Super Bowl XLVIII was supposed to be a lot of things. In the end, Super Bowl XLVIII was none of those things. The game was supposed to be the matchup everyone was interested in seeing. By the time Percy Harvin reached the end zone on his 87 yard kickoff return, to start the 2nd half, the only thing anyone was interested in seeing were the commercials (which were mostly sub par by the way). The matchup between the NFL’s best offense and best defense looked more like the race between the tortoise and the hare. We all know who the hare was last night. We also know who the tortoise was. Yep, Peyton Manning. Not to say, Manning was solely responsible for the Broncos performance Sunday night, but his inability to make anything happen with his feet played directly into Seattle’s hands.
To compare the difference between the last two QB’s to face that stout Seahawks D, I’d like to use a baseball analogy. If Colin Kaepernick of the 49ers and Peyton Manning were types of pitches, Kaepernick would be a mix of curves, sliders, sinkers and changeups. Manning, seemed to be one fat fastball right down the middle of the plate every time. The Seahawks D simply didn’t miss. Their D constantly hit homerun’s against Manning. That’s not to say Kaepernick is better than Manning. He isn’t. It’s just saying that Manning was a sitting duck, and he knew it right from the start. The Seahawks physicality was far too overwhelming on both sides of the ball, but there’s no way you cannot mention the job their receivers did. Labeled as ‘pedestrian’ by many analysts, the Seahawks receivers were anything but. So many times, they made plays to keep the chains moving when it seemed like the Broncos might make a key stop. The guy passing them the ball wasn’t too shabby either. Russell Wilson had a fantastic game, in becoming only the 2nd African-American quarterback (Doug Williams – 1991) to win a Super Bowl.
Another thing the Super Bowl wasn’t, was…….cold. The game went off without a weather related hitch and temperatures were in the 40’s. Not bad. Everything seemed to be top-notch, as the City that Never Sleeps was at its best. I must say; if you’re going to have the Super Bowl in a cold weather city, the ONLY city should be New York. No disrespect to cities like Detroit or Indianapolis, but I think it should be NYC or warm weather. Nothing in between. Congratulations to the 2014 World Champion Seattle Seahawks! Well deserved.
Duke vs Syracuse…..
Speaking of well deserved, it turns out that the hype leading up to Saturday’s Duke/Syracuse basketball game was just that. This game simply delivered. Two heavyweight schools, with two heavyweight coaches, and over 35,000 screaming fans at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse. The ‘Cuse prevailed 91-89 in overtime, but the Orange weren’t the only winners on this day. The biggest winner other than Syracuse has to be the Atlantic Coast Conference. The ACC expanded this season with Syracuse, Pittsburgh, and Notre Dame joining the league. Louisville joins next season. If, Saturday’s game is any indication, this league is going to be something. It’s one of the few bright spots since this whole conference realignment scenario began. The other big winners were the fans. Not just fans of the Orange or Blue Devils, but fans of college basketball. I’m a huge college basketball fan, and seeing that game was great. College basketball is hurting, but games like that are fantastic for the sport, overall.
As far as what we saw on the court, the Orange look like a team that could cut down the nets two months from now at ‘Jerry’s World’ in Dallas for sure. Jim Boeheim’s 2-3 zone looks good, even though Duke was successful against it. Mostly shooting 3 pointers. Duke was also successful on the offensive glass, but that’s not uncommon for a team that plays zone as much as the Orange do. When, Syracuse can get out and run, they’re nearly unstoppable and will be a tough out in March Madness. Duke, played very well and may have won if not for losing Jabari Parker and Amile Jefferson to fouls. Both prior to overtime. Jefferson, has really emerged as someone Duke can count on in the paint. Something Coach K didn’t have just a few weeks ago. The Blue Devils are very good from the perimeter, but have needed that presence inside to go with it. Not sure I see Duke getting to Dallas, but with Coach K at the helm, anything is possible.
The Slim Reaper is Kevin Durant….
Oklahoma City Thunder forward, Kevin Durant has Thunder fans thinking anything is possible, also. That includes winning an NBA Title. What makes this thinking so impressive, is that it comes while Russell Westbrook is still sidelined by injury. Why wouldn’t they think anything is possible? Kevin Durant has looked like a man playing amongst boys. Literally, the only person that has been able to slow Durant down is his head coach. Scott Brooks. Durant sat most of the 4th quarter in Friday’s blow out win over the Knicks. He still scored 26 points. His lowest output in 2014.
Durant’s run over the last few weeks has prompted a search for a nickname for him. Lebron is the ‘King’, Kobe is the ‘Black Mamba’, but what is Durant? There have been a few names to surface, but the one that has the most legs seems to be ‘Slim Reaper’. Durant doesn’t like it, but the name fits perfectly. Two things we know about Durant, are he’s slim and trying to guard him can be lethal. I think it’s the perfect name, and I think it will stick. As good as Slim Reaper has been, he’s had quite a bit of help along the way. Reggie Jackson, has filled in admirably for Westbrook. This time on the floor for Jackson should prove to be invaluable, as the Thunder look for depth in the back court. Jeremy Lamb has also seen quality minutes on the floor in Westbrook’s absence, but the biggest contributor has to be Serge Ibaka.
No longer just a defensive specialist, Ibaka’s offensive game has improved immensely. Gone are the days when defenses could cheat off of him to shade Durant or Westbrook. Ibaka, doesn’t necessarily give them that back to the basket presence they need, but his increased ability to knock down open jumpers and make plays around the rim make the Thunder look very dangerous as we get closer to the playoffs.
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