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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Patriot Games

A federal appeals court recently rejected New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s appeal to overturn his four game suspension, effective at the start of the 2016 NFL regular season. Brady was determined to have been involved in the deflation of Patriots footballs before prior to the one-sided 2014 AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts in January of 2015. The Patriots would advance to and win Super Bowl XLIX over the then-defending Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks.

Brady’s final option would be to appeal the case to the United States Supreme Court. Legal analysts have opined that it is improbable that the Court would hear the case, meaning that Brady will probably miss the first four games of the coming regular season. This would be the final turn in a story with more twists than a pretzel.


IT'S ALWAYS SOMETHING

The Patriots organization is not new to controversy. As far back as the Spygate scandal in which Patriots personnel was caught filming opponents’ sideline signals, the organization has been on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s “naughty radar” for much of the past 10 years. When questionable competitive practices arise involving this team, a common response is, “It’s always something with the Patriots.”

The issues at play include the degree of Goodell’s power in disciplining players and the arbitrary manner in which discipline is handed out for various offenses. In addition, Brady, a player, may be receiving enhanced punishment in the form of a four game suspension (as opposed to a fine for equipment tampering) for the past iniquities of the organization. The Patriots are a regular Super Bowl contender. Losing Brady for a quarter of a season and replacing him with Jimmy Garoppolo, who is high on potential but short on experience, will probably have some substantial impact on the competitive landscape of the AFC race in 2016.


STRANGE BEDFELLOWS

I am no fan of Tom Brady or the Patriots. However, I am more with them than against them in principle. Equipment tampering is a minor offense and is ordinarily punishable by a relatively small fine under league rules. Goodell has said publicly that past indiscretions of the organization play a role in his response to the Deflategate incident.

The far reaching and very un-prescribed disciplinary power of Commissioner Goodell, notwithstanding the fact that the power was ceded to Goodell in the 2011 collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the NFL Players Association and the league, has been the topic of repeated controversy in player discipline cases. At what point does the far reaching power of a singular individual begin to have a negative impact on America’s pastime of NFL football?


At what point, if any, could Goodell overstep his legal authority in these matters? The current CBA expires in 2021. The possibility of this issue reaching a boiling point and either being addressed in negotiations or via a labor stoppage is not far-fetched. Should that happen, the NFL game and its fans will pay the price felt by the more far reaching price. 

It's just another day in Foxboro.

Image from www.jetsrant.com

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Retweet of The Day

I love Magic Johnson. He is one of my favorite athletes of all time. I also think that there are many facets of his life after which people should try to model their lives more. Profound tweeting is not always one of those facets.

The Los Angeles Lakers were awarded the second overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft in last week's NBA Draft Lottery. The Hall of Fame Los Angeles Lakers point guard dropped this food for thought in the wake of the good news. A week later, it still makes me do a face palm. Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) ‏delivered today's Daily Hat Trick Retweet of the Day.

"Laker fans all over should be happy with the No. 2 pick because the Lakers will get another really good player."

Magic never owned any newspapers, did he?
Image from http://live-av.info

Monday, May 23, 2016

Strange Bedfellows

Hate is a strong word, in its pure, original form. However, Americans throw the word around in casual conversation, usually having a true meaning of “strong dislike”, “slight dislike”, or a meaning produced by the use of that word in jest. I do not genuinely hate anyone that immediately comes to mind. In the sports fanhood context, I hate Tom Brady and the Bill Belichick era New England Patriots.

If you know me personally or read this blog regularly before its recently discontinued hiatus, this is no secret. They’re arrogant. They’re entitled. They are not likable. And the bastards won’t go away like cockroaches and toilets after a nuclear bomb; they keep on winning.

Over the years I have found myself in the ironic and reluctant position of either defending or mitigating the criticism of Tom Terrific, The Hoodie, and the Minutemen amidst their many controversies. I thought the Tuck Rule was a stupid rule, but it was a rule and was applied to its letter in the infamous Tuck Rule Game that launched Brady’s stardom and the modern Patriots dynasty. I thought Spygate was unethical, but I don’t think it warranted any punishment until the league asked the team to discontinue its sideline filming practices. There is no evidence (not even circumstantial evidence) to show that the Patriots filmed the St. Louis Rams’ walk-through before Super Bowl XXXVI, yet detractors of the Patriots organization often freely toss the allegation around a though it were fact.


1
THEY ARE NOT ANGELS

I think that the Patriots organization and Tom Brady are guilty as sin in the Deflategate controversy in which Patriots footballs used during the first half of the 2014 AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts in January of 2015 were allegedly deflated below league specifications after the game officials inspected the balls. I also think the impact on the lopsided Patriots victory was between “zero” and “negligible”. More importantly, I think that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell overreached in his punishment of Brady and his team. As reported my multiple news outlets, the penalty on the books in the NFL at that time for equipment tampering is a fine up to $25,000. The Patriots were exponentially fined beyond that threshold, were penalized draft picks, and Brady was suspended for four games at the beginning of the 2015 NFL season.

Of course, the long arm of the real law, not that of Sheriff Goodell, reached out and slapped the NFL, enjoining Brady’s suspension. The court opined that Goodell overreached in his authority, notwithstanding the collective bargaining agreement in place between the league and its players, Brady played the entire 2015 season without interruption. An appellate court recently ruled that the lower erred in its ruling and reinstated Brady’s four game suspension, effective at the start of the 2016 NFL regular season.

2
BLACK MO

If Goodell is the Sheriff in this western style legal drama, then NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith is Black Bart. And he is coming for the sheriff. This morning on ESPN’s SportsCenter, Smith described the intent of the Players Association to take legal action to, once again, invalidate Brady’s suspension and possibly put some handcuffs on the sheriff in the long run. Smith described his disdain for the far reaching authority of Goodell in player discipline issues. With the existing collective bargaining agreement in place until 2021, Smith acknowledged the challenges in curtailing Goodell’s authority. However, the appeals to public opinion and use of the court system are within Smith’s wheelhouse and have proven effective in the past.

