Category Archives: Fan Life

Things I learned from Friday Night Lights: Part 1


I recently finished watching Friday Night Lights with my girlfriend. We went through Season 1 in a week and I really feel like I grew with that team and town. The ups and downs, the bittersweet victories, and support and reversely unscrupulous demands that are placed on these children. Since I’ve read the Wikipedia page on the book and have been to two high school football games, I’m going to assume that I can pick out what’s accurate and what’s been exaggerated dramatic effect.

1) Being a high school football coach in a small town in Texas is the hardest job in the world.

Holy cow. I was seriously stressed out in the beginning of the series. They would not let Coach Taylor have a minute to himself. Coaching is a 24/7/365 job. Just like politics and women’s reproductive rights, everyone has an opinion whether or not they have the qualifications. And like politics, you have people your beholden to, doubters, enemies, friendemies, and everything in-between waiting for you to fail. But when he pulls something off, it is pure adrenaline and a part of me wishes I had paid more attention to the playbook in Techmo Super Bowl. Maybe I’d be a coach in Texas right now. (“NO” was the supportive girlfriend’s response. She must be concerned about my stress levels.)

2)  All Football players own baseball bats.

Football is everything in this town. They mentioned a basketball team once but we never see it. We never once hear about a baseball team or little league. So why does EVERY SINGLE player in town seem to own a BASEBALL BAT?

3) Timmy Riggins/Taylor Kitsch has heart.

“I can see why they keep putting this guy in movies” my girlfriend says as if reading my mind. An egg sandwich did not immediately get made so I assume her powers are still developing. Timmy/Taylor really has the ice cold bastard who’s heart of gold slowly develops as he fights his demons thing going on. That’s a great recipe for Gambit and space-tarzan if as ask me. Battleship doesn’t count because he and Landry basically reprising their roles in Football and Crucifictorius Didn’t Work Out (directed by Friday Nights show-runner Peter Berg). He just needed better scripts. And editors. And producers. Or maybe Agent.

4) These people have great metabolisms.

The amount of fast food these people consume is insane.

5) The kids are often times the adults.

As I mentioned before the amount of responsibility placed on these kids is ridiculous. Often driving them to make bad decisions. Football is their favorite and only real form of escapism. Consequentially It is the only glue holding together their community. Friday nights people can forget about their lives, their daily struggles and ailments.The rest of the week it’s power and influence is present through sports talk radio, chit chat with the corner store owner and even at business openings or church sermons.

As a result of this dependency the team’s success reflects how healthy the community is and how they even treat each other. The game is often more important to the adults, maybe sentimentally, or because they have a greater need for the escapism. So much so that sometimes the adults need to be reminded that it’s just a game and the children end up reminding them that there’s a lot more to this life than football (obviously they not as important as football but still of significant fractional importance that it may deserve some attention; like college, income, or christian speed metal).

In terms of fictitious High School Football teams, I’ve been a strong supporter of San Dimas High since 1988. SAN DIMAS HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL RULES! But I think there may be room in my heart for the Panthers, at least enough to start up Season 2. Game of Thrones doesn’t start for a couple of weeks.

By Hoa Nguyen. Whose knowledge of sports is mostly informed by video games.
Follow Hoa on Twitter at @hoabert
You can contact Hoa at



The Most Disliked Teams in America

By Kevin York

Two weeks ago I started a series on the Most Disliked entities in sports. I began this little series of posts questioning Forbes original article listing the ten most disliked athletes in America. Since I didn’t agree with all the athletes on their list, I revised it and published my own. I followed that up with a post on the most disliked coaches in America, which I decided on by crowdsourcing answers from my Facebook friends and input from the other Couchletes.

I considered doing a post on the most disliked owners in America, but decided there aren’t really enough that are universally disliked right now. There’s Jerry Jones and….Jerry Jones. You could make an argument for a few others, but I realized most of the owners that we as a general public don’t like aren’t with us anymore. Guys like Al Davis and George Steinbrenner. So instead of going the owner route, I’m just going straight to the final installment, the most disliked teams in America.

In deciding the teams that belong on this list, I decided not to ask for other opinions. Not because I think I’m that smart, but because these disliked teams all really stood out. I think most would agree with the ones on this list – except maybe the fans of these teams.

In reviewing this list, I noticed that the teams on it are all popular with large, dedicated fan bases. That’s part of what makes them so disliked. You’re not going to find a team like the Kansas City Royals or the Milwaukee Bucks on this list. To be disliked as a team, there a few things you need to have:

  • Success: At some point in the team’s history, they have to have seen success. It doesn’t even have to have been recent success, just prolonged.
  • Personalities: There are very few examples of teams that become disliked for reasons other than the people on the field and sidelines. We as the audience connect with people – the players, the coaches, sometimes the owners. By the same token, we develop a dislike for people, not logos or colors or cities.
  • Good fan base: It’s not always the personalities on the field that irritate us. Sometimes it’s the obnoxious people in the stands that we grow to hate.

All ten teams that I list below have all three of these characteristics. So without further ado, here they are. The ten most disliked teams in America, at least from my perspective.

Alabama Crimson Tide

Boston Red Sox

Dallas Cowboys

Duke Blue Devils

Los Angeles Lakers

Miami Heat

New England Patriots

New York Yankees

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Ohio State Buckeyes

So what teams did I miss?

By Kevin York
Follow Kevin on Twitter at @kevin_york
You can contact Kevin at

The Walking Dead: A guide to watching the NBA’s lost causes.

By Mark Gaspar

The bottom feeders are coming for you.

