Archive for January, 2017
By MICHELE GRAHAM
Her company name says it all. Betsy Berns Korn is the voice of sports fandom to thousands of women. Along with her the blog and app FemaleFan.com, Betsy has authored three books on sports, did a stint with the NFL, and has appeared frequently in the media and on panels.
You could say Betsy had no choice in becoming immersed in sports. This California native had three older brothers who, lore has it, cried when their baby sister arrived. They were hoping for a fourth brother so they could have even teams. After getting over their disappointment, they set out on a mission to school Betsy in sports, especially football, which Betsy says, “They obsessed over. I had charts in my rooms and they would test me with pop quizzes.”
While getting her MBA at Northwestern’s Kellogg School, the term “football widow” gained traction and Betsy spotted an opportunity. She drafted what she refers to as a “dummy’s guide to football.” Betsy’s research included talking to former Minnesota Viking and Chicago Bear players who gave insight into strategy and players’ thinking. Her book, The Female Fan’s Guide to Pro Football, and a poll she conducted that was published in USA Today got the NFL’s attention. Betsy signed on to conduct a Football 101 instructional series across the country that brought together female fans and each city’s pro players. Shortly after came “The Ultimate Female Football Fan” contest in conjunction with Norwegian Cruise Lines. The foray into football was such a success it didn’t take long for motorsports and thoroughbred horseracing to come calling for their own books.
Betsy’s approach with FemaleFan.com is to provide enough info to keep up with water cooler (or coffee bar!) sports talk and to focus on human interest stories. “Women get more involved if they know who they are rooting for. It puts a human face to the athlete.” Betsy’s rule about photos on her site: they have to show players’ faces; it makes them real. In the case of football that means no face masks.
Betsy’s faves these days: The Williams Sisters in tennis. “Women’s tennis is really exciting and the Williams have transformed the sport.” In basketball she’s obsessed with the Golden State Warriors (you can take the girl out of California…). And for Super Bowl Sunday? “The record seven time Super Bowl appearance by the Patriots’ coach player combo Belichick-Brady is incredible. But I also love that this is Matt Ryan’s – the Atlanta Falcon’s quarterback and likely NFL MVP – first Super Bowl appearance. You just can’t miss this!”No comments
LeBron James went off on former NBA Superstar and TNT analyst Charles Barkley. Barkley has been making snide comments about James for awhile now saying James is “whiny” and will never be included in the top 5 stars in NBA history. After yet another Cleveland Cavaliers loss, LeBron vented to ESPN: “I’m not going to let him disrespect my legacy like that. I’m not the one who threw somebody through a window. I never spit on a kid. I never had unpaid debt in Las Vegas. I never said, ‘I’m not a role model.’ I never showed up to All-Star Weekend on Sunday because I was in Vegas all weekend partying. He then added, “Screw Charles Barkley.” This story isn’t going away anytime soon. It will be interesting to see what happens the next time they meet!
Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator (and likely new head coach for the SF 49ers) Kyle Shanahan, looked shaken during his interview with reporters Monday during Super Bowl’s media night. At some point during the media session, Shanahan lost his backpack containing his Super Bowl tickets and more importantly his offensive playbook. He didn’t have to fret for too long however, as a reporter had picked up his bag by mistake and quickly returned it with all contents intact.
The best part of Monday’s media night was when a 7 year old boy asked Tom Brady a question. He asked, “Many people say you’re their hero, but who’s your hero?” Brady teared up with his answer. He said, “Who’s my hero? That’s a great question. Well, I think my dad is my hero. Because he’s someone I look up to every day.”1 comment
Serena Williams is the greatest of all time!!! With her 23rd Grand Slam title after beating her sister Venus over the weekend in the Finals of the Australian Open, Serena at 35 years old, has taken tennis to a whole new level. Rounding out a terrific weekend, and also making a claim for the greatest of all time, Roger Federer won his 18th career Grand Slam title (also at 35 years old) beating Rafael Nadal.
In a surprising move, the San Francisco 49ers hired former Stanford player and Hall of Fame candidate, John Lynch as their new General Manager. Lynch has been working as an NFL color commentator since his retirement from playing the game. Even though he doesn’t have any front office experience, the Niners signed him to an unprecedented 6 year contract. The Team also plans to hire Kyle Shanahan as their new head coach.
