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Best NFL Jerseys of 2021-2022

Black Friday is almost here, making it the perfect time to start thinking about copping your favorite NFL team’s jersey. Here at ONE37pm, we are giving our take on some of the best that the league has to offer.

We based our picks solely on the color combinations and creativity of each team’s uniform combos this year, as well as the impact that a few uniforms have on the culture of their team, and how they represent the origins of their franchise.

17. Buffalo Bills
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Stefon Diggs #14 of the Buffalo Bills celebrates a touchdown in the game against the Indianapolis Colts during the fourth quarter at Highmark Stadium on November 21, 2021 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images)

Kicking this shin-dig off with the Buffalo Bills pretty color scheme on their main home jerseys. The striped collar is professional, their logo is dope, and I really like the blue and while stripe running down the sides of the pants. They almost look like a superhero costume.

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16. Washington Football Team
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Washington Redskins

Yes, the Washington Football Team made this list, and rightfully so. I love the college vibe that they give off with several of their uniforms, and the yellow face-mask is a great touch on this all white look. Outlined in yellow and filled in with red, the numbers really pop off of these uniforms in a good way, and while they keep the helmet simple, it’s a super cool look and great utilization of team colors.

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15. San Francisco 49ers
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San Francisco 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers home uniforms are straight classy. There’s so much to like about these threads – their bronze helmet with a red and white stripe streaking down the middle ranks among one of the best helmets in the entire NFL. The pant selection on this uniform combo is key, and they get extra points for matching their bronze helmet with bronze pants. You can’t forget about their original red jersey’s either, as the stripes on the shoulders are my favorite part of their tops.

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14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

These bright red Buccaneers jersey’s are mean as heck. Most teams in the NFL with a red and white color combo don’t have a dark helmet, let alone a silver one, so I give the Bucs props for being different and pulling it off. The numbers and names are outlined very nicely as well, and the fact that they have two logos (the Bucs flag logo on the helmet and black ship logo on the shoulder) certainly sets them apart from other teams.

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13. Kansas City Chiefs
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Minnesota Vikings

These are without a doubt the best look that the Kansas City Chiefs sport. Great utilization of their primary color on the jersey top and pants – I would like to see them utilize their gold color on their pant selection at some point but there’s nothing wrong with keeping it simple. The white colored numbers and names pop largely thanks to the gold outlining, while the identical stripes on the shoulders and socks add nice symmetry to this design.

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12. Dallas Cowboys
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Los Angeles Chargers

It’d be a cardinal sin to not include the Dallas Cowboys classic home uniforms on this list. Much like the New York Yankees in baseball, the Cowboys are among the most hated teams in their respective league, so their uniforms definitely don’t get the love that they deserve. Dallas’s helmets are right up there with the Niners for best in the league, and like San Fran, I think they perfect their color scheme on these home threads. While the blue stripes and fill-ins are spot on, my favorite part about these uniforms are the silver pants with white and blue stripes running down the side. It’s different, and it slaps for America’s Team.

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11. New England Patriots
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Hunter Henry #85 of the New England Patriots celebrates with Kendrick Bourne #84 after a touchdown during the first half in the game against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on October 24, 2021 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

They’re not America’s team, but the New England Patriots certainly do red, white and blue justice in these threads. The dark blue tops and bottoms, along with the red outlining allows the numbers and names to really jump off these uniforms, while their grey helmet and logo will always be an NFL classic.

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10. Carolina Panthers
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Carolina Panthers

Carolina’s black on black boo-ya! The subtle light blue trip going across the collar and shoulders still allows the black to rightfully dominate the Panthers alternate home look, but reminds fans that Carolina blue is one of the prettiest colors in the world and that it looks great next to black.

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9. Indianapolis Colts
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Indianapolis Colts

The Colts blue on blue uni’s with their patented horseshoe logo is a simple look, but it’s still a hard one. Indy has one of the prettiest color combos in the league, and while lot of their uniforms popularity can be attributed to the excellence of the Peyton Manning led teams, there’s no denying that they sport a very appealing look. The white helmet with the blue stripe going down the middle is my favorite part of this uniform.

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8. Cincinatti Bengals
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Cincinatti Bengals

This season, with the Bengals playing better football than they have in the past, their black on black uni combo with orange and black cat stripes are their best thread, and are usually overlooked due to their traditionally lackluster team. Orange and black would seem like a difficult color combination to pull off, but I think the Bengal theme allows Cincinnati to make it look super cool. These helmets are definitely top 5 in the NFL as well.

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7. Seattle Seahawks
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Seattle Seahawks

The green highlight on this white top is arguably the most dynamic aspect of any uniform in the entire league. The more I look at Hulk-like figure D.K Metcalf in this thread, the higher I want to rank these Seattle Seahawks uniforms. With that being said, one player’s ability to make a uniform look better should not elevate the uniform alone. Nonetheless, the Seahawks utilize their dark blue in 10/10 fashion, and do a great job of taking these away uniforms to next-level swag.

