Morning 1 in Arizona, and it appears they are still going to continue on with the Super Bowl despite the rain of Sunday. It absolutely poured all day long.
Try not to cry for me.
This Just In: Super Bowl Tickets will be expensive this year …
Die-hard Giants and Patriots fan are paying record prices to scalpers for tickets to this year's Super Bowl in Glendale, Ariz., and the total dollar volume of resold seats could be the biggest ever, according to ticketing firms.
Asking prices for the Feb. 3 game range from $2,450 to $19,446 at StubHub, a unit of eBay Inc. and the biggest of the online resellers. Officials there say the average price so far is $4,300 for tickets that the National Football League originally priced at either $700 or $900.
"It appears our face value is underpriced based on demand and what people are willing to pay," said NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy, who seems resigned to the fact that the league is mostly powerless to stop the profitable turnover of tickets.
Marcel Nadeau of Rehobeth, Mass., said he paid $29,385 to reseller RazorGator for a package that includes three hotel nights and breakfasts, transportation to and from the game, a gift package, and tickets for him and his two sons.
"I'm confident the Patriots will win," Nadeau said in explaining why he is willing to shell out the big bucks. But even if they don't, his next stop is already lined up: "On to Vegas we go."
As many states have repealed laws banning ticket scalping and buyers like Nadeau seem immune to sticker shock, corporate America is jumping on the bandwagon in a big way. One of StubHub's competitors, TicketsNow, is being acquired for $265 million by Ticketmaster, owned by IAC/InterActiveCorp, the New York-based Internet conglomerate controlled by media mogul Barry Diller.
Resellers bear little risk if tickets they offer don't get sold. Instead, they make their money by requiring both buyers and sellers to pay commissions of between 10 percent and 15 percent.
The matchup between the New York Giants and the undefeated New England Patriots is a clash of big-market teams from the chilly Northeast. The game-day forecast for the Phoenix area is for a high of 68 degrees. But even that doesn't matter because the teams will be playing indoors in University of Phoenix Stadium, the 63,400-seat home of the Arizona Cardinals that will have its seating expanded to about 75,000 for the Super Bowl.
"You gotta mortgage your home to get into the game," said Michael Hershfield, a former lawyer who recently started the ticketing Web site LiveStub.com. "There's this recipe that's been spiced up for a very exciting, very hot event. With all the changes in the industry, this combination has created this current wave of supply and demand."
RazorGator Chief Executive Jeff Lapin, who is predicting total sales will set a record, is amazed what buyers are willing to pay. Tickets on his Web site are listed between $2,700 and $7,200. "I'm telling my friends to buy now because it looks like it's going to be tight," he said.
Cool Feature on Super Bowl Rings …
I was thinking about the story of Arizona and the Super Bowl and Martin Luther King Day, so a little research brought me to here ….
Super Bowl XXVII was originally scheduled to be played at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona, the home of the Phoenix Cardinals. Immediately after the Cardinals relocated from St. Louis, Missouri to the Phoenix, Arizona area in 1988, the NFL was eager to hold a Super Bowl in that state.
Meanwhile, Martin Luther King Day, the United States federal holiday honoring civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr., was observed for the first time in 1986. However, the holiday was only celebrated in 27 states and the District of Columbia during that first year. Opponents across the nation tried to stop the holiday from being recognized in their own local areas.
By 1991, most states had adopted Martin Luther King Day (though New Hampshire called it Civil Rights Day) except for Arizona. In 1986, an Arizona holiday honoring King had been declared by Governor Bruce Babbitt after a bill to create the holiday failed in the state legislature. (On May 2, 2000, South Carolina governor Jim Hodges signed a bill to make Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday an official state holiday. South Carolina is the last state to recognize the day as a holiday.)
Newly-elected Governor Evan Mecham rescinded the holiday in 1987 on the grounds that the holiday had been illegally created. Legislation to create the holiday was passed by the state legislature in 1989, but opponents to the holiday succeeded in forcing the holiday to undergo a ballot initiative. Arizona voters rejected the 1990 initiative to create a King holiday.
The NFL, which had an increasing percentage of African American players, and urged by the NFL Players' Association, voted to yank Super Bowl XXVII from Arizona, and awarded it instead to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.
Faced with the boycott, Arizona voters finally approved the holiday by ballot in 1992, and on March 23, 1993, the NFL awarded Super Bowl XXX (to be played January 1996) to Tempe.
