The "Super Bowl Shuffle" and "Ram It" Defined Cheesy, Promotional Music Videos for the NFL in the 1980s
It is Friday night. I am sitting in my house in Pittsburgh as the back end of Winter Storm Jonas drops a couple inches of snow here, and I realized something after watching videos on YouTube the last two hours...
If you were alive in the 1980s, you probably remember the awful fashions and some of the music that left people like my father to say that the decade was one of the worst for music.
The 1985 Chicago Bears and the 1986 Los Angeles Rams each made videos that helped seal the 80s legacy as an odd time for music.
First, we all know the "Super Bowl Shuffle" that the Chicago Bears did on their way to a Super Bowl XX win over the New England Patriots.
But the Rams made a promotional video called "Ram It" the following year.
The two videos are very alike, and you could say that the Rams copied the Bears, but let's look at the similarities.
-Both videos feature players singing
-Each have players rapping about themselves
-Both have their own, catchy chorus
And last but not least.
Sax! They both have sax! Is there anything more 80s than a guy wearing shades playing sax?!
Eat your heart out, Duke Silver
The NHL All-Star Game "Celebrity" Coaches Leave Most of Us Outside of Country Music Saying "Who?"
Let me start off with this.
I think the NHL is giving its best effort to make the NHL All-Star Game less pointless and boring than it has been over the years. Creating a 3-on-3 tournament and a team for each of the four divisions should make it a little more exciting.
On Thursday, the NHL announced the "celebrity" coaches that will be behind the bench during the All-Star Game in Nashville.
Without Googling them, do you know who any of these guys are?
Take a look and give it a try.
I did not know any of these guys, so I did Google them to find out who these "celebrities" were.
Dierks Bentley: Country music singer I've never heard of.
Vince Gill: An older country music star I've never heard of.
Charles Kelley: OK. This guy is a country music guy, too. He's in Lady Antebellum and I know who they are, so let's say I know who this is.
Chris Young: Won an "American Idol" style show for country music a decade ago. Don't know him. Chris might be a nice guy, but I've never heard of him. Sorry.
Well, since Nashville is hosting the game, it only seems fitting that country music artists with labels in Nashville would be "celebrity" coaches.
While that is all and good, unless you are really into country music, or live in Nashville, you probably don't know them very well. The NHL is trying, but much like the league, it is thinking regionally with these guys.
I'm sure Jay Mohr and Rob Riggle would have been interested, NHL.
"From 10 to Ben" Looks at the Ups and Downs of Players' Lives from the Steelers Super Bowl X and XL Teams
For me, a guy who is 26, it's hard to believe that the Steelers Super Bowl XL championship was ten years ago. For people of my parents generation, for the 40th anniversary of the team's Super Bowl X victory to be this year must make them feel old. I will also feel this way when the Super Bowl XLIII team marks its tenth anniversary in 2019.
Brady McCollough of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette did an extended feature story on some of the players from both the Super Bowl X and Super Bowl XL teams tiled "From 10 to Ben".
After reading the features of every player profiled, you can take away a few things from them:
It is a mixed bag of those who found further success after their playing days and the other half being those who have battled demons of the past, found peace or continue to deal with the personal and physical effects from playing the game.
The most polarizing story comes from former wide receiver Antwaan Randle El, who threw a 43-yard touchdown pass to fellow receiver Hines Ward in Super Bowl XL. Randle El was 26 when the Steelers beat the Seattle Seahawks and won that "one for the thumb". Ten years later, he says that he feels the physical and mental effects from playing football.
An excerpt from McCollough's interview with Randle El.
That his body has begun to betray him before his 40th birthday is hard to fathom. The crazy thing is that Randle El can feel his mind slipping, too.
Randel El also told McCollough that if given the choice to play football again, he would not.
“If I could go back, I wouldn’t,” he said. “I would play baseball. I got drafted by the Cubs in the 14th round, but I didn’t play baseball because of my parents. They made me go to school. Don’t get me wrong, I love the game of football. But right now, I could still be playing baseball.”
To coincide with Randle El's story, his former teammate Alan Faneca, who is one of the greatest guards of his era, is one of seven players to take on the NFL with the concussion lawsuit. Faneca is three years older than Randle El, and he told McCollough that he has experienced some memory problems.
