QB CAROUSEL

QB CAROUSEL

Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Lamar Jackson, and Derek Carr to name a few of the quarterbacks in the NFL whose future is up in the air this offseason. From who rejected big money, to who is considering retirement, would it be wise for any of these guys to take advantage of the offers in free agency?

1. Aaron Rodgers*
The former back-to-back MVP winner was a touchdown away from making the playoffs after a horrendous 4-8 start, with Rodgers citing the poor form to injuries and inconsistency of his receivers. The Packers then went on a mad one placing themselves in the playoff picture on the final game week of the season, which they lost to the Detroit Lions. So what is next for Aaron Rodgers?

He is due to earn close to $60 million next season if he were to stay at Lambeau field, however, he has flirted with a move away in the past. San Francisco is a long-time admirer of Aaron Rodgers, especially with their QB conundrum losing Trey Lance and Jimmy Garappolo with long-term injuries.

Verdict: STAYS IN GREEN BAY

2. Tom Brady*
The G.O.A.T of the game himself turns 46 years old in August and doesn’t look ready to slow down. After being retired for about a month Tom Brady returned to Tampa Bay but didn’t have the season he may have hoped for. For once in his career, Brady looked his age.

It is reported that the Glazer family will do “everything” to keep Tom in Florida, but will they face immense competition? Don’t get me wrong, Brady still outclasses more than 50% of the QBs in the league but he will be 46! Apart from Tampa Bay, the Las Vegas Raiders are looking for someone to take over from Derek Carr and put them on the map, with the New York Jets also weighing up their options.

Verdict: TENNESSEE TITANS/LAS VEGAS RAIDERS

3. Lamar Jackson*
Here comes the most surprising name on this list, former regular season MVP Lamar Jackson. Jackson, 26, has rejected contract approaches by the Baltimore Ravens in the past, with the words “undervalued” being thrown around during negotiations. It is rumored that he rejected a contract worth $250 million fully guaranteed which would make him the highest earner in NFL history.

I think the Ravens have to cut their losses. There is a slim chance you can franchise tag the former Louisville player, however, it might be right to move on from Lamar. Who would they replace him with? Where would he go? The team would be desperate and have playoff aspirations.

Verdict: SIGNS A MAMMOTH CONTRACT AT THE NEW YORK JETS

4. Matthew Stafford*
What a difference a year makes. This time last year Matthew Stafford was on his way to a Super Bowl title, and now he’s under threat of not being QB1 in Los Angeles. Baker Mayfield has come in and done a job and the Rams may consider moving on from Stafford seeing as they got what they want and this season was a disaster.

Now he nor his teammates got a chance to actually defend the title with Cooper Kupp, and eventually, Aaron Donald got hit with injuries keeping them out for prolonged periods. His contract does run out in 2026 so it may be harder to move him on.

Verdict: STAYS IN LOS ANGELES

5. Derek Carr*
It has seemingly been an end to an era in Vegas as Derek Carr looks to be looking for a new team for next season. Carr and the Raiders had an underwhelming season, finishing 6-11 after trading for Davante Adams in the offseason. Carr was especially disappointing with a career-high in interceptions (14) last season.

Derek, 31, may be able to give his next team five or six years if he can stay healthy, and he may convince teams such as Washington, Atlanta, and Indianapolis to make him their starter. He could even become the Tom Brady replacement in Tampa Bay if he does not stay.

Verdict: SIGNS FOR WASHINGTON COMMANDERS

6. Zach Wilson*

From being the man to save their franchise to the guy they can’t stand, Zach Wilson knows and accepts he may need a new team for next season. After being displaced by Mike White and even Joe Flacco, he finds himself 3rd in the pecking order.

Wilson, who is 24 in August may have to accept a backup job somewhere else because the chances of him being a starter for any NFL team are as high as the Houston Texans being Super Bowl contenders.

Verdict: BECOMES THE BACKUP AT DETROIT LIONS

*All pictures via Getty Images*

G.O.A.T

G.O.A.T

(A young Pele)

From the poverty-stricken town of Bauru in Sao Paulo working as a tea servant to becoming the man who changed the scope of football, “Pele” lived a full and successful life, going through his adversities and overcoming them as he did.

At the age of 14, Pele began playing futsal with the adults even though he was considered too young. In a futsal tournament, Pele at 14 years old finished as the top scorer netting 15 goals. During this success, he was scouted and taken on trial for Brazilian professional club Santos F.C. At 15 years old he signed a professional contract and scored on his debut against Corinthians.

In the next season, a certain 16-year-old won the golden boot in the division and got rewarded with his first Brazilian call-up. In 1958 he helped Brazil to lift their first World Cup trophy, and four years later repeated as champions. After the World Cup in 1962, the wealthiest of clubs all queued up to sign the Brazilian forward, however, Santos was diligent and didn’t sell nor did he want to leave.

Pele still has the record for the most goals in the Campeonato Paulista with 58 goals, and a record for the most goals for Brazil (77 goals in 92 games) albeit joint top with Neymar. In 1975, a semi-retired Pele joined the New York Cosmos and brought out some of the largest crowds in the history of United States football, winning the North American Soccer League’s Soccer Bowl.

