Niners – 2020 Season is Lost – Time to Prepare for 2021

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With the Niners season record at 4-4 at the half way point, their season is basically over due to the massive number of injuries to key players. Normally, I discount injuries as excuses for team performances as all teams have their share of injuries in this violent game. But, when one team has 24 key players on Injured Reserve (IR) or almost half of their roster, injuries do matter. They have more than $84 million in salaries for players on IR !!!

John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan have many difficult decisions to make to reshape this team for the 2021 season. With the COVID pandemic, the revenue stream for NFL teams have been severely slashed. One can easily deduce that the salary cap will correspondently be slashed which will surely impact many NFL veterans having high salaries.

With that in mind, my opinion is that the Niners must move off of some key veterans having high salaries and reward their young stars. Some veterans who are not on IR will also be impacted.

Let’s take a look at the 24 players on IR with my commentary:


QB Jimmy Garoppolo: He was injured in the 2nd game of the season vs the Jets with a high ankle sprain and hasn’t been the same ever since. Shanahan brought him back too soon and one could see that the Niner Offense was very limited due to Garoppolo’s mobility limitations. Jimmy G showed that he is a good enough QB to lead this team to the Super Bowl. Having said that, he wasn’t good enough to win the Lombardi trophy. Garoppolo is scheduled to be paid $25 million per year over the next 2 years. Is his performance worth this price? In his coaching history, Shanahan has a proven record with his QB’s who have improved dramatically in their 2nd year with him. Garoppolo has not taken this leap and instead has regressed. Hall of Famer, Steve Young, has stated that Shanahan can’t open up his entire offense due to Jimmy G’s limitations. Being 29 years of age, he is no spring chicken either. Although giving Garoppolo a lucrative contract in 2018 was the right decision then, with his lack of growth and progression, it’s time to cut bait and move on from Jimmy G. The one team that will have interest in Garoppolo is New England. Bill Belichick likes him because Jimmy G fits his system. Cam Newton will definitely not be a Patriot after this season. If a deal can be made with the Patriots for a draft pick, Lynch should pull the trigger. How can Lynch find a replacement for Jimmy G? In looking at the current QB vets, I would not favor spending big money on either Kirk Cousins (Vikings) or Matt Ryan (Falcons). Both have had success under Shanahan but they are well past their prime. The only elite QB that I would favor is somehow acquiring Aaron Rodgers (Packers). He is 36 years old but still playing at an elite level. It’s not clear when the Packers will be willing to part with Rodgers but if they don’t make it to the Super Bowl this year, there may be an opportunity for the Niners. Having said that, he is under contract through 2023 and the asking price for his services will be extremely high so this scenario is highly unlikely. My take is that the Niners should play Mullens and draft a QB. Trevor Lawrence (Clemson) and Justin Fields (Ohio State) will be picked in the top 1-5 of next year’s draft. I really like Fields as he is both very athletic and very accurate with his passes. But, realistically, he will not be around when the Niners pick and the cost to move up in the draft will be too costly. An intriguing pick would be Jamie Newman (Wake Forest who transferred to Georgia this year). He is 6’ 4” and 230 lbs and is a duel threat who can both pass and run. With Russell Wilson (Seahawks) and Kyler Murray (Cardinals) in the Niners division who are both high quality duel threats, the Niners should take a hard look at Newman. Trey Lance  (N. Dakota State) is about the same size as Newman and has an NFL arm so he is another potential for the Niners. Finally, Zack Wilson (BYU) who has similar size to both Newman and Lance is a solid candidate in next year’s draft. There are other good QB’s in the draft but these are my top 3 after Lawrence and Fields. Lastly, if Lynch can’t find a trade partner for Garoppolo, I still think they should cut bait and release him. We know what he can do and what his limitations are. He simply is not worth $25 mil per year.

TE George Kittle: Definite keeper and he got paid appropriately this year. Enough said.

TE Jordan Reed: He signed a 1 year contract at $1 million. If the Niners can re-sign him next year for under $2 million, they should keep him.

WR Deebo Samuel: Definite keeper who is in his 2nd year. Niners will have to reward him in the next year or two.

WR Jalen Hurd: Definite keeper who is in his 2nd year. Unfortunately for him and the Niners, he hasn’t played a down during his two years. As a rookie, he sustained a back injury during pre-season and was lost for the year. This year, he tore his ACL during training and is again lost for the year. He is the big WR that the NIners need in the Red Zone.

WR Tavon Austin: He was brought in after the Niners suffered too many WR injuries. He too got injured. I don’t expect him to be on the roster next year.

WR Dante Pettis: He is in his 3rd year and simply has been a bust. The Niners have been actively shopping him but so far there are no takers. If they can’t find a trade partner, he will be cut.

RB Raheem Mostert: Definite keeper. Niners will have to reward him in the next year.

RB Tevin Coleman: He is being paid $4.5 million this year and is an unrestricted free agent next year. He has been a good player at both Atlanta and in SF but the Niners will not renew his contract.

RB Jeff Wilson: Definite keeper who is still in his rookie contract ($750,000). He will be a restricted free agent next year so the Niners will have to properly reward him.

C Weston Richburg: He is due to make $7.8 million next year and $8.5 in 2022. Time to part ways with Richburg as he has been injured more than being healthy during his Niner career.

C Ben Garland: He is making $1.75 million this year and will become an unrestricted free agent next year. Niners should try to keep him but not overpay for his services.


DE Nick Bosa: Definite keeper who the Niners will have to reward in the next year or two.

DL Soloman Thomas: His salary is $8.7 million this year and he becomes an unrestricted free agent next year. While he is a solid player, he isn’t worth his salary and never lived up to his high 3rd overall draft pick.

DE Dee Ford: He signed a whopping $85 million contract through 2023. Unfortunately, he has been hurt more than he has played for the Niners. With his huge contract, it’ll be almost impossible to find a trade partner. It would be wise to outright release him and swallow his high salary. If the Niners cut him before the 2021 season, they suffer a minor dead money hit of only $4.8 million to their salary cap. Don’t expect Ford to be in a Niner uniform next year.