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6. Baltimore Ravens
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NOVEMBER 11: Mark Andrews #89 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates with Marquise Brown #5 catching a touchdown reception against the Miami Dolphins during the fourth quarter at Hard Rock Stadium on November 11, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The swag of the Ravens squad might attribute to why these uniforms are so highly regarded as one of the best in the league. Even so, Big Truzz utilizes their purple and gold to make one of the most recognizable uniform numbers in the league. They get extra points for matching a black helmet with black pants too, but it’s their use of their primary purple color that really sets this uniform apart from so many others. Oh, and they’re super dope logo.

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5. New Orleans Saints
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New Orleans Saints

The Saints mean business in these threads. The black on black uniform with dark gold numbering is fire & the Saints classic emblem planted on the helmet slaps too. To an extent, a team’s success should play into how attractive a uniform is, and everyone knows that when Drew Brees and co. showed up to Caesars Stadium in these, they were dropping 50 on you.

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4. Las Vegas Raiders
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Las Vegas Raiders

No one vibes old school better than the Raiders. Their black tops, grey helmets and bottoms are an NFL classic, and can be incredibly intimidating when teams have to visit a raucous Raider nation. Not only is this a classic NFL look, but the Raiders black threads actually evaluate the culture of the entire team, which is rare, and why I hold LV’s uniforms in such high regard.

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3. Pittsburgh Steelers
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Pittsburgh Steelers

Pitt’s Color Rush jersey’s go hard. The black lining and yellow stripes going down the pants will remind fans of the franchise’s origins, while the black jersey and black pants combinations adds something different to the mix. Once again, the fact that the Steelers are one of the most legendary franchises in the NFL elevates this modernized version to one of the best in the league.

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2. Arizona Cardinals
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The Arizona Cardinals black on red uniforms are supremely underrated. Much like franchise quarterback Kyler Murray, these black threads with red stripes streaking down the sides have fast and furious written all over them. The Cardinals logo really pops off of the white colored helmet as well, and nobody rocks a white helmet better than the Cardinals do in this look.

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1. Los Angeles Chargers
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Los Angeles Chargers

LA, Y’all went crazy on this one. The blue, white and gold color combination is devastating, while the eye-popping lighting bolt logo adds fuel to this fire kit. This uniform is without a doubt the cleanest in the game, and you should definitely go cop one on Black Friday.

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Sports Strength

Tyrese Maxey Is Putting The NBA On Notice

Amid the Ben Simmons saga, combo guard Tyrese Maxey has rightfully earned the starting point guard job for the Philadelphia 76ers. The speedy guard from Kentucky is averaging 17.6 points, 4.6 assists, and 3.6 rebounds throughout the early parts of the 2021-2022 season.

Maxey has not only increased his scoring output by nine points per game from his rookie season so far, but his efficiency has skyrocketed too; in just his second year, Maxey is knocking on the door of the fabled 50/40/90 club.

He’s also played in every single game, averaging 35 minutes per tilt, and has tallied four games of 40 minutes or more. Numbers aside, Maxey looks comfortable, confident, and everything like the scoring guard the Sixers needed when they selected him 21st overall in the 2020 NBA Draft.

Even though the Sixers have lost four straight, it’s been no fault of Maxey, a player proving capable of running point guard on a winning NBA squad. This shouldn’t come as a surprise: Maxey is an exceptional talent who gained experience wearing a number of different hats during his amateur career.

At Kentucky, Maxey played with Immanuel Quickley and Ashton Hagans, two ball dominant guards. There were times when Maxey brought the ball up and ran the offense, and times when he had to play off the ball and hit shots off of the catch. This is one of the many reasons that he’s confident doing the likes of both things for the Sixers.

Additionally, his ability to make three-pointers off the dribble this season is a large reason why his scoring has increased. Last year, he only shot 30 percent from three, and hardly took shots off the bounce. Now, he’s shooting 41 percent from deep on a high degree of difficulty—this year, 42 percent of Maxey’s threes are unassisted, compared to only about 20 percent of them last year. By adding pull-up attempts to his game, Maxey opens up more driving lanes for himself. It’s safe to say that part of his progress this year can be attributed to his insane work ethic.

After back-to-back 30 point games and a 24-point outing against the Indiana Pacers on Saturday, Maxey joined elite Sixers company by scoring at least 88 points during a three-game span—Jrue Holiday, Jerry Stackhouse and Allen Iverson are the only others to do so. While he certainly has a long way to go before he can be in the same sentence as someone like Bubba Chuck, Tyrese Maxey has certainly been a bundle of joy for the Sixers so far this season.

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Sports Strength

The Emergence of Fred VanVleet

Not tall enough, not fast enough, and not good enough. These are among the many labels that pundits placed on Fred VanVleet after the 6’0 guard graduated from Wichita State in 2016. The consensus was that VanVleet played really well in college – two-time Mountain Valley Conference Player of the Year and the starting point guard on the Shockers 2014 undefeated regular season team – but he was never deemed good enough, by NBA executives, to spend a draft pick on.

