Final Super Bowl Thoughts and Other Ramblings

Just like any job, being a writer has its good days and its bad.

Of course, the difference between you and I is that when you have a bad day, you might sneak away for a few 45 minute “cigarette breaks,” or hit on the chubby new secretary with the lazy eye just to make yourself feel better. Unfortunately, I have no such luxuries.

Nope, when I’m having a bad day, I’ve still got to write something and publish it online for all of you to see and make fun of me for. And I can’t blame you, I’d do the same. Just an occupational hazard I suppose.

But just because I’m not always a young Rick Reilly or Willy Shakespeare with the pen and paper, doesn’t mean that I don’t have opinions on the big game, or your favorite team. Sometimes though, I just can’t fit all those ideas into one neat little column for your entertainment purposes.

So where do those thoughts go? How about into this column, into a gimmick I’ve stolen from several writers including ESPN’s Bill Simmons, which are called the Ramblings.

Some of the Ramblings are well thought out, and will probably make you think like you never have before (Ok that might be a sliiiiiight exaggeration). Others aren’t even complete sentences.

But much like the Island of Misfit Mascots (and Toys too), these thoughts still need a home.

And now they have one. Enjoy.

Super Bowl: So I’ll try to make my thoughts on the Super Bowl short, since there literally isn’t any angle I can take that hasn’t already been discussed, re-discussed, beaten to death and brought back to life to discuss again. Here are a few final things to take with you on the Big Game:

– The difference in this game was the difference in the two coaches. Sean Payton was cool, calm and collected. Jim Caldwell was comatose and catatonic. I mean honestly, if you had a choice between the two to coach you, be it football, soccer, jai-alai, your daughter’s softball team, your prison boxing program, whatever, who’d you take? The guy that always seems in control? Or the one who looks like he just saw a triple-murder outside a nightclub?

That’s what I thought…

– Speaking of Comatose Caldwell, I thought he lost the game for Indy when he decided to go the Bill O’Reilly conservative route on us to end the first half.

I know the Colts thought they were going to get the ball back to start the second half, but come on. This is a team that made its living the entire year stepping on the opposition’s throats, yet in the biggest game of their season, they’re playing field position with an opportunity to seemingly put the game out of reach, and indisputably grab all the momentum?

To me, the Colts were never the same after they went up 10-0. And I blame Caldwell.

– Onto the onside kick. After thinking about it, my only real thought is this: How can you not feel bad for Hank Baskett?

The guy is already the second biggest celebrity in his own marriage, his wife only famous for being one of Hugh Hefner’s ex-girlfriends. Every male between the age of 15 and 63 has pretty much seen her naked. He’s going bald. He might be out of the league in a year. And after he didn’t recover that onside kick, he’ll be considered a Super Bowl goat the rest of his life.

Yikes… Something tells me we’re not going to remember 2010 as the “Year of Baskett.” Just a gut feeling.

– On a personal note, I’d like to thank Pierre Garcon for winning me $60 in the “First touchdown of the game,” pool. Who says there’s no upside to gambling?

– Onto Peyton Manning.

I know it’s easy to kill the guy, I get it. He’s got to win that game, especially with a 10 point lead. But how about placing at least a little bit of the blame on his receivers?

There was a Garcon drop, a Collie drop, and the last pass of the game went right through Reggie Wayne’s hands. Yet I haven’t heard  anyone talking about any of those plays? Really? It’s all Manning’s fault? Come on, give the guy a break.

– Finally, I need to talk about the postgame radio show Mike Tirico hosted.

Look, I love Tirico, I do. But he absolutely can never host that radio show again.

As I was driving home Sunday, there he was on my dial, recapping anything and everything, in a nice soothing voice that sounded like a dad reading a bedtime story to his kid. And you know what, it was so relaxing, so enjoyable, I almost fell asleep and ran off the road…Twice!!!

For the sake of all the drowsy drivers who are just trying to get home in one piece, Tirico can never host this show again. Ever. Give the job to Skip Bayless. Or Stephen A. Smith. Hell, replay old clips of Sam Kinison, I don’t care. Just as long as it’s someone who is loud, obnoxious and will keep me awake, if not angry. Just no Tirico, not that late at night. Please?

NBA: There are only so many hours in the day, and usually at this time of the year, I find myself watching more college hoops than the NBA. Still, here are a few thoughts.

