Low probability events happen every day. Yesterday was one of those days when the low probability event was in the sports world. There are not a lot of basketball coaches at the collegiate level who can say that their teams have won 1000 games. I believe there are only 4 coaches on the men’s side of the game over the 1000 mark; as of this morning, there are indeed 4 coaches in the women’s ranks with 1000 victories. However, as of yesterday morning, there were only two. Yesterday, both Sylvia Hatchell (UNC) and Geno Auriemma (UConn) won their 1,000th game. It would have been tough to script that.
Both Hatchell and Auriemma are chasing the all-time leader in women’s coaching victories, Pat Summitt (Tennessee). Summitt recorded 1098 wins in her career. Sylvia Hatchell is 65 years old; she could well be around long enough to eclipse Summitt’s record. Geno Auriemma is 63 years old and should also threaten Summitt’s mark
Back in early September, I did my annual NFL Predictions Rant and included the standard list of “Coaches on a Hot Seat”. Here is what I said then about Marvin Lewis and the Bengals:
“This will be Lewis’ 15th season as coach of the Bengals; the franchise he took over was a laughingstock; in the last 14 seasons, Lewis has had the team in the playoffs 7 times. That is the good news; here is the bad news. The Bengals have yet to win a playoff game under Lewis. In 2015, they had the game in their hands and then a total meltdown in focus and discipline cost them their first playoff win of the Marvin Lewis Era. You would have expected improvement in that area in 2016 and that Lewis would have made it a team objective. Well, that did not happen and the team finished a dispirited 6-9-1. One other factor working against him is that he only has 1 year left on his contract. Ownership in Cincy does not like to pay coaches not to coach … I think the Bengals have to make the playoffs for him to keep his job – – and if they do not win their first playoff game, they have to lose respectably.”
This week word spread that Marvin Lewis will “step away” from the Bengals and the word is that he is doing so with the intention of being a coach or a GM elsewhere in the league. That situation could make for some interesting “stuff” in the offseason. Lewis had talent in Cincy and he coached ‘em up pretty well during the regular season. In his tenure there, his record is 123-111-3 in a division where he had to play the Steelers and Ravens twice every year. Moreover, he won the AFC North title 4 times.
At the same time, his Cincy teams were undisciplined – to say the least – and many folks think he was complicit in allowing them to be undisciplined. The other thing that critics will point to is this; of all the NFL coaches who have been in 5 or more playoff games, Lewis has the worst record of them all:
- Marvin Lewis: 0-7 in playoff games
- Jim Mora: 0-6 in playoff games
- They are the only coaches on this list…
The injury to Antonio Brown in last week’s game will keep him out of the Steelers’ game this weekend. That has seemingly amplified the volume on the “debate” about Antonio Brown being the NFL’s MVP this year. I do not have a vote in that selection process and I usually ignore most of the hootdoodle that surrounds those selections, but I find the case of Antonio Brown interesting.
This situation is the latest example of the “situation without a resolution”:
- Should the award go to the “Most Outstanding Player” or should the award go to the “Most Valuable Player”?
In terms of on-field accomplishments, I would probably give the “Most Outstanding Player” award to Antonio Brown. In 14 games this year here are some stats:
- 101 receptions (7.2 catches per game)
- 163 targets (62% of the targets are receptions)
- 1533 yards gained (15.2 yards per catch)
- 9 TDs
Having laid all that out and acknowledging that those stats are outrageously good, I wonder about “Most Valuable Player” in the following sense:
- Is Antonio Brown the “Most Valuable Player” on the Pittsburgh Steelers – let alone in the NFL?
Obviously, this is intended only to be a gedanken experiment; which situation would be more perilous for the Pitts burgh Steelers:
- Antonio Brown misses the playoffs this year and is replaced by the clearly inferior Eli Rogers or Justin Hunter – – OR – –
- Ben Roethlisberger misses the playoffs this year and is replaced by the clearly inferior Landry Jones or Joshua Dobbs?
I am not sure that the loss of Brown would be as harmful as the loss of Roethlisberger – and have no real desire to do the on-field test. However, this thought experiment does highlight the “Most Outstanding Player” versus the “Most Valuable Player” dichotomy that often arises.
Finally, consider these two comments from Brad Dickson of the Omaha World-Herald that relate to NASCAR:
“Danica Patrick announced her upcoming retirement. She certainly changed the sport. Young people may not remember this but there was a time when auto racing announcers didn’t focus on the driver in 48th place.”
“And finally: Russia has been banned from the Winter Olympics because of suspected state-sanctioned doping. The IOC got suspicious after a Russian luger won pole position at the Daytona 500.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………