By Liam Day
Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith, Roger Staubach. All of these greats have one thing in common, the prestigious award of the Hall of Fame enshrinement into Canton, Ohio. Most people wouldn't even know of these athletes if there wasn't a Pro Football Hall of Fame. This year, there will be multiple first ballot Hall of Famers to to take the final step to greatness. I will be naming the five greats that should be announced this coming August.
Among the final 15 players to be inducted, only five will be chosen this year. A few first ballot Hall of Fame defensive players should already have their spot reserved. These two are considered to be the scariest linebackers of all time. Ray Lewis played his whole career with the Baltimore Ravens, bringing them two Lombardi trophies, two Defensive Player of the Year awards, and 13 Pro Bowl appearances. He has been an inspiration in the league by his speeches, his most famous being, “Wins and losses come a dime a dozen. But effort, nobody can judge that...because effort is between you and you.” The other fearsome backer is Brian Urlacher. He was also a 13 year loyal team member for the Chicago Bears. He earned himself multiple awards including Defensive Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, eight Pro Bowls and has the Bears franchise record for all-time tackles.
The only offensive player in my opinion that should have a red carpet waiting for him in Canton is wide-receiver, Randy Moss. When it comes to greatness, Moss has everything you could possibly ask for. He has the third most 1,000 receiving yard seasons, the record for most touchdowns in a season, six Pro Bowls, and has implanted his name in the Minnesota Vikings’ Ring of Honor. New York Times Sports Writer, Victor Mather said, “New nominees always tend to have an edge, and Moss and Lewis look particularly compelling.” Not to mention he has established his own signature move called, “getting Mossed.” He now has his own segment on SportsCenter where he highlights the week's best “Mosses”. Glenelg High School Sophomore, Nate Swales pointed out, “People don't even realize that he was the one who created that term when they use it. He’s 100% a Hall of Famer.” Randy Moss deserves to be a first ballot Hall of Famer without a doubt, but there are a few players that aren't so sure they will take their final step this year.
Now that I’ve given my obvious picks for this years inductees, only two more spots remain and 12 other players to choose from. One of my picks is Eagles Safety, Brian Dawkins. Dawkins has made it to nine Pro Bowls in his 15 year career. Quarterback, Donovan Mcnabb was a long-time teammate of Dawkins and he simply stated, “Dawkins played during the same time period as Troy Polamalu, Ed Reed, and before Eric Berry, who’s only played five full seasons by the way, and is measurably better than all of them.” With almost 40 interceptions and over 1,000 tackles, Brian Dawkins statline alone should compare to those of a HOF safety. GHS Freshman, Greg D'Ascenzo, said, “Brian Dawkins is a top five all time Safety, he could literally do everything.” He is also the only safety in NFL history to have 25 or more interceptions, sacks, and fumble recoveries. Taking a look at the less glamorous positions, one of the more important aspects of a Hall of Famer that is overlooked is consistency over a long career. Offensive guard, Steve Hutchinson, did this over a 13 year career earning him seven trips to the Pro Bowl and being on the NFL All-Pro team five times. Although offensive lineman struggle to make in these inductions with not many stats to look at, Hutchinson was a top tier linemen for his whole career.
The Hall of Fame induction often has one pick that shocks the crowd. Assuming that doesn't happen this year, these five players should be enshrined this coming August.
By Philip Johnson
Was that a game or what? The Alabama Crimson Tide and the Georgia Bulldogs put on a performance for the ages in the College Football Championship. The two powerhouses did battle in Atlanta on January 8th, and what a spectacle it was. A 26-23 overtime victory for the Tide delivered head coach, Nick Saban, his sixth National Championship, this being his fifth with Alabama. Several players delivered critical plays in this iconic game. For two teams that heavily rely on the run, all the headlines after the game were about the quarterbacks. Two true freshmen led their teams and turned what many thought would be a boring slugfest into one of the most exciting games ever played. While a championship game is always the focal point of a season, what happened in Atlanta was a classic that no one saw coming.
For the Tide, it was their sixth trip to the National Championship in the last nine years. Winning made them the fastest any team has won five championships since 1936! The Tide were coming off a dominant 24-6 revenge win in the Sugar Bowl over the Clemson Tigers. The Tigers defeated the Tide in the last second of last year's championship. For Saban, he would be facing off against one of his former assistants in Georgia coach Kirby Smart. However, Smart brought a better team against the Tide than any of Saban's former assistants. Unfortunately for Smart, Saban was 11-0 against his former assistants and this victory made that 12-0.
