Sunday, February 26, 2012

NHL Hot Potato

Right now, the NHL is a big game of hot potato as the trade deadline looms. Rumors are swirling around so fast, high schoolers can't keep up. Here's a brief recap of what potatoes landed where and what it means.

Jeff Carter
This is perhaps the biggest trade that has occurred thus far as we near the trade deadline. Columbus Blue Jackets forward Jeff Carter was traded to the Los Angeles Kings for defenseman Jack Johnson and a first-round pick. The Kings have organizational and player ties to the Flyers, Carter's team before he joined Columbus during the 2011 offseason, which inspired the trade. Columbus is a struggling team, despite its bold acquisitions during free agency before the current season to improve the club. It had been rumored that Carter was unhappy with the team and was looking to be traded. Although the Kings are a strong team, they have had numerous problems with its offense and were looking to add some firepower to the team. Although the Kings had been rumored to be targeting Rick Nash as their first choice, the club eventually came to terms on a deal for Jeff Carter. Although he is a top six forward, I strongly believe that the Kings overpaid for Carter when they dealt over top defenseman Jack Johnson and a first-round pick. If LA didn't have Drew Doughty, perhaps the top defenseman in the league, Jack Johnson most likely would be the featured star of the defense. These two players would have been a fair trade, but giving that first-round pick just seems too much. Time will tell whether Carter can add that offensive power that LA so desperately needs. Johnson will be a much needed star on the Blue Jackets, and he will most definitely improve the club.

As a result of this trade, the Kings signed veteran defenseman Willie Mitchell to a two-year extension and recalled Slava Voynov from their minor league affiliate, the Manchester Monarchs. Voynov has spent a good chunk of the season with the Kings as the go-to defenseman during roster injuries after impressing the club with his play when Drew Doughty was out with a concussion, I mean upper-body injury, early in the season. Voynov will likely be groomed to fill Johnson's absence, and while I am unsure of his contract, I am positive that he will be receiving a hefty promotion in the near future should he continue to improve his game.

Another ripple from the Carter trade is that Kings are rumored to be shopping their captain Dustin Brown and possibly their back-up goaltender Jonathan Bernier. Although Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi has since declined that Brown will be on the trading block, it seems that most experts are inclined to take this as a soft "no." Johnson left a large hole in the defense, and it would not surprise people if Brown were moved in order to fill that void without having to rely so heavily on inexperienced players such as Voynov. To echo E.J. Hradek's plea, Lombardi better be sure to get a LOT for Brown, since he totally overpaid for Carter. Teams rumored to be interested in Brown are the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers. Brown would be a good fit for these teams because he brings a lot of grit to the team as one of the top hitters in the league but also has a knack for scoring. He may not be a top six forward, but he can provide a physical presence on the ice, which the Rangers and Flyers are known for. Not to mention, these are teams with some star players, so I hope that Lombardi could pull for a Marc Staal or Dan Girardi from the Rangers or Andrej Meszaros from the Flyers. I would really hate to lose Brown because he has been such a leader in the locker room and provides that physical dominance on the ice, but if he is going to be traded, these are players I wouldn't mind seeing joining the team.

As for Jonathan Bernier, the Los Angeles Kings should not even think of moving Bernier unless they are trading for another goalie. The Kings have a strong goaltending duo, and I would hate to see them split up for the time being. Part of the reason is that while Quick is an All-Star goaltender, he isn't a workhorse, like Antti Niemi of the San Jose Sharks. Quick is like Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins, they need a break every now and then. Quick can get on a cold streak, and he doesn't bounce back as well. When he isn't playing well, he needs to be on the bench, and he can't be playing a huge majority of the games. From years past, it was clear that Quick is the type of goaltender who needs the occasional night or two off. This makes it essential that the Kings have a quality back-up goaltender. Right now, Bernier is that guy. Could the Kings get an upgrade? Sure, but I wouldn't do it now. The Kings still have a lot of games coming up, and having a key back-up is going to be essential if they even have a chance of getting into the playoffs because right now solid D and stellar goaltending is what is winning them games.

