I’m so thankful for the All-Star break because I currently sound like a broken record. I hate to say this, but the Chicago Bulls are bad. They’re not the perfect storm combination of offense and defense we had all hoped for at the beginning of the season. Instead, in their last 18 games, the Bulls are 5-13. The season has gone from inconsistent Bulls still sprinkled with hope, to literally holding on to the last playoff slot for dear life – in the Eastern Conference no less.

Things are getting relatively hostile on the fan-front. The majority of Bulls fans have completely given up on the season. There are plenty of reasons for the Bulls disastrous season, the laundry list of injuries hindering the team the is most crucial. Should we take a quick minute to layout everything that’s happened?

Jimmy Butler who had been single handily powering the Bulls defense/offense is out with a knee strain, second-year forward Nikola Mirotic is recovering from an appendectomy, Derrick Rose has sat due to “general soreness” and don’t forget about Joakim Noah’s season-ending shoulder injury that has left a gaping hole in the soul of Bulls basketball. So now we have a team that’s left with Taj Gibson and Pau Gasol to speak on behalf of the Bulls.

Gibson chatted with the press after Wednesday night’s loss to the Atlanta Hawks and honestly it was depressing. He said the Bulls had lost their spirit – so basically it’s like the team is dead inside and honestly that’s how they played so it makes sense. He also may have inadvertently trash talked new head coach Hoiberg again,

“We had straight defensive guys, hungry dogs. Now we have guys coming in, offensive-minded, shoot the 3. … We used to be scrappy. Now we’re trying to mold these guys into getting scrappy. … Right now a lot of teams smell blood; you just got to figure out a way to get over it. In this league, nobody’s going to feel sorry for you.”

Hey coach, why don’t we tell the guys to quit loving the three so damn much and make some easy layups? And then after some points are scored, the players run down the court and play actual defense. Two sides to this magical game of basketball.

All that’s left to wonder is whether the Bulls front office is going to make some real moves before the February 18 trade deadline. I would advise you not to get your hopes up, but there has to be a light at the end of this dark 2015-2016 Bulls season tunnel.

Ideally, the Bulls are coming up with some new strategies, heavily incorporating defense into their game-plan as the next opponent on the schedule are the Cleveland Cavaliers and Lebron would love nothing more than to slaughter his Eastern Conference foes and continue the Bulls mockery. Come on guys, we have got to get it together. Otherwise, let’s start PJ Rose.

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Are you ready for some FOOTBALL? I said are you ready for some FOOTBALL? You must be living under a rock if you aren’t ready for Super Bowl 50. Its Super Bowl weekend folks and you’re probably asking yourself, who, what, where, when and why. Don’t worry we have you covered (Sorry, Bears fans; maybe next year).

First check out this INCREDIBLE video trailer that the NFL produced to get you excited about this Sunday’s game. It literally gave me chills!

Super Bowl 50 between the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos (Feb. 7 at 6:30 p.m. EST on CBS) could be one of the more entertaining Super Bowls in recent history. There are tons of storylines, super star quarterbacks, and more to absorb before Sunday’s kickoff. We breakdown a few that you should know, or pretend to know at your overindulgent Super Bowl party.

Here we go!

The Match Up:

The Panthers-Broncos matchup marks the second time in Super Bowl history that the No. 1 scoring offense will play the No. 1 scoring defense. You might remember this from two years ago, the Broncos had the top scoring offense and the Seahawks had the top scoring defense. We all know that didn’t favor or help the Broncos in that game.

Cam vs. Peyton:

These two quarterbacks could not be more different, and many media outlets have been pushing this as a major storyline. So if you take away anything from this post, it’s Cam vs. Peyton. Let’s break it down.

First there is Peyton Manning. At 39 years young, he is a legend hands down. He is an amazing pocket passer, even though he isnt very mobile he can still make the big play. Manning is the classic NFL quarterback of the past; he is beyond gracious and VERY marketable.

Next up the young bun Cam Newton at 26, he can crush your team with both passing and running. He is known for his “dabbing” in the end zone, giving away footballs to young children, and his off the wall style; the exact opposite of Manning.

