Super Bowl LI’s Message: Patriotism

 

Super Bowl LI’s Message: Patriotism

by Amy Lignor

 

There are some people waking up this morning completely stunned. Why? Because they shut the Super Bowl off after the third quarter. They knew what was “going to happen” and had to go to work today, so why bother staying up and watching the rest of what was going to be an obvious blow-out? Besides, they had been given some memorable commercials, a great country western singer ushering in the National Anthem, and a halftime show that was part Lady Gaga/part Spiderman.

Super Bowl History, halftime spectacle, the unthinkable, tribute to America, Melissa McCarthy, Inside these lines, America the Beautiful, #weaccept, MVP, Goodell, Tom BradyThe Falcons were ahead – way ahead – and no team had ever come back from more than a 10 point deficit in Super Bowl history, so the Lombardi Trophy was obviously going to find a home in Atlanta. What they forgot was that the Falcons were playing a team that included the partnership of a coach and QB who (whether they made a deal with the devil, one with God, or simply because they are the most talented in the NFL) still had a quarter to play. And, in the end, this team did the undoable; they came back, went into OT and met with a chorus of cheers as Brady and Belichick solidified themselves as the best QB/coach duo to ever set foot on Super Bowl turf.

 

There is a lot to take from this game. One that Patriot fans are savoring is the fact that Commissioner Goodell had to award the trophy to the team that he avoided when it came to presenting the AFC Championship award. The guy who tried to taint this QB’s image had to leave the stadium in Houston to a chorus of boos while Tom Brady (once again) was named the Super Bowl MVP. There is even the fact that for the 8th time, the man voted League MVP went on to lose the Super Bowl. (Sorry, Matt Ryan). But if you take the time to look at the Super Bowl presentation from a different angle, you will see that the ENTIRE night was devoted to one thing: patriot…ism.

 

It began with Johnny Cash’s incredible voice coming through the TV set as he brought back to life his song: “Ragged Old Flag.” It brought tears to the eyes as the lyrics addressed this country’s division – both political and social – wars, and the very real fact that the “red, white and blue” stood for something. And, no matter what or who is in the driver’s seat right now, that flag is still far more important and meaningful to all Americans than anyone who happens to be “preaching” in 2017.

 

Take the commercials. Even Anheuser-Busch dropped their beloved Clydesdales (which is something that everyone stays up to watch in order to see what Bud’s horses are doing this time around.) They kept the glorious horses in the proverbial barn as they ran a commercial spot entitled, “Born the Hard Way.” This ad spoke of an immigrant coming to this country – his passport being stamped – and his dream being realized as Anheuser combined with Busch to prove that the “American streets were once paved with gold.”

 

Airbnb produced a spot that was emotionally-charged, promoting diversity and tolerance when it came to everything from races to religions to genders. (#weaccept)

 

Audi produced an ad featuring a man and his daughter in a go-cart race, speaking about the fact that females should be supported; their self-worth should be realized so they can take on the world and never settle for less.

 

Coca-Cola brought back a commercial that originally came out in 2014. “America the Beautiful” was the soundtrack as the lyrics were sung alternately in English, Spanish, Keres, Tagalog, Hindi, Senegalese, French, and Hebrew. (Enough said.)

 

Even the NFL put together a spot called “Inside These Lines.” This was a dramatic look regarding the history of the NFL and how the sport came together, excluding no one from the game that became one based on talent, and not on skin color. At the conclusion, the lines being spoken about were transformed from the lines of the gridiron to the silhouette of the United States of America, where everyone is united and welcome.

 

Even the comical spots were about saving and supporting. The winner of the night came from Kia, and gave comedian Melissa McCarthy yet another chance to shine. She “Saved the Whales,” the trees, the rhinos, and even the ice caps as she went on her “Hero’s Journey.”

 

Then, consider the halftime spectacle. Lady Gaga was incredible. Not a surprise, considering the woman’s talent. What was a surprise was seeing her atop the roof of the stadium as Intel drones hovered above her head in the sky and lit up the night as they came together to create the American flag as Gaga belted out, “America the Beautiful.” She then threw herself into the stadium on cable wires and went into her plethora of hit songs that sent an energy through Houston and into the homes of billions across the globe. She was white hot and will go down as one of the best ever seen at the Super Bowl.

