sports

 

  1. I know I have said this many times, and I’ll say it again: The NFL rules in sports. You know it’s the truth. They haven’t played a down since Super Bowl 50 in February, and not only are they still making news, they’re kind of dominating it.
  2. Case in point: Last week, the NFL announced their 2016 schedule for all 32 teams, not just who they play, but when they play. And for the Pittsburgh Steelers, that means several nationally-televised games. The Steelers open the season on a Monday Night against the Washington Redskins and will play the KC Chiefs on Sunday night, and will play the Indianapolis Colts Thursday night, but it’s not your average Thursday night, for it will be in Thanksgiving, their 8th in team history, and first ay home.
  3. They also play their first Christmas Day game in their history against (who else?) the Baltimore Ravens at 4:30pm (My wife isn’t happy about that) and this is truly the first time that the Steelers will play on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day as they close out the season vs. the Cleveland Browns, which they have done since 2008, if my facts are correct.
  4. The Steelers playing the Redskins this upcoming season is a sign that they will have the NFC East, and that also means the Philadelphia Eagles (Week 2), the Dallas Cowboys (Week 10) and the NY Giants (Week 13). In fact, they also get the NY Jets (Week 5) and the Buffalo Bills (Week 14) giving them all 3 NY teams on the schedule.
  5. The Steelers also made news when they announced last week that they released CB Cortez Allen, which saves $4.4 million under their salary cap. It’s a shame that it’s ended this way for Allen, who never really lived up to his expectations when the Steelers drafted him in 2011. He could intercept the ball at times, but only 6 in 4 seasons wasn’t enough. Still, the Steelers signed him to a long-term deal, but then injuries took him out the last 2 seasons.
  6. As a result of that move, it’s has to be inevitable that the Steelers are planning to take a CB in next week’s NFL Draft. Here’s who’s left on the CB Depth Chart: Veteran William Gay, Ross Cockrell and then-rookie Senquez Golson, who was injured all last season. If they’re lacking like this and draft another LB with overall pick 25, I will honestly look at the Steelers like they are crazy.
  7. Then there’s the news about former Carolina Panthers CB Josh Norman, who is now a free agent after being cut loose from the Franchise Tag. I’m surprised to hear that the Steelers are among the front-runners in trying to sign him. The other teams? SF, the Redskins, and Miami. Regardless of this news, I can’t see the Steelers putting out the money for Norman.
  8. But they weren’t the only team to make news (Of course, it’s the NFL) The aforementioned Eagles made a deal with the Cleveland Browns to get the #2 overall pick and a 4th-round pick, in exchange for their 1st round pick (8th overall), a 3rd round pick, a 4th round pick, and next season, a 1st round pick and a 2nd round pick in 2018. Wow.
  9. Hard to say who won that trade, because first, it will depend on who they draft (Especially the Eagles at #2) and then who they perform on the field. Given the Browns history on drafting the wrong players, I give the Eagles the premature victory by default. I dare the Browns to prove me wrong.
  10. And speaking of those Browns and their draft picks, their former QB Johnny Manziel continues to make news as agent Drew Rosenahus officially terminated him as a client. Now as controversial as Rosenhaus is, if he cuts loose Manziel because of his out-of-control lifestyle, then it’s really bad for the young man.
  11. Manziel states that he really wants to turn his life around and play in 2016. The proof is in the pudding for him, because no team (Other than the Broncos) have spoken to him, and I never believed that the SB 50 Champions were ever serious. But with training camps coming in July, I’m sure teams will have an eye on him, and possibly give him an invite.
  12. Now onto the NBA, where the Playoffs have begun, In the Eastern Conference, the Cleveland Cavs lead 2-0 (Detroit Pistons), as does the Miami Heat (Charlotte Hornets) and Atlanta Hawks (Boston Celtics), while in the Western Conference, the Golden State Warriors (Houston Rockets), Spurs (Memphis Grizzlies), and LA Clippers (Portland Trail Blazers) lead their series 2-0.
  13. Speaking of the defending-champion Warriors, apparently the Rockets can’t beat them, but the injury bug is trying. Defending NBA MVP Steph Curry missed Game 2 with an ankle injury and his status is questionable. Make no mistake, you don’t go 73-9 with just one-star player, but they will need Curry as they’re trying to repeat. The man’s just too critical to that team.
  14. Congrats to LA Clippers G Jamal Crawford for winning the NBA’s 6th Man of the Year award for a record 3rd time. He obviously is the top reserve in the league and knows his role well.
  15. Also, congrats to the Spurs Kawhi Leonard who won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award for the 2nd year in a row. He’s the first non-center to win the award since HOF Dennis Rodman did so in 1990-91 and 1998-99.
  16. Here’s my prediction for NBA Coach of the Year: I would say The Celtics Brad Stevens. Why? because he’s drastically improved the team since he became their HC. They were obviously struggling since their championship season and parting ways with veterans Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, and trading former HC Doc Rivers didn’t help either. But now they’re a contender again.
  17. The Minnesota Timberwolves have a new HC as they hired former Chicago Bulls man Tom Thibebodeau Wednesday. He will get a 5-year contract worth $40 million. He will also be the team’s president. The Timberwolves haven’t been to the playoffs in 12 seasons, the longest active drought in the league. So Thibebdoeau’s got work to do.
  18. I don’t understand why head coaches have to be team president’s too. Isn’t coaching enough of a job on a man? I’m glad that Thibebdoeau wasn’t named GM too, with that honor going to Scott Layden, who had previously served as an assistant with the Spurs.
  19. As for MLB, the Chicago Cubs are apparently living up to the hype as they’ve started the season with an 11-4 record, good for 1st place in the NL Central. I give them much respect because they fortified their team after a 97-win season. But they’re the second best in the league as the 11-3 Washington Nationals are also looking pretty good.
  20. As for the Pirates well, I still feel like they should’ve fortified their pitching staff-especially after the retirement of veteran AJ Burnett. The staff is struggling, which is what they don’t need right now. Letting JA Happ walk was dumb in my opinion. I would give Jeff Locke his walking papers and call up AAA Prospect Tyler Glasnow. He appears to be ready if Jameson Tallon still isn’t. Come on Pirates, do the right thing.

Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmediatoday.com

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