The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports Columns

January 30, 2013

Rueda column: Niners-Ravens a Super matchup

On paper, Sunday’s NFL Super Bowl between the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens is a toss-up. For every fan out there who thinks the 49ers will win, there’s another who’s picking the Ravens.

NFL officials are licking their collective chops at the prospect of an even matchup because achieving parity has been the league’s goal for years. Mission accomplished. Most of the Super Bowls over the last 10 years have been close.

And that’s just the way we like it. Watching a game that is still up for grabs in the fourth quarter is a lot more fun that witnessing a blowout.

But even though Sunday’s matchup appears to be even, we like to pick a team to cheer for. Fans in California and Maryland will most likely back their home team but the rest of us need to find a reason to root for one or the other.

Defensively, Baltimore may have a slight edge. The retiring Ray Lewis is getting a lot of attention and some people will back him simply because it’s his last chance to earn a ring. But based on his off-the-field history, a number of people will be rooting against him, as well.

San Francisco’s veteran receiver Randy Moss has sparked a similar degree of pro and con sentiment. It’s probably his final chance and he’s a former Viking, but he’s never been the most likable guy off the field.

For me it comes down the quarterbacks.

I like them both, but the 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick is simply more exciting to watch. His sometimes reckless style may not lend itself to a lengthy NFL career free of serious injuries, but it’s certainly sweet to see him use his legs to make plays as well as his arm.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports Columns
  • Courrier: There are no winners in MSU football saga Where to start? In 28 years in the business, there has never been a more odd, twisted, rollercoaster story than the Todd Hoffner saga. And that was before he came back to the Minnesota State campus this week, when strange became tragic and the chance

    April 17, 2014

  • Thoma column: Twins are scoring lot of runs; can this continue? The Minnesota Twins entered Sunday's play with the American League's second-highest number of runs scored. And, they haven't had the advantage of hitting off their own pitching staff. OK, it's dreadfully early in the season, far too early to draw co

    April 14, 2014

  • Courrier: Masters is first sign that winter has been conquered Don't know if anybody noticed but it's been a tough winter, with brutal cold and piles of snow that are now just disappearing. If not for an exciting season of local basketball and hockey, it would have an unbearable four months. Minnesota State had

    April 10, 2014

  • Thoma column: We all know the Ryan Braun saga: Winner of the National League MVP award, flunked a drug test, convinced the arbitrator to toss his suspension on the basis that his sample was mishandled, was snagged anyway in the Biogenesis investigation, suspended

    April 7, 2014

  • Focus will be on Mavericks' QBs this spring The Minnesota State football team began its spring practice period this week, 14 workouts in 27 days, trying to see who has been working hard to maintain a starting position and which backups might be ready to get more playing time in the fall. The b

    April 4, 2014

  • Thoma column: For the remade Twins, 2014 looks like more losing The start of the baseball season is supposed to be about fresh beginnings, wide open promises and the hope that springs eternal in the human breast. I'm here to quash that kind of optimism among the followers of the Minnesota Twins. (I strive to be a

    April 1, 2014

  • Shot clock isn't answer for high-school basketball A few weeks back, the state's basketball fans were all riled up that during a state-tournament game, the Hopkins boys spent much of the four overtimes holding the basketball, preferring not to shoot until the final seconds of each extra period in the

    March 28, 2014

  • Thoma column: Projected lineup is Mauer, Arcia and a bunch of outs The Minnesota Twins begin play in earnest in less than a week -- weather permitting -- and wow, do they have lineup issues. They scored 614 runs last season, 13th in the 15-team American League and almost 100 under the league average (702). Justin Mo

    March 26, 2014

  • Thoma column: Perkins extension may not be such a relief over time In the abstract, long-term contracts for relief pitchers are bad bets for teams. Nobody seems to be too concerned about that rule of thumb when it comes to Glen Perkins' new deal with the Twins. The contract, worth more than $21 million in guaranteed

    March 17, 2014

  • Courrier: No. 1 seed has brought no guarantees for MSU Since the Minnesota State men's basketball team started this nearly annual tradition of playing in the NCAA II tournament, the home team has almost been unbeatable in the regional. The Mavericks have played in nine of the last 10 national tournaments

    March 14, 2014