When fans try to pinpoint the reasons behind a team’s success or failure, they most often look to players or coaches. The New England Patriots have been dominant for nearly two decades because of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. The Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs have soared to the top of the league because of Sean McVay’s play-calling brilliance and Patrick Mahomes’ phenomenal play. Conversely, a team like the Raiders has struggled for so long because they’ve lacked star power both on the field and on the sideline (yes, even Jon Gruden).
It’s finally college basketball season, something that might not excite many here in the Bay Area but which certainly sends people in my home state of North Carolina into a frenzy. Raleigh, where I’m from, is ACC country: Duke, UNC, and NC State are all within forty minutes of each other, with Wake Forest less than two hours away. Growing up, my family never quite understood the bitter rivalry between the Blue Devils and the Tar Heels (Wolfpack athletics were mostly irrelevant).
The Green Bay Packers have dominated the NFL news cycle these past few days following their close defeat to the undefeated Los Angeles Rams, a loss for which much of the blame lies at the feet of Stanford alum Ty Montgomery. Zach Naidu wrote a good column yesterday here in The Daily discussing the outrage amongst the sports pundits directed at Montgomery: I’d suggest giving it a read if you hadn’t already.
The days when Derek Carr was considered a dark horse MVP candidate and the Oakland Raiders a viable Super Bowl contender are now a distant memory, with Oakland having returned to the bottom of the league, a place where they’ve spent much of the last two decades. The team is in total disarray, and given that Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper are gone (perhaps to be joined by Derek Carr), it’s become clear that management has committed to a full rebuild.
Moving on from aging franchise quarterbacks can be tough. Green Bay struggled with the decision to let Brett Favre walk in favor of Aaron Rodgers back in 2008. Denver had to let Brock Osweiler take over for Peyton Manning at times en route to the Super Bowl back in 2015. I anticipate that fairly soon, New England will be forced to finally make a change at the quarterback position when Tom Brady hangs it up.
I joined the Daily in the fall of 2016 as a freshman, originally slated to write a bi-weekly column for the Opinions section. Given the political environment at the time, I thought I’d steer clear of election commentary and focus on what I loved talking about most: sports. It seemed a natural choice for me; growing up, my friends and I spent many more hours than we could ever possibly count debating the ins and outs of the various sports leagues, bouncing hot takes off of each other and waiting to see which silly predictions might come true. And upon coming to college, I figured it was time to take the opportunity to actually publish some of my thoughts.
Prior to this season, LeBron James had won three NBA titles, three Finals MVP awards, four season MVP awards and two Olympic gold medals. He’s a fourteen-time All-Star and has been named to the All-NBA first team twelve times. Considered by many to be the greatest player of all time, he has accomplished truly unbelievable things over the course of fifteen-year career.
During this NFL offseason, we’ve witnessed some massive new contracts for quarterbacks, first with Kirk Cousins’ deal in Minnesota and then Matt Ryan’s record-breaking, $94.5 million extension with the Atlanta Falcons. Following these deals, ESPN published an article predicting which players around the league might top Ryan’s contract over the next five years.
The debate around who deserves to win NBA Rookie of the Year is hotter than it has been in many years, with Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell and Philadelphia 76ers forward Ben Simmons in a dead heat for the honor. Both had outstanding seasons, not only leading their teams to the postseason but also propelling them into the second round. After Mitchell’s incredible performance in the first round to help lift the Jazz over the Thunder in six games, many fans called for him to win rookie of the year.
The Toronto Raptors’ season came to an unfortunate end Monday night with a loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, a disappointing finish after the team dominated the Eastern Conference and came into the playoffs as the top seed in the conference.
Now that the Spurs’ season is finally over—uncharacteristically early, of course, after their recent first round exit at the hands of the Warriors—conversations around the team will now center around their offseason plans and what they should do with Kawhi Leonard.
For over a century now, American sports have, for the most part, brought people from different races, classes, genders, and political affiliations together. In today’s polarized environment, the simple act of following or rooting for the same team can bring two very different people together, allowing them to bridge partisan or racial or ethnic divides that might otherwise keep them apart.
On the first day of the Green Bay Packers’ offseason workout program earlier this week, quarterback Aaron Rodgers channeled his inner Sam Hinkie and told reporters that “you’ve got to trust the process” when asked about some of the team’s controversial decisions.
Last week’s The Masters at Augusta National — arguably the greatest weekend in sports each and every year — came and went too quickly, but in a short four days, it crowned a first-time major champion in Patrick Reed and proved that American golf is absolutely fantastic right now. For one, Tiger is back.
Nobody ever intended for teams to tag the same player year after year in lieu of coming to an agreement on a long-term contract.
Last week’s bombshell news that several top college basketball programs are the target of an FBI corruption investigation has renewed the debate around the NBA’s age rule and the practicality of the “one-and-done” phenomenon that has plagued the NCAA in recent years.
It was reported recently that the New York Jets were contemplating making Kirk Cousins an offer than included $60 million in guarantees in the first year alone. No, not $60 million over the life of the contract. Cousins would make it all in year one before getting paid a more modest $20 million or so each year after that.
Last Thursday’s trade deadline was one of the most memorable in recent history, headlined by the Cleveland Cavaliers completely overhauling their roster and several other teams making important roster moves.
Prior to Sunday’s game, few NFL fans and bettors expected the Philadelphia Eagles to spoil Tom Brady’s quest for a sixth Super Bowl title. If you go back even further, most people didn’t even expect the Eagles to make the championship game in a stacked NFC conference after franchise quarterback Carson Wentz went down with a season-ending ACL tear in the midst of an MVP-level campaign. After struggling with journeyman backup Nick Foles in the final three games of 2017, things didn’t look bright.
NBA fans were in for a big surprise Monday afternoon when it was announced that Los Angeles Clippers star power forward Blake Griffin (along with two minor role players) had been traded to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, Boban Marjanovic and two draft picks, one of which is a first-round selection.
This past Saturday, five-star recruit Zion Williamson stunned many when he verbally committed to continue his academic and basketball career at Duke University rather than sticking with his hometown Clemson Tigers, whom many had thought was the favorite to land him. Also in the mix were North Carolina, South Carolina, Kansas and Kentucky.
The Pittsburgh Steelers just wrapped up a 13-win season in which they won the AFC North and secured a first-round bye in the playoffs. Over the last four seasons, they’ve been a perennial contender, racking up 45 wins. In the last decade, they’ve won a Super Bowl and been the runner-up in another. Future Hall of Fame quarterback Ben Roethlisberger continues to play at a high level, and they’ve drafted incredibly well: the successes of Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell, two of the most dominant position players in the league, are a testament to that fact.
When the Chiefs selected Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes in the first round of last year’s NFL draft, many assumed that the 2017 season would be Alex Smith’s final one as the starter in Kansas City. After all, the Chiefs had traded up to trade Mahomes, sending their own 2017 first-rounder, a third-round pick, and their 2018 first-round selection to Buffalo. Given the steep price they paid, it seemed inevitable that Mahomes would soon take over the reins as the starting quarterback in 2018, if not sooner.
Eli didn’t deserve this. The Giants’ season, though certainly disappointing, isn’t his fault—he has no line to protect him, no weapons to throw to. Eli hasn’t played great, that’s for sure. But pinning this season’s woes on him, and doing so in such embarrassing, heart-wrenching fashion, is a weak, sad move by a head coach desperate to save his own job.