Super Surfer; Super Matchup; Cheaters Prospering
Raheem Mostert has given new meaning to the term "surfer dude."
The 49ers running back, who turned down a sponsored professional surfing career to pursue his dream of playing in the NFL, rushed for 220 yards and four touchdowns in yesterday's NFC Championship game as San Francisco walloped helpless Green Bay 37-20.
It was sweet justice for a man who'd been cut by six, count 'em six, NFL teams. Today the Eagles, Dolphins, Ravens, Browns, Jets and Bears must be feeling pretty stupid.
Super Matchup: 49ers vs. Chiefs. This is the matchup everyone has been dreaming about. Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, Damien Williams and the super-explosive Chiefs' offense against Nick Bosa, DeForest Buckner, Fred Warner, Dre Greenlaw, Richard Sherman and the 49ers spectacular defense. (And I'm leaving out some big names on both sides).
Plus newfound superstar Mostert going against a KC run defense that was porous throughout the regular season but held Titans' runaway train Derrick Henry to only 69 yards yesterday.
The league's two fastest men--Mostert and Hill.
And the intriguing question of whether 49er quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo could step up and go Mano a Mano with Mahomes if somehow KC can slow the SF run game.
And George Kittle. Run-blocking, pass catching, running people over, inciting the crowd. I know he's going to want to outshine Kelce in a battle between the league's best tight ends.
Miami has been good to the 49ers. They've won Super Bowls there in 1989 and 1995. The Chiefs last Super Bowl win was 50 years ago.
It's going to be fun.
Cheaters Prospering: We haven't weighed in on the cheating scandal in baseball, whereby the World Series champion Houston Astros used a center field camera to steal the signs of opposing pitchers, then relayed the information to their batters by clicking on a buzzer or banging on a trash can in the dugout.
Careers have been ruined. Astros GM Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch (a Stanford alum) were fired. Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora and Mets manager, Carlos Beltran, who helped orchestrate the scheme as an Astros bench coach and player, were also trash-canned.
The reality is, cheating has been a part of baseball, a part of most sports, and a part of life, for as long as games have been played, people have competed for jobs, political offices and college admissions, and governments have collected taxes.
Consider multiple tour de France cycling champ Lance Armstrong, Giants' slugger Barry Bonds, sprinters Marion Jones and Ben Johnson, a host of East German swimmers, and the New England Patriots (sign stealers in another sport).
Last year alone the FBI uncovered numerous instances of college coaches and footwear executives paying bribes to top basketball recruits and a national college admissions scam involving colleges, parents, and coaches.
Consider the use of everything from corked bats to cut baseballs to amphetamines in baseball. This latest episode with the Astros is receiving a lot of attention because it involved a World Series champion and because it was so brazen. Pounding on a trash can, for heaven's sake.
People cheat because they want to win, they think they can get away with it, and they think "everyone else is doing it."
Unfortunately, the atmosphere in Washington DC these days, where lying and cheating has become an everyday occurrence, has only made things worse by legitimizing such behavior.
My grandmother used to say, "cheaters never prosper." Sad to say, I think she was wrong.
MLK Day: Perhaps no better time to remember this quote from Dr. Martin Luther King:
"The time is always right to do what is right."