The One With Pumped Up Kicks

Fun Fact of the Day:  The Sweet 16 starts today!  All of this year’s participants have made it to this round in the past.  The longest Sweet 16 drought goes to Maryland, who was last here in 2003!


Today's Rundown

NFL 

Game-changer!  NFL bigwigs voted to change 9 different rules of the game this week.  Me no like change…  Don’t worry, most of the changes were about making the game safer for players, like moving touchbacks to the 25-yard line to reduce dangerous kick-returns, nixing chop blocks (that’s when 2 players block 1 player both up-high and down-low), and automatically ejecting players who commit 2 unsportsmanlike penalties in a game. A kick in your practice pants.  They also decided to keep the 15-yard distance for points after touchdowns, because it makes games more unpredictable.  Kickers missed more extra points last year than any year since 1977.


Spotlight on the Washington Capitals

The Caps are on their way to the playoffs and they even clinched a #1-seed in the East.  Now they are yawning and waving “hi” to their nearest challengers from way ahead in the standings.  Will they win the Stanley Cup this time?  Errr… idk!!!  The Caps have made it to the playoffs 8 out of the past 9 years, but they have never won it all.  The last 3 times they made it to the playoffs they were knocked out by the NY Rangers.

Is there hope?  You betcha.  Especially with Caps goalie Braden Holtby, who the favorite to win the Vezina Trophy (best goalie) this year.  Holtby has 44-wins under his belt so far and is this close to breaking the single-season record of 48-wins held by Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur.

O Captain, my Captain!  The Caps also have their old reliable captain Alex Ovechkin, who has been with the team since he was drafted #1 in 2004.  As per usual, he’s killing it this season, scoring a league-high 43 goals.  Ovech-concern?  He’s been dealing with some lower body pain, so hopefully he can stay healthy all the way through the playoffs!

Who else should I know about?  Evgeny Kuznetsov who leads the team with 73 points this season and Niklas Backstrom who passed Ovechkin to become the Caps franchise-leader in assists.   

Now, they need to keep up their focus for the start of the playoffs in mid-April!


Seen and Heard

MLB 

An older and wiser A-Rod?  You know NY Yankees Alex Rodriguez as an incredible baseball player and ladies manNow, it looks like he might be giving up on both?!  Yesterday, A-Rod said that he’s planning to hang up his cleats after the 2017 season, which will make him 42 years old when he retires.  He will leave behind a mixed legacy, including a huge PED scandal which led to a full-season suspension in 2014.  Another age-appropriate move… A-Rod has started dating Anne Wojcicki, CEO of 23andMe (a genetic ancestry company) and ex-wife of one of the founders of Google.  He finds her both “inspirational and very smart.”  Smart moves.  

 

NBA

Pitch Imperfect.  Ever wonder why NBA superstar and reigning-MVP Stephen Curry doesn’t have a Nike shoe deal like other big-time ballers Kobe, LeBron, and Durant?  Apparently Steph used to have a Nike deal, but during a shoe pitch with their marketing folks back in 2013, they mispronounced his name as “Stef-on” (yep, like Steve Urkel’s alter-ego) and accidentally showed him a PowerPoint slide with Kevin Durant’s name on it.  Serious marketing mishap.  Don’t worry, Under Armour swooped in to pick up the pieces.  Now Steph’s shoe is bigger than everyone other than Michael Jordan and Under Armour’s basketball shoe business has increased 350% YTD.


Hot Read

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

The Madness is back.  Dust off your sad, broken bracket and tune into the beginning of the Sweet 16 games tonight!

  • #3 Miami v. #2 Villanova, CBS 7:10pm ET
  • #3 Texas A&M v. #2 Oklahoma, TBS 7:37pm ET
  • #5 Maryland v. #1 Kansas, CBS 9:40pm ET
  • #4 Duke v. #1 Oregon, TBS 10:07pm ET