Hal Gill
Although the trade for Montreal Canadiens defenseman Hal Gill (and a 2013 fifth-round pick) for Nashville Predators forwards Blake Geoffrion and Robert Slaney (and a 2012 second-round pick) isn't the splashiest trade, it has huge implications for the upcoming offseason. During the All-Star game last month, Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter let it slip that it is uncertain whether or not he will be returning to the team at the end of the season. It has not been a secret that the Predators are facing financial difficulties with their roster, no one had imagined that Suter would be on the chopping block. Early in the season Nashville signed their star goaltender Pekka Rinne to a seven-year $49 million contract. This was essential since this team lacks more offense than even the Los Angeles Kings, though that has changed slightly as of this season. When you think of the Nashville Predators, you think monster D, like the 1985 Chicago Bears. This is a scary defense, but their weakness is their offense, which has prevented them from playing deep into the playoffs.

The Preds also boast star defensemen in both Shea Weber and Ryan Suter, though it is unquestioned that Weber is the team's #1 man as he also serves as the team's captain. However, the financial situation in Nashville will only allow for one star defenseman to renew his contract during the offseason. Suter seems to be the odd-man out in this one. When the Predators signed Gill, this only seemed to confirm that Suter would be on his way out. Although, ESPN posted a picture of Gill to announce the trade and captioned it: The Predators traded for Hal Gill today. Is that enough to convince Ryan Suter to re-sign in Nashville? Maybe I should put the trade in terms that ESPN might understand. You're not going to convince Tim Lincecum to sign a long-term deal with the Giants isn't to sign a veteran pitcher. What you would do is sign a big batter, like Pagan and Cabrera apparently. This brings me to my next point. Well, Columbus Blue Jackets forward Rick Nash is available, and the Nashville Predators who are in desperate need of a top goal-scorer to make a sincere push for the Cup have a top defenseman who will be available. I'm not sure if Nashville is on his list, but this could be a trade that we might be seeing in the offseason.

New York Rangers
The New York Rangers have not been making any splashy moves, but it is interesting that they have made a couple of trades. On February 3, the Rangers traded forward Eric Christensen and a 2013 seventh-round pick for Minnesota wild forward Casey Wellman. Yesterday, the Rangers traded Wojtek Wolski for Florida Panthers defenseman Mike Vernace and a 2013 third-round pick. While the Rangers traded away depth forwards (which in a team like the Rangers you can certainly do because what line isn't productive these days), they have received players that come with much smaller contracts. Although these aren't exciting trades, the moves appear to be a way for the Rangers to play with the salary cap in order to make room for another contract, like say Rick Nash. I'm not sure if the Rangers is a team that Nash is extremely interested in, but I would assume it would be because they have a very good chance at the Cup this season. He may end up as a rental, but I think he'd rather win the Cup than worry about longevity on any given team, since, let's face it, he wouldn't be "unemployed" so to speak for long.

Marek Zidlicky
This trade seems to have taken quite some time to hammer out the details. Everyone knew that the New Jersey Devils were extremely interested in acquiring Minnesota Wild forward Marek Zidlicky, but it was a surprise as to what they paid in order to attain him. The Devils traded defenseman Kurtis Foster, forward Nick Palmieri, forward Stephane Veilleux, a 2012 second-round pick, and a conditional 2013 third-round pick. You can think of this as a four-for-one deal since the 2013 pick is only contingent on the fact that the Devils make it to the playoffs, at which point they'd probably be happy to be without it. It seems that Minnesota might have gotten the better of this deal, but it is important to point out that the Wild received a couple players who show great potential and prospects. You can't put a true value on the players since you're not exactly sure what you're going to get, while you know exactly what type of a player Zidlicky is. This is a trade that will work out nicely for the Devils, and it will most likely work for the Wild who seem to be in a state of transition. Remember, this is a team that traded away star defenseman Brent Burns and top forward Martin Havlat to the San Jose Sharks, defenseman Cam Barker to the Edmonton Oilers, and forward Andrew Brunette to the Chicago Blackhawks. Although they had a very hot streak to begin the season, they have turned ice cold. Perhaps shaking things up once again might be exactly what this club needs.

Tampa Bay Lightning
After a rather successful 2011 season that lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Eastern Conference Finals, the 2011-2012 season has been rather disappointing. It seems that the Lightning are going to have to get on a long hot streak to even eek into the playoffs this year as they currently sit twelfth in the Eastern Conference standings. What seems to be their biggest downfall is the goaltending situation. Staying loyal to Dwayne Roloson who took them through the playoffs, the team decided to make him the number one goaltender for the season. Well, the forty-two year old is the oldest player in the league, and it is showing. When a goaltender starts to falter, he falters fast and hard, and Roli the Goalie is a case in point. As a Kings fan, I already knew their back-up goaltender Mathieu Garon was nothing more than a back-up. He played a strong game towards the beginning of the season, but he lacked consistency. The Lightning are going to be in the market for a goaltender at least in the offseason if not now.

