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Brian Flores Rocks the NFL
Add-On posted early Wed. a.m.
--New AP Top 25 (records a/o Sunday)
1. Auburn (48) 22-1
2. Gonzaga (13) 19-2
3. Purdue 20-3
4. Arizona 19-2
5. Kentucky 19-4
6. Houston 20-2
7. Duke 19-3
8. Kansas 19-3
9. Texas Tech 18-5
10. Baylor 19-4
11. Providence 20-2…very cool
12. UCLA 16-4…down nine after lost weekend in the AZ desert…the graveyard of Empires…or am I mixing up my history…
13. Illinois 17-5
14. Wisconsin 18-4
15. Villanova 17-6
16. Ohio State 14-5
17. Michigan State 17-5
18. Marquette 16-7
19. Tennessee 16-6
20. Texas 17-6
21. USC 19-4
22. Saint Mary’s 19-4
23. Murray State 22-2…first time in AP poll since 2015
24. UConn 15-6
25. Xavier 16-6
I should have followed Murray State for a second time this year, rather than St. Bonaventure. But as Tony Soprano would have remarked, ‘Whaddya gonna do?’
Wake Forest would be No. 31 if you carry out the votes. They are actually No. 25 in the Coaches poll.
Auburn has won 19 straight since its lone loss to UConn in double overtime in Connecticut in November.
Sorry, Auburn fans, but I’ve never been a fan of Bruce Pearl.
--But then Monday night, Virginia (15-9, 9-5) pulled off a badly needed upset of 7 Duke (19-4, 9-3), 69-68 in Cameron Indoor Stadium, Reece Beekman with a 3-pointer with just 1.1 seconds left.
After singing his praises the past few weeks, Duke freshman A.J. Griffin went a whopping 1-of-7 from the field Monday for two points.
Tuesday night, North Carolina took on Clemson on the road and escaped with a 79-77 victory, the Tar Heels 17-7. 9-4.
So the ACC standings through Tuesday’s play:
Notre Dame 9-3
Wake Forest 9-4
North Carolina 9-4
It's possible only four of these teams make the tourney, maybe five, so each game the rest of the way is super critical, Duke literally being the only sure thing.
Also Tuesday, 1 Auburn went down! falling to Arkansas (19-5, 8-3) 80-76 in overtime down in Fayetteville.
5 Kentucky (20-4, 9-2) beat South Carolina (13-10, 4-7), 86-76.
3 Purdue (21-3, 10-3) whipped 13 Illinois (17-6, 10-3), 84-68.
--Unbelievably, the Brooklyn Nets are 29-25, losers of nine-in-a-row, after getting drilled at home Tuesday by the Celtics (31-25), 126-91. No Kevin Durant, No James Harden, No Kyrie Irving.
The NBA trade deadline is 3 p.m. on Thursday. Is Harden gone?
--The Knicks (24-31) have now lost 10 of 12, falling Tuesday in Denver, 132-115.
As in New York hoops fans are in a deep state of depression, following yet another depressing football season.
Yup, it’s just been a real barrel of monkeys around here these days.
--The Portland Trail Blazers broke up their standout guard duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum by trading McCollum to the New Orleans Pelicans in a mega-player / draft pick deal.
The Pelicans, still without Zion Williamson, are nonetheless in position for the play-in round.
Commissioner Roger Goodell is breathing a big sigh of relief after Monday’s developments on the coaching vacancy front.
The Houston Texans hired Lovie Smith to be their next head coach. He had been Houston’s associate head coach and defensive coordinator this past season.
Smith, 63, has an extensive record as an NFL head coach, 89-87 with Chicago (2004-2012) and Tampa Bay (2014-15). He took the Bears to the 2006 Super Bowl, where they lost to Tony Dungy, Peyton Manning and the Colts.
So Lovie becomes the fifth minority head coach, joining Mike McDaniel, the Jets’ Robert Saleh, the Steelers’ Mike Tomlin, and the Red Clouds’ Ron Rivera. [You really think I’m going to use the name Commanders next season?]
But Brian Flores’ attorneys, Douglas Wigdor and John Elefterakis, just shot themselves, and their client, in the foot with a bitter statement after the hiring of Smith.
“Mr. Flores is happy to hear that the Texans have hired a Black head coach, Lovie Smith, as Mr. Flores’ goal in bringing his case is to provide real opportunities for Black and minority candidates to be considered for coaching and executive positions within the NFL.”
OK, fair statement. You guys should have stopped there. But nooo…..
“However, we would be remiss not to mention that Mr. Flores was one of three finalists for the Texans’ head coach position and, after a great interview and mutual interest, it is obvious that the only reason Mr. Flores was not selected was his decision to stand up against racial inequality across the NFL.”
Wrong. And you just lost any support in the general public you may have had…at least among casual fans.
I’m guessing the two attorneys and Flores are looking for like a $50 million settlement from the NFL, Flores getting $30 million, the two dirtball lawyers $10 million apiece.
Flores no longer has my sympathy.
Roger Goodell is holding his annual ‘State of the League’ presser today.
Back to Lovie Smith, he’s in a no-win situation and will last two years, max. Houston is a mess.
Earlier, the Dolphins agreed to a deal with San Francisco offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel to make him their next head coach.
McDaniel, just 38, gets his first head-coaching job at any level after spending 15 years in the NFL and two in the UFL. He spent one season as the 49ers’ OC after being promoted in January 2021. In that season, San Fran had the league’s seventh-best offense in terms of yards per game and produced an All-Pro in wide receiver Deebo Samuel.
McDaniel identifies himself as biracial.
Lastly, the Saints promoted defensive coordinator Dennis Allen to head coach, replacing Sean Payton.
[Since my last post…somewhat chronological…]
--Swiss skier Beat Feuz, one of the better downhillers in recent memory, captured the gold on Monday, the one major victory that had eluded him. Feuz finished just 0.10 seconds ahead of 41-year-old Johan Clarey of France.
Feuz won a silver medal in super-G and bronze in downhill at the 2018 Olympics and is the four-time reigning World Cup downhill champion. I didn’t realize he holds the career record for most World Cup podium finishes in the event at 45.
So if you’re thinking ‘41-year-old’ takes second?! Turns out Clarey became the oldest man to win an Olympic medal in Alpine skiing. Bode Miller was the previous oldest at 36 when he took the bronze in super-G in 2014.
Two-time Olympic champion Matthias Mayer of Austria took the bronze.
The top American, Ryan Cochran-Siegle (“RCS”), was 14th. Bryce Bennett, the top American downhiller this season, was 19th.
Matthias Mayer then won the super-G, the third gold medal of his career.
