April 5, 2013
In the final round of qualifying for the 2014 FIFA WORLD CUP, the United States men’s national team earned two favorable results after a disappointing loss to Honduras to open the hexagonal.
On March 22nd, amidst a blizzard in Commerce City, Colorado, U.S. forward and captain Clint Dempsey scored in the 16th minute to give his team a lead they would not relinquish.
With the victory, the U.S. earned 3 points that saw them rise from the bottom of the group.
4 days later at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, the Americans earned only their 2nd point in World Cup Qualifying history on Mexican soil. The 0-0 draw put the U.S. in the top 3 teams in the group with Panama, who leads the group with 5 points and Costa Rica who has 4 points. The United States and Honduras also each have 4 points but Costa Rica and the U.S. remain 2nd and 3rd in the group based on goal differential.
The top 3 teams from each hexagonal go straight to the World Cup. The team in fourth must win a tiebreaker match to earn a spot.
In more good news for the U.S., star midfielder and forward Landon Donovan has hinted as to a return.
The USMNT continues FIFA WORLD CUP Qualifying on June 7th with a game against the “Reggae Boyz” in Kingston. They then host group leader Panama four days later in Seattle. So, hopefully Donovan is ready to go by then. Exhale.
October 6, 2011
NFL Rankings: As we approach Week 5 of the NFL season, here is how each of the NFL teams stacks up.
1.Green Bay Packers (4-0) — As the “Nature Boy” Ric Flair would say, “To be the man, you’ve gotta beat the man.” Until someone beats the Pack, they will be at the top of the rankings.
2. Baltimore Ravens (3-1) — After opening the season by dominating the defending AFC champion Steelers and blowing out the AFC runner-up Jets on Sunday, the Ravens are the class of the AFC.
3. New Orleans Saints (3-1) — Drew Brees and company gave the Packers all they wanted and followed that with three solid wins.
5. New England Patriots (3-1) — Tom Brady’s offense hasn’t been held under 30 points yet.
6. Detroit Lions (4-0) — They won’t be undefeated much longer if they keep falling behind by 20 points.
7. Houston Texans (3-1) — Wade Phillips has got the defense playing much better.
8. New York Jets (2-2) — A two game losing streak makes this trip to New England huge for the Jets.
9. Atlanta Falcons (2-2) — Important stretch coming up for the Falcons with Green Bay and Detroit coming up in the next couple weeks.
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1) — The Bucs need a win at San Francisco to carry momentum into tough stretch with Saints, Bears, Saints, Texans and Packers coming up.
11. San Diego Chargers (3-1) — Chargers should get healthy with the Broncos on Sunday and their bye week.
13. Tennessee Titans (3-1) – Huge test for surprising Titans this week at Pittsburgh.
14. Washington Redskins (3-1) – The defense is giving up an NFC best 15.8 points per game. They have two weeks to get ready for a divisional showdown with the Eagles.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2) – Are the defending AFC champs suffering from a post-Super Bowl loss hangover? Or is it just that they cannot protect the quarterback?
16. Dallas Cowboys (2-2) – No team is more entertaining than “America’s Team”. Do the Cowboys ever play a game decided by more than one score?
17. Chicago Bears (2-2) – The Bears have a good chance to build a lead Sunday in Detroit. The question is will they be able to hold it?
18. San Francisco 49ers (3-1) – Their three wins is one more than the rest of the NFC West combined. The division is theirs to lose.
19. Oakland Raiders (2-2) – It looks like the Raiders are the team that will push San Diego in the AFC West.
20. Philadelphia Eagles (1-3) – It’s been a nightmare start for the “Dream Team”. They are probably glad to be hitting the road after the last two performances at home.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (2-2) – Got a shot to be 4-2 at the bye with two winnable games coming up. Not bad for a team who’s quarterback retired rather than play for them.
22. Cleveland Browns (2-2) – They have an extra week to recover from getting pounded by the Titans.
23. Carolina Panthers (1-3) – The good news is Cam Newton looks like he is their quarterback of the future. The bad news is New Orleans, Atlanta and Washington coming up.
24. Arizona Cardinals (1-3) – They should have beaten the Giants on Sunday. They head to Minnesota to face an angry Vikings team.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3) – The offense is experiencing some major growing pains with rookie Blaine Gabbert now playing quarterback. They average less than 10 points per game.
26. Denver Broncos (1-3) – It’s not Kyle Orton’s fault the Packers put 49 points on the board Sunday. Try telling that to the fans in Denver though.
27. Indianapolis Colts (0-4) – It’s going to be a long season without Peyton Manning. This team won’t quit though.
28. St. Louis Rams (0-4) – Injuries and the schedule have made them look worse than they really are. Unfortunately, they have Green Bay, Dallas and New Orleans for their next three.
