From Kent Barnes. Follow him on Twitter @KentBarnes, email him at kent[AT]borderstan.com.
Are you a glass half-full or glass half-empty sports fan? Few would dispute the fact that 2012 was a game-changing year for the DC sports scene, as four out of our five major teams made the playoffs. But how you truly feel about what happened this year depends on how you answer that initial question.
Optimist or Pessimist?
- The optimistic Nationals fan spent the summer with a serious case of “Natitude,” and watched the team coast to its first division title and the best record in Major League Baseball.
- The pessimistic Nationals fan is still in shock that the team blew a four-run ninth inning lead and lost to the Cardinals. Moreover, fans can’t stop wondering what could have been if the team didn’t elect to shut down star pitcher Stephen Strasburg before the playoffs even started.
- The optimistic DC United fan was thrilled that the team ended a five-year playoff drought and only lost one match at RFK Stadium all season long. More importantly, they’re excited that the new ownership group is dedicated to keeping the team in the District for years to come.
- The pessimistic DC United fan is disappointed that the team fell just short of reaching the MLS Cup and continues to wonder when/if the team will finally announce some concrete progress in the ongoing quest for a new stadium.
- The optimistic Redskins fan is still riding high from the victory over the Cowboys in the regular season finale that propelled the team to its first division title since last millennium.
- The pessimistic Redskins fan wishes they could have read about RG3 in the previous paragraph, but instead wonders what the future holds for their superstar quarterback after he tore his ACL and LCL in last week’s playoff game against the Seahawks.
- The optimistic Borderstan sports fan constantly celebrates the fact that our neighborhood has the best selection of bars in the city where you can catch the big game.
- The pessimistic Borderstan sports fan needs to get up and get another drink.
If you’re a glass half-full sports fan, 2012 was undoubtedly a fantastic year. District teams were finally relevant again, attendance rose and hundreds of thousands of local fans had much to celebrate.
If you’re a glass half-empty fan… well… at least the Caps are back this weekend.
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From Scott Leibowitz. Find Scott on Twitter @Lebodome.
The heat has subsided. The local colleges are starting to fill up with annoying freshmen. The interns are gone. Fall is coming, and with the autumn leaves comes FOOTBALL!
Over the course of the next few months, for a sizable portion of America (according to all kinds of polls and data that I don’t feel like retrieving) football will consume them in the manner of watching, gambling and fantasy football.
In the last decade, the NFL has become the major powerhouse of America’s sports enjoyment to the point that even in June, one of the most sports packed months of the calendar, ESPN was still using football headlines to anchor their shows.
I have been patiently waiting for a chance to see my New York Football Giants defend their Super Bowl title. There are also lots of great story lines for this upcoming season, and one of the major ones resides in our very backyard. Here are some of the good ones:
All Hail Robert Griffin III, Lord of the Redskins. I have mentioned this guy’s name in the past four posts I have written to subtly embed his name in every Borderstan reader. Most football experts say that to win in the modern game, no matter how good your team is all around, without an elite quarterback you will never win a Super Bowl. RG3 is hopefully that guy.
The Redskins gave up a lot to draft Baylor’s Heisman Trophy winner and are hoping he leads the ‘Skins to the promised land. He is a nimble, run-and-gun kind of QB which will lead to a lot of exciting plays but also some hard hits and plenty of rookie mistakes. I recommend keeping your expectations in check, but be ready for something special. This guy is about to take DC by storm.
The Return of Peyton Manning. He missed all of last season due to a shoulder/neck injury but is back on the field (and in all our commercials) and ready take back his mantle of best in the game. The NFL is better with this guy back in pads and seeing him in a Denver Broncos uniform will only be a small adjustment. Question is though, can he regain his old form and how fragile will he be?
The Replacements. A bit under the radar, but as of right now, the NFL is planning to use replacement referees for the season because the league is locking out the officials’ union. Here are the details but expect this issue to come out often as the games will miss the seasoned and professional touch of veteran officials. How will I enjoy games without Mike Carey and Ed Hochuli?