But the shocker in this one was “RCS”, 29 and with only one World Cup win to his career, captured silver. He is the son of American Gold Medal winner Barbara Cochran, who just the other day I noted won the slalom at the 1972 Winter Games, almost 50 years to the day.
--Going back to the women’s giant slalom that Mikaela Shiffrin exited after just 11 seconds of her first run on Monday, USA teammate Nina O’Brien suffered compound fractures of her left tibia and fibula, according to the team, after crashing in the same event. O’Brien, 24, underwent an initial stabilization procedure at a hospital in Beijing, and will return to the United States for further treatment and rehabilitation.
In an Instagram post she shared Tuesday, O’Brien said, “I’ll get the rest fixed at home, but for now I’m in great hands.”
Sweden’s Sara Hector ended up capturing gold in the GS for her first individual victory at a major championship, as so often happens in the Olympics.
Federica Brignone of Italy took the silver, while Lara Gut-Behrami of Switzerland was third. Both Brignone and Gut-Behrami added to bronze medals they won at the 2018 and 2014 Games, respectively.
For Hector, however, in four races across two previous trips to the Olympics, she had never fared better than 10th place.
But she won two weeks ago at a World Cup event in Italy. She had also never finished better than seventh in 10 individual races across six world championship appearances.
As for Shiffrin’s choke job (that’s exactly what it was) in her first run of the Games, no athlete wears her emotions on her sleeves more than Mikaela and she said Monday, “I won’t ever get over this. I’ve never gotten over any.”
So next up is the slalom, with the first run slated for Wednesday morning (Tuesday night New York time).
And omigod…Mikaela did it again, only this time she skied out in five seconds! And then sat in the fake snow for 20 minutes, trying to figure out the game of life.
I’ve followed her every race, all these years. And this is pathetic. 16 seconds of racing, combined, in her two best events.
You can’t make excuses for her…like, ‘Well, she tried her best.’ It’s not like she finished fourth and fifth in the two races or crashed out of one at the very end.
Can she come back in any of her three remaining events? Heck, not likely. And as I go to post, who knows if she’ll even stick around.
Shiffrin’s mother, Eileen, said that with the next two events the speed races, it’s possible Mikaela won’t be a go because they don’t want to risk injury. And given her state of mind, it makes sense. She has no training in super-G or downhill since races in early December in Lake Louise, Canada.
“We’re going to wait and see,” said Eileen.
Meanwhile, Shiffrin’s chief rival in the slalom, and good friend, Petra Vlhova, won it…the first Olympic medal in Alpine skiing for Slovakia. Katharine Liensberger of Austria was second, Wendy Holdener of Switzerland third.
--China’s Eileen Gu, who was born and raised in the United States, earned gold Tuesday in the women’s freestyle skiing big air competition, becoming, at 18, the youngest Olympic gold medalist in freestyle skiing.
China doesn’t allow dual citizenship and Gu has refused to say if she renounced her U.S. citizenship.
Gu said she considers herself Chinese when she’s in China, where she has spent nearly every summer of her life, and American when she’s in the U.S.
According to Reuters, Chinese state media has claimed that Gu became a Chinese national at the age of 15, meaning she would have had to give up her U.S. citizenship then in order to do so.
So little Ms. Gu can do her branding in China, which she’s already been doing. She better not get any endorsements here! If she does, you’re a fool, in today’s world if you buy whatever she is pitching.
I’ve been biting my tongue in writing far worse than the above.
--Nathan Chen had the short program of his life in the individual skate for gold on Tuesday, with the long program on Thursday, and barring a total disaster, he will capture the gold.
Earlier, in the team event, the United States won a silver, the country’s best result since the event debuted in 2014. The Russian Olympic Committee clinched the gold even before 15-year-old star Kamila Valieva shined in her free skate. This kid is unreal.
But the good news for the U.S. was tempered when Vincent Zhou tested positive for Covid, and then a second test confirmed it and he is out of the Games. He finished third in the U.S. championships last month.
There is some kind of controversy behind the scenes that has figure skating officials holding off on awarding the team medals…to be continued.
--Lindsey Jacobellis captured America’s first gold medal in snowboardcross, 16 years after a mistake cost her the title. The 36-year-old was in her fifth Olympics.
Jacobellis was best known for having a massive lead in the event at the 2006 Turin Games, but then crashed out on her final jump.
--Shaun White advanced to the medal round of the halfpipe in this his final Games.
--American Colby Stevenson took silver in the men’s freestyle skiing big air event, six years after a horrific, near-fatal car accident that left him with a plate in his head. 21-year-old Norwegian named Birk Ruud.
--Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai said there has been a “huge misunderstanding” over a post in which she made a sexual assault accusation against a former Chinese Communist Party leader.
In her first interview with a Western media outlet, Peng again denied accusing anyone of sexual assault.
After the 1,600-word post from November 2 was removed, she wasn’t seen in public for a few weeks, sparking alarm for her welfare.
L’Equipe, who spoke to her, said the interview was staged and that they had to submit questions in advance.
Peng said she had deleted the post herself because she “wanted to.” She did not elaborate on how the post had been misunderstood.
A representative of the Chinese Olympic Committee was in the room when the interview with L’Equipe was granted.
The day after the interview, Peng said she was retiring, which is convenient.
--Finally, Dr. W. and I agree that it’s so hard getting into the Winter Olympics vs. the Summer Olympics. As he puts it, “At least in the Summer Games you have events that actually reward you on times you run or swim (in your own lane – versus the NASCAR-like collision sport of short track speed skating), distance you throw something or how strong you are.”
So many of the Winter events are contrived, or subject to the vagaries of the weather, starting times and course conditions.
After a five-month review of the Pasadena police investigation into allegations of sexual assault against him, Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer will not face criminal charges, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said on Tuesday.
This does not mean Bauer has been cleared to rejoin the Dodgers. Commissioner Rob Manfred retains the right to suspend Bauer, which he is expected to do so, but not amidst the lockout.
Under baseball’s domestic violence and sexual assault policy, Manfred is empowered to suspend a player judged to have violated the policy even if the player has not been charged or convicted.
The league has suspended 14 players over the six years of the policy, with suspensions ranging from 15 games to 162 games.
Bauer had two sexual encounters with a San Diego woman last year at his Pasadena home. The DA determined there is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the pitcher committed a crime.
But the evidence in the case was despicable and sickening.
Bauer last pitched for the Dodgers on June 28, the day before the woman obtained a temporary restraining order against him.
On July 2, MLB put Bauer on a paid leave that ultimately extended through the end of the 2021 season, taking him off the field while the league conducted its own investigation.
He is owed $64 million over the next two season. If Bauer completes a suspension (he could negotiate a “time served” provision as part of a settlement with the commissioner’s office), the Dodgers can try to void the balance of his contract, but Bauer would be able to appeal.
