Sunday State of Mind: September 6th-September 12th

Photo: Phys.org

One of the best weekends in all of sports has arrived. The NFL is back and majority of the games have been played. Our annual tradition (one year running) of dedicating Week 1 a full SSM lives on.

We got started on Thursday, Bucs and the ‘Boys
Another year of Tom Brady making defenses his toys
Bucs held off Dak and his squad, escaped by only two
TB12 keeps playing, wins continue to accrue

Seahawks and the Colts, met up at Lucas Oil
Indy’s Week 1 hopes, did Russell Wilson spoil
Seattle starts their campaign with a big road win
Seahawks may be on a Super Bowl run once again

Jaguars and the Texans, oof these teams are bad
Might see plenty of Urban, eating pizza while so sad
Houston beat the Jags, must give them their due
Texans should enjoy it now, wins likely to be few

Eagles and the Falcons, battle of the birds
Falcons defense is so bad, it’s hard to put in words
Jalen Hurts went out and looked like an All-Pro
Good start for The Eagles, still a long way to go

Chargers and The Football Team, met up in DC
What could be a high powered LA offense only put up 20
It was enough to get the win, Justin Herbert lead the way
Win whatever way you can on any given Sunday

Steelers and the Bills, upset of the week
Pittsburgh should not have have won this game, but played up at their peak
The Bills seem to be loaded, plenty of wins ahead
Getting off to a slow start should be a short term dread

Lions and 49ers, surprisingly high score
Bit of a shocker here, thought this game would be a bore
Still as most of us thought, Niners came out on top
If San Fran keeps this offense up, they will be hard to stop

Bengals and the Vikings, week 1 overtime
Burrow versus Cousins, both were throwing dimes
Cincinnati held on, OT field goal, victory
Brutal for all of us out there with Vikings -3

Panthers and the Jets, Darnold revenge game
Played well against his former team, victory was claimed
Zach Wilson threw two tuddys in his NFL debut
Probably won’t take too long for Jets fans to start to boo

Cardinals and the Titans, down in Tennessee
Arizona offense humming, lead by Kyler Murray
Disappointing start for Derrick Henry, Tractorcito
Shouldn’t be a huge concern, sure he’ll find his flow

Cleveland Kansas City, Browns and the Chiefs
Brownies lead most of the game, their stay on top not brief
Cleveland had more than a shot, fan’s mouths began to foam
But we’ve all seen this before, comeback Patrick Mahomes

Patriots and Dolphins, ‘Bama QB battle
Tua and Mac Jones, young guns back in the saddle
It was Fins Up in New England though, Dolphins with the dub
Mac played well in his debut, joined the NFL Club

Broncos and the Giants, in the Meadowlands
Giants had a chance to win, slipped right through their hands
Teddy Two Gloves did his job, Melvin Gordon too
If Saquon doesn’t get more run, G-Men will be 0-2

Packers and the Saints, Jamies was the best
Quarterback in this game, Rodgers did not impress
New Orleans won the game, difference of five touchdowns
Potential last season for A-Rod, started with a frown

Nightcap in LA, Rams versus the Bears
Rams have themselves a real QB, defenses should be scared
Stafford and McVay could be a coach/QB combo
To get back to the Super Bowl, in short time we’ll know

Who Wore it Best? 39-30

Photo: Dr. Odd

We’re sadly on the downhill turn of “Who Wore It Best.” In this edition, we get into the 30’s.

39 – Dominik Hašek

Photo: NHL.com

Hot start for hockey! Hašek was one of the greatest goaltenders to ever do it. His career spanned four decades (1980-2011), and included two Stanley Cups, two Hart Memorial trophies, and six Vezina trophies.

Honorable Mention: Larry Csonka

38 – Pavol Demitra

Demitra seemed to be on track to becoming one of the best Czech players in the game. He recorded 768 points in 847 games before sadly passing in a plane accident in 2011.

