<![CDATA[NBC New York - Sports]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/sports http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/4NY_Horizontal.jpg NBC New York http://www.nbcnewyork.comen-usSun, 04 Dec 2016 14:08:18 -0500Sun, 04 Dec 2016 14:08:18 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Giants vs. Steelers Could Be a Super Bowl Preview]]> Fri, 02 Dec 2016 13:54:13 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Brown-Steelers-v-Colts-AP.jpg

This week’s game between the Giants and the Steelers could be a Super Bowl preview between two teams with similar DNA on both sides of the ball -- or it could simply be a game between two teams with great potential who will end up missing the playoffs. 

Does that seem crazy? If so, which part? 

The 8-3 Giants are riding high on a five-game winning streak, but this is their remaining schedule: @Steelers, Cowboys, Lions, @Eagles, @Redskins. 

In short, the Giants could very well be 8-8 on New Year’s Day and on the outside looking in when the playoffs start. Am I being pessimistic? No, I’m being realistic. The combined records of their next five opponents is 35-20, and three of those teams -- Cowboys, Lions, Steelers -- currently sit in first place in their divisions. The remaining two opponents are divisional rivals who will either still be playing for their own playoff berths in the last two weeks or will at the very least desperately want to screw things up for the Giants. 

But first things first: Pittsburgh. 

The Steelers are what the Giants would be if they ever took the governor off their offense and let things ride. Pittsburgh with Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown is always looking to go deep, no matter the situation. Third and two? Good bet they’re going deep. Fourth and short? Same thing. Contrast that with avowed aggressor Ben McAdoo, who says the Giants are always looking to attack and then punts on fourth and short in Cleveland territory in the first quarter last week. 

If Brad Wing or Robbie Gould feature prominently for New York this week, the Giants are going to lose by 100. 

Luckily for New York, the Steelers’ defense reminds no one of the 1990s Blitzburgh crew. There are holes throughout this defense, including the huge one Ezekiel Elliott ran through in lifting Dallas to a come-from-behind victory in Pittsburgh a few weeks ago. 

Like the Giants, Pittsburgh has the kind of offense that looks unstoppable at times. Want to play safety deep to keep Brown from going over the top? The Steelers can counter with the versatile Le’Veon Bell, the league’s best running back when he’s not serving suspensions for smoking pot. 

Pittsburgh’s offense has definitely lost a step with the suspension of Martavis Bryant (who is another herb aficionado) and injuries to Markus Wheaton and Darrius Heyward-Bey. But unlike the Giants, who likewise have an All-Pro wide receiver in Odell Beckham Jr., the Steelers have several All-Pro linemen (center Maurkice Pouncey, guard David DeCastro), so losses in the wide receiving corps are more easily masked. 

Let’s face it, if the Giants lost Beckham, they’d be toast. Their entire offense is predicated on Beckham drawing double coverage. For some reason they seem to think that the best way to exploit this is by consistently handing off to Rashad Jennings. It’d be like if the Steelers exploited a double coverage of Brown by running dives with full back Roosevelt Nix. 

This game will have a playoff feel because these are two teams with playoff aspirations who are good barometers of how each other will fare for the rest of the season. The Steelers lost to the Cowboys at home -- a team the Giants (and only the Giants) beat, and on the road no less. Can they beat the Giants in Pittsburgh? Maybe. Is this the first of two times the teams will meet this year? Maybe. Could both of those teams still miss the playoffs? You bet. 

The Giants are rolling right now, but it’d be inaccurate to call them hot. They’re winning, but they’re not doing it in very convincing fashion. Beating Pittsburgh on the road would convince a lot of people that the Giants are Super Bowl contenders.

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<![CDATA[Two Years in, Jury Out on Bowles, Maccagnan]]> Fri, 02 Dec 2016 09:30:39 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/bowles+intro.jpg

Thumbs-up or down? Just shy of two years into the Mike Maccagnan/Todd Bowles era, it’s pretty tough to tell. At this point, best call appears to be an emphatic "meh." 

Thirteen wins, 14 losses. Barely missing the playoffs one year, barely missing out on the No. 1 pick in the draft the next. 

It certainly appears as if every step forward has been accompanied by a slightly bigger one back. 

