Time Out for Sports Talk: Fall File Maintenance
Todd: The sports hard drive continues to back up with plenty of talking points, so off we go as I clear some more space. Even Mike will have to chime in with opinions instead of reminiscing about a retro rock concert.
Although speaking of retro rock, the Patriots should have Joe Walsh’s ‘Rocky Mountain Way’ cued up on their music-listening devices as they venture west to play not one, but two, consecutive games in the mile-high altitude. They’ll practice at the Air Force Academy in Colorado after playing the Broncos Sunday night to get ready for their contest in Mexico City on November 19 against the Raiders.
Even coming off a bye week, the Pats have been making news. First, the departure of potential Tom Brady successor Jimmy Garoppolo, a move that felt oddly timed. But I think it ultimately came down to Brady defying all expectations for 40-year old quarterbacks and Garoppolo opting to not sign any sort of ‘bridge deal’ contract and wait another year or two for TB12 to slip. At that point, Belichick decided he wasn’t going to slap the franchise tag on Jimmy G and reluctantly dealt him to SF for a 2018 pick.
Could Bill have gotten more for Garoppolo if he traded him at last year’s NFL Draft? Perhaps. But it was apparent from the sentiments Belichick expressed after the deal that he would have loved to keep Brady’s backup around if the price was right. Unfortunately for the Pats in this case (and to complete the aforementioned analogy), an underbid would not result in winning the Garoppolo showcase.
For us Pats fans, this means it’s now almost certain that Brady will finish his career wearing the flying Elvis helmet. I understand that might eventually come at a cost in terms of a gradual decline down the road for this franchise. But given all the years of entertainment I’ve gotten from watching Tom play, you’ll never hear a whine or complaint from me when it all comes to an end.
With the chill winds of winter on our doorstep, how about some hot stove talk? Call me a hopeless optimist because I’ve said this before regarding new faces on the Boston sports scene, but I think Alex Cora might be a perfect fit for being able to get the most out of all the young, talented Red Sox players. Not sure the club needs to trade for Giancarlo Stanton or sign JD Martinez. I say make a run at free agent first baseman Eric Hosmer, bring back Eduardo Nunez and fill out the roster with solid veterans similar to 2013.
How about big-time props for the Celtics, who have the best record in the NBA thanks to ten straight wins after starting 0-2?. Beating LA the other night without Hayward, Horford or Jayson Tatum in the second half was impressive even if this current Laker squad is a bit of a hot mess. Hey, at least they’re having a Ball…see what I did there? How does Brad Stevens not earn NBA Coach of the Year honors this year? What he’s accomplished so far using the entire Celtics roster has been pretty remarkable. Helps having Kyrie, too.
Back to the NFL, and it looks like Jerry Jones won’t be able to stop Ezekiel Elliot from finally having to serve his six-game suspension. But the Cowboys owner/GM/chief meddler is using all the powers he can to try and stop Commissioner Voldemort’s impending contract extension. For me, trying to decide who to root for in this showdown would be like choosing a side if the NY Yankees ever played the Denver Broncos, or if Scott Beelzeboras was negotiating a player’s contract against a team owned by a clone of himself.
I’m hardly a Richard Sherman fan (definitely wasn’t in SB XLIX), but add his season-ending ruptured Achilles tendon to the growing list of reasons the NFL has to pare down the Thursday night game schedule. Sherman managed to play through the injury most of this season until trying to play two games in five days. If it was my call, I’d keep the traditional Turkey Day games (including the third game at night) but that would be it. The more likely compromise by the league will probably be limiting TNF to Thanksgiving through the end of the regular season.
Finally, can you believe Belichick and the Patriots are only 3-3 the last six years coming off their bye week? History has also not been kind to the Pats in Denver, although they have won two of their last three regular season games there and Brady is 18-10 all-time playing on Sunday night. Additionally, Denver QB Brock Osweiler (yes, he’s back) is coming off a putrid performance last week at Philadelphia and has thrown 5 INT in 3 career starts vs. the Pats. It’ll be another grinder, but I say Patriots 20, Broncos 16.
Mike: I find the trading of Jimmy G a very curious move.I'm not really sure I see the benefit, other than salary cap relief, and we now have to watch the Patriots start all over again as they groom a new backup to Tom Brady.
While I agree with Todd that this means Brady will finish his career here and I do want to see that happen, I question if the price is worth it. If we don't have a successor in place when Tom hangs it up, this could be much more than a gradual decline.
I only have to look back to the Boston Celtics of the early 1990s to be anxious. They held on to their stars well past their prime, and the team paid a heavy price. The deaths of Len Bias and Reggie Lewis played a big role in that decline, but the refusal to move on from aging stars made it necessary for a complete rebuild, which thanks to inept management (I'm looking at you Rick Pitino), went on for far longer than it should have.
I don't want to see the Patriots go down that road. I grew up with horrible Patriots teams, and I don't need to relive that again.
Staying on the Patriots and their bad teams of the past, I still have nightmares of games in Denver. I always get nervous when they go there, because it seems like some kind of screwy thing goes wrong there, so I can't be comfortable until the game is over.
Personally, Denver can never lose by enough points to make me happy, so I'd like to see a 72-0 humiliation blowout so their fans can see how pathetic that team, especially their President of Football Operations John Elway (yes, I hold grudges for a long time) really is. But I know the reality is going to be a close game.
I'll call it Pats 24, Denver 17.
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