Sunday, October 30, 2011

CC Sabathia will become a free agent

The Yankees could be without an ace very soon.

CC Sabathia, the Bronx Bombers only decent pitcher during the 2011 regular season has opted out of his contract with New York, as many expected he would, as the story broke on Sports Illustrated earlier tonight.

Sabathia who had four years and $92 million left on his former contract wants more money and years, however with severe weight problems one can wonder if the Yankees, or anyone else for that matter would be willing to give CC more than he is worth.

Sabathia was the Yankees only reliable pitcher; an ace among some pretty lousy and mediocre pitchers, Sabathia won 19 games for the Yankees this past season. However the big concern for Sabathia was his weight. He came into the 2011 sesaon weighing in at 290 lbs, but ballooned well over 300 lbs by mid season.

If Sabathia can't get control of his weight he will become more of a headache later in his career.

The Rangers have been rumored as a team that will go hard after Sabathia this off-season. If the Yankees should lose CC, there are not a lot of viable options out there. C.J. Wilson is the only top pitcher on the market other than CC, and Wilson is coming off a hideous post season with the Rangers.

Expect the Yankees to eventually sign Sabathia, but the pitcher will be very disapointed in the market for his services.

Giants stink it up, but still beat hapless Dolphins

GIANTS 20
DOLPHINS 17

No matter how the Giants try to spin this one, they cannot be proud of the way they played in their 20-17 victory over the winless Miami Dolphins. For three quarters the Giants couldn't get out of their own way against Miami as the Dolphins held a 17-10 heading into the fourth quarter.

The Giants were sloppy. They couldn't tackle anybody, allowing Reggie Bush to rush for 103 yards on only 15 carries, permitting Miami to convert four straight third downs at one point in the game, and even letting Matt Moore look like Dan Marino for a better part of the first half.

The Dolphins came out of the gates with a huge burst of energy, something that caught the Giants off guard for a better part of the afternoon. On their opening drive Miami drove it down the Giants throats with an 11 play 66 yard drive, culminating in a one yard touchdown by Steve Slaton to give Miami the early 7-0 lead.

The Giants had no answer for the Dolphins. On their ensuing drive, New York committed two penalties that killed their chances of tying the game, forcing the Giants to settle for a field goal.

In turn, the Dolphins stuck it to the Giants again! Moore's shifty 11 yard run, and Reggie Bush's 35 yard scamper helped set up Miami at the Giants three yard line. On fourth and goal, Moore took it himself on the naked bootleg to give Miami a 14-3 lead.

Then, and only then, did the Giants wake up offensively. They spent much of their time throwing the ball all over the park resulting in dreary incompletions, and asking Kevin Gillbride to run the football; heaven forbid should the Giants actually run the football!

Eli Manning, who was having a rather poor afternoon, started to get enough time in the pocket to make decisions and picked apart the Dolphins secondary for eight completions in nine attempts to end the first half, leading the Giants on a desperate 84 yard drive that culminated in a seven yard touchdown to Mario Manningham, cutting the Dolphins lead to four.

But, the Dolphins continued to eat up yardage. On their opening drive of the third quarter, Reggie Bush took over with bursts of 28 yards and 13 yards respectively to put Miami in field goal range. For Bush, it was his second career 100 yard day; in fact, both of those efforts came against the Giants.

Fortunately for Big Blue, the Dolphins stalled and were forced to kick a field goal, but the Dolphins were still up 17-10.

Matt Moore, who looked so good at the start of this game, couldn't handle the pressure of the Giants defense down the stretch. He completed three of nine passes in the second half and was sacked four times. The Dolphins offense completely stalled in the fourth quarter, while the Giants offense kicked it up a notch, thanks to the great protection by the G-Men's offensive line.

Manning's 26 yard pass to Victor Cruz on third and nine put the ball at the Dolphins 47 yard line. Later in the drive, Manning hit Jake Ballard for 22 yards to the Dolphins 18. Eventually, the Giants momentum sputtered, and New York once again had to settle for a field goal, but the tables had turned.

After a Miami three and out, Manning drove the Giants down the field for the go-ahead score. He had all the time in the world to find Hakeem Nicks for 17 and then was given a week to find Victor Cruz in the corner of the end zone for a 25 yard touchdown, giving the Giants the lead.

Now out front, the Giants defense pinned their ears back and harassed Moore, sacking him three times in the final drive, and picking him off to ice the game in favor of Big Blue.

Even though the Giants won this game, they didn't play well. They looked awful against possibly the worst football team in the NFL. The offense was anemic at times, as New York continues to rely too much on the passing game. Defensively, the Giants give up chunks of yards and points like a sieve; they are embarassing to watch, and this is a team that leads the NFL in sacks with 26, but they can't tackle people in space and are terrible in coverage.

The Giants now embark on a brutal nine game stretch that begins with the New England Patriots next Sunday in a rematch of Super Bowl XLII. After that, the Giants have games against the 49ers, Eagles, Saints, Packers, Cowboys, Redskins, Jets, and Cowboys once again. If the Giants continue to play sloppy football like today don't expect to see the Giants in the win again column for a very long time.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Cardinals stomp out Rangers, win World Series

CARDINALS 6
RANGERS 2
STL wins 4-3

The 2011 St. Louis Cardinals are the epitome of the old saying "it 'aint over 'till the fat lady sings." Throughout the course of this season, the Cardinals have found ways to perceiver in the most perilous of times, and now find themselves as the world champions of professional baseball in the United States.

They trailed the Atlanta Braves by 10 games for the wild card, erasing that deficit over the month of September to capture the playoff spot. Then they outlasted the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS, and beat up their rivals the Milwaukee Brewers in the NLCS to get to this World Series. Down three games to two, and facing elimination the Cardinals came back to beat the Texas Rangers in game six, coming back twice on their final strike to force ties in a game St. Louis eventually won 10-9.

So it was fitting that the Cardinals did away with the Rangers in easy fashion on Friday night to capture the franchise's 11th World Series title, and second title in five years.

Game seven felt more like a coronation of a true world champion after the heroics the Cardinals pulled on Thursday night in game six. Even though the Rangers grabbed an early 2-0 lead in game seven, they played the game like a team waiting for the shoe the drop. Once the Cardinals came back to tie the game on David Freese's double, which scored Albert Pujols and Lance Berkman to tie it at two, the series was, for all intents and purposes, over.

