Mike Sherman and the Full Circle of Football

Mike Sherman’s coaching career in the game of football has been a long and winding road to say the least. Beginning in 1978 at Stamford High School, the last 35 years have been quite the journey. From the College of the Holy Cross to the Green Bay Packers, and everything in between, Sherman’s resumé resembles that of many high level football coaches. Bouncing from one place to another almost every season, it can be a pretty hectic journey. Most coaches don’t always find their one spot and therefore, find themselves caught in the endless and exhausting coaching cycle.

As of this winter, Mike Sherman was in the thick of that very cycle. Coming off his second season as Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator, he and the organization decided to part ways. As a veteran coaching free agent, it was assumed he’d soon be announced as the new coordinator for another NFL or college team. Yesterday however, Sherman announced that he had new location to add to his resumé: Nauset Regional High School.

After hearing this news, I quickly glanced to make sure it wasn’t an article from The Onion or an internet hoax – and it wasn’t. Sherman decided to put a stop to the craziness of the coaching cycle. As a coach bounces from place to place, from team to team, as does his family. For the last 35 years, the word “settled” has never been a part of the Sherman household. Now it can be.

Yes, this is a minor story and yes, not many people will care about what Mike Sherman does in his post-NFL life. However I think it’s important to recognize the insanity that is the world of coaching. Acting as mercenaries for multi-million dollar organizations, coaches are shuffled around like chess pieces each offseason. Not many coaches have the guts to shut that process down once they’re involved in it. Mike Sherman did and I commend him for that. Although it’s not a headline story, it’s a commendable and pretty cool move that deserves some light. Like any football man, Sherman couldn’t quit the game cold turkey. A coach keeps coaching. Except this time, the Nauset Regional Warriors will be the ones benefitting from it.

It’s Steph Curry’s World, We’re Just Living In It

Steph Curry is quickly becoming the NBA’s newest superstar. After sinking an NBA record 286 three-pointers during the regular season, Curry and his Golden State Warriors are continuing their rapid pace through the postseason. Last night the 6 foot 3 inch guard from Davidson dropped 40 points on the Houston Rockets as the Warriors took a 3-0 series lead. The baby-faced league MVP was unstoppable once again, hitting from everywhere on the floor no matter the circumstance. Scoring 37 points in three quarters, he spent the majority of the fourth on the bench as the Warriors already held a 103-73 lead. Continue reading “It’s Steph Curry’s World, We’re Just Living In It”

I’m Rooting For the Houston Astros and You Should Be Too

Since making a World Series appearance in 2005, the Houston Astros have found a cozy spot at the bottom of the MLB standings. With below .500 records, no-name players, and unsuccessful management, Minute Maid Park quickly became home to baseball’s biggest losers. I wish I could call them lovable losers, but they weren’t familiar enough to be loved. Nobody knew the players or coaches and nobody felt the need to. With one losing season after another, Houston quickly became the MLB’s biggest afterthought. Continue reading “I’m Rooting For the Houston Astros and You Should Be Too”

The Truth About The Truth

Paul Pierce is exactly what the Washington Wizards have needed for the past decade. He’s Gilbert Arenas without the guns. He’s JaVale McGee with an IQ above four. He’s Andray Blatche without.. well he’s just not Andray Blatche; which for Washington is phenomenal news. The Wizards personnel moves over the last few seasons have been questionable to say the least. Consisting of entertaining characters who didn’t know how to win, squandering talent had become the ultimate description for the lowly Wiz. Continue reading “The Truth About The Truth”

Takeaways From the Month of April

For baseball, the month of April means a whole lot of overanalyzing. April stats can give off a trend that we’ll watch for the remainder of the season, or they can be misleading lies that ruin baseball fans’ summer months. Let’s take a look at what we’re dealing with this year. Determining if they will remain a fact or become fiction is up to you.

The Red Sox have pitching problems

This would be tough to debate as fiction. The Sox currently sit a game under .500 and have a team ERA of 4.85, nice enough for third worst in the league. With a batting order loaded with big hitters, you have to wonder when the front office in Beantown will make finally make a change. A team with this kind of expectations won’t stick with an ERA like that for very long. What many feared this offseason is quickly becoming a reality in Boston.

