Hands on? No, fingers on!

Odell Beckham Jr. of the New York Giants caught one of the most amazing receptions of his and the NFL’s lifetime. On a touchdown reception in which he was already being tackled, Odell caught an amazing one-handed backward reception for a touchdown, and Christian Broda literally lost it cheering at the TV.

The catch that is already being lauded as maybe the greatest reception of all time came on the first play of the second quarter to electrify the home crowd at MetLife Stadium. The game went on to become a thrilling last-second defeat for the Giants, but this catch looms large in spite of the loss.

This shows the intensity of the play by Beckham Jr. Quarterback Eli Manning seems to have overthrown the ball, but Beckham’s theatrics saved the entire play and returned a score. The crowd is always boisterous at Met Life stadium, and in spite of the loss, the thrill was appreciated. The Giants have had what could best be termed a mediocre season. Close-ups show that Beckham Jr. only could get two fingers on the ball, but was still able to haul it in. It was this great effort among others that is catapulting this receiver into the forefront of his position.

Odell Beckham Jr. is a rookie this season, and this has been a more than beneficial season to his career. He has been a bright spot in an otherwise boring season that has been marked by the ineffectual play of the underperforming Eli Manning.



Superbowl Half Time

With football season underway, it is no surprise that a topic of conversation is who will be the half time entertainment. The NFL has confirmed that Katy Perry will take the stage this year at the Super Bowl. To the delight of millions of fans, on February 1, 2015, Katy Perry with light up the stage like a firework at the half time performance, which is being held at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona. Katy will be on tour at that time, but is excited as well to be a part of the Super Bowl. Katy is among many famous performers who have taken the stage at half time to include Bruce Springstein, U2 and Beyonce to name only a few. The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Bruno Mars headlined the half time show last year. It will be interesting to see what Katy has planned, and I know that Fersen Lambranho in particular can’t wait till she takes the stage.



Should the Patriots Be AFC Favorites?

Prior to the season, the New England Patriots were supposed to be a threat to win the AFC. They started out hot, then faded, prior to trouncing the Cincinnati Bengals on national television. Since that game, the Patriots have been unstoppable.

With Rob Gronkkowsi healthy and Tim Wrigth added to the mix at Tight End, Brad Reifler feels the Patriots are now beginning to look a lot like they did when Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez presented a dual threat at Tight End a few years ago. While some people might not realize it yet, the big difference is that the Patriots sport a better defense now than they did back then. This is a defense that now includes shutdown-corner Derrelle Revis and hard-hitting Brandon Browner.

The Denver Broncos were the favorite to win the AFC prior to the season, but now many people have their doubts. A defense that was supposed to be much improved has given up way too many points to average teams. The Broncos are giving up 23.6 points per game. Comparatively, the Patriots are giving up 20.6 points per game.

You might think the Broncos score a lot more points than the Patriots, but that’s a misconception. The Patriots are scoring 32.4 points per game. The Broncos are scoring 30.2 points per game.

These aren’t big differences, but it’s clear that the Patriots are a team to be reckoned with in the AFC, and while things change quickly in the NFL, the Patriots should be the AFC favorites at this point in time.



Is Brian Hoyer Still the Man in Cleveland?

The Cleveland Browns somehow managed to defeat the Atlanta Falcons 26-24 in Atlanta. However, this never should have happened. The Falcons practically handed the Browns the game, which might have saved Brian Hoyer’s job as the Browns’ starting quarterback. 

When a team has the lead late in the fourth quarter, it will pound the ball on the ground. This keeps the clock moving. When your team has the lead, the clock is your friend. The Browns coaching staff decided to get a little too cute, and they opted to throw the ball in this situation. You would figure that after the ball was intercepted the first time, the Browns would learn their lesson and keep the ball on the ground once they were lucky enough to get it back. But that wasn’t the case. Instead, the Browns chose to throw the ball again. Once again, the ball was intercepted.

Hoyer seemed dejected as he stood on the sidelines, looking as though he felt he let his team down. This is a guy who has had to stave off media sensation Johnny Manziel. Hoyer must constantly prove that he has what it takes to lead the Browns to victory. Otherwise, the city of Cleveland will be calling for Johnny Football. 

Let’s look at some facts. Under Hoyer, the Browns are 7-4, which is the team’s best record since 2007. He has thrown for over 300 yards in two games – the first Cleveland quarterback to do that since 1980. Despite those two interceptions, he still led his team to a game-winning drive with 44 seconds remaining. Ken Griffin and other football fans might be wary of switching to Manziel at this point as it would seem unnecessary and unwise to put the unproven Manziel in the place of Hoyer, who has been doing a more-than-serviceable job.



