What No One Tells You About #Winning Tuesday


All Aboard the S.S.TD:

The Gronk.  Lovable meathead, really good tight-end for the Patriots just disembarked from his “Party-Cruise”.  The debaucherous, drunken revellry seemed to be on par with another party that comes to mind in the Big Easy, and according to social media, it was.  However, while everyone was re-living the halcyon days of Sodom & Gamora and being tailed by “intrepid” journalists to “document” the event – we need to ask this question – How is Manziel any different?

Is it because Gronk is a Pro-Bowler, a Superbowl Champion and has never been accused of striking a woman?  Why do we treat Gronk as lovable meathead and Manziel a loser for being the same Teddy Bro-sevelt?  At some point we should stop demonizing notorious behavior while applauding another as we maintain our upright moral status with the rest of the swine.  Then again, how much could you have had on this hedonistic cruise?

+ Read: Let’s all have as much fun as Gronk’s Party Ship.

Then there’s the King of Berzerkers, the thorn in the SEC paw, the man in the khakis, hanging out at WWE Raw last night.  The most visible and entertaining coach in college football lately, is a self-avowed rasslin’ fan and was front and center at Joe Louis Arena.  How can you not love this guy’s headline making ways?

Welcome to @UMichFootball head coach @CoachJim4UM, ringside at @WWE#RAW in Detroit!! #Wolverinespic.twitter.com/II49BL7Cml

— WWE (@WWE) February 23, 2016


NBA

ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 22: Andrew Bogut #12 of the Golden State Warriors dunks against Al Horford #15 of the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on February 22, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

If you follow along with us, then you know Mondays are prettay prettaaay prettaaaay special when you read our 5pt plays and build your lineups with our LineupAnalyzer.  Or maybe you were too caught up in listening to another hit from the dark-side of the moon and the Apollo 10 astronauts…Either way, you can read The United Stats of #Murica #NBA edition for a review or read these 5 takeaways:

  • Warriors become the fastest team to 50 wins in NBA history by beating Hawks. It got interesting. Atlanta became the latest team to make a big run on Golden State and force a response. Portland did it most of the game, but the 13-turnover third quarter for the Warriors put that game out of reach. The Clippers game seemed to be in garbage time until a 13-0 run late gave Los Angeles a chance to tie (the shot fell short). Then Monday night the Warriors were in complete control up 23 in the third quarter, when the Hawks went on a 33-6 run and took the lead. These lapses are a combination of factors. The Warriors have some mental vacations, they get bored it seems, but also teams are not just rolling over for them. Good teams that have pride. The result is the Warriors having to work hard for games where it felt like they were in control.
  • Channing Frye makes his debut for Cavaliers but Pistons spoil the day. Cavaliers fans got to see the guy they gave up Anderson Varejao for Monday night (not that much was expected of Channing Frye in his debut, he’s had basically no practice time with the team). Frye played nine minutes for the Cavaliers, missed both his threes, and looked like the new kid trying to fit in. He’ll find a more comfortable groove.
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo finishes the off-the-backboard alley-oop. Yes, it still counts if you do it against the Lakers’ defense. The Bucks picked up a win and the Greek Freak had maybe the highlight of the night.
  • Pistons void Donatas Motiejunas trade with Rockets over concerns about his back.Stan Van Gundy has coveted Motiejunas for years — a true 7-footer who can bang inside and is shooting 41.2 percent from three this season. He’s a perfect fit on paper for the inside-out offense Van Guyndy is trying to set up in Detroit.
  • Kyle Lowry puts up triple-double. Does it still count if Jose Calderon is guarding him? Kyle Lowry and the Raptors went into Madison Square Garden on Monday night and looked every bit the second best team in the East, with an unstoppable backcourt led by Kyle Lowry. Going up against the porus defense of Jose Calderon, Lowry did what he wanted on the way to 22 points, 11 assists, and 11 rebounds, and the Raptors picked up a comfortable win 122-95.

Source: Five Takeaways from NBA Monday: Warriors become fastest team ever to 50 wins – ProBasketballTalk

Big man Hassan Whiteside continues to confound the Miami Heat by mixing in dominant performances with head-scratching mistakes that cloud his future with the team.

