Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Random notes: January 13, 2017.

Friday, January 13th, 2017

Actual headline from the NYT:

It’s Baltimore, gentlemen. The gods will not save you from a consent decree.

I feel a possible rant coming on about questionable legislation and questionable journalism, but I’m still trying to pull together information and run this past some friends for a sanity check.

Justice Dept. releases scathing report, says Chicago police officers have pattern of using excessive, unconstitutional force

Investigators excoriated the department and city officials alike for what it called “systemic deficiencies.” The report also said investigators determined that the Chicago police force has not provided officers with proper guidance for using force, failed to hold them accountable when they use improper force and has not properly investigated such incidents. They also faulted the city’s methods of handling officer discipline, saying that process “lacks integrity.”

Everyone together now, on three. One…two…three.

Firings watch.

Monday, January 9th, 2017

Ray Horton out as defensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns, who have replaced him with the man known to TMQ as “the tastefully named Gregg Williams”.

You may remember Gregg Williams as the former defensive coordinator for the LA Rams, who started looking for a new job after Jeff Fisher got fired. Or you may remember him before that as a defensive assistant for the Tennessee Titans. Or you may remember him before that as “the guy who got indefinitely suspended by the NFL as part of Bountygate”.

The Redskins fired defensive coordinator Joe Barry, plus a couple of staff members and their strength coach.

And the University of California at Berkeley fired head football coach Sonny Dykes. I think I speak for many people when I say, “UC-Berkeley has a football team? Isn’t that just an expression of toxic masculinity?”

Dykes was 19-30 over four seasons.

Firings watch.

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

Chan Gailey was not fired as offensive coordinator of the New York Jets.

He retired. And this seems like a legit retirement: His Channess is 65, and supposedly told the team of his plans at the start of this past season.

However, the Jets did fire five assistant coaches.

Tracy Claeys out as head coach of the University of Minnesota. This is interesting: the team was 9-4 this season, he was 11-8 overall, and won both of the bowl games his team played in during his tenure.

So why fire him? It looks like this is more fallout from the sexual assault issue, which you may remember from mid-December. If you don’t remember it, briefly: ten players were suspended from the team for an alleged sexual assault. The other members of the team sided with the suspended players, “boycotted all team activities for two days”, and threatened not to participate in the Holiday Bowl. Claeys publically supported the players and their actions:

Claeys tweeted: “Have never been more proud of our kids. I respect their rights & support their effort to make a better world!”

He later sort of walked back that cat and promised he’d give $50,000 “to help support victims of sexual assault”. But it still left him kind of crosswise with the administration, and I guess they decided that this was something up with which they would not put.

Blood in the streets!

Monday, January 2nd, 2017

This used to be the “Bloody Monday” thread, where I covered all the firings after the last day of the NFL regular season. But we’ve reached the point now where teams aren’t waiting for Monday to start firing people.

For example, general manager Trent Baalke and head coach Chip Kelly are both out in San Francisco. The official announcement came after the game, but there was widespread “speculation” that they were both out: Baalke actually appeared on San Francisco radio before the games and confirmed his firing.

This is the second consecutive season the 49ers have fired their coach after just one year, having fired Jim Tomsula after the 2015 campaign. It’s the second time since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger that a team has replaced back-to-back coaches after only one full season each, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, with San Francisco also having done so in 1976 and ’77.

San Francisco was 2-14 this year.

(On a side note, is it just me, or are San Francisco’s newspapers mostly really bad? On a second side note, Gregg Easterbrook would be totally insufferable, if he’d been writing TMQ this year.)

Speaking of bad teams, San Diego fired head coach Mike McCoy, which is a good start. Now if they’d just fire the entire rest of the team.

McCoy was 28-38 in four years with the team, and 5-11 this year. You may recall that San Diego gave hapless the Cleveland Browns their only win this season.

This is not a firing, but worth noting: Gary Kubiak is out as head coach in Denver. This seems to be tied to his personal health issues, which I’m really not comfortable discussing or speculating on. I hope he comes back at some point.

