Monthly Archives: December 2012

What was Popular in 2012 and What will Happen in 2013

By Kevin York

As 2012 draws to a close today, I thought it would be fun to look back at the most popular stories of 2012. This will be a different look back than you’ll see from other sports sites today though. Instead of reviewing the most popular sports stories of the year, I’m going to provide a slightly different look back at the year by listing the ten most popular Couchletes stories of 2012.

As for what will happen in 2013, I’m going to approach that a little differently as well. My day job is as a consultant in the tech PR and social media industry. Every year at this time there are hundreds of articles and blog posts published providing predictions on the coming year. These predictions come from the media, vendors and industry pundits and typically range from the obvious (like if I were to say the Miami Heat will make the playoffs) to the ridiculous (if I were to say there’s an infant in Kansas that will become the best baseball player ever). In an ode to my ‘real’ job, I’m going to make some predictions of my own. They won’t be a cop out like the Heat making the playoffs and won’t quite be of the totally ridiculous nature, but I’m going to have some fun with them.

Most Popular Stories of 2012 (the most viewed Couchletes posts):
1. Dear Roger Goodell (written September 25)
2. Dear Kevin (September 11)
3. Choose Me as Your Fantasy Football Commissioner (October 5)
4. The Seattle Seahawks: Top of the League or Overrated? (October 17)
5. NFL Week 3: The Couchletes Pick ‘Em (September 19)
6. College Football Reform (December 5)
7. NFL Week 4: The Couchletes Pick ‘Em (September 27)
8. RE: Dear Kevin (September 11)
9. New Roster Acquisitions (September 18)
tie – 10. 2012 NFL Season Preview (August 31)
tie – 10. The Hypocrisy of the NCAA and a Missed Opportunity for Change (July 23)
tie – 10. The Overabundance of Superman in American Sports (October 3)

What Will Happen in 2013 (My far-fetched, but maybe not too far-fetched predictions)
— Norv Turner, offensive coordinator of the Jets and former Chargers head coach, will transform the Jets into one of the most potent offenses in the league behind pro bowl second year quarterback (and former RG3 backup) Kirk Cousins.

–The Green Bay Packers will finish the 2013 season with a 15-1 record, powered by one of the league’s best offenses and its very best defense built by new defensive coordinator and former Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith.

–The Kansas City Chiefs will finish 9-7 under new head coach and former 49er offensive coordinator Greg Roman. The Chiefs will be led by Roman’s handpicked starting quarterback, a man that will lead the league in completion percentage and QBR, Alex Smith.

–The Philadelphia Eagles will win the NFC East and go 11-5 under new head coach and former San Francisco defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.

–The San Francisco 49ers, with new offensive and defensive coordinators, will stumble to an 8-8 record in a hotly competitive NFC West featuring new league powerhouse Seattle, wild card contender St. Louis and the surprising Arizona Cardinals, much improved under new head coach Andy Reid. Media will start questioning Jim Harbaugh’s performance now without former coordinators Greg Roman and Vic Fangio.

–With injuries sidelining Steve Nash and Pau Gasol for the 2013 NBA playoffs, Dwight Howard will be looked upon to step up and help Kobe Bryant lead the Lakers to the Finals. Bryant will do his part, averaging 41 points in the playoffs, but Howard will shrink in the spotlight, averaging only 8 points and 8 rebounds in a first round exit. After the season, the Lakers will not attempt to resign the center, leading him to sign with one of the only teams to show interest in him. Howard, now stuck with both attitude and performance baggage, will begin the 2013-2014 season suiting up for the Toronto Raptors.

–After falling short of his quest to win his sixth NBA title with the Lakers, Kobe Bryant, sensing his time fading, will demand a trade out of Tinseltown. He’ll suit up for the 2013-2014 season with Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli beside him in San Antonio.

–Baseball’s east coast bias will now shift west with the league’s new big money teams, the Dodgers and Angels, garnering lots of media attention. Both will fail to make the playoffs and watch a smaller market World Series from their living room couches as the Reds beat the A’s.

–NHL owners, after the complete cancellation of the 2012-2013 season, will finally realize that Gary Bettman is the worst commissioner in all of sports and relieve him of his duties. He will be replaced by David Stern, fresh off his retirement as NBA commissioner. League revenue and television ratings will soar to all time highs in the 2013-2014 season.

–Tiger Woods will finish outside the top ten in the Masters and fail to make the cut at the US Open, prompting him to retire and begin pitching Rory McIlroy to let him serve as his caddy under the belief that carrying McIlroy’s bag when he wins a major can count toward Tiger’s career total and propel him past Jack Nicklaus’ record of eighteen major wins.

By Kevin York
Follow Kevin on Twitter at @kevin_york

Year End NFL Awards Preview

By Kevin York

The 2012 season isn’t yet over, but we’re already looking ahead to some of the annual festivities that come after all sixteen regular season games have been played. Yesterday we analyzed next year’s fate for all 32 head coaches. Today we’re previewing the major end of season awards – MVP, Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year, Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year, and Coach of the Year; but we’re going to approach it slightly different than we’ve seen in the past. We’ll go division by division, highlighting players in each division that could be considered for these awards.

Keep in mind, this preview is not recognizing any official award winners (we’ll hand out The Couchletes awards after the regular season), just discussing who should be considered. In fact, I’m doing this completely in a vacuum without discussing it with my fellow Couchletes experts, so it’s possible, though not likely, that people could win our awards that I don’t even discuss here.

AFC East

Photo Credit: (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Photo Credit: (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Tom Brady has had another excellent year for the Patriots and in a weak division, there’s really no one else worthy of considering here. If I were forced to give another candidate, I would probably say Brady’s teammate Wes Welker, although I don’t expect him to get any attention in the league-wide vote.
Offensive Player of the Year:
Again, Tom Brady. And again, if forced to give another name, I’d say Welker. And the same as with the MVP talk, Welker will get no love in the real vote.
Defensive Player of the Year:
Miami defensive end Cameron Wake has had a nice season. Cases could be made for New England’s Vince Wilfork or Jerod Mayo, Buffalo’s Jairus Byrd and the New York Jets Antonio Cromartie, but we likely won’t see many, if any, votes for AFC East players in the final vote.
Offensive Rookie of the Year:
Ryan Tannehill by default. No one else has really stood out offensively and Tannehill has led Miami to a respectable finish in his first year under center.
Defensive Rookie of the Year:
Chandler Jones of New England has had a solid season even though he missed a little time to injury. I think he’s stood out the most of all defensive rookies in the division.
Coach of the Year:
This comes down to Bill Belichik and Joe Philbin, both of whom will likely receive votes for league coach of the year. For me with coach of the year, it comes down to who exceeded expectations so I would have to give the slight edge to Philbin.

