|Articles||Go Fund Me||All-Species List||Hot Spots||Go Fund Me|
|Web Epoch NJ Web Design | (c) Copyright 2016 StocksandNews.com, LLC.|
Alabama is your National Champion
Add-On posted Wed. a.m.
--The Yankees, 5-1 losers to the Blue Jays at the Stadium last night, have now lost 8 of 10, after being the hottest team in baseball, and with that the AL Wild Card race is tightening.
Yankees 78-60… +0.5
Red Sox 79-62… --
Blue Jays 75-62… 2
Mariners 75-64… 3
Oakland 74-64… 3.5
In Tuesday’s contest, Yankees ace Gerrit Cole exited after just 3 2/3, having allowed 3 runs (2 earned), with an apparent hamstring issue. This could be a killer.
Meanwhile, the Yankees’ Joey Gallo is 16-for-123, .130, in Pinstripes, striking out 61 times!
New York had acquired him at the trade deadline from Texas, Gallo looking to be the left-handed power bat in a lineup whose power is primarily from the right side. And then this.
--Oh, if only Edwin Diaz hadn’t blown the save on Monday in Washington. He blew two in the Nationals’ series, but this was the killer.
Instead of being just three back of the Braves, the Mets, 9-4 winners in Miami Tuesday, sit four behind.
Phillies 71-67… 2.5
Mets 70-69… 4
--Yup, love seeing the greats perform, and Max Scherzer continues to be lights out for the Dodgers since his trade from Washington.
Against the Cardinals in St. Louis on Monday, Scherzer went eight innings, giving up one unearned run, striking out 13, walking none, in a 5-1 victory that kept the Dodgers one game behind San Francisco in the NL West.
Scherzer is now 5-0 with a 1.05 ERA in seven starts for L.A.
Overall, he’s 13-4, 2.28.
After Sunday night’s stumble by Walker Buehler, Buehler is 13-3, 2.31.
But Buehler, in terms of the Cy Young race (and include another Dodger, Julio Urias, 16-3, 3.11), has 24 quality starts. That’s significant. The only other pitcher in baseball with over 20 is Toronto’s Robbie Ray, 11-5, 2.60, with 21.
Both the Dodgers and Giants won their games on Tuesday, so San Francisco’s lead in the NL West remains one.
Dodgers 88-51… 1
Albert Pujols made his return to St. Louis last night, in a Dodgers uniform, and homered…No. 679 in his career.
--Nelson Cruz hit his 30th home run of the season Tuesday night as Tampa Bay beat the Red Sox 12-7; Cruz becoming the oldest player in major league history to hit the 30 mark.
He passed David Ortiz (38 in 2016) and Darrel Evans (34 in 1987), who were both 40 when they hit their 30th.
--New AP Poll….
1. Alabama (59) 1-0
2. Georgia (4) 1-0
3. Ohio State 1-0
4. Oklahoma 1-0
5. Texas A&M 1-0
6. Clemson 0-1
7. Cincinnati 1-0
8. Notre Dame 1-0
9. Iowa State 1-0
10. Iowa 1-0…the Battle of Iowa, Sat. 4:30…on ABC
11. Penn State 1-0…why….
12. Oregon 1-0…at Ohio State, noon, Sat. …on FOX
14. USC 1-0
16. UCLA 1-0
17. Coastal Carolina 1-0…host Kansas this weekend
--Georgia’s head coach Kirby Smart said three or four of his players are sidelined with Covid, though he didn’t identify them during a teleconference with reporters on Monday.
“I’ll be honest with you, I’m as concerned as I’ve ever been, because we have three or four guys out with Covid and we have a couple staff members that have been out with Covid here recently,” Smart said. “For us, we’re at our highest spike. And people are talking about vaccinations, well these are people that are vaccinated. We’re talking about breakthroughs, and so that concerns you not only for the players on your team that are unvaccinated, that are playing and not playing, because we want everybody to be safe. But it concerns me for the players that are vaccinated that we could lose them.”
Smart admitted that Georgia’s sports medicine director, Ron Courson, was diagnosed with Covid-19. “Ron’s doing good, he’s had a tough run.”
Georgia is not requiring fans to show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test to attend games at Sanford Stadium this season. Capacity is 92,700+.