On the plus side, you had Brandon Marshall’s 2015 season, when the 10-year vet played receiver about as well as anyone on the planet. On the minus, there's Marshall’s 2016 campaign, during which he has caught less than half the balls thrown his way and avoided the end zone as if it were filled with poison ivy. 

On the plus side, you had future Hall of Famer Darrelle Revis returning to his rightful place in the Big Apple following quick stints with Tampa and then the Evil Empire up in Foxboro. On the minus, you had Revis playing like he’d gotten his AARP card while up in New England. Wait, did he just get burned again? No, just seems as if it’s happening 24/7. 

On the plus side, Ryan Fitzpatrick led the Jets to a 10-win campaign last year after replacing the injured Geno Smith. On the minus, Fitz apparently forgot which team he was supposed to pass to in his second season as a Jet. Hey Rifle, quick hint: it’s the ones with the same color jersey as yours. 

On the plus side, GM Maccagnan was able to sign Muhammad Wilkerson in the off-season, thereby keeping together what was expected to be a terrifying trio in Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson and Leonard Williams. On the minus, Wilkerson and Richardson have been so ineffective that the biggest contribution they made was when they were forced to sit out the first quarter a few weeks back, allowing more productive subs to play. 

On the plus side, John Idzik no longer runs Gang Green’s drafts. On the minus, the front office still sometimes acts like Idzik is whispering in their ears. Devin Smith and Christian Hackenberg -- second-round picks in the past two drafts --silently scream “Ghost of Idzik!” with each passing Sunday of inactivity. OK, no one thought Dak Prescott would be this good, but can Maccagnan please explain why he thought Hackenberg, who was inferior in college to Prescott in just about every way, would be better? 

Hey, it could be worse. During the Idzik/Rex days, there were basically only steps back, to the point that before long the organization was backed up against a wall so big President-elect Donald Trump wishes he had built it. 

But when you make the kind of dramatic changes owner Woody Johnson made after the very forgettable 2014 season, you’re not just hoping to break even. If the Jets keep backtracking every time they make progress, it won’t be long before someone else is doing the stepping.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Soccer Players Who Missed Doomed Flight Cope With Loss]]> Fri, 02 Dec 2016 08:23:06 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/soccer-plane-crash.jpg

As the recovered bodies of Brazil's Chapecoense soccer team begin to be returned to families Friday, the players who did not travel on the team's ill-fated flight are left mourning their teammates, NBC News reported.

"I still have the chance to hug and kiss my children, but my teammates can't do that anymore," said Chapecoense defender Demerson Costa.

The crash killed 71 people, including 19 people from the soccer team. The pilot reportedly told a Colombian air traffic controller he had run out of fuel just moments before the plane crashed into the Andes Mountains.

One player, Matheus Saroli, didn't board the flight because he forgot his passport. He lost his father, coach Caio Junior, who was on board.



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[LeBron James Is Sports Illustrated's Sportsperson of Year]]> Thu, 01 Dec 2016 13:23:53 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/kingjamesja.jpg

LeBron James delivered on a promise and ended decades of Cleveland sports misery in 2016.

For leading the Cavaliers to an NBA title and ending the city's 52-year title drought, James was chosen as Sports Illustrated's Sportsperson of the Year on Thursday, joining Tiger Woods as the award's only two-time winners since its inception in 1954.

"I'm honored," James said following shootaround before the Cavs hosted the Los Angeles Clippers. "I'm more happy for my family, my kids, for my wife, my mom, and for my foundation, for the kids that I represent and the kids that use me as a role model and an inspiration."

Appearing in his sixth straight NBA Finals in June, James rallied the Cavs from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the favored Golden State Warriors, who won 73 games during the regular season but couldn't put Cleveland away. James scored 41 points in Games 5 and 6 and made a key block in the final minutes of an epic Game 7, making the Cavs the first Cleveland major sports franchise to win a title since the Browns in 1964.

James was selected finals MVP for the third time in his career.

The 31-year-old James returned to Cleveland as a free agent in 2014 and pledged to bring a title to his home state. He did it in his second season, an achievement that ranks as the greatest accomplishment of his career.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Taking the Plunge: Michael Phelps Looks to Dip Into Tech ]]> Thu, 01 Dec 2016 13:30:06 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/mikemikemike.jpg

Michael Phelps wants to dive into Silicon Valley's investment opportunities as he tries to make the transition from Olympic swimming star and product pitchman to entrepreneur.

