lucky's Blog

BOSTON -- Six days before Christmas

, the Boston Red Sox are understandably preoccupied by their protracted search for a middle-of-the-order slugger. But neither J.D. Martinez nor especially the return of Mitch Moreland is going to single-handedly bridge the club's 93-run drop-off in production from 2016 to 2017. Youth Nike Elite Niles Paul Washington Redskins Burgundy Red Jersey: NFL Vapor Untouchable 80th Anniversary #84 AlternateThat's where Tim Hyers comes in. Hired last month to be the hitting coach under rookie manager Alex Cora, Hyers is rejoining the Red Sox after two years with the Los Angeles Dodgers. During his first Sox go-around, he spent three seasons as a minor league coordinator at a time when Jackie Bradley Jr., Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts and Christian Vazquez were coming through the farm system and breaking into the majors, giving him firsthand knowledge of their individual plate approaches and the ins and outs of their swings. Women's Nike Tennessee Titans #37 Johnathan Cyprien Navy Blue Alternate Vapor Untouchable Elite Player NFL JerseyBut that's only part of why the Red Sox rehired Hyers. The Dodgers scored 725 and 770 runs the past two seasons, an increase from 667 runs in 2015, the year before Turner Ward and Hyers took over as Womens Aqib Talib Jersey hitting coach and assistant hitting coach, respectively. Moreover, the Dodgers have been at the forefront of baseball's fly ball revolution, with third baseman Justin Turner and center fielder Chris Taylor emerging as poster boys for hitters keenly aware of their "launch angle," the measurement of a ball's vertical trajectory off a bat. The Red Sox, meanwhile, just finished last in the American League in home runs for the first time since 1993. And while fans wonder what in the name of Scott Cooper is going on at Fenway Park, Hyers has been tasked with imparting the offensive philosophy that made the Dodgers so productive. "We've always wanted, as hitters, to hit the ball hard and get on base and slug to drive in runs. But now, with all the technology, we can start to put a number on it," Hyers says. "If you hit a ball 15 to 30 degrees in the air and you hit it 95 to 100 mph, it's going to be a productive swing. That's what they were shooting for [in Los Angeles], and it worked out really well." For years, teams modeled their offensive approach after the Red Sox, who taught hitters to know the strike zone, be selective and drive up the pitch count in order to force a starter from the game and get into an opponent's bullpen. Even last season, the Sox swung at only 43.9 percent of pitches, the second-lowest rate in the majors behind Pierre Desir Jersey the Dodgers. But the game has changed. It's increasingly rare that starters are permitted to face a lineup three times, and relievers are throwing harder than ever. So, while it's still advisable to wait for a good pitch to hit, there's such a thing as being too passive. Last season, the Red Sox swung at fewer pitches in the strike zone than any team in baseball (62.3 percent) but were middle of the pack in swinging at pitches out of the strike zone (29.5 percent). The Dodgers chased a league-low 26.2 percent of those pitches, in part because they were more aggressive earlier in counts. "The first pitch of the World Series that they saw, it was a home run," Cora says, referring to Taylor's leadoff homer in Game 1 against Houston Astros lefty Dallas Keuchel. "That's what we're trying to do. In an era that we live in, I know it's OK to grind out at-bats, but sometimes grinding out an at-bat is first pitch of Anton Stralman Womens Jersey the at-bat and put a good swing on it." And when the Dodgers swung, Ward and Hyers encouraged them to put the ball in the air. Dodgers hitters ranked sixth in the majors in fly ball rate (37 percent), up from 32.6 LeBron James Authentic Jersey percent in 2016, and smashed 221 homers, fourth in the National League and up from 189 in 2016. Hitters have long been taught to swing on top of the ball. But with technological advances that detect a pitch's spin rate or a pitcher's release point, coaches are teaching hitters to swing underneath pitches lower in the strike zone and lift them in the air, with a launch angle of at least 25 degrees likely to produce a fly ball. Although that approach can lead to more swings and misses, it also forces pitchers to elevate the ball more frequently, resulting in more hittable pitches. "Our hitters understand information and they read as much as [coaches] do, so when you're starting to understand that a ball on the ground is essentially an out, they made adjustments in their [swing] mechanics, their approach to elevate the baseball," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts says. "That's going to turn into more fly balls, more homers. Elevating the baseball seems like the best way hitters can be productive."

