This is the first edition of the Monday Morning Sports Session for 2013, sorry about the hiatus, but our holiday travels took us to places that lacked sufficient internet access. Obviously a lot has been going on the sports world and we will continue our coverage of interest stories in sports, and continue to grow our reader base in the process. Thanks for being a reader of this site.
The AFC playoffs featured the Houston Texans vs. Cincinnati Bengals which was a rematch from the first round of the playoffs last year, and the Baltimore Ravens vs. Indianapolis Colts. The significance of the Ravens vs. Colts was that it was Ray Lewis’s final home game ever in a Ravens uniform, and with his first game back from a torn triceps his teammates responded. The Ravens stymied the Andrew Luck and the Colts en route to a 24 – 9 victory that saw Lewis lead the team in tackles with 13, and Anquan Boldin setting a team record with 145 receiving yards. The Ravens travel to Denver next week to take on Peyton Manning and the Colts who defeated them 34 – 17 several week ago. The Bengals and Texans played probably the most defensive game on wildcard weekend as both teams offenses struggled to move the ball and produce points. The Texans eventually won 19 – 13 due to their defense shutting Cincinnati down, it was so bad the Bengals lone touchdown was scored by their defense on an interception return. The Texans have struggled down the stretch this season, and this narrow victory over the Bengals does not indicate that the trend has changed. The Texans will go on the road to play the New England Patriots next week, and back in week 14 they were hammered 42 – 14 by this same New England team. Not sure the Texans gained any momentum from this game as the Bengals were atrocious, and they can be sure that Tom Brady will be ready to face them.
The NFC playoffs this weekend put the Green Bay Packers against the Minnesota Vikings, and the Washington Redskins against the Seattle Seahawks. The Packers took care of the Vikings 24 – 10 largely due to the fact that Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder missed the game due to a triceps injury which meant that Joe Webb was pressed into service. Webb hasn’t thrown a pass for the Vikings all season, and there was no way he was going to beat Aaron Rodgers unless Adrian Peterson had the game of his life. The Packers defense held Peterson to 99 yards rushing, and Rodgers threw for 274 yards and one touchdown. They will play the 49ers in San Francisco next week. In the other NFC matchup the Washington Redskins lost 24 – 14 to the Seattle Seahawks, but what was odd about the game is the Redskins led 14 – 0 at the end of the first quarter. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks offense ran off 24 unanswered points as their defense took over the game for the last three quarters. RGIII was hobbled by his injured knee and proved to be ineffective after the first quarter, and after a bad snap late in the game he appeared to re-injure the knee. It’s unclear the extent of the injury, but the Seahawks will travel to Atlanta next week to take on the Falcons.
The NHL for the past few months have been working to make sure that their league continues to lose relevancy to U.S. sports fans. Early Sunday morning it seems that they have stopped the bleeding, and may be on the road to recovery. The players agreed to the owners’ desire for a 10-year deal, with an opt-out after eight, and the owners agreed to move off their $60 million salary cap for the 2013-14 season. The cap was set at $64.3 million, closer to the players’ desired $65 million figure, while the floor remained at $44 million at the suggestion of the players. In an effort to prevent back diving contracts designed to circumvent the cap, salaries cannot vary more than 35 per cent from year to year (the owners had initially asked for a five percent variance) and at no point can salary go below 50 percent of the highest year. Individual player contracts can be as long as seven years — eight for a team signing its own player. (The owners had sought a five-year limit, then raised it to six, with the re-signing player limited to seven; there had previously been no limits.) The players’ share of revenue, which varied from 54-57 percent of Hockey Related Revenue in the last CBA will be set at 50 percent for the entire length of this deal. There were other portions to the proposed deal, but we didn’t want to get into too much detail here. They have not yet announced a start date for hockey or what the shortened season schedule will look like, but they are sure to follow in the coming days.
For the last few weeks Oregon head coach Chip Kelly was rumored to be almost a shoe in to head to the NFL, and Penn State coach Bill O’Brien was heavily mentioned as well. Kelly flirted with the NFL last year, but decided to stay with the Ducks and after interviewing with the Eagles and Browns Kelly still seems to have reservations about leaving college. Kelly will once again be the Oregon ducks football coach, and Bill O’Brien decided that leaving Penn State after only one season was not in the cards for him despite the heavy sanctions levied against the program. The NFL has seven vacancies they are trying to fill, and several teams looked to the college ranks to fill those vacancies. The only college coach that has left for the NFL so far is Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone who accepted an offer to become the head coach of the Buffalo Bills. Marrone was 25 – 25 in four seasons at Syracuse with two bowl wins, and apparently comes highly recommended from his time coaching in the NFL.