NFL Draft First Round Recap

For the first couple picks of the draft last night, I was only able to watch it on my phone between my legs while at my school’s Danceworks show (which was amazing by the way). I was blown away by a lot of the selections and moves that ultimately spelled out a team’s future for this upcoming season. Here are some of the major events throughout the night that made this first round so special:

  1. The Browns Draft an Army, But Will It Make a Difference?

Hey, at least they didn’t draft another QB… yet. It was obvious that DE Myles Garrett from Texas A&M was going to go first overall. However, their following picks were very surprising because of the big names they selected, trying to bring some life into an already dead team. For their 25th and 29th overall picks, the Browns selected two studs with safety Jabrill Peppers from Michigan and TE David Njoku from Miami. Will these big names help them though? Garrett will be a powerful force coming off the end of the line, but going up against an NFL, possibly all-pro, tackle is way different than embarrassing some far-from-standout offensive lineman. He will be explosive, yes, but he’ll need to prove himself if he wants to be the dominant force that he says he is. Peppers did it all in college, playing nine positions offensively and defensively. If he can help the Browns succeed, then it’s very vital that the Browns strategize their defense, or offense, around him once he finds his groove within the organization.

2. Bears Trade ONE PICK UP to Select Mitchell Trubisky

Instead of me talking about this pick, I’ll let some Bears fans express how they feel about this…

Some Bears fans weren't exactly pumped for their team's selection at No. 2.

A post shared by SportsCenter (@sportscenter) on

Last night, the Bears, who originally had the third overall pick, traded one pick up in order to take QB Mitchell Trubisky from North Carolina. But why? The Niners didn’t even want him; they were going to select DE Solomon Thomas from Stanford regardless. And to top it off, they traded away multiple 2018 third round draft picks when they could end up needing those later on. After signing QB Mike Glennon to an absurd $15M contract, the Bears seem to really be banking on quarterbacks this season, which is understandable after watching Jay Cutler fall off a cliff these past couple seasons. The Bears surely needed a change, but was this the right approach?

3. Jaguars Add Another Name to Their Backfield with Leonard Fournette

Since I predicted this pick, I won’t dive in too deep with the analysis. The Jaguars need some help in their backfield since T.J. Yeldon and Chris Ivory don’t seem to be carrying the load. Fournette could surely help, but after a lackluster season, I’m very interested to see how he adjusts to a major NFL role.

4. Can the Panthers Bounce Back After a Shaky Season with McCaffrey?

I think this was the most surprising pick of the night other than Trubisky. I wasn’t expecting McCaffrey to go in this direction, but after taking about 30 seconds last night to reflect and think about it, it totally makes sense. The Panthers needed both a running back and a wide receiver; they got both in one pick. This Stanford stud fits the mold of a running back while also being the right size for a slot receiver. It’s a perfect match. Unless I’m proven wrong this coming season, the Panthers could get back up to an over .500 record like they did two seasons ago.

5. The CFP Champion Lands in Houston

Clemson QB Deshaun Watson, who, three months ago, brought down the Alabama Crimson Tide in the College Football Championship with two seconds left, was selected by the Houston Texans with the 12th overall pick. After giving away Brock Osweiler, who proved to not be worth the $72M they gave him, Houston saw that it was time to invest in a new quarterback that would help them be a major contender in not only their conference, but in the AFC South which, statistically, was the worst division in all of the NFL last year. Watson could definitely make a statement early if he and DeAndre Hopkins feel each other out during summer training and running routes after practice. And by the looks of it, that could happen very early…


6. The Eagles Find Someone to Match Legend Reggie White

There were a lot of fans who were very pleased by this pick when Philadelphia selected Tennessee All-American DE Derek Barnett. With the Volunteers, he broke the university’s career sack record of 32.0, which was formerly held by NFL legend Reggie White, who also played with the Eagles from 1985-92. If this isn’t something that has shades of destiny, I don’t know of anything else that could spell it out better. Many improvements need to be made to the Eagles, especially defensively, and this was a great start.

There are only six more rounds to go, but last night showed some impressive faces landing in spots where they could eventually make a difference. The Patriots won’t have a pick until early in the third round, and the 49ers are still looking to make a change since newly-appointed GM John Lynch took over. I’m very interested to see what else unfolds, especially since Florida State RB Dalvin Cook is still on the board. It’s anyone’s game, but it’s the most exciting time of the month for football.

 

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The Tragedy of Aaron Hernandez

Yesterday morning at about 9 AM, I woke up to a text from my mom to see if I had heard the latest news that broke out. Right before I responded, I scrolled through my Facebook timeline to see a link to an ESPN article titled “Aaron Hernandez Commits Suicide in Prison Cell”. Putting it simply, I was in shock. Seeing a story like his come to an end in such a tragic way was difficult to take in.

The Patriots were scheduled to visit the White House that day, being the first championship team to visit President Trump in office, despite boasting small numbers in player attendance. The following day would have the 2017 NFL schedule released to the public, with tickets going on sale in the coming days. Lastly, the NFL Draft is in seven days, creating more exciting animosity in the NFL. But when this news broke out of Hernandez’s suicide, everything else started to fade away, making for a dark day for both the Patriots and the NFL.

I kept thinking back to the first time I had heard of Aaron Hernandez, as a Patriots’ fourth round draft pick out of Florida. As he progressed through the organization, he proved to be a dominant addition to the team, becoming a part of one of the most intimidating “tight end tandems” the league had ever seen paired with Rob Gronkowski. They both combined for 24 touchdowns in the 2011 season and controlled spots in tight end stat categories.

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He was well on his way to having a successful football career, but he just couldn’t get himself out of trouble when in the summer of 2013, he was arrested for the murder of Odin Lloyd. It was then discovered that he was involved both in a shooting in Miami earlier that year and a double homicide in Boston in the summer of 2012. He was sentenced for life in prison for the Odin Lloyd murder, but was found not guilty for the Boston and Miami murders on April 14th, 2017. Five days later, he committed suicide.

While I don’t have any sympathy for him and what he did, it’s a tragic story nonetheless. I’ve been seeing posts on Facebook saying that we shouldn’t be calling this a tragedy since he killed people and that he deserved to die. However, there’s another perspective that people are failing to take a glimpse at in this situation which makes the two mutually exclusive.

It’s the tragedy that a player, who had such potential and talent and looked like a sure-fire, accountable weapon for any team, couldn’t step away from gang affiliations despite making a life for himself that would, in the future, lead to a successful and happy career. Yesterday on First Take, Stephen A. Smith reacted to the early morning news and stated:

“He gets no sympathy from me. As far as I’m concerned, he got off easy… The best we can do for both the Odin Lloyd family and the Aaron Hernandez is to forget as much as we possibly can about this. Both families didn’t deserve to be associated with that, especially Hernandez’s four-year-old daughter (who will never know her father). He didn’t still have to be on the streets involving himself in gang-related activity. In the midst of signing a $40M contract, catching passes from Tom Brady, being coached by Bill Belichick, and getting checks cut for you by Robert Kraft, how do you throw it all away like that?”

That’s the real tragedy of it all: that he couldn’t escape and leave behind his affiliation for his main success. That, in the end, it’s what ultimately led to his tragic demise.

It’s very hard to understand that once you find yourself affiliated with gang-related activity, it stays with you. Your fingerprints are on everything that that gang has done and will do.

“My disappointment is what sports has meant to so many kids and what it meant to me,” said Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter yesterday on FOX Sports’ Undisputed. “I’m empathetic of the current peer pressure that young people and the decisions they have to make. There’s so many kids that have been rescued from the streets by sports, and I thought [Hernandez] was going to be another case. This was a colossal disaster, and the kid had all the help in the world. He went to the best schools that offer everything from a medical to a clinical to any type of help an athlete would need. Sports was not able to rescue him because he wouldn’t let go of the streets. He was a high school All-American tight end, basketball star from Bristol, CT, went to play at the University of Florida under Urban Meyer, one of the best athletes to ever come out of Connecticut, and he still couldn’t let go. This is the best example of when people say, ‘Money changes you.’ No, it doesn’t. Money just makes you bigger than what you already are. As he continued to go up the scale in athletics, he only continued to get more violent. Sports has saved so many of these kids, but sports couldn’t save Aaron Hernandez.”

Hernandez had the world at his fingertips, but his life decisions and affiliations held him back. That’s the real tragedy.

What also was tough to see were all the jokes about his suicide. Twitter and other social media platforms were quick to mock his death. There has even been association with his death and the controversial Netflix show “13 Reasons Why” which is about a high school student who commits suicide and the aftermath. The Huffington Post wrote that “we have a long way to go when it comes to having a healthy, productive dialogue about mental health” and that this is a perfect example. “Suicide should never be a punchline,” the article states.

As someone who’s been deeply affected by the concept of mental illness and suicide, I saw a lot of problems with seeing all these jokes and how we treat mental illness. While this man did kill people, the fact that he faced demons that tormented him that others with mental illness face as well is very hard to imagine. If we treated mental illness with the sensitivity that it deserves, the more likely people with these issues are to get help. The stigma attached to it often silences those who suffer from it and prevents them from seeking the help they need. So next time you see or make a joke about Hernandez’s suicide, take a second to think about that.