--The ACC’s awful first week continued Monday in Atlanta, as Ole Miss, sans head coach Lane Kiffin, whipped Louisville 43-24.
Despite being fully vaccinated along with everyone in his program, Kiffin tested positive for Covid-19 and was not able to accompany the team to Atlanta.
No problem…as quarterback Matt Corral threw for 381 yards, with receiver Dontario Drummond catching nine for 177 yards and a touchdown.
--Among the key injuries in week one, Minnesota star running back Mo Ibrahim, out for the season with what appears to be an Achilles tendon injury.
Running it late in the third quarter of the Gophers’ opener against Ohio State, Ibrahim went down after he had rushed 30 times for 163 yards, pushing his career total over 3,000.
--Connecticut has sucked since the return of coach Randy Edsall, the Huskies going just 6-32 in his second stint.
So Edsall, after the team started 0-2, said he would retire end of the season, and then the next day he left the program, replaced on an interim basis by defensive coordinator Lou Spanos.
Edsall coached Jeff B.’s Huskies in his first go-round from 1999 through 2010, leading UConn to five bowl games.
Then he went to Maryland, where he was 22-34 and got fired.
But UConn rehired him. I mean this was a guy who after the team’s 2011 Fiesta Bowl loss to Oklahoma, left the program without notifying his players or flying home with the team, all chronicled in these pages. As Jeff Spicoli would have said, “What a…..”
Season is getting underway, boys and girls, and, frankly, for a few reasons I’m not a fan of Sundays.
Don’t get me wrong…I love football, it’s just, you know, it’s a lot of work, both college and pro.
Anyway, we wish the players good health, and my Jets an exciting season with Zach Wilson at the helm, though 6-11 is kind of my thinking, especially given the devastating preseason injuries on defense.
--It’s been a tough stretch for former Patriots. David Patten died last Thursday, and then we learned Tuesday of the passing of the Pats’ all-time leading rusher, Sam “Bam” Cunningham. He was 71.
Cunningham was a first-round pick of the Patriots out of USC and rushed for 5,453 yards in nine seasons in New England, also catching 210 passes. He scored 49 touchdowns in his career, 43 on the ground.
Cunningham was the leader of one of the best single-season rushing attacks in NFL history; the 1978 Patriots who rushed for 3,165 yards, setting an NFL record that stood until 2019, when the Ravens rushed for 3,296 yards*. Cunningham (768 yards) was one of four players on that team who finished with 500 or more rushing yards. [Andy Johnson, Horace Ivory, and quarterback Steve Grogan the others.]
*The 2019 Ravens were led on the ground by Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards.
Playing at USC, Cunningham played an outsize role in the integration of college football in the South.
As a freshman in 1970, he was one of three Black starters in the Trojans’ backfield, joining quarterback Jimmy Jones and fellow running back Clarence Davis.
In his debut, Cunningham ran for 135 yards and two touchdowns in a 42-21 win against Alabama, which had yet to integrate. His performance, and the dominant play of a USC team featuring Black players in crucial roles, led Alabama coach Bear Bryant to speed up the process of integrating the roster.
By the following season, running back Wilbur Jackson would become the first Black player in Alabama history.
Coach Jerry Claiborne, then one of Bryant’s assistants, said that Cunningham “did more to integrate Alabama in 60 minutes than Martin Luther King did in 20 years.”
Alabama would win three national championships between 1971-79 with 10 straight top-10 finishes and only one season with fewer than 10 wins.
In 1972, Cunningham helped lead the Trojans to a perfect season and a hallowed place in the history of college football.
Cunningham was the older brother of quarterback Randall Cunningham.
--I have to admit I haven’t caught much of the tennis from Flushing Meadows in Queens, N.Y., but by all indications, despite the loss of icons Nadal, Federer and Serena, it’s been super exciting.
Monday, No. 1 Novak Djokovic got blitzed in the first set of his match with American wild card Jenson Brooksby, 1-6 in just 29 minutes, but then Djokovic, gunning for the calendar Grand Slam, took the next three handily, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2, to move into the quarterfinals, where he meets 6-seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy.
Tuesday, 2 Daniil Medvedev advanced to the semis, defeating a Dutchman (I have no clue who the guy was).
