Ravens To Open 2013-14 Season On Road… In Denver?







Peyton Manning might get a chance to avenge his loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the recent NFL playoffs, as the Ravens are forced to play their season opener, scheduled for Thursday, September 5, on the road due to the Orioles citing their inability to reschedule their home game with the White Sox that same night.

Peyton Manning might get a chance to avenge his loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the recent NFL playoffs, as the Ravens are forced to play their season opener, scheduled for Thursday, September 5, on the road due to the Orioles citing their inability to reschedule their home game with the White Sox that same night.

For the first time since the Super Bowl champion was anointed the host of a season kickoff game at home, the Baltimore Ravens will be unable to continue this tradition, as the baseball team in town, the Orioles – who haven’t won a World Series in three decades – has decided to be a killjoy.

In a statement, the O’s claim all teams and leagues involved have done “everything possible to work with us to explore all options to reschedule the September 5 game.

“Given the limited options available to reschedule the game at that late date in the season, the parties jointly determined that even an earlier start time would still create such enormous logistical difficulties that it would greatly diminish the fan experience for both events which all parties realized would not be in the interest of their fans or the City.”

September 5 is the first Thursday of the month, on which the NFL has designated it its season “kickoff” night. The only exception was last year, when the New York Giants/Dallas Cowboys tilt was rescheduled to the Wednesday of that week, due to President Obama’s keynote presentation on the final night of the four-night Democratic National Convention, which was the Thursday of that week. (For the record, the Yankees and Mets were both on the road that day, but given their home stadiums are located outside the Giants’ field in New Jersey, there probably wouldn’t be that much of a brouhaha.)

And by the way, the first Wednesday of September this year is Rosh Hashanah, and the league had expressed at league meetings in Arizona this week¬†their desire not to reschedule a Ravens’ home opener to that night. The Orioles would be finishing a three-game series in Cleveland that night, before embarking on a four-game homestand against the White Sox.

“While we are disappointed for the fans in Baltimore, we appreciate the efforts of the Ravens, Orioles and Major League Baseball and understand the logistical problems in trying to schedule the teams on the same day,” said the Ravens in their own team statement. “The Ravens will open the season on the road on Thursday night, September 5, in our annual NFL Kickoff Game on NBC.”

Unconfirmed to this point is whose stadium they will be invading on opening night.

Just as I speculated on which team I thought the Ravens would be hosting on September 5 on the day after they won the Super Bowl, I am now going to predict which team will host the Super Bowl champions on that night.

I will admit that a lot of research and thinking went into that post, but upon taking a good look at the eight teams they’re scheduled to play on the road this season, this time around, I invested as much time in my prediction as you did in reading this sentence.


Yes, the Denver Broncos, who hosted the divisional round playoff game in which the Ravens vanquished them in overtime en route to their second Lombardi Trophy, is the odd team outside of the three rivals in their division, half of another division in the AFC (Bills, Dolphins) and half of an NFC division (Bears, Lions) that the Ravens will be facing away from M&T Bank Stadium.

Yes, despite his struggles in that game, Peyton Manning is still ratings gold. In fact, his Broncos debut opened the “Sunday Night Football” season last year.

And yes, there could be a new rivarly budding between Manning and Joe Flacco, he of the record contract he signed in the offseason. Manning vs. Tom Brady it isn’t, but NBC will take it.

Heck, NBC would gladly take a rematch of an overtime playoff game in which the eventual Super Bowl champions prevailed – a game that was played on CBS, by the way.

So is Ravens/Broncos on September 5 in the bag? Not right away. Remember, CBS, the NFL’s AFC broadcast partner, has owned-and-operated television stations in Denver (KCNC-TV) as well as Baltimore (WJZ-TV). I’ll remind you how CBS was as defensive against NBC swiping away a regular season NFL game between the New England Patriots (CBS also owns WBZ-TV in Boston) and the Tim Tebow-led Broncos, as the Orioles appear to be for the right to play a regular season baseball game as scheduled, at a point in the season where either the O’s or the White Sox may be well out of playoff contention by the time the first pitch in that game is thrown.

For the Orioles’ sake, I just hope there isn’t rain in the forecast on the evening of September 5.

But who knows? It might be raining touchdowns in Denver that night.

