Those New York Values. Yesterday, Forbes published their valuations of each NBA team and the New York Knicks topped the list at an estimated $3 billion. This may be in part, thanks to Kristaps Porzingis who has helped to revitalize the team. Porzingis is the rookie Latvian sensation, who came over to the U.S. this year after playing professionally in Spain. Why are people so excited about him? He has the rare combination of dominant size (he’s 7’3”) and ability to hit many different shots on the floor. People are really really really excited. To give you some perspective, Porzingas has the 4th highest jersey sales this year, behind stars Steph Curry, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant. Stores haven’t been able to keep his jerseys in stock because they didn’t expect this kind of response. The last time unexpected jerseys were flying off the shelves in New York was during Linsanity. Not only has Porzingas excited the fanbase, but he also saved them from being the butt of a joke on the Simpsons, which fell to the Philadelphia 76ers instead. Close call.
A hen in the rooster house. Yesterday, the Buffalo Bills made history by becoming the first NFL team to hire a full-time female assistant coach. Kathryn Smith will serve as a special teams quality control coach. Yes, that position is as low-level as it sounds, but hey it’s a start. Prior to this Smith worked for 12 years in various administrative and assistant positions for Head Coach Rex Ryan, following him from the New York Jets to the Bills.
Spotlight on the NFC Conference Championship
The NFL Playoffs continue this weekend with the Conference Championship Round. We will spotlight each of the two matchups, so you know what to look out for when you’re watching this weekend.
Today’s feature is the NFC matchup between the #2 Arizona Cardinals @ the #1 Carolina Panthers, airing on Sunday at 6:40pm ET.
Hype machine. This game marks the only time two Heisman-award winning quarterbacks have met in the playoffs! These two teams also have the best records in the league this season. Get excited.
What should I watch out for? The Panthers and Cardinals have the #1 and #2 highest scoring offenses this season, respectively, so this could make for a very high scoring game. QB Carson Palmer will target the Cardinals’ wealth of impressive wide receivers, including “good-guy” Larry Fitzgerald who had a spectacular game last week against the Green Bay Packers. Fortunately for Carolina, their secondary is one of the best at shutting down wide receivers and forcing turnovers, particularly Panthers CB Josh Norman, who channels Batman, wearing red contact lenses, and going into “Dark Knight” mode.
On the other side of the ball, expect the Cardinals to try to blitz Panthers QB Cam Newton. But Cam has his own wealth of options because of his ability to run with the ball and pass to TE Greg Olsen. If the Panthers win, you should expect two things: (1) Cam will have some kind of elaborate victory dance, and (2) really angry Cardinal fan letters.