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Reel Robinson

A ball player that enjoys watching and discussing the game.

Kobe’s last game marked the passing of a torch

The NBA torch has officially been passed

Kobe’s last game was this past week, and it marked the passing of a torch. The final week of NBA basketball has traditionally been one of those weeks where most teams have solidified their playoff berths and are starting to rest players for the long run to a championship. This year was a bit different. Several teams have been pursuing regular season goals that has upped the energy for the final week tremendously. The Golden State Warriors who have been above and beyond the best team in the NBA all season have been pursuing the 72-10 regular season record held by the 95-96 Michael Jordan led Chicago Bulls. After losing 2 random home games just a week and a half ago, they had to win the final 4 games to break the record and 3 of 4 to tie. They took on the Spurs in their record tying game, who were also playing to make history. The Spurs were undefeated at home up until their lost to the Warriors this past weekend. The Spurs tied one of the great Boston Celtics teams with the best home record in league history at 39-1.

Last night was not just about team records. Stephan Curry, perennial MVP of this season was chasing 400 3 point shots made which is a record he already owns but he has destroyed this season. A Warriors team that has made more than 1000 3 pointers as a unit. It has been a remarkable season and for them to go out with big win at home to take the coveted record of 73-9 is all but fitting. In doing so, the Warriors prepare to finish the job in the playoffs and take home the franchises 3rd NBA championship and back to back. I am someone who thinks they have no real choice but to repeat as championships to solidify their legendary status as a team. They have been the mark of consistency all season long and I look forward to watch Curry, Thompson and Green lead the way through the playoffs. They have been the most entertaining team since the Miami Heat Big Three a few years ago.

Kobe leaves like only the Mamba can

Kobe “Bean” Bryant played his last game as a professional last night as well. He took his lack luster Lakers team up against the playoff hungry Utah Jazz in front of a sold out crowd, with all eyes on him and he did not disappoint. He put up every shot he could and all of sudden he started to look like vintage “Mamba” knocking down 3-point bucket after 3-point bucket. The game was pretty entertaining with the Jazz playing for a birth in the playoffs. The Jazz led most of the way even having a 11-point lead with a little over 9 minutes to go in the game. Kobe proceeds to take over the game and do what he has done for 20 years now and that is kill his opponent. He ended the night with 60 points shooting 22-45 from the field. Not only did he score 20 points in the last 9 minutes he propelled the Lakers over the Jazz 101-96 knocking the Jazz out of the playoffs, making room for the Houston Rockets to sneak in and take the 8th seed. 

What did the final night of Kobe reveal about the NBA?

Last night was a culmination of one of the most entertaining seasons in NBA history. The parody across the league has grown to the most competitive level it has been in a long time. The Eastern conference has bounced back to be the better conference after so many seasons lamenting behind the competitive west with teams who were barely having above .500 records but still making the playoffs. This year the tables have turned, the Western conference has the only below .500 team in the playoffs, the Houston Rockets, who have been disappointing to say the least. Now that being said, Kobe’s performance last night gave the Rockets a wonderful opportunity to forget about their struggling season, and an opportunity to avenge their Conference championship defeat from last season. They take on the Golden State Warriors who have their sites on another championship, so James Harden will have to do his best Kobe impersonation if he wants to get his team to the 2nd round, or even keeping them from being swept would be an accomplishment. I don’t think they have a chance but I have been wrong many times before, anything is possible in this game. Kobe single-handedly saved Harden and Howard from a long summer of scrutiny. Not to say it still won’t exist after this first round match-up but it will be postponed to see if they have the ability to pull it together when the games really count.  Harden has been playing at the top of his game as of late but Dwight Howard has seemingly disappeared so this could be the opportunity for the big man to reclaim his throne as best center in the NBA. (Although, highly unlikely) I will be doing my Playoff preview later this week. How did you enjoy Kobe’s final game? Do you think the Golden State Warriors of today would defeat the 95-96 Chicago Bulls? Leave a comment and let me know. 

Connor McGregor and Holly Holm took L’s at UFC 196

UFC Champs fell together this past weekend at UFC 196

We watched champs fall together at UFC 196, when Connor McGregor and Holly Holm took L’s. This past weekend, Holly Holm and After a year where we had to put up with the bravado of fighters in UFC, despite their records not reflecting this confidence we finally come to a place where those claims can fall to the waist side. UFC has been fighting for attention, looking to take its rightful place in the hierarchy of the fighting business. The retirement of Floyd Mayweather after September’s bout against Andre Berto was not just a jolt of energy for boxing hopefuls who look to claim that #1 spot but it also ended a run in which the best fighter in the world was never in question. This goes for all fighting styles. UFC has been positioning Connor McGregor to be heir to the Mayweather throne since early 2014 and it seems his track record has made it an easy transition. He has a similar bravado as Mayweather, only thing he is missing is an unblemished record in his respective sport. McGregor came into Saturday Night’s fight against talented Nate Diaz (19-10) on a 15 fight winning streak in which he won his last fight convincingly in 13 seconds over former champion Jose Aldo. This seemed to be a chance to notch another victory in his legacy.

