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Giants 2010 Schedule

Back in 2007, a friend who is a Steelers fan had a season schedule that his uncle had made on his refrigerator. I thought it was really cool looking. So I got a copy of it prior to the 2008 season and remade it as a New York Giants schedule. I made it again in 2009, and it was actually used by a Giants fan club for viewing parties.

So… here is the 2010 version.

In the past, I used Tom Coughlin’s training camp slogan on the bottom of the schedule. This season, I did something different. I read an article by Mike Garafolo of the Newark Star-Ledger, which was titled “Redemption is a common theme throughout Giants organization as camp begins.” I googled for a good quote about redemption, and this was what I found.

So click on the image below to get the full version of the schedule. It’s sized for 8 1/2 x 11 inches (letter-sized).

Enjoy!

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What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas

LeBron is a really great guy.

He must be, if the Worldwide Leader in Sports is to be believed.

On Wednesday morning, a story appeared in ESPN.com. Written by Arash Markazi, it was a first-hand account of a Vegas party hosted by James himself. It wasn’t a very flattering piece, with nude women in a bathtub, go-go dancers holding up placards that spelled “KING,” and James wishing “they’d
have one of these girls with no panties (bring us champagne) instead of the guy.”

Really, the story isn’t the article itself. Las Vegas is known as a destination that requires a lot of discretion. It’s no mistake that one of the cities’ slogans is “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.”

Anyway, about 15 minutes after the story was posted, it was pulled. Later that day, ESPN.com responds that the story was still in a draft phase and had accidentally been posted before being fully reviewed by an editor.

Later, ESPN changed its excuse. Apparently, Markazi never identified himself as a reporter to James’ group, so ethically, the story should not have been posted.

Which leads me back to the part about James being a great guy. If ESPN’s excuse is to be believed, Markazi introduced himself as a regular guy (certainly not a reporter) and was invited to dine with LeBron, his family, and his friends at a casino restaurant. Then, “Average Joe” Markazi was invited to tag around to a private party in a casino nightclub.

Damn, LeBron is an awesome dude. I’m gonna have to keep my ears open about LeBron’s next Vegas trip. Maybe next time, he’d let me tag along with him to the strip club.

OK, sarcasm mode is off. Here’s what really happened (probably).

1. Markazi identified himself as a reporter. James and his group, thinking it would be a fluff piece, agreed to let him come along.
2. The article was posted. James’ group realized how unflattering it was.
3. James’ group complained to ESPN.
4. The Worldwide Leader, having already refused to publish reports that Brett Favre was passing sensitive information on the Green Bay Packers over to the Minnesota Vikings (months prior to signing with Minnesota), refused to publish news that Ben Roethlisberger had been accused of rape (the first time), and was the network of record for “The Decision,” agrees to take down the story.
5. To help James save face, ESPN makes up some story about the author not identifying himself as a reporter. Which also shows us what a great guy James really is.

The Cautionary Tale of Kevin Belcher

You know who Kevin Belcher is, right?

Right?Kevin Belcher

Belcher was the 153rd player chosen in the 1983 NFL Draft, the draft that is well-known for having possibly the best crop of quarterbacks ever in one draft. Belcher was an offensive lineman coming out of Texas-El Paso when he was selected in the sixth round by the New York Giants.

Belcher saw action in all 16 of the Giants’ games in 1983, a season where the team went 3-12-1 and nearly cost new coach Bill Parcells his job. Belcher was the starting center in 1984, and even had a four-yard pass reception in a 31-21 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Dec. 9.

But before the 1985 season, Belcher’s career ended when he got in a car accident that exposed nerves. The Giants struggled to replace him until they acquired Bart Oates from the Philadelphia Stars of the USFL.

Belcher’s brief career is relevant today because history may be repeating itself. The Giants recently acquired safety Chad Jones in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Jones, a two-sport star out of LSU, was hyped as a talented player who would bring much-needed depth at the safety position, a luxury the Giants sorely missed in 2009.