Today, Djokovic and 4 Alexander Zverev look to join Medvedev and 12-seed Felix Auger-Aliassime. Auger-Aliassime faced 18-year-old Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz in yesterday’s quarterfinals, but Alcaraz had to retire in the second set due to a right adductor injury.
On the women’s side, 19-year-old Canadian Leylah Fernandez (cue Derek and the Dominoes), who a day earlier was only 18, has been adopted by the U.S. Open crowd, no Americans left in the field, as she topped No. 5 Elina Svitolina, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (5) to advance to the semifinals.
Rather remarkable, to say the least, as Fernandez was unseeded coming in.
Meanwhile, America’s tennis problems continue, and today have hit a new low. For the first time in U.S. Open history, which dates to the 1880s, no American man or woman reached the quarterfinals. That’s pathetic.
--So the race Sunday night in Darlington, S.C., ended long after I posted and, for the record, Denny Hamlin held off Kyle Larson after their cars hit nose to tail racing to the finish line in the Southern 500.
It was Hamlin’s first win, and, ironically, after all the discussion over his long-time girlfriend, who blistered him on social media. I never saw any follow-up to that story.
--U.S. Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker is making his six captain’s picks choices later today.
--Can’t help but note that the early reviews are in on the 2023 Euro Ryder Cup venue, Marco Simone Golf Club just outside Rome – which is the site of this week’s Italian Open on the European Tour.
It blows. As one anonymous Euro player told Golfweek, there isn’t one memorable hole.
It’s all about the money when it comes to Ryder Cup course selection and Italy outbid Germany, Austria and Spain, as the Euro side tries to move the event around.
For starters, all 18 holes were reconstructed, which is not what you would expect for such an august event.
--I didn’t know at the time, Sunday, that Joaquin Niemann, playing in the final round of The Tour Championship alone due to Brooks Koepka’s withdrawal on Saturday that left the field with 29 players, toured East Lake GC in 1 hour, 53 minutes.
But that’s not the record. That’s held by Wesley Bryan, who played the final round of the 2017 BMW Championship in 1 hour, 29 minutes.
Niemann said he set out to play quickly, but not “crazy quick,” but then when he was told he finished the front nine in just over an hour, decided to push it.
--French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo died Monday. He was 88.
Belmondo is among those select group of Hollywood actors of the 20th century who were just “cool.” Marcello Mastroianni is another European of that ilk…Yves Montand…
Belmondo leaped to international stardom in 1960 as a playfully amoral gangster in Jean-Luc Godard’s seminal New Wave film “Breathless,” and then would appear in over 80 pictures, most of the comedy-adventure genre.
As Adam Bernstein wrote in the Washington Post:
“With his tousled chestnut hair, sinewy physique and battered Roman nose, Mr. Belmondo personified the nonchalant antihero – the lackadaisical tough guy who could use his fists but would rather slug back a few pastis and see where life, or an adventurous woman, might take him.”
Belmondo was married twice, but for years was linked to the likes of Ursula Andress and Laura Antonelli, and for this we say, “Oui oui!”
--And actor Michael K. Williams, who had one of the great roles of all time, playing the rogue robber of drug dealers Omar Little on “The Wire,” died Monday of a suspected heroin overdose in New York. He was just 54.
“The Wire” is simply one of the two or three best television series of all time, “The Sopranos” obviously No. 1.
Little, a “stick-up boy” based on real figures from Baltimore, was probably the most beloved character on the HBO show, which ran from 2002 to 2008 and is now constantly in streaming.
The Brooklyn-born Williams (who also died there), appeared in the HBO series “Boardwalk Empire” and “Lovecraft Country,” as well as films like “12 Years a Slave” and “Assassin’s Creed.”
Williams didn’t have the easiest life as he dealt with his addictions and for long spells, he lived on the edge in Newark, trying to score his drugs of choice.
But by all accounts, just a real good man. RIP.
--I wrote last time of the shark attack in the Gulf of Mexico but didn’t know of a fatal attack on a surfer off the eastern coast of Australia on Sunday.
What was described as a “significant injury to the arm,” according to officials, ended in the man’s death, in waters about 330 miles north of Sydney [Shelly and Emerald beaches in Coffs Harbour.]
Next Bar Chat, Sunday.
[Posted early Sunday p.m., prior to Dodgers-Giants, Notre Dame-Florida State, and NASCAR]
I will have an Add-On up top by noon, Wednesday.
