@InspireLSSports|Super Bowl 50

Peyton Manning versus Cam Newton. “The Sherriff” versus “Superman.”  The “OG” versus the “future.”

Yes, the 50th edition of the biggest sporting event in America came with tons of storylines, particularly with the star quarterbacks of both the AFC Champion Denver Broncos and the NFC Champion Carolina Panthers.

Amongst all the glitz and glamour out in the Bay Area at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA, one side featured the future Hall-of-Famer in Manning, who had already tasted Super Bowl gold several years ago in Super Bowl XLI as a member of the Indianapolis Colts. Then there was new face of the NFL and reigning league MVP in Newton. At the helm for the Panthers, the dazzling sensation led a powerhouse of talent through the ranks of the NFC, breezing through the regular season and postseason while introducing a nation of sports fans to the newest dancing celebration of “dabbing.”

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However, in the end, a strong effort by Newton and the Panthers came up short against a stout Broncos’ defense that asserted themselves early and often, forcing the Carolina QB into several miscues and registering seven sacks while forcing four takeaways.
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Denver and Manning won Super Bowl 50 by a 24-10 margin, giving the Broncos their third championship in franchise history in what was likely Peyton’s final game. In the two weeks leading up to the big game, speculation ran rampant that perhaps the gold edition of football’s biggest contest would be Manning’s curtain call.

If it was (and he was hesitant to address those questions with the media afterwards), then he certainly went out with a bang. Manning and the Broncos (15-4) took the opening kickoff and began an efficient drive that ended with a 34-yard field goal before their defense made perhaps the turning point of the evening on Carolina’s ensuing possession. Starting their drive deep in its own territory, Newton was unable to avoid a blitzing Denver pass rush, getting stripped by Super Bowl MVP Von Miller, where Malik Jackson recovered the loose pigskin in the end zone for a stunning 10-0 advantage.

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Carolina running back Jonathan Stewart responded with a 1-yard score midway in the second period to get the Panthers on the board at 10-7, but the NFC champions would get no closer. Denver created another big blow in the half, this time on special teams as Jordan Norwood returned a Super Bowl record 61-yard punt inside the Panthers’ red zone, setting up a short 33-yard field goal for a 13-7 lead and leading into a memorable Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show with performances by Beyonce’, “Coldplay”, Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars.

Penalties were huge in the game, and despite all the miscues by Denver on both sides of the ball, the Panthers (17-2) hung around late in the final period and had a chance to take the lead.

The first of Carolina’s two possessions resulted in a three-and-out. After the Panthers’ defense held, Newton and crew got another crack, but this time Miller was the catalyst again. On a third-and-9, the Denver defender got another strip sack of Newton, which allowed Broncos safety T.J. Ward to promptly recover the loose ball again deep inside Carolina’s territory.

After a costly penalty put the Broncos inside the five, C.J. Anderson dashed in from two yards out for the championship sealing score, followed by a successful two-point conversion for the game’s final points.

With his brother, two-time Super Bowl MVP and New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning watching and cheering from a luxury suite box, Manning finished perhaps his career with 141 yards passing on 13 completions. Anderson led the Broncos rushing attack with 90 yards on 23 carries. But the MVP award went to Miller for his aggressive play and forcing a pair of turnovers on Newton that led to scoring opportunities each time.

“I’ll take some time to reflect,” Manning told CBS Sports afterwards. “I got a couple of priorities first. I’m going to go kiss my wife and my kids and I’m going to drink a lot of Budweiser tonight.”
“It feels great,” Miller said afterwards. “Peyton and DeMarcus and (Assistant Coach Wade Phillips) and all the guys that have been deserving their whole, whole career. I did this for them. I put my neck on the line for those guys.”

Newton finished with 265 yards passing on 18 attempts and rushed for another 45 yards. However, the postgame was marred with a bit of controversy as Newton was seemingly not wanting to answer a bevy of questions from the media following the loss. Conflicting reports say that perhaps Newton was being taunted by some Broncos’ players in the media area afterwards, which resulted in his angry departure from the podium.

In exit interviews conducted Tuesday, Newton stood by his reaction, telling reporters and Yahoo! Sports that he has no regrets on how he presented himself and that he doesn’t have to conform to what anybody wants – all the while promising that his team will return to the NFL’s biggest stage in the very near future.

“I’m on record as being a sore loser,” he added. “I hate losing. You show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser.”

As for the Broncos, the team returned to the Mile High City early Monday and held their championship parade in downtown Denver on Tuesday. Manning still has yet to say what will become of his future in the NFL, but many critics stand by their assumption that Sunday was the swan song for Peyton. As the lights dimmed in Santa Clara, Manning also became the first quarterback to win a title with two different teams and certainly played a career worthy of being enshrined in the halls of Canton, Ohio – soon enough.

