Sometimes sports are the worst. Sometimes they’re the best. There’s been a lot of both lately.
Had I been fully neutral, that would have been an awesome Super Bowl. The league heavies get blasted early and look thoroughly overmatched by their young, brash, high-powered opponents. Then an epic comeback, featuring an all-time play, and the first overtime game in Super Bowl history that ends with the Patriots staking claim to greatest franchise in league history and Tom Brady officially passing Joe Montana as the greatest quarterback ever.
That’s pretty great, right?
However, I was not neutral. I reveled in Atlanta’s early dominance. I was giddy when Brady threw a pick-six. I laughed as Atlanta’s defense punished Brady every time he dropped back. It was going to be a really fantastic day!
And then, just like I secretly feared they would do, New England completely flipped the script. They took Atlanta’s offense out of their game. They started finishing their drives on offense. They converted one two-point attempt. They survived a massive throw by Matt Ryan and catch by Julio Jones that really should have ended the game. Then they turned into the Pats we all know and hate. Edelman, Hogan, Amendola, and Bennett started carving up the Atlanta secondary. Edelman’s fingertip catch still looks utterly impossible. And then another score, another two-point conversion, tie game.
Man, Matt Ryan had a great season and was great in the first half. But you knew there was no way he was going Aaron Rodgers and getting he Falcons 60 yards in 40-some seconds for a winning field goal attempt. If it’s fair to say there was a less-than-zero chance, that’s what I’d call it.
I don’t know why they even bothered playing overtime. Even if Atlanta had won the toss and received the ball first, I don’t think anyone but the biggest Falcons fan believed they had any chance to win at that point. Not for the first time that weekend, I snapped off the TV before the final play ended to avoid the post-game celebrations.
Just an awful outcome. The worst, Jerry, the worst.
Yep, I turned the game off before the final buzzer on Saturday, too. Coming off fantastic wins at #4 Kentucky and at home against #2 Baylor, KU looked awesome in the first half against Iowa State. They shot 71% from the field. They out-rebounded the Cyclones 19–3. They had a 14-point lead at halftime. Life was great!
Except the Jayhawks must have thought, “OK, we’ve had a rough ten-day stretch. We can just cruise to the finish from here.” No flow on offense. No commitment on defense. Terrible turnovers. Missed free throws. Failing to cover shooters. It all added up to an overtime loss and the end of the 54/51 game home winning streak. Thank goodness for Frank Mason, otherwise the game never would have made it to overtime. I wish he would have drained the potential game-winner, though, which was the same shot, opposite side, that he hit to beat Duke back in November.
Sports are awful.
Until they’re not. About an hour later, Baylor lost at home. Two hours after that, West Virginia also lost at home. While the home court winning streak was over, the Big 12 title race stood exactly where it was at the beginning of the day. Weird.
KU had to get their shit together quickly and go play at Kansas State Monday night. A K-State team that felt they should have won in Lawrence last month and had zero fear about playing the Jayhawks. Especially at home. When it was 20–8 K-State early and Bill Self asked a player “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?” as he called a timeout, I was saying the exact same thing. What the fuck are you guys doing?
A 14–4 KU run turned the tide. KU controlled most of the rest of the game, although that grasp was pretty tenuous in the last 6:00. K-State got the lead once – and caused me to throw my remote, two pillows, and pound our leather ottoman while shouting a string of expletives – but KU quickly answered and weathered the storm to pull out a game most KU fans had chalked up as a loss.
Sports are fun!
Except for all the nonsense going on off-the-court around the KU basketball program right now. Which makes sports terrible. I’m keeping my head in the sand and hoping the people I know who are close to the program and keep saying this will blow over are right.
So…just over halfway through the Big 12 schedule, KU has a one-game lead. They’ve played in Morgantown, but not Waco. They’re done with Iowa State and K-State. They have tricky trips to Stillwater, Lubbock, and Austin left. I’d love it if they finished 14–4, which is what I picked at the beginning of the year. I think that’s optimistic, given their depth, how many minutes #BIFM is playing, and how tough the league is. The good thing is I expect Baylor and West Virginia to pick up a stupid loss or two in addition to the expected losses. It ain’t over, but I’d rather be a game ahead than a game behind at this point.
The Royals signed Brandon Moss and Jason Hammel over the past two weeks. I think they’re both good moves. Both players come with risks, but if they deliver, they could go a long way to keeping the Royals in the playoff race. If not, I guess we’ll see a fire sale in July.
The wife mentioned to me over the weekend that she thought we should take the girls back to KC for a game this summer. I’m thinking we schedule that trip early in the summer, lest we arrive when the big names have all been traded if the team is 10 games back at the All Star break.
Sports are ok, I guess. For now.
- What is it with coaches against New England in the Super Bowl who refuse to run the ball when there is absolutely no reason to throw it? Seattle should have won two years ago and now Atlanta goes from chippy field goal to clinch the game to punting the ball with all kinds of time for Brady to get the tying score. Terrible. ↩
- The whole counting games in Kansas City thing was dumb. KU played a number of games in Kansas City during this stretch that weren’t officially home games, and thus were not counted. Same court, different rules. They even lost a couple of those. I don’t care if it’s KU playing in KC, Indiana playing in Indy, Duke playing at MSG: if you’re not playing on your home court, it doesn’t count as a home court win. Even if you sell it as part of your season ticket package. ↩