Thursday, May 28, 2020

JJ Watt is Houston's Michael Jordan

Photo by Darla Tamullitis, La Vita Loca Photography, Copyright 2020, All Rights Reserved
Photo by Darla Tamullitis,
La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2020, All Rights Reserved
By Lou Roesch
Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (May 28, 2020) Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt spoke to the Houston media on Tuesday via Zoom. It was an interesting conversation and reminds sports fans of Michael Jordan basketball's GOAT.

The biggest question and answer of the day came in the form of question two and the final one before the Zoom was concluded.

With two years left on your contract and no guaranteed money left, do you want to sign a contract extension this offseason? 

"No, I don't think that's necessary. I fully understand and respect the situation that I'm in at the moment and what's happened in the past few years, so I'm not going to sit here and demand anything because I'm going out there to prove what I'm worth, and I believe that's the right situation for everybody. I think if I went back and asked for an extension, more money, anything right now, I think that would be the wrong move. I'm just going out there and trying to prove my worth and to help this team win games and do everything that I can to earn and make sure that these people know that I'm worth it."

This is what you expect from your leader and quite reminiscent of Jordan always playing out his contract and proving his worth each and every season.

How important is it for you to end you career with the Houston Texans?

“That would be, obviously, a goal of mine. This city has been incredible to me since the day I got here. I'm very thankful and fortunate to have the opportunity to play for such great fans that have been supportive of not only myself, my foundation and everything that I've tried to accomplish. It's a great place. I certainly hope that's the case. I don't know what's going to happen. I can't say what's going to happen in the future but I certainly hope that that's the case.”

Jordan never wanted to leave Chicago but the organization misunderstood what his greatness on and off the court meant to Chicago. Only time will tell if Houston learns from Chicago's mistake.

In between Watt also answered questions about Bill O'Brien, defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver, DJ Reader's absence in the locker room, potential TV career and time with family but maybe the most telling about his worth to the team came when he was asked about helping the rookies of 2020.

Has there been any advice you've been able to give the rookies with you going through the lockout your rookie year?

"Having gone through this type of offseason in 2011 where there were no OTA's, no minicamps, stuff like that, I do have a little bit of experience to lean on there. The thing that I've said is as long as you're training and doing what you need to do from a training standpoint, a running standpoint, getting yourself into the physical shape necessary for training camp, you'll be able to hit the ground running once training camp starts. This situation we actually have a little bit more of an advantage in that we have the Zoom meetings, we can go over the defense with the coaching staff. They can implement it and we can all talk to each other through that. So that is an advantage, but on the flip side of that, the disadvantage is it's hard for guys – in 2011 we could kind of meet as position groups or as an offense or defense, you could learn the plays and go over them and practice them together. Right now we're still kind of working through if that's entirely safe to do, if we should be gathering on our own, if we shouldn't, because we obviously want to get together. We prefer to work out together, we prefer to go over plays together, but at the same time we have to be smart about the guidelines and making sure that we're doing everything safe as well. We're kind of balancing those things just like everybody else, I think there's a lot of uncertainty and we're just trying to wade through those waters and make sure we do it right."

JJ Watt posed a refreshing insight into how much he is worth to the Texans organization and to the Houston community. As much as it appears Houston wants to work out a deal with quarterback DeShaun Watson, the organization needs to bring that same concerted effort to Watt sooner rather then later or he will walk.

