The sad-sack Yotes…?

To be honest, when I came across this story back in mid-December…

… my reaction was, “Hey, we’re talking about the hapless Coyotes here… The Coyotes!!! A team that has never, ever gotten over the hump,” and even Wayne Gretzky (as head coach) couldn’t transform that team into a contender.

Here, we had analysts overreacting to the fact that they were doing well back in December, and there were people thinking the Coyotes — the Coyotes!! — were going to finish second in the division and perhaps even crack the 100-point barrier.

Admittedly, it’s “easier” now to reach 100 points given the fact that teams receive cheap points for overtime losses and shootout losses, so point totals tend to be inflated in this era.

But c’mon, the Coyotes? And, of course, as the calendar flips to February 2020, the Yotes, unsurprisingly – to me, anyway – are an eighth seed in the Western Conference, losers of five straight and eight of their past 10.

The good news for them? With 59 points, they’re only two points back of Vegas, while Vancouver (64 points) and Edmonton (62) occupy the top two spots in the Pacific Division.

But finishing second and with 100 points? Yes, there are still plenty of games left – but not really – but c’mon, these are the Coyotes we’re talking about….

What we’ve learned through the Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, NFL games…

The Patriots are my AFC team. The New Orleans Saints are my NFC team. Tom Brady is awesome. Drew Brees is awesome. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I admire those guys because not only are they great NFL quarterbacks, but their stories are also inspirational.

So, when I criticize, say, the Saints, it’s not because I’m against them. I want them to do well. I want them to win.

But these ‘slow’ starts are what have been costing them every year since their Super Bowl victory after the 2009 season.

The Saints said all the right things heading into their contest on Sunday, about how important Week 2’s game against the L.A. Rams was.

And they went out and got blown out.

I get it. Brees had to leave the game after his thumb was injured by the Rams’ Aaron Donald. But that’s why they have the NFL’s highest-paid backup quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater has been a starter in the NFL before. He should have been ready.

Yes, the Rams are a tough team. But look – there have been all kinds of backups that came up big over the course of NFL history. And we’ve been reminded so far this season that it’s the NFL’s 100th season and we’ve seen stories and highlights of those spectacular plays over the first 99 years of the league.

Well, I can say that even against potent teams, backups have come through so many times in NFL history. Frank Reich against a tough Houston team in the playoffs. Jeff Hostetler against the 49ers in the 1990 NFC title game and the Bills in the Super Bowl. Brady when he was a backup in his second NFL season. Doug Flutie in Buffalo.

So, I don’t think Brees being injured and knocked out should be an excuse when the Saints have a capable backup in Bridgewater.

The point is, these early-season losses – and I count a 1-1 start as a ‘slow’ start for a team that has Super Bowl aspirations – have cost the Saints before. Look at 2011, when the Saints had arguably a better team than the 2009 Super Bowl-winning squad.  They finished 13-3, but costly losses in the first half of their schedule (including defeats to lowly Tampa Bay and St. Louis) cost them. They lost tie-breakers with the 49ers and ended up being the No. 3 seed while Green Bay (15-1) and San Francisco (13-3) were Nos. 1 and 2, respectively. That cost them in the divisional round when they went on the road to San Fran and lost to Alex Smith.

So, as much as I hate to say it, I wonder if this inability to stop the Rams in Week 2 will come back to haunt New Orleans?

And the Chicago Bears lucked out. I thought they’d lost to Denver, but their kicker, Eddy Pineiro drilled a 53-yard FG as time expired to give them a 16-14 win. He made two 50-plus yard field goals in the game.

Pineiro did his job, but could you imagine if the Bears, considered an NFC contender, had lost to fall to 0-2? Matt Nagy, their head coach, did a great job last year, but his arrogance, especially with his kickers the way he handled them during training camp, can come back and bite him in the ass.

Both he and Adam Gase in New York seem to have this arrogance about them, but hey, they haven’t won anything as NFL head coaches, so I would say they can’t be acting like Bill Belichick, who is the greatest coach in league history. Belichick can be acting that way; he’s a proven coach who’s won multiple titles. Guys like Nagy, who’s had just one great regular season, and Gase shouldn’t be.