“I do have some memory lapses where I can’t remember what I was doing just seconds afterwards,” said Faneca, 39. “Like, wait, why am I over here?
Randle El and Faneca are just two of the 18 players (nine from each team) that McCollough caught up with. Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Lynn Swann, J.T. Thomas, Andy Russell, Gordon Gravelle, Reggie Harrelson and Frank Lewis make up the guys from the 1975 team, while Ben Roethlisberger, Willie Parker, Hines Ward, James Farrior, Bryant McFadden, Mike Logan and Aaron Smith join Randle El and Faneca from the 2005 squad. Each player shares a unique story. They vary from moments of adversity and triumph to dealing with personal struggles and finding peace after their playing days.
If you are a Steelers fan, you will find this feature very interesting.
This story is as old as the ticket from the last Bengals win in the playoffs, but Friday clarified something you should probably know about Adam "Pacman" Jones.
He's an idiot.
Jones has made an ass of himself on television and radio this week by claiming that Antonio Brown has been faking a concussion after taking a cheap shot from Vontaze Burfict in last Saturday's AFC Wild Card Game, where Burfict and Jones each received personal fouls after the same play, essentially losing the game for the Bengals, as Pittsburgh kicked a field goal to go ahead and win 18-16.
It was just announced earlier Friday that Antonio Brown was ruled out of Sunday's AFC Divisional round game against the Denver Broncos, after being in concussion protocol all week.
Let's recap the week in Pacman Jones making an ass of himself.
It started right after Saturday's loss. Jones took to Instagram to curse out the refs and he was furious that "Jerry" Porter was on the field when he got flagged for putting hands on an official.
He deleted the video, but this is the internet. Nothing ever goes away completely.
A good primer for what was to come during the week.
On The Dan Patrick Show Monday, Jones accused Antonio Brown of faking his concussion, setting off a media firestorm, especially in Pittsburgh.
Before we move on, let me bring this up. Jones calls Joey Porter "Jerry" Porter, and he said Antonio Brown deserved a Grammy, which anyone would half a brain knows is given out for music. Goes to show you that Jones' IQ is far lower than his jersey number. Maybe even his shoe size. Two minutes into this interview, he made my IQ drop a few points.
Moving on. Jones appeared on Showtime's Inside the NFL Wednesday night, he said he would apologize to Brown if he was ruled out.
Well Pacman. Do you have something to say to Antonio Brown?
Oh, and Pacman, the Steelers play Sunday, not Saturday. Three things he has gotten wrong to cap of the idiot trifecta, which most people don't accomplish in less than a week.
Let's see if Jones gets on a phone or in front of the camera to apologize. Knowing his track record, he probably won't. But if he does, I will be sure to post it here.
UPDATE (4pm): Via Instagram, Pacman Jones apologized to Antonio Brown.
2016 is off and running. It begins with the NFL playoffs and will end with a newly elected President of the United States.
So in the spirit of election season and playoff time, let's see which presidential candidate matches with the playoff teams.
Heads Up: I am not a political expert. This is for fun. Don't take it too seriously, because I think you will enjoy them.
Denver Broncos: Ben Carson
-Like Dr. Carson's campaign, nobody really knows what the Broncos will do in the playoffs. Will they go far? Will they fall out in the Divisional round?
New England Patriots: Donald Trump
-It only seemed fitting the Patriots get the honor of being compared to Trump. Loud, annoying and like the Donald, many of us look at New England currently and feel like they won't get far, they might just win this whole thing!
Cincinnati Bengals: John Kasich
-Both hail from Ohio, and while they seem to have potential, they might be making an early exit.
Houston Texans: Rand Paul
-Both are here to stir things up, but they just get shouted down by a team like the Patriots (remember who the Patriots are?).
Kansas City Chiefs: Marco Rubio
-The Chiefs will either build on their momentum or fall flat and be out in the wild card round.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Ted Cruz
-Love them or hate them, they might be there near the end.
Carolina Panthers: Hillary Clinton
-Just on paper, they appear most likely to win going in. They can be beat, with most of the teams having their own weaknesses, it makes them look better.