This NFL season has been unsettling -- literally

Through Week 13, 12 teams Isaac Seumalo Womens Jerseywere on pace to win or lose at least four more games this year than last, making for huge swings in the standings and huge questions about the future. The gap in scoring differentials among NFL squads isn't as tight as in 2016, thanks largely to breakouts by the Eagles and Rams. But as the league churns, there must be two dozen teams whose performances heading into 2018 are utterly unpredictable. Not even Philly or LA, whose teams have enjoyed relatively good health and soft schedules this season, can offer guarantees. Nike NFL Clinton McDonald Orange Jersey Men's Elite: #98 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Alternate Of course, there's one great exception to this Brownian motion. While you're keeping track of tiebreakers or draft slots as you wrap holiday gifts, the Patriots will, as always, sit Christopher Tanev Jersey atop the AFC East, readying for another Super Bowl run.Drew Kaser Women's Limited Black Jersey: Nike NFL Los Angeles Chargers 2016 Salute to Service #8That's thanks not just to the greatness of Tom Brady but to dozens of adjustments that Bill Belichick's crew somehow keeps making better than any other franchise in the league. To illustrate, I want to zero in on how New England executes one play that you might not even notice but that consistently gives the Patriots an edge: kickoffs. Because kickoffs are dangerous for players, the NFL has been trying for years to reduce their importance. In 2016, the league moved the starting field position for touchbacks from the 20-yard line up to the 25, the idea being that more returners would take a knee for 5 extra yards. The percentage of kickoffs returned has dropped since but by just a few points -- which might have happened anyway, given how placekickers keep getting stronger. More interesting, the new rule gave smart teams a chance to game the system by intentionally kicking, then smothering returns before returners reach the 25. Last year's opening weekend showed the range of possibilities. The Colts took the traditionalist route: Up one with 37 seconds left against Detroit, Chuck Pagano, not wanting to risk a long return, ordered Pat McAfee to boot the ball out of the end zone for a touchback. Three completions and 25 seconds later, the Lions were at the Authentic Jon Casey Jersey Colts' 25 and kicked a field goal to win it. Meanwhile, Stephen Gostkowski's first four kickoffs of the 2016 season for the Patriots went into Arizona's end zone. But when the game was late and close, Gostkowski kicked to the 5-yard line and to the 3. After a 14-yard return and a holding penalty, the Cardinals' final drive started on their 8, and they missed a potential game-winning 47-yard field goal. Kicking off to just short of the end zone meant no touchback, and denying Arizona those extra yards proved critical. Now yesterday's experiment has become today's strategy. Gostkowski has just 31 touchbacks, or 41.3 percent of his 75 kickoffs, down from 55.9 percent last season and Womens Willie McGee Jersey 69.7 percent in 2015, making him the only kicker in the NFL to reduce his rate by 10 or more points in each of the past two years. How purposeful are Belichick & Co.? In Denver in Week 10, Gostkowski had just one touchback in eight kickoffs; the following week, facing the Raiders and Cordarrelle Patterson, he had six seven. Kicking short wouldn't be too valuable if Gostkowski were shanking randomly. But when he kicks to opponents' 4- to 6-yard lines, they end up returning the ball, on average, only to their own 21.4. When he boots it to their 1 to 3, returners merely make it to the 23, on average. And then there are the kicks Gostkowski places just deep enough to dangle as bait. On 16 occasions, opponents have run back his kickoffs from 3 yards or less inside their own end zones. On average, they barely reach the 20. Gostkowski induces foes into doomed returns, and the Patriots' coverage teams blanket them; Gostkowski hasn't had a kickoff returned for a touchdown since 2010. Result: New England is the only team to rank in the top three in the NFL in average field position of opponents after kickoffs in each of the past two seasons. That's not too sexy. It's easier to understand the appeal of a return-proof boomer like the Rams' Greg Zuerlein (touchbacks on 81.5 percent of kickoffs). But a moment will come in this year's playoffs when fans of the Titans, say, or the Chargers will wonder why facing New England feels like running uphill. You'll know why: The Patriots make you work harder even after they score. Yards are yards, and they all add up. NFL Jerseys China NHL Jerseys Cheap Wholesale Jerseys AllNike NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys Elite Basketball Jerseys For SaleWholesale Jerseys Cheap

