Kenny Rice: “A WEEK OF INFLATION AND DEFLATION FROM THE NFL TO THE UFC”
The network nightly news led with the story. It crossed over so far from the field that everyone is giving their take on the New England Patriots, their quarterback Tom Brady, and coach Bill Belichick. More so than the size, or lack of it, during the Pats romp over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC title game to get to the Super Bowl. It’s impossible not to know something about “Deflate Gate.” Even if you casually follow the sport, for it is not a sports story now. Some pundits, from sportswriters to politicos, are even comparing it to Watergate, the most infamous of wrong doings.
HOLD ON! If it is true (as several reports state) the Patriots used a ball that was under inflated giving their future Hall of Fame QB a better grip, then rules were broken. But is it the same as any team or player who bends the rules, as much as they can, to gain an advantage? Would the terribly overmatched Colts have really turned the game around over a slight drop in ball pressure? Is there anyone outside of the great state of Indiana that truly thinks that made such a difference? And how did the refs, who also handled the ball throughout, not detect the nuances if is was as drastically altered as many (too many) are making it out to be now? If it were so, how come the NFL, in their most public relations battered year, not leap in with both feet to declare something, anything?
Never has so much been written or said about something that didn’t change the game. Even Las Vegas is setting a proposition bet on the over/under times NBC broadcasters Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth talk about it on the telecast next week. It is being blown out of proportion this under inflated football.
With that, here are some other inflations and deflations of the week in sports:
The Green Bay Packers who snatched defeat from the jaws of victory with a seemingly insurmountable lead against the Seattle Seahawks in the final minutes of regulation, only to lose their shot at the Super Bowl in overtime.
NASCAR losing their game-changer driver Jeff Gordon after this upcoming season. Twenty years ago, Gordon broke the good ol’ boy mold in the sport and like him or not, became the face of racing. He announced that 2015 will be his farewell.
Kobe Bryant is out for the season with a torn rotator cuff, and with the Los Angeles Lakers struggling to not be the worst team in the west, the question is –is this the end for one of the best players ever in the NBA?
Benson Henderson the former UFC champ who turned in another gritty performance against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone but lost a unanimous decision and dropped farther down the ladder on the way to another title shot.
All the fans who hoped Conor McGregor would fall on his face. McGregor, of the much inflated ego, showed why in dominating Dennis Siver and backing up his claim that he should get a chance at Jose Aldo.
MMA fans who don’t follow politics should know there was a major development toward the sport becoming legal in New York this week when Sheldon Silver, the speaker of the New York Assembly, was arrested and charged with taking millions of dollars in bribes. Others have spoken out against MMA and specifically the UFC as being too brutal to be in New York. They were all puppets with no power. Silver is the man who has always kept the vote on legalizing MMA from proceeding to the full assembly. If he is found guilty, or even now with these charges, the MMA’s toughest New York opponent has been knocked down if not out.
Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone won his seventh straight and possibly his biggest win avenging two losses in the WEC days to Benson Henderson and solidifying his ascension to the title fight. Oh, and he had a whole two weeks to get ready for this one, adding to his lore.
UFC 183 is building the Anderson Silva and Nick Diaz showdown as the “Fight of the Year,” and given that we won’t be out of January when it happens, that seems as fair assessment so far. What makes it as compelling as almost any fight coming up this year, is the return of the widely considered “greatest ever” Silva after shattering his leg in his last fight a (second loss to Chris Weidman). Is the Spider back, really back since that fight on December 28, 2013? And Diaz, though he has fought at catchweight, is making his “official” debut as a middleweight. The controversial one has retired as much as any MMA fighter ever, the latest “unretirement” coming after consecutive losses to Carlos Condit and George St. Pierre, the latter on March 16, 2013. A long time away from the cage for both men adding to the deserved build up.
Max Sherzer left Detroit where he won a Cy Young Award in 2013 for a 7-year $210 million dollar deal with the Washington Nationals giving them another strong arm in their already formidable rotation and increasing their stock as a World Series contender.
Clint Eastwood still has it. The Hollywood icon has directed another classic in American Sniper. Even with the ridiculous and over hyped amount of political divide over the true story of Chris Kyle, the most prolific sniper in U.S. Military history, it is a raw, senses-jarring look at war. The film is never pretty, nor is it supposed to be. Bradley Cooper with his third straight Academy Award nomination, proves he is the actor of his generation with a nuance performance that is true and real.
Oh yeah, that football thing has become way too inflated for further discussion.
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