Sep. 27, 2016
"The Stack" 9-26-16
Normally on Mondays The Stack reacts to Sunday’s NFL action. Not today. Too much happened on Sunday for us not to react to. Most of it is sad. We’ll try to get to our week 3 NFL recap on Tuesday which will include tonight’s Monday Night Football game between the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints (8:30 PM ET ESPN). It is the tenth anniversary of when the Superdome reopened following Hurricane Katrina. The Saints beat the Falcons if you recall. I will go out on a limb and say they win again tonight. Now though, let’s get to the rest of the news in “the stack” for today, Monday, September 26th:
Arnold Palmer passes away
The King (of golf) has passed away. The man who is perhaps more well-known for his drink than his play died on Sunday at the age of 87 due to heart complications. We of course are talking about Arnold Palmer. Palmer is one of the best golfers of all time. He won seven majors which is low when you compare it to the likes of Jack Nicklaus or Tiger Woods, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Palmer is revered by golfers young and old. The guys on the tour looked up to Palmer. He was golf. He is golf. His 62 tour wins ranks fifth all-time. Four of Palmer’s seven major titles came at Augusta at the Masters. It sucked not seeing him hit the honorary tee shot on that opening Thursday of the Masters and when he didn’t do that (recovering from shoulder surgery if I recall), you had the sense that perhaps he wasn’t going to be around forever. Unfortunately he was not. His spirit will live on, but Sunday was a painful day for so many golfers, both professional and for those who just love the game and love to play it. Whether you watched him or not, we must thank Palmer for helping make golf what it is today. Today there is sorrow, tomorrow there will be sorrow, but the good times will be remembered and his legacy will live on forever.
Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez dies in boating accident
Tragedy struck early Sunday morning when Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez died in a boating accident. He was 24 years old. Think about that for a moment. 24 years old. Fernandez was one of the brightest pitchers in Major League Baseball. Though he underwent Tommy John surgery a couple of years ago, Fernandez came back with a dominating presence. He was 16-8 this season and was an all-star. He was just coming off of a 12 strikeout performance against the Washington Nationals earlier this week.
Perhaps the reason why Fernandez was on a boat in the wee hours of Sunday morning is that his scheduled start on Sunday got pushed back to Monday when the Marlins would face the New York Mets. That is a decision now that I’m sure manager Don Mattingly and others in the Marlins organization will think about for days, weeks, months and years to come. The question will need to be asked in the coming days why Fernandez was even on a boat at that time of night, but we don’t need to think about that at this time.
The scene was incredibly sad at Marlins Park when Marlins president David Samson, Mattingly and the entire Marlins team came to the press conference. It is one of the more powerful scenes you will ever see sports. There are few people in baseball and sports otherwise that are so revered by their teammates and other players, but Fernandez was certainly one of them. Fans loved him. He was a good kid. His story is one of perseverance trying time and time again to get in the U.S. from Cuba. Finally on the fourth try he got in.
We hear news of this far too often in sports. This one though has struck me more than others though. Perhaps it is that Fernandez was so young. Perhaps that it is that I followed what Fernandez was doing more than other players. Perhaps it is that he is a superstar. I don’t know. What I do know though is that my heart aches for Fernandez’s family, his baseball family and the Marlins organization as a whole. This feels like it should be a nightmare that you should be able to wake up from. It isn’t. RIP Fernandez. You will be missed, but never forgotten.
Les Miles out at LSU
LSU wanted more of Les last year. After two losses in September this year, they wanted less of him. LSU fired head coach Les Miles Sunday, a day after his team lost 18-13 to Auburn when they were a half-second away from getting the final play off that would have resulted in the game-winning touchdown. Think about that for a moment. The Bayou Bengals (aka Tigers) were a half-second away from improving to 3-1 and still having Miles as their head coach. Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron was also given the boot. What ultimately did Miles in was his inability to recruit a big time quarterback to LSU. Think about that for a moment. A school that consistently has top-five, top-ten recruiting classes can’t get a highly ranked quarterback to come in and lead a team that consistently has tremendous wide receivers and a running back like Leonard Fournette. It just shouldn’t happen. Miles is 114-34 in 12 seasons in Baton Rouge. That includes one national championship and two national championship appearances overall. Ed Orgeron takes over as interim head coach.
This is Alabama head coach Nick Saban’s fault. I kid of course, but at the end of the day all of the schools in the SEC are trying to replicate the success that Saban is having at Alabama. It creates unrealistic expectations for fans bases of other SEC schools. Maybe it’s just the South in general where football is considered a religion. Saban was just about canned last year, but Miles was able to keep his job after word of Jimbo Fisher was linked to the job. Perhaps that is why the hook was so quick on Miles this year. This was supposed to be the year that LSU took down Alabama with Brendan Harris at quarterback. Where do the Tigers go from here? Maybe they go back to the Fisher well. Maybe it’s Todd Herman at Houston. Tough to find guys who are better and more qualified that Miles. How does LSU respond? We’ll see just what kind of team LSU is here on out, but news of this firing wasn’t stunning. Now it’s just a matter of who is next in the SEC and who LSU will tab as their next head coach.
Coming up Tuesday: Week 3 NFL reaction