Post-Season Performance In American Pro Sports in the 21st Century

Where does your team rank? If they’re from Atlanta, particularly if they play baseball, it’s not good.

Games/Series Won Conf Final Title Game Championships
1 LA Lakers 29 7 7 5
2 New England Patriots 21** 9 6 4
3 San Antonio Spurs 29 8 5 4
4 Miami Heat 20 6 5 3
5 San Francisco Giants 12* 4 4 3
6 Chicago Blackhawks 16 5 3 3
7 Boston Red Sox 11 5 3 3
8 St. Louis Cardinals 16* 9 4 2
9 NY Yankees 13 7 4 2
10 New Jersey Devils 16 4 4 2
11 Pittsburgh Steelers 12** 5 3 2
12 Detroit Red Wings 18 4 3 2
13 Baltimore Ravens 15******* 4 2 2
14 NY Giants 10** 3 2 2
15 LA Kings 11 3 2 2
16 Seattle Seahawks 11**** 3 3 1
17 Detroit Pistons 16 6 2 1
18 Indianapolis Colts 12***** 4 2 1
19 Boston Celtics 14 4 2 1
Pittsburgh Penguins 14 4 2 1
21 Anaheim Ducks 13 4 2 1
22 Dallas Mavericks 13 3 2 1
23 Tampa Bay Lightning 10 3 2 1
24 Philadelphia Phillies 6 3 2 1
25 Carolina Hurricanes 3 3 2 1
26 St. Louis Rams 6* 2 2 1
27 Boston Bruins 10 2 2 1
28 Green Bay Packers 9**** 3 1 1
29 Colorado Avalance 11 3 1 1
30 LA Angels 5 3 1 1
31 New Orleans Saints 7*** 2 1 1
32 Arizona Diamondbacks 4 2 1 1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4 2 1 1
34 Golden State Warriors 6 1 1 1
35 Miami Marlins 3 1 1 1
36 Chicago White Sox 3 1 1 1
Detroit Tigers 6 4 2 0
38 Cleveland Cavaliers 11 3 2 0
39 Brooklyn Nets 10 2 2 0
40 Texas Rangers 4 2 2 0
41 Philadelphia Eagles 10*** 5 1 0
42 Philadelphia Flyers 12 4 1 0
43 Indiana Pacers 11 4 1 0
44 San Francisco 49ers 6** 3 1 0
45 NY Rangers 10 3 1 0
46 Oklahoma City Thunder 9 3 1 0
47 Carolina Panthers 6*** 2 1 0
48 Tennessee Titans 5** 2 1 0
49 Oakland Raiders 4* 2 1 0
50 Orlando Magic 6 2 1 0
Dallas Stars 6 2 1 0
52 NY Mets 3 2 1 0
Houston Astros 3 2 1 0
Chicago Bears 3 2 1 0
55 Arizona Diamondbacks 4** 1 1 0
56 Tampa Bay Rays 3* 1 1 0
Kansas City Royals 3* 1 1 0
Denver Broncos 3* 1 1 0
59 Ottawa Senators 7 1 1 0
Vancouver Canucks 7 1 1 0
61 Philadelphia 76ers 6 1 1 0
62 Edmonton Oilers 3 1 1 0
63 Colorado Rockies 2 1 1 0
Calgary Flames 2 1 1 0
65 San Jose Sharks 12 3 0 0
66 Phoenix Suns 8 3 0 0
67 LA Dodgers 3 3 0 0
68 NY Jets 6**** 2 0 0
69 Minnesota Vikings 4** 2 0 0
70 Atlanta Falcons 3* 2 0 0
71 Montreal Canadiens 8 2 0 0
72 Buffalo Sabres 5 2 0 0
73 Seattle Mariners 2 2 0 0
74 San Diego Chargers 4*** 1 0 0
75 Baltimore Orioles 2* 1 0 0
Jacksonville Jaguars 2* 1 0 0
77 Atlanta Hawks 5 1 0 0
Chicago Bulls 5 1 0 0
Sacramento Kings 5 1 0 0
Utah Jazz 5 1 0 0
Toronto Maple Leafs 5 1 0 0
82 Memphis Grizzlies 4 1 0 0
St. Louis Blues 4 1 0 0
Minnesota Wild 4 1 0 0
85 New York Knicks 3 1 0 0
Houston Rockets 3 1 0 0
Portland Trailblazers 3 1 0 0
88 Milwaukee Bucks 2 1 0 0
Denver Nuggets 2 1 0 0
Minnesota Timberwolves 2 1 0 0
Arizona Coyotes 2 1 0 0
92 Atlanta Braves 1 1 0 0
Chicago Cubs 1 1 0 0
Milwaukee Brewers 1 1 0 0
Cleveland Indians 1 1 0 0
Minnesota Twins 1 1 0 0
Oakland A’s 1 1 0 0
98 Dallas Cowboys 2** 0 0 0
Washington Redskins 2** 0 0 0
Miami Dolphins 2** 0 0 0
101 Houston Texans 2* 0 0 0
102 Pittsburgh Pirates 1* 0 0 0
103 LA Clippers 4 0 0 0
Washington Capitals 4 0 0 0
105 Washington Wizards 3 0 0 0
106 Charlotte Hornets 2 0 0 0
Nashville Predators 2 0 0 0
108 Toronto Raptors 1 0 0 0
New Orleans Pelicans 1 0 0 0
122 Washington Nationals 0 0 0 0
122 Cincinnati Reds 0 0 0 0
122 San Diego Padres 0 0 0 0
122 Toronto Blue Jays 0 0 0 0
122 Detroit Lions 0 0 0 0
122 Cincinnati Bengals 0 0 0 0
122 Cleveland Browns 0 0 0 0
122 Buffalo Bills 0 0 0 0
122 Kansas City Chiefs 0 0 0 0
122 Florida Panthers 0 0 0 0
122 NY Islanders 0 0 0 0
122 Columbus Blue Jackets 0 0 0 0
122 Winnipeg Jets 0 0 0 0

* denotes wins in “wild card rounds”

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Filed under Baseball, Basketball, Braves, Falcons, Hawks, Hockey, NBA, NFL, Playoffs, Sports

Racism is Racism

State’s rights, huh? You mean a state’s right to deny human rights to, well, you know, humans? Got it. Values. Priorities. Beliefs. Truths. Hate. Those who make the argument that “state’s rights” was a worthy cause illuminate all of these about themselves in a light that burns as bright as the sun, while being as cold and lifeless as the dark side of the moon.

There, that’s out of the way. I know I can get a little long winded, so I wanted to make sure anyone who looked at this and either didn’t want to read further, or fell asleep trying, read the main point. Now that that’s out of the way, I’ll get into the rest of the reasoning for this.