NWSL set to begin season with Challenge Cup 2020

By Jennifer Edwards
Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS (May 18, 2020) It has been 40 days without women’s soccer. The season was set to open on April 18, 2020 when the National Women’s Soccer League pressed pause on the start of the season like many other sporting leagues around the world. As the world starts to slowly emerge from our quarantine nests, so does sports. These leagues are venturing into wildly uncharted territories. Some liken it to trying to navigate a hurricane in a canoe, others have cancelled their seasons altogether. The NWSL spent weeks alongside the National Women’s Soccer League Players Association to put together the NWSL Challenge Cup 2020. The Challenge Cup will be played round-robin tournament style for one month from June 27 to July 26 with all matches being played at Rio Tinto Stadium, home of the Utah Royals Soccer Club

Each of the nine clubs will play four games each; with the best eight clubs advancing to the semi-finals and then on to the knockout rounds with the Championship Match being played on July 26. “As our country begins to safely reopen and adjust to our collective new reality, and with the enthusiastic support of our players, owners, as well as our new and current commercial partners, the NWSL is thrilled to bring professional soccer back to the United States,” said NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird. “This exciting month-long tournament will showcase our league’s talented players and provide our fans the type of world-class entertainment they’ve come to expect from the NWSL.” 

While this sounds amazing for the fans to be able to watch, especially season ticket holders who have missed the matches that they have already paid for, it brings its own set of challenges. From the number of games that will take a toll on the players bodies, to the number of substitutions needed to accommodate the altitude issues in Utah; there are a number of questions that are being raised by fans and of the sport. How will the travel look? How will players with families be accommodated? The NWSL feels confident that they can address all of these issues and more. Time will tell. At least the United States will be able to see soccer again!

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Starting grid set for Alsco Uniforms 500 NASCAR race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Wednesday

By Chris Price
Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved

CONCORD, NORTH CAROLINA (May 27, 2020) The starting grid has been announced for the Alsco Uniforms 500 race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Wednesday evening. The race, which is set for a 8 p.m. EDT start (7 p.m. CDT) start will use the results from the May 24 race at Charlotte as a basis.

The finish from the top 20 places from the Coca-Cola 600, on Sunday, May 24, will be inverted for the first 20 positions in the Wednesday evening race. Starting positions 21-40 will be seeded from the bottom 20 finishers from Sunday night, with any new entries being placed at the back of the pack. Teams that have changes in their car's drivers will be positioned to the rear of the pack.

Sunday night's winner Brad Keselowski (shown above), driving the No. 2 Discount Tire Ford Mustang for Team Penske will start in the 20th position. His Penske teammates, Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney will start in the 8th and 18th positions, respectively.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Hall of Fame basketball coach Eddie Sutton passes away

Photo courtesy of
Oklahoma State Athletic Department
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved

SOUTH TULSA, OKLAHOMA (May 24, 2020) Former Arkansas Razorback and OKlahoma State Cowboys head basketball coach Eddie Sutton, who won 806 games in his career, died on Saturday of natural causes at his home in South Tulsa. He was 84. He took four different schools, Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Creighton, and Kentucky, to the NCAA tournament, and two Final Four appearances (Oklahoma State in 1999 and 2004).

As a young teacher and coach, I received a telephone call from Sutton in the spring of 1981. I was  working at Killeen (Texas) High School and had a young basketball player, Keenan DeBose, in class that he was recruiting for Arkansas. His call lasted about 10 minutes and we discussed how the player was doing in my mathematics class. He asked me to contact him if the player was having any problems or issues in class.

At the time, and still today, I thought it was  a big deal. A famous collegiate basketball coach calling a "still wet behind the ears" teacher. I never had to contact him, as the player was doing fine and having no issues.

So that was my 10-minute "relationship" with Eddie Sutton. When I heard he had passed away on Saturday night, it brought back this long-forgotten memory. 


Saturday, May 23, 2020

Liga MX cancels season due to COVID-19 pandemic

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By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO (May 23, 2020) Liga MX, the top level professional soccer league in Mexico, has announced it has cancelled the remainder of their 2019-2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The season was initially suspended on March 15 with seven rounds left to be played. Cruz Azul and Leon, who were in first and second place in the team standings at the time of the suspension, will advance to the 2021 CONCACAF Champions League.