And the big winner would be NBC.

Stay tuned.

Go 46ers! Jefferson City, MO TV Station Blacks Out During Super Bowl Text Messages







A Missouri television station erroneously reported that the San Francisco 49ers won Super Bowl XLVII via text message. That was after they first reported that the Baltimore Ravens had beat the "46ers" to win the Super Bowl.

A Missouri television station erroneously reported that the San Francisco 49ers won Super Bowl XLVII via text message. That was after they first reported that the Baltimore Ravens had beat the “46ers” to win the Super Bowl.

It was a Super Bowl that was watched by a great amount of people, even with a half-hour delay due to a stadium blackout in New Orleans.

But when the final seconds ticked off in Super Bowl XLVII, a television station’s news department fumbled not once, but twice, in relaying the final score to viewers subscribed to their “Textcaster” feature.

Of course, the Baltimore Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers, 34-31.

But according to KMIZ/”ABC 17″ in Jefferson City, Missouri, the Ravens actually beat the “San Francisco 46ers.” (Did a few states secede during that blackout?)

Immediately, the people in charge of the text service corrected the information – or so they thought.

“Correction,” read the subsequent text message. “San Francisco 49ers win Super Bowl 34-31.”

Not only did KMIZ give the 49ers their name back, they also handed them the Lombardi Trophy.

Was Brian Billick minding their texts?

Finally, a third text message was sent, reading: “After a few mistakes on our part, it was the Ravens over the 49ers 34-31 in Super Bowl XLVII. Apologies.”

Okay – if they had simply corrected the name of the team from the “46ers” to the “49ers,” we’d give them the benefit of the doubt. But following up that error with another one is just downright sloppy texting.

And what if you were one of the few people in mid-Missouri who could not watch the big game, that actually depended on these text messages for information?

I reached out to News Press & Gazette Broadcasting, the company that owns KMIZ-TV, and a person named Justin would not comment beyond saying “it was a mistake from our news department.” He also could not confirm how many viewers, if any, unsubscribed from the station’s text message service as a result of their Super snafu over the weekend.

Hey, we’re human. We are all not immune from mistakes. Nobody’s perfect. I get that.

But needing to send three texts for a simple score of the most popular football game of the year?

I suppose sending those texts while driving would make matters worse.

Dan Sileo, Deer Antler Spray Guinea Pig







WQAM/Miami host Dan Sileo spent his entire show on Monday imbibing deer antler spray and patches that he claims to have received from Mitch Ross, the alleged PED dealer of Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, in New Orleans last week.

WQAM/Miami host Dan Sileo spent his entire show on Monday imbibing deer antler spray and patches that he claims to have received from Mitch Ross, the alleged PED dealer of Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, in New Orleans last week.

“We will be making radio history,” Dan Sileo tweeted on Monday morning.

Many daily radio shows did their usual Monday morning quarterbacking of a blackout-prolonged, Beyonce-halftimed Super Bowl that was won by the Baltimore Ravens, and the final game of the career of linebacker Ray Lewis.

Sileo, on the other hand, opted for something that may earn him a Pulitzer Prize, if not a Marconi award.

You may recall that allegations of Lewis using deer antler spray were circulating not too long after the Ravens punched their ticket to the big game.

It was a game that Sileo, days removed from a suspension for tweaking Erin Andrews on Twitter, helped promote as he broadcasted live from the site of Super Bowl XLVII.

“I had an epiphany in New Orleans,” Sileo told his listeners on WQAM/Miami on Monday. “As I was coming home on Friday, there was an intervention… Who did I see but Mitch Ross himself, Ray’s dealer.”

Sileo claims that Ross gave him the same PED’s that Ross says Lewis (allegedly) received from him.

And who knew that a Ravens Super Bowl victory would lead Sileo to do some investigative journalism, live on his show.

“I was inspired by Ray’s performance last night.”

Inspired, that is, to be a deer antler spray lab rat.

“This is the most journalistic thing I will ever do,” Sileo proclaimed. “Most men can just report on stories; I am going to give you personal hands-on knowledge on whether or not deer antler velvet works.

