NFL Announcer Pat Summerall Dead of Heart Attack at 82
Saturday, 20 April 2013 19:01 | Written by Chris Carter
The legendary half of the Madden-Summerall team that announced so many NFL games and SuperBowls died on Tuesday at the age of 82. Like most of the NFL announcers, Pat Summerall was a former player turned announcer. During the 1970s and the 1980s Summerall announced some of the most iconic NFL games that were played, and he was a player himself, first for the Chicago Cardinals for 10 years, and then a placekicker for the New York Giants from 1952 to 1961. His career score was more than five hundred points.
It is always sad when someone so well loved dies, but the fact is that at age 82, Summerall did live a full life, and he loved what he did, whether it was playing the game of football, or announcing it after his retirement. However, his voice calling games has been missed since his second retirement, and it will continue to be missed by NFL fans who were watching games during his time as a broadcaster at Fox, CBS and ESPN.
Summerall died of a heart attack according to the spokesman for the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys called him a "man who could dramatically capture a moment with a few words." Jones finished, "there simply aren't enough words to adequately describe what he meant to sports and broadcasting in this country." Partner John Madden called him a long time friend and said that the two never had an argument. "Pat Summerall is the voice of football and always will be." Madden said.
Denny Hamlin wins Auto Club 400 pole
Saturday, 23 March 2013 13:31 | Written by Chris Carter
FONTANA, Calif.—Denny Hamlin believes he doesn’t have to worry if Joey Logano, the driver he feuded with Sunday at Bristol, is on his bumper with a faster racecar.
He could find out pretty early this Sunday at Auto Club Speedway if he really does have anything to worry about.
Joey Logano says his feud with Denny Hamlin isn't over until he says it is. (AP Photo)
Hamlin will start from the pole in the Auto Club 400 on the 2-mile track, while his former teammate Logano will start sixth.
“I love this racetrack,” said Hamlin, who also won the pole at the track in 2012. “A lot of the reason is because it is bumpy and it is worn out and the tires fall off.”
Hamlin didn’t appear all that concerned that the wrecking of Logano would come back to haunt him at California.
“As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing to it from here on out. … I’m pretty comfortable with how we are and the way we act as professional racecar drivers,” Hamlin said.
“This stuff is always hot and heavy for a few weeks and then it typically goes away.”
Logano didn’t act like it was over. The driver still appeared to be fuming Friday.
“I haven’t gotten a phone call,” Logano said. “He can tell you whatever he wants. … Until anyone says anything to me personally, no (it’s not over).”
Logano pledged that he would race Hamlin “the way he raced me.”
What is not in dispute is that both drivers have strong cars. Hamlin, who sat on the pole for the race last year, posted a speed of 187.451 mph to edge Greg Biffle (187.217) and Brad Keselowski (187.149).
With Biffle and Keselowski having to go to the rear of the field Sunday because of engine changes, Logano and Hamlin could find themselves neck-and-neck early—and Logano has motivation.
“I feel like this brought our team closer together,” Logano said. “That’s a positive. Seeing the support of the fans and my fellow drivers is important. I like that, too.
“It gives us a little bit of drive. It pisses everybody off. That’s good. It’s going to get us out there working a little harder and wanting it a little bit more.”
With Biffle and Keselowski dropping to the rear, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth—fourth and fifth—will move into spots 2 and 3 when the race begins.
Only 43 drivers made qualifying attempts, so all 43 will start the race Sunday. Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start 15th; Danica Patrick will start 40th.
“I think it’s over (between them),” Earnhardt said about Hamlin and Logano. “I don’t think they’re going to go after each other.
“I think both of them want to win races and they’re going to concentrate on doing that. … It was really entertaining (to watch).”
Most eyes will be on Hamlin and Logano, who never appeared to have a problem while at JGR.
“Off the track, we were definitely fine, no issues,” Hamlin said. “We had our on-track stuff. It never really was public. We had times where it was like, ‘Why did you race me that way’ or vice versa.
“I had just as much disappointment as him on the racetrack as teammates as he had in me.”