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DAYTON, OH – MARCH 15: Fred VanVleet #23 of the Wichita State Shockers dribbles the ball in the first half against the Vanderbilt Commodores during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at UD Arena on March 15, 2016 in Dayton, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

That sentiment changed after the undrafted scoring machine tormented the Milwaukee Bucks during the 2019 Eastern Conference playoffs. VanVleet, after only averaging eight points per game during the regular season, scored 21 points in a Game 6 clincher and then carried that momentum into the Finals, a series in which he averaged 14 points per game, to help his Raptors knock off the Golden State Warriors.

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TORONTO, ONTARIO – MAY 25: Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors high fives fans as he walks off the court after defeating the Milwaukee Bucks 100-94 in game six of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals to advance to the 2019 NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena on May 25, 2019 in Toronto, Canada.

Fast forward to present day, VanVleet has officially been handed the keys to the Toronto Raptors’ point guard duties after the team shipped Kyle Lowry off to the Miami Heat during the 2021 off-season.

After averaging 19 points per game last season, VanVleet has shouldered an even larger scoring load while Pascal Siakam battles a shoulder injury. So far, he’s proven himself to be more than up to the task, putting up 18.9 points per game while also averaging a career high in assists and rebounds, with 7.2 and 5.2 respectively.

Some of his notable performances this year include totaling a career-high 17 assists against Lonzo Ball’s Chicago Bulls, dropping 26 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing six dimes in a victory over the Indiana Pacers, and schooling the Washington Wizards with a cool 33 points and six assist performance.

When you consider VanVleet’s willingness to play passionate defense as well, he’s starting to make a case for being a top ten point guard in the league; it’s a real possibility that he makes an All-Star team for the first time this February. This Raptors team, at 6-5, are going to win a lot of games – they’ve surrendered the fourth fewest points all year and lead the league in steals without one of their best players and most disruptive defenders in Siakam. In the likely case that the Raptors do get even better, expect VanVleet to garner uncharted recognition and accolade nominations for his stellar play and leadership.

In concordance with the motto that the 27 year-old has had for years, I can’t wait to see Fred VanVleet’s “Bet on Yourself” NBA edition gear tagged with all the awards that are surely coming his way.

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Sports Strength

What to Watch In The Champions Classic

Every year since 2014, the college basketball season has begun with two marquee matchups between four of the nation’s most winningest programs – Duke, Michigan State, Kansas and Kentucky.

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NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 15: Head coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils hugs Bob Knight after winning his 903rd game and passing him to become the all-time winningest coach in Men’s Division 1 Basketball during the 2011 State Farm Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden on November 15, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

While the Champions Classic is held at a different venue every season, last season, as we know, was the anomaly. The pandemic didn’t allow all four teams to compete in the same arena, so Michigan State defeated Duke inside an empty Cameroon Indoor Stadium, while Kansas outlasted Kentucky in a vacant Bankers Allen Fieldhouse.

One year later, with things slowly opening back up around the country, the Champions Classic event is set to return to the place that it began back seven years ago, Madison Square Garden. Here is a preview of what to look forward to from each team this season.

Michigan State
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EAST LANSING, MI – NOVEMBER 4: Michigan State Spartans guard Max Christie (5) shoots in the lane during a college basketball game between the Michigan State Spartans and the Grand Valley State Lakers on November 4, 2021 at the Breslin Student Events Center in East Lansing, MI.(Photo by Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Michigan State got off to a high-flying 6-0 start in 2020, highlighted with their victory over the #6 Duke Blue Devils on December 1st. They ended up going 9-13 the rest of the way, ending the campaign with a loss to UCLA during the first four stage of March Madness.

The Spartans head into the 2021-2022 without their top two scorers from last season—Aaron Henry was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers and Joshua Langford was hired by the Big Ten Network as an analyst after graduating.

Incoming freshman guard Max Christie is probably the biggest headliner for the Spartans’ offense this year. During the preseason, Christie demonstrated that he can knock down perimeter shots while also being aggressive and using his 6’6 frame to attack the hoop. As with any freshman, it might take Christie some time to get settled, but rest assured, you’ll know who he is by the time March rolls around.

Also look out for 5th year senior Gabe Brown and senior forward Malik Hall, who are both are expected to take big leaps forward this year for the Spartans.

Kansas
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KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI – MARCH 11: Head coach Bill Self of the Kansas Jayhawks talks with players during a timeout in the quarterfinal game of the Big 12 basketball tournament against the Oklahoma Sooners at the T-Mobile Center on March 11, 2021 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

The Jayhawks should be one of the best teams in college basketball. Although they have incoming recruiting class that’s highlighted by 4-star small forward M.J Rice, this Kansas team will rely heavily on their upperclassmen and transfers. Senior forward David McCormack had a breakout season last year, scoring more than 13 points per game after only scoring six per game as a sophomore. Arizona State transfer guard Remy Martin is going to have an immediate impact on this Kansas team; he averaged 19.1 points per game for ASU last season and was named first-team All-Pac 12 in 2020 and 2021. Kansas has a history of seeing undersized guards such as Sherron Collins and Frank Mason III succeeding with their program, so expect Martin to continue the bloodline of small, dynamic point guard play at Kansas.