LB Mark Nzeocha: His salary is $1.35 million this year and $1.45 million next year. He is a solid backup so the Niners should keep him.

CB Richard Sherman: His salary is $8 million this year and he becomes an unrestricted free agent next year. While he is the defensive voice for the Niners and has played great, it may be time to move on from Sherman as a player. He will be 33 years old next year and has too many miles on his legs. If he wants to continue to play, the Niners should allow him to shop his services. If he wants to retire as a player, the Niners should consider keeping him as a DB coach.

S Jaquiski Tartt: His salary is $4.3 million this year and he becomes an unrestricted free agent next year. If Marcell Harris continues his great play, the Niners should not resign Tartt next year.

DL Ronald Blair: His salary this year is $2.1 million and he becomes an unrestricted free agent next year. Niners would be wise to resign him as he is a great rotational player who has a motor that doesn’t stop.

DL Jullian Taylor: He is still in his rookie contract through 2021. Definite keeper.

DE Ezekiel Ansah: He was signed to a 1 year $1.45 million due to so many injuries and got injured in his first game as a Niner.  If he is healthy next year, the Niners should bring him back to compete for a job. While he had some great years with the Lions, he is on the down slope of his career as an Edge Rusher.

LB Azeez Al-Shaarir: He is still in his rookie contract through 2022. He is a solid backup so is a definite keeper.

Players who have missed at least one game:  WR Brandon Aiyuk (hamstring) WR Richie James (hamstring) CB Emmanuel Moseley (head)  LB Dre Greenlaw (quad) CB Ahkello Witherspoon (hamstring)  DB Dontae Johnson (groin) CB K’Waun Williams (hip/knee)  S Jimmie Ward (quad) 

There are some healthy players on the roster who I think the Niners should off load.

CB Ahkelllo Witherspoon: He is making $2.1 million this year and becomes an unrestricted free agent next year. The Niners should allow him to find another team. He may have talent but he gets toasted much too often.

S Jimmie Ward: He is making $9 million per year through 2022. While he is a good safety, he isn’t great and isn’t worth his contract. Niners should look for a trade partner as his backup Tarvarious Moore has a higher ceiling at a lower cost.

RB Jerick McKinnon: He has been injured for two years so the Niners restructured his contract to only $1 million through this year. He no longer possesss the explosiveness that he once had. But with his small contract, the Niners may bring him back next year to compete for a job.

K Robbie Gould: He is being paid $4 million per year through 2022 and is 38 years old. While he has been great (I call him “Good as Gold”), it may be time to move off of Robbie for a younger and less costly Kicker.

With a lower salary cap in the horizon, the Niners have to clear some large salaries to be able to reward their young stars, specifically, Nick Bosa, Fred Warner, Raheem Mostert and Deebo Samuel. They also have to reward an established star in LT Trent Williams who they must resign. They have already started this process by trading Kwon Alexander to the Saints for a 5th round pick, thus offloading his $54 million contract which rans through 2022.

Pretty amazing that the Niners have still won 4 games with all of these injuries. Speaks volumes to their depth of players and the quality of Shanahan’s and his coaching staff’s efforts.

Knowing how the Niners played during the first two years of the Lynch/Shanahan era, when they didn’t have the talent they have today, the Niners will play competitively in the remaining games but realistically, I don’t see them winning too many more games. I am looking for player improvements in the young players who will continue to be part of the Niner core for years to come.

Niners Win vs Jets but Lose Bigtime to their Turf

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After 2 weeks, the Niners find themselves 1-1, losing to the very dangerous Cardinals team and beating up on a hapless NY Jets team.

As I mentioned prior to the start of the season, watch out for the Cardinals as I think Kyler Murray is on the same track as Russell Wilson. I also stated that the NFC West is the toughest division in the league and that I’d be happy with splits with the Cardinals, Seahawks and Rams.

Well, that wish may not happen now that the Niners suffered devastating injuries in the Jets game that will impact the team for the remainder of this season.

  • Nick Bosa tore is ACL and is lost for the season. He is the one player that cannot be replaced. He is perhaps the most dominating Edge rusher in the league.
  • Soloman Thomas also tore is ACL three plays after Bosa went down and is also lost for the season. Soli was moved inside this year where he has always felt that he is most effective. He earned a starting job with a great off-season building up his body only to suffer this horrible season ending injury in week 2.
  • Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a high ankle sprain early in the game but played on it for the entire first half. Looking back at the play that injured him, one Jet player grabbed his lower right leg and dragged him down, Per NFL league rules, this should have been a penalty. Then about 3 seconds after he went down, another Jets player plowed into him. This definitely was a roughing the QB penalty and I was in disbelief that no flags were thrown. I don’t know if this is true but I read that the referees couldn’t blow their whistle because they had their masks on. I don’t think the masks prevented their arms from reaching into their pockets to throw the flag. The good news is that his sprain isn’t as bad as originally feared so he is week-to-week.
  • Tevin Coleman sprained his knee and may be lost for 4 weeks.
  • Raheem Mostert also sprained his knee and may be out for 3-4 weeks.
  • Dre Greenlaw injured his quadriceps and may be out 3-4 weeks.

In addition to the week 2 injuries, the Niners have these injuries:

  • Dee Ford injured his back in week 1 and his return is undetermined. As we all know, back injuries can linger for a long time.
  •  George Kittle injured his knee in week 1 but may be able to play in week 3. The Niners, unfortunately have to play the NY Giants on the very same turf that injured their key players in week 2. Given that fact, I would hold out Kittle until week 4.
  • Richard Sherman injured his calf and will be lost for at least 4 weeks.
  • Jason Verrett injured his hamstring before the season started but seems to be back on track and ready to play. He may start at Corner Back replacing Ahkello Witherspoon, who continues to regress.
  • Deebo Samuel broke his foot during the off-season and the hope is that he can come back in week 5.

