Commentary

Power Rankings: Injury Edition

Originally Published: July 11, 2011
By Greg Hardy | Special to Page 2

You're heading in the right direction with 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 got locked out of its Internet access because Facebook determined it had been spending too much time going through its friends list to dole out Google+ invites. To the results!

1. U.S. Women's soccer memories

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.4 9.6 19.0

Credentials: Oh, say can you see a comeback for the ages? The U.S. women's soccer team improbably turned injury time into victory time Sunday against Brazil in the quarterfinals of the Women's World Cup in Germany. If you had the means to claim any piece of memorabilia from this game, would it be: a) the ball Abby Wambach headed into the net; b.) the red card issued to Rachel Buehler; or c) the penalty kick ball Ali Krieger put past Andreia to ice the game and advance to meet France. We'd pick d) the stretcher that Erika rode that forced injury time. No, you were not allowed to claim any gear from U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo. Yes, that would be a patriotic collectible worthy of a Hall of Fame display, but borderline creepy for your private collection.


2. NFL lockout

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.5 9.0 18.5

Credentials: Bad news for No. 1 draft pick Cam Newton, and, well, everyone else in the Class of 2011. Looks like one of the final sticking points of getting a labor deal done is seriously reining in the rookie payscale. And, sorry to say, newbies, but it makes financial sense of everyone else not to hand you millions on top of millions when you haven't played a down in the NFL. What some of you are going to have to figure out is: Does that mean you'll have access to fewer groupies once you hit the club scene? That doesn't seem fair, in a historical context.


3. NBA lockout solutions

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.8 8.2 17.0

Credentials: Now come the headlines about NBA stars signing with teams overseas in order to draw a paycheck until the North American labor situation corrects itself. Here's an idea that might keep the NBA talent from wandering in too many directions around the globe: Why don't we take up a collection of the NBA's top corporate sponsorship partners and have them fund a league in a country where they have the largest number of secret off-shore accounts? By definition, the entire operation would be one big tax loophole, so everyone gets to pocket a few billion more in gravy.


4. Jeter worship

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.7 7.2 14.9

Credentials: Can we stop with all the talk about how the Yankees' shortstop is such a stand-up character guy who should be lauded at every random milestones? If he truly was a gentlemen and cared about his teammates, he'd make himself unavailable to the public until everyone had a chance to wish A-Rod a speedy recovery from his knee surgery. Instead, The Captain selfishly hogs the spotlight, and probably didn't even offer his 3,000th-hit ball to this third baseman as a get-well gift. P.S. Because of generations of baseball statistics inflation, we're not going to applaud Jeter until he reaches 3,333 hits. We estimate that's the equivalent of having 3,000 hits in the early 70s.


5. Pacman's neck brace

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.1 7.4 14.5

Credentials: Did you see his latest mugshot? The Bengals' cornerback might not know how to stay out of trouble, but he sure knows how to make a fashion statement. Yes, he told us that the neck brace is needed following surgery for a herniated disc. No, he didn't tell us that there's a secret compartment in the back where he can hide stacks of crisp hundred dollar bills for unexpected visits to the gentlemen's clubs.


6. The All-Star Game

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
6.2 6.3 12.5

Credentials: Here's the situation we're dreading for late Tuesday night in Phoenix. The score's tied in the 14th inning, we're just about out of pitchers and Bud Selig has to make an executive decision about how to extend the game. He vaguely recalls hearing about how great it was that the U.S. women's soccer team beat Brazil in injury time. So Selig declares that the All-Star game is now in "All-Star Injury Time," meaning that any player who skipped the game due to injury now has to play ball. Someone please save that man from himself.


7. Celtic poker pride

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.4 5.1 10.5

Credentials: Good luck to Paul Pierce, who earned his way into the second day of the World Series of Poker. Why are people surprised he's doing so well? He's had an entire year to work on his poker face thanks to talking with the media about Boston's chances of winning an NBA title with Shaq on the court.


8. Tour de France crashes

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.2 4.8 10.0

Credentials: It's never a laughing matter when a cyclist gets swiped by a passing car. It's just not a fair tale-of-the-tape matchup. But upon further review, it might not have been a French television car that knocked into Spain's Juan Antonio Flecha and Dutchman Johnny Hoogerland. It's possible that an unnamed Belgian cyclist has taken so many doping supplements that he bulked up to the size and shape of a European compact car. Evidently, it's common to mistake the two in that part of the world.


9. Kentucky-fried NASCAR

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.1 4.2 9.3

Credentials: Sparta, Ky., had years and years to prepare for its first Sprint Cup race. But amid the fanfare of Kentucky Speedway hosting the Quaker State 400, there was one small problem: The roads were so ill-equipped to funnel spectators to the track that traffic was backed up 15 miles, forcing thousands to miss the race. Allow us to troubleshoot. First of all, who knew that there were that many automobiles in Kentucky? Secondly, you think maybe for next year you can ask Churchill Downs how they get people in and out of the Kentucky Derby? Even if they're short on advice, maybe they'll let you borrow some ponies for the commute.


10. Beckham baby

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.0 4.2 9.2

Credentials: Congratulations to David and Victoria on their new little girl! Wow, talk about hitting the jackpot in the parents lottery. She can claim that rare dual citizenship of international sports star child and pop singer legacy. Any children from the Hilary Duff/Mike Comrie marriage have to feel gypped already.


11. WNBA coaching moves

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.2 4.0 8.2

Credentials: Here's one for the "Before They Were Famous" files: Did you know? New L.A. Sparks coach Joe "Jellybean" Bryant is the father of L.A. Lakers former superstar Kobe Bryant. Oh, we're not supposed to call Kobe a "former" superstar yet? We'll retract that remark if we can watch Kobe beat the Sparks' starters in a game of 1-on-5. Added bonus if Coach Bryant yells to his defenders, "Sweep the leg!"


12. British Open

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.0 3.2 7.2

Credentials: At this point, we'll take the chances of Rory McIlroy earning his second major in a row over Tiger Woods making his next two cuts in a row.


13. "Hard Knocks" candidates

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
3.1 2.3 5.4

Credentials: Not only do we have to keep an eye on the NFL lockout situation, we're dying to guess which team HBO will land for its training camp reality show. This week, we nominate the Pittsburgh Steelers. Just to see if they can trick Ben Roethlisberger and Hines Ward into taping on-air promos for them, such as "Coming up next! Stay tuned for 'The Longest Yard!' And then a marathon of 'Oz'!"


Also receiving votes
• The ESPYs: Be sure to tune in Wednesday night, because millions of viewers will be treated to an evening of laughs, glamour, courage, applause and your favorite A-list celebrities! Well, all viewers, of course, except if you're a juror in the Roger Clemens perjury trial. You're barred from watching because Seth Meyers is sure to make at least one "injecting steroids in the buttocks" joke at The Rocket's expense that'd surely spoil your ignorance of what he's been up to since his pinstripe glory.

Never receiving votes
• Summer blah-busters: Giant robots. Computer cartoons. Third-rate superhero origins. Yawn, boo, show us something new. Really, Kevin James bro-bonding with an ape is what passes for originality? Maybe next year, we'll head to the multiplex if they mix it up a bit. Try giving us franchise mashups, like "Zookeeper vs. Zoolander." Ben Stiller, you've been warned, our money's on the big guy.

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


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