Blowin' Smoke Presented by Weston Tobacco
What's more fun than us giving you a chance to mock us every single week? In our new feature, Blowin' Smoke presented by Weston Tobacco, we will do that each and every Thursday. Gabe DeArmond and Mitchell Forde will make five predictions almost sure to go wrong every week in this space. These will range from big games to big picture predictions with a bit of the comedic and absurd mixed in most weeks as well. On to this week's predictions.
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1) What's the first sport to come back?
Mitchell: I feel like golf makes the most sense to come back first without fans. It's outside, shouldn't be too hard to keep six feet between competitors and the bulk of its season hasn't happened yet. Baseball seems to me like the other possibility. I think the ship has pretty much sailed on the NBA and NHL seasons.
Gabe: I'd have thought tennis had a chance, but they just postponed Wimbledon which isn't even supposed to start until June 29th, so that's out the window. The MLS says it still wants to play a full 34-game schedule ending in November or December. I don't know enough about it to know when that means they'd have to get going again, but there's a decent chance there I think. Also because that's the kind of league that might want a little more publicity of being on the main stage and wouldn't take quite as big a hit as some others if it had to play without fans. So I'll say it's soccer.
2) What's most likely: A normal football season, a football season without fans or no football season?
Mitchell: At this point, I'm feeling like a normal football season is unlikely. I think either the start will be delayed a bit or the first few weeks will be played without fans or something like that will have to be done. But I have a very hard time envisioning a canceled season. So many people, from the colleges to the advertisers to the media, depend on so much money from college football that I think they will find a way to make it happen in some form or fashion. And if we're still at a point in August where we can't get 22 people on the field at the same time, we have bigger problems than the football season.
Gabe: Given these three choices, I'd say a season without fans or at least with limited attendance. I think they're going to do absolutely everything they can to have football. I just don't think it's very likely it's going to be starting on time like everything is sunshine and rainbows.
3) There's talk of Phil Mickelson vs Tiger Woods in a pay per view match. If you could stage one sporting event to watch over the next few months (and don't worry about the 10 person gathering limit) what would it be?
Gabe: I'm not going to be picky. Right now, I would pay $200 to see Patrick Mahomes throw a football to his girlfriend in the back yard (normally I would only pay $100 to see that). I'll take anything. The NCAA Tournament is definitely right up there. But if you just tell me they're going to have every Major League Baseball team open a shortened season on the same day, I'm in. It would be a celebration of a sport that badly needs something to celebrate.
Mitchell: Well first off, Tiger vs. Phil would be awesome. I would pay handsomely to watch it. I'm torn on this one between the Masters and the first weekend of the NCAA basketball tournament. Both would provide four days of nearly non-stop entertainment, which I think is key. I want to pick something that can occupy me for as long as possible. But I think I'll give the nod to the NCAA Tournament, because (and I'm actually stealing this explanation from Gabe) sometimes one player can run away with the Masters and it can be boring. The NCAA Tournament has never once been boring. With that many games going on, someone is getting upset or beating the buzzer or whatever. Plus, I love and will always love the personal aspect of rooting for my own bracket, especially on those first couple days when it hasn't yet gone to hell. Even if they couldn't continue with the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight and such, I would love to park in front of the couch for four days, drink beer and watch college hoops
4) Will Tom Brady make a Super Bowl in Tampa?
Mitchell: No. I'm not even sure he'll make the playoffs. I'm not going to pretend to know a ton about the Bucs' roster, but I'm pretty sure their defense was terrible last season. Even with a good corps of wide receivers, Brady isn't good enough at this point in his career to win a bunch of shootouts and carry a team with other deficiencies to a Super Bowl, especially when better divisional opponents than the Jets, Dolphins and Bills.
Gabe: No. And it's not because of the Bucs' roster (which I know almost nothing about anyway). I watched the Patriots last year. He's no longer a Super Bowl caliber quarterback. He's not taking a team past Russell Wilson and the Seahawks or Drew Brees and the Saints. Brady has had the best career of any quarterback in NFL history, but he's won his last title.
5) Will Bill Belichick make a Super Bowl in New England without Tom Brady?
Gabe: I'll say no again. The obvious reason is because Patrick Mahomes will win every Super Bowl from now until he retires. But also, that roster isn't good enough right now. It's going to take a serious overhaul that takes more than a year. And I don't know how much longer Belichick hangs around. Like Brady, he's the best who's ever done what he does, but I think the rings are going to other guys.
Mitchell: I see this as more likely than Brady making a Super Bowl with the Bucs, but I'll say no here as well. We almost never see a team make the Super Bowl without good quarterback play, even if it's coached by a defensive genius like Belichick. It looks like the Patriots are going to try to fill that void via the draft. If that's the case, you're looking at a 50-50 proposition of drafting a multi-year starting quarterback (maybe lower). Even if they do hit there, it's at least two years, maybe three or four, before that quarterback could possibly be Super Bowl caliber, but again, that's a real long shot. If he's not, they have to start over or pursue other options in free agency. I'm not sure Belichick, currently 67, has the patience for that. Who knows, maybe I'm wrong and they sign Cam Newton and he returns to 2015 form and it works out, but I wouldn't bet on it.