The sports world witnessed easily the best sports weekend of the year and that has to do with the deranged events that happened within each sport. Obviously, the Super Bowl took place this Sunday, Feb. 12, and it did not disappoint as both teams scored consistently on one another. However, there were more events than the Super Bowl that viewers enjoyed enthusiastically including Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 284, a multitude of trades on the deadline of the National Basketball Association (NBA) , and the sheer amount of upsets occurring in men’s college basketball.
Super Bowl – Heading into the big game, many fans including me did not know which team had the slight advantage over the other. The Philadelphia Eagles were favored by -1.5, which is tied for the second lowest Super Bowl spread in NFL history. This Super Bowl will be forever known as the Kelce Bowl, because each team has a Kelce brother. The Chiefs have Pro-bowl TE Travis Kelce and the Eagles have future hall-of-famer Center Jason Kelce. Throughout the week, the brothers consistently trash talked each other making sure they know that only one brother can win.
The game itself started off very fast, as both teams made sure their offense was executing early. Eagles Quarterback, Jalen Hurts, led an opening drive touchdown for his team. This was not a surprise however, because the Eagles have scored a touchdown on their first drive over 50% of the time this season which is the best in the NFL. After the touchdown, the Chiefs drove right down the field to tie the game with a Kelce touchdown. From there, the game slowed down as each team did not score on their next drive. Eagles WR AJ Brown had a 45-yard touchdown and the Chiefs answered with a fumble recovery for a touchdown by ILB Nick Bolton.
Before the second half started, famous singer and rapper Rihanna performed during the halftime show and it was revealed that she was pregnant with her second child during the performance. Closing out the game, almost every drive but two resulted in points. Kansas City came out of halftime and chipped away at their deficit. After an Eagles field goal, the Chiefs scored again to take a 28-27 lead. From this point, the Chiefs outperformed the Eagles which led to a last minute drive by the Chiefs and a Harrison Butker FG to ice the game. Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl for the second time in the last three years and its third championship outright. In this game, Mahomes proved he can play even while injured as he dealt with an ankle injury throughout the game. Hurts also proved he was the real deal as even Mahomes shouted him out in his post-game press conference. After this Super Bowl, I am wondering if Mahomes can catch up to Tom Brady as the greatest football player of all time.
UFC – Other than the Super Bowl, UFC 284 headlined the events on the weekend. Although the main card did not have the most notorious names, the main event is what every viewer was looking for. The fight was a double-championship fight, including Lightweight champion Islam Makhachev and Featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski. The fight itself was an all-out war, with each fighter underestimating the other’s talent. Volkanovski is about four inches smaller than Makhachev, but that did not stop him from nearly winning the fight. Each fighter went head-to-toe for all five rounds and it went to a decision to determine who is victorious. In controversial fashion, Islam Makhachev won by unanimous decision. Although Makhachev had a better percentage of total strikes and significant strikes, Volkanovski had a total of 70 more total strikes and 13 more significant strikes. Islam had four takedowns and Volkanovski had one knockdown in the fight. Even UFC commentator, Joe Rogan, argued for Volkanovski right after the fight, as he said, “Oh wow, Volkanovski got robbed. He won that fight 3-2,” Rogan said. Volkanovski called for a rematch after the fight and only time will tell if there will be a rematch for the double-championship fight.
Trade Deadline – Switching from the UFC to basketball, the NBA’s trade deadline was on Thursday, Feb. 9 at the end of the night. Heading into Thursday, it seemed like this trade deadline would be dead and not many trades would happen. Of course, this year’s trade deadline might be the craziest of all time, as 17 trades happened from Feb. 6-9.
Starting off, point guard Kyrie Irving was traded to the Dallas Mavericks for two players and three picks after he requested a trade from the Nets. A few days after that, the Nets dealt superstar forward Kevin Durant and TJ Warren to the Suns for notable assets including SF Mikal Bridges, SF Cam Johnson, and multiple first-round picks. Another big deal that was on the verge of being canceled happened between four different teams. In the four-team trade, the Warriors received guard Gary Payton III and three second round picks, the Pistons received big man James Wiseman, the Hawks got forward Saddiq Bey, and the Trail Blazers got forward Kevin Knox and five second round picks. The reason the deal almost did not go through is because the Blazers reportedly lied about Payton’s health and he will miss some time before he suits up for the Warriors. A final deal that impacts the NBA landscape occurred between three different teams. The Los Angeles Lakers gave up PG Russel Westbrook, PG Patrick Beverly, and a few first-round picks and they received PG D’Angelo Russell, SG Malik Beasly, and PF Jarred Vanderbilt.
The winners of the trade deadline include a few teams like the Suns, Lakers, and the Nets. Phoenix gets their star in Kevin Durant, the Nets get a boatload of picks headed into a rebuild, and the Lakers get some much needed depth to push for a playoff berth. The losers include the Chicago Bulls, the Cavaliers, and the Mavericks. Chicago and Cleveland made zero moves at the deadline which is why they are a loser, and the Mavericks traded for Kyrie but the uncertainty of him returning after the year and the amount they gave up for Kyrie makes me think they might get worse after this year.
College Basketball upsets – Lastly, there were an extreme amount of upsets that occurred during the past week, but this has been a consistent trend. Back in mid-January, there were 11 ranked teams that lost in the week of Jan.15 including multiple top 5 teams losing.
This week, there were 17 losses among ranked teams this week, including teams with multiple losses like the former sixth ranked team in the country, the Tennessee Volunteers. On Monday, there was only one ranked team to lose, as Texas and Kansas played in a top-10 matchup. The Jayhawks outlasted Texas 88-80 led by freshman guard Gradey Dick. Tuesday saw three ranked matchups which meant three losses by a ranked team. UCONN hosted the Marquette Eagles in a top matchup in the Big-East, which saw the Huskies upset the Eagles at home. A few more notable upsets that happened this week include Tennessee losing to Vanderbilt and Missouri, Arizona losing to Stanford, and the No.1 team in the country, the Purdue Boilermakers, losing to Northwestern on Sunday.
Now what does this mean for college basketball? I believe college basketball is headed in a similar direction as college football, as the sport will be heavily influenced by NIL and the transfer portal. Some coaches will not be able to adapt to this style of basketball, and there have been some big named programs struggling including Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina, and Villinova. For short term repercussions, this year’s NCAA tournament will be filled with upsets. There have been so many ranked teams that lost this year and that will not stop when March and April come along.