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The week is coming to an end and The Stack is here with a number of different topics to discuss.  First though, would you like one billion dollars?  Warren Buffett and Quicken Loans would like to give you one billion dollars and all you have to do is perform one simple task...pick a perfect bracket for March Madness.  That's it.  No strings attached.  The odds are not in your favor though.  One in nine quintrillion or something like that aren't they?  It certainly means that I'll have to put a little more thought and maybe fill out another bracket or two this year.  March Madness just got a whole lot more interesting.  Can't wait for March.  Now though, it's time to get to the rest of days topics in "the stack" for today, Friday, January 24th/Saturday, January 25th:

Mike Pettine name Cleveland Browns head coach

And with that there were none.  No more NFL head coaching positions are open anymore.  Who?  Who exactly did the Cleveland Browns hire?  After a very thorough (perhaps too thorough for Browns fans) search, the Cleveland Browns have hired a new head coach.  It's not Denver Broncos offensive coordiantor Adam Gase.  It's not Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.  Nope, not Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles either.  The Browns have named Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine as their new head coach.  Yeah, who?  This is definitely not the sexy pick that Browns fans were hoping for.  Browns ownership has preached patience, but patience is running on empty for Browns fans.  Pettine will be their third head coach in as many years.  He led a very good defense in Buffalo and there are those that believe he is just the person to provide the leadership the Browns so desperately need.  I sure hope so both for his sake and for Browns fans.  Cleveland can get really good in a hurry.  They have five picks in the first three rounds, including two in the first round.  Their defense is very good.  They just need to build that offense.  Easier said than done.  If Browns ownership thinks that Pettine is the guy, then good for them.  Best of luck Pettine.  You're going to need it in Cleveland.  

 

NBA All-Star starters announced

The 2014 NBA All-Star game takes place February 16th in New Orleans.  Yesterday, starters were named for both the eastern and western conference...

Eastern Conference

LeBron James (Miami), Paul George (Indiana), Carmelo Anthony (New York), Dewayne Wade (Miami), Kyrie Irving (Cleveland)

Western Conference

Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City), Stephen Curry (Golden State), Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers), Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers), Kevin Love (Minnesota)

It's time to call out NBA fans.  Not all of them.  Just those who voted, particularly those who voted for Wade and Bryant, maybe even Anthony.  I know it's the fan's game and they have every right to have a vote, but that percentage has to go down.  How in the hell is Bryant in all-star?  He's missed six games this year.  He's not even healthy!  Wade has missed a dozen games.   How is he an all-star?  Even Anthony is a little questionable, but I'm much more ok with that selection than Wade and Bryant.

Good job though for recognizing greatness and voting Curry and Lovee as starters.  How they haven't started before is ridiculous.  So good job there, but overall the NBA All-Star voting is a joke and it makes the NBA fan look like an idiot.  Being an all-star means nothing in the grand scheme of things for an NBA player's career right now thanks to the fan.  Thanks NBA fans.  Again not all of you get this title, not even the majority.   But to those who voted Bryant and Wade in, you are the idiot!

 

Nadal tops Federer

How many more times will we see Rafael Nadal go against Roger Federer?  You have to love the rivalry that they have developed over the years.  Nadal early Friday morning (US time) disposed of Federer in the semi-finals 7-6, 6-3, 6-3.  Not the thrilling match like we've seen with Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka and other matches, but still good to see great players compete against each in a good overall match.  Nadal hit some great shots and was definitely aggressive.  Federer hit some shots into the net he hadn't done the rest of the tournament and probably wouldn't have had he gone against anyone other than Nadal or maybe Djokovic.  Federer was playing brilliant tennis in the Australian Open and the hope is that he has enough left in the tank to be able to go against Nadal a couple more times in his career.  Now though, Nadal takes on Wawrinka in the finals (3:30 AM ET Sunday ESPN).  Have to think Nadal is in line for an Australian Open title, but we'll just have to wait and see.

 

NFL Pro Bowl teams picked

The NFL of course as I'm sure you've all heard by now changed the format of the Pro Bowl for this year.  No conferences.  Instead there was a pro bowl draft and teammates will have to go against teammates in certain instances.  The NFL also eliminated the kickoff, added a two minute warning to the first and third quarters and did some other little changes, but the big news is how the rosters look.  You can see who made the teams here.  Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers may have to throw against his teammate, safety Eric Weddle.  It adds a new wrinkle and could be kind of fun.  The competitiveness of the Pro Bowl also could be a little higher too if guys feel slighted as to where they were picked.  Then again, it's the Pro Bowl, the worst all-star game in sports.  No one wants to get injured and few people want to be in Hawaii for the game as the San Francisco 49ers can attest to.  They all pulled out except for rookie Eric Reid who is on Team Rice.  Team Sanders will have its hands full.  Should be interesting.  Still though, the NFL needs to figure out a way to either fix the Pro Bowl permanently, or just get rid of it and name All-Pros and send them and their families to Hawaii for a week.

 

Super Bowl Storyline #2

Super Bowl storyline number one was all about the game's most polarizing figure, Richard Sherman.  He has no Super Bowl experience.  Ditto for the rest of his Seahawks teammates.  Seattle is the first team since 1990 (Buffalo Bills) to go to the Super Bowl without one guy on their roster having played in the big game before.  The Bills by the way lost the Super Bowl in 1990 (sorry Buffalo fans). 

The Denver Broncos meanwhile have at least a few guys with Super Bowl experience.  Peyton Manning has been to two of them, winning one against Chicago and losing to New Orleans when he was with Indianapolis.  Wes Welker was in the Super Bowl with New England on their undefeated season when they lost to the New York Giants.  Tight end Jacob Tamme was with Manning in Indy for their Super Bowls.  Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie played in the big game with Arizona when they lost to Pittsburgh.  And head coach John Fox coached in the Super Bowl with Carolina when they lost to New England.  Out of the group, only Manning has ever won a Super Bowl.  For the sake of discussion, I'm not counting Broncos exec John Elway who we all know has won two Super Bowls.

So when the going gets tough and there are moments that may seem too big for some of the players, especially on the Seattle sideline, it may be a big advantage to Denver having that experience and be one of the big reasons why Denver wins the Super Bowl if in fact they do.

 

Coming up Monday: Reaction to top sports stories from the weekend plus Super Bowl storyline #3
 
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