In the third inning, it was the Cardinals other young star, Allen Craig who put the cap on what has been a great series for himself, as he cracked a solo shot to right to give the Cards a 3-2 advantage. Craig had a huge World Series, and even though David Freese deservedly won the series MVP, Craig hit .286 with two homers and four RBI over the seven game set.

In the fifth the Cardinals tacked on in a big way as Scott Feldman imploded in relief of Matt Harrison. He walked Craig, hit Pujols and walked Freese intentionally to load the bases. Yadier Molina ran the count to 3-0, before Feldman came back with two strikes, but couldn't get his fastball over on the sixth pitch of the at bat, as Molina walked to score a runner. Feldman was removed after the walk for C.J. Wilson, who didn't do himself any favors when he hit Rafeal Furcal with a pitch to drive another runner in to make it 5-2.

From that point the party was on in St. Louis. Chris Carpenter was masterful. Six strong innings, surrendering two runs on six hits with five strikeout. The Cardinals bullpen was brilliant. The combination of Arthur Rhodes, Octavio Dotel, Lance Lynn, and Jason Motte didn't give up a hit in three innings of relief; in fact Lynn's eighth inning looked effortless.

Finally in the ninth, Motte got David Murphy to fly out to Allen Craig in left to clinch the title.

The victory concluded an incredible baseball season for the St. Louis Cardinals, and with the way this team is built, it will be hard to bet against them in 2012. If they can re-sign Albert Pujols, and combine him again with veterans like Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman, and budding super stars in Craig and Freese the Cards will have a lethal line-up next season. The big addition to St. Louis next season will come from within when the get Adam Wainwright back from Tommy Johns' surgery -- a starter they didn't have this year, a year they won it all.

So congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals, deserving champions of baseball.

Open Mike, Halloween Edition 2011

On this edition of Open Mike, host Michael Cohen talks about the classic that was Game Six of the 2011 World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers.

Sure the Yankees and Mets are out of it, but if you are a baseball fan, you most likely watched what will be remembered as the Greatest World Series Game EVER! (Or at least since Game Six of the 1986 Mets World Series anyway...).

Michael welcomes back Karen Vankat, host of the Warning Track to go over the World Series and look ahead to the series finale, Game Seven.

Michael also breaks down the Giants match-up with the Miami Dolphins as Big Blue looks to avoid a frieght on Mischief Night. Listen at the LINK HERE!


Freese propels incredible Cardinals comeback in game six of World Series

CARDINALS 10
RANGERS 9
Series tied 3-3


It will be remembered as the greatest World Series game, probably ever. Chalk this one right up their with Kirby Puckett's late heroics in the 1991 World Series. Put it up there with Mookie Wilson's ground ball down the first base line underneath the outstretched glove of Bill Buckner in game six of the 1986 Fall Classic.

Yes, game six of the 2011 World Series, may have eclipsed them all with the kind of effort both the Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals displayed in 11 back-and-forth innings, as St. Louis averted death, twice, to comeback and beat the Rangers 10-9 last night.

For the Texas Rangers they were this close to winning the World Series, in fact, they were this close TWICE! In the ninth and tenth innings, the Rangers held a two run lead on the Cardinals, and had St. Louis down to their final strike, only to blow it twice. For a franchise that has waited 50 years to win their first World Series, this has to be one of the most devastating losses in Rangers history, one they will never forget if they should lose a game seven.

From the onset, this one had the feeling of a wild night. The Rangers had St. Louis starter Jaime Garcia on the chopping block after Josh Hamilton singled home Ian Kinsler to give Texas a 1-0 lead with two on and none out. However, Garica reared back and struck out Michael Young and Adrian Beltre, and forced Nelson Cruz into a ground out to end the inning. An inning that could have been so much more for Texas.

In the bottom half of the inning, St. Louis took control when Lance Berkman, the native Texan, and former Houston Astro, blasted a two run shot to give the Cardinals a 2-1 lead.

With the score tied at two in the fourth inning, the bizzare factor took over in this incredible baseball game. With Fernando Salas on the mound for the Cards, Nelson Cruz popped up to left field, however, Matt Holliday dropped the ball, allowing Cruz to reach. Mike Napoli, who is sure to be the series MVP, if Texas wins, drove in his 10th run of this classic with a single to left to give Texas a 3-2 lead.

Fast forward to the sixth inning, and St. Louis was once again knocking on the door; with one on and one out, Holliday's weak grounder to Michael Young at first was bobbled by the sure-handed veteran. It was Young's second error of the night, and fifth error made on the night between the two teams. The extra life line gave St. Louis life. David Freese walked to load the bases, forcing Texas manager Ron Washington to remove starter Colby Lewis for Alexi Ogando.

Ogando, who has had a terrible series walked potent Cardinals clutch hitter Yadier Molina to drive in the tying run, and from that point on all hell would break loose.

Texas grabbed a two run lead on back-to-back homers by Beltre and Cruz. For Beltre it was his second homer of the series, and the biggest hit of his career. Cruz, who hit six homers in the ALCS, was quiet up to this point in the World Series. His hit appeared to be the icing on the cake for Texas.

The Rangers would tack on with a Kinsler RBI single to score Derek Holland, and with Holland now on the mound it appeared that the party was inevitable. Holland, who cruised past St. Louis in game four, retired four straight Cardinals before Allen Craig blasted a solo shot in the eighth to cut the deficit to 7-5. But even with that it didn't look good for St. Louis.

That being said, never once did it seem that the Cardinals would go away quietly in this baseball game. Even to the final out, there was a strange sense that St. Louis would find a way to prevail in the most incredible fashion. Heck, this was a team that defied the odds all season. They got into the playoffs as a wild card, erasing a 10 game deficit to the Atlanta Braves. They beat up on the seemingly unstoppable Philadelphia Phillies, and bulldozed past their NL Central bully, Milwaukee Brewers in the LCS. Comebacks are nothing new to the Cardinals.

In the ninth with Neteli Feliz on the mound for the Rangers, the All Star closer struck out Ryan Theriot for the first out. A huge out, considering Albert Pujols was on deck. Pujols could have hit the ball 600 feet, and Rangers wouldn't have cared, but instead the free-agent-to-be stroked a double to right center, and Lance Berkman walked.

After Allen Craig struck out, Feliz had Freese on a 1-2 count, before the son of St. Louis cracked a triple over the head of Cruz, as the ball went up against the right field wall, and trickled away from the right fielder, as Pujols and Berkman scored to tie it at seven.

Then in the tenth inning, it was Hamilton who rose from the dead. Hamilton whose bat has been silenced in the World Series due to a groin injury hit his first homerun of the playoffs, when he smacked a two run shot to center to give the Rangers a 9-7 lead.

Washington then turned the ball over to former Met Darren Oliver in the bottom of the inning to close it out. Lesson learned, never rely on a Met to close anything out.

Oliver gave up singles to David Descalso and John Jay to get things rolling. After a Kyle Loshe sacrifice, and an RBI ground out by Theriot, reliever Scott Feldman came in for Oliver and walked Pujols. What appeared to be a smart move came back to bite the Rangers. Feldman had Berkman on a 1-2 count. Again the Rangers were a strike away from winning it all, but the veteran lifted the pitch into center field allowing Jay to score the tying run. Busch Stadium was electric.

After Jake Westbrook did away with the Rangers in the top of the eleventh, it was Freese who put the Rangers on ice, as he blasted a solo home run off Mark Lowe to send St. Louis into total bedlam. Fox broadcaster Joe Buck, a former Cardinals local TV commentator, and son of the late Jack Buck, who was the Cardinals play-by-play man concluded the telecast by signing off with his father's famous "We'll see you tomorrow night," which he used during Cardinal victories.

Freese was met at home plate by his teammates who ripped his jersey into pieces; it was like they already won the World Series. Instead St. Louis lives to play another day. A day nobody will ever forget. Game six box score.

Keep in mind, that Chris Carpenter will start game seven for the Cardinals against Matt Harrison. Both Nelson Cruz and Mike Napoli are listed as questionable for the game, after they suffered injuries in the game for the Rangers. Texas hasn't lost two in a row since August 23.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Revis Interception sparks Jets to victory over Bolts

JETS 27
CHARGERS 21

Give credit where credit is due. For the first time this season, the New York Jets played their best game and beat a legitimate opponent. Unlike their previous three wins, Week 1 vs. Dallas, which should never have happened, and two subsequent victories against the dreadful Jaguars and Dolphins, the Jets came back to stun a very good Chargers team at the Meadowlands.

It's not like this was a pretty game to watch for Gang Green. As usual, the Jets got off to a hideous start, falling behind 21-10 by the half, looking and playing like a team destined to be blown out of their own building.

On the first play of the game things looked ominous when Mark Sanchez was hit from behind; his pass to Dustin Keller was juggled by the tight, ending up in the hands of Donald Bulter who rumbled 37 yards for a Chargers touchdown.

Later in the quarter with the Jets moving the ball on a couple of nice completions by Sanchez, the Jets struggling quarterback found a wide open Santonio Holmes in the end zone for the touchdown. However, a hold by the Jets offensive line negated the score, forcing the Jets into a first and 20 situation. Two plays later, Sanchez was picked off by Eric Weddle at the Chargers one yard line, killing the Jets momentum.

In turn, the Bolts drove the ball right down the field, keyed by big passes by Phillip Rivers to his tight end Antonio Gates and wide receiver Vincent Jackson, to set the Chargers up inside the Jets 10 yard line. Rivers eventually found Gates in the corner of the end zone for the touchdown and a 14-3 lead.

At this point it looked hopeless for the Jets. They once again had fallen far behind; Sanchez was plain awful, and the Jets defense was porous. It appeared that San Diego was on their way to an easy victory, bu things quickly changed in the second half.

The Chargers were shut down offensively by the Jets. On three drives in the third quarter, the Chargers totaled only 17 yards of offense. Defensively, the Chargers had no answer for the Jets on third down and couldn't avoid getting flagged for off sides and pass interference penalties.

Case in point: In the third quarter, Sanchez converted two huge third downs with big completions to slot receiver Jeremy Kerley keeping the Jets moving to an eventual touchdown. Even though he was erratic at times, when he needed to make a big throw, Sanchez accomodated. The Jets converted 61 percent of their third downs, and Sanchez's passes to Kerley and Dustin Keller played a big part in that statistic.

And who was there to haul in the touchdown catches? None other than Plaxico Burress.
Burress had three touchdowns on the afternoon. The guy who looked uninterested in the game last week against Miami and had been seldom used all season to point he even complained to Coach Rex Ryan, was more involved in the offense this time. Burress's second touchdown pulled the Jets back to within four, at 21-17, giving Gang Green renewed life.

Still, the Chargers had one last drive left in them. Rivers' 30 yard bomb to a wide open Randy McMichael moved San Diego to the Jets 30. It appeared that San Diego would eventually score to ice the game, until Darrelle Revis stepped in and changed the course of the afternoon.

Revis, who made waves on Friday by hanging up on WFAN host Mike Francesa after Revis was prompted by Francesa to admit that he got away with a pass interference call on Monday against Miami, left no doubt about his efforts time around. Rivers pass to Vincent Jackson was tipped up into the air, and Revis came away with it and ran down the sideline for a 64 yard return before getting banged out of bounds.

The Jets were in business. Sanchez heaved a pass down the side to Holmes for an incompletion, but the play was ruled for pass interference on San Diego, moving the Jets closer. A few plays later, Sanchez found Burress in the back of the end zone for the touchdown.

Now leading 27-21, Rivers got one last shot to win the game for San Diego with a 1:40 left. He was off to a good start when he hit Gates for 18 yards to the 42 yard line, but San Diego couldn't move it any further. With no timeouts, the Chargers struggled to get back to the line after the Jets stopped a series of short passes. Rivers hauled up one last pass on 4th down with 11 seconds left only to watch it fall incomplete.

For the Jets, it was their most complete effort. Even though Sanchez was inconsistent at times, he did throw three touchdowns and showed some good touch on the ball in key situations. A Jets defense that had been mauled for the better part of the season, stiffened against a high powered Chargers offense. And for the first time all year, Shonn Greene ran for over 100 yards, and the Jets opened the playbook to include their big target wide outs.