“This is, without a doubt, radio history being made,” he continued. “We are doing an NFL-banned substance on the radio, right now, for you. The journalistic integrity that we have here on the program, that we never have, is here on display for you right now. And nor do I want it, but today, I felt compelled to tell you out there, that if the deer antler made Ray Lewis a champion, hopefully it makes me a champion broadcaster.”

And so, Sileo proceeded to take some sprays of deer antler. “Mitch told me ten sprays under the tongue.”

The problem is, by the end of his show, he would take a grand total of thirty-three sprays.

And I lost track of how many chips he used in addition to the spray.

“The chips, the most important thing, that Ray swears takes pain away, and helps his arm so that he can be a Super Bowl champion,” Sileo said. “Since my knee… that I’ve had four surgeries on… is hurting badly, I am going to do my right knee with the actual Mitch Ross chips.”

In the second hour of the show, Sileo gave his audience an update: “I’m feeling emotional like Ray was last night.” Also, “There is a tingling sensation in my heart now.

“I’m gonna power through this,” he said, as he seeked another “Ray Lewis chip” to place on his wrist. Also, because “my aunt is really concerned about my health right now,” he decided to turn his cell phone off. “My aunt’s blowing it up… My jounalistic integrity is on the line.”

It was around that time that Sileo also made a revelation.

“I’ve shot myself with pregnant women’s urine before. It brings the melons back, if you know what I’m saying; it turns raisins into coconuts… I’ve got a whole lot of pregnant women’s urine in my refrigerator right now.”

When Sileo started this experiment, he warned listeners that he “might pass out.”

Sure enough, at the very end of his show, he took two final sprays, struggled through a live read, and then lost consciousness – or at least it sounded like he did. Sileo’s sidekicks had to end the show for him. (The photo you see above was taken and tweeted by a WQAM staffer.)

So is the deer antler stuff that potent? Or is it just too much for one radio host?

You be the judge.

(Full audio of the entire February 4, 2013 Dan Sileo show is available here.)

Baltimore Ravens Will Kick Off 2013-14 NFL Season On NBC Against… Pittsburgh Steelers? New England Patriots?







The Baltimore Ravens will begin their defense of the Super Bowl championship with a Thursday night "kickoff" game on NBC, and it will likely be against the division rival Pittsburgh Steelers on September 5.

The Baltimore Ravens will begin their defense of the Super Bowl championship with a Thursday night “kickoff” game on NBC, and it will likely be against the division rival Pittsburgh Steelers on September 5.

There is but 213 days until the 2013-14 NFL season kicks off.

Not like we’re the only ones keeping track, or anything.

But with not even a single game scheduled (sans the two games taking place in London)¬†for the upcoming NFL season – the entirely of which is slated to be released in mid-April (and that hasn’t stopped me in predicting which games will be played this upcoming Thanksgiving) – this much is true: Your Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens will open the season with a “kickoff” game airing on Thursday, September 5, on NBC.

The question is, who will their opponent be?

In the seven years that NBC has aired the season kickoff game, only two of those games were divisional matchups: New York Giants/Washington Redskins in 2008, and the Giants’ Wednesday night loss to the Dallas Cowboys last year. Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Steelers have appeared in two of the three games that the AFC team winning the previous year’s big game have hosted the “kickoff” game in the ensuing year. Yet the Steelers, in their fifteen appearances on “Sunday Night Football,” have played the Ravens on “SNF” at least once during the last four seasons; the Ravens hosted the Steelers in 2009 and 2010; the Ravens would then win both subsequent “SNF” matchups against the Steelers at Heinz Field in 2011 and 2012.

So it’s very conceivable to think that the Ravens will host their division rival Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium on NBC, when the 2013-14 season kicks off.

But let’s look at the rest of the opponents the Ravens will be facing at home for the remainder of the year. Right away, we can count out the other AFC North foes, the Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns. With AFC North teams scheduled to play interconference games against the NFC North division, the Ravens are due to host the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings, both of whom made the playoffs this past season.

Then, there’s the rest of the slate of AFC teams that will be traveling to Baltimore next season: the New York Jets, the New England Patriots and the Houston Texans.

If the Jets were not undergoing their current image problems (read: had they made the playoffs), you could make an argument for them being the Ravens’ first opponent of the year, given Jets head coach Rex Ryan’s previous ties with the Ravens. In fact, both teams had opened up their respective 2010 campaigns on “Monday Night Football.”

