Play It Forward: Sept. 15-21 on your sports calendar — A redo of SBXLVIII, for those counting on something other than off-the-field NFL stuff

What didn't happen when Seattle and Denver last met on the football field.

What didn’t happen when Seattle and Denver last met on the football field.

THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:

NFL WEEK 3
DENVER at SEATTLE
Details/TV: Sunday at 1:30 p.m., Channel 2:

The top X things we remember most from Super Bowl XLVIII:
I: It didn’t snow in the New Jersey Meadowlands.
II: Seattle had the NFL’s best defense. The Seahawks scored 43 points.
III: Denver had the NFL’s best offense. The Broncos scored 8 points.
IV: Some were calling it the “Bong Bowl,” since the home states of the teams – Washington and Colorado – were the first two to legalize marijuana for recreational use.
V: The Seahawks entered MetLife Stadium to “Bittersweet Symphony” by The Verve; the Broncos came in to a dubstep remix of “The Phoenix” by Fall Out Boy, remixed by Denver DJ Omega (OK, we really had no idea this happened, but it says so on the game’s Wikipedia page).
VI: The Seahawks took a 2-0 lead one snap into the game. Las Vegas collapsed.
VII: The Seahawks took a 5-0 lead a few minutes later. The Broncos got their relief pitcher warming up in the bullpen.

Malcolm Smith (53) reacts as he returns an interception for a touchdown against the Broncos during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII.  (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Malcolm Smith (53) reacts as he returns an interception for a touchdown against the Broncos during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

VIII: The Seahawks had a 22-0 lead when eventual game MVP Malcolm Smith returned a Peyton Manning pass 69 yards for a touchdown before the half. We remembered him from his high-school days. He’s gotten more popular.
IX: The Seahawks had a 36-0 lead near the end of the third quarter. Some people were complaining that their Time Warner Cable coverage of the game disappeared. Good for them.
X: Russell Wilson had as many TD passes (2) as Manning had picks (2). Guess who got invited to appear on “Late Night With David Letterman”?

The Seahawks’ loss to the Chargers in Week 2 shouldn’t tarnish this meeting, although it might have be appropriate to re-raise the Super Bowl championship banner at CenturyLink Field  while the Broncos are in for a weekend visit. After another week of off-the-field missteps by NFL players, maybe this rematch of last year’s title game can’t come soon enough to distract attention. The only crazy thing that could happen – if the Chargers’ game at Buffalo leading into this one goes into overtime, we’re stuck watching it because we’re in the wrong TV territory again.

Also this week:
-wrigleybefore3The Dodgers take roadies to Colorado and Chicago with their magic number dwindling as fast as their starting rotation; the Angels have seven in a row in Anaheim to end their regular-season home schedule (hint: They’ll play more in October); the L.A. Triathlon goes off course and heads to Torrance, the AVP will crown its beach volleyball champs in Huntington Beach, and the Kings start training camp.
California Chrome returns, but USC and UCLA football takes the week off. Probably all for the best of reasons. It’s posted here.

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Media column version 09.12.14 — Trying to elevate the Ray Rice/Roger Goodell story past ‘drowning in reaction to reaction’

An editorial cartoon response from the Arizona Republic's xxxx to the Ray Rice domestic violence case.

An editorial cartoon response from the Arizona Republic’s Steve Benson to the Ray Rice domestic violence case.

What made it in this week (linked here):
Why the opinions of those women who cover the NFL for a living matter in the Ray Rice/Roger Goodell narrative, and why we decided to seek out ESPN’s Linda Cohn, Fox’s Colleen Dominguez, NBC’s Michele Tafoya and CBS’ Lesley Visser to see how they have filtered the information out there this week.
For example: What about theangle that this story would not have gotten nearly as much play without social media.
“Some may say that a story like this is just was social networking was made for,” said Cohn. “But what are we doing here? I feel like we’re drowning in reaction to reaction, and it feels awful.
“We seem to be obsessed about Roger Goodell’s role and make sure people like Paul George apologize, but we’re not getting to the root of the bigger issues here. There is so much lack of education on this topic. That’s what is more disconcerting to me.”

