Wait, What?

If all these early indications are to be believed, David Blatt is no longer the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers. And I am completely baffled by this move. To me, this has every bit of “same old Cleveland” that’s been haunting the city’s sports teams for decades. Let’s get to the heart of this, shall we?

It’s not like David Blatt was a horrible coach. The Cavaliers are 30-11 and number one in a very competitive Eastern Conference. He was 53-29 last season, for a grand total of 83-40, not including last years playoffs where the Cavaliers made it to the NBA Finals. With that being said though, it’s not like Blatt was an astounding coach like Gregg Popovich. He’s a so-so head coach, like Eric Spoelstra. The reason I compare him to Spoelstra is that Spoelstra wasn’t fired halfway through his second season with LeBron James at the helm.

And I don’t want to hear locker room dysfunction as the reason Blatt was fired. That would be utterly insane to put that squarely on his shoulders. Is he to blame for part of it? Absolutely. But LeBron James should also bear some of that burden because he’s their bona fide leader no matter who the coach is. He has to accept that mantle of responsibility and help the coach maintain order in the locker room. He’s a veteran player, he should know that by now.

The timing couldn’t be weirder either. Instead of doing it earlier in the season or waiting for the All-Star Break, the Cavaliers decided to fire him now. Why? What point does that even serve? All you get is instability before the break and players having to learn a new system. And instability doesn’t help any team, in fact, if I was any team in the Eastern Conference (except for the 76ers, they still suck), I’d start licking my chops because the Cavaliers just got a bit less tough to play against, at least for now. Mark my words, this is probably going to cost the Cavaliers the top seed or even the second seed in the playoffs.

Heck, this season is basically over in my eyes. It can really only end two ways for this Cavs team: interim coach Ty Lue will cement himself as one of the great coaches along with Pat Riley by winning the NBA Finals, or he won’t win the NBA Finals. I’m pretty sure Lue is no Pat Riley, so odds are this Cavaliers team doesn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel this season. This is, after all, the same franchise that fired Chuck Daly, and the same franchise that let Lenny Wilkens go to Atlanta, so letting good coaches go is essentially tradition in Cleveland. So, realistically speaking, I wouldn’t be surprised if David Blatt won the NBA Finals in a couple years or so with the Houston Rockets or whoever picks him up. And hopefully whoever picks up Blatt next will treat him with respect, unlike what the Cavaliers have done to him. Until then, Cleveland can always look forward to next season, only to have it’s hopes and dreams dashed yet again. Because that is, after all, a Cleveland tradition.

Wait, What?

The Bungles: Reborn

How awful was that game? To be personally honest, neither team deserved to win the Bengals-Steelers game this weekend, but it’s the Steelers (again) moving on. Which in this writer’s opinion pretty much gives Kansas City the opportunity of a lifetime. But right now they don’t matter. Neither do the Steelers. This is about the Bengals (who I will be referring to as the Bungles throughout the rest of this article), who just shot themselves in the foot.

A lot will be said in how the Bungles threw this game away. From a potential 50 yard field goal becoming a 35 yard field goal because of unsportsmanlike conduct. The fumble. The hit to Antonio Bryant’s head on that final Steelers drive. It was as if this Bungles team didn’t actually want to win, even with the game pretty much in their control. A lot will be said about the sportsmanship on both sides in the next few days.

If I were the Bungles organization, Marvin Lewis’s head would be rolling tonight. That last drive by the Steelers wasn’t some of the worst coaching I’ve seen, but he’s definitely not in control of that team on the field. 30 in yards in one play on penalties alone? That’s horrific. I absolutely admire the patience in their organization, but enough is enough. Lewis can’t win a playoff game to save his life, even when they’re winning with 1:23 left on the clock. For a team and a city that has struggled for decades trying to get a playoff win for once this was absolutely pathetic on his part.

It was also absolutely pathetic defense in that last minute of play. Horrible execution, and horrible self-control. I know it’s probably very frustrating to have to go back onto the field and play to win a game you thought your offense had covered, don’t ever take it out on your opponents, no matter whether they did rotten stuff to you or not. Those were two of the stupidest penalties I’d ever seen, especially with so much on the line. Do you feel good about yourselves? What you did? You couldn’t play proud, you had to play dirty? I know the Steelers got away with some horrible stuff but don’t stoop to that level. You’re professionals. Act like it.

And a lot of people are going to blame Jeremy Hill for his fumble. He doesn’t deserve any of it. Had his leg been down a single second earlier we wouldn’t be having this conversation, but it was what it was. What happened, happened. It doesn’t excuse the lousy coaching of Marvin Lewis and sure doesn’t deserve the lousy performance by the defense and it definitely doesn’t excuse those two boneheaded penalties at the end.

