Yes, there have been upsets and great finishes in this year’s NCAA Tournament, but I disagree with those who call it the greatest sporting event in the world and can’t miss television….
It should be and used to be, but not any more….
With all of the endless TV timeouts, coaches timeouts and the officials blowing their whistles on every possession, it makes these games very difficult to watch….
Thank God for my DVR, because I can’t imagine watching any of this live….
I know they’re trying to squeeze every dollar out of the Tournament, but the eight
TV timeouts per game are ridiculous and need to be reduced or eliminated….
Automatic timeouts are taken at the 16,12, eight and four minute marks of each half; eliminating any chance these games have of getting into a good flow….
Now add six coaches timeouts and the referees calling ticky-tack fouls on every possession and you have an endless parade of commercials and free throws….
With all the breaks and standing around watching someone shooting free throws, I’m surprised anyone breaks a sweat….
Good news and bad news regarding my Final Four predictions….
The bad news: All four of my picks (Oregon, Virginia Commonwealth, Wichita State and Villanova) were eliminated on the first weekend, which has to be some kind of record….
The good news: My NCAA pool has a cash prize for whomever finishes last, so I might be able to salvage something out of this mess….
As usual, the officiating has been horrendous and the zebras have been changing the outcome of games. Nobody buys a ticket to see the zebras perform, but unfortunately these jokers believe they are the show and blowing their whistles non-stop….
In the Gonzaga-Oklahoma State game, these incompetent boobs called an incredible 61 fouls in a 40 minute game; which should have resulted in the immediate firing of all three officials….
And not only should they have been fired, I’d have been in favor of jail time….
In addition to the 61 fouls, the Bulldogs and Cowboys combined for 78 free throws; turning what should have been a good game into a foul plagued free throw shooting contest….
In the Virginia Commonwealth-Stephen F. Austin game, VCU had a four point lead with less than five seconds left when an SFA player attempted a three-point shot….
A VCU player foolishly rushed at the shooter, but leaped sideways as he arrived and never touched him….
Predictably, however, the official called a phantom foul; resulting in a four-point play and forcing overtime….
Naturally SFA won the game and VCU was jobbed out of a win they deserved by the referees….
Yes, the VCU player should have backed off and stayed away from the shooter, because if he makes it the Rams are still up by one and win the game….
Still, no foul was committed and the officiating crew changed the result of the game….
I used to be the world’s biggest college basketball fan, religiously watching games all season and then being glued to the set for March Madness….
Now, because of the one-and-done rule, too many teams in the Tournament, criminally poor officiating and 14 five-minute times outs in a 40 minute game, it’s all changed….
I probably watched three halves of basketball all season and only became interested once the NCAA Tournament began….
And even then, I DVR the games to avoid all the commercials….
The other day, I tried to watch the Oregon-Wisconsin game live and didn’t make it halfway through the first half….
When you’re used to zipping through the commercials, it’s almost impossible to get through the endless ads and timeouts….
My solution for all this is the following:
-Cut the TV timeouts from eight to four, creating more flow in the game.
-Reduce the coaches timeouts from six to three. With four TV timeouts to use, three coaches timeout is plenty. And it also increase the flow of the game.
-Gather the heads of officials from every conference and lay down the law about how the game is going to be officiated. From now on, we’re adopting a no harm, no foul policy and only going to blow the whistle if a team gains an advantage. Otherwise, play on.
If these new rules are adopted, we can get back to the up-and-down, fast break, free flowing game we all used to love….
Phil Jackson is not only a brilliant basketball coach, he’s also evidently the master of separating idiots from their money….
How else can you explain Knicks owner James Dolan forking over $60 million to a guy with zero experience running an NBA franchise?….
And not only is Dolan going to give the Zenmaster $12M a year for five years, he’s actually going to allow Phil to live in Los Angeles as an absentee President of Basketball Operations….
I can see it now, Phil walking his dogs in Manhattan Beach and hiring the new Knicks coach….
Then, while sitting in his teepee in Montana, making the call on whom to draft….
And if Phil was battling with Jerry Krause in Chicago, who was a great GM and made one excellent personnel decision after another, he’s going to love Dolan….
When Big Chief Triangle arrived in Los Angeles in 1999, he again challenged his GM, this time Jerry West, one of the classiest and most respected people in NBA history….
It’s one thing to fight with Krause, who had poor people skills and an easy target, but to come to L.A. and take on West seemed like an unwinnable battle….
Soon after Phil arrived he demanded and was granted more power in personnel decisions and West began to get nervous….
But one incident, during Phil’s first season coaching the Lakers, convinced West he had no future with the organization and it was time too leave….
In his book “Jerry West: The Life of a Basketball Icon,” West tells the story of going into Lakers locker room in 1999, only to be unceremoniously thrown out by the Zenmaster; after Phil yelled a series of expletives at him….
After 40 years in the organization and giving everything he had to the Lakers, it must have been intolerable for West to be embarrassed and belittled, in front of the players, by a guy who’d been with the team a few months….
This is probably why, a year before Dr. Buss hired Phil, West was sitting in the Forum and blew his stack when the subject of Jackson came up….
Roland Lazenby, who was in the process of writing The Show, a great book about the history of the Lakers, asked West about the possibility of hiring Jackson….
“F*** Phil Jackson!” said West. Thinking he hadn’t heard him correctly, Lazenby asked West if he heard his question. Jerry leaned forward and slowly repeated “F***…….Phil…..Jackson!”….
Evidently West knew, a year in advance, that the arrival of Phil would mean the end of his tenure with the Lakers….
The Jackson/West situation became so bad that Dr. Buss was forced to make a choice between the two; and not surprisingly sided with Phil….
And there is no doubt Dr. Buss made the right decision, because Jackson took a talented team who couldn’t win to three straight World Championships. Then, after returning to the franchise in 2005, led the Lakers to two more titles….
I’d say five championships in 10 years validated Dr. Buss choosing the Zenmaster over the Logo….
So now it’s on to New York and Dolan, the worst owner in the NBA and arguably the worst in all of professional sports….
So if Phil could not get along with Krause and West, two excellent, respected, championship winning GM’s; he and Dolan are going to butt heads almost immediately….
Dolan interferes in personnel decisions and listens to Isiah Thomas, whom he calls “a basketball genius;” which tells you all you need to know….
Dolan says he’ll allow Phil to run the franchise, but he said the same thing when he hired Donnie Walsh….
But after about a month, he couldn’t help himself and began undermining Walsh; making trades without consulting him and listening to every idiot with a suggestion….
This Phil/Dolan pairing is going to be a disaster and it won’t be long before they’re not speaking to each other and Jackson is looking for a way out….
Here’s my prediction: After a year or two, Dolan’s interfering will become intolerable and Phil will receive a buy out to leave the organization….
And since Phil never wanted to be in New York anyway, a nice $40 million buyout will suit him just fine….
Another brilliant, tactical, well thought out move by Big Chief Triangle….
If someone wants to give him $60M to be an absentee, part time consultant; Phil would be stupid not to take it….
It says in the Good Book that a fool and his money are soon parted; and there is no better example than Jim Dolan….
My pick for a surprise team to make the Final Four? Virginia Commonwealth….
Shaka Smart might just be the best coach in America, having already taken VCU to one Final Four, and his team this year is good enough to win the National Championship….
They also have added incentive, now that Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski blasted the selection committee for giving six bids to the Atlantic 10….
“Put an Atlantic 10 team in the ACC, with the meat grinder we have to go through, and let’s see how they do,” said Coach K….
I know he was upset North Carolina St. did not get a bid and sticking up for his conference, but Coach K should have shown more class and kept his mouth shut….
VCU is very difficult to prepare for, because their players are all about the same size, all of them are athletic, all of them can shoot and they pressure you defensively for 40 minutes….
Smart loves to full court press, but he also changes it up and goes three quarter press, half court trap, whatever he thinks will work once the opposing coach makes an adjustment….
Hopefully my prediction comes true and Smart will make Coach K eat his words….
I’ll be on NBC Sports radio this Saturday, from 6-9 AM PDT and hopefully all of you will be listening on nbcsportsradio.com
With the Tigers holding a 5-1 lead over the Red Sox after seven innings of Game 2 and Max Scherzer on the mound, Boston was in deep, deep trouble. Having already lost Game 1 at home, the Red Sox were six outs away from making reservations for their Hawaiian vacations….
Scherzer was arguably the best pitcher in baseball this season, going 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA, and was brilliant again on Sunday night….
He was dealing and the Red Sox had no chance of coming back to win….
Unless, of course, the Tigers did something really stupid….
Jim “The Genius” Leyland to the rescue!….
With the World Series in sight and the Red Sox helpless against Scherzer, Leyland did the unthinkable: He removed Scherzer from the game and gave Boston hope….
Sure enough, David Ortiz hit a grand slam and the Sox came all the way back to win, 6-5….
Leyland’s move should have gone down as one of the greatest blunders in playoff history, but it won’t because of the media protecting him….
After the game, the “experts” actually defended the move, citing the dreaded pitch count. After all, Max had thrown 108 pitches and of course had to be removed….
Common sense dictates that in the playoffs you never remove a starter who is dominating the opposition and you play to win….
And there are no pitch counts in the post-season….
You have all winter to rest and the playoffs are about one thing; winning the game. If you do something stupid and give a game away, as Leyland did, it costs you dearly and you go home early….
