Rob Gronkowski

Is it just me or has this NFL postseason been AMAZBALLS?! Crazy endings left and right, sickness this all leads up to the final four teams. As much as everyone always roots for the underdog, cure no low seeds in this weekend’s Championship matchups. It’s all #1 vs. #2 seeds, for sale and this gal (who is 8-0, I may add, Vegas get me on speed dial) is excited to break down all the action for you!

Sunday (3:05 pm ET) New England Patriots at Denver Broncos: Or what most people are calling this Brady vs. Manning. However, there is a huge difference in this years matchup. It will be defined by two very good defenses. Look for the points in this one to be a bit lower than Brady vs. Manning of years past. Speaking of the past… This will be the fifth Brady vs. Manning matchup in the playoffs, which is the most head-to-head matchups between starting quarterbacks in NFL history.  The Broncos will look to avenge their loss to the Patriots back in November. However, the Patriots have six Super Bowl appearances since 2001. It is hard to go against Belichick, and now with Brady’s weapons back (Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola). I just don’t think the Broncos and Peyton Manning (even though I want to see him win one more) can win this one. The Patriots will be heading into Super Bowl 50. Patriots 21- Broncos 17

Sunday (6:40pm ET) Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers: Last week it is safe to say that both the Panthers and Cardinals got gifts from the big guy upstairs. They were extremely lucky to make it out of those games with a win. The Cardinals needed a hail Mary… oh wait that was Aaron Rodgers. They needed Larry Fitzgerald to pull a little more magic out of his legs and arms. The Panthers did not play 60 minutes of football; they came out and buried the Seahawks, going into halftime up 31-0. Then in the second half, they were a different team, they need to learn how to close out the big game. Carolina being at home will help; both QB Cam Newton and RB Jonathan Stewart have been lights out on home field. The Panthers are preparing for a defense that is going to blitz Newton left and right. He has been solid at handling pressure this season, but the Cardinals are his biggest test. The Panthers will do the same to Arizona QB Carson Palmer.  The Cardinals can’t overlook the Panthers secondary especially Josh Norman. Even though Palmer is experienced look for a few mistakes to make up the outcome of this game Panthers 24- Cardinals 21

Regardless of who you are rooting for, Sunday is going to be one hell of an EPIC Championship Sunday!

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superbowl

Let’s face it Bears fans, cure this season was a DISASTER! The last thing any of us want to see is another organization and ALL-STAR quarterback (who makes less money than Jay Cutler) hoist up the Lombardi Trophy. Super Bowl XLIX is this Sunday matching up the New England Patriots vs. Seattle Seahawks; both happen to be the #1 seeds in their respective conferences.

The Super Bowl has almost become a national holiday in the U.S. and why not, click everything that we love about sports mashed up into a day full of overeating and drinking. Can it get any better?! If you haven’t nailed down your plans yet, check out our friends at Eater. They put together the top places to eat and watch this year’s game in Chicago: http://chicago.eater.com/maps/super-bowl-party-food-where-to-eat-chicago

Even though we still might have nightmares about this season, there are plenty of reasons to watch this Sunday’s game. Here are my reasons to watch this year’s game.

Tom Brady

Tom Brady

The QB’s: Brady vs. Wilson, old school vs. new school. These two QB’s are everything that is right in the NFL. They both had stellar years on and off the field. Brady continues to further his path as the one of the best QB’s ever, while Wilson is looking for back to back Super Bowl

Russell Wilson

Russell Wilson

victories. Both are former Big10 QB’s, easy on the eyes and a marketers dream. Both have lucrative off the field contacts, hocking everything from UGGS to Insurance. Oh, did we also mention Brady is married to Gisele, under/over how many times they show her on NBC Sunday night.

Marshawn Lynch

Marshawn Lynch

The Cast of Characters: Where to begin? I think the most logical is with Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch aka. Beast Mode, Mr. Skittles, etc. Lynch is one of the best running back in the league, hates talking to the media, and has gotten fined left and right this season. To sum it up he doesn’t care what any of us think. Lynch will be a major storyline in this game for both his on the field play and how he acts off. He really kicked it off weird, by answering every question at media day with “’I’m here so I won’t get fined’. Needless to say, all eyes will be on Lynch.

For the Patriots it has to be Rob Gronkowski aka. GRONK. Gronk was charismatic,

Rob Gronkowski

Rob Gronkowski

charming and left me wanting more on media day. He had another fantastic season catching 82 passes for 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns in the regular season and has added another 10 catches for 136 yards and two touchdowns in two postseason games; Gronk is a main factor why the Patriots are in the Super Bowl. He is the new generation’s tight-end and will be a deciding factor in Sunday’s game.

Honorable Mention: Richard Sherman, keep your eyes out for the loud mouth cornerback that always seems to have his hands in the game.

