Tampa Bay Sports Day

Geno’s An ‘SNL’ Joke

You have to give Jets quarterback Geno Smith for maintaining an upbeat attitude at his press conference following his team’s 31-17 loss to the Denver Broncos last Sunday which marked their fifth straight defeat. “Every day that I get up healthy and get a chance to play is a blessing!” he said. He added that the travails of the previous week, where the media understandably made a big deal out of him missing a team meeting in San Diego, which became further magnified when the Jets were humiliated 31-0 by the Chargers, did not affect his mood.

Smith’s body language told a different story as he winced when I asked him about being a punchline on “Saturday Night Live.” Colin Jost, a co-anchor on the Weekend Update segment, stated “On Friday embattled Jets QB Geno Smith celebrated his 24th birthday. Sadly, when Smith blew out the candles his birthday wish was intercepted an run back for a touchdown!” It’s safe to say that’s not how Geno wants to become a pop culture icon.

It’s clear that the Jets’ losing streak has taken a toll on head coach Rex Ryan who both looked and sounded very weary at Sunday’s post-game press conference. The Jets have been on a downhill slide since the second game of the season at Green Bay where a timeout called by an assistant coach negated a Jets touchdown. The Packers, who trailed at one point by a score of 21-3, rallied to win the game.

There are plays that have a negative effect on a franchise that go well beyond a given game.

The 1994 Jets did not win another game that year after Dan Marino faked spiking the football to stop the game clock as time was running out and instead threw a game-winning touchdown pass.

Nearly 18 years later, Jets QB Mark Sanchez fumbled when he ran into the backside of a teammate, offensive lineman Brandon Moore. New England Patriots defender Steve Gregory picked up the loose football and ran it into a touchdown. Sanchez’s Jets career was pretty much over at that point.

I asked Rex if the Green Bay “timeout touchdown takeaway” had the same lingering affect on this year’s Jets squad. He said that he did not believe that it did but then started listing a lot of bad things that have happened to his team since that game.

The United States Tennis Association announced that it would start presenting a cash grant of $1,968 annually to a worthy student of the Health Sciences Academy that is administered by the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health. That dollar figure represents the year that the late Arthur Ashe, a tennis great who was even a greater humanitarian, won the US Open which was then played at the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills.

The annual New York Comic Con that ran from Thursday to Sunday at the Javits Center brought out over 150,000 patrons many of whom wore the costumes of their favorite super heroes much to the delight of local television news crews. The funny thing is that what a lot of these self-described “geeks” do is no different than sports fans who wear the uniform or jersey of their favorite athlete to a game.

Pro wrestlers have always had comic book-like personas and so it’s not surprising that former World Wrestling Entertainment stars as Mick Foley, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, and one of my all-time favorites, Ted “The Million Dollar Man” DiBiase, whose “everyone has a price” act spoofed the Reagan era better than even Michael Douglas’s Gordon Gekko character did in the 1987 film, “Wall Street,” drew long lines of autograph seekers at New York Comic Con.

Former boxer Mike Tyson also made a Comic Con appearance to promote “Mike Tyson Mysteries,” an upcoming animated series that will be seen on the Cartoon Network’s younger and edgier corporate sibling, Adult Swim.

Three cheers for Madison Square Garden CEO James L. Dolan who presented a check for $100,000 to the ALS Foundation on behalf of his rock band, JD & the Straight Shot. Dolan had promised the organization that is looking for a cure for Lou Gehrig Disease that he would make a sizable donation if he could get fans attending an Eagles concert at the Garden where the Straight Shot was the opening act last month to break the Guinness Book record for most kazoos played simultaneously. The record was indeed broken when over 6,000 folks played the tiny woodwind in unison.

Zagat is still the big name when it comes to book publishers that critique restaurants in a city. For the last decade, Zagat has faced stiff competition in the Big Apple from Michelin. The 2015 Michelin New York City Restaurant Guides has devoted a chapter to Queens’ best restaurants.

For years Outback was the big name in chain steakhouses that had a location in Queens. Outback has gotten a new competitor a few blocks away from its Elmhurst location as LongHorn Steakhouse has opened across the street from Queens Center at 59-10 92nd Street. Managing partner Mark Vogel describes LongHorn as a five-star restaurant with a three-star price. You can watch sporting events in the bar area on its large TV screens.

Editor Showcase is a quarterly event where the food industry introduces new products to the media at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square.

Davios displayed a healthier alternative to potato chips with its line of pasta chips while Beanitos is a more nutritious version of Cheez Doodles that a lot of baby boomers loved when they were kids. Sara Lee is now making whole wheat and multi-grain breads that are high fiber but low calorie. Lifeway, the nation’s leading kefir producer (kefir is a yogurt-like beverage that has a high calcium and protein count), debuted a vegetable kefir. I acknowledge its health benefits but I prefer the company’s fruit-based kefirs. If you are looking to literally spice up your hamburgers, Lee Kum Kee’s ketchup is an alternative to good old Heinz 57.

Juicers, where consumers can obtain fresh juices straight from fruits and vegetables, have been around for years but the problems were that they took up a lot of kitchen counter space and were difficult to clean. Two companies, Juicepresso and Ninja, displayed easy-to-clean and compact juicers that could fit easily into the tiniest of studio apartments.