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.