Commentary

Power Rankings: Neighborhood watch

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

Strap on the night-vision goggles for this week's 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 had to spend the weekend changing all its passwords because it unwittingly released a virus after clicking on a "Learn how to write funnier sports jokes!" link on its wall. Hey, at least you can understand why it gave in to that temptation, and it wasn't one of those creepy Facebook "Look at this video!" links. To the results!

1. Neighborhood watch

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
10.0 9.9 19.9

Credentials: Who are the people in your neighborhood? That was a lesson that Sohaib Athar, a 33-year-old IT consultant in Pakistan, learned the hard way when he unwittingly tweeted the helicopter movements and explosions that accompanied the attack on the Osama bin Laden compound on Sunday. (Though in his defense, he tweeted @ReallyVirtual, "I apologize for reporting the operation 'unwittingly/unknowingly' -- had I known about it, I would have tweeted about it 'wittingly' I swear."). Now, he's sure to be the new mascot for every suburban "Neighborhood Watch" group across America. Also, Sunday night's news now at last confirms that the guy who lives across the street from us who we suspect is stealing the newspaper from our driveway in the morning is not OBL).


2. Mets-Phillies

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.5 9.1 18.6

Credentials: Talk about how being at a sporting event can change your perceptions for a lifetime. The crowd at Citizens Bank Park broke into chants of "U-S-A! U-S-A!" after the bin Laden news was announced. So now, expect a moment that was unexpected and genuine to be cashed in on by any manner of minor league park operators with cheesy promotions. Bin Laden bobblehead dolls that can be used as target practice? It'll be here by Thursday, the latest, guaranteed.


3. NFL draft grades

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.8 8.4 17.2

Credentials: The handing out of A's, B's, C's and incompletes is more useless than ever thanks to the lockout maybe preventing us from seeing any of the new recruits in action at all this year. Thus, to fill in the "NFL draft grades gap," we proposed that this year's selections gather in Canton, Ohio, for a spelling bee. Cam Newton, as the No. 1 pick, you go first. Spell "Cheta Ozougwu." You want us to use it in a sentence? Fine. "Rice's Cheta Ozougwu ended up as the draft's Mr. Irrelevant by being picked last, yet ended up having a longer pro football career than Cam Newton."


4. Memphis Grizzlies

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.7 7.4 15.1

Credentials: Can we start organizing a bandwagon for the prospect of an 8-seed winning the NBA Finals? Of course, that's not going to happen, because there's no money in the NBA league office and the refs conspiring to push an 8-seed through. Though come back to us next year if the Lakers and Celtics ever make it as an "All-In, 8-Seed Finals," and we might reconsider.


5. NHL playoff overtime

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.1 7.6 14.7

Credentials: What is it about the postseason that makes hockey players incapable of settling on a winner in 60 minutes of regulation? Is it an attention-deficit thing because the ratings are so low during the regular season? But if staying up late to cram an additional lifetime of exciting hockey 20 extra minutes at a time is wrong, we don't want to be right.


6. "Fast Five"

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
6.2 6.5 12.7

Credentials: What movie's got two Dwayne Johnson thumbs, a 79 percent approval rating on the RottenTomatoes meter and $83.6 million in the opening weekend box office bank? We've already had our agent mail out our spec script for "Furious Six." It's a meta-take, in which Universal decides it wants to take a bigger slice of the worldwide receipts, DVD sales and streaming revenue, so it locks out the actors before filming for the next sequel can start. Thus, we create a mockumentary in which the real actors break into the garages, steal the cars and have a secret cross-country race and make their own money by selling car sponsorships in a NASCAR/Morgan Spurlock "The Greatest Movie Ever Sold" twist. Hey, don't complain, as long as things explode and Michelle Rodriguez is back, you'll buy a ticket.