Honorable Mention: N/A

37 – Patrice Bergeron

Photo: CBS Sports

Bergeron has been a steady force for the Bruins since 2003. A part of the 2011 Stanley Cup winning team, Bergeron also made All-Star games in 2015 and 2016.

Honorable Mention: N/A

36 – Jerome Bettis

“The Bus” comes rumblin’, stumblin’, bumblin’ onto our list at 36. Bettis won a Super Bowl (in his home town of Detroit), was a two time first team All-Pro, and made six Pro Bowls.

Honorable Mention: Gaylord Perry

35 – Kevin Durant

An easy choice for what ended up being a stacked slot. Durant is potentially (based on how much you love/hate Lebron) currently the best basketball player on the planet. In a career with plenty of years left, Durant has already put together an incredible resume. The Slim Reaper has two NBA titles (Finals MVP in both), a regular season MVP, six first team All-NBA selections, and 11 All-Star appearances.

Honorable Mentions: Phil Niekro, Frank Thomas, Aeneas Williams, Tony Esposito

34 – Shaquille O’Neal

Another loaded number of selections here, but the most dominant big man of all time takes the cake. The Big Diesel’s career accolades are almost too much to list: four NBA championships, three NBA Finals MVPs, fifteen All-Star games, and eight first team All-NBA selections.

Honorable Mentions: Nolan Ryan, Kerry Wood, Hakeem Olajuwon, Walter Payton, Thurman Thomas, Earl Campbell

33 – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

For as much good as Kareem has done off the court, he was as great on it. Six rings, a matching number of MVPs, 10 first team All-NBA selections, five first team All-Defensive teams, and lead the NBA in blocks in four separate seasons.

Honorable Mentions: Eddie Murray, Scottie Pippen, Zdeno Chára, Henrik Sedin, Dustin Byfuglien

32 – Magic Johnson

Photo: Curbed

We all know how good Magic was as a player. For as good as he was on the court, he may have found his true life’s calling as a hot take artist.

Honorable Mentions: Steve Carlton, Sandy Koufax, Marcus Allen, Jim Brown

31 – Greg Maddux

Photo: Taddlr

Maddux is the second of the 90’s Braves big three to make the list, with Tom Glavine making the cut at 47. Mad Dog ended his 22 year career with 355 wins, 18 Gold Gloves, and four Cy Youngs.

Honorable Mention: Reggie Miller

30 – Terrell Davis

Probably going to be our shortest career to make the list. Davis only played in the NFL from 1995-2001, but was good enough to make the Hall of Fame in 2017. In seven seasons, he racked up two Super Bowls, an MVP, and three first team All-Pro selections.

Honorable Mentions: Tim Raines, Martin Brodeur

The 30’s were by far our most expansive edition yet. Huge names and the honorable mention lists were incredible, specifically 32-35. One can only assume the list is going to keep improving into the 20’s.

Sunday State of Mind: June 14th-June 20th

Happy Father’s Day! Read this week’s SSM to Dad since he was probably napping in his recliner during all the action.

Madden 22 has released their latest cover
Two goats, one game, great for football lovers
Brady and Mahomes are your newest cover boys
On the video game that has given all of us years of joy

Spider Tack introduced itself into the public eye
MLB cares all the sudden, truly wonder why
No chance that it could be because batting’s now a joke
Anything they can do to fix a sport that’s nearly broke

Suns and the Clippers, finals in the West
Phoenix and LA going to see who is the best
Bucks advanced in the East to face the 76ers or Hawks
Philly or Atlanta in game seven, loser has to walk

Who Wore it Best? 69-60

Photo: Dr. Odd

Guess who’s back? Our “Who Wore It Best” series, that’s who. We last checked in on who wore numbers 79-70 best, now we dive into the 60’s.

69 – Jared Allen

Photo: Celebrity Net Worth

Not a huge field of choices here, but a nice selection. Jared Allen played for the Chiefs, Vikings, Bears, and Panthers during an above-average 11 year NFL career. He made First Team All-Pro four times, lead the NFL twice in sacks, and made five Pro Bowls.

