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Andy Reid and Kyle Shanahan
[Posted Wed. a.m.]
NCAA Basketball Quiz: Chances are San Diego State (23-0, 12-0) isn’t going to enter the NCAA tournament still undefeated, with six regular season games left (next one Sat.), and then the Mountain West championship, but, anyway...name the last four teams to enter the NCAAs undefeated. Answer below.
Super Bowl, final thoughts....
--Kansas City Coach Andy Reid no longer has to hear about having won more games than any coach (221 before Sunday) without a Super Bowl title. No longer has to worry about his inability to win the big game, after going 1-4 in conference title contests during 14 seasons in Philadelphia, after losing the Super Bowl to the Patriots in the 2004 season.
Nor does he have to worry about a history of poor clock management.
His first playoff game with Kansas City in which the Chiefs blew a 28-point lead in a 45-44 loss to the Colts, the second-biggest playoff comeback in NFL playoff history.
The home wild-card playoff loss to the Titans when the Chiefs took a 21-10 lead into the fourth quarter and lost 22-21 in 2017.
But not now...he’s a Super Bowl champion.
Of course he can thank Patrick Mahomes for this last bit.
The 49ers were having their way with K.C., 7:17 left in the fourth quarter, up 21-10. But then Mahomes found wide receiver Tyreek Hill wide open for 44 yards down the field. A few plays later, Mahomes threw a strike to Travis Kelce for a one-yard touchdown cutting the lead to three.
After a way-too-quick three and out by the 49ers, Mahomes completed five straight passes, including a 38-yarder to Sammy Watkins, and the 5-yard TD pass to Damien Williams, giving the Chiefs a 24-20 lead, and we know how it ended, the 38-yard run by Williams.
So Patrick Mahomes, in essentially two seasons (he had one start as a rookie in 2017), has a won-loss record, including the playoffs, of 28-8, with 89 touchdown passes and just 20 interceptions. As Larry David would say, ‘pretty, pretty good...’
Oh, and he was NFL MVP in 2018, and now Super Bowl MVP.
Mahomes has accomplished more in two seasons than most great quarterbacks achieve in an entire career.
Then there’s Kyle Shanahan....
Bad enough his clock management at the end of the first half was atrocious, leaving two timeouts in his pocket and costing his team a chance at the halftime lead....
--Jerry Brewer / Washington Post
“If you’re wondering where the San Francisco 49ers go from here, look at Joe Staley and press pause on the speculation. Later Sunday night, the 35-year-old left tackle emerged from the locker room with puffy eyes and a red nose. He spoke as if his tongue had to win a tug-of-war battle for each word.
“Staley apologized for his emotions, but he could not control them. For all of the 49ers, it will be a long offseason of regret and sorrow that, somehow, they must get past to avoid becoming another oh-so-close super Bowl loser with a monster hangover.
“ ‘Yeah, I’m sorry,’ Staley said. ‘This is super disappointing. This is very hard being in this moment right now. You put your heart and soul and whole entire life into trying to be a Super Bowl champion, and you get towards the end of your career, and you realize how rare these opportunities are. Emotions are still raw and real for me right now.’
“Staley’s words frame the new challenge for Coach Kyle Shanahan, the 40-year-old offensive whiz kid who was one quarter from becoming the third-youngest head coach to win a Super bowl before suffering the second collapse of his career in the title game. It’s no longer about designing and calling pretty plays. It’s no longer about flaunting his clairvoyance to officials in calling out penalties before they happen. Shanahan has to help his team, still young and rising, heal properly from this devastation. And the coach must do it as a flawed and vulnerable leader.
“Shanahan has had the strangest meteoric rise. Despite accomplishing so much at such a young age, his brief career has had some high-profile failures to balance out the successes. He came into Super Bowl LIV trying to shed the disappointment of 28-3, which was the lead Atlanta blew in a 34-28 overtime loss to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI. Shanahan was the offensive coordinator for the Falcons, and he was criticized heavily for continuing to pass rather than running the football – thus using more clock – in that game.
“The Falcons led 28-9 at the start of the fourth quarter three years ago. The Patriots’ comeback became the largest fourth-quarter rally in NFL playoff history; no team had won a postseason game when trailing by 17 or more points entering the final quarter. Now Shanahan must add the failure to hold another double-digit fourth-quarter lead, this time 20-10, to his list of setbacks. After the Atlanta heartbreaker, he left to become the head coach in San Francisco and didn’t experience the fallout. But as a head coach going nowhere, Shanahan will feel all of this pain up close.”