Now that the above bad news is out of the way, let’s focus on some good news:

  • Jimmy G had a great game while playing through his high ankle injury. He was 14-16 for 131 yards with 2 TD’sand a QBR of 149. He was 7-13 on third down plays and a perfect 3-3 in the Red Zone. Funny that all of the Jimmy G critics are so silent when he has a good game but absolutely blow him up when the Niners lose.
  • Jet McKinnon showed why he could be an impact player this year. He had 14 carries for 77 yards with a tremendous 55 yard run on a 3rd and 31 play.
  • Prior to Mostert-rati injuring his knee, he ran 80 yards for a TD on the very first play of the game and had another 65 yard TD run called back due to a holding penalty.
  • Jordan Reed had a great game with 7 catches including 2 TD’s. As I said prior to the beginning of the season, when Kittle returns, this dynamic duel will cause many mis-matches for which Shanahan is the best in the business in creating.
  • While Bosa and Thomas are lost for the season, DJ Jones, Javon Kinlaw and Kerry Hyder had great games on the D-Line.
  • Kendrick Bourne is emerging as a “go to” guy and Brandon Aiyuk had a standout first game. He’ll only get better.

While the first line players are recovering, I have every confidence in the world in Nick Mullens at QB. He was 8-11 after replacing Jimmy G. He played well in 2018 when Jimmy G tore his ACL. Shanahan has said that Nick knows his offense better than anyone on the team.

I’m anxious to see Jason Verrett play CB. He has had an injury plagued career but when healthy, he is one of the better CB’s in the league. I’m also anxious to see McKinnon, Aiyuk, Kinlaw, and Reed continue to grow as the team will really need them throughout the season. I’m also anxious to see Mohammed Sanu (WR), Dion Jordan (Edge), Ziggy Ansah (Edge), and JaMycal Hasty (RB) play their first game as a Niner.

When the team gets Jimmy G, Mostert-rati, Deebo, Kittle, Coleman, Greenlaw, and Ford back in action, this is still a team to be reckoned with.

2020 MLB – A’s and Giants in the Playoff Hunt

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Both Bay Area MLB teams are in the playoff mix this year!

Well… the A’s are in for sure but the Giants are fighting just to get in as the 8th seed.

The A’s have been consistent winners for quite some time. I believe that this is their year to bring home the Larry O’Brien trophy. Even though they lost their All-Star 3rd baseman, Matt Chapman, for the year due to a hip injury, they play great in all phases of the game. The A’s have excellent hitters, pitchers, and play great defense, all ingredients needed to win it all.

The Giants haven’t seen the playoffs since 2015 and have been mired in difficult decisions to move away from the great players who won trophies in 2010, 2012, and 2014. Additionally, they made some un-wise decisions to pay old and marginal players a ton of money leaving them in salary hell. Farhan Zaidi came in and while it has taken 2 years and some very difficult decisions, it appears that they have turned a corner and are moving in the right direction. Having said that, while their hitting has improved dramatically, their defense is average to bad and their pitching is just plain bad. To illustrate this fact, the Giants are 24-11 when they score 4 or more runs and 1-13 when they score 3 runs or less.

Like many SF Giants fans, I had my doubts about Zaidi’s hiring of Gabe Kapler as manager. At the time of the hire, Mike Matheny was available and I thought he would have been a great fit for the Giants. Zaidi, like many clubs, is intent on running the team based mostly on analytics. Thus, he hired Kapler, an analytic coach, who in the past has had problems dealing with the personal side of players.

During the early part of the season, my doubts turned to anger as the Giants blew 5 games which turned from W’s to L’s. During that stretch, Giants “closer”, Trevor Gott threw 3 walk-off HR’s in a span of a week. In one of those loses, the Giants had a 7-2 lead in the 9th inning and Gott gave up 5 runs including a Grand Slam and gave up the walk-off HR in the 10th. Kapler finally “Gott” it and moved away from him as a closer. Speaking of analytics, the other night, Kapler made a pinch hitting decision that I disagreed with. The bases were loaded with 1 out and Joey Bart was scheduled to hit in a 1 run game, Kapler took Bart out and had Justin Smoak hit for him just because Smoak hits left and the pitcher was right handed. Smoak promptly hit into a double play to end the inning. So much for analytics…. There are times that the manager needs to give the fans what they want and give a future star in Joey Bart a chance to be a hero and put analytics aside.

This year, the Giants have found their hitting stride and are scoring in bunches. Since 2016, I would stop watching Giants games if the other team scored first as I had zero confidence that they would come back from a deficit. This year, I started out that way but my interest peaked when their offense came to life. Now, I keep them tuned in even though they fall behind by 4 or 5 runs early as I feel that they are still in the game. They are averaging 6 runs a game at home and are just plain fun to watch. I give credit to Kapler and his coaching staff for this turn-around. One thing that I heard that made a lot of sense to me is that the hitters are told to continue to swing normally instead of “shortening up” their swings with 2 strikes. It seems that now, they are one of the best hitting clubs with 2 strikes in the league.

While the A’s have a legitimate shot at winning the World Series, the Giants still have a lot of growing up to do. My dream for the Giants this year is that they make the 8th seed and miraculously knock off the Dodgers in the first round. I don’t see them advancing but it certainly would add to this historic rivalry if the Giants can perform this miracle.

Go A’s !!! Go Giants !!!

2020 NFL Season is here… Niners ready to Rock ‘n Roll

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Even though I’ve been a diehard Niner fan since the John Brodie days in the 50’s and 60’s and a season ticket holder for 40 years, this year’s NFL season hasn’t really sparked my interest due to COVID-19 and the deadly California wild fires. Daily prayers go out to all who have been impacted.

