Tag Archives: Marshawn Lynch

Leaders of the New East

It’s said that the highest form of flattery in sports is copycatting. From individuals, to teams and organizations, entertainers and celebrities alike, it’s like an undercover pat on the back to the party that is inspiring the copycatting. It simply means that people want to pattern your success or your coolness. In team sports, when a champion is throned & their style was successful to the eyes and the pockets, you start to see other organizations carbon copying the image. We’ve seen many examples throughout time. Remember when the Bulls were ruling the 90s, and the Dallas Mavericks thought they can run the triangle offense with Jason Kidd, Jamal Mashburn and Jimmy Jackson with similar success? How did that turn out? Don’t ask Toni Braxton. Or recently when the Heat had their Big Three run, look at how many teams that were and still are trying to get three superstars to solidify their championship aspirations. Just ask the Houston Rockets, who I’m pretty sure will do anything short of making love to a Ouija board to make this happen. Well, this past year the San Antonio Spurs, as you all know, not only won the title, but destroyed a legacy (Miami Heat) in the process with their spacing/sharing the ball/one-for-all-all-for-one system. Even the most hardened Spurs hater had to appreciate how they continually shared the ball over and over again until they got the best shot possible. Well, obviously, other organizations were watching this, & decided to build their own almost in that vein.

Now, I’m going to let you in on a secret. Initially I had it all planned out & was going to write a post about the successes of the Atlanta Hawks and the Toronto Raptors this season. In fact, this was supposed to be the next set of sentences at the end of the first paragraph:

“This season, two franchises have followed in the ideals of the Spurs, and neither one of them are in the West. The Atlanta Hawks and the Toronto Raptors are the perfect students that took the lessons from the Spurs blackboard of playing team basketball, and made it successful for themselves….. and both teams won’t be going away anytime soon.”

I still mean every word of that to be very honest. I believe in the Toronto Raptors. They went and dismissed my #TankCity visions for them a little more than a year ago. Since that Rudy Gay trade last December, the Raptors have been the best team in the Eastern Conference (72-37). Losing that 1st round seven-game slugfest with the Brooklyn Nets last spring can only add more wood to the fire. With coach Duane Casey, Raptors GM Masai Ujiri, MLSE Head Honcho Tim Lieweke, and their top players Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, not only have they changed the culture of how the Raptors are being respected around the NBA, with the 2016 All Star Game coming to Toronto (and a little help from Drake & his OVO team), they are starting the process of giving this city an attractive destination buzz. Almost like the awkward high school girl who got a full makeover & started walking the halls in her new outfit before 1st period, people are discussing the Raptors in hushed tones which will only get louder as they continue moving forward. I’m all in for their progress so far. Last month, when the Raps were playing splendidly, & everyone was worried about what was happening in Cleveland, how great Chicago looks & how well Washington has played this season…….the Hawks kept winning under the radar. No one was paying any real attention.

I noticed Atlanta was on a bit of a winning streak at the beginning of December, but they were playing the shittier teams in the East, so I kinda dismissed it a little bit. Right before Christmas, they beat Chicago at home. No biggie. After all, I had them as my sleeper team in the East this season, so I shouldn’t be surprised if they beat good teams at home. Then they went on the road and destroyed a healthy LeBron Cleveland team by 29. You could chalk it up to Cleveland still trying to figure things out. However, they went right to Houston and Dallas in back-to-back games and beat both of them. Hmmm….. okay, that’s a little surprising. They slipped up against Milwaukee losing by 30 on Boxing Day. Ok, maybe they’re coming back down to earth.  Since that game, they went on a 10-game winning streak. They went on the road & smacked around the Clippers and Portland, beat the Grizzlies at home, beat a rolling Pistons team, destroyed a good Wizards team by 31, & rested players against wins vs. Philly and Boston. On top of everything else, they surpassed the Raptors for 1st place in the East. What the hell is going on here???