Duke
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DURHAM, NC – OCTOBER 15: Paolo Banchero #5 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts during Countdown To Craziness at Cameron Indoor Stadium on October 15, 2021 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)

Legendary head coach Mike Krzyzewski is entering his 42nd and final season as Duke’s head coach; Jon Scheyer, who has been one of Coach K’s assistants for several seasons after he finished his playing career, is set to take over at the helm after this year’s campaign.

Last year, Duke stumbled through one of their least successful seasons of Coach K’s tenure, missing the NCAA Tournament and finishing 13-11. Their three top scorers were Matthew Hurt, Jalen Johnson and D.J Steward, none of whom are returning.

Even so, Duke seem to be primed for a redemption year as the #9 team in the nation. Their roster is headlined by the #1 power forward in the 2021 recruiting class, Paolo Banchero. Banchero, a likely top 3 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, will join Mark Williams, a freshman standout from last season, in Duke’s frontcourt. Five-star shooting guard Trevor Keels will share the backcourt with Jeremy Roach–a player who will be expected to raise his game after a somewhat disappointing freshman season. They’ll expect an uptick in production and level of leadership from junior forward Wendell Moore Jr. as well.

Kentucky
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LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY – NOVEMBER 05: TyTy Washington Jr #3 of the Kentucky Wildcats shoots the ball in the game against the Miles College Golden Bears at Rupp Arena on November 05, 2021 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Kentucky is accustomed to starting seasons with all new faces—head coach John Calipari has a well-earned reputation for helping freshman develop into NBA lottery picks the very next year. As a result, it’s hard to believe that of the five Wildcat players lost from last season, only one became a first-round draft pick. Look at the Wildcats 9-16 record in during 2020-2021, and you’ll see why.

After losing the likes of Brandon Boston Jr., Devin Askew, Terrence Clarke, Olivier Sarr and Isaiah Jackson, the Wildcats knew that they needed a solid recruiting class and talented transfers to get them back on their feet. Luckily, that’s exactly what they got. Expect a big season from highly acclaimed freshman point guard Tyty Washington, and steady progress from freshman power forward Daimion Collins. Their transfers are highlighted by Sahvir Wheeler, who led the SEC in assists last season, Iowa transfer C.J Frederick, Davidson transfer Kellan Grady, and West Virginia transfer Oscar Tshiebwe.

Senior guard Davion Mintz and junior forward Keion Brooks are among Kentucky’s most important returnees, and will be looked upon as leaders on what should be a very strong Kentucky team.

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Sports Strength

The Colts Are Approaching A Crossroad With Carson Wentz

Ahead of their Week 9 game against the New York Jets, The 3-5 Indianapolis Colts are not only approaching a crossroad with the fate of their season, but with their $128 million dollar quarterback, Carson Wentz.

The Colts traded two draft picks to the Philadelphia Eagles for the quarterback back in February. Wentz was coming off of his worst season in the NFL, throwing only 16 touchdowns while committing 21 turnovers and having an abysmal 57% completion percentage.

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Football: Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz (11) with offensive coordinator Frank Reich during game vs Denver Broncos at Lincoln Financial Field. Philadelphia, PA 11/5/2017 CREDIT: Rob Tringali

At the time of the trade, the sentiment around the Colts organization was that they’d be able to fix Carson Wentz — Colts head coach Frank Reich was held in high acclaim for coaching Wentz to a 2017 All-Pro season as the Eagles offensive coordinator.

Through seven games under Frank Reich this year, Wentz has only turned the ball over three times, while scoring 12 total touchdowns and completing 64% of his passes.

Although those numbers are hardly gaudy, the team has won three of their last four games and Wentz has been taking care of the football, seemingly taking the team in the right direction.

Then came the two-yard, left-handed, Hail-Wentz against the Tennessee Titans last week.

As bad as that interception was, the next one that he threw might’ve been even worse. On first down, Wentz unnecessarily threw into triple coverage, ignoring a wide-open Jonathan Taylor, the reigning AFC Player of the Month, in the process.

While Wentz deserves a majority of the blame for the turnovers, head coach Frank Reich has also made numerous questionable decisions. Notably, he had Wentz drop back 50 times, including on their own 2 yard-line, even though they were averaging four yards a carry with Jonathan Taylor throughout the game.

Nonetheless, this performance could be pinned as a vintage Carson Wentz debacle and as a reminder that Wentz still believes he’s superman — someone that can make any given play on the football field from the quarterback position. It’s a mindset that can work, when adopted carefully and strategically, but one that can be disastrous if not.

