I was sitting in the office late today and thinking about how it is a great time to be a sports fan. A really great time. In less than 48 hours, we get a pretty great Super Bowl matchup between two powerful quarterbacks. It says here that the Saints will at least beat the spread. In less than two weeks, Team Canada plays its first game in what will be the most hyped Olympic hockey tournament in our history. But first, we put an 11-game winning streak on the line against the new look Leafs.
My question to you, Joe SensFan, is which of these three sporting phenomena excite you the most?
There was a story a few years ago that researched sports fans and how they follow the playoffs. Specifically, do fans continue to watch playoff games after their team has been eliminated. Least surpisingly, hockey was last with something like 8-10% of fans continuing to watch after their team is knocked out. Overwhelmingly, something like 55-60% of football fans watch the Super Bowl after their team is knocked out. That might even be higher when you consider the casual fans that tune into the game just because it is THE big game. This year should be an awesome match and I still haven't figured out who to cheer for. On one hand, you have such a great quarterback in Peyton Manning. It is so hard to cheer against the guy. Brilliant quarterback and incredible work ethic. On the other hand, you have that emotional pick of the Saints, who haven't had anything go their way in ages. Brees has been unreal this year and the team is a powerhouse. Should be a heck of a game.
Hey, did you hear that there was a semi-important hockey tournament coming up soon? It goes without saying that given the power and reach of the media, combined with the NHL players, combined with the fact that the Olympics are on Canadian soil, combined with the fact that we're the nation of hockey, and you get a pressure-packed event. I think most Canadians already love the Winter Olympics more than the Summer ones, but this one should be awesome. Filled with pride, the Canadian team definitely has a few challengers. The Russians get the attention as the other 'favourite', but I'm keeping an eye on the Swedish team (they've got this kid Alfredsson) and I think Miller will give the Americans a chance to at least get to the medal round, even if Burkie has been striking out on most other decisions lately. If our boys can see past the attention and focus on winning games, then it is our tournament to lose. This could also push Stevie Yzerman into a GM role somewhere if 1) we win Gold and 2) he wants to leave Detroit. At the end of the day, it is going to be an awesome tournament.
Sens Winning Streak:
This is some strange undocumented winning streak. The Caps have won 12-straight (and are playing tonight) and everyone just thinks it validates their status as a Cup contender. We win 11-straight and it is met with a groan and a scratch of the head. Most media pundits are basically waiting for our collapse. Let's face it - bad teams don't win 11 in a row. My conclusion: we're not bad. In fact, we're pretty incredible to watch. That first period last night was awesome to see as we just dominated a pretty strong team. This is uncharted waters for us, not just for the winning streak, but because we're doing it without relying on one line. In our history, even in the teams earlier in the decade that always lost to Toronto, we were still very top heavy. This time around, it is the role guys that are helping keep the game flowing. Sure, it has been the stars scoring lately, but we can't understate the importance of keeping pressure on the opponent through all the lines. Saturday night, we head into the big smoke to see if we can handle the new look and all-powerful Leafs. It would be great to see us come out of the gates flying again, much like we have during the entire streak (first goal in 10 of the 11 wins).
So how about you? Of the Super Bowl, Olympics, and the Sens winning streak, what is the best part of sports this weekend?