Dee Gordon is awesome

Through 27 games, Gordon is hitting an absurd .430 while flashing his dangerous speed almost every night for the Marlins. Although this isn’t sustainable for the season, his pattern of transforming games is. With his kind of speed, a simple infield single (which he has twelve of) can turn into a triple before you blink. Keep an eye on Gordon as the season moves forward. Plus he can dunk too.

Devon Travis is really good

“Who the hell is Devon Travis”, you ask? That was my first question too. He’s a 24-year-old stud-of-a second baseman for the Toronto Blue Jays who’s currently hitting .309 and slugging .598 alongside 7 homers and 23 RBI. Travis was highly touted in the Detroit Tigers farm system before being dealt to Toronto in exchange for Anthony Gose. Many are thinking he’s the league’s next star while others feel this is just a quick fad. Quick side note: Travis lost in the Little League World Series final in 2003 to Japan. Nobody roots for Japan in the Little League World Series, so does that mean we have to root for Travis now? Think about it, if you will.

A-Rod

I refuse to type anymore about him. You’re welcome to go ahead and participate in independent research. Long live Jason Varitek.

The Astros are finally a legitimate team

No fact or fiction debate here, the Astros are here to stay. With Jose Altuve and Jake Marisnick leading the way, Houston is in good hands. The majority of people won’t know either of those names and that’s what makes it fun. All aboard the Astros bandwagon. They’ve been accepting passengers for years; now there’s finally reasons to fill the seats.

Washington is struggling

The Nationals entered the season as the most popular pick to win the World Series. They’ve stumbled big time coming out of the gate – going 7-13 through their first 20 games. The Nats will pull it together at some point, it’s just a question of how soon. No need for Nats fans to panic just yet.

The Royals are still rolling

Coming off the AL pennant, the Royals had a quiet offseason. However the boys in blue have started the season off with a bang sitting at 17-9 atop the AL Central. Maybe it was the time period in which I grew up in, but I’ll always see the Royals as the underdog – regardless of if they made it to the World Series last year. I’m totally rooting for the “underdog” here to stay hot all year long. So maybe they’re the favorites? Whatever, everyone loves a good underdog story. Even if it’s fake. They also lead the league in bench-clearing incidents. No shortage of entertainment in KC.

Big Sexy and the Mets!

The Mets are good! I never thought I’d be able to say it but the Mets are good! Entering Thursday, New York is 18-10 and leading the NL East. They’ve been so horrendous for so many years, you have to root for them. If their past downfalls don’t do it for you, Big Sexy will. 41 year-old Bartolo Colon is 5-1 with a 2.90 ERA and leading the charge. He’s 5-11, 285 lbs., and loves big hugs. If you can’t root for his team, at least root for Colon.

All hail Big Sexy.

Happy baseball season everyone.

Optimism and Unibrows: The NOLA Way

See that man? He’s the NBA’s newest superstar.

Most people see getting swept in the first round of the playoffs as a bad thing. With players like Anthony Davis, it’s nearly impossible to look at the New Orleans Pelicans situation in a negative light. The young squad from the big easy lost four quick games to the top seeded Golden State Warriors this past week. While the Warriors didn’t have many problems getting the sweep, they had their fair share of issues with the unibrowed monster otherwise known as Anthony Davis. The pessimists will have their opinions on the quick first round exit, but the optimist is the one you should be listening to.

In game four, the 22 year-old Davis had 36 points and 11 rebounds and left the Warriors searching for any possible way to stop him. The optimist puts his attention here and towards the future. Forget the sweep. Focus on the fact that the future of the franchise just averaged 31.5 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 blocks a game against the best team in the NBA. Focus on the fact that the Pelicans were four games out of a playoff spot with a month left and managed to fight and claim the eighth seed in a strong Western Conference. Focus on the fact that the Pelicans did this without any veterans on their roster. Not one player on this team was over 30 years old.

So as the pessimist claims this team lacked poise throughout the year, the optimist can counter with the awesomeness of succeeding without a veteran presence. The pessimist will question if Monty Williams is the right coach to join Davis in leading NOLA to the promiseland. The optimist can raise the point that LeBron James went through four different coaches before getting his first ring. You can go back and forth all day long. The bottom line is the future is finally here for the Pelicans, and this year’s first round series versus Golden State was the first sign of great things to come.