Additionally, we learned something rather interesting from his poor decision making last Sunday. It’s now obvious that Reich didn’t make Wentz into some special player in 2017; rather, Reich and Wentz were fortunate to succeed despite Wentz exhibiting many of the same bad habits that have been so costly during the last two years. Even on some his best plays in 2017, in which he threw for 3,500 yards and 33 touchdowns, there were those that could’ve went the wrong way.

Whether it be the playmakers around him at the time, higher levels of confidence due to job security, or just sheer luck, Wentz got away with holding onto the ball too long and forcing plays more often than not.

Granted, Wentz’ supreme talent is indeed what almost won him the MVP, and he has what it takes to lead the Indianapolis Colts to the places they want to go now as well. So far this season, he’s accounted for 15 total touchdowns and only six turnovers while amassing a 96.7 Quarterback Rating.

With it apparent that even Frank Reich cannot keep Carson Wentz from making boneheaded decisions though, the Colts now have to ask themselves if they’re all-in for what they signed up for. They have a quarterback capable of throwing for over 30 touchdowns and 3500 yards, like he did in 2017, but also a quarterback that can turn the ball over 20+ plus times like he did last year and potentially lose you football games like he did last week.

Is the Carson Wentz reward worth the very risk he presents? Time will tell.

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Sports Strength

Why R.J Barrett Has The Makeup Of A Potential MVP

One of the larger consensus around the NBA is that when the New York Knicks are competitive, the league is simply more fun to watch. The atmosphere at Madison Square Garden makes for arguably the most electric arena in the league, especially when it’s packed with joyful, raucous Knicks fans.

Even after last night’s disappointing loss to the Toronto Raptors, the Knicks are still among the top three teams in the Eastern Conference with a record of 5-2. Keyed by the second most prolific offense in the NBA, the Knicks seem to be a legitimate playoff contender, putting to rest the murmurs that last year’s surprising playoff run was a fluke, for now.

Off-season additions Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier have injected some scoring punch into the offense, but RJ Barrett has been the primary catalyst for his team’s early success, and has as much upside as any young player in the league.

Coming out of Duke University as a one-and-done player, Barrett was pegged as a slashing, primary-ball handler who was a spacey defender and an inconsistent shooter. Since his rookie year though, Barrett has made great strides as a shooter after only making a mere 32 percent of threes as a rookie.

Similarly, he’s learned how to utilize his great positional size and strength to become an extremely physical and unsettling defender; in the Knicks’ season opener against the Boston Celtics, Barrett essentially clamped Jayson Tatum, holding him 20 points and 7/30 shooting from the field. Away from the ball, Barrett rotates extremely well too. Although Barrett doesn’t have Mikal Bridges or Matisse Thybulle instincts on defense, his footwork and strength make him an imposing presence.

At only 21 years old, Barrett takes pride in his performance on both ends of the floor – a rare mindset amongst the young core of talent in the league. While Luka Doncic, Trae Young, Ja Morant, and Jayson Tatum are all far more dynamic on offense than Barrett, they definitely aren’t as solid as he is on the defensive end.

After a 36-point outing against the Pelicans and an efficient 27-point encore against the Raptors, it’s clear that he can take his offense to the next level in due time. He may never match the scoring peak of fellow elite shooting guards like James Harden and Bradley Beal, but has the ability to be a better two-way player than they could ever be.

If Barrett can fulfill his potential on both ends of the floor while the Knicks continue to climb the upper echelon of the Eastern conference standings, he could very well be in the MVP conversation in a few years. The trajectory of the Knicks franchise seems to be alike route with Barrett’s development, similar to the Milwaukee Bucks during the mid 2010’s, when Giannis Antetokounmpo was transforming into one of the league’s most dominant players.

While Barrett’s ceiling may not be Giannis-like, it’s high enough for him to become one of the best players in the NBA.

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Manchester United Are Products Of ‘The Fixed Mindset’

Without a doubt, Manchester United is the biggest club in football.

They’re the only English club to achieve a continental treble, sweeping the league title, league cup and Champions League in 1999. They’ve won the Premier League a record 20 times, and have countless trophies. Point being, they’ve set a standard of excellence that’s nearly unmatched by any team in any sport in any country.

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MAY 22: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ronny Johnson of Manchester United celebrate in the dressing room with the FA Cup after the FA Cup Final between Manchester United v Newcastle at Wembley Stadium on May 22, 1999 in London. Manchester United 2 Newcastle United 0. (Photo by John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Since legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, though, United has struggled to reach those same lofty heights. If the shame of their longest title drought in the modern Premier League era hasn’t been misery enough, their 5-0 thrashing at the hands of rival Liverpool on Sunday is proof of the club’s diminished standing.

No matter how brutal this loss to Liverpool was, it hardly dooms Manchester United’s title aspirations on its own. Similarly, it’s unfair to say that manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is responsible for the debacle; it’s not like he could’ve laced up a pair of boots, bolstered United’s flimsy defense and stopped Mo Salah himself.