There’s speculation that Sean Payton may be moving to the Rams, which should be interesting. Do the Saints want to keep him? If so, why? It seems to me that since their one Super Bowl win, the Saints have been a giant ball of disappointment: almost as if the football gods were out to get them for Bountygate. Is Payton a good coach? Can he do something with the Rams? Or did he just get lucky once?

I’ll try to post updates here if anybody else gets axed today.

Edited to add: more from the “not quite a firing, but” department: Lane Kiffin will be leaving Alabama before the national championship game. It’s not quite a firing because he’d already signed on as head coach of Florida Atlantic, but the general expectation seemed to be that he’d at least hang around for the title game. However, there were complaints about the Lanester showing up late for events: it kind of sounds like Bama got tired of his (stuff) and suggested he leave now.

There are rumors that Jim Irsay may clean house in Indianapolis, but nothing definite yet. Chuck Pagano just held a press conference and said he hadn’t talked to Irsay, and that he expected to be back; I’m sure Irsay is filled with joy at hearing this.

Quick random notes.

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

Well, found my 2017 calendar. (Okay, it is a little expensive, and I already have a Gunsite 2017 calendar that I picked up in Tulsa. But I’m taking a flyer on the CIA one because the thumbnails of the art look incredible: I’m seeing this described as more of an art book that you hang on the wall. I’ll do a follow-up once I get it.)

(By way of.)

I’ve never liked the Philadelphia Eagles, but this story makes me feel a bit better about them: Quarterback Carson Wentz bought his offensive line a present.

Each of them is getting a personalized Beretta shotgun.

“I like to go clay shooting and stuff,” added Brandon Brooks. “All I’ve got is a home defense tactical shotgun, short-barrel, so I was looking for one of these.”

The great thing about this? Not only is a cool present, but it should make all the right people’s heads explode.

From the firings beat.

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

Missed this one on Monday: Bob Diaco out as head coach of the University of Connecticut football team. 11-26 over three seasons, and had his contract extended in May.

Bob Bradley, who is American, was fired yesterday as the manager of Swansea City, which is apparently an English Premier League soccer club with American owners. I gather he was the first American to manage a Premier League club, and lasted 11 games before being fired, but I don’t follow soccer at all, so this mostly just baffles and confuses me.

Obit watches, firings, ocelots, and other stuff: December 27, 2016.

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

I think I’m going to wait until tomorrow to try to pull together the Carrie Fisher obits. Not that it was entirely unexpected (though I think we were all hoping for the best for her), but I feel better letting things sit for a day.

By way of Lawrence: Richard “Watership Down” Adams. A couple of pithy quotes:

The book, and a subsequent animated film in 1978, became synonymous with rabbits and at least one enterprising butcher advertised: “You’ve read the book, you’ve seen the film, now eat the cast.”

“If I saw a rabbit in my garden I’d shoot it,” he once said.

By way of my beloved sister-in-law: Vera Rubin, noted female astronomer.

Rubin’s uncovering of evidence for dark matter revealed that “there’s much more out there than we would expect based on our common-sense experience,” said James Bullock, professor of physics and astronomy at UC Irvine. “Today, the standard interpretation is that 80% of matter is in this form that’s different than anything that is known to science. And without this dark matter, a lot of other things about the universe don’t make sense: Galaxies themselves wouldn’t exist; stars wouldn’t exist, and we would not exist.”

Rex and Rob Ryan both OUT in Buffalo.

The Bills went 1-7 this season against teams with a record better than .500, with the one victory coming against the New England Patriots, who were without suspended quarterback Tom Brady and started rookie third-stringer Jacoby Brissett.

He’s still due $16.5 million after compiling a 15-16 record as Bills coach, a .483 winning percentage that is actually the best of the seven head coaches (including Perry Fewell on an interim basis) who have followed Wade Phillips since the 2000 season.

Babou (either one), call your office, please.

…biologists working in Laguna Atacosa National Wildlife Refuge near Harlingen found the first known ocelot den in two decades.

Meanwhile, the BBC reports that the cheetah is “rapidly heading towards extinction”. While sad, this comes as no great shock to us…because, as we all know, cheetahs never win.

