I think that this move may come back and bite the Dbacks in the ass. They are giving up way too much talent in Justin Upton. I realize that he is not the emotional fireball that Kirk Gibson is looking for. Upton will be playing at a high level for the Braves much longer than Kirk Gibson will be the Manager of the Diamondbacks. And that’s when GM Kevin Towers will see that he made yet another bad move!!
Biggio tops vote but no one elected to Hall
Former Astros star finishes 39 votes shy, trailed by Morris, Bagwell, Piazza
NEW YORK — The most highly debated election for entry into the National Baseball Hall of Fame ended Wednesday without a new inductee.
For the first time since 1996 and only the second since 1971, eligible members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America did not vote in a single player from a ballot of 37 candidates that was deep and controversial.
Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson admitted that this was a very a tough election for the voting cohort.Craig Biggio was the leading vote-getter, having been named on 68.2 percent of the ballots, but fell 39 votes shy of election as he received 388 votes among the 569 ballots that were cast. Five of those ballots were left blank. He was followed by Jack Morris (67.7 percent), Jeff Bagwell (59.6) and Mike Piazza (57.8).
“Writers have had a lot of consternation [this year] about who they decided to pick and this made it one of the most talked about classes in history,” Jeff Idelson said. “I think we have to remember that a snap shot in time is not one ballot, but 15, the most times a player can appear on the ballot. And for some of the people on this ballot that journey is just beginning.”
The ballot was loaded with a number of first-time-eligible players whose careers spanned a period of Major League Baseball that some believe was clouded by the use of performance-enhancing drugs:
• Barry Bonds, the all-time home run leader with 762.
• Roger Clemens, a storied right-hander with 354 wins.
• Biggio, a second baseman with 3,060 hits.
• Sammy Sosa, the only slugger to bash more than 60 homers in three different seasons and who totaled 609 in his career.
• Piazza, who hit 396 of his 427 homers as a catcher — the most of any player at that position in Major League history.
None of them made it in.
|Player (Years on ballot)||Total Votes||Percentage|
|Craig Biggio (1)||388||68.2|
|Jack Morris (14)||385||67.7|
|Jeff Bagwell (3)||339||59.6|
|Mike Piazza (1)||329||57.8|
|Tim Raines (6)||297||52.2|
|Lee Smith (11)||272||47.8|
|Curt Schilling (1)||221||38.8|
|Roger Clemens (1)||214||37.6|
|Barry Bonds (1)||206||36.2|
|Edgar Martinez (4)||204||35.9|
|Alan Trammell (12)||191||33.6|
|Larry Walker (3)||123||21.6|
|Fred McGriff (4)||118||20.7|
|Dale Murphy (15)||106||18.6|
|Mark McGwire (7)||96||16.9|
|Don Mattingly (13)||75||13.2|
|Sammy Sosa (1)||71||12.5|
|Rafael Palmeiro (3)||50||8.8|
|Bernie Williams (2)||19||3.3|
|Kenny Lofton (1)||18||3.2|
|Sandy Alomar Jr. (1)||16||2.8|
|Julio Franco (1)||6||1.1|
|David Wells (1)||5||0.9|
|Steve Finley (1)||4||0.7|
|Shawn Green (1)||2||0.4|
|Aaron Sele (1)||1||0.2|
|Jeff Cirillo (1)||0||0|
|Royce Clayton (1)||0||0|
|Jeff Conine (1)||0||0|
|Roberto Hernandez (1)||0||0|
|Ryan Klesko (1)||0||0|
|Jose Mesa (1)||0||0|
|Reggie Sanders (1)||0||0|
|Mike Stanton (1)||0||0|
|Todd Walker (1)||0||0|
|Rondell White (1)||0||0|
|Woody Williams (1)||0||0|
Morris, a starter who dominated the American League during the 1980s, didn’t make it, either, on his 14th try. He’ll have one more chance. So long as they maintain at least five percent of the ballots cast, players have 15 years on the ballot before they are no longer eligible to be elected by the BBWAA. Nineteen players, including Bernie Williams and Kenny Lofton, missed that five-percent mark this year and will not be back on the ballot.
