Saturday, February 05, 2011

Deion Sanders, Marshall Faulk, and Shannon Sharpe In NFL Hall Of Fame, Congrats!

The NFL Hall Of Fame class was announced today: Deion Sanders, Marshall Faulk, Richard Dent, Shannon Sharpe, NFL Films founder Ed Sabol, and linebackers Chris Hanburger and Les Richter are in.

But a very big congrats to Deion Sanders and Ed Sabol, who of which I can say there's no more deserving set of NFL Legends.

Deion Sanders. You can't write the history of the NFL without him or Ed Sabol.

More later.

Super Bowl XLV: Dallas Thaws, Leigh Steinberg, Serena Williams Party Hot

Super Snow Bowl 02-05-11, originally uploaded by PaulAValentine.
That photo of Cowboys Stadium was taken by PaulAValentine on Flickr 12 hours ago and by the looks of it, the giant site of Super Bowl XVL is slowing thawing out after the worst snow and ice conditions seen in 15 years.

It was a weather problem that caused Cowboys Stadium to look like it did below, and become the site of an accident caused by falling ice and snow from its roof, where six people were injured.

But it's thawing out, and all in time for the parties and Super Bowl XLV tomorrow. This is what sports agent Leigh Steinberg tweeted on Twitter:

SteinbergSports Leigh Steinberg
I have few talents,but controlling weather on my SB Party day is one of them,skies are gorgeous blue in Dallas,roads clear,time to partyM

And just in time for his 25th annual Super Bowl Party. This one different in that it's going from 1 PM to 1 AM - and it's just 9:18 PM CST as this is written.

Leigh's annual event, while not officially sanctioned by the NFL, is one of the premier soirees held during Super Bowl week. I've attended eight of them, or each time I've went to a Super Bowl. Had I not elected to come to Georgia - a plan I made last fall - this would have been my ninth time.

But this tweet by Leigh reminded me of why I'm not feeling bad:

SteinbergSports Leigh Steinberg
Just hit Dallas,on time,but it is freeezing for a Californian,brrrr,ice on ground

But, from this tweet from the NFL Commissioner's Party, Leigh's in his element: celebs and power players...

SteinbergSports Leigh Steinberg
Listened to Martina McBride@Commish Party,saw Mary Matalin+James Carville-my date was conserv+I am L...congratulated Amb Rooney

Ah, well, hell, that's my element, too! I guess that's why we get along so well.

Here's the description of Leigh's  party (that's him in the middle from a photo taken tonight) at Eddie Deen's Ranch in Downtown Dallas, which, from one tweet, he's sharing with CBS:

The preeminent sports agent of our lifetime Leigh Steinberg is in the 25 year of hosting his annual Super Bowl party. Many people know Steinberg as the inspiration behind Tom Cruise's character in Jerry Maguire. His party consistently draws the top professional athletes, politicians, business leaders, NFL team owners, musicians and actors in town for the biggest pro football weekend of the year. Expect to see big names on the "Green Carpet" such as Troy Aikman, Roger Staubach, Jerry Jones and President George W. Bush. New RSVPs include Jennifer Aniston, Adam Sandler, Serena Williams, Emmitt Smith and Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Also look for a Jerry Maguire reunion as Jay Mohr, Cuba Gooding Jr and Regina King will be at the party. There is also an invite out to Tom Cruise.

"The Super Bowl is a convention of Americana," Steinberg says. "It is the largest meeting ground available. Our party gives us the ability to mix the world of business and entertainment with the world of sports. It's the Super Bowl of people-watching."

The party will be split up into an afternoon session from 1:00pm to 5:00pm and the evening session running from 7:30pm to 1:00am. A big highlight of this night is the Pro vs. GI Joe video game competition taking place during the party.

A major part of the evening will revolve around Steinberg honoring his friend Gabrielle Giffords, who is recovering from a gunshot wound to the head suffered in the Tucson shooting on January 8. In addition, Mike Sullivan will be doing a Gabby Giffords portrait that will be signed by all of the guests.

And of course, Leigh's got a lot of star power in the room. Here's another tweet:

@SteinbergSports Leigh Steinberg
SB Party RSVP's-Steve Carrell,Jennifer Aniston,Lil Wayne,Mike "Situation",Cuba Gooding,T.Boone Pickens,Colin Cowherd,Adam Sandler,Troy A

On top of that, former President George W. Bush is in the house as of 30 minutes ago and rumor has it that Tom Cruise is supposed to stop by. That's a good thing because my impression for a bit was that Cruise didn't really seem to be tight with Leigh.

I think Tom was a bit put off that the sports agent movie Jerry McGuire seemed to be all about Leigh, rather than about a person who was a mix of agents, including Drew Rosenhaus. But from Leigh's perspective, he can always say that of all the agents that were consulted, he was actually in the film.

But I digress...

The party description text should have included "U.S. Congresswoman," but details aside, I'm sure it is a fun party. The photos from it are coming in on Twitter and all over the social network platforms.

For example, Serena Williams was photographed at Leigh's party just a moment ago.  And with it going on to 1 AM, anyone can arrive.

And by the looks of things, Serena's got a kind of designer cast on her right ankle.  She's obviously still nursing the ankle she injured last August, and for which she's out of the Australian Open.   (Ya think Jay Cutler could have worn something like that after the NFC Championship?)

Plus, the snow's thawing, it's easier to get around, the crowds are swelling, and all just in time to make Super Bowl XVL really super.

Stay tuned.

CNN Ali Velshi's Mean Twitter Tweet Lesson In Social Media

OK. All I did was send a friendly Twitter Tweet to CNN's Ali Velshi today and he fired back in a nothing less than a mean way.

What happened was Ali was running a segment on city fiscal problems in today's economy on CNN Live Saturday and featuring, among others, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter. Ali had Nutter say a few words about his city's need for more Federal dollars, but then Velshi let this other guest who's not an elected official drone on and on without stopping him.

 It was totally disrespectful to the mayor of a major city (not to mention out of protocol) for Ali to waste Mayor Nutter's valuable time.

I sent a friendly Twitter tweet to Velshi on the matter, this one...

@zennie62 Zennie Abraham
@AliVelshi Hey that Michael guy on the City Fiscal Segment went on 35 seconds longer than necessary. #longwinded

But rather than send a tweet that was in agreement or providing some insight, Ali shot back with this tweet:

@AliVelshi Ali Velshi
@zennie62 did anyone ask you to be the timekeeper?

Man. I know Ali wasn't too happy that others at CNN felt I bested him when we were debating on the economic stimulus program in 2009, but apparently he's hasn't gotten over it.

So, I thought "Ok. It's on, dude!"

Ali didn't stop to think before he sent a tweet; this will teach him a lesson because it's news now. (Of a sort.)

The lesson in social media is that we are the timekeepers, not Ali Velshi. Even my dear Mom said "Why is he letting that guy go on and on?!"

In social media, we all matter, not just celebrity anchors like Ron Jeremy or Ali Velshi.

Sending a mean Twitter Tweet has consequences.

Jon Wagner’s 45 Questions for Super Bowl XLV

Jon Wagner’s 45 Questions for Super Bowl XLV

Football Reporters Online's Sr. Writer gives us his "Watch" list for tomorrow's game


1. Will Maurkice Pouncey play?

2. If Pouncey plays, but is limited, how effective will he be at helping to protect Ben Roethlisberger and opening holes for the Steelers’ running game?

3. If Pouncey can’t go, will the Steelers’ offense operate well enough behind backup Doug Legursky?

4. Will key rookies on either side (Pittsburgh’s Pouncey – if he plays, Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders or Green Bay’s James Starks, or Sam Shields) play significant roles?

5. Will Starks (who leads all postseason rushers with 263 rushing yards) or Packers’ regular season-leading running back Brandon Jackson run the ball effectively enough to give Green Bay’s dangerous passing attack some balance against the NFL’s best rushing defense?