So the Jets backed Rex Ryan's bravado this week and now head into the Bye at 4-3, avoiding the possiblity of living two weeks with an all hands-on-deck mindset. The big challenge for Gang Green is can they parlay this success in their next two games against Buffalo and New England.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Mike Francesa takes on Darrelle Revis in WFAN tilt

It was the match-up of the 2011 season, as Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis took on his toughest test yet as a guest on Mike Francesa's program on WFAN.

Francesa, who is open about his dislike for the New York Jets coupled with the fact that he rarely gets any Jet guests on his show for various reasons, was really hard on Revis, forcing the all-pro cornerback to answer questions about whether he performed an illegal move on Brandon Marshall that resulted in Revis' 100 yard interception return.

Revis was not too happy having to answer the question. He sounded disturbed and frustrated when he had to respond Francesa's first question about whether he got away with pass interference. At one point, Francesa asked Revis if he thought Marshall was a tough receiver, whereupon Revis angrily replied that Marshall was indeed a talented receiver.

Francesa tried to change the subject to the Jets upcoming Chargers game, but soon Revis decided to jump right back into the discussion about the interceptions, when he said, "You know I didn't mug him."

Francesa shot back telling him to admit that he got away with a "bad call," and offered to donate to any charity that Revis sponsored as long as he admitted that he got away with pass interference. LISTEN to the argument. WFAN page.

Revis, now steaming, shot back at Francesa saying that Big Mike knew nothing about pro football, and that he should only focus on asking questions and not on how to play cornerback. Francesa tried to laugh it off and move on, but Revis wouldn't hear of it. He kept telling Mike to get off the idea that he fouled Marshall in last week's contest.

Then suddenly, a bizarre thing happened: A Jets P.R. staff-person, who identified himself as Jared, broke into the conversation and told Revis to hang up. Revis sent one more shot at Francesa stating, "This is why nobody comes on your show!" Jared told Revis once again to hang up, and the two were gone, just like that.

Many blame Francesa from bullying Revis. It was clear that Francesa entered the conversation aggressively, which set Revis aback a bit, but truth is Mike tried to move away from the subject. Revis was too sensitive; he should have know that Francesa has a tendency to pounce on his guests, his way of proving that only HE is correct. Revis should have let it go, and moved on.

This is also a huge black eye for the Jets PR staff, who should have reminded Revis that Francesa can get under the epidermis of his guests and to just take it. Instead, by hanging up, they created a mountain out of a molehill -- a situation that was already bad when Revis and Francesa started to yell at each other; it could have been handled a lot better by all parties.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Jets uninspiring against hapless Dolphins

JETS 24
DOLPHINS 6

They will try to spin this as a huge victory for the New York Jets, but the tale of the Jets 24-6 victory over the Miami Dolphins at Metlife Stadium was more of a testament to how badly the 0-5 Dolphins play than how good the Jets are.

Let's face it: for the most part, the Jets looked putrid in this "victory." The offense was, once again, non-existent as Mark Sanchez, this time against a 31st ranked defense, was inaccurate and uninspiring in his efforts against the Fish. In fact, the entire Jets offense stunk it up against Miami.

On the Jets first four possessions, they were forced into a three-and-out and struggled to move the football both through the air and on the ground in the first half. Heck, the Jets had ten yards of offense after the first quarter! TEN YARDS!!! In fact, the Jets didn't get a first down until there was 5:30 minutes remaining in the half!

The reason the Jets won this game had more to do with the fact that the Miami Dolphins could be the worst team in the NFL. Initially, the Dolphins were moving the ball well on the Jets defense; Reggie Bush had 71 yards in the first half, but Matt Moore played like a rookie quarterback. He telegraphed his throws all night when he zeroed in on Bradon Marshall, who was covered by the incomprable Darrelle Revis. Moore was so bad that he ignored a number of guys who were wide open for huge gains, let alone touchdowns in that first quarter.

Sure enough, on Moore's third straight pass in the direction of Revis, the all pro corner picked it off and took it the distance for a 100 yard touchdown to give the Jets a 7-3 lead. Miami would move the ball one more time in the second quarter, before Marshall dropped a sure touchdown, forcing Miami to settle for a field goal making it 7-6.

Marshall made one more bone-headed play in the first half. He caught a huge pass in stride down the sideline with room to run for the touchdown, but he decided to hug the sideline and slide out of bounds, which made no sense at all. In short, the Dolphins could have been up 21-0, if it weren't for their own bone-headed mistakes.

After that, Miami shut down. The Jets tiptoed their way through the rest of the game, making enough plays to put some distance between themselves and the Dolphins, but the fact remains this Jets offense was so poor in their ground game and air attack against a dreadful Dolphins defense with no pass rush that the offense was offensive.

Plaxico Burress, invisible once again, hauled in only one catch for the entire game. If fans thought the Jets problems with their wide receivers ended with the trade of Derrick Mason, for get about it! Burress was petulant, didn't run his routes, and appeared disinterested on the sidelines mainly because Sanchez hadn't thrown him the ball.

Santonio Holmes was also having a quiet day until Sanchez found him on a slant down the middle; Holmes hauled in the pass, and dashed down the sideline for a 38 yard touchdown to put it away at 24-6.

To say that the Jets didn't look good would be an understatement, and, with Phillip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers coming to town this Sunday, if things don't improve, the Jets will be back under .500 with the flick of his wrist. The Jets can't run the ball, can't throw the ball, and they can't stop the run; they give up way too many big plays in the passing game. Look for the Chargers to pick the Jets apart on Sunday.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Giants win ugly as Manning nearly throws it away

GIANTS 27
BILLS 24

It was not pretty, but the Giants somehow found a way to outlast a Buffalo Bills team that clearly outplayed them at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.

The Giants couldn't tackle an ant yesterday as Fred Jackson ran for 121 yards and had a 168 all purpose yards in Buffalo's defeat. Jackson was a man possessed, breaking free from tacklers like The Flash. Jackson's 80 yard touchdown run tied the game at seven late in the first quarter and signaled this was to be a wacky game for Big Blue.

Late in the first quarter, the Giants spotty tackling continued to plague the team, as Ryan Fitzpatrick found Naaman Roosevelt on a slant, and the speedy receiver turned it up field for a 60 yard touchdown to give Buffalo a 14-7 lead.

