Tag Archives: Sports

Belichick

First of all, I think the replay showed a first down. The official who spotted the ball did not have the best angle to make the call and he had a defender in his way to boot. If they make that first down, game over.

On the other hand, if you punt the ball to Peyton Manning with two minutes left at home, up by less than a touchdown, you are largely conceding the game. If anyone thinks that Peyton doesn’t march the team down the field and score you’re nuts.

I think we should be celebrating greatness or at least the pursuit of it. Instead, the status quo rules again. The same people who line up to criticize Belichick for “running up the score” will now appear in droves to say that it was a horrible call and finally we have proof that Bill Belichick is a big meanie and no longer a “genius”.

The decision to go for the first down shows several things. One, supreme confidence in his football team. Obviously, if they make the first down, Bill’s genius nearly doubles in size. He would have been heralded by the media, the fans and the Patriots players (past and present) alike. (yea Rodney Harrison, I’m looking at you, Mr. Declarative Statement) He would have won the game.

Two, Bill Belichick is very secure in his job. The vast majority of coaches in the NFL would never let that decision cross their minds because they are afraid of losing their paychecks. His job is secure. He went for the win. He lost the game. Moving on next week to the Jets.

Three, they made a good play call, completed the pass, and had a questionable spot dictate the end of the game. It was a matter of inches at the most. It’s not like they fumbled the snap or scrambled and threw it away. The play could not have been closer.

If you’re a Belichick hater and you want to criticize him, criticize him for time and replay management. Bill is usually one of the best in the NFL at clock management, yet Brady is calling a timeout to go over a play they just had several minutes to discuss? Why were there not several options? What exactly happened there? The circumstances are pretty specific… An official’s review of a play only occurs “within” two minutes. The time on the clock when the attempted conversion failed, two minutes. The Patriots had no time outs and were unable to initiate a video review of the spot. By the time the Patriots had a replay they wanted to challenge, they had burned 3 timeouts. They had stopped scoring every drive. They had given Peyton Manning all the time he needed to engineer a comeback. When you’re playing a team like the Colts and you have them on the ground, step on their necks. Double tap them, if you will. You can’t allow them to zombie their way to a 6 point deficit with two minutes remaining. If you’re looking for a point to criticize Belichick on, let’s talk about the play call on 3rd and 2. If you’re going to go for it on 4th anyway, why force an out to a very well covered Wes Welker? A bubble screen to Welker on 3rd and 2, great call. An off tackle or stretch run with a spread formation, great call. A timing route that was nearly picked off and returned for a touchdown? Why that Bill? Why not chip away half of the distance or even convert right there with a play call that has more factors involved than a receivers hand’s being at the same spot the ball is (and the defender’s not). A simple out route is a great play call if the defender is playing off, but if it’s tight man coverage and he even suspects it for a second he can jump the route and break up the pass. (or worse) A play involving team blocking and a runners ability minimizes risk of breakdown. There’s a good chance you gain at least half the distance you require even if the play was less than successful, setting up a quick snap QB sneak, or a run up the face of the D or a play action pass. Or something other than a two yard pass. Because at that point, in a 4th and 2 situation, the other team’s defense is really, really focused on Wes Welker, the tight end and Kevin Faulk. Like, really, really focused. In 4th and 1 or less, they have to account for Welker and Faulk, the TE, the run play, the play action pass, the QB sneak, the fade to Moss, the deep ball… all of it. It just seemed to me like the Patriots fumbled the end of that game. By fumbled I mean clock management and play calling. The coaches department. The players, for the most part, executed what they were asked to. If you’re going to criticize the head coach, dig a little deeper than the 4th and two.

The thing that cracks me up (oh, I’m not laughing) is the swell of fans and media calling it a bad call. Ok, sure. It didn’t work out. But the Patriots have converted over 70% of their 4th down conversions this season. The move showed balls the size of hippity hops. He believes in his offense and he knows what happens if Manning gets the ball back. The Patriots defense was able to do little more than surprise and trip up the Colts offense. On a long enough time line you run out of surprises for Manning, In fact, when the Colts stopped trying to run the ball and became as Manning later said more “one dimensional” they started moving the ball and scoring nearly at will. Not to go all Ayn Rand on you but I appreciate the boldness. I want the coach of my football team to have the freedom to make bold decisions. I am tired of panels and committee’s deciding our fates. Here’s a guy who has earned the right to make a decision. It’s so rare that we allow one man to do anything anymore. Everyone has to agree and compromise on everything and a singular vision gets blurred and sidetracked. Yet here we have a guy who’s sole desire is to improve his football team and win football games and people line up to tear him down. He made the call, they failed. They lost the game. Life moves on. Jets next week, division game, try to do better every minute.

When Shanahan went for two to win the game last season, he was a genius. When Belichick went for a 1st down vs Atlanta this season, on his own 24 yard line, he was lauded for the decision. When Belichick has his long snapper snap the ball through the uprights vs Denver in 2003, he was brilliant. When coaches make very bold decisions and they succeed, the masses trip over themselves to celebrate their guts, their confidence, their brilliance.

But you can’t have it both ways. You either support a decision or you don’t. You can’t just wait for the results to come in and decide then, with the benefit of hindsight, whether a good decision was made or not. A coach has to make decision’s based on a litany of factors, all within a very finite amount of time. The vast majority of the time NFL coaches go the safe route, the conservative approach. The vast majority of the time, a coach will call the prevent defense instead of blitzing, punt the ball instead of going for the first down. Often these conservative approaches produce head shaking and frustration among the fans. Going for the win is glorious. Coming up an inch short, considerably less glory. But before you know what the outcome is, you have to decide.

