise into irrelevance and laughing-stock status. The culture of the team became so toxic that any dissension in the media (including threats to pull media accreditations), among the fans or within the organization was defined as treasonous disloyalty. The Oilers have been so pathetic in the past decade that in spite of three first overall picks since 2010, the team became the biggest laughing-stock in hockey, with seemingly no way to get out from under it.

USATSI
USATSI
It’s the type of environment where an absentee billionaire owner who lives 12 hours away was given a free pass, and the local media, the organization and large groups of the fan-base continued to believe that the organization was always just ‘one or two players away’ thanks to a media strategy that featured an endless string of news conferences and tributes to the past with an unending parade of jersey retirements, all designed to placate the fans, but offer nothing in terms of anything resembling a ‘plan’ for the future beyond being in the draft lottery every year.

In spite of a wealth of draft talent in the first round, including three first overall draft picks in a row from 2010 to 2012, management literally had no answer. In fact, the amazing culture that was the lifeblood of the team during its heyday had become its ultimate undoing, all culminated within the last two years, and it all started with yet another news conference.


A Tale of Two Aprils

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
It was April 2013, and the Oilers were announcing the re-hiring of former golden era stalwart Craig MacTavish as GM. A former assistant and head coach who only generated three playoff appearances in eight seasons was now given the reins of the franchise as the General Manager, with zero experience at a management level and with his best pal Kevin Lowe as President of Hockey Operations, there was no clear line of demarcation. Perhaps the only demarcation was to take the heat off of Lowe, who was already starting to have his credibility questioned leading into what the organization tried to call a ‘fresh’ hire. Lowe started as a player, but has held virtually every title you can think of: Assistant Coach, Head Coach, General Manager, President, President of Hockey Operations, etc.

But it was what happened during that news conference that ultimately led to where we are today. Lowe, when questioned about his abysmal record as a hockey executive by a local reporter, literally went off with the arrogance, incompetence and horrific culture that had driven this team for years.

Lowe’s suggestion of “two tiers of fans” — one they listened to, which didn’t endear him to the faithful — but that was only the beginning of what has become the most legendary news conference in this area since we bid farewell to #99 on a sad Friday 27 years ago. Lowe capped things by stating that, “Only one person working in hockey had as many Stanley Cups as he had.”

The only missing element was this fact: Lowe won his last Cup as a player 21 years ago, and outside of the lightning-in-a-bottle 8th place finish, and the miracle in 2006, he’s pretty much been as close to the Stanley Cup as an executive as I have to becoming the career all-time passing leader for the Dallas Cowboys.

It was this news conference where the cracks started to form. The management team’s worst coaching hire followed (Dallas Eakins), and two more lost seasons, but it was after his “I know something about winning” comment that Lowe and MacTavish were doomed to the fan-base.

The fan-base was getting louder with their second year of demanding changes at every level, took to buying advertising, campaigning on social media, producing bumper stickers and holding rallies in bars.

AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin
AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin
After more than a decade of incompetence solely based on the myth that only former Oilers could run the franchise, the fan-base finally grew up and demanded better. Nearly 20,000 people signed up on social media, advertising was purchased, and even the media, who protected the regime more fiercely than the regime itself, had started to raise questions.

As the end of the 2015 season approached, one would think that the optimism of a new state-of-the-art arena would help, but even a new building set to open for the start of 2016 was clouded by the performance of the team and many fans openly complaining about how the new arena should be empty based on the performance of the team.

CBC
CBC
But then, April 18th happened, and with a slightly better than one chance out of 10, they pulled off what some are calling a miracle, and some have even wildly suggested that they pulled off the crime of the century.

While there was no sketchy, and some say culpable, Zapruder Film like in 1985 with David Stern and the NBA Lottery, those who love a good conspiracy theory believed they had some mileage when you consider how abysmally the Edmonton Oilers have handled the development of four first-round draft picks in just six years (Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov), and they have an arena to fill.

It was a beautiful attempt based on the parallels, but outside of Gary Bettman and the Oilers brain trust checking the envelopes personally during the live broadcast, this lottery will never reach the conspiratorial heights of Stern in 1985.

