The Shek List

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‘Putting the ‘DD’ in ‘ADD’ since late July 2012′

A batch of miscellaneous thoughts from 30,000 feet in the sky as I make my way to Canton for the Hall of Fame festivities…

  • The in-flight movie is ‘The Avengers’, which I didn’t get to see in the theater.  My lifelong streak of never getting a decent movie while stuck on a plane is officially over.  Whatever happens the rest of the weekend, I’m playing with house money.
  • As Dan Hanzus of ‘Around The League’ reports, John Madden says he doesn’t believe in the curse associated with his eponymous videogame.  Of course he doesn’t – who’d want the responsibility for bringing pain and suffering to so many?  Obviously, though, the facts speak for themselves.  In fact, things are getting even worse.  Last year, it wasn’t just coverboy Peyton Hillis who got the whammy; it was anybody named Peyton or Payton.  Manning didn’t take a snap, Walter was skewered in a revealing biography, and Sean had his leg steamrolled on the sideline by his own player (plus there was that whole Bounty scandal).  Now, it’s Calvin Johnson’s turn.  So far, he’s unscathed… or is he?  Are we to blindly assume the Lions’ off-season on the police blotter is owed to dumb luck? Just as 2011 was the year of ‘The Peyton Jinx’, maybe 2012 is the Year of the Cat.  Along with Detroit’s felonious felines, Jaguars’ rookie Justin Blackmon had a run-in with the law; the Nittany Lions got the hammer; and the Charlotte Bobcats are the worst team in sports.  Sure, things are looking up for the formerly troublemaking Bengals right now… but it’s just early August.  Maybe I need to change that prediction I made about the AFC North the other day:
  • Pending the other owners’ approval, the Cleveland Browns’ new owner is self-described Steelers lover, Jimmy Haslam.  Almost seems redundant, considering the Steelers have owned the Browns for the last 40 years.
  • By the way, what’s Hollywood’s beef with teams that play on the banks of the Three Rivers?  In the ‘Dark Knight Rises’, Hines Ward scores for the black-and-gold-clad Rogues as Heinz Field implodes around him.  As my twitter pal @ShallBeLevon99 points out, that’s just Tinseltown’s latest attack on the Steel City.  Back in ’77, the Steelers were attacked while playing the Cowboys in ‘Black Sunday’.  In ‘95, the Penguins and the Civic Arena were targets in ‘Sudden Death’ (plus suffered the shame of Jean Claude Van Damme playing between the pipes in a Pens’ sweater).  Even ‘The Natural’ ends with Roy Hobbs hitting a homerun against… the Pittsburgh Pirates, a loss made potentially tragic when the stadium’s lights simultaneously explode, showering the downtrodden Buccos with countless fabric-burning shards of fire and glass.  So I ask again: what’s Hollywood’s beef with the ‘Burgh?
  • I know the Olympics are going on, and no one loves indulging nonsense more than I, but what’s with the ‘Which NFL players could make the US basketball team?’ jazz I’m reading on  Here’s the correct answer: none of them.
  • US Olympian Dana Torres, who medaled in Beijing as a 41-year-old swimmer, has a book called ‘Age Is Just A Number’.  Yes, it’s just a number.  A number that reminds you how much closer you are to being dead.
  • Unnecessary new advent for 2012: daily training camp stats.  I’ve been obsessively watching football for a long time now, and never once have I thought to myself, “I need to see every QB’s completion percentage.”  Something else we can all thank Tebow for.
  • We’ve been forced to suffer through their unnecessary coexistence for long enough.  Somebody’s gotta step up and make a decision, so I guess I’ll just do it: sorry, ‘opossum’, we’re going exclusively with ‘possum’ from here on out.
  • Let’s say there’s a second-year player coming off arguably the greatest rookie season in history.  This guy is so gifted, he transcends the standards that would otherwise define a player as “prototypical.”  He’s not just physically talented, though; he’s also bright, charismatic, handsome, and – it would seem – hungry to succeed.  In short, he’s everything any franchise could want as its centerpiece.  But in spite of all this, the player has more doubters than believers around the league.  Now let’s say there’s a rookie whose resume’ includes a rocket for a right arm, a graduate-level intellect, two legs that carry him faster than any player at his position has ever moved before, and the proven ability to turn around a long-struggling team.  But in spite of all this, there were more questions than enthusiasm about his NFL future before he got to the Combine.  The two men I just described aren’t hypothetical characters, of course – they’re Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III.  What do these two phenoms have in common that’d cause any skepticism going forward?  Hmm.  I know Newton and RG3 are exceptionally popular among advertisers and fans, but the enthusiasm around the league seems sorta… muted.  Honestly, I’m not trying to race bait here… but are we sure race is no longer an issue for NFL teams when it comes to quarterbacks?
  • I went through a rollercoaster of emotions at the newsstand in LAX after seeing the cover of ‘Us Weekly’.  First, the bad news: Robert Pattinson’s heart is apparently broken.  The good news is, Jen Aniston just returned from a sexy weekend with her boyfriend.  Hakuna matata, people.
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