Power of the Podcast

In the ever-changing world of journalism, methods to get the news out to the world, whether it be data, cold hard facts, and analyst opinions, has spanned across multiple platforms. A somewhat new and growing platform has come in the form of a podcast, and it’s come to be a very powerful tool for not only journalists, but for people to offer their takes on the world either realistically or satirically. Me being me, the satire is what gets me hooked.

Now I’ve recently taken up an interest in listening to podcasts on a daily basis. Any of them dealing with sports can be found on my queue. When I found out that some of my favorite shows like Pardon the Interruption and First Take had their own podcasts, I was excited for more content. Unfortunately, their daily podcasts are just recordings from that day’s show. In a way, it’s somewhat beneficial to me if I miss the show that day.

One of my favorite podcasts is Pro Football Talk Live with Mike Florio. Florio, from NBC Sports, hosts the show every day and offers his insights on the league alongside his statistics guy waiting with baited breath to correct any mistakes. He also features players and other major names in sports broadcasting that add to the authenticity of his reports. The way he breaks down the game and, especially now, offseason moves pre-combine and -draft is very thought-provoking, giving listeners an extremely intellectual look at the odds and ends of professional football.

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Another podcast that I’ve become fond of is The Joe Rogan Experience. Rogan, a comedian and color commentator for the UFC, is someone that, just like me, wants to learn about people and their perspectives and what they do with their lives. Given the different backgrounds of guests that he brings on the show, there is much more to learn than just what their names are and where they’re from. Just yesterday, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson was on the show blowing my mind with all these discoveries and theories about the cosmos. Rogan said his brain was starting to hurt because of the things he was saying, and I can’t help but relate. It was just that interesting. And I can say that I’ve learned quite a lot from the guests that he’s brought on the show.

Barstool Sports has developed quite a cult following through their satirical take on sports. I’ve fallen in love with everything they do; the way they interview guests, asking ridiculous questions, is probably the most brilliant approach to a journalistic-type platform. It may be nonsense, but it’s that damn good. My favorites from them are Pardon My Take and Barstool Rundown. Both shows have given me the laughs for hours and that’s why these guys are my favorites so far. Granted, I may be a fake fan for just starting to listen to them, but it’s all whatever to me. They hooked me in with their beautiful flag that I want oh so badly. I mean, look how perfect it is:

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Recently, Pat McAfee, former Colts punter, left the NFL to join the brand, too. How awesome is that? Not only is he one of the most chill players to ever hit the turf, but to have someone who’s had experience playing a professional sport in the office will help their name heading towards the future. And that’s definitely something that they’ll need…

During the Super Bowl festivities week this year, Barstool Sports were banned from partaking in any activities in and around the complex at NRG Stadium in Houston. They had to set up their stage at another location and conduct their interviews with celebrities and players in noisy local bars and restaurants. When Goodell was asked about this at a press conference, he made no comment.

As much as it is a very nonsensical form of journalism that Barstool is running, a platform that has developed a young, cult following that has brought along a new audience to appreciate the world of sports deserves some form of credentials. Any positive attention brought to American professional sports is much better than the criticism that it receives daily.

Podcasts are becoming a more modern route for journalists to release their information to their audiences. It steers away from print and broadcasting, and can instead be listened to during your daily commute, your shift at work, or anything during your daily routine for that matter. It makes it easier for people to get the information you want to hear without having to sit down in front of a TV or divert your eyes towards a newspaper. Take a listen once and a while, and you may find a podcast online or through the iTunes store that best suits you.

 

The 2017 Grammy Awards: What Just Happened?

Last Sunday was the first Sunday without football since September, and it was probably one of the most difficult things to endure for those 24 hours. I kept seeing tweets on my timeline from Patriot-based accounts saying, “Exactly one week ago…” featuring shots of Edelman’s catch, James White crossing the plane, Brady hoisting his fifth Lombardi Trophy… you get the picture.

However, one of the few things I enjoy that comes after the NFL season are the award shows that have the opportunity to take up the Sunday night primetime slots. And this previous Sunday happened to feature my most favorite: the 59th annual Grammy Awards on CBS.

This year was a very interesting year for music: the emergence of stream-only artists, the frequent push to express political stances, and the contest to see which song can make the loudest, most annoying electronic noise that people can tolerate (see examples: “Closer [feat. Halsey]” by The Chainsmokers, “Gold” by Kiiara, “Starving [feat. Zedd]” by Hailee Steinfeld & Grey, “Let Me Love You [feat. Justin Bieber]” by DJ Snake, etc.). Granted, these were good, highly popular songs that I do enjoy listening to, but these sounds can get to be too much after a while.

