Link – Bill Belichick’s latest masterpiece involved a rookie third-string QB running circles around Texans

NFLBelichick certainly has more complete testaments to his coaching acumen – 13 AFC East titles in 15 seasons; four Super Bowls rings; a space waiting in the Hall of Fame. But few will be sweeter than this one: A 13-5 record with the three quarterbacks who have stepped in and started for Brady. That’s right. Brissett is now a piece of the answer to, “What has Belichick done without Brady?” Belichick still wins. Just like he did with Matt Cassel. Just like he did with Garoppolo.

The most surprising thing to me about the Thursday night game was not necessarily that the Patriots won, but that they just drilled the Texans with Brissett. Yeah sure, we all figured Belichick would have a game plan to help out the young QB, but I think we also all figured that with only 3 days ti implement that game plan, it wouldn’t work to perfection the way this one did. Nor did we think Houston would kind of be a mess on offense, though maybe we shouldn’t ever assume that Houston wouldn’t be a mess on offense against a well-coached defense in retrospect.

Tip of the cap to the Patriots. Still not a fan, but you have to respect it. Especially after your own team went 1-11 last year without it’s top QB. 😉

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/bill-belichicks-latest-masterpiece-involved-a-rookie-third-string-qb-running-circles-around-texans-065618487.html

Link – Team USA falls to Czechs, finishes winless in World Cup embarrassment

Yeah this didn’t go well at all. Frankly, I’m not sure what USA Hockey was going for here. If you listen to the brain trust going into the tournament, and the explanation for their, umm, interesting roster decisions, they seemed to have been aiming for a gritty, defense-minded, tough, team. They also seemed to be using the 1996 World Cup team as their model. Similarly, that team had some guys on it who you would not consider to be All-Star offensive players. (Bryan Smolinski, Steve Konowalchuk, etc.) But they had plenty of offensive firepower too. That team had Brett Hull, Mike Modano, Brian Leetch and Phil Housley manning the points, Keith Tkachuk, Doug Weight, and so on.

And, in terms of being able to shut down their opponents, they had Mike Richter playing in front of Chris Chelion, the Hatchers, Leetch, et al.

The 2016 version of Team USA was not this. For firepower it had Patrick Kane, and a bunch of fairly decent NHL scorers, but left home some of the best offensive talent America has to offer. It also had a defense corp that was, well not 1996. And that’s where I wonder what they were thinking. If the idea was to model that 1996 team, all you had to do was look at the defensemen on the roster for both teams.

Obviously, with the defense, 1996 could not have been the game plan. Not with that defense. Look again at the Hall of Fame defenders on that team. The 2016 version had Jack Johnson and Dustin Byfuglien. This was a failure of strategy, and not understanding the talent in front of you.

Personally, I don’t think the US was good enough to do much damage in this tournament anyway, but maybe it wouldn’t have been as embarrassing had they not been saddled with this 1996 strategy, especially because the game isn’t even the same as it was 20 years ago. The entertaining Team North America showed us where hockey is heading, and it’s not back to the days of grinding out a 2-1 win against the likes of what Canada put on the ice.

Luckily for us though, much of that bright talent on display for Team North America are Americans. Let’s hope the brain trust can get out of their way.
http://sports.yahoo.com/news/team-usa-finishes-winless-in-world-cup-embarrassment-024230408.html

Link – OTL investigation trend sodomy hazing

A troubling trend is plaguing school athletic programs across the country: hazing incidents involving sodomy. Outside the Lines has found more than 40 such incidents since 2011, including seven so far this year.

This caught my attention, because there has been an incident here with a local high school who is not having a football season this year after the team was found to be hazing during Summer camp. I don’t know how those kids didn’t know that what they were doing is wrong. It’s truly impossible to think that this stuff is appropriate. This isn’t even friendly pranks or harmless hazing, these are crimes being committed by kids in the name of team sports.

We can’t condone that.

http://www.espn.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/17507010/otl-investigation-trend-sodomy-hazing

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Link – ‘I’m Not the Lone Wolf’ – Urban Meyer on Mental Health

Chasing Ambien with beer to sleep. Forty-pound weight loss. Chest pains. To stay in football, Urban Meyer had to address his mental health. Now, to help America tackle the issue, Ohio State’s head coach opens up in a B/R Mag exclusive.

This article is absolutely fascinating on many levels, and not just because I’m an Ohio State fan.

Let’s start with the obvious. We tend to look at the dedication and drive of people involved in sports, whether it be coaches like Meyer, or players, and think that the level of absolute dedication to their sport is the way we should live our lives to be as successful in whatever endeavor that we choose. But here’s one of the most successful college coaches in the country completely contradicting that.

Here is Meyer saying that yes being dedicated and chasing your goals is important, but you have to take the steps necessary to take care of yourself too, and losing site of that is going to cost you much more than that goal was ever worth.

Think about what he’s talking about in sharing his story. Sure, he was as successful as you could be at Florida, but what he was doing was hurting his physical and mental health, and ruining his relationship with his family. When we look at the athletes we admire for their dedication, and single-minded focus, do we stop to consider just what kind of human being they are off the field?

