After Sunday night’s 42-17 beatdown at the hands of Peyton Manning and the Broncos, some of my fellow 49ers fans were calling for a coaching change; believing the media nonsense about Jim Harbaugh “losing the locker room.”…
Yes, the score was embarrassing and the worst loss of the Harbaugh era; but those supporting his exit have very short memories….
Remember what it was like before Harbaugh’s arrival? Mike Singletary, Mike Nolan and eight straight seasons of missing the playoffs….
Predicted to finish last and possibly secure the first pick in the draft, Harbaugh’s initial season turned into a miracle; with the 49ers making it to the NFC championship game….
And if not for Kyle Williams fumbling two punts and giving away the game to the Giants, San Francisco would have won a World Championship in Harbaugh’s first season….
The Coach engineered an immediate and stunning turn around from the day he arrived; which should have been no surprise….
When he took over at Stanford, the Cardinal were the worst program among BCS conferences and coming off a 1-11 season….
In his initial press conference, Jim stated he wasn’t afraid of Pete Carroll and USC and the days of the Trojans dominating the Pac-10 were coming to an end….
A few weeks later, the Cardinal came into the Coliseum a 41-point underdog and most people thought USC would have the spread covered by halftime….
Instead, Stanford pulled off the greatest upset in college football history and sent a clear message things were going to change in the conference….
By his third year in Palo Alto, Harbaugh had built one of the best programs in the country and laid a 55-21 whipping on Carroll and USC in front of a national television audience at the Coliseum….
As a lifelong 49ers fan, I was thrilled when the organization hired Harbaugh; but thought it was going to take a couple of years to turn things around…
Instead it took a couple of weeks….
In his first press conference, he stunned everyone by announcing Alex Smith was going to be the starting quarterback and lead the 49ers to the Super Bowl….
Smith, the first pick in the draft a few years before and a career bust, seemingly was on his way out of the NFL; which made Harbaugh sound crazy….
But Jim saw something in Alex and knew all he needed was a coach who believed in him….
It was a brilliant move and Smith responded by finally fulfilling his promise, leading his team to the conference championship game….
In year two, after Smith suffered a concussion and lost his job to Colin Kaepernick, Harbaugh led the 49ers to the Super Bowl; where only a blown non-call on a pass interference/holding penalty against the Ravens prevented a 49ers World Championship….
Last year San Francisco was in the NFC Championship game again, only to lose a heartbreaker to Seattle in the final seconds after a Kaepernick underthrow to Michael Crabtree….
So in Harbaugh’s first three seasons, only a fumbled punt, a blown non-call by a referee and a ball underthrown by Kaepernick prevented the 49ers from potentially winning three straight Super Bowls….
Before Harbaugh, no coach in the history of the NFL took his team to the conference championship game in his first three seasons….
And some fans want him gone?….
Memo to 49ers Nation: You want to go back to the days of missing the playoffs eight years in a row? And being the laughingstock of the NFL?….
Then keep calling for a coaching change….
As a fan, I’d like the record to be better than 4-3 and blowing a 17-0 lead to the Bears in Week 2 and losing at home was a disaster….
Sunday night’s debacle against the Broncos was tough to watch, but let’s not forget Denver is a great team and the 49ers were missing three Pro Bowl defensive players….
They ran into a buzzsaw in Peyton Manning and that was going to be a tough game to win under any circumstances….
Next week is a bye, then hopefully Aldon Smith will be back after his nine week suspension….
With Smith being one of the best pass rushers in the NFL, it’s going to dramatically improve the defense….
After that, it looks like Pro Bowl LB NaVorro Bowman will return before the end of the season, as will defensive tackle and fellow Pro Bowler Glenn Dorsey….
So if the 49ers can tread water until their three defensive stars return, they should be ready and dangerous come playoff time….
One thing I don’t understand is what’s taking Jed York so long to sign Harbaugh to a new contract and put an end to all the talk of him leaving….
The bottom line is Harbaugh has done an incredible job and returned the franchise to the glory days….
York needs to send a strong message to the players, fans and executives that he’s fully in support of Harbaugh and he’s going to be in charge for the next several years….
The problem in the locker room is the players don’t know if Harbaugh is going to be back next year….
The team needs to know their coach is all in and the front office is on board, so the delay in granting Harbaugh a new deal is making things worse….
If I were Jed York, I’d get the players and executives in a room together and make the following speech….
“It’s come to my attention that some of you aren’t happy with Coach Harbaugh and doing some locker room politicking to divide the team. So I’m here to tell you I’ve just signed Jim to a five-year extension and he’s going to be here for a long time. So if any of you ungrateful, backstabbing losers aren’t happy with this, come to my office so we can arrange your release.”
“Jim has done a fantastic job, but evidently some of you don’t like winning; so let’s see how much you like getting your asses released.”
“Anyone in here have a problem with Coach being around for the next five years? If so, come up to my office and we’ll discuss it. Any more of this whining and complaining will be dealt with and it will be interesting to see how much you like living in Jacksonville or Buffalo. Thanks for your time and let’s get back to the goal of winning the Super Bowl.”….
After that, I’d call GM Trent Baalke into my office for a face-to-face, come-to-Jesus meeting…
“You know I like you Trent, but the reason this franchise has become elite again is because of Jim Harbaugh, not you. So here’s how it’s going to be: You’re either going to work with Jim and get on the same page or you can go up to human resources and collect your final paycheck. I can always get a guy in a suit to help with personnel, but it’s next to impossible to get a coach the caliber of Harbaugh. So either get on board or don’t let the door hit you on the ass on your way out.”….
That’s my recipe for success and hopefully York is smart enough to follow my advice….
Excellent win for the 49ers in St. Louis, especially since they had to come from 14 points down….
San Francisco is now 4-2, should be 6-0 and will be fine once Aldon Smith, Glenn Dorsey and Navarro Bowman return….
But a real concern is the late game play calling, which kept the Rams in the game and could have resulted in a season-ending loss….
On the 49ers final three possessions, when a first down conversion would have ended the game, they got stuffed on running plays and gave the Rams life….
I’m a huge Jim Harbaugh fan, but he can be one stubborn SOB when it comes to power football and his conservative play calling nearly cost them….
All three times St. Louis was in an eight man front, which means running the ball up the middle had no chance of working. Yet every time San Francisco foolishly kept running into a brick wall….
All they needed to do was fake a handoff to Frank Gore or Carlos Hyde and have Colin Kaepernick keep the ball on a bootleg or roll out….
Either way, the play would have broken wide open, the game would have been over and 49ers Nation wouldn’t have had to sweat out the finish….
What Kaepernick should have done was read the defense, seen that a run up the middle had no chance of working and changed the play….
I know he’s young and still relatively inexperienced, but he has to get out of a bad play call to be an elite quarterback….
That being said, I’m a Kaepernick fan and he played extremely well on Monday night….
Once he gains more experience he’s going to be among the best QB’s in the NFL….
While watching college football on Saturday and the NFL on Sunday, I saw an update on baseball playoff scores and realized I had no idea they were playing….
And I never once considered changing the channel….
Years ago I would have been switching back and forth, but thus is the state of baseball in 2014….
In a recent survey of sports and who watches, the only people who listed baseball as their favorite sport were over 50 years of age, with the majority of them senior citizens….
But for people under 30, soccer and MMA surpassed baseball, which makes me wonder who is going to be watching when the fan base dies off in a few years….
While cross talking with Chris Mannix before my show on NBC Sports Radio Sunday night, he asked me what was coming up and I said “Lots of NFL talk, lots of college football and maybe some MLB playoffs.”….
After a brief pause, Mannix replied, “I haven’t watched an inning of any post season game and does anyone care now that football season is here?”….
And since I haven’t watched an inning of post-season baseball, either, I had to agree….
If I were the Commissioner of Baseball, I’d stop airing playoff games on Saturday and Sunday. Play them all Monday through Friday and quit butting heads with NFL and NCAA football….
I’ve been saying for years that baseball season officially ends on Week 1 of the NFL season and somehow, someway the sport needs to find a way to get the fans back….
And I think a good start would be airing playoff games on nights there isn’t a full slate of NFL football….
When Lane Kiffin was invited to Tuscaloosa on December 17, 2013 to “brainstorm” with Nick Saban about revamping the Alabama offense, I stated that the “Curse of Kiffin” had officially begun and the Crimson Tide would never win another National Championship or SEC title as long as Kiffin was there….
Now, on October 14, 2014, Saban’s team has scored two touchdowns in two games and in turmoil….
Saban also lost his temper when asked about the abysmal 14-13 win over Arkansas and said he was tired of unrealistic expectations and negativity….
Already rumors are swirling about Saban leaving town after this season and my prediction of the “Curse of Kiffin” bringing down Saban and the Tide are coming true….
I’ve always been a fan of Colin Kaepernick and thought once he gained experience was going to be an elite NFL quarterback….
But after Sunday night’s disastrous 28-20 loss to the Bears, I’m beginning to wonder if I was wrong…
Not only did Kaepernick fumble deep in Bears territory with a chance to put away the game, he also threw three interceptions which led directly to the loss….
Colin is 6’5″, 220 lbs, has 4.5 speed and a cannon for an arm. He’s also been a starting QB for only two years and taken the 49ers to the Super Bowl and NFC Championship game….
So I still think he can turn it around and become great. But my confidence is shaken….
One thing that hurt him is the loss of Randy Moss after the 2012 season. Moss didn’t catch many passes, but even at 35 scared the hell out of defenses and stretched the field….
And with the field opened up, Kaepernick had all kinds of room to run and throw underneath to Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis….
Moss was the world class speed receiver they miss so much now; because they don’t have a receiver with similar speed on the roster….
As a result, the opponents corners and safetys can creep up, jamming the running game and keeping Colin under control….
The underneath stuff is also more difficult without Moss occupying a corner and a safety deep downfield….
Jim Harbaugh also needs to install a hurry up package, which plays to Kaepernick’s strength and provides a change of pace….
All this being said, however, Colin needs to make better decisions with the ball and improve on recognizing defenses….
Keeping my fingers crossed….
After watching Robert Griffin III dislocate his ankle, I wondered if that was the last time we’ll see him in a Redskins uniform….
As good as he is, he has skinny legs, small joints and will probably be injured for most of his career….
Joe Theismann said before the season that Kirk Cousins was better than RG III, so now we’re going to see how well Cousins plays with defensive coordinators preparing game plans for him….
After the Vikings announced Adrian Peterson would return to practice this week and play on Sunday, I wondered why one player gets released for hitting a woman and another gets deactivated one game for hitting a child….
Unfortunately I think the answer is Adrian Peterson is arguably the best player in the NFL and Ray Rice is a guy on the downside who averaged about two yards a carry last season….
There is no way the Vikings are going to release Peterson, because someone will sign him right away. And if it’s the right team, it could lead to a Super Bowl….
Hopefully the Commissioner will do the right thing and not allow Peterson to play this week. He might not have video, but he has sickening pictures of a four-year-old child with cuts, bruises and blood from his shoulders to his legs….
And now there are more allegations against Peterson….
Another four-year-old child, from a different mother, is claiming her child’s head injury was the result of another AP discipline session….
He won’t get released, but needs to be suspended for at least six games….
I’ve never been a Steve Sarkissian fan, so I wasn’t surprised USC got their rear ends handed to them by Boston College on Saturday night….
So far the Trojans have blown out a really bad Fresno St. team, were very lucky to beat a superior Stanford team and got hammered by BC….
USC fans should expect more of the same during the Sark era….
His teams at Washington played no defense and that same trait was on display against BC….
I wonder who the next bad hire is going to be?….
Another night, another easy payday for Floyd Mayweather; who easily outboxed Marcos Maidana and won by decision on Saturday night….
I’ve been boycotting boxing PPV shows ever since the Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight didn’t happen, so I saved myself about $70 on this stinker….
After the fight Floyd said there’s a possibility a Pacman fight could happen; if Manny agreed to fight on Showtime, have Mayweather promote the fight and basically bend over and grab his ankles financially….
And since Floyd knows damn well Pacquiao will never agree to these conditions, it’s his way of avoiding the fight….
