|02.12.10 at 1:28 pm ET|
Lindsey Vonn has gobbled up most of the Olympic headlines heading into Vancouver, but there are still other competitors on the team. There are five U.S. Olympic hopefuls from the New England region all looking to come back home with a gold, silver or bronze medal.
Here is a look at the New England-born alpine skiers who will showcase their skills on the biggest stage of them all.
For a glance at the entire roster, click here.
Has there ever been a more polarizing figure in the history of the Olympics than Bode Miller? Considered a mortal lock to win multiple medals four years ago, Miller came up empty in the Torino Games and considered retirement.
But the Franconia, NH., product is back in the saddle for the U.S. alpine team in Vancouver, hopefully 100 percent sober. Miller made headlines with a 60 Minutes interview where he said that he has skied drunk, and said he would potentially do it again. Not the message you want to send to kids, Bode, especially after the heralded deaths of Michael Kennedy and Sonny Bono on the mountain.
This could be Miller’s last hurrah for the Olympic ski team, and a career without a medal will leave him in the company of a Charles Barkley, Dan Marino or Karl Malone. Great careers, but never broke through when it counted most.
Hey, if this ski thing doesn’t work out for Miller, at least he has a potential future in tennis.
Being an Olympic skier has always been in Cochran’s blood. He probably didn’t have a choice. His family has been part of the Olympic scene for decades, and he is the latest installment of the “Skiing Cochrans.” Just like a son who takes over a family business, it was almost as if the skiing duties were handed down to Jimmy. His grandfather was an Olympic coach, his father was an Olympian and three of his aunts also competed in Olympic competition.
So there really was no hiding what this Keene, N.H., native was going to do when he got older.
Cochran is looking to break through onto the medal stand after he finished in 12th place during the 2006 Torino Games.
At 20 years old, Kasper is the youngest member of the U.S. ski team. If Kasper takes to the medal stand, he can’t legally enjoy an adult beverage in the United States. (See: Miller, Bode.) Kasper took a leave from Dartmouth to take aim at the US team, and the risk paid off.
The two skiers listed above will overshadow the Vermont native, but Kasper can make a name for himself in New England if Miller fails to do anything and if Cochran doesn’t improve on his finish from the last games.
Marshall followed in the footsteps of her brothers, Cody and Jesse, much like Cochran followed his family name. Her two older brothers were member of the US ski team, but a terrible accident stopped Cody’s progress as a full-time skier and Chelsea was by his side the whole time.
Marshall also had to overcome an injury of her own. A bad back hindered her in the World Championships in 2009, which affected her performance, but a healthy 2010 has her geared up for a run in Vancouver.
In 2008, Smith suffered a torn ACL during competition and her career was in jeopardy. But the Conway, N.H., native bounced back in Tom Brady-esque fashion and is now eying success in Vancouver.
Smith has become a local hero in her hometown of Conway, NH. The locals have honored her name by dedicating Feb. 5 in her name from here on out. Not many people have a day named after them, and imagine what happens if she comes back with a meda — a Leanne Smith Month could come to Conway.
|02.12.10 at 9:54 am ET|
While snow crippled the ill-prepared Mid-Atlantic region on the East Coast, Vancouver finds itself starved for powder. Go figure.
Instead of snow, an unrelenting rain has pounded the site of the 2010 Winter Olympics. No matter. Technology — and shipping — is a marvelous thing, and so the enterprising officials of the Games and Canada will no doubt find a way to produce all the ice and snow necessary to get the world to reflect on the delights of the obscure: from bobsledding, the luge and the skeleton to the meaning of the rarely invoked word “quadrennial.”
It is the once-every-four-years spectacle that is the Winter Olympics, when citizens of the world find themselves with rooting interests in people they’ve never heard of, who are participating in sports that they would never otherwise watch. When else do we get to cheer on gun-toting people on skis? It is a celebration of athletics for it’s own sake, and as such, a uniquely entertaining stretch of two weeks across an otherwise barren stretch of the sports landscape.
New England will be well represented in the Games, with more than 50 natives of the region filling out the Team USA roster. For details on the Olympic participants who will represent both the United States and New England, check back in this space for sport-by-sport previews of the local athletes taking part in the Winter Olympics:
For complete coverage of the Games, check out the Winter Olympics page at WEEI.com.
