Miami Dolphins cheerleaders cover ‘Call Me Maybe’

First there was the news of “Hard Knocks.”  Now the Miami Dolphins cheerleaders have gifted the Internet with a video cover of Carly Rae Jepsen‘s inescapable hit “Call Me Maybe.”

The ‘Fins are taking a short cut on the road to redemption.

Cover Two Podcast: Clinton Portis, unplugged

The “Cover Two Podcast” is back up and running but it’s been re-tooled. It’s “The Cover Two Podcast: 2.0.”

Jason Smith of “NFL Fantasy Live” is my new co-host and we kicked off the re-birth of the podcast with some hot topics and the perfect person to address some of them: outspoken free-agent RB Clinton Portis.

The former Bronco/Redskin is trying to get back into the NFL after missing last season, and he disclosed that Redskins team doctors physically cleared him Monday from a groin injury that he was still recovering from when he was released last season. That clean bill of health, coupled with other medical clearances from private doctors, will hopefully help open the door for a return.

“I have all of my strength, everything is back … I’m ready,” Portis said.

A huge topic of discussion was the upcoming 2012 Scouting Combine.

“I think the combine actually hurts more guys than it helps,” Portis said. “The microscope is on to judge you, to figure out what you can’t do, they already know what you can do. Where in football does a broad jump mean anything? You don’t see anyone jump from the 5 to the end zone, standing off of two feet from a standstill. Give me a running start and let me dive across! I think it hurts more people than it helps.

“Going into this combine, you already know who is going to turn out to have the best NFL careers. You got Andrew Luck, you have RG3, you have Trent Richardson and Lamar Miller. You already know these guys are going to be great talents, because you’ve already seen them do it.”

Portis went on to say that Baylor QB Robert Griffin III, who won the Heisman Trophy, is the “real deal.”

“If it were up to me, Griffin would be the first pick in the draft,” Portis said. “Andrew Luck with the fundamentals and his career, he won every game he played. But on the flip side, if you look at the kid from Boise State (Kellen Moore), who is the same way, but he lost three games in his college career, how do you not take him?”

Portis didn’t steal the show. Smith and I had plenty to say about Ben Roethlisberger’s comment about not hearing from new offensive coordinator Todd Haley, free-agent QB Matt Flynn and the comments Brady Quinn made in a GQ article regarding Tim Tebow

 But here’s one last nugget from Portis, who for the most part agreed with Quinn.

“It’s obvious that the Broncos as a team won,” Portis said. “Tebow got all the credit because he came in and they began to win. It was his fourth-quarter effort that propelled them into victory that always ended in excitement and he was spectacular at that.

“But as a team, for the other three quarters, the Broncos defense played lights out. … Then all of the sudden you play as a team and one guy gets the credit. That kind of picked away into that locker room as you can see now. Did Tebow deserve all of the credit that he got? I don’t think so. But he handled it well.”

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Cruz might want to think twice about inevitable music career

If you really think about it, it’s not surprising athletes have attempted to cross over to the music world.

These are intensely successful people who’ve been told they’re God’s gift to everything since junior high. A celebrated college run and lucrative pro career only bolsters this confidence further.

So when a manager approaches them with the information that a record company wants to give them a sack of money to sing into a microphone for three hours, who’s going to tell them it’s a bad idea? Certainly not the cadre of yes-men that serve as handlers.

Of course, this is a bad idea. Ruben Studdard, American’s Idol’s “Velvet Teddy Bear,” cannot block Justin Tuck. We can’t expect Jets center Nick Mangold to nail Adele’s “Someone Like You.”

And yet, many a compact disc have been sacrificed at the altar of jock hubris. This spans across all sports, and the NFL isn’t immune. Consider the following list a cautionary tale for Victor Cruz, who’s probably scheduled to record his own salsa album sometime next week. Step away from the mic, VC.

