Voices

Coronavirus and Sports: Becoming Numb

I was going to write about Inter Miami, I really was. Maybe it would have been an upbeat preview about the “MLS Is Back” schedule reveal (Breakfast with Inter Miami vs. Chicago Fire at 9 a.m. on July 14, can you dig it?) or a more serious, ominous look at the league and its protocols as we are only 2 weeks away from the start of the first tournament in the United States after the pandemic.

But then I thought “AFTER the pandemic? We are barely during the pandemic, much less past it” and I discovered I’m sort of…detached? Nah, that’s not the word. I still follow the American sports landscape and want sports to be back. Shocked? That’s not it either, nothing that has happened the past three months has surprised me even a little, and that’s saying something. Numb? Yes, that’s it. I’m numb to the developments in the sports world nowadays, and I’m pretty sure other fans, writers and even players feel similarly.

I’m numb because I saw the news about 16 NBA players (the equivalent of an entire team’s roster, plus one) testing positive for COVID-19 and my reaction isn’t “Oh my, what if they backtrack and the season is cancelled?” It’s more like “I’m fine with whatever happens, I’m just waiting to see everyone freak out when a true superstar tests positive and [insert team here] has to play an entire series without him.”

I’m numb because “43 Division I teams have been eliminated in the last 12 weeks, and more than 130 programs have been cut across all NCAA levels”, and those kids weren’t earning millions of dollars, even as some of their coaches were and certainly their athletic departments are.

LOOKING FOR A SOLUTION

New Zealand is past the pandemic with tens of thousands gathering with joy to watch a rugby match most of them probably don’t remember the final score of. Europe is crowning champions as its cases are mostly going down (hello, Sweden, we see you) and fans celebrate the end of droughts in Liverpool and Naples as the ball keeps rolling with no apparent setbacks week after week.

Liverpool fans celebrate outside Anfield.

Even South America has soccer, but that’s because they don’t really give a shit in Brazil and they are bent on living like there is literally no tomorrow and they had the most new daily cases in the world on Thursday, June 25. Seems healthy.

Meanwhile, the United States of America is looking at itself in the mirror and wonders how it all went so wrong, so quickly after three months of sacrifices that were supposed to pave the way for sports to come back swiftly and smoothly.

We are Rachel and the Coronavirus is Ross asking: “OVER you? When were you UNDER me?” while we beat ourselves up wondering what went wrong and the President compares a deadly virus to the sniffles.

I’m numb because baseball is about to be back for a lightning round of games that promise to be exciting. Why am I not excited? I should be, with every game being three times as important and the potential of a repeat of that frantic 2011 finish of the regular season that gave every baseball fan a collective heart attack.

My heart rate is nowhere near skyrocketing, though. Some experts don’t even think the season will be able to finish.

I should be pumped to witness the start of the Tua era in Miami, but then I see that the Hall of Fame game between the Cowboys and the Steelers was cancelled and I’m bracing for what August and September might bring.

I’m even numb to the added crowd noise and the “virtual fans” we see at European soccer games. It’s background noise.

Maybe you read this and thought I spent 700 words being dramatic, and that’s ok. Maybe you will feel numb or jaded until 2021, and that’s ok too. Maybe this is just temporary, and everything feels a little alien after 100+ days of uncertainty and I will be all pumped up again in a couple of weeks when sports feel “real” again.

I will be waiting for that moment to come.

News

Super Bowl LIV

Five Reasons Super Bowl LIV Mashup

The Five Reasons Super Bowl LIV mashup brings you news and notes from all angles of the big game.

Super Bowl LIV in Miami was another huge win for the Magic City.

The eleventh Super Bowl played in Miami was one for the ages when the dust settled.

Perfect weather greeted fans at a Hard Rock Stadium venue equipped to the nines for the event.

A showcase of all that is good in Miami and the surrounding areas.

The action on the field was supplemented by a lot of interesting content off it.

Kansas City and San Francisco gave the 100th NFL season a worthy ending.

Fox broadcasted the game with  Joe Buck on commentary and Troy Aikman with analysis.

They went with a new graphics package for the broadcast which was underwhelming.

 

Erin Andrews covered the 49ers sideline with Chris Myers on the Kansas City side.

Fox had a nice pre-game show sponsored by YouTube, with Devi Lovato singing a powerful national anthem.

 

World War II veterans, each at least 100 years old, were on the field for the coin toss adding a nice patriotic element.

San Francisco won the toss and deferred to the second half.

A bold vote of confidence for their defense giving Patrick Mahomes first opportunity to make an impact.

It paid off as Mahomes threw two incompletions and the Chiefs went three-and-out.

San Francisco’s offense rewarded their defense as they quickly flipped field position thanks to the dynamic Deebo Samuel.

 

Kansas City’s defense tightened up when the 49ers hit the red zone, holding them to a field goal.

Robbie Gould opened the scoring to make it 3-0 with 7:57 left in the first quarter.

Joe and Troy are old reliable, if you have watched a NFC game on Fox they kind of just blend in.

Matriculating the broadcast along if you will.

Fox does a good job of keeping things moving with a lot of statistical nuggets in between plays.

Commercial Controversy

The first cringe moment of the broadcast came with a polarizing commercial, care of the Commander in Chief.

