Saturday, January 25, 2014

Tony Mangia on assignment in Costa Rica until Feb. 9

A message to readers of The Other Paper:

I will be in Cost Rica for the next couple of weeks hoping to photograph a Central American jaguar in its natural habitat.

And, depending on availability of a computer and sports subject relevance, posting will be difficult while I am going native.  But keep checking to see if anything new pops up on The Other Paper. Regular postings will return on Feb. 9.

Enjoy the Super Bowl New York and New Jersey. Go Broncos and pick it up St. John's.

Thanks for your support -- Tony Mangia

Fan's Mike Francesa tattoo is pretty scary (PHOTO)

Mike Francesa's radio show won't be simulcast on the YES television network very much longer, but one mongo found a way to keep the Sports Pope's image around forever — with a tattoo.

This fan had Numbah 1's face inked onto his body. The only missing detail is the ever present Diet Coke bottle.

Here's a crowd-pleasing AHL goalie fight (VIDEO)

Yes there was a rare —but always crowd-pleasing— goalie fight Friday night.

Jeff Deslauriers of the American Hockey League’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and John Gibson of the Norfolk Admirals came together at center ice during a stoppage in play, dropping the gloves and blockers in a quick scrap. It's hard to figure out why this scuffle started, although Gibson, as he was skating back to his net from the bench, skated right into Deslauriers, who wasted no time in getting the fight started.

Then a few other dances broke out on the ice.

According to the official game report on the AHL website, Deslauriers received two roughing minors, a fighting major and a game misconduct. Gibson was assessed only a pair of roughing minors.

Bill Gates gets destroyed by world chess champ in 80 seconds (VIDEO)

It took newly crowned Norwegian world chess champion Magnus Carlsen just nine moves to check Bill Gates in a speed game that was aired on television Friday.

Challenged to a game during a talk show hosted by well-known Norwegian television personality Fredrik Skavlan, the billionaire Microsoft founder said before the match that the challenge had "a predetermined outcome".

Gates, who was ranked by Forbes magazine this year as the world's second-richest person, had two minutes to make his moves against just 30 seconds for Carlsen. He lost to the 23-year-old in around one minute and 20 seconds.

"Wow, that was fast," he said to Carlsen, whose rock star appeal has won him the nickname, the "Justin Bieber of chess".

I'm just guessing that moniker comes from the chess player's youthful looks and not the pop star's brains.

The television show was recorded on Wednesday in London, Norwegian TV NRK said.

Asked by Skavlan under what circumstances he felt intellectually inadequate, Gates answered: "When I play chess with him (Carlsen)".

Still, I'd rather be stupid rich.


Friday, January 24, 2014

US warns Olympic athletes: Wearing team colors in Sochi puts you at risk

Ralph Lauren's red, white and blue U.S. Winter Olympic team uniforms might be great  for strutting the New York City catwalks, but could put your life at risk on the streets of Sochi.

As they unveiled their Olympic outfits Thursday, officials cautioned competing American athletes to keep them under wraps outside the Sochi Winter Games sports venues.

A memo sent to athletes by the U.S. Olympic Committee cautions the athletes to avoid wearing team colors too prominently in Sochi amid heightened concerns about security and terrorist threats in the southern Russian resort town, reported The Wall Street Journal.

"The U.S. Department of State has advised that wearing conspicuous Team USA clothing in non-accredited areas may put your personal safety at greater risk," says the memo.

The memo, which details steps athletes can take to ensure their safety during the games, cautions them to avoid wearing team colors too prominently outside of the 1,500-mile so-called “Ring of Steel” security perimeter established by Russian security forces.

Designer Ralph Lauren unveiled the official uniforms that American athletes will wear to the Opening ceremony Thursday. The uniforms feature a red, white and blue knit patchwork cardigan emblazoned with big stars, an American flag, and the Olympic rings.

“A dynamic mix of patriotic references in a classic color palette of red, white and navy defines the Ralph Lauren 2014 Team USA Opening ceremony uniform, which is proudly Made in America,” the company said in a statement.

Greg Bretz, a member of the men’s halfpipe team, told the Wall Street Journal that U.S. Olympic officials “have told us not to wear our USA gear outside of the venues,” but added, “I have so much faith in the United States and our safety that I’m not too worried about it.”

Concerns about safety in Sochi have prompted some Olympians to tell their loved ones to stay home, however. One of them is Canadian goaltender Mike Smith, who said he doesn’t want to expose his wife and kids to any unnecessary risk.

“They’re not gonna go. It’s not worth it,” Smith told FOX Sports Arizona’s Todd Walsh. “For myself, it’s about thinking if [my wife is] OK when I’m not with her. It’s unfortunate, but it’s just the way it is.”

It sounds like the U.S. State Department's advice might apply to almost any country going to Sochi.

First look at Melo in his short-sleeved NBA All-Star uniform (PHOTO)

Carmelo Anthony made his sixth NBA All-Star Game, but the Knicks forward won't be making any Best Dressed lists in this getup.

Maybe a soccer list.

Lindsey Vonn won't be working as NBC commentator at Winter Games: Report

First, NBC lost Lindsey Vonn's wide television appeal on the slopes, now they have lost the dazzling Olympic skier's same appeal in the booth.

The knee injury that cost Vonn a spot on the U.S. ski team is also preventing her heading to Sochi to take part in NBC's coverage of the games. 

The network had approached the gold-medal winning downhill skier about joining its team of commentators in Russia next month, but her injury has left her unable to travel, reported The Sporting News.

