Ashkon throws it down with ‘Niners in Paris’

Bay Area rap artists are now 2-for-2 on the season when it comes to 49ers-inspired tracks.

First was Bailey’s “Who’s Got It Better”, which sampled coach Jim Harbaugh blaring throughout. Now we offer you Ashkon‘s “Niners in Paris”, which, basically, if you like Jay-Z and Kanye West, and you’re a 49ers fan, there’s no way you won’t instantly start bobbing your head.

As a side note, the choice of sampling Jay-Z is a bit curious, being that he’s from New York. Perhaps this is a dig at the Giants ahead of the NFC Championship Game?

In any event, Niners fans should like Ashkon getting involved in the Niners craze. The last time he made a tune about a San Francisco team in the playoffs, the Giants went on to win the 2010 World Series.

– Simon Samano

‘Tebowie’ predicts doom for Tebow, Broncos

The world’s response to Tim Tebow grows more unusual by the day.

NBC’s Jimmy Fallon delivered the latest Tebow-inspired opus during his late-night show Thursday, with a dual nod to pop icon David Bowie and Denver’s star quarterback.

Enter “Tebowie” — dolled up in a No. 15 Broncos jersey and a heavy dose of rock-glam accessories — performing a heavily tweaked version of Bowie’s “Space Oddity.”

As it opens, Tebow addresses the skies: “Tim Tebow to Jesus Christ / Can’t win by myself but with your help I might!”

During the act, Jesus responds to Tebowie, and based on his response, it sounds like the Broncos are in hot water against Tom Brady and the Pats in Saturday night’s AFC Divisional Playoff Game.

Eddie George takes center stage as Caesar

 

When he scorched playing fields during his days with the Tennessee Titans, Eddie George found himself plotted against by NFL defenses from east to west.

His football career is long over, but George once again is a prime target as he steps into the sandals of Julius Caesar in The Nashville Shakespeare Festival’s production of the famed play by the same name.

The four-time Pro Bowl running back, who made his stage debut five years ago in a production of “God’s Trombones,” aims to be seen through new eyes in the setting of ancient Rome.

“I hope that the performance will have enough integrity that you won’t just have a football player up there, but instead, a man (Caesar) who has accomplished a lot and is in the midst of transition, dealing with his own issues,” George told the Tennessean this month. “It’s fear versus confidence, the whole array of emotions going through him as a human being.”

Denice Hicks, the festival’s artistic director, was instantly impressed by “how dedicated (George) is to the craft of acting,” and his performance has been lauded by those who worked alongside him through rehearsals.

Less generous was NFL.com’s Henry Hodgson, our resident Brit and a former student of Shakespearian theater, who gave the above preview a chilly response, labeling it “hamtastic.” Around the League blogger Dan Hanzus awarded it a thumbs up, asking for one tweak: That George adopt “Edward” as his first name, at least during the show’s run, as it’s near impossible to take seriously a thespian floating around town as “Eddie.”

“Julius Caesar” runs from January 12-29 at the Troutt Theater at Belmont University in Nashville.

– Marc Sessler

(Photo courtesy: Jeff Frazier/The Nashville Shakespeare Festival)

Barry Sanders Jr. ready to run with Cardinal

 

Two developing headaches for every college football program in the land, save for one:

(1) Hall of Fame RB Barry Sanders has a son, Barry Jr.

(2) Barry Jr. plays football. He looks every bit as dangerous as Daddy. And he’s going to Stanford.

Some wondered if Junior would follow in his father’s footsteps and choose Oklahoma State, but that is not to be.

“I’m going to play on The Farm the next fo — the next few years,” Barry Jr. told KNTV-TV on Saturday, carefully sidestepping a four-year commitment in Palo Alto.

“I’m proud of the man BJ is becoming and the choices he is making on his own,” Barry Sr. said in a statement Saturday. “I’m excited for the opportunity he has earned to continue to grow at Stanford in both education and athletics.”

Barry Jr. is a powerful curiosity because of his father’s dazzling career with the Lions, but after leading Heritage Hall School in Oklahoma City (Wes Welker‘s alma mater) to the state title as a freshman, the 5-foot-11, 195-pounder has worked to forge his own path — often right through opposing defenses. Take for example, his outrageous outing against a bewildered Bethany High team in October (check out the video above, with Barry Jr. wearing No. 26).

“It’s almost like he cuts midair,” Heritage Hall coach Andy Bogert said in September. “He has the ability to change directions that most people don’t.”

