1996

Let’s be honest, Lawrence Phillips never stood a chance

Lawrence Phillips with the St. Louis Rams and University of Nebraska Cornhuskers

Lawrence Phillips with the St. Louis Rams and University of Nebraska Cornhuskers

Take a quick glance back at the life of Lawrence Phillips and it’s not hard to imagine how he ended up residing in a California prison.

If it was uncontrollable rage that drove Phillips to succeed on the football field, it was fueled by an unsettling mixture of abuse, neglect and a lack of trust in others during his formative years.

When news broke this week accusing the former University of Nebraska, National Football League, NFL Europe, and Canadian Football League running back of murdering a cellmate, you’d have been hard-pressed to find anyone surprised at such allegations.

His rap sheet speaks for itself.

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Kaká free kick helps Orlando City Soccer Club draw New York City FC in inaugural MLS meeting

ORLANDO – Fans rose to their feet each time Kaká touched the ball during the Major League Soccer debuts for both the Orlando City Soccer Club and New York City FC.

But it took a little more than the length of the match for locals to get what they came to see at the Florida Citrus Bowl.

Kaká delivered a crucial goal, thanks to a lucky bounce, that evened the match after NYCFC took the lead in the 76th minute. Spain’s David Villa set up U.S. national team member Mix Diskerud for a score from the top of the box that put the visitors in front and seemingly ruined the day for the Lions.

But the Brazilian legend tied the match on a free kick in the 91st minute by deflecting a shot off of defender Jeb Brovsky, who provided an otherwise fiery presence throughout the match.

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Playlist: Beck (1994-2014)

I never intended to make a post that’s in any way associated with the Grammy Awards.

Hell, I hardly even pay attention to the Grammy Awards, unless I’m wandering aimlessly on social media and happen upon the typically ridiculous placement of artists in categories of which they have no business earning an award.

But then Kanye West blasted Beck for winning album of the year, for an album I admittedly dismissed upon its release much in the same way I did Sea Change in 2002. And although I own multiple albums by both Kanye and Beck, I found West’s response to Beck’s triumph as equally annoying as nearly every other music fan.

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Digital Underground lets the contradictions run wild in Future Rhythm’s “Want It All”

There will always be a special place in the hearts of old school hip-hop fans when it comes to a collective like Digital Underground.

While Dr. Dre was turning Parliament-Funkadelic samples into gangster rap soundtracks, Digital Underground used the P-Funk sounds of the past to keep the party jumping with a much less serious vibe attached to it.

My go-to album in the Underground discography is Sons of the P from 1991, but I was recently reintroduced to a hidden gem that was released long after many fans had lost track of Shock G and his Humpty Hump stylings.

In 1996 Digital Underground released the vastly mediocre Future Rhythm album with a track called “Want It All” buried at the end. It’s everything you’d expect from the crew: funk, humor, creativity.

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NFL Playoffs 2015: Previewing The Wild Card Weekend

The regular season is in the books and the National Football League’s Wild Card weekend will be here before we know it. Or in other words, before we can fully recover from our New Year’s festivities.

The New England Patriots (12-4) and Denver Broncos (12-4) finished the regular season by claiming the top spots in the AFC while the Seattle Seahawks (12-4) and Green Bay Packers (12-4) hold those same positions in the NFC.

On Saturday it’s Arizona at Carolina and Baltimore at Pittsburgh followed by Cincinnati at Indianapolis and Detroit at Dallas on Sunday in matchups that’ll advance winners to the divisional round.

Below is a breakdown of the wild card games this weekend. My predictions are included at the conclusion of each summary.

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Blair Thomas doesn’t look happy about being a New York Jet

The only running back worth a first round pick in the 1990 NFL Draft turned out to be Emmitt Smith. At No. 17 overall.

Blair Thomas 1990 Topps Traded rookie card No. 34T

Blair Thomas (RB, New York Jets) 1990 Topps Traded rookie card – No. 34T

Despite being the second selection in the draft out of Penn State, by the New York Jets, Blair Thomas was outdone in the National Football League by nearly every contemporary picked after him. His pedestrian 2,236 yards rushing and seven touchdowns (533 carries) over six years trails a number of other moderately memorable guys, even some worth remembering. Terry Allen was taken by Minnesota in the 9th round before going on to rush for 8,614 yards and 73 TDs. Chris Warren, selected in the 4th round by Seattle, rushed for 7,696 yards and 52 TDs.

