Sports

Mikaela Shiffrin’s Gold Rush Begins With a Bang

At the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Mikaela Shiffrin won the slalom, but in her only other event, the giant slalom, she finished fifth. Shiffrin, then 18 years old, was peeved. “The next Olympics I go to,” she said at the time, “I’m sure as heck not getting fifth.” On Thursday, after three days of races postponed by strong winds, Shiffrin’s celebrated quest for multiple gold medals at the Pyeongchang Olympics finally began. And she emphatically lived up to her prophecy with a stirring, authoritative, come-from-behind victory in the giant slalom. Roaring down a steep and especially taxing racecourse, Shiffrin was both the most aggressive and most technically sound skier. Despite a minor miscue in the race’s final 50 yards, her two-run time of 2 minutes and 20.02 seconds was 0.39 seconds ahead of Ragnhild Mowinckel of Norway. Italy’s Federica Brignone won the bronze medal. “It’s more than another gold medal,” said Shiffrin, who joins Ted Ligety and Andrea Mead Lawrence as the only Americans to win two Alpine Olympic gold medals. “I knew I might win multiple medals at these Olympics but I also knew I could come away with nothing. Now I know that I’ve got one.” But by winning in the giant slalom, which is her third-best event, Shiffrin has heightened her possibilities for at least three gold medals, which is the most any Alpine skier has won in any Olympics. On Friday, she will defend her Olympic title in what is her strongest event, the slalom. Next week, she will be favored in the Alpine combined, the last individual Alpine race of the Pyeongchang Games. Shiffrin also indicated on Thursday that she was planning to race in a fourth event next week, the women’s downhill. Although Eileen Shiffrin, Mikaela’s mother and one of her coaches, said her daughter would not enter a fifth event, the women’s super-G on Saturday. Shiffrin’s giant slalom victory completes a portion of a four-year journey to transform herself into an elite racer in every Alpine event. But the first of the events she had to conquer was the giant slalom, a speedier and more changeable race than the slalom. As Shiffrin said Thursday: “I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with giant slalom. It’s been a fight sometimes.” Only months after the 2014 Sochi Games, Shiffrin began a dedicated training program to improve in the event. As a high schooler then, she had once been among the best junior skiers in the world at giant slalom. But as she became a professional, she found more success in slalom and spent more time on it. Her giant slalom results, not surprisingly, lagged. Still, in the summer of 2014, Shiffrin began to study videotape of her best giant slalom runs, going all the way back to her days as an amateur. Alone in a dark room, an Olympic champion was taking the unusual step of scrutinizing her technique as a young teen. “The clues to improvement aren’t always in the places you expect,” Shiffrin said in an interview last year, recalling the summer of 2014. Shiffrin had another strategy to make the leap from being just a competitive World Cup giant slalom skier to one of the world’s best. She decided to spend hours quizzing Ligety, the American skier and defending Olympic giant slalom champion who had single-handedly revolutionized giant slalom technique between 2012 and 2013. In the fall of 2014, Shiffrin trained with Ligety in Colorado, not far from her home outside Vail. Afterward, they would watch videotape of that day’s training for an hour to 90 minutes. “I remember that Mikaela would ask me about 20 questions in every 15-minute span,” Ligety said late last year. “When we’d be done, I’d say, ‘What else do you want to know?’” “And she’d answer: ‘Everything else.’” In October that year, Shiffrin won her first World Cup giant slalom. Two months later, she had the first of six straight top 10 finishes in the event and by the winter of 2016-17, she was rarely out of the top five in any giant slalom. This season, she has won two giant slalom races and been second in another.

It was a thrill to watch Colorado native Mikaela Shiffrin win her gold last night!  We defintely look forward to seeing her go for more!  Go get ’em, Mikaela!!!    🙂

