I've posted a lot of information about Politics and the Coronavirus lately..  Double downers to be sure.  So. it's time to shift gears, even if it's just for today.  Today I would like to highlight something positive--excellence in sports.  January 22 in Sports History has a couple events of note upon which to reflect...so let's do it!

January 22, 1973  The undisputed heavyweight champion of the world Joe Frazier, with a record of 29 wins, no losses (25 Knock Outs) welcomed to the ring a 6' 3" monster.  George Forman brought a record of 37 wins, no losses (34 Knock Outs) to the fight but was still a 3 to 1 underdog.  Two rounds into the fight and Foreman moved from underdog to under estimated to Champion of the world. Frazier was knocked down and tasted the canvas 6 times before the referee stopped the fight on a Technical Knockout.

January 22, 2006,   Kobe Bryant scored 81 points in a game, the second-most in NBA history, as his L.A. Lakers beat the Toronto Raptors 122-104. Bryant made 28 of 46 shots, 7 of 13 from three point range, 18 of 20 free throws.  He had six rebounds and only two assists...but then you don't get to 81 points by passing off the ball!   Only Wilt Chamberlain has scored more in a game, when he netted 100 points for Philadelphia against the New York Knicks on March 2, 1962.

January 22, 2019, Seattle Mariner fans will remember as the day beloved Designated Hitter Edgar Martinez was elected to the hall on his tenth and final try but that's not the excellence I'm talking about. No, this is special because after 83 years of balloting, relief pitcher Mariano Rivera was elected into baseball's Hall of Fame in its first-ever unanimous vote!  The former New York Yankees closer getting all 425 votes in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Rivera is the career saves leader with 652, and he always seemed to be at his best in the postseason -- In 96 postseason games Rivera posted a 0.70 E.R.A. and 42 saves — matching his uniform number. He was the last player to regularly wear No. 42, which is retired across Major League Baseball for Jackie Robinson.  Mr. Unanimous won five World Series in 19 seasons with the Yankees

On this January 22, there are no records to report but we are just two days before the Division Championships in the NFL. As we reflect on excellence, I know what my Sunday and the Sunday of about 45 million others will look like.

Sunday, Jan. 24

 NFC Championship:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (No. 5) at Green Bay Packers (No. 1), 3:05 p.m. on FOX,
Featuring:  Tampa Bay Buccaneers Quarterback Tom Brady...the G.O.A.T.  Greatest Of All Time,   9 Super Bowl appearances and 6 Super Bowl Wins
Green Bay Packers  Quarterback Aaron Rodgers....all-time career leader in passer rating, most consecutive seasons with a passer rating over 100, best touchdown to interception ratio, single season QB passer rating, most touchdown passes of 70 or more yards

The Buccaneers (11-5)  beat the Pack (13-3) in game 6 earlier in the season, but while my heart pulls for Tampa Bay, my head says Green Bay will win.  Sports Book Wire at USA Today  predicts the game for Green Bay -   Packers 27, Buccaneers 24.

AFC Championship Game, 6:40 p.m. ET (CBS)
(2) Bills at (1) Chiefs

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