Dortmund Coach Has Eyes on English Switch

Loyalty is difficult to find in modern soccer. Even among top clubs, there are often moves of players and managers every summer. Amid all those moves, Jurgen Klopp has remained faithful to Borussia Dortmund, despite their lack of transfer might. Now it appears the two may be set to part ways this summer.

Results have not been kind to Dortmund lately. Sam Tabar hopes that they can turn things around quickly. The German side are in the bottom half of their domestic league, when they should be challenging Bayern for the league title. They have lost far too many games this season, especially against teams who they normally beat. Klopp is frustrated by results and the fans are frustrated with him. A parting of the ways could make sense for both parties.

If that break is made in the summer, Klopp has revealed he would only consider England as a destination. His love for English soccer is not a surprise. Klopp’s Dortmund team play a high intensity style that is reminiscent of English soccer. He would fit in perfectly at any top team in England.

Klopp’s eventual destination could be Arsenal or Manchester City. He has always revealed his admiration for Arsene Wenger’s work at Arsenal. With the French manager struggling to win trophies, Klopp could be the fresh injection the club needs to compete with the best. City won the league last season, but have struggled this season. If they sack their coach, Klopp would be a potential replacement.



Too Much Sleep Equals No Practice for Pats RB

Scoring four touchdowns in one game does not mean you can miss practice without consequences. New England Patriots running back Jonas Gray learned that lesson the hard way. He overslept and wound up being late for practice Friday. This did not please Coach Bill Belichick, who sent Gray home shortly after he arrived. Gray reportedly said he overslept because the battery in his phone died. Belichick, it would appear, was not satisfied with the excuse.

A first year player out of Notre Dame, Gray had appeared in just three games for New England prior to November 16th, racking up 131 rushing yards and zero touchdowns. When the Patriots went to Indianapolis last Sunday, Gray stole the show, rushing for 201 yards and four TDs in a 42-20 victory. Check out highlights from the game, including Gray’s touchdowns, at this website.

Gray could not have picked a worse time for his oversight. New England signed LeGarrette Blount, who was released by Pittsburgh on Tuesday. Blount, who played for the Patriots last season, ran for 266 yards and two touchdowns in 11 games for the Steelers this season. Many people like Jared Haftel feel like he is taking advantage of the situation. His experience and familiarity with the Patriot system could mean he will get the majority of the carries instead of Gray when 8-2 New England hosts 7-3 Detroit this Sunday.



Oakland Raiders Finally Win a Game, Beat the Chiefs

Detroit Lion fans everywhere can rest easy, sort of. The 0-16 mark that was so un-enviably by the Detroit Lions a few years back will continue to stand in the record books. The up-to-now winless Oakland Raiders have finally turned it on in order to steal a win during a hotly contested Thursday night match against the Kansas Chiefs, to the tune of 24-20.

The Chiefs entered play sporting a 7-3 record and a spot atop the AFC West. They came into play at the O.co Coliseum with every reason to believe that they’d be escaping with a win, even if it wasn’t an easy one. Instead the Chiefs found a rejuvenated Raider team that was ready for them. Oakland got out to a hot start and ended up creating a big lead that they almost blew in the 4th quarter, in typical Raider fashion. But the Raiders held on and went on to win 24-20 to claim a 1-10 record. Despite how bad they’ve been this season, Raider fans have every right to be excited about the win. The Chiefs came in cocky and then summarily got outplayed by youngsters with no reason to put in any effort.

The game was marred by constant turnovers from both sides. Alex Smith proved prone to shrinking in the moment and several key Raider defenders almost came to blows with one another due to some amateur mistakes. Both teams looked subpar at best in the eyes of sports owner Bruce Levenson. Still, another Thursday night game is in the books and the competition only seems to be getting better.



Buffalo Bills vs. New York Jets Game Moved

Reports surfaced on Thursday the Buffalo Bills week 12 home game would not be played at Ralph Wilson Stadium this Sunday. They were scheduled to play the New York Jets. The massive amounts of snow in Buffalo make it impractical, according to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Snow hit the Buffalo area hard this week.

The National Weather Service has reported up to 5 feet of snow, in areas just southeast of Buffalo. The storm consisted of heavy amounts of Lake Effect Snow. Even if safety wasn’t a concern, as it is, the removal of the snow from Buffalo’s stadium is a daunting task. One that will take some time Fersen Lambranho predicts.