Davis is in the second season of a five-year

$127 million contract that expires in 2021. He has been patient with the Pelicans' personnel problems and their frequent missteps. He loves New Orleans and swears he doesn't long for a major market. He does, however, long for a well-run, well-balanced franchise. He sees it with San Antonio and City and plans to hold his team accountable to find a way. Cousins' arrival is a start, but the Pelicans are devoid of depth and developing young talent. Youth Adidas Patrick Kane Premier Red Home NHL Jersey: Chicago Blackhawks #88"You look at the Warriors, Cleveland, Boston," he said. "They lose Gordon [Hayward], they're still playing well. KD-Steph-Draymond-Klay. They play so well with each other. They move the basketball. They don't care who scores. Steph and Draymond are out, and they still won. KD is out. They still win. "That's the way the league is now. I don't see anyone winning without three or four All-Stars. ... I was in the [MVP] conversation in my third year, and we didn't win. Jhonny Peralta Authentic Jersey We went to the playoffs, got swept, and I dropped out of all that so fast. It's about winning. You can have all the numbers in the world, but you better win. That's what it is. This whole league, everything is about winning. Every award. Everything. It's all about winning." Davis remains an obsession of several NBA teams full of the necessary trade assets to unfasten him from New Orleans, should the Pelicans ever consider a rebuild --- or should Davis ever request a trade. Boston has remained vigilant on the possibility of acquiring Davis, and Davis knows it. However, the Pelicans have no intention of trading an all-world talent under contract through 2021, no matter the return. Before the Cousins trade a year ago, though, Davis kept hearing talk of the Celtics trying to trade for him. He walked into GM Dell Demps' office and asked about it. "He told me that [Boston] was calling, but nothing was going to happen," Davis said. "At the same time, though, you how organizations treat players. Isaiah Thomas. DeMarcus [Cousins] told me that the [Kings] told him that he wasn't going to get traded, but they traded him. Isaiah took his team to the Eastern Conference finals, and they traded him. "It makes you wonder: Does this organization really have my back? I've been loyal to this organization. I love it here. I love this team. I think we're moving in the right direction. DeMarcus, Rondo, some other players that are helping us, but people get judged on winning. And I want to win. "It's not about the money. It's not about having fans. The most important thing to me: winning. That's what I want to do. And I want to do it here." Quietly, Kyle O'Quinn has been a key part of the New York Knicks' surprising 16-13 start. The reserve center is averaging career highs in assists, rebounds and field goal percentage. His net rating of plus-7.5 is the best among the Knicks who have played at least 400 minutes. "That's the engine," Knicks forward Michael Beasley said of O'Quinn. "He gets in and he's loud, he's ferocious. He gets more blocks than he's supposed to. Defense, offensive rebounding. He's the energy guy on this team; he's the one that keeps it all going." But for a few Saturdays during his tenure in New York, O'Quinn has taken on an entirely different one: bar mitzvah and bat mitzvah entertainer. "The parties are crazy," he said. "I did one, did two, and the next thing you know, I was just Bar Mitzvah Man." O'Quinn is one of the bigger comedians in the Knicks' locker room, so it makes sense that he would thrive as the headline act at a party filled with 13-year-olds. The 6-foot-10 center spends most of his time at the parties socializing, dancing, joking around with families and -- of course -- taking plenty of selfies. "A lot of times, I go and I stay longer than I'm supposed to because it's so much fun," O'Quinn said. "The Authentic William Gay Jersey food's always good. The only thing that gets a little overwhelming is the kids; sometimes they don't listen to the structure of the party and it just gets loose. "And the [parents] kind of leave it like, 'Kyle, you deal with it.' And it's kids saying, 'Selfie, selfie, selfie, snapchat, what's your snapchat?' But once you get that out of the way, it's fun." They see how much I enjoy it and they let me rock out," he said. "The parents are partying with the kids Jarran Reed Youth jersey and it's a big festival. They're letting loose, having a good time and the kids are having a good time. "Honestly, it's really nice to be a part of their culture and be down with them." O'Quinn doesn't have any immediate plans to attend another bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah. He's fairly busy with his day job at the moment. But if he has a free Saturday in the near future, you can be sure he'll consider it. Cheap Jerseys Elite Wholesale NFL Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys China Wholesale Jerseys NFL Jerseys For Cheap

A.J. Green remains focused, believes Marvin Lewis situation

CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green isn't going to let the possibility of coach Marvin Lewis leaving at Bobby Hart Womens Jersey the end of the season affect him. Green has heard the news that Lewis will leave at the end of the season, which was only briefly addressed with the players following a loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. Green admitted that has affected some of the members of the team, but he hasn't let it change anything he does. Men's Nike Philadelphia Eagles #63 Dallas Thomas Game White NFL Jersey"It doesn't matter to me, that's just the person I am," Green said. "I'm pretty sure it Jason Taylor Authentic Jersey matters to some other guys, having that come out before the game and not having him address that, which is his decision, but I know some guys probably didn't take it as well, him not addressing it before the game. … "We all have social media, we all know what's going on. I'm pretty sure some guys felt some kind of way about the situation, but A.Q. Shipley Jersey at the end of the day we're professionals and we have to play this game of football that we get paid for." Adidas NHL Men's Bernie Parent White Away Premier Jersey - #1 Philadelphia FlyersGreen was speaking at the second of two charity events he attended in Cincinnati on Tuesday. During the first event, he and Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick donated more than 300 bikes to children at an elementary school. The second occurred at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Cincinnati, where Green hosted a pingpong tournament and played the game with the kids in attendance. Green admitted it has been difficult to block everything out, considering the news of Lewis' departure came just before the Bengals dropped their third straight game. "It's hard to ignore the noise when you're losing," Green said. "It's tough. ... We get paid to play the game of football. We don't get played to choose when we want to play well, [no matter] what's going on. That's my mindset. I can't speak for everybody else, but I'm going to give everything I've got for the last two weeks." Bengals offensive coordinator Bill Lazor Jordan Matthews Womens Jersey said Monday he thought the offense was going through some of the same confidence issues they had during the first two games of the season, which resulted in then-offensive coordinator Ken Zampese getting fired after two weeks. The offense is now ranked last in the NFL and the team is out of the playoffs. There's nothing else to lose at this point, Green said. "We've got to let everything go. We can't be afraid to make mistakes. The season is already lost," he said. "We're just playing for pride right now. We've just [got] to go all out for these last two weeks and see what happens. … Confidence, who cares right now? The season is lost. So we've got to go out there and give it everything we've got." NEW ORLEANS -- Anthony Davis has listened to those prodding him to ramp up his posts, rough up a rival on Twitter, give the old grinding hashtag after leaving the practice gym. "Yeah, I hear it all: You need to post before games," Davis said. "If you have a dunk or make a big shot, post it. It's not me. I don't ever try to do anything just for attention. I am trying to get my work in. "I don't know what you're supposed to get out of posting your workout. And the All-Star stuff, 'Hey, vote for me!' I mean, if you're a fan of mine, you'll probably vote for me. If not, well ..." If there are moments when Davis is tempted to one of those condor arms and remind everyone of his peerless talent, you can forgive him: In an NBA awash with under-25-year-old marvels, Davis is still an ascending, transcendent talent, a size and skill set from the future plopped into the present. Yet even so, sometimes it's easy to move on to everyone else. Two years out of the playoffs with the Pelicans, and Davis said, "It feels like it's been 20 years." Behind him in the NBA draft there has come a crop of global talents from Greece and Latvia, Cameroon and Australia. Davis comes out of the heartland, the South Side of Chicago. "I think about that all the time," Davis said. "I hear these TV shows and see social media. They say [Kristaps] Porzingis. They say Giannis [Antetokounmpo], Joel [Embiid]. And that's fine, I'll just play basketball. "But it goes back to the winning thing, too, and well, what have they won? They're in the same boat as me. I just try to go out and play and not to worry much about it. "... But it is personal. For sure, it's personal. When I play those games, they're talking about [Karl-Anthony] Towns, and they're talking about Porzingis and Giannis, and they're talking about me. Who is going to win this matchup? Who's going to win this game? I absolutely take it more personally."

