In what could be described as one of the most unpredictable seasons in NCAA Men’s basketball in years, this year’s tournament is shaping up to be one of the craziest ones March Madness has ever had to offer. While some of the typical powerhouse schools are obviously favored, there is no clear-cut favorite, and it is anyone’s tournament to win.
Here is the bracket to end all brackets, read it and weep.
Final Four Picks:
West Region: Michigan
The Wolverines may be the hottest team heading into the tournament. Their back-to-back victories against top ranked Michigan State and Purdue in the Big 10 Tournament solidified them as the team nobody wants to face, as their 9th ranked defense has the ability to shut any team down. If that wasn’t scary enough, they also have a tournament star in the making in 6’11 junior forward Moritz Wagner, who shoots nearly 40% from three point range.
Midwest Region: Kansas
Despite an up and down season that saw them drop games to lower-tier schools in the Big 12 such as Baylor and Oklahoma State(*twice*), Kansas boasts a talented roster wherein all five starters average at least 12 points per game. While the status of sophomore Udoka Azubike remains unclear, any team coached by Bill Self stands a chance to make it far into the tournament, even in the hardest region in the tournament.
South Region and NCAA Runner-Up: Arizona
Even with all the controversy surrounding the school in regards to its supposed misdeeds in the FBI’s investigation of corruption in the NCAA, head coach Sean Miller will use it as fuel to help guide his program to the Final Four and make the tournament more awkward for everyone. It helps they have generational talent Dendre Ayton, as the 7’1 forward averages 20.3 points and 11.5 rebounds per game and can carry the Wildcats to San Antonio.
East Region and National Champion: Villanova
Only two years removed from winning one of the most thrilling National Championships ever, Jay Wright’s squad seems even more unstoppable this year. With 6 players averaging double figures in points and a team 3-point shooting percentage of nearly 40 %, Villanova’s top ranked scoring offense will carry them to another National Title and a dynasty in the making.
Super Bowl 52 came and went, but does it crack the top 10 of the greatest Super Bowls of all time?
Despite its grandiose nature, the Super Bowl is often a one-sided affair and relatively uncompelling. Every so often, however, we get a Super Bowl that is actually competitive and exciting, and it’s important to cherish these games since they don’t come around often. The top 10 Super Bowls of all time are:
10. Super Bowl V: Baltimore Colts V. Dallas Cowboys
Also known as “The Stupor Bowl”, this game is often ranked as one of the worst games of all-time due to its sloppy play, but it’s undeserved. Sure the game featured 11 turnovers combined, a missed PAT, and even some officiating miscues, but Super Bowl V was a back and forth contest that came down to the final play of the game: a 32 yard field goal by Colts kicker Jim O’Brien. If that doesn’t qualify as a great Super Bowl, then what does?
9. Super Bowl XXXII: Denver Broncos V. Green Bay Packers
After agonizing defeat after defeat, Super Bowl XXXII was shaping up as another disappointment for Denver’s QB John Elway, as the Broncos were 14 point underdogs against the reigning Super Bowl champion Packers, who were led by QB Brett Farve. Super Bowl XXXII went down to the wire, and featured one of the most iconic plays in Super Bowl history, when Elway launched himself in the air in the hopes of gaining a first down, and was hit and spun around like a helicopter. Talk about a heart of a champion.
8. Super Bowl XXXVI: New England Patriots V. St. Louis Rams
In the wake of 9/11, how fitting was it that a team called the Patriots pulled off an incredible upset against the then St. Louis Rams “Greatest Show on Turf”? Sure, allegations of cheating have marred the Patriots dynasty, but it was the first Super Bowl appearance and victory in their remarkable 18 year run that featured an enthralling game winning field goal from New England kicker Adam Vinatieri.
7. Super Bowl LII: Philadelphia Eagles V. New England Patriots
This year’s Super Bowl featured one of the more exciting games in the big game’s history. A back and forth contest that saw the Eagles and Patriots combine for 1,151 yards offensively and featured only one key defensive play late in the fourth quarter, it also featured a blown lead and two comebacks. Somehow, the Eagles managed to shake-off their choker label and win their first Super Bowl in franchise history, and Super Bowl LII should be remembered as an all time great Super Bowl.