After persistent fouling by Bulgarian and Portuguese defenders in the 1966 World Cup, Pele decided to retire from international football which shook the world. Was this the end of the greatest in the world on the biggest stage? Has the world finally got a chance to win the coveted trophy? No, God no.

(Pele with all three of his World Cups)

Pele returned to international football in 1969 and played the qualifiers for the World Cup getting himself acquainted with his teammates again. In 1970, this was going to be his swan song, officially, the great will leave for good this time. The team he was on was considered the best in history consisting of Jairzinho, Carlos Alberto, Rivelino, and Tostao.Pele returned to international football in 1969 and played the qualifiers for the World Cup getting himself acquainted with his teammates again. In 1970, this was going to be his swan song, officially, the great will leave for good this time. The team he was on was considered the best in history consisting of Jairzinho, Carlos Alberto, Rivelino, and Tostao.

A kind man as regarded by many, including Sir Bobby Charlton and Gordon Banks, didn’t find him so kind when he flicked the ball to Jairzinho to win the game against England. In the finals, Pele scored Brazil’s 100th World Cup goal to get things rolling for the Samba Kings. He also had 2 assists in the game, winning the game 4-1 over Italy.

He is the only man to win the World Cup on three occasions, and the highest-ever scorer netting 1,281 goals in 1,363 appearances over a 21-year career. Mr. Santos himself, the King, the creator of “Jogo Bonito” the greatest of all time. Edson Arantes do Nascimento was 82 years old.

MVP

MVP

(Getty Images)
The Most Valuable Player award in the NBA is normally given out to the best player for the duration of the season, not necessarily a player a team cannot do without. Looking at the league this season, you could say that Stephen Curry is the most important player to his team the Golden State Warriors.

However, you have to also have the numbers to compete for this individual award as well. The top performers are making this decision very difficult for voters this year. The likes of Luka Doncic, Nikola Jokic, and Joel Embiid are not the frontrunners they used to be.

(Ja Morant)
The first of the MVP candidates is the man who dropped his shoe over the weekend, Ja Morant. The best player from the 2019 draft class has been making jaw-dropping performances during his time in the league. His team is fairly good when Morant is absent, however, the team does need him for clutch situations. Averaging close to 27 PPG, 8 APG, and shooting 45% from the field, continuing this form and making the playoffs in a good position could catapult his stock for the award.
(Luka Doncic)
The one-man wrecking machine in Dallas Luka Doncic is putting up numbers that are similar to those of a young LeBron James. Scoring 33 PPG on 50% shooting and having the 2nd most triple-doubles (6), Luka has taken the hat and put his name firmly in it. Doncic has been consistently putting up numbers like this and without help nevertheless. The Serbian can only get better and that is scary, especially if Mark Cuban can get him some help in the American Airlines Centre.
(Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid)
One former MVP and Champion, and arguably the best Centre in the modern era, Giannis and Joel are both struggling from back and neck pains after carrying their respective teams so much. The scoring leader Embiid (33 PPG) has been immense for the 76ers leading to calls of him being the best scorer in the league.

Giannis who is averaging a double-double in points (31) and rebounds (11) still has unfinished business, looking hungry for a second title for his city of Milwaukee. The Greek freak is his team’s most valuable by a long shot and the Mike Budenholzer-led team needs him if they have any chance of coming out of the East.

(Jayson Tatum)
The leader of the team with the best record in the NBA Jayson Tatum has been doing things not even the great Larry Bird did in his playing career. Tatum is the only player in NBA history to record multiple games of 45 points, 10 rebounds and 8 made threes. Recently, Deuce’s dad equaled Larry Bird for the most 50-point games in Celtics history (4).

He has the record for most points scored in the first three games of a season for Boston, the most threes before turning 25, and the highest PPG average (30.6) which in C’s history is 29.9. A case has to be made for the former Duke player and with his Christmas Day performance, it would be foolish not to.

(Nikola Jokic)
Larry Bird, Bill Russell, and Wilt Chamberlain. They are the only people in history to win the MVP award three consecutive times. This season could be historic for the Joker if he was to win the award and join that exclusive list. Nikola has been the Most Valuable in the league for more than two years because if you take him out of Denver then they are worst than even the Pistons. With the most triple-doubles in the league to date (7) and nearly averaging a triple-double himself (25 PPG, 11 RPG, 9 APG) Jokic is just too good.

Will it be enough for him to make it a three-peat? Will Joel Embiid get the recognition he feels he deserves or will be overlooked for the Greek Freak? Does any of the guards have a chance against these bigs? The season is heating up and I’m all here for it.

MESSI-AH

MESSI-AH

(2022 FIFA World Cup Champions Argentina)
Lionel Andres Messi has won every trophy that was ever on show for the little man from Argentina, with December 18, 2022, being the day he completed football. Messi, 35, won the FIFA World Cup trophy after a pulsating game against defending champions France.