--I’ve been writing about Bryson DeChambeau and his injuries the last few months, and how many are questioning his obsessive workout program and extreme diet (seven protein shakes a day, 6,000 calories) as a result, with good reason.
So Dan Rapaport of Golf Digest had the following comparison.
“Bryson’s bulk-up began in earnest in October 2019, when, after finishing T-4 in the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, he told media that he was ‘going to come back a different person.’ His first tournament with his new body was the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in January 2020. Including that week, he has played 42 events as the bomber. In those 42, he has amassed three wins, including the U.S. Open, and 17 top-10 finishes. In the 42 events before his bulk up, he amassed five wins and 13 top-10 finishes. Post-bulk Bryson peaked at No. 4 in the World Ranking; pre-bulk Bryson got as high as No. 5. Post-bulk Bryson made the Ryder Cup team; so did pre-bulk Bryson.”
DeChambeau’s last win was last March at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. His body is breaking down, as Tiger Woods knows all too well. As I wrote last time, Bryson’s going to be one of the more interesting sports stories of the year.
--Tom Edrington / Dog Leg News
“Before we start pouring hot tar and feathers over Phil Mickelson, let’s remind ourselves of a few things.
“First, Phil, aka Lefty, has made north of $100 million playing and winning on the PGA Tour and after 31 years of collecting all sorts of big endorsement dollars, Lefty’s net worth is estimated to be somewhere in the $700-$800 million range.
“Apparently that’s simply not enough. Lefty launched a tirade last week against the PGA Tour, referring to the sports organization that made him hundreds of millions of dollars as ‘obnoxiously greedy.’
“And now’s a good time to look back on the great movie – Wall Street (which came out about five years before Phil turned pro) – where lowly broker Bud Fox (played by Charlie Sheen) admonished fat-cat Gordon Gekko (played by Michael Douglas) with these lines:
“ ‘How many yachts can you water-ski behind? How much is enough, Gordon?’
“Apparently, Mickelson is feeling the sting of not being a billionaire like his long-time rival Tiger Woods.
“Mickelson’s beef with the Tour is that it holds and controls media rights for the players. It’s something that’s been there since 1972, 20 years before Mickelson joined the Tour. And Mickelson, who wants people to know he’s the smartest guy in the room – hopefully knew about that when he signed up for a life that would take him all over the world in private jets and make him fabulously wealthy.
“Is this the pot calling the kettle black?
“Phil’s bitching, pissing and moaning about those media rights, citing that the Tour owned the rights when Lefty beat Tiger in that first Vegas go-round and Lefty didn’t.
“So why didn’t Phil start bitching about this sooner?
“Well the simple answer is that he’s trying his best to stay relevant at age 51….
“Mickelson has a short memory. The Tour chose to look the other way when Lefty got himself in some hot water with a gambling debt of nearly $2 million to the notorious William T. Walters, known to Phil and friends as ‘Billy.’
“Lefty ended up making a series of stock trades based on insider-info on Dean Foods from Billy, who could be described as a Bookie To The Stars, Mickelson included. The Feds used transcripts from a business management firm, most likely Mickelson’s, that if called to testify, would have shown its records and a transfer of $1,950,000 to Mickelson.
“The Tour could have justly suspended Mickelson but chose to look the other way.
“In the end, Billy did time in a white-collar prison and Lefty went on, doing what he does – making millions….
“Suggestion here is that Lefty go ahead and become the first guy to sign with this proposed Saudi-backed league.
“That way, he can get banned from the Tour and basically become a man without a country.
“He can pack that jet and fly around Asia, because right now, it’s the only region of the world where Saudi Golf can dwell, aside from there in The Kingdom where no one gives a rat’s ass about golf.”
There were basically zero spectators at last weekend’s event in Saudi Arabia, in case you wondered.
My whole opinion of the Saudi-backed league that would have Greg Norman as its commissioner is, who the hell would watch old guys like Mickelson, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood (who along with Poulter is also supposedly talking to the new group)?
Really? You’re going to watch these three and a bunch of Asian golfers you have no clue who they are over a regular PGA Tour event? Or a European Tour event? NFW.
I hope Norman et al flame out royally. Norman is in the same pain in the ass category Phil often finds himself in.
In fact, I just placed Lefty in the December file.
--But this week we have one of the more entertaining PGA Tour events of the year in the Waste Management Phoenix Open, one of the three or four best after the majors and The Players.
Your editor has started off the year in depressing fashion when it comes to DraftKings. DK officials are threatening to ban me for life, one telling me, “We don’t want your stinking $5. You are an embarrassment.”
Next Bar Chat, Sunday p.m. …after the Super Bowl.
[Posted Sun. p.m.]
Add-On up top by noon, Wed., National Pizza Day…as Domino’s just informed me…
Giants Super Bowl Quiz: In honor of Tom Brady’s retirement, a quiz about the team that beat him twice in the Super Bowl.
1) For the 2007 SB-winning Giants, name the two running backs with over 500 yards in the regular season. 2) Name the three with 50+ receptions.
3) For the 2011 SB-winning Giants, name the two running backs with over 500 yards in the regular season. 4) Name the two wide receivers who had 1,000 yards receiving.
[Hint: one name is an answer on both squads.] Answers below.
NFL / Brian Flores
--Former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores sent shockwaves through the NFL Tuesday night by filing a class-action lawsuit against the NFL and three franchises – the Giants, Broncos and his last employer, the Dolphins – alleging the league is “rife with racism,” especially in the hiring process for head coaches.
Needless to say this is the last thing the NFL wants heading into the Super Bowl, after what has been a spectacular postseason with terrific ratings. But the league is also dealing with the Daniel Snyder mess.
Flores alleges the Giants gave him a “sham” interview this offseason, citing texts from Patriots coach Bill Belichick that indicate New York had already decided to hire Brian Daboll before hosting him to prove they conducted a diverse search. Flores said the interview was simply meant to satisfy the NFL’s “Rooney Rule” of interviewing minority candidates.
He also alleges the Broncos were late to their own “sham” interview with him prior to hiring Vic Fangio in 2019. And he says his recent dismissal from the Dolphins stemmed in part from his refusal to purposely lose games in order to better Miami’s draft positioning, claiming Dolphins owner Stephen Ross even offered him $100,000 per loss in 2019.
Flores’ 58-page lawsuit claims that “while racial barriers have been eroded in many areas,” the NFL “lives in a time of the past” and “remains rife with racism, particularly when it comes to the hiring and retention of Black Head Coaches, Coordinators and General Managers.”
Other coaches may yet join Flores’ lawsuit. He recognizes that his career could be at stake by filing the suit.
Flores was one of three Black head coaches in the NFL this season, the others David Culley of the Houston Texans (also then fired), and longtime Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.