Reports say that there will be a book coming out about his life and what ultimately caused him to take his own life. Based on the rumors I’ve heard about why he did it, I’ll be very interested to read it once it hits shelves.

 

 

 

 

 

2017 NFL Draft Expectations

With the Final Four set for this Saturday, it marks the soon-to-be closing of the NCAA basketball tournament, and brings along the ever-exciting Opening Day of the MLB and the heated up tension of the NBA going into the playoffs. It’s a never-ending cycle of major sports events that come and go every year.

At the end of the month of April, however, essentially starts the NFL season with the 82nd annual draft on the 27th, held in front of the stoic Philadelphia Museum of Art. Being one of my favorite events of the month, I enjoy seeing which players will go where and whether they’ll make a positive impact on whatever team they land on. Unfortunately, some players will end up being labeled busts within two years of playing.

Despite all the animosity, there are many things I look to see: how much Roger Goodell is booed, how uncomfortable the draftees get when Goodell tries to embrace them on stage, how loud Mel Kiper will get on the panel, and what draftees are waiting on the edge of their seat to have their named called surrounded by their families. With that said, here are my notable picks of the 2017 NFL Draft (note: this is not the order of the draft. They are simply the specific picks that I believe will have the most impact within the respective franchise).

  1. Cleveland Browns – Myles Garrett (DE), Texas A&M

For the Browns to draft another quarterback would only add to the list of problems they already have, especially since Brock Osweiler is practically fighting for the starting spot. With Garrett posting astronomical numbers for a player his size at the Combine, he’s what Cleveland needs as a pass-rusher, upgrading their defense. Cleveland often focuses on their offense too much when they need to simultaneously focus their attention on improving their defense. That’s where Garrett fits the mold.

2. Chicago Bears – Jonathan Allen (DE/DT), Alabama

The Bears were projected to pick a quarterback with this selection. However, after signing Mike Glennon to an absurd contract and kicking Jay Cutler out, the QB spot has been filled. Allen is the best player available at his position and would fill a huge gap on the defensive line across from Akiem Hicks. Despite the concerns with his shoulder, Chicago cannot pass up on talent like Allen’s.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Leonard Fournette (RB), LSU

Adding talent around Blake Bortles would very much improve their offense. I’ve said before that the Jaguars could very well be a dark horse one season and become a contender. After signing defensive keys in Jalen Ramsey and Dante Fowler, Jr., Fournette is best running back prospect available since Adrian Peterson. Although his 2016 season was lackluster due to an injury, his tape from the 2015 season showcases some of the best talent ever displayed. For Jacksonville to select him would add to a budding backfield alongside Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon.

4. New York Jets – OJ Howard (TE), Alabama

Alabama keeps cranking out “first rounders” left and right every year, and Howard is one that is very unique. He didn’t get the ball in his hands nearly enough this past season. But when he does, he is explosive and makes big plays. If Fournette is not available by the time the Jets get to select, I can see them going in this direction. They’ve been trying to sign tight ends during this offseason, so it is seen as a need, and Howard could provide the team with some much needed play-making ability.

5. Cincinnati Bengals – Dalvin Cook (RB), Florida State

He posted poor numbers at the combine… big whoop. That shouldn’t take away from his excellent vision of the field and his high-level production. Jeremy Hill has posted disappointing numbers these past two seasons while Giovanni Bernard cannot handle the full-time responsibility as the main running back. If the Bengals like Cook enough, I see them taking him.

6. Cleveland Browns – Mitch Trubisky (QB), North Carolina

Oh wait,… sorry, it’s Mitchell. Mitchell Trubisky. Because, apparently, that’s a very important thing to factor into this player’s ability. My fault. Anyways, if the Browns go defensively with Garrett for the first pick in the draft, this selection could possibly happen for the 12th overall pick. He does fit Hue Jackson’s scheme well, and could very well still be available come time for Cleveland’s second pick in the first round.

7. Indianapolis Colts – Reuben Foster (LB), Alabama

Yet another Alabama “first rounder”. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the Colts’ linebackers suck. There’s no other way to put it. They haven’t been able to cover tight ends and pass-catching running backs out of the backfield, so Foster will be a much-needed upgrade. Although he made some news after yelling at a hospital employee, this debacle isn’t expected to affect his draft status that much. And it shouldn’t; if you want to see how much he wreaks havoc on the field, go to YouTube and you’ll see why.

