Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Panthers, Warriors, and Huskies

If one is as clueless as yours truly, they might draw the same parallel. The Carolina Panthers are to the NFL what the Golden State Warriors are to the NBA. Consider:

The Panthers have the best record in the league, are young, and led by a super-star QB named Cam Newton.

The Warriors are also young, have the best record in their league, and are led by by super-star point guard named Steph Curry.

Carolina's only loss came in Atlanta. A head scratcher. After being so dominant at home and on the road elsewhere during the season -- how could they possible lose to the lowly Falcons? Then come back to blitz the Seattle Seahawks and absolutely obliterate a very good Arizona Cardinals team in the playoffs?

On a similar note, while nobody expects an NBA team to go undefeated, how could the Warriors lose to the lowly Detroit Pistons on the road -- then come back to annihilate a fully healthy Cleveland Cavaliers team a couple days later? The beat down was so bad on the shores of Lake Erie, the Cavs fired their head coach.

True, the Warriors won the NBA championship last year, and the Panthers have merely made the "Finals", AKA the Super Bowl. Maybe they win and maybe they lose. But perhaps that's the thing with these two teams.

They're both immensely talented in all phases of the game, but are beatable in any given contest if the other team plays extremely well and a break or three goes their way. It can happen.

Thing is, if either one of these teams gets on a "roll" during a game-- look out. Witness what Carolina did to the Arizona Cards in the NFC championship game. Witness what Golden State is capable of doing to any opponent, anywhere, when they go on a "run". Once either starts, it has a steam-rolling effect and is almost impossible to stop. What was a close game can become a total blow-out in the course of a few minutes.

This is not to underestimate the Denver Broncos' chances in the Super Bowl. They are a worthy team indeed. And a lot of people would like to see Peyton Manning ride off into the sunset as a champion. Could happen. The down side to that, of course, is we'd likely get bombarded with even MORE of his moronic commercial endorsements. Horrors!! If he and his Broncos lost, maybe those ads would mercifully finally fade away. The "mute" on my mute button has worn off from so many times of pressing it when a Peyton commercial comes on. Hundreds, thousands, seemingly billions of them at every hour of the day or night.

My boss/editor recently told me the NFL gods wouldn't deny Peyton his last chance at another Lombardi trophy. Maybe not, but if the fan gods get a vote, I'm hoping they'll see the wisdom in sparing us mere mortals the agony of having to suffer through another year or two of Peyton hawking various products for money he obviously doesn't need. The man has no shame.

For that reason only, I hope the Panthers clobber the Broncos in Super Bowl 50. True, Cam Newton is beginning to get on the commercial bandwagon himself with dopey videos, but he's got a long ways to go before catching up to chicken neck's stats when it comes to being totally shameless. (Though I must admit, him climbing into an ice bath tub with a teammate was a good start).

And c'mon, the dude just signed a $100+ million dollar contract last June. Shouldn't that be enough money? Does he really need to whore himself out like Peyton has over the years? If we ever see him advertising Fig Newtons, then we'll know he's gone off the deep end. Here's hoping he straightens up and shows a little -- make that a lot -- more class than the Manning brothers have in recent times when it comes to such things.

When it comes to being capable of total dominance, another team should be added to the Carolina Panthers and the Golden State Warriors.

Enter the UConn Lady Huskies. Geno's Bambinos if you will. They don't get much TV time and even less press coverage, but what they have done in recent years is truly remarkable. They are likely the greatest sports dynasty of all time, eclipsing John Wooden's UCLA Bruins, the Boston Celtics' run in the 50s-60s, coach Pat's Tennessee Vols, and any other team that has come along before or since -- in ANY sport. But because they're girls, they don't get the attention they deserve.

In a recent article summing up the men's college basketball rankings, much was said about how some teams had gone up or down. A mere footnote was devoted to UConn, saying they won their last two games by an average of 54 points and remained #1. Well, no kidding. When a team is a three-time defending national champion, remains undefeated this year, and is blistering any and all competition, it doesn't take a genius to figure out who should be considered the top dogs. By a long shot. Fifty four point margins of victory? A lot of female college basketball teams don't score 54 points in an entire game, let alone win by that much. It's outrageous, and speaks volumes to UConn's vast superiority. They've graduated super-star players to the WNBA, but keep plugging in new ones, and the beat goes on in Storrs.

Carolina might well win the Super Bowl in a couple weeks, and Golden State another NBA title in June. No doubt each would be deserving of much fanfare/hype. And they would certainly get it.

But the UConn Lady Huskies have already set a standard so high, that no other team, in any other sport, will ever be able to match it again. And they're still going as strong as ever. A truly remarkable run for the ages, with no end in sight yet.

Sure, yours truly will be tuned in to watch the Super Bowl. Then the Daytona 500. Then on to the rites of spring like the Masters golf tourney and the Indy 500. Wouldn't miss them for anything.

And when it comes to the NCAA college hoop tourney, I can channel surf with the best of them.

But I'll always be keeping an eye out for whatever obscure cable channel airs a UConn game. The program Geno Auriemma has built over the years is second to none in the entire sports world. It's not even a close call.

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