Anthony Davis is the next great one. Need proof in the form of numbers? Davis joined Wilt Chamberlain, Bob McAdoo, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Willis Reed as the only five players in NBA history to average at least 30 points and 10 rebounds for their first four playoff games of their careers. Come July 1, I have no doubt he’ll have a max contract waiting for him to sign so the Pelicans can lock him up.

Sure the Pelicans were a one-man team for many parts of the season. Davis’ supporting cast was not always up to par. But c’mon, release your inner optimist. Davis and the Pelicans are here to stay and entertain us for years to come. And that means we get to see more of Pierre the Pelican. Not even a pessimist can be mad about that.

Chip Kelly and the Bizarre, Confusing, Possibly Good, Very Weird Offseason

Sunday night, Chip Kelly reinserted Tim Tebow mania into the sports world. Agreeing to a one-year deal with the 27-year-old quarterback tops off what can be described as an eventful offseason for the Philadelphia Eagles (to put it lightly). Kelly traded his best offensive player, LeSean McCoy, his quarterback, Nick Foles, and watched his top wide receiver, Jeremy Maclin, sign with Kansas City. On the other hand, he has signed pro bowl running back Demarco Murray, traded for quarterback Sam Bradford, and now brought in ideal Nicholas Sparks movie protagonist Tim Tebow.

Tebow? Really? This means the Eagles now have three of the top five most inaccurate passers in the NFL over the last five seasons. Philadelphia’s presumed starter, Bradford, has a career QBR of 40.7. Backup Mark Sanchez’s? Just shy of that, sitting at 40.4. Tebow takes the cake however boasting a career QBR of 33.4, which fits the bill for the lowest in the NFL. Sanchez improved last year under Kelly’s system, as did former Eagles QB Nick Foles. Ideally for the Philly faithful, the same will happen with Bradford and Tebow.

Kelly has treated these past few months like a crazed science experiment. Tim Tebow just happens to be the newest and most intriguing variable he’s brought into his lab. For all we know, Tebow could be cut before training camp even comes to a close. But for now, he adds a whole lot of fun to the already absurd Eagles’ offseason. Sanchez played with Tebow in New York during the 2012 season, so maybe Chip is just trying to get the band back together. Whatever his reasoning is, Kelly hasn’t shied away from strange moves. And by signing Tebow, this maniacal scientist from Oregon has just taken over SportsCenter for the next few months.

So where does Kelly go from here? Does he draft Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota? Or maybe he’ll try to sign Albert Haynesworth? At this point, no one knows what Chip Kelly’s next move is. I’m not even sure if he does. But one thing I do know is that he’s an expert on how to keep an NFL offseason interesting. This whole ordeal could turn out to be the greatest thing for the Eagles franchise since Terrell Owens did sit ups in his driveway.  Or it could completely blow up in Chip Kelly’s face. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Belated 2015 NBA Playoff Crash Course

After a regular season filled with Golden State’s splash brothers, Atlanta’s unknown personalities, and Cleveland’s locker room hoopla, we finally have reached the playoffs. For the next two months, your TV’s will feature LeBron James, Steph Curry, and hopefully, a minimal amount of Doris Burke. Let’s jump into the matchups and make the predictions that will surely fall apart in no time.

Eastern Conference

No. 1 Atlanta Hawks vs No. 8 Brooklyn Nets

Coming off a dominant regular season, the Hawks are still in search of the respect a one-seeded team would normally receive. Reinventing themselves as a selfless, all-for-one and one-for-all type squad, Atlanta cruised to its first 60 win season in the franchise’s history. The Nets, on the other hand, snuck into the playoffs following a Pacers loss on the final day of the regular season. The Hawks eat slow-paced teams alive, and Brooklyn fits the bill perfectly. Pick: Hawks in five

No. 2 Cleveland Cavaliers vs No. 7 Boston Celtics

Celtics’ Head Coach Brad Stevens has gotten as much out of his current roster as anyone on planet earth could have. How he isn’t involved in every analyst’s coach of the year argument is beyond me. That being said, LeBron and the Cavs are too deep and simply too much to handle for Stevens and his team. They exhibited their absurd three point shooting today in game one, and I don’t see any slowing down from this point on. Pick: Cavs in four

