What To Watch Fri. 1/30- Sun. 2/1

All times are Pacific

Friday January 30th

Portland TrailBlazers at Atlanta Hawks – 4:30pm NBA League Pass: The Hawks have been unreal but the Blazers are no joke themselves.

Chicago Blackhawks at Anaheim Ducks – 7pm NHL GameCenter: The Blackhawks head west to take on the best team in the NHL as far as points are concerned.

 

Saturday January 31st

Chelsea vs Manchester City – 8:30am NBC: Five points separate Chelsea and Manchester City at the top of the Premier League. Yeah, it’s a big game.

Washington Capitals at Montreal Canadiens – 10am NHL Network: Two quality teams in one of the best venues in all of hockey.

North Carolina at Louisville – 1pm ESPN: It was fun when they played a few weeks ago. This should be too.

Los Angeles Kings at Boston Bruins – 4pm NHL Network: An east coast vs west coast showdown.

Duke at Virginia – 4pm ESPN: Duke is ranked in the top 5 but have to have this game is they want any shot of winning the ACC regular season title. UVA looks to keep their unbeaten season alive.

LA Clippers at San Antonio Spurs – 6pm ESPN: Lob City heads deep into the heart of Texas to take on the defending champs.

UFC 183: Silva vs Diaz – 7pm PPV: As long as Nick Diaz shows up we should have a fun fight. Even a 39 year old Anderson Silva coming off an extended layoff is something to marvel at.

 

 

Sunday February 1st

St Louis Blues at Washington Capitals – 10am NBCSN: The Blues have to be the most underrated team in the NHL. See how good they really are. Tough back to back stretch for the Caps too.

Nashville Predators at Pittsburgh Penguins – 11am NHL GameCenter: Predators have been one of the best teams in the NHL this season. Pittsburgh is a tough place to steal three points though.

Super Bowl XLIX – Seattle Seahawks vs New England Patriots – 3:30pm NBC: This should be an amazing game. We did think that last year too.

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GoPro’s Big Weekend

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

The New Angle

Let’s face it, GoPro has cornered the market on cameras. They are the brand name like Coca-Cola is for soda and Starbucks is for coffee. This past weekend was a big one for GoPro as they showed that their devices can be used for more than just a replay or a cool video on YouTube. They showed that you can use them during a live event and give the viewer an angle that they have been looking for.

The X Games is all about creativity. From the competitors to the advertising to the production. At this years Winter X Games, we saw how creative the production team can be. The were able to get a live shot from a GoPro strapped to a competitors helmet and with it, take a logical step forward in sportscasting.

For anyone who has ever used or seen a video from a GoPro has wondered how long it would be before we’d see a live shot from one during an event. Well that moment came during the snowmobiling event this past Thursday evening at the X Games Aspen. Levi LaVallee had a GoPro Hero 4 on one side of his helmet and a transmitter on the other.

GoPro-HERO-4-ms-final    Levi shows off the rigging

Transmitter

While they didn’t jump to the shot all that much, when they did the announcers were beside themselves. The shots provided us just what we’d thought we’d see, a first person view of the event.

This may not seem all that extraordinary since we have become accustom to the angle/view in video games and in replays. However, the technological advancement to make a broadcast quality shot available from a device that is available to the general public at a very reasonable price is pretty amazing.

Not to be outdone, the NHL just announced a deal with GoPro and their devices were in play during the All-Star skills competition. St Louis Blues goalie Brian Elliott was showing us what is possible with a GoPro when he took a selfie.

Brian Elliott Selfie

 

Elliott Selfie

While widespread adoption of GoPro’s during games or events is still in it’s infancy, it is exciting to see that organizations like the NHL are seeing the possibilities. It is only a matter of time before GoPro’s become smaller and more than just a camera. (Can you imaging a camera embedded into Shaun White’s helmet during a competition or paying for just a live stream of that angle?) The key for everyone is the continued improvement in the technology and the falling price point for consumers.

 

The Sunday: Here Come The New Kids

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

The weekend before the Super Bowl is usually pretty sparse on good sports storylines despite the NHL All-Star Game and the Winter X Games.  This weekend provided us some highlights including a big upset in the MMA world and the rise of a new star.

 

New Star Rising

Chloe Kim

14 year old Chloe Kim won the Women’s SuperPipe at X Games Aspen. Yes, 14 years old which makes her the youngest in X Games history to win a gold medal. What makes it even more impressive is that she had to rebound from a crash on an earlier run where she smacked her face against the ice and snow, chipping a tooth. That left her with one final run which she nailed with flying colors.

 

The Upset

The UFC pulled off another massive arena show, this time in Stockholm, Sweden. However the native son, and headliner, Alexander Gustafsson got knocked out by Anthony Johnson leaving most of the 30,000 in attendance in shock.

While it was a massive win for Johnson who will now face UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones, it was a disaster for Gustafsson. Visibly emotional, one can only imagine the disappointment he felt in front of 30,000 fans, most from his homeland.

As for Johnson, who once competed at 170 lbs, a massive opportunity has opened up for him, Once booted from the UFC for repeatedly not making weight, he now sits on the cusp of MMA glory.

