January 12, Week in Sports
:: NEW YORK GIANTS FALL TO PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (Pro. Football)
:: FLORIDA BEATS OKLAHOMA IN BCS CHAMPIONSHIP GAME (College Football)
:: CARDINALS STUN PANTHERS (Pro. Football)
On Sunday afternoon, the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New York Giants, knocking them out of the playoffs. The Giants are one of the most popular teams in the league, as well as the defending Super Bowl champions.
The Philadelphia Eagles have had a long and dramatic season, with most of the drama centered around embattled Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb. McNabb is one of the top quarterbacks in the league, and his talent is undeniable, but he is past the prime of his career. Age, injuries, and a contentious relationship with Philadelphia fans have dogged McNabb the past few years, and earlier this season he was struggling so much that he was actually benched by his coach. But now that McNabb has led the Eagles past Eli Manning and the New York Giants, one of the best teams in the league, McNabb will be the hero of Philly–at least for the time being. The Eagles play the Arizona Cardinals next week, and the winner of that game will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.
On Sunday night, the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the San Diego Chargers. As a result, the Steelers and the Ravens will face off next week, and the winner of that game will represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.
Quote of the Week: “He is the best quarterback in the NFL. I don’t think I have to say anything more than that.” — Andy Reid, Philadelphia Eagles Coach on Donovan McNabb
Further Reading: “Eagles Pick Giants Apart” — Associated Press, via ESPN
FLORIDA CHOMPS DOWN ON OKLAHOMA
On Thursday night, the Florida Gators defeated the Oklahoma Sooners 24-14 to win the BCS championship game. The BCS title game is the culmination of the college football season, and the victorious team is the national champion.
The Florida Gators have now won the national championship two out of the past three years. The past two years, the face of the team has been quarterback Tim Tebow, who won the Heisman Trophy in 2007 and was a finalist for the award in 2008. Tebow was the driving force in Florida’s victory this year. Meanwhile, the winner of the 2008 Heisman Trophy was Sam Bradford, the quarterback for the losing team, the Sooners. Because two of the most impressive quarterbacks in the nation were facing off in the national championship game, the game was widely expected to be a high-scoring affair. In reality, the game was relatively slow-paced, and both team’s offenses made critical mistakes throughout the contest. In the end, though, Florida managed to outlast Oklahoma.
The college football season is now over, with Florida winning the championship and being ranked number one overall. However, there is a small contingent of sports writers who made the case that Utah, despite not even playing in the national championship game, should be regarded as the best team in the country. Utah was undefeated this year, and defeated Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. However, according to the current college football ranking system, the degree of difficulty of Utah’s schedule was not as high as Florida, making their quest for the number one spot impossible. In the end, Utah was ranked number two in the nation.
Quote of the Week: ”Florida? Oklahoma? Who cares? Utah is the national champion.” — Rick Reilly, ESPN
Further Reading: ”Florida Raises another Trophy” — Pete Thamel, New York Times
The Arizona Cardinals handily defeated the Carolina Panthers in the playoffs on Saturday night, winning the game by 20 points. The Cardinals were major underdogs in the game (and in the post-season in general), but now they are one win away from making it to the Super Bowl.
The Cardinals are led by veteran quarterback Kurt Warner, the aging superstar who made a name for himself ten years ago, when he was the league MVP and led the St. Louis Rams to a Super Bowl victory. Since then, Warner’s presence on the national stage has diminished–at least until this year, when he led the Arizona Cardinals to an unlikely playoff berth. The Cards were widely considered the worst team to make the playoffs, but now that they have two post-season victories under their belts, Warner and star receiver Larry Fitzgerald are turning some heads. Of course, they got some help from the Carolina Panthers, who had a complete meltdown on Saturday night, when Panthers quarterback Jack Delhomme threw five interceptions.
Earlier on Saturday, the Baltimore Ravens knocked off the Tennessee Titans. The Ravens, who have been one of the hottest teams in the league, did not play particularly well on Saturday, but they still managed to drop the powerhouse Titans. The Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers will play next week, and the winner will represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.
Quote of the Week: “We picked a bad day to have a bad day.” — John Fox, Carolina Panthers coach
Further Reading: “Soaring Cardinals one game away from first Super Bowl berth” — Associated Press, via ESPN
WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEK
:: PRO. FOOTBALL: The playoffs continue next weekend. The Pittsburgh Steelers will play the Baltimore Ravens, and the Philadelphia Eagles will play the Arizona Cardinals. The winners of those two games will ultimately play each other in the Super Bowl, the biggest event in American sports.
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 playoffs continue this week and culminate in the Super Bowl, which takes place later in January. [Official NFL Website]
NCAA FOOTBALL (College): The college football season is now over, with Florida defeated 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]