Although the fight was a bit unorthodox to begin with, Diaz had only 11 days of preparation for this fight due to McGregor’s original opponent Rafael dos Anjos withdrawing due to a broken foot. Diaz stepped up to the plate on short notice to take on the champion and from the beginning had confidence in the fact that he could beat him. If you go by all of the media, McGregor who uses his bravado well to intimidate his opponents, took on the challenge from Diaz despite the evident difference in size. McGregor had to climb two weight classes to match Diaz who fights normally at 170lbs. This turned out to be a major advantage for the veteran. McGregor dominated most of the 2 rounds but an underestimation of the size difference could have been his down fall. His ability to knock opponents out has been his strength, especially when delivering his overhand left. Diaz was able to take those shots in the 1st round and bounce back to adjust. Connor looked to find comfort with his ability to make Diaz miss until he didn’t miss. Late in the 2nd round Diaz dazed McGregor with a straight right hand and from there he took to the offensive. Knocking the champ back forcing him to go for a takedown, which ultimately lead to his defeat. After McGregor initiated his take down, the tables quickly turned and Diaz was able to put McGregor in swift yet stern guillotine hold that forced the champ to turn his back and from there Diaz initiated a rear-naked choke causing McGregor to tap out in a matter of seconds. Just like that a new champ was crowned.

There is nothing more satisfying then seeing someone who talks as much as McGregor go down in defeat. Although, I am not a fan, I respect McGregor for his ability to take a loss in the manner that he did and bounce up with no issue. He took on a fight he had little time to scout and he did what he normally does by bruising his opponents face remarkably despite his difference in size and power. McGregor is scheduled to fight in UFC 200 in July to defend his 145lb belt. There has yet to be an opponent announced for that battle.

Holly Holm takes the L just 4 months after claiming Bantamweight title

Holly Holm defended her Bantamweight Title against savvy veteran Miesha Tate (18-5) who came in to Saturday’s bout after previously considering retirement due to being looked over by UFC with a fight with Rousey. The fight was extremely competitive and it went down to the wire. Holm had her way by staying away from the grapple expertise of Tate most of the fight. In the final round, Tate was able to get a hold of Holm placing a strong rear-naked chokehold that she couldn’t bear. Holm fought for some time throwing punches as Tate held on tightly but to no avail as she lost consciousness losing with 90 seconds left in the fight. This sets up a potential headliner between Tate and Rousey. Ronda Rousey has previously defeated Tate 2 times from arm bar submissions and would be returning back to action after taking her first lost just last year. I look forward to more UFC fights that actually live up to the hype as these two did. What did you think of UFC 196? Did the losses by two champions hurt or help the sport as it goes forward? Leave a comment and let me know.

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The Damian Lillard Portland Trailblazer’s show has begun

NBA Pointguard, Damian Lillard, is rising up as a star

The Damian Lillard Portland Traiblazer’s show has officially begun. I know, I know it is the Stephan Curry show in the NBA this season but when it comes to point guards there has been some amazing performances elsewhere throughout the season. Curry’s unimaginable performances seem to have trumped the guard heavy league and in some cases rightfully so but Damian Lillard is a name that deserves recognition. I have spoken about him throughout the season but his performance in February makes for a perfect opportunity to express just how good he has been all season long. After a 2nd All Star snub in a row Lillard has been on a mission to prove his status as a top 5 pg in the league. He has all the intangibles to be one of the greats and with continued success and the leadership he displays, he possesses everything that is needed to surpass Curry in the next few years, that is if the Trail Blazers can put enough around him to help.

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After losing 3 of his go-to players to other teams, Lillard has taken on a brunt of the workload on his own shoulders. He does have help with emerging star CJ McCollum out of Lehigh who has come into his own as one of the deadliest isolation players in the game. Damian Lillard is the 5th best scorer in the league and 7th in assist this season. He has been able to increase his scoring to 25 points a game from 21 ppg just last season. Despite losing Lamarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, and Wesley Matthews he has been able to keep his Trail Blazer team in contention in the West this season. Their 32-28 record keeps them in the playoffs battling with Houston, Dallas and Utah for those final 3 slots. Unlike those other teams, they are on the incline at this point in the season. Watching the NBA so called best during All Star weekend from his home must have gave him some motivation.   

Let’s talk February

Lillard has been one of the best players since the All Star break averaging 30 points and 8 assist which includes a 51-point performance against the Golden State Warriors. Curry was honored with the February Player of the Month for his outstanding performances and multiple game winning shots the last 3 weeks but Damian has pulled his struggling team out of the depths of failure in his process. The Trail Blazers are far from the most talented team in the league unlike the Warriors so the pressure for near perfect play is put on the shoulders of Lillard on a night to night basis. He has stepped up to the challenge. The Trail Blazers are 8-2 in their last 10 and are putting pressure on the rest of the West as they climb up the playoff tree.