Baseball Quiz / OBP: So, Saturday I was running back and forth between the house I’m cleaning out and the town dump (a true vacation spot) and, listening to the Mets-Nationals game on the radio, heard a stat about Washington’s Juan Soto, who is leading the league in on-base percentage. 1) If Soto finishes up as the leader, he would be just the second to lead the league twice in OBP at age 22 or younger. Who is the other? 2) Who are the only two in baseball history with an OBP of .470? 3) Who are the only two active players with OBPs over .400? [Soto doesn’t have enough plate appearances to qualify.] Answers below.
--You don’t want to play in the wild-card game, especially if you’re the Dodgers or the Giants, two of the three best teams in baseball.
Friday night in San Francisco, the bitter rivals squared off in a crucial three-game series, tied for the NL West lead, and the Giants beat the Dodgers 3-2.
But Saturday, L.A. bounced back with a 6-1 win in front of a sold-out crowd, moving the two back into a tie at 86-50 (Tampa Bay also 86-50 as of Saturday).
Yesterday, Julio Urias held the Giants to one first-inning run over 5 2/3, and four Dodgers relievers held the Giants at bay the rest of the way.
Urias is now 16-3, 3.11 ERA, in 156 1/3 innings – 76 2/3 innings beyond his previous high for a season, as they try to limit his pitch count to 90 (he threw 96 last night).
So the Dodgers and Giants have now split their first 18 meetings, today’s contest the last of the season between the two.
--A funny thing happened on the way to oblivion. The Mets won seven in a row (including the completion of an April suspended contest), while the Braves were getting swept in Los Angeles and losing two of three in Colorado.
But true disaster almost struck in the first game of a day/night doubleheader yesterday in Washington. The Mets built a 9-0 lead, only to see the Nationals chip away, and chip away, and freakin’ tie it at 9-9, sending the seven-inning affair into extra innings. After great relief pitching by Trevor May saved the day in the eighth for the Metropolitans, Francisco Lindor hit a two-run homer in the top of the ninth and the Mets survived 11-9 to extend their streak to seven.
Understand, the Mets, in their entire franchise history, had never blown a nine-run lead. This would have been catastrophic.
As it was, they then lost the nightcap, 4-3.
New York has played a league-leading 13 doubleheaders and not been swept in any of them.
Well, entering play today, Game 4 of a 5-game series in D.C., the Mets suddenly trailed the struggling Bravos by only 3 ½, Philadelphia 2 behind.
And the Mets blew 4-0 and 6-3 leads, but then took the lead in the eighth and scored six in the ninth, winning 13-6; Lindor and Kevin Pillar (grand slam) with big late blows.
So…after today’s play, the Braves beating the Rockies 9-2….
--Meanwhile, the other team in Gotham, the Yankees, lost two of three to the Orioles over the weekend! Goodness gracious. That blows!
Boston also lost today and we have the race for the wild card….
New York 78-58…+0.5
The winner, assuming Seattle or Oakland don’t overtake them, hosts the one-game playoff. Can you imagine this matchup…one game?!
--Friday, Shohei Ohtani improved to 9-1, 2.97, on the mound, pitching seven innings, allowing two runs, striking out eight, as the Angels beat the Rangers 3-2. What was most impressive is Ohtani threw 117 pitches, his most ever.
But Ohtani’s been in a bit of a batting slump, though Saturday, in a 4-1 win over Texas, he had his first multi-hit game since Aug. 19, including home run No. 43. He’s up to 93 RBIs and 89 runs scored. 100 in each of those two categories would make this remarkable season even more so.
--I have to give Yankees ace Gerrit Cole credit. Last Wednesday he beat the Angels 4-1, with a season-high 15 strikeouts, while walking none, helping the Yanks break a four-game losing streak.
Cole has a 0.36 ERA in his last four starts, 14-6, 2.73 ERA overall. The sticky substances issue is officially a thing of the past.
--Former star pitchers John Smoltz and Al Leiter will not appear in the studios of the MLB Network after refusing to receive a coronavirus vaccine.
The network instituted a vaccine mandate for all employees at its Secaucus, N.J., campus that went into effect Wednesday. Smoltz and Leiter will continue to appear on the network’s studio programming remotely.
