Take 5 | Joe Burrow is the face of the NFL, Olympics are still the pinnacle of athletics and more


AP Photo/Alessandro Trovati

Federica Brignone of Italy makes a turn during the first run of the women’s giant slalom at the 2022 Winter Olympics on Feb. 7 in Beijing.

By The Pitt News Staff

In this week’s Take 5, The Pitt News sports desk looks at who may be the next face of the NFL, college football playoff expansion and more.

Joe Burrow is the new face of the NFL // Brian Sherry, Staff Writer

With Tom Brady’s retirement from football just more than a week ago, many wonder who will become the NFL’s new face. Some argue the league’s next big star will be Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, or even Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert. But the obvious choice for Brady’s successor is playing in the Super Bowl next weekend.

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow will be the new face of the NFL.

Burrow has already proven himself to be an elite player in the league. The former Heisman winner defeated the Mahomes-led Chiefs, carrying the Bengals to their first Super Bowl appearance since 1988. Burrow also finished in the top 10 in both passing yards and touchdowns in just his second season.

Burrow has also proven to be a fan favorite across the league. Whether chain-smoking cigars, wearing sunglasses in press conferences or torching opposing secondaries, Burrow provides fans with competitive and entertaining play, similar to Brady himself.

It’s time for the College Football Playoff to expand // Jermaine Sykes, Staff Writer

In the final college football playoff rankings Alabama, Michigan, Georgia and Cincinnati ranked one through four, respectively. While Georgia defeated Michigan and then Alabama to bring home the National Championship, the potential matchups with a six-team playoff could have made the NCAA even more money while creating better storylines.

Imagine this scenario. No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Michigan have a first-round bye. No. 3 Georgia plays No. 6 Ohio State, while No. 4 Cincinnati hosts No. 5 Notre Dame.

Georgia plays for a chance to get revenge against Alabama, who defeated them in the SEC championship game. Ohio State and Michigan — one of the most heated rivalries in college football — would meet with their seasons on the line.

While Georgia and Ohio State both would look for a chance at revenge, Notre Dame gets a chance to pay back the only team to defeat them. Cincinnati gets a chance to validate itself on the national stage, while Notre Dame can prove the first game was a fluke.

But the CFP committee continues to delay the inevitable and college football fans continue to suffer because of it.

Despite controversy and lack of buzz, Olympics still one-of-a-kind event // Zack Gibney, Senior Staff Writer

There seems to be a perception that fans are meeting the 2022 Winter Olympics with less enthusiasm than usual. Whether a side effect from a quick turnaround from last year’s delayed “2020” Tokyo Olympics or the idea that the winter version of the Olympics take a backseat to its summer counterpart, it hasn’t quite felt like an Olympic year.

On top of all of this, the controversy surrounding China creates a dark cloud over the Beijing Olympics. As a result, countries were left wondering if they should send athletes to China

But the games themselves continue to be the crown jewel of athletics — a universal event that shines a spotlight on what makes sports so special.

Regardless of their extensive popularity in the United States, sports such as the NFL don’t carry the same weight in other nations as they do here. People in Norway aren’t tuning in to see Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes go up and down the field despite how entertaining millions of Americans may find it.

Sure, there are some niche sports. But with the plethora of events the Olympics hosts, the concept of athletes from countless backgrounds gathering in one city to compete is something that can’t be replicated.

Is Zion Williamson ever coming back? // Will McGlynn, Staff Writer

There has never been an NBA player like Zion Williamson. He entered the NBA as a 6-foot-6-inch, 272-pound power forward with a 40 inch plus vertical leap. He was an anomaly, and became a star while still in high school. In his first couple of seasons in the NBA, Williamson showed he possesses all-star talent with efficient scoring and highlight reel athleticism.

But Williamson still hasn’t touched the court this season. Coming off of a foot injury in the offseason, no one expected Williamson would be game ready. But he was accused of being overweight and not ready to play. He has been rumored to be well over 300 pounds and has become the butt end of many of Charles Barkley’s jokes.

Things have continued to get more out of hand for the big man with rumors of him wanting to go play in New York with former Duke teammate RJ Barrett..Amid the recent acquisition of Cam Reddish, Knicks fans are dying to see the Duke trio play together again at the Garden.

And what has Williamson done? He went to Oregon to continue working on his rehab away from the Pelicans with a different trainer. No one knows what Zion will do next but something is going to change.

The red-hot Boston Celtics are a sleeper to watch coming out of the Eastern Conference // Jack Markowski, Staff Writer

Following a 2020-21 season that started with expectations of title contention and ended with a demoralizing loss in the first round of the playoffs, the Boston Celtics continued to underperform this year as well.

But the Celtics have gone on a winning streak in the past few weeks and look like an entirely new team. With the Eastern Conference wide open, Boston has the pieces to go on a playoff run come April.

This recent development has been a welcome sight, as their offense has lagged behind their defense for most of the year. The team has also consistently been among the league’s best on the boards, as they are tied for No. 10 in rebounding percentage.

While there’s no guarantee the Celtics will be able to keep their momentum going, they do have the star power and experience to make things interesting. In a tight Eastern Conference race, there is no team that wants to run into Boston.