LEEInks will offer a daily recap of the previous day’s Olympic events, including a look at how New Englanders did.
TODAY: The Olympics are scheduled to kick off on Friday (snow permitting!), with the qualifier for the Individual Normal Hill Ski Jump. As Tom Layman notes, Nick Alexander of Lebanon, N.H., has paid his own way to Vancouver in order to take part in the Olympics. For more on “Zander,” click here. For more on a US Olympic Ski Jumping Team that has been banished to obscurity and may be bounced out of the Games before the opening ceremonies take place on Friday night, click here.
|02.12.10 at 9:40 am ET|
For years, snowboarders have been misunderstood. “Yo, bro, let’s go shred some gnar.” It seems like a different language, doesn’t it?
But these high-flying athletes have made themselves a nice home during the Winter Olympics. Since 1998, when snowboarding officially became an Olympic sport, the best in the world have been making the crowds “ooh” and “ahh” and made us wonder why their parents would let them attempt some of the crazy stunts that they seem to pull off with ease.
In Vancouver 2010, the U.S. Olympic snowboarding team will be heavily stocked with local talent from all over New England. No, New England can’t lay claim to the greatest snowboarder in the world — Shaun White — but these are some of the local riders who will be putting on a show north of the border.
Cheever has an interesting story. He doesn’t have the luxury of having sponsors pay for him to sit on the slopes all day and hone his craft. Cheever is a local plumber who has to put in a long days work before he can hit up the slopes. He works with his father and finds side work when he can.
Which other Olympic snowboarder has a feature on ContractorMag.com?
Cheever is originally from Saugus, Mass., went to Malden Catholic High School and will be competing in the snowboardcross event in Vancouver.
Clark, of Newport, R.I., burst onto the scene in the 2002 Olympics with a gold medal win in the halfpipe competition, she was only 18 years old.
This year will be her third Olympic go-around at the ripe old age of 26. She grew up in Vermont and learned to snowboard on Mount Snow before she was 10 years old. Clark is a tough girl. In 2005 she landed wrong on a trick in a halfpipe competition and suffered some serious injuries.
Right behind Shaun White, Lago is a prime-time candidate to grab a gold medal in Vancouver. A native of Seabrook, N.H., the 22-year-old has been a wild man since he was a kid, as his father recalled a story of his son trying jump off the balcony with a sheet, which he called a parachute.
You have to be a little crazy to enjoy doing this kind of stuff:
Pearce was looking like a lock to be on the medal stand, as he defeated Shaun White in an event earlier in the year, but a Dec. 31 accident while he was training left him in critical condition.
According to his website, Pearce was attempting a cab double cork, for you non-snowboarders it’s a twisting double back flip, and he caught the front of his board on the landing and came crashing down on his head.
Pearce will miss the Olympics, and the recovery process is still continuing for the 23-year-old from Vermont.
Powers is the elder statesman of the group from New England. Born in 1979, he has at least four years on the rest of the riders on this list. Powers was also one of the top-rated picks in Shaun Paulmer’s Pro Snowboarder game for Playstation 2.
A connoisseur in the halfpipe competition, Powers — a native of Vermont who lists his home as Okemo Mountain — is now taking his aim at a medal in the boarder cross competition in Vancouver. Powers captured the first ever medal in the halfpipe competition for the United States, and it will be interesting to see if he can capture that same magic in a new competition.
We have a feeling America is going to fall in love with Teter this Olympics, especially since she can be found in this year’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.
While she’ll make heads turn off the slopes, on it she will be just as mesmerizing. She claimed an Olympic gold medal during the 2006 Olympic Games, and this year decided to donate all of her prize money to help the people in Haiti.
The Belmont, Vt., product will no doubt win over fans with her good intentions, good looks and killer abilities on the slopes.
|02.12.10 at 9:34 am ET|
Shoot down a man made ramp at high speeds, vault off a gigantic jump and pretty much fly down on mountain…on a pair of skis. That’s the world of ski jumping all right. What may look insane to the average human being is just another day’s work for Nick Alexander of Lebanon, NH. Alexander is the lone New Englander on the US Men’s Olympic ski jumping team and the 21-year-old will taste the Olympic competition for the first time.
Alexander has put his time into this competition. Just look at the video where he is training for ski jumping in the summer, yeah, no snow.
According to his website, Alexander started jumping at the age of 10. This doesn’t seem like a sport for young men who are 10 years old, but if it gets you to the Olympic Games more power to you.
Alexander, and the rest of the US ski jumpers, are paying their own way to get to Vancouver, proving that the Olympic Dream is still alive and burning.
To see a list of all the US Olympic hopefuls click here.
|02.12.10 at 9:33 am ET|
When the first puck drops in Vancouver on Sunday, there will be a heavy East Coast presence on the ice.
Names such as Chris Drury, ex-captain for the Boston University Terriers, Jon Quick, former UMass goalie, and Brooks Orpik, who spent his teenage years playing for Thayer Academy in Braintree, will take their positions for the U.S. men’s team this month.
But it will be the women’s team that will be laden with New Englanders come this weekend, when the United States begins its quest for gold in Vancouver. Led by Meghan Duggan, a Danvers, Mass., native who led the Wisconsin Badgers to an NCAA championship as a junior, the U.S. women’s team will feature seven New Englanders, including four from the Bay State.
Here are the local players to watch:
Julie Chu — This two-time Olympian (2002, 2006) makes her return to the World Stage in 2010 in search of her first gold medal.
Chu, a Fairfield, Conn., native who played her collegiate years in record-setting form at Harvard University, was a member of the U.S. All-American team three times, and currently owns Harvard’s all-time assists lead with 196.
The forward was named one of Team USA’s top three players back in 2009 and won a bronze medal with the United States in 2006 and silver in 2002. But the NCAA’s career points leader would prefer to bring home a gold in 2010.
Caitlin Cahow – Also a Harvard graduate, as a senior Cahow was named a top-10 finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, an award given to the NCAA’s top women’s ice hockey performer each season.
Born and raised in New Haven, Conn., Cahow started her collegiate career as a forward but was shifted to defense in her rookie season with the Crimson.
The switch to D has worked out well for Cahow, who ranked third in the nation for defensive scoring in 2005 and was named top defenseman at the Canadian Women’s Hockey Championship.
Kacey Bellamy — Hailing from Westfield, Mass., the 22-year-old forward-turned-defenseman currently ranks third all-time on the University of New Hampshire’s defensive scoring list.
While at UNH, Bellamy also finished fourth in the NCAA among defenders with 28 points, gaining Hockey East First Team All-Star honors in the process.
Named one of Team USA’s top three players in 2009, Bellamy will be making her debut on the Olympic team. no stranger to the World Stage, a two-time member for the U.S. women’s national team.
Meghan Duggan — A current resident of Danvers, Mass., Duggan played her entire teen career in the Bay State before moving on to the University of Wisconsin. During her time at Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, Mass., Duggan was a four-year class president as well as participant in varsity level soccer, softball and lacrosse.
But at Wisconsin, Duggan made her focus ice hockey — and perfected the trade. As a sophomore, the now-22-year-old finished second on the team with 43 points in 38 games, helping the Badgers reach the NCAA title game. In 2009, she helped them win the title, being named to the All-WCHA third team following her junior season.
Erika Lawler — Hailing from Fitchburg, Mass., Lawler roomed with Duggan at Cushing Academy before she went on to the University of Wisconsin as well. Lawler won an NCAA title with the Badgers as a freshman, sophomore and then again as a senior. And during her time at Wisconsin, she scored 174 career points, which ranks third in school history.
With Lawler’s three NCAA titles in four years, Team USA will surely look for Lawler’s championship poise to come through in their time in Vancouver.
Hilary Knight — The youngest of the group, the 20-year-old Hanover native is yet another Wisconsin grad sporting the red, white and blue this winter.
Knight finished first in the NCAA with 45 goals, 43 assists and 83 total points in her 2008-09 sophomore season. Her league-leading performance was crucial in the Badgers’ pursuit of their third national championship in four years.
Molly Schaus — Schaus, who originally made her home in Natick, Mass., currently makes her home between the pipes.
The now-21-year-old immediately burst onto the college scene as one of the best goalies in the league, leading Boston College to its first-ever NCAA Frozen Four berth as a freshman, posting league bests in save percentage (.931) and GAA (1.90) in the process.
She continued her domination as a sophomore, when she broke the school record for saves with 920, and then as a junior when she finished second in the nation in both shutouts (10) and save percentage (.938).
But in 2010, Schaus will look to save something she never has before – a gold medal for the U.S. national team.
|02.12.10 at 8:30 am ET|
Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup, where we’ll get you caught up on what’s going on in the sports world and beyond.