8. Tennessee Titans – John Ross (WR), Washington

Okay, yes, the Titans did acquire a wide receiver during this offseason, but it doesn’t look like it’ll be enough. Tennessee made great strides last year posting a 9-7 record, placing second in the AFC South. They fell short, however, when their main asset, Marcus Mariota, ended the season on the injured reserve. When he comes back, he will need some weapons, and Ross will be the playmaker. After breaking the combine 40-time record, he’ll be able to go the distance every time he touches the ball.

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Christian McCaffrey (RB/WR), Stanford

He predictably stood out at the combine by not only posting good numbers, but also showing a passion for the game. That’s what Tampa Bay has been looking for in their players as of late. They desperately need a running back, and McCaffrey fits that description. I did see him going lower in the draft after he skipped out on the historic Sun Bowl, but the combine turned that around.

10. Miami Dolphins – Jabrill Peppers (S/LB), Michigan

He played a total of nine positions last year, both offensively and defensively. I repeat, nine. Any position you put him in, he will do the job that he is expected to do. After a tremendous combine, I see Peppers adjusting well to a professional environment with the fortitude to succeed and help whatever team he lands on. For Miami, in order to compete against New England, they need all the help they can get.

11. Pittsburgh Steelers – Deshaun Watson (QB), Clemson

It seems like a longshot, but there’s a lot to take into consideration when it comes to this pick. Big Ben has been hinting at retirement quite a bit during the offseason. He will play this upcoming season, but after suffering from injuries from time to time, the end of the Roethlisberger era in Pittsburgh may be closer than you think. The last time a team had future Hall of Fame quarterback retirement drama was Green Bay. Remember that? Out with Favre, in with Rodgers. Something similar could very well happen again, especially since Landry Jones isn’t the ideal quarterback you want leading your team. Watson has to go somewhere within the first round, given his ability and “wow” factor at his position. This move could potentially be a huge storyline for the NFL, and for the Pittsburgh franchise.

This upcoming NFL Draft flaunts big names; some that could possibly leave a long-lasting impact on a team. Like I said, these were the points that I think could make a difference in the progression of certain teams. I’d like to see all of my predictions come true, but even that is a longshot, especially after last year with the Laremy Tunsil scandal shaking up the entire projected order of the draft. Either way, it looks to be an exciting time for football and these young players’ futures.

Mr. Ball, What Are You Doing?

If you haven’t been keeping up with the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament this year, you’ve most likely witnessed the major losses of both Villanova and Duke in the round of 32, Kansas shockingly falling to Oregon in the Sweet 16, and the impressive run made by seventh-seeded South Carolina who will play Gonzaga in the Final Four on April 1st. If you haven’t been keeping up with all this madness, you’re probably about as un-American as President Trump who didn’t fill out a presidential bracket this year, breaking away from tradition.

However, there’s one team that’s been getting a lot of attention even before the tournament started. The UCLA Bruins not only had an impressive run in the tournament, losing to Kentucky in the Sweet 16, but worked out a 31-5 season, finishing third in the Pac-12 conference. Lonzo Ball, who has just declared for the NBA Draft this June, has put together a very notable stat line for a freshman, averaging 14.6 PPG, 7.6 APG, and a 67.3% FT percentage. Besides an unremarkable performance against Kentucky for his last game, NBA teams have been keeping a watchful eye on him throughout his college career.

Unfortunately, it’s not Lonzo that has been getting the attention from the media that he deserves. It’s his father, LaVar.

If you search up his name on Google, a lot of news stories will come up about his controversial statements to reporters and in the media. However, my favorite is what comes up for his Wikipedia page: “a whole lotta nothin'”. He began his rampant journey through media coverage by exclaiming in March that his son was better than both Steph Curry and LeBron James, two of the most dominant players in professional basketball today. On March 14th, he said, “Back in my heyday, I would kill Michael Jordan one-on-one.”

Quite a lot of talk coming from someone who, back in their “heyday”, averaged 2.2 PPG at Washington State. What was Jordan doing back during his “heyday”? Averaging 37.1 PPG, earning MVP awards, working his way towards becoming the greatest basketball player of all time… the rest is pretty much history.

It’s almost cringe-worthy to watch LaVar Ball deliver these outlandish comments and wonder where all this confidence comes from. Apparently, according to a SportsCenter Featured piece on the Ball family, it runs in the family.

All of this criticism towards the family seems similar to those shows, like “Dance Moms”, where the parents will push their kids into the spotlight and subsequently gain attention to themselves. It stops and makes you think, “What if I was raised like that?”

