This has been your Mark Jackson/Ian Eagle Gum Chewing Contest Follow-Up Video update.
I have a girlfriend. I’ve had a girlfriend for five years and she’s really great. That’s the first time I’ve heard about that. I never heard about that and I’m really surprised. I think it’s not really true. I need to look on the internet and make sure. What can I say? I have a girlfriend; I’m not married but I’m living with my girlfriend. I don’t know if that’s true. I’m going to ask Ian Eagle about that; maybe he just made up that story.
This has been your Nenad as Serbia's 3rd Most Eligible Bachelor update.
"We were on the wrong side of the Hudson," Kidd lamented to a few New York writers late Monday night in an empty Maverick locker room after he torched the Knicks again.
This has been your Jason Kidd Really Needs to Shut the Fuck Up update.
One further note- I recently noticed that even for away games, League Pass was showing the YES Network's broadcasts for Nets games. I'm about 90% certain League Pass usually shows the home team's broadcast for any given game. Can anyone give me any input on that? Because I wrote into the NBA's Fan Center thing or whatever, where members can submit questions about whatever, and asked them about it. And I got no response. But then I got the fucking Houston broadcast the other night. It seemed pretty coincidental, but who knows. I'm just curious if anyone out there knows how the whole League Pass/local broadcast deal is set up. Click that little "Contact" button on the top right of the page and holler at a Becky if you have any insight for me.
Continuing the analogy from the previous post, last night's game against the Rockets = the Nets getting completely shitfaced and going home with some scumbag frat boy who pops his collar and uses the word "wicked" as a modifier in every other sentence. Also, he has a girlfriend, and probably some sort of venereal disease.
Checking in on the NBA Girlfriend Forum, as I sometimes do (inexplicably, K-Mart's page is always hopping, and occasionally informative), I noticed that Devin's page is riddled with messages about how sad all the fans in Dallas are that he's gone. No one has anything bad to say about him, and if you check out some of the other pages, which I am not in any way recommending, you'll see that is not the norm on these things...eek. Anyway, although the honeymoon period ended after, ohhhhh, one game, I still feel pretty good about the Devin Harris era in NJ.
However, I did come across this picture:
Is that...why, yes, I do believe it is an apple martini. What's up with that, Dev? Holler at me, I'll get you some scotch or something, get you into some manly drinking.
(I'm joking, I judge no one by their drink choices. I drink vodka and Diet Coke for chrissakes. My dad has been known to drink cosmos. He's been openly mocked for that by no less than a rabbi.)
As for the title of the post, getting that song stuck in your head for literally days at a time is a prime example of why you should never just plug your ipod into someone else's computer and transfer all the songs they have on there. (Also, Aaron Carter. My sister thinks he rocks hard, yo.) Anyway, in an effort to pass along the misery, I went looking for a music video and all I could find was this kid busting a move, and OMG HE IS DANCING ON THE WALL!!!!
OK, not really. Whatevs.
A couple good links from last week-
MCB breaks down the good fortunes of the Nets in recent memory. Key words there being "recent memory" of course. Also, selective memory. Because for each occurrence of "good" luck they've had, I can think of at least 1 instance of "questionable" to "bad" luck. And some of those examples of good fortune could easily be spun the other way (see: Mourning, Alonzo). But hey, I'm a cynic. I appreciate our friend's optimism, for sure.
[His] game is pretty easy to figure out: shoot, shoot, and shoot some more, and when that fails go the hole, flail around, and hope to get the foul call.
Vince, right? That's how I always describe Vince.
But nope. That's describing RJ. Is RJ starting to mimic Vince's game in frustration? He got T'd up last night, showing how truly frustrated he is becoming. But I sincerely hope this trend doesn't continue. I disagree with ETB on the need to trade RJ. I think his game and his drive are valuable, and I think getting rid of Vince (who he openly dislikes playing with) would rejuvenate the enthusiastic and hard-driving game we know RJ can play.
Anyway, it's not a secret that Vince needs to go. It's unfortunate that he was signed to such a ridiculous and unmoveable contract because he's a good guy. I appreciate the effort of NJN management to keep the "good off-the-court character guys" around, but you should never let that compromise your on-the-court product. I can't shake the feeling that's sort of what happened here.
Speaking of Vince's good "off-the-court" ways...well, say what you want about him and the way he left Toronto, but that organization was fucked up when he left it. There was blame to go to both sides. And he's never trash talked the city or the organization since he left. You can't say the same about Kidd. Hopefully he's finally done running his mouth after that round of interviews, but I guess he'll always be full of shit. Too bad.