“I think right at the end of the OTA’s, (Jones) was starting to emerge and doing things very well on special teams and in the secondary,” Giants coach Coughlin said after New York’s recent mandatory minicamp.

But Jones’s career met the figurative and literal obstacle, as his SUV crashed into a pole Friday morning in New Orleans. Two passengers in the car walked away with minor injuries, but Jones wasn’t as fortunate. He reportedly fractured his left leg, and left arteries and nerves exposed. He underwent surgery in the late morning to return blood flow to his foot, and doctors now believe that he won’t have to lose the foot.

It may seem insensitive to speculate on Jones’s career at this point, but let’s be honest. Hundreds or thousands of people get in accidents every day, yet you’re reading about this one because who he is. Whether you’re a LSU student or alumni, a Giants fan, a football fan, or just a sports fan, you’re reading this because it’s Chad Jones.

Like Belcher, it’s hard to imagine Jones playing another down in the NFL. His foot is/was in danger of being amputated, and his had ARTERIES and NERVES exposed. Frankly, it’s a miracle he’s not dead.

Which brings us back to Belcher. In 2003, 18 years after his accident, Belcher passed away due to “undisclosed reasons.”  It may have been something completely unrelated, or perhaps it’s due to complications from the accident. We really don’t know. But it’s curiously coincidental enough to state that while his career is probably over, we can only hope and pray for Jones’s continuing recovery.

The Evil Turf!

Some New York Giants fans are in a panic right now, with wide receiver Dominick Hixon’s 2010 season ending before it began. For those who haven’t heard, the receiver/return man went down untouched during the Giants’ recent mini-camp, and torn his ACL. Season over.

The loss of Hixon as a receiver is probably minimal. He’s clearly behind Steve Smith and Mario Manningham on the depth chart, and could have easily been the fourth receiver behind second-year player Hakeem “Don’t Call Me Hicks” Nicks. In addition, the Giants also have Derek Hagan, Ramses Barden, and Sinorice Moss. There is a lot of excitement about Barden and his size (the Giants have been without a tall receiver that Eli Manning can throw a jump ball to since Plaxico Burress went to the slammer), and this injury may force the Giants to give Barden more of a chance.

Yet as minimal as Hixon’s  impact as a receiver is, the loss of the Giants’ kickoff and punt returner can’t be overestimated. Hixon was a player who gave Giants’ fans a surge of excitement every time he made a return. Even when he wasn’t returning punts for touchdowns (like in East Rutherford against Dallas last season), he could be counted on to give the offense good field position with an impressive return.

The Giants could go back to Moss as a return man. Early last season, the Giants took Hixon out of the return rotation, feeling his value as a receiver was too great to risk injury on returns. The 1998 preseason injury to Jason Sehorn continues to haunt the Giants and affect strategy (it was recently reported that cornerback Aaron Ross wanted to return kicks. Fat chance at that.) Anyway, Moss was pretty terrible as a return man.

Hixon’s injury has led to a lot of panic about the new stadium’s artificial turf. The New Meadowlands Stadium uses FieldTurf and a lot of the players (as well as coach Tom Coughlin) commented that the turf was loose and wasn’t very good. Nevermind that the old stadium used FieldTurf as well, and people weren’t tearing their ACLs left and right.

The turf is like a pair of new shoes. You have to break it in first. Once the turf gets a little more usage, it will tighten up and the “What’s wrong with the turf” questions will go away. In fact, it’s possible all these other events at the stadium (for example, college lacrosse was the first event at the new stadium, not football) are being used to help break in the turf.

BS Sports Blog offers $1.25 for naming rights

BS Sports Blog Stadium. It has a nice ring to it.

Yes, i”m joking. But this isn’t a joke. Online dating site AshleyMadison.com has submitted a formal offer to the New York Giants and New York Jets for the naming rights for the New Meadowlands Stadium. The offer is for five years and totals $25 million.