Onto the list …

Terry Bradshaw: “I’m so Lonesome I Could Cry”

Before he was best known for getting berated by Ann Mara on national television, Terry Bradshaw was a Super Bowl hero for the Steelers. This success swung the doors open to the world of country music, and Bradshaw released three albums between 1976 and 1981. His cover of the Hank Williams classic “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” reached No. 17 on the country charts.

This makes Bradshaw the Elvis of NFL recording artists. I hope this provides some perspective.

Deion Sanders: “Must be the Money”

Deion Sanders was the greatest cornerback on the planet when he released “Must Be The Money,” the lead single off his 1994 album “Prime Time.” The video was outstanding (as you can plainly see above), but the single failed to chart. AllMusic.com writer Dan LeRoy noted that Sanders’ “nasal rapping and inability to offer any references beyond his own rags-to-riches sports biography make this one a yawner almost from the outset.”

I’d add more, but NFL.com and NFL Network exist under the same roof.

Free Reign: One Step Away

Dolphins tackle Marc Colombo, Lions guard Leonard Davis and free agent guard Cory Procter formed this metal band in which Colombo handles vocals. The group released the album “Heavier Than Metal” last April. I can’t imagine they’re the first band to use that album title.

Anyway, Colombo cites Metallica frontman James Hetfield as a major influence, according to the good folks over at ultimate-guitar.com. In 2010, the group captured the “Most Metal Athletes” award at the Golden Gods Awards. I’d love to know who else was in the running (crossing my fingers it was Tyler Palko).

Ben Utecht: “I Pray”

Ben Utecht is a former NFL tight end who won a Super Bowl ring with the Colts in 2007. According to his official website, Utecht is a football player by trade, but a follower of Jesus by desire. This couldn’t have sit well with Peyton Manning.

Utecht released his self-titled debut album in 2009, and recently released a Christmas album. “I Pray” is off that record. What else can you really say about Ben Utecht?

Connersvine: “Lay Down”

Connervine is notable because former Colts punter Hunter Smith is one part of the two-man band. Another Christian rocker, Hunter’s music is described on Wikipedia as “acoustic-driven rock sound that communicates through worshipful melodies and passionate vocals.” Whatever you say, guys.

– Dan Hanzus

Johnny added to database of sobbing NFL kiddos

We put a moratorium on promoting instances of parents using their sobbing children as symbols for their teams’ failures, but we’ve made an exception for a young 49ers fan named Johnny.

The best part? A male figure we presume to be Dad barking out Jim Harbaugh‘s famous “Who’s got it better than us?” rally cry, followed by the boy’s wounded response. Niners president and CEO Jed York tweeted out the video with the message, “Couldn’t have said it better myself.”

Add Johnny to the expanding database that includes the sobbing girl devastated by the Vikings’ ineptitude, the despondent boy just beginning his tortured existence as a Jets fan and the furious child who straight up hates Tom Brady.

– Dan Hanzus

Baltimore faithful dial up ‘Ravens Nation’ war cry

 

Ball So Hard University has produced its first crop of graduates.

Matt Richey, Kenny Silkworth and Robert “McFreshington” Norton have put their heads together to pump out “Ravens Nation,” a song dedicated to Baltimore’s 12-4 jaunt through the regular season that continues Sunday with a home divisional playoff game against the Texans.

The anthem celebrates an expected cast of characters — Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Ray Rice and Ed Reed — but it is, we believe, the first rap song on the planet with a nod to defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano:

“We’ll protect this house, this home, castle, throne, battle zone
When the pass is thrown, even the pastor knows
Hail Marys can’t save you, we’ll crack you bones
Chuckie P’s got the scheme and my whole team knows
It’s ‘W.hat’s I.mportant N.ow’ “

The artists have seen “Ravens Nation” generate more than 60,000 clicks on YouTube, but it’s the 71,000-plus at M&T Bank Stadium they hope to reach next.