Celebrity sightings, player reactions and more from Kobe's big night

Kevin Durant recalled one of his most memorable Kobe Bryant moments, back when Durant was playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder, who at the time held a big lead over Bryant's Los Angeles Lakers during a regular-season game a few years back. "We were beating them pretty good in OKC," Durant said, "and he said, 'You can have this game, [but] you can’t sit at my table.'" [Bryant, at that point, had five championships.] Youth Nike Oakland Raiders #30 Jalen Richard Limited Olive/USA Flag 2017 Salute to Service NFL Jersey "That was a nice little jab right there," Durant added. "As a young player, you feel like you’re coming up quick, and you feel like you’re establishing yourself and then you have a guy who’s on another level as far as accomplishments and experience and it puts you back down on another level. It was humbling, but it was also motivation." Women's New Jersey Devils #15 Reid Boucher Reebok White Away Premier NHL JerseySince it's Kobe day, Ian Desmond Youth jersey here's what Spurs coach Gregg Popovich had to say about him: "Kobe is one of those guys every coach in the world says, 'It would have been great to have an opportunity to coach that guy.' That's the best thing I could say about him. It says everything. One of the greatest players of all time. It's not just his talent or his physical skills. His mind was on a par with Michael [Jordan], Larry [Bird] and Magic [Johnson]. Guys like that knew what was going on, and then on top of that, really phenomenal competitiveness. It's not just the talent, it's the mind, the grit and the guts of who he is, and he wanted to compete night after night, which is what made him Kobe Bryant." Michael C. Wright, ESPN Staff Writer Warriors coach Steve Kerr was informed before the game that during his playing career, he held a 10-5 advantage over Kobe Bryant in regular-season match-ups. In those games, Bryant averaged 23.8 points and Kerr averaged 3.0, but, Kerr said with a laugh to reporters during his pregame session, "Mark that down: 10-5, one-on-one, head-to-head battles, Kobe vs. me." Kerr jokingly pumped his fist a couple times as he recited the stat. The Houston Rockets are 14-0 on the season with Chris Paul in the lineup and have racked up 13 straight wins heading into Monday night's home meeting with the Utah Jazz. It's safe to say -- despite the surging Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers Joe Young Womens Jersey -- that the No. 1 spot remains comfortably in Houston's grasp one week ahead of the NBA's Christmas Day slate. Every Monday throughout the regular season, our panel (ESPN's Kevin Arnovitz, Amin Elhassan and Ramona Shelburne, The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears and FiveThirtyEight's Chris Herring) will rank the league's 30 teams from top to bottom, with research notes on each team provided by ESPN Stats & Information. The Bucks have failed to make at least 10 3s in each of their past 15 games. No other team has a Mickey Mantle Jersey double-digit streak this season. In that span, they're shooting 32 percent from deep, worst in the league. What's more bizarre is that their 3-point percentage drops to 28 percent on uncontested 3s, according to Second Spectrum, by far the worst in the NBA in that span. Milwaukee needs Tony Snell, who is shooting 48 percent from deep this season but has missed Milwaukee's past five games with patellar tendinitis. -- Vincent Johnson In Friday's triple-overtime win against the 76ers, Russell Westbrook became the fifth player to go for at least 25 points, 15 rebounds and 15 assists in a game in the past 50 seasons, according to Elias Sports Bureau research. He joined James Harden, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Micheal Ray Richardson. -- Michael Schwartz The Pelicans have alternated wins and losses the entire month of December and the two biggest reasons for their inconsistent play are that they haven't missed and they haven't defended. They're shooting a Timofey Mozgov Jersey blistering 47 percent from 3 this month, best in the NBA, and have the worst defensive efficiency in the league in that same span (112.6). -- Vincent Johnson Joel Embiid has now set a career high in minutes in three consecutive games, culminating with the 49 minutes he played in Friday's triple-overtime loss to the Thunder. Before this stretch, Embiid had never played more than 36 minutes in a game over his short career. - Michael Schwartz The Clippers went from being one of the best pick-and-roll teams in the NBA last season to one of the worst due to inconsistent play at point guard. They are tied for 24th in the NBA in points per chance in pick-and-roll situations (0.88), according to Second Spectrum. They were tied for second in the NBA last season in that same category (0.99). -- Vincent Johnson Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Wholesale Jerseys Paypal NBA Jerseys For Sale Cheap Jerseys Wholesale Nike NFL Jerseys Size ChartCheap Jerseys NFL Wholesale NFL Jerseys Supply New Nike NFL Jerseys