When the Giants needed to make plays however, Eli Manning was able to make them. Midway through the second quarter, Manning's 22 yard pass to Jake Ballard, and his 60 yard bomb to Hakeem Nicks, set up Ahmad Bradshaw's second 1-yard touchdown run to give the Giants a 17-14 lead.

That lead wouldn't last long; Buffalo marched the ball down field, thanks to a few big runs by Jackson to get into field goal range for Ryan Lindell, who tied the game with a 49 yard field goal.

From there it seemed at times that the G-Men did everything they could to lose this game. On their first drive of the third quarter after Manning had completed four straight passes, Manning found Mario Manningham in the end z0ne for the touchdown, but it was reviewed and ruled that the wideout was down at the one yard line. The Giants got the touchdown anyway, on Bradshaw's third TD, but red flags were indeed out.

After Giants safety Corey Webster picked off a Hail Mary pass by Fitzgerald, the Giants couldn't move the football. Two striaght dreary incompletions, including a dropped pass by wide open Victor Cruz forced the Giants to kick a field goal; of course the kick by Lawrence Tynes was blocked, giving Buffalo renewed life.

Fitzpatrick moved the Bill methodically down field, highlighted by a 19 yard pass to Jackson. The drive culminated in a nine yard touchdown pass to an open Stevie Johnson to tie the game at 24.

After another ineffective Giants drive, the Bills got one last shot to win this game. Fitzpatrick hit three straight precision passes before hitting David Nelson for 32 yards to the Giants 27. It appeared that the Bills would score until Fitzpatrick's bomb to Stevie Johnson was picked off, again by Webster.

Manning was sloppy. Three incompletions could have cost the Giants dearly, but a clutch 30 yard run by Bradshaw, and a 15 yard penalty on Buffalo spotted the ball at the Bills five yard line. Then Manning did one of the dumbest things a quarterback can do: On third and five at the five, Manning dropped back to pass out of the shotgun and nearly threw an interception to Ledious McKelvin. McKelvin had the ball, but dropped it at the last second; if he held onto it, he had 90 yards of open field to run it back for a Bills touchdown.

Why was Manning throwing? Why were the Giants in a shotgun? These questions were not answered because the Giants won this game. After that stupid play, the Giants settled for the field goal to take a 27-24 lead.

The Bills got one last shot, but three incompletions by Fitzpatrick sealed the deal for the Giants.

It wasn't pretty, and Manning was not good. He had a lot of overthrows in this game, and a lot of bad incompletions including the near interception. Manning is killing this Giants team. On top of that the Giants defense is terrible. Sure, they can rush the passer, but with all of the injuries in the secondary, the Giants haven't been able to stop anyone.

Ironically, the Giants find themselves in first place, thanks to Philadelphia's 20-13 win at Washington; nevertheless, don't be fooled; this is NOT a good Giants football team. These guys are going nowhere.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Open Mike 10-14-11; Santonio Holmes upset at Jets, Giants falling apart

In this latest edition of Open Mike, Michael Cohen welcomes in Lincoln Head Football Coach Robert Hampton to talk about his team's 4-1 start to the season, as the prepare for a Hudson County show down with Hoboken.

Then, Michael takes on the manifold issues that concern both the Giants and Jets after hideous losses for both teams last week. Can the Giants rebound? Is this the end of Tom Coughlin? For the Jets, was Derrick Mason a scapegoat? Is Mark Sanchez the real problem with this ineffective Jets offense?

Listen to the podcast. Mike Sanfilipo, co-host of Triple Coverage pays a visit to discuss these issues and more. Click on the link here to MTRMedia.com, then click on the Open Mike 10-14-11 play button. Enjoy.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Jets send Derrick Mason Packing

A week after Derrick Mason made headlines twice for ripping into his new team, the Jets have decided to part ways with the disgruntled wide receiver by shipping him to Houston for an undisclosed draft pick.

After New York's hideous 34-17 defeat to the Baltimore Ravens, Mason said that there were "cracks" in the Jets offensive scheme and that unless those "cracks" were filled, the problems would persist. Who knows if he was talking about Mark Sanchez or Brian Schottenheimer or both, but the implication was clearly there.

Then before the Jets-Patriots game, Mason, along with two other receivers whom many presume were Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress, complained to coach Rex Ryan about Brian Schottenheimer and the Jets offense.

Ryan, who loves Schottenheimer, decided to bench Mason on Sunday, has now booted him off the team. Mason was becoming a major distraction on this ball club, a club that is showing more and more each week that it is a team that can't take any criticism.

Over the past few weeks, Joe Namath has come out publicly criticizing Rex Ryan, Brian Schottenheimer, Santonio Holmes, Mark Sanchez and Mike Tannenbaum. As a result, the Jets response has been simply: "Who is Joe Namath?"

Ryan doesn't like guys who rock the boat. He said so in his book. He is a fellow who wants only people who are positive, and if any one individual comes across as a negative influence, they are thrown out; case in point, Mason.

Will ridding the team of Mason cure the Jets ills? I find that hard to believe, but, as the football Zen master says, "We'll see."

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Giants fall on their faces in shocking loss to Seattle

SEAHAWKS 36
GIANTS 25


So much for all that good feeling that the Giants developed over the past two weeks. The Giants put together a bush-league performance against the hapless Seattle Seahawks; Pete Carroll's crew came into the MetLife Stadium and smacked the Giants in the mouth in a 36-25 drubbing that was really never close.

The blame for the latest Giants disaster falls at the feet of Big Blue's offense and quarterback Eli Manning, who couldn't throw a football accurately if his life depended on it. It was the kind of performance we have gotten used to from the Giants during the Tom Coughlin era anytime this team seems to be on the move to bigger and better things. Instead, the Giants came out flat, unmotivated, and, as a result, were totally outplayed by Seattle.

From the outset, trouble was on the horizon.

The Seahawks opened the game with a long opening drive, culminating in a Travaris Jackson 11 yard touchdown pass to Ben Obomanu (not Obama ;P) to give Seattle a 7-0 lead.

Even though the Giants answered with a 12 yard score from Manning to Jake Ballard to tie the game, the Giants offense couldn't move the ball with any consistency. For a better part of the first half, Seattle forced the Giants into three-out-ands and even sacked Manning on a couple of occasions and forced him to fumble the ball at one point.

