Olympics Table Tennis

<p><em>It’s February, which is always a good time to visit Las Vegas, especially if you live on the East Coast or in the Midwest. In honor of the home of the NHL’s Golden Knights, one of the great sports stories of the past 365 days, here are some 2018 sports media predictions as ranked by the percentage of them coming true. </em></p><p><strong>100 percent:</strong> The months of February and March often feature viewership drops for those in the sports bloviating business. The NFL season has ended, the NBA has a long way to go until its postseason, and the Olympics rarely move the needle on FS1 or ESPN. Thus, count on the show-runners and producers who enable this slop to go heavy on anti-LeBron and anti-Tom Brady, rhetoric, along with pushing oppositional talk as a philosophy to get attention.</p><p><strong>90 percent:</strong> The NBA is going to finish significantly up in viewership for the 2017-18 regular season. Per Sports Media Watch: NBA games through Feb. 8 had averaged 2.0 million viewers across ESPN, ABC and TNT, a 12 percent increase over last year. Given the roster moves by the Cavaliers, which makes Cleveland much more interesting as a television play the next two months, plus the tightness of the Western Conference race (the fifth seed and the 10th seed are separated by less than four games), the late regular-season national viewership should be strong. The Warriors have 13 nationally televised games left including NBA TV broadcasts.</p><p><strong>80 percent:</strong> <a href="http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/02/02/anthem-kneelers-among-nfls-highest-paid-players-study.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Fox News commentators" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Fox News commentators</a> will continue <a href="https://twitter.com/FoxNews/status/956200679558623233" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:to attack the NFL" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">to attack the NFL</a> even with Fox Sports last month signing a <a href="https://www.si.com/tech-media/2018/01/31/thursday-night-football-fox-sports-deal-announcers-schedule-possibilities" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:five-year deal" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">five-year deal</a> with the league for the rights to broadcast Thursday night games, starting with the 2018-2019 season.</p><p><strong>70 percent:</strong> ESPN SportsCenter host Michael Smith will ask off the 6:00 p.m. ET SportsCenter for another role at ESPN. It’s clear given his recent interview with author James Miller for his <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/origins-with-james-andrew-miller/id1266445999?mt=2" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:“Origins” podcast on SportsCenter" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">“Origins” podcast on SportsCenter</a> that Smith is ticked with how management changed course in less than a year on what it told Smith and former co-anchor Jemele Hill <a href="https://espnmediazone.com/us/press-releases/2017/01/new-sc6-michael-jemele-launching-feb-6-6-p-m-et/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:when it created the show" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">when it created the show</a>—be yourself and we will support you. I’ve been writing for months—<a href="https://www.si.com/tech-media/2017/10/15/jemele-hill-espn-sportscenter-future" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:here’s a piece from last October" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">here’s a piece from last October</a>—about the effort by ESPN management to change the show and bring in ESPN talent as guests with opinions counter to the hosts. This is the major reason why Hill ultimately left.</p><p><strong>60 percent:</strong> The WWE re-ups its television rights deal with NBCUniversal, spurring other bidders.</p><p><strong>50 percent:</strong> The upcoming Mike Greenberg-fronted morning show on ESPN, “Get Up,” which debuts on April 2, will average between 400,000-450,000 viewers for its first month, then drop come May and June. That drop will make it very challenging for ESPN heading forward given the outlay it has made on salary.</p><p><strong>40 percent:</strong> Peyton Manning opts to give sports broadcasting a try and signs a deal to call Fox’s Thursday Night Football package.</p><p><strong>30 percent: </strong>Traditional sports outlets will start hiring reporters to cover the sports gaming/gambling fulltime ahead of what looks like legal sports gambling nationwide in the next couple of years.</p><p><strong>20 percent:</strong> Roger Federer will win SI’s Sportsperson of the Year honor, an award he should have won 10 years ago.</p><p><strong>10 percent:</strong> ESPN gambles that Browns offensive lineman Joe Thomas can succeed as a first-year television analyst and hires him for Monday Night Football to work with Sean McDonough and Matt Hasselbeck.</p><p><strong>0 percent:</strong> Sports journalists will stick only to sports on social media, opting to agree with those who contend there is no nexus between sports and politics, sports and gender, sports and race, and sports and economics.</p><h3>THE NOISE REPORT</h3><p><strong>1.</strong> The Search For Jackie Wallace</p><p>Episode 162 of the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast features two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Ted Jackson. In this podcast, Jackson discusses his story, The Search For Jackie Wallace, in which Jackson chronicles his four-decade relationship with Wallace, a former NFL player and two-time Super Bowl participant who has struggled with addiction and homelessness for years; how Jackson first met Wallace in 1990 when Jackson took a picture of a Wallace at a camp setup under the I-10 freeway; how a journalist straddles the line between telling a story and exploitation of a subject; the long and winding story of Wallace; what his interactions over the years were like with Wallace; the national response to the story, which now has more than 7 million page views; an update on Wallace, who has been missing since last July; what Jackson hopes readers take away from the story; and much more. To listen to the podcast in full, check it out on <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/si-media-podcast-with-richard-deitsch/id997819235?mt=2" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Apple Podcasts" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Apple Podcasts</a> and <a href="https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/cadence13/si-media-podcast-with-richard-deitsch" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Stitcher." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Stitcher.</a></p><p><strong>1a</strong>. NBC’s Opening Ceremony coverage featured two of its commentators angering both <a href="https://twitter.com/JosDuijvestein/status/96236856323026944" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:the Dutch" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">the Dutch</a> and <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/arts-and-entertainment/wp/2018/02/11/nbc-apologizes-to-koreans-for-olympics-coverage-that-praised-japans-brutal-occupation/?utm_term=.94b690421781" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:South Koreans" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">South Koreans</a>. On a more positive note, NBC said the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang Games drew a total audience of 28.3 million viewers. (For Winter Games comparison, the opening ceremony in Sochi drew 31.7 million and Vancouver&#39;s drew 32.7 milion. The last Opening Ceremony (Rio drew 26.5 million.) In an era of cord-cutting and the Olympics trying to find young viewers, NBC drawing <a href="https://twitter.com/crupicrupicrupi/status/962451120269426688" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:28 million-plus for an Olympic telecast is a quality number" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">28 million-plus for an Olympic telecast is a quality number</a>. PyeongChang will likely be down overall from Sochi but if the percentage down is low, it won’t be terrible for NBC. We’ll see in a couple of weeks. On Saturday night NBC/NBCSN/NBC Sports Digital averaged 24.2 million viewers, down just 4% from the 25.1 million who tuned in for the first Saturday night in Sochi.</p><p><strong>1b.</strong> The top-rated markets for Saturday live primetime Winter Olympics coverage on NBC/NBCSN:</p><p>1. Salt Lake City</p><p>2. Denver</p><p>3. Seattle</p><p>4. San Diego</p><p>5. Kansas City</p><p>6. Sacramento</p><p>7. Portland</p><p>8. Milwaukee</p><p>9. Tulsa</p><p>10. Los Angeles</p><p>The Olympics traditionally rates higher in cities west of the Mississippi.</p><p><strong>2.</strong> This is a great piece by Jon Lewis of Sports Media Watch regarding the NFL’s ratings decline. Lewis cites that in overall households (8.6), adults 18-34 (3.7), adults 18-49 (4.6) and adults 25-54 (5.5), the 2017 NFL regular season was the lowest rated since at least 2000. In viewership, the 2017 season was the least-watched NFL season since 2008 (14.6M). But Lewis’s research showed that the NFL had declined for the sixth straight year in adults 18-34 and the seventh straight year in adults 18-49. That’s where its underlying problems are for television. <a href="http://www.sportsmediawatch.com/2018/02/nfl-ratings-decline-2017-analysis/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Check the piece out" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Check the piece out</a>. It’s excellent.</p><p><strong>2a.</strong> NBC said measuring out-of-home viewership for its Super Bowl LII telecast increased viewership by more than 12 million viewers. The Out of Home viewing metric (from Nielsen) is new and something sports network have wanted for a long time given the number of people who watch sports at bars, hotels and restaurants. With the out-of-home viewership, NBC said Super Bowl LII registered a Total Audience Delivery of 118.2 million viewers, across all NBC platforms including streaming.</p><p><strong>3</strong>. Former Yankee manager Joe Girardi was hired last week by the MLB Network as an analyst. The network says he&#39;ll appear across the network. On a conference call, MLB Network president Rob McGlarry reiterated multiple times the attractiveness of hiring someone immediately off the field. I asked him about the real possibility of Girardi leaving the network in a short amount of time. How does McGarry weigh the attractiveness of a broadcasting candidate versus the possibility of that candidate leaving?</p><p>“When you hire someone like Joe with the success he has had in the past, there is a very real possibility he might go back on the field,” McGarry said. “We are fine with that. It is a real part of the business.&quot;</p><p>Girardi, to his credit, said on the call that he wants back in as a manager, so this will clearly be a short-term rental. Girardi said he had conversations with other sports networks but said MLB Network” is baseball-only and that is a good fit for me.”</p><p><strong>4. </strong><em>Non sports pieces of note:</em></p><p>•Remarkable work from Reuters: <a href="https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/myanmar-rakhine-events/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:How Myanmar forces burned, looted and killed in a remote village" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">How Myanmar forces burned, looted and killed in a remote village</a></p><p>•From David Grann of the New Yorker: <a href="https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/02/12/the-white-darkness" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:A solitary journey across Antarctica" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">A solitary journey across Antarctica</a></p><p>•Via Taffy Brodesser-Akner: <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/08/arts/jimmy-buffett-does-not-live-the-jimmy-buffett-lifestyle.html?smid=tw-nytimesarts&#38;smtyp=cur" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Jimmy Buffett Does Not Live the Jimmy Buffett Lifestyle" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Jimmy Buffett Does Not Live the Jimmy Buffett Lifestyle</a></p><p>•From Eleanor Cummins of Popular Science: <a href="https://www.popsci.com/babe-ruth-cancer-treatment" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:No one told Babe Ruth he had cancer" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">No one told Babe Ruth he had cancer</a>, but his death changed the way we fight it</p><p>•Via Suki Kim: “Here&#39;s my take on how women are being used for propaganda in the Olympics, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/08/opinion/north-korea-lipstick-diplomacy.html?smid=tw-share" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:by both North Korea and South Korea" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">by both North Korea and South Korea</a>”</p><p>•Via New York Times Magazine: When You’re a ‘Digital Nomad,’ <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/08/magazine/when-youre-a-digital-nomad-the-world-is-your-office.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fmagazine&#38;action=click&#38;contentCollection=magazine&#38;region=rank&#38;module=package&#38;version=highlights&#38;contentPlacement=2&#38;pgtype=sectionfront" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:the World Is Your Office:" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">the World Is Your Office: </a></p><p>•If interested in Brazil, read this from Stephanie Nolen and Aaron Vincent Elkaim <a href="https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/amazon-rainforest-deforestation-crisis/article37722932/?src=longreads" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:of the Globe and Mail" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">of the Globe and Mail</a> (Canada).</p><p>•Michael Lewis traveled to Washington in search of Donald Trump and wound up watching the <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-02-09/has-anyone-seen-the-president?utm_medium=email&#38;utm_source=newsletter&#38;utm_term=180209&#38;utm_campaign=sharetheview" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:State of the Union with Steve Bannon" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">State of the Union with Steve Bannon</a>.</p><p><em>Sports pieces of note:</em></p><p>•<a href="https://www.sportsnet.ca/olympics/despite-setbacks-olympic-games-formula-never-failed/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Sportsnet’s" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Sportsnet’s</a><a href="https://www.sportsnet.ca/olympics/despite-setbacks-olympic-games-formula-never-failed/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Stephen Brunt" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"> Stephen Brunt</a> on the Olympic mystique amid drugs and politics.</p><p>•Amazing work from <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/02/06/super-bowl-2018-eagles-patriots-nick-foles-doug-pederson-howie-roseman" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:SI’s Greg Bishop and Ben Baskin" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">SI’s Greg Bishop and Ben Baskin</a> from the Super Bowl</p><p>•ESPN’s Sam Borden, <a href="http://www.espn.com/olympics/story/_/id/22365980/pingpong-diplomacy-how-two-koreans-united-table-tennis-met-sin" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:on ping-pong diplomacy" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">on ping-pong diplomacy</a></p><p>•Deadspin’s David Bixenspan examined <a href="https://deadspin.com/witness-vince-mcmahon-stared-down-groping-accuser-for-1822642014?utm_campaign=socialflow_deadspin_twitter&#38;utm_source=deadspin_twitter&#38;utm_medium=socialflow" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:2006 groping allegations against Vince McMahon" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">2006 groping allegations against Vince McMahon</a></p><p>•From SI’s Tim Layden: Twenty years ago Hermann Maier flew off the mountain in the Olympic downhill. A look back at the fall, and the famous photo, <a href="https://www.si.com/olympics/2018/02/09/hermann-maier-nagano-olympic-crash-photo" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:including a chat with there erstwhile Herminator." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">including a chat with there erstwhile Herminator.</a></p><p>•Via ESPN’s Elizabeth Merrill: <a href="http://www.espn.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/22349868/the-family-tennessee-titans-legend-steve-mcnair-left-behind" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:The Family Steve McNair left behind" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">The Family Steve McNair left behind</a></p><p>•From Esquire’s Nick Pachelli: Eight months after the shocking death of his mentor—<a href="http://www.esquire.com/sports/a15916079/justin-olsen-bobsled/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:and America’s greatest bobsled driver" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">and America’s greatest bobsled driver</a>—Justin Olson has his sights set on the podium</p><p>5. ESPN spokesperson Ben Cafardo said that the ESPN NBA show “The Jump” had its most-watched episode ever last week with a three-hour NBA Trade Deadline edition. The show averaged 603,000 viewers.</p><p>5a.<a href="https://twitter.com/SportsFrontPage/status/961992870516404224" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Front pages" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"> Front pages</a> in Philadelphia after the Eagles parade.</p>
Media Circus: 10 Predictions Across the 2018 Sports Media Landscape

It’s February, which is always a good time to visit Las Vegas, especially if you live on the East Coast or in the Midwest. In honor of the home of the NHL’s Golden Knights, one of the great sports stories of the past 365 days, here are some 2018 sports media predictions as ranked by the percentage of them coming true.

100 percent: The months of February and March often feature viewership drops for those in the sports bloviating business. The NFL season has ended, the NBA has a long way to go until its postseason, and the Olympics rarely move the needle on FS1 or ESPN. Thus, count on the show-runners and producers who enable this slop to go heavy on anti-LeBron and anti-Tom Brady, rhetoric, along with pushing oppositional talk as a philosophy to get attention.

90 percent: The NBA is going to finish significantly up in viewership for the 2017-18 regular season. Per Sports Media Watch: NBA games through Feb. 8 had averaged 2.0 million viewers across ESPN, ABC and TNT, a 12 percent increase over last year. Given the roster moves by the Cavaliers, which makes Cleveland much more interesting as a television play the next two months, plus the tightness of the Western Conference race (the fifth seed and the 10th seed are separated by less than four games), the late regular-season national viewership should be strong. The Warriors have 13 nationally televised games left including NBA TV broadcasts.

80 percent: Fox News commentators will continue to attack the NFL even with Fox Sports last month signing a five-year deal with the league for the rights to broadcast Thursday night games, starting with the 2018-2019 season.

70 percent: ESPN SportsCenter host Michael Smith will ask off the 6:00 p.m. ET SportsCenter for another role at ESPN. It’s clear given his recent interview with author James Miller for his “Origins” podcast on SportsCenter that Smith is ticked with how management changed course in less than a year on what it told Smith and former co-anchor Jemele Hill when it created the show—be yourself and we will support you. I’ve been writing for months—here’s a piece from last October—about the effort by ESPN management to change the show and bring in ESPN talent as guests with opinions counter to the hosts. This is the major reason why Hill ultimately left.

60 percent: The WWE re-ups its television rights deal with NBCUniversal, spurring other bidders.

50 percent: The upcoming Mike Greenberg-fronted morning show on ESPN, “Get Up,” which debuts on April 2, will average between 400,000-450,000 viewers for its first month, then drop come May and June. That drop will make it very challenging for ESPN heading forward given the outlay it has made on salary.

40 percent: Peyton Manning opts to give sports broadcasting a try and signs a deal to call Fox’s Thursday Night Football package.

30 percent: Traditional sports outlets will start hiring reporters to cover the sports gaming/gambling fulltime ahead of what looks like legal sports gambling nationwide in the next couple of years.

20 percent: Roger Federer will win SI’s Sportsperson of the Year honor, an award he should have won 10 years ago.

10 percent: ESPN gambles that Browns offensive lineman Joe Thomas can succeed as a first-year television analyst and hires him for Monday Night Football to work with Sean McDonough and Matt Hasselbeck.

0 percent: Sports journalists will stick only to sports on social media, opting to agree with those who contend there is no nexus between sports and politics, sports and gender, sports and race, and sports and economics.

THE NOISE REPORT

1. The Search For Jackie Wallace

Episode 162 of the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast features two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Ted Jackson. In this podcast, Jackson discusses his story, The Search For Jackie Wallace, in which Jackson chronicles his four-decade relationship with Wallace, a former NFL player and two-time Super Bowl participant who has struggled with addiction and homelessness for years; how Jackson first met Wallace in 1990 when Jackson took a picture of a Wallace at a camp setup under the I-10 freeway; how a journalist straddles the line between telling a story and exploitation of a subject; the long and winding story of Wallace; what his interactions over the years were like with Wallace; the national response to the story, which now has more than 7 million page views; an update on Wallace, who has been missing since last July; what Jackson hopes readers take away from the story; and much more. To listen to the podcast in full, check it out on Apple Podcasts and Stitcher.

1a. NBC’s Opening Ceremony coverage featured two of its commentators angering both the Dutch and South Koreans. On a more positive note, NBC said the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang Games drew a total audience of 28.3 million viewers. (For Winter Games comparison, the opening ceremony in Sochi drew 31.7 million and Vancouver's drew 32.7 milion. The last Opening Ceremony (Rio drew 26.5 million.) In an era of cord-cutting and the Olympics trying to find young viewers, NBC drawing 28 million-plus for an Olympic telecast is a quality number. PyeongChang will likely be down overall from Sochi but if the percentage down is low, it won’t be terrible for NBC. We’ll see in a couple of weeks. On Saturday night NBC/NBCSN/NBC Sports Digital averaged 24.2 million viewers, down just 4% from the 25.1 million who tuned in for the first Saturday night in Sochi.

1b. The top-rated markets for Saturday live primetime Winter Olympics coverage on NBC/NBCSN:

1. Salt Lake City

2. Denver

3. Seattle

4. San Diego

5. Kansas City

6. Sacramento

7. Portland

8. Milwaukee

9. Tulsa

10. Los Angeles

The Olympics traditionally rates higher in cities west of the Mississippi.

2. This is a great piece by Jon Lewis of Sports Media Watch regarding the NFL’s ratings decline. Lewis cites that in overall households (8.6), adults 18-34 (3.7), adults 18-49 (4.6) and adults 25-54 (5.5), the 2017 NFL regular season was the lowest rated since at least 2000. In viewership, the 2017 season was the least-watched NFL season since 2008 (14.6M). But Lewis’s research showed that the NFL had declined for the sixth straight year in adults 18-34 and the seventh straight year in adults 18-49. That’s where its underlying problems are for television. Check the piece out. It’s excellent.

2a. NBC said measuring out-of-home viewership for its Super Bowl LII telecast increased viewership by more than 12 million viewers. The Out of Home viewing metric (from Nielsen) is new and something sports network have wanted for a long time given the number of people who watch sports at bars, hotels and restaurants. With the out-of-home viewership, NBC said Super Bowl LII registered a Total Audience Delivery of 118.2 million viewers, across all NBC platforms including streaming.

3. Former Yankee manager Joe Girardi was hired last week by the MLB Network as an analyst. The network says he'll appear across the network. On a conference call, MLB Network president Rob McGlarry reiterated multiple times the attractiveness of hiring someone immediately off the field. I asked him about the real possibility of Girardi leaving the network in a short amount of time. How does McGarry weigh the attractiveness of a broadcasting candidate versus the possibility of that candidate leaving?

“When you hire someone like Joe with the success he has had in the past, there is a very real possibility he might go back on the field,” McGarry said. “We are fine with that. It is a real part of the business."

Girardi, to his credit, said on the call that he wants back in as a manager, so this will clearly be a short-term rental. Girardi said he had conversations with other sports networks but said MLB Network” is baseball-only and that is a good fit for me.”

4. Non sports pieces of note:

•Remarkable work from Reuters: How Myanmar forces burned, looted and killed in a remote village

•From David Grann of the New Yorker: A solitary journey across Antarctica

•Via Taffy Brodesser-Akner: Jimmy Buffett Does Not Live the Jimmy Buffett Lifestyle

•From Eleanor Cummins of Popular Science: No one told Babe Ruth he had cancer, but his death changed the way we fight it

•Via Suki Kim: “Here's my take on how women are being used for propaganda in the Olympics, by both North Korea and South Korea

•Via New York Times Magazine: When You’re a ‘Digital Nomad,’ the World Is Your Office:

•If interested in Brazil, read this from Stephanie Nolen and Aaron Vincent Elkaim of the Globe and Mail (Canada).

•Michael Lewis traveled to Washington in search of Donald Trump and wound up watching the State of the Union with Steve Bannon.

Sports pieces of note:

Sportsnet’s Stephen Brunt on the Olympic mystique amid drugs and politics.

•Amazing work from SI’s Greg Bishop and Ben Baskin from the Super Bowl

•ESPN’s Sam Borden, on ping-pong diplomacy

•Deadspin’s David Bixenspan examined 2006 groping allegations against Vince McMahon

•From SI’s Tim Layden: Twenty years ago Hermann Maier flew off the mountain in the Olympic downhill. A look back at the fall, and the famous photo, including a chat with there erstwhile Herminator.

•Via ESPN’s Elizabeth Merrill: The Family Steve McNair left behind

•From Esquire’s Nick Pachelli: Eight months after the shocking death of his mentor—and America’s greatest bobsled driver—Justin Olson has his sights set on the podium

5. ESPN spokesperson Ben Cafardo said that the ESPN NBA show “The Jump” had its most-watched episode ever last week with a three-hour NBA Trade Deadline edition. The show averaged 603,000 viewers.

5a. Front pages in Philadelphia after the Eagles parade.