This is an absolute heartbreaker for Bungles fans everywhere. Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory is perhaps the worst feeling in the entire world. I can only imagine the struggle you guys/gals are going through: doing well in the regular season, bringing hopes up and then tearing it all down the first game of the post season. If somehow the Bungles owners read this I will remind you: 0-7. He didn’t have control of his team that final drive.

This should end Marvin Lewis’s time with the Bungles. If it doesn’t, I’m calling it right now: the Bungles will be eliminated in the 2017 Wild Card.

The Bungles: Reborn

Nuclear Meltdown: The Buccaneers Fire Lovie Smith

Normally I don’t go off the rails much. I might dislike something, I might think a move is absolutely stupid, but I always try to keep my emotions subdued. Well, I’m definitely not going to try this time.

Dear Tampa Bay, what the actual hell? How the hell do you justify firing Lovie Smith? As a stressed out college student, I would love to try whatever drug the ownership of this franchise is doing. Everybody who didn’t try to give Lovie at least another year, from the General Manager upwards, is the absolute epitaph of what a sports idiot looks like.

It’s not like the Buccaneers were going downhill. We were actually going places! Our offense, for the first time in years was decent! We TRIPLED our overall record! So what if we didn’t make the playoffs? We weren’t expected to. That’s what was glorious about this season. We became relevant. We prevented the Falcons from making the playoffs. Our one weakness was defense, and all we needed was a decent offseason. I was bullish on the Bucs to make the playoffs next season. Now that’s gone. All gone, thanks to you idiots.

Was it in the hopes of getting a “better” coach? Are you perhaps gunning for Chip Kelly? If so, this whole ship sinks to a brand new level of lunacy that is absolutely baffling. There is no upgrade this offseason from Lovie Smith. Smith is one of the best coaches, hands down, in the league. The Bears regret letting him go. He’s taken the Bucs from a really, really bad spot and made us so much more competitive in two seasons. And you think there’s an upgrade? The best “upgrade” is Chip Kelly, and after the way he completely steamrolled the Eagles organization I don’t want him within 100 miles of my Bucs. What you’ve done is wasted 2 years of progress, just thrown it in the trash with nary a thought about what the actual consequences would be. You’ve done it before, but at least you gave Tony Dungy time to build the team so that it was good. There will be NO Jon Gruden to save you from your egregious errors this time. It’s like you, the Buccaneers franchise, WANTS to lose. It’s like you want to keep partying like it’s 1976, like you’re dreaming of 0-16.

What other reasonable explanation is there? I thought this organization had some freaking pride. We went from 0-14 in 1976 to winning it all in 2003. We were feared. We were on the verge of being feared again. I’ve been a Buccaneers fan since I was born in 1995, and while I never had to experience the horror that was the 70’s and 80’s for this amazing team, I’m beginning to get the feeling that with this ownership I might just get the chance to suffer as badly as the previous generation of Bucs fans. So, my message to the Glazer family all the way down to GM Jason Licht: get your heads out of your collective asses, and start trying to win. And if, if I see that this team doesn’t somehow make the playoffs in the next two years, that we’ve regressed back to 2-14 or god forbid 0-16, I will never, ever stop calling for your heads to roll.

Nuclear Meltdown: The Buccaneers Fire Lovie Smith

The Patriots: One and Done?

6 weeks ago, this article would have been absolutely unthinkable. The Patriots were riding high, they were 10-0, looking at worst a 14-2 record, if not another 16-0 season. They were hot. Like temperature of the sun hot. And then, after losing in overtime to the Broncos, they went cold. As cold as anybody has seen them go in the past few years. They lost horribly to the Eagles the following week, won two games that any team could’ve won, and then dropped their last two games of the regular season, falling to 2nd place in the AFC, and while still getting a bye week to heal up, they’re all of a sudden on the brink. People will still argue that they’re still the creme de la creme of the AFC, I find it really hard to see them making it past their first game, let alone their second game.

First of all, their injuries. These are what began to sink the Pats season, as a ton their star players on both offense and defense began to drop like flies. Now, the big argument is that most of their stars (Julian Edelman, Sebastian Vollmer, Dont’a Hightower) will be healed up and “well rested” for the game. I don’t really buy that. If they were arm injuries or upper body injuries I think you could push a solid argument for that, but these were all leg/ankle/foot injuries. In football, unless you’re the quarterback, legs are quintessential to your game. You have to move your legs constantly, whether you’re blocking, defending, running or running to catch the football. Leg injuries, especially those that sideline players for quite some time, tend to lead to, from my observations, more rust that the player has to shake off. Their best bet is Vollmer to do as well as he has, but no matter what he does to prepare he’s going to have a rough go at things.

