By Larry Bisagni
Weekly Snapshots consist of quick observations from around the world of sports in three sentences or less per subject.
Anthony Lynn should get some serious consideration for Coach of the Year. Not only does he have the Los Angeles (I’m still getting used to that) Chargers gunning for the first seed in the playoffs, he has no home field advantage to speak of at all. I’d expect to see a lot of brand new, freshly minted Chargers gear in the soccer stadium this weekend when the Baltimore Ravens come to town.
Should the Saints win it all, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Drew Brees ride off into the sunset. There is nothing left for him to prove, this could be his best chance to go out on top, and assuming Teddy Bridgewater is healthy, this could be the most seamless passing of the baton from an all time great to the heir apparent since Brett Favre/Aaron Rodgers, minus their drama in Green Bay. Forget about sports – I don’t know that anyone means more to NOLA than Brees.
It’s quite likely that the Carolina Panthers will lose out, and this probably costs a good coach in Ron Rivera his job. He’ll land on his feet somewhere. Brace yourselves, Chicagoland: a Buddy Ryan disciple (and former Bear) who has the chops to work with Aaron Rodgers could work in Titletown.
I wouldn’t rule out the Packers kicking the tires with Jim Harbaugh. My sources tell me he feels like he has some unfinished business in the pros, and Rodgers gives any coach a chance to win big, and win now. That job is not for everyone, and as is the case with the aforementioned Rivera, it will take a thick-skinned, secure individual to play the role of safecracker in what could become a lit stick of dynamite if not handled correctly.
Trevor Ariza’s return to the Washington Wizards is a public admission that a savvy veteran was sorely needed. The presence and influence of a mature leader has been sorely missed since Paul Pierce was in the Nation’s Capital, and they were willing to part with a talented young asset in Kelly Oubre to make it happen. Ariza is well liked by John Wall and Bradley Beal, and gives Scott Brooks a stretch four who can bury the trey, as well as an established voice of reason.
Don’t look now, but the Indiana Pacers are scorching hot and quietly built for a long run next spring. Nate McMillan has a rotation is legitimately nine-deep, and has complete buy in to the end of the bench. Domantas Sabonis is going to get some serious votes for sixth man of the year, and don’t be surprised to see them go into the playoffs as the third seed that neither the Boston Celtics or Toronto Raptors will want any part of in the second round.
The Buffalo Bulls could very well be for real, and I’m not saying this because they are the only team to date that has beaten my San Francisco Dons. They went into Carrier Dome and squeezed the Syracuse Orange by a dozen, and it wasn’t that close. If they get by Marquette, they just might become the next Butler/Gonzaga mid-major that makes blue blood programs cringe uneasily when the Bulls appear in their March brackets.
While Canelo Alvarez looked sensational this past Saturday, I’d like to see him take on Callum Smith. If styles create fights, the 6’3” Briton could make things interesting. Along with Daniel Jacobs and Gennady Golovkin, this quartet is talented and interesting enough to bring casual fight fans back to the sweet science.
The New York Yankees honoring CC Sabathia’s $500,000 bonus that he missed by six outs could pay huge dividends expeditiously. These things aren’t lost on players, and it’s no secret that Manny Machado is in the Bronx this week. The slugging third baseman would make a lot of sense to any team, and with nearly a million fellow Dominicans in New York, particularly in the Bronx, Machado would sell a lot of tickets to his people during the week.
The Cuban Baseball Federation reaching an agreement with the MLBPA is long overdue. This not only improves the overall quality of the game, but it should help keep a lot of players and families of players out of serious danger trying to defect. Putting an end to the nightmares that players such as Yasiel Puig have had to endure is a positive step.