"I would love to get involved, whether it's in a couple little startups here and there, take a little risk, have some fun and see where it goes," Phelps said in an interview during a recent visit to San Jose, California while appearing at an Intuit software conference.

For now, Phelps isn't providing any details about what he is going to do, though he says he has been getting advice from venture capitalists and other experienced investors in Silicon Valley startups.

Getting into tech investing would be a new direction for Phelps, whose business experience to date consists mostly of his own line of swimwear and endorsement deals with the likes of Under Armour, Visa and Wheaties.

These and other big brands have paid him an estimated $75 million during his career. That's far more than the $1.65 million that he received from the U.S. Olympic Committee and Speedo for winning a record 28 medals, including 23 golds, in five Olympics. He's still promoting products; he is currently doing commercials for computer chipmaker Intel in a campaign that began in October.

Whatever he does next, Phelps isn't ready to start his own investment fund, like retired Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant did earlier this year with entrepreneur Jeff Stibel. And if Phelps has ideas for founding a startup of his own, he's keeping them to himself.

Making the leap from pitchman to businessman won't be easy, said David Carter, executive director of the University of Southern California's Marshall Sports Business Institute. "Athletes come and go and many talk a big game, but they don't follow through," he said. Phelps "is really going to have commit to learning about business and demonstrate his seriousness about it."

Other celebrities have ventured into the tech industry in search of riches, with decidedly mixed results.

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Notable successes include rapper and record producer Dr. Dre, who was part of the founding team that sold Beats to Apple for $3 billion 2014. Actor Ashton Kutcher co-founded an investment fund in 2010 that made early investments in startups such as the ride-hailing service Uber, the home rental-service Airbnb and the music streaming service Spotify. The fund's value had soared to $250 million from $30 million, based on a review of its books earlier this year by Forbes magazine.

Among the flops: HJR Capital, a tech-investment firm that collapsed in 2009, a decade after former San Francisco 49er lineman Harris Barton founded it and later enticed ex-teammates Joe Montana and Ronnie Lott to join him. In Rhode Island, former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling started a video game company that went bankrupt in 2012.

Phelps is exploring ways to expand his business ventures beyond a line of swimwear and other clothing bearing his "MP" logo. Other products are in the pipeline for next year, though he won't say what. "I am getting my feet wet," Phelps said with a grin. "2017 will be a big year."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Top NYC Bars for Vikings, Cowboys Fans This TNF]]> Thu, 01 Dec 2016 12:36:23 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/nfl-generic.jpg

It’s week 13 of football season and the big game is almost here! Vikings fans are cheering “Skol!” while Cowboys fans are gearing up in blue and white jerseys. Who will walk away with the win this Thursday night? Keep up with your favorite teams at one of these NYC bars.

Jack Doyles, 240 W. 35th St., is the clubhouse for Vikings fans to meet up. Try the $10 Vikings Burger which includes cheese, bacon & sauteed onions. Fans can also take advantage of beer specials which include $6 Grain Belt bottles, Nordeast bottles, or Summit bottles, $5 well drinks, $15 pitchers of Bud Light and $5 buckets of Bud Light.

Stone Creek Bar & Lounge, 140 E. 27th St., is the hot spot for hardcore Dallas Cowboy Fans. Stone Creek offers fans the ultimate experience with half-time raffles, and prizes along with drink and wing specials. The game also plays on a Texas-sized 90-inch TV screen.

Bar None, 98 3rd Ave., is a space for both New Orleans Saints fans and Minnesota Vikings. But Vikings fans are welcomed with their very own party space in the front of the bar equipped with Viking decorations and flags. Swing back a Purple Shot made with vodka, chambord, a splash of soda while you jam to the fight song sing-alongs. Happy hour includes $18 for two pitchers of Bud/Bud Light Drafts from 8 p.m. - close. Thursday night is also trivia night at Bar None. So grab a buddy and head to Bar None for a relaxed game night with game audio.

Stillwater Bar & Grill, 78-80 E. Fourth St., is the hub for Cowboy Fans. Fans can watch the Vikings vs. Cowboy game while keeping up with all other Thursday night games on nine of their HD TVs. Stillwater also offers an affordable drink menu with $6 margaritas.



