Thursday, February 10, 2011

A GREEN SUPER BOWL!

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
The best way to describe Super Bowl XLV is by the numbers and believe me, they tell the story.
  • There were 111 million viewers that watched the Green Bay Packers defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25, the largest watched program in USA Television, surpassing last years Super Bowl total of 106.5 by the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts in Miami.
  • The Packers won their 13th Championship, the most in NFL history and fourth Super Bowl against a franchise that has won six Super Bowls of it's own. Green Bay did it by scoring 21 points off of three Pittsburgh turnovers and the Steelers committed costly penalties on kickoff returns. This is Green Bay's first title since 1996. The Packers became the second sixth seed to win a Championship and they had to win three road and one neutral site game to capture this title.
  • Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will no longer have to worry about Brett Favre comparisons as he was 24-39, 304 yards and three touchdowns. His numbers would have been even better if six other passes were not dropped for over 100 yards. He is the first Packer to win the MVP since Bart Starr.
  • The biggest fumble occurred before the game started as Christina Aguilera sang her own version of the National Anthem. Unfortunately, her version has now become the laughingstock all over the media and the world. She is probably the most unpopular person on YouTube for all the wrong reasons. I know an amateur named Jacque' Palmer, stage name NeoPopsicle, who would have done much better!
  • The Packers were able to win the Super Bowl despite having 16 players on injured reserve. Star players Charles Woodson and Donald Driver were knocked out in the first half of the Super Bowl. Woodson suffered a broken collarbone and was in a sling while Driver sustained an ankle injury and was wearing a protective boot on the sideline.
  • Coach Mike McCarthy gave the boldest pre-game motivation speech by having his team sized for their Super Bowl Rings the night before. Now that's confidence!

    As I watched the contest at Hooters in Boca Raton, it was neat to get a unique perspective from the fans.
Travis Kidwell, 34, Boca Raton "I was pulling for the Packers because I wanted to see Rodgers win the Super Bowl and make a name for himself by pulling out of Favre's shadow in an excellent game. He did it in convincing fashion as the Steelers will have to wait for their seventh Super Bowl win and the Vince Lombardi trophy is returning home to "Titletown" back in Wisconsin."
Katie Strassburg, 18, Tampa, FAU Cheerleader "I am rooting for the Green Bay Packers because I am a Denver Broncos fan and the Steelers are in the AFC with the Broncos, therefore, they need to lose. I also wanted to support the Black Eyed Peas along with Usher's Comeback during the half-time show."
Mike Deson, 19, Tampa, FAU Student "I'm just here for the Super Bowl. I'm not rooting for either team and just came to join in on the spirit of a Great American Tradition."
Gladys Echevarria, 46, Pembroke Pines "It seems things were going right for the Green Bay Packers from the coin toss. Since I am a history buff, I loved the presentation of the Hall of Famers. That was a proud moment not only for myself but for anyone who appreciates great accomplishments."
Finally, my good friend Bob Schultz, whom I've known for 28 years, was naturally disappointed when his Chicago Bears lost to the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game 21-14 two weeks ago in The Windy City.
Schultz, 48, resides in the Dallas suburb of Hurst, Texas and his hatred towards the Packers was quite evident as he pulled for the Steelers.
"I HATE THE PACKERS and think by far are one of the most overrated teams to perform in the game," Schultz said. "If it wasn't for lucky calls by the refs getting the bounces of the ball their way, I guess you need some luck from time to time. What the PECKERS got this year was unbelievable! The condition of the field at the so called DEATH STAR (Cowboys Stadium) to me it looks like a cockroach because it was so poor, very slippery and many seams and just plain poor."
Schultz thought that Steelers signal caller Ben Roethlisberger's off the field legal troubles with women caught up with him in this contest.
"After a game like this, I think that the NFL is rigged. No matter if you think Roethlisberger was guilty or not, I think the fix was in for him not to win."
If the NFL doesn't reach a new labor agreement soon, it looks like this Super Bowl will last longer than most, much to the dismay of next year's host, Indianapolis, Indiana.
Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com and his blog can be seen at http://www.scottsports33.com/.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sunshine State Hoops Classic

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

He was a 12-time All-Star, won a pair of NBA Championships, one Finals MVP in a Hall of Fame career with the Detroit Pistons.

Isiah Thomas No.11 is retired at the Palace of Auburn Hills. He also owns an NCAA Championship with the Indiana Hoosiers and legendary Coach Bobby Knight.

But I wonder whether the guy, who has played on the biggest "Hoops Stages," could have felt more helpless as he did on Saturday Night, in Boca Raton, Florida at the FAU Arena.

Thomas was a victim of the old Yogi Berra adage that "It's not over until it's over" as his Florida International University (FIU) Golden Panthers lost to the FAU Owls 73-72. During this game, FIU led early by a 12-1 margin. The Golden Panthers led the entire contest except when it mattered the most. The end.

The outcome of the game was decided by pair of missed free throws by Phil Gary and FAU took the ball down the court on the fast break and won it with a layup by Brett Royster with 4.2 seconds left.

Basketball seems to be a simple game. You shoot the ball and put it in the basket. You rebound and play defense to create opportunities for the offense. A free throw is an uncontested shot that requires total concentration. Yet, over the years, the best players in both the college and pro levels miss free throws in key situations.

When the game was over, Thomas walked off the court slowly and dejected. During his post-game Press Conference, he told the media that his team has struggled at the free throw line and has trouble closing out games. His Golden Panthers are now 9-14 while FAU improved to 18-7.

Owls Coach Mike Jarvis earned his 400th career win in thrilling fashion as the sellout crowd of 2,961 stormed onto the court to celebrate.

I don't care how big the gym is whether it's 20,000 or 2,961, noise is noise!

As for Thomas, dressed in his suit, I'll bet on this night, he wished he had worn his No.11 jersey and shorts to make those last second free throws. A win in the Sun Belt Conference against an area rival would have been just as satisfying as an NBA game.

But the man has seen everything.

As I looked at his roster, Thomas hasn't forgotten his Pro Basketball Roots. Five of the 15 players are from Pistons Territory. He "Smiled" and said there will be more to come. There is a lot of basketball talent in Michigan.

It has to be an easy sell for a potential recruit that he's playing for his idol in a warm weather climate. These kids will have no problem investing into flip flops and sneakers while eliminating boots.

But whether anybody cares nationally about the FAU VS FIU Rivalry in any sport, these schools have high caliber coaches on the hard court with Thomas and Jarvis.

In Football, FAU won the Motor City Bowl a few years ago while FIU just won the Little Caesars Bowl in Detroit this past December.

I can only hope that today's Super Bowl between the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers provides as much excitement as Saturday Nights "Sunshine State Classic."

After the game, I told FAU Assistant Sports Information Director Justin Johnson to put me on the Credential List for the rematch in Miami on Saturday, February 19th. I have a feeling this will be another slug fest.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com and his blog can be seen at http://www.scottsports33.com/.

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