Will Idina Menzel forget or omit at least 1 word from the National Anthem? Yes/No
How many times will deflated balls be referred to during the game? Over/Under 2 and ½
Will Marshawn Lynch grab his crotch after scoring at TD? Yes/No
Will Belichick smile during the game? Yes/No
What kind of hoodie will Belichick be wearing? Sleeves cut/sleeves intact
How many times will Gisele Bundchen be shown on TV? Over/Under 1 and ½
Who will have more on Superbowl Sunday? Sidney Crosby points or Russell Wilson touchdown passes?
What color will Katy Perry’s hair be when the halftime show begins?
With Christmas upon us that typically means great NBA matchups so I thought I would take a brief look back at some memorable ones. Please understand that I am in a compassionate mood knowing how badly the Knicks have fallen and wanted to give my NY friends some fond memories.
We all remember in 1947 when the Knicks edged the Providence Steamrollers in the first ever Christmas day NBA game.
Knicks – Celtics – 1985 – This game served as Patrick Ewing’s emergence into the NBA elite. Only a rookie in 1985, Ewing’s Knicks faced Larry Bird and the heavily favored Celtics and Boston built up a 25-point lead that seemed insurmountable. Ewing led a remarkable comeback and scored 32 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to upset the defending NBA champ Celtics.
Knicks –Bulls – 1986 – This game marked the beginning of a rivalry that would define the Eastern Conference for years. For the first time, Michael Jordan and Patrick Ewing played on the big stage. Ironically, Ewing would be the one to lead the Knicks with last-second heroics. The Bulls led the Knicks 85-84 going into the final possession. After a missed jumper, Ewing rebounded the shot and threw up a short buzzer-beater to stun the Bulls.
Knicks – Nets – 1984 – Bernard King drops 60 points on Nets but Knicks lose 120-114.
Lakers-Heat – 2004 – As great as some of the other games on this list were, none will ever top the 2004 showdown between Kobe and Shaq. Nobody really knew what to expect in Shaq’s return to Los Angeles. After all, it was viewed as Kobe’s fault that he was gone. Would Kobe and Shaq shake hands before the game? Completely ignore each other? Would Shaq punch Kobe? Heat win 104-102
On the heels of the NY Jets being double digit underdogs at home for the first time ever against the Pats and the Jacksonville Jaguars being favored in a game (against the Titans) for the first time in almost four years, it seemed like in the spirit of the holiday season, I could prepare a wish list for teams and athletes so here we go.
NCAA – more bowl games. I don’t know about you, but I can’t get enough of the Tostitos/Doritos/Banditos Bowl and hey don’t miss the Duck Commander Independence Bowl.
LeBron James – time for the team to mesh. It’s a big burden to carry to play with such slugs like Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love so we feel your pain.
NHL – mumps vaccine. Seriously, how bizarre is this and once Sidney Crosby got it, now the other sports leagues are vaccinating anyone and everyone.
Adrian Peterson – some type of fairness. With all the crimes and terrible acts that have been committed in the NFL, Peterson is being made the scapegoat of the poor handling by the NFL of Ray Rice and enough is enough.
Peyton Manning – a playoff win in Foxboro or cold weather or in the clutch or all of the above and most importantly that shirt that allows his poor little chin and neck to stay warm. Or a different Nebraska town.
Donald Sterling – a guest star appearance on the TV show Black-ish.
USA Soccer team – some attention before the next World Cup
Derek Jeter – whatever he wants. He deserves it.
Rex Ryan – a quarterback that has some real skills and a job as a defensive coordinator which is ultimately what he is best suited for.
Kobe Bryant – a team that gives him one more chance to win an NBA title
LaMarcus Aldridge – someone to actually watch him play.
Patriots – a Superbowl win so they can stop carrying around the burden of being the Boston sports team that has gone the longest without winning a championship.
Tom Brady – a Superbowl win to give him four and tie him with his childhood hero Joe Montana and once and for all be considered possibly the best of all time.
Bill Belichick – a Superbowl so he can stop living with the Spygate wrap.
Arizona Cardinals – a QB that can stay healthy for more than a quarter. What a shame this is because if Carson Palmer was healthy they could have gone to the Superbowl.
SF 49’ers – some group therapy for the GM and Jim Harbaugh.
Jim Harbaugh – the job at Michigan so he doesn’t go to the Raiders. Talk about a Plan B.
Dallas Cowboys – a playoff win.
Jay Cutler – nothing can help here.
Max Scherzer – some real money. 144 million is downright insulting.
Giancarlo Stanton – an effective wealth manager
NY Yankees – a healthy elbow for Tanaka and CC to start eating again.
Chicago Cubs – for Steve Bartman to throw out the first pitch to Bill Buckner (ex-Cub) double jinx equals cancellation of all curses.
Golden State- a trip to the NBA Finals. Who didn’t love Run TMC (Mullin, Hardaway, Richmond) and any team that was once run by a guy named Sleepy is my kind of team. *By the way ask a casual sports fan what state Golden State plays in, you would be surprised at the answers you’d get.
