If there was a theme to this week, it seems to have been doing whatever it takes to win. We’ll touch on the NFL, Premier League and Australian Open, as well as ending with a look at a slightly less serious story from the week.
One of the most meme-worthy stories over the last week and a half has been the NFL’s “Deflategate”. The New England Patriots have allegedly been deflating balls that they use in games, juts a little bit, and barely noticeable even to professionals, but officially outside the rules. There’s no evidence one way or the other, yet, and the NFL has been accused of dragging its feet on the investigation, so how coverage of this event has been blown up (sorry!) out of all proportion and dominated the lead up to the Super Bowl is beyond me. The only redeeming feature about this whole incident is that it’s made for a gluttony of immature ball themed jokes, which I love!
Since Diego Costa’s ban, Jose Mourinho is taking a leaf out of the book of some of the best sports coaches. His refusal to speak to the media before the Manchester City game was very Sir Alex Ferguson-esque, or Marshawn Lynch-esque if you prefer your comparisons more current. He thrives on his own, and his club’s, villain status like Bill Belichick does, with Deflategate only the most recent of many examples. His refusal to play the style of football many fans may want reminds me of Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide teams, who despite the up-tempo, air-it-out style growing in popularity, still perseveres with a strong defence and a traditional pro style offence. Where Mourinho really impresses is the way he gets his team and the entire fanbase to buy into the idea that everyone is against them, and uses this to get the best out of his team.
Serena Williams beat Maria Sharapova for the 16th time in a row on her way to winning the Australian Open title. Sharapova just seems to have a mental block whenever she faces Serena, but that’s not what Williams credits for her success. Rather she thanks the fact that she vomited during a rain delay for helping her get over the effects of the illness she was suffering from. Perhaps Sharapova could try a good vomit next time, or a half time espresso.
In the Men’s Singles, Novak Djokovic beat Andy Murray to win his 5th Australian Open title. Throughout the game, Djokovic seemed to have a number of injury complaints, but ultimately his superior conditioning, and the ability to keep control of his emotions, was what paid off for the Serb. It’s hard to know how serious the thumb or ankle injury really were, as the exaggeration of niggles or injuries seems to have become a bigger and bigger part of tennis. Ultimately, Djokovic deserved the title, and this will all be forgotten in time, but it’s a shame that we will never know just how much Djokovic had to tough it out, and it would be an even greater addition to his legacy if we could say he’d battled his own body as well as his opponent.
As first reported by a BBC article, Leeds Rhinos have been using so-called “Cannabis Lamps” to get their pitch into the best possible condition for the start of the season. The lamps were confiscated by West Yorkshire police after a raid on a cannabis farm, and then donated to the rugby league club. These lamps are not really designed for cannabis at all, and are quite a common sight at major sporting venues, but it’s great to see that common sense has prevailed and the police have been given the opportunity to help out their local club.