Katy Perry

Katy Perry

The Half Time Show: The halftime show has become more of an attraction than the game that surrounds it. Last year’s halftime show had 115 million sets of eyeballs on it, making it the most-watched musical event in history. Whoa! Sunday’s show will to continue the trend. Katy Perry is this year’s headliner. Lenny Kravitz will be joining her on stage and rumblings also have the possibly of either Snoop Dogg or Kanye West. This will be tawdry and flashy and energetic, 15 minutes of pure musical fluff. With folks turning in to see what goes wrong, if anything. I personally can’t wait to see if Perry decides to throw shade at former BFF Taylor Swift. The inner 14 year old in me is bursting!

Puppy Love

Puppy Love

The Commercials: Who doesn’t remember last year’s Budweiser puppy and horse love story? Let’s face it this is another reason a majority of people watch the Super Bowl. The ads make us laugh, cry and say WTF at the same time. Who will win this year’s favorite ad, McDonald’s, Budweiser, Doritos, etc.?

The Game: After a week of WAY TOO much Deflategate bs, the NFL hopes to return the attention to the play on the field. The Super Bowl features the NFL’s top-ranked defense in both scoring and yards (Seahawks) versus the Patriots offense, which scored the fourth most points in the NFL. The Seahawks have given up the fewest points three straight seasons. The Pats have had a top-four offense each of the past five years. This game is going to be incredible, if you’re a sports fan this is one not to be missed, no matter who your team is.

Don't Be Left Out

Don’t Be Left Out

Not Looking Like a Loser: Weather you are a sports fan or not, everyone Monday morning who can make it into the office is going to be talking about ALL the above. You don’t want to be the one who has no clue what the best ad was, or WTF was Katy Perry thinking, and most importantly WHO won the damn game, do you?

Most importantly: Who is going to win? The latest odds have the Patriots favored by 2. However, as the awful gambler that I am, I am going with the Seahawks! I predict Seahawks 28, Patriots 24.

Don’t worry though Bears fans, John Fox our new head coach is going to turn everything around with his magic wand and get us into the post season. Next year Chicago just might be part of the biggest sports day of the year!

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Missed a few headlines this week? Worry not, ask I’ve got my finger on the sports pulse for you. Below is my weekly round-up of what’s trending in sports: perfect for water coolers, no rx cocktail parties, ask sports bars and board rooms.

HOT

Source: ESPN The Magazine Body Issue 2012

  • Gronkin’ out at the Oscars: Yes, you read that right. Rob Gronkowski, as in the flamboyant New England Patriots’ tight end, who has never been in a movie or in fact acted, will be on the red carpet this Sunday for the Oscars. NFL Network has picked Gronk as their red carpet correspondent for the biggest night in Hollywood. Will it be a train wreck or one of the funniest things an NFL player has ever done? The jury is out and personally, I can’t imagine Gronk having a serious conversation with Denzel Washington or Sally Field without admitting he’s a little too drunk. The Oscars were already on my radar but have now become a must see.
    • Danica finally shines in Daytona:  Danica Patrick is finally inching closer to getting her first NASCAR win after years of being in the spotlight as one of the few females in the sport and with only one Top 5 finish. The Daytona 500, the 200-lap 500 mile marque race of NASCAR is this Sunday, February 24th at 12PM CT on FOX.  Patrick posted the fastest lap for qualifiers which places her in the front row at the pole for the start. It’s a huge feat as Patrick is the first female to ever earn the top spot at the 500 and puts her in a great position to win it all. Go Danica!

  • Are Boozers’ days numbered as a Bull?: When the Bulls attempted to lure LeBron James to Chicago before he took his talents to South Beach, the Bulls made a risky decision to sign Carlos Boozer to a 5-year/$75 million dollar contract. Despite putting up the best numbers this season since his arrival, Boozer still remains the center of trade talks and Bulls’ GM Gar Forman is finally realizing that Boozer isn’t worth THAT much cash.   Hush-hush trade talks are about to become the spotlight in the NBA with the trade deadline on Thursday. If the Bulls make a move, it will involve Boozer getting the boot…possibly sporting a Raptors jersey by the end of the season.

COLD

  • Nike can’t catch a break: First Tiger Woods, then Lance Armstrong, now today’s scandal surrounds Oscar Pistorius. Nike has placed all of these celebrity athletes at the center of their campaigns, only to find them in the midst of sordid scandals and breaking the law. With Pistorius, who was recently charged with the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, Nike thought they had another 5-star campaign with the “Blade Runner”.  Needless to say, Since Pistorious’ murder charges, Nike has ended their contract with Pistorious, pulled any remnants of the campaign and will wait to see the fate of their latest poster boy turned rotten.

