Zies’ Pieces

Kyle Zies


A weekly addition of news and notes across the sports world, all in the humble eye of Kyle Zies.

NFL Notebook

For the first time in NFL history, four teams remain undefeated through the midway point of the season. The Denver Broncos and their stunning defense came alive to defeat the Green Bay Packers in a battle of the unbeatens in Denver. In route to victory, the Broncos defense held MVP Aaron Rodgers to a mere 77 passing yards and completely shut down the Packers offense. Peyton Manning found the fountain of youth and was able to toss for 340 yards and a 96.9 QBR.

The team that stood out to me the most thus far though, has been the perennial AFC dweller, the Oakland Raiders. New head coach Jack Del Rio was blessed with a young star at quarterback and Derek Carr along with two lethal receivers in Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. These are not the Raiders of old (circa 2005), these are the new and improved, Oakland Raiders. For once, a team that is actually fun to watch.

Logos and Uniforms

When filling out the annual NCAA March Madness Bracket, everybody has that dear old aunt who barely knows the difference between a free throw and a touchdown who always seems to come up with the best bracket. Why? The common denominator for these dear old ladies sweeping the nation and their reasons for choosing each team is simple to them. Logos, nicknames, and uniforms. When caught in the hype of analytics, statistics, averages, and physical skill that most experts use, our dear old aunts sit back and look at color scheme.

Some of the best uniforms and logos in sports are the oldest and plainest. The New York Yankees, Penn State football, Notre Dame football, the Boston Celtics, the Chicago Blackhawks, etc. All these teams lack flash but have something that no one can quite place their fingers on. This rich history that ekes through the threads of their jerseys and bleeds through their simplistic logos speak to fans. The polar opposite being the new flashy, Nike endorsed, multi-uniformed teams with a new logo for each day of the week. Oregon football, Texas Tech football, the Miami Marlins, the Charlotte Hornets, etc.

The question we need to ask ourselves though is, would you watch a Texas Tech football game or Charlotte Hornets basketball game if they sported plain white uniforms and a bland logo? Probably not. These new flashy teams are searching for an identity. An identity that the Yankees and Notre Dame have already found. While we may never understand why our dear old aunt picks the best bracket, we do know that there really isn’t a rhyme or reason to logos and uniforms in sports. However, your dear old aunt may have cracked the code.

World Series

After coming up short to the San Francisco Giants in 2014, the Kansas City Royals snagged glory and the World Series with a 4-1 series win over the New York Mets. With the first two games of the season finishing in dramatic fashion, the Royals were able to hang on and win, ending their 30 year championship drought. Catcher Salvador Perez took home the hardware as the Series’ MVP with a .364 batting average and leading the Royals to victory. Johnny Cueto made GM Dayton Moore look like a genius for acquiring the starting pitcher from Cincinnati at the trade deadline as he delivered a game five winning performance and shut down the bats of the Mets. Could the small market Kansas City Royals club become the next dynasty in baseball? Only time, and salary, will tell.

J.T. Barrett and Ohio State Football

First of all, it is necessary to say that J.T. Barrett made a mistake. The Ohio State quarterback was arrested last Friday for an OVI. At age 20, that’s all it was. A mistake. Barrett was forced to surrender part of his scholarship for one term in result of the incident. As a punishment was necessary, the wrath of the ruthless sports world will be more of a punishment to Barrett.

Let’s be realistic for a minute. I would be willing to bet that J.T. Barrett was not drinking alone that night. I would also be willing to bet that he was with at least one other Buckeye teammate. This is a team problem of morals. Allowing your teammate, your captain, your quarterback, to drive while intoxicated is perhaps the bigger fault here. Squint your eyes at my comments if you will, but it is not unjust to question the culture in the Buckeye locker room and if players view each other as teammates and brothers, or just as college friends. J.T. Barrett and the Buckeyes are not the only ones consuming illegal substances in college sports (shocker, right?), but it’s just a matter of the culture and pride each locker room has and respect they have for one another. As twisted and backwards this sounds, it is true. One hundred percent true.

Extended Piece: The Coaches Closet

It is said that eighty percent of feeling good is looking good. When professional coaches open up their closets in the morning, they better have all the confidence in the world while putting on their hundreds of thousands of dollars in clothing and merchandise that has a plethora of polo shirts that one fan may be lucky enough to receive for Christmas from his family. In different sports there are different attires. Same goes in the workplace. A lawyer will not wear scrubs to the office just as a nurse will not wear a suit and tie, sporting a leather bound briefcase. In most indoor sports (hockey and basketball in particular) the coach is seen with a black suit and tie and as the game wears on, the sleeves might get rolled up and the tie loosens from the collar due to the stress of the game. Football coaches dress in khakis with their choice of a polo or sweatshirt. The hat tops it off to demand respect.

Looking around at past and current coaches, you see different trademarks in their attire. Former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel made the sweater vest fashionable again, bringing it to Columbus from his days at Youngstown State. John Harbaugh has the khakis trademark, “Fear the Khakis.” Michigan fans are just so creative, aren’t they? This wouldn’t even be a topic of interest if we didn’t mention Bill Belichick and the cutoff sweatshirt with the comfortable sweatpants. Belichick looks as if he woke up off his college frat house couch and went for a brisk jog to ease a hangover. But, the guy has the most wins in the NFL today so, can we really judge him?

In basketball, the trick to the trade is to wear a tie that sports the color of your team, and voila, you are suddenly a professional looking gentleman coaching your team to victory. Hockey coaches can say the same thing. NHL coach Mike Babcock would wear a red tie when he was the head coach of the Detroit Red Wings for ten seasons, then went to the closet to switch to a blue tie when cashing in as the new head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

As these coaches make millions of dollars for the long and stressful hours they put in, attempting to produce a winning product, I suppose a nice collection of apparel to sport on the bench or sideline is a nice perk to the job. I mean, come on, can we really hate a guy in a sweater vest?