If the Nets were a jilted ex-girlfriend, and Jason Kidd were the jilter, then tonight's game in Dallas was the party of the mutual friend where the former lovers were to be forced to share a social setting for an evening. Here's how it went:
In the days leading up to tonight, she reassured everyone that it was absolutely fine, she was absolutely fine.... Because they're both adults, right? And there's no reason two mature adults can't be in the same room. You know, even though he did break her heart dumping her for that skank. But whatever. It'll be totally cool, no need to worry. Even if he is being all passive aggressive and acting like a cockbag talking about things that are clearly not based in reality with their mutual friends. But whatever. It'll be fine.
She showed up looking hot. I mean, like, smoking hot. She pulled out all the stops with tonight's outfit and she knows she's looking fine. Not that she wanted him to miss her or anything...she's totally fine without him. She just wanted him to remember what it was he lost. That's all. She's totally fine.
She pretended for the first hour or so to not notice him across the bar, while she surreptitiously (or not-so-surreptitiously, if you ask anyone else) scoped out his new chick. She reassured herself that New Girlfriend is soooooooooo not even that cute. Her friends did their part too- "You are so much cuter than she is." Oh, are they here? She hadn't even noticed! Whatever. Where the hell is the bartender?
The bottom fell out really quickly as she lost her composure by the end of her second drink. She started to visibly unravel. Her friends tried in vain to reassure her- "He's only acting like he's happy with her...but even if he is right now, that's not going to last....he was so much better with you. He totally knows that, he just hasn't...realized it yet. And you are SO much cuter than her!"
And you know how things like botched dunks and airballed free throws tend to pile up, sort of like Long Island iced teas will do? Well, she lost count of how many of those she drank by the halfway point of her evening.
And 3/4 of the way through the night, she was crying in the ladies room. Of course.
She spent the last hour or so of her night gearing up to walk past her ex and his new lady friend...in her head, she was going to be so cool about it. She was going to be an ice cube. It was pretty clear to everyone in the immediate vicinity though that this was an impossibility, what with the mascara smeared down her face and the distinctive odor of tequila about her. But gosh darn it, no one had the heart to tell her, since she spent a freaking hour mustering up the courage to, you know, walk past someone.
At the end of the night she, in her head, walked proudly and sexily past her ex and his girl and out the door. In reality, she stumbled unsteadily into the door. The new girlfriend was completely unable to hide her smug smile. No one could blame her.
She only made it a block or so before having to stop and puke on the sidewalk. A couple homeless guys openly mocked her.
She very nearly made it home without further incident until she decided she had to stop at the pizza place across the street from her apartment, because fuck her diet, that's why.... After all, she's fat and disgusting and no one's ever going to want to see her naked again anyway, so who even cares? She wolfed down the pizza before she even made it through her front door. She then promptly passed out fully clothed and reeking slightly of vomit on top of her bed, hanging halfway off of it with her head near a trash can. . . . . . . . Ahhhh...yeah, so I guess it's a bit of a rebuild for these Nets....
HT on the picture of "Vince in drag" to Arsenalist...I have no idea where they got it or the context in which it was taken, but it is awesome.
Actually, that's a lie, I feel like utter crap, since I've been deathly ill for the past few days. But, like, emotionally and stuff!
This post brought to you by Pimpin' Nenad
Yes, the Devin Harris era has gotten off on the right foot. Granted, it was only one game, and it was a game against the Milwaukee Bucks, who pretty much suck ass. But let's call it a step in the right direction, with plenty of room for improvement. You could just see, there was an immediate change when Harris came into the game. He busted his ass, and looked like he'd been waiting to show NJ what he could do since the trade went down. Or almost went down, the first time. Anyway, Devin Harris (they were trying to come up with a better nickname for him on the postgame show than "The Blur," which is fair...I haven't come up with a good one yet though) is fast as all hell (hence, "The Blur,") and plays very solid defense, which I expect to turn into "great" defense once he's got his sea legs back. It goes without saying, his shooting is much better than JKidd's. He obviously doesn't have the same "court sense" that Kidd does, but nobody does. But he's obviously smart, can spot mismatches, and gets everyone sharing the ball and moving pretty quickly. Things were moving so fast between him and RJ and Swift and Diop and Nenad and Boki and....well, everyone, that I hardly noticed Vince tonight, doing either good things, or annoying Vince things. The bottom line is, Harris had every excuse to play shakily...he should be rusty, he should need time to get used to playing w/ these guys, he should be nervous...but he straight up brought it tonight. He played hard, he played well, and he made no real stupid mistakes. I am 100% on the Devin Harris bandwagon, and I think the rest of Nets Nation (all...4 of us?) is aboard as well.
