In the last week, we have borne witness to two diametrically opposing yet clear examples of efficiency. Last Friday, Klay Thompson scored 37 points in a single quarter against the Sacramento Kings, breaking an NBA record jointly held previously by George Gervin and Carmelo Anthony. His ruthless shooting, 13-13 in all, slammed the door on the Kings in what had been a close contest. Several days later, at Super Bowl Media Day, Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks conducted a full-scale display in performance art, pirouetting with reporters, fielding questions and answering them all the same way: “I’m just here so I won’t get fined.” His own unrelenting strategy captivated some and enraged others, and, like Thompson before him, sent the internet into a frenzy, triggering all sorts of ostensible #hottakes, including, I suppose, this one. But which outright disregard for others was more methodical?
I’ve grown tired of Mock Drafts, so instead I’ve made myself the hypothetical GM of every NFL team and simulated the first round of this year’s draft (If Kevin Costner can be a fictional GM, why can’t I?). Anyway, I wrote about the first 10 picks in Part 1 and covered 11 more in Part 2. Here’s the final part of the trilogy.
We’ve nearly survived the first round of the NFL Draft! Now it starts to get interesting, as we reach the part of the draft in which the best teams of last year try to improve upon their already stellar rosters. It’s the final eleven picks of the first round. Let’s get drafting!
Last night, in the second game of a conference championship weekend for the ages, the Seattle Seahawks defeated the San Francisco 49ers, 23-17, to send themselves to the Super Bowl for the second time in franchise history and, for what it’s worth, the second time in the last decade. Seattle has been an undeniably fun team to watch in the last two years, and particularly this season. The Seahawks have lost at home only once in the Russell HUSTLE BUSTLE Wilson era, in a Week 16 matchup earlier this season to a surprisingly good Arizona Cardinals team, and some fans have even taken to adopting a Phish song as Wilson’s personal entrance music. It is only right that a fun team from the Pacific Northwest, from the city without an NBA franchise, should represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.
Then, Richard Sherman happened.
This weekend, the AFC-NFC Championship games will feature four teams that started the playoffs as favorites to reach the Super Bowl. It will serve as the penultimate episode of a season that was chock full of intriguing subplots which managed to do nothing but fill up think pieces and conspiracy theories. Teams like the Carolina Panthers, Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles were like the Bob Bensons of the NFL – just something to keep our minds away from the thought of an inevitability. It was nice to see some fresh teams added into the mix after years out of the picture – greetings from Kansas City/Charlotte – but alas, the favorites prevailed, and there is not a Super Bowl dark horse in sight. Not that this is a bad thing. It’s actually quite to the contrary. If last year’s conference championships games were battles of Davids against Goliaths, this is an all-Goliath fest.