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Rodgers would end the season on a mythological 10-game winning streak with a final victory over Brady

Feb
24

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick began the season as a backup, but took over the starting job from Blaine Gabbert early in the season. And finally, Robert Griffin III was a darling-turned-castoff of the Washington Redskins, but found a new opportunity in Cleveland, where he again became a starter when healthy as the Browns trudged to a 1-15 record.

Rodgers would end the season on a mythological 10-game winning streak with a final victory over Brady, who would head to the mountains in Montana stuck on four rings and having lost three of his last four Super Bowls.

Rodgers has two rings, two MVP awards, two Super Bowl MVPs and the most legendary winning streak in NFL history. Alas, the Football Gods had other plans.

I’m probably (OK, almost certainly) reading into it way too much, but I like how Rodgers appears to swallow his pride before acknowledging that Brady is the greatest:

By the way, there is an alternate reality where it is Rodgers, and not Brady getting love as the G.O.A.T. right about now. Stay with me here: Let’s imagine that the Packers beat the Falcons in the NFC Championship Game, then took out the Patriots in Super Bowl LI.

But for me, it’s [about finding] the right situation. So right now, I’m going to maximize my time of being free and being with my family and as the offseason progresses, hopefully we’ll find a spot we’ll feel good about and we’ll move forward. But right now, it’s about taking our time.”

McCown handled a two-year quarterback teaching clinic in Cleveland admirably well and played hard when given the opportunity to start. A different situation could mean a different view of the quarterback.

It’s not the guys who are starting, because if you can come in here and play, nobody is going to deny you anyway. But you’ve got guys who stay in this league for 90 years and don’t even play.”

Raven doesn¡¯t kiss the frog, but she does roar onto the screen riding a four-wheeler

Feb
22

Womens Jrue Holiday Jersey When this date begins, the camera is zoomed in on a frog. I think it¡¯s a bullfrog. This is supposed to symbolize the down-home nature of the country town where Raven is from. But I¡¯m wondering if maybe Raven will kiss the frog and he¡¯ll turn into a guy she can date whose personality isn¡¯t made up of 70 percent Styrofoam.

Raven doesn¡¯t kiss the frog, but she does roar onto the screen riding a four-wheeler. Nick looks like a real dweeb standing in a field as she pulls up to him on her jacked-up machine. She takes her helmet off and her long, dark hair cascades down her back.

I don¡¯t know how Raven looks good doing this. If I were to take off a helmet, my hair would be all matted-down underneath it, I would be sweaty, and as I tried to look at him seductively the dude would be like, ¡°Oooh, yeah, why don¡¯t you just put that back on?¡±

The Browns might be the most intriguing member of that group. They own two first-round picks, and have an unstable quarterback situation with Brian Hoyer set to hit free agency and Johnny Manziel coming off a rocky rookie season. Buffalo is also desperate for a quarterback, with Kyle Orton now retired and EJ Manuel facing an uncertain future. Without a first-round pick, they may need to scour the free agent and trade markets for a signal caller.
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Bradford has been limited to just seven games over the last two seasons after suffering two torn ACLs. In 2012, his most recent full season, he threw for 3,702 yards with 21 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Bradford is entering the final year of his rookie contract, and has a cap charge of $16.6 million for 2015. The Rams can save nearly $13 million in cap space if they release or trade the sixth-year quarterback this winter, per overthecap.com.

Jordan used the All-Star Game as an opportunity to showcase heretofore unseen skills

Feb
19

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For much of the night, it looked like Anthony might have just as well gone on vacation as planned instead of being the replacement for the injured Kevin Love. Anthony did make a pair of 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, finishing with 10 points.

Continuing the tradition set by Shaquille O’Neal, Jordan used the All-Star Game as an opportunity to showcase heretofore unseen skills — 3-pointers in Jordan’s case. Alas, his two ugly misses gave little indication Jordan will become a stretch-5 anytime soon. Jordan ought to stay around the basket, where he was a target of alley-oops.

Womens Charles Sims Jersey Durant didn’t only leave, but he left for that team, the one that had just eliminated the Thunder by overcoming a 3-1 deficit in the Western Conference finals. The one with Westbrook’s antithesis, Stephen Curry, and Draymond Green who karate kicked Steven Adams twice in the groin. Like so many within the Thunder organization, there was confusion.

Then there’s the fact that by leaving, Durant also stole Westbrook’s shot, at least for the foreseeable future. The Thunder are no longer title contenders. Westbrook is obsessed with winning a championship — on his terms, of course — and Durant took that from him.