Speaking of new coaches, it’s only Week 2, and Green Bay signal caller Aaron Rodgers is already feuding with new head coach Matt LaFleur. The animated exchange between the two happened near the end of the first half, and although the Packers hung on against Minnesota to improve to 2-0 and both men downplayed the argument, it should be interesting to see how that relationship works out.

And speaking of Belichick, can the Patriots go 19-0 this season? Their defense has allowed just three points total in two games! And for anyone who says the Patriots have different game plans every week depending on the opponent and won’t have Antonio Brown as the featured player, which will upset AB… go back and check Brown’s stats.

There were weeks that he wasn’t targeted as much and he didn’t have 100 receiving yards in every single game with the Steelers – and he lasted nine seasons.

So… focusing strictly on the on-field stuff and not the off-the-field drama, ie. the civil suit brought on by his ex-trainer last week (which, obviously, I won’t comment on as I do not have the facts of that situation), can Brown last one season in New England? If he wants to win a Super Bowl, then I would say yes.

And, the greatest comeback against those naysayers would be for him to last the entire season, help the Patriots go 19-0, and laugh at all those people who’ve doubted him.

What we’ve learned the last few weeks in sports…

Okay, I’m a pretty busy person, so I don’t really write down my thoughts (on sports) much anymore. I normally just verbalize them to anyone who’d listen, but I think it’s a good idea to jot these things down on this blog.

On today’s agenda: What we’ve learned the last few weeks in sports…

First off, I’m a total hypocrite. During the months when Antonio Brown was trying to get out of Pittsburgh – and even this past week when he was causing trouble with the Raiders after the Steelers granted his wish and dealt him away back in March – I wasn’t a fan of what he’s about.

Don’t get me wrong; I’ve always thought he’s a great player. The stats back that up. His performance on a yearly basis backs that up.

The first time I saw him live in action was when I visited Dayton in December 2014 and ventured out to Paul Brown Stadium to see the Bengals face the Steelers. And man, I was impressed by the Big Three – Brown, Ben Roethlisberger, and Le’Veon Bell. It seemed that on virtually every offensive play that afternoon, it was Brown or Bell making the catch or gaining the yards on the run. Those guys put on a display that day.

Of course, my feelings on Brown and Bell changed over time when they kept making headlines for the wrong reasons over the past couple of years.

Then, Brown had that Tweet (apparently about the Raiders), about how “the child who is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth.” I thought, like, what the heck was wrong with this dude?

But when the news came that he’d agreed to terms with the New England Patriots, I did a complete 180 and thought, “WOW…” I mean, if you root for the Patriots as I do, then this signing makes New England the heavy favorites to win the Super Bowl. Think about it: with Brady, Josh Gordon, Julian Edelman, and now Antonio Brown? This team could go 19-0!!!

And so, when that YouTube video of Brown surfaced where he was running into the backyard and then calling his grandmother… I thought it was funny. REALLY funny.

There’s also the chatter among NFL executives – which we’ve all heard being talked about by insiders on various media platforms – that Brown and his agent had had discussions with the Patriots while he was a Raider and that Brown consulted with social media experts to figure out how to, essentially, force the Raiders to release him so New England could sign him.

Whatever. I just find it awesome that the Patriots were able to sign him. It just goes to show that I’m a hypocrite and change my mind about an athlete when he’s wearing the colors of a team I cheer for.

Of course, since the signing with New England, more AB drama has surfaced in the form of a civil suit against him by a former trainer. Since I have no knowledge about that situation, I will refrain from commenting. But I do find the timing of this rather odd. The trainer is getting married, apparently, and… well, we’ll just have to see how this plays out.

And then, AB wasn’t the only wide receiver making headlines for the wrong reasons.

In Cleveland, the Browns just got clobbered in Week 1 by the Titans, and there was Odell Beckham Jr. wanting to play by his own rules.

I would think that there are many football fans out there who want to see the Browns fail once again this season. Instead of focusing on winning, there is the star wide receiver focusing on his watch. Okay. Got it. Way to go bringing attention to yourself for the wrong reasons.

Athletes being disgruntled – and making the headlines… isn’t just a football thing. In New York, the Mets have been dysfunctional, to say the least. And one of their star pitchers, apparently, was “livid” this past week.

Well, I’ve never been on a big-league mound. But my thoughts are that if you’re a pro, you can adjust and work with a different catcher. After all, the team is trying to get its best lineup offensively to try and win games. But I digress.

