Wai Sallas is pumped for another week of great football. Four teams enter, only two will leave as champions of their respective conferences. Somehow, the NFL can’t get out of its own way, it’s all here on this week’s edition of The Friday Sports Dump.
A week removed from five great football games, the heavy lifting is done. Only three games remain in the football season, and all promise to be entertaining, if not competition at its best.
This week is Championship Week. The New England Patriots take on the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC. In the NFC, it’s the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks hosting the Green Bay Packers. Both games are rematches from regular season blowouts. The question is will history repeat itself, or will we witness new paths being forged?
On to the Dump…
Sports Dump #1: This is truly the season the NFL would like to omit from its history. The league started off the year in controversy, and it looks as though it will finish the year as it began. When the league should be gearing itself up for the highlight of the season, legal troubles again shadow the league and its players. Indianapolis Colts Linebacker Josh McNary was arrested and charged with felony rape from a December 1 incident. He “unhesitatingly denies the allegations”.
The purpose of The Sports Dump is to juxtapose the good with the bad and reestablish that sports are a good thing. Thanks to Cade Pope and the Carolina Panthers, we can still do that in the NFL. Right before Christmas, Cade fell ill and was stuck at home in Yukon, Oklahoma. Instead of laying in bed having his grandpa read “The Princess Bride” to him, Cade penned a letter to all 32 NFL teams, asking them which team should he support. One NFL team responded. Cade is now a Carolina Panthers fan after owner Jerry Richardson sent a hand-written letter along with an autographed helmet.
“We would be honored if our Carolina Panthers became your team. We would make you proud by the classy way we would represent you,” said Richardson in the letter.
Carolina, Cade isn’t the only one you’re making proud with your act of generosity.
Sports Dump #2: College football’s grandest stage lived up to the billing Monday night as Ohio State throttled Oregon to win its eighth national championship. In some cruel twist, those who played in that game now have three days to decide whether or not to continue to play college football (or go to school, depending on how you look at it) or declare for the NFL Draft. Providing the top players in college football three days to make a life altering decision is not only wrong, it is cruel. The NCAA needs to really look at this and give players ample enough time to weigh such a decision. If anything, the NCAA only need look in its own backyard to see they still haven’t decided what to do about Penn State in lieu of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, and that was more than three years ago. For all our youth, we hope they take their time and weigh all the pros and cons before making decision that will affect their future, in college football however, it seems three days is the magic number.
Former Major League Baseball Pitcher Mark Hendrickson has his own life decisions to deal with, and revolves around his refusal to let Father Time win. Hendrickson played in the NBA from 1996-2000, then made the unprecedented switch to baseball. In 2011, the Baltimore Orioles declined his option, making him a free agent. Now, the 40-year-old former NBA power forward and southpaw recently was invited to Baltimore Orioles minicamp.
“I’m a grandfather, for goodness sake, and that was two months ago,” Hendrickson said. “Now there’s extra motivation. How many active grandfathers have been in the big leagues?”
I don’t know the answer to that Mark, but good luck to you and all of us who refuse to add another notch in the win column for Father Time.
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Photo Credit: Scott Martin/AP
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