Check out this rumor: Roy Williams for a 2nd????? Do it! …
Other news includes the rumor that Lions wide receiver Roy Williams is on the trading block, and one report said Detroit would look for a second-round pick in return. Williams played for two seasons under former Lions offensive coordinator Mike Martz, who's now with the 49ers, so would the 49ers look to make a deal for Williams?
It's unlikely, particularly at that price. Williams caught 63 passes for 836 yards and five touchdowns this year. But at 6-5, 212 pounds, he's not your typical speedy Martz receiver, and he also has been known to speak his mind.
Cowboys sizing up the options …
Top prospects at three positions the Cowboys likely will target in the draft:
Limas Sweed, Texas (6-5, 220): Will miss the Senior Bowl after reinjuring his surgically repaired left wrist during practice. Possesses size and good hands, but the wrist leaves a question mark.
DeSean Jackson, California (6-0, 166): Lightweight play-maker not expected to fall into Cowboys' range in first round.
Malcolm Kelly, Oklahoma (6-4, 219): Player from Longview came out as a junior and had 19 TD catches combined the past two seasons. Projected to go in the top 15 picks.
Mario Manningham, Michigan (6-0, 178): Junior had 12 TDs and 1,174 receiving yards and is a big-play threat.
Jordy Nelson, Kansas State (6-2, 216): Answered some doubters with an impressive showing at Senior Bowl workouts, getting past corners and showing great hands.
Best shot for Cowboys: Manningham, above, could be the vertical speed threat the Cowboys need. He never averaged less than 16 yards per catch in any season at Michigan.
Mike Jenkins, South Florida (6-0, 197): Would be ideal for the Cowboys, but is not expected to be around late in the first round. Same school as Cowboys cornerback Anthony Henry.
Leodis McKelvin, Troy (5-11, 186): His stock is soaring. McKelvin is physical, excels in all forms of coverage and led the nation with three punt returns for touchdowns.
Reggie Smith, Oklahoma (6-0, 196): Former safety could be available at the bottom of the first round.
Aqib Talib, Kansas (6-2, 205): Player from Richardson was an amazing play-maker and could be the first corner taken.
Tracy Porter, Indiana (5-11, 181): Was told at the Senior Bowl he was comparable to the Cowboys' Terence Newman.
Best shot for Cowboys: Smith, above, has good size, ball-hawking skills to go with speed, and experience as a punt returner.
Darren McFadden, Arkansas (6-2, 205): The Cowboys thought the Cleveland pick would give them a shot at him. Now could Jerry Jones and Al Davis be working a deal for
the Raiders' No. 4 overall pick?
Jonathan Stewart, Oregon (5-11, 230): Had two games of 250 or more rushing yards this season and averaged 6.2 yards per carry.
Felix Jones, Arkansas (6-0, 207): McFadden's backfield mate produced back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons and 8.7 yards per carry this season.
Rashard Mendenhall, Illinois (5-11, 224): Did you see the 79-yard run against USC in the Rose Bowl. Enough proof.
Jamaal Charles, Texas (6-1, 205): Part of a talented crop of junior backs and could jump in quickly as a change-of-pace backup.
Best shot for Cowboys: Jones. Jerry Jones loves his Hogs and he’ll be available. Plus, Jones, above, is used to sharing the load like he would have to do with Marion Barber.
To Basketball, The Mavericks with a nice weekend with wins over the Lakers and Nuggets. But, jut when you thought he was starting to get it, Devin Breaks again …
Devin Harris left American Airlines Center on Sunday night on crutches and wearing a removable, boot-like cast on his leg after injuring his left ankle in the fourth quarter of the Mavericks' 90-85 victory over the Denver Nuggets.
While Dirk Nowitzki was magnificent down the stretch with 10 consecutive points and 14 of the Mavericks' final 16, it was Harris' situation that put a damper on their third win in a row and 11th in the last 13 games.
"It's a bad sprain," Harris said as he hobbled out of the building toward the players' parking lot. "We'll know more when I get re-evaluated [today]."
Harris could not put weight on the boot-encased ankle. That separates him from Brady, the New England quarterback, who created a buzz for walking around in a similar boot much of last week.
X-rays were taken on Harris, and while the team customarily announces results of those tests, nothing was released Sunday night. Harris said that the results were negative.
Harris stayed in Dallas as the Mavericks left for Memphis, where they play the Grizzlies tonight. He will have an MRI exam today, team officials said.
