Monday Miscellany

published November 22, 2010

Random thoughts for a Monday morning:

The Jets are taking the whole “better lucky than good” thing a little too far.  Has any team ever played three straight games like this, never mind won all three?  A ridiculous late comeback against Detroit.  A fortuitous fumble recovery in overtime that kept them alive for another last-minute touchdown in Cleveland.  An inexplicable lapse in deep coverage by Houston in the final minute that let them go 68 yards for the needed touchdown in 45 seconds with no timeouts.  It’s time for this team to blow someone out and shut them down; another close win Thursday night at home against the Bengals will make New York the most puzzling 9-2 team in NFL history.

Detroit lost to the Jets in part because Ndamukong Suh missed an extra point after Lions’ kicker Jason Hanson was injured on a play that drew a roughing call.  Teams dress an emergency third quarterback for every game; why not allow them a second kicker in case of demonstrated injury?

Glad to see Felix Hernandez get the Cy Young Award he deserved.  Hard to argue with any of the non-Gold Glove award choices so far: Buster Posey and Neftali Feliz as Rookies of the Year; Roy Halladay a unanimous Cy Young selection in the NL; Bud Black and Ron Gardenhire for the managing awards.  Expect Joey Votto to take the NL MVP (he led the league in slugging and on-base and his Reds won the division, which should give him the edge over Pujols partisans), and Josh Hamilton to win the AL award, though I’d vote for the Yankees’ Robinson Cano.

Kentucky partisans are upset that the NCAA ruled freshman center Enes Kanter permanently ineligible, because he was paid $33,033 in addition to his expenses while playing for a top pro team in his native Turkey.  Upon learning that Kanter had played for so little in the past, UK boosters asked to renegotiate his contract.

So much for the Great Raiders Revival.  Nation, call me when you beat a decent team on the road, ok?

Same thing for the Miami Heat, actually.

The aforementioned Mr. Suh was flagged for a penalty after tackling Marion Barber by the hair yesterday.  There’s no rule against grabbing a ball carrier by the dreads, but the officials mistakenly thought the play was an illegal horse-collar.  Replays showed that a later call on a similar Barber tackle by Julian Peterson was a horse-collar as well as a mane violation.  Maybe this should be reviewable.  Maybe running backs should start wearing breakaway extensions.

Sports Illustrated will announce its Sportsman of the Year on November 30.  Drew Brees is certainly a viable candidate, but this should be the year it goes to Mike Krzyzewski.  He won his fourth NCAA championship, guided the U.S. to a World Championship, and his coaching had a significant impact on many of the NBA players who were on the team — Rudy Gay, Tyson Chandler, Kevin Love, Lamar Odom, and Russell Westbrook among them.   It’s hard to find anyone in any sport who’s been such a positive influence for so long.

Portland hasn’t had the greatest luck with big men, has it?  Bill Walton, Sam Bowie, Arvydas Sabonis, now Greg Oden.  (Granted, Sabonis was in his thirties when he joined the Blazers, and had already played a lifetime’s worth of games in Europe.)  It’s hard not to compare Oden to Bowie, which should serve as a reminder not to write Oden off quite yet.  When Bowie was Oden’s age he was still in college; he missed two full years due to injury at age 20 and 21.  At least Oden was well paid for his pains.   (Wait, what am I thinking?  Bowie was at Kentucky.)

Toronto fans walked out of Sunday night’s MLS Cup in large numbers at halftime, which would speak well for their judgment, except for the fact that they had walked in in the first place.  They were angry at being forced to buy tickets for the championship game as part of their season package, and somehow weren’t appeased by the opportunity to watch Colorado battle Dallas.  Appropriately for soccer fans, they voted with their feet.

With Michael Vick being Michael Vick again, I guess it was time for Vince Young to go back to being Vince Young, with an injury, a tantrum, and some smack talk for his coach.  Still, at 5-5, the Titans aren’t out of it in the mediocre AFC South.  Jacksonville is 6-4 despite a point differential of minus-50; the 6-4 Colts are being held together by surgical tape; Houston is 4-6 but might have won their last two if the games were 59 minutes.

What exactly has Brad Childress done better than Wade Phillips this year, except squander more talent?

Here’s one possible answer to the “has anyone played consecutive games like these” question from above:  The 1970 Oakland Raiders played four consecutive games decided in the last minutes, all featuring heroics by their 43-year-old kicker and backup quarterback George Blanda.  First, he hit a 48-yard field goal with three seconds to go to tie Kansas City; then he threw a touchdown pass with 1:36 to go to tie Cleveland, and hit a 52-yard FG for the win; next he hit Fred Biletnikoff with 2:28 left to defeat Denver by five; finally, his 16-yard FG with four seconds left beat San Diego.

Time to turn out the lights, Brett.  We’ll try to remember the happier times.

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