No. 3 Chicago Bulls vs No. 6 Milwaukee Bucks

Finally becoming healthy as the regular season came to a close, the Bulls are in a good spot to be a legitimate threat in a weak Eastern Conference. The Bucks persistent and pestering defense will cause turnovers as it always does, however the Bulls, especially with a healthy Derrick Rose, should have minimal problems here in the first round. Pick: Bulls in five

No. 4 Toronto Raptors vs No. 5 Washington Wizards

Toronto comes into the playoffs just barely missing out on the third seed. They run into a Wizards team that had a strong first half of the season, and then stumbled miserably after the all-star break. However the Raptors are right there with them. The two teams were a combined 46-15 through December 29 before things went south for both clubs. The size is there for the Wiz while the athletic frontcourt remains Toronto’s main advantage. In my opinion, this will be the best first round series in the East, despite basically being an audition to lose in round two. Pick: Wizards in seven

Western Conference

No. 1 Golden State Warriors vs No. 8 New Orleans Pelicans

As we saw in game one, Anthony Davis is almost too much to handle by himself, even for one of the NBA’s best teams. Davis is quite the force, but so are the Warriors. The splash brothers (Steph Curry and Klay Thompson) highlighted the best regular season in Golden State’s history. Even with little playoff experience, the Warriors are a popular pick to take the crown. Anthony Davis will be their main issue here in round one, but that’s about it. Pick: Warriors in five

No. 2 Houston Rockets vs No. 7 Dallas Mavericks 

This series is filled with bad blood on all levels. Regardless of hatred, there’s only so much a team can do to stop James Harden. The bearded assassin has turned a rather average roster into one of the best teams in the NBA. The Mavs will be no pushover, but they do not have an answer for the one-man-show in Harden. Expect lots of post-whistle scrums, Mark Cuban, and points from a bearded man. All of my eggs are in Harden’s basket, and Houston’s are too. Pick: Rockets in five

No. 3 Los Angeles Clippers vs No. 6 San Antonio Spurs

The Clippers are the attractive pick in this series with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan leading the way. However counting the Spurs out of any playoff series is not wise. Head Coach Gregg Popovich is one of the world’s best basketball minds and will give the flashy Clipps a first round test that they did not want to deal with. Both teams finished the regular season on a roll. Many people like the young bloods from LA compared to the elderly Spurs as this series goes forward. But that second “g” in Coach Pop’s first name gets me every time. I can’t pick against Tim Duncan and the boys.                    Pick: Spurs in six

No. 4 Portland Trail Blazers vs No. 5 Memphis Grizzlies

The Blazers have had the unfortunate responsibility of dealing with an array of second half injuries. This combined with the Grizzlies’ duo of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph underneath will create some serious problems for Portland. Damien Lillard is an absolute stud and will not go down without a fight alongside fellow star LaMarcus Aldridge. However the top-to-bottom Grizz will overwhelm the Blazers without much issue in this one. Pick: Memphis in five

The playoffs are unpredictable to say the least and this year is shaping up to be no different. I’ll jump right into a finals prediction; I’m going with the Spurs over the Cavs in six games. This may be the last year the Spurs have with their core of Duncan, Ginobili, and Parker. I trust Popovich to spark a solid run against the tough Western Conference. We’ll have to wait an excessive two months to find out if this comes true, but it’s two of the most entertaining months of the year. Fear the beard, embrace the splash brothers, and enjoy watching the incredible specimen that is LeBron James, because before you know it, you’ll be watching Adam Silver hand over the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy.

Providence Stuns BU For First Ever NCAA Hockey Title

Euphoria is defined as a feeling or state of intense excitement and happiness. This term seems fitting for the scene that surrounded the Providence Friars Saturday night at the TD Garden. All it took was one fluky goal. With that fluky goal came the lifeline that the Friars had been desperately searching for all game long. And once that lifeline was available, it was all but over for the Terriers of Boston University.

With 8:36 remaining in the third period, Providence defenseman Tom Parisi had planned on simply dumping the puck into the offensive zone so the Friars could get some fresh legs out onto the ice. Little did he know this would be the greatest lob of a hockey puck that has ever come off of his stick to this point in his life. BU goalie Matt O’Connor caught the lob and proceeded to drop the puck in between his legs. Not knowing where it had gone, the junior from Toronto, Ontario unintentionally pushed the puck across his own goal line and into his own net. With the score now tied at three, the Friars held all of the momentum in the building for the first time all night.

