And once again, how about those so-called experts…

Well, I remember after Week 2 of the NFL season, all those so-called experts thought that the Pittsburgh Steelers, 0-1-1 at the time, were done. Now, after Sunday’s comeback win over Jacksonville, Pittsburgh is the No. 2 seed in the AFC….

I still like New England in the AFC, and hope that it will be a Patriots-Saints Super Bowl and we’ll get to see Brady vs. Brees… but we shall see.

And speaking of those Saints, they lost the season opener to Tampa Bay, and now haven’t lost since, winning nine straight. And kudos to those who said that “Fitz Magic” – the superb play of Ryan Fitzpatrick – wouldn’t last. That one, I think, was an obvious one, and he’s struggled over the past few weeks. I mean, remember when Buffalo gave him that big contract all those years ago after he’d led the Bills to a winning record in the first half of the season? As I keep telling everyone, for those on the band wagon of a surprise team that starts out on fire, there’s always a second half of the season to play…

And the Dallas Cowboys… it seems a LOT of people in the media want them to fail. A few weeks ago, they were “dead” after losing to the Houston Texans in overtime. Now, they’re a game back of first-place Washington, with the two teams playing on Thanksgiving Thursday with the division on the line. Alex Smith, hurt on Sunday, is done for the season. Colt McCoy is in for the Redskins… that means Dallas has a shot.

I still think the Redskins can pull it off, and then if they go on to beat Philadelphia 11 days after that, they would have eight wins, which would essentially wrap up the NFC East … seeing that Dallas would be too far back and have no tie-breaker…

But man, the Cowboys are still in it. You know that the “haters” in the media will say this week that Dallas will find a way to choke… Fun times!

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Things we saw in October…

The NFL is a week-to-week thing… every week has a new narrative. Remember how after the first two weeks of the 2018 season, when Pittsburgh began 0-1-1? Many of those analysts were predicting gloom and doom for the Steelers. Well, going into their huge AFC North matchup today in Baltimore, the Steelers are sitting atop the division at 4-2-1, just ahead of Cincinnati (5-3).

The Browns, who at 2-5-1 are at the bottom of the division, are who we thought they were…

Speaking of slow starts, wow – the Lakers’ Magic Johnson makes George Steinbrenner look like a saint… With the Lakers beginning slowly at 2-5, Johnson has apparently lost patience with coach Luke Walton. I mean, c’mon, the Lakers aren’t expected to be legitimate contenders and it’s early in the season….  Yes, I saw Magic play during his NBA career, but as an executive or fan, he’s not that great. He was the one cheering for Mike D’Antoni to be fired from the Lakers years earlier, wasn’t he? That’s exactly my point. Magic was a great player, but as an observer/fan/executive, he strikes me as a guy who just isn’t patient.

Ahhh.. Steve Pearce. World Series MVP. I’m sure throughout the summer, the buzz in Toronto (and the rest of Canada where Blue Jays fans reside) was something like, “What can the Blue Jays get for Josh Donaldson?” and “Donaldson will make a contending team a winner,” etc.

I was on TSN1040 during the summer, suggesting that teams that win the World Series, traditionally, have had under-the-radar pickups more often than those big mid-season acquisitions. For 2018, I was looking at Tyler Clippard, John Axford, Seunghwan Oh, etc. as possible difference makers. Maybe even a guy like Curtis Granderson. Okay, I was wrong. It turned out the biggest difference maker was Steve Pearce!! He had a hot few games and wound up helping the Red Sox win the World Series.

Man, it must be painful for those Blue Jays fans… they must have been rooting for Cleveland, with Donaldson and Edwin Encarnacion being the two former Jays in the Indians lineup. Instead, it was David Price (who failed to deliver in the playoffs for Toronto) and Steve Pearce with their AL East rivals!!

Again, don’t trade within the division (ie. Toronto trading Pearce to Boston). It might make your fans cry in October…

Anytime someone brings up the need for a team to pick up a big name at the trade deadline to put itself over the top, I will just bring up two words. Steve Pearce.

Back to the NFL – an intriguing matchup on Sunday night with Green Bay vs. New England. Hours before that, Rams vs. Saints in what could be a potential NFC Championship Game matchup. The dream matchup would be a Patriots-Saints Super Bowl. Let’s keep our fingers crossed!

World Series thoughts…

Game One of the 2018 World Series reminds me of the 2014 Series opener in Boston, when the Red Sox had a huge lead early but the Cardinals came back and knocked out Tim Wakefield – but the Bosox proved to be too much offensively, winning that game 11-9 in the late innings.