Super Bowl Ratings Plummet to 8-Year Low

Super Bowl LII will go down as one of the most entertaining championship games in recent memory. However, for the NFL, it will go down as the lowest-rated Super Bowl game in recent memory. The Eagles 41-33 victory over the Patriots drew a 47.4/70 in metered markets. That’s down nearly three percent from last year’s thriller between the Patriots and the Falcons. It’s a 5 percent drop from the last time NBC had the big game in 2014, when the Patriots beat the Seahawks. Looked at broadly, Super Bowl LII is the lowest-rated Super Bowl game since 2010, when the Colts and Saints, two smallish market teams, faced-off against each other: The 2015 Super Bowl clash between New England and Seattle holds the title for most watched Super Bowl game ever, with over 114 million viewers. However, since then, the numbers have steadily decreased. Last year’s game for example, drew 111.3 million watchers. The Saints-Colts Super Bowl, which this year’s contest beat by one point, drew just over 110 million viewers. Which projects final total viewing numbers to fall into the 110-112 million viewer range. The NFL took a ratings hit of ten percent during the regular season in 2017. While the numbers from Sunday’s game do not reflect a 10 percent drop from last year, one wouldn’t necessarily expect them too, since the Super Bowl is more of a cultural event which draws a larger audience. However, to have Tom Brady and two large market teams play one of the most thrilling championship games ever only to have it rate as the lowest Super Bowl contest in eight years, has to be hugely disappointing to the NFL.

Starnes: NFL rejects veterans group’s Super Bowl ad urging people to stand for the anthem

The National Football League has rejected a Super Bowl advertisement from American Veterans urging people to stand for the national anthem. The nation’s largest veterans service organization had been invited by the NFL to place an ad in the Super Bowl LII program. AMVET’s advertisement included a two-word message – “#PleaseStand.” “It’s a simple, polite request that represents the sentiment of our membership, particularly those whose missing or paralyzed limbs preclude standing,” wrote National Commander Marion Polk in a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. American Veterans accused the NFL of outright censorship by rejecting the advertisement. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy defended the league’s decision to ban the American Veterans’ advertisement noting that the game day program “is designed for fans to commemorate and celebrate the game, players, teams and the Super Bowl.” “It’s never been a place for advertising that could be considered by some as a political statement,” McCarthy told Army Times. So, the NFL believes that politely asking people to stand for the Star-Spangled Banner is akin to making a political statement? The NFL has been rocked by national anthem protests throughout the season — leading to a massive decline in television viewership and game day attendance. Still, the NFL and most team owners refused to order players to stand for the national anthem. Instead, the commissioner and many owners shamefully turned a blind eye as football players took a knee and disrespected not only the flag, but the brave men and women defending our freedom. Perhaps Goodell was concerned that a “political statement” in the game day program might take away from the “political statements” being made on the football field when players take a knee. “Freedom of speech works both ways. We respect the rights of those who choose to protest, as these rights are precisely what our members have fought – and in many cases died – for,” Polk wrote. “But imposing corporate censorship to deny that same right to those veterans who have secured it for us all is reprehensible and totally beyond the pale.” McCarthy told Army Times they gave American Veterans the option of changing their proposed advertisement to read, “Please Stand for our Veterans.” But the NFL said they never heard back from the group. It’s becoming increasingly clear that the NFL’s disdain for American patriotism is not just isolated to the gridiron. It’s apparently infested the front office. “Veterans are good for more than just military aircraft flyovers, photo opportunities during halftime, or props to sell camouflage-style NFL apparel; although, the NFL’s stance on not allowing the veterans’ unfiltered voice to be heard says otherwise,” Polk wrote to Goodell. I wholeheartedly concur and might I suggest that freedom-loving Americans stand up to the National Football League by turning off the Super Bowl.

Sounds like a good idea..  Thanks to veteran culture warrior Todd Starnes for calling it exactly right.

Ratings Down for All Four NFL Playoff Games, Chiefs-Titans Least Watched in 5 Years

Following a regular season where most NFL fans decided they had better things to do on Sunday afternoons than watch football; it appears those same fans still have better things to do on Saturdays and Sundays in the postseason. The first round of playoffs suffered double-digit ratings drops, as the NFL begins the most important part of its calendar year, Awful Announcing reported. Saturday’s Tennessee Titans-Kansas City Chiefs game didn’t deliver for ESPN or ABC, losing two full ratings points over last year’s game. The game drew a 14.7 overnight rating compared to last years 16.6 for the Houston Texans-L.A. Raiders game. It was the worst rating since 2012, Awful Announcing said. Later that evening, the Atlanta Falcons-Los Angeles Rams game did only a little better, seeing a similar if not quite as bad ratings loss. According to SportsTVRatings, the Falcons-Rams game lost 10 percent over last year’s game. Sunday’s Jacksonville Jaguars-Buffalo Bills matchup earned better ratings than the Saturday games, but it was still a 21 percent loss over the 2016 season’s game, Josh Carpenter noted. “Fox drew a 20.4 rating yesterday for Saints-Panthers, down 21% from a 25.9 last year in same window (Giants-Packers). CBS drew a 17.2 for Jags-Bills, down 10% from last year (Steelers-Dolphins),” Carpenter wrote. These Wild Card game ratings come after a season of some of the worst ratings in NFL history. By some estimates, the 2017 regular NFL season is down nearly 10 points from 2016. It should be noted that the 2016 season itself saw an 8 percent tumble over the numbers from 2015; with the sports media claiming it was all due to a raucous 2016 presidential election season. But with the 2016 election long ago decided, one wonders what their excuse is for this year.