We need a new sheriff in town. 3
HOLDING MY NOSE

In this chapter of NFL drama, I am (not so) reluctantly on the side of one of my least favorite players in NFL history. This case is much bigger than Tom Brady or the Patriots and, to a degree, it is bigger than football. In so many words, this is about The Man putting his boot on the throat of the little guy. As rich and famous as Brady is, he is just an employee in and being used as a pawn by the National Football League.

Goodell’s arbitrary exercise of power has become increasingly egregious and grown exponentially during the past several years. What was once an effort to maintain the public image of the league through player and organizational discipline has mushroomed into an untargeted dispersal of power to send a message from one man, the Commissioner, to the people under his authority. It is to the long term detriment, not benefit of the game of football at the professional level.  

"His balls"...what a dick. 4
1) Image with dogonews.com

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Pivotal Game 2

The Oklahoma City Thunder stunned the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors by unexpectedly ripping away Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals at Golden State. Notwithstanding an egregious non-call following an obvious travel by Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (24 PPG, 10 APG, 8 RPG) in the final minute of what was still a single-possession game, the Thunder outplayed, outcoached, out manned, and out physicaled the Warriors in the second half of Game 1.

Many observers expected the Conference Finals to be trip down a short cobblestone road on the way to a like showdown and rematch with the 2015 runner-ups, the Cleveland Cavaliers. The road would not necessarily be smooth, but nonetheless quickly and successfully traveled. The Thunder dispelled the certainty of such a mindset on Monday night.

The cliché about a playoff series not starting until the road team wins (or Game 7 – whichever comes first) became a cliché for a reason. It is more difficult to win away from home in any organized competitive sport at any level; it is not easy to win on the road against any opponent in any professional sport, and it is difficult to win on the road in a professional sport in a playoff series.  This axiom is especially true against a quality opponent and even more so in basketball, a sport in which the crowd is close to the action, loud, and the depth perception of home team, when shooting, need not adjust to an unfamiliar arena.

This series “started” (so-to-speak) after Game 1. Golden State will have to prevail at least once at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City to defend its crown. While the Warriors, with an NBA regular season record-breaking 73 wins in the 2016 season, are as talented and offensively potent as any team in the Association to ever defend a championship in the, the task of taking a Conference Finals game on the road while running the table at home will not be a proverbial slam-dunk. A loss by the Warriors at home tonight in Game 2 will change Golden State’s mission from “not a slam dunk”, to “a steep uphill climb”.

Simply put, the “pivotal” distinction normally reserved for Game 5 of a best-of-seven playoff series applies early, in Game 2, of the 2016 Western Conference NBA Finals. The team that wins tonight is likely going to win the series. Will the Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Warriors make a Splash or be Thunder-struck?

1) Image from mercurynews.com

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

You’re FIRED!

The Atlanta Braves announced the firing of Manager Fredi González today, ending yet another underachieving chapter in the story of the Atlanta Braves franchise. The Braves are 9-28 as of Tuesday morning. González was 434-413 (.512 pct.) in his sixth season as the Braves’ manager.

González filled the huge shoes of Hall of Fame Manager Bobby Cox in 2011. In spite of inheriting a wealth of talent, the Braves only reached the postseason twice, in 2012 and 2013, being eliminated in the Wild Card Game and the National League Divisional Series, respectively. The last three seasons, inclusive of 2016, have been nothing short of disastrous in Atlanta.

The Braves are the only Major League team that can confidently remove any thought of playing in the postseason, with single digit wins in the middle of May. Its talent has completely eroded and gone undeveloped. While the Braves’ front office did González few favors with some of its player transactions, González did little to help himself with a series of questionable lineup, rotation, and in-game decisions.

Interim manager Brian Snitker is the next man up. Expect more of the same throughout the duration of this already-lost 2016 Atlanta Braves season. Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. That the Braves have been the most successful franchise in the National League in the last quarter-century yet only have one World Series championship to show for it appears to be a product of insanity.

Only a visit from Milton to the Braves headquarters can right this ship.


1) Image from memegenerator.net   

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Backup Chick

Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel is still the backup quarterback, for now. With yesterday's announcement that Brian Hoyer would start against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, Manziel learned that he was not yet "the man" in Cleveland. Manziel, however, has had zero shortcomings in the ladies department.

Manziel's girlfriend, model Colleen Crowley, is getting starting playing time in front of the camera and on the Internet with good reason. Hoyer may have the job, but Manziel has the chicks. Ms. Crowley is the subject of today's Chick Pic.

Nothing wrong with a backup.... 1

Like Johnny, she's a team player. 2
Geek chic 3

4
And she shares with others.... 5
Maybe there will be an opening in Denver in a few years. 6
Lights, camera, action! 7
Don't hate the player hate the game (which he isn't even in yet...much). 8

1) Image from www.chatsports.com
2) Image from www.rantlifestyle.com
3, 4) Images from www.gamedayr.com
5) Image from www.talksports.net
6) Image from www.fabwags.com
7) Image from www.larrybrownsports.com
8) Image from N Sports via www.youtube.com

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Retweet of the Day - December 3, 2014

Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel saw extensive playing time last week during the Browns' loss to the Buffalo Bills. Current starting quarterback Brian Hoyer has been ineffective of late. The move to Manziel late in the Bills game, in which Manziel led the Browns on a touchdown drive, fueled rampant speculation that Manziel may start this coming weekend against the Indianapolis Colts.

Cleveland Browns Head Coach Mike Petine stopped the rumor mill yesterday when he announced that Hoyer would start on Sunday. It is only a matter of time before Manziel gets the ball, but that first start can never come soon enough for an NFL quarterback. Today's retweet, from His and Hers (@HisandHers), illustrates that, literally.

"When Johnny Manziel heard Brian Hoyer will be the starting QB this Sunday…" (play video)

video


Image from www.gifsoup.com 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

NFC Division Gone South

With five weeks remaining in the NFL regular season, the NFC South has 13 wins. There have been twelve weeks played, and the division averages a win per week. Let me repeat that: the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers – four NFL teams composing an entire division – have a total of 13 wins.

