Insight News

Saturday
Dec 20th

Sports

The NBA quarter pole assessment

The NBA quarter pole assessmentThe Los Angeles Lakers have participated in the last four NBA Finals. With the additions that they made during the offseason, it would seem that they are well positioned to potentially win a fourth 3-peat for coach Phil Jackson. The Lakers are less dominant than Jackson’s former teams with the Lakers and Bulls, but they still have the same late game Zen to be able to pull out the close ones. For a Lakers fan such as myself, that approach is real annoying – I wish they would just whoop up on teams like the Bulls and Michael Jordan used to do – but at the end of the day, they have been to the dance before, and know where the bathroom is.

On the other side of the country, the Boston Celtics have a bad taste in their mouth because of their loss to the Lakers in last years’ Finals. The Celtics have also added Shaquille O’Neal since last year, and Shaq is still Shaq when he needs to be. No matter what anybody says to me, Shaquille O’Neal is the most dominant force on a basketball court I have ever seen. If Shaq were to concentrate on basketball completely, rather than brand building trips to Harvard Square and such, then I’m fairly confident that he could still perform close to the level of his past dominance. Shaq has been savvy about his body size, and thus staying healthy, so that he can extend his playing career. It’s completely understandable that Shaq focuses so much time on his commercial presence, so I really don’t fault him – as the Bone Thugs and Harmony song says, “gotta’make that money man.” But somehow, I think that lack of focus will be a last second deal breaker if the Celtics were to face the Lakers in the Finals again in June 2011 (yes, we’re already talking about 2011. 2010 has been a good one…did I mention the Lakers won the Championship).
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New Gopher coach Kill may grow on people

New Gopher coach Kill may grow on peopleThough Tubby Smith’s Golden Gopher Basketball team is all grown up and in the center of the local spotlight; there is a possible room in said spotlight for the University of Minnesota football team as well. On Monday, Dec. 6, U of M Athletic Director Joel Maturi hired Jerry Kill, former head coach for Northern Illinois University, as the next head coach of the Gopher football team.

In sports there often seems to be a tendency for schools to hire coaches from teams that have recently put a thumping on the hiring schools’ team – no scientific evidence there, but sure seems like it --Kill defeated the Gophers in TCF stadium in September. But though this prejudice may exist, and though Kill doesn’t immediately strike the image of a big tough football coach, there is no doubt that after a few minutes of hearing him speak most couldn’t possibly hold anything against the man. Kill, seeming genuine enough to potentially talk about the holes in his socks to a national audience, gave one of the more engaging opening press conferences that one could hope for.
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Early Superbowl picks

Early Superbowl picksThe one undercurrent for all those folks asking about and interested in early Super Bowl predictions – now that the Thanksgiving turkey has worn off and half of the NFL teams have been mathematically eliminated – is: what about Michael Vick? Could Michael Vick win a Superbowl in his first year back as a starter in the NFL?

I always like to be here to help out with the barbershop arguments, and the answer is: No. Sorry. But Vick will win a Super Bowl eventually. Teams kind of have to be in a groove going into this portion of the season, and Vick’s Eagles don’t fit that bill. But as far as the Vikings’ conference, the NFC, surprisingly everyone might want to keep their eyes on the Chicago Bears. I’m slowly beginning to win over the debate crowd with the message that “defense wins championships.” And just like in 2006, the Bears can once again be called the “Monsters of the Midway” when it comes to defense.
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Early Superbowl picks

Early Superbowl picksThe one undercurrent for all those folks asking about and interested in early Super Bowl predictions – now that the Thanksgiving turkey has worn off and half of the NFL teams have been mathematically eliminated – is: what about Michael Vick? Could Michael Vick win a Superbowl in his first year back as a starter in the NFL?

I always like to be here to help out with the barbershop arguments, and the answer is: No. Sorry. But Vick will win a Super Bowl eventually. Teams kind of have to be in a groove going into this portion of the season, and Vick’s Eagles don’t fit that bill. But as far as the Vikings’ conference, the NFC, surprisingly everyone might want to keep their eyes on the Chicago Bears. I’m slowly beginning to win over the debate crowd with the message that “defense wins championships.” And just like in 2006, the Bears can once again be called the “Monsters of the Midway” when it comes to defense.
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Eagles QB Michael Vick finally gets out of the dog house

Eagles QB Michael Vick finally gets out of the dog house Michael Vick has been sensational on the football field this season as quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles. Two weeks ago, he put on a phenomenal show against the Washington Redskins, setting a single game record by throwing for 333 yards, including four touchdowns, and rushing for 80 yards and two more touchdowns. The visiting Eagles routed the Redskins 59-28.

NFL analyst and former Eagle Quarterback Ron Jaworski called it, “the most remarkable performance I’ve ever seen on Monday night.”

However, the most remarkable part of the rise, fall and second rise of Michael Vick is what happened off the field. The Atlanta Falcons selected Vick as its top pick in 2001, the first Black quarterback to be the No. 1 overall pick in an NFL draft. Vick signed the largest contract ever for a rookie, $82 million for six years.
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A post-Thanksgiving dinner sports discussion piece


A post-Thanksgiving dinner sports discussion piece
Seeing as everyone should be a little too comatose from the 15th and 20th helpings of turducken (turkey, duck and chicken combo), I figure that it is best to approach this article with everyone’s capacity to stay awake in mind. Thus, we’ll do something like a Q&A, and cover a wide range of topics. We’ll do this just in case you fall asleep in the middle of a sentence, and then suddenly wake up talking about, “Yeah boy that Michael Vick is something else.” Only to be told: “Boy we were talking about college basketball. Go back to sleep. Unless you want some of Uncle J’s sweet potato pecan pie before it’s gone.”

It’s amazing a person with a full belly can go from sleep, to lopping Cool Whip on a piece of pie, within 30 seconds; only on Thanksgiving; and I’d say that’s something to be thankful for.

What do you think about the Vikings?
Ron Washington, manager of the Texas Rangers baseball team, has a saying, “That’s the way baseball go.” Well, that’s the way football go, too. So, win one for the Gipper and the possibility of a new stadium. Fortunately, it never gets old watching A.P. run all day.
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DeSean Jackson honors father with work off the field

DeSean Jackson honors father with work off the fieldDeSean Jackson has made some outstanding plays as a wide receiver and punt returner for the Philadelphia Eagles. Jackson has been recognized for his talents with a trip to the Pro Bowl.

However, he was honored for his work off the field recently by Philadelphia City Councilman Curtis Jones Jr., who saluted Jackson for his campaign in raising awareness and his battle against pancreatic cancer.

Jackson and his mother, Gayle Jackson, started the DeSean Jackson Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer. In 2009, DeSean’s father, Bill, died from pancreatic cancer.
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