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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Intrepid Sports Super Bowl Picks

By The Intrepid sports staff

Super Bowl Sunday is upon us, and the Patriots and Seahawks are ready to face off! Our sports staff made their predictions for the big game:

Anthony Sambrotto: As much as this pains me as a diehard Bills fan, I feel like the Patriots are the stronger team in this year’s Super Bowl. Tom Brady knows this may be his final chance to win the big game, and he has the weapons surrounding him for a chance to pull off his elusive fourth Super Bowl win. For that to happen (LeGarrette) Blount needs to continue his amazing stretch and the Patriots need to stop (Marshawn) Lynch and force Seattle to throw the ball.​​

Trystan Rushia: The champs will be the Seattle Seahawks. Every sports news show has been all about the “deflategate” with the New England Patriots, but that has nothing to do with the Seahawks and their defense. The Seahawks defense is called the “Legion of Boom” for a reason. Sherman may be injured, but he is not the only part. Byron Maxwell, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas will step up their game for the injured Sherman. Chancellor is going to have another Superbowl interception, and the “Legion of Boom” and the “12th Man” are going to get to the Patriots and Tom Brady. Deflated balls won’t help Brady this time. Seattle takes the Lombardi back to Seattle by a score of 33-27.

Joshua Svetz: Both teams are solid, but what it comes down to is total defense and offensive turnovers. Going off of which defense is playing the best in the playoffs, it’s the Patriots. The Pats allowed 637 yards combined versus the Baltimore Ravens and the Indianapolis Colts in the playoffs. Compare that to the Seahawks who gave up over 300 yards in each playoff game, totaling 668 total yards against in the playoffs. Offensively, the most telling stat is turnovers. The Patriots have only turned the ball over twice while the Seahawks have turned the ball over five times so far in the playoffs. For these reasons, I’m going with the Patriots to edge it out in a close one, 24-20.

Jeff Fasoldt: These two teams could not be any more opposite of each other. You have Belichick’s Patriots who’ve seen their dynasty become marred by constant accusations and evidence of cheating. Still, you cannot overlook the competitiveness and winning attitude of Tom Brady and this New England Team. The Seahawks are a team that thrives on their defense, especially their hard-hitting secondary. Their head coach, Pete Carroll, is known more for his off-field friendships with celebrities than what he’s done for this Seattle Seahawks team. However, the Seahawks will be back-to-back champions after it’s all said and done Sunday. This Seahawks defense is still the best in the league and Tom Brady doesn’t have the elusiveness to avoid the rush that (Seahawks coach Pete) Carroll will no doubt be sending. It’s going to be a close game throughout unlike last years super bowl, but the Seahawks win again, 34-24.

Jason Klaiber: My strongest premonitions tell me that the Patriots, with their deflated balls in stock, will snag the victory in this year’s Super Bowl. It’s hard to argue that this will be a matchup between two absolute powerhouses, and it’s easy to assume that it’ll be an enthralling game. Defeating two of the league’s most distinguished quarterbacks in Peyton Manning and Tom Brady (and in consecutive years no less!) is a feat that seems unlikely to me. The Patriots’ defense isn’t far behind the Seahawks’ in my opinion, and to add on to that, New England’s offense exceeds that of Seattle. If Tom Brady and his boys can put on a show as dominating and exhilarating as their run through the AFC playoffs, particularly their dismantling of the Colts, and the defense can repress Marshawn Lynch, they’ll overpower the Seahawks in convincing fashion.

Chuckie Maggio: I’m going with the Seahawks. One of the key things that was lost in the Patriots’ two Super Bowl losses against the Giants was how much New England struggled against the dominant New York defense. Michael Strahan, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora made Tom Brady feel extremely uncomfortable in the pocket, forcing plenty of sacks and rushed throws. This Seattle defense doesn’t have as big of a pass rush, but they are just as dominant. It will be a close contest, but the Patriots defense doesn’t have that big-play ability when the game is on the line. They’ll get a big stop when they need it the most, Russell Wilson will cap off a game-winning drive with a touchdown pass to Luke Willson and Seattle will repeat. 24-20 Seahawks