Plans were being make to resume play in one city without fans, but with Santos Laguna announcing yesterday that 15 players had tested positive for the virus, club owners voted to shut down the season. In a prepared statement league officials were quoted:

“It’s undisputed that we are living in unprecedented times in our country, which forces the soccer industry in Mexico to act with absolute reason and respond with unity to the requirements that have been presented to us."

Mexico’s Clausura season usually runs from January to May, and had run 10 match weeks before the coronavirus pause. 

Friday, May 22, 2020

Baylor football players return to campus June 15

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved

WACO, TEXAS (May 23, 2020) Baylor University announced today that they will welcome football players will return to campus on June 15 to begin workouts for the upcoming fall football season. Director of Athletics Mack Rhodes stated in a press release from the athletic department:

“We are grateful and excited for the return of our football student-athletes on June 15.  Over the past several weeks, our Health and Wellness team led by Kenny Boyd has worked in conjunction with University leadership, conference governance, and local health officials, to develop a comprehensive plan to support the safe return of our student-athletes, coaches, and staff. We will remain diligent in monitoring our various safety procedures and protocols to ensure a healthy and safe environment as we continue to navigate through this pandemic. We are very encouraged by this step forward and are grateful for the collective work of the Big 12 presidents, athletic directors, medical directors, and the leadership of Commissioner Bowlsby.”
Baylor head football coach Dave Aranda added:

“Our number one goal will always be the health and safety of our student-athletes and staff. With that said, I would like to thank the Big 12 presidents, athletic directors and conference staff for allowing voluntary in-person athletic activity on our campus to begin June 15. I would like to say a special thank you to our Director of Athletics Mack Rhoades and Senior Associate AD Kenny Boyd, and many others who have worked tirelessly through this process. This is an important step toward competition and I look forward to welcoming our student-athletes back to campus soon.”

Specifics related to the student-athletes returning to campus were not released.

Patrick Ewing tests positive for COVID-19

Photo courtesy of
By Chris Price
Copyright 2020 All Rights Resereved

WASHINGTON DC (May 22, 2020) It is being reported by various news outlets, including, that Georgetown University head basketball coach Patrick Ewing has tested positive  COVID-19. The former New York Knicks center stated, in a press release from Georgetown University:

"I have tested positive for COVID-19. This virus is serious and should not be taken lightly. I want to encourage everyone to stay safe and take care of yourselves and your loved ones."

No other member (athletes or staff) of the Hoyas basketball team has tested positive.

Ewing has been the head coach of the Hoyas since 2017 and won two Olympic gold medals as a member of the U.S. Olympic Basketball Team in 1984 and 1992.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

SFA placed on probation by the NCAA

Photo by
Darla S Tamulitis,
La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved
By James Jacobs
Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON TEXAS (May 21, 2020) The SFA Lumberjacks stunned the basketball world last November dropping the number one ranked Duke Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium. On Wednesday, the NCAA felled the Lumberjacks with a three year probation verdict for six years of poor judgement in their academic certification procedures.

Warned back in 2013, the SFA "powers that be" failed to heed the warning and now it has once again cost the student athletes. Not only does it leave a blemish on their accomplishments but athletes in four sports will see their victories taken away; an NCAA tournament win and vacated conference championships.

Ryan Ivey, the school’s athletic director, said the certification errors date back to 2013 and were discovered last spring after the departure of two associate athletic directors who were responsible for rules compliance and academics. 

To be fair, the errors occurred under the guidance of former AD Robert Hill who retired in 2018. Administrators erred by counting all semester credit hours to determine academic eligibility instead of counting only credit hours that led to a degree.

The certification errors affected 82 athletes across football, men’s basketball, baseball, volleyball, softball, women’s golf, men’s and women’s track & field and men’s cross country.

Under the terms of the probation, SFA forfeits most notably its Southland Conference titles for men’s basketball in 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2017-18 and the first-round win in the 2016 NCAA Tournament against West Virginia plus 29 football wins as well as dozens of baseball and softball wins. This in addition to fines and penalties totaling almost $100,000.

