The NFL, NBA and NHL are nearing the halfway point in their seasons, and each sport has experienced mountains and valleys in their seasons.
One of the biggest surprises of the 2014 National Football League season is the Arizona Cardinals being tied for the best record in the league at 9-3. Bruce Arians, the head coach of the Cardinals, has fully implemented his “next man up” philosophy as they have replaced injured starting players. All-pro linebacker John Abraham, all-pro defensive tackle Darnell Dockett and starting quarterback Carson Palmer’s seasons are over due to injuries, but the team has maintained their most prolonged winning record for the first time since 1948.
Jonathan Haddad, sophomore criminal justice major, said he is surprised at their success.
“The Cardinals kind of came out of nowhere this year,” Haddad said. “They are one of those teams that you expect to lose each week, but keep on winning. I don’t know how they are doing it.”
The standings in the National Football Conference South are the biggest disappointment. With three playoff-caliber teams underperforming compared to last season, the division leader is the Atlanta Falcons at 5-7. The New Orleans Saints are also 5-7, but the Falcons win the tiebreaker because they won the head-to-head match-up in week one. This could be a year where the division leader and host of at least one playoff game will not finish above a .500 record.
The Cleveland Cavaliers and the way they have been playing is the biggest surprise of the NBA season. The preseason hype surrounding LeBron James and Kevin Love joining Kyrie Irving made fans believe the Cavaliers would be the best team in the NBA. However, their record proves the hype has simply been hype. The chemistry between the players is not there and they are losing games. The team’s record is 8-7.
The Los Angeles Lakers have accrued loss after loss. Their first overall draft pick this year, Julius Randle, broke his leg in the first NBA game he played. Kobe Bryant is trying to make up for lost offense and is averaging 23.1 shots and 26.6 points per game to no avail. The Lakers are 4-13 on the season and in last place in the Western Conference.
Rene Perez, junior kinesiology major and Lakers fan, said he is frustrated with the season.
“The Lakers have been plagued with so many injuries these past couple of years, it’s ridiculous,” he said. “The only good thing about the Lakers right now is Kobe. I don’t know what I’ll do when he retires.”
In only the sixth week of the National Hockey League season, the biggest surprise is the LA Kings not performing as well as they could be, considering they are the defending Stanley Cup champions. As good as they were playing in the championship series last year, they have gotten off to a slow start at 12-7, and they are fourth in the Pacific West.
Kelsey Del Nero, junior pre-physical therapy major, agrees.
“The LA Kings seem to have gotten into a Stanley Cup hangover and aren’t performing as well as they can,” Del Nero said.
The biggest disappointment this year is the amount of injuries suffered throughout the entire league. Many contending teams have lost players for the year due to injury.