Monthly Archives: January 2013

Ryan Pedersen: San Diego State Basketball – The New Headliner in San Diego

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Before San Diego State Head Coach Steve Fisher arrived on the Mesa, Aztec basketball was the laughing stock of the Mountain West Conference. The year he arrived, he would have to pass out tickets to students personally just to get maybe a couple thousand at then Cox Arena. A few years later, there are about a handful more Mountain West and NCAA banners hanging in the rafters at Viejas Arena, otherwise known as the “Madhouse on the Mesa”.

You can thank Head Coach Steve Fisher for creating what once was a tradition-less program to a now a sold out 12,000 crowd each home game with a sea of red and black. Aztec Basketball is the new frontier of San Diego sports; you can’t go anywhere nowadays without hearing about the Aztecs in the local newspapers, TV and radio stations. Now does this have to do with the Chargers struggling of recent? Yes and no.  Aztec basketball year-by-year has had more season ticket sales grow, even with the Marty/Norv short periods of success in Chargers football, Aztec basketball always got better instead of worse.

Recently, the Aztecs were coming off a two game losing streak to, under the radar power, Wyoming and rival UNLV Runnin’ Rebels. They beat up on the Nevada Wolf Pack in Reno, NV, 78-57 and stomped conference powerhouse New Mexico 55-34 forcing the Lobos to 17 turnovers and their lowest points in the shot-clock era.

***

OTHER LOCAL NEWS:

  • Phil Mickelson has been in some heat with his comments about moving out of California due to high tax rates of the upper class with high incomes. He has since apologized, but for what? Golf is a rich sport after all.
  • New Head Coach of the San Diego Chargers, Mike McCoy has retained Defensive Coordinator John Pagano and has hired a completely new staff for 2013. Former Special Teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia, with the team the last two years, is now considering taking the same position with the Dallas Cowboys after leaving for the University of Auburn for the same position.

– Ryan Pedersen

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The 49ers are Super Bowl Bound – A Roller Coaster of Emotions

The glass is half full.  You can do anything you set your mind too.  Lindsay Lohan can beat this! David Akers can totally hit a 38 yard field goal.  Optimism – it’s a crazy thing and it was tested on Sunday in the Cartelli household, especially when the one thing that brings you happiness is down 17.  On the road.  In the NFC Championship game.

Spoiler Alert:  There will be screaming.  There will be yelling.  There will be dancing.  And there will be joyous and angry tweets!

Without further ado:

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Coming off a week where your team just dominated last years MVP and your newly crowned QB in his first playoff start breaks records, you have to feel a little bit of confidence going into the NFC Championship game.  It also didn’t help that ESPN and NFL Network were all picking your team to win and it shouldn’t be close.  They were even favored by four on the road according to Vegas.  The Georgia Dome was going to be rocking, the Falcons were going to feel disrespected, and they were going to come out swinging.  And that is exactly what happened.

Before I could blink Quintorris Lopez Jones, better known as Julio Jones was dominating.  He was a man amongst boys towering over everyone that even tried to cover him.  It was like if I was in a room with Danny DeVito.  After the first drive the 49ers were down seven.  Not to worry, we have Colin Freakin’ Kaepernick.

My optimism is still at a very high point.

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Well, Colin Freakin’ Kaepernick and the 49ers have a three-and-out.  Not good.  Can the defense get a stop?  No, No they can’t.  A field goal – they are now down 10.  That’s okay, we’re gonna get points right here right? Wrong.  Three-and-out. This feels like the 49ers vs. Seahawks all over again.

The Falcons smell the blood in the water, are the 49ers the innocent surfers deep in the ocean about to get chomped on?  Cue the Jaws Music as Julio Jones makes a ridiculous catch over Tarell Brown and the Falcons are up 17-0.  We’re gonna need a bigger boat.

Oh, by the way.  This was all in the first quarter.  Optimism fleeting.

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No, no it wasn’t.

At this point in the Cartelli household, my face is in my palm, my Dad is walking around yelling and not being able to watch and my Mom is playing Spider Solitaire upstairs.  I did not watch 19 weeks of 49er football to be disappointed once again in the NFC Championship game.  Time to will my team to victory.

Optimism at an all-time low –  the 49ers respond with a long touchdown drive capped off my rookie LaMichael James touchdown.  17-7.  Screaming and yelling commence.  I remember saying louder and more confidently, “We’re still in this”.  A stop.  Another touchdown drive lead by Kaepernick and Frank Gore.  17-14.  