Honorable Mention: N/A

68 – Jaromir Jagr

Photo: CBS Sports

The flow is enough to be included on our list. That head lettuce is a thing of beauty. Jagr wasn’t half bad in his 24 seasons in professional hockey either: most career game winning goals (135), five Art Ross trophies, and two Stanley Cups.

Honorable Mention: Will Shields

67 – Francisco Córdova

Photo: Rum Bunter

Remember this guy? Cordova gets the nod for pitching nine innings in a what ended up being a 10 inning no hitter for the Pirates against the Astros on June 12, 1997.

Honorable Mention: N/A

66 – Mario Lemieux

Surprisingly strong category here at 66. Lemieux takes it home as one of the best hockey players to ever do it. In fact, Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky are the only two players who occupy the list of top ten seasons for points and assists in a season. Pretty impressive company to keep.

Honorable Mentions: Ray Nitschke, Yasiel Puig

65 – James Paxton

Paxton may very well end up being the youngest athlete to make our list. However, “Big Maple” has earned his spot at 65 for recording a no-hitter for the Mariners in 2018.

Honorable Mention: Erik Karlsson

64 – Randall McDaniel

Photo: eBid

McDaniel was a stalwart offensive guard for 13 seasons, mostly with the Vikings. McDaniel started 220 of his career 222 games, made 12 Pro Bowls, and is a member of NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team.

Honorable Mention: N/A

63 – Gene Upshaw

Another hard nosed, badass, old school NFL lineman. Upshaw played 14 years for the Raiders, scooping up three First Team All-Pro selections, five Second Team All-Pro selections, and two Super Bowl rings.

Honorable Mention: Brad Marchand

62 – Jim Langer

Jim Langer was the center for the only undefeated team in NFL history, the 1972 Dolphins. Langer won two Super Bowls and was a three time First Team All-Pro.

Honorable Mention: N/A

61 – Liván Hernández

Who else loved this absolute unit growing up? His career numbers aren’t stellar, but anyone who can hang around the majors for 17 seasons is impressive. Hernandez is a two time All-Star who won a ring as well as World Series MVP honors with the Marlins in 1997.

Honorable Mention: Rick Nash

60 – Dallas Keuchel

Not a lot of meat on the 60 bone, but a fine choice here. Keuchel has established himself as one of the steadiest pitchers in baseball since entering the bigs with the Astros in 2012. He has won four Gold Gloves, the 2015 Cy Young, and a World Series ring in 2017.

Honorable Mention: N/A

Another edition of “Who Wore It Best,” done and dusted. Nice representative spread in the the 60’s for football, hockey, and baseball. Total choke job from basketball here; maybe we’ll see some stronger effort in the 50’s?

Round One Reaction From the NFL Draft

Loud suits, awkward bear hugs, and dreams coming true. The NFL Draft comes around every April and becomes a bigger spectacle every year. Seeing these mutant freak athletes break down and hug mom or family when their name is called never fails to deliver.

On Thursday, we got our annual helping of all of the feels, Roger Godell being weird, and grainy war room footage when the NFL started the clock on their 2021 Draft. Some picks were locks, some were surprises, and we were there for all of it.

1. Trevor Lawrence, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars: more like Trevor Snorerence, amirite? This pick was made the day Lawrence declared he was leaving Clemson and going to the NFL.

2. Zach Wilson, QB, New York Jets: a small town millennial moves to the big city after college; will he survive or succumb to the pressures of professional life in New York? Turns out it wasn’t the destination that was important, but the journey along the way. Sounds like a rom-com in the making.

3. Trey Lance, QB, San Francisco 49ers: drafting a QB who has barely played in college, what could go wrong?

4. Kyle Pitts, TE, Atlanta Falcons: despite having a god awful defense, you can’t blame the Falcons for drafting a guy that could very well be the best player in this draft fourth overall.

