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This Week in Sports Talk: November 29, 2020

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This Week in Sports Talk (TWIST) is our weekly roundup of top headlines and current events from the past seven days in the world of sports, plus a preview of what’s up next. Heading into the week of November 29, 2020, here’s how to talk about the top sports news of the moment. Skim it, and you’ll be good to go all week.

This Week in Sports Talk: November 29, 2020

The U.S. women’s national soccer team faced off against the Netherlands on Friday in its first game in almost nine months. The players took the field wearing jackets imprinted with the words “Black Lives Matter.” And in a video on social media, they also paid tribute to the late congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis.

United States players in the women’s soccer match between The Netherlands and the US. Photo Credit: Piroschka van de Wouw/Pool via AP. Copyright 2020 The Associated Press.

This was a rematch of the historic 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final. And Team USA delivered, winning 2-0.

Here are the other top stories of note in the world of sports heading into the week of November 29, 2020.

1. The NFL’s Two Thanksgiving Turkeys

Cowboys fall to the Footballers

The Washington Football Team (4-7) blew out the Dallas Cowboys (3-8) on Thanksgiving Day, 41-16. The Footballers were up 20 – 16 going into the 4th quarter, and then scored 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter. It was, as our Sports Desk notes, an epic meltdown. Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy, who is the ex-Green Bay Packers coach, is under a lot of pressure. He called several plays during the game that proved to be unpopular with fans and pundits alike.

A turkey wears a Detroit Lions helmet during the NFL game on Thanksgiving. Photo Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports.

Lions Clean House after blowout loss to the Texans

Yesterday the Detroit Lions (4-7) fired coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn. It wasn’t a big surprise, coming just two days after the team suffered a blowout loss to the Houston Texans (4-7) on Thanksgiving Day, 41-25. Regular readers know that Detroit is our hometown, and the final score of the Thanksgiving game can effect the mood around the dinner table. Suffice it to say, even with our very small group, there was socially-distant grousing as the gravy was poured.

Patricia amassed a 13-29-1 record in his 2.5 seasons as head coach. The ownership group had made it clear that they wanted a playoff contender this year. And made good on their word to make a change when it became clear that it wasn’t going to happen.


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2. Coronavirus and the NFL collide

Ravens-Steelers postponed twice due coronavirus flare-up

The big AFC North showdown between the Baltimore Ravens (6-4) and Pittsburgh Steelers (10-0) has been postponed again, this time to Tuesday night. It was originally scheduled for primetime on Thanksgiving Day, and then pushed back to today.

This week, both teams saw community spread within their ranks, and it has continued into this weekend. As of this posting, the Ravens have placed 18 players on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Including quarterback Lamar Jackson, who reportedly tested positive for coronavirus. Several members of the Steelers have also been added to the list as recently as yesterday.

Broncos (4-6) are without a quarterback in today’s game

Meanwhile, in Denver the Broncos’ three eligible quarterbacks — Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles — were each deemed to be a “high-risk” close contact of quarterback Jeff Driskel. So none of the three can be in uniform for today’s game. Reports are that the three were discovered to have not worn masks at one point during contact with Driskel. Leaving the team with exactly zero quarterbacks available. But apparently, the game must go on, as Denver doesn’t want to forfeit . . . so who’s gonna play QB? ESPN is reporting that running back Royce Freeman is the team’s emergency quarterback.

Cardinals player also on the list

Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, 37, of the Arizona Cardinals (6-4) has missed just six games in his storied NFL career. But today he’ll be off the field after testing positive for COVID-19. The beloved player and future Hall-of-Famer has spent his entire 17-season career in Arizona after being drafted third overall in 2004. We’re wishing him and all of those suffering from coronavirus a speedy recovery.

Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals. Photo Credit: AP.

49’ers are without a home

Rounding out the late-breaking news on the coronavirus’s impact on the NFL is that for at least the next three weeks, the San Francisco 49’ers (4-6) will be without a home. Santa Clara County, home of the 49ers and Levi’s Stadium, yesterday issued enhanced COVID-19 guidelines that effectively put a three-week ban on any contact sports taking place in the county.