BU head coach David Quinn called a timeout less than a minute later to try to calm his troops. Instead, at the ensuing faceoff, Brandon Tanev snatched up the puck, glided into the slot, and ripped a wrister past O’Connor for the biggest goal in PC hockey history to put the Friars up 4-3. Providence would manage to hold on for the remaining, anxiety filled, slow motion 6:17 to bring home the program’s first ever National Championship. Of course, this came with a little help from PC goaltender Jon Gillies with just a minute left in the game.

From an entertainment perspective, the entire game was oscar-winning. From a hockey perspective, maybe not the cleanest of showings. But just looking at each team’s goaltending situation can provide a lens through which one can understand how this game was won. Matt O’Connor dropping a puck into his own goal and proceeding give up another two minutes later is representative of one side. While in the other net, we see Jon Gillies making 49 saves and sprawling across the crease to make a season saving stop. Without Gillies performance, a Providence third period comeback is impossible. What everyone will remember is Matt O’Connor dropping the puck into his own net. But what everyone should remember is that without Gillies standing on his head at the other end of the ice, the own goal would not have even mattered.

It took a heck of a bounce, and some late game heroics, but for the third straight season, the NCAA crowned a first time champion. Coming into this season, the Friars were favorites to win the Hockey East title. But a rough start, and inconsistent play down the road allowed for the Terriers to take both the regular season title and conference championship. PC would end up being the last team to qualify for this year’s NCAA tournament. As we now know, they would eventually get the last laugh.

One may say that an improbable comeback like this is something you see in movies. I would have to agree. The tale of the 2015 NCAA Hockey Final had quite the plot, resulting in euphoria in one locker room and shock in the other. I would like to personally thank PC and BU for putting on one hell of a show last night. That’s not one I will soon forget.

P.S. GO FRIARS

The Super Scary Streaking Spurs

In the recent weeks, the San Antonio Spurs have been tearing their opponents apart. I’m talking limb from limb, horror film type stuff. On Wednesday night, they defeated the Houston Rockets 110-98. This was San Antonio’s ninth straight win by at least 12 points. Only the 2008-2009 Cavaliers and 2010-2011 Heat have had streaks close to the one the Spurs currently hold. It’s no surprise Head Coach Gregg Popovich has his team peaking at the right time. Since 2003, Pop has lead the Spurs to four NBA Titles on five finals appearances, and eight division titles.

The gang of Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Gregg Popovich has become the most intimidating group of emotionless elders the NBA has ever seen. Quietly going about their business all year long, doing their thing in the lone star state until the playoff rush comes around and then BANG, the Spurs come back into everyone’s head as a leading candidate to win the Western Conference. I came across two tweets over the last few days that describe the repetitive situation perfectly.

The selflessness that glistens out of this locker room on a daily basis is so un-NBA it hurts. Everyone gets their turn, and everyone will have to step up. Clearly this is Tim Duncan’s team along with fellow vets Ginobili and Parker, but as of late, they have stepped back and let Kawhi Leonard take the reins. It’s a flawless system that has been driven into the Spurs’ personnel ever since David Robinson teamed up with Duncan in 1999 to win the franchise’s first title. San Antonio knows the formula and refuses to change any of its variables.

Gregg Popovich is the Bill Belichick of the NBA. He’s the all-knowing presence that refuses to go. Maybe it’s the extra g in his name that gives him the leg up. Who knows? But one thing I do know is that the Spurs are once again a force to be reckoned with. Twelve years after this group won their first title together, they’re still toying with teams claiming to be the league’s best. Golden State has the best record in the NBA? They’ve won twelve straight? That’s nice. Nothing Uncle Tim and Grandpa Popovich can’t handle.

Spurs win 107-92.

Bottom line: you cannot sleep on the Spurs. Golden State, Cleveland, and Houston may have the glamour and flash, but San Antonio has the rough and tough grit. Don’t be surprised to see them come out of the West once again. Put your faith in Coach Pop and his great love for the press; because with social skills like this, he’ll never let you down. Plus, he’ll win a few games along the way.