Second Thoughts: Dalton is a Pro Bowl quarterback, really

I know you’re expecting some sophomoric humor about the Patriots and their deflated (foot)balls. Well, I’m not going to go there because I need this job. You know, kids, college tuition — and I always wanted to be a well-qualified lessee. But if you run into me at Warped Wing, let’s talk.

If there was ever a sign that the Pro Bowl needs to be put out of its misery, it’s this: Andy Dalton is playing in tonight’s game. The Bengals quarterback was a seventh alternate and will replace Aaron Rodgers, who won’t come out of his room after the Packers’ choke job against the Seahawks.

Cincinnati defensive tackle Geno Atkins also was added to the game. He had an amazing 34 tackles and three quarterback sacks this season. It will be exciting to watch him try to tackle Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson.

Is Russell Wilson good or bad? If the Packers wouldn’t have botched a late onside kick … or scored a touchdown instead of kicking a field goal in the first quarter … or tried to return an interception in the fourth quarter … or about a dozen other things, the narrative after the NFC title game would’ve been “Wilson is terrible.” Four interceptions? But now he’s courageous. Amazing the difference one play can make.

RIP, Ernie Banks. The hall-of-famer who hit 512 career home runs died Friday at age 83. He was affectionately known as “Mr. Cub” and his signature line — “let’s play two” — has been repeated for decades. Major League Baseball should honor Banks by having all teams play one real doubleheader every summer.

Seven of the Reds’ top 10 prospects are former Dragons. The list compiled by Baseball America is headed by right-handed pitcher Robert Stephenson. No surprise there. Stephenson, who made 22 starts for Dayton in 2012 and 2013, has a great arm and could make his way to Cincinnati this season.

Trending up: D’Angelo Russell, Michael Qualls, Atlanta Hawks. The Ohio State freshman scored 33 points last week against Northwestern and has led the Buckeyes in scoring in 14 of 20 games. Russell is averaging 19.3 points and is the best thing the Buckeyes have going. Too bad he’ll be in the NBA next season.

Trending down: Speedos, Kobe Bryant, Tiger Woods’ teeth. UD’s loss at Davidson wasn’t real surprising because the Flyers were due for a letdown, but I wasn’t expecting those near-naked guys dancing behind UD’s basket. I thought they had some kind of strict dress code below the Mason-Dixon Line.

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