Although the Lightning have quite a few young guys on their roster, the Lightning have been using the trade deadline to acquire draft picks. On February 16, the Lightning traded veteran forward Dominic Moore and a 2012 seventh-round pick to the San Jose Sharks for a 2012 second-round pick. The following day, General Manager Steve Yzerman traded veteran defenseman Pavel Kubina to the Philadelphia Flyers for forward Jon Kalinski, a 2013 second-round pick, and a conditional 2013 fourth-round pick. On February 21, the Lightning then traded forward Steve Downie to the Colorado Avalanche for defenseman Kyle Quincey. They then traded newly-acquired Quincey to the Detroit Red-Wings for defenseman Sebastien Piche and a 2012 first-round pick. Clearly, the Lightning are preparing for some rebuilding or perhaps acquiring assets to later trade. Off the top of my head, the Edmonton Oilers are a team that are in the process of rebuilding and have been extremely interested in draft picks. It's possible that the Lightning are looking to acquire Nikolai Khabibulin as a back-up goaltender since I'm fairly positive that the Oilers are not looking to trade their rookie goaltender Devan Dubnyk who has been showing great promise while learning the ropes under Khabibulin's tutelage. Who knows, the Lightning might just be preparing to draft players who will work in their 1-3-1 scheme.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Battleship: the Rick Nash Edition

For those not in the know, the biggest story in the NHL is the game of Battleship in which the prize is Rick Nash. To give some context, let's back this up to the 2011 offseason. In order to make a move to push the club into the playoffs, General Manager Scott Howson acquired forward Jeff Carter from the Philadelphia Flyers, defenseman James Wisniewski from the Montreal Canadiens, and forward Vaclav "Vinny" Prospal from the New York Rangers. While these were major moves that many felt would be enough to put the Blue Jackets in contention for maybe a 7th or 8th seed, the club has managed to pummel itself all the way down to the bottom of the Western Conference. In the first fifteen games of the season, the team had only salvaged two wins. With the trade deadline looming, the Blue Jackets leaked out that their star player, Rick Nash, is on the trading block. All this is very unofficial, of course.

Who is Rick Nash?
When you think of the Columbus Blue Jackets, you think Rick Nash. He's about as iconic for this franchise as Brian Urlacher for the Chicago Bears. Nash was drafted by the Blue Jackets and is in his ninth year with the club. He has served as the team's captain for the last four years and has made five All-Star appearances. In fact, since Columbus will host the 2013 All-Star Game, Nash was probably secretly excited that he would not only be selected but would captain a team and be able to draft players as he had seen Daniel Alfreddsson do in Ottawa and Eric Staal do in Carolina in previous years. In any case, that dream is pretty much long gone. In terms of more personal achievements, he has won a gold medal in the 2010 Olympics on Team Canada. An incredibly accomplished player, he has become a consistent 30+ goal-scorer and leads his team in points. Although he has not lead the Blue Jackets to a Stanley Cup and has only appeared in the playoffs once in 2009, Nash is one of the elite players in the league who one may argue has not quite reached his potential given the fact that he is on a struggling team. Shortly after the team's playoff stint, Nash inked an 8-year extension for $62.4 million. Of course, he put a no-trade clause in his contract, but it is unofficially known that he would be willing to waive the clause provided that it be a team of his choice.

Given the fact that Nash is such an elite player, there is no club that is NOT interested to some extent in him. Howson reported that people just started asking about the availability of Nash, which is laughable because I highly doubt that GMs have nothing better to do than go on a fishing expedition for a status check on presumed "untouchable" players. In any case, Howson probably wanted to make a trade with clubs more desperate than him, but Nash's no-trade clause allowed for him to be a part of the decision as well. He has a hypothetical list of teams he would be willing to be traded to, but no one actually knows what teams are on the list but have presumed that they are Cup-contending teams. So I don't really see Nash going to the Islanders or the Oilers any time soon.