The South Americans went into the game with the most pressure of wanting to proclaim that Messi is the greatest ever, and “give their lives” for the magician. Also seeing as the last four World Cups were won by European teams, the mountain to climb couldn’t be higher.

Messi went up against France and club teammate Kylian Mbappe which would decide whether he can complete the sport or the passing of the torch in front of our eyes. Well, Messi won, and the torch was not passed but taken. After Lionel Messi scored an early penalty and Angel Di Maria made it two-nil, it was the Kylian Mbappe show.

(Kylian Mbappe scoring the equalizer in regulation)
The French footballer of the year took his measly eleven touches in the first half personally and within the space of 90 seconds made it 2-2. This was the time Argentine fans and football fans know all too well. After 120 minutes, another French penalty and a goal line scramble the game headed to penalties where the shootout was won by Argentine custodian Emiliano Martinez becoming the hero.

With this win where does the G.O.A.T debate rest? Is Messi the greatest to ever grace the sport? Do Diego Maradona and Pele still have an edge? What we do know is that he has won every trophy on demand and there is a party everlasting in Buenos Aires.

THE FINAL SHOWPIECE

THE FINAL SHOWPIECE

The World Cup Trophy via Getty Images
32 teams fighting for one trophy and one goal. The greatest show on Earth will be held in the winter for the first time and in Qatar of all places. With the splitting or pausing of the major leagues in the world, this World Cup may not be as exciting as it is pent up to be. Players missing through injury such as Christopher Nkunku, Paul Pogba, and to an extent Sadio Mane, there is a considerable loss of talent, not to mention European Champions Italy not there.

Nevertheless, the usual suspects are participating with the likes of Brazil looking to finally reclaim the pinnacle of international football, France looking to defend their title won in 2018, and possibly the final World Cup tournament for Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo with a chance of these greats meeting in the final. Brazil head into the tournament as the number-one ranked team based on the latest FIFA rankings.

Vinicius Jr, Lucas Paqueta, and Neymar via The Associated Press
Led by superstar Neymar, Brazil is one of the favorites for the showpiece displaying one of the deepest squads and talent for days. Evaluating the squad, there is little to no weak spot on that Brazilian roster. Wing talent in Vinicius Jr., Rodrygo, Antony, and Raphina to name a few, and defenders Thiago Silva, Marquihnos, Bremer, and Eder Militao, the quality is endless.

Four years ago this time, you could not change my mind that France would not repeat as world champions, but now they are not as good as they were back then. “Les Bleus” led by the young player of the tournament last time out, Kylian Mbappe, might need a miracle just to make the Quarter Finals. Yes, the additions of William Saliba, Ibrahima Konate, and Aurelien Tchouameni have been welcome, but replacing the caliber of players such as Paul Pogba, Blaise Matuidi, and prime Samuel Umtiti makes the task much more difficult.

French National team celebrating the 2018 triumph via BBC
Underdogs are always loved by an audience and the World Cup produces dark horses every tournament as was Iceland last time out. In 2022, the teams who are not favorites but close to being are Uruguay, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Belgium spent quite a while as the number one ranked country even without winning anything, Uruguay always produces iconic performances, and that trend is expected to continue this time around and the Netherlands MUST win at least a 3rd place medal to justify playing with the big nations.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi could play their final World Cup (image via Goal)

With all happiness and enjoyment comes sadness and disappointment. This tournament could be the last time we witness some of the greats of this generation. It could be the end for Cristiano Ronaldo (38 y/o), Lionel Messi (35 y/o), Sergio Busquets (34 y/o), Thomas Muller (33 y/o), and Guillermo Ochoa (37 y/o). This might be the last dance.

 

PREDICTIONS:

Winner: Brazil

Runners-Up: Portugal

3rd Place: Argentina

Surprise: Portugal

Disappointment: England

Golden Boot: Benzema

Golden Ball: Neymar

Young Player: Jamal Musiala

RUSH HOUR 5

RUSH HOUR 5

(Is this the change of the guard between Dak and Cooper)
After becoming the first Quarterback in Cowboy history to win his first four starts, Cooper Rush made it 5 from 5 after a convincing 22-10 win over the defending Champions LA Rams, the man in charge of Jerry World is the Ginger QB in town and it has cost $150 million less.

Rush is the man of Dallas, not putting up extraordinary numbers, but he has been helping the team grind. The Cowboys have had a stellar defensive structure this year, seemingly surpassing last season’s defense, with former player and Dallas legend Michael Irving calling it “finger licking”, but on the offensive what is next for Dak Prescott?

(Could Prescott be replaced)
Prescott led the year in QBR last season up until the playoffs and showed glimpses of what he could be, and what he could lead the team to. He is currently fighting to become fit to regain his QB1 status, however, with the form of Rush it will be a difficult task and “good controversy.”

With Prescott and Rush fighting for the number one spot with the latter on the up and up, the last time a starter of Prescott caliber was benched for a weaker alternative, Tom Brady benched Drew Bledsoe, not saying Cooper Rush is as good but the scenarios are very similar.