Bob Costas is Literally Murdering the London Olympics

I promised myself I wouldn’t “live blog” the Olympics, but I just couldn’t help myself.

The broadcast for the Opening Ceremony just kicked off (7:30pm Pacific), and we’re live with Bob Costas and Tom Brokaw to ring in the festivities. Everyone’s excited, looking forward to a fun 17 days…I’m sure Costas is going to build upon that excitement….no, wait…he opens the broadcast by talking about terrorism and London’s potential lack of preparation against deadly threats. I’m sure he’s just getting that elephant in the room out of the way; he’s gotta move on to happier topics after this…no, wait a minute, now he’s talking about how horrible the economy is in London and asking Brokaw if the Olympics will possibly jumpstart such a bad economic condition.

OK…NOW he’s gotta move on to positive storylines. Wait, what’s that, Bob? The weather in London has been terrible, the rainiest June in history and as of a few days ago they were worried about being able to have the events go off as scheduled? AND you felt the need to reference when the Germans were occupying London during World War II?

Jesus Christ, Bob, what the hell did London ever do to you?

Thankfully they just flipped it over to Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira, who have got to be able to do a better job.  Wait, actually it seems like they just wanna say funny English words back and forth like the “tele” (telly?) and “queuing.” They also felt the need to mention that London couldn’t possibly top the Opening Ceremonies of Beijing from four years ago.

Good times and positive vibes from the entire NBC crew.

Advertisements

Euro Update: Guest Blogger Somehow Compares Boring Soccer to Exciting Football

(Editor’s Note: Neil “nkilla” Gariepy once again guest blogged the following post about soccer.  Seems like he’s learning the blogging ropes by writing about the NFL as much as possible to distract people from the fact that this is a soccer post.)

We are officially out of the group stage of Euro 2012 and into the knockout stage. I know many of you started following the Euro after my first riveting article and already know what’s to come in the knockout stage. For the few of you that were not converted based on the first post, now is the time to get in. The knockout stage is a traditional playoff format. Eight teams made it this far, and we go single elimination the rest of the way. If you are saying to yourself, “Self, it would be great to follow the ‘playoff’ stage of this tournament because any time countries play against each other in a single elimination tournament it is fun regardless of the sport, but I missed the group stage so how will I know what is going on?” fear not, I am going to provide a playoff doppelganger for each game from last year’s NFL playoff schedule to help you understand what is going on.

June 21st – Czech Republic (Group A winner) v Portugal (Group B runner-up)
Both of these teams had very similar paths to this point in the tournament. Both lost their opening group game, and then rebounded to win their next two games to make the knockout stage. The big difference was that Portugal barely lost their first game to powerhouse Germany (0-1), and then went on to win their next two games in the toughest group in the tournament. The Czechs were destroyed in their first game by Russia, appeared to be the worst team in the tournament, but somehow managed to rally and win what turned out to be the weakest group in the tournament.

NFL Playoff Doppelganger: San Francisco v New Orleans. Portugal is playing the role of New Orleans. They are coming in as a lower seed than the Czech Republic because they played in a tougher group, but everyone expects them to win.  The Czechs are an unknown commodity like the Niners were coming out of the NFC West. Portugal seems to be getting better with each game, so they should be able to move on to the next round, but that is what everyone said about New Orleans in January.

June 22nd – Germany (Group B winner) v Greece (Group A runner-up)
Germany entered the tournament as the number two favorite only behind Spain. In the group stage they showed they probably should have been the favorite. They were the only team to win all three of their group games, and they did it while playing in the toughest group in the tournament. Greece on the other hand needed several extremely lucky breaks to make it this far. Red-carded opposing keepers, their own backup keeper coming on in the middle of a game, extra time goals, and so on. Several miracles were involved to get the Greeks this far. Hey, speaking of miracles…

NFL Playoff Doppelganger: New England v Denver. Tebow and his miracle-working took Denver to the playoffs, and in Group A Zeus provided some miracles for the Greeks to get them out of the group stage. Just remember what happened to Tebow and Denver in New England before you start thinking Greece might be a team of destiny.

June 23rd – Spain (Group C winner) v France (Group D runner-up)
Defending champ and tournament favorite Spain got off to a bit of a slow start in their first match against Italy, then woke up and easily won their second and third match to win their group. France could have won their group and avoided Spain in this round but did not play all that well in their final match against Sweden (who had already been eliminated and had nothing to play for), and had to settle for second in the group.

