Sunday, January 23, 2011


When the NFL stated that the AFC Championship Game will start at 6:30 Eastern Time, the Jets did not believe them. The Jets decided to show up about an hour and 15 minutes later. And the rest is history.

I don't know if anyone caught the Sanchez/Brunnel sideline discussion during Pittsburgh's first drive. Just at the end of the drive, the CBS crew shot an image of Sanchez talking to Brunnel. While they are talking, Sanchez is picking his nose. Not the digging type of picking but the thumb trying to get the dry crusties out of his nostril. When Sanchez finally picked a winner, he is caught wiping it on Brunnel's jacket. In two years, Sanchez is caught eating a hot dog and now picking his nose. Just wondering.

The Jets have so many ways that they can beat you and they also have so many ways that they can beat themselves. Was Schottenheimer kidding, when he ran the same four run plays in each quarter that gained a net average of 1 yard? Was Schottenheimer kidding when he ran the worst four plays at the goal line? And if you aren't going to use an onside kick at the end of the fourth quarter, can someone tell the special teams that it is necessary to pin the opposing team back in their end and not stand around and watch them bring the ball back to their 40. Where was LT today? Is this a family thing, a Schottenheimer getting only to the conference championship? (see Marty and see Brian 2010 and 2011)

We will not talk about the first half because that was a nightmare but with all things considered, the score could of been worse. The Jets held the Steelers to a field goal on one drive and intercepted one on another. But when the second half began and the Jets put one in the endzone, the defense woke up. After Schottenheimer made those four spectacular play calls, the defense on the next play gave the Jets 2 points and the ball back. Big Ben did drop the ball but the big guys were there to get us the two.

When the Jets offense was clicking, it looked good. Just very hard to spot a team a 21 point lead in a Championship Game. Let's take a look at the first half's running attack, 1 yard, need we say more. Schottenheimer has one of the most physical and athletic offensive lines and he decides that it would be wise to just try to run the ball up the middle with basically eight men in the box. Rex Ryan probably kicked him in the head at halftime because the first set of run plays, Schottenheimer called counters with a lot of movement from his lineman and the Jets were eating up chunks of real estate. Once this happened the passing lanes opened. I just don't understand how one person can call such a schizophrenic game.

Maybe I am just upset at the outcome but when the Jets were marching the ball up field in the second half and Sanchez slid to avoid getting hit. Was it my imagination that Harrison came and hit Sanchez a tad bit late after the slide? There was no flag thrown. I know people are gonna say, yeah but Harrison was sliding himself and they kind of bumped into each other. Well, if he just bumped into Sanchez then the Jets defender who barely touched the Steelers punter should not have been called for a 15 yard personal foul. You can't have it both ways.

Rex and team have a few things to work on in the off season. If the issues are addressed properly, I see the Jets right back here and winning it next time. The Jets definitely need to address pass rushing, the punting and kicking game and less sporadic play calling from the offensive coordinator.

Congratulations to the Jets for a winning season as well as a very entertaining season. Since the football season is over, I can now get all worked up about the Knicks and the Rangers.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Zenyatta-Horse of the Year

The award that has eluded this fine race horse, despite going undefeated, was bestowed on her Monday. Congratulations to John Sherriffs, who had the patience to wait a bit longer before running the horse and to Jerry and Ann Moss, the owners, who trusted Sherriffs with their prized possession. Many congratulations to MIke Smith, who definitely had the rides of his life and can definitely say that he rode one of the great ones, if not the greatest. And of course, congratulations to The Horse of the Year, Zenyatta.

This campaign and vote was like a horse race. All the handicappers were putting in their two cents. Blame should be the horse of the year because the colt beat Zenyatta fair and square. Zenyatta should be named because of the strength of her schedule, and on and on we go. But just like a race, they got to get out there and race.

The award is voted on by members of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, the National Turf Writers Association and The Daily Racing Form. And voters, by a comfortable margin of 128-102 in first-place votes, decided Zenyatta had done more. She won five Grade I’s last year in extending her streak to 19 victories in a row — 13 of them Grade I’s. More than that, though, Zenyatta single-handedly made horse racing fun again.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Knicks Shred Spurs Defense

Nothing like the Garden, especially when you are winning and the taunts are directed at the visiting team and not the home team. The Garden fans, in all of their glory and excitement, were serenading Tony Parker with chants of "EVA".

This is only the fifth loss by the Spurs and the Spurs opened up the season going 29 for 33, pretty impressive considering they play in the West. And what is most impressive is that the Knicks did it at home, the Garden has just not been friendly to them or the Rangers.

Every night there is a different star for the Knicks. Tonight it was Wilson Chandler with 31 points. With Gallineri out for 2-3 weeks it is quite important that everyone pitch in. With the loss of Gallineri, D'Antoni needed to start Turiaf at center and he filled in well. He also showed some chutzpah when DeJuan Blair of the Spurs decided he was going to talk some mush after dunking one.

The Knicks did a number on the Spurs defense. They scored 72 first half points. It got to a point that with 3 minutes left in the game and the Spurs down by 10, Popovich pulled his starters. It appeared that he was the Spurs' cornerman throwing in the towel. Not sure if I agree with that decision, three minutes is a long time and 10 points is not much. Better for us because we get the W.

Mega Millions Winner

Here are the Mega Millions winning numbers, 4-8-15-25-47, Mega Ball 42.