But then you have the Patriots and the Texans, two teams that the Ravens had met in the playoffs in recent years: in the 2011-12 playoffs, they defeated the Texans, en route to a crucial missed field goal sealing a loss to the Patriots in Foxboro – a loss, of course, that the Ravens would avenge in the Patriots’ house just a few weeks ago.

On paper, a Patriots/Ravens game would immediately blow a Steelers/Ravens game out of the water as your season opener. And the fact that the Ravens and Patriots both faced each other in the playoffs over the past two years, combined with the Ravens just recently winning it all, would add to the storylines for such a game. People are already drawing conclusions as to whether or not Joe Flacco is a better quarterback than Tom Brady, and that discussion is sure to continue through the offseason – and a culmination on the Thursday night primetime stage would be something that the NFL would want.

But would CBS stand for it? Each year, the NFL’s broadcast partners file requests for “protected games.” And with CBS possessing an owned-and-operated broadcast affiliate in both Boston and Baltimore, to have a game that could be lucrative to the network as a juicy late-game broadcast taken away for airing on NBC, may not sit well with the Eye Network. (CBS also has an O&O in Pittsburgh, but the Ravens and Steelers play each other two times per year.)

You already know how influential Patriots owner Robert Kraft is, and how he wielded his power when the league had considered moving a Broncos/Patriots telecast from CBS to “Sunday Night Football” on NBC at the height of “Tebowmania” (yes, CBS also has an O&O in Denver).

To me, the strong favorite for the 2013-14 season opener would be Patriots/Ravens, as it should. But should CBS have a problem with that, then it’ll likely be Steelers/Ravens. I mean, it’s as if they’re destined to play another game on NBC this year by default, so you may as well upgrade it to a season kickoff game. And consider this: all four Steelers/Ravens games played on NBC over the last four seasons have been decided by a single field goal. The Ravens have won three of four, including the aforementioned road victories in Pittsburgh. NBC would be guaranteed a close game – which, in turn, equals great ratings.

And did I mention that the Patriots were actually flexed out of a few “Sunday Night Football” broadcasts?

It’ll probably be Big Ben Roethlisberger vs. “F—ing Awesome” Joe Flacco to kick off the 2013-14 season.

Or will it be Flacco vs. Tom Brady?

Which would you rather want as the 2013-14 season opener? Post your thoughts in the comments below.

Mark Schlereth, Hannah Storm On ESPN's Candid Camera Questioning Tim Tebow's Future







ESPN viewers on Tuesday were treated to a private conversation between Mark Schlereth and Hannah Storm, and the topic was the future of Tim Tebow in the NFL.

ESPN viewers on Tuesday were treated to a private conversation between Mark Schlereth and Hannah Storm, and the topic was the future of Tim Tebow in the NFL.

Once upon a time, ESPN was a shameless promoter in Tim Tebow – and they weren’t afraid to show it.

Former ESPN personalities weren’t afraid to admit that the network was pro-Tebow.

Even more so after his trade to the New York Jets, where he would become a seldom-used backup quarterback.

So one year removed from leading the Denver Broncos to an improbable playoff victory, he’s watching the playoffs at home. And judging by his Twitter feed – so far this year, his tweets have consisted of nothing but retweets – clearly, he’s at a loss for words.

But it sounds like a couple of ESPN personalities aren’t.

On Tuesday, during coverage of Super Bowl Media Day, ESPN had inadvertently cut away from a press conference with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to the middle of a conversation between Hannah Storm and Mark Schlereth.

They appeared to be talking about a quarterback – and it wasn’t Kaepernick.

Based on what we could gather, brand-new grandfather Schlereth – who should be hosting ESPN’s “SportsNation” by now – was discussing potential future use for Tebow – and it didn’t sound like his future was bright, in Schlereth’s view.

And Storm, who actually looks quite nice, thank you, weeks removed from that horrific gas grill incident, seemed to buy what the former Broncos guard was selling.

Here’s the transcript:


MARK SCHLERETH: He’s like a tight end, basically.

STORM: Oh, yeah, yeah… Oh, yeah… Yeah, that’s interesting.