Also, have we seen the #34 since Aaron Williams left town? I'm not entirely certain, in my cold medication induced haze, but I do not think we have. Shout out to the A-Train, who was always a favorite of mine. Hopefully he's doing well on the Clippers. I haven't seen him play at all, but then I haven't watched the Clippers much this season. There's a reason for that- they suck.
Marcus Williams playing his ass off is another development I'm enjoying immensely. He kicked it off right after the trade, when Harris was still sitting out, but this is the first I've had to coherently watch a game and comment on it. I'm a little loopy tonight, but 2 nights ago I was ridiculously out of it. Anyway, I imagine Marcus imagines some sort of gauntlet has been thrown, what with a fresh new franchise point guard thrown into his world, and he wants to prove his worth. So far, it's working in a big way and I see no reason why he can't either split time w/ Devin or share the floor with him, as a fill-in 2, giving Vince more time to wash the sand out of his vajayjay.
I've babbled about this for long enough, but suffice to say I called my mom at halftime and just yelled into the phone, "I LIKE THEM AGAIN!!!"
A couple other notes from my (somewhat surprisingly) enjoyable viewing experience:
At some point in the first half, Ian Eagle, as is his wont, was sharing random bits of trivia for which he must have scoured the internet right before the game. And while I had read this before, I had forgotten, since it was awhile ago, I think...he mentioned that Nenad was listed as the #3 most eligible bachelor in Serbia's version of People Magazine. A cursory Google search turned up that it had, in fact, been around the internet back in '06, but since I used an English-speaking search engine, and, you know, speak English, I was unable to find this Serbian People with the original list and what I had been searching for, the #1 and #2 Serbian bachelors. As I was frantically (or not so frantically) Googling, MCBias sent me the YouTube of the mention to prove it to y'all:
Uhhhh, no thank you. I'll stick with the Nenad. Even if he is, I am relatively certain, presently attached.
If I had time to write a second blog, as opposed to barely having time to keep up with this blog, I would start a new blog and I would entitle it Meaningful Minutes With Trenton Hassell. I would then use it as a forum to write about the most ridiculous and inane things I could possibly think up. Somewhere in there would be a post about Jake Voskuhl playing meaningful minutes with an NBA team.
Thanks again to the wonderful trivia machine that is Ian Eagle, I now know that Mo Williams before every game listens to "In the Air Tonight" by Phil Collins to pump himself up. Also, thanks to my keen powers of observation, I now know that with his chin strap beard, green headband and red & green uniform, Mo Williams resembles one of Santa's elves uncannily.
I additionally learned that Mark Jackson is a big A-Rod fan. I am withholding judgment on Mark because I hear he loves everyone. Except Vince, of course. Not even Vince's wife loves him. Mark and Ian have a weirder relationship than Mark and Marv do, by the way. They have a weird dynamic, like they've been smoking the wacky tobacky together in the media parking lot pregame. They talk about bowling, a lot. And they took a minute during game break to see who could shove more pieces of Juicy Fruit into their mouths at once, taking the promotion of the sponsorship a little too far. Hilarious, albeit a little bit disturbing.
And finally, after the Nets game, I flipped over to TNT and watched Kidd and the Mavs lose to the Spurs. And I have to say, I don't see how that game would have gone any differently with or without JKidd. Why trade for one of the best point guards in the league if you're not going to let him run the offense when the game's on the line? If you wanted poorly thought out jump shots to lose games on, why not just trade for Vince?
This post brought to you by the new banner over at Nets Daily, because God help me, I do love it so....
Let's get this out of the way first, because for some reason, it killed me:
It is time to break my code of silence. As everyone knows (or perhaps many people assumed), the Jason Kidd to Dallas trade is, as of today, February 19, 2008, official. Now that things are a done deal, it's time I sorted through my feelings on the matter, via this blog post. I wasn't ready to delve into things until things were really really real. As I've mentioned, I'm not one to speculate, especially when it comes to trades. Only once things are signed, sealed and delivered will I feel comfortable espousing on the matter. I take the same mindset into analyzing my love life. However, in my love life, that makes me "cynical." In this particular instance it makes me "safe from having to opine on the merits of Devean George." Works for me.
