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Founder, The Sports Court
Ian Book is a backup quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles in the National Football League. From the hills of El Dorado, California, to the city of brotherly love and everywhere in between, Ian Book’s story from an undersized recruit to setting Notre Dame’s all-time win record to being a member of the best team in the NFL is nothing short of remarkable.
Book grew up loving all sports, but football is what captivated his heart. He would go on to attend Oak Ridge High School where he threw for 7,632 yards and 78 touchdowns.
Book was a superstar, and several teams came calling. Book originally committed to a local school, Washington State, before flipping his commitment to attend a school across the country.
This school wasn’t any ordinary school. This school is the most prestigious and historic program in all of College Football. Known for their shiny helmets and the figure of Touchdown Jesus that rises over the stadium, Book took his talents to South Bend, Indiana to dawn the blue and gold of Notre Dame.
Book redshirted in his freshman year at Notre Dame. It was in his second year in which he rocketed to stardom.
After coming in for an injured Brandon Wimbush against UNC, Book didn’t see much action until the 2018 Citrus Bowl against LSU. Wimbush struggled and Book was inserted into the game and won the hearts of Notre Dame fans thanks to his heroic play and iconic throw to Miles Boykin to win the game in the final seconds of the game to help Notre Dame win 21-18.
“Just being able to go in at the end of the 1st quarter and be able to play was amazing. I knew I was going to be able to play. They had a plan for Wimbush and myself. But once I got in I was able to do what I had to do and play the rest of the game which was pretty cool and we started to click as an offense. I knew I was throwing that back shoulder fade to Myles for what feels like forever but was only a year, but he’s a long-range receiver who can go up and make every catch and did an unbelievable job, made both guys miss, and it was a pretty cool moment and my welcome to college football’ moment,” said Book in regards to his iconic performance in the Citrus Bowl.
Book went on to have 30 wins as the starting quarterback at the University of Notre Dame, surpassing the likes of 1947 Heisman Winner, Johnny Lujack, and his offensive coordinator, Tommy Rees.
Book’s best moments included two trips to the College Football Playoffs, a historic achievement for a historic school that is limited in recruiting thanks to rigorous academic standards.
However, perhaps the greatest moment of the Ian Book era at Notre Dame wasn’t the two college football semifinal appearances. It was the regular season classic at home against Clemson in which Notre Dame knocked off the number 1 team in the country 47-40 in one of the greatest college football games in recent memory.
Book through for 310 yards and 1 touchdown and contributed for 67 yards on the ground.
Dispute an early fumble, Book had a short memory and kept on plugging away, willing Notre Dame to a historic upset win.
“A great game, that was something early in the week I knew something special would happen. I felt like that was one of the times in college football I felt like the entire building believed that we were going to beat the number-one team in the country. That doesn’t happen everywhere but that is something cool about Notre Dame,” said Book, “we had a bunch of guys that were brought in and I felt like we were going to win before it even happened. (About the fumble play) I thought I was going to score but the guy made a really good play and knocked the ball out. In my career, whenever there is a bad play, I try to forget about it and move on and I remember going to the sideline and everybody encouraging me and saying I’ll be fine. I had a moment of in one ear out the other and I’ll be fine. I felt good and kept fighting the whole game and it came down to the last few plays and the fans storming the field during the pandemic was surreal so it felt pretty good.”
That game cemented Book’s status as a Notre Dame legend.
Whether Notre Dame fans appreciate him is up to the fans themselves, but they can certainly not deny the impact Ian Book left on the modern-day era of Notre Dame Football. From an undersized recruit to an all-time win leader, two CFP appearances, and a win against the #1 team in the country isn’t too shabby for somebody who was told by many online that he is too small to play the quarterback position.
Book went on to get drafted in the fourth round by the New Orleans Saints and in his rookie season had one start. That start coming in a game against the Miami Dolphins. Although not the ideal game for Book, he gave it his all but the Saints weren’t able to get much clicking due to injuries plus COVID holding the team back from putting most of their primary starters on the field.
Now in his second year, and playing for the Philadelphia Eagles, Book has been a member of the Eagles squad that has defied all odds by winning the NFC East and finishing the year 14-3. The Eagles earned the #1 seed in the NFC and will host the New York Giants in the NFC Divisional Round.
