166a25380bf257a0dd6d43538b701966_crop_north
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Have you ever tried to go shopping the day after Black Friday?

The stores are all a mess, the shelves are nearly empty and the only items left are either way overpriced, damaged goods, cheap knockoffs or a Richie Incognito action figure that keeps saying, “your kids will love me, bro” whenever you walk past the clearance bin.

Tuesday was the NFL's version of Black Friday, as the start of free agency created a shopping spree unlike any other day in recent memory.

Tuesday's frenzy—which officially began at 4 p.m. Eastern but clearly started way in advance of the league opening its doors for 2014—became one of the craziest days in the history of the NFL free agency era. For what looked like a marginal crop of free agents this year, the names flying off the shelves have been incredible.

85e9046e83c01ed055d85a62edf1db0e_crop_north
USA Today

I suddenly wish I was Rashard Mendenhall. I bet I’m not the only one.

I sometimes find myself sitting around when I should be working, dreaming about what life would be like if I was able to make tens of millions of dollars in a ridiculously short amount of time.

Mendenhall, now a former NFL running back after announcing in a Huffington Post article that he is retiring from football, has decided to give up his career to live that dream. My dream. Well, presumably his dream too.

I honestly find it hard to understand how multimillionaires and billionaires find the motivation to go to work every day when there is very little incentive other than adding a few more bitcoins to their Scrooge McDuck-sized vaults. 

9c3ea10fd334cc4a4e77c121ae3c2835_crop_north
Getty Images

The Oscars went long on Sunday night, as award shows tend to do, starting around 8:30 p.m. and finishing just past the break of Monday in the east. Many of you are bleary-eyed today, grabbing an extra cup (read: pot) of coffee while you make your way through a rough work day, spending more than a few hours of your day perusing all the fancy dress and white-jacket tuxedo slideshows, wishing you were still in your pajamas.

We get it. The Oscars are like the Super Bowl for people who don’t care about football. (Note: That’s not to suggest the Oscars are not interesting to people who do like football. It’s just that, well, the actual Super Bowl is our Super Bowl.)

The Oscars are traditionally one of the most watched television events of the year. Last year, according to Lori Rackl of the Chicago Sun-Times, more than 40 million people watched the Oscars, with nearly 62 percent of that audience consisting of women. By comparison, more than 110 million people watched last year's Super Bowl, with women making up somewhere around 45 percent of those viewers.

And Ozzie Smith wants baseball’s Opening Day to be a national holiday?!?

3ca0c42e56f7f7887c3fb3732b91fcee_crop_north
Brian Spurlock/USA Today

What if Jadeveon Clowney announced two weeks before the NFL Scouting Combine that he was gay? What if LeBron James came out in a national magazine spread during last season’s playoffs?

The buzz around either announcement would have been enough to make P.T. Barnum blush.

Now, make no mistake about the fact that Michael Sam and Jason Collins sharing headlines during the same week—the former for publicly announcing he is gay in advance of the NFL combine, the latter for signing an NBA contract nine months after his own announcement—is enormous news in the world of American sports.

Two openly gay athletes in male team sports making history at the same time is massive, in our extremely insular world of sports and our society around us.

Why Can't We Have an Olympics Every Year?

By on February 22, 2014

24,303 reads

105Icon_comment

315cab46c4b5c5b271210df30d97c52e_crop_north
USA Today

I am going to miss the Winter Olympics.

I am going to miss the skiing and the skating and the jumping and the luging and the curling and the hockey. Oh, am I going to miss the hockey. (And the curling. Did I mention the curling?)

I didn’t think I’d feel this way before the Olympics began. In fact, it wasn’t too long ago when I made this joke.

Only, maybe I wasn’t joking. Americans just don’t care about skiing, skating and luging (and curling) and most of these athletic disciplines at any other time in our lives outside of once every four years during a fortnight we call the Winter Olympics.

2b9de49d03ec941f12c8f74520b73c61_crop_north
Getty Images

All they could do was shake their heads, then shake Canada’s hands.

United States captain Meghan Duggan was choking back tears. Some of her teammates didn’t even bother trying.

The United States women’s hockey team lost to Canada in the gold medal game, again. Canada has won the gold medal, again, for the fourth consecutive Winter Olympics, defeating the Americans for the third time in this unparalleled run.

They are, without question, the two best women’s hockey teams on the planet. In the Olympic finals, Canada proved better in the end.

F2e43288d01e971b9aacf80b8c748cc4_crop_north
AP Images

In figure skating circles, defending Olympic champion Yuna Kim of Korea is simply known as "The Queen." During Wednesday's short program, she performed like royalty.

The 23-year-old Kim is a grizzled veteran in the world of ladies' figure skating, and while she came into the Sochi Games as one of the favorites, she has been relatively out of practice, essentially retiring after winning gold in Vancouver before coming back four years later as if she never missed a day.

Terry Gannon, calling the event for NBCSN with Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir, asked, "How do you step away, then come back like Michael Jordan did, and not lose a step?"

It was incredible. To be away from competitive skating at this level like Kim has only made her short program that much more impressive. She was essentially flawless, scoring a 74.64 to set a mark none of the skaters to follow her were able to match.

83a5ad17122a9940bd5b2fd7f5e106df_crop_north
Getty Images

What time do the closing ceremonies begin?

The Olympics, at least in terms of Russia's longstanding dream of winning a gold medal in men's hockey, are over. Russia lost, 3-1, to Finland in the quarterfinals on home ice, thereby ending both any chance at Olympic glory and every hope of finishing the Sochi Olympics on a high note.

In a Winter Games full of small Russian disasters, this one is huge.

Some even think the men's hockey defeat is one of the biggest Olympic disasters in Russia's history. During the second intermission of Wednesday's quarterfinal, American commentator Jeremy Roenick said that a loss to Finland at this stage of the event would be "the biggest failure in Olympic history I think for Russia."

5022030e94ee02ed49661bf06a15ded5_crop_north
Getty Images

I got into a fight with a Canadian today. Well, not a fight so much as a Twitter spat over the Stanley Cup being held hostage in the Canada house during the Sochi Olympics.

The Stanley Cup, for you hockey-illiterate Americans, is the giant silver trophy given annually to the NHL champion, something a Canadian team has not been since 1993.

Two decades have passed since a team from north of the border last won the Stanley Cup, yet someone thought it would be an inspiration to the Canadian contingent to bring the cup all the way over to Russia to remind people that hockey belongs to them.

There was much more of that kind of back and forth, with a few other Canucks getting into the mix as well. The primary retort to the Stanley Cup comment is that more Canadians have won the trophy than Americans, even though all of the Cup-winning teams play their home games in America. American teams win all the titles, but Canadian players make up the best talent on those teams.

3285d97ba0a774103d07f9257dd0a13c_crop_north
Getty Images

We've come to bury United States curling, not to praise it.

Truth be told, there isn't much to praise about the combined effort for the American men's and women's curling teams during the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Of the 18 combined games played, the United States won just three.

The men's team, led by skip John Shuster for a second straight Olympics, won just two of their nine matches. The women's team, led by skip Erika Brown and vice skip Debbie McCormick, who led the 2010 squad in Vancouver, won just one match in Sochi, being outscored 77-40 in the tournament.

Shuster spoke with NBC's Trenni Kusnierek after the team's final game in Sochi and was asked if he is disappointed to return to the Winter Games and put up such a poor result.