7. Unsigned NFL free agents

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.4 5.3 10.7

Credentials: Once upon a time, if you didn't get selected in the seven rounds of the NFL draft, you at least had a chance to sign with one of 32 practice squads in the ensuing days and take your chances making a roster from there. Really, it's not all that more of a long shot than being a sixth- or seventh-rounder, and you'll even have a chip on your shoulder to be that much more motivated to move the chains. But with a lockout? You can't be signed until who knows when. For college seniors, it might push you in the direction of using your degree in recreation and hotel management that much sooner. But juniors and redshirt sophomores who left school early on the bad advice that you'd be drafted? Well, we don't have any advice for you other than pay attention to your upper classmen who now have hotel management jobs as they teach you how to fold towels and pour mai tais.


8. Ultimate fighting

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.2 5.0 10.2

Credentials: Randy Couture said he is now sure about retirement from UFC after receiving a crane kick that knocked a crown out courtesy of Lyoto Machida. Which, again, just shows the gap between professional sports and the corporate business world. No human resources officer is going to announce the retirement of a valued member of accounting with a crane kick. It's not because they can't perform such a slick move, it's just that the corporate office doesn't want to be on the hook for your dental benefits.


9. Tyson's tattoo lawsuit

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.1 4.4 9.5

Credentials: Iron Mike's might not be the face that launched a thousand ships, but here's at least one lawsuit. S. Victor Whitmill says he owns all rights to the ink he put down in 2003 and is suing Warner Bros. for tracing it on Ed Helms' face for "The Hangover Part II." The moral of the story: Kids, that's one more reason not to get a Mike Tyson face tattoo. You'll be violating the intellectual rights of the original; and there's no court in the land that would believe you that you woke up with that tattoo by accident. There's now no way you can get a Mike Tyson face tattoo and not look ridiculous, either on the street or in a court of law.


10. Kentucky Derby

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.0 4.2 9.2

Credentials: The field for the 137th running at Churchill Downs is around the corner, and as fans of beer commercials, we're excited by the prospects of Stay Thirsty -- even if it does mean that everyone on Twitter will be making "the most interesting horse in the world" jokes. Everything about the week is a win-win for the horse. Win the Derby, and its headlines will eclipse the bin Laden news; lose the race, or even fail to make the field, and there's the built-in excuse that he was feeling the effects of a kegger in the stable last night, and has more interesting things to do next.


11. Wayne Gretzky rookie card

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.2 4.1 8.3

Credentials: Who says the NHL can't capture our imagination? A mint condition rookie card of The Great One just fetched north of $94,000 in an online auction. Which makes hockey the rare sport where a trading card of its greatest player is worth more than the purchase price of an NHL expansion franchise.


12. Pacquiao-Mosley

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.0 3.3 7.3

Credentials: Could Saturday's world welterweight title fight in Vegas get a bump in anticipation buzz if some of the undercard fights were actual boxing matches between public figures we want to see fight each other? We've become a society so obsessed with talking heads screaming at each other and creating false rivalries that actual boxing matches seem to pale in comparison these days. Would you pay more to see Pacquiao-Mosley than, say, Angelina go 12 rounds with JWoww? Conan cage fight Leno? We've overvalued people being mad at each other while we've undervalued people punching each other in the face. Let's put it back in the ring this weekend where it belongs, eh?


13. "Celebrity Apprentice"

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
3.1 2.4 5.5

Credentials: Now here's an interesting "Degrees of Separation" lineage: This past week, we've seen power plays of Donald Trump on the case of President Obama; who later ordered the soup to go bad on bin Laden; upon news of which Obama pre-empted Trump's TV show; and thus America got shorted on seeing Trump order the soup to go bad on Playmate Hope Dworaczyk. The history books will record this fall of dominoes properly, we are sure.


Also receiving votes
• Cleveland Indians drum guy: Strike up the band for superfan John Adams, who recently celebrated 3,000 games of banging away from the cheap seats. The impressive thing isn't just the longevity of showing up again and again since 1973; but how many sold-out stadium shows in Cleveland would Motley Crue and the Beatles have to have done combined for Tommy Lee and Ringo Starr to have performed before half as many people as Adams has rocked?

Never receiving votes
• Royal Wedding hats: We're prepared to negotiate this with the Royals-watchers: We won't make fun of any of the ridiculous hats worn by Royal Family gal pals (especially the ones that look like they were stapled upside down and inside out on someone's head) if you can give us a six-month reprieve on us wearing our baseball caps backward. Sound fair?

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.