How 'Star Wars' episode titles sum up your sports world
Particularly strong Monday night, The Force was. And the buzz on social media was even stronger, after the new ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ trailer premiered on ‘Monday Night Football.’ In honor of this monumental event, and to whet your appetite for the actual release in December, here are seven hot sports topics that can be summed up as 'Star Wars' episode names.
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'The Phantom Menace': The Los Angeles Dodgers
Three straight NL West championships. Three straight postseason flameouts -- out of the picture faster than Darth Maul (and putting up even less of a fight). After back-to-back playoff disasters, 2015 may have been the most painful ouster for the perennial bridesmaids from L.A. Clayton Kershaw (pictured, left) and Zack Greinke were supposed to be the big arms in their NLDS series with the Mets, but the kids from New York (deGrom, Syndergaard, Harvey, Matz) were the one sporting the live arms. In fact, the most 'alive' the Dodgers looked all series was when outfielder Andre Ethier ripped into manager Don Mattingly in the dugout in their 2015 death-clinching Game 5 loss -- at home.
'Attack of the Clones': Kansas City Royals
Man, do these guys look familiar! Plenty of observers wondered whether the Royals' astonishing World Series run last season was some kind of fluke. They said the same thing about Luke Skywalker when he delivered that seemingly impossible blow to the Death Star! And like Luke in 'The Empire Strikes Back,' things have not been so easy going the second time around. But ultimately, Luke hung on (despite losing a hand), and the Royals, though no longer coasting through the playoffs, are still alive. To those who say, 'I don't believe it,' we say, 'That is why you fail.'
'Revenge of the Sith': Ronda Rousey/Stephanie McMahon
Who wouldn't want to deliver a hip toss to designated WWE company heel Stephanie McMahon at WrestleMania, right? Ronda Rousey unleashed her fury on behalf of all of us at the Super Bowl of wrestling in March, and it was outstanding. Of course, Rowdy Rousey's made plenty of enemies herself, both in the UFC and now in the pro wrestling world. In fact, it's rumored these two ladies will be seeing each other again in the squared circle. So who's the Sith Lord in this situation? Take your pick, and get out of the way.
'A New Hope': Jordan Spieth
Seems like just yesterday we were handing Tiger Woods' young Jedi crown to Rory McIlroy. But after watching 21-year-old Jordan Spieth make mincemeat of Augusta National and run laps around the best players in the world on his way to a green jacket, it became clear The Force was particularly strong in this one. Now 22, the seasoned pro has already taken on -- and beaten -- all comers from various lands. He followed the Masters win with the U.S. Open in the mysterious Chambers Bay. At the Palace of St. Andrews, he fell one stroke short of a third major, then finished second to an Australian at the harrowing Whistling Straits at the PGA Championship. But our greatest hope lifted golf’s cauldron -- the FedEx Cup -- and then found victory at the Presidents Cup in far-away Incheon, South Korea. Indeed, he may be our only hope.
'The Empire Strikes Back': New England Patriots
Last time we checked in with the Empire -- er, the Patriots -- they were striking back at the Seahawks and the NFL, winning the Super Bowl with Deflategate just beginning to simmer. In what seems like light years since, Lord Belichick and his apprentice Tom Brady have been in the crosshairs of Roger Goodell, the courts, the media, the public … enemies of the empire all. So now they simply strike back at everyone, Brady winning favor in the high courts and the Patriots laying waste to everyone that has stood in their way thus far through a perfect start to the 2015 season.
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'Return of the Jedi': Phil Jackson, to the Knicks
The Zen/Jedi master came home to the team that drafted him in 1967 (he’s not QUITE as old as Yoda), and let's be brutally honest: His first season in management was an unmitigated disaster. The Knicks lost a franchise-worst 65 games and were one of the worst teams in the league. But let's not forget how Yoda himself was introduced to audiences: old, tired, broken down, living on some godforsaken bit of real estate in the Dagobah system. And yet he still was able to hone a young Skywalker into a Jedi legend. There's hope yet for the Knicks. 'Do or do not, Phil. There is no try.'
'The Force Awakens': Urban Meyer
Long a college football stalwart, Ohio State went to the Dark Side when the Terrelle Pryor autograph scandal landed the program on probation, leaving the Buckeyes out of the bowl season and forcing coach Jim Tressel to walk the plank like he was on a Bantha-II cargo skiff (only, instead of falling into the sarlacc pit, Tressel fell into the depths of college administration). But that was sooo four (non-light) years ago. Enter Columbus' hero, Master Meyer (left), who turned the Buckeyes into national champs in less than 12 parsecs. 2012: 12-0, no bowl game; 2013: 12-2, loss in Orange Bowl; 2014: 14-1, national champions; 2015: 7-0 (and counting).