This is why I refer to the Nash situation as Battleship. You've got Nash and the Blue Jackets with a list of teams and players they are targeting. On the other side, you've got all the other teams trying to figure out how to match what they have with what Howson and Nash have. I want to stress that it is entirely possible that this game could be a draw. Nash is a huge piece. Remember, he's the captain and face of the team. He can score like crazy and offer a lot to a team. So if a team is interested in him, they're going to have to give up a lot. At least a top forward and possibly a draft pick or a prospect, depending on the major feature of the trade. At this point in the season, moving players who are such an integral part of the offense is dicey. Hockey is a game that relies on trust and chemistry. Many players have been teammates for years and have developed somewhat of a comfort level with one another. They can sense each other on the ice and can make plays. If you bring in Nash and send out a top player, the chemistry is disrupted, and production could suffer. It's a risk that a team without any playoff hopes would be willing to take because they would have nothing to lose, but Nash is rumored not to be looking at those teams. A team that is currently in the playoff hunt probably won't be willing to make such a drastic change to a roster that didn't require a player like Nash to get to that point. Acquiring Nash in the offseason is more appealing because the players would have offseason training and such to get acquainted, and the coaching staff would have time to create lines that would be most successful. I think this is the more likely scenario, but anything is possible.

Los Angeles Kings
One of the rumored front-runners in the game of Battleship is the Los Angeles Kings. However, as of tonight, the LA Kings are no longer in the hunt for Nash... at least for now. After all, who knows what rumors will be spinning around by the time the offseason rolls around? General Manager Dean Lombardi traded forward defenseman Jack Johnson and a first-round pick for Columbus Blue Jackets forward Jeff Carter. As a Kings fan, it pains me to say this, but this is probably one of the worst trades I have seen, and I hate it on so many levels. While I loved Carter in Philadelphia, he's had a lackluster year in Columbus. He might fit nicely with former Flyers teammates Mike Richards and Simon Gagne (who is still on the injured reserved list), but there is no guarantee that he will produce. And I'm not sure if Howson was trying to get revenge on Lombardi for the whole game-clock incident from earlier this year, but Columbus is the clear winner in this lopsided trade. Jack Johnson is arguably the best American defenseman in the league, and Carter is a top six forward but not a top three. I'd say trading for R.J. Umberger might have been more on par with the Johnson trade. Even trading the two alone would have been slightly lopsided. But then a first-round pick on top of that? That's giving a lot.

What also bothers me is that Jack Johnson is an integral piece of the defense, a defense that is stellar. The problem that the Kings have and are desperately trying to solve is offense. Yes, Carter might be the piece to kickstart the offense, but I don't think that trading away a major piece of the defense that is working is not a good idea. I feel like there is now another hole in the team. You now have to rely on Slava Voynov to improve, and improve quickly, and all the other defensemen to step up their game even more than they already have. I would have much rather traded a couple depth players and a pick or not even take Carter at all.

This trade also indicates to me that Los Angeles was not on Nash's list. There had been a rumor that he did not want to go to the Kings, and this deal seems to confirm this because the Kings were looking to obtain Nash or Carter. I believe that it became a matter of parting with either defenseman Drew Doughty or goaltender Jonathan Quick, and Lombardi had made it clear that they were not on the trading block. While I find that Nash coming to LA is highly unlikely, anything is possible.

San Jose Sharks
Most likely because I live in the Bay Area, the Sharks have been rumored to be a top-contender for Nash. Supposedly, there had been talks and the Blue Jackets wanted forward Logan Couture. General Manager Doug Wilson made it clear that Couture was not on the block, and it is unclear whether Columbus countered that or all talks were dropped. However, I really don't see the Sharks making a move for Nash right now. I do think that Wilson will try again during the offseason if Nash is still available. The Sharks are most likely not intensely interested in Nash because they aren't as desperate as the Kings to fix their offense. The Sharks still have plenty of firepower with forwards like Thornton, Marleau, Couture, and Pavelski. While they might be looking to add more depth in the forward position, I don't think they'd be interested in a Nash-caliber player because of what they might have to give up in order to obtain that player. The Sharks have a great core of top six forwards that have great chemistry on the ice. To dismantle that with a major trade would be foolish considering they currently sit on top of the Pacific Division, though Phoenix is nipping right at their heels since they tie in points.

Even in the offseason, I'm not sure that the Sharks would be interested in Nash because they still have some problems on D that need to be addressed. While I'm not sure how things would work out in terms of cap space and such, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Sharks aggressively pursue Ryan Suter in the offseason. In all likelihood, the Predators will not be able to resign Suter as they will make Weber their top priority. Suter would be a great asset to the Sharks, but the two sides may not be able to meet in the numbers game.

