The Patriots are back in the Superbowl for the seventh time in 19 seasons and the eighth time in franchise history. Tom Brady has a chance to join Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw as the only quarterbacks with four Superbowl rings. Brady will become the first quarterback to start in six Superbowls. Unfortunately, this year's Superbowl is being marred by the "DeflateGate" scandal that the NFL has now allowed to fester for more than a week. The outcome of the investigation will certainly impact the state of the Patriots regardless of whether they found to be guilty of wrongdoing or merely of victim of false allegations by bitter AFC foes tired of losing to Bill Belichick.
For the third year in a row and the eighth time since January 2002, the Patriots will be participating in the AFC Championship Game. Unlike 2003-2012, this season's trip to the NFL's Final Four was a surprise to most people. Since this date one year ago, the Patriots have lost Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Sebastian Vollmer, Vince Wilfork, Brandon Spikes and Jerrod Mayo (among others). Welker, Gronkowski, Wilfork and Mayo were not only All-Pro players but arguably the single best player at their position in the entire NFL (Note: only if you count "slot receiver" as Welker's position. I'm not suggesting he's better than Calvin Johnson or Larry Fitzgerald).
We've finally reached, give or take a few games, the midway point in the 2013 Major League Baseball season. We've seen the usual (Miguel Cabera bashing the ball day after day) and the unusual (the Pittsburgh Pirates have the best record in baseball). We've seen both dominant pitching (Max Scherzer, Clay Buchholz and Patrick Corbin have yet to lose a game) and spectacular hitting (Chris Davis is on pace for 60 homers and 160 RBIs). Everyone in the AL East and NL West still has a great chance to win the division. The Padres are nearly a .500 team and the Astros are a .500 team over the past five weeks.
I've been a loyal follower of major league baseball, the NFL, the NBA, the NHL and college football, basketball and hockey for about three decades. I've occasionally tuned in for golf, tennis and World Cup soccer. I used to love the Olympics but it doesn't do much for me anymore. There are things I love and hate about all of these sports. The following are the best and worst aspects of these leagues/sports from my perspective.