Sunday, January 14, 2018

Stefon Diggs Touchdown - Immaculate!

Who is Stefon Diggs and Why is he the Man of the Moment?

Well, he's only a football player who scored the most improbable touchdown of a playoff game since maybe the Immaculate Deception, that's who he is.

With 10 seconds left in the game and his team down by a point, Diggs caught a pass just as the defender ducked down to avoid a possible pass interference penalty.  He then used his acrobatic balance and speed to race to the end zone untouched, ending a hard fought NFC Divisional Playoff game. He could have and should've been tackled. He could have easily stepped out of bounds. He could have lost his concentration and simply dropped the ball or let it bounce off his hands as he looked to avoid contact and run. Instead, #14 simply saw ball, caught ball and ran like a bat out of hell to the end zone for a game winning touchdown.

The opposing Saints team was stunned. The Vikings home fans were launched into pandemonium. The Vikings players were seen hands on heads, eyes wide open as they mouthed in slow motion "Oh My God."  Vikings WR Stefon Diggs stood in the end zone, arms outstretched to his sides still holding the ball and basking in the thunderous, heavenly glory.

And that's how we American football fans ended our NFL Football Divisional Playoff Weekend; frozen in a moment of time with fellow fans as we watched the football Gods bless one team while cursing another. 

Saints 24
Vikings 29

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Notes on My Sports Teams

San Francisco Giants second baseman Joe Panik has agreed to a contract with the team. I was a bit worried that my guy from the Hudson Valley New York area would sign with another club.  Joe has contributed not only his impeccable infield skills to the team, but he brings that ol'skool blue collar type of player who would play the game for peanuts. 

The 27-year old is far from the kid who joined the team in 2014 and helped them earn their third world series championship in a five year period. The kid is now a veteran with a calming presence in the infield. He's a part of the winning chemistry that makes the Giants a threat to win it all every year.

There's a time to move on from aging players who's skills begin to diminish after giving they're all to a team. Joe Panik is not in that bracket of players just yet. I'm so glad the Giants organization see the benefits of keeping the kid and trusting in his great baseball skills. Every team needs a kid like Double Play Joe; one who seems to never get old and plays for the love of the game. 

To be honest I believe we have two; Hunter Pence, the loveable Giant that all us fans will hate to see go someday, is still a Giant as far as I know. Pence is the will and soul of this team. He's starving and ready to go hunting for another championship this upcoming season.  

Giants also welcome third baseman Evan Longoria to the 2018 lineup. Longoria is 32-years old but still has some pop in his bat and one heck of a glove.


Marvel Comics

Oakland Raiders Install Cable.  That's right Raider Nation, the Raiders have brought back two former head coaches for the 2018 season. Newly announced head coach Jon Gruden will be installing Tom Cable as the new offensive line coach of the Raiders. Cable has been with the Seattle Seahawks since being cut by the Raiders after the 2010 season. He's a reputable O-line coach and someone who's worked with other Gruden hires. The fact he was in Seattle during Marshawn Lynch's beastly runs there is hopefully a hint that Beast Mode will be returning to the Raiders next season.  Welcome back coach.


Golden State Warriors, with Steph Curry, blow a 27 point lead but find a way to hold off the resurgentToronto Raptors in a 127-125 victory. Another impressive game from second year forward Kevon Looney. The Warriors got careless in the second half and let up off the gas. That gave the Raptors, with always dangerous shooting guard DeMar DeRozan (42 pts), enough fighting fuel to make a run and force the Warriors to scrap and claw for every basket and rebound the rest of the way. It also made Warriors coach Steve Kerr raise his level of intensity  and re-ignite a fire in his players that had been almost totally extinguished in the second half. The Warriors barely pulled this one out. It was good to see them muscle their way toward victory.

Warriors have improved their season record to 35-9, best in the NBA.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Bama Is National Champion Once Again

The College Football Championship game last night between the Georgia Bulldogs and Alabama Crimson Tide was a great game. You had the Bulldogs playing in their backyard and seeming to have the powerhouse Crimson Tide team under control throughout much of the first half. Then you had Bama, down 13-0 at the half, inserting a freshman quarterback by the name of Tua Tagovailoa in to begin the third quarter. The freshman delivered with sensational play as the Alabama Crimson Tide "TOOK" the championship out of the grasp of the Bulldogs with stout defense and electrifying offense.

Tua would throw the game winning touchdown in overtime to seal what could have easily been a Bulldogs post-game celebration. One play on a crucial 3rd down had Tua escaping a sure sack and instead scrambling for a first down. I agree with one post-game announcer who identified that play as the defining moment which began Alabama's resurgence. The entire team, offense and defense, was energized by the play of the freshman quarterback from then on; and I'm sure coach Saban was convinced by that Russell Wilson like scramble, to keep the freshman in the game for better or worse.

Gotta give head coach Nick Saban credit for making all the right calls and adjustments to get his Alabama team back to playing the kind of football that has defined their program over the past nine seasons. They've won five championships in that time.

Congratulations Alabama and Tua for a hard fought and well deserved Championship. 
Roll Tide!
Alabama 26
Georgia 23

Nick's Kids Foundation "Nobody stands as tall as he who stoops to help a child"

Raiders Re-Introduce Jon Gruden as Head Coach

Throwback Tuesday is here folks, and that can only mean one thing for Raider Nation; Jon Gruden officially becomes Head Coach of the Oakland Raiders. No more speculation, no more what if's or maybe's. Gruden is back in silver & black and if you ask any Raiders fan they'll tell you, he owes us a Super Bowl.

Personally, I'm not that big on the Chucky return. When the Raiders brought back Art Shell for a second stint as Head Coach in 2006, the team went 2-14. Nostalgia does not win championships.

My concern with Gruden coming back is all the hype and hoopla surrounding his return. It's possible that the attention given Chucky as head coach, both positive and negative, could take away from the focus needed by players and coaches alike come next season. And just out of curiosity, did Mark Davis even consider going after Bill Belichick, a hall of fame coach who's rumored to be having issues with New England? Maybe then I could get excited about the new head coach, but don't play with my nostalgic football emotions and expect to win me over immediately.

So here we are Raider Nation with yet another hurdle to leap over to get to the promised land of a Super Bowl championship. We have a celebrity coach who supposedly knows his X's and O's. He has a reputation for firing up his players. Will he be the difference in how the Raiders play in seasons to come? Time will tell.

Honestly, I'm not buying into the Chucky knows football hype. Being a long-time Raiders fan has conditioned me to be more a wait-and-see type guy. I'm hopeful that the game hasn't passed Gruden by as a head coach. It's easy to bark out what's wrong or right with schemes from the commentator booth, after the fact. Let's see if he can return to doing it from the sideline during live action football games. Because regardless of how experts analyze and breakdown post-game footage, being in the heat of  battle on gameday is not Child's Play. It's take's a fearless leader with the guts to do whatever needs to be done to win.

Welcome back Jon "Chucky" Gruden. Just Win Baby!

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

What's More Important Than Sports?

To fans like myself, sports is more an entertainment than a way of life. But there are many who could hear that the sky is falling and their only concern would be whether the game will be delayed. These are the "sports fanatics," and they might just be the only humans on the planet who see the Trump vs Kim Jong Un  debacle as something to bet on. 

Us not so fanatical sports fans are definitely looking for the world referees of foreign politics to step up and call a time out or throw a flag, something. Because nobody wants to see launched nuclear weapons enter the game of world politics, especially not with the playoffs and Super Bowl being right around the corner.

I recently engaged in a discussion about the mental and physical health of the President of the United States, Donald Trump. Speculation pointed to the possibility that Trump might be suffering from early stage dementia. One in the group discussion referenced his senior grandmother's symptoms as an example : speed of thought, memory, reasoning and judgment, language and behavior. I heard enough to make me become very afraid that this is the man with the nuclear missile launch codes. 

In 2008 many Americans feared that Sarah Palin might end up in a position where she'd be "carrying the football." The country and world got a reprieve when Sen. Barak Obama and the Democrats won the election. Today, almost ten years later, we have a newly elected President who seems to enjoy toying with the idea of launching nuclear missiles, and none of the world leaders are upset or fearful?

At least in 2008, Republican vice president nominee Sarah Palin claimed correctly that she could see parts of Russia from some points in Alaska, her home state. With Robert Mueller still investigating Russia's involvement with the 2016 Presidential election, our current Republican President won't let the name Russia pass through his lips. Sounds like a language and behavior issue tome.

ROBERT JAY LIFTON: I also belong to a group called the Duty to Warn, which is a group of psychiatrists and psychologists who feel we have the right and the obligation to speak out about Trump’s psyche when it endangers the country and the world. And what we’re seeing—you mentioned the potential unraveling of the pact with Iran. There’s also the potential unraveling of Donald Trump, which seems to be occurring. It’s hard to read him, because his behavior, as I understand it, is completely solipsistic. He sees the world through his own sense of self, what he needs and what he feels. And he couldn’t be more erratic or scattered or dangerous.

When you have "testimonials from more than two dozen psychiatric experts assessing Trump's mental state," and questioning whether he is mentally fit to carry out the duties of commander in chief, I say it's definitely time to worry and speak out.

More than a dozen lawmakers last month met with a Yale University psychiatry professor for two days to discuss President Trump's fitness for office, Politico reported Wednesday.

Here's one news article that speaks to the concerns of Donald Trump's mental health. They point out the slur in his speech that was heard around the world, as well as, other indications of his falling apart under stress. Here's what they're saying:

Lawmakers briefed by Yale psychiatrist on Trump's mental health: report

Washington's growing obsession: The 25th Amendment

Lawmakers concerned about Trump's mental health invited a Yale psychiatry professor to brief them in December.
The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Raiders Fire Coach Del Rio

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Jack Del Rio has been fired as coach of the Oakland Raiders, ending his three-year tenure after a disappointing 6-10 record this season.

Oh well, it had to happen. Expectations might've been higher than deserved, but Jack Del Rio couldn't even produce a .500 season. He had to go and hopefully the new coaching staff can get the team to play up to their potential. The Oakland Raiders are a talented team. They're much closer to being a champion than at any time since 2002-03.  The right coaches with the right schemes can give Oakland a football championship before the teams' exodus to the desert.

Rumor has it that owner Mark Davis is talking with former Raiders coach Jon Gruden. Do we really wanna see Chucky come out of the commentating booth to take a swing at coaching a team to a championship again?  Hasn't he been away from coaching for over a decade? Come on Raider Nation, we don't need our hearts being played with. Thanks for the memories Chucky but that boat done sailed many moons ago. We can do much better than having an out-of-touch Jon Gruden at the helm.

Whoever ends up steering the Silver & Black pirate ship come next season, they better bring something to the table that we can recognize as a winning plan. Jack talked a great game. But the talk ran out of gas. Now it's show-me time.