I have steadfastly followed the Niner offseason and am so thrilled with what Lynch and Shanahan have been able to do. I’m confident that the Niners will be in the mix for the foreseeable future.

I support every move they made:

  • Traded DeForest Buckner to the Colts for the Colt’s #1 draft pick (13th pick overall). With that pick, the Niners drafted Javon Kinlaw, perhaps the best defensive lineman in the draft, to replace Buckner. Management had to make a decision to sign either Buckner or Arik Armstead to a long term deal. They couldn’t sign both so dealt Buckner who had a higher trade value. Armstead had a breakout season and had 10 sacks along with being a rock of a run stopper. Armstead was signed to a 5 year $85 million contract with $40 million guaranteed. Buckner signed a 5 year $96 million contract with $44 million guaranteed with the Colts. They then signed Kinlaw to a 4 year $14.5 million contract for a substantial cap space savings.
  • Did not re-sign Emanuel Sanders due to his salary and age. Sanders signed a 3 year $24 million contract with $10 million guaranteed with the Saints. To replace Sanders, the Niners selected Brandon Aiyuk with their own !sr round pick (25th  overall pick). The Niners had Aiyuk as their best WR on their draft board in a very rich WR group. They signed Aiyuk to a 4 year $12.5 million contract for another cap space savings.
  • With the cap space savings, they locked up George Kittle with a 5 year $75 million contract with $40 million guaranteed, making him the highest paid TE in NFL history.
  • The team also re-signed DL Ronald Blair, FS Jimmie Ward, OL Ben Garland, CB Dontae Johnson and CB Jason Verrett. They are all very important pieces to the team’s makeup.
  • Re-structured Dee Ford’s contract saving $9.5 million from their cap space.
  • On draft day, the Niners engineered perhaps the best trade of the year by acquiring LT Trent Williams while giving up only a 5th round pick in the 2019 draft and a 3rd round pick in the 2020 draft. An absolute steal for the best LT in football. The LA Ram’s coach Sean McVay reacted to this trade by saying,  “Thanks for reminding me,” McVay said according to Andrew Siciliano. “I need to go drink a couple of more beers.” Joe Staley stayed quiet about his retirement until the trade was announced, another very wise move as if the announcement would have been made earlier, this trade would have been much more costly.
  • Acquired TE Jordan Reed, who has a history of injuries but was an All-Pro when healthy. With potentially both Kittle and Reed on the field at the same time, Shanahan can create some nightmare match-ups for the opponent’s defense.
  • After being on IR for the past 2 years, Jet McKinnon is finally healthy and could be an impact player as he fits the Shanahan offense perfectly. Fast, shifty runner with great pass catching abilities and a nightmare in the open field. This made Matt Breida expendable so they traded him to the Dolphins for a 5th round pick. They used that pick to select Colton McKivitz, an offensive lineman, who made the 53 man roster. Breida was a good Niner but lost playing time at the end of the year due to inexplicable fumble issues.

While the Niners will be in the playoff hunt again this year, it’s not clear if they can win the West as the Seahawks also look scary good. It’ll come down to the wire between the two teams. Also, watch out for the rising Arizona Cardinals  as Kyler Murray may be as good as Russell Wilson. The Cardinals also added DeAndre Hopkins, in my view the best WR in the NFL. Along side Larry Fitzgerald, they will be a monster.

My only off season disappointment  is that WR Jalen Hurd went down with an ACL and will be lost for the season again. He is the big Red Zone receiver that the Niners were counting on. Hurd was lost for the season last year with a back injury so he is in the same company as Jet McKinnon in terms of losing 2 years of football due to injuries.

Following are my predictions:

  • Jimmy Garoppolo will have a better year than last year (which was great even though many analysts look at him as a weak link). While at Atlanta, in Shanahan’s 2nd year, Matt Ryan had an All Pro year and lead the Falcons to the Super Bowl. Jimmy G’s 2nd year under Shanahan will be much better and could move him towards elite status.
  • Jet McKinnon will have an impact year.
  • Jimmy Ward will have an impact year.
  • Fred Warner will have an impact year.
  • Jason Verrett may be the surprise at Corner Back opposite Richard Sherman. He has had an injury plagued career since 2015 but he appears to be healthy and ready to compete.
  • With a healthy Dee Ford and a more experienced Nick Bosa, watch out!
  • With a defensive line rotation of DJ Jones, Arik Armstead, Javon Kinlaw, an improved Soloman Thomas, newly acquired Kerry Huder from the Cowboys, a healthy Kentavious Street and Kevin Givens, the D-Line may be better than last year.
  • The WR’s will be much better than last year. Trent Taylor is back after missing last year with a foot injury. He will have the most receptions on the team. Deebo Samuel is coming back from a foot injury and is a game time decision for this week’s opener vs the Cardinals. Brandon Aiyuk will have a solid rookie year. Kendrick Bourne may have a break out year. The dark horse is Dante Pettis who had an awful 2019. If Jalen Hurd not been injured, Pettis would not have made the team. He has a lot to prove so let’s see what he can bring to the team this year.

To wrap things up, I want to pay tribute to Joe Staley, the best LT in Niner history. It was so sad to see him after the Super Bowl loss as he knew that this would be his last ride. He was and is a class act and I look forward to the day that he is added to the Niner Ring of Honor!!!

Go Niners !!!

SF 49ers – Week 14 WIN – The Young and the Restless !!!

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Remember 1981 when the Niners drafted and started Ronnie Lott, Eric Wright, and Carlton Williamson? All three were instant starters and along with a skinny legged 3rd stringer named Joe Montana, the Niners shocked the football world by beating the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Championship game (Dwight Clark’s “The Catch” Game) and went on to beat the Bengals in Super Bowl Sweet 16!!!… and the beginning of the Niner dynasty !!!