Either way, this past Sunday brought together some of the biggest names in music to celebrate the gift that affects our lives in so many ways; that which enlightens our senses and directs us into another world that only we can feel for ourselves. All the winners, nominees, performers, and presenters made the show one to remember. But there’s a lot to be said about the night, so here are the ups and downs of what this year’s Grammy Awards had to offer.

  1. Everything Adele Did

Adele opened up the show with a powerful performance of her hit song, “Hello.” How ironic. I love Adele; I think she’s got one of the greatest voices in music today and has undoubtedly shown how much emotion and love she puts into her work.

The way she paid tribute to the late, great George Michael was extremely elegant. The way she stopped during her performance to start the song over, not wanting to mess it up for him, was absolutely courageous. It takes guts to do something like that on live TV. Plus, it’s an awesome thing to hear her swear in her cliché, graceful cockney accent.

That was a definite up. But here’s a down…

Adele took home three major awards that night, including Album of the Year (25), Song of the Year, and Record of the Year (both for “Hello”). She beat out Beyoncé in all three of these categories. During her acceptance speech for AOTY, she took the time to thank Beyoncé who was sitting in the crowd. She renounced her win and stated that Beyoncé should’ve won for her nominated album, Lemonade. She even broke off a piece of the award to share with her.

Are you kidding me? You’re really going to kiss up to her like that? No. Don’t do that. As a matter of fact, screw that. This was your moment to revel in your achievement and be happy and you wasted it thanking someone who had nothing to do with your success. You have your production company, record label, managers, and accompanying musicians to thank for this. You did this with them and you should be proud of them and yourself. I don’t understand why everybody kisses up to this diva for ridiculous reasons. I don’t understand. But I’ll touch upon that later…

2. twenty one pilot’s Acceptance

twenty one pilots (there’s a reason why it’s typed like that) are a very unique band from Columbus, OH. Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun have accumulated a very specific type of fanbase with their musical themes that touch upon depression, struggle, and mental illness. Before accepting their award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for their song, “Stressed Out”, they took off their pants and took to the stage. What a funny story it played out to be as to why they did that…

It’s inspiring to many about how anybody can do anything. It’s possible if you surround yourself with good people. Sure, that whole bit was very different and strange to some, but that’s what makes twenty one pilots so great; they’re different, and the direction they’re taking music is interesting to say the least.

3. Ed Sheeran’s Performance

After being absent from the internet (and from the world for that matter) for eight months, Ed Sheeran finally emerged from what seemed like a time vault. He didn’t use his phone and traveled the world so that he could take some time to himself and write new music. Two new singles released on January 6th, 2017 to promote his upcoming album, ÷, set to be released in March. One of them, “Shape of You”, was performed Sunday night with Sheeran making the loops of the track during the intro of the song. He controlled the loops and other instruments on stage with pedals at his feet. He didn’t even use in-ear monitors to hear what he sounded like. It was captivating to see how talented he is and how much work he puts into his music.

4. Lukas Graham & Kelsea Ballerini Collab

Stop. That was awful. Who approved of this to go live? Don’t ever sing those two songs together ever again.

5. Beyoncé’s Performance

“Do you remember being born?” …What the f*ck do you think my answer to that question is? (special shoutout to Barstool Rundown)

I thought I was high while watching this performance, with the weird interpretive dance played in fast-motion in the beginning of it. Granted, it was somewhat of a solid performance based on the message she was trying to convey, being that it was about women’s empowerment. But she took forever to open her mouth to start singing; she took ten minutes.

Why do we choose to deify this person? Why is it that everything she does is a spectacle to people, especially her fans? Fans think she’s everything, a queen, a goddess, mother nature… no she’s not. She could’ve pooped on stage, and everybody would think it’s the greatest thing to ever happen. She’s a singer people; get it through your heads.

Also, why do we obsess over her being pregnant? Why does she keep ramming her pregnancy in our faces all over social media and to the world? WHO THE HELL CARES? She’s acting like she’s never been pregnant before. People are glamorizing the fact that a WOMAN is PREGNANT with CHILD/CHILDREN. Last time I checked, this is a natural occurrence that happens everyday. What makes her so different than any other mother that’s given birth? Hell, my mom gave birth to me. Let’s put her on a pedestal. And then do that for every single mother in the world. Beyoncé being pregnant is nothing special. Y’all need to chill and reevaluate your life to see how much time there’s been wasted obsessing over “the queen B.”

6. They Did Chance So Dirty

Chance The Rapper took home his fair share of hardware that night, winning Best New Artist (despite being around since 2012), Best Rap Album (Coloring Book), and Best Rap Performance (“No Problem”).

During his acceptances for both Best New Artist and Best Rap Album (in which he beat out both Kanye West and Drake), they started playing him out with the music, signaling for him to wrap up and get off the stage. That’s honestly so sad for an artist whose album was just the first streaming-only album ever to win a Grammy.

