Over the years, the Super Bowl games have ranged from the occasional nail-biter to the more common yawner. But if this year’s playoffs are any indication, the last few games of this gridiron tournament may well be historically riveting.
As most of you probably know, on Sunday the Green Bay Packers defeated the top-seeded Dallas Cowboys 41-38 on a last-second field goal by Mason Crosby, and the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Kansas City Chiefs 18-16 when the Steeltown boys stopped a two-point conversion that might have sent that game into overtime.
Both games were exciting and entertaining, and – let’s face it – that’s what pro football is: entertainment. Soccer may excite more passion, basketball has more non-stop action and baseball more history, but football is more entertaining.
And it’s not just on the pro level: Clemson’s win over Alabama with one second remaining a week ago showed the sort of adrenaline that the college entertainers can provide. Certainly, the gridiron game has its challenges: concussion injuries, meandering franchises and what might be approaching oversaturation. But as long as the sport keeps delivering the heart-stopping contests we’ve seen recently, I suspect it will muddle through somehow.
Speaking of meandering franchises, how ‘bout them Los Angeles Chargers? Can you feel the excitement about the prospect of the Bolts coming to the area? Can you?
If you can, you’re a member of a small tribe. Sure, in the deep dark days of the Great NFL Shortage, some folks came to identify with the team in powder-blue, but it never was more than a relative handful. Now, starting this fall, we get to see if the team can get, say, two handfuls in the stands.
One smart move in all of this is the decision to play two seasons in StubHub Center in Carson. Built primarily as a soccer facility, this stadium seats 30,000 people and will not only provide attendees with a more intimate setting to watch the Chargers, but will also help to conceal the fact that the team has quite a ways to go to build a fan base in the LA-Orange County area. Thirty-thousand fans at StubHub will look a lot better on TV than 30,000 in the 90,000-seat Los Angeles Coliseum.
Football is momentarily king, but the area high schools have moved well beyond that and have started their basketball seasons. It’s early, but the races are already shaping up nicely.
The Tribune was at the Santiago High School gym in Garden Grove on Friday to see the Cavaliers take on the Garden Grove High team in a boys’ contest. It was a contest between two of the three teams expected to battle for the GGL crown, and I was impressed by a lot of the things I saw.
Firstly, the place was packed to overflowing. Well over 1,000 kids and adults were there for the game, and we were treated not only to a good basketball game but also a great halftime performance by the Cavalier drill team, and a fun dance routine by student Steven Tran.
But during the game it was the Cav basketball team that did the drilling and dancing, overcoming an early Argonaut lead with speed, hustle and grit to post the 57-47 win. The Argonauts are talented and not out of this yet, but the job done Al Robertson’s energetic boys in purple makes me hungry to see how they do against the defending champs from Bolsa Grande when they host the Matadors on Wednesday, Jan. 25.
Speaking of big contests, Edison High and Los Alamitos – both 3-0 in Sunset League play – will meet on Wednesday at the Charger gym.
Standings after one week of play are equivalent to looking at voting results from Vermont and Maine on election night, but we can get a hint as to who might be getting out of the blocks fastest. Here’s a quick look at our local high school hoop races.
- Garden Grove League boys: Bolsa Grande 2-0, Santiago 2-0, La Quinta 1-1, Garden Grove 1-1, Los Amigos 0-2, Rancho Alamitos 0-2.
- GGL girls: La Quinta 2-0, Garden Grove 2-0, Bolsa Grande 1-1, Rancho Alamitos 1-1, Santiago 0-2, Los Amigos 0-2.
- Empire League boys: Tustin 2-0, Kennedy 1-1, Pacifica 1-1, Valencia 1-1, Cypress 1-1, Western 0-2.
- Empire girls: Tustin 2-0, Kennedy 2-0, Pacifica 1-1, Cypress 1-1, Valencia 0-2, Western 0-2.
- Golden West League boys: Ocean View 2-0, Loara 1-1, Westminster 1-1, Segerstrom 1-1, Santa Ana 1-1, Santa Ana 1-1, Orange 0-2.
- Golden West girls: Santa Ana 2-0, Segerstrom 2-0, Westminster 1-1, Ocean View 1-1, Loara 0-2, Orange 0-2.
- Sunset League boys: Los Alamitos 3-0, Edison 3-0, Huntington Beach 1-2, Newport Harbor 1-2, Fountain Valley 1-2, Marina 0-3.
- Sunset girls: Los Alamitos 3-0, Huntington Beach 2-1, Marina 2-1, Edison 2-1, Newport Harbor 0-3, Fountain Valley 0-3.
Also: Orangewood Academy is 1-0 in San Joaquin League play for girls; the boys have not begun league play yet.
Monday Morning Coach is written by Pete Zarustica.