Cheaters Never Prosper

sports blog

Before I get into this week’s blog, I wanted to introduce a new section that will close each blog called “Sports Cheater of the Week”.

I want to start out by defending Joe Montana. It is just downright unfair all the grief he is getting for having inflated stats thanks to his main man Jerry Rice cheating all those years. Apparently, Rice who played in the NFL from 1985-2004 missed the NFL memo in 1981 that said stickum and other adhesives are banned. Montana, who played with Rice from 1985-92, said he believes that quarterback Tom Brady cheated and is responsible for the New England Patriots cheating leading up to the Superbowl. What are the odds that in eight seasons together, Montana ever witnessed Rice using stickum or high fived him/shook hands with Rice while he had the substance on? I would hate to think Montana turned the other cheek. It’s unfortunate that such a deity like Montana would allow his Hall of Fame teammate to cheat knowing that his touchdown, yardage and Superbowl total could have been adversely effected when those passes weren’t sticking to Rice’s hands.

Two last Superbowl notes. Pete Carroll continues to get grilled for not handing the ball to Marshawn Lynch at the end of the game but the flack is somewhat misguided. If Carroll had thrown to Chris Matthews on a fade or a much lower risk play in general, there would have been very little grief about him passing. It was the type of pass play he chose as opposed to passing the ball. Even if it is incomplete, he still has two more downs to give the ball to Lynch with one timeout remaining. Also, the contention that Seattle lost the game as opposed to the Patriots winning is misguided as well. The Patriots outplayed Seattle the entire first half aside from the last 30 seconds (which could go down as the worst 30 seconds of defense in franchise history). Seattle won the third quarter, New England won the fourth quarter and Jermaine Kearse made a miraculous catch on 3rd and 10 that allowed Seattle to have the chance to blow it in the first place. New England played a better overall game and executed when it counted the most. The best team won.

The Boston Celtics continue to be a black mark on the Hub sports scene as they now have the longest drought without a championship as they haven’t won since the 2007-08 season.

The teams with the best hope of snapping their cities’ drought are Cleveland who has gone 66 years and has hopes with the Cavaliers and Atlanta who has gone 19 and has hopes with the Hawks.

Chris Paul was in the news twice in the last week and not showing well in either. The first was when he criticized a rookie female official to a reporter after the game regarding a technical foul he received. In his post-game rant, he implied that “This might not be for her.” So the question was whether he was degrading the referee because she was female or because she was a rookie. My guess is a little of both although in fairness to Paul he has no negative track record in this area. The Clippers lead the league in technicals and had issues with Lauren Holtkamp earlier in the season but Paul didn’t endear himself to anybody by leaving himself open for ridicule. And then to add insult to injury, in Sunday’s matchup with Oklahoma City, Paul drilled a jumper in the face of Thunder player Mitch McGary and preceded to stare down the Thunder bench to which Kevin Durant yelled “You’re down 20 now, homie.” No better response to a taunt than “scoreboard.” The Clippers lost 131-108.

And lastly, what would be a blog without a New York Knicks reference. Ever-popular owner James Dolan, who is probably only runner-up to Al Davis for consecutive years destroying a franchise got into it with a long-time Knicks season ticketholder this week. Irving Bierman, who claims to have rooted for the Knicks since 1952 lambasted Dolan in a letter regarding scandals and poor decisions during Dolan’s tenure. Dolan responded by calling Bierman a sad and possible alcoholic who makes his family miserable and as if that wasn’t enough, really dug in when he encouraged Bierman to start rooting for the Nets instead.  If Dolan really wanted to insult the guy he could have said any of the following to Bierman: You deserve to get business advice from Isiah Thomas.  You deserve to get traded to Denver with Marcus Camby, Nene Hilario and Mark Jackson for only Antonio McDyess. You should sit next to Renaldo Balkman at all future games since he was drafted one pick before Rajon Rondo and lastly, you should be forced to feed Eddy Curry since to acquire him the Knicks gave up the draft picks that turned into LaMarcus Aldridge and Joakim Noah. On second thought, the Nets don’t look so bad.

Great move by the continuously improving San Diego Padres for locking up James Shields to a four year and approximately 75 million dollar deal. Petco Park is a notorious pitcher’s park and a small market which will be perfect for Shields after his days in Tampa and K.C. Interesting how much less Shields took in years and money than Jon Lester and Max Scherzer who are clearly better. Lester got double the money and Scherzer almost got triple.

Sports Cheater of the Week:

Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban. Every sports has ways athletes can cheat and let’s face it, the majority of professional athletes will utilize any advantage they can get unless you are Cris Carter and have never broken a rule in your life.

Subban, who is a notorious diver/embellisher etc. was fined $2000 for trying to trick officials into calling a penalty after his second infraction of the season. This embarrasses the game and his team and is unnecessary for a player of his caliber. Interestingly enough, Subban continues to do this on a regular basis which would seem to imply that it is not discouraged by the coaching staff or management.


