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Sports, to most, it's just a game. A brisk Sunday of watching football, a scorching day in July  watching baseball, a snowy day in February watching hockey or basketball, it's just a game. At least it's supposed to be. The sad reality is that to sports fans; especially the ones loyal to one team, it's not just a game. Personally, sports create memories and molded many relationships. I remember in 2015, a junior in college packing up my  bedding, uneaten boxes of macaroni and cheese, and sport jerseys hanging on my wall, when Kevin Hayes tied the win-or-go home game seven. From that point on I remember how quiet my dorm was. A room of college guys, just sitting in silence until the game winner happened. Recollecting this game is easier than recollecting what I ate for breakfast this morning (PB&J is the answer to this riddle). It's a memory that isn't just sports to me.

 

Being a sports fan, it's just building a connection with friends/other fans. You build a connection to the players as well. This makes the successful seasons that much better and the 'not good enough' seasons that much more hurtful. As the saying goes, 'all good things comes to an end'.  Nobody understands this currently as much as New York Giants fans. After an abysmal Thursday night game against the Philadelphia Eagles, reality officially hit an entire fanbase.

 

Eli Manning decided he was throwing this and that was that... pic.twitter.com/JILzV42DQT

— Matt Waldman (@MattWaldman) October 12, 2018

 

Eli Manning is not great, he's not good, he isn't even serviceable.  Eli Manning is simply BAD. However this isn't a bash Eli post. Instead it's a sad awaking. This your Marimba chime going off at 6 am on Monday.  There is another player a fan base gets to say goodbye to. Another player that at once was at the peak of his sport, and is now has deteriorated to unwatchable. 

 

It happened with Derek Jeter. It happened with Eli's older brother Peyton. The only thing that fans can hope for, is that this level of play doesn't go on too long. 


Eli Manning may have never been the best quarterback in the league. Eli Manning may not even have been the best quarterback in his draft class. Eli Manning was, however the best quarterback in New York Giants history.One day fans will look back and appreciate what number ten did, but that won't happen in 2018 that's for sure.

 

Bottom line: The O-line has been an issue for at least five years. The Giants didn't fix it. They had an immobile QB and they couldn't figure out how to protect him.

The Eli Manning Era may be effectively over now, but he didn't fail the Giants. They failed him. https://t.co/y3Ch817W7Q

— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoSNY) October 12, 2018

 

The biggest takeaway is that fans don't just view their team as an escape. Many end up becoming engulfed by passion when it comes to their sports teams. While Eli Manning deserves every ounce of criticism this season, many fans will look back wishing for days past. Sports are not always an escape, in fact I could argue sports are a perfect representation of life. Seeing Eli age isn't just sad because of his legacy, but obviously that means fans aged with him. It's begs the question, when can I be passionate about my team again?

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The New York Yankees will start another offseason earlier than expected. After a 4-3 loss last night to their rival Boston Red Sox, the Yankees dropped the American League Division Series (ALDS) three games to one. The Yankees won 100 games for the first time since 2009, and won their second consecutive Wild Card Game. It's difficult to call this season a dissapointment when these are the facts, but the question remains. How much did this team underachieve?

 

Aaron Boone reflects on the Yankees' #ALDS loss vs. Boston: "We're very close to being a championship club." pic.twitter.com/rc90KNNJFD

— YES Network (@YESNetwork) October 10, 2018

The team is close to being a championship club. However, close just isn't good enough. This team had a glaring weakness since April, and it was the starting rotation. This series against the Red Sox saw the Yankees yield one quality start in four games. To simply put it, that just will not do in the playoffs. Especially when you face a team that won 108 games in the regular season.

 

Pitching is always the key in the playoffs, yet hitting was the Yankees bread and butter. Being outscored 20-4 at home is not exactly a recipe for success. Living by the homerun and dying by the homerun is an exciting but dangerous offensive strategy. As the Yankees just saw, you need to steal, you need to bunt and hit behind runners. There's still a need to hit a fly ball with a runner on third and less than two outs, and it also helps to hit for the cycle in a playoff game. 

 

It'll be curious to see what the Yankees do this offseason. While the curtain closes on the 2018 New York Yankees, there is plenty of good to reminisce about. Moral of the story, they were very close to being a championship club, but being close just isn't enough.

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A chilly fall Sunday, used to be the best day of the week. At one point many would gather around a television, bar, parking lot or stadium to watch football all day. When fantasy football became a household activity, football got quite the boost in viewership. Fast forward to present day and it no longer is the same. Today a chill Sunday in October, is just that a chilly Sunday. This has nothing to do with players. This has nothing to do with owners. This has to do with men in stripes that officiate the game. 

