Now that the Super Bowl is over, what sports event are you most looking forward to?
Take me out to the ballgame
By Amanda Rykoff
I'm a sports junkie. This isn't news. If it's a live sports event, I'm probably watching, with a few exceptions (I'm looking at you, NASCAR and MMA). March Madness is one of my favorite times of the year. The NBA and NHL finals in June are always entertaining. I look forward to the U.S. Open in September. The entire NFL season is always enjoyable, especially when Drew Brees leads your team to a fantasy football championship (yes!). But nothing makes me happier than baseball.
I love baseball. I love watching baseball. I love writing about baseball. I love going to ballparks. I love the sounds of the game -- the thwack of the pitch hitting the catcher's glove, the crack of the bat, the cursing under the breath after a called third strike. I love that baseball has no clock. To many, this is the source of annoyance and frustration. To fans, we appreciate that it means anything can happen. Nothing is over until the final out is recorded. Just look at the last night of the 2011 regular season. Or Game 6 of the World Series when Texas was one strike away from a title twice in the same game ... and yet somehow lost. I know that wasn't easy for Rangers fans, but it was another reminder of why we love the game.
As soon as the final seconds ticked off the clock and Tom Brady's last-second Hail Mary fell -- after a heart-stopping moment -- harmlessly to the ground in Indianapolis, I couldn't help but think that we are now just two glorious weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting. We're less than a month away from spring training. We're less than two months away from Opening Day (but who's counting?).
By Adena Andrews
Is it over? Is it safe to come out of the gridiron haze that has been my life for the past five months?
Yes? In that case, hoopheads unite!
Sundays now belong to the hardwood. No longer will our Twitter feeds be cluttered with talk of first downs, concussions and this pesky game-of-inches talk.
It's time to play my favorite game of inches -- the kind that skyrocket off the ground.
With a shortened NBA season, the championship is up for grabs.
Following the 1998-99 NBA lockout, the New York Knicks, the most unlikely of NBA teams, made the Finals before losing to the San Antonio Spurs. Lockout seasons have a tendency to produce surprising playoffs, and I can't wait to see what happens this time around.
In the West, will Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder defeat the Los Angeles Lakers and finally grow into the crown that has been placed above their heads? Or maybe Los Angeles will start to bleed red, white and blue with the resurgence of the Clippers.
Meanwhile, a group of young hustlers on the Chicago Bulls will be bench-mobbing their way through the East. We could even see a series where Dwyane Wade faces reigning league MVP Derrick Rose. This is basketball heaven.
This season it really is anyone's game. And that's why it's my game of choice.
London on the mind
By Sarah Spain
There are a lot of great sporting events in the coming weeks and months, but I've got my sights set on something even bigger than the annual championships: The Summer Olympics. I'm not ignoring the Final Four, the NBA Finals, the Stanley Cup finals or any other major events this spring, I'm just acknowledging that there's an extra special spot in my heart for the Olympic Games.
Once every two years the world's best gather together to fulfill what will always be a dream unrealized for so many of us. Watching athletes compete for their countries, their families and friends, their coaches and teammates and, ultimately, themselves, we are all reminded of what can be achieved with hard work and sacrifice. I can't wait for London.
Focus stays on football
Because I predominantly cover the NFL, the natural question I have been asked the past two days is, "What are you going to do in the offseason?" My response: I stay glued to the NFL. Every day.
The NFL is a year-round party with one collective main event (the regular season, playoffs and Super Bowl) and a plethora of sub-events. Kind of like the Playboy Party at the Super Bowl and a random corporate cocktail hour earlier in the week. All fun, just different.
From the upcoming combine to Tim Tebow's breakfast of choice, there is plenty to keep us busy.
There really is no time for vacation in the NFL. We have already shifted the conversation from celebrating one Manning brother to dissecting the neck and future home of the other. That fodder could last for months. The combine is in a couple weeks, as is the beginning of free agency. There are the spring owners meetings and the NFL draft after that.
Then we get to start really dissecting our teams, some of which will look drastically different. The shiny fantasy football previews will signal OTAs and training camp are just around the corner. Then suddenly we're playing games again. Just like that.
Here's to a fabulous offseason full of intrigue and interesting news. Wait, did Rex Ryan just guarantee the Jets would win the Super Bowl next year? Gotta run.
Pause to regroup
By Jane McManus
After an unofficial national holiday dedicated to the Puppy, Lingerie and Bud Bowls, it's time for college basketball. The gap between the Super Bowl and March Madness is just enough time to get caught up on the teams likely to make the NCAA tournament, so your NCAA men's and women's pools are based on knowledge rather than blind guessing when it comes to the lower seeds.
But there is a lot more to look forward to: The NBA is interesting again, spring training is coming up, and there are two tennis Grand Slam events peeking around the corner. The moment after the Super Bowl is just a pause in the sports calendar. And if you don't buy that, there's always free agency.