A Few Thoughts with Bob Ryan


       There’s no such thing as a dull Belichick/Brady Super Bowl.
       The greatest coach/quarterback duo of all-time have been there seven times. The Patriots have won by 3,3,3,4 and 6. They have lost by 3 and 4, each in the final minute. They have lost to a miracle (e.g. Manning’s once-in-a-lifetime escape and Tyree’s catch in Super Bowl XLII) and won by a brain fart (e.g. Hey, Pete, give Marshawn the damn ball! in Super Bowl XLIX). They could easily be 7-0 or 0-7. After Sunday night, they are 5-2, thanks to the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history. Or biggest choke, depending on your point of view.
      There was a great deal of legacy talk in the run-up to Super Bowl LI. Well, the legacies are now cemented. With five Super Bowl triumphs stretched over three presidential administrations and eight Olympics, Tom Brady is the G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All-Time for you Social Security folks) among quarterbacks. Bill Belichick is the G.O.A.T among NFL coaches. They have prevailed over time. They have prevailed in a salary cap world in which turnover is enormous. But they have prevailed, one way or the other.
       Brady was magnificent when it counted, but he did not do it alone. James White had the game of his life, catching 14 passes for  110 yards while scoring three touchdowns, including the game-winner on which he was hit hard well short of the goal line but demonstrated great strength and determination to reach the Promised Land. Rookie Malcolm Mitchell came up very big with 6 catches for 70 yards, many of those grabs during the comeback. And, of course, Julian Edelman made a catch you can’t make at a most propitious moment. there was an offensive line that did the job in pass protection when it most mattered, and there was a defense that submitted a shutout in the second half and overtime.
    Not surprisingly, the Day After issue is that great modern phenomenon: whom shall we blame? Rather than celebrate the positive act of an historic comeback, many. many people are spewing venom at the Falcons, who are said to be choking dogs. After all, who loses a 25-point halftime lead in the Super Bowl? That’s never been done before.
    Of course, it hadn’t. That’s how it works. In sports or politics or entertainment, something is true until it’s not true. A retired B-movie actor can’t become President of the United States. But somehow Ronald Reagan managed to do it. Lavish Hollywood musicals are relics of the past. But “La La Land” has 14 Oscar nominations and may very well win Best Picture. And no one in Super Bowl history has come back to win from anything larger than a 10-point deficit. Oh, yes, they have.
      What is being lost in the sad vilification of the Falcons is that there has never been a noted sports comeback, in either a team or individual sport, in which the team coming from behind did not profit from the “mistakes” or “miscues” or “imperfections” of the opponent. We have all seen basketball comebacks. Yes, a team, is now making shots when previously they weren’t. But the other team starts missing, or turning it over or missing free throws (or being hosed by the refs; we’ll save that discussion for another day).  Just getting hot doesn’t matter if the other team is matching you. Baseball? I;’m sure more game-winning homers are hit on hangers or bad locations than off “pitcher’s pitches.” Mistakes are made and an opportunistic foe takes advantage.
       Did the Falcons mess up? Absolutely. Poor play-calling with a lead. Poor clock management. Poor execution. Matt, you must throw that ball away and avoid the strip-sack. There were lots of screw-ups by the Atlanta Falcons.
       But was there a guarantee the Patriots could capitalize? No, they had to go out and do it. Brady was Osweilerian in the first half. Yuck. But once he found his mojo he was the G.O.A.T in a way few QBs could have matched. Ask the TV QB analysts. They all marveled at the strength and accuracy of his fourth period and OT throws. Just because the Falcons were screwing up didn’t mean Brady was automatically going to throw for 276 yards, three TDs and no picks in the fourth quarter and OT. No, he had to go out and do it. Which he did.
        One more thing. In order to pull of this great, historic, epic, unforgettable comeback the Patriots had to succeed on two two-point conversions. Consider the fact that the league-wide conversion percentage of twos is less than 50 percent. They got them both, the first on a gorgeous direct snap to White (one of my companions immediately yelled out, “It’s the Faulk play!” remembering that we had first seen that when Kevin Faulk was the all-purpose New England back of choice). The second was a pass play to Danny Amendola, and that required a special effort to break the plane. Had either of those failed, we would not be having this particular session, you and me.
      An aside: I was at a home where there were two TVs, one on a slightly higher floor. with one exception — my wiife, bless her heart — the ladies were upstairs and the men were watching from the lower level. But the TV upstairs was a second or two ahead of ours, and so during the fourth quarter and OT we already knew downstairs that a Patriots play had gone well because of the screaming upstairs. That was pretty cool.
      Once again, it was the kind of experience not available to those among us who do not have sports at their personal entertainment smorgasbord.
      Lucky us.

Picks Before 6

Marty (56-37-2)
Atlanta +3
Under 58.5

Ken (46-41-3)
Atlanta (+3) vs New England
OVER (58.5)

Trent (45-49-2)
New England (-3) vs Atlanta
Under (58.5)


US National 3×3 Basketball Tournament

lionsThe Lions Club is hosting the US National Basketball 3×3 Tournament March 17-19 at Southeast Polk High School in Pleasant Hill.

The 3×3 tournament is a qualifier for the National 3×3 tournament in April in Colorado Springs. The winners will be guaranteed an invitation to the USA Olympic Training Center for the National Tournament.

The entry fee is $35/player for the Recreational Divisions and $50/player for USA Basketball Divisions. This is in addition to the
AAU Membership Fee of $25, paid directly to the AAU.

There are only 64 spots available – first come, first served. Entry deadline is March 1, 2017!