Making an argument for best back court in the league

Damian Lillard is slowly becoming one of the most productive players in Portland franchise history. He has been one of the best point guards in the league since the moment he stepped on a NBA court. Winning rookie of year by a long shot in 2012, he has continued to grow as a player every year. Adding more points and more assist every season and now with the help of McCollum, they look to be attempting to claim the position of the best back court in the league. Now, with that being said, he has some work to do. While his numbers reflect an elite player, his team’s lack luster start has him sitting behind some of the more successful back courts in the league. If I had the rate them, it would go Golden State, Toronto and then Portland unless Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler are healthy for Chicago. As these two ballers mature since Lillard is only 25 years old and CJ McCollum is only 24 they have the ability to surpass everyone if they stay on this trajectory. I look forward to seeing them work and how far Damian Lillard can take his game. What do you think about Lillard’s season so far? Tell me what you think in the comments.

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Super Bowl 50 Recap

Broncos win Super Bowl 50 despite a mediocre performance by Peyton Manning

So Super Bowl 50 went down in Santa Clara, California Sunday evening and once again a defensive minded team took control. The Broncos came into the game against a 15-1 Carolina Panthers team who had dominated the first half of each of their two previous playoff games and looked prime to bring home the organizations first Super Bowl win in just their 2nd appearance. Although the game was a bit underwhelming overall, the story line of the newly named MVP and soon to be face of the NFL, Cam Newton versus the savvy veteran Peyton Manning looking to write the ending to his own prestigious legacy stood out. A matchup that really wouldn’t unfold as both defenses put on great shows and proved they were the real engines to both of teams.

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Peyton just doing enough

Peyton Manning came into this game off of a season where he sat the bench for the first time since his old college days. Not knowing if he would have another opportunity to win a title unfolded into may be the legends final 60 minutes on a football field. He didn’t have a legendary game by any means, he simply did enough to keep the Broncos in good position. The defense caused a fumble and touchdown on the recovery on the first drive of the game and from their held the Panthers to only 1 touchdown. Peyton had an opportunity to play with the lead allowing him to play conservative enough to withstand the constant pressure the stout defense of the Panthers presented. Manning had a pedestrian day with 141 passing yards off of 13-23 passes and 1 interception while being sacked 6 times as well.

Not to take anything away from his accomplishment but he was pretty lucky that the Panthers came out sluggish and looked as if the moment had gotten a bit too big for them. Carolina committed uncharacteristic turnovers (caused by an elite Broncos Defense) and the offensive line who has been one of the best all season met their match. Von Miller and Demarcus Ware put pressure on Cam all day long leading the D with 4.5 of the 7 sacks on Newton. Von Miller would go on to win MVP adding 6 tackles to go with his 2.5 sacks and 1 of those forced fumbles on Cam. The most important asset for the Broncos goes to the kicker Brandon McManus who was responsible for 10 of the teams 24 points.

Carolina folded under the Broncos pressure

Cam Newton came into Sunday a day from winning the NFL MVP award for the first time and solidifying himself into super stardom. He played a safe conservative game in Super Bowl 50 but his patience seems to have bit him in the butt as the Broncos defense constantly put him on the turf. You could see the frustration as Panthers receivers dropped a number of his passes and the running backs struggled to gain any positive yards. The defense was put in tough field position most of the night but they still managed to keep the Broncos out of the end zone for most of the game limiting them to field goals. Cam over threw a few passes in the first half but seem to get in a groove in the 2nd but every time it seemed the Panthers would gain moment they turned the ball over. Mike Tolbert and Cam Newton fumbled twice. Cam numbers wise were pretty decent 265 on 18-43 passes. He had a lot of success running the ball in the 1st half but seem to shy away from running in the 2nd. From my perspective he wanted to show us how much of a pocket quarterback he was and it did not play to his favor. He was a sitting duck in a constant collapsing pocket.

Carolina missed an opportunity to sketch their names into history. I still believe they were the better team but Sunday Denver came ready to play. They made very few mistakes and took advantage of the Panthers when the opportunity presented itself. Congratulations to the Broncos.

Let’s talk legacy

The legacy of Peyton Manning won’t be defined by this performance at all. It has been somewhat over shadowed by the Cam Newton press conference and other news already and it is only a few days old. Manning will go down as one of the best to ever do it and it is only fitting that he stood on that stage one last time with the Lombardi trophy in hand. He didn’t necessarily say his good byes but some of those throws had some indication hanging on them, trust me. The new era of athletes is among us and Cam Newton, Josh Norman, Luke Kuechly are leading the Panthers with a style of football that can easily get them back to the championship next year. As one career comes to a story book close another one is starting on his upward climb to superstardom. How did you enjoy Super Bowl 50? Tell me what you think in the comments.

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NBA All-Stars released: Who made the cut and who got the Snub

NBA All-Star weekend 2016 is approaching

Since the NBA All Stars got released, let’s figure out who made the cut and who got the snub. The mid way point of the NBA season is approaching quickly and the coveted NBA All-Star weekend is all everyone can talk about. The NBA recently released the reserves for the Western and Eastern conference and some familiar names were left off. I don’t know if it is a nod to the incredible depth of talent that the league holds or their need to build brands for the future. I understand it is hard to decide on the crème of the crop in the confines of a twelve-man roster. I wanted to take the time to name a few honorable mentions that you won’t have the opportunity of seeing at this year’s NBA All-Star Game.

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Who made the Cut?

One thing I did notice was the fans vote no longer has an emphasis on position and having the traditional starting 5 during NBA All-Star weekend 2016. Both teams starting lineups are littered with guards that excite the crowd, although most of the starters deserve their position from what they have been able to do on the court this season. Besides Kobe (I thought I’d never say that) everyone has had great seasons and deserve to be out there. Kobe deserves to be there too because if it is his last go at it why not take on the league’s best to usher in this new generation. That’s another story line in itself.

It is good to see players like Isaiah Thomas, Jimmy Butler and Draymond Green be rewarded for their outstanding play. These players have been significant reasons for the success of their organizations and should be rewarded with their first NBA All-Star appearances. It has to be difficult choosing 24 of the best players in the league when you have a league full of amazing talent. Here are your lineups.

Western Conference Starters

Kobe Bryant

Steph Curry

Kevin Durant

Russell Westbrook

Kawhi Leonard

Reserves*

LaMarcus Aldridge, James Harden, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green (led in votes), Demarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis and Chris Paul.

Eastern Conference Starters

Paul George

LeBron James

Kyle Lowry

Dwayne Wade

Carmelo Anthony

Reserves*

Andre Drummond (led in votes), Isiah Thomas, Chris Bosh, Jimmy Butler, John Wall, Demar Derozen and Paul Milsap.

They may have gotten snubbed but they still get the job done

Don’t get me wrong all of the players selected are great in their own right but there are some noticeable names missing from the lineups. The snubs this season could be related to the generational shift or just lack of production from familiar faces but some deserve some notoriety for their seasons so far. The most noticeable missing face is Blake Griffin, who despite injury (caused by lack of judgement) would otherwise be a lock on the Western conference team. So if he didn’t suffer his injury who on the list would he replace? That is another conversation.

In the west, there are a few other names I would consider snubs even if their teams were not as good as some of the players who made the list. Damien Lilliard (who was also left out last year), the point guard and leader for the Portland Trailblazers is averaging 24 points and 7 assist while shooting 42% from the field is the biggest name to not make the cut. Lilliards production has increased with the loss of Wesley Matthews, LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum who all have moved on to new organizations. Although, the Trailblazers are struggling to get wins he has been one of the more solid players all season and deserves to be on the court with the best. Others honorable mentions for NBA All-Stars would be Dirk Nowitzki, Tim Duncan and Rajon Rondo who is leading the league in assist once again. I wish the two veterans could go out like Kobe but Duncan has the team around him that may push for another NBA title this season and Kobe has the Lakers.

Eastern Conference snubs that deserve a mention

Over in the east, were a few guys who did not make the cut who are having strong seasons as well. Hassan Whiteside of the Miami Heat leads the league in Blocks with 3.9 per game, he is 2nd in Field Goal percentage and 5th in Rebounds. His overall production has been a big reason the Miami Heat have been able to stay competitive in the tough eastern conference this year. Pau Gasol is another familiar face that did not make the cut this season. Averaging his typical double double in a conference that lacks production with players of size he got the snub leading the 2nd best team in the Eastern Conference. A few other snubs would be Nicolas Batum, Al Horford and Kemba Walker who are all having tremendous seasons themselves.

The biggest names not mentioned in the East are two of the three-headed monster from the defending Eastern conference champions the Cleveland Cavaliers, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. Irving who missed the bulk of the early part of the season with an injury to his kneecap he suffered in the NBA Finals last year is an understandable snub but Love may have an argument to make. Love may be having a down year to his standards, but his 16 points and 10 rebounds have put the Cleveland Cavaliers in the driver seat once again to challenge the Golden State Warriors for league supremacy. I think wins are important aspect in All-Star voting unless it is a clear-cut player who has dominated but team has underperformed. In those cases, the best players should play in the game.

An NBA All-Star snub doesn’t make or break your career but it does make you think what all goes on in to deciding the best of the best. Some of these names deserve to be there and some have good numbers but in the end star status plays a role who people want to see on NBA All-Star 2016 Sunday. I look forward to seeing this year’s game and cheering on Andre Drummond of my Detroit Pistons. What do you think about the NBA All-Star line up, do you think any of the snubs deserve to take a place on the official NBA All-Star 2016 roster? Leave a comment and let me know. 