Many are reporting that Manning has told his inner circle that Super Bowl 50 will be his final game. Newton’s NFL ride is just launching.  If the Panthers win on Sunday this would make Newton the first quarterback in history to win and Super Bowl, a college championship and the Heisman Trophy. Many predict Newton is a shoe in for the NFL MVP as well; no other quarterback has won all four of those as well.

The media is only adding more fuel to the comparison and contrasting of these two QB’s, expect tons more stories to come out on these two before kickoff on Sunday.

The Broncos:

  • Denver’s defense has two big beasts in Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware they are ruthless rushers who will be vital in containing Cam Newton and his running ability. Look out for Denver’s defensive mastermind Wade Phillips, he may be old school, but he isnt clueless.
  • Receiver Demaryius Thomas is another key for the Broncos to pull off the upset (Vegas has the Panthers as six point favorites). If he can help get some of the pressure off Manning the Broncos have an excellent shot.
  • A win would make Manning the oldest winning quarterback in Super Bowl history, but the legendary signal-caller is showing his age in a major way. Manning will be tasked more with managing the game then putting the team on his shoulders and winning it all by himself.

The Panthers:

  • Carolina has jumped out to HUGE leads in both of their playoff games. They led Seattle by 31 points at halftime, and led Arizona by 17 points at halftime of the NFC Championship. I don’t think that Denver will dig itself a whole that deep. The Panthers however, want to continue that trend.
  • Carolina’s offense is the best in the NFL and soaring, its defense resembles the walking wounded. Cornerbacks Charles Tillman and Bene Benwikere are out with season-ending injuries, other key players are doubtful for Super Bowl 50 or their injuries have slowed them down, BIG TIME. However these two names need to be in your arsenal on Sunday, linebacker Luke Kuechly and cornerback Josh Norman, they are the Panthers best on defense and will have an immediate impact on the outcome of this game.
  • Newton is assumed to be named league MVP, however he is not the only reason that Carolina is the NFL’s top scoring offense. Ted Ginn Jr. caught 10 regular-season touchdowns, Jonathan Stewart is a bulldozer on the running game, and Greg Olsen has been LIGHT OUT at the tight end position. The Panthers averaged 31.3 points per game this season, but Denver’s tough defense will knock that average down a few notches on Sunday.

The Bottom Line:

Manning is a legend, but this is now Cam Newton’s league and his coming out party will be Sunday. Denver’s defense will be tough, but Newton will rise to the occasion. Panthers 24- Broncos 21

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President may be a bit extreme, but Jimmy Butler is absolutely running this year’s Chicago Bulls team. I do feel like we, the fans, owe the guy an apology. He was awarded a spot on the 2016 All-Star roster, but he didn’t make a starting slot because we didn’t give the man enough votes! We failed ya Jimmy. Here is your 2016 Eastern Conference All-Star lineup.

Starters:
Lebron James (Cavaliers, Forward)
Paul George (Pacers, Forward)
Carmelo Anthony (Knicks, Forward)
Dwyane Wade (Head, Guard)
Kyle Lowry (Raptors, Guard)

Bench:
Jimmy Butler (Chicago, Guard/Forward)
DeMar DeRozan (Raports, Guard)
Paul Millsap (Hawks, Forward)
Andre Drummond (Pistons, Center)
Chris Bosh (Heat, Forward)
John Wall (Wizards, Guard)
Isaiah Thomas (Celtics, Guard)

Despite our lack of NBA All-Star votes, Jimmy will yet again get to showcase his talents among the best of the best in Toronto on February 14th.  He’s our do-it-all player leading the entire league in minutes played per game (38.3 minutes) – he’s earned it. He’s the kind of guy who puts in work on both ends of the court, racking up around 2.74 miles a game. If you’d like to whip out your handy dandy calculator 47 games at 2.74 miles is literally just under 5 full marathons. Jimmy isn’t messing around.

He’s also becoming a stand-out leader off the court. He had a sit-down with Derrick Rose last Wednesday to make sure the two stars weren’t just coexisting on the team, but rather playing to each other’s strengths and weaknesses. The following day the Bulls spanked the Los Angeles Lakers. Mission accomplished.