THE SYSTEM…THANK GOODNESS FOR THE SYSTEM

What do you call the guy who graduated last in his medical school class? A doctor! The ultimate goal of every NFL team at the beginning of each season is to win the Super Bowl. To win the Super Bowl, a team must first reach the playoffs. The most favorable way to get into the playoffs is to win one’s division as it results in the first playoff game being at home for that team.
So what do you call the team with the worst record among the four conference division winners? A playoff host….

THE POSSIBILITES

Tampa Bay Buccaneers - The Bucs are two games out of first place. However, they don’t do anything particularly well and are surrounded by inexperienced players with potential and veteran journeymen. As much as this division continues to go up for grabs every week, the Buccaneers have almost no chance of winning the South with the Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions, and Green Bay Packers on their schedule.

Carolina Panthers – This team has found new and creative ways to shoot itself in the foot. Poised to run away with this mediocre division earlier this year, the Panthers went on a six game winless streak. Their last win came on October 5th. It’s unclear where this team’s next win will come from.

Quarterback Cam Newton has not been healthy this season and compounding that problem, he’s getting inadequate pass protection.  The defense is made up of talented individual parts that never seem to be in sync enough to help deliver a win. However, three of its remaining games are against division opponents. I think the odds of them winning two or more of those games are about 50/50. That may be all it takes for the defending NFC South champions to retain their crown.

Atlanta Falcons – By virtue of winning the tiebreaker from their Week 1 win over the Saints, if the season ended today, the 4-7 Falcons would be the NFC South winners. This team has lost some very close games in some very unusual manners and could easily have a winning record if a few balls had bounced differently for them. The offense under quarterback Matt Ryan can keep up in a shootout with the best NFL offenses. Their defense can’t stop a runny nose.

Notwithstanding that, the Falcons finish the season with two division games – at the Saints and hosting the Panthers. It is not inconceivable that the Falcons could still control their own playoff destiny at 4-10 heading into Week 16.

New Orleans Saints – This team is the favorite to win the division. I use the term “favorite” very loosely. However, the Saints do have some tangible advantages over the comically mediocre field. The Saints travel to Pittsburgh next Sunday to play the Steelers. That is the last regular season game the Saints have against a team that currently have a losing record. The Saints are 3-1 against losers this season.

In addition, the other teams in the division either have no exceptional facets of their game or are one dimensional. The Saints offense is spectacular and the defense, while mediocre, is good enough for the offense to have a chance to win every week. Of the Saints’ seven losses, five were by a touchdown or  less, four were on field goals either in the final seconds or as time expired, and two of those were in overtime. Yes, I’m a Saints fan. Yes, I’m biased. But I would still put my money on this team winning this pitiful division.

IRONY

Should New Orleans win the division as a losing team, Saints fans will have a chance to witness delicious irony. In 2010, the then-defending Super Bowl champion Saints finished 11-5, but were two games out of first place in the NFC South and entered the playoffs as a Wild Card. The Seattle Seahawks won the NFC West with a 7-9 record, meaning the Seahawks would host their Wild Card opponent, the Saints.
In a game in which defense was thrown out of the window, the teams engaged in a shootout. Seattle put the game out of reach with one of the most spectacular plays in NFL postseason history. Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch went “Beast Mode” on a 67-yard touchdown run during which nine Saints players made contact with Lynch but none brought him down. The play included six broken tackles and a stiff armed Saints defender as the Seahawks eliminated the defending champs, 41-36.

Fast forward to 2014. The defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks will likely need to enter the playoffs as a Wild Card team, two games out of first place with only five games remaining. Should they have the better record of the two Wild Card teams, they would have to travel to play to play the NFC South winner, possibly the Saints who would likely not have a winning record, yet have not lost an NFC game at home during regulation play in four years. Revenge, in any form, can be sweet.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Retweet of the Day - November 20, 2014

Reigning Heisman Trophy winner and defending national champion Florida State University quarterback Jameis Winston is a lightning rod. He is also talented without limit on the gridiron. The FSU signal caller pulled the Seminoles through in the 4th quarter to a come from behind 30-26 win at their in-state ACC rival, the University of Miami.

The dramatic win extended the Seminoles' winning streak to 26 consecutive games. Florida State secured the ACC Atlantic Division title last Saturday while the loss put Miami's chances of an ACC Coastal Division championship on life support. Jameis Winston has never lost a game as a starting quarterback in college football.


BLAME JAMEIS

Of course, nobody walks on water and football fans outside of Tallahassee and not connected to FSU would just as soon dunk Winston in a tank of water. Winston, talent notwithstanding, is a knucklehead. The rap sheet is well known: accused of sexual assault (though no charges were ever filed), involved in an air gun fighting incident, shoplifted soda from a Burger King restaurant, shoplifted crab legs from a grocery store, and was videoed standing on a table in the Florida State student union shouting a vulgarity.

His off-field antics have drawn backlash from his fans and supporters at Florida State. The "#BlameJameis" Twitter phenomenon arose from all the repeated extensive media coverage of Winston's antics, most of which (save for the sexual assault accusation - which never warranted any charges) are typical of post-adolescent collegiate foolishness, albeit with increasingly unsettling frequency. In the #BlameJameis paradigm, anything wrong in the world is Winston's fault.

Today's retweet, by Cee Bee (@CoryBarry_) is sweet and simple and could be on the Mount Rushmore of #BlameJameis inspired tweets.

