Happy Friday! Despite efforts from Dak Prescott, Kevin Love, and many others, mental health in athletics is a touchy subject.
A few days ago, ESPN released an incredible article detailing Drew Robinson’s (San Francisco Giants’ outfielder) heartbreaking and uplifting battle with depression. We can’t recommend this piece enough.
Please note the story mentioned above includes graphic description of a suicide attempt.
In today's Sprint:
- 🏈 X-factors
- 🏀 Unranked rivalry
- ⚽️ Denied entry
Tom Brady faces fellow Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes on Sunday. Including Mahomes, how many former Super Bowl MVPs has Brady faced this year? Bonus points if you know the names.
The Kid vs. The Goat
Whenever you see a cringe commercial during the Super Bowl, remember somebody dropped $5.5 million for those 30 seconds.
Some other things you can get with that money?
- 94,500 shares of GME on 2/4 or 14,500 shares at its high on 1/29
- 147 Bitcoin
- 7 years of Chris Godwin’s $768K yearly salary
The matchup: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Sunday, Feb. 7th, 6:30 ET on CBS
- Betting line: Chiefs -3; O/U 56
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’s fifth-ranked offense will take the field with the ageless Tom Brady at the helm. Here’s how they bring home the hardware:
A stalwart defense
- With the Chiefs’ starting LT Eric Fisher out, Bucs’ defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaquil Barrett have to harass Patrick Mahomes like they did Aaron Rodgers.
- If they get to him quick enough, the coverage has a chance to keep Tyreek Hill in check.
- Tom Brady is 6-3 in Super Bowls but enters the game an underdog for the first time since 2002.
- He’s enjoyed life in Tampa, throwing to the likes of Mike Evans, Antonio Brown, and Chris Godwin. His arm is showing no sign of weakness, throwing more deep balls than anyone else this season.
- Leonard Fournette.
- The former fourth overall pick has played great in the Playoffs, looking like the version we saw at LSU. Just check this run against Green Bay.
- If Playoff Lenny keeps it up, the Bucs’ fantastic offensive line could bully the Chiefs' below-average run defense, keeping Patrick Mahomes right where the Bucs want him - on the sideline.
Canadian-born pop star The Weeknd will perform the Super Bowl halftime show in front of 25,000 fans from a stage in the stands, rather than the traditional midfield production.
We’re expecting big things after he put up $7 million of his own money for the performance...
Looking to become the first team to win back-to-back super bowls since Brady and the Patriots did it back in 2003-2004 seasons, here’s how the Chiefs pull it off:
- With a cannon for an arm and an underrated elusiveness in the pocket, Patrick Mahomes proved he can tear up the Bucs' defense in Week 12, throwing for 462 yards and 3 TDs.
An aggressive defense
- Steve Spagnuolo’s defense brings pressure over 40% of the time, far above the league average.
- Getting after an immobile Tom Brady is the simplest way to stop the Bucs’ high-flying pass offense.
- Reid owns the second-most wins of any active coach, behind only Bill Belichick. Look for Reid to use his experience late in the game like he did to seal the wins against Cleveland and Buffalo.
- Mecole Hardman.
- Expect the Bucs to double Tyreek Hill after his 269 yard, 3 TD performance against them in the regular season, leaving the speedy receiver Hardman with only one man to burn deep.
Prediction: Tom Brady as the underdog in the Super Bowl? We're not buying it. Buccaneers win 38-35.
Believe it or not, other sports take place on Super Bowl weekend. Let’s make sure you have entertainment outside of Sunday night.
Brooklyn Nets (14-9) vs. Toronto Raptors (9-12) - Fri. 7:30 ET on ESPN
Boston Celtics (11-9) vs. Los Angeles Clippers (17-6) - Fri. 10:00 ET on ESPN
Golden State Warriors (12-10) vs. Dallas Mavericks (9-14) - Sat. 8:30 ET on ABC
#10 Alabama (15-4) vs. #18 Missouri (12-3) - Sat. 12:00 ET on ESPN
#23 Kansas (12-6) vs. #17 West Virginia (12-5) - Sat 2:00 ET on CBS
#6 Texas (11-4) vs. Oklahoma State (11-5) - Sat. 3:00 on ABC
The unranked rivalry: Duke (7-6) vs. UNC (11-6) - Sat. 6:00 ET on ESPN
- For the first time since *checks notes* 1960, neither team is ranked as they faceoff.
- The Super Bowl did not exist in 1960.
(47 pts) Manchester City vs. (40 pts) Liverpool - Sun. 11:30 AM ET on NBCSN
WATER COOLER TALK
- ⚽ Germany denied Liverpool entry to the country for the upcoming Champions League match against RB Leipzig after flights from the U.K. were banned.
- 🏈 Jackson State landed the first top-100 recruiting class for an FCS school and HBCU. The head coach? Deion Sanders.
- 🏈 As a strategy to mitigate the losses from promoting his stores, Jim ‘Mattress Mack’ once again turned to sports betting by placing $3.46 million on the Buccaneers to beat the spread. A Houston legend.
- 🏀 Kevin Durant leads the league in All-Star votes followed closely by Steph Curry. It’s great to see these guys finally healthy.
SHARE THE SPRINT
Talking sports with your friends is fun unless they have no idea what they're talking about. Make sure they're able to keep up with you by sharing the Sprint!
Or, copy this link to send to others - sidelinesprint.com
C. 4. In addition to Mahomes, Brady faced Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and... Nick Foles. Maybe we’ll see the Chiefs break out the Philly Special.