“If they played it at (the) stadium, honestly, I have no idea what would happen,” Silkworth told The Baltimore Sun. “I’d probably try to grab onto something so I wouldn’t fall over. I would probably jump out of my seat. Maybe I’d do laps around the stadium. Or maybe not that far, so I wouldn’t get kicked out.”

Hear that, guy who runs the iPod shuffle at M&T? Let’s make these young rappers run.

– Marc Sessler

Packers LB Jones tackles teenage fan to turf

 

Nestled inside Sunday’s frantic Packers win over the Lions was this minor gem:

A 15-year-old Green Bay fan bopping around Lambeau Field during a timeout, running free and flapping his wings before he was stopped cold by Packers LB Brad Jones.

“I don’t understand how 10 security guards can’t catch one little kid,” Jones told FOX Sports Wisconsin this week. “Really, I was just cold. It’s all good.”

Jones claimed to hear muffled cries of joy coming from the boy as he was deep-sixed into the frozen tundra.

“I think he was still laughing,” Jones said. “I think I could still hear him. Maybe not. I was just happy to get the game back going again.”

Here’s where the laughter ceased for the upstart who was handcuffed and turned over to his mother: Despite being characterized by authorities as “completely sober,” he is “no longer welcome at Lambeau Field,” police told the Appleton Post-Crescent.

Learn from this, young ones.

– Marc Sessler

First and 10: Thank God it’s Thursday

NFL Network’s schedule of Thursday night games kicks off at 8 p.m. ET with an important divisional showdown, as Carson Palmer’s Oakland Raiders battle Philip Rivers’ San Diego Chargers for first place in the AFC West. Read a preview of this important rivalry game, and if you’re in the mood for nostalgia, watch a flashback of 1978’s infamous “Holy Roller” incident.

Here’s what else is on tap for Thursday:

  • The Pittsburgh Steelers are once again angry with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, this time for a $40,000 fine levied against safety Ryan Clark for his hit on Baltimore Ravens tight end Ed Dickson Sunday night.
  • With the NFL regular season at its midway point, we asked our panel of experts to choose the best game of the year thus far, and there were plenty of worthy candidates.
  • Get an exclusive first look at the next episode of “A Football
    Life,” which chronicles the one-of-a-kind life of legendary Raiders owner Al
    Davis
    . The full NFL Films documentary airs Friday night on NFL Network.
  • There might not be a hotter RB in the NFL than Dallas rookie DeMarco Murray, who has 466 yards in his past three games. Michael Fabiano says you should start Murray in your fantasy league, and he has some other intriguing names to look for in Week 10.

First and 10: We’re halfway home

Time flies when you’re having fun, and the 2011 NFL regular season is already half over. With that in mind, we asked eight NFL.com and NFL Network analysts for their award winners at the halfway point and revised predictions for the postseason, and the results are in. Also, Steve Wyche handicaps the path to the playoffs for high-profile and upstart teams alike, our panel of experts presents their choices for the biggest story of the season so far, and we’ve got highlights of our picks for the five best catches of the year.

Here’s what else is on tap for Wednesday:

  • Mike Shana-tan, the Baltimore Ravens’ unhealthy obsession with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the New England Patriots’ long, slow decline are just a few of Dave Dameshek‘s deserving targets in the latest Shame Report.
  • Bucs cornerback Ronde Barber and Texans receiver Derrick Mason have tangled a few times in their day. Watch NFL Network’s “Around The League Live” Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET to see these two veterans of the NFL wars bat around the hot topics of the day.
  • Tune into NFL Network Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET for an enhanced replay of Monday night’s back-and-forth affair between the Chicago Bears and the Philadelphia Eagles.
  • Get an exclusive first look at the next episode of “A Football
    Life,” which chronicles the one-of-a-kind life of legendary Raiders owner Al
    Davis
    . The full NFL Films documentary airs Friday night on NFL Network.