"Jameis Winston was responsible for 9/11"

I just KNEW Lee Harvey Oswald was just a patsy!
Image from barstoolsports.com 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

By the Book: Showtime

I graduated from high school more than 20 years ago. Still, as sports fans, we can all enrich our fanhoods with a good book about one of our favorite sports subjects. There are few topics in sports history more fascinating or important to the development of a major North American sports than the Showtime era Los Angeles Lakers of the 1980s. Author Jeff Pearlman (once again) captivates the interest of sports fans with his tell-all book, "Showtime".
1
WHAT YOU ALREADY KNEW

Magic Johnson was the centerpiece of the Showtime era in Lakers basketball. From how the Lakers acquired the pick to draft him to how he was convinced to leave Michigan State University a year early to enter the NBA to the backdrop of Magic's rivalry with Larry Bird in college and the pros, Peralman explores all things Magic.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is one of the greatest players in NBA history, a vocal minority would argue the greatest. Kareem was also private and somewhat aloof. Many reports, after his carer was over, from those who covered him describe him as not necessarily the most likable person (or coworker) in the sporting lexicon. Pearlman goes into extensive detail on the background and behind-the-scenes persona of the enigmatic yet transcendent talent.

Former Lakers Coach Pat Riley was the captain of the Showtime ship. The GQ posterboy guided the Showtime dynasty to four NBA titles ad launched what is certain to be a Hall of Fame coaching career. "Showtime" discusses Riley's metamorphosis throughout the 1980's from a former player turned-announcer turned-assistant turned-head coach. Riley's rise and fall with the Lakers organization is a classic story of man's determination and shortcomings.

Dr. Jerry Buss is the Father of the Los Angeles Lakers as we know them today. What became showtime was Buss' vision. Pearlman extensively reveals how Buss made his unlikely Showtime dream into a reality.

This should surprise no one. 2
WHAT YOU DIDN'T KNOW

What even the most ardent Showtime Lakers fans don't know about this team could fill a book. That is what Jeff Pearlman did. His text is filled to the brim with stories, scandals, anecdotes, and secrets that only an author like Pearlman can deliver to the masses. The Showtime Lakers were like rock stars. The phrase "sex, drugs, and rock & roll" is a cliche for a reason. "Showtime" reveals why the 1980's Lakers were no exceptions.

There is a new, original, and often unbelievable tale of frat house mischief in every chapter. Cocaine is a "helluva" drug and the Lakers were not immune to its wonders - good, bad, and otherwise. There is sex, nightlife, sex, glamour, sex, fame, sex, and in case I forgot to mention it, more sex. Sex always sells, but it is also critical to the complete story of the Showtime Lakers. That roughly a quarter-century has passed since the end of the Showtime dynasty did little to silence the first-hand witnesses to the excitement and debauchery that was the backdrop of the Lakers' story.

There's more where this came from. 3
NO STONE UNTURNED

This book isn't just about the stars and the sensational. In addition to Magic, Kareem, and Riley, Pearlman writes about Buss, Jerry West, James Worthy, Michael Cooper, Kurt Rambis, Bob McAdoo, Norm Nixon, trainers, P.R. people, draft busts, the former owner - Jack Kent Cooke, the X's and O's architect of Showtime (no, not Pat Riley) and many others with fascinating stories about all of them. Simply put: if you are familiar with Pearlman's work, you know what to expect and your expectations should be high. If you have never read any of his gems like the biography of the late Walter Payton and the story of the 1986 World Series champion New York Mets, you will not be disappointed with "Showtime".
  
4
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To advertise with The Daily Hat Trick, or to submit a guest column, please contact the editor at eric@thedailyhattrick.info

1) Image from www.jeffpearlman.com
2) Image from www.complex.com
3) Image from www.tauntr.com
4) Image from http://losangeles.cbslocal.com

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

What a Roll!

The University of Alabama football team put itself back into the driver's seat for a spot in the 2014 College Football Playoff with a hard fought 25-20 home win against SEC West Division rival and former #1 ranked Mississippi State on Saturday. Fans are cheering in Tuscaloosa again. That's why the Alabama cheerleaders and dance team are the subject of today's Chick Pic.

Good. They aren't neglecting their studies. 1

Their so hot that their male counterparts want pictures. 2

3

The choreography could use some work. But I doubt you fellas care. 4

I don't think she is on either of the squads. In fact, I'm not sure that she's ever been inside of a classroom at Bama. But you're looking, aren't you? 5

Stretching is important to reduce injuries. 6
What a great bunch of team players! 7
1, 3) Images from www.saturdaydownsouth.com 
5) Image from www.ign.com
6) Image from www.sportsbank.net
7) Image from www.barstoolsports.com

Monday, November 17, 2014

Rose Colored Lenses

Former NBA MVP and Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose kicked the sports-talk ant hill last week when he commented that he was sitting out of games to avoid long term health problems. Rose, who has suffered two serious knee injuries, one in each knee, since the first game of the 2012 playoffs. Rose missed nearly all of the past two seasons due to the injuries.

Last week, Rose said regarding sitting out games, "I think a lot of people don't understand that when I sit out it's not because of this year. I'm thinking about long term. I'm thinking about after I'm done with basketball. ... I’m thinking about long term. I’m thinking about after I’m done with basketball. Having graduations to go to, having meetings to go to, I don’t want to be in my meetings all sore or be at my son’s graduation all sore just because of something I did in the past. [I'm] just learning and being smart."

I don't understand why he didn't finish the game. What a sissy! 1
WHAT WAS SAID AND WHAT WAS MEANT

Rose was immediately, vigorously, and almost unanimously criticized for his remarks by sports media and former NBA players, most notably outspoken Basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley. The narrative generally was along the following line: Rose is paid roughly $20 million per year to play a game. He sounds like an out-of-touch whiner when people with less desirable and more physically strenuous and/or dangerous, occupations that often offer more value to society's basic existence and progression as a whole earn far less, some living paycheck-to-paycheck. For those reasons, he should never publicly complain about his physical concerns for his body.

Athlete envy grates my nerves to no end. Everyone is dealt a different set of cards and everyone has to manage his or her own life based on the circumstances and opportunities in his or her life. For anyone raising his blood pressure beyond a normal level from annoyance by an off-putting comment, my (likely unpopular) response is: tough shit.