    Reggie Bush

    From ESPN.com

  • Talks of Reggie Bush going to Detroit: Since the 2013 Scouting Combine is a snooze this year, NFL fans should be fantasizing at the opportunities that come with free agency. One of the biggest names…Reggie Bush. Lions’ wide receiver Nate Burleson spoke on Monday how Bush would make a perfect fit in Detroit. Not exactly what a Bears fan wants to hear. We don’t want the Lions to continue to pick up weapons for their army. Let Reggie land in the floundering Arizona or even with the on-the-fence team in Cincinnati. Just not Detroit. Bears fans are still trying to figure out a way to deal with new coach Marc Trestman and his hair. 
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2002-03 Chicago Bulls (Source: Yahoosports.com)

2002-03 Chicago Bulls (Source: Yahoosports.com)

Missed a few headlines this week? Worry not, viagra I’ve got my finger on the sports pulse for you. Below is my weekly round-up of what’s trending in sports: perfect for water coolers, clinic cocktail parties, sports bars and board rooms.

HOT

  • College Underdogs: Things are heating up in college hoops with #1s dropping like flies. This week was upset city for top-ranked teams: Illinois stunned No. 1 Indiana at the buzzer and turned around to beat No. 18 Minnesota at The Barn. No. 3 Michigan fell to unranked Wisconsin, No. 5 Kansas lost to Oklahoma, and No. 4 Duke slid past Boston College. College basketball has never been more fun to watch and we’re still a month away from the Tournament. 
  • The Red Hot Blackhawks: Thanks to the lockout that robbed fans three months of a normal 82-game season, the NHL season is already 25% over. For Chicago fans, it was worth the wait as the Blackhawks are the best team in the league with 22 points at 10-0-2. After a lengthy road trip, the Hawks return home where they look to keep their hot-streak going for seven straight home games. They’ve kept games close, and interesting and have yet to lose a game in regulation.
  • Michael Jordan’s 50th birthday: One of Chicago’s most beloved and accomplished athletes turns the big 5-0  on Sunday. We get it – the Jordan era was a while ago and might not be top of mind, but you’re in luck. ESPN has been covering every angle of Jordan’s incredible career, even the creation of the Air Jordan shoe collection, all week long.  Catch Michael Jordan‘s 50 best moments on Sunday, February 17th on ESPN and you’ll have no doubt who the true “King” of the hardwood really is.

    MJ Turns 50

    Michael Jordan (Source: Yahoosports.com)

COLD

    • Jay William’s Snitching:  Former Chicago Bull and current ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Williams told the New York Times this week that his Bulls teammates smoked marijuana during the 2002-2003 season BEFORE games. Need a refresher? The ’02-’03 Bulls were led by Jalen Rose, Jamal Crawford and Eddy Curry…and they stunk, finishing the season 30-52. Why does Williams bring this up now? I’m not sure what the NBA Bro Code is, but I’m assuming this breaks it. Don’t expect to see Jay Williams court side at the Madhouse anytime soon. It’s safe to say he might be blackballed by the Bulls.
    • Rob Gronkowski’s partying ways: New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski likes to party…a lot. The flamboyant frat boy was sighted multiple times during Super Bowl week partying on Bourbon street. Not to mention that someone documented Gronk break-dancing on the arm he broke twice this season while having a Magic Mike moment on stage (to little applause I might add). See video below. Where’s Belichick when you need an intervention? 

  • Jay Cutler bashing: Between his high ranking (#4) on Forbes’ Most Disliked Athletes in America and the world discovering that he mailed an engagement ring to now fiancé Kristin Cavallari, Cutler has had a tough week. Give him a break already. Ndamukong Suh kicked Texans’ QB Matt Schaub in his ‘area’ and has stomped on opponents heads and still failed to make this year’s list – which proves that people hold a grudge based on image and personality (and the lack of in this case). Can we just stop the Jay Cutler bashing for a while? Sure he’s moody and aloof, and yes, mailing an engagement ring is just plain stupid, but he truly doesn’t deserve to be ranked with Tiger Woods (#2) and Lance Armstrong (#1). Now, ask me again in a year if the Bears miss the Playoffs.
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Ray Lewis

If you skipped this weekend’s NFL Playoff games, see you missed out on some of the best playoff football in recent memory. Full of back-to-back scoring, for sale clutch throws, come from behind nail-biters, upsets and more, the Divisional Round delivered on all fronts.

Four teams: the Baltimore Ravens, the San Francisco 49ers, the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots survived and will play next weekend in the Conference Championship games.

To be honest, we know how life is, and that even the most avid NFL fan can’t always dedicate 12+ hours to NFL on the weekend, particularly when your team isn’t even playing. However, every single game really was good which means people will be discussing all of them. Here’s the skinny on what went down this weekend and who’s heading to the Championship round next weekend.