But Smoltz is still expected to travel during the postseason and call the division series for the network, which does not mandate vaccines for broadcasters calling games on-site.
Smoltz is also lead analyst on Fox Sports’ coverage, calling games alongside play-by-play announcer Joe Buck. Smoltz’s role will remain the same. Buck, through a representative, declined to comment. If I were him, I’d be pissed. [No doubt in my mind Buck is vaccinated.]
--Monday, the Pittsburgh Pirates are honoring the 1971 Pirates, World Series champions, but also a day, Sept. 1, 1971, when for the first time in the history of the National or the American League, a team fielded a lineup that was entirely composed of people of color.
Catcher Manny Sanguillen, 77, the catcher that night, recalled that Roberto Clemente told him, ‘Sangy, I never thought I’d see that in my life.’ “He was proud to see nine guys playing, and he said, ‘I’m glad I’m participating in that for the Pittsburgh Pirates.’”
That day, the Pirates fielded two players from Panama (Sanguillen and second baseman Rennie Stennett), one from Cuba (shortstop Jackie Hernandez) and Clemente, from Puerto Rico.
Five others were Black Americans: Third baseman Dave Cash, outfielders Gene Clines and Willie Stargell, first baseman Al Oliver, plus pitcher Dock Ellis.
FYI…from a piece by Tyler Kepner in the New York Times, I didn’t realize Red Auerbach had put out a lineup on the court when he was coaching the Celtics, Dec. 26, 1964, that represented the first all-Black lineup in NBA history.
FedEx Cup Finale
--30 golfers left, playing for the $15 million top prize. A rather large pay day.
And the leaderboard entering today’s final round….
Patrick Cantlay -20
Jon Rahm -18
Justin Thomas -15
Kevin Na -13
So Rahm and Cantlay matched each other, basically, the whole round, until a Cantlay birdie on No. 16 gave him a two-stroke lead….but then he bogeyed 17, Rahm parring it…and on to No. 18…
Both striped it in the fairway on the par-5 18th, but Cantlay put his second on the green, Rahm slightly off it, and they both birdied…not enough for Rahm, and Patrick Cantlay, with his sixth…and obviously biggest…tour win of his career, takes $15 million! Rahm $5 million.
Cantlay’s girlfriend, brain whirring (‘How do I not f--- this up?’), tries to remain reasonably calm, visions of huge…huge…diamonds dancing in her head. [Let alone a mansion.]
But finishing in solo third ($4 million) is Kevin Na, who finishes without a bogey the last 57 holes! Steve Stricker has to put him on the Ryder Cup team…right?
--Brooks Koepka had to withdraw in the third round with a wrist injury, jeopardizing his participation at the Ryder Cup. Not good.
--Give Patrick Reed credit. Playing in his first tournament after a week-long hospital stay for bilateral pneumonia, Reed shed light on his illness after a first-round, 2-over, 72.
“The first couple days they (the doctors) were sitting there telling me that make sure you text your family quite a bit, talk to your family, because you just don’t know,” Reed said. “I mean, this is not good. We’re not in a good spot right now.”
According to Reed, the pneumonia was in the lower lobes of both lungs, a potentially fatal location. His oxygen levels were monitored constantly during that time, and because of Covid protocols, he wasn’t allowed to see family members, including his wife.
“It definitely puts you in a dark space when you’re in there, especially those first two days,” he added. “I mean, I was battling for my life.”
In a statement released on Wednesday, Reed said that he was uncertain about whether he had the Delta variant, and on Thursday, when asked directly if he tested positive for Covid, he said they had never tested him. When asked to clarify, he said that he was tested only upon leaving.
“I obviously got tested when I was leaving and I tested negative,” he said. “So that’s always a positive.”
Reed won’t be cleared for air travel until next week. He made the trip from Texas to Atlanta in a van.
Reed said Thursday he had been vaccinated, but when questioned as to when, estimated it was only about a month ago. And it was unclear if that was his first or second shot.
What I give him credit for is the way he bounced back in rounds 2 and 3, shooting 69 and then a fine 66 Saturday.
Reed said this week he wouldn’t have played the Tour Championship if this wasn’t a Ryder Cup year. With Koepka’s injury, Reed could easily become a captain’s pick now…except he imploded on 16 and 17 today, finishing 25. We’ll see.