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After being punched in the gut and knocked down, we bounce back, By “we”, I mean my Dad and I.  We’re back in this.  Every play matters, we’re screaming, high-fiving, wondering why Troy Aikman sounds like a lesbian, but I digress.  Did the 49ers leave too much time on the clock for Matt Ryan?  They sure did.  After having all the momentum, the 49ers allow a touchdown to put the Falcons up 24-14.  I hate you, Matt Ryan.

It’s halftime.  Usually  my chance to shower, relieve myself in the restroom, eat, cry (when losing), and yell at the television some more.  Not Sunday, I had no appetite, bodily functions weren’t working, I didn’t move, paralyzed by an awful half.  Will this be the last half in the 2012-13 season for the 49ers?

The 49ers start with the ball and for the third straight drive they score a touchdown.  Down 24-21, both teams look unstoppable like underrated Denzel Washington & Chris Pine movie of the same name.  Shootouts are fun unless your team is apart of it then you just want to rip your hair out.

The 49ers needed a stop, a turnover, a something! I was being modest when I asked the #1 defense in the league for a stop and then the greatest thing you can do on Twitter happened.

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Yes, I retweeted myself.  Don’t overuse such a power, it comes with great responsibility.

The 49ers are in great position to tie or take the lead from the Falcons after the interception by Chris Culliver they get into field goal range and it’s up to David Akers.  Akers in 2011 set the record for most field goals made in a season and started off the season with a record-tying 63 yard field goal in Green Bay.  Now, that I’ve said all the good about David.

Here’s the bad:

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Hate is a strong word.  It was said in a time of great passion, but Akers may be on my short list of actual things I hate**. Notice I said things – I know he’s a good person, he did great things last year and has had a great career.  But he is awful, just the worst.  The Super Bowl is going to come down to a field goal and knowing that Akers is on the sideline scares the bejesus out of me.

**Other Things on Short Hate List: Girls that wear bright red lipstick, Adults with baby teeth and huge gums, Facebook (Especially people that like stupid pictures that say “Like this or you want your elderly Grandmother to die a painful death”), Bandwagon fans, and the Kardashians.

After the miss, this game entered into the pantheon of games that will shorter my lifespan by 5-10 years.  Can Matt Ryan score again and put this game on ice?  Not just yet.  He takes his eye off the ball, fumbles, and Aldon Smith recovers it.  New life!  Optimism still alive.  Screaming, yelling, and more high-fives.  This euphoria does not last.  Crabtree runs a slant route, catches it, gets to the half yard line and fumbles.

Screen Shot 2013-01-24 at 12.35.37 PMIt’s like I just watched Click again.  I can feel the tears building up.  The 49ers cannot lose because another fumble in the NFC Championship game.  For the love of Kyle Williams it cannot happen!

The 49ers get a stop thanks to a timely tackle by Carlos Rogers and they are back in business.  This time no messin around – Gore runs it in for a Touchdown and the 49ers have their first lead of the game, 28-24.

I’m on the edge of my seat now and have really poor posture, but all the back pain will be worth it if the 49ers can hold on.  There’s plenty of time for Matty Ice to comeback and win this game, it’s what he does.

It comes down to a 4th down and 4.  All-Pro LB Navorro Bowman on Roddy White – a mismatch.  There’s some jostling for position, but Bowman knocks it away!

The 49ers win!  I’m jumping up and down, screaming, yelling, fist-pumping like I’m Tiger Woods and I just won the Masters.  My dad doing the same thing.  Mother dearest, dancing away.  Then a sigh of relief, the biggest comeback in NFC Championship history and a trip to New Orleans for the Super Bowl.  It’s been 18 years.

18 years.  18 years since I was watching the 49ers demolish the San Diego Chargers in the Super Bowl.  18 years since Steve Young to Jerry Rice in that 49-26 victory.  If the 49ers Super Bowl drought was a kid, he could buy cigarettes, fight in a war, and get blacked out drunk in the dorms of his college because you know he would be in a University not a Community College!

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Super Bowl Bound.

– Lance Cartelli

This Week in Sports

In case you were out with your imaginary girlfriend this week, here’s what happened in sports:

– In the most bizzarre sports news in years, Manti Te’o got Catfish-ed by a friend who created a (fake) dead girlfriend that did not actually exist and we all got #Te’o’d. Although she was fake, reports are that during her stint with (fake) leukemia she wore a “LIVESTRONG” bracelet to support Lance Armstrong.  Apparently she never got the news.  In addition, the sequel of Catfish is now in early development, and the working title is “Catfish Part II: Revenge of the Fallen”.  It is being directed by Michael Bay.