The bottom feeders are coming for you.

As we cross the threshold of the NBA season’s halfway point we’re left with a lot of stories to ponder. Will the Lakers get their act together? Can anyone challenge the Heat in the east? Do the Spurs have enough left in the tank to compete for a fifth title? Could I love Ricky Rubio any more than I do now?

But there are other storylines. Deep within the dark recesses of our collective minds, in a place we don’t like to admit exists – let alone talk about – resides the walking dead; a collection of teams without hope of success. They’re just going through the motions. There will be no playoffs for them. No last second push. No absolution or chance for redemption. Only pain and suffering. Surrounding these teams is the familiar mantra “maybe next year.”

However, not all the members of the walking dead are as dead as others. Some still have some life in them. Some still offer something interesting to watch or look for. Below, I’ll break down our undead into two camps. The “Really Dead” i.e. Please watch something else, and the “Little bit of life in them” i.e. something interesting is going on.

Keep in mind the trade deadline is tomorrow so these could be meaningless by the time you get around to read this. Thanks for nothing NBA.

The Unwatchables

Charlotte Bobcats

There’s not a way to say this delicately. The Charlotte Bobcats are a bad team. Could they end up being good? At some point maybe. In the not too distant future? No. They currently have 2 ¼ serviceable players.

Player 1: I’ve only seen a few Bobcat games this year but Kemba Walker has been far and away the best thing about the team. If he can improve his defense, he should be able to comfortably reside in that top-20 PGS in the league (this is not an insult. Have you seen how many good point guards there are?)

Player 2: I really enjoy watching Bismack Biyombo. Sadly, he’s probably a minimum two years away from being a serviceable NBA player. I’d compare him to his former countrymen Serge Ibaka. Both athletic freaks and neither one of them knew what they were doing the first couple years they were in the league. Will he figure it out like Ibaka? I don’t know, but it might be worth checking in from time to time.

Player ¼: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is a really good player. It’s just unfortunate he hit the rookie wall after the first month of the season. When he’s on he’s very entertaining. He defends; he passes; he can score a little bit. Has the potential to be a poor-man’s Andrei Kirilenko if he stays healthy and continues to improve.

Should you watch?: You’ve always wanted to read “Moby Dick” and by the time you finish they might be decent.

Sacramento Kings

This team has a ton of talent on it and yet I like close to nothing about them. Demarcus Cousins is a beast. If he screws his head on right he’ll be the second best Center in the league after Dwight. However, his actions have proven that that is a pretty big IF and if/when it happens it probably won’t be with the Kings/Sonics.

As for Tyreke Evans, he’s a physical freak. Unfortunately he doesn’t really know how to play basketball.

If you’re a Kings fan… well, I’m sorry. This team drafts players without knowing what they’re going to do with them. This leads to players getting frustrated as they are rarely put in a situation where they can succeed. This isn’t so much the players fault. They didn’t choose to be drafted by the Kings but it is systemic of their entire operation. And to make matters worse for their fan base (one of the best in the league by the way) they’re probably moving to Seattle.

Should you watch?: It might be time to go out and interact with your fellow humans.

Orlando Magic

The Orlando Magic are in a dark place right now. Unburdened of Dwight Howard they are a team without an identity or star. Their best player is currently J.J. Redick and there’s roughly a 100% chance he will be traded by tomorrow afternoon. Their best chance is to win the lottery. Sadly for them there isn’t a franchise-changing player to be found this year. What does this all mean? It means the Magic are going to be bad for the next half-decade, minimum.

Should you watch?: I’m pretty sure ESPN 2 is showing reruns of NFL Countdown.

Phoenix Suns

The Suns are in pretty much the same boat as the Magic but with one of the worst owners in the league. They recently parted ways with Steve Nash so they’re currently operating without an identity or any quality NBA players. They do have Marcin Gortat and Jared Dudley, i.e. two very capable players who would be nice on any team competing for the playoffs. However, when you pair them with Michael Beasley, you’re not going to win a lot of games. Again, just like the Magic there aren’t any players on the team as it’s currently constructed that can give their fans much to look forward to.

Should you watch?: Isn’t House Hunters on right now?

If the Thunder or Heat aren’t playing it wouldn’t hurt you to watch them

Washington Wizards

The Washington Wizards are starting to figure things out. After a horrendous start they’ve found their footing and are starting to play if not winning basketball, at least watchable basketball.

John Wall is healthy and starting to live up to his potential. Bradley Beal has had a few moments that show what type of player he could be. Combine them with veterans like Nene and Trevor Ariza and you have a team that can compete most nights. Will they make the playoffs? No. Even with as bad as the Eastern Conference has been this year they’ll still miss out by quite a few games. But with a smart draft and a few trades/free agent signings that break their way they could be competing for the 8th seed as early as next year.

Should you watch?: If some of the teams below aren’t on I’d recommend checking out the Wiz… at least when John Wall is on the court.

Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cleveland Cavaliers are one of the most watchable teams in the league even though they have the worst record. Why? Because Kyrie Irving is the most thrilling player to watch outside of LeBron James. His speed, balance, and decision making can at times leave you breathless, or if you’re Brad Beal, on your back.

The Cavs haven’t done a great job surrounding him with talent (sound familiar Mr. James?) but they should be in line for another quality draft pick. They just need to make sure they don’t choose another Tristan Thompson or Dion Waiters.

On the bright side, at least Anderson Varejao didn’t die from his blood clot scare.