For more details and game rules visit

Tournament Details:
Four players per team required.
Membership in AAU must be current (or application pending) priorto registration.
AAU application can be found at:
This 3×3 tournament will be played under FIBA Rules. Pool play, followed by a Championship Bracket. Players are responsible for observing all NCAA rules, as it pertains to player eligibility and conduct.


Steve Deace on Marty and Miller

Longtime Des Moines talk show host and now national force Steve Deace stops by to talk about the political landscape with Marty.

Catch Steve Deace online at and on CRTV in February.

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TC’s Top 10 – Iowa Boy’s Basketball Rankings 1/25/17


  1. Iowa City West (11-1)
  2. Dubuque Senior (11-2)
  3. Waukee (12-3)
  4. West Des Moines Valley (11-4)
  5. Sioux City East (12-1)
  6. Bettendorf (11-3)
  7. Dowling Catholic (11-3)
  8. Cedar Falls (9-4)
  9.  Cedar Rapids Kennedy (9-3)
  10. Johnston (10-4)

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  1. Waverly Shell Rock (14-0)
  2. Pella (14-1)
  3. Mount Pleasant (13-2)
  4. Sergeant Bluff-Luton (8-5)
  5. Davenport Assumption (8-6)
  6. Mount Vernon (10-3)
  7. West Delaware (13-0)
  8. Dallas Center-Grimes (10-4)
  9. Storm Lake (10-3)
  10. Oskaloosa (8-5)

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  1. Western Christian (12-1)
  2. Carroll Kuemper (11-1)
  3. Cascade Western Dubuque (14-1)
  4.  Pella Christian (12-3)
  5. Osage (14-0)
  6. Camanche (14-2)
  7. Van Meter (15-0)
  8. Des Moines Christian (14-2)
  9. NE Goose Lake (13-2)
  10. Garner Hayfield-Ventura (14-1)

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  1. North Linn (15-0)
  2. Grand View Christian (13-1)
  3. Remsen St. Mary (12-0)
  4. New London (14-1)
  5. Siouxland Christian (13-2)
  6. Gladbrook-Reinbeck (11-2)
  7. Lynnville Sully (15-1)
  8. Murray (14-0)
  9. Ar-We-Va (Westside) (16-0)
  10. Britt, West Hancock (12-2)

Image result for Jake Hilmer north linn


Welcome Aboard! Shottenkirk of Indianola

Congratulations to the Shottenkirk family with their newest dealership, Shottenkirk Ford of Indianola.


Picks Before 6

Marty (54-37-2) .593
Atlanta (-5) vs. Green Bay
New England (-6) vs. Pittsburgh
Bonus Picks: Over (61) ATL/GB, Under (51.5) NE/PIT

Ken (46-39-3) .541
Green Bay (+5) @ Atlanta
Pittsburgh (+6) @ New England

Trent (44-48-2) .478
Green Bay (+5) @ Atlanta
New England (-6) vs. Pittsburgh
Bonus Picks: Under (61) ATL/GB, Over (51.5) NE/PIT


Radio Row

Photo courtesy of Sarah Urich (IAWrestle)

Media Changes at Iowa High School State Tournaments

Photo courtesy of Sarah Urich (IAWrestle)


With the state wrestling tournament just weeks away, changes to the media structure for the Iowa High School Boys State Tournaments has come to light. At the forefront of these changes is the media rights holder for the state tournaments for football, boy’s basketball, wrestling, track and baseball, The Iowa High School Sports Network.

To start, the IHSSN, not the Boy’s Association will be the one handling credentialing for media members at these events. That’s a concern when a media entity is controlling media access. But a larger growing concern from small town newspapers across the state is that print media will have to shoot pictures from behind barriers. Concerns about unobstructed views and limited room from these journalists has been mentioned.

The print media is also being moved into a press holding pen while their wrestlers aren’t competing. In the hallways below Wells Fargo Arena, they can watch the other action on television, not live from mat side as in past years.

These concerns may seem trivial to some. But for the small towns across Iowa, the local newspaper is their lifeline to finding out about how the wrestlers are doing and the pictures that are captured mat side bring some amazing moments. I still remember seeing a picture of Osage’s Mark Schwab in the Mitchell County Press News after winning his 4th state championship for only the 6th time in state history back in 1985. It’s disappointing that the journalists that cover these athletes will have to compete for space to capture these moments.

For the football, basketball, track and baseball state tournaments, this doesn’t appear to be a very big issue. The biggest issue will be with the wrestling tournament. If the barriers aren’t too restricting and the areas are large enough, this may very well turn out to be much ado about nothing. But their is one large issue at play for many across the state of Iowa; the IHSSN having their events on Comcast Chicago exclusively.

For those with DirecTV and Dish Network, this is not an issue. If they are part of your basic package, you’re good to go. If they aren’t, you can still purchase the sports pack for these satellite providers and you will find the state tournaments. But for those that have Mediacom and many other cable providers across the state, you’re out of luck unless Comcast Chicago is part of your package. To many in Central and Western Iowa, that means that you cannot watch these boys state tournaments.

In the end, the IHSSN has done many great things for the student athletes is providing more coverage across the state tournaments. This year, you can stream the 1st round and quarterfinal matches online, something that has never been available before. For the nominal fee of $9.95, you will be able to see all of these matches along with the Dual State Tournament. Football Semifinal games at the UNI-Dome, early match ups in basketball and baseball and track coverage that has never been available before are now available. For many that can’t make the trek to Des Moines early in the week, this is a godsend. I’m hopeful that the print journalists will be able to continue to do their jobs without major obstacles. And down the line it would be great to see statewide coverage for these tournaments for those that don’t have Comcast Chicago. We’ll see if this is just us media types blowing things out of proportion; it has happened before! In 4 weeks, we’ll all find out.

A few links with more thoughts on the topic for your reading pleasure: