|11.24.09 at 7:17 am ET|
Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup, where we’ll get you caught up on what’s going on in the sports world and beyond.
Charlie Weis feels beat up at Notre Dame as his tenure there likely is near its end (great interview here, featuring Weis saying his son will not be attending ND because the damage to his family from personal attacks on him is “irreparable”). But on Saturday night, it was quarterback Jimmy Clausen who apparently had the worse headache. Clausen allegedly was punched in the face while out with his family following Saturday’s loss to UConn. Somewhere, Boston College’s Rich Gunnell is smiling.
FOOTBALL: Jets coach Rex Ryan said he felt disrespected by the Patriots’ late pass attempt in Sunday’s game. Terrence Nunn left the Patriots practice squad and signed with the Buccaneers. Check our It Is What It Is blog for the clips from the Patriots players’ and coach’s appearances on WEEI yesterday.
Ally Mielnicki has a piece on the success — or lack thereof — of Bill Belichick disciples.
The Titans edged the Texans in the Monday Night game. The Packers lost two key defensive players for the rest of the season with injuries. And the Ravens lost a cornerback. Browns coach Eric Mangini questioned whether Lions players faked injuries to slow down Cleveland’s no-huddle offense Sunday. Chargers cornerback Antonio Cromartie is being investigated after someone was hit in the head with a champagne bottle at a bar following Sunday’s victory over Denver.
North Carolina State offensive coordinator Dana Bible, a former Boston College assistant coach, has leukemia. Florida coach Urban Meyer said he isn’t interested in leaving Florida for Notre Dame. LSU coach Les Miles accepted responsibility — sort of — for his team’s miscues in the final seconds of Saturday’s loss to Ole Miss.
Boston College lost to Northern Iowa at the Paradise Jam tournament, which was won by Purdue over Tennessee in a battle of top-10 teams. Syracuse went from being unranked to 10th in the AP poll after its wins over California and North Carolina.
Dwayne Roloson made 58 saves in the Islanders’ overtime win. The Senators beat the Capitals in OT to grab a share of the Northeast Division lead. The Oilers scored two goals in seven seconds during a win over the Coyotes. The Predators won their sixth straight game. Canadiens enforcer Georges Laraque was suspended five games for a hit on Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall. The Wild and Canadiens made a minor trade.
MISC.: Dan Guttenplan has a Mens’ Guide to Thanksgiving Day.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Nov. 24, 2005, the Red Sox completed their huge trade with the Marlins, sending Hanley Ramirez and three other players to Florida for Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell and which other player?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “As emotional as this decision is and was, and as much as it was impacting so many wonderful people, coaches and athletes, you have to try to think about the big picture and do what you think is right. So that’s what I tried to do.” — Northeastern athletic director Peter Roby, on eliminating the school’s football program
STAT OF THE DAY: 2 — Catchers to be named American League MVP in the last 33 years (Joe Mauer this year and Ivan Rodriguez in 1999)
AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED TRANSCRIPT OF THE DAY: Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan yesterday morning. When talking about Wes Welker he said, according to the automatically generated transcript:
“Well he’s the quickest guy on the field. And he is I would say east European reindeer.”
What he actually said: “Well, he’s the quickest guy on the field. And he is, I would say he and Randy are two of the smartest receivers I’ve ever played with.”
‘NET RESULTS: Here’s an inventive trick play from the Bethel College football team — a no-look pass for a score.
Here’s University of Minnesota mascot Goldy Gopher getting a little rough with the young gridders Sunday at halftime of the Vikings game. Nice stiff-arm, though.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Pitcher Guillermo Mota, who was sent to Cleveland two months later as part of a deal to acquire Coco Crisp
SOOTHING SOUNDS: On Nov. 24, 1950, “Guys and Dolls” opened on Broadway.
On Nov. 24, 1991, Queen’s Freddie Mercury died at the age of 45.
|11.24.09 at 1:32 am ET|
A week ago, Bill Belichick was not in the most cheerful of spirits after his failed decision to go for a fourth-and-2 from his own 28-yard line. Now, seven days later, Belichick can sit back in his office in jollier spirits after the Patriots overpowered Rex Ryan’s Jets, 31-14, in a Sunday afternoon showdown in Foxboro.
Yet, while Belichick may be able to put on a merry Monday morning quarterback face this week, a few of his former coaching pupils find themselves either in the losing column, on the hot seat or just plain out of work.
Since Belichick first became a head coach for the Cleveland Browns in 1991, there have been multiple coordinators, assistants, scouts and other personnel who have sought to create their own legacy to follow in the footsteps of their great mentor. Although some have fared better than others since leaving Belichick’s staff, the majority of his coaching family tree has experienced a degree of difficulty making the transition from acting behind-the-scenes to manning a franchise of their own. Here is a look at how the five most prominent graduates of Belichick’s Coaching Academy have performed since departing from their teacher.
When Belichick left the Jets to be named head coach of the Patriots in 2000, Weis followed him from New York to New England. Serving as the offensive coordinator until 2004, Weis engineered the initiation of the Erhardt-Perkins offensive system. Assisting in Tom Brady‘s development as the franchise quarterback, Weis helped guide the team to three Super Bowl titles before leaving the Patriots to take over as Notre Dame head coach in 2005. Since then, Weis has not enjoyed the same success as he did in New England. With a 35-26 mark and a 1-2 record in bowl games, Weis has recently come under massive scrutiny, allowing many to speculate that his days as the Fighting Irish coach could be numbered. Indicating a 6-5 record was not good enough when he replaced Tyrone Willingham, Weis has already stated he would not argue with a firing if that is the end result.