In the third quarter, the ineptitude of the Giants offensive line continued. On a first down inside the Giants own five yard line, Seattle blew through the Giants offensive line and tackled D.J. Ware in the end zone for the safety giving the Seahawks a 16-14 lead.

The game would continue to become bizarre. Trailing 19-14, the Giants turned around their fortunes when Manning's tipped pass ended up in the hands of Victor Cruz who dashed 68 yards for the touchdown. The Giants then converted a two point conversion to take a 22-19 lead.

Then the Giants offense coughed it up again when Cruz fumbled the football on the Giants next possession, giving Seattle great field position. The Seahawks kicked a field goal and tied the game at 22.

Then a long Giants drive resulted in a Lawrence Tynes field goal to make it 25-22, but the Giants defense had no answer and couldn't shut the door. Charlie Whitehurst completed three passes for 52 yards to move the ball to the Giants 27 yard line and hit a wide open Doug Baldwin for a 27 yard touchdown to retake the lead 29-25.

Still the Giants weren't out of it. Manning hit Cruz for 41 yards to the Seattle 24, then he hit Cruz again for 19 more to the Seattle six-yard line. It appeared the Giants were about to score the game winning score, erasing a haunting day of football, but the ghosts wouldn't go away. Manning was picked off by Brandon Browner who scampered 94 yards for the touchdown to ice the game for Seattle.

It was a horrible afternoon for Big Blue, a huge step backwards after their great 2-0 road trip against Philadelphia and Arizona. Manning was awful, one of the worst performances of his career and continues to prove that he is not and never will be an elite quarterback in this league.

Sanchez, and Jets embarass themselves in New England

PATRIOTS 30
JETS 21

The Jets are in free-fall. After two hideous losses to the Raiders and Ravens on consecutive weeks, the Jets came up snake eyes yet again, this time against the hated New England Patriots, 30-21, as the Pats covered the spread.

While the Jets running game was solid this time around; Shonn Greene actually showed up and ran for 83 yards, so the full blame for this disaster falls at the feet of Mark Sanchez and Brian Schottenheimer.

Against the worst passing defense in the NFL the Jets managed only 255 yards of offense, threw for only 166 yards through the air, and had eight three-and-outs against a defense that forced eight three-and-outs all season!!

Sanchez really stunk it up. He was terribly inaccurate for the first three quarters of the game, failing to complete a pass for a first down in the first quarter and throwing for only 70 yards through 45 minutes of action. Even though his quarterback rating was good, it doesn't paint the picture for how horrible he was.

As for the play calling? What can I say? Brian Schottenheimer doesn't get it. He has four huge weapons in Dustin Keller, Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards and Derrick Mason, and these guys never get a chance to touch the football. Holmes and Edwards were again silent through the first three quarters of the game, held to four catches and three catches respectively. Keller was held to one catch against the worst defense in football. Unacceptable.

Defensively the Jets were terrible. They couldn't get off the field on third down, and when the team needed them to get a stop, they never did, as Ben Jarvis Green-Ellis ate up the Jets run defense for 136 yards.

Even Tom Brady found wide open holes in the Jets secondary, completing huge passes to Wes Welker, Deion Branch and Aaron Hernandez. Welker had a catch of 73 yards on a slant, clearly out-playing famed Revis Island.

Even though the Patriots didn't play great in this game, turning the ball over before halftime, keeping the Jets within three, the Jets defense didn't have an answer. That 73 yard catch by Welker helped set up a two yard scoring strike to Branch to give the Pats a 17-7 lead.

After Gang Green cut the deficit to 17-14, the Patriots rammed the ball on an 11 play 77 yard drive, culminating in a Green-Ellis touchdown to make it 24-14.

It was an uneven, abysmal night for the Jets -- one that has this team in complete free fall as they stand at 2-3 on the season, a full two games behind the Patriots and Bills for first place in the AFC East.

Friday, October 7, 2011

4-0 Bayonne football team, and Yankees playoff collapse on Open Mike

On Open Mike, I welcomed in Bayonne Head football Coach Rick Rodriguez to the program to talk about the turnaround of his Bayonne Bees who are 4-0 on the season, as they prepare for a match against North Bergen tonight.

Rodriguez left the team six years ago, only to return this year. He's the only coach to win a state title for the school's football team, doing it in 2002. He's happy to be home.

I also invite John Silva, host of Hudson Hockey and graduate of the Connecticut School of Broadcasting to the show, and we talk about the Yankees collapse against the Tigers and the Jets vs. Patriots show down.

LISTEN!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Yankees choke in clutch, lose series to Tigers

TIGERS 3
YANKEES 2

Yankees Lose! Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Yankees Lose!

Yes, Yankee fans, the season is now over, after the Bronx Bombers chocked up on their baseball bats in a 3-2 defeat to the Detroit Tigers, as Detroit moves on the American League Championship Series, and the Yankees head home for the holidays.

The Yankees completely choked in this, a crucial game five with a trip to the ALCS on the line, as they left the bases loaded twice, and even the Mr. Postseason Derek Jeter came up snake eyes in the eighth inning.

Many people felt that this game was so much in favor of the Yankees that it was only a matter of time before they play the Texas Rangers in the ALCS. That's why they play the games.

The Tigers jumped all over Ivan Nova in the first inning shocking the Yankee crowd with back-to-back homers by Don Kelly and Delmon Young. Young had an incredible series with three homers.

After that it was a battle between the Tigers pitchers and the Yankees offense. Doug Fister was money; five solid innings, giving up only a Robinson Cano solo homerun, and four strikeouts. He had the Yankee hitter baffled all night as they chased his fastball and slider in and out of the strike zone.

In the fourth inning, the Bombers had a great shot to get back into the game. With the bases loaded and one out, Russell Martin popped up to to shallow right for the second out, and for some reason, Brett Gardner put the ball into the air, only to fly out to kill the Yankee threat.

Joe Girardi did everything he could to keep the Yankees in this game. He removed Nova after two innings for Phil Hughes, then removed him for Boone Logan, before bringing in CC Sabathia for two innings. Desperate times called for desperate measures.

Meanwhile, Alex Rodriguez, who supposedly exercised his post-season daemons in 2009, saw the goblins return as he completely blew it in this series. In the seventh inning after three straight hits by Jeter, Curtis Granderson and Cano, Rodriguez promptly struck out swinging for the second out. Rodriguez really struggled in this series hitting .111. Mark Teixeria who also stunk it up in this series hitting .167, walked to drive in Jeter, before Nick Swisher was caught looking for strike three.

