22 It

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 6.25.2017


The Canadian Football League (CFL) kicked off its 2017 season with a game between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Montreal Alouettes this past Thursday. Unless you are a football fanatic like myself or a Canadian with a vested interest in the two teams on the field, you probably didn’t ever know the game was going on. My hope is that someone at the NFL office or at one of the NFL TV partners was watching so that they could be reminded about an angle that they are missing during their broadcasts. The wide angle or as they call it in America, the ’22’ angle.

Roughriders at Al’s CFL 2017 Opener.

For the uninitiated, the CFL has 3 downs, 12 men aside and unlimited motion. Which means that at least three of the receivers get a head start on their routes before the ball is ever snapped. This requires the TV cameramen to get a wider shot of the field because you don’t know where these guys are going. It’s not a genuine ’22’ angle but you have a better view of what the receivers are doing and how the defense is lined up to defend them.

Why would the NFL or college football widen out the camera shot and show more of the field? Well it could be a source of revenue. Most of us, believe it or not, don’t care about the close up of Tom Brady or the coach on the sideline. We care about how the formation and who is on the field.

The down side is that you may reveal a bunch of empty seats at the stadium caused in no small part by a teams performance and high ticket prices. The upside is that nerdy football fans like myself would pay a fee to get just this angle.

ESPN Megacast during the 2014 National Championship game

The reason why a portion of us would pay for this is that we want to see for ourselves how the defense is lining up, who is coming in and out of the game and have a visual representation of where our team is on the field which let’s guess what our team should or should not do. We don’t want an analyst telling us after the fact or being burden by replays when a team goes without a huddle and we miss the beginning of the next play.

Eventually, having graphics overlay that one could turn on and off would be nice as well. I don’t mean your stats of total yards, etc but a marker on a player so that while viewing the ’22’ angle, a mark or flag can pop up over a player as they come on and off the field which is turned on and off automatically by when they cross the sidelines into the field of play.

While there is a lot of talk about how to improve the in-game experience for fans (none of this talk includes lowering ticket prices or beer mind you), very little is talked about improving the home viewing experience. These are two things could improve the viewing experience immediately. While the graphics overlay may take some doing, it’s hard to believe that having a camera zoom out would be much of a technological feat. Extra costs, I think I pointed out earlier that there are plenty of us who would give you money for this.

Diary of a Sports Cord Cutter: Competition In OTT

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 9.28.2016


Competition In OTT

When I first decided to cut the cord I really only had one option if I wanted to see any kind of sports and that was Sling TV. Over the last few months a new competitor has emerged and that is Sony’s PlayStation Vue. From the outside looking in, there are some benefits but also some drawbacks.

PlayStation VuePlayStation Vue is an application that runs on just about every OTT device except for Apple TV and of course XBOX. When I first heard of Vue, I presumed that I had to have a PS4 or something to use it but I was wrong. While not being on Apple TV hurts it’s distribution, it seems like only a matter of time before it will be available and that will expand the app’s reach.

As far as channels that are available, you pretty much get the same stuff but there are some differences. With the Sling TV Sports Extra package, you get all of the PAC-12 channels and Campus Insiders. These are not available on Vue but to that point, Vue has the Big Ten Network, Fox College Sports, and One World Sports which are not available on Sling TV. So here it really depends on what is more important to you. Are you a PAC-12 person or a Big Ten person.

The price of NFL RedZone is the game changer here. On Sling TV it is included in the Sports Extra package which is $10 a month. On Vue, it is $39.99 for the season which breaks down to about $10 a month for the NFL season. There some other stipulations with NFL RedZone on Vue too as you can see below. You have to have a certain level of package in order to get it and if you downgrade, you won’t be refunded.

Restrictions

The price for the two services is a little different too. While both applications can vary on price, if you max out the sports options, you are looking at $50 a month on Sling TV and that includes NFL RedZone. If you want a similar package on Vue, you are looking at $75 a month but that is only for the four months of the NFL regular season. So for a year, Sling would cost you around $600 a year and Vue would cost you around $580.

As a Sling TV user I can confirm that ESPN3 is available but I cannot confirm that with Vue as of right now. This could be a deal breaker if you are like me and want to watch CFL games during the summer.

It really comes down to your own personal variables. If your OTT device an XBOX or Apple TV then you are going to Sling TV but if you have an Amazon Fire or Roku you can go with Vue. The choice is yours. So far, I have chosen Sling TV.