Fast forward to the 2018 draft class… The Niners drafted Tarvarius Moore, D.J. Reed, and Marcell Harris to improve their defensive backfield. In an injury plagued season, these three DB’s are getting their chance to play and Oh Boy, they are playing and playing well. The defensive play was a key in upsetting Denver and Seattle (both in the playoff hunt) in consecutive weeks. While I’m not saying that these guys can lead the Niners to the “promised land”, I am very much looking forward to next year to see the defense gel and become an important cog in the Niners success.

While we are on the topic of this year’s draft, let’s take a late season look at how they are doing…

  • Mike McGlinchy – Instant starter at Right Tackle and showing that he is one the best rookies at the Tackle position.
  • Dante Pettis – After battling through a knee injury, he is starting to showcase his Wide Receiver skills. He had 5 receptions for 83 yards vs Seattle.
  • Fred Warner – Instant starter at Linebacker and is calling the defensive plays as a rookie. He had 9 tackles (4 solo) vs Seattle.
  • Tarvarious Moore – See above. He had 7 tackles (5 solo) with 2 passes defensed vs Seattle.
  • Kentavious Street – Highly touted Defensive Lineman who tore is ACL prior to the draft but Lynch and Shanahan were so impressed with his talents, they drafted him anyway.
  • D.J. Reed – See above. He had 5 tackles (3 solo) vs Seattle.
  • Marcell Harris – See above. He had 6 tackles (6 solo) vs Seattle.
  • Jullian Taylor – Has earned a rotational spot on the Defensive Line and is playing well. He had 1 tackle vs Seattle.
  • Richie James – Quick Slot Receiver who returned a Kickoff 97 yards for a TD vs the Seahawks.

I would have to give Lynch and Shanahan high grades for these picks as all of them have made the team and are already making contributions. We’ll have to see how they grade out at the end of next year to give a true evaluation of this 2018 draft class.

Once again, undrafted QB Nick Mullens had a great game throwing for 275 yards on 20-29 with 1 TD. He did overthrow Gronk Kittle twice which could have lead to 2 additional TD’s, but those were the only two bad throws he made. And, undrafted Jeff Wilson overcame a fumble that killed a promising drive and a petty  unsportsman-like penalty that took away another potential TD by running excellently for the game winning field goal drive in OT.

As I said last week, I don’t expect the Niners to win any of the remaining 2 games, against playoff teams (the Bears, and Rams). But, I do expect these games to be competitive as the defense has come together and playing their best ball of the year. DeForest Buckner has become a monster. Against the Seahawks, he had 11 total tackles, 7 solo, 2 sacks (11 for the year), 4 tackles for losses, and 3 QB hits. These are Reggie White like numbers.  The O-line has been playing great all year and Nick Mullens’ quick decision making skills will allow the Niners to stay in these games.


  • The mighty Patriots and Rams have looked like Patsy’s and Lambs over the last two weeks as both are on 2 game losing streaks.The Playoffs will be very interesting this year as I believe that any team in the tournament are capable of advancing. Additionally, no playoff team wants to face either the Colts or Titans if they get into the Playoffs.
  • After beating the Steelers last week, the Raiders lost to the Bengals with a QB named Jeff Driskel? Chuckie Gruden’s winning streak was short lived.
  • Alex Smith was finally released from the hospital after 4 weeks after a horrendous leg injury and infection. Wishing him all the best for a full recovery and hoping to see him in a Redskin uniform again next year. Alex is still one of my favorite players of all time because he is the ultimate team player who spends time teaching the QB trade even if it means that his student will take over his job.
  • Those Niner fans who are calling in to complain about their tremendous win vs the Seahawks and losing out for the #1 overall draft pick next year are losers and not real Niner fans. Lynch and Shanahan are instilling a winning culture and don’t ever want to be associated with the #1 pick ever again.

SF 49ers – Week 13 WIN – George Kittle is the new Gronk !!!

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In their best game of the year, the Niners beat the hot Denver Broncos who had won 3 games in a row and was in the hunt for a playoff spot. Before the game started, the Broncos knew that the Baltimore Ravens had lost, thus opening an opportunity for them to sneak into the playoffs. The Broncos had plenty to play for and had to be confident playing the Niners who had only two wins this entire season. As I said in last week’s post, there is plenty to be optimistic about this Niner team going forward. The young studs on both sides of the ball showcased their talents against a playoff caliber team.These guys are playing for their future as Shanahan told them that the remaining games are important to find out who will be part of the Niners success going forward.

Nick Mullens had a solid game throwing for 305 yards on 20-33 and 2 TD’s. 210 of those yards went to George Kittle which included an exciting 85 yard catch-n-run TD, all in the first half. Kittle is now being mentioned as being in the same class as Gronkowski and Kelce. Mullens also threw a game clinching TD to Dante Pettis. Jeff Wilson had a career high 90 yards in his first NFL start.

Thus, an undrafted QB (Nick Mullens) and an undrafted RB (Jeff Wilson) took apart a very good Bronco defense. But, it was the unsung heroes who won the game for the Niners. The Offensive Line controlled the line of scrimmage against Von Miller and Bradley Chubb, two of the best sack artists in the league. Also, the Defensive Line held Phillip Lindsey to 30 yards on 14 carries. Last week, Lindsey had 157 yards and 2 TD’s against the Bengals. Witherspoon and Sherman had good games at the Cornerback position but it was D.J. Reed and Marcell Harris, both Rookies, who had absolutely monster games playing the Safety positions.

With Jimmy Garoppolo, Jerick McKinnon and Raheem Mostert returning next year from injuries and the Niners committed to finding a Pass Rusher and an impact Wide Receiver, they are pointing in the right direction.

I don’t expect the Niners to win any of the remaining 3 games, all against playoff teams (the Seahawks, Bears, and Rams). But, I do expect these games to be competitive as the young players are now strutting their stuff.


