In this week’s edition of Around the Dorm, the “Ref,” Sydney Shaw, asks our panel of experts three questions: Should Peyton Manning retire following the Super Bowl? Was Dennis Wideman’s hit on an official on purpose and is the new talent on the United States Women’s National Team helping or hurting them?
1. Do you think the Super Bowl should be Peyton Manning’s last game?
Kevin: I think this will be Manning’s last game if the Denver Broncos win. Manning going out on top, just like John Elway did, would be the perfect way for his career to end. He’s been pretty good during the Broncos’s playoff run. However, he’s now more of a game manager who’s being carried by an unbelievable defense. Also, if he wins, he’ll have won multiple Super Bowls, which is great for his legacy and ties him with his brother, Eli. If the Broncos lose, I think Peyton will want to come back. Someone in the league, whether that be the Broncos or another team, may see themselves as a quarterback away from competing for a Super Bowl. Along with being one of the great quarterbacks in NFL history, Manning is one of the league’s greatest competitors. I don’t think he will want to go out after losing in the Super Bowl.
Sean: Not only should the Super Bowl be Manning’s last game — it will be. After beating the New England Patriots, Manning hugged New England’s head coach, Bill Belichick, and reportedly said, “This might be my last rodeo,” according to ESPN. Although Manning did not play the entire season due to an injury, his touchdowns (nine), interceptions (17) and passer rating (67.9) were enough to say that this was by far his worst season. At 39 years old, Manning does not have the strength in him to pass the football like he did in his prime. Manning may have always thrown ducks, but at least they were accurate. However, this past season, Manning’s passes had no accuracy and they merely floated up in the air, hoping to land in a receiver’s hands. Sorry, Peyton — you are a hall of fame player and it was a pleasure to watch you play, but the Super Bowl will be your last game, so don’t be a Brett Favre. Please retire.
Miguel: The upcoming Super Bowl game should be his “last rodeo,” as Manning told Patriots head coach Belichick. Father Time is catching up to him. Fellow 1998 NFL Draft member Charles Woodson has already retired. Manning even confessed to Belichick that Super Bowl 50 might be his last game. There is no worry for the future of Manning’s teams. Quarterback Brock Osweiler has proven to be a great successor for the Denver Broncos — even Brady agrees. The Indianapolis Colts have Andrew Luck as their franchise quarterback. Currently, Manning has one more challenge before riding off into the sunset of his career: Beat a Panthers team with a swagger comparable to the 2013 Seattle Seahawks. The only difference now is that Manning has a lockdown defense behind his back. My prediction for this Sunday, Feb. 7? Manning will somehow break Newton’s three laws of motion and perhaps defy gravity.
Kevin gets 3 points for considering Sunday’s outcome. Sean gets 2 points for mentioning his performance this season and Miguel gets 1 point for comparing Manning to Woodson.
2. Was Calgary Flames player Dennis Wideman’s hit on linesman Don Henderson on purpose or was he just disoriented?
Kevin: I think Wideman’s hit was definitely on purpose. I don’t think he meant to injure Henderson as badly as he did, but he was definitely annoyed that there was no call on a shot he took just moments before from Miikka Salomaki. Wideman made no effort to avoid the ref and clearly put his hands up to shove him. Like I said, I don’t think Wideman wanted to seriously injure the official with this hit, but he knew what he was doing and will deservedly get a significant suspension for this.
Sean: I’ve been watching hockey my entire life and never have I seen a hit on a linesman like Wideman’s last week. Whether it was intentional or not, it deserves suspension. That being said, in the replays, it looked quite clear that Wideman was “disoriented” when cross-checking Henderson. Wideman had previously taken a hit into the boards and when he rose from the ice, he lacked balance and he gingerly skated back to his bench. Ignoring the hit, Wideman’s skating to the bench seemed to me as though he had a concussion. While concussions vary from person to person, after receiving a concussion, it is expected that that person will be in a “disoriented” state, and that was the case for Wideman after being hit into the boards. Wideman did not cross-check the linesman on purpose because Wideman did not know who he was hitting. Accidents happen in sports all the time, however, this was an accident that deserves at least minimal suspension. After all, it was a hit on an official.
Miguel: There is no justification to relieve anger by tackling a linesman behind his back. Wideman was more than conscious enough to skate around Henderson and enter the bench. He asserted his arms out to hit Henderson. It was absurd that Wideman was not initially given a penalty for his hit. The NHL made the right decision to suspend Wideman from league play until the public hearings next week. Wideman’s actions send an inappropriate message of unsportsmanlike conduct to younger hockey players. There should not be a mentality of thinking a referee is an opposing player, regardless of the sport. While tension between hockey players is normal, tension between referees and players isn’t. I hope the NHL sends a clear message next week so not one player becomes as reckless as Wideman. The last time an NHL player assaulted a referee, former Boston Bruins defenceman Billy Coutu was banned from playing in the NHL for life. He truly is “Dennis the Menace.”
Miguel gets 3 points for considering the influence of his actions. Sean gets 2 points for saying he should be suspended regardless and Kevin gets 1 point for pointing out frustrations.
3. How are the newest additions to the U.S. women’s national soccer team (USWNT) helping or hurting the team’s chances of qualifying for the Olympics?
Kevin: I don’t think the team should have many issues qualifying for the Olympics. Head coach Jill Ellis is infusing some young blood into this team, but I don’t think the new additions will make a huge impact on the team. The one player they will definitely need to replace is Lauren Holiday. There isn’t really an easy answer in who replaces her. Meghan Klingenberg or Julie Johnston can move up to that role and then a young defender could be brought in. Instead, she might replace Holiday with a young midfielder and keep that defense intact. I think the most important thing that the youngsters can do is push the veterans to not get complacent. Alex Morgan is the most talented forward the team has, but she was not in the best of form in the World Cup. If youngsters like Christen Press and Crystal Dunn can push her, it will only help the team.
Sean: Although the team lost multiple players, their chances of qualifying for the Olympics will remain a guarantee. The squad still includes 13 players from the championship roster. While veterans will lead the team through qualifiers, they may struggle in the future due to a lack of depth when facing top teams. Nearly half of the selected squad was not a part of the team when the U.S. won the World Cup in the summer. One of the most important attributes in soccer is endurance and the top teams might give the U.S. women’s soccer team a run for their money.
Miguel: With a number of key players either injured or retired from last year’s championship team, the upcoming Olympic qualifying tournament provides a perfect opportunity for Ellis to begin a new chapter in U.S. women’s soccer. With new faces on the team, Ellis can continue her team’s winning momentum and build a dynasty. Stephanie McCaffrey has already shown potential after scoring a goal against Brazil during team’s victory tour, while Mallory Pugh gained significant playing time and scored a goal during a 5-0 shutout victory against Ireland on Saturday, Jan. 23. All of the new, youthful, eager players will provide an arsenal for offense. Ellis and the USWNT are definitely prepared for any challenge.
Miguel gets 3 points for evaluating new members. Kevin gets 2 points for considering replacements and Sean gets 1 point for pointing out that half the squad is new.
Miguel wins Around the Dorm 7-6-5.