At that point in the game, if the Patriots convert the first down, they have won the game.

But they didn’t, and they lost the game. Would he do it again, in the playoffs? Let’s hope we have a chance to see. Because say what you want, that was an awesome football game.

I hope the Pats win next week by a hundred.

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Filed under Ayn Rand, Bill Belichick, Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, NFL, Peyton Manning, Sports, Tom Brady, Zombieland

Is this thing on?

Sammy “I don’t speaka the english” Sosa. HE TOOK STEROIDS!

What a shock. What a surprise. What a joke.

Here’s what Sammy said when he was dragged in front of Congress. Or rather, what Sammy’s lawyer said when he was dragged in front of congress. “To be clear, I have never taken illegal performance-enhancing drugs.” For the sake of this conversation, let’s say Sammy actually wrote that and was unable to articulate it in American English.

Seems pretty clear to me, right? In fact, he even prefaced it by saying, “to be clear”
Crystal clear even. Except it’s not…

Steroids are legal in the Dominican Republic. So, by saying he has never taken “illegal” performance enhancing drugs, he was essentially saying, I took steroids in the Dominican Republic, where they are not considered illegal.

The best part is? No one cares. The media (espn) still gets all drummed up for it, they trot out Gammons and Olney to rehash “The List”, why it exists, why no one will be punished for it and what the players chances are for the hall of fame. The story shows up on the web, is featured for a day, and disappears.

The funny thing is, was there a baseball fan who hadn’t already figured out Sammy was on the roids? Seriously, show me one fan who thought Sammy played the game clean. One guy.

He was the poster boy for the steroid era. Still is, in my opinion. Bonds was potentially the best player in baseball before the drugs. Mark McGwire was a giant man from day one. He was always a home run hitter with a huge frame. Roger Clemens had won 3 Cy Young awards, struck out over 200 batters 8 times (including his 1988 campaign with 291) and won over 20 games 3 times.

Sammy Sosa? A skinny, speedy player with no home run power and zero plate discipline. His only full season before signing with the Cubs, 1990, he hit 10 triples and 15 home runs. His first full season with the Cubs he hit 33. Then 25 (in 105 games), 36, 40, 36, 66, 63, 50, 64, 49…

His eyes bugged out of his head. His neck was the size of a large man’s thigh. He had tendons and veins that bulged when he was at rest.

Barry could have hit 600 without the juice. Sammy? He could have been out of baseball by 1999.

Sammy’s thoughts on the matter?

“I will calmly wait for my induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Don’t I have the numbers to be inducted?”

Atta boy Sammy.

The recent flap over the payment of the Lakers Championship Parade is the kind of thing that brings out my inner Lewis Black. California is 26 BILLION DOLLARS in the red. Yet for a half of a day, CNN ran a story on their 30 minute loop about “Who’s paying for the Lakers victory parade” Complete with an appearance from city congressman “I love the media and hate Latinos
” Bernie Parks, the story was teased by the anchor twice before it’s actual running, both times acting like it was potentially some travesty that may be occurring.

Most of the parade was payed for by the Lakers and “private donors”

So it was a non story.

The Lakers presence in Los Angeles brings countless millions of dollars of “revenue” (taxes) to the city and state every year. Parking taxes, hotel taxes, income taxes, gate receipt taxes, taxes on fuel used to drive to games, taxes on meals eaten in restaurants before and after (and during) games, taxes on drinks, taxes on income derived through the advertising money spent sponsoring the Lakers and their broadcast. The list of revenue streams the Los Angeles Lakers create for their local community is long and strong.

So it’s a non story.

But the bill for the parade would have cost the city one million dollars. (I’m not sure why, it costs 20,000 dollars a day to rent the coliseum), (which the city, county and state owns), streets are free and those double decker buses are cheap. But money was spent.

And the state is 26 BILLION DOLLARS IN THE HOLE. A dozen minutes an hour were given to the state of California’s budget situation on a national news network and it was over a million bucks? That had already been covered by “private donors”? What about the other 25,999,000,000 dollars? Where is that money? Why are we not talking about the fact that Sacramento hasn’t been able to run the world’s 8th biggest economy for decades?

But Kobe has a huge Q rating. And the Lakers are sexy. And a million bucks sounds like a lot.

So it was a story.

Rafael Nadal (knee) has pulled out of Wimbledon, depriving us of a rematch from last years finals.

My guess is Stallworth’s “indefinite” suspension will be one year.

Manny Ramirez begins his minor league assignment on Tuesday.

Game ball goes to the Recording Industry Association of America. Gouging customers and artists for decades wasn’t enough. Refusing to adjust an obsolete business model wasn’t enough. Now, they have successfully sued a Minnesota woman for 1.92 million dollars. for being connected to Kazaa in 2005.

Nice job fellas. You sure showed her. You’ve financially ruined a mother of four. Must feel nice to achieve such a clear “victory” in the war against the pirates. Your families must be very proud.

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Filed under Barry Bonds, Bernard Parks, Los Angeles Lakers, Manny Ramirez, Mark McGwire, MLB, NBA, RIAA, Sammy Sosa, Sports, Stallworth, Steroids