First and 10: Not for the faint of heart

If you missed the New York Giants’ Super Bowl flashback against the New England Patriots, or Sunday night’s stirring final drive by the Baltimore Ravens against the Pittsburgh Steelers, shame on you. But never fear: NFL Network’s got you covered with a special edition of NFL Replay Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET, focusing on the second halves those unforgettable comebacks and featuring enhanced sound from NFL Films. And at 9:30 p.m. ET, catch a replay of Sunday’s shootout in San Diego between Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers and San Diego’s Philip Rivers.

Here’s what else is on tap for Tuesday:

  • Rookie Philadelphia Eagles punter Chas Henry played quarterback in high school, but you’d never know it from the wounded duck he threw on a disastrous fake punt in the fourth quarter of Monday night’s loss to the Chicago Bears.
  • See what the heroics of Eli Manning & Joe Flacco did to the latest NFL.com Power Poll, and find out where our experts ranked your favorite team.
  • Get an exclusive first look at the next episode of “A Football
    Life,” which chronicles the one-of-a-kind life of legendary Raiders owner Al
    Davis
    . The full NFL Films documentary airs Friday night on NFL Network.

First and 10: Who you got — Tigers or Tide?

With Alabama and LSU gearing up for the latest Game of the Century Saturday night, tune into NFL Network’s “Around the League Live” at 5 p.m. ET Friday and have some fun with Cincinnati Bengals tackle Andrew Whitworth, who won a BCS title at LSU when Nick Saban coached the Tigers, and Buffalo Bills rookie defensive end Marcell Dareus, who played for Saban’s national championship club at Alabama.

Here’s what else is on tap for Friday:

  • Peyton Manning has missed the entire season due to multiple neck surgeries, but still has aspirations to play in 2011. Find out Manning’s status update straight from the Colt’s mouth.

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  • With four interceptions this season, Brandon Flowers is making a name for himself in the NFL. But thanks to a certain rock star, the Chiefs CB is hardly making a dent where it counts — on the Internet. Jeff Darlington explains.

First and 10: The Man in the Hat

Tom Landry was one of the greatest coaches in NFL history, and one of the league’s most iconic figures. Find out what made the man such a legend when the NFL Films documentary “A Football Life: Tom Landry” premieres Thursday at 10 p.m. ET on NFL Network. And watch a sneak preview here.

Here’s what else is on tap for Thursday:

  • Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs is never short on opinions when it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Tune into NFL Network Thursday at 7 p.m. ET as Suggs joins “NFL Total Access” to further hype Sunday night’s showdown of AFC North rivals. And Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel will talk about his team’s incredible turnaround from 0-3 to 4-3.
  • The Cowboys presumably knew what they were getting when they hired Rob Ryan, but eight weeks into the season, NFL Network’s Jim Mora says Dallas’ defensive coordinator has been too much of a distraction.
  • Eli Manning is quietly having the best fantasy season of his NFL career. In this week’s Start ‘Em & Sit ‘Em, Michael Fabiano explains why the Giants QB’s statistical success should continue in New England.
  • The NFL’s sizzling sideline sensations are in midseason form. Take a look at the best action from Week 8 in our latest cheerleaders photo gallery.

First and 10: Kansas City blues

If you missed Monday’s night’s Halloween thriller in Kansas City, tune in to NFL Network Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET for an enhanced replay of the Chargers’ heartbreaking overtime loss to the surging Chiefs. And don’t miss the premiere of NFL Films’ “Tom Landry: A Football Life” Thursday at 10 p.m. ET.

Here’s what else is on tap for Wednesday:

  • If the season ended today, some familiar faces would be back in the playoffs, but several others would be left out in the cold. Check out our playoff picture as it stands after eight weeks.
  • Week 8’s results caused Elliot Harrison to make changes behind the first-place Green Bay Packers in his weekly Power Rankings, including a seismic shift among the AFC’s best.
  • The QB trio of Tim Tebow, Tony Romo and Philip Rivers headline this week’s Shame Report from Dave Dameshek that also includes the many faces of Jim Caldwell and Kim Kardashian.
  • Is Cam Newton having the best rookie season in NFL history? It’s a good question and worthy of debate. But Newton’s 2011 performance isn’t a slam-dunk No. 1 when compared to other debuts.
  • The NFL’s sizzling sideline sensations are in midseason form. Take a look at the best action from Week 8 in our latest cheerleaders photo gallery.