3. Remaining Week 12 “big” games in the NFL

Despite all of that, there are actually some NFL games being played today, some with reasonably significant stakes.

Giants – Bengals

Fans of the New York Giants (3-7) were rooting for the Washington Footballers to win on Thanksgiving Day. And as previously noted, they did! Meaning that the road is now paved for the Giants to move into first place in the NFC East with a win today versus the Cincinnati Bengals (2-7-1).

Sadly, the Bengals’ rookie phenom quarterback Joe Burrow is out with MCL and ACL tears for the next 12 to 18 months. Burrow suffered the knee injuries when a defender fell on his left leg during the third quarter of last Sunday’s game in Washington. So, the Giants are facing “the practice squad” quarterback. They’re set up for a win . . . and heaven help them if they lose this one.

Other games of note in week 12

The Tennessee Titans (7-3) at the Indianapolis Colts (7-3) should be a good game, as the two AFC South rivals face off. Lots of people are keen to see Patrick Mahomes meet Tom Brady when the Kansas City Chiefs (9-1) play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-4).

But honestly, we’re most excited about the New York Jets (0-10) today. Will they achieve their first win of the season against the Miami Dolphins (6-4)? Jets starting quarterback Sam Darnold returns today. The Jets have only 6 more games to go this season (since they’re already mathematically out of playoff contention). If they keep losing, they are almost certain to pick up Clemson superstar quarterback Trevor Lawrence in the draft. Of course, if they win just enough, they’ll lost that chance. Watch this space for continuing updates.

playoff prospects

Speaking of the playoffs, they’re not all that far off. As of this posting the “shoo in” teams are the Kansas City Chiefs (9-1), Pittsburg Steelers (10-0), New Orleans Saints (8-2), and Green Bay Packers (7-3). That top tier is followed by the Colts, Bills, Rams, Seahawks and Buccaneers.


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4. College Football Thanksgiving rivalry games

Coronavirus spoiled Thanksgiving in so many ways this year. One of the minor ones was the postponement or cancellation of several iconic college football rivalry games and other key match-ups. Among those postponed? Oklahoma-WVU. OSU-Illinois. And Tulsa-Houston.

Iron Bowl

However, there were still some epic rivalry games played yesterday. Like Auburn at Alabama, aka The Iron Bowl. Despite the absence of Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban, who tested positive for Covid-19 for the second time this season, Alabama dominated for a 42-13 win.

Egg Bowl

The Egg Bowl also went off without a hitch yesterday. Ole Miss pulled away late from visiting Mississippi State, winning by a final score of 31-24. It was the first Ole Miss win in the series since 2017.

other college football games of note

Normally, Clemson-South Carolina is the big rivalry game of Thanksgiving weekend. But this year, folks had to settle for Georgia at South Carolina instead. Georgia handily won, 45-16.

No. 6 Florida beat Kentucky, 34-10. No. 23 Oklahoma State defeated Texas Tech, 50-44. No. 15 Oregon suffered its first defeat of the season to Oregon State, 41-38, when Beavers made a comeback in the final minutes of the game.

Heisman contenders

The Heisman Trophy is awarded annually to the college football player with the best regular season performance. And the regular season is nearing its end. Which means speculation about who will win the big prize is ramping up.

So far, the top contenders are all quarterbacks: Mac Jones of Alabama. Kyle Trask of Florida. And Zach Wilson of BYU. If Mac Jones wins, he would be the first quarterback in Crimson Tide history to win it. The previous winners from Alabama have been running backs.

5. First female takes the field for a Power Five team

Sarah Fuller, a senior at Vanderbilt University, made history yesterday as the first woman to play in a Power Five football game when the Commodores faced the Tigers of the University of Missouri.

