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Tag: playoffs

Championship fallout, Cutler cries

What a crazy couple of games yesterday! I love Championship Sunday. In in a football sense, it’s probably the best weekend in the game – even better than the Super Bowl. Instead of one over-hyped game, you get 2 hyped games, that typically deliver in some fashion.

I thought that the Jets/Steelers game was going to be the one to watch, but it turns out Bears/Packers was a more compelling game. Not only was it closer at the end, but it was packed with tons of drama. You have CSU’s own Caleb Hanie leading the Bears from a 14-point deficit and putting them in a spot to win the game. While I began the game rooting for the Packers, I thought a bears win would have been incredibly compelling, if anything for the 2 weeks of distractions this QB situation would cause.

cutlercries

As a football fan I’m extremely grateful for the sacrifice the players make, just so that we can be entertained, and I do feel bad when a player is injured.  I don’t know the workings of Jay Cutler’s body, and when he says he’s injured, I have no reason not to believe him.  At the same time, players need to understand that the perception of a situation can be worse than the situation itself – and this one of those cases.  It’s one thing when fans are questioning his toughness, but when you had players on Twitter (one of the many reasons why Twitter is so compelling) questioning his toughness, it apparently moved Cutler to tears when he found out.

The issue isn’t whether Cutler got hurt. We’ll out find out in the next day how bad the injury is, which will lead to vindication to one side of the debate.  However, the issue lies with the actions that took place before and after the injury that cause the perception of his injury to take shape.

Before the injury Cutler was playing poorly, and Cutler’s body language reflected his displeasure at the way the game was going.  As much as I hate Tom Brady seemingly berating other players on the sidelines (sometimes for his own mistakes), it’s at least a better reaction than hanging your head and staring at the ground.

Then came the moment that the Bears decided to pull Cutler.  Cutler didn’t go back to the locker room to conduct further tests, nor did he even put an ice pack on his knee. He didn’t put on a headset or try to huddle around his replacements when the came back to the bench. Cutler simply sat down, by himself and stared at the ground the rest of the game, completely disengaged.  At that point, I think Cutler would have better served himself being off the field or even out of the stadium, at least he could use the "we’re looking at the injury" excuse.

Again, I’m not going to question the guy’s heart. Only the training staff knows the severity of his injury at the time, and only Cutler knows how he felt during the game. Unfortunately sometimes in life, perception can be more important than the actual chain of events – and I think to many Bears fans (as well as Cutler critics), the perception speaks volumes.

I’m sorry Bears fans, you guys had a good run.  As crazy as Denver’s QB situation is, I’m just glad that Cutler’s no longer a Bronco. Denver has enough controversy already.

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More Baseball Scheduling Thoughts

Well the Rockies had a great run and blew everyone’s expectations – especially when you consider that back in the Spring Hurdle got fired because the team was so bad.  I’ll be honest: Now that the Rockies are out of the Playoffs, my level of interest in MLB has significantly decreased.  I did want to offer a thought, more-so an expansion of something I Twittered about last night before fatigue got the better of me.

The Rockies started playing at 8pm on a Sunday night, with the game ending well past midnight.  We’re talking Mountain Time, never mind that we were playing Philly, an Eastern Time Zone team.  Yet somehow baseball doesn’t see anything wrong with that.

Look, I’m not in so much denial about the Rockies’ stature that I believe the team warrants the major prime-time spot, and I am somewhat grateful that they re-scheduled the Rockies game to give Broncos fans the opportunity to watch..  but really an 8pm start time?!?  Baseball can’t get away with the same tricks that basketball and hockey pull – their games are under 3 hours – and an 8pm start time doesn’t work for playoff baseball.

I’ve heard the detractors of my views (and debated with them on Twitter), that I am being selfish and am unwilling to sacrifice a little to support my home team.  Perhaps they’re right, but consider this: Baseball has been in an arguable decline in popularity over the last few decades.  Their die-hard fans aren’t getting any younger, and the only way to build your stature is by getting your product in front of as many potential fans – especially kids – as possible.  It’s pretty hard to that when they’re all in bed.

