Ray Jr. on Sports
- Well, Super Bowl 50 is over, and the unexpected team is raising the Vince Lombardi Trophy right now-and that team is the Denver Broncos. Were you surprised? I bet most of you are. I know I was.
- Why? Because (and I admit this) it was easy to get caught up in the hype and the high expectations that were on the Carolina Panthers. Let’s be honest here: They arrived at the Super Bowl with a 17-1 record. And they looked unstoppable-especially after destroying the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship Game.
- And of course there was QB Cam Newton, the newly-minted NFL MVP who led this team to the Big Game. He’s smiling, in front of the cameras and the experts expected the Panthers to beat QB Peyton Manning and the Broncos in a landslide. But once again, that’s why you play the game.
- The Broncos got to the Super Bowl because of their defense and they proved the age-old theory that ‘defense wins’ championships’ after they pounced on Newton and the Panthers and beat them 24-10. That performance was truly a sign of just how good that defense truly was.
- And of course the Super Bowl MVP went to Broncos LB Von Miller who had an incredible game. Manning didn’t put up the stats, but he played well too and managed the offense. He won his second ring and although many folks expected him to announce his retirement after the game, he decided to wait. But I think he eventually will.
- As for Newton, for the record, I did not like how he carried himself at the postgame news conference. He was a bad sport and that’s a bad example to his teammates, fans and those looking up to him. Face it Cam, nobody likes to lose. And I don’t care what you heard the Broncos say, take the high road.
- And that quote “You show me a good loser and I’m going to show you a loser?” Give me a break. You can have a winning attitude when you lose. Way too many other players have been to the Super Bowl and have never won, but have winning attitudes. I like Newton, but I didn’t like how he handled all that.
- Congrats to the new Pro Football Hall of Fame class. It was a no-brainer that Brett Farve, and Marvin Harrison were going to get in, but I am so glad that Tony Dungy and Kevin Greene got in. And not just because of their Pittsburgh ties.
- Dungy had a career coaching record of 148-79, which is pretty good, but hardly Hall of Fame, but neither was John Madden whose record was 112-39-7, but they both deserved the honor because of their impacts to the game. Dungy’s integrity truly made a difference and he coached some good teams as well, winning a Super Bowl with the Indianapolis Colts in 2006.
- Greene was a beast at LB. He was paid to do one thing: Sack the QB, which he did 160 times (3rd All-Time in NFL history) QB Ken Stabler, tackle Orlando Pace, and guard Dick Stanfel, owner Eddie DeBartolo, Jr round out the Class of 2016, which will be enshrined August 6th.
- One more NFL note: Congrats to Pittsburgh Steelers HC Mike Tomlin on winning the AFC North Coach of the Year award. Any award is truly an honor, but I never knew they gave out such an award. Oh well. He deserves it.
- Onto College basketball, what is going on with the Pitt Panthers? I wish I knew. Apparently once again, they look pretty good in their non-conference schedule, but struggle during ACC Conference play. They were blown out Saturday vs. #7 Virginia and lost a nail-biter to #12 Miami.
- Well, it doesn’t get any easier for Pitt as they will now take on #9 North Carolina at Chapel Hill Sunday. From the way things are looking, it’s going to take a miracle for them to pull of that upset, but a fighter’s always got a chance.
- Apparently Pitt’s scoring is one problem. It needs to be consistent if they’re relying on it to win, and their defense has been pretty non-existent. Obviously we know it needs to get better, but they need to apply fundamentals like: Rebounding, blocks and steals. They need to get some wins vs. ranked opponents if they want a shot at the NCAA Tournament.
- As for the rest of college basketball, how ’bout the Villanova Wildcats, who’re ranked #1 for the first time in school history. The Wildcats (20-3) earned the top spot after Oklahoma and North Carolina lost. Kudos to HC Jay Wright, who definitely deserved National Coach of the Year votes.
- Maryland is ranked #2, followed by Oklahoma, Iowa and Xavier. I bet you didn’t expect those teams to be in the Top 5, did you? The highest ranked local team. West Virginia at #10. They’re looking pretty good in the Big 12 these days.
- As for the NBA, the Golden State Warriors are of still the league’s best team at 48-4. (wow!) but the 45-8 San Antonio Spurs are right behind them, making it the first time in NBA history that 2 teams have at least 45 wins before the All-Star Break. Impressive. 38-14 Cleveland still leads the Eastern Conference and the 8-45 Philadelphia 76ers are still the league’s worst team.
- I’m not surprised that the NY Knicks fired HC Jeff Fisher. He was way in over his head coaching them. He needs to be on a low-maintenance team, and he also needs to get his personal life in order. As for the Knicks, they’re still a mess at 23-32.
- Apparently the Houston Rockets are shopping around C Dwight Howard. I’m pretty surprised at that, because it seemed like he was a good fit there, but then again, that was last season. As for the team, they have basically imploded. They fired HC Kevin McHale and G James Harden seems to be more into fame than wins these days. They are an underachieving 27-28.
- It’s unfortunate that Serena Williams lost the Australian Open in an upset to Angelique Kerber, but at least she was a good sport about it, and get this Cam Newton, she doesn’t like losing either.
Please e-mail Ray at firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow him @urbanmediaRay on twitter