 

In the end, it seemed fitting that this game would lead into OT where the “red, white and blue” did the unthinkable and came back from a 25 point deficit to win their 5th Lombardi Trophy. And whether you are an angry Atlanta Falcons fan this morning or a Massachusetts native that holds their team dear to their hearts, it seemed that every great mind got together last night to make sure that Super Bowl LI was a tribute to America.

 

Congratulations to the New England Patriots.

 

Source:  GIG News

Will LI be #5?

 

Will LI be #5?

by Amy Lignor

 

Yes, Super Bowl LI is almost upon us and, as always, the sports “experts” are having a field day when it comes to calling the game: who will win; who will be MVP; heck, there are even odds on whether or not announcer, Joe Buck, will shave. (If you Super Bowl L1, Atlanta, Falcons, New England, Patriots, Tom Brady, Roger Goodell, Lady Gaga, Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, MVP award, no press, impressivewant to bet, that’s the one I’d go for. 10 to 1 odds, people! You could be billionaires if you bet enough and then saw his shiny dimples on television screens across the country.)

You have those souls who believe, wholeheartedly, that the Atlanta Falcons will win. Why is that? Because they get absolutely no press, that’s why. This is a team with a QB who stunned the NFL this year. In fact, it may just be that Matt Ryan lands the MVP award of the entire NFL on February 4th – the night before the game. He shut down the Green Bay Packers during the NFC Championship which left a great many people sad.

After all, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, also a nominee for League MVP, had been on a stellar run. He was the QB who, after losing four games straight, stated that he and his team were going to “run the table” Which is exactly what they went and did. They were the ones who usurped the Dallas Cowboys in their hometown – a team that most thought would take the whole darn Super Bowl this year. And there were those also upset because they were hoping to see the two coolest QB’s – Brady and Rodgers – go up against each other in a mega-shootout that would have gone down in history. See that? Matt Ryan was again overlooked. The Falcons QB wasn’t even spoken about much until…he buried other NFC would-be victors. Going 11-5 this regular season, his star player – Julio Jones – is one that will have to be stopped for anyone else to even think about taking the Lombardi away from the Falcons next Sunday.

 

So, what about the AFC? Well…come on. No offense given to the Steelers fans out there, but when the AFC Championship game began there were only a few hopefuls that believed the Steelers could go up against the Patriots and cancel Tom Brady out for another trip to the Super Bowl. If you remember correctly, it seemed to be only Peyton and the Denver Broncos who could do that with what looked like ease.

 

With Super Bowl LI, we have the number 1 scoring offense up against the number 1 scoring defense. Now we have receivers that can catch almost any throw, running all over the field. And now we have two QB’s that know their jobs and know how to do them very well. So…does Atlanta have a shot? Of course they do. And in some places, on a personal level as well as a professional one.

 

You see, Tom Brady is on some ‘like’ lists, but for many other fans he is ‘disliked.’ What Brady does have, however, is almost a full-scale belief by all the experts that he has earned the title of best QB to ever play the game. (Joe Montana fans disagree.) If Brady pulls this one out, though, he will stand alone as being the QB who won the most Super Bowl rings during his career. And the way things are looking, it seems that he would hold that post all by himself for a good, long time to come. He is the “old man” in this case scenario, as well. But he also has the ability, and the coach, to make another Super Bowl trophy his own.

 

In addition, he has the opportunity to challenge (or at least stick his tongue out behind his back) the one, Commissioner Roger Goodell, who may just have to eat a square of humble pie on Super Bowl day. He tossed Brady out for the first four games this season. And even though we say it was because of deflated footballs, it was most definitely not because of that. He wanted to put Brady in his place – let him know that the buck stopped with Goodell and that he, and he alone, made the rules and could have his way no matter what. Well…Goodell won his day in court. Brady may just win his day (for the fifth time) on the field. If that happens, it would be a whole lot of fun to watch. Of course, with Goodell coming out this past week and praising Brady for being one of the best QB’s to ever play the game, it already looks as if he’ll just suck it up, remain boring, and the two will shake hands like the friends they are most certainly not.

