By Josh Kramer
Lucky number thirteen. Over three months later and “Throwback Saturdays” are still going strong. What was happening on April 14, 2011? How about on April 14, 2012? Let’s find out.
One year ago..
A Rough Go for Kobe
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The past couple of days have been an absolute whirlwind for Lakers superstar, Kobe Bryant. First, a key piece of the Lakers championship puzzle, Andrew Bynum, goes down with yet another knee injury. Then, later in the game, Kobe picks up a technical foul. But the technical was not out of the ordinary for Bryant, who is 2nd in the League this year in technical fouls to Superman himself, Dwight Howard.
Bryant frequently argues with referees and actually has ranked in the top ten in the League for technical fouls each of the past six seasons. I do not like when guys jabber at opposing players or whine to the referees. But I do respect Bryant’s drive and his ability to “Refuse to Lose.” He is emotional. The man just hates losing. It is a trait that Michael Jordan had. It is a trait that Tiger Woods had. Losing is not something that any of these guys ever seem to think is possible. So they each have had their fair share of temper tantrums over the years. And do not think for a second that guys like Jordan did not cry to the refs or that the other stars in today’s game remain mum towards the referees. It just isn’t true. Stars complain. And they complain frequently.
But in the San Antonio game, Kobe made a big time mistake to go along with his technical foul. He appears to have directed an offensive gay slur towards the referee. Cursing is one thing. When racist, religious, or gay slurs get brought into the game, it takes things to another level. Kobe crossed the line (To finish reading this post, click this link).
Kobe definitely crossed a line a year ago. That is not what I am going to touch on today though. One of the main points of this post was to watch out for the Lakers come playoff time. I was way off. Despite beating San Antonio and then ending the regular season with a victory against a woeful Sacramento team, all was not right in Los Angeles. In the opening round, we watched Kobe and the Lakers do the bare minimum necessary to handle a vastly overmatched New Orleans team in six games.
Then came the vaunted Dallas series. I do not think I have ever been more surprised to see a sweep in the NBA playoffs during my lifetime than I was during last year’s Dallas/LA matchup. Dallas hammered LA to a pulp, ending it with a 36-point thrashing in which Andrew Bynum was ejected. It was the end of the present-day Lakers dynasty as we knew it. Or so we thought (LA has come on as of late).
Two years ago..
Are the J-E-T-S the Frontrunner
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Well now this team has an offense to go along with a fantastic defense. But lets start by talking about the bread and butter of the Jets. Let’s talk defense. These guys were ranked first in the League for a reason last year and carried a team to within one game of the Super Bowl with a rookie quarterback. It all starts with the lock down corner Darrelle Revis. This guy has created a new island called Revis Island. And you will not quite understand the extent of how good this guy is until you watch him play your team and shut down your top receiver. I had to see him make Chad OchoCinco look like a rookie for two consecutive weeks to fully understand. Not to mention the Jets just added Antonio Cromartie from the Chargers. This guy is one of the top corners in the League as well. So now the Jets have the best combo of cornerbacks in the League by far. So the defense has improved.
Now lets take a look at the offense. The Jets picked up the Steelers top receiver Santonio Holmes. And though Santonio has had some off field problems and will have to sit the first four games next year, this guy will be an instant impact player. Put him with the likes of Braylon Edwards, and Jerricho Cotchery, you now have a set of big, physical receivers, who can go out and make plays. Mark Sanchez continued to improve as the year went on and showed great poise and confidence in the postseason. He will only get better. Then finally they added future Hall-of- Famer, Ladainian Tomlinson to the backfield. LT may not be able to perform the way he once could, but he will be able to mentor Shonn Greene and also provide some production and leadership in the locker room (To finish reading this post, click this link).
The Jets were a frontrunner during the 2010/2011 season. The HBO Hard Knocks New York Jets edition was vastly entertaining in large part due to loud-mouth Rex Ryan. Revis Island continued to be a very unattractive touring destination for star wide receivers around the NFL. The Jets were unable to win the division, but made a deep playoff run for a second consecutive year. They knocked off Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in consecutive weeks during the playoffs (not sure if anyone will ever accomplish this again). Yet, they still didn’t make the Super Bowl. Got to love the Pittsburgh Steelers I guess. I was close, but no cigar. The Jets were a frontrunner, but came up just short thanks to Ben Roethlisberger and the Black and Yellow.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.