6. Super Bowl XIII: Pittsburgh Steelers V. Dallas Cowboys
Two of the NFL’s most iconic franchises did battle for the second time in four years, and this one was one for the ages. An offensive explosion that featured seven touchdown passes from future hall of fame QBs, Pittsburgh Steelers QB Terry Bradshaw and Dallas Cowboys QB Roger Staubach, the game gave us another iconic Super Bowl moment when Cowboys TE Jackie Smith dropped a pass in the end zone that would’ve tied the game at 21. The Cowboys would never recover, and the Steelers walked away with their 3rd Lombardi Trophy in a thrilling contest.
5. Super Bowl XXIII: San Francisco 49ers V. Cincinnati Bengals
Another re-match bowl, Joe Montana and the 49ers capped off their 3rd Super Bowl victory with a 92-yard touchdown drive that all started with a spotting of comedy legend John Candy in the stands. To win the game, Montana threw a 10-yard touchdown to WR John Taylor, his only catch of the game. It added to Montana’s legend as “Joe Cool”, and was the last game Niners coach Bill Walsh roamed the sidelines on as a member of the organization.
4. Super Bowl XXV: New York Giants V. Buffalo Bills
After New York executed a game plan that kept the ball out of the explosive Bills no-huddle offense, Buffalo still had a chance to win the game with a 47-yard field goal with eight seconds left. Bills K Scott Norwood missed the kick wide right, a thrilling finish to a game that would mark the end of coach Bill Parcel’s tenure with the Giants and the beginning of the Bills four straight Super Bowl appearances in the 90s. Broadcasting legend Al Michaels’ two words, “wide right”, continues to haunt the city of Buffalo to this day.
3. Super Bowl XXXIV: St. Louis Rams V. Tennessee Titans
Sure, the Rams at one point led the game 16-0, but Steve McNair and the Titans led a furious comeback to tie the game at 16. After Rams QB and league MVP Kurt Warner threw a 73 yard TD pass to WR Isaac Bruce, the Titans had a chance to win the game with 1:54 left. On the final play of the game, McNair completed a pass to WR Kevin Dyson, who was tackled by Rams LB Mike Jones 1-yard short of the goal line. One. Yard. Short. Perhaps the greatest finish in Super Bowl and NFL history.
2. Super Bowl XLIII: Pittsburgh Steelers V. Arizona Cardinals
For the Steelers, appearing in Super Bowls is second nature. For the Cardinals, it seemed like a pipe dream. A close contest throughout, Super Bowl XLIII gave fans one of the greatest plays in football history when Steelers LB James Harrison intercepted a pass from Cardinals future hall of fame QB Kurt Warner and returned it 100 yards for a touchdown before halftime. The Cardinals would battle back valiantly, scoring the game’s next two touchdowns, including a 64-yard touchdown reception by WR Larry Fitzgerald, which gave Arizona a three point lead with 2:37 remaining. Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger then led the Steelers on an 8 play, 78-yard drive that was capped off by WR Santonio Holmes’ terrific tip-toe catch in the back of the end zone to secure Pittburgh’s 6th Lombardi trophy, the most in NFL history.
1. Super Bowl XLII New York Giants V. New England Patriots
With the prospect of a perfect season on the line, the New England Patriots had only one game to win in order to immortalized as the greatest team ever. The New York Giants had other plans. The game was a 7-3 score stalemate throughout until an amazing fourth quarter took place. First, the Giants took the lead after QB Eli Manning threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to unknown WR David Tyree (*more on him later) to give the Giants a 10-7 lead. Just a few possessions later, Patriots QB Tom Brady did what he does best by leading a 12 play, 80-yard drive that resulted in a 6-yard touchdown pass to WR Randy Moss to give the Patriots a 14-10 lead. On the Giants final possession, Eli Manning escaped the clutches of Patriots DE Richard Seymour and DE Jarvis Green and delivered a 32-yard completion to WR David Tyree, who out-jumped Patriots All-Pro S Rodney Harrison and caught the ball by pinning it to his helmet in what is now referred to as “The Helmet Catch.” Four plays later, Manning tossed a 13-yard touchdown pass to WR Plaxico Burress to cap the upset of the century, and the greatest Super Bowl of all-time.