The Bulldogs were coming off a thrilling 54-48 win over the Oklahoma Sooners in the Rose Bowl a week earlier, and were making their first Championship game appearance since 1980. Smart, in his second year as head coach, rode his two headed monster of a backfield in Sony Michel, and Nick Chubb to the tune of a 13-2 record. But coming into the game, Smart and the Bulldogs knew that with Alabama’s stout defense they would have to put the game on the shoulders of Freshman quarterback Jake Fromm; who delivered a solid performance throwing for 232 yards and a touchdown. However, an errant throw on 3rd and 3 late in the fourth quarter gave the Tide the ball back, which lead to their game tying touchdown. “The big stage that Fromm was on might have gotten into his head,” said Glenelg football player Cory Wilson. With the loss comes the ends of the careers for Sony Michel and Nick Chubb who were statistically the second best running back duo in college football history. But with very impressive performances from running back De’andre Swift, Jake Fromm, and receiver Riley Ridley, things are looking up for the Bulldogs future.
Trailing 13-0 at halftime, Saban made the bold move to switch quarterbacks. Jalen Hurts, a Sophomore who was the starter and has a 25-2 record as the Tide’s QB was playing poorly and his run first mentality played right into the hands of what Georgia wanted. Backup Tua Tagovailoa was handed the reigns and proceeded to put himself in the annals of college football history. Some already knew Tagovailoa would be great. Glenelg football player Chris Barlow said, “I watched him in the spring game and he was the best player on the field.It was just a matter of time before he showed the world what he could do”. The left handed gunslinger from Hawaii threw for 166 yards and three touchdowns including the game winner. Midway through the 3rd, Tagovailoa faced a 3rd and 8 with the Tide desperately needing a score. He pulled a Houdini act as he scrambled to his right, broke four tackles, reversed field and ran for the first down. All the effort paid off later in the drive when he hit another Freshman, receiver Henry Ruggs, for a 16 yard touchdown. Late in the fourth quarter, on 4th and 4, he found Junior receiver Calvin Ridley in the back of the end zone for the game tying score. Tagovailoa was an afterthought coming into Monday night in Atlanta. But there he was, in overtime, throwing a 41-yard walk-off touchdown to DeVonta Smith.
The win gave Nick Saban his 6th championship tying him with former Alabama coach Bear Bryant for the most all time. However, almost anyone will admit Saban has now surpassed Bryant. After a season riddled with injury at every position, and being down double digits in the championship with a Freshman at the helm. The Tide still pulled through. College football fans have been spoiled the last few years with dramatic championship games and storybook endings. But what the Tide and the Bulldogs did in Atlanta will be remembered forever.
By Alex Long
Pyeongchang, South Korea will be hosting the 2018 Winter Olympic games beginning on February 9 and ending February 25. The Winter Olympics began all the way in 1924 where they were first hosted in Chamonix, France. The first games only features twelve events spread across six sports. Of the three hundred athletes, only thirteen were women and they were all figure skaters. Needless to say, the olympics have come a long way to today.
Noteworthy this year is that Russia will not be participating in this year. The decision to bar Russia from the Winter games was made after the alleged state-sponsored cover up of doping up it’s athletes came to light. Although the International Olympic Committee’s reports said that they had not found any evidence that the Kremlin was aware of the coverup, the athletes are not allowed to compete under the nation’s symbols. Some of the Russian athletes will still be able to compete however, just under the neutral Olympic flag.
The International Olympic Committee has added some new events to the games this year. They have added big-air snowboarding, freestyle skiing, mass-start speed skating, and mixed doubles curling. Senior Jared Rezeppa says, “The new events are great, but I would still like to see Synchronized Skating added.” As it would add a cool element to skating that most people haven't seen before. This means that the 2018 Winter Olympics will have one hundred events in seven sports in total.
This year, the medals have been designed by Lee Suk-woo, a South Korean designer. The medals showcase a design based off of tree trunks, and 3D letters from the Korean alphabet. Junior Delaney Smith, an Art 4 AP student says that the medals are, “sleek and cool.” They are a minimalistic design that has never been done before. The mascot is a white tiger named Soohorang and has great value to Korean history and culture as a guardian. According to the Olympic Games website, “Sooho” means protection and symbolizes the protection offered to the athletes and other participants of the games. “Rang” comes from the Korean word for “tiger” and is also the last letter of a traditional folk song from the Gangwon Province, where the games are hosted. The website says, “Soohorang not only has a challenging spirit and passion, but is also a trustworthy friend who protects the athletes, spectators and all the participants of the Olympic Games.” Choosing a mascot with guardianship qualities was important as there are safety concerns regarding the fact that South Korea is so close to North Korea.