So when they headed up north to play Toronto almost two Fridays ago, I made sure to park myself on the couch and anticipated a huge game between the two new East powers. By this time, I already decided to postpone this Hawks-Raps post at least until after this game was over. With about three minutes left in the third quarter, I was shocked, awed, and confused. They were beating down the Raptors. By 20. At the ACC. And they were making it look easy. What had made Atlanta successful all season was on full display. Everyone was sharing the ball, all five guys were touching the rock in the halfcourt set. There wasn’t a consensus to feed one guy in particular. They worked the ball until they had the best shot possible, via drives and kicks, dump offs in the post, or opportunities for slashes to the paint. All five players played fundamental team defense, hands in the passing lanes, deflecting passes, perfect rotations, swarming the paint on drives, close-outs on shooters. It was like watching a basketball instructional video. It never mattered what Toronto was doing (outside of turning the ball over more than their average that night, they really didn’t play a bad game), Atlanta simply controlled everything. There was a reason why they kept being called “Spurs East” all season. The last time I saw a team play this selflessly on both ends of the floor, were the Spurs in the Finals last season. To prove that this was far from a fluke, they dismantled the Bulls the very next night. Ok then, I guess I gotta scrap this f**king idea….. ****flings papers in the air*****

Since that point, they have cruised on their way to their 16th straight victory. Honestly, I don’t even care about the streak, it will eventually be broken. Considering the NBA record for a winning streak is 33 straight, they’re not even halfway to that goal, I can imagine them being picked off at some point. What I look at when I see how the Hawks are playing is that, in the wide open NBA season that has no clear cut favorites, they have as clear a shot to win the NBA Title this season as any contender. When you remember how their season started with the ownership situation in flux from Bruce Levenson’s email (& decision to sell his stake of the team as a result), and Hawks GM Danny Ferry’s racially insensitive comments, you would be a complete liar if you saw this season coming. There was a better chance this team would have imploded internally, & some may have even expected it. Luckily, one of the things that Ferry did right in his tenure, is hire coach Mike Budenholzer, going into the 2013-2014 season. All Budenholzer has done, is take his experiences learned from the years as an assistant coach of Gregg Popovich, & has built a strong foundation and culture in Atlanta’s locker room. He has gotten them to avoid the team’s self-inflicted dramas, & had them on a path to playing smart with a sharpened focus. We see the proof every night with how his players have completely bought into his system. His team may not be viewed as one that has a superstar or superstars, but they absolutely have all stars on them.

Al Horford when healthy, is a top ten power forward or center in the league, which he has been all season (let’s hope his pectoral muscles stay in one piece).  Paul Milsap not only has a steal of a contract (making $8.5M this season), but has been steady throughout his time in Atlanta & will more than likely receive his 2nd straight all star appearance. Jeff Teague’s not only an all star this year, but his game as a whole has jumped a notch or more since Budenhozer has gotten there, & has arguably been the Hawks best player. Kyle Korver, coming off his experience from this summer’s World Championships has been shooting flames out of his ass (13 PPG; 52 FG%/53 3P%/92 FT%) & you can make the argument that he should be in New York City in a couple of weeks, for more than just the 3-point contest. They have a solid supporting cast behind them (DeMarre Carrol, Pero Antic, Thabo Sefolosha, etc.), a young Rondo-clone in Dennis Schroder, & they haven’t unwrapped Adreian Payne out of the plastic yet (I still believe in the kid). You have a balanced rotation of penetrators and creators, shooters and slashers, bigs that can spread you out, drive to the basket, and gets buckets on the block. Now with the announced sale of Hawks ownership recently, they will more than likely get a new set of owners who will enhance the foundation that’s now being built here.

Quite frankly, it’s hard to understand why Atlanta haven’t been bigger players in free agency historically. They have good weather, the cost of living is sensational, the club scene is big, strip club scene is legendary, most things that would appeal to a Free Agent who’s a bachelor….. or married (Just being honest here people). They have also struggled since Dominique Wilkins’ heyday to get consistent fans, and are doing things right now to change the mindset of the consistently skittish local fan support. Even as a younger fan of the league, I used to notice through the TV, that the fans at Hawks games used to cheer louder for the visiting teams than their own. With what Budenholzer and Ferry (who’s in exile right now) have started, it could start attracting free agents that they probably wouldn’t have gotten in years past. Winning attracts everything and this isn’t Utah. If an athlete can go to a team with a stable foundation, where they can win, and be in a vibrant city (much like Toronto can boast for example), they will eventually come running……… and with the way Atlanta’s been playing this year, they better get ready to set up shop, because I don’t think they’re going anywhere, anytime soon.

