Roethlisberger’s confidence in himself was never an issue

McVay, president and CEO of the Outback Bowl: That didn’t get him the No. 1 spot in the draft, but it sure helped to raise additional exposure around what a special athlete the guy was.

Spurrier: He was projected to be the first pick. And some people even suggested he not play his third season. He could’ve not played and probably still been the first pick. So if he got any kind of little injury or pulled muscle or something like that, he pretty much took himself out of the action. But we worked through it. And certainly, as the coach, he deserved to be treated a little bit differently because he did not have to play that year. It was sort of a bonus