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There is no doubt about it now. The stats and on field performances tell it all. Tom Brady is the greatest of all time. With 5 Super Bowl rings, the first quarterback to fill one hand, and owning more records than the avid record collector, he has earned his spot atop the football mountain.

The New England Patriots epic comeback in Super Bowl LI was one of the greatest moments in sports, right up there with the Chicago Cubs World Series championship. After they were down 28-3 and struggling offensively, I didn’t think a comeback was very possible but little by little the Atlanta Falcons defense was worn down and eventually turned to Swiss cheese. Tom Brady proved he deserves the title of GOAT by marching the Patriots 91 yards down the field to tie the game at 28 and then send the game into overtime, the first in Super Bowl history, and then drove them 80 yards in a hurry to score the sudden death game winning touchdown. The Patriots never led in the game; when they scored in overtime, the game was instantly over and no time passed. An extra point wasn’t needed so the final score was 34-28.


Super Bowl Time


And so we are back to Roman Numerals again. I can’t wait for Super Bowl 59, which would be written as Super Bowl LIX (pronounced “licks”), as if the game would showcase people taste testing food or would be about shredding awesome guitar solos.

The Super Bowl is just around the corner again and I’m starting to get excited because of course my favorite and one of the most storied teams of this century is in it again: the New England Patriots. They’ve fought through cheating scandals and the four game suspension of Tom Brady to once again prove that nothing will stop them from being successful year after year. Bill Belichick just outsmarts them all with his brilliant gameplans. The Patriots can plug in just about any player (Chris Hogan?) when key ones are down (Gronk) and still manage to win 10+ games

I haven’t been following the season or the playoffs as much as I did in the past but one thing is still certain: the best teams always make it to the Big Game. I was a little skeptical that this Super Bowl would provide the hype and excitement of last year’s big anniversary game or that it would start to feel old and boring but now that the smoke has cleared and the teams have been set, the talk and festivities have started and the real anticipation can start to bubble. I can now fill the spirit rising within again, shaking off that feeling that I was suddenly tired of football, that all of those Thursday night games made it too saturated, but now that I’ve had some time to reflect I feel good again. There is of course a lot more to life than just football, with the recent death of Mary Tyler Moore making headlines today and all of the updates on Donald Trump’s plan to actually build the wall on the Mexico/US border, but it is always there give me that competitive spirit and determination.

I wasn’t at all expecting the Atlanta Falcons to make it the Super Bowl this year but they had one of the best offenses in Matt Ryan, Devonta Freeman, and Julio Jones. I didn’t even know the name of their head coach until today, Dan Quinn, which tells you how little I’ve been following the team or how little I care. The Falcons finally got the job done this year, after failing so many times in the playoffs, but would they be the most worthy team of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy? I’m not sure. They were only a couple yards away from making it to Super Bowl 47, but lost to the San Francisco 49ers, but after that they seemed to disappear from the playoffs altogether, never making it past the first game. They beat a red hot Green Bay Packers team that just managed to get into the playoffs after such a lousy start to the season filled with injuries.

I expect this game to break all kinds of records again, in television ratings, social media mentions, and money spent on commercials. Last years most amazing commercial in my mind was Puppy Monkey Baby by Mountain Dew, a bizarre combination of sorts that raised some eyebrows. What craziness will the ad geniuses come up with this time?

Lady Gaga’s performing in the halftime show this year. It’s a good choice I guess because I can’t think of anyone else who is as big as her right now as Katy Perry has already performed, and Taylor Swift turned down the opportunity (she would have had some awesome songs to perform now that she’s fully transitioned from a country singer to a rocking pop superstar). Since it’s Lady Gaga, I can expect some out of this world performance with elaborate costumes, exotic stage setups and props, and enough surprises to get the internet buzzing with excitement. Will she come flying in on a winged horse? Many of the die hard football fans could care less about the halftime show and would love to see the game get going as soon as possible again, and I can’t blame them, because sitting through 15 minutes of something that has very little to do with the game being played can be hell.

