BNN: Storylines relieve fans from football withdrawal



David Cassilo

The confetti poured down from the sky as the New York Giants won the Super Bowl. The NFL fan was treated to one of the greatest games and upsets in the history of the sport that left each and every one of them wondering, how can I possibly wait until next September for another game? Luckily, most sports are already in full swing and off to incredible starts. Here are a few great stories to help with football withdrawal.


Few things get me through the depressing days of mid-February better than the phrase “pitchers and catchers report.” Everyone in baseball prepares for a long year, from the players in Florida finding their swing down to the stadium usher, like my grandfather, just getting ready to get back to work. In spring training, everyone is 0-0, and with that comes a high level of hope and optimism. At this point the fan is allowed to dream of what may be over summer months. Will Johan Santana win 25 games and lead the Mets to the World Series? Will the Tampa Bay Devil Rays have their first winning season ever? Will Reggie Willits shed the title of most at bats by an active player without a home run? In spring training, the answer to all of these questions is yes because until opening day comes, those bright dreams are what gets them through the dark winter days of February and March.


With football season now over, you may find yourself questioning what there is to do on the weekends. Unless the Pro Bowl is your thing (which is quite pathetic if it is), finding a new hobby on the weekends is priority No. 1 immediately. Luckily, college basketball season is in full swing. Did you love that New England Patriots pursuit for perfection story? If you did and miss the week-by-week drama, try following the Memphis Tigers. With a weak conference schedule ahead of them, the only thing likely to prevent them from entering the NCAA Tournament as an undefeated team is a date with the Tennessee Volunteers on Feb. 23.

Maybe you loved the underdog story of the New York Giants. How about the underdog stories of the Drake Bulldogs? The leaders of the Missouri Valley Conference have lost just once in their first 21 games and in the process have earned their first national ranking in close to a decade. Led by guards Josh Young and Leonard Houston, this could well be the team that busts up some brackets come March.


Once the NFL is over, the average fans switch their attention over to the NBA. Usually they will take a quick glance at the standings to get caught up and see the standard teams leading the way. They see the San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns and Detroit Pistons head and shoulders above everyone in the league. However, this year the fans might think there must be a typo because according to their newspapers, the New Orleans Hornets are among the league’s elite.

There is nothing wrong with the standings, and no, they are not upside down. The Hornets, led by All-Stars Chris Paul and David West, have thrown their hat into the usually small ring of title contenders. Once thought to be just a team off to a hot start, the Hornets have shown they have the talent to remain atop the Western Conference all year long. If they are able to maintain their high level of play and not burnout before the playoffs, they could even be considered the favorites to win the title by the time the playoffs start.


With only about two months left in the regular season, the NHL is on pace for one of the most exciting finishes it has ever had. Twenty-eight of the league’s 30 teams are within eight points of a playoff spot. Outside of the Detroit Red Wings (who have 16 more points than any other team), no one seems to be assured a spot in the playoffs.

Locally the race that the Philadelphia Flyers are in will give the fans something that makes them forget about the Eagles and the dreadful 76ers. Philadelphia currently sits atop the Atlantic Division, but with only a nine-point lead over the last-place club, it could find itself at the bottom by the end of the month. With the way the division has changed hands from the Flyers to the Rangers to the Devils and back to the Flyers, it may come down to the final day of the season to crown a division champion.


After demolishing the field by eight strokes at the Buick Invitational with his 19-under four-day performance, Tiger Woods made his recent victory a bit more suspenseful. Facing a four-shot deficit at the Dubai Desert Classic, Woods stormed back to win the tournament on its final hole. With a perfect 2-0 record in tournament play thus far for Woods, 2008 is looking like it could be a magical year.

The past few years have been full of distractions for the best golfer of this generation. In 2006 his father Earl passed away. Then in 2007 Tiger and his wife Elin welcomed their first child into the world. This year appears to be a much calmer one in Tiger’s personal life, and with the way he has started so far, it could be his best.