Monday, January 3, 2011


This is only the third time in my life have I seen the Jets win eleven games. The first was in 1968 and we all know what happened in that Super Bowl. Then in 1985 they won eleven games and lost in the second round to the New England Patriots. The last time they topped eleven was in 1998 and that was a 12 game winning season and they lost to the Broncos in the AFC Championship game.

They have made the play-offs this year with an 11-5 record. This got them a wild card spot and a trip to Indianapolis to face the Colts. I like this match-up because of what happened last year. Let's have a little redemption from last years AFC Championship loss to the Colts.

I think this year they have a much better shot at beating the Colts. The Colts have almost no running game which is a blessing for the Jets defensive front. They do not have to play as conservative and they can bring a lot of different looks to throw off Manning. The Colts are an injured bunch, Dallas Clark, Austin Collie and Anthony Gonzalez and a whole slew of defensive backs.

In order for the Jets to win, they can not allow Manning to stand in the pocket and pick and choose his receivers. This is Peyton Manning and he will kill you if you give him a chance. You need to bring the house against him and allow the DBs to do their thing.

Last year the Jets were strong on the defensive front and their running game was stronger. They need to have big games from these two positions in order to make a statement. Sanchez' shoulder is a bit creaky so the backs need to take some pressure off of him.

The playoffs are definitely another season. The Jets need to get up for this and take it to them. There is no tomorrow.

As a Jets fan, you have to be enjoying this....there are not too many years that they go above 10 wins.

J E T S, Jets Jets Jets......

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Winter Classic 2011

The Winter Classic is such a great marketing tool by the NHL and not all tools work but this one does. Past games have had snow, which is what the league is looking for but yesterday's game had rain and higher than usually temperatures. The temperatures and rain were causing problems so the league decided to move the game to a later time slot. Hats off to the NHL to make a decision that will alllow an idea to work. Regardless of the rain and warm weather, this outside hockey game is so cool.

Watching the Winter Classic games brings back memories of when the snow would hit E 7th Street in Brooklyn and the lawn between the two buildings would freeze. We would pull the garbage cans onto the lawn and oila!, instant hockey rink. We would play for hours. We would slide from end to end imitating our favorite hockey players. The 7th Street Rink would have the likes of Mike Bossy, Ron Greschner, Guy LaFleur and of course, I had to be Gilbert Pereault.  The All-Stars also did their own imitations of  their favorite announcers, Marv Albert, "He shoots and scores" and John Sterling with "Islander Goal, Islander Goal!!!!"

Wouldn't it of been great to see a Winter Classic back then. Remember, NBC had the Game of the Week on Sundays. We could of watched a classic battle of the Flyers against the Bruins and the between period analysis would of been done by Peter Puck. 

The Winter Classic of 2011 was going to showcase the talents of Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin. These two players had 571 career points each, tied for the most in the NHL since they entered the league in 5005-06. These two on the same ice are going to make people watch. The whole game had an old time feel, all the way down to Penguins coach Dan Bylsma wearing a fedora and Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau wearing a Capitals letterman jacket. It was just a fun game to watch, regardless of who won.

Thinking back on the games we had on East 7th Street, I wonder which of my friends would of been imitating Crosby and which Ovechkin?

Saturday, January 1, 2011


During the break in the rain, we went out to Santa Anita Racetrack. It was one of those beautiful days where there was no smog and the mountains were covered with snow. The air had a chill to it and the place was empty, perfect. Both my friend and I played a few races from Hawthorne Park in Cicero, Illinois and handicapped a number of races from Santa Anita. All in all it was a good day, which brings me to an article that I read and I must comment on.

Richard Dutrow Jr, a trainer, faces possible sanctions from the stewards at Aqueduct, for having one of his horses test positive for banned substances at Aqueduct on November 20th. The horse in question was Fastus Cactus. He won the third race that day at Aqueduct.

The general public does not hear about this because horse racing does not want people to know that there is some shenanigans going on behind the scenes. These trainers get caught doping their horses more than once. They continue to dope their horses because the price that they have to pay for their actions are nothing compared with the profit that they gain for their actions. In order for this type of behavior to stop is for the racing associations to really come down hard on these trainers. That probably will not happen until a national association is formed.

The small stables are the ones that really take it in the shorts in this game. They need to have horses to train but the owners will not give them the big name horses because they want to go with trainers that have a good record. A lot of these trainers resort to doping and when they win everyone makes money. The sanctions placed on them, when they are caught, are minimal as compared to the profit margin. The only way the small stable can keep up is to resort to cheating and most won't, which leaves them in a financial bind. The merry go round just doesn't stop.

The handicappers lose on this because there are some horses that are placed into a race and the handicapper does not know of the doping of this horse. The form shows that this horse is going straight to the glue factory and then it runs like Secreteriat. The handicappers lose, The cheaters win the purse and whatever bets that were placed on the horse and the small honest stable is still having to eat Top Ramen.

It is a big part of this game but in no way am I condemning all trainers and owners. There are great number of trainers and owners who want to see this nonsense removed from the game. Until a stand is taken against these cheats, with sanctions that would cost these people financial lose, we just have to get used to seeing articles about another trainer caught cheating.

I have noticed in the past few years that the racing in Canada is pretty much above board. Have not heard of any scandals with horse owners or trainers. When I handicap the races from Hastings or Woodbine, I seem to be comparing apples to apples and there are really no great surprises. I have come accustomed to betting the Canadian tracks and being laughed at by other handicappers. I seem to cash more winning tickets at the Canadian tracks then I do at the American ones.

There will be losing tickets, winning tickets, honest trainers and owners, cheating trainers and owners and good and bad jockeys. All I can say is this, "That's why they call it gambling."