National Football League | National Hockey League | St. Louis Blues

New-Look Pro Bowl Still Has Blemishes

I found it refreshing that the Pro Bowl more closely resembled a real pro football game on Sunday night, but c’mon. The rules were changed dramatically in the game to give the defense a better opportunity (specifically the one that allowed for cover two and press coverage, which hadn’t been allowed in the past except for goal-line situations), and a new possession from the 25-yard line to start quarters. I liked the effort, but wish there would be as much scoring as a regular game. Let an offense complete its drive at the end of the first and third quarters, and let running backs chip defensive ends to protect the quarterback. The game was fun at the end, as Jerry Rice’s team (the one with Robert Quinn and Johnny Hekker of the Rams) scored in the final minute to win, 22-21. I wasn’t a fan of the 59-41 and 55-41 games of the last couple of years, but 37-35 would be fun. More like the regular season.

The Blues appear to have broken out of their brief funk with wins over the Rangers and Islanders. As I noted in my last piece, I think this is a really good team with a chance to win a Stanley Cup. The key now for them is to protect home ice for the rest of the season. They’ve lost their last two at home, and play five of their last six before the Olympic break at Scottrade, and would do well to win all of those games – three of which are against Eastern Conference foes – heading into their sabbatical.

Other observations from the weekend of sports:

I really enjoy Richard Sherman’s press conferences. I have no trouble with a guy in the entertainment business trying to improve his brand, and he did that with his 20-second rant with Erin Andrews after the NFC Championship game. But Sherman is a smart, thoughtful guy who has opinions and observations that are fun to listen to. He should become even more of a star during Super Bowl week … The NFL’s decision to play the game in New York could have an early impact. Both coaches are concerned about icy fields at the practice facilities they’re working at and may have to work inside. For an outdoor game, both would prefer to work outside, but can’t get much good work done on ice … The NHL is oversaturating us with outdoor games. The New Year’s Day Winter Classic is a great event. Typical of the NHL to water down its uniqueness by playing five stadium games this season…

We’ll get more information, certainly, about what happened at Mizzou with the alleged rape of Sasha Menu Courey by Tiger football players. The question I have – and I admit I just don’t have an answer – is whether it was the university’s responsibility to report an alleged crime when the late victim and her family didn’t make accusations to authorities, or name alleged assailants. I can see why Mizzou did what it did, based on what I know.

Tiger Woods missed the cut in his first tournament of the season. I get the sense that he’s stopped practicing from October through the first half of January. He looked like it at his favorite course, Torrey Pines … Not only do the Blues do a great job with their game presentation, but their True Blue store at Scottrade is a fantastic place to buy merchandise with the best logo in sports, the Bluenote … If you get a chance to see a movie during the next couple of weeks, check out “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit,” which I give an enthusiastic thumbs-up to … America is a better place when Justin Verlander and Kate Upton are back dating again … Great to see Rodger Saffold make USA Today’s All-Joe team, which honors unsung Joes and allows only players who have never made the Pro Bowl. Former Mizzou star Sheldon Richardson of the Jets also made the team … Ryan Braun got a standing ovation from Brewer fans during his appearance at the club’s winter Brewers on Deck event. If you produce, the fans are going to love you … How about Bob Costas telling Mike Bush of Channel 5 that it’s “almost certain” something bad will happen at the Winter Olympics. There’s no way I’d go, even if it was free … I’m looking forward to Jimmy Fallon rather than Jay Leno. And I’m looking forward to Seth Myers rather than Fallon … NFL Network showed highlights from every previous Super Bowl over the weekend, and my two favorites are still Rams over Titans and Giants over Patriots I, the 2008 Super Bowl … As a group, “The Fast Lane” recommends Bogart’s BBQ in Soulard … Sports Illustrated put together a list of the top 25 sports movie villains, and had some naturals like Ogie Oglethorpe from “Slapshot” and Rachel Phelps, the Indians owner in “Major League.” White Goodman from “Dodgeball” was a nice touch, and The Judge from “The Natural” was a must that they had, but to not have Harriett Bird, who shot Roy Hobbs, or Jean Girard from “Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby,” is ridiculous … Boy, it sure is cold in St. Louis. Pitchers and catchers report to Jupiter on Feb. 12, and their first workout is Feb. 13.