Still, it’s evident that Manchester United is plagued by an institutional malaise that stems from their fixed mindset; Solskjaer and the current players are hardly blameless, but the club’s issues have persisted for years despite bolstering talented teams year after year. The club is beset by deep-rooted issues that go beyond their place on the league table or their manager’s job security.

Coined by Stanford psychology professor Carol Dweck, a fixed mindset is when a person believes that traits like intelligence or talent are static and unchanging. Accordingly, this causes a person to constantly try to validate their status in every moment. Although Dweck primarily focused on students in her research, Manchester United offers an equally suitable subject for observation.

Watch Bruno Fernandes after he misplaces a pass, and you’d think his world just came to an end. Or Marcus Rashford looking like he’s had the life sucked out of him after missing a goal scoring chance.

Granted, these sort of reactions from footballers are nothing out of the ordinary. However, Manchester United are already the most talked about team in the world; they’re subject to a unique kind of scrutiny, every misstep or poor touch serving as ammunition for pundits and fans to label them as overrated and undertalented.

So when the likes of Fernandes and Rashford react the way that they sometimes do, you can’t help but wonder if they’re pressing too hard to change the narrative around them with one shot, or one pass. In a sport as instinctive and fluid as soccer, this kind of pressure-induced overthinking is almost certain to result in failure.

As a result of this fixed mindset, Manchester United is seemingly incapable of learning from their experiences. For clubs with “growth mindsets” (the opposite of a fixed one), a match is an opportunity to actualize their potential and develop their skills; the results are certainly important, but the true purpose is found in the process.

In contrast, at Manchester United, each match is a referendum on the club’s collective standing and quality. Under the immense weight of the club’s history, the players are stuck in a feedback loop of unmet expectations—they try so hard to prove their worthiness within the context of United’s decorated past that they play anxiously and sloppily, which in turn causes fans and media to label them as undeserving of a spot at such a storied club.

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MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 24: Mohamed Salah of Liverpool celebrates after scoring their side’s third goal during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford on October 24, 2021 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

After the massive defeat on Sunday, Solskjaer inadvertently demonstrated how this fixed mindset has undermined the cohesiveness and morale of his team.

“There were spaces for both teams going forward,” the Norweigan told the media after the match, “and when you give spaces to good players, they score.”

A jab at the quality of United players? A sign of the fixed mindset in believing the players aren’t good enough after one bad result? Yes.

The truth is, Manchester United are talented enough to be the team that they want to be, but they must change their mindset as a club. Avoid letting a bad result or negative moment define you, instead, use it to cultivate your skills and grow.

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Sports Strength

The History of El Clasico

El Clasico has been one of the biggest spectacles not only in the European football landscape, but in all of sports.

It is a match between Real Madrid and Barcelona, two teams in the top Spanish football league known as La Liga, and two of the most successful clubs in all of Europe.

Leading up to match day between Real Madrid and Barcelona, fans are given the opportunity to reminisce the greatest matchups between the two historic Spanish clubs, like in 2014, when Gareth Bale turned into the human flash and dusted Barcelona at their Camp Nou, or in 2017, when Lionel Messi sent his flaming spear into the heart of Real Madrid at their Santiago Bernabeu.

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VALENCIA, SPAIN – APRIL 16: Gareth Bale (L) of Real Madrid celebrates beside Xabi Alonso after scoring Real’s 2nd goal during the Copa del Rey Final between Real Madrid and Barcelona at Estadio Mestalla on April 16, 2014 in Valencia, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

Throughout the past decade, the intense rivalry of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi doubled the attraction that is already garnered for arguably the biggest soccer match on the planet. Even without two of the games greatest stars, the historic rivalry between the two teams and hatred amongst the fans should be enough to make this weekend’s El Clasico one to remember.

How did El Clasico Begin?
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Barcelona striker Gary Lineker (r) gets in a shot as Hugo Sanchez of Real Madrid looks on during the ‘El Clasico’ between Barcelona and Real Madrid at the Camp Nou on January 31, 1987 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Simon Bruty/Allsport/Getty Images)

Football analysts and minds alike point to the 1940s as the timeframe for which El Clasico became what it is today. One of the more memorable matches from that decade happened in 1943. Barcelona were up 5-3 in the 73rd minute against Real Madrid during a La Liga match at Les Cortes, Barcelona’s home stadium. In a hostile environment, Madrid would proceed to score two unanswered goals to tie the score, salvaging a draw in a 5-5 result for the record books.

Who has the most goals in El Clasico?
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Alfredo Di Stefano entertaining in Real Madrid during September of 1963 / Getty Images

Argentinean striker Alredo Di Stefano was at the forefront of Real Madrid’s dominance against Barcelona during the 1960s. Di Stefano is the all-time leading goal scorer in El Clasico with 26 goals, and was known for playing some of his best football against arch rival Barcelona.