Many countries have threatened to withdraw from the games due to the concerns, in response to the threat, South Korea is stepping up their security before the games, and according to ABC News, has already deported at least 17 foreigners who could have posed a terrorist threat to the games. Overall, everyone is excited for a safe, challenging Winter Games.
By Garrett Athey
The 2017-2018 National Football League season has officially ended and it is now time for the playoffs. The top six teams from both the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC) will compete against each other. The teams from the National Football Conference include the Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers, and Atlanta Falcons. The American Football Conference teams are the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Tennessee Titans, and Buffalo Bills. Their ultimate goal is to reach the Super Bowl and win the championship.
The first game of the playoffs was the Tennessee Titans, a wildcard team, at the Kansas City Chiefs. Tennessee finished the season with a 9-7 record and second in the AFC South. The team was led by quarterback Marcus Mariota and running back DeMarco Murray. However, Murray was not be able to play against the Chiefs due to a knee injury he sustained. The Chiefs on the other hand clinched the AFC West title and got home field advantage for the first round. Quarterback Alex Smith had one of his best seasons this year and got help from rookie sensation Kareem Hunt who was dominant at running back. Kansas City also had a good season this year which helped them end with a record of 10-6. Tennessee ended up beating the Chiefs after coming back from an 18 point deficit. The Titans will go on to face the Patriots in New England for the second round.
The Atlanta Falcons, another wildcard team, were in Los Angeles against the Rams for the second game of the playoffs. Atlanta finished third in the NFC South behind the Saints and Panthers and had a 10-6 record. The Falcons are looking to return to the Super Bowl after losing last year to the New England Patriots. The team is led by last year’s MVP quarterback Matt Ryan and star receiver Julio Jones. On the other side of the field was the Rams who clinched the NFC West along with home field advantage for the first round. The Rams had star running back Todd Gurley, who had a MVP caliber season, lead them to the playoffs. On the defensive side, the Rams had defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who is almost impossible for anyone to stop. However, the Rams did not have enough to beat the Falcons and lost the game to Atlanta, who will go on to play the Eagles in Philadelphia for the second round.
The next game of the playoffs was the Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville to face off against the Jaguars. The Bills have not made the playoffs in seventeen years, but finished behind New England in the AFC East with a 9-7 record, clinching a playoff spot. The Bills have quarterback Tyrod Taylor and running back LeSean McCoy to thank for their success. The Jaguars are looking to beat Buffalo though as they face a similar playoff drought. Jacksonville has not been to the playoffs since 2007, but they won the AFC South title this season and finished with a record of 10-6. The Jaguars have an outstanding defense that shuts down their opponent, and a fantastic rookie running back in Leonard Fournette. Jacksonville earned a victory over the Bills and will travel to Pittsburgh in the next round to battle against the Steelers.
The final game of the first round of the playoffs included the Carolina Panthers at the New Orleans Saints. These two teams are division rivals, but New Orleans finished ahead of Carolina and clinched the NFC South title this season. Carolina took second place but finished the season with the same record as the Saints at 11-5. The Panthers are always relying on quarterback Cam Newton who was a previous MVP of the league and carries the team to victory more often than not. The Saints have their star quarterback, Drew Brees, to thank for their successes as well. Brees is always breaking records and winning games, but this year he had some help on offense with the team’s amazing rookie running back, Alvin Kamara. New Orleans was able to get the win against the Panthers and will face off against the Vikings in Minnesota for the second round of the playoffs.
As for Super Bowl favorites, decisions are split as to who will win the big game. Some feel that the AFC will win the championship, like Senior Austin Steckler who said, “The Patriots will win because Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time and no one can stop him.” The Patriots are last year's Super Bowl champions and are favored to return this year because they kept a majority of the players from last year. Not to mention that the AFC is thought to be pretty weak this year in terms of the teams that are in contention. Others believe the NFC is destined to win the Super Bowl this year, like Senior Calvin Geisbert who said, “Minnesota will win the championship because of their great defense.” The Vikings have one of the best defenses in the NFL that constantly causes problems for opposing offenses. All in all, the Super Bowl will be a spectacular event for all to enjoy, whether it be for the game, or the always funny Super Bowl commercials.