AFC North

Photo Credit: Amy Sancetta/AP

Photo Credit: (Amy Sancetta/AP)

Ray Rice has stood out the most. The Ravens don’t really have much of an offense outside of Rice (remember that 30 yard fourth down conversion Rice gained?), which makes it all the more baffling during those periods when coach John Harbaugh neglects the run, so it’s a testament to Rice that the Ravens offense has performed as well as it has.
Offensive Player of the Year:
I have to go with Rice again. He’s stood out more than any other offensive player in the division this year.
Defensive Player of the Year:
This is a crowded division for this honor. Browns linebacker D’Qwell Jackson and cornerback Joe Haden, Bengals DT Geno Atkins, Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons and Ravens DT Haloti Ngata all deserve consideration. Ultimately, I think it comes down to Jackson and Atkins. Both the Browns and Bengals have had good defensive units on the field this year, much improved from what we saw last year, and they were led by these two men, respectively. I give a slight edge to Atkins because his impact has extended beyond instances where he’s made the play to situations where his presence has allowed others to make plays.
Offensive Rookie of the Year:
All the Rookie of the Year talk has been around Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson, and amidst this good quarterback play, Browns running back Trent Richardson has really been overshadowed. Richardson has been the rock of a Browns offensive that doesn’t have a great passing game, meaning defenses can load up the box to shut down Richardson. Yet many defenses haven’t been able to do that. The other person that deserves mention is Baltimore kicker (yes, kicker) Justin Tucker.
Defensive Rookie of the Year:
Vontaze Burfict, the undrafted free agent Bengal linebacker out of Arizona State has had surprising impact on the Cincinnati defense. In the AFC North, he’s performed better than any other rookie on the defensive side of the ball.
Coach of the Year:
The Bengals Marvin Lewis has again put Cincinnati in the thick of the playoff race, with a chance to win the AFC North. His coaching has exceeded that of his AFC North counterparts in Pittsburgh and Baltimore as Mike Tomlin and John Harbaugh’s teams have struggled a bit (at least for them). Cleveland’s Pat Shurmur has done a nice job, but not quite as nice as Lewis.

AFC South

Photo Credit: (Getty Images)

Photo Credit: (Getty Images)

Andrew Luck has helped to significantly change the culture of the Colts from what we saw last year and is largely the reason the Colts are in a place to make the playoffs. He’s had more impact on his team than anyone else in this division.
Offensive Player of the Year:
A strong case could also be made for Luck in this category, but I have to give the nod to Arian Foster. While Luck has played exceptionally, he’s also made a few mistakes along the way (to be expected since he was handed the Colts full offense on day one, by a team that has no running game; Luck IS the offense); Houston’s Foster hasn’t had those type of mistakes and has been one of the best running backs in the league.
Defensive Player of the Year:
J.J. Watt is an absolute monster. He’s redefined the way defensive lineman will play and is equally outstanding against the pass and run. Watt is one of the favorites for league Defensive Player of the Year.
Offensive Rookie of the Year:
Andrew Luck is the top offensive rookie in this division, hands down.
Defensive Rookie of the Year:
Weak class for this division so I’m actually inclined not to name a winner. I’d love to hear thoughts if someone feels passionately about one of the rookies in this division.
Coach of the Year:
Gary Kubiak has done a nice job in Houston this season, but the Indianapolis duo of Chuck Pagano and Bruce Arians could take the league Coach of the Year award for what they’ve managed to do with a young Colts team.

AFC West

Photo Credit: (David Zalubowski/AP)

Photo Credit: (David Zalubowski/AP)

What Peyton Manning has done this year after major surgery is remarkable. The Broncos had a good team last year, but Manning has really pushed them over the hump with is leadership and offensive ability. No one else in this division really even enters the conversation with the Denver quarterback.
Offensive Player of the Year:
Jamaal Charles really was the only source of offense for the Chiefs this year, yet teams still couldn’t stop him. While Manning had a great year, in terms of pure offense, I think Charles was better.
Defensive Player of the Year:
Denver’s Von Miller was the best linebacker in the league this year, a force against the run and the pass. He will likely finish in the top three, maybe top two, when the league hands out its DPoY award after the season.
Offensive Rookie of the Year:
I don’t think I can name anyone here. None of the division’s offensive rookies have done enough to warrant a mention.
Defensive Rookie of the Year:
Another division with a weak class here, but San Diego’s Melvin Ingram has done just enough to get mentioned here.
Coach of the Year:
John Fox has had a good year, but also gets this honor by default since his three counterparts in this division all could find themselves on the hot seat after the season.

NFC East

Photo Credit:(Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Photo Credit:(Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Robert Griffin III has impressed everyone in his rookie season and led an outstanding turnaround in the nation’s capital. No one else in the division nears the impact he’s delivered.
Offensive Player of the Year:
In a year in which the Giants offense has struggled with injuries, the Cowboys have struggled with consistency and the Eagles have been downright atrocious, this comes down to two rookies – RG3 and his teammate Alfred Morris. I give the slight edge to Griffin.
Defensive Player of the Year:
There are a lot of big defensive names in this division, from Demarcus Ware to Justin Tuck to Justin Pierre-Paul, but none have had truly standout seasons.
Offensive Rookie of the Year:
See Offensive Player of the Year. Griffin over Morris by a hair, giving RG3 three nods in the NFC East.
Defensive Rookie of the Year:
I guess Dallas’ Morris Claiborne, although he hasn’t played quite as well as many expected.
Coach of the Year:
Mike Shanahan finally got his quarterback and now he seems to have the Redskins headed in the right direction.

