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People call this time of year “the dog days of summer.” Looking back at the last few weekends of televised sports, I’d have to agree… there have been some definite dogs in there. But finally, this weekend, the best televised sport of them all returns to the air waves.
I speak of course, about football.
It’s been six months since we enjoyed the New Orleans Saints’ improbable victory over Peyton Manning’s Colts in Super Bowl XLIV. Since then, we’ve been left to watch a boring World Cup soccer tournament, our two winter sports teams suffer crushing playoff defeats, and a baseball team that couldn’t be less entertaining. But have no fear, the NFL is here… for now. Enjoy this season while you can, because it’s looking more and more like after this season is through, we could be left starving for pro football during an expected work stoppage.
So now that I’ve got everyone down in the dumps, let’s flip the script and move on with an exciting batch of sports programming to sink your teeth into this weekend. It’s time for this week’s installment of “The Couch Potato Report,” C.P.R. for your sports-lovin’ hearts.
Before we dive into this week’s top five TV picks, I want to give a brief shout-out to all of those who are participating in and volunteering at this weekend’s Pan-Mass Challenge, an annual bike event that raises millions of dollars for cancer research and treatment at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. Whether you’re pedaling your way from Sturbridge to Provincetown or you’re handing out waters from the sidewalks of the bike route, we wish you the best of luck this weekend and thank you very much for your efforts! (Tying this back to TV, you can check out the “PMC Kickoff Show” live on NECN Friday night at 7pm.)
Friday at 7pm on NESN, Saturday at 4pm on FOX, and Sunday at 8pm on ESPN
It’s the greatest rivalry in all of sports, and something big always seems to happen when the Sox and Yanks get together. The injury bug has bitten the Sox badly this season, with Kevin Youkilis being the latest to go down (earlier this week), as he will undergo season-ending thumb surgery in Cleveland this weekend. On the field, what’s left of the Sox will head down I-95 to the Bronx to try and hold on tightly to their last glimmer of playoff hopes, as the Sox cling to relevancy in the American League playoff picture. Unfortunately, we only get the Remy-Orsillo combo in one of these three games; the games go national Saturday on FOX and Sunday with Jon Miller, Orel Hershiser, and the insufferable Joe Morgan on ESPN. But hey, by Sunday, Boston’s playoff hopes may be down the toilet anyway, so maybe you won’t even have to deal with J-Mo at all.
Sunday night at 8pm on NBC
The annual Hall of Fame Game will be played Sunday night in Canton, Ohio to kickoff the 2010 preseason. This year’s game features Terrell Owens and his new team, the Cincinnati Bengals, taking on one of T.O.’s former squads, the Dallas Cowboys. Granted, it’s preseason, so you obviously won’t see too much of Owens, Ochocinco, Romo, and any of the other stars for too long, if at all. But just seeing football on my television will make me giddy like a kid in a candy store. And trust me, I don’t get “giddy” too often… it takes a lot to get me “giddy,” but football season delivers the “giddiness” every year. If you’re into boring ceremonies featuring old NFL greats, tune in Saturday night at 7pm on ESPN for the actual Hall of Fame induction, honoring the likes of Emmitt Smith, Jerry Rice, and others. We’ve all seen Emmitt try his best at public speaking, doing NFL coverage for ESPN… so yeah, his speech ought to be something right out of a Mensa meeting.
Friday at 2pm on Golf Channel, Saturday at 12pm on GC and 2pm on CBS, Sunday at 11am on GC and 1pm on CBS
Look out, ladies of Akron, Ohio! Tiger Woods returns to the links this weekend at the Firestone Country Club in LeBron’s hometown for the Bridgestone Invitational, a course that has helped Tiger deliver seven wins on the PGA tour during his career. Tiger wasn’t on the prowl in Thursday’s opening round, however, shooting a 4-over 74, his worst round ever at Firestone, which leaves him ten shots back of leader Bubba Watson. Woods only beat seven golfers Thursday out of the 81-player field. Ouch. Even without Tiger, though, the top of the leaderboard features a handful of big names, including Adam Scott, Kenny Perry, and Phil Mickelson, who if the cards fall his way, could overtake Woods as the world’s #1 ranked golfer. Maybe the ladies of Akron, Ohio should go after Lefty instead!
Saturday at 6pm on NESN
The Sox-Yanks rivalry will be played out at the minor league level as well this weekend, with the PawSox hosting the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees at McCoy Stadium. It’s rare we get to see the future Sox on TV, so if the BoSox are getting blown out in the Bronx by 6:00 Saturday evening, you can flip over to NESN and see if the MiniSox can fare any better.
Sunday at 3pm on NBC
If you ever are looking to feel like the most lazy, unathletic, tub of goo alive, just flip on the Ironman Triathlon. No matter when it’s on every year, I always seem to find it when I’m flipping through the channels, but then I watch it and feel like absolute crap afterwards. These athletes are ridiculous, taking on a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile marathon run in the summer heat of Hawaii? That’s not what you’d find me doing in Hawaii… look for me at the bar with an umbrella drink in one hand and… well… another umbrella drink in the other hand.
Sunday at 10pm on MTV
I’m not sure why, actually… but doesn’t this competition sound ridiculous enough to watch, just based on the title of the show? Basically, from what I’ve read about this thing, Sunday night’s one-hour, one-time special will feature five finalists that will compete in Twitter-based challenges (whatever that is), and the winner will be crowned MTV’s first “TJ,” or “Twitter Jockey.” What does a “TJ” do? That’s a great question… I’m hoping to find out when I watch. Who are your five finalists, you may ask? Well none other than “@dannielleor,” “@gabifresh,” “@imJmi,” “@officialdjx,” and “@rlytle.” I’m hoping I can find some obscure web site that will help me bet on who the winner will be. My money’s on “@gabifresh.” Why? Because the girl apparently authors a blog called youngfatandfabulous.com, “to serve the needs of fashionable plus sized girls.” If that doesn’t scream, “I need this TJ job to make my life matter,” I don’t know what does.
Tags: Adam Scott, Boston Red Sox, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Emmitt Smith, Ironman Triathlon, Jerry Rice, Kenny Perry, Kevin Youkilis, MTV, New York Yankees, NFL, Pan-Mass Challenge, Pawtucket Red Sox, Phil Mickelson, Terrell Owens, Tiger Woods