Football Tidbits Today

#2 son provided me with the following tidbit.  Kyle Shanahan was on the sidelines for two of the biggest 4th quarter comebacks in Super Bowl history – – but he was on the “wrong sideline”.  He was the offensive coordinator and play-caller for the Falcons when the Pats rallied from a 28-3 deficit to win the game in OT; this year, he was the head coach for the Niners who led by 10 points in the middle of the 4th quarter and lost by 10 points in regulation.  Combining those games, here is a stunning statistic:

  • In those two Super Bowl contests, from the time when there were 10 minutes left to play in the 4th quarter until the game was over (the Pats game went to OT), the teams with Kyle Shanahan calling the plays were outscored 46-0.

That is a head-shaker to be sure.  Shanahan deserves plenty of blame for his failure to run the ball and eat up some clock in the Pats game, but I am not so sure his play calling was seriously in question last weekend.  That stat is a serious indictment on the defensive coordinator and the defensive players in those two games.  The Falcons’ defense was simply gassed at the end of their game and the Niners’ defense gave up all of the big plays it would surrender for the day in the final minutes.  Amazing statistic…

Speaking of NFL defenses and defensive coordinators, the Raiders fired their defensive coordinator, Brenston Buckner, and hired Rod Marinelli to take that job.  The basis for that hiring and firing decision is simple; Marinelli was with Jon Gruden in Tampa Bay as the Bucs’ defensive line coach when the Bucs won the Super Bowl there in January 2003.  Putting that aside for just a moment, here is why this move is surprising:

  • Marinelli is 70 years old.  I doubt that anyone sees him as any sort of “innovator” on defense.
  • Buckner became the Raiders’ defensive coordinator in 2019.  He inherited a defense that was last in the NFL in sacks (13) and put a defense on the field last year that recorded 32 sacks.  That may not be an eye-popping total, but it is a 146% increase year-over-year.
  • Marinelli’s most recent stint in the NFL has been as the defensive coordinator for the Cowboys – and no one would point to the Cowboys’ defense over the past two seasons as a model for all other teams to try to emulate.

Buckner was not “at loose ends” for long.  He must be held in some level of esteem around the league because he was hired by the Cardinals to be their defensive line coach in about 24 hours.

Division 1-A college football is a significant step down from the NFL and when you get to the bottom levels of Division 1-A college football one may need a parachute to get from the NFL to that level.  The UConn football program has been a low-level bottom feeder for several years now – and it just might be getting worse. Here is how bad it was in 2018:

  • UConn gave up 50.4 points per game and 617.4 yards per game.

In 2019, UConn was 2-10 with those wins coming against Division 1-AA Wagner College and bottom-feeder-supremo, UMass.  Channeling the guy on the infomercials who hawks Oxi-Clean:

But wait!  There’s more…

Now that the NCAA has introduced the “transfer portal” to facilitate the processes by which a student-athlete can move from one school to another, there is an easy way to keep tabs on how many players may or may not be “on the move”.  A recent report at said that 23 players on the UConn roster had entered the transfer portal.  A look at the 2019 UConn roster yields some interesting information:

  • If I counted correctly there were 100 players on the roster for 2019.
  • There were only 10 seniors on the team; not a lot of folks hung in there for 4 years of Husky football.
  • Now according to the report, 23 other players have entered the transfer portal.  Assuming they successfully find a way out of Storrs, CT, that means 33% of last year’s team will not be there next year.
  • If you are a player in the transfer portal who was not a starter or a player who got significant time last year, how might that player be viewed by other Division 1-A schools?  I would not be busting my butt to take on players who were starters from that team let alone bench jockeys.

UConn is leaving the AAC to join the non-football Big East Conference.  So, in addition to having a questionable roster for football, it is going to have to feel its way through the thicket of being an independent football team at the Division 1-A level – – or downgrade to Division 1-AA.  Here are the seven Division 1-A football independents for 2020:

  1. Army
  2. BYU
  3. Liberty
  4. New Mexico St.
  5. Notre Dame
  6. UConn
  7. UMass

New Mexico State, UConn and UMass bring no glory at all to that list…

Randy Edsall is the head coach at UConn and is in his second stint there.  He took over in 2017 after a 6-year hiatus from the school.  In those 3 seasons since his return, the Huskies cumulative record has been 6-30.  I would say things are looking bleak inside the football program at UConn.

Finally, Bob Molinaro had this comment in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot this week.  Given the amount of commentary surrounding this topic, I find myself in complete agreement with him:

Brief rant: I guess something’s wrong with me. Otherwise, I’d have a stronger reaction to the Super Bowl halftime show put on by two middle-aged women. But I don’t. For me, it was neither great nor controversial, perhaps because I was barely paying attention. But so many things media and people find spectacular or objectionable just aren’t. It’s tiresome.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………



6 thoughts on “Football Tidbits Today”

  1. Lots to comment on today:

    I agree with Bob Molinaro.

    The Kyle Shanahan stat line is mind boggling. Since the Falcons never had the ball in that OT, Shanahan’s offense went 20 minutes in the most important parts of two super Bowl games without scoring a single point. In the case of the Falcons, they could not even gain a first down in those ten minutes. He is supposed to be an offensive genius.

    I wonder if UConn’s football fortunes would have taken a different course had they been successful in their attempt to join the ACC.

    1. Doug:

      College football is just not a big deal in the Northeast; it used to be about 75 years ago but it has not been so for at least the last 40 years. If UConn had joined the ACC, I think they would have been severely overmatched. BC is a middle-of-the-pack football team in the ACC and it brought a much stronger football tradition to the ACC than UConn could ever pretend to have. Just my thought…

  2. I wonder what outspoken and major UConn booster Robert Burton has to say about the situation there. I recall his demand for a return of a $3 million donation back in 2011 because he was displeased with the hiring of Paul Pasqualoni.

    1. Steve:

      Well, Mr. Burton eventually got Randy Edsall back as the coach at UConn; it was Edsall’s departure that set in motion his ultimate displeasure.

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