Sportuality2019-07-26T16:41:35+00:00

Sportuality

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The Winding Road to the Super Bowl

The Long Road to the Super Bowl

It’s never easy getting to the Super Bowl, but the journey was especially circuitous for many of this year’s participants.

Let’s start with the coaches. Kansas City’s Andy Reid has his fingerprints all over the league: seven of his former assistants are head coaches, but he’s only reached the Super Bowl once before–with the Eagles–and many blame his clock management for their loss to New England. Before last weekend, he was 1-5 in conference championships, and many have also pinned those losses on some of Reid’s questionable decisions. That being said, the first word that comes to mind when thinking about Reid is “beloved.” All around the league, coaches, players, and owners adore the guy. You could see it after the game last Sunday, as Reid was trying to make his way to his family and kept getting stopped by players to give him a hug. “I don’t know a coach that deserves it more,” said former Chiefs and Eagles head coach Dick Vermeil.

On the other sideline is Kyle Shanahan, son of Super Bowl winning coach Mike Shanahan, who handed his son the NFC Championship trophy last weekend. Kyle is only 40 years-old, three years removed from taking control of the 49ers, and already, Super Bowl ghosts follow him. He was the Falcons offensive coordinator in Super Bowl LI, when he kept dialing up pass plays even after Atlanta had a 28-3 lead. 31 unanswered points later, Tom Brady was hoisting another Super Bowl trophy. […]

One Final Piece of Patriots Magic

One Final Piece of Patriots Magic

When a team like the Patriots—preseason Super Bowl favorites that started 8-0 and handily won the AFC East—loses the way they did last week against the Tennessee Titans, the typical fan reaction is sadness, anger and disgust.

That’s not what happened in Foxborough this past Sunday night. A pick six might have ended Tom Brady’s legendary New England career, but the attitude in the locker room, in the crowd, and for Patriots fans across the country was something much different–acceptance, appreciation and deep gratitude. For a franchise that has had its share of miracles, this felt like one final piece of magic.

Dynasties don’t typically end in glory, and it’s even rarer when they end with a modicum of dignity. Consider the Golden State Warriors, whose final year included Kevin Durant and Draymond Green getting in shouting matches on the bench. Shaq and Kobe took as many shots at each other as they did on the court. Patrick Roy, the great Montreal Canadiens goalie, walked off the ice in the middle of a 1996 game after a disagreement with his coach and never played a game for the Habs again.

There were rumors of tension in New England, but they never amounted to anything more than a whisper. The crowd showered Brady with chants all game long on Sunday. Robert Kraft heaped praise on his quarterback, and then remarked, “How lucky we’ve been.” Brady, at his locker after it was all said and done, repeated to reporters, […]

Why the Washington Nationals Won the World Series

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THERE’S NOTHING LIKE A GAME SEVEN

Faith. That’s how the Nationals won the World Series earlier this week. It’s what they held onto when they were 19-31 nearly two months into this season. It’s what they believed in when they were down two runs late in the do-or-die Wild Card game. It’s what they remembered when the deciding Game 5 of the NLDS came down to extra innings. And it’s how they won on the road against the Astros. And then again. And again. And again.

We talked last week about the Baseball Gods, and in response, our co-founder Gotham Chopra said that the Nationals have that team of destiny feel to them. That’s code for saying that Washington had the Baseball Gods on their side. Ryan Zimmerman explained the victory in simpler terms. “We were just ourselves,” he said.

In the end, it was some combination of the two. The Baseball Gods have been breathing life into the Nationals since late May, and the Nationals never questioned it. They just let it happen. They believed. Every player did.

There’s Ryan Zimmerman, who’s been with the team since as long as it’s existed, back when they played at RFK Stadium, when they lost 100 games in a season.

There’s Stephen Strasburg, who was compared to Walter Johnson as a rookie, then told he was too fragile to be a true ace, and then pitched the most dazzling game of the […]

The Baseball Gods Are Here to Have Fun

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THE BASEBALL GODS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN

There’s an old phrase that people throw around when something inexplicable happens on a baseball diamond. There are unbelievable turns of events in any sport, but they seem to happen in baseball the most. When they do—when there’s a home run that floats out of the park seemingly because of a cosmic gust of wind, or when there’s a grounder that worms its way around infielders and into the outfield for a late-inning RBI—we throw up our hands and declare that the only explanation is that the Baseball Gods are out there having a little fun. The Red Sox breaking the Curse of the Bambino by completing an epic comeback against the Bambino’s Yankees? Baseball Gods. The Cubs finally winning a World Series when their drought reached 108 years? Baseball Gods. When you realize that there are 108 stitches on a baseball? Well, you get the idea.

The Baseball Gods are having a field day right now. If you’ve watched these playoffs or this World Series, you know what we’re talking about. It was there in the ALCS, when the Astros, having led all game, gave up the lead in the 9th inning. With Houston up to bat, second baseman José Altuve—fan favorite and Astros lifer—stepped into the batter’s box against Aroldis Chapman, the filthiest pitcher of his generation. With two outs, Chapman left a slider hanging, something that never […]

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