5. Ja’Marr Chase, WR, Cincinnati Bengals: yeah, no, Joe Burrow doesn’t need a left tackle, he’s fine.

6. Jaylen Waddle, WR, Miami Dolphins: Jaylen careens, dodders, and staggers his way to South Beach.

7. Penei Sewell, OT, Detroit Lions: “Dantallica” has his left tackle, now he just needs a quarterback.

8. Jaycee Horn, CB, Carolina Panthers: this kid has to be good if he came from the loins of the man responsible for one of the greatest celebrations of all time.

9. Patrick Surtain II, CB, Denver Broncos: Surtain’s dad was a stud in Madden 2004, so the kid has to be good right?

10. DeVonta Smith, WR, Philadelphia Eagles: fun fact: Smith’s Heisman Trophy is heavier than DeVonta himself.

11. Justin Fields, QB, Chicago Bears: not here to make a joke about the Bears trading up for a quarterback…that’s old, played out, and I already did it earlier on the Trey Lance pick.

12. Micah Parsons, LB, Dallas Cowboys: Jerr-uh Jones, human embodiment of The Rich Texan from The Simpsons, rangles himself up another solid linebacker.

13. Rashawn Slater, OT, Los Angeles Chargers: Slater gets the best of both worlds; he gets to live in LA and won’t have the pressure of fans showing up to games to boo him if he struggles.

14. Alijah Vera-Tucker, G, New York Jets: the Jets pledge their Alija-nce to their new QB Zach Wilson, by getting him some protection in Vera-Tucker.

15. Mac Jones, QB, New England Patriots: I now have no doubt that Mac Jones will become the greatest quarterback to ever play the game.

16. Zaven Collins, LB, Arizona Cardinals: the worst part about this pick is that we didn’t get a sneak peak into Kliff Kingsbury’s sexy bachelor pad like we did last year.

17. Alex Leatherwood, OT, Las Vegas Raiders: can you imagine the culture shock of moving from Tuscaloosa, Alabama to Las Vegas?

18. Jaelan Phillips, DE, Miami Dolphins: very cool story here; this guy went from retiring in college to a first round pick.

19. Jamin Davis, LB, Washington Football Team: The Washington Football Team picked a football player to play for their football team…football.

20. Kadarius Toney, WR, New York Giants: men with that namesake in the greater New York metropolitan area always take care of business…great pick here by the G-Men.

21. Kwity Paye, DE, Indianapolis Colts: Jim Irsay, as he is known to do, focuses on the line.

22. Caleb Farley, CB, Tennessee Titans: the fact that I get duped into thinking this is Chris Farley anytime I read this guy’s name makes me hate this pick.

23. Christian Darrisaw, OT, Minnesota Vikings: another devout Christian on the Vikings offense.

24. Najee Harris, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers: stop me if you’ve heard this before: “Alabama player drafted in the first round.”

25. Travis Etienne, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars: just like the 2019 Masters, Tigers back in Jacksonville.

26. Greg Newsome II, CB, Cleveland Browns: the second first rounder from Northwestern…what the hell is going on?

27. Rashod Bateman, WR, Baltimore Ravens: Bateman’s quarterback in college looks like he’s twice the age of Lamar Jackson…so he’s got that going for him, which is nice.

28. Payton Turner, DE, New Orleans Saints: Turner’s first name breaks down to “big pay day.” Good things in the future for this guy.

29. Eric Stokes, CB, Green Bay Packers: an inspired pick that will for sure distract all of us from the Aaron Rodgers news.

30. Gregory Rousseau, DE, Buffalo Bills: this dude definitely looks like he could go through some tables.

31. Jayson Oweh, LB, Baltimore Ravens: this guys last name sounds like a surprised Canadian.

32. Joe Tryon, LB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: some pass rush ability for this prospect, but a definite raw talent. The Super Bowl champs are going to take a flyer and try on the linebacker from Washington.

It was a glorious night for the above-mentioned 32 players and their families. After all of the pomp and circumstance of draft night one, it really makes me want to time warp to Week 1 in the fall. Rounds 2-7 will have to do for now.