National Post
National Post
As this was happening, Connor McDavid had completed a 120-point season, the endorsements of every hockey ‘expert’ from coast to coast, and picked up every major junior hockey award you can fathom, including a gold medal at the World Junior Hockey Championship, and the MVP, Scholastic Player and Prospect of the Year trophies.


The Savior?

Just as the announcement of the Knicks in 1985 sent shock waves, consider the impact in Edmonton; the McDavid effect is no small force.

Prior to April 18, the management team had vowed to stay the course, building slowly and deliberately while offering no insight on the timetable for when the team would be competitive again, in spite of the treasure trove of first-round picks.

This was a team that prior to April 18, wasn’t changing any aspect of their organization, but, when a player who recorded 285 points in 166 games in Junior fell into their laps, the team realized that rather than meander as it had the last nine seasons with no palpable results, its entire future was firmly at hand.

The timetable moved up substantially and dramatically:

  • After the envelope was unsealed, six days later, Craig MacTavish was fired as GM (although he took a lesser role as “Assistant GM”) and replaced with Peter Chiarelli, who built the 2011 Bruins Stanley Cup championship team.
  • The team’s CEO and defacto leader of community-based projects was fired.
  • The new arena, which was shrouded in controversy and bad press over the seemingly ‘bad deal’ between Edmonton’s City Council and the Oilers, was suddenly and inexplicably the first answer when it came to ‘good news’ about the city.
  • Less than a month after that, the team had a new head coach (Todd MacLellan, ex of San Jose) who is clearly his own man, and who brought in his own assistants. Past coaching staffs were formed by management, and the coach was “given” his assistant coaches.

And, finally, even Kevin Lowe, of the owner and the firm leader of the franchise, was given yet another title. The title of “President of Hockey Operations” was removed, and he was moved to the new position as the “Vice Chair” of the newly minted “Oilers Entertainment Group.”

As a close friend of the owner Daryl Katz, who became pals in the glory years, the hiding and protection afforded to Lowe and his changing titles brings to mind how in the movie CasinoRobert DeNiro as ‘Ace’ was given every job title under the sun to ensure he could stay on to run the place. Seemingly, and on paper, he has been removed from all connections to the hockey team, and for many observers and fans of the team, fingers are crossed as the failings of this franchise for the past decade fall squarely at the feet of Lowe. Oilers fans are certainly hoping the latest change in job title actually means something this time, and keeps him away from the rink.

So as the Oilers plot a return to greatness, in just a few days, a pimply-faced kid from just outside Toronto will put on a ballcap and shove his head through a jersey, and once he emerges and the flashbulbs pop, an entire organization and a long-suffering fan-base holds its breath. Then the expectations start.

Here’s hoping this kid is ready and truly knows what he’s in for. But either way, an entire city and an entire sport, waits and wonders.


Kevin Donnan is a regular contributor to The Scoop and is a sports obsessed and self-confessed Pop Culture idiot savant trapped in a frozen, northern wasteland, yet, loves all things Texas and is the most “American” Canadian who has ever lived above the 49th parallel.

The Bow, The Ow and The Wow: LeBron’s Finals Journey

The 2015 NBA Finals for LeBron James was a microcosm of a career and a tribute to a once in a lifetime athlete

– Kevin Donnan


Some of you are preparing to *click* out of this article, and I understand.

Because outside of Tiger Woods and Alex Rodriguez, there is no more polarizing athlete on the planet than LeBron James.

You don’t need to be a NBA expert to know of LeBron James‘ career. Generational talent right out of high school, playing in Cleveland, “The Decision,” the flops, the money, the MVPs, the politics, “The Heatles,” the titles, the commercials, and of course “The Return.”

Through it all, whether you’re the obsessed or the casual observer, you typically reside in one of two camps:

1. LeBron James is an overrated, cramping, preening, flopper. Or,

2. You’ve named your children in tribute to the names of James‘ fictional Nike family, The LeBrons.

Nike
Nike

(Which means that those children, if not blessed with intestinal fortitude, will most certainly learn to acquire some as you try walking around with the names: Wise, Business, Athlete and Kid.)

