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Nick Halling leaves Sky Sports NFL coverage

For news of Sky Sports retaining NFL rights for the 2012-2014 seasons please click this link.

NFL fans in the UK know there are a few things that are assured as the Sun rising each morning and that Ed Hochuli works out. They are that Kevin Cadle will butcher any presenting gig. Mike Carlson will always be amazing and that Nick Halling will butcher a Thanksgiving Turkey and openly root for his team the Pittsburgh Steelers on live NFL coverage on Sky Sports.

Well last night the NFL season opened up with what turned out to be a great game (certainly if you have Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees as your fantasy QBs) but there was somebody missing. Kevin Cadle was there and along side him was Neil Reynolds and big Cecil Martin. Big strange I thought but Nick Halling has been known to miss the odd Thursday game game so I wasn’t too concerned. I then did some googling and found out that Halling will not be on the NFL coverage this year.

Some will rejoice and some will lament. The majority won’t even care less. This blogger though does and it is a sad day. I’m not a huge Nick Halling guy on other sports. I didn’t like him when he fronted Ice Hockey on Five and wasn’t a huge fan of him voicing over football for The Football League Show. However on the NFL it just worked and the banter with him and Kevin Cadle really helped the show run seamlessly.

He wasn’t forced out the door but instead chose to go by his own volition as he’s gone from freelancer to staffer seemingly as he’s now on the Sky boxing team. After so long on the NFL it would seem surprising that he couldn’t do both roles in a freelance way so logically the move to boxing is a full-time one.

Sky’s boxing output took a dramatic hit last year when Ian Darke left Sky to become the voice of football across the pond for ESPN and with Adam Smith not being heard on commentary too often recently it seems to have opened up a spot. Sky have increased their boxing output (but decreased their PPV output) and brought in John Rawling in a freelance capacity as well. I like John Rawling on boxing but Nick Halling I don’t. I really don’t.

So we get a decrease in quality output in the NFL where Halling shone and a decrease in boxing where Darke shone through like a beacon and Smith seems to have been moved towards presenting and fronting the sport.

Sky have made some poor decisions recently and they can be tracked back to Ian Darke’s decision to leave. Getting rid of Mark Bolton and replacing him with Scott Minto was disappointing and this move is just as bad. At least they went with Ed Chamberlain as their primary football guy over David Jones so that is one thing but put me in the disappointed camp that Nick Halling has moved on from the NFL.

He may have been a Scummer but he was good value.

For news of Sky’s NFL Coverage Coverage for 2014 – including Kevin Cadle, Neil Reynolds, Shaun Gayle, Jeff Reinebold and Cecil Martin then please follow the link.

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Rule one in a successful career: Don’t shit on your own doorstep.

Whether I’m a success or not is for other people to decide. My career has stagnated in the past few years because I’ve branched out into something else. My journalism days might be behind me but I still dabble from time to time. One thing I have never done is left anywhere on bad terms. From working on FTT all the way through to my times with Fubra you take the best you can on and try not to burn any bridges. I had many ups and downs when I was Sports Editor over at Fubra but we left on good terms (or so I believe) and you move on.

Now yesterday I saw the most horrendous burning of bridges that I have ever seen. I saw a guy basically take a very public shot at the people who gave him a chance – not only that but also at the whole profession. Saying that bloggers are all bums basically and that proper journalism only happens in newspapers (no nod to the broadcast industry I notice which is total bull crap as they are fantastic journalists) so I thought I’d share it with you.

The man in question is a junior at Penn State university. You might wonder why I’m talking about some kid at a university in the USA and how I came across it. Well I love American Football. In the past five-six years I have got into the College game just as much (if not more so) than the NFL and my allegiances are with Penn State solely for the reason that they do things the right way and I have up most respect for their head coach.

Anyway the biggest PSU blog is called Black Shoe Diaries and is my first stop for Penn State news and opinion. It is a fine blog and has a big staff who don’t just blog opinion and news based off of what they’ve seen on TV and read in the newspapers – they also do quote/unquote ‘real journalism’. Now a couple of months ago the long time editor decided that he wanted to step down as he had plenty of other things on his plate and the big bosses decided on his replacement – and one member of his former staff was pissed that he got passed over. His name is Adam Bittner.

Now I don’t know him from Adam (see what I did there? Yep very lazy blogging with a terrible pun) but clearly he’s not too happy about being passed over for the position of top dog. He has used his position as an editor of the student newspaper The Dally Collegian to basically just slag off bloggers in their entirety and tell the world that proper journalism only happens in newspapers. Read his piece entitled New blog features all sports, all the time wow – just wow.

This has obviously not gone down well in blogging circles and the guy is getting crucified. The comments over at BSD on the fanshot entitled Fooge Finally Cracks says a lot but also a couple of well known bloggers have had their say on prominent blogs stateside Blogger Attacks Blogs In Announcement Of His New Blog and ATTN BROSEPHS AND BROSEPHINES OF BHGP both well worth reading.

