Monthly Archives: January 2018

What A Mess

The Islanders are moving back to Nassau County, but it is going to be a messy process until they get there. The Barclays Center wants them out and soon, threatening to terminate their lease after next season if they won’t play at least half their home games at the renovated Nassau Coliseum. The Islanders have apparently agreed to play at least a third of their games there.  That probably means that for at least the next three years, you will have to really, really check the schedule before buying Islanders tickets or you may be in for a big surprise. And I have no idea what happens to season ticket holders under this situation.

I was trying to think of a parallel to this situation and drew a blank. The Packers used to play a couple of games in Milwaukee and the Bills did the same with Toronto, but football is a bad comparable. There are only eight home games. The Islanders have 41 home nights a year, this will be a logistical nightmare.

And, as usual, the reason comes to greed. The NHL doesn’t want any games played at the new Nassau Coliseum because it would be the smallest arena in the league with very few corporate suites. (I suspect that they are also worried that if the Islanders start playing there and people love it, support for building the new arena will crumble.). How does this end?  It will end with ticket-buying fans getting hosed once again.

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Pat Shurmur

The Giants have hired their new coach, giving a five year job to the former Browns Head Coach and current Vikings Offensive Coordinator. It’s a solid move in my mind.

The knock on Shurmur is his time in Cleveland, but the thing is everyone fails in Cleveland. That team has averaged 3.8 wins per season since 2007. So, Shurmur’s nine wins in two seasons look good in that light.

He is unquestioned in his ability to develop quarterbacks and that is a critical skill for the Giants right now. With the second overall pick in the draft, they will almost certainly take a QB. If they choose right and develop him correctly, the Giants could go from 15 seasons of Eli to 15 seasons of the next guy. Few teams have ever had that.

But the real test of Shurmur will be changing the culture of the locker room which went completely off the rails this year. That may require some tough choices like cutting some big players and demanding accountability for others, but it has to be done.

The harsh reality is that coaching hires in the NFL is a crapshoot at best. Consider the seven coaches hired two years ago, a group which included Ben McAdoo. Three have been fired already and only one, of the remaining four, Doug Pederson, has a winning record.

Insanity

ESPN ran a story yesterday that the New England triumvirate of Kraft, Belichick, and Brady is about to fall apart over internal strife. Today the New York papers are suggesting that Belichick will come and coach the Giants as a result of that.

Let’s start with the ESPN report. It makes Tom Brady look like an egotistical athlete who cant handle getting older.  Does that sound familiar?  That’s what almost every star athlete wrestles with at the end of their career. How that would break up the Patriots is beyond me. But let’s just play along, let’s say Belichick is at the end of his rope and wants out. What happens then?

Sure, the Giants make sense. He fondly remembers his time here and he even owned a brownstone in Park Slope up until a few years ago, but beyond that think of all the obstacles that would remain.

First, Belichick would need to be willing to put his legacy on the line. This is not a small point. Right now, he is probably considered the greatest coach in NFL history. He is considered a football genius. Now, he very well may be both of those things, but he also might be one of the luckiest guys ever because Tom Brady is the greatest QB ever and Belichick got lucky with the 199th pick in the draft. This is all debatable, but right now not worth discussing. Now if Belichcik left New England and flopped here in New York, that would put a major dent in his legacy. And if he came here and won, would it really do more for his legacy?  In short, what’s the upside to coming back here?

Second, even if he did want to take the risk, the Patriots are not going to just let him walk out the door. Their initial demand will include the #2pick in this year’s draft plus a lot more picks in future drafts. The Giants can’t pay that price and expect to be able to rebuild successfully.

Third, the timing won’t work. Unless Belichick is so disgusted with everything in New England that he would take the unprecedented move of leaving his job before the Patriots played their playoff game, this cant happen. The Giants need to hire a coach in the next week or so, waiting for the Patriots to compete their playoff run to take a chance that Belichick would become their coach is crazy. All the good candidates would be gone by then and the Giants would be in the worst position possible-forced to pay whatever price New England wants for Belichick because there would be no plan B at that point.

So count me out on the whole idea. Unless Bill steps to a podium in New England in the next few days with a cocktail napkin that says, “I resign as HC of NE” Then things would get ineteresting.