+ Read: Whiteside remains an enigma for Miami – Yahoo News

+ Read: NBA’s ‘haunted hotel’ strikes again — this time with bed bugs | New York Post


NFL

The NFL withheld a big chunk of money from the NFLPA. (USATSI)

The NFL Player’s Association (NFLPA) was on the winning side of an arbitration that’s expected to cost the NFL more than $100 million.

Arbitrator Stephen Burbank sided with the NFLPA over an issue that had to do with the pool of revenue (or shared revenue pool) that the NFL splits with its players. According to the Wall Street Journal, the league is going to have to return about $120 million in revenues that it wrongly collected over the past three years.

+ Read: Report: NFL withheld more than $120 million from players over 3 years – CBSSports.com

Let’s face it: All 32 NFL teams have plenty to do before the start of the new fiscal year, as well as the beginning of free agency on March 9.There are just some that have more to do than others.

+ Read: NFL Teams That Have the Most Work to Do Before Free Agency | Bleacher Report


MLB

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Zack Greinke talks to the media during a press conference, Friday, Dec. 11, 2015, in Phoenix. Greinke could have stayed with the Los Angeles Dodgers or gone up the coast to the San Francisco Giants. Instead, he signed a massive contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks, dramatically shifting the landscape in the NL West.   (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

The phrase “play the game the right way” is vague, so it’s usually tough to know exactly what someone means when they use the phrase. Hitting batters as revenge, for example, could be “right” if you’re an old-school baseball type, or it may be wrong to someone else. NL West managers say the Diamondbacks “play the game the right way,” Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reports.

+ Read: NL West managers say the Diamondbacks “play the game the right way” – HardballTalk


Overtime

+ Read: Nation’s fastest football player? LSU’s Donte’ Jackson can make that claim – CollegeFootballTalk

On Sunday, a relieved Bubba Watson interrupted his post-tournament press conference at the Northern Trust Open in Pacific Palisades, Calif., as the gleaming prize was placed beside him on the table. Though he had to pass a kidney stone earlier in the week, he still managed to rally back on the final day of action to win the tournament for the second time in three years.

In a thrilling final round packed with twists and turns, Watson closed out a one-shot victory over leader Jason Kokrak and 2013 Masters winner Adam Scott at Riviera Country Club. Bubba finished with a 15-under 269 total.

+ Read: Bubba Watson won the Northern Trust Open.

What 5 Things You Need To Know On Wednesday

1. Influence:

About a decade ago, Eric Musselman recalls, NBA players doing elaborate two-ball dribbling drills before a game would elicit laughter.

“I can vividly remember being in Orlando with Coach (Chuck) Daly and trying to do two-dribbles with guys and they wouldn’t do it,” said Musselman, a longtime NBA coach who’s now coaching the University of Nevada men’s team. “Then you try to explain to them, ‘Hey look, this is going to help with your hand speed. This is going to help with ball speed, and this is going to make you ball-friendly.’ I used those three terms, and guys wouldn’t do it or another assistant coach would kind of snicker……

Read: How the Golden State Warriors are influencing college basketball

2. Who’s Next?

With the NBA trade deadline right around the corner and rumors heating up, which five players are most likely to be dealt?

Despite the 2015-16 NBA season being quiet in terms of trades so far, we could see that change in an instant with the February 18 deadline right around the corner. The rumors are heating up, the speculation is getting more ridiculous, and the trade machine experimentation is crazier than ever. If we step away from that craziness for a minute, though, which five players are most likely to be traded?

Read: NBA Trade Deadline: The 5 players most likely to be dealt

3. Steve Smith HOF?

Steve Smith has been one of the most explosive young wideouts in NFL history, one of the most productive old receivers in NFL history and perhaps the greatest small wide receiver in NFL history.

As the 2016 Pro Bowl captains, Jerry Rice and Michael Irvin recently vouched for Smith as a legend who will some day join them in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

No doubt I see him there,” Irvin said at the Pro Bowl, via theRavens‘ official website. “He’s an incredible player, he’s been an incredible player for a long time. There’s no doubt in my mind that, one day, he shall definitely wear a gold jacket.”

Read: Jerry Rice, Michael Irvin: Steve Smith is a Hall of Famer – NFL.com

4. Phil Is Back:

Month No. 1 on the PGA Tour has invited questions about bounce–backs (Rory McIlroy) and burnout (Jordan Spieth). But one question looms largest as we pause amid the Phil Swing — last week’s Farmers Insurance Open, outside San Diego, and this week’s Waste Management Phoenix Open — during which the Tour visits Mickelson hometowns 1 and 1A, respectively.

How much does Lefty have left?

Read: Phil Mickelson Is Flashing His Old Form — Good and Bad | Golf.com

5. Harbaugh Pokin’ The Bear?

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Aside from the typical drama that often accompanies national signing day, it’s been a relatively quiet month for college football since the 2015 season officially came to an end.

Unlike a year ago, there haven’t been any surprise returnees likeCardale Jones, any juicy graduate transfer speculation as there was with Everett Golson and Braxton Miller or even any new head coaches making a significant splash by generating publicity at their new schools. Even national signing day was relatively quiet, with the usual suspects of schools—Alabama, Florida State, LSU and Ohio State—winding up withthe nation’s top-ranked classes.

Read: The Growing Feud Between Jim Harbaugh and the SEC Is Great for College Football

pablo-2

Monday Dregs

This, and others like it sprung up around Detroit earlier last week as Suh approached NFL free-agency.  Not sure what they are trying to say.  By spelling his name with a dollar sign, are they trying to intimate that he values money more than loyalty?  I do not remember the Lions attempting to re-sign him or slap him with the franchise tag, and yet where is the outrage over dropping Reggie Bu$h to save $$$ – so where is the loyalty in that Detroit Fan?

If you believed that Detroit mismanaged this process two years ago, you can not fault Ndamukong Suh for leaving.  Word is, Suh has agreed in principle to take his talents to South Beach for $60m guaranteed.  That’s 6yrs @ $114m!  That’s QB money!!!  Florida has no state income tax!  We should all have Suh’s agent because if this contract is real, then it means that after the $40m guaranteed he got on his first contract – that totals a $100m guaranteed, in two contracts!  That’s baseball money and for a position that does not dominate the outcome of games played.

Ndamukong Suh is a good football player, but what games do you remember him dominating like he did at Nebraska?  Any idea on the Greatest DT of all time?  Any names jump out?  I’m not talking about guys that played inside and out, because Suh does not.  He does not play D-end because he is not fast enough, nor does he have the technique – let alone deserve JJ Watt money.  That’s the point tho – He is being paid like JJ Watt.  Do you remember Suh scoring touchdowns or making plays that had his name in MVP conversations?

The Dolphins made a splash that swims well with the fans, but this contract is going to end up as a financial noose, because Suh is more Haynesworth than Watt.  $uh is good, not great and in no way relevant to a team’s overall success – he is the 5th cheese in the 6-cheese pizza.  So to those that spent all that scratch on those billboards, be thankful.  Because here is a list of defensive players better than Suh, that deserved a $100m – notice how many played inside and out!

  • Deacon Jones
  • Reggie White
  • Mean Joe Green
  • Alan Page
  • Howie Long
  • Bruce Smith
  • Merlin Olsen
  • Randy White
  • John Randle
  • Jerome Brown

 

It has been a frenzied week for the NFL and potential free agents.  Peyton restructures, Marques Colston restructures, Jarius Byrd restructures, all so the Saints could resign Mark Ingram – 6 decent games his entire career and the Saints make him the priority and talk of trading Curtis Lofton – the only linebacker we’ve had since Vilma Fett!  Arm-chair general managing is the new normal and you have to wonder if more “actual” GM’s just need to sit back, pour a drink, eat some cherry nibs and cheetos – because there is no way Ingram over Lofton makes any sense.  Our defense isn’t good enough to want too mirror the Falcons.