Jim Bell, executive producer of NBC's Olympic coverage, said the network first approached Vonn about joining the booth when they heard she was unable to compete in Sochi.

"I don’t think she is going to be able to travel," Bell said Thursday, adding that they had been "in discussions" about a possible stateside role for the 29-year-old skier.

Vonn, the first American woman to win gold in the downhill skiing, underwent major surgery to repair her anterior cruciate ligaments 11 months ago. She aggravated the same injury at the end of last year, during a training session in Colorado, and again in December in France.

"I am devastated to announce that I will not be able to compete in Sochi," Vonn, who dates golfer Tiger Woods, said in a statement earlier this month. 

"I did everything I possibly could to somehow get strong enough to overcome having no ACL but the reality has sunk in that my knee is just too unstable to compete at this level."

Vonn would arguably have been the biggest star at the Games, but Bell said the network wasn't too concerned about losing the popular Olympic medalist.

"There are plenty of established stars to go round, like Shaun White," he told Deadline.

"And there are always the unknowns. No one knew [who] the gymnasts were, but they became stars," he added, talking about the U.S. gymnasts at the London 2012 Games. Bell said NBC didn't expect to match its ratings for the 2010 Vancouver Games because of the time difference between the U.S. and Russia.

And there's still Lolo Jones.

The Winter Olympics are being held from February 6th to the 23rd, with the Opening Ceremony scheduled for February 7. 

Colten Moore dedicates X Games gold medal to brother Caleb (VIDEO)

Snowmobile Freestyle competitor Colten Moore won his second X Games gold medal Thursday, opening X Games Aspen 2014 with an emotional win that he dedicated to his older brother, Caleb, who died from injuries in the same extreme sports event in last year's competition. It had been 364 days since a crash in the X Games caused injuries that ultimately led to Caleb's death at 25. It is the only death in the 20-year history of the X Games.

On Thursday, the 24-year-old Moore led after the first of two runs, riding in front of the Colorado crowd that included more than 60 of his friends and family from his hometown of Krum, Texas.

And, even though Colten Moore's biggest trick — a ruler backflip — came after his run time expired, his first-run score of 91.33 was enough to bump him to the top of the field. That score held up through the second round of competition

"This is the greatest moment ever, to be able to come back and ride for my brother," Moore said. "And not just for him, but with him, because I know he was out here with me all night. To be able to come out here and get gold is unbelievable. I just give it all to him. I know he was the one helping me do everything I was doing. ... It's what me and Caleb grew up doing, pushing each other to go for it. I just knew that he'd be riding with me."

On Jan. 24, 2013, Caleb Moore under-rotated on a trick and was thrown from his snowmobile, and the 450-pound machine landed atop his chest. Although he initially walked off, he suffered a contusion on his heart and brain complications. He died on Jan. 31.

Moore's father, Wade Moore, was watching just off the course, wearing a No. 31 hat in honor of Caleb Moore's bib number.

"It means everything," Wade Moore said, watching as his son took a victory lap. "He just wanted to ride, that's what he likes doing, he has fun doing it. That's all he and his brother did, and they're still doing it together, I promise they are."

Tour de France champion suffers severe sunburn wearing new mesh skinsuit (PHOTO)

Team Sky's bid to gain an advantage over other racing teams literally backfired on star rider Chris Froome — who suffered severe sunburn during a training ride in South Africa. 

The 2013 Tour de France winner was wearing the new lightweight mesh skinsuit, but failed to apply enough suncream and posted the painful results on Twitter.

Froome sports a bright pink back, except on the pale areas where the packs he wore prevented any burning.

Team Sky unveiled the sheer, skin-tight racing suits — which leaves little to the imagination — last month in hope of securing all "marginal gains" over opposing racers.

They forgot one thing—the SPF.

Michelle Cound, Froome's fiancee, posted the photos on her Twitter page on Wednesday, with the message: "The danger with wearing mesh jerseys... #OUCH"

Snowy Yankee Stadium gets ready for Stadium Series hockey games (VIDEO)

MetLife Stadium isn't the only sports venue in the New York area prepping for fans to descend — the puck is about to drop on the Stadium Series this weekend with Rangers-Devils on Sunday afternoon.

After building the rink, Yankee Stadium appears set to host the game along with the Rangers-Islanders tilt next Wednesday night, though there's probably plenty of snow to clear out as these other photos and videos show.

Perfect polar bears and penguins.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Brandon Jacobs still has grudge with Jim Harbaugh: 'He's a bitch' (VIDEO)

Brandon Jacobs days of running over defenses may be over, but the former NFL star isn't done running his mouth.

The two-time former New York Giants running back made it clear Thursday there's no love lost between him and 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh. Jacobs spent one unhappy and frustrating season in 2012 playing for Harbaugh and the 49ers before ending his career in 2013 where he started — with the Giants.

The bruising back was vocal about his lack playing time while on the west coast and used social media to criticize Harbaugh and the 49ers organization. And it sounds like he still holds a grudge.

“I have two rings and he don’t,’’ Jacobs said of Harbaugh on WFAN’s “Boomer & Carton Show.” “He’s a bitch. It’s not that he was a bitch, he is a bitch and that’s why he hasn’t won anything.’’

The 31-year-old Jacobs played nine years in the NFL, the first seven with the Giants, earning two Super Bowl rings. As a free agent heading into the 2012 season, he opted to take slightly more money from the 49ers, which seemed like a good fit. 