There are cops who go to work on crutches. He can't at least shoot some free throws. If that happened at MY job (insert stupid, self-righteous blathering from a fat slob with no ambition and half of Rose's work ethic)! 2
GET A LIFE; ROSE HAS ONE

The "controversy" brought on by the Rose comments has taken a life of its own. I could understand some rumblings by Chicago area fans whose patience as fans may be thinning from the former MVP's absence holding the Bulls back from possibly winning a championship. The nationwide "outrage" is ridiculous to me.

At worst, Rose is guilty of being a little tone deaf, especially after doubling down on his remarks later in the week. Rose is not a public relations or communications professional. He's a basketball player. He isn't paid to deliver well crafted, fan friendly statements on the fly when asked about his body and his career. The bottom line is that he suffered two significant, potentially debilitating injuries that robbed him of two years of his career and he is going to be careful. Whether he used terminology about being "sore" while envisioning and attempting to quickly articulate future situations in his life in which he could be in pain from aggravating his injuries or simply said, "I'm concerned about long-term consequences from short-term overexertion," is irrelevant.

Former pro athletes know that their bodies are their money makers and should consider backing off a bit. People in the media are fanning the flames to have a discussion topic and should demonstrate a greater depth of their ability to engage their audiences with their opining skills. Members of the public venting outrage through sports-talk radio and the Internet need to look at themselves in the mirror. If your job shoveling horse crap doesn't give you the options that Rose has from playing basketball, learn to play basketball and an elite, world class level or worry more about bettering your own lot in life You come across as pathetic.

video
I'm in complete agreement with Joakim Noah (comments in this clip). 3

Don't forget to vote in the fan polls!

To advertise with The Daily Hat Trick, or to submit a guest column, please contact the editor at eric@thedailyhattrick.info


1) Image from www.tonyandtawni.com
2) Imahe from nydailynews.com
3) Video from www.youtube.com

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Return of the Sanchize

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Mark Sachez is enjoying a career rebirth in the NFL. Sanchez was unceremoniously run out of New York following an injury fiasco in the Jets' 2013 preseason finale. After missing the entire 2013 season and being sent on a 2014 free agency journey, The Sanchize appears to have found his landing spot in Philadelphia.

Two impressive performances by Sanchez, including a drubbing of the Carolina Panthers on Monday Night Football in relief of the injured Nick Foles has the Eagles in first place in the NFC East. It also has Sanchez at the top of sports media discussion topics again. The former first round draft pick is riding a wave of good fortune right now.

Sanchez is a bit of a lightning rod among sports fans, both for his inconsistent play and his GQ playboy persona. Sanchez has had his share of dime pieces of the years. I'm not sure if socialite Alana Kari is his current squeeze, but she is worthy of being today's Daily Hat Trick Chick Pic. Don't hate the player; hate the game!

Sanchez and Derek Jeter could have a pool going. 1
Ms. Kari keeps good company. 2
 
A lot of good company.... 3

What a team player!!! 4

Let's see...sexy skeletons for Halloween...all bones. Did Sanchez provide the muscle and meat? 5

A generous soul, sharing the spotlight. 6



Don't forget to vote in the fan polls!

To advertise with The Daily Hat Trick, or to submit a guest column, please contact the editor at eric@thedailyhattrick.info

1) Image from www.larrybrownsports.com
2) Image from www.twitter.com
3) Image from www.yeusaigon.net
4) Image from www.fashionplaceface.com
5, 6) Images from www.gamedayr.com
7) Image from www.bustedcoverage.com

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Retweet of the Day - November 12, 2014

NFL football has its own circle of life. The QB carousel has come full circle for a pair of northeastern teams in green. The Philadelphia Eagles and New York Jets have lacked a long-term starter at quarterback for quite some time. Fightin' for Philly (@FightinForPHI) points this out in today's Retweet of the Day.

"So Nick Foles replaced Mike Vick who replaced Geno Smith who replaced Mark Sanchez who replaced Nick Foles."

Trading Places 2014
Image from www.nytimes.com

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Louisiana Football Hangover

Louisiana football fans entered this past weekend with a lot to look forward to. Alabama was coming to Tiger Town to play in prime time with the LSU Tigers fresh off of an upset win over then-number 3 ranked Ole Miss. Alabama appeared ripe for an upset and LSU appeared set to revitalize their 2014 narrative in the national spotlight.

The New Orleans Saints, appearing to have turned a corner with two straight wins, including one on the road, were in first place in the NFC South and set to host struggling NFC rival San Francisco in the Superdome. The Saints last loss in the Dome under Head Coach Sean Payton was in 2010.

The Saints and Tigers played well enough to win. Both the Saints and Tigers would lose in overtime. I cannot recall the last time Louisiana has so much buildup for a weekend of football only to end in such profound disappointment.


GIVE IT AWAY, GIVE IT AWAY, NOW!!!

The LSU Tigers got off to an uncharacteristically bad start in Southeastern Conference play. They lost to the Mississippi State Bulldogs, in fairly convincing fashion, for the first time in this century. LSU was curb stomped by their Tiger counterparts at Auburn. Tiger fans braced themselves for an unpleasantly mediocre season.

Suddenly, the clouds parted and LSU's mojo fell out of the sky and onto them in Gainesville against the University of Florida. Three consecutive conference wins later, including the epic slugfest against Ole Miss and voila! Tiger fans are talking Playoff - as in the College Football Playoff - again.

LSU repeated the blueprint it rolled out against Ole Miss - relentless defense, powerful running, infrequent, high-percentage/low risk passing attempts. Alabama suffered a similar result - down three points in the final minute of the game. The difference? LSU, mentally, took its foot off of the gas.

The Crimson Tide, in spite of having no timeouts remaining when the drive began, took advantage of a kickoff out-of-bounds by LSU then worked the sidelines, repeatedly, to set up a short game-tying field goal to send the game into overtime. In overtime the Tide rammed the ball down LSU's throat to get into the end zone. LSU suddenly decided in was a passing team on the ensuing possession with the line. Four downs later, Coach Les Miles and his staff learned what the rest of the world knew - passing was a bad idea. Final score: Alabama 20 LSU 13.