Six of the nine teams with head coaching vacancies this offseason have chosen new coaches and all six are White…the sixth, Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell becoming the head coach of the Vikings – can’t become official until after the Rams play in the Super Bowl*.
Last I saw, that still leaves Miami, Houston and New Orleans. Brian Flores actually interviewed with the Saints on Tuesday.
*Despite reports that linked Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh returning to the NFL, specifically the Vikings, Harbaugh recommitted to staying in Ann Arbor.
Miami owner Stephen Ross was the first to break his silence over Flores’ claims against him and the organization.
In a statement released Wednesday night, Ross personally pushed back:
“With regards to the allegations being made by Brian Flores, I am a man of honor and integrity and cannot let them stand without responding,” Ross said. “I take great personal exception to these malicious attacks, and the truth must be known. His allegations are false, malicious and defamatory.
“We understand there are media reports stating the NFL intends to investigate his claims, and we will cooperate fully. I welcome the investigation and I am eager to defend my personal integrity, and the integrity of the entire Miami Dolphins organization, from these baseless, unfair and disparaging claims.”
Flores also alleges Ross pressured him to recruit a prominent quarterback in violation of NFL rules in the winter of 2020. That quarterback was Tom Brady, according to the Palm Beach Post.
“[The] writing had been on the wall since Mr. Flores’ first season as Head Coach of the Dolphins, when he refused his owner’s directive to ‘tank’ for the first pick in the draft,” the lawsuit claims. “Indeed, during the 2019 season, Miami’s owner, Stephen Ross, told Mr. Flores that he would pay him $100,000 for every loss, and the team’s General Manager, Chris Grier, told Mr. Flores that ‘Steve’ was ‘mad’ that Mr. Flores’ success in winning games that year was ‘compromising [the team’s] draft position.’”
The Dolphins missed out on landing quarterback Joe Burrow with the first pick, after going 5-11, to the 2-14 Bengals – who are now in the Super Bowl. Miami selected its current quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, at No. 5.
John Elway, Denver’s president of football operations and Hall of Famer, responded to allegations in Flores’ lawsuit, denying he showed up hungover when meeting with Flores in 2019 and conducted a “sham interview.”
Elway called the claims “false and defamatory.”
Flores said in the lawsuit that Elway and CEO Joe Ellis showed up an hour late to an interview and appeared “completely disheveled,” adding that it was “obvious” that the then-general manager and Ellis had been “drinking heavily the night before.”
Elway said in a statement that he was not planning to address Flores’ claims but “could not be silent any longer with my character, integrity and professionalism being attacked.”
Elway said the team took Flores seriously as a candidate and conducted a three-and-a-half-hour interview with him. The Broncos ultimately hired Vic Fangio as their head coach.
“It’s unfortunate and shocking to learn for the first time this week that Brian felt differently about our interview with him,” Elway said, adding he interviewed Flores in “good faith.”
“For Brian to make an assumption about my appearance and state of mind that morning was subjective, hurtful and just plain wrong,” Elway said.
Elway said his appearance was due to him flying in the middle of the night and getting just a few hours of sleep.
For their part, the Giants strongly denied any wrongdoing in their interview process with Flores and called the allegations against them disturbing and simply false in a statement released Thursday.
The Giants laid out a timeline of events to counter Flores’ claim the interview was a “sham.” And they were adamant that Bill Belichick was providing his opinion and was not told of a decision that the text messages between him and Flores contend were made before new Giants coach Brian Daboll had his in-person interview with the club.
“The allegation that the Giants’ decision had been made prior to Friday evening, January 28, is false,” the Giants said in a lengthy statement. “And to base that allegation on a text exchange with Bill Belichick in which he ultimately states that he ‘thinks’ Brian Daboll would get the job is irresponsible. The text exchange occurred the day before Coach Daboll’s in-person interview even took place. Giants’ ownership would never hire a head coach based only on a 20-minute zoom interview, which is all that Mr. Daboll had at that point.
“In addition, Mr. Belichick does not speak for and has no affiliation with the Giants. Mr Belichick’s text exchange provides no insight into what actually transpired during our head coaching search.”
The Giants added: “In his CBS interview [Wednesday], Mr. Flores was asked if ‘clubs have the right to hire the person they think is the best qualified for the job or the person they feel is right for them?’ Mr. Flores responded ‘They do. That’s very reasonable to me.’ That is exactly what we did.
“We hired Brian Daboll as our head coach at the conclusion of an open and thorough interview process. No decision was made, and no job offer was extended, until the evening of January 28, a full day after Mr. Flores’ in-person interview and day-long visit to the Giants.”
Pat Leonard / New York Daily News
“Here’s what I was told by reliable sources about the week leading up to Brian Daboll’s hiring: new Giants GM Joe Schoen believed early in the process that Daboll was likely going to take the Miami Dolphins job. Daboll didn’t decide until Friday, the day he received his offer, that he would take the Giants over the Dolphins.
“The Giants made calls early in the week, also before Flores’ Thursday interview, to lay the groundwork for a possible Dan Quinn staff (though the team denied it). Quinn might have been the pick but told the Giants no thanks due to reservations that I’m still reporting out.
“Giants ownership wanted Flores. Flores wanted the Giants job. Schoen thought Flores’ interview was impressive but preferred Daboll because he was more confidenct in their ability to work collaboratively.
“Plus, two objective facts: Schoen was the first of nine GM candidates to interview with the Giants, and he was hired. Then Daboll was the first of six coach candidates to interview, and he was hired….
“What matters most in proving or disproving Flores’ allegations against the Giants is where Bill Belichick got his information. It would be damning if the Patriots’ head coach heard from someone in Giants ownership or the front office that Daboll was the team’s choice three or more days before Flores’ interview. If that didn’t happen or can’t be proven, it will be difficult for Flores to validate that allegation.”
It is even more complicated than this but let someone write a definitive book on the topic. This story will be unfolding for a long time to come.
That said, then you have the Browns, with owner Jimmy Haslam firing back at former coach Hue Jackson on Thursday, saying that Jackson “has never accepted blame for one thing” and that the claim he paid Jackson to lose games is “an absolute falsehood.”
“Hue Jackson has never ever accepted any responsibility for our record during that time period,” Haslam told Knox News. “He’s been masterful at pointing fingers but has never accepted any blame. I have accepted a ton of blame, and rightfully so.”
Jackson said that the Browns had a “four-year plan” that incentivized losing during the first two years, which led to his 1-31 record during the 2017 and 2018 seasons and Cleveland having the No. 1 overall draft pick in back-to-back years. [The Brown drafted All-Pro defensive end Myles Garrett in 2017, then Baker Mayfield in 2018. They also drafted Pro Bowl cornerback Denzel Ward with the No. 4 overall pick in 2018.]