Book’s rise from a lesser-known recruit to a member of the best team in the NFL is a remarkable story about hard work, determination, and staying true to yourself.
“Instead of proving others wrong, I want to prove myself right,” said Ian Book, perfectly describing both his career and life motto.
Book is on a mission to prove himself, the little kid that once dreamed of playing in the NFL, right, rather than all of the haters wrong. The kid from El Dorado Hills is on a mission to do the things he set out to do for himself rather than the validation of those who didn’t believe in him.
An elite mindset and top individual, Ian Book is very well on his path to a Lombardi Trophy and a Super Bowl ring.
The Eagles will need to take care of business against the Giants and the winner of SF vs Dallas/Tampa Bay and then the eventual champion of the AFC.
For now, it’s one step at a time for Book and the Eagles.
Founder, The Sports Court
In a day and age where NIL and the transfer portal have ruled the roost of college football - it’s a small campus, under-the-radar, overlooked team that captivated the hearts of millions around the country and booked their ticket into the College Football Playoffs Championship.
The story of the Texas Christian University Football Team is a story led by the epitome of an underdog, Max Duggan.
Duggan is perhaps the best QB to play for TCU since the days of Sammy Baugh back in the 1930s. It’s been nearly a century since Baugh played for the Horned Frogs but TCU is back in the glory land thanks to Duggan.
Duggan, a native of Council Buffs, Iowa, was a true-freshman starter in 2019 and threw for school freshman records with 2,077 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Seen as one of the best freshman quarterbacks in the nation, Duggan was hoping to continue his success into the 2020 season. However, this was done with a fair bit of struggle along the way that put a dent into his training and physical health.
Duggan found out he had been born with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, a condition that affects the heart to beat abnormally for fast periods of time. He had to have a 9-hour surgery to fix the problem and following that, Duggan suffered a blood clot that saw him go under another emergency surgery.
The surgery for Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome meant he had to put catheters in his neck and groin.
Despite this all, Duggan remained faithful and confident he could play in the 2020 season, which is exactly what he did.
Duggan didn’t miss a single game that 2020 season and the Horned Frogs finished the season 5-4 in the COVID-shortened year.
Although the season was cut short and TCU didn’t exactly have the standout season fans would’ve hoped - one thing was evident, Duggan was a warrior. He didn’t let anything stop him and he went from battling blood clots to putting his body on the line for the program, earning the respect of those around him.
However, just when everything seemed to be getting better following his surgeries and the 2020 season in which he led the team in rushing, Duggan struggled in 2021.
The program was losing games and Duggan wasn’t playing well. A big factor in this was a broken bone and tendon in his foot that he suffered.
Duggan was eventually pulled in TCU’s road loss against Kansas and his backup, Chandler Morris, came in and threw for 461 yards as TCU upset the #12 Baylor Bears in the next game out.
Many TCU fans thought this would be the end of the Max Duggan era and he would transfer - especially after interim coach Sonny Dykes said there would be a competition for the starting role in 2022.
By August of 2022, it was confirmed by Dykes after the summer practices that Morris would be starting. Rather than quit - or put his name in the transfer portal, Duggan stayed with the team. This came as a surprise to many fans who all knew he could start for a smaller D1 program, but Duggan knew in his heart that he did not come this far to stop now. His goal remained the game - to help TCU lift a National Championship, and if he was a backup, he would be the best backup in the country.
In the first game of the season against Colorado, Morris injured his knee and Duggan led TCU to two touchdowns and from there - a season for the history books.
Duggan’s toughness was shown throughout the season as he helped drag TCU to a 12-0 record by the time of the Big 12 Championship Game - a game in which they fell short to Kansas State but despite that, Duggan was the talk of the town due to his awe-inspiring performance.
Duggan threw for 3321 yards and 30 TDs and only 4 interceptions. Duggan was named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year and won the Davey O’Brien Award & Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award.
In addition, Duggan finished second in Heisman voting, only behind Caleb Williams.
Tonight - on December 31, 2022, Duggan accomplished his most miraculous feat yet, leading TCU to a National Championship Game.
In a day and age where coaches are ‘buying players’ with NIL Booster Clubs - as seen in the Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher debacle prior to the CFB season, it’s a school with 12,273 students and a 325-acre campus that is headed to Sofi Stadium.
It’s a school whose backup quarterback became the Heisman runner-up. It’s a school whose head coach built a winning culture in his first season. It’s a school that emphasizes the beauty of college football.