LSU extends Southern Hospitality to Alabama's DeAndrew White in overtime. 3
A HAIL MARY SAID IN VAIN

Getting off to an abysmal 2-4 start, with three losses coming by a combined total of six points, the New Orleans Saints appeared to rediscover their brand - offense, offense, and more offense than an opponent can handle - by shellacking the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football in Week 8. After securing their first, elusive, road win against their division rival Carolina Panthers on Thursday Night Football, the Saints demonstrated twice before the nation that they were the Super Bowl contender everyone expected them to be at the start of the season.

In came the 4-4 San Francisco 49ers. Like the Saints, the 49ers were expected to contend for the Super Bowl. Like the Saints, the 49ers suffered some head-scratching early season losses. The difference? The Saints entered Sunday's game in sole possession of first place in the NFC South. The desperate 49ers were in a midseason "must win" situation. Both teams played like it.

The Saints effectively spotted the 49ers 14 points in the first quarter. While they would come back to take the lead in the 4th quarter, not even the raucous Superdome crowd and a 4th and 10 situation with the game on the line could stop Colin Kaepernick and the Niners from tying the game. The 49ers left 0:44 on the clock and the Saints had a timeout remaining. Often, this is too much time to leave for Drew Brees.

On the final play of regulation, Brees heaved a 47 yard bomb toward the endzone into the awaiting hands of Pro Bowl tight end Jimmy Graham. The Saints appeared to score a game winning touchdown on the Hail Mary. Unfortunately, Graham put his hand on a defender's shoulder and Perrish Cox of the 49ers delivered the flop of the year to draw an offensive pass interference penalty against Graham to nullify the touchdown and send the game into overtime.

The Saints and Niners swapped possessions, then Brees was sacked by Ahmad Brooks (who ironically cost his team the game in the Superdome in 2013 with a personal foul on a sack of Brees). A fumble was forced and recovered by the 49ers deep in Saints territory. Forty-Niners kicker Phil Dawson connected on a 35-yard field goal to hand the Saints their first loss under Sean Payton in the Superdome in nearly four years.

If you believe Parrish Cox was "shoved" to the ground then I've got the Brooklyn Bridge for sale to you...cheap! Hey! If you ain't cheatin' you ain't tryin', right? 2

SILVER LINING

The LSU Tigers are out of the 2014 College Football Playoff picture. However, their rapid improvement during this season is a cause for hope for Tigers fan. Head Coach Les Miles has often been a victim of his own success. His recruiting classes are among the best, if not the best, in the country. Those talented players often leave for the NFL after three years, forcing Miles to chase his own tail to refill the cupboard. This LSU team is loaded with underclassmen who cannot leave for the NFL. At the rate at which this team is improving, Tiger fans can expect this team to be a serious contender in 2015.

The Saints have the brightest silver lining in their dark cloud of a week. Following the Carolina Panthers loss at Philadelphia on Monday Night Football, the Saints, in spite of a losing, 4-5, record, are in sole possession of first place in the NFC South. The Saints, throughout their 48 season history, have often been the victims of near misses costing them a shot at postseason play. This Saints team is far superior to those of the past. The football gods have apparently rewarded this team with chance after chance after chance to get on track. Strangely, I have confidence that they will in light of their higher quality play of late.

Ahmad Brooks thought he was unfairly called for hitting Brees in the neck in 2013 (clearly not).  He redeemed himself on Sunday. 1
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To advertise with The Daily Hat Trick, or to submit a guest column, please contact the editor at eric@thedailyhattrick.info

1) Image from www.larrybrownsports.com
2) Video from www.usatoday.com via www.vine.co
3) Image from www.timesunion.com

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Catching Up

After a month-long sabbatical, The Daily Hat Trick is back on the "interweb". Since the last posting in early October, much has changed. Here's the "long story short" on the pro sports world from the Hat Trick.

NFL

Rumors of Tom Brady's death are greatly exaggerated. After the Monday Night Football curb-stomping that Brady and the Pats took at Arrowhead Stadium against the Kansas City Chiefs, the "real" Brady arrived. Rob Gronkowski has been "going Gronk" and Brady, apparently, has spent extra-extra time in the film room as he has been unstoppable in October. 

After winning the most recent Manning-Brady prizefight (number 16, I believe), it appears that Brady may have an opportunity to reach a sixth Super Bowl. The AFC is primed for another Broncos-Patriots rematch in late January. Stay tuned.

In the NFC, all we know is that w don't know anything. The Arizona Cardinals have the best record in the NFC, but with the aid of Liquid Nails and duct tape at the QB position and on defense. The Packers looked like the class of the conference before a thrashing on national television called that assertion into question. And the team that pushed that question to the forefront, the New Orleans Saints, went from disappointment to division leader (.500 record notwithstanding) in five days with consecutive prime time wins. The NFC East has become less predictable than a box of Mexican jumping beans.

Mark Ingram's surge in production has rapidly bolstered the Saints' prospects. 1
MLB

I'm not sure what is more astonishing: the Kansas City Royals not only reaching the World Series, but being one swing of the bat in the bottom of the 9th from winning Game 7 or San Francisco Giants ace Madison Bumgarner's superhuman performance, especially his five innings of relief in Game 7. Bumgarner, the World Series MVP, surrendered only one run in 21 innings of work.

    "Chevy Guy" still cracks me up...and stuff. 2
NBA

In the East, we can just skip ahead to a Bulls vs Cavaliers Eastern Conference Finals. With The King back in Cleveland...and Kevin Love,,,and Kyrie Irving...and Ray Allen...it's like Back to The Future in C-town. The Cavs have a golden opportunity to return to the NBA Finals.

In the West, expect the same big boys from last year to duke it out: the Spurs, the Clippers, the Thunder. Expect the Lakers to have ping-pong balls in their future again, especially with the losses of Steve Nash and Julius Randle. 

Finally, being a Louisiana man, I have to toss in some Pelicans fodder. Anthony Davis is poised for a huge year. You can print it; he is my dark horse MVP candidate for 2015.

