Halfway home on The Top 100: NFL’s Greatest Players

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Players ranked Nos. 51-60 are revealed in all their glory on the NFL Network’s “The Top 100″ next episode that debuts Thursday at 6 p.m. (preceeded by an encore of Nos. 61-70 at 5 p.m.).

You can see the complete list on NFL.com (linked here), interestingly to see how the “fans rank” element is added to the list (i.e.: Steve Young, No. 81 on the list, but No. 13 on the fan ranking).

From the first 40 picks (61 to 100), three are active players, six are recently retired and the rest are all in the Hall of Fame.

The show’s appeal is seeing who “presents” each player, ranging from ex-players and coaches, to directors, authors and stat man extraordinare Steve Hirdt.

Here’s the list so far as far as that goes (player, then presenter):

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100. Joe Namath (Spike Lee)
99. Michael Strahan (Jon Runyan)
98. Lee Roy Selmon (Ron Wolf)
97. Derrick Brooks (Jon Gruden)
96. Mel Hein (Steve Hirdt)
95. Larry Allen (John Randle)
94. Lenny Moore (Bobby Mitchell)
93. Sam Huff (Sonny Jurgensen)
92. Michael Irvin (Troy Aikman)
91. Fran Tarkenton (Sen. Amy Klobuchar)

90. Kurt Warner (Nick Bakay)
89. Ernie Nevers (Steve Hirdt)
88. Ed Reed (Hines Ward)
87. Crazylegs Hirsch (Michael MacCambridge)
86. Willie Davis (Bobby Mitchell)
85. Marcus Allen (Matt Millen)
84. Joe Schmidt (Jerry Glanville)
83. Norm Van Brocklin (Sonny Jurgensen)
82. Ted Hendricks (Howie Long)
81. Steve Young (Mike Holmgren)

80. Troy Aikman (Drew Brees)
79. Emlen Tunnell (Michael MacCambridge)
78. Bruce Matthews (Warren Moon)
77. Tony Dorsett (Roger Staubach)
76. Art Shell (Ron Wolf)
75. Darrell Green (Carl Lewis)
74. Marion Motley (Mike Brown)
73. Ozzie Newsome (Marty Schottenheimer)
72. Jonathan Ogden (Michael Strahan, video linked here)
71. Paul Warfield (Mercury Morris)

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70. Marshall Faulk (Kurt Warner)
69. Bobby Bell (Michael MacCambridge)
68. Mike Webster (Dan Dierdorf)
67. Kellen Winslow (Joe Gibbs)
66. Willie Brown (Mercury Morris)
65. Randy Moss (Brian Billick)
64. Herb Adderley (Raymond Berry)
63. Jim Otto (Bill Bergey)
62. Randy White (Mark May)
61. LaDainian Tomlinson (Reggie Bush)

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Let there be light: A multi-purpose soccer ball

Congrats to Jessica Lin, Jessica Matthews, Julia Silverman and Hemali Thakkar for being honored with the “Next Generation Award” by Popular Mechanics for an energy-gerating soccer ball.

The four were undergrads at Harvard when they figured out a way to harness the kinetic energy of a soccer ball and use that as a LED light for families in the sub-Saharan African desert.

The way the sOccket works is that, after 15 minutes of kicking it around, the ball can put out three hours of light, an alternative to the kerosene lamps used in a place where less than 25 percent of the population has access to reliable electricity. The device was field-tested in South Africa during last summer’s World Cup.

The sOccket also has an imbedded DC jack and weighs only 5 ounces more than a FIFA-regulated ball. A future model is planned to generate enough juice to charge a cellphone.

== More on the sOccket (linked here)
== For more on Popular Mechanic’s “Breakthrough 2010″ awards (linked here).

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The Glory Details

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Apt to picking up a good baseball-related book this time of year, we came upon “Glory In The Fall: The Greatest Moments in World Series History” (linked here), edited by Peter Golenbock (Union Square Press, $22.95, 420 pages).

There’s a piece by the L.A. Times’ Jim Murray from Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, and another by Sports Illustrated’s Peter Gammons, about Orel Hershiser’s contribution to that Dodgers’ championship.

A piece from the L.A. Daily News’ Steve Dilbeck after Game 6 of the 2002 World Series — Scott Spezio’s game-winning homer to bring the Angels back and vault them to the title the next night.

Good times.

Yet, in reading the introduction by Golenbock, a well-respected, prolific author (linked here), we found ourselves gently returning the book to the shelf.

As Golenbock lists “off the top of my head, if you asked me which are the greatest World Series moments,” he includes Don Larsen’s perfect game, Willie Mays’ catch, the home runs by Carlton Fisk, Joe Carter, Bill Mazerowski

“And the Tampa Bay Rays playing in the 2008 World Series. I know. Kirk Gibson’s home run off Mitch Williams is far more important, but if you had been a Rays fan as long as I had, you’d understand.”

Hmmmm. Where do we start …

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Your Ryder Cup coverage, or how to plan your weekend naptime

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You look at a map of Wales and can’t help but think — such a green country. So many golf courses must be there. And all so green.

The nine-hour time difference between the Ryder Cup in Wales and your home television set will provide many of the usual Wimbledon-British Open-type warps in trying to follow the action of the U.S. team against the dirty dozen from Europe.

