Column: Addressing some relevant topics as the sports calendar approaches its annual post-Super Bowl lull

While most look forward to the NFL conference championship games, chronic sufferers of PSBD, or Post-Super Bowl Disorder, dread the thought of only one game left after Sunday before the long, agonizing wait. for the 2023 season.

Fortunately, there are plenty of other diversions to help you get over your post-Super Bowl malaise, including the NBA, March Madness, spring training, sports talk shows, and movies.

For those who have spent the last six months in an NFL cocoon, here are 10 questions and answers to help you get up to speed on the big issues of the day.

1. Are the Chicago Bulls a lottery team?

Even after their 128-109 victory against the Magic on Saturday in Orlando, Florida, only six teams had a worse winning percentage than the Bulls. They can still make the Eastern Conference playoffs, but not at this rate.

Like the Chicago White Sox in 2022, the Bulls have spent much of the season approaching .500, only to fall back in spectacular fashion. They don’t have any chance of sinking low enough to have a realistic shot at consensus No. 1 pick Victor Wembanyama, but if they miss the playoffs, they will indeed have some ping pong balls in the lottery.

2. Should Eloy Jimenez follow through on his desire to play more right field than designated hitter?

This was a hot topic among White Sox fans for about a minute last week before the mike clevinger saga pushed it into the background.

Jimenez told reporters: “I really don’t think I’m going to accept (embrace the designated hitter role) because I’m working hard to get better and I want to play the outfield.”

It’s good that Jimenez is working hard to become a better fielder, but if the Red Sox are better defensively with rookie Oscar Colas in right, there’s no real reason to play Jimenez more than once a week in the outfield.

3. What is the plus/minus in the number of ‘What’s up, Einstein?’ ad sunday?

Nothing makes an NFL fan miss the RedZone channel like the ubiquitous ad featuring Paul Giamatti as a confused Einstein trying to choose a wireless carrier. Every stop in action during the NFL playoffs has seemingly brought another broadcast.

No betting site provided an over-under for Sunday’s championship games, but my bookie said 22, including pregame shows.

4. Does Northwestern have a realistic chance of participating in an NCAA Tournament?

Why not? Unranked Wildcats are 15-5 after Saturday’s 81-61 win over Minnesota and 6-3 in the Big Ten. No one believed in them after last season’s 7-13 finish in conference play.

What was the difference?

“I think we don’t really care about all the things, what people say about us,” senior guard Chase Audige said after Monday’s win over Wisconsin. “Like, we’ve clearly heard everything in our years here, from being the worst of the worst, to when we’re playing well (being) the best of the best. We’re just trying to stay balanced. We know how confident we were in ourselves as a group, and we believe in ourselves. And that’s all that really matters compared to what everyone else has to say.”

The Wildcats have proven they’re real, but the schedule gets tougher now.

5. Is there a worse premise for a sports movie than ’80 for Brady’?

Judging by the commercials, the upcoming pitch about four old ladies who are obsessive Tom Brady fans could rank as the worst sports movie of all time. He keeps tough company on “Fever Pitch,” “Bad News Bears Go to Japan,” and “The Benchwarmers.” A more apt title might be “Botox for Brady.”

6. Can the Chicago Cubs compete without a bona fide closer?

Wait and see. Setup Brad Boxberger may be the most likely option to start the season there, though he hasn’t been a regular closer since 2018 with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Keegan Thompson, Adbert Alzolay, Brandon Hughes and Rowan Wick are also possibilities.

Team president Jed Hoyer might not be done adding relievers, but he said he’s “comfortable” with his late-inning options.

“My goal, my hope is that in the next two or three years all these guys will get out of our system,” he said. “That’s the real goal, to provide great stuff in the bullpen, and that’s also coming (with) young guys with options that are less expensive. That is certainly what we want to develop.”

7. Can Will Perdue get through the Bulls’ season without imploding?

The NBC Chicago Sports analyst can’t hide his disgust after the Bulls’ losses, recently asking, “Who do they think they are?” Perdue speaks for fans around the world when questions the lack of leadership in the dressing room. She is the Bulls version of Ozzie Guillén.

8. Which 4 NBA players voted for Lonzo Ball to make the All-Star team?

The Bulls guard hasn’t played for more than a year but received four All-Star votes on player ballots. Let’s assume one was from his brother LaMelo and the other three were from his Bulls teammates who think the All-Star ticket is a hoax.

9. Would an NBA writer get his credential stripped for getting into a televised fight with players during a game?

No doubt about that. But when Fox Sports personality Shannon Sharpe, the former NFL star, got into a shouting match with the Memphis Grizzlies players and Ja Morant’s father in a game against the Los Angeles Lakers, the referees and stadium security had to intervene.

Sharpe later apologized after embarrassing himself and leaving. There appeared to be no repercussions from the league or its bosses.

10. When LeBron James passes Kareem-Abdul Jabbar on the all-time scoring list, will he officially become the GOAT?

It will seem so from the reaction of James and his media friends. But the all-time leader in points per game will remain Michael Jordan at 30.12, followed by Wilt Chamberlain’s 30.07 PPG average.

James was in fifth place on Saturday at 27.21. Jordan will also have six NBA titles to James’s four and six NBA Finals MVP awards to James’s four.

James is a great player, but he played a lot longer than Jordan. He really is a no-brainer.


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