Tag Archives: Louisville Cardinals

10 Most Memorable Sports Moments of 2013

By: Prad

What a year it’s been for the sports community. 2013 has included a myriad of emotions surrounding various events from terrorist attacks to retirements. Unfortunately, I have compiled solely the top 10 moments of the year, so many deserving moments did not make the cut.

10) Superdome Lighting Failure

Half of the Superdome in darkness Courtesy of NY Times
Half of the Superdome in darkness
Courtesy of NY Times

Normally this should not be classified under “most memorable”, but the magnitude of the lighting failure is of note. New Orleans spent an estimated $471 million on this year’s Super Bowl. With almost half a billion dollars, you’d expect for at least all the lights to work, something that should have been a top priority for the Superdome maintenance staff. With 13:22 minutes left in the third quarter, half of the stadium plunged into darkness leaving TV viewers, players, and especially the audience confused. The partial blackout remained for a whopping 34 minutes. Apparently, Beyonce’s extravagant halftime show is somewhat responsible for the outage because of the amount of lighting used during her performance, forcing the device that detects electrical load to open a breaker and cut the lights.

9) Dunk City, USA

FGCU had a lot of fun during their ride to the Sweet Sixteen Courtesy of Naples News
FGCU had a lot of fun during its ride to the Sweet Sixteen
Courtesy of Naples News

Florida Gulf Coast University had quite the emergence on the national stage in 2013 by taking down #2 Georgetown in March. And then #7 San Diego St. went down for an encore performance. FGCU became the first #15 seed in NCAA history to reach the Sweet Sixteen. The wins were definitely impressive, but what made it even better was the excitement that the players on that team brought to the court in those two games. Dunk after dunk brought the city of Fort Meyers the fitting name of “Dunk City, USA.” The alley-oops were great, but the Cinderella story was even better. FGCU, a college that was founded in 1991, defeated the mighty Georgetown Hoyas, a team that has been playing for over a century. Plus, the 2012 – 2013 season was their first Division 1 season and first appearance in the NCAA tournament.

8) Mile High Miracle

Joe Flacco's pass lands perfectly past CB Rahim Moore's outstretched arm Courtesy of Bleacher Report
Joe Flacco’s pass lands perfectly past CB Rahim Moore’s outstretched arm
Courtesy of Bleacher Report

This AFC divisional – round game between the Ravens and Broncos came down to a final Baltimore drive with under a minute remaining. A true playoff classic was sent into overtime after a 70 yard heave from QB Joe Flacco to WR Jacoby Jones resulted in a touchdown with 31 seconds remaining in the 4th quarter. This TD brought the score to 35-35, a score that remained for the next 15 minutes resulting in a second overtime period. It ended up being the fourth longest game in NFL playoff history. Sadly for Denver fans, the game ended with a Manning interception and a Justin Tucker 47 yard field goal. Final score: 38-35. The Ravens were thankful for a birth in the AFC Championship game en route to a Super Bowl win. And undoubtedly,  the 70 yard TD grab was the highlight of an unforgettable season for Baltimore.

7) Louisville’s Inspiration

Kevin Ware wanted nothing but a championship Courtesy of Examiner.com
Kevin Ware wanted nothing but a championship
Courtesy of Examiner.com

Essentially every single sports fan in the nation has seen Kevin Ware’s gruesome injury suffered in the win against Duke in the Elite Eight. Everyone on the court was able to see the actual white of Ware’s tibia sticking out of his skin. People who witnessed it agree that it was definitely the most graphic injury they have ever seen and that’s saying something in an internet age where every injury is seen by everybody. More importantly, the words uttered from Kevin Ware’s mouth immediately following his horrific injury stayed with Louisville for the rest of the tourney. “Just win the game. I’m OK. Just win the game.” The boys on that team did every thing they did for Ware. That inspiration and team bond led them to victory over Wichita St. in the Final Four and Michigan in the National Championship game.

6) A British Savior

Andy Murray ended the 77 year Wimbledon drought for England Courtesy of USA Today
Andy Murray ended the 77 year Wimbledon drought for England
Courtesy of USA Today

It appeared that Andy Murray had wasted his best chance of winning Wimbledon when he succumbed to Roger Federer in 2012’s Wimbledon Final. But, the best was yet to come. On July 7, 2013 Murray defeated #1 Novak Djokovic, a former Wimbledon champion, to make Wimbledon history. A player from Great Britain had not won Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936, which was 77 years ago. He was deemed a “choker” on the biggest of stages before his 2012 US Open title, his first Grand Slam. Prior to winning that US Open, he had lost in four Grand Slam finals and six Grand Slam semi-finals. The entire United Kingdom had placed the burden of winning a Grand Slam for years on Andy Murray and he answered the call by capturing Wimbledon this year. This was a truly momentous occasion for a country that dominated the sport decades ago.

5) The First Openly Gay Athlete in North American Professional Sports

Jason Collins is still vying for an NBA contract Courtesy of Sports Illustrated
Jason Collins is still vying for an NBA contract
Courtesy of Sports Illustrated

In SI’s May 6 issue this year, Jason Collins became the first openly gay athlete in the four major North American Professional sports. The support he received the following days and months was unexpected. The social media circus immediately following the announcement was shocking as he received more complimentary remarks than derogatory.  He started, in his words, a “conversation” that will lead to more athletes coming out openly with their sexual preference. The Stanford product has played 12 seasons in the NBA as a center, but is not currently under contract with any team. Despite his announcement, he is still attempting to sign another contract with an NBA franchise. This barrier needed to be broken at some point and it did in 2013.

4) The Greatest Closer Says Goodbye

Longtime teammates Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter gave Rivera the ball for one last time in Yankees Stadium Courtesy of NY Daily News
Longtime teammates Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter took the ball from Rivera one last time
Courtesy of NY Daily News

On September 16, Mariano Rivera pitched his final game in front of the home crowd at Yankee Stadium. After almost two decades, all with the New York Yankees, Rivera tallied 652 saves and 42 postseason saves, both of which are records. Fans and analysts identify Rivera as arguably the greatest closer in baseball history. He is also the last player in MLB history to wear #42, because on the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s debut, MLB commissioner Bud Selig retired #42 for all teams. However, there were 13 players in the league who already wore the #42 uniform, so Selig allowed them to wear it until they retired. And Rivera was the last of the 13 still playing.  He certainly did #42 justice by pitching his best when it mattered most and doing so with grace and dignity. It will be very difficult to find another player who carries himself with such respect for his peers and the game. Sandman will be eternally missed by baseball fans.

3) Auburn’s Magical Iron Bowl

Chris Davis crushed Alabama's hopes Courtesy of The Washington Post
Chris Davis crushed Alabama’s hopes
Courtesy of The Washington Post

Many consider the ending to the Iron Bowl on November 30 the greatest finish in football history. The ending was not only immensely exciting, but the implications involved made for a moment that will be difficult to ever replicate. The moment Chris Davis ran past the last diving Alabama player at the 45 yard line, every single viewer was in disbelief of what they had just witnessed. Davis returned a missed field goal 109 yards for a touchdown as time expired, giving Auburn the victory and signaling an end to Alabama’s dream of winning a third consecutive BCS National Championship and a fourth in a five year span. The win gave Auburn the chance to play in the SEC Championship game against Missouri too. The victory against Missouri gives them the #2 ranking and a trip to Pasadena for the BCS Championship game on January 6, 2014. This was quite the turnaround from a season ago when Auburn football went 3-9 and 0-8 against SEC opponents. Currently, the Tigers stand at 12-1 and have had one of the best improvements in terms of record in NCAA football history. Even if Auburn loses to #1 Florida St. in the final BCS National Championship game, their season will still be considered a remarkable one that will not be forgotten for a long time.

2) Ray Allen and Miami’s Miraculous Comeback

The Larry O'brein trophy was being reeled in with 5.2 seconds left and an all but sure Spurs victory Courtesy of The Boston Globe
The Spurs had an almost guaranteed victory with 5.2 second left in Game 6
Courtesy of The Boston Globe

The staff at American Airlines Arena was reeling in the Larry O’Brien Trophy with around 20 seconds remaining in regulation. The score was 95-92 and the Heat didn’t have any timeouts left, an inevitable Spurs victory. On the following Heat possession, LeBron James missed a three but Chris Bosh was able to secure the rebound and pass it back to a backpedaling Ray Allen in the corner, yes the corner three, it’s where Allen has made his living for the last 17 seasons. And Allen drills it with 5.2 seconds left in the game. Score: 95-95. Miami then outscored San Antonio in the ensuing overtime period for a final score of 103-100. Allen made some big shots in overtime as well accounting for four of the eight points in an NBA Finals thriller that will remain a classic for decades to come. With this much momentum heading into Game 7, Miami couldn’t lose and they didn’t disappoint. A stellar 37-point performance from LeBron gave the Heat a 95-88 Game 7 victory and a second consecutive Larry O’Brien Trophy. LeBron’s triple-double in Game 6 and aforementioned 37-point outburst in Game 7 of the Finals were certainly great spectacles, but Ray Allen’s shot with 5.2 seconds left in Game 6 is one of the greatest moments in NBA Finals history. Period.

1) Boston Strong

 Courtesy of ESPN
Boston’s resiliency captured the hearts of many
Courtesy of ESPN

On April 15, Boston witnessed a horrific terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon resulting in 3 deaths and hundreds of injuries. The 117th running of the race was marred by two bombs near the finish line on the famous Boylston St. Five days after the bombings, David Ortiz gave a pre-game speech at Fenway and said that “this is our (expletive) city.” Boston has always been known for its uncompromising dedication to its sports teams, but support was at an all time high throughout 2013 after the bombings. Its teams played with greater determination and will than ever before as a result and it was evident in the successful seasons for the Bruins and Red Sox. The Boston Bruins made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals eventually losing to the Chicago Blackhawks. And four months later, the Red Sox had an opportunity to accomplish something great in the wake of the disaster and they delivered. The Red Sox defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in six games in the World Series. The unwavering support from Boston fans definitely helped them clinch a third title in nine seasons. Although, the success of the Sox can’t completely eradicate the painful memories of the bombings, the Boston Red Sox certainly lifted the spirits of many who were affected by the tragedy.

Top 5 College Quarterbacks in 2013-2014 and their NFL Projections

By: Evan

The 2014 NFL Draft will be one of the most stacked quarterback classes in recent memory, with both elite mobile and pocket passers. There are a multitude of teams that need a quarterback to lead their respective franchises, and this draft class will produce five star quarterbacks. Lets look at these future NFLers.

1) Teddy Bridgewater- Louisville Cardinals

Teddy Bridgewater is the prohibitive #1 pick in the NFL Draft Courtesy of Sports Illustrated

Teddy Bridgewater is the real deal.  He  throws the ball with power and precision, a rarity for college QBs.  He  possesses the physical and mental toughness that an NFL quarterback needs, evident by how he played with a sprained wrist and ankle  to get the Cardinals to the Sugar Bowl. The only drawback  that Bridgewater faces during the NFL interviews is the strength of Louisville’s schedule because they don’t play a top 25 team this year.   But Bridgewater does not make the schedule, and he had an extremely impressive game against Florida last year, throwing for 266 yards and 2Tds with 1INT.  He has the talent to play with anybody.

NFL Comparison: Aaron Rodgers

This comparison is not perfect as Aaron Rodgers learned the QB position behind Brett Favre, making for a smoother learning curve.  Bridgewater probably won’t be as lucky, and will need to develop a quick rapport with his receivers and contribute from game 1.   Teddy has great accuracy and touch in the red zone,  just like Rodgers.  Rodgers has a stronger arm, but Bridgewater’s arm strength will improve, and he will be a nightmare for defenses.  The other apt comparison is the subtle athleticism.   Rodgers is deadly spreading out secondaries and then rushing to gain the first down.  Bridgewater has the same ability, to run when least expected, exploiting the seems in the defense.  It’s high praise to be compared to Aaron Rodgers, and Mr. Bridgewater deserves the honor.