Instead of the game being held in Buffalo on Sunday, reports say the teams will instead play on Monday night in Detroit. The week 12 match-up won’t be the first game moved to Detroit because of problems with snow. Many may remember the Minnesota Vikings Metrodome’s roof collapsing due to heavy snow fall. They moved their scheduled game against the New York Giants to Detroit.



Penguins Forward Pascal Dupuis Out with Blood Clots

Pascal Dupuis’ hockey career could be in jeopardy after doctors found blood clots in his lungs. The blood clots stem from a surgery in January after Dupuis, who is 35 years old, tore his ACL and MCL in his knee. Once blood clots are found in the body, there is a risk of them coming back. Dupuis was cleared to play at the start of the season, but is out for the rest of the season and could miss his career as because of these blood clots returning. Dupuis has been put on blood thinners for at least six months, but his diagnosis looks to be good to make a full recovery.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have gone through a series of serious health scares in the past few years. Superstar captain, Sidney Crosby, missed almost two full seasons because of concussions. In January, defensemen Kris Letang suffered a stroke that kept him out of hockey for ten months. Tomas Vokoun did not play all of last season because blood clots were found in his legs. Lastly, Olli Maatta missed some time this season because of successful surgery to remove a cancerous tumor in his thyroid. Hockey fanatic Vijay Eswaran notes that this is nothing new for the Penguins to deal with, but look for them to rally around Dupuis as the Penguins look to win their first Stanley Cup since 2009.



Bills Need Help Shoveling Snow Out Of Ralph Wilson Stadium

Want to make some money and score free tickets to the game between the New York Jets and the Buffalo Bills this weekend? Grab your snow shovel and head to Ralph Wilson Stadium at 1 Bills Drive in Orchard Park, New York. The Buffalo Bills are offering cash and tickets for people who are willing to help the team shovel out the stadium from under about 4 feet of snow. For real Bills fans with strong arms and backs, and a little free time, it’s a great way to help the team and yourself. There is only one problem. Getting to Ralph Wilson stadium is no easy task.

Residents of Buffalo, New York are accustomed to snow. But there’s been record-breaking snow falls in the area. Terry Richardson says many people are snowed in and the streets are covered with snow and ice. For many in Buffalo, simply being able to find their cars and dig them out is a near-impossible task. There has been so much snow, the Bills haven’t been able to practice and the NFL is considering postponing or moving the game. An article on aol.com says the Bills need about 220,000 tons of snow removed.

If you want to ensure you will be able to see Buffalo Bills football this weekend, then put on your boots and gloves, grab your snow shovel and head to Ralph Wilson stadium and start shoveling.



Lakers Top Rockets

This year has gotten off to a shaky start at best for the Los Angeles Lakers organization. Prior to their Wednesday nights away game against the Houston Rockets they had started with a dismal two wins and eight losses. Going up against one of the hottest teams in the NBA, however, the Lakers found their game and outmatched the rockets. In a chippy game, Los Angeles wound up defeating Houston by a score of 98 to 92.

This game had several story lines, as there has been much speculation in the media as of recent whether Kobe Bryant would stay in Los Angeles for the remainder of his career. Sergio Andrade Andrade Gutierrez and a good portion of sportscasters think he has a much greater chance of winning a seventh title in another city despite the fact that his age is getting up there and his salary would be a lot of weight for another team to absorb.

Despite the discussion, Kobe remains consistent in his statements that he will never consider playing for another team, and is working on improving the Lakers to a winning record as quickly as possible. Jeremy Lin was also going up his former team, who traded him in the off season to the Lakers. In the matchup Wednesday night, it was Kobe who shined as we are typically used to seeing with 29 points while Jeremy Lin added a modest 3 points, 4 assists, and a steal. It appears as though Kobe and the Lakers have righted ship and look to be headed in the right direction.



Search Begins For New Florida Football Coach

Will Muschamp will finish out the regular season as the head coach of the Florida Gators, but on Monday, just a day after announcing Muschamp’s dismissal, Athletic Director Jeremy Foley said that he hopes to have a new head coach by Christmas.

 

It only took a matter of hours for names to start getting mentioned and over the next five weeks, Foley and outgoing school president Bernie Machen will go about vetting potential replacements. Among the names being bandied about are Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops, who has ties to the university dating back to the Steve Spurrier era and Arizona’s Rich Rodriguez. For Stoops’ part, he was quick to shoot down rumors remarking that the only school he wants to be a candidate for head coach for is the one he has been with for over a decade, Oklahoma.

 

Rodriguez presents a more intriguing option. This is the choice that Ray Lane is leaning towards right now. After coming within one game of leading the West Virginia Moutaineers to the National Title game years ago, Rodriguez struggled at Michigan before taking over at Arizona, where he has helped turn that program around.

