Noontime’s Sunday Thoughts (Jan. 24, 2021)

By Matt Noonan

Happy Sunday, everyone!

It’s hard to believe this is the final Sunday of January where football will be played – yes, you will be missed – but since we have a few minutes before kickoff, allow me to share a few thoughts for the upcoming week.

As usual, thank you to everyone that has and continues to stop by, both on Sundays for this column and other content we’re producing throughout the week.

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Have a great week, everyone, and enjoy today’s football games!

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Since this column is being posted a bit later than anticipated, I am going to dish out just six thoughts, but plan to share my usual 10 next week.

Thought No. 1: Is it just me or is it getting harder to not root for Tom Brady? Yes, I know he is a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which have won just one Super Bowl, but I am having a hard time not rooting for the former New England Patriots signal-caller. And that is why I believe the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will find a way to beat the Green Bay Packers this afternoon.

Thought No. 2: I really like Josh Allen. And like I have said on previous ‘Football Friday’ podcasts, I believe he is the best quarterback that was selected in the 2018 National Football League (NFL) Draft. But today, I just don’t think he will be able to beat Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. I could see Allen and the Buffalo Bills back in this same spot next January, but today, the Chiefs will prevail. But these Bills are not going away anytime soon. They will get even better this offseason.

Thought No. 3: Friday’s news of NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) going off the air later this year was startling, but I think this plan from the three-letter network will workout just fine. Yes, this is probably a sign that NBC will put more of its sports content like hockey and car racing behind its paywall (Peacock), but it will also mean more people will tune into games and events on USA Network. NBC will be fine – don’t worry, they’re not going anywhere – but the streaming war will certainly continue if National Hockey League (NHL) or NASCAC fans have to subscribe to Peacock to watch their favorite teams and competitors.

Thought No. 4: I have throughly enjoyed Mike Florio‘s thoughts on the NFL this season, especially with how the league has ignored the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Thought No. 5: It was nice to see three New England D-III basketball games take place yesterday – fans were treated to a pair of exciting contests between Keene State and Rhode Island College (both men’s and women’s basketball). I am rooting for these teams, along with the rest of the Little East Conference (LEC) to succeed, but I am sure everyone knows it will take an entire league effort to keep everyone safe, both this week and next month, so games can be played.

Thought No. 6: The National Women’s Hockey League‘s (NWHL) began its two-week sprint to the Isobel Cup yesterday with fans being able to watch contests on their Twitch channel. I watched some of the first game – I enjoyed it, and give the league credit with not just offering a streaming service to watch every game, but also finding other creative ways to stay connected with its fans as games are taking place in a bubble environment. Additionally, I loved the tweets from yesterday’s Boston Pride contest. Kudos to the Pride’s social media team – keep up the great work with keeping myself and others in the loop with all the action as I love what you’re tweeting!

Two Days Later – Reflections on Tony Stewart’s Triumphant Win

Tony Stewart capped off an exciting NASCAR season with a championship win on Sunday!

By Brian Willwerth 

Admit it. When the Chase began, you had no expectations for Tony Stewart.  Heck, he even said so himself. Here’s a guy who didn’t even qualify for NASCAR’s playoff until the last possible moment at Richmond.

And yet, here he is, just over three months later, celebrating his third Cup title.  He also won it all on 2002 and 2005.

Stewart won his fifth race of the Chase Sunday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway. It capped off an epic playoff battle with Carl Edwards, who finished second. The only way “Smoke” could win the title is to win the finale. That’s just what he did. Edwards and Stewart ended up tied in points. But the tiebreaker goes to the driver who won the most races. Stewart won five – all of them in the Chase. Edwards won only one. It was the closest Chase since NASCAR began the playoff system back in 2004.

Stewart became the first owner/driver to win the title since Alan Kulwicki did it in 1992. Stewart is co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing.

Edwards has nothing to hang his head about. Over the last 10 races, his average finish was 4.9. He was the points leader for much of the Chase. But it wasn’t good enough to hold off the fast-charging Stewart, who tore his way through the field.

Among NASCAR fanatics, this will go down as a historic victory. If Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the sport’s most popular driver, you can make the argument that Smoke is easily #2. Go to any racetrack, (and I’ve been to many) and you’ll see just as many red #14’s in the stands as green #88’s.

Jimmie Johnson, who was vying for his 6th consecutive title, never got close to achieving that goal. He finished 6th in the Chase, 99 points back. Dale Jr., another driver who qualified for the Chase at the last minute, came in 7th.