Floyd knows Team Pacquiao will tell him to go kick rocks, so Mayweather can duck the fight while claiming it was Manny who turned it down….
Much like his style in the ring, this is a duck-and-run strategy….
It’s tough to figure out, because I’ve always thought Mayweather was the superior fighter and would give Pacman a boxing lesson; so why turn down a shot at a $100 million payday on a fight he’s going to win?….
Evidently Floyd sees Pacquiao as a threat to his precious undefeated record and isn’t going to take any risks….
It’s bad for boxing, bad for business and bad for the future of the sport; but unfortunately the only thing we fans can do is boycott PPV’s….
Which I’ve been doing for a long time now….
The answer, of course, is to make me the boxing commissioner….
I’d call both of them into my office, along with their promoters, Showtime and HBO, and tell them the following….
“You have 30 days to sign a deal or both of you get your boxing licenses suspended. How would you like not making any money and having to find another job?”….
This would get everyone to come around quickly….
Floyd and Manny get their licenses pulled and the two networks and promoters get their meal tickets taken away….
The fight would be made in a day under these circumstances….
Now I’ll wait by the phone to be offered the Commissioner’s job….
While watching the 49ers-Ravens pre-season game, it sickened me to see Baltimore fans give Ray Rice a long ovation both before and during the game….
It shouldn’t come as a surprise, though, because these are the same fans who treated Ray Lewis like a hero and are building a statue of him, which will be placed in front of their stadium this season….
As you’ll recall, Lewis was originally charged with double murder, which was later reduced to obstructing a murder investigation after he refused to cooperate with police and witnesses suddenly came up with cases of amnesia….
To this day, Lewis has never come clean about the events of that night or what happened to the white suit he was wearing….
His limo driver originally told police he was told to stop behind a fast food restaurant, where the white suit was wrapped up and deposited into a trash bin….
But like other witnesses, the limo driver’s memory suddenly failed him when called to testify at trial….
Lewis’ story has always been he “doesn’t remember” what happened to the white suit, which allegedly contained the victims blood and would have been a crucial piece of evidence for police….
Since then, Lewis has played the religious card and claims he has found Jesus; but wouldn’t his religious conversion lead him to finally tell the truth about what happened that night and what happened to the white suit?….
Apparently not, as Lewis continues to stonewall….
As for Rice and his outrageously light suspension for knocking out his wife, it seems only John Harbaugh, the Ravens organization and their fans still consider him a great guy….
And Rice still has not apologized or shown contrition for punching a woman in the face….
When asked what happened in the elevator that night, Rice refused to answer and dodged the question….
His press conference was a complete farce and until he comes clean and gives a full explanation of what happened in the elevator, he’s not really sorry and full of s***….
What is it about Rays and the Ravens?….
Ravens fans should be ashamed of themselves….
It looks like the Kevin Love to Cleveland trade is going to happen, which will be a colossal mistake by the Cavaliers….
Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a #1 pick is way too much for Love and Cleveland will regret this deal for years to come….
Since almost all of Dan Gilbert’s moves have been disasters, we shouldn’t be surprised when this move backfires….
Wiggins is going to be a star, Bennett is going to be a double-double PF for the next 10 years and they’re also throwing in a 1st round pick?….
It’s a great move if you’re a fan of the Timberwolves….
As for Love, there’s no doubt he’s a very good player and the LeBron/Kyrie Irving/Love trio will be dangerous….
But I’ve always thought Love was a tad overrated and I’m leery of players on bad teams who pad their stats in meaningless games….
James Harden has made a career of piling up big numbers against bad teams, then vanishing in the playoffs….
And I get the same feeling about Love….
Despite several years in the NBA, Love’s teams have never made the playoffs; which isn’t a good sign if you’re supposedly a great player….
And unlike Wiggins, who is an excellent defender, Love doesn’t play defense….
The biggest reason the Cavs shouldn’t make this trade, besides Wiggins tremendous upside, is they already have a quality PF in Bennett….
Last season, the overall #1 pick had tonsillitis, pre-season shoulder surgery and had to play for Mike Brown; three strikes against him right away….
But this summer he showed up 30 lbs. lighter for the Las Vegas summer league and looked like the dominant player he was at UNLV….
So why make a deal for Love if you have a superstar talent in Wiggins and a quality PF in Bennett?….
It’s because LeBron wants him….
And LBJ signing only a two year deal essentially made him the Owner, President, GM and head coach….
Now we’ll see what kind of personnel guy he is….
Based on this bad trade, I say he’s venturing into Michael Jordan land….
One of the funniest things I heard over the weekend was a radio host describe working for Donald T. Sterling in the past: “I knew he was a bad guy and I knew he was strange,” he said. “But I never knew he was a racist until I heard that tape.”….
This is complete nonsense, of course, because The Donald’s racism has been common knowledge for decades….
I’ve been covering the NBA for 20 years and can assure you that anyone close to the game knew full well that Sterling was a bigot and a racist slumlord. Anyone saying they didn’t know is either lying or embarrassed they didn’t speak out years ago….
Back in 2006, when the facts came out regarding the Federal Government’s housing discrimination lawsuit against Sterling, I went on the air every day and called for David Stern to remove The Donald as owner and kick him out of the NBA….
I also called for black and Hispanic fans to boycott the Clippers until Sterling sold the team….
If you can take the Cincinnati Reds away from Marge Schott for collecting Nazi paraphernalia, how can you allow Sterling to remain in control after instructing his building managers not to rent to minorities and saying “black people smell and attract vermin” and “all Mexicans do is sit around and drink beer all day?”
Unfortunately, David Stern not only did nothing to punish The Donald, he enabled him and did everything in his power to help him succeed….
This was big news all over the world, but especially huge in Los Angeles; the center of The Donald’s bigotry regarding housing discrimination….
And the two settlements Sterling was forced to pay out are the largest Housing Discrimination settlements in American history….
Anybody saying they weren’t aware of Sterling’s racism, especially if they were around the NBA or worked for The Donald, isn’t telling you the truth….
Which brings me to Chris Paul and Doc Rivers….
The other day, during Sterling’s civil trial against the NBA, new Clippers CEO Dick Parsons testified that Rivers told him he would not coach the team if The Donald were still there next season….
CP3 said he had a huge problem with Sterling continuing to own the Clippers and “something had better be done soon, very soon.” Followed by a threat that he would not play if DTS were still around….
In my opinion Rivers and Paul are hypocrites, because they agreed to become Clippers knowing damn well Donald T was a racist….
A year ago, CP3 signed a 5 year, $107M contract from Sterling, followed by him tweeting that “God is good, I’m blessed. Clipper nation.”….
Funny how the Federal lawsuits for housing discrimination didn’t bother CP3 before he took the $107M….
And funny how Sterling taking his bimbos into the locker room to stare at Elton Brand, Sam Cassell, Olden Polynice and Corey Maggette in the shower, while saying “Look at those beautiful black bodies” didn’t seem to bother Chris either….
And how about The Donald sitting courtside and screaming “What am I paying you for, fat boy”
at Baron Davis during games?….
Evidently CP3 had no problem with any of this….
Until he signed that fat contract….
And the same could be said for Rivers, who has been in the NBA since 1983. It’s impossible he didn’t know the kind of person Sterling was before signing a rich contract to be the head coach and President of Basketball Operations….
Both CP3 and Rivers are smart, educated and veterans of the NBA; so for them to suddenly have a Come to Jesus moment over the V Stiviano tape is absurd….
They both knew Sterling was a vile human being with a long history of racism, so why didn’t they announce they would never work for him and refuse to come here?….
Why didn’t CP3 refuse to report to the Clippers when he was traded and why didn’t Rivers hang up the phone when Sterling called with an offer to run his organization?….
The reason, as always, is money….
And for CP3 and Rivers to miraculously discover now that The Donald is a racist, after of decades of vile behavior, is the height of hypocrisy….
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….
You gotta love the passion of fans, who love their players so much that logic goes out the window. Clayton Kershaw is having another outstanding season for the Dodgers. And lost in the Kershaw love is the fact that Seattle’s Felix Hernandez is posting similar numbers. I was having a debate about “who would you […]
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 […]