It never worked out. Jacobs’ knee was an issue from the start, and when he became healthy he barely got on the field — five rushing attempts for seven yards in two games. He angered Harbaugh and the 49ers by using Twitter and Instagram to express his longing for the Giants and to complain he was “on the team rotting away.’’ Jacobs asked for his release, which was not granted. Harbaugh eventually suspended Jacobs for the final three games.

“I have one regret in my career and that’s going to the 49ers when I could have stayed in New York,’’ Jacobs said. “I just wanted to see what stuff was like with another team, and it didn’t work out for me. I wasn’t liked, to be honest with you. … I thought I was being held hostage because of the previous year. I got two rings, Harbaugh’s a bitch, so it doesn’t matter.’’

Asked why he felt the 49ers signed him in the first place, Jacobs said: “I have no idea whatsoever, and they didn’t want to release me when I kept going to them with pure respect, which I usually don’t have when I’m pissed off. I kept it respectful the whole time. They just felt we really can’t use him, let’s try to suspend him. I tell you what, I got my money back and playoff and Super Bowl money. Everything. For two years in a row, I got everything.’’

Jacobs returned to the Giants after the first game of the 2013 season and had 58 rushing attempts for 238 yards and four touchdowns. He underwent knee surgery following the season and decided to retire.

“My body, man, it wasn’t responding the same any more: I’d get hurt, then I’d try to come back and play and then I get hurt again, then the hamstring started, the knee started, everything went downhill,’’ Jacobs said. “I really fought hard to get back out there, but my body just didn’t respond to injuries like it used to do. That’s when I knew it was time to call it.’’

Islanders won't leave Long Island a year early: Report

The Islanders will honor their lease with Nassau County and remain at their Nassau Coliseum home through the end of the 2014-15 hockey season before moving to Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

The Islanders had preliminary discussions in recent months about the team leaving the Uniondale, Long Island arena at the end of this season, but the conversations never advanced and the idea was scrapped, reports Newsday.

Islanders owner Charles Wang announced in October 2012 that after repeated attempts to build a new arena for his club in Nassau, the team would move to Brooklyn beginning with the 2015-16 season.

Developer Bruce Ratner, who built the Barclays Center and won the rights last year to redevelop the Coliseum, said in August that it was "highly likely" the Islanders would complete their lease and remain in Nassau through 2015.

But Ratner, executive chairman of Forest City Ratner Cos., and Islanders officials had refused to close the window on an early departure, leading to speculation on social media by fans that Long Island's only major league sports franchise could exit earlier than expected. Especially after the Islanders and Devils played the first NHL game ever — an exhibition match — at Barclays in September.

In a statement Wednesday, Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said he was "looking forward to a successful 2015 Islanders hockey season."

The Islanders have leases with Nassau County and SMG, the Coliseum's Pennsylvania-based property manager. All three parties would have had to sign off on a deal allowing the Islanders to leave a year early.

Islanders senior vice president Michael Picker and SMG officials did not return calls for comment.

A 2011 proposal by Mangano to authorize spending $400 million in public funds to construct a new arena — and hopefully keep the team — was voted down by taxpayers.

Ratner was selected by Mangano to renovate the Coliseum and will spend $229 million in private funds to rebuild the 41-year-old arena and construct an adjacent plaza with attractions including restaurants, shopping, a movie theater and an outdoor amphitheater.

Work on the project is expected to begin in August 2015 after the Islanders vacate the arena.

NYC weathercaster Lonnie Quinn predicts big storm for Super Bowl weekend

The Super Bowl teams have been determined so let the weather forecasts begin.

First out of the gate is Lonnie Quinn, the chief weathercaster for CBS in New York, who appeared with WFAN's Mike Francesa on Wednesday afternoon and gave his outlook on what could be coming to MetLife Stadium next weekend.

The early word: a possible nor'easter with snow and temperatures in the 20s.

In case you forgot what it looks like, here's some photos from Wednesday's storm and workers digging snow out of MetLife Stadium. And it could be a preview of things to come.

Twitter users relayed the message within minutes of hearing about the Emmy-winning Quinn's stormy prediction, and the reactions varied from:

A-Rod dons sombrero and plays with mariachi band (PHOTOS)

Alex Rodriguez is pretty good at tooting his own horn but who knew he could strum a guitar as well.

Here's A-Rod, wearing a sombrero and playing guitar with a mariachi band, while relaxing down in Cancuń.


A couple photos of the suspended New York Yankee third baseman, who is banned for the entire 2014 season, surfaced on Twitter. It was only last week Rodriguez put a new spin on his ban, saying he wanted some time off.

“I think that in the year 2014, the league could have done me a favor because I’ve played 20 years without a timeout,” Rodriguez said. “I think 2014 will be a year to rest mentally and physically prepare myself for the future and begin a new chapter of my life.”

A lot of people might call him the Cheato Bandito.

Check out these shots from Twitter:

Raiderette cheerleaders suing Oakland Raiders for wage theft: Report

As if being an NFL defensive laughing stock on the field for the past decade wasn't enough, the Oakland Raiders are now being forced to defend themselves in the courtroom — against their own cheerleaders.

The Raiders organization is being sued by current and former members of the Raiderettes — claiming wage theft and other unfair employment practices.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in Alameda County Superior Court alleges that the organization withholds all pay from the Raiderettes until the end of the season, does not pay for all hours worked and forces the cheerleaders to pay many of their own business expenses.