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Broncos and Panthers will go to Super Bowl 50

Cam Newton vs. Peyton Manning the Battle between Generations in Super Bowl 50

It has now been decided; Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers will go to Super Bowl 50. The last several years have demonstrated a generational battle between the elite quarterbacks of the last decade and the young hungry guys looking to cement themselves into the hierarchy of football greats. Winning a Super Bowl is one of the more elusive prizes known to athletes. The opportunities for winning one are slim and take a collective effort from every person in the locker room and a part of the organization to bring the goal to fruition. Many professional football players spend their entire career chasing the opportunity to hold up that Lombardi trophy in a triumphant reign as league royalty and never do. The 2015-2016 season leading to Super Bowl 50 has been one to remember. Offering some great story lines that propelled players and teams into a new stratosphere of fame and popularity.

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The playoffs have somewhat predictable. Outside of the upset this past weekend with the Denver Broncos, led by the great Peyton Manning, the teams who were expected to win have taken care of business. That being said, the Super Bowl match-up has been decided and the Carolina Panthers led by bodacious quarterback Cam Newton will take on the veteran Denver Broncos team who looks to redeem themselves after that embarrassing butt whooping they took from the Seattle Seahawks a few years ago. This could be the final chance for Peyton Manning to place his name among the league’s greatest ever with a win in Super Bowl 50.

Survival: How did the teams get to Super Bowl 50

The Denver Broncos came into Sunday as the underdog against the defending champions New England Patriots, despite holding on to the #1 seed in the AFC. They also possess the top rated defense in the NFL and a quarterback with enough history behind him to make up for any of their deficiencies. This being said, it was all but a perfect year for the Broncos and their quarterback. Despite leading the AFC west most of the season they did battle with Kansas City throughout the season for that top spot. The aging Manning went through many ups and downs throughout the season eventually losing his starting job and sitting the bench for the first time since he was a freshman at the University of Tennessee, over 20 years ago. Although, it may have been a needed wake-up call for the 39-year-old veteran who came back his winning ways after sitting out week 11 through week 16. The veteran has been able to manage the game very well and rely on their defense to do the rest. I don’t know if this formula will be enough to beat the rough and rugged Panthers.

He returned week 17 and has yet to look back. Dealing with arm strength and accuracy problems most of the season despite the Broncos winning ways, the twilight of a legendary career seemed to be creeping up on Manning. Taking the 5-week break from the field may have been the jolt he needed to propel his team to their 2nd Super Bowl appearance since he arrived in the Colorado. He now has an opportunity to set himself up for a glorious retirement, being the oldest QB to ever lead his team to Championship game, surpassing John Elway in that effort. He takes on another young and hungry quarterback, Cam Newton who has much to prove in his own right.

Cam Newton’s journey to superstardom has been a rocky one to say the least. Watching players who were drafted in the same class as him, Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck and Andy Dalton have playoff success over the last several years has had to be a hard pill to swallow. Now that he has been surrounded with a team that complements his seemingly unstoppable attributes, the Carolina Panthers are now one Super Bowl 50 away from history. The Panthers have been the best team in football all season. Their 15-1 record has been as dominating and convincing as any this season. Jumping out to big first half leads and letting their defense close out games has been their m/o and it has worked flawlessly.

The defense has been the anchor for the Panthers just as the Broncos D kept them pushing through the hard times. Cam has lacked a legitimate target at wide receiver but has not missed a beat. Turning no name wide outs into impact players, and relying on veterans like Greg Olsen at the tight end spot to make big plays when they need them. Newton had his most accurate season so far as a pro, and ran the ball down the throat of every defense he faced. This is why he is the front-runner for MVP this season.

The Panthers may have had the hardest rode to get to the championship. Despite earning the bye week to start the playoffs they had to defeat two time defending NFC champions the Seattle Seahawks and the up and coming powerhouse out of the NFC West, Arizona Cardinals, to punch their ticket into the big dance. They did just that. Putting a stop to the NFC West’s dominance over the last 3 seasons. Now that the teams are matched up and the dust has cleared, who will have the upper hand in this matchup?

The Super Bowl 50 Match-up

Carolina brings a confident team into Super Bowl 50, taking their only loss in week 16 to their division rival Atlanta Falcons, its seems to me they have a meeting with destiny this season. Cam will win MVP, rightfully so, and they will put pressure on Peyton Manning early and who knows how that will affect the Broncos leader. Carolina is the best 1st half team I have seen in a long time. They rarely have slow starts and when they do, their defense has been able to limit the other team from getting points. That being said they have yet to play against a defense as stout as the Broncos. If the Broncos D can limit the bulldozer effect the Panthers running game can bring to the table, they have a good chance for the upset.