There are plenty of other story lines and this should be another great season. Every team had plenty of time to practice and rearrange their lineup without a lockout this summer. The local division of the NFC East is loaded and thus every week will be a great matchup. If I had to pick my Super Bowl finalists, I would have to say Packers over Texans.
Last season I enjoyed only some of the great places in Borderstan to watch games and I hope to be back to that as the season rolls along. Please feel free to recommend any great spots in the area that you think are good for game watching. Otherwise good luck to your teams and enjoy the season!
On another note… something to look forward to: PLAYOFF BASEBALL is (very likely) coming to the district! How will we handle all this Natitude??
Links! Links! Ice Cold Links!
- Old Sportscenter commercials. Always a good watch.
- Andy Roddick is calling it a career. US Open finals this weekend.
- Poor UofMaryland football. Glad to see college football is back.
From Scott Leibowitz. Find Scott on Twitter @Lebodome. Email him at scott[AT]borderstan.com.
Washington, D.C., is in a very unique class of cities. It is one of 12 cities that have all four four major sports leagues. We even have soccer, although the MLS is not on the same financial level as the NBA, NHL, NFL and MLB. Something that is often discussed in these cities is what is the most popular sport, or better what kind of sports town are you.
For a city such as Chicago, the limelight is very-well shared as every team has won a championship in the recent past and have winning traditions (Cubs excluded, of course). When it comes to Washington, this town has been –and I feel always will be — a football town. No other type of sports team in town gets even near the same kind of love and dedication of fans (D.C. residents drive to Maryland just to watch them) as the Redskins.
Sadly though, the Redskins have been a bit lost for the last, let’s say 15 to 20 years, and just can’t seem to get all the wheels going in the right direction. Last season they went 7-9, but were able to beat the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants, showing that maybe they can compete.
Well Borderstanis, times are about to change. D.C. we will get a brand new celebrity who will blow away the Cap’s Alex Ovechkin in popularity and expectations. On Thursday night, during the NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins using the No.2 pick (they gave up a lot of valuable assets to be picking that high) will select last year’s Heisman Trophy winner, Baylor University Quarterback Robert Griffin III.
As noted by the immensely higher paychecks they receive than their contemporaries, the quarterback position is the MOST important on the field and teams with average ones very rarely win championships. The Redskins are making it clear to the city; we are in it to win.
Prepare for a New D.C. Celebrity
Let’s prepare for a new city celebrity. I guarantee this will be the kind of guy who, wherever he goes or whatever he does, it will make news — similar to Ovechkin’s beginning in D.C. when he was drinking all over town. Here are some things to expect and watch for.
Run & Gun: Think Michael Vick and Cam Newton. RG3 (yes, this is his nickname, learn it) makes his living on a strong arm but also his ability to run all over and throw while moving (this is not done by everyone). There will be exciting plays, trick plays, long runs and, hopefully, a good touchdown dance.
He is Still New: The last few years have spoiled football fans with rookie quarterbacks leading their teams to the playoffs (Andy Dalton, ’10 and Joe Flacco ’08) but this usually does not happen. There will be growing pains, awful interceptions, and probably some gruesome hits when he decides running will be better than passing. The ‘Skins will have nice weapons around him, and the schedule isn’t too brutal. But remember everyone, he is still new.
If They Start Winning: He will be more popular than President Obama is in D.C. I said it. Winning quarterbacks always poll better than leaders of the free world, especially in D.C.
He isn’t very tall, but his face will start appearing everywhere. This could be the start of something great for the Redskins. Or, he is a huge bust, a college talent that can’t translate to the NFL, and I will have wasted a whole column on him. Either way, if you see him (which our writers have already done last week in Logan Circle), say hi and protect him from incoming linebackers; D.C. needs him.
What’s Grinding My Gears
NBA playoffs start next week. Can’t say I care that much, this whole season was tough to enjoy. Will watch the conference finals and championship though.
Links! Links! Ice Cold Links
- Stephen Strasburg of the Nats throws really hard. Just ask this umpire’s sensitive area. Warning: males may struggle watching this.
- The scale of the universe. Created by two 14-year-old kids from California. Amazing work.
- Mother’s Day is May 13. Here is a great way to get your mom a card and help a great cause at the same time.
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