Sideline Notes

– Although the East can still be considered crappy in some aspects, the Elite part of the East hasn’t looked this good in years. Between the aforementioned teams Atlanta & Toronto, Washington has elevated themselves this season behind the play of John Wall, who’s game clearly jumped a notch (17.2 PPG, 10.1 dimes per, 46 FG%), with Cleveland and Chicago starting to round themselves into form before the all star break. Normally. I’d willingly ignore the Eastern Conference playoffs until it gets to the Conference Finals, but this year’s 4 vs. 5 seed matchup in the 1st round alone should be worth your attention…..

– “I’m here so I don’t get fined”…..

– I still believe that Chicago could represent the East as long as they remain healthy. And when I say “they”, I mean “Derrick Rose”. He’s struggled thus far with his consistency to be what he used to be which is expected, seeing that he missed almost 30 months of NBA ball. But, the last 7 games: 23.2 PPG; 46.5 FG%/48 3P%/85 FT%, plus he’s playing way more aggressive than before. The only thing Chicago should worry about, is making sure Rose goes into the playoffs with his game sharp and his legs ready. Nothing else……

– For those who are old enough to remember, but remember back in the day when you would play season mode in NBA Live and in the playoffs, the computer would go into “F*** you, you are losing this game” mode and hit every shot in sight? That’s what it felt like watching Klay Thompson get 37 points in the 3rd Q vs the Kings last weekend. If there was anyone I would have thought would get that hot in a game like that, it would be his teammate Steph. That World Championship experience did a boost for Thompson’s confidence. He’s a legitimate All Star, & is a top 3 shooting guard with Jimmy Butler, and behind James Harden…..

– “I’m here so I don’t get fined”…. “You wanna do this again?! Ok then….. I’m thankful“……

– Lastly, can we put to rest to this whole Deflate-Gate issue, please? The fact that we aren’t focusing on the Super Bowl with only days leading up to the big game, and all that’s being talked about are deflated balls, is both annoying and depressing. I feel like this whole controversy should be sponsored by Cialis. With that said, it should be a great game on Sunday, but even as a lifelong Niner fan, I’ll have to admit that our nemesis (The Seahawks) will repeat as champions. I hope I’m dead wrong because if I am, I’ll probably be doing this after the game…..


Cal Cee // South Shore Ave

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Kobe, Kobe, Kobe….

Kobe Bryant. One of the 10 best players in NBA history. The second greatest shooting guard ever. The 3rd leading scorer in NBA History (for now). One MVP; Two Finals MVPs; Five NBA Championships; 16-time All Star; 4-time All Star MVP; 2-time Olympic Gold Medalist1997 NBA Dunk Champion; and once dropped 81 points in a game on Toronto. A couple of weeks before that he dropped 63 points in three quarters against Dallas, outscoring them by himself in the process. He’s dunked on countless people & completed some of the most ridiculous shots we’ve seen since Michael Jordan. He has a legendary work ethic both physically & mentally. He has achieved almost everything you can possibly think of as a basketball player and professional athlete. He’ll be a first ballot Hall of Famer whenever he retires. Did I leave anything else out of this paragraph as far as accolades and compliments go? No? Ok…… good!

We now need to add that he has been THE anchor for the Los Angeles Lakers at the end of his career.