2.) Johnny Manziel- Texas A&M Aggies

Johnny Manziel needs to mature in order to solidify his draft prospects Courtesy of FoxSports

Johnny Football has been all the rage this summer, from offseason partying to the photograph scandal. Don’t be distracted, Manziel is gifted, and other pundits argue Manziel is a top 5 pick.  Manziel annihilated the best defense in college football in Alabama, and has excelled on the biggest stages.  He has a strong arm with good, not great accuracy, and terrific mobility. The biggest issue for Johnny may be convincing NFL executives that he is ready to lead a franchise.  His off-the-field issues may drop his stock with some teams, but Manziel is a unique talent with tremendous upside.

NFL Comparison:  Drew Brees

Manziel will not likely land with a team nearly as talented as the Saints, but he has the potential to be the NFL Offensive and Drew Brees is a natural leader, has a big arm and comes hard every game.  Manziel mimics Brees’ qualities, including a risk-taking tendency.  Brees’ presence is stellar, and Manziel needs to mature so he can command the NFL huddle.

3.) Tajh Boyd- Clemson Tigers

Tajh Boyd is turning heads this year Courtesy of ESPN

Tajh Boyd is a stout presence in the pocket, has good overall quarterback tools and leadership qualities. All positives but his throwing motion has worried NFL executives, and raised questions about whether he will be able to pass over the huge defensive lines. This seems to be a fixable problem according to many QB gurus and could be solved by draft time. Boyd has been impressive this season with 6 TDs and no interceptions and a passer rating of 148. Boyd will be a franchise player with a nice upside if he’s put in the right system.

Pro Comparison: Russell Wilson

The critiques of each quarterback are the same, so it is easy to make the comparison. Tajh probably won’t have the luxury of being selected by a talented team like the Seahawks, but he could have a tremendous impact on any wavering franchise. If Boyd continues on his current pace, he will rise on draft boards and maybe to #2 on my list.

4.) Marcus Mariota-Oregon Ducks

Marcus Mariota will have to learn how to take snaps under center Courtesy of ESPN

Under the tutelage of Chip Kelly, Marcus Mariota has emerged as an tremendous read-option quarterback with the potential to grow into a dangerous duel-threat quarterback. He has tremendous speed in both the open field and out of the backfield along with a decent arm. Mariota will have to learn how to throw accurately from 3 and 5 step drop backs and adjust to new NFL formations besides the shotgun. He will take some grooming but he has the skills to emerge as a solid to top 10 quarterback in the NFL.

NFL Comparison: Lesser Version of Colin Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick played the spread offense at Nevada similarly to Mariota in Oregon. Kaepernick has all-world physical tools and possibly the strongest arm in NFL. Kaepernick had the opportunity to learn under Alex Smith for a season and figure the important details of being an NFL quarterback and now he has shown his talent. If a team with an older quarterback that has only a couple of years left, Mariota could be stored in a Kaepernick type fashion and then take over in 1-2 years after being drafted.

5.) AJ McCarron- Alabama Crimson Tide

AJ McCarron has won on the big stage, but does he have the talent to start in the NFL?                                                                                 Courtesy of ESPN

AJ McCarron has two more national titles than all of the aforementioned quarterbacks and has the best team in college football on his side. He has shown he can play in big games but scouts question if he is a product of Nick Saban’s environment or is his true talent really showing. Saban’s mentality for a QB is to not make mistakes and let the stout offensive line wear down opposing defenses and then run the ball. In the NFL, McCarron won’t have the best talent at almost every position, and he will be required to take more risks.

NFL Comparison: Carson Palmer

Palmer played with a talented USC team and shot up draft boards because of his elevated stats. McCarron has the same deal at Alabama with it’s tremendous offensive line and TJ Yeldon is one of the best running backs in college football.   AJ McCarron may develop into a good NFL QB, only time and opportunity will tell.