Ray Ratto

Ratto: NFL Network Names Rice No. 1 ... So?


Ratto: NFL Network Names Rice No. 1 ... So?


The NFL Network, which is comprised largely of people whom you would be afraid to sit next to in a tavern for fear that they would suddenly feel the urge to speak, managed to blow days and even weeks of work by making a list of the Top 100 players in the history of the league.

In other words, they sat around a table and blew a day B.S.ing with each other and passing it off as a shift. Hurray, workplace productivity!

49er fans will love the list, because they got three spots -- Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and Ronnie Lott -- in the top 11.

Raider fans will hate it because their first mention comes at No. 56, Gene Upshaw.

But we must caution you -- the list, like most lists, has no bearing on reality. Its a myth. How do they know Joe Montana was better than John Unitas? Or Sammy Baugh? They dont. Nobody does. Different eras. Different rules. Different circumstances. Hell, different jobs. Unitas had to call his own plays. Baugh played like six positions. How do you quantify that?

And how is Ronnie Lott better than Night Train Lane? I dont know. You dont know. And frankly, how do you slot players from different positions anyway?

In truth, this list is no more valid than one you could do in your rec room with three of your liquored-up friends, and if one of them was in the AV club at school, he could compile clips of great plays like they did at the NFL Network. In short, their list is as arbitrary and silly as everyone elses, because the very nature of making a list of the best anything is arbitrary and silly. Plus, it is heavily skewed against older players because in many cases, they dont have good enough video on them

We approve of arbitrary and silly, dont get us wrong. If you can blow a day making a list of the top Mongolian brain surgeons and get paid for it, well played. We salute you.

But just so we understand each other, the NFL Networks opinions is no better than yours, and frankly, most of the people on their list are the ones on yours. We just know that all they wanted you to do was pay attention to them, and to start arguments in your own homes. That way, they dont have to cover the liquor, or the damage to the furniture. They are you, only youre paying them to learn stuff you already know.

Especially Jerry Rice. You cant really start a good argument there; you can try, but youll end up having to go back to the store for more beer, and thats no way to spend an evening. Trust us, weve tried.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.

Celtics are the rivals Warriors fans need

Celtics are the rivals Warriors fans need

You don’t think you needed this game to go this way, but you did, and you do.

The Golden State Warriors spat out a 17-point lead and lost, 92-88, in Boston Thursday night, in a game that was taut if not particularly elegant, and in a game that elevated the Celtics to a place that makes them the new heir apparent to the heir apparent.

The Celtics have been a difficult out for the Warriors during the Brad Stevens Era, losing six of nine but only being blown out twice, and Thursday was not one of those nights. The box score will tell you the shooting and rebounding problems, but the Warriors had that lead and didn’t hold it. Or, to be accurate, the Celtics had that deficit and refused to let it destroy them.

Which is exactly the kind of team you, the fully licensed Warrior fan, want to watch play your team in the NBA Finals. You want to see them genuinely challenged, forced to win outside their comfort zone, induced to show their greatness in the highest of high leverage situations.

At least we think that’s what you want. Maybe you prefer blowouts so you can drink and go to the bathroom without care or fear. After all, the Warriors have taught the area the true meaning of front-running by being in front so often.

But the Celtics play a level of defense typically reserved for the San Antonio Spurs, and yes, the Warriors. They have a spiky exoskeleton that the acquisition of Kyrie Irving has actually enhanced, and Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum give them a gifted precocity that fits well with veterans like Al Horford and Marcus Morris, and Boston’s overall youth (they are fifth youngest, while Golden State is third-oldest) ought to make them a more difficult conundrum than Cleveland or any other team in either conference.

They are not yet the superior team; that remains to be proven, and betting against the Warriors requires a level of irrational bravery left only for the truly self-destructive.

But they are, as we sit this evening, the team the Warriors will have to work hardest to finish, because on a night when they had the chance to do so, they didn’t. In other words, the fight for a third ring still goes through Oakland, but it looks more and more like a one-stop through Boston.

And as much as you may hate thinking about it, you’ll almost certainly remember, and savor, a Celtics-Warriors final more than another round of Cavs-on-the-half-shell.

Three reasons Draymond Green is the perfect college professor


Three reasons Draymond Green is the perfect college professor

Programming note: Warriors-Celtics coverage starts today at 4 p.m. on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming live right here 

Draymond Green spoke to a group of students at Harvard Thursday on the subject of leadership, and if you find that incongruous, shame on you.
I mean, who else would you want as a college professor?
Green has led, and been led. He has learned, and he has taught. He has certainly lectured, as any teammate, official and media member will testify. He’d be a hell of a teacher, and the subject almost doesn’t matter.
For one, homework would be different, as in I’d bet there would be no written work. I don’t see Prof. Day-Day poring over essays about the Industrial Revolution, M-theory or pre-Raphaelite art. Not even the history of Basketball-Reference.com.

For two, having tenured faculty audit his classes may find his choice of rhetoric a little strident, as in “What the ---- were you thinking, dude?” is not typically approved instructional methodology.
And three, nobody would get a grade. Green would mark every exam with a “35,” as in his draft position, and besides, the exams would be students arguing with each other over whether that was a foul or a no-call, and who pulled the better face when the call was made. He’d give either an approving nod or give the loser a second technical foul and kick him or her out of class.
But it would be a hell of a class. Not at Harvard, of course, because Green probably would want to teach a school that could better use his brand of wisdom, and Harvard kids already have a healthy lead off third base. He’d want his students to make Harvard students cry, you can just tell.
But wouldn’t he look perfectly Draymond in a cap and gown on graduation day, pulling a bottle out of his sleeve to make the valedictory speeches less painful. “Damn, dude,” you could hear him yell. “Peaking?”