Those Red Sox went on to sweep the Cardinals in four straight, not trailing in any of the games.

Might we see the same script this year?

And…. the Dodgers making it back for the second year in a row…. Well, traditionally, teams that make it back to the final round after losing in recent years have done well. The notable exceptions, of course, were the Buffalo Bills of the early 1990s (four straight Super Bowl defeats) and the Atlanta Braves (in 1992 after losing in 1991).

Then, the Bruins, whom I rooted for in my youth. They were swept in 1988 by the Oilers, and then fared no better in losing to Edmonton again in five games in 1990.

Other teams seemed to have learned their lessons, and some in fact had a shot at the same teams. For instance, the 1989 Flames beat Montreal in the Finals three years after losing to the same Habs in the final round. The 1987 Flyers at least took Edmonton to a seventh game (before losing 3-1), two years after being humiliated by those same Oilers in five.

Of course, you don’t need to have made it to the final round in past years to break through. The 1996 Yankees won the World Series against Atlanta, one year after a heartbreaking loss in the division series versus Seattle. That kickstarted a dynasty for the Yankees.

The 2018 Dodgers? Having lost Game Seven in 2017 to Houston, you figure the Dodgers would win it all this year. But Boston’s offense is too strong, and I have to still say Red Sox in four.


Yes, the Dodgers-Red Sox matchup in the World Series is the first since the 1916 Classic where the Brooklyn Robins faced Babe Ruth’s Red Sox. It’d been more than 100 years since the two franchises met in the Series!

One matchup that I’ve been looking forward to – and predicting every year since 2010 – but never coming true… Drew Brees vs. Tom Brady in the Super Bowl. It was close in 2011, when Brees’s 13-3 Saints somehow lost a tie-breaker to 13-3 San Francisco, and New Orleans had the No. 3 seed. The Saints lost to Alex Smith in the divisional round… and the 49ers lost to the New York Giants, and we know what happened next…

And last year it was close… Hopefully, it will happen this season.

Also, talk about gutsy in the NFL over the weekend. The Tennessee Titans decided to go for two in London against the Los Angeles Chargers with under 30 seconds left instead of the game-tying PAT. Going for two to win the game – as opposed to settling for the tie to force OT – has been discussed in the media as being a good strategy. But I was surprised to see them pass it for the two-point conversion instead of trying to run it in.

QB Marcus Mariota could have run it in. Or have RB Dion Lewis, who’d had a terrific 36-yard run during that scoring drive that took the Titans from their own territory into Chargers territory.

It’s good to see QB Philip Rivers and his Chargers improve to 5-2. He’s played for some bad Charger teams in recent years. Hopefully, he can get the Chargers into the playoffs and knock off somebody like Kansas City (before losing to New England, of course).

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And the New York Giants – on Monday Night Football – going for two with under five minutes remaining and down by eight. Yikes. That one didn’t work out – and anyway, the Falcons added a late field goal. But coaches are getting gutsy going for two in clutch situations.

Playoff Controversies: MLB postseason 2018 edition

Two weeks ago on TSN1040, I mentioned that it’s possible – perhaps not likely – but certainly possible that a manager on a playoff team could get fired if his team performs poorly in the postseason.

We’ve seen it before with Grady Little, most notably, being let go after his 2003 Red Sox blew a Game Seven lead at Yankee Stadium in the ALCS. In 2017, it was Joe Girardi who was heavily criticized in Game Two of the ALDS after he failed to challenge a hit-by-pitch call that changed the momentum of the game against Cleveland. (The Yankees fell 2-0 but stormed back to win the next three and moved into the ALCS, where they lost to Houston in seven.)

Let’s look at this year. Again, I’m not saying anyone deserves to be fired or should be fired. I’m not predicting that they will. But look at how the Indians again went out in the first round. And the way they did it this time around – getting swept 3-0 by Houston and getting blown out in the finale – does at least deserve the question to be asked.

Tonight is the fourth game of the Yankees-Red Sox ALDS. And what happened on Monday night at Yankee Stadium? New York lost 16-1 and there was controversy about Luis Severino’s warmups. Two former players (now broadcasters) raised questions about Severino not having enough time to warm up prior to the game. Now, this is New York, where fans expect the Yankees to win the World Series every year. To lose a big game like that – the worst loss in Yankees postseason history – and to have such a controversy… don’t you at least raise the question about who might lose his or their jobs?

