January 12, Week in Sports
:: CARDINALS STUN EAGLES; STEELERS BEAT RAVENS (Pro. Football)
:: HENDERSON, RICE ELECTED TO MLB HALL OF FAME (Pro. Baseball)
:: COLTS COACH TONY DUNGY RETIRES (Pro. Football)
The Arizona Cardinals shocked the league on Sunday when they beat the Philadelphia Eagles to advance to the Super Bowl. The Pittsburgh Steelers also stamped their ticket to the Super Bowl with a win over the Baltimore Ravens. The Super Bowl is the most highly-watched sporting event of the year.
In recent years, the Cardinals have been one of the worst franchises in football, and this year, they posted a 9-7 record before backing into the playoffs. Since then, however, the Cardinals have been red-hot, knocking off Atlanta, then Carolina, and now the Eagles–and in each situation, the Cardinals have been the underdogs. Led by veteran quarterback Kurt Warner and superstar Larry Fitzgerald, the Cardinals now have just one more game to win to complete their Cinderella story. This is the first time in franchise history that the Cardinals have made it to the Super Bowl.
The Pittsburgh Steelers, on the other hand, are one of the most successful franchises in the history of the NFL. Led by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the best defense in football, the Steelers beat the rival Baltimore Ravens to advance to the Super Bowl. Right now, they are running on all cylinders and their defense is better than ever, so they will be heavy favorites to beat to Cardinals.
Quote of the Week: “I think we’ve been an underdog every game that we played–for us to overcome that means a lot.” — Anquan Boldin, Cardinals receiver
Further Reading: “Deep Impact” — Associated Press, via ESPN
HALL LOVES RICKEY AS MUCH AS RICKEY
This week, Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice were voted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. Being inducted into the Hall of Fame is the greatest of all honors for for a professional baseball player.
This was the first year that Rickey Henderson was eligible for the Hall of Fame, and it comes as no surprise that he was voted in. Henderson is the greatest leadoff man of all time, though he is perhaps even more famous as the greatest base stealer ever. Henderson holds the record for most career stolen bases at 1,406, which is almost 500 more than Lou Brock, who is second on the list. Henderson is also known for giving some of the funniest (and most narcissistic) quotes ever, many of which feature Rickey talking about himself in the third person.
Jim Rice’s journey to the Hall of Fame was very different than Henderson’s. While Henderson made it to the Hall his first year of eligibility, Rice slipped into the Hall during his last year on the ballot. Rice was a power-hitting outfielder for the Boston Red Sox and an 8-time All Star. Henderson and Rice will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in July.
Quote of the Week: ”The voice-mail message on Rickey Henderson’s cellphone is unusually wordy and quirky. He says hello and pauses, presumably to confuse callers into thinking he has actually answered and that it is not a recording. After some silence, Henderson repeats the gag by saying, “How are you doing?” and pausing again…. The message takes 30 seconds, but it is fraught with excess. It is a message that befits the flamboyant Henderson, who is the greatest leadoff hitter in baseball history.” — Jack Curry, New York Times
Further Reading: ”Henderson, Rice elected to Hall of Fame” — Associated Press, via ESPN
COLTS COACH RIDES INTO THE SUNSET
Tony Dungy, the great coach of the Indianapolis Colts, retired from the NFL last week. Dungy was one of the most celebrated coaches in the league, and will doubtless be remembered as one of the greatest coaches of his time.
Dungy has coached in the league for more than a decade, but he made a name for himself coaching Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts, whom he led to a Super Bowl victory in 2007. In a sport full of screaming coaches, stomping up and down the sidelines, Dungy was known for his reserved demeanor. He was respected by everyone–players, other coaches, and football writers have nothing but good things to say about him, both professionally and personally–which is truly rare in the NFL.
When the Colts won the Super Bowl in 2007, Dungy became the first African-American NFL coach to win the championship.
Quote of the Week: “There are people you meet in life who profess great religious faith and then live a hypocritical lie of an existence. Then there is Tony Dungy, who knew everybody’s name, whether you were the equipment guy or the left tackle, who cared about everybody’s story, who was genuine to those who were essential to his life and those who were not.” — Bob Kravitz, Indianapolis Star
Further Reading: “He Won the Right Way” — Bob Kravitz, Indianapolis Star
WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEK
:: PRO. FOOTBALL: The Super Bowl will be played on February 1, giving both teams a week off to recover. However, Super Bowl hype will still be the dominant story in the sports world this week. Now is a good chance to catch up on the storylines from the season, as well as to hear predictions for the game itself, which is the most important sporting event of the year.
NBA (Pro. Basketball): The 2008-09 season is currently underway. It runs from late October to April of 2009, when the playoffs commence. [Official NBA Website]
NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL (College): The college basketball season is currently underway and runs through “the Tournament,” which takes place in March. [CBS Sports]
NFL (Pro. Football): The Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals will face off in the Super Bowl on February 1. [Official NFL Website]
NCAA FOOTBALL (College): The college football season is now over, with Florida defeating Oklahoma in the national championship game. [NCAA Football, ESPN]
MEN’S GOLF: While there are professional tournaments throughout the year, the most important tournaments are the four Major Championships: The Masters, U.S. Open, The Open (The British Open), and the PGA Championship. [Official PGA Website]
NOTABLE PLAYERS: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson
NHL (Pro. Hockey): The hockey season is currently under way and runs through April of 2009. [Official NHL Website]
MEN’S AND WOMEN’S TENNIS: While there are professional tournaments throughout the year, the most important tournaments are the four Grand Slam tournaments: the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open. [USTA Website]
NOTABLE PLAYERS: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic
MLB (Pro. Baseball): The Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in this year’s World Series. During the off-season, baseball news will focus on major trades and player signings. [Official MLB Website]
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