NFL Playoff Doppelganger: Green Bay v New York. Spain, like Green Bay, is probably feeling pretty confident coming into the playoffs as defending champs and playing very good soccer. France on the other hand, came into the tournament as one of the hottest teams in the world over the past two years but did not play well at all in the final group match. Were they just playing possum knowing that they were getting through and resting for their match with Spain? The consensus seems to be that France is either going to give Spain all they can handle and get the upset win, or get severely outclassed. Seems a lot like the divided opinions on the Giants heading into their game with Green Bay last year, and unfortunately we all remember how that ended (where “we all” = “Patriot fans”).

June 24th – England (Group D winner) v Italy (Group C runner-up)
Coming into the tournament none of the experts knew what to make of the English squad. Some said they might not score a goal, others said they could win the entire tournament. The majority seemed to think they would narrowly squeak out of Group D as the runner-up. What actually happened was England seemed to get better with each game, got their best player back from a two game suspension for their final group game, and seem like a team that can give any other team in this tournament a stiff challenge head-to-head. Italy really only played 45 bad minutes of soccer in the group round (their second half against Croatia), but needed some help from the Spanish (via a win over Croatia) in the last group game to make sure they made it to the playoff.

NFL Playoff Doppelganger: Baltimore v Houston. Really, either NFL team can be linked to either of these two soccer teams. Both played fairly well in the group stage, deserve their spot in the knockout stage, it should be a very tight match, and either could win. Unfortunately for the winner, they are going to be stuck playing Germany in the semi-final. Not unfortunate because they have no chance, unfortunate because if you play the doppelganger analogy out one more round, either Italy or England are going to have a player miss a penalty kick wide left that would have upset the Germans.

Euro Update: Are We Supposed to be Excited about 1-1 Draws?

Editor’s Note: Sadly, we did have more than three views of Neil’s first soccer post, and I even got a “like” on Facebook when I linked to it last week, so I’ve given in and I’m allowing Neil to do a recap after each round of the Euro.  Don’t blame the guy if his post is boring…he’s covering soccer after all.  How exciting can you make the sports equivalent of watching grass grow sound?  Maybe if he does this first assignment well, I’ll promote him to my main WNBA blogger next.

According to Rmurdera, my article last week on why everyone should watch the Euro was the most read soccer post ever on this blog, so he asked me if I would do a quick recap now that everyone has played one game and what to look for as each team plays their second game in the group stage.

Group A
What happened: Everything went pretty much according to plan to start this group. Russia was a clear favorite in the group and they looked very good in dominating the Czech Republic. I laughed pretty hard when Rmurdera sent me a text five minutes into the Russia/Czech game saying he put a bet on Czech to win. Russia was up 3-0 about 15 minutes into the match. If only he read my post. Poland and Greece played to a very eventful draw that included horrible officiating, the home team dominating the first half, Greece scoring the equalizer down a man, and the backup Polish goalkeeper coming off the bench with no warm-ups and saving a penalty kick, which many of us may never get to see again in our lifetime.

What’s to come: Assuming Russia beats Poland in their match (not a guarantee because Poland is playing at home, but Russia looked really good in their first match), the Greece v Czech Republic match will tell us a lot about the second team to advance from this group. If either of them can get a win, that team will be in very good shape to make it out of the group stage. A draw is not the worst result for the Czech Republic, but would put serious pressure on Greece who will have to play Russia in their final group match on Saturday.

Group B
What happened: We were 16 minutes away from having giant upheaval in this group. Instead we got only above average upheaval. Denmark scored an early goal against one of the tournament favorites, Holland. Even though the Danes were exhausted from chasing Holland around, and Holland played a better game, Denmark hung on for the huge 1-0 upset. Portugal looked as if they were going to be able to hold on and force a draw with another tournament favorite, Germany, until the Germans scored a late goal and hung on for the win.

What’s to come: Again, The Netherlands were one of the three favorites (along with Germany and Spain) to potentially win this tournament. Depending on how things go on Wednesday they could be eliminated. On the other hand, it is not impossible to imagine both Portugal and The Netherlands wining on Wednesday and making for a very exciting final group day for this group on Sunday. Either way, both of the matches for this group should be great on Wednesday.

Group C
What happened: Spain and Italy, the two favorites to come out of this group at the beginning of the tournament, played to a well deserved 1-1 draw. Italy played a little better in the match but Spain is probably the better team, so the draw seemed pretty fair. Croatia more or less dominated Ireland and is now the leader of this group after the first set of matches.