 

What to Watch: 7/29 – 7/31

All Times Are Pacific.

Friday July 29th

PGA Championship – 10am TNT: Interesting leaderboard and some big names may not make the cut at the last major of the year.

Colorado Rockies at New York Mets – 4pm MLB.TV: Don’t look now but the Rockies have some pitching behind them. Tyler Chatwood heads to the hill to slow down the Mets who sit six games out of first in the NL East.

Calgary StampedersBC Lions at Calgary Stampeders – 7pm ESPN2: A good ole fashion western Canadian rivalry.

Washington Nationals at San Francisco Giants – 7:15pm MLB.TV: Max Scherzer vs Jeff Samardzija. Not bad for two first place teams.

Saturday July 30th

Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays – 10am MLBN: Big series for the top spot in the AL East.

PGA Championship – 11am CBS: The guys in contention tee off and coverage runs until 4pm PST.

NYCFC vs Colorado Rapids – Noon MLS.TV: The Rapids have more points than NYCFC but they sit in second and NYCFC sits a top the East. Interesting match up for a Saturday afternoon.

Sunday July 31st

Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays – 10am MLB.TV: Rubber match of this series and a solid pitching matchup.

PGA Championship – 11am CBS: Final round action.

Philadelphia Union vs Real Salt Lake – 4pm MLS.TV: The Union are in a dog fight in the Eastern conference and RSL is in the same position out west.

What to Watch: Fri. 7/15 – Sun. 7/17

All times are Pacific.

Friday July 15th 

The British Open – 1am Golf Channel: Lefty got off to a hot start shooting a 63 to put him -8. Martin Kaymer and Patrick Reed are tied for second but only three strokes back. Don’t worry, coverage goes until 1pm.

Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees – 4pm MLBN: Baseball is back from the break and there is no better to start it off but by having the Red Sox vs the Yankees from Yankee Stadium.

Hamilton Tiger Cats at Montreal Alouettes – 4:30pm ESPN3: Remember how the Al’s had a bunch of quarterbacks in camp? We’ll they are already starting their backup, Rakeem Cato.

Saturday July 16th 

The British Open – 4am NBC: Third round from Royal Toon in Scotland.

Tour de France – 5am NBCSN: It’s a 208km run with a couple of climbs. Lets’ see if Chris Froome ditches the bike and just runs it.

Texas Rangers at Chicago Cubs – 11:20am MLBN: This could legitimately be a World Series Preview. Yu Darvish takes the mound for the Rangers against Jason Hammel for the Cubs.

Kansas City Royals at Detroit Tigers – 4pm FS1: The defending World Series champion Royals are seven games back of the division leading Cleveland Indians. They are only a half game back of the Tigers which makes this series hugely important.

Sunday 17th

The British Open – 4am NBC: Final round of the 145th Open.

Portland Timbers vs Seattle Sounders – Noon FOX: While both are not where they’d thought they’d be at this point in the season, it is still the best rivalry in MLS. The Sounders will be without Clint Dempsey in a game where they have to get at least a point.

Montreal Impact vs NYCFC – 2pm ESPN: Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard square off for the first time in MLS. The once Chelsea teammates are now battling for position in the eastern conference. NYCFC is in the lead due in small part because of Lampard’s recent form. They sit four points in front of the Impact.

Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees – 5pm ESPN: The rubber match and it’s David Price vs Masahiro Tanaka.

QB Quandary In Quebec

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


Believe it or not but football is almost upon us. Canadian Football that is. Training camp opens in a couple of days and a lot of eyes are on the Montreal Alouettes. The main reason is because they traded for the rights for Vernon Adams to add to the other seven that are currently on the roster. That’s a quarterback competition if there ever was one.

Let’s make no mistake, Vernon Adams is tailor made for the CFL. It’s a wide open game but it takes some getting use to. Unlimited motion, three downs, 12 men a side and the field is significantly bigger. Some QB’s that should transition well fail miserably. So it is not a given that Adams will walk in and be anointed the starter. He better hope to just make team.

The Al’s have had QB issues ever since future Hall of Famer Anthony Calvillo retired. Calvillo is now the offensive coordinator and Head Coach/General Manager Jim Popp appears to be grooming him to be the Al’s headman down the line.

Al's QB

Calvillo will have to devote time to seven other QB’s besides Adams. From former Tennessee signal caller Jonathan Crompton, Marshall’s Rakeem Cato, Clemson’s Tajh Boyd and under-appreciated CFL vet Kevin Glenn among others. While CFL teams are known for having to use least two QB’s during a season, eight QB’s on a roster is lot no matter what league you are in.

Kevin Glenn MontrealIt would appear that Glenn would be the opening day starter. He is seventh all time in passing which puts him in front of Hall of Famer’s Doug Flutie, Matt Dunigan and Tracy Ham. Glenn also has 255 career TD’s which puts him 10th on the all time list.

Adams has the tools to be a very successful CFL quarterback but he has his work cut out for him. He would have been better served staying in Vancouver and signing with the BC Lions or even getting shipped off to the Toronto Argonauts because both teams have seen their veteran QB’s fail to stay healthy. Either way let’s see what Adams can do in his third offensive system in as many years.

The Sunday: So That Happened.

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


Did That Just Happen?

Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals. Seemed like a good game on paper….then they played it and it got better. Better as in OH MY GOD THAT JUST HAPPENED!

First, Aaron Rodgers did this….

Then the coin didn’t flip…

And then Larry Fitzgerald did this to setup the game winning touchdown which he also took care of.

I think this reaction pretty much sums it up….

 

Left Behind

Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin has had a good year. It was capped off with a shootout win over Clemson to help claim Alabama’s 16th National Title.

That wasn’t enough however to have the bus wait for him after the game. Don’t worry, Nick Saban was able to give Lane and his brother a ride back to the hotel later on.

 

Drilled

New England Patriots slot receiver Danny Amendola absolutely nailed Kansas City Chiefs Jamell Fleming who was trying to down a punt. If this was college, Amendola would have been ejected for this hit. We’ve seen hits this season at all levels of the game that were not as severe as Amendola’s and the majority of the time the player was ejected. Amendola was flagged but not ejected. He should expect a fine from the league.

 

Saved

While the majority of people were glued to the madness that was the Green Bay vs Arizona playoff game, Tuukka Rask did this….

And not to be out done, Cam Talbot did this….

 

Made This One

While Minnesota Vikings kicker Blair Walsh may have missed the game winning field goal against the Seattle Seahawks last Sunday, he did win over some new fans. A bunch of first graders tried to cheer him up so he went to the school to thank them.

This was awesome. Still not as awesome as 88-year-old former Vikings head coach Bud Grant heading out for the game’s coin toss in short sleeves in -8 degree weather though.

 

Thank You

A $500,000 may not seem like a lot of money when you are talking about football player salaries but it is a lot of money in the CFL. This was the main reason why new Saskatchewan Roughriders VP, GM and head coach Chris Jones cut two icons of the organization, Weston Dressler and John Chick.

Dressler wanted to show his appreciation to the loyal Rider fan base so he posted a ‘thank you’ on twitter.

Classy move by one of the classier guys in the league.

 

Steph Curry Moment Of The Week

What To Watch Fri. 11/20 – Sun. 11/22

All times are Pacific.

Friday November 20th

Montreal Canadiens at NY Islanders – 4:30pm NHL GameCenter: The Habs have cooled off and the Islanders are a tough team.

Cincinnati at South Florida – 5pm CBSN: Hey, we love watching the Bearcats. They have a tendency to score a lot of points or go down in flames.

Air Force at Boise State- 6:30pm ESPN2: A battle that will determine the winner of the Mountain division of the MWC.

Chicago Bulls at Golden State Warriors – 7:30pm ESPN: This could arguably be a Finals preview.

 

Saturday November 21st

Michigan at Penn State – 9am : Our first taste of Harbaugh vs Franklin.

Memphis at Temple – 9am ESPNU: While both teams have suffered losses in recent weeks, they are still two fun football teams to watch.

Real Madrid vs Barcelona -9am beIN Sports: Only a match up between the two biggest clubs in the world. No big deal.

Manchester City vs Liverpool – 9:30am NBC: Liverpool sits 11 points behind City but has a new manager and new hope.

Lafayette at Lehigh – 9:30am ESPN3: The 151st meeting between the two schools which is the longest in collegiate football. There is a reason they call it ‘The Rivalry’.

Montana at Montana State – 11am ROOT Sports: 115th matchup between the two schools. Montana looks to keep their FCS Playoff hopes alive with a victory here.

YaleHarvard at Yale  – 11:30am NBCSN: IVY League title is on the line since Harvard lost last week to Penn. Harvard gets a share if they win and Yale would love nothing more than to spoil that. There is a reason this one is called ‘The Game.’