"The club controls our hairstyle and makeup, and we have to foot the bill," said the lead plaintiff, Lacy T., identified only by her first name, in accordance with Raiderettes policy, for security reasons. "We also have to pay the costs for traveling to all kinds of events, including photo shoots... I love the Raiders and I love being a Raiderette, but someone has to stand up for all of the women of the NFL who work so hard for the fans and the teams."

According to the filing, Raiders cheerleaders are paid $1,250 per season, which amounts to less than $5 per hour for the time they spend rehearsing, performing and appearing at events for which they are not compensated.

The suit claims they have been unfairly fined for bringing the wrong pom-poms to practice, wearing the wrong workout outfits or forgetting their yoga mats.

The team had no comment on the lawsuit.

Admit it though, isn't it really about Raider Nation anyway?

Police: Michigan State recruit Jayru Campbell body-slammed security guard (VIDEO)

Local Detroit high school football star Jayru Campbell, a four-star quarterback committed to play at Michigan State, is in jail on charges related to his body slamming of a school security guard today. Cell phone video of Wednesday's incident appears to support the charge.

Campbell, a junior, earned a school suspension in November for punching an opposing player in the postgame handshake line. He led Cass Tech previously to two straight state championships.

The vicious assault, caught on video on one student’s cell phone, seems to show Campbell, hoisting the guard and slamming him on his head in a crowded hallway. Some students could be heard pleading with the student to delete the video.

It quickly went viral, however, after Diehard Sports put it on YouTube despite the student deleting it some hours ago.

It’s unclear as to whether coaches and administrators at Michigan State — to which Campbell has committed on a full scholarship for 2015 — have seen the video.

It’s hard to tell by the video exactly who is involved, but multiple students have confirmed that Campbell was the aggressor, and WXYZ is reporting that his high school football coach confirmed that Campbell got in trouble on Wednesday.

Campbell was suspended in Nov. of 2013 for punching a Detroit Catholic Central player in the handshake line following Cass Tech's State Championship loss.(Video below)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

MetLife Stadium digs out from snow in 'dress rehearsal' for Super Bowl (VIDEO)

The crew at MetLife Stadium — home of the first cold-weather outdoor Super Bowl on Feb. 2 — was shoveling snow from the seats and clearing the parking lots in East Rutherford this morning after Tuesday's snowstorm dropped around 14 inches of snow on the Meadowlands.

Eric Grubman, an executive vice president with the National Football League, said the stadium operations staff and NFL production staff was pretending today was the day of the Super Bowl and called it a "dress rehearsal" for the big game.

"At 7 o'clock this morning they put themselves on the clock," Grubman said. "They are running to about an 18-hour allotted amount of time. And we have people watching and evaluating and grading. So, we're treating this as if it's pregame and we have to get the bowl cleared."

If a storm like Tuesday's strikes the day before the Super Bowl, Grubman said he's confident the game will be played at the appointed time of 6:30 p.m.

He would not speculate on what would happen if such a snowstorm struck the day of the Super Bowl. However, Grubman said the NFL could change the day the Super Bowl game is played, if needed. Instead of next Sunday, the game could be played anytime between next Friday and next Monday.

During the news conference, he also showed off "warm welcome kits," the care packages fans will receive at the stadium. Keeping with the theme of embracing the cold, the package contains hand warmers, neck warmers and lip balm, among other items.

The game between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks will, of course, be the first Super Bowl played outdoors in a cold-weather climate.

The long-range forecast for Super Bowl Sunday looks pretty good, so perhaps the NFL will avoid the disaster of a major winter storm disrupting the game.

Masahiro Tanaka to sign 7-year, $155 million deal with Yankees: Report

Tanaka's deal with the Yankees is worth $155 million over seven years and includes an opt-out clause after the fourth year, according to the source.

The deadline for signing the prized 25-year-old righthander is Friday.

Tanaka was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 183 strikeouts in 212 innings last season for the Rakuten Golden Eagles. In his seven-year career in Nippon Professional Baseball, Tanaka was 99-35 with a 2.30 ERA and 1.11 WHIP.

As part of the new posting system, the Yankees also owe the Golden Eagles a $20 million posting fee. Not only that, but the Yankees have now surpassed the $189 million luxury tax threshold, so you know they really wanted him.

Here's the projected 2014 Yankees starting lineup once the deal is finalized:

L CC Sabathia
R Hiroki Kuroda
R Masahiro Tanaka
R Ivan Nova
R Michael Pineda/ R David Phelps

NYC club debuts 25 foot stripper pole for Super Bowl visitors

With tens of thousands of Super Bowl fans ready to flood New York City bars and restaurants for the big game, one Midtown strip club is doing its part to handle the overflowing crowds. Well ... at least for the overabundance of dancers expected to arrive vying for the visitors' dollar bills.

Vivid Cabaret has installed a 25 foot steel pole — more than twice as tall as other stripper poles in the city — that can hold at least a trio of twerking dancers at once, reports the New York Daily News.

That's almost three stories of near-nakedness.

“It’s sturdy enough and long enough to do all the tricks I know,” said 22-year-old dancer Carlie. “There are a lot of clubs, but the poles are never big enough to do all the tricks I’ve learned.”

The club had its “soft opening” this week, with an official G-string cutting on Jan. 29 — timed to the opening of “Super Bowl Boulevard,” the NFL’s strip of Broadway from 34th to 47th Streets. 

Its nearby Sixth Ave. location will make it a convenient spot to watch the ladies work the pole if another chilly polar vortex hits town.

To the uninitiated visitors, the dancers are never naked because N.Y. state law forbids nudity when alcohol is served. And liquor is available.