Note the posting of this blog — if you’re reading it live at 1 a.m. Tuesday, you’re body clock is in a good position to move forward before it falls back.

ESPN has Day 1 of the Ryder Cup — Friday in Wales, but Thursday night here — starting at 11:30 p.m.

Thursday’s opening ceremonies will go on ESPN during the 8 a.m. SportsCenter, followed by a preview show at 11 a.m.

ESPN will also re-air coverage from all three days, starting at 10 a.m. Friday on ESPN2 (the first day goes from 11:30 p.m. Thursday to 10 a.m. Friday on ESPN).

Mike Tirico anchors the event with Paul Azinger (the ’08 Ryder Cup captain), while Curtis Strainge (’02 captain) will be among the analysts, with Andy North, Judy Rankin, Bill Kratzert and Peter Alliss. Also beware of essays and commentary from Tom Rinaldi and Rick Reilly.

(Tirico, by the way, has an insane flight schedule, having to work ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” from Chicago, go to Wales, then be back for Monday, Oct. 4 in Miami for the New England-Miami NFL game).

NBC comes in for the weekend — Dan Hicks, Johnny Miller, Gary Koch, Peter Jacobsen and Brad Faxon, plus Roger Maltbie, Mark Rolfing and Dottie Pepper, with essayist Jimmy Roberts — but Saturday’s four-ball and foursome matches are on 5 1/2-hour tape delay (from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m.). That’s already not going over well with some of those state-side golf followers. Sunday is live from 4 to 10 a.m.

The delay from the Ryder Cup is nothing new. Back in 2002, NBC did the same thing from The Belfry in England after USA Network had delayed first-day coverage. NBC came on Saturday at 5 a.m., delayed.

Golf Channel plans 20 hours of live reporting starting today at 9 a.m. with press conferences, including Wednesday (9 a.m.), Thursday (3 p.m.) and Friday (10 a.m.). Kelly Tilghman, Frank Nobilo, Rich Lerner, Steve Sands, Alex Miceli, Tim Rosaforte, Ken Schofield, Mark Rolfing and Randall Mell are there. Lerner will cover the European team, while Sands is with the U.S. On the weekend, Golf Channel goes to the Ryder Cup from 3-5 p.m. Saturday and 10-to-11 a.m. Sunday.

Sirius XM Radio has live coverage on Sirius 209/XM 146 on Thursday (11:30 p.m.), Saturday (5 a.m. to 3 p.m. delayed) and Sunday (4 a.m.).

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Coming up on another redemptive season of HBO’s ‘Eastbound & Down’

Two new talking 7-inch Kenny Powers bobbleheads produced by a company called Bif Bang Pow! are coming out in time for the holiest of holidays, one by this Thanksgiving and the other set for a Jan., 2011 delivery, available for preorder on EntertainmentEarth.com (linked here and linked here).

Among the things one of the other will say: “You’re f__king out!,” “So that is why I’m better than everyone else in the world,” “Kenny Powers is a man, “”Kenny Powers is an athlete,” “Kenny Powers is a lover,” and “The thing that Kenny Powers is the most… is a G-dDamn champion.”

*****

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Emerging in the “darkest third-world hole” he’s ever been in — Copales, Mexico, “about a thousand, hundred million miles from where I should be” — this Stephen Janowski, expert cockfighter, finally reveals himself to the local Mexican League baseball team to be the true Kenny Powers and wants to turn his life around. Again.

“In Mexico, a man can truely get lost,” Powers says at the end “Chapter 7,” the episode that aired on HBO Sunday night and will repeat this week. “And if you’re a bankrobber or maybe someone who’s committed a f–ked up crazy crime, then that’s a good thing. But hiding takes its toll. At first you don’t realize it. but soon the identity you tried to shed starts getting pissed and knocking at your insides. You know, when dealing with deep depression and sad s–t, it’s cool to pretend like nothing is wrong. That sometimes works. But eventually you gotta call a G-Damn spade a spade — yes, I’m f–ked up and I gotta change …

“Sometimes you gotta wash away the pain and look at the world that is the jackass hiding beneath. Sometimes, I gotta get back in the game.”

That’s the essence of the launch of the second season of “Eastbound & Down” — hey, is that Pedro from “Napoleon Dynamite?”

Not to spoil anything, but here’s a gameplan provided by HBO for the coming month:

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== Sunday, Oct. 3: “Chapter 8: Charros owner Sebastian Cisneros (Michael Pena) agrees to pull out all the stops in promoting Kenny Powers’ return to organized baseball, but Kenny loses motivation after learning a secret about April from an old friend.”

== Sunday, Oct. 10: “Chapter 9: Puzzled by the Mexican fans’ lukewarm reception, Kenny starts a grassroots PR campaign to burnish his image, but it takes a vintage Powers flare-up to bring the crowd to its feet. Kenny makes inroads with Vida (Ana de la Reguera) by inviting her to Sebastian’s yacht party.”

== Sunday, Oct. 17: “Chapter 10: Though Charros fans respond to Kenny, he is warned by Roger (Marco Rodriguez) about the perils of showboating. Kenny learns he has serious competition in his courtship of Vida.”

== Sunday, Oct. 24: “Chapter 11: Kenny considers a new full-time life working in Mexico.”

== Sunday, Oct. 31: “Chapter 12: Kenny settles some old scores and shows Mexico what he’s really made of.”

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