Good morning, evening, or afternoon! Since you probably got to watch, like, very little sports this weekend, I figured I’d take today to give your some takes as hot as your coffee!
I’m mad at Donald Trump today… actually, I’m always mad at Donald Trump, that’s an unending continuum. Today, it’s because his vocal chords and Twitter fingers probably distracted you from a great weekend of sports!
There was a lot of great stuff going on in the NFL, which I’d assume you got the chance to at least catch a bit of one game, college basketball, and the NBA.
Hopefully, I can catch you up on some of the stuff you didn’t get a chance to observe.
First up, I don’t understand why we didn’t take the Atlanta Falcons seriously, because that roster is freakin’ loaded with talent.
Atlanta went 11-5 this year, but their losses came in either close games, where something weird happened that was kind of either a fluke (Eric Berry’s INT for 2 points to lift the Chiefs 29-28), a missed call (Richard Sherman NOT getting pass interference called for a play on Julio Jones, 26-24 loss at Seattle), or just a blind squirrel kind of game (33-30 OT loss vs. San Diego, 24-15 loss at Philadelphia).
Matt Ryan is a true MVP and he proved that ONCE AGAIN on Sunday, as he damned the Packers, going 27 of 38, throwing for 392 yards, and 4 touchdowns against a team that, while flawed (clearly), was in the NFC Championship for a reason.
The weapons Atlanta has on offense are almost like a less-discrete Patriots, in that anyone is available to catch a ball.
Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu Sr., Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman, Patrick DiMarco, Taylor Gabriel, Austin Hooper, and Levine Toilolo all had at least one reception against Green Bay on Sunday.
The diversity of the Falcon offense, in addition to a tough offensive line makes them a formidable offense for New England to try to
stop slow down on Super Bowl Sunday, coming up 13 days from today!
While their defense isn’t given a ton of praise, their a tough bunch who deserve at least some buzz.
They held Aaron Rodgers and the gun-slinging Green Bay offense to ZERO first half points, only allowing 21 in the game, but those came when the contest had become a non-event late in the game.
When you have the NFL’s sack leader, Vic Beasley, you’re already in good shape, but Dan Quinn’s Seattle-style defense looks like it can make some noise in the Super Bowl.
Saturday night featured two pretty great events for me, but I got to use two different senses.
The Columbus Symphony Orchestra performed the concert “Brahms vs Radiohead”, which if you get a chance to check out in your own city, I highly recommend. For this Radiohead nerd, their rendition of Heir to the Thief‘s “There, There” felt especially poignant. The composition featuring alternate takes on songs from 1997’s OK, Computer were simply outstanding (check out their rendition of “Let Down”, because it’s wonderful).
Speaking of outstanding, the San Antonio Spurs looked fantastic in a 118-115 overtime win in hostile territory, against the Eastern Conference-leading Cleveland Cavaliers.
Kawhi Leonard looked like a superstar, dropping his new career-high of 41 points, including a couple huge shots down the stretch in regulation and overtime.
The Spurs are comprised of old guys with skillz, but the one that stood out among the rest was one of the young-old guys, Lamarcus Aldridge, who pulled down 12 rebounds and has 6 assists, which are numbers you like to see from a power forward.
Prior to the game, Cavaliers star LeBron James told reporters, “(it) doesn’t matter who’s in the line-up for the Spurs, they’re going to play Spurs basketball,” which is well said, because Gregg Popovich continues to put teams on the court that play great basketball.
The Spurs look great. Period.
With that win against Cleveland, I think they’ve cemented themselves as a team that can compete against the best out in the Western Conference.
College basketball is coming in full swing!
I’m from the school where I start watching college basketball when college football ends, so the last two weeks of my viewership have been an absolute treat!
The premiere game of this weekend featured #14 Arizona at #3 UCLA. In other words, two teams that could legitimately win the NCAA Tournament (well, I mean it’s a 68 team field, but they’re poised two of the better teams in the field).
Arizona didn’t look that great earlier in the season, losing marquee match-ups to then #8 Gonzaga and Butler, but have since come on very strong.