SCHLERETH: But I, I have to tell you, I talked to a bunch of the Broncos coaches, and… I just don’t know if he’s a fluent enough athlete to go over and play tight end, because he doesn’t catch the ball naturally, either.

STORM: Oh. And — okay, okay, okay. Yeah… Sure. Sure.

STAGE DIRECTOR: Okay, stand by, guys…

JIM HARBAUGH: Well, the way he played, ugh…

And at that point, ESPN cut to another presser with Niners head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Now, granted, Schlereth never mentioned Tebow by name. But it wouldn’t be the first time he spoke of the quarterback in a negative light.

Also, it’s actually not the first time an ESPN talking head spoke ill will of Tebow on the air (at least Merril Hoge knew he was on camera).

So what led to this snafu? Was it sabotage from a Worldwide Leader insider who sought payback on the network for going wall-to-wall Tebow for many times over the last year or so?

Remember, ESPN recently went on the record and admitted that they did spend a bit too much time on their air with “Tebow time.”

Depending on what franchise Tebow ends up with in the 2013-14 season, we’ll see if the network is true to its word (like, for starters, whether or not August 15 of this year will be a regularly scheduled broadcast day).

But regardless of which side of the Tim Tebow fence ESPN may be on, I’m sure this is one piece of embarrassing video that they wish never crashed their Super Bowl party.

Sports Media Gone Wild: Canadian Sports Radio Host Wishes Death On Saskatchewan Roughriders Players

Canadian sports radio host Dean Molberg said on the air that he wanted members of the Sasketchewan Roughriders CFL team to perish in a plane crash. He has been suspended by CFAC/”Sportsnet 960 The Fan” for the remainder of the CFL playoffs.

This crazy story comes from our neighbors to the north (with a hat tip to our domestic peers at The Big Lead).

Canada has their own version of the NFL. And unlike the NFL, whose playoffs start with the new year, the CFL’s playoffs are underway right now. There’s a semifinal game between the Calgary Stampeders and the Saskatchewan Roughriders today at McMahon Stadium in Calgary.

And apparently, Canada also has their own version of “Boomer” in sports broadcasting. But I doubt Chris Berman would ever wish harm or death to the New England Patriots if they flew into Buffalo to play his beloved Bills.

But the equivalent of that is what happened on Wednesday morning, as Dean “Boomer” Molberg, the co-host of the morning show alongside Rhett Warrener on CFAC/”Sportsnet 960 The Fan,” said on the air that he hoped the plane flying the Roughriders players into Calgary would crash.

And he additionally wished death on only four Roughriders players if their plane crashed.

Gee, Dean, just four players out of their 46-man roster? How generous of you.


The following day, “Boomer” Molberg, as “Boomer” Berman would say, circled the wagons and issued an on-air apology to listeners; he also wrote a formal letter of apology, as well. Later that day, Rogers Media, the station’s parent company (they also own a chain of “Sportsnet” television networks across Canada, hence the awkward name of the radio station – think “ESPN Radio”) suspended Molberg for the remainder of the CFL playoffs. CFAC program director Kelly Kirch also made it public on the station’s Facebook page, adding that they planned to make “a donation to the Saskatchewan Roughriders charity of choice.”

Audio of these comments was available (the station apparently stopped archiving the entirety of its morning show a couple of months ago). But we do have audio of the apology he issued on the air. In the event the station yanks that, here is a partial transcript of that apology:

“I made a comment… that had no place being on the radio. It was not thought out. It was an attempt to be funny, which clearly, in hindsight, was ill-founded. There are a lot of people angry, and they have a right to be. There’s a lot of people insulted, and they had a right to be. It goes without saying that I wish no harm to members of the Saskatchewan Rough Riders, and I shouldn’t have to say it, but you know what, I do, because I came out and said the stupid and idiotic thing that I said… We sit in here and you talk for four hours, and so much stuff comes out – again, I’m not defending it… It came out yesterday, and I felt bad immediately, I said, ‘geez, I shouldn’t have said that,’ and as the day went along, I was like, ‘that was really in poor taste’… Hey, I’m gettig your tweets, I’m getting your emails, I know you’re upset, and like I said, you have a right to be. I feel really badly about it, I’m gutted by it, I’m rattled today… I’m not Howard Stern, shock jock, we do things here to try and have some fun, and get the fans and the listeners invested. And what I did… was stupid, and I apologize. And I hope you don’t stop listening, I hope you don’t look at me in a different light, because that’s not me… Like I say, it was just at the end of a segment, an attempt at being funny, and it was an awful attempt at trying to be funny, and it won’t happen again.”