The NCAA announced proposals to deal with taunting and concussions. The most controversial proposal, if passed by the rules committee, would take away a touchdown if a player taunts the opposition on his way to the end zone, assessing the penalty at the spot of the foul.
“Taunting and prolonged individual acts have no place in our game, and our officials have generally handled these rules well,” said former Oregon coach Mike Bellotti, the committee chair. “This is just another step in maintaining our game’s image and reflecting the ideals of the NCAA overall.”
The concussion proposal requires players to be cleared by a doctor before returning.
Also, those “eye black” patches with messages on them will soon be banned.
FOOTBALL: The Giants released linebacker Antonio Pierce. The Jaguars released receiver Torry Holt. Former Patriots receiver David Givens’ lawsuit against the Titans was thrown out. The Rams are being sold but are not expected to be moved.
Central Florida was put on two years probation for “major” recruiting violations. The son of Archie Griffin will play at Ohio State, the school where his father won two Heisman Trophy awards in the 1970s.
BASKETBALL: Kobe Bryant and Allen Iverson will miss Sunday’s All-Star Game. Jessica Camerato has a piece on Rajon Rondo’s preparations for the weekend. The Cavaliers beat the Magic for their 13th straight win. The Spurs routed the Nuggets. Pacers president Larry Bird addressed his team’s struggles. The NBA’s CBA proposal asks all players for salary cuts. Shaquille O’Neal said his TV show is being renewed. Former Lakers coach Fred Schaus died at the age of 84.
Jim Calhoun is back at UConn, hoping to right the Huskies’ sinking NCAA chances. No. 16 Gonzaga routed St. Mary’s in a big WCC matchup. No. 18 Butler beat Youngstown State to clinch the Horizon crown. Notre Dame forward Luke Harangody was injured in the Irish’s loss to Seton Hall.
HOCKEY: The Bruins held off the Lightning. Dan Rowinski has the Hat Trick of Things We Learned. The Senators led the Northeast after beating the Capitals. Evgeni Nabokov made 50 saves and the Sharks beat the Wings in a shootout. The Oilers edged the Kings in a shootout. The Hurricanes topped the Sabres in overtime. The Canucks blanked the Panthers. The Panthers traded Dominic Moore to the Canadiens.
MISC.: The Olympics begin tonight in Vancouver.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Feb. 12, 1967, the Celtics retired No. 25 in honor of which players?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “We knew that we had to clean it out and rebuild it, and we knew we were going to go through some tough times. Nobody likes to lose, and everybody wants to be a part of a winner. We think we’re on the right track to get there.” — Pacers president Larry Bird, on his team’s struggles
STAT OF THE DAY: 17 — Games since the Bruins scored more than three goals before last night’s five-goal outburst
‘NET RESULTS: Steve Nash has put out some not-so-funny videos, but this commercial is pretty good.
The Harlem Globetrotters played a game on ice Tuesday in New York’s Central Park.
TRIVIA ANSWER: KC Jones
SOOTHING SOUNDS: Michael McDonald is 58 today. Here he is singing in concert with the Doobie Brothers.
|02.11.10 at 7:32 am ET|
Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup, where we’ll get you caught up on what’s going on in the sports world and beyond.
The Cleveland Cavaliers said they were trying to protect fans when they removed water fountains from Quicken Loans Arena before the season, claiming that they wanted to prevent the spread of the flu. Some accused the team of trying to force fans to buy bottled water ($4 a pop) although free cups of water were available for fans willing to wait in line.
However, when the Cleveland Building and Housing Department found out about the situation after an article in the Cleveland Plain-Dealer this month, it determined that the team was violating the state building code, which requires a water fountain for every 1,000 occupants. Said Cleveland City Councilman Tony Brancatelli: “It’s clearly an opportunity to sell more drinks. If there were health reasons, we’d be taking fountains out of every school and institution.” The fountains will be re-installed.
Despite playing without Kobe Bryant again, the Lakers beat the Jazz. The Bucks routed the Nets before 1,016 fans who braved the East Coast snowstorm. The Heat topped the Hawks. Chris Bosh led the Raptors past the Sixers. The Magic beat the Bulls, and Chicago’s Derrick Rose left with an injury. Warriors rookie Stephen Curry had a triple-double and Golden State ended a nine-game skid by beating the Clippers. The Trail Blazers frustrated the Suns.