You all know I’m an opinionated person. When I believe something, I believe it. Usually because I’ve done the homework to make sure what I’m saying is accurate. Usually. This however isn’t like a sports opinion, or opinions on movies, or whether the Braves should have left Atlanta. Not at all. And that’s why my conviction here is stronger than it is with anything else. Last night I came across some more things that just enraged me. And I posted that I was pretty much going to be angry all day, post angry things, angry responses and unfriend anyone who disagrees with me. Well, that’s only very marginally true. The latter is true, but it is going to come without the first actions. But I’m writing this so people will know (if they care) why I unfriended them. Because I promise, somewhere in here you’ll uncover why. I also just want to completely wrap up my stance on this entire issue, and do so in a docile state, without personally attacking people, calling names, or anything else that takes away from the point I’m making by giving any sort of veil or distraction to it.

My heart has been broken over the past few days, weeks, months, even years. The things I’ve seen from people, people I have known my entire life, just hurt, hurt me deep. And there’s no single sect of people (though it is concentrated, that’s for sure) who I see this from, it’s everywhere. From friends I’ve had my entire life, best friends, family members, people I long thought to be very smart, very good people, I’ve seen horrible, horrible things. I’ve seen abhorrent things and mindsets that make me question just how smart you are, or how good a person can you really be. They make me question me for having forged a relationship with someone like that to begin with, and for having kept it so long. You want to know why I’m so angry about this? That’s why. I’m hurt and I’m mad. I’m mad at me. I’m mad at me for the many ways I was a lot like many of you. I’m mad that I’ve stood by silently while you all were busy being, well you, even when I no longer agreed with you in the slightest. I’m mad that I feel betrayed. I’m mad that I feel let down. I’m upset because I have to say goodbye to people I’ve had in my life for the longest time. Because I absolutely have to.

One credence I will always stick to is that you can tell more about a person by what they’re willing to defend, than anything else. The defense of racism, in any way, is racism. It’s that simple. And standing by watching people say racist things, do racist things, and just be racist, while saying nothing, may not be “defending it”, but it’s definitely accepting it, to the point of condoning it. Look, we all have flaws, every last one of us, and we all have shortcomings. And many, many shortcomings, most even, I can “accept” as just, people having shortcomings. But there are a couple that, no, no, it’s not a “shortcoming”. It’s an unacceptable set of beliefs that I can no longer idly stand by in the shadows and give silent approval of. I have to say something. I have to say I will not tolerate it. And I don’t know at the expense of who that will come. Best friends for half my life? Family members? Teachers? Sports fans? I don’t know, and at this point, it doesn’t matter.

I don’t do this with hate or malice in my heart, though sometimes it may seem that way with things I have said, or angry reactions and replies, and foul language, even for me. I do this because I simply can’t stay silent, and because this does make me angry, I’m asking for it to breed hate, and I’m not wanting to do that. But the more I see of it the angrier and angrier I get. There’s really only one solution. A wise little green guy on Dagobah once said that “anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering, and suffering leads to the dark side”. I’m not going to go down that path.

But I don’t want the hate that racism is born and nurtured in in my life. I used to think there were three types of racism; Ignorance, fear, and hate. I’ve since come to the realization they’re all rolled into one. We as humans fear what we don’t know, and we hate what we fear. That black man walking towards your car in the gas station that makes you immediately lock your doors? You don’t know anything about him, yet you fear him. You hate him. Wait, I take that back. You do know one thing about him. You know he’s black.

Bottom line, if you defend or justify the acts of treason committed by the confederate states, you’re wrong. If you take pride in, and honor, a culture where an entire race of humans was dehumanized, you’re wrong. If you argue the Civil War wasn’t about slavery, you’re wrong. If you honor and glorify the men who led the south into this war, you’re wrong. If you make heroes out of men who fought to keep other human beings enslaved simply because they were born the wrong color, you’re wrong. And don’t even try to tell me how there were black people fighting for the south. Stockholm Syndrome, ya heard of it? If you are proud of, and celebrate, a heritage that murdered humans, put humans in shackles and forced them to work for you while affording them no freedom when they have committed no crime (other than being born with dark skin, as sadly, even today, that still is a crime, even if not a “crime”), you’re wrong. If you value the right for a state to rule a federal law null and void within their borders more than you value the God-given rights that every man should have (you know, the very sorta thing we supposedly founded this country on that so many flag worshipers swear they’re so proud to fight for), you’re wrong. If you place more value on flying a flag that honors and symbolizes, well, basically anything, but especially one that honors and symbolizes inhumane injustices forced upon an entire race of people over the amount of hurt that flag causes millions of people, you’re wrong. I could go point by point and specifically point out why you’re wrong, but to many that I’m talking to, that would do no good. But still, there’s a couple I want to go into more detail about if any of you that I haven’t lost yet wish to keep reading.

You can’t call yourself a patriot and fly the rebel flag in the name of pride for your heritage. Simple as that. You simply cannot do both. You can’t scream “Murica” and then on the other side support a confederation that literally, ATTACKED AMERICA.

You cannot celebrate Fourth of July and the “freedom” of being an American while simultaneously honoring people who ATTACKED AMERICA in order to keep human beings from being free. On no planet does it work that way.

Standing in support, or even having pride, in the ideologies of the south, which is what this “heritage” thing is all about (I mean, if you’re not proud of it, why would you boast of it and wear it so “proudly”?) means you go against the very thing we supposedly founded this country on, that all men were created equal. Clearly, you do not think so. Black people didn’t suddenly get “created equal” because laws told us to treat them as equals in the 50s and 60s. They’ve always been equal. You don’t get to justify treating them as inferior people, as not even humans, by saying, “well they were different times”. I don’t care. They were still people then, just as they are today. Just like everyone we share this planet with. So if you at any point in history are okay with humans not being treated equally, then, to this day, you still don’t see all human beings as equals. Because our equal standing on this earth hasn’t changed. Government enforced laws don’t dictate how you personally view other people. But when you support laws that do dehumanize people, then you yourself are the one dehumanizing them. You may as well have owned slaves yourself, because it’s very clear, that if the law allowed it today, you would. Because only the law apparently defines equality, and not your heart. Because in your heart, there isn’t any.

One that gets me the most is watching people I thought to be highly intelligent arguing the Civil War wasn’t about slavery. State’s rights? Yeah, the rights for states to enslave people. Oh, right, it was about an oppressive government. An oppressive government that didn’t want to continue to allow slavery. You do realize that there is NOTHING more oppressive than slavery, right? So please, tell me how the south was on the “good” side of the argument of who was more oppressive. Did the north, I mean, did the United States of America, you know, the little institution that those southern states belonged to, perhaps introduce legislation that might make things hard on the south? Sure. But did you stop and think that MAYBE, JUST MAYBE, if the south hadn’t been so steadfast on continuing slavery, the United States wouldn’t have felt the need to so aggressively try to put pressure on the southern states to back off their stance? That perhaps, had the south been willing to give up slavery, that all these other “oppressive” (I still love how I’ve heard people use that word to justify the south’s position) actions by the north, er, the United States, might not have taken place? Maybe if the southern states weren’t so vehemently against the United States wish to bar slavery in all new-found territories, there might have been more concessions from the United States? But no, the south wasn’t budging on that. All exploration west began in, oh, right, the south. The south wanted to occupy the rest of America, lay claim to it all, and enslave people from coast to coast. And the south had a leg up on getting west, due to simple logistics. They didn’t like that the north, dammit, I mean, the United States, didn’t want to allow them to take their crimes against humanity to places beyond their borders.