In an unprecedented move, the NCAA agreed to postpone the one year basketball probation till the 2012-2022 year so that current juniors would not potentially leave the school and jeopardize their chances of graduatiing. In addition, the team will not forfeit its win over Duke.

In the aftermath of the failures, the school has revamped it certification process and will hire a certification officer who does not work for the athletic department.

The negotiated deal allows the school to avoid a full blown investigation.

Texans OC Tim Kelly excited about the 2020 Houston offense

Photo by
Darla Tamulitis
La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved
By James Jacobs
Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (May 21, 2020) Houston Texans offensive coordinator Tim Kelly met with the media this past week and is excited about what the Texans offense can be this year provided of course the NFL has a season. Speaking about the elephant in the room or more notably on Zoom, Kelly addressed why the trade of wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins will be an asset to the club and that despite losing a great receiver the team is better off.
 "I think any time you take the field with multiple weapons, multiple guys who can hurt a defense at a variety of different levels not just necessarily deep, short or intermediate but be able to threaten every aspect of the field is a good thing. So as far as being able to attack the defenses and really as each opponent presents its own issue, being able to take advantage of different matchups throughout the entire field and not necessarily one player, it's an encouraging thing." 
Kelly expounded on how the offensive line is fast becoming a strength of the team especially Laremy Tunsil.

"As far as Laremy, him being here for the offseason is going to be very beneficial. Again, more importantly, when we all get together, him being able to get those training camp reps, those reps with the offensive line, with Max (Scharping) and things like that are – I can't stress how important those are for an offensive line to be able to kind of come together and play as one unit. It's a good thing that we have all five of those guys coming back.” 
DeShaun Watson, as the field general, will be expected to shoulder an even bigger load and show even more improvement in 2020 says Kelly.

 “And yeah, there's things that Deshaun needs to get better at, as all of us need to improve on. We've talked about that with him, coming out and being consistent and playing at that – he’s set the bar so high, so it's really a challenge for him to be able to play at that level every time he steps on the field.” 
Houston has brought in new weapons in Randall Cobb, Brandin Cooks, David Johnson and Kahale Waring.

"You look at Brandin (Cooks), you look at Randall (Cobb), you look at Will (Fuller V) and Kenny (Stills) obviously with the production they had last year, Keke (Coutee) and DeAndre Carter, Steven Mitchell (Jr.) made some big plays. Obviously those are guys that have produced and that are coming in with a great mindset and with a chip on their shoulder and are working hard every day to make sure they're on the same page with the coaching staff and making sure they're on the same page with DeShaun." 
Houston's weapons coming out of the backfield gives Kelly more flexibility in playcalling.

“I think it opens up the play calling, obviously. You're not limited by a guy's ability to only run the ball or only catch the ball. When you have guys that are versatile and are both a vital running threat and a good receiving threat, it allows you to open up and be creative and find different ways to get guys the ball in space and do some good things. So, yeah, we're excited to have both of those guys back there." 

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Sunday sees FC Koln, FC Bayern victorious in Bundesliga action

Photo by Gerhard Gellinger via

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved

FRANKFURT, GERMANY (May 17, 2020) Matchday 26 for the Bundesliga continued on Sunday with two matches on tab. FC Koln battled Mainz to a 2-2 draw while FC Bayern downed Union Berlin 2-0. Below is a recap of the matches.

FC Koln 2, Mainz 2 Koln jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the sixth minute on a successful penalty kick by Mark Uth, taking a 1-0 lead into the locker room at halftime. The Billy Goats (Die Geißböcke) added their second goal of the match when Florian Kainz received a pass from fellow midfielder  Dominick Drexler in the 53rd minute. Maina evened the score late in the match with goals by Nigerian striker Taiwo Awoniyi, in the 61st minute, and Cameroonian midfielder Pierre Kunde, (72nd minute).