--As Matt Youmans of the Los Angeles Times noted, “Bookmakers from coast to coast were set up for a super-size win before Mahomes passed for two touchdowns in the final 6 ½ minutes to lift Kansas City to a 31-20 victory over San Francisco. The Chiefs closed as one-point favorites, and the Over/Under was 53.”
“ ‘Our best-case scenario was the 49ers and under the total,’ said Jay Kornegay, vice president at Westgate SuperBook. ‘We got teased by the 49ers. It could have been a monster day. But the 49ers blew it.”
Prop betting, though, has become about 50% of the game’s handle at most sportsbooks and we had a situation with Mahomes and rushing yards. The Over/Under opened at 28 ½ and was bet as high as 38 ½ at some books. Mahomes was sitting on 44 rushing yards with a minute to play before kneeling for losses of five, three and seven yards on three plays to finish with 29 yards.
“That was brutal,” said Nick Bogdanovich, William Hill sportsbook director. “It’s one thing if he takes a loss for a couple of yards, but 15? It was incredible. There was a ton of action on that prop too. The sharps (professional bettors) were all on the Under, and the public kept betting it Over.”
One sportsbook in New Jersey, PointsBet, opted to refund all wagers on Mahomes over 30 ½ rushing yards. There were no refunds from William Hill, which took more money on Mahomes’ rushing yards than on any other prop in the game.
Tuesday, Nevada released their official figures, with gamblers in the state wagering $154.7 million on the Super Bowl, an increase from last year but still below the high set in 2018.
New Jersey’s casinos and horse tracks took in $54.2 million, up from $34.8 million.
--Including digital platforms and its Spanish-language channel, the Fox network had 102 million viewers for the Super Bowl, 99.9 million on Fox television, according to Nielsen, slightly above the 98.2 million viewers watching on CBS last year.
The most-watched Super Bowl ever was in 2015 when the Patriots held off the Seahawks 28-24. That NBC telecast was viewed by 114.4 million viewers.
--The Hulu Super Bowl commercial with Tom Brady walking onto an empty field at his home stadium, intoning, “They say all good things must come to an end,” had you thinking he was about to announce he is hanging it up after nearly two decades in the league.
But then Brady pivots and launches into a pitch about Hulu + Live TV, and at the end of the spot, Brady talks about how it is time to say goodbye to TV as we know it. His final words: “But me? I’m not going anywhere.”
There’s a story the Pats and Brady are working on a one-year, $30 million contract.
--We note the passing of Hall of Fame defensive back Willie Wood, who died Monday at the age of 83. He had been suffering from advanced stage dementia and confined to assisted living facilities for the past 13 years.
Wood was the first African American quarterback to play in what is now considered the Pac-12 as a captain of USC’s 1959 football team.
But it was in 1957 that he split time at quarterback for USC during a miserable 1-9 season. His true calling was at safety, however, leading the Trojans in 1959 with five interceptions.
Wood was undrafted, but scooped up as a free agent by Green Bay, where he would play for 12 years, earn eight Pro Bowl invites, and win both of the first two Super Bowls.
Wood had played quarterback for an all-black high school in Washington, and then in junior college, before transferring to USC. Fellow Trojans captain and Hall of Famer Ron Mix said in a 2007 interview with the Los Angeles Times that Wood dealt with racism on many fronts, including receiving racist literature in the mail and being excluded from certain alumni events.
When Wood left USC and was ignored in the draft, he wrote letters to head coaches, in hopes of earning a free-agent tryout and only Vince Lombardi answered. He’d then go on to start 150 games for the Packers.
But soon after being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1989, Wood began to experience health issue stemming from all the hits delivered over the years, Wood having several major back and neck surgeries, before being diagnosed with dementia in 2006.
New AP Poll (records thru Sunday)
1. Baylor (49) 19-1
2. Gonzaga (15) 23-1
3. Kansas (1) 18-3
4. San Diego State 23-0
5. Louisville 19-3
6. Dayton 20-2...one team I haven’t watched
7. Duke 18-3
8. Florida State 18-3
9. Maryland 17-4...up six
10. Villanova 17-4
11. Auburn 19-2...up six
12. Seton Hall 16-5
21. Creighton 17-5...up five
22. Penn State 16-5
24. Colorado 17-5
No big upsets Monday or Tuesday. No. 11 Auburn, however, needed overtime to take down Arkansas on the road last night, 79-76, while 22 Penn State beat 16 Michigan State in East Lansing, 75-70.