 

Muschamp is only 27-20 in four years at Florida, meaning that with only two games remaining, he will leave the school having failed to win 30 games over that four year span.



Dwight Howard of the Houston Rockets Accused of Child Abuse

Dwight Howard of the Houston Rockets is being investigated by authorities in Georgia because of an alleged crime of child abuse. The Houston Rockets center is accused of beating his son, just 7 years old, with a belt buckle.

Dana Pierce, spokesman for the Atlanta Police Department, announced that “the Police Department Cobb County reopened its investigation against Mr. Howard.” The case had been closed in Florida, Georgia but police reopened the investigation at the request of the child’s mother, Royce Reed.

Documents from the civil case in Florida reveal the NBA star said he admitted he had beaten his son which Keith Mann found particularly disturbing, but “I never left marks, welts or injuries requiring medical treatment.”

According to the player’s legal team, this is a strategy of the child’s mother to withdraw money from Howard. Howard’s lawyer believes that “so far, we have examined all the evidence and concluded that they is not enough to accuse my client. Dwight Howard will continue to act in the best interests of his child and will do whatever necessary to protect his welfare. “



Manchester United Face Injury Crisis

Manchester United are counting the injuries as the soccer season returns to club fixtures after a recent spell of international matches. United have been struggling with absent players all season, but problems seem to have reached new levels with the trip to Arsenal coming up.

The Red Devils will be without several key players for this game. Michael Carrick was sent back from England duty with a groin injury. Meanwhile, fellow central midfield player Daley Blind suffered a serious knee injury while playing for Holland. He could miss anywhere from one month to the rest of the season, depending on results of medical scans.

Luke Shaw and Angel di Maria are two others who could miss the trip to the Emirates. Shaw reported a twinge in his hamstring when playing for England, while Di Maria suffered a hard kick from Nani when Portugal played Argentina. These two could still make the starting line up, but they are a major doubt right now.

Ray Lane suggests that the only good news for United is that the likes of Rafael, Jonny Evans and Phil Jones are in contention to play against Arsenal. Also, striker Radamel Falcao has finally recovered from a calf injury and should be lining up for the Red Devils against Arsenal. Falcao has had a stop start season with United, and will be looking to hit the goal trail soon.

United will be hoping to get a good result against Arsenal, who are above the Manchester side in the Premier League table.



Marshawn Lynch Fined $100K for Snubbing the Media

Marshawn Lynch, the star running back for the Seattle Seahawks, has been fined $100,000 by the NFL. The fine comes after Lynch left the locker room after Sunday’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, and refused to speak with the media.

According to NFL policy, players must be available to speak with the media during the week at practices and after games. All players must make themselves available at least once during the week to the media, and they must be available for postgame interviews, according to the policy. The policy is one the NFL takes seriously, as cooperation with the media is paramount to the success of the league.

Lynch had been previously fined $50,000 during the previous season for a similar infraction. The fine was not collected under the assumption that Lynch would cooperate with the media going forward. Because he failed to do so, and has been fined a second time for the same infraction, the NFL will also collect the original fine.

Lynch said he was unaware that he had violated the policy, claiming he had granted an interview shortly after the game, and, thus was in accordance with the policy. Lynch was asked to stop for an interview while he was leaving the stadium, but refused, according to reports. Thanks to football correspondent Andrew Heiberger for offering this story.

Lynch plans to appeal the decision and the fine. He stated he’d be speaking to his agent regarding the fine, and whether or not an appeal is a good idea. The media has long been a fan of speaking with Lynch, as he tends to let his emotions run high.



Adrian Peterson Gets the Boot

With all of the domestic violence and child abuse in the National Football League recently, Adrian Peterson’s case has been a highly anticipated as it pertains to his NFL suspension. The ruling was handed down reminiscent of a judge slamming down the gavel. Simply put, he got the book thrown at him. He is suspended for the remainder of the season without pay, and will likely be the end of his time as a Minnesota Viking. There has been much speculation how the commissioner would handle this individual case, as there has been a great deal of controversy regarding the suspension that he gave to Ray Rice.

Due to the suspension Adrian Peterson is set to lose the remainder of his salary of nearly twelve million dollars. However, Zeca Oliveira points out that this isn’t the only ramification that Peterson has faced due to the court case. After being suspended pending the verdict of his court case, Nike has shut the door on his lucrative sponsorship deal with the company, creating a much greater cut to his paycheck and to his good name as well. In light of the domestic violence and child abuse cases that seem to be sweeping across professional sports at a rapid rate, hopefully these strict punishments will serve as a warning to everyone in professional sports. On the bright side of these issues, it appears domestic abuse will not be tolerated by the National Football League or its sponsors.