What’s to come: With Spain only getting a draw and being outplayed by Italy, the most likely scenario is that they come out a little more motivated against Ireland and win easily. That makes the Croatia v Italy match on Thursday the important one for this group. Whereas Italy will probably be OK with a draw since they have Ireland in their last group match, Croatia will be more pressed to get a win as they have Spain in the last group match. A loss for either team will probably mean virtual elimination, so it will be interesting to see if the game is tied in the last thirty minutes or so whether either team risks pushing forward to try to win or would rather settle for a draw.

Group D
What happened: England and France played a fairly lackluster game (especially the English, they were very passive most of the game) and ended up with a 1-1 draw. Co-host Ukraine was able to to outlast Sweden 2-1 (all three goals came in an exciting 10-minute span) and will go into the second set of games as the group leader.

What’s to come: Much like group C, you had the two favorites to advance out of the group playing each other to a draw in game one. France will play against a home team in Ukraine on Friday, and would like a win but can probably live with a draw. England will need to be a little more aggressive and try to get a win against what will be a desperate Swedish team. England needs to avoid a situation where they would need to win what amounts to a road game against Ukraine on the last day of group matches in order to make it to the next round.

No Basketball, No Hockey, No Problem! Everything You Wanted To Know About Euro 2012

Editor’s Note: The following post was written by infrequent blog contributor Neil “Nkilla” Gariepy.  As the WBFF Blog expands its reach, I’ll need to have more guest bloggers to keep up with my readers’ demands.  Believe it or not, this blog has been accessed by people in more than 30 countries, so a post on an international soccer competition isn’t that ridiculous.  And since Neil is the only person I know who gives a shit about this thing, I figured I’d let him write til his heart’s content.  Here we go.

When Rmurdera (pronounced are-mur-dare-a) wrote his summer TV preview the other day, I responded that he does not need sitcoms and dramas to make it to football season because it’s going to be a great sports summer with the Euro and the Olympics happening. His response: “Can you explain to me why I should care about the Euro?” Sure, Rmurdera, let me give it a shot.

What is the Euro?
This is an easy question to answer. Every four years the countries of Europe hold a soccer tournament to determine who has the best team in Europe. It’s just like the World Cup, but only for Europe.

Why should I care?
There are people who know much more about soccer than I do who are adamant that the Euro is a better soccer competition than the World Cup. Their argument is that the World Cup only allows 11 European teams to participate (out of 32 total teams), but there are more than 11 European teams in the top 32 in the world. They conclude that since the Euro has 16 European teams it is a better collection of talent than the World Cup. I am not sure I agree with this perspective, but I can see where they are coming from. Other than Brazil and Argentina, the only other countries that really have a legitimate chance to win the World Cup every four years come from Europe. Occasionally another South American team will have solid back-to-back World Cups and you may get a Japan or South Korea making some noise every once and a while, but really it is the two South American juggernauts and all of Europe that have the true legitimate chances in the World Cup.

Let me try and explain that last part a little better for this blog’s target audience. Let’s say there was a competition for the hottest woman in the world. Let’s say that competition was between 12 women. Based on pure hotness, you would probably end up with 10 Americans (Munn, Perry, Wilde, Lawrence, Stone, Fox, Lively, Johansson, Hathaway, Biel), 1 Russian (Kunis), and 1 Israeli (Refaeli). That is your top lineup for a “12 hottest women on the planet” competition. Now let’s say the competition committee decides more countries need to be included to truly be able to name the hottest woman on the planet, so only half the field can be Americans. Now you have a tournament where you have to pull out four of the Americans listed above and replace them with Misses Nigeria, South Korea, Uruguay and Egypt. Sure these women are probably beautiful, but could they really beat Jessica Biel if she was allowed in the tournament? Probably not. So those who argue the Euro is a better competition than the World Cup are the same that would argue that the “almost all American hottest woman on the planet” competition is better than the one with Miss Egypt.

Another reason you should care: There is some general animosity between almost all the countries in Europe. I think if you go back far enough you can find a war between any two European countries. Everybody hates the Germans for obvious reasons. The Czech Republic and Croatia hate their old Eastern Bloc “allies” Russia and Ukraine. Neighboring countries tend to have some extra hatred for each other: England-France, England-Ireland, Spain-Portugal, Germany-Holland. Everybody hates the Italians because they are traditionally the biggest collection of floppers. And so on. The heightened and natural dislike between some of these countries raises the competition level.