Should you watch?: If Kyrie is healthy you should definitely watch the Cavs.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Do I have an unbiased opinion about the Timberwolves? Yes, yes I do. Should you believe me when I say you should watch them? Yes, yes you should. Just maybe not right now.

Before the season started the puppies were a trendy pick to be a 5th or 6th seed in the west. Then, Kevin Love broke his hand, Chase Budinger tore his meniscus, Brandan Roy’s knee exploded… again, Josh Howard’s knee exploded, and Ricky Rubio started his come back after exploding his knee last year. With five remaining players and two healthy knees to share the Wolves have had a hard time winning games. This trend will continue until they get a few players back.

That’s the bad news. The good news?

Ricky Rubio is starting to come back into form. Over his past 10 games he’s averaging 13.1 points, 8.6 assists, and 2.4 steals a game. These are pretty good numbers. Regardless of how many injuries they’ve had, a healthy Rubio makes this team a League Pass favorite.

Other bright spots: Kevin Love will return in the next few weeks. Chase Budinger will too. Will it be too little too late? Yes. The Western Conference is so stacked this year that a team is going to need close to 50 wins just to get the 8th seed. However, NBA fans will get at least 15-17 games to watch this team as it was originally constructed. It should be fun. And it sets them up well for next year.

Should you watch?: Watch the Timberwolves. Bet on their opponent.

New Orleans Hornets

The Hornets are a lousy team. So why are they on the watchable list? Well, they have Anthony Davis, one of the best big men prospects of the last decade. When he’s healthy he’s a defensive terror and turns NOLA into the Cajun Lob City. Do they have weak links? Yes, Austin Rivers is putting up numbers that put him in the running for worst basketball player of all time. Eric Gordon can’t stay healthy, he doesn’t like the team and the fans don’t like him. However, they have a new owner, a new name as of next year, and they should be in line for another decent draft pick. If they can find a good small forward to pair with Davis and Greivis Vasquez they could have a nice little nucleus.

Should you watch?: This year? Sure, as long as you’re doing something else useful.

By Mark Gaspar
Follow Mark on Twitter at @markgaspar
You can contact Mark at

The Most Disliked Coaches in America

By Kevin York

While writing my post last week giving my thoughts on Forbes’ list of the ten most disliked athletes in America, I began wondering who would appear on a broadened list of the most disliked sports figures in America. How would coaches be included? What about owners? At the end of that post I decided I would do a follow up assessing the most disliked coaches in America. Since then I decided to do a larger series where I would look at coaches, owners and finally teams. Today I’ll focus on coaches. Watch for posts examining owners and teams in following weeks.

As I thought about disliked coaches, I started thinking about what makes a coach disliked. Two things immediately jumped out at me – success and arrogance. Everyone tends to hate a winner. It’s just a fact in sports. Call it jealousy, call it envy, hatred and dislike builds for people that see success, even moreso for those that consistently attain success. People also hate arrogance. It’s cool for a while if it’s your coach (everyone else hates it), but the minute your team begins to struggle, that bravado you used to love quickly becomes irritating. Rex Ryan is the prime example. Jim Harbaugh is a more recent one. Jimbo’s fiery personality played well to fans in the San Francisco area and really all across the NFL, especially after the quiet, conservative approach of Mike Singletary. However, his schtick began to irritate many non-Niner fans in his second year. The minute he encounters difficulties I can foresee San Francisco fans following suit.

I have my own thoughts on the most disliked coaches in America, but I wanted to get broader perspective for this post so I asked my fellow Couchletes for their thoughts, as well as my friends on Facebook. The coaches listed below, were chosen based on the feedback I received from those two sources (I got a lot of responses and couldn’t use them all). I listed them in alphabetical order as opposed to ranking them 1-10.

Bill Belichik
Although “the hoodie” has won over the hearts of fans throughout the New England area, much of the rest of the country despises him. Why? Success. Well, that and a little thing called spygate. Personally, I don’t dislike Belichik; I actually respect him, but can see why others wouldn’t like him. He carries a certain arrogance, but it’s not a boisterous, loud-mouthed type of arrogance, it’s more of a quiet “I know I’m smarter than you” arrogance. That’s the type of ego I can respect, he knows he doesn’t have to back it up with a lot of bluster.

John Calipari
Calipari is cocky and knows it, embraces it even, to the extent that he passes the cockiness onto his teams. That’s not the reason he’s on this list though; no, his status on this list is cemented because of his role in bastardizing college basketball by not just cherishing, but wholly and fully adopting, the one and done system the NBA now pushes on promising young players. Throughout his career he’s toed the gray boundary line of the NCAA, falling on the wrong side just as much as he’s ended up on the right side. Sure, he puts together good teams, but there are always questions about the legality of how he formed these teams. Quiz – how many Final Four trips has Calipari made throughout his career at UMass, Memphis and Kentucky? If you said four, you’re wrong. It’s only two, his two most recent while at Kentucky. The NCAA vacated Calipari’s Final Four appearances while at UMass and Memphis due to rules violations. Based on his past behavior, we’re probably just looking at a matter of time until his Kentucky trips are vacated.

