No Repeat

With the “Big Papi farewell tour” officially underway it got me thinking how the most recent farewell tours have ended.

Peyton’s season was his worst statistically and was turbulent at best. Peyton was hurt, benched but rose again to play good then average in the playoffs. He was such a shell of himself, the Broncos basically took the ball out of his hands and let the defense win Super Bowl 50. Nevertheless, Petyon hoisted the Lombardi Trophy for the second time in his career, despite his less than stellar contributions. Peyton also had to deal with accusations of performance enhancing drug use and sexual misconduct during his time in college at the University of Tennessee.

Kobe’s goodbye started with him under performing mostly on a very bad Lakers team. In fact, his last two seasons the Lakers had the worst season in both wins and winning percentage in their storied history. With his body deteriorating, Kobe announced on November 29th, 2015 that the 2015-16 season would be his last. Kobe went on to have some memorable game during the year showing glimpses of his former self and dropped 60 in his last game. Although he was cheered at every home and road contest, it was hard to watch at times, but all in all I think basketball fans appreciated the chance to see Kobe one last time and respected that he went out on his own terms.

Likewise, David Ortiz announced before the season began that the 2016 season would be his last. Ortiz, arguably the most clutch athlete in Boston sports history, had a solid 2015 season batting .273, driving in 108 RBI and hitting 37 homers. This season in 16 games, Ortiz is batting .286, has drove in 14 runs, is slugging .589 and has hit 3 home runs.

So which will Papi’s send off be like: Peyton’s or Kobe’s?

Hopefully sports fans will see a mix of what Peyton’s and Kobe’s final seasons look like. A splash of Peyton’s team success with a dash of Kobe’s legendary finish.

Maybe though, Ortiz and add his own ingredient of how a larger than life sports hero is supposed to walk off.

In a perfect sports ending, Ortiz will give fans statistical consistency coupled with flashes of brilliant performances, remain healthy and continue to be the club leader on a competitive/successful team all while appreciating in his career and smiling until his final at-bat.

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo

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Thanks for the Reminder, Wade

With the Super Bowl just hours away, it is clear that the two questions that everyone is focusing on is:
1. Will Peyton Manning be effective?
2. How will Wade Phillips, Denver Broncos defensive coordinator, stop NFL MVP, Cam Newton?

Phillips, the recently named AP NFL Assistant Coach of the Year, is an integral piece to the outcome of the game. Phillips leads the NFL’s best defense and has a chance to do what most think is impossible, stop the one loss Carolina Panthers.

Phillips is the son of NFL legend Bum Phillips, and was an NFL head coach for both the Bills and Cowboys, but was written off as not having the moxie to be a head coach due to his lack of playoff success. Phillips and NFL-lifer was given another chance to show is prowess as a defensive coordinator with the Broncos this season and the rest is history.

It is remarkable to think that as Phillips himself stated on his twitter account ” @sonofbum: Good year for me from unemployed to the Super Bowl!”.

Good luck Coach Phillips. I am glad you got another chance to do what you love. All the best today and thank you for inspiring other coaches who, like you, just need a chance to thrive.

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @Coach DeSalvo

Super Bowl Champion Rankings

Here is an article from USA Today that will surely spark debate.

Here is the list: Super Bowl Champion Rankings 1-49

What ones do you agree with? Disagree with? Leave your feedback below.

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo

The Seattle Seahawks Remind Basketball Coaches Many Valuable Lessons

With the NFL season officially over, the sports world now gives its undivided attention to the NBA and college basketball.

However, basketball coaches and fans should pause for a minute and remember what the Seattle Seahawks dominant performance can teach us.

1. The Seahawks, the number one ranked defense, proved that even in a offensively geared NFL era, defense STILL wins championships.

Despite rule changes that clearly favor the offense, the Seahawks primarily built their team on the defensive side of the football and overcame the Denver Broncos, the number one ranked all-time offense.

Let us be reminded that college basketball was going through an offensive renaissance early this season too, regarding the “freedom of movement” emphasis. This sent players to the foul line at an increased rate as scoring increased. Some coaches and fans were in an uproar because game took longer and a plethora of fouls were being whistled. Nevertheless, the uproar settled and coaches are now adapting to the new emphasis to a rule that has always been in place (just never enforced).

I think the question that most college coaches continually ask themselves are “should I focus on our offense more because of the favorable rules (i.e. outscore our opponents) or focus on our defense (i.e. stop our opponent)”.

Maybe the Seahawks will reinforce the old adage to some coaches in the basketball world.

2. The Seahawks reminded coaches that you can win with a young team. Head Coach Pete Carroll oversees a team with the fourth-youngest roster for a Super Bowl champion, with an average age of 26 years, 175 days.

Just like Coach John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats showed us a few years ago, you can win with freshmen at the college level.

Thanks for the reminder Seahawks…all things being equal, play the younger players and build with youth and speed.

3. The Seahawks also reminded us that in an age of instant gratification, that good things take time. Carroll, having built a powerhouse program at USC, took four years to shape these Super Bowl Champion Seahawks. The key was they made strides each year and they took the next step each and every year.

The old saying for coaches is “you are hired to be fired,” and that may be so. However, for at least right now, Carroll has built the organization with solid personnel, fan support and an unmatched enthusiasm.

4. However, the Seahawks and the culture of the NFL may also remind us to slow down a bit and appreciate where we are in our professional careers.

According to a recent story by ESPN, “less than 12 hours after winning the Super Bowl, Carroll already was talking about getting started on next season. ‘The first meeting that we’ll have will be tomorrow. … Our guys would be surprised if we didn’t,’ Carroll said Monday morning. ‘We really have an eye on what’s coming, and we don’t dwell on what just happened. We’ll take this in stride.'”

As a coach, I understand never being satisfied and looking to the “next game”. That is how we are hotwired. It is our passion. It is our curse.

However, I would caution Carroll, his staff, the organization and the players to enjoy the win. Even if it is for just a few days. Take three days off and just soak it all in.

It was a win 37 years in the making.

You earned it.

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo