Fun Fact of the Day: Watch out for Florida's college football teams in 2017. With Lane Kiffin’s hire at FAU, every FBS head coach in the state of Florida has won a national championship as a player, head coach, or assistant coach.
The Pats keep winning. The New England Patriots beat the Baltimore Ravens last night 30-23. The Ravens kept the game close by turning 2 fumble returns into touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough to top the Pats. In the 4th quarter, QB Tom Brady connected with wide receiver Chris Hogan for a big 79-yard touchdown to take home the win.
Seen and Heard
Go Fish. This weekend, L.A. Rams head coach Jeff Fisher collected his 165th loss, which tied him for the most career losses in NFL history. I guess that was the straw that broke the camel’s back, because yesterday the Rams finally fired him. Most football fans feel like this move was a long time coming. After all, in the 5 seasons that Fisher has been with the team, the Rams have ranked dead last in offensive efficiency and haven’t broken a 7-9 season. To make matters worse, Fisher got into an awkward public spat with Rams Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson. It wasn’t always so grim. At the beginning of this season, the Rams were full of hope. They had just relocated from St. Louis to L.A. and signed Fisher to a 2-year extension to give him a chance to settle in with the team. Fisher was feeling optimistic and even made a big expletive-ridden speech about how the team was too talented to “[bleepin’] go 7-9 or 8-8 or 9-7…” Now, with only 3 games left, it turns out that the best the Rams can hope for is another 7-9 season. What’s next? The Rams are searching for their next head coach and Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh is already rumored to be a candidate.
A big step backward. Just last week, rumors were swirling that Alabama’s offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin would become Houston’s next head coach, but they ended up promoting their offensive coordinator instead. Now, Kiffin is taking a major pay cut and going off to become the next head coach Florida Atlantic University (FAU). If you haven’t heard of FAU before, you aren’t alone. It’s a rinky-dink program that plays in Conference USA and has won only 19 games in the past 6 seasons. Why the downgrade? Kiffin’s contract with Alabama is about to expire at the end of this season and he really wanted to return to a head-coaching job. Unfortunately, even though he is known for being an offensive mastermind on the field, the rest of Kiffin’s reputation is less than stellar. Throughout his career he’s been hated by fans for a bunch of reasons: (1) they think his famous daddy, NFL defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin helped him get his head coaching jobs at the Oakland Raiders, Tennessee, and USC; (2) he famously ditched Tennessee after only 1 season, to coach at USC’s more prestigious program; and (3) he has a track record of immature behavior including trolling his old teams on Twitter and sending out weird Bitmojis. This new gig at FAU will give him a chance to refresh his public persona and start over.
Great balls of fire. Cristiano Ronaldo won his 4th Ballon D’Or yesterday. The Ballon D’Or is French for “Golden Ball” and it’s a prestigious annual award that’s given to the best soccer player in the world. For the past 9 years, the award has passed back and forth between Ronaldo and his archrival Lionel Messi. Even though Messi had another brilliant year, Ronaldo was a shoe in for the big prize in 2016. This year, he helped his football club Real Madrid win the Champions League and his homeland Portugal win its first major tournament, the European Championship.
An expensive status quo. The L.A. Dodgers paid out nearly $200M to keep 3 familiar faces on their roster: left-handed pitcher Rich Hill, relief pitcher Kenley Jansen, and 3B Justin Turner. With the gang all back, the 2017 Dodgers are going to look a lot like the 2016 Dodgers and that’s not a bad thing. Last year, the Dodgers made it all the way to the NLCS game before losing out to the eventual World Series champs, the Chicago Cubs.