This is because the three teams the Patriots play have good to great defenses. The Patriots offensive line has been taking a shellacking recently from poor defenses (ie the Dolphins), and it hasn’t looked up to snuff. If you put that offensive line up against the Bengals or the Chiefs, this team might as well hop aboard the Struggle Bus. Tom Brady will be mauled by those two defenses, maybe he’d even get mauled by the Texans. Couple that with their defense being meh even healthy, it spells utter disaster for the Patriots, who are built on speed. If Edelman is as rusty as I think he’s going to be, it’ll make their opponents defense especially happy. And while going into Foxboro and coming out with a victory is always a struggle, it’ll take a lot more than homefield advantage for the Patriots to escape to play the Broncos/Steelers. Which, both of those matchups, are a Patriots fan’s nightmare.

The Patriots: One and Done?

Results and Predictions: “Black Monday” and the NFC Wild Card Preview

Well, what a disappointment for people who enjoy seeing heads rolling. More action happened leading up to Black Monday than actually occurred on Black Monday, severely impacting the length of this article and making yesterday’s article look a little foolish. Welp, you live and learn people. You live and learn.

Black Monday Recap: Tom Coughlin resigned, as I fully expected (Retire/resign is pretty much the same in my books). I think that this was the best case scenario for both parties. He gets to leave on his terms and the team can move on without feeling guilty. He should definitely have a bust in the Hall of Fame by 2025.

And that’s it. Nobody was actually fired today. The Chargers stated that McCoy was safe, someone I thought was a dead man walking, but other than that it’s been a slow news day on the coaching front.

NFC Playoffs Preview: For those of you who are more interested in the playoffs than the coaching guillotine, consider yourselves spared. With the relative silence of Black Monday, it means you got to this part much faster than you would’ve if heads went a rollin’.

Seattle Seahawks at Minnesota Vikings: The good news for Seattle is that it won’t be raining or snowing when they go to Minnesota to take on the Vikings. The bad news is that it’s going to be 6 degrees Fahrenheit (that’s -14 Celsius). And for those of you who’ve been living under a rock, 6 degrees Fahrenheit is really, really cold. Both of these teams are good, but I’m going to be curious to see if the bitter cold has any major impact on the Seahawks. If it doesn’t then the Minnesota Vikings should start booking their tickets to someplace warm so they can practice their golf. If it does impact the Seahawks, then the Vikings should start booking their tickets to someplace warm, Arizona, so they can play the Cardinals. I think it’s going to end up somewhere in the middle, but in the case of the Vikings that’s not good news.

Seahawks 17, Vikings 13

Green Bay Packers at Washington Redskins: Let’s play who’s the worst team in the NFC Playoffs? The Green Bay Packers are the worse team, but not by much. Here’s an interesting stat: after starting 6-0, the Pack have gone 4-6 to finish 10-6, including 3-3 in their last 6 games. This team is one Hail Mary from finishing 9-7 instead of 10-6. That being said the Redskins haven’t beaten any team currently in the playoffs this season and don’t exactly inspire a ton of trust themselves. They lost horribly to the Panthers and didn’t exactly do well against the Patriots. That being said that was a healthy Patriots team and the Carolina Panthers, which is no cakewalk. The Packers offensive line has been leaky, the last two weeks especially, and a leaky offensive line with virtually no amazing options at wide receiver spells doom for any team in the playoffs. Even if the Pack wins this there’s no way they can win against the Panthers or Cardinals. Fortunately for them they won’t have to play the Panthers or Cardinals. They’ll be golfing.

Redskins 21, Packers 20.

Tomorrow: Why The Patriots Will Be One And Done

Results and Predictions: “Black Monday” and the NFC Wild Card Preview

The AFC and Black Monday: Preview and Predictions

First off, I want to apologize to any Broncos fans who’ve been reading this. I was thoroughly surprised by Peyton’s ability after he was inserted into the game against the Chargers today, and he played the second biggest roll in getting you guys to the #1 seed, right behind the Dolphins victory over the Patriots. With that being said, here’s how I think the playoffs and Black Monday are going to go down:

Black Monday: 4 teams 5 teams didn’t wait for Black Monday, and now that Mike Pettine has been fired by the Browns and Jim Tomsula has been fired by the 49ers, that leaves several teams still with coaches on the hot seat:

Tom Coughlin: He won’t be fired. Tom Coughlin has too much of a resume to be fired. He will, however, be pressured and forced to retire. The Giants organization has too much respect for him, but they clearly cannot continue forward with him.

