Neil Best first worked at Newsday in 1982, then returned in 1985. His SportsWatch column debuted on Sept.
Eli on SNL? Oh, brother!
Ya think? But that's OK. As everyone from Derek Jeter (who dressed in drag) to Eli's brother Peyton (who beaned children with footballs) has learned, that is part of the point.
But he knows that for many, Peyton's March 2007 appearance is the gold standard. Eli has discussed the rehearsal schedule with Peyton but said his brother has not yet sent him a copy of his classic United Way commercial parody.
"No, but I have obviously seen it before,'' said Eli, who had a cameo on Peyton's show. "That was a good one. So hopefully, I can have one as popular as that one.''
Good luck with that.
Here is one man's list of best SNL skits featuring athletes:
Peyton Manning, March 24, 2007. In a taped United Way commercial parody, Manning throws footballs at children, curses up a storm and tries to jimmy the lock on an SUV.
Derek Jeter, Dec. 1, 2001. Dressed in drag as Alfonso Soriano's wife, Jeter's character says Jeter doesn't do much for her and "looks like if The Rock had sex with a Muppet.''
Phil Jackson was a Jersey guy
As the Nets prepare to conclude their 35-season stay in New Jersey on Monday en route back to the elongated island where they belong, I looked back at their history of announcers there. It is as colorful as you would expect.
But this name jumped out: Phil Jackson! The big guy worked as a Nets TV analyst in 1981-82, Larry Brown's first year as head coach and the team's first season at the arena currently known as Izod Center.
The Nets enjoyed their first winning season in six attempts as an NBA franchise. The next year, Jackson was off to Albany to coach the CBA's Patroons, taking over during the season from another former Knick, Dean Meminger.
Networks have eyes on NFL
The most popular show on television returns for another season in September, but not before the usual wish-list-making and lobbying from networks desperate for their slices of the NFL pie.
As usual, the league did its best. As usual, not everyone can be entirely happy.
Many observers figured that slot would go to Giants-Packers, but that matchup instead was set for Nov. 25 -- on NBC. The network also has the first Thanksgiving night game on a broadcast network when the Jets host the Pats.
Oh well. Don't waste any tears on the NFL's other partners, who for the massive payments they make -- actually, they're using your money, but that's another story -- all will get repaid with healthy ratings.
Different playoff perch for Keenan
But that was a long time ago; now he hopes the 2011-12 Rangers join the club.
"Absolutely, I'm pulling for them,'' he said. "Maybe this is the opportunity that has come their way; you never know when that's going to come again.''
It never did for Keenan, at least not yet in a coaching career on hold since he was fired by the Flames in 2009. But in the meantime, he has been enjoying a new playoff perch as a TV analyst, including with MSG.
"It allows me to stay in contact with the game,'' he said. "It makes you stay vigilant. You can't go on the air and not be watching games or know what you're talking about.''
"It's given me a different perspective,'' he said. "I probably enjoy coaching more, but is my own fault.''