Finally in the eighth with Gardner on base, Derek Jeter cracked a pitch to the warning track in right. It was a typical Jeter blast, one that usually cleared the fences, but this time the ball ended up in the glove of Magglio Ordonez to end the inning and kill any hopes that Mr. Postseason would win the game for the Bronx Bombers.

In the ninth, Jose Velverde took care of business, getting Granderson and Cano to pop out, before striking out Rodriguez to end the Yankees season. Look for the A-Rod sucks phone calls to heat up talk radio in the coming days.

The Yankees will push the panic button this off-season, and will likely shop for one or two big time pitchers and throw ridiculous money around. They may even make a play for Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder, for no reason in particular, other than to throw away more money. That's what the Yankees do best you know --- buy a World Series; certainly worked in 2011 didn't it?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Yankees stay alive thanks to A.J. Burnett gem

YANKEES 10
TIGERS 1

Just when you thought the Yankees were done, they pull you right back in.

The Yankees staved off elimination from the 2011 postseason last night, thanks in large part to a solid performance from the unlikeliest of sources: A.J. Burnett.

Coming into the game, many feared that Burnett would find a way to royally screw up the Yankees chances with a typical A.J. meltdown, but instead, the erratic right hander delivered the performance of his Yankee career.

In late August, Burnett was in a similar spot, he needed to win a game against the Red Sox to help right a struggling Yankee's team. Nobody believed he could do it, and, like last night, he surprised with six solid innings when New York won that ball game and rolled to a division title.

Perhaps Tuesday night was the beginning of another Yankee run; it sure felt like it. In the bottom of the first, Burnett got into some serious trouble, walking the bases loaded with two out. It appeared that the doomed inning everyone feared was about to happen. Burnett tried to cruise a fastball to Don Kelly, but the lanky left handed batter cracked it to deep center field.

The ball's trajectory was speeding for the sweet spot underneath the padding of the center field wall, until former Tiger Curtis Granderson lept into the air, caught the ball, and fell to the ground, to saving Burnett's skin.

With Burnett bailed out, the Yankee offense pounded Tigers righty and New Jersey product, Rick Porcello. In the third inning with two men on, Mister Postseason, Derek Jeter cracked a two run double to left center to give the Yankees a stunning 2-0 lead.

The quick strike by Jeter quieted down the Tiger faithful and set the tone for the night.

In the fifth, the Yankee bats tacked on Granderson's double to right, scoringd Brett Gardner to make it 3-1; then, Alex Rodriguez, who has struggled in this series, skied to center field, Jeter tagged from third and scored to give New York a 4-1 lead.

The Yankees later added six runs in the eighth inning thanks in part to shoddy pitching by the Tigers. A balk on Al Alburquerque allowed A-Rod to score from third with the bases loaded, and a wild pitch by Dan Schlereth allowed Jesus Montero to score later in the inning.

Burnett settled down nicely after that first inning. He pitched five and two-thirds innings, scattering four hits and walking four, while striking out three. His fastball was nasty at times, causing many Tiger hitters to swing and miss. It was the start the Yankees desperately needed from him.

With the series tied at two apiece, the Yankees will host the Tigers Thursday night at 8 pm on TBS. Ivan Nova, who was extraordinary in relief in Game One will make the start against Doug Fister. In a post season where the Yankees feared what they would receive from their starting rotation after CC Sabathia, they cannot complain. Nova, Burnett and Freddy Garcia have pitched well in this series, big reasons why New York is still in it.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Giant & Cruz luck out in victory over Cardinals

GIANTS 31
CARDINALS 27


It seems that whenever the Giants travel to University of Phoenix Stadium they get a ridiculously crazy play that helps them win a game. A few years ago it was the helmet catch in the Super Bowl against the Patriots.

On Sunday the Giants had another zany play in this building when Victor Cruz caught a pass on a slant from Eli Manning, and, while advancing up field, he decided to drop to the ground in front of the Cardinals defenders. Arizona didn't tackle Cruz, and the wide out decided to let go of the football; the Cardinals insisted he had fumbled the ball, and the call should be challenged and given to Arizona; however, the NFL rulebook says that if a receiver gives himself up and falls to the ground, then he is by rule down on the play. Therefore no fumble, and the Giants had life.

This came at a crucial moment in the game with the Giants down 27-24. On the next play Manning hit Hakeem Nicks from 29 yards out for the go-ahead touchdown.

The Cruz play has drawn quite an uproar around the NFL, but it was pretty clear that Cruz gave himself up and fell to the ground; he did it by the book.

That being said, the play has taken away from an incredible Giants comeback. New York was down 20-10 heading into the fourth quarter and appeared like dead team walking, until Manning ignited a 21 point fourth quarter.

Brandon Jacobs 1 yard score cut the deficit to 20-17, but Arizona answered with a Beanie Wells touchdown to extend the lead back to ten. Manning then hit Jake Ballard from two yards out to cut the Cardinals lead to 27-24. Then the craziness happened.

Manning threw for 321 yards and two scores. He was unbelievable in the second half, and Big Blue won its second consecutive road game against a formidable opponent to improve to 3-1 on the season.

Sanchez & Jets crash and burn in Baltimore

As seen in Bleacher Report.com.

RAVENS 34
JETS 17

Well, the good news for the New York Jets this morning is that they are not the Philadelphia Eagles.


That's where all the superlatives end when it comes to Gang Green right now because Rex Ryan's brash bullies of Super Bowl talk have been shot down and shut up so far this season after four games full of inconsistent play from the defense, as well as purely abysmal play from the entire offensive unit.


A quarter of the way through the season the Jets stand at 2-2, and if it were not for Joe McKnight's blocked punt in Week One against Dallas, one could make the argument that the Jets would be 1-3 right now. They have lost the first two games of their critical three-game road trip—both in excruciating fashion—and look progressively worse with each snap.


The Jets have been exposed.


No way is this a Super Bowl team. Heck, this might not even be a playoff team, let alone a .500 team, right now.