Sean Payton: Again, he’s not being fired. He’s probably going to be released from his contract so that he can part ways with the organization for greener pastures.

Jason Garrett: There’s always a surprise on Black Monday or thereabout. This is that surprise. The Cowboys are offensively worse than most college teams when they don’t have Dez or Romo. Jerry Jones is an impatient man. After three seasons of mediocrity, one season that ended abruptly in the Divisional Round, and now a downright embarrassing season, he’s going to be looking for another coach (Sean Payton maybe?).

Mike McCoy: New year, new location (maybe), new coach for the Chargers. This is definitely happening (I will eat my least favorite shirt if it doesn’t).

Chuck Pagano: This pretty much goes without saying.

Coaches that are Safe (for now): Jim Caldwell, Jim Tomsula, Marvin Lewis, John Harbaugh.

*UPDATE* The previous post was posted a few minutes before Jim Tomsula was fired by the 49ers. It has been updated appropriately.

Playoffs: After all the hype, all the exciting wins, depressing losses and whatever the hell this was, the playoffs are finally here. What do we have in store for us? Well…

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals: I want to apologize to both teams right now. Last week I said the Steelers could easily make the Super Bowl and that the Bengals didn’t have a snowballs chance in hell at winning. Yeah. Deangello Williams had something to say about that by injuring his ankle. Now, with basically their running game in tatters, the Steelers are looking more one dimensional, and they don’t need to ask the Michigan State football team to understand that’s bad news. This game has become so much more interesting, and it gives Cincinnati a chance to finally get rid of those demons that really started getting going 10 years ago in against (who else?) the Steelers. With Deangello this is a different tune. But he’s likely out this week, which means he’ll have all offseason to get healthy.

Bengals: 24, Steelers: 14

Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans: The Chiefs are easily the hottest team in the entire country, with the Texans riding high themselves. It’ll be a match of Kansas City’s offense against a very strong Texans defense. Unfortunately for the Texans, the Chiefs have a passing game this year, and the Chiefs defense is an absolute monster. The Texans season began with a loss at home to the Chiefs, and it will end with a loss to the Chiefs at home.

Chiefs: 27, Texans: 13

The results of those two games leads to an interesting Divisional Round: A depleted New England Patriots squad against a Bengals team flirting with destiny and a chance for Peyton Manning to redeem himself against a Chiefs team that sent him to the bench a few weeks ago. But the analysis of whatever Divisional Round matchup actually happens has to wait until next week. Tomorrow I’ll reflect on the actual results of Black Monday and give my take on the NFC Playoffs.

The AFC and Black Monday: Preview and Predictions

2016: My Bold Predictions

2015 has come and gone, and 2016 is here to stay. Well, until next year. With that, speculation abounds as to what will happen this year, how everything will play out. Most of the stuff will be absolutely insane. Even the things that appear sane right now will appear insane come December 31st 2016. So I’m going to be beyond sane in this crystal ball of mine. I’m not going insane, just beyond the standard mold (like I won’t pick the 76ers to win the NBA Finals this season.) So, these are my bold predictions for the year of 2016 (in chronological order)

1/4/2016: Jason Garrett is fired as the coach of the Dallas Cowboys. Now this isn’t incredibly bold, but people have been starting to speculate that his job’s safe. I don’t think so. Jerry Jones is notoriously impatient, and with the large amount of struggles on offense without Tony Romo and a limited Dez Bryant I don’t see how Garrett keeps his job with the boss he has.

1/11: If you consider it a bold prediction, the Alabama Crimson Tide defeat the Clemson Tigers 31-21 in the College Football Championship.

1/12: Chip Kelly is named the head coach of the Cleveland Browns. I sincerely think this is the job Chip is going to get, not the Titans. The Browns are in all regards a better team than the Titans, and require less of a build than the Titans. It’s a better job, and with a quarterback with the same kind of skill set that Chip is good with, it’s a match made in heaven (hell?).

1/13: One day after the Browns “surprisingly” nab Chip, the NFL announces that only the Chargers and Raiders are being allowed to move to Los Angeles. The Rams stay in St. Louis.

1/17: The Washington Redskins upset the Carolina Panthers in the Divisional Round. Remember in my playoff predictions how I said the Redskins had that 2007 and 2011 New York Giants feel? In these bold predictions they go full 2007/2011 Giants and make it to the NFC Championship, where they’ll beat the Cardinals en route to a date with the Patriots in Super Bowl 50.