Most Memorable El Clasico Moment
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Barcelona’s Brazilian Ronaldinho (L) celebrates his goal against Real Madrid with teammate Cameroonese Samuel Eto’o during their Spanish Liga football match in Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, 19 November 2005. AFP PHOTO/ Pierre-Philippe MARCOU (Photo credit should read PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images)

Imagine Alex Rodriguez earning a standing ovation at Fenway Park, or J.J Redick receiving love from UNC fans at the Dean Dome. Both of those inconceivable scenarios equate to what Real Madrid fans at the Santiago Bernabau did for Barcelona’s Ronaldinho in 2005.

Ronaldinho was the reigning world footballer of the year. The golden boot winner (awarded to the player with the most goals in a league) was a stalwart on a Barcelona team full of such. Samuel Eto’o and Lionel Messi were forces to be reckon with as well during that year. Against Real Madrid in 2005 though, Ronaldinho put on a solo exhibit of greatness, and did it all with a big smile on his face. Among displaying his outstanding dribbling and playmaking to the Madrid fans during the match, he scored two spectacular goals to seal a comfortable Barcelona victory.

After his second goal, around half of the supporters in the stadium were standing up and cheering on the Barcelona superstar, just as he tormented their team.

What’s Next?
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Barcelona’s Guinea-Bissau forward Ansu Fati (R) kicks the ball during the Spanish league football match between FC Barcelona and Levante UD at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, on February 2, 2020

This will be the first time in over a decade that we’ll see these two teams play without Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo on the team.

While there won’t be any players on the pitch that have half of the quality of those mentioned above, there are reasons to be as excited as ever for this weekend’s El Clasico.

There are young stars in both squads, including 18 year-old Ansu Fati for Barcelona and 21 year-old Vincius Junior for Real Madrid, that will vie to become the next El Clasico hero. After all, there was a point in time when a 20 year-old Lionel Messi wasn’t even considered the best player on his team, but nonetheless, burst onto the scene with a hat-trick in El Clasico in 2007.

Considering the amazing moments we’ve seen between these clubs, expect to see the birth of a new hero, and maybe even a world superstar, when the two teams play this Sunday. After all, it always delivers.

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Sports Strength

These 5 Sixers Players Must Improve In These Areas

The time has come to focus on simply basketball for the Philadelphia 76ers. The off-seasons distractions and prima donna bullshit will take a back seat when the Sixers visit New Orleans for their season opener against the Pelicans tonight.

The Sixers went 2-2 during the pre-season, as Doc Rivers and company likely got a feel for where minutes will be allocated amid Ben Simmons’ absence. More likely than not, we’re going to see a variety of line-ups from the Sixers this season. Whether that’ll mean starting Tyrese Maxey at point guard one night, Furkan Korkmaz (yes, Furkan Korkmaz) or Shake Milton at the one another night, or even Simmons, it’s safe to say that we won’t be seeing the same look night-in and night-out from this team.

Rather than discussing who should start, I think it makes more sense to go over the most important players on the 76ers, and what they need to improve on for the team to be where they want to be.

Joel Embiid – Limiting Turnovers & Leadership
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Embiid enters the 2020-2021 season in a prime position to author an encore to his MVP caliber campaign last year. The Sixers star big-man is coming off of his best season, posting career highs in points, shooting percentages across the board, as well as steals. With the best record in the East to show for it, the Sixers need to center the offense around Embiid and his dominant skill-set night in and night out. Expect the Sixers to call plays for Embiid on the low block and high post, while involving him in many pick-and-rolls and pick-and-pops as well, in what should be another MVP type season from the 27 year-old superstar.

To become truly unstoppable, Embiid needs to be better at limiting turnovers, especially while being double-teamed. Even though he has improved at doing so, he must continue to make the right decisions when teams throw double teams at him. Embiid averaged a career low in turnovers during the regular season, but averaged a career high in turnovers during the playoffs.

As the best player, Embiid needs to become more of a vocal leader. When things were going poorly against the Atlanta Hawks in the playoffs, every Sixer seemed to have their head down. There was no one rallying the troops, or screaming in timeouts when necessary. You see that type of leader on all of the championship teams: Giannis, Steph, LeBron, etc. Embiid needs to emulate them for the Sixers to reach their potential.

Tobias Harris – Dirty Work & Leadership
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Tobias Harris is one of the most scrutinized players on the Sixers, with many people believing he hasn’t lived up to the $180 million contract he signed in 2019. Amidst all that scrutiny, though, he actually posted the best season of his Philly tenure last year by significantly upping his true shooting percentage from 55.6 percent to 59.7 percent. Still, Harris has a tendency to shrink in the biggest moments, notable shooting horribly during Game 7 against the Atlanta Hawks, and disappearing entirely during their Game 5 defeat as well.

