Monthly Archives: January 2017

Super Bowl Boredom

otI’ve been asking around, and apart from my neighbor who comes from Atlanta, I am not finding people excited for the Super Bowl. Now granted, if you have a reason to root for one of the teams, then this game is exciting to you, but I’m not feeling it. I’m not sure why. I usually love the Super Bowl and am excited for whoever is in it. This year I am struggling to even commit to watching it. I have thought about this for awhile and I have three reasons for this.

1- The teams

2- Football itself

3- The world

Let me delve into each.

1- I don’t hate the Patriots. In fact, I like Bill Belichick and I used to be a Patriots season ticket holder. But I have Patriots fatigue. I have seen too much of them and heard way, way, too much from both sides about deflated footballs. And while Matt Ryan seems like a good guy, I have zero interest in the Falcons. They have always struck me as a team that never lived up to expectations and not that interesting. So I find myself not caring at all about which team wins and that makes it pretty hard to get excited about the game.

2- I am having a harder and harder time watching football in general because it seems pretty clear that these players are killing themselves. HBO just did a Real Sports story on the death of Kevin Turner. If you click that link you will see pictures of him as he got close to death. He had ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, and had lost the ability to talk or walk by the end. He donated his brain to science and they came to the conclusion that repetitive blows to the head caused his disease. The doctor who does the study looks into the camera and says that people should stop playing football. I know that if I had a son, I don’t, I would not let them play football so I am really wrestling with the moral question of what I am watching and condoning by watching.

3- Without delving into politics too deeply, the world seems to me to be a pretty scary place right now and we are as divided and angry a country as I can remember. It’s hard for me to put all my feelings and concerns aside right now and escape into sports. I find that to be true with not only football, but hockey and basketball as well.  Maybe baseball season will break me out of my funk, but right now sports aren’t giving me the joy they usually do.

So that’s why I am considering skipping the game. I imagine what I will actually do is check the score a bunch of times and then flip it on if things are close in the 4th quarter. At least I hope so.

Bye-Bye Brooklyn

Bloomberg is reporting that the Barclays Center will kick the Islanders out after the 2018-19 NHL season.

This is not a major shock. Barclays simply wasn’t built for hockey. It’s asymmetrical, leading to terrible seats on one end of the ice, and the scoreboard hanging over one of the blue lines. Furthermore, the Islanders are simply not drawing fans to the games, ranking third to last in the NHL in attendance which they also did in their inaugural season.  (And yes, they should have built the Barclays Center for hockey, but the original design was massively changed when the financial crisis hit in 2008.)

The question is what happens now? The new owners have been trying to get into a partnership with the Mets to construct an arena near Citi Field, but I can’t see how anyone would bite on that financing. We already have the completely redone MSG, the very new Prudential Center in Newark, the completely redone Nassau Coliseum reopening this spring, the very new Barclays Center, and the sitting in mothballs Izod Center at the Meadowlands, in the immediate area. How many arenas can we realistically support? And while a return to the Nassau Coliseum would have made sense, the renovations have lowered the capacity for hockey to 13,000. The Barclays Center is already the smallest in hockey (15,800) would the Islanders really move to an even smaller venue? Would the league even allow them to do so?

I am afraid that barring some miracle, this probably spells the end of the Islanders in the tri-state area. That’s a real shame. As much as I dislike the team, it has a passionate and loyal following that deserves better. My only hope is that if relocation is the final decision, they go to a real hockey hotbed, like Quebec, and not to some sunbelt city that doesn’t have the passion for the game. The Islanders can opt-out of their lease after next year, so we could have a quick resolution to this. Expect the rhetoric to ramp up quickly.

 

Good Idea/Bad Execution

So give the Knicks points for trying to shop Carmelo Anthony as per this story. Take away points for going to Cleveland and asking for Kevin Love. Should the Knicks trade Carmelo? Absolutely, and hopefully this was just the start of their efforts, but they need to get real. They are not going to get a Kevin Love-type player in return.

And that’s ok, the important thing is to get some more draft picks or young players who might turn into something rather than try to fool anyone into thinking they can remain competitive. This is not a team that will win a championship as currently constructed, so you send Anthony and Rose out of town, give Noah a seat on the bench, and surround Kristaps and Willy with some young guys. For the first time in probably a decade, the Knicks control all of their future first round picks, so losing this year really isn’t a problem. You head to the lottery and see what happens.

They have about a month before the deadline and they are 20-26. A smart team would sell aggressively. The Knicks have never been a smart team.

 

Right Place/Wrong Team

The Giants making the playoffs after a four-year absence is a wonderful thing. The problem is, they are running into the worst possible first round matchup they could have drawn.

Yes, they have beaten Green Bay in Green Bay before in the playoffs. In fact, the last two Super Bowl victories went through Green Bay. And yes, in both of those seasons they lost to Green Bay in the regular season, just like they did this year. But tell me, what does that have to do with the 2016 Giants? There are five players still on the entire roster from the 2011 team, and one of them, JPP, is not playing Sunday. Eli Manning looks a lot more like the 2007 version of himself than the 2011 version and Green Bay is the hottest team in the league right now, winning six-straight to make the playoffs.

I’m not saying the Giants can’t win. They can, but they will need a lot of things to break their way. They will need to fluster Aaron Rodgers, no easy task. They will need to hold up in their protection of Manning, again no easy task. They will need to run the ball in very cold conditions, something they haven’t shown a consistent ability to do. Add it all up, and I don’t see the Giants walking away with a win on Sunday, no matter what “history” says will happen.

Hopefully, I am wrong.