When it comes to this week in sports, I would have to say it was quite the disappointment. Usually there is tons to talk about, and a lot to cover. This week though, it didn't help that NFL Free agency is this upcoming week and that big Conference Tournaments all begin soon. March madness, and spring time are right around the corner, and I think this past week was the perfect time to catch a deep breath before the big push.
Sports Illustrated didn't help their cause by making a 75th year anniversary of March Madness when their first edition came out this week (they made a second one called "power issue"). Nothing but old photos of short shorts, black and white photos of legends, and stories from writers of the era talking about the greatness of college basketball. If I wanted to check these out I could go to Google images and find my own curiosity. After I received this I realized what kind of week I was in for; digging for things to write about.
So at least the week started off with one of the most intense women's basketball game of all-time. Triple over time in a #2 vs #3 match-up where the victor was lucky to come away with a win. I didn't watch most of this game or hear much about it until the next day, but from what I could tell it was an instant classic. Let's be honest, how many times do you see a women's college basketball game come down to this kind of ending? Many of them are blowouts, even when they are supposedly top ten match-ups. This kind of game doesn't get me interested in women's basketball, because nothing will, but this game will keep the girls on my radar... and not like that.
Shawne Merriman plans on retiring here in the upcoming weeks. For a good three to four year stretch, Merriman was one of the most feared linebackers in the game and unfortunately fell off the map after he became great with the Chargers. He eventually moved to defensive linemen, and from there he wasn't the same. He wanted more money on the Chargers, didn't get it, so he was traded to the Bills. Once he went to the Bills, nobody heard from him since. A solid all around player for the nine years he spent in the league, but his time has definitely run it's course. Not a Hall of Fame player, but either way, he was hardcore during his prime.
Speaking of retirements, Mariano Rivera plans on hanging up the final #42 to be worn in MLB history after the 2013 season. Known as the "Hammer of God" for his ability to shut down ballgames during the postseason, he only really did it with two pitches: the cutter and the fastball. It made him that much more incredible with the longevity he provided. With 650 saves (counting the 42 in the postseason) he is the greatest closer of all time and may never be passed up. To define Mariano Rivera, you only have to do one thing: put his face next to the word closer and the word class. Whenever the man would be warming up in the bullpen prior to the 9th, getting ready to enter the ballgame, you pretty much knew it was over. The only thing you could hope for was for his cutter to lazily drop into the strike zone. If it was on, you were done. This will be a year where you should enjoy the greatness of Mariano Rivera, enjoy his last year in the big leagues, because we most likely will never see this dominance out of a relief man ever again. Save a spot in Cooperstown for this living legend in 2018. He should be in now.
Basketball was crazy on Saturday! Besides the upsets earlier in the week with Georgetown and Miami losing to lower conference foes, Saturday was a day full of upsets. Air Force, Baylor, Utah, and Kentucky all upset conference foes on Saturday causing selection Sunday to have more suspense than it needed to prior to entering conference tournament week. It's strange to say Kentucky upset somebody, but they did. In my mind, they solidified a bid into the tournament with their win over Florida. Indiana won the Big 10 regular season outright with a comeback win over Michigan in Ann Arbor. Michigan was up by 4 with about a minute to go and they choked away a share at the regular season title at the free throw line. Kids, practice them free throws, because this game defined why.
The Miami Heat are still winning as they extended their streak to 18 wins in a row, the longest winning streak of the year. Hopefully they don't burn out by the time the playoffs start because the last thing we need to see is a banged up Knicks team challenge the Heat in the first round. Then I'll have to write about how Sportscenter thinks the Knicks pulled off the greatest upset in sports history... and none of you want to hear me rant right?
The L.A. Lakers are now in position to make the playoff push as they push themselves into the 8th seed of the western conference on Sunday. They won't make any noise unless they become the 6th seed or better because, let's be honest, they won't beat San Antonio or Oklahoma City in round one. So there is my two cents on the Lakers.
I'll throw my penny out there for some hockey talk in March. The Chicago Blackhawks ended their streak on Friday making it the only relevant news of the day. Getting blown out for the first time in a year shouldn't be something to pout about, especially since they had a 24 game-point streak to start the season. Now the Blackhawks should just rest all of their starters and let the Canucks catch up to take over the number one seed because since when does seeding matter in the NHL? Considering last years Stanley Cup team was the 8th seed in the West... Actually, I think I'm OK if the Blackhawks take the one seed. Y'all can have it.
NFL talk then we're out of here.
Next week is also going to be pure madness on the NFL free agency front as March 12th marks the day it all begins. Don't expect big time names to go early but expect mid to lower level players to get signed quickly this upcoming week. One player release really struck me and made me think for a bit; Jerome Harrison from the Steelers. He got released on Saturday and it got me thinking, who's going to sign him? The guy has been irrelevant the last couple seasons and doesn't do anything but say stupid stuff, rack up fines, and portray a negative image on himself... Hahaha... I know the perfect team for him. Click here!
