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For weeks, writing this article was a challenge. The summer months brought little in the ways of big sporting events, making it difficult to hype up a lackluster docket of weekend TV each and every Friday.
But now… problem solved.
The NFL kicks off its 2010 season this weekend, and I for one am here to say, “It’s about gosh darn time!” Let’s face it… our local baseball team hasn’t really lit up the “Excitement-o-Meter” this summer, and after disappointing ends to both the B’s and C’s in the spring, Boston sports fans are in desperate need of a little TLC.
Now there’s no guarantee that the Pats can give us the nurturing we’re looking for. After all, with question marks on the offensive line, not to mention the entire defense, “In Bill, We Trust” has taken a bit of a slide heading into this season. But really, the simple fact that NFL football is back is enough for me. And we have to stock up on NFL enjoyment this season even more than we normally do, because come next fall, we all may be left suffering from NFL starvation, if the players and owners can’t shake hands on a new collective bargaining agreement
So for the first time in a long time, this weekend’s sports offering provided me a wealth of options to choose from. Sadly, big events like the U.S. Open tennis finals, the FIBA Basketball World Championships, and the WNBA Finals all didn’t make the cut this week. As TV’s talking heads usually say, you’ll have to check your local listings for when and where you can find those sporting jewels. It’s also the opening weekend for high school football in the Boston area, so when your local school hits the gridiron, go support the kids and check out some good live football action.
Ok, enough jibber jabber. Time to deliver… it’s this week’s edition of “The Couch Potato Report,” C.P.R. for your sports-lovin’ heart. And after a long wait, I have the pleasure of kicking things off with our beloved Patriots…
Sunday at 1pm on CBS
The Patriots begin their 2010 season on Sunday, hosting Chad Ochocinco, Terrell Owens, and the rest of the Cincinnati Bengals. Cincy isn’t getting much hype entering the year, despite being the reigning AFC North champs. With an improving defense, a healthy Carson Palmer, and plenty of offensive weapons to score with, New England will have their hands full at Gillette Stadium Sunday. Points should be plentiful for both sides, which should make for an entertaining afternoon of football. Here’s hoping it ends well for Tom Brady and the Pats… after all, Brady’s had a tough week. Well, as tough a week as anyone who just signed a $72 million deal can have, I suppose.
Sunday on FOX & NBC, Monday night on ESPN
For those of you who aren’t fortunate enough to have the NFL Sunday Ticket package, we’re left to feast our eyes on whichever games the networks are willing to show us each week. This week, beyond the Pats-Bengals game at 1pm Sunday, FOX offers us up an NFC matchup at 4:15, with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers traveling to Philly to take on the Eagles. In the nightcap, NBC’s game will have Donovan McNabb making his Redskins debut, as they host Tony Romo and the Cowboys. Monday night, ESPN will throw a doubleheader of NFL action at us, with the first game featuring last year’s two AFC wild card teams, with the New York Jets hosting the Baltimore Ravens at New Meadowlands Stadium. After that, for you young whippersnappers that can stay up late, the 10:15pm game will feature an AFC West rivalry, with San Diego visiting the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in KC. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to stay up for that late game just long enough to see how sloppy fat new Kansas City offensive coordinator Charlie Weis has gotten in the off-season. I mean, there’s “proportionally fat” and there’s “sloppy fat.” Weis has opted to go with “sloppy fat,” clearly. In fact, ESPN’s games feature a twin billing of “sloppy fat” coaches, with Rex Ryan’s Jets playing in the opener. Well as Rex Ryan so famously said in this season’s “Hard Knocks” on HBO, “Now let’s go get a God damned snack!”
