Shot to Nothing

Thursday, January 31, 2008

For Queen and Country...

New York GiantsNow that's the endorsement the NFL was looking for...

Does a New York Giants linebacker saying the London game was beneficial to the team's Superbowl challenge, make the NFL smile?

"Everybody needs to get accustomed to a different environment," linebacker Antonio Pierce said. "I think it's good because we went to London."

You bet it does.

The fact that the New York Giants made it all the way to the Superbowl was a bit of a coup for the NFL and for Britain. In one season the Giants have shown the rest of the NFL that playing an international series game is not detrimental in any way.

And the fact that the players are now citing it as beneficial to their season - that's huge.

"That was the best. Besides the field, I would love to go back." ( Osi Umenyiora)

You know what the biggest complaint from the British fans was after the Wembley game?

"Not enough merchandise available" - I kid you not.

The NFL loves the UK. And you know what? The UK loves the NFL right back.

[BBC Sport]

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Best Weekend of Sports Is Nearly Upon Us

In all the anticipation ludicrous buildup to the Superbowl I almost forgot that this weekend is one of the best sporting weekends of the year.

The Rugby Six Nations gets underway on Saturday with Ireland, Italy followed by England, Wales and then Scotland, France on Sunday.

Then there's the little matter of the Superbowl of course, on Sunday evening.

Any spare time in between can be used to catch the A1GP from Australia (ok it ain't Formula 1 but it treats the withdrawal symptoms nicely!

So there you go, you can literally sit on your sofa watching great sports for the whole weekend! (like you didn't do that already...) But make the most of it, 'cause the next month or so is utterly barren.

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

UK Athletics Continues To Stumble Around Like A Drunk

Logging on to, the official website for the "Governing Body for the Sport of Athletics in the United Kingdom", tells you everything you need to know about their competency as a sporting administration.

On the front page, right next to their flashy logo, is a picture of Jason Gardner.

That's Jason Gardner the former sprinter. The one who retired in August 2007.

Perhaps we shouldn't expect much from an organisation that has single-handedly destroyed track and field in this country since it took over control of the sport in 1999. But a picture of a current athlete on the front page would be a start.

Todays decision by UK Athletics to block fallen sprinter Dwain Chambers from the GB indoor trials, is yet another sign of the shocking double standards that this organisation displays. Incapable of guiding our wealth of young talent onto the international stage, UK Athletics has turned to doing anything it can to justify itself as a governing body.

First we had the selection of injured athlete Becky Lynn to the World Championship team in place of Jenny Meadows, an athlete who had beaten her in both occasions where the two met, during the season. The choice was made due to Lynn's performance two years previously and Dave Collins desperation for medals of any colour to come Britain's way. Fortunately Lynn was forced to pull out and Meadows got the place she so thoroughly deserved.

Not long after we had the horrendous decision, made by Performance Director (and all-round bad hiring) Dave Collins, to pick Christine Ohuruogu for the 2007 World Athletics Championships. Ohuruogu had just returned from a one year ban for missing three drugs tests in 18 months. Just 24 days after coming off her suspension, she ran a personal best to win the 400m and was shamelessly portrayed as a hero by UK Athletics and the BBC.

The result of this race brought a storm of controversy to a country that used to pride itself of the legitimacy of it's athletes. Later in the year and in a further attempt to grab medals, Ohuruogu's ban from from running in the Olympic Games was overturned. Had she finished forth in the World Championships, her ban would never have been overturned. This has led to further international uproar and British athletes everywhere have found themselves under intense scrutiny.

And now the farce continues as UK Athletics targets Dwain Chambers in attempt to dampen criticism of their policy towards Ohuruogu. Dwain Chambers was banned for 2 years for use of THG in 2003 and after a spell in the now defunct NFL Europa, wishes to make a comeback. The malice shown towards Chambers by UK Athletics goes above and beyond any action they have previously taken to an athlete who was caught cheating. The reasons for this are two-fold:

1) Dwain Chambers was the former golden boy of UK Athletics. He was their darling, their big hope and their former GB captain. He was the successful athlete that others aspired to be and was promoted as a role model (another superb decision) by UK Athletics. When he tested positive the impact on the rest of the British team was catastrophic and British athletics has never quite recovered. Clearly UK Athletics still blame him for their own short comings.

2) Dwain Chambers made the grave error of admitting his drugs use. Whilst the majority of cheating athletes protest innocence when caught, citing such things as sabotage, Chambers was upfront and honest from the get go. His repayment for telling the truth? To be outcast by UK Athletics and attacked by them in the press.

How much longer must we, the true fans of British Athletics, see our sport ruined by the organisation that governs it? How many more stories will we read of double standards and ill-conceived attacks on athletes that are shaped by UK Athletics, yet spurned by them when the shit hits the fan?