Strong words? Yes, but not really. A lot of the strengths that make Kobe as great as he is — his biggest weapon among other things is his supreme self-confidence – which is what holds the Lakers back. That, “I can do this by myself if I have to” and “Hero-ball/I’m throwing on that cape now” combination. It allows him to take crazy shots if need be, shoot over triple teams if need be, and ignore his teammates when he has to. The sad thing is, there is literally no one in the Laker organization that can tell him any differently about his playing style because, well, it worked in the past. However, that past was something that happened a while ago. Kobe has proven over the years that he can’t be the guy doing it his way 100% anymore. It’s something I noticed personally back in 2012, when they faced Oklahoma City in the playoffs. Not only were those young guys (Durant, Harden, but especially Westbrook) past him when it came to athleticism which is expected, but they had no fear against him anymore. That fear factor was totally gone, & the way they went after Kobe the whole series was crystal clear that Kobe’s time as the main guy making the team an automatic contender was done.

The following season, was when the Lakers tried to load up, trading for Dwight Howard & signing Steve Nash, but we all know how that turned out. I actually don’t blame Kobe for that season, I put the blame on Mike D’Antoni.  His rigid ways of running his system, only keeping a 7-man rotation on a veteran squad, making Pau Gasol (a guy who’s inside game & footwork is almost masterful at times) spot up & shoot 3s as a Stretch-4, generally running Kobe into the ground & helping to blow his Achilles, should take the majority of the blame. Dwight, leaving shortly after the season was over & leaving somewhere around $30M on the table to get away from Kobe, is not totally Kobe’s fault either. I don’t believe Dwight was ever built for the pressure of winning in LA, he’s just not wired that way & that’s fine. It’s not for everyone & it is possible to be an NBA champion outside of Los Angeles. BUT at the time of his Free Agency, he was the Laker’s #1 future asset going forward & they had no Plan B otherwise. And well, Kobe’s personality helped to put Dwight’s desire to stay a Laker in a body bag & help drive it out of Los Angeles with that whole, “you can learn to be the man, as long as you learn from ME with MY ways” speech during Dwight’s free agent meetings. He can’t get out of his own way. Either that or he knew of Dwight’s mindset & basically set to test it one last time. If Dwight walked out the door, he was okay with it because as long as he didn’t fall in Kobe’s line, he didn’t need to be there.

Now, after the smoke clears, Laker Nation are forced to watch a 36-yr old shooting guard who’s had major injuries to his lower extremities, & believes he’s still a God. This team is young, has no young studs outside of Julius Randle (who won’t be there until next year unfortunately, while he recovers from a broken leg), & are trying to learn ways to succeed while the losses piles up.  I can understand that Kobe is trying to possibly teach them his ways of never giving up & continuing to fight, which is great. However, that message gets lost when you’re watching a guy who has carte blanche to do & say whatever he wants within an organization that still fawns over him (only he’s not quite as good), jack 25+ shots without any remorse. The Kobe lovers/defenders/apologists/stans can’t even ignore the 8 of 30 for 25 pts & 9 TOs display he put on a few days ago vs. Sacramento, I mean….. it’s borderline disgusting. At this age, why is he still trying to get up so many shots?? It can’t be for the sake of winning. It’s dumb basketball, & if you’re a basketball lover watching these Laker games, how can you even support this? Over the course of the year, he’s averaging 24.6 pts on 22.5 shots per, shooting 37% FG and 27% from three. The efficiency simply isn’t there, but it’s not gonna stop him from getting up the 4th most shots per game on average over his 19 year career.

He claims nothing is more important to him than getting his 6th ring before he retires, right? Then does he not realize that his continued refusal to alter or change his style of play is like a nightly audition to future major free agents that could possibly help him get that ring? With every cut eye he shoots off at his teammates, every shot he jacks, you can almost hear another door closing on that option that could help him meet that goal. He’s still trying to prove that he can still be elite at what he does & try to dispel history that a shooting guard at his age can still get it done every night. Only that really shouldn’t matter anymore. He has nothing left to prove as a ballplayer, my first paragraph should tell you that.  If anything, his next phase right now should be about trying to make everyone else better, proving to other free agents that they can definitely co-exist with him. At this stage of his ego development, that’s like asking a tiger to change his stripes to zebra. It will never f***ing happen……

……other than that, I love the way Kobe’s been playing this season. It’s been awesome.

