One Great Season
+ I read a pretty interesting column by Mel Kiper Jr. on Saturday. He wrote that at some point, NFL teams need to think about drafting the successor to their longtime star quarterback. Obviously, the Colts and Patriots come to mind first, as Peyton Manning is 35 and Tom Brady will turn 34 this summer. The current Manning situation is much like Brett Favre's Green Bay Packers after the 2004 season. Favre was 35 and his team had just come off a decent season that ended in a wild-card loss. Instead of addressing seemingly more pressing needs, new GM Ted Thompson elected to draft a quarterback named Aaron Rodgers. The Packers were terrible in 2005, but Thompson had his sights set on the long-term, and in his third year as the starter, Rodgers delivered a Super Bowl championship just 10 weeks ago. Like Green Bay six years ago, the 2011 Colts have other needs heading into Draft Day, so don't expect them to take a quarterback in the first round. But New England, with its stockpile of draft picks, could very well select one in the early rounds.
+ Kind of a weird opening day in the NBA Playoffs on Saturday. The Pacers were in control for much of their game against the top-seeded Bulls before Chicago outscored them, 16-1, over the final few minutes to steal the win. Next was another feisty underdog, Philadelphia, which led by 16 points in the first half at Miami, blew the lead, but then came back late in an impressive rally that fell just short. The 76ers turned an 88-75 deficit into an 88-87 nailbiter before Dwyane Wade and Co. took over down the stretch. Atlanta, meanwhile, earned a road win at Orlando despite 46 points from Magic star Dwight Howard. The Hawks forced turnovers and got some clutch shooting from Jamal Crawford to take the 1-0 series lead. And pesky Portland turned a 10-point, third-quarter deficit into a six-point lead in the fourth quarter, but Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki scored 12 straight points and 97-year-old Jason Kidd made a career postseason best six three-pointers to lead the Mavericks to an 89-81 win at home.
+ Defending American League champion Texas' 10-4 mark isn't terribly surprising, but if someone told you a month ago that two other teams would be tied for the best league in the AL, would you have guessed they'd both come from the Central Division? And would you have guessed they'd be Cleveland and Kansas City? The White Sox, Tigers and Twins were supposed to contend for the division crown, but they're a combined 18-25 and 12.5 games behind the Indians and Royals.