What didn’t make it into this week’s column:

Illustration by Sam Manchester/The New York Times

Illustration by Sam Manchester/The New York Times

More related to the Ray Rice story:
== Peter King is sorry
== Floyd Mayweather Jr. is sorry
== Paul George is sorry
== Ted Robinson is sorry
==
We’re sorry you had to hear Chris Berman try to call an NFL game again, while trying to add social commentary.
== You’re going to nominate TMZ for a Pulitzer when it refers to the commissioner of the NFL as “Rodger Goodell”?
== Is TMZ really fool-proof in its body of work of reporting?
== Is showing the TMZ video over and over again really doing good journalism?
== It wouldn’t be full coverage unless “Fox and Friends” chimed in. Inappropriately.
== How the story brought ESPN’s Mark Schlereth to tears.
== A San Diego UT editorial opened their eyes on the matter, and the impact of a visual over written words is always a winner, writes the Baltimore Sun’s David Zurawik:  “We know what we saw. We saw an ugly, horrible act that someone tried to keep hidden in darkness. And now, thanks to TMZ bringing it to light, we believe that we know who and what Ray Rice really is behind all the PR, lawyering and image-making of the Ravens and the NFL. TMZ’s video won the credibility war over Rice’s image.”
== Why the Rice video changed a Washington Post columnist’s view compared to her criticizing the media over its Rihnanna coverage years ago.
== David Zirin’s piece from The Nation on the re-victimization of Mrs. Rice.

What also could have been included but will just have to be content with its placement here: Continue reading “Media column version 09.12.14 — Trying to elevate the Ray Rice/Roger Goodell story past ‘drowning in reaction to reaction’” »

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Play It Forward: Sept. 8-14 on your sports calendar — Dodgers may take three Giant steps forward

Clayton Kershaw threw a two-hit shutout against the Giants on July 26 in San Francisco to finish a three-game sweep at AT&T Park.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Clayton Kershaw threw a two-hit shutout against the Giants on July 26 in San Francisco to finish a three-game sweep at AT&T Park. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:

MLB: DODGERS at SAN FRANCISCO
Details/TV: Friday-Sunday, SportsNet L.A.:

Two giant impediments stand in the way of the Dodgers and wrapping up an NL West title this month, and it begins and ends with the Giants. A 13-games-in-13-days stretch starts with these three at AT&T Park, and it’ll finish up when the Giants visit Dodger Stadium on Sept. 22-24. In each case, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly has aligned the pitching rotation so that Hyun-Jin Ryu, Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw start in succession. Because, really, after that, who’s even quasi-reliable? The last time these two teams met in late-July, Mattingly rearranged the rotation to get his top three arms locked and loaded. It led to a three-game sweep in San Francisco, where the Giants were held to four total runs. We are legally obliged to tell you that past performances do not necessarily guarantee future results. But in this case, Greinke has had the best success against San Francisco this season (three starts, 3-0, 1.80 ERA). Kershaw (two starts, 1-0, 1.63) missed facing them in the home-opening series in April, where Ryu (three starts, 2-1, 5.40) pitched the Dodger Stadium opener on April 4 and gave up eight runs in two innings to the Giants before the red, white and blue bunting could be unfurled.
The series: Friday, 7:15 p.m., Saturday, 6:05 p.m., Sunday, 1:05 p.m.

The rest of the week shapes up with the Chargers playing Monday night against Arizona and then Sunday at home against Seattle in Week 1 and Week 2 NFL games; USC heads to Boston while UCLA goes to Texas in Week 3 of college football; Floyd Mayweather Jr. decides to fight again, the PGA Tour has another year-ending event and … check it out for yourself at this link

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Media column version 09.05.14: FoxSports@20 … you got a problem with it? Depends on your attitude

The way it was in 1995: Howie Long, left, discusses the NFC title game with Jimmy Johnson and Terry Bradshaw.

