Ricardo Colclough: Oooooops!

Former Pittsburgh Steeler Ricardo Colclough was arrested for DUI here in Charlotte at 2:35am Saturday morning.

Colclough, who won a Super Bowl ring as part of the 2005 Steeler team, was released by Pittsburgh in 2007 after playing three games. He was then picked up by the Cleveland Browns, who kept him for the rest of the 2007-2008 season. Released by the Browns, Colclough came to Charlotte, where he seemed to be assured a spot as a backup cornerback and kick returner for the Panthers.

Unfortunately, the arrest couldn’t have come at a worse time for Colclough, coming on the very weekend when all NFL teams have to trim their rosters from 76 to 53 players. The Panthers have apparently released Colclough, and mainly because of the DUI. Interestingly, the arrest came less than a day after Colclough recovered a fumble in a preseason game against… the Pittsburgh Steelers. Perhaps he was out partying with old friends? Couldn’t someone have picked up the tab for a taxi?

If you’re bored today, why not head over to this Mecklenburg County website and look up his arrest record, complete with the mug shot shown above. You can search using his name, or PID #: 0000364673  JID #: 08-069265

Blame Heidi!

With football season just around the corner, I thought you might get a kick out of this story. Many older sports fans are intimately familiar with the story of the “Heidi Game”. People my age have heard about it for years, but weren’t around when it happened and don’t know all the details. Younger fans might never have heard this tale at all… and it’s a good one!

On November 17, 1968, at approximately 6:58pm Eastern US time, Jim Turner of the New York Jets kicked a field goal to take a 32-29 lead over the Oakland Raiders. With only 65 seconds left in the contest, Turner’s field goal normally would have been enough to seal the game for the Jets. But this wasn’t a normal game.

Oakland returned the Jets kickoff to their own 23 yard line. On the first play from scrimmage, Oakland quarterback Daryle Lamonica threw a 20 yard pass to receiver Charlie Smith, and a 15-yard facemask penalty on the Jets Mike D’Amato put the ball on the Jets’ 43 yard line. On the next play, Lamonica hit Smith again on a short pass, which Smith then ran in 43 yards for a touchdown. The Raiders now led 36-32. On the ensuing kickoff, Jets kick returner Earl Christy muffed the catch at his own 10 yard line. The ball rolled to the Jets 2, where Oakland’s Preston Ridlehuber recovered it and ran it in for the game’s last score with 33 seconds left.

Oakland scored 14 points in 32 seconds, and ended up winning the game 43-32. The only problem was that no one east of the Rocky Mountains actually saw the end of game. And for that you can blame Heidi.

You see, NBC had a contract with Timex where the watch company would sponsor a made-for-TV movie based on the story of a young girl who lived with her grandfather in the Swiss Alps. The contract stated that the movie would air on November 17, 1968 between the hours of 7pm and 9pm in each market.

Continue reading “Blame Heidi!”

Bad News for the Bobcats

Creative Loafing Charlotte columnist Tara Servatius recently wrote this column about the uncertain future of the Charlotte Bobcats NBA franchise. As anyone that follows Charlotte sports knows, the Bobcats are having a difficult time simply generating interest in the Charlotte area, to say nothing of actually selling tickets or merchandise. The team has given free tickets to the homeless and slashed season ticket prices in attempts to fill the seats at the Bobcats Arena (I won’t call it the “Time Warner Cable Arena” until TWC pays me $1,000 per mention on this site). No matter what they do, Charlotteans just don’t seem to care.

Servatius’ column bears this out. In a recent study released by Public Policy Polling, 500 North Carolinians were asked which sporting event they would attend if they could get free tickets. Here are the results:

Sporting Event Percentage
Carolina Panthers 29%
UNC Basketball 28%
NASCAR 16%
Duke Basketball 13%
Carolina Hurricanes 10%
Charlotte Bobcats 5%

The numbers get even more amazing when you consider that 18% of overall respondents didn’t even know that North Carolina had an NHL team (this includes an incredible 6% of the people in the 919 (Raleigh) area code, where the Hurricanes play). So twice as many people said they’d go to a Hurricanes game than a Bobcats game, even though almost 20% of the overall respondents had no idea that there even was an NHL team nearby! That’s bad news for the Bobcats, folks!

Even worse, of the 5% that said that they’d prefer to go to a Bobcats game, only 1% were white. And no, that’s not a typo: of the 25 people that said they’d prefer a Bobcats game, 24.75 of those people were non-white. So when I say that white people “couldn’t care less” about the Charlotte Bobcats, it’s almost mathematically accurate. And here in the city of Charlotte – which is run by a bunch of white bankers – that ain’t good.

