Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports

Thinking out loud: More Miami Miracle thoughts

John Rooke
December 14, 2018 - 2:37 pm

Thinking out loud…while pondering an NFL rule change, shared by a reader, for consideration next spring…

  • The “Miami Miracle.”  Wow.  It will forever remain on the permanent highlight reels within our minds and memories, as well as in the archives of the television networks until the end of time.

 

  • Or until the next team screws up in spectacular fashion on the last play of a game.

 

  • Tweet of the Week I, from @NFL345: “The @MiamiDolphins game-winning 69-yard touchdown on the final play against New England is the longest play from scrimmage to win a game with no time remaining in the fourth quarter since the 1970 merger.”

 

  • Qualifies as an ‘ouch.’  But for the life of me, I can’t figure out why the Patriots didn’t call a timeout, when then had TWO remaining, once they realized Ryan Tannehill couldn’t possibly complete a 69-yard Hail Mary?

 

  • The responsibility for this gaffe lies squarely upon the shoulders of the coaching staff.  They don’t run, block or tackle, but they sure know who does.  Apparently, they don’t (or didn’t) know who doesn’t.

 

  • Devin McCourty missed one snap against the Dolphins – the final play of the game.  ‘Nuff said.

 

  • No matter how bad you have it, there are always the Steelers.  They’ve lost three in a row and have a Patriot-phobia stuck squarely in their sides.  Who doesn’t want their noses rubbed in it?

 

  • Six for six.  Six wins for a sixth championship, from this point forward.  Far-fetched, or do-able?  It’s closer to reality than you probably realize.  But do the players realize it?

 

  • You think things stink right now?  You could be Joe Flacco.  Since Lamar Jackson has now taken over as Baltimore’s quarterback, that’s another Patriot draft misfire as I see it.

 

  • And all things considered, the Patriots are still in the running for EVERY playoff scenario, thanks to the Chargers’ win over the Chiefs Thursday night.  Yup, the 1-seed is still in play, provided New England wins out. 

 

  • Everything keeps coming up Pats.

 

  • Tweet of the Week II, from @tomecurran: “I love you all ... but ... you people are torturous after a loss ... You're the ones that buy all the milk and bread when there's snow in the forecast, aren't you?”

 

  • Did you see what ESPN’s ‘Outside the Lines’ reported on stadium food vendors and concessions this week?  Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte has the highest number of health violations in the NFL – and Gillette Stadium is one of the cleanest, right behind Houston’s NRG Stadium. 

 

  • TD Garden ranks as 7th cleanest within the NBA and NHL – with the Spectrum Center in Charlotte as the dirtiest.  What is going on, exactly, in North Carolina? 

 

  • Baseball?  Fenway is 6th cleanest, which I found a bit surprising.  The dirtiest?

 

  • Yankee Stadium.  They said that, I didn’t.  But that’s awesome.

 

  • Best thing that could have happened for the Friars after the debacle against UMass, was having nine days off.  Gives them time to let it burn a little.

 

  • Worst thing that could have happened for the Friars after the debacle against UMass, was having A.J. Reeves in a boot and missing 4-6 weeks.  Gives them time to figure out how to play against zone defenses without their top shooter.

 

  • Guess I’m feeling like a lot of other Friar fans I’ve heard from – a little snake bit.  But this is also a huge opportunity for someone else to step into the breach – Malik White, Makai Ashton-Langford, Kris Monroe? – to show they can contribute.  Time to test that depth.  Just sayin’.

 

  • Realistically, Providence needs to narrowly focus on what immediately lies ahead.  We have the luxury of looking down the road at the schedule, but this is one reason why you never see coaches and players do the same thing.  Can’t waste time on things you can’t control.

 

  • And what lies ahead?  Donyell Marshall’s Central Connecticut Blue Devils Sunday, Albany on Tuesday and the trip to Texas to face the Longhorns come in a span of five days.  Then, another 10 days off before conference play. 

 

  • It’s never a good time, but if something like Reeves’ injury must happen, it happened at just about the right time in the schedule.

 

  • If URI wants to re-invigorate and re-energize its season, Sunday at Mohegan Sun Arena is the time and place.  One-time Atlantic-10 rival West Virginia, now in the Big 12 (and a preseason Top 25 team), gets the Rams after winning five of their last six.  Two of the best rebounding teams in the country.  Could be a good show.

 

  • URI last played at Mohegan Sun two years ago, losing in the Hall of Fame tournament to Duke, and beating Cincinnati.  Scoring will be the issue against the Mountaineers, but the Rams shot a season-best 49% in their win over Holy Cross.