29. Seattle Seahawks (1-3) – Put up 21 points in the second half Sunday. Only score 37 in their other 3.5 games.
30. Kansas City Chiefs (1-3) – They have played much better in the last two weeks.
31. Minnesota Vikings (0-4) – They would be ranked much higher if the NFL cut games to 30 minutes.
32. Miami Dolphins (0-4) – With a bye and the Jets coming up they could be winless when the Broncos come to town.
September 15, 2011
Bolstered by quarterback Bruce Grakowski’s quick-snap, 41-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Green, the Cincinnati Bengals came out on top of Joe Haden and the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. Don’t let that single play overshadow the performance of Haden, however, whose 5 break ups and 3 tackles, including 1 sack, made him “by far” the best cornerback of the week, according to ProFootballFocus.com. Browns coaches suggest that Haden will be drawing the top coverage assignment often this season, and it’s no wonder.
Haden stopped by the Fathead office for the release of his new Fathead yesterday. As gracious and down-to-earth as anyone you’ll ever meet, he shook hands, signed autographs, and posed for pictures with anyone who asked, the mutton chops on his cheeks framing his natural, easy smile. We then sat down, and I asked him what I can only call “A Bunch of Unrelated Questions.”
Fathead Blog: It’s still pretty early in your NFL career, but who has been your toughest cover so far?
Joe Haden: My toughest cover has been Chad Ochocinco. He’s really good. He’s just fast, quick, and he comes out of his breaks really good. I mean he does everything really well.
FB: You were nicknamed “Rockstar” by fellow Gators because you can dance and you’re always well-dressed. Which Brown is the worst dresser?
JH: I would have to give it to my boy Ahtyba Rubin. Yeah, man. He just doesn’t really care too much. He’ll just come in with a big, black shirt and some flip-flops everyday.
FB: Who’s the worst dancer?
JH: Joe Thomas. Yes. I’ve seen him out at Barley House a couple of times, and it didn’t look too good. It’s probably a tie between him and Alex Mack.
FB: What’s on your DVR right now?
JH: Oh. America’s Got Talent. America’s Got Talent or America’s Best Dance Crew. Those are my two favorite shows.
FB: Who do you root for on America’s Got Talent?
JH: I root for the dancers. Definitely. They’re always the best.
FB: I read that you haven’t turned down an autograph request yet. What’s the weirdest thing that you’ve been asked to autograph?
JH: I’ve been asked to autograph body parts a lot. Shoes…iPhones. Probably the craziest one is iPhones. I was, like, “You seriously want me to sign your phone?” Like, white iPhones!
FB: Does it stay on there?
JH: No, it smears off. (laughs) They still had me sign it.
FB: You played quarterback for Friendly High School. Do you find it hard to intimidate opponents when your team is the Friendly Patriots?
JH: No, because when you’re that good, when you’re team is that much better, they see how good you are, and it doesn’t really matter. We just tell them, “We play for the Patriots.” We don’t put “Friendly” in front of it.
FB: What movie or band or music do you like, but you’re a little embarrassed to admit it?
JH: All of my music–it would be okay for me to like. Movie… Lion King? I mean everybody likes Lion King, though.
FB: What’s your prediction for Tim Tebow?
JH: Oh man. I hope it works out. He’s such a good dude. We played together, and he was just so humble and God-fearing. I mean he’s just such a good person. You always hope for the best for people like that. I don’t really know what the situation is out there. I mean, on TV, on ESPN, it’s not looking too good, but I just hope for the best.
FB: If you were to put up anyone’s Fathead in your house, besides your own, whose would it be?
JH: Michael Vick. No question. That’s just my favorite player ever.
August 29, 2011
When I inform people that I’m a pro wrestling fan, reactions usually range from something along the lines of ‘It’s okay, we all have our problems’ to ‘You know it’s not real, right?’ to ‘How old are you, again?’
When you think of pro wrestling fans, what’s the first thing that comes into your mind? Quick! Some guy living in his parents’ basement? 12-year old kids? Rural America? The simple fact is that wrestling fans come in all shapes and sizes. And not because we’re convinced the Undertaker really came back from the dead or that Jack Swagger is really a great American hero … but because it’s darn entertaining stuff.
Like most fans, I started watching when I was a kid. Somewhere around the age of 11 I figured out that things weren’t quite as they seemed. Wait, you tell me that guy got bit by a poisonous snake but he’s still alive and doing just fine signing autographs afterwards?
I’m outta here.