The sad thing of this all is it didn’t have to go down like this. He was offered a good position under the new regime but turned it down and heck if he didn’t want to take a perceived step down he could have walked away with a hand shake and got on with things. Instead he decided to crush a profession which is thriving to defend a medium which is dying in the USA. If you think the newspaper industry is struggling over here it is nothing compared to what is going on across the pond.

For the rest of his career (thanks to google) he’ll be known as a guy who shit on a whole section of a profession that he is trying to get into just to satisfy his personal vendetta. That is not going to go down well. There is making a name for yourself a good way and then there is making a name for yourself a bad way. He has done it the bad way. He has put himself in a position where no blogger would ever hire him. He has also shown a shed load of disrespect not to mention disrespect to the newspaper for which he’s working. The publication is being rounded derided on the internet for allowing such a piece to each publication. You can’t use a position to take personal shots at people let alone a profession. Adam Bittner has done this.

It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out and what kind of career he has but his bile has spilled out very publicly and it is not going to be pretty. I have seen one or two big heads in my past (some may argue I’m a bit of a big head) but those I’ve seen who are happy to drop a media outlet because they perceive they have something better without even so much as a thank you or even acknowledgement to be blunt – suck. You always thank those who help you – that is a bare minimum. If you can’t do that then to be frank you aren’t a very good person and sadly there are too many of these types of people about.

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Jim Tressel quits Ohio State job

The Columbus Post Dispatch is reporting that Jim Tressel has quit as Head Coach of the Ohio State Football programme with immediate effect. This comes on the heels of a troublesome few months for both the programme and Tressel personally after it became clear he had been involved in some pretty serious NCAA violations with regards to failing to report violations to either the compliance officer or the NCAA themselves.

The dispatch obtained a copy of a memo to Ohio State trustees this morning:

“I write to let you know that later this morning we will be announcing the resignation of Jim Tressel as head coach of the University’s football program. As you all know, I appointed a special committee to analyze and provide advice to me regarding issues attendant to our football program. In consultation with the senior leadership of the University and the senior leadership of the Board, I have been actively reviewing the matter and have accepted Coach Tressel’s resignation.”

Tressel has overseen the rise of Ohio State to the very top of the BigTen Conference and Ohio State are now seen as a perennial National Championship contender and as the biggest programme in the area. With one national title and seven BigTen titles (although three of them were split) under his tenure then his performances on the field had him up there with the very best but now his legacy will be savaged by his out the field issues and further reports this week from former players that they used to sell items as well in violation of NCAA rules then his position had in all honesty become untenable.

Next up is how will this effect Ohio State as a programme as Tressel had built an almighty ship there. Will recruits now look elsewhere and who can they bring in to oversee the biggest programme in the conference? There will be a long line of suitors for the job but things might yet get worse for Ohio State before it gets better. Just look at USC and how the best programme in America collapsed after the Pete Carroll era. That may well happen as well in Columbus and if it does it will mean that Penn State will once again become stronger and the daddy of the BigTen.

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NFL Draft. I’m just not feeling it

Hi All,

After a few days offline whilst migrating servers the blog is back (and very basic). I’ll be working on other things over the next few days on the site and hopefully make it look and feel a bit better and it will allow me to do other things but still, I digress.

The NFL draft is one of the best parts of the NFL off-season but this year it just isn’t doing it for me. The lockout and the seeming lack of a possibility of trades during the draft leads me to think it just won’t have that it factor this year. Cam Newton looks like he’ll go #1 to the Panthers and I don’t think he’ll be a very good NFL calibre player. I know I’m not an NFL scout and I never will be but I saw him in college and he won’t be able to do what he did there in the professional game.

The best player might be AJ Green and it looks like he may fall as far as #4 and he could be a special player – a Larry Fitzgerald type talent at WR. I really like Joke Locker and if he goes to the Vikings at #12 he’ll be a great fit and a fine NFL QB with a couple of years of seasoning.

On a personal level my Jags are being mocked to take Ryan Kerrigan OLB from Purdue. He’d be good and we certainly need someone who can get into the backfield. We’ll surely take a defensive player from the BigTen.

Speaking of the BigTen my Nittany Lions will not see any picks in the first round but we have two players who might get drafted. Evan Royster may go late but Stefen Wisniewski will be a second-round talent who’ll be a steal. He’ll be a multiple Pro Bowl Offensive Lineman and I hope he has a great career.

Here’s to a late night…

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Today is the start of summer – the baseball summer

Now if I go to the window and look outside I can see the ground is wet. I’m wearing a hoodie inside the apartment. Clearly it is not warm outside but today is officially the start of summer – in my world anyway. Despite yesterday a couple getting married in the snow at Busch Stadium – the home of the St. Louis Cardinals, today is the start of the Major League Baseball season and the start of America’s favourite summer-long drama.

