One day of the Olympics is in the books. While there wasn't a whole lot to the competitions that began, we saw the inaugural events of team figure skating and slopestyle snowboarding. A few thoughts on that and other top headlines to get to so let's get right to "the stack" for today, Friday, February 7:
Cavaliers fire GM
The Cleveland Cavaliers may be the biggest disappointment in the NBA this season. If they're not number one (the Knicks may be the top, Brooklyn would have had they not recovered at the start of the year), they're very near the top. Thursday, they fired General Manager Chris Grant following the team's 16-33 start. This on the heels of a 119-108 loss to the Kobe Bryantless Los Angeles Lakers who had lost seven straight and had such a limited bench that they had one guy foul out and still keep playing. Some very unknown rule to most NBA fans allows such an act to happen and if that player commits a foul, it is a flagrant plus other things and is a huge benefit to the opponent. Yet the Cavs couldn't find a way to win. Considering there are four top five picks on the roster, the Cavaliers should be way better. At least they drafted Anthony Bennett number one overall in last year's NBA Draft. Whoops. Think LeBron James will still want to come back with all of this mess going on? I think not.
College football signing day Wednesday
The NFL Draft has become a huge event. Actually, anthing NFL is pretty big. Something creeping up there though is National Signing Day for college football. Wednesday was no exception with thousands of high school football players signing their letters of intent. As expected, the rich get richer in Tuscaloosa where five of the fifteen five-star players signed with Alabama. Alabama even got a kid from Auburn (yes, Auburn!) to join them. Nick Saban has done it again. He has a pretty good track record and maybe the two losses this year will help motivate his team this year. There were plenty of other schools that had good days like Florida State and LSU, but once again, Alabama takes the cake. Look for the Crimson Tide to be chomping at the bit to be in the four-team playoff next year and be national champions.
Seattle celebrates Super Bowl
The city of Seattle (and the state of Washington for that matter) celebrated the Seahawks Super Bowl win Wednesday in a parade that took considerably longer than most parades in part because 700,000 people showed up for the parade. 700K!! The 12th man has really rallied around this team and they showed up in groves at the Super Bowl and then in downtown Seattle Wednesday. It was a fun time with Marshawn Lynch sitting on a duck boat with the SeaGals and throwing Skittles to the crowd. SafeCo Field was opened up for people to go watch the celebration if they couldn't get a ticked to Century Link Field and both were filled up. What an incredible experience. What a day. What a time to be a Seattle Seahawks fan.
It has been a few days now since the Seahawks won the Super Bowl and now that most of us have had a chance to catch our breath and look back at the Super Bowl as a whole, it isn't out of the question to wonder if the Seahawks defense rivals that of the '85 Chicago Bears or '00 Ravens. The Steel Curtain of the 70s was in a league of its own, but consider what Seattle did this seasons. The Legion of Boom was tremendous. Their secondary is second to none and they have a strong front seven. While their performance in the Super Bowl certainly makes you wonder whether they are the best or not, they may have had the best defense in a Super Bowl game considering they were going against the number one offense, but I still like the Ravens as having a better defense for the entire year. It's close, real close, but by a hair I'd take Baltimore.
The question now becomes if Seattle can repeat. Is this the beginning of a dynasty? It certainly could be. GM John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll have done an absolutely dynamite job in putting this team together through free agency and the draft. They are very yound and have tremendous depth. However, these guys will want to get paid. Richard Sherman is the best cornerback in the league. Safety Earl Thomas III will want to get paid too. Ditto for quarterback Russell Wilson. There are a lot of guys who are in line for a big pay day. You can do a few here and a few there to provide some cap relief, but not everyone will be able to re-sign, unless they are willing to take a steep hometown discount. I think without question they should be the odds-on favorite to win the Super Bowl right now and at the moment, they are my pick with San Francisco a close second depending on what they do in free agency. The 12th man may be celebrating another Super Bowl a year from now as well if this team plays as well as it did this year. The NFC West is the most difficult division in the NFL though. Just making it out of the west will be an accomplishment enough. Is it football season yet??
Day 1 Winter Olympics thoughts
A couple of new events made their way to centerstage on the opening day of competition of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Slopestyle men's and women's snowboarding was certainly interesting to watch. Canada's Matt McMorris, an odds on favorite to win the gold medal, didn't have the best of first runs, but steadied himself in his second run. He failed to qualify to automatically advance to the finals and will have to fight his way through the semi-finals. Maybe he shouldn't have trash-talked Shawn White for pulling out of the event to focus on the halfpipe. A couple of Americans will have to battle through the semi-finals to make the finals as well. On the women's side, a couple of Americans are looking pretty good, making it to the finals Saturday.
Not sure quite what to make of the team competition in figure skating. Never been a big fan of figure skating in the Olympics. This could be an interesting competition though. The Russian couple was near perfect in their routine and have set up the host country nicely to medal.
And in women's moguls, sad news for American Heidi Kloser who hurt her knee pretty badly in a practice run earlier in the day. She is done for the Olympics. Tough break (no pun intended) for Kloser. You chase that dream for four years, maybe longer. All of that training, fighting through injuries and everything else you have to go through, and to make it Sochi and suffer a significant injury prior to the actual competition has to make things even more painful. Very, very sad. As to the competition itself, that trio of sisters from Canada are pretty good and at least one will certainly medal if not two. The way they go down and keep their balance over thse moguls is something truly amazing. I know I would never be able to do it.
Opening Ceremonies tonight. They promise to be something spectacular. Forget all of the issues with Russia going on right now. The party tonight will be really, really good. It all starts at 7:30 PM ET on NBC. For a full TV schedule and for all Olympic results and news, click here and visit nbcolympics.com.
I'll be doing a blog more as the events go on and tweeting so hit me up on Twitter (@ndstacken).
Friday on the Olympics on NBC: 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Opening Ceremonies