Rutgers fell to 16-7, 7-5, losing to 9 Maryland (18-4, 8-3) 56-51 in College Park.
--In the first matchup between Giannis Antetokounmpo and Zion Williamson last night, the Bucks (43-7) beat the Pelicans (20-31) 120-108. Giannis had 34 points and 17 rebounds, while Zion had 20 and 7, though he was just 5 of 19 from the field.
--Trade deadline is Thursday...and the Knicks have an attractive piece for just about any playoff team, forward Marcus Morris (19.6 ppg, 5.4 reb., career-high 43.9% from three), but the price will be high.
The Knicks are actually a centerpiece of the trade market, as now their other forward, Julius Randle (18.9 ppg., 9.5 reb.) is said to be in the conversation, while the Knicks are looking at Warriors guard D’Angelo Russell.
Tuesday, though, the Knicks fired team president Steve Mills, who has been with the organization for much of the last two decades; the Knicks on their way to a seventh consecutive season without making the playoffs.
This rolling disaster is not going to improve until owner James Dolan sells the team.
--Tuesday night, we had a massive four-team trade that resulted in all of the following:
Swingman Robert Covington being traded from Minnesota to Houston.
Center Clint Capela going from Houston to Atlanta.
Malik Beaslety, Juan Hernangomez and Jarred Vanderbilt going from Denver to Minnesota.
Then Timberwolves getting a first-round pick from the Hawks (via the Nets); and the Nuggets receiving a first from the Rockets.
There were other bit player involved, 12 players in all.
--The Red Sox did it, trading Mookie Betts to the Dodgers, as well as starter David Price, with outfielder Alex Vertugo the centerpiece of the package headed back to Boston.
L.A. also sent outfielder Joc Pederson to the Angels for infielder Luis Rengifo; Pederson hitting .249 with 36 home runs and 74 RBIs last season for the Dodgers. Like Betts, he is a free agent after this season.
And the Dodgers sent pitcher Kenta Maeda to the Twins, who then sent a top pitching prospect to Boston.
Joel Sherman / New York Post
“The Yankees bought Gerrit Cole – no worse than the second- or third-best pitcher in the world – and lost nothing devastating from a 103-win team. Now, the Dodgers have obtained Mookie Betts – no worse than the second- or third-best player in the world – and have taken few meaningful hits from a 106-win roster.
“So if you are doing winners and losers this offseason, think about Fox Sports, which might just get the first Yankees-Dodgers World Series since 1981.
“Yep, there is a long way from here to there, and how often do the overdogs fulfill their promise? But the coastal superpowers made the biggest scores of winter, adding prime-aged superstars to already stacked teams. The Yankees acted quickly by outbidding the Dodgers for Cole at the winter meetings. It took the rest of the offseason for Los Angeles to land its difference-maker, but Betts is no consolation prize.
“The 2018 AL MVP will probably play in right next to the 2019 NL MVP Cody Bellinger in center. They will headline a dynamic lineup and elite defense, especially in the outfield. And the Dodgers obtained Betts and David Price without suffering a massive hit to their payroll or future, so this was a brilliant maneuver by a franchise that has won seven straight NL West titles, but no World Series since 1988.”
--Meanwhile, there is a story the Yankees could be in the market for Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant. As a local writer put it, on the heels of the team getting Gerrit Cole, “Why not make it a full go ‘eff you’ offseason,” GM Brian Cashman...cuz that’s what it would indeed be. The Yankees have young talent, including Miguel Andujar, that could be attractive to the Cubbies.
--The Astros hired James Click as their general manager, the 42-year-old having been an executive with the Tampa Bay Rays for the last 14 seasons. Click succeeds Jeff Luhnow, who was suspended by MLB in the wake of the sign-stealing scam and then fired by the Astros, along with manager AJ Hinch.
--But the biggest story of the week, at least in the New York area, is the report from the New York Post that Steve Cohen’s $2.6 billion bid to buy the Mets could be dead.
The billionaire hedge fund manager is ending negotiations with the Wilpons on his purchase of an 80 percent stake in the franchise. According to sources, Cohen is deeply unhappy with the Wilpons apparently changing the terms of the deal at a very late stage and has decided to walk away.
When word broke that the deal could be off on Tuesday, the Mets offered a strangely worded no-denial.