Gruden: “There were trade rumors going on at that time

 [Al] asked me if I’d wanted to talk to the Glazers. And my contract was coming up. To make a long story short, I said, ‘Yeah, I’d like to talk to the Glazers.’ That didn’t make him very happy.” Nike Bruce Ellington Women's Red Limited Jersey: #12 NFL Alternate Houston Texans Vapor UntouchableBucs co-chairman Bryan Glazer: “Jon was a winner. Coming from Oakland, Jon had huge success on the offensive side of the ball. We had an unbelievable defense, and all we were missing was that side of the football. Getting a chance to get a young coach in his prime was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and so we did what we needed to do to make it happen.” (Game Nike Men's Cam Newton White Jersey) Carolina Panthers Road #1 NFL The deal was done by 3 a.m. on Feb. 18, 2002. The trade was for four draft picks -- first- and second-round picks in 2002, a first-rounder in 2003 and a second-rounder in 2004 -- and $8 million. Gruden would make almost $4 million per season for five years, more than tripling his salary. Trading for coaches wasn’t that uncommon at the time. Patriots owner Robert Kraft gave Leon Hess and the New York Jets a first-round draft pick in 2000 to land Bill Belichick. In 1997, Jets owner Hess gave a first-, second-, third- and fourth-round draft pick and a $300,000 charitable donation to the Patriots to land Parcells in a deal brokered by NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue. Cindy Gruden, Jon's wife: “We did get the call around 1 in the morning, and we were disoriented. So the news comes through, and we can’t get a hold of our agent, Bob [Lamonte], because it’s nighttime. Nobody does business -- I don’t know -- the Glazers do things sometimes in the middle of the night. So it came through, and we talked to Al Davis and the Glazers, and everybody was like, 'Are we doing this?' 'Yes, we are. It's done.'" Gruden: "Shortly after that, we agreed on a contract. I guess the trade had already been agreed upon between the Raiders and the Bucs. It all happened fast. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep much that night." Cindy Gruden: “It was like, ‘What just happened?’ And then it’s all these emotions because California’s your home, the Raiders are your team and you love those people. You’d been through a lot with them football-wise, at least from a wife’s perspective. We live and die with our husbands as well. So you have all these emotions of leaving the place that you love, but going into a place that you also love. So it was an insane mix of emotions.” Gruden's family lived in the Tampa Bay area. His father, Jim, was the Bucs' running backs coach from 1982-83 and was a regional scout and director of player personnel. His brother, Jay Gruden, went to Tampa's Chamberlain High School and was the quarterback; he later became head coach of the Arena Football League's Orlando Predators. Gruden: “It was like a storybook opportunity for me to go home. ... I grew up with [former Bucs tight end] Jimmie Giles. I was a ball boy for the Bucs. [Former Bucs quarterback] Doug Williams, I idolized Doug.” Glazer: “It was euphoria. It was so exciting to know that Jon was coming to Tampa.” "That was just a crazy time in all of our lives. That was Julian Howsare Youth jersey just shocking. I was just totally just blown away that he was traded in the middle of the night. That was a first one for me [and] a first for a lot of people. I was happy for him. A special guy." Brown: “I tried to get ahold of him right away, and obviously I couldn’t, because he was already on his way to Tampa; and next time I saw him, he was on TV being introduced as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.” As news of Gruden's Womens Sean Rodriguez Jersey hiring spread through Tampa, Jeffrey Neil Fox, owner of the old Buccaneer Heaven, a memorabilia store just a few miles north of Raymond James Stadium, had to prepare for the Gruden frenzy, including the coach’s “alter ego.” Gruden’s facial expressions, combined with his blonde hair, freckles and boyish appearance earned him the nickname "Chucky" after a character in the 1998 horror flick "Child's Play." Fox: "We got on the internet and bought up every single Chucky doll there was. Initially, I got 100, but I ended up ordering, I think, 2,000 of them. We made them go back to Jake Rudock Womens Jersey press. We made the toy manufacturer make them up again. We had a little bit of a monopoly on this. ... My showroom looked Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Authentic Jersey like a murder scene [with so many people]. ... That Chucky thing went crazy." Johnson: "I called [Raiders quarterback] Rich Gannon when that went down, and he said, 'Brad, you're gonna love playing for him. He's gonna have you more prepared than anybody you've ever had before. He's gonna teach you a lot of football. And he's gonna give you a chance to win at a higher level.' And Rich was right about everything."

