In the end, no one made more moves than the Knicks. The boys from Manhattan made a series of salary dumps that should net them about $32 million in cap space after the season. They gained Tracy McGrady which would’ve been much bigger news had McGrady done anything of significance ever in his career. They also traded Darko Milic, ensuring there’ll be six more weeks of winter. All in all, the Knicks spent the day sending coded messages to Dwyane Wade & Chris Bosh in the event they don’t land LeBron. (more…)
As such, this is the perfect time to reflect on the little things in life. Having personally felt the pang of the recession, this is an area I feel I’m somewhat well-versed in. So, without further ado, here’s a guide to filling the gaping maw that is Late Winter, cuz after the Super Bowl there’s very little to care about for long stretches of time. (more…)
Mickey: If you look around the sports landscape these here days, you have no choice but to come to one conclusion: the South is much better at the sports that matter than any other region.
Disclaimer: We are, of course, referring to the South in the most 21st Century War of Northern Aggression ways. Central Virginia is at its highest point on the eastern seaboard, the Mississippi River is as far west as it goes; Northern Virginia/DC is not the South.
NFL: Since 2002 and the new divisional structure, the NFC South has put more teams in the NFC Championship game than any other division (6). The NFC East likes to talk a big game, but really, it’s just adorable they think they’re better. (more…)
January 10th, 2009 felt like the end of a chapter to me. The Panthers loss to the Arizona Cardinals at the hands of Jake Delhomme provided me with nine months to marinate on my emotions towards the franchise. By summer the scars had gnarled over and I was ready to talk myself into another stellar year. Heck, we were returning 21 of 22 starters from a 12-4 team; what could possibly go wrong? (more…)
I spent the rest of the week talking myself into a Panthers victory. “Brady’s injuries are worse than anyone’s letting on! He’s on high-alert because of Tiger & knows having a baby and a mistress at the same time would be bad! This is some sort of trap game! Has anyone’s life ever been enriched by a forwarded message, ever!?”
Of course, the Panthers lost. They lost despite forcing turnover after turnover. They put together mighty, clock-chewing drives, then would counteract them with several 3-and-outs. Now, the clever analogy here is that this game was a relatively minor one on the weekend. People are using the words “woeful” when describing the Panthers, and the Pats are leading their division. For all intents and purposes, this game shouldn’t be a blip on anyone’s radar…
However, it’s my belief that the Panthers, like Mickey, know that the outcome of the game matters less than what you take away from it. My fire for football is hitting it’s late-season stride, and I’ll be in attendance for next week’s game. The Panthers might’ve lost, but have dominated the Monday news cycle. Expect big things from both myself, and the Panthers, for the rest of the season.
(or expect them to frustratingly lose out the rest of the games and enter us into a Big Question sort of off-season)
Mickey: I’m glad I could whack Smokey out of his sulky doldrums, but man, I’m not sure I can equate that game with “motivation.” That was one ugly game to watch. (more…)
But instead of moping, instead of wrestling with (once more) how disheartening it is to root for such a stubborn head coach, and instead of nonsensically trying to get myself to believe that 5-7 means we can go 9-7, if we just take it one game at a time, I decided to think back to those long, hard, soul-crushing months when we don’t have football to take up our weekends. I long for NFL Sundays and college football Saturdays with a whimsical spark in my eye. I daydream about afternoon drinking and hangover-curing meals and reveling in the joy of consuming football.
And that thought to remind myself to appreciate football — whether that’s a 5-7 team with a brutal home stretch schedule or a 3-9 team that finds new and hilarious ways to gift games to other (better) teams or an undefeated college team going for defined greatness getting thoroughly whupped — kept my soul smiling as I went to sleep on Sunday night.
Because at the end of the day, it’s still football. Glorious, glorious football. And there’s only so much precious time left.
More Panthers and NFL thoughts if you’ll follow me: (more…)
Smokey: For a moment, put yourself in the year 1919 or 1920. Imagine the situational gravity of living in the era directly following the first World War. Before this war, if some ish when down on your continent you handled yo biznass. You may get a tribe or two from a few fiefdoms over to help you out, but by and large conflicts existed on a comparatively minor scale. That all changed with The Great War; soldiers fought whose homelands were hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away. In a way, some of the first seeds of globalization were germinated with the deaths of thousands.
It was in that time and that landscape that some pretty amazing literature was born. One such litfant was “The Second Coming” by William Butler Yeats. In it, Yeats basically lifts images from Revelations to describe post-war Europe. It’s a dark, depressing exercise in allegory that would seem almost pithy after the Nazis got all uppity. Alas, it did give us this verse:
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world
Those words strike true in the hearts of countless NFL fans after week 12 of the regular season. The last rays of playoff hopes for a handful of teams fell beneath the horizon of inevitability. Storied franchises like the Redskins and Bills are rudderless (although I have it on good authority that the Bills will spend the rest of their season ruining the rest of your favorite team’s). And despite not having a winless team still around, the bottom of the NFL barrel is looking gamier and more pungent than recent history’s. (more…)
I’ve read enough in the past few weeks to understand the destruction a full game of football does to a human body. It takes a full week of getting professional medical attention from trainers who are very skilled at their jobs. Which is all a long way of saying I kind of hate these Thursday games. Surely, more football in my life is ALWAYS going to be good thing, no one argues that. But this past Sunday the Panthers won a physical game against the Falcons and were given three days of rest before being asked to do it all again. The Dolphins had the same schedule and found a way to win, so bully for them. But as I watched last night’s game transpire, I couldn’t help but feel for the linemen, those guys had a helluva Sunday and were asked to go bang the shit out of their heads a mere half-week later.
This is where my mind goes when you sit watching your team rely too heavily upon Jake Delhomme. It was a heart-wrenching cock-punch of a loss, the kind the Panthers seem to specialize in. We’ve got the ten days to rest before taking on the Jets, and if the squad’s healthy, that should be another big win for us. Only time will tell.
Man, is there anything sadder than a fan of a losing team on a Friday?
There was but one Falcons fan in my sports bar on Sunday, and he was an absolute prince. He wore a Keith Brooking jersey, which I respected, but talked a tad too urban for someone who probably went to Emory. Irregardless, we spoke at halftime and had nothing but pleasantries between us. I almost felt bad as I cheered on Carolina through their second half, but in the end I didn’t. It was a self-esteem boosting win and proved that if the Panthers can run into some decent QBs on their off days, we just might be able to salvage a Wild Card spot out of this season. And now, without further ado, here’s the better story from the weekend… (more…)
Outstanding news from the warfront: Stephen Jackson is Charlotte-bound in a deal that ships Raja Bell and Vlad Rad to Oakland. Everyone’s gonna use words like “embattled” and “disgruntled” when they describe Jax because he’s been looking for a trade for a while. It was on my radar, but I didn’t pay it much mind because it’s the Warriors and it’s Nelly, and really, all I knew of the situation was that Bill Simmons thinks the fans up there are pretty awesome and they’re being dicked over.
The NBA’s got a bit of a me-first problem, but that’s the nature of the league. Can you imagine a scenario where Joe Mauer says he’s the best athlete in Minnesota and Adrian Peterson gets him run out of town? With the end of the decade nigh, a lot of Top Ten lists are gonna be coming out, and there damn well better be one that includes Stephen Jackson in some capacity. The man’s done just about anything you could ask of an insane him playing professional sports. Let’s take a walk down memory lane and have a slow, dawning sense of doom as we take a deeper look at the final piece to a playoff-run for the Bobcats, shall we? (more…)