If the United States had come off of every other “state’s rights” issue except slavery, do you think war would have been averted? No. In fact, at no point was such a compromise ever even on the table because there was no two ways around it. The south was fighting for one thing and one thing alone, to continue to have slaves. Did their ability to thrive economically depend on that? Perhaps. But whose fault was that? Maybe the south shouldn’t have become a one trick pony built on the backs of enslaving other human beings. Maybe they should have been more forward thinking, and instead of enslaving human beings, all worked together for more prosperity. Nope, they were set in what they wanted to do, and how they wanted to do it. They made the bed, they had to sleep in it. And they couldn’t sleep in it without slavery. Had the United States come to the southern states and offered to keep slavery, but still enact every other “oppressive” act, what do you think happens then? I’ll tell you what doesn’t happen…. the southern states do not attack the United States.

So for the love of God, if you consider yourself a somewhat intelligent human, PLEASE stop saying the Civil War was not about slavery. Because if it wasn’t about slavery, then maybe it should have been. If the south had made it about slavery, but being willing to give that up in exchange for other compromises, then there wouldn’t have even been a war. So, even still, if I grant you it wasn’t about slavery (which I won’t, and not sure how anyone with a somewhat functioning brain can), it NOT being about slavery, still made it about slavery.

I also find it particularly hypocritical, in a so sad it’s funny, but yet horribly depressing way, when the topic of black people still harvesting anger at white people for slavery comes up, the typical response of a white person seems to be, “that happened 150 years ago, it’s the past”. Or even better, “hey, don’t blame me for what my ancestors did, that was them. I was not a part of that, that was not me”.

Funny. Because you glorify those who did it. You glorify those who owned slaves under the guise of “heritage”. Men who literally were willing to kill other human beings so they could have the right to continue to enslave human beings are now embronzed in statues glorifying their actions. And all in the name of heritage. All in the name of, “that’s my heritage, that’s part of who I am”, blah blah blah. Really?

Okay, fine. But just know, you can’t go around waving flags, or idolizing “heroes” that honor this, and promote this “heritage” that you claim is a part of you, and then turn around and tell a black person to stop blaming you for slavery, that you didn’t do it, and that they need to get over it, it didn’t happen to them.

I get it though, you’re allowed to celebrate the past, in all it’s blood stained, gruesome, despicable glory, but other people aren’t allowed to be hurt by it? Your heritage is who you are and a part of you, but the very thing that heritage fought the absolute most for, the thing that makes you apparently proud to be a southerner, isn’t a part of you? Okay.

And this is about the only part where I’m going to get somewhat personal. What amazes me is that the people who think like this, honestly must believe everyone else is just as dumb as they are.

And just how selfish can some of you be? I touched on this yesterday. You don’t get to decide what’s offensive to people and what isn’t. You don’t get to decide what hurts someone else. You just get to decide not to care. Exactly who gets hurt if the flag is taken down from government buildings and public buildings? Who gets hurt, and feels pain because some stores decide the message they think it carries, and the hurt it causes isn’t worth selling it anymore? Seriously, who really feels pain from that? You? You’re really going to ache and be hurt? No you’re not. But millions of people, when they see that flag, they ARE hurt. The fact that people are so selfish in that they can’t just be like, “ya know what, I don’t agree, I don’t understand the big deal, but really, my life is no different if this flag doesn’t fly, but it might ease some of the hurt of my fellow man if it comes down, so, fine, take it down”. Wait, that would mean recognizing everyone else as your fellow man…..

So the list of people I’m having to cut out continues to grow. And that breaks my heart. And I don’t know if even one person has read any of this, or all of this, or gotten to this point. But at the end of the day, I’m not cutting people out of my life because of their beliefs on what caused the Civil War, or whether police use excessive force in conspicuously inconsistent ways, and certainly not because of your beliefs over a flag. I’m cutting people out of my life simply because of their beliefs. Because when it comes to this issue, there is no gray area, there is no tolerance. I don’t want to see that, I don’t want to see those comments, those jokes, that insensitivity, popping up in my life everyday. And the belief set of some people ensures if they’re in my life, I’ll be seeing it. And I’m just tired of seeing it. Because I’m tired of being silent about it. But I’m not going to let it make me angry and take away the enjoyment I get from so many other things in life, and other people in life.I have no place in my life for it, simple as that. And maybe you don’t have a place in your life for someone who thinks like me.

The great thing is, we both have a choice. It’s not like we’re being held captive or anything…..

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Truthful Belief Racism Isn’t an Issue, or Plausible Deniability?

I think I’m beginning to understand more the need for the denial of racism by so many people. Despite this shooter blatantly saying what drove him, there are those who continue to insist this wasn’t racially motivated, as they continue to live in their utopia where racism ceases to exist. I thought it was just a combination of white privilege, ignorance, and a complete lack of compassion and empathy for their fellow man.

No. I think it’s more than that. I think it’s plausible deniability.

See, if these people acknowledge that race is still a huge problem in this country, then they’re forced to acknowledge something else, something of which the consequences (of which there could be many) scare them. They have to look in the mirror. And God, that’s a terrifying place to look, even when you are living right, that still can be a scary place to look.

But by acknowledging the foul stench of racism that permeates its way through our society in many forms, they have to acknowledge that they allow it. Not only do they simply allow it, in many ways, they condone it and practice it. They have to acknowledge they are the fertile soil in which seeds of ignorance and hate get planted and then are cultivated, tended to, and allowed to grow, bloom, and intoxicate the world around them.

The incessant bashing of a president despite having no political rational behind it; the constant and never-ending barrage of racial jokes, that really, aren’t jokes at all; the sneers given to the homeless guy they see on the street, or the complete fear that strickens them when a black man in the city asks them what time it is, or if they have a cigarette; the way they call a black athlete who commits a personal foul on a football field a thug, while when a white player does it it’s simply because they play too hard; the disdain for the NBA because it’s a sport played by thugs; judgmental remarks every time they see an old Cutlass or Monte Carlo; the presumption that a black man in corn rows is a criminal; the constant usage of the words “they”, and “them”; the way you look down upon “them” because they’re on government assistance programs, completely ignoring your white neighbor with an EBT card in their purse; the waving of a flag that’s hardly different from a swastika; the immediate defense and anger you feel about people who bring racism to your attention; the telling “them” to just go get a job (because that’s just SO easy to do); the way they consider good white athletes hard workers but black athletes are just blessed with talent; the way they blast songs by Garth Brooks about a wife shooting an ex husband and sing along at the top of their lungs but vilify rap music that talks about violence; All of these things and more are what creates the perfect atmosphere and environment for these tiny little seeds of ignorant hatred, and bigotry, and mistrust, and fear of people simply because of the color of their skin to manifest into what happened Tuesday night.

So of course people deny it’s racially based. Because if they don’t, then they have to accept some responsibility.

And God forbid they do that.