Vanderbilt kicker Sarah Fuller, a goalkeeper on women’s soccer team, become the first woman to play in a Power 5 game when the Commodores played Missouri yesterday. (Vanderbilt Athletics via AP)

Fuller, a soccer player by training, joined the game after halftime as Vanderbilt’s placekicker, due to absences from players exposed to Covid-19. She took the field with the slogan “Play like a girl” on the back of her helmet. Right on!

6. College Basketball is On

NCAA college basketball’s season launched on Wednesday night. At the start of the season, Gonzaga was the top overall seed. Baylor, Villanova and Virginia also began as top seeds.

Of course, it didn’t take long for things to get interesting. Gonzaga played Auburn on Friday, despite having learned that one of their players had tested positive for COVID-19 before the game. Gonzaga won easily, 90-67, but there are questions about why the coach allowed the game to go forward.

The Virginia Cavaliers are on their own roller-coaster ride. On Wednesday, they opened with an 89-54 blowout of Towson. Then on Friday, they suffered a 61-60 loss to San Francisco.

7. Soccer Legend Dies of Heart Failure

Argentina soccer legend Diego Maradona passed away at the age of 60 this week. Maradona, who had recently undergone brain surgery, reportedly suffered a heart attack. He won the 1986 World Cup as part of Argentina’s national team, and is widely regarded as one of the best players ever.

Throughout his life he struggled with personal demons, including substance abuse. But he’ll be remembered for his indelible imprint on the sport, including his use of the phrase “the hand of God” to describe a goal he scored during the Argentina v. England quarterfinals match of the 1986 FIFA World Cup.


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8. Over-50 Fight Night

Last night in Los Angeles, two middle-aged dudes took to ring for an epic Pay-Per-View boxing match. Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. – both in their 50’s – were the main event in an evening of boxing at the Staples Center. The arena was empty due to COVID-19 concerns. Tyson hadn’t fought professionally in 15 years until this bout. Jones had been on a 2-year hiatus. But the chance to box with Tyson, a legend who was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, and is the youngest heavyweight champion in history, proved sufficient to get Jones back in the ring. “When you get a call that says Mike Tyson wants to fight you, that’s bucket list material,” Jones said before the fight.

After eight rounds of two-minutes each, the bout ended in a draw.

9. Mickelson prevails in the Match III

Phil Mickelson and Charles Barkley defeated Peyton Manning and Steph Curry in The Match III: Champions for Change on Friday at Stone Canyon in Oro Valley, Arizona. The money raised went to several different historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to help promote diversity in the game. The match lacked the competitive edge seen when Tiger Woods and Tom Brady joined Mickelson and Manning in May. But it was still good fun, with Barkley playing surprisingly well. 

10. Serena Williams and Stuart Weitzman say “let it snow!”

All roads here at Dandelion Chandelier ultimately lead back to shoes. That’s just how we roll. So we’re closing this week’s sports report with the Holy Grail of like-minded people the world over: Cute New Boots.

Affordable luxury footwear brand Stuart Weitzman has unveiled the second part of its “Be Your Element” winter 2020 campaign. The new ads feature tennis champion Serena Williams, the brand’s global ambassador. According to press reports, “the seasonal campaign is designed to bring confidence through its sexy and timeless boots.”

We are All. In. On. That.

Photo Credit: Stuart Weitzman.

In one execution, Serena is seen rocking a new mid-calf model, the Jesse Lift boot ($695) in black. It’s an embellished take on the brand’s 5050 Lift Boot, and made of smooth black leather covered in small pearls. If you want a softer, snow-bunny vibe, the Jesse Lift is also available in “Flannel,” a warm taupe hue. Now go forth, dear reader, and run the world.

This Week in Sports Talk November 29, 2020

That’s it. You’re good to go with the top sports headlines and coming attractions heading into the week of November 29, 2020. Stay safe and healthy, dear reader. See you next week.

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For access to insider ideas and information on the world of luxury, sign up for our Dandelion Chandelier newsletter here. And see luxury in a new light.

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