Now this alone isn’t that interesting, and I wouldn’t normally blog about this, except this isn’t your run of the mill dating site. The site’s motto is “Life is short. Have an affair.”

Yes, that’s right. A site that promotes adultery wants to have their name on the new stadium. Can you imagine? Stephen Weaver at Examiner.com has an awesome take on it.

“Dad, where are we going?”

“To Ashley Madison Field son. We’re going to watch the Giants play.”

“Oh, who’s Ashley Madison?”

“Oh, it’s that great site that split up me and your mom when she found I was cheating on her. Remember, when you cried for a couple days?”

“Oh. Can we go home?”

I think an approval would result in drop in attendance for the Giants, as married women refuse to allow their husbands to attend games in fear of a cross promotion. But it might help the Jets finish selling their PSLs.

Obviously, this has no chance at being accepted. The Maras and Tisches have a family image that would be shattered by accepting such a bid, and the Johnson & Johnson company wouldn’t be too happy if the founder’s great-grandson was openly promoting adultery. But it’s a great way to get your name out. Tons of people (like me) will write about it, and refer to the website (although you may notice there isn’t a link to the company’s website; this is intentional).

This isn’t the company’s first attempt at silly advertising, as they tried to buy ad space in the Official Super Bowl XLIII Game Program, but were rejected by the NFL. Back in February, they offered the city of Phoenix, Az. $10 million to rename the airport. The strapped-for-cash city declined the offer.

Another reason the offer will almost definitely be declined is that it’s too low. The Giants and Jets are reportedly looking for a deal of $20-25 million a year for the naming rights, and a $5 million a year deal isn’t going to cut it.

Sadly, the Meadowlands Stadium hasn’t had the best luck with the naming rights. A previous offer of $25 million a year by Allianz was canceled amid protests that the German-based financial services had ties to Nazi Germany.

A New York Super Bowl? The horror!!!

So on Tuesday afternoon, the NFL announced live on NFL Network that the site of the 2014 Super Bowl will be New York/New Jersey, at the new Meadowlands Stadium. It will be the first Super Bowl to be held in an open-air stadium in a location that is generally cold that that time of the year (Super Bowl IV was held in Tulane Stadium in New Orleans, and the temperature was 39 degrees, so it’s not going to be the first cold-weather Super Bowl).

(By the way, doesn’t NFL Mobile rock? I was at the Maryland MVA getting my driver’s license renewed, but got to watch the announcement live.)

Anyway, since the announcement, numerous stories have come out in the media about what a horrible idea this is. I’ve summarized these stories below.

It’s going to be cold!!!!!!!!!

It’s going to be windy!!!!!!!!

It’s going to be snowing!!!!

No one is going to want to go!!!!!!

Good luck getting someone to perform at halftime!!!!

The weather could affect the game’s outcome!!!!!

They’re gambling with an American institution!!!!!

What about all the parties???

The game is supposed to be in Miami!!!!! (exclusive to South Florida media)

In short, what a crock of shit. Most of these comments are too stupid to really be covered, but then again, what’s the point of this post otherwise?

1. Every team in the NFL is used to playing in cold weather. The players come from different colleges and universities from around the country, including schools in….GASP….cold-weather locations. And every division in the NFL has at least one team in a moderately-cold or worse location (Carolina had an average temperature in the 40s in December and January, and Tennessee has average temperature in the 40s in December, and in the 30s in January). And every team in the NFL has to go to different locations around the country to play games, including locations in…GASP…cold-weather cities!

2. So Joe Gibbs has told the story about the time his Washington Redskins went to Giants Stadium and lost 17-0 in the NFC Championship Game. The game was notoriously windy, to the point that Giants punter Sean Landeta is largely considered the game’s MVP. Dear Joe, maybe if Gary Clark hadn’t dropped a perfectly-placed, wide-open, guaranteed-touchdown bomb, your team might have been more competitive. Dear Joe, maybe if your team hadn’t botched a field goal snap, your team might have been more competitive. Dear Joe, maybe if your offensive gameplan didn’t require your QB to throw the ball 50 times, your team might have been more competitive. Dear Joe, the last I checked, wind is not exclusive to cold-weather locations.

