Brian Flores’ uphill battle against the NFL shows flaws in the league’s hiring process

On Feb. 1, the former Miami Dolphins head coach filed a class-action lawsuit against the NFL and all 32 teams

It’s not unusual for drama to surface in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl. For some reason, the extra week of hiatus (ignoring the Pro Bowl, because I honestly don’t know a single person who cares) tends to stir the kettle of NFL headlines.

A little over a week ago, Brian Flores’ NFL lawsuit became this year’s pre-Super Bowl noise that dominated sports media. Among the many allegations outlined in his 58-page filing, the former Dolphins head coach spoke out about his personal experience with racial discrimination in the league’s hiring process. The story was a topic of discussion on mainstream news platforms and late-night talk shows in the days following the allegations. I won’t go into the details here but there’s no shortage of information available, and Flores has since spoken about the lawsuit in an interview on ESPN’s “Get Up.”

Super Bowl LVI will be a wildly entertaining and eventful distraction, as the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams battle for a once-in-a-lifetime chance at immortality. But once the limelights dim, I hope developments in Flores’ situation continue to nab the attention of sports fans.

Objectively, Flores is qualified to coach an NFL franchise. He put in the groundwork as a scout and assistant coach in New England, winning four Super Bowl rings with the Patriots. In his two-year tenure as head coach of the Dolphins, the 40-year-old helped produce consecutive winning seasons. Nonetheless, he was inexplicably fired shortly after the 2021-22 regular season, a decision that shocked most people in the sports world. 

There is an esteemed list of premier head coaches in the NFL, including the likes of Bill Belichick, Mike Tomlin, and Andy Reid to name a few. Flores doesn’t have the pedigree to be on that echelon yet, but purely from a football perspective, he is a coaching talent that should be highly sought by most NFL teams, in theory.

At the time of this writing, there are two Black head coaches across 32 teams (one before the Houston Texans announced the hiring of Lovie Smith on Feb. 7). When you consider the fact that 70 per cent of the players in the NFL are Black, something obviously doesn’t add up. 

By speaking out, it’s likely Flores has jeopardized his career as an NFL head coach by choosing this path against the league. But no matter the legal outcome, the attention he has drawn will hopefully set up an infrastructure that allows minority coaches an equal opportunity at success.


Graphic by Madeline Schmidt


Colour Commentary: Wrapping up the 2021-22 NFL season

An unorthodox Super Bowl matchup, and Tom Brady ends his chokehold on the rest of the NFL

The epic conclusion to the 2021-22 NFL season will feature a matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams. 

The matchup everyone saw coming heading into the season, right? Here are my thoughts ahead of the Feb. 13 championship game.

Super Bowl LVI Prediction

The Rams will be hosting the Super Bowl in their home stadium, only the second time that’s happened in the league’s history (oddly enough, the first occurrence was last year’s championship game, where the Buccaneers prevailed at home). 

On paper, the matchup against the Bengals just isn’t fair. Los Angeles has spent the last few seasons trading away first-round picks in the draft to upgrade their roster through superstar acquisitions. Their list of talent on both sides of the ball is something pulled straight out of a video game. 

They have a young, transcending coach in Sean McVay, who has already been handed the torch by his football peers and the media for his unique offensive mind. They also traded for a veteran quarterback in Matthew Stafford, who probably deserves a ring more than anyone else in the league. Finally, they arguably have the best player in football by the name of Aaron Donald. 

On the other hand, the Bengals have had their backs against the wall for the entire postseason. They already overachieved in the regular season, winning the AFC North division in Joe Burrow’s third season. Frankly, it was impossible to predict this outcome for Cincinnati, considering Burrow was coming off of a torn ACL in 2020, one of the most difficult injuries to manage and fully recover from in sports. 

Suddenly, the Bengals are one win away from cementing themselves in NFL history as champions. Entering the playoffs, Cincinnati seemed to be a year or two away from true contention, but proved me wrong every step of the way. The Bengals are well ahead of schedule, considering the team will have plenty of cap space to work with in the coming seasons, with Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase still on rookie deals. 

Most people without a dog in this race want the Bengals to win. It’s hard not to root for this build of a team, one which carries themselves with youthful swagger. Even their rookie kicker Evan McPherson is hitting game-winning field goals in the playoffs with ice in his veins. 

I’m going with the Bengals in this one, simply because they’ve already made it this far and they’ve done the improbable in back-to-back rounds against the Titans and Chiefs. I worry about the Bengals pass protection, as they’ve been overwhelmed in the past and won’t get any breaks against the likes of Von Miller, Leonard Floyd and the aforementioned Donald. Lastly, I expect an entertaining back-and-forth contest, seeing as both teams have struggled to play consistently for four quarters this postseason (especially the Rams, who turned the ball over at an alarming rate against the Buccaneers, and were begging Tom Brady to add to his comeback resume).

Speaking of Mr. Brady…

The end of the Brady era

On Tuesday, Brady announced his retirement from football on social media. The 44 year-old played in the NFL for 22 seasons and redefined longevity in a physical sport that typically sees its superstars only don their uniforms for half of that time. Brady continued to spearhead a potent Buccaneers offence while ranking among the league’s best passers. It’s crazy to think, but he could have easily pressed on. Instead, he chose to move on after dedicating half of his life to the NFL (literally). 

Brady’s G.O.A.T. case is unassailable. He appeared in 10 Super Bowls, won seven of them, and was the MVP for his team in five instances. He owns so many records but those aforementioned numbers are all that matter. Football is the ultimate team sport, with so many moving parts in the salary cap era that make it extremely difficult to win titles, let alone multiple. 

Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player ever, but there are players who can conceivably fight for his throne. Wayne Gretzky might never be beat from a statistical standpoint, but I can’t rule out the possibility of another hockey player joining the conversation. In baseball, Babe Ruth was a trendsetter who paved the way, but there are wildly unique players in today’s game that are bringing new elements to the table. 

Brady will always be the greatest football player ever. I truly believe there’s no one that can reach the success he was able to achieve. I was never a huge fan of his, but I am an admirer of greatness in sports, and I’m grateful to have witnessed history unfold firsthand.  


Graphic by Madeline Schmidt


Major sports leagues’ power rankings

 Looking at the most dominant teams in all major sports leagues

While it’s been a tough year for sports with COVID-19, we’ve been lucky enough to witness a championship in all four major sports. With two of the four major sports leagues already into their seasons, one having recently concluded and one on the verge of starting, let’s take a look at the top five teams in their respective sport.

National Basketball Association (NBA)

  1. Utah Jazz (27-8) 

No one would have expected the Utah Jazz to be sitting comfortably in first in the NBA standings. Led by all-stars Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, this team has been firing on all cylinders, winning 23 of their past 27 games. The Jazz are out for vengeance after losing seven games to the Denver Nuggets in the first round of last season’s postseason.

  1. Brooklyn Nets (23-13)

Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving have been on fire this season, averaging 121 points per game. On the other hand, their defence has been a different story. However, it’s been improving every game. It’s championship or bust for this superteam.

  1. Los Angeles Lakers (24-11)

The Lakers will always be near the top of the NBA standings as long as LeBron James is healthy. However, they have looked a bit lost recently; losing four of seven Anthony Davis went down with a calf injury. The good news: it’s not supposed to be long-term. A healthy Lakers team in the playoffs is the team to beat.

  1. Los Angeles Clippers (24-12)

The Clippers have been almost unbeatable when both Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are in the lineup. The problem is actually to have them both dressed up at the same time, as they have had multiple injuries.

  1. Philadelphia 76ers (23-12)

Team leader Joel Embiid has been a pleasure to watch this season and has been playing like a MVP candidate. Could a deep playoff run finally be in store for a 76ers team with so much to offer? Only time will tell.

 National Hockey League (NHL)

  1. Toronto Maple Leafs (17-4-2)

The Maple Leafs have been the hottest team in the NHL recently, with Auston Matthews leading the way. The superstar is leading the NHL in goals with 20 in 18 games. Can he score 50 goals in the shortened season?

  1. Tampa Bay Lightning (14-4-1)

The reigning Stanley Cup champions came out of the gate hot. Even with some injuries, the core of this team looks as good as ever. Winger Nikita Kucherov is also inching closer to a return. Watch out.

  1. Florida Panthers (13-4-4)

The Panthers might have the most underrated offensive duo in the NHL with Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau. Chris Driedger has also been a revelation in goal, while starting goalie Sergei Bobrovsky has been underwhelming.

  1. Vegas Golden Knights (13-4-1)

The Golden Knights have been getting consistent offence throughout their lineup. However, the main reason for their success has been Marc-Andre Fleury. He’s leading the league in almost every goaltending category.

  1. Boston Bruins (12-5-2)

The Bruins always seem to be near the top. Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak are playing like the best line in hockey and are wreaking havoc in the loaded East division. Not to mention their great goalie tandem.

Major League Baseball (MLB)

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers

Who’s going to stop the Dodgers? Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, David Price and newly acquired Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer. All of this with the best batting in baseball. Good luck to everyone else.

  1. San Diego Padres

The Padres conquered the offseason, signing Fernando Tatis Jr. to the longest deal in baseball history while also trading for Yu Darvish and Blake Snell. The Padres may be on their way to dominating baseball for years.

  1. New York Yankees

It’s going to be interesting early on for Yankee fans. This team looks dominant on paper, as they finally have a healthy Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. If Gerrit Cole performs as usual and Corey Kluber shows glimpses of his 2017 self, it’s game on.

  1. Atlanta Braves

Last season, The Braves were one game away from the World Series without their superstar Mike Soroka. A healthy rotation mixed in with a dominant offence led by Freddie Freeman and Ronald Acuna Jr. is going to be a joy to watch.

  1. Chicago White Sox

The White Sox are going to be one of the most exciting young teams to follow. Their roster is as deep as anyone, and the acquisition of Lance Lynn may be the most underrated move of the offseason.

National Football League (NFL)

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

As reigning Super Bowl champions, the number one spot is theirs to lose. Back-to-back championships are entirely possible.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs

The core will be returning, and quarterback Patrick Mahomes is going to be hungrier than ever. The Chiefs will be the odds-on favourite to win it all next season.

  1. Buffalo Bills

It’s finally time for everyone to respect the Bills. With a dynamic young quarterback in Josh Allen, talented receivers and a top 10 defence, this team’s future is bright.

  1. Green Bay Packers

Could Aaron Rodgers force a trade to end his tenure with the Packers if they don’t fulfill his needs in the offseason? Time will tell, but the clock is ticking on the Packers’ championship window.

  1. Los Angeles Rams  

The Rams boast an elite defence with Aaron Donald leading the pack. They just needed an upgrade on offence to really emerge as Super Bowl contenders. Getting Matthew Stafford was perhaps the answer.




Graphic by Taylor Reddam

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