Hired as the Patriots defensive coordinator in 2005 after serving as the defensive backs coach, Mangini left New England for the Jets in 2006. Accepting the job Belichick had turned down seven years earlier, Mangini instantly became Belichick’s nemesis, causing their relationship to sour. From avoiding postgame handshakes to refusing to acknowledge each other’s success, these two coaches spiced up a rivalry for three years. Referred to as “Fredo” (the disloyal son in “The Godfather”) by Patriots defensive lineman Ty Warren, Mangini opened the door for New England fans to detest him even further after accusing Belichick of recording the Jets’ defensive signals in 2007 during the infamous Spygate incident. In his three years overseeing the Jets, Mangini struggled, including a late-season collapse in 2008 that ultimately cost him his job. Mangini’s tenure in New York ended with a 23-25 record along with a 2006 AFC wild card playoff loss to the Patriots.
Now guiding the Browns, Mangini’s coaching career has gone from bad to worse. With a 1-8 record in the first year of a three-year deal, Mangini has drawn criticism for his strict coaching mechanisms and his inability to earn respect from his players.
Winning three Super Bowls as defensive coordinator with the Patriots from 2001-04, Crennel was unable to carry his success over to the Browns. As Browns coach from 2005-08, Crennel failed to deliver a playoff berth, compiling a 24-40 record in four seasons. Entering 2008 with high expectations after a 10-6 2007 season, Crennel watched his young, talented team fall to a 4-12 record that led to his firing at year’s end, making way for Mangini to take over. Even though he is currently unemployed as a coach — opting to sit out this year while recovering from hip surgery — Crennel still can be seen on Sundays — in Coors Light commercials, that is.
Starting out as a personal assistant with the Patriots in 2001, McDaniels assumed several coaching roles with the Patriots before becoming offensive coordinator in 2006. Agreeing to take over in Denver following the Mike Shanahan firing, McDaniels wasted no time sparking controversy in his new organization.
After reports were leaked indicating McDaniels had tried to aquire Matt Cassel from the Patriots to serve as his quarterback, an offended Jay Cutler requested a trade from the Broncos. The disgruntled quarterback was eventually dealt to the Bears.
The bickering did not end there. Wide receiver Brandon Marshall demanded to be traded during training camp after clashing with McDaniels. While McDaniels only suspended Marshall instead of granting him his request, he seemed to temporarily calm the storm as the Broncos began the season 6-0, including a Week 5 defeat of the Patriots by an overtime score of 20-17. With Denver having lost four straight since then, many wonder if McDaniels finally has become exposed. With the Broncos set to host the Thanksgiving night game against the Giants, only time will tell.
In 1995, Saban was named defensive coordinator of the Browns under Belichick. After a successful tenure with Louisiana State University when he led the Tigers to a 2003 BCS national championship and was named the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year, Saban started his NFL head coaching career following the 2004 season, when he agreed to fill the Miami Dolphins‘ vacancy. In his two seasons with the franchise, Saban showed he had difficulty transitioning between the collegiate and professional level, going 15-17 before leaving the Dolphins to return to college. His decision to do so generated a significant degree of controversy. For the past three seasons, Saban has coached the Alabama Crimson Tide, who are 11-0 and ranked No. 2 in the AP poll behind the University of Florida.
While Saban’s college history is decorated, his NFL career — like those of many of the Belichick coaching progeny — is remembered only for its mediocrity and controversy.
|11.23.09 at 6:58 am ET|
Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup, where we’ll get you caught up on what’s going on in the sports world and beyond.
Before we recap the local teams making it a long day for New York yesterday, let’s check in with the Los Angeles Clippers, who — and I can speak from personal experience here — have trouble doing things right. Radio announcers Ralph Lawler and Michael Smith — yes, the guy the Celtics drafted 13th overall in 1989 instead of taking Tim Hardaway even though they needed a point guard (Red Auerbach thought Smith was the next Larry Bird) — made some jokes Wednesday about Iranian-born Hamed Haddadi, a center for the Memphis Grizzlies. Lawler and Smith were suspended one game for their insensitivity, which, as best as I can tell, boils down to this remark from Smith:
“You’re sure it’s not Borat’s older brother?”
Here’s the clip:
Or you can read the story for yourself — a transcript of their comments is included. It’s hard to believe even in this politically correct time that Lawler and Smith took so much heat for this one. Then again, it’s the Clippers.
FOOTBALL: The Patriots quieted the Jets. Chris Price has Ten Things We Learned in the win. The pregame talk was about Randy Moss vs. Darrelle Revis, but it was Wes Welker who stole the show. At ProFootballTalk.com, there’s a report that the Jets players had to get up in the middle of the night before the game because someone pulled the fire alarm at their hotel (and allegedly it’s happened to a Patriots opponent at least one other time this season).
It was a good day for the Pats, as their main competition for the No. 2 seed in the AFC lost. The Steelers fell in overtime to the lowly Chiefs as Ben Roethlisberger was hurt, and the Bengals were stunned by the Raiders (an upset predicted by Adam Schefter, as he explained Friday morning on WEEI). The Chargers took control of the AFC West by crushing Denver. Brett Favre completed a career-high 88 percent of his passes in the Vikings’ rout of the Seahawks. The Ravens gave it away to the Colts. The Giants beat the Falcons in OT. The Cowboys scored once, but it was enough to beat the Redskins. The Lions scored on the final play of the game to beat the Browns, who were stung by a last-second pass-interference call on former Patriot Hank Poteat. Kurt Warner was knocked out of the Cardinals’ win over the Rams.
In college news, Northeastern University is dropping football. Former Patriots assistant Charlie Weis seems resigned to his fate at Notre Dame after Saturday’s loss to UConn. The top seven spots in the BCS standings did not change. Out West, Oregon has the inside track to the Rose Bowl after Saturday night’s double-overtime win over Arizona. Dan Rowinski has Five Things We Learned from Boston College’s loss to North Carolina on Saturday.
You probably saw this yesterday, but here’s Knicks guard Nate Robinson on Saturday shooting at his own basket a split-second after the first-quarter buzzer, drawing the ire of coach Mike D’Antoni during a victory over the winless Nets.
Kobe Bryant hit a shot from behind the backboard in the Lakers’ rout of the Thunder. Here it is:
Shaquille O’Neal will need to pass a test before he can become an Ohio special deputy.
Boston College defeated South Dakota State yesterday, a day after its first loss of the season. Tom Izzo tied Michigan State’s school record for wins. Larry Bird and Magic Johnson were inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame.
HOCKEY: Graig Woodburn has the Hat Trick of Things We Learned from the Bruins’ overtime win over the Sabres on Saturday night. Center Marc Savard (broken foot) is expected to return to action tonight in St. Louis.
The Maple Leafs turned around their helmets (rally-cap style) for good luck in a shootout win over the Capitals on Saturday. Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall is out 4-8 weeks with a sprained knee.
BASEBALL: Rob Bradford updates us on which teams are pursuing Jason Bay. The Red Sox reportedly are shopping Mike Lowell. The Sox claimed righty pitcher Robert Manuel off waivers from the Mariners. J.D. Drew had surgery on his left shoulder on Thursday. Dustin Pedroia checked in on Saturday for his weekly chat.
The Cubs made the first free agent signing of the offseason, inking pitcher John Grabow to a two-year deal worth $7.5 million. The White Sox reportedly are close to a deal with infielder Omar Vizquel, who will be 43 in April. Nationals No. 1 draft pick Stephen Strasburg hurt his knee but apparently not seriously.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Nov. 23, 1933, which legendary Bruins goaltender became the first to record 40 career shutouts with a 6-0 blanking of Detroit?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “You’re talking about a Hall of Fame player. He’s missed millions of shots. He’s going to keep playing, going to keep taking shots when he gets an opportunity. He really stepped up big for our team when we needed it.” — Paul Pierce on Kevin Garnett, who hit just 4-of-15 shots yesterday vs. the Knicks but nailed the game-winning 19-footer at the overtime buzzer
STAT OF THE DAY: 50-50-1 — The all-time record of the series between the Patriots and Jets
AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED TRANSCRIPT OF THE DAY: Ben Watson made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning. Asked about Bill Belichick’s coaching style, Watson said, according to the automatically generated transcript:
“You — both maybe the death occurred voted that we — corporate news. Do. What. Bottom diabetes real. Israel whenever situation.”
What he actually said: “He’s both. He’s both. He definitely criticizes, but he definitely praises where praise is due. The one thing I can say about him is he’s real. He’s real in every situation.”
‘NET RESULTS: Finally, a football game-ending, desperation, multi-lateral play that worked! (You only need to watch the first 30 seconds; the rest of the video is the celebration.)
From the NBA on Friday, here’s an impressive, 360-degree drive from Denver’s J.R. Smith vs. the Clippers.
Finally, from the NHL Thursday night, Scott Niedermayer of the Anaheim Ducks tosses his stick to a fan, sparking a fistfight in the stands.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Cecil “Tiny” Thompson
SOOTHING SOUNDS: On Nov. 23, 1963, one day after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the No. 1 song in the nation was “I’m Leaving It Up to You” by Dale & Grace. Just in case you were wondering.
|11.20.09 at 11:25 am ET|
Big men love the big talk. Numerous athletes love to paint themselves as macho, tough guys who make Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci appear timorous in comparison.
Yet, if there is one thing Rex Ryan taught us this week (unless you remained stuck on Bill Belichick fourth-and-2 overload), these brawny, intimidating and ferocious professional sports personnel can have a soft spot underneath their body armor.
One day after the Jets‘ 24-22 loss to the Jaguars on Sunday, Ryan let his emotions get the best of him as he cried in front of his players during a team meeting Monday morning. Known for the fierce and resilient defenses he has coached in the NFL, Ryan surprised football fans around the country with his tears. Coming from a man who earlier in the year pronounced he was “not intimidated by New England or anybody else,” Ryan’s crying could be interpreted as an outburst of passion or a revelation of weakness.
But Ryan is not the only one to go from putting on a relaxed and confident front to experiencing an emotional outbreak. Here is a look at recent athletes who could not hold back their tears.
This may explain why T.O. was offended when he complained that quarterback Tony Romo favored Cowboys tight end Jason Witten over him as his No. 1 receiver. After losing to the Giants in the 2007 playoffs, Owens allowed the tears to pour below his sunglasses as he defended Romo to the assembled media. Asked how the loss would affect Romo, Owens immediately began to sob, telling reporters not to lay the blame on his quarterback. One year, a reality show and an offseason trade later, Owens now finds himself on an underachieving Buffalo Bills squad, though he has yet to comment about the firing of Dick Jauron or the benching of quarterback Trent Edwards.