Looking back, Hamlin didn’t sound disappointed about what happened on the track at Bristol.
“I didn’t see it as a huge deal,” Hamlin said. “People at Bristol make contact. Where my frustration level was what people didn’t see—the three times I got cut off before you saw it on TV, one time giving us left-front damage.
“That ticked me off and obviously my way of retaliating was to nudge him. I shouldn’t have nudged him in the spot where I did and he spun out.”
Hamlin told the media that he mainly regretted the potshot when he said after the race “(Logano) said he was coming for me. I usually don't see him, so it's usually not a factor.”
“I probably shouldn’t have gave that last little jab at the end,” Hamlin said Friday. “I probably should have left it alone after the question was asked about what it said. … That was kind of a low blow.”
Tiger Woods sits four shots back
Saturday, 23 March 2013 13:30 | Written by Chris Carter
ORLANDO, Fla.— Bill Haas wanted to atone for the way he finished his opening round. He did that and more Friday and was tied for the lead in the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
That sure wasn't the case for Tiger Woods.
One shot out of the lead with three holes to play, Woods closed with three sloppy bogeys to fall four shots behind going into the weekend. That makes the chore a little more difficult in his bid to defend his title at Bay Hill and return to No. 1 in the world.
"The good news is we've got 36 holes to go," Woods said. "We've got a long way to go. And certainly four shots can be made up."
Haas not only kept bogeys off his card, his longest putt for par was no more than 4 feet in a clean round of 6-under 66. He was tied with Justin Rose, who was poised to take the outright lead until he was fooled by the speed of the greens after late afternoon showers and finished with a three-putt bogey for a 70.
They were at 9-under 135, one shot ahead of John Huh, who had a 69.
The finishing holes have proved pivotal in the opening two rounds. Haas was challenging for the lead on Thursday when he flew his tee shot into the back bunker on the par-3 17th and had to two-putt from 40 feet for bogey. Then, he three-putted from 8 feet on the 18th hole for bogey to ruin his day.
"So to leave, basically giving two away, my goal today was try to get those two back and go from there," Haas said. "That was kind of my mindset today, and then I was able to keep it going."
Rose went eagle-birdie on the 16th and 17th holes that sent him on his way to an opening 65, and he regained the lead Friday with a 4-iron just off the fringe for a simple birdie on the 16th. But after a burst of rain, he thought the green might be slower than it was on his 25-foot birdie try. He ran it 5 feet by the hole, and missed it coming back.
"But that was the only thing that hampered the day, really," Rose said. "All in all, exciting day and I'm in a good position."
Woods hit the ball better in the second round and had to settle for a higher score, all because of his finish.
He had about 210 yards from a fairway bunker on the par-5 16th and caught it heavy, slamming the sand with the back of his club even before the ball took one hop and tumbled into the creek short of the green. He pitched up to 25 feet and took bogey. Then, he turned over his tee shot on the 17th and wound up in the rough well behind the green, and his chip went all the way through the green.
Woods followed that with a tee shot into the right rough that forced him to play short of the water, and he hit a poor chip to about 30 feet. He missed that for a 70.
"I've made my share of mistakes on the last few holes the last couple of days, and I need to clean that up," said Woods, who made bogeys on the 17th and 18th holes on Thursday in the middle of his round.
That closing stretch wasn't the only thing that held him back. Woods missed a birdie putt inside 3 feet on the par-3 second hole. He missed a 6-foot birdie putt on the par-4 fourth hole and he tried to jam in a 3-foot birdie putt on the 12th that caught the lip and stayed out.
"He's normally a fast finisher, and you can expect him to probably finish fast on the weekend," Rose said. "He did a lot of hard work today. He actually played really well. I thought he was probably a couple of shots away from shooting 64 today at times. I'm sure he was very disappointed because he actually played some great golf today."
Sixteen players were separated by five shots going into the weekend, and the question was how much fire the downpour at the conclusion of Friday would take out of Bay Hill.
Ken Duke (68), J.J. Henry (67) and Jim Walker (69) were at 6-under 138. Woods was right behind, along with Mark Wilson and Vijay Singh, who each shot 68. Rickie Fowler had a 67 and joined the large group at 4-under 140.