Photo Credit: Scott Bair]]>
<![CDATA[11-Year-Old Boy Signed as NY Rangers Coach for a Day]]> Thu, 01 Dec 2016 05:18:22 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/kid+meets+rangers.jpg

An 11-year-old hockey fan from Upstate was signed as an honorary coach of the New York Rangers at a ceremony this week.

Bryce Rogerson had an event-filled day at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday as part of the Garden of Dreams Foundation.

At the Garden, Bryce attended a morning skate, where as honorary coach he prepped the rink and rode a Zamboni to clean the ice. He also attended Coach Alain Vigneault’s pre-game press conference.

Bryce developed a love of the Rangers while at New York Presbyterian for heart surgery.

Bryce was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome before he was born and had to undergo fetal intervention surgery on his heart at 26 weeks.

When he was born, he was rushed to a catheterization lab, where he went into respiratory arrest and required CPR. At just 10 days old, he needed his first open heart surgery.

After three open heart surgeries and other procedures, he was placed on a heart transplant list in March 2011. Three years later, at 8 years old, he got the good news that he would receive a new heart.

While heading into surgery he clung to his Henrik Lundqvist jersey for encouragement. Since he got his new heart, he has grown and thrived.

Although he can’t play sports because of his heart surgeries, he is a manager for his school’s football team and continues to cheer on the Rangers.

On Tuesday, Rangers legend Adam Graves signed the contract that made Bryce an honorary coach. He also gave him everything he’d need to succeed at the job.

“Every great coach has to start with a jersey,“ Graves said as he handed over a brand new Rangers jersey.

Bryce also got a whistle, a stopwatch and a board to draw up plays as part of the new job.

Ahead of the game, the 11-year-old visited the Rangers locker room, where he helped Derek Stepan and Dan Girardi prepare. While sitting on the bench during warm ups, he met Rangers players Ryan McDonagh, Chris Kreider, Rick Nash, Kevin Hayes and Brandon Pirrir.

After the Rangers beat the Hurricanes 3-2, he got to meet one of his favorite players, Henrik Lundqvist, along with the rest of the team.

Nice coaching Bryce!



Photo Credit: New York Rangers
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<![CDATA[I Miss Him: Barkley Reveals He and Jordan No Longer Friends]]> Thu, 01 Dec 2016 11:16:09 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/jordanbark.jpg

NBA Hall-of-Famer Charles Barkley gave an interview on the Dan Le Batard radio show this week where he explained, despite a recent photo that had been making the rounds, he and once close pal Michael Jordan have not buried the hatchet.

Barkley said a recent pic taken by TNT colleague Kenny Smith mistakenly spread the belief the two had made amends from a long-running feud. But Barkley recalled it as a brief, awkward encounter at a public event they just both happened to be attending.

"I love Michael. I miss Michael's friendship. He was a great friend to me for a long period of time. And I love him and miss him like a brother. But we just happened to be at the same place so we took a picture together," Barkley said. "We are not back to where we use to be."

Barkley explained Jordan holds a grudge for criticism Barkley levied at him as owner of the NBA Charlotte Hornets. Barkley said Jordan surrounded himself with 'yes' men who wouldn't challenge some of his questionable personnel decisions. 

"Some people, when you're their friend, expect you to have their back no matter what. And part of my job sucks some times when I have to criticize people I like or a friend," Barkley said. "He took it personally and got really angry. And I haven't really spoken to him in years."



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Serena Williams on Sexism: Being a Woman Is Not a 'Flaw']]> Wed, 30 Nov 2016 13:26:22 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/serenaserena.jpg

Serena Williams served up another ace. Only this time it was in the form of an open letter about sexism and wage disparity between males and females in sports.

The letter, initially written for Porter Magazine’s 'Incredible Women of 2016' issue, was reprinted by The Guardian on Tuesday. Williams dedicated it to “all incredible women who strive for excellence” as she wrote about gender discrimination in sports that she and other women face.

"When the subject of equal pay comes up, it frustrates me because I know firsthand that I, like you, have done the same work and made the same sacrifices as our male counterparts," Williams wrote. "I would never want my daughter to be paid less than my son for the same work. Nor would you."