3. Greg Cote of the Miami Herald is a funny guy. He commented on the probability of snow during the Super Bowl. Hey Greg, this isn’t Buffalo, with an average of 24 inches in January and another 17 in February. Nor is it Syracuse, with 30 and 25 inches. The National Climatic Data Center has been tracking snowfall in New York for 134 years. Central Park (the closest location they measure) gets 7.5 inches in January and 8.5 in Febuary. Those totals are spread over a month. Usually it’s an inch here, two inches there, a half-inch another time, one and half after that. Last winter was the execption, not the rule. I grew up in New Jersey, about 45 minutes away from Giants Stadium. I could count the number of White Christmases on my 32 on one hand. Yes, it could snow. Yes, it might snow. No, it probably won’t snow. And if it does snow, well I call that “Football Weather.”

4. Ever watch Dick Clark’s New Years Rockin’ Eve. Every year, it’s estimated that about a million people gather in the middle of the night to welcome in the new year. And you’re afraid people won’t go to a football game that’s 15 minutes away, starts at 6 p.m., and is over by 10 at the latest?

5. Here is a list of the performers who have appeared in the middle of the night on New Years Eve in Times Square: Jennifer Lopez, Daughtry, the Jonas Brothers, Taylor Swift, Jesse McCarthy, Miley Cyrus, and Carrie Underwood. This was just in the last three years. Notice that none of these acts are eligible for an AARP meembership. This is a good thing.

6. What is a true champion? A team that does one style very well and sticks to it, or a team that is able to succeed in multiple conditions and makes the neccessary adjustments?

7. This may be the dumbest statement of all. The wind chill was -18 degrees in the 2008 NFC Championship Game in Green Bay. Was the Giants’ win somehow cheapened by this? Should we have postponed the Ice Bowl and waited for a warmer day. I hear Raiders’ fans whining about the Tuck Rule game, but it’s because of the Tuck Rule more than the snow on the ground. There have been some classic games in the cold (there have been some duds as well, but there have been plenty of dud Super Bowls as well).

8. What about all the parties? This is New York City. You think NewYork doesn’t know how to party? The week leading up is going to have some of the best parties the Super Bowl has even seen. Only Vegas and New Orleans could outdo New York.

I’m psyched about having the Super Bowl in the Meadowlands. I’ll probably be watching the game on TV in my home in Maryland, but this game could have classic written all over it.

By the way, let’s not forget the real reason so much of the media is against the game (although they aren’t printing it). The writers and bloggers all lose their week-long vacation to a sunny location. Mike Greenberg of ESPN’s Mike and Mike in the Morning admits that he will miss lounging by the pool after their show is over. No beaches + no bikinis = WAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!

Lebron to the Nets?

Let me start with this disclaimer. Lebron James is probably not going to the New Jersey Nets. But let’s just entertain the notion for now, OK?

After a disappointing second-round exit for the Cleveland Cavaliers, the basketball player known as “King James” ended another season without a NBA title. For the citizens of the greater Cleveland area, this begins a month and a half of panic, where the end result could be a result to the irrelevance the franchise had before James stepped through the door.

For years, it has been believed that Lebron has been frustrated with his supporting cast’s inability to help him get over the hump. Yet Cleveland has shown the ability to contend for the Eastern Conference title, reaching the conference finals in 2006-07 and again last season. But this season represented another setback, as the Cavs didn’t even make it to the conference finals.

From everything I’ve read, it seems the most likely destinations for Lebron are (in no particular order) the Nets, the New York Knicks, the Chicago Bulls, the Cavs, the Miami Heat, and the Los Angeles Clippers.