6. Can Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ passing game exploit the legendary Dick LeBeau’s blitzing attack against the Steelers’ biggest overall weakness – their 12th-ranked pass defense?

7. Or, can either the Pittsburgh pass rush or the secondary combination of Ike Taylor and Troy Polamalu mask the Steelers’ pass defense deficiencies?

8. With two weeks of preparation, can the great Dick LeBeau come up with enough varied defensive looks to confuse Aaron Rodgers the way the Jets did the same to Tom Brady in their divisional upset round win in New England?

9. How much more dangerous could the ideal conditions on the fast track, indoors, in Cowboys Stadium make the Packers’ passing game? (recall what happened at the Georgia Dome in Green Bay’s 48-21 divisional round win over the Falcons).

10. If the Packers focus too much on stopping James Harrrison, will LaMarr Woodley or James Farrior disrupt the Green Bay offense?

11. Will James Harrison make a big game-turning play the way he did with his interception against Arizona in Super Bowl XLIII, which stands as the longest play in Super Bowl history?

12. Can Rashard Mendenhall pick up where he left off against the Jets, when he had a career post-season high 121 yards (95 in the first half) in the AFC title game?

13. Will Tramon Williams get another key postseason pick or two?

14. Will the Packers’ pass rush – one of the best in the NFL this season – get to Ben Roethlisberger?

15. Or, will Roethlisberger use his patented elusiveness and pump fake to make more of his trademark big plays after the plays break down?

16. Will linebackers Clay Matthews and A.J. Hawk be able to patrol the middle of the field when Roethlisberger is on the run or after he dumps shorts passes off, particularly to his safety valve Heath Miller?

17. Can the Steelers’ receiving playmakers Mike Wallace, Hines Ward, Heath Miller, Emmanuel Sanders, and Antonio Brown keep pace with their more dangerous counterparts Greg Jennings, James Jones, Jordy Nelson, and Donald Driver?

18. If called upon late in the game, can Shaun Suisham make a field goal over 50 yards or more? (although he’s 14 of 15 this season, he hasn’t attempted a field goal of 50 yards or more this year, and he’s only 3 of 9 from that distance for his career, with his last make from that far away coming two seasons ago, during the second of his three different stints with Washington). Conversely, Green Bay’s Mason Crosby has made 2 of 4 kicks from 50 or more yards this year, and he’s made 10 of 21 career kicks from that distance.


19 . Will karma catch up with the Steelers and will they lose a Super Bowl because of poor refereeing, the way they benefited from several bad calls to beat the Seattle in Super Bowl XL?

20. Will viewers be confused which team is at the bottom of a pile with both teams wearing pretty much the same shade of yellow pants? (at least the Steelers’ black stripes and the Packers’ green stripes down the sides might help ).

21. How ironic is it that the first-ever Super Bowl without cheerleaders is played in the stadium of the NFL team which made NFL cheerleaders famous?

22. Speaking of which, should the Dallas Cowboys lend their cheerleaders to the Pittsburgh and Green Bay sidelines?

23. Will a part of a Super Bowl venue (namely the oversized video boards overhanging the field from one 20 yard-line to the other) interfere with the play during a Super Bowl for the first time, on a high punt?

24. Will people finally stop complaining about the weather in Dallas and in general, about Super Bowls being held at sites where warm weather isn’t guaranteed? (It’s football! Suck it up, deal with the elements, and cover the Super Bowl without the ridiculous whining!).


25. Will the Steelers extend their record for Super Bowl wins to 7?

26. Will the Packers extend their record for NFL titles to 13?

27. Will the Packers become the NFC’s first 6 seed, and the NFL’s only other 6 seed besides Pittsburgh to win a Super Bowl?

28. Can the Packers improve upon their all-time NFL-best 28-16 postseason record?

29. Will the Packers stop the Steelers’ 7-game postseason winning streak?

30. Will Ben Roethlisberger join Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montanta, Tom Brady, and Troy Aikman, as the only quarterbacks with at least at least three Super Bowl wins?