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The REAL Story of America; A 500 Years in the Works Circle

500 years ago- A people seeking freedoms from an overbearing and domineering government come to a land that’s already inhabited. They force these inhabitants out of their homes, almost in a genocide of both violent and malicious intent, as well as pure happenstance through the inflection of disease. But to establish a home in the new land, there is work to be done. So for the next 200 years, roughly 60% of the people brought to this new world were done so as involuntary slaves.

These brave people were called colonists. And for the next 250 years these colonists and the government back in Great Britain would lay the foundation of political, religious, and social divide that would ultimately direct America’s next quarter millennium.

250 years ago- These colonists have worked hard to build something for themselves, yet they have little to show for it. There is little separation between the low class of slaves and the middle class. Yet there’s a continental divide between the middle class and the upper class.

A reasonably educated, hard working class of people that once seemed on the way to prosperity is now an oppressed people.

Jobs are scarce, and the dividing line between the rich and the poor is growing every day. Every dollar seems only to wind up in the possession of those who already have all the dollars.

Complaints seem to fall on deaf ears. The rich are happy. What do they care if no one else is? They have others to do the work for them. And by keeping them dependant on whatever they do actually give them, they continue to ensure that the colonists need them, more than they need the colonists.

Speaking out against such treatment is treason and acting out, much, much worse.

The totalitarian government has begun using more power, it’s police becoming more powerful and terrorizing. To the point colonists are being killed in the streets by a government that’s supposed to protect them. And THAT is where the final straw gets drawn.

The colonists respond, resorting to illegal activities to make money to be able to put food on their plates. They speak out against their government while desecrating revered sources of national pride for the mother country. As their frustration reaches a boiling point they begin looting and rioting, before finally turning to full scale violence.

These colonists, now even braver, are hailed as revolutionists. These people speaking out and protesting a government that doesn’t care about and protect them, who destroy nationally symbolic items, are labeled patriots.

200 years ago- These revolutionists find being your own country rather difficult. After completing the extermination of the indigenous natives to the land, they realize there’s even more work to be done than ever before. Goods must be manufactured, food must be grown, construction must be done. So they embrace slavery with a fervor. However, to make sure these slaves aren’t confused for the real “Americans”, words like negroe and nigger become more pronounced in attempts to keep the differentiation between “American citizen”, and slave. The class lines that had already been drawn in sand, just got etched in stone.

150 years ago- Slavery is abolished. Well, it’s no longer deemed legal. Has America turned a corner? Are they really going to enable all people to have equal opportunity to prosper?

100 years ago- In the land of the free, equal rights is still a figment of ones imagination. Segregation is still a thing. But who cares? Slavery doesn’t exist, and America is at the forefront leading the world into, and through, the industrial revolution.

The rich are rich, and getting richer. It’s a great time to be an “American”. The lavish luxuries of life are there for the taking. The American Dream is born. Come one, come all. Well, unless you’re already here and you’re a person of color. In that case, find a new dream. Negroe.

The class lines, while blurred without slavery, still exist. And everyone knew it. But only few had the education and heart to begin to think about speaking on it.

75 years ago- Modern patriotism as we know it is born. Two world wars create a fictitious sense of unity and hope.

The depression had effected everyone, they said. It would take all of America working together to come out stronger, they said. Go fight for your country so we can all build a better America together, they said.

They, lied.

50 years ago- Still experiencing a strong recovery from the economic crash and the feigned patriotism from being in multiple wars that proved successful both economically as well as in terms of moral, a new challenge was arising. America, while still trying to insist it’s a protector of a free and democratic world for all men on earth to prosper, faces a new enemy. No, it’s not the communist governments they’re fighting in places like Vietnam where they were protecting basic unalienable rights and freedoms that America stands so tall far, it’s from within.

The oppressed minority is finally growing in numbers, and beginning to buy into the notion that this hope, and equal opportunities, and freedom to chase dreams should be available to them.

They’re tired of a totalitarian government and a police force that terrorizes them while committing brutal atrocities against them. But they’re still lacking a bit in numbers, resources and more importantly, leadership. So America tries to quickly appease them and suppress any real movement and advancement by making a few concessions, hoping talks of change will get swept off the back porch with a broom. Rights are extended, and segregation is legally determined to be unlawful. A small victory for the oppressed minority, but not an unnoticed slight.

While America was trying to sweep domestic issues under the rug by putting a bandaid on it thanks to being distracted due to fighting other people’s wars halfway across the globe, leadership was forming in the unrest. Voices, loud, powerful, historical voices were being heard. This problem wasn’t going away.

Meanwhile, in a territory out of the social conscience of the public,  America has found a new way to further recover financially. Slavery.

Arguing that no minimum wage must be met, because as a territory, the constitution does not apply in Puerto Rico, America finds the cheap labor it needs and the people to oppress while making concessions to those on their own soil.

Predictably, the Puerto Ricans don’t like it. But the American public knows nothing about this. Puerto Ricans who speak out against America are arrested, and worse. The news out of Puerto Rico is controlled and dictated by American officials.

The American people are told there is simply much unrest and turmoil in a violent Puerto Rico, and this simply requires a stronger military and police presence.

Leadership grows within the Puerto Rican population. They begin to resort to violence in their attempt at an uprising to escape the oppression and police brutality and the control of an overbearing government.

These leaders however are captured, often killed. The movements are stifled, with terms like “insurgentsand” being used to describe activity of radical rebels in a state of much unrest. The true plight is only beginning to be known today. Back then though? They were called revol…. err, terrorists.

25 years ago- America finds itself in the precarious situation of soon lagging behind the other powers of the world both socially and economically. But instead of empowering the masses to keep up with the rest of the world on a global scale, which would require money out of the pockets of the rich, the rich realize they can get keep getting richer by simply creating a bigger divide between the haves and the have nots. They realize that by putting more people in the have not category, they make more people dependant upon them, and thus, more people controllable.

The only problem, money still has to come in somehow. Enter the United States prison system. Slavery was abolished 150 years, was in full force 50 years ago with the “terrorists” in Puerto Rico, and takes on a new form today.

Just like in the 19th century, derogatory terms designed to separate the classes are created. These modern day slaves today are known as “criminals”, or perhaps more popularly, “thugs”. A system designed like the Hotel California, ensures the prisons and jails of the United States will stay populated with the minority population, excuse me, the thuggish criminal sect of the population. These jails and prisons remaining populated ensures money continues to find it’s way to those in power.

But that’s not all. There still must be labor. Immigrants. Immigrants not here legally. As non citizens, just as with a non state territory, the constitution isn’t applicable. Taxes, insurance, minimum wages? Non existent. Cheap labor from a people easily controlled under the oppressive thumb of the government? A plethora of it.

And just for good measure, to keep the middle class happy, and to distract them from the fact they too have been squashed into the lower class, vehement guns rights, or religious rights, or health care agendas, on both sides of the democratic pendulum are pushed. The best of these, often pushed by benefactors of immigrants during the early 20th century, is when they stand tall on large scale anti-immigration performs. All the while, lining their pockets with the money from the labor of these immigrants. And if not illegal immigrants within our own borders, they have their businesses venture into other nations, where again, the constitution isn’t applicable, so cheap labor can be found. Often by way of children.