Pete Carroll
Many people have built up a dislike for Carroll based on his tenure at USC, one that was filled with greatness, conference titles and national titles, but also egotism, vanity, swagger, and toward the end, scandal. Carroll’s Trojan teams didn’t win any favors through their frequent tendency to run up the score on inferior teams or their habit of running others noses in their supreme ability. That made it all the more ironic when Carroll bitched and whined about Jim Harbaugh and his Stanford Cardinal running up the score on Pete’s Trojans. When Carroll got to the NFL, his antics continued, most notably on two occasions that continued to build an anti-Pete following:
1.) After the Seahawks beat the Packers due to a horrendous, blatant missed call by the officials, Pete ran around the field, giddy as a school girl who just learned the popular boy asked her best friend if she likes him. After the game, he then talked about what a superb game his team played to ‘earn’ the win (both teams actually played really sloppy, Pete; what game were you watching?)
2.) In the Seahawk’s playoff game against the Falcons, Carroll tried to ice Atlanta kicker Matt Bryant prior to his field goal attempt at the end of regulation to win the game. Bryant missed the kick, but Carroll had been granted the timeout, leading ‘ol Pete to whine to the referees that he didn’t call a timeout. We all saw it, Pete. Fox was even so gracious as to pull it up on video to show all of America you clearly told an official you wanted a time out.

Gene Chizik
Chizik might not have the national presence of some of the other coaches on this list, but those that do know of him, don’t like him much. Chizik gained some national notoriety for his one season tenure as co-defensive coordinator at the University of Texas under Mack Brown, though he only held the position for one year before leaving to become head coach at Iowa State. Chizik signed a six year deal with the Cyclones, but only served two of those years, leaving after compiling a 5-19 record to become the head coach at Auburn. He was one of the earliest examples of college coaches showing no loyalty to the school paying them. Chizik became best known for winning a national championship at Auburn behind the play of one year wonder, quarterback Cam Newton. So far you’re probably reading this thinking, he doesn’t sound that dislikable. Unfortunately that national title season was stained with controversy surrounding Newton. The quarterback originally started his college career at Florida, before being suspended from the team for stealing a laptop from another student (which was found to be in his possession). He transferred from Florida to a junior college for a year, before coming to Auburn. However, suspicions were raised that Newton’s father had run a play for payment scheme before choosing Alabama, attempting to get interested schools to pay substantial sums of money to get Newton. It was found that Newton’s father made this type of arrangement with Mississippi State, but oddly enough, Newton chose Auburn, leading many to speculate that Chizik and Auburn had come to a similar arrangement. While the NCAA was unable to find proof of payments after launching one of its laughable ‘investigations,’ the damage to Chizik was done. He now carries the reputation of a dirty coach.

Jim Harbaugh
My fellow Couchletes will disagree with me on this one and blame his inclusion in the list to my personal distaste for Harbaugh; however, I wasn’t considering including him until his name was mentioned by others after asking about the most disliked coaches. I mentioned him in my opening and will now expand on it a bit. The 49ers were a lowly team when Harbaugh took the reigns as head coach. So in his first season, when he started winning, people thought it was a good story. They looked past his sideline ranting and raving antics. Harbaugh gained more national attention in his second season after leading San Francisco to the NFC Championship game. More eyes were on him now and those eyes became tired of brash and blustery personality. Jimbo, you’re not a player anymore. It’s time to learn to keep your emotions in check. You don’t need to run up and down the sidelines screaming like a lunatic. And I know this will astonish you, but your team does commit penalties. So please, stop bitching and whining like a spoiled child every time a penalty is called on your team. The league and the officials aren’t out to get you.

Lane Kiffin
Lane Kiffin has always come across as a snot-nosed little brat. His father is the great defensive coach Monte Kiffin, and I question if Lane used his family roots to skirt by. As a head coach, Kiffin certainly hasn’t been impressive. He seemed like a good assistant at USC under Pete Carroll, convincing Raiders owner Al Davis of this so much that Davis made him the youngest head coach in NFL history. He lasted less than two years with the Raiders, being fired four games into his second season. He compiled a 5-15 record with Oakland. He then left to coach the University of Tennessee, lasting one 7-6 season before being poached by USC to become their head coach. In his one season in Knoxville he raised a lot of chaos though, being investigated for NCAA violations and also publicly accusing then-Florida head coach of violations. Lane Kiffin’s an immature hot head.

Bobby Petrino
Petrino is currently the head coach of Western Kentucky, not really a hot college football job, huh? The reason he’s there is due to his past mistakes. While serving as head coach at Arkansas, Petrino crashed his motorcycle. After initially saying he was alone on the motorcycle, it came out that a former Arkansas volleyball player, whom Petrino had just hired for the football staff, was on the back of the bike with him. He later revealed that the woman was not just a passenger during the crash, but was someone he’d been having an affair with, prior to even hiring her to his football staff. Petrino was fired for the incident. But that’s not all that gets Bobby on this list. Petrino was hired as football coach of the Atlanta Falcons in 2007, with the intent of building the team into a winner around star quarterback Michael Vick. Of course, Vick would not play that season after facing federal dog fighting charges. After 13 games, Petrino put together a 3-10 record and decided to take the head coaching job at Louisville. He essentially left the team in the middle of the night, informing his team through four sentences typed on a piece of paper placed on each locker. Classy.

Rex Ryan
Rexy’s spot on this list is due to his boisterous and often obnoxious personality. While there are weird, yet funny, stories about him such as his foot fetish with his wife and his tattoo of his wife wearing a Mark Sanchez jersey, Ryan hasn’t really done anything like Petrino, Calipari or Chizik. His personality just rubs a lot of people the wrong way.

Nick Saban
Success breeds jealousy, envy and dislike. Saban is the Bill Belichik of college football. For all intents and purposes, he’s a respectable guy, making sure his team plays the right way. But, damn he’s seen a lot of success, which brings out haters.

Roy Williams
Williams may seem like an odd fit for this list. He’s largely on it just because he pissed off so many people for leaving Kansas for North Carolina. He denied the Tar Heels once and then succumbed to them three years later.

