Have you ever noticed how many “handshake” .gifs there are in your phone’s library? Or how many Twitter has at its disposal? Do yourself a solid and send one to a friend today.
- The tragic death of Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and the seven others in a helicopter crash on Sunday had me shaken. And while I wanted to piece something together in an attempt to share my feelings about a player I considered my favorite for a long time after Michael Jordan retired, I struggled to do so. I plan on doing so at a later time when the words come to me.
- Bryant’s passing was felt beyond the basketball world, as swarms of players paid their respects on social media. Here is a snap shot of some stuff that crossed my feed:
“People might say it’s weird: ‘You don’t know Kobe.’ I know I don’t know him, but it felt like I know him, I’ve been following his career for so long. You feel like you know a person.”
— #Bears safety Eddie Jackson https://t.co/bQKy0CJ0yO
— Patrick Finley (@patrickfinley) January 27, 2020
Kobe’s legacy will live on so powerfully throughout history. We were lucky to witness such excellence. Best course of action is to incorporate mamba mentality in your life and celebrate his existence and the impact he had on the game, his family and the people who adored him.
— Kyle Long (@Ky1eLong) January 26, 2020
- There were nods to Bryant during Sunday’s Pro Bowl, such as Davante Adams’ post-touchdown tribute, the NFC celebrating a defensive play by mimicking his patented step-back fadeaway, moments of silence followed by chants of his name, and more. I’m still stunned. But I’ll get Bullets moving through.
- Super Bowl week is here. The harrowing bye week that no one wants is officially in the rear-view mirror. This should be a good one, folks. And I’m not just saying that because I’m here writing about football. By Football Outsiders’ total DVOA rankings, Super Bowl LIV is a matchup between two top-5 teams. The Chiefs check in at No. 2, while the 49ers are No. 5. It doesn’t get much better than two elite teams going after the Lombardi Trophy. Because while I love up-start underdogs, Cinderella stories, and unforeseen upsets, something feels so right about two heavyweights set to go blow-for-blow for the crown.
- A fun nugget I stumbled across while browsing the Football Outsiders’ site: the 1985 Super Bowl championship-winning Bears had the third best total DVOA of all time. Those guys were pretty good.
- You know who else was pretty good? Everyone who played in yesterday’s Pro Bowl. Is the NFL’s annual all-star game watered down? Sure, I’ll give you that. It’s hard to have a true all-star game when it can’t logistically feature Super Bowl participants. But there are guys across the board who had solid seasons and earned their spot on the roster. I tip my cap to them.
- Yes, that includes these three Bears:
- It won’t ever not laugh when I see a players on rival teams hooking up for touchdowns. Like when Kirk Cousins linked up with Davante Adams? That was art.
- And yet, save for the brief moments before the news of Bryant’s death took hold on the sports world, I didn’t watch much of the Pro Bowl. Frankly, I wasn’t going to keep too close of an eye on it anyway. It would have made for great background noise as I would have tried to keep tabs on what Bears players were doing in the game. But the game simply isn’t compelling. So how do we fix it?
- Implementing a draft of teams, which included skill position players being drafted by quarterbacks in front of a nationally televised audience would catch my eye as far as who will be on the team. Maybe scoring bonuses for big plays. Like, what if a 50-yard touchdown was worth 9 points instead of 6? What if a pick-6 took a point off the scoreboard for the team that coughed it up? Field goals are 1 point within 30 yards, 2 points when made from 31-40 yards, 3 points from 41-49 yards, and 5 points from 50+ yards? It’s an all-star exhibition game for crying out loud. Let’s get weird.
- 2: The number of NFC North Pro Bowl representatives it takes to bring down Titans all-world running back Derrick Henry:
- For the record: I don’t want the NFL to get rid of the Pro Bowl. Logically, I understand where folks who would push for that are coming from with that sentiment. But before we go down that road, my hope would be that the NFL exhausts all paths to making the game more fun than it is right now.
- This is pretty neat:
20 years ago today: the greatest trade in NFL history. pic.twitter.com/izcPs4h0GV
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) January 27, 2020