But what also happened is there is a lot of movement, or rumors of movement, as usual this time of year.  Remember when Eagles fans went bonkers for signing CB Ngamdi Asou…Asug…Awsumwah…whatever his name was – and Vince Young (making a comeback because he’s broke) proclaimed the Eagles as the best team and winning the Superbowl.  Im not sure about you, but I remember Ngamdi leaving more WR’s open than a 5yr old does the front door.

So we have Reggie Wayne being the last Manning-Colt to turn the lights off on that chapter and hopefully getting another chance to contend.  Jeremy Maclin is rumored to be headed to the Chiefs – guess he’s used to dead-armed QB’s throwing him the ball and I’ll guarantee right now, he will score more touchdowns than all the 2014 Chiefs WR’s combined!!!  Randall Cobb is supposed to come back to the Pack.  LeSean might actually sign a contract extension to STAY in Buffalo – prompting us to look back at the end of that extension with thoughts of: “remember when Shady was….”  Of course Darrelle Revis is considering the offer from the Chiefs, because he won his ring and can get paid – plus, look who the QB’s are in that division – its about legacy – and the money – it’s really about the money – Revis Island has a high standard of living.

Obituary

San Francisco, we take the time to remember your past accomplishments back in the 80’s and early ’90’s.  Guided by the Legendary Bill Walsh you won Superbowls, you had iconic games and players.  Then after the George Seifert experiment, you had Steve Mariucci and then….um…..some other guys.  At one point, you had some ginger QB that ran around and threw the ball.  I’m not sure but there’s a fuzzy period in there where you guys weren’t very good.  You then hired Jim Harbaugh and became closer to your famed past glory (3 back-to-back-to-back NFC Championship games) – but hubris or arrogance allowed you to remove the coach responsible for that resurgence.

Well now you can relive those fuzzy/hazy-san francisco-bay-kinda days again with coach what’s-his-name: featuring players like – that guy, and some other dude.  The heart of the team, Frank Gore is leaving for Philly.  Management signed Jerome Simpson – seriously, Jerome Simpson.  Patrick Willis would rather retire and you are shopping for trade partners to take Xerxesone simply does not trade for Xerxes, Xerxes trades you.  Leaving coach what’s-his-name with so much talent that you’ll contend for a top 10 draft pick for the next five years.  the Forty-Whiners are going to be looking across the bay at Oakland (while they’re still there) with envy.  Fans will wish they were Raiders fans – solidifying the region as the most cross-dressing fan base in the country.  Seeing this house burn down makes you thankful that the worst thing your team has done is resign Mark Ingram and “consider” trading Lofton for cap room.  Every fan that used to share a division with those clowns-by-the-bay are smiling.


Are the Raptors falling off or is Westbrook having a legenwait for itdary stretch of games.  It could be both, and for Russell Westbrook securing his 5th triple-double in 6 games – this time by the 3rd quarter, has you thankful the season is so entertaining.  Just look at the MVP race with 4 worthy candidates: Steph Curry, Westbrook, Harden (with his own triple-double Friday night against Detroit) and Lebron – with Lebron the least likely to win, for validation on the kind of season we are witnessing down the stretch.  For perspective Oscar Robertson averaged a triple-double for an entire season in ’61-’62, for the Cincinnati Royals – averaging 30.8pts, 12.5 rebounds, and 11.4 assists – also setting the mark for most triple-doubles in a season with 41.  Wilt Chamberlain recorded the only double-triple-double – 22pts, 25 rebounds and 21 assists.  With all the attention on how well Westbrook is playing right now – keeping the Thunder ahead of the Pelicans for the 8th seed – you wonder if it makes sense for Durant to hurry back.  Considering his recent string of injuries and their frequency, is it better to make him sit instead of the risk versus the reward of the 8th seed?

Russell Westbrook

Steph Curry

James Harden


 

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Just like starting oo-ver…

In what is typically called Black Monday in the NFL we have already seen several dismissals.  how many more could there be before the day/week is done?