Speaking of New York, what else did we learn on Sunday?

The Jets are back to being the Jets, blowing a 16-0 lead to lose to the Buffalo Bills 17-16. And way to go, Adam Gase, being way too critical of his wide receivers, offensive line, cornerbacks, and defense.

I wonder how long before the players get tired of Gase’s act in that locker room. It’s only one game, and the head coach is losing control. Only with the Jets.

And there was even a quote that he gave, which tells you all you need to know: “That’s the beauty part of being the head coach – I can basically do what I want” (via Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer on

So, after Week One in the NFL, we know this: The Jets are the same old Jets. The Browns are the same old Browns.

One more thought: Good thing the Saints won on Monday night to start the season 1-0. There was some crazy stat that they had been a combined 1-9 in Weeks One and Two over the previous five seasons.

I want the Saints to do well. I’ve been hoping for a Saints-Patriots Super Bowl for many years because of Drew Brees and Tom Brady, and we were denied that matchup last season. And, the window is closing in terms of having both teams being legit contenders at the same time.

I say good thing the Saints won, because on that team, it seems like there’s yet another receiver who’s a diva.

Why should Michael Thomas go out of his way to comment on the Antonio Brown/Raiders situation when he should have been preparing for the Monday Night tilt against Houston? Just because he didn’t respect Raiders GM Mike Mayock?

Well, I would think – and hope – that head coach Sean Payton and his coaching staff would rather Thomas not comment on matters that aren’t about the Saints. But that’s just me.

And, to finish this post off, here’s that aforementioned AB video that just cracked me up:

So, who the heck is “Budd B.”?

There’s this retired journalist from a Buffalo newspaper by the name of Budd, who spends time reviewing sports books on his personal blog.

He proudly gave my book on John Cangelosi #twostars on Twitter, and his Tweet provides a link to his blog, where he criticized the book.

Two stars? Here’s an excerpt:

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Okay, let me get this straight. A professional athlete who’s been retired for more than 10 years shouldn’t be sharing his stories…. got it. That got me thinking: Did he ever rate the autobiographies on Grant Fuhr and Doug Gilmour, a pair of Sabres hockey stars? But more on that later.

(Regarding the all-time team comment, I’ll have to say that I recall reading parts of Felipe Alou’s book, in which he lists his all-time team in the middle of a chapter. I believe Mickey Lolich did the same in his book. So… what’s Budd’s point?)

First of all, shame on this fella Budd for suggesting that a guy who hit .250 doesn’t deserve a book. Excuse me, Budd, how many years did you play in the big leagues and what’s YOUR average? Your bio says you’ve written 11 books. How many of them were best sellers? So, should more than half of your books not have been written in the first place?

A search on Amazon revealed the following:

  1. Budd wrote books on non-superstars himself! One player he wrote about scored 41 goals and 91 points…. in his entire career! So, don’t pick on another writer and another athlete who didn’t measure up according to you.
  2. From a reviewer on Budd’s hockey book: “…there are multiple errors in text that should have been caught.” Well, I guess someone needs more editing himself, huh?
  3. Here’s another one: “sophomoric book….told like a 6 yr great stories…..after bob probert and dave Schultz books this really stunk..very good admired player..awful storyteller” – So, it looks like Budd’s own books aren’t that great, either, then.

Okay, moving on to the aforementioned ex-Sabres. So, if a book shouldn’t be written about a former athlete who’s been retired more than 10 years, I assumed he didn’t have good things to say about the books of Gilmour and Fuhr… and I was right.

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I mean, I can’t speak for the intentions of Gilmour and Fuhr along with their co-authors, but my intentions with John Cangelosi are pure: Inspire young kids through John’s stories. Anyone who’s been told “You can’t do this” should read this book and be inspired.

I hate to think that this Budd has any kids. Think about the message he’s sending. Well, you know, Babe Ruth was last relevant in the 1930s, so kid shouldn’t read about him, right? Or, some pro athlete who made it despite challenges hits “only” .250 and that’s not good enough. Okay. Good to know.

Of course, when you read the following, you’ll know the kind of person we’re dealing with here.

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“no one cares”? Tell that to former Flames players, who all have very positive things to say about Harley Hotchkiss and the “family” culture he brought to the organization.

Budd B…? Gutless.