Chicago Bulls: This is a team that would be an instant title contender with Lebron on the roster. But I don’t see it happening, because of one man: Michael Jordan. He’s widely regarded as the greatest basketball player of all time, and His Airness is a revered god in Chicago. James himself wears No. 23 in homage of Jordan, just like how several defensive players in the NFL wear No. 56 in homage of Lawrence Taylor (although if the rape charges amount to a conviction, there probably won’t be a lot of players jumping to pay homage anymore).

The problem with Jordan’s legacy is that Chicago will always be his town. Lebron could go to Chicago and won five titles, but it will never be his town like it’s Jordan’s. He’ll be viewed as the next Michael Jordan, and 20 years later, no one in Chicago will be talking about who the next Lebron is. Steve Young succeeded in emerging from Joe Montana’s shadow to win a Super Bowl for the San Francisco 49ers, but in 20 years (or 10, or 5, or probably now), Steve Young is not going to be the first quarterback people think of when someone mentions the 49ers. I just don’t see Lebron willfully stepping into a situation like that.

Miami Heat: This is a possibility. They have Pat Riley running the show, a free agent-to-be in Dwayne Wade who would probably resign with the Heat if Lebron goes to Miami, and of course…it’s freakin’ Miami! The Heat would immediately contend in the Eastern Conference, and would probably be the favorite in the Southeast Division.

The biggest hangup with Miami is whether or not Lebron could co-exist in Miami. Dwayne Wade is probably one of the top  5 players in the NBA, and Miami is his team. I don’t know if Lebron would be willing to go to Miami and take a backseat to Wade. Just like how going to Chicago would be going to Jordan’s team, going to Miami would be going to Wade’s team. He won’t be “The Man” in Miami, and I question if we wants that.

Los Angeles Clippers: This would be an enticing option. Lebron would have a solid supporting cast with Baron Davis and Eric Gordon, and I imagine getting to compete against Kobe Bryant for Los Angeles’ affection would be enticing offer. But Donald Sterling has a reputation as a cheap skate, and although he has made certain high-priced signings in recent years that might rebuff that reputation, Lebron would likely have some pause that Sterling would do whatever it takes to bring a title to the Clippers.

New York Knicks: This is the sexy pick. In fact, there are plenty of Knicks fans who already view this as a done deal. And that very well may be the case. The Knicks have Madison Avenue, Madison Square Garden, and Lebron would be a god similar to Jordan if he were to bring multiple titles to the Knicks. Head coach Mike D’Antoni runs the kind of dribble-drive offensive system that intrigued Lebron enough to meet with Kentucky coach John Calipari last summer.

But there are some problems here as well. While the Knicks can offer a second max contract to a free agent, the rest of the roster is pretty barren. Currently, the Knicks’ best is probably David Lee, whose rights would have to be rescinded in order to have enough cap space to offer that second max contract. So even with Lebron and a second stud player, the Knicks aren’t winning anything in 2010-11. Of all the options available to Lebron, this would probably be the worse supporting cast he would have

One might also wonder if having James Dolan as a boss would be a detractor. While General Manager Donnie Walsh is steering the ship, Dolan is pretty much thought of as an incompetent owner. After all, the man allowed Isiah Thomas to make the Knicks a laughing stock for five seasons, and kept him around at least two years too long. Thomas being accused of sexual harassment might have been the final straw, and one wonders if Dolan might have stuck with Isiah for another year had that not happened. So you have to wonder if Dolan will really be making the best decisions for his team, and will Lebron end up paying for that. (this is probably a minor point, however)

Cleveland Cavaliers: A lot of people think that the Cavs’ lost to the Boston Celtics ended any chance that the King stays in his hometown state. After all, once again the efforts to bolster Cleveland’s roster were not enough to reach the NBA Finals. But things may be different this time around. Lebron injured his elbow in the first round against the Bulls, a 4-1 series victory. While James didn’t state that the elbow was a problem, there seems to be a perception that Lebron’s play was affected by the injury. If Lebron did not have the injury, it’s possible that Cleveland is playing Orlando right now, not Boston. So instead of blaming the people around him, Lebron could be pointing the finger at himself, and why would he feel the need to jump ship when he could have been the primary cause for the Cavs’ early playoff exit.