By Kevin York
Follow Kevin on Twitter at @kevin_york
You can contact Kevin at

Thoughts on the Most Disliked Athletes in America (Who the heck voted on these guys?)

By Kevin York

Photo Credit: (Tom Szczerbowski/USA Today Sports)

Photo Credit: (Tom Szczerbowski/USA Today Sports)

Earlier this week Forbes released its list of the 10 most disliked athletes in America. That full list, in order by the most disliked, is as follows:

Tie – 1. Lance Armstrong
Tie – 1. Manti Te’o
3. Tiger Woods
4. Jay Cutler
5. Metta World Peace
6. Alex Rodriguez
7. Michael Vick
8. Kurt Busch
9. Kobe Bryant
10. Tony Romo

After I read that list, all I could think was, “who voted on this thing?” I can understand Armstrong. The wounds are still fresh from his admittance to using PEDs for, well, his entire career. Woods, World Peace, Vick and Bryant appearing on the list show that it’s hard to ditch reputations once those reputations have soured with the general public. Being a cheating, sex crazed asshole, going into the stands to attack fans, abusing dogs, and being accused of rape are things that take quite a bit of time for people to forget. When I look at some of the others, though, I just have to ask “why?”

Should Manti Te’o really be hated? You can call him naive, oblivious or gullible, but I’m not sure I’d call him hated. I almost feel sorry for the guy considering just how stupid he now appears to be. I think his place on the list is more due to people hating Notre Dame than Te’o.

Jay Cutler? Sure he’s an arrogant douche, or I guess I should just say douche since arrogance is an assumed part of doucheness. You can say he’s a whiny little brat too, but does he belong on a most hated list? Is he even relevant enough nationwide to be on this list?

Hasn’t Alex Rodriguez all but admitted he’s overrated? He admitted to using banned performance enhancing substances. He disappears in the postseason (both in games and when media want to talk to him). Sure, he plays for the Yankees, and we all hate the Yankees, but a spot in the top 10 list? I think we can do better (or should I say worse?) than A-Rod.

Kurt Busch? Do we consider auto racing a sport? No, seriously, do we? So Kurt has road rage, so does every other American male over the age of sixteen. I guess this is the impact of the south on the vote.

I’m at the point where I feel sorry for Tony Romo. The guy doesn’t do anything to be hated, I guess unless you’re a Cowboys fan, and I’d wager that his place on this list is more due to the voting of Cowboy haters than fans. He’s a model citizen off the field. If anything, I think this list shows that Americans still consider the Yankees, Cowboys and Notre Dame their most hated teams.

So the list is compiled of five guys that I agree belong on it, or should I say, I won’t fight back on; and five guys that have no place on this list.

So who should replace those that I don’t think belong?

Before Rahul throws in his vote for Kris Humphries due to his infatuation with the Kardashians, let it be known that the guy was on the list last year and dropped off this year, which I think he earned, as odd and backwards as that sounds to say he earned his way off this list. Personally, I kind of like Humphries now. How can you not like a guy who irritates Kanye?

But back to who should be on this list…

  • Dwight Howard!!!!!! How quickly we’ve forgotten what an immature little brat that guy is. How is he not on this list? Forget John Kerry, Dwight Howard is the ultimate flip flopper. And don’t forget, he also got his coach fired. Then he decided he wanted out of Orlando and even chose where he wanted to go, or maybe it was his second or third choice – he switched his demands so much I’ve forgotten – and now isn’t happy there either. Sorry, Superman, you belong on this list.
Photo Credit: (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Photo Credit: (Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

  • If Jay Cutler is included, don’t we need Philip Rivers on it too? I think he’s more of a whining crybaby than Cutler. I’m tired of seeing him rant and rave on the sidelines, screaming at players and coaches alike.
  • Fans outside of Baltimore and New England might not be as aware of this guy, but what about Ravens safety Bernard Pollard (or Bernard Karmell Pollard!!! as Bill Simmons and the guys at Grantland refer to him). Pollard has caused serious injuries to not one, not two, not even three, but FOUR players on the New England Patriots in separate seasons. He ended the seasons of Tom Brady (2008 – torn ACL) and Wes Welker (2009 season finale – torn ACL); and for the most part, also ended the seasons of and Rob Gronkowski (2012 playoffs – sprained ankle) and Stevan Ridley (2013 playoffs – concussion knocking him unconscious) since both weren’t fully healthy contributors throughout the remainder of the playoffs. With the number piled up at four, don’t we have to say this isn’t a coincidence anymore? I know many people hate the Patriots, but look past that. The guy ended the seasons of three Pro Bowlers. Seems kind of pre-meditated to me.
  • What about Ray Freaking Lewis!?!?! This baffles me. I asked a lot of people who they were cheering for in the Super Bowl and in roughly 95% of those conversations (using a very accurate statistical measurement called my head and gut), “I hate Ray Lewis” was mentioned. The reasons varied from ‘being a hypocrite’ to ‘inaccurately depicting religion and God’s impact daily life’ to ‘killing two people,’ but the end result was the same – people can’t stand the guy.
  • I think Floyd Mayweather escaped making the list because not enough people are aware of him. Do people even watch boxing anymore? I have to confess I first became aware of what a mouthy, pompous jerk he is from when he made some guest appearances on WWE (yes, I’m admitting to watching WWE). He was cast as a face (good guy) and ended up wrestling the Big Show, a heel (bad guy), at WWE’s Wrestlemania pay-per-view event. However, in the weeks leading up to that match, actually, I take that back – the very moment Mayweather opened his mouth, I found myself wanting to see him get pummeled. I’m not sure what WWE was thinking positioning him as a face, but the majority of fans ended up cheering for the ‘heel’ in that match right along with me. And then of course, there are the multiple batteries Mayweather has committed against girlfriends.