The Baltimore Ravens beat the Denver Broncos, 38-35 in 2OT (double overtime)

The 411: I personally can’t remember a better playoff game than this one (that includes the Bears’ run to the Super Bowl in 2006). The underdog Baltimore Ravens prevailed despite frigid temperatures (it was 16 degrees at halftime) a short week and playing on the road against a team coming off 11 straight wins.

Back-to-back scoring set the tempo of the game as Ravens’ QB, Joe Flacco proved once and for all that he deserves to be considered an elite QB. The game was tied up 5 different times and went into double overtime, ending with a field goal kick by the Ravens to seal their trip to the AFC Championship game.

Highlights of the game:

  • Bronco’s return man Trindon Holliday, the shortest player in the NFL at 5′ 5″, ran in two returns (one punt and one kickoff) for touchdowns, a NFL record in a playoff game.

    Trindon Holliday, Source: New York Times

  • Joe Flacco’s clutch Hail Mary in the final minute of the 4th quarter to Jacoby Jones to tie it up and send it into OT.

What’s Next:  The Ravens head to New England where they will face Tom Brady and the Pats next weekend in the AFC Championship game. Peyton Manning’s playoff record falls to 9-11 and Ray Lewis’ last season as a Raven before retirement continues in dramatic fashion.

The San Francisco 49ers beat the Green Bay Packers, 45-31

The 411: “Holy sh** is that kid good,” could be heard around the country Saturday night as NFL fans watched in awe as 2nd year quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, took down former NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers and the Pack, and made it look easy.

Kaepernick, the back-up QB to Niners’ original starter Alex Smith, won the starting job in Week 11 in his debut win against the Bears, and is the talk of the sports world this week as he broke a NFL Playoff record with 2 rushing and 2 passing touchdowns in his playoff DEBUT!

Colin Kaepernick

In a game that started off with back-to-back scoring by both teams, the Packers eventually looked out of sync up against the Niners’ defense and the incredibly talented Kaepernick. Aaron Rodgers never really got things going in the second half even though he finished the game going 26 of 39 for 257 yards and 2 touchdowns.

What’s Next:  Just like last year: This is the second year in a row that the Packers have been knocked out of the Playoffs in the Divisional Round as well as the second consecutive year that the Niners have headed to the NFC Championship Game. The Niners head to Atlanta this weekend where they will face the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship game.

The Atlanta Falcons beat the Seattle Seahawks, 30-28

The 411: The ‘come-from-behind’ game of the weekend, the Seattle Seahawks were down 27-7 heading into the 4th quarter and brought it to within 2 points, only to lose in the final seconds of the game thanks to a 49-yard field goal by Falcons’ kicker, Matt Bryant. The Falcons can finally lose that reputation for choking in the postseason with a strong win over one of the best defenses in the NFL.

Highlights of the game: 

  • The Seahawks called ‘time out’ with just seconds before the end of the game and after the ball had been snapped and Falcon’s kicker, Matt Bryant, had missed the field goal. Clearly, the best mulligan Bryant will ever receive as his next kick sealed the win.

    Matt Ryan

  • Russel Wilson throwing 3 touchdown passes in less than 12 minutes of the 4th quarter to bring the game within 2 points after being down 20-0.

What’s Next: The Atlanta Falcons welcome the San Francisco 49ers to Atlanta next Sunday for the NFC Championship Game.

The New England Patriots beat the Houston Texans, 41-28

The 411: Of all four games this weekend, this was the most lopsided; not surprising considering the Pats post-season experience and the shaky end to the Texans’ season. With Sunday’s win, Tom Brady has the most post-season wins of any starting quarterback in NFL history with an incredible 17-6 record.

Source: Patriots.com

The Texans kept up with Brady and crew for the first half of the game thanks to running back Arian Foster who managed to keep pace with the Patriots’ superior running and passing game. But after the half when the score was 17-13, the Patriots ran away with it in the 3rd showing just how deep they are after losing 2 key players (tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Danny Morehead) and just how good Tom Brady really is.

Highlights of the game:

  • Pat’s flamboyant tight end, Rob Gronkowski, re-injured his arm in the 1st quarter in his first game back and has been ruled out the remainder of the playoffs.
  • Pat’s second string running back, Shane Vereen, a no-namer before today’s game, had 3 touchdowns.
  • Tom Brady’s post conference. The guy looked amazing – perfect 5 o’clock shadow, grey turtleneck with black military style jacket – it worked. Not only did he give a smooth as hell post-game speech after breaking a NFL record with the most wins in the postseason as a QB, but he humbly handed out credit to everyone on his team.

    Tom Brady

Who’s Next: The Pats head back to the AFC Championship game for the second year in a row where they will face the Baltimore Ravens – who they also faced and defeated in last year’s AFC Championship game on their way to the Super Bowl.

 

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