NFC North

Photo Credit: (Brian Peterson/MCT)

Photo Credit: (Brian Peterson/MCT)

This comes down to Adrian Peterson and Aaron Rodgers. I can make cases for both, but ultimately look at Minnesota and realize that without Peterson, they could be in line for a top three draft pick. With him, they’re on the verge of the playoffs. If Rodgers was taken away from the Packers, they still have the talent to be around .500.
Offensive Player of the Year:
This division is loaded. Peterson, Rodgers, Chicago’s Brandon Marshall and Detroit’s Calvin Johnson. These four could possibly be the top four vote getters when this award is decided. When I cast my vote for the Couchletes Offensive Player of the Year, I’ll have Peterson, Johnson and Marshall as 1-2-3.
Defensive Player of the Year:
Chicago Bears teammates Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman could both make an impact in the league wide voting for this award. I give a slight nod to Jennings for his consistency throughout the year.
Offensive Rookie of the Year:
The rookie on the offensive side of the ball who sticks out is Minnesota tight end Kyle Rudolph, but while he’s had some real standout games, he’s also had some where he made little impact. The rookie has struggled with consistency. Unfortunately, no one else really comes to mind in this division.
Defensive Rookie of the Year:
Green Bay cornerback Casey Hayward may actually win this award and no one in the NFC North comes close to his performance on the year.
Coach of the Year:
The Packers’ Mike McCarthy did an astute job guiding the team through a rough start to the year to a second straight division win.

NFC South

Photo Credit: (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

Photo Credit: (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

Matt Ryan started the year hot, as a top three quarterback, and although he cooled off toward the end of the season, still stood out as most valuable player in this division.
Offensive Player of the Year:
Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin had an outstanding season, emerging as a top rushing threat in the entire league and standing out in a down year for other big offensive weapons in the division such as Drew Brees and Cam Newton.
Defensive Player of the Year:
This division’s top defensive player could be Panther rookie Luke Kuechly. He stood out to me more than any other defender in this division.
Offensive Rookie of the Year:
See Offensive Player of the Year.
Defensive Rookie of the Year:
See Defensive Player of the Year. Tampa rookies Mark Barron and Lavonte David should also get recognized for their performance this year as well though.
Coach of the Year:
Greg Schiano made a big impact on not only his team, but the league this year (remember his refusal to allow teams to down the ball when leading and trying to run out the clock?), but Mike Smith of the Falcons stood out a little more than the Tampa rookie coach.

NFC West

Photo Credit: (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Photo Credit: (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Seattle rookie quarterback Russell Wilson, while not putting up outstanding numbers, has had tremendous impact. There are those, including some of my Couchletes colleagues, that I know would try to argue San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick would warrant consideration. To them I say, you’re crazy. Wilson’s resume is better and he’s had more impact on that team than Kaepernick has had on an already top tier 49er unit.
Offensive Player of the Year:
Marshawn Lynch has more rushing yards and more touchdowns than San Francisco’s Frank Gore and receives the nod from me, although both have had strong seasons.
Defensive Player of the Year:
San Francisco’s Aldon Smith is within reach of Michael Strahan’s single season sack record (currently tied with Houston’s J.J. Watt) and will warrant discussion in the Defensive Player of the Year conversation, but I question if his teammate Justin Smith has had more impact.
Offensive Rookie of the Year:
Wilson. No one else comes close.
Defensive Rookie of the Year:
Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins has had a great season, silencing many of the critics who raised questions about him during the draft process. While he’s tops, Seattle has also had several rookies provide immediate impact on the defensive side of the ball, with middle linebacker Bobby Wilson leading the way.
Coach of the Year:
Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll both warrant consideration, but as I stated in my choice for AFC East coach of the year, expectations play a large part in my determination. Everyone knew San Francisco would be good this year, not many expected Seattle to be this good.

By Kevin York
Follow Kevin on Twitter at @kevin_york

Keep ’em or Can ’em?: Winding up the NFL coaching carousel

By Kevin York

As the NFL season begins its final stretch, an annual league tradition is simultaneously starting again – the rumor mill surrounding the fates of NFL head coaches. Every year at this time a debate ensues about what struggling franchises should do to try and reverse their fortunes for the next year and much nearly all of that debate focuses on the man leading these franchises onto the field every week, the head coach. So in the spirit of this yearly custom, I give you Keep ’em or Can ’em, an early look at what I think upper management and ownership should decide on the future of their respective team’s head coach. At least for next year.

AFC East
Buffalo Bills (Chan Gailey) – Can ’em
Gailey has compiled a 15-31 record in his three seasons in Buffalo, finishing in last place in the AFC East in his first two season and appearing destined for the cellar again. A coach with an offensive background, Gailey has struggled to make the Bills offensive consistent. While somewhat handcuffed by the long term signing of mediocre quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, I don’t think it gives Gailey a pass since he’s had talent around Fitzpatrick, especially at running back. Time for Chan to go.

Miami Dolphins (Joe Philbin) – Keep ’em
The former Packers offensive coordinator has put together a respectable first season with a winnable game left against Buffalo and potentially even at New England, if the Patriots happen to sit starters in preparation for the playoffs. Philbin deserves at least another year to see what he can do.

New England Patriots (Bill Belichik) – Keep ’em
Belichik put together another great season and has compiled a resume that allows him to essentially leave the Patriots on his own terms.

New York Jets (Rex Ryan)Can ’em
What a rollercoaster. The Jets limped through this season and although somehow had a shot to still make the playoffs until last week’s loss to Tennessee, sorely underperformed on the year. Ryan made some head scratching moves, such as not dressing healthy quarterback Greg McElroy the two weeks following his relief appearance to lead the Jets to a win over Arizona, then giving McElroy the nod over both starter Mark Sanchez and second stringer Tim Tebow against the Chargers in week 16. While Ryan isn’t as bad of a coach as some have made him out to be, I think it’s time for this struggling franchise to start over and rebuild. That means parting ways with Ryan as well as GM Mike Tannenbaum and a number of Jets veterans.

AFC North
Baltimore Ravens (John Harbaugh) – Keep ’em
Harbaugh and GM Ozzie Newsome have built the Ravens into one of the most consistent franchises in the league. While they could get younger on defense and need to take a close look at their future with quarterback Joe Flacco, those are personnel moves that Harbaugh and Newsome have proven to be more than capable of addressing. No reason to make a coaching change.