<p>GANGNEUNG, South Korea — You can lobby the IOC, and earn the right to host an Olympics, and spend billions of dollars on infrastructure and arenas and villages, and even make temporary peace with your menacing neighbor to the north, but what you <em>cannot</em> do, no matter how much you want, is ensure this:</p><p>First full day of the Games … short-track speedskating, perhaps South Korea’s favorite Winter Olympic sport … a South Korean wins gold as the crowd loses its individual voices and collective mind.</p><p>Lim Hyojun, however, can take care of that.</p><p>Lim won the first gold medal for the host country, in the men’s 1,500-meter event, in one of those great slices of sports pleasure that every Olympics delivers. It was such a perfect Olympic story that you had to remind yourself how unlikely it was.</p><p>Lim decided he wanted to be an Olympic speedskater when he watched the great Ahn-Hyun Soo compete in the 2006 Turin Olympics. When PyeongChang won hosting rights, in 2011, Lim set his goal to win gold here.</p><p>And with three laps to go, Lim and countryman Hwang Daeheon looked like they might go gold-silver. The cheers were thunderous. But short-track speedskating is one of the most entertaining Olympic sports for the same reason that you should not wager on it: at any moment, a skater can go from medal contention to getting tripped up and looking like a fidget spinner as he slides across the ice into the foam wall.</p><p>This is what happened to Hwang. Lim was South Korea’s last hope.</p><p>He would say through an interpreter later that, “I was not that nervous compared to the first round of the World Cup. It was quite mysterious.” After his first heat, he told his coach that the semifinal would be harder than the final. Maybe he thought that once he made it to the last race, after all these years, he would be able to finish the job.</p><p>He finished it, all right. It was the end of a great night at what are supposed to be the Peace Olympics and actually did feel like it. A contingent of North Korean fans cheered and waved unification flags and danced in an extraordinarily well-orchestrated display. Another crowd was forced to make room when Somebody Important was clearly about to enter the arena, only to cover that Two Important Somebodies had arrived: South Korean President Moon Jae-in and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. It made you feel like the big problems in this crazy world could be solved if we all just piled into a big, loud, happy arena to watch short-track speedskating. I am still jet-lagged.</p><p>Anyway: It was one of those nights that reminds you what the Olympics can still do. The Olympics, more than any other event, make you realize that sports are only meaningful because they are a shared experience. And different cultures share different experiences. The marathon had a different feel in Athens, site of the ancient Olympics, than it will in Tokyo. Table tennis in Beijing, swimming in Sydney … the location really does matter. And some sports that are huge in the other parts of the world don’t even fill arenas at the Olympics.</p><p>Well, the Koreans have fallen hard for short-track speedskating. This was not entirely evident in the minutes leading up to Saturday’s competition; there were a quite a few empty seats, and the general atmosphere felt like a regular-season Division II college basketball game. Then, as the competition started, it became clear: the seats had been empty because Koreans were not interested in sitting around to prove to visitors that they love short-track. They wanted to watch it. When the races started, the joint was rocking.</p><p>Between races, two guys with microphones tried to rev up the crowd by singing my favorite song about short-track speedskating, “Uptown Funk.” Every time a Korean passed somebody, the fans roared, even if it was just a heat.</p><p>(Not <em>everybody</em> got caught up in the atmosphere. Ebullient 18-year-old American Maame Biney said she was too focused on her skating and her alter ego, Anna Digger. Biney also said that during the race, “my legs were like wooooo.” Pardon me while I follow Maame Biney around for the next 14 days.)</p><p>By the end of the night, Lim was a gold-medalist. There was a crazy circle to his journey there: after Lim watched Ahn in Turin, Ahn had a falling-out with South Korean authorities, started competing for Russia and became Viktor Ahn. Ahn is now banned as part of the Russian doping penalties, but in a small way, Lim’s victory was his, too. Ahn had inspired Lim. Ahn had encouraged Lim. Lim said Saturday night, “I’d like to thank Viktor Ahn, too for this win.”</p><p>The medal will be Lim’s, not Ahn’s or Hwang Daeheon’s. But the night belonged to South Korea.</p>
Lim Hyojun’s Speedskating Gold Medal a Reminder of What the Olympics Can Still Do

GANGNEUNG, South Korea — You can lobby the IOC, and earn the right to host an Olympics, and spend billions of dollars on infrastructure and arenas and villages, and even make temporary peace with your menacing neighbor to the north, but what you cannot do, no matter how much you want, is ensure this:

First full day of the Games … short-track speedskating, perhaps South Korea’s favorite Winter Olympic sport … a South Korean wins gold as the crowd loses its individual voices and collective mind.

Lim Hyojun, however, can take care of that.

Lim won the first gold medal for the host country, in the men’s 1,500-meter event, in one of those great slices of sports pleasure that every Olympics delivers. It was such a perfect Olympic story that you had to remind yourself how unlikely it was.

Lim decided he wanted to be an Olympic speedskater when he watched the great Ahn-Hyun Soo compete in the 2006 Turin Olympics. When PyeongChang won hosting rights, in 2011, Lim set his goal to win gold here.

And with three laps to go, Lim and countryman Hwang Daeheon looked like they might go gold-silver. The cheers were thunderous. But short-track speedskating is one of the most entertaining Olympic sports for the same reason that you should not wager on it: at any moment, a skater can go from medal contention to getting tripped up and looking like a fidget spinner as he slides across the ice into the foam wall.

This is what happened to Hwang. Lim was South Korea’s last hope.

He would say through an interpreter later that, “I was not that nervous compared to the first round of the World Cup. It was quite mysterious.” After his first heat, he told his coach that the semifinal would be harder than the final. Maybe he thought that once he made it to the last race, after all these years, he would be able to finish the job.

He finished it, all right. It was the end of a great night at what are supposed to be the Peace Olympics and actually did feel like it. A contingent of North Korean fans cheered and waved unification flags and danced in an extraordinarily well-orchestrated display. Another crowd was forced to make room when Somebody Important was clearly about to enter the arena, only to cover that Two Important Somebodies had arrived: South Korean President Moon Jae-in and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. It made you feel like the big problems in this crazy world could be solved if we all just piled into a big, loud, happy arena to watch short-track speedskating. I am still jet-lagged.

Anyway: It was one of those nights that reminds you what the Olympics can still do. The Olympics, more than any other event, make you realize that sports are only meaningful because they are a shared experience. And different cultures share different experiences. The marathon had a different feel in Athens, site of the ancient Olympics, than it will in Tokyo. Table tennis in Beijing, swimming in Sydney … the location really does matter. And some sports that are huge in the other parts of the world don’t even fill arenas at the Olympics.

Well, the Koreans have fallen hard for short-track speedskating. This was not entirely evident in the minutes leading up to Saturday’s competition; there were a quite a few empty seats, and the general atmosphere felt like a regular-season Division II college basketball game. Then, as the competition started, it became clear: the seats had been empty because Koreans were not interested in sitting around to prove to visitors that they love short-track. They wanted to watch it. When the races started, the joint was rocking.

Between races, two guys with microphones tried to rev up the crowd by singing my favorite song about short-track speedskating, “Uptown Funk.” Every time a Korean passed somebody, the fans roared, even if it was just a heat.

(Not everybody got caught up in the atmosphere. Ebullient 18-year-old American Maame Biney said she was too focused on her skating and her alter ego, Anna Digger. Biney also said that during the race, “my legs were like wooooo.” Pardon me while I follow Maame Biney around for the next 14 days.)

By the end of the night, Lim was a gold-medalist. There was a crazy circle to his journey there: after Lim watched Ahn in Turin, Ahn had a falling-out with South Korean authorities, started competing for Russia and became Viktor Ahn. Ahn is now banned as part of the Russian doping penalties, but in a small way, Lim’s victory was his, too. Ahn had inspired Lim. Ahn had encouraged Lim. Lim said Saturday night, “I’d like to thank Viktor Ahn, too for this win.”

The medal will be Lim’s, not Ahn’s or Hwang Daeheon’s. But the night belonged to South Korea.

Phil Neville has launched an impassioned defence of his appointment as England Women head coach and revealed that the controversial tweet he posted about “battering” his wife was a reference to a table tennis match they had played. Neville was officially presented at St George’s Park on Monday in an emotional press conference, with the 41-year-old detailing the lengthy process which led to him landing a job in charge of the third best team in women’s football. But it was events from nearly seven years ago, in which he appeared to make light of domestic abuse in a post on his personal Twitter account, which dominated much of Neville’s unveiling at the national centre. Apart from joking in 2011 that he had “just battered the wife”, he also later suggested that women would be too “busy making breakfast/getting kids ready” to read his messages, while other contentious posts re-emerged before he deleted his account. But he has insisted the posts had been misinterpreted and that he has huge respect for the women’s game. “When the Football Association announced my appointment last Tuesday, it was probably one of the best moments of my career,” he said. “Obviously subsequently, the last few days after that, it was very disappointing. “But I always look at myself in the mirror. It is nobody else’s fault that those words were used in 2011-12. Phil Neville was unveiled as the new England Women manager at St George&#39;s Park on Monday Credit: Action Images “Domestic violence is a serious topic. In isolation it looks bad. It wasn’t related to domestic violence, it was related, and I’ve no evidence to back it up and that is why I didn’t come out and say it, to a competition between me and my wife on a table tennis table. But the words were terrible so I apologise. “I don’t think those tweets are a reflection of me, my character and my beliefs, the way I was brought up. “I know my father is not with me now, but I know full well that is not the way he would want me to write, behave, act. “I think it has been one of the traits of my life – I have always been honest with myself, first and foremost, so you have got to take the criticism that comes your way when you do things like that.” I’ve got a car parking space out there [St George’s Park]. The car parking space is next to Gareth Southgate’s, so ultimately I’ve got the next best jobPhil Neville Neville has escaped punishment for the tweets but the storm comes at a difficult time for the FA, after his predecessor Mark Sampson was dismissed last September for conduct deemed inappropriate. Baroness Sue Campbell, the head of the women’s game, admitted that contenders pulled out of the running because of concerns about the prospect of scrutiny into their families. Neville, the former England, Manchester United and Everton defender, has taken only two games as caretaker manager at Valencia and one in charge of non-league club Salford City, but insists he has the credentials for the job and coped with a gruelling selection process. “It was a three-week interview process,” he said. “I had to do a seven-hour presentation to the FA board on my vision, on my experiences, on what I was going to do with the team, with grass roots football, with female coaches, and obviously they assessed me on my technical and tactical knowledge which was another three hours. “Then there were psychometric tests, there were background checks. Sue Campbell didn’t just come in a room and said ‘ here you are, you’ve the keys to the castle.’ It was a thorough interview process after she approached me. Neville took charge as caretaker manager at Valencia for just two games Credit: Getty Images “I can’t be more qualified than I am. I’ve got the same qualifications as all the Premier League managers, all the La Liga managers, all the Bundesliga managers. I’ve got the top qualification that you can achieve. “These [England] players are some of the best in the world and I have experienced of some of the best in the world. “When she [Campbell] first broached the subject [of being manager] it took me back to my playing days when I got that call off Terry Venables and he said you’re picked for England. Playing for England is the ultimate. Managing England is the ultimate. “And when I took my B licence, A licence and Pro licence, I wasn’t told that I wasn’t allowed to work in the women’s’ game. It was a licence to work in football and this, for me, is a fantastic opportunity. “I’ve seen some people saying ‘it’s a stepping stone.’ Well, I’ve never used the words ‘stepping stone’. For me, anything other than this job would be a step down.” There was an awkward moment for Neville when he took more than 20 seconds to answer a question on the identity of the leading scorer in the Women’s Super League. But it was largely an impressive, passionate performance from the former defender. “I’ve got a car parking space out there [St George’s Park],” he said. “The car parking space is next to Gareth Southgate’s, so ultimately I’ve got the next best job. “Finishing third at the World Cup won’t be good enough for me, won’t be good enough for Sue [Campbell] and won’t be good enough for the players.” Neville, meanwhile, has revealed he will be pushing United to become involved in the Women’s Super League, insisting they should be “leaders and pioneers”. United are the only Premier League club without a team. United have maintained in the past that they prefer to focus all resources on ensuring that the first team is successful and have frequently rejected calls for the club to start up in the women’s game. But Neville said: “I will be encouraging them. I am sure they are in the process of doing it.”
Repentant England Women head coach Phil Neville claims 'battered the wife' comment was reference to table tennis
Phil Neville has launched an impassioned defence of his appointment as England Women head coach and revealed that the controversial tweet he posted about “battering” his wife was a reference to a table tennis match they had played. Neville was officially presented at St George’s Park on Monday in an emotional press conference, with the 41-year-old detailing the lengthy process which led to him landing a job in charge of the third best team in women’s football. But it was events from nearly seven years ago, in which he appeared to make light of domestic abuse in a post on his personal Twitter account, which dominated much of Neville’s unveiling at the national centre. Apart from joking in 2011 that he had “just battered the wife”, he also later suggested that women would be too “busy making breakfast/getting kids ready” to read his messages, while other contentious posts re-emerged before he deleted his account. But he has insisted the posts had been misinterpreted and that he has huge respect for the women’s game. “When the Football Association announced my appointment last Tuesday, it was probably one of the best moments of my career,” he said. “Obviously subsequently, the last few days after that, it was very disappointing. “But I always look at myself in the mirror. It is nobody else’s fault that those words were used in 2011-12. Phil Neville was unveiled as the new England Women manager at St George's Park on Monday Credit: Action Images “Domestic violence is a serious topic. In isolation it looks bad. It wasn’t related to domestic violence, it was related, and I’ve no evidence to back it up and that is why I didn’t come out and say it, to a competition between me and my wife on a table tennis table. But the words were terrible so I apologise. “I don’t think those tweets are a reflection of me, my character and my beliefs, the way I was brought up. “I know my father is not with me now, but I know full well that is not the way he would want me to write, behave, act. “I think it has been one of the traits of my life – I have always been honest with myself, first and foremost, so you have got to take the criticism that comes your way when you do things like that.” I’ve got a car parking space out there [St George’s Park]. The car parking space is next to Gareth Southgate’s, so ultimately I’ve got the next best jobPhil Neville Neville has escaped punishment for the tweets but the storm comes at a difficult time for the FA, after his predecessor Mark Sampson was dismissed last September for conduct deemed inappropriate. Baroness Sue Campbell, the head of the women’s game, admitted that contenders pulled out of the running because of concerns about the prospect of scrutiny into their families. Neville, the former England, Manchester United and Everton defender, has taken only two games as caretaker manager at Valencia and one in charge of non-league club Salford City, but insists he has the credentials for the job and coped with a gruelling selection process. “It was a three-week interview process,” he said. “I had to do a seven-hour presentation to the FA board on my vision, on my experiences, on what I was going to do with the team, with grass roots football, with female coaches, and obviously they assessed me on my technical and tactical knowledge which was another three hours. “Then there were psychometric tests, there were background checks. Sue Campbell didn’t just come in a room and said ‘ here you are, you’ve the keys to the castle.’ It was a thorough interview process after she approached me. Neville took charge as caretaker manager at Valencia for just two games Credit: Getty Images “I can’t be more qualified than I am. I’ve got the same qualifications as all the Premier League managers, all the La Liga managers, all the Bundesliga managers. I’ve got the top qualification that you can achieve. “These [England] players are some of the best in the world and I have experienced of some of the best in the world. “When she [Campbell] first broached the subject [of being manager] it took me back to my playing days when I got that call off Terry Venables and he said you’re picked for England. Playing for England is the ultimate. Managing England is the ultimate. “And when I took my B licence, A licence and Pro licence, I wasn’t told that I wasn’t allowed to work in the women’s’ game. It was a licence to work in football and this, for me, is a fantastic opportunity. “I’ve seen some people saying ‘it’s a stepping stone.’ Well, I’ve never used the words ‘stepping stone’. For me, anything other than this job would be a step down.” There was an awkward moment for Neville when he took more than 20 seconds to answer a question on the identity of the leading scorer in the Women’s Super League. But it was largely an impressive, passionate performance from the former defender. “I’ve got a car parking space out there [St George’s Park],” he said. “The car parking space is next to Gareth Southgate’s, so ultimately I’ve got the next best job. “Finishing third at the World Cup won’t be good enough for me, won’t be good enough for Sue [Campbell] and won’t be good enough for the players.” Neville, meanwhile, has revealed he will be pushing United to become involved in the Women’s Super League, insisting they should be “leaders and pioneers”. United are the only Premier League club without a team. United have maintained in the past that they prefer to focus all resources on ensuring that the first team is successful and have frequently rejected calls for the club to start up in the women’s game. But Neville said: “I will be encouraging them. I am sure they are in the process of doing it.”
Phil Neville has launched an impassioned defence of his appointment as England Women head coach and revealed that the controversial tweet he posted about “battering” his wife was a reference to a table tennis match they had played. Neville was officially presented at St George’s Park on Monday in an emotional press conference, with the 41-year-old detailing the lengthy process which led to him landing a job in charge of the third best team in women’s football. But it was events from nearly seven years ago, in which he appeared to make light of domestic abuse in a post on his personal Twitter account, which dominated much of Neville’s unveiling at the national centre. Apart from joking in 2011 that he had “just battered the wife”, he also later suggested that women would be too “busy making breakfast/getting kids ready” to read his messages, while other contentious posts re-emerged before he deleted his account. But he has insisted the posts had been misinterpreted and that he has huge respect for the women’s game. “When the Football Association announced my appointment last Tuesday, it was probably one of the best moments of my career,” he said. “Obviously subsequently, the last few days after that, it was very disappointing. “But I always look at myself in the mirror. It is nobody else’s fault that those words were used in 2011-12. Phil Neville was unveiled as the new England Women manager at St George&#39;s Park on Monday Credit: Action Images “Domestic violence is a serious topic. In isolation it looks bad. It wasn’t related to domestic violence, it was related, and I’ve no evidence to back it up and that is why I didn’t come out and say it, to a competition between me and my wife on a table tennis table. But the words were terrible so I apologise. “I don’t think those tweets are a reflection of me, my character and my beliefs, the way I was brought up. “I know my father is not with me now, but I know full well that is not the way he would want me to write, behave, act. “I think it has been one of the traits of my life – I have always been honest with myself, first and foremost, so you have got to take the criticism that comes your way when you do things like that.” I’ve got a car parking space out there [St George’s Park]. The car parking space is next to Gareth Southgate’s, so ultimately I’ve got the next best jobPhil Neville Neville has escaped punishment for the tweets but the storm comes at a difficult time for the FA, after his predecessor Mark Sampson was dismissed last September for conduct deemed inappropriate. Baroness Sue Campbell, the head of the women’s game, admitted that contenders pulled out of the running because of concerns about the prospect of scrutiny into their families. Neville, the former England, Manchester United and Everton defender, has taken only two games as caretaker manager at Valencia and one in charge of non-league club Salford City, but insists he has the credentials for the job and coped with a gruelling selection process. “It was a three-week interview process,” he said. “I had to do a seven-hour presentation to the FA board on my vision, on my experiences, on what I was going to do with the team, with grass roots football, with female coaches, and obviously they assessed me on my technical and tactical knowledge which was another three hours. “Then there were psychometric tests, there were background checks. Sue Campbell didn’t just come in a room and said ‘ here you are, you’ve the keys to the castle.’ It was a thorough interview process after she approached me. Neville took charge as caretaker manager at Valencia for just two games Credit: Getty Images “I can’t be more qualified than I am. I’ve got the same qualifications as all the Premier League managers, all the La Liga managers, all the Bundesliga managers. I’ve got the top qualification that you can achieve. “These [England] players are some of the best in the world and I have experienced of some of the best in the world. “When she [Campbell] first broached the subject [of being manager] it took me back to my playing days when I got that call off Terry Venables and he said you’re picked for England. Playing for England is the ultimate. Managing England is the ultimate. “And when I took my B licence, A licence and Pro licence, I wasn’t told that I wasn’t allowed to work in the women’s’ game. It was a licence to work in football and this, for me, is a fantastic opportunity. “I’ve seen some people saying ‘it’s a stepping stone.’ Well, I’ve never used the words ‘stepping stone’. For me, anything other than this job would be a step down.” There was an awkward moment for Neville when he took more than 20 seconds to answer a question on the identity of the leading scorer in the Women’s Super League. But it was largely an impressive, passionate performance from the former defender. “I’ve got a car parking space out there [St George’s Park],” he said. “The car parking space is next to Gareth Southgate’s, so ultimately I’ve got the next best job. “Finishing third at the World Cup won’t be good enough for me, won’t be good enough for Sue [Campbell] and won’t be good enough for the players.” Neville, meanwhile, has revealed he will be pushing United to become involved in the Women’s Super League, insisting they should be “leaders and pioneers”. United are the only Premier League club without a team. United have maintained in the past that they prefer to focus all resources on ensuring that the first team is successful and have frequently rejected calls for the club to start up in the women’s game. But Neville said: “I will be encouraging them. I am sure they are in the process of doing it.”
Repentant England Women head coach Phil Neville claims 'battered the wife' comment was reference to table tennis
Phil Neville has launched an impassioned defence of his appointment as England Women head coach and revealed that the controversial tweet he posted about “battering” his wife was a reference to a table tennis match they had played. Neville was officially presented at St George’s Park on Monday in an emotional press conference, with the 41-year-old detailing the lengthy process which led to him landing a job in charge of the third best team in women’s football. But it was events from nearly seven years ago, in which he appeared to make light of domestic abuse in a post on his personal Twitter account, which dominated much of Neville’s unveiling at the national centre. Apart from joking in 2011 that he had “just battered the wife”, he also later suggested that women would be too “busy making breakfast/getting kids ready” to read his messages, while other contentious posts re-emerged before he deleted his account. But he has insisted the posts had been misinterpreted and that he has huge respect for the women’s game. “When the Football Association announced my appointment last Tuesday, it was probably one of the best moments of my career,” he said. “Obviously subsequently, the last few days after that, it was very disappointing. “But I always look at myself in the mirror. It is nobody else’s fault that those words were used in 2011-12. Phil Neville was unveiled as the new England Women manager at St George's Park on Monday Credit: Action Images “Domestic violence is a serious topic. In isolation it looks bad. It wasn’t related to domestic violence, it was related, and I’ve no evidence to back it up and that is why I didn’t come out and say it, to a competition between me and my wife on a table tennis table. But the words were terrible so I apologise. “I don’t think those tweets are a reflection of me, my character and my beliefs, the way I was brought up. “I know my father is not with me now, but I know full well that is not the way he would want me to write, behave, act. “I think it has been one of the traits of my life – I have always been honest with myself, first and foremost, so you have got to take the criticism that comes your way when you do things like that.” I’ve got a car parking space out there [St George’s Park]. The car parking space is next to Gareth Southgate’s, so ultimately I’ve got the next best jobPhil Neville Neville has escaped punishment for the tweets but the storm comes at a difficult time for the FA, after his predecessor Mark Sampson was dismissed last September for conduct deemed inappropriate. Baroness Sue Campbell, the head of the women’s game, admitted that contenders pulled out of the running because of concerns about the prospect of scrutiny into their families. Neville, the former England, Manchester United and Everton defender, has taken only two games as caretaker manager at Valencia and one in charge of non-league club Salford City, but insists he has the credentials for the job and coped with a gruelling selection process. “It was a three-week interview process,” he said. “I had to do a seven-hour presentation to the FA board on my vision, on my experiences, on what I was going to do with the team, with grass roots football, with female coaches, and obviously they assessed me on my technical and tactical knowledge which was another three hours. “Then there were psychometric tests, there were background checks. Sue Campbell didn’t just come in a room and said ‘ here you are, you’ve the keys to the castle.’ It was a thorough interview process after she approached me. Neville took charge as caretaker manager at Valencia for just two games Credit: Getty Images “I can’t be more qualified than I am. I’ve got the same qualifications as all the Premier League managers, all the La Liga managers, all the Bundesliga managers. I’ve got the top qualification that you can achieve. “These [England] players are some of the best in the world and I have experienced of some of the best in the world. “When she [Campbell] first broached the subject [of being manager] it took me back to my playing days when I got that call off Terry Venables and he said you’re picked for England. Playing for England is the ultimate. Managing England is the ultimate. “And when I took my B licence, A licence and Pro licence, I wasn’t told that I wasn’t allowed to work in the women’s’ game. It was a licence to work in football and this, for me, is a fantastic opportunity. “I’ve seen some people saying ‘it’s a stepping stone.’ Well, I’ve never used the words ‘stepping stone’. For me, anything other than this job would be a step down.” There was an awkward moment for Neville when he took more than 20 seconds to answer a question on the identity of the leading scorer in the Women’s Super League. But it was largely an impressive, passionate performance from the former defender. “I’ve got a car parking space out there [St George’s Park],” he said. “The car parking space is next to Gareth Southgate’s, so ultimately I’ve got the next best job. “Finishing third at the World Cup won’t be good enough for me, won’t be good enough for Sue [Campbell] and won’t be good enough for the players.” Neville, meanwhile, has revealed he will be pushing United to become involved in the Women’s Super League, insisting they should be “leaders and pioneers”. United are the only Premier League club without a team. United have maintained in the past that they prefer to focus all resources on ensuring that the first team is successful and have frequently rejected calls for the club to start up in the women’s game. But Neville said: “I will be encouraging them. I am sure they are in the process of doing it.”
Phil Neville has launched an impassioned defence of his appointment as England Women head coach and revealed that the controversial tweet he posted about “battering” his wife was a reference to a table tennis match they had played. Neville was officially presented at St George’s Park on Monday in an emotional press conference, with the 41-year-old detailing the lengthy process which led to him landing a job in charge of the third best team in women’s football. But it was events from nearly seven years ago, in which he appeared to make light of domestic abuse in a post on his personal Twitter account, which dominated much of Neville’s unveiling at the national centre. Apart from joking in 2011 that he had “just battered the wife”, he also later suggested that women would be too “busy making breakfast/getting kids ready” to read his messages, while other contentious posts re-emerged before he deleted his account. But he has insisted the posts had been misinterpreted and that he has huge respect for the women’s game. “When the Football Association announced my appointment last Tuesday, it was probably one of the best moments of my career,” he said. “Obviously subsequently, the last few days after that, it was very disappointing. “But I always look at myself in the mirror. It is nobody else’s fault that those words were used in 2011-12. Phil Neville was unveiled as the new England Women manager at St George&#39;s Park on Monday Credit: Action Images “Domestic violence is a serious topic. In isolation it looks bad. It wasn’t related to domestic violence, it was related, and I’ve no evidence to back it up and that is why I didn’t come out and say it, to a competition between me and my wife on a table tennis table. But the words were terrible so I apologise. “I don’t think those tweets are a reflection of me, my character and my beliefs, the way I was brought up. “I know my father is not with me now, but I know full well that is not the way he would want me to write, behave, act. “I think it has been one of the traits of my life – I have always been honest with myself, first and foremost, so you have got to take the criticism that comes your way when you do things like that.” I’ve got a car parking space out there [St George’s Park]. The car parking space is next to Gareth Southgate’s, so ultimately I’ve got the next best jobPhil Neville Neville has escaped punishment for the tweets but the storm comes at a difficult time for the FA, after his predecessor Mark Sampson was dismissed last September for conduct deemed inappropriate. Baroness Sue Campbell, the head of the women’s game, admitted that contenders pulled out of the running because of concerns about the prospect of scrutiny into their families. Neville, the former England, Manchester United and Everton defender, has taken only two games as caretaker manager at Valencia and one in charge of non-league club Salford City, but insists he has the credentials for the job and coped with a gruelling selection process. “It was a three-week interview process,” he said. “I had to do a seven-hour presentation to the FA board on my vision, on my experiences, on what I was going to do with the team, with grass roots football, with female coaches, and obviously they assessed me on my technical and tactical knowledge which was another three hours. “Then there were psychometric tests, there were background checks. Sue Campbell didn’t just come in a room and said ‘ here you are, you’ve the keys to the castle.’ It was a thorough interview process after she approached me. Neville took charge as caretaker manager at Valencia for just two games Credit: Getty Images “I can’t be more qualified than I am. I’ve got the same qualifications as all the Premier League managers, all the La Liga managers, all the Bundesliga managers. I’ve got the top qualification that you can achieve. “These [England] players are some of the best in the world and I have experienced of some of the best in the world. “When she [Campbell] first broached the subject [of being manager] it took me back to my playing days when I got that call off Terry Venables and he said you’re picked for England. Playing for England is the ultimate. Managing England is the ultimate. “And when I took my B licence, A licence and Pro licence, I wasn’t told that I wasn’t allowed to work in the women’s’ game. It was a licence to work in football and this, for me, is a fantastic opportunity. “I’ve seen some people saying ‘it’s a stepping stone.’ Well, I’ve never used the words ‘stepping stone’. For me, anything other than this job would be a step down.” There was an awkward moment for Neville when he took more than 20 seconds to answer a question on the identity of the leading scorer in the Women’s Super League. But it was largely an impressive, passionate performance from the former defender. “I’ve got a car parking space out there [St George’s Park],” he said. “The car parking space is next to Gareth Southgate’s, so ultimately I’ve got the next best job. “Finishing third at the World Cup won’t be good enough for me, won’t be good enough for Sue [Campbell] and won’t be good enough for the players.” Neville, meanwhile, has revealed he will be pushing United to become involved in the Women’s Super League, insisting they should be “leaders and pioneers”. United are the only Premier League club without a team. United have maintained in the past that they prefer to focus all resources on ensuring that the first team is successful and have frequently rejected calls for the club to start up in the women’s game. But Neville said: “I will be encouraging them. I am sure they are in the process of doing it.”
Repentant England Women head coach Phil Neville claims 'battered the wife' comment was reference to table tennis
Phil Neville has launched an impassioned defence of his appointment as England Women head coach and revealed that the controversial tweet he posted about “battering” his wife was a reference to a table tennis match they had played. Neville was officially presented at St George’s Park on Monday in an emotional press conference, with the 41-year-old detailing the lengthy process which led to him landing a job in charge of the third best team in women’s football. But it was events from nearly seven years ago, in which he appeared to make light of domestic abuse in a post on his personal Twitter account, which dominated much of Neville’s unveiling at the national centre. Apart from joking in 2011 that he had “just battered the wife”, he also later suggested that women would be too “busy making breakfast/getting kids ready” to read his messages, while other contentious posts re-emerged before he deleted his account. But he has insisted the posts had been misinterpreted and that he has huge respect for the women’s game. “When the Football Association announced my appointment last Tuesday, it was probably one of the best moments of my career,” he said. “Obviously subsequently, the last few days after that, it was very disappointing. “But I always look at myself in the mirror. It is nobody else’s fault that those words were used in 2011-12. Phil Neville was unveiled as the new England Women manager at St George's Park on Monday Credit: Action Images “Domestic violence is a serious topic. In isolation it looks bad. It wasn’t related to domestic violence, it was related, and I’ve no evidence to back it up and that is why I didn’t come out and say it, to a competition between me and my wife on a table tennis table. But the words were terrible so I apologise. “I don’t think those tweets are a reflection of me, my character and my beliefs, the way I was brought up. “I know my father is not with me now, but I know full well that is not the way he would want me to write, behave, act. “I think it has been one of the traits of my life – I have always been honest with myself, first and foremost, so you have got to take the criticism that comes your way when you do things like that.” I’ve got a car parking space out there [St George’s Park]. The car parking space is next to Gareth Southgate’s, so ultimately I’ve got the next best jobPhil Neville Neville has escaped punishment for the tweets but the storm comes at a difficult time for the FA, after his predecessor Mark Sampson was dismissed last September for conduct deemed inappropriate. Baroness Sue Campbell, the head of the women’s game, admitted that contenders pulled out of the running because of concerns about the prospect of scrutiny into their families. Neville, the former England, Manchester United and Everton defender, has taken only two games as caretaker manager at Valencia and one in charge of non-league club Salford City, but insists he has the credentials for the job and coped with a gruelling selection process. “It was a three-week interview process,” he said. “I had to do a seven-hour presentation to the FA board on my vision, on my experiences, on what I was going to do with the team, with grass roots football, with female coaches, and obviously they assessed me on my technical and tactical knowledge which was another three hours. “Then there were psychometric tests, there were background checks. Sue Campbell didn’t just come in a room and said ‘ here you are, you’ve the keys to the castle.’ It was a thorough interview process after she approached me. Neville took charge as caretaker manager at Valencia for just two games Credit: Getty Images “I can’t be more qualified than I am. I’ve got the same qualifications as all the Premier League managers, all the La Liga managers, all the Bundesliga managers. I’ve got the top qualification that you can achieve. “These [England] players are some of the best in the world and I have experienced of some of the best in the world. “When she [Campbell] first broached the subject [of being manager] it took me back to my playing days when I got that call off Terry Venables and he said you’re picked for England. Playing for England is the ultimate. Managing England is the ultimate. “And when I took my B licence, A licence and Pro licence, I wasn’t told that I wasn’t allowed to work in the women’s’ game. It was a licence to work in football and this, for me, is a fantastic opportunity. “I’ve seen some people saying ‘it’s a stepping stone.’ Well, I’ve never used the words ‘stepping stone’. For me, anything other than this job would be a step down.” There was an awkward moment for Neville when he took more than 20 seconds to answer a question on the identity of the leading scorer in the Women’s Super League. But it was largely an impressive, passionate performance from the former defender. “I’ve got a car parking space out there [St George’s Park],” he said. “The car parking space is next to Gareth Southgate’s, so ultimately I’ve got the next best job. “Finishing third at the World Cup won’t be good enough for me, won’t be good enough for Sue [Campbell] and won’t be good enough for the players.” Neville, meanwhile, has revealed he will be pushing United to become involved in the Women’s Super League, insisting they should be “leaders and pioneers”. United are the only Premier League club without a team. United have maintained in the past that they prefer to focus all resources on ensuring that the first team is successful and have frequently rejected calls for the club to start up in the women’s game. But Neville said: “I will be encouraging them. I am sure they are in the process of doing it.”
<p><strong>Dick LeBeau</strong> has either coached or played in the NFL for 59 straight years. He was drafted by the Browns when <strong>Jim Brown</strong> still roamed the backfield and made a career of playing defensive back against the likes of <strong>Johnny Unitas</strong>. After retiring in 1972, he immediately moved into a coaching role, popularizing the zone blitz for the Bengals in the 1980s. He wasn&#39;t successful as a head coach in Cincinnati during the early 2000s, but coached the Steelers&#39; defense to two Super Bowl titles and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010. Now 80 years old, he&#39;s been an assistant coach in Tennessee since 2015. But with <strong>Mike Mularkey</strong> gone, there&#39;s a chance LeBeau’s NFL run could be over.</p><p>Jason Wolf <a href="https://www.tennessean.com/story/sports/nfl/titans/2018/01/16/titans-dick-lebeau-would-comfortable-retiring-if-not-asked-return-next-season-steelers-nfl-defensive/1035047001/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:reported" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">reported</a> in the Tennessean that LeBeau “would be comfortable retiring” if the fit isn&#39;t right with whoever becomes the next Titans coach. He has one year left on his contract, and has worked under both offensive and defensive-minded coaches in the past, but there&#39;s a chance whoever comes in would want to bring in his own assistant. It&#39;s also possible that LeBeau could transition into a consultant role; Wolf wrote that LeBeau&#39;s relationships with the current players are a big reason he&#39;s considering coming back. Either way, LeBeau&#39;s legendary status in NFL history is secured. Before last week&#39;s matchup, <strong>Bill Belichick</strong> <span>said</span>, “He’s one of the great coaches to ever walk the sidelines in this league.&quot;</p><p><b><i>Not getting this newsletter in your inbox yet?</i></b> <a href="https://www.si.com/static/newsletter/signup" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Join The MMQB’s Morning Huddle" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><i>Join The MMQB’s Morning Huddle</i></a><i>.</i></p><h3><strong>HOT READS</strong></h3><p><b>NOW ON THE MMQB: </b>Jonathan Jones <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/01/16/sean-payton-new-orleans-saints-minnesota-vikings-skol-chant" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:argues" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">argues</a> that <strong>Sean Payton</strong> needs to up his trash-talking game ... Conor Orr <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/01/16/scouting-new-england-patriots-using-steve-belichicks-scouting-manual?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:scouted" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">scouted</a> the Patriots using <strong>Steve </strong><strong>Belichick</strong>&#39;s scouting manual ... <a href="http://www.si.com/nfl" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:and more." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">and more.</a></p><p><b>LATER TODAY:</b> Peter King discusses the drama in Pittsburgh ... Orr looks at Tom Brady through <strong>Logan Ryan</strong>&#39;s eyes ... and more. <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Stay tuned" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Stay tuned</a>.</p><p><b>WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED:</b> <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/01/15/vikings-saints-stefon-diggs-playoff-touchdown-miracle-met" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:On the Vikings" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">On the Vikings</a>, Broken Hearts and Unfettered Joy by Steve Rushin ... Albert Breer <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/01/15/nfl-coaching-carousel-news-mike-vrabel-tennessee-titans?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:reported" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">reported</a> that <strong>Mike Vrabel</strong> is a leading candidate in Tennessee ... <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:and more" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">and more</a>.</p><h3><b>PRESS COVERAGE</b></h3><p><strong>1</strong>. Finally a cause for celebration, Saints fans: <strong>Drew Brees </strong>has <a href="http://www.theadvocate.com/new_orleans/sports/saints/article_3d5523b2-faf9-11e7-a245-4b7be7dc2010.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:no plans" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">no plans</a> to even consider leaving New Orleans. Elsewhere in the Big Easy, <strong>Sean Payton</strong> was caught taunting again, and this time he <a href="http://www.nola.com/saints/index.ssf/2018/01/sean_payton_skol_clap.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:says" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">says</a>, &quot;It was good playoff fun.&quot;</p><p><strong>2. </strong>The biggest question mark in the playoffs is <em>still</em> whether<strong> Nick Foles</strong> is good enough to carry the Eagles. Jeff McLane dug deep (like 2,000 words deep) <a href="http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/eagles/philadelphia-eagles-vikings-falcons-nfc-championship-nick-foles-doug-pederson-film-breakdown-nick-foles-tale-divisional-playoff-20180116.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:into the film" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">into the film</a> from last week to get answers.</p><p><b>3. </b><strong>Dion Lewis</strong> chose New England over the Giants when he got back into the NFL (after he sat as a free agent for 985 days) because he knew the Patriots had helped smaller players succeed in the past. Now, the 5-foot-8 running back is the latest short star to help <a href="http://www.espn.com/blog/boston/new-england-patriots/post/_/id/4810470" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:carry the team" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">carry the team</a>.</p><p><b>4.</b> Rushing champion <strong>Kareem Hunt </strong>was <a href="http://www.kansascity.com/sports/nfl/kansas-city-chiefs/article194989514.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:named" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">named</a> rookie of the year by the Pro Football Writers Association.</p><p><strong>5. </strong>Former Giants coach <strong>Ben McAdoo</strong> is <a href="http://www.cleveland.com/browns/index.ssf/2018/01/ben_mcadoo_interviewing_for_br.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:interviewing" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">interviewing</a> for the Browns&#39; offensive coordinator job. He overlapped with Cleveland GM <strong>John Dorsey</strong> from 2006-12 in Green Bay.</p><p><b>6. </b>Armando Salguero <a href="http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/armando-salguero/article194920564.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:explains" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">explains</a> the backstory that will complicate negotiations between the Dolphins and wideout <strong>Jarvis Landry</strong>—beyond the $3 million-plus gap in the salaries each would prefer.</p><p>7. Maybe <strong>Doug Marrone</strong> was onto something when he reorganized the Jacksonville locker room and removed the table tennis after becoming coach, even if the team &quot;threw a tantrum,&quot; <a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/2018/01/16/jags-threw-a-tantrum-when-marrone-started-making-changes/109507820/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:according" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">according</a> to defensive tackle <strong>Malik Jackson</strong>.</p><p><strong>8. </strong>I&#39;ve seen several articles in local outlets explaining that this crop of remaining teams proves you don&#39;t have to overpay for a quarterback to contend. On The Ringer, Kevin Clark <a href="https://www.theringer.com/nfl-playoffs/2018/1/16/16896096/playoffs-2017-season-lessons-jaguars-patriots-vikings-eagles-quarterbacks" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:says" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">says</a> no, &quot;You still need a quarterback.&quot;</p><p><b>9. </b>You knew something was going to come out of <strong>Ben </strong><strong>Roethlisberger</strong>&#39;s <a href="http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/steelers/2018/01/16/ben-roethlisberger-todd-haley-qb-sneaks-steelers-jaguars/stories/201801160087" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Tuesday radio interview" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Tuesday radio interview</a>. Turns out, Roethlisberger says, he can&#39;t audible to a QB sneak. &quot;I truly have never said I don&#39;t want to run it,&quot; the QB added. &quot;I have asked for it.&quot; This all comes at a time when both his offensive coordinator and head coach are under varying degrees of public fire.</p><p><strong>10. </strong>Decry Thursday Night Football all you want, every alphabet-soup network <a href="http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2018/01/16/fox-abc-nbc-cbs-make-bids-for-tnf/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:still wants" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">still wants</a> to air it.</p><p><b><i>Have a story you think we should include in tomorrow’s Press Coverage?</i></b> <span><i>Let us know here.</i></span></p><h3><b>THE KICKER</b></h3><p>Jacksonville may not be known as a football-crazed town, but <strong>Leonard Fournette </strong>getting into a minor car accident and then signing a car bumper and taking a photo with another person involved in the wreck is <a href="http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000907265/article/leonard-fournette-uninjured-after-minor-car-crash" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:a football crazy story" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">a football crazy story</a>.</p><p><i>Question? Comment? Story idea?</i><i> Let the team know at </i><i><span>talkback@themmqb.com</span></i></p>
Titans Coaching Shuffle Leaves a Legend in Limbo