Today- The numbers of the oppressed have grown. So has their ability to see they’re oppressed. And so has their frustration, their anger, and their resolve.

They are a people tired of a totalitarian government where the rich get richer while they get poorer. They are tired of a police force that terrorizes them and harasses them. They are tired of segregation due to sexual orientation. They are tired of being deemed a lesser and invaluable class whose only purpose is to continue to line the pockets of the wealthy. They’re tired of being reliant on government help that is used by the government to continue to shame them and keep them relegated as a lower class. It’s an assistance offered by those in power because those in power want to keep those in need of assistance, in need of assistance. And they’re doing so while pulling wool over the eyes of the middle class who are in just about the same boat in their efforts to keep the lower class divided enough that it can never unite. More people are seeing this, and they’re tired of it.

But today? Most of all, they’re tired of being killed in the streets by the very government that is supposed to protect them. And THAT is where the final straw gets drawn.

So these people respond, resorting to illegal activities to make money to be able to put food on their plates. They speak out against their government while desecrating revered sources of national pride for the mother country. As their frustration reaches a boiling point they begin looting and rioting, before finally turning to full scale violence.

But are these protesters and destroyers of national symbolism considered patriots? Are these people considered revolutionists? Nah, they’re better known as leeches, bums, queers, heathens and thugs. No, they’re not called revolutionists today, but….

Tomorrow- Oh, it’s coming.

THIS is the story of America. How it began, and ultimately how, as we know it, it will end.

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Daytona Win Would Cure All Ills for Stewart

Everyone knows the Dale Earnhardt story, especially when it comes to the struggles to win the Daytona 500. Note, I did not say struggles at Daytona, but struggles to win the Daytona 500. Earnhardt was not alone. Many of the sport’s top drivers failed to win the Daytona 500, especially of the recent generations. Rusty Wallace, Mark Martin, Bobby Labonte, Kurt Busch, and Ricky Rudd headline the list of top tier drivers in the past 30 years who failed to ever win the Daytona 500. However, where Earnhardt separated himself from those other drivers however was his overwhelming career success.

In fact, the only drivers to join Earnhardt as multiple time series champions to make at least 16 starts in the Daytona 500 without a win are Darrell Waltrip, Terry Labonte, and Tony Stewart.

One of these was often compared to Earnhardt when it came to belaboring their Daytona nightmares.

Labonte, for all his successes at the Cup level, is what I would call the Tim Duncan of NASCAR. Almost nothing he did was noticed. While much was made of Earnhardt and Waltrip’s struggles to win the Daytona 500, it’s almost forgotten that Terry Labonte finished second in the Daytona 500 three different times. You can’t get much closer than that. Perhaps it was that Labonte only led a combined 12 laps in the three races. In fact, only once did Terry Labonte lead double digit laps (1996 when over heating issues relegated him to 24th place) in a single Daytona 500. So despite three runner-ups, and six top five finishes, Labonte, and his “mere” two championships never got quite the same attention when it came to striving for Daytona 500 glory, and as such, never received the sympathy for his failures.

Close, but not close enough for Labonte in 1997.

Close, but not close enough for Labonte in 1997.

Darrell Waltrip though was a different story. Before there was Earnhardt and his well documented struggles, there was D.W. Waltrip, like Earnhardt, was a multiple time champion (three) who had won everything there was to be won in the sport. Everything, of course, except Daytona. And much like Earnhardt, Waltrip had won just about everything at Daytona….except the Daytona 500. Well, with one exception. While he had won the qualifying race on Thursday five times, finishing second an additional three times, and also claimed victory in the Busch Clash, three of the Saturday Busch Series races (Now Xfinity Series), and an IROC race, Waltrip had never won a points paying Winston Cup race at Daytona. So even he didn’t compare similarly to Dale Earnhardt.

Waltrip's Daytona heartbreak stemmed more from hard accidents, including this one in 1983 that Waltrip says changed his career. "I want to win as many races as I can, going as slow as I can".

Waltrip’s Daytona heartbreak stemmed more from hard accidents, including this one in 1983 that Waltrip says changed his career. “I want to win as many races as I can, going as slow as I can”.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t someone who does.

Waltrip’s run of futility ended in his seventeenth start, which happens to be the number start Tony Stewart will make in the Daytona 500 when the green flag falls this Sunday.

And when it comes to comparing the Daytona nightmare to Earnhardt, nobody compares quite like Stewart.

Stewart, like Waltrip, is a three-time champion. But as good as Waltrip’s record was at Daytona, Stewart’s is vastly superior. The remarkable thing, is that as superior as Stewart’s is, Earnhardt’s is that much better. But I digress. Stewart has the overall career success, the Daytona success, and like Earnhardt, the supreme Daytona heartbreak riding with him in Sunday’s Daytona 500.

The resume speaks for itself for “Smoke”. He’s won the Sprint Unlimited three different times, finishing second on two other occasions. The Thursday Gatorade duels? Stewart has gone to victory lane three times in those as well, finishing second another five times. In fact, from 2002-2010 Stewart finished worse than second only twice. Stewart however did something Waltrip never did, win on Daytona’s road course, winning an IROC race there, while also adding a win on the traditional 2.5 mile layout in 2002. But where Stewart’s dominance at Daytona most resembled Earnhardt? The Saturday Nationwide Series (now Xfinity Series) race at Daytona. From 2005-2013 Tony Stewart won the race a remarkable seven times in nine years. But the Stewart Daytona 500 resume doesn’t end there. He also won the July Cup race four different times, and added a runner-up. If you’re doing the mat at home, that’s 19 wins at Daytona for Stewart and another eight runner-up finishes in events aside from the Daytona 500. To say he’s dominated this track is an understatement.

But…..

But he hasn’t won the Daytona 500.

And he’s been close. He’s been very close. He’s suffered heartbreak in every way imaginable, just like Earnhardt. He’s had the dominant car, he’s lost late leads, and he’s had the race end before it ever even got started.

Stewart qualified on the outside poll for his first Daytona 500 in 1999, but engine failure prevented him from contending for the win. Unfortunately for Stewart, it seemed the trend had been set.

Stewart has led in half of the Daytona 500s he has entered, and on multiple occasions established himself the class of the field.

The 2001 Daytona 500 is known for many things, but perhaps lost in that shuffle was the big accident that Earnhardt narrowly missed, the one that happened with 27 laps to go that resulted with Stewart flipping wildly down the back straightaway. 2001-02-18-daytona-crash2

In 2004 Stewart led almost half the race, for a total of 94 laps, but Dale Earnhardt Jr passed him with twenty laps to go en route to his first Daytona 500 victory.

In 2005 Stewart took it up a notch, leading over half the race, for a total of 107 laps, and held the lead with four laps to go, only to be shuffled back to seventh place by the event’s conclusion.

Two years later, Stewart had established himself, along with Kurt Busch, the clear class of the field. But after leading his 36th lap of the race on lap 152 of 200, Stewart and Busch tangled in turn four with Stewart leading, paving the way for the spectacular Mark Martin/Kevin Harvick finish.