So if I’m making this list, I replace Te’o, Cutler, A-Rod, Busch and Romo with Dwight Howard, Philip Rivers, Ray Lewis, Bernard Pollard and Floyd Mayweather.

Then I started wondering, what if the scope of the poll had been expanded to sports figures and not just athletes? How would coaches stack up in this? Where would a guy like Rex Ryan fall? That would lengthen this post quite a bit, and let’s be honest, you’ve probably already stopped reading this far, so I’m going to investigate the most hated coaches in a future post. Let me know who you think belongs on that list or if I forgot anyone who belongs on the most hated athletes list.

By Kevin York
Follow Kevin on Twitter at @kevin_york
You can contact Kevin at

New Roster Acquisitions – Part 3

By Kevin York

You may have just read that title and thought, “Wait a minute…didn’t they just write a post like this a week ago?” The answer to that question is yes. We wrote New Roster Acquisitions – Part 2 10 days ago, to be exact, when we added Matt and Alton to our staff. This is part 3 of our new roster acquisitions. Our readership is actually growing kind of quickly (yes, we’re as shocked as you are). It’s crazy – the more frequently that we publish, the more readers we get. Who would’ve thunk it?! (That was dripping with heavy sarcasm in case you couldn’t sense it. Both Ryan and I are social media consultants and give that very advice to our clients everyday.)

Since our readership is growing, we thought our staff should grow too. We can’t let all of you down. We have expectations we need to meet now. So to support the cause, we’ve decided to throw money around like Michael Jordan shopping for 90s jeans and oversized blazers. Like Ric Flair stylin’ and profilin.’ Like Donald Trump in a bad toupe store. Like the fat, old, bald guy in a strip club. We realized we’ll have to drop some serious cash to get the consistency in writing that we need. Dropping cash like Wes Welker drops passes in big games. Or like Antonio Cromartie drops on child support. You get the point. We knew we’d need to to shell out some more money to bring on a couple more writers to help with producing more content (yes, I absolutely used the word ‘more’ three times in that sentence – I’m stressing the importance of more, here). Anyway, all that would be true if we actually paid our writers…which we don’t. So all I’m really saying is we’re adding another writer.

Jonathan Murray – Jonathan is a Bay Area guy, residing in San Jose with his wife and newborn daughter. Yes, we added yet another person with Bay Area perspective after saying we wanted to broaden what our writers bring to the table. But wait! He’s different than the rest of us. See, Jonathan will be focusing on golf, and no, not the way Rahulfocuses” on golf by obsessing over what Rickie Fowler wears, but really talking about golf and giving his insight and perspective. So he will be helping us to broaden. Of course, that’s not to say he won’t ever write about other subjects at times, he’s also a big San Francisco Giants and 49ers fan, but he’ll predominantly write about the gentleman’s game.

Welcome to the team, Jonathan!

By Kevin York
Follow Kevin on Twitter at @kevin_york
You can contact Kevin at

So God made an Ad Man.

By Mark Gaspar

While many of you sat in a sweaty and overcrowded living room to watch the Super Bowl with your friends, I – clothed in my favorite shark skin suit – sat aloft on the 52nd floor of a Madison Avenue office building. While sipping a 12 year-old scotch, I looked down from my perch – both literally and figuratively –on all the plebian mouth breathers with disdain, and a little bit of pity.

“Yes, I pity them” I thought as I cozied up with my favorite albino cat in a cold, unfeeling mid-century modern chair. But I also love them, those out-of-shape puppets who are, this very moment covered in fried chicken grease, readily opening their feebile and facile minds to the corporate suggestions of the cabal with whom I currently sit. “My God” I whispered, “they make it all so easy. Like shooting fish in a barrel.” We all laughed our best and most full-throated laugh as we watched a wall of television screens and calmly snorted caviar off the stomachs of immaculately hairless models imported from Romania.

As the game began our notions were reinforced. Ball shots, large breasts, promises of adventure… the tried and true. There were a few hiccups. Those bastards at Audi gave us something comfortable yet subversive.

And GoDaddy actually presented something that was creative and strategic.

“Holy balls” cried one senior executive next to me “did they just do something that made sense?”

Those were but tiny bumps, for we could still forecast the USA Today top ten commercials. Surely Doritos’ “Goat” and the even more asinine “men dressing up” would be number one and two. Such stupidity. Such meaninglessness. This… THIS is what America wants… nay… NEEDS! Ah the beauty of crowdsourcing. Give these dunces enough rope and they’ll hang the whole populace.

But then something horrible happened. In the third quarter, just after we engineered the power outage (look we’re sorry, but we spent a ton of time on those CBS promos and we really thought you’d enjoy them) a television spot came on and it rocked me to my core.


I knew they couldn’t be trusted. I mean for God’s sake it made me… FEEL something. It made me THINK about something. Two of my brethren died out of shock. After all, if the mindless horde is taught to think, to feel, to laugh at more than a guy getting hit in the junk then they’ll start to rebel. They’ll start demanding more. We’ll have to work harder.

I went to steady myself with a long slug from my glass only to notice I was sweating. Sweating right through my impossibly tailored suit. Shit. Do you know how expensive it is to dry clean shark skin?