**** UPDATE: By the way just so you know, this post was written last night before the Lakers went out and drubbed the NBA League-Leading Golden State Warriors 115-105 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score indicated. Also, Kobe not only did not play due to rest (plans to start & give Bulls guard Jimmy Butler every shot he can handle tomorrow at Chicago in front of a worldwide audience), but was nowhere near the building. I watched the 1st three quarters of that game last night, and let’s be honest, Golden St. just didn’t have it. So while I don’t think this is a big deal in terms of the Warriors losing to a crappy team because it’s a long season and these things will happen at some point (remember Chicago’s 72-10 season back in ’96? One of their 10 losses was to an expansion Raptor team that had names like “Zan Tabak” in the starting lineup), I found it interesting to read some of the comments that the players made post-game as well as the overall joy that was in the building from the Staple Center. You can come up with your own conclusions here. *****

Sideline Notes

  • As far as passing Michael Jordan for 3rd all-time in scoring, I think it’s a nice accomplishment & he deserves it. Why don’t I call it great? Because I’m starting to observe articles & hear opinions asking “Is Kobe actually better than Michael?”, and the “Kobe vs. Michael” comparisons. Stop it. Stop it now. I won’t even get into the part where Kobe followed Jordan’s career and mannerisms, wanting to not only be like him, but surpass him so bad that it borderline feels like what Matt Damon was doing to Jude Law in The Talented Mr. Ripley. Passing Jordan’s all-time scoring record if anything means this: whenever this debate comes up 15-20 years from now, it may cloud people’s judgment in their eyes just by looking at the stats. People will look at it & think, “Well, a case can be made that Kobe is better. He did score more points and went to more Finals than he did…and he did win 5.” Let it be known, Kobe’s the closest thing to Michael Jordan…..but he ain’t Michael Jordan. I don’t care if he scores 40,000+ points. Here are some comparisons I’ll mention: He passed a record in Year 19 (One season missed due to injury) that took Jordan just under 14.5 years to get (One season missed due to injury). Mike was THE MAN in all SIX titles that he won, winning all six Finals MVPs, Three-Peated twice in 8 years, while never going past Game 6 in any Finals he was in, much less never losing in one. Kobe won 5 rings, but Shaq was the man for three of those. He also lost twice in the Finals.  Michael won 10 scoring titles, Kobe won twice. Michael’s won 6 MVPs, Kobe won once. Also, Kobe never shot higher that 47% in his career. MJ not only surpassed that percentage 10 different times, but shot over 50% six times, while just missing that mark two other times (49.5%). Kobe gave himself two different nicknames (Black Mamba & Vino). Jordan never did that shit. I’m gonna stop this now. Before I start getting upset…..
  • My favorite player so far this season outside of Steph Curry: Jimmy Butler. He went from being a solid role player to the best two-way Shooting Guard in the Eastern Conference over the course of one summer. His scoring leaped tremendously from last year (13.1 to 22.1), as well as his FG% (40 to 48), FT% (77 to 83), and 3P% (28 to almost 35), all while keeping his defense at a high level. He is the perfect example of improving your game in the offseason folks. Usually it might be a component or two, but he raised the bar on everything. If he continues like this, I don’t know how anyone’s taking down Chicago in the East on top of all the other weapons that Chicago has added or gotten back off the injured list this season.
  • That Rajon Rondo trade makes Dallas super dangerous. However, with the West being so supremely strong this season, I don’t even know what that statement means anymore. This trade could push Dallas over the top & make them NBA champs this season, they could also lose in the first round….. and it would still be a great trade that they wouldn’t regret in both those scenarios.
  • Marshawn Lynch’s TD run & crotch dive….. I’m not even a fan of the Seahawks, but that was amazing & rebellious at the same time. It just had to be said, 49er fan or not.

Happy Holiday to all of you, drink responsibly, and have a safe and joyous time out there.


Cal Cee // South Shore Ave

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Four Down Journey: Super Bowl Questions

Welcome to the Four Down Journey where Peyton Manning attempts to win the Lombardi trophy in his brother’s backyard; where Russell Wilson looks to become the second black QB to win a Super Bowl; where we don’t overanalyze the Richard Sherman topic; and where we support Marshawn Lynch because…well, he’s just ’bout that action.