When I first heard of the deal, it was imparted to me via text message as "Devin Harris and spare parts." I was midway through a liquid lunch on an empty stomach and a particularly nasty day, weather-wise. So reaction-wise I went with, "Are you kidding me?" There may have been an expletive in there somewhere. I'm not entirely certain. But then I got back to the office, drank a bunch of water, and started reading up. And let me tell you, first round draft picks change everything. I immediately started talking myself into Devin Harris. Halfway through that process, I called my mom and broke the news. She seemed as if she'd been resigned to seeing Kidd go since his trade demand. Really, I think we both were. I think we all were. Any fans who thought picking up Stromile Swift was going to change Kidd's mind, or change his feelings were completely kidding themselves. In fact, anyone who thought Kidd really had a migraine back in December was probably kidding themselves too. Let's be real here- it would all just be a little too coincidental, yeah?
So then, this is how it ends. And I find myself not in a state of panic, nor of depression. Not anger or bitterness. Just right to that stage of acceptance. Jason Kidd was beginning to be something of an emotional roller coaster. He showed he was not about The New Jersey Nets, but about Jason Kidd. And that's OK. It is not my place, nor the place of any Nets fan to begrudge Kidd his shot at a championship. Because I think we always knew it would be this way. Maybe because of the circumstances of his prior exit from Dallas, or of his exit from Phoenix, maybe because we saw his willingness to pout, be it understandably, when he didn't get his way firsthand when the Great K-Mart Debacle took place, or perhaps because of something else, Kidd's stay in the Swamp never felt permanent. I have owned many Nets replica jerseys over the years. (Some have been pret-ty embarrassing indeed...Shawn Bradley? Ed O'Bannon? Check, and check.). I have never bought, borrowed or desired a jersey with the #5 on the back. Jason Kidd saved this team. Jason Kidd carried this team. Jason Kidd led this team. But Jason Kidd never was this team.
So a fond farewell to you, Mr. Kidd. We thank and appreciate you for everything you did for this franchise. You rescued us from futility, from irrelevance, from being a laughingstock, and from Stephon Marbury. No one else could have done this, and we know this. So thank you. And I sincerely hope you get that championship ring, and that it finally makes you a happy man, who is less prone to throw baked goods.
While I'm doling out goodbyes, best wishes to Antoine Wright and Malik Allen. Wright busted his ass to be a player capable of contributing, and it showed, particularly on the defensive end. I still believe he can be a solid player somewhere. Maybe Dallas. Maybe not. But good luck to him. And Allen was the coolest pro athlete I've ever had the occasion to meet in person. Just a normal, friendly and funny guy. Also busted his ass on the court every night. I hope he can find a solid spot in a rotation before he gets too old. (I mean he is like...30.)
Now how about those new additions? I've fully talked myself into Devin Harris. He's young. He's long. He's fast. He plays great defense. And he's got a very decent shot. He's not a "game manager" like Kidd was; he never will be. But weren't Kidd's major talents being pretty much wasted by letting stupid Vince control the ball so often anyway? (Yes.) Potentially we're looking at increased production on offense. It's a stretch, yes. The things Kidd did to create shots for his teammates are immeasurable and irreplaceable. But Harris is one of the best young guards in the league, and getting better. He's 24. That's younger than me, for chrissakes. I think there is a lot of potential for him and RJ to make a very good team. And Vince will still do what Vince always does, regardless of who his point guard is, clearly. Add in the good young bigs, all 24-years-old and under, already on the roster - Boone and Sean Williams and Nenad, who is looking more and more like his old self - and you have a good young core (...and Vince). These guys can grow together. There are solid bench guys like Boki (if he doesn't get traded for Mike Miller...which, if it happens, we can talk about then, of course) and Marcus. One does have to wonder what bringing in a young point guard like Harris will do to Marcus Williams' somewhat sensitive self esteem...but I have high hopes (gee, what else is new) that he'll take it as a challenge and work himself into contending-for-a-starting-spot shape with the extra motivation. I guess we'll see.
As for Sagana Diop, I suppose we'll see. If he plays well, the Nets can re-sign him after the season. If not, peace, dude. I thought he looked good from what I saw of him last season, and clearly I love anyone whose name can be used in a Kriss Kross remake. But for some reason, he fell out of Avery's favor this season, so who knows? Again, I guess we'll see. One thing that is certain, however, is that w/ Diop on hand as well as Stro Swift, we can safely announce the death of the Jamaal Magloire Era in New Jersey. Failed experiment, I suppose.
Trenton Hassell I'd imagine will ride the pine, play some garbage time, possibly be used in future trades. His contract goes through '10 but there's an early termination option or something. I find him to be insignificant.
