Before you hit the panic button…

By: Isaiah Blakely 

The sports world tends to hit the “panic button” early on in the season, no matter the sport.

This year the Golden State Warriors were questioned early on when they were in third place almost 25 games into the season.

Super Bowl Champion New England was behind the Miami in the division going into Week 5 and there were questions being asked about they would fare this season.

Well the Warriors just clinched the one-seed in the NBA’s Western Conference again and the Patriots went on to win the Super Bowl.

The new team to be questioned is the defending champion Boston Red Sox who are 5-9 are and near the bottom of the AL East. With a slow start comes immediate questions of what’s wrong with the team.

What if there’s nothing really wrong with the Red Sox, or the Patriots or the Warriors? Great teams figure it out. Sure the Red Sox have holes especially in their bullpen, but can we hold off on asking questions about what’s wrong with a team this early in the season?

On this date last year the Red Sox were having a hot start at 8-1. But there were some other teams that were playing great baseball in April as well. The Toronto Blue Jays (6-4), Los Angeles Angels (7-3), New York Mets (7-1), Pittsburgh Pirates (7-2) and Arizona Diamondbacks (7-2).

None of those teams made the playoffs and they all started with a .600 winning percentage or better. In the Pirates and Diamondbacks cases they were top of the division halfway through May and still missed the playoffs.

Today we live in a world of instant results because of technology. But when it comes to sports, people including myself, need to relax and let the process play out.

That’s what playing a professional sport is…. A long process starting in the offseason with a goal to win a championship.

People just ignore the process and are quick to tear down a player and or a team.

The Patriots are a prime example. Tom Brady has been “declining” according to several talking heads on networks such as ESPN and Fox Sports 1 for years. That declining quarterback has led the Patriots to the Super Bowl four of the last five years including winning three.

People are also too quick to crown teams.

This year’s Los Angeles Lakers for a lot of people including myself were an easy playoff team. Halfway through December they were a game out of third place. Then poor play and injuries derailed their season. In reality though, a team made up of guys not known for their defense or their ability to shoot the three very well should have never been considered a high seed. But we all bought into the LeBron James hype and were all very wrong as the Lakers didn’t even eclipse 40 wins this year.

Even in the NHL, the Buffalo Sabres were top of league and on a 10-game win streak in late November. It appeared this was going to be the year the Sabres finally return to the playoffs. Instead the only thing that returned was dysfunction and poor play. That led the Sabres to finish near the bottom of the Eastern Conference with 76 points.

Early season performances aren’t completely pointless but it’s not always an indicator of a team’s future success. At this point it’s getting ridiculous. Media people are just making knee-jerk reactions to get the most views or clicks on an article.

If a surprise team is over-performing, you have to take a look at how its winning and decide whether you believe that’s a realistic and sustainable way to be successful.

It’s rare that a talented group, especially a defending champion, has such a big problem the next year that can’t be fixed over the course of a season. That’s what makes a team great, its ability to adjust and overcome adversity.

I’m not saying no more “hot takes”. I enjoy the “Monday Morning Quarterback” type takes just like everyone else. But before we hit the panic button on the Red Sox in April or question if the Patriots dynasty is over hold off another week and save the panicking for everyone else.

 

 

 

 

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Buffalo Sports Buzz 12/2/15: Bills’ playoff hopes dwindling; Sabres looking competitive

By Anthony Sambrotto @asambrotto95

The Buffalo Bills’ season is on life support. After a crushing loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday to send them to 5-6 on the season, the Bills need to win out to have a realistic chance at their first playoff berth in 15 years. The team is still in the hunt for an AFC wild card slot, but needs to leapfrog three other teams first.

The Bills head back to Ralph Wilson Stadium this Sunday, but will have the 6-5 Houston Texans waiting for them. The Texans defense, led by two-time Defensive Player of the Week J.J Watt, leads the league in least points allowed per game and sacks since week eight. They have held the high-powered New Orleans Saints and Cincinnati Bengals to six points each in recent games and will pose a tough task for Tyrod Taylor. Taylor is coming off one of the best games of his short starting career, throwing three touchdowns and no interceptions for 291 yards against the Chiefs.

The Bills were forced to perform a slew of transactions this week on the defensive side of the ball. Pro bowl defensive tackle Kyle Williams was placed on season-ending injured reserve with a knee injury, and his backup Alex Carrington is also done for the 2015 campaign with a torn quad. The Bills also released linebacker A.J Tarpley, who missed several key assignments on Sunday. Replacements for the Bills include the newly-signed DE Lavar Edwards, DT T.J. Barnes and LB Kevin Riddick. Also receiving a promotion is rookie linebacker Tony Steward, who will start for Nigel Bradham this week.

After Sunday’s game, the Bills hit the road for two straight against Philadelphia and Washington.

The other professional team in Buffalo has been playing much better over the past week. After losing six straight, the Sabres have points in three consecutive games.

Buffalo lost a thrilling 5-4 shootout decision to the Detroit Red Wings Tuesday night. Buffalo fell behind 2-0 early, but battled back behind two goals from Evander Kane and three assists from defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen. The Sabres had a great chance to end the game in overtime with a power play that saw Kane rip a shot off the post, but ultimately the game went to a shootout, where Detroit’s Brad Richards scored the only goal.

The Sabres get a few days off before hosting the Arizona Coyotes on Friday.

Despite this being termed a “rebuilding” year from the Sabres’ brass, they sit at 23 points through 25 games, better than three other teams in the Eastern Conference.

Center Ryan O’Reilly leads the Sabres in scoring with 20 points, but Ristolainen, who has four points over his last five games, is close behind with 17 on the season.

 

This Day in Bonaventure History

By Joe Pinter, News Editor, @JPinter93

December 7, 2001

John Rigas founded Adelphia Communications Corporation and turned it into one of the country’s biggest cable companies. In addition to owning the Buffalo Sabres, he was a very generous man and gave lots of money to institutions—most notably St. Bonaventure University.

Rigas’ name is above the doors to the auditorium in the Quick Arts Center. He attended many basketball games and broadcasted many more on Empire Sports Network, which was owned by Adelphia. Also, he donated a decent amount of money for a new basketball court, prompting the university to rename the court Adelphia Court on this day.

However, nearly a year later, police arrested Rigas and his family for embezzling millions of dollars from Adelphia and the Sabres.

When Bob Lanier donated money in 2007 for a nicer court, the university made the easy decision to change the name to Bob Lanier Court.

pinterjo11@bonaventure.edu

(This Day in Bonaventure History will return on January 14)