I’ve stated previously that the NBA is pretty obnoxious about their playoff scheduling, but in the beginning they’re trying to fit in 8 games.  Yet somehow baseball only has to manage 4 games and still finds a way to screw that scheduling up.  Baseball is in a tough spot, but they need to start somewhere and accept a few things.  For one, accept that you can’t avoid football and may just need to compete with it.  If you’re going to play on a Sunday in the fall, you can’t avoid all of their games.  Secondly, you need to make sure you’re on in the afternoons on weekends, the fact that you didn’t have a game scheduled on Saturday afternoon is nothing but a missed opportunity.  Thirdly, if it’s too hard for you to take 2 games each night and alternate nights, then you maybe should accept the fact that the games will need to run on alternate channels.  I know each sports feels their playoffs should run exclusively, but if you can’t manage the 4+ hours your game run then you need to do something.

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Playoff Schedules: Who screws it up the most?

Rocktober is here! The Rockies are in the playoffs and I’m really looking forward to see the Rockies take on the Phillies. only to find out that the game aired at 12:30pm on a Wednesday?!?  We’re talking about playoffs – the pinnacle of your season – yet MLB in it’s idiotic lack of wisdom puts the game on when the entire country is at work and can’t watch the game.  At what point is this a good idea?   I realize that these leagues feel like their game should be the only game on TV, but at what point does it seem like a good idea to air your game in the middle of the day compared to airing two games in the same night, or rotating the 4 games with 2 on each night for opposite nights?  Thanks for nothing baseball!

However baseball isn’t the only sport that screws up their playoff schedules.  Nobody is perfect at doing this, but a lot of leagues have a lot more to learn than others.

NFL

It’s pretty hard to screw up football, and the NFL does a pretty good job of not killing momentum with the playoffs.  With the “1 and done” format and the fact that the NFL is played on weekends, it’s not surprising the the Super Bowl is an unofficial national holiday.

What they need to improve: Get rid of the week between the Conference Championships and the Super Bowl.  While I’m sure all those involved with the game appreciate that week, it’s excruciating watching the hype-machine in overtime.  This year they’re putting the Pro Bowl in that week between the games, so hopefully this schedule/format change will improve things a bit.

NHL

The NHL arguably does the “best of.” playoff series most effectively.  The NHL isn’t afraid to alternate nights, and have teams play on the same night, yet ensure that each series effectively gets a share of the spotlight.  The playoff rhythm is strong and consistent from the start of the playoffs to the Stanley Cup Finals.

What they need to improve: Get on a network where people can watch them.  They would have the perfect playoff format if they were on at least a major cable network.

NBA

The NBA is obnoxious with it’s playoff scheduling, especially in the early rounds.  You have teams that play one night, then won’t play again until 3 or 4 nights later.  They get in a better rhythm in the later rounds, but it’s tough to get through the first round and realize that the playoffs are going to span a better part of 2 months.

What they need to improve: Go to a best of 5 series for the first round, maybe even for the 2nd round.  Alternate nights for these rounds so that the series won’t last longer than 10 days.  If necessary, air 3 games on the same night.  The Eastern/Western Conference layout makes it easier to make sure the home teams can get a the game on in their prime-time.

MLB

MLB has a lot of wrongs that they need to correct, and they need to start with October.  First off, they need to get their games at times when people can watch them. That means that they need to get their first-round games out of the mid-afternoon time slot, as well as get their League Championship Series and World Series at earlier start times so that people on the East Coast can watch them without staying up until 1-2am.  Trust me, the West Coast will tolerate a 4:30 start time for the World Series.

What they need to improve: Aside from the previously mentioned time changes, they need to move to an “Alternate Night” model and stick with it.  if a series ends early, don’t be afraid to kick it off reasonably early.  Rest after a series is not a right guaranteed to both teams, it’s something you earn by sweeping your opponent. It’s inexcusable that the Rockies had to wait nearly 10 days to play the next round.

Honorable Mention: College Basketball. They do the most effective job maintaining intensity for a 64 team playoff throughout the end. If they could just do away with the 64/65 “Play-In” game they would be perfect.

Dishonorable Mention: College Football. It’s hard to have a playoff schedule without a playoff.  Aside from that, the fact that the bowl games are played up to 5 weeks after their last game is asinine.

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