Michigan State at Ohio State – 1:30pm ABC: No big deal just National Title implications.

UCLA at Utah – 1:30pm FOX: PAC-12 South implications and two pretty good football teams.

Arizona at Arizona State – FS1 : The 2015 edition of the Territorial Cup. Bowl eligibility is on the line for the Sun Devils.

Baylor at Oklahoma State – 4:30pm FOX : OSU looks to keep their College Football Playoff hopes alive but they will have to find a way to outscore Baylor.

TCU at Oklahoma – 5pm ABC: Oklahoma has battled their way back after that loss to Texas to be one of the more dangerous teams in the land. This is a tall order but TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin may not be 100% & they lost their best wide receiver.

Cal at Stanford  – 7:30pm ESPN:The Big Game is a big one once again. Both teams have played well this year and Stanford is also looking to wrap up the Pac 12 North. And with all of the wacky finishes this year in college football, it will be nice to end a long day of football with a game that gave birth to crazy finishes.

Cotto vs Canelo – 8pm-ish PPV: Miguel Cotto vs Canelo Alvarez in boxing’s second super fight of the year. In all honesty, this one should be a better one too.

 

Sunday November 22nd

Tottenham vs West Ham United – 8am NBCSN: Both are sitting just outside the top four and are only separated by goal differential.

Denver Broncos at Chicago Bears – 10am CBS: Future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning will ride the bench for the Broncos as they take on their former head coach John Fox.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Ottawa RedBlacks – 10am ESPNEWS: Winner goes to the Grey Cup. Combination of rain and snow is expected.

NASCAR Ford Ecoboost 400 – Noon NBC: Last race of the year and maybe, just maybe Jeff Gordon can go out on top with a win and the cup.

Toronto Raptors at LA Clippers – 12:30pm NBA League Pass: Raptors are on a West Coast swing and visit Lob City.

Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings  – 1:30pm FOX: Vikings are one of the best teams in the NFC while the Packers are slipping. Can the Pack turn it around?

Calgary Stampeders at Edmonton Eskimos – 1:30pm ESPN3: Not only does the winner go to the Grey Cup but it’s also the Battle of Alberta.

Columbus Crew vs NY Red Bulls – 2pm ESPN: Leg one to decide the Eastern Conference rep in MLS Cup.

Portland Timbers vs FC Dallas – 4:30pm FS1: Western Conference Final and it starts in the best venue in all of MLS. There Ain’t No Pity In the Rose City.

Cincinnati Bengals at Arizona Cardinals – 5:30pm NBC: Cards held on last week in Seattle while the Bengals put up their first loss of the season against the Texans on Monday Night. Rebound in the desert is a tough task for Andy Dalton and crew.

 

 

 

What to Watch Fri. 10/16 – Sun. 10/18

All times are Pacific.

Friday October 16th

Toronto Blue Jays at KC Royals – 4:30pm FOX: Let the ALCS begin!

Cincinnati at BYU – 5pm ESPN: Cincy games are never boring and BYU’s rarely are.

San Jose Earthquakes vs Sporting KC – 8pm UniMas: SKC is currently in the playoffs if the season ended today and San Jose is on the outside looking in but not by much.

 

REMOTE-contrast

Saturday October 17th

Tottenham vs Liverpool – 4:45am NBCSN: The Jurgen Klopp era begins for Liverpool.

Everton vs Manchester United – 7am NBCSN: Everton is only three points back of United.

Ole Miss at Memphis – 9am ABC/ESPN: Memphis is the team no one wants to talk about. Head Coach Justin Fuente will become the hottest coach in American after Memphis upsets the Rebels.

Michigan State at Michigan – 12:30pm ABC: Well, let’s see who is really a contender in the Big Ten.

Alabama at Texas A&M – 12:30pm CBS: Last time these two met in College Station, the final score was 49-42.

Detroit Red Wings at Montreal Canadiens – 4pm NHLN: It’s never too early to enjoy and Original 6 matchup.

Florida at LSU – 5pm ESPN: Baton Rouge at night against a Florida team that just lost it’s starting quarterback.

Arizona State at Utah – 7pm ESPN: A little late night PAC-12 action. Shootout possibility = high.

 

Sunday October 18th

Arizona Cardinals at Pittsburgh Steelers – 10am FOX: Arizona head man and former Steelers OC Bruce Arians returns to town with an impressive Cardinals team. Steelers may still have one of the most exciting backs in the NFL in Le’veon Bell.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Montreal Alouettes – 10am ESPN2: A little CFL for your Sunday. This one could decide the Eastern Conference.