What about Maurice Ager? My roommate went to MSU and swears he's a young kid with a ton of athleticism and potential. He's surprised Mo has been ineffective in the pros, but you can possibly chalk that up to him being a victim of that Dallas iso-heavy system. Maybe we can get some useful minutes out of him. If nothing else, he can pick up some of the 'oop-slack now that Kidd is gone.
Of course I would be neglectful not to mention that it is now appropriate for me to rehang that framed Keith Van Horn poster I used to have on my wall in college, and the unframed autographed poster too, and to bust out the replica #44 again, and to dust off my homemade "HEY KEITH: TAKE IT TO THE HOLE" sign, and to pull up my knee-high socks.... I don't care if he never plays a minute (but please please please let him play several, PLEASE). My Keith has come home to me! For someone who never played up to the potential he had, just having his KVH presence, his good karma, his reminders of days past, days that were much, much worse, and days that got better...it's gonna feel good, at least for this Nets fan. Probably only this Nets fan. But I don't care. I am ready for this new era. And I am ready for Keith to usher it in, even if his role is merely a symbolic one.
Basically, the success of the New Jersey Nets...and, yes, of the Brooklyn Nets To Be Named Later...depends upon primarily one thing- the leadership of one Mr. Jefferson. I believe he can be a great leader. It is time for RJ to step up and back up all the talk and the behind-the-scenes "Vince isn't the man" chatter. His stats have been great this season. He's quietly becoming one of the best small forwards in the league. And now, this is his team. He's the vet with the heart, the drive, and the gumption to spread that heart, and that drive around the roster. Vince is not a leader. He won't try to be one. Someone will have to. I think RJ is up to it. And I think he's up to quietly telling the overly sensitive Vince to shut his mouth and know his role, as JKidd was never willing to do. I think Richard can absolutely flourish in a leadership role. Now that Kidd's gone, it has to be Jefferson. Time to shine, RJ. Your teammates believe in you. I believe in you. We believe in you. Don't give up on them, and don't give up on us. Because while players may eventually get frustrated and demand an exit, the fans will always be here.
When Omar Minaya was named Mets general manager following the 2004 campaign, he inherited a 71-91 club with a lackluster roster and low expectations. The prior regime lead by Jim Duquette (whose follies I chronicled in detail in an earlier piece) had set the organization back with a series of blunders headlined by trading pitching phenom Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano and stunting the growth of Jose Reyes, playing him out of position at 2B in favor of Kaz Matsui. Additionally, outside of two promising stars - Jose Reyes and David Wright - that had been recently promoted to the Majors, the cupboard was bare in the Mets minor league systems due to poor drafting and the mismanagement of prospects.
The arrival of Minaya ushered in a new era for the Mets. The Wilpons truly believed in Omar from the start and Fred Coupon, as many Mets fans had dubbed him, opened up his checkbook in 2005. The Mets landed two big time free agents in Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran to help sure up the team's starting pitching, lineup and team defense. In addition, young speedster Jose Reyes was moved back to his natural position at SS and flourished stealing 60 bases while his 3B counterpart David Wright enjoyed a breakout season belting 27 homeruns to go along with 102 RBIs and .306 batting average. Overall, the Mets improved 12 games in 2005, going 83-79 and the expectations going into the 2006 season were the highest since 2000.
The 2006 New York Mets were projected to be a serious contender for the NL crown before the season began but the questions lingered regarding the strength of the Mets pitching staff and whether Jose Reyes and David Wright could repeat/build upon their 2005 performances. However, as the season wore on the team's play silenced the critics and the Mets established themselves as the clear favorite to represent the NL in the World Series. The Mets nearly went wire to wire in the NL East, compiling 97 wins and winning the division by 12 games in what was the most dominant regular season performance by the franchise in 20 years.
Much of the credit for the team's 2006 success has to go to Omar Minaya as this was his finest hour as Mets general manager. Minaya pulled off a series of savvy moves in the offseason and during the regular season, improving the team exponentially each time. The most heavily publicized move was the signing of Billy Wagner which finally gave the Mets a bonafide closer and solidified the bullpen.
While the Wagner signing was essential, Minaya's true genius was on full display in his trade acquisitions. Minaya did some extensive shopping at the Marlins fire sale, coming away with first baseman Carlos Delgado and veteran catcher Paul Lo Duca for next to nothing. Then he landed unheralded outfielder Xavier Nady from the Padres in exchange for a disgruntled Mike Cameron. Delgado, Nady and Lo Duca would all enjoy solid 2006 campaigns and help make the Mets lineup one of the more dynamic in baseball.