The Hike to Glory

The football season continues
Warriors come to battle
These foot soldiers in colorful wear
Under the lights, Monday night

Defend your turf
Reinforce the gate
Because the object of this game
Is to keep the enemy at bay

And at the end of it all
The gleaming prize you see
Is the legendary Lombardi trophy
Going to the last standing team


Take the Cake

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The Colin Kaepernick kneeling controversial is perhaps the silliest story to come out this fall. It takes the cake as football’s first big scandal this season after months of afor the new season. In a preseason game, Kaepernick kneeled down while the national anthem was playing to protest because he didn’t want to support a country that oppressed blacks and minorities, based off the happenings in Ferguson and beyond. Another player joined him to support his views on the current state of things. Now U.S. women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe, who was on the 2015 World Cup winning squad, did the same thing as a “nod to Kaepernick”. And social media blew up.

I don’t see anything wrong with this kind of protest. Kaepernick had every right to express his opinion. The media will find anything they can to get a heated discussion going. The Deflategate controversy is all but exhausted. Let’s get our hands on something else that has little to no meaning on how the season unfolds.


Sports Landscape

Mich vs. Mich
The Big House

Michigan Stadium on the University of Michigan campus, a place that can get packed with over 110,000 people on Game Day. This was a practice game between the offense and the defense. I don’t know who won if it ever matters. It was the first time I had ever been to the stadium for real, save for maybe one time when I was just a tiny infant and had no awareness. Jim Harbaugh is going to bring the Wolverines back to their glory days. He is the saving grace for everything that is Maize and Blue. Look out, Spartans, because big brother is aiming to take back the coveted throne – and you’re starting with a freshman quarterback next year.

WPC: Landscape

Super Bowl 50 Sunday

It’s hard to believe it but the Big Game is finally here again. All year long, this game has been advertised as the golden anniversary, with the 50 on all fields being painted gold. Trips down memory lane have been taken. Special books have been released. The Madden simulations have been partaken. The mystery of who the halftime performers would be is over.

Who would have thought that a game inspired by a toy (Super Ball) would be the biggest sports event in the world?

Who would have thought that the biggest thing about this game is not the game itself but the Halftime Show?

There is only one question left:

Carolina or Denver? Who will it be?

Will Peyton Manning finally get his second ring as he knocks on retirement’s door or will the young (and cocky) Cam Newton bring Charlotte it’s first Lombardi trophy?

Okay, there are more questions to be answered:

How many times will the Sheriff say “Omaha!”

How many times will Cam Newton do “Superman”?

Super Bowl chili returns this year though it wasn’t as thoroughly done as the past two years. More of a dump chili this time around though I did take some time to cut up chili peppers, onions, and garlic, and to add my specialty: brown cinnamon.

Okay, so the Broncos got the ball first and the ball didn’t go over Peyton Manning’s head this time. It’s 3-0 Broncos as I write this.

Lady Gaga didn’t screw up the anthem this time.

The Super Bowl commercials are once again a key part of the overall experience. So far, the pug/baby/monkey hybrid is a highlight of the evening. The Aerosmith Skittles commercial also is a great one.

With all the hype surrounding the Super Bowl being over, being able to see the actual game is a refreshment. Everything is magnified in this game, every play an important factor in the outcome of one team’s season.

I know not everyone is a fan of the NFL and many would say this is just another game, but for one day I suppose we can all agree that this 50th game represents history in the making. A crossroads of past, present, and future superstars.

My predictions for the game (based off what has already transpired):

Denver wins by 7.

Final score:

Denver 27

Carolina 20

I’ll most likely be wrong with this, but let’s watch the game and find out for ourselves.

Update: Denver won 24-10, so I was off by 7 points.

Thanks for banging the “Keep Pounding” drum, @StephenCurry30, but today, Manning and co. silence the Panthers thundering season.

Hop on the Bandwagon

Football is a huge gathering. There is no doubt about it. The TV ratings and ticket sales do not lie, even if one is not a huge fan of it.