He claimed that bonus money was available if certain measurables were met such as aggregate rankings, being the youngest team and having a certain amount of draft picks. Jackson said that he told Haslam he wasn’t interested in bonus money and instead wanted that money used to improve the team.
On Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Browns called Jackson’s charge “completely fabricated” and said that “any accusation that any member of our organization was incentivized to deliberately lose games is categorically false.”
Hue Jackson was 3-36-1 in his 2 ½ seasons. He has been walking back some of his initial claims.
The NFL released a statement Saturday:
“The NFL and our clubs are deeply committed to ensuring equitable employment practices and continue to make progress in providing equitable opportunities throughout our organizations. Diversity is core to everything we do, and there are few issues on which our clubs and our internal leadership teams spend more time. We will defend against these claims, which are without merit.”
Commissioner Roger Goodell told the league’s 32 teams yesterday that the results of the current hiring cycle for head coaches have been “unacceptable” with regard to diversity, saying the league will retain outside experts to help “reevaluate and examine all policies” guiding minority hiring.
Goodell, in a memo to the teams and all NFL employees, also said that the tanking and tampering allegations made against the Dolphins by Flores in his lawsuit “will be reviewed thoroughly and independently.”
Goodell said Saturday the issues raised in Flores’ lawsuit merit empathy and should prompt further examination and action.
“We understand the concerns expressed by Coach Flores and others this week,” Goodell wrote. “While the legal process moves forward, we will not wait to reassess and modify our strategies to ensure that they are consistent with our values and longstanding commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. In particular, we recognize the need to understand the lived experiences of diverse members of the NFL family to ensure that everyone has access to opportunity and is treated with respect and dignity.”
One more…as Phil W. pointed out, if any single Black coach has a gripe, it should be former Lions coach Jim Caldwell, who was also a longtime offensive coordinator in the league.
Caldwell coached Detroit for four seasons, 2014-2017, going 36-28.
11-5, 7-9, 9-7, 9-7…taking the team to the playoffs twice.
In the two years before Caldwell, the Lions were 4-12 and 7-9.
In the four seasons after Caldwell, they’ve gone 6-10, 3-12-1, 5-11, and 3-13-1.
Caldwell was fired after the 2017 season because “nine wins wasn’t enough.”
As a rookie head coach in Indianapolis in 2009, the Colts started out 14-0 and were headed to a 16-0 season, before management forced Caldwell to sit Peyton Manning and many of the other starters to rest them for the playoffs, so they finished 14-2. They would make it to the Super Bowl and were 24-8 his first two seasons, 2-2 in the postseason. Manning then missed 2011 due to a neck injury, the Colts went 2-14, and Caldwell was out.
Chuck Modiano of Deadspin goes on to point out what a terrific job Caldwell did as an offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach with both Manning and Matthew Stafford, plus he was offensive coordinator for the 2012 Ravens that won the Super Bowl with none other than Joe Flacco.
Today, however, there’s one problem. While Caldwell has been in the mix for some of the nine jobs, he is 67.
--The Jacksonville Jaguars hired former Super Bowl-winning coach Doug Pederson to be their new head coach. The Jags reportedly selected him over Tampa Bay offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, Dallas defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, and several others.
In five seasons, aside from winning a Super Bowl with the Eagles, he took them to the playoffs three times, going 42-37-1 in the regular season.
So he brings a winning pedigree to Jacksonville, as well as a history of cleaning up a program; Pederson turning around the Philadelphia organization after Chip Kelly was fired.
And Pederson should be able to get the most out of Trevor Lawrence. Pederson did a good job with Carson Wentz, and he was able to adapt his offense by putting Nick Foles in a position to win a Super Bowl.
--The Giants thought Patrick Graham would be staying on as defensive coordinator, but Graham accepted an offer from the Raiders’ to be the DC there, after interviewing with new head coach, Josh McDaniels.
As much as the Giants wanted to keep Graham, who would be critical for new head coach Brian Daboll, whose history is all on the offensive side, the team had just fired his closest friend, Joe Judge. Graham interviewed to replace Judge before the job went to Daboll. And Brian Flores is suing the Giants over a “sham” head-coach interview, Graham also being black.
So now the Giants desperately need an experienced defensive coordinator.
--The Washington Football Team is no more. After two years under the temporary identity, the franchise officially rebranded Wednesday as the Commanders; an incredibly weak name that met “with a thud” among the fanbase, as the Washington Post put it.
Commanders was selected over other finalists….Red Hogs, Admirals and Presidents. Red Wolves, an initial fan favorite, was ruled out earlier in the process because of copyright and trademark hurdles.
I long liked the name Red Clouds, an original idea of mine, for the noble Chief Red Cloud, who kicked butt, notably in the Fetterman Massacre in 1866, but I digress.
--A Bar Chat “Man of the Year,” Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, the Houston are furniture salesman known for placing large sports bets – has wagered bets totaling $4,534,000 on the Bengals moneyline over the Rams at +170 odds. If the Bengals (currently 4-point underdogs) pull off the upset, McIngvale would win $7,707,800.
The $4.5 million bet represents the largest mobile sports wager of all time and the second-largest Super Bowl wager ever placed, trailing a $4.9 million bet made in 2002. According to ESPN, McIngvale drove from Texas into Louisiana and placed the bet on his phone while pulled over at a gas station. It was placed with Caesar’s Sportsbook.
Last year, McIngvale won $2.72 million on a $3.46 million wager on the Buccaneers.
--Tom Brady retired the day I posted an Add-On, Tuesday, and some in New England are not happy.
Adrian Walker / Boston Globe
“And just like that, Tom Brady told Boston and New England exactly how he feels about us.
“As you may have heard by now, perhaps the greatest sports figure in Boston history retired Tuesday morning.
“Brady confirmed the news that had already leaked over the weekend. He made it official on his Instagram, in a lengthy post.
“The post thanked everyone in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers organization – teammates, coaches, trainers, the Glazer family that owns the team. But made no mention of the Patriots – not his former teammates, not head coach Bill Belichick, not even Robert Kraft, who for two decades described Brady as a surrogate son.
“In effect, Brady repudiated the first 20 of his 22-year career. Take that, Pats fans.
“It’s not a big secret that Brady left New England seething. According to all kinds of reporting, he felt underappreciated by an organization that was clearly ready to ‘move on’ from the greatest quarterback ever to take a snap.
“And, of course, Brady did nothing but thrive in southwest Florida, immediately taking a 7-9 team to a Super Bowl win and posting another MVP-caliber season this year, at the unfathomable age of 44.
“You might think that post-Patriots success would be revenge enough. But if you do, you have clearly underestimated him.