It’s not going to get any easier next year as Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, Mike Mussina and Jeff Kent are all expected to be among the first-timers on the ballot.
As all Baseball Hall of Fame votes are conducted, a candidate needed to be named on at least 75 percent of the ballots to be elected. BBWAA members with 10 consecutive years or more of covering the sport were eligible to vote and they could name as many as 10 players on their ballots.
Clemens and Bonds finished eighth and ninth, respectively, Clemens receiving 37.6 percent and Bonds 36.2. Tim Raines (52.2), Lee Smith (47.8), Curt Schilling (38.8), Edgar Martinez (35.9) and Alan Trammell (33.6) were among the remainder of the runners-up. Sosa received 12.5 percent.
“Next year, I think you’ll have a rather large class and this year, for whatever reasons, you had a couple of guys come really close,” Commissioner Bud Selig said at the owners’ meetings in Paradise Valley, Ariz. “This is not to be voted on to make sure that somebody gets in every year. It’s to be voted on to make sure that they’re deserving. I respect the writers as well as the Hall itself. This idea that this somehow diminishes the Hall of baseball is just ridiculous in my opinion.”
There will still be an induction ceremony in Cooperstown, N.Y., on July 28. Longtime Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert, turn-of-the-20th-century umpire Hank O’Day and 19th-century catcher Deacon White were elected to the Hall last month by the Pre-Integration Committee, and their memories and heirs will be honored on that date. All three are deceased.
Tom Cheek, who called the first 4,306 regular-season games and 41 postseason games in Blue Jays history, will receive the Ford C. Frick Award for “major contributions to baseball” posthumously on July 27 during a ceremony at Doubleday Field. He is survived by his wife, Shirley, who is expected to be in Cooperstown to accept the award.
Paul Hagen of MLB.com will be presented the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for “meritorious contributions to baseball writing” and will also be honored at Doubleday Field that day.
The Hall will add a special wrinkle to the main Sunday event to honor Lou Gehrig, Rogers Hornsby and 10 other Hall of Famers who were not recognized at the time of their induction due to wartime travel restrictions.
“When no player is elected or cases like that you’re not going to have the crowds you normally would,” Idelson explained. “It has an adverse affect on Hall of Fame weekend. Fortunately the Cooperstown season is more than that weekend. For that weekend we’ll do what we need to do to now enhance the ceremonies.”
It was the eighth time the writers didn’t elect anyone since voting began in 1936. Phil Niekro, Tony Perez and Don Sutton split the vote in 1996, with Niekro leading at 68.3 percent. All three eventually attained enshrinement. Two players and two managers, including Jim Bunning and Earl Weaver, were elected that year by a Veterans Committee. Yogi Berra led the voting in 1971, his first year on the ballot, but fell short of election. He was inducted the following year.
Morris, who had 254 career wins during his 18-year career — an American League-best 162 of them in the 1980s — topped a list of returnees that included, among others, Bagwell, Smith, Raines, Trammell, Martinez and Dale Murphy, the center fielder who finished his 15-year tenure on the writers’ ballot without success.
“Today’s news that those members of the BBWAA afforded the privilege of casting ballots failed to elect even a single player to the Hall of Fame is unfortunate, if not sad,” said Michael Weiner, the executive director of the MLB Players Association. “Those empowered to help the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum document the history of the game failed to recognize the contributions of several Hall of Fame worthy players. To ignore the historic accomplishments of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, for example, is hard to justify.
“Moreover, to penalize players exonerated in legal proceedings — and others never even implicated — is simply unfair. The Hall of Fame is supposed to be for the best players to have ever played the game. Several such players were denied access to the Hall today. Hopefully this will be rectified by future voting.”
Among the first-timers, Biggio still seems to be on a clear course eventually toward a plaque, because 3,000 hits is an almost-certain ticket to the hallowed Hall. Of the 26 other retired players who amassed 3,000 or more hits, only two are not in the Hall, and both have extenuating circumstances. Rafael Palmeiro had 3,020 hits and 569 homers but was suspended for a positive steroid test in 2005, his last season in the Major Leagues. Pete Rose, the all-time leader with 4,256 hits, is banned from baseball because of gambling and is not eligible to be included on Hall of Fame ballots.
