Thursday’s Den: Doing some thinking out loud…….

— Green Bay Packers hired Boston College coach Jeff Hafley as defensive coordinator, one more signal that coaching college football ain’t as much fun anymore. Hafley was 22-26 in four years at BC, getting to three bowl games- they beat SMU 23-14 in this season’s Fenway Bowl.

College recruiting is now a 24/7/365 deal, with NIL deals encouraging players to bolt like free agents in the pros. NFL coaches actually have more down time than college coaches do in the offseason.

— Seattle Seahawks named Baltimore Ravens’ DC Mike Macdonald as their new coach; he is now the youngest head coach in the NFL. Ravens led the NFL in points allowed, sacks and takeaways this year, in Macdonald’s second year on the job.

Since 2013, Ravens are now 0-24 when they trail by 10+ points at halftime; they’re the only NFL team that, over the last 11 years, hasn’t won a game like that.

— Further evidence that players win games, moreso than coaches, although a combination of both is obviously ideal; the 2013 Washington Redskins had these coaches on staff:

Offensive coordinator- Kyle Shanahan (HC of 49ers now)
QB coach- Matt Lafleur (HC of Packers)
TE coach- Sean McVay (HC of Rams)
WR coach- Mike McDaniel (HC of Dolphins)
DB coach- Raheem Morris (HC of Falcons)

Pretty good coaching staff under Mike Shanahan, right?

Washington went 3-13 that season, and Shanahan got fired.

— Pittsburgh Steelers named former Falcons’ coach Arthur Smith as their new offensive coordinator; Smith went 7-10 three years in a row coaching in Atlanta.

— Totally useless statistic; in the last 19 Super Bowls, the team that wore white jerseys were 16-3. This means absolutely nothing, but it is true. By the way, the 49ers are wearing white jerseys next week.

— San Antonio Brahmas of the UFL signed QB Tommy Flacco from Towson State, the younger brother of Browns’ QB Joe Flacco.

— Happy 69th birthday to former Rams’ safety Nolan Cromwell; he played 11 years as a DB for the Rams, after having been a wishbone QB in college at Kansas. Cromwell also held for kicks; he once scored a TD on a fake field goal in overtime, to win a game.

Baseball Notes of the Day:
Blue Jays signed Justin Turner for one year, $13M.

Angels signed OF Aaron Hicks for $740K; Bronx Bombers still owe Hicks $19,260,000 over the next two years. Kind of like David Justice in Moneyball: “They’re paying you to play against them.”

— NBA salary cap is $136M this year; it will be $141M next season.

— In his Hall of Fame career, the great Wilt Chamberlain had 27 games where he scored 30+ points, grabbed 20+ rebounds, had 10+ assists; no one else in NBA history has more than eight 30-20-10 games (Oscar Robertson). Denver’s Nikola Jokic has seven.

Movie of the Day: Runaway Jury (2003)- A juror on the inside and a woman on the outside manipulate a court trial involving a major gun manufacturer.

John Cusack is the influential juror; Dustin Hoffman is one of the lawyers, Gene Hackman is a guy who advises the plaintiff’s lawyers. Bruce McGill, Jennifer Beals are also in this movie, which was written by the same two guys who wrote Billions and Rounders.

By the way, happy 94th birthday to the great actor Gene Hackman.

— Purdue 105, Northwestern 96 OT
Northwestern coach Collins got ejected with 0:01.7 left in OT.
Why? Purdue was 29-46 on foul line; Northwestern was 6-8.
Wildcats were 14-27 on the arc; Purdue was 10-21.

— Alabama 85, Georgia 76
Georgia led this game 17-2 out of the gate.
Alabama shot 64.9% inside the arc.
Crimson Tide was +10 in turnovers (19-9)

— Florida 94, Kentucky 91 OT
Florida hit a 3-pointer with 0:03 left to force overtime.
Kentucky split its last six games, after a 12-2 start.
Kentucky’s eFG% defense is #94; Final 4 teams are usually top 25 in eFG% defense.

— Xavier 88, St John’s 77
Olivari had 23 points, 7 rebounds, 4 steals.
St John’s has lost four of its last five games.
Both teams are now 5-5 in the Big East.

— Rice 74, Memphis 71
4th straight loss for Memphis, after a 15-2 start.
Rice had lost seven of its previous eight games.
Owls were 10-21 on the arc, Memphis 3-18.

— UAB 82, North Texas 79 OT
Blazers never led in regulation.
North Texas led by 17 late in first half.
Third loss in four games for the Mean Green.

— Samford 81, Wofford 79
Samford is 19-3, 8-1 in SoCon; their last four wins were by 4-7-3-2 points. 

— Boise State 86, New Mexico 78
Rough night for the Pitino family, with Lobos/St John’s both losing.
Loss snaps New Mexico’s five-game winning streak.
Max Rice scored 35 points; he had 30 in his last game vs New Mexico.

— Let’s compare the coaching resumes of two former NFL coaches:
Coach A: 125-106 in regular season, 0-6 in playoffs.
Coach B: 131-122-3 in regular season, 0-7 in playoffs.

Both coaches turned around losing programs, but couldn’t get over the hump in the playoffs. Any idea who they are? (Hint: they’re both retired)

Coach A is Jim Mora Sr, who led the Saints to their first four playoff spots ever, but he went 0-4 in those games.

Mora had previously gone 41-12-1 coaching the Philadelphia Stars in the USFL (1983-85) winning the championship in two of that league’s three seasons.

Coach B is Marvin Lewis; the Bengals were 19-61 in the five years before he got there; they went 6-25-1 in the first two years after he left, but then they drafted Joe Burrow and things have been good in Cincinnati since then.

But Lewis went 131-122-3 in the regular season, no small feat.

— You can bet on the Super Bowl at the SouthPoint Casino in Las Vegas, with -105 instead of the usual -110 (or worse) vigorish. Makes it a little better for gamblers; plus, the SouthPoint has a hot dog cart right near the sportsbook, and it is very good. 

Author: Armadillo Sports

I've been involved in sports my whole life, now just write about them. I like to travel, mostly to Las Vegas- they have gambling there.