What we watched: So how long will it be before the television networks demand that flex scheduling be extended to include the entirety of the NFL season, rather than just its final few weeks? One night after the Saints couldn't stop scoring against the Colts, the Ravens and Jaguars combined for six fumbles and four third-down conversions in 28 tries. With the exception of Josh Scobee's three field goals from 50-plus yards, it was unfunny comedy.
It's often much too easy for the rest of us to second-guess coaching decisions made by men who get paid enormous sums of money for their football acumen. But even the Ravens players were left to wonder last night why Ray Rice carried the ball just eight times in a game in which Joe Flacco needed nearly three quarters to throw for so much as a first down. Granted, Rice fumbled early on, but there's a difference between having little tolerance for such mistakes and just plain failing to realize you're not using your best (if not only) viable option. Then, of course, there was Jack Del Rio, who elected to go for it on fourth-and-2 from the Ravens' 15 in the first quarter, only to have the Jags get the first down before fumbling it back on the next play. Watching Monday Night Football made for that kind of evening. And mercifully, it's over.
Theo Epstein wrote a college essay for the Globe: "For the last decade, I gave everything I had to the Red Sox and received even more in return. I grew enormously as a person, had some successes, and made a lot of mistakes, too. I still love the organization, enjoy close relationships with owners John Henry and Tom Werner - as well as a complicated but ultimately productive and rewarding relationship with Larry Lucchino - and count many of my co-workers among my dearest friends. The reason I am leaving has nothing to do with power, pressure, money, or relationships. It has nothing to do with September, either." [Boston Globe]
Gawker's Hamilton Nolan on boxer Nonito Donaire: "Donaire says he will move up to 122 pounds for his next fight. From there he can easily jump up to the talent-laden featherweight division, and create his legacy against truly worthy opposition. Two or three years from now, Nonito Donaire could very well be the best pound for pound fighter in boxing. But first, he'll have to learn body punching." [HBO]
Your Cobra vs. Mongoose Interlude:
Posnanski on Tim McCarver: "Trouble is, McCarver has been doing this a long time. And one of the sad truths is that sports color commentary tends to have an expiration date (and, I'll admit, sportswriting often does, too). There comes a time when everyone has heard the stories, when the insights have become clichés, when the game just changes on you. And if we're being realistic - and I'm not saying this is true for McCarver because I don't know - there usually comes a time when longtime color commentators stop doing the prep work, stop working the clubhouses, stop keeping up with the latest news. They rely on their experience, their history. That's just human nature. I thought it was telling when Terry Francona, who was so refreshing in part because he was so up to date, made the point that Kinsler is one of the best young players in the game. Two days later, McCarver said: ‘I had never thought of him that way.'" [Sports Illustrated]
Can't run from the IRS: "Olympic champion Jackie Joyner-Kersee, one of the greatest female athletes in history, and her track coach husband owe more than $1.22 million in delinquent federal taxes, according to public records. Joyner, 49, won three gold, one silver and two bronze medals in the late 1980s and 1990s and launched a charitable foundation in East St. Louis, Ill." [Detroit News]
Merch: Managing editor Tom Scocca and contributing editor Drew Magary have both written books. You can buy Scocca's Beijing Welcomes You: Unveiling the Capital City of the Future here, and Magary's The Postmortal here. Now do it.
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