Continue reading “Bad News for the Bobcats”

“The Boss” to Bore Us

Bruce SpringsteenIt was announced today that the Super Bowl halftime show will be headlined by… Bruce Springsteen, who will bring his lame New Jersey-based rock to millions of people… people that will be taking bathroom or cigarette breaks, or hitting the buffet instead of watching yet another over-the-hill rock dinosaur.

Wake me up when that’s over!

The Greatest Game Ever Played

1915 was a great year for tiny Cumberland College of Lebanon, Tennessee. In that year, Cumberland’s baseball team defeated the mighty Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets by a lopsided score of 22-0. To say that Tech’s pride was wounded would be an understatement. And the fact that Cumberland hired ringers for the game absolutely infuriated Georgia Tech football coach John Heisman, the man for whom the Heisman Trophy is named.

Cumberland was such a small school that it often couldn’t field a football team. In fact, football was dropped at Cumberland in 1906, resumed in 1912 and dropped again in 1915. Cumberland wasn’t even going to field a team at all in 1916, but Heisman absolutely refused to release the school from its contact to play Georgia Tech. If Cumberland didn’t play Tech that year, they’d have to pay a $3,000 penalty to Tech (which is almost $61,000 in today’s dollars). Heisman knew that Cumberland couldn’t afford to pay the penalty, and thus had to play Tech.

And so… on October 7, 1916 Cumberland College came to Atlanta… and John Heisman had revenge on his mind. And the result was the biggest ass-kicking in the history of American football:

Yes, you read the score correctly. Tech defeated Cumberland by a score of 222-0. Tech’s 222 points are the highest ever recorded in an American football game; the score also represents the largest margin of victory in any football game.

Here are some fun facts about the game:

– Tech had exactly zero passing yards in the game. In fact, Tech didn’t even attempt to pass the ball. On November 6, 1976, Tech would defeat Notre Dame by a score of 23-14… also without attempting a pass.

– On the other hand, maybe Tech didn’t need to throw the ball, as they ran up 978 rushing yards against Cumberland.

– Tech also had 440 yards on kick and punt returns.

– For those of you keeping score at home, that’s a mindboggling 1,418 yards of total offense for Georgia Tech. In a single game.

– In the 2007 NFL season, offenses averaged 325.24 yards per game. Thus, Tech’s offense in the Cumberland game equaled the average offensive output of 4.36 modern NFL games.

– Tech’s defense and special teams scored 12 of team’s 32 touchdowns in that game.

– Tech wasn’t perfect, however: they missed 2 extra point attempts. Still, going 30 for 32 in PATs in a single game is pretty good in my book!

– Neither team made a first down in the game: Cumberland either punted, committed a turnover or turned the ball over on downs on every possession, while Tech scored every time they got the ball.

– Cumberland ended the day with -28 yards on offense. Contrary to popular belief, Cumberland’s biggest gain was not a 2-yard loss… it was a 10 yard pass. Unfortunately for Cumberland, it was 4th and 22 at the time. Cumberland also turned the ball over 15 times, committing 6 interceptions and 9 fumbles.

– As if all this weren’t humiliating enough for poor Cumberland, both head coaches agreed to cut the second half short by 15 minutes (instead of not playing the fourth quarter, the coaches agreed to make the third and fourth quarters seven and a half minutes each). This is why Tech’s offensive output seemed to dip in the second half. Had a full game been played, the score might have ended up being 252-0!

Amazing, huh? Something I’ve always wanted to know about this game: what, exactly, do you as a head coach tell your team in the locker room at halftime when you’re down 126-0?

R.I.P. Skip Caray

It saddens me to announce that longtime Atlanta Braves announcer Skip Caray has died. He was 68.

The son of famous Chicago Cubs announcer Harry Caray, Skip began his broadcasting career announcing basketball games for Saint Louis University and the St. Louis Hawks. When the Hawks moved to Atlanta, Skip went with them. He would later join the Atlanta Braves broadcast team in 1976, and Carey and sidekick Pete Van Wieren would go on to become Atlanta legends.

Caray was famous (some might say “infamous”) for his witty, irreverent and sometimes sarcastic announcing style. In the late 70s and early 80s – the low point for the Atlanta Braves, when attendance could often be measured in the low hundreds – Caray would often tell listeners that the game was hopeless, and that as long as they pledged to patronize the sponsors, it was OK for listeners to turn off their radios. During an especially bad run for the Braves in the 80s, Caray once began a game with the infamous line “… and, like lambs to the slaughter, the Braves take the field”. Caray once got into an infamous feud with Atlanta Journal columnist Ron Hudspeth, which ultimately led to Caray hiring an airplane to circle Atlanta Fulton County Stadium; the airplane towed a banner which read “For a good time, call Ron Hudspeth at…” followed by Hudspeth’s actual phone number. If a day game ran long, Caray would often give “traffic reports”, in which he would make up off the top of his head. During pre-game call-in shows, Caray was also famous for giving sarcastic answers to caller’s baseball questions, and would often cut off the call entirely if he deemed the question to be “too basic”.

