Mark Coogan, SPORTS EDITOR
Once a week I will empty my inbox and respond to reader e-mails in a column I invented totally by myself. This is not a rip off of another famous sports writer’s weekly column. Send any sports related e-mails to email@example.com.
With this year’s Super Bowl being a rematch of Super Bowl XLII, when the Giants famously upset the previously unbeaten Patriots, what do you think the odds are that Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are still holding a grudge and plan to turn this year’s game into a blowout? (Also why do they use Roman numerals to number Super Bowls?)
This is going to be a really fun game to watch but it’s a hard game to pick a winner for. My gut tells me that Brady is going to have a huge day throwing to his two giant tight ends and that Belichick won’t hesitate to run up the score. The Patriots don’t have a good defense, but with Brady at quarterback, I don’t think they need one. At first glance, this looks like an easy Patriots win.
But on the other hand, the Giants are a perfect example of that team you see from time to time in the NFL that catches fire at the right time and makes a great run through the playoffs. We saw this with the Packers team that won the Super Bowl last year. Like those Packers, the Giants needed to win their last two games of the season just to get into the playoffs and since they’ve gotten there, they’ve looked unstoppable. Eli Manning has been doing a great impression of his older brother and has made the Giants passing game a force to be reckoned with.
My pick: Giants XXIV, Patriots XXX
Yesterday’s matchup between the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls was a preview of this year’s Eastern Conference Finals, right?
-Brian Maughn ‘12
Yes and no. I certainly think that these are the two teams that will be in the Eastern Conference Finals in May. But neither of these teams were completely healthy yesterday and it showed. Dwayne Wade is still getting over an ankle sprain and still didn’t look completely comfortable on the floor, shooting just 1-9 in the first half. The Bulls on the other hand were missing Luol Deng and C.J. Watson, their best defender and only legitimate back up point guard respectively. No one in the NBA can guard LeBron James alone, but Deng has shown in the past that he can slow James down a little bit. I have to believe that if Deng is on the floor, James doesn’t get as many easy dunks.
I also think that the officiating debacle that took place at the fourth quarter of that game can’t be repeated. The questionable fouls called in the final minutes were bad, but the inadvertent whistle with fifteen seconds left that led to a jump ball at half court was just bizarre.
Barring some major upsets, these two teams will meet up again in the Eastern Conference this year and probably for several years to come. But assuming both teams are completely healthy when we get to the playoffs, we’re in store for much better games than the one we watched yesterday. Both teams play such good defense that games between the two will always be close and come down to the wire. I think most basketball fans just want to fast forward the season so we can see a seven game series between these two.
I firmly believe that all-star games are consistently the biggest let downs in all of sports. I always get excited to watch the best players in any given sport all compete in the same game, but every single time I get disappointed by the lackadaisical play. Is there any way to fix this?
The NFL and NHL both had their all-star games yesterday. Don’t feel bad if you didn’t watch. You didn’t miss much. Neither game featured any defense, hitting, or really effort for that matter. Canadian national hero Drake performed during the second intermission of the NHL All-Star Game in Ottawa, but that was the most entertaining part of either game.
The Olympics and the World Cup are awesome because we get the best players all in the same place and they are playing for something they care about. The MLB tried to get people to take their all-star game seriously by making it determine home-field advantage for the World Series, but that is also totally ridiculous.
I think the NHL’s plan of choosing captains and having them pick the all-star teams is really cool and should be implemented in other sports. Imagine the rivalries that could be created and intensified if some players refused to pick players from their rival teams. Don’t you think Kobe Bryant would take it personally if one of the captains didn’t take him with their first pick? Players like Bryant who have that insane competitive nature couldn’t help but play their you-know-whats off just out of pure spite. That would be entertaining and would make for great storylines throughout the season.