 It will definitely be an upset, the Panthers in my eyes, are the better team and they defeated better teams to get to Super Bowl 50, it will take a legendary performance by Peyton and his team in Super Bowl 50 to get this W. Denver has some making up to do from their last Super Bowl appearance so that may also play a significant role in how the game turns out. From the outside looking in, I believe the Panthers will come out victorious with Cam Newton reigning supreme as Super Bowl 50 MVP. The torch will be passed this year to the next generation and Cam Newton will take it in stride. Who do you think will win Super Bowl 50? Leave a comment and let me know.

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Super Bowl 50 Prediction- Carolina Panthers win 35-21 

Clemson will take on Alabama to claim College Football Championship

The last two for the final bowl college football game has been set

The college football season has come to close and the final bowl game is set. The Clemson Tigers will take on the Alabama Crimson Tide in a match up that puts a growing Clemson program up against the powerhouse Alabama. Both college football teams are playing their best football at the right time. Clemson who is undefeated at 14-0 has lead the way most of the season leaving little doubt in their #1 ranking. On the other hand, Alabama is a veteran to championship games. Almost seemingly making a run every other season, the Nick Saban lead Tide look prime to take their coveted title back to Alabama. A win would put Saban in a coaching class of his own.

Road to the Championship

Lead by coach Dabo Swinney, Clemson lead the way most of the year which ended with an electrifying win against North Carolina in the ACC Championship game. They won the game 45-37 solidifying themselves with the #1 seed in the Bowl Championships. As the 1 seed they had the opportunity to take on the blazing hot Oklahoma Sooners who despite their winning streak proved to be no match for the Tigers. Outplaying the Sooners most of the night, Clemson was able to lock in their bid for a championship with a 37-17 victory in the Capital One Orange Bowl.

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Alabama took the scenic route to this year’s National college football championship game. After an unexpected loss at home against Ole Miss in week 3 of the season, Alabama faced an uphill battle to stay in contention. With road games against the likes of Auburn, Mississippi State and Texas A&M the odds were against the powerhouse program. Despite their rough schedule, Alabama managed to take on all comers and take their winning streak to 11 games. In the SEC Championship, Alabama smothered the Florida Gators resulting in a 29-15 win which propelled them to a 2 seed in the Bowl Championships. As the 2 seed they drew an interesting matchup against a strong Michigan State team who came off one of their strongest seasons to date. Alabama dominated the Spartans, winning the Goodyear Cotton Bowl in a blowout 38-0. One of the more embarrassing games this bowl season.

The Matchup

This is what we’ve all been waiting for during the college football season. Who is the supreme program of 2015? Clemson comes with an undefeated record following a commanding win over one of the hotter teams in the nation Oklahoma. This is a battle between stout defenses, one of which has a secondary that rivals some of the great programs of the 90s. Clemson will bring a different kind of challenge for Alabama. A team that can move the ball on the offensive side as well as keep their opponents from moving the ball just the same. Clemson’s D is ranked in the top 20 nationally in total defense, defensive scoring, rushing and passing efficiency. These allow the tigers to really control the game against an Alabama team who has yet to face a team with equal talent and skill at multiple positions as the tigers do.

Alabama on the other hand is arguably the best defense in the land. Taking home #1 rankings in sacks, scoring and rushing defense. Now we can expect their defense to show up in the championship game on January 11th but what will make a difference is which team can cause turnovers from their opponent. Both teams pride themselves on stingy defense and taking care of the ball. It will ultimately come down to who can secure the ball in the clutch moments. Clemson has an ability to open up the field but will they be able to against the attacking defense of Alabama? This will be one of the better championship matchups in a while. Clemson looks to take their program to the next level and Alabama tries to continue their decade of dominance.

The National Championship will be the culmination of a wonderful season. Especially because my Wolverines are back to their winning ways. In my household we love college football like athletes love their cars and we look forward to seeing Alabama go down. I am picking Clemson to win it all in a 37-31 victory. Who do you think will win the college football national championship? Leave a comment and let me know.

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Can someone tell the Redskins to change their name already!

Dan Snyder needs to reevaluate the Washington team’s offensive name

It has been an ongoing battle between the Native American community, lets rephrase this, it has been an ongoing battle for EVERYBODY who finds the teams name embarrassing and insensitive, so can someone tell the Redskins to change their name already?. While the owner of the Washington Redskins clings on to this derogatory namesake the climate around him continues to grow against his favor. Over the years, addressing racism in this country has never been easy. Especially for those promoting the sickness through their actions or blatant disregard to people who they are insulting. After years of pleading the Native American community has made substantial ground on the issue at hand with the Washington Redskins. Forcing owner Dan Snyder to reevaluate his position on keeping the name and the historic legacy that has been tied with it. For many it seems like an easy adjustment but financially it can be an expensive road to travel especially with the historic value the team and the name ‘Redskins’ has generated. We are talking 50+ years of screaming fans who have unknowingly promoted a brand that shows insensitivity towards another race of people.