New York Rangers
In my opinion, the Rangers are the true front-runners in this game of Battleship. They have depth in the forward position, and they may decide to make a radical move to increase that offense that last-year had been so lackluster. If they have the cap space to acquire him, they might make the move. The Rangers are very likely to win the Cup, and at that point, the team will be dismantled during the offseason anyway because of cap issues. If they can afford him, this is a very likely move. The only hesitation I see is chemistry. The Rangers have come into a groove, and their chemistry is obvious. I can see a pause because they are sitting at the top of the Eastern Conference, and they didn't need Nash to get there. I don't see how Nash would not want to be a part of this team, but it's just a matter of whether the Rangers can afford a little gamble.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Super Bowl Cheat Sheet

I was talking to a friend from college recently, and he mentioned that he was going to a Super Bowl party and admitted that between work and his passion for politics, he wasn't that familiar with the teams and what people might be talking about surrounding the big game. This gave me an idea to create a Super Bowl cheat sheet. This is for guys who have been too busy with work, and apparently NPR, to know what the sports experts (I mean actual experts and am most certainly not including myself in this category) are discussing. Girls who want to impress that really cute guy they like or surprise their boyfriend with some sports knowledge can read this and add a couple of zingers. Maybe you're stuck going to an office Super Bowl party and have no idea what to say. Read this and you might be able to join a conversation or at least nod or shake your head and not just because it seems to be the appropriate social gesture.

The Basics
Let's start with the basics. The Super Bowl is always on Sunday, hence the name Super Bowl Sunday. It might surprise some people, but I have met people who didn't know that football, in general, took place on Sunday. (Of course, there are games on Mondays, as in Monday Night Football, and sometimes on Thursdays and Saturdays, but you don't have to know this for the Super Bowl cheat sheet.) This year the game is taking place in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium (a dome so indoor football), home of the Indianapolis Colts. Although the location of the Super Bowl is picked about a year in advance, no team has ever played in its home stadium. In other words, no team has had home field advantage, though it is a possibility. So in case you were wondering, no the Colts are not playing in the Super Bowl. And to prevent you from looking like like Anze Kopitar who picked the 49ers to win the Super Bowl, the New York Giants are playing the New England Patriots.

Big Names on the New York Giants
1. Eli Manning (#10): Eli is the quarterback of the team. Yes, he is very good, and he has already won a Super Bowl (which will be discussed in another section). This year he had a career high of throwing for 4,933 yards. This stat is impressive but a few quarterbacks have passed for over 5,000 yards this season. In fact this year, Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints set NFL record for most passing yards in a single-season with 5,476 just this year. You should also know that he is the younger brother of Peyton Manning, quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts (yep, Eli is playing in Peyton's home), and their relationship will be discussed in another section as well. And just to throw this in, Eli's name is NOT Elijah, like most would assume. His first name is Elisha. That's a fact and will probably stun some people when they check it.

2. Victor Cruz (#80): Cruz is the team's top wide receiver and has had a breakout year. He's made 82 catches for 1,536 yards and 9 touchdowns during the regular season. You'll probably see Manning throw to Cruz a lot, so this is a name you should know.

3. Ahmad Bradshaw (#44): Bradshaw is the number one running back. He had career high rushing touchdowns with nine and receiving touchdowns with two this season. Therefore, he had a career high in touchdowns with eleven. It should be noted that while he is expected to play, he has been battling a foot injury which forced him to miss four games during the regular season.

4. Lawrence Tynes (#9): Tynes is the kicker for the Giants. What is important to know is that Tynes kicked the game-winning field goal in the NFC Championship game against the 49ers to send the Giants to the Super Bowl. If you really want to impress, Tynes also kicked the game-winning field goal in the NFC Championship game against the packers in 2008 to send the Giants to the Super Bowl in which they defeated... the New England Patriots! More on the rematch later.