Dick LeBeau has either coached or played in the NFL for 59 straight years. He was drafted by the Browns when Jim Brown still roamed the backfield and made a career of playing defensive back against the likes of Johnny Unitas. After retiring in 1972, he immediately moved into a coaching role, popularizing the zone blitz for the Bengals in the 1980s. He wasn't successful as a head coach in Cincinnati during the early 2000s, but coached the Steelers' defense to two Super Bowl titles and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010. Now 80 years old, he's been an assistant coach in Tennessee since 2015. But with Mike Mularkey gone, there's a chance LeBeau’s NFL run could be over.

Jason Wolf reported in the Tennessean that LeBeau “would be comfortable retiring” if the fit isn't right with whoever becomes the next Titans coach. He has one year left on his contract, and has worked under both offensive and defensive-minded coaches in the past, but there's a chance whoever comes in would want to bring in his own assistant. It's also possible that LeBeau could transition into a consultant role; Wolf wrote that LeBeau's relationships with the current players are a big reason he's considering coming back. Either way, LeBeau's legendary status in NFL history is secured. Before last week's matchup, Bill Belichick said, “He’s one of the great coaches to ever walk the sidelines in this league."

Not getting this newsletter in your inbox yet? Join The MMQB’s Morning Huddle.

HOT READS

NOW ON THE MMQB: Jonathan Jones argues that Sean Payton needs to up his trash-talking game ... Conor Orr scouted the Patriots using Steve Belichick's scouting manual ... and more.

LATER TODAY: Peter King discusses the drama in Pittsburgh ... Orr looks at Tom Brady through Logan Ryan's eyes ... and more. Stay tuned.

WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED: On the Vikings, Broken Hearts and Unfettered Joy by Steve Rushin ... Albert Breer reported that Mike Vrabel is a leading candidate in Tennessee ... and more.

PRESS COVERAGE

1. Finally a cause for celebration, Saints fans: Drew Brees has no plans to even consider leaving New Orleans. Elsewhere in the Big Easy, Sean Payton was caught taunting again, and this time he says, "It was good playoff fun."

2. The biggest question mark in the playoffs is still whether Nick Foles is good enough to carry the Eagles. Jeff McLane dug deep (like 2,000 words deep) into the film from last week to get answers.

3. Dion Lewis chose New England over the Giants when he got back into the NFL (after he sat as a free agent for 985 days) because he knew the Patriots had helped smaller players succeed in the past. Now, the 5-foot-8 running back is the latest short star to help carry the team.

4. Rushing champion Kareem Hunt was named rookie of the year by the Pro Football Writers Association.

5. Former Giants coach Ben McAdoo is interviewing for the Browns' offensive coordinator job. He overlapped with Cleveland GM John Dorsey from 2006-12 in Green Bay.

6. Armando Salguero explains the backstory that will complicate negotiations between the Dolphins and wideout Jarvis Landry—beyond the $3 million-plus gap in the salaries each would prefer.

7. Maybe Doug Marrone was onto something when he reorganized the Jacksonville locker room and removed the table tennis after becoming coach, even if the team "threw a tantrum," according to defensive tackle Malik Jackson.

8. I've seen several articles in local outlets explaining that this crop of remaining teams proves you don't have to overpay for a quarterback to contend. On The Ringer, Kevin Clark says no, "You still need a quarterback."

9. You knew something was going to come out of Ben Roethlisberger's Tuesday radio interview. Turns out, Roethlisberger says, he can't audible to a QB sneak. "I truly have never said I don't want to run it," the QB added. "I have asked for it." This all comes at a time when both his offensive coordinator and head coach are under varying degrees of public fire.

10. Decry Thursday Night Football all you want, every alphabet-soup network still wants to air it.

Have a story you think we should include in tomorrow’s Press Coverage? Let us know here.

THE KICKER

Jacksonville may not be known as a football-crazed town, but Leonard Fournette getting into a minor car accident and then signing a car bumper and taking a photo with another person involved in the wreck is a football crazy story.

Question? Comment? Story idea? Let the team know at talkback@themmqb.com

<p><strong>Dick LeBeau</strong> has either coached or played in the NFL for 59 straight years. He was drafted by the Browns when <strong>Jim Brown</strong> still roamed the backfield and made a career of playing defensive back against the likes of <strong>Johnny Unitas</strong>. After retiring in 1972, he immediately moved into a coaching role, popularizing the zone blitz for the Bengals in the 1980s. He wasn&#39;t successful as a head coach in Cincinnati during the early 2000s, but coached the Steelers&#39; defense to two Super Bowl titles and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010. Now 80 years old, he&#39;s been an assistant coach in Tennessee since 2015. But with <strong>Mike Mularkey</strong> gone, there&#39;s a chance LeBeau’s NFL run could be over.</p><p>Jason Wolf <a href="https://www.tennessean.com/story/sports/nfl/titans/2018/01/16/titans-dick-lebeau-would-comfortable-retiring-if-not-asked-return-next-season-steelers-nfl-defensive/1035047001/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:reported" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">reported</a> in the Tennessean that LeBeau “would be comfortable retiring” if the fit isn&#39;t right with whoever becomes the next Titans coach. He has one year left on his contract, and has worked under both offensive and defensive-minded coaches in the past, but there&#39;s a chance whoever comes in would want to bring in his own assistant. It&#39;s also possible that LeBeau could transition into a consultant role; Wolf wrote that LeBeau&#39;s relationships with the current players are a big reason he&#39;s considering coming back. Either way, LeBeau&#39;s legendary status in NFL history is secured. Before last week&#39;s matchup, <strong>Bill Belichick</strong> <span>said</span>, “He’s one of the great coaches to ever walk the sidelines in this league.&quot;</p><p><b><i>Not getting this newsletter in your inbox yet?</i></b> <a href="https://www.si.com/static/newsletter/signup" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Join The MMQB’s Morning Huddle" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><i>Join The MMQB’s Morning Huddle</i></a><i>.</i></p><h3><strong>HOT READS</strong></h3><p><b>NOW ON THE MMQB: </b>Jonathan Jones <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/01/16/sean-payton-new-orleans-saints-minnesota-vikings-skol-chant" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:argues" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">argues</a> that <strong>Sean Payton</strong> needs to up his trash-talking game ... Conor Orr <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/01/16/scouting-new-england-patriots-using-steve-belichicks-scouting-manual?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:scouted" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">scouted</a> the Patriots using <strong>Steve </strong><strong>Belichick</strong>&#39;s scouting manual ... <a href="http://www.si.com/nfl" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:and more." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">and more.</a></p><p><b>LATER TODAY:</b> Peter King discusses the drama in Pittsburgh ... Orr looks at Tom Brady through <strong>Logan Ryan</strong>&#39;s eyes ... and more. <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Stay tuned" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Stay tuned</a>.</p><p><b>WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED:</b> <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/01/15/vikings-saints-stefon-diggs-playoff-touchdown-miracle-met" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:On the Vikings" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">On the Vikings</a>, Broken Hearts and Unfettered Joy by Steve Rushin ... Albert Breer <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/01/15/nfl-coaching-carousel-news-mike-vrabel-tennessee-titans?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:reported" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">reported</a> that <strong>Mike Vrabel</strong> is a leading candidate in Tennessee ... <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:and more" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">and more</a>.</p><h3><b>PRESS COVERAGE</b></h3><p><strong>1</strong>. Finally a cause for celebration, Saints fans: <strong>Drew Brees </strong>has <a href="http://www.theadvocate.com/new_orleans/sports/saints/article_3d5523b2-faf9-11e7-a245-4b7be7dc2010.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:no plans" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">no plans</a> to even consider leaving New Orleans. Elsewhere in the Big Easy, <strong>Sean Payton</strong> was caught taunting again, and this time he <a href="http://www.nola.com/saints/index.ssf/2018/01/sean_payton_skol_clap.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:says" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">says</a>, &quot;It was good playoff fun.&quot;</p><p><strong>2. </strong>The biggest question mark in the playoffs is <em>still</em> whether<strong> Nick Foles</strong> is good enough to carry the Eagles. Jeff McLane dug deep (like 2,000 words deep) <a href="http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/eagles/philadelphia-eagles-vikings-falcons-nfc-championship-nick-foles-doug-pederson-film-breakdown-nick-foles-tale-divisional-playoff-20180116.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:into the film" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">into the film</a> from last week to get answers.</p><p><b>3. </b><strong>Dion Lewis</strong> chose New England over the Giants when he got back into the NFL (after he sat as a free agent for 985 days) because he knew the Patriots had helped smaller players succeed in the past. Now, the 5-foot-8 running back is the latest short star to help <a href="http://www.espn.com/blog/boston/new-england-patriots/post/_/id/4810470" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:carry the team" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">carry the team</a>.</p><p><b>4.</b> Rushing champion <strong>Kareem Hunt </strong>was <a href="http://www.kansascity.com/sports/nfl/kansas-city-chiefs/article194989514.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:named" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">named</a> rookie of the year by the Pro Football Writers Association.</p><p><strong>5. </strong>Former Giants coach <strong>Ben McAdoo</strong> is <a href="http://www.cleveland.com/browns/index.ssf/2018/01/ben_mcadoo_interviewing_for_br.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:interviewing" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">interviewing</a> for the Browns&#39; offensive coordinator job. He overlapped with Cleveland GM <strong>John Dorsey</strong> from 2006-12 in Green Bay.</p><p><b>6. </b>Armando Salguero <a href="http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/armando-salguero/article194920564.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:explains" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">explains</a> the backstory that will complicate negotiations between the Dolphins and wideout <strong>Jarvis Landry</strong>—beyond the $3 million-plus gap in the salaries each would prefer.</p><p>7. Maybe <strong>Doug Marrone</strong> was onto something when he reorganized the Jacksonville locker room and removed the table tennis after becoming coach, even if the team &quot;threw a tantrum,&quot; <a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/2018/01/16/jags-threw-a-tantrum-when-marrone-started-making-changes/109507820/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:according" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">according</a> to defensive tackle <strong>Malik Jackson</strong>.</p><p><strong>8. </strong>I&#39;ve seen several articles in local outlets explaining that this crop of remaining teams proves you don&#39;t have to overpay for a quarterback to contend. On The Ringer, Kevin Clark <a href="https://www.theringer.com/nfl-playoffs/2018/1/16/16896096/playoffs-2017-season-lessons-jaguars-patriots-vikings-eagles-quarterbacks" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:says" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">says</a> no, &quot;You still need a quarterback.&quot;</p><p><b>9. </b>You knew something was going to come out of <strong>Ben </strong><strong>Roethlisberger</strong>&#39;s <a href="http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/steelers/2018/01/16/ben-roethlisberger-todd-haley-qb-sneaks-steelers-jaguars/stories/201801160087" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Tuesday radio interview" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Tuesday radio interview</a>. Turns out, Roethlisberger says, he can&#39;t audible to a QB sneak. &quot;I truly have never said I don&#39;t want to run it,&quot; the QB added. &quot;I have asked for it.&quot; This all comes at a time when both his offensive coordinator and head coach are under varying degrees of public fire.</p><p><strong>10. </strong>Decry Thursday Night Football all you want, every alphabet-soup network <a href="http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2018/01/16/fox-abc-nbc-cbs-make-bids-for-tnf/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:still wants" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">still wants</a> to air it.</p><p><b><i>Have a story you think we should include in tomorrow’s Press Coverage?</i></b> <span><i>Let us know here.</i></span></p><h3><b>THE KICKER</b></h3><p>Jacksonville may not be known as a football-crazed town, but <strong>Leonard Fournette </strong>getting into a minor car accident and then signing a car bumper and taking a photo with another person involved in the wreck is <a href="http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000907265/article/leonard-fournette-uninjured-after-minor-car-crash" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:a football crazy story" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">a football crazy story</a>.</p><p><i>Question? Comment? Story idea?</i><i> Let the team know at </i><i><span>talkback@themmqb.com</span></i></p>
Titans Coaching Shuffle Leaves a Legend in Limbo

Dick LeBeau has either coached or played in the NFL for 59 straight years. He was drafted by the Browns when Jim Brown still roamed the backfield and made a career of playing defensive back against the likes of Johnny Unitas. After retiring in 1972, he immediately moved into a coaching role, popularizing the zone blitz for the Bengals in the 1980s. He wasn't successful as a head coach in Cincinnati during the early 2000s, but coached the Steelers' defense to two Super Bowl titles and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010. Now 80 years old, he's been an assistant coach in Tennessee since 2015. But with Mike Mularkey gone, there's a chance LeBeau’s NFL run could be over.