I don’t blame the fans for their lack of information but now that the veil has been pulled from their eyes, I find it very difficult to understand why they still support the team in the manner that they do. A team who hasn’t been competitive in several years still wants to promote an image that demeans another set of people —the understanding is beyond me. Changing the mascot cannot be as difficult as Dan Snyder makes it. The New Orleans Pelicans switched over from the New Orleans Hornets before the beginning of the 2014 season and it has worked out pretty smooth. The excuse can’t be that it won’t work.

Moving Forward

As the league becomes more and more scrutinized with the problems with domestic violence by players, alcohol and drug related issues with players off the field, the fact that they will allow acknowledged disrespect to continue to infect the league is a bit confusing. When it comes to player discipline the NFL has strict policies but when the insubordination/classlessness comes from the ownership side their reaction has been much more delayed. Changing a mascot has been done before. There have been 8 programs who have dropped the name “Redskins” around the country. Many of which are highschools and colleges. I believe the professional team should be leading by example not wallowing behind hoping the Native American Community gives up on the fight.

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I believe 2016 will be the year we see a change. The Washington team can utilize other alternative mascots and keep their legendary color scheme of gold and burgundy. The switch doesn’t have to be this sophisticated transition but a simple fix is undoubtedly needed. There are dog breeds that are specific to the Maryland, D.C. area that could substitute easily. A boxer which has not been used as team mascot would be an awesome switch and serve a larger purpose than just being a mascot. A dog would be a wonderful mascot alternative because they are the true representation of loyalty. I think it could work for the Washington organization.

In order to change the world, we have to reject those who continue to disregard human emotion. The fact that people feel disrespected by the mascot is reason enough to change it. The NFL needs to take a bigger role in the process or risk losing another piece of their loyal fan base. Action speaks volumes and the leagues lack of action is starting to become another indication of an atmosphere that seems to care only when it starts to reflect on the reputation of the shield. I love football but I love people the most and we have reached the point where change is needed. Let go of the name please!

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Top 5 Sports Stories you may have forgot about in 2015

These top sports stories of 2015 include Usain Bolt, Holly Holm and more

It has been a year to remember in 2015 when it comes to sports, so we have compiled the top 5 sports stories you may have forgot about in 2015. We see a lot of talk about the major stories Serena Williams dominance, Stephan Curry and the Golden State Warriors but what about the stories that were just as big but isolated performances. Here are a few stand out players, teams or people in sports who were able to accomplish unimaginable success in 2015.

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5. Usain Bolt Continues to dominate

Another year that we were granted an opportunity to see greatness unfold in front of ours during these 2015 top sports stories. After a down track and field season in 2014 due to numerous injuries and bad luck, Bolt bounced back by taking home the Gold in 100M, 200M as well as leading the Jamaican team to another Gold in the 4X100M relay race. These were Bolts 9th and 10th Gold medals in the World Championships and his 12th overall medals in the Event. Usain looks to be ready for the 2016 Summer Olympics and prime to take his legacy to an even higher level.

4. Elena Della Dona becomes new face of WNBA

The WNBA star had a great year in 2015. Women’s basketball in regularly swept underneath the rug but Della Dona was able to navigate between the lack of support to becoming one of the leagues’ premier stars. Her 23.5 points and 8.4 rebounds a game for the Chicago Sky helped lead the franchise to their first playoff berth in their short history, as well as solidified her spot as WNBA League MVP over the likes of greats like Simone Augustus, Tamika Catchings and Maya Moore to name a few. She has been a new fresh face in the sport and I look forward to seeing her blossom even more in the coming years.

3. American Pharaoh takes the coveted Triple Crown

Now you may be wondering why this is on a list of the forgotten moments but since it happened so early in the year it deserved a mention. American Pharaoh, the horse that denied the odds had an amazing year. Winning the Kentucky Derby as a favorite then took on all the pressure by winning the Preakness setting up an opportunity to end the 36-year drought of Triple Crown winners. With trainers resting their horses in the Preakness to save them to defeat American Pharaoh in Belmont, there efforts proved no match to the thoroughbred who took the lead late in the Belmont and never looked back taking the Triple Crown for the first time since 1978.

2. Kansas City Royals prove that their 2014 was no fluke

After one of the best seasons in franchise history in 2014, which resulted in a loss in the World Series, the Kansas City Royals came back ready to prove their Cinderella run was no fluke. The Royals took care of business in the Central division most of the season. Relying on top notch pitching and “small ball” the Royals were able to shut down the Mets with a comeback effort that lifted them into the MLB hierarchy. The Royals took home the franchise’s first MLB World Series title since 1985.