--Phil Mickelson was tabbed by Captain Steve Stricker, along with Fred Couples, to be his Ryder Cup assistants (along with Jim Furyk, Davis Love III and Zach Johnson). As I noted the other day, Mickelson, despite winning the PGA Championship, has played poorly since, but to his credit, said he wanted to be part of the American club in any capacity.
Stricker is announcing his six captain’s picks on Wednesday from Whistling Straits.
The six automatics are DeChambeau, Koepka, Collin Morikawa, Thomas, Dustin Johnson and Cantlay.
College Football Review
--Just book it…No. 1 Alabama will remain No. 1 the rest of the way, opening with a commanding 44-13 win over 14 Miami. The ‘next man up,’ freshman quarterback Bryce Young, threw four touchdown passes for ‘Bama, who outgained Miami 501-266.
--No. 2 Oklahoma hardly looked like world beaters (or national champion contenders) in holding on to defeat Tulane, 40-35, with Heisman Trophy candidate Spencer Rattler throwing two interceptions.
--And Clemson could struggle to get into the College Football Playoffs after the No. 5 Georgia Bulldogs stifled No. 3 Clemson’s offense, holding the Tigers to 2 yards rushing (23 carries), while Heisman candidate D.J. Uiagalelei was mediocre at best, 19/37, 178, 0-1, the lone pick returned by Georgia’s Christopher Smith 74 yards for the only touchdown in the 10-3 game. D.J. was also sacked seven times, so you can imagine Dabo Swinney will be merciless on the offensive line in practice this week.
JT Daniels was also mediocre at QB for Georgia, 22/30, 135, 0-1.
--Thursday, No. 4 Ohio State looked so-so in beating Minnesota 45-31, though freshman quarterback C.J. Stroud, replacing Justin Fields, did throw for four touchdowns.
--It was a horrible weekend for the ACC, as not only Clemson and Miami went down to SEC opponents, but No. 10 North Carolina was upset Friday night by Virginia Tech, 17-10 in Blacksburg. The Hokies picked off superstar Carolina quarterback Sam Howell three times.
--UCLA has been 3-9, 4-8, and 3-4 in Chip Kelley’s first three seasons at the helm. It’s been amazing he survived, but here he is…finally with that badly needed signature win at the Rose Bowl Saturday night. Before a great crowd of 68,123, the Bruins upset No. 16 LSU, 38-27.
Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson needed only nine completions to throw for 260 yards and three touchdowns for UCLA, while the Bruins’ ‘D’ held LSU to just 49 yards on the ground.
In other games….
--11 Oregon (quack quack) held on to beat Fresno State 31-24, as Boston College transfer Anthony Brown led the Ducks at quarterback.
--Johnny Mac’s 22 Coastal Carolina blasted The Citadel 52-14, Thursday.
--19 Penn State had a nice, if unexciting, 16-10 win over 12 Wisconsin.
--No. 21 Washington lost to Montana, 13-7! How significant is this? The Huskies became the first ranked team to lose to an FCS opponent since 2016.
--Pitt beat UMass 51-7, quarterback Kenny Pickett at the helm. Geezuz, this guy has been around forever, and it’s not like he’s good.
--Rutgers beat Temple 61-14, but only had 365 yards of offense. The Owls committed five turnovers.
The Scarlet Knights were so unimpressive, in what is supposed to be a breakout season, that coach Greg Schiano seemed to spend more time in his postgame comments complimenting stadium staff for getting everything cleaned up after Ida had wreaked havoc in the area.
--Steve D.’s Boston College shut out Pete M.’s Colgate, 51-0.
--Duke running back Mateo Durant had quite a game, rushing 29 times for 255 yards and three touchdowns, but the Blue Devils gave up a late 75-yard touchdown drive to Charlotte, who emerged with the win, 31-28.
--And Wake Forest whipped Old Dominion, the school, not the band, 42-10, as veteran Sam Hartman threw three touchdown passes.
--It hasn’t come into play in a big game thus far, but the overtime rules have changed.
Beginning with the second overtime period, a touchdown-scoring team will be required to attempt a 2-point conversion; there will not be an option to kick for a single point.
If a game is still tied after two overtime periods, teams will have one-play possessions in which they may only attempt 2-point conversions from the 3-yard line.