Manager Shaun Kevlin says a number of professional athletes have already reserved tables for Super Bowl game day, Feb. 2. He declined to name names  — of course.


Norway’s men's curling team introduces their crazy Olympic uniforms (PHOTO)

The Norwegian curling team likes to make a fashion statement every Olympics, but they may have outdone themselves this year.

The team will compete in Sochi, clad in head-to-toe zig-zags in their national colors of red, white and blue.

It's nothing new for these guys. Norway’s men’s curling team has always had a history of crazy pants. 

The good thing about men's Olympic curling? The return of women's Olympic curling.

Apparently drunk hockey goalie stumbles around in front of net (VIDEO)

Drinking and ice skating are never a good combination but, when a Czech hockey goalie apparently mixed the two, it showed what happens when you confuse Jaromir Jagr with Jagermeister.

These hilarious videos are reportedly from an amateur league game in the Czech Republic via Reddit.

In case you're wondering if anyone scored on the stumbling goalie, the bottom video shows the goalie's wobbly attempt at stopping the puck— to even more laughs.

As they say in the C.R., Na zdrav.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Irish plumber celebrates Muhammad Ali's birthday with The Greatest on a whim

What if your dream was to meet your childhood hero and — after curiously knocking on a strange front door — got invited inside to celebrate their birthday with him.

That's what happened to an Irish plumber when he finally got to meet his lifelong idol, boxing legend Muhammad Ali after being egged on by his friends.

Tony Kelly, originally from County Donegal in Ireland, was on a job out in his new home of Louisville, Kentucky, when his American co-workers told him that Ali lived just a few yards away on the opposite side of the street.

The 24-year-old plumber was convinced it was a joke, but is such a huge fan of the boxer that he walked across the road and knocked on the door, in order to absolutely rule out Ali being a resident — regardless if it was a prank or not.

The serendipitous knock paid off and to Kelly’s amazement, Ali’s wife, Yolanda, answered the door and invited him in to meet the former heavyweight champ and help him celebrate his 72nd birthday.

A stunned Kelly - who moved in 2012 to Louisville, with his American wife, Megan — had his picture taken with his hero and told The Irish Independent just how astonished he was.

"I knocked on the door and Ali's wife Yolanda answered," he said."And I just asked would be possible for one of his greatest fans from Ireland to meet him.

"She said 'of course' and invited me in and there he was (Ali) sitting in the living room. I was over the moon. I honestly thought it was a wind-up so it was a shock to meet Ali and his lovely wife. They were so pleasant."

This knock, knock joke was squarely on Kelly's friends.

"My workmates weren't winding me up after all," he said. "But they were the ones who were shocked when I walked back to work and showed them the picture of me with Ali. It was just awesome."

Ali — widely considered to be the best heavyweight boxer the world has ever seen — has been battling Parkinson’s disease since 1984.

But he's still The Greatest.

Super Bowl luxury suite going for $1 million: Report

Looking to keep warm at the Super Bowl could set you back a few bucks this year.

High-end Super Bowl suite prices hit the $1 million mark Monday — with frigid weather expected to push demand for the comfy indoor rooms at MetLife Stadium even higher.

An optimistic seller listed a luxurious climate-controlled suite for the Feb. 2 Seahawks-Broncos showdown at $1,019,000 on the secondary ticket market, and plenty of other sellers came in above the $500,000 mark, reported the N.Y. Post.

Many of the asking prices for Super Bowl XLVIII suites are double those of prior Super Bowls, which commanded $100,000 to $500,0000, market watchers said.

“The weather is a big factor,’’ Connor Gregoire, spokesman for, said of the sky-high prices for indoor seats. “It’s going to be cold, and being inside comes at a higher price.’’

An early forecast for the 6:30 p.m. EST  kickoff is for temperatures near the freezing mark.
Suite asking prices also are being driven by limited availability.

MetLife Stadium has 220 total suites, which go for about $350,000 a season, but about a third of the rooms were held off the market by NFL and Super Bowl brass, who sell them to sponsors or other high-rollers for upwards of $400,000.

The suites hold between 12 and 30 people, and include catering, bars, televisions, fireplaces, parking passes and pre-game party access.

The cheapest suite price among online sellers Monday was $318,000 for a room in the upper “nosebleed” area; most sellers were asking at least $500,000.

Even non-suite ticket offerings hit historic highs Monday. The asking price for the cheapest seat in the stadium was $2,096 on the secondary market. Face value for those seats is between $800 and $850.

The average ticket asking price was about $4,015.

New Jersey left off cover of official NJ/NY Super Bowl XLVIII program

New Jersey is used to the late-night barbs about its Turnpike, swamps, smells and personalities from Tony Soprano to Chris Christie, but this slight might be the biggest insult of all. And Jerseyites are hotter than a Rutt's Hut ripper about it.

On Monday, after the NFL unveiled the program cover for Super Bowl XLVIII, to be played at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey on Feb. 2,  the cover image chosen by the NFL is... New York City.

Down the stretch of one of the state's most visible events ever, this omission comes as an indirect slap in the face to the area that will do a bulk of the heavy lifting — security, transportation and maybe snow removal.  Through it all, the blue collar Garden State still stands in the shadow of the glittery Manhattan skyline except, if you look closely at the cover, the tip of Jersey City sneaks into the shot.

New Jersey's Star-Ledger has launched a photoshop challenge to get proud New Jerseyans, to fix this abomination. You can download their template, fix the image and either upload it to them or tweet it using the hashtag #superjersey.