What appeared a two man show, became a two man disaster.

What appeared a two man show, became a two man disaster.

The following season Stewart led the field to the white flag…only to watch Penske teammates Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch draft past him on the final lap.

The Trevor Bayne Cinderella story in 2011 almost wasn’t….. Stewart restarted second on the final green-white-checkered, but a poor restart cost Stewart and he wound up 13th.

But Stewart lady luck didn’t always wait until the final 20 laps to snatch victory from Stewart. In 2002, the first return to the 500 after the wild crash the previous year, Stewart only made it two laps before the engine failed in his Joe Gibbs Racing Pontiac.

So to say Stewart has had it with the Daytona 500 might be an understatement. Considering what Stewart has gone through over the past 18 months, between the broken leg, the poor on track performance, the Kevin Ward tragedy, and now dealing with the Kurt Busch saga, what could be sweeter for Smoke than to finally exorcise those Daytona demons? Waltrip did it in his 17th try, maybe that’s the trick for Stewart too.

 

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Ranking Three Decades of Daytona 500s In My Life

There's really nothing quite like the Daytona 500.

There’s really nothing quite like the Daytona 500.

So as we embark on the 57th Daytona 500 this Sunday, I decided to take a look at all the ones run in my lifetime. Fascinating enough, I actually have vivid memories of all but three of them. And that’s rather unfortunate, since one of those probably is going to rank pretty high on this list. 2015 will mark the 31st Daytona 500 of my lifetime, so how would I rank the three decades worth of Daytona 500s I have seen? Keep in mind, this isn’t based strictly on entertainment value, or the competitiveness of the race, it ranks on my level of enjoyment and the memories I personally have of the race, along with where it ranks in my personal lore. So while one race that’s vastly less competitive and enjoyable to watch from a neutral fan’s perspective might rank at the bottom for some, it might rank near the top for me dependent upon the characters at play.

30) 1992 Davey Allison- What could have been one of the more exciting 500s of my lifetime, on lap 92 became the worst. A massive crash on the backstretch eliminated essentially all but one or two contenders, and left nobody to challenge Davey Allison. Among the contenders, Bill Elliott, who, if you don’t understand why that’s important, I wonder if you know me at all. Making it worse was that Elliott had spent the week establishing himself as pretty much the favorite, represented by the fact that he was the leader when the shenanigans took place. Also taken out in the crash were guys like Waltrip, Petty (making his final start in the Daytona 500), and Earnhardt. Ernie Irvan became the first thing in sports I ever felt anything close to actual hatred for. And this is where it was born, as my dislike from previous wrecks he’d caused turned to hate with this one.

29) 2003 Michael Waltrip- Rain shortened? Check. My favorite driver in contention then having problems and finishing well back in the pack? Check. Lack of drama and excitement late? Check. No thank you.

28) 2009 Matt Kenseth- Despite the fact that I was in attendance, seeing Matt Kenseth (who I don’t particularly dislike, he just doesn’t move the needle for me) win a rain shortened race that was constantly threatened by inclement weather just didn’t provide much for me. The only redeeming part was that Kyle Busch, who dominated the race, was swept up in a massive wreck triggered by Dale Earnhardt Jr, who was not on the same lap as the leaders.

27) 1995 Sterling Marlin- Despite Bill Elliott beginning a new chapter by returning home to Dawsonville, this race lacked appeal for me, personally. Perhaps his cut tire that took a contending car out of contention had a lot to do with that. Then again, I say contending, I mean contending for second. Elliott himself told me at an autograph session later that week that, “we had enough for Earnhardt, but I don’t know about Marlin”. In other words, Sterling Marlin had them covered. For Earnhardt, it was just more of the same, coming up just short.

26) 1986 Geoff Bodine- The fuel mileage game is one may NASCAR fans turn their nose up, and with good reason. While the drama aspect is certainly there, there just seems to be something anti-climactic about watching a race get won on the basis of getting better gas mileage. However, when it comes to the Daytona 500, you’re there to win, any way possible. And that’s what Bodine did in handing Rick Hendrick his first of many Daytona 500 trophies. That the fuel game bit Dale Earnhardt, beginning what was an incredible streak of poor luck in the race, is about all the keeps this from being at the very bottom of the list.

25) 2006 Jimmie Johnson- My record for attending Daytona 500s is not so sterling, as yet another one was impacted by rain. While the race did see its conclusion, I suffered through a cold mist all afternoon and early evening long. Jimmie Johnson took the victory with Chad Knaus suspended, thanks in part to Casey Mears who went with his fellow Californian as opposed to his fellow Dodge driver late in the race, content to finish second rather than charge for the win. This has never sat well with me.

24) 2013 Jimmie Johnson- The Danica mania was pretty much the only enjoyable aspect of this parade fest that was won by five time champion Jimmie Johnson.

23) 2010- Jamie McMurray- Delays for track issues pushed the finish of this one well into the night. A late charge by Dale Earnhardt Jr in an effort to steal the win from McMurray was pretty much it for excitement, aside from a lap one wreck that eliminated Jimmie Johnson and Danica Patrick, who was making her first start. Jamie McMurray being a likable guy, and a guy in major need of a career revival helped add a feel good aspect to an otherwise un-entertaining day and evening.

22) 1994- Sterling Marlin- Though it wasn’t quite the story of Michael Waltrip, Marlin’s victory in the 1994 Daytona 500 was an extremely long time coming. A career full of close calls and second place finishes, Marlin finally broke through, and I can’t think of anyone who wasn’t happy for him.

21) 2012 Matt Kenseth- NASCAR’s first foray into “Monday Night NASCAR”. The delay from Sunday afternoon to Monday night both took away from the event, and added to it. The Juan Pablo Montoya jet dryer incident and the thought that Dave Blaney might win the thing were the only things that made watching the Roush Fenway Show bearable.

20) 1996 Dale Jarrett- It was the Dale and Dale Show Part II. Unfortunately, this one carried much less excitement, much less drama, and was just a more boring version of the original, though it did mark the third time in four years that Earnhardt came across the finish line in second place.

19) 1989 Darrell Waltrip- Before there was Dale Earnhardt, when it came to legendary drivers being able to win everything under the sun in the sport except the Daytona 500, there was Darrell Waltrip. But in his 17th try, in car 17, starting in 17th place……. But aside from that, Ken Schrader absolutely owned the event. Aside from Earnhardt in 1990, no driver dominated the 500 and came up empty in a way like Schrader did in 1989. It could’ve been a win that would’ve completely altered his career.

18) 2008 Ryan Newman- Newman, like Kenseth, isn’t much of a needle mover in my book. In fact, if anything, I have a dislike for him. That said, the racing itself was quality and the finish was exciting. Watching teammates work together, even though I disliked them both, was fun. Tony Stewart further cemented his Dale Earnhardt type legacy (more on this later this week) at Daytona by contending, and even leading late, and yet again, failing to win.