 

No way @NFL no way.. this cannot be a penalty on Landon Collins. Atrocious!!! #Giants #Panthers #refs pic.twitter.com/zcHy0i7tto

— Mark Ingham (@iMARKINGHAM) October 7, 2018

It doesn't matter what type of fan you are. Giants fan, Jets fan, Eagles fan, etc. These are the types of calls that make the National Football League difficult to watch. Not only was a play made on the ball, but on top of that the pass was tipped. Thus neutralizing any penalty that could have been called. Giants players took to the media and Twitter to express their displeasures in the call.

I can take a loss...to have a win stolen is a different type of feeling. The NFL has some explaining to do...

— Damon Harrison Sr. (@snacks) October 7, 2018

It seems as if it's not just every week, but every single game there is a controversial call. From not knowing what a catch is to not knowing how to tackle a quarterback it is becoming increasingly tough to be a NFL fan. When it comes to player saftey that needs to be a priority. However, when players end up getting hurt because they are trying to adhere to an unclear rule, that damages the game. 

 

The NFL is on a slippery slope. If they don't fix the problems with the refs soon fans may be inclined to walk away from viewership. As Giants player Damon Harrison said on Twitter, "The NFL has some explaining to do."

 

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The 2018 NFL season is three weeks old. After an offseason of anticipation and excitement, both the New York Jets and New York Giants find themselves (1-2). In April the Giants and Jets drafted second and third overall respectively. The Giants selected the best talent in the draft Saquon Barkley. The Jets took the (arguably) best quarterback in the draft.  Fans across the tri-state area have been arguing back and forth between the picks.

 

The Giants taking Barkley was seen with heavy backlash. Fans wanted the Giants to look toward the future and draft a play caller to succeed Eli Manning. Instead they took an all world talent for running back. The Giants had glaring holes that wouldn’t be fixed with one pick. The offensive line has been abysmal since their last Super Bowl win, Eli Manning shows his age with each passing game (pun intended), and the team hasn’t had a true number one running back in recent memory. Essentially there wasn’t a player the Giants could pick that would fix all their problems. Whether taking a quarterback, a generational talent at running back or any other prospect, the Giants can build on their future.

 

The Jets on the other hand knew what they wanted. Trading four picks to Indianapolis Colts in order to move up three spots. Come draft day the Jets knew they would have their pick between (Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, Josh Rosen and Josh Allen). Darnold was seen as the most ‘NFL ready’ quarterback in the draft. There may have never been an easier decision than when the Jets found themselves on the clock and Darnold on the board. Honestly, the Jets may not have even been ‘on the clock’ as this was the biggest no brainer of all time. Fast forward to Week 1. Detroit, Michigan Monday Night Football, Jets vs Lions. September 10, 2018,  Sam Darnold’s first snap as a professional. Play action, Darnold fakes the hand-off, rolls to the right, steps up in the pocket and throws on the run across the field...Intercepted. A pick six is how the prodigy’s career started. Jets fans were experiencing Deja Vu as their franchise savior starts his career the worst way possible. Fast forward to nights end, Darnold led the Jets to a 48-17 win.

 

AtlantaFXHindsight being 20/20 both teams and players will deal with questions about their picks. Was Darnold rushed to start the season? Was Barkley the right pick? The future will tell the story.

 

Making a rookie the starter to begin the season speaks on two trains of thought. First, Darnold’s talent shined through, beating Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater out for the starting job. Second, the Jets are putting their faith in Darnold. It’s a sink or swim business and Darnold was given the task of swimming in rocky water. In the past those ask to carry this burden have sunk like a rock. Darnold on the other seems fit for the task.

 

Personally, Barkley was the right choice at two. The Giants had too many holes to fill and a talent like Saquon only comes around once. Allowing Eli Manning to have at least a threat in the run game helps him immensely. Not to mention Barkley is the only running back to have 100 yards from scrimmage in every game this season. The Giants once took a player who ‘filled a need’ in Ereck Flowers. Taking Flowers meant missing out on Todd Gurley (decent player). Point here is, sometimes filling a void to fill a void, backfires.

 

Both teams have the same record. Barkley has looked strong and Darnold has looked like the franchise quarterback the team has been missing. Should the Giants have taken Darnold (another quarterback)? Will Darnold continue to grow and make the Giants regret passing on him?

Is The NFL Getting Soft?

This is a foul for roughing the passer - the defender lands “with all or most of the defender’s weight” on the passer. Rule 12, Section 2, Article 9(b): https://t.co/s9YKN8NLuT #GBvsWAS pic.twitter.com/ei2QZkvvzx

— NFL Football Operations (@NFLFootballOps) September 23, 2018

After yet another roughing the passer penalty, Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews expressed some frustration with the NFL. Matthews said, "Unfortunately this league's going in a direction I think a lot of people don't like. I think they're getting soft,". It’s no question that the league has cracked down on player safety and taking out unnecessary hits. Have the hits by Matthews been egregious? Or is it the penalties called on him? Is the NFL getting “soft”?

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