Nothing in life is perfect, most things aren’t even close. Everyone has their favorite sport and sometimes they over glorify it. Sports is like school, you and your friends complain about it all the time, but you wouldn’t let anyone else dare say a bad word about it. Maybe, that’s just my experience, but either way no one wants to hear criticism from outsiders. So, today I’m going to criticize the three major American sports (sorry NHL fans, or well not really). Let us start with the only one of the three currently in session. The NBA is a compelling league with superstars from coast to coast. The MVP race is between three or four players who do incredible things every night. Only 4 or 5 teams are out of the race for a playoff spot. The bad news is, no one cares. The NBA has a few huge problems. Number one is the Warriors. Yes, everyone lies about their hatred for dynasties or at least isn’t honest about how much they like to watch them. The problem is the NBA has had the same Finals matchup for four years in a row. The problem is half the teams make the playoffs. The problem is any fan who is even slightly a realist, can’t have legitimate championship aspirations. The good news is this can not last, the Warriors will disband and Lebron will retire. The league should breath a sigh of relief and then find a way to keep superstars away from each other. Or at least find a way to keep some form of hope for the other 31 teams. That’s enough ranting, lets move onto football. The NFL is still the king of American sports. A bad Super Bowl doesn’t change that. The League needs to find a way to keep star players healthier. A league that can’t field its best talent isn’t much of a league. The problem is my second complaint runs into my first, it would be about the dominance of offenses. Of course, everyone is going to be talking about how boring the defensive Super Bowl was, but we seem headed in the direction of 55-51 games becoming the norm. Fans want more offense, but too much of a good thing won’t help. Obviously the two complaints clash with one another. The third one is more of a concern about ratings. The NFL took back some of its ratings from a horrible 2017, but the Super Bowl has been declining for years even though this year featured Boston and LA. The last of the three sports is the National Pastime. There are so many issues its hard to narrow it down. First, appeal to young people. I don’t care how, find a way. Old people die its kinda what they do, you need a solid young fan base. Second, forget the National market. Focus on local ratings, like an election get out there and convince the wonderful people of Oakland why they should tune into A’s baseball. Third goes back to one, let children in for cheaper. Every baseball fan today can tell you their first time seeing the ball field as a kid. Its romantic and you aren’t going to fall in love with something you won’t see. Also, for crying out loud, make the Playoff games earlier so children can watch them!
Hundreds of thousands tuned in, but Freshman Quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Freshman Wide Receiver Justyn Ross made it look like a pickup game in their backyard. The two freshmen coupled with the defense dominated the game and took their revenge for last year’s crushing loss. Clemson started the game with a pick six off of Tua Tagovailoa, but Alabama recovered and even took the lead in the second quarter 16-14. Alabama established their running game while containing Clemson’s. The Crimson Tide also were dominating time of possession. It was early in the second quarter when Clemson forced a Field Goal at the goal line. They then drove down the field scoring a touchdown and retaking the lead. On the next possession Tua threw his second pick into heavy coverage. Clemson then scored again and again going from down 16-14 to winning 44-16 in the fourth quarter. Jalen Hurts came on late but too much damage had been done. Lawrence had a stat line of 20-32 with 347 yards and 3 TDs and Ross was also impressive with six catches for 153 yards and a TD. Saban came out and played aggressively going for it on 4th down a number of times. His perplexing decision was to go for it on 4th and six with a fake Field Goal run that the kicker was supposed to block for. It hardly mattered because Dabo Swinney and his staff came prepared. They aggressively blitzed and forced mistakes. It was a team effort and Clemson looks set up on offense, but much of their defense will be graduating. That’s a problem for next year’s team. Clemson wins their second title in three years with a score of 44-16.
A few other notes from around the sports world: The Packers announced Matt LaFleur as their next head coach. LaFleur spent this year as Offensive Coordinator for the Titans. He has previously worked for Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan. He replaces Mike McCarthy. It is a bit of a surprising move because the Titans didn’t have an overpowering offense this year by any stretch. It was an ideal Head Coaching vacancy thanks to Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers himself is worth 6 or 7 wins. James Harden had another dominant night as he looks to lock up the mvp. He scored 32 points and dished out 14 assists. It was an incredible performance made better by a dirty crossover he pulled on Jamal Murray.
More great defense and I hope Cody Parkey makes it home safely. Both road teams won today as the Chargers beat the Ravens 23-17 and the Eagles beat the Bears 16-15. Chargers Vs. Ravens– This game was quickly forgotten about and for good reason. However, I think it will matter more in the long run than the other game. The Chargers defense took control early by capitalizing on Ravens miscues and keeping Lamer Jackson hemmed in. The offense did just enough, but should be concerned about having to settle for so many Field Goals. Tom Brady is not going to let Field Goals beat him. The Chargers aren’t a fluke, this team won 12 games and is lead by an incredible veteran Quarterback. He is surrounded by decent weapons and a strong run game. New England has looked sloppy this year, a Chargers win would hardly be an upset at this point. The Ravens have some soul searching to do. On one hand they switched to the more exciting younger QB and caught fire to get into the Playoffs (bringing back shades of the other Harbaugh). However on the other hand, the Chargers showed a pretty solid blueprint for stopping Jackson to the rest of the league. Sticking with Jackson was a gutsy decision by Harbaugh and it almost won them the game, but it will be up to the coaching staff to find more creative schemes for this offense next year. Bears VS. Eagles– Another slugfest, and this one ended with a bang. Both defenses came to play and it was only 10-6 going into the 4th. Nick Foles shocked the Football world again with a last minute touchdown and Cody Parkey missed a Field Goal from 43 yards out to lose the game. The Bears are back, this team has an incredibly solid nucleus and as Trubisky matures they will only get better. Parkey hit 3 FGs prior to his miss, all of them within 40 yards. The Bears got into Eagles territory but struggled to finish. The Eagles magic continues as they ride into New Orleans. With the Ravens out of the playoffs they won’t face a defense harder than the Bears. Foles struggled on a couple of decisions and throws. They don’t look like last year’s team, but only the Football gods know for sure. An unrelated sports note from today; The Minnesota Timberwolves fired Coach and President Tom Thibodeau- Probably a good move, the Butler situation was a fiasco and the team has not improved enough defensively during his tenure.