“The parties are subject to confidentiality obligations, including a mutual non-disclosure agreement, and therefore cannot comment.”
This is incredibly depressing for us Mets fans.
--The golfing world still can’t believe how the immensely talented Tony Finau is failing to close the deal. He has six runner-up finishes since his lone victory at the Puerto Rico Open, five top 10s in the last eight majors and has been in the world’s top 15 for the better part of two years.
--As for the guy who won the Waste Management Phoenix Open, Webb Simpson, I get a kick out of looking at the guy. Compared to hulks like Brooks Koepka, the Webber sure doesn’t look like he’s ever lifted a weight. I’m guessing the PGA Tour could really skip drug-testing him.
But then I read a piece by Brian Wacker of Golfworld and it turns out Simpson hired a trainer three years ago in an effort to keep up with the big boys, at least when it comes to driving the ball.
Well what the heck did the trainer and Webb do? He looks the same to me.
Turns out it was all about increasing his clubhead speed, and Simpson has, while maintaining his accuracy. He was 44th in driving distance this week, at an average of 303.4 yards, but also third in fairways hit, fourth in greens in regulation.
Seems all the training was just geared towards flexibility.
Going back to the middle of last summer, over his last 12 starts, Simpson has seven top 10s, including four runner-up finishes, and nothing worse than T30.
--Men’s Division I Hockey Rankings....
1. North Dakota (49)
3. Minnesota State (1)
4. Boston College
6. Minnesota Duluth
9. Penn State
11. Arizona State...so cool they’ve carved out a top program, and as an independent.
--There was only one women’s Alpine World Cup race last weekend, a super G event in Russia. I looked at the results and saw that Mikaela Shiffrin didn’t participate. I just figured she took the weekend off.
Monday, though, we learned of a tragedy in the family. Her father, Jeff, 65, died unexpectedly from an “accident at his home” in Edwards, Colo., on Sunday. Shiffrin was transported to a Denver-area hospital and was surrounded by family during his final hours, including his wife, Eileen, and Mikaela. Mom travels the circuit with her daughter and they both rushed home from Europe. Jeff took care of things on the home front, but when he was overseas, he liked to take photographs of his daughter and the other racers.
Mikaela issued a statement on Twitter.
“My family is heartbroken beyond comprehension about the unexpected passing of my kindhearted, loving, caring, patient, wonderful father. Our mountains, our ocean, our sunrise, our heart, our soul, our everything. He taught us so many valuable lessons...
“But above everything else, he taught us the golden rule: be nice, think first. This is something I will carry with me forever. He was the firm foundation of our family and we miss him terribly...”
There is no word when Mikaela will return to the World Cup circuit. Our thoughts and prayers to her and the Shiffrin family.
Top 3 songs for the week 2/3/68: #1 “Green Tambourine” (The Lemon Pipers...I used the intro in my early radio commercials...long process to get the approval, by the way....) #2 “Judy In Disguise” (John Fred & His Playboy Band) #3 “Chain Of Fools” (Aretha Franklin)...and...#4 “Spooky” (Classics IV) #5 “Bend Me, Shape Me” (The American Breed) #6 “Woman, Woman” ( The Union Gap featuring Gary Puckett) #7 “Love Is Blue” (Paul Mauriat) #8 “Nobody But Me” (The Human Beinz) #9 “Goin’ Out Of My Head / Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” (The Lettermen) #10 “I Wish It Would Rain” (The Temptations...another outstanding week... ‘A-’...)
NCAA Basketball Quiz Answer: Last four teams to enter the NCAA tournament undefeated....
1979 – Indiana State, 29-0 regular season, lost in NCAA title game to Michigan State, ending up 33-1.
1991 – UNLV, 30-0, lost in Final Four to eventual champion Duke, finishing 34-1.
2014 – Wichita State, 34-0, lost to Kentucky in Round of 32, finishing 35-1.
2015 – Kentucky, 34-0, lost to Wisconsin in Final Four, finishing 38-1.
*In 1979, Alcorn State finished the regular season 27-0, but was not invited to the NCAA tournament, and instead lost in the second round of the NIT (back when the NIT was a lot of fun; used to go every year as a kid).
In 2004, Saint Joseph’s was 27-0, but then lost in the quarters of the A-10 tournament.
Of course every hoops fan should know that the last undefeated national champion was Indiana in 1976.
Next Bar Chat, Monday.