The publication will compile the best images into an upcoming video and present "appropriate Jersey-centric prize" to the creator of the best submission.

It's a small consolation to a "NJ/NY Super Bowl" co-operative that was one-sided all along— as in the other side of the Hudson River.

Djokovic ousted by Wawrinka at Australian Open in another 5-set thriller

Stanislas Wawrinka ousted three-time defending Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 9-7 in the quarterfinals on Tuesday — after another grueling five-set match in their growing rivalry.

Wawrinka (No. 8) beat the world No. 2 for only the third time in 18 matches and ended Djokovic’s streak of 14 Grand Slam semifinals. The 28-year-old Swiss also exacted revenge for losses to Djokovic in the 2013 Australian Open where — a year ago — Djokovic prevailed over Wawrinka in a fourth-round match that ended 12-10 in the fifth set and went an exhausting 5 hours, 2 minutes. Their semifinal match at the US Open in September was another max-distance five-setter but was only a modest 4 hours, 9 minutes long.

Bidding for his fifth title Down Under, Djokovic lost for the first time since the U.S. Open final. He entered Tuesday with a 28-match winning streak and 13 victories in a row against top-10 opponents.

Wawrinka will face Tomas Berdych next, the first semifinal appearance here for both men. Berdych defeated David Ferrer earlier Tuesday.

Kansas' Wayne Selden takes out front row to save ball (VIDEO)

In a showdown of Top 25 teams on Tuesday, Kansas guard Wayne Selden made one of the plays of the night — thanks to a great effort. 

The Jayhawks freshman jumped over the scorer's table and into the crowd in order to save a loose ball against Baylor. He was rewarded for his effort. The ball went right to teammate Joel Embiid, who turned it into two points.

And no one got hurt.

The Sochi Olympics Biathlon Center has bi-toilets (PHOTO)

Russia has spent $50 billion dollars on the Sochi Olympics — much of it making sure everyone is safe from the global threat of in-country terrorism and invading foreign gay athletes. But this just might be taking security and team unity to new levels.

Here’s the restroom at the Sochi Winter Olympic Biathlon Center, as photographed by BBC correspondent Steve Rosenberg and retweeted by none other than former Russian chess champion and political rabble-rouser Garry Kasparov.

On your mark ... get set ... go! 


Monday, January 20, 2014

Omaha zoo names baby penguin after Peyton Manning (VIDEO)

Peyton Manning has endeared himself to Nebraskans with his pre-snap calls of "Omaha" but now another Peyton is ready to warm their hearts.

The Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha announced Sunday that it would name one of its five new penguin chicks born late last December after the Broncos quarterback who helped give Nebraska's largest city a little free publicity.

Peyton the penguin's name is a direct nod to the quarterback whom zoo officials and Nebraska Tourism wanted to honor with the name.

"We thought it would be a really 'cool' way to say thanks to Mr. Manning for using the word Omaha in his pre-snap chants," zoo director Dennis Pate said in a statement. "We hope that Mr. Manning and his family will consider coming to Nebraska to say hi to his namesake sometime in the near future.”

The Broncos beat the New England Patriots 26-16 Sunday to secure Manning's third trip to the Super Bowl, where they will face birds of another flock — the Seattle Seahawks  — at MetLife Stadium.

If the weather forecast is correct, penguin Peyton might want to give football Peyton a few tips on handling the cold temperatures.

Awesome moment cop stops patrol to toss football with lonely boy (VIDEO)

When you think of police dashboard cameras you usually imagine car chases, DUI stops and generally bad things. That's why this dash-cam video is so awesome.

This Texas patrol car dash-cam captured the heart-warming moment a police officer took time out from cruising his beat to toss a football with a lonely young boy.

Footage from the in-car camera was uploaded by Rosenberg Police Department to their Facebook page, with the caption: "While a 2 minute game of football might not mean anything, to some it could mean everything!"

Sgt. Ariel Soltura has been praised for reaching out to the community by having a quiet game of toss with the 10-year-old, who now says he wants to be a policeman or a professional football player.

Comments under the Facebook page video range from "You guys have got community policing nailed down perfectly" to accusing the officer of "wasting taxpayers money."

You be the judge.

Get used to seeing Richard Sherman boast for the next two weeks (VIDEO)

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman gave one of the most intense postgame interviews in recent memory after his team beat the San Francisco 49ers, 23-17, Sunday in the NFC Championship Game and advanced to Super Bowl XLVIII.

The third-year defender called out 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree, calling him a "sorry receiver" and telling him not to "ever talk about me."

And social media blew up after his rant.

Get used to seeing this clip ad nauseam for the next 13 days.

Golden Tate tries catching Skittles in his mouth and fails (GIF)

Seattle Seahawks receiver Golden Tate was ready for the Skittles shower after Marshawn Lynch's 40-yard touchdown run in the NFC Championship Game

When the Seattle fans started throwing Skittles onto the field (as is custom when Lynch scores at CenturyLink Field), Tate tried to taste the rainbow and failed.

Seahawks fans throw food at 49ers' NaVorro Bowman as he's carted off field (VIDEO)

The 49ers’ NaVorro Bowman suffered a nasty-looking injury (it’s a likely ACL tear) during a goal-line stand late in the fourth quarter, as he got his leg bent under him, apparently twisting his knee. He kept possession of a fumble, but the Seahawks players grabbed it away from him as he lay in pain, and officials awarded the ball to Seattle.

