Monday, October 5, 2009

Why the NFL Rules in America

The NFL has become as dependable as a juicy steak and a cold brew, and as unpredictable as the sassy dame you can't keep your eyes off of.

And that's why we love it so much in the Grill Room...

...because in yesterday's early action, while the Patriots and Ravens were delivering on a promised slugfest between two of the heavyweights in the AFC, Cleveland -- Cleveland! -- was battling back from 14 points down to take the Bengals to overtime.

...because while Chicago was predictably bashing Detroit back to earth, Tennessee was somehow spiraling toward disaster and 0-4.

(Continue to The Grill Room)

Dolphins Finally in Win Column

It was the template you thought the Miami Dolphins would follow for success against the Buffalo Bills: Establish the run, and put Chad Henne in good situations when throwing the football.

Well, the Dolphins held the ball for more than 37 minutes, and piled up 250 rushing yards for their first victory of the 2009 season, 38-10 over the fading Buffalo Bills.

Henne was efficient, completing 14-of-22 passes for 115 yards and his first NFL touchdown pass, a 5-yard toss to rookie Brian Hartline.

But the story of this game was the Miami offensive line, which cleared the way for Ronnie Brown's 20-carry, 115-yard, 2 TD effort.

(Continue to Dolphins Watch)

Not All Lost in Jets Loss

Last week, after a Jets win, I chose to focus on the negatives. This week, after a Jets loss, I'm going to focus on the positives.

But the first thing that needs to be said is that New Orleans is very good. Not because they beat my team...but because they made the Jets look so bad in doing it. Even when the Jets were only down one score I didn't feel good about their chances because I didn't think the Jets could get the two scores they would need to win against New Orleans the way they were playing.

I knew about the New Orleans offense (which I now am even more impressed by, seeing their receivers catch EVERYTHING Drew Brees threw their way), but that defense was very good. I missed the boat on the Saints in my pre-season rankings - they're going to be a force in the NFC all year.

(Continue to 200 Miles From the Citi)

Baseball Must Close Loophole

Baseball is a crazy game. Or, some might argue, a stupid one.

I often find myself leaning toward the latter category. For stupidity is the only thing I can point to for why baseball officials refuse to seal a loophole as big as Alex Rodriguez’s ego.

This time the issue is talent, not the inequity in market profitability, though profits, I suspect, do weigh heavily in this situation as well. At the center of it, as with most things in baseball, is money, which Aroldis Chapman stands to make a pile of.

Who is Aroldis Chapman?

(Continue to Justice Is Served)

Garden Thoughts on Rangers

It struck me last night as I sat in the press box high above Madison Square Garden, that the first Rangers' home opener I covered as member of the media was 20 years ago---October of 1989!

There have been some very memorable ones for sure, most notably in 1991 when Mark Messier skated out in pre-game introductions to a thunderous standing ovation, just days after being acquired from the Oilers in a trade that would change the course of franchise history. There was a bevy of former Ranger captains on the ice that night to welcome Mess, who dramatically undid a safety pin on his jersey during pre-game ceremonies to display the "C" on his blue Rangers sweater as the crowd absolutely came unglued.

Then, of course, there was the home opener on January 20, 1995---the team's '94 Cup banner raising delayed by the lockout. It was a bit over the top, but to see the Stanley Cup lowered from the rafters on to a table at center ice was pretty cool. And to witness the emotion on the faces of the long-suffering Rangers Faithful as the banner was raised was very special.

(Continue to Jim Cerny's Rink Rap)

DiPietro Left Out of Opener

For those Islanders fans wondering why Rick Dipietro's name was not mentioned during the introductions for the home opener on Saturday night, it's because team officials made a mistake and left him off the list of injured players.

There were a handful of players wearing suits, who stepped onto the ice and gave a wave, including captain Doug Weight, but Dipietro was not one of them. According to Newsday's Katie Strang, "Rick DiPietro absolutely did not decline to be a part of last night's introduction ceremony."

(Continue to Thin Ice)

Blame Warriors, Not Jackson

Out of the four major professional U.S. sports leagues, the NBA probably boasts the most prima donnas.

The latest NBA blabbermouth to show seemingly ingratitude and disrespect to the league and his current team is the Golden State Warriors’ swingman Stephen Jackson (above photo).

MLS Week: A Look Back

Several teams locked playoff berths, others moved closer to doing so and others are now teetering on the brink of missing out.

The Los Angeles Galaxy defeated the Chicago Fire 1-0 at the Home Depot Center on Friday night. That win along with Chivas USA's 2-0 win over DC United puts Los Angeles back in the playoffs for the first time since 2005, the year it won the MLS Cup.

The win also put the Galaxy in first place in the Western Conference. LA is still there, but it was to share it with the Houston Dynamo for the next two weeks. The Dynamo played to a 1-1 draw against the Kansas City Wizards in Houston on Sunday afternoon. The two teams will decide the conference title against each other in Houston on October 18. A draw will work to the Galaxy's advantage, as it defeated the Dynamo 1-0 at the Home Depot Center back on June 28.

(Continue to Soccer 24-7)
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