 

  • Brown’s win over Stony Brook last weekend pushes the Bears to 7-4 at their semester break, which will be a two-week vacation.  It was Stony Brook’s first road loss this year, too.  Watch out for Bruno as they make a push to reach the Ivy postseason tourney for the first time.

 

  • Bryant dropped to 2-7 with a loss to Hartford this week, despite 34 points from SaBastian Townes.  NEC play begins January 3rd.

 

  • The best box-out I’ve seen in the last few years happened off the court this past week, when the Big East extended its deal with Madison Square Garden for the Big East Tournament through 2028.  And the deal is iron-clad.  No opt-outs.

 

  • The Big Ten and ACC moving in on NYC?  Uh, they’ve been posted up and scored upon.  Warms the heart to see that in some places, loyalty and tradition still matter. 

 

  • But it helps that the Big East Tournament was the top-attended postseason tournament last year, for sure.  You know the old saying – money talks, bull**** walks. 

 

  • Further evidence of Garden magic?  Seton Hall’s win over Kentucky last weekend at MSG – Buzzer-beater City.  Including Kentucky’s half-court heave to tie it.  A ‘wow’ factor, if there ever was one.

 

  • Providence has announced a news conference for Tuesday, in conjunction with the Big East, from the Ruane Friar Development Center on campus.  Adding a team?  A new TV deal?  C’mon.  Why would the league do that from Providence?

 

  • The Sports Business Journal reported this week the American Athletic Conference is asking its schools to sign a grant-of-rights agreement to remain committed to the league, locking them into the AAC for the duration of their expected new media rights deal, which comes up for negotiation in 2020. 

 

  • Silence from Storrs, Connecticut on this front. 

 

  • Marquette moving into the Top 25 with their win against Wisconsin tells me the Golden Eagles might just be the team to beat in the Big East.  St. John’s is currently unbeaten, but I’m not (yet) a believer.  If Marquette ever learns to play consistently on defense, look out.  They have talent, and depth.

 

  • Villanova finally lost a Big Five game in Philly this week, after 25 straight wins over City school opponents.  Penn beat them 78-75 in a game that probably says more about the Wildcats’ current state-of-vulnerability than anything else. 

 

  • Penn’s coach?  Ex-Cornell and Boston College coach Steve Donahue. 

 

  • Wonder if my alma mater, Texas, has checked on ex-coach Rick Barnes lately? Tennessee has now become relevant in a sport other than football and may in fact be a contender for the national championship this season – something Texas craved from Barnes, who coached the Friars from 1988-94. 

 

  • My buddy Edward from East Providence knows this, for sure – but PC’s Yoyo Nogic now holds the program record for career three-pointers.  She passed Julie Wheeler (1998) on the list and is 10 points away from moving past Doris Burke for 10th all-time in scoring.

 

  • Further proof that we live in a different world – a different universe – around here than in other places, like Texas.  The Fort Worth Star-Telegram had a story this week on the 32 high school football coaches still in the Class 5A and 6A playoffs – and 26 of them earn more than $100K.

 

  • Momma don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys…teach them how to coach football in the Lone Star State!

 

  • The median salary for high school teachers in Texas is $58K.  The top 10 percent of Texas teachers earn $92K.  Wonder if they could spend a day in Providence or Fall River without asking for a pay raise?

 

  • Congrats to St. Andrews head basketball coach Mike Hart on his 500th career win, as the Saints defeated Phillips Academy this week 82-71.  A lot of talent goes through his program in Barrington – and at least some of it has stayed right on the bench.

 

  • Yeah baby, it’s cold outside.  It has the same meaning today that it did in 1944.  If it doesn’t for you, then you need to check yourself.  Stupid is as stupid does.

 

  • Tim Neverett and I worked together nearly 30 years ago, overnights in a dungeon located somewhere in Cambridge, broadcasting to insomniacs around the country.  He was good then, he’s still good now – and he’ll be even better from here.  Wish him the best in his new endeavor.

 

  • The potential replacement candidates are lining up.  Could we start with the two most-obvious selections – Josh Maurer and Will Flemming from the Pawsox?  Both deserve a shot.  And not for nuthin’, how about Jerry Trupiano pairing up with Joe Castiglione again? 

 

  • That’s a ‘way back’ pairing I’d love to hear.

 

  • A talk show format?  Seriously?  For the play-by-play broadcasts?  A talk show format is not what you do when you broadcast the defending World Series Champions.  It’s what you do when you’re begging for listeners and your team loses more than 100 games.  Not when you win 100.

 

  • A talk show format intruding within a team sport broadcast would be the bastardization of broadcasting at its finest.  It’s cheap and gimmicky.  It might work for TV, where pictures can always help tell the story, but it won’t work on radio where the listener depends on an announcer for information.