Their 96-85 win against UCLA proves them a force to be reckoned with, but that’s becoming kind of a regular thing for the program that Sean Miller has constructed over his increasingly strong tenure as the Wildcats head coach.
Two guys jumped out at me in this game, one from each side, and they’re the two that NBA scouts both had to be watching as well; Lonzo Ball (UCLA) and Kobi Simmons (Arizona).
Lonzo Ball looks like one of those point guards straight off of a Hall of Fame plaque. He dropped 24 points and 8 assists on Saturday, but he’s kind of been that way all season. Ball is averaging 14.9 points and 8 assists per game, which is very good on a UCLA team that can put up a lot of points at a lot of different positions.
On the Arizona side, Kobi Simmons is a freshman who’s taken a little longer to come on, as he’s averaging just 12.1 points and 2.6 assists per contest, but his 20 points and 5 assists against a top team show the development of the young guard.
Consider both of these clubs basketball giants as the season progresses, as they’ll both be somewhere between a 1-4 seed when March rolls around, which by the way, I’m already starting to get excited about, just looking at some of the talents around the college game.
Chris Hogan was playing Lacrosse at Penn State in 2010, but has now become the reincarnation of Wes Welker in the New England Patriots offense.
Against a Pittsburgh defense that had been solid in the secondary for the past few weeks, Hogan had 9 catches for 180 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Those numbers are great, but what blew my mind was just how open Hogan was, as he seemed to have a protective 15 yard bubble around him at all times, making him a wide-open target on a pretty crazy amount of plays.
Once again, the New England Patriots have made an unsurprising, dominant run to the Super Bowl, this time off of a 14-2 season of which their best player, and arguably the best player of all-time didn’t play the first four games, as Tom Brady was suspended to start the season.
Brady and company are in great shape. The running game looks promising, the passing game looks like Brady is in his twenties, the defense looks like their in perfect bend-don’t-break form, even their special teams are providing a nice boost, as it looks like they’ll do whatever it takes to get a few extra yards.
This is the fastest-overall New England club I think I’ve ever watch, which they’ll need against an Atlanta club that is pretty fast in its own regard.
Before I wrap this thing up, it’s important to me to address the abomination that was Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s first press conference with the Trump White House.
As a member of the media, I understand that it’s incredibly important to get facts and people consuming my work expect the same.
Sean Spicer hoped up to the podium and claimed that Trump’s inauguration was the most well-attended inauguration in history, which it wasn’t; former president Barack Obama’s first following the 2008 election was, with an estimated 1.8 million in attendance.
Now, I could sit and list off what you already know, but CNN has a good read on that , so I’ll let you get a nice scroll from the “Most Trusted Name in News”, even though our President likes to call them fake news (they’re not).
The White House, according to Donald Trump’s Councilor, Kellyanne Conway, will be providing “Alternative Facts”, which basically means they’re not going to tell the truth.
This should piss you off.
Make sure you don’t believe everything you hear coming from Washington, listen to the media, and CHECK MULTIPLE SOURCES!!!!
Like vaccines, if some people sit out on the truth (or vaccine), we’ll all suffer from the disease, which is bad.
Lastly, I would like to give you a few words on 25-year-old Kansas City Royals starting pitcher, Yordano Ventura, who passed away following a car crash this weekend in his native Dominican Republic.
Yordano Ventura was going to be in the game for a long time. He had a plus arm, but what was more impressive was his mound poise at such a young age.
Watching Ventura take the hill in the 2014 World Series against the San Francisco Giants and kicking ass was super impressive, but again, his poise is what impressed most. In the 2015 World Series, when his team took home a the trophy, he had a 6.43 ERA, but never wore his struggle.
Where many pitchers would falter, Ventura held court.
In his four seasons, we were given the privilege to get 93 starts from a young man who posted a career 3.89 ERA, struck out 470 batters, and ended with a record of 38-31.
This comes all-too-close to the death of Cuban righty Jose Fernandez, as we lose another great young arm talent, but also a young man who had a great future ahead.