I was a huge baseball fan from nearly the day I was born. Baseball was my dad’s favorite sport and he always dreamed of having a son that had a love for baseball just like him and he could coach. Some of the first memories I have are my dad playing toss with me at home. We watched Reds games whenever we could. The games were not all televised back when I was young like today on FSO. We listened to many games on 700WLW with good ole Marty and Joe (RIP). I played baseball as year-round as you could in Cincinnati, OH. We did tournaments in the very early spring and late fall while playing our league and random weekend tournaments through the summers. In the winter we would go to the batting cages all the time to keep up and not fall behind. When we would get those random 40 and 50 degree days in the winters we would end up at a local field to take some ground-balls and fly-balls.
The greatest duo in announcing history.
I was a die-hard Reds fan and a statistics guru. I always knew the entire 25-man roster and could recite players updated statistics every day. This was quite the incredible feat without the internet. I lived for looking at the newspaper box scores the next day. I also was always playing a baseball video game as the Reds because playing as any other team just seemed like a sin. I remember in one of the first MLB games that allowed you to create a player I was drafted by the Cubs and was so disgusted with it that I have never played that game mode again.
He’s fucking back.
The last blog I made was discussing Marvin’s potential replacements. I didn’t dive into the current staff or defensive minded coaches as my wish was to hire a young offensive mind. It was 90% likely that Marvin Lewis was leaving and then he all of a sudden wasn’t. This was my nightmare and then I started to think about the situation. There are bright spots or two in this even though many of us were disappointed. It was rumored by many and pretty well known that Marvin was ready to move on and was not happy with Mike Brown from some decisions he overruled Marvin on last off-season. At the end of the year review Marvin made some demands and if these were not made then he was moving on. We do not know what these were but we have a few ideas.
1. Paul Alexander is GONE!
Even Marvin knows it is time.
The future needs change. Marvin Lewis did great things for a stretch in Cincinnati. He turned them from the laughing stock of the 90s into a respectable franchise that had two legit chances at Super Bowl runs in 2005 & 2015. Starting QB injuries derailed both chances and they never got back to that level. The voice of the team needs to change as it has become stale. The NFL has surpassed Marvin and his coaching style. They must go with an external hire, as the team needs a big change.
There are two decent candidates internally in Paul Guenther and Darren Simmons but neither of these options will catapult this team to the next level they need. The risk of going external is if this will cause Mike Brown to get even more involved again. Marvin Lewis was able to somewhat reduce Mike Brown’s thumbprint on the team. It was still evident at times that Mike was still too involved and many of those decisions came back to really hurt the team.
An external offensive minded coach is an absolute necessity for the next hire. I would like this team to look in this draft for a long-term QB replacement/upgrade and these HC candidates reflect that desire. I believe there are five candidates that would be great hires for this team.
- Josh McDaniels – This is the only coach on my list that has been a head coach before. I really want a fresh first time coach, but McDaniels is too good to not consider. He made mistakes in Denver and I think he has learned from those mistakes. He has been very picky about his next opportunity as this is likely his last chance if he fails. A focused McDaniels that has not jumped at the first opportunity bodes well for a coach who has matured. He has been very successful as an OC in NE. Yes, he has Tom Brady but not all OCs have succeeded with future HOF QBs. I really like his ability to create mismatches for his offensive weapons and actually use them. This has not existed in Cincinnati and they have talent (Mixon, Gio, Ross) that can be used very successfully. McDaniels is from Ohio and his dad was a legendary coach in Ohio so maybe he can be convinced to come here even with the Mike Brown handicap.
- John DeFilippo – He is a former small college QB and is a young coach (39 y/o) that has a lot of experience in the NFL. He has worked in the NFL for NYG, Raiders, Jets, Browns and Eagles. He also had summer intern stints with the Panthers and Colts while in college. Wentz has grown a lot since the draft and had the Eagles looking like a top Super Bowl contender. As I mentioned above, I would like the Bengals to look to draft the Bengals future QB this year as we have likely seen the Dalton ceiling. He also happens to be an Ohio native as well.