17) 2000 Dale Jarrett- This was quite possibly one of the least competitive Daytona 500s I’ve ever seen. So why in the world is it this high? Because having not won a race since 1994, Bill Elliott had won the Gatorade 125 the previous Thursday, the first time he’d won anything in 5 1/2 years. So my anticipation entering Sunday was the highest it had been in a long while. While Elliott failed to win, he finished 3rd, in what would be the last great run and finish by Elliott in his homegrown team from Dawsonville. Had Elliott, or even Johnny Benson, which would’ve gone down as an upset on the levels of Derrike Cope in 1990, been able to win, this snooze fest suddenly becomes one of the most memorable Daytona 500s I’ve ever seen. Of coruse, it ended with Jarrett snatching his third Harley J. Earl trophy.

16) 2002 Ward Burton- The Sterling Marlin tire tug will go down in infamy, though I’m not really sure why. Marlin knew he was going to have to pit to fix it regardless, so he didn’t really lose all that much. But the drama in the final few laps, and Ward Burton breaking through with a career making victory were also key elements to the first Daytona 500 ever held that didn’t include Richard Petty or Dale Earnhardt.

15) 1991 Ernie Irvan- As mentioned, my disdain for Ernie Irvan didn’t begin in 1992, it began in 1990, so by the time the 1991 Daytona 500 rolled around, I didn’t care for the guy. So while many ate up the underdog, rags to riches, just a year ago was wondering if his career was over, story, I didn’t. That said, the race had compelling story lines. Wallace and Waltrip involved in a late crash, setting the stage where Dale Earnhardt (shocker) had a chance to win the Daytona 500, and for what wouldn’t be the last time in his career, crashed in the final laps off of turn two while battling for 2nd place with guys named Allison and Petty.

14) 1990 Derrike Cope- Quite possibly, as it pertains to the on track racing and entertainment value, this one ranks at the absolute bottom. To say Dale Earnhardt had them absolutely covered is one of the biggest understatements I’ve ever made. And I’m not using hyperbole. He spent the entire weekend proving time and time again that his car was the baddest around, and nobody was in his zip code. But a late caution and ensuing pit stop by Earnhardt gave the field a chance, and while the first 199 miles were absolutely dreadful, what happened in the final mile facilitated one of the greatest upsets that we’ve ever seen…in any sport.

13) 1997 Jeff Gordon- If I ever wish to be reminded why I didn’t like Jeff Gordon during his prime, I simply watch this race. This race was a simple incident in turn two away from probably being the easy choice for number one on this list. Instead it falls. I still claim that without that wreck giving Gordon his teammates, Elliott wins his third Daytona 500. The hurt from this one getting away will never go away. But neither will the memory of watching Elliott mix it up again with the big dogs after the worst year of his career in 1996. Elliott leading that race, in control, with ten laps left….. was something I hadn’t experienced in years. For Earnhardt, winding up wrecked while battling for second place in the closing laps? Well, it was the second time in six he had experienced that.

12) 2004 Dale Earnhardt Jr- So I’m one for three on the weather when it comes to attending the Daytona 500, and even this one started out cold and rainy. But the skies cleared, just enough so Dale Earnhardt could smile down on his son as he scored his first career Daytona 500 victory. I wonder if part of Earnhardt also smiled at the man who his son passed for the win, Tony Stewart, as Stewart saw the first of what has become multiple late race opportunities for victory slip away. The race itself however saw the field incredibly spread out with limited action. But the Earnhardt/Stewart story line playing out helped atone for that. So did being there for my very first Daytona 500.

11) 1987 Bill Elliott- While not as dominant as he was in 1985, in 1987 Elliott set the qualifying record at Daytona, traveling around at over 210 mph and led over half the race en route to his second Daytona triumph in three years. The show itself was nothing special, Elliott just outran everyone, as he was apt to do in those days. But to hear Elliott tell it later, the excitement was completely inside the car. At the speeds they were traveling, Elliott would later tell people that he was out of control all race long. That sounds fun, between 200 and 210 mph and completely out of control. But you’d never know it watching him run.

10) 2014 Dale Earnhardt Jr- The race itself was delayed it seemed, forever, but once it got going, racing against the threat of rain, the drivers put on a whale of a show. The pure elation in Junior following his victory was alone enough to make anyone smile.

9) 1988 Bobby Allison- Perhaps this was what Dale Earnhardt envisioned would one day happen with him and Dale Jr…father against son for the Daytona 500, and the father still showing that even over the age of 50, he’s still got it. Had we known then, what we know now, about the absolute tragedy this family would go on to endure (Bobby suffering a life threatening, brain damaging accident just months later at Pocono, Davey’s younger brother Clifford dying in a crash at Michigan 4 years after that, and Davey dying in a helicopter crash just a year later) this moment would have been treasured even more. As it stands, it’s one of the greatest stories in Daytona 500 history, and the lore was only enhanced with the tragedies that befell the famed “Alabama Gang”. This race is actually the first racing memory I have, but not for the father/son finish, but the horrific accident that Richard Petty endured that had many fearing the sport had lost its greatest driver ever in its greatest race. Unfortunately, that fear would of course come true 13 years later.

8) 2007 Kevin Harvick- Had Mark Martin held on, this would move up the list. It’s not that I’m bothered that Harvick won, I love it, but this was one Mark wanted, needed even. The disappointment at losing by a few feet couldn’t have been more evident for a guy who was such the sentimental pick in seeking his first Daytona 500 victory. After watching Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch stink up the show before the two tangled and changed the outcome of the race, this was a snoozer. But once those two tangled, business picked up, in a big way. It was a mixed emotions kinda household, my cousin was a die-hard Harvick fan, so we were happy for Harvick, and for him. But we wanted the old guy to finally win one. But there was no denying how spectacular the finish was.

7) 1998 Dale Earnhardt- The 1998 Daytona 500 itself was not a good race. I know NASCAR fans will hate me for this, but it wasn’t. Dale Earnhardt flat dominated it. Which, also made it similar to many previous 500s, though, Earnhardt dominated this one even more than most before. He equaled his 1993 laps led total for the second most laps led in a Daytona 500 in his career. What keeps this race from the bottom is the obvious. Unlike those others he dominated, this time, in his 20th try, having led in 17 of his previous 19, he actually won the thing. That’s what keeps this otherwise relatively boring show from bringing up the rear. The receiving-line on pit road is still one of the greatest moments in sports history.

6) 2011 Trevor Bayne- The tandem racing was a polarizing aspect of the racing on the track, but there was no question the entertainment value it provided with the intensity in the final twenty laps. Unfortunately it created a lot of accidents. It also created one of the more memorable Daytona 500 losses by anyone in history, with David Ragan’s untimely error (that ultimately completely rerouted his career) paving the way for the most unlikely of winners in Trevor Bayne, making just his second career start. Seeing the famous Wood Brothers back in victory lane was pretty cool too. And oh yeah, Tony Stewart, another opportunity just missed.

5) 1993 Dale Jarrett- Here you had it again, Dale Earnhardt in position to win the Daytona 500, a handful of laps to go, and then….. oh, you’ve heard this story before? The 1993 tale though added a little something extra with second generation driver Dale Jarrett marking his arrival on the scene, while his legendary father memorably called him home from the CBS booth.