“Not that anyone needs to be reminded of this, but Brady didn’t exactly arrive in New England as a highly-touted prospect. The most famous sixth-round pick in history, No. 199 in the draft, Brady was a project.
“Obviously, he grew into a brilliant player before our eyes, and it didn’t take long, either. But the faith the team showed in him, and what he and the Pats would do together, wasn’t worth mentioning when he quit….
“It’s hard to think of a comparably sour exit by a sports star….
“Brady was always something of an enigma, even when he was doing all that winning here. But one constant has always been the chip on his shoulder. Years after it should have ceased to matter – despite trophy after trophy – he couldn’t stop talking about all the teams that passed him over years ago. It never stopped irking him – and driving him.
“Bitterness is what fuels him. And if you wondered whether that bitterness extended in the end to the Patriots, you just got your answer.
“It’s a reminder of how little we really know about our sports heroes. We all watched Brady for all those years, celebrating the highs and lows. He was one of us.
“But the reverse wasn’t necessarily true.
“I wish Brady nothing but the best in retirement. I’m glad he kept winning in his post-Foxborough life, glad that he went out playing brilliantly. He famously once said he would quit when he sucked. It’s great that it didn’t play out that way.
“His future will be interesting to watch. And lucrative, no doubt.
“But I think one day soon he’ll wish he’d handled his exit more graciously. He can think whatever he wants about the Patriots organization, but a region of adoring fans who don’t deserve it – who’ve cheered for him since he was just some kid out of Michigan – became collateral damage.
“Despite it all, many will continue to insist that Brady loves them. There’s a word for them: suckers.
“All the best, Tom. Clearly, we hardly knew you.”
--We had college football’s National Signing Day last week and Texas A&M is the consensus winner, not just with the highest-ranked recruiting class of the year, but the highest-ranked recruiting class ever, according to 247Sports, which has been ranking classes for over 20 years.
The Aggies bagged an astounding seven of the top 25 prospects in the class, including three defensive linemen who ranked in the top 16, and the Nos. 2 and 3 wide receivers.
--We are going to have a fairly big shakeup in Monday’s AP Top 25 poll, mainly because 3 UCLA lost twice in the Arizona desert; Thursday to 7 Arizona 76-66, and then Saturday to Arizona State (7-13, 3-7), 87-84 in triple overtime, a big win for Bobby Hurley’s Sun Devils.
Arizona beat 19 USC (19-4, 9-4) yesterday, 72-63, to improve to 19-2, 9-1, while the Bruins are now 16-4, 8-3.
--1 Auburn (22-1, 10-0) will remain at the top but just squeaked by Georgia (6-17, 1-9) Saturday, 74-72.
--8 Baylor (19-4, 7-3) got whipped by 10 Kansas (19-3, 8-1), 83-59 in Lawrence.
--9 Duke (19-3, 9-2) will move up a few notches, the Blue Devils defeating UNC (16-7, 8-4) at the Dean Dome for the last time in Coach K’s career, 87-67, as freshman A.J. Griffin poured in 27. I’m telling ya, this guy is leading Duke all the way. He just gets better and better.
--Rutgers was dead and buried, by their own admission, but suddenly there is hope in Piscataway. For the second time in two seasons, the Scarlet Knights knocked off 13 Michigan State (17-5, 8-3), Saturday, as RU played a perfect game, crushing the Spartans 84-63.
“Well,” MSU coach Tom Izzo said after, “that was an old-fashioned butt-kicking.”
Rutgers shot 61.5% from the field in improving to 13-9, 7-5.
The 13-9 is not NCAA tourney caliber, but the 7-5 bears merit, and now RU has four straight games against ranked opponents…Ohio State, Wisconsin, Illinois and Purdue. If they go 2-2 in them, ya never know.
--Wake Forest will once again get a few votes in the AP poll this week after a gritty 68-60 win over Florida State (13-9, 6-6) in Tallahassee, where the Deacs hadn’t won since 2007.
Wake, now 19-5, 9-4 in the ACC, won despite committing a staggering 26 turnovers, 18 in the first half! But star Alondes Williams had 23 points, and Jake LaRavia just missed a triple-double, 18-13-9. The two, however, also committed 13 of the TOs between them.
But the bottom line is, Wake is for real. They have 7 ACC games left in the regular season (including a ‘loss’, it is assumed, to Duke), but if they go 3-4, 12-8 in the conference isn’t that shabby, even in a ‘down’ year for the league. 4-3, 13-7, however, definitely gets us to the Big Dance.
--Lastly, you can put a fork in St. Bonaventure, 71-61 losers at Richmond (15-8, 6-4) Friday night, the Bonnies now a beyond-mediocre 12-7, 4-4.
For good reason, St. Bonaventure was counted on to have a dream season, as I began writing in the preseason, but if you’re a fan of the program, this is the disappointment of a lifetime. After going to Tuesday’s loss to Davidson, I met some fans at my hotel, and then saw more fans in the breakfast area Wednesday morning, and “disappointing” was the one word you kept hearing.
Five seniors who have played together for years. Five very solid ballplayers, all of whom should be playing in Europe for years to come (with Jalen Adaway and Kyle Lofton having NBA potential, maybe after a year or two in the G-League), and then this.
Can they conceivably rally and win the A-10 tournament? Highly doubtful.
--Just a few weeks ago the Brooklyn Nets were 29-16, headed for a 1- or 2-seed in the East, and if Kevin Durant got healthy, as expected, a definite title contender even with the screwed up Kyrie Irving situation.
But the Nets had lost seven in a row entering this afternoon’s game in Denver, and this was the fifth straight road game, meaning Irving has been playing.
But then All-Star James Harden has been sitting out with a recurring hamstring issue, and now the Nets are seriously entertaining a big trade with Philadelphia that would send Harden to the Sixers for Ben Simmons in a multi-player transaction.
It’s panic time. The Durant window is closing.
The Nets then lost No. 8, 124-104 to the Nuggets, Harden out again. Coach Steve Nash was adamant the team was not going to trade Harden. Brooklyn has actually descended to the play-in position in the standings. More next chat.
--As for my Knicks, they’ve embarked on their own five-game western swing, losing the first in Los Angeles to the Lakers Saturday night, 122-115 in overtime, despite a combined 68 points from RJ Barrett and Julius Randle. LeBron had a triple-double, 29-13-10, and Anthony Davis had 28 points and 17 rebounds, while Malik Monk poured in 29 points.
Thursday, Major League Baseball requested the help of federal mediation and the MLB Players Association responded by declining the request.
The MLBPA released a statement Friday:
“Two months after implementing their lockout, and just two days after committing to Players that a counterproposal would be made, the owners refused to make a counter, and instead requested mediation. After consultation with our Executive Board, and taking into account a variety of other factors, we have declined this request. The clearest path to a fair and timely agreement is to get back to the table. Players stand ready to negotiate.”