Oklahoma City Thunder’s Enes Kanter broke his arm after punching a chair on the team bench because he was frustrated with his play. You can imagine how frustrated he is (and the team is) now, as he’ll be out 6-8 weeks. The Thunder could really suffer without Kanter. He records 14.6 points per game, the third highest scorer on the team.
The Chicago Bulls seem to have some bad blood in the locker room. Dwayne Wade and Jimmy Butler publicly admonished the young guys on the team for not bringing their “A” game. Veteran Rajan Rondo then posted a long tirade on instagram criticizing Wade and Butler for not acting like leaders. It is always amazing to me why any player would share disfunction between players on social media for the public to see. Some things should just stay in the locker room.
And, speaking of locker rooms, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski is home recovering from back surgery, but is still making his presence known. After the team recently lost to North Carolina State (for the first time in 22 years), Coach K banned them from entering their locker room and from wearing school apparel. Apparently the punishments will last until the team starts “living up to the standards of the Duke program”.No comments
It will be a Williams Sister Final in the Australian Open. Serena and Venus Williams will play each other in the final on Saturday. This will be Venus’ first grand slam final since 2009 and their ninth playing each other in a Grand Slam. Serena has the edge with 6 wins to 2. If Serena wins on Saturday she’ll regain her #1 ranking. For Venus, a win would be a testament to her hard work and perseverance in the face of adversity. Since 2011 Venus has been battling an auto-immune disease called Sjogren’s which causes fatigue and join pain. Venus fought back and didn’t let the disease define her. As Serena stated, “After everything Venus has been through with her illness and everything, it’s a win-win situation”. Venus went on to say it best, “This is a golden time, a golden time. I couldn’t ask for anything more.” If you’re up, you can watch in real time 3:30 am ET Saturday morning.
Even though the Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony has a no-trade clause in his contract, it’s been reported the team has approached the Cleveland Cavaliers to waive the clause and trade him to for the Cavs Kevin Love. Carmelo and LeBron are friends and have communicated how much they’d like to play together. LeBron also hasn’t been shy about complaining his team needs another star player, but the Cavs aren’t letting on to what their plans are prior to the February 23rd trade deadline.No comments
LeBron Disses Management To Media, Big Ben May Retire, 3 Over 30 In Semis, Player Hits Boy Gets Disqualified
After another loss, the Cleveland Cavs LeBron James went off on the management of his team claiming they need to do more in order to win. He said, “The team needs a [bleeping] playmaker. I’m not saying you can just go find one, like you can go outside and see trees. I didn’t say that.” Many felt LeBron shouldn’t have been mouthing off to the media, and if he had complaints, he should express them to management in private.
After losing to the New England Patriots last weekend, Pittsburgh Steeler QB Ben Roethlisberger says he many not return next season. He said, I’m going to take some time and evaluate with my family and do a lot of praying about it, and make sure it’s the right thing for me and my family,” At 34 years old, Big Ben has the most wins of any QB in Steelers history.
Speaking of age, the three women semi-finalists in the Australian Open are over 30 (only the second time in history a Grand Slam featured 3 over 30). We’ll see 36 year old Venus Williams, 35 year old Serena Williams and 34 year old Mirjana Lucie-Baroni. Rounding out the semis is the young 25 year old Coco Vandeweghe.
At the Junior Australian Open, an umpire is under fire on social media for disqualifying a player who accidentally hit a ball boy after she lost her first set. Watch this video, she clearly wasn’t looking at the boy, and when she realized what she did, she immediately looked upset. There are clear rules in tennis, but common sense should weigh in as well.No comments
The Atlanta Falcons blew out the Green Bay Packers to become the NFC Champs. Falcons’ QB Matt Ryan is heading to the SB for the first time, and with 4 touchdowns and 392 in this championship game, he clearly made a statement about his quest to be NFL MVP this season. Falcons 44, Packers 21.
The New England Patriots will play in their record 9th Super Bowl appearance (a record 7th for Coach Belichick and QB Tom Brady) with a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Brady passed for 384 years and 3 TD’s securing his 24th career playoff win. The feel good, breakout star of the game (other than Brady of course) was receiver Chris Hogan who had two touchdowns and 180 receiving yards. Hogan was a lacrosse player in college, an un-drafted rookie on a couple of teams in 2011, made it to the Dolphins practice squad and eventually picked up by the Buffalo Bills in 2012. After witnessing and appreciating his skills for the past 3 years on the Bills, the Patriots signed him to the team this season. Patriots 36, Steelers 17.