Cincinnati Bengals (Marvin Lewis) – Keep ’em
Lewis has put together a nice season with the Bengals, unexpectedly placing them in playoff contention. He’s done a good job with a fairly young team that has overachieved, all things considered. Stick with Lewis, he’s got this team on the right track in a tough, tough division.

Cleveland Browns (Pat Shurmur) – Keep ’em
Six weeks ago I would have said it’s time for Shurmur to go, but after winning five of their last nine, he seems to have altered the course of this team and pointed them in a positive direction. I would be willing to give him another season to see if he can build on what he’s started the latter half of this year.

Pittsburgh Steelers (Mike Tomlin) – Keep ’em
It’s been a tough, injury plagued year for the Steelers. Tomlin has done a nice job of keeping them in the playoff hunt despite these difficulties, although I think ultimately Pittsburgh will find themselves on the outside looking in. The Rooney’s have built one of the strongest franchises in the league by staying loyal to their head coaches, even in down years. No reason to buck that trend this year and I don’t think they’re even considering it. Keep Tomlin.

AFC South
Indianapolis Colts (Chuck Pagano) – Keep ’em
Although Pagano hasn’t been able to be as involved in the Colts everyday operations as every other coach on this list, he has had tremendous impact on that team. His battle with cancer was difficult for the team, and Pagano himself, to endure, but they did so remarkably. A lot of credit goes to offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who should find himself with a head coaching job next year, but you can’t discredit what Pagano did for this team. He will be back next year and hopefully for years to come.

Jacksonville Jaguars (Mike Mularkey) – Keep ’em
Mularkey’s first season in Jacksonville has been nothing short of a disaster. Only two wins on the year so far and with one of their two remaining contests against New England, it seems that the Jaguars are destined for one of the top three picks in next year’s draft. I’m not one to give up on a coach after one year though, so I think Mularkey should be back next year so we can see if he can get some momentum going in the right direction.

Houston Texans (Gary Kubiak) – Keep ’em
Kubiak finally seemed to have a team that lived up to its ‘on paper’ potential this year. His teams have had a knack for coming up short, but both this year and last year, the Texans have been a top team in the league. Although they suffered difficult blowout losses to Green Bay and New England, Kubiak has done a nice job this year. He deserves another.

Tennessee Titans (Mike Munchak) – Keep ’em
It’s been a year of transition in Tennessee as Jake Locker has become the team’s starter and leader at quarterback. A 9-7 year in 2011 has been followed by a year in which the Titans only have five wins and have been plagued by inconsistency. As I said earlier, I don’t like to bail on coaches too early and I think Munchak deserves one more year; however, in a division that includes powerful Houston and quickly improving Indy, he’ll have the pressure on him next year to win.

AFC West
Denver Broncos (John Fox) – Keep ’em
I have a feeling the Carolina Panthers are wishing they kept Fox. He’s done quite nicely in his first two years in Denver and I think will be there for a while. Definite keep.

Kansas City Chiefs (Romeo Crennel) – Keep ’em
This was a hard one. Crennel has a short body of work with the Chiefs, having only coached three games last year, combined with his two wins in fourteen games this year. It’s been a tough season for Crennel off the field too, witnessing a player kill himself. Looking back at Crennel’s four years in Cleveland as head coach, he had his ups and downs. Two four win seasons, a ten win season and a six win year. Ultimately, I go back to my stance that coaches need some time and I think Crennel fits into that category. I would keep him another year.

Oakland Raiders (Dennis Allen) – Keep ’em
I know many fans in Oakland would like to see Allen gone, saying he hasn’t produced and they can’t even sense the direction the team is headed in. After Hue Jackson mortgaged the franchise to bring in an aging Carson Palmer, the team lost some depth draft, inhibiting rebuilding to a degree, and meaning it could potentially get worse before it gets better. That said, I do have faith in Reggie McKenzie leading the team as GM. Allen was chosen by McKenzie and that’s good enough for me to keep him another year. Raiders fans knew after the disastrous Hue Jackson period that the next couple years would be tough. Be patient.

San Diego Chargers (Norv Turner) – Can ’em
Turner hasn’t been as bad as many have inferred. In fact, I would place more blame for the Chargers downhill slide over the last several years on general manager AJ Smith. Some of the decisions Smith has made have been disastrous and rumors have floated out that many players won’t play in San Diego because of him. So I’d fire both Turner and Smith. Turner is a much better fit as an offensive coordinator. I think this will end his head coaching days.

NFC East
Dallas Cowboys (Jason Garrett) – Keep ’em
I feel like the Cowboys have underperformed throughout Garrett’s tenure with the team. That said, they’re in playoff contention right now. Garrett has the unenviable task of working for Jerry Jones, a man that think he’s a personnel guy, but who is most definitely not. All things considered, I would give Garrett a ‘C’ grade on his performance so far. Average. Much depends on how Dallas finishes the season in regards to Garrett’s future in Big D. I predict they’ll beat New Orleans then lose to Washington, which would put them at 9-7, a win better than last year. If that happens, and they don’t lose both games, I’d say keep Garrett for another year and then reevaluate.

New York Giants (Tom Coughlin)Keep ’em
The Giants may not make the playoffs this year, but Coughlin has cemented his status as one of the best in the business. Even if this turns out to be a down year, I would keep him.

Philadelphia Eagles (Andy Reid) – Can ’em
Sometimes teams need to just start over. It doesn’t always mean the coach is bad. Andy Reid is a good coach, but I think it’s time for a change of scenery, both for Reid and for the Philadelphia sideline. He will find himself in a new head coaching job very soon, if he wants one.

Washington Redskins (Mike Shanahan) – Keep ’em
A year ago at this time, I would’ve said Shanahn would find himself out of a job after the 2012 season. Then the Redskins pulled off a huge draft day deal to acquire Robert Griffin III and suddenly the ‘Skins are on the rise and Shanahan is safe. A good quarterback equates to job security for a head coach and I think Shanahan has found his job security for years to come.