How Bucs' Jon Gruden gamble paid off with a Super Bowl

In the early-morning hours of Feb. 18, 2002, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers sent two first-round draft picks, two second-round picks and $8 million to the Oakland Raiders -- for a head coach. Eleven months and eight days later, Jon Gruden led his Bucs team against those same Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII, and he delivered Tampa’s first and only Vince Lombardi Trophy with a 48-21 victory. #77 Reebok Authentic Jeff Carter Youth White NHL Jersey - Away Los Angeles KingsBucs co-chairman Bryan Glazer Derek Roy Authentic Jerseycalled it "a trade that shook the NFL," and it is still the biggest deal to acquire a coach in NFL history. It was a steep price to pay for Gruden, who will be inducted into the Buccaneers’ Ring of Honor during Monday night’s game, but as one of his former players Danielle Hunter Authentic Jersey said, “One Super Bowl is worth 20 years of mediocrity." Here's a look back at how the trade that made Gruden feel pressure went down, the historic “Chucky Bowl” and the aftermath for a franchise that hasn’t come close to the top of the NFL mountain since. Raiders wide receiver Tim Brown: “Right after the game in New England, he made a comment in the locker room that basically said ... 'You guys should have won.’ And I went up to him after he had finished, and I asked him what did ‘you guys’ mean? ‘Coach, you are a part of us.’ And he just sort of walked away from me." Raiders cornerback Charles Woodson: "I can't say that I remember any rumblings about it. ... Nobody thought he was going anywhere. He had come in and the mission was to get that franchise turned around and that had happened. ... Nobody thought he was going anywhere. We just thought he was having issues with negotiations like everybody else does and they'd get it worked out and we'd have our coach." Meanwhile in Tampa, the Bucs were struggling to find a replacement for Dungy. Bill Parcells opted to stay retired. They interviewed Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis, LSU head coach Nick Saban, Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey and San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Norv Turner. Tampa Bay general manager Rich McKay wanted Lewis, but the Glazers believed they had their defense set already with coordinator Monte Kiffin and they wanted an DeForest Buckner Authentic Jersey offense-minded head coach. Brooks: “Up until that point, everybody was kind of scrambling, doing their own thing. But at the end of the day, we were not accomplishing anything because we didn’t have a head coach. So for a month, I worked out, I did this, I didn’t know if I was doing the right thing, wrong thing in terms of what the head coach wanted, because we didn’t have one.” Alstott: “We were in limbo. We were really in limbo for a time not knowing what to expect and hearing different names, and all of a sudden, here comes Jon Gruden out of nowhere, overnight.” Raiders owner Al Davis initially demanded two first-round draft picks, two second-round picks and future Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp, who had been NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1999, in exchange for Gruden. The Bucs went looking elsewhere. After talks with San Francisco 49ers head coach Steve Mariucci went nowhere, the focus turned back to Gruden. Bucs vice president Joel Glazer called Davis at his home around 10 p.m. on Feb. 17, 2002. The two talked for about 30 minutes, and the Bucs reiterated their interest in Gruden. Jon Gruden: “I had a phone in my house and when that phone rang, there was only one person -- Al Davis. And he’d call at times when you’d expect Al Davis to call -- usually when I was sleeping. So when the phone rang that night, I knew who it was. We had just lost to, I think the Patriots, in the playoffs. I was still bitter about the game. I know he was still upset about the game. I figured we were gonna talk about that." Brown: “I think [Gruden] knew something was coming. I think he had given the Raiders until Thanksgiving to get something done or he was going to leave, so I think everybody knew what was going to happen except the players. ... The players weren’t aware of anything of that nature.”