“Our goal is to have players on the field and fans in the ballparks for spring training and Opening Day,” an MLB spokesman said, according to USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale. “With camps scheduled to open in less than two weeks, it is time to get immediate assistance from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to help us work through our differences and break the deadlock. It is clear the most productive path forward would be the involvement of an impartial third party to help bridge gaps and facilitate an agreement.”
Pitcher Max Scherzer tweeted: “We don’t need mediation because what we are offering to MLB is fair for both sides: We want a system where threshold and penalties don’t function as caps, allows younger players to realize more of their market value, makes service time manipulation a thing of the past, and eliminate tanking as a winning strategy.”
MLB used a mediator during its 1981 and 1994 strikes, with mixed success.
I think the public will side with the players, while the owners appear to be convinced if the two sides agreed to mediation, that the mediator would side more with the owners’ position.
The two sides have had only four negotiating sessions since Dec. 1, but they were making some progress before the owners took their latest route, rather than issuing a counterproposal.
--There was only one topic of conversation Saturday at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am…what in the world was Jordan Spieth thinking?
For those of you who didn’t see it, just YouTube Spieth at the 8th hole, where incredibly, Spieth, with a 60-foot+ drop off a cliff facing him, a mere few feet away, hit his approach shot over the cliff, needing to back away as he hit it to avoid killing himself, which would have been the gruesome truth, live on national television.
Caddie Michael Greller tried to talk him out of taking the shot three times. Spieth decided to go with a seven-iron from 162 yards and lived to tell about it.
“If I felt like I was in real, true danger of losing my life, I would have pulled the ball back and dropped it,” Spieth said. “It wasn’t quite that severe. But it was enough to where I certainly couldn’t put a normal swing on it.”
He wound up with a terrific par and was on his way to a 9-under 63 at Pebble (three courses in play in this event), one off the lead heading into today’s finale, also at Pebble.
Beau Hossler -15
Andrew Putnam -15
Tom Hoge -15
Patrick Cantlay -14
Joel Dahmen -14
Well, Spieth finished second to 32-year-old journeyman Hoge, who picked up his first win on tour, 2 strokes clear of Spieth, solo second, with Hoge playing superb golf down the stretch.
I mean the guy now has three top 4s his last five events. As Ronald Reagan would have remarked to Nancy, while reading the Monday morning sports pages, his beloved fixing him his favorite blueberry pancakes, ‘Not bad, not bad at all.’
With the Saudi International (Invitational) event being played opposite the AT&T Pro-Am, it didn’t help this week in terms of star appeal when Daniel Berger, defending champion, had to pull out with a back injury and budding star Will Zalatoris had to bow out after testing positive for Covid.
--Phil Mickelson, in an interview with Golf Digest’s John Huggan, let loose on the PGA Tour and his belief it is shorting its playing members over media rights.
“It’s not public knowledge, all that goes on,” Mickelson said. “But the players don’t have access to their own media. If the tour wanted to end any threat [from the Saudis or anywhere else], they could just hand back the media rights to the players. But they would rather throw $25 million here and $40 million there than give back the roughly $20 billion in digital assets they control. Or give up access to the $50-plus million they make every year on their own media channel.
“There are many issues, but that is one of the biggest. For me personally, it’s not enough that they are sitting on hundreds of millions of digital moments. They also have access to my shots, access I do not have. They also charge companies to use shots I have hit. And when I did ‘The Match’ – there have been five of them – the tour forced me to pay them $1 million each time. For my own media rights. That type of greed is, to me, beyond obnoxious.”
Mickelson is being targeted by the yet-to-be-launched Saudi-backed tour.
“I’m not sure how this is going to play out,” Mickelson said. “My ultimate loyalty is to the game of golf and what it has given me. I am so appreciative of the life it has provided. I don’t know what is going to happen. I don’t know where things are headed. But I know I will be criticized. That’s not my concern. All that would do is dumb down one of the most intricate issues in sports. It would be so naïve to not factor in all of the complexities. The media rights are but a small fraction of everything else. And it is the tour’s obnoxious greed that has really opened the door for opportunities elsewhere.”
Brooks Koepka responded, writing on Instagram: “[Don’t know] if I’d be using the word greedy if I’m Phil.”
But there are indeed problems in golf and the pay. I’ve been writing this column for 23 years (as of next week) and covered the topic in depth many times, and while for the casual observer, winning $3 million in a year (plus all the endorsements that one can accrue with the proper ‘Q’ score) makes for a great life…it’s not easy as the PGA Tour is structured.
So Bob Harig of Morning Read (Sports Illustrated) had an interview with tour veteran Pat Perez, now 45, but still capable of a good event now and then (he finished T9 today at Pebble), and Perez sounded off on the idea for the LIV Golf Investments golf league, prospects for which are represented by this week’s PIF Saudi International, an Asian Tour event that attracted 21 of the top 50 players in the world, including defending champion Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Mickelson and caused some controversy as it required the players to seek releases from the PGA tour in order to participate.
Perez wasn’t offered a spot and he totally gets it, but he understands why a potential rival league being fronted by commissioner Greg Norman has garnered so much interest.
“I know what some of the guys have been offered, and sadly enough, it still seems light to me,” Perez said. “Now (the money being offered) is heavy. It’s a heavy number. I’d leave right here and go right to the car and anywhere in the world for that number. But it’s not going to happen. For a guy like me, it’s not going to happen.”
Bob Harig: “Perez is fine with that. But he’s intrigued by what is going on around him. Undoubtedly those with LIV Golf Investments and Norman himself will be putting the full-court press on some of the top players in Saudi Arabia (this weekend), trying to get them to come on board with guaranteed money to play a tour that is expected to have 54-hole events, team play and $20 million weekly purses.
“And to Perez, the basketball analogy is fitting.”
Perez: “I’m not saying this about me, I’m talking about the top players. They have an incredible year and they make $7 million on the course. That’s an incredible year. You know how well you have to play to make $7 million on the golf course? My best year (2017), I won, I got to the Tour Championship, I made $4.3 million. That’s like 300th in major league baseball. And I finished 15th (in the final standings).
“Look at guys in the NBA. Some of them don’t even take their sweatpants off, don’t get in the games, and they are making way more than that.”
Harig: “While Perez might be accused of hyperbole, his overall point is valid: professional golfers have no on-course guarantees. They make what they earn, which to many in the sports world is part of the charm. And a star player, someone like Rahm or Johnson or Rory McIlroy, might actually be underpaid when it comes to how well they perform. Rahm led the PGA Tour money list in 2020-21 with $7.7 million.
