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The next 'The Last Dance'? Five sports stories we want to see

The next 'The Last Dance'? Five sports stories we want to see

It’s been just under a fortnight since sports fans joined together to relive the Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls era of the 90s through ESPN's 'The Last Dance' documentary.

Through unprecedented access viewers were treated to an exclusive look at the Chicago Bulls' final NBA championship during the 1997-98 season.

So many memories were brought to the surface while many other unknown revelations left us all in awe. And like you, I couldn’t help but imagine some of the other sports stories I would love to receive the same treatment.

With that thought in mind, I present to you five of the best candidates for your consideration for their own #LastDance:

5. “The Dub” - The Birth of the WNBA

There was something major missing from professional sports 24 years ago: omen. As a remedy, then-NBA Commissioner David Stern took the most significant step for women’s professional basketball by founding the WNBA and providing a counterpart to the NBA platform to showcase the best basketball talent women’s sports has to offer. Led by players like Lisa Leslie, Rebecca Lobo, and Sheryl Swoopes, the WNBA declared “We Got Next”, and has since gone on to deliver on that promise.

4. “Carolina Blues” - Duke vs North Carolina (Men's Basketball)

It’s impossible to tell the story of basketball, college basketball in particular, without mentioning the entire state of North Carolina; the Duke Blue Devils and UNC Tar Heels most notably. Only 10 miles separate the two programs that have combined for 11 national championships and produced countless NBA players. It’s not enough to ask why so many players attend these institutions. That’s easy. What really needs to be explored is how deep the rivalry between these two schools goes and how can they coexist while remaining in such close proximity. With so much competitive fire in a state with a population of 10.5 million, it’s inevitable that from time to time someone has to sing the blues while their rival hoists another trophy.

3. “Game. Set. Goat.” - The Legend of Serena Williams

Name another athlete as dominant as Serena Williams; especially within the game of tennis. Williams' accolades include 73 Singles Titles, seven Wimbledon Titles, Olympic Gold Medalist several times over, and that’s not even scratching the surface. From the courts of Compton, CA, all the way to the clay of the Australia Open, Serena has provided greatness at a level few have experienced, many have attempted, and all have witnessed. She’s in a class all to herself and yet has always maintained a never-ending fervor for athletic excellence; even against intermittently insurmountable odds. Regardless of the obstacles, she has persevered to this day to still be considered the GOAT. Period.

2. “The Patriot Way” - One Franchise; Six Rings

Winning and controversy go hand-in-hand. That’s to be expected; especially in sports. However, both of them have been at a fever pitch for the New England Patriots for almost two decades since their first Super Bowl Championship in 2001. When fate combines one of the greatest coaching minds ever with one of the most competitive athletes ever, it’s no mystery that their greatness yields some rather bewildering results, even if it means bending the rules from time to time. There’s no mistaking the fruits of their labor, but there’s also nothing wrong with peeking behind the curtain to get an intimate understanding of how things got done the Patriot Way!

1. “Diesel & The Mamba” - The End of the Shaq & Kobe Lakers 

On the road to three consecutive NBA titles in the early 2000s, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal entertained us with the most dominant basketball performance since MJ’s Bulls of the 90s. We knew they were great. We knew they had the great Phil Jackson as their coach. We knew they were having fun being young, rich and successful in Los Angeles. What we didn’t know is why these two all-time great players couldn’t keep their relationship intact long enough to possibly challenge, if not supplant, the aforementioned Chicago Bulls as the greatest dynasty in NBA history. If only…

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NFL Teams with the Easiest and Hardest Schedules in 2020: Redskins, Ravens have two of the easiest schedules

NFL Teams with the Easiest and Hardest Schedules in 2020: Redskins, Ravens have two of the easiest schedules

The release of the 2020 NFL Schedule also means that the strength of the 32 teams’ schedules can be determined. 

Considering the many factors involved, the way to objectively decide which teams have the hardest and easiest NFL schedules is to look at each team's opponents’ records from the 2019 season. 

However, these analytics are not conclusive. And oftentimes because of the shifts between seasons, the pre-season schedule ranks can be taken with a grain of salt. 

Yet, it is still an interesting assessment of teams in the offseason, especially considering that the Redskins and Ravens 2020 opponents’ win percentage puts them both on the list of teams considered to have the easiest schedules. 