It’s been an amazing year of racing. See you in February at the granddaddy of them all: the Daytona 500.

Daily Noontime – November 21, 2011

Give it up for Tony Stewart, who won the Sprint Cup Championship on Sunday!

Happy Monday y’all and of course, here’s an early Happy Thanksgiving message to everyone too – have fun and be safe! Anyways, it’s time to kick-off the day with some fun filled news and headlines, so let’s get the party started!  


* Sad news was reported early Monday morning, as MSNBC.com and other news sources confirmed the death of Seattle Mariners outfielder Greg Halman. According to the report, Halman’s brother was involved in the killing and was arrested once police arrived at the home.

* Tony Stewart capped off the NASCAR season with the Sprint Cup championship, as he defeated Carl Edwards for the victory.

* According to reports — Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler will most likely miss the remainder of the season due to a thumb injury on his throwing hand.

* This might sound crazy, but the Philadelphia Eagles somehow helped their playoff chances on Sunday, as backup quarterback Vince Young led the men dressed in green and white past the New York Giants for their fourth victory of the season.

* It’s possible that the Boston Red Sox have found their “man,” as the organization is expected to meet with former New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine on Monday.

* After losing to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, Washington Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall expressed to the media that he should be released.

Games to Watch: 

* No. 17 Michigan vs. No. 10 Memphis (NCAA Basketball) – 3:00pm eastern 

* Tennessee at No. 6 Duke (NCAA Basketball) – 5:30pm eastern 

* Carolina at Philadelphia (NHL) – 7:00pm eastern 

* Boston at Montreal (NHL) – 7:30pm eastern 

* Kansas City at New England (NFL) – 8:30pm eastern 

Video of the Day: 

Good old Lee Corso apologized for swearing on “College Game Day,” and here’s the video, enjoy! 

Willwerth: NASCAR Notebook

By Brian Willwerth 

There is just one race left – one race to determine the 2011 NASCAR champion.  And if you’re looking for drama, boy do we have it. A mere three-points heading into next weekend’s finale at Homestead separates Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart, which again should make for an exciting finish, right?

More on the championship battle in a moment, but first – a look back at Sunday’s race at Phoenix International Raceway.

Kasey Kahne – the favorite driver of yours truly – finally took the checkered flag in the #4 car. It was his first win in his last 81 races. You have to go all the way back to ‘09 at Atlanta to find the last time Kahne celebrated in Victory Lane. He is not in the Chase for the Championship, yet only Stewart and Edwards have been better than Kahne over the past nine races. Kahne will be joining Hendrick Motorsports next season.

Edwards and Stewart finished second and third at Phoenix, which sets up a tremendous finale. This is the closest any two drivers have been heading into the final race, since the Chase format began in ‘04. Even if neither driver is contention for the win at Homestead, expect ESPN’s cameras to be focused on these two guys the entire way. Every car passed means a critical point earned in the standings.

It’s going to be fun.

Willwerth: NASCAR Notebook

Tony Stewart continues to make headlines!

By Brian Willwerth 

With two races remaining in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, the race for the championship is primarily a two-man battle.

Red-hot Tony Stewart won his second straight race in the playoffs Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway. It’s his fourth win in eight Chase races. He led a race-high 173-laps. He’s now just a mere three points behind leader Carl Edwards, who finished second.

How is Edwards managing to stay ahead of Stewart in the standings, despite not winning a race in the playoff? It’s all about consistency. He has finished in the top ten in seven of the eight races, with the lone exception being an 11th place finish at Talladega. He’s been the points’ leader for five consecutive weeks now. Stewart had to fight just to get into the Chase.

Kevin Harvick is a distant third, 33 points behind Edwards.

BUSCH PARKED — The other major headline from the race weekend at Texas involved Kyle Busch.  After deliberately wrecking Ron Hornaday Jr. in the Truck Series race Friday night, NASCAR parked Busch for the rest of the weekend. Busch and Hornaday made contact, bringing out the caution. Busch drove right up to Hornaday’s bumper – under caution – and sent the Trucks’ championship contender nose-first into the wall.

Busch was a long shot to win the Sprint Cup title at that point anyway. Now, forget about it.

NEXT WEEK: The second-to-last race of the season at Phoenix. Jeff Gordon, who’s had a very quiet Chase, won the first race at the one-mile oval back in February.