The Red Sox were dead in the water and had absolutely no chance of scoring four runs in two innings off of Scherzer. But if the manager is an idiot and removes him, it opens the door for bad things to happen….
And a really bad thing happened; the Red Sox miraculously won the game and regained momentum….
Predictably, after the game, the stubborn Leyland refused to admit his mistake; which means he learned nothing and will do it again….
If Boston goes on to win the World Series, Jim Leyland should get his own car for the championship parade and a full playoff share….
If there are two things which drive me crazy about managers, it’s the pitch count and the sacrifice bunt….
Back in the days of the four man rotation and complete games, pitchers almost never had surgery, had few injuries and routinely threw 280 innings a year….
Now pitchers throw every fifth day, come out after six innings and none of them can get through a season without a stint on the DL or surgery….
Instead of preventing injuries, this pattern of babying pitchers has gotten them soft and now they’re hurt all the time….
Don Drysdale once told me that the pitching arm needs to be strengthened and built up like any other muscle. He was infuriated with the way teams were babying pitchers and said managers needed to go back to the four man rotation and complete games….
Drysdale also said he used to throw between starts and play long toss from the outfield to home plate….
He was 100% correct and hopefully some organization will adopt this philosophy, starting with their Single A farm teams….
Goose Gossage was another guy I had in studio once when he was promoting an event at Angel Stadium….
Goose said he’d been offered the job of pitching coach from several teams, but told all of them he’d only accept the position if there were no pitch counts….
When the teams told him he’d have to accept pitch counts, he told them thanks but no thanks and went on with his life….
Gossage also stated he’d never once gone on the disabled list in an over 20-year career. And this was in the era of two and three inning saves; not the one inning save we have today….
And his philosophy was the same as Drysdale: Throw between starts, go back to a four man rotation and toughen up these sissies we have pitching today….
So of course there is no room for Goose Gossage in baseball in 2013….
After USC’s first three games, I wasn’t convinced their defense was all that special. They played well every game, but against three of the worst offenses in college football in Hawaii, Washington St and Boston College….
Utah St, however, with Heisman candidate Chuckie Keegan, might to be a different story….
But it was more of the same on Saturday, as the Trojan defense again managed to overcome the complete ineptitude of Lane Kiffin’s game planning, play calling, clock management and coaching….
Yes, the Aggies got screwed a couple of time by the referees; who made call after ticky-tack call against them in the first half every time they had a drive going….
In my opinion, the referees cost Utah St. the game; but still the USC defense played very well and made a believer out of me….
Which gave me an idea….
It’s obvious to anyone not named Pat Haden that Kiffin is a terrible coach and has to go; which will lead to a nationwide search for his replacement….
But the best choice could be right under their nose in defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast….
It really is incredible how much the defense has improved after replacing Monte Kiffin with Pendergast, so why not promote him to head coach and then find a young, innovative, Chip Kelly-type as the offensive coordinator?….
Just a thought….
It was a strange feeling watching my 49ers get hammered for the second week in a row, and now the words “fluke” and “one hit wonder” are starting to be thrown around regarding Colin Kaepernick….
While he has not played well in the losses to the Seahawks and Colts, I’m not ready to write him off and still believe he’s a really good NFL quarterback….
Without Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree, Mario Manningham and Randy Moss, the 49ers receivers are slow and can’t get any separation. Which means Kaepernick needs to be right on the money with every throw….
The strategy in defending the Niners is now painfully obvious: Crowd the line of scrimmage with all 11 defenders, press the receivers and make sure Colin doesn’t get outside and make plays….
Rush under control, guard the edges and force him to try and make plays with his receivers….
Of course, this strategy would be suicide if San Francisco had fast wide outs who could run by defensive backs; but since they don’t, it’s going to take some inventive game planning for Jim Harbaugh to get the offense rolling….
It’s going to be very tough for Kaepernick, because defensive coordinators know they can guard his receivers man-to-man without worrying about getting beat. This means defenses can send extra defenders to either rush Colin or spy him; making his life very difficult….
With seven defenders spread out to prevent Kaepernick from making plays, his receivers have to make plays to punish the defense. Unfortunately, none of them can….
Hopefully the season will still be salvageable when Crabtree, Davis and Manningham return; because then defenses will have to play them honestly….
In the meantime, though, I’d be on the phone with Moss begging him to return. Even at 35, he was the fastest player on the team and still would be….
During Super Bowl week, a reporter asked Moss if he was happy with his role and he gave an honest answer….
He said he felt he could have contributed a lot more to the team and wished he’d had the ball throw his way more often….
I agreed with him and thought Randy was misused last season, but evidently Harbaugh took offense to Moss’ answer and decided he wouldn’t be back….
Time to forgive, forget and bring him back….
Fascinating to read teasers from Jeanie Buss new, updated version of her book “Laker Girl.”….
In it, she talks about how she felt “betrayed” by her brother Jim when he passed over Phil Jackson to replace Mike Brown last season. She also writes that Jim admitted he made a “mistake” in hiring Brown, “cost the family money” and asked her if she “thought Phil could work with him”….
Jeanie also goes on to say “someone must have talked to the press” regarding the supposedly secret meeting between Jim, Phil and Mitch Kupchack which wound up in the papers….
Meaning Jim, of course….
She also says Phil never demanded a huge salary, personnel control or not wanting to travel to road games….
Finally, she says they were asleep when the phone rang on a Sunday night. Phil picked it up, said “Yeah, okay” and then hung up; telling Jeanie it was Kupchack telling him they were going with Mike D’Antoni….
All in all, some great stuff and I can’t wait to read the book….
It’s also interesting that we’ve been told Jeanie and Jim are getting along better than ever and things will run smoothly from now on….
That is obviously not true and Jeanie going public with family business is suprising….
Since the death of Dr. Jerry Buss, I’ve felt a coup is coming and this book reinforces it. I don’t know the details of Dr. Jerry Buss’ will or how difficult it will be, but in the end it’s going to be Jeanie running the team, Jim on the outside and Phil back as the coach….
And once that happens, let the full court press on the recruitment of LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony begin….
Yes Floyd Mayweather is a great fighter, the best of his era, but the time has come to step out of his comfort zone, think about his legacy and actually fight someone with a chance of beating him….
Money, under the direction of adviser Al Haymon, has made a career out of taking fights which 1) Pay a tremendous amount of money 2) Present almost no chance of him losing….
Thus the excellent business model of making the maximum amount of money while taking the least risk….
While this makes him an outstanding businessman, it also hurts his chance of being mentioned among the greatest of all time….
Looking at his recent fights, I see the names Oscar De La Hoya, Zab Judah, Shane Mosley, Ricky Hatton, Victor Ortiz, Miguel Cotto, Robert Guerrero and Canelo Alvarez….
Club fighters in Hatton, Ortiz and Guerrero and past their prime, shot fighters in Judah, De La Hoya, Cotto and Mosley….
As for Canelo, I was never impressed with him and said on my NBC Sports Radio Show last week that he was an overhyped, untested kid who would get exposed against Mayweather….
And that’s exactly what happened as Alvarez was the slow, plodding, easy to hit fighter I watched get a gift decision over Austin Trout in his last fight….
As for the excuse that Canelo was too inexperienced and someday he’ll be great…I’m not buying it. He’s simply not very good and is what he is….
And by the way, If Team Mayweather thought there was any chance Alvarez could actually win, they never would have taken the fight….
Again, it’s all about low risk, high reward for Floyd….
I know his undefeated record means the world to Mayweather, which is why he doesn’t take high risk fights….
While I believe Floyd would have easily out boxed Manny Pacquiao and won a decision, it hurts Money’s legacy that he refused to fight him….
Pacman was on a great roll, dominating everyone he fought and looked to be the only fighter in the 147 lb. division who could defeat Floyd….
He was the only fighter in the world who seemed to be able to match Mayweather’s hand speed and quickness and it would have been an action-packed fight where Money would have been forced to fight three minutes of every round….
Instead, Mayweather used the PED excuse to duck out of the fight and it never happened….
Again, it seemed keeping his undefeated record and making big money to fight lower level opposition took precedence over taking on the biggest challenge of his career….
But if he wants to be mentioned in the same breath as Sugar Ray Leonard, Sugar Ray Robinson, Henry Armstrong, Muhammad Ali, Tommy Hearns, Roberto Duran, Joe Louis, Jack Johnson, Willie Pep, Sandy Sadler, Ike Williams and several others, Floyd is going to have to start taking some risks and look defeat in the eye….
This means middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin, who says he is willing to move down to 154 lbs. to fight Mayweather….
While I believe Floyd could outbox GGG and win a decision over 12 rounds, he’s going into the mouth of the lion in Golovkin; who is unbelievably strong, has crushing power and been terrorizing everyone in the Middleweight division….
Yes Floyd might win, but he also risks taking a severe beating and pissing blood for a week….
But a win over GGG at 154 elevates his status tremendously and nobody could accuse him of sidestepping tough fights anymore….
Another possibility could be Andre Ward, the Olympic Gold Medalist and winner of the 168 LB. Super Six tournament….
Ward is talking about moving to light heavyweight, but has also said he could make 160 for a showdown with Mayweather….
This is something Ward should push for, because he’d make more money in one night against Floyd than he’d make in his entire career….
Maybe we can finally get Mayweather-Pacquiao. Manny fights tough Brandon Rios in China next and if he looks good in dispatching Rios, maybe momentum could build again for Floyd-Pacman….
Sure, the stink of the KO loss to Juan Manuel Marquez remains, but Pacquiao was winning that fight against JMM and on the verge of knocking him out when he walked into a straight right hand….
There’s also the feeling among many in the boxing community that JMM’s new physique and punching power was the result of PED use….
It certainly did seem strange that Marquez, at 39 years of age, suddenly transformed his body overnight into a muscular, hard punching Welterweight….
Hopefully Pacman knocks out Rios, looks like a million bucks and we finally get this fight….
The day Lane Kiffin was hired, I said on the radio it was a colossal blunder by USC; because Kiffin was a con man, snake oil salesman and bulls*** artist….
He didn’t win with the Raiders, didn’t win with Tennessee and was a glorified graduate assistant for Pete Carroll and Norm Chow at USC….
Yet here he was, standing at the podium being introduced as the next Trojans head coach….
He’d charmed and conned another sucker….
In this case it was departing AD Mike Garrett, who somehow convinced the University that Lane was the right choice….
I smelled a rat right from the beginning, as Garrett had to be furious with the University for firing him and could be giving them a final “F*** you” by hiring an incompetent coach….
If that is indeed what it was, Garrett succeeded beautifully….
Last season, Kiffin guided everyone’s pre-season #1 team to a record of 7-6 and I was convinced he would finally be shown the door….
After all, new AD Pat Haden didn’t hire Kiffin, owed him no loyalty and wouldn’t make himself look bad by firing him….
In fact, he would have had the support of 90% of the USC family….
When Haden met with the President and the trustees and told them he wanted to bring back Lane for another year, they should have told Pat he could under one condition: His job would also be on the line if 2013 was another dismal season….
Haden insisting Kiffin return should also be the end of him, because it showed he doesn’t care as much about the football program as he claims. If Haden, a former All-American player at USC and NFL QB, couldn’t see Kiffin was a disaster, then he’s not qualified to be an Athletic Director….
In the opener, against a horrible Hawaii team, the Trojans looked awful but managed to win because their defense was responsible for 23 points and a bunch of turnovers….
But Saturday night against Washington St. was the most embarrassing performance I’ve ever seen from a USC team….
The Trojans were the most poorly prepared, poorly coached football team I’ve ever seen, on any level, and were booed off the field at halftime and after the game….
I hope Haden was there and listening, because this is what he wanted….
In the 10-7 loss to the Cougars, Kiffin’s play calling was simply awful. One bubble screen, pass in the flat and run up the middle after another….
Not a good strategy when the defense has all 11 players within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage….
I know USC’s QB’s aren’t any good, but with a great receiver like Marqise Lee, you have to throw it deep to stretch out the defense….
With WSU’s defense sitting on every short pass, it was impossible to move the ball; yet Lane stubbornly refused to make an adjustment….
After all, he invented football….
And I might have been too hard on the QB’s, because Kiffin’s coaching is most likely the reason they’re not any good….
Both of them have three years in the program and should be much better….
I’ll guarantee you this: give Urban Meyer the exact same players Lane Kiffin has and they beat WSU 38-0….
By the way, Washington St is god-awful and not going to win many games this year; in fact, Saturday night might be their only Pac-12 win of the year….
Their QB is terrible, they have a glaring lack of skill position players and Mike Leach is five years behind the times when it comes to offense….
Yet they march into the Coliseum and beat a USC team with NFL players?….
Here’s what needs to happen for USC to fix this:
Obviously Kiffin is going to be fired and they should do it today. Allow one of the assistants to finish the season, then find a replacement….
Haden also needs to be fired, because he insisted Kiffin was the right coach for this program and now must accept responsibility for his monumental mistake….
There needs to be a total change in the culture of USC football, beginning with the termination of the head coach and Athletic Director….
As for the next coach, I’d take make a bold move and hire Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost. I know there are bigger names out there and hiring a spread option guy would be an admission they haven’t been doing things right, but Frost is a future coaching star….
Remember, Oregon hired someone nobody had ever heard of a few years ago; a guy by the name of Chip Kelly….
Why is it that Oregon can hit three home run coaching hires in a row the past 20 years (Mike Bellotti, Chip Kelly, Mark Helfrich), while in the past 30 years USC has failed miserably on five of their six hires?….
Ted Tollner, John Robinson 2, Larry Smith, Paul Hackett and Kiffin were all colossally bad, inept hires and somebody within the USC family needs to investigate why this keeps happening….
Only Pete Carroll was successful, but Troy got lucky with him. They never wanted Pete and only settled for him after several others turned them down….
For some reason, despite USC’s great history, when it comes to hiring football coaches whomever makes the final call doesn’t have a clue….
Unfortunately they have been making stupid, program destroying hires for 30 years….
History has shown that when USC has the right coach, they dominate college football. When they had John McKay, the first edition of John Robinson and Pete Carroll, they won national championships….
The only thing that evens things out is when they hire bad coaches, which unfortunately they do better than any program in America….
Bill Walsh always used to get a big laugh out of coaches who said you have to “establish the running game” to make an offense work. “It’s nonsense,” said The Genius. “You take what the defense gives you. If you can move the ball down the field with the pass, why the hell not?”….
A perfect example of that was Peyton Manning in the Broncos season-opening 49-17 thrashing of the Ravens….
Denver came out in a no-huddle offense, had Baltimore on their heels from the start and Manning tied an NFL record by throwing seven TD passes….
But I guess if he’d “established the running game” the Broncos offense would have really exploded….
I’ve never been a fan of John Fox, because of his conservative nature, gutless decision making and tendency to butt into an already successful situation because he wants to look like a genius….
Hopefully the Broncos performance Thursday night will finally convince him to simply sit back and allow Peyton to work his magic, because they looked unstoppable….
But Fox is the kind of coach, even with Peyton Manning, who loves to punt on 4th-and-1 from midfield with a chance to close out a playoff win….
He has a lot of Gene Mauch, Marty Schottenheimer and Mike Smith in him and it goes against his nature to continue with what’s working….
At some point, he’s going to step in and leave his mark; because he can’t stand to win a game without being credited for his brilliant moves….
Unfortunately for the Broncos, Fox’s buttinski moment came in the playoffs last season, when his
cowardly decision to punt in Denver’s playoff game against Baltimore cost them the game….
With Peyton Manning at the controls, the ball near midfield, time running out and a first down ends the game, the decision is obvious; you play to win….
Instead, Fox chickened out, punted and the Broncos gave away a certain win and probable Super Bowl appearance….
I would have fired him on the spot if I were John Elway, but unfortunately for Broncos fans Fox returned….
Mark my words, Fox’s ego will cost the Broncos a game or two this season, and probably in the post-season….
With the Rays and A’s both losing last night, the Yankees had a great opportunity to cut their Wild Card deficit to 1.5 games and put some pressure on the teams ahead of them….
In a great game, however, the Yankees lost to the Red Sox in 10 innings, 9-8….
The finish was remarkable for two things: 1) Mariano Rivers blowing a save and 2) Rivera not really blowing the save because with two strikes and two outs, Boston’s Stephen Drew struck out to end the game….
Incredibly, though, the umpire ruled it was a check swing, Drew got another chance and the Red Sox scored twice to win….
I watched the replay several times and there is no doubt in my mind Drew struck out and the ump blew the call….
So now the deficit remains 2.5 games and if the Yankees miss the playoffs by a game this call will live in infamy….
I’ve always like Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland and on Thursday night he finally broke through, taking apart Andy Murray in straight sets at the U.S. Open….
Another reason I watch this great event every year….
The 28-year-old Wawrinka has always felt pressure against guys like Murray, Novak Djokovic, Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer, but this time stayed aggressive the entire match and made a breakthrough….
It’s always entertaining to watch Murray lose, because he curses, swears, pouts and yells obscenities to his friends and family in the player’s box; like they had anything to do with it….
It’s sure looking like a Djokovic-Nadal final, which will be a can’t miss sports event….
One thing I’ve never understood is why the U.S. Open Final goes up against the opening weekend of the NFL every year, ensuring nobody will watch….
It’s also unfair to play the final on Sunday after playing the semis on Saturday….
And it’s especially unfair for the guy who plays the late semi-final match on Saturday, because he has to come right back in less than 24 hours for the final. And if has a grueling, five-set match, he’s at a severe disadvantage….
My solution is simple….
Move the event up a week, so you don’t go up against NFL football. Then, have the men’s final on a Monday night, with the whole world watching….
The NFL season is still a week away, so that Monday night the entire sports audience would belong to the U.S. Open….
It would also give an extra day of rest to the Saturday semi-final winners, which is more fair and makes for a higher quality of play….
Over the years, the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open has become one of the greatest nights of sports in America. On Thursday and Friday, the matches are played at night, in front of raucous, drunken New York crowds….
There have been so many great matches I can’t begin to count them all, but they’ve involved Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Jim Courier, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and many others….
A few years ago, Agassi and James Blake were involved in one of the greatest matches I’ve ever seen, only to be ruined by “Heidi 2.”….
Right in the middle of the action, DirecTV cut out and showed some stupid show I can’t remember. I called DirecTV, furious about leaving the match before it’s conclusion, only to be told they had a contractual obligation to return to regular programming and there was nothing they could do….
Angry beyond description, I turned on Sportscenter and found out Agassi had made an incredible comeback and won in a five-set thriller….
Which, of course, I missed….
Fortunately nothing like that has happened again and every year there is one spectacular, thrilling match after another….
Federer is already out, but Djokovic, Murray and Nadal are still alive and I can’t wait for the quarterfinals running late into the night….
There really is nothing like it in American sports….
A few weeks go, after Ryan Dempster intentionally hit A-Rod with a pitch and injected life into a Yankees team who seemed to be finished, I went on the air and predicted New York would catch fire, make the playoffs and go on to the World Series….
Now, after a late comeback win, the Yankees are only 2.5 games out of the final Wild Card spot and have all kinds of momentum….
I’ve never been a Yankees fan and never liked Alex Rodriguez, but Bud Selig’s inept and dishonest handling of this whole situation has me pulling for my Yankees and my new favorite player, A-Rod….
I’ve been watching baseball a long time, but I don’t know if I’ve seen a run like the Dodgers have gone on the past two months. They’re 36-8 since the All-Star break….
I know Hanley Ramirez has been great, the starting pitching has been superb and Andre Eithier has started to hit, but it was the arrival of Yasiel Puig which changed everything….
The electricity Puig generated from the second he took the field has been unbelievable and the Dodgers have gone from running away with last place to being the favorite to win the World Series….
When I got on the internet tonight, I read the great news that Cleveland kidnapper and rapist Ariel Castro had committed suicide in his cell by hanging himself….
Sure it’s the coward’s way out, but this SOB did us all a huge favor by saving the expense of a trial and having to house and feed him for the next 30 years….
If I had my way, I’d take guys like this scumbag and shoot them about 15 minutes after the arrest….
Why should we keep them alive to watch TV. eat three squares a day and work out?….
After last season’s 7-6 disaster, including losses to Notre Dame and UCLA, I was certain USC coach Lane Kiffin would be terminated and the Trojans would finally bring in a competent head coach….
After all, AD Pat Haden did not hire Kiffin, so had nothing to lose by s***-canning him after last season’s embarrassing bowl loss to Georgia Tech to end the season….
When former AD Mike Garrett found out he was going to be terminated, he quickly hired Kiffin as a final “f*** you” to the people who fired him….
Instead, Haden inexplicably brought Lane back, showing he’s not concerned about the football program….
USC alums should be furious and hold Haden accountable for this mess….
I had very low expectations for Troy this season, and after watching the opener against Hawaii they’ve hit rock bottom….
Kiffin is the worst play caller, worst sideline decision maker, worst clock manager and the worst coach in Division I football, yet Haden thought it best to bring him back….
Watching the miserable performance against Hawaii, it’s obvious the two QBs, who have been in the program three years, haven’t learned a thing and not ready to play….
On the first two possessions, USC drove deep into Rainbow Warriors territory, only to come up with only three points after a series of conservative, predictable play calls which killed great opportunities….
Had they been playing someone other than Hawaii, one of the worst teams in the country, USC certainly would be 0-1….
Hawaii’s QB is ever worse than the USC tandem, which seems impossible, but it will be the only time all season this will be the case….
For the rest of the season, the opposition will have a superior QB and coach to USC….
It’s sad to see what’s happened to Norm Chow, who 10 years ago was considered the best offensive coordinator in NCAA history….
Unfortunately for Norm, he hasn’t kept up with the new, spread option offenses and the game has passed him by. His offenses at UCLA were near the bottom of the NCAA and his Hawaii offense is even worse….
Looking back at the last 30 years of USC coaching hires, it’s amazing how incompetent the USC administrators have been. Every hire, with the exception of Pete Carroll, has been a disaster….
Let’s look at the history of buffoonery over the past three decades….
Ted Tollner, Larry Smith, John Robinson II, Paul Hackett, Pete Carroll and Lane Kiffin….
Carroll was the only success, and he was only hired because several others passed on the job. Dennis Erickson was Garrett’s top choice, which would have been another failure….
But let’s give USC the benefit of the doubt on Pete Carroll: They still have made stupid-ass decisions in five of their last six head coaching hires….
USC is the kind of program where if they have the right coach in place, they dominate college football. When they had John McKay, the first reign of John Robinson and Carroll, it was national championships and bad times for the rest of the nation….
Only terrible coaching hires can stop the Trojans, and unfortunately, with the exception of Carroll, it’s been 30 years of asinine, inexplicable, program-destroying hires….
When Kiffin gets fired after this season, the next hire will be the most important in the history of the program….
With Brian Kelly taking Notre Dame to undefeated seasons and National Championship games and UCLA’s Jim Mora turning the Bruins into a national power, USC can’t screw up again….
While watching the Serena Williams-Sloane Stephens match, the camera went to the player’s box and showed Stephens mother, whom the announcer announced was a former All-American swimmer for Boston University….
But being a red blooded American male, the first thing I noticed is Sloane Stephens mom is hot….
Pretty face, nice body, classy and obviously a beautiful woman….
Since Sloane is also a cutie, my fantasies began running wild….
Unfortunately Sloane lost the match, but she was the youngest female player still alive and we’ll be seeing a lot more of her….
And, thankfully, her mother….
Stephens father, John, was a first round draft choice for the Patriots in 1988 and rushed for over 1,000 yards for the Patriots in his rookie season….
He was also a first round draft choice, so why don’t I remember him?….
John Stephens was killed in a car accident in 2009 and it’s a shame he isn’t around to see the success of his daughter….
I had so much fun during my three week run doing the 10pm-2am slot for NBC Sports Radio and thanks to all of you who listened, called the show and tweeted your support….
Unfortunately all of the hosts are back from vacation, so I don’t know when my next on air shift will be….
Keep following me on twitter at @davesportsgod and I’ll keep you up to date….
If ever there was a guy with an angel on his shoulder, it’s the great Earvin “Magic” Johnson. No matter what he takes on in life, be it a professional sports career, life threatening disease, business ventures or ownership of a sports team, he comes out a winner….
This also extends to his personal life, where rumors of his sexual preference were quickly squashed and his alleged multiple affairs and indiscretions were ignored by the media….
In fact, when he came clean about bedding thousands of women and admitted his selfish behavior was the cause of him acquiring the AIDS virus, he was hailed as a hero….
What other married man could admit to all this and be invited to the White House and receive awards and praise?….
Everything the Magic Man touches seemingly turns to gold….
There’s only one area where Earvin has failed, and that was his disastrous attempt to become a late night television talk host….
The Magic Hour remains arguably the worst show in television history and a disaster of epic proportions….
But other than that, Johnson is batting nearly a thousand….
Sure, we could also talk about his 20 game stint as the Lakers coach; which was also a disaster. But in my opinion he didn’t have enough time to prove himself and only took the job as a favor to Dr. Jerry Buss….
In high school, Magic led his team to the state championship….
In college, he led Michigan St. to the national championship….
The very next year, the 20-year-old Johnson did the impossible; playing center in place of the injured Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and not only leading the Lakers to the NBA championship, but producing 42 points, 15 rebounds and 7 assists and winning the MVP….
This was followed by four more World Championships, NBA MVP’s, Finals MVP’s and induction into the Hall-of-Fame….
When he was diagnosed with the AIDS virus in 1991, it was predicted he had only a few years to live, because in those days this disease was a death sentence….
Instead, Magic defied the odds and 22 years later is healthier, stronger and more active than ever….
He has become a business mogul, with his movie theaters, Starbucks franchises and other business interests making him a millionaire many times over….
But when he was part of a group who bought the Dodgers a few years ago for a staggering $2 billion, I thought he was crazy and finally going to experience failure….
After all, baseball was a dying sport with an aging fan base and I thought he overpaid by at least $1B for the franchise….
Last year, when the Dodgers took on $250M is dead salaries from the Red Sox, I believed Magic had really lost it; especially when they spent most of this season in last place….
I should have known better….
Shortly after purchasing the franchise, the Dodgers announced they’d reached a deal with Time Warner Cable which would pay them $9B….
So much for my opinion that Earvin had overpaid….
Then, with the sudden and dramatic emergence of Yasiel Puig, the Dodgers went on a tear, started selling out games and now sit in first place in the N.L. West….
Once again, Magic has proven his detractors wrong and made his latest venture a tremendous success….
So it seems nothing can stop Earvin Johnson; not humble beginnings, the lack of a formal education, not a supposedly fatal disease and not a sport with which he was unfamiliar….
So I guess it’s now on to becoming Governor of California and then President of the United States….
I wouldn’t put it past him….
June 20, 2011 By Leave a Comment
Monday morning sports radio and television was agog with Rory-Mania, all hailing the smiling Irish phenom who just swamped the field in the U/S. Open, winning by 8 strokes with a record score of 16 under par. “All hail the new king, the old king is dead” seemed to be the prevailing attitude, as golf, […]
April 28, 2011 By Leave a Comment
The best, sure-fire, fail-safe method of assuring that you hit the bullseye every time you fire a rifle is to shoot at a blank wall, THEN draw the target around the bullet-hole. I think about that every time I read or hear the after-the-fact excuses that people are still making for LeBron James every time […]
July 4, 2011 By Leave a Comment
By Seth Rubinroit (Reporting from Newark, New Jersey) Growing up in Los Angeles, Darius Morris rooted for the Los Angeles Lakers dynasty featuring Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, and then saw the Lakers win two more NBA Championships with Bryant and Pau Gasol. “I witnessed [the Lakers] do some great things,” Morris said. When the […]