Chance doesn’t sell his music; he streams it across platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and other services like them. He makes all his money through tours and merchandise sales. He also is not under any record label; he is an independent artist. I guess, maybe, the music industry doesn’t like this. Music is meant to be bought according to them. For Chance to be doing something different and foreign to them is going against everything that they stand for.

Then why do so many people love him? I’ve seen him before and he is an amazing performer and puts on one hell of a show. What he’s doing is great, releasing his music for all of the world to hear and promoting his Christian beliefs through rap music in an appropriate way. He shows love for all and the world. He’s probably got one of the biggest hearts in the music industry, so for the Grammys to do that to him was saddening to me.

Oh yeah, and his performance later on that night was spectacular:

7. Botching Metallica & Lady Gaga’s Performance

This is especially heartbreaking to me.

First off, Laverne Cox,… learn how to read a f*cking teleprompter. You completely neglected to introduce one of the most iconic bands in history. You only announced Lady Gaga. Ridiculous.

When I first heard that Metallica was going to perform with Lady Gaga at the Grammys, I was a bit thrown off. I really didn’t know what to think with her being somewhat out of her element, but I kept my hopes high knowing that whatever she does performance-wise, she’d definitely bring it.

The song starts playing, which is Metallica’s “Moth Into Flame.” Fire is roaring, guitars are blaring, heads are whipping back and forth… yup, typical metal atmosphere. I love it.

Come time for Metallica frontman, James Hetfield, to start singing, his microphone isn’t working. Seriously? I can understand technical reasons, but with the direction music is going towards nowadays, it’s like they’re leaving bands like Metallica who write, and perform, and produce all their music on their own to be part of an alumni community. For a band to still be going strong from the 1980’s well into their 50’s, they could’ve gotten better treatment.

The performance cleaned up, however, with both artists finishing off the song in great fashion. All mics worked, Gaga stage-dived (which was awesome), and the world was given a performance of a lifetime with two icons at the helm.

8. Bruno Mars’ Tribute to Prince

Wow, this performance was great. I don’t even know a good way to put it.

Last April, the world lost a musical genius in Prince. Mr. Symbol left behind a legacy of how much music can create a movement. It was only right to have proper tribute for “His Royal Badness.” What a perfect part for Bruno Mars to play.

Bruno had already performed earlier in the night and was outstanding. However, this was one of the best performances I’ve ever seen him do live. With guitar in hand, he did Prince’s classic “Let’s Go Crazy,” and how could you not with that song?

Absolutely amazing. I didn’t know he was that skilled with the strings.

Greatness: Can it Be Debated Any Longer?

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If you weren’t watching Super Bowl LI on Sunday, what in the hell were you doing? For a game to gain not only national attention and viewership, but also international, nothing else on television during that timeslot was more important. That’s why stations will purposely not try to outdo the big game and put on something that’s “background noise.” Let’s face it, you just can’t compete with the Super Bowl.

Well, if you missed it, quick recap:

The Patriots embarked on the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history, trailing the Falcons 28-3 at the end of the third quarter, to win in overtime (a Super Bowl first) 34-28 and earn their fifth Lombardi Trophy in franchise history, and Brady and Belichick’s fifth together as a QB-coach duo.

At first, the game looked in favor of the Falcons, aiming for their first NFL championship win in franchise history. Matt Ryan, the league MVP, along with offensive weapons in Devonta Freeman (who made impressive runs) and Julio Jones (who made extraordinary, game-changing catches throughout), took control of the game early, leading 21-3 at halftime. Not to mention the defense who were dominating with Grady Jarrett sacking Brady three times and Robert Alford returning an interception for an 82-yard touchdown.

Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount, AKA Blount Force Trauma, made a huge mistake turning the ball over on a fumble leading to one of the Falcons’ scores. For a player to do that who’s known for running the ball with power and flattening people, Patriots fans were only left to look on with heartbreak.

The Falcons played an absolutely amazing game; their high powered offense and ever-improving defense were poised to deliver Atlanta their first championship since the Braves won the World Series in 1995. They just forgot to take one factor into account: Tom Brady.

Brady had been in that situation before; being clutch in these types of scenarios is one of his specialties. With catches by his receivers, especially one by Julian Edelman which looked almost impossible to bring in, the Patriots offense had awoken. Danny Amendola and James White both grabbed a pass for scores, with two successful two-point conversions. Dont’a Hightower made a huge play on defense forcing a fumble off of Matt Ryan, turning over the ball to the New England offense, creating a huge turn in the win probability chart of the game. What Brady did in that last quarter going into overtime physically demonstrated to the world, to a large-scale audience why he is one of, if not, the greatest quarterback to ever play the game of football.