Super Bowl 50 was the capper on another successful season for the NFL, which saw victories for the Kansas City Chiefs, New York Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars in the annual NFL International Series held at London’s Wembley Stadium. Total attendance for all three games in the series was 251, 631 — showing again that the league continues to attract UK fans of the American sport since the International Series started back in 2007. The second of the three-game series, featuring the Jacksonville Jaguars beating the Buffalo Bills 34-31, drew the largest with 84,021 fans.
For the latest on the NFL in the UK, go to www.nfluk.com

 

 

W| By Michael T. Lyle, Jr                               @LyleMultimedia                   Via @InspireLSSports

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@InspireLSSports| Kei Nishikori: The Asian Sensation

Popular Japanese tennis sensation, Kei Nishikori, unmistakably stands head and shoulders above the rest on a platform of his own in the supremely noble and respect-driven orient whenever tennis emerges as the central topic of conversation and sporting viewing pleasure; the humbly reserved ever-rising 25-year-old Japanese superstar is presently ranked fifth overall in the world and has seemingly – and deservedly – earned marquee affluent endorsement deals from EA Games and LVMH Moët Hennessey along the way, significantly in part due to Nishikori’s international appeal, success and dynamic court charisma .

In 2014 alone, Nishikori officially made history and broken ethnic barriers single-handedly in becoming the first-ever Asian player  to be ranked in the top ten of the WTA official tennis rankings; acclaimed Japanese tennis legend, Shuzo Matsuoka,was the last relevantly notable Japanese tennis athlete to capture the attention of the world, notwithstanding hitting a relatively lukewarm career high when Matsuoka peaked at number forty five in the Men’s tennis world rankings in 1992.

The prodigiously gifted Nishikori has collectively claimed seven titles in his rapidly growing career, whilst officially making history in being a bittersweet runner-up in the US Open 2014 Final in a heartbreaking losing effort to Marin Cilic, thus making the inspirational Nishikori the first-ever player of Asian heritage in tennis history to compete in a major Grand Slam Final competition; the ever-shy poster child of Asian tennis has seemingly achieved for the Japanese game what Asian compatriot Li Na did for the mass growth and overall appeal of tennis in China.

Nishikori’s prominent – and unlikely – rise to stardom in 2014 speaks tremendous volumes to the Asian sensation’s immense perseverance and superb drive in becoming a successfully respected tennis standout, with a Grand Slam title in 2016 in sight to essentially amplify the fitting honor and prestige of Asian professional athletes on a global scale. Nishikori is greatly humbled by his many accolades, and has publically spoken of how he has to adjust when competing and training now that he is officially recognized as a top ten player in the entire world.

Overwhelming respect and unmatched honor is a core fabric of Asian society – particularly toward those more senior – is paramount, thus enabling certain complexities for prosperous young Asian athletes in their respective careers and/or lives, which can create a dichotomy for potential stars to essentially either sink or swim. To ultimately prevail above all in the world of professional sports, the three major requirements are undying passion, gritty persistence and proficiency. Asia – and the rest of the world alike – will no doubt be monitoring Kei Nishikori’s growing progress as 2016 unfolds; Nishikori presently resides in Bradenton, Florida. Kei Nishikori’s skilled and polished tennis game has been profoundly consistent in recent performances, with the Japanese superstars bread and butter notably being his sublime forehand and superb speed between the lines when competing; Nishikori is currently coached by International Tennis Hall of Famer and New Jersey native, Michael Chang.

The prolific Asian sensation was featured in a compelling article in TIME Magazine in January 2015, with the present being the right time to show the entire world that it is the moment for Kei Nishikori to up the ante and break further barriers in becoming the first-ever Asian to claim a major Grand Slam crown.

 

W| By Dean Perretta                 @DeanPerretta                                          @InspireLSSports

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#InspireLSSports| Ronda Rousey Wants Rematch With Holly Holm In 2016

Undisputedly, it was a shocking bittersweet and defining sporting moment where time suddenly stood still. It was the ultimate knockout that was heard loudly from around the entire world. The unthinkable become the fathomable when Holly “The Preacher’s Daughter” Holm (10-0) triumphantly dispatched then undefeated “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey (12-1) inside the jubilant sold out Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia before a record-setting 56,214 at UFC 193 on November 15, 2015. A newfound changing of the guard in women’s Mixed Martial Arts had been christened, with the Holm era unassumingly ushering and rectifying a brand new day in women’s Mixed Martial Arts. “The Preacher’s Daughter” took a tremendous leap of faith in exhibiting that the supposed unconquerable was indeed conquerable. Rousey’s innate overconfidence and bravado become relative complacency.

