13) ESPN finally found its Monday Night Football crew; Steve Levy, Brian Greise, Louis Riddick are an excellent 3-man team. Smart, unassuming, easy to listen to.
12) Baseball announced its playoff plan; AL bubble in California, NL bubble in Texas, no days off in the division or league championship series, which is a big deal. Pitching depth is going to be a lot more important than usual. Aces will only pitch once in a best-of-5 series, unless they pitch a game on short rest.
Air quality in southern California could be become a problem; I’m assuming the backup plan is Arizona’s dome, but that wasn’t mentioned Monday.
World Series will be in the Rangers’ new domed stadium in Arlington.
11) Nuggets 104, Clippers 89 (Denver wins 4-3)
— Denver held LA to 33 points in 2nd half.
— Nuggets were down 3-1 in both series this year, but won both.
— Jokic had 16 points, 22 rebounds, 13 assists. Wow.
— In their 50-year history, Clippers are now 0-8 in games where they had a chance to reach the conference final.
10) Cincinnati Bengals’ kicker Randy Bullock missed a game-tying 31-yard field goal at the end of Sunday’s 16-13 loss to the Chargers; Bullock then grabbed his leg— a calf strain was given as the reason. Bengals need a new kicker.
Problem is, Cincinnati plays on Thursday this week and if you bring someone into Ohio from another state, there is a 72-hour thing because of COVID, so the Bengals quickly scooped up kicker Austin Seibert, who was shown the door by the Browns after he missed a PAT and a field goal in Cleveland’s 38-6 loss in Baltimore Sunday.
Seibert will see his old friends Thursday, when the Bengals visit Cleveland.
9) Unusual fact: Five QB’s whose team won in Week 1 were led in rushing by their QB. More and more teams are going to running back-by-committee.
I cringe every time a quarterback takes a hit while running; they’re very valuable players, so there is a fine line between a running QB making his offense more explosive while also risking the whole thing blowing up, if that QB gets hurt.
8) NFL officials called two huge offensive pass interference penalties Sunday, but they only called offensive holding 18 times in 16 games last week, so that’s an improvement. Thats the 2nd-fewest amount of Week 1 holding calls since 2001.
7) Why some teams don’t want their head coach also being a coordinator:
Denver Broncos totally screwed up clock management in the last minute Monday night; once Tennessee got within field goal range, Denver had to use its timeouts, to preserve some time for their offense if the Titans took the lead, which they did.
Head coach Vic Fangio also coordinates Denver’s defense, and that was what he was thinking about while Tennessee was driving at the end. Game management was botched, depriving the Broncos of a last-gasp chance at a win- remember, the game was in Denver, so longer field goals are more possible.
6) Orlando’s NBA bubble on the Disney grounds will also host eight early season college basketball tournament:
— Champions Classic, Jimmy V Classic
— Wooden Legacy, preseason NIT
— Orlando Invitational, Charleston Classic
— Myrtle Beach invitational, Diamond Head Classic
5) Over the last 10 years, when NFL teams went for it on 4th and 1, they got the first down 64% of the time.
4) Tennessee Titans missed three field goals and an extra point Monday night; last year, they made only 44.4% of their FG’s, by far the worst %age in the NFL. 2nd-worst %age last year was the Jets, who made 67.9% of their field goals.
3) My preference for the NFL schedule would be Monday night doubleheaders every week but no Thursday games, except for Week 1 and Thanksgiving Day. Football wasn’t meant to be played on three days’ rest.
2) Michael O’Keefe, the actor who played Danny Noonan in Caddyshack 40 years ago, caddied for club pro Danny Balin this week at practice rounds for the US Open.
1) If you baseball playoffs started today (they don’t):
AL East: Tampa Bay, New York
AL Central: Chicago, Minnesota
AL West: Oakland, Houston
AL wild cards: Cleveland, Toronto
NL East: Atlanta, Miami
NL Central: Chicago, St Louis
NL West: Los Angeles, San Diego
NL wild cards: Philadelphia, San Francisco