Jason Wolf reported in the Tennessean that LeBeau “would be comfortable retiring” if the fit isn't right with whoever becomes the next Titans coach. He has one year left on his contract, and has worked under both offensive and defensive-minded coaches in the past, but there's a chance whoever comes in would want to bring in his own assistant. It's also possible that LeBeau could transition into a consultant role; Wolf wrote that LeBeau's relationships with the current players are a big reason he's considering coming back. Either way, LeBeau's legendary status in NFL history is secured. Before last week's matchup, Bill Belichick said, “He’s one of the great coaches to ever walk the sidelines in this league."

Not getting this newsletter in your inbox yet? Join The MMQB’s Morning Huddle.

HOT READS

NOW ON THE MMQB: Jonathan Jones argues that Sean Payton needs to up his trash-talking game ... Conor Orr scouted the Patriots using Steve Belichick's scouting manual ... and more.

LATER TODAY: Peter King discusses the drama in Pittsburgh ... Orr looks at Tom Brady through Logan Ryan's eyes ... and more. Stay tuned.

WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED: On the Vikings, Broken Hearts and Unfettered Joy by Steve Rushin ... Albert Breer reported that Mike Vrabel is a leading candidate in Tennessee ... and more.

PRESS COVERAGE

1. Finally a cause for celebration, Saints fans: Drew Brees has no plans to even consider leaving New Orleans. Elsewhere in the Big Easy, Sean Payton was caught taunting again, and this time he says, "It was good playoff fun."

2. The biggest question mark in the playoffs is still whether Nick Foles is good enough to carry the Eagles. Jeff McLane dug deep (like 2,000 words deep) into the film from last week to get answers.

3. Dion Lewis chose New England over the Giants when he got back into the NFL (after he sat as a free agent for 985 days) because he knew the Patriots had helped smaller players succeed in the past. Now, the 5-foot-8 running back is the latest short star to help carry the team.

4. Rushing champion Kareem Hunt was named rookie of the year by the Pro Football Writers Association.

5. Former Giants coach Ben McAdoo is interviewing for the Browns' offensive coordinator job. He overlapped with Cleveland GM John Dorsey from 2006-12 in Green Bay.

6. Armando Salguero explains the backstory that will complicate negotiations between the Dolphins and wideout Jarvis Landry—beyond the $3 million-plus gap in the salaries each would prefer.

7. Maybe Doug Marrone was onto something when he reorganized the Jacksonville locker room and removed the table tennis after becoming coach, even if the team "threw a tantrum," according to defensive tackle Malik Jackson.

8. I've seen several articles in local outlets explaining that this crop of remaining teams proves you don't have to overpay for a quarterback to contend. On The Ringer, Kevin Clark says no, "You still need a quarterback."

9. You knew something was going to come out of Ben Roethlisberger's Tuesday radio interview. Turns out, Roethlisberger says, he can't audible to a QB sneak. "I truly have never said I don't want to run it," the QB added. "I have asked for it." This all comes at a time when both his offensive coordinator and head coach are under varying degrees of public fire.

10. Decry Thursday Night Football all you want, every alphabet-soup network still wants to air it.

Have a story you think we should include in tomorrow’s Press Coverage? Let us know here.

THE KICKER

Jacksonville may not be known as a football-crazed town, but Leonard Fournette getting into a minor car accident and then signing a car bumper and taking a photo with another person involved in the wreck is a football crazy story.

Question? Comment? Story idea? Let the team know at talkback@themmqb.com

<p><strong>Dick LeBeau</strong> has either coached or played in the NFL for 59 straight years. He was drafted by the Browns when <strong>Jim Brown</strong> still roamed the backfield and made a career of playing defensive back against the likes of <strong>Johnny Unitas</strong>. After retiring in 1972, he immediately moved into a coaching role, popularizing the zone blitz for the Bengals in the 1980s. He wasn&#39;t successful as a head coach in Cincinnati during the early 2000s, but coached the Steelers&#39; defense to two Super Bowl titles and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010. Now 80 years old, he&#39;s been an assistant coach in Tennessee since 2015. But with <strong>Mike Mularkey</strong> gone, there&#39;s a chance LeBeau’s NFL run could be over.</p><p>Jason Wolf <a href="https://www.tennessean.com/story/sports/nfl/titans/2018/01/16/titans-dick-lebeau-would-comfortable-retiring-if-not-asked-return-next-season-steelers-nfl-defensive/1035047001/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:reported" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">reported</a> in the Tennessean that LeBeau “would be comfortable retiring” if the fit isn&#39;t right with whoever becomes the next Titans coach. He has one year left on his contract, and has worked under both offensive and defensive-minded coaches in the past, but there&#39;s a chance whoever comes in would want to bring in his own assistant. It&#39;s also possible that LeBeau could transition into a consultant role; Wolf wrote that LeBeau&#39;s relationships with the current players are a big reason he&#39;s considering coming back. Either way, LeBeau&#39;s legendary status in NFL history is secured. Before last week&#39;s matchup, <strong>Bill Belichick</strong> <span>said</span>, “He’s one of the great coaches to ever walk the sidelines in this league.&quot;</p><p><b><i>Not getting this newsletter in your inbox yet?</i></b> <a href="https://www.si.com/static/newsletter/signup" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Join The MMQB’s Morning Huddle" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><i>Join The MMQB’s Morning Huddle</i></a><i>.</i></p><h3><strong>HOT READS</strong></h3><p><b>NOW ON THE MMQB: </b>Jonathan Jones <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/01/16/sean-payton-new-orleans-saints-minnesota-vikings-skol-chant" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:argues" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">argues</a> that <strong>Sean Payton</strong> needs to up his trash-talking game ... Conor Orr <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/01/16/scouting-new-england-patriots-using-steve-belichicks-scouting-manual?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:scouted" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">scouted</a> the Patriots using <strong>Steve </strong><strong>Belichick</strong>&#39;s scouting manual ... <a href="http://www.si.com/nfl" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:and more." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">and more.</a></p><p><b>LATER TODAY:</b> Peter King discusses the drama in Pittsburgh ... Orr looks at Tom Brady through <strong>Logan Ryan</strong>&#39;s eyes ... and more. <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Stay tuned" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Stay tuned</a>.</p><p><b>WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED:</b> <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/01/15/vikings-saints-stefon-diggs-playoff-touchdown-miracle-met" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:On the Vikings" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">On the Vikings</a>, Broken Hearts and Unfettered Joy by Steve Rushin ... Albert Breer <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/01/15/nfl-coaching-carousel-news-mike-vrabel-tennessee-titans?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:reported" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">reported</a> that <strong>Mike Vrabel</strong> is a leading candidate in Tennessee ... <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:and more" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">and more</a>.</p><h3><b>PRESS COVERAGE</b></h3><p><strong>1</strong>. Finally a cause for celebration, Saints fans: <strong>Drew Brees </strong>has <a href="http://www.theadvocate.com/new_orleans/sports/saints/article_3d5523b2-faf9-11e7-a245-4b7be7dc2010.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:no plans" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">no plans</a> to even consider leaving New Orleans. Elsewhere in the Big Easy, <strong>Sean Payton</strong> was caught taunting again, and this time he <a href="http://www.nola.com/saints/index.ssf/2018/01/sean_payton_skol_clap.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:says" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">says</a>, &quot;It was good playoff fun.&quot;</p><p><strong>2. </strong>The biggest question mark in the playoffs is <em>still</em> whether<strong> Nick Foles</strong> is good enough to carry the Eagles. Jeff McLane dug deep (like 2,000 words deep) <a href="http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/eagles/philadelphia-eagles-vikings-falcons-nfc-championship-nick-foles-doug-pederson-film-breakdown-nick-foles-tale-divisional-playoff-20180116.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:into the film" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">into the film</a> from last week to get answers.</p><p><b>3. </b><strong>Dion Lewis</strong> chose New England over the Giants when he got back into the NFL (after he sat as a free agent for 985 days) because he knew the Patriots had helped smaller players succeed in the past. Now, the 5-foot-8 running back is the latest short star to help <a href="http://www.espn.com/blog/boston/new-england-patriots/post/_/id/4810470" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:carry the team" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">carry the team</a>.</p><p><b>4.</b> Rushing champion <strong>Kareem Hunt </strong>was <a href="http://www.kansascity.com/sports/nfl/kansas-city-chiefs/article194989514.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:named" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">named</a> rookie of the year by the Pro Football Writers Association.</p><p><strong>5. </strong>Former Giants coach <strong>Ben McAdoo</strong> is <a href="http://www.cleveland.com/browns/index.ssf/2018/01/ben_mcadoo_interviewing_for_br.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:interviewing" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">interviewing</a> for the Browns&#39; offensive coordinator job. He overlapped with Cleveland GM <strong>John Dorsey</strong> from 2006-12 in Green Bay.</p><p><b>6. </b>Armando Salguero <a href="http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/armando-salguero/article194920564.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:explains" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">explains</a> the backstory that will complicate negotiations between the Dolphins and wideout <strong>Jarvis Landry</strong>—beyond the $3 million-plus gap in the salaries each would prefer.</p><p>7. Maybe <strong>Doug Marrone</strong> was onto something when he reorganized the Jacksonville locker room and removed the table tennis after becoming coach, even if the team &quot;threw a tantrum,&quot; <a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/2018/01/16/jags-threw-a-tantrum-when-marrone-started-making-changes/109507820/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:according" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">according</a> to defensive tackle <strong>Malik Jackson</strong>.</p><p><strong>8. </strong>I&#39;ve seen several articles in local outlets explaining that this crop of remaining teams proves you don&#39;t have to overpay for a quarterback to contend. On The Ringer, Kevin Clark <a href="https://www.theringer.com/nfl-playoffs/2018/1/16/16896096/playoffs-2017-season-lessons-jaguars-patriots-vikings-eagles-quarterbacks" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:says" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">says</a> no, &quot;You still need a quarterback.&quot;</p><p><b>9. </b>You knew something was going to come out of <strong>Ben </strong><strong>Roethlisberger</strong>&#39;s <a href="http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/steelers/2018/01/16/ben-roethlisberger-todd-haley-qb-sneaks-steelers-jaguars/stories/201801160087" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Tuesday radio interview" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Tuesday radio interview</a>. Turns out, Roethlisberger says, he can&#39;t audible to a QB sneak. &quot;I truly have never said I don&#39;t want to run it,&quot; the QB added. &quot;I have asked for it.&quot; This all comes at a time when both his offensive coordinator and head coach are under varying degrees of public fire.</p><p><strong>10. </strong>Decry Thursday Night Football all you want, every alphabet-soup network <a href="http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2018/01/16/fox-abc-nbc-cbs-make-bids-for-tnf/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:still wants" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">still wants</a> to air it.</p><p><b><i>Have a story you think we should include in tomorrow’s Press Coverage?</i></b> <span><i>Let us know here.</i></span></p><h3><b>THE KICKER</b></h3><p>Jacksonville may not be known as a football-crazed town, but <strong>Leonard Fournette </strong>getting into a minor car accident and then signing a car bumper and taking a photo with another person involved in the wreck is <a href="http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000907265/article/leonard-fournette-uninjured-after-minor-car-crash" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:a football crazy story" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">a football crazy story</a>.</p><p><i>Question? Comment? Story idea?</i><i> Let the team know at </i><i><span>talkback@themmqb.com</span></i></p>
Titans Coaching Shuffle Leaves a Legend in Limbo

Dick LeBeau has either coached or played in the NFL for 59 straight years. He was drafted by the Browns when Jim Brown still roamed the backfield and made a career of playing defensive back against the likes of Johnny Unitas. After retiring in 1972, he immediately moved into a coaching role, popularizing the zone blitz for the Bengals in the 1980s. He wasn't successful as a head coach in Cincinnati during the early 2000s, but coached the Steelers' defense to two Super Bowl titles and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010. Now 80 years old, he's been an assistant coach in Tennessee since 2015. But with Mike Mularkey gone, there's a chance LeBeau’s NFL run could be over.

Jason Wolf reported in the Tennessean that LeBeau “would be comfortable retiring” if the fit isn't right with whoever becomes the next Titans coach. He has one year left on his contract, and has worked under both offensive and defensive-minded coaches in the past, but there's a chance whoever comes in would want to bring in his own assistant. It's also possible that LeBeau could transition into a consultant role; Wolf wrote that LeBeau's relationships with the current players are a big reason he's considering coming back. Either way, LeBeau's legendary status in NFL history is secured. Before last week's matchup, Bill Belichick said, “He’s one of the great coaches to ever walk the sidelines in this league."

Not getting this newsletter in your inbox yet? Join The MMQB’s Morning Huddle.

HOT READS

NOW ON THE MMQB: Jonathan Jones argues that Sean Payton needs to up his trash-talking game ... Conor Orr scouted the Patriots using Steve Belichick's scouting manual ... and more.

LATER TODAY: Peter King discusses the drama in Pittsburgh ... Orr looks at Tom Brady through Logan Ryan's eyes ... and more. Stay tuned.

WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED: On the Vikings, Broken Hearts and Unfettered Joy by Steve Rushin ... Albert Breer reported that Mike Vrabel is a leading candidate in Tennessee ... and more.

PRESS COVERAGE

1. Finally a cause for celebration, Saints fans: Drew Brees has no plans to even consider leaving New Orleans. Elsewhere in the Big Easy, Sean Payton was caught taunting again, and this time he says, "It was good playoff fun."

2. The biggest question mark in the playoffs is still whether Nick Foles is good enough to carry the Eagles. Jeff McLane dug deep (like 2,000 words deep) into the film from last week to get answers.

3. Dion Lewis chose New England over the Giants when he got back into the NFL (after he sat as a free agent for 985 days) because he knew the Patriots had helped smaller players succeed in the past. Now, the 5-foot-8 running back is the latest short star to help carry the team.

4. Rushing champion Kareem Hunt was named rookie of the year by the Pro Football Writers Association.

5. Former Giants coach Ben McAdoo is interviewing for the Browns' offensive coordinator job. He overlapped with Cleveland GM John Dorsey from 2006-12 in Green Bay.

6. Armando Salguero explains the backstory that will complicate negotiations between the Dolphins and wideout Jarvis Landry—beyond the $3 million-plus gap in the salaries each would prefer.

7. Maybe Doug Marrone was onto something when he reorganized the Jacksonville locker room and removed the table tennis after becoming coach, even if the team "threw a tantrum," according to defensive tackle Malik Jackson.

8. I've seen several articles in local outlets explaining that this crop of remaining teams proves you don't have to overpay for a quarterback to contend. On The Ringer, Kevin Clark says no, "You still need a quarterback."

9. You knew something was going to come out of Ben Roethlisberger's Tuesday radio interview. Turns out, Roethlisberger says, he can't audible to a QB sneak. "I truly have never said I don't want to run it," the QB added. "I have asked for it." This all comes at a time when both his offensive coordinator and head coach are under varying degrees of public fire.

10. Decry Thursday Night Football all you want, every alphabet-soup network still wants to air it.

Have a story you think we should include in tomorrow’s Press Coverage? Let us know here.

THE KICKER

Jacksonville may not be known as a football-crazed town, but Leonard Fournette getting into a minor car accident and then signing a car bumper and taking a photo with another person involved in the wreck is a football crazy story.

Question? Comment? Story idea? Let the team know at talkback@themmqb.com

<p>SAN JOSE, Calif. — Three days before Christmas, the holiday spirit flows like beard hair through these practice facility hallways. The Sharks already carry a league-wide reputation for keeping loose vibes, between their in-house table tennis league and the generally civil presence of <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/ptKqC68M8KFZKEGDCvzHOY?domain=si.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:that Civil War general lookalike" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">that Civil War general lookalike</a> named Jumbo. But everyone seems extra holly-jolly right now, gifting heavy praise for their best player’s best skill.</p><p>Defenseman Justin Braun: “It’s amazing.”</p><p>Forward Tomas Hertl: “For sure the most dangerous in the NHL.”</p><p>Goalie Aaron Dell: “I don’t think there’s anyone in the world better at it than him.”</p><p>Coach Pete DeBoer: “First off, he’s the best I’ve ever seen.”</p><p>No one shoots the puck like Brent Burns. This statement can be interpreted several ways, all of them equally true. He uncorks from distance at historic rates during the modern age of shot blocking; only Alex Ovechkin (84) has <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/_zyAC73M3VInkvWqtPq1sa?domain=hockey-reference.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:logged more five-shot games since 2015-16" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">logged more five-shot games since 2015-16</a> than Burns (76), who more than doubles the next closest defenseman, Erik Karlsson (37). En route to winning the Norris Trophy last season, he finished one shy of joining Mike Green as the only 30-goal blueliners <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/ewW_C82g2KsBRlwruy88L1?domain=hockey-reference.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:over the past quarter-century" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">over the past quarter-century</a>. Others can try to emulate Burns’s unique curl-and-drag snapshot, but no one can magically become 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds with sasquatch strength, “a linebacker on skates,” as DeBoer says.</p><p>Leaning against a wall outside his office, the coach is struggling to pick his favorite part of Burns’s shot. He begins with “dexterity,” citing the 32-year-old’s uncanny knack for firing while off-balance and whacking wobbly pucks. “I think that’s what makes him special,” DeBoer says.</p><p>Then again there’s the way Burns sashays backwards along the offensive blue line—most often right, his strong side, to left—and whips wristers on the move, somehow sizzles pucks through thickets of traffic. (“It’s a unique skill, getting the puck off under any type of duress, or time, at different angles, and getting it to the net.”) Or how Burns almost never fully winds up for slappers, yet still generates more power than most in the league. (“It’s not comparable to Shea Weber. But I would put his snapshot up against a lot of guys’ slapshots.”)</p><p>As for Burns’s sheer volume of attempts—he led the league with 320 shots in 2016-17; his 172 <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/_fiLC9rjrYFrBvY1txYmCs?domain=nhl.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:ranked fourth in the NHL through Wednesday" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">ranked fourth in the NHL through Wednesday</a> and first among defenseman by 41—DeBoer reaches for a cross-sport comparison. “I liken it to a guy like Peyton Manning, who you know isn’t going to run on you, is just going to sit there and pass,” he says. “And you game plan around the fact that he’s not going to run, he’s just going to pass, and he still finds a way to pick you apart.”</p><p>“Let’s talk about something else. Write about Dell. Write about our ping-pong league.”</p><p>Brent Burns does not wish to discuss his shot, let alone gush about its qualities. To him, this feels tantamount to divulging state secrets, even though anyone in the NHL can queue up his greatest hits on YouTube or Hudl. He understands the curiosity behind these questions, and will discuss things off-the-record, but politely declines to comment while a recorder light is blinking. “Just say I practice shooting left-handed in the summer,” he deadpans. “Or that I use the handle of a ping-pong paddle.”</p><p>A half-hour earlier, Burns had preceded the Sharks’ skate by arranging two lines of five pucks in the high slot, roughly parallel to the faceoff dots. Placing his stick blade barely behind each puck, he cranked them at goalie Martin Jones, using pure wrist strength alone. Teammates will note that Burns is always drilling his shot like this (though Burns rebuts that everyone in San Jose does). “It doesn’t just come out of nowhere,” says Chicago forward Tommy Wingels, a former teammate during their Stanley Cup Final run two seasons ago. “He works for that.”</p><p>Burns traces his training back to Jari Byrski, an skills coach who runs the Sk8On hockey school outside Toronto. Using unconventional equipment such as rubber boards that generate<a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/JLeAC0RMRDsY3Kr8tN04u3?domain=nationalpost.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:funky bounces" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"> funky bounces</a> and a dummy defenseman <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/fmi0CgJyJMF42rYkhAixkr?domain=youtube.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:with a yellow smiley face" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">with a yellow smiley face</a>, Byrski helped Burns develop a quick release that can handle pretty much any puck tumbling his way. “Most guys, it’ll pop up or they won’t get a whole lot on it,” Dell says. “He still gets it just like it’s sitting flat on him. I’ve seen him shoot rolling ones from way back or in his feet and I’m like, ‘How the hell did you even shoot that, let alone get a good shot off?’”</p><p>Part of this is technique. Much is supreme timing. Burns actually prefers bouncing pucks to flat ones, he says, because they pose knuckling nightmares for goalies. Indeed, his shot relies on deception more than raw power. When Burns fires while moving laterally, he first pulls the puck into his body before snapping it forward, which uses the curve on his blade to create a hellish midair spin, or abruptly stopping on an edge to <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/wWNBCjRBR6sZq2y9CESk4P?domain=imgur.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:unleash a half-slapper" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">unleash a half-slapper</a>. “Sometimes it’s scary because the shot is pretty hard and I get it a couple times in my ankles, my legs,” Hertl says. “It’s no fun. He laughs and he say, ‘Get out of my way!’”</p><p>Like a pitcher whose release point never wavers between fastballs and breaking pitches, Burns tries to start each drag with the same motion. “He can go pretty much anywhere with it,” Dell says. “He can pull it, shoot it, go glove side, blocker side, it looks the same either way and you have to react to it. Then he’s also got that option for that high tip. He’s really good at not just shooting when the goalie can see it. He’ll drag and wait until he gets some traffic in front.”</p><p>“That’s the biggest thing—how much movement he has from when he catches the puck to when he releases it,” Braun says. “Just real tough to be in that lane when he can do that. I haven’t seen many guys who have that range when he’s dragging to shoot it. We can do that, some of us, and it’s going to be a 30-mile-an-hour shot and no one’s afraid to block it. He rips it in there.”</p><p>The players are posed a question: You are an opposing assistant coach, tasked with assembling a scouting report on San Jose. What does the PowerPoint slide about defending Burns say?</p><p>Wingels: “I think you’ve got to know he’s not passing. He’s shooting it 100 out of 100 times there.”</p><p>Braun: “If I was playing against him, I’d just have my winger stand right next to him and not let him get the puck.”</p><p>These are cause-and-effect replies. Since everyone knows what Burns will do—since DeBoer arrived before the ‘15-16 season, he’s averaged 4.1 shots per game—an increasing amount of attention gets paid to his presence at the point. &quot;Guys are playing him a lot higher, so he has to be quicker getting the puck off, which gives him less time to pick where he’s going to go,&quot; Braun says. &quot;That’s the biggest change—guys know who he is, what he brings, so he has to adjust to that.&quot;</p><p>Likewise burdened by an uncharacteristically low shooting percentage, Burns <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/fIOdCkRgRXsoQ7qNCl5Kbq?domain=hockey-reference.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:is scoring about half as often as &#39;16-17" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">is scoring about half as often as &#39;16-17</a>, slimming the odds that he&#39;ll hit 20 goals for a third straight season. Then again, all seven of his goals have come since Nov. 22, a 21-game stretch in which Burns has 23 points. He was also named to a fourth consecutive NHL All-Star Game on Wednesday. </p><p>“The fact that he gets game-planned around and he hasn’t lost patience with that,” DeBoer says, “and he’s still finding a way to do what he does best, at the same rate, or similar rates as he’s had in the past when no one was paying attention to him … that’s incredible. He’s got high expectations for himself. But great players like that always do.</p><p>&quot;Puck luck’s going to take over. Every shot he takes has got some zip on it. It has a chance to go in. It’s not an easy save no matter what. Those eventually are going to find some holes.”</p><p>At this moment, Burns appears in the hallway. By now DeBoer has been briefed about his superstar’s reticence. Seeing us chatting, Burns logs one last formal protest as he wanders past.</p><p>“You’re not getting more are you?” Burns asks.</p><p>“You’re not giving him anything,” DeBoer replies.</p><p>“No, it’s a secret! It’s like a quarterback. These guys like to throw. Okay, where do you think they’re going next game? I said write about our ping-pong league.”</p><p>Hang on. A quarterback? Who was it that his coach compared Burns to again?</p><p>“Peyton Manning,” says DeBoer. “Doesn’t matter what you take away, he’s going to find something else.”</p><p>“I just don’t want to give any ideas,” Burns says, by now, already halfway down the hallway. He points to his head. “I get into the hamster house here, it could be game over!”</p><p>“You’re good,” DeBoer hollers. “You’re unstoppable. Don’t worry about it.”</p>
With Technique, Timing and Power, Brent Burns is the San Jose Sharks' Shot Machine

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Three days before Christmas, the holiday spirit flows like beard hair through these practice facility hallways. The Sharks already carry a league-wide reputation for keeping loose vibes, between their in-house table tennis league and the generally civil presence of that Civil War general lookalike named Jumbo. But everyone seems extra holly-jolly right now, gifting heavy praise for their best player’s best skill.