On the other hand, Lebron’s teammates didn’t exactly up their game  to make up for Lebron’s struggles. In fact, many people seem to believe that they simply gave up in the closing minutes of the Game 6 series clincher. That’s not a good way to put a closing statement mark of an otherwise successful season, and if that’s what Lebron remembers, then his hometeam team takes a hit in the Lebron sweepstakes.

New Jersey Nets: As a Nets’ fan, I’m sure you will question how objective I can be here. Of course, I would love to see Lebron on my team, but who wouldn’t? So in an effort to appear semi-objective, I’ll start with the cons first.

The Nets won just 12 games last season. Until a last surge where they won five of their last 12 games, the Nets appeared destined to eclipse the 1972-83 Philadelphia 76ers for the most losses in league history (73). New Jersey did manage to start just 2-28, the worse start after 30 games in league history.

The Nets also suffer from playing in the same vicinity as the Knicks. Even when the Nets were winning back-to-back conference titles in 2002 and 2003, New York City was still a Knicks town. And while the attraction of Lebron James on the Nets could help the tide (by securing a lot of bandwagon fans), it’s far from a guarantee. Also, while Knicks have enough cap room to offer two max contracts, New Jersey can offer only one.

That being said, there are some reasons for Lebron to be intrigued by the Nets. Before the Knicks cleared enough space on their roster, the Nets were seen as a serious contender for Lebron’s services because of minority owner Shawn Carter, better known as rapper Jay-Z. Apparently Lebron and Jay-Z are buddies, so it’s believed that might help the team. New principal owner Mikhail Prokhorov might also attract Lebron, as he is the 39th richest man in the world, and is expected to go the extra yard to make the Nets contenders again.

Also, the Nets seem to have finally finalized the eventual move to Brooklyn. For years, former owner Bruce Ratner talked about moving the franchise to the Atlantic Yards site in Brooklyn (right where Walter O’Malloy wanted to move the Brooklyn Dodgers before he relocated the baseball club to Los Angeles in 1957), but the project was held up in lawsuits after lawsuit. But Ratner’s group has prevailed in some major decisions lately, and was able to break ground on the new arena back on March 11.

The Nets also seem to offer Lebron a better supporting cast than the Knicks. Brook Lopez has been a pleasant surprise for the Nets, and appears to be one of the better big men in the league. New Jersey also has the best chances of securing the first overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, although still only a 25 percent chance at that. But if the Nets do secure the top pick in the draft lottery tomorrow night, they would be expected to draft highly-touted Kentucky point guard John Wall. Such a move could make current point guard Devin Harris expendable. Harris was an all-star for the Nets in 2009, but injuries lessened his impact this season, and by trading Harris away, the Nets would be able to offer two max contracts instead of one.

So where is Lebron going? The honest answer is, only Lebron knows. Everything else is just speculation. The Chicago Tribune reported today that William Wesley, a member of James’ Circle of Trust, has contacted the Bulls, Nets, and Clippers about bringing in Calipari as head coach, with the belief that James would follow. But there is some doubt that Calipari would leave Kentucky, that Wesley has that much influence, or that James would demand a certain coach on his new team.

If I had to guess, I think the Bulls, Nets, Knicks and Cavs are the teams with the best chances of getting Lebron. The Bulls would surprise me, however. And if Lebron returns to Cleveland, I bet it would just be another three-year deal.

The Nemesis

In sports, most teams have a opponent, a nemesis, if you will, where records don’t matter. It’s common in college football. One team might be 8-0, the other 4-4, but you know the matchup is going to be a battle.

In the NHL, the New Jersey Devils have such a foil in the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Devils are battling for the Atlantic Division title with the Pittsburgh Penguins, a team they dispatched in six contests this season. The Flyers, Canadiens, Bruins, and Thrashers are separated by four points in a playoff battle where the Flyers are the sixth seed and the Thrashers are out of the playoffs.