On Dec. 5, 2008, Kevin Garnett ripped into Big Baby and the rest of the Celtics bench as the team was on the verge of blowing a 25-point lead to the Portland Trail Blazers. Living up to his childlike nickname, Davis was spotted trying to fight back tears for the remainder of the game, obviously hurt by Garnett’s harsh criticism. Even though the Celtics ended up winning, Davis let KG’s words affect him, as he was seen whining to his teammates while the game was in progress.
In one of the most epic tennis matches of all-time, Roger Federer lost in five sets to rival Rafael Nadal in the final of the 2009 Australian Open. Having suffered his third straight defeat to the world’s top-ranked player, Federer broke down in tears after Nadal sealed the championship. Citing how finishing in the runner-up position was “killing” him, Federer was consoled by Nadal, who sympathized with his opponent. Since then, Federer battled back from injury and reclaimed the No. 1 spot, which he holds today.
The fiery, outspoken Dallas Mavericks owner has never be one to shy away from voicing his opinion. So when Dirk Nowitzki was named the winner of the 2007 NBA MVP award, Cuban demonstrated just how overwhelmingly proud he was of his 7-foot forward by praising his work ethic in the midst of tears. Maybe he should have spoken more warm-heartedly when he inappropriately told Kenyon Martin‘s mother her son was a “thug.”
The floppy-haired Morrison was a ball of emotions in the closing seconds of Gonzaga‘s 2006 NCAA tournament Sweet 16 matchup with UCLA. After the Zags blew a 17-point lead, Morrison was outwardly crushed by the defeat. Once Gonzaga missed a final opportunity to tie the score, Morrison dropped to the floor, bawling in the the middle of the court. Consoled by his coach in front of reporters, Morrison was stunned his team enabled UCLA to rally and steal a 73-71 victory. It would be the last game Morrison would play in a Gonzaga uniform, as he declared for the NBA draft.
|11.20.09 at 8:33 am ET|
Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup, where we’ll get you caught up on what’s going on in the sports world and beyond.
FOOTBALL: Chris Price has Five Things to Watch For Sunday as the Patriots play the Jets. Price also writes about the contributions the Patriots have been getting from their rookies. Mike Petraglia writes about why things will be different than the first time these teams met.
In the Thursday night game, Ricky Williams led the Dolphins past the Panthers. The Vikings signed coach Brad Childress to an extension. The wife of former NFL player Chris Spielman died after a lengthy battle with breast cancer.
BASKETBALL: The Celtics get a shot at the defending Eastern Conference champion Magic tonight at the TD Garden. Kevin Garnett spoke to Dale & Holley yesterday. Michael Holley has his NBA power rankings.
Paul Gasol returned to the Lakers and helped them beat the Bulls. The Jazz won in San Antonio for the first time in a decade. The Wizards knocked of the Cavaliers. Allen Iverson cleared waivers, and the Knicks reportedly have some interest. Former NBA player Jayson Williams today is expected to plead guilty of lesser charges in the accidental shooting death of his driver.
The Hurricanes rallied from three goals down, then allowed the go-ahead goal with 29 seconds left, then came back to force overtime with 2 seconds left and beat the Leafs in a shootout. Carolina placed Eric Staal and Cam Ward on the injured list. The Ducks blew a three-goal lead but won in overtime vs. the Lightning. The Penguins lost again, this time to the Senators.
Canadian health official said Canucks players jumped the line for H1N1 vaccinations.
BASEBALL: David Ortiz met with the media yesterday and said he wants another big bat in the lineup. Tim Lincecum won the NL Cy Young Award in a very close vote. Yankees lefty Andy Pettitte filed for free agency. Commissioner Bud Selig said some teams lost money this season.
SOCCER: Ireland is demanding a replay with France after the controversial hand-ball goal by Thierry Henry knocked the Irish out of World Cup consideration. Landon Donovan of the Los Angeles Galaxy was named MVP of Major League Soccer. The Galaxy meet Real Salt Lake in Sunday’s MLS Cup.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Nov. 20, 1958, which Red Sox player was named American League MVP?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I have the ultimate respect for Tedy [Bruschi] and everything he’s done for this organization, but he’s not in this locker room at this point in time so he doesn’t know the feeling that this defense or this team has. We still have our confidence, we still have our swagger and we’re gonna go out Sunday and show … the media, I guess.” — Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo, on Bruschi’s comments about the defense being disrespected by Sunday’s fourth-and-2 call
STAT OF THE DAY: 7 — Consecutive wins over the Thrashers by the Bruins, who prevailed in shootout last night
AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED TRANSCRIPT OF THE DAY: Doc Rivers made his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan yesterday morning. When talking about his coaching philosophy, he touched on a number of subjects, according to the automatically generated transcript:
“Well I don’t remember Olympic committees do. — yet to be — to — different. Mood inept and Labatt blue and ineptitude of government.”
What he actually said: “Well, I think the number one thing for me is you have to remain agenda-free. Meaning, It has to be about them, and it has to be about winning.”
‘NET RESULTS: Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi gives a speech, and, according to this translation, he’s complaining about the Chicago Bears.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Jackie Jensen
SOOTHING SOUNDS: Joe Walsh is 62 today.
|11.19.09 at 8:06 am ET|
Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup, where we’ll get you caught up on what’s going on in the sports world and beyond.
If LeBron James wants to give football a try, the Browns would welcome him. So said Browns coach Eric Mangini, who has nothing to lose.
“I think he should come on down,” said Mangini, whose team is 1-8. “I know he’s pretty busy right now, but if he wants to give it a shot, the guy is gifted.”
Dolphins running back Ronnie Brown was placed on IR, ending his season. The Bills reportedly are pursuing Mike Shanahan to be their next coach. Browns quarterback Brady Quinn was fined for his chop block on Baltimore’s Terrell Suggs, who will miss a game for the first time in his career due to a sprained knee ligament injured on the play. JaMarcus Russell is being benched by the Raiders, who turn to the immortal Bruce Gradkowski.
Fred Smerlas is explaining himself after his basketball team made up of former Patriots apparently played a little too rough in a charity game against some local high school kids.
Dan Rowinski writes about Boston College seniors who are preparing for their final game at The Heights.
BASKETBALL: The Celtics pulled away from the Warriors. Jessica Camerato has the Three-Pointer of Things We Learned from the game. Camerato also talks to former Piston Rasheed Wallace on the fifth anniversary of the Palace Brawl.
Dirk Nowitzki scored 41 points and lifted the Mavericks over the Spurs in overtime. Joe Johnson (30 points) and the Hawks are on a roll. The Nets are 0-12. Cavaliers center Shaquille O’Neal might miss another couple of games with a strained shoulder. Trail Blazers forward Charles Outlaw is out 3-5 months with a stress fracture in his left foot.
Magic Johnson is OK with LeBron James’ idea to retire No. 23 league-wide in honor of Michael Jordan.
The woman in the Rick Pitino extortion case faced an additional charge yesterday.
HOCKEY: The Bruins reportedly are talking to center Marc Savard about a seven-year contract extension. Graig Woodburn has the return of the NHL power rankings, with the Devils in the top spot and the Bruins down at No. 22.
Ryan Smyth’s upper-body injury will have him out of the Kings’ lineup for a few weeks.
Sidney Crosby ran with the Olympic torch in Halifax, Nova Scotia, which is near his hometown.
BASEBALL: Terry Francona chatted with Dale & Holley — and listeners — yesterday at Fenway Park. Mike Scioscia (Angels) and Jim Tracy (Rockies) were named Managers of the Year. Tracy also got a new three-year contract from his team. Commissioner Bud Selig is working on reducing the length of the postseason by eliminating some of the off days.
SOCCER: Elizabeth Lambert, the New Mexico player who was suspended after her rough play in a game against BYU, spoke to the New York Times for a feature in which she shares her thoughts about her behavior.
France qualified for the World Cup and eliminated Ireland with a 1-1 tie, but France’s goal came on a hand-ball assist from Thierry Henry. The controversy is rocking the soccer world.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Nov. 19, 2000, which player became the Patriots’ all-time leader in games played with 207?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “There’s no getting into a jawing match or trash talk with Randy Moss. My reaction was everybody saw the game. He’s supposed to say that. He got shut out and he was frustrated. And I was cool with it.” — Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, on Randy Moss devaluing Revis’ effort after Moss was held in check during the teams’ first meeting this season
STAT OF THE DAY: 48 — Paul Pierce’s rank on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, after he passed Isiah Thomas (18,882 points) during the Celtics’ win over the Hawks last night
AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED TRANSCRIPT OF THE DAY: Terry Francona visited with the Dale & Holley show yesterday at Fenway Park and took calls from WEEI listeners. When asked about the voters’ process for deciding which players deserve Gold Glove awards, Francona said, according to the automatically generated transcript:
“They kind of wanna make emergency over time it’s almost like — Arctic.”
What he actually said: “They kind of want to make him earn it and see it over time. It’s almost like making the All-Star team.”
‘NET RESULTS: Here’s Swedish hockey player Henrik Andersen celebrating a goal by jumping into the glass. Only, the glass doesn’t hold up. Awkward.
And here’s Miami of Ohio basketball coach Charlie Coles after Monday night’s heartbreaking loss to fourth-ranked Kentucky responding to a question about how the game got away from his team. Great stuff.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Offensive lineman Bruce Armstrong
SOOTHING SOUNDS: On Nov. 19, 1990, Milli Vanilla was stripped of its Grammy Award because neither of the group’s two singers sang on the winning album. Here’s the Jonathan Papelbon/Manny Delcarmen Red Sox rain delay version of “Blame It On the Rain.”
Here’s Milli Vanilli’s performance:
|11.18.09 at 8:54 am ET|
Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup, where we’ll get you caught up on what’s going on in the sports world and beyond.
Browns coach Eric Mangini is getting more heat, this time because one of his best players, wide receiver Josh Cribbs, got hurt on a meaningless final play during Monday night’s 16-0 loss to the Ravens.
Massachusetts native Dick Jauron was fired as coach of the Bills and replaced by Perry Fewell on an interim basis. The Bengals signed former Chiefs running back Larry Johnson. Chiefs receiver Dwayne Bowe was suspended four games Tuesday for violating the NFL’s policy against performance-enhancing substances. Jets receiver Braylon Edwards pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge stemming from an incident earlier this season when he played in Cleveland. Dolphins running back Ronnie Brown will miss tomorrow night’s game vs. Carolina with an injured shoulder. Quarterback Chad Pennington has begun his comeback with some uncertainty if he’ll ever play again.
Finally, reality TV star Tila Tequila filed a $1.5 million lawsuit against Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman alleging domestic violence.
BASEBALL: Zack Greinke of the Royals won the American League Cy Young Award.
BASKETBALL: Doc Rivers isn’t happy with the Celtics’ effort.
In college action last night, Boston College routed St. Francis. UConn rallied past Hofstra in the Preseason NIT quarterfinals. No. 1 Kansas edged Memphis. No. 2 Michigan State held off Gonzaga. Tennessee squeaked past UNC-Asheville, 124-49, recording a school record for points. Isiah Thomas got his first win at Florida International, beating a school called Florida Memorial.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Nov. 18, 1997, the Red Sox acquired Pedro Martinez from the Montreal Expos for a player to be named later and which pitcher?
BONUS TRIVIA: On Nov. 18, 1987, this individual who would later play for the Red Sox became the first player on a last-place team to be named league MVP. Who is he?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “You read your team, and if you like your team, you take risks. That’s what you do. But you don’t get do-overs in coaching and that’s the difference. Everything else, you get to sit around and talk about it after the fact. In coaching, you make your decision — you make it and you live with it and you don’t apologize for it.” — Celtics coach Doc Rivers, on Bill Belichick’s fourth-and-2 call in the Patriots’ Sunday night loss to the Colts
STAT OF THE DAY: .818 — Tyler Roche’s 3-point percentage after Boston College’s first two games of the season, after his 5-for-6 effort in last night’s rout of St. Francis
AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED TRANSCRIPT OF THE DAY: Tom Brady appeared on the Dennis & Callahan show to talk about Sunday’s loss to the Colts. Discussing the controversial fourth-and-2 play and asked if the referee’s spot of the ball after Kevin Faulk’s reception might have been short, Brady said, according to the automatically generated transcript:
“That’s what I thought to remain weak through enemy units and it’s a terrible secret the 31 yard line on point so.”
What he actually said: “That’s what I thought, too. I mean, we threw it, I thought Kevin’s feet were at the 31-yard line at one point, so …”
‘NET RESULTS: Here’s a memorable finish to a high school football playoff game Saturday in St. Louis. Trailing Webster Groves by eight points with 47 seconds left, Chaminade scores a touchdown but misses the conversion (not shown). Chaminade then recovers the ensuing kickoff and kicks a 48-yard field goal — good by about an inch — to take a one-point lead with six seconds remaining. After the kickoff went into the end zone, Webster Groves had the ball at its 20 and promptly threw an 80-yard touchdown pass as time expired.
This brings back memories of the greatest comeback ever that ultimately ended in heartbreak. We speak of the 1994 Texas playoff game between Plano East and John Tyler, in which Plano East trailed by 24 points with three minutes left and somehow managed to take the lead only to … well, take a look if you haven’t seen it.
The announcing on this is priceless, ending with: “God bless those kids. I am sick. I want to throw up.”
And here’s yet another tremendous finish from this past weekend, this time a college playoff game that featured an NCAA Division 2 record 64-yard field goal as time expired in regulation and an incredible touchdown run in overtime — on fourth-and-5 — followed by a game-winning two-point conversion.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Carl Pavano was the pitcher, and Tony Armas was dentified as the player to be named later on Dec. 18.
BONUS TRIVIA ANSWER: Andre Dawson, then with the Chicago Cubs
SOOTHING SOUNDS: Kim Wilde is 49 today. Sorry, it was a slow day.
|11.17.09 at 8:02 am ET|
Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup, where we’ll get you caught up on what’s going on in the sports world and beyond.
While Bill Belichick is being questioned and defended for his fourth-down call Sunday night, another coach was coming under fire for a different reason. The legendary Isiah Thomas, who is guiding the basketball team at Florida International, yelled at Tulsa coach Doug Wojcik for not emptying his bench early enough in Sunday’s rout.
Thomas didn’t address the issue after the game, but Wojcik did: “I’ve never seen anything like that. It was very bizarre.” At least he didn’t go for it on fourth down.
FOOTBALL: Fourth-and-2 dominated the airwaves yesterday. Check out the It Is What It Is blog for transcripts including Belichick’s lengthy visit with The Big Show as well as his press conference earlier in the day. Chris Price has an interesting piece on those in academia who support Belichick’s aggressive style. Dan Guttenplan says to stop hating on the coach.
The Ravens blanked the hapless Browns in the Monday night game.
Chiefs castoff Larry Johnson is meeting with the Bengals.
Titans owner Bud Adams was fined $250,000 for making obscene gestures at the Bills toward the end of Tennessee’s victory Sunday. The NFLPA is looking into Eric Mangini’s practice situation with the Browns.
The University of Michigan program is coming under more fire. UNLV fired coach Mike Sanford. Tiger Woods will be the honorary captain for his alma mater, Stanford, for Saturday’s Big Game against Cal.
Dirk Nowitzki hit a jumper at the end of overtime to give the Mavericks a win over the Bucks.
Dennis Rodman was detained in Germany for failing to pay a hotel $5,100 for beverages consumed at a party he hosted following a basketball legends exhibition game.
Peter Forsberg is staying in Sweden.
Marlins outfielder Chris Coghlan and A’s closer Andrew Bailey were named Rookies of the Year. Catcher Ramon Hernandez will stay with the Reds. Controversial former Mets infielder Wally Backman will manage a Mets minor league team.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Nov. 17, 1975, the Red Sox sent Juan Beniquez, pitcher Steve Barr and a player to be named (pitcher Charlie Skok) to the Texas Rangers for which future Hall of Fame pitcher?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I was excited. I was ecstatic. To trust the defense so much to give Peyton Manning the ball on the 20-yard line, or better yet, go for it to win the game right there, you’ve got to be excited. You’ve got to be behind him 100 [percent]. Whenever Bill makes a decision like that, we’re always behind him, That’s the Bill Belichick everybody knows.” — Patriots defensive back Brandon Meriweather, speaking yesterday on the Dale & Holley show about the fourth-and-2 call with 2:08 remaining in Sunday night’s loss to the Colts
STAT OF THE DAY: 22 — Consecutive penalty kills for the Bruins, who nonetheless lost night to the Islanders
AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED TRANSCRIPT OF THE DAY: Bill Belichick visited with The Big Show yesterday to talk about his fourth-and-2 call in the waning minutes of Sunday night’s loss to the Colts. When asked if he would have changed the call had it been the AFC championship game, he offered a telling response, according to the automatically generated transcript:
“Again. — on on the island me situations different on have to violate.”
What he actually said: “Again, the only thing I can answer is what happened yesterday. That was the situation, and that’s what we did.”
‘NET RESULTS: Celtics fans looking for reasons to smile after the lost weekend can enjoy the fact that the Lakers also have lost two straight. In fact, the Lakers were booed on their home court during Sunday night’s blowout loss to Houston. And in case you thought Ron Artest has dialed down his craziness, here he is taking Rockets forward Trevor Ariza’s sneaker and throwing it toward the stands.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Ferguson Jenkins
SOOTHING SOUNDS: Gordon Lightfoot is 71 today.
|11.17.09 at 1:11 am ET|
Call it intuition. Label it a gut feeling. Follow your instincts. And just in case, be prepared to suffer the consequences and assume responsibility if your decision does not go according to plan.
It was no surprise when last week’s football talk was dominated by nothing but Tom Brady-Peyton Manning comparisons, the difference from playing indoors as opposed to outdoors, who had the edge, who was the better team, and, most importantly, who would win the intense battle between arguably the two best teams of the decade: the Patriots and the Colts.
For 57 minutes and 52 seconds, it had appeared the Patriots had answered that question and were on their way to locking up their seventh victory of the season, handing the Colts their first loss at the same time. Yet, Bill Belichick, the Jedi mastermind of the Patriots, opted to take the gamble of the season and go for the first down on fourth-and-2 from his team’s own 28. It was a risk he was willing to take and it was also what cost him the game.
Boomer Esiason deemed the decision “reckless.” Brady backed Belichick, insisting that he will “never second-guess” his coach. Rodney Harrison was quick to assert that it was “the worst coaching decision” he ever saw his former coach make. Tedy Bruschi admitted the call would make his “blood boil for weeks.” The Colts defense saw the move as a sign of disrespect while Patriots defensive back Brandon Meriweather was “ecstatic” that Belichick was confident enough to trust his defense to prevent Manning from scoring with only 20-plus yards to spare. Would Belichick himself make the call again?
“You only get one chance,” Belichick told reporters outside of Gillette less than 24 hours after making a decision that would cause e-mail boxes to overload and blogs to overflow around the country. Though many may question his fourth-down strategy, especially those who are reluctant to execute trick plays and make risky decisions, it is not the first time Belichick defied traditional standards and gambled while behind enemy lines.
Earlier this season, on Sept. 27 against the Falcons, Belichick challenged Atlanta’s defense by going for a fourth-and-1 on New England’s 24 in the third quarter with his team up 16-10. This time, instead of relying on Brady to complete a pass for the first, the Patriots handed the ball to Sammy Morris, who rushed ahead to the 26-yard line to move the chains forward. Later in that drive, the Patriots converted another fourth down from the Falcons’ 37, leading to a Stephen Gostkowski field goal. While the Patriots would end up winning the game, 26-10, Belichick ran the risk of shifting the momentum to the Falcons’ side if the initial conversion had not been successful.
In the 2004 AFC championship game against the Colts, Belichick made the decision to go for it on fourth-and-short from Patriots territory on the first drive of the game. The decision stood in defiance of football conventional wisdom. But the Patriots converted and marched down the field for a touchdown. Later, the decision to go for it was credited as having played a significant role in the Patriots reaching the Super Bowl. Belichick’s gutsy call — based on his embrace of the studies of economists — was deemed by the New York Times as an indication of his genius.
Maybe it’s the overwhelming level of trust Belichick has in his offense’s ability or perhaps it is the lack of confidence in his defense’s capability. Either way, Belichick has made some head-scratching fourth-down decisions that have not gone in his favor before. In the third quarter of Super Bowl XLII, with his team up 7-3, Belichick opted to go for a fourth-and-13 from the Giants‘ 32 instead of allowing Stephen Gostkowski to attempt a 49-yard field goal. Putting the ball in Brady’s hands, Belichick watched as Brady made an incomplete pass to turn the ball over on downs to the Giants, who eventually hoisted the Lombardi trophy after a 17-14 decision.
Still, while there certainly will be plenty of opinions circulating in the next few days by fans, analysts, experts, players and anyone else who wishes to add their two bits, there are also the cold, hard numbers and statistics that rely on quantitative data to either support or reject the decision.
According to the Lawrence-Journal blog, there is a 56 percent level of success when teams go for the first down on fourth-and-2. However, when it comes to choosing whether to pass or run, teams who make the call to pass experience a success rate of 44.1 percent as opposed to a 68.3 percent success rate when rushing. In addition, as Advanced NFL Stats points out, a successful fourth-and-2 conversion wins the game for the Patriots, leading those who like to play with numbers to side with Belichick. Add the fact that Brady and Randy Moss are better than your average quarterback-wide receiver tandem and it would seem the logical call would be to give the ball to your best guys on the field.
With all the frenzy and speculation that is sure to surround Bill Belichick this week, it will not come as a surprise if he chooses to make another daring decision in the team’s next game. Though we will never fully understand what goes on in his brilliant mind, one thing is for sure: He must be glad he won’t get the same treatment as Grady Little.
|11.17.09 at 1:02 am ET|
He is the one baseball fans love to hate. He is the Grinch that stole the offseason. He is the Ebenezer Scrooge who says “Humbug!” to hometown discounts, harmonizing negotiations and a love for the game over a love for money. He has every trick up his sleeve and a knack for getting every little bit that he wants. He is none other than the notorious agent himself: Scott Boras.
Sure, maybe Boras, as Curt Schilling says, “has no shame.” He certainly has no problems hyping players beyond their value, constantly painting them as a grand prize to be won and a gift to be blessed with. If Boras had his way, tapping into Johnny Damon’s stem cells would come close to discovering the fountain of youth and Matt Holliday — a potential target of the Red Sox — would serve as the poster-boy for the definition of a complete player.
Still, despite his crafty and cunning reputation, his sly fox persona, and his devious business tactics, Boras is still the leading agent in the world of negotiations. He attracts love from the players who are all about the Benjamins and draws anger from the general managers who are all about the luxury tax.
When it comes to the Red Sox, Boras has had quite a topsy-turvy history with the Fenway front office. From allowing Boston icons to become modern-day Benedict Arnolds to allegedly failing to advise his client he could make more money by accepting arbitration, Boras had made it clear that any deal that involves exchanging numbers with him is sure to spark some level of controversy. Here’s a look at recent events in the past few years between the customers of Boras and the Red Sox executive staff.
The Caveman himself vowed to never play for the Yankees. Yet when New York offered Damon a couple of million a year more than the Red Sox, Damon listened to his agent’s advice and took the money and ran. (With all that hair, a trip to the barbershop is worth more than a pretty penny.) After the 2005 season, Boras proposed his client with a weak throwing arm was set to receive a six-year, $72 million contract or seven years at $84 million. Stunned by the ludicrous request, the Sox instead, offered Damon a four-year, $40 million deal with the possibility of raising the salary to the $44 million range. To the shock of Red Sox fans around the country, Damon let the money talk when he signed with the rival Yankees for four years and $52 million, prompting an unprecedented press conference by the then-Theo-less Red Sox to discuss the departure of a free agent in a deal that had not yet been announced by the team that signed the player.
After missing the postseason in 2006, the Sox knew they needed a bold offseason. When Japanese right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka declared he wanted to pitch in America, the Sox brass won a $51.1 million posting bid just to open up talks with the former Seibu Lions ace. The Sox were given a 30-day deadline to strike a deal. If a contract was not in place by then, the Sox would forfeit their rights and Matsuzaka would have to return to Japan for the season.
Of course, Boras had no intention of taking the easy route to grant his client his dream to pitch in the United States. When talks stalled just days before the deadline, many speculated that Boras and the Red Sox would fail to settle on a deal since Boston figured the posting fee would play into the contract. Finally, the Sox brass flew across the country to Boras’ office in Southern California, where they reached an agreement at last on a six-year, $52 million deal along with plenty of extras and bonuses included in the package.
When J.D. Drew opted not to sign with Philadelphia after the Phillies selected him as the second overall pick in the 1997 draft, Drew instantly became a target for jeers and sneers in the City of Brotherly Love. After spending a few season in the St. Louis Cardinals outfield, Drew played one season for the Atlanta Braves before signing a five-year, $55 million pact with the Dodgers. Two seasons later, Drew decided to exercise his opt-out option in November 2006, becoming a free agent.
With the Sox in need of an outfielder, Drew seemed like a natural fit to replace some of the power that was lacking in the lineup. Though both parties reached an agreement early, it took 52 days for the five-year, $70 million deal to be finalized in January 2007. Concerned about his health, the Sox were adamant about constructing an insurance clause in case Drew’ right shoulder prevented him from playing a certain number of games. Boras obviously thought the right fielder was worth a tick over $14 million.
Teixeira’s gold glove and World Series ring could have been engraved with a Red Sox ‘B’ instead of a Yankees ‘NY.’ When the Red Sox announced they were prepared to offer Teixeira a deal that would be the longest and the richest in the seven-year history of the John Henry ownership group, many thought Boston would be the landing spot for the marquee free agent. Yet, as was the case with Damon, the Yankees lured Teixeira away, inking him to an eight-year, $180 million deal. Boras spoiled Christmas for the Sox once again.
Boston fans were thrilled when Varitek made a rare move by remaining with the Red Sox at a lower price at four years for $40 million after winning the 2004 World Series. But in the last offseason, Boras convinced Varitek that despite his declining numbers, he deserved more than the Red Sox were willing to give. When the Red Sox offered their captain arbitration, Boras advised his client to turn down the acceptance. Unaware (according to a report a year ago) that if he had accepted arbitration he would be guaranteed a raise, Varitek ended up saving the Sox a couple of million after agreeing with Boston on a one-year, $5 million deal with an option for 2010 that Boston could pick up for $5 million or Varitek could pick up at $3 million. Varitek chose to exercise his player option last week, yet the $8 million he’ll earn over his two years in Boston is less than he would have received in 2009 alone had he accepted arbitration.
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