FEAR THE BROW! 3
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To advertise with The Daily Hat Trick, or to submit a guest column, please contact the editor at eric@thedailyhattrick.info

1) Image from www.si.com
2) Video from YouTube.
3) Image from www.chicagotribune.com

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Must See Sports - First Weekend of October 2014

Last week's advantage/disadvantage record, excluding series: 10-4
Last week's advantage/disadvantage record, in series: 4-0
2014 Advantage/Disadvantage Record, excluding series: 49-36
2014 Advantage/Disadvantage Record (series only): 8-1

Thursday, October 2

Major League Baseball

American League Division Series - Game 1
Kansas City Royals at Los Angeles Angels
Jason Vargas - Royals (11-10, 3.71 ERA) vs Jered Weaver - Angels (18-9, 3.59 ERA)

The Angels have the better pitcher on the mound, the better batting order, and are at home

Advantages: Game - Angels, Series - Angels


American League Division Series - Game 1
Detroit Tigers at Baltimore Orioles
Max Scherzer (18-5, 3.15 ERA, 252 Ks) - Tigers vs Chris Tillman (13-6, 3.34 ERA)

Baltimore is solid from top-to-bottom in the field, has a strong bullpen, and one of the best managers in the game in Buck Showalter. Detroit is ridiculously potent in its batting lineup, with a monstrous starting rotation for the playoffs. Its bullpen is a black hole. The Tigers will need eight or more solid innings from their starters to have a good chance to win games in this series. However, I expect reigning American League Cy Young winner Max Scherzer to deliver just that in Game 1.

Advantages: Game - Tigers, Series - Orioles

Buck Showalter wants more where this came from after leading the O's to their first division title in 17 years. 1
Friday, October 3

Major League Baseball

American League Division Series - Game 2
Detroit Tigers at Baltimore Orioles
Justin Verlander (15-12, 4.54 ERA) - Tigers vs Wei-Yin Chen (16-6, 3.54 ERA) - Orioles

Justin Verlander has been unpredictably feast-or-famine. In addition, I don't think the O's will be swept in its home stand of this series. Back to Motown, all knotted up!

Advantage: Orioles


American League Division Series - Game 2
Kansas City Royals at Los Angeles Angels
Yordano Ventura (14-10, 3.20 ERA) - Royals vs Matt Shoemaker (16-4, 3.04 ERA) - Angels

The pitching matchup gives the Royals their best chance to win a gae in this series. That doesn't mean I think it will happen.

Advantage: Angels


National League Division Series - Game 1
St. Louis Cardinals at Los Angeles Dodgers
Adam Wainwright (20-9, 2.38 ERA) - Cardinals vs Clayton Kershaw (21-3, 1.77 ERA, 239 Ks) - Dodgers

This game has the potential to be an instant classic. Both pitchers are All-Stars. Both batting lineups are loaded with studs. I'm not suggesting this game is a slam-dunk for the Dodgers against the defending National League champions, but there is no way I can pick against the soon-to-be back-to-back National League Cy Young award winner and probable 2014 N.L. MVP taking the hill for L.A..

Advantages: Game - Dodgers, Series - Dodgers 


National League Division Series - Game 1
San Francisco Giants at Washington Nationals
Tim Hudson (9-13, 3.57 ERA) - Giants vs Stephen Strasburg (14-11, 3.14 ERA, 242 Ks) - Nationals

The Nationals finished with the best record in the league for a reason. The pitching matchup is one-sided, the Nats have better position players, and they are at home.

Advantages: Game - Nationals, Series - Nationals

Winning the N.L. West has not been a problem for Adrian Gonzalez and the Dodgers. Winning the pennant hasn't happened for them since 1988.
Saturday, October 4

Major League Baseball

National League Division Series - Game 2
San Francisco Giants at Washington Nationals
Ryan Vogelsong (8-14, 4.00 ERA) - Giants vs Jordan Zimmerman (14-5, 2.66 ERA) - Nationals

Once again, the pitching matchup is one sided. Vogelsong has got to give the Giants at least six innings in this game just to not risk jeopardizing the bullpen for the game(s) back in San Francsico. That may or may not happen. Fresh off of throwing a no-hitter last Sunday, I doubt Jordan Zimmerman will have any shortage of confidence.

Advantage: Nationals


National League Division Series - Game 2
St. Louis Cardinals at Los Angeles Dodgers
Lance Lynn (15-10, 2.74 ERA) - Cardinals vs Zack Greinke (17-8, 2.71 ERA, 207 Ks) - Dodgers

This could be another great game. However, while I understand that Lance Lynn had a breakthrough season in 2014, I simply do not have confidence in him as a postseason starter. Add in the fact that he is pitching on the road in a matchup against the former Cy Young winner in Zack Grenke and I can't wrap my mind around a victory in this game for the Redbirds.

Advantage: Dodgers


NCAA Football

#6 Texas A&M Aggies at #12 Mississippi State Bulldogs

Which Texas A&M will show up? On paper, they are better than Mississippi State and the Bulldogs are due for a letdown following the stunning upset at LSU. Still, the Aggies' defense has had some head-scratching moments. I am not convinced that this team has sealed up all of the painfully obvious leaks from last season, though they appear improved.

The Kenny Hill (A&M, 1,745 yds., 17 TD, 2 INT) vs Dak Prescott (MSU, 964 yds., 11 TD, 2 INT, 378 rush yds.) QB matchup should be compelling.

Advantage: Texas A&M


#3 Alabama Crimson Tide at #11 Ole Miss Rebels

Ole Miss is flying high, hosting its most meaningful SEC West contest in years. Expect them to come back down to Earth after Saturday. The Rebels are not strong enough on the ground to control the tempo of the game enough to beat Alabama.

Advantage: Alabama


#14 Stanford Cardinal at #9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish

The Cardinal has a defense that is to be reckoned with. However, I don't think they have enough to contain a rejuvenated Notre Dame offense with quarterback Everett Golson (1,142 yds., 11 TD, 2 INT) back for 2014, especially at Notre Dame, Indiana.