– Jerry Jones has to be the coolest guy in the world over the age of 60. The fact that he convinced David Stern to have the NBA All-Star weekend at the new Cowboys Stadium has me excited in ways that I haven’t been since the night of my junior prom. I wish I was kidding.

– One of the storylines that the mainstream media really hasn’t picked up on yet, but that true NBA fans can’t stop talking about is the Kevin Durant scoring streak we’re in the midst of. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, the 21-year-old third year player has scored 25 or more points in his 24 straight games and counting. And let me repeat…he just turned 21!

As someone who was in the arena for the the fourth game of that streak (against the Nets on December 28), I can tell you that Durant is nothing short of a marvel to see in person. He scored 40 points the night I saw him play, and every single one of them was within the flow of the offense. Every single one. Nothing was forced.

I have much more to say about the guy, but want to save some of it. He really deserves (and will get) his own column at some point.

– Another Durant thought: This guy is so mature beyond his years it’s disgusting. No, literally it makes me sick to my stomach. I just wish he’d go on a few dates with Lindsay Lohan or something to make me feel better about myself. Because when I was 21, I might have been one of the five dumbest people on the entire planet. Yet with all the money in the world, all this guy does is eat sleep and breathe basketball.

Here’s the best way I can sum it up. Two weeks ago, Durant was in attendance to watch his old college- the University of Texas- take on Oklahoma State. During a timeout, ESPN reporter Holly Rowe, caught up with him for a quick interview.

After all the regular banter, her final question went as follows: “What’s the best piece of advice you try to give to the young guys?”

His response: “I just tell them to always keep working hard. Hard work makes up for a lot of other short comings.”

So simple, but damn. I don’t even think my 55-year-old father would say something that smart.

– Moving away from Durant and onto Vince Carter.

I don’t care if he scored 48 points on Monday night, I still hate the guy. There I said it. Let’s keep going…

– I’ve recently gotten into NBA TV, and I always get a kick out of old All-Star games. The players, the bad haircuts, and most importantly, the stupid stuff announcers say, that all these years later sounds like it can’t be real. Only it is. And it’s hysterical.

My personal favorite quote came while I was watching the 1998 All Star Game the other day. In the game, Marv Albert said the following about second year player Kevin Garnett:

“Well he sure has a lot to learn. Right now he isn’t even the MVP of his own team. I’d have to say that’d be Tom Gugliotta. Maybe even Stephon Marbury. Quite frankly, he’s only here because these fans love him.” (The implication being that they voted him in)

That actually happened. I’d like to add my own commentary, but even all these days later I’m not sure exactly how to react. Tom Gugliotta, really? Why not mention Anthony Peeler while you’re at it? Or Cherokee Parks. Anybody else we’re forgetting?

-I also got a kick of out seeing the 1985 All-Star game, which aired a few nights ago as well. Amongst the highlights were a slimmed down Magic Johnson (I know he weighs about 425 lbs. right now, but at one point he was one of the best athletes in the NBA. No seriously); A Larry Bird up-and-under move which showed me that in his prime he wasn’t just a jump shooter, but a total underrated all-around player; and Michael Jordan, in his rookie year (with hair, mind you), making the announcers giggle like 16-year-old girls.


NHL: I finally watched my first extended NHL action this weekend, when the Capitals took on the Penguins. Here is my one thought:

-You know how some people are just cool without even trying? Alex Ovechkin is that multplied by 100. He sweats cool, it comes out of his pores. Like Kevin Durant, stay tuned, he’s got an article all to himself coming soon.

College Basketball: By far the sport I’m watching the most right now. Just pray that I don’t go off on too many tangents…

– I hate UConn (Woops, what did I say about tangents again?)

– Speaking of UConn, it pains me to say this as a Huskies fan, but I’ve got to come clean. Syracuse, yes Syracuse, has somehow, inexplicably become my favorite team to watch this season. I know, I want to throw up just thinking about it.

But watching them, they’re everything UConn isn’t: They’ve got seven guys who love to play together; their best player (Wes Johnson) is almost pathologically unselfish (he averages just 11 shot attempts a game); They make at least 3-4 super-exciting, jump out of your seat passes a game; Their second leading scorer comes off the bench and seems more than happy to continue doing so; And honestly, I haven’t seen a team that enjoys playing with each other this much, since the 2006 Florida Gators.