Who Wore it Best? 89-80

Photo: Dr. Odd

Round two of who wore it best is here. We’re ranking the GOAT to wear each jersey number. If you missed part one for jersey numbers 99-90, check it out here. For now, let’s dive into numbers 89-80.

89 – Mike Ditka

Everyone knows Ditka lead the Bears to their only Super Bowl in ’85. Did you know on the field he was a five time Pro Bowler, first team all-pro four times, and was the rookie of the year in 1961? Ditka also has the number 89 retired for both the Bears and at the University of Pittsburgh.

Honorable Mention: Alexander Mogilny

88 – Patrick Kane

STRONG number here. Kaner takes the crown as a sure fire Hall of Famer with three Stanley Cups, the 2013 Conn Smythe trophy, and nine all-star selections.

Honorable Mentions: Albert Belle, Antoine Walker, Michael Irvin, Allan Page

87 – Sidney Crosby

Crosby has an even stronger resumé than Kane. Two Conn Smythe trophies, two Olympic gold medals, three Stanley Cups, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Honorable Mention: Rob Gronkowski, Dan Otero

86 – Antonio Freeman

Slim pickings at number 86. Antonio Freeman had a respectable NFL career; in 1998 he led the NFL in receiving yards, was named to the Pro Bowl, and was named first team All-Pro. He also tacked on a Super Bowl win in the 96-97 season.

Honorable Mentions: Buck Buchanan, Nikita Kucherov

85 – George Kittle

Photo: ESPN

Kittle hasn’t been in the NFL for too long, but has already done some serious damage. In three and a half seasons (he only played eight games in 2020), Kittle has made two Pro Bowls, was a first team All-Pro in 2019, and has racked up 3,579 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Honorable Mention: Antonio Gates, Baron Davis

84 – Randy Moss

One of the best athletes to ever play wide receiver. Moss has unreal runs with the Vikings from 98-04 and Patriots from 07-10. He lead the NFL in touchdowns in five different seasons, was a four time first team All-Pro, and is a member of the NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team.

Honorable Mentions: Prince Fielder, Chris Webber

83 – Wes Welker

Unreal bad luck for Wes Welker that he played six seasons with Tom Brady and two with Peyton Manning and has exactly zero Super Bowl rings. He did however revolutionize the slot receiver position, collecting two first team All-Pro selections and leading the NFL in receptions in 2007, 2009, and 2011.

Honorable Mention: N/A

82 – Ozzie Newsome

Photo: FanDuel

Ozzie Newsome was one of the first tight ends to stretch the field; he paved the way for the Gronks, Kelces, and Ertzs of the world that we see in the NFL today. He is a member of the Browns Ring of Honor, bringing in 662 catches, almost 8,000 yards, and 47 touchdowns during his career.

Honorable Mention: N/A

81 – Marian Hossa

Our second Blackhawk to crack the list. Hossa was a huge part of the Chicago’s three Stanley Cups in the 2010’s. He also was named to the All-Rookie team in 1999 and made five All-Star games.

Honorable Mentions: Tim Brown, Phil Kessel

80 – Jerry Rice

Photo: USA Today

No doubter here; the original GOAT. The career accomplishments are almost embarrassing: three Super Bowls, ten first team All-Pro, 13 Pro Bowls, member of the 75th and 100th NFL Anniversary Teams, and first team All-80’s and All-90’s Teams. Rice’s career stats are also zany: 1,549 catches, 23,546 yards, and 208 touchdowns.

Honorable Mention: N/A

Heavy football and hockey vibes in this edition. We’ll crack into the 70’s in our next edition of Who Wore It Best.

Sunday State of Mind: February 8th-February 14th

Happy Valentines Day! A holiday associated with poetry is a perfect time to drop this week’s SSM.

The Tampa Bay Bucs had their Super Bowl parade
Appeared the entire team was drinking vodka lemonade
The visuals from the entire day were just so great
Who says no to next year Brady getting number eight?

The Houston Texans have released JJ Watt
An organization in flux, change happening a lot
A formerly great offense, and that defense was mean
Next year looks like it’s trending towards 0-16

The Cubs and Jake Arrieta are running it back
The Cy Young winner, rejoining the pack
In a rotation that’s lacking, Jake could be a guide
And stabilize a weakness next year on the North Side

We got old school Melo this week, absolutely silly
Sixteen fourth quarter points in a win against Philly
Carmelo had 24 points as the Blazers sixth man
Portland fifth in the West, things going to plan

Sunday State of Mind: February 1st-February 7th

Photo: The Wow Style

Super Bowl Sunday, what a rollercoaster. The excitement of the biggest game of the year and just like that…the season’s over. We take it quarter by quarter in this week’s SSM.

Bit of a slow first quarter, 7-3
Big play was the first Brady to Gronk TD
Would the early deficit have the Chiefs feeling blue?
Let’s move our recap on, to quarter number two

Second quarter, guess who?
Brady to Gronk, TD number two!
Bucs looked good and were rolling at half
Brady beating Mahomes, the old bull vs. the young calf

Third quarter, more Bucs, Tampa kept adding on
Bucs looking like kings, Chiefs looking like pawns
Fournette got in on the touchdown party
Bucs showed up on time, Chiefs showed up tardy

We all saw it coming from the jump
Tom Brady and the Bucs get over the hump
Another incredible chapter in the Tom Brady story
For the seventh time, TB12 hoists the Lombardi Trophy

Is the NFL Making Decisions Based On Content From Untimed Down Sports?

It’s a question that needs to be asked.

This week, the NFL announced that inaugural poet laureate Amanda Gorman would be performing an original poem before the Super Bowl. According to HuffPost, Gorman will “perform a poem honoring the three people tapped by the league to serve as honorary captains for the Super Bowl this year…[t]he trio consists of nurse Suzie Dorner, educator Trimaine Davis and Marine Corps veteran James Martin.”

Now, no matter which way you lean, it’s hard to downplay how great Ms. Gorman’s poem, and the reading of said poem, was on Inauguration Day. Even if you didn’t like it, our poet laureate has the resumé to shut pretty much any of us down. According to her website, theamandagorman.com, Gorman is the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history, graduated cum laude from Harvard, and has performed for the White House and Lin Manuel Miranda.

Great move by Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL here, incorporating poetry with the sports.

But wait a minute…hasn’t someone else been doing this for a while now? Bringing prose and pros together to spin a story involving athletics is one dynamic idea. Where did the NFL get this idea? That’s right…

FROM US.

Whether you’ve been rocking with UDS from day one or just started checking us out a week ago, you would have noticed our weekly recurring series, Sunday State of Mind. We take the week that was in sports and recap it with truly, truly awful rhyme schemes and wording that would make real poets like Amanda Gorman question the art form of poetry itself. You can read some examples of our exemplary work here, here, and here.

This has nothing to do with Amanda Gorman, who has more talent in per pinky finger than most other writers today. Totally innocent in all of this; who wouldn’t want to perform at the Super Bowl?

All I’m saying is…we’ve been on this sports poetry tip for a while. All of the sudden the NFL comes barging in and totally jocking our schtick by incorporating one of the country’s best poets into the biggest game of the year? I’m calling shenanigans. I see through it, Goodell, and I just want you to know that.

Sunday State of Mind: January 18th-January 24th

Photo: Emiliano Arano on Pexels.com

NFL Championship Sunday is done, and the Super Bowl is set. We recap and look forward to Super Bowl LV in this week’s SSM.

Tampa and Green, the battle of the Bays
Tom Brady just wins in so many ways
Bucs are heading to their second Super Bowl
One more win and they’ll accomplish their goal

The Kansas City Chiefs, what more can you say
Andy Reid heading to another Super Bowl Sunday
In today’s NFL, so hard to repeat
Hard to imagine right now, the Chiefs getting beat

So the big game is set, Tampa Bay and Kansas City
This match up, my God, the opposite of a pity
TB12 and Mahomes, makes a fan feel alive
Only two weeks away from Super Bowl 55