Sights, sounds and observations… otherwise known as 10 Things That Are Currently Making My Earwax Melt during this most wonderful time of the year.
1. I love the NFL as much as anyone else, but does it feel like the league has managed to mitigate the value of a regular season in which every game used to mean something? Seriously. Getting too worked up about baseball, hockey and basketball makes zero sense because the regular season is so darned long. Football is supposed to be different. But the reality is that this regular season has been relatively devoid of any real drama until now, when the proverbial pennant races heat up.
Now it gets interesting. But the rest of the regular season to date? Meh.
2. The idea that the baseball owners and union could blow up the winter meetings is downright comical. Look, I get it. Union chief Tony Clark and commissioner Rob Manfred are both rookies at the bargaining table, and they’re setting the groundwork for future negotiations. But does this really have to be a manhood-measuring contest? It’s not that tough, fellas. You’re making billions.
3. Speaking of which, I generally like Yoenis Cespedes as a player. But when he gets an average of $27.5 million per season, that is proof that the economic system is working.
4. Cleveland, Golden State, San Antonio and maybe the Los Angeles Clippers have a chance at winning the NBA championship this year. If The Finals feature anyone other than Golden State and Cleveland, I’ll be surprised. See you in the spring.
5. On the list of people who get an awful lot of attention despite never having accomplished anything at the professional level, Tim Tebow is now near the very top of the list. But Mike Eruzione is still No. 1 all-time. And by a landslide.
6. Am I really supposed to care that Eric Dickerson won’t be allowed on the sideline for Rams games? Please. In the case of Dickerson vs. Jeff Fisher, count me as someone on the side of neither. Dickerson wants it both ways. And Jeff Fisher has quite an attitude for someone who is about to distinguish himself as having lost more games than any other coach in NFL history. I say the Rams disown them both.
7. I’m not sure why this is bothering me, but if the Chicago Cubs as a group are named the Sportsperson(s) of the Year by Sports Illustrated, I’m going to puke. Pick one member of the Cubbies (like Theo Epstein) or don’t pick any at all. Personally, I’d go with Michael Phelps. Or maybe LeBron James. But Phelps first.
8. Can we just stop with the stupidity already and expand the college football playoff to eight teams? Eight is the number and always has been the number. The system works. We all generally like it. It beats the hell out of the bowl system and that stupid points system.
But nobody is going to beat Alabama, and we all know it. Which is why we should all be rooting against the Crimson Tide.
9. Is there generally a more overrated job in sports than head coach of an NBA team? Again, seriously. I like Gregg Popovich as much as anyone, and I’d hire him before anyone else no matter the personnel on my team. But if you’re the Spurs and you could trade Popovich tomorrow for, say, Karl-Anthony Towns or Anthony Davis — and you resist — well, you just don’t understand the league.
10. Speaking of coaching, Greg Bedard of Sports Illustrated recently raised an interesting point in a discussion. In the ’70s, ’80s and early ’90s, during any given week in the NFL, you could have coaching matchups that featured Tom Landry, Chuck Noll, Don Shula, Bill Walsh, Bill Parcells, Joe Gibbs, Mike Shanahan, Jimmy Johnson… you get the idea. After Bill Belichick, who is the second-best coach in the league?
Plain and simple, the NFL has a brainpower problem.
Tony Massarotti is an avid Boston sports fan and has covered sports in Boston for more than 15 years for both the Boston Herald and Boston Globe. He now serves as a co-host on afternoon drive on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston. He was a two-time Massachusetts Sportswriter of the Year as voted by his peers and has written four books, including “Big Papi,” the New York Times-bestselling memoirs of David Ortiz. You can follow Tony @tonymassarotti.