31. Will Aaron Rodgers finally be able to step out of Brett Favre’s shadow and into the spotlight of a Super Bowl winning MVP?

32. Will Mike Tomlin become the youngest coach (at age 38) to win multiple Super Bowl titles?

33. Which will win out, the Steelers’ experience of playing in their third Super Bowl in six years, or the inexperienced yet loose Packers, who are playing in the Super Bowl for the first time with their current group (having not been to the Super Bowl as a franchise in 13 years)?

34. Will long-time veteran Charles Woodson after 13 brilliant seasons (eight in Oakland, five with Green Bay) and Packer draftees Donald Driver (12 years with Green Bay) and Chad Clifton (11 years with Green Bay) finally get their-long-awaited Super Bowl rings?

35. Will a game on the fast track, indoors, at Cowboys Stadium, with good two good quarterbacks and several receiving weapons on each side make it more of a shootout than it should be?

36. Or, will the top two teams in the NFL in points allowed (Pittsburgh – 14.5 points per game, Green Bay – 15.0 points per game) during the regular season keep it a low-scoring, defensive struggle?

37. Will Green Bay (15 postseason plays this year of 20 yards or more) keep making big plays in the passing game?

38. Will the Steelers be hurt by having not been truly tested away from Heinz Field in more than two months? (Since a December 5th win at Baltimore, Pittsburgh has won five home games, had two byes, and a lone road victory against the lowly Browns, in Cleveland).

39. Conversely, will Green Bay be helped by having been thoroughly tested in five straight elimination games, including two regular season contests to make the playoffs, followed by three straight road playoff wins over the NFC’s top three seeds, to reach Super Bowl XLV?

40. After the Packers’ winning the first two Super Bowls, the AFL/AFC dominating with 11 of the next 13 Super Bowl wins, the NFC then responding with 15 of the 16 (including 13 straight), and the AFC then taking 8 of the following 10 Super Bowls, will an alternating pattern continue for a fourth straight year? (If it does, Pittsburgh will on Sunday).

41. With arguably the two most well-traveled fan bases in the NFL coming to the stadium with the largest capacity the NFL has ever seen, could Super Bowl XLV provide the most electric atmosphere the a Super Bowl has ever had?

42. Will Super Bowl XLV set an all-time NFL attendance record (as expected)?

43. Will Super Bowl XLV set the record for the most-watched television program in American history (breaking the record set last year, during Super Bowl XLIV)?

44. And yet, with a potential lockout looming, will this be the last NFL game played for a while?

45. Whether it is or not, will Super Bowl XLV provide as exciting a game and as great a fourth quarter as in the last meeting between the Steelers and Packers? (Pittsburgh blew a 24-14 lead after three quarters and fell behind 36-30, before Roethlisberger led a two-minute drill to pull out a last-minute, 37-36 victory at Heinz Field on December 20, 2009).

Comic Con Popularity Becomes Issue For

Comic Con 2011 is coming again to San Diego July 21st through July 24th, and registration for single-and-up-to 4-day ticket "badges" went on sale this morning.

If you don't know what "Comic Con" is, and wonder what the fuss is about, it's a 42-year old comic book convention that got huge over the last 12-years with the merging of comic and movie efforts, then went into orbit over the last 5-years with the growth of digital media and it's social media component. Last year, the event drew over 120,000 people, and it looks to break that number in 2011.

Comic Con reps announced the action on Twitter, then watched in horror as the online ticket sales service provider named, fell into a ditch. Overwhelmed with visitors trying to snap up badges. Eventually, #sdcc - or "San Diego Comic Con" - became a Twitter Topic Trend.

This is the @ComicCon tweet that got things started:

Comic-Con 2011 Attendee Registration will open on Saturday, February 5 at 9 a.m. PT. More info to follow at: #comic_con

But after a few hours - just two really - patrons experienced problems because the page, which I visited to test the vendor system out, produced a message stating 'We are currently overcapacity. Try again momentarily. Reach us on Twitter @TicketLeap."

