Sideline Chatter

Today’s NFL? It’s not a pretty picture.

At least that’s what Hall of Famer John Madden tells a photo of the late Vince Lombardi and George Halas that he keeps near his desk.

“I talk to those two guys all the time,” Madden told Sports On Earth. “Every time I hear something that drives me crazy, I say, ‘Sorry, George. Sorry, Vince.’ I say that probably 20 times a day.

“There’s (stuff) going on now that those two would roll over in their graves about.”

Headlines

• At SI.com: “Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin throws out first pitch at minor-league baseball game, no major characters died.

• At SportsPickle.com: “Pentagon unveils plans for new $390 million T-shirt cannon.”

History lesson

And in World Cup news, Spain and England have shockingly been deposed as world powers — and Italy might soon be joining them.

“It’s like déjà vu all over again,” moaned the ghost of Queen Isabella.

Taking a hike

Deep snapper Patrick Mannelly announced his retirement after playing more seasons (16) than any player in Chicago Bears history.

So would you call that a snap decision, or not?

Cup check

Among the top 10 questions Americans have about soccer, from CBS’s David Letterman:

• “What’s with all the foreigners?

• “What else is on?

• “Why don’t they call it ‘football’?”

Bad news: bears!

An American Legion baseball game in Juneau, Alaska, was briefly interrupted because a bear was roaming along the outfield fence.

It nearly became the first game called on account of game.

Tough Yard Dept.

Richard Sherman, the Seahawks’ vociferous cornerback, has purchased a $2.3 million home in Maple Valley.

But forget the touch football games out in the street. The neighborhood kids can’t wait to hear his first “Get off the lawn!” tirade.

Talko time

• Brad Dickson of the Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald, after Russia and South Korea played to a 1-1 World Cup draw: “Whereupon Vladimir Putin suggested the tie be broken by a military invasion.”

• RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com, after a TV tennis analyst compared Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard to a younger Maria Sharapova: “Well, other than Bouchard being shorter by 4 inches and quieter by 104 decibels.”

• TBS’s Conan O’Brien, after boxing champ Floyd Mayweather said that a half-dressed woman is asking to be disrespected: “This from a guy who wears only shorts to work.”

• Heat president Pat Riley, to reporters, on exit meetings with his players after losing in the NBA Finals: “I had kisses all over my face when we won (a year ago). Yesterday was just a good handshake.”

That’s a full pitcher

The Reds have called up 278-pound right-hander Jose “Jumbo” Diaz to join their bullpen.

Mound crew to grounds crew: More dirt!

Dwight Perry: 206-464-8250 or dperry@seattletimes.com