Hello all. It’s been a long time since we’ve had contact and a lot has transpired in the world of sports since. We’ve got some catching up to do, so let’s roll. Going to be decidedly football-heavy so here’s short and sweet coming at you:
Turnover- Not in the sense of a fumble or an interception but of turning a collegiate football program over and shaping it into a conference contender and bowl winner. Fresno State, under the tutelage of first-year hire Jeff Tedford, navigated the biggest turnaround in the nation in 2017 as he led the Bulldogs to a 10-4 record. The ‘Dogs were coming off of a 1-11 season prior to Tedford’s arrival. Their 33-27 victory over Houston in the Hawaii Bowl was the icing on the cake this season for the former Fresno State quarterback who has resurrected the program at his alma mater. Doggone good job coach.
Buyer Beware- Oakland Raider fans are all aglow with the hiring, once again, of Jon Gruden as the man to lead their team to the promised land. After a nine-year sabbatical from stalking the sidelines, Gruden has once again jumped into the cauldron of coaching. His last stint with the Raiders was from 1998 to 2001, after which he went to the Tampa Bay Bucs and delivered a Super Bowl title. Gruden inherits a team with limited ability on both sides of the ball as qb Derrick Carr is still a work in progress and Khalil Mack is the only defensive presence. At $100 mil for ten years “Chucky” better deliver the goods.
A Star Is Born- Did you catch the National Championship football game? The 26-23 overtime thriller claimed by the Alabama Crimson Tide? True freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, with meaningless snaps during the regular season, was inserted as signal-caller to start the second half and rallied ‹Bama from a 13-point deficit by throwing three second-half touchdown passes. Entrenched starting qb Jalen Hurts was a class act after being replaced as he genuinely cheered Tagovailoa on as the comeback developed. Tua’s star shines brightly and should continue to illuminate.
Final Four- A brief take on the four participants that are now left to battle it out for Super Bowl LII supremacy: The Eagles heart-stopping victory over the Falcons gives them coveted home-field advantage which they definitely will need, along with another sterling effort by backup qb Nick Foles if they are to advance. The Patriots retained home-field as well by taking the Titans out behind the frigid woodshed in Foxborough for a beat down and are odds-on favorites to win back-to-back Super Bowl titles.
A nice, refreshing look comes aboard the fray as the Jaguars punched the favored Steelers in the mouth in Pittsburgh and will now face the Pats in a nor’easter in New England. And the Vikings shall take that bad-ass defense of theirs to Philly with hopes of attaining first-ever home-field advantage in a Super Bowl as Minnesota’s new facility will host SB LII.
Feels like a delightful match-up awaits, with the Patriots’ high-powered offense possibly squaring off against the Viking’s number-one ranked defense. If so, will the old adage that defense wins Super Bowls hold true?
Peach State Heartbreak- Football fans from the Peach State of Georgia just can’t catch a break. In last year’s Super Bowl their Atlanta Falcons coughed up a 25-point lead and lost to the Patriots in overtime and, not to be outdone, the University of Georgia blew the aforementioned 13-point lead in the national title game while succumbing to Alabama. To make matters worse the college game was held, where else…in Atlanta! Atlantans aren’t feeling particularly peachy nowadays. Perhaps a little fuzzy?
Dis-N-Dat- The needle on the record seemed to be stuck at Kendrick Lamar’s halftime performance during the national championship game. When you hang bananas on a hanger in the kitchen why do the ones hanging closest to the wall always ripen faster than the ones facing you, which inherently get more light? Jacksonville Jags new executive VP of football operations Tom Coughlin deserves Executive-Of-The-Year honors as he has transformed a once-moribund organization into a winner.
There’s something sacrosanct about pouring wine from a spigot, a la draft beer. Fabled television football announcer Keith Jackson’s passing lends warms thoughts of his inimitable Rose Bowl calls which were endearing nationwide.
By Michael Elliott