The way it was in 1995: Howie Long, left, discusses the NFC title game with Jimmy Johnson and Terry Bradshaw. (Photo: Fox Sports archives)

What became the topic of this week’s sports media column linked here:
In 1994, there were two NFL teams in L.A. Then there were none. But the network that moved into the neighborhood that same year — Fox Sports — has not only stayed and keep its roots planted.
We look at the 20th anniversary of the birth of Fox Sports, how it has not only stayed true to its “attitude” but kept building upon it even as some longtimers are getting a little more gray. We talk to Fox Sports boss Eric Shanks, “NFL on Fox” studio stalwart Howie Long, his partner Jimmy Johnson, and No. 1 game analyst Troy Aikman.

The way is it today: Howie Long discusses NFL studio strategy with Fox president Eric Shanks, while Michael Strahan continues working on his notes.

The way is it today: Howie Long discusses NFL studio strategy with Fox president Eric Shanks, while Michael Strahan continues working on his notes. (Photo: Lily Rosales/Fox Sports)

What else could have been in the column but will have to be happy staying right here:

== Terry Bradshaw submits himself to being a guest on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on Friday night/Saturday morning at 12:30 p.m. on Channel 7. There’s another indication about how influential Fox Sports has been the last 20 years — Kimmel has his own show? Still?

= We asked Aikman and Johnson about how ironic it remains that Fox may still have its sports beachhead in L.A. but the NFL doesn’t:
Aikman: “I was a big Rams fan growing up in Southern California. Then along came the raiders. Not having a team in L.A., from someone like me who spent so much time there, is disappointing. Everyone wants a team there. Maybe the West Coast feels like being without a team the last 19 years is fine. We’ve been talking about this for such a long time I’m surprised it hasn’t happened yet. The 49ers have their new stadium. The Raiders clearly need a new one and maybe they’ll do a deal to move in with the 49ers. Even in San Diego, they’re trying to get a new stadium. I don’t know how much longer Dean Spanos can stay. I know I’d sure like to be going out West for more NFL games, so hopefully we’ll get a team there, and it’ll be an NFC team.”
Johnson: “People in L.A. may be getting by with seeing a lot more football on TV, but there’s nothing like seeing it in person, and having your own team. There needs to be a team in Los Angeles, but the league wants to make sure whatever team it is, it will succeed.” Continue reading “Media column version 09.05.14: FoxSports@20 … you got a problem with it? Depends on your attitude” »

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Where’s the news from KFWB on its sports swap-out?

construction-restricted-area-sign-s-0827Station promos on KFWB-AM (980) continue to tease about “what else is coming” after the soft launch of the CBS Sports Radio syndicated lineup several weeks ago – most notably, having Jim Rome’s 9 a.m.-to-noon show finally return to the L.A. market since early 2013.
The holdup for an official re-branding of iconic former news-and-talk station into what will be the fourth all-sports AM station in Southern California centers on how fast newly hired program director Owen Murphy can piece together a local-host weekday lineup to surround Rome, at least from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
While an announcement had been targeted for an official launch on Sept.1, think more of Sept. 15 or 22 at this point.
Longtime KNBC-Channel 4 anchor Fred Roggin, thought to be all but locked into a noon-to-3 p.m. spot at KLAC-AM (570) when the station announced a new lineup last December, has instead been penciled into to that same time slot with KFWB.
Considering the credibility Mark Willard built during his run at KSPN-AM (710) that ended last Friday when the station did not pick up his contract, adding him to the KFWB playlist would seem to be a popular fit.
radio-girlThe same with Jeanne Zelasko, the former Fox Sports reporter/anchor who would add a fresh voice to the sports-talk noise and has been in for an audition.
Others said to have been in the mix for a role include Marques Johnson, Tony Luftman, Brady Poppinga and George Wrighster.
Meanwhile, long-time update anchors/reporters Ted Sobel, Bill Seward and Bob Harvey had been told several weeks ago they would continue on with their roles at the station. That changed as well — only Sobel is being retained, station management recently told the three.
Prior to starting its fifth season as the radio home of the Clippers, the station will also ramp up with Westwood One to take its Thursday night, Sunday night and Monday night NFL games, plus playoffs through the Feb. 1, 2015 Super Bowl. It also has select college football games, starting Saturday with Michigan State-Oregon. KFWB also has an hour-long “Trojans Live” show with football coach Steve Sarkisian airing Tuesdays from 6-to-7 p.m.

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