Defenseman Justin Braun: “It’s amazing.”

Forward Tomas Hertl: “For sure the most dangerous in the NHL.”

Goalie Aaron Dell: “I don’t think there’s anyone in the world better at it than him.”

Coach Pete DeBoer: “First off, he’s the best I’ve ever seen.”

No one shoots the puck like Brent Burns. This statement can be interpreted several ways, all of them equally true. He uncorks from distance at historic rates during the modern age of shot blocking; only Alex Ovechkin (84) has logged more five-shot games since 2015-16 than Burns (76), who more than doubles the next closest defenseman, Erik Karlsson (37). En route to winning the Norris Trophy last season, he finished one shy of joining Mike Green as the only 30-goal blueliners over the past quarter-century. Others can try to emulate Burns’s unique curl-and-drag snapshot, but no one can magically become 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds with sasquatch strength, “a linebacker on skates,” as DeBoer says.

Leaning against a wall outside his office, the coach is struggling to pick his favorite part of Burns’s shot. He begins with “dexterity,” citing the 32-year-old’s uncanny knack for firing while off-balance and whacking wobbly pucks. “I think that’s what makes him special,” DeBoer says.

Then again there’s the way Burns sashays backwards along the offensive blue line—most often right, his strong side, to left—and whips wristers on the move, somehow sizzles pucks through thickets of traffic. (“It’s a unique skill, getting the puck off under any type of duress, or time, at different angles, and getting it to the net.”) Or how Burns almost never fully winds up for slappers, yet still generates more power than most in the league. (“It’s not comparable to Shea Weber. But I would put his snapshot up against a lot of guys’ slapshots.”)

As for Burns’s sheer volume of attempts—he led the league with 320 shots in 2016-17; his 172 ranked fourth in the NHL through Wednesday and first among defenseman by 41—DeBoer reaches for a cross-sport comparison. “I liken it to a guy like Peyton Manning, who you know isn’t going to run on you, is just going to sit there and pass,” he says. “And you game plan around the fact that he’s not going to run, he’s just going to pass, and he still finds a way to pick you apart.”

“Let’s talk about something else. Write about Dell. Write about our ping-pong league.”

Brent Burns does not wish to discuss his shot, let alone gush about its qualities. To him, this feels tantamount to divulging state secrets, even though anyone in the NHL can queue up his greatest hits on YouTube or Hudl. He understands the curiosity behind these questions, and will discuss things off-the-record, but politely declines to comment while a recorder light is blinking. “Just say I practice shooting left-handed in the summer,” he deadpans. “Or that I use the handle of a ping-pong paddle.”

A half-hour earlier, Burns had preceded the Sharks’ skate by arranging two lines of five pucks in the high slot, roughly parallel to the faceoff dots. Placing his stick blade barely behind each puck, he cranked them at goalie Martin Jones, using pure wrist strength alone. Teammates will note that Burns is always drilling his shot like this (though Burns rebuts that everyone in San Jose does). “It doesn’t just come out of nowhere,” says Chicago forward Tommy Wingels, a former teammate during their Stanley Cup Final run two seasons ago. “He works for that.”

Burns traces his training back to Jari Byrski, an skills coach who runs the Sk8On hockey school outside Toronto. Using unconventional equipment such as rubber boards that generate funky bounces and a dummy defenseman with a yellow smiley face, Byrski helped Burns develop a quick release that can handle pretty much any puck tumbling his way. “Most guys, it’ll pop up or they won’t get a whole lot on it,” Dell says. “He still gets it just like it’s sitting flat on him. I’ve seen him shoot rolling ones from way back or in his feet and I’m like, ‘How the hell did you even shoot that, let alone get a good shot off?’”

Part of this is technique. Much is supreme timing. Burns actually prefers bouncing pucks to flat ones, he says, because they pose knuckling nightmares for goalies. Indeed, his shot relies on deception more than raw power. When Burns fires while moving laterally, he first pulls the puck into his body before snapping it forward, which uses the curve on his blade to create a hellish midair spin, or abruptly stopping on an edge to unleash a half-slapper. “Sometimes it’s scary because the shot is pretty hard and I get it a couple times in my ankles, my legs,” Hertl says. “It’s no fun. He laughs and he say, ‘Get out of my way!’”

Like a pitcher whose release point never wavers between fastballs and breaking pitches, Burns tries to start each drag with the same motion. “He can go pretty much anywhere with it,” Dell says. “He can pull it, shoot it, go glove side, blocker side, it looks the same either way and you have to react to it. Then he’s also got that option for that high tip. He’s really good at not just shooting when the goalie can see it. He’ll drag and wait until he gets some traffic in front.”

“That’s the biggest thing—how much movement he has from when he catches the puck to when he releases it,” Braun says. “Just real tough to be in that lane when he can do that. I haven’t seen many guys who have that range when he’s dragging to shoot it. We can do that, some of us, and it’s going to be a 30-mile-an-hour shot and no one’s afraid to block it. He rips it in there.”

The players are posed a question: You are an opposing assistant coach, tasked with assembling a scouting report on San Jose. What does the PowerPoint slide about defending Burns say?

Wingels: “I think you’ve got to know he’s not passing. He’s shooting it 100 out of 100 times there.”

Braun: “If I was playing against him, I’d just have my winger stand right next to him and not let him get the puck.”

These are cause-and-effect replies. Since everyone knows what Burns will do—since DeBoer arrived before the ‘15-16 season, he’s averaged 4.1 shots per game—an increasing amount of attention gets paid to his presence at the point. "Guys are playing him a lot higher, so he has to be quicker getting the puck off, which gives him less time to pick where he’s going to go," Braun says. "That’s the biggest change—guys know who he is, what he brings, so he has to adjust to that."

Likewise burdened by an uncharacteristically low shooting percentage, Burns is scoring about half as often as '16-17, slimming the odds that he'll hit 20 goals for a third straight season. Then again, all seven of his goals have come since Nov. 22, a 21-game stretch in which Burns has 23 points. He was also named to a fourth consecutive NHL All-Star Game on Wednesday.

“The fact that he gets game-planned around and he hasn’t lost patience with that,” DeBoer says, “and he’s still finding a way to do what he does best, at the same rate, or similar rates as he’s had in the past when no one was paying attention to him … that’s incredible. He’s got high expectations for himself. But great players like that always do.

"Puck luck’s going to take over. Every shot he takes has got some zip on it. It has a chance to go in. It’s not an easy save no matter what. Those eventually are going to find some holes.”

At this moment, Burns appears in the hallway. By now DeBoer has been briefed about his superstar’s reticence. Seeing us chatting, Burns logs one last formal protest as he wanders past.

“You’re not getting more are you?” Burns asks.

“You’re not giving him anything,” DeBoer replies.

“No, it’s a secret! It’s like a quarterback. These guys like to throw. Okay, where do you think they’re going next game? I said write about our ping-pong league.”

Hang on. A quarterback? Who was it that his coach compared Burns to again?

“Peyton Manning,” says DeBoer. “Doesn’t matter what you take away, he’s going to find something else.”

“I just don’t want to give any ideas,” Burns says, by now, already halfway down the hallway. He points to his head. “I get into the hamster house here, it could be game over!”

“You’re good,” DeBoer hollers. “You’re unstoppable. Don’t worry about it.”

<p>Brushing aside some shin guards from the adjacent stall at the New York Rangers’ training facility, Pavel Buchnevich waves a visitor over. </p><p><em>Welcome. Sit down</em>. <em>An interview? With pleasure.</em></p><p>He hadn’t always felt so comfortable. Seventeen months ago, Buchnevich leapt into an unknown land knowing only his agents, lugging just a small bag of skates and workout clothes, carrying no command of the local tongue. “Zero English, zero understand,” he says. “When I’m kid, at school, parents tell me you need English. I think, ‘What the f---? I never go U.S.”</p><p>But look at him now. For the next 15 minutes following a recent practice, Buchnevich winds through subjects ranging from European soccer to Russian saunas, superhero movies to video games. He pauses every so often, recalling certain words, but plows through without apology, adapting on the fly like always. Moving to the Big Apple at 21 years old? “Little scary.” Spending half of his rookie season shelved with an injured back? “Big problem.” Addressing fellow Rangers at the start? “Tough communication.” Talking to teammates today? “More confidence. Very easy.”</p><p>The progress is obvious everywhere. His 15 points at 5-on-5 <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/wXaXB1tOGp2dfR?domain=corsica.hockey" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:lead the team through Wednesday," class="link rapid-noclick-resp">lead the team through Wednesday,</a> his 23 total points <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/arMrB0iVrDQkh5?domain=hockey-reference.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:rank second behind Mats Zuccarello" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">rank second behind Mats Zuccarello</a>, and only center Mika Zibanejad enjoys a better even-strength shot attempt rate among lineup regulars. “He’s really woven himself into the fabric of the team,” says linemate Chris Kreider. “Always spending time with the guys. He’s never stopped learning, never felt complacent. It’s really impressive to see the strides that he takes.”</p><p>Leave the rink. Head east along I-287, across the Connecticut border. Find the outdoor deck with the ping-pong table. Start the story here.</p><p>It was July 4 weekend when Buchnevich migrated stateside for the first time in 2016, the most American holiday outside the most American metropolis. He had been given the option of staying with Russian speakers to ease the transition, but chose an English-only household in the interest of total immersion. “I couldn’t see him sitting in a classroom with a teacher for more than 15 minutes,” agent Todd Diamond says. “He wants to live life. He’ll learn on the fly.”</p><p>Armed with the Google Translate app on his phone, Buchnevich spent the next several days tailing his host family to barbecues around the Greenwich suburbs, watching fireworks light up the sky, marveling at the abundance of unfamiliar foods such as hot dogs and fresh berries. “It’s not always like this,” Rich Comeau cautioned him. A native Canadian who works in wealth management, Comeau, 54, had eagerly agreed to help Diamond, a longtime close friend, by putting up Buchnevich for two months that summer. Separated by more than three decades in age, many worlds apart in culture—Buchnevich hails from Cherepovets, a riverside steel town north of Moscow—they nonetheless bonded fast … largely thanks to table tennis.</p><p>Most days followed the same routine. In the morning, Buchnevich would work out at a nearby gym run by trainer Ben Prentiss, <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/27a7BLFA59DOsn?domain=prentisshockey.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:whose long list of clientele" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">whose long list of clientele</a> includes Kreider and Rangers defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. At night, Buchnevich would return home, battle Comeau for an hour, shower off the sweat, and scarf down a healthy dinner. He wasn’t bluffing about his paddle skills, either. When the 2016 Summer Olympics opened in Rio de Janeiro, Buchnevich would watch table tennis matches to study the players’ moves and then bust them out later, near perfect. “He picked up a new serve every day,” Comeau says. “Every shot was on the white line. You know how it is—the spin, and now I’m down 9–1.”</p><p>“I’m very good,” Buchnevich reports, straight-faced, before breaking into a smile. “Him so bad.”</p><p>The Rangers always knew that he maintained high confidence levels, though occasionally this bordered on outright cockiness; once, director of player personnel Gordie Clark recalls seeing a teenage Buchnevich at an international tournament, “pointing up at the scoreboard, pointing to the other team, one finger up and then opening his hand.” <em>We’re first! You’re fifth! </em>“You worried about it earlier,” Clark says, “But it actually was a strength. I think the cockiness in the end came out through the fact that he really firmly believed he belongs here.”</p><p>Indeed, Buchnevich’s skills were undeniable. To Clark, they evoked the late <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/6RYRB5SV6wMWhO?domain=slapshot.blogs.nytimes.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Alexei Cherepanov" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Alexei Cherepanov</a>, a first-rounder in ‘07—similar builds, similar skating abilities, “hockey IQ and hands at another level.” Exactly why Buchnevich <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/NVbVBRc4NvxoSD?domain=hockeydb.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:fell to the 75th overall selection six years later" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">fell to the 75th overall selection six years later</a> remains a mystery; Clark suspects other scouts were dissuaded by his swagger, while Diamond cites what he calls “that Russian-factor nonsense,” a league-wide hesitance to draft Russian players out of fear that they might never make the NHL leap. For Buchnevich, the wait at Prudential Center was both unexpected and torturous. “Long sit,” he says.</p><p>Following three-plus seasons in the KHL, Buchnevich finally <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/bAOAB0TkJ50eTA?domain=capfriendly.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:signed his entry-level NHL contract" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">signed his entry-level NHL contract</a> and attended his first Rangers development camp <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/Jq0qBrswJ3DnhQ?domain=nydailynews.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:in June 2016" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">in June 2016</a>. One day, Buchnevich was walking with Diamond, who speaks Russian. They ran into Clark, who sought to boost the rookie’s confidence by remarking, “You’re better than a third-round pick.” Diamond translated this, then laughed at Buchnevich’s reply. As Clark remembers, “Todd turns to me and said, ‘Well, why didn’t you take him earlier?’”</p><p>“If he feels like he’s been slighted undeservedly, it definitely puts him in a bad mood,” Diamond says. “When he’s pissed off, he can produce.”</p><p>Still, life presented plenty unforeseen challenges. Buchnevich moved into a turnkey apartment near Madison Square Garden for the easy rink commute, but found that location at once loud and lonely. He had made steady progress under Prentiss’ supervision, gaining five pounds of muscle and shedding three percentage points of body fat, but lacked flexibility and strength relative to his peers, which led to back and core problems that sidelined him from mid-Nov. to mid-Jan. “Everyone go on trip, you go home and sit, watch TV show,” Buchnevich says. “Come here to play hockey, not sit.” There were sparks of brilliance, like separate four-game point streaks that sandwiched the injury, but he also only appeared in five of New York’s 12 playoff games, <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/X8A8BXimzM32sX?domain=hockey-reference.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:benched for the remaining nights as a healthy scratch." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">benched for the remaining nights as a healthy scratch.</a></p><p>Larger signs of growth were visible off the ice. He still harbors a secret sweet tooth for American delicacies like Hostess cupcakes and Twinkies, but embraced a meal plan that went heavy on grilled chicken and quinoa. Prentiss noticed how Buchnevich began ribbing teammates between sets, comfortable with trash talk typical of all hockey players. As a Christmas present Buchnevich bought Comeau one of those voice-activated Google Home devices, “so we could always have that for a translator when he drops by.”</p><p>They no longer need it.</p><p>Back in the Rangers’ locker room, Buchnevich considers how much has changed since those early days. Before New York lost to Dallas in a shootout Monday, a group of players passed the pregame hours by watching the 2016 superhero movie <em>Deadpool</em>. He had no trouble joining along. “Some joke, slang, tough to me,” Buchnevich says. “But better right now.”</p><p>Each day brings increasing levels of comfort. Earlier this season Buchnevich moved near several teammates in the Tribeca neighborhood, furnishing his one-bedroom with a personal touch. On the road he competes against teammates in <em>NHL 18</em> and <em>FIFA—</em>he is an avid soccer fan, cheering for the attacking style of Manchester City and Barcelona—on Zibanejad’s PlayStation. “This year, he’s really settled in and feels comfortable,” says Comeau, who again hosted Buchnevich at his house last summer but no longer needed to lend his car after Buchnevich bought a new one for himself. “He’s much happier, much more outgoing, doing a lot of stuff with teammates on the team. Feels like he’s got a place, a home base.”</p><p>The same seems true at the rink. Most individual video review sessions are self-explanatory—skate here, stick here, do this and that—but Buchnevich never labors to understand concepts from coaches. “It’s not an issue,” Rangers’ bench boss Alain Vigneault says. “Everything that we tell the team now during meetings, he picks up. He’s come a long way in that aspect. </p><p>A little bit challenging for him at the beginning, but he’s fine now.&quot;</p><p>More than fine, in fact. Just watch how he shimmied around Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara, went backhand to forehand in close quarters, <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/7GVGBgCRMpOgSJ?domain=youtube.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:and beat goalie Tuukka Rask top shelf" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">and beat goalie Tuukka Rask top shelf</a> on national television. Or the <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/EJ0JBriWK7noT4?domain=nhl.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:one-touch pass that fed Kreider against Florida" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">one-touch pass that fed Kreider against Florida</a> after Thanksgiving, one of his team-high 12 primary points at 5-on-5. “Every once in awhile he’ll blow a slap shot by the goalie,” Clark says. “But his passing ability is on another planet.”</p><p>?</p><p>This Wednesday, Buchnevich belted a backdoor feed from Kreider for his 11th goal of the season, already three more than he notched during all of &#39;16-17—in 10 fewer games. </p><p>“You can see, he’s more comfortable, more confident, physically stronger on the puck and more determined,” says goalie Henrik Lundqvist. “You see all these different things he has, taking steps, playing at a level where it’s really helping us.”</p><p>Whether through visiting Russian saunas in Manhattan or venturing into Brooklyn to try new restaurants, Buchnevich remains connected with his heritage while living abroad. His parents—mother Yelena Razumova is a former high-level skier; father Andrey Buchnevich worked at a steel factory and now coaches youth soccer—plan to arrive before Christmas and stay through the Winter Classic against Buffalo at Citi Field. It will be the first time that Buchnevich’s mother has ever traveled outside Russia. He misses her cooking. Specifically the borscht.</p><p>Of course, there are always more hurdles to overcome. Midway through the interview, he gestures across the carpet, toward a cluster of other reporters. “I can&#39;t take a camera,&quot; he says. &quot;Too nervous for camera. Maybe I say bad word or something. Maybe later.” </p><p>Knowing Buchnevich, he&#39;ll catch on fast.</p>
Pavel Buchnevich Is Sparking the Rangers ... All While He Tries to Master English

Brushing aside some shin guards from the adjacent stall at the New York Rangers’ training facility, Pavel Buchnevich waves a visitor over.

Welcome. Sit down. An interview? With pleasure.

He hadn’t always felt so comfortable. Seventeen months ago, Buchnevich leapt into an unknown land knowing only his agents, lugging just a small bag of skates and workout clothes, carrying no command of the local tongue. “Zero English, zero understand,” he says. “When I’m kid, at school, parents tell me you need English. I think, ‘What the f---? I never go U.S.”

But look at him now. For the next 15 minutes following a recent practice, Buchnevich winds through subjects ranging from European soccer to Russian saunas, superhero movies to video games. He pauses every so often, recalling certain words, but plows through without apology, adapting on the fly like always. Moving to the Big Apple at 21 years old? “Little scary.” Spending half of his rookie season shelved with an injured back? “Big problem.” Addressing fellow Rangers at the start? “Tough communication.” Talking to teammates today? “More confidence. Very easy.”

The progress is obvious everywhere. His 15 points at 5-on-5 lead the team through Wednesday, his 23 total points rank second behind Mats Zuccarello, and only center Mika Zibanejad enjoys a better even-strength shot attempt rate among lineup regulars. “He’s really woven himself into the fabric of the team,” says linemate Chris Kreider. “Always spending time with the guys. He’s never stopped learning, never felt complacent. It’s really impressive to see the strides that he takes.”

Leave the rink. Head east along I-287, across the Connecticut border. Find the outdoor deck with the ping-pong table. Start the story here.

It was July 4 weekend when Buchnevich migrated stateside for the first time in 2016, the most American holiday outside the most American metropolis. He had been given the option of staying with Russian speakers to ease the transition, but chose an English-only household in the interest of total immersion. “I couldn’t see him sitting in a classroom with a teacher for more than 15 minutes,” agent Todd Diamond says. “He wants to live life. He’ll learn on the fly.”

Armed with the Google Translate app on his phone, Buchnevich spent the next several days tailing his host family to barbecues around the Greenwich suburbs, watching fireworks light up the sky, marveling at the abundance of unfamiliar foods such as hot dogs and fresh berries. “It’s not always like this,” Rich Comeau cautioned him. A native Canadian who works in wealth management, Comeau, 54, had eagerly agreed to help Diamond, a longtime close friend, by putting up Buchnevich for two months that summer. Separated by more than three decades in age, many worlds apart in culture—Buchnevich hails from Cherepovets, a riverside steel town north of Moscow—they nonetheless bonded fast … largely thanks to table tennis.

Most days followed the same routine. In the morning, Buchnevich would work out at a nearby gym run by trainer Ben Prentiss, whose long list of clientele includes Kreider and Rangers defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. At night, Buchnevich would return home, battle Comeau for an hour, shower off the sweat, and scarf down a healthy dinner. He wasn’t bluffing about his paddle skills, either. When the 2016 Summer Olympics opened in Rio de Janeiro, Buchnevich would watch table tennis matches to study the players’ moves and then bust them out later, near perfect. “He picked up a new serve every day,” Comeau says. “Every shot was on the white line. You know how it is—the spin, and now I’m down 9–1.”

“I’m very good,” Buchnevich reports, straight-faced, before breaking into a smile. “Him so bad.”

The Rangers always knew that he maintained high confidence levels, though occasionally this bordered on outright cockiness; once, director of player personnel Gordie Clark recalls seeing a teenage Buchnevich at an international tournament, “pointing up at the scoreboard, pointing to the other team, one finger up and then opening his hand.” We’re first! You’re fifth! “You worried about it earlier,” Clark says, “But it actually was a strength. I think the cockiness in the end came out through the fact that he really firmly believed he belongs here.”

Indeed, Buchnevich’s skills were undeniable. To Clark, they evoked the late Alexei Cherepanov, a first-rounder in ‘07—similar builds, similar skating abilities, “hockey IQ and hands at another level.” Exactly why Buchnevich fell to the 75th overall selection six years later remains a mystery; Clark suspects other scouts were dissuaded by his swagger, while Diamond cites what he calls “that Russian-factor nonsense,” a league-wide hesitance to draft Russian players out of fear that they might never make the NHL leap. For Buchnevich, the wait at Prudential Center was both unexpected and torturous. “Long sit,” he says.