penalty magnets, plus more Seattle expansion news

Players who take or draw penalties at a higher rate than their NHL peers have always fascinated me. Like everything else in hockey that is quantifiable, these numbers require significant consideration of context, from players' roles on their teams to the nature of the penalties to something as nebulous as their reputations among officials. Giants Jersey (On that last point: How many dives draw a call or get ignored because that player is on "the list" with NHL officials?)I'm particularly fascinated with the penalty numbers for forwards, given that we assume most defensemen will take more penalties than they draw. (Please note that Colton Parayko of the St. Louis Blues leads in penalties plus/minus for defensemen, at plus-7 this season.) So let's take a gander at the forwards who have drawn the most penalties since the start of the 2016-17 season through Thursday night's games. All stats are via the great Corsica. 'Twas a time when one might assume that Connor McDavid's penalties-drawn rate would have been a product of reputation -- but, honestly, have you seen this guy play? He's drawing a penalty for every 37.1 minutes of even-strength ice time. Johnny Gaudreau is averaging one penalty drawn for every 40.98 minutes of ice time. But on average, David Pastrnak of the Boston Bruins is drawing more than both of them: one penalty Joe Carter Womens Jersey for every 36.23 minutes of ice time since the start of last season. In all three cases, their Connor Barwin Jersey ability to get into scoring position is what forces opposing players to foul them -- and in some cases, their ability to know when to draw those penalties. Hey, that's an art form too. Nikolaj Ehlers is an interesting name on this list. He leads the Winnipeg Jets in penalties drawn, with eight more than Mathieu Perreault, the team leader in puck possession (53.16) over the past two seasons. Dustin, meanwhile, has been a master at drawing penalties for quite some time. Since 2014, Brown has drawn 70 penalties in 276 games, for a penalty plus/minus of plus-37 -- by far the best on the Los Angeles Kings during that stretch. Again, some names you expect: Zack Kassian and Patrick Maroon both have 11 major penalties since the start of last season. Jason Chimera, Matt Stajan and Michael Frolik are all energy-line players. Mikko Koivu is a bit of a surprise because he's one of the NHL's best defensive forwards by reputation. But given that he hasn't scored since Nov. 25, Wild Jonathan Ogden Jersey fans probably have other issues with him. Then we come to Ryan Johansen, who at times can be perplexing statistically, and this is no exception. His penalty plus/minus since the start of last season is worse than that of Cody McLeod (minus-15), whose job is literally to take penalties. Johansen's penalty plus-minus also is worse than any other defenseman on his team. Hey, things happen. As a center, Johansen has more defensive responsibility than do linemates Filip Forsberg (plus-2) and Viktor Arvidsson (plus-9). But Forsberg has drawn 22 and Arvidsson has drawn 26 in the past two seasons, so the question is, why doesn't Johansen draw more? Jon Lovorn is a senior captain for the University of Alabama's hockey team, an ACHA Division I program. He considers Newtown, Connecticut, his hometown, having moved there as a teenager. He was in high school five years ago on that horrific day when 26 people, including 20 children, lost their lives in a massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. Lovorn has always found personal ways to honor the victims, including putting a piece of tape on his helmet that reads "Never Forget: 12-14-12." But on this five-year anniversary of the tragedy, he decided to do something more significant: He changed his jersey number from 21 to 26 in honor of the victims. And the tribute didn't stop there. Lovorn realized that Alabama had 26 games on its schedule. So he decided to honor the victims by wearing a sticker on his helmet that listed a different name for each game.'The Seattle NHL expansion bid feels like it's been strapped to a rocket in a way we haven't seen before. Like, we could wake up tomorrow and the Seattle Sasquatch Pilots will suddenly be in the Pacific Division standings as if they were a late Royal Rumble entrant or something. That feeling comes from what has been a yearslong process. The NHL was obviously doing its due diligence on the market during the previous round of expansion, in the hopes that some group would get its act together on the arena construction front. The league was having conversations with potential team owners -- billionaire David Bonderman and filmmaker Jerry Bruckheimer among them -- about the $650 million price tag for a franchise, before the Seattle City Council approved the Key Arena refurbishment.,101282

Whenever there's an NFL game going on, a committee

of 50 ex-NFL players will assemble in New York (or California or some other central location). The committee will consist of 25 former receivers and 25 defensive backs. You can change the numbers however you want -- maybe it's 10 at each position or 32 players and each team can nominate a wide receiver or a defensive back in alternating years -- but the idea is the same. Youth Replica Majestic Francisco Liriano Green Jersey - #46 MLB Houston Astros Salute To ServiceThese players have one job: Whenever there is a question about a catch that is challenged via the coach's flag or any of the automatic review situations, they get 60 seconds to watch replays of the catch and then vote "Yes" or "No." They will be provided with whatever catch rules the NFL wants to suggest, but at the end of the day, they have one principle which overrides that concept: If they think it's a catch, the voters on our panel should vote "Yes." If not, they should vote otherwise. And yes, before you ask: This should be treated like an episode of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire." We should see the votes update in real time on the screen, although the individual votes should be kept anonymous to the public. There should be a bunch of cameras in the room. Shine a light on each player as we get to the final few and the vote's at 24-24 so we can watch Wes Welker and Jabari Greer agonize over their Anton Khudobin Jersey decision. Imagine the fans at the stadium roaring as they see the vote count rising in their favor on the video board. This could be great television. Players should be allowed to remain on the committee for up to 10 years, but we want to eventually find a consensus on what isn't a catch. As a result, while the votes should remain anonymous to the public, the league should keep track of the individual votes and prevent the five players who differed from the majority most frequently from joining the committee in the future. This would be bad if the consensus was wrong, but the consensus should be pretty in line with popular opinion with a large enough sample. No, this won't be cheap, and it wouldn't be a perfect solution. I suspect referees might not take kindly to giving away this element of power. Anthony Duclair Jersey It would also make for great television, and we would have far fewer controversial calls than we do now. We're never going to fix the catch rule. Let's at least have some fun with it and think outside of the box for a compelling and possibly entertaining solution instead. PITTSBURGH -- The game lived up to its advance billing and came packaged with a surreal ending Pavol Demitra Youth jersey that belonged on the third Sunday in January, with a trip to the Super Bowl at stake. The New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers made breathtaking plays, a bogus rule stained the beauty of the event and Ben Roethlisberger ripped a page out of Dan Marino's old playbook and tried a fake spike that turned victory into defeat. Everything about the endgame was wild and crazy and unpredictable except, of course, the final result. The Patriots won and the Steelers lost because that's what always seems to happen when these two titans meet. The easy narrative after New England's 27-24 victory assigned the Steelers the roles of haunted losers, contenders who could've won more titles had they come along at a different time. A time when they wouldn't have gotten Bill Belichick'd and Tom Brady'd as often as they did. Just like Arnold Palmer could never beat Jack Nicklaus, and the old Lakers could never beat the old Celtics and the Buffalo Bills of the '90s could never beat whoever they faced in the Super Bowl, the Steelers could have left Heinz Field on Sunday night feeling like they'll never solve the Patriots. Pittsburgh had the defending champions on the ropes, all but waiting for Big Ben to throw the big right hand after the officials took a go-ahead touchdown off the board. Instead, with the clock ticking and nine seconds to play, Roethlisberger took the snap at the 7-yard line, did the ol' Marino fake -- the former Dolphins great once famously beat the Jets (who else?) on this form of sorcery -- and fired a fastball for Eli Rogers that instead hit the left arm of the diving New England defender, Eric Rowe. The ball bounced high and into the waiting arms of Duron Harmon, a reliable closer in these situations, and that was that. This was the ultimate Patriots play under the ultimate Patriots circumstances, and Malcolm Butler surely approved. As the Steelers did a zombie-like stagger off the field, they had to be asking themselves: How in the world did we lose this game? How can we control the ball for 35 minutes and put a bunch of hits on Brady and still fall short? How can we watch JuJu Smith-Schuster answer Antonio Brown's second-quarter calf injury and a painfully late Patriots touchdown and two-point conversion with an astonishing 69-yard catch and run, then still ask him to field questions about New England's dominance? Discount Jerseys NBA Jerseys Wholesale Basketball Jerseys NHL Jerseys Wholesale Cheap NFL Jerseys