Knicks legend Carl Braun, who ended his career with the Celtics in 1961-62, died at the age of 82.
No. 2 Syracuse defeated UConn. Miami knocked off No. 20 Georgia Tech at the buzzer. Duke pulled away from North Carolina, which retired Tyler Hansbrough’s jersey. UC Davis ended a 49-game losing streak to Pacific.
HOCKEY: The Capitals’ 14-game winning streak ended, but they still picked up a point in an overtime loss to the Canadiens. The Flyers beat the Devils in overtime. The Blue Jackets shut out the Sharks. The Predators beat the Rangers to end a five-game road skid. The Ducks won their 11th straight home game, edging the Oilers. The Avalanche scored nine seconds into overtime to beat the Thrashers. The Penguins topped the Islanders.
The University of Texas is upset by a new recruiting rule.
MISC.: Skier Lindsey Vonn isn’t sure if she’ll be able to compete in the Olympics.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Feb. 11, 1918, the Red Sox named a manager to replace Jack Barry, who was serving in the Navy. Who took over the Sox and led them to their their last World Series title for 86 years?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Trades are very difficult to do in the NBA right now. We’re going to try to do something. I feel like we need to do something, but it might be something very small to tweak the personality of our team.” — Celtics boss Danny Ainge, on The Big Show yesterday afternoon
STAT OF THE DAY: 10 — Turnovers by Hornets guard Darren Collison vs. the Celtics last night
‘NET RESULTS: Here’s how Jim Kosek forecasted our area’s storm. This guy is becoming a legend.
Minor controversy in last night’s Syracuse-UConn game as the Orange were given a timeout after the Huskies had taken possession.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Ed Barrow
SOOTHING SOUNDS: Otis Clay is 68 today.
Here’s a song from his earlier days.
|02.10.10 at 3:26 pm ET|
The post-Super Bowl hangover is upon us. There will be no more football until the preseason kicks off in August, and spring training is still a month away. But there is hope for this first weekend without an NFL game on the menu: NBA All-Star Weekend.
The game itself? That is secondary. Who remembers who won it last year, or even who the MVP was (the West cruised to a 146-119 win, and Kobe and Shaq shared the MVP honors). The only memorable moment from that Sunday didn’t even happen during the game.
What makes the All-Star game worth watching, of course, is the events on Saturday night. And Celtics fans will get a chance to see two of the green in action in Dallas when Rajon Rondo takes part in the H-O-R-S-E competition and Paul Pierce joins the Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout participants. While Rondo will be basking in the glow of his first All-Star selection, Pierce will have some incentive after his performance in the contest in 2002, when he came through with just eight points and had Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley talking more about his clothes than his game.
So, to get fans in Boston ready for Saturday, here is a history of some of the highs and lows of Celtics who have been a part of All-Star Saturday night’s events.
The first Three-Point Shootout — actually dubbed the “Long Distance Shootout” — occurred in 1986 in Dallas, which just so happens to be the site of this year’s All-Star weekend. The winner? Larry Bird. This was the year of the famous story when Bird sauntered into the locker room and asked his fellow participants, “All right, who’s coming in second place today?” as chronicled here.
Bird won the event in each of its first three years, but the 1988 final was perhaps his best moment of the three. (Fun fact: Celtics GM Danny Ainge was also in that field, and appeared in the event twice as a Celtic in ’88 and ’89.) With Dale Ellis setting the bar at 15, Bird came out ice cold. But in typical Larry Legend fashion, he came through in the clutch, nailing eight of his last 10 shots, including the dagger moneyball at the end, to take the victory.
The Reeboks. The no-look dunk. Dee Brown’s performance at the 1991 All-Star game is legendary. Brown went head-to-head in the finals with the heavy favorite, Shawn “Reign Man” Kemp, and put on a show in Charlotte. And he will always be synonymous with arguably the coolest basketball shoes that have nothing to do with Michael Jordan.
The list of players who were a part of the 1996 Slam Dunk contest was a mostly forgettable lot. The favorite was Michael Finley, and the actual winner was Brent Barry, two guys who are remembered more as outside shooters. And then there was the relatively anonymous Greg Minor. But he was a Celtic, and he tried to follow in Brown’s footsteps. He actually made it to the second round along with the aforementioned pairing, but finished third.
