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