Big Names on the New England Patriots
1. Tom Brady (#12): Brady is an elite quarterback with three Super Bowl rings and has had his most explosive year since his last Super Bowl appearance. He posted career highs in passing with 5,235 yards and in rushing with 109 yards and 3 touchdowns. It can be argued that Brady has more to lose in this Super Bowl contest than Eli Manning. I have to mention that I heard this argument from John Harris on the Overnight Takeover for Yahoo Sports Radio. I must say that I agree with his argument and have heard some variations of the same on other sports radio programming. If Brady loses this year, this will be his second Super Bowl loss to Eli and the argument could be made that Manning, although less accomplished, is a better quarterback than Brady. If Brady wins, then at least he has the satisfaction that the contest is now even. If Eli loses, it's not a big deal. The experts will probably chalk it up to the fact that Brady has been having such a great season, especially with the seemingly unstoppable Patriot offense. If Eli wins, it's huge, but if he loses, it won't change the perception of him as a quarterback. More is on the line for Brady to win when you think about the number of Super Bowls he will have won. Let's say Brady wins today. He will go from three Super Bowl rings to four, joining the ranks of Joe Montana. With four rings, Brady can be firmly planted into the destined-for-Hall-of-Fame greatness. If Brady loses today, the question is still there. Is he one of the greatest or just a star quarterback?

2. Wes Welker (#83): Welker is the number one wide receiver, and he has had a monster year. He had career highs in receiving yards with 1,569 and in receiving touchdowns with 9. He's a smaller receiver who has been a hot target for Brady this season.

3. BenJarvus Green-Ellis (#42): Other than having a mouthful of a name, Green-Ellis leads the team in rushing with 181 carries, 667 rushing yards, and 11 touchdowns.

4. Rob Gronkowski (#87): Gronk is a tight end and has made a name for himself this year and not just for his little fling with a porn star that was tweeted all over the internet. Only in his second year, Gronk holds the record for most receiving touchdowns at 17, most total touchdowns at 18, and most receiving yards at 1,327 for a tight end in a single season. After Brady, Gronk might be the most valuable player on the team. The only question for his ability to play is a high-ankle injury sustained in the AFC Championship game against the Baltimore Ravens that has kept him out of practice during the week. He is expected to play in the Super Bowl, but it is a question of what type of a role he may play. It seems most logical that he will serve as a decoy to keep the Giants occupied with covering him. If you hear a discussion about him, you can throw in that it will be interesting to see if Gronk returns during the second half and if he does to monitor the minutes he logs. Chances are with an injury like his, the ankle will swell. He might be good to go for the first half while he's running on adrenaline, but by the second half and with an extended half time, he might not be able to bounce back to play.

The Mannings
An interesting angle in this particular Super Bowl matchup is the sibling rivalry between the Mannings. First, this Super Bowl is being hosted by Indianapolis where Peyton Manning has played his entire career. This season Manning was out with a neck injury, and his team only managed to scrounge up two wins. The Colts offense was built around Manning and with him out, the team seemed to be without an identity and couldn't figure out how to win games. Here we have the dichotomy of one brother who has lead his team to the biggest game and the highest honor there is in the football world and the other brother who hasn't played all season and whose team has performed so poorly they have "won" the first pick of the draft, which to add insult to injury is Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.

Layer in the fact that Eli is coming to Peyton's turf to play. The brothers have already won a Super Bowl a piece, in fact in consecutive years. Right now, Peyton Manning is probably considered the better quarterback of the two when looking at each career in its entirety. However, if Eli wins, that will be two Super Bowls for him, and the conversation starts to shift to arguing that Eli is the better quarterback.

It might also be noteworthy that Peyton has been stirring up news for himself during Super Bowl week. Although actor Rob Lowe first tweeted that he had heard a rumor that Peyton would be retiring, it is interesting that Peyton chose this particular time to set the record straight. After sitting out all season, Peyton disclosed that his doctors had cleared him to play and would be returning to the NFL next season. Of course, this created a stir as analysts tried to discern what the Colts would be doing with the first pick of the draft and if Peyton would be able to return to his previous form after his injury. Then Jim Irsay, owner of the Colts, tweeted that Peyton had NOT been cleared to play or passed a physical given by the Colts doctors. This again erupted another wave of wtf is going on with the Colts. Could this be a little a sibling rivalry at play? Maybe, maybe not.

Super Bowl Rematch
This Super Bowl has the same teams as Super Bowl XLII in 2008. Eli and the Giants defeated Brady and the Patriots 17-14 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale Arizona. That year the Giants were a wild-card team and the Patriots had been undefeated, so the win was huge. The Patriots aren't undefeated, but they have had a strong season with a virtually unstoppable offense. Also, these teams played during the regular season, and the Giants defeated the Patriots 24-20. Now that the stakes are higher, we'll see if the Patriots can finally beat the Giants or if the Giants will get the best of the Pats once again.