Biggio played 20 seasons, all for the Astros. He batted .281 as a catcher, outfielder and second baseman; he played 1,989 of his 2,850 games at second base.
For the others, the future looks much more problematic despite their overwhelming numbers.
Bonds played 22 seasons for the Pirates and Giants and holds the all-time records for homers in a career (762) and a single season (73), plus walks (2,558) and intentional walks (688) He won the National League MVP Award seven times, including three times before 1998, the demarcation line for when many believe steroid use in baseball entered its peak.
Clemens, who pitched for the Red Sox, Blue Jays, Yankees and Astros during a 24-year career, is ninth in career victories, one shy of Maddux, the pitcher with the most wins in their era with 355. Clemens is third all-time with 4,672 strikeouts, behind Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson. Clemens won the AL MVP Award and the Cy Young Award in 1986 for the Red Sox and captured the Cy Young Award seven times, six of them in the AL.
This is a re-post from an article I found on MLB.com. The original article can be viewed by CLICKING HERE.
NHL Lockout is Over-But At What Cost?
A Guest Blog by Joey Nardinelli
So, it looks like another wasted season was avoided by a wing and a prayer, some concessions, a lot of greed, and the knowledge that we’ll be looking forward to this same thing in another eight to ten years.To some extent, I don’t think any of that will matter to most fans, but I think that also depends highly on the market that you come from.
For myself, I grew up a casual hockey fan who liked to watch the Sharks — they were still relatively new as an expansion team and they were “local”. But after two lockouts, I lost touch and wasn’t drawn back in until I moved to Tucson, where I found myself surrounded by a growing misfit cabal of displaced hockey fans — from Northern and Southern California, from Pittsburgh, from Toronto, and from Colorado. Perhaps that is the definition of living in a place like Tucson — a place where new favorite teams can never come into existence due to an absent market across all major sporting fronts. Fortunately, I’ve had time to peek into games in Phoenix and visit Jobing.com Arena, where I’ve been lucky to see the Sharks play. I can’t help but wonder what this recent lockout has done to the infrastructure of that waning franchise; with a team so ready to play and so many cogs in that machine — all the people who must have been released and lost jobs during this whole process.
All that being said, I have a few thoughts on what should happen going forward to best improve this situation. Much of what I have to say can and is being echoed by columnists everywhere, but I think the reality is that they continue to overlook the casual fan who became the backbone of the NHL over the last few years. Who else are season ticket holders selling tickets to otherwise when they aren’t in attendance, especially in markets like Phoenix?
For one, I think each arena (especially in smaller markets) needs to cordon off sections for non-season tickets that can be purchased by the individual game in clusters. Those, as well as season tickets, should be marked off further below to make up for the delay in getting this deal done (besides being obviously marked down for a shortened season). I’d also like to see the Center Ice package made available to all subscribers of cable (or barring that, NHL Network subscribers).
One of the harsh realities of this particular point in the NHL is that there is so little to draw fans back in that were pushed away by the actions of Fehr and Bettman.
There is no big new name to the game (Nail Yakupov, maybe?). Unless some big trades happen immediately (Luongo to Toronto or Florida?), there is going to be little to generate that upfront interest in returning to televisions. I personally will probably wait another few years before buying any additional NHL merchandise (especially EA games) until I feel a solid reason to return to that level of fandom I had at the end of this last season.
A final note that I found particularly interesting over the last few weeks were all the platitudes offered by both sides in terms of “no-start compromises” such as contract lengths (Daly’s “Hill We Will Die Upon”) that were all eventually cracked in the name of reaching a deal. While I on the one hand see this turn as a reality of negotiations, the scarier side of this is the callousness with which the business side of sports deals with making sure the fans ultimately get what they want. I, for one, will wait and see.
I set out to write an NHL blog, but quickly realized that I was out of my league……. So I called in a pinch hitter!! My boy Joey!! Thanks for your take on the NHL Lockout as seen by an American hockey fan!!
No easy answers for Hall of Fame debate
Barry Bonds stopped playing baseball five years ago, but we can still keep screaming about him. Bonds is on the Hall of Fame ballot this year, which means he is guaranteed to tick off millions of people no matter what happens. This may be the most Barry Bonds moment of Bonds’ life.