So Bowman, one of the best linebackers in the NFL, was carted off the field, his season apparently over … and as he passed the stands, Seahawks’ fans threw food at him.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Gay protester detained for waving rainbow flag during Olympic torch relay in Russia: Report

A gay Russian protester was detained on Saturday for unfurling a rainbow flag during the Olympic torch relay as it passed through his hometown of Voronezh, 560 miles north of Sochi, where the games will begin Feb. 7, according to The Associated Press.

Photos uploaded by his friends show Pavel Lebedev pulling out the flag and then being held by Olympic security personnel, who wrestle him to the snow as they wait for police to arrive.

Lebedev, reached by AP on the phone, said he was still in the police station and undergoing questioning.

“Hosting the games here contradicts the basic principles of the Olympics, which is to cultivate tolerance,” Lebedev said, citing growing homophobia in Russia as the main reason for his protest.

A ban on propaganda of “nontraditional sexual relations” that was signed by President Vladimir Putin into law in June has provoked widespread international outrage from critics who believe the legislation discriminates against gays.

In the wake of that backlash, Russian authorities have put limits on the right to protest during the Sochi Olympics, which will run until Feb. 23.

A presidential decree initially banned all rallies in Sochi from Jan. 7 to March 21, but Putin later rescinded the ban to allow demonstrations at venues determined by the Interior Ministry.

But Putin’s comments Friday were seen as further signs of intolerance when he appeared to consider homosexuality and pedophilia to be the same thing.
“We have no ban on nontraditional sexual relations. We have a ban on propaganda of homosexuality and pedophilia. I want to underline that, on propaganda among minors,” he said.

“We aren’t rounding up anyone, we have no criminal punishment for such relations unlike many other countries,” he said. “One can feel relaxed and at ease, but please leave the children in peace.”

San Francisco to dock cable cars for 49er-Seahawks game: Report

Sightseers who planned on riding San Francisco's famous cable cars or streetcars Sunday afternoon during the 49ers-Seahawks game or into the night might want adjust their travel plans.

That's because Muni wants to protect its historic rides from overzealous fans, vandals and other troublemakers who might get a bit too rowdy after the Niners win — or lose  — in Seattle. It also wants to protect joyous celebrants or angry losers from hurting themselves, reports the sfgate.

Talk about a San Francisco mis-treat.

The transit system will use buses on the cable car and some rail lines for at least the latter part of the NFC Championship game and through the night, said Paul Rose, a Municipal Transportation Agency spokesman.

Muni will stop service on the California cable car line at 2 p.m. with the Powell-Hyde and Powell-Mason cable cars running only between Fisherman's Wharf and Chinatown beginning at 4 p.m.

That leaves handling the rowdy crowds up the buses and taxis.

Caroline Wozniacki's engagement ring is the size of a Titleist (PHOTO)

Caroline Wozniacki flew to Abu Dhabi on Sunday to watch her fiance Rory McIlroy finish second at the Abu Dhabi Championship. Wozniacki lost to Garbine Muguruza of Spain in the Australian Open which freed up her schedule to watch some golf.

McIlroy proposed over New Year's and by the looks of it, was thinking about golf balls when he picked out the diamond.

Good thing he wasn't concentrating on tennis.

McIlroy lost by one to Pablo Larrazabal after receiving a two-stroke penalty on Saturday evening.

But at least Wozniacki went home with a trophy.

[CBS Sports]

Dennis Rodman checks into rehab center for alcoholism treatment: Report

The twisted road of Dennis Rodman has reportedly taken another turn and hopefully this is in the right direction.

The former NBA star and unofficial U.S. ambassador has checked into a New Jersey alcohol rehabilitation center to treat his long-time struggle with alcoholism, reports TMZ.

The 52-year-old Rodman recently returned to the United States from his latest trip to North Korea. Rodman is "beyond exhausted and overwhelmed" and will be in treatment for 30 days, said the gossip site.

The Hall of Famer also apologized for comments he made in North Korea about a detained American missionary during a CNN interview rant (below), saying he had been drinking and was under pressure as he organized an exhibition game there. He also sang a slurred rendition of "Happy Birthday" to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the start of the friendly game.

"What was potentially a historic and monumental event turned into a nightmare for everyone concerned," Rodman's agent Darren Prince said about the disastrous trip. "Dennis Rodman came back from North Korea in pretty rough shape emotionally. The pressure that was put on him to be a combination 'super human' political figure and 'fixer' got the better of him.

"He is embarrassed, saddened and remorseful for the anger and hurt his words have caused."

Pacers’ David West ejected for elbowing Blake Griffin (VIDEO)

Blake Griffin is used to being the target of unnecessary fouls — with his reputation for high-flying dunks and all — but David West's totally uncalled for elbow to the Clipper's head warranted a stiff penalty. And he got it.

Although it seemed minor in real time, the referees determined that the act required a flagrant-two foul, which comes with it an automatic ejection.

Anytime something like this happens, it’s likely the result of a push-come-to-shove that’s taken place between the two players up to this point of the game. Nevertheless, West’s not-so-subtle elbow here was pretty stupid, and the referees likely did the right thing in removing him from the rest of the game.

The Pacers did just fine without the big guy, and went onto a 106-92 victory over once streaking Clips.

Canucks’ John Tortorella challenges Flames after line brawl two seconds into game (VIDEOS)

The tension swirled even before the first puck was dropped and, as expected, it took only two seconds into Saturday's Flames-Canucks game for total chaos to break out. After the puck fell, every player on the ice—but the goalies—paired up and threw punches.

