Overtime: Was the groundhog actually right?!

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Kyle Brennan

Round of Applause

College basketball season is finally in the spotlight now that the NFL season has come to a close (yet, of course we’re going to hear endlessly about the NFL Draft until it happens). It’s time for me to start studying for March Madness, which has been my greatest sports passion for about 10 years. Anyone can get lucky and win a bracket pool one year, but consistently placing near the top of your pool year after year means you know what you’re doing. I look to continue that tradition this spring.

Chorus of Boos

The NVL indoor track championships were postponed to this Wednesday (yep, they already happened) thanks to the snowstorm Feb. 1. We understand that nobody can control the weather—especially this winter—but the postponement of the event to Feb. 9 meant that none of the performances at the meet would be eligible to qualify for the state championships from Thursday to Saturday. The CIAC deadline passed earlier this week so any of the athletes who were just a second or an inch short of getting the chance to compete at the state championships lost the opportunity to do so. It’s a tough situation, but something has to be figured out next season because this has happened all too often in the last few years. Luckily for Woodland and Naugatuck, they are among the best traveled indoor track teams in the league, so many of their athletes got plenty of chances to qualify. Still, the lack of practice during the regular season meant that many of those athletes didn’t post what could have been their best times. The apple cart has been upset by Mother Nature.

Curtis Martin didn’t make it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday in his first year of eligibility. I can’t say it was a real surprise to me that Martin wasn’t elected right away because being underrated was really the story of his career. He won only one rushing title (in 2004), never won a Super Bowl (though he played in Super Bowl XXXI with the Patriots), and was never really in a conversation for MVP honors. Still, he’s the fourth-leading rusher in the history of professional football. It’s too bad that he and Jerome Bettis, who is right behind Martin on that list, didn’t make it on the first cut. I think those two, plus Marshall Faulk (who did get in), all should have gone in together. If Martin and Bettis don’t get in next year, the Pro Football Hall of Fame will have really cemented my opinion that it’s one of the weaker of the major halls of fame.

Everything not having to do with the football game in Super Bowl XLV was absolutely awful, and probably the worst I can ever remember in any Super Bowl. Everything got off to a terrible start in the week leading up to the game when Dallas couldn’t figure out how to clear snow from the roads (then again, neither can we around here) and ice started clocking people as it fell off the roof of Cowboys Stadium. Then, the fire marshal said that the stadium’s brilliant idea to construct temporary seats didn’t work, as 1,250 of them were deemed unsafe because of shoddy construction. Those fans were either relocated or had to watch the game from inside the stadium. Well, at least none of those things happened on TV … ‘cause TV had plenty worse in store for us. There was Christina Aguilera apparently forgetting about the fact that Francis Scott Key watched over the ramparts to see our flag so gallantly streaming while she was busy making a mockery of the national anthem. The one part of the spectacle that non-fans look forward to is advertising, and to fit right in with how terrible the event was, the commercials were probably the worst I’ve ever seen (save for Roseanne Barr getting pummeled by a log). And to top it all off, the Black Eyed Peas were worse during halftime than Mick Jagger or any of the old-timers they’ve put out there recently. Eek, eek, eek.

Tony’s Takes

Tony’s back, fresh off his Packers’ 31-25 win over the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV. No, he’s not yet off his cloud. Without further ado, here’s Tony…

1. My Packers did it! Super Bowl XLV champions. Big props to the MVP, Aaron Rodgers, who played superbly and will continue to make noise in the league for years to come … Err, see below.

2. The NFL and players union needs to hurry up and get a labor deal done before it’s too late and this thing drags into the regular season. We need football.

Lips to CN’s Ear

“[The most positive aspect was] our attitude, our work ethic. I mean I have absolutely nothing in the world to be disappointed about. We played as a team defensively, offensively, we improved on our motions—I have nothing in the world that’s negative to talk about. … We’re right there. We’re tasting it. It’s like a carrot dangling in our faces. We just can’t grab it right now.”

MIKE WILSON

Naugatuck boys basketball coach after the Greyhounds lost another close game Tuesday night, a 60-58 defeat at Kennedy. The Hounds have been competitive in many of their losses and have suffered bad break after bad break to hold them to a 1-13 record in Wilson’s first year. The schedule eases up a little for the Garnet and Grey in the final two-plus weeks of the season, so it’s hard to think that Naugy won’t grab at least another win or two down the stretch with how well the team is playing now.