Celtics fans have don’t exactly have the fondest memories of ’Toine hoisting threes. But he did just that, a lot, and he wasn’t exactly good at it: He only shot 32 percent from beyond the arc in 2002-03, the year he took part. The field included former Celtic David Wesley and the aforementioned Barry, as well as the defending champ Peja Stojakovic. Walker may have had the worst performance in the history of the event, finishing behind his buddy Pierce with just seven points in the opening round and ending with a flourish of air-balls.
OK, so Gerald Green was the very definition of a bust. He couldn’t play defense and barely cracked the rotation in his tenure as Celtic. But you can’t discount that the fact that he was athletic. And in a dismal season before the Big Three were brought together that started with the death of Red Auerbach and included an 18-game losing streak, Green delivered the only bright spot by shining at the dunk contest in Vegas.
|02.10.10 at 8:49 am ET|
Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup, where we’ll get you caught up on what’s going on in the sports world and beyond.
Fox Sports baseball writer Ken Rosenthal revisits a column he wrote in 2008, when he commented on how the Red Sox fielded a team that was mostly white. He said he was stunned by the firestorm it caused. With the Sox signing two African-American free agents this offseason, Rosenthal addresses the issue again, and he talked with Mike Cameron about his perception of Boston.
Asked what Cameron had heard about Boston, the new Sox outfielder replied: “Just that they haven’t had many African-American players in the past. But that’s never been a major concern of mine. I feel like before I make any judgments about a situation, I need to live it first.”
Added Cameron: “Maybe I can be a new era of pioneer. Pokey Reese played there. He’s a real good friend. He really enjoyed his time there. Ricky Gutierrez, Rickey Henderson, Coco Crisp all had good experiences in Boston.”
BASEBALL: Rob Bradford looks at Josh Beckett’s contract situation. Lou Merloni looks at shortstop prospect Jose Iglesias. Diamondbacks ace Brandon Webb threw off the mound for the first time since undergoing shoulder surgery. Outfielder Jacque Jones signed with the Twins. Pitcher Scott Schoeneweis signed with the Brewers. The Athletics released outfielder Willy Taveras.
BASKETBALL: The Celtics reportedly are offering Glen Davis to the Bobcats for guard D.J. Augustin. The Cavaliers won their 12th straight game, beating the Nets. The Heat ended a five-game skid with a win over the Rockets. The Hawks handled the Grizzlies. The Nuggets routed the Mavericks. Kevin Durant led the Thunder to their sixth straight win, beating the Trail Blazers. Spurs guard George Hill is the latest athlete to apologize for nude pictures that made it online.
Boston College lost to Wake Forest. Seventh-ranked Georgetown rallied past Providence. Illinois upset No. 11 Wisconsin on the road. No. 22 Vanderbilt routed No. 12 Tennessee. No. 6 Purdue knocked off No. 10 Michigan State.
The Thrashers traded goalie Kari Lehtonen to the Stars. The Blues beat the Red Wings in a shootout. The Senators edged the Flames. The Islanders ended a seven-game skid with a shoot out win over the Predators. The Hurricanes beat the Panthers.
A funeral mass was held in Canton for Brendan Burke, the son of Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke.
MISC: The family of former figure skater Nancy Kerrigan is not happy with her father’s death being ruled a homicide. The man who shot videos of Erin Andrews was not new to this type of behavior, according to court documents. The Pac-10 is considering expansion.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Feb. 10, 1942, the Bruins’ Kraut line combined for 11 points in an 8-1 rout of the Canadiens in the trio’s final game before leaving to join the Royal Canadian Air Force. Which three players made up the Kraut line?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “When you lose 10 in a row, it’s in your head, so we can’t think about what happened before.” — Bruins forward David Krejci, after last night’s victory over the Sabres
STAT OF THE DAY: 1,548 — Career games played by Bruins forward Mark Recchi, putting him one game behind Alex Delvecchio for ninth place
‘NET RESULTS: This is one long soccer goal.
Hammer throw gone bad. You have to let go of the hammer. And I’m thinking sandals aren’t the best for this. Oh, and you’re inside.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Milt Schmidt, Bobby Bauer and Woody Dumart
SOOTHING SOUNDS: Don Wilson is 77 today. He’s a co-founder of and rhythm guitarist for the Ventures, the best-selling instrumental band ever.
|02.09.10 at 4:38 pm ET|
Super Bowl heroes are remembered forever. Unfortunately, the same goes for the goats.