 

In the end, let us just hope this is one Super Bowl where the halftime show and the advertisements are not better than the game. But with Lady Gaga at the helm, we may just be looking forward to another boring battle versus an awesome singer.

 

But no matter what happens, folks, definitely take the odds on Joe Buck’s shaven or non-shaven face. This game is going to be very close, so at least that’s a bet you’ll have a chance to win.

 

Source:  GIG News

The Millennials of Tennis Are Put in their Place

 
The Millennials of Tennis Are Put in their Place

by Amy Lignor

 

Talk about putting millennials in their place! Let’s hear it for those well-trained “seniors” out there who have managed to show that experience and perseverance – and not the number of wrinkles that can be counted on the face – are really what it takes to make it to some of the biggest championships in the sports world.

 

When it comes to real “experience” taking over the sports scene, it is the world of tennis that gave us the “best of the best” “Williams’ Sister Australian Open”, Steffi Graf, Margaret Court, Roger Federer, Tennis, Champions, legends for all timethus far. The Australian Open was literally the place to see true champions come back into the limelight and put their stamp on being among the greatest sports legends of all time. All were seniors in comparison to these up-and-comers who are attempting to follow in their footsteps, and all did a fantastic job of proving to the world that the creaking of joints will not stop them from bringing home yet another silver trophy and well-deserved title.

When it comes to the women, do we even need to talk about Serena Williams? The woman has a serve that any baseball pitcher in the world would kill for. It almost looks as if she doesn’t get into a sweat whatsoever. Of course, she may not, considering Serena has a way of winning two sets right off the bat and walking from the court with the match in hand. But this time out, for the whole shebang she had to meet her sister, Venus.

 

When Venus won her semi-final, the emotion was amazing to watch. This is a woman who has not made the grand finale for a long time because of health reasons, but this time around she conquered all those young foes to come face-to-face with her own beloved champion of a sister. Her hard work ended up creating a “Williams’ Sister Australian Open” which is exactly what millions have wanted to see, yet doubted would ever happen again. Their combined age? 71.

 

Yes, Serena (like always) did not drop a set. She won the first two right off the bat: 6-4; 6-4. But the matches were a whole lot of fun to see. These are two women who have struggled through everything – even body-image issues, if you can believe that – to become two of the best, if not THE best, tennis has ever seen. On the court, Serena Williams puts everyone in their place, and with this win she has once again reclaimed the #1 ranking. Intelligent, talented, skilled and, basically, a power that no one is able to stop, Serena leaves Steffi Graf behind and has only one woman left to conquer: Margaret Court who sits at 24 wins. Is Serena too old to accomplish this feat? If you think that, then you most definitely did not watch the Open which proved that Serena has no concept of age. She is a superstar athlete who will continue to bring down the house and walk away with the trophies. Winning 10 Opens since turning thirty, this 23rd title places her in an “impossible to beat” category.

 

On the male side of the court, the most experienced and talented rivalry met up once again. Roger Federer – a beloved tennis player by millions – went five sets in his semi-final to eliminate a younger player at 31, Stan Wawrinka, to reach the men’s final. At 35 years old, and having taken six months off because of an injury, even Federer stated that he did not assume he’d make it to the finals this time out.

 

His opponent is one that he has met repeatedly over the years – Rafael Nadal, who also has been nursing an injury and also believed that he and Roger would have to get together to do a charity tennis match in order to ever meet up again on the court. This is the perfect storied rivalry that many consider to be the greatest ever witnessed in tennis. Federer and Nadal have played 34 times – the last meeting being in the 2015 Swiss Indoors final. Nadal led their twelve-year-old rivalry with an overall record of 23–11. Now…with Federer’s incredible play and landing yet another Australian Open title, that lead has shrunk to 23-12. This is the first Open win in five years for Federer and no one deserves it more.

 

Watching these legends once again stand in the spotlight was incredible, both male and female, making the Australian Open one of the best finales tennis has seen in a very long time.

 

So congratulations to Serena Williams and Roger Federer: champions once again and absolute, 100% legends for all time.

