1. Brees the MVP as Saints Win Super Bowl XLIV
After starting just 3-for-6 and his team trailing 10-0, Drew Brees regrouped to lead the Saints to a 31-17 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. The real game-changer occurred when cornerback Tracy Porter intercepted Peyton Manning and returned it to put the Saints up two touchdowns with just four minutes to go, but Brees put the Saints up for good by connecting with Jeremy Shockey early in the fourth quarter. It was the storybook ending for Brees, who led the Saints to the franchise’s first Super Bowl. He finished the game 32-for-39 and threw for 288 yards and two touchdowns. After the game, Brees had one of the more memorable images in recent history, holding his son and fighting back tears.
2. Dwight Freeney Active for Super Bowl XLIV
Outside of the Manning-Brees storyline, the biggest headline entering the Super Bowl was the injury status of defensive end Dwight Freeney. The media played it out bigger that it probably was, but Freeney worked hard all week rehabbing and was able to play in the game. He had a relatively large impact despite the outcome, finishing with a sack, a quarterback hit, and a tackle. Brees had his way all game, but let’s not put the blame on Freeney. He used a combination of bull-rushing and his patented spin move to apply pressure and didn’t seem hindered by the ankle.
3. Seahawks LT Jones retiring after 13 seasons?
Per his own Twitter page, Seahawks left ackle Walter Jones is retiring after 13 seasons in the league. Sources also say Jones is quite the jokester, so this comment should be taken with a grain of salt. If it’s true, it’s a huge loss for the Seahawks as Jones has been one of the better tackles in the game during his career. The future Hall of Famer started every game, made nine Pro Bowls, and was a four-time All Pro. Injuries to his knee and back have hampered him over the last couple of seasons, so it might be time for him to hang the cleats up for good.
4. Kobe Bryant (ankle) questionable for Monday
Officially Bryant is questionable because of his ankle, but he is also dealing with multiple injuries and, as badly as he wants to play, sitting out until after the All Star break might be his best bet. The Lakers are in good shape out West and are four and a half games up on the Nuggets, so a break seems like the best bet here. With Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Ron Artest and Derek Fisher available, the Lakers are hardly in a desperation situation without Bryant, and it’s more important that he’s healthy in June.
5. No timetable for Brandon Roy’s return
The Blazers continue to receive bad news with their All Star Brandon Roy, as he still does not know when he will be able to return from a hamstring injury that has already cost him 2+ weeks. The Blazers have been hit hard by the injury bug already and are just 4-6 without Roy, but like Byrant his health will be more important down the stretch. Portland is currently sitting in the eighth spot in the West and are fading fast, but Andre Miller, Jerred Bayless, and Steve Blake have been manning the backcourt relatively well. The All Star break should do him some good.
6. Billups out Saturday with sprained ankle
After a 39-point barrage in a win against the Lakers, Chauncey Billups missed the Nuggets’ next game because of a sprained ankle. This news is old, but the real story here is that Ty Lawson continued his stellar play in the starting lineup with 25 points and four rebounds in a loss to the Jazz. The leadership isn’t there without Billups and he is playing some of the best basketball of his career, but Lawson has averaged 17 points and six assists in eight games as a starter. If it weren’t for Billups, Lawson would be in the running for Rookie of the Year. The Nuggets clearly have their point guard of the future.
7. Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith lead 2010 HOF Class
In a no-brainer selection, Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith were elected to the Hall of Fame this week. Arguably the best at both of their positions, this was more of a “when” than an “if”. Ricky Jackson, Russ Grimm, and John Randle were also elected and were all worthy candidates. Interesting eliminations included Cris Carter, Tim Brown, and Roger Craig, but their days should come soon enough.
8. Erik Bedard officially returns to Seattle
The Mariners continued their excellent free agency run when they signed Erik Bedard to a one-year, $1.5 million deal. It was great value for Seattle, and incentives could improve the contract to $8 million, so the team will get to gauge Bedard’s performance before they decide on a 2011 mutual option. Bedard has been battling injuries all off-season but his prognosis looks good for the beginning of the 2010 season. He will man the back-end of the rotation in Seattle and could potentially be a steal if he stays healthy. If being the key word there.