Again, I feel dirty for admitting this to you all, but I’ve got to come clean. Now please excuse me as I put my right hand in a paper shredder to make myself feel better.

– Onto Kansas. During their game Monday night, I thought announcer Bobby Knight made a great point about them when he said “Any great team is also a really close team. If you like the guys you’re playing with, it’ll make you play that much harder.”

That got me thinking. Remember how back in September, the Kansas basketball team got into a turf war with the school’s football team, ending with Tyshawn Taylor in the hospital, and Athletic Director Lew Perkins needing to intervene? At the time we all thought they were a bunch of thugs right?

Well what if we totally misjudged the situation? What if they weren’t thugs at all, and just 12 incredibly close guys that all just had each other’s backs?

Never thought of it like that, did you?

– Now to Kentucky. Here’s my question about the Wildcats: DeMarcus Cousins has six straight double-doubles and 15 straight games where he’s scored in double-figures. He’s the single most un-guardable low post player in college basketball. Is it time to start talking about him as the SEC Player of the Year instead of John Wall? What about National Player of the Year?

– Speaking of DeMarcus Cousins, who do you think would win in a pie eating contest, him or JaMarcus Russell?

– It pains me to admit this, but much like Syracuse, I’ve gone to the other side on Georgetown too. 10 days ago, I wasn’t so sure about them. Now, under the right circumstances, I think they could make the Final Four.

And yes, that thought alone is enough to make me put my other hand into the paper shredder. Be right back…

– On the flip side of Georgetown, after Monday night’s embarrassment against Kansas (which was preceeded by Saturday’s embarrassment against Oklahoma) I’ve officially given up on Texas. Stick a fork in them, they’re done.

– I hate UConn (Wait, did I say that already?)

– As for Gonzaga, I didn’t think much of them a week ago, not even five days ago. But after they beat Portland late Thursday night, then flew all the way to Memphis and won Saturday afternoon, the Zags have my support. They may not be the most talented team in the country, but nobody has more heart.

– In Monday night’s win over No. 4 ranked West Virginia, Villanova had nine guys score in the first half. When these guys are right, they’re scary good.

– Following Georgia Tech basketball is like dating the slutty girl at school. It can be fun at times, really fun at others, but ultimately you just know it isn’t going to end well. Yet you can’t help but going back for more.

– When it comes to selecting NCAA Tournament teams, I usually like to give the benefit of the doubt to the school’s from the big conferences. Honestly going 8-8 in the Big East is significantly harder than going 13-3 in the Horizon League, right?

Anyway, this year, I’ve flipped the script. I’ve watched all the proverbial bubble teams, Louisville, UConn, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Clemson, Oklahoma State, Marquette, Virginia, the entire Pac-10, Minnesota, etc., and they’re just not that good. Now they still have plenty of chances to prove to me wrong, but right now I’m just not seeing it with any of them.

On the opposite side, I don’t care what conference they’re from, Gonzaga, Butler, Temple, Rhode Island, Siena, St. Mary’s and Northern Iowa are all good teams. Better than the teams I’ve mentioned above. And they should all be in the NCAA Tournament if they don’t get an automatic bid.

– If you held a gun to my head, I could still only pick four 1st Team All-Americans right now. They’d be Scottie Reynolds (Villanova), John Wall (Kentucky), Evan Turner (Ohio State) and Damion James (Texas), with Sherron Collins (Kansas), Cousins (Kentucky), Da’Sean Butler (West Virginia), Wes Johnson (Syracuse) and Jon Scheyer (Duke) fighting it out for the last spot. Not receiving any votes? This guy.

– Is anyone else thinking a Syracuse-Kansas National Championship game ala 2003? Because I sure am.

(Love the article? Hate it? Disagree with something Aaron said? Let him know by commenting below, or e-mailing him at Also, to for his thoughts on all things sports, follow him on Twitter @Aaron_Torres or



About Aaron Torres

Aaron Torres works for Fox Sports, and was previously a best-selling author of the book 'The Unlikeliest Champion.' He currently uses Aaron Torres Sports to occasionally weigh-in on the biggest stories from around sports. He has previously done work for such outlets as Sports Illustrated, SB Nation and Slam Magazine.