Every round of overtime adds an average of 14 snaps to a game, and football officials are trying to reduce injuries by moving to one-play possessions.
I like it.
--Finally, we’re hearing a lot about NILs (college athletes being able to profit from their names, images and likenesses). May I submit that the Miami cheerleaders should also be profiting. Very nice effort Saturday, girls, even as your team sucked.
Because at the end of the day….
--The NFL season gets underway Thursday, Dallas at Tampa Bay. Tom Brady revealed Saturday in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times that he contracted Covid after the Bucs’ boat parade, following his seventh Lombardi Trophy and fifth Super Bowl MVP award.
More broadly, Brady, who is vaccinated (along with every other Bucs player, coach and staff member), told the paper he believes the virus could present an even bigger challenge to his team this year.
“I think it’s going to be challenging this year,” Brady said. “I actually think it’s going to play more of a factor than last year, just because of the way what we’re doing now and what the stadium is going to look like and what the travel is going to look like and the people in the building and the fans.”
Heck, last year there were few if any fans, the players were in a bubble, and now with the Delta variant ripping throughout the nation, everything’s basically reopened, especially sports stadiums. And players will be going out to dinner, their kids will be in school with other kids…lots of opportunities to pick it up, sports fans, versus last year’s isolation.
In baseball, the Boston Red Sox have a current Covid outbreak and no one should be surprised if the playoffs are impacted.
And today the Cowboys announced that key offensive lineman Zack Martin will miss the opener against the Bucs after testing positive for Covid.
Martin is vaccinated, but a fully vaccinated player can return to play in five days if he does not have symptoms following two negative tests separated by 24 hours. An unvaccinated player faces at least a 10-deay quarantine.
But five days won’t be up before Thursday’s game.
What really hurts is that the Cowboys’ projected starting O-Line has only been together for three series in four preseason games.
Lots of stories like this to come.
--It’s going to be fascinating to see how rookie quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence (Jacksonville), Mac Jones (New England) and Zach Wilson (Jets) perform early on. Lots of pressure.
The Jets face Carolina in their opener, the Panthers with ex-Jet Sam Darnold at the helm.
--We note the passing of former receiver David Patten, 47, who died of injuries following a motorcycle accident Thursday night in South Carolina.
“It breaks my heart to hear of David’s tragic passing at such a young age,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said in a statement. “I am grateful to have coached David. He is an essential person and player in Patriots history, without whom we would not have been Super Bowl champions.
“As much as anyone, David epitomized the unheralded, self-made player who defied enormous odds to not only earn a job in the NFL but to become a key player on multiple championship terms.”
Patten, who had his own ministry, was in New England as recently as last week when he made an appearance at an autograph-signing event.
He was a key contributor on New England’s first Super Bowl-winning team. He caught a touchdown pass in the AFC Championship game against the Steelers from Drew Bledsoe, and then hauled in Tom Brady’s first career postseason scoring strike in the Super Bowl XXXVI win over the Rams.
Patten finished that postseason run with 13 catches for 154 yards and those two nearly identical touchdown catches.
In 54 games with New England, he had 165 catches for 2,513 yards and 16 TDs.
One of Patten’s most memorable performances came in 2001 when he became the first NFL player since 1979 to run, catch, and pass for a touchdown in the same game, a 38-17 win over he Colts.
Patten also played for the Giants, Washington, Cleveland and New Orleans in a career spanning 12 seasons…324 receptions, 4,715 yards overall.
--World number one Ashleigh Barty fell in the third round, upset by American Shelby Rogers, No. 43 in the world, who took out Barty 6-2, 1-6, 7-6 (7-5), with a raucous crowd backing her (though still supportive of Aussie Barty).
But the big story on the women’s side was Naomi Osaka, who after losing Friday to 73rd-ranked Canadian teenager Leylah Fernandez, 5-7, 7-6 (2), 6-4, said at a tearful press conference, “I honestly don’t know when I’m going to play my next tennis match.”
And, “Yeah, I think I’m going to take a break from playing for a while.”
This was the first Grand Slam tournament for the 23-year-old Osaka since she pulled out of the French Open to take a mental health break.
The only thing I’ll say is that Osaka has become the wealthiest female athlete in the world. She is huge in Asia, in terms of endorsements, and at this point, if you’re a sponsor, you can’t be happy.
