In 1891, Dr. James Naismith, a physical education teacher at the International Young Men’s Christian Association Training School in Springfield, Mass., created a new indoor game. In this game, players dribbled a soccer ball around a court and earned points by shooting the ball into a peach basket. Today, basketball remains one the world’s most popular sports.
Football and basketball are different. Football stadiums are large structures. Basketball arenas are smaller, more intimate facilities. Football players, shielded by helmets, face masks and pads, perform like Roman Empire gladiators. Basketball players wear a simpler uniform consisting of a jersey, shorts and sneakers and display their talents and skills with the same dramatic flair as Broadway actors.
There is less parity in basketball. Since David Stern became commissioner of the National Basketball Association in 1984, eight different franchises have won NBA championships. Fourteen different National Football League teams have won the Super Bowl.
There are similarities. Lucas Oil Stadium, the Georgia Dome and Ford Field have hosted Super Bowl and NCAA Final Four games. NFL players Antonio Gates, Tony Gonzalez and Julius Peppers played college basketball. Football and basketball coaches both have a range of interesting characters from the wise Vince Lombardi and Phil Jackson, to the stern Tom Landry and Larry Brown to the zany Jimmy Johnson and Bob Knight.
In honor of slam dunks, steals, three pointers and technical fouls, the Week 11 predictions theme is basketball.
Miami Dolphins (4-5) at Buffalo Bills (3-6)-Nov. 15-8:20 p.m.-NFL Network
The Los Angeles Clippers, formally the Buffalo Braves, played in Western New York from 1970-78. Since the Braves moved away, the Bills are 271-294. Imagine, Buffalo sports fans: Chris Paul and Blake Griffin playing at First Niagara Center. Oh well.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: Miami
Pollock’s Pick: Buffalo
Green Bay Packers (6-3) at Detroit Lions (4-5)-Nov. 18-1 p.m.-Fox
The University of Kentucky won its fifth national championship in 1978. This year, the program won its eighth title. The school’s triumph will doom Green Bay this week. The Packers are 1-6 in Week 11 games in years Kentucky wins the national championship.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: Detroit
Pollock’s Pick: Green Bay
New York Jets (3-6) at St. Louis Rams (3-5-1)-Nov. 18-1 p.m.-CBS
John Calipari coached this year’s Kentucky national championship team. He has coached four teams that reached the Final Four. The Jets are 6-7 in November games during those seasons. The Rams are 2-11-1. However, the National Collegiate Athletic Association vacated two of those appearances due to player eligibility and academic issues.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: St. Louis
Pollock’s Pick: St. Louis
Cleveland Browns (2-7) at Dallas Cowboys (4-5)-Nov. 18-1 p.m.-CBS
Syracuse University, coached by Jim Boeheim, defeated the University of Massachusetts Amherst, coached by Calipari, in the 1996 Final Four. Boeheim has coached 28 NCAA tournament teams. The Cowboys ought to be glad this year’s Syracuse team participated in March Madness. Dallas is 55-54 against AFC teams in years a Boeheim-coached team has played in the tournament.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: Dallas
Pollock’s Pick: Dallas
Philadelphia Eagles (3-6) at Washington Redskins (3-6)-Nov. 18-1 p.m.-Fox
Boeheim coached Syracuse to victory in the 2003 national championship game. Michael Jordan retired in 2003. The Redskins want His Airness to return to the NBA as a player before Sunday’s game. During Jordan’s career, Washington had a 16-15 record against Philadelphia.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: Philadelphia
Pollock’s Pick: Washington
Arizona Cardinals (4-5) at Atlanta Falcons (8-1)-Nov. 18-1 p.m.-Fox
Jordan was a member of the “Dream Team,” the 1992 United States Summer Olympic men’s basketball team. It was the first American Olympic basketball team to include professionals. The Cardinals don’t like this policy. In years American professional basketball players have competed in the Olympics, Atlanta is 45-47. Arizona is 33-57.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: Atlanta
Pollock’s Pick: Atlanta
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8) at Houston Texans (8-1)-Nov. 18-1 p.m.-CBS
Charles Barkley, another “Dream Team” member, became a commentator for TNT’s NBA coverage in 2000. The Jaguars want Sir Charles to be quiet. That’s unlikely to happen any time soon. Since 2000, Jacksonville is 5-8 in games played in Texas.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: Houston
Pollock’s Pick: Houston
Cincinnati Bengals (4-5) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-8)-Nov. 18-1 p.m.-CBS
TNT began broadcasting NBA games in 1988. The Los Angeles Lakers won the 1988 NBA championship. Since 1988, Cincinnati is 30-26 in home games in years the Lakers have won the title. Kansas City is 16-38-2 in road games. But the Miami Heat won the championship this year.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: Kansas City
Pollock’s Pick: Cincinnati
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-4) at Carolina Panthers (2-7)-Nov. 18-1 p.m.-Fox
Jerry Buss purchased the Lakers in 1979. Perhaps Panthers owner Jerry Richardson should acquire the Lakers before Sunday’s game. Tampa Bay is 18-14 in Week 11 games since Buss bought the Lakers.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: Tampa Bay
Pollock’s Pick: Tampa Bay
New Orleans Saints (4-5) at Oakland Raiders (3-6)-Nov. 18-4:05 p.m.-Fox
Jeanie Buss, Buss’ daughter, began dating coach Phil Jackson in 2001. The Saints are 3-1 against California-based AFC teams since 2001. This week, the Lakers front office members decided not to hire Jackson to coach the team for a third time. But the Zen Master’s relationship with the team’s executive vice president of business operations remains intact.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: New Orleans
Pollock’s Pick: New Orleans
Indianapolis Colts (6-3) at New England Patriots (6-3)-Nov. 18-4:25 p.m.-CBS
Al McGuire, former Marquette University coach and college basketball broadcaster, died in 2001. The Colts miss McGuire’s insights. Since 2001, New England is 9-5 against Indianapolis.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: New England
Pollock’s Pick: New England
San Diego Chargers (4-5) at Denver Broncos (6-3)-Nov. 18-4:25 p.m.-CBS
Dwyane Wade played college basketball at Marquette. The Chargers hope Wade plays several more years for the Miami Heat. San Diego is 10-9 against Denver since Wade’s career began in 2003.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: San Diego
Pollock’s Pick: Denver
Baltimore Ravens (7-2) at Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3)-Nov. 18-8:20 p.m.-NBC
The Cleveland Cavaliers selected LeBron James with the first pick in the 2003 NBA Draft. During James’ Cleveland tenure, the Steelers were 8-7 against the Ravens. In 2010, James joined the Miami Heat. Steelers fans think James should have kept his talents in Cleveland. Since he changed teams, Baltimore is 3-2 against Pittsburgh.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: Baltimore
Pollock’s Pick: Baltimore
Chicago Bears (7-2) at San Francisco 49ers (6-2-1)-Nov. 19-8:30 p.m.-ESPN
In 2012, James won the NBA’s Most Valuable Player of the Year Award for the third time in his career. This means San Francisco will win its seventh game of the season on Monday night. In years a player wins their third MVP Award, the Bears are 68-50-1. The 49ers are 78-40-2.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: San Francisco
Pollock’s Pick: San Francisco
Bryan Paul’s Week 10 record: 11-2-1
Bryan Paul’s season record: 89-56-1
Pollock’s Week 10 record: 9-4-1
Pollock’s season record 98-47-1
Head-to-head matchups in Week 10: Bryan Paul 3-1
Head-to-head matchups this season: Pollock 33-24
Week 12 theme: Foods and beverages ______________________________________________________________________________