After postseason disappointment after postseason disappointment, the Philadelphia Eagles ended their title drought and won Super Bowl LII 41-33 against the favored New England Patriots.
Sure, the Eagles looked dominant during the season, but their star 2nd year QB, Carson Wentz, suffered a torn ACL, MCL, and LCL in week 14. The Eagles limped into the playoffs with back-up QB Nick Foles. Everyone counted them out.
But not the Eagles themselves. They embraced the role of the underdog literally throughout the postseason, donning dog masks whilst holding the favored Atlanta Falcons and Minnesota Vikings to 17 points total between the two, steam-rolling their way to Minneapolis for Super Bowl LII.
But people didn’t believe the Eagles could defeat the mighty New England Patriots, the NFL’s crown jewel franchise. One could hardly blame someone for believing New England would win the game. Patriots QB Tom Brady, head coach Bill Belichick, and owner Robert Kraft were making their eight Super Bowl appearance together. Who would bet against the golden boy and the hoodie? Their dynasty had seemingly no end in sight.
But the Eagles put an end to the Patriots machine. Philadelphia’s offense moved the ball at will against the Patriots defense, as they gained 538 total yards of offense and scored 5 touchdowns. The most dazzling and gutsy of those touchdowns was a 4th down touchdown when Eagles TE Trey Burton tossed a touchdown pass to QB Nick Foles to put Philadelphia up 22-12 in the waning moments of the first half.
But the Patriots didn’t stay down for long, as Tom Brady led three straight touchdown drives in the 2nd half, including a 4 yard TD pass to TE Rob Gronkowski to put New England up 33-32 with 9:22 left in the fourth quarter. Tom Brady did what he does best: lead a comeback.
But the Eagles had one last hurrah in them. Back-up QB Nick Foles then led the Eagles on 14 play, 75 yard touchdown drive that was capped off by a controversial 11-yard touchdown catch to TE Zach Ertz that took nearly 7 minutes off the clock. They inexplicably left Tom Brady too much time on the clock, however, as 2 minutes and 21 seconds remained in the game. If you remember the endings to Super Bowl XXXVI, XXXVIII, XLVIX, and LII, you know how this movie ends.
But in a twist most movie executives would reject, the Eagles defense, which had been torched for most of the game and allowed New England to gain 638 yards on offense, made the big play to save the game. Eagles DE Brandon Graham sacked Brady and forced a fumble, which was recovered by Philadelphia DE Derek Barnett. Eagles rookie kicker Jake Elliott then made a 46-yard field goal to put the game out of reach.
After countless choke-jobs throughout the franchise’s history, particularly under the guidance of Andy Reid, it’s ironic a descendant of Reid’s coaching tree, Dough Peterson, was able to coach the Eagles to victory. He put together the perfect game plan: play ball control offense to keep the ball out of Brady’s hands, take shots down the field, and call every single “special” play every team has in their playbook, en route to the Eagles first Super Bowl in franchise history.
Back-up QB Nick Foles, who had considered retirement just years earlier after bouncing around the league as a journeyman and having lost his love for the game, played the game of his life. Foles threw for 373 yards and 3 touchdowns and caught another one to earn Super Bowl MVP honors. Make no mistake, this is still Carson Wentz’s team, but Foles rose to the occasion and played a huge role in Philadelphia’s victory.
As improbable as their victory was, maybe we shouldn’t have reduced the Eagles success down to one player, QB Carson Wentz. Wentz was having an MVP season before going down with a season ending injury, but the Eagles proved why they were one of the best teams in the NFL this season with their magical postseason. This team is built to make another run at the Lombardi trophy, but the city of Philadelphia, whether it is still standing or not after the partying and rioting takes place, will enjoy this victory and remember it for generations.
The city of “Brotherly Love” loves playing the role of the underdog, having built a statue of the fictitious Rocky Balboa from the Rocky franchise, and the Eagles embraced this role during the postseason. If their victory in Super Bowl LII proves anything, it proves every dog has its day, even the Eagles and the city of Philadelphia.
The least hyped Super Bowl in recent memory awaits.