You know fans are crazy about the game when everyone in a sports bar cheers and claps as one organism. When everyone comes in their favorite players’ sport jerseys. That’s what happened Monday night during the Lions and Saints game. The Lions won but didn’t make it easy. Drew Brees’ squad had one last gasp to tie the game after Detroit’s kicker missed a field goal that would have sealed it. They never came remotely close to scoring but immediately shades of the Green Bay game in which Aaron Rodgers threw a Hail Mary to the tight end Richard Rodgers in the end zone with no time on the clock came to mind. Richard caught it among several Lions and won the game for Green Bay. The Packers got this extra chance after a penalty was called on the Lions for a facemask on Aaron Rodgers, but replays clearly showed that the Lions’ defender did not grab the facemask. Thankfully, that didn’t happen again and we got a break. 5-9 still but at least they are not giving up.

The Detroit Lions are one of those teams that keep the fans coming back every season, even if they keep losing and losing and breaking our hearts. The fans cling to hope that one day they will finally put a run together and have a chance to win their first championship since 1957. Even winning a playoff game would be exciting, since they haven’t done that since 1991. They were in the playoffs last year but got screwed on a controversy call that gave Dallas a recovered fumble and the game, when the replay showed that the runners’ knee was down. Calls like this have been going against our lovable losers for years, two big ones this year, one against Green Bay, the other against Seattle.

Even if the Lions are out of the playoff race once again, we will still tune into them, clinging to hope like millions of other Detroit fans. “Don’t drink the Kool-Aid”, Uncle Jack tells me, talking about how the Lions get our hopes up every year and then totally hoodwink us with a complete letdown. In 2008, they went 0-16, and my realization that being a fan of this team was going to involve a lot of heartbreak, embarrassment, and all-around stinkers was soon unearthed.

One of my dreams (and I’m sure Jack’s as well) is to go to a Super Bowl and see the final two teams battle it out for the coveted Lombardi. That would be the ultimate celebration for him. If the Lions were in it, he would be going crazy. If they were about to win, he might have a heart attack.

Every fan needs a B team. That’s definitely true for me. When your favorite local team lays an egg, switching to the alternate lightens up the mood.

In football, that team would happen to be the legendary New England Patriots. The Patriots were the first team that caught my eye back when I started to get interested in the game. The first game I remember watching was the Super Bowl between New England and Carolina, that the Brady Brunch obviously won on a field goal. I was lying on the couch near the TV under a blanket. I didn’t even know what a first down was. Now I’m highly invested in the game, watching every game every week. Fantasy football has gotten me to know most of the players better and to follow along with who ever is on my team.

I’m definitely a sports fan. I love sports. They make me happy and are a great source of entertainment. The competitiveness and camaraderie can get lots of people talking at once.

My sports life started with racing and then gradually expanded into other areas. I’ve been through my ups and downs with various teams, have witnessed championship seasons and absolutely pathetic ones. When the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004, I immediately started to like baseball more. When the Tigers ran to the World Series in 2006, a whole legion of fans suddenly were ecstatic, many jumping on the bandwagon. I got into basketball when the Pistons won the title in 2004 but haven’t had much to cheer for since because of them sucking so bad. The Red Wings won the Stanley Cup in 2008 and hockey was a newcomer to my interests. I never really got into that sport, mostly because it’s hard to follow and the teams are so evenly matched anyway that it’s hard to tell who’s good or not.

Okay, so I’m not a crazy, crazy sports fan. I wouldn’t paint my face or dress up in silly costumes at a football game. I’m a normal fan who just watches the game and enjoys it. I don’t get morbidly upset when a team loses, because there is always tomorrow. When Michigan lost to Michigan State on that botched punt, I obviously was depressed but after so many sports letdowns, just chalked it up and said “that’s life.” Sports aren’t everything after all. I used to get so upset over losing that sometimes I would flip the TV off or storm out of the house, like I did when the Tigers blew a game in the ninth inning. I vent my frustration now by focusing on the positives, not by immediately jumping off the bandwagon.

There is always going to be a couple of stormy days but eventually you will find a beautiful rainbow after the rain clears up. Optimism is what gets you through the bad times and with sports this could not be any truer. That’s the beauty of it all.

In Response to the Daily Prompt: Fandom

Are you a sports fan? Tell us about fandom. If you’re not, tell us why not.