When and Where Can I Watch These Matches?
All games are on ESPN. Even better, all games are on ESPN3. Since they are in Europe, the matches will take place during “work hours” US time. What better way to make the work day go by quicker than watching four hours of soccer on your computer. There will be two matches a day during the group round through June 19th. For the quarterfinals you will have one match each day June 21-24. Semifinals are June 27 & 28, and then the final is on July 1st. If Rmurdera gets more than three readers on this post, he might let me do a quick update every few days letting everyone know which upcoming matches are important and why.

Who should I root for?
At this point you’re probably thinking, “OK, this makes sense, a highly competitive sports tournament, I’ll give this a try. But for some reason they are not letting the USA participate, even though we constantly bail them out of wars and financial crises. Who should I root for?” Let me give you a couple of options:

Heritage: Most of us have some European heritage in our family. Decide which of your great-grandparents you like the best and root for their home country.

Food: There are several varieties of food native to European countries. Pick your favorite and then root for that team. You like pizza and pasta – Italy is your team. Baguette and cheese person – go France! Tapas people are going to want to jump on the Spanish bandwagon. You are not much of an eater, you just like to drink – well you sound like an Ireland supporter. Oh, you meant hard alcohol – Russia it is. Chips, pretzels, doritos, ice cream bars, and frozen pizza is more your speed – Holland all the way!

National Anthems: Finally, you can look at the words to some of these countries’ national anthems to see if the lyrics inspire you. If you like green beaches, then you will want to cheer for Denmark (“A lovely land is ours, with beaches green about her”). You want a country that aggressively shows their hatred of other nations in their national anthem? Then you my friend are a Poland supporter (I am not going to paste the whole thing here, but let’s just say Poland calls out both Italy and France in their anthem). Feeling arrogant, then root for Portugal (their anthem alludes to how they are the greatest people and could conquer the world if they want. I guess to the Portuguese “world” = “a little sliver of land Spain let us have on their beach”). And then there is this from Ukraine:

Ukraine is not yet dead, nor its glory and freedom,

Luck will still smile on us brother-Ukrainians.

Our enemies will die, as the dew does in the sunshine,

and we, too, brothers, we’ll live happily in our land.

We’ll not spare either our souls or bodies to get freedom

I’m ordering Ukrainian flags and jerseys as fast as I can.

WBFF is taking over the world and becoming a corporate rebel at the same time

Looks like the orange team is winning this game of Risk

When gauging the success of a blog, there are only two metrics any blogger really cares about, and one of them is “world dominance.”  While the risk board above isn’t completely color-coded just yet, it’s only a matter of time.  First America, then Canada, then my favorite countries from across the pond, the UK, France and the Netherlands (only my favorite because they show up on this map) and finally to the far reaches of the earth, Australia and New Zealand.  This has all happened in only two months.  Simply amazing.  I don’t really understand why Mexico and South America haven’t jumped on board yet, but screw ’em.  We’ll all be laughing at them months from now when they’re trying to catch up on my award-winning Valentine’s Day blog and Lent blog.  My ultimate goal is to have Antarctica show up on this map.  I’ve learned from Frozen Planet that no one lives on Antarctica, but I don’t think it’s too much to ask a scientist to travel there and get the WBFF blog up on his iPhone, is it?

The other metric that bloggers like me care about is “the corporate IT blocking rate.”  Over the life of this blog, I’ve heard stories about people trying to access it only to see some corporate bullshit message about denying entry to the site due to internal IT policy.  Only now do I finally have proof that this has been happening  (see picture below).  And I couldn’t be prouder of myself.  This blog prides itself on being racy, risque and not-safe-for-work, and I’m glad we’re doing a good job with that…actually, I can’t imagine what sort of content in this blog is causing IT departments to block it.  Is it the threats of buying part of the Cadbury company so I can make mini-eggs year round?  Is it taking a poll on what people would do if they won the Mega Millions that’s making them squirm?  It’s probably the one mention of vaginal mesh implants…I knew that would come back to haunt me.  Either way, I’m just proud that my “little engine that could” blog is even hitting the radar of an IT department.

Like I already said, that’s how I know I’ve made it to the Big Leagues.  Keep on spreading the WBFF goodness, loyal readers, and I’ll keep making you piss yourselves with delight.