The Stack is here on this Wednesday and we have a few things to talk about, so let's get right to it and see what made "the stack" for today, Wednesday, April 17:
Pat Summeral dies
A legend in the booth, that man that most will remember as the man who called games alongside John Madden, Pat Summerall died yesterday at the age of 82. Summerall played ten years in the NFL, and was the kicker for the New York Giants when they played the Baltimore Colts in the 1957 NFL Championship game, the game that most historians would say changed the NFL forever. It was the first game on national TV, it was a great game and the popularity only grew. Summerall was an icon calling games. His simplistic approach should be revered in this day in age where broadcasters constantly go over the top, even yelling at times when they don't need to. He was an overall great man and one of the nicest people you'll ever meet according to Madden, who called games with Summerall for over twenty years. Summerall was great before he teamed up with Madden, but Madden certainly helped make Summerall a household name, especially for the youth of the day. I wouldn't have known how great Summerall was if he wasn't with Madden. That's how I grew up, watching FOX and listening to the team of Summerall and Madden. I always wanted them to call Vikings games. Summerall wanted the game to speak for itself, but he gave all the necessary information. He was very good in the booth and better outside. A giant in the broadcast industry, Summerall will be missed, but never forgotten.
Paying tribute to Boston
With Monday's events at the Boston Marathon still fresh in everyone's minds, across the country thousands paid their respect in any way they could to the citizens of Boston and sporting events were no exception. Moments of silence were held. Fans had messages saying "Praying for Boston". Several players wrote playing for Boston on their equipment including a New York Islander who wrote it on his skate. The New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox biggest rival, had a billboard on the stadium that said united with Boston and played "Sweet Caroline", a staple at Red Sox games, during the third inning. It was really awesome to see. Of course the Red Sox were playing though they weren't at home. They were in Cleveland where the flag in right field flew at half-staff. A moment of silence was held. The Red Sox had a jersey in the dugout that said "Boston Strong" and had the number 617 on the back, Boston's area code. They're playing for a city. They're playing for the people. This hits home with a lot of people. More tributes will surely be held. The first sporting event in Boston will be tonight as the Buffalo Sabres visit the Boston Bruins. Surely there will be a lot of emotion at the TD Garden. Sports is a chance to unite, to forget your differences and just be together. Let's hope that this happens. I'm sure it will. Continued thoughts and prayers to everyone affected in someway, either physically, mentally, emotionally, from the events Monday. The perp will be caught and he will be brought to justice.
Oregon football facing major violations
Perhaps this is why head coach Chip Kelly left for the NFL and the Philadelphia Eagles. Oregon's football program is under intense scrutiny and certain punishment following the university's acknowledgement that NCAA violations did occur within the program, some of them major. The university is proposing a two-year ban and the loss of one scholarship a year according to reports. Surely that won't be enough for the NCAA, but considering they botched the Miami (FL) investigation, perhaps they will take the self-imposed penalties by Oregon or ask that they do slightly more. Not to cripple the program, but just to add a little more. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. We haven't heard the last of the saga in Eugene, but surely this doesn't endear coach Kelly to Ducks fans anymore. Leaving for a new school or the pros just because violations are likely at your school is a cowardly move and the NCAA should put a stop to it on the coaching front.
Final night of the NBA regular season
The NBA playoffs start this weekend, but there is still much to be decided tonight on the final night of the regular season. In the east, almost everything is set but the five and six seeds. Atlanta and Chicago both have 44-37 records. If both win tonight, Chicago owns the tiebreaker and would be the five seed while Atlanta would be the six. That means Chicago would play the Brooklyn Nets in a 4-5 matchup while Atlanta would play the Indiana Pacers in the 3-6 matchup. In some respects, being the six seed would be better because you would avoid the Miami Heat until the eastern conference finals.
The west is far from settled, but the biggest story to watch is whether or not the Los Angeles Lakers make the playoffs. Kobe Bryant is obviously out. So too is Steve Nash. The Lakers somehow beat San Antonio Sunday night and control their own destiny. If they beat the Houston Rockets (10:30 PM ET ESPN), they get the seven seed while the Rockets would get the eight seed. Should the Utah Jazz beat the Memphis Grizzlies (8 PM ET ESPN), that would force the Lakers into a must-win situation, because if the Lakers lose they would be out of the playoffs. So a lot is riding on the line. Surely the NBA wants the Lakers in the playoffs even if they'll be bounced in the first round pretty easily just because of the market and the fan base. With apologies to Golden State, San Antonio, Denver and Utah, outside of their fan bases, a lot of people just don't care to watch them. The Stack will have an NBA playoff preview on Friday.
Coming up tomorrow: Lookahead to the release of the NFL schedule plus other top stories in sports.