NFC North
Chicago Bears (Lovie Smith) – Can ’em
This was the hardest decision on this list. In his nine years at the helm of the Bears, Smith has led Chicago to four winning seasons, three playoff births and a Super Bowl appearance. He’s also had three seasons with 7-9 or 8-8 records. The Bears may make the playoffs this year, but may have to win out to do so. While Smith has made the Bears consistently competitive, I think they need more than that. The Packers are tough and given their youth don’t appear ready to fall off the NFC North podium anytime soon. The Vikings seem to be a team on the rise (if they can find a quarterback) and the Lions have good weapons and should remain competitive (if they can establish some discipline). If the Bears want to make the jump, I think it’s time for a change. Ultimately, I also had to look at the Bears offense. It’s struggled throughout Smith’s time as head coach. Even this year, if you were to take Brandon Marshall out of the mix, that would be a disaster. I question Smith’s ability to identify a coach with the necessary talent to build an offense.

Detroit Lions (Jim Schwartz) – Keep ’em
This was actually a narrow decision to keep Schwartz over can him. The Lions have talent. Their biggest problem right now is team discipline and I question if Schwartz can fix that. It almost seems that his personality feeds into the discipline problems. Since his hiring, the Lions have developed a reputation for being a dirty team. I would give Schwartz one year to fix this and if he can’t, show him the door. This is a job that good coaches would now jump at.

Green Bay Packers (Mike McCarthy) – Keep ’em
McCarthy continues to build on the success he’s instilled into Green Bay. No reason to change direction now.

Minnesota Vikings (Leslie Frazier) – Keep ’em
After a slow start to the Frazier era in Minnesota, I now think Frazier has the team headed in the right direction. Yes, they may not yet have a long term solution at quarterback, but many of the other pieces are in place and Frazier has done a nice job in spite of not having a top tier quarterback.

NFC South
Atlanta Falcons (Mike Smith) – Keep ’em
No question here. I think Mike Smith is one of the top coaches in the game right now.

Carolina Panthers (Ron Rivera) – Keep ’em
I originally wrote this post saying the Panthers should be fired, putting up a good argument as to why. As I thought about it more and stared at what I wrote, I thought I was a little too harsh on Rivera. The Panthers are bad, but those problems extend far beyond Rivera to the GM and even to the owner. Rivera is stuck with Cam Newton as his quarterback, a player who has clearly struggled this year and likely will continue to. Great fantasy player, but not a guy I’d want on my real team. I would give Rivera one more year to show more progress, but I’m skeptical he’ll be able to with Newton under center.

New Orleans Saints (Sean Payton, Aaron Kromer, Joe Vitt) – Keep ’em
Tough year for the Saints, one in which I’m not even sure who to call the coach. I guess it was Joe Vitt, but he will definitely not return in that capacity next year. Instead, Sean Payton will return, and Vitt will go back to his role as linebackers coach. Payton should most definitely return to this team. He’s sorely needed.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Greg Schiano) – Keep ’em
I really like what Schiano has done in his first season in Tampa, except for that odd move to not allow an opposing team to simply down the ball when ahead to run out the clock. Even that strange decision was part of a larger culture change he’s brought to the Buccaneers though. This is a team on the rise.

NFC West
Arizona Cardinals (Ken Whisenhunt) – Can ’em
Time to start over. Whisenhunt has had a difficult time building on the success the Cardinals had in 2008 and 2009 when they reached the playoffs (and Super Bowl in 2008). He followed those seasons with win totals of five and eight the next two years and currently has five this season. The Cardinals suffered through a nine game losing streak in the middle of this season. I question Whisenhunt’s ability to identify quarterback talent and develop young talent. His high points with Arizona came with veteran Kurt Warner starting. Following that he’s made a number of mistakes in bringing new quarterbacks in and also developing new, young ones. He may be better suited for a team with an established veteran. If we look at chances for quarterback improvement next year, I don’t see a lot of veteran choices out there. The best option is probably Kirk Cousins, Washington’s backup, but he’s young and would need a good coaching staff to continue working to develop him. I think Whisenhunt’s a good coach who may find himself with another head coaching job in the future, but I don’t see this team improving much next year with him.

Saint Louis Rams (Jeff Fisher) – Keep ’em
I really like what Fisher has done this season. He’s turned the Rams around and they are primed for success in the future. Two wins over division power San Francisco (yes, I’m counting that tie as a win for the Rams) is a good starting point.

San Francisco 49ers (Jim Harbaugh) – Keep ’em
Those in San Francisco know I’m pretty critical of Harbaugh, but he’s a good head coach and has changed that organization.

Seattle Seahawks (Pete Carroll) – Keep ’em
I never thought we’d see this kind of success from Carroll. To be quite honest, I thought Seattle was going to serve as a temporary stop for him as he waited out NCAA sanctions against him until he went back to the college game free from any NCAA-imposed baggage. His performance has surprised me and I now think we’ll be seeing him on the Seahawks sideline for some time.

By Kevin York
Follow Kevin on Twitter at @kevin_york

The Catholic Seven Strike Back

By Kevin York

Sunday, December 9. A day that could possibly significantly alter college athletics. The day that the little guys finally stood up for themselves.

These little guys were a band of seven Catholic universities, I’ll call them the Catholic Seven, that currently comprise over half of the Big East’s membership for all sports except football. That ‘except football’ is important because the seven schools don’t have FBS college football programs. Their football teams play at the FCS level.

Over the past several years we’ve seen the landscape of college athletics alter tremendously with shifts spurred by big time college football. Conference alignments now look drastically different than they did even ten years ago. The SEC, Big Ten and Pac 12 have established themselves as the power conferences, expanding without losing member schools to other conferences. The Big 12 and ACC have tried to keep up, but have each lost schools amidst efforts to add more.

The Big East has become the ultimate victim of this seemingly endless shift. Since 2004, the Big East has lost Virginia Tech, Temple (they’ve since rejoined), Miami, Boston College and West Virginia. In the next two years, Syracuse, Pitt, Rutgers, Notre Dame and Louisville will also exit; and people are now raising the possibility that teams which haven’t even officially joined the conference yet, but have committed to, may also be looking to leave. All of these departures have led the conference to invite schools like Central Florida, Houston and Tulane into its fold. In the rush to capitalize on big time football money, they’ve also invited Boise State, San Diego State and East Carolina to the Big East, but only for football. The result has become a convoluted geographic mess of a conference, stretching from Storrs, CT to Tampa to San Diego.