As my forehead dried I knew I had to do one of two things. I could change. I could push myself to come up with better material, respect my audience, and ignore the trapping of previous success. Or, I could ignore everything, turn on Netflix and watch “House of Cards.” And really, when I saw it like that… it all made so much sense.

Man that Kevin Spacey is a good actor.

Other winners and losers:



All of the Black Crown!

By Mark Gaspar.
Follow Mark on Twitter at @markgaspar
You can contact Mark at

New Roster Acquisitions – Part 2

As Kevin said back in September, writing a blog is hard work. Between our day jobs, wives, and, for at least one of us, kids, keeping up the publishing frequency around here can become quite daunting. Fortunately, Kevin has quite a bit of free time on his hands and has done a great job carrying the load for us of late. However, with that in mind, he and I began considering what we could do to ease that burden some.

The only logical thing to do was to interview some new writers and bring them on. So, that’s exactly what we did, except that the “interview” consisted of one question: “Do you want to join The Couchletes?”

We started our search by evaluating what we currently have: Two main contributors that are Bay Area-based with strong affiliations to two completely different sets of regional sports teams. I love the Niners, Kevin loves the Packers (and I love the Niners vs. the Packers). I’m an Oakland A’s guy, he loves the Cleveland Indians (I know, I don’t get it either). What we sought was more diversity since the rest of The Couchletes are primarily Bay Area sports team fans. What we ended up with was more of the same, but it doesn’t mean we didn’t try!

Today, we’re announcing the addition of two more writers.

Matt Ginn – Matt is Bay Area born and raised. Having grown up in the East Bay with me (Ryan), he shares many of the same affiliations – Niners, A’s and maybe Giants at times, Sharks, Warriors, etc. Matt has a keen interest in football like the rest of us, but he also loves the English Premier League. And, while not many people like soccer in the U.S., we may get a post or two from Matt on his affinity for New Castle (football club and beer) and maybe some love poems about Wayne Rooney. Only time will tell. Matt also likes to gamble, something he will prove with his first post which will publish tomorrow. Keep an eye out for that!

Alton Beermann – Alton possesses probably the single coolest name out of all us Couchletes. I mean, his name is Beer Man. I consider myself a beer man, but this guy is legit. Beer Man shares his university with me (Go Aztecs!) and a love for NBA basketball that may rival our very own Mark Gaspar’s, though they’ll have to fight it out for the title. Alton is also a huge Niner and football fan. And, while he’s the youngest of the bunch (he just finished school in 2011), we feel he’s going to bring some interesting and fresh perspective to the (web)pages of this site.

Welcome, fellas!

What was Popular in 2012 and What will Happen in 2013

By Kevin York

As 2012 draws to a close today, I thought it would be fun to look back at the most popular stories of 2012. This will be a different look back than you’ll see from other sports sites today though. Instead of reviewing the most popular sports stories of the year, I’m going to provide a slightly different look back at the year by listing the ten most popular Couchletes stories of 2012.

As for what will happen in 2013, I’m going to approach that a little differently as well. My day job is as a consultant in the tech PR and social media industry. Every year at this time there are hundreds of articles and blog posts published providing predictions on the coming year. These predictions come from the media, vendors and industry pundits and typically range from the obvious (like if I were to say the Miami Heat will make the playoffs) to the ridiculous (if I were to say there’s an infant in Kansas that will become the best baseball player ever). In an ode to my ‘real’ job, I’m going to make some predictions of my own. They won’t be a cop out like the Heat making the playoffs and won’t quite be of the totally ridiculous nature, but I’m going to have some fun with them.

Most Popular Stories of 2012 (the most viewed Couchletes posts):
1. Dear Roger Goodell (written September 25)
2. Dear Kevin (September 11)
3. Choose Me as Your Fantasy Football Commissioner (October 5)
4. The Seattle Seahawks: Top of the League or Overrated? (October 17)
5. NFL Week 3: The Couchletes Pick ‘Em (September 19)
6. College Football Reform (December 5)
7. NFL Week 4: The Couchletes Pick ‘Em (September 27)
8. RE: Dear Kevin (September 11)
9. New Roster Acquisitions (September 18)
tie – 10. 2012 NFL Season Preview (August 31)
tie – 10. The Hypocrisy of the NCAA and a Missed Opportunity for Change (July 23)
tie – 10. The Overabundance of Superman in American Sports (October 3)

What Will Happen in 2013 (My far-fetched, but maybe not too far-fetched predictions)
— Norv Turner, offensive coordinator of the Jets and former Chargers head coach, will transform the Jets into one of the most potent offenses in the league behind pro bowl second year quarterback (and former RG3 backup) Kirk Cousins.

–The Green Bay Packers will finish the 2013 season with a 15-1 record, powered by one of the league’s best offenses and its very best defense built by new defensive coordinator and former Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith.

–The Kansas City Chiefs will finish 9-7 under new head coach and former 49er offensive coordinator Greg Roman. The Chiefs will be led by Roman’s handpicked starting quarterback, a man that will lead the league in completion percentage and QBR, Alex Smith.

–The Philadelphia Eagles will win the NFC East and go 11-5 under new head coach and former San Francisco defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.

–The San Francisco 49ers, with new offensive and defensive coordinators, will stumble to an 8-8 record in a hotly competitive NFC West featuring new league powerhouse Seattle, wild card contender St. Louis and the surprising Arizona Cardinals, much improved under new head coach Andy Reid. Media will start questioning Jim Harbaugh’s performance now without former coordinators Greg Roman and Vic Fangio.