Carolina Panthers at Seattle Seahawks – 1pm FOX: Panthers are 4-0 but this is probably the toughest place to play in the NFL.

LA Galaxy vs Portland Timbers – 4pm  FS1: LA is in the playoffs but Portland is still fighting to make it.

New England Patriots at Indianapolis Colts – 5:30pm NBC: Andrew Luck returns for the Colts but it may not matter against Gronk and company.

The Sunday: Going Away

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Out for 6-10

NY Jets QB Geno Smith is out 6-10 weeks due to a broken jaw. How did he get it?
Apparently over a $600 dispute with now ex-teammate IK EnemkpaliSmith is so eager to get back to football  that he was out throwing the day after surgery. The NY Post captured Smith outside his house, with no shirt and eye black. Needless to say, it may be another long year for Jets fans.

Smith NY Post

Head Home

Minnesota Vikings head coach was so upset with the performance os his players at a practice last week, he ended it 20 minutes early and made them run a lap. Goes to show that even in the NFL, you better bring it each and everyday.

Away For Good?

We were very vocal here about Michael Sam’s move to the CFL. We thought it was a great move for his skill set. He played one game before ‘stepping away’ from the game of football citing his mental health. Facts are this, it will be high unlikely that he will be given another chance on a professional football field. Then again, we’ve been wrong before.

Away With The Other Hand

Oklahoma WR Jeffery Mead made a very impressive one handed grab in a practice.

EllingsonNot to be outdone, Ottawa Redblacks WR Greg Ellingson snatched the ball out of the sky without breaking stride. While the Redblacks got taken behind the proverbial woodshed, it was still a heck of a catch.

 

Thrown Away

Golf can be a frustrating sport so there is some solace when you see a professional get frustrated. John Daly got frustrated and chucked his club into Lake Michigan during the second round of the PGA Championship. The club was recovered by a kid a little later. 

What To Watch Thurs. 8/6 – Sun. 8/9

All times are Pacific.

Thursday August 6th

Edmonton Eskimos at BC Lions – 7pm ESPN2: Edmonton is the best team in the league right now and they are doing it without their opening day starter at QB. BC has yet to find their stride but you have to believe that it is only a matter of time before former Cal coach Jeff Tedford rights the ship.

Eskimos

Friday August 7th

Toronto Blue Jays at NY Yankees – 4pm MLB.TV: Jays are 4.5 games back of the Yankees. This is a huge series for both teams.

Montreal Alouettes at Ottawa Redblacks – 4:30pm ESPN2: Sold out game in the nations capital. The surprising Redblacks square off with the always exciting (win or lose) Al’s. Apparently Michael Sam will make his pro debut at defensive end for the Al’s.

Baltimore Orioles at LA Angels – 7pm MLB.TV: Orioles are a game behind the Angels in the Wild Card race. Big series out west.

Saturday August 8th

Tottenham vs Manchester United – 4:30am NBCSN: The Premier League is back and this isn’t a terrible way to kick off the season.

Chelsea vs Swansea City – 9:30am NBC: Get a look at the defending champs.

LA Dodgers at Pittsburgh Pirates -1pm FS1: Big series for two potential playoff teams.

Toronto FC vs Sporting KC – 1pm MLS LIVE: Two potential playoff teams meet at BMO Field. Too much talent on the field for this to be boring.

UFC Fight Night – 7pm FS1: Glover Teixeira vs Ovince St. Preaux in the main event from Nashville.

Sunday August 9th

Stoke City vs Liverpool – 7:30am NBCSN: No more Captain Fantastic (Steven Gerrard) for Liverpool. It will be a strange thing to see them on the pitch without that man.

LA Galaxy vs Seattle Sounders – 1pm ESPN: Seattle never plays well against the Galaxy but at least we get to see Steven Gerrard at his new club (LA).

Winnipeg Blue Bombers at Hamilton Tiger-Cats – 2pm ESPNNEWS: The TiCats are pretty gosh darn good at home but the Bombers always come to play.

NY Red Bulls vs NYCFC – 4pm FS1: Well NYCFC is not very good but the Red Bulls are and this is a game that MLS hopes turns into something as compelling as Manchester United vs Liverpool.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Minnesota Vikings – 5pm NBC: Good news is is that the NFL is back! Bad news is, so is Cris Collinsworth.