Feb. 03, 2017
"The Stack" 2-2-17
Another day, another short stack. No, not a short stack of buttermilk pancakes, but a short blog post from The Stack. We’ll be diving heavy into college basketball here after the Super Bowl, but we have found a few things to discuss so let’s get right to it and see what is in “the stack” for today, Thursday, February 2nd:
National Signing day in college football
Yesterday was a big day for high school seniors across the nation declaring where they would be playing football next season. It was also a big day for college football teams across the country whether it was FBS, FCS, division II or division III. And no team had a better day than surprise, surprise, Alabama. They have the top rated class no matter what recruiting site you go to. Six five-star players, 18 four-star players, 29 players overall. This is one loaded team. Ohio State, Georgia, USC and Michigan rounded out the top five. It’s no surprise that some of the best programs in the country are in the top five, top ten. And Alabama is to college football what Kentucky is to college basketball. Players sign with them because they know that they will win and that the coaches (Nick Saban at Alabama, John Calipari at Kentucky) will help get them to the next level. Alabama has had more success in winning more championships than Kentucky has, but the fact of the matter remains that in order to be the best, you have to beat the best and the best right now is Alabama. Reigning national champion Clemson had a strong day recruiting as well. Now college football fans will get excited about the players their respective programs got and hope that it means they can be in the national championship contention. The college football season will be here before you know it.
Larry Fitzgerald coming back for another season
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver said during the season he would either come back to play for the Cardinals or not play for anyone at all and retire. He made his decision on Wednesday to come back for another year with the Cardinals, his fourteenth season overall. It's also the last year of his deal with the Cardinals. It really isn’t all that surprising. Fitzgerald is still playing at a high level and the Cardinals figure to be better next year if they can stay healthy. David Johnson is a beast at running back. A big question though is whether or not quarterback Carson Palmer will be back. It sounds like he may not which may make the Cardinals players for a guy like Tony Romo. Or they could draft a quarterback like Deshaun Watson if he were to fall to them. You just never know. My bet is that Romo will go to either Houston or Arizona and Arizona is only going to make a play on him if Palmer decides to call her quits. At least though they will have Fitzgerald and if he continues to play like he did this past season, the rest of the NFL better watch out.
Super Bowl storyline
I mentioned yesterday that Super Bowl LI (51 for those that can’t read roman numerals) is the defacto Cleveland Browns bowl. The Browns have a huge imprint in this game. Take a look at all of the guys who were on the Browns that are on either Atlanta or New England:
Center Alex Mack (Atlanta)
Wide receiver Taylor Gabriel (Atlanta)
Running back Dion Lewis (New England)
Defensive end Jabaal Sheard (New England)
Linebacker Barkevious Mingo (New England)
Interestingly enough, linebacker Jamie Collins was traded by the Patriots to the Browns earlier this season. Now you might look at this list and say that’s only five guys Stacken, come on what gives? Think about the five players though. Mack is one of the best centers in the league. Gabriel burst onto the scene this season and has been a tremendous weapon for Matt Ryan. Lewis catches a ton of balls out of the backfield for the Patriots. Sheard and Mingo are two reasons why the Patriots defense is so good.
I haven’t even mentioned the coordinators and coaches. Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan used to be with the Browns and New England’s coach, Bill Belichick was the coach of the Browns when they had their last playoff win and the late Art Modell was stupid enough to let him go. There are some other ties in this Super Bowl to the Browns that you can read here. So yes, this Super Bowl has some good former Browns in it. Maybe if the Browns had kept these guys they would be close to making it to their first Super Bowl.
Coming up Friday: Super Bowl LI preview and prediction
Listen to this week's "The Sports Block" podcast here (some swearing involved).