FC Bayern 2, Union Berlin 0 The Bavarians (Die Bayern) added three points to their season (58 points) in the Bundesliga to remain in first place in the 2019-2020 Bundesliga standings over Dortmund. The win was the fifth straight for Bayern, pushing their record to 18-4-4 (W-D-L). Striker Robert Lewandowski scored the first goal of the match on a penalty kick in the 40th minute, with defender Benjamin Pavard adding the second goal in the 80th minute.

The final game of Matchday 26 will be tomorrow (Monday) when Verder faces Leverkusen at Weser-Stadion in Bremen.

Former Houston Cougar Ed Oliver arrested for DUI, gun charge

By Chris Price
Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved
(Video courtesy of

HOUSTON, TEXAS (May 17, 2020) It is being reported by the Houston Chronicle and that former Houston Cougar defensive tackle Ed Oliver was arrested on Saturday for driving while intoxicated and unlawful possession of a firearm. 

Oliver, who currently plays for the Buffalo Bills in the NFL, was towing a trailer on State Highway 242, with am ATV attached, and was seen weaving all over the road. Another driver called 911 to report the erratic driving which was describe as "failing to maintain a lane and driving dangerously," according to the report on

He was booked into the Montgomery Country Jail, after having a mandatory blood draw. Both charges are considered as misdemeanors. 

During his rookie season in 2019, he tallied 43 tackles and five sacks for the Bills.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Houston Dash, Utah Royals "were" to play today

Story and Photo by Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (May 16, 2020) If professional sports had not been shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Houston Dash would be hosting the Utah Royals this evening at BBVA Stadium in Houston. It would have been the seventh meeting between the two squads.

They first met in 2018, in the Royals inaugural season. The Dash hosted Utah on March 30 at BBVA Stadium with neither team finding the goal; resulting on a 0-0 draw. In their next meeting on May 19 at Rio Tonto Stadium in Sandy Utah, the Royals came out on top 1-0. In their final meeting of 2018, again in Houston, the Dash dropped a 2-1 decision, with Veronica Lasko scoring the first-ever Dash goal against Utah.

In 2019, Houston and Utah met for three games, with the Dash winning their first two meetings of the season. On May 11 in Utah, Rachel Daly tallied a brace; scoring in the 42nd and 50th minute to give Houston a 2-1 victory in their first-ever win over the Royals. On September 13, Houston received their second win over Utah; another 2-1 decision with Sophia Huerta scoring the brace in the 27th and 62nd minute. In their final matchup of 2019, Utah came out on top by the score fo 2-1 in Utah. Kristie Mewis scored for Houston in the 78th minute.

Utah and Houston are also scheduled to meet on July 3 in Utah and August 22 in Houston. Time, and the "powers that be," will determine of any of these games will be played.

Bundesliga restarts after COVID-19 pandemic break

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved

FRANKFURT, GERMANY (May 16, 2020) On Saturday, the Bundesliga, Germany's top level league, became the first major soccer organization to return to live play with six matches on tap. The games were the first to be played since the league suspended play on March 11 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Below is a recap of those first games.

Hertha 3, Hoffenhein 0  Die Alte Dame (The Old Lady) blasted in two second-half goals, along with an own goal by Hoffenhein defender Kevin Akpoguma in the 58th minute for the win. Striker Vedad Ibišević scored in the 60th minute with winger Matheus Cunha adding the insurance goal 14 minutes later.

Wolfsburg 2, Augsburg 1 With the score tied after regulation, striker Daniel Ginczek scored the game winner in the 91st minute to give Die Wölfe (The Wolves) the win. Midfielder Renato Steffen scored the first goal of the match in the 43rd minute for Wolfsburg with defender Tin Jedvaj scoring for Augsburg in the 54th miniute.

Dusseldorf 0, Paderborn 0 These two teams battled to a scoreless draw at Merkur Spiel-Arena in Dusseldorf.