Odell Beckham – doesn’t need a thing
Stephen Ross (Dolphins owner) – a clue, a winning QB, a head coach. Any or all?
Falcons– a tie in week 17 vs Carolina – so the Falcons make it with a record of 6-9-1.
Mark Altman – an actual blog site instead of this email format. I know I know. By the end of January and it’s a Ruthian guarantee.
Happy Holidays everyone and Happy New Year.
We are only three days from the AFC and NFC Championship games and the most knowledgeable football analyst in the NFL (Ray Lewis of course) decided to chime in with an opinion on Tom Brady on behalf of the bitter and thug represented Baltimore Ravens or as I like to call them “Raiders East” or former employers of Ray Rice or both.
Ray said that the “Tuck Rule is the only reason we know who Tom Brady is”. Brilliant point Ray. Brady has done nothing at all since he benefited from the tuck rule call and his entire career is a sham and farce. This of course made me think about other athletes who have seemingly accomplished a hall of fame resume, yet really haven’t accomplished anything due to an incident that tarnished their respective career. I thought and I thought and it was challenging to come up with an incident that tarnished a career equivalent to the tuck rule game and basically nullified any future accomplishments for the respective athlete.
But wait, I finally came up with one. Back in 2000, Ray Lewis was charged with two counts of MURDER or another name for the “Tuck Rule” but tucking in this case means skirting the law and striking a deal with prosecutors for a misdemeanor by obstructing justice in exchange for testimony that allowed him to rat out his friends. Ray Ray’s friend’s blood was found in Lewis’ limo. Lewis fled the crime scene or tucked himself away quietly somewhere and told the limo’s passengers to “keep their mouths shut.” The white suit Lewis was wearing that night — on Super Bowl Sunday — never was found. So of course the murder has never been solved but as a result of this incident, I am personally striking any tackles, interceptions or other defensive statistics/accomplishments from Lewis’ record because they don’t count. However I will let him hold onto his ignorance, his crimes, his lack of accountability or responsibility and his bitterness.
Completely switching gears, hats off to the Milwaukee Brewers. They are offering a timeless ticket to thank their fans. So certain fans can purchase a bronze ticket for any single game, including say, a World Series home game at Miller Park. This is the first time a MLB team has done something like this. Very impressive for a league that has frequently ignored or disrespected their fans through striking, high ticket prices or decisions around rainouts or scheduling of games. Robin Yount, Paul Molitor and “Stormin” Gorman Thomas would be proud.
Never thought I would be writing about the Atlanta Hawks. Remember when they had Dominique, Doc Rivers, and Tree Rollins and they were always making the playoffs but couldn’t get over the hump. Well, they have won their last 10 games and are 31-8 with the second best record in the NBA. Their coach Mike Budenholzer is a disciple of Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and the Hawks have adopted a new offensive philosophy and are now being referred to as Spurs East. This doesn’t appear to be a fluke and the philosophy is built around maximizing the strengths of your various players offensively and it constantly changes. And they are one of the few NBA teams that is actually exciting to watch.
And speaking of shockers, for those of you who didn’t know, there is a hockey team in Nashville. They were originally placed there with the goal of drowning out country music. The Predators are tied for the best record in the NHL and are leading the pack in a Western Conference filled with teams stacked with talent. They are doing it with the best goalie in the NHL right now Pekka Rinne (who is now injured for 3-5 weeks), the best defenseman in the NHL Shea Weber as well as good coaching and great play from their young players. This would be a great story if it can sustain itself as it would be nice to see some new blood challenge for the top spot in the West.
Time to give credit where its due. While the Knicks, Yankees, Mets, Giants and Jets (there might be more but sometimes I forget just how many teams play there) all embarrassed the Big Apple this year in general and by not making the playoffs, the Rangers and Islanders look to be the cream of the crop in the Eastern Conference. Rick Nash has finally lived up to expectations and has carried the Rangers offensively and the Islanders are solid all around. Either team is a big threat in the playoffs.
The Celtics just made another trade. I am worried that Danny is going to trade himself soon for Ed Pinckney and Joe Kleine.
John Elway alerted Broncos fans this week that if Manning retires he feels good about the development of Brock Osweiler. Just kidding. No he really said that.
Rex Ryan was asked in his initial press conference for Buffalo if he is excited to play the Jets and he said “The Pats are the team he is still after.” In typical Ryan fashion, he guaranteed Bills fans he will improve on the 3-25 record Buffalo has recorded against New England. Best quote though was when Ryan shopped for houses he told his realtor to find the coldest and snowiest point in Buffalo and that is where he wants to live. How can you not like this guy?
Good to see the Raiders capped off their exhaustive coaching search with the forever recycled Jack Del Rio.
Calgary Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau is seeking the “Johnny Hockey trademark”. The difference though is that Gaudreau is actually good.
Time to “tuck” my youngest into bed.
Wow what a quiet week in sports. Seems like there is nothing going on. So deflating.
