As experts predicted, ESPN will pay $80m/year for the Champions Bowl per SBD this morning. Same money as Rose Bowl.
Tony Grossi still with us...update from Peter King.
"9. I think, for you Browns fans -- and journalism fans -- here's the latest on former Plain Dealer beat man and columnist Tony Grossi, who was taken off the beat when a tweet critical of owner Randy Lerner was made public: Grossi starts today as a Browns analyst at ESPNCleveland, with web writing and appearances on the local affiliate, WKNR. He'll continue to cover the team, travel to the games and cover the league."
The Minnesota Lynx’s three-game sweep of the Atlanta Dream to capture the WNBA Championship generated a viewership increase on ESPN. Viewership for the WNBA Finals was up four percent over the 2010 championship series. This year’s series on ESPN and ESPN2 collectively averaged 515,000 viewers, an increase over the average audience of 495,000 viewers across ABC and ESPN2 in 2010.
Viewership for this year’s decisive Game 3 was up 10 percent compared to last year’s Game 3 telecast (600,000 vs. 545,000 viewers), which featured the Atlanta Dream and Seattle Storm, the eventual champion.
"We saw a better, more explosive offense with Mackey in the game, but expecting a duplicate performance this week would be like expecting the cast of Jersey Shore to be invited back to Italy after what we’ve seen in Season 4." -Chris Low
That's some quality writing, Chris!
I set the over/under at nine catches as Danny Amendola tears apart the Dream Team's secondary
MOST IMPROVED: Chase Rettig, Boston College. It’s not like he was bad last season, he just wasn’t ready. Throw into the fire as a true freshman against Notre Dame in the fourth game of the season, Rettig went on to complete 51.3 percent of his passes for 1,238 yards, six touchdowns and nine interceptions. The hire of Kevin Rogers as offensive coordinator should help elevate his game another level this fall. " -Heather Dinich on ACC QB Superlatives
Everything peaked with his Steamboat feud, which started when Savage "crushed" Steamboat's larynx with the timekeeper's bell. (Steamboat "lost" the ability to speak, which led to some of the unintentionally funniest interviews ever done. In general, Ricky Steamboat made Vin Diesel look like Daniel Day-Lewis.) They settled their score in Detroit in front of something like 90,000 people, with their Wrestlemania III battle becoming the first great modern match, the Hagler-Hearns of wrestling moments. In a memorable sports year that included Leonard upsetting Hagler, the Lakers outlasting the Celtics, Indiana shocking Syracuse, Elway unleashing The Drive and Calgary toppling Edmonton, I'd put Steamboat-Savage against any of them. It was that good. The full potential of professional wrestling, realized.
For those first few WWF years, Savage simply couldn't miss. He picked the best possible manager and feuded with the best possible people. His nickname doubled as the single best wrestling nickname of that decade unless you want to argue for "The Million Dollar Man." His entrance music ("Pomp and Circumstance") was obviously a better choice than the Village People's "Macho Man," but kudos to him for making the right call. He wasn't opposed to wrestling with his sunglasses on (a lost art, really), and his crazy beard/thinning hair/bandanna/sunglasses look shouldn't have worked but always did. His interviews were phenomenally bizarre and undeniably entertaining, and, by the way, he might have been the first wrestler to refer to himself almost entirely in the third person. The Macho Man was like the Rickey Henderson of wrestling, right down to the fact that you never knew what the hell he was talking about.
...you probably haven't heard much of anything about UConn closing in on UCLA's streak yet. To date, there's been a stunning lack of interest from the mainstream sports media concerning one of the great athletic feats of our time: winning 87 consecutive college basketball games since 2008. Basketball fans who follow the game closely — men, especially — are stumped when you ask them what important event is happening this week. Try it for yourself and see.