“That’s why the Saudi-backed venture has legs. Forget that all these guys make mega-millions off the course. So, too, does Steph Curry, the Golden State Warriors star who averages $54 million a season in guaranteed salary.
“Perez was not trying to equate the NBA to the PGA Tour, but when you consider that the stars in golf pay their own way and make a fraction of what players do in other sports, a league that comes along offering multi-millions just for showing up is getting attention.
“For example. The (London) Telegraph reported Tuesday that England’s Ian Poulter has been offered between $20 and $30 million to sign. Reports of Mickelson and DeChambeau getting similar guaranteed deals have circulated.
“And for all the riches the PGA Tour provides – lucrative purses every week, including $20 million at the Players Championship, the FedEx Cup bonus plan, an understated pension plan – it’s difficult to ignore the kind of money that is being floated by Norman and his associates.
--So speaking of the Saudi International, did Dustin Johnson repeat? Noooo….it was Harold Varner III, holing a 90-foot putt for eagle on the final hole to go from 1 shot behind to beating Bubba Watson by one.
For Varner it was his second victory worldwide. He previously won the Australian PGA and today’s was an Asian Tour event.
So Varner won $1 million from the $5 million prize fund, very modest, but this is on top of whatever appearance fee money he received from Saudi Arabia’s wealth fund that attracted such a top field.
Varner thus moves into the world top 50 for the first time and if he stays there another two months, he goes to Augusta for the first time.
Watson was a gracious runner-up. “I’m not mad at him for beating me. I’m happy for him. He’s a dear friend of mine, and I applaud him.”
DJ finished T8. Phil was T18. DeChambeau withdrew after one round due to injuries, and once again, people are wondering if his workout routine is catching up to him. It will be interesting to watch this year. When asked about it, Bison’s rather surly.
--Shaun White, the 3-time gold medalist in snowboarding (2006, 2010 and 2018) said Beijing would be his last competition and that he would retire from all contests. Heck, he’s 35.
--I was shocked to see that Zoi Sadowski-Synnott, in winning the slopestyle snowboard competition, took New Zealand’s first-ever gold in the Winter Olympics.
American Julia Marino finished second.
And today we won our second medal, Jaelin Kauf winning silver in moguls.
--The wind on the ski slopes is already wreaking havoc, forcing a postponement of the men’s downhill, for one.
--You can see I haven’t watched more than five minutes of the Olympics thus far, literally.
--The U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team beat Honduras 3-0 on Wednesday night in frigid St. Paul, Minn., to more or less wrap up a spot in the World Cup in Qatar. Christian Pulisic knocked in a goal that had to do wonders for his confidence; Pulisic, playing for Chelsea in the Premier League and the man who is supposed to be the face of U.S. soccer, not having played well for the national team thus far.
The top three teams in regional qualifying advance to Qatar in November and it would appear, with a final set of games in March, that Canada, Mexico and the United States will be the three.
The Premier League gets back into action this week.
In FA Cup play this weekend, Nottingham Forest beat Leicester City 4-1…I mean, I want to be in a pub in Nottingham Forest.
Tottenham whipped Brighton 3-1, as Harry Kane scored twice (important for his psyche the rest of the way).
And Manchester United lost to Championship League Middlesbrough on penalties, 8-7! A 16-shot penalty shootout. Good gawd!
--Sign of the Apocalypse: Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union’s 3-year-old daughter, Kaavia James, is forging her own path in fashion with a new clothing line in collaboration with Janie and Jack.
Union told Vanity Fair her toddler’s been into fashion “since she could walk.”
Just shoot me.
Top 3 songs for the week 2/8/64: …the Beatles making their debut on “The Ed Sullivan Show” Feb. 9. #1 “I Want To Hold Your Hand” (The Beatles) #2 “You Don’t Own Me” (Lesley Gore) #3 “Out Of Limits” (The Marketts)…and…#4 “Hey Little Cobra” (The Rip Chords) #5 “Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um” (Major Lance) #6 “Surfin’ Bird” (The Trashmen) #7 “She Loves You” (The Beatles) #8 “For You” (Ricky Nelson) #9 “Anyone Who Had A Heart” (Dionne Warwick…great tune…) #10 “There! I’ve Said It Again” (Bobby Vinton…ditto…B+ week, despite some very weak tunes in the lot…)
Giants Super Bowl Quiz Answers: 1) 2007 RBs: Brandon Jacobs…1,009 yards (5.0 avg.); Derrick Ward…603 (4.8). 2) Receivers: Tight end Jeremy Shockey, 57-619-10.9-3 TDs; Plaxico Burress, 70-1,025-14.6-12; Amani Toomer, 59-760-12.9-3. 3) 2011 RBs: Ahmad Bradshaw…659 (3.9); Brandon Jacobs…571 (3.8). 4) Receivers: Victor Cruz, 82-1,536-18.7-9; Hakeem Nicks, 76-1,192-15.7-7.
To give Tom Brady his due, among his many phenomenal stats, you can’t but help note his 35-12 record in the playoffs. He reached the postseason in 19 of the 20 seasons he finished as starter.
And for the record, the six quarterbacks taken before Brady in the 2000 Draft….
Chad Pennington 1-18
Giovanni Carmazzi 3-65
Chris Redman 3-75
Tee Martin 5-163
Marc Bulger 6-168
Spergon Wynn 6-183
To be fair, Marc Bulger got off to a terrific start with the St. Louis Cardinals, before mediocrity set in, while Jets fans have fond memories of the gutty, oft-injured Chad Pennington, who took us to four playoffs (2-4 in those starts). He’s as smart as anyone who played the game, and that also meant he didn’t suffer fools gladly when it came to the media, with whom he often clashed.
But in looking at Brady’s seven Super Bowl rings and that 35-12 record in the postseason, I had to check on Madison Bumgarner, now pitching for Arizona after a rather gaudy star turn with San Francisco.
If you’re looking for a modern-day comparison to Brady in another sport, of course you have Tiger Woods, but in a team sport, Bumgarner won three World Series rings with the Giants, going 8-3 in the postseason, 2.11 ERA….but….4-0 in the three World Series, 0.25 ERA…1 earned run in 36 innings (just 14 hits).
There’s been a lot of talk about the Baseball Hall of Fame recently, for good reason, but what will the writers do with Bumgarner, who’s still playing but whose best days are over? A 127-106 regular season mark, 3.31 ERA, though two top-4 Cy Young Award finishes (big with moi), and you’re like, no way.
But then you can’t ignore the postseason record.
My point is, I’ll be long dead but this comment will stay in the ether forever and I’m saying Bumgarner gets in the Hall by year 9 or 10, or immediately after with the Veterans Committee.
Of course if he has a career resurgence next few seasons, he’s in by year 3.
And that’s a memo.
I’ll have a little Add-On up top by noon, Wednesday.