  • After the Raiders beat the high flying Steelers, they fired their GM, Reggie McKenzie. No doubt, there was a power struggle between Chuckie Gruden and McKenzie. With Chuckie beating the Steelers, this presented a perfect time to tell owner Mark Davis that he was in control. With Gruden trading the best LB in the league, Khalil Mack, and also trading an impact WR, Amari Cooper, he is being very Baalke-like in his determination to make this his own team. With only 3 wins this year, time will tell if Gruden can make this team a winner.
  • There is some truth to some team match-up dynamics that simply do not change regardless of whether one team is dominant and the other team just average. One of these cases is between the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins. No matter how good the Patriots are and how bad the Dolphins are, the Dolphins have the Patriots number. Yesterday was no different as the Dolphins pulled off a major upset with an implausible game winning 69 yard TD with a hook-n-ladder miracle on the last play of the game (34-33).
  • The Golden State Warriors were named Sport Illustrated Sportsperson of the year. They become only the 4th team ever to win this award. The 1980 US Men’s Olympic Hockey team, the 1999 US Women’s Olympic Soccer team, and the 2004 World Series Boston Red Sox team are the only other teams to win this otherwise individual performance award.
    “This is an incredible honor and one that certainly signifies our Strength in Numbers philosophy as a team and organization,” Warriors President of Basketball Operations/General Manager Bob Myers told The Associated Press. “Our success is due to the contributions of every single player, coach and staff member in our organization; for Sports Illustrated to recognize this unique dynamic is truly special.”

SF 49ers – Week 11 Loss – Domestic Violence is NOT OK !!!

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The Niners lost to the Tampa Bay Bucs but the big news of the week transpired prior to the game. Reuben Foster was arrested for yet another domestic violence incident… with the same women that he abused before. The Niners did the right thing and cut him from the team immediately. The organization did more than what was expected to try to turn this young man’s life around, but Reuben couldn’t separate the violence of football from his personal life. His teammates, especially Richard Sherman, tried to take him under his wings but that also didn’t help. Regardless of the tough upbringing that Reuben suffered from, there comes a time when a grown man must take responsibility for his actions.

In breaking news, a video surfaced on Nov 30 of Kareem Hunt, the star running back of the Kansas City Chiefs, shoving a woman then kicking her while she was on the floor. This incident took place in February but the video just surfaced for the public to view. It’s not clear if the Chiefs knew about the video prior to Nov 30, but their statement was that they knew of the incident, didn’t know about the video, and trusted Kareem’s version of the incident. They saw that the video did not match Kareem’s story so they cut him from the team immediately. There is a “he said, she said” bantering going on but regardless of “who started it”, there is no excuse for a man to hit a women under any circumstance…. Period !!!

A day after the Niners cut Foster, the Washington Redskins signed him to a contract. While the media was criticizing the Redskin Management for signing Foster, Sr. Vice President Doug Williams stated that what Foster did was “small potatoes”, so they signed him. YIKES !!! Yes, he really said that… The Philadelphia Eagles were somewhat interested in signing Foster but they called the Tampa Bay police and decided to pass. The Redskins, on the other hand, have a number of Alabama players on their team so decided to add another one.

With respect to Foster and Hunt, kudos to the Niners and Chiefs for doing the right thing. The Redskins, on the other hand continue to be two-faced about condemning violence but hiring violent personnel. The same can be said about the Dallas Cowboys (Randy Gregory), Cincinnati Bengals (Joe Mixon), Kansas City Chiefs (Tyreke Hill… yes, they did the right thing with Kareem Hunt but Hill is still on the team), and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Jameis Winston). And this list is just off the top of my head without doing any research.

It’s clear that the NFL’s (Owners and Commissioner) top priority is making money. They say the right things about condemning violence and doing everything they can to protect players from injury, but their actions do not match what they say… They do NOT walk-the-walk!!! In regard to domestic violence, this fact came out so clearly in the Ray Rice case where both the Baltimore Ravens and the NFL continued to support Rice until the infamous video surfaced. They then had to do an about face and finally punish Rice. They defended Rice because he was a money draw for the Ravens. Also, the NFL has been doing all players injustice by continuing to play and promote Thursday Night Football. It is a known fact that four days simply isn’t enough time to recover from the violence that they go through every Sunday. The NFL says they are doing everything they can to protect players but still play on Thursdays for the revenue.

There is no doubt in my mind that another NFL team will claim Kareem Hunt because he is still young and in the prime of his career and he is a money draw.

Bay Area Sports:

  • The Oakland A’s announced a new plan to build a new baseball venue in Jack London Square. We’ve all heard this before so I’ll believe it when shovel hits dirt.
  • The SF Giants under new GM, Farhan Zaidi, made the first players decision by keeping Joe Panik, Sam Dyson and Will Smith while releasing Hunter Strickland and Gorkys Hernandez. While these aren’t “turn-around” decisions, they are the correct ones with the players currently on the roster.
  • The GS Warriors are getting Steph Curry back from injury on Dec 1 and Draymond Green soon thereafter. This comes at a time when Kevin Durant has found his “happy zone” and has carried the team. In his last three games, KD has scored 44, 49 and 51 points while playing equally well on defense. As Steph is the QB of the team and directs traffic and the flow of the game, what makes him a super-star is the fact that he knows how to get the “hot” player involved in the flow. With KD playing his best ball of his career and Steph getting back into the flow, we should enjoy great basketball from here on in… and better enjoyment when Draymond, Zo McKinnie and Boogie Cousins begin playing again.
  • Steph Curry is the most beloved athlete in sports history. Not only is he beloved on the court, his actions off the court tell the true story of why he is so beloved. Last week, a 9 year-old girl named Riley Morrison from Napa, who is a diehard Warrior fan, wrote Steph a letter saying that she has been trying without success to buy Steph Curry 5 basketball shoes. Steph wrote back to her in a hand written letter telling her that he worked with Under Armour to fix the problem. He sent her a pair to Curry 5 shoes, worked with Under Armour to correct the marketing of these shoes to young girls, will send her a new pair of Curry 6’s when they come out, and invited her to a special day on March 8 (International Women’s Day) at the Warrior’s home game. “That’s the beauty of Steph,” Steve Kerr said. “He understands his power. He understands the impact he can make on people’s lives. And I’m incredible proud of him.”

MLB Teams With Best Cost-to-Win Ratios

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Typically, small market teams in any professional sport are at a huge disadvantage as they simply do not have the financial power to compete with the “Big Boys” who seemingly do not have a payroll ceiling as they have the willingness to pay high luxury taxes. In 2018, there are some astounding exceptions to this rule and as a sports fan, you simply have to root for these “David” teams against the “Goliath’s”.

Four teams stand apart from the rest of the league in terms of having the best cost-to-win ratio in 2018… These teams are in the top 10 in the cost-to-win ratio and equally as important, they are in Playoff contention. The Oakland A’s have the best ratio by far while having the third lowest payroll in MLB. The other standout teams are the Milwaukee Brewers, Philadelphia Phillies, and Atlanta Braves. All four of these teams have payrolls in the lower half of the league and they are all Playoff contenders. These teams have outstanding management in terms of scouting, drafting, and trading for players who don’t command top salaries but who play as well as the top salaried players in the league.

Of course, there are the “Goliath’s” who have very high payrolls but who are also Playoff contenders. The difference is that these teams are expected to win the World Series and anything short of that would be a failure. Teams with the 10 highest payrolls who are Playoff contenders are the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals, Houston Astros, and Seattle Mariners. The management for these teams are second tier as they spend top dollars for the MLB super-stars. In other words, they don’t have to worry about being frugal to trade for the best players in baseball. But they also do a good job of scouting and drafting as their minor league teams are filled with good future MLB players.

Lastly, there are the teams with poor management who have the highest salaries who are not in Playoff contention. These teams are the San Francisco Giants, Washington Nationals, Los Angeles Angels, Toronto Blue Jays, the New York Mets. These teams are in the top 12 in having the highest payrolls but who have no hope to make the Playoffs. Of these teams, the SF Giants are in the poorest position going forward. They have the 2nd highest payroll and their roster is filled with old, high salaried players who do not command any trade value. In essence, the SF management have been overly loyal to players who brought home three World Series titles since 2010. At this point, there are no good options over the next few years except to hope that their minor league players come of age soon and can be effective major league players.

As an avid SF Giants fan since they moved here from New York, I am worried that they won’t be a competitive team again for years. But, I am amazed and thrilled that I was able to celebrate three World Series titles in seven years. And, since my motto is to simply relax and enjoy my favorite sports teams, I will forever be a Giants fan regardless of how they perform.

I am also a Bay Area sports fan in general so am thrilled to see how well the Oakland A’s are performing this year. As amazing as they are playing, they simply don’t get the press that they deserve. The press focuses all of their accolades to the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, and Houston Astros. For this reason, I would dearly love to see the A’s conquer these “Goliath’s” !!!


Go A’s !!!


Team Total Payroll Rank # of Wins as of 8/21/2018 Cost per Win Rank (Cost per Win Playoff Contention
Oakland Athletics $79,105,049 28 75 $1,054,733.99 1 Y
Tampa Bay Rays $70,973,984 30 64 $1,108,968.50 2
Pittsburgh Pirates $91,842,537 26 63 $1,457,818.05 3
Milwaukee Brewers $105,550,229 22 70 $1,507,860.41 4 Y
Chicago White Sox $71,168,615 29 47 $1,514,225.85 5
Philadelphia Phillies $103,424,036 23 68 $1,520,941.71 6 Y
Cincinnati Reds $98,923,352 25 55 $1,798,606.40 7
Miami Marlins $91,038,480 27 50 $1,820,769.60 8
Atlanta Braves $128,573,847 19 69 $1,863,389.09 9 Y
Minnesota Twins $114,689,120 21 59 $1,943,883.39 10
Cleveland Indians $141,133,243 14 72 $1,960,183.93 11 Y
San Diego Padres $99,474,315 24 49 $2,030,088.06 12
Arizona Diamondbacks $140,597,981 15 69 $2,037,651.90 13 Y
Colorado Rockies $142,828,448 13 68 $2,100,418.35 14 Y
Houston Astros $161,093,262 9 75 $2,147,910.16 15 Y
Seattle Mariners $159,985,757 10 72 $2,222,024.40 16 Y
New York Yankees $177,530,798 6 78 $2,276,035.87 17 Y
St. Louis Cardinals $162,540,882 8 69 $2,355,664.96 18 Y
Texas Rangers $138,989,968 16 56 $2,481,963.71 19
Detroit Tigers $129,892,009 17 51 $2,546,902.14 20
Boston Red Sox $227,835,760 1 88 $2,589,042.73 21 Y
Chicago Cubs $188,649,397 4 71 $2,657,033.76 22 Y
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim $173,543,411 7 63 $2,754,657.32 23
New York Mets $149,728,579 12 54 $2,772,751.46 24
Toronto Blue Jays $156,766,332 11 56 $2,799,398.79 25
Los Angeles Dodgers $194,197,232 3 67 $2,898,466.15 26 Y
Washington Nationals $186,810,505 5 62 $3,013,072.66 27
San Francisco Giants $207,025,940 2 62 $3,339,128.06 28
Baltimore Orioles $124,161,594 20 37 $3,355,718.76 29
Kansas City Royals $129,537,133 18 38 $3,408,871.92 30


The G.O.A.T. of all G.O.A.T.’s

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Every time a championship comes around whether it be a Super Bowl, World Series, Stanley Cup, or an NBA Championship, the sports media hypes up who is the Greatest Of All Time (G.O.A.T.). Even though trying to identify a G.O.A.T. for any sport is in impossible task, they go beyond a particular sport and try to pick the G.O.A.T. of all G.O.A.T.’s across all sports. This is lunacy.