 

I’ll just leave that alone for now.

The spot for Marvel’s Black Widow though.

 

A tentative first quarter culminated with a Kansas City touchdown drive for a 7-3 Chiefs lead.

 

Mahomes settled down after a shaky opening stanza with a nice drive, feeding Travis Kelce along the way.

He took a big hit and that seemed to wake up his teammates on offense.

Any joy that was experienced by a Dolphins fan watching the action heat up quickly turned to nausea during the next commercial break.

 

The Hard Rock Hotel went all out in their second quarter ad.

 

Back on the field the play heated up as San Francisco put together their best drive of the game to that point.

 

Jimmy Garoppolo would respond after an interception on the previous drive to lead San Francisco to tie it up at 10 apiece.

 

Both teams found their rhythm offensively in a quickly moving second quarter. Few penalties were called overall in the first half and the game settled into a nice groove in the second 15 minutes.

At the two minute warning, things got a little emotional during the commercial break.

 

A game which many thought would be close was exactly that as the score would remain tied going into halftime.

#PepsiHalftime

 

 

Well folks, we have our meme from Super Bowl LIV.

 

Whether you are a fan of Shakira or Jennifer Lopez, they definitely brought the energy for Pepsi Halftime.

 

JJ liked it.

 

If you came here for in depth analysis of the Pepsi Halftime Show, you came to the right place.

 

 

 

49ers Seize Second Half

Deebo Samuel was the star of the first half for San Francisco and he picked up right where he left off after halftime.

The 49ers would take the second half kickoff and drive right into Kansas City territory, adding a field goal for a 13-10 lead.

 

San Francisco would seize momentum with authority in the third quarter, completely shutting down the Chiefs offense.

Patrick Mahomes looked rattled for much of the game and threw his second pick with the 49ers leading 20-10 halfway through the fourth.

It started to seem like San Francisco was on their way to their sixth Lombardi Trophy.

 

The 49ers defense seemed to have an answer every time the Chiefs would get any kind of momentum on offense.

Jimmy Garoppolo was outplaying Patrick Mahomes.

Read that again.

It was an unconventional game at times, and not the best played in terms of execution.

Mahomes Fights Back

Mahomes picked a bad time to have a lackluster game by his standards.

Yet he, nor his team, did not quit.

Mahomes finally picked it up as the fourth quarter rolled on.

First a 44-yard completion to Tyreek Hill for the longest play of the game.

 

Then Mahomes hit Travis Kelce for a touchdown and Kansas City trailed 20-17 with just over six minutes left.

The Chiefs defense would force their first three-and-out of the game to give Mahomes the ball back with a chance to tie it up.

Or perhaps win it.

 

Damian Williams got to score a meaningful touchdown in Miami.

(He wasn’t done).

Kansas took a 24-20 lead as Mahomes went 5-of-5 for 60 yards and that score on the drive.

Mahomes completely flipped the narrative on his performance in one possession.

Jimmy G would get a chance to lead the 49ers back, and just missed Emanuel Sanders on a third down bomb.

Kansas City’s defense would bring heavy pressure on fourth down and Frank Clark would sack Garoppolo.

With all three timeouts and over a minute left, there was still hope for the 49ers.

Until it was dashed.

 

The final score was 31-20 Kansas City, with the Chiefs scoring 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter.

Super Bowl LIV was an unbelievably exciting end to the NFL season, a showcase of two tremendously talented teams.

By all accounts, Hard Rock Stadium and the Miami area hit this one out of the park.

Stephen Ross and the Dolphins organization deserve tremendous credit.

Hopefully the 12th Super Bowl for Miami in the not-too-distant future will live up to this LIV.

 

Five Reasons doesn’t embarrass itself at media game

We don’t watch well.

The Miami teams lose every time we hold a watch party.

But maybe we play better.

Five Reasons Sports and Miami Heat Beat each entered teams in the 2019 Miami Heat media challenge today at AmericanAirlines Arena. We had enough players — 14 — that we sacrificed David Friedman right after the birth of his boy Wade, giving him to CBS4 because they needed a player and we needed luxury tax savings.

Both teams started 2-0, with Chris Cochran (part-time producer of the Five Reasons flagship) anchoring the Five Reasons defense, and Alphonse Sidney and Giancarlo Navas being phased out of the Miami Heat Beat rotation.

But like the modern day Heat, both teams regressed to the mean right as they were set to clash in the semifinals, each losing its final two games and being eliminated.

Highlights?

You want highlights?!

You really don’t, but here are some:

Me doing my best Jax Show:

While also pulling my Coach Sko act:

And some more:

Scenes from a Miami Heat lottery party

We didn’t win….

But we didn’t lose!

The Miami Heat had about the same chance to jump into the top 4 of Tuesday’s NBA Draft lottery as they did to drop from No. 13 to 14. And they didn’t do either. They stayed at No. 13. Which should count as a small victory for our beleaguered Five Reasons Sports Network.

But you won’t let us. So call it 0-10 for watch parties. Even so, we had a great time at Tap 42 in Midtown Miami, and will be back if they will have us. The Miami Heat Beat guys even recorded a rambling 55-minute podcast that I crashed.

You can find that here……

Here are some scenes from the party, as we filled up a back room with some overflow.