- Matt Nagy – Nagy is another former small college QB and 39 year old coach. He has only been on Andy Reid’s staffs in Philadelphia and now KC. He recently made the news as play calling duties switched from Andy Reid to Nagy and the offense was jumpstarted after struggling for weeks. KC does not have a star in their offense, but Nagy has found ways to feed their young, undersized playmakers (Tyreke Hill & Albert Wilson) even with the limitations of Alex Smith at QB. It was reported that Nagy had a big hand in KC moving up for Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes is not a proven NFL QB but his future looked very bright during the preseason.
- Jim Bob Cooter – He has the best name in all of sports and that is good enough for me. He also was a former QB, backup at Tennessee, and has experience with multiple NFL teams. He is a very young coach at just 33 years old. He has worked for the Colts, Chiefs, Broncos and Lions. The Denver Broncos brought him in after a recommendation by Peyton Manning. If Peyton thinks highly of a coach that says enough for me. Both Lions coordinators seem to be hot commodities heading into this offseason. The Lions lost Calvin Johnston to retirement after the 2015 season and Cooter kept that offense from free falling. Matthew Stafford has flaws but since Cooter took over Stafford has seen his completion percentage, YPA and QBR rise.
- Harold Goodwin – Bruce Arians runs a fun offense and his right hand man is Goodwin. Goodwin has worked with Arians in Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and now Arizona. Prior to linking up with Arians, he also worked for the Bears. Goodwin is a former offensive lineman at Michigan and is just 44 years old. The Bengals OL is another area that needs some coaching love. As well as providing a new voice to the team it would provide a new voice to the OL which is in need after 2.5 decades of Paul Alexander and the recent failures to find OL talent in the draft. Goodwin has been taking over a larger portion of the play calling duties from Arians recently. Like Arians, Goodwin is a big fan of stretching the field and airing it out. With talents like AJ Green and John Ross and possibly a new QB, this would be an exciting offense to run here.
Who would you like to see as the next HC?
In my opinion, the Crosstown Shootout is one of the top 5 best rivalries in present day sports. It is by far the most underrated on a national coverage basis even though it is the second biggest NCAA basketball rivalry behind Duke/UNC. They only play once a year, since they are not in a conference together, which helps make it an even bigger once a year spectacle (Note: When XU was an independent they faced twice a year from 1948 to 1958). The biggest drawback this year is they decided to schedule the game on NCAAF conference championship weekend. This has led to a tip time of 12:00pm ET. This game should be on an empty weekend so it can be a prime-time tip or on a weeknight to give it the extra special feel that it deserves. Final exams are coming up next week at UC and would have given them another reason to avoid scheduling the game for this week.
These are two of the top 20 college basketball programs in the country right now and separated by just a few miles. The schools have a divided fan base that typically do not like each other. Xavier is a private Catholic university while UC is a public state university. The teams have played 84 times with Cincinnati leading the battle 50-34. The UC Bearcats dominated the series from the mid 1950’s through the 1970s with Xavier only winning twice. Xavier has had a stretch of trying to even up the all-time record by winning 13 of the last 20 match-ups.
The 2011 Crosstown Shootout was quite memorable for all the wrong reasons. There was a nasty brawl with 9.6 seconds left in a blowout Xavier win. The brawl consisted of throats grabs, shoves, punches, basketball launched at someone’s head and a stomp on the back of the head. The three years prior to this brawl really started the build up to this blow up. During the match-ups from 2008-2010 there were 9 technical fouls, an ejection, UC clearing their bench early in a game and multiple heated incidents.
The current XU and UC teams seem to play with more respect and less hatred than in the past. This leads to a better experience as we focus on the game and rivalry and not a bunch of incidents that do not belong in basketball.
The Bearcats won last year’s match-up 86-78 even though Trevon Bluiett had an incredible performance with 40 points. The Bearcats have not won at the Cintas Center since 2001, which is their only victory there ever.
Thanksgiving is one of the best days of the year so it seemed like the perfect time to write my first blog. I want to thank Mac, Whitty & DB for the opportunity to (hopefully) add another quality perspective to Milliron.
The football season is hitting its stride (although almost every NFL team sucks this year), the NBA is just around the corner from really mattering, college basketball is ramping up and the weather is turning so spending the entire weekend cooped up in the house watching sports for hours and hours is becoming more and more acceptable. Thanksgiving Day brings it all together. We have three NFL games, the Egg Bowl, a slew of college basketball match-ups as well as a seemingly never-ending table of food and time spent with family. During this time with family, we like to rehash old stories and memories.
Here are three great Thanksgiving Day sports memories I have: