Five hot takes from around the world of sports that will get your head scratching.
So yeah, about last week… It was a crazy time for those of us on the blog. After my NFL-focused blog from two weeks ago pissed a whole bunch of folks off on Reddit (hi haters), the past two weeks have helped me reevaluate my scorching hot takes. I’ve reconsidered my brash thoughts, and decided to take a much-bigger look at my opinions, and carefully craft each and every one with existential thought and reason.
I pissed people off? Good. I’m used to being the contrarian and the person who thinks way outside the box. Somebody has to be, right? So why not me. Ok no more talking about me, it’s all about the sports. So let’s dive right in.
1. The New England Patriots win over the Arizona Cardinals was their best regular-season win in the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick era
I’m a Patriots fan. I think I’ve made that perfectly clear time and time again. So on Sunday night, as New England kicked off against Arizona, saying I was confident would be a flat out lie. As I sat on the couch, wearing my Brady jersey, I could only hope that the Patriots kept it close.
But once Jimmy Garoppolo came out on the first drive and marched the Patriots 74 yards for a touchdown on a rainbow pass to Chris Hogan, I got a little excited. Of course the Pats wound up winning the game, albeit thanks to a missed field goal, I sat back after the final buzzer and just smiled.
How in the world did Garoppolo lead a team minus the greatest QB ever, the greatest TE ever and down two starting offensive linemen go into a Super Bowl contender and win? I still don’t have an answer for that, but boy did it feel good.
And that’s why I think this is the biggest/best win of the last 15 years for New England in the regular season. As a Pats fan, I’ve been pretty confident in most regular season games every season. Call it cockiness, arrogance, stupidity or whatever you want. The fact of the matter is, I’ve always felt that New England had a chance to win every game during the regular season.
On Sunday, I honestly didn’t feel that. I told my dad before the game that they were going to get crushed. I was expecting a double-digit loss. And instead the Patriots came out of Arizona with a win, and a one-game lead in the AFC East because all the other teams suck.
It’s not a playoff win, but that victory was the best for New England since Brady took over in the regular season. It’s a huge stepping stone for the future of Garoppolo and the franchise as a whole. We might be watching something special unfold right before our eyes.
Editor’s note: What Tim fails to mention is that the Patron Saint of ChinMusicPod.com had himself a pretty good week as well. 3 TD’s to different receiver to go with a few nice connections with a fourth, who may just be the best receiver in football is a pretty good start for Eli Manning. Oh yea, and he beat the Cowboys. Something tells me your worst nightmare is seeing him in February.
2. Hockey players get hurt. So stop bitching about the World Cup of Hockey as a dumb tournament where players are going to get hurt.
So I’m not saying this just because I’m going to Toronto this weekend for the World Cup of Hockey. I’m saying this because I thought about it long and hard.
I’ve seen so many people on social media and in various outlets bitch about how the World Cup is a dumb idea, and how they want their teams to pull out their players for fear of injury. But here’s the thing. Hockey is a dangerous sport. Players are going to get hurt. You hope that they aren’t from your team, but you understand that it’s a distinct possibility. So if you’re a fan of hockey, why are you bitching about a fun, meaningless preseason tournament? Would you rather see guys get injured in a not-so-fun, meaningless preseason game?
I didn’t think so.
We’ve seen games get pretty chippy so far, and the players going all out as the play for their country (or Europe or North America). These guys have ramped up the intensity pretty high already, instead of coasting through the preseason. At MOST, the winning/losing team in the tournament will play seven games. Half the tournament will play only three games. So while the risk of an injury still exists, I would rather see it happen in an interesting game with some international flair than a preseason game in Quebec City.
With that said, let’s get this going. It needs to be hockey season again, and it’s damn close.
Editor’s note: This Seguin thing doesn’t really help your point, does it Timmy?
3. I still don’t buy into the Boston Red Sox as a legitimate World Series contender.
Once again, I’m a Red Sox fan. But unlike the Patriots, I’m usually not very confident in them. Last place finishes in three of the last four years (with a fluke World Series thrown in) can do some damage on the psyche. But I digress.
Yes Boston has a very powerful offense. Yes the Red Sox are on a roll now. And yes David Price and Rick Porcello are as good of a one-two punch that you’ll find in the American League. But still, I’m not sold on this team making a serious playoff run.
It’s not that I think there’s a juggernaut in the American League. It’s instead that I think the bullpen and manager will seriously hinder the Red Sox in close games and in games where they don’t score four or more runs. In one-run games, Boston is 16-21. That’s five games under .500. And in games where the Sox score less than four runs, they’re pitiful.
Guess what happens in playoff games? Games are usually decided by one run, and teams usually score a low amount of runs. Combine the stats going against Boston in both of those categories, a bullpen hanging together by old pitchers and bubblegum and a manager who is awful at in-game managing, and the Red Sox have some big-time issues.
Until I see some changes, I can’t get behind the Red Sox as a World Series threat.
Editor’s note: This week’s Yankees-Sox series is going to be quite interesting, isn’t it? (Laughs maniacally)
4. Notre Dame football losing proves (again) that they’re always overrated because of the name of the program.
Nothing makes me happier than watching Notre Dame football lose. I was still in college when the Fighting Irish (that’s an offensive name!) made their National Championship game appearance. I watched that game in a room for of ND fans, with my big mouth proclaiming that they had NO chance against Bama. Boy, was I right.
Fast forward to earlier this month, and Notre Dame football, a National Championship game contender in most college football pundit’s eyes, gets beaten at lowly Texas in the opening week of the season. Immediately, ND fans came out and said that the Longhorns were a top-25 team, and that the loss proved more that Texas was good than Notre Dame was bad.
The AP followed that sentiment, much to my dismay. And here I am beating the anti-ND drum once again. The Fighting Irish, like Michigan and Nebraska and others, are often ranked based on their football-rich history instead of their current performance. Outside of their National Championship appearance, the Fighting Irish have been pretty average in the last six years. Three 8-5 seasons, a 9-4 year and two double-digit wins are pretty meh.
Combine their loss in Week 1 with a less-than-stellar independent schedule (seriously, join a fucking conference, being an independent is useless), and the Fighting Irish are pretty much already out of the National Championship picture. And I couldn’t be happier.
Editor’s note: ):
5. Don’t knock the hustle! I LOVED the Oakland Raiders going for the win on a two-point conversion against the New Orleans Saints.
You really don’t see the move that Jack Del Rio and the Oakland Raiders pulled off in Week 1 1 very often in the NFL. Faced with a one-point deficit with less than a minute to go, the Raiders opted for the two-point conversion and win instead of the extra point and tie/overtime.
Now sure, this would be a different argument if the Raiders got stuffed, but I’m still in favor of Del Rio going for two and the win then playing for overtime. The biggest reason why is because he’s the coach of the fucking Oakland Raiders. The silver-and-black haven’t exactly been world beaters of late. They aren’t a team that is expected to do all that much… yet, but they’re getting better.
So going for two and getting it does a lot for a young team on the road in the early part of the season. If Oakland was stuffed, then it’s just a loss on the road to a team they were probably expected to lose to. But the win signals to the players and fan base that this team is willing to try some new things to win games. That’s exciting and a move that deserves a lot of credit.
Editor’s note: This was the most fun play of the season so far, except for one thing…
6. Camel of the Week: NFL refs everywhere
I get that refs are easy targets, and maybe I’m wasting this one during week one. But as I started to mention before, they really did find ways to ruin two of the most fun moments of the weekend.
First, during that great two point conversion, Michael Crabtree was flagged for excessive celebration. Not for taunting his opponent, not for some orchestrated celebration. Just for throwing the ball into the air. Then Antonio Brown caught the same heat on Monday for twerking.
The NFL has bigger problems than flags for celebrations, sure. The lack of flags for head-to-head hits on Cam Newton is obviously much more troubling.
But, at the very least, can we allow these players to score after they succeed at this game that may cause head trauma? Especially if they aren’t going after another player.
That’ll do it for us. We’ll be back next week with some more hot takes for your Wednesday reading enjoyment. Follow Tim on Twitter@culvey13 and Brendan at @MurraySportTalk for more, or to tell me us we’re morons. Either way, have at it.