Rooting for a sports team from a distance is easy these days. The Internet has made it possible to loudly proclaim that your team is the best...even if you live nowhere near your team. And now that the Arizona Cardinals are back in the NFC Championship, should fans of teams that have been eliminated jump on the bandwagon? Well, now you can go to Facebook and vigorously debate that question with other like-minded (or not so like-minded) sports fans. Those are just two of the stories featured in this week's roundtable.
1. Cardinals In The Playoffs
On Sunday, the Arizona Cardinals will face the Carolina Panthers for the NFC title. The teams have the two best records in the league. Neither has ever won a Super Bowl title, but the Cardinals made it to the big game in 2009. As a lifelong Cardinals fan, Will Leitch thinks Arizona would be a good choice for fans looking for a team to root for this weekend:
WL: I am an Arizona Cardinals fan. When the Cardinals left to Arizona 1987, I was 12-years-old and heartbroken, but I stuck with them through all that time. This was a terrible investment. The Cardinals were horrible forever. Of course, they had that crazy run seven years ago into the Super Bowl, but then they went right back to being horrible again. So this is an argument for A: if your team leaves, it doesn't actually matter. Like, I live in Athens, Georgia, and I'm a Knicks fans and an Arizona Cardinals fan and St. Louis Blues fan and it's fine! It's totally easy. And secondly, this is an argument for sticking with it for that long period of time because this is what we waited for.
2. Tennis Fixing: Time To Legalize Sports Betting?
A joint BBC-Buzzfeed News investigation found evidence of wide-scale match fixing in international tennis. Documents show that some of the sport's biggest players were flagged in a 2007 investigation, which found that European gambling syndicates were coercing some players to throw games. The news got Bill Littlefield thinking. Is it time to legalize sports betting in all 50 states?
BL: I wonder if it’s time to acknowledge that a lot of fans bet legally and illegally on lots of football and basketball games, and apparently on tennis as well, though I didn't know that until this week. And it's time to acknowledge that and say, 'Look, let the government have a cut of the action.' That way some of the money that goes into gambling can be used to fix bridges and educate children.'
3. Introducing 'Facebook Sports Stadium'
Sports Stadium is a new Facebook feature that allows fans to see analysis and commentary from friends and experts during sporting events. The social media giant hopes the feature will draw friends' eyes away from Twitter. Karen Given agrees people should watch games with their friends...but IRL.
KG: Here's an idea: there are seven billion people on this planet. Invite one of them over to your house. If you don't have any friends, maybe your house is gross, maybe you don't want to show it off: go to a pub, order a soda, make a friend! There's lots of people to talk to there. Sports are meant to be enjoyed with people. And I don't mean virtual people. I mean people sitting right there, booing at the TV, booing at the referees, laughing, joking. I really hate to see this be replaced by a phone that we can put in our pocket.
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This segment aired on January 23, 2016.