2010 Year-End Sports Review: What We Think Will Happen

What do we think will happen in 2011? Ha! We’re glad you asked. As part of our 2010 Year End Sports Review, we see good things ahead for Duke, the Celtics and the Saints. We see cursed days ahead for the Phillies and Giants, and one Florida Gator-sized reunion in Denver. We also like Carmelo to play for the…hey, why are we telling you all this? Read for yourself below, lazy. (And have an open mind – we had some fun with this section.)

Contributors: Anthony Stalter, John Paulsen, Paul Costanzo, Drew Ellis and Mike Farley

You think he’s gone? He’s not gone. He’s never gone!

Brett Favre has duped us before with his retirement talk, so why should we buy what he’s selling now? Lord Favre says 2010 will be his final season, but after spending a couple of months on his ranch next summer, he’ll get the itch to return. And some team will welcome him back. And the media will torture us with their 24-hour Favre watch. And the dreaded cycle of death will continue. So which lucky team will have No. 4 in uniform next season? While we wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Favre returning to the Vikings for one more year now that Brad Childress is gone, that’s not a very fun projection. Thus, what about Da Raaaaaaaiders? Huh? Can you see it now? Lord Favre and Al Davis at the podium holding up their pointer fingers and saying, “Just win baby.” No? Ah, you’re no fun.

Carmelo will be a Knickerbocker next year.

Book ‘em, Danno. The writing is on the wall. He hasn’t signed the three-year extension that the Nuggets offered last summer and has reportedly decided that the only team he’ll agree to be traded to is the New York Knicks. This means that if the Nuggets are hoping to get something substantial for him, they’ll have to move him before the February trade deadline. Since there appears to be only one team in the running, the deal isn’t going to be very good. We wouldn’t want to be Nugget fans right now — the rebuilding process is about to begin.
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Don’t count on Gruden winding up at Louisville

According to the National Football Post, Jon Gruden is Louisville’s No. 1 choice to be the school’s next head football coach if Steve Kragthorpe is fired. Gruden has been a hot name of late, as Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder was also rumored to be interested in the former Bucs head coach earlier this week.

A Gruden-to-Louisville marriage seems highly unlikely. While he did start at the collegiate level when he first got started in coaching (he was a graduate assistant at Tennessee, a quarterbacks coach at Southeast Missouri State and a wide receivers coach at University of Pacific), most of Gruden’s experience is in the NFL. In fact, he’s been in the NFL since 1990 and runs the West Coast Offense, which is predominately a pro-style system. Plus, Gruden has little to no experience recruiting, which is obviously a huge factor in building a collegiate program.

There are always head coaching vacancies in the NFL and teams will no doubt pursue Gruden in the offseason seeing as how he’s won a Super Bowl. If Gruden had his choice between staying in the NFL and going back to the college ranks, why would he choose college when he’s so familiar with the NFL? It just doesn’t make sense.

The only reason I could see Gruden winding up at Louisville is if the money was too good to pass up. But if the rumors are true that Snyder is interested in his services, than Gruden won’t have any problems making money.

Jason Garrett leading candidate for Rams job

Jason Garrett flew into St. Louis Friday evening to meet for the second time with Rams’ VP of Personnel Billy Devaney, who said the current Cowboys’ offensive coordinator is “the leading guy” for the team’s head coaching vacancy.

Jason Garrett landed in St. Louis early Friday evening with his wife Brill, and told the Post-Dispatch that he was just here for a second interview and that no job had been offered.

Minutes earlier, en route to the airport, Devaney was singing the same tune.

“It’s part of the interview process,” Devaney insisted. “He wanted to look at the facility. We’re not close to moving on Jason Garrett. I’m not even going to say he’s the leading guy.”

Take that for what it’s worth, but Garrett is the only finalist to visit St. Louis. And he did have his wife with him. Devaney also said that he’d already made his recommendation to owner Chip Rosenbloom on who he wanted to hire as the next Rams head coach.

Devaney said he hoped to reach a decision by Monday on the next Rams head coach.

Garrett and Devaney have a lot in common. They’re both from New Jersey. They’re both big Bruce Springsteen fans, and they’re both represented by the same agent _ David Dunn.

Garrett would be a solid choice for the Rams. I’ve recently taken on the mindset that dome teams are at a disadvantage defensively (you can find my explanation for it here), so it’s wise for them to load up on offense and take advantage of playing on a fast surface eight-plus times a year.

Garrett is one of the bright young offensive minds in the NFL, although his credibility certainly took a hit with how bad the Cowboys struggled down the stretch. Still, the guy has some innovative offenses and if the Rams can rebuild their offensive line, Garrett’s schemes might flourish.

What’ll be interesting to see is if the Rams take a flier on Jon Gruden, who was just fired in Tampa. Gruden is another solid offensive coach and obviously has more experience than Garrett and the other head-coaching candidates linked to the St. Louis job (i.e. Leslie Frazier, Steve Spagnuolo and Rex Ryan).

Buccaneers fire Jon Gruden, GM Bruce Allen

In a rather shocking move, the Buccaneers have fired head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Bruce Allen.

Jon Gruden“We will be forever grateful to Jon for bringing us the Super Bowl title, and we thank Bruce for his contributions to our franchise,” Buccaneers co-chairman Joel Glazer said in a statement. “However after careful consideration, we feel that this decision is in the best interest of our organization moving forward.”

The Buccaneers were tied for first place in the NFC South heading into December, but finished with losses to Carolina and Atlanta on the road and San Diego and Oakland at home, where they had been 6-0. One more win would have landed a NFC wild-card berth.

The 9-7 record this season gave Gruden consecutive winning records for the first time since arriving in Tampa Bay, yet still left the Bucs out of the playoffs for the fourth time in six years.

The Glazer family fired Tony Dungy and used four high draft picks — two No. 1s and two No. 2s — and $8 million cash to pry Gruden away from the Raiders following the 2001 season. He led Tampa Bay to its only NFL title the following year, but the Bucs haven’t won a playoff game since the Super Bowl appearance.

Gruden, who had three years remaining on a contract extension he received after winning the NFC South in 2007, leaves as the winningest coach in franchise history at 60-57, including the postseason.

But since going 15-4, including the Super Bowl, in his first season with the Bucs, Gruden went 45-53 and made quick exits from the playoffs after winning division titles in 2005 and 2007.

I don’t get it. I don’t get why the Broncos fired Mike Shanahan and I don’t get this move by the Bucs – or at least, not the Gruden firing. Allen never supplied Gruden with enough quality personnel to win after 2002. Gruden essentially got by with mediocre offensive talent and Allen never solved the quarterback quandary. But maybe I’m laying blame at the wrong feet. Maybe Gruden had just as much involvement as Allen did in choosing the personnel and that’s why both of them were handed their pink slips.

According to NFL Network’s Adam Schefter, new defensive coordinator Raheem Morris is the favorite to replace Gruden, while Director of Pro Personnel Mark Dominik is apparently set to replace Allen.

With the Broncos, Lions, Browns and possibly Rams’ (Jason Garrett is the leading candidate) head coaching vacancies filled, it’ll be interesting to see if Gruden has to sit out a year before getting his next head coaching gig. Unless the Jets bring him in for an interview or another head coach is set to get the axe, it’s doubtful Gruden will find work in ’09. (Although, he could always become a coordinator or assistant for a year just to keep his foot in the door.)

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