On the men’s side, 1 Novak Djokovic, 2 Daniil Medvedev and 4 Alexander Zverev are still in it.
No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas, “Mr. Potty Break,” as in true asshole, was taken out in the third round in five sets by Carlos “Birdman of” Alcaraz.
Today, Medvedev became the first of the above to advance to the quarterfinals with a straight set win over Daniel Evans of the UK.
Djokovic and Zverev go for the same Monday.
--As the 10-race playoffs got started today at Darlington, there was a disturbing story concerning Denny Hamlin and his longtime girlfriend, Jordan Fish – whom he shares two daughters, 8 and 4, with. Fish seemed to announce the end of their relationship in a pair of tweets on Wednesday.
“I have been quiet for too long for far too long…and I have endured things no one person should EVER have to endure and today was no exception. @dennyhamlin I hope everyone will finally see you for the person you truly are,” Fish wrote, according to screen grabs by fans.
The fashion e-commerce entrepreneur appeared to have deactivated her account, and went private on Instagram.
In an apparent second tweet, Fish wrote, “Myself and our children deserve better than what you have given.”
She went on, in rather vicious fashion, concluding, “Have a great life @dennyhamlin.”
No one seems to know just what Hamlin did to deserve this. As I like to say, ‘wait 24 hours’ before blasting him.
No games this weekend due to World Cup qualifying, which I can’t get into. Just give me the final field. Then I care.
[I do of course care about Team USA, which plays Canada tonight. We need to generate some offense.]
The PL wasn’t granting permission to players who would be traveling to so-called red list countries, which set up a confrontation with FIFA. The British government has warned all residents they “should not travel” to any of the countries on the list, including Argentina, Brazil and the rest of South America, as well as hot spots like Egypt, Mexico and Turkey.
--Oscar De La Hoya was about to make a comeback 13 years after retirement, until he wasn’t.
De La Hoya was hospitalized due to Covid-19 and his pay-per-view fight Sept. 11 against Vitor Belfort at Staples Center in Los Angeles had to be canceled.
The boxer said he hoped to be “back in the ring before the year is up.”
--Early Friday morning, 35 miles off the coast of Grand Isle, Mississippi, a 64-year-old crew member of the fishing vessel Moon Glow was untangling fishing nets from the vessel’s propeller when he fell overboard. Big mistake. He was bitten by a shark of an unknown size and species and last I saw, remains in critical condition with a partially severed leg.
It’s amazing the man lived. The crew applied a tourniquet, after calling on the U.S. Coast Guard in New Orleans, who then boarded the ship and applied a new tourniquet before he was choppered out to a hospital.
--Good gawd…did you see a picture of the ginormous alligator that hunters caught in Mississippi the other day? 13-feet, 2-inches long, hitting the scales at 787 pounds! The hunters, who had won a lottery for a special license, surrounded the gator, who they knew was out there, with two vessels and fought him from both sides.
--So today an old tune suddenly popped into my head, the Statler Brothers’ “Flowers on the Wall,” and there’s a line in it that is one of the greats of all time…at least I think so.
Smoking cigarettes and watching Captain Kangaroo
Now don’t tell me I’ve nothing to do.
Top 3 songs for the week 9/2/78: #1 “Grease” (Frankie Valli) #2 “Three Times A Lady” (Commodores) #3 “Boogie Oogie Oogie” (A Taste Of Honey)…and…#4 “Hot Blooded” (Foreigner) #5 “Hopelessly Devoted To You” (Olivia Newton-John) #6 “Miss You” (The Rolling Stones) #7 “Kiss You All Over” (Exile) #8 “An Everlasting Love” (Andy Gibb) #9 “Magnet And Steel” (Walter Egan) #10 “Shame” (Evelyn “Champagne” King…as Archie Bunker would have said of this week…basically, total crapola… ‘D’…)
Baseball Quiz Answers: 1) Should Juan Soto lead the NL in on-base percentage, he would match Ted Williams as the only two to lead their league twice at age 22 or younger. 2) Ted Williams, .4817, and Babe Ruth, .4739, are the only two in history to have career OBPs over .470. 3) Mike Trout, .4188, and Joey Votto, .4167, are the only two active players with OBPs over .400.
I’ll have an Add-On up top sometime by Wed. noon.