And so a long hiatus from the ‘sport’ began until I went to college. There, I was quickly informed by others in the WWE’s target demographic that watching wrestling wasn’t only perfectly acceptable, but encouraged. We knew it wasn’t real per se (well, at least the results and the storylines – I’ll get to that whole fighting part later), but still tuned in weekly for the latest drama from the WWE’s DX stable and rival WCW’s nWo. We had small parties for a Monday night TV show and bigger ones for Pay-Per-View events. Wrestling was cool, even hip.
College came and went and I was convinced that it was no longer okay to watch wrestling. Further cementing my feelings was the fact that the product deteriorated wildly as the two main factions were in a constant battle for ratings. Wrestling had taken a turn for the worst and, to be perfectly honest, had become too vulgar for words. I was convinced I was through.
Then 2010 rolled around. While flipping through the channels one night, I noticed something. Something odd. The WWE was still on – not only on, but thriving. New characters had replaced the old. Gone were Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, and HHH (well, at least gone for a while) and in their place were guys like Alberto Del Rio, CM Punk, and some guy that calls himself The Miz. What was happening? Why did I … care?
The fact is wrestling never really left. Sure, other things had taken its place for a while, but there was something strange about the theatrical sport. It was, and remains, incredibly captivating. Not only are the characters interesting, but what most fail to realize is how talented they really are.
Talented and hard-working.
Wrestling is the sport that doesn’t take a break. While we gush like adolescent schoolgirls over athletes in other sports that can play up to seven or eight months in a particular season, wrestlers go about their business, traveling from town to town year-round. Many believe that wrestlers only perform for televised shows, but in actuality, they travel and wrestle nearly every other day in the year for untelevised events. How’s that for a grueling schedule?
The steepest uphill battle that pro wrestling faces as an industry is that the matches are predetermined. Because of that, it’s easy for those who don’t follow the sport to extrapolate from there and come to the misinformed conclusion that the entire sport deserves no credibility. The fact is that while the matches are predetermined, the action is not without pain. When a wrestler takes a stiff chair shot to the back, the chair isn’t made of Styrofoam. That mat where said wrestler then was bodyslammed onto was not made of pillows and Serta matches. Much of the action is as rough as it looks – just ask Mick Foley who once fell from the top of a steel cage onto a table, rolled around on thumb tacks, and then proceeded to fall through the top of the cage for a second time.
All in the same match.
Another bad rap that wrestling gets (though, to be fair, it created this perception by living up to it years ago) is that it’s not family-friendly. Sure, there are still occasionally some things that would make a parent blush if their ten year old were in the room, but the sport has really done an amazing job in making the program cleaner and more watchable. Wrestling is not only far more toned-down in terms of offensive content, but it’s much easier on the eyes and ears than even daytime soap operas.
Sure, it’s not without problems. While other sports have a steroid problem, it could be argued that wrestling has a steroid epidemic. Too many wrestlers have died too young and if the sport doesn’t get cleaned up, it’s easy to believe that the industry could be on a fast downward spiral.
At the end of the day, though, it’s okay to be a wrestling fan. The sport combines true athleticism and acting like no other and these athletes get far less credit than what they deserve.
Yes, I used the term ‘athletes’ – because that’s what they are, whether you choose to believe it or not.
August 12, 2011
One thing I love about our weekly list of top ten Fathead sellers is that it genuinely reflects what’s happening in America. And this week is no different. Just by looking at the list, I know what the American people have been doing (hint, hint, the NFL must be past the lockout)!
2) Kobe Bryant – This obviously indicates that people are rushing to get his Lakers Fathead before we discontinue it and start making him in his Turkish uniform.
3) Boston Red Sox Logo – This is because Sox fans are gloating about taking the Yankees series.
4) Dwyane Wade Drives – Fans are obviously excited about the potential of a Big Three playing for Turk Telekom.
5) Derek Jeter – A group of people trapped in a mine for the last 40 days just escaped and found out that Jeter crossed the 3,000 hit mark.
6) Pittsburgh Steelers Logo – Mike Tomlin just won the National Omar Epps Look-alike Contest, and fans are celebrating by buying Steelers Fatheads.
7) Inside Fenway Park Mural – Have you ever been inside Fenway Park? Who wouldn’t want one of these murals?
8) Boston Celtics Logo – No idea. People do know that there might not be a season, don’t they?
9) Philadelphia Eagles Logo – Every high-profile player signed by the Eagles received an Eagles Logo Fathead. Thus, we sold a crap load of them this week.
10) Kevin Durant Dunk Mural – Not sure, but there’s a rumor that some dude told Durant before his Rucker Park game, “I’ll buy one Durant Dunk Mural for every point you make today.”