Remembering the New Basketball

new-basketballThis year, the New Basketball would have turned ten years old, had it stuck around for more than about three months. For those who don’t remember, in 2006, the NBA made the bizarre decision to abandon the world of leather basketballs for a new-age synthetic model, which they insisted would bounce more predictably, and make shooting easier.

The experiment was short-lived. The players, in near unanimity, hated the New Basketball. Many reported that handling it produced cuts on their fingertips, and the union filed a grievance, stating that the players had no input on the New Basketball before it was rolled out. The league backed down in December, and on January 1, 2017, the league switched back to Old Basketball, and never looked back. New Basketball, much like New Coke and Wally Backman’s tenure as manager of the Diamondbacks, was never meant to be.

Even the players who hated New Basketball, though, had to admit: It was pretty cool-looking.

Kris Jenkins Celebrates Game-Winning Shot

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Wow, I can’t believe former Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kris Jenkins enrolled at Villanova University, joined the basketball team as a forward, and finished his senior year by hitting the game-winning shot in the National Championship Game. From blocking field goals and stuffing runs, to a magical run for college basketball’s biggest prize.

Anything really is possible!

 

Backups-Turned-Starters: Who Ya Got?

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Take your top three from the myriad quarterbacks who began the season as backups, but have re-emerged as starters due to injury and/or incompetence. Personally, I’m rooting for Gabbert and Hasselbeck. I like Yates as well, but his situation is subject to change as Hoyer is further evaluated for his post-concussion symptoms this week.

If we assume that Ryan Fitzpatrick, who just had surgery, returns against the Texans on Sunday as expected, then Geno Smith doesn’t make the list.

TJ Yates Has Made a Career out of Beating the Bengals

  • tjyatesLast night, the Texans, on the road against the then-undefeated Bengals, were down 6-3 when quarterback Brian Hoyer went down with a concussion. Hoyer’s status going forward is currently unknown, but while the Independent Neurological Consultants (Buzzword joke of the year, by the way) were looking at Hoyer, Houston’s defense forced Cincy to punt, and TJ Yates checked back into the league.
  • For those uninitiated with the Yates tale, this is TJ’s second stint with the Texans. The Marietta, Georgia native attended UNC, and was drafted by Houston in the 5th round in 2011. His rookie season was his most successful–relieving the injured Matt Schaub, Yates played in six games, starting five of them, and won Rookie of the Week for his playoff-clinching performance against Cincy in December, 2011.
  • That year, Yates led the Texans to their first ever playoff victory, when they beat the Bengals in the wild card round, 31-10. Houston lost the following week to the Ravens, and sadly for Yates, that was his last start in the league. He was later traded to the Falcons, and eventually ended back with the Texans after they released Ryan Mallet in October.
  • Will TJ Yates make another start–perhaps next Sunday against the Jets? This week will tell. But if Brian Hoyer can’t go, Houston should take solace–TJ Yates is a capable NFL quarterback. And unlike Andy Dalton, he’s won a playoff game.

Breaking: Charlie Whitehurst to Indy

SAN DIEGO - 2009:  Charlie Whitehurst of the San Diego Chargers poses for his 2009 NFL headshot at photo day in San Diego, California.  (Photo by NFL Photos)

 (Photo by NFL Photos)

The #Colts claimed QB Charlie Whitehurst off waivers, with Andrew Luck out for several weeks.

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 12, 2015

 

  • RapSheet got it first–look out folks! With Whitehurst in the mix, should the Colts turn it over to Clipboard Jesus, or continue to start Hasselbeck (who, by the way, is 2-0 as a starter this year)?
  • Deadspin had a great article at the beginning of the season, which compared the careers of longtime backup quarterbacks to evaluate which second-string signal callers have had the easiest/cushiest careers. That of Whitehurst, who has made over $5 million going into this season, HAS to be near the top.
  • Like I said a few weeks ago, I’m all for keeping the Hasselbeck renaissance going. Tough break for Andrew Luck, missing another month or so, but it could be the catalyst which catapults Matt Hasselbeck into a few more years on the tail end of his career, and keeps Charlie Whitehurst kicking around a little while longer. Who knows–maybe he’ll start a game or two for the Colts.