Zoe & Max are picking brackets

Max is three years old and he loves basketball.

Max told me a few weeks ago that he wants to grow up to be like his dad and become a sportswriter. If you look at his NCAA tournament bracket, he knows just about as much as the rest of us when it comes to picking winners in the Big Dance.

Seriously, do you think your bracket is better than a three year old? OK, how about a six year old? 

Zoe has been picking brackets since before she was two years old—this is literally her sixth year picking brackets—and she is pretty darn good at this by now. She had Butler in the Final Four the year nobody was picking them. Genius. 

Getty Images

For two seasons I put together an ultimate NCAA Tournament Bracket Bracket, where I took all the great bracket ideas around the Internet (and a few I made up myself) and put together a bracket of all those brackets. It was a lot of fun, and it made for great fodder for which are the best brackets to fill out. (Note: the actual bracket always wins, but ‘80s cartoons is a strong contender.)

What I didn’t realize when putting together my bracket bracket is just how interested people would be in one particular idea: Which mascots would win in a fight?

Seriously, every radio interview I did during the tournament wanted to debate if a bruin could beat a gator or how to rank a demon and a hurricane—spoiler alert: We eventually agreed that supernatural beings trump natural disasters—which got me thinking that I could actually do this entire bracket with the 2014 NCAA tournament field and people would probably love it.

A few days after we planned to run a mascot bracket this year, this happened.

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

There are thousands of different ways to fill out an NCAA tournament bracket. You could do hours of research on which team has the best tournament resume. You could dig deep into each of the 68 rosters to find that key player on every team that has the potential to lead his team to the Final Four.

Or you could just throw darts. Consider this the Internet equivalent of throwing darts. (Note: Do not actually throw darts at the Internet; insurance rarely covers a cracked screen.)

Rather than do any of that actual basketball research—at least for this particular bracket entry—we thought it might be fun to do a different kind of research. What if we could fill out an NCAA tournament bracket based on which school was the best?

What if we used cultural superiority to determine which team is most deserving of cutting down the nets this season?

Getty Images

It must not be easy replacing a legend.

The "Sacking of David Moyes" sounds more like a chapter on English battles in a history book than a present-day soccer inevitability at Manchester United. Sir Alex Ferguson was a legend among legends; there may not have been a man more difficult to replace in the history of professional sports.

Moyes' predicament in his first season at United had us thinking about the fate of successors to the legends of American sports, both at the professional and college levels. That fate often varies and depends on many different circumstances.

Moyes not only had to follow Sir Alex, but he had to do it the year after that legend won yet another English Premier League title. United's struggle through a disappointing domestic campaign and the prospect of an earlier-than-hoped ouster in European competition has pundits wondering what United would look like if Fergie took over again.

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.

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. 

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?!?

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

24,816 reads


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.

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.