Maybe Thomas would’ve been better off with a different team. He entered the league at the same time as New York’s first-year head coach Bruce Coslet, who would last just as long with the Jets as Thomas did before going on to finish his NFL career with a worthless 47-77 record over nine years. It’s worth mentioning that Coslet never knew a season better than 8-8 while on the sideline with either the Jets or Cincinnati Bengals.

Thomas rushed for just 2,009 yards (468 carries) and five touchdowns for the Jets from 1990-93. He carried the ball at least 15 times in a game only eight times during that stretch and rushed for 100 yards or more just two times. Career highlights include 20 carries for 100 yards in a loss to the New England Patriots in his fourth career game, and then going for a career-high 125 yards on 27 carries against the Chicago Bears just four games into his second season.

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Michael Cuddyer Hits For the Cycle For Second Time in MLB Career

It’s hard enough for players to hit for the cycle at least once in their Major League Baseball careers, never mind becoming just one of three big-leaguers ever to do so in both the American and National leagues. What makes the only cycle of the 2014 season so interesting is the familiarity involving a couple players and a pair of games.

Late Sunday night Colorado Rockies outfielder Michael Cuddyer accomplished the feat with a huge grin on his face when he belted a double down the third base line off of Manny Parra in the eighth inning of a 10-5 win at home over the Cincinnati Reds.

While with the Brewers on May 22, 2009, Parra gave up three of the hits Cuddyer would need for his first cycle (while with the Minnesota Twins) before going on to finish it off at the Metrodome with a triple off of Jorge Julio, who had played for the Rockies two years earlier.

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Video: Clayton Kershaw Repeats History in First Career No-Hitter

The Colorado Rockies were on the wrong end of a historic night Wednesday. Clayton Kershaw struck out a career-high 15 batters for the Los Angeles Dodgers to record the first no-hitter of his career in an 8-0 win.

Kershaw, who didn’t allow a walk but missed out on a perfect game on a throwing error in the seventh by Hanley Ramirez, celebrated the second no-hitter thrown by a Dodger this season with teammates as they rushed the field afterwards. Josh Beckett no-hit the Philadelphia Phillies on May 25 in a game that also ended in an 8-0 Los Angeles win. Beckett struck out six in that game.

It’s the sixth no-hitter thrown in the National League over the past two years. Three no-hitters were tossed in the NL in 2012, which is the last time the American League had a no-hitter when four were thrown in the AL that season.

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Playlist: Wu-Tang Clan Solo Album Compilation (1994-96)

The Wu-Tang Clan hit the scene in 1993 with a debut album that featured nine emcees rapping over gritty soundscapes unheard of at the time in hip hop.

What followed was the release of a handful of solo albums from 1994-96, by six individuals from within the group. The Clan’s creator, The RZA, oversaw the majority of production for each record outside of his involvement with the Gravediggaz.

This Spotify playlist contains 26 tracks from those albums. It opens with one song from each of the selections listed below, in order of release date, and repeats itself throughout. The intent was to include tracks from each solo album that featured other Wu-Tang members. Enjoy.
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Champions: Connecticut Win Means Justice Served For UK’s John Calipari

UConn’s improbable run to the NCAA men’s basketball national title was more than a historical feat that wrapped up another March Madness on Monday in front of more than 70,000 spectators in Arlington, Texas.

It was a begrudging battle between right and wrong. Between good and evil. Between overwhelming expectations and equally underwhelming expectations.

While Connecticut became the first 7-seed to ever claim the championship with a 60-54 win over No. 8 Kentucky, college basketball fans went to bed at ease knowing all things in the world of college hoops were briefly back to normal.

UConn head coach Kevin Ollie, in just his second season, outgunned controversial counterpart John Calipari in his first trip to The Dance as the main man in charge.

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