2/4: The Washington Redskins upset the New England Patriots 27-24 on a last second interception on the goal line. Julian Edelman drops a potential touchdown two plays before the interception. Kirk Cousins is named Super Bowl MVP.

Sometime in March: Ronda Rousey challenges Holly Holm to a rematch. The match is scheduled for October.

Sometime in March: Michigan State defeats Kentucky for the Men’s College Basketball Championship.

4/9: The Golden State Warriors defeat the Memphis Grizzlies for an NBA record 73rd victory and become “the best NBA team ever”. They finish the regular season 74-8.

4/28: The Tennessee Titans pick Joey Bosa from Ohio State with the first pick of the NFL Draft. Paxton Lynch is the first quarterback picked (5th by the 49ers)

5/22: The NHL Finals between the Florida Panthers and the Los Angeles Kings begins with a 2-0 win for the Panthers.

6/1: The NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Indiana Pacers begins with a Pacers win, 107-106.

6/2: The Florida Panthers win the NHL Finals for the first time in franchise history 4 games to 2 over the LA Kings.

6/17: The Indiana Pacers upset the Golden State Warriors on a last second buzzer beater to win Game 7 of the NBA Finals to take home the Championship.

Sometime in July: The Washington Wizards sign Kevin Durant to a five year multi-million dollar deal.

8/6: Tony Dungy, Terrell Owens and John Lynch are among the six players/coaches inducted into the Pro-Football Hall of Fame.

8/10: The USA comes second overall in the Olympics behind China. The US Mens Basketball and Womens Basketball teams do claim the gold in Rio.

8/24: FIFA acknowledges bribery by Qatar for the 2022 World Cup. Qatar is stripped from hosting the World Cup and replaced by Canada. Sites are Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Quebec City, Hamilton, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Calgary, Regina, Saskatoon, and London (Ontario).

9/8: The NFL season begins with the Washington Redskins against the Detroit Lions. Unfortunately those who watched it gouged their eyes out due to the reintroduction of the “Color Rush”. Detroit wins 17-10.

9/11: Tom Brady starts the beginning of a down year (for him) by throwing an interception against the Jets on the first play of the first game of the season. The Patriots lose 24-13.

10/2: The MLB Season ends (is this really that bold a prediction?) with the Houston Astros as the Number 1 seed in the American League (there it is).

10/4: The Minnesota Twins win their Wild Card game against the Yankees, allowing them to advance to the playoffs where they upset the Astros and the Royals to make it to the MLB Championship against the Chicago Cubs.

10/13: The NHL Season starts between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings. Chicago wins 3-0.

10/23: Ronda Rousey defeats Holly Holm in a knockout 31 seconds into the first round, avenging her loss last year.

10/25: The NBA season tips off between the Indiana Pacers and the Washington Wizards. The Wizards win the game 87-80.

10/30: The first meeting between the Chargers and Raiders since they moved to Los Angeles occurs. The LA Raiders win 31-10.

10/31: The Chicago Cubs win the Pennant for the first time since 1908.

11/6: Halfway through the NFL’s season, there are three unbeatens left (Detroit Lions, Seattle Seahawks and New York Jets) and one winless team left (San Francisco 49ers).

11/8: The NFL announces that it’s no longer doing “Color Rush” Thursday nights, and everybody breathes a collective sigh of relief.

11/24: The Detroit Lions are the first NFL team to clinch a playoff berth.

12/4: The last CFP Rankings are released, with #1 Alabama, #2 Oregon, #3 Michigan, and #4 Kansas State.

12/4: Lions lose their first game of the regular season, there are no unbeaten teams left.

12/18: The Chiefs and Jets clinch an AFC Wild Card bye.

12/25: New England clinches a Wild Card berth despite the struggles of Tom Brady. The sixth seed is still up for grabs between the Bills, Jaguars and Raiders. Jets clinch #1 seed.

12/25: Rematch between the Warriors and Pacers. Warriors win 99-87.

12/31: Alabama defeats Kansas State 24-20. Oregon defeats Michigan 37-31.

11:59 pm 12/31: Canada declares war on the United States for electing Trump and conquers everything. All sporting events are cancelled in 2017 except for Canadian Football, hockey and curling.

And finally we reach 2017. What an eventful 2016. While none of this may come to pass (especially that last prediction. Trump for President? Bah.), I look forward to reviewing what I got right and wrong, and then making predictions for 2017. I hope we are all prepared for our eventual Canadian overlords.

2016: My Bold Predictions