MINNEAPOLIS, MN – OCTOBER 3: Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer on field during the first half of the game against the New York Giants on October 3, 2016 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Monday was a slow day in the world of sports in the United States in terms of actual games, but a lot of juicy news did come out regarding a Minnesota Vikings defensive coup, a new hotline for NBA players in their new CBA, Carmelo Anthony being fantastic off the court, and a rough slate of college football bowl games.

Minnesota Vikings’ Defense Didn’t follow orders


The now 7-8 Minnesota Vikings’ slim playoff chances evaporated Saturday when they lost to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field 38-25.

But rather than talk about what the Vikings will do to improve in the offseason — or how they’re going to handle the aging Adrian Peterson — the focus has been on how the Minnesota defensive backs defended Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson.

Shortly after the game, the world learned that Head Coach Mike Zimmer’s plan for guarding Nelson was different than the plan executed by cornerback Xavier Rhodes. That’s because the Vikings’ defense pulled a “Rouge One.”

Early in the game, though, veteran cornerback Terence Newman told Rhodes that he could also cover Nelson, suggesting the two defenders simply stay on their respective sides of the field.

Pressured by the 38-year-old Newman, Rhodes, in his fourth season, allowed the veteran to do as he pleased, Rapoport was told.

When Rhodes was eventually confronted by Zimmer on the sideline, he explained the difficult decision he faced: Listen to his coach or Newman, a respected leader of Minnesota’s defense.

Newman’s on-the-fly game plan only lasted two series — Rhodes began flipping sides to cover Nelson on the third Green Bay possession, with Newman on the sideline — but Nelson had already done plenty of damage en route to a seven-catch, 145-yard, two-touchdown first half. With Rhodes shadowing the wideout over the final two quarters, Nelson caught just two passes for nine yards.

Newman himself claims there are no issues between himself and the Vikings coaching staff.

“There were and are no issues with anything between player and coach. The whole thing was blown out of proportion.”

It’s possible that were no problems between the players and coaches, but it’s also possible the defensive simply decided to make up their own plan without telling the coaches.

NBA Players Now Have Access to a Ref Hotline Thanks to New CBA

DENVER, CO - APRIL 5:  at Pepsi Center on April 5, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. The Thunder defeated the Nuggets 124-102. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO – APRIL 5: at Pepsi Center on April 5, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. The Thunder defeated the Nuggets 124-102. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Interesting details continue to emerge from the NBA’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement, and Sporting News’ Mitch Lawrence has the scoop on a new detail that involves players being able to voice their frustration over referees, through a hotline.

Yes, NBA players will soon be able to call a hotline to complain about officiating:

Players will be able to critique the work of game referees, as never before. In the past, they were allowed to submit one report annually — but never were allowed to mention the offending refs by name. That was the way Stern wanted it handled, and it wasn’t subject to collective bargaining; the players had to accept the commissioner’s edict, and they never felt like they had any clout in this area. Starting with the new CBA, however, the reports will be submitted with the names of the refs and with greater frequency, coming once a month.

Additionally, the players for the first time will have a hotline to call in to critique the work of refs in their games. They’ll be able to report not just on where they think the official botched a call, but also if they found a ref to be out of line, verbally, with how they handled blow-ups. Basically, they can complain like never before. The hotline is a response to the league allowing the new monthly reviews so that players can report something they thought was handled incorrectly while it’s still fresh in their minds.

The players surely enjoy this news much more than the CBA banning the use of fireworks and hoverboards.

Carmelo Anthony Gave a Fan Fighting Cancer a Brand New Car


One could argue that Carmelo Anthony is no longer the best player on his own team, but that isn’t stopping the New York Knicks’ star from striving to be the most philanthropic player on this own team.

Anthony started the NBA Christmas Day marathon out on a fantastic note Sunday, and this was before he dropped 29 against the Boston Celtics in a game that went down to the wire.

Prior to the game itself, Anthony met with a 17-year-old New York Knicks fan who is battling cancer and gave him the surprise of a lifetime. On behalf of the The Carmelo Anthony Foundation, Garden of Dreams Foundation and Kia, Anthony handed the youngster the keys to a brand new car.

The struggles Lara and his family endured just to get this point are heartbreaking, which only makes this moment that much sweeter.

The family currently shares a single car that is constantly breaking down. The back doors no longer open, forcing Jarell and his siblings to climb through the passenger seat in order to get in the backseat, an MSG spokeswoman said.

MSG described Lara as a 17-year-old “die-hard Knicks fan from Washington Heights,” whose family has had to make a lot of sacrifices due to the illness, including moving recently from their beloved Washington Heights home to a cheaper place in the South Bronx.

Anne [Lara’s mother] also had to quit her job as a medical assistant when Jarell was diagnosed in order to be able to take him to his appointments and to be with him during his treatments.

Monday was a Terrible Day for College Football Bowl Games

NCAA President Mark Emmert News Conference

We all know the college football bowl game season is incredibly over-inflated. There are 40 bowl games this year and even the most diehard college football fans can’t get motivated to see half of them.

With an alarming amount of mediocrity, empty stadiums, and non-appealing matchups, bowl season needs to be fixed. And there’s no greater example of that than Monday’s December 26th slate of games. It was the perfect symbol for the bloated bowl season.

According to SB Nation, Monday was the first time in the history of bowls that we had at least three bowl games where all the teams had at least six losses. In fact, none of the three December 26th bowl games that took place Monday had a team with a winning record playing in them. Five 6-6 teams are featured and there’s even a 5-7 team! Feel the excitement!