During this year’s Super Bowl week, there was much discussion about Tom Brady vs Michael Jordan as being the G.O.A.T. of all G.O.A.T.’s. Further, after the Patriots lost, most sports media reporters stated that Jordan has sealed the title of the G.O.A.T. of all G.O.A.T.’s. Although, in my opinion, this is laughable, these kinds of discussions stir up more conversations and “sells newspapers”.

Every major sport has the Hall of Fame (H.O.F.). Players are selected into the H.O.F. based on some established criteria and for the most part, those elected are very much deserving. The H.O.F. players were the best of the best during the period and era that they played the game. The basic fallacy of trying to identify a G.O.A.T. is that as father time passes, many things change. Players are paid more and more over time thus their training becomes a year-around requirement. Diets and drugs (some legal and some illegal) have had a profound impact on the players’ conditioning along with their training regimen. Major rule changes make it impossible to compare players across eras. In the NBA, the game was much more physical in the 70’s and 80’s. The 3 point line was adopted in 1979 which revolutionized the game. Like the NBA, the NFL was much more lenient on physical and dirty play in the 60’s through the 80’s. Today, the QB’s are treated like girls and are now protected against both low and high hits. With the implementation of camera replays, nobody now knows what a “catch” is. In the MLB, how baseballs were made was changed in the 1920’s and ended the “dead ball era”. In the same era, rules are put in place to disallow “doctored” balls. Prior to this, it was common to use the same ball for a full game. Foul balls were routinely retrieved from the stands and re-used. Babe Ruth hit 54 HR’s in 1920 and 59 in 1922 thus ending the dead ball era. In 1973, the American League adopted the Designated Hitter to improve the offensive output.

Performance enhancing drugs (PED’s) ran rampant across all professional sports but MLB has taken center stage as baseball records are held sacred with the HR record at the top of the list. PED’s were not available until the 90’s, but the use of other drugs have been documented throughout MLB history. Babe Ruth injected himself with sheep testicle extracts. Mickey Mantle used amphetamine injections and other steroids available at that time. Hank Aaron was known to have tried amphetamine pills for a short period of time as he was frustrated by his lack of HR’s but he quit as it made him ill. Mike Schmidt and Goose Gossage also admitted to using amphetamines. To top things off, Bud Selig was the commissioner of the MLB from 1992 through 2014 which has been best known as the PED era. MLB revenues soared to new highs as over 50% of the players were juiced and offensive output were at all-time highs. Interestingly enough, Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, Mike Schmidt, Goose Gossage, and Bud Selig are all in the H.O.F. Additionally, Gossage has consistently said that PED users should NOT be elected in the H.O.F. under any circumstances. It was not until 2005, after the congressional investigations of the use of PED’s did the MLB institute stricter rules and penalties for the use of PED’s. After these rules were put in place, players shunned these new rules and continued to use PED’s with the most notable player being Alex Rodriguez. He is doing everything he can to make himself visible to the public and to the MLB H.O.F. voters in a positive light. Time will tell if he does enough to get voted into the H.O.F. My fundamental question in all sports is “how many cheating players have made the H.O.F. and how many deserving players will never get in because they choose not to kiss the voters’ asses?”.

Getting back to the G.O.A.T.s…

In the NFL, the undisputed G.O.A.T. appears to be Tom Brady. Even though his team lost to the Eagles this year, his performance was outstanding as he threw for 505 yards, threw 3 TD’s and had a QB rating of 115.4. Having said that, the media pays most of their attention on Wins and Losses. With this SB loss, Brady now has a record of 5 wins and 3 losses in SB’s. In 2001, the Patriots were given a gift when Brady fumbled with a few minutes left in the game and trailing against the Raiders. But, the referees ruled that the play was not a fumble which lead to the infamous “tuck” rule. Thus, Brady’s first SB win should not have even happened as the Raiders should have won that game. In 2015, if the Seahawks would have given the ball to Marshawn Lynch on the 1 yards line with a minute left in the game, Brady would have lost. In 2016, if the Falcons would have run the ball 3 times from the 25 yard line with less than 3 minutes left and kicked a field goal, Brady would have lost. Thus, instead of having a 5-3 Super Bowl record, Brady could very easily have a 2-5 SB record. I’m not saying that Brady doesn’t deserve the title of the NFL G.O.A.T., I’m just stating that there are more than win/loss records in identifying truly great players. Jim Kelly of the Buffalo Bills was a truly great QB but since his SB record is 0-4, he’ll never be mentioned as a G.O.A.T.

If I follow the sheep and try to name G.O.A.T.s instead of my belief that H.O.F’ers are the standard, following are my picks.

In the NBA, Michael Jordan is the undisputed G.O.A.T. No more needs to be said about that.

In the MLB, Willie Mays is the undisputed G.O.A.T. No more needs to be said about that.

In the NHL, Wayne Gretzky is the undisputed G.O.A.T. No more needs to be said about that.

In the NFL, Tom Brady is the acknowledged G.O.A.T. Brady has 5 SB wins but also has 3 SB losses. Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw both have 4 SB wins with zero SB losses, but Montana is heads and shoulders better than Bradshaw. Lively discussion… lol

However, if I were asked to name a G.O.A.T. of all G.O.A.T’s, it is a simple choice… It would be Roger Federer. His career spans from 2001 to the present and at age 37, he is playing his best tennis. He has won an astounding 20 Grand Slam Tournament titles and 3 in the last year against much younger opponents. My second choice would be Serena Williams. She has 23 Grand Slam Tournament titles and is the same age as Federer. Serena is one slam victory away from Margaret Court and currently on maternity leave. Her goal is to come back and win at least 25 Majors. I give the nod to Serena over Court as Serena is playing much stronger competition as current Men and Women tennis players are living and breathing tennis all year long.

At the end of the day, G.O.A.T. discussions breed lively conversation, but the H.O.F. tells me everything I need to know about the greatest players in sports throughout history.