 

  • Remember what the Patriots tried to do with their preseason TV broadcasts a few years ago?  It didn’t work.  The game got lost in too much discussion, even for TV.  They’re now back to a more-traditional delivery and show.  The audience is, and was, already trained in how to consume it.  The public has little patience for experimentation. 

 

  • It’s like mixing oil and water.  Fans, especially traditionalists, would hate it and that would far, far outnumber any newbies that might like it.  Or tolerate it.  Which is why the talk about it this week on WEEI was brilliant, whether anyone knew it or not.

 

  • Me?  If it ever happened, I’d go to satellite radio and find the opposing team broadcast.  Or stream Dave O’Brien’s TV call on my phone.

 

  • Sox management signing off on this would be dumber than re-signing Craig Kimbrel.  Criticism of the team within their own radio broadcasts?  Laughable.  Joe Castig and whomever would be relegated to mere lab rats. 

 

  • Jackie Bradley as trade bait?  Yes please, and I’ve thought this over for some time.  But Rick Porcello?  Xander Bogaerts?  Since when is this management team interested in saving any money?  They’re gonna ruin my summah!

 

  • Joe Kelly, thank you.  For your craziness, awesomeness and pure nuttiness every time you came out of the dugout.  Your picture is next to the word “agita” in the dictionary.  You’re also one player who doesn’t make this game boring, I’ll give you that.

 

  • Oh, and Kimbrel?  $100 million?  Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.  Whew.  Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.  Cough, hack, wheeze.  Hahahahahahahahahahahaha.

 

  • Not gonna sleep on the Tampa Bay Rays next spring.  Like their pickup of ex-Houston pitcher Charlie Morton this week during the Winter Meetings.  Conversely, will the Astros still be players in the West?

 

  • Harold Baines?  Really?  Good player.  But not an all-timer.  Any Hall that doesn’t include the names Rose, Bonds or Clemens but includes Baines?  Not a real Hall.

 

  • Congratulations to former Providence Journal and ex-ESPN’er Jayson Stark.  Stark covered the Red Sox for the ProJo in the ‘70’s, covered the Phillies for more than 20 years and then spent the 2000’s (through 2017) covering MLB for the WWL.  This week he was honored with the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for his contributions to baseball writing. 

 

  • Currently on the baseball beat for The Athletic, Stark will be honored during Hall of Fame weekend in Cooperstown next June.

 

  • My lady buddy Bobbie sez she likes to fish – and when out on her local lake not long ago she ran out of worms for bait.  She spotted a cottonmouth snake with a frog in its mouth, and knowing that frogs are good bass bait, she reached out and grabbed the snake behind the head – also knowing it wouldn’t bite her since it had its prey in its mouth.  Impressive, right?  The trick was to get the snake to let it go, so she grabbed her partners’ whiskey and poured a little in its mouth.

 

  • The snake went limp.  Bobbie released him into the lake, and she had her frog.  Two minutes later, she felt a nudge on her foot.  It was the snake again, with two frogs in its mouth.

 

  • Joann sent me an old-fashioned email this week, with an interesting question: “I am a newcomer to football and enjoy listening to your show Patriots Playbook. I was wondering if I might ask a naïve question regarding the ‘Miami Miracle’ play? The game clock ran out to zero well before Kenyon Drake even got close to the end zone…why did Drake get a few seconds more to run into the end zone after the game clock expired?”

 

  • Joann – Not a naïve question at all.  It’s simple – once the play commences, if it starts before the clock hits zero it can complete itself.  It’s really the same in basketball and hockey too – if a shot is taken before the clock hits 0:00, it’s a legal play.  That ridiculous, crazy, maddening play started with :07 left, so even if it took the Dolphins a minute to get there – and it seemed like it – the play would count. 

 

  • Damn, this is a great idea for the rule-change committee next spring!  Complete the play BEFORE the clock strikes 0:00?  It would give the term ‘buzzer-beater’ a whole new meaning.

 

  • Interested in having your questions on local Rhode Island sports (and yes, that includes the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics) answered in a somewhat timely fashion? Send ‘em to me! It’s your chance to “think out loud,” so send your questions, comments and local stories to jrooke@weei.com. We’ll share mailbag comments/Facebook posts/Tweets right here! Follow me on Twitter, @JRbroadcaster…and on Facebook, www.facebook.com/john.rooke ...

 

Don’t forget to tune into Providence’s 103.7 FM, every Saturday from 7:00-9:00 am for Southern New England Sports Saturday!  Call in at 401-737-1287 or text at 37937.

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