Advantage: Notre Dame


#15 LSU Tigers at #5 Auburn Tigers

I have almost no confidence in my LSU Tigers' ability to go on the road to Jordan-Hare Stadium and rub out the defending SEC champions. Freshman LSU QB Brandon Harris (394 yds., 6 TD, 1 INT, 73% comp.) has offered glimmers of hope for the Tigers, but I am not hanging my hat on that hope.

Advantage: Auburn

Alabama coach Nick Saban is on a mission to turn Ole Miss cheers into tears. 3
Sunday, October 5

NFL

Arizona Cardinals (3-0) at Denver Broncos (2-1)

The Cardinals are the last of the unbeaten teams in the NFC. I expect that to end. Their defense has been stout and Drew Stanton has filled in very well for the injured Carson Palmer. However, Peyton Manning is playing at home and coming off of a loss.

Advantage: Broncos


Cincinnati Bengals (3-0) at New England Patriots (2-2)

The Bengals are the last of the unbeaten teams in the AFC. I expect that to continue. The Patriots are in a lot of trouble and the Bengals, frankly, look like the 2014 version of last year's Seattle Seahawks so far. The game is at Foxboro, though.

Advantage: Bengals

Major League Baseball

American League Division Series - Game 3
Los Angeles Angels at Kansas City Royals
C.J. Wilson (13-10, 4.51 ERA) - Angels vs James Shields (14-8, 3.21 ERA) - Royals

"Big Game" James gives the Royals their best chance to take a game in this series. The Royals fans will get one more chance to show their appreciation for a great season. Break out the brooms.

Advantage: Angels


American League Division Series - Game 3
Baltimore Orioles at Detroit Tigers
Bud Norris (15-8, 3.65 ERA) - Orioles vs David Price (15-12, 3.26 ERA, 271 Ks) - Tigers

This is a complete mismatch on the mound. As long as the former Cy Young winner, David Price, doesn't get into a lot of long innings or any wide early deficits, I don't think the Orioles have a shot in the Tigers' home playoff opener.

Advantage: Tigers


Expect the Bengals to sock it to the Pats on Sunday night. 4
Monday, October 6

Major League Baseball

American League Division Series - Game 4 (if necessary)
Baltimore Orioles at Detroit Tigers

While the starters are not yet known for Game 4, as we don't even know if there will be a Game 4, this is the point in the series in which I think the Grand Canyon sized hole in the Tigers' pitching staff - their bullpen - begins to catch up to them regardless of who starts on the mound. Even if the great Max Scherzer starts (and Brad Ausmus is likely to save him for a Game 5), I have doubts as to whether or not he can deliver enough innings in Game 1 and in Game 4 and help deliver Tigers wins in both games.

Advantage: Orioles


American League Division Series - Game 4 (if necessary)
Los Angeles Angels at Kansas City Royals

I don't expect a Game 4 to be necessary, but if it is, I like the Angels.

Advantage: Angels


National League Division Series - Game 3
Los Angeles Dodgers at St. Louis Cardinals
Unknown - Dodgers vs John Lackey (14-10, 3.82 ERA) - Cardinals

The Dodgers are either going to give the ball to Dan Haren (13-11, 4.02 ERA) or Hyun-Jin Ryu (14-7, 3.38 ERA) if Ryu's shoulder is healthy enough for him to start. Regardless of who in Dodger Blue takes the mound, I expect Lackey and the Cardinals to demonstrate the value of playoff experience and home field advantage.

Advantage: Cardinals


National League Division Series - Game 3
Washington Nationals at San Francisco Giants
Gio Gonzales (10-10, 3.57 ERA) - Nationals vs Madison Bumgarner (18-10, 2.98 ERA, 219 Ks) - Giants

The pitching advantage and home field advantage swings to the Giants for Game 3.

Advantage: Giants


Tuesday, October 7

Major League Baseball

National League Division Series - Game 4 (if necessary)
Washington Nationals at San Francisco Giants

The idea that Nationals Manager Matt Williams would start Stephen Strasburg on the road on three days of rest is far fetched. I expect Doug Fister (16-6, 2.41 ERA) to get the ball for the Nats, most likely against the hot handed Jake Peavy (7-13, 3.73 ERA). Fister has been consistently tough all season, but I think the home field advantage and the possible availability of starter Tim Lincecum as a reliever (and a backup plan) tips the odds in a Game 4 ever so slightly to the Giants.

Advantage: Giants 


National League Division Series - Game 4 (if necessary)
Los Angeles Dodgers at St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals may be tempted to pitch Adam Wainwright on three days of rest if the Cards are facing elimination. However, I would not expect the Dodgers to respond in kind with their ace. The more likely matchup would be Dan Haren for the Dodgers and Shelby Miller (10-9, 3.74 ERA). Playing at Busch Stadium with the bullpen that the Cardinals have, I think Miler has a better than 50/50 chance to help get his team to a Game 5.

Advantage: Cardinals


Wednesday, October 8

Major League Baseball

American League Division Series - Game 5 (if necessary)
Detroit Tigers at Baltimore Orioles

This will most likely be a rematch of Scherzer and Tillman. Playing in Baltimore in a deciding Game 5, I think that the Tigers would need eight or more innings to win this match, much like I think they would need in Game 1. I don't know if Scherzer will deliver that twice on the road in one series. My gut tells me that if this game goes to the Tigers' pen, the O's put it away. I think a narrow, but decisive edge goes to Baltimore in a Game 5.

Advantage: Orioles

American League Division Series - Game 5 (if necessary)
Kansas City Royals at Los Angeles Angels

Royals manager Ned Yost deserves a solid gold medal if he gets his team to a fifth game in the ALDS.

Advantage: Angels


Don't forget to vote in the fan polls!

To advertise with The Daily Hat Trick, or to submit a guest column, please contact the editor at eric@thedailyhattrick.info


1) Image from www.yorkdispatch.com
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3) Image from www.hottytoddy.com
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