CLOSING THE BOOK ON THE SUPER BOWL. This, hopefully, will be my last take on Super Bowl XL for quite a while. The Steelers are the champs. The Seahawks played better. But the Steelers made the plays that mattered. The officials sucked...but weren't "paid" by the Steelers. Steeler fans, please stop whining about people complaining about the officiating. Just three weeks ago, you were doing the exact same thing. The difference is that the Colts played very poorly and couldn't take advantage. Steeler fans, don't take offense to the bashing of the officials. It has less to do about your team than it does to do with the actual officials and the NFL's lack of nads to do anything about it.
HOPEFULLY, MY LAST WORD ON OFFICIALS. To be honest, I'm usually a guy that doesn't complain about officiating. There are bad calls in nearly every game played. I'm not as bent on the holding call on Seattle or even the pass interference call on Jackson. But calls that shouldn't be screwed up were. That Hasselbeck penalty for tackling somebody and the Roethlisberger TD were bad. And, most of the time people can dismiss some of that. But not right now. That was the Super Bowl. And it ain't just the Super Bowl. Just this week, the ACC suspended officials that blew calls in the Florida State-Duke game last week. The NFL playoffs had a ton of blown calls [ask New England and Troy Polamalu]. The Rose Bowl had a HORRENDOUS call when Vince Young was allowed to lateral the ball while on his knees [it turned into a TD laterl]. Sure, that call can be missed....but the officials didn't even bother to review it.....and instead spent a ton of time reviewing plays that had a lot less to do with the outcome of the game than a TD run. And let us not forget the AJ Pierzynksi play in the ALCS that totally turned the series on it's ear.
NO, REALLY, MY LAST SUPER BOWL TAKE: The Super Bowl kind of unofficially ends the 2005 sporting year. So rating the best championships of the lot...
6-Stanley Cup Finals: Um, there was none.
5-Super Bowl XL: Boring and controversial
4-World Series: The NL doesn't bother to show up for the 2nd straight year.
3-NBA Finals: Kind of a snoozer, but went 7 games with a fantastic Game 5.
2-NCAA Tournament: My Heels won, but for the first time, the top two teams met in the Finals and that Elite, Elite, Elite 8 weekend was marvelous!
1-Rose Bowl: Texas' magical comeback and Young's performance were awesome!
GAMBLING AND THE NHL: This could be a story that ruins the NHL or just a bad decision by a small group of people. A nationwide gambling ring was unearthed in New Jersey that implicates Phoenix Coyotes coach Rick Toccet and about 6 players. It has been said that there was no betting on hockey, but it still doesn't shine a good light on the league. You can commit most crimes [yes, even murder....right Ray Lewis and Leonard Little?] and get away with it....but nothing screws with the integrity of the sports world than gamblers being involved with it. Again, the guilty parties could find their way out of the NHL....or this thing could get uncomfortably big. It is already uncomfortable as one of the people named in this is Janet Jones, wife of Wayne Gretzky. It is big since it links a coach, owner and the greatest player ever to lace them up into this mess. Unlike baseball where the steroid issue does sting by won't sink MLB...the NHL isn't as solid. They just got back from cancelling a season and totally revamping it's on the ice and off the ice problems to try to resell the game back to the fans. Hopefully it won't have that kind of effect.
NO MORE TALK OF 70: In what I think is the dumbest subplot to the NBA season is the talk of the Pistons cracking the 70-win mark [only the 1996 Bulls did so]. I didn't think it was to be...and it certainly doesn't look like it now. The Pistons just lost the Atlanta Hawks...yep, the 15-32 Hawks...to put them at 8 losses. It is possible for the Pistons to go 31-4 the rest of the way and reach it....but what for? This isn't the NFL where 19-0 would be the second undefeated/untied season in NFL history and best record of all time. Even if the Pistons do get to be 70-12....they have 16-28 more games to play in the postseason to reach the real goal of NBA title. That's what is important. Just look at the NFL. Everyone will remember the crappy Super Bowl [crap, I did it again] and the Steelers being the champions....but not many will remember 2005 as the year that the Colts went 13-0 and 14-2. Win the title, Pistons.
THE OLYMPICS ARE COMING!!!: Sad to say, but I don't care. I really don't. The Winter Olympics are the red-headed stepchild of the Summer games. Most of the sports no one plays. Curling? A guy pushing a ceramic pumpkin on some ice while others sweep the path up for it?? The luge? Isn't that just sled-riding down a teflon pipe? The only sports most people gravitate to are hockey [which I will be watching], ice skating and skiing. Skiing is just fun to watch cuz...well, I don't know. Figure skating, to me, sucks. It is what gymnastics are to the Summer games. But the nice judging scandals and such really put this even down a bit further. Oh, and the site of the games....Torino. That's why ya gotta love the Winter Olympics! If the games are in Europe...what's the difference between Turino, Lillehammer or Albertville?? Let's see, snow and mountains and that's about all you'll see. Of course, we will watch since our favorite programs will be preempted and so we can root for our countrymen and watch those puff pieces about people we've never heard of nor will we care about ever again.
SNUBBING WALTER DAVIS: ESPN has been running a poll about the greatest moment in the UNC-Duke rivalry. Bar none, it is Walter Davis in 1974. Sure, it was pre-ESPN and pre-most of the voters......and it was pre-SportzAssassin. But it is the best moment. Carolina was down by 8 points with 17 seconds left in the game. Bobby Jones made two FTs [down by 6], a Duke turnover led to a Carolina bucket by John Kuester [down by 4], then stealing the inbounds pass and a Jones layup [down by 2]. Duke then missed a FT and Carolina called a timeout. Walter Davis got the inbounds pass and hit a 30-footer to tie the game and send it into overtime [Carolina ended up winning]. I mean, how amazing that they could make an 8-pt comeback with 17 seconds left and NO THREE POINT LINE! Amazing.
HIGH SCHOOL CHICK GOES OFF: Epiphanny Prince scored 113 points to smash the national girl's scoring record. Wow!