The gender wage gap in professional tennis has been a topic of conversation this year. The New York Times reported in April that last year, Roger Federer received $731,000 for defending his title at the Western & Southern Open. At the same tournament, Serena Williams received $495,000 for defending her respective title. It was just one of many instances in which the compensation disparity was evident.

Williams has made it clear on many occasions that she wants to be the “best tennis player in the world,” not “the best ‘female’ tennis player in the world.” In her letter she pointed out how descriptions tend to exclusively gender-mark women. While people call her one of the greatest “female” athletes, they do not similarly say LeBron James or Tiger Woods are considered some of the greatest “male” athletes. Instead, they are just considered great athletes.

“As we know, women have to break down many barriers on the road to success,” Williams wrote, “One of those barriers is the way we are constantly reminded we are not men, as if it is a flaw.”

Former professional tennis player Ray Moore brought sexism in tennis to light earlier in the year with his controversial comments about how female tennis players “ride on the coattails of men” and how they should thank prominent male tennis players like Federer and Nadal “because they have carried this sport.”

But despite ongoing ignorance in the sport Williams closed her letter offering encouragement to young women to follow their dreams with resilience.

“We must continue to dream big, and in doing so, we empower the next generation of women to be just as bold in their pursuits.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images for Audemars Piguet]]>
<![CDATA[Grading the Giants After Beating the Winless Browns]]> Mon, 28 Nov 2016 15:06:35 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/TLMD-eli-manning-giants-efe-11.jpg

My parents were both teachers, so they spent a good portion of their lives assigning grades to others.

I’ve never had that pleasure of sitting in absolute judgment of others, so I’m going to create an opportunity here – assigning grades to the Giants’ offense, defense, special teams and coaching in the wake of their 27-13 victory over the winless Browns.

Who knows, I might even grade the Giants’ cheerleaders, too. What’s that, they don’t have any? Well, then that makes my job simple: They get an F. Not an incomplete; an F!

(I’m beginning to think I missed my calling as a teacher.)

Offense: C+

 In beating the Browns, the Giants won their sixth game in a row -- their longest win streak since 2008 – and it was the first time this season they’d beaten any opponent by more than a touchdown. Eli Manning was a workmanlike 15 of 27 for 194 yards, 3 touchdown passes and no interceptions. On the season, he now has twice as many touchdown passes passes (20) as interceptions (10), which is great until you realize he should probably have more of each.

I still think this Giants offense is too conservative and plays to the level of its competition. They look for balance in the run-pass game (as evidenced by the two three-and-outs featuring Rashad Jennings in the scoreless first quarter) instead of playing a more chuck-and-duck offensive scheme. Look, I know their offensive line is spotty and that Manning doesn’t have all day to throw. But move the pocket, get creative. Would it kill Eli to roll out once a decade?

His best pass of the day was probably to Dwayne Harris on a fade route in the end zone, with Harris making the kind of decisive over the shoulder grab that is sometimes missing when he’s fielding punts.

The Giants went over 100 yards rushing for the third straight game, but neither Rashad Jennings (15 carries for 55 yards) or Paul Perkins (9 carries for 29 yards) were impressive on the ground. But by all means, let’s keep opening the game with swing passes to Jennings followed by a run by Jennings to set up third and long.

Not surprisingly, the Giants swallowed up massive amounts of yards when they got the ball in the hands of Odell Beckham Jr., who caught 6 passes for 96 yards and 2 touchdowns. He’s going to need another game like that if the Giants hope to keep pace with the Steelers next week.

Still, 27 points against the Browns, who came in near the bottom of every defensive category ever conceived? Not great. Particularly when you consider the Giants went scoreless in both the first and third quarters.

Defense: B

  You know how you keep an undermanned team like the Browns within striking distance? You play a lot of zone defense, which allows opponents like Terrelle Pryor to catch 6 passes for 131 yards. The Giants sacked Josh McCown seven times – led by Jason Pierre-Paul, who had 3 sacks, a fumble recovery (that was more like an interception) and a touchdown.

Yet for some reason the team was often playing zone behind Pierre-Paul, Olivier Vernon, Snacks Harrison and Johnathan Hankins, who were cooking bacon in McCown’s kitchen all afternoon, which should have allowed the Giants to play man coverage in the secondary.

The defensive line forced three fumbles – two on McCown, one on Isiah Crowell – while the secondary had no interceptions. The impression that the secondary played an average game seemed to eat at cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who took to Twitter (where today's men settle their beefs) and threw major shade at Pryor.

