Monday, February 7, 2011

Opining on Aaron Rodgers, botched anthems and Syracuse hoops

After completing one of the greatest post-season runs in NFL history and capturing his first Lombardi Trophy, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers now belongs among the handful of elite quarterbacks still active. My rankings would place him fourth behind Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. In this year’s three playoff games and Super Bowl, Rodgers completed 69 percent of his passes, threw 9 TD passes and only two interceptions and had a 110.7 passer rating. And what makes those numbers even more scintillating is that they were accomplished on the road.

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I know this probably won’t make Christina Aguilera feel better, but she’s merely the latest in a long line of stars who goofed up the lyrics to the national anthem – a line that includes the late, great Frank Sinatra. The only difference is that her botched rendition was witnessed by more than 100 million Americans live and who knows how many more on YouTube down the road.

Aguilera’s faux pas called to mind a game I attended between the Yankees and Blue Jays at a sold-out Yankee Stadium in the mid-1980s in which the singer screwed up both the Star-Spangled Banner and Oh Canada! As she tearfully strolled off the field a chorus of boos cascaded down from the upper decks of the stadium. (For more on the Super Bowl, check out my columns at www.rochesterhomepage.net .)

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As absurd as it sounds - and it sounds very absurd, given the remarkable prosperity the NFL currently enjoys - the chances are good there will be a lockout, and the 2011 season will wind up being delayed and shortened.

Commissioner Roger Goodell claims the owners are pushing for an 18-game schedule because that’s what the fans want. I don’t believe that for a second. The fans are astute enough to realize an expanded schedule would result in more injuries and water down the quality of play. What they are in favor of is a reduction of exhibition games from four to two.

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If state and city officials don’t agree to build a new football stadium for the Minnesota Vikings, the team could be bound for Los Angeles. Interestingly, it wouldn’t be the first time the Twin Cities lost a pro team to L.A. The NBA’s Lakers trace their roots to Minneapolis, which explains why a city that isn’t near any lakes has that nickname.

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Just call them Clockwork Orange. Saturday’s 23-point romp at South Florida gave Syracuse 20 wins for the 33rd time in Jim Boeheim’s 35 seasons – an ongoing NCAA record. SU hosts Georgetown Wednesday night at 7 in the Carrier Dome. The Hoyas come to town riding a six-game win streak.

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While we’re on the subject of consistency, how about SU senior forward/center Rick Jackson. He had 22 points and 12 rebounds vs. South Florida, marking the 16th time this season he has put up a double-double. And for good measure, Rick also assisted on four scores.

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The more I watch Syracuse freshman C.J. Fair, the more I think of Josh Pace, one of the unsung heroes of SU’s 2003 national championship team. Like Pace, Fair has a flair for filling up a score sheet, as evidenced by his 7-point, 9-rebound, 3-steal performance last Saturday.

2 comments:

Maxamillion said...

Couldn't agree with you more re: CJ Fair....although Pace was better looking. SU is back on track and I think Fair, Keita and Waiters are going to be key. I also think James Sutherland needs another look. I think I've seen enough of Melo this year. If he works at getting in shape and developing some low post moves, he could eventually be a force. And by the way, there's nothing quite like watching SU at 7AM from a sports bar in Hawaii!

timothy.zimmer said...

Really like reading the blog Scott!! Your posts here (and with Channel 8) are always insightful and offer terrific perspective. I also agree with you and Max - when I watch Fair, I swear his jersey says "Pace" on the back. Cant believe it will be 8 years since the 'Cuse beat Kansas. Man does time fly.... For all of us baseball junkies out there, these are best words a baseball fan can hear..... Pitchers and Catchers report this weekend!!!!!!!