Most people outside of those in the Sanders family, that is.

Marc Sessler

Spagnuolo: Rams have a ‘solid foundation’

One day after he was fired as Rams coach, Steve Spagnuolo released a statement thanking the organization. Spagnuolo was dismissed after posting a 10-38 record in three seasons.

“I want to first thank every player and coach for their work ethic, character and loyalty throughout our three years together,” Spagnuolo said. “I know each one of us firmly believes a solid foundation has been built and although not all of us will be here to experience it, this foundation will propel the team to great success in the near future.

“I also want to thank Chip Rosenbloom, Lucia Rodriguez and Stan Kroenke for their decision to bring me here three years ago. I truly appreciate the opportunity they gave me.

“I want to pass along deep gratitude toward every Rams employee for their ‘behind the scenes efforts and loyalty’ and for embracing Maria and I throughout our time here.

“I want to thank every Rams fan for their passionate support. I apologize for not bringing enough success for them to enjoy this past season. You deserve more!

“It has been a privilege and an honor to represent this franchise as its head coach and I wish nothing but success for the organization going forward. I will always pull for the Rams. Maria and I feel blessed to have been a part of this city and we’ll continue to have caring hearts for the people of St. Louis. God Bless.”

Coaches Show: Week 17 Analysis

Brian Billick and Dennis Green break down the final week of the regular season, including the tension in New York and the Cowboys’ collapse. Plus, hear who the coaches believe will come out on top on Wild Card Weekend.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes

2012 NFL Draft order pick Nos. 1 to 20

With Week 17 in the books, we know what the 2012 NFL Draft order through pick No. 20 will be. Here is what it looks like:

Team                                       W-L     SoS
1.  Colts                                      2-14    .539
2.  Rams                                     2-14    .590
3.  Vikings                                 3-13    .559
4.  Browns                                 4-12    .531
5.  Buccaneers                        4-12    .551
6.  Redskins                              5-11    .477
7.  Jaguars                                5-11    .500
8t. Panthers                             6-10    .504<
8t. Dolphins                             6-10    .504<
10. Bills                                     6-10    .520
11t. Chiefs                                 7-9     .512<
11t. Seahawks                         7-9     .512<
13. Cardinals                           8-8     .469
14. Cowboys                            8-8     .473
15. Eagles                                  8-8     .488
16. Jets                                       8-8     .500
17. Bengals from Raiders    8-8     .504
18. Chargers                              8-8     .516
19. Bears                                     8-8     .527
20. Titans                                   9-7     .461

>Coin toss at NFL Scouting Combine will determine order

- Picks 21-32 determined by when playoff teams lose
- Browns hold the Falcons’ first-round pick
- Patriots hold Saints’ first-round pick

NFL Wild Card Weekend matchups all set

With Week 17 in the books, we now know who will play who and when during NFL Wild Card Weekend:

Saturday, Jan. 7
AFC: No. 6 Cincinnati Bengals (9-7) at No. 3 Houston Texans (10-6), 4:30 p.m. ET (NBC)
NFC: No. 6 Detroit Lions (10-6) at No. 3 New Orleans Saints (13-3), 8 p.m. ET (NBC)

Sunday, Jan. 8
NFC: No. 5 Atlanta Falcons (10-6) at New York Giants (9-7), 1 p.m. ET (FOX)
AFC: No. 5 Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) at No. 4 Denver Broncos (8-8), 4:30 p.m. ET (CBS)

In addition to wild-card games, the NFL also released the schedule for divisional games:

Saturday, Jan. 14
NFC: Highest remaining NFC seed at No. 2 San Francisco 49ers (13-3), 4:30 p.m, ET (FOX)
AFC: Lowest remaining AFC seed at No. 1 New England Patriots (13-3), 8 p.m. ET (CBS)

Sunday, Jan. 15
AFC: Highest remaining AFC seed at No. 2 Baltimore Ravens (12-4), 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
NFC: Lowest remaining NFC seed at No. 1 Green Bay Packers (15-1), 4:30 p.m. ET (FOX)

Niners’ Harbaugh inspires Bay Area rapper’s latest song

 

The last thing Jim Harbaugh could’ve imagined happening in his first season as 49ers coach was that he’d be sampled in a rap song. Thanks to Bay Area rapper Bailey, though, it has happened.

Honestly, unlike some awkward, borderline-uncomfortable, team-inspired rap songs (“Do The Mark Sanchez” comes to mind), Bailey’s “Who’s Got It Better” isn’t half-bad.