Following three-plus seasons in the KHL, Buchnevich finally signed his entry-level NHL contract and attended his first Rangers development camp in June 2016. One day, Buchnevich was walking with Diamond, who speaks Russian. They ran into Clark, who sought to boost the rookie’s confidence by remarking, “You’re better than a third-round pick.” Diamond translated this, then laughed at Buchnevich’s reply. As Clark remembers, “Todd turns to me and said, ‘Well, why didn’t you take him earlier?’”

“If he feels like he’s been slighted undeservedly, it definitely puts him in a bad mood,” Diamond says. “When he’s pissed off, he can produce.”

Still, life presented plenty unforeseen challenges. Buchnevich moved into a turnkey apartment near Madison Square Garden for the easy rink commute, but found that location at once loud and lonely. He had made steady progress under Prentiss’ supervision, gaining five pounds of muscle and shedding three percentage points of body fat, but lacked flexibility and strength relative to his peers, which led to back and core problems that sidelined him from mid-Nov. to mid-Jan. “Everyone go on trip, you go home and sit, watch TV show,” Buchnevich says. “Come here to play hockey, not sit.” There were sparks of brilliance, like separate four-game point streaks that sandwiched the injury, but he also only appeared in five of New York’s 12 playoff games, benched for the remaining nights as a healthy scratch.

Larger signs of growth were visible off the ice. He still harbors a secret sweet tooth for American delicacies like Hostess cupcakes and Twinkies, but embraced a meal plan that went heavy on grilled chicken and quinoa. Prentiss noticed how Buchnevich began ribbing teammates between sets, comfortable with trash talk typical of all hockey players. As a Christmas present Buchnevich bought Comeau one of those voice-activated Google Home devices, “so we could always have that for a translator when he drops by.”

They no longer need it.

Back in the Rangers’ locker room, Buchnevich considers how much has changed since those early days. Before New York lost to Dallas in a shootout Monday, a group of players passed the pregame hours by watching the 2016 superhero movie Deadpool. He had no trouble joining along. “Some joke, slang, tough to me,” Buchnevich says. “But better right now.”

Each day brings increasing levels of comfort. Earlier this season Buchnevich moved near several teammates in the Tribeca neighborhood, furnishing his one-bedroom with a personal touch. On the road he competes against teammates in NHL 18 and FIFA—he is an avid soccer fan, cheering for the attacking style of Manchester City and Barcelona—on Zibanejad’s PlayStation. “This year, he’s really settled in and feels comfortable,” says Comeau, who again hosted Buchnevich at his house last summer but no longer needed to lend his car after Buchnevich bought a new one for himself. “He’s much happier, much more outgoing, doing a lot of stuff with teammates on the team. Feels like he’s got a place, a home base.”

The same seems true at the rink. Most individual video review sessions are self-explanatory—skate here, stick here, do this and that—but Buchnevich never labors to understand concepts from coaches. “It’s not an issue,” Rangers’ bench boss Alain Vigneault says. “Everything that we tell the team now during meetings, he picks up. He’s come a long way in that aspect.

A little bit challenging for him at the beginning, but he’s fine now."

More than fine, in fact. Just watch how he shimmied around Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara, went backhand to forehand in close quarters, and beat goalie Tuukka Rask top shelf on national television. Or the one-touch pass that fed Kreider against Florida after Thanksgiving, one of his team-high 12 primary points at 5-on-5. “Every once in awhile he’ll blow a slap shot by the goalie,” Clark says. “But his passing ability is on another planet.”

?

This Wednesday, Buchnevich belted a backdoor feed from Kreider for his 11th goal of the season, already three more than he notched during all of '16-17—in 10 fewer games.

“You can see, he’s more comfortable, more confident, physically stronger on the puck and more determined,” says goalie Henrik Lundqvist. “You see all these different things he has, taking steps, playing at a level where it’s really helping us.”

Whether through visiting Russian saunas in Manhattan or venturing into Brooklyn to try new restaurants, Buchnevich remains connected with his heritage while living abroad. His parents—mother Yelena Razumova is a former high-level skier; father Andrey Buchnevich worked at a steel factory and now coaches youth soccer—plan to arrive before Christmas and stay through the Winter Classic against Buffalo at Citi Field. It will be the first time that Buchnevich’s mother has ever traveled outside Russia. He misses her cooking. Specifically the borscht.

Of course, there are always more hurdles to overcome. Midway through the interview, he gestures across the carpet, toward a cluster of other reporters. “I can't take a camera," he says. "Too nervous for camera. Maybe I say bad word or something. Maybe later.”

Knowing Buchnevich, he'll catch on fast.

<p>Brushing aside some shin guards from the adjacent stall at the New York Rangers’ training facility, Pavel Buchnevich waves a visitor over. </p><p><em>Welcome. Sit down</em>. <em>An interview? With pleasure.</em></p><p>He hadn’t always felt so comfortable. Seventeen months ago, Buchnevich leapt into an unknown land knowing only his agents, lugging just a small bag of skates and workout clothes, carrying no command of the local tongue. “Zero English, zero understand,” he says. “When I’m kid, at school, parents tell me you need English. I think, ‘What the f---? I never go U.S.”</p><p>But look at him now. For the next 15 minutes following a recent practice, Buchnevich winds through subjects ranging from European soccer to Russian saunas, superhero movies to video games. He pauses every so often, recalling certain words, but plows through without apology, adapting on the fly like always. Moving to the Big Apple at 21 years old? “Little scary.” Spending half of his rookie season shelved with an injured back? “Big problem.” Addressing fellow Rangers at the start? “Tough communication.” Talking to teammates today? “More confidence. Very easy.”</p><p>The progress is obvious everywhere. His 15 points at 5-on-5 <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/wXaXB1tOGp2dfR?domain=corsica.hockey" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:lead the team through Wednesday," class="link rapid-noclick-resp">lead the team through Wednesday,</a> his 23 total points <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/arMrB0iVrDQkh5?domain=hockey-reference.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:rank second behind Mats Zuccarello" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">rank second behind Mats Zuccarello</a>, and only center Mika Zibanejad enjoys a better even-strength shot attempt rate among lineup regulars. “He’s really woven himself into the fabric of the team,” says linemate Chris Kreider. “Always spending time with the guys. He’s never stopped learning, never felt complacent. It’s really impressive to see the strides that he takes.”</p><p>Leave the rink. Head east along I-287, across the Connecticut border. Find the outdoor deck with the ping-pong table. Start the story here.</p><p>It was July 4 weekend when Buchnevich migrated stateside for the first time in 2016, the most American holiday outside the most American metropolis. He had been given the option of staying with Russian speakers to ease the transition, but chose an English-only household in the interest of total immersion. “I couldn’t see him sitting in a classroom with a teacher for more than 15 minutes,” agent Todd Diamond says. “He wants to live life. He’ll learn on the fly.”</p><p>Armed with the Google Translate app on his phone, Buchnevich spent the next several days tailing his host family to barbecues around the Greenwich suburbs, watching fireworks light up the sky, marveling at the abundance of unfamiliar foods such as hot dogs and fresh berries. “It’s not always like this,” Rich Comeau cautioned him. A native Canadian who works in wealth management, Comeau, 54, had eagerly agreed to help Diamond, a longtime close friend, by putting up Buchnevich for two months that summer. Separated by more than three decades in age, many worlds apart in culture—Buchnevich hails from Cherepovets, a riverside steel town north of Moscow—they nonetheless bonded fast … largely thanks to table tennis.</p><p>Most days followed the same routine. In the morning, Buchnevich would work out at a nearby gym run by trainer Ben Prentiss, <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/27a7BLFA59DOsn?domain=prentisshockey.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:whose long list of clientele" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">whose long list of clientele</a> includes Kreider and Rangers defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. At night, Buchnevich would return home, battle Comeau for an hour, shower off the sweat, and scarf down a healthy dinner. He wasn’t bluffing about his paddle skills, either. When the 2016 Summer Olympics opened in Rio de Janeiro, Buchnevich would watch table tennis matches to study the players’ moves and then bust them out later, near perfect. “He picked up a new serve every day,” Comeau says. “Every shot was on the white line. You know how it is—the spin, and now I’m down 9–1.”</p><p>“I’m very good,” Buchnevich reports, straight-faced, before breaking into a smile. “Him so bad.”</p><p>The Rangers always knew that he maintained high confidence levels, though occasionally this bordered on outright cockiness; once, director of player personnel Gordie Clark recalls seeing a teenage Buchnevich at an international tournament, “pointing up at the scoreboard, pointing to the other team, one finger up and then opening his hand.” <em>We’re first! You’re fifth! </em>“You worried about it earlier,” Clark says, “But it actually was a strength. I think the cockiness in the end came out through the fact that he really firmly believed he belongs here.”</p><p>Indeed, Buchnevich’s skills were undeniable. To Clark, they evoked the late <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/6RYRB5SV6wMWhO?domain=slapshot.blogs.nytimes.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Alexei Cherepanov" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Alexei Cherepanov</a>, a first-rounder in ‘07—similar builds, similar skating abilities, “hockey IQ and hands at another level.” Exactly why Buchnevich <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/NVbVBRc4NvxoSD?domain=hockeydb.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:fell to the 75th overall selection six years later" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">fell to the 75th overall selection six years later</a> remains a mystery; Clark suspects other scouts were dissuaded by his swagger, while Diamond cites what he calls “that Russian-factor nonsense,” a league-wide hesitance to draft Russian players out of fear that they might never make the NHL leap. For Buchnevich, the wait at Prudential Center was both unexpected and torturous. “Long sit,” he says.</p><p>Following three-plus seasons in the KHL, Buchnevich finally <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/bAOAB0TkJ50eTA?domain=capfriendly.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:signed his entry-level NHL contract" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">signed his entry-level NHL contract</a> and attended his first Rangers development camp <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/Jq0qBrswJ3DnhQ?domain=nydailynews.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:in June 2016" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">in June 2016</a>. One day, Buchnevich was walking with Diamond, who speaks Russian. They ran into Clark, who sought to boost the rookie’s confidence by remarking, “You’re better than a third-round pick.” Diamond translated this, then laughed at Buchnevich’s reply. As Clark remembers, “Todd turns to me and said, ‘Well, why didn’t you take him earlier?’”</p><p>“If he feels like he’s been slighted undeservedly, it definitely puts him in a bad mood,” Diamond says. “When he’s pissed off, he can produce.”</p><p>Still, life presented plenty unforeseen challenges. Buchnevich moved into a turnkey apartment near Madison Square Garden for the easy rink commute, but found that location at once loud and lonely. He had made steady progress under Prentiss’ supervision, gaining five pounds of muscle and shedding three percentage points of body fat, but lacked flexibility and strength relative to his peers, which led to back and core problems that sidelined him from mid-Nov. to mid-Jan. “Everyone go on trip, you go home and sit, watch TV show,” Buchnevich says. “Come here to play hockey, not sit.” There were sparks of brilliance, like separate four-game point streaks that sandwiched the injury, but he also only appeared in five of New York’s 12 playoff games, <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/X8A8BXimzM32sX?domain=hockey-reference.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:benched for the remaining nights as a healthy scratch." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">benched for the remaining nights as a healthy scratch.</a></p><p>Larger signs of growth were visible off the ice. He still harbors a secret sweet tooth for American delicacies like Hostess cupcakes and Twinkies, but embraced a meal plan that went heavy on grilled chicken and quinoa. Prentiss noticed how Buchnevich began ribbing teammates between sets, comfortable with trash talk typical of all hockey players. As a Christmas present Buchnevich bought Comeau one of those voice-activated Google Home devices, “so we could always have that for a translator when he drops by.”</p><p>They no longer need it.</p><p>Back in the Rangers’ locker room, Buchnevich considers how much has changed since those early days. Before New York lost to Dallas in a shootout Monday, a group of players passed the pregame hours by watching the 2016 superhero movie <em>Deadpool</em>. He had no trouble joining along. “Some joke, slang, tough to me,” Buchnevich says. “But better right now.”</p><p>Each day brings increasing levels of comfort. Earlier this season Buchnevich moved near several teammates in the Tribeca neighborhood, furnishing his one-bedroom with a personal touch. On the road he competes against teammates in <em>NHL 18</em> and <em>FIFA—</em>he is an avid soccer fan, cheering for the attacking style of Manchester City and Barcelona—on Zibanejad’s PlayStation. “This year, he’s really settled in and feels comfortable,” says Comeau, who again hosted Buchnevich at his house last summer but no longer needed to lend his car after Buchnevich bought a new one for himself. “He’s much happier, much more outgoing, doing a lot of stuff with teammates on the team. Feels like he’s got a place, a home base.”</p><p>The same seems true at the rink. Most individual video review sessions are self-explanatory—skate here, stick here, do this and that—but Buchnevich never labors to understand concepts from coaches. “It’s not an issue,” Rangers’ bench boss Alain Vigneault says. “Everything that we tell the team now during meetings, he picks up. He’s come a long way in that aspect. </p><p>A little bit challenging for him at the beginning, but he’s fine now.&quot;</p><p>More than fine, in fact. Just watch how he shimmied around Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara, went backhand to forehand in close quarters, <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/7GVGBgCRMpOgSJ?domain=youtube.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:and beat goalie Tuukka Rask top shelf" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">and beat goalie Tuukka Rask top shelf</a> on national television. Or the <a href="https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/EJ0JBriWK7noT4?domain=nhl.com" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:one-touch pass that fed Kreider against Florida" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">one-touch pass that fed Kreider against Florida</a> after Thanksgiving, one of his team-high 12 primary points at 5-on-5. “Every once in awhile he’ll blow a slap shot by the goalie,” Clark says. “But his passing ability is on another planet.”</p><p>?</p><p>This Wednesday, Buchnevich belted a backdoor feed from Kreider for his 11th goal of the season, already three more than he notched during all of &#39;16-17—in 10 fewer games. </p><p>“You can see, he’s more comfortable, more confident, physically stronger on the puck and more determined,” says goalie Henrik Lundqvist. “You see all these different things he has, taking steps, playing at a level where it’s really helping us.”</p><p>Whether through visiting Russian saunas in Manhattan or venturing into Brooklyn to try new restaurants, Buchnevich remains connected with his heritage while living abroad. His parents—mother Yelena Razumova is a former high-level skier; father Andrey Buchnevich worked at a steel factory and now coaches youth soccer—plan to arrive before Christmas and stay through the Winter Classic against Buffalo at Citi Field. It will be the first time that Buchnevich’s mother has ever traveled outside Russia. He misses her cooking. Specifically the borscht.</p><p>Of course, there are always more hurdles to overcome. Midway through the interview, he gestures across the carpet, toward a cluster of other reporters. “I can&#39;t take a camera,&quot; he says. &quot;Too nervous for camera. Maybe I say bad word or something. Maybe later.” </p><p>Knowing Buchnevich, he&#39;ll catch on fast.</p>
Pavel Buchnevich Is Sparking the Rangers ... All While He Tries to Master English

Brushing aside some shin guards from the adjacent stall at the New York Rangers’ training facility, Pavel Buchnevich waves a visitor over.

Welcome. Sit down. An interview? With pleasure.

He hadn’t always felt so comfortable. Seventeen months ago, Buchnevich leapt into an unknown land knowing only his agents, lugging just a small bag of skates and workout clothes, carrying no command of the local tongue. “Zero English, zero understand,” he says. “When I’m kid, at school, parents tell me you need English. I think, ‘What the f---? I never go U.S.”

But look at him now. For the next 15 minutes following a recent practice, Buchnevich winds through subjects ranging from European soccer to Russian saunas, superhero movies to video games. He pauses every so often, recalling certain words, but plows through without apology, adapting on the fly like always. Moving to the Big Apple at 21 years old? “Little scary.” Spending half of his rookie season shelved with an injured back? “Big problem.” Addressing fellow Rangers at the start? “Tough communication.” Talking to teammates today? “More confidence. Very easy.”

The progress is obvious everywhere. His 15 points at 5-on-5 lead the team through Wednesday, his 23 total points rank second behind Mats Zuccarello, and only center Mika Zibanejad enjoys a better even-strength shot attempt rate among lineup regulars. “He’s really woven himself into the fabric of the team,” says linemate Chris Kreider. “Always spending time with the guys. He’s never stopped learning, never felt complacent. It’s really impressive to see the strides that he takes.”

Leave the rink. Head east along I-287, across the Connecticut border. Find the outdoor deck with the ping-pong table. Start the story here.

It was July 4 weekend when Buchnevich migrated stateside for the first time in 2016, the most American holiday outside the most American metropolis. He had been given the option of staying with Russian speakers to ease the transition, but chose an English-only household in the interest of total immersion. “I couldn’t see him sitting in a classroom with a teacher for more than 15 minutes,” agent Todd Diamond says. “He wants to live life. He’ll learn on the fly.”

Armed with the Google Translate app on his phone, Buchnevich spent the next several days tailing his host family to barbecues around the Greenwich suburbs, watching fireworks light up the sky, marveling at the abundance of unfamiliar foods such as hot dogs and fresh berries. “It’s not always like this,” Rich Comeau cautioned him. A native Canadian who works in wealth management, Comeau, 54, had eagerly agreed to help Diamond, a longtime close friend, by putting up Buchnevich for two months that summer. Separated by more than three decades in age, many worlds apart in culture—Buchnevich hails from Cherepovets, a riverside steel town north of Moscow—they nonetheless bonded fast … largely thanks to table tennis.

Most days followed the same routine. In the morning, Buchnevich would work out at a nearby gym run by trainer Ben Prentiss, whose long list of clientele includes Kreider and Rangers defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. At night, Buchnevich would return home, battle Comeau for an hour, shower off the sweat, and scarf down a healthy dinner. He wasn’t bluffing about his paddle skills, either. When the 2016 Summer Olympics opened in Rio de Janeiro, Buchnevich would watch table tennis matches to study the players’ moves and then bust them out later, near perfect. “He picked up a new serve every day,” Comeau says. “Every shot was on the white line. You know how it is—the spin, and now I’m down 9–1.”

“I’m very good,” Buchnevich reports, straight-faced, before breaking into a smile. “Him so bad.”

The Rangers always knew that he maintained high confidence levels, though occasionally this bordered on outright cockiness; once, director of player personnel Gordie Clark recalls seeing a teenage Buchnevich at an international tournament, “pointing up at the scoreboard, pointing to the other team, one finger up and then opening his hand.” We’re first! You’re fifth! “You worried about it earlier,” Clark says, “But it actually was a strength. I think the cockiness in the end came out through the fact that he really firmly believed he belongs here.”

Indeed, Buchnevich’s skills were undeniable. To Clark, they evoked the late Alexei Cherepanov, a first-rounder in ‘07—similar builds, similar skating abilities, “hockey IQ and hands at another level.” Exactly why Buchnevich fell to the 75th overall selection six years later remains a mystery; Clark suspects other scouts were dissuaded by his swagger, while Diamond cites what he calls “that Russian-factor nonsense,” a league-wide hesitance to draft Russian players out of fear that they might never make the NHL leap. For Buchnevich, the wait at Prudential Center was both unexpected and torturous. “Long sit,” he says.

Following three-plus seasons in the KHL, Buchnevich finally signed his entry-level NHL contract and attended his first Rangers development camp in June 2016. One day, Buchnevich was walking with Diamond, who speaks Russian. They ran into Clark, who sought to boost the rookie’s confidence by remarking, “You’re better than a third-round pick.” Diamond translated this, then laughed at Buchnevich’s reply. As Clark remembers, “Todd turns to me and said, ‘Well, why didn’t you take him earlier?’”

“If he feels like he’s been slighted undeservedly, it definitely puts him in a bad mood,” Diamond says. “When he’s pissed off, he can produce.”

Still, life presented plenty unforeseen challenges. Buchnevich moved into a turnkey apartment near Madison Square Garden for the easy rink commute, but found that location at once loud and lonely. He had made steady progress under Prentiss’ supervision, gaining five pounds of muscle and shedding three percentage points of body fat, but lacked flexibility and strength relative to his peers, which led to back and core problems that sidelined him from mid-Nov. to mid-Jan. “Everyone go on trip, you go home and sit, watch TV show,” Buchnevich says. “Come here to play hockey, not sit.” There were sparks of brilliance, like separate four-game point streaks that sandwiched the injury, but he also only appeared in five of New York’s 12 playoff games, benched for the remaining nights as a healthy scratch.

Larger signs of growth were visible off the ice. He still harbors a secret sweet tooth for American delicacies like Hostess cupcakes and Twinkies, but embraced a meal plan that went heavy on grilled chicken and quinoa. Prentiss noticed how Buchnevich began ribbing teammates between sets, comfortable with trash talk typical of all hockey players. As a Christmas present Buchnevich bought Comeau one of those voice-activated Google Home devices, “so we could always have that for a translator when he drops by.”

They no longer need it.

Back in the Rangers’ locker room, Buchnevich considers how much has changed since those early days. Before New York lost to Dallas in a shootout Monday, a group of players passed the pregame hours by watching the 2016 superhero movie Deadpool. He had no trouble joining along. “Some joke, slang, tough to me,” Buchnevich says. “But better right now.”

Each day brings increasing levels of comfort. Earlier this season Buchnevich moved near several teammates in the Tribeca neighborhood, furnishing his one-bedroom with a personal touch. On the road he competes against teammates in NHL 18 and FIFA—he is an avid soccer fan, cheering for the attacking style of Manchester City and Barcelona—on Zibanejad’s PlayStation. “This year, he’s really settled in and feels comfortable,” says Comeau, who again hosted Buchnevich at his house last summer but no longer needed to lend his car after Buchnevich bought a new one for himself. “He’s much happier, much more outgoing, doing a lot of stuff with teammates on the team. Feels like he’s got a place, a home base.”

The same seems true at the rink. Most individual video review sessions are self-explanatory—skate here, stick here, do this and that—but Buchnevich never labors to understand concepts from coaches. “It’s not an issue,” Rangers’ bench boss Alain Vigneault says. “Everything that we tell the team now during meetings, he picks up. He’s come a long way in that aspect.

A little bit challenging for him at the beginning, but he’s fine now."

More than fine, in fact. Just watch how he shimmied around Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara, went backhand to forehand in close quarters, and beat goalie Tuukka Rask top shelf on national television. Or the one-touch pass that fed Kreider against Florida after Thanksgiving, one of his team-high 12 primary points at 5-on-5. “Every once in awhile he’ll blow a slap shot by the goalie,” Clark says. “But his passing ability is on another planet.”

?

This Wednesday, Buchnevich belted a backdoor feed from Kreider for his 11th goal of the season, already three more than he notched during all of '16-17—in 10 fewer games.

“You can see, he’s more comfortable, more confident, physically stronger on the puck and more determined,” says goalie Henrik Lundqvist. “You see all these different things he has, taking steps, playing at a level where it’s really helping us.”

Whether through visiting Russian saunas in Manhattan or venturing into Brooklyn to try new restaurants, Buchnevich remains connected with his heritage while living abroad. His parents—mother Yelena Razumova is a former high-level skier; father Andrey Buchnevich worked at a steel factory and now coaches youth soccer—plan to arrive before Christmas and stay through the Winter Classic against Buffalo at Citi Field. It will be the first time that Buchnevich’s mother has ever traveled outside Russia. He misses her cooking. Specifically the borscht.

Of course, there are always more hurdles to overcome. Midway through the interview, he gestures across the carpet, toward a cluster of other reporters. “I can't take a camera," he says. "Too nervous for camera. Maybe I say bad word or something. Maybe later.”

Knowing Buchnevich, he'll catch on fast.