I love a good Hall of Fame debate, and Bonds is one of many on this year’s ballot. From 1986 to 1998 he was a Hall of Fame player — he hit .290 with 411 home runs, a .411 on-base percentage and .556 slugging percentage, and this was largely before baseball’s homersplosive scoringpalooza. He was also a phenomenal defensive leftfielder.
Then Bonds’ whole body got a lot bigger, including his head, and he famously attributed it under oath to flaxseed oil. Dude, if flaxseed oil did that, millions of men would apply it instead of taking Viagra. Bonds, of course, was using performance-enhancers. We all know that now. His numbers went from Hall of Fame to Hall of Ridiculous — from 1999 to 2007, he had an OPS of 1.217, or 20 percent higher than a typical MVP season.
So how should sportswriters vote for Bonds on their ballot?
A. Yes, vote him in. He was a Hall of Famer before he juiced, and anyway, a lot of guys juiced.
B. No, keep him out. He sullied the game, he destroyed its soul, he brought shame to our nation and probably brought the Great Recession upon us all.
I bet most people can pick either A or B. And I bet most people can reach a conclusion on Roger Clemens, who basically has the same resume of achievements and accusations: Clemens was an all-time great, then he started using performance-enhancers late in his career, then he put up numbers that were obscenely great for an elderly fellow. Clemens has denied juicing, and of the billions of people in the world, at least six believe him. But Clemens should get almost the exact percentage of the vote that Bonds gets. They are two versions of the same case.
While you think about those two, consider the candidacy of Sammy Sosa. From 1989 to 1997 he didn’t get on base that much, and didn’t even hit the ball that much, but when he did, he hit it really far, often out of the ballpark. His nickname was Sammy So-so, which was a cheap shot, but it had the ring of accuracy.
Then came 1998, baseball’s Summer of Love, which was like music’s Summer of Love, in that drugs where everywhere but hey, the world is so pretty! Sosa hit 66 home runs. Yes! In one year! Can you believe it? The next year he hit 63. Over a five-year stretch, he averaged 58 home runs and 141 RBIs. He was Roger Maris on auto-repeat.
How did he possibly do this? Well, in 2003, Major League Baseball started testing its players, as a trial, and promised the results would remain “anonymous.” In 2009 the New York Times reported that Sosa had failed his “anonymous” test. He has not confirmed that, and MLB cannot confirm that, because the result was “anonymous,” after all. But in 2004, when drug testing became real instead of “anonymous,” Sosa’s numbers dropped dramatically.
How should sportswriters vote for Sosa on their ballot?
A. Yes. He hit 609 home runs, and even if he did fail his “anonymous” test, it was supposed to be anonymous, it doesn’t prove he was juicing in his best years. Besides, PEDs were part of the era, and he was a Hall of Famer in that era.
B. No. He was a professional fraud.
While you ponder that one, turn to former Dodgers and Mets catcher Mike Piazza. Many people view Piazza as the best hitting catcher ever, but this opinion is disputed by people who actually saw him catch. They say Piazza was not a catcher at all, but a natural first baseman who happened to crouch behind the plate. I bet more people said “That guy should not be a catcher!” about Piazza than about any catcher in major-league history. I don’t think it’s close, actually
Anyway, Piazza had Hall of Fame hitting numbers by almost any measure, for almost any position: .307 batting average, .377 on-base percentage, .545 slugging percentage, 427 home runs, 1,335 RBIs. And if anything, those numbers don’t show you how good he was, because he played most of his career in Dodger Stadium, which is a haven for pitchers, and Shea Stadium, which was not a haven for any living creatures, but favored pitchers more than hitters.
Piazza’s career OPS at home was .880. On the road it was .960. He may have been a lousy catcher — he WAS a lousy catcher — but he was still a catcher, and a man putting up those kinds of offensive numbers while playing catcher is extremely valuable.
Did Piazza use performance-enhancing drugs? Well, he never tested positive, as far as I can tell. He was not named in the Mitchell Report. He did not spend offseasons at Jose Canseco’s house on Mars.
But he is a suspect. Why? A few reasons. He was never supposed to be a major leaguer, let alone a star — the Dodgers drafted him in the 62nd round as a favor to their manager, Tommy Lasorda, who knew Piazza’s father for many years. In his first minor-league season, Piazza hit .268. The next year he hit .250 in Single-A ball without much power. He was one of the worst everyday players on his own team.
Three years later, Piazza hit .318 with 35 home runs in the National League.
As others have noted, he apparently had visible acne on his back, often a sign of steroid use. And once baseball started preliminary drug testing in 2003 and real drug-testing in 2004, Piazza’s power dropped. His slugging percentage went from .544 to .483 to .444. Of course, he was older then, and he did have a bounce-back year with the Padres in 2006, though nobody remembers this. (Nobody = me.)
How should sportswriters vote for Piazza on their ballot?
I think the answer to the Piazza question — and ultimately, to all these questions — is pretty clear:
C. None of the above.
* * *
As I have written before, I do not think sports journalists should be deciding who gets into Baseball’s Hall of Fame.
I think our participation is great for the Hall of Fame — we have our flaws, but we are the only people who are paid to study baseball up-close, objectively. We talk to players, coaches and executives, we study old and new statistics (or should) and we are often more aware of differing views on a player than people inside the game are. We get to look inside and outside the bubble. I can’t say we are all completely unbiased, but certainly our biases are not as strong as they would be if, say, we played second base for the Atlanta Braves.
Plus, we provide endless publicity for the Hall of Fame simply by writing and talking about our votes. I’m not even eligible for a vote yet, and I’m writing that sportswriters shouldn’t be voting … and even I am providing publicity for the Hall of Fame right now.
But this is simply not our job. The Baseball Hall of Fame is a promotional arm of the game we cover. It is widely viewed as a verdict on a player’s career: A player who makes the Hall of Fame is an all-time great, and a player who falls short is … just short of being an all-time great.
I don’t think we should be the ones to render that verdict. But I have many friends who disagree with me, and I suppose you could argue that these players are all retired, we’re not covering them anymore, and I’m making too big a deal of this, and it is in fact our journalistic OBLIGATION to tell the world who belongs in the Hall of Fame and who does not.
I think the real reason writers think we should vote for the Hall of Fame is that … it’s really cool to vote for the Hall of Fame.
But put that aside for a second.
How can we possibly make these decisions now? How can we decide if Mike Piazza is Hall of Fame-worthy? How can we make that decision about Jeff Bagwell, who is a suspect but hasn’t really been accused by anybody credible?
What do we make of Gary Sheffield, who acknowledged accidentally using performance-enhancers when he worked out with Bonds, but who probably hit most of his 509 home runs without them? (Sheffield in 1992, long before anybody thinks he used PEDs: .330 batting average, 33 home runs, .580 slugging percentage, 168 OPS+. Sheffield in 2004, the first year of drug testing that counted: .290 batting average, 36 home runs, .534 slugging percentage, 141 OPS+.)
We’re drawing lines in the dark.
We don’t have nearly enough evidence to reach these kinds of conclusions. People have such a hard time admitting that. In my days of listening to sports talk-radio, two things I never heard were “I don’t know” and “Neither do I.” We’re all supposed to have opinions and express them as loudly as we can.
Throwing your hands up and walking away is not easy. But it’s the right thing to do.
There is simply no way to keep Piazza or Bagwell out of the Hall of Fame based on what we know. And that is not a defense of either — for all I know, they hid needles inside their bats. I’m just saying we don’t have enough evidence. In the case of Piazza, we don’t have any evidence at all. We’re just guessing, and even if it turns out to be an accurate guess, then it was still a guess.
Voters can try to make the guesses seem more educated than they are. They can examine this thoroughly and come up with a series of guidelines. But that is harder than it sounds.
Voters can say, “I refuse to vote for anybody directly connected to PEDs.” But then they will say no to Bonds and Clemens and yes to guys who were not as good as Bonds or Clemens in Bonds’ and Clemens’ pre-PED days.
Voters can say, “I refuse to vote for anybody I suspect.” But again, how is that fair? What if Piazza or Bagwell never used PEDs? Why should they be punished?
