The Sports Mania that is March

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We tend to forget that spring is more than just the blossoming of nature, it is also a time for blooming activity and play, such as sports. This season is mainly associated with America’s favorite past time, but also is a hub for soccer, hockey, and basketball.

With the tradition of opening day baseball, and all the hype that sports fans have for college basketball in March, we occasionally overlook other headlines happening. Along with the MLB, the MLS has also begun their season, and with much more hype that the game of soccer is evolving in the US.

With a just a month away from playoffs, this is a pivotal time for the NHL, as well as the NBA.

It is an exciting time watching teams fighting, clawing to make the post season. If you’re a Los Angeles Lakers fan, or maybe a Chicago Blackhawks admirer, then it might be another story.

Who’s in, and who’s out?

LAFC, a prominent new franchise in Los Angeles, exceeded expectations last year in their 2018-2019 inaugural season. Wining over 16 games, and scoring over 57 points overall in the MLS standings, for the LAFC was a great achievement.

Being an LAFC fan, I was bummed out when the team got knocked out by Real Salt Lake 2-3 in their first playoff game. It ended with a late goal by Salt Lake, being significant to the team, and how they lost some of their games this season.

I believe that LAFC will make playoffs again, but will hard to repeat such expectations for last year.

There is a bevy of sports to watch right now, and AAF will help relief your football grieving. The Alliance of American Football, has been pleasantly surprising to the football world.

Critics and skeptics rather took notice to some of the rule changes, especially the kick off in the AAF.

It is somewhat a mixture of Arena Football and the CFL, but also unique itself. The lack of kickoffs, is a major step toward making a safer game; the new rule changes give the NFL something to think about on their emphasis on player safety. The other shining element people are attracted to from AAF, is that it is an opportunity for great players to exploit their play.

There are many former NFL players in the new and upcoming game, witch makes it fun to watch. Former pros and college stars, make it interesting to see how the players react to yet, another chance in football.

What teams are going to bloom this March?

Photo by Keenan Hairston from Raleigh [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Battle of the Birds: Fly or die with Matt Ryan 

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The NFL season opener began with a bang, or better yet a Thunderstorm, as the weather delay during the Philadelphia Eagles-Atlanta Falcons game on Thursday night became symbolic for a messy, rough evening at Lincoln Financial Field.

The defending Super Bowl champs gave the Falcons numerous chances to win; failing to convert on offense, and turning the ball over late in 4th, Matt Ryan and company still didn’t get the job done. This was certainly a game that the Atlanta should have won, but instead will start the season with a loss.

This game reeked anything but a NFC Championship rematch that fans and media hoped for, the hype was very much downplayed after an abysmal first half, 6-3 (Philadelphia).

Both quarterbacks struggled to say the least, and the team as a whole looked like it was still preseason. Fans were actually booing the Eagles by halftime, showing their displeasure with a long awaited evening, especially with the weather delay.

Thursday night revealed and highlighted the lingering questions at quarterback, where as the surrounding unit for both teams prove to be solid. The Falcons have a tremendous offensive line, as do the Eagles, and are also complemented with a great defense all-around.

While QB Nick Foles wasn’t able to get the passing game going, he stuck to his team’s motto of running the football and trusted his line to do the rest. Jay Ajayi took advantage of the great blocking and scored two touchdowns for Eagles, but it was still a one possession game.

Ryan appeared to lean on his star wide receiver Julio Jones, who had a tremendous night with 10-of-19 targets for 161 yards, all game long.

Jones was getting doubled most the game, but still continued to be the focal point for the Falcons. It was almost if Mohamed Sanu wasn’t in the game, or any other wide receivers for that matter.

I was surprised that Head Coach Dan Quinn and his staff didn’t come up with some kind of RPO, or trick play to throw off the defense, rather than just throwing it to a fully-blanketed Julio Jones in the red zone. These were obvious passing situations, and clearly the Falcons failed to come up with a “Philly Special” of their own.

The Falcons certainly has to address their Red Zone inefficiency, or else it will continue to haunt them all season long.

Photo by Keith Allison [CC BY-SA 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons