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Winter Break Sports Stories you may have Missed

By Michael Otero

Since our departure from classes just before Christmas of last year, there have been a lot of storylines in each sport that you may have missed.In the NFL, Odell Beckham Jr. had an eventful meeting with Panthers cornerback Josh Norman. What started with good old fashioned hard-nose football turned ugly when Beckham launched himself head first at Norman with the likely intent of trying to injure the defensive back. The result was a one game suspension for perhaps the most talented wide out in the NFL.

CAM-V-P is what most fans in Carolina are chant- ing when Newton takes the  eld. Photo:
CAM-V-P is what most fans in Carolina are chant- ing when Newton takes the eld. Photo:

Staying in MetLife, the Jets, who had the opportunity to sneak in the playoffs with a week 17 win, were shown the door by former coach Rex Ryan. Ryan handed the Jets their second loss this season and nally captured that elusive “Super Bowl?” Yeah, sure we’ll go with that.

Whatever, we’ll move on from the New York teams. Carolina keeps on winning, even though their top receiver (yes top receiver) is Ted Ginn Jr. Oh yeah, they also have CAMMMMMMM, who will most likely win the MVP award for his incredible season which featured 45 total touchdowns. Another place that is used to winning and keeps seeing it is New England. The Patriots and Belichick grabbed the second seed and seemed to be on a crash course with the Panthers in the much anticipated 50th Super Bowl. That was, until old-man Peyton Manning stepped up and spoiled that party.

Here’s a public service announcement to all defensive backs when facing Aaron Rodgers when your team is leading and it’s the last play of the game: BAT DOWN THE BALL. Rodgers completed his second Hail Mary this season, this one against the Cardinals which tied the game at 20 in the divisional round of the playoffs. Perhaps more dramatic than his first one, Rodgers completed the pass under heavy pressure and launched the ball nearly 60 yards down eld where Je Janis played the role of hero, hauling in the prayer to keep the Packers season alive for about five more minutes as the Cardinals won the thrilling match in overtime.

While the NFL has seen its fair share of great games and fantastic plays, the NBA is no slouch. We have to start where last season ended and that’s with the Golden State Warriors. Do they ever lose? The answer is yes, but it doesn’t seem like it. A team with their record at this point is just unheard of. The only team that can compare to where the Warriors stand right now is the 95-96 Michael Jordan led Chicago Bulls who went a jaw-dropping 72-10 en route to another banner being raised at the United Center.

Now, I may be a little biased here, but I don’t care. Kristaps Porzingis has been one of if not the best pick of the draft. The 7-foot-3 Latvian forward has provided a spark for the Knicks and they have already surpassed their win total of last year. (That’s not saying much, but still). The talented rookie has averaged a hair under 14 points per game to go along with eight rebounds and electrifying dunks that get the fans in the Garden on their feet.

Some other NBA storylines have been the retirement tour for Kobe Bryant which seems to hit a di erent city for the last time every game. (Congrats to Kobe on a great career). Another man, who is actually older than Kobe and keeps chugging along, is Tim Duncan. The Duncan-led Spurs are a well-oiled machine that doesn’t let up. In a western conference that is very top heavy with the likes of the Warriors, Spurs, Thunder, and Clippers, the Spurs will be a tough out against any team and that includes the Warriors.

In the baseball off-season, other than pitchers getting insane amounts of money, there has been a lot of movement. (Some of those pitchers getting absurd amounts of money include David Price to the BoSox for $217 million, Zack Greinke to the D-Backs for $206 million, Johnny Cueto to the Giants for $130 million, Mike Leake to the Cardinals for $80 million, and Scott Kazmir to the Dodgers for $48 million). These five pitchers named account for $681 million dollars, but the best sta in baseball doesn’t even come close to that number.

The New York Mets staff will get bolstered this year when Zack Wheeler returns to the rotation as the likely no. 4 or 5 starter. He will join a staff of amethrowers headlined by Matt Harvey, which also includes Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Bartolo Colon (I had to throw him in there because he’s hilarious). The Amazin’s lost postseason hero Daniel Murphy to the Nationals via free agency, but upgraded defensively with Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera patrolling the middle of the eld. Also, he’s baaaaaaaaaaack! Yoenis Cespedes is back in Queens on a three year deal with an opt-out after the first year. There’s the big bat this team needed.

One borough over, the Yankees had quite the off-season. Looking to build o a 2015 campaign where they made the playoffs for the first time in two seasons, the Yankees added Starlin Castro to upgrade second base. The former Cubs middle in elder was part of a youth movement which also included the addition of ame-throwing Cuban left hander Aroldis Chapman. Chapman now joins a bullpen that led baseball in strikeouts with studs like Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller.

Some other notable free agents to switch teams include: John Lackey, Ben Zobrist, and Jason Heyward, all of whom went to the Cubs. Jordan Zimmerman will now pitch with Justin Verlander in Detroit and Wei-Yin Chen was somehow able to convince the Marlins to give him $80 million. Chen went 11-8 with an ERA in the mid-threes last year. Maybe this is why the Marlins are never in contention. Because of these contracts.

College football always seems to be Alabama vs everyone else. And by everyone else, I mean everyone else. After dismantling Michigan St. in the first round of the much anticipated College Football Playoffs, Alabama then went on to face the no. 1 team in the land in Clemson. In the championship game, the Crimson Tide showed why they are national champs. Powered by a 24 point fourth quarter, Nick Saban and his team won the shootout 45-40. In a year full of running backs who tore it up in college football, Alabama’s Derrick Henry took home the coveted Heisman Trophy, then proceeded to win a national championship, then declare for the NFL draft where millions of dollars are waiting for him. Not a bad deal if you ask me.

That’s a small recap of some things that happened in the sports world over the break, and just think about all the other things coming up. The Super Bowl is right around the corner, NBA all-star weekend, March Madness, MLB spring training, the list goes on. Prepare for a great year in sports.

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