This is kind of cool, at least to me: a homebrew short-range transmitter that sends out time signals on the WWVB 60 KHz frequency. Why would you want to do this, other than for the challenge?

Unfortunately, I can’t get my wristwatch to receive the 60 kHz amplitude-modulated time signal in my dorm room in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Your NFL loser update: week 16, 2016

Saturday, December 24th, 2016

Looks like I had good reason to be worred about this game.

NFL teams that still have a chance to go 0-16:

None.

One the one hand, I’m glad that my Browns fan relatives don’t have to see their team be the second one in history to go 0-16. On the other hand: seriously, San Diego?

And on the gripping hand, this is just more evidence for my belief that San Diego is a horrible team, that Philip Rivers should be drummed out of the NFL, and that (instead of letting the team move to LA) the Chargers franchise should be revoked, the team disbanded, the current stadium burned to the ground, the rubble plowed into the earth, and the earth sown with salt.

Well, that was fast.

Sunday, December 18th, 2016

The Jacksonville Jaguars have already fired head coach Gus Bradley.

But at least they let him take the plane home.

He was 14-48 overall with Jacksonville:

By season, the Jaguars were 4-12, 3-13, 5-11 and 2-12 under Bradley.

Your NFL loser update: week 15, 2016

Sunday, December 18th, 2016

NFL teams that still have a chance to go 0-16:

Cleveland

That takes care of one of the two games I was most concerned about. Still to come:

  • San Diego in Cleveland
  • at Pittsburgh

I’m worried a little about the San Diego game, but I’m pretty confident in Pittsburgh’s ability to beat the Browns at home.

In semi-related news, ESPN is claiming that Rex Ryan is going to be shown the door in Buffalo. It sounds like this isn’t going to happen until Bloody Monday, though.

In other news, the Texans benched their starting quarterback, Brock Osweiler (seriosuly) in favor of Beat PunchBeef Tom Savage (also seriously). Also also seriously, Savage actually engineered a comeback for the Texans, who ended up winning 21-20 over Jacksonville. Granted, Jacksonville is 2-12. so it isn’t like the Texans were playing the first team here, but Brock turned the ball over twice and put Jacksonville up 13-0 before he was benched.

(Isn’t “Brock” one of the most preppy names you can think of? “Hi, Brock, it’s Biff. I was going down to the club with Muffy and Buffy, and wanted to know if you’d like to join us. Maybe we could play doubles and have some white wine spritzers after? Sure, that would be swell, Brock. See you there.” On the other hand, “Tom Savage” strikes me as the kind of name a quarterback should have. It’d also be a great name for a series of children’s books: “Tom Savage and the Improbable Comeback”, “Tom Savage and the New Offensive Coordinator”. “Tom Savage and the Contract Negotiation”…)

Murum Aries Attigit.

Monday, December 12th, 2016

Jeff Fisher out as head coach of the Los Angeles Rams.

The Rams are 4-9 so far this season. Fisher was 31-45-1 overall with the Rams (including their pre-LA incarnation).

Fisher has a career record of 173-165-1. He is tied with Dan Reeves for the most losses by a coach in NFL history.

Actual headline on a column in the LAT:

Rams’ return to L.A. is officially an embarrassment. Coach Jeff Fisher needs to go — now

Hey, remember when all the NFL talk was about how LA desperately needed a NFL team, and how wonderful things would be when LA got a NFL team, and how much the league and the city would benefit from a NFL team? Wasn’t that a time.

(Hattop on the title to First Amendment badass Marc Randazza, who didn’t originate the term (as he makes clear) but is the person who introduced me to it. He would probably want to punch me in the face for using it in this context, but I couldn’t pass up a little bit of wordplay.)

Your NFL loser update: week 14, 2016

Sunday, December 11th, 2016

NFL teams that still have a chance to go 0-16:

Cleveland

Three games left:

  • at Buffalo (currently 6-7)
  • San Diego (currently 5-8) in Cleveland
  • at Pittsburgh (currently 8-5, and already beat Cleveland in Cleveland earlier this season)

I still wouldn’t bet this way, but I think it is at least possible that Cleveland could win one or two of these games.