OK, you all know I was going to jump on this but before I do, I'd like to clear up something before I get into this discussion on Richard Sherman. First of all the guy is awesome, he's the modern day Deion Sanders when it comes to his antics on the field, and if anything, the man may be smarter than Deion considering he is a Stanford graduate. Second, anything that I say about Sherman has nothing to do with race because I couldn't give more of a damn about what color the man is. Finally, third, I live in Seattle so I may be a bit biased on this subject. Even though I am not a Seahawks fan, I respect what they do. Here we go!
First of all watch this clip if you don't know what I'm talking about.
I agree with Sherman from the perspective that he is very accomplished and is one of the best at what he does and I do not knock him for going at Skip the way he did when it comes to his professional manner. That was all good by me. The problem I have with it, is when he clearly takes a shot at Skip about being better than Skip in every facet of life and diminishes the life that Skip lives.
First of all, I understand where Sherman was coming from when he ragged on Skip in that personal manner, I really do. As a competitor, you shouldn't care about your opponent, nor should you accept their existence. The one thing you should never do (and this counts for everything) is diminish the life of an individual because when it comes down to it, we were all brought into this planet by somebody and we are all going to leave this planet differently. That being said, how one has lived their life does not make that particular individual "better" than somebody else. What Sherman said away from the context of "I'm more accomplished, I'm better, etc." was degrading and thoughtless. Skip Bayless is a damn fool over 95% of the time, and he may make fun of you Richard Sherman, but he is still a human being, accomplished at what he does, and guess what (even better)? He gets paid to talk trash about you. So in that sense you are not as accomplished as Skip Bayless because even when your long gone or blow out your knee, Skip will still be singing the praises of Tim Tebow, ripping LeBron James, and beating his chest over some terrible play he saw because he gets freaking paid to talk about it.
Second, I think it is fantastic what Richard Sherman is doing within the communities that he is serving. He has this program named SWAG (Students with a goal) that helps open doors for kids giving them an education. Great stuff. No, better yet, amazing stuff. It doesn't mean you have to discount another individuals words by interrupting them while he's trying to ask you questions. It's completely disrespectful, and it doesn't matter who your talking to whether it's somebody you dislike or care deeply for. You should always hear somebody out in a debate or argument because they may raise a perspective that you never thought about. Maybe Richard just isn't good at debating or what not? Either way, completely disrespectful on his part.
Third, to call out somebody the way Sherman did was absolutely inappropriate for when he called Skip "Ignorant, Pompous, Egotistical, Cretin." It wasn't just uncalled for, but it was absolutely nonfactual. Skip says some pretty dumb things, but Sherman didn't help himself earlier in the interview with the demeanor he led off with. Therefore, what Sherman did was equally as nonfactual as what Skip does all the time. All Skip is trying to do is spark an opinion whether it's good or bad and many times he is playing devil's advocate because that's what he is getting paid to do on the platform ESPN provides him. So if Sherman doesn't understand that aspect of what Skip is trying to do for the show, then he is all those things he called Skip because he clearly doesn't understand the basis of what the show runs off of even though he said, "He's smart enough to understand what they are doing." It doesn't mean that you need to degrade somebody on national television.
Fourth, watch the end of the clip when he says, "There are facts to everything that I say." False. That is the part where you should seriously say "Really dude?" Facts are something that have a line of evidence to back up what you are trying to defend, opinions are thoughts and discussion on one's belief. First Take is an opinion based show with facts to set up the discussion of an opinion. Skip does not necessarily have to state facts to back up his opinion because the show does not force him to do so. Sherman, this is America and what you are saying is an opinion and nobody is going to take that away from you, but stating an opinion as fact along with running with it disrespectfully does not make you right on everything you say. Just because you walked the prissy lines of Stanford for four years doesn't give you the right to discredit someones body of work because they don't match exactly you. Everyone can do what you are doing Richard! They can do it to every single person in the world and they can say they are better than somebody because everybody is better at something than everyone else. You went to Stanford, cool, some dude in Iceland can live in weather that is constantly -20 degrees. Can you do that Richard Sherman? No, because you wouldn't find it important, just like how Skip doesn't find your two year NFL career as important or as solid as Darrelle Revis's six year NFL Career. 19 interceptions is better than 12 interceptions last time I checked, and I'm aware the careers and time span are different, but last time I checked, 19 > 12. That's a fact.
These two quotes will never leave my mind and I hope they don't leave yours:
"You have never accomplished anything." "There are facts to everything I say."
Criticism is out to get you Richard, because after something like this, your creditability only takes a hit. Stay classy.