Everyone has a chance, whether you like it or not. TCU was unranked coming into the season and are now patiently awaiting their opponent for the National Championship. It’s a story for the ages and one of the greatest underdog stories in recent college football history.
Max Duggan and Texas Christian University show exactly why college football is the best, and now, they are one offensive explosion away from entrenching their names into College Football History. This is what movies are made of.
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Founder, The Sports Court
It’s not often that an audience of over 3 billion people get to witness a passing of the torch moment from one GOAT of a generation to the GOAT of a new generation, but on December 18, at 10 AM Eastern Standard Time, that is exactly what the fans will witness.
The script writes itself. Lionel Messi, the greatest player of all time, the little magician from Rosario, Argentina, who has been able to score 791 goals and tally 350 assists in his storied career goes against the young hotshot, Kylian Mbappe. Mbappe, a fan of Messi’s rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, growing up, has the chance to keep Ronaldo’s name alive in the GOAT conversation with a win, and a chance to put his name right in there. At 23, this is Mbappe’s second World Cup final. In 2019, as a 19-year-old, Mbappe became the first teenager to score in the World Cup since Pele.
Mbappe has lighting quick pace and supreme technical skills all capped off with a rocket of a foot. At the age of 23, Mbappe has 114 more goals and 29 more assists than Messi did at that age.
Kylian Mbappe has the it-factor, he shows up when the lights shine the brightest, as seen in his two World Cup’s. He already has 9 goals, putting him tied for 15th place of all-time, and ahead of the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, and Diego Maradona, and just two behind Lionel Messi.
To put the cherry on top, Messi and Mbappe are currently teammates for Paris Saint Germain in Ligue 1.
This World Cup Final will be by no exaggeration the biggest soccer game of all time.
After a shock loss in the opening match, Messi has led Argentina to the World Cup Final. Since that upset, Argentina has coasted by Mexico, Poland, Australia, Netherlands, and eventually, Croatia, en route to the final.
Meanwhile, France, coasted by Australia 4-1, then beat Denmark before falling to Tunisia in a game where they rested their main starters. In the knockout rounds, France knocked off Poland, England, and Morocco.
France’s play has been highlighted by the star that is Kylian Mbappe alongside Giroud who has been scoring a surplus of goals from the central striker position and Ousmane Dembele on the opposite flank.
The midfield of France is deadly, Antoinne Griezmann played under Giroud last game, and similar to Roy Kent of Ted Lasso, Griezmann was here, there, and everywhere. Griezmann’s defensive duties, along with Giroud also helping support, have left space behind for Kylian Mbappe to exploit while also giving him minimal defensive duties.
Another key piece for France is Aurelien Tchouameni, the 22-year-old midfielder that plays club football at Real Madrid and has made his presence known to the world by scoring a worldie against England.
Meanwhile, the Argentinians have been dragged to the final by moments of brilliance from Lionel Messi.
Messi made Josko Gvardiol - perhaps the best center-back of the entire tournament - look like a little kid in a moment of individual brilliance against Croatia in which he burnt by Gvardiol before assisting Alvarez.
Julian Alvarez has overtaken the starting position at the 9 from Laturo Martinez and has run with it, literally and figuratively.
Alvarez’s solo effort in the 39th minute of the match put Argentina 2-0 up following a Messi penalty kick and was the icing on the cake to cement the Croatians a place in the third-place match and book Argentina their ticket to the final.
Enzo Fernandez, the 21-year-old central midfielder from San Martin, Argentina, currently plays for Benfica is primed for a big move after his stellar play throughout the tournament.
Argentina likes to play Messi through the middle and attack from there, as France’s ideology is much different. France tends to find Mbappe and Dembele out wide and let them take on defenders 1 on 1.
The biggest difference maker in this game will be the speed that Kylian Mbappe possesses and how the Argentinian defense can control it. If they cannot, France should find relative ease in this game as they know how to finish a good opportunity, not often letting them go to waste.
However, if Argentina can gameplan around defending Kylian Mbappe, it just takes one moment of Messi's brilliance to turn this game upside down.
Every piece of my brain tells me France is winning tomorrow, but something in my heart sees this game going into extra time with a winner from Julian Alvarez.
Argentina 3 - France 2.
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All Editorials written by Chris Dailey