I went into this past week thinking that there wouldn’t be any reason to write a post. December 4th – 10th isn’t your marquee “what on Earth is happening?!” time of year. Well 2011 has been a different sort of year, so in light of the craziness of this past week the folks here at Random Thoughts Illustrated thought it merited taking a look back:
Icing (it’s not just in hockey anymore): Sure, there’s been plenty written about whether or not it should be legal to have coaches be able to call timeouts right as the opponent is going for a key field goal. “Icing” the kicker is the term. The theory is that a kicker will struggle to make the kick twice…or perhaps if he thinks about the importance of the kick he will choke. I’ve never seen the stats, but I think it fails more often than it works. Now what you don’t see every day is a coach taking a timeout right as his own kicker is trying to kick a 49 yard field goal. In fact I don’t remember EVER seeing that until Jason Garrett did it for the Cowboys. And guess what, he’s now 1 for 1 in icing his own kicker. Unbelievable. And to top it, he didn’t trust his guys (despite having 2 timeouts) enough to get them to try to get closer to make it easier on the kicker. (By the way, the Cowboy fan at my office really enjoyed all of the timeouts that were called when he was in the middle of talking this week). Of course that would only be magnified more if another team had a similar situation and handled it much better. Like…
Packer Magic – Not a lot to say other than the Packers/Giants game was an epic matchup that went down to the wire and the Packers kept moving the ball once they were in field goal range to make it as easy as possible on Mason Crosby. It really served to highlight how bad the Cowboys game was mismanaged. (it is worth noting that the last team to go undefeated in the regular season won a 38-35 game against the Giants only to lose in the playoffs to those same Giants…)
Wash, Rinse, Repeat – Much energy was spent (even by me) on the BCS Championship rematch. So I’ll spare you… it happened this week. All we can hope is that enough momentum was gained to get a +1 approved where the top 4 play matchups in BCS games and then the top two play the following week. That is what the Swami has asked Santa for Christmas.
Taking my Talents to South Beach – The newly re-branded Miami Marlins fired the first salvos of the MLB Winter Meetings by adding two All-Stars, Shortstop Jose Reyes and Pitcher Mark Buehrle, to their already signed closer Heath Bell. The Marlins clearly want to open the new ballpark with a bang. (Side note: I get that they wanted to make the new look seem cohesive with the other Miami institutions like the Dolphins and Hurricanes, but I just don’t love the new uni’s). With near misses on C.J. Wilson & Albert Pujols, the Marlins barely missed turning making waves into starting a tidal wave of change in the National League.
Who’s in the Top 25?!: For the first time in modern history the Crimson from Harvard University broke into the Top 25 in basketball and played a meaningful game on national television (against UCONN). Apparently the Geometry professor is finally coaching the three point shooters. Kudos to the smart kids!!
Swami goes Wild!: It just seems like there should be a mention that the Minnesota Wild had lost 2 straight games before they were visited by The Swami. Since then, the Wild have won 7 straight and now are the #1 team in the entire NHL. I’m just sayin’!
NHL goes Wild: In a stunning move that seems likely to continue to build the momentum of the past few years, the NHL approved radical realignment that will move teams from 6 divisions in 2 conferences to 4 conferences geographically aligned as well as guaranteeing that every city gets to see every team at least once per year. I know not a ton of you love hockey, but take the Swami’s word… it’s a big deal.
HOLY COW!: Out of nowhere on Thursday the Anaheim (I refuse to call them L.A. of A) Angels came out of nowhere to sign the biggest name free agent pitcher and position player of this offseason in a couple of hours. They destroyed the Cardinals best offer by somewhere between $25-50 million dollars and gave Pujols the no trade clause that was worth more than the extra $25 million from the Marlins. And then the gravy on top was adding C.J. Wilson to a starting rotation that already boasted Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, & Ervin Santana. The Angels clearly don’t like losing to the Rangers. Oh, and by the way, the balance of power in the N.L. Central just shifted. The Cardinals lose Pujols while the Brewers lose Prince Fielder. If I’m the Cubs I jump on the chance to get Fielder NOW.
NBA Goes Wild!: The NBA Players vote to ratify the new CBA… the Owners do the same. Before the owners leave the hotel word comes out that there’s a big trade involving Chris Paul that’s been agreed upon. The owners of various teams ignore the fact that it is a fair deal for all teams involve and pitch a fit and the commissioner makes a rash decision, bans the trade and in turn makes the owners look bitter an whiny about the final deal and weakens the team that the league is trying to sell. If that happens hours earlier, the players likely don’t ratify the deal. If they do it hours later, the owners probably don’t have the ability to pressure the commissioner. What is the outcome? National outcry and ridicule. Just when the NBA could gain traction with a fun and wild free agency period culminated with a Christmas Day tip-off, now they are just punching themselves in the face repeatedly for the whole world to mock. Brilliant!
Shame: Oh, speaking of the Brewers taking a hit… in what could be a black-eye for baseball as well (unless his appeal wipes the slate clean) the newly crowned National League MVP Ryan Braun just tested positive for a performance enhancing drug. That’s painful for all involved. The only possible positive is that everyone should have a good idea that Major League Baseball’s testing system is working.
Well Deserved: Well, at least for this year, we finally learned that the Heisman Trophy really is for THIS year’s performance and that it’s not a career achievement award. So we got the joy of seeing a good guy from a formerly inept football program elevate the program’s profile and receive his due. Robert Griffin III is the most efficient QB in college football, threw for 2 yards shy of 4,000 yards with 36 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions, and ran for over 600 more. He also took down hated rivals TCU, Texas, and Oklahoma in grand fashion. So congrats to RG3 and congrats to the voters for getting this right.
Yep…that was quite a week!
Categories: Sports General