Today we look to answer the Super Bowl questions from a different perspective.

File:Super Bowl XLVIII logo.png

What is the most important matchup for Super Bowl XLVIII?

I know you might be expecting me to say Peyton Manning versus Richard Sherman and the Seahawks secondary, & while I do think that it’s a very important factor of the game, it’s not the most important factor. This game, much like a lot of football games will come down to who will win in the trenches. In this case, it will be Seattle’s Defensive line led by Cliff Avril & Michael Bennett vs. Denver’s Offensive line led by Scarborough’s own Orlando Franklin. Seattle’s defensive levels has been flirting with some of the legendary defences that we’ve ever seen in the NFL, which we haven’t seen since the Ray Lewis led Baltimore Ravens team from 2000. However, the Broncos’ O-Line has kept Peyton Manning upright & clean all season. Peyton’s the best at picking teams apart, it doesn’t matter what kind of secondary is across the line from him…..as long as he has the time to throw. Much like Brady in this regard, you have to create a pass rush from the line in order to speed up his clock. If you blitz him, he will kill you. Send a secondary to blitz, he’ll find the open receiver before you’ll have the chance to hit him. Bennett & Avril did a great job in the NFC championship collapsing the pocket & getting Colin Kaepernick to turn the ball over 3 times in the 4th quarter. They will have to win that matchup in order to get real pressure on Manning. If not, it could be a long day for Seattle overall.

One rumor I’ve been hearing about is that they have signed DE Steve Lattimer to help them deal with Manning last week, but found out that it may not be a good idea to keep him after they told him he would be starting in New York…..

…..okay, maybe this didn’t happen. I’ll try to lay off the PED jokes. I won’t promise though.

Will there be a scandal that overshadows the Super Bowl?

In other words, will there be anything like the Eugene Robinson story or someone mentally snapping like Barrett Robbins on Saturday night? Hard to say. If you remember, Robinson (the starting free safety for the Atlanta Falcons) the night before Super Bowl 33, was arrested for picking up a prostitute who was posing as an undercover cop…..with his wife sleeping at the hotel. To make matters worse, he picked up the Bart Starr Award that same evening from the Athletes in Action Christian group for his community work & his high moral character. You couldn’t make this up. Of course John Elway picked on him immediately resulting in an 80-yard TD to Rod Smith that went sailing right over Robinson’s head, attributing to a 34-17 loss for the Falcons.

With Robbins (who was the Pro Bowl starting Center for the Oakland Raiders), he had a mental breakdown after not taking his depression medication and was so far gone that he reportedly told his wife he was in Tijuana partying & drinking, thinking the Raiders already won the Super Bowl. Losing your Pro-Bowl player hours before the game? Well, I think you know what happened next.

Being that we live in the social media culture right now, it would be extremely dumb to act foolish the night before the big game, but as we all know, athletes will do the dumbest things regardless on who has a smartphone around them. Although both teams are stationed in New Jersey for the week, Manhattan & Brooklyn and the whole “City That Never Sleeps” elements are literally across the Hudson. While I don’t think a scandal will happen this weekend, these crazy type of situations happen much more than you think. Don’t think these are the only two situations where drama unfolded behind the scenes during Super Bowl week, most teams just do a great job at keeping it under wraps. If something does happen though, it’s guaranteed to shut down Twitter.

Why does Marshawn Lynch have the problem?

Think about it. You are a person that doesn’t like to really speak to the media or grant much interviews; yet because of the NFL’s rules, you have to get microphones shoved in your face Super Bowl Tuesday & Wednesday to answer questions like, “Have you ever made it rain at a strip club?” & “What colored skittles taste the best?”. I understand part of an athletes job is to speak with the media, especially during the biggest event of the year, but to force someone to the tune of $100K for not speaking with reporters? Doesn’t he have the right to not speak if he doesn’t want to? He showed you all season that he doesn’t want to speak to the media, even taking the $50K fine at the end of the season. So now as a reporter, you’re mad that he doesn’t say much to you guys during a media scrum? He even said he’s only there so he doesn’t get fined.

There are so, so many players that you can interview with interesting stories on both teams, just pick one. Knowshon Moreno has a very good story about his life & upbringing. So does Demaryius Thomas whose mother & grandmother were running the streets like Avon Barksdale & Stringer Bell growing up, & are watching Sunday’s Super Bowl from prison. But the biggest story so far this week is about trying to interview a person that doesn’t want to be spoken with. Seems like a complete waste of time to me, & I don’t blame Lynch for it either. With that said, his interview with Deion Sanders on Media Day was one of the greatest third-person/hood talk moments I’ve seen in a long time. I’ll at least thank him for that.

Craziest player background story this week?

Doesn’t Demaryuis Thomas have to win this in a landslide? His Mother AND Grandmother are serving prison sentences for moving cocaine like Tony Montana! His grandmother is serving double life in jail. Double LIFE!!! If he ever says that he wasn’t supposed to be in this position in his life right now, you need to believe it.

Who’s the most underrated players playing on Sunday?

Denver RB Knowshon Moreno. He’s had an unexpected great season (I’m sure all of his fantasy owners can attest to this) as the lead back for the Broncos. The one weak part of Seattle’s defence — IF you want to call any part of their defence weak — is that with the right RB & scheme, you can run the football on them. The Rams, Saints, even the Bucanneers had some success running the ball against them this season. With all the offensive weapons that the Broncos have (which includes Montee Ball sharing the rock in the second half of games lately), it could possibly leave some lanes open for him to get to. I’ll go as far as to say he could be my dark horse for the Super Bowl MVP if the Broncos win.

Seattle WR Percy Harvin. Seattle’s secret weapon. No one on Denver knows what he’s going to do. Neither does Seattle. Neither does Harvin. He only played 39 snaps all season in between getting concussed & rehabbing from hip surgery. Now he’ll be unleashed in the Super Bowl. With that said, in the Divisional playoff game against the Saints, you can see the impact he had on the few plays that he did touch the ball, & the fact that the Saints defence keyed in on him whenever he did get on the field. He is a big-play guy that you have to account for. Most likely, he won’t be on the field for the majority of the snaps, but having him in their offense adds a new wrinkle that could cause problems for the Broncos…..if he doesn’t get decapitated by an injury before the Super Bowl intros are over.

Is everyone okay with Richard Sherman now?

While I won’t rehash the whole Sherman narrative (as it’s been beaten to death in the last two weeks), it is kinda shameful that social media raked him through the coals for loudly saying that he was the best at his position. I disagreed more with him running up to Michael Crabtree, and slapping his butt right after the game-ending INT to say, “Nice game.” That was more of an asshole-ish move than anything he said to Erin Andrews. Also, I don’t like the fact that he didn’t cream his ankles in that Nike commercial. Everything else I’m pretty much okay with. They’re two rival teams that hate each other, you’re not going to get the most complimentary things said out of a player’s mouth about the other team minutes after the game is over. Let’s move on!

Why is there a Super Bowl in the Tri-State Area?

There’s a term for this reason, it’s called “Get money“. Roger Goodell and the rest of the NFL deciding to host one of the world’s biggest sporting event in such a major market. I mean, I get it. It’s a smart move, outside of Hollywood, all of the biggest talk shows & major TV networks have their offices in New York which leads to endless free promotion for the brand to the non-football public. Times Square has been turned into Super Bowl Blvd, and the overall intrigue of having a game in the New York area will have even more people than ever before watching it, specifically those who may not normally watch. However, the Super Bowl should never be played in a cold weather city unless it’s in a dome. You never want winter elements affecting the biggest game of the year. If it happens to be a blizzard, what then? Unlike the CFL, you have warm weather climate cities to avoid this. This game could have been played in Miami, San Diego, Houston, or in domed NFL cities such as Atlanta or Indianapolis. Shit, this game could have even been played in Pasedena, CA where the Rose Bowl resides, or Los Angeles (we’ll get to that one in a bit). With the amount of pressure on the players’ shoulders, trying to stay warm should not be another factor to be added to it. I’m hoping the game isn’t affected by the weather & thus far, the reports are the weather shouldn’t be too cold or windy. Having the Super Bowl in the Tri-State area may have benefitted the NFL in a lot of ways, but it doesn’t benefit the players who actually have to play on the field in the Meadowlands.

