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.
Bill Belichick has enjoyed one of the most successful tenures ever as a head football coach, having succeeded year-after-year in crafting a contender with top-notch talent on offense, defense and special teams. I have no doubt that he will go down as one of the greatest of all time, and deservedly so. Last week, however, he finally slipped up: the Jimmy Garoppolo trade to San Francisco is one, I believe, that he will come to regret.
At the beginning of the 2017 college football season, a few media outlets—Fox Sports in particular—published pieces suggesting that Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh might leave Ann Arbor and head to Indianapolis to replace the Colts’ Chuck Pagano. Skeptical at first, I’ve become more optimistic as the Colts have struggled. Though Pagano’s battle against cancer several years ago inspired many, he hasn’t performed as a head coach since, and it seems almost certain that he’ll be gone after the 2017 season. Once he’s gone, the Colts will need somebody who’s proven that they can step in and turn teams around. Josh McDaniels of the Patriots has been floated as one possibility, and although he’s a capable play-caller and offensive coordinator, his one stint as a head coach in Denver was a disappointment. Beyond McDaniels, there’s unlikely to be a whole lot of available coaching talent at the professional level. Maybe it’s time to dip into the ranks of the NCAA.
It’s hard to root for your team to lose. Especially when they have a winning record half-way through the season. And particularly when they’re not in rebuilding mode. But starting this week, I’ll be rooting against my favorite team—the Green Bay Packers—to lose.