Jets/Giants, & why Tom Coughlin will be fired before my January 31st birthday

The Jets and Giants will face off this Saturday in an essential Christmas Eve matchup

Ironically on the week Aaron Rodgers wins the AP Athlete of the Year, he loses a football game for the first time in a calendar year. If you picked that to happen on the same week the Colts win their first game, then hats off to you. I still don’t believe you, but hats off. The National Football League has now owned the third Male Athlete of the Year in the last five years (Drew Brees – 2010; Tom Brady -2007).

But if you picked  the forgotten NFC East team to manhandle the Gotham Giants, then I believe you. The Giants have had problems with playing down to their opponent’s level all season. In week 5, they lost to the then 1-3 Seattle Seahawks. In Week 13, they nearly handed the Packers their first loss of the season. The following week, they beat their division rival Dallas Cowboys on their own last second field goal.

As logic follows, they then get slaughtered by the now 5-9 Washington Redskins, at home, in a must-win situation. Since it’s against my morals to root for a Philadelphia based team, the Giants must beat the Jets and the Cowboys to make the playoffs.

Against my better judgement, I believe the Giants will do so. Mark Sanchez can’t throw the ball, which fits perfectly into the Giants’ “Everything but Secondary” defensive strategy. Eli Manning is the most underrated quarterback in the league, and the offense will be fine assuming his wide receivers can catch the ball.

Looking at passer rating alone, Mark Sanchez is 36th out of the 42 active quarterbacks listed on I still have no clue what passer rating is, but it’s omni-presently used in today’s stats-driven sports world, enough for me to safely assume it’s an accurate statistic.

The Giants defense will show up, and with that boost of confidence beat the Jets on Saturday. The Giants usually play well against the Cowboys, and will win a close one in the Meadowlands next week.

But…even if they make the playoffs, they’re not going anywhere. The Giants’ secondary has so many holes, they have zero running game, and assuming Eli Manning can’t put up 49 points, the Giants will get romped in the first round of the playoffs if they’re lucky enough to get there – which brings me to my central argument.

Tom Coughlin will not be the Giants’ coach next season. Remember, Coughlin was on the Hot Seat four years ago when his team started 0-2. Granted, they went on to win the Super Bowl, but it was because he changed his coaching style. Players complained Coughlin was too tough. For example, if you weren’t wearing the right socks on the team plane, you were reprimanded. Coughlin softened up, and it was just what the doctor ordered.

Skip forward to today, and he’s lost his team. It’s the same story every year – start strong, end lethargic. Under Coughlin, the Giants are 47-17 in the first half of the year, then boast a ghastly 25-37 record in the latter half. He’s also tied for the fifth longest tenured coach in the NFL. It’s been a nice run, but it’s time.

The Giants are so used to flunking late in the year it’s ingrained in their heads. “Okay, were down again…same story different week. This sucks.” They set themselves up for failure. They need a new attitude, new mindset, and with that will come a new head coach.

I turn 22 on January 31st. Preparing for the Super Bowl would be the ideal present, but a new face to my favorite football franchise will be a nice consolation prize.

Today will be the most interesting day of sports for a long time

Today you saw a bench-clearing brawl, an unranked team beat a #1 on a game winning three, and #13 Kansas upset #2 Ohio State.

You will never see that combination of highs and lows in one day again in your lifetime.

Earlier today Cincinnati’s Yancy Gates threw a punch that left Xavier center Kenny Frease’s face looking like he belonged in the MMA octogon. Here’s the picture. He looks like this guy:

About five hours later, Indiana’s Christian Watford hits a three point buzzer beater to top #1 Kentucky by a point.


A back and forth final minute featured multiple lead changes and the underdog emerging victorious. The crowd rushed the court so fast it looked like a rock concert. You literally couldn’t see any hardwood. That game alone would have illicit the “big day” label for college basketball.

And then a bench-clearing brawl on top of that?

Fortunately, bench-clearing brawls have become a rarity in sports today. Unfortunately, everyone loves them. A thrown punch in a basketball game is immediately a front-cover story.

Only something as crazy as an unranked team’s buzzer beater to knock off the top team in the country could compete for attention with a brawl, so I pose the question.

To top that off, the #2 team in the country lost as well – which, once again, would be the top story almost any other day.

To top that off, Ryan Braun, the MLB’s best National League player in 2011 will now forever be labeled a cheater.

All of this coming on the day college football announces its Heisman winner.

Listed above are five storylines that would lead the sports world on most days. Combined with all the NBA drama, Enjoy watching ESPN tomorrow. Today will be the most exciting day in sports for a long time.

Congratualtions to Tiger Woods

I blogged a little while ago about how I wanted to see Tiger Woods win again. It had been over two years since his last win, and the sport certainly lost popularity. I’ll bet you didn’t know England’s Luke Donald won the most money on the PGA Tour in 2011. I didn’t. I just Wikipedia-ed it. I’ll bet you didn’t know Charl Schwartzel won the Masters in April. Not Charles…Charl.

