Great Sports Weekend

This past weekend was one of the better sports weekends I can remember with a classic Australian Open mens final between top rivals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer and a really exciting Superbowl with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals. The womens final was pretty anticlimactic but still good nonetheless with Serena Williams reclaiming the top spot on the WTA Tour by dismantling Dinara Safina.

The Aussie Open final was the first time that Nadal and Federer had met on a hard court grand slam final. Federer was sure to have the advantage with his experience on hard courts and the fact he was trying to tie Pete Sampras’ record of 14 grand slam titles. However, it was not to be as Federer blew several chances, especially in the third set. Federer had three break points at 4-4 in the third set and Nadal was able to fight them off and then Federer had another two break points at 5-5 in the third and was still unable to capitalize and he went on to lose the tiebreaker after no doubt-suffering mentally.

Watching Federer playing Nadal is one of the most frustrating things to watch if you’re a Federer fan. It’s as if Federer forgets how good he is and Nadal totally has the mental advantage over him as he just wilts under the pressure. Roger had so many opportunities to win Saturday night and just played tight when it mattered the most. He never plays like that against any other player except for Nadal who to his credit played brilliantly and is an exceptional talent and the strongest mental player I’ve ever seen-perhaps in any sport with the exception of Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan. He is also amazing in 5 setters, having won so many memorable matches in the past few years and he currently deserves to be number one in the world. He has now beaten Federer in 5 grand slam finals on three different surfaces and again, to his credit, he has been the underdog at both Wimbledon and the Aussie Open.

The thing about Nadal is it’s just tough to beat the guy. If you watch him play, he just gets to every ball and makes very few unforced errors. Where do the points come from? It’s amazing to watch the guy play. It must be incredibly frustrating for a guy like Federer to hit amazing shots and repeatedly have Nadal run them down and come up with amazing shots time after time. Nadal is just so tough to beat on the biggest points, he is so focused.

Nadal now has six grand slam titles at the age of 22. Federer had zero at age 22 so perhaps in the end it will be Nadal to supplant Sampras’ record afterall or perhaps Federer’s if he eventually gets the record. I don’t see anyone but Nadal winning at Roland Garros and Federer obviously has a great chance at Wimbledon and the US Open but again if he has to play Nadal-the advantage is always with Nadal mentally.

On the other end of the sports spectrum, the Superbowl was a great game last night with a very exciting fourth quarter and one of the most improbable interception returns I’ve ever seen and certainly the best and longest in Superbowl history which was the difference in the game.

Santonio Holmes was also excellent while winning MVP. Big Ben Roethlisberger was as good as he had to be as usual while Larry Fitzgerald showed why he is the best receiver in the NFL. Kurt Warner also played very well but that interception at the end of the half will go down in Superbowl history as one of the biggest blunders by a Quarterback in history. I still can’t believe he threw that pass under pressure like that on the goal line. That pick six was a 14 point turnaround and eventually would become the difference in the game and cost Arizona a shot at their first Championship.

Pittsburgh set themselves apart from every other NFL team by picking up their 6th Superbowl Championship and second in the past 4 seasons. Congratulations to the Steelers because as is their way, they just find a way to get it done. It’s not always pretty or in fact never, but they find a way to get it done. Luckily for me of course, I had Arizona at +6.5 so I was happy either way!

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  1. You forgot to mention the biggest fight in UFC history on Saturday night. Even though it turned out to be extremely one-sided, it was still an great fighter between two of the top fighters in the world.

  2. Good call Baumer, I saw that fight, it was pretty awesome. Superbowl was best game ever. I hate tennis.

  3. I agree the Superbowl was an awesome game but the best ever it was not. The game last year was better for one along with the Pats game versus the Rams, Panthers and certainly the Giants/Bills and second 49ers/Bengals game…I wont even count Superbowl 13 or 5 because I wasn’t even born yet but still there have been many good ones.

    I did not see the fight and I don’t know much about UFC except that a live UFC event is the best sports event to see live, if you like blood and guts and violence, which I do.

    Tennis certainly doesn’t suck and the mens rivalry between Federer and Nadal is the best I’ve ever seen, better than Sampras/Agassi or Borg/McEnroe/Connors/Lendl

  4. I just had another thought based on peoples stupid facebook updates…Groundhog Day is easily the stupidest holiday ever concocted…It is so absolutely pointless and I don’t understand why we care or celebrate it in the first place? Can someone please explain this idiotic phenomenon and why I should care. Additionally, how the hell does a groundhog allegedly know how many weeks of winter there are left!

  5. FYI From Wikipedia…Groundhog Day is an annual holiday celebrated on February 2 in the United States and Canada on which if a groundhog emerges from its burrow and fails to see its shadow because the weather is cloudy, winter will soon end. If on the other hand, it is sunny and the groundhog sees its shadow, the groundhog will supposedly retreat into its burrow, and winter will continue for six more weeks. The holiday, which began as a Pennsylvania German custom in southeastern and central Pennsylvania in the 18th and 19th centuries, has its origins in ancient European weather lore, wherein a badger or sacred bear is the prognosticator as opposed to a groundhog.

    The best part is they have names for the groundhogs that come out such as:
    Octoraro Orphie
    Shubenacadie Sam
    Staten Island Chuck
    General Beauregard Lee
    Punxsutawney Phil

    Just in case you were wondering!

  6. Thanks Jen…I feel enlightened about small furry critters that emerge from the ground just to go back into their holes and their really lame names!

  7. Lee, did you ever catch a live kickboxing match in Thailand? It’s pretty hardcore. As is watching a cockfight in the Dominican Republic, talk about being surrounded by some unsavory characters.

  8. I caught a night of fights at Lumpini Stadium about a year ago. Extremely exciting but not remotely close the UFC style. Obviously huge differences but you also lose something what mainly 13-14yr olds fighting at 100lbs. Reminded me of junior high school fight during recess.

  9. dude, fed will never beat nadal again. i swear that fed plays just hard enough to take it to 5 and then coughs it up. im a huge tennis fan and i am getting sick of the nadal/federer finals…especially at 330am. i hate the australian and when the olympics are in china. you know that all nadal/fed matches are going to be epic and its getting hard to watch them over and over again. i hope someone else steps in like murray…i would love to see arod make a true comeback, i love how the experts count him out all together now, it has to light his fire even more. teh super bowl was sick. knew the cards would cover the spread. cant believe the made that last drive down the field. the safety was great. big ben is a pain to watch. whatever happened to edgerrin, he used to be a star. wish the cards won…steelers are boring.

  10. I did see a Muay Thai fight in Bangers, it is pretty cool but I agree with Baumer that not nearly as cool but still good nonetheless. I have also seen cockfights and that’s about the worst thing I’ve ever witnessed.

    Jen thanks for the groundhog knowledge and I still think Groundhog Day is stupid and now I know their names are stupid as well!

    Andy, I could never get tired of Fed-Nadal because its two all time greats and thats what they both are and Nadal may end of up being the best of anyone if he keeps this up but I imagine he will have a short shelf life or get injured or something the way he plays but who knows. Murray is a joke and so is Djokovic until they can both consistently get to semis and finals and not lose early like Murray at Oz this year or Djokovic at Wimbledon last year which cost him #2 ranking.

  11. fed and nadal is getting old….cant top the wimby match last year ever. come on…verdasco was nice to watch, he should have taken down nadal and choked. roddick is still tough not to root for, hope he is not a one slam wonder like m.cheng was. i thought arods weight loss was going to pull him through mentally against fed. fed just destroys him everytime. should have known the way fed clobbered del potro was so wicked and even surprised me. murray got unlucky and lost to verdasco in the 4th, not too bad and was tough to beat. djoko did choke at wimby which was sad but he will pull through eventually.

    nadal is on the atp player council and think he will fight hard for a shorter season so he can lengthen his career. i think he will get his wish too.

    i think it was the best superbowl i ever saw…the pats one was good though too b/c of the undefeated thing.

  12. Roger Federer has lost his last five matches against Rafael Nadal, but Sunday’s loss in Oz might have been the most damaging of all… dude…told its gettin old…

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