Minaya's best work on the trading front came in a series of 4 deals between January and the trade deadline which helped to bolster the pitching staff in 2006 and beyond. One of the more under the radar moves was completed on January 4th, 2006 trading Jae Seo at the peak of his value for young reliever Duaner Sanchez. Sanchez would go on to open the season with 21 scoreless innings while Seo struggled mightily in LA and was eventually dealt to Tampa. Sanchez became a key cog in the Mets bullpen and his season ending shoulder injury sustained in a cab accident would hurt the team's chances immensely come playoff time.
On January 21st, the Mets and Orioles completed a deal that sent Kris Benson to Baltimore for Jorge Julio and John Maine. That deal was followed by a trade on May 24th shipping Julio to Arizona for Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez. The final deal came at the trade deadline on July 31st as the Mets landed Oliver Perez and Roberto Hernandez from the Pirates in exchange for Xavier Nady. These moves helped the Mets advance to the 2006 NLCS after a string of injuries ended the seasons of Pedro Martinez, El Duque and Duaner Sanchez. Further, Maine, Perez and Hernandez continue to be fixtures in the Mets' rotation while Sanchez will help bolster the Mets pen with his return in 2008.
2006 ended with a disappointing NLCS loss in 7 games to the St. Louis Cardinals and much of the blame went to the injuries that depleted the staff down the stretch. Entering 2007, the Mets were the odds on favorite to take home the NL. The team returned a similar lineup and pitching staff with the exception of Pedro Martinez who would be out until August and was looked upon as the perfect storm of veterans and youngsters, poised to make a serious championship run.
The Mets did make a few signings, bringing in Moises Alou to bolster then lineup and Scott Schoeneweis as a lefty arm out of the pen. However, Minaya's 2006 trading magic did not carry over in 2007 as deals which included relievers Henry Owens, Matt Lindstrom, Heath Bell and starter Brian Bannister yielded low returns and hurt the team's depth. The deadline deal for Luis Castillo was the lone win for Minaya, as it gave the team a veteran 2B and #2 hitter.
The 2007 Mets also encountered injuries, but this time the team counted on some of their prospects to pick up the slack. Lastings Milledge and Carlos Gomez filled in admirably in the outfield while 2006 draft pick Joe Smith did a great job out of the pen. In addition, 2007 Oliver Perez and John Maine established themselves as solid starters each winning 15 games.
By now, the Mets demise in 2007 have been clearly documented. The team lead the NL East for a majority of the season and entered the final 17 games with a 7 game lead over the Phillies before experiencing a monumental collapse. The Mets fall from grace concluded in emphatic fashion with an 8-1 drubbing at the hands of the Marlins in front of a sellout crowd at Shea.
The wounds inflicted by "The Collapse" are deep and Mets fans have experienced a tumultuous winter. However, the arrival of Venezuela's prodigal son and a clean bill of health for the man who goes by the name of Pedro have revitalized the fan base and more importantly raised the team's spirits. Rather than dwelling on the past, the Mets and their fans are looking forward to 2008 with one of the best clubs they have ever fielded.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of the 2008 New York Mets Team Preview focusing on the upcoming season.
The New York football Giants just completed hands down the greatest playoff run in NFL history and one that will never be topped. Since the inception of the wild card round in 1970, 9 wild card teams (including the Giants) have beat the odds and made it to the Superbowl. Five of those 9 teams went on to win the Superbowl however, three enjoyed a home game in the opening wild card round - eliminating them from consideration for the greatest run. That leaves the 2007 New York Giants and 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers as the only teams to win 3 road games en route to becoming champions of the football world.
The Steelers certainly had a tough road to reach Superbowl XL, beating divisional rival Cincinnati in a hostile wild card round matchup before upsetting Indy at the RCA dome and Denver at INVESCO field. However, Pittsburgh's run is hurt by the fact that they avoided facing the defending champion Patriots and were actually 3.5 point favorites in the Superbowl against a solid but far from dominant Seattle Seahawks squad.
While Pittsburgh's run could be described more as destiny given that Superbowl XL was played in Jerome Bettis' hometown on the heels of his retirement, the Giants run can summed up in one word: improbable. The improbability of what occured is not merely about the team's superb play or the outstanding performances from unexpected sources. The true historical brilliance of the Giants run from an afterthought in the NFC to Superbowl champions is a product of three things:
1) How the playoff picture played out.
2) The significance of the opponents beaten.
3) The circumstances under which the Giants prevailed.