The song is completely dominated by Harbaugh’s “Who’s got it better than us?” locker-room sound byte, which is a family motto he’s used all season to inspire the team. Lay it over a smooth rap beat with some lyrics inspired by the 49ers’ resurgence in 2011, and you have an anthem that fans in San Francisco are sure to rally around through the playoffs.

Does it beat the old 49ers’ team rap song of 1989? It’s hard to beat being “more famous than Cosby and the Huxtables.”

– Simon Samano

Week 17 AFC playoff seeding scenarios

Think you have it all figured out when it comes to where all 12 playoff teams will be seeded after Week 17? So did we until our crack research department came up with this handy-dandy guide to Week 17 and how the results for each playoff-implicated game could alter the structure of the postseason.

  • For a look at the NFC Week 17 scenarios, click here.

CLICK on image for full version

Week 17 NFC playoff seeding scenarios

Think you have it all figured out when it comes to where all 12 playoff teams will be seeded after Week 17? So did we until our crack research department came up with this handy-dandy guide to Week 17 and how the results for each playoff-implicated game could alter the structure of the postseason.

  • For a look at the AFC Week 17 scenarios, click here.

CLICK on image for larger version.

Week 17 playoff scenarios

On the one hand, there are only three out of 12 playoff spots still up for grabs heading into the final week of the regular season. On the other hand, there are so many possibilities in terms on a) who gets those three spots; and b) where teams fall in the seeding. Here are the playoff scenarios heading into Sunday:

AFC

CLINCHED:
New England – AFC East and a first-round bye
Houston – AFC South
Baltimore – playoff spot
Pittsburgh – playoff spot

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
New England clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:
1) NE win or tie OR
2) BAL loss or tie + PIT loss or tie

BALTIMORE RAVENS
Baltimore clinches AFC North division and a first-round bye with:
1) BAL win OR
2) BAL tie + PIT loss or tie OR
3) PIT loss

Baltimore clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:
1) BAL win + NE loss

PITTSBURGH STEELERS
Pittsburgh clinches AFC North division and a first-round bye with:
1) PIT win + BAL loss or tie OR
2) PIT tie + BAL loss

Pittsburgh clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:
1) PIT win + BAL loss or tie + NE loss

DENVER BRONCOS
Denver clinches AFC West division with:
1) DEN win OR
2) DEN tie + OAK loss or tie OR
3) OAK loss

OAKLAND RAIDERS
Oakland clinches AFC West division with:
1) OAK win + DEN loss or tie OR
2) OAK tie + DEN loss

Oakland clinches a playoff spot with:
1) OAK win + CIN loss + TEN loss or tie OR
2) OAK win + CIN loss + NYJ win

CINCINNATI BENGALS
Cincinnati clinches a playoff spot with:
1) CIN win or tie OR
2) NYJ loss or tie + OAK loss or tie OR
3) NYJ loss or tie + DEN loss or tie

NEW YORK JETS
New York clinches a playoff spot with:
1) NYJ win + CIN loss + TEN loss or tie + OAK loss or tie OR
2) NYJ win + CIN loss + TEN loss or tie + DEN loss or tie

TENNESSEE TITANS
Tennessee clinches a playoff spot with:
1) TEN win + CIN loss + NYJ win + OAK loss or tie OR
2) TEN win + CIN loss + NYJ win + DEN loss or tie OR
3) TEN win + CIN loss + NYJ loss or tie + OAK win + DEN win

NFC

CLINCHED:
Green Bay – NFC North and home-field advantage
San Francisco – NFC West
New Orleans – NFC South
Detroit – playoff spot
Atlanta – playoff spot

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
San Francisco clinches a first-round bye with:
1) SF win OR
2) SF tie + NO loss or tie OR
3) NO loss

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
New Orleans clinches a first-round bye with:
1) NO win + SF loss or tie OR
2) NO tie + SF loss

NEW YORK GIANTS
New York clinches NFC East division with:
1) NYG win or tie

DALLAS COWBOYS
Dallas clinches NFC East division with:
1) DAL win

NFL playoff scenarios through Dec. 25

Nine teams have clinched playoff spots and the final three will book their ticket into the postseason in Week 17.

The Broncos, Raiders, Bengals, Jets and Titans are vying for the final two available spots in the AFC. In the NFC, the Giants and Cowboys square off in a de facto play-in game.