Here was Monday’s bowl lineup…

St. Petersburg Bowl: Miami (OH) (6-6) vs Mississippi State (5-7)

Quick Lane Bowl: Maryland (6-6) vs Boston College (6-6)

Camping World Independence Bowl: NC State (6-6) vs Vanderbilt (6-6)

And the end results?

St. Petersburg Bowl: Mississippi 17-16 over Miami (OH)

Quick Lane Bowl: Boston College 36-30 over Maryland

Camping World Independence Bowl: NC State 41-17 over Vanderbilt

Quick Hits


– For sports fans, Christmas is a time to exchange all kinds of sports gear and memorabilia, and if you’re ever unsure what to get the sports fan in your life, you can never go wrong with your favorite player’s jersey. Our own Ben Sieck took a look at some of the jerseys that went wrong this Holiday season.

Here’s a great example:


What’s priceless, Wilton? This!

– On Boxing Day Monday, Manchester United fans paid tribute to George Michael by signing “Last Christmas.”

– Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott is added to his league-leading and perhaps MVP-leading credentials early on Monday Night Football against the Detroit Lions with this pylon diving score.


John Calipari on one-and-done players is one of the most John Calipari things you’ve ever heard.

“If it’s your son, you want him out in a year to go to the NBA,” he said. “If it’s someone else’s son, you want him in for four years.

“Look, I’m for the kids,” Calipari continued. “Whatever’s best for them, I’m all in.”

– You know that classic Star Wars theme music you’ve been singing in your head ever since you saw Rouge One?

Yeah that one! Well legendary composer John Williams wrote that famous theme, but has never seen Star Wars.

“When I’m finished with a film, I’ve been living with it, we’ve been dubbing it, recording to it, and so on. You walk out of the studio and, “Ah, it’s finished.”

​“​Now I don’t have an impulse to go to the theater and look at it. Maybe some people find that weird, or listen to recordings of my music very, very rarely.”

– On Wednesday December 28th at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida, #14 West Virginia will face off against unranked Miami in the Russell Athletics Bowl. Despite it not being a New Years Six Bowl game or a College Football Playoff game, the Mountaineers and Hurricanes are taking it very seriously.

West Virginia players were talking about making Corn Elder, one of Miami’s stars, drop out of the Draft.

No seriously…this is how it apparently went down:

“We’re gonna make No. 29 drop out the draft,” an unidentified Mountaineer said in reference to Elder, Miami’s top defensive player. “Don’t even let him be a free agent.”

– Terrell Suggs wants to come back in 2017. Steve Smith? That’s a different story.

“I don’t know what you heard — what the [f—] is wrong with him?– I was always planning to come back and doing this another year,” Suggs said after Baltimore’s 31-27 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday that eliminated the Ravens from the playoff race.

– An Ohio area newspaper took advantage of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Christmas Day victory over the Golden State Warriors to troll Golden State.

– Our own Ian Casselberry wrote about the Box Office hit La La Land.

“La La Land does have a happy ending, but it’s not necessarily the one you might expect. Some people might not like the idea that you can’t get absolutely everything you want (if that is indeed your interpretation). It’s not entirely romantic. Others may admire the willingness to go in that direction, to show that magic is fleeting and sometimes only applies to a certain time and certain station as you make your way through life. Because that feels real.

This is what makes La La Land feel special. It portrays magic and reality in the same story.”

– The University of Connecticut said farewell to its Head Coach Bob Diaco after just three seasons.

– Our own Liam McGuire posed the question of “with AFC QBs banged up, is this Tom Brady’s easiest road to the Super Bowl?”

– Sunday’s Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers game on the NFL Network set NFL Network viewership records.

“Despite the fact the Baltimore Ravens-Pittsburgh Steelers game was branded under the Thursday Night Football package and played on Sunday, Christmas Day causing massive confusion, it still set a viewership record. Thanks to the game being played in the late afternoon, starting at 4:30 p.m. ET and being the only NFL contest scheduled in that window, NFL Network reaped the benefits.

The game registered a 6.5 fast national US household rating. And the viewership averaged 14.8 million people watching marking the game as the most-watched regular season game on NFL Network. The previous record for NFL Network was 10.7 million viewers for a San Francisco-Baltimore game in November 2011.

Viewership for Ravens-Steelers peaked at 18.5 million viewers between 7:15 and 7:30 p.m. ET  as Pittsburgh was driving for what was eventually the game winning score.”

– Maybe there really is a Steph Curry Christmas curse?

On Sunday against archrivals LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, Curry turned in one of his worst personal performances of the season, scoring only 15 points on 11 shots, hitting just two three-pointers on seven attempts.

– On Friday December 30th, #6 Michigan will battle #10 Florida State at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida in the 2016 Orange Bowl. FSU arrived at its hotel over the weekend and was greeted by a young Wolverines’ fan playing the Michigan fight song.

– Can’t stop playing “Super Mario Run”? Nintendo knows that and is in the process of developing more games for users to be addicted to.

– The Cleveland Browns won a game this weekend, so a Cleveland area weatherman had to shave his gnarly beard.

Sabol wrote a blog post recapping his bearded odyssey, in which he revealed that he never expected the beard to last this long and that he planned to shave if the Browns ended the season 0-16.

A Random ‘The Office’ Related Video:

How did Andy not know who the Swedish Chef was?

One Last Glorious Moment of Procrastination:

Okay so this video is a long moment.

About David Lauterbach

David is a writer for The Comeback. He enjoyed two Men's Basketball Final Four trips for Syracuse before graduating in 2016. If The Office or Game of Thrones is on TV, David will be watching.