Commentary

Power Rankings: Lockout Edition

Originally Published: July 5, 2011
By Greg Hardy | Special to Page 2

You and your lawyers should drop and give us 20 if you want to be in prime negotiating strength for the Page 2 Power Rankings! Our formula combines the results of two surveys: a human poll concocted by ESPN Page 2's Greg Hardy and a scientifically calibrated poll generated by computer analysis. Unfortunately, our computer spent the weekend drawing animatics on spec to show Michael Bay the kinds of special effects that would be needed for a climactic action sequence in "Transformers 4," when the Decepticons attack Cowboys Stadium, which had morphed into a giant, robotic Jerry Jones, only not as charming. To the results!

1. NFL lockout workouts

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.4 9.6 19.0

Credentials: You've been wondering. We've been wondering. How are the most motivated among the NFL's locked-out players doing the things that will keep them in football shape until they're allowed to participate in organized team activities again? What's the secret? Are they doing free weights at the Y? Chipping away at that "honey-do" list by hauling old furniture out of the basement? Chopping down neighborhood trees that they think looked at them cross-eyed? Secret underground fight clubs? We have it on authority that a squad of undrafted free agents has in conjunction with HBO -- who, remember, probably won't have a season of "Hard Knocks" to peddle -- secretly disguised themselves as the Equatorial Guinea team in the Women's World Cup. Under the theory of hey, even if we don't make it out of Group D, at least we got to travel to Germany on HBO's dime.


2. Jeter hit parade

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.5 9.1 18.6

Credentials: Do we have this 3,000 hit thing out of the way yet? Because it's time to start looking for some of the lesser-known achievements on the horizon. For starters, we'd like to know how far the Yankees can get in the playoffs with Jeter on the bench. After all, they went 14-4 with him resting that calf. Sure some of those wins came against inferior interleague opponents. And how many times would the Yankees meet an inferior National League team in the postseason anyway? Oh, wait a minute ...


3. Jose Reyes' hamstring

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.8 8.4 17.2

Credentials: Hypothetical question for Fred Wilpon: If it were surgically possible to replace Reyes' hamstring muscles with those of Carl Crawford, would you OK the procedure? And would your rehabbed shortstop then get paid more or less than what the surgery cost?


4. Dunkin' LeBron

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.7 7.4 15.1

Credentials: The thing we can't understand about King James dunking on that kid in the camp in New Jersey is that all week long LeBron had been deferring to the kid while in the paint. And LeBron, if you're trying to impress the kid with front-row seats to Heat games next season as a make-up call, give him front-row seats to playoff games too, not just the regular-season games when Miami fans never show up.


5. NFL retirees

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.1 7.6 14.7

Credentials: Now they want a place at the negotiating table too in order to make sure their pension and disability benefits packages aren't being sliced away by owners and current players. Also, they want to know if it's possible to trade in any of their cheerleader wives from the '70s and '80s for selections from today's crop.


6. Roger Clemens

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
6.2 6.5 12.7

Credentials: Who knows how the truth will spill out in United States vs. William R. Clemens, but if we were writing the script we'd hinge the prosecution's case in the perjury trial on a jailhouse snitch who swore that he was cellmates with a guy who was secretly preparing for a post-MLB Rocket to train for the Tour de France.


7. Whining Dale Jr.

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.4 5.3 10.7

Credentials: The driver of the 88 car has made it known that he's not a fan of the "lovebug" style of racing at speedways, where the only way to keep up with the pack is to employ a two-by-two drafting strategy. Because banking your finish in the race on the skill of the guy ahead of you doesn't leave a lot of wiggle room to strike off for success on your own. Meanwhile, with a 110-race winless streak, Junior is going to continue to bank on his popularity by being linked two-by-two with the legacy of NASCAR great Dale Earnhardt.


8. Social networking wars

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.2 5.0 10.2

Credentials: Ooh, it's on: Facebook vs. the new Google+. Like most everyone, we won't feel informed enough to make an informed choice between the competing platforms until we read a comparison of their privacy defenses in Cyberstalking Monthly.


9. Tour de France

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.1 4.4 9.5

Credentials: Congratulations to Tyler Farrar for becoming the first American cyclist to win a stage on the Fourth of July. If we had realized sooner that there was this hole in Tour de France trivia, we would have suggested tying a box of Roman candles to the back of a bike to get this done. Explosives: Technically, not a performance-enhancer.


10. Broken boxers

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.0 4.2 9.2

Credentials: If you've heard the story of how David Haye was blaming his broken toe for a loss to Wladimir Klitschko, whatever you do, don't tell Sylvester Stallone that story. That's just too much of a no-brainer for Sly to include it as a plot device in an uplifting underdog way for the next "Rocky" sequel: "Rocky VII: The Toe That Saved Freedom."


11. Bryce Harper

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.2 4.1 8.3

Credentials: Nationals die-hards have to be excited that their No.1 draft pick is being elevated to the Double-A Harrisburg Senators. At this pace, he'll be sure to make it to the bigs just in time for Davey Johnson's mandatory retirement party.


12. Nick Watney

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.0 3.3 7.3

Credentials: Want to know more about the guy who's atop the PGA Tour's money list? The first thing he's doing with his cash is buying three more wishes from the golf genie who made him No. 1 on the PGA Tour money list. Hey, the genie said no wishing for more wishes, but there was nothing in the bylaws that said Watney couldn't buy more wishes if the price was right.


13. Slopestyle

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
3.1 2.4 5.5

Credentials: One more reason to tune in to the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia: The International Olympic Committee has approved men's and women's snowboarders and skiers to try this trick style of competition. So hurry up, you've got only a couple of months to learn how to qualify to pull off all sorts of wacky stunts, like being able to bribe an IOC official while doing a 360.


Also receiving votes
• ESPY voting: At the risk of stuffing the online ballot box, see if you can't find where they hid the category of Most Overuse of a Comic Foil in the Page 2 Power Rankings. This year's front-runner has to be Jim Tressel. All we'll say in our defense is that in comedy writing it's a fine line using a running gag as a crutch and the man just gifting us week by week with too much golden hilarious material that we couldn't ignore. Consider this us declaring receipt of said gifts.

Never receiving votes
• Leftover fireworks: There's nothing like waking up on the Fifth of July and taking stock of what in your arsenal didn't get blown up real good the night before. The question is, what should you stockpile for New Year's Eve ... and how much of your time should you devote to engineering an exploding hot dog device that would shake up next year's Coney Island contest?

Greg Hardy is a Page 2 contributor. It's all pop culture all the time at Twitter.com/HardyVision.


Back to Page 2


• Philbrick: Page 2's Greatest Hits, 2000-2012
• Caple: Fond memories of a road warrior
• Snibbe: An illustrated history of Page 2
Philbrick, Gallo: Farewell podcast Listen

Greg Hardy is a Page 2 contributor. It's all pop culture all the time at Twitter.com/HardyVision.