DVR alert: How Michael Jordan, sports’ ultimate trash-talker, couldn’t rattle Ian Poulter in Ryder Cup

Apart from his basketball skills, Michael Jordan will go down as one of the greatest trash talkers in sports history. Yet there was one athlete he couldn’t throw off his game: Ian Poulter.

Mark Rolfing tells the untold story of how Jordan tried to distract Poulter during the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah in “Road to the Ryder Cup” Sunday at 2:30 p.m. on NBC. Poulter, though, got the better of Jordan and the U.S., winning a key match for Europe on Saturday afternoon. The momentum carried over as Europe rallied to retain the Ryder Cup on Sunday.

On his weekly radio show on SiriusXM, Poulter recalled his mind game with Jordan earlier this year:

Poulter:  “ [Jordan] loves his golf, he loves Ryder Cup.  He’s always there.  He’s always been a helping hand to the Americans.  He was right … Continue Reading

Chicago news: Harrelson is thinking about cutting back on road games in 2015

There’s a chance Ken Harrelson might cut back on his schedule next year.

The White Sox announcer told Bruce Levine of WSCR-AM 670 that he is considering cutting back on doing road games next year. During the season, Harrelson, who will be 73 next week, does a four-hour commute from Granger, Ind. for home games.

“I have a 10-year-old and 7-year-old playing ball in South Bend, and I am missing a lot of it,” Harrelson said.“If I told you I was not thinking about (cutting back) I would be lying. I am thinking about it. I have not made a decision, but it will be one that my family will help me with. I really don’t want to miss my grandkids growing up. They are old enough now to know I am known by a lot of people and they … Continue Reading

Showtime exec expects Brandon Marshall will be outspoken on Inside The NFL; logistics won’t be issue

My latest Chicago Tribune column is on the logistics and expectations for Brandon Marshall being a regular member of Showtime’s Inside The NFL this year.

You also can access the column via my Twitter feed at @Sherman_Report.

From the column:

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Showtime always wanted to have a current player on its panel for “Inside The NFL,” but the logistics never could be worked out. Even with the show moving this season to Tuesdays, the day off for NFL players on most weeks, Stephen Espinoza, the general manager for Showtime Sports, still thought the prospect of landing an active player was “a longshot.”

With the cast of “Inside The NFL” being revamped this year, Espinoza was thinking former players when he asked Josh Pyatt, an agent, if he knew of any potential candidates.

“Josh asked if I would be interested … Continue Reading

Book review: Dave Revsine details how college football’s problems have existed from beginning

I did a review for the Chicago Tribune’s Printers Row section on the new book by Dave Revsine of the Big Ten Network: Opening Kickoff: The Tumultuous Birth of a Football Nation. Highly recommended.

From the review.

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Quick quiz: When was this quote said about college football?

“Football today is a social obsession—a boy-killing, education prostituting, gladiatorial sport. It teaches virility and courage…but so does war.”

This could be a critic of the game in 2014, right? In fact, it dates back to 1905 when University of Chicago professor Shailer Matthews weighed in on the violence that was plaguing college football.

In “Opening Kickoff: The Tumultuous Birth of a Football Nation,” author Dave Revsine documents the roots of football in America. He shows how from humble beginnings in the 1860s, the game grew into a full-blown spectacle on college … Continue Reading

DVR alert: New Tennis Channel documentary examines the important life of Arthur Ashe

I had the honor speaking twice to Arthur Ashe: Once in person and another time in a long conversation on the phone.

It remains two of the most memorable moments of my journalism career. You knew you were talking to a man who not only changed sports, but also had a profound impact on society.

I definitely will set the DVR for the Tennis Channel’s new documentary on Ashe. So should you.

Please check out this clip of Donald Dell’s letter to Ashe from the show.

The rundown from the Tennis Channel:

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Tennis Channel will celebrate the illustrious career of tennis pioneer, devoted activist and Hall of Famer Arthur Ashe in Signature Series: Arthur Ashe during the 2014 US Open. The newest edition to the network’s original Signature Series documentary lineup – Ashe’s first authorized television biography – will … Continue Reading

Chris Fowler ready for new role as voice of college football

A big “Whoa Nellie” for Chris Fowler.