You’d think this was a game the Devils should be fine in. After all, they dispatched the Canadiens one day earlier, 4-2, in a game they never trailed in, and were only tied when the score was 0-0 in the first period.

But the Flyers have had the Devils’ number this season, winning five of the six games, some in humiliating fashion. Back on Feb. 8, the Devils led 2-0 in the second, and lost 3-2.

Last night’s game was worse. It was 2-0 at the first intermission, and 4-0 at the second break. By then, the Devils had seen enough, and Martin Brodeur’s night was over. The Devils lost 5-1, with Ilya Kovalchuk scoring New Jersey’s lone goal.

Even though Brodeur got pulled, he was far from the blame in this one. The rest of the team was just bad. In a power play in the second period, the Devils recorded just one shot. In the ensuing minute after the power play, the Flyers put three shots on net.

The Devils didn’t have any luck either. The Flyers’ fourth goal came on a slap shot that was unintentionally redirected off a Devils’ defenseman’s stick.

So the Devils are in the playoffs. That much is sure. Barring a collapse or a hot streak by the Ottawa Senators, they’ll be anywhere from the second seed to the fourth. With Kovalchuk likely a one-year Devil, this might be New Jersey’s last best chance at another Cup before Brodeur retired. But it they have to play the Flyers in the postseason, it could signal an early postseason exit.

History denied

I guess New York area teams have a a habit of ruining historical occasions. In February 2008, it was the New York Giants ensuring that no team would finish 19-0 just yet.

It was a much smaller stage last night, and far fewer people actually cared, but the New Jersey Nets’ 118-110 victory against the Chicago Bulls put a spot to a new record for futility. The 2009-10 Nets, already record holders for the worst start (0-18 to start the season) were trying to avoid winning less games than the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers. That Philly team went a pathetic 9-73, and last night’s victory ensures that the Nets won’t be even more pathetic.

New Jersey’s victory was also its first two-game winning streak of the season, having beaten Sacramento 93-79 on Wednesday. The Nets can won their third-straight and 10th of the season tonight in Chicago, a team they actually beat 103-101 back on December 8.

Personally, I’m thrilled that the Nets got to nine wins. I can’t imagine being historically bad would be a selling point to free agents this summer. As bad as this season has been, the team’s future is bright with the potential of the first overall pick and John Wall, as well as enough money to bring in a marquee free agent. On top of that, Devin Harris will hopefully regain his status as an All Star, and Brook Lopez and Yi Jianlian hopefully gave us all a tease with their performances last night (68 combined points, Lopez was 14-for-17 from the floor, and Yi was 7-for-9 in the second half).

The Nets are awaiting an 80 percent sale of the team to Russian billionaire/playboy Mikhail Prokhorov, who will be featured on 60 Minutes tomorrow night. In the interview, he said, “I am excited to take the worst team of the league and turn it to be the best. I am confident. Do you remember in the Frank Sinatra song, ‘New York, New York’? If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere.”

Hears hoping he’s right.

Sheridan fired

Apparently John Mara didn’t need a cooling down period to decide on approving Coughlin’s recommendation on the future of the defensive coordinator. Bill Sheridan was fired today after just one year on the job.

I don’t take any glee about someone getting fired, but this is a step in the right direction. From Sheridan’s “argument” with Osi Umenyiora back in training camp that led to the defensive end leaving campus, to his wishes to work in the pressbox, to his zone coverages that repeatedly led to blown coverages, to dropping the defensive ends into pass osscoverage, he was a disaster. The Giants gave up 427 points this season, the second-worst in team history. Regardless, I wish Sheridan well, and hope he landed on his feet.

As for replacements, Dick Jauron is the popular name. Current defensive backs coach Peter Giunta is another possibility, as he had a Super Bowl ring as the defensive coordinator of the St. Louis Rams in 1999.