Fun Fact of the Day: If you’re located outside of New England, chances are that most of the people you watch the Super Bowl with will be rooting for the Atlanta Falcons; 53% of NFL fans polled are rooting for the Falcons, while only 27% are cheering for the Pats.
Cheater cheater, draft pick deleter. The St. Louis Cardinals have to give the Houston Astros their top 2 picks in this year’s draft and pay them $2M. What for? From 2013-14, a former Cardinals scouting director named Christopher Correa accessed the Astros’ scouting info. He hacked into their system by using old computer passwords from a Cards’ employee who left to work for the Astros. Now, Correa’s sitting in jail for the next 4 years and he’s been banned from MLB for life. Comparably, the Cards’ punishment doesn’t sound so bad. The $2M fine is a drop in the bucket and the team didn’t have a 1st round pick, so they’re only losing their #56 and #75 picks.
Seen and Heard
Basketball beef. After the Cavs’ surprising loss to the Dallas Mavericks, LeBron James let ‘er rip about Charles Barkley in an interview to ESPN. Barkley is a NBA on TNT analyst and former basketball great. He also has a long history of criticizing James, including calling him “whiny” and questioning his leadership abilities. Last night, James fired back. He called him out as a hater and listed a bunch of Barkley’s flaws from his playing days, including when he spit on a little kid and had tons of unpaid gambling debts. James closed the interview by saying “I’m tired of biting my tongue. There’s a new sheriff in town.” Mic drop.
You win some, you lose some. The Oakland Raiders just experienced another setback in its plan to move to Las Vegas. Yesterday, the Raiders applied to the NFL for a shiny new $1.9B stadium in Las Vegas, but there was one big problem: the plan’s biggest investor, casino titan Sheldon Adelson pulled out of the deal. Originally, the stadium was going to be funded by $750M in tax revenue, $500M from the Raiders, and $650M from Adelson. Now, the Raiders are going to have to cover Adelson’s portion and rumor has it that the team’s underwriter, Goldman Sachs may be getting cold feet, too.
A mixed legacy. In a wide-ranging interview with Sports Illustrated, former QB Michael Vick officially announced that he is retiring from football. After failing to sign with a team this past season, the news doesn’t come as a huge surprise. How will Vick be remembered? Controversially. He was the greatest rushing QB in NFL history and he paved the way for stars like Cam Newton and Russell Wilson. But he also served 2 years in prison for operating a gruesome dog-fighting ring from his house (aka the reason the Falcons drafted QB Matt Ryan ti replace him). Fortunately for him, sports fans tend to have a short-term memory for its big stars. Vick was even named 2010’s Comeback Player of the Year, when he returned from prison to lead the Philadelphia Eagles to the playoffs.