Every year at this time, pro sports teams will do charity work, visit the children's hospital, and even make an average Christmas video for the fans.
The San Jose Sharks already gave us the "Ugly Christmas Sweater" rap. It wasn't that great.
The Pittsburgh Penguins took advantage of a green screen and made a holiday video parodying National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. A modern day Christmas classic (take that, It's a Wonderful Life!).
Before you watch, here are some of the highlights.
Pascal Dupuis is out for six months with a blood clot. So he has a lot of time to untangle all of Clark's Christmas lights. Check every bulb, Duper.
A couple of Penguin players played Cousin Eddie. Paul Martin had one of the better performances.
Zach Sill gave an inspired performance as well. White sweater/black dickie and all.
Hall of Fame broadcaster, Mike Lange, gave a great performance as Uncle Lewis.
Paul Steigerwald gets a mention for his portrayal of Clark's father-in-law.
Lange and Steigerwald do have acting credits. Remember a little movie called Sudden Death? Steigerwald had a memorable line in the film as well.
Beau Bennett and Robert Bortuzzo played Todd and Margo Chester, the yuppie couple that lived next door. If you don't know what a yuppie is, it's like a hipster, only they don't dress like they're homeless.
General Manager Jim Rutherford played Clark's boss, Frank Shirley. Rob Scuderi, or "Scuzzball" as Rutherford calls him in the video, leaves his boss a gift. I think in real life, Scuderi is apologizing for a bad playoff performance last spring with that gift.
Most of the team is in it. Crosby and Malkin have small roles at the end. Obviously, Malkin has no idea what he's referencing at the end. That makes it even funnier. Also, keep in mind. They are hockey players, not actors.
Ah, Christmas music. It takes over a radio station in your city a week or so until Thanksgiving and then goes into hibernation for ten months.
While you enjoy the classics from Andy Williams, Bing Crosby, newcomers like Michael Buble and listen to the original recording of Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You" when she actually hit those high notes, there are some songs that don't get the attention of mainstream radio.
A Very Angry Bears Fan Christmas
The Chicago Bears are a disaster, so here's a Christmas album that all fans in Chicago will enjoy. Hear holiday classics like "Cutler the Would-Be QB," "Last Season I Gave You My Heart," and "You're the Most, Blunderful Team of the Year."
Maybe the Cubs will finally win it all with Joe Maddon and Jon Lester.
No, probably not.
Bubba Claus- "The Single"
The two-time Masters Champion has a lot going on in this music video. Watson is in a Santa suit. He has an elf and Gumby rolling with him in his "hovercraft" as well.
We'll just let Bubba be Bubba.
San Jose Sharks- "Holiday Sweater"
Christmas sweaters are ugly. So let's rap about them!
A few things to observe in this music video. Randy Hahn, the voice of the Sharks, takes part in the video as the main MC, and someone in the digital media department made it look like something you taped off your dad's VCR in the 90s.
Don't quit your days jobs, guys. And watch out for the mumps.
Pittsburgh Penguins- A Great Holiday for Hockey (2013)
The only thing lousier than their early exit from the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs was this fake Christmas album commercial the Penguins made in 2013. "Do Jussi what I see?" is a clever title, though.
Now former head coach Dan Bylsma dons the cover in an ugly Christmas sweater, and if mommy was kissing Sidney Claus a few days ago, she's probably got the mumps. Yep, another mumps joke.
Joe Pesci- "If it Doesn't Snow on Christmas" (WARNING: INAPPROPRIATE LANGUAGE)
"Joe Pesci isn't an athlete!"
Well, I question "Die Hard's" credibility as a Christmas movie, so shut up.
This is from a 1998 album called "Vincent LaGuardia Gambini Sings Just For You."
Pesci also starred in "Home Alone" and "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York." Two great Christmas movies.
It's Joe Pesci, he's singing a Christmas song, and there's some bad language. Enjoy and go get your shine box!
Merry Christmas, ya filthy animals.
In the PIAA Class A Football Championship game Friday in Hershey, Bishop Guilfolye, a private school from Altoona, finished off an already incredible season and edged the Clairton Bears 19-18 for the school's first state championship.
The Bears were not able to score on a 4th and Goal from the Marauders 8-yard line with 47 seconds left. Down by a point, Clairton's offense stayed on the field, and wide receiver James Hines caught the pass, but was clearly out of bounds in the back of the endzone. Hines did not like the call, and the game was televised on the Pennsylvania Cable Network, and replay showed the one foot he needed in was out.
Bishop Guilfoyle just needed to run out the clock. This is where things got ugly, and as stated earlier, this game was live on television throughout the state of Pennsylvania.