Voters can say, “I won’t let suspicions cloud my vote. If there is no evidence, then I ignore the PED issue and vote based on performance.” But once a player is in the Hall, he can’t be removed. Or at least, there is no precedent for it. And not all “evidence” is the same. We have evidence that Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro, Mark McGwire, Sosa and Sheffield used PEDs. But the quality and quantity of that evidence varies greatly.
I suspect that, over time, voters will realize the folly of all this, and more and more of them will vote for players solely on performance, even if they have clear proof that the player used PEDs. That’s one solution. A better one is to admit that some questions have no answer. Who deserves to get into the Baseball Hall of Fame? I don’t know. And neither do you.
The NHL and NHLPA continue to talk. Will it lead to a deal?
NHL people are superstitious by nature, and labor negotiators tend to do their best to keep things close to the vest, so it was a very careful dance that Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr performed on Tuesday night after the latest round of negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA. With about 10 days left to finalize a new collective bargaining agreement, end the lockout and salvage a partial season, nobody wanted to say the word “progress.”
For the second straight day, there was a new proposal on the table, as the NHL on Tuesday offered what Fehr called a “comprehensive response” to the NHLPA’s Monday counteroffer. It is now up to the union to make the next move, and another meeting is likely to take place Wednesday.
“We asked a couple of questions,” Fehr said. “Now we have to go through the document, try to make sense out of it, compare it, and see what the appropriate thing is to do next. That’s what we’re going to do.”
That was what the NHL did on Monday night and most of Tuesday. The bargaining session was initially expected to take place around noon but wound up starting around 9 p.m. as the league took time to put together its response. Time may be running short in order to get a season under way by the league’s stated deadline of Jan. 19 (a deal must be in place about a week before that), but it also is not a time to be sloppy.
It also is not a time for the posturing and public relations spinning that characterized negotiations from July until late last week. As such, Fehr limited his news conference to 43 seconds, while Bettman, speaking second, spoke for a little more than two minutes because he received more questions. Not that he was in much of a mood to provide expansive answers.
“I don’t think it helps the process to give what our expectations are right now,” the commissioner said. “It’s up to the Players’ Association to come back to us now in response to what they’ve been given this evening. … There’s a process that’s ongoing, and I’m thankful for that.”
That process could have just as easily taken place in the summer, but there is little use now in revisiting the failures that resulted in the cancellation of half the season. The point is that now, finally, there is actually something happening that sounds like a negotiation.
“In our response, there were certain things that the Players’ Association asked for that we agreed to,” Bettman said. “There were some things that we moved in their direction, and there were other things that we said ‘No.’ That’s what the process is.”
Bettman would not say how many “things” fit into each category, nor would he estimate how many issues remain to be resolved. Of the few details to leak out, Renaud Lavoie of the Canadian network RDS reported that revenue sharing between owners “is close to a done deal,” while the NHLPA has conditionally accepted the NHL’s request for a 10-year CBA. The union had been seeking an eight-year term for the labor agreement. Other key areas to deal with include the maximum length of player contracts and pensions.
While there was a hangup on the pension issue on Tuesday, according to Chris Johnston of the Canadian Press, it clearly was not a big enough disagreement to send either side scurrying from the negotiating table. That is a marked change from the earlier stages of negotiations. Progress, one might even say. Or not say.
“It’s better to be meeting than not,” Fehr said. “But I’m not saying anything else.”
Former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid has emerged as the leading candidate to become the Arizona Cardinals’ next head coach and could be named to the job by the end of the week, according to team and league sources.
Phoenix TV-KTVK reported today that Reid was the favorite for the Cardinal’s Head Coaching job. Arizona is fast tracking Reid in an attempt to move as quickly as possible. A league “source” said he was 95% certain that Reid would be the next head coach for the Arizona Cardinals.
According to a source, Arizona also plans to interview their current defensive coordinator, Ray Horton, for the job on Wednesday. Depending on how Ray Horton’s interview goes, Andy Reid could be named the head coach as early as Thursday. After his run of 14 seasons in Philadelphia ended Monday, Reid appeared set on coaching again next season. Reid, according to an assistant, has spent the last few days assembling a coaching staff. He’s told potential assistants that an announcement could come very quickly.