If the Giants play zone defense against the Steelers, Antonio Brown is going to set every single-game NFL receiving record and Jenkins will spontaneously combust.

Special teams: B

Giants fans vividly remember how Pro Bowl cornerback Jason Sehorn blew out his knee returning kicks and was never the same player. So there’s a bit of trepidation when Beckham is returning punts or kickoffs. But let’s face it, the Giants’ best player is probably their best option these days in the return game, because Dwayne Harris (who muffed a punt last week) and Bobby Rainey (who lost a fumble versus the Browns) are engendering no confidence these days.

Beckham had a few electric runbacks versus Cleveland, including a touchdown that was called back on a penalty. The Giants should continue to run him out there on punts. Does it increase his potential for injury? Sure. Does it increase his potential for blowing a game wide open? Absolutely. There’s no reward without risk, and right now the Giants can’t afford to risk anyone other than Beckham fielding punts.

Brad Wing had another great game: 9 punts, 5 inside the 20, with a long of 58. Conversely, Robbie Gould was only 3 of 4 on extra points and did not attempt a field goal. If the Giants ever need a clutch field goal down the line, maybe Beckham can kick it for them.

Coaching: C

  For a team that has won six games in a row, has secured its first winning season since 2012 and is in line to be the fifth seed in the playoffs, the Giants are still underperforming in the eyes of many people, particularly fans -- who see an explosive offense that too often lies dormant, a coaching staff whose play-calling seems locked in the 1970s (balance, balance, balance!) and a special teams that is often exciting for all the wrong reasons.

Ben McAdoo continues to call the plays and they can be maddening at times. Like yesterday punting on 4th-and-1 from inside the 50 yard line in the first quarter. Where was the aggressiveness he has been espousing? You don’t think you can get one yard on the Browns in that situation? What kind of message is that sending?

If McAdoo would relinquish the play calling duties to offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan, he would probably be up for less criticism. If McAdoo looked like he was enjoying himself more, he would probably get a longer leash from fans. And if McAdoo would shave off his mustache, he would look less like an extra from “Boogie Nights.”

The Giants’ potential is so self-evident that it can become exasperating when the team seems to be its own worst enemy – not because of physical or mental mistakes, per se; but because they don’t play consistently play to their own strengths. It shouldn’t take till the fourth quarter to put away a team like the 0-12 Browns.

Cheerleading: F

 

Overall grade: C+

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<![CDATA[Fitz, Jets Just Not Good Enough To Beat Pats]]> Mon, 28 Nov 2016 10:25:13 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/Patriots+Jets.jpg

I know the Patriots already have the best quarterback situation in the NFL, but Bill Belichick should sign Ryan Fitzpatrick as a fourth QB in the offseason, if only to keep him from playing against the Pats any more.

Fitz had his best game of the season against New England yesterday at MetLife Stadium, and probably threw the prettiest pass of his 10-year career: a 22-yard strike over the Pats defenders and into the hands of an acrobatic Quincy Enunwa in the corner of the end zone. Enunwa was initially ruled out-of-bounds on the amazing grab, but the call was correctly overturned to give New York the lead with 10 minutes left in the hard-fought contest.

That lead didn’t last, as Gang Green ultimately came up short to its longtime nemesis. But it was still a game to remember for the franchise’s long-suffering fans.

Fitzpatrick has played the Patriots three times as a Jet, and he’s been uniformly great: 7 TDs, 0 INTs, a passer rating somewhere north of 100… and, despite all that, one win. After all, it’s New England. Year in, year out, they’re just better than the Jets. Then again, they’re better than just about everyone.

Tom Brady & Co. are well on their way to winning the AFC East for the ninth straight year, while Todd Bowles’ team is relegated to the division’s cellar. Still, the Jets have consistently stepped up against their rivals from up north, and yesterday was no different. They may well have put forth their best effort of 2016 on both sides of the ball, and spent most of the late afternoon making Brady look like a mere mortal--and a very old one at that.

But the Pats’ iconic signal-caller was lucky and good when he needed to be. Sometimes, he was both at once, as when he fumbled the ball a few yards from the end zone in the second quarter, only to see it bounce right back into his hands. While the rest of the stadium looked on in a Brady-induced mix of shock, awe and horror, the QB nonchalantly tossed a TD pass to receiver Malcolm Mitchell.

If only the home team was so fortunate -- or so good.

To what’s next for New York? The Colts come to town next Monday, trying to keep alive their increasingly dim playoff hopes. The Jets, meanwhile, will be playing for pride. If you ask me, they should sit Fitz. It’s time to see what Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg can do.

We keep hearing Hackenberg isn’t ready. Well, the same was said for months about fellow rookie Jared Goff, and he did just fine on Sunday. As for Petty, he deserves a few starts to see if he’s got a future here.

I’m guessing Bowles won’t pull the plug on Fitz just yet though. And I don’t know if I can blame him. Whatever happens, the QB did himself proud against the Pats. It just wasn’t enough. With New England, it almost never is.



Photo Credit: Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Thursday Night Football: Cowboys Go for 11th Straight Win]]> Thu, 01 Dec 2016 13:03:22 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AP_16330088209607.jpg

Dak Prescott will face as good a pass defense as he has seen all year when the rookie quarterback tries to run the Dallas Cowboys’ winning streak to 11 in-a-row on Thursday Night Football against the Minnesota Vikings.

The teams face off on NBC at 8 p.m. Thursday.

Minnesota is coming off a loss to Detroit in the last seconds that was their fifth in six games following a 5-0 start. Prescott, a fourth-round draft pick who has supplanted Tony Romo, threw for a TD and ran for another on Thanksgiving Day.

The Vikings will play without their coach Mike Zimmer. He will miss the game following emergency surgery to repair a detached retina. Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer will serve as the interim head coach.

The Vikings’ defense has allowed 13 TDs through the air and picked off passes 12 times. Against the comparably dangerous Philadelphia defense, Prescott made a couple of shaky throws, including an interception in the end zone. But he also led Dallas back from a late 10-point hole and threw a winning TD pass in overtime.

Minnesota QB Sam Bradford should have an easier time against the Cowboys’ secondary. The sixth-year-player is on pace to blow away his previous best in completion percentage. A 31-for-37 game against Detroit bumped him up to 71.3 on the year and he’s at nearly 80 percent in November.

Four to watch:

Dallas RB Zeke Elliott: Another rookie enjoying a breakout year for the Cowboys; he’ll be leaned on heavily. His next yard will be 1,200 for the season and 200 ahead of the nearest competitor.

Dallas CB Anthony Brown: The rookie cornerback had a howler against Washington, and figures to be targeted heavily by Bradford and top Vikings WR Stefon Diggs. 

Minnesota CB Xavier Rhodes: Leads the Vikings with four interceptions this season, all in the last eight games, including one he took back for a touchdown.

Minnesota DE Danielle Hunter: Has 3.5 of his 7.5 sacks this season in the last three games. He’ll go up against a line that has allowed 15 all year.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Miami Crowd Boos Kaepernick]]> Mon, 28 Nov 2016 02:00:07 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/180*120/KaepernickDolphins.jpg

Playing in Miami on Sunday just days after getting tangled in a "heated" discussion about Fidel Castro with a newspaper reporter, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick received a "flood of boos" from the South Florida crowd, CSN Bay Area reporter Matt Maiocco tweeted.

Kaepernick's Castro talk began months ago when he flashed a shirt featuring the former leader of Cuba, who passed away late Friday, meeting with Malcolm X. The lettering across the shirt read, "Like minds think alike."

After the 49ers’ 31-24 loss to the Dolphins, Kaepernick was asked about some of the statements he made, in which he defended Castro’s record of education in Cuba.

"I said was that I agree with the investment in education," Kaepernick said. "I also agree with the investment in free universal health care, as well as the involvement in him helping end apartheid in South Africa. I would hope that everybody agrees that those things are good things. Trying to push the false narrative that I was a supporter of the oppressive things that he did, it’s just not true."

Kaepernick, who again wore a T-shirt depicting Malcolm X following Sunday's contest, was asked about his shirt selection.

"I’ve worn many Malcolm X shirts," Kaepernick said. "He was a great man, and he lived the life that he talked about. He was someone that truly walked the walk and was a great leader for the African community and someone I admire."

When asked Sunday if he understands concerns that arose with his decision to wear a shirt that portrayed Castro, Kaepernick said, "I can understand the concern. But for me what I said was that was a historic moment for Malcolm."

Kaepernick added, "I’m not going to cut out pieces of Malcolm’s life. In 1960 when they met in Harlem, that was a historic moment. That’s something that I will always be true to, what Malcolm was, what he represented, because I’m not going to cut out history.”

During a conference call earlier this week, a Miami Herald reporter, who is reportedly related to Cuban exiles, questioned the San Francisco signal caller's choice to don the shirt with Castro, to which Kaepernick responded by saying, "I'm not talking about Fidel Castro and his oppression. I'm talking about Malcom X and what he's done for people."

The reporter then condemned Kaepernick for changing the subject of the discussion away from Castro's history of abuses. The quarterback responded by applauding Castro for investing more in education instead of criminal punishment.

Kaepernick answered the jeers Sunday by leading his offensive unit to the end zone on the team's first drive of the game. He finished with 296 yards through the air and three scores to go along with 113 yards on the ground.

CSN's Matt Maiocco contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Eric Espada, Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Mike Green Scores in OT, Red Wings Top Devils 5-4]]> Fri, 25 Nov 2016 23:36:32 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/red-wings-devils-1125.jpg

Mike Green and the struggling Detroit Red Wings ended a scoring slump, with a little help from Frans Nielsen.

Nielsen scored two goals and set up Green's winner from the right circle at 3:18 of overtime as the Red Wings handed the New Jersey Devils a rare loss at home with a 5-4 victory Friday night.

The five-goal outburst tied the Red Wings' season high for a game and it was their most since collecting that many against Nashville on Oct. 21. It also was Green's fourth of the season, and his first since he had a hat trick against Ottawa on Oct. 17.

It also gave Detroit its second straight win after losing four in a row. The Red Wings opened the season with a 6-2 record and were 2-8-1 before winning the last two.

"This win a confidence booster, yes," Green said. "It's something to build on for sure and we just have to continue this and it's definitely a positive thing for us to move forward on for sure."

The Red Wings started the overtime on a power play and the game ended with the teams playing 4-on-4 because the clock never stopped during the extra session.

Nielsen made the big play by making a cross-ice pass from the left circle to Green in the right. The defenseman waited a second and then fired that puck past defenseman Andy Greene and beat Cory Schneider, who faced 33 shots.

"I just saw Nielsen had a little bit of time there and he made a great play," Green said. "I just had to get around their first guy in close so I just had to hit the net to try and create something."

Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha also scored for the Red Wings, who lost goalie Jimmy Howard to a lower-body injury in the first period. Petr Mrazek finished and allowed three goals on 13 shots in relief.

John Moore, Mike Cammalleri, Pavel Zacha and Adam Henrique scored for the Devils (7-0-2). They have not lost at home in regulation this season.

"Points are important so the fact that we got a point out of the game is certainly is a positive," Devils coach John Hynes said. "How we played the game is not how we wanted to play and I think we were fortunate to be able to get a point out of the game. We need to be much better tomorrow."

The Devils it at 4 with 5:11 left in regulation when Henrique tipped a point shot by former Red Wing Kyle Quincey into the net with New Jersey having an extra skater with a delayed penalty about to be called.

Mantha had given the Red Wings the lead with a blast from the left dot 43 seconds into the third period.

Nielsen gave the Red Wings took a 2-1 lead after the first period. New Jersey went ahead 3-2 in the second period on a goal by Cammalleri and a power-play tally by Larkin with 1.2 seconds left in the period.

The Devils challenged the goal, saying that Gustav Nyquist was offside. After a review, Larkin's sixth goal stood.

John Moore gave New Jersey an early 1-0 lead and the Devils looked in good shape after Riley Sheahan was assessed a four-minute minor for high sticking.

Abdelkader stripped the puck from Damon Severson, took a shot and Nielsen put in the rebound with Schneider down in the crease.

Shortly after coming out of the penalty box, Sheahan took a shot between the circled and Nielsen again put in the rebound with a little help from Devils forward Kyle Palmieri, who seemed to nudge the puck over the goal line.

Cammalleri, who has six points in two games back in the lineup, got his goal on a shot that deflected off the skate of Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson at 4:06 of the second period. Zacha scored less than two minute later on a shot from the left circle. 



Photo Credit: AP]]>