– Lance Armstrong finally admitted to using performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) and being a bully while winning seven Tour de France titles in an interview with Oprah.  Worried about his public image, Lance prayed to God to give his last nut for a “bigger story about a fake dead girlfriend that a superstar has never met so that his indiscretions become an afterthought”.  After Manti Te’o’s story came out, he once again prayed to God, “You know I was joking, right?, YOU ALREADY TOOK MY GOOD TESTICLE!”.  In other news, Lance Armstrong is privately funding Catfish Part II:  Revenge of the Fallen.

–  Colin Kaepernick ran for a record 181 yards rushing while throwing for over 200 yards and accounting for four touchdowns in a win over the Green Bay Packers to advance the San Francisco 49ers into the NFC Championship game against the Atlanta Falcons. Kaepernick has lead to the new craze “Kaepernicking” where you kiss your tattoos after a touchdown.  Other crazes include “Tebowing“, “Griffining” – where you lay on the ground writhing in pain because your field destroyed your knee. “Romo-ing” – where you throw an interception at the most crucial time in a game. “Manning-ing” – where you look like you breath out of your mouth and wonder how the hell this guy is a successful QB? and everyone’s favorite “Sanchezing”  when a big butt gets in your way and you fumble the ball.

– The New York Jets are reportedly interested in signing potential free agent Michael Vick.  The Jets seem to be interested in Vick because he combines everything the Jets love, a left-handed QB that loves to run but also takes a lot of sacks and turns the ball over.  Vick is also contemplating changing his name to Mark Tebow or Tark Sanbow.  Coincidentally, Tark Sanbow will be the fake love interest in Catfish Part II: Revenge of the Fallen.

– Kobe Bryant was voted to his 15th All-Star game in his career.  Kobe starting is a perfect fit for the Western Conference Team — a game where Kobe can shoot whenever he wants and people play little-to-no defense, sounds like the quintessential Laker team.  Hopefully Kobe can bring Mike Brown and Mike D’Antoni to coach the team.

– Lance Cartelli

 

#Te’o’d

Well, that happened.  I’ve seen the movie Catfish and was equally weirded out and confused that someone could be duped that badly into falling for a make believe person over the internet and social networks.  Today, we are all naive and Catfish-ed, we all got #Te’o’d.  The act or hashtagged act of being #Te’o’d is making up a fake dead girlfriend in hopes of winning a Heisman Trophy, becoming a media star, and to potentially hide other personal truths about yourself.  It’s pretty much Super Catfished.  #Te’o’d.

The first question that comes to mind after being shocked and blindsided by being #Te’o’d was, “He was totally compliant with this right?…RIGHT?!”  Manti Te’o released a statement saying he was the one that got duped, not that he was part of it.  Which makes him sound pretty dumb but also like the victim.  But there’s no way an athlete that plays at the prestigious Catholic school Notre Dame could be that dumb.  According to the Deadspin report, Te’o’s friend, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo is the one that created the imaginary girl Lennay Kukuo.  Te’o would talk to her every day, and while she had “cancer” he would talk to her every night and fall asleep on the phone with her for up to eight hours.  Yet, he said he met her after a Stanford versus Notre Dame game, but the first time they really met was through Twitter.  Why would he lie about that?  Why has he never met her?  How could someone of such high profile fall for that?

My next question that popped into my head was more deep.  Are we really real? What is real?  Are we all in The Matrix?  Do you exist?  Is there a spoon? 

There is no spoon.

This is a crazy story.  Probably the craziest thing I’ve ever seen in sports.  It seems like a High School prank that went wrong.  Albeit, a really really really good High School Prank that would get you on the MTV Greatest Pranks show.  It reads like a ploy to get on the national stage for a chance to become the Heisman Trophy winner.  To become the first defensive Heisman Trophy winner since Charles Woodson.  Or was it something else?  A superstar collegiate athlete that goes to a very strict Catholic school, hmmmm. Hopefully more truth comes out on this very bizarre, yet wildly addicting story.

Just remember — There is no spoon.

– Lance Cartelli

Ryan Pedersen: Tom Telesco, Mike McCoy Era Begins in San Diego

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The Chargers wasted no time (ok, a couple days) in hiring former Denver Broncos Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy after their playoff upset loss last Saturday to the Baltimore Ravens. Many teams in offensive trouble like the Chargers, highly pursued McCoy. Other potential head coaching candidates that interviewed since the seasons end had flown in commercially, but Dean Spanos sent a personal jet to pick up Mr. McCoy after he sent the Wolf to hire Indy’s Tom Telesco as the new GM and now Mike McCoy as the 15th Head Coach in Chargers history.