Besides dancing though, there are some parents, like LaVar Ball, that are a bit too vocal when it comes to their children and the sports they play. Maybe it’s time to step out of the spotlight and let your kids take it from there. Your “heyday” is over, and now some professional players are beginning to take note of what LaVar is saying, especially NBA All-Star John Wall who says that him and other players will punish Lonzo for his “daddy’s remarks” come time for him to play in the NBA. Better watch out.

At the end of the day though, Lonzo is well aware of what his father has been saying. All he’s focused on is what he does on the court. It’s a smart move, but after a while, he’ll definitely have to take his dad off his high horse. Don’t know how difficult that’ll be, but it’ll surely be another media debacle and debate waiting to happen.

The Intelligence of NFL Players

The National Football League is full of players who come from various backgrounds. All of them, however, had to go through years of schooling before making it big time, whether that means two, three, or a full four years of university learning. Maybe even five year, which is what Brandon Weeden did at Oklahoma State before being drafted by the Browns in 2012.

No, players can’t simply be drafted out of high school like some MLB and NBA athletes are. Going from high school football to the marquee NFL is way too big of an adjustment for a high school player to humanly adapt to.

So, scholarships are handed out left and right to recruit top-performing high school football stars so they can attend the well-oiled machines of Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, Michigan, etc.

But it’s what these athletes do with these extraordinary offers that they shouldn’t be passing up on; they’re meant to be student-athletes, not the full-time jock only stereotyped to be the playmaker on the field and a party maniac off the field (ex: everything Thad Castle did in Blue Mountain State).

Recently, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback, Jameis Winston, has received criticism after being a guest speaker at a St. Petersburg elementary school. The remarks that he made in front of the children there were not quite the proper message that he was trying to convey. Here’s the video:

Winston later said that this was “poor word choice” and not at all what he was trying to say. He was attempting to have one individual in the crowd, who was a young male, get involved after being distracted.

Fellow players and coaches say that this was a mistake on Winston’s part and that he has definitely learned from it. They all know Winston to be highly motivational and a huge asset to the team as a leader. He’s one of the main reasons why Tampa Bay had a winning season for the eighth time since the new millennium, finishing 9-7 and placing second in the AFC South behind Atlanta.

But on hot take shows like First Take and Pardon the Interruption, analysts of both shows have said that the elementary school should’ve done its research before having Winston come and speak.

While attending Florida State University, despite having successful on-the-field achievement, his off-the-field conduct was far from admirable. Being the subject of many allegations and scandals, including vulgar comments, shoplifting, and a sexual assault accusation (for which he was later proven innocent), the target has been placed on Winston for quite a while.

However, this should in no way create any questioning of the intelligence level of NFL athletes. They are not dumb, stupid, ignorant, dimwitted, pea-brained, or whatever way you want to put it. For having to learn so much information (plays, formations, routes, defensive shifts, coverages, etc.) and play one of the hardest sports in the world, the level of intelligence is at an all-time high for NFL superstars.

Not only has Winston become the youngest player ever to receive a Heisman trophy and claim the title of a first overall draft pick while at FSU, he also maintained a 3.4 GPA as an exploratory major (meaning that he was so interested in a variety of topics that he couldn’t decide on a specific major).

What Winston did was a mistake, which is what a lot of major league athletes have admitted to committing. What matters is what they learn from it and how they move forward. And no, Winston is not dumb. Saying that should be insulting to other players, like him, who worked hard to get where they are.

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Eric Berry, cornerback for the Kansas City Chiefs and now the highest paid cornerback in the league, received the 2015 Comeback Player of the Year Award after taking time off to go through a huge amount chemotherapy for his diagnosis of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. While attending the University of Tennessee, he maintained a 3.7 GPA as a psychology major and also interned at several places of medicinal practice, including a dental surgeon where he learned how to perform a root canal surgery (he could still perform one if he needed/wanted to).

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Projected first round draft pick, Deshaun Watson out of Clemson, possesses all the essentials of a quarterback that any NFL team within the first 10 picks this year needs. He has the dynamics, the athleticism, and consistency that will only improve teams like the Buffalo Bills, where Mel Kiper Jr.has projected Watson to go in his latest mock draft (updated on Feb. 15th). He also has stayed out of trouble while attending school, maintaining a GPA of 4.0 and above and receiving a degree in communication this past December. Any team would be lucky to have him.

Before you start questioning the intelligence of NFL players, or any athlete for that matter, do your research and check the facts. You’ll most likely eat your words because of what you find. Athletes from all walks of life may dedicate themselves to the game and their craft, but they are aware of the importance of getting a proper education, and that’s one thing that makes a huge difference in how they perceive themselves and how the media sees them.

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.