So, going to the playoffs doesn’t mean people’s jobs are safe. You have to go out and be ready, be competitive, and basically win.

Just my two cents.


Ahhh… playoff baseball. Boston, as of now, is ahead 2-1 in the Division Series and now people are saying the Yankees are done.

Interestingly, when David Price struggled for the Red Sox in Game Two, people were saying the Red Sox were dead.

It just goes to show how momentum changes in a short series like that, often from game to game. …


And, speaking of managers losing their jobs… Jason Garrett has been heavily criticized for the decision to punt on 4th-and-1 in overtime on the Houston 42-yard line. I mean, this is what I’ve been talking about… People could lose jobs over decisions that are regarded as the “wrong” ones in big games.

Speaking of big games, what a big night for Drew Brees. He has been such a class act. Breaking the all-time passing yards record on Monday Night Football… Unfortunately, there are analysts who refuse to put Brees on their list of Top 5 QBs of all-time, citing the fact that he has never been regarded as the top signal caller of his era the way other top guys have been or were.

But Brees has definitely been one of the best and what a great NFL moment on Monday night…

NFL: The 4th-and-1 controversy on SNF

Regarding the Dallas Cowboys’ decision to punt on 4th-and-1 in overtime against the Houston Texans… a decision that Cowboys owner has questioned publicly…..

…you gotta love the passion shown during the ESPN panel discussion, but I personally thought the use of the words “cowards” and “gutless” was a bit over the top.

Lots of drama in the NFL in recent days, whether it’s the New York Giants (Odell Beckham Jr.’s candid ESPN interview about his team and QB Eli Manning) or the Green Bay Packers (with QB Aaron Rodgers seemingly questioning his coaching staff’s conservative play calls)…

Why insult people…?

I’ve been listening to ESPN Radio the last couple days and during commercial breaks they have this Stephen A. Smith promo where Smith is blasting Dallas Cowboys COO/Executive VP/Director of player personnel Stephen Jones (and also owner Jerry Jones).

Smith calls Stephen Jones “irrelevant” in his rant during his show promo because Jones had apparently referred to Hall of Fame and former Dallas pivot Troy Aikman as an “armchair quarterback.” In that promo, there was also a reference to Jones having a silver spoon… just basically personal attacks.

I get it if a radio or TV personality is hyping his show or whatever, but to take personal shots, make personal attacks on another human being? Calling him “irrelevant”? That’s gutless.

Stats and numbers that don’t make sense…

Recently overheard in a break room: “Pretty soon, all Canadians will be homeless because nobody will be able to afford to pay rent.”

Uhm, no, I don’t think so. I didn’t argue with the guy, though. No point. If someone is that negative, there’s nothing you can say that will change his or her mind.

THIS guy, meanwhile, is seen almost daily outside Renfrew SkyTrain Station asking people for money to feed his brother and him. It’s always, “Hey. Hey. Can you spare some change for me and my brother so we can get food?” Always. The same thing. Almost every day, if not every single day (literally).

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I am sure I am not the only one, but I don’t feel sorry for him. I’ve heard others tell him (nicely) to go find a job instead of asking people for money.

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Moving on to sports… I just learned this week that in some places, it’s legal to start gambling when you’re as young as 12 years old!

I’m sure you know where I’m going with this – but there was the Jacksonville Jaguars head coach talking about how he hasn’t watched a Super Bowl – live or on tape – since he was allowed to bet on the sport (ie. when he wasn’t a coach at any level yet)… and proceeded to throw out the number 12 in terms of age. I would think he was exaggerating about that part, though I guess I believe he hasn’t watched a Super Bowl for many years.

And who are those people talking about the Ravens defense? They allowed the Bengals’ Andy Dalton to throw for four TD passes in the first half on Thursday Night Football in Week 2!

Then there’s also the NFL Power Rankings by ESPN.com… some head-scratchers on this one… The Jets blew out the Lions in Week 1 while the Giants lost their game… and yet the Giants (#25) are ahead of the Jets (#26) on the rankings? The Titans (#22) are ahead of the team they lost to – the Dolphins (#24) – for crying out loud! There were others, but those ones were the ones that jumped out…

Finally, the Red Sox in MLB reached 100 wins this week – the first time the franchise has reached that mark since 1946… Wow… That’s a long time. Prior to being a writer, I rooted for the Red Sox. But THAT is woeful. Of course, if they don’t win the Series this year, the season will be regarded as a failure.. .We shall see.