NBA’s Durant proves to be ultimate flag ringer

When boredom strikes a two-time NBA scoring champion on a random Monday night in the fourth month of the league’s lockout, the choice of how to fill the time seems pretty obvious: flag football.

It turned out pretty well for the Thunder’s Kevin Durant, and even better for a group of Oklahoma State University students.

It all started with a random Tweet from Durant, followed by a plea from fan George Overbey that his squad needed a deep threat.

“Got a game tonight in Stillwater!! I need a deep threat!! RT @KDTrey5: This lockout is really boring..anybody playing flag football in Okc..”

Just like that, the Oklahoma State Sigma Nu flag football team found its ringer.

It”s really an impressive effort from Overbey, getting Durant a “35 KD” jersey and a police escort for his black party van in a matter of hours.

“When his car pulled up to my house, I was like ‘this is really happening.'” Overbey said in the YouTube video. “My friends didn’t believe me.”

Overbey added: “It’s probably the coolest moment of my life.”

As we would expect, Durant looks pretty sick matched up against a bunch of frat dudes, and his stat line read four touchdowns and three interceptions. But at 6-foot-9 and a listed weight of 230 pounds (we’re skeptical), we don’t expect his cameo to create a LeBron James-like buzz for a switch to an NFL uniform.

– Frank Tadych

First and 10: Week 8 redux

One week after laying a prime-time egg in Jacksonville, the Baltimore Ravens were down and out at home, trailing the lowly Arizona Cardinals 24-6 as they were booed into the locker room at halftime. How did the Ravens turn it around? Find out when NFL Network replays Sunday’s thriller Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET, followed at 9:30 p.m. by the clash of AFC powers New England and Pittsburgh.

Here’s what else is on tap for Tuesday:

  • If the season ended today, some familiar faces would be back in the playoffs, but several others would be left out in the cold. Check out our playoff picture as it stands after eight weeks.
  • After a slow start that seemingly had coach Andy Reid on the hot seat, the Philadelphia Eagles are starting to look like the potent team of All-Pros we expected, Jeff Darlington writes.
  • The Pittsburgh Steelers have heard the criticism all season. But they put it to rest in Sunday’s beatdown of the New England Patriots, Michael Lombardi writes as he rounds up what he loved and hated in Week 8.
  • It’s time to put Week 8’s fantasy horror show behind you and start scouring the waiver wire for Week 9’s gems. Michael Fabiano will tell you if now’s the time to add Carson Palmer, who’s had an extra week to study Oakland’s offense.

First and 10: Frightful fans

NFL fans embraced the Halloween spirit on Sunday by dressing up in crazy costumes to help cheer for their favorite teams. Check out some of the best costumes in our photo gallery, then — for a real scare — watch this spooky video.

Here’s what else is on tap for Monday:

  • A few weeks after they were written off as overrated and over-the-hill, Pennsylvania’s two NFL teams made big statements on Sunday, with the Steelers establishing themselves as the AFC’s top team by beating the Patriots, and the Eagles flying back into the playoff picture with a blowout win over the Cowboys.
  • If the season ended today, there would be a dramatic shift in the AFC playoff picture, with the Patriots falling from the No. 1 seed to barely in the field after their loss to the Steelers, who now assume the AFC’s top spot.
  • NFL teams looking for disruptive pass rushers might as well pitch a tent in Chapel Hill, N.C., where they’ll find not one but two outstanding prospects, writes NFL.com draft expert Bucky Brooks.

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