Actors Jason Isaacs and Shazad Latif reveal the games that helped to bond the cast of "Star Trek: Discovery" - including table tennis and role play game Mafia. (Nov. 6)
'Star Trek: Discovery' - powered by table tennis
Actors Jason Isaacs and Shazad Latif reveal the games that helped to bond the cast of "Star Trek: Discovery" - including table tennis and role play game Mafia. (Nov. 6)
Actors Jason Isaacs and Shazad Latif reveal the games that helped to bond the cast of "Star Trek: Discovery" - including table tennis and role play game Mafia. (Nov. 6)
'Star Trek: Discovery' - powered by table tennis
Actors Jason Isaacs and Shazad Latif reveal the games that helped to bond the cast of "Star Trek: Discovery" - including table tennis and role play game Mafia. (Nov. 6)
Actors Jason Isaacs and Shazad Latif reveal the games that helped to bond the cast of "Star Trek: Discovery" - including table tennis and role play game Mafia. (Nov. 6)
'Star Trek: Discovery' - powered by table tennis
Actors Jason Isaacs and Shazad Latif reveal the games that helped to bond the cast of "Star Trek: Discovery" - including table tennis and role play game Mafia. (Nov. 6)
Actors Jason Isaacs and Shazad Latif reveal the games that helped to bond the cast of "Star Trek: Discovery" - including table tennis and role play game Mafia. (Nov. 6)
'Star Trek: Discovery' - powered by table tennis
Actors Jason Isaacs and Shazad Latif reveal the games that helped to bond the cast of "Star Trek: Discovery" - including table tennis and role play game Mafia. (Nov. 6)
Actors Jason Isaacs and Shazad Latif reveal the games that helped to bond the cast of "Star Trek: Discovery" - including table tennis and role play game Mafia. (Nov. 6)
'Star Trek: Discovery' - powered by table tennis
Actors Jason Isaacs and Shazad Latif reveal the games that helped to bond the cast of "Star Trek: Discovery" - including table tennis and role play game Mafia. (Nov. 6)
&#39;Suburbicon&#39; star Julianne Moore teases a scene from her upcoming movie that involves both an A-list actor and a piece of table tennis equipment.
Julianne Moore Got Spicy With Matt Damon And A Ping Pong Paddle
'Suburbicon' star Julianne Moore teases a scene from her upcoming movie that involves both an A-list actor and a piece of table tennis equipment.
&#39;Suburbicon&#39; star Julianne Moore teases a scene from her upcoming movie that involves both an A-list actor and a piece of table tennis equipment.
Julianne Moore Got Spicy With Matt Damon And A Ping Pong Paddle
'Suburbicon' star Julianne Moore teases a scene from her upcoming movie that involves both an A-list actor and a piece of table tennis equipment.
&#39;Suburbicon&#39; star Julianne Moore teases a scene from her upcoming movie that involves both an A-list actor and a piece of table tennis equipment.
Julianne Moore Got Spicy With Matt Damon And A Ping Pong Paddle
'Suburbicon' star Julianne Moore teases a scene from her upcoming movie that involves both an A-list actor and a piece of table tennis equipment.
'Suburbicon' star Julianne Moore teases a scene from her upcoming movie that involves both an A-list actor and a piece of table tennis equipment.
Julianne Moore Got Spicy With Matt Damon And A Ping Pong Paddle
'Suburbicon' star Julianne Moore teases a scene from her upcoming movie that involves both an A-list actor and a piece of table tennis equipment.
<p>Xue Yinxian is a 79-year-old former Chinese doctor seeking asylum in Germany after revealing that &quot;more than 10,000&quot; Chinese athletes were taking performance enhancing drugs in the 1980s and 1990s as part of a systemic doping scandal by the country, he tells German broadcaster ARD.</p><p>The doctor claims that systemic doping had its roots with athletes as young as 11 years old and was used in major Olympic sports including swimming, diving, track and field, table tennis, soccer, volleyball, basketball and more. Xue worked closely with Chinese national teams in the 1970s. Xue said she was dismissed from her job with the national gymnastics team after refusing to assist an athlete with doping before the 1988 Seoul Olympics. In 2012, she fled the country after blowing the whistle on doping in 2012. </p><p>The World Anti-Doping Agency issued a statement saying that it was looking the allegations.</p><p>“Medals were tainted by doping – gold, silver and bronze,&quot; he <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/oct/22/china-compulsory-doping-olympic-athletes-claims-whistleblower-athletics" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:said" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">said</a>, according to <em>The Guardian</em>. &quot;There must have been more than 10,000 people involved. People believed only in doping, anyone who took doping substances was seen to be defending the country. All international medals [won by Chinese athletes in that time] should be taken back.”</p><p>&quot;One trainer came to me and said, &#39;Doctor Xue, the boys&#39; breasts keep getting bigger,&#39;&quot; Xue also said. &quot;These boys were about 13 to 14 years old.&quot;</p><p>The IOC&#39;s statute of limitations on re-testing drug samples from the 80s and 90s has passed so it is unlikely those allegedly tainted medals will ever get to clean athletes.</p><p>No members of the Chinese Olympic Committee and China’s sports ministry commented to the ARD reporters.</p><p>This is not the first time that China has been linked to doping in the 80s and 90s. In February 2016, a letter was revealed in which several Chinese athletes said controversial track coach Ma Junren helped operate a state-sponsored doping system. Ma&#39;s athletes set national and world records on the track that were considered unbreakable for years due to the possible use of performance-enhancing drugs. Whenever Ma was asked about his athlete&#39;s success, he would credit it to altitude training and athletes taking turtle blood. The leaked letter was being investigated by the International Association of Athletics Federation as the World Anti-Doing Agency investigated Russia for its own systemic doping.</p>
Report: ‘More Than 10,000' Athletes Doped in 80s and 90s, Former Chinese Doctor Claims

Xue Yinxian is a 79-year-old former Chinese doctor seeking asylum in Germany after revealing that "more than 10,000" Chinese athletes were taking performance enhancing drugs in the 1980s and 1990s as part of a systemic doping scandal by the country, he tells German broadcaster ARD.

The doctor claims that systemic doping had its roots with athletes as young as 11 years old and was used in major Olympic sports including swimming, diving, track and field, table tennis, soccer, volleyball, basketball and more. Xue worked closely with Chinese national teams in the 1970s. Xue said she was dismissed from her job with the national gymnastics team after refusing to assist an athlete with doping before the 1988 Seoul Olympics. In 2012, she fled the country after blowing the whistle on doping in 2012.

The World Anti-Doping Agency issued a statement saying that it was looking the allegations.

“Medals were tainted by doping – gold, silver and bronze," he said, according to The Guardian. "There must have been more than 10,000 people involved. People believed only in doping, anyone who took doping substances was seen to be defending the country. All international medals [won by Chinese athletes in that time] should be taken back.”

"One trainer came to me and said, 'Doctor Xue, the boys' breasts keep getting bigger,'" Xue also said. "These boys were about 13 to 14 years old."

The IOC's statute of limitations on re-testing drug samples from the 80s and 90s has passed so it is unlikely those allegedly tainted medals will ever get to clean athletes.

No members of the Chinese Olympic Committee and China’s sports ministry commented to the ARD reporters.

This is not the first time that China has been linked to doping in the 80s and 90s. In February 2016, a letter was revealed in which several Chinese athletes said controversial track coach Ma Junren helped operate a state-sponsored doping system. Ma's athletes set national and world records on the track that were considered unbreakable for years due to the possible use of performance-enhancing drugs. Whenever Ma was asked about his athlete's success, he would credit it to altitude training and athletes taking turtle blood. The leaked letter was being investigated by the International Association of Athletics Federation as the World Anti-Doing Agency investigated Russia for its own systemic doping.

