NetWorks Two-Minute Drill: Week of March 19-25, 2012

THE NETWORKS SPORTS TWO-MINUTE DRILL

Log on to the NetWorks Sports blog every Sunday as we succinctly recap our Top 5 list of events that caught our eye during the week in sports in The NetWorks Sports Two-Minute Drill.  Take two minutes out of your day to get our view on what’s going on both on the field (or court) and in the front-offices!

Top 5 Topics from the Week of March 19-25, 2012

This was a statement week in sports.  Typically when March rolls around, we are focused on  our tournament brackets & mesmerized by some cinderella (see VCU & Butler in 2011) making a run through the Big Dance.  As March Madness rolls along this week & after Peyton Manning finally found a landing place, little did we know that the week of March 19-25 would be would of the most interesting “off-court/off-field” weeks in a long time. Here are the 5 topics in sports that topped our list this week:

5. RGIII & Andrew Luck Thrilled and Impressed Scouts in Pro Days: As we’ve witnessed since the end of the college football season last November/December, many sportswriters and NFL experts have spent the last several months critiquing RGIII & Andrew Luck.  Who is or will be the better quarterback prospect?  Is Luck nothing but Hype?  Is RGIII more than an athletic quarterback?  Is Luck more of an athlete than we think?  While both players did nothing to hurt their status as two very talented quarterbacks, it has seemed like that if you like one of them, you can’t like the other.  After both went through their on-campus Pro Days this week (RGIII on Wednesday and Luck following on Thursday), folks finally have come to the conclusion that they are BOTH extremely talented (and athletic) quarterbacks who (in the right situations) will have very long and successful careers in the NFL.  Both dazzled in their Pro Days as they displayed their arm strength, accuracy, and mobility.  Both showed their very different personalities.  And both showed that there is no reason for us not to believe that they are very deserving to be the #1 and #2 picks in the upcoming April NFL Draft.

4. Roger Goodell & the NFL Impose a Harsh Penalty on the New Orleans Saints: Earlier this month when we heard about a 50,000 page report dealing with BountyGate, it was evident that Roger Goodell and his staff were taking this scandal very seriously.  A statement was going to be sent to owners, executives, and players that things of this nature are simply unacceptable.  While many speculated about the potential penalties, citing the Patriots punishment for illegally taping opponents play calls as a point of reference, most had no idea that the eventual penalties would be so severe.  When the verdict came down on Wednesday afternoon, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that Goodell intended to put an end to this practice & send a strong message to anyone who thought otherwise.  The long-term impact is yet to be seen, but there is no doubt that the New Orleans Saints organization will feel the impact of these penalties immediately and potentially for years to come.

3. Tim Tebow Take His Talents to New York: Most will admit that after Peyton Manning decided to take his talents to Big Sky Country and John Elway decided to make Tim Tebow available for a trade, there was little (if any) thought that Tebow would end up in New York.  A realistic landing spot would have been Tampa or his hometown Jaguars.  Maybe even a back-up role under the tutelage of MVP quarterbacks in either New England or Green Bay.  But the New York Jets?  The same New York Jets team that just signed fragile starting quarterback Mark Sanchez to a new deal?  In a surprise move that met some resistance from several Jets players (many of whom refused to go on record but were quoted as being against this move), Coach Ryan seems to have found his back-up QB.  More importantly, Tebow has found the biggest media market in the country to use as a platform for his social initiatives.  One minute the deal was done, the next minute the deal was being held up, but in the end…Tebow is with the J-E-T-S , Jets, Jets, Jets!  Monday’s press conference announcing the team’s new “back-up QB” should be very interesting.

2. Tiger Woods WINS!: It’s been awhile since we’ve seen the red Nike polo shirt walking to the 18th hole with the crowd standing & cheering on a PGA Tour victory.  After over 900 days, Tiger Woods smiled from ear to ear as the drought was ended.  In what has become one of his favorite tournaments, Woods finally brought home the victory after his life and career took a turn for the worse on that early November morning a few years ago.  With a few weeks until the top golfers reconvene at Augusta National, Woods was able to find the greens and find his putting stroke that have failed him miserably up until recently.  He put it all together and held it together to stave off all of the challengers on this weekend as he looks ahead to regain his legendary form.  On a day when four teams were competing for a chance to head to the NCAA Final Four in New Orleans, there was strong evidence that many television sets were tuned into Tiger’s quest for another championship.  Further proof that Tiger winning is still a driving force in the interest in golf.

1.  The Miami Heat Make their Strongest Statement OFF the Court: Heading into this past week, most basketball aficionados would have expected the Miami Heat (and the Big 3) to make their strongest statement this on-court as they headed to Oklahoma City for their first match-up of the season against the Western Conference leading OKC Thunder.  After the Heat suffered an embarrassing 16-point thrashing at the hands of Kevin Durant & his comrades, one would agree that the strongest statement the Heat made this week was the team photo taken in a Detroit hotel on Thursday night.  The photo of 13 of their 15 players donning the “hoodie” on their NBA-issued Miami Heat sweats in support of Trayvon Martin (a teenager killed in what seems to be a senseless crime), was a powerful image that may just have been the strongest message they have sent since coming together during the summer of 2010.  In a volatile week of sports-related news, this easily is the story that will be etched in our memories for months to come.  In fact, Angela has written a blog about how proud she was in this display of social leadership.  Read the blog “When A Miami Heat Photo is Worth (More Than) 1,000 Words” and share your thoughts!

For a “New View from the Sidelines”, tune in to Game Changers Live Wednesday’s at 1:00pm ET/10:00am PT on BlogTalk Radio as the co-hosts cover important topics in the sports world.

Follow NetWorks Sports on Twitter!


The NetWorks Sports Two-Minute Drill: Top 5 Moments This Week in Sports (12/11/11)

THE NETWORKS SPORTS TWO-MINUTE DRILL

Log on to the NetWorks Sports blog every Sunday as we succinctly recap our Top 5 list of events that occurred during the week in sports in The NetWorks Sports Two-Minute Drill.  Take two minutes out of your day to get our view on what’s going on both on the field (or court) and in the front-offices!

Top 5 Moments from the Week of December 5, 2011

With NBA executives rushing to get ready for training camps, Baylor winning its first Heisman Trophy, and the BCS Championship game set, this week was a fairly active one across the sports world.  But at the end of the day, the week will forever be remembered for another act of God from David Stern and a brawl that filled Twitter timelines.  Here are the 5 moments that topped our list this week:

5.  While there could be an argument for Novak Djokovic being the Sportsperson of the Year, Sports Illustrated certainly selected two very deserving individuals for the honor when they named Mike Krzyzewski and Pat Summitt Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year.  Two of the winningest basketball coaches in NCAA Division I history and two of the classiest individuals in the industry. The respect that they have from their current & former players is a strong indication of why they deserve the honor.

4.  In a weekend with a heavy focus on hoops, Indiana Men’s Basketball (under the leadership) of Coach Tom Crean) has restored balance to MBB.  Since Bob Knight’s departure, there hasn’t been this much excitement about the program in Bloomington and after the amazing buzzer-beater on Saturday evening, basketball purists around the country couldn’t be happier to see this program back in the national spotlight.  What a scene it was at Assembly Hall as students, alumni, and fans stormed the floor to celebrate an improbable victory.  In all honesty, something just wasn’t right about not having the Hoosiers competing for an NCAA title, and while this may not be THE year for this team to return to the Final Four…a return to the Championship conversation is surely imminent!

3.  The unfortunate events of the crosstown rivalry between Xavier and Cincinnati will certainly be one of the events that will be remembered this week.  One of the best things about college athletics (or athletics in general) is the great rivalries that have been created over the years and this hoops match-up is certainly one of the best rivalries around.  Unfortunately, over the years it seems as if the rivalry has extended beyond the court and outside of the 48 minutes of quality basketball that fans have come to enjoy.  Early this week on Twitter (yes, social media plays a bit part in this) apparently some UC players made comments that incited the Xavier players, so before the jump ball, tensions were high.  In what ended up to be a less than competitive game on the court escalated into a brawl that is an embarrassment to all involved in sports.  In the end, the two coaches seemed to handle it very well in their press conferences.  Both letting out their raw emotions and feelings of disappointment in the behavior of their players.  Mick Cronin was lauded for his strong words in fact.  Unfortunately, as of Sunday afternoon, the discipline that had been determined was less than many thought it would be with some players receiving 6 game suspensions (which would allow them to play the majority of the conference season). We’re still not sure of what the conferences and/or NCAA will do, but something has to be done as college athletics seems to be getting out of control.

2.  After months of hype and hoopla surrounding Andrew Luck (everyone’s frontrunner for the 2011 Heisman Trophy), Baylor’s Robert Griffin III proved that it does pay dividends to play on the final Saturday of the regular season in college football.  There were at least 7 or 8 legitimate candidates for the Heisman this year including Boise State’s Kellen Moore, USC’s Matt Barkley, and Houston’s Case Keenum, but in the end RGIII’s incredible statistical display, capped off by a win over the rival Texas Longhorns was too much for heavy favorites Trent Richardson and Andrew Luck to overcome as they and their teams were left to watch the SEC & Pac-12 Championship games on television on the final weekend.  Luck had an incredible career as he led the resurgence of a Stanford program that few believed would ever be in the national championship conversation and would certainly have been the perfect individual to represent the proud Heisman Trust.  As would Richardson who help to lead his Alabama team back to the BCS Championship Game.  Instead, Griffin took his Superman socks and the entire Baylor Nation to Broadway & stole the show with a very touching speech…”…an unbelievable believable moment!”

1.  David Stern set off a domino effect that could alter the course of the upcoming NBA season when he (“independently” and without influence from owners around the league) decided to nix a 3-team trade (between New Orleans, Houston, and the Lakers) that would have sent Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers.  That singular move not only handcuffed the Hornets brass & General Manager Dell Demps, but it also put several other significant trades and free-agent moves on hold (most likely eventually canceling the moves).  As a result, all heck has broken loose.  Players like Deron Williams and Danny Granger have denounced Stern for being a bully, a revised trade between the Lakers & Hornets feel apart late Saturday night, and several NBA rosters are still in flux with only two-weeks to go before the lockout shortened season starts on Christmas Day.

For a “New View from the Sidelines”, tune in to Game Changers Live Wednesday’s at 1:00pm ET/10:00am PT on BlogTalk Radio as the co-hosts cover important topics in the sports world.

Follow NetWorks Sports on Twitter!