Fortunately, Twitter fixed that for us

I asked about possible solutions to this problem back in October and certified genius chiefdog10 solved our crisis with what he called the "self-touchback." I like "reverse touchback," but the idea's his. When the ball is fumbled out of bounds through the pylon, don't turn the ball over. Just push it back to the 20-yard line. I'll add that the downYouth Nike Los Angeles Rams #6 Johnny Hekker White Vapor Untouchable Elite Player NFL Jerseyshould count, so the reverse touchback basically costs you 19-plus yards of field position but otherwise lets you keep the football. You're punished for fumbling, but it's not the eight-point swing (including the missing touchdown and the possession given to the other team) that comes with the current rule. These changes don't solve the catch rule problem, but they eliminate the most frustrating and confusing plays we complain about on Sundays. James' catch would have been ruled a completion and then a momentary fumble as he hit the ground and stretched forward, which he would have then recovered. The Steelers wouldn't have been awarded a touchdown, but they would have been able to get back on the ball at the 1-inch line. The league's catch rule is too complicated, and all the changes we've made have turned it into something like an overfit model. We're asking a lot of refs on a weekly basis Womens Josh Anderson Jersey as they deal with an increasingly speedy game. current replay system makes it so that referees often rule a big play a turnover or a touchdown on the field, which creates an automatic review but one inherently likely to lead to those decisions being upheld, given that ties go to the call on the field. The widespread unpopularity and confusion surrounding the catch rule means we have to start over. So, let's go with what Larry Fitzgerald suggested should be the new rule two years ago. If a receiver catches the ball and gets two feet, a knee, an elbow or Authentic Nickell Robey-Coleman Jersey a cheek on the ground, it's a catch. If he stays upright and the ball is stripped out of his hands or he bobbles it, the ball becomes a live fumble. Doesn't that feel refreshingly simple and comprehensible? We still need to come up with a clear definition of "catch," but let's try to keep that to the shortest possible definition. Maybe it becomes a catch at the moment when the receiver grabs the ball in his hands without bobbling it. Perhaps you put a time frame on it, like the receiver cradles the ball for a half-second or a full second. This will unquestionably increase fumbles, which will be fodder for the tiresome and flimsy arguments about how football has always been great and is now suddenly worse. That's fine. The league's turnover rate has been dropping steadily for decades. Fumbles are fun plays. Everyone loves to point. Players will also adapt and begin to protect the football earlier through the catch process. It will also mean more Ethan Westbrooks Womens Jersey catches, but how often do you hear people complaining that something was ruled a catch when it shouldn't have been? We're living in a golden age of receivers. Let's reward Antonio Brown and Julio Jones for being amazing There is a group of people out there who believe that the catch rule should revolve around what Bruce Arians refers to as "common sense." The eye test is almost always a phrase used to excuse anecdotal nonsense, but players and fans alike have seen enough football to know whether something's a catch or not. The plays in the NFL are simply too fast for a referee to judge in real time, and we shouldn't be using frame-by-frame replay to judge something that happened at top speed and overturn a catch over a slight budge seconds later. There is no language capable of solving the catch rule. So, if you know whether something's a catch or not from watching a play in context, let's use our eyes to decide. And since this is my idea, we're not turning things over to a head referee to watch on video. Let me introduce you to The Committee.