Archive for December, 2013

WATERCOOLER CHAT: CLIPPERS/CELTICS NEW COACHES FACE OFF, RGIII BENCHED, MCCUTCHEN PROPOSES ON ELLEN SHOW

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In the NBA, Boston fans are enjoying new head coach Brad Stevens.  He appears to be a borderline basketball genius, except that he’s not working with too many high profile talents.  And Wed night was former Boston coach Doc Rivers’ homecoming with his new team the Los Angeles Clippers.  The Boston fans gave him a huge standing ovation.  The Celtics actually held the lead for a while, but Chris Paul and the sheer talent level on the Clippers made it easy for Rivers to get a win on his old court.  LA Clippers 96, Boston 88.

FOOTBALL

And in the NFL, the Washington Redskins franchise is clearly a complete mess.  There is political infighting, and all signs point that this might be Mike Shanahan’s last season as head coach.  If this is the case, Shanahan is doing what he can to show he is in charge.  Wednesday, Shanahan made the executive decision to “shut down” the beloved Robert Griffin III for the rest of the season.  RG3 has had a woeful season, which couldn’t be more different than his sensational rookie year.  He’s battled injuries, and simply can not get the offense to click.  Kirk Cousins has been named the starter the rest of the way, and the Redskins are likely headed for a Top 3 pick.  This organization is in shambles again.

BASEBALL

Finally, in some cheery news, Pittsburgh Pirates superstar and reigning National League MVP Andrew McCutchen asked his fiance to marry him on TV — on the Ellen Show.  It was such a beautiful moment in which McCutchen said that he didn’t do it for the publicity or the recognition, but only because he wanted to tell the whole world that he loved his now fiance.  You can see the video here:

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: COWBOYS IN TROUBLE, HEISMAN FINALISTS ANNOUNCED, HALLADAY RETIRES

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In the NFL, it was Monday Night Football between the Dallas Cowboys and the Chicago Bears.  And it was freezing!  Chicago has become an enigmatic team behind veteran back-up quarterback Josh McCown.  He’s played solid, but you never know how the team is going to play as a whole.  Chicago came out and absolutely obliterated the Cowboys.  The Bears scored on every possession, and Josh McCown threw a whopping 5 touchdowns.  On top of that, the Dallas defense looks putrid, and are in absolutely no position to take on any team with a competent offense.  Cowboys are in trouble.  Chicago 45, Dallas 28.

And in college football, with the regular season over, the Heisman finalists have been announced.  This year there are 6:  4 quarterbacks, and 2 running backs.  For the QBs, it’s Florida State’s Jameis Winston, Norther Illinois’ Jordan Lynch, Alabama’s AJ McCarron, and returning champion Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M.  And for the running backs, Boston College’s Andre Williams and Auburn’s Tre Mason.  It’s likely that freshman Jameis Winston will bring home the prize, considering that the Seminoles are undefeated and he is a big reason why.  But, you never know until the answer pops up.

BASEBALL

Finally, in baseball, it’s the end of an era as 36-year old pitcher Roy Halladay has decided to retire.  Halladay had an amazing career rising to prominence in Toronto, then decided to sign with the Philadelphia Phillies.  In his 16-year career, Halladay threw both a no-hitter and a perfect game in the same season; a season in which he won the NL Cy Young Award.  Halladay signed a 1-day contract with Toronto so that he could retire a Blue Jay — the team that loves him the most.  A great career for a first ballot Hall-Of-Famer.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS SET IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL, BRADY AND PATS PULL OFF WIN, VIKINGS AND RAVENS GREAT 4TH Q

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In college football, it was a weekend that helped determine the National Championship picture.  After a miracle win against Alabama, Auburn had hope of actually playing in the BCS Championship.  They just had to get past Missouri in the SEC Championship.  It was a shootout, but the Tigers prevailed.  It wasn’t over though as they needed undefeated Ohio State to lose to Michigan State in the Big 10 Championship.  That was a grueling game, but the Michigan State Spartans hung in there and pulled out the amazing upset win.  Michigan State will now take on Stanford in the Rose Bowl.  With the Auburn win, it sets up a National Championship Game between #1 Florida State, and #2 Auburn.  It should be a great game, but it’s going to be hard to defeat the undefeated Florida State Seminoles.  Auburn 59, Missouri 42.  Michigan State 34, Ohio State 24.