Who’s winning the Super Bowl?

As a 49ers fan — & I will try to say this without my stomach bubbling — I have to give respect to the Seahawks. The last two years they have shown themselves as a true force in the NFL, they have great players on both sides of the ball, they have a great coaching staff, & most importantly, I hate the fact that they are in the same division as my 49ers. It bothers me because they pretty much mirror each other in talent & depth, with their youth they’ll be around for a long time. And because of this rivalry, I can’t enjoy watching them play as much as I would like because their success directly impacts us. They had a phenomenal year, they were consistently the best team in the NFC, & they deserve to be at the Super Bowl this year……just so they can see Peyton Manning hoist his second Super Bowl trophy.

I’m not saying this with bias either, I really do feel like it is Manning’s time. After the season he’s had, all the accolades, the records broken, the 5th MVP trophy he’ll collect tonight, the stars are all set up for him to get it done. He hasn’t faced anything like the defence he will see across the line, but he is faced with some of the best weapons around him on offense that you can possibly have. The Broncos defense has been playing a lot better these last few weeks as well, led by Terrence “Pot Roast” Knighton, and I’m not confident that Seattle will be able to keep up with the Broncos is they score more than 20 points. Denver has enough to get the job done in what I hope will be a great game. They have to, for my sanity. Please.

Final Score: Broncos 31, Seattle 23

Sideline Notes

Back to Los Angeles for a minute. Someone in Los Angeles bought 60 acres of land. 60 acres! Should that be a big deal? I think so, and here’s why. The person who bought that plot of land is, Stan Kroenke. He owns multiple teams, like the Denver Nuggets and the Colorado Avalanche for starters.  One of the other teams he owns is the St. Louis Rams. Guess what? The lease they have with Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis expires after next season. Could they be returning home? Hmmm….. The more the NFL revs up its hype-marketing machine so the whole world can know about the Super Bowl & leaking some of the Super Bowl commercials to drive up the anticipation, just know it’s hoping to also drive you away from stories like Dwight Harrison. A great read about his fight for his NFL pension. Sad really…….. Macklemore feels bad apparently that he beat out Kendrick Lamar for best hip hop album. Not bad enough to give it to Kendrick or to even unclaim it and channel his inner Garth Brooks. With that said, I won’t knock Macklemore & Ryan Lewis because I did not listen to all but one song off of their album The Heist, so I can’t judge. But seeing them in every major category including a performance where they were going to perform their song “Same Love” on same sex marriages and relationships (which included marrying 33 couples at the same time during their performance), I knew no one in those hip hop categories stood a chance that night. Not Kendrick, not Drake, not Hov, not anyone. Biggie & Tupac would have lost last Sunday too. History was going to be made that night, not that there’s anything wrong with that…… “Lay back, kick back……mind my bidness, stay in my own lane….. Game time though, I’ll be thurr”…….. Looks like Andrew Wiggins is slowly starting to pick it. It will be interesting to see if he can raise his level of play as it gets closer to the tournament. If so, he may still be the #1 pick overall in June that everyone expected him to grab coming into the season…… I don’t even know what to say about Kevin Durant, other than the fact that he’s the MVP of the NBA. So far. It’s really between him and LeBron who’s trying to become the 1st player in history to win 5 MVPs in 6 years. The problem for LeBron: No one has won three straight MVPs since Larry Bird did it in 1986. Either because of voter fatigue or another playing simply rising to the cream of the crop, it doesn’t happen anymore. With Durant keeping Oklahoma City atop the standings of the Western Conference without Westbrook, it doesn’t look good right now for LeBron to achieve this goal…… “That’s huge……Beast Mode…..loves…….and appreciate that. Yes Lord.”

Cal Cee // South Shore Ave

Follow me on Twitter or email me at southshoreave@gmail.com

Safe and happy times for all at your Super Bowl parties and events tomorrow night. Just remember, if you’re drinking, no driving.