Arizona Cardinals: Chris Christie
-Will they? Won't They? At times it can feel like a bridge to nowhere with both.
Minnesota Vikings: Mike Huckabee
-They're in it, but you have a gut feeling that it's not gonna work out.
Washington Redskins: Bernie Sanders
-Both attract attention in interesting ways, and we might be wondering why they are still in their respected campaigns.
Green Bay Packers: Jeb Bush
-They both have the name. They both have the reputation, but they are in trouble right now.
Seattle Seahawks: Marco Rubio
-I know, I know. I used Rubio twice because I ran out of other candidates that compared to Seattle. Don't count them out.
Winter Classic Ratings Are Down Again. Several Factors, Some Self-Inflicted, Hurt the Game
This shouldn't be a surprise, but it's something to point out.
The 2016 NHL Winter Classic, which matched the Canadiens and Bruins at Foxborough's Gillette Stadium, drew its lowest television rating in the game's eight years.
Think about it this way. The Winter Classic is another regular season game played outside at a baseball or football stadium. Much pomp and circumstances goes into the event, and it does do better in ratings than the early round games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. But, it continues to see a decline in viewership that we saw last year, when the 2015 Winter Classic between the Blackhawks and Capitals in Washington D.C. posted the lowest rating ever.
For the first time in the game's history, ratings fell below a 2.0 this season, which never looks good.
Several things can be factors in the Winter Classic's declining ratings these past two years.
First, college football bowl games.
This will always be a hurdle for the NHL, but the league doesn't seem to be bothered by the early bowl games happening at 1pm ET. The Fiesta, Citrus and Outback Bowls, which all had one-sided results, aired at the same time the Winter Classic did this year. The Fiesta Bowl, which matched up Notre Dame and Ohio State at 1pm to kick off the second half of the "New Year's Six" Bowls, received a 6.2 overnight rating.
Second, the NHL's regional reach.
If you did not know by now, hockey is a regional sports. In certain markets, teams receive huge television ratings. In others, it's the opposite. Like they don't exist.
Montreal and Boston is a great, Original Six rivalry that hockey fans in the U.S. know very well, but it's not enough to make those outside of the Boston/New England market tune in. People don't watch the NHL like they do the NFL. You will watch the late game on CBS or FOX regardless of who plays in it, but you're not watching the Sunday evening NHL game on NBCSN in February.
And third, the over-saturation of outdoor games
I had to scratch my head and wonder why the NHL scheduled six outdoor games during the 2013-2014 season. The league was coming off a shortened lockout year where the Winter Classic never happened, so maybe there was an urgency to makes sure the outdoor game concept remained popular. The annual Winter Classic took place at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor and matched the Red Wings up against the Maple Leafs in front of over 105,000 fans. Much like the inaugural 2008 Winter Classic, it was a snowy atmosphere, and it finished in a shootout win for the Leafs, much like the finish in '08 when Crosby netted the game-winner at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The NHL could have made the Classic the only game that season and rode that momentum into next year, but they wanted to make it bigger.
A game at Dodger Stadium, two games at Yankee Stadium, another game at Soldier Field, and the Heritage Classic in Vancouver expanded outdoor games into March. Sure, it was amazing to see outdoor hockey in Southern California and in the Bronx, but too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. It may be the reason why last season's Winter Classic in Washington D.C. fell to deliver the same numbers the game in Ann Arbor brought in 2014.
Last season, the NHL cut back on the number of games, and had just one at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara between the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings. This year, The Minnesota Wild will host the Chicago Blackhawks outside at TCF Bank Stadium and the Red Wings will play the Colorado Avalanche at Coors Field.
Also, throw in the fact that the same teams are playing in these game on a constant basis.
Here are the teams who have played in the Winter Classic and the number of times they have:
Red Wings: 2
Maple Leafs: 1
Now let's look at the other outdoor games in the United States:
Just looking at the numbers, the Chicago Blackhawks, who have won three Stanley Cup title since the 2009-10 season, have made the most appearances. Other appealing television markets like New York, Boston, Detroit and Pittsburgh get picked to play and or host these games. You have to give the league credit for expanding games out to the west coast, but locations like Los Angeles and San Francisco won't host the annual New Year's Days game. The Rose Bowl is usually a 4pm/5pm ET kickoff, and the NHL is smart enough to avoid going up against that game. Also, there are not enough markets that could keep that rating above 2.0, and the lack of colder climates that can provide you that "snow globe" effect that was seen in Orchard Park and Ann Arbor are not large in number for the U.S. market.
The NHL should keep the Winter Classic on New Year's Day, but put the Stadium Series on hiatus for a few seasons and focus on getting the ratings for the Classic back to where they were two years ago.
A few weeks ago, the Pittsburgh Steelers were said to the team that nobody in the AFC would want to match up against in the playoffs. Since then, that mentality has probably changed. The Steelers got in with a win over Cleveland and got help from the Bills beating the Jets, but they are not the most dangerous AFC team in the playoffs.
It's the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Chiefs, who began the season 1-5, posted ten-straight wins to finish 11-5 and clinch the first wild card. Not only that, if the Broncos didn't come back and beat the Chargers, they would have been AFC West champions.
The other five teams that qualified for the AFC playoffs have their problems. The Patriots and Broncos are having offensive line issues. Tom Brady is dealing with an injury and Peyton Manning made his triumphed return to the Broncos lineup, and many do not know how far he can take Denver in the playoffs. The Bengals have A.J. McCarron at quarterback while searching for their first playoff win since the 1990 season. The Texans won the weak AFC South with a 9-7 record and have had fourth different quarterbacks this year, and the Steelers, who have the best offense in the AFC playoffs, have seen Ben Roethlisberger struggle the past two weeks and the defense has shown some holes as of late.
The Chiefs appear to be the most stable team coming into the playoffs. Kansas City had its own problems, but that was during the first quarter of the year. The other five AFC teams are dealing with issues as the final quarter of the season ends and the second season begins.
In fairness, with these teams dealing with their own problems, the AFC is wide open. The Patriots don't look invincible, the Broncos might be the top seed, but they don't scare anyone. The Bengals have the burden of two decades of playoff failure hanging over them and the Texans will get to host the Chiefs, but you have to like Kansas City as a 3-point favorite.
With a wide open field, it wouldn't be a surprise if the Steelers and Chiefs met in the playoffs, but of those two teams, Kansas City is the team the other teams should have one eye on.
College Football Playoff, New Year's Six Bowls Lacked Viewers and Drama to End 2015, Begin 2016
Happy New Year!
If you are a college football fan, you probably did one of three things on New Year's Eve this year.
You either stayed in and watched the College Football Playoff semifinals, went out but convinced your significant other or friends to find a place with a television on ESPN, or just missed it all together because that black tie party you attended did not have a television nearby.
The second year of the College Football Playoff era saw the games being played on New Year's Eve. Yes. New Year's Eve.
In the past, you would go out on the final night of the year, hang out with friends, drink too much (it's a drinking holiday) and count down at 11:59:50pm to the new year. Followed by a kiss with your loved one or the random girl or guy you've met while out. The amount of booze you both drank could drown a small village. On January 1, you wake up hungover, swear off alcohol as your New Year's resolution, and turn on ESPN and watch bowl games all day.
But now it's different. With the rotation of the New Year's Six bowls, the Rose Bowl's unwillingness to move out of it's traditional January 1 slot (January 2 if New Year's Day is on a Sunday), it requires two of the three years of the bowl rotation to play the semifinals on December 31.
Now, some of you weren't impacted because you feel that the pressure to go out and do something on New Year's Eve is overrated. But for others, they have friends, family, wives and girlfriends who want to go out and celebrate, because much like a family trip to Disney World, there's an obligation to have fun.
If it makes those of you who missed out on the Orange and Cotton Bowls Thursday night feel better, you really didn't miss much. When the rout was on in the Alabama-Michigan State game, I almost flipped to New Year's Rockin' Eve.
Both Clemson and Alabama dominated in the second half of their games. The Tigers beat Oklahoma 37-17, and the Crimson Tide shut out Michigan State 38-0. The bigger laugher being the latter.
If you're ESPN, who will pay $5.64 Billion to air the playoff games over the next 12 years, you knew your ratings were going to take a hit compared to last year's inaugural playoff that took place on New Year's Day.
The numbers came out, and despite all the commercials and cross-promotions within Disney, they weren't good.
Almost a 40 percent drop! The ratings for the Rose and Sugar Bowls were phenomenal last season, and with this news, ESPN has to be furious about this decision by college football to put the games on during New Year's Eve.
Colin Cowherd had Clay Travis on his radio show Thursday, and they discussed why the ratings suffered.
In a rational world, ESPN and the NCAA would recognize that this will not work going forward. People will not adjust their schedule to watch these games on New Year's Eve, especially when most people (including me) work on December 31. For them to think people will adjust their work schedule and holiday plans to watch these games is arrogant. Cowherd and Travis brought up something you and I who live on the east coast don't think about. The Orange Bowl began at 1pm on the west coast! That flies on New Year's Day, but not New Year's Eve.
The elephant in the room is the Rose Bowl.
I love the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day as much as I love watching the Lions and Cowboys play on Thanksgiving Day. But it appears that nobody is willing to stand up and move the game to 8pm or 8:30pm ET instead of it's traditional 5pm ET kickoff. Nobody cares when the Sugar Bowl is played during the off years of their rotation. They just get to piggyback on the Rose Bowl and get New Year's Day priority every year.
If the Rose Bowl would move to a later start, playoff games could start at 1pm and 4:30pm ET and the Rose Bowl would get the primetime slot. I love turning on the Rose Bowl Game and seeing the sunshine and blue skies, but you have to give and take in this situation if you are on the Rose Bowl committee.
Speaking of Rose Bowl, the non-playoff New Year's Six bowl games provided no drama and lopsided results. The Citrus and Outback Bowls were also duds.
First off, why did the Fiesta Bowl kick off at 11am local time in Glendale? Ohio State and Notre Dame looked like a great matchup on paper with all the NFL Draft prospects playing. Unfortunately, two of the top prospects were out of the game before the first quarter ended. Ohio State's Joey Bosa was ejected for targeting and Notre Dame's Jaylon Smith suffered a significant knee injury.
Also, the Irish have dealt with more injuries than any team should have to endure in one season. The defense was depleted, and the Buckeyes had a field day, winning 44-28. They could've hit 50 if Urban Meyer didn't call of the dogs.
Then there was the Rose Bowl! The reason why we were forced to watch the playoff the night before.
Many, including myself, have criticized Iowa for playing a weak schedule. Those points were validated as Christian McCaffrey made the Hawkeyes stout defense look horrendous in a 45-16 rout. McCaffrey set the tone with an opening kickoff return for a touchdown, and finished the day with three touchdowns, 172 yards rushing, 105 receiving yards, becoming the first player in a Rose Bowl Game to post 100 yards plus rushing and passing, and broke the all-purpose yards record, too.
Other than McCaffrey's amazing day, the other entertaining part of the Rose Bowl was the pandering to Iowa voters that soon-to-be former Republican presidential candidates Carly Fiornia (a Stanford grad) and Mike Huckabee did before the game kicked off.
Fiorina's decision to root against her alma mater is the beginning of the inevitable end of her campaign.
Maybe Iowa voters like bass guitar, Mike?
And last, but not least, the Sugar Bowl. It's the Rose Bowl's little brother who feels like it deserves top billing over every other bowl game. Ole Miss did what Stanford did, and buried the Oklahoma State Cowboys into a 34-3 hole in the first half. It's 41-13 Rebels as I go to post this, so I think it is safe to say Ole Miss won. This game should have been a 1pm kick off, and the Fiesta Bowl deserved the 8:30pm start.
"But it's tradition to play this game on New Year's Day, Sean!"
Yeah, and it was tradition that important games were not played on New Year's Eve, but they changed that two years ago.
Perhaps we should give a pass for this year's format. You might say that it was a test to see if people would watch on New Year's Eve like they would on New Year's Day.
The reality is this. The ratings for the College Football playoff games were bad, the games were bad, and we can only hope that Clemson and Alabama put on a show in the National Championship Game on January 11 in Glendale.