Happy Monday, WFNYers. Here’s hoping that an excellent, NFL Playoff-filled weekend treated you well. At the very least, if you’re a Browns fan, you got to see what real football looks like. Who would’ve assumed that the Patriots-Chiefs game—the one with the closest spread that had many picking an upset—would’ve been the most boring of the entire lot?
Watching the Cardinals-Packers game on Saturday night was nearly an out-of-body sports fan experience. The interception. The stop. The failed fourth-down conversion. The tipped touchdown that was nearly another interception. The Hail Mary—another freaking Hail Mary. The coin flip. The other coin flip. Larry Fitzgerald. It was the kind of game that sent screenwriters back to the drawing board. Had it happened two or three years ago, Twitter’s servers would have fried.
Then on Sunday, you had the required Tale of Two Halves game with the ever-entertaining Panthers and the won’t quit Seattle Seahawks. Then a game where the Denver Broncos seemingly couldn’t gain a positive yard the entire contest yet managed to pull out a victory after a costly turnover from Pittsburgh’s third-string running back. While one led to two of the game’s best young quarterbacks greeting each other on the field in Carolina, the latter resulted in a host of Cincinnati Bengals tweeting as if Pittsburgh falling victim to poor luck was some sort of vindication for them acting like animals a week earlier.
— Rey Maualuga (@maualuga58) January 18, 2016
— Dre Kirkpatrick (@DreKirkSWAG) January 18, 2016
— Jeremy Hill (@JeremyHill33) January 18, 2016
And then there were four…
If you haven’t listened to Craig’s Scene Magazine podcast with Annie Zeleski regarding the recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, it’s a quality listen that mixes history with some fun, anecdotal stories.
Speaking of listening: So… Future dropped a new mixtape out of nowhere this past weekend. While this may seem like a non-event, this dude has been working his ass off this past year, and still managed to keep up with releasing a new string of tracks during the first month of the year—something he’s done since 2011. It also comes after a year during which he released his own album, Dirty Sprite 2, teamed up with Drake for What a Time to be Alive, and released a series of mixtapes, Monster, Beast Mode, and 56 Nights.
Oh, and he’s also featured in LeBron James’ latest Nike commercial. Not a bad year for one of the most recent in a long, long list of hip-hop stars to come out of Atlanta.
And while it wasn’t released on Friday (Kim says Kanye was traveling), we have yet another new track to take us to SWISH. Here’s Kanye and Kendrick Lamar—undoubtedly two of the game’s biggest—with a full six minutes of “No More Parties in L.A.”
The Jordan XXX (30) was released last week. Expected to be released on the 30th anniversary of the Jordan 1 (which would’ve been in 2015), Nike and Jordan Brand held off until this past week, holding an iPhone-lke unveiling in Chicago. I’ll have to hold off on any sort of review until acutually seeing and feeling the shoe, but according to Nick DePaula of Nice Kicks, the highlight may be that it’s arrival will lead to the XX9—one of the best performance-based shoes ever—being sold at discounted prices. His title (“…The most disappointing shoe in years”) says more than enough.
For now, here’s a look at the XXX:
Just a heads up that “headache” rhymes with “hot take.” Here’s this week’s edition of #ActualSportswriting:
“The Catch, The ‘Divine’ Photo, And The Photographer Who Was Rooting For The Cowboys” by David Davis (Deadspin): “Dwight Clark’s ‘The Catch’ is one of the most famous plays in NFL history, and made for one of the most iconic photos ever taken by longtime Sports Illustrated photographer Walter Iooss Jr., one of the industry’s biggest names. Yet for all the immortality conferred in the back of Candlestick Park’s end zone on Jan. 10, 1982, Iooss was one of the very few people in the stadium who wasn’t happy about it.”1
“The joy of Cam Newton: How a polarizing QB made (great) football fun” by Tim Keown (ESPN The Magazine): “Cam plays football as if he owns the entire field, every single blade of it. As the Falcons were being introduced at Atlanta’s Georgia Dome before the Panthers’ only loss, in Week 16, Newton stood just beyond the tunnel formed by cheerleaders and band, almost close enough to be singed by two cylinders of flame at the back of the end zone. No other Panthers teammate or coach was near him, and he stood tall and still, an infantry line of photographers crouched at his feet. He stared at each Atlanta player as the Falcons waited for their names to be announced, as if making sure his 6-foot-5, 245-pound body was the first thing they saw as they prepared to play the game.”2
“Hail Mary? Hail Larry: Fitzgerald’s heroics keep Cardinals alive in playoffs” by Charles Robinson (Yahoo! Sports): “Arizona Cardinals linebacker Kevin Minter was sunk into his locker late Saturday night, contemplating a trip to the cold tub and looking across the locker room at wideout Larry Fitzgerald. He nodded toward the veteran, the way a student might pay homage to a mentor.”3
“Paul DePodesta explains his path to the Browns” by Mike Vokunov (VICE Sports): “Analytics has not yet revolutionized football like it has baseball, but DePodesta has never been about numbers, per se; rather, the key is in his philosophy, in looking at the status quo through critical eyes and discarding conventional wisdom. In Cleveland, where the Browns have had just two winning records in 17 seasons since returning, and seven head coaches, the conventional wisdom isn’t working.”4
And finally, I know this has made its rounds, but any video of a child playing instruments at a ridiculously high level is worth sharing. Here’s a five-year-old girl drumming to Van Halen’s “Jump.”
Have a great Monday, you guys. Be good to one another.