Maybe the Washington Redskins just are not made for primetime? Washington blew a big opportunity to jump into the NFC Wild Card hunt coming down the stretch but were shut down Monday night. Elsewhere, one of college football’s most respected individuals got people on Twitter mad for some reason, a couple of not-as-respected baseball icons may be inching closer to hall of fame status and Jon Gruden is once again, for some reason, attached to coaching job rumors! Oh, and we have some cake for you this morning as well, because cake in the morning is the breakfast of champions.
The Redskins may have just lost their ticket to the playoffs
A little less than 24 hours after the Dallas Cowboys threw their division rivals a bone in the NFC Wild Card race, the Washington Redskins blew a golden opportunity to take an easier path to the postseason, and took out one of their own cheerleaders in the process. Washington suffered a home loss at the hands of Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers, 26-15, and remain behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the final NFC wild card spot with just two more games left to play (oh, and the suddenly resurgent Green Bay Packers are standing in the way as well; and if the Packers take the NFC North, then the Detroit Lions are in the way as well).
— Newy Scruggs (@newyscruggs) December 20, 2016
Kirk Cousins had a night nobody will walk away liking in the D.C. area. Cousins completed 32 of 47 pass attempts for 315 yards without a touchdown and one interception, along with a key fumble. The first quarter interception led to a Carolina field goal, and a lost fumble on the first play of the second half set the Panthers up on the one-yard line for a quick touchdown two plays later, turning a 13-9 halftime lead into a 20-9 advantage for the Panthers.
It was a frustrating night for Washington. Perhaps that was on display as Jordan Reed took a shot at Kurt Coleman than landed him an early exit from the game. Also, why do football players insit on punching a player wearing a football helmet?
Jordan Reed is a scholar. When will people learn never to punch a helmet. https://t.co/RSW2PSb9fI
— Fake SportsCenter (@FakeSportsCentr) December 20, 2016
Crazy Redskins stat: Washington now 2-17 in Monday Night HOME games at FedEx Field
— Richard Walker (@JRWalk22) December 20, 2016
Cam Newton passed for 300 yards and two touchdowns in the game, and of course we are left once again discussing some questionable officiating centered around Newton. How about this bizarre sequence in which Newton was on the receiving end of some helmet-to-helmet contact while sliding, only to pop up from the ground and be the one flagged.
OK, fair enough? Newton did toss the ball in the direction of the defender, which by the rules of the game is punishable as an act of unsportsmanlike conduct. And the hit happened so quickly, maybe it was hard to see in real speed the helmet-to-helmet contact?
Cam Newton gets hit in the head while sliding = No Flag
— Alt Facts Igo (@CarolinaHuddle) December 20, 2016
At this point Cam Newton could get shot on the field and they'd flag him for interfering with the bullet.
— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) December 20, 2016
One day Cam Newton is gonna die on the field & get called for delay of game
And because we cannot discuss Cam Newton slide by without a little look at his postgame attire…
— David Newton (@DNewtonespn) December 20, 2016
Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens gaining momentum in Hall of fame voting? What about Sosa?
The votes are coming in for the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2017, and it seems there is a little bit of an uptick on candidates Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. Two of the most iconic names from the steroid era of baseball’s past could be heading to the hall of fame as more than a mere paid patron in the next few years. That is because Bonds and Clemens have each seen a significant increase in their voting results so far, according to Ryan Thibodaux. As Jeff Passan of Yahoo writes, “it won’t be this year, and it probably won’t be next year, either, but it’s very possible by 2019.”
This is really something else, and a sign that maybe the Baseball Writers Association of America is beginning to have a shift in how they view the hall of fame. Sure, they cheated and gained an advantage through questionable means, but for a good enough stretch of time, Bonds and Clemens were among the best baseball had to offer. The hall of fame debate is nothing new, of course, but it’s not exactly like everyone enshrined in the hall was a decent human being. There are some scoundrels in there, and there will be more. Bonds and Clemens may be two of them in the next four to five years. And when they do eventually get in, count on Pete Rose firing up his campaign for consideration once more, because sometimes it seems that’s all he wants in life before it is too late.
But, what about Sammy Sosa? Sosa barely moved the needle in the voting and is flirting closer to being knocked off the ballot entirely than he is of being voted in. Why is Sosa different from Bonds and Clemens? Well, there may be a good number of reasons for that, even though baseball was very good to him.
Christian McCaffrey set the world on fire, kidnapped all the puppies from an animal shelter and stole all the presents and Christmas decorations like the Grinch
Or he merely decided to make a personal business decision to sit out of the Sun Bowl. Either way, people had hot and spicy takes with extra red pepper chipotle sauce on the side.