–With injuries sidelining Steve Nash and Pau Gasol for the 2013 NBA playoffs, Dwight Howard will be looked upon to step up and help Kobe Bryant lead the Lakers to the Finals. Bryant will do his part, averaging 41 points in the playoffs, but Howard will shrink in the spotlight, averaging only 8 points and 8 rebounds in a first round exit. After the season, the Lakers will not attempt to resign the center, leading him to sign with one of the only teams to show interest in him. Howard, now stuck with both attitude and performance baggage, will begin the 2013-2014 season suiting up for the Toronto Raptors.

–After falling short of his quest to win his sixth NBA title with the Lakers, Kobe Bryant, sensing his time fading, will demand a trade out of Tinseltown. He’ll suit up for the 2013-2014 season with Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli beside him in San Antonio.

–Baseball’s east coast bias will now shift west with the league’s new big money teams, the Dodgers and Angels, garnering lots of media attention. Both will fail to make the playoffs and watch a smaller market World Series from their living room couches as the Reds beat the A’s.

–NHL owners, after the complete cancellation of the 2012-2013 season, will finally realize that Gary Bettman is the worst commissioner in all of sports and relieve him of his duties. He will be replaced by David Stern, fresh off his retirement as NBA commissioner. League revenue and television ratings will soar to all time highs in the 2013-2014 season.

–Tiger Woods will finish outside the top ten in the Masters and fail to make the cut at the US Open, prompting him to retire and begin pitching Rory McIlroy to let him serve as his caddy under the belief that carrying McIlroy’s bag when he wins a major can count toward Tiger’s career total and propel him past Jack Nicklaus’ record of eighteen major wins.

By Kevin York
Follow Kevin on Twitter at @kevin_york

The Politicalization of American Athletes

Tim Tebow, Craig James, Heath Schuler and Lynn Swann, a Mount Rushmore of American Athlete Attempts at a Political Career

“I haven’t ruled it out. Whatever avenue I feel like I can make a difference in, I’d love to do. I haven’t ruled out anything like that. It won’t be anytime soon in my future, but it’ll be something I’ll at least look at and consider one day.”
-Tim Tebow, New York Jets quarterback, on his future in politics

In a recent interview with Rich Cimini of ESPN New York, New York Jets backup quarterback Tim Tebow answered a question from Cimini with the above statement. The exact question that Cimini asked was, “With your popularity, especially in Florida, would you ever consider running for political office after you’re done with football?”

Focus on one word in that question that Cimini asked Tebow – popularity. Tebow hasn’t done anything to show the public he has political aspirations, yet because he’s a popular figure in today’s culture, it didn’t come as a shock that the question was posed. We know nothing about Tebow’s political position. Sure, we can draw some conclusions based on what we know about him – where he grew up, his family, his religion – but we don’t know his perspective on the United States economy or foreign affairs or healthcare or education. Yet, somehow the man is thrown around as a somewhat viable future political candidate. That’s not a jab at Tebow. I don’t fault him at all. The question came out of nowhere. He’s the type of guy that wants to help people and make a difference, so maybe he would be good in politics. At the very least, I can see how he would think he can help people through a political career.

What I’m asking is should we even be discussing him as a political candidate?

Tebow certainly wouldn’t be the first athlete to enter the political arena after his sports career ends. Athletes love competition, they love the stardom they have with fans, they love winning. It’s no surprise that a life in politics would enter the minds of some after they leave athletics. Some have even been successful in politics. Bill Bradley, Jack Kemp, JC Watts, Jim Bunning, Steve Largent and Heath Schuler have all seen some degree of success in politics after retiring from their respective sports. Recently we’ve also seen Jon Runyan, Kevin Johnson and Dave Bing enter office. However, for every Bradley or Kemp there’s a Lynn Swann or, even worse, Craig James that has failed.

Countless other athletes such as Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal have been asked about taking a stab at politics.

Why are we even asking them about the possibility of entering politics though?

Because they’re popular.

The same reason Tebow was asked.

I’d like to say that those elected to public office are the best leaders, the most intelligent, the ones with the best plan. Unfortunately I can’t say that. In most instances, it’s not the best and brightest that are running for leadership positions in our political landscape. It’s often people that are popular. Or charismatic. Or even worse, power hungry. Right now we’re in the midst of a presidential election between current president Barack Obama and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. Are these two men the smartest we have to choose from? Probably not. Are they the very best leaders for our country? Debatable. They’re likeable to their respective side of the political aisle though.

Politics are a popularity contest. Years ago, it was who was popular with the backroom cronies and good ‘ol boys of each political party. Today it’s who’s popular with the general American public – who’s charismatic, who looks the part? Go back to even George Washington. He was elected not because of any grand plan he had for the young United States, but because he was the commander in chief that had just led us to our freedom.

When you think about it that way, the way that many politicians rise to prominence, it comes as no surprise that athletes are looked at as potential political candidates. They’re always in the eye of the public. We know them. We recognize them. We’re comfortable with them. So we push them toward the role. Few probably came to the idea on their own, others led them in that direction.

Initially, I began writing this post with the intent to criticize the people that put athletes on a pedestal and push them toward politics. As I began actually typing it out I realized that we actually treat athletes no differently than the others we push into politics. Popularity and awareness rule. It’s why Minnesota elected this guy as governor. So I can’t blame people for doing what the regular, non sports loving population does. And couldn’t you just see Derek Jeter, Drew Brees, David Robinson or Brett Favre serving as a Congressman? Ok, maybe not Favre, but then again… He does remind me of a certain saxophone wielding man from Arkansas that used to lead our country.

By Kevin York
Follow Kevin on Twitter at @kevin_york