Their offensive line depth is atrocious. Without Nick Mangold, there is no glue to keep that unit together, the lack was on display against the Ravens as Mark Sanchez couldn't get on the same page with center Chris Baxter. Even though Mangold will likely return next Sunday against New England, there are still visible problems with this offensive line. Vladimir Duccase is a joke, and Wayne Hunter has been horrible at right tackle.


Keep in mind this is a Jets team that was convinced Damien Woody was finished and that Hunter could step in and replace him. The Jets not only miss Woody on the offensive line, they miss his veteran presence in the locker room.


Woody was a three-time Super Bowl Champion with the New England Patriots, a guy who was well respected in that Jets locker room, a true leader; he's no longer there.


The running game has been the Jets' biggest problem all season. A team that dedicates itself to the notion of "ground and pound" has seen the Jets get grounded and pounded. Will we ever see the real Shonn Greene? Better yet, is this the real Shonn Greene?


Greene didn't step up his game at all last season, paving the way to LaDainian Tomlinson becoming the team's leading rusher. Greene had a decent second half and postseason last year, but he didn't replicate the burst of speed he had in the 2009 playoffs.


As for Greene, he has been a complete bust this season. He has only 157 yards rushing this year with one touchdown. He has even watched his yards-per-carry average drop over the last two seasons from 5.3 in 2009 to 4.1 in 2010 and now 3.1 in 2011. The Jets know they have to get him the football more often, but when he touches it, it's like like watching a man run through cement. The burst and power is not there right now.


I offer Greene the excuse that the offensive line is not doing a good job up front. Plenty of blocking assignments have been missed, and, with a lot of inexperience on the right side of the line, opposing teams are getting great pressure up front. That said, Greene was supposed to be "the guy," but, up to now, he has not delivered. If his struggles continue the rest of the season, you can rest assured that the Jets will use their first draft pick in 2012 on a running back.


Then there are the two biggest culprits of this offense: Mark Sanchez and Brian Schottenheimer. TO READ THE REST CLICK THE LINK!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Tigers rebound behind Scherzer's dominance

TIGERS 5
YANKEES 3

Now the Yankees are faced with a scenario they didn't want to face when Friday's Game One was suspended and moved to Saturday because of rain.

The Yankees will head to Detroit for two games. The first game they will have to face Detroit's ace, Justin Verlander in crucial Game Three; then the Bronx Bombers will be stuck with starting inconsistent starter, A.J. Burnett in Game Four.

The Yankees had no answer for Max Scherzer, who dominated the Yankees for the third time this season. Scherzer held the Yankees to two hits in six innings, while striking out five in six sharp innings.

Detroit got an early jump on this one thanks to a two run blast by Miguel Cabrera in the first inning to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead.

Freddy Garcia, who got the start, had an uneven performance. Even though he didn't walk anyone, he did give up four runs in five and a third innings, proving why he was such a gamble to pitch in this game to begin with.

The Tigers put this game out of reach in the sixth when Cabrera singled up the middle to drive in Austin Jackson to make it 3-0 before Victor Martinez also singled to bring in Don Kelly.

The game got a little dramatic in the ninth as Jose Velverde nearly blew it for the Tigers. He gave up a solo shot to Nick Swisher to cut the Detroit lead to 5-2. Then, he gave a triple to Jorge Posada, and a sac fly by Andruw Jones, driving in Posada, to make it 5-3. With two on and two out, Velverde was able to force Robinson Cano into a grond out to end the day just as the rains started to pour at the Stadium.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Yankees strike first in ALDS after 24 hour rain delay

YANKEES 9
TIGERS 3


Friday night's rain out did not deter the Yankees from victory. Sure the rain screwed up the Yankee's rotation, forcing CC Sabathia to pitch once in this series in Game Three; the Bronx Bombers were in good hands for the resumption of Game One when Ivan Nova took the hill.

Nova who won 16 games this season, matched up against his originally scheduled Game Two counterpart, Doug Fister, a young flame thrower with the Tigers who combined with Justin Verlander to go 14-0 with a 1.66 ERA since August 16.

With Verlander out of Game One because of the rain, it was up to Fister to hold the 1-1 tie, but he just couldn't handle the bright lights of the Bronx. Nova handled it like a veteran.

The two young starters held that 1-1 tie through four innings, making it clear that they could hold their own even with aces like Sabathia and Verlander out of the game. But, then in the bottom of the fifth, the Yankees finally got to Fister.

With two out, Curtis Granderson singled up the middle to get things moving for the Yankees. Next, Robinson Cano doubled to center, driving home a charging Granderson who scored from all the way from first, to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead.

In the sixth, after a Mark Tiexiera double and Jorge Posada walk, Brett Gardner slapped a single to the right center gap to drive in both Tiexiera and Posada to give the Bombers a 4-1 lead. The, Derek Jeter singled and Granderson walked; it was that Cano guy again. Cano blasted a grand slam homer into the second deck in right field, giving New York an 8-1 lead. It was the Yankees 11th grand slam of the season.

Cano would tally six RBI on the night with two doubles and the homer.

As for Nova, he was excellent. Heading into the ninth inning, he only gave up two hits and recorded five strikeouts. He grew tired in the ninth and was relieved by Luis Ayala, who couldn't shut the door on the Tigers, giving up two runs. Mariano Rivera came in with two out in the ninth and shut the door on Detroit, striking out former Yankee Wilson Betemet on three pitches.

On Sunday, the Yankees will trust Freddy Garcia, a guy who won 12 games but does not have great command, but a guy who doesn't fool hitters with any of his pitches. He will square off against Matt Scherzer who went 2-0 against the Yankees during the regular season.

Game Two will be huge with both Sabathia and Verlander rescheduled to pitch Game Three, and A.J. Burnett and Rick Porcello scheduled to pitch Game Four; the winner of Sunday's match-up will have a huge edge the rest of the series. Obviously, if New York wins and takes a 2-0 lead to Detroit, they will have their ace on the mound to end it. And even if the Yankees lose two games in Detroit, they would return home 2-2 with Nova and Fister scheduled for a game five.

If Detroit should win on Sunday, the Yankees face the prospect of possibly not returning home for a Game Five. Verlander, in addition to having a Cy Young season, was great at home. Also, the idea of Burnett pitching a Game Four with the Yankees possibly down two-games-to-one is something Joe Girardi doesn't want to think about.

Good win by the Yankees in Game One, but Game Two is mega important.