Kevin Gorman of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's account.
After one Clairton defender started a scuffle by crossing into the offensive huddle, another ran onto the field and threw his helmet at a foe. It was an ugly display by a team long known for being the biggest winners who showed signs of being sore losers.
In the Vine video below, you can see Clairton's #54, Vance Gibson, senior guard and linebacker, running out onto the field, wielding his helmet as he charges out towards the Bishop Guilfoyle huddle.
Clairton, based out of District 7, better known as the WPIAL, has won the PIAA Championship four times since 2009. The Bears set a state record with a 66-game winning streak that ran from September 11, 2009 until October 22, 2013.
Simply put, Clairton has been a winner for so long, they forgot how to lose with dignity.
Amongst the chaos that finished the game, there was one Clairton player who took the high road after the defeat.
Again, Kevin Gorman of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Engulfed in Bishop Guilfoyle's celebration was Lamont Wade, shaking hands and sharing hugs.
Leave it to the young, sophomore to show class when his teammate, who as a senior should be leading by example, rushed the field and was looking to use his helmet as a weapon.
This was also the only loss for Clairton in 2014. It was their first loss since losing to Sto-Rox in the WPIAL Class A Championship Game at Heinz Field on November 15, 2013.
A "trap game" is probably the best way to describe the Steelers this weekend as they head to the Georgia Dome to face the Atlanta Falcons.
Recent history and the trend that the 2014 Steelers have followed should give anyone some serious doubt about their chances Sunday afternoon. The Steelers, unlike their division foes, have not been able to take advantage of a weak, NFC South. Pittsburgh is a disappointing 1-2 against the division. A last minute loss against Tampa Bay and a defeat with "garbage time" points against the Saints, are the only two losses at home this season. A Sunday night win over the Carolina Panthers back on September 21 is the lone win over an NFC South team.
The Steelers always seem to follow a big win with a deflating loss against a lesser opponent. After that victory against the Panthers, the Steelers followed it up with the loss to the Buccaneers. An emotional win over division rival Baltimore on Sunday night was dampened by a loss to the lowly, New York Jets the very next week and more recently, a Monday night comeback win in Tennessee was spoiled six days later when the Steelers lost to New Orleans at home. It has been a roller coaster at times for Pittsburgh. Could be the same story this Sunday after winning a key division game against the Bengals.
Just to highlight how bad the NFC South is, the Falcons are 5-8 and are sitting in first place in their division with the tiebreaker over the Saints. Even the Panthers (4-8-1) have a shot at the title. A win by Pittsburgh guarantees that if Atlanta were to win the NFC South, it would be with a losing record. A 6-10 record could still get the Falcons the division title.
Recent meetings between these two teams have been close. Really close.
The last three games have all gone to overtime, with both teams going 1-1-1. The game in 2002 resulted in a 34-34 tie at Heinz Field. Four years later, the teams met at the Georgia Dome the year following the Steelers first Super Bowl win in 26 years. The Falcons took that overtime game 41-38. The most recent matchup, which happened in 2010, the year the Steelers appeared in Super Bowl XLV, was a Pittsburgh win at home 15-9. Do not be surprised if this game comes down to the wire on Sunday. Falcons fans better hope Mike Smith does not have a blunder like he did against the Browns.
While the Falcons have some of the worst defensive rankings in the NFL this year (24th in points allowed, last in passing and total yards allowed and 21st in rush yards allowed), Atlanta can be a threat offensively.
Matt Ryan and his wide receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White will pose a threat to the Steelers secondary that has been on its heels that past few games. One that gave up an 80-yard touchdown pass against the Titans, a 67-yard touchdown pass against the Saints, and an 81-yard touchdown pass to the Bengals last week. Obviously, as Mike Tomlin would say, that is not a good trend. Jones, who had a career night against the Packers on Monday night, could cause problems if he is able to play despite a hip injury. Roddy White would fill that void if Jones is not ready to go. It could be a shootout in the Georgia Dome.
With three game remaining, the Steelers are 8-5 and in a tight, division race that will most likely come down to them and the Ravens going for the title. The runner-up probably takes the top wild card spot in the AFC. These final three games for the Steelers (Falcons, Chiefs, Browns) are all winnable and important. Now is the time for Pittsburgh to break this awful trend of dropping games to teams they should be beating.
This game has "trap" written all over it. We will see if Pittsburgh can reverse the trend we've seen from them in 2014.
Consider this a retraction of a post from two weeks ago when I said that Browns had a chance to win the AFC North.
I should have known better. I really should have.
Cleveland has dropped their last two games and are 7-6. While still in the hunt for a wild card, they will not win the division.