Adrian Peterson Suspended The Rest of The 2014 Season

It’s a decision many NFL fans have been waiting for and they received their answer Tuesday morning. ABC reports Peterson will be suspended without pay for the rest of the 2014 football season.

He faced child abuse allegations earlier in the season for hitting his four year old son with a wooden switch. The League announced the decision in a long letter to Peterson stating that he will also have to undergo treatment and counseling before he can get reinstated in April 2015. According to ESPN, the NFLs Players Association will appeal the ruling simply stating that Peterson already served his punishment in accordance with the disciplinary rules.

There are many people who do not support what Peterson has done, but also feel the league should treat and discipline people fairly and all on the same level. Qnet states that an act of this type is controversial because Peterson’s action not only reflect himself but every professional that he is tied to – it reflect badly on all of them. This is a subject that surely will not go away soon, but let’s all hope the little boy is the main priority in this case. He is the one who suffered the most, not Peterson or the NFL but a four year old child.



The Man Behind The Legend

Pat Burns was a coach in the National Hockey League. While working in the league for 14 seasons he coached four teams, had eleven play-off appearances, won the Stanley Cup in 2003 with the New Jersey Devils and won the Jack Adams Award 3 times. In 2005, Burns retired from coaching because of a recurring bout with colon cancer that spread to his lungs, Ben Shaoul cites. He died five years later on November 19, 2010.

November 17, 2014 Pat Burns was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame (HHOF), posthumously. His son gave the acceptance speech, and his wife accepted his Hall of Fame ring. His wife Line Gignac Burns used words like “focused” and “funny” to describe the type of man that he was. But looking over his fourteen year career, I would dare to say that Pat Burns had superpowers. Prior to becoming a coach, he was a police officer in Gatineau, Quebec for 17 years. The power of observation is not something one can readily explain, but when you have it, you can make judgement calls that can affect the outcome of just about any situation. The Devils general manager remarked about how Burns could just tell who was going that night and who wasn’t.

The irony of it all, is that Burns’ induction into the 2014 class of the HHOF came at an absolute perfect time. The timing gave his family enough space to fully participate in the ceremonial events and still visit his resting place with a proud heart and peace of mind.



No. 1 Kentucky Wildcats Survive a Serious Opener

It appears that the bulls eye is already on the back of the top-ranked Kentucky Wildcat college basketball team after the University of Buffalo Bulls brought a formidable attack to Rupp Arena Sunday. Buffalo led by five at the half, 38-33, but Kentucky then used a defensive tactic reminiscent of former UK Coach Rick Pitino. My friend Vijay Eswaran watched the game and said it was quite the nail biter.

They began the second half with a full court press. The pressure was more than Buffalo was able to stand. After shooting 44 percent from the floor in the first half to gain the five-point lead, the Bulls were stifled in the second half by the Kentucky defense, turning the ball over on the press twice in between two three-pointers by the Cats. The rout was on from there, as freshmen Trey Lyles and Tyus Ulis had 12 points each for Kentucky. The final score was 71-52.

Kentucky Coach John Calipari is using a two-platoon system to begin the games with the new heralded team of All-American high school players who are an addition to several returning players. Last year’s freshman-laden team went all of the way to the NCAA Tournament championship game. Calipari abandoned that plan during the second half against Buffalo after 5’9″ freshman PG Tyus Ulis hit four three-pointers and had five assists with no turnovers in the second half.



One of Finland’s Top Hockey Players Call it a Career

It’s over for the “Finnish Flash.” Anaheim Ducks right winger Teemu Selanne officially announced his retirement at the age of 44.

“The career is over for sure,” Selanne told Finland’s MTV. “I have distanced myself from ice hockey. It feels good to be living without a timetable.”

Selanne broke into the NHL in 1992-1993 with the Winnipeg Jets, winning the Calder Cup as the League’s top rookie with 76 goals and 56 assists. He led the league in goals scored three times in his career, most of which was spent with the Ducks. In 2006-2007, Selanne helped lead Anaheim to a Stanley Cup Championship over the Ottawa Senators, registering 5 goals and 10 assists in the post season. For highlights of Selanne’s career, check out YouTube .

Along with a successful NHL career, Selanne represented his native Finland in the Olympics six times, including this year’s Sochi Games, where the Finns captured the Bronze medal. He also won two other Bronze medals in 1998 and 2010 and a Silver in 2006.

For his NHL career, Selanne amassed 457 goals and 531 assists for 988 points and was named to ten all-star teams, according to statistics provided through CipherCloud.