All weekend long, on several different networks
The second week of college football action isn’t short on big games, with ranked teams showing their stuff all weekend long in nationally televised games. I won’t run through every game on TV… if I did, you’d hate me and so would my editors (editor’s note – he’s right!)… but some of the bigger games include Michigan going to South Bend, IN to face Notre Dame (Sat 3:30 on NBC), the Miami Hurricanes traveling north to take on Ohio State (Sat 3:30 on ESPN), and Joe Paterno’s Penn State Nittany Lions going up against the defending BCS champs, the Alabama Crimson Tide (Sat 7:00 on ESPN). For an old guy like Paterno, wouldn’t you think Penn State would be more considerate when scheduling games? I mean really, what 83-year-old is awake past 9pm? I think this is something that Vegas should have a betting line on. Over/Under of JoePa’s bedtime… I say he catches some Z’s by the middle of the second quarter, about 8:15ish.
Friday at 10pm, Saturday at 9pm, and Sunday at 4pm, all on NESN
I feel morally obligated to give the Sox a spot in this article each week, at least until they’re officially mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. Which by the way, isn’t too far off. The Sox sit 6 1/2 games behind the Rays for the wild card spot, with only 22 games left to play. If Tampa plays .500 baseball the rest of the way (say they go 12-11 in their final 23), the Sox would have to win 18 of those final 22 games to earn that wild card spot. Simply said, it ain’t gonna happen. But for you baseball die-hards that can still get excited at watching a Yamaico Navarro at-bat or Dustin Richardson give up a string of base hits, all the power to you.
Friday at 3pm on Golf Channel, Saturday at 12pm on NBC, and Sunday at 2pm on NBC
The third leg of golf’s FedEx Cup playoffs will tee off from Cog Hill Country Club in Illinois this weekend, with the top 70 players contending for a spot in next week’s Tour Championship, which will feature just the 30 golfers with the most FedEx Cup points accumulated. Matt Kuchar, who won at The Barclays two weeks ago, sits atop both the FedEx Cup rankings and the BMW Championship’s leaderboard after Thursday’s opening round. The red hot Kuchar shot a 7-under 64 in Round 1, one shot better than fellow American Ryan Moore. For those of you who love golf, there’s no better time to tune in. For those of you who skip over any section of this article I devote to golf each week, have no fear… you’ll only have to deal with a few more meaningful golf tournaments before the winter takes over and we can forget golf exists for a few months.
Friday night at 8pm, broadcast on several networks including ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, VH1, and E!
Two years ago, celebrities from TV, movies, and music all banded together to raise money for cancer research. They did it in grand fashion, raising an astounding $100 million. This year, ABC’s Diane Sawyer, CBS’s Katie Couric, and NBC’s Brian Williams will host this hour-long, multi-channel broadcast. According to the show’s web site, www.su2c.org, which is also where you can make donations, confirmed guest stars including Stevie Wonder, Denzel Washington, Adam Sandler, George Clooney, and dozens of other big names. For shallow dudes that need hot girls to be included for them to watch, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kristen Bell, Minka Kelly, Rashida Jones, Elizabeth Banks, and Vanessa Hudgens will all be in attendance as well. Look, we all know someone who has been stricken by cancer. So if you’ve got time Friday night, tune in and watch this commercial-free hour, dedicated to raising money and awareness for cancer research.
Sunday at 9pm on MTV
Teens and tweens everywhere will be pleading with their parents all weekend long, begging them for permission to stay up late Sunday night to watch their favorites at the 27th annual MTV Video Music Awards. Now I know what you’re going to say… “I didn’t know MTV still shows any music videos.” And from what I knew, I would’ve asked the same thing. But I have learned recently that yes indeed, MTV, and VH1 for that matter, both do play music videos… from like 2am to 8am every day. What, you’re not watching MTV and VH1 at that time? Well, I guess that’s your loss, bub! Anyway, the best videos of the year will be awarded those classic “moon men” statues Sunday night, during what promises to be a star-studded must-see event. Justin Bieber will be there, which is all you really need, right? Ok, if that’s not enough for you, others scheduled to appear include Usher, Katy Perry, Kanye West, and Lady Gaga, who leads the way with 13 award nominations. The show will be hosted by first-timer Chelsea Handler, who in my book, is actually pretty underrated in both comedy and attractiveness. So tune in to feel young and relevant again… after all, you don’t want to be the one at the office water cooler Monday morning feeling out of the loop because you missed Eminem poop on Taylor Swift’s head, now would you?
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