For that matter, do we stop to think about the successful entrepreneurs, the Steve Jobs of the world, and whether emulating them is always a good idea? Sure they may be successful in business, or in sports, but are they just shitty people? Do they leave behind a wake of crappy relationships and interactions? Is that what I want when I’m reading the “10 habits of the best athletes that you should follow to be successful”?

What if those habits include things like watching game film until 4AM, not sleeping, not interacting with my family, taking drugs to get through the workload, dealing with anxiety and stress levels that make chest pains a regular thing? In what world is that something we should emulate?

Good for Coach Meyer for taking the time to, as he says:

“To help that man or woman who’s going through some s–t right now, and struggling,” he says. He rattles off one profession after another that isn’t College Football Coach but is demanding all the same—teachers, police officers, firefighters, doctors, parents, soldiers and more. “These people that are in consuming jobs—you forget to do one thing,” Urban says. “And that’s to take care of yourself.”

Absolute truth right there, and my respect for being willing to say it. Even more for the lessons he is passing on to his players about taking care of themselves. It’s impressive to see how much time he puts into that kind of stuff with his players as well.

http://thelab.bleacherreport.com/i-m-not-the-lone-wolf/

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Link – Will free agency ever come to college basketball

“If kids are allowed to transfer without sitting out, college basketball will never be the same,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said “Whatever the number is of kids transferring this year, 700 or so, I think you can double that.”

And why shouldn’t it? We should limit the freedom of movement of student athletes in a way in which other students are not just because it’ll make being a college coach harder? Too bad. Any student has the right to choose a college based on what is best for them and their future, and none of them have to sit out a year before continuing with their education.

In fact, even student athletes who do transfer and sit out a year have to continue to be enrolled in school. Why do we make them sit out “amateur” athletic endeavors?

http://www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/17501805/will-free-agency-every-come-college-basketball

Dak Wasn’t Enough

pickleat / Pixabay

pickleat / Pixabay

So Dak Prescott wasn’t horrible. For a first start, he didn’t make any huge mistakes and led the Cowboys to 5 scoring drives.

Unfortunately, 4 of those 5 drives only resulted on field goals and the Cowboys lost 20-19.

Dak wasn’t bad, but the offense also wasn’t enough. Consider:

  1. The Cowboys had 5 scoring drives, the Giants had 3
  2. The Cowboys gained more yards, ran 21 more plays, and led time of possession
  3. The Cowboys committed zero turnovers
  4. The Cowboys still lost.

How? By simply not doing much with all those extra plays. They averaged 5.0 Yards per pass attempt. on 45 attempts, and 3.4 yards per carry on 30 carries. Ezekiel Elliott got 20 carries and the Cowboys lone TD in his debut, but also accounted for 51 yards rushing.

In short, they ran a lot of plays but they didn’t make any. And they lost to a team that didn’t make many either, but at least made more out of their drives and got a couple of touchdowns.

If they don’t start making some plays, it’s going to be another very long year. Last year, they had the same problems. There were a few games where there were glaring errors from the quarterbacks, but mostly, they lost because they didn’t really do anything to put points on the board. Dak Prescott shows some promise, but somebody needs to make plays for this to work.

One Week Down

Field View from Press BoxSo, after Ohio State thrashed Bowling Green by 67 on Saturday, I had occasion to be out and about over the weekend in my Buckeye t-shirt. A person passing by us along the coast made a comment to the effect of “they really whaled this week, eh?”.

My response was the only response you can have when you’re a college football fan. “One week down”. Because, as good as Ohio State looked against BG, it was just one week. Next week you have to do it all over again against Tulsa, and then you have a trip to Oklahoma and then the Big Ten season, and on and on.

If this week taught us anything about college football, it’s that week one is exactly that, week one. A lot of teams aren’t playing as smoothly as they will later in the season, a couple paid a pretty big price for it, but it’s only one week. Even Oklahoma, LSU and Notre Dame aren’t dead yet, but they might want to get it turned around quickly. One loss might not end playoff hopes, but two early ones are going to be near impossible to overcome.

One thing that week one definitely tells us, as it does nearly every year, is that no one knows anything going into that first preseason poll. What, exactly did voters base those votes on? Week one sure didn’t play out the way the polls had it, did it? Why do we even bother?

After one week, my way too early playoff prediction? Alabama, Ohio State, Florida State, Houston but there’s a lot of football to be played before we figure out who the best 4 teams truly are.

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Link – NBA’s Jrue Holiday to miss games to care for pregnant wife with brain tumor

First off, I’m glad that they think both she and the baby stand a good chance of being fine.

Second, good for Jrue Holiday for putting the care of his family first.

Third, good for Coach Alvin Gentry and the Pelicans for supporting a player doing the right thing by his family.

If only we all could put sports in the proper perspective the same way.

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/trending-now/nbas-jrue-holiday-to-miss-games-to-care-for-pregnant-wife-with-brain-tumor/437047318

Link – Vin Scully’s final 6 games with Los Angeles Dodgers to be aired throughout L.A.

2015-11-26 11.16.49Can’t we just get them on national TV? Seriously, can ESPN or MLB get Vin’s final regular season game on for everyone to see? He deserves that.

And, since I’ll be out of the country on Oct 2 more than likely, I’d like to catch it streaming somewhere. Can you hook me up Major League Baseball?

http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/17452527/vin-scully-final-6-games-los-angeles-dodgers-aired-la