Arizona would really appeal to the Reid family for a number of reasons. But the biggest being that his wife Tammy is from the Phoenix area and this move would bring her closer to her family.
Reid could aslo try to help salvage the career of his former Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb, who thrived in Philadelphia under him.
In the Arizona Cardinal’s perfect world, they would get to hire Andy Reid and his new offensive staff and match it with Ray Horton and the defensive staff That would give the Cardinals one heck of a coaching combination.
So tell me NFL and Arizona Cardinals fans, what are your thoughts? Are you happy to have Andy Reid as your new head coach? Or is there someone else out there that you would prefer? I’m willing to give them Jason Garret!!
The Chicago Bears fired coach Lovie Smith on Monday, the team announced.
Bears GM Phil Emery will hold a news conference on Tuesday morning to discuss the coaching change.
Chicago and Arizona, which fired Ken Whisenhunt on Monday, have asked for and received permission to interview Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy for their head coaching vacancy, a source told ESPN. McCoy will interview this weekend.
Atlanta Falcons special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong also will be interviewed by the Bears, a source told ESPNChicago.com. Armstrong was on the Bears staff from 1997-2000 while Emery was a scout for the Bears from 1998-’04. They also overlapped with the Falcons.
The Bears missed the playoffs for the fifth time in the last six seasons despite starting this season 7-1.
The Bears finished 10-6 but were denied a playoff spot when the Vikings beat the Packers on Sunday.
As reports of Smith’s ouster started to surface on Twitter, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was doing “The Jay Cutler Show” on ESPN 1000 and had to leave early.
“I think it’s going to be a sad day at Halas Hall,” Cutler said. “I have a lot of respect for the guy. He’s made friends with a lot of the players. He’s a players’ coach. I think right now I’m a little surprised, a little sad. Wish I could have done more offensively to help him out.”
Smith’s Offenses Sputtered
The Bears struggled offensively under Lovie Smith — a former defensive coordinator. Eleven different quarterbacks started for Chicago since Smith’s first season in 2004 and the Bears’ offense has struggled to move the ball, with only the Browns averaging fewer yards per game during that time period.
Bears receiver Devin Hester was so emotional after hearing the news that he talked about retiring.
“I don’t even know if I want to play again,” Hester said. “That’s been something on my mind for two years.”
Smith addressed the players at Halas Hall.
“(He said) just that it was a privilege to coach us and be part of this organization,” center Roberto Garza said. “There are a lot of guys that respect coach Lovie Smith. It was a tough room to be in.
“There are a lot of opportunities out there for him. Obviously he wants to be here but that’s not the scenario. Coach Lovie Smith is a great coach and a great man and he’ll get an opportunity somewhere.”
The 54-year-old Smith, who led the Bears to the Super Bowl after the 2006 season, was 81-63 over eight regular seasons and was 3-3 in the playoffs.
Smith was under contract through 2013, and Emery did not engage the coach in contract talks on an extension during the season.
Bears assistants, which all remain under contract, were told to stay at Halas Hall in their respective offices until further notice. By noon CT, nothing had changed.
According to one NFL source, there’s a feeling among the assistants that eventually they’ll all be let go. The source said that with Smith out, some of the assistants don’t want to return in 2013 to work for a new coach.
Smith was particularly criticized for Chicago’s struggles on offense. Despite have a Pro Bowl receiver in Brandon Marshall and solid players in Cutler and running back Matt Forte, the Bears ranked 28th in total offense. Smith was a defensive coach, but Cutler wouldn’t say if he would prefer an offensive-minded coach to replace Smith.
“I’ve had both,” Cutler said. “There’s pluses and minuses to argue each case. I’m not going to give a preference on what I want, what I don’t want because I don’t really know at this point. I trust Phil and management and George (McCaskey) and those guys to make the best call. They’re going to get the best possible head coach and assistant coaches and coordinators as they can. So you’ve just got to trust in that.”
Smith also struggled to beat Green Bay. The Bears have lost eight of their last nine against the Packers and six straight.
The other big issue was the Bears’ poor finishes under Smith. Chicago lost seven straight December games since 2010 before snapping its skid with a Week 16 victory over the Cardinals. During Smith’s nine seasons, the Bears were 17-19 in December.