This postseason in the NFL has more than made up for an otherwise lackluster regular season. It took us a while to get here, and some of it was agonizing to sit through, but we have arrived to the NFL season’s final destination: Super Bowl LII in the freezer known as Minneapolis, Minnesota.
For the 4th time in five seasons, the NFL’s big game features the number one seeds from each conference: the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles.
Many predicted the Patriots would be here at the start of the season. Despite a lackluster defense and even minimal signs of sure to be MVP 40 year old QB Tom Brady slowing down, New England once again ran through most of the AFC. Sure, they were in a dog fight in the AFC Championship game where they were without star TE Rob Gronkowski for an entire half due to a concussion, but even a game Jacksonville Jaguars couldn’t kill off the Patriots machine. Heck, not even alleged in house fighting between head coach Bill Belichick, QB Tom Brady, and owner Robert Kraft over who was supposed to be Brady’s successor, QB Jimmy Garoppolo, and Brady’s cult-ish training guru, Alex Guerrero could stop New England from making it to an NFL record 10th Super Bowl, the 8th among this regime.
The Eagles were a dominant force this season under the guidance of 2nd year QB Carson Wentz. Wentz and the Eagles looked unstoppable at times, as he threw 33 TDs and finished 2nd in the league in that category. He was first in the league at the time he suffered a torn ACL, MCL, and LCL, a devastating blow that led many, including myself, to believe the Eagles were done. But the Eagles embraced something they hadn’t considered the entire year until the NFL Playoffs: the role of the “underdog.”
Enter back-up QB Nick Foles, who was on his way to being a superstar QB with a 27 TD to 2 INT season with the Eagles in 2013 before bouncing around the league and pronounced done after failing to secure a starting job. Foles has filled in nicely this postseason, throwing for 598 yards and 3 TDs, and could be on his way to earning another starting job this offseason. The Eagles defense has also proven itself to be a main factor in their success this season, as their fourth ranked defense during the regular season has allowed only 17 points in two postseason games. The Eagles have proven they are more than their superstar QB by embracing their “underdog” status, and are a great team firing on all cylinders heading into Super Bowl 52 despite crushing injuries.
2 Weeks ago: 1-1
While there has been a lack of buildup to “The Big Game” due to being played in an icebox known as Minneapolis, Minnesota, Philadelphia QB Carson Wentz’s injury, and the prevailing notion the Eagles don’t stand a chance against the mighty Patriots, this will be a close game. The aforementioned Eagles defense is good enough to keep them in the game, and with offensive talent like WR Alston Jeffrey, RB Jay Ajayi, and TE Zach Ertz, the Eagles definitely boast better talent and position players. Had Carson Wentz been under center for Philadelphia, the Eagles would prevail and win their first Super Bowl in franchise history after a legacy of agony, defeat, and underachievement. But the most important position, QB, is dominated by this year’s MVP and perhaps the greatest QB of all time: Patriots QB Tom Brady. Throw in head coach Bill Belichick getting an extra week to game plan and prepare for an opponent, and you have to like the Patriots chances to hoist a 6th Lombardi trophy, a “Predicta-Bowl” result if there ever were one.
It’s time for baseball to sleep in the bed they’ve made.
The Baseball Writers Association of America announced the players inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame Wednesday afternoon. The 4 players elected were Atlanta Braves lifer Chipper Jones, power hitter Vladimir Guerrero, home-run hitter Jim Thome, and pitching closer stalwart Trevor Hoffman. All players were legends, and very deserving of this recognition.
Two of the most egregious snubs from the list are 7 time Cy Young winner, Roger Clemens, and baseball’s all-time home-run champion, Barry Bonds. Neither received the 75% of “yes” votes necessary to qualify for induction, with Clemens and Bonds receiving 57% and 56% of the vote respectively.
It’s time for baseball to end the hypocrisy and let in all players who are worthy of the distinction whether or not they were linked to steroids. It’s pure hypocrisy for them to exclude such players, especially when the sport owes them for saving it.
Let’s flashback to 1994, when the owners of the MLB locked out the players, and a work stoppage ensued. The 1994 postseason was cancelled, and the strike leaked into the 1995 season with only 144 games being played. The MLB saw its attendance drop steeply by 20% during the 1995 season, and was the lowest attended season in decades. People were done with baseball. It was heading towards irrelevancy, much like the NHL and the MLS now suffer from today.