I for one, have had enough of this fiasco. I hereby call for the head officials of UK Athletics to be sacked and replaced by competent administrators. I call for Dave Collins to be sacked and replaced by someone (anyone) with a shred of intelligence. Former athletes are not always the best choice to run a sport as they often lack the skills needed to bring about successful administration. What we need is business minded, fans of the sport to run things behind the scenes and get us the results that, judging by the standard of our juniors, we should be seeing.

[BBC Sport]

[UK Athletics]

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

More Hooplah for the Shooplah...

My second article is up over on Football Diner. Check it out HERE

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

It's that time of the year again...

This is what I don't get about Figure Skating... It seems you need to be a big name to get the big points.

When Kristoffer Berntssen took to the ice today in the 2008 European Figure Skating Championships, not many people gave him a shot. He put on a blistering performance however that was easily the best one of the 30 odd performances we'd already seen. Including Brian Joubert's.

Yet Berntssen ended up in fifth place on the leader board. The commentators on Eurosport didn't like it and neither did I. Ok so he has a certain lack of performance in his routine - he's stuck somewhere between dramatic and graceful and badly needs to lean one way or the other because the middle ground just looks... wafty - but that was still the best routine we had seen.

Now I know you Joubert fans go a little nuts when I diss him (why?) but you know as well as I do that he did not perform to his best today. He's been ill with gastritis (or gastroitis or gastroentoritis or some such shit) and quite clearly, he had only just recovered. He spent alot of his routine floundering around on the ice and looked generally exhausted throughout. And yet Joubert finished second in the rankings ahead of Lambiel who was far more impressive both in technique and performance. How can that be justified?

It didn't exactly look like anyone in the male short program particularly wanted the victory today, so perhaps it doesn't matter. But thank goodness for Tomas Verner who came out with an incredible performance that reminded me why I had just spent four hours watching men skate around in tight fitting clothes. (What, I need an excuse?)

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Friday, January 18, 2008

Check Out the Menu!

My first ever article for the awesome Football Diner(.com) has gone up!

Check it (and the rest of the diner) out here!


Is It Ok To Make That Really Obvious Joke Now?

tonys.pngTry saying 'Tony Sparano' three times one time fast... I don't think I'm ever going to get used to this.

But hopefully, I'll have the time to. More then anything right now, the Dolphins need consistency at the Head Coaching position.

Name a team that has done well in recent times (Colts, Steelers, Pats) and what do you notice? They've all had at least four years with the same head coach. We've had five in five seasons - it's not hard to see the problem here.

So the first job for 'Big-Tone' is to not get fired (may be tough with Miami's roster). The second is to have a great FA and an even greater Draft. After that there's the small matter of bringing John Beck along and molding into the superstar QB we so badly need.

Is that all? Err... no. But you've got to start somewhere...

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

This Is All My Fault...


Have I missed something? Have I slipped into some kind of extra special circle of hell reserved especially for Miamians? Is Miamians even a word?

Well, to put it bluntly, yes, yes and yes (Actually, the jury's still out on the third one, but screw it) and it's all my fault. I'm so, so sorry.

You see, what happened was, I was dating this very nice young lady (that's 'Hot Chick' for all you guys out there) from Boston last year. I'd met her when she was on holiday in Miami and though her accent had bothered me at first, you don't look at listen to the mantle piece when your stoking the fire do you? Or something.

Anyways, in late June I went up to visit her. It was during this short visit that I made two grave errors that doomed us all to sporting hell.

The first error was made when I failed to chase an accidentally dropped hoagie wrapper, as the wind caught it and blew it into oncoming traffic. I know it was wrong, but at the time I figured 'heck, if the wind wants it that bad...'

The second (and perhaps more grave) error occurred when I was inadvertently caught drunkenly banging my new girlfriends room-mate. It wasn't my fault though! I had no idea what shifts she was working, how was I to know she would come home late in the evening and catch us at it?

So you see, if you were wondering why the Patriots are 17-0 and Boston in general, is winning everything, or why every team in Miami seems determined to prop up the rest of the league - well, now you have your answer. It's all my fault and I'm very, very sorry.

So there, I apologized Karma or God or whoever, now can we PLEASE have a Chargers victory on Sunday?

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Friday, January 04, 2008

As Long As We're Talking 'Shelf Life'...

So Cam Cameron has been fired and Parcells is deciding which of his buddies he'd most like to spend the '08 season rimming.


The Dolphins are going to have their fifth coach in five seasons, but hey, at least the papers have something to write about for the next few weeks. There's always a silver lining...

Perhaps I'm crazy, but I think the Dolphins are in better shape now then they were after last years 6-10 Saban debacle. And that is largely due to Cameron laying the foundations for rebuilding; good drafting, solid free agents and a great value trade for Chris Chambers. It's a shame he'll never get the chance to actually finish (or even start!) the project.

What we need now, more then anything, is stability at HC. This was a bad move by the Big Tuna. You simply cannot judge Cameron on this season alone, he has become the fall-guy for a decade of mismanagement and bad drafting. It's a damn shame.

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