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#pounditWednesday, January 19, 2022

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Ben Simmons may not play at all this season?

The Philadelphia 76ers have until the Feb. 10 trade deadline to find a suitor for Ben Simmons. There has been no indication that discussions with rival teams have gone anywhere, and Simmons is apparently fine with that for the time being.

ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne said Monday that Simmons is dug in on never playing for the Sixers again. Even if they are unable to trade him before the deadline, the former first overall pick plans to continue sitting out.

“The sense is if it takes the entire season to trade him, if it takes all year for the Sixers to find a trade that’s acceptable for him, he’s prepared for that,” Shelburne said.

Shelburne noted that Simmons has been racking up “heavy fines” for missing games and practices, but he remains undeterred.

Most people thought the stalemate between Simmons and the 76ers would have ended a while ago, but here we are. President of basketball operations Daryl Morey has been adamant about not trading Simmons unless the Sixers get draft picks and a top player in return. Those demands are widely viewed as unrealistic, but Morey doesn’t seem to care.

Philadelphia fell to 25-18 with Monday’s loss to the Washington Wizards. A recent report claimed they could try to include another star player in trade talks involving Simmons, but we doubt that is going to change anything. It’s entirely possible Simmons won’t play at all this season.

Photo: Apr 9, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Ben Simmons (25) gestures after a call in the first quarter against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

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Browns legend’s attempt to troll Steelers backfired badly

One Cleveland Browns great tried to troll the rival Pittsburgh Steelers this weekend but instead ended up getting trolled himself.

Retired ex-Browns tackle Joe Thomas took a swipe at the Steelers after they were eliminated in the Wild Card round with a 42-21 loss to Kansas City.

“@Steelers, congratulations on your playoff participation trophy,” he wrote.

Of course, that set up Thomas for the obvious counter, which many users, including retired Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel, hit him back with.

“Did you ever get one of those?” tweeted Keisel at Thomas. “No.”

Thomas was a legendary Brown. He played his entire career in Cleveland, making ten Pro Bowls and eight All-Pro teams. But not even a single time during Thomas’ entire ten-year career did the Browns make the playoffs. The team did end their lengthy playoff drought last year, making it to the AFC divisional round. But that was after Thomas had already retired.

The Browns and the Steelers, who are division rivals, obviously can’t stand each other. Thomas has even taken other shots at Pittsburgh since retiring. But the art of irony appeared to be lost on Thomas when he sent that tweet.

Photo: Nov 25, 2018; Denver, CO, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) warms up before the game against the Denver Broncos at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

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Stephen Jones disagrees with Dak Prescott on Cowboys fan behavior

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott raised some eyebrows with comments he made about fan behavior after Sunday’s NFC Wild Card loss. Unsurprisingly, executive vice president Stephen Jones is not backing his quarterback on those.

Some Cowboys fans, upset with how the game ended, threw objects onto the field at the officials following the final whistle. Jones issued a condemnation of that behavior on Monday, saying there was “no place” for that sort of behavior.

A frustrated Prescott actually credited fans for their behavior after the game. That didn’t sit well with some, as thrown objects can be dangerous if someone gets hit.

There are certainly bigger issues to be dealt with in light of the disappointing ending to the Dallas season. Don’t be surprised if the team has a word with Prescott about his remarks in private, though. This isn’t the sort of behavior you want your quarterback condoning, even in the heat of the moment.

Photo: Aug 26, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) smiles while on the field before the game against the Oakland Raiders at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

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Nick Bosa trolls Cowboys with Instagram post

The San Francisco 49ers went into Dallas on Sunday and ended the Cowboys’ season. Now, Nick Bosa wants to steal their nickname.

The Cowboys have long been known as “America’s Team.” But now that the Niners defeated Dallas in the Wild Card round and are moving on, Bosa feels his team has earned the right to be called “America’s Team.” He said as much in an Instagram post on Monday.

That’s not going to sit well with Cowboys fans, but there isn’t much they can say at the moment. The 49ers proved on Sunday that they were the better team. Dallas also hasn’t made a deep playoff run since the mid-1990s, while the Niners were in the Super Bowl two years ago. There’s no debating which franchise has been more successful in recent years.

The 49ers will have a much tougher task when the take on the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field next weekend. If they pull off that upset, maybe we can think about calling them “America’s Team,” for now at least.

Photo: December 21, 2019; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa (97) during the second quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

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Klay Thompson has funny way of hazing Warriors rookie

Klay Thompson is officially back for the Golden State Warriors, which means that he is officially back hazing the team’s rookies as well.

First-year Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga arrived at his media session after Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves carrying a box of chess and checkers. When asked why he had the games, Kuminga revealed that it is Thompson’s way of hazing him.

“I don’t play neither of those games,” said Kuminga, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic. “I just got to do my rookie duty and carry that for Klay.”

The 19-year-old Kuminga has been having a nice run for the Warriors lately, averaging 18.0 points per game over his last four contests. But even that does not make him exempt from board-game duty.

Thompson is known to have some unique and borderline eccentric interests. He also apparently has a love for chess and checkers that he imposes upon his rookies in one of the more wholesome hazing rituals that you will find.

Photo: May 14, 2019; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) stands on the court before the start of the game against the Portland Trail Blazers in game one of the Western conference finals of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

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Jim Harbaugh listed as gambling favorite for 1 NFL head coach job

There have been numerous reports that Jim Harbaugh could leave Michigan to return to the NFL this offseason, and some oddsmakers appear to believe it is going to happen.

According to the latest odds from SportsBetting.ag, Harbaugh is the favorite to be named the next head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. Harbaugh’s 2-to-1 odds are slightly better than interim head coach Rich Bisaccia’s 5-to-2.