Arguments and debates have gone on for years about who is the best at different positions. At wide receiver, candidates include Jerry Rice, Tim Brown, and Terrell Owens. At running back, names like Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton, Barry Sanders, and Jim Brown grace the list. At quarterback, however, one name has cemented itself, as of this past Sunday, at the top for many years to come, and it may be a while before it changes. Thomas Edward Patrick Brady, Jr., from San Mateo, CA is a name that will be remembered forever.

The past couple mornings after the big game, I’ve been watching way too much ESPN and sports-based television shows. One of the many topics they’ve been discussing is if Brady can finally be called the GOAT, the greatest of all time. While I’ve been sick of listening to the incessant, never-ending banter on ESPN’s First Take and FOX Sports’ Undisputed, they all agree and have made valid points as to why Brady takes the cake.

Of course, Touchdown Tommy is among a heavy amount of company in his field: Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, Joe Montana, Dan Marino, etc. What does Brady have that they all don’t? Answer: he is the only quarterback to win five Super Bowls, all of them for one team.

But wait, there’s more…

Four Super Bowl MVP awards (most ever), two league MVPs, 12 Pro Bowl Selections, 14 division titles (most ever for a QB), 9,094 career playoff passing yards (most ever), 63 career playoff touchdown passes (most ever), 25-9 playoff record (best all time), seven Super Bowl appearances (most ever), 2,071 career Super Bowl passing yards (most ever), 15 career Super Bowl touchdown passes (most ever),… do I need to keep going?

By the looks of this list, it can only keep going and going and going… you can compare him to the Energizer bunny.

Okay, maybe I’m a little bias. For those of you who know me, you know how much the Patriots are a part of my life. Every Sunday in the fall, when I’m not somewhere on Long Island or some random location in New Jersey playing rugby with my university club team, you’ll find me in front of the television watching the Pats catching any little shred of football I can that day. Even during rugby games, my focus is in two places at once: what we’ll do to win this game we’re playing right now and what the score of the Patriots game is (only if they’re playing while I’m playing).

But what can’t be denied is what’s on Brady’s resume. I mean, love him or hate him, you better damn well respect him.

Kraft said it best when he accepted the Lombardi Trophy Sunday night; after all that’s transpired over the past couple years with the Patriots and Brady, this Super Bowl win was definitely the sweetest, and it was one for the history books. Brady has endured a scandal, a suspension, and his mother falling ill leading up to the game. It almost seemed like this was going to be his revenge tour this season. But to clear up any tension, Brady wasn’t performing out of hate, but out of love: love for the game, love for his family, love for his team and fans.

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And can we just take note of how classy it was for Brady to shake Commissioner Roger Goodell’s hand after winning rather than just blowing him off? I see no hate there.

A lot of people can argue the failures that Brady has went through in his career. Yes, he’s lost two Super Bowls to the Giants. Yes, Peyton Manning has a better record against him in the playoffs. People love to see Brady lose, and for a guy who’s been winning at almost everything, I can see why people are not too fond of him.

Greatness isn’t measured by losses and failures. Muhammed Ali lost fights in his career, and he’s still regarded as the greatest boxer who ever lived. Michael Jordan failed multiple times, and he’s still the greatest basketball player to ever hit an NBA court. Wayne Gretzky lost a couple games, and he’s still considered the greatest hockey player to ever skate on NHL ice.

What’s different between all of them and Brady? What’s causing people to consider them great and Brady’s legacy remaining on the fence? People expressed their hatred for all those athletes and they’re still considered legends. Why are you not giving Brady the credit he’s earned?

Brady has got the competitive heart, pure grit and determination, an everlasting knowledge of the game, and the will to win and do whatever it takes. It’s incredible what he’s accomplished, and if there’s any doubt and you still need more proof, just keep watching because he’s not done yet.

As I watched the last play that night where James White dove to cross the ball over the plane of the end zone, among my brothers in my fraternity, I can remember hugging the select few of us who were Patriot “faithfuls” who, all game, were gripping our stomachs and hearts with worry. It was a moment of exasperation turned to relief that I will never forget.

But then I started to think and reminisce on what led to this point. A lot of “what if’s” popped into my head: what if Brady was never a Patriot? What if Drew Bledsoe had never gotten hurt during that game against the Jets in 2001, introducing the nation to what would become “the Brady era”? What if the Patriots didn’t pick him for their sixth round, 199th pick? Would the Patriots still be the laughing stock of the league like they used to be? Where would we be?

What did the organization see in him? Was it that his last career college game at Michigan where he defeated Alabama in the Orange Bowl? Was it his ugly looking run in the 40-yard dash? Was it his average-looking, unathletic body that would not meet today’s standards for a successful NFL player? What was it?

Well, whatever it was, it sure as hell worked off in the long run.