Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Given Sunday [Leo's NFR 2013 Picks]

A Given Sunday

As we open the chute on another class of NFR competitors, I’m excited to see what unfolds.  Like all armchair quarterbacks who throw in their two cents on how a game is going to go down, I’m going to pitch mine.  And, like all sports analysts who make game predictions based on their season-evaluations, leaving no stone unturned, so they can have all the answers why they know how a game will go, I will suppose with great scrutiny my NFR-champion hunch for the 2013 team roping. 
Ninety-nine point nine percent of the time we are astonished at a game’s outcome because it didn’t pan out the way we expected, the way it looked like it should have on paper.  This is because nobody ever factors in the drama.  Drama like happened with the Cardinal’s quarterback, Kurt Warner, in the 2008 super bowl.  The “Cinderella” Cardinals were a wildcard that snuck into the super bowl to face the NFL season’s pack of killers, Pittsburg Steelers.  On paper the Cardinals were out-matched and on the field they were outplayed practically the whole game.  It was a David-and-Goliath match when one man’s outstanding-ness brought the big dogs to their knees.  Kurt Warner’s heart-driven talent was exposed for the first time, and Super Bowl fans were mesmerized by the miraculous happenings.  Accurately firing darts/lasers, to his precise target (Cardinal’s wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald) with no hesitation, Kurt drove his team to an amazing comeback nobody predicted.  Through sheer composure he worked it like poetry in motion and set a record for highest passing yards total in the history of super bowls.   
The Cardinals were on top with only a minute left in the game, when the big, southern-community Rottweiler—I mean, Roethlisburger, came off the porch.  Big Ben” was the Goliath of NFL quarterbacks who bombed a bone to his wide receiver, Santonio Holmes, who miraculously caught the ball in the farthest east-corner, 1 slim inch inside the end zone, to score the final touchdown.  It was unbelievable.  An unbelievable play that you had to watch over and over, (to this day) to be convinced happened.  Talk about drama!  Who can predict that stuff?          
In regards to team roping, if you were to tell me “Clay and Jake are leading.  I’d say, “There it is.  The writing is on the wall.  It’s obvious they’ll be the World’s Champions.  They rope the best.  They are the best.  It is what it is.”  But, how many times does the obvious ever happen?  If it were that easy, would anybody go to the show?  Would anybody even be interested?  Kansas City (Chiefs), Denver (Broncos), New England (Patriots) are clearly the best of the best AFL football teams at this time.  All three teams are deserving of the title, yet two of the teams won’t be going to the Super Bowl because they only take one.  As with any sport, on the day that determines the best, on that “given Sunday”, contestants have to contest to their fullest best, and since ultimately it’s a challenge between human beings, we have to factor in the circumstantial:emotional reactions ratio which can change the complexion of everything.
With that in mind, I’ll first acknowledge this year’s team-roping NFR obvious, Tryan/Corkhill & Driggers/Graves.  I expect a two-team, neck-&-neck, race to the end between these two.  Championship odds are in either team’s favor; statistically they’re sitting head-&-shoulders out in the lead.  All four are experienced NFR guys, so if they get tapped off there’ll be no catching them. 
However, close contenders: teams Beers/Cooper, or Rogers/Petska can pull one out on any given day.  Rogers/Petska are an obvious threat if they’re hot and Cory’s on his game.  Should Cory refrain from throwing and roping that fast leg, and Eric stick without waving it off like he sometimes does, this team will ignite an upset.  What happens with Eric though, is he gets so quick, it comes off quick.  Composure will be to this team’s benefit. 
Of course, the exception could be Sartain/Skelton.  Nick Sartain is a World-Champion veteran, as is his partner, the-champ Rich Skelton.  Factoring the circumstantial:emotional reactions ratio, if this team can subdue their personal issues and stay focused on business, they are the next best chance.  Rich is a past-champion, been-there-done-that player, and with a little luck he and Nick can be the “Big Ben” (Rosslingberger) of this year’s NFR.  It’d be no surprise to me if this team has that “given Sunday”. 
What I’m anxious to see, is this year’s potential “drama” team: Begay/De la Cruz.  If this team pulls through, it will be the drama of the dramas.  Like I mentioned with Kansas City, Denver, and New England, I’m now talking about the best ropers of our day competing against the best.   While Ceasar is an aggressive, hungrier-than-a-desert-coyote, can’t-wait-to-throw-his-loop beast, fully primed, pumped and firing on all cylinders, Derek is totally not.  Unfortunately, Derek is a broken, wounded soldier heading (literally) into battle on one leg.  Sure, one could assume roping with a broken leg possible, but we’re talking about modern-day NFR combat.  Today’s style of extreme arena team roping requires extreme competition-riding skills as well.  Though Derek is young, talented and full of heart, I expect this is going to hurt all the way around. 
Since the fat lady ain’t even in the building yet I anticipate great game changers.  All teams are capable of having a “given Sunday”, so let’s go boys!  Bring on the blood, the tears, the drama and your mama.  I’m amped for another year’s 10-day, team-roping spectacular.

That’s all I know…
Rope Smart!
The Lion