There’s Life After The NFL


Twitter: @Li495Akiem

The Super Bowl was completed last week and a champion has been crowned. This means no more football being played on turf for the next six months.

Well, there’s always the Arena League as well as the CFL….yeah, right. I’d like to know the number of Eagles fans that are hanging up their “Kelly Greens” for the aquamarine of the Philadelphia Soul right now.

Woah are American sports fans. Those who have spent the last six months guzzling beer and binging on potato chips as they sit on their hineys watching overgrown men bash and crash into each other now may have to spend those Sundays in a more productive manner.

But, for those sports fans that are looking for anything competitive-like to watch on their television sets for the next six months—the next few weeks will actually be quite surprising.

Yes, my friends—there’s life after the NFL and it starts this weekend.

NBA All-Star Weekend, that is. this year’s All-Star festivities will take place in Houston, Texas starting with the Celebs game on Friday. You know, the event featuring A to D-list stars that could probably get beat in a pickup game of hoops by writers here at Section 215.

Though, one has to admit…who doesn’t want to see Usain Bolt in the Celebs Game? He’s in it this year.

On Saturday night, a litany of competitions take place, including the Shooting Stars, Skills Competition (which will include the Sixers’ Jrue Holiday), Three Point Shootout (my personal fave) and, of course, the Dunk Contest. This year’s dunk-a-thon is using six participants instead of the normal four.

Then, of course, the game itself, which Holiday will also be a part of for the Eastern Conference. In the All-Star Game, it’s not about who wins or loses, but how far above 100 points both teams go. This year has me thinking 151-137 West with Kevin Durant winning MVP in his home state of Texas.

Nascar—unlike other sports where its biggest event is at the end of the season, Nascar has its at the outset with the Daytona 500 in Florida. There’s also a new defending champion in Brad Keselowski who is already being touted as the possible new face of the sport. It was also a banner year for New Jersey’s Martin Truex, Jr. as he made it to last year’s Chase for the Cup.

Sunday, February 24th is when the “boys” go “racin’” again.

Baseball—even though in recent terms, it attails unusual circumstances for Philadelphia Phillies fans. 2012 was the first year since 2006 that the Fightin’ Phils did not play baseball in October. They did make some moves over the offseason with the acquisition of Michael Young from Texas in addition to adding Ben Revere and Delmon Young.

Pitching normally is an advantage for this team, but only if their rotation is healthy as was evidenced by Roy Halladay last year.

In addition to injuries, one major issue that the Phillies had in the previous year was age. There’s a fine line between being a veteran ball club and an old ball club, and the Phillies had one of the oldest teams in baseball in the year 2012. It’s still nice to have guys like Cliff Lee, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Carlos Ruiz, and others as part of the roster. But eventually, a team has to transition from those players especially when some are entering the final years of their respective contracts. Spring training in Clearwater will be very huge for the Phillies as Darin Ruf, Phillippe Aumont, Cody Asche, Tommy Joseph and others look to impress Charlie Manuel as well as Ruben Amaro, Jr.

The Phillies class of youngsters along with those of other teams will have a better shot at shining during this spring than they would in previous campaigns since many big leaguers will be participating in this year’s World Baseball Classic. Match play will kick off on the 2nd of March with Cuba, Brazil, China, and two-time defending WBC Champs Japan from Fukuoka.

The United States will be a part of Group D that includes Mexico, Canada, and Italy and will take place at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona. Rollins is on the Team USA once again. The last year of the tournament was in 2009 when the USA reached the Championship Game of the tournament, but lost to Japan.

International Football—there’s still football to be played, just not the kind with helmets, pads, and pigskin. USA Soccer is vying to be among one of the final 32 nations that will qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil (the last that shall be broadcast on ESPN, by the way).

On February 6th, they didn’t get out to a good start. After taking an early 1-0 lead, it was erased shortly afterwards en route to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Honduras. The last time the Stars & Stripes failed to qualify for the World Cup was when the 1986 tournament took place in Mexico. With many of the “American Outlaws” already putting head coach Jurgen Klinsmann on the hot seat, failing to reach a World Cup after making it to the round of 16 in South Africa in 2010 would not be something he’d want to put on his resume.

March Madness—Personally, it is always one of my favorite tournaments of the year. I live for Selection Sunday to see what teams get in and which teams (normally mid-majors) get jobbed by the Selection Committee.

Out of the schools in metro Philly, Villanova and Delaware both are attempting to make cases to be included in this year’s field of sixty eight. St. Joe’s is 13-9, but they’re 4-5 in the Atlantic Ten which is, of course, a conference that includes No. 14 ranked Butler as well as VCU. Temple has the same problem the St. Joe’s has being in the same conference.

‘Nova, though is in the Big East, which has traditionally sent 6-10 schools to the Tournament and Delaware has a real chance to win the CAA Tournament.

What did I tell ya, I was right. There’s life after the NFL.

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