 

Source: GIG News

Can Troy Aikman Win MVP?

 

Can Troy Aikman Win MVP?

by Amy Lignor

 

What a strange title for an article, aye? Of course the ‘old man’ of the Dallas Cowboys can’t win MVP. Troy Aikman was an elite QB, with three Super Bowl rings to prove that fact. However, Aikman hasn’t actually suited-up since leaving behind his Cowboys uniform in 2001. The number one overall draft pick in 1989, Dallas Cowboys, Bay Packers, Troy Kenneth Aikman, biased announcing, favorite announcer, MVP, Deflategate, Tom Brady, Roger Goodell, nose flick, Chris Berman Aikman was the MVP of Super Bowl XXVII, and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006. So why is this guy in the headlines again? Oh…you’re gonna love this one.

In case you haven’t heard, Packers fans started a petition to stop Troy Kenneth Aikman from calling the Packers/Cowboys division game that occurred this Sunday. Green Bay wanted to upset old Troy because they did not want the former Cowboy to be able to “lean toward” his old team and show Green Bay in a negative light. The petition (Change.org) was started by a fan in Wisconsin: It states: “Get Troy Aikman and Joe Buck banned from announcing Green Bay Packer’s games.” The pair supposedly adds “constant negative input about our team” and constantly provide “biased announcing.”

 

None of this worked, of course. Aikman said he couldn’t care less about it. And he certainly shouldn’t. It is a fact that he and Buck have become Fox’s number one broadcasting team. The 50-year-old Aikman (gasp!) has actually become the viewer’s “favorite” announcer. In other words, no matter what you think of him, Aikman has become an MVP again – of the broadcasting realm. Congrats, Troy!

 

When it comes to the real MVP voting, however, the names being circulated have not changed.

 

The Patriots won Saturday’s division game to move on to the AFC Championship (for the 6th straight time), but the game was not pretty. Doesn’t really matter, though. QB Tom Brady remains at the top of the list when it comes to MVP selection. Funny, considering he did not even play the first four games because of the ridiculous “Deflategate.” It seems all Brady wants to do is hold the Super Bowl trophy this year high in the air, while flicking his nose and sneering at Commissioner Roger Goodell who tried to ruin him with this ridiculous ‘sentencing’ he had to deal with. His numbers are awesome, and since the second week of October no one has played the QB position better. He may just be able to flick his nose at Goodell for many achievements when this NFL season comes to a close.

 

Matt Ryan – QB of the Atlanta Falcons – is also at the top of the list for MVP. And his performance on Saturday perhaps moves him a notch over Brady. It’s almost a done deal with some fans when it comes to the fact that the Falcons will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. With a QB-rating that is more than fine, Ryan has the same number of wins as Brady, but he did play four more games than Brady, so perhaps that holds him back. I wouldn’t think so.

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One more QB you have to talk about is the “King of the Hail Mary,” Aaron Rodgers. The Green Bay ‘baaaad man’ stated that they would “run the table,” and then delivered on that promise. After looking dismal in the first half of the season, he won game after game in the regular season to steal away the conference championship from Detroit, making them the Wild Card that went to Seattle to see their season end in failure. Rodgers is a fan favorite, as always. He knows how to relax; and he knows how to win.

 

Ezekiel Elliott is the RB of the Dallas Cowboys who has inspired an entire city to stand up and shout. The Cowboys are all about rookies this year, and Elliott is most definitely one of the two that is responsible for America’s Team finally becoming a success – which they haven’t been since Aikman suited-up, by the way. Another MVP candidate is the other rookie that has brought the Cowboys back to greatness: Dak Prescott at the QB position has gleamed, but…we shall see.

 

There is one MVP award that should be given out – to the man who embraces and personifies the NFL; a man who will be extremely missed. Chris Berman (nickname: “Boomer”) is the face and the voice that all NFL fans want to see and hear. No one in the universe will ever wrap up the games like Berman did: “He…Could…Go…All…The…Way!!!!” will never be said correctly by anyone else, so no one should ever even try it. Berman stated he will step down from his position at the end of the season, and fans just want to say: “We love you, Boomer! Football will not be the same without you.”

Source:  GIG News

What is in the Water in New England?

 

What is in the Water in New England?

by Amy Lignor

 

“There won’t be much left in our season.”

 

“Doesn’t feel good.”

 

The above are quotes made by the top echelon – the robotic twins, if you will, of the NFL –  after their win. Yes…I said, win. For the sixth straight season the New England Patriots have won their divisional match-up and are headed on to play the AFC Championship Game in their own hometown – on their own home field. Making them, once again, the team to bet on. So…why the dismal quotes?

New England Patriots, NFL, AFC Championship, Super Bowl, bucket of humility, Armageddon, Brady, UCONN, New EnglandIf you missed the end of the Patriots versus the Texas Titans football game  (because you were frankly quite bored of it all), the Patriots won the game 31 to 16. (Gasp!) I know. What a horrible score, right? I can’t tell you how many QB’s in the NFL wish that their ‘bad day’ ended in a division win that landed them in the championship game to go to the Super Bowl. But if I were a betting fool, I would say all of them. Just ask Russell Wilson of the Seahawks. I bet he wishes he had a ‘bad day’ like that on Saturday. (People are already stating that the ‘Legion of Boom’ that turned to ‘Doom’ has now gone ‘Kaboom’ and is officially dead in the water.)

But when it comes to the perfect Patriots, it was just embarrassing to QB Tom Brady to have thrown as many interceptions in one quarter on Saturday as he has this entire season. And for Coach Bill Belichik, it must literally feel like Armageddon is coming when he has to watch his players give him a win that most definitely did not look up to Patriots’ snuff. They will go back to the locker room and bang their heads against the walls and brutalize themselves for not being the perfect “looking” team that they’re always supposed to be. Brady will most likely spend the next week, 24/7, going over every play to see what he did wrong and how he can improve. After all, if the Titans were able to get close by only three scores, chances are Brady’s next visitors to Foxboro may just be able to get close by two scores. (Double Gasp!!) Oh, the humanity!

 

Lighten up, Tom and Bill; even a higher power made some mistakes. Ever seen an ostrich? That poor creature had a really bad day. Who knows? Maybe they’ll both break a smile if they win the Super Bowl. At least for a minute…before getting to work on how they hang their heads in shame next season.

 

But that’s not the only team in New England that either has immersed themselves in a bucket of humility, drank very odd water that only runs through New England, or has a massive obsession with having a flaw. There is another. And this one happens to be in the realm of collegiate basketball. Bring on the UCONN women’s basketball team.

 

The Huskies have broken a record. They have won 91 straight games. (No, that’s not a misprint – they are only 9 away from getting to one hundred wins.) And the record they broke was the record set by…them. The Connecticut Huskies broke the NCAA record of 90 straight wins they set six years ago, when they chalked up their 91st straight win on Saturday with an 88-48 romp over SMU. (Triple Gasp!!!) They only won by half? Now that’s embarrassing. Talk about not even trying to be good, aye?

 

They move to 16-0 overall and 4-0 in the ACC. You wonder if the games would be more fun and interesting if the Huskies just sat out the first half, allowed their opponents to stand on the court, shoot the ball and see how many points they could put on the scoreboard, before going in and playing the second half and shooting straight by them to achieve their 92nd win.

 

What did their coach say? He basically alluded to the fact that this was…well, no biggie. “It feels just like it does after winning ten straight.” Yup. That’s it. Such a ho-hum thing to do. Perhaps they should suit up at Foxboro and Brady and the gang should head to UCONN to play a little B-Ball.

 

Humility is nice and all, guys and gals of New England. Believing that you can always be better and try harder is also a goal that everyone should set for themselves. But after a while, watching this ultimate perfection play out makes the humble, self-deprecating speeches afterwards a little ridiculous.

 

Who will win the AFC Championship? The New England Patriots.

Who will win…eternally and make the women’s college basketball realm look like it’s made up of only one team? The Connecticut Huskies.

Could there be an upset? Sure.

 

Will there be? Nope.

 

If you think there will be, just remember what Robert Redford said in one of the greatest movies of all time: “You just keep thinkin’, Butch. That’s what you’re good at.”

 

Source:  GIG News