It’s also interesting that Mike Tomlin is fairly high on the list at 7-to-1, as there has been no indication that he is thinking about leaving the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Bisaccia took over the Raiders in October after Jon Gruden’s leaked email scandal and abrupt resignation. He led the team to a 7-5 record and a postseason berth. Derek Carr and other players have reportedly rallied for Bisaccia to get the permanent head coaching job, but Raiders owner Mark Davis may be looking to make a bigger splash.

Harbaugh just completed his seventh season at Michigan. He led the Wolverines to a 12-2 record that included a win over rival Ohio State and a College Football Playoff appearance. While he seems happy at Michigan, there is one reported reason Harbaugh may want to want to return to the NFL.

H/T The Spun
Photo: Aug 31, 2019; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh before the game against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

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Cowboys address Mike McCarthy’s future amid hot seat talk

Mike McCarthy did not turn in one of his best coaching performances in the Dallas Cowboys’ loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, but it sounds like he is going to keep his job.

During an appearance on 105.3 The Fan Monday, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones was asked if he expects McCarthy to remain the team’s head coach in 2022. He gave a straightforward response.

Unless something changes or Jones is blatantly lying, McCarthy is going to get a shot to redeem himself next season.

Jerry Jones was quick to express his disappointment following the Cowboys’ 23-17 loss to the Niners. One report suggested the owner was planning to explore a coaching change if Dallas did not advance past the Wild Card round. Stephen Jones seemed to refute that on Monday.

McCarthy and his staff have been heavily scrutinized for their final play call of Sunday’s game. Still, Dallas went 12-5 during the regular season and secured a home playoff game. There should be something to be said for that, even if they fell short of expectations once again.

Photo: Dec 19, 2021; East Rutherford, N.J., USA;
Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy looks on during the second half of their game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

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Shaq makes hilarious bet on Suns not beating Warriors in playoffs

The Phoenix Suns have taken over the top seed in the Western Conference thanks to an outstanding stretch of play and the Golden State Warriors cooling off a bit. You could make a case for the Suns having a solid chance to win the conference a second straight year, but Shaquille O’Neal is absolutely certain that is not going to happen.

During a recent episode of “The Big Podcast with Shaq,” O’Neal said the Suns have no chance of knocking off the Warriors in the postseason. If it does happen, Shaq promises he will walk around in public with “Suns” written on his backside and broadcast it live on social media.

“If the Suns beat Golden State, I will walk two blocks with ‘Suns’ written on my a–,” Shaq said. “I will post it live on Instagram and I will walk two blocks.”

Shaq has been high on the Warriors all season. He called them “unstoppable” during the same podcast and said the rest of the NBA is trying to emulate what Golden State does but lacks the talent to do it better. He said he guarantees the Warriors will win another title this season.

If you remember, Shaq took a ruthless shot at the Los Angeles Lakers last month while praising the Warriors. He’s not going to change his mind even if Golden State fails to secure the No. 1 seed in the West. His latest promise proves that.

Photo: Mar 10, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; NBA former player Shaquille O’Neal watches a game between the Atlanta Hawks and Toronto Raptors in the third quarter at Philips Arena. The Hawks won 105-99. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

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Cowboys made history with their huge mistake against 49ers

Mike McCarthy may have sealed the Dallas Cowboys’ fate with a bad decision on Sunday, but the coach can be sure of at least one thing — no one saw his final play call coming.

The Cowboys lost to the San Francisco 49ers after calling a run play while trailing 23-17 with 14 seconds remaining and no timeouts. They had Dak Prescott run the ball up the middle, and they were unable to set up for a spike in time to run another pay (video here). The play call was certainly unpredictable, as nothing even remotely similar has been attempted for at least the last 25 years.

No team in the last 25 years (as far back at the data reaches) has called a run play in a playoff game while trailing by one score with less than 20 seconds remaining and no timeouts.

Given the outcome, that is what you call being on the wrong side of history. It also helps illustrate just how bad the play call was.

McCarthy defended the play call after the game. He said the Cowboys had worked on it in practice and that he thought more time should have been put back on the clock. There was also an issue with the official spotting the ball, but that is the risk you take by calling a run play in that situation.

No matter how you cut it, McCarthy and his staff botched the call. The fact that no team has attempted anything similar in 25 years says it all.

Photo: Aug 26, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) smiles while on the field before the game against the Oakland Raiders at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

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Ex-NFL QB explains what made Cowboys’ final play call so bad

The Dallas Cowboys have been heavily scrutinized for their final play call in Sunday’s loss to the San Francisco 49ers. There’s no question they could have done a better job of executing, but the play never should have been attempted in the first place.

The Cowboys got the ball trailing 23-17 with 32 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. They needed to go 80 yards for the winning touchdown, and they reached the San Francisco 41-yard line with three straight completions. They then called a quarterback draw for Dak Prescott despite having no timeouts left. Prescott rushed for 17 yards, but the officials were unable to spot the ball in time for a spike (video here). Time expired before the Cowboys could run another play.

According to former NFL quarterback Chris Simms, the play never had a chance to work. He explained that all the coaches he worked with said 17 or 18 seconds was the cutoff for being able to run a play over the middle with time remaining for a spike. The Cowboys snapped the ball with about 14 seconds left.

Prescott could have gotten down sooner, but it probably wouldn’t have mattered much. There was also an issue with the referee spotting the ball. Those types of things happen in a hectic situation, and that was part of the risk the Cowboys chose to take. Obviously, they shouldn’t have.

McCarthy tried to defend the play call after the game, but there’s no debating the head coach made a mistake. The only question now is if it will contribute to him potentially losing his job.

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