Then, something magical happened. The return of the home run, courtesy of Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, Jose Canseco, the list goes on and on. Who could forget the home run race between McGwire and Sosa in 1998, where both players broke the long standing home runs in a season record set by Yankees great Roger Maris, with both hitting over 61 home-runs that season. McGwire ended up with 70 home runs, the all-time mark at the time, and Sosa finished with 66. Three years later, Barry Bonds broke McGwire’s record of home-runs in a single season by hitting 73 dingers. Baseball attendance skyrocketed to over 70 million in 1998 and to over 72 million in 2001, compared to the abysmal 50 million in 1995. As a popular Nike commercial once noted, chicks dig the long ball.
Years later, however, the now infamous 2005 book “Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big”, written by baseball slugger Jose Canseco, exposed many of the famous aforementioned players as steroid users. Later in 2005, Canseco and McGwire were among 11 baseball players and executives subpoenaed to testify at a congressional hearing on steroids. McGwire said he didn’t want to talk about the past that day. Rangers and Oriels power hitter Rafael Palmeiro pointed his finger at the judges overhearing the hearing and claimed he had never used steroids. Years later, more damaging books and reports, including “Game of Shadows” and the “Mitchell Report”, implicated many more baseball players of using performance enhancing drugs during what is now referred to as “The Steroid Era.” The Baseball Writers Association of America then decided to make an oath in their boys club to never allow in suspected or admitted steroid users into the Baseball Hall of Fame despite these player’s historic accomplishments, labeling them as “cheaters.”
For the record, a penalty system for using performance enhancing drugs did not exist in the MLB until 2003, after the McGwire-Sosa home-run race and Bond’s history making year. During the 1998 home-run race, a jar of androstenedione was found in McGwire’s locker, who then admitted he used steroid as a precursor and went on to hit a then record 70 home-runs that season. McGwire was not punished until now, where he isn’t even listed on the hall of fame ballot.
Is it really cheating if there’s not a policy? The man admitted he juiced, and baseball did nothing. They gladly allowed him to go on to have his historic season, while selling tickets and merchandise at historic rates because he and others revived a dying game. They allowed Bonds, a suspected steroid user involved in the BALCO scandal, to break that record with 73 home-runs. The drug testing policy he is now found “guilty” of by the MLB and the BBWAA had only been in place for four years by the time he retired with the all-time home-run mark of 762. The same goes for other admitted or suspected steroid users such as Sosa, Canseco, Palmeiro, Clemens, Curt Schilling, Larry Walker, ect. Baseball looked the other way and now doesn’t acknowledge their existence, let alone their accomplishments.
Yet, some suspected steroid users, such as Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, Jeff Bagwell, and Mike Piazza, were all elected into the Hall of Fame within a year of each other. The commissioner of the league during “The Steroid Era”, Bud Selig, was also elected to the Hall of Fame in 2017. And let’s not get into amphetamine users, also known as “greenies”, who are in the hall. From Willie Mays all the way down to the original home run king, Hank Aaron, they were all linked as users of this performance enhancing drug. The BBWAA welcomed those players into the hall with open arms, dishonesty at its finest.
The BBWAA is essentially picking and choosing who they want to be in their boys club of silly plaques located in an area of Ohio people barely like passing through. At the same time, they are shunning those who participated in what they now consider baseball’s darkest age (*shouldn’t that be when African-Americans weren’t allowed to play?) from their super secret society. It’s absolute hogwash. Either acknowledge all of the greatest players who played at the highest level, or don’t have a hall of fame. It’s not called the “Hall of Favorites” or the “Hall of Preferences”, it’s called the “Hall of Fame”.
The sport reaped the benefits of Bonds, Clemens, McGwire, Sosa, Palmeiro, ect. for years and turned a blind eye when suspected performance enhancing drug use was involved, just like they did during the amphetamine era. Baseball raked in the money by selling jerseys, tickets, programs, and posters during “The Steroid Era”. They saw their once dismal attendance soar through the roof and breathe new life into a dying sport. The exclusion of accomplished players, particularly admitted or suspected steroid users, was made retroactively to appease baseball “purists” in name only like Joe Morgan, whose letter to Hall of Fame voters urging them not to vote for steroid users came across as a disingenuous middle-school girl passing a note to her friend to not like Becky anymore for the clothes she was wearing. The sport hasn’t given a dime back to all of those fans who bought jerseys, tickets, or cable T.V. packages for what they now conveniently label a “fraudulent” product. Their game would not be as popular today if it weren’t for these players and their “cheating.”
