Super Bowl Weekend Tomfoolery. (and other stuff)
By Mike Ashley
CATCHING ON: I had some great NFL notes, but when I mishandled my computer that column did not survive the ground.
NOT SO FAST FEATHERED FRIENDS: The Giants beat the New England Bradys twice in the Super Bowl by tackling Tom regularly. Here’s a stat – the Eagles led the NFL in QB Pressure Rate at 41 percent, and they can do it without blitzing, a key since TB undresses blitzing defenses more often then he does Gisele.
NICK FOLES FIVE: Football geeks are interested in what Bill Belichick and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, who we think played Mr. Edwards on ‘Little House on the Prairie’ (Google it) come up with to stop Nick Foles’ recently amazingly-effective Run/Pass Option play.
SHORTS TEMPER: I have long opined the way to stop NBA fighting and shenanigans is not to fine or suspend players, but instead sentence them to like five or seven games wearing ‘70s NBA short-shorts. Longer shorts-sentences for more serious infractions. Lesser infractions could earn knee-high tube socks.
TOTEM POLL: In an informal poll, Cleveland fans hate everything the Browns do more than they dislike the Indians’ Chief Wahoo.
TIMEOUT FOR TRIVIA: Tenth Super Bowl appearance for the Patriots. Do you remember their first one, whom they played and the score?
MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON: Andy Reid deals Alex Smith to D.C., and Chiefs get future pro-bowl cover-guy Kendall Fuller. Reid sent the Skinnies Donovan McNabb back when, too, and that worked out really…hey, waitaminute!
REAL NEWS: In other Washington trade news, the Nationals are interested in Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto, which makes since because no one wants a Fakemuto.
BLAKE NEWS: Blake Griffin with 7-foot Andre Drummond in Detroit is interesting. At an NCAA Regional, I once found myself in the hallway just off the floor next to the 6-10 Blake, who is built like a side-by-side refrigerator.
WIZARDRY: Injured John Wall is out and the Wizards have 40 assists in their first game without him, and win their first two minus the all-star guard, including an upset of the Thunder.
THE WRIGHT STUFF: If you’re Villanova, you have to love that you’re No. 1, yet no one talks about you. The Wildcats play so smart, creating NBA-like mismatches and limiting mistakes to let opponents beat themselves.
USA! USA! Here’s your Winter Olympics’ cheat-sheet. Know these names – Alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin, snowboarder Chloe Kim, short track speedskater Maame Biney and figure skater Nathan Chen. They’re the U.S. Team’s best and brightest. Don’t forget about Lindsey Vonn, Shaun White and Shani Davis. They’re back, too.
THEY’RE BAAAAAACK: Four words for XFL’s return – ‘Commissioner He Hate Me.’
NET GAIN: The 36 year-old Roger Federer’s recent Australian Open win, the 20th Grand Slam title of his career, makes him the Federest of all time.
TRIVIA ANSWER: It was the 1985 season and the 1986 Super Bowl XX. The Chicago Bears shuffled to a 46-10 win over the red-jersey-clad Patriots and quarterback Tony Eason. It was not pretty.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mike Ashley has covered college athletics for over 30 years. He has worked in the athletic departments at Virginia Tech, Radford University and Marshall University, in addition to freelance work from his Northern Virginia home. Ashley has also worked as a stand-up comic, and has been a regular on many radio stations throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region. His work appears in Terrapin Times (covering the University of Maryland), NCAA programs, Blue Ribbon Yearbooks, Athlon, Lindy’s, and on bathroom stalls in major sporting venues. He has also co-authored a book on the golden age of Virginia Military Institute football, “Best Regrets: VMI’s John McKenna and The Lost Age of College Football.” Previously, the Salem, Va., native has helped author books on the New York Yankees, Emmitt Smith, Maryland’s 2002 NCAA basketball championship, and published a book on the history of Radford University.