Bears – fire Marc Trestman and the GM Phil Emery.  Trestman, the media proclaimed QB guru, was 8-8 and 5-11 as a coach and saw Jay Cutler get worse.  Phil Emery is the guy who decided to pay Jay Cutler all that scratch.  Trestman in his grand delusion, thought he was still going to retain his job – this after losing to the vikings and no touchdowns were scored.  It would be hard to see Trestman get another Head Coaching job in the NFL, and I am not sure he could get a QB coach or O-Coordinator job either, considering that dwarf-star-implosion we witnessed this year.  A good coach would have to take a desperate-housewives-type-chance on Trestman, along with that team’s offense needing to be DYNAMIC, to repair his self-inflicted-damage.  Otherwise it is back to the CFL for Marc.

Jets – fire Rex Ryan and GM John Idzik.  This was clear as day, and Rex had his last hurrah for the Jets and Idzik had to go with him.  Does it seem more like a PARDON from the Governor then an actual firing?  The owner of the Jets had some nice things to say and stayed classy, but is now conducting a search for replacements with the help of Charlie Casserly and Ron Wolfe.  This seems more like a restoration project than a rebuild or quick-flip.  The Jets have a solid D-Line and Geno has played well, (who saw that against Miami?) since taking over for Vick, but does he work harder at getting better and how much does the new GM and Head Coach have to say about Geno – it’s not like he’s RGIII.

Falcons – fire Mike Smith.  GM Dimitroff may not be far behind, so this decision clearly came from the Home Depot.  The Falcons best coach in their 49 seasons of playing da-foos-ball continued to degrade in his management of a team that has contention-type Offensive talent.  The D was terrible but played good in stretches and the O-Line had to contend with a ton of injuries.  It won’t take long for the next guy to be looked at like a savior because this team is not as bad as their record.  Next year, whomever is the coach, will be Fool’s Gold; but none of it will matter if they look like the 2012 team.

49ers – Harbaugh is gone and it was reported yesterday – by several sources like this one csnbayarea.com – that he had already accepted the Michigan job.  The last time the 49ers had this kind of stretch was ’95-’98, so be careful what you wish for.  With the potential rumored replacements, it might be even longer for this Bay-area team to be relevant.  For Harbaugh, he goes back to his Alma-mater and resurrect a dying program.  However, you wouldn’t know it by the Detroit-Free Press’ headline.  Maybe the Michigan job is gonna be a lot more difficult than we thought?

That’s brother John, Head Coach of the Ravens – not Jim – Cripes!

Giants – retain Tom Coughlin after going 6-10.  You would have to believe the spark generated by OBJ is what helped Tom keep his job.  All OBJ did was become the R.O.Y. – (if not, then what a joke) – tie Michael Irvin’s record of 9 games with 90+ yards receiving, (a NFL record that took Irvin until his 8th season to get, OBJ his first) – score 12 touchdowns in 12 games.  The Giants got too 6 wins by running off two 3-game win streaks, one of them being in the last 4 games of the season.  So now what for the Giants?  Victor Cruz will come back and the the D will have to find a way to limit the big-plays that killed them all year – but think of the potential of that offense or could it be a puzzle with to many mouths to feed?  The what-if game is tricky because, what-if Jarvis Landry, Jeremy Hill and OBJ had stayed at LSU?

The Best in Team (their)History?

The Cowboys throttled the Fightin’ Americans in what could only be an attempt to gain precious mo’ and swagger heading into the playoffs.  Remember in 2007 when the ‘boys were 11-1 and coasted the rest of the season to then get bounced by the Giants?  Need proof of how serious the Cowboys were in trying to exorcise demons and announce their presence with authority – how about an onside kick with 11:30 left in the second quarter after being up 20-7.  Jason Garrett, playing his starters was a statement to the team that players play and the importance of maintaining a winning attitude.  It could also have been a statement on the new triplets, sans rings, but team records.  DeMarco Murray eclipsed Emmitt in Yards, #of 100yd games and total yards from scrimmage in a season.  Dez Bryant surpassed Terrell Owens for most receiving touchdowns in a season.  Tony Romo passed Troy Aikman last week and moved up further on the all-time passing yards list and threw his first interception of December this year.  The NFL’s second season tournament will determine the faith needed for what this team might accomplish, if this 3 is ever to contend with their past.

Uncle Rico Retires

Kyle Orton, at 32, has decided to be a Dad and stay home with his family, and just like John Elway, he went out with a W.  Let us pause and reflect on all those special-moments we shared, watching uncle Rico…like that one play he made when he…or that throw to that guy when…that game in the playoffs when…Kyle Orton was a decent QB out of Purdue and was always the guy in the last-man-on-earth scenario; like the NFL version of FKM (got benched for Tebow).  For now, the future is all on the Bills ownership and what do they do with EJ Manuel; or who else is gonna play the role of Uncle Rico, (only one other QB on the roster, Jeff Tuel)?  You’d have to wonder the direction of this franchise considering they do not have a first round pick in 2015.  However, just like Michael Corleone in Godfather III, I’m sure someone is gonna pull him back in.  Until then, all we’ll have is that highlight reel and those Wonder Years to get us through.

The Playoffs…non-Playoff team Draft order

Game Date Kickoff (ET) TV
Wild Card playoffs
Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers January 3, 2015 4:35 pm ESPN
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers January 3, 2015 8:15 pm NBC
Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts January 4, 2015 1:05 pm CBS
Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys January 4, 2015 4:40 pm Fox
Divisional playoffs
TBA at New England Patriots January 10, 2015 4:35 pm NBC
TBA at Seattle Seahawks January 10, 2015 8:15 pm Fox
TBA at Green Bay Packers January 11, 2015 1:05 pm Fox
TBA at Denver Broncos January 11, 2015 4:40 pm CBS
Conference Championships
NFC Championship Game January 18, 2015 3:05 pm Fox
AFC Championship Game January 18, 2015 6:40 pm CBS
Super Bowl XLIX
University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
AFC Champion vs. NFC Champion February 1, 2015 6:30 pm NBC

Seeding is now official.  The Seahawks and the Packers both have a bye, with Seattle taking the #1 seed with the best 12-4 record of all other 12-4 records – there can only be one.  Dallas and Carolina both host a playoff game with Dallas hosting Detroit and Carolina hosting the Cardinals.  It’s probable that Carolina goes to Seattle and then plays in Jerry-World for the NFC championship, after Dallas beats Green Bay.  In the AFC, New England and Denver both get a bye, with New England keeping their #1 seed with a loss against Buffalo and having a better 12-4 record than Denver – there can only be one.  Pittsburgh and Indy both host a playoff game with Pittsburgh hosting division rival Baltimore and Indy hosting AFC North alternate Cincy.  No matter what happens either Indy or Pittsburgh will travel to Denver and from there it is safe to say that we could get another Peyton v. Tom for the AFC crown.

The non-playoff team draft order is set for the first 20 picks of the first round of the 2015 NFL draft, and Tampa, you are now on the clock.  Consider (in)Famous Jameis Winston to be the 1st pick and the only QB in the top 10.

1. Tampa Bay (2-14)

2. Tennessee (2-14)

3. Jacksonville (3-13)

4. Oakland (3-13)

5. Washington (4-12)

6. N.Y. Jets (4-12)

7. Chicago (5-11)

8. Atlanta (6-10)

9. N.Y. Giants (6-10)

10. St. Louis (6-10)

11. Minnesota (7-9)

12.Cleveland (7-9)

13. New Orleans (7-9)

14. Miami (8-8)

15. San Francisco (8-8)

16. Houston (9-7)

17. Kansas City (9-7)

18. San Diego (9-7)

19. Cleveland (from Buffalo 9-7)

20. Philadelphia (10-6)

Today’s Bowl games on ESPN, all times Eastern

Dec. 29 Texas Houston, Texas 9 p.m. Texas Longhorns(6-6) vs. Arkansas Razorbacks(6-6)
Dec. 29 Russell Athletic Bowl Orlando, Fla. 5:30 p.m. Clemson Tigers(9-3) vs. Oklahoma Sooners(8-4)
Dec. 29 Liberty Memphis, Tenn. 2 p.m. West Virginia Mountaineers(7-5) vs. Texas A&M Aggies(7-5)