* Matt Ryan has finally answered the perennial question of “Does he have what it takes to win a championship?” Unfortunately that answer, delivered during the NFC Championship Game, was a resounding “No.” The questionable Douglas reception for Atlanta late in the 4th quarter was an optimal setup for a game-winning touchdown that resulted in incompletions on 3rd and 4th down. Despite some clean hookups to Julio Jones earlier in the game, the Ice melted when it meant the most. I’m predicting offensive coordination changes in Atlanta, ROTY going to Kaepernick, and Alex Smith going to Jacksonville.
* Aqib Talib going down with a hip injury late in the first half was an AFC Championship game changer, forcing the Patriots to realign a defensive strategy that had been working very effectively for them in the second half of the season and had held Baltimore to 7 points through half time. Strength and size advantage aside, the sheer absence of him in at the corner left glaring gaps in the adjusted NE secondary that, once the dust settled, allowed 21 unanswered second half points. I now have to mentally prepare for the upcoming two weeks of sports reporting doldrums that will be exacerbated by the media’s pants tent over the ensuing Har-Bowl or Super Baugh or whatever semi-clever moniker is assigned to the spectacle. At least we’ll get a Destiny’s Child reunion out of it.
* Super Bowl prediction? Wait until next week. We have plenty of time.
* The NHL has begun their shortened season. America continues to not care.
* From the “You don’t know what you've got ‘til it’s gone” file, reports have surfaced that the Sacramento Kings are in the early stages of moving their team to Seattle and resurrecting the SuperSonics franchise that was mutated into the OKC Thunder in 2008. At the time, there was an outcry of support for keeping the Sonics, whom had recently drafted young phenom Kevin Durant and had the makings of a championship-caliber team, evidenced by OKC’s recent success. However, local sentiments may change after the move when fans are greeted in an outdated arena on opening day by John Salmons and Aaron Brooks.
* Manti Te’o’s fabricated girlfriend controversy can be seen from two angles: 1) Te’o was in on it the whole time and did it to gain publicity and notoriety, which he gained in spades thanks to the media’s obsession with the story, or 2) Te’o really was truly tricked by the person perpetuating the lie, and the media’s attention is basically pointing out what an idiot he was by being duped for years on end. The first makes him seem deceptively clever by manipulating the media for a personal gain, while the second gives him much less credit and paints him as a sympathetic dimwit. Though the truth lies somewhere in between, it did not involve a murder, rape, or trading jerseys for tattoos. Despite the attention it has received, the controversy isn't severe enough to detract from his stellar 2012 season, his future potential on the field, and the positive impact he has on the Notre Dame Football program.
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