Random News of the Day: Errors, NFL book smarts

Random News of the Day: Errors, NFL book smarts

Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2010
3:14 PM

By Joe Collins

Four Errors & 24 Years Ago: September 14, 1986 may not strike a chord with people that follow sports milestones, but if you're a fan of baseball (and in particular, someone who knows Bob Brenly), you will know that on this date, the former San Francisco Giant --and current Cubs broadcaster of course-- committed four errors in the same inning. He then made up for the errors in a most memorable way. Comcast SportsNet will take an in-depth look at one of the more ironic days in baseball history during tomorrows (Wednesdays) SportsNite at 10pm. Luke Stuckmeyer reports.

Number Of The Day (25,471): It might not seem like a big deal, but Northwestern's football home opener drew 25,471 fans against Illinois State. That's good! Thing is, that figure was actually UP more than 40 percent increase over last year's home opener. That's bad (for last years case, anyway). The 25,471 figure is without most of the general student population, as fall classes begin September 21st. That's good! But the 25,471 is still a fraction of attendance at most other Big 10 football games. That's bad.

(jumping up onto soapbox)

It's time to get out to Ryan Field, folks. Pat Fitzgerald has done an incredible job in getting his team to compete at a consistently high level. This team is consistently going to bowl games (try saying that 20 years ago). They are poised to strike again this year with QB Dan Persa at the controls. The defense is solid. Ryan Field is just off the CTA Purple Line. The ticket prices are far below the rest of the Big 10 average. Seriously...what is taking so long? Northwestern is Chicago's college football team, folks. Let's get out there and watch some quality football.
NFL Book Smarts: If you didn't know what NFL Rule 8, Section 1, Article 3, Item 1 of the NFL Rule Book was before this weekend's Bears game --or if you were forced to watch 40 hours of the Lifetime Channel from Sunday afternoon until now-- you should know it know. It states that...

if a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass (with or without contact with an opponent), he must maintain control of the ball after he touches the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone. If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, the pass is incomplete. If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete.

...just ask Calvin Johnson of the Lions. His fourth quarter catch-that-really-wasn't put the exclamation mark on a Bears 19-14 victory over on Sunday. This rule has been the subject of frequent water cooler debates ever since. How about we add some more rules? I have a few:

Rule 56, Section 11, Article 8: If a member of the Dallas Cowboys offensive line gathers more than two (2) holding penalties in the fourth quarter of a nationally televised game when fantasy football points are on the line, his contract shall be promptly and efficiently fed into an IntelliShred PC55 CrossCut 1000.

Rule 11, Section 15, Article 6, Item 4, Addendum 5b: If any "player" insists on dancingstrutting after a touchdown, a tackle for loss or pivotal block when down by more than 20 points, they have to dancestrut in the spirit of one of the gas station workers in Billy Joel's "Uptown Girl" video.

Rule 9, Section 5, Article 1, Item 1, Paragraph 2: If a player of "defender" rips the head off a member of the offense or opposition, the "defender" must wait until the "Not Going Anywhere For A While?" voice over is heard throughout the stadium. "Defender" can then chew on Snickers bar immediately afterward.

OK...maybe scratch that last one. But still, the other three should fix a few minor annoyances.

Or something like that.

Bulls Outsiders Podcast: The basketball world mourns the loss of Kobe Bryant


Bulls Outsiders Podcast: The basketball world mourns the loss of Kobe Bryant

On this edition of the Bulls Outsiders podcast, Matt Peck, John Sabine and David Watson reflect on the passing of an NBA icon, Kobe Bryant.

0:30 - Reaction to Kobe's passing on Sunday

18:00 - More discussion about Kobe Bryant and his impact on the league

25:00 - The guys favorite memories of Kobe Bryant

Listen here or in the embedded player below.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.

What's next for Denzel Valentine after standout performance against Spurs?

What's next for Denzel Valentine after standout performance against Spurs?

Denzel Valentine is beloved throughout the Bulls’ locker room. It takes only a brief sweep around to glean that.

“I love playing with Denzel, that's my guy,” Kris Dunn said. “No matter what, that's my guy. He know[s] that.”

No matter what.

“Man, Denzel is a true professional,” Zach LaVine said. “We're thankful to have him on this team, I think any team would love to have him. He's someone that is beneficial to us because he's gotten put in a tough situation where he came off the bench, and he's a player that's a regular rotation guy.”

Any team would love to have him.

“They show a lot of support, man, it's just crazy. We have a really good, close-knit team,” Valentine said of his teammates. “Zach — he's been a really good help in this situation. Talking to me every day. Coby [White], Kris, I can go down the line of everybody that's a part of it, so. I got blessed, man, I'm on a really good team with really good teammates.”

Let’s rewind. Valentine logged his fourth-highest minutes total of the season (19:06) on Monday, tied his season-high for scoring (16 points) and played crucial, crunch-time minutes in one of these Bulls’ most memorable victories — a 110-109 squeak-by over the San Antonio Spurs on a night the late Kobe Bryant was commemorated from start to finish. 

Valentine added three assists, four rebounds, four 3-pointers and was a team-high +18, as well.

“I thought Denzel was terrific. He's kept himself ready and came in and helped us win a game,” coach Jim Boylen said.

It can’t have been easy keeping the rust off. After missing all of last season due to ankle reconstruction surgery, Valentine is averaging by far his lowest minutes per game this season while shooting 39.5% from 3-point range. He has been phased in and out of the rotation on multiple occasions.

“That's my job as a professional, to stay ready and play when called upon,” Valentine said of how he endures with playing time not a given.

In four games which Valentine has played more than 19 minutes this season, he averages 13.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game on 50/44/100 shooting splits. The Bulls are 3-1 in said contests.

“Playing winning basketball,” Valentine said on what he brings when given opportunity. “Whether that's scoring, passing, playing defense, rebounding. Just whatever I can do to affect the game. People always want to look at my shots, but I think I impact the game in a lot of different ways. I think my defense is underrated, and I impact the game in a lot of different ways.”

Valentine said he’s excited to continue to prove himself with advanced opportunity likely in the near future. Thad Young’s insertion into the starting lineup with Lauri Markkanen out for at least the next month opens a gaping need for scoring off the bench. Since Markkanen went down, Valentine is averaging 13.8 minutes per game. Before then, he hadn’t played more than seven since logging 16 minutes in a blowout loss to Milwaukee on Dec. 30. 

But tonight, he was instrumental to a victory. Of his four 3-pointers, two came in the fourth quarter as the Bulls were clawing their way back from, at one point, a 10-point deficit. 

“He brings that. Scoring, another playmaker. You know, when Denzel get rolling, you get to see a different player in him,” Dunn said. “He has that same mentality that I have in the sense of — you know, just go out there and do whatever you can do to win.”

Valentine is beloved throughout the locker room.

“That's not up to him, to play his minutes. He came in, and he's the biggest reason why we won the game I think,” LaVine said. “I think he was 6-for-10, he had 16 points in [19] minutes. You know, high-IQ player, playing on and off the ball, so it was big and I appreciate having him as my teammate.

“Denzel has some of the highest respect in the locker room, we know who he is as a player, and as a person.”

But are his teammates hinting at something? Trade speculation has swirled around Valentine with the deadline impending and the Bulls’ role for him undefined. Now, though, the team’s need for him is evident, given their short-handedness. 

The waters are muddy, but all there is to know for sure is this: All parties have remained and will remain professional.

Time will tell the rest.

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