In the NFL, the New England Patriots had a chance to take a step forward and grab the #1 seed and possibly getting home field advantage in the playoffs.  Everyone had them penciled in for a win against the Cleveland Browns.  But, people failed to take into account that the Browns have a sneaky good defense.  They gave the Patriots fits all game, and were up by 26-14 with just 2:39 to play.  Then again, the Pats are the Pats, and they have Tom Brady.  Brady got a quick touchdown score to pull it to 26-21, and then the Patriots recovered an onside kick. Brady went long for the end zone, and the Pats got a pass interference call in their favor, and got it on the one yard line.  After that, it was an easy touchdown pass, and they pulled off the miracle victory.  New England 27, Cleveland 26.

And in Baltimore, with the snow piled high, the Vikings and Ravens gave us one of the most entertaining 4th quarters in years.  It was 12-7 Vikings for most of the 4th quarter, but with just 1:39 left, the Ravens got the go ahead touchdown pass from Joe Flacco.  15-12 Ravens (they got the 2-point conversion).  Then, the Vikings, with just 1:39 left got a 41-yard touchdown run from Toby Gerhart.  19-15 Vikings.  But, on the kickoff, Dancing With the Stars contestant Jacoby Jones ran back a kick off return for a touchdown.  22-19 Ravens.  Over right?  Nope, with just 45 seconds left, Matt Cassel hit Cordarrelle Patterson for a 79-yard touchdown pass.  26-22 Vikings.  Over right?  Not yet.  The Ravens marched down the field, and with just 4 seconds left, Joe Flacco hit Marlon Brown for a touchdown.  Now… it was over.  Wow!!   Baltimore 29, Minnesota 26.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: TEXANS SO BAD #1 PICK, WINSTON NOT CHARGED, KNICKS SNAP LOSING STREAK

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In the NFL, it was a lowly Thursday night game between the Houston Texans and the Jacksonville Jaguars.  The Texans put up a fight against the Patriots last week, and the Jags were on a 2-game win streak headed into the game.  The Jags got out to a big lead early, and even caused the Texans to pull their starting quarterback Case Keenum, who hasn’t won a game yet for the Texans.  Matt Schaub replaced him, but the Jags are playing well right now and they came away with the home victory.  That’s 3 in a row for the Jags, and now the Texans (based on their losing season) are in position to get the #1 pick.  That will lead to countless “Should they draft Texas hero Johnny Manziel?” articles over the next 6 months.  Jacksonville 27, Houston 20.

The big news out of the day came from the college football world and the decision in Tallahassee as to the verdict on the charge against Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston.  Winston was accused of sexual assault by a woman a year ago.  If found guilty, he would not have played in the National Title Game.  But Winston’s lawyer has said all along that the sex was consensual.  It was up to the judge to decide, and the official verdict was that Winston was absolved of all charges. There will likely be many questions and commentary on this decision over the next few weeks.

BASKETBALL

And in the NBA, the New York Knicks haven’t had such a great beginning of the season.  Then again, neither have the Brooklyn Nets, who were supposed to be a juggernaut with the addition of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.  Thursday night, they would square off in a rivalry game at the Barclays Center in a battle to see who could get to 5 wins first.  Fortunately, Knicks fans have a little to celebrate as Carmelo Anthony had a good game to snap a 9-game losing streak and crush the Nets.  NY Knicks 113, Brooklyn 83.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: UNC STEPS UP, SMOKE IN NBA, TOMLIN FINED 100K

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In college basketball, the #1 Michigan State Spartans took on an unranked North Carolina team.  This UNC Tar Heels team is quite enigmatic, as they can show up as the team who handed defending champion Louisville their first loss in 10 months earlier this season, or the team who lost to Belmont and UAB.  Seemingly, they are the team that shows up and plays to the level of their opponent.  Kennedy Meeks stepped up for UNC with 16 points and 8 rebounds, as the Tar Heels stunned the Spartans.  UNC will be a tough team to pick or pick against come tourney time.  UNC 79, Michigan State 65.

In the NBA, the league was hoping that their move into Mexico City would prove a positive experience for their international push.  It was supposed to be a fun match-up between the San Antonio Spurs and the Minnesota Timberwolves.  But, a generator malfunction caused the arena to fill up with smoke, and the game had to be postponed.  This doesn’t bode well for a league that imagines playing all over the world, as some international facilities may not have the capability to host them.

