Wide World of Sports according to John

ITV's John Stanley gives you the weekly word from the sporting world in the Wide World of Sports according to John.

Bucs v. Raiders: Let the drama unfold 

Super Bowl XXXVII (that's 37 for the roman numerally challenged) will feature the Oakland Raiders, a franchise with a storied NFL history, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a franchise with… well… an embarrassing NFL history.

Fortunately, for the Bucs, history will have nothing to do with what takes place on Sunday. Tampa Bay coach, John Gruden, is four quarters away from what could be the perfect ending to his first season with the Buccaneers. Of course having a chance to win the Super Bowl is special, regardless of who you play, but doing it against your former owner and team is extra special.

Al "I won't wear it if it isn't a black or white jogging suit" Davis would love nothing more than to "just win" this one "baby," and rub it in the nose of his former employee at the same time. Gruden v. Davis isn't the only intriguing story being told on Sunday.

 Also on showcase will be Oakland's high scoring offense and Tampa Bay's stifling defense. Oakland has looked good throughout the playoffs, but Tampa Bay has looked downright dominant in its back-to-back blowout wins over Frisco and Philly. If Oakland is going to win this game they are going to need big games from MVP Rich Gannon and his ultra-veteran receivers, Jerry Rice and Tim Brown.

Tampa Bay has shown vast improvement on offense and, if they can keep the Oakland air attack grounded, should be able to come away with the franchise's first ever Super Bowl victory. The bottom line is this; big players make big plays in big games, and both teams have their share of big time players. This game should be a war for 60 minutes, and just might be decided by that one big player making that one big play. Let the drama unfold.

Bummer, he's got a Hummer!

When I first heard the news about Lebron James and his $50,000 (more like $80,000) Hummer, something didn't seem quite right.

Maybe it was the fact that his mother claimed to have taken out a loan in order to buy it for him. Perhaps it had something to do with where it was purchased, a California based custom auto company frequented by some of sports and Hollywood's biggest stars. Maybe mom walked into a local bank, asked for $80,000 to buy a custom Hummer, and got it based on the usual criteria. Then again, maybe mom borrowed the money from the bank of Nike or Adidas.

The bottom line is who cares? Society provided the stage on which Lebron is now performing. I find it laughable that the OHSAA has concerns regarding Lebron's "amateur status".

Were they concerned about his "amateur status" when they were allowing 10,000 people to pay $10-$15 per ticket to watch him play a high school game and millions of viewers to watch on ESPN?

The kid has been put on the cover of SI, played high school games on PPV and ESPN, and has been penciled in as an NBA Lottery pick for over two years. In reality, Lebron stopped being an amateur over a year ago. Lebron is only getting a piece of the pie that he has been working hard to bake.

People are going to say it's not right, that he is hurting the image of amateur sports, or that he is sending the wrong message to other talented young players. I don't disagree with these positions. I do, however, disagree with who is really to blame. Lebron would not be who he is today without the profound interest that society has in him. It's too late for the "he should act like a normal high school kid" stuff. We have made Lebron James a superstar, so he has every right to act like one.


Cardinal Authority Top Stories