Of course, James recently completed his sixth NBA Finals in 12 seasons. No matter on which side of the fence you reside, and in spite of his record falling to an overall 2-4 in the title series, this edition of The Finals, which was his fifth in a row, truly cemented his legacy as the greatest player of his generation, perhaps all time, and one of the most divisive players who has ever set foot in the sports arena in the eyes of fans.


The Bow

After earning a split on the road in the first two games, clearly James was confident. As a road team, a split is the ultimate goal, and has set the stage for innumerable upsets and “can-you-believe-its.”

In Game 3, though, LeBron pulled out one of those rare moments in sports. Say what you want about The King, but very few have had the keen sense of the moment as he has over the course of his career, and Game 3 was another demonstration.

A minute or two before tip-off, James strode towards his place at the circle, stopped, and made eye contact with a legend. That glance has become a now legendary moment. James‘ simple bow of acknowledgment to Cleveland legend Jim Brown was one of the most beautiful gestures of respect, admiration and love that has ever been seen in sports, and one that will not fade from memory anytime soon.

Later, in an article on clevelandbrowns.com, Brown called the move “one of his greatest sports moments.” There is no way anyone can underscore the power of that statement when you take into account the legacy of Jim Brown, the athlete and the man.

The demonstration of respect to one of the most legendary athletes in the city and the country elevated James‘ status as a true sportsman, and a young man who is respectful and reverential of the past and those who helped blaze the trail without fear, and with nothing but courage and character.


The Ow

USATSI
USATSI

With Cleveland entering Game 4 owning the only lead they would ever have, the Cavs mirrored their unabashed leader’s awkward fall under the backboard in the 2nd quarter. Detractors called it an embellishment that, might even make, yes, LeBron James blush, but his tumble into the camera lens rattled the Cavs. Once James emerged from the floor, this tumble was no joke, he was cut, required stitches, and was down for a few minutes.

(The sad fact, is that LeBron‘s skull was not the only, ahem, body part that was shown to the world in Game 4, but I really want this to be about basketball.)

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

It was the defensive plan of the Warriors where the pain really emerged for the Cavaliers. In his first start of the series, the Warriors started defending James with eventual series MVP Andre Iguodala. James shot a miserable 7-for-22, and had his lowest point total of the series with 20. Two games later, Iguodala was named MVP specifically for his defensive play against James.

The 103-81 blowout elevated the Warriors back into the confident and mentally unflappable crew that had dominated the league all season. With home court re-established, and Steph Curry finding his touch again, the clock was striking midnight on the supporting cast. A bench that likely didn’t realize just how they had caught lightning in a bottle began falling to earth in spite of the heroics of James.


The Wow

For nearly all teams, losing two all-stars (Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving) in one season, let alone in one playoff tournament, typically spells complete and utter doom. But the sheer will of James, in spite of those losses, is what truly brought it all home.

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports/REUTERS
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports/REUTERS

LeBron was the first player in Finals history to lead both teams in points-rebounds-assists (38-PPG, 13-RPG, 8APG), and captured that amazing designation by literally playing all five positions at any given time. When he wasn’t posting up, he was bringing the ball up the floor as the point guard.

He also was responsible for more than 38 percent of his team’s points. Only Michael Jordan ever posted a higher share, and the difference is within one-tenth of a point.

After Game 5, he said that any team he played on could never be considered a true underdog, and that he was the best player in the world. While these remarks only stoked the fires of his critics further, it’s hard to argue with the inherent facts.

LeBron James is many, many, many things to many different people, and in so many ways this series represented the odyssey that began when he left St. Vincent-St. Mary High School. Brilliance, drama, passion, and of course, a little showmanship for good measure.

Love him or hate him, you can’t deny his ability and his desire to win, with all of the flops, cramps, televised “Decisions,” and everything else that goes with LeBron being LeBron.

I don’t understand why this superstar isn’t more embraced. From one end of the spectrum to the other, you simply can’t ignore or take your eyes away anytime he’s on the court.


Kevin Donnan is a regular contributor to The Scoop and is a sports obsessed and self-confessed Pop Culture idiot savant trapped in a frozen, northern wasteland, yet, loves all things Texas and is the most “American” Canadian who has ever lived above the 49th parallel.