It was pretty surreal to watch the backlash he received on Twitter from so many in the college football media industry and beyond. McCaffrey was called a bad teammate, selfish and accused of setting a bad example for kids. I’d love to know how many people ripping McCaffrey were going to watch the Sun Bowl anyway. Did you even know the Sun Bowl was still played? Do you know who is playing in it this year (and don’t say “Not McCaffrey!”)? Unless you are a fan of Stanford or Duke, you probably didn’t know. And if you did pay attention to mid-tier bowl games, then you know I tried to trick you by saying “Duke,” because North Carolina is playing Stanford.
All these young guys deciding to skip their bowl games
Says the running back who opted to leave his “brothers in scarlet and gray” a year early to play in the NFL. The irony.
McCaffrey joins LSU’s Leonard Fournette and Oklahoma Charles Walker in opting out of the remainder of the season in order to begin focusing on NFL Draft prep. This rubbed a number of people the wrong way, because they feel players like McCaffrey should be going all out to win an exhibition game in El Paso without being paid for his time and effort. Maybe it was selfishness on the part of the fans who wanted to see one more game from McCaffrey before sending him off to the NFL, or perhaps some media types were upset because now they needed to actually study Stanford a little more so they know something about the Cardinal other than McCaffrey can do it all.
Got a text from a coach. "If some coaches can skip bowls to get ready for their next job, how can anyone fault Fournette or McCaffrey??"
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) December 19, 2016
— Marcus Lattimore (@MarcusLattimore) December 19, 2016
My main takeaway from the whole story is there is a bit of a divide in the college football world between those older school types who believe you should leave it all hang out at every opportunity and those who understand the long-term mindset that has settled in for players playing today. Would I have loved to see McCaffrey one more time on a college football field? Absolutely. Am I concerned he is being a bad teammate by ditching Stanford now? No, not at all. This kid has been nothing but a pristine example of everything that is good in college football and has done more than his fair share to help Stanford. His reward for his collegiate career should be not having to go play one more game in El Paso, Texas.
References to former Notre Dame player Jaylon Smith (now with the Dallas Cowboys) ran wild, but it is worth noting Smith chimed in with his opinion on the situation.
Honestly. With Everything I've been through, If I could go back to Jan. 1st I'd play again. #ClearEyeView
— Jaylon Smith (@thejaylonsmith) December 20, 2016
– The last time Jon Gruden coached a game in the NFL was in 2008, his final season on the sideline with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before getting into TV to work with ESPN in the booth for Monday Night Football and launching his own draft series of QB interviews and film breakdown leading up to the NFL Draft. Though not exactly flawless on TV, Gruden seems comfortable in his post-coaching career. This is why it amazes me why year after year we continue to hear Gruden’s name attached to at least one coaching rumor every year during the coaching carousel madness, both in college and in the NFL. With every passing year, the question of whether or not Gruden will step back into the coaching game is asked with the hope of some that their vacancy will be the one to lure him back to the sideline. The newest vacancy attached to a Gruden rumor? The Los Angeles Rams, of course.
– While on the topic of coaching rumors, Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher appears to be locked in for the next few years after receiving a contract extension and a raise through the 2024 season.
– Turning our attention to the college hardcourt, Duke freshman Harry Giles made his season debut for the Blue Devils. Giles returned from a season-ending knee injury he suffered in the season opener a year ago but was still among the top recruits in the nation in the Class of 2016, so the anticipation of seeing him back on the court was building for some time in Durham. So how did the kid do in his college debut? Well, he played just four minutes off the bench and missed his one field goal attempt. There was much hype for his debut, including from Duke’s social media account, but in the end it was just a tease of things to come and a reminder that Coach K is not going to rush a player out there just to have him out there. Experience will come over the long haul. Give it some time. As for the game itself, Duke beat Tennessee State by a score of 65-55.
– Saturday was great for the start of the college football bowl season. Monday afternoon in Miami was, well, not so great. Unless you are a Tulsa fan. Speaking of the Golden Hurricane, watch out for Tulsa in 2017. They might just be a team to beat in the American Athletic Conference.
– The Carolina Hurricanes and Detroit Red Wings had to cancel a game last night due to poor ice conditions. Also, somehow related, an announcer planted his face right in the middle of a birthday cake.
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) December 20, 2016
– The new spring training home for the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals is certainly for the birds.
– ESPN is hoping fans of The Bachelor will be hooked on fantasy Bachelor leagues this season.
– The memorial service for Craig Sager will take place today. Fans of Sager and observe the service today on NBA TV as well as on the NBA’s website.
– Add this to the list of reasons I love the Philadelphia region…
– The story of reigning Jeopardy champion Cindy Stowell continues to amaze me each night.
– Here is a LEGO train soaring down a flight of stairs right into a full roller coaster-style loop…
One last gratuitous moment of procrastination
I am one of the many who downloaded Super Mario Run on my iPhone the other day. I’m enjoying it, but nothing will ever replace the origainl in my book. Here is the most delicious version of Super Mario Bros. I have laid eyes on.