Left in the dust of all the football prompted moves is basketball. It’s been a complete afterthought for every single conference as they all struggle to keep up in this arms race that is big time college football. TV contracts are a major driver of all this, but it’s only football TV contracts that are discussed. Not basketball.

On Sunday, the Catholic Seven decided they’d seen enough. Representatives from DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Villanova met with Big East commissioner Mike Aresco to discuss their future in the Big East.

These schools all have a rich tradition and history in basketball, the sport that the Big East was originally built on. Inaugural Big East commissioner and founder Dave Cavitt created the conference with the intent of it being a powerhouse basketball conference. The Catholic Seven have a combined three national titles, 18 Final Four appearances and 149 NCAA tournament appearances between them. They all did their respective parts in bringing Cavitt’s vision to a reality. In the 1980s and now again over the past few years, the Big East truly has set the standard in college basketball as the strongest conference in the land from top to bottom. Now the Catholic Seven are seeing their beloved conference becoming a bastardized version of its former self. Basketball excellence does not factor into it any longer. Tulane, SMU, Central Florida? Playing those schools will surely not help the RPI rankings for a Villanova or Georgetown.

Why has basketball not played a bigger role in the reshaping of the college athletics landscape? It has a TV draw. Not as much money as there is associated with football, but there’s still money. Why couldn’t a conference be built on basketball success and still get big financial benefits? That’s exactly what the Catholic Seven want to find out. There are indications that they may partner with basketball-rich schools like Butler, Xavier, Creighton, Dayton and St. Louis to create their own completely new conference. It’s now almost inevitable that the seven will leave the Big East and many expect that the new conference will quickly follow. The formation of a new conference led by the Catholic Seven and including tradition laden basketball schools is one of the best realignment ideas I’ve heard in a long time. I would watch that conference’s games. I think that conference would be pretty successful and make a good deal of money, all on the back of basketball, not football.

Ultimately, I like this move because it’s a stand by the little guys. The Catholic Seven, looked at as inconsequential because of their FCS football programs, could’ve easily been forced into doing what other larger schools want in a game of follow the leader. Instead, they’re saying, “We matter and we’re not going to allow others to determine our fate any longer. Basketball still matters; we want to do this our way.” I think that’s what Dave Cavitt would want.

I hope other smaller, FCS football schools with power basketball programs take notice. Wouldn’t it be cool to see a conference made up of basketball schools like Southern Illinois, Missouri State, Northern Iowa, Valparaiso, Wichita State, St. Joseph’s, VCU, Murray State, George Mason, George Washington, Richmond and La Salle? Sure, it’s not Duke-Carolina, but that type of conference would provide some good, competitive, entertaining games.

Unlike football, college basketball isn’t just built on the top tier, big school, major programs. The little guys play a big part too. The Big East may soon realize this. What kind of significance does a conference containing South Florida, Cincinnati, UConn, Central Florida, SMU, Houston, Memphis, Temple and Tulane have on a national level in either football or basketball? That doesn’t make me see dollar signs. I think they’d be better off building around basketball and keeping the Catholic Seven. The Big East as we’ve known it, is now nearly dead.

By Kevin York
Follow Kevin on Twitter at @kevin_york

NFL Week 15: The Couchletes Pick ‘Em

It’s crunch time! As we tick down toward the playoffs we are highly anticipating the games this week. It’s a doozy of a week with some stellar match-ups. We have the Giants squaring off against the struggling Falcons in Atlanta. The surging Packers in Chicago to take on the consistently offensively potent Bears. Denver in Baltimore. Indy in Houston. The Niners in New England. And, the Chiefs in Oakland … oh wait, no one cares about that game.

This week could yield some playoff spot-clinching moments and, possibly, some playoff home field advantage clinching wins.

Last week’s game were no less exciting and meaningful. We saw Andrew Luck lead yet another come from behind victory for the Colts. The Vikings beat the Bears (huh?). The Panthers beat the Falcons by 10 (um, what?). And the Seahawks, yes, the Seahawks put up 58 points and snatch eight turnovers from the utterly terrible Cardinals. What a strange, strange NFL world we’re living in.

We can’t wait to see what this week has in store! On to the picks …

Match-up Kevin Ryan Rahul Mark Hoa

The Couchletes Endorsement: Johnny Manziel, Heisman Trophy

Tomorrow night, the Heisman Trophy will be awarded to the nation’s top college football player at a presentation ceremony in New York city. Three men are up for the award: Kansas State quarterback, Colin Klein; Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel; and Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o. All three are more than deserving of the prestigious award, but only one can receive it. We Couchletes have made our decision on who to endorse for the award, and that person is Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.

Johnny Manziel, or Johnny Football, as he’s come to be known, stuck out to us as the very best player in the game this year. He broke Cam Newton’s SEC record for total yards in a single season, a record some thought was unbreakable. He broke that record playing in two fewer games than it took Newton to set it. Manziel also became the first freshman to pass for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000 in a single season.

While some will hold his athletic eligibility standing as a freshman (redshirt freshman) against him (no freshman has ever won the award), we at The Couchletes think it just furthers his accomplishments. It’s astonishing that any player could put up these numbers, let alone a freshman, playing in the SEC, a conference that many say is the toughest in the nation. The numbers speak for themselves, it’s hard to make an argument that Manziel is not the most deserving of the award. That said, people are. So now that we’ve given our support to Manziel, we’ll deconstruct the rationale for giving the award to anyone else.

Arguments have been made that Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o is the most valuable player to his team. That’s not the name of this game though. The Heisman is awarded to the most outstanding player in the country. Even if we were using the ‘valuable’ definition, Manziel accounts for over 69% of his team’s offense. That screams value. Te’o is an extremely good football player, but his position hurts him. He’s certainly deserving of all the post-season defensive awards that have come his way (Bednarik Award, Butkus Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Lombardi Award), but it’s hard to justify a defensive player being the most outstanding player in all of the land (Charles Woodson is the only primarily defensive player to win the award. Even there, note that I said ‘primarily defensive.’ Woodson contributed to the Michigan offense as a receiver). Manziel, as quarterback, touches the ball on roughly half of all of a game’s plays. That’s impact. While Te’o tied for third in interceptions among FBS players, he was not among the top 50 in total tackles, nor was he in the top 50 in tackles for loss, sacks, forced fumbles or fumble recoveries. Sure, the decision in how ‘good’ a player is goes beyond stats, and you can argue that a good Notre Dame defensive unit around him limits some of Te’o’s numbers, but a defensive player needs to show up more in these statistical areas to warrant the Heisman nod.