Asked to define what football means on Merseyside, Peter Reid’s eyes sparkle. And the proud Evertonian, the man who played 159 times for his boyhood favourites, the dynamic heart of the most successful side in the club’s history, chuckles as he recalls a derby match at Anfield in the mid-eighties, when the two Liverpool clubs were vying for the title. “We haven’t had a kick for 20 minutes and the ball goes out to Barnesy [John Barnes] and I absolutely smash him,” he remembers. Such was the vigour of his assault the home crowd were immediately on their feet, yelling their fury. Above the shouts, however, Reid could pick out the comments of one particularly enraged Liverpool follower. “I hear: ‘you bluenosed ****, you big-eared *******’. He’s absolutely giving it to me. I looked in the crowd and went: ‘Uncle Arthur, sit down’. On my life. My own uncle. And I’d got him players’ lounge tickets. That is what [Merseyside] football is about. He was the nicest man in the world and he was giving it to me.” Watching from the Goodison stands this season, however, the once-a-blue-always-a-blue Reid reckons Uncle Arthur can rest easy. He thinks it is unlikely any of the current side would provoke such a reaction. “I think this Everton team is in a scrap,” he says of the wretched form which has seen them tumble down the Premier League. “The team I was in could scrap. I am not sure this team can.” Reid says Everton are &#39;in a scrap&#39; Credit: Reuters As he was in possession of a football, once Reid warms to his theme it is hard to dislodge him. As he sits in a Liverpool hotel, where he is promoting his autobiography, his passion for the club is obvious. “The owner [Farhad Moshiri] comes out and says the fans’ expectations are too high. No, you’re wrong mate. For me as an Everton fan we should have expectations higher than what we are seeing. So that is wrong from the top in my opinion.” The issue, he suggests, can be traced to a lack of forward planning. “I think it was a mistake not getting a striker. They are the most difficult to get, but you know you need one so you have to put all your resources into getting one. It was common knowledge that [Romelu] Lukaku was going last January. I know it is hard. But when you are Everton go and get one.” And instead of buying a finisher, his worry is that the manager Ronald Koeman spent the Lukaku money on a bunch of players whose roles overlap. Everton have not replaced Romelu Lukaku sufficiently Credit: Reuters “Without being too critical of Mr Koeman if I am buying a player for £45million I want to play him in his position,” he says, with reference to Gylfi Sigurdsson being used as a wide man. “But he has brought in a few players who play in the same position, so it is always going to be a problem.” So what would Reid do if he were in charge? He had a very successful time managing Manchester City to fifth, then steering Sunderland to two successive seventh place finishes in the Premier League, how would he resolve what he describes as the team’s “missing legs”? “I would ask them to roll their sleeves up,” he says. “You get back to basics. You have to say: ‘Lads we have to make it hard for them when they have the ball’. I’d love to be part of that. I am not saying I want to be the next Everton manager but this is what that club needs, it needs a depth of desire.” Not that he anticipates his phone ringing with an invitation to take over in the Goodison dug out. Happily working as a coach at Wigan Athletic, he believes his time as a Premier League manager has long gone. Not because, at 61, he is too old. But because the fashion is for more exotic bosses, for what Moshiri describes as “Hollywood”. It is a fashion, Reid believes, that leads to outstanding local talent being over-looked. Peter Reid&#39;s best players “I think Sean Dyche has done a great job, Eddie Howe has done a great job. Why aren’t they getting linked when a big job comes up? That’s the question. I think there’s a lot of good British coaches: Michael O’Neill at Northern Ireland, Christ Almighty what a job. But they’re not Hollywood. Dyche isn’t Hollywood because he’s got a deep, squeaky voice. Plus his dress sense isn’t as good as Jose [Mourinho] or Pep [Guardiola].” As he goes about his duties at Wigan, Reid acknowledges that, while the basics of the game remain the same, he has been obliged to change much of his approach. The methods he revealed on Premier Passions, a fly-on-the-wall documentary series that followed him through a season as Sunderland boss, no longer pass muster. “You can’t do now what I did in Premier Passions, effin and blindin at modern players, they’d just down tools,” he suggests. “At the time that was the way. But I learned very quickly at Leeds. Mark Viduka’s reaction told me everything. I’ve laid into him and I could see in his eyes he’s thinking I’m a piece of *****. As they’re going out for the second half I’ve pulled him over and said, ‘hey listen I’ve only made you an example because you’re the best player’. I had to think on my feet. But that was the point I realised I couldn’t do that anymore.” Reid acknowledges times have changed in football coaching Credit: Tony Woolliscroft Though he suggests some of the old ways, albeit impossible now, were not wholly bad. Like the time Howard Kendall, his manager at Everton then at Manchester City, organised a table tennis tournament after City had lost a home game. “He’d sent out for five crates of Budweiser. We set up at the table, half the team behind me, half the team behind him. You had to get the bat, hit the ball and do a little run. Someone knocks one into the net. Howard says to him, ‘go over there, get a bottle of Bud and get it down you’. It’s half-ten in the morning. Five crates of Bud later, we are all in Mulligan’s, on the ****. What happens? We go on a run and only lose two of the next twelve. I look back on things like that and you see that it changed the whole team spirit. That’s great man-management.” Though the sad truth is, he agrees, it is probably not an option available to Ronald Koeman. Cheer Up Peter Reid, his autobiography, is published by Trinity Mirror, RRP £18.99. ebook also available.
Peter Reid: 'The Everton team I was in could scrap. I am not sure this team can'
Asked to define what football means on Merseyside, Peter Reid’s eyes sparkle. And the proud Evertonian, the man who played 159 times for his boyhood favourites, the dynamic heart of the most successful side in the club’s history, chuckles as he recalls a derby match at Anfield in the mid-eighties, when the two Liverpool clubs were vying for the title. “We haven’t had a kick for 20 minutes and the ball goes out to Barnesy [John Barnes] and I absolutely smash him,” he remembers. Such was the vigour of his assault the home crowd were immediately on their feet, yelling their fury. Above the shouts, however, Reid could pick out the comments of one particularly enraged Liverpool follower. “I hear: ‘you bluenosed ****, you big-eared *******’. He’s absolutely giving it to me. I looked in the crowd and went: ‘Uncle Arthur, sit down’. On my life. My own uncle. And I’d got him players’ lounge tickets. That is what [Merseyside] football is about. He was the nicest man in the world and he was giving it to me.” Watching from the Goodison stands this season, however, the once-a-blue-always-a-blue Reid reckons Uncle Arthur can rest easy. He thinks it is unlikely any of the current side would provoke such a reaction. “I think this Everton team is in a scrap,” he says of the wretched form which has seen them tumble down the Premier League. “The team I was in could scrap. I am not sure this team can.” Reid says Everton are 'in a scrap' Credit: Reuters As he was in possession of a football, once Reid warms to his theme it is hard to dislodge him. As he sits in a Liverpool hotel, where he is promoting his autobiography, his passion for the club is obvious. “The owner [Farhad Moshiri] comes out and says the fans’ expectations are too high. No, you’re wrong mate. For me as an Everton fan we should have expectations higher than what we are seeing. So that is wrong from the top in my opinion.” The issue, he suggests, can be traced to a lack of forward planning. “I think it was a mistake not getting a striker. They are the most difficult to get, but you know you need one so you have to put all your resources into getting one. It was common knowledge that [Romelu] Lukaku was going last January. I know it is hard. But when you are Everton go and get one.” And instead of buying a finisher, his worry is that the manager Ronald Koeman spent the Lukaku money on a bunch of players whose roles overlap. Everton have not replaced Romelu Lukaku sufficiently Credit: Reuters “Without being too critical of Mr Koeman if I am buying a player for £45million I want to play him in his position,” he says, with reference to Gylfi Sigurdsson being used as a wide man. “But he has brought in a few players who play in the same position, so it is always going to be a problem.” So what would Reid do if he were in charge? He had a very successful time managing Manchester City to fifth, then steering Sunderland to two successive seventh place finishes in the Premier League, how would he resolve what he describes as the team’s “missing legs”? “I would ask them to roll their sleeves up,” he says. “You get back to basics. You have to say: ‘Lads we have to make it hard for them when they have the ball’. I’d love to be part of that. I am not saying I want to be the next Everton manager but this is what that club needs, it needs a depth of desire.” Not that he anticipates his phone ringing with an invitation to take over in the Goodison dug out. Happily working as a coach at Wigan Athletic, he believes his time as a Premier League manager has long gone. Not because, at 61, he is too old. But because the fashion is for more exotic bosses, for what Moshiri describes as “Hollywood”. It is a fashion, Reid believes, that leads to outstanding local talent being over-looked. Peter Reid's best players “I think Sean Dyche has done a great job, Eddie Howe has done a great job. Why aren’t they getting linked when a big job comes up? That’s the question. I think there’s a lot of good British coaches: Michael O’Neill at Northern Ireland, Christ Almighty what a job. But they’re not Hollywood. Dyche isn’t Hollywood because he’s got a deep, squeaky voice. Plus his dress sense isn’t as good as Jose [Mourinho] or Pep [Guardiola].” As he goes about his duties at Wigan, Reid acknowledges that, while the basics of the game remain the same, he has been obliged to change much of his approach. The methods he revealed on Premier Passions, a fly-on-the-wall documentary series that followed him through a season as Sunderland boss, no longer pass muster. “You can’t do now what I did in Premier Passions, effin and blindin at modern players, they’d just down tools,” he suggests. “At the time that was the way. But I learned very quickly at Leeds. Mark Viduka’s reaction told me everything. I’ve laid into him and I could see in his eyes he’s thinking I’m a piece of *****. As they’re going out for the second half I’ve pulled him over and said, ‘hey listen I’ve only made you an example because you’re the best player’. I had to think on my feet. But that was the point I realised I couldn’t do that anymore.” Reid acknowledges times have changed in football coaching Credit: Tony Woolliscroft Though he suggests some of the old ways, albeit impossible now, were not wholly bad. Like the time Howard Kendall, his manager at Everton then at Manchester City, organised a table tennis tournament after City had lost a home game. “He’d sent out for five crates of Budweiser. We set up at the table, half the team behind me, half the team behind him. You had to get the bat, hit the ball and do a little run. Someone knocks one into the net. Howard says to him, ‘go over there, get a bottle of Bud and get it down you’. It’s half-ten in the morning. Five crates of Bud later, we are all in Mulligan’s, on the ****. What happens? We go on a run and only lose two of the next twelve. I look back on things like that and you see that it changed the whole team spirit. That’s great man-management.” Though the sad truth is, he agrees, it is probably not an option available to Ronald Koeman. Cheer Up Peter Reid, his autobiography, is published by Trinity Mirror, RRP £18.99. ebook also available.
Asked to define what football means on Merseyside, Peter Reid’s eyes sparkle. And the proud Evertonian, the man who played 159 times for his boyhood favourites, the dynamic heart of the most successful side in the club’s history, chuckles as he recalls a derby match at Anfield in the mid-eighties, when the two Liverpool clubs were vying for the title. “We haven’t had a kick for 20 minutes and the ball goes out to Barnesy [John Barnes] and I absolutely smash him,” he remembers. Such was the vigour of his assault the home crowd were immediately on their feet, yelling their fury. Above the shouts, however, Reid could pick out the comments of one particularly enraged Liverpool follower. “I hear: ‘you bluenosed ****, you big-eared *******’. He’s absolutely giving it to me. I looked in the crowd and went: ‘Uncle Arthur, sit down’. On my life. My own uncle. And I’d got him players’ lounge tickets. That is what [Merseyside] football is about. He was the nicest man in the world and he was giving it to me.” Watching from the Goodison stands this season, however, the once-a-blue-always-a-blue Reid reckons Uncle Arthur can rest easy. He thinks it is unlikely any of the current side would provoke such a reaction. “I think this Everton team is in a scrap,” he says of the wretched form which has seen them tumble down the Premier League. “The team I was in could scrap. I am not sure this team can.” Reid says Everton are &#39;in a scrap&#39; Credit: Reuters As he was in possession of a football, once Reid warms to his theme it is hard to dislodge him. As he sits in a Liverpool hotel, where he is promoting his autobiography, his passion for the club is obvious. “The owner [Farhad Moshiri] comes out and says the fans’ expectations are too high. No, you’re wrong mate. For me as an Everton fan we should have expectations higher than what we are seeing. So that is wrong from the top in my opinion.” The issue, he suggests, can be traced to a lack of forward planning. “I think it was a mistake not getting a striker. They are the most difficult to get, but you know you need one so you have to put all your resources into getting one. It was common knowledge that [Romelu] Lukaku was going last January. I know it is hard. But when you are Everton go and get one.” And instead of buying a finisher, his worry is that the manager Ronald Koeman spent the Lukaku money on a bunch of players whose roles overlap. Everton have not replaced Romelu Lukaku sufficiently Credit: Reuters “Without being too critical of Mr Koeman if I am buying a player for £45million I want to play him in his position,” he says, with reference to Gylfi Sigurdsson being used as a wide man. “But he has brought in a few players who play in the same position, so it is always going to be a problem.” So what would Reid do if he were in charge? He had a very successful time managing Manchester City to fifth, then steering Sunderland to two successive seventh place finishes in the Premier League, how would he resolve what he describes as the team’s “missing legs”? “I would ask them to roll their sleeves up,” he says. “You get back to basics. You have to say: ‘Lads we have to make it hard for them when they have the ball’. I’d love to be part of that. I am not saying I want to be the next Everton manager but this is what that club needs, it needs a depth of desire.” Not that he anticipates his phone ringing with an invitation to take over in the Goodison dug out. Happily working as a coach at Wigan Athletic, he believes his time as a Premier League manager has long gone. Not because, at 61, he is too old. But because the fashion is for more exotic bosses, for what Moshiri describes as “Hollywood”. It is a fashion, Reid believes, that leads to outstanding local talent being over-looked. Peter Reid&#39;s best players “I think Sean Dyche has done a great job, Eddie Howe has done a great job. Why aren’t they getting linked when a big job comes up? That’s the question. I think there’s a lot of good British coaches: Michael O’Neill at Northern Ireland, Christ Almighty what a job. But they’re not Hollywood. Dyche isn’t Hollywood because he’s got a deep, squeaky voice. Plus his dress sense isn’t as good as Jose [Mourinho] or Pep [Guardiola].” As he goes about his duties at Wigan, Reid acknowledges that, while the basics of the game remain the same, he has been obliged to change much of his approach. The methods he revealed on Premier Passions, a fly-on-the-wall documentary series that followed him through a season as Sunderland boss, no longer pass muster. “You can’t do now what I did in Premier Passions, effin and blindin at modern players, they’d just down tools,” he suggests. “At the time that was the way. But I learned very quickly at Leeds. Mark Viduka’s reaction told me everything. I’ve laid into him and I could see in his eyes he’s thinking I’m a piece of *****. As they’re going out for the second half I’ve pulled him over and said, ‘hey listen I’ve only made you an example because you’re the best player’. I had to think on my feet. But that was the point I realised I couldn’t do that anymore.” Reid acknowledges times have changed in football coaching Credit: Tony Woolliscroft Though he suggests some of the old ways, albeit impossible now, were not wholly bad. Like the time Howard Kendall, his manager at Everton then at Manchester City, organised a table tennis tournament after City had lost a home game. “He’d sent out for five crates of Budweiser. We set up at the table, half the team behind me, half the team behind him. You had to get the bat, hit the ball and do a little run. Someone knocks one into the net. Howard says to him, ‘go over there, get a bottle of Bud and get it down you’. It’s half-ten in the morning. Five crates of Bud later, we are all in Mulligan’s, on the ****. What happens? We go on a run and only lose two of the next twelve. I look back on things like that and you see that it changed the whole team spirit. That’s great man-management.” Though the sad truth is, he agrees, it is probably not an option available to Ronald Koeman. Cheer Up Peter Reid, his autobiography, is published by Trinity Mirror, RRP £18.99. ebook also available.
Peter Reid: 'The Everton team I was in could scrap. I am not sure this team can'
Asked to define what football means on Merseyside, Peter Reid’s eyes sparkle. And the proud Evertonian, the man who played 159 times for his boyhood favourites, the dynamic heart of the most successful side in the club’s history, chuckles as he recalls a derby match at Anfield in the mid-eighties, when the two Liverpool clubs were vying for the title. “We haven’t had a kick for 20 minutes and the ball goes out to Barnesy [John Barnes] and I absolutely smash him,” he remembers. Such was the vigour of his assault the home crowd were immediately on their feet, yelling their fury. Above the shouts, however, Reid could pick out the comments of one particularly enraged Liverpool follower. “I hear: ‘you bluenosed ****, you big-eared *******’. He’s absolutely giving it to me. I looked in the crowd and went: ‘Uncle Arthur, sit down’. On my life. My own uncle. And I’d got him players’ lounge tickets. That is what [Merseyside] football is about. He was the nicest man in the world and he was giving it to me.” Watching from the Goodison stands this season, however, the once-a-blue-always-a-blue Reid reckons Uncle Arthur can rest easy. He thinks it is unlikely any of the current side would provoke such a reaction. “I think this Everton team is in a scrap,” he says of the wretched form which has seen them tumble down the Premier League. “The team I was in could scrap. I am not sure this team can.” Reid says Everton are 'in a scrap' Credit: Reuters As he was in possession of a football, once Reid warms to his theme it is hard to dislodge him. As he sits in a Liverpool hotel, where he is promoting his autobiography, his passion for the club is obvious. “The owner [Farhad Moshiri] comes out and says the fans’ expectations are too high. No, you’re wrong mate. For me as an Everton fan we should have expectations higher than what we are seeing. So that is wrong from the top in my opinion.” The issue, he suggests, can be traced to a lack of forward planning. “I think it was a mistake not getting a striker. They are the most difficult to get, but you know you need one so you have to put all your resources into getting one. It was common knowledge that [Romelu] Lukaku was going last January. I know it is hard. But when you are Everton go and get one.” And instead of buying a finisher, his worry is that the manager Ronald Koeman spent the Lukaku money on a bunch of players whose roles overlap. Everton have not replaced Romelu Lukaku sufficiently Credit: Reuters “Without being too critical of Mr Koeman if I am buying a player for £45million I want to play him in his position,” he says, with reference to Gylfi Sigurdsson being used as a wide man. “But he has brought in a few players who play in the same position, so it is always going to be a problem.” So what would Reid do if he were in charge? He had a very successful time managing Manchester City to fifth, then steering Sunderland to two successive seventh place finishes in the Premier League, how would he resolve what he describes as the team’s “missing legs”? “I would ask them to roll their sleeves up,” he says. “You get back to basics. You have to say: ‘Lads we have to make it hard for them when they have the ball’. I’d love to be part of that. I am not saying I want to be the next Everton manager but this is what that club needs, it needs a depth of desire.” Not that he anticipates his phone ringing with an invitation to take over in the Goodison dug out. Happily working as a coach at Wigan Athletic, he believes his time as a Premier League manager has long gone. Not because, at 61, he is too old. But because the fashion is for more exotic bosses, for what Moshiri describes as “Hollywood”. It is a fashion, Reid believes, that leads to outstanding local talent being over-looked. Peter Reid's best players “I think Sean Dyche has done a great job, Eddie Howe has done a great job. Why aren’t they getting linked when a big job comes up? That’s the question. I think there’s a lot of good British coaches: Michael O’Neill at Northern Ireland, Christ Almighty what a job. But they’re not Hollywood. Dyche isn’t Hollywood because he’s got a deep, squeaky voice. Plus his dress sense isn’t as good as Jose [Mourinho] or Pep [Guardiola].” As he goes about his duties at Wigan, Reid acknowledges that, while the basics of the game remain the same, he has been obliged to change much of his approach. The methods he revealed on Premier Passions, a fly-on-the-wall documentary series that followed him through a season as Sunderland boss, no longer pass muster. “You can’t do now what I did in Premier Passions, effin and blindin at modern players, they’d just down tools,” he suggests. “At the time that was the way. But I learned very quickly at Leeds. Mark Viduka’s reaction told me everything. I’ve laid into him and I could see in his eyes he’s thinking I’m a piece of *****. As they’re going out for the second half I’ve pulled him over and said, ‘hey listen I’ve only made you an example because you’re the best player’. I had to think on my feet. But that was the point I realised I couldn’t do that anymore.” Reid acknowledges times have changed in football coaching Credit: Tony Woolliscroft Though he suggests some of the old ways, albeit impossible now, were not wholly bad. Like the time Howard Kendall, his manager at Everton then at Manchester City, organised a table tennis tournament after City had lost a home game. “He’d sent out for five crates of Budweiser. We set up at the table, half the team behind me, half the team behind him. You had to get the bat, hit the ball and do a little run. Someone knocks one into the net. Howard says to him, ‘go over there, get a bottle of Bud and get it down you’. It’s half-ten in the morning. Five crates of Bud later, we are all in Mulligan’s, on the ****. What happens? We go on a run and only lose two of the next twelve. I look back on things like that and you see that it changed the whole team spirit. That’s great man-management.” Though the sad truth is, he agrees, it is probably not an option available to Ronald Koeman. Cheer Up Peter Reid, his autobiography, is published by Trinity Mirror, RRP £18.99. ebook also available.
Asked to define what football means on Merseyside, Peter Reid’s eyes sparkle. And the proud Evertonian, the man who played 159 times for his boyhood favourites, the dynamic heart of the most successful side in the club’s history, chuckles as he recalls a derby match at Anfield in the mid-eighties, when the two Liverpool clubs were vying for the title. “We haven’t had a kick for 20 minutes and the ball goes out to Barnesy [John Barnes] and I absolutely smash him,” he remembers. Such was the vigour of his assault the home crowd were immediately on their feet, yelling their fury. Above the shouts, however, Reid could pick out the comments of one particularly enraged Liverpool follower. “I hear: ‘you bluenosed ****, you big-eared *******’. He’s absolutely giving it to me. I looked in the crowd and went: ‘Uncle Arthur, sit down’. On my life. My own uncle. And I’d got him players’ lounge tickets. That is what [Merseyside] football is about. He was the nicest man in the world and he was giving it to me.” Watching from the Goodison stands this season, however, the once-a-blue-always-a-blue Reid reckons Uncle Arthur can rest easy. He thinks it is unlikely any of the current side would provoke such a reaction. “I think this Everton team is in a scrap,” he says of the wretched form which has seen them tumble down the Premier League. “The team I was in could scrap. I am not sure this team can.” Reid says Everton are &#39;in a scrap&#39; Credit: Reuters As he was in possession of a football, once Reid warms to his theme it is hard to dislodge him. As he sits in a Liverpool hotel, where he is promoting his autobiography, his passion for the club is obvious. “The owner [Farhad Moshiri] comes out and says the fans’ expectations are too high. No, you’re wrong mate. For me as an Everton fan we should have expectations higher than what we are seeing. So that is wrong from the top in my opinion.” The issue, he suggests, can be traced to a lack of forward planning. “I think it was a mistake not getting a striker. They are the most difficult to get, but you know you need one so you have to put all your resources into getting one. It was common knowledge that [Romelu] Lukaku was going last January. I know it is hard. But when you are Everton go and get one.” And instead of buying a finisher, his worry is that the manager Ronald Koeman spent the Lukaku money on a bunch of players whose roles overlap. Everton have not replaced Romelu Lukaku sufficiently Credit: Reuters “Without being too critical of Mr Koeman if I am buying a player for £45million I want to play him in his position,” he says, with reference to Gylfi Sigurdsson being used as a wide man. “But he has brought in a few players who play in the same position, so it is always going to be a problem.” So what would Reid do if he were in charge? He had a very successful time managing Manchester City to fifth, then steering Sunderland to two successive seventh place finishes in the Premier League, how would he resolve what he describes as the team’s “missing legs”? “I would ask them to roll their sleeves up,” he says. “You get back to basics. You have to say: ‘Lads we have to make it hard for them when they have the ball’. I’d love to be part of that. I am not saying I want to be the next Everton manager but this is what that club needs, it needs a depth of desire.” Not that he anticipates his phone ringing with an invitation to take over in the Goodison dug out. Happily working as a coach at Wigan Athletic, he believes his time as a Premier League manager has long gone. Not because, at 61, he is too old. But because the fashion is for more exotic bosses, for what Moshiri describes as “Hollywood”. It is a fashion, Reid believes, that leads to outstanding local talent being over-looked. Peter Reid&#39;s best players “I think Sean Dyche has done a great job, Eddie Howe has done a great job. Why aren’t they getting linked when a big job comes up? That’s the question. I think there’s a lot of good British coaches: Michael O’Neill at Northern Ireland, Christ Almighty what a job. But they’re not Hollywood. Dyche isn’t Hollywood because he’s got a deep, squeaky voice. Plus his dress sense isn’t as good as Jose [Mourinho] or Pep [Guardiola].” As he goes about his duties at Wigan, Reid acknowledges that, while the basics of the game remain the same, he has been obliged to change much of his approach. The methods he revealed on Premier Passions, a fly-on-the-wall documentary series that followed him through a season as Sunderland boss, no longer pass muster. “You can’t do now what I did in Premier Passions, effin and blindin at modern players, they’d just down tools,” he suggests. “At the time that was the way. But I learned very quickly at Leeds. Mark Viduka’s reaction told me everything. I’ve laid into him and I could see in his eyes he’s thinking I’m a piece of *****. As they’re going out for the second half I’ve pulled him over and said, ‘hey listen I’ve only made you an example because you’re the best player’. I had to think on my feet. But that was the point I realised I couldn’t do that anymore.” Reid acknowledges times have changed in football coaching Credit: Tony Woolliscroft Though he suggests some of the old ways, albeit impossible now, were not wholly bad. Like the time Howard Kendall, his manager at Everton then at Manchester City, organised a table tennis tournament after City had lost a home game. “He’d sent out for five crates of Budweiser. We set up at the table, half the team behind me, half the team behind him. You had to get the bat, hit the ball and do a little run. Someone knocks one into the net. Howard says to him, ‘go over there, get a bottle of Bud and get it down you’. It’s half-ten in the morning. Five crates of Bud later, we are all in Mulligan’s, on the ****. What happens? We go on a run and only lose two of the next twelve. I look back on things like that and you see that it changed the whole team spirit. That’s great man-management.” Though the sad truth is, he agrees, it is probably not an option available to Ronald Koeman. Cheer Up Peter Reid, his autobiography, is published by Trinity Mirror, RRP £18.99. ebook also available.
Peter Reid: 'The Everton team I was in could scrap. I am not sure this team can'
Asked to define what football means on Merseyside, Peter Reid’s eyes sparkle. And the proud Evertonian, the man who played 159 times for his boyhood favourites, the dynamic heart of the most successful side in the club’s history, chuckles as he recalls a derby match at Anfield in the mid-eighties, when the two Liverpool clubs were vying for the title. “We haven’t had a kick for 20 minutes and the ball goes out to Barnesy [John Barnes] and I absolutely smash him,” he remembers. Such was the vigour of his assault the home crowd were immediately on their feet, yelling their fury. Above the shouts, however, Reid could pick out the comments of one particularly enraged Liverpool follower. “I hear: ‘you bluenosed ****, you big-eared *******’. He’s absolutely giving it to me. I looked in the crowd and went: ‘Uncle Arthur, sit down’. On my life. My own uncle. And I’d got him players’ lounge tickets. That is what [Merseyside] football is about. He was the nicest man in the world and he was giving it to me.” Watching from the Goodison stands this season, however, the once-a-blue-always-a-blue Reid reckons Uncle Arthur can rest easy. He thinks it is unlikely any of the current side would provoke such a reaction. “I think this Everton team is in a scrap,” he says of the wretched form which has seen them tumble down the Premier League. “The team I was in could scrap. I am not sure this team can.” Reid says Everton are 'in a scrap' Credit: Reuters As he was in possession of a football, once Reid warms to his theme it is hard to dislodge him. As he sits in a Liverpool hotel, where he is promoting his autobiography, his passion for the club is obvious. “The owner [Farhad Moshiri] comes out and says the fans’ expectations are too high. No, you’re wrong mate. For me as an Everton fan we should have expectations higher than what we are seeing. So that is wrong from the top in my opinion.” The issue, he suggests, can be traced to a lack of forward planning. “I think it was a mistake not getting a striker. They are the most difficult to get, but you know you need one so you have to put all your resources into getting one. It was common knowledge that [Romelu] Lukaku was going last January. I know it is hard. But when you are Everton go and get one.” And instead of buying a finisher, his worry is that the manager Ronald Koeman spent the Lukaku money on a bunch of players whose roles overlap. Everton have not replaced Romelu Lukaku sufficiently Credit: Reuters “Without being too critical of Mr Koeman if I am buying a player for £45million I want to play him in his position,” he says, with reference to Gylfi Sigurdsson being used as a wide man. “But he has brought in a few players who play in the same position, so it is always going to be a problem.” So what would Reid do if he were in charge? He had a very successful time managing Manchester City to fifth, then steering Sunderland to two successive seventh place finishes in the Premier League, how would he resolve what he describes as the team’s “missing legs”? “I would ask them to roll their sleeves up,” he says. “You get back to basics. You have to say: ‘Lads we have to make it hard for them when they have the ball’. I’d love to be part of that. I am not saying I want to be the next Everton manager but this is what that club needs, it needs a depth of desire.” Not that he anticipates his phone ringing with an invitation to take over in the Goodison dug out. Happily working as a coach at Wigan Athletic, he believes his time as a Premier League manager has long gone. Not because, at 61, he is too old. But because the fashion is for more exotic bosses, for what Moshiri describes as “Hollywood”. It is a fashion, Reid believes, that leads to outstanding local talent being over-looked. Peter Reid's best players “I think Sean Dyche has done a great job, Eddie Howe has done a great job. Why aren’t they getting linked when a big job comes up? That’s the question. I think there’s a lot of good British coaches: Michael O’Neill at Northern Ireland, Christ Almighty what a job. But they’re not Hollywood. Dyche isn’t Hollywood because he’s got a deep, squeaky voice. Plus his dress sense isn’t as good as Jose [Mourinho] or Pep [Guardiola].” As he goes about his duties at Wigan, Reid acknowledges that, while the basics of the game remain the same, he has been obliged to change much of his approach. The methods he revealed on Premier Passions, a fly-on-the-wall documentary series that followed him through a season as Sunderland boss, no longer pass muster. “You can’t do now what I did in Premier Passions, effin and blindin at modern players, they’d just down tools,” he suggests. “At the time that was the way. But I learned very quickly at Leeds. Mark Viduka’s reaction told me everything. I’ve laid into him and I could see in his eyes he’s thinking I’m a piece of *****. As they’re going out for the second half I’ve pulled him over and said, ‘hey listen I’ve only made you an example because you’re the best player’. I had to think on my feet. But that was the point I realised I couldn’t do that anymore.” Reid acknowledges times have changed in football coaching Credit: Tony Woolliscroft Though he suggests some of the old ways, albeit impossible now, were not wholly bad. Like the time Howard Kendall, his manager at Everton then at Manchester City, organised a table tennis tournament after City had lost a home game. “He’d sent out for five crates of Budweiser. We set up at the table, half the team behind me, half the team behind him. You had to get the bat, hit the ball and do a little run. Someone knocks one into the net. Howard says to him, ‘go over there, get a bottle of Bud and get it down you’. It’s half-ten in the morning. Five crates of Bud later, we are all in Mulligan’s, on the ****. What happens? We go on a run and only lose two of the next twelve. I look back on things like that and you see that it changed the whole team spirit. That’s great man-management.” Though the sad truth is, he agrees, it is probably not an option available to Ronald Koeman. Cheer Up Peter Reid, his autobiography, is published by Trinity Mirror, RRP £18.99. ebook also available.
Asked to define what football means on Merseyside, Peter Reid’s eyes sparkle. And the proud Evertonian, the man who played 159 times for his boyhood favourites, the dynamic heart of the most successful side in the club’s history, chuckles as he recalls a derby match at Anfield in the mid-eighties, when the two Liverpool clubs were vying for the title. “We haven’t had a kick for 20 minutes and the ball goes out to Barnesy [John Barnes] and I absolutely smash him,” he remembers. Such was the vigour of his assault the home crowd were immediately on their feet, yelling their fury. Above the shouts, however, Reid could pick out the comments of one particularly enraged Liverpool follower. “I hear: ‘you bluenosed ****, you big-eared *******’. He’s absolutely giving it to me. I looked in the crowd and went: ‘Uncle Arthur, sit down’. On my life. My own uncle. And I’d got him players’ lounge tickets. That is what [Merseyside] football is about. He was the nicest man in the world and he was giving it to me.” Watching from the Goodison stands this season, however, the once-a-blue-always-a-blue Reid reckons Uncle Arthur can rest easy. He thinks it is unlikely any of the current side would provoke such a reaction. “I think this Everton team is in a scrap,” he says of the wretched form which has seen them tumble down the Premier League. “The team I was in could scrap. I am not sure this team can.” Reid says Everton are &#39;in a scrap&#39; Credit: Reuters As he was in possession of a football, once Reid warms to his theme it is hard to dislodge him. As he sits in a Liverpool hotel, where he is promoting his autobiography, his passion for the club is obvious. “The owner [Farhad Moshiri] comes out and says the fans’ expectations are too high. No, you’re wrong mate. For me as an Everton fan we should have expectations higher than what we are seeing. So that is wrong from the top in my opinion.” The issue, he suggests, can be traced to a lack of forward planning. “I think it was a mistake not getting a striker. They are the most difficult to get, but you know you need one so you have to put all your resources into getting one. It was common knowledge that [Romelu] Lukaku was going last January. I know it is hard. But when you are Everton go and get one.” And instead of buying a finisher, his worry is that the manager Ronald Koeman spent the Lukaku money on a bunch of players whose roles overlap. Everton have not replaced Romelu Lukaku sufficiently Credit: Reuters “Without being too critical of Mr Koeman if I am buying a player for £45million I want to play him in his position,” he says, with reference to Gylfi Sigurdsson being used as a wide man. “But he has brought in a few players who play in the same position, so it is always going to be a problem.” So what would Reid do if he were in charge? He had a very successful time managing Manchester City to fifth, then steering Sunderland to two successive seventh place finishes in the Premier League, how would he resolve what he describes as the team’s “missing legs”? “I would ask them to roll their sleeves up,” he says. “You get back to basics. You have to say: ‘Lads we have to make it hard for them when they have the ball’. I’d love to be part of that. I am not saying I want to be the next Everton manager but this is what that club needs, it needs a depth of desire.” Not that he anticipates his phone ringing with an invitation to take over in the Goodison dug out. Happily working as a coach at Wigan Athletic, he believes his time as a Premier League manager has long gone. Not because, at 61, he is too old. But because the fashion is for more exotic bosses, for what Moshiri describes as “Hollywood”. It is a fashion, Reid believes, that leads to outstanding local talent being over-looked. Peter Reid&#39;s best players “I think Sean Dyche has done a great job, Eddie Howe has done a great job. Why aren’t they getting linked when a big job comes up? That’s the question. I think there’s a lot of good British coaches: Michael O’Neill at Northern Ireland, Christ Almighty what a job. But they’re not Hollywood. Dyche isn’t Hollywood because he’s got a deep, squeaky voice. Plus his dress sense isn’t as good as Jose [Mourinho] or Pep [Guardiola].” As he goes about his duties at Wigan, Reid acknowledges that, while the basics of the game remain the same, he has been obliged to change much of his approach. The methods he revealed on Premier Passions, a fly-on-the-wall documentary series that followed him through a season as Sunderland boss, no longer pass muster. “You can’t do now what I did in Premier Passions, effin and blindin at modern players, they’d just down tools,” he suggests. “At the time that was the way. But I learned very quickly at Leeds. Mark Viduka’s reaction told me everything. I’ve laid into him and I could see in his eyes he’s thinking I’m a piece of *****. As they’re going out for the second half I’ve pulled him over and said, ‘hey listen I’ve only made you an example because you’re the best player’. I had to think on my feet. But that was the point I realised I couldn’t do that anymore.” Reid acknowledges times have changed in football coaching Credit: Tony Woolliscroft Though he suggests some of the old ways, albeit impossible now, were not wholly bad. Like the time Howard Kendall, his manager at Everton then at Manchester City, organised a table tennis tournament after City had lost a home game. “He’d sent out for five crates of Budweiser. We set up at the table, half the team behind me, half the team behind him. You had to get the bat, hit the ball and do a little run. Someone knocks one into the net. Howard says to him, ‘go over there, get a bottle of Bud and get it down you’. It’s half-ten in the morning. Five crates of Bud later, we are all in Mulligan’s, on the ****. What happens? We go on a run and only lose two of the next twelve. I look back on things like that and you see that it changed the whole team spirit. That’s great man-management.” Though the sad truth is, he agrees, it is probably not an option available to Ronald Koeman. Cheer Up Peter Reid, his autobiography, is published by Trinity Mirror, RRP £18.99. ebook also available.
Peter Reid: 'The Everton team I was in could scrap. I am not sure this team can'
Asked to define what football means on Merseyside, Peter Reid’s eyes sparkle. And the proud Evertonian, the man who played 159 times for his boyhood favourites, the dynamic heart of the most successful side in the club’s history, chuckles as he recalls a derby match at Anfield in the mid-eighties, when the two Liverpool clubs were vying for the title. “We haven’t had a kick for 20 minutes and the ball goes out to Barnesy [John Barnes] and I absolutely smash him,” he remembers. Such was the vigour of his assault the home crowd were immediately on their feet, yelling their fury. Above the shouts, however, Reid could pick out the comments of one particularly enraged Liverpool follower. “I hear: ‘you bluenosed ****, you big-eared *******’. He’s absolutely giving it to me. I looked in the crowd and went: ‘Uncle Arthur, sit down’. On my life. My own uncle. And I’d got him players’ lounge tickets. That is what [Merseyside] football is about. He was the nicest man in the world and he was giving it to me.” Watching from the Goodison stands this season, however, the once-a-blue-always-a-blue Reid reckons Uncle Arthur can rest easy. He thinks it is unlikely any of the current side would provoke such a reaction. “I think this Everton team is in a scrap,” he says of the wretched form which has seen them tumble down the Premier League. “The team I was in could scrap. I am not sure this team can.” Reid says Everton are 'in a scrap' Credit: Reuters As he was in possession of a football, once Reid warms to his theme it is hard to dislodge him. As he sits in a Liverpool hotel, where he is promoting his autobiography, his passion for the club is obvious. “The owner [Farhad Moshiri] comes out and says the fans’ expectations are too high. No, you’re wrong mate. For me as an Everton fan we should have expectations higher than what we are seeing. So that is wrong from the top in my opinion.” The issue, he suggests, can be traced to a lack of forward planning. “I think it was a mistake not getting a striker. They are the most difficult to get, but you know you need one so you have to put all your resources into getting one. It was common knowledge that [Romelu] Lukaku was going last January. I know it is hard. But when you are Everton go and get one.” And instead of buying a finisher, his worry is that the manager Ronald Koeman spent the Lukaku money on a bunch of players whose roles overlap. Everton have not replaced Romelu Lukaku sufficiently Credit: Reuters “Without being too critical of Mr Koeman if I am buying a player for £45million I want to play him in his position,” he says, with reference to Gylfi Sigurdsson being used as a wide man. “But he has brought in a few players who play in the same position, so it is always going to be a problem.” So what would Reid do if he were in charge? He had a very successful time managing Manchester City to fifth, then steering Sunderland to two successive seventh place finishes in the Premier League, how would he resolve what he describes as the team’s “missing legs”? “I would ask them to roll their sleeves up,” he says. “You get back to basics. You have to say: ‘Lads we have to make it hard for them when they have the ball’. I’d love to be part of that. I am not saying I want to be the next Everton manager but this is what that club needs, it needs a depth of desire.” Not that he anticipates his phone ringing with an invitation to take over in the Goodison dug out. Happily working as a coach at Wigan Athletic, he believes his time as a Premier League manager has long gone. Not because, at 61, he is too old. But because the fashion is for more exotic bosses, for what Moshiri describes as “Hollywood”. It is a fashion, Reid believes, that leads to outstanding local talent being over-looked. Peter Reid's best players “I think Sean Dyche has done a great job, Eddie Howe has done a great job. Why aren’t they getting linked when a big job comes up? That’s the question. I think there’s a lot of good British coaches: Michael O’Neill at Northern Ireland, Christ Almighty what a job. But they’re not Hollywood. Dyche isn’t Hollywood because he’s got a deep, squeaky voice. Plus his dress sense isn’t as good as Jose [Mourinho] or Pep [Guardiola].” As he goes about his duties at Wigan, Reid acknowledges that, while the basics of the game remain the same, he has been obliged to change much of his approach. The methods he revealed on Premier Passions, a fly-on-the-wall documentary series that followed him through a season as Sunderland boss, no longer pass muster. “You can’t do now what I did in Premier Passions, effin and blindin at modern players, they’d just down tools,” he suggests. “At the time that was the way. But I learned very quickly at Leeds. Mark Viduka’s reaction told me everything. I’ve laid into him and I could see in his eyes he’s thinking I’m a piece of *****. As they’re going out for the second half I’ve pulled him over and said, ‘hey listen I’ve only made you an example because you’re the best player’. I had to think on my feet. But that was the point I realised I couldn’t do that anymore.” Reid acknowledges times have changed in football coaching Credit: Tony Woolliscroft Though he suggests some of the old ways, albeit impossible now, were not wholly bad. Like the time Howard Kendall, his manager at Everton then at Manchester City, organised a table tennis tournament after City had lost a home game. “He’d sent out for five crates of Budweiser. We set up at the table, half the team behind me, half the team behind him. You had to get the bat, hit the ball and do a little run. Someone knocks one into the net. Howard says to him, ‘go over there, get a bottle of Bud and get it down you’. It’s half-ten in the morning. Five crates of Bud later, we are all in Mulligan’s, on the ****. What happens? We go on a run and only lose two of the next twelve. I look back on things like that and you see that it changed the whole team spirit. That’s great man-management.” Though the sad truth is, he agrees, it is probably not an option available to Ronald Koeman. Cheer Up Peter Reid, his autobiography, is published by Trinity Mirror, RRP £18.99. ebook also available.

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