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The Sideline Observer

Sports and Culture Commentary

Kyler Murray Goes Pro (Again), Tom Brady Continues to Dominate, James Harden Goes Crazy and More

Scenes from the Sideline: Jan. 9 – Jan. 17

Quote of the week: “I am declaring for the NFL draft,” – Kyler Murray.

There we have it. The 2018 Heisman Trophy winner will indeed play on Sundays, as Kyler Murray will likely become the first ever player to be drafted in the first round of both the NFL and MLB drafts.  

Everyone has their take on whether it was the right move for Murray to choose the gridiron over the diamond. Supporters of his decision say that he was right to pick the NFL because of the long road an MLB prospect faces from a first round pick to a nine-figure free agent. That reason, coupled with the guaranteed signing bonuses rookie first round picks in the NFL receive, lead many to believe that playing in the NFL is financially Murray’s smartest move.

While naysayers believe the injury risk of playing football combined with the potential payday the MLB can offer is too much to pass up. Only time will tell if it was the wise move. For now, I’m just excited to be able to see Kyler play in the NFL.  

Moment of the week: Eagles season slips through Alshon Jeffery’s hands

While I do hate the Eagles more than almost any franchise in sports, I respect the hell out of the way they turned around their season. Playing with a backup QB–although big dick nick isn’t really a backup–and with a practice squad secondary, they still managed to turn a 4-6 team to a divisional round exit.

When Nick Foles got the ball back down six late in the fourth quarter against the Saints, I thought another chapter in the Nick Foles fairy tale was about to be written. But Foles’ magic ran out when the ball slipt through the hands of Alshon Jeffery hands and into Marshon Lattimore’s lap.

That was likely Foles’ last pass as an Eagle, Doug Pederson has already announced that Carson Wentz will be their QB moving forward. As much as it pains me to say the Eagles aren’t going anywhere, they’ve shown they play well in big games and I only expect Carson Wentz to get better. Losing Nick Foles is going to hurt, but Philly has shown the ability to attract marquee free agents, and the ability to hit on their draft picks.

Patriots dominance over the AFC continues

Alright, guys, we all need to talk. Can we please stop saying “The Patriots are dead,” or “The Patriots era is over.” It’s never been true and the more we push this narrative the more we motivate Tom and Bill.

The Patriots dynasty is going to be over when Brady and Belichick say it’s over. Heading into that game on Sunday afternoon the Chargers were the more talented team, just look at their roster. However, that didn’t matter and the Patriots absolutely steamrolled the Chargers on the way to their eighth straight AFC championship.

The next time you want to declare the Patriots dead, just remember this stat: Tom Brady has a higher chance to make an AFC championship game than Drew Brees has to complete a pass. In all likelihood we’ll see Tom in the Super Bowl once again after a steamrolling of the Chiefs’ porous pass defense.

James Harden has gone insane

James Harden has scored 57 or more in his last two games. Zero of his made shots in those games were assisted. Not a single one. How absurd is that?

What James Harden is doing right is truly incredible. He may be the greatest isolation player in NBA history. No one is as dangerous as Harden one on one, he just has so many different ways to attack you whether it be an ankle-breaking step back three or getting to the free throw line.

Do the Rockets have the best backcourt in the NBA? Well, it’s hard to argue against it as Austin Rivers and James Harden combine for nearly 43 PPG. I’m glad to see former Wizard great Austin Rivers becoming a focal point in such an explosive offense.

The Capitals may be just a little hungover

As a die-hard DC sports fan who is suffering from what you can say has been a rough few months (#FireBruceAllen #FireErnie), the one thing I’d always say to myself to cheer me up from constant Wizards and Redskins drama is “Well at least I have the Caps”. However, for the past week or so even the reliant Caps have been struggling.

The Caps have lost three in a row including an ugly 7-2 loss to the Predators and are now 4-4-2 in their last 10 games. This losing streak has not gone without consequences either has the Blue Jackets have overtaken the Capitals for first place in the metro.

Now, it is a long season and bad stretches are going to happen, and obviously, I’d rather have the Caps rough patch happen in January rather than in April and May. Though it looks like drinking all summer (as they should as Oshie once said “We play hockey like we party”) may finally be catching up to the Caps.

Look for the Caps to return to championship form on Friday night when the Islanders and Barry Trotz come to DC for the first time this year. It has already been announced that Trotz will receive a video tribute in what surely will be a touching moment. I expect Ovi and the boys to play hard to get a victory and bragging rights against their former coach.


Thanks for reading this week’s Scenes from The Sideline! Make sure to check back next week!

-Sean Hannegan

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