When I say the Giants playoff run will never be topped, I am not saying another wild card team can't run the table and defeat the top 2 seeds in their conference then proceed to beat the NFL's best overall team in the Superbowl. In the modern age of NFL parity, there is a distinct possibility this could happen again in the next 5-10 years. My point is that no team will ever have the oppurtunity to overcome a greater set of odds on their way to a Superbowl championship. Let's take a look back at the Giants playoff run and highlight significance of each win:
Wild Card Round - Tampa Bay Bucaneers & Jeff Garcia
The Bucs and Giants don't have much of a history; however, the Giants and Jeff Garcia sure do. Garcia's heroics led to the greatest Giants meltdown of the modern era, a 39-38 loss at San Francisco in the wild card round of the 2002-03 playoffs. Garcia continued to haunt the Giants as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles last year, beating them in the regular season at Giants Stadium before knocking them out of the playoffs. The Giants began their championship run by exacting revenge on their old nemesis leading to a date with his partner in crime.
Divisional Round - Dallas Cowboys & Terrell Owens
The Dallas Cowboys had beaten the Giants twice in the regular season and put up gaudy offensive numbers against the big blue defense both times. They entered the game loaded on both sides of the ball, well-rested and armed with Giants killer Terrell Owens. TO was a key cog in the Giants' demise at San Francisco and continued to drop monster numbers and L's on them as a member of the Eagles and Cowboys. New York would make the third time a charm against Dallas, riding two Amani Toomer touchdowns and a great defensive effort to a narrow 21-17 win. After the game, a sobbing TO confessed his love for his QB and the Giants were off to frigid Green Bay.
NFC Championship Game - Green Bay Packers - Ice Bowl Revisited
After knocking off the NFC's #1 seed, the Giants prepared to play 2007's team of destiny, Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers. Green Bay had earned a home game by way of Dallas' surprising loss and the script couldn't have been laid out any better for Favre. The Packers had dismantled the Giants in week 2, beating them 35-13 in Giants Stadium and now got an opportunity to face them at the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field, a place where Brett Favre has been more or less invincible over his career. The game that would go down as 3rd coldest in NFL history when temps hit -4 degrees, would end on a 47 yard FG by Lawrence Tynes - the first opposing kicker to make a 40+ yard field goal at Lambeau field in the playoffs, EVER.
Superbowl XLII - New England Patriots On The Brink Of Perfection
New England had become the first team to ever reach the 18-0 mark following a win against the San Diego Chargers and now all that stood in the way of the first perfect campaign in the modern era was the New York Giants. Like the Cowboys and Packers before them, the Patriots had also beaten the Giants in the week17, a win that clinched the first 16-0 regualr season in NFL history. While the Patriots entered on the brink of perfection, the Giants were in the midst of becoming a dubious footnote to the Patriots brilliance. There was a very real possibility that the two biggest wins of the Patriots season, 16 and 19 would be at the expense of New York. Well, that wasn't to be the case as the 12 point underdogs pulled a rousing upset stunning the Pats 17-14.
OK, let's recap here at what transpired in these four games:
Defeated Jeff Garcia and Terrell Owens in the playoffs for the first time ever.
Beat the Cowboys in Dallas after losing twice to them in the regular season.
Participated in the third coldest game in NFL history.
Beat Brett Favre at Lambeau Field.
Lawrence Tynes became first kicker to ever make a 40+ yard field goal at Lambeau Field in the postseason.
Ended the Patriots bid to become first team to go a perfect 19-0 in the modern era, defeating them in the Superbowl after opening as 14 point underdogs.
Overall, won 3 straight conference playoff games on the road, defeated top two seeds in conference and an undefeated team in the Superbowl.
When you add up the improbable nature of the run based on low expectations attached to the team's playoff prospects, the Giants' youthful exuberance and the magnitude of the obstacles overcome, it is safe to say that as Giants fans or may be even sports fans in general, we will never experience anything remotely close to the events of January 6th through February 3rd, 2008.
Cherish this moment big blue faithful because championships like this are often won once in a lifetime.
The Nets are on NBATV tonight. Which means the whole country will be getting a look at their persisting mediocrity. If by "the whole country," I mean "maybe four people not watching the non-stop Super Tuesday coverage and me." I'm holed up in my room because my housemates care about politics lots. I care about checking out Stromile Swift's street clothes and Pau Gasol in a purple & gold. (Seriously, Rod, you couldn't get mea Spaniard for my birthday this year? What's a girl got to do!?) So I think some running commentary is in order.
I would also like to take a moment before the game starts to bid a fond farewell to Jason Collins. I've said a lot of negative things about him in this space and on the other blog. I carried on (and on, and on) about how he shouldn't be starting for any NBA team (or NBDL team for that matter). I initially reacted with glee when I learned he was traded. In my mind, anyone had to be more effective, even a perennial underachiever such as Stro. However, the truth is I never wanted to see Twin banished from the Swamp. I wanted to see him as more of a role player off the bench. His coaches and teammates have always respected him and he's always played hard. I just wanted the team to use him in a more appropriate manner. But you can't have your cake and eat it too. (Which is stupid, because what's the point of having cake if you can't eat it?) So fare thee well, Jason. I appreciate everything you did for these Nets and their fans.
Now with RJ and his BFF Luke Walton on the screen, let's get this party started...
But guess what? Everything out there today mentions the fact that Kidd is displeased with Carter and how crappy and unmotivated Carter is. And to that I say: No fucking duh.
Vince's contract fucks the Nets over. We knew it then. We just did not know how MUCH it would fuck them over. Plunging the team to lottery levels and alienating the captain and best point guard in the league- that I did not see coming, at least not this quickly. So yes, Kidd is being a bratty dipshit, but if the Nets had just worked a sign & trade for VC or even let him fucking walk, we would not be having this discussion because I surmise they would be playing much better without his gimpy knees and pouty face and piss poor attitude, and JKidd would be happy and they would be winning and yayyyyyy........
Anyway. A few weeks still until the trade deadline. And a pleasant distraction in the Giants Super Bowl at least for the next few days.
As always, In Rod We Trust. No fire sales, please.
Being a Mets and Giants fan, I don't concern myself with the New England sports scene. I was too young to remember Mookie Wilson's grounder roll through Bill Buckner's legs, effectively ripping the hearts out of Red Sox nation and placing a dark cloud of despair over an area stretching from Rhode Island to Maine. Living in New York and being friends with numerous avid Yankee fans I've been an outside observer to the ferocious New York-Boston rivalry, but have never had the opportunity to participate first hand.
Fast forward to last Sunday as the Giants lead by a cast of improbable heroes including a QB who was a draft bust as recently as week 15, a cornerback left for dead on the bench mid-season and a WR braving the -4 degree temps with a busted ankle, knee and pinky took down mighty Brett Favre in Lambeau in an overtime thriller for the ages. As journeyman Lawrence Tynes joined the history books becoming the first kicker to successfully make a 40+ yard field goal at Lambeau in the postseason, (it was a 47 yard FG to be exact) I lay on my living room floor hands raised to the heavens when it dawned on me: very fittingly, it was up to New York to derail the perfect season once again.
We have been there before. It was week 17 and the Giants had been given the thankless task of stopping New England's quest for the first ever 16-0 season. All week the questions loomed: Would the Giants play their starters in what was a meaningless game a week before the wild card round of the playoffs? If the starters began the game how long would they play? Would head coach Tom Coughlin be willing to risk injury to deny Tom Brady and Bill Belichick the NFL's first look at true 16 game regular season perfection?
Three road playoff wins and a Superbowl berth later and the Giants' on-field performance speaks louder than words. Tom Coughlin did in fact play his starters for the entire game and while New England achieved perfection that fateful night in East Rutherford, NJ, the Giants valiant effort and spirited play gave them the added confidence needed to get by the best the NFC has to offer and move onward to Arizona.
On February 3rd, the Giants and Patriots meet one more time in Superbowl XLII and I am prepared to say that a New York win on Sunday would dwarf any of the sports-related heartbreak the Empire State has ever inflicted on the greater New England area in the past. Forget Bucky Dent, Bill Buckner and Aaron Boone, no sports team has ever had more to lose in one game then the 2007-08 New England Patriots.
The Giants enter the Superbowl as 14 point underdogs, picked to lose by everyone expect their fans and hopefully family members. The Patriots on the other hand arrive in Arizona 18-0, one win away from attaining absolute perfection and establishing themselves as the single best sports team of all-time. A Patriots loss in a game that has been all but handed to them by every "expert," talking head and fan in the football community would go down as perhaps the greatest upset in the Superbowl era.
Although the Patriots stands at destiny's door, on hallowed ground never before touched by any NFL team, they also remain one loss away from going down in infamy and becoming a punchline for all eternity. In the end, New England's season will not be judged by 18-0, but rather by either 19-0 or 18-1. If the New York Giants are the ones handing them that 1 in the loss column, the ghost of Babe Ruth can finally take a breather.