McCoy’s NFL coaching career started in Carolina from 2000-2008 as an assistant then he was hired by the Broncos in 2009 with HC John Fox to coach Kyle Orton to a career-high passing season. Not sure about McCoy you say? After all he did coach Tim Tebow to a playoff win in 2011, if he can coach Tebow he can coach Philip Rivers (granite he gets an actual offensive line).

The youth movement in San Diego has high praise so far, fans are actually excited for their coach and GM (for now) and media is happy that they are happy (for now). Now that the Coach and GM are hired, both of them are barely into there 40’s and Chargers have clearly gone to the youth movement in what was Norv/AJ who were both over 60. The feeling overall of the Chargers has to be limitless; you can only go up from here potentially. The stain that was A.J. Smith and Norv Turner are gone and thrown out and a new clean slate is in with Telesco and McCoy. This will probably be Dean Spanos last hire as president unless McCoy has a horrendous few seasons and this will lead to the transition of future president and nepotism extraordinaire, John Spanos.

Happy Championship Sunday (@CasuallyGinger)

Ryan Pedersen

Kaepernick, The “E” is Silent

He was largely unknown, riding into Candlestick on Saturday night with the world watching to take on the pesky Midwesterners, the Green Bay Packers. A huge task ahead of the 25 year-old. You know, just defeat a team that was a year removed from winning the Super Bowl.  A team with the former MVP, Aaron Rodgers as their signal caller.  A team looking to avenge a surprise loss to eventual Super Bowl Champion, New York Giants. But this gunslinger, this masked savior of a franchise, had more to prove.

“Who is this tall lengthy man?”  “Can he take them further than the man he was a subordinate to?” “What in the blue hell was Jim Harbaugh thinking?”, all questions that were muttered by the media, by the fans, and sometimes even by myself. These questions were amplified after Kaepernick’s second pass of the game, an ill-advised pass thrown across his body and taken for a T.A.I.N.T. (Touchdown After Interception) by Packers defender Sam Shields. Kaepernick answered all these questions and left no follow-ups after his 49ers defeated those Midwesterners 45-24, on the legs and arm of Colin Kaepernick.

Kaepernick only put up 263 yards passing while running for a record 181 yards and scoring 4 touchdowns.  That’s all.  Kaepernick was setting records in his first career playoff start and only his 9th start ever in the NFL.  He has taken over the national media with one of the greatest single game performances in playoff history.  He’s got the laser rocket arm, the gazelle like legs, and he has inspired a touchdown celebration on par with the amazing “Tebowing”, with “Kaepernicking“. He is now the hero of the tale for San Francisco 49er fans that have been deprived of any heroes before last year.

After the benching of Alex “The Phoenix” Smith a lot of people have questioned me about the Quarterback change in SF and I would always respond, “In Jim Harbaugh We Trust”.  Maybe this was my way of trying to convince myself that it was a brilliant idea to bench a guy that had the third highest QB rating in the NFL, the top completion percentage and only threw one incompletion in his last start before getting a concussion and effectively losing his job. Maybe I was crazy, but I know Jim Harbaugh is.  And if I’ve learned anything these past two years from my man crush, my hero, my 2nd father (j/k Lyle), it’s that “In Jim Harbaugh We Trust”.

But for me, at least, each Sunday (or Saturday in this case) a little bit of doubt always creeps into your head.  Have they finally figured the 49ers out?  After Kaepernick’s T.A.I.N.T. it all felt like a bad dream, like Leonardo DiCaprio and Bane were Inceptioning me for a whole season to be ruined this early.  But no! Kaepernick rises! The hero always does.

He pushed me from 99% to 100% and the media to 1,000%, at least for the next week.  And this next week, can the heroes legend grow?  He’s already put up historic numbers in his first start, now he must travel in to Atlanta and battle the Dirty Birds.

Atlanta is coming off a game that they are lucky to say they won.  Up 20 in the second half, but down 2 with half a minute left in the game.  Matt Ryan tries to write his own legend with a dramatic win and his first in his five year career.  The Falcons rediscovered their running game and have two of the best receivers in the league. On defense, they have struggled with mobile QBs like Cam Newton and Russell Wilson and their best pass rusher is nursing a badly sprained ankle.

On paper, it’s a favorable matchup for the San Francisco 49ers, but unless they changed the rules and no one told me they don’t play this game on paper and the Georgia Dome will be rocking for the NFC Championship on Sunday at Noon.

The 49ers hope their protagonist, their masked man, their gunslinger on his gazelle like legs gallops into Georgia to avenge a heartbreaking loss in last years NFC Championship game to take them to their sixth Super Bowl.  Something they haven’t seen since Steve Young was trottin’ around.

K-A-E-P-E-R-N-I-C-K, the “E” is silent.  But his coming out party was anything but.

– Lance Cartelli

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