As for Klein, he’s a great player, but his stats pale in comparison to Manziel’s. Competition should be factored in some as well. Klein played in the Big 12, a conference that doesn’t come close to the loaded SEC in terms of talent and overall competition. Manziel beat Alabama (ranked #1 at the time), Mississippi State (#15) and Louisiana Tech (#23). His two losses were by a combined total of seven points against LSU and Florida, two ranked teams. Klein beat Oklahoma (#6 at the time), West Virginia (#13), Texas Tech (#14) and Oklahoma State (#24). Unfortunately, he also lost to unranked Baylor in a very poor showing. With many of both quarterback’s wins over ranked teams becoming devalued as the season wore on, that Baylor loss by Klein was key to this decision because Manziel played well all season, even in losses.

Congratulations to Johnny Manziel for earning our endorsement for Heisman Trophy winner of the year. If we had money to send you a trophy for The Couchletes player of the year, Johnny, we would. But alas, we have no money for things like that, so you’ll have to be satisfied with the fact that five wannabe sportswriters chose you as the best college football player in the nation this year. Hopefully tomorrow night the Heisman Trust will agree with us and recognize you.

NFL Week 14: The Couchletes Pick ‘Em

Admittedly, we’ve been slacking off a bit with the picks post. We started to figure, why post something that proves we’re experts? We don’t need to prove anything. We’re smarter than the average sports fans, this is known. Obviously.

Despite that and after some encouragement from our EIC, we put the post together again because it “drives traffic.” Whatever that counts for when we have no advertising. But I digress …

The last few weeks in the NFL have been great, but I can already sense the tears coming to my eyes as we near the end of the season. True, the playoffs are still ahead and, of course, the Super Bowl but the end is near. That said, we’re going to enjoy these last remaining weeks of the regular season as it becomes clearer and clearer which teams are contenders and pretenders. Some teams like the Denver Broncos seem to really be gelling and separating themselves from the rest of the pack in the AFC. This is great news for those of us that have seen their fill of the Steelers and Ravens, though Big Ben is allegedly coming back this week and I can’t imagine he’ll be very happy after having missed so much time, which probably means bad news for his opponent this week, the lowly San Diego Chargers.

We just launched our NFL Power 5 for this week and we saw some familiar and some not so familiar faces in the rankings. The top two remained the same as they have nearly all season (the Texans and Falcons), but both have proven recently they can be beaten. That’s why the home stretch of this season is going to be a doozy. Some teams are already wrapping up playoff berths, like the Broncos, while others have their sights set on home field advantage. Or, if you’re the 49ers, you’re busy dicking around with the starting quarterback role and inviting a bunch of unneeded tension and attention into the locker room.

On to the picks. Enjoy Week 14!

Match-up Kevin Ryan Rahul Hoa Mark

College Football Reform

When news surfaced earlier this year that the powers that be in college football decided to move away from the current BCS format to a four game playoff for its postseason, fans rejoiced. Finally, everyone said, a system will be in place where the national title will be decided on the field. Finally, the game’s postseason wouldn’t revolve around the mysterious BCS rankings.

Then reality set in.

Are four teams enough? What if there are two one loss teams and four two loss teams in a season? What if there are three undefeateds and four one loss teams? What about the mid major teams?

People realized that even this new playoff system would not be ideal. It has its flaws and we’ve yet to even put it into practice. How would the committee choosing the four teams make its decisions? Last week Sports Illustrated published an article giving an inside look at how that process will likely work. They put together a mock selection committee to go through the process of selecting four teams for a playoff. Give the article a read for yourself, but to sum things up, they found the process extremely difficult. Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith was part of the mock committee and is a former chairman of the NCAA men’s basketball selection committee. His feedback? He found the selection of the four teams to participate in the football playoff more difficult than selecting the entire field of basketball’s March Madness tournament.

This made me start thinking, why not move to an ultimate playoff? Why not change the entire college football system? Change things up radically. I mean, why not? The landscape of the sport has already shifted so much over the past five years. We now have Nebraska and Michigan in the same conference. Colorado and USC. Missouri and Alabama. And then there’s the bi-coastal new Big East. Can you imagine UConn playing San Diego State?

I started thinking of my own idea for a system that would work better than both the current BCS system and the future four team playoff we have coming. A complete reform of college football. Some of the considerations that came to mind were:

1. Let’s eliminate the full month that some teams now have off between their last regular season game and their bowl game.

2. Let’s actually keep the players in mind. College administrators always flinch at adding more games to the schedule, citing difficulties for the student athlete. C’mon guys. Is UConn playing at San Diego State on a Thursday night really looking out for the student athlete?

3. Let’s expand the season just slightly. There’s a 12 game regular season, a conference championship (for some teams) and then a bowl game. So a good team will play up to 14 games. Let’s play just one more.

4. Let’s completely reform the conferences. I consider myself somewhat of a traditionalist, but these new super conferences aren’t what any of us grew up with. The sense of nostalgia that comes with some of these yearly matchups will soon be gone. So why not take it a step further and really shake things up?

5. With this reform, there needs to be a certain degree of competitive balance in each new conference. There also needs to be a geographic approach in mind. We don’t need to see Boise State and South Florida in the same conference.

So here’s my idea. Eight super conferences. Nine regular season games, with seven of those in conference and two out of conference. After the nine regular season games, the top eight teams in each conference enter a conference playoff. That playoff would last three weeks and be in a bracket format (team with the best record plays the team with the 8th best record and so on).

Then the eight conference champions are all entered into a national playoff lasting eight weeks. The placements in that bracket are decided by a committee with representation from each conference. The goal in the seeding placements of the eight teams is to weight the matchups.

So with a nine game regular season, a three game conference playoff and then a three game national playoff, we’re looking at the possibility of the two best teams in the nation playing 15 games.

I know that the teams that miss making their conference playoff are losing three games from their normal schedule. College football is all about money. I have no way of proving this with data, but I think in the end, my reform will end up providing a better payout to those schools through the conference distribution of revenue. I see the conference playoffs drawing more tv viewers and thus, higher ratings, than most of the regular season games we see currently. The entire season becomes that much more important. The national playoffs would be a big money maker.

I’ve even gone so far as to create the eight super conferences that will contain all the NCAA FBS schools in the nation. I also included teams that will be moving to FBS status in the next few years (such as Charlotte and Georgia State). In creating these conferences, I tried to keep geography in mind, as well as competitive balance. In naming them, I chose names that aren’t currently in use by any conferences because this change is only for football. So current conferences would remain in other sports.

The North Atlantic Conference (NAC):
Army, Boston College, Buffalo, Maryland, Navy, Old Dominion, Penn State, Pitt, Rutgers, Syracuse, Temple, UConn, UMass, Virginia, Virginia Tech, West Virginia

The Great Lakes Conference (GLC):
Akron, Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Cincinnati, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Marshall, Miami (OH), Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio, Ohio State, Western Michigan

Midwest Conference (Midwest):
Ball State, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Louisville, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Northern Illinois, Northwestern, Purdue, Wisconsin

Mid-Continent Conference (Mid-Con):
Arkansas, Arkansas State, Charlotte, Clemson, Duke, East Carolina, Kentucky, Memphis, Middle Tennessee, North Carolina, NC State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest

Gulf Coast Conference (GCC):
Central Florida, Florida, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia State, Georgia Tech, Louisiana-Lafayette, LSU, Miami (FL), South Alabama, South Florida, Southern Mississippi, Troy, Tulane

Big South Conference (Big South):
Alabama, Auburn, Baylor, Houston, Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana Tech, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, North Texas, Rice, SMU, Texas A&M, TCU, Texas State, UAB, University Texas-San Antonio

Southwestern Conference (SWC):
Air Force, Arizona, Arizona State, BYU, Colorado, Colorado State, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas Tech, Utah, Utah State, UTEP, Wyoming

Pacific Coast Conference (PCC):
Boise State, Cal, Fresno State, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon Oregon State, San Diego State, San Jose State, Stanford, UCLA, UNLV, USC, Washington, Washington State

I think these conference alignments are fairly balanced. Some appear stronger than others, but I don’t see any that stand out as being really, really weak (like the current Big East). Sure, you could say the North Atlantic Conference was weaker this year, but it’s not full of teams that are traditionally bad. Virginia Tech had a down year. West Virginia started hot and faded at the end of the season. Penn State had a real shot at going 10-2 this year instead of 8-4. Rutgers and Pitt have been competitive over the past few years. UConn and Temple are programs that are on the rise. You could also look at the GLC and say it’s dominated by former MAC teams because of the high number of teams located in Ohio and Michigan. However, I look at that conference and say it’s also loaded with high power programs with Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Notre Dame.

Overall, it feels fairly even to me, but let’s actually play it out (or theorize it out is probably more accurate):

If this system would have been in place this year, I think we would’ve seen conference championships along the lines of below (let’s assume that all schools were playoff eligible and not on probation for this exercise).

NAC Championship: Penn State vs. West Virginia

GLC Championship: Ohio State vs. Notre Dame

Midwest Championship: Kansas State vs. Nebraska

Mid-Con Championship: South Carolina vs. Clemson

GCC Championship: Georgia vs. Florida

Big South Championship: Alabama vs. Texas A&M

SWC Championship: Oklahoma vs. Texas

PCC Championship: Stanford vs. Oregon

So the national playoff?
#1 Notre Dame vs. #8 Penn State
#4 Kansas State vs. #5 Stanford
#3 Georgia vs. #6 Oklahoma
#2 Alabama vs. #7 South Carolina

Seems like a pretty entertaining conference and national playoff scenario.

Random Saturday Morning Thoughts

Yesterday I was reading an article by ESPN’s Rick O’Reilly about Penn State coach Bill O’Brien and how he should be college football’s coach of the year. O’Reilly mentioned Silas Redd’s transfer to USC in it and I realized, I didn’t hear a whole lot about Redd this season. I was curious so I looked up his stats. Then I decided to compare them to Penn State’s top rusher this season, Zach Zwinak:
Silas Redd – 150 attempts for 817 yards and 9 TDs
Zach Zwinak – 203 attempts for 1,000 yards and 6 TDs
Wonder if the transfer will really help Redd with getting drafted as much as he hoped ///


David Stern wants to penalize the San Antonio Spurs because Spurs coach Gregg Popovich made a good decision that will benefit his team in the long run. Popovich’s team was ending a long road trip Thursday night by playing in Miami against the Heat. Pop decided to send Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobli and Danny Green back to San Antonio. By having them skip the Heat game, he was giving up a chance for a win. Why do this? The Spurs host the Western conference leading Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday. That game is much more important to the Spurs over the long haul than the game against LeBron & Co. By the way, the short-handed Spurs only lost by 5 points to Bron-Bron and crew. Stern needs to butt out and let Popovich handle his team ///


Let Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens into the Hall of Fame. Include the steroid allegations on their plaque, but put them in. They were arguably the best position player and pitcher of the modern era. They need to be in ///


Apparently owner Tom Benson doesn’t want to keep the Hornets nickname on the team he bought which resides in New Orleans. He’d like something more associated with Louisiana and would also like to change the team colors to red, gold and navy blue. I like this. Hornets just doesn’t fit with New Orleans. Hey, what about the New Orleans Jazz?! ///


It’s too bad that Rajon Rondo’s consecutive streak of games with double digit assists had to end with an ejection. Rondo was tied with John Stockton at 37 straight games with 10 or more assists, trailing only Magic Johnson (46). Then he was ejected from Wednesday night’s game with the Nets for fighting pushing with Brooklyn’s Kris Humphries. I would’ve liked to see him keep going. For the record, I think Rondo is the best pure point guard in the game today. Oh, and Kris, you might want to hit the weight room. Little Rondo got the best of you. He’s only eight inches shorter than you and fifty pounds lighter ///

By Kevin York
Follow Kevin on Twitter at @kevin_york