And people did just that; here are some examples.

bcddesign Brad Dressler
by DarkStitch
@ticketleap What to do if get 4-day option after 2.5hr, then click pay and get Over Capacity msg-Refresh, Back, SCREAM? #sdcc @Comic_Con

Jellebean Shannon Jelle
Right now there's nothing in the world I hate more than that stupid green little frog that mocks me #sdcc #ticketleap #epicfail

All of this was to the dismay of Comic Con's PR reps, which smartly used Twitter to send tweets of concern.

Comic_Con Comic_Con
We’re obviously not happy with this morning’s events. We are trying to find answers and get to the bottom of this.
1 hour ago

Comic_Con Comic_Con
While we know the process is slow and frustrating, badges are being processed and sold, so we will keep the site live for now.
39 minutes ago
And this problem happened as people were trying to get tickets; hotel room blocks haven't even gone on sale yet, as @rkbentley asked:

rkbentley RK Bentley
#sdcc peeps this registration is just for tickets right? So, the #nerdpromcarnage for hotel rooms isn't even upon us yet, right?

Right. Not yet.

Now, as of 11:12, some are getting their tickets:

jennyfahhh Jennifer Mendoza
YAY I finally got my ticket! Thanks to @ticketleap for stealing 2 hours of my life! #sdcc here I come!! #ComicCon #sdcc #woohoo

Some. When I refreshed the screen, the overcapacity message propped up again at 11:14 AM PST. But then I'm going as a member of the press already; I had to testing the system for this blog post.

Stay tuned.

The Dilemma Reviewed

The theater had less than a dozen people waiting to watch The Dilemma at the 8:55 showing. Although this movie was already a few weeks old it would be assumed that there would be more people in attendance.

The theater, which shall not be named, had a period of time where the screen was messed up and the top half of the movie was below the bottom half of the movie which became very distracting.

The cast seemed brilliant; it was about time that Vince Vaughn and Kevin James got together. It was great to see Winona Ryder, because since Girl, Interrupted the most she has been known for is her alleged thefts. Jennifer Connelly did a great job as Vince Vaughn's girlfriend. Vaughn and James play best friends and business partners for a car company. Vaughn catches James' wife cheating on him with Channing Tatum's character. Vaughn does not know what to do, but in the scene where he confronts Ryder it is also exposed that before James married Ryder there was a sexual experience between Ryder and Vaughn.

The lack of communication and trust between all four of the characters is a bit unsettling, and Tatum's character seems too unrealistic.

The scene in the commercials where a little boy asks his mother, "Why is that man hugging himself?" and the mother says, "Just keep walking." - Well that scene does not happen, because all that is shown is Vaughn hugging himself and the mother saying, "Just keep walking."

The movie ends with an intervention and some big fights and make ups.
The movie deserves a 2 out of 5 stars.

Hearst Corporation Buys 100 Magazines, Needs Innovative Digital Focus

I just read that Hearst Corporation, owner of The San Francisco Chronicle, purchased over 100 magazines, including 102 titles covering 15 countries.

Excellent. It's a good idea to own the high-end magazines as they draw top-dollar revenues from advertisers. But the problem is that ad revenues are falling.

A purchase as large as the near $700 million on made by Hearst Corporation must have an eye toward an all-digital future.

And please, not one only focused on the frigging iPad when there are 75 tablets out there.

The digital strategy must be multi-platform. Moreover, it must consider a planning scenario where print is out of the picture, and have a plan in place.

An all digital approach that has Hearst Corporation owning news websites, blogs, and forums that match the print-originated brands.

That is a future that brings revenues from different brands poised for a solid digital existence.

A good web example to follow is, which is a giant collection of sites of each of the 32 teams of the NFL.

 Why not one portal for the websites of the magazine brands of Hearst Corporation, and that links back to the portal from each site?

Stay tuned.