Leipzig 1, Freiburg 1 Defender Manuel Gulde got Freiburg on the scoreboard in the 34th minute. Striker Yossuf Poulsen tied up the match in the 77th minute.

Dordmund 4, Schalke 0 Die Schwarzgelben (The Black and Yellows) showed no mercy, with defender Raphaël Guerreiro tallying a brace, in the 45th and 63rd minutes. Striker Erling Braut Håland scored the first goal of the match in the 29th minute with midfielder Thorgan Hazard adding the third goal of the game, in the 48th minute.

Monchengladbach 3, Frankfurt 1 Die Fohlen (The Foals)  scored twice in the first seven minutes, with goals by strikers Alassane Pléa, in the first minute, and Marcus Thuram in the seventh minute. Defender Ramy Bensebaini added the insurance goal. on a penalty kick, in the 73rd minute. Frankfurt scored on an André Silva goal in the 81st minute.

Action continues on Sunday with two matches with the final game of Matchday 26 on Monday.

Friday, May 15, 2020

MLB is back for 2020

Photo credit: Peter Miller

By Lou Roesch

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved

HOUSTON, TEXAS (May 15, 2020) Major League Baseball owners made it official just after lunch on Monday making a proposal to the players’ union that could lead to a season beginning possibly as early as the Fourth of July weekend without fans. Included with the proposal comes a plan that envisions expanding the designated hitter to the National League for 2020.

Spring training would start in early to mid-June, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the plan were not announced.

According to the proposal, each team would play 82 regular-season games, primarily against opponents in its own division along with interleague matchups against their opposite league counterparts limited to AL East vs. NL East, AL Central vs. NL Central and AL West vs. NL West.

Postseason would be expanded to 14 teams instead of the normal 10 clubs. The All-Star Game planned for July 14, 2020 will be scrapped as well.

Teams would be scheduled to play in their own parks assuming all medical and government protocols give the thumbs up. If not, the back-up plan floated about a month ago would have the teams playing at their spring training sites.

The most contentious part of the proposal is all about the money.  The owners proposal will ask players receive a percentage of their 2020 salaries based on revenues MLB receives during the regular-season and postseason. 

Sunday, May 03, 2020

Houston Texans to trade J.J. Watt

Photo by Darla S Tamulitis,
La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved
By Lou Roesch
Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved

May 3, 2020 (Houston, Texas) The Houston Texans have gone and done it it after long speculation. The trade will reunite J.J. Watt with his brothers in Pittsburgh (Steelers) and together they will become the first trio of brothers to win a Super Bowl. Could this become reality? Yes it can. Will it become reality? Probably. We will know in the next 24 months or less. Watt's current contract runs through 2021.

"Three Reasons" it happens:

1. The reason this becomes a reality can be spelled out in two words: Ross Blacklock. The 305-pound defensive end from TCU drafted at the 40th spot in the 2020 NFL draft will make J.J. Watt expendable. He has all the attributes of a number 99 and is eight years younger. At 23, Blacklock will have two years to play behind and learn all he can soak up from Watt before replacing him.
According to the's report if Blacklock can learn to process the run and reading blocks so that he can most effectively attack at the NFL level and master the technical transition from a four point stance, he will be an exciting player to watch grow. If they are right, Houston's newest player could make fans begin to say J.J. Who?

2. Closing in on 33 years of age as the next contract comes due, Watt will have to decide what's more important; playing with his brothers for a Super Bowl ring or finishing his career as a member of the Houston Texans. No doubt he will choose the ring and O'Brien will oblige.

3) The Houston Texans for some reason just made Laremy Tunsil the highest paid lineman in NFL history. They have exercised the fifth year option on quarterback DeShaun Watson and we know Bill O'Brien thinks he can throw a boatload of money at him and he will sign. The Texans will have no money left to nor the desire to offer J.J. another career defining contract. 

While Houston waits and wonders, the Texans will begin entertaining offers and preparing for life after J.J.