 

A Breakthrough For Streaming Live Sports?

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

The fact is that sports have been live streamed online for a long time now. So is DISH Network recent announcement that it will live streaming ESPN and ESPN2 via Sling TV for $20 really that big of a deal? Yes and no.

Yes! Yes! Yes!

Currently there are a few legal ways to live stream ESPN platforms. All of them come down to having your subscription authenticated at some point and if you are a DirecTV subscriber you are SOL until later this year. 

With Sling TV you won’t need to have a cable or satellite subscription. Your experience won’t be the same either but at least you can spend a mere $20 a month vs $100 plus for a bunch of cable channels you’ll never watch.

F1 RACE IN BAHRAIN
Live streaming of the F1 race in Bahrain on NBCSPORTS.COM

NO!!!!!!

The fact of the matter is that the cable or satellite companies are going to get their money somehow. That ‘somehow’ is going to be with the data-usage fees. The country’s biggest cable provider, Comcast, currently gives you 300 GB a month with a $10 charge for every 50 GB over that. Seems like a lot until you add in the multiple devices per user and services like Netflix and Xbox One. Add Sling TV to the mix and you’ll be over the limit after the first weekend of College Football.

Live streaming has also been hindered by the experience itself. Bandwidth is not unlimited. If your neighbor is streaming a movie, your kids streaming music or playing online video games then your basketball games streaming quality will go in the toilet. With a cable or satellite subscription, everyone can watch without a signal downgrade. It also isn’t as reliable as your traditional connection. Just ask those trying to stream the Rose Bowl on the Watch ESPN app. 

While $20 is cheaper than $100, when you add that to the Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and future HBO App subscription, your spending close if not more a year.

Conclusion

The fact is that this is a long time coming. While a lot people were hacking their way towards this solution for years it will be nice to get it without the hassle. This application for only $20 a month is a good first step but it’s not the solution. Others will follow and  this service, along with it’s consequences, will make people more aware of issues like net neutrality. Eventually we’ll see more applications like Sling TV but it may be a ways off.

One Of The Best Is Starting Over

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Hall of Famer and longtime Pittsburgh Steelers Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau is looking for work at the age of 77. He and Steelers parted ways this weekend and believe it or not, he may not be unemployed long.

Dick LeBeau

LeBeau is one of the greatest defensive coordinators that has ever coached at any level of football. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame back in 2010, played 13 years in the NFL as a defensive back and has two Super Bowl rings.

One of the things he is most known for is his refinement of the ‘zone blitz’. The ‘zone blitz’ wasn’t a ground breaking scheme until LeBeau got a hold of it. It has since become a standard part of any defensive scheme and has given quarterbacks nightmares since it’s implementation.

The best part about all this is that he is not done, even at the age of 77. Current speculation has him becoming the Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator if their current coordinator Todd Bowles ends up becoming a head coach somewhere. Most people with his accomplishments would probably call it a career. But LeBeau isn’t done and he’s showing the AARP crowd that you can still innovate and be effective well into your late 70’s.

We’ll have to wait and see what happens but here at Sideline Signals, we hope LeBeau coaches for a long, long time.

Unexpected Big Days In MLS

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

The MLS season ended a little over a month ago and the last few days saw some major events. Big news was that it wasn’t just player signings.

Schedule

The 24 hour sports channels make an over hyped event of most professional schedules when they are released.  The MLS released their’s today without the hype. Just the schedule please.

It starts March 6th and ends somewhere in early December. MLSsoccer.com’s Andrew Wiebe has a quick breakdown of some of the can’t miss games. It features two new clubs and an expanded playoff bracket.

Players

Steven Gerrard revealed last week that he was leaving Liverpool at the end of the season. Now we know he is going to step into the midfield in LA for the Galaxy. It’s a reuniting of Gerrard and Robbie Keane since Keane’s failed move to Liverpool back in 2008.

The New York Red Bulls are apparently zeroing in on two US Internationals, Jozy Altidore and Sacha Kljestan. While there is still a lot of maneuvering to be done but this could be a major reload for NYRB.

Roger Espinoza is back from England to help out in the Sporting KC midfield along side Graham Zusi. This move makes a solid SKC team all that much better.

The Shock

PETKE

New York Red Bulls most successful manager Mike Petke is out. His replacement is Jesse Marsch. While no one is really surprised that Marsch is getting another shot in the managers chair but it is fairly shocking that Petke would be ousted after such a successful run.

Petke is Red Bull/Metrostars through and through and is even a native of the area. Marsch is going to have his hands full in replacing him. If the Red Bulls do not win an MLS Cup next year the fan base will have something to really cry about.

 

Knocked Back To 2014

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

You probably had never heard of Chris Callahan before today. He is the redshirt freshman kicker for Baylor. The reason you have heard about him now is because he got knocked half way across Texas.

His field goal kick was blocked in the fourth quarter of the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, TX. On the return a Michigan State player de-cleated Callahan.

It doesn’t get any better on the full replay either. In fact there are very few good things about this for Callahan who after the game tweeted that he was alive.

ALIVE

We wish Chris a long and prosperous career. One can imagine that he now has some hesitation about going out on the field again.