For every Joe Montana, there is a Scott Norwood. It’s an unfortunate and unavoidable element of pro sports — for every success story, there is an equally emotional story of complete and utter failure.
It was no different in Super Bowl XLIV, when Hank Baskett impeccably etched his name in Super Bowl goat history, as he failed to reel in a crucial onside kick to open up the second half. The Saints gained possession, as well as the momentum, and went on to trounce the favored Colts, 31-17.
But where does Baskett rank among the great Super Bowl Goats of the past? Surprisingly, not that high — though Kendra may disagree.
Turns out Mr. Baskett’s blunder wasn’t nearly the worst thing to happen on the big stage.
10. Rich Gannon, Raiders, Super Bowl XXXVII. We all knew Tampa Bay’s defense was tremendous. But Rich Gannon made the Buccaneers look like utterly unstoppable.
Gannon, the regular-season MVP, turned in a performance that was in every way possible the exact opposite — getting sacked five times, fumbling once and throwing a Super Bowl record five interceptions, three of which were returned for touchdowns.
Tampa Bay went on to route Oakland 48-21, a game the Raiders came into favored by four points.
Football has and always will be a sport that is the ultimate team-based game — 11 vs. 11 each and every play, depending on all individuals to make an equally substantial effort.
So that’s why there is no excuse for Hank Baskett’s effort on New Orleans’ half-opening onside kick. He’s there because he has good hands, and fumbling around an onside kick is an inexcusable blunder, especially on such a huge stage.
But it’s obvious the Saints knew what they were dealing with. They had been practicing it all week, and knew exactly whom they would be kicking it at. If it’s any consolation however, Baskett is married to Playboy model and former “Girl Next Door” Kendra Wilkinson.
You win some, you lose some.
8. Donovan McNabb, Eagles, Super Bowl XXXIX. We all remember John Elway’s drive. We all remember Joe Montana’s drive. And we all remember Tom Brady’s drive(s). But unfortunately for Donovan McNabb, we also all remember his drive.
Trailing New England 24-14 with just under six minutes left in the game, the Eagles had a chance to begin a comeback. But instead of putting the pedal to the metal, McNabb gingerly lead a four-minute scoring drive that ultimately resulted in the Eagles’ demise.
The reason for the unsightly speed of the crucial drive? McNabb was throwing up in the huddle — and it wasn’t the first time (see below). Not to mention he tossed three interceptions over the course of the loss, a game in which the Eagles finished just shy of the Patriots, 24-21.
7. John Kasay, Panthers, Super Bowl XXXVIII. A rare Super Bowl game in which both kickers will be remembered forever — Adam Vinatieri for his game-winner with seconds remaining and John Kasay for giving the Patriots possession on the 40-yard line six plays later.
Kasay committed the cardinal sin of kicking the ball out of bounds following Carolina’s game-tying drive, and with just over a minute left in the game, booted the kick straight out of bounds, resulting in a flag — and a New England possession on the 40-yard line.
Brady already had a reputation for having ice water in his veins in the final minutes. This time, he was given possession of the ball just 30 yards out of Vinatieri’s range; an opportunity Tom Brady wouldn’t let slip away. One minute after Kasay’s mis-kick, the Patriots took home their second Super Bowl in three years, downing Carolina 32-29.
6. Eugene Robinson, Falcons, Super Bowl XXXIII. It was not a good Super weekend for the Falcons strong safety. He had a reputation for being a man of faith as well as one who always valued the community over himself — but prior to the Super Bowl, Robinson was arrested on charges of soliciting an undercover police officer for oral sex.
Atlanta coach Dan Reeves played Robinson anyway, and he responded by blowing two crucial coverages during the game, including an 80-yard touchdown strike to Rod Smith. The touchdown put Denver ahead 17-3, as the Broncos went on to rout Atlanta, 34-19.
5. Neil O’Donnell, Steelers, Super Bowl XXX. You wouldn’t know it by looking at his final numbers — 28-for-49 and 239 yards — but O’Donnell’s Super Bowl effort made Rich Gannon’s look Montana-esque.
The Steelers quarterback threw quite possibly two of the worst interceptions in Super Bowl history, resulting in a Cowboys win and an eternity of goat-ness.