At 6:05 BST this evening I shall be settling down on the sofa to watch the opening game – my New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers. The Yankees having been bounced out of the playoffs in the American League Championship Series last year are looking to regain the World Series crown they won in 2009 but they will not start out as the favourites. With Boston having brought in AL MVP candidates Carl Crawford via free agency and Adrian Gonzalez via a trade, it is the Red Sox who open up as the AL faves. In the NL the Phillies have a rotation for the ages with Roy Halliday anchoring a staff that also includes Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels. Joe Blanton is also in the rotation but no-one seems to care about him as he’s not great – unlike the other four.

Now obviously whilst what goes on in real life is important – today also marks day one of the long fantasy baseball season. This year I am in five leagues. Four of them holdovers from previous years. It is the sixth season of UKL2, a league where I’ve made the playoffs twice and made the final once – only to be beaten by the evil banker and my long-time friend Neil H. This year my squad looks ok but I wouldn’t place me up there with the favourites. Two years in a row of poor results have left me feeling jaded but when the season rolls around hope springs eternal.

It is also the fifth year of the Dynasty League. Another league I’ve not yet won despite dominating it in its inaugural season only to lose on the final day when AJ Burnett crapped the bed in a start and cost me ERA and the league in one foul swoop. The most depressing part of that? I traded him away and have since traded for me back. Luckily this year is the last year I have him contracted for so this should be my last year with him. This team I feel great about. It is good enough to make the playoffs and has a chance of winning it all.

Next up is Pete J’s league named Cider for Toddlers. A league I have won twice – in 2007 and 2009 so it should be my turn again, right? This teams looks good on paper. Deep rotation with power arms and a nice lineup that should be competitive. The lineup might just be my most balanced (I’m known for being power heavy) so we shall see.

Fourthly it is the baseballfan.co.uk official leagues and I’m in division one and I’m also the reigning champion having won the league last year. That draft was on Sunday – my final draft – and it took forever and a day. I drafted second in the snake which is never good. I seem to have missed out on a premier 1B which is very unlike me. However it’s not my worst team ever and again should be ok on paper. Is it title worthy? Meh. Last year I was bottom after six weeks and adrift but still won at a canter. So patience is a virtue.

Lastly I entered a Public League this year for the first time in years and got the best team on paper I think I’ve ever had. The team is stacked and balanced. If I don’t dominate and win this league then either my players are having a very bad year or they got injured. Even Pete J who normally criticises my teams at every possible juncture was impressed at that team – certainly when he saw I had four closers as well.

So there we have it. People always say the most boring this to hear about is another persons fantasy team so apologies.

To end I’ll just say that Cameron’s comments on Ed Balls during #PMQs yesterday are pretty much spot on.

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Fantasy Baseball – My Dynasty Squad

Just a quick blog about on my hobbies in the summer – fantasy baseball. I am already locked into four leagues for this season and with Yahoo allowing eight per Yahoo ID this year then the possibility of me playing more is high. I’m in one dynasty, one keeper, one re-draft h2h and one re-draft roto. I am the current champion of the UK MLB Division 1. Not too shabby although my other teams didn’t have great years back in 2010.

So on to the dynasty league as this team is already sorted. The keeper I’m in the middle of the offline draft – we are in Round 17. The dynasty roster is 25 man, 6×6 scoring (OPS and Holds the extra stats), a $280million budget with mL rosters as well. I’m well under-budget and have no closers but the rest of the roster isn’t too shabby. I’ll drop Begine Molina and pick up a FA Util guy when the season starts as they’ll be no debt – the same with Jesse Litsch.

Let me know your thoughts on my roster.

C: John Jaso – 3/4

C: Jorge Posada – RFA – 1/10

1B: Adam Dunn – 2/21

2B: Brian Roberts – 2/12

3B: Aramis Ramirez – 3/15

SS: Tsuyoshi Nishioka – 4/5

CI: Justin Morneau – RFA – 1/22

MI: Alcides Escobar – 1/12

CF: Josh Hamilton – 1-$8

OF: Austin Jackson – 1-$1

OF: Matt Holliday – RFA – 3/26

OF: Curtis Granderson – 1/18

OF: Curtis Beltran – 3/12

Util: Bengie Molina – 1/4

Pitchers

SP: Carlos Zambrano – 1/6

SP: Gavin Floyd – 1/3

RP: Koji Uehara – 3/1

RP: Rafael Soriano – 3/6

P: Ian Kennedy – 4/4

P: Ricky Nolasco – 2/10

P: AJ Burnett – 1/6

P: Phil Hughes – 1-$8

P: Brian Matusz – 1-$1

BN: Jesse Litsch – 1/1

BN: Jake Peavy – 5/5

Dollars Spent: $221m
No Debt
Contract Years 50/50

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