Here is the full rank from easiest to hardest schedule:  

  1. Baltimore Ravens (.438 opponents win percentage)
  2. Pittsburgh Steelers (.457 opponents win percentage)
  3. Dallas Cowboys (.459 opponents win percentage)
  4. Cleveland Browns (.461 opponents win percentage)
  5. Washington Redskins (.465 opponents win percentage)
  6. Cincinnati Bengals (.477 opponents win percentage)
  7. New York Giants (.482 opponents win percentage)
  8. Philadelphia Eagles (.486 opponents win percentage)
  9. New Orleans Saints (.490 opponents win percentage)
  10. Los Angeles Chargers (.492 opponents win percentage)
  11. Jacksonville Jaguars (.494 opponents win percentage)
  12. Las Vegas Raiders (.496 opponents win percentage)
  13. Tennessee Titans (.498 opponents win percentage)
  14. Kansas City Chiefs (.500 opponents win percentage)
  15. Carolina Panthers (.500 opponents win percentage)
  16. Indianapolis Colts (.502 opponents win percentage)
  17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (.502 opponents win percentage)
  18. Green Bay Packers (.504 opponents win percentage)
  19. Seattle Seahawks (.508 opponents win percentage)
  20. Chicago Bears (.508 opponents win percentage)
  21. Denver Broncos (.512 opponents win percentage)
  22. Los Angeles Rams (.516 opponents win percentage)
  23. Minnesota Vikings (.516 opponents win percentage)
  24. Houston Texans (.518 opponents win percentage)
  25. Arizona Cardinals (.518 opponents win percentage)
  26. Detroit Lions (.525 opponents win percentage)
  27. Atlanta Falcons (.525 opponents win percentage)
  28. Buffalo Bills (.525 opponents win percentage)
  29. San Francisco 49ers (.527 opponents win percentage)
  30. Miami Dolphins (.529 opponents win percentage)
  31. New York Jets (.533 opponents win percentage)
  32. New England Patriots (.537 opponents win percentage)

 

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2020 NFL Schedule: The craziest stats on the upcoming season

2020 NFL Schedule: The craziest stats on the upcoming season

The NFL released its 2020 regular-season schedule, releasing a swarm of record predictions, speculation and outrage from fans thinking their team got gypped. 

Driving most of the reactions are deep-cut stats that most fans will forget about until their team turns in an underwhelming season. So as we lay out some of the most notable facts from the bunch, make sure to enjoy it now, but don't forget to come back later when you need some argument ammo.

Strength of schedule

Strength of schedule is always a tricky one because you never know exactly how strong a team's schedules before the season ends. Still, this is always a stat people get excited about. 

Strongest schedule: Patriots

For the first time in the Bill Belichick era, the Patriots have the strongest strength of schedule in the league entering a season and they'll have to navigate it without Tom Brady. It's hard to imagine anyone feeling bad for them, though. 

Weakest schedule: Ravens

The Ravens went 14-2 in 2019 and will have a good chance at repeating their success in 2020. Baltimore has an easy travel schedule (more on that later) and won't play anyone coming off a bye. 

Primetime games

Everyone wants to see their team play on the big stage. While some fanbases will experience that quite a bit in 2020, there are others who will have to settle for the 1:00 slot on Sundays exclusively. 

5 games: Ravens, Chiefs, Patriots, 49ers, Cowboys, Packers, Rams, Buccaneers
4 games: Saints, Bears, Bills, Seahawks, Raiders, Steelers, Eagles

3 games: Giants, Titans, Broncos
2 games: Cardinals, Chargers, Browns, Jets, Bengals, Falcons, Vikings
1 game: Texans, Dolphins, Colts, Panthers, Jaguars
0 games: Redskins, Lions

Bad news for Redskins and Lions fans hoping for some primetime love this season. The bright side is two of the last three teams to have this happen to them made the playoffs that year (2017 Jaguars, 2019 Bills).

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Travel leaders

Traveling can take a toll on a team, especially when you have to go to a different time zone almost every time you have a road game. West coast teams usually get the short end of the stick here, and it turns out the Ravens are coming out great in this category too. 

1. Seahawks: 29,203 miles
2. Rams: 26,104
3. 49ers: 25,507

The Ravens will travel the least miles this season (6,310), won't have to leave the east-coast timezone after Week 2 or have to worry about boarding a plane for the first six weeks of the season. 

Miscellaneous roadblocks

*In the spirit of making west-coast teams travel a lot, the 49ers will play back-to-back road games at MetLife Stadium in Weeks 2 and 3. They have played road games against the Giants and Jets in the same season just once previously (1992).

*Tom Brady and his new Bucs team will begin their 2020 season against the Saints on the road. The Saints are favored to win by 6.5 points, which means this is the first time in 74 straight regular-season games where Brady's team is an underdog. 

*The defending Super Bowl champs will have an unfortunate road schedule in 2020. The Chiefs have four sets of back-to-back road games, making them the only team in the NFL who will have to deal with that challenge. You can't make it too easy on Patrick Mahomes, right?

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