Fowler walks into some big shoes this year as the new lead play-by-play man for college football on ESPN. And since the network will air the new playoff format, including the title game, that makes him ostensibly the new voice of college football.

Fowler now will occupy the role once filled by the legendary Keith Jackson and more recently, Brent Musburger. He will work with Kirk Herbstreit on the network’s primetime games that air on ABC.

Fowler might be the best studio host in the business. However, he wanted to scratch the play-by-play itch. If things go as expect, and they should, it will be his voice stamped on the next generation of college football’s biggest games.

For starters, don’t expect Fowler to utter any “Whoa Nellies” or any other signature catch phrases.… Continue Reading

Fox Sports 1 shows it isn’t easy to launch a new sports network

My latest column for the National Sports Journalism Center at Indiana looks at the first year of Fox Sports 1.

From the column:

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I rarely watch anything on the new Fox Sports 1. Judging by the ratings, I am not alone in making that statement.

This isn’t a complete indictment of Fox Sports 1, although in a way it is. However, there’s a larger issue at play.

The struggles endured by Fox Sports 1 since it flipped the switch just over a year ago underscores how difficult it is to launch a new network with new programming in today’s marketplace. This is a challenging game, not for the faint of heart or those with small wallets.

Just ask ESPN. Long before the Bristol, Conn., campus became the biggest cash register in television, the network struggled in its infancy by … Continue Reading

Chicago news: Patrick Mannelly replaces McNeil on WSCR; Spiegel’s new partner

It didn’t take long for Patrick Mannelly to find a new job.

The recently retired Bears long-snapper will be Matt Spiegel’s new partner on the 9 a.m.-1 p.m. show on WSCR-AM 670, beginning Tuesday. He replaces Dan McNeil, who departed after failing to agree to a new contract with the station.

Mannelly was among several potential candidates who filled in for McNeil during his absence. With the Bears driving ratings on sports talk radio in Chicago, the idea of hiring a former player with close connections to the current team was a natural choice for WSCR.

“We feel the timing is great for Patrick and the Bears,” said Mitch Rosen, WSCR program director. “He’s only been out of the locker room for a short time. Patrick will give us fresh insights and thoughts on the Bears and NFL.”

“To be … Continue Reading

Bleacher Report to launch new sports talk station on SiriusXM

Another choice on SiriusXM for sport talk radio fans. Bleacher Report is expanding its reach.

The official release:

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SiriusXM and Bleacher Report today announced the upcoming launch of SiriusXM Bleacher Report Radio, a new satellite radio channel debuting September 2 that will deliver engaging content from one of the leading digital sports destinations to a nationwide audience of listeners.

Airing on Sirius channel 93 and XM channel 208, the exclusive new channel will showcase a variety of Bleacher Report voices and give sports fans from coast to coast a live, interactive forum to discuss their teams, topics and events with experts from every major sport.  SiriusXM Bleacher Report Radio will also be available to subscribers via the SiriusXM Internet Radio App.

Bleacher Report, a division of Turner Broadcasting, is the leading digital destination for team-specific sports content and real-time … Continue Reading

You can go home again: Olbermann to host occasional SportsCenter; show moves to afternoons

Keith Olbermann broke the news last night (below) that Olbermann will be shifting to 5 p.m. ET beginning on Sept. 8.

While I will miss his show in the evenings, when I tend to watch most of my TV, the shift makes sense. Too often Olbermann has been plagued by inconsistent start times due to various live events running long on ESPN2. Now he will be in a regular slot.

The show also will go from an hour to 30 minutes. Again, another good move. He won’t have as many highlights with the show airing in the afternoon. Also, I believe all sports studio programs work better in a condensed format.

Also as part of this shift, Outside The Lines will air after Olbermann at 5:30 ET. The combination of Olbermann and Bob Ley gives ESPN2 a pretty formidable 1-2 … Continue Reading