It’s good to see Woods, in his traditional Sunday red, once again give that unmistakeable fist pump with the ear to ear gleam we were once so accustomed, and possibly, bored of.

Golf needed this win. Tiger needed this win. Woods has the invaluable ability to draw in the casual fan. That’s me. I’ll never really sit down and watch golf unless it’s the Sunday of a major championship or Tiger Woods is in the running…or if my dad calls me in to watch K.J. Choi’s awesome bunker shot or Jim Furyk’s swing, “Ugh…man he’s got the best swing in golf. Hey Cor- check this out.” At least twice a year I’ll hear that. He really does have a nice swing but I digress.

Yesterday, I found myself turning on the golf to see the leaderboard. If I’m tuning in just because of Tiger Woods, that means tens of thousands of others are too.

If golf wants to acquire the status of the unofficial fifth major sport in the United States, then Tiger Woods needs to start winning again.

Where are all the NBA fans???

This is my first post since the NBA announced its return about a week ago. When I heard the news, I was ecstatic. Basketball doesn’t get too much love down here in South Jersey, but this season has more meaty story lines than any one in recent memory.

1) Will LeBron fail again? For one reason or another, everyone wants to see this man lose. It got the casual fan back into basketball last season.

LeBron James – The epitome of money can’t buy you happiness. ESPN’s Mike Wilbon said it best on the episode of PTI Wednesday. LeBron is a kid deep down. He’s thin skinned. He doesn’t gravitate to nor embrace the “villian” role. All LeBron wants is to be loved. That’s why him and Dwyane Wade were booed while throwing shirts into the stands at the Ohio State Buckeye game a couple days ago.

LeBron…stop trying to win back your hometown. It’s over. To Ohio residents that’s like Benedict Arnold handing out goodies at a July 4th party. No matter how much you beg, plead, and cry, your hometown will not forgive you until your career is long over – if you’re lucky. You need to learn how to embrace the villain role, and until you do, you’re living in denial.

2) Where will Chris Paul and Dwight Howard be one year from today?

This is a huge storyline coming into the season, but it’s not one we’ll have to deal with until the NBA trade deadline. Both players are under contract for one more year, and both want out. Chris Paul is part of a franchise that perennially fails to surround him with legitimate talent. The only reason why they’ve made the playoffs the last few seasons was because of Paul, not because of Emeka Okafor (bust) or Trevor Ariza. He’s very good friends with Carmelo Anthony, and they’re together way too much to not talk about forming a Big Three in the Big Apple. According to reports, Paul’s agent told a source his client will not sign an extension with the Hornets, and wants to be traded to New York.

I believe he ends up in NYC, whether at the trade deadline or free agency.

I used to think Dwight Howard was inevitably LA bound. He wants to play in a warm weather climate on a contender, but the Lakers won’t be so for much longer. The Lakers are old.

It seems the best option for Howard is Dallas. It would be Duncan and Robinson all over again. Sure Duncan and Nowitzki play two polarized games, but they’re both still 7’0″. Jason Kidd and Jason Terry are in the last year of their contract, which grants the Mavericks the privilege of offering Howard close to a max deal.

3) Will the Knicks be contenders this year?

Okay so it’s not a national headline, but it’s mine! I’m more excited about the Knicks than any season since 6th grade. Finally, the Knicks have the pieces to make a serious push, but I’m still not convinced they could make it past the first or second round.

Offense wins games, but defense wins championships. Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni is the only coach in basketball that can coach a team to 130 points and still find a way to lose.  The Knicks could be up by 15 points in the fourth quarter, yet everyone in the Garden knew the game wasn’t over.

However, here’s three reasons why the Knicks defense will improve in 2011-12.

a) Atlanta Hawks former coach Mike Woodson.

The Knicks hired Woodson at the end of the 2011 season as a defensive specialist. Many credit Woodson as one of the best defensive coaches in the league

b) Chemistry

The new Knicks had no time to get to know each other when Carmelo Anthony was thrust into the starting lineup in March. The discontinuity on offense certainly bled into the defense. Now, the Knicks have had time to get to know each other’s games and personalities. While that won’t fix the problem, it will help it

*c) Chris Paul

I star it since it’s not a definite, but Chris Paul would be the most important of the Big Three. I’ll say it now – If the Knicks get Chris Paul, assuming everyone stays healthy, the Knicks will win a championship in the next four years. Paul is a defensive juggernaut, and a pass-first type of player. On a team where the two biggest players, Anthony and Stoudemire, work best with the ball in their hands, Paul is the opposite. This will lead to more continuity on offense, and more efficient play. Paul averaged 9.8 assists per game last season. The Knicks as a team averaged 21.4. This pairs up with my previous point, that consistency on offense leads to confidence and energy on defense.

Paul is also an elite defender…nothing else to add.

If you’re not a basketball fan, come join the party. With the lockout fixed, it shrinks the season giving more meaning to every game. Christmas Day the Knicks will face the Celtics. I’m smiling with excitement as I write this.

I can’t wait!