The fact is…there is no excuse.  The ratings are down because fans have simply decided to spend their time (and money) on other things.  They’ve decided to change the channel and not have a bunch of disrespectful, entitlement-minded, self-righteous, millionaire, spoiled brats disrespect our American Flag, the National Anthem, and veterans….while the NFL so-called leadership looks the other way (thereby tacitly endorsing such behavior).  More and more NFL fans are just over it.  So, they’ve changed the channel and haven’t looked back.  I know for myself, I’ve not seen an entire NFL game in 2 seasons since that tool Colin K. started this whole nonsense, and my team was in the playoffs!  Furthermore, when Roger Goodell had his contract renewed for over $200 MILLION, that was the final straw for a lot of folks who saw that as the NFL giving the finger to the fans.

ESPN’s ‘Monday Night Football’ Sacked Again by Low Ratings

The NFL is still getting tackled in the ratings and this week is no exception, as Monday Night Football seems to have once again taken a knee with numbers approaching a season low. The Atlanta Falcons, defending NFC Champions, pulled out a 24-21 win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, on Monday. And just as fans avoided attending the game at the stadium, leaving tons of empty seats, TV ratings were similarly anemic; bringing in a low 6.5 percent with 11.7 million viewers in metered markets, according to Deadline. Monday’s game took a 24 percent hit in the ratings over last week’s Monday night game, Deadline said. Matched against last year’s Week 15, Monday’s game saw a 19 percent loss of viewers. Deadline also notes that the game earned only slightly better numbers than last year’s game in the important 18-49 age demographic bringing in a 3.8 rating this year compared to 3.6 last year. The networks have stopped showing the playing of the national anthem, and fewer players are still protesting. However, despite the smaller number of protests, the NFL’s TV ratings are still falling to all-time lows. Ratings for Week 15’s broadcast of Thursday Night Football, for instance, crashed to a season low. And last week’s edition of Monday Night Football was down double-digits from the 2016 season. Things have gotten so bad for the NFL that a chicken wing company has blamed its falling profits on fewer fans munching down during games, and one Saints season ticket holder even sued his favorite team over the year-long anti-American protests.

Seattle Seahawk Players Account for More than Half of NFL’s Anthem Protesters in Week 15

While 12 players of the National Football League’s (NFL) Seattle Seahawks protested during the National Anthem, most teams with protesters had only one in Week 15. Click here to see the players who protested the National Anthem, by team, at this week’s NFL games, per ESPN:

As an aside, the RAMS punished the Seahawks 42-7, in their house.  Maybe a little karma..

Roger Goodell Signs New Contract to Remain NFL Commissioner

Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones implied that Commissioner Roger Goodell’s contract extension with the NFL would not get done prior t0 the NFL’s ownership meetings on December 13th. Jerry Jones missed the actual date, by a week. According to multiple reports, the NFL Compensation Committee completed and Roger Goodell signed, an extension that will keep him as NFL commissioner. The deal was first reported by Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio. The contract details of Goodell’s deal are rather incredible. According to a report from Charles Gasparino of Fox Business, “The contract extension carries a five-year term that will keep Goodell in place as commissioner through 2024. Goodell will earn a guaranteed annual salary of $3.5 million, though he could earn as much as $50 million through incentives.” Meaning, despite the NFL experiencing unprecedented declines in television ratings and in-game attendance, the NFL has just signed Roger Goodell to a deal that could be worth up to $200 million. Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones had tried for months to delay, devalue, or derail Goodell’s contract extension. Going so far as to enlist the support of Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter, who publicly criticized Goodell’s leadership over the commissioner’s response to the anthem protests. Those efforts, in addition to Jones’ behind-the-scenes lobbying campaign, appear to have been ineffective.

Indeed…  And the decline of the NFL continues..  Just awful..