But Caray wasn’t always “piss and vinegar”. Some of the Braves’ best moments were captured by Caray, such as his famous call in the 1992 NLCS, where the Braves defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates in Game 7 (with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th, no less):

A lotta room in right-center, if he hits one there we can dance in the streets. The 2-1… Swung, line drive left field! One run is in! Here comes Bream! Here’s the throw to the plate! He is……. safe! Braves win! Braves win! Braves win! Braves win! Braves win! They may have to hospitalize Sid Bream; he’s down at the bottom of a huge pile at the plate. They help him to his feet. Frank Cabrera got the game winner! The Atlanta Braves are National League champions again! This crowd is going berserk, listen!

[audio:braves.mp3]

And then there was the 1995 World Series:

Mark gets the sign, the wind and the pitch here it is… swung, fly ball deep left center, Grissom on the run… Yes! Yes! Yes! The Atlanta Braves have given you a championship! Listen to this crowd! A mob scene on the field. Wohlers gets ’em one, two, three. A couple of fans rushing on the field. The Atlanta Braves have brought the first championship to Atlanta!

Rest in peace Skip! I have no doubt that “it’s cocktail hour” wherever you are right now! As a poster said in a Georgia Tech message board… “We lost a legend today. I only hope St. Peter didn’t ask him how to compute slugging percentage”!

Hooray for Football!!

At long last, the wait is over! NBC will air tonight’s Hall of Fame game, a pointless preseason battle live from the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. This year, the Indianapolis Colts will take on the Washington Redskins, who are 4-0 in their Hall of Fame Game appearances. Kickoff is at 8pm and the game will be televised nationally. Yes, it’s a stupid and pointless preseason game… but it’s FOOTBALLLLLLLLLL!!

Hell to the m***********g yeah, people! FOOTBALL!!! Goddamn… I missed it SO MUCH!

Lisa, myself and stuntbaby ready for football!
Lisa, myself and stuntbaby ready for football!

Tech’s “New” Uniforms

It’s common for a new college football coach to change his team’s uniforms in his first season. I suppose that it’s a visual reminder of the coach’s new regime or something.

In any case, Paul Johnson took over as head coach at Georgia Tech after least season, and the school announced that the team would be going back to their “classic white” uniforms (interesting side note: NCAA rules state that home teams must wear dark colors; exceptions to that rule were made for LSU and Georgia Tech, two teams that have historically worn white at home).

The Atlanta Journal’s website started this poll to see which “historical uniforms” Tech fans liked best. Here’s my take on them:

GT Traditional Unis #1 – TRADITIONAL UNIFORM: Georgia Tech’s traditional white uniform. I’ve known this uniform my entire life, and I love it. The purists will argue that this is Tech’s only uniform, while uniform junkies dislike a team having just one uniform for both home and away games. I like this, and am glad that Tech’s going with this full-time.
GT Throwback Unis #2 – THROWBACK UNIFORM: This is the Tech uniform of the 50s and 60s. I’m a complete sucker for the white helmet, and I think the team should wear it full-time. I also like the “mustard gold” of the throwback jersey; although it might seem jarring at first, I think the shade is more “manly” than the “new gold” jerseys the team wore last year. What I’d like to see is the throwback pants and helmets used with the traditional white jersey. THAT would be sweet!
GT Navy Unis #3 – REMEMBER SHAWN JONES? These uniforms remind me of Tech’s “glory year” (1990) and all the hype that went with it: the national championship, Shawn Jones, and the ability to beat UGA on a regular basis. Traditionalists (like my Dad) hated these uniforms (“there’s no navy in Tech’s colors!”) but to me, these unis bring back thoughts of the “good old days”. I can see the navy being HOT during games early in the year.
GT Recent Gold Unis #4 – SO LAST YEAR: These are the uniforms that Tech wore in 2007. I don’t like the shade of gold they use for this jersey, and I absolutely hate the font used for player names on the back. I’m glad these are gone.
GT 80s Unis #5 – EVEN FOOTBALL UNIFORMS WERE BAD IN THE 80s: Wow – this uniform is… something. Personally, I think the navy shirt with gold pants is just a bit too much. Looking back on it now, these unis aren’t THAT bad (hey, look at Oregon’s uniforms) but still… I’m more of a minimalist with my uniforms. The Steelers haven’t changed their unis in what… 40+ years?

A Serious Sports Question

Most men love sports, and over the years an intricate set of rules have developed surrounding “fandom”. For example, if you are a fan of your hometown NFL team, and that team moves to a different city, you are free to choose any other NFL team to pull for, as long as that choice doesn’t violate any of the other rules. If you are a fan of a particular college team, and one of that team’s heroes is drafted by an NFL team, you are free to start liking that NFL team, too.