Now, I mention the possibility of “Sportsnet 960 The Fan” removing the audio of Molberg’s apology from their website because it appears they’ve wasted no time in finding a replacement for him. If you visit the station’s website and go to the morning show page, the likeness of “Boomer” was replaced with a generic station logo, and a message that Andrew Walker was now hosting the CFAC wakeup show alongside Rhett Warrener.

Compare that to the archived photo of Molberg from the “Fan” website which you can find on this online petition asking Rogers Media to “fire Dean ‘Boomer’ Molberg” for “[wishing] death of innocents and plane crash.”

The 2012 CFL playoffs will continue until the Canadian version of the Super Bowl, the Grey Cup, is played on Sunday, November 25, which is at the end of American Thanksgiving weekend (yes, Canada has their own Thanksgiving day, too, and just like their football league’s playoffs, it falls about five weeks ahead of America’s).

The question is whether or not Dean Molberg will return to the station at the end of the month.

If not, Canada’s version of “Boomer” could very well end up being Canada’s version of “The Torg.”

Donovan McNabb Joins NFL Network, Risks Deion Sanders Laughing At Him Some More

Donovan McNabb is joining NFL Network, effectively ending a thirteen-year NFL career. He’ll be featured on NFLN’s weekly football preview series “Playbook,” Friday nights at 8 PM ET, with encores Saturdays at 11 AM and 5 PM ET, as well as Sundays at 5 AM ET.

He spent over a decade with the Philadelphia Eagles – and zero Super Bowl rings to show for it.

He was a $78 million mistake in Washington.

He had three times as many sacks as touchdowns last season with Minnesota.

And despite claiming three mystery franchises are still interested in his services, clearly none of them have come calling as the 2012 NFL season begins.

And so, the next playbook that Donovan McNabb will be holding will be for the NFL Network team.

McNabb will be an analyst for NFLN’s seasonal “Playbook” program, of which there are two episodes produced for both conferences each week, with the NFC edition airing Friday nights at 8 PM ET, followed by the AFC program.

Well, if McNabb never ends up in the NFL Hall of Fame, he can always bide his time alongside folks that are already in Canton, such as Sterling Sharpe (who will also be appearing on NFLN’s “First On The Field” early Sunday morning show with future Hall of Famer Ladainian Tomlinson).

Or can he? Remember when he was in Culver City one Saturday night during the playoffs this past January? Deion Sanders could hardly take McNabb seriously. It was as if 5 was preparing to hitch a ride on the corner of 21st and Prime.

Later, McNabb popped up on one of ESPN’s programs, giving the impression that he was lobbying for a gig, if not in pro football, then in broadcasting.

When you look at McNabb’s legacy – eleven years with the Eagles and despite many playoff wins, the only thing he managed to win in Super Bowl XXXIX was a bout of vomiting; a 5-year, $78 million contract with the Redskins that ended up paying just $4 million after being cut with four years remaining on the pact; and an otherwise forgettable tenure with the Vikings in which the combination of McNabb’s vow to be a starter plus the Vikings chomping at the bit to name Christian Ponder their guy proved to be a mall-sized conundrum – maybe it’s only right that he starts suiting up with attire from Nordstrom as opposed to Nike.

It appears McNabb made one move this past week that may have tipped his hand in becoming a broadcaster: he joined Twitter. Or at least it looks like the real McNabb behind the account. Of course, it’s not verified, and according to a reliable source, it isn’t actually McNabb – thought he “does have plans to join Twitter soon.” For what it’s worth, the possibly fake McNabb tweeted a photo of himself in his office using Twitter – a photo that is now stricken from the record.

So prepare to see Donovan McNabb every weekend, football fans – just not on the field. Instead, he’ll be breaking down two “Playbooks” on NFL Network, starting this Friday night.

I wonder if the first order of business will be what happens if the Seahawks/Cardinals game ends in a tie.