Floyd Mayweather delivers record breaking numbers

Now this is such a polarizing subject it had to top my list. Everyone knows I am a Floyd die hard so to see everyone express disappoint and disdain over something so monumental hurts my soul. Mayweather was able to do what no prize fighter has ever done. He promoted and generated a level of interest unseen in the boxing world (Over $500 million in revenue in one fight). His fight between Manny Pacquiao may have been underwhelming to most but to me is was a solidifying moment for Floyd to claim his “TBE” moniker. Despite taking down pacman pretty easy and fulfilling his Showtime contract with a decent bout against Andre Berto, Mayweather respectively retired from the sport of boxing after his last fight with an unprecedented record of 49-0 tying the great Rocky Marciano for the best record of all time. Despite your personal take on Mayweather, 2015 really exemplified his power and how he really hits a nerve with his naysayers. The sport will miss Mayweather but a new era is forming in his absence.

Honorable Mention

My honorable mention of 2015 top sports stories is Holy Holm. The new Bantamweight champion defied the odds and knocked out the previously undefeated Champion Ronda Rousey. A straight kick to the face exploded the internet and made Holm everyone’s new favorite fighter. I cannot wait for the rematch and seeing where Holm can take her new found fame. If you have any other stories post them in a comment. It has been an amazing year of sports and 2016 looks to bring some great memories as well. Let’s see if Cam Newton and Stephan Curry can keep their dominant ends of 2015 going into the New Year. Happy New Year everyone and see you in 2016

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Carolina Panther’s Cam Newton is on top

Hate or it or love it the quarterback is on top of his game

Hate it or love it but the Carolina Panther’s Cam Newton is on top. The Cam Newton story is an interesting tale. The young quarterback has taken the hits on and off the field with some of his behavior. He has literally been painted with a brush that in my opinion holds no true value to the person he actually is. Cam has always been an upfront no nonsense character who’s only agenda was to win football games. Drafted #1 in 2011 with expectations as high as anyone he has taken the brunt of the criticism over the past 4 seasons for not being able to get his Carolina Panthers to the next level. Finally his time has come and his team is in position to control their destiny if they can continue to play to the level they have so far.

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Panthers get it done on the Field

 

Cam Newton is one of the most dynamic players in the NFL. His 6’5 245lb stature is not one to take lightly. He has led the Carolina Panthers minus their number 1 wide receiver Franklin Benjamin to an 11-0 start this season. They are the last remaining undefeated team in the NFL and are slowly running away with the NFC south division. Their dominating defense and the poise Newton has shown this year has been the biggest reasons for the Panthers success. Cam is boasting an 89.5 passer rating, while throwing for 2,466 yards and 20 touchdowns so far this season. He has also rushed for 427 yards this season and you can give him responsibility for 27 touchdowns already.

The Carolina Panthers are a hard hitting football team. They play really tough defense and run the ball down the throat of their opponents. Nothing flashy or spectacular about it and this formula is working well. Cam is the leader, but Linebacker Luke Kuechly is a big reason for the defense and how it handles itself each and every week. Luke had two interceptions against the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving that helped put the game away and keep their undefeated season alive. Their defense ranks #1 in the NFC, only allowing opponents 312 yards of total offense a game. A defense that has taken on every challenge matched with the MVP caliber season Cam Newton is providing, the Panthers have a team destined for a long run in the playoffs. Hopefully Newton is able to stay focused and healthy as they attempt to bring home a coveted championship back to North Carolina.

What Happen to the Fun in Football

Winning in the NFL use to be fun and when you did win you were able to stretch the limits a little more than the other teams when it comes to celebration. The 2015 version of the NFL is more like the boarding school that has such high expectation that the students dread every minute of it. They almost limit personal expression from players to the point you notice every time someone does something “inappropriate”. Cam Newton plays with a certain level of passion that shows when he loses and when he wins. Dancing when you score a touchdown is a part of NFL tradition, sometimes it can become excessive but when you are 11-0 and the team on the other side of the ball is doing everything possible to stop you and they still can’t, I think that is a true dance worthy circumstance.

We have to stop looking for our star athletes to be idols that can’t be themselves. This is football, a sport built off the violence one puts on another man. Then we ask these same men to put their bodies on the line for our enjoyment every week but they can’t celebrate their effort. It doesn’t seem like an adequate trade off to me.

With Success comes Controversy

 

A few weeks ago, after Cam Newton and the Panthers won a game against the Tennessee Titans, a fan wrote the local newspaper with complaints about Newton’s chosen celebration on that Sunday. Insinuating that his crude behavior was detrimental to her 9 year old daughter and the sexual connotation that he displayed through his hip thrust could be borderline obscene. The fact that someone would take time out of their day to write someone who otherwise would have never spoken about them shows how much success plays a role in the perception people have of you.

When you are losing like everyone else people are excited about your touchdown celebrations but as soon as you are “winning too much” people start to get uncomfortable with those same celebrations. This is a reflection of a league that is struggling to find an identity. Some of their more popular players go against the grain and as a conglomerate this may become their most uncontrollable problem. When everyone under the shield no longer shares solidarity on issues that make the NFL progress is when the beginning of the end will happen. The NFL is changing but I have no clue if it is going in a good direction or bad one at this point. What do you think? Is the league making changes that you like or dislike? Leave a comment.  

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