This wasn't totally unpredictable, though, if you looked at the lineups. The Flames, being the visiting team, released their starting lineup first, which was actually their fourth line. Once the Canucks coach John Tortorella saw that Bob Hartley was putting enforcers on the ice,  Torts then put his own expendables at the line.

Then the fun began.

Ten players were given majors for fighting and game misconducts. Adding in a two-minute penalty on Calgary's Kevin Westgarth for roughing, a total of 152 penalty minutes were recorded in those first two seconds. There was also one steaming Tortorella, who was leaning over the bench and yelling at Calgary's side as things got crazy.

Here's Torts below going berserk outside the Flames locker room in between periods. He jostled with Flames coaches and players until cooler heads prevailed.

Tortorella later apologized via Twitter.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Metrodome deflated for the last time (VIDEO)

It took only about 35 minutes to begin letting the air out of three decades of great memories (thanks mostly to the Twins) in Minneapolis and close a chapter in the history of Minnesota sports.

With the Vikings set to being construction on a new stadium, the Teflon-coated fiberglass roof of the Metrodome was deflated for the fifth and final time early on Saturday morning.

Here's a time-lapse video of the old arena taking its final breath.

The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority opened the stadium's relief vents and turned off the power to the fans that kept the iconic roof inflated at 7:15 a.m. Saturday, according to the CBS Minnesota.


Check out what Metta World Peace wears to bed (PHOTO)

The Knicks forward posted this photo before saying "nighty-night" in his Cookie Monster PJs.

Please come back to the NBA Ron Artest.

Michael Schumacher might have different personality when he wakes up, warns neurologist

Michael Schumacher is no longer listed in "critical condition" but the Formula One racer "will not be Schumacher" if he wakes up from his coma, a leading neurosurgeon has claimed. 

Like an episode of The Twilight Zone, Dr. Richard Greenwood, a consultant neurologist at London’s Homerton Hospital, said the international racing legend will be a "regular Joe" if he recovers, as a result of his severe brain trauma.

Schumacher has been in a medically induced coma for nearly three weeks after suffering the significant head injury in a skiing accident at a French Alpine resort. The champion was admitted to the University of Grenoble hospital on December 29 after striking a rock while skiing off-trail.

"If Schumacher survives he will not be Schumacher. He will be Joe Bloggs," Dr. Greenwood said at a conference looking into the long-term effects of head trauma.

"His rehabilitation will only be effective if he comes to terms with being Bloggs, and fulfills what Bloggs can do. That’s a very, very difficult process to take people through, and many people don’t achieve it."

Earlier this week, there were reports speculating that Schumacher may never wake from his current state.

"Unfortunately, I have to repeat any information regarding Michael’s health not coming from the doctors treating him, or his management, must be treated as pure speculation," Schumacher’s manager Sabine Kehm said.

Whether it's as Schumacher or Bloggs, I think everyone wishes the race car driver a quick recovery.

High school wrestler uses The Force to pin opponent (VIDEO)

Even with three more Star Wars movies on the way, fans can't get enough of The Force. Watch these two high school wrestlers decide that a match would be the perfect place to demonstrate the powers of a Jedi and give the $4 billion franchise a little free publicity.

That's until the ref went Darth Vader on the two grapplers.

Apparently these two teammates — they each have the same uniform — wrestling on a mat which says "New York State Champions" planned the fake match in advance.

And pretty funny, is it ...hmm.

Keegan Bradley makes hole-in-one at Humana Challenge (VIDEO)

Keegan Bradley made a hole-in-one on Friday at the Humana Challenge and his reaction was pretty ... well ... Keeganesque.

The ace came on the 180-yard, par-3 third hole and was part of a second-round 66 that left the quirky golfer nine back of leader Patrick Reed.

And given that Bradley came into this week a little under the weather this should help him feel quite a bit better.

Aaron Hernandez can’t watch AFC title game says sheriff: Report

While every New Englander and their grandmother will be watching Tom Brady duke it out with Peyton Manning in Sunday's AFC Championship game, inmate Aaron Hernandez can only hope to get game updates from an over-enthusiastic guard or maybe a fellow jailbird's kite.

“He’s not allowed to watch any TV,” Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson told The Associated Press on Friday. “As far as finding it out, if they hear an officer talking about it they might find out that way. He could probably hear about it if some other inmate were to call home and he were to yell out.”

The former tight end was once part of the New England Patriots lineup, but he now sits in solitary confinement after missing the entire 2013 season — charged in June with murder in the shooting death of Odin Lloyd, a 27-year-old semi-pro football player.

The Patriots released Hernandez on the day he was arrested. He has pleaded not guilty.

Hernandez is being held without bail at the Bristol County House of Correction in North Dartmouth, Mass., under “special management,” a classification that allows him only three hours outside his cell. He isn’t allowed out at the same time as another inmate and he isn’t allowed any TV privileges, Hodgson said.

There are currently four inmates in the eight-cell unit, and they can talk through their cell doors, according to Hodgson.  Hernandez is also allowed telephone privileges, but not necessarily around game time.

Other inmates in the prison get two hours of television per night, and they usually choose to watch sports, Hodgson said. “Even they won’t be able to watch the two games,” he said.

Because Sunday’s game starts at 3 p.m., they will probably catch the end of the AFC title game during their regular window of 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

If the Patriots beat the Broncos on Sunday and reach the Super Bowl, the general population inmates would be able to catch the first 90 minutes or so of the big game, which is scheduled to kick off at around 6:30 p.m. EST.

Hernandez will probably be doing push-ups in his six-by-eight.