There was still some drama late in the day. Club professional Rod Perry found a bunker on No. 9 in a driving rain and took bogey, letting eight players into the weekend. That group included Robert Allenby, who had not made a cut all year. Allenby is assured four rounds against a full field for the first time since June.
Two notable players will not be around.
Phil Mickelson four-putted from 5 feet on the 13th hole for triple bogey, and whatever hopes he had of making the cut ended when his tee shot sailed left on No. 9 and went out of bounds. Mickelson closed with a triple bogey and a 79, his highest score ever in 48 rounds at Bay Hill. It was his highest score since a 79 at the Memorial, hosted by Jack Nicklaus, so at least he treated golf's two biggest living greats equitably.
"There is a huge discrepancy between the low scores and the high scores," he said. "Obviously, I played terrible and I deserved to shoot a score like this. But I felt like if I hit good shots, I could make birdies."
Geoff Ogilvy, at No. 50 in the world and needing to stay there after the Houston Open next week, opened with a 70 and watched it all go wrong in a round of 78. He was still in good shape to make the cut until he hit his tee shot out-of-bounds on the 16th and made double bogey.
Rose wasn't just fooled by the speed of the green on the 18th hole. He also had a spectator get in his head over a 15-foot birdie attempt on the 13th. The putt narrowly missed and Rose spun around and pointed his finger at the noisy spectator. It wasn't about heckling, rather advice.
"I was reading the putt thinking ... 'Might go a little bit right-to-left of the hole. Fairly straight overall.' And as I'm lining it up, someone is like, 'It goes right. It goes right. It goes right.' So I'm like, 'OK, thanks, buddy,'" Rose said. "It's just one of those annoying moments where you're having to then battle someone who planted a seed. And I hit a great putt that's in the middle with 4 feet to go and it goes left of the hole."
He smiled when he finished the story. After all, he was still tied for the lead.
UCLA falls flat, leaving Ben Howland to voice growing chorus of critics
Saturday, 23 March 2013 13:27 | Written by Chris Carter
Goodbye, Ben Howland? Was the UCLA-Minnesota matchup more than just an NCAA Tournament elimination game? It might well have been ac win-or-else game for both coaches. Tubby Smith won, 83-63, and so he lives for at least another two days. For Howland, the quick exit could be the end of his 10-year tenure at UCLA. Some Bruins boosters—most publicly UCLA legend Bill Walton—have been calling for Howland’s head for some time. After reaching three consecutive Final Fours (’06, ’07, ’08), UCLA missed the NCAA Tournament twice and failed to reach the second weekend the other three years.
Andy Kennedy is crazy. Crazy like a fox, that is. He has enabled (emboldened?) gunner Marshall Henderson’s on-court antics and his just-keep-firing mentality all season. And look where he’s standing? A win away from the Sweet 16. Without Henderson’s confidence and score-on-anybody-from-anywhere skills, Ole Miss is a sub-.500 team. With him, the Rebels believe. Even after a 1-for-14 start Friday, Henderson hit 5-of-7 shots down the stretch to beat Wisconsin. There’s little reason to believe they can’t take out La Salle, too.
Shabazz is older than you think. Los Angeles Times reporter Ken Bensinger caught UCLA star Shabazz Muhammad and his dad in a lie about his birthdate, uncovering Shabazz’s birth certificate and finally getting Shabazz’s father, Ron Holmes, to admit it. Muhammad is 20 years old and born in Long Beach on Nov. 13, 1992—not 19 and born in Los Angeles on Nov. 13, 1993, as Muhammad and his family have been saying for years. Well, it’s a moot point now: He’ll be playing against the men in the NBA next year anyhow.
A-10 is even better than we thought. In fact, the league is perfect. In its lone season as a major player on the national scene—before Xavier and Butler head to the new Big East (and soon to be followed by Dayton and Saint Louis) and Temple joins the old Big East football schools—the Atlantic 10 is a mighty impressive 6-0 in the NCAA Tournament. Saint Louis, VCU and Butler all rolled to comfortable wins Thursday, and Temple handled N.C. State on Friday. And La Salle won the play-in game Wednesday and then upset Kansas State on Friday. Only Temple (vs. IU) is a prohibitive underdog in the Round of 32. Don’t be stunned then if we see three or four A-10 teams next weekend in the Sweet 16.