One of the worst “violations” of the “Man Rules, Sports Division” is “bandwagoning”, which is to start liking a team as soon as they start playing really well. If your hometown NFL team has played poorly for years, then starts getting really good, you’ll see the stands fill up with “fairweather fans” who have “jumped on the bandwagon”. This, in itself, isn’t so bad. However, most of those people will stop liking a team the instant they start playing poorly again, and that’s why “bandwagoning” is so bad.

A question though:

What’s the statute of limitations on bandwagoning?

When I was a kid, I liked two NFL teams about equally: the hometown Atlanta Falcons and the Pittsburgh Steelers. I honestly don’t remember when or why I started liking the Steelers. My folks tell me I started liking them when I was 4 years old, so you can understand why I don’t remember any of this. But my first memories of the Steelers aren’t of them winning big games, but of the individuals that made up the team. I thought that Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, “Mean Joe” Greene, Jack Lambert, L.C. Greenwood, Jack Ham, Rocky Blier, Mel Blount, Dwight White, Lynn Swann and John Stallworth were giants among men. This was the first team that I actually “got into”, the first team I actually spent time learning who all the players were, what positions they played, and actually paying attention to the team’s schedule.

As I said, I liked the Falcons and the Steelers about equally… until January 1983, when the Falcons fired Leeman Bennett, one of their most successful coaches ever. This earned the team the unending hatred of my father, who (I believe) is still pissed off about the whole thing. At any rate, the Falcons broke his heart, and he stopped pulling for them. And me, being a little kid who saw his father as the ultimate authority in sports knowledge, stopped liking them too. Which left only the Steelers.

So… I guess you could say that I am a “bandwagon” Steelers fan… although I jumped on that bandwagon 38 years ago. I was there during the 1980s, and I suffered through the Kordell Stewart years just like people born in Pittsburgh. So am I still a “bandwagoner”? Or am I just a “fan” now?

DOWNLOAD: Steelers 2008 Schedule for Outlook!

The NFL released the official 2008-2009 schedule today… and for the FIFTH YEAR IN A ROW (how time flies!) I’m proud to offer the Pittsburgh Steelers Calendar for Microsoft Outlook!

The jimcofer.com “Pittsburgh Steelers 2008 Schedule For Outlook” is compatible with Microsoft Outlook 98 or later. It might also work with Google Calendar or any other program that can import calendar events from CSV files. It has only been tested with Microsoft Outlook, however.

The calendar contains all preseason and regular season Steelers games as well as the name of the network airing the game. All times in the Steelers Calendar are for the Eastern (USA) time zone; a reminder is also scheduled for 8:00PM the day before each game. Fans of other (lesser) teams can also download the file and use it as a template to create a schedule for their favorite teams using any version of Microsoft Excel.

A SPECIAL NOTE: games marked with an asterisk (*) are flex-time games; their start times are subject to change without notice.

Just like the 2007 version of the calendar, I have three versions of the Steelers calendar available for download: the Steelers 2008-09 schedule only, the 2008-09 Steelers schedule with the NFL playoffs, Super Bowl and Pro Bowl, and a calendar with the playoffs and Super\Pro Bowls only. Pick your poison by clicking the appropriate link below:

Steelers 2008 Calendar
Steelers 2008 Calendar with NFL Playoffs
NFL 2008 Playoff Calendar only

(4KB each, and less than 1 minute to download on a 56k connection)

To import the calendar, follow these simple instructions. Make sure to read the all the directions below (especially the “Disabling Reminders” section) carefully before you begin:

  1. Download the file to your desktop and unzip.
  2. Open Outlook and select “File” > “Import and Export” > “Import from another program or file”, then click “Next”.
  3. Choose “Comma Separated Values (Windows)”, then click “Next”.
  4. Use the “Browse” button on the next screen to select the CSV file you unzipped in step 1.
  5. On the next screen make sure to select “Calendar” as the destination then click “Next” and “Finish”… That’s it!

DISABLING REMINDERS: If you wish to disable the reminders, open the CSV file in Excel and change the value of “reminder on/off” (column G) to FALSE for each game before you import the Calendar into Outlook.

TROUBLESHOOTING: If you try to import the Calendar but don’t see any of the games listed in your calendar (especially if you do not get any kind of error message), shut Outlook down completely (open Task Manager to make sure that OUTLOOK.EXE is not running) and re-open Outlook and try the import again.

VERSION INFORMATION: This file was tested on 15 April 2008 on a Windows XP Professional machine running Office 2007 and an XP Professional virtual machine running Office 2003. It was scanned with Active Virus Shield (Kaspersky 6.0.621) and found to be virus-free. It’s the exact same file I’ve used for past versions of the schedule, so it should work for just about everyone.