We had a long conversation. That’s the type of guys that we now are. Just checking in, wanting each other to be successful. Making sure we’re both healthy because as a backcourt, it’s important that we’re both doing OK and on the same page – Jimmy Butler, Chicago Sun Times

Now, don’t get me wrong. One sit down doesn’t solve all the Bulls problems, but two stars working towards a better relationship is definitely a plus. I can’t imagine it’s easy for Derrick to know he is no longer the best player on the team and no has to share his limelight with a kid drafted way late from Marquette.  Butler went as far to say he’d like to train with Rose over the off-season and take his “camp-Jimmy” to Rose wherever he likes to train with his family nearby. Whatever Jimmy’s been doing during the offseason has worked for his game, couldn’t hurt Derrick to jump on the Butler-bandwagon.

Something noteworthly that Jimmy mentioned in his interview with the Sun Times last week was that he believed that Rose would also be a part of the Bulls team for many years moving forward. Seems very interesting since Rose will be an unrestricted free agent after next season. Did Jimmy accidentally give us a look into the future?

One thing is clear, Jimmy is trying to make the most out of what he’s got to get our Bulls more wins. Thank you, Mr. Buckets.

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The Cubs haven’t had any trouble stealing the spotlight from the Bears, Bulls or even the Blackhawks in the off-season. Whether it be through their aggressive player acquisitions or good natured goofing around this young team is giving back to the community and having fun in the process.

Here is a recap of some funny moments and new player highlights of potentially the most improved team in Baseball.

Speaking of the Blackhawks this goal by Cubs Pitcher Jason Hammel at the UC was pretty cool especially after Anthony Rizzo missed his shot a week prior!!

Look for additions to the Cubs Pitching Staff this fall;  The Cubs signed two relief pitchers in November; right-hander Andury Acevedo who spent the last four seasons with the Yankees AAA organization and lefty Jack Leathersich from the Mets known for his strikeouts. In total the Cubs added seven new pitchers to their minor league system but this seems to change daily.

The move that got most fan attention was when Theo brought over starter John Lackey from the Cardinals, Lackey also played four years with John Lester in Boston.

Watch this most hilarious interview with John Lackey and John Lester at the Cubs Convention(Ryan Dempster’s talk show).  John Lester talks about being the “Crazy Ex Girlfriend” in the recruitment of John Lackey.  A friendship bonded in Fried Chicken and Beer.

http://m.mlb.com/video/topic/8878538/v538964983/dempster-lackey-and-lester-provide-some-comic-relief

Notable transactions in the Infield and Outfield include; the Cubs edging out half the league by signing Jason Heyward for 8 years at $184 million.  Fun fact Heyward’s MLB debut was against the Cubs and his first MLB plate appearance – and first swing – Heyward hit a three-run home run, estimated at 471 feet off starter Carlos Zambrano.

The Chicago Cubs also agreed to terms with free-agent infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist from the World Series Champion Kansas City Royals while trading second baseman Starlin Castro to the Yankees to make room for Zobrist at second base.

Community Involvement lead by Joe Maddon and the great work he did a couple of weeks ago for the homeless with his program “Thanksmas”   Checkout Maddon in a recap grocery shopping and preparing food with the Cubs Team…

Stay tuned to Reverse the Curse as the Cubs Off-Season excitement continues to ramp up with less than a month until pitchers and catcher report to spring training (2/19)or follow me on Twitter at @NancyTiano

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Raise your hand if you could care less that the NFL Pro Bowl is on Sunday night?! Let’s be real. Not many people on God’s green earth give a crap that the Pro Bowl is this Sunday at 7pm ET on ESPN. You know it’s going downhill when Jameis Winston replaces Tom Brady.  You add in that JJ Watt isnt playing, 10 Panthers are prepping for the Super Bowl and let’s face it they really don’t “play” in the Pro Bowl.

It’s kind of a joke… no seriously it is.

Since no one cares about the Pro Bowl, is it a surprise that the NHL will be hosting its All Star game on Sunday night as well?!? Well this is one game you should turn in for; here are a few reasons why you should.

The Blackhawks will have Patrick Kane representing them. Jonathan Toews was selected to the team. However, he just pulled out this morning because of and illness (James Neal of the Predators will replace him). He will also be suspended for one game for pulling out of the All-Star game due to NHL rules. However, there are plenty of other amazing players to keep your eyes on.  I hate to play favorites, but let’s focus on the Central Division team. Including the above mentioned Blackhawks superstar Kaner, the Central division is bursting with some of the most amazing talent in the entire NHL.

Let’s start with the stacked defense. Shea Weber (Nashville Predators) and Dustin “Big Buff” Byfuglien (Winnipeg Jets) give the Central two of the toughest and big guns on defense. You add in Roman Josi’s (Nashville) advantage on offense too and this defense is definitely has the upper hand versus the other teams.

On offense the talent is even fiercer; the six Central forwards have combined over 140+ goals… Say what now?! You throw in both young guys from Dallas Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn with Kane. Sprinkle in some Matt Duchene (Colorado Avalanche) and top it off with St.  Louis Blues Vladimir Tarasenko and you have a recipe for goals, goals and more goal scoring.

Your goalies between the pipes are Devan Dubnyk (Minnesota Wild) and Pekka Rinne (Nashville). These two are solid but I still feel Crawford should be there.

One of the things that the NHL All-Star Game does better than any other league is really focusing on changing the format and making it into a true competition, this year they are switching to a 3-on-3 format for the big game.

What does this mean you ask?

Eleven players have been selected from each of the four divisions of the NHL, and those divisional teams will compete for a winner-take-all $1 million prize, because let’s face it that shit goes down when you are playing for some coin….

How does this work, you may be asking?

The Central Division will play the Pacific Division in one 20-minute semifinal game, and the Metropolitan All-Stars will play the Atlantic team in the other. The winning conference in the skills competition gets to decide if it will play first or second in the semifinal. Then the winners of the semifinals will meet in the 20-minute championship game, to determine this year’s All-Star Champion.

Confused? I was as well, but with the always entertaining skills completion and the best of the best actually playing. Tune in and you won’t be disappointed.

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The Bulls are like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get. If there is one perfect word to describe the Chicago Bulls this season it is unpredictable. Each time we’re close to giving up on the season because they look lifeless against a team like the Brooklyn Nets, Minnesota Timberwolves, or the Phoenix Suns they go and perform like champions against a team like the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Bulls have done just that yet again.

Saturday night the Bulls showed their potential by beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 98-83 on the road. It’s not an easy task taking up Lebron James in his element on his home court, but our Bulls played tough defense and got the win. Fast forward to Monday night and the Bulls can’t handle the Miami Heat at the United Center…umm excuse me? Dwayne Wade is getting old, why could’t the Bulls put a stop on the guy?

So what does this information mean exactly for the potential of a mid-season trade? Will the Bulls buy or sell come time for the February 18 trade deadline? The unpredictability of the team makes it a difficult prediction for sure. Sometimes Chicago looks well equipped to handle the elite teams of the Western Conference and sometimes they look like a junior high basketball team (okay, that was dramatic). Regardless, the Bulls absolutely have some issues to address if they’d like to consider a long playoff run.

First off, Derrick Rose. We’ve seen glimpses of the star player we once knew, but more or less we’ve watched the point guard struggle on both ends of the court this year. He has missed six full games this year, including three in January with knee troubles, and sat out the second half of Monday’s game with a back and hamstring injury. Rose picked up his stats during the games he played in January, however opposing guards are getting into the lane too often leading him to the worst defensive rating on the team. Has the time come we try to trade our superstar that didn’t pan out?

Pau Gasol has been rumored to be a potential trade target. His offensive numbers have gone down a bit, but the NBA veteran All-Star is still productive. He’s a free agent at the end of the season and may be just the bargaining chip for the Bulls to pick up a player that can produce more offense from the small forward position.

Taj Gibson is another name on the chopping block. Joakim Noah’s season-ending shoulder injury not only was devastating to the Bulls depth, but has moved Gibson from his influential Sixth Man off the bench position to the starting power forward. Off the bench, Gibson was able to split time between small forward and power forward. Gibson is a good player, he’s just more effective off the bench. Also, rookie Bobby Portis has shown he may be ready for a larger roll on the team, which would make Gibson a very likely candidate to trade.

So far, Luol Deng and Joe Johnson are potential pick-up targets for the Bulls as well.

It’s tough to tell which way the Bulls will swing come the trade deadline. The answer will be more obvious after the seven-game road trip beginning  in Los Angles against the Lakers on January 28, and ending February 8 in Charlotte. Stay tuned my friends, I’m sure the ups and downs of the season will keep us on our toes.

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