David Moore with a nice bombshell …
Corey Maggette in a Mavericks uniform?
Mike Dunleavy thought it would happen. The LA Clippers coach revealed he was close to a deal that would have sent Maggette to the Mavericks for Jason Terry in the off-season before owner Donald Sterling stepped in and said no.
I can see why the Mavericks considered the move. Maggette is taller and more athletic than Terry. He and Josh Howard would be interchangeable at shooting guard and small forward. The Mavericks would create mismatches at those two positions almost every night. It would also allow Jerry Stackhouse to fill a true sixth man role without alteration.
That being said, don't minimize Terry's impact on this team. His speed and ability to come up big in big games are valuable commodities. He gets the edge over Maggette in both areas.
If the Mavericks ever do move Terry, they will likely want a player like Maggette – or Maggette himself – in return.
The Evan Grant Feature on Josh Hamilton can be found Here …you might want to read the whole thing…
The full story can't be captured in an hour. To really understand how far Hamilton has come, it's important to understand just how far he fell.
When he was barely 15, Hamilton was already a North Carolina sports legend. He was that rarest of finds, a true five-tool player. Left-handed, he was so gifted that he occasionally played shortstop and even hoped to be a catcher. But coaches were too protective of his arm because when he pitched, he hit 95-96 mph. When he played the outfield, nobody ran on him. When he hit, everybody gasped at the power.
"I've seen some really special amateur players – Kirk Gibson and Bo Jackson – but Josh is the most talented kid I've ever seen," says Jax Robertson, special assistant to the Pittsburgh Pirates' general manager – and whose son was a teammate of Hamilton's at Athens Drive High School in Raleigh, N.C. "Every skill was above average; some were off the charts. He had instincts, athleticism, passion and compassion."
The Tampa Bay Devil Rays made Hamilton the first overall choice in the 1999 draft. He was the first high school player to be No. 1 since Alex Rodriguez in 1993.
Hamilton signed two days later. His parents left their home to be his chaperone. Together, they packed up and headed to Princeton, W.Va., in the rookie-level Appalachian League. Almost immediately, Hamilton was launching talk-of-the-town homers. Within two years, he was named the top prospect in all of the minors.
Then it crumbled.
I got this email:
Howdy, Bob. I really loved the story that Evan Grant did Sunday on Josh Hamilton. I knew nothing about him before, and only go to a Rangers game once a year or so, but I plan to go to a few if he is starting and cheer him on. I'd be interested to hear what you thought.
I hope this Josh Hamilton story ends well. But, when you read the story, it is quite a tale, but I am a little concerned about how recent it was that he had some of his issues. This is not ancient history, so I am pulling for him as I assume he is not out of the woods. And, despite 90 nice games with the Reds, it is fair to question whether he as arrived as a major league CF.
and the NHL had a All-Star Game …\
For a game that does not mean anything in the standings, the N.H.L. All-Star Game generated a weekend-long referendum on the sport that seemed far too serious for an event that is supposed to be about fun.
The 48-hour debate ranged from whether the sport’s showcase game could stand up without its showcase player, Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, to dismay over players who skipped the game for personal reasons, to whether the All-Star Game had lost its usefulness as a tool to promote hockey.
It took a capacity crowd at Philips Arena to put a clown’s face on the game, as well as light-hearted effort from the players — for two and a half periods at least — to gain the proper perspective. As for the lack of star power, that issue was negated by sparkling performances from Columbus’s Rick Nash, who scored three goals, and San Jose goalie Evgeni Nabokov, and by a frantic finish.
The game ended about as dramatically as an exhibition game could. Marc Savard, a former Atlanta Thrasher and current Boston Bruins forward, scored with 20.9 seconds to play to lift the Eastern Conference to an 8-7 victory against the Western Conference.
Carolina’s Eric Staal, who had two goals and assisted on the winner, was the most valuable player.
“It would have been nice to have Crosby here, but the kid broke his ankle, and it was still a good show,” said Rangers forward Scott Gomez, who had an assist. “It got close, and guys picked up the game. You could tell nobody wanted to lose. It was good.”
The hometown fans make up a majority of the crowd in the N.H.L. All-Star Game — unlike the audiences for such games in other sports. And they roared with delight when the Thrashers’ Ilya Kovalchuk and Marian Hossa were introduced and took some edge off the weekend debates.
Are Hockey Players Great Actors?