4) 2001 Michael Waltrip- This was easily the hardest to rank, because in light of the tragic events in turn four, it’s hard to call this entertaining. But it’s easily the most memorable ever, and we can’t forget, the racing throughout was top notch. Michael Waltrip, he of over 400 starts without a win, breaking through to the delight of his brother and proving Dale Earnhardt right while watching Earnhardt choose not to be the aggressor for the first time in his career was something else. Personally, watching Bill Elliott begin his career revival by leading the field to the green from the pole in and of itself catapulted this event into the upper half. Throw in everything else surrounding this race, and it’s place among the top tier is understandable.

3) 2005 Jeff Gordon- You want to see the biggest stars in the sport do battle for the biggest prize? Just watch the final few laps of this Daytona 500, and watch as the man who was the best of the bunch at the time found a way to get it done. As mentioned earlier, Tony Stewart had begun to cement a Dale Earnhardt type legacy at Daytona, and the 2005 version helped contribute to that. Stewart again found himself in position to win, and again, failed to do so. It really doesn’t get much better than this.

2) 1999 Jeff Gordon- The only way to top 2005 was to do the same thing, with the biggest names in the business, but this time, add some sort of mythological symbolism to the story. I give you 1999. Earnhardt vs Gordon. Just like Magic to Michael in the 1991 NBA Finals, this was Gordon seizing the throne. While the on track show was perhaps better in 2005, this transcending moment elevates this a wee bit higher.

1) 1985 Bill Elliott- Remember when I mentioned this was about my personal enjoyment and memory of the race, and personal feelings about its significance? Well this is where it gets personal. The whipping Elliott put on the field in 1985 is only joined in its own special zip code outside of this world by what Earnhardt did in 1990, though the superiority of Elliott’s car was greater than that of Earnhardt’s. The difference of course, was Elliott held on to win. A restart with a lap to go seemed to give hope to the other drivers, though I think they all know better. The quickness with which Elliott raced away to the lead was evidence of how dominant this car was in 1985. Truth be told, when it came to superspeedways, the Elliotts dominated them in a way few teams have ever dominated American sports.

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Time to Debunk Another Myth About why the Hawks Can’t Make a Playoff Run

For one, today started with E!PN again proving they don’t require their employees to do any homework before talking as on Outside the Lines today both “contributors” referenced how no team had ever made the NBA finals after having never won a playoff series before. That’s probably true, and that’s good and fine. I just don’t know what relevance it has to the Atlanta Hawks though.

But enough of the ESPN nonsense, let’s just get straight to the meat and potatoes of this topic that both the mainstream media and the ignorant basketball fan alike point to. I think it goes without saying, there’s a correlation between the two.

So, the Hawks aren’t a viable contender to win the eastern conference because they’ve never been to the eastern conference finals before (I’m going to disregard the silliness spoken earlier on E!PN today) and thus, aren’t ready to make that jump. Okay, I might be willing to buy that. Despite having the second longest active playoff streak in the NBA, there’s been a sense of lack of accomplishment in the playoffs, and it’s warranted. Seven straight playoff trips have netted three playoff series victories and a 24-36 playoff mark. No, that’s nothing to write home about, so I can understand some of the playoff skeptics.

Of course, I’m assuming that means all the other eastern conference contenders though in fact boast a healthy playoff resume that indicates they’re clearly right there, ready to make the next step, right? Let’s go in order and take a look.

The number two team in the east is the Toronto Raptors, and I don’t hear much about how they can’t advance in the playoffs due to their lack of success, so I presume we’re going to find plenty of it.

Looking…..

Still looking………….

This is the 20th year of Toronto Raptor basketball. In their entire existence they have won a grand total of ONE playoff series. ONE. And that was fourteen years ago. In the subsequent thirteen seasons since then, they’ve won a total of EIGHT playoff games. Yes, GAMES. Eight playoff games in thirteen season. The Hawks have won three times as many in roughly half the time since then.

Again, nineteen completed NBA seasons. One playoff series victory. I’ll just leave it at that with Toronto.

So moving down the list we get to Chicago. One of the two media darlings. I’m sure they’ve got to have bevy of playoff success to prove how battle tested and ready they are.

Wait, you mean to tell me that since Jordan nailed a jumper over Byron Russell, the Chicago Bulls in the 16 years since have managed to win a grand total of FOUR playoff series. They win one playoff series every four years. See, I thought the Hawks weren’t a legit contender because they’ve haven’t proven themselves in the playoffs. I’m sorry, what exactly have the Bulls done?

Want to look more recently? Okay, sure. Let’s go back to when Noah and Horford were each drafted. They’re the longest tenured players on these two teams, and both entered the league together. Surely since then the Bulls have accomplished far more in the playoffs than the Hawks have. Hmmmmm, this is also puzzling….. seems since then the Bulls have won those four aforementioned playoff series. That would be one more than the Hawks have won in the same time frame, for those of you counting at home. Yes, the Bulls have a trip to the Eastern Conference finals, but they’ve also had the same number of seasons where they failed to reach the eastern conference quarterfinals. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but I’m confused about where people are seeing this vast increase in playoff success from Chicago.

So, next one on the list is the Washington Wizards.

Oh, this one is fun.

Remember, the Hawks have made the playoffs for seven consecutive seasons. The Wizards have appeared in the playoffs six times……. Over the past twenty-six season. Yes, you read that correctly. Six playoff trips in 26 years. I’m guessing then certainly they must have recent success, perhaps some deep playoff runs that enables people to overlook their lack of playoff success and consider them a contender, right?

While the Hawks have been on their seven-year streak of making the playoffs, Washington has qualified for the postseason twice. And won one playoff series. So much for that.

In fact, over the past 35 years of NBA playoffs, the Washington Wizards have won three playoff series. You know, the same number Atlanta has won in the past six years.

Since 1988, Washington has won all of fourteen postseason basketball games. Clearly, far more successful postseason team than Atlanta.

So now we get to Cleveland, the team everyone thinks is the pick to win the conference, and on talent alone, they’re probably right. However, since people want to use the playoff argument so fast to dismiss the Hawks, we can’t pick and choose where to apply it.

So we’re talking about a team who has spent four consecutive years without even being IN the playoffs. Two of their three biggest stars on the team have NEVER been in the NBA playoffs, and one, hasn’t played a postseason game since he was in high school. And just to throw a little more gas on the fire, in the past six seasons, they’ve won as many playoff series as the Atlanta Hawks have. So, yeah, Cleveland is playoff tested alright.

And finally, due to their proximity to others listed as contenders in the standings, there’s an obligation to include the Bucks. Then you see that they haven’t won a single playoff series since 2001….

I take no issue with questioning the Hawks playoff credentials, and wondering if they have the mettle to take the next step in the post season. I have no qualms with that whatsoever. But it seems the Hawks are the only ones being questioned about that. Despite the fact that of the contenders in the eastern conference, no team has a playoff resume that reads much better than theirs, and a couple read significantly worse.

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