No offensive production from Brian Hoyer and now Johnny Manziel will make his first NFL start against the Bengals on Sunday.
Shame on me for not knowing better.
Anyway, here's a cartoon parody of Johnny Bravo with Johnny Manziel from Bleacher Report's Craig Malamut.
Most of us (unless you live in Waco or Fort Worth) have accepted the top four teams who will compete in the first ever College Football Playoff.
On New Years Day, Alabama will play Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl and Oregon faces Florida State in the Rose Bowl.
Good matchups, good teams, good locations for two of those teams, good brands?
Think about this.
Alabama will play in New Orleans: SEC country.
Oregon will play in Pasadena: Pac 12 country.
There were some who argued that Oregon deserved to be the top-ranked team in the final rankings. Instead, the Ducks are ranked No. 2 and will face Florida State on the west coast. That's a benefit for them. Also, Mariota vs. Winston? What a storyline.
Let's head to the Big Easy.
Alabama and Ohio State. Nick Saban vs. Urban Meyer. These two last met in the 2010 season when the Crimson Tide took down Meyer's "Tebow-less" Gators 31-6 in Tuscaloosa and had defeated them in the SEC Championship game the year before. Meyer is now with the Buckeyes and is looking to knock off Alabama and prevent them from winning their fourth title since 2009.
This makes for some good television. ESPN hopes so. They are spending $470 million a year over the next 12 years to show the games.
Some have asked if Ohio State got into the final spot because they were a "sexier" choice than Baylor or TCU and if Oregon did not jump Alabama because of location and the matchups.
This is just speculation.
The Big 12 hurt itself by sticking to their bylaws, announcing both Baylor and TCU as co-champions and not having a title game, and Ohio State took advantage their conference title game to get them into the final spot. There are lessons to be learned.
But here is some food for thought. Just hypothetically speaking.
What if the TCU-Baylor situation involved Texas and Oklahoma?
The Longhorns and Sooners have always been the big names of the conference. If Oklahoma beat Texas and both finished 11-1, 8-1 in the conference, and despite the Big 12's blunder to name co-champions, do the Sooners have a better shot to get in over Ohio State than Baylor did?
The weekly unveiling of the playoff rankings were pointless, but we were watching. So perhaps some thought went into who Alabama and Oregon played due to location and storylines. Sporting events are the original reality television. Storylines and drama attract eyeballs.
Alabama-Ohio State is better than Alabama-Baylor. It is also a better matchup than if they played Florida State in the semifinal. Oregon playing Florida State is more appealing than if the Ducks played the Buckeyes. Why pass up the chance to highlight last seasons Heisman winner taking on an eventual Heisman winner? Either way, the national championship game will probably be Alabama-Oregon.
There seems to be an art to all of this. We did watch those useless rankings shows every Tuesday night for seven weeks. What makes you think some thought was not put into to these games?
It turned out that having a conference championship game was beneficial for teams like Florida State and Ohio State as the Playoff Selection Committee unveiled the four teams that will play on New Years Day to battle for a spot in the national championship.
The Big 12 Conference, the only Power Five without a title game, awarded both Baylor and TCU with the title on Saturday. A strategy that backfired as Baylor was the first team out, TCU the second. It now has the conference considering a title game for the first time since 2010, before realignment left the Big 12 with not enough teams to make two division and host one.
All four of the teams that made it in were outright champions of their conferences. Does having that 13th game matter? We learned that it probably does. The Buckeyes used Saturday night as a way to pad their resume.
Even though the committee put TCU, who lost to Baylor earlier in the season, at No. 3 five days before rendering their final decision, Ohio State's 59-0 romp of Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship was good enough to get them in. The Bears and Horned Frogs are champions of their conference, but are left out in the cold.
Not everyone agrees with the final four teams in the inaugural playoff. But it could impact the activity of the Power Five conferences.
How about the FBS Independents? Well, mainly Notre Dame.
Do the Irish have to go 12-0 to get into the playoff in the future? Will an 11-1 record not be good enough without a conference title, and like a marriage just to get health insurance, would Notre Dame join the ACC as a full member just to have a better shot at the playoff if it does not expand to eight teams?
There are lessons to be learned by both this committee and the teams who were left out.
The Big 12 should have declared Baylor the outright champion, and they should probably try to woo Southern Methodist and Tulsa to join the conference to give them 12 teams and make large enough divisions to host a title game again. Won't help their strength of schedule, but just a thought.
But either way, Saban-Meyer, blah blah blah, Mariota-Winston, yada yada yada. It should be good. Even if you hate each team for a different reason.