On a third-and-9 from his own 48, O’Donnell threw a pass that was mind-bogglingly awful, landing 10 yards away from his intended receiver and right in the arms of cornerback Larry Brown. Thirty-eight seconds later, Emmit Smith plunged in the end zone for six. Cowboys 20, Steelers 7.
Then, trailing only 20-17 with four minutes remaining, O’Donnell once again found a wide-open Brown, who ran it all the way back to Pittsburgh’s 6-yard line.
4. Lewis Billups/Asante Samuel, Bengals/Patriots, Super Bowl XXIII/XLII. And again, for every Larry Brown, there is a Lewis Billups and an Asante Samuel. Because thanks to those fine gentlemen, both Joe Montana and Eli Manning are forever ingrained in Super Bowl history, their late-game drives a part of the ever-growing Lombardi Trophy legacy.
For Billups, it came early in the final quarter, when Montana’s end zone attempt for John Taylor landed squarely in the Bengals cornerback’s hands. However, like a child trying to catch a butterfly, Billups let the chance of a lifetime clunk, slip and drop from his fingertips. Montana then hit Rice for six on the next play, tying the game at 13. San Francesco went on to win 20-16.
Samuel’s folly, however, was much more immediately damaging. Eli Manning was in the process of leading the Giants on an improbable game-winning drive against the 18-0 Patriots when Samuel let an easy interception slip through his fingertips like a fish, allowing the G-men to maintain possession. A few plays and a David Tyree miracle later, and the Giants defeated the undefeatable, 17-14.
But like the old adage says; if a defensive back had hands, he’d play wide receiver.
3. Thurman Thomas, Bills, Super Bowl XXVIII/XXVI. Oh, Thurman. To be honest, he could have his name twice separately on this list. But for Bills fans and their sanity, I’ll just lop them both into one.
The first, Super Bowl XXVI, came on the day after Thomas complained to the media about not getting enough attention despite being named the NFL MVP.
He responded to his own criticisms with a performance that would certainly net him plenty of attention — rushing for 13 yards on 10 carries, as well as missing the first two plays of the game thanks to a missing helmet.
The second, far worse, came in Super Bowl XXVIII, following three years of cursed Bills performances in the Super Bowl. Two of them had been decided thanks to Thomas’ uncharacteristically poor play. But this time, they had a 13-6 lead heading into halftime.
However, Thomas took center stage once again, opening the second half with a fumble that was returned 46-yards for a game-tying touchdown. It was his second fumble of the game.
And it would result in Buffalo’s fourth Super Bowl loss.
2. Jackie Smith, Cowboys, Super Bowl XIII. Smith will go down in NFL history as one of the greatest tight ends to ever play the game.
However, his Super Bowl XIII performance will also join him in the history books — for all the wrong reasons.
Used primarily as a blocking end throughout the 1978 season, the Cowboys tight end found himself wide open in the end zone with Dallas trailing Pittsburgh 21-14 in the third quarter. However, Smith would put on his best Billups impression and let the ball clunk off his paws and land on the ground.
Dallas had to settle for a field goal, cutting the lead 21-17, a crucial four-point swing; especially when you consider Dallas eventually lost the game by four points, 35-31.
1. Scott Norwood, Bills, Super Bowl XXV. And in a shocking turn of events, Scott Norwood finds himself atop a Super Bowl goat list. Who knew?
With a chance to win the game for the Bills, Norwood lined up for the most famous 47-yard field goal in NFL history. However, just like he had in warmups, Norwood shanked the kick, and it sailed to the right of the uprights — giving the Giants a 20-19 last-second win.
Eighteen years and an “Ace Ventura” movie later, Norwood still finds himself near the top of nearly every single sporting blunder list ever created, damming him with the likes of Bill Buckner, Steve Bartman and Jackie Smith. Not only that, but Norwood’s misfire was a key plot point in Buffalo ’66, proving that some goats can even make it big in Hollywood.
But it’s the necessary evil of sports. Because as cliché as it sounds, in order for someone to win, someone else has to lose.
Because if there were no Hank Baskett, there might not be a Drew Brees. If there were no Asante Samuel, there would be no David Tyree. No John Kasay, no Tom Brady.
It’s a vicious cycle, but it makes the sporting world go round. Plus, without Scott Norwood, there might not have been Ace Ventura. And what kind of world would we be living in then?
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