Here’s how it all breaks down heading into Week 17:

NFC

CLINCHED:

Green Bay Packers — North Division and home-field advantage through NFC playoffs.

San Francisco 49ers — West Division.

New Orleans Saints — Wild-card spot.

Detroit Lions — Wild-card spot.

Atlanta Falcons — Wild-card spot.

ELIMINATED:

Arizona, Carolina, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Washington, Chicago.

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

San Francisco clinches a first-round bye with:

1) SF win

2) SF tie + one NO loss or tie

3) NO loss

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

New Orleans clinches NFC South Division with:

1) NO win or tie

2) ATL loss or tie

New Orleans clinches a first-round bye with:

1) Two NO wins + SF loss or tie

2) NO win + one NO tie + SF loss

NEW YORK GIANTS

Giants clinch NFC East Division with:

1) NYG win or tie

DALLAS COWBOYS

Dallas clinches NFC East Division with:

1) DAL win

ATLANTA FALCONS

Atlanta clinches NFC South Division with:

1) Two ATL wins + two NO losses

AFC

CLINCHED:

New England Patriots — East Division and a first-round bye.

Houston Texans — South Division.

Baltimore Ravens — Wild-card spot.

Pittsburgh Steelers — Wild-card spot.

ELIMINATED:

Buffalo, Cleveland, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Indianapolis, Miami, San Diego

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

New England clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:

1) NE win or tie

2) BAL loss or tie + PIT loss or tie

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Baltimore clinches AFC North Division and a first-round bye with:

1) BAL win

2) BAL tie + PIT loss or tie

3) PIT loss

Baltimore clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:

1) BAL win + NE loss

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

Pittsburgh clinches AFC North Division and a first-round bye with:

1) PIT win + BAL loss or tie

2) PIT tie + BAL loss

Pittsburgh clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs  with:

1) PIT win + BAL loss or tie + NE loss

DENVER BRONCOS

Denver clinches AFC West Division with:

1) DEN win

2) DEN tie + OAK loss or tie

3) OAK loss

OAKLAND RAIDERS

Oakland clinches AFC West Division with:

1) OAK win + DEN loss or tie

2) OAK tie + DEN loss

Oakland clinches a wild-card spot with:

1) OAK win + CIN loss + TEN loss or tie

2) OAK win + CIN loss + NYJ win

CINCINNATI BENGALS

Cincinnati clinches a wild-card spot with:

1) CIN win or tie

2) NYJ loss or tie + OAK loss or tie

3) NYJ loss or tie + DEN loss or tie

NEW YORK JETS

Jets clinch a wild-card spot with:

1) NYJ win + CIN loss + TEN loss or tie + OAK loss or tie

2) NYJ win + CIN loss + TEN loss or tie + DEN loss or tie

TENNESSEE TITANS

Tennessee clinches a wild card spot with:

1) TEN win + CIN loss + NYJ win + OAK loss or tie

2) TEN win + CIN loss + NYJ win + DEN loss or tie

3) TEN win + CIN loss + NYJ loss or tie + OAK win + DEN win

Cowboys-Giants Week 17 showdown moved to prime time

The Cowboys-Giants battle for the NFC East title will be shown in prime time next Sunday, the NFL announced.

As part of the league’s flex scheduling, the game was moved from 1 p.m. ET on FOX to 8:20 p.m. on NBC.

Other changes in the Week 17 schedule are as follows:

Buccaneers-Falcons moves to 4:15 p.m. ET on FOX.

Ravens-Bengals moves to 4:15 p.m. ET on CBS. The Ravens have clinched a playoff berth. They can claim the AFC North and a first-round playoff bye with a win over Cincinnati, while the Bengals can clinch the AFC’s No. 6 seed with a win.

Steelers-Browns moves to 4:15 p.m. ET on CBS. Pittsburgh can win the AFC North with a win over Cleveland and a Cincinnati victory over Baltimore.

Broncos can claim AFC West with win; Raiders need help

The Broncos’ 40-14 loss to the Bills and the Raiders’ 16-13 overtime victory over the Chiefs tightened the AFC West race.

Here are the scenarios concerning who could win the division title:

The Broncos (8-7) will win the division if:
• They beat the Chiefs next week.
• Even if the Broncos and Raiders both finish 9-7, Denver would own the tiebreaker based on common games.

The Raiders (8-7) will win the division if:
• They beat the Chargers next week and the Broncos lose to the Chiefs.
• Oakland doesn’t own any tiebreakers over Denver, so it needs to win the division based on overall record.

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