The time has come to abolish the antiquated voting system of the Baseball Hall of Fame and acknowledge all the game’s greatest players and record holders, not picking and choosing favorites like the cliques in Mean Girls. Barry Bonds is acknowledged by one of this year’s inductees, Chipper Jones, as “the best baseball player I’ve ever seen put on a uniform.” Roger Clemens won 7 Cy Youngs (*the most of all-time), won 354 games, and had 4,672 strikeouts. They’re arguably two of the best to ever take the field, and for a while baseball took advantage of their talent and supposed or even admitted drug use and parlayed it into dump-trucks of money and record attendance. You reap what you sow. It’s time for the plaques and the monuments to be made for these men, and for the hypocrisy of baseball to end.
Tanya Harding at one point was known as the greatest figure skater in the world. She was the first person to ever attempt and complete one of the most complicated moves in her sport, the triple axel, and even made it to the Olympics. Unfortunately, she was the most hated person in the world as well due to her supposed involvement in the injuring of her USA Figure Skating teammate and rival, Nancy Kerrigan. We all know Harding eventually faded into obscurity after embarrassing herself by attempting to cling onto whatever celebrity status she had left, but Harding herself feels her side of the story has never been properly conveyed. Perhaps Harding can rest easy now, with relative newcomer and sex-symbol Margot Robbie staring in and producing the story of Tonya’s life, I, Tonya.
I, Tonya follows the life of world famous figure skater Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie), a red-neck born and raised in Portland, Oregon. She is forced into figure skating by her abusive mother, LaVonna Golden (Allison Janney), who also pulls Tonya out of school to focus solely on a career in the sport. Along the way, Harding meets Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan), her first love and husband, who also abuses her. The film follows Tonya’s chaotic life and her connection to the attack on her arch rival, Nancy Kerrigan.
For most of her career, Margot Robbie has been relegated to being a sex-object. Nobody recognized her talent in The Wolf of Wall Street, they only noticed the amount of times she took her clothes off. The same can be said of her roles in Focus and Suicide Squad, but I, Tonya proves Robbie is more than a sex symbol. Robbie is electric as Harding, captivating us by illuminating her struggles as a talented but unwanted commodity by her family and the figure skating community. Robbie is able to make us feel sorry for Harding, who to this day retains much of her villainous status due to her involvement in the attack of Kerrigan. Her Golden Globe nomination for “Best Actress in a Motion Picture- Musical or Comedy” is well deserved, and she most definitely will be up for “Best Actress” at the Academy Awards later this awards season.
Not to be outdone, however, is Allison Janney as Tonya’s vicious and crass mother. Janney won the Golden Globe for “Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture”, and for good reason. She delivers the performance of her career in the film, and should be up for a “Best Supporting Actress” Oscar. Sebastian Stan is also marvelous as Harding’s husband, and proves there’s life after the Marvel Cinematic Universe for him. One of the more underrated performers who hasn’t gotten any awards love is Paul Walter Hauser, who plays Shawn Eckhardt, Tonya Harding’s “bodyguard.” Hauser is a riot, and while the unknown actor isn’t up for “Best Supporting Actor” consideration, hopefully he’ll get more work in Hollywood sooner rather than later.
Much credit must be given to the style of the film, as it goes back and forth between interviews in mockumentary-style set in the modern day and flashbacks with fourth wall breaking. This allows the characters to be unfiltered and exposed, which lets us as an audience formulate our own opinions on these real life figures and the true story circumstances they experienced. Director Craig Gillespie and writer Steven Rogers execute this style almost perfectly, and captivates audiences even though most of us know how the story ends. The film does overstay its welcome towards the end, but one can hardly fault the film for trying to cram in every element of Harding’s tumultuous life.
I, Tonya is an unforgettable bio-pic. It takes a fascinating subject matter whom most of us have already formulated an opinion of and thought we would maintain that same opinion for the rest of time, and accomplishes the impossible task of changing our minds. With tremendous performances from Robbie and Janney that should result in more awards love come time for the Academy Awards, I, Tonya is one of the best films of 2017, and leaves us having sympathy for the devil.
Rating: 3.5 out of 4 Stars. Pay Full Price.
I, Tonya stars Margot Robbie, Allison Janney, Sebastian Stan, Paul Walter Hauser, Julianne Nicholson, and Bobby Canavale. It is in theaters now.
The NFL’s conference championship weekend has arrived, and all four QBs playing this weekend have combined to make it to this round 12 times. (*Okay, all of those appearances are courtesy of New England Patriots QB Tom Brady, so what?*) Other than the Patriots, we’d be kidding ourselves if we thought these teams were going to make this far as late as last week, as no one expected the Jaguars make the Steelers look like dogs in Pittsburgh, the Eagles looked like they couldn’t complete a pass to save their lives with QB Nick Foles filling in for MVP candidate Carson Wentz, and the Vikings needed the “Minneapolis Miracle”to upend the New Orleans Saints. The NFL’s regular season might have been outright terrible, but the NFL Playoffs have been nothing short of surprising and thrilling, and the AFC and NFC Championship match-ups could provide even more of those same qualities come Sunday.
Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots (3:05 P.M. E.S.T.)
Let start by apologizing to the Jacksonville Jaguars. I predicted you would go 3-13 this season and remain in the basement of the AFC. I highly doubted the Jaguars would be able to go into Heinz Field and knock off a superior Steelers team despite the fact they had done it earlier this season in week 5. The “Sacksonville” defense has been nothing short of stellar this postseason, as they have sacked the opposing team’s QB 4 times, have forced 4 turnovers, and have scored a defensive touchdown. Their defense is good enough to keep them in this game. Their rushing attack, led by rookie RB Leonard Fournette, has been a steady presence for the offense, scoring 3 touchdowns thus far. Even QB Blake Bortles has silenced some of the haters, making key throw after key throw and has even made plays with his legs en route to the Jaguars improbable postseason run.
However, despite all of the ruckus surrounding New England QB Tom Brady’s hand being injured, the Patriots are going to make it to their record 10th Super Bowl. Head coach Bill Belicheck takes the Jaguars seriously, (*unlike the Pittsburgh Steelers*), and is treating this game as if the Jags are going to pulverize the Pats. He does not want to be on the losing end a third time against Tom Coughlin, Jacksonville’s Executive VP of Football Operations, in big game spots such as these. As fitting as it would be to see the Jacksonville Jaguars, the NFL’s forgotten franchise, make it to the Super Bowl, it’s just not going to happen. Even with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s long running feud with the Patriots in mind, the NFL cannot afford Blake Bortles making a Super Bowl over the golden boy.
Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles (6:40 P.M. E.S.T.)
Had QB Carson Wentz been playing this postseason, not only would the Eagles win this game, they’d win the Super Bowl. Sure, QB Nick Foles had one of the greatest NFL seasons ever with 27 TDs compared to just 2 interceptions back in 2013, but everyone had serious doubts he could fill in for Wentz and make it this far this postseason. Foles played mistake free football last week against the Falcons, and let his top ranked defense win the game for him. It’s true defense wins championships, and the Eagles have enough of it and the “underdog” motivation to surprise everyone by making the Super Bowl despite their crushing injuries.
It should be said, however, one of the only defenses to be better than the Eagles this season belonged to the Vikings, who were number one in total defense in 2017. The Vikings shutout Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints offense for a whole half last Sunday, and looked like an impenetrable wall. Sure, it took the “Minneapolis Miracle”, a 61-yard touchdown pass from QB Case Keenum to WR Stefon Diggs, to pull-out a victory, but that play precisely sums up the Vikings this season. People have doubted this team due to it’s lack of star-power, as its top-ranked defense is mostly nameless and their starting QB has been a journeyman in the NFL. The Vikings have been underdogs his entire season, and the opportunity to be the first team to ever play in their home stadium in a Super Bowl is too good of an opportunity to go to waste. Every dog has its day.