It was a borderline arrogance in neglecting a true sleeping giant. That sleeping giant – Holly Holm – issued a rude awakening. It is a certifiable and bona fide milestone moment that will eternally come to define Holm’s legacy when all is said and done. The Rousey bandwagon appeared dumbfounded as the cynical meme’s subsequently followed thereafter via social media. The Rousey backlash had conveniently arrived and the multimedia – and psuedo fan – daggers were imminently sharpened as the proverbial personal crucifixion took place as fairweather opinions altered. Conversely, the uber-humble Holm legion stood elated in unison. Moreover, a potential rematch between both respective athletes remains as the most anticipated sporting ticket in both Las Vegas, Nevada and on Pay-Per-View worldwide. Exclamation points and larger-the-life question marks majestically hang in the balance for both athletes. Was Holm’s famous win synonymous with luck? Admittedly, it was anything but. It was a finely clinical display for Holm and a firm reminder as to why the temptational allure of A-list fame and consuming extracurricular activities remain as forbidden fruit for Professional Athletes, particularly as it relates to Ronda Rousey. Holm’s chief professional focus is, was and always will be fighting and training. There are zero distractions sidetracking her road to cementing her place in history. Notwithstanding Hollywood movie scheduling, a main event rematch against Holly Holm is exactly what Rousey has deemed as a high priority in 2016.

Holly Holm’s sensational victory over Rousey has often been made comparable to Chris Weidman’s determined victory over Anderson Silva, and within the vintage context of combat sports, James “Buster” Douglas’ unlikely upset against “Iron” Mike Tyson. Essentially, it has left a sour taste in Rousey’s mouth, chiefly due to the consensus feeling of her immaculate win-loss reputation being tainted after many months of intense preparation and greater years of building an irrepressible legacy. Building a brand in multimedia came within the territory of her own greatness within the realm of Mixed Martial Arts. It was not something Rousey longed for. It happened. It was a legacy that was stripped and taken away in one fell swoop in the fabricated version of events of many fans and journalists. A major loss in Mixed Martial Arts or Professional Boxing is vastly demoralizing during the aftermath. It is psychologically and emotionally humbling. Likewise to Cat Zingano and Miesha Tate, Holly Holm was essentially destined to stick to the script written by expert observers and become another lamb to the slaughter courtesy of Rousey. The legend of Ronda Rousey became momentarily mere mortal, whilst the questions of a dream showdown with Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino (15-1) became an afterthought in what was one of the most shocking moments of all-time in modern day Professional Sports. Holm was officially awarded with Knockout of the Year 2015 on the basis of her dominant performance against Ronda Rousey.

However, Ronda Rousey personally congratulated Holly Holm during her sincere monologue during an appearance on Saturday Night Live this week, where the multimedia superstar noted “This is the first time I’m talking to my fans since I lost to Holly Holm in November, which, by the way, was a fight Holly deserved to win. And I just wanted to take a minute to sincerely congratulate her.

I don’t think so. She’s one of the mentally strongest people that I’ve ever met in my life. It just wasn’t her night, she’ll bounce back. She’ll be back” commented UFC President Dana White when questioned in relation to Rousey’s confidence being neutralized since the infamous loss to Holm.

Rumors have since wildly circulated in regards to a high-profile rematch between Holm and Rousey for the UFC Women’s Banthamweight Championship in 2016. However, Holm will defend her UFC Women’s Banthamweight title against Miesha Tate at UFC 196 inside the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 5. Irrespective of the invariable outcome of Miesha Tate’s date with destiny, unfinished business strictly remains with Ronda Rousey as she seeks to strongly exact the bitter loss to Holm. Elsewhere, Ronda Rousey has officially confirmed that she will star in a Hollywood remake of Patrick Swayze’s 1989 classic “Road House”.

Ultimately, Holm’s potential marquee big money rematch with the “Entourage” Hollywood superstar could inevitably garner significantly larger buyrates than the initial UFC 193 main event encounter in Melbourne, Australia; Holm’s UFC 193 showdown with Ronda Rousey witnessed an impressive 1.1 million buyrates, which now stands as the third most purchased UFC Pay-Per-View event in the twenty three year history of the globally revered Mixed Martial Arts company.

As a confirmation and due testament to her exception, Holm’s richly credible reputation and superb ability as a Professional Boxer and Professional Kickboxer swiftly transitioned perfectly into the world of Mixed Martial Arts with wins over Ronda Rousey, Rebecca Pennington and Marion Reneau in UFC; Holm is now the first-ever athlete – female or male – to claim major championship titles in both Professional Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts alike.

Be that as it may, Ronda Rousey has not watched the bout footage of her loss to Holm, whereas Rousey’s trainer Brett Okamoto stated “It’s not about wanting to watch, it’s about whether or not the timing is right or if it’s even necessary. I know how to speak to Ronda. I know Ronda very well. She doesn’t need to watch that fight. The fight is over. It’s about what we’re doing now. It’s my job to watch the footage and I’m dedicating everything I have to Ronda’s rematch with Holly”.

Unequivocally, it is now only a matter of time before Ronda Rousey reclaims her supreme dominance as the UFC Women’s Banthamweight Champion. The question on everyone’s lips is when will the biggest rematch of 2016 finally be confirmed? The climatic outcome of Holly Holm’s forthcoming clash with Miesha Tate will unquestionably be a telling moment which will shape and dictate the likelihood of the most anticipated rematch that the world wants to see.

 

 

W| By Dean Perretta                          @DeanPerretta                       Via @InspireLSSports

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