When Grand Rapids Griffins winger Jordin Tootoo saw 5-year-old fan Camden Smith by the tunnel Wednesday night, he decided to give Smith a present (and a memory) he''ll probably never forget:
We have a love-hate relationship with robots -- we love the fact that they've made difficult tasks easy and do dangerous jobs, and we hate the possibility that one of them might end up becoming Skynet and dooming us all. Fortunately for humanity in general, the robot President Barack Obama encountered earlier today just wanted to play soccer:
That's ASIMO, one of the most advanced humanoid robots in the world. It can run, climb stairs, jump on one foot, and kick a soccer ball to any world leader who happens to be within 20 feet or so. It looks a bit tentative on the pitch, but we're confident that, with a little more experience, it can develop into a confident striker that is perfectly satisfied with playing soccer and has no lurking electronic dreams of world domination.
The NFL released its 2014 schedule Wednesday, and yes, we forgive you if you can't wait for it to start. There's a Super Bowl rematch. A star returning to his former home. Part II of an old-school/new-school quarterbacking rivalry. And that's just the first month.
Check out these 10 games you absolutely can't miss from the upcoming season:
The Seahawks ended the 2013 season by thumping the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl. They'll begin the 2014 season by aiming to do the same against a healthy Aaron Rodgers and a new-in-green Julius Peppers. Will Pete Carroll's crew return with the same fire? Or will they suffer from a dreaded post-championship hangover?
Sept. 7: Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos
Part I of Old Colt versus New Colt went to the young'un, with Andrew Luck guiding Indy to a 39-33 home win last October. The rematch takes place in Colorado, though, where Peyton Manning gets the chance to show his replacement a thing or two about NFL quarterbacking.
Nothing to see here. Just another entry in this heated NFC East rivalry ... turned up to a boil by the return of ex-Philly receiver DeSean Jackson.
Sept. 21: Denver Broncos at Seattle Seahawks
No regular-season game can make up for a 43-8 loss on football's biggest stage. But the Broncos will try their best to make it happen when they travel to the Pacific Northwest.
Sept. 28: Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears
This always-simmering rivalry hasn't been the hottest of late, but this time around it should be radiating enough to thaw a local sidewalk in winter. Peppers took the drive up the Lake Michigan coast during the offseason, while Aaron Rodgers surely still recalls the hit that forced him to miss seven games last fall.
Like Jackson versus Eagles, only with wide receiver Steve Smith's old team coming to his new house. Good thing Smith isn't the fiery type.
Nov. 2: Denver Broncos at New England Patriots
AFC Championship Game rematch. Peyton Manning versus Tom Brady. Possible AFC Championship Game preview. But other than that ...
Nov. 27: Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers
NFC Championship Game rematch. Richard Sherman versus Michael Crabtree. Pete Carroll versus Jim Harbaugh. Potential landmark in the NFC West race. Possible NFC Championship Game preview. But other than that ... (Happy Thanksgiving to us.)
Nov. 30: Washington Redskins at Indianapolis Colts
Year 1 of the Andrew Luck-versus-Robert Griffin III, No. 1-versus-No. 2 showdown went to Griffin. Year 2 was won, resoundingly, by Luck. Is the Colts' QB unquestionably the better signal-caller? Or will this late-November meeting be another step in RG III's resurgence?
Dec. 14: San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks
Yeah, we already mentioned the first matchup. This rivalry is just that good.
Frank Vogel on hot seat?
Indiana Pacers GM Kevin Pritchard tweeted about coach Frank Vogel Thursday -- saying his job is safe -- but that was before the East's No. 1 seed lost Game 3 quite limply to the Atlanta Hawks. The Pacers now trail the series 2-1, which itself is a precipitous fall from their midseason standing as title near-favorites. Is Vogel in trouble? Will the Pacers come back?
pollcenter:category=5226+frankvogelonhotseat?April 24, 2014Apr24
A year ago, Tracy McGrady was playing a bit part in the San Antonio Spurs' run to the NBA Finals -- his longest journey into the postseason:AP Photo/Pat Sullivan
On Wednesday, McGrady fulfilled a quite out-of-left-field (sorry) dream, officially becoming a pro baseball player by making the independent Sugar Land Skeeters' Opening Day roster as a 6-foot-8 right-handed pitcher. (And no, this is not the Skeeters' official mascot.)
Bet you didn't see that one coming.