Five Things We Learned This Weekend: Jan 16-18

1. Miracles in sports never cease to amaze us.
Whether it was George Mason making the Final Four in 2006, Appalachian State beating Michigan in 2007, or the Devil-less Rays playing in 2008's Fall Classic, tales of the underdog are always one to smile about.

We've all seen the movies like Hoosiers and Angels in the Outfield, where teams who weren't suppose to win, win. They're all the same, follow a similar storyline and end the same way. Yet we as sports fans are in awe every time.

2009 is all but three weeks old and the Cinderella story of the year is already upon us as the once lowly Arizona Cardinals have punched their tickets to Tampa for their franchise's first Super Bowl.

They're not the first underdog to surprise us and they won't be the last, but boy do tales like these make us wonder.

2. Troy Polamalu is nonhuman...not that we didn't already know.
Since his days roaming the secondary in college at USC, Troy Polamalu(above) has not been one to sit out in big games.

In the 2003 Orange Bowl he played amidst injuries to lead the Trojans to a win over Iowa, and in the 2006 AFC Championship game he made the most amazing tackle I've ever seen as he lost his balance and lunged for a Bronco running back. Sunday night was no different as Big Game Troy showed up again.

This time the victim was rookie quarterback Joe Flacco who's late 4th quarter interception was returned for a touchdown by Polamalu, clinching the conference title for Pittsburgh.

Next up for Troy is another wonder in himself, Kurt Warner in the Super Bowl, just another championship game for Troy Polamalu to show up in.

3. The Lakers need more than Bynum and Gasol to contend down low.
The Los Angeles Lakers were beaten Friday night by the Orlando Magic for the second time this season, causing concern for the league's best team as they failed to match up against Superman, Dwight Howard.

Andrew Bynum has yet to impress in 2008-09 like the experts expected him to, averaging only 12.6 points, and rebounding 7.7 boards per game. With outlandish rumors of Shaq refueling the diesel back at Staples Center before this season's trade deadline, Bynum better start justifying the large contract the 21 year old signed early this season.

If Dwight Howard continues to own the Lakers, LA's weakness inside will soon be exploited by teams like Houston, Portland, Utah and San Antonio. Although the Lakers handled the Celtics on the back of Gasol, he can't save Hollywood's team night in and night out.

4. Coaches can be wrong sometimes.
Leave it to Pete Carroll to settle an argument with an apology. We all know Carroll's reaction on the flight of Mark Sanchez to the NFL from USC, he hates it. We found that out in a tirade of excessive questions of loyalty and readiness following the announcement by the 22 year old quarterback.

After Carroll's words received much flack from the media and those around the game, the seven-time defending Pac-10 Champion head coach called Mark Sanchez himself Friday night to personally say that he was sorry for his words.

Whether you agree with Sanchez's sudden decision to enter the NFL draft or not, it serves a big precedent when coaches apologize for their words about their players. Tom Coughlin and Bob Knight may refrain from "I'm sorry's," but just to know that they exist is truly mind boggling, yet somewhat reassuring.

5. The Cubs really really really want Jake Peavy.
Sunday saw the end of Chicago's appetite for Pie, as they traded the once promising phenom center fielder Felix Pie to Baltimore for pitchers Garrett Olsen and Henry Williamson.

The swap of prospects is undoubtedly a move to soften up San Diego Padres GM Kevin Towers, as his love for Olsen is common knowledge.

Having already traded super utility man Mark DeRosa, veteran pitcher Jason Marquis, and young arm Jose Ceda, Cubs GM Jim Hendry is open to change. A fifth offseason trade to acquire the 2007 NL Cy Young Winner Jake Peavy looks more likely now than ever.

After the Cubs announce new ownership in a move that is predicted to take place around Spring Training, look for Peavy to wind up in the Windy City, giving the National League's best team the world's best rotation.

Photo: NY Daily News


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