Super Bowl 51: Falcons/Patriots 6:30 pm February 5th ET at NRG Stadium in Houston
In other NFL news, the Indianapolis Colts fired their General Manager Ryan Grigson. Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano did not get along and even went to marriage counseling to try and work things out. As owner Jim Irsay said in his press conference,“Hey, do you want to come to Indianapolis and win a world championship?” There will be many qualified applicants for this position so stay tuned.
Two lives were lost in two separate and tragic car accidents over the weekend. Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordan Ventura, nicknamed Ace Ventura, died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. Former player Andy Marte also died in a completely separate car accident also occurring in the Dominican Republic Sunday. Thoughts go to their families.No comments
The All-Star votes are out and the East/West teams are set. There are 10 players selected for both the Western and Eastern Conferences with 5 starters in each conference. This year, fans votes weighed 50% while player and media votes weighed 25% each, which could be the reason superstar Russell Westbrook wasn’t named a starter. Only two guards can start and Steph Curry and James Harden got more fan votes than Westbrook in the Western Conference. For the full roster, click here!
The NFL Championship games are Sunday with winners from each conference facing each other in Super Bowl 51 on February 5th.
Green Bay Packers vs Atlanta Falcons 3:05 pm ET
Pittsburgh Steelers vs New England Patriots 6:40 pm ET
In other football news, the San Diego Chargers are facing some bad PR. The local moving companies have gotten together and are refusing to move the team to LA. They feel their team is abandoning them and don’t want to be part of the process.
The Australian Open is underway and we already have a major upset. The world’s #2 ranked Novak Djokovic lost in the second round to the 117th ranked, Denis Istomin. Djokovic’s loss to the wild card Istomin is even more surprising as Djokovic has won 6 Australian Opens and was looking to make this the 7th (a feat which no one has yet achieved). The 5 set match lasted 4 hours and 48 minutes.
Golden State Warrior Kevin Durant left it all on the court against his former team, the Oklahoma City Thunder. With an impressive 40 points, Durant was on a mission. Emotions were running high between the two teams all night, especially after the Warriors’ Zaza Pachulia caused OKC’s Westbrook to fall to the ground and grab his face. Pachulia didn’t seem fazed and just glared at Westbrook. After the game Westbrook commented, “I don’t play that game. I’m going to get his ass back, so whenever that is, I don’t know when it’s going to be, but I don’t play that game.” Warriors 121, Thunder 100.
Congratulations to the new selections to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Jeff Bagwell, Ivan Rodriguez and Tim Raines. Eligible players need to receive at least 75% of the votes from the Baseball Writers Association or the Veterans Committee.No comments
It’s no surprise Pittsburgh Steelers’ Coach Mike Tomlin isn’t too happy with his receiver Antonio Brown, who aired his “private” speech on Facebook after their win last weekend. Tomlin’s speech was supposed to be a private moment with his team, but with his extensive use of profanity (much of it directed toward their opponents next weekend, the New England Patriots), Tomlin has issued an apology for his language and a rebuke of Brown for posting. Tomlin stated Brown will “face consequences internally by the team” but nothing that will interfere with his playing time next weekend. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger expressed his disappointment best during his weekly radio interview, “That’s a sacred place where things are said and hugs and tears, and it’s kind of a special place. So a little disappointed with AB for that. Coach talks and then I talk, and you just don’t want everyone to know what’s going on in there with the family. And also, I wish AB would have been listening to Coach and myself instead of being on the other side of the locker room filming.”
The San Francisco 49ers will reportedly offer Kyle Shanahan the team’s head coaching job. Shanahan, son of NFL coach Mike Shanahan, is the Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator. Shanahan won’t entertain this potential offer until after Sunday’s NFC showdown against the Green Bay Packers.
This story made me happy! Oakland Raiders wide receiver and former Alabama All-American, Amari Cooper, started a book club and invited his fans to follow with him online. On his Instagram account, he wrote,”For 2017, I am challenging myself to read 12 books, a book per month. I am sure it will be both challenging and fun at the same time, which is why I hope to do it with many others. I have carefully selected these books for self-help purposes, spiritual growth, mental growth, leadership, motivation, education and entertainment.” I hope he gets a lot of fans following and reading with him.No comments