Florida Gulf Coast University is located in Fort Myers, Fla. The school was founded in 1997 and offers 52 undergraduate degrees and 30 graduate degrees. The Eagles began playing basketball in 2002-03 and moved up to Division I in 2007-08. They became eligible for postseason play just last year. This is what we call a meteoric rise. The Eagles will be playing San Diego State on Sunday for a spot in the Sweet 16.
Little John is no Big John. On Friday night, Georgetown lost to No. 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast. This follows the Hoyas’ 2012 loss to No. 11 seed N.C. State, which follows the 2011 loss to No. 11 seed VCU, which follows the 2010 loss to No. 14 seed Ohio, which follows an NIT appearance, which follows the 2008 loss to No. 10 seed Davidson. This is what we call a trend. John Thompson III did lead the Hoyas to the 2007 Final Four, but every NCAA Tournament since has ended with an embarrassing loss to a double-digit seed.
Say hello to ... Florida Gulf Coast coach Andy Enfield, who talked supermodel Amanda Marcum into marrying him 10 years ago and now has the Eagles into the Round of 32 in only his second year at FGCU. "Everybody's been saying coach overachieved," FGCU senior forward Eddie Murray said. "I guess he did it again tonight." Enfield also still holds the NCAA record for career free-throw shooting accuracy at 92.3 percent while playing at Johns Hopkins.
Say goodbye to ... Bob Thomason, the longtime Pacific coach who had long ago announced that this season would be his last season. He spent 25 years coaching his alma mater, walking away on a high note. He leaves with 436 wins and six Big West regular-season titles. He led the Tigers to five NCAA Tournaments and picked up a couple wins in the Big Dance (beating Pitt in ’05, beating Providence in ’04).
Has Ben Howland coached his last game at UCLA? (AP Photo)
Say a prayer for ... Trey Burke. The Michigan All-American point guard will face the toughest challenge of his career on Saturday—the VCU Havoc defense, which forces 19.9 turnovers per game, the most in the nation. There might not be a stiffer test in basketball for a point guard unless it’s going one-on-one with Chris Paul.
2013 NCAA Tournament: Can Florida Gulf Coast Reach Sweet 16?
Saturday, 23 March 2013 13:16 | Written by Chris Carter
Welcome to the Big Dance, Florida Gulf Coast University.
As a No. 15 seed in the 2013 NCAA tournament, Florida Gulf Coast became the seventh team to upset a No. 2 seed when they beat Georgetown 78-68. This comes one night after Harvard University advanced into the Round of 32 as a No. 14 seed. Harvard beat New Mexico 68-62.
Florida Gulf Coast (25-10) pulled off the upset with dominant performances from Sherwood Brown (24 points, nine rebounds) and Bernard Thompson (23 points). Halfway into the second half, Florida Gulf Coast took control of the game when they went on a 21-2 run. They took a 52-33 lead. Georgetown couldn't get any closer than four points.
What was more impressive than the win itself? Despite only making 6-of-15 from three-point range, Florida Gulf Coast scored 78 points on one of college basketball's top defenses. They were able to attack the rim and contain Otto Porter Jr., who had 13 points on 5-of-17 shooting.
Is Florida Gulf Coast capable of any more upsets, possibly reaching the Sweet 16 in the 2013 NCAA tournament? This isn't their first upset. It's not even their most impressive win. On Nov. 13, Florida Gulf Coast upset Miami 63-51. Miami was the ACC regular season and tournament champions. They entered this tournament with a No. 2 seed.
Florida Gulf Coast, former homes of MLB pitchers Chris Sale and Casey Coleman, will play the winner between No. 10 Oklahoma and No. 7 San Diego State. If FGCU can reach the Sweet 16, they could have an interesting showdown with No. 3 seed Florida.