Thoughts on the Morning of Superbowl Sunday

So when will Richard Sherman’s wife go into labor and where will Sherman be when he does? “The Legion of Womb” is anxious this morning. This topic of course brings back the story from last April when New York Mets infielder Daniel Murphy opted to take three days off and missed the first two games of the season to be with his wife. Murphy’s decision prompted a sensitive and comical quote from WFAN’s Michael Francesa “You’re a major league baseball player. You can hire a nurse,” Francesa reportedly said of Murphy. “What are you gonna do, sit there and look at your wife in the hospital bed for two days?” Paternity leave is an evolving issue in society and sports simply brings it to the forefront. My problem is that athlete’s decisions seem to be rationalized by sport and the importance of the game. A lot of people argued that no big deal for Murphy because it was early in the regular season so give the guy his time. It would seem unfathomable for Sherman to miss the game if his wife did go into labor today.

In football, you only have sixteen regular season games and potentially 20 total. Missing one game even in the regular season especially at the quarterback or cornerback position could be the difference in your team making the playoffs or not or winning the game or not. In baseball, Murphy missed two of 162 and potentially 183. Here is the question. Is it okay for players to take leave based on certain times of year, what position they play and level of game importance? Regardless of what athletes want to do or feel there priorities should be, the pressure of fan backlash and letting your teammates and organization down will be too powerful to overcome. 

Aaron Rodgers won the MVP which is understandable, but I think a legitimate argument could have been made for JJ Watt. The problem is that typically MVP candidates aren’t strongly considered from losing teams or from the defensive side of the ball. Watt had 20.5 sacks, 78 tackles — 29 for losses — 50 quarterback hits, four forced fumbles and 10 blocked passes. He also had five touchdowns (three offensive and two defensive). He did win defensive player of the year, but Watt’s presence and impact was immeasurable. I find it to be the similar challenge a pitcher has in baseball winning MVP since there is a Cy Young award.

I found it disappointing this week that Joe Montana made some snide remarks about “Deflategate” and subtly detracted from Brady’s accomplishments. Of course he had nice things to say about Brady as well, but I chalk that up to when someone is discriminating against a person and then after they discriminate they say, oh I have friends that are XXX. Then Jerry Rice of course chimed in with negative comments but he of course is still bitter about Randy Moss breaking his single season touchdown record in the 2007-08 season and reminded everybody that he did it in 12 games as opposed to Moss’ 16.  But I digress! And to add icing on the caking, the eternally bitter and jealous Don Shula piped up and pipes up whenever possible to disparage Bill Belichick and referred to him earlier in the month as “Belicheat”. So what is the common thread between all of these NFL greats. The answer is jealousy and bitterness. Montana and Rice know that if the Pats win today, their tag of the 49’ers being the all-time greatest dynasty is in jeopardy. Shula knows that Belichick is passing every record he had and it kills him. Just for curiosity, does the fact that Shula’s undefeated season was only 14 regular season games have an asterisk? I think we should ask Jerry.

By the way, a few stats about Shula. He had Hall of Fame QB Dan Marino to work with for 13 seasons and got to one Superbowl. Belichick is onto his sixth Superbowl with Brady in 14 seasons (I didn’t count the year Brady was out with a torn ACL). In the final 22 seasons Shula coached, he won 0 Superbowls and lost the only two the Dolphins played in and his teams didn’t even make the playoffs in 10 of those seasons.

There is always so much discussion on how much money is wagered in the Superbowl whether it be on straight up wagering or proposition bets. This yesterday from Jason Simbal of CG Technology.

“We’re taking more bets on the Patriots, but the more substantial money has been on the Seahawks,”  Simbal said. “What we’ve been seeing lately is for every two-, three-, four- or five-hundred dollar bet that comes in on New England, we’ll then take a five-figure bet on Seattle.”

Ultimately, by game time, I think the money will be evenly split on both sides which is ultimately what Vegas wants anyway. Only two other Superbowls had the lines this close and that was in 1973 and 1982.

And just in case things don’t go well for the bad guys, they can feel good about the following statistics and aren’t in danger of going broke anytime soon.

David Purdum of ESPN reports that Nevada sports bettors wagered more — and lost more — than ever in 2014. The state’s 187 sportsbooks won $227.04 million off of the $3.9 billion wagered on sports in 2014. Both amounts are all-time records, according to Nevada Gaming Control. The sportsbooks won $113.73 million on college and pro football in 2014. In comparison, the books won $54.2 million on basketball and $21.2 million on baseball in 2014. As usual hockey gets no respect.

Thought I would list my top 8 sports betting propositions for the Superbowl from Bovada in Las Vegas:

  1. Will Idina Menzel forget or omit at least 1 word from the National Anthem? Yes/No
  2. How many times will deflated balls be referred to during the game? Over/Under 2 and ½
  3. Will Marshawn Lynch grab his crotch after scoring at TD? Yes/No
  4. Will Belichick smile during the game? Yes/No
  5. What kind of hoodie will Belichick be wearing? Sleeves cut/sleeves intact
  6. How many times will Gisele Bundchen be shown on TV? Over/Under 1 and ½
  7. Who will have more on Superbowl Sunday? Sidney Crosby points or Russell Wilson touchdown passes?
  8. What color will Katy Perry’s hair be when the halftime show begins?

First Down Markers:

Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon is making formers Yankees pitcher Steve Howe blush.

Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson scored 37 points in a quarter last week.

The Atlanta Hawks have won 19 games in a row! I’m serious.

Who won the NFL Pro Bowl?

Colorado prison inmate Terry Hendrix is suing the NFL over the overturned Dez Bryant catch in the Packers-Cowboys playoff game. America’s team is always so well represented.

Superbowl blog coming later!