Monthly Archives: February 2013

Bad Idea

You may have missed the NBA trade deadline this afternoon. I can’t blame you, it was more about who wasn’t traded than who was. But, the Knicks made a move, trading Ronnie Brewer to OKC for a second-round pick. That move left me scratching my head. Brewer can’t really shoot, but he plays good defense and anyone watching last night’s game knows the Knicks could use some defensive help. Plus, OKC is really good, so the second-round pick isn’t worth much at all. But what really worries me is what the Knicks did with the roster space, they signed Kenyon Martin to a 10-day contract.

I get the thinking, Martin is a big guy and can help on the defensive end especially. But, he is also an emotional player who is prone to a technical which is exactly what the Knicks DO NOT need right now. This team is way too emotional. Mentally they melt down if the refs start making calls against them or a “T’ is called. Martin won’t help that, in fact he will probably make it worse.

I don’t know how the Knicks do it, but they have to get control of their emotions. Indiana played a smart game last night, unnerving the Knicks and then humiliating them. Don’t think the rest of the league hasn’t noticed how fragile the Knicks’ psyche is.

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Are You Kidding Me?

Here’s a little nugget I just learned, the NFL, PGA and NHL are all non-profit organizations as far as the tax code is concerned. MLB was the same until 2007 when they gave up tax-exempt status. MLB apparently only gave it up because they didn’t want the salaries of their top executives to become public. Because the NFL didn’t give up their status, we know that Roger Goodell earned $29.5 million last year.

Look, I get the math as a sports fan. I am going to be ripped off if I attend a game and I am fine with that. After all, that is my choice. But, I draw the line at ripping off everyone, sports fans and non-sports fans alike by taking away tax revenue when we really need it. Major sports organizations should be stripped of their non-profit status. Major sports teams should not be allowed to benefit from municipal bonds. Democrats and Republicans don’t agree on much, but this should be an obvious one considering the size of our deficit.

Can The Knicks Pull Off A Trade?

After almost 50 games, the Knicks are about where I expected them to be. They are on pace for around 53 wins and in the running for the Atlantic Division crown. The problem is, they may burnout long before the playoffs.

Let’s start with the frontcourt where the return of Amar’e has been better than I think any of us expected, but also where the Knicks are in need of some help. With Rasheed Wallace and Marcus Camby on the shelf, the Knicks are making do with Amar’e and the return of Iman, but neither of those guys can play defense against a truly big man. That leaves Tyson Chandler playing almost 35 minutes a game since the end of November, a rate which is not optimal for a physical defender. Assuming Wallace and/or Camby heal, this could turn out ok though.

More concerning is the backcourt. The loss of Felton for a month showed the Knicks how valuable he is, but it also forced them into overusing Jason Kidd. Kidd has been great this year, but look at his shooting percentages by month. In November he shot an astounding .509 from the field. In December that dropped to .395. In January it went to .382 and through the first five games of February it has dropped to .281. You have to wonder if he is simply burned out from playing so many early season minutes at the age of 39?

But the trouble is, the Knicks are going to have to get very creative to do any trades. They can’t trade their first round pick this year since they traded their 2014 pick to get Carmelo. They are over the cap, which makes trades hard and they are top-heavy in salary. Carmelo, Amar’e and Chandler make up almost 70% of their cap space.

So, this is probably the team we will see on the floor for the rest of the season. With a little health and a little luck, they could make a deep run into the playoffs. But, the streak of 39+-years without a championship isn’t ending anytime soon.

It’s A Brutal Business

The Giants cut Ahmad Bradshaw yesterday because they didn’t want to take on the risk that Bradshaw’s surgically-repaired feet would give out. Bradshaw is 26-years old. I can’t fault the Giants for this move, just like I couldn’t fault them for releasing Brandon Jacobs last offseason. But just like then, I am bummed out to see Bradshaw leave.

It seems appropriate to talk of Bradshaw and Jacobs together because they were unheralded draft picks and at their best they were a lethal 1-2 punch out of the backfield. Bradshaw was the 250th pick of the 2007 draft. He was part of a class that Mel Kiper gave a C-minus, but the Giants would not have won the Super Bowl without them.

But look at that list of players from the 2007 Draft. After six seasons, only Zak DeOssie remains on the Giants roster. That’s how brutal the turnover in the NFL is. College Football fans were aware that yesterday was signing day. Lost in all the hype and hoopla over where each of the Top-100 picks went to school is the fact that for most of them it won’t get any better than this. The names that fans are salivating over now will be long forgotten in four years when the NFL comes calling. David Wilson is now on top of the Giants depth chart. How many years will he last in that spot?

 

And Then The Lights Went Out

I love conspiracy theories and I heard one of the best ones in awhile last night. Since Silicon Valley is home to a large population of computer engineers and very close to San Francisco, a disgruntled 49ers fan must have hacked the lights at the Super Bowl. I would guess that wasn’t the case, but whatever the reason that blackout probably saved the game.

Trailing 28-6 the 49ers came back to life and made a game of it. Suddenly it was 28-20 and when Ray Rice fumbled on his own 24, I really thought the 49ers were going to steamroll the Ravens. But the Baltimore defense played tough and the 49ers had to settle for a field goal on their second chance. (Take a look at that running into the kicker penalty in slo-mo if you can find it. We rewound it several times on TIVO and were unanimous in our verdict that the Baltimore player didn’t touch Akers.) Baltimore was on the ropes, but they did just enough to win the game. They put together two lengthy drives that resulted in two field goals and with 4:19 to go in the game, they held a 34-29 lead.

But here is where there were some really interesting coaching decisions. San Francisco got down to the Baltimore 7 with 2:39 left in the game. They ran the ball, picking up two yards, but then Baltimore let the clock run down to the two-minute warning. It was a gutsy call because if San Francisco had scored, Baltimore would not have had much time to try and tie the game.

The 49ers coaches had a weird set of play calls after that. Five yards from the end zone and they called three-straight passes. First off, why not try and run at least once? At worst, you probably get a bit closer. But also, you want to run the clock down at this point because even if you score you only have a one-point lead or a three-point lead with the two-point conversion. We know what happened and I don’t think a flag should have been called on the final pass. Both players were pushing and grabbing, a flag could have gone against either, so no call makes the most sense to me.

The final 1:46 kind of gets lost in the shuffle, but it included a great piece of strategy by Baltimore and a rule that has to be changed. With a five-point lead and facing a 4th-and-7 with 12 seconds left in the game from their own 8, the Ravens decided to take the safety instead of risking a punt block. It’s a brilliant move because you get to waste some time and then free kick the ball down the field leaving San Francisco very little chance of getting into field goal range. In fact, Baltimore took 8 seconds off the clock because they liberally and illegally held a number of 49ers on the play. The reason they did is because the worst thing that could happen to them was a penalty flag and an automatic safety for holding in the end zone. The league should strongly consider changing the rule to an automatic safety and the clock being reset to the time of the original snap. If that had happened, the 49ers would have received the kickoff and probably had a chance to run one play. I’m not saying the result would have been different, but the rule is unfair as currently enforced.

And with that the football season is now over and we have almost seven months to wait until we see a game that counts again. On the plus side, pitchers and catchers report next week!

Congrats Tuna!

As a longtime Giants fan, I am glad to see Bill Parcells get selected for the Hall of Fame. Parcells actually coached more games outside of the Giants organization than he did in it, but his only two rings came with New York and I think he will always be remembered as a Giant first and foremost.

One interesting thing about Parcells is that his induction probably opens the door for Tom Coughlin to be inducted after he retires. Parcells finished with a record of 172-130-1 and 2 Super Bowl wins. Coughlin is currently at 151-121 and 2 rings. Assuming he coaches two more years and the Giants go 9-7 in both, Coughlin would finish at 169-135. If that happened, I think he would get in.

I wonder what other current coaches will get in? Belichick and Shanahan are probably the only locks. Reid, Tomlin, McCarthy and Peyton are probably the next tier. It will be fun to watch.

Super Bowl Prediction: 49ers 28 Baltimore 14  Enjoy the game!