FOOTBALL

In the NFL, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is still under fire for stepping on the field and almost tripping a Ravens special teams player on Thanksgiving.  It now looks like the NFL isn’t accepting his “it was an accident” excuse, and will be fining him $100,000.  That’s a lot of money, but the big penalty may be the Steelers possibly losing draft picks in the upcoming draft.  The draft is where you build for the future, and if you lose picks, you are at a serious disadvantage in the competitive NFL.  It’s even possible that Tomlin could lose his job at the end of the season.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: YANKS STEAL ELLSBURY FROM RED SOX, MARIOTA STAYING IN SCHOOL, HUSKIES NEED COACHf

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Teams are starting to make their big off-season moves, and it’s always interesting to see what the Yankees are up to.  They’re always signing the big stars and up-and-coming players, but it’s most notable when they steal stars away from their rival:  The Boston Red Sox.  There was a lot of ire years ago when the Yanks stole Johnny Damon away from the Red Sox, and now they have signed Red Sox favorite Jacoby Ellsbury.  The deal is reportedly worth $153 million over 7 years.  The Yanks had a pretty bad season last year, and Ellsbury will be a big part of their rebuilding plan.

FOOTBALL

In college football, Oregon quarterback and Heisman candidate Marcus Mariota was pegged as one of the top quarterbacks and overall players coming into the draft.  Thing is, Mariota is only a sophomore.  Either way, it was likely that he would have been selected in the Top 10, and possibly would have started right away.  But on Tuesday, Mariota said that he would be staying in school for his junior year at Oregon.  It’s always interesting when this happens, because these players are turning down a lot of money, but perhaps Mariota thought his game could benefit from one more year.  Plus, he may be the #1 pick in the 2015 draft.

And elsewhere in college football, with Washington’s Steve Sarkisian taking the reigns at USC, the Huskies are in need of a replacement.  And the Washington program is still a renowned national program with championship ambitions.  They need a great coach and have been courting UCLA’s Jim Mora Jr., who completely turned the UCLA program around this year.  But UCLA is clearly serious about their program too, and locked up Mora to a long-term deal.  It will be interesting to see whom the Huskies nab.

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: SEAWHAWKS CLINCH PLAYOFF SPOT, MARTIN OUT FOR SEASON, USC REPLACES INTERIM COACH

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The Seattle Seahawks became the first NFL team to clinch a playoff spot after beating the New Orleans Saints on Monday night 34-7. In only his second year as an NFL QB, the Seahawks’ Russell Wilson looked amazing throwing for 310 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Looks like the Jonathan Martin/Richie Incognito story is wrapping up. Remember the story of  Miami Dolphins’ Offensive Tackle, Jonathan Martin complaining that Incognito was bullying him causing the news media to jump on stories of bullying in the locker room.  Incognito was suspended for a few weeks and now Martin has been put on reserve/non-football illness leave (essentially ending his football season). The media is still investigating the bullying incident and it’s repercussions throughout the locker room environment.

In big news out of the college football world, USC replaced interim head coach, Ed Orgeron, with former USC assistant coach Steve Sarkisian. Some folks are not too happy about replacing Orgeron as he led the USC Trojans to a 6-2 record while he was acting coach. 

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WATERCOOLER CHAT: GREATEST PLAY EVER IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL, CONTROVERSIAL CALLS IN NFL

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Football fans all over the country witnessed the greatest play ever in college football. Number 4 ranked Auburn was playing tough against Number 1 Alabama. The game was remarkably tied at 28-28. With one second left to play, Alabama went for a field goal to try and give them a win without having to go into overtime. The field goal was short but Auburn’s Chris Davis was positioned in the end zone, grabbed the ball and ran for an unbelievable 100 yards to win the game. and destroy Alabama’s BCS Title hopes. If you didn’t see the play, watch it here. Auburn 34, Alabama 28.

In the other exciting (but not in the same league) game of the weekend, Ohio State almost lost to their rival Michigan in a close game that ended in a failed two-point conversion. The two teams were going head to head all afternoon. With 32 seconds left, Michigan scored a touchdown and instead of going for the point after, they decided to go for two. Michigan’s QB got picked off and the game was over, but you have to respect their courage in wanting to go for the win. Ohio State 43, Michigan 42.

The NFL games were almost afterthoughts in a great weekend of college football. But there were some controversial games.

In the Thursday night matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens, the Steeler’s head coach, Mike Tomlin stepped on the field preventing Jacoby Jones from possibly scoring during a kickoff return. According to Tomlin, “I always watch the returns on the JumboTron. It provides better perspective for me,” Tomlin said. “I lost my placement as he broke free and saw at the last second how close I was to the field of play.” Tomlin and the Steelers could face some serious penalties from the League for this interference. Ravens 22 , Steelers 20.

 

In the Sunday night game featuring the Washington Redskins and the New York Giants, the officials made a monumental mistake on the Redskins final drive of the game. The Redskins thought they had a first down(and the chains were moved to show a first down) but the officials said it was third down. The problem was that because the chains were moved, the Redskins had no idea they were actually in a third down situation. Redskins ended up losing the game in an unfortunate series of calls based on the wrong information. Giants 24, Redskins 17.

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