Now more than ever, the Sixers need Harris to score 20 points a game, and he’s proven to be good for it. And while Harris has never had problems getting buckets, he has a hard time impacting games in other ways. As such, to fill the likely Ben Simmons-sized hole in the lineup, Harris needs to play with more energy and effort, particularly on the defensive end.

Seth Curry – Leadership & Defense
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As a UNC fan, I was kind of irked by the Sixers signing a former Dookie Blue Devil before the 2020-2021 season; now, it’s no secret that Philly needs the sharpshooting of Seth Curry in their offense. Last postseason, Curry shot like a man possessed, averaging 18.4 points per game while maintaining an incredible clip of 50% from three-point range. Since the Sixers have enough options to handle playmaking duties, Curry can continue to do what he does best: move without the ball and make shots. While he’s adept at working his own mid-range game, he’s best used when spacing the floor our playmakers and big men.

As a key contributor to their limited playoff success last season, Curry should assume more of a vocalized leadership role this year as well. As someone who stepped up when it mattered most last year, he’s won the respect of those in the locker room and should take advantage of that for the sake of a team that doesn’t really have a one at the moment.

Additionally, while Curry will never be an elite perimeter defender, there’s no reason he should get torched by Kevin Huerter like he was in the playoffs. Since Curry is such an integral part of the Sixers’ offense, he must do everything in his power to hold his own on defense, and make opposing players uncomfortable.

Matisse Thybulle – Discipline & Shooting
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The stock of Matisse Thybulle is rising. Thybulle, a third-year swingman, made the All-NBA 2nd defensive team last season, and lead the Olympics in steals this past summer while playing a key role for Australia. His action during the pre-season was limited due to shoulder soreness, but he’s expected to play a big role for the Sixers this season as a lockdown defender. Thybulle is long, athletic and has great instincts on that end of the floor, even if he can be reckless at times.

For Thybulle to take the next step in evolving into an elite defender in this league, he needs to find the right balance between discipline and aggressiveness; his instincts are what make him one of the most disruptive defenders in the NBA, but he needs to understand how to operate within the structure of the team while not get pulled out of position and into foul trouble. If he can maintain what makes him such a special talent while reining in his rashness, he will earn more minutes and could easily make First Team All-Defense.

Offensively, Thybulle regressed in his three-point percentage during his sophomore season, so becoming reliable from beyond the arc will also allow him to have more playing this season.

Tyrese Maxey – Defense & Shooting
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Many thought that Tyrese Maxey slid too far in the 2020 NBA Draft. After watching his rookie season, it’s hard to disagree. Maxey, along with Thybulle, will vie to be the top option off the bench for the Sixers this year, thanks to his ability to score and penetrate the lane relatively well. Doc Rivers also trusted the 21 year-old guard out of Kentucky to play vital minutes during Philly’s win in Game 6 of the Atlanta Hawks series. His energy and charisma have also made Maxey a fan favorite in the city of Brotherly Love.

Maxey will be asked to shoulder a larger load this season as he becomes more comfortable as a facilitator. In that case, he’ll have improve at keeping ball-handlers in front of him on defense, while improving his consistency from three-point range as well.

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Aaron Boone Returning To The Yankees Is Good News

Two weeks after Boston eliminated them from postseason play, the Yankees have announced a three-year contract extension for manager Aaron Boone, and rightfully so.

Boone overtook the team from Joe Girardi in 2018. During his last season as the manager, Girardi led the Yankees to the American League Championship series; bringing the team to one win away from going to the World Series.

Even though he was held in high acclaim by the organization, players and fans for his success as the Yankees manager, Girardi and his relationship with the team was growing stale after 2017. General manager Brian Cashman hired Boone, in part, because he thought Boone would be able to connect with the clubhouse more effectively than Girardi did.

During his first two seasons, Boone led the Yankees to back-to-back 100+ win seasons for the first time since 2004. He’s won the respect of Aaron Judge, who vouched for Boone to get his job back, along with a Yankees clubhouse that will expect to compete at the highest level for years to come.

With that being said, Boone is far from perfect. In 2021, he made questionable decisions when it came to the Yankees bullpen, like pulling starters too early, and not using his closer in the 9th inning to shut the other team down so that you have a chance to win. These type of decisions certainly costed them a handful of games.

Over the course of 162 games, every manager will make these sort of mistakes, and that’s something you have to live with in baseball. Additionally, the majority of Yankees issues do not consist of Boone’s decisions making, rather a combination Yankees inability to consistently get on-base, starting pitching woes, base-running miscues, and defensive holes in the infield.

A large part of why Boone’s return to the Bronx is good news is because of what the Yankees don’t have to do now, and that’s start from scratch with a roster full of question marks.

In 2017, they could afford to take a gamble on a new manager with the new era of Baby Bombers that was blooming. At the forefront of that roster was a 25 year-old Aaron Judge.

Aaron Judge will be 30 years old at the start of next season. If you can lock up a manager that has the respect of your leader, a winning track record, and more knowledge for the squad than anyone else, that’s a win for your baseball team in the off-season.