The worst part is the Pro Bowl isn’t getting nearly the attention it deserves. This might be the most befuddling event of the four major sports. For the tremendous success the NFL has had and the amount of money the league makes, the approach to this game couldn’t be more ass-backwards.
First of all, the Superbowl participating players opt out and many other marquee players frequently bow out because they don’t care. The NFL has tried to liven things up by doing a fantasy draft. The top two revenue sources of the NFL are based on fantasy leagues and gambling. Those don’t apply in the Pro Bowl hence no interest in conjunction with what I mentioned above. And when Andy Dalton got named as an alternate that was the last straw. How about having the Pro Bowl after the Superbowl. I know the NFL would have nothing to offer its fans between the conference championship games and Superbowl, but more Superbowl hype would be more appealing than a boring game with alternates and players not caring. The NHL has the skills competition, the NBA has the slam dunk and 3 point contest, MLB has the home run hitting contest and the NFL has a fantasy draft and beach football??????????
Okay so let the trash talk begin. Seahawks nickel corner Jeremy Lane said “Gronkowski isn’t very good.” I would say Lane isn’t very good but I didn’t know who he was prior to the quote. What I simply don’t understand is why insignificant players are stupid enough to provide bulletin board material and specifically to go into detail about Gronk being ineffective when people are physical with him. Yes these guys should be motivated regardless of bulletin board material, but if what Lane sees on film is correct, than why call it out and instead just take advantage of it. As competitive as Gronk is, you don’t think now more than ever he is going to try and shed that label in front of gazillions of fans on Superbowl Sunday.
Remember prior to the Eagles-Pats Superbowl in 2005 when Freddie Mitchell said he just knew the numbers — not the names — of New England’s cornerbacks. Stupid, not necessary and coming from an insignificant player trying to make a name for himself giving needless extra motivation to the other team.
And one more trash talk note. I found it comical that Aaron Rodgers felt the need to call out Richard Sherman before the NFC Championship game saying he wasn’t afraid of him and then proceeded to get picked by Sherman in the first quarter. Again, why say anything at all and let your actions and the actual game do the talking for you.
Green Bay is probably the model franchise in the NFL and its fans and team has always been classy. But that was not only one of the biggest sports chokes I have ever seen, but one that will stick with the players and fans for years and too much of the focus was on Seattle’s big comeback and not enough on the multiple wasted opportunities by the Packers in the first half.
So I guess that’s it. I think there was one other thing. Ichiro Suzuki and the Marlins are close on a one-year deal. I kid I kid.
“Inflategate”. I refer of course to 1977 when former great Raiders kicker Ray Guy was suspected of kicking a football filled with a substance lighter than air. Houston Oilers return man Billy “White Shoes” Johnson said he has never seen a ball hang up there that long. According to news accounts, the Oilers were able to retrieve one of Guy’s footballs and took it back to Houston. The Oilers would send the ball for testing at Rice University, but no helium was found, according to the AP.
And now we have “Deflategate”. This has been talked about ad nauseum all week so I am just going to make a few points.
When the Raiders were a dynasty/always winning and successful (this was before they changed their slogan in the last 25 years to (“Just Lose Baby”) in the 70’s and early 80’s, people hated them and found every reason to pick on them. Same with the Steelers. Then the 49’ers and then the Cowboys. I mean people were so resentful of “America’s team” and so many people rooted so hard for them to lose. And now we have the Patriots, who to add insult to injury have a coach the majority of the country despises because of his obstinate, secretive and unfriendly nature and a QB who is perceived as the ultimate pretty boy.
Yes there is a pattern of cheating and crossing the line, but what is more disturbing is that the players who have lost key games to the Pats over the years are using circumstantial evidence in some cases and no evidence in others, as an excuse for their failures instead of owning up to not being good enough.
I wear my “City of Champions” badge of honor as fiercely as anyone and have always prided myself on being able to have a comeback when an annoying fan from an opposing city tries to trash Boston teams. Prior to 2004, I had nothing to say to Yankees fans. Now I can say the Yankees have the biggest choke of all time in pro sports and the Red Sox have been the better team in the 21st Century. Montreal hasn’t won a Cup in 20 odd years and the Bruins have had more success overall for a while now. The Celtics have the most championships in NBA history and now I have nothing to say for the Pats. There is nothing worse in this world in my opinion than being called a liar or a cheater. Once you open the door, it is virtually impossible to close and regain trust. Belichick opened the door and now the entire team, and fan base suffers for it and permanently has to answer for it. So disappointing and frustrating. The most detestable word in the English language now has to be asterisk for Pats fans.
If Bill Belichick really did spy on the Rams prior to the Superbowl, did he have that little confidence in his own team or when he taped the Jets: Same question? So if Belichick didn’t know about this, and this was on Tom Brady, did Brady have that little confidence in his receivers and himself where he needed this slight meaningless edge against a team that has been clearly inferior to them for a while. A home game, bad weather, inexperienced QB wasn’t enough. Maybe this is a conspiracy but I am having a hard time believing Bill Clinton did not have sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky any more than Tom Brady wasn’t aware of what happened.
Until next week!