The subtle media jabs from Durant’s camp didn’t go unnoticed, such as blaming Westbrook’s style of play for not meshing, or not having enough fun. There hasn’t been a single subversive leak from Westbrook or his people, but there was the cupcakes Instagram post and the photographer’s outfit worn to the first matchup. Like everything else in this situation, it’s not entirely one-sided.

Durant, who desperately wanted to win MVP, especially over LeBron, worried his award was slipping. He was agitated, openly wondering if Westbrook was getting in the way. He got over it, the Thunder started winning again, and Durant won MVP, saving Westbrook for last in his infamous speech.

Meet the MiPS: The Mets are gonna be good in 2017 — just ask them

Feb
17

It’s that time of the year, baseball fans. The time of year when statheads and soothsayers start firing up the old projection machine to see which MLB teams are the ones to beat. In case you haven’t heard, MiPS is forecasting the New York Mets to do big things in the upcoming 2017 season.

Dressed as Santa to entertain schoolchildren at Citi Field, Noah Syndergaard voiced confidence in his team’s surgically-repaired starting staff.

Authentic Womens Kendall Reyes Jersey Never heard of MiPS? You’re not alone. It’s kind of like ZiPS, which stands for sZymborski Projection System and has become one of baseball’s go-to predictors in recent years. Only instead of renowned sabermetrician — and ESPN.com contributor — Dan Szymborski running the numbers, MiPS relies on the prognosticative powers of … the Mets. And no, we’re not referring to New York’s analytics department either. We’re talking about the actual Mets. Like, the ones who actually take the field and play the game. To be more specific, their pitchers. Behold, the Metropolitans Projection System.

Authentic Womens Jace Amaro Jersey While ZiPS has Terry Collins’ squad pegged for a middling 84 wins (six fewer than the defending NL East champion Nationals), MiPS is decidedly more bullish on the Mets. Although MiPS has yet to release an exact numerical prediction, the general consensus is that the Mets will go as far as their starting rotation takes them, and right now MiPS is higher than Snoop Dogg in a hot air balloon — unrealistically high, some might say — on New York’s starters.

During the recent winter meetings, when Washington was on the verge of acquiring ace Chris Sale from the White Sox — a deal that would’ve given the Nats a top three of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Sale, and presumably baseball’s best rotation — Syndergaard suggested that New York’s starters would still be the superior group.

Alex Reyes and sympathy for the Cardinals

Feb
15

When something bad happens to the Cardinals, there are millions and millions of baseball fans who experience cardinalfreude. It’s obvious and unavoidable most of the time. The Cardinals get sucked into a dumb and serious hacking scandal? Kinda funny. A preseason projection has them way below .500? Kinda funny. Cardinals fans should note this is all rooted in their seemingly eternal success, so there’s no reason to push back against it. Wear it like Pete Rose wore the boos. Your team is doing something right.

Except for that thing they did that was wrong and got them punished.

See? Kinda funny, and I can’t help myself. It’s fun to needle the Cardinals and their fans, and I’d like to think that for every fan who gets annoyed, there are 10 fans who wear it like a badge of honor.

The injury to Alex Reyes, of course, doesn’t fall into this category. He was one of the brightest arms in baseball, a gift from the rosin-sticky gods. Even if you have a lot of fun disliking the Cardinals, you had more fun watching this guy pump 100 mph fastballs by the best hitters in the world, even as you wished he were on another team. The world makes a half-dozen arms like this at a time, and they’re ultra-rare minerals that should be kept behind a glass case.

The loss of Reyes for a season is a loss for baseball. Cardinals fans specifically, but it stinks all around.

“I’m asking Kyle, ‘What do you think I can do?’ He said, ‘Well, you can run slants, you can run under, you can run slow-go’s,’” White said. “I was like, ‘Why are you not calling those plays for me?’ He just didn’t want me in the offense. If you don’t want me, just tell me. I can handle that.”

The Falcons cut White following the 2015 season, but he hasn’t stopped following or supporting his former teammates. White is a season ticket holder and attended nearly every Falcons game last season.

The New Orleans Saints don’t have to force it yet.

Feb
13

Elite Youth Nick Vigil Jersey Kaepernick is expected to opt out of his contract, and although he has reached out to general manager John Lynch about meeting and discussing his future, it’s probably best for both sides to part ways. Coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense requires an accurate quarterback, and although Kaepernick had his best season since 2013 last year, Shanahan will probably want someone who checks that box better than Kaepernick. From Kaepernick’s perspective, a fresh start might allow him to find a scheme that would put his mobility to better use.

The New Orleans Saints don’t have to force it yet.

Eventually they will have to replace quarterback Drew Brees, who turned 38 in January. But he isn’t really acting his age yet. Brees played his best football in five years last season, once again leading the NFL with 5,208 passing yards. And he has talked many times about his determination to keep thriving into his 40s.

It’s only a few weeks until the 2017 free agency period begins, and there’s a question that’s been asked often: Will the Cincinnati Bengals be active this year?

For those looking for a big splash in 2017, prepare to be disappointed.

Elite Brad Marchand Jersey The Bengals have ample cap room, but they also have three big free agents of their own to re-sign (Andrew Whitworth, Kevin Zeitler and Dre Kirkpatrick). They’re also likely in line for one of their biggest draft classes in recent memory.

“He made serious contributions with us and his team involvement with us does not deserve to have it be a negative for him being in the Hall of Fame,” Jones said, via David Moore of the Dallas News. “He was a plus for the Dallas Cowboys.”

Lofton said Owens’ performance on the field justifies his inclusion.

the Canucks find themselves in the heart of the playoff race thanks to a weak conference

Feb
11

Trade deadline plans: Add a scoring forward for the stretch run. Whether that¡¯s a vet like Thomas Vanek or a longer-term player like Ryan Spooner, there are options out there who could aid the Kings.

Tenth in the Western Conference. Sixth in the Pacific. 1-8-1 in their last 10 games. One point back in the Wild Card race.

Against all odds (or, at least, widespread doubts outside the franchise), the Canucks find themselves in the heart of the playoff race thanks to a weak conference. Since Christmas, Vancouver has gone 9-3-3 and picked up 21 points while the other hunters scuffled. Why? Defense and goaltending: the Canucks are averaging 2.0 goals against per game in that stretch to go with a 80 percent penalty kill rate.
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Keep it up without a big move. Because they can¡¯t (and shouldn¡¯t) make one. Vancouver shouldn¡¯t mistake this mini-run for a sign that they¡¯re still contenders; they have a lot of work to do and are benefiting from a weaker playoff race than in previous years. The renaissance of the Sedins and Ryan Miller combined with the emergence of Bo Horvat can help carry them, but if their immediate competitors round into form I doubt they can hang on.

Armstrong had nothing but praise for Hitchcock, who he¡¯s been linked with since both worked with the Dallas Stars in the 90¡¯s. He called him ¡°today¡¯s Scotty Bowman¡± and took a subtle jab at his own players.

Army: ¡°There¡¯s one former guy in that room who I think is going to the Hall of Fame, and that¡¯s Ken Hitchcock.”
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The most scathing comment from Armstrong was when he compared the Blues to the St. Louis Cardinals, the gold standard of championship-caliber pro sports in St. Louis.

The Rams are the most recent team to be a two-touchdown favorite in the Super Bowl

Feb
05

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For the first time, they bought into Catapult GPS training systems and leveraged the workload data to amplify their decision-making. Now at every practice, players wear a GPS tracker strapped to their bodies. The front office and coaching staff logs as much time surfing Second Spectrum’s analytics software as any team in the league.

“We track everything,” Rivers says. “I’m still learning. I’m still new to it.”

So why didn’t they do all this sooner?
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“Well, we couldn’t,” Rivers says. “People don’t realize Steve [Ballmer] bought the team and in the first year, he was just trying to get things going. It was this summer where we could sit him down … and talk to him about all the things we need to add and get going. Last year, it was too quick of a turnaround.”

It took time, in other words, to rebuild from the Sterling era — and lots of presentations. “The thing I love about Steve is that you’ve got to show him why,” Rivers says of the sales pitches for different types of technology and staffing. “He’s not just a blank check — you wouldn’t want that anyway. The apathy hurts you; you wouldn’t be as good.”

The favored Raiders took a 3-0 lead early in the first quarter, but the Buccaneers scored 34 consecutive points as Tampa Bay routed Oakland. The Buccaneers went over the total themselves with 48 points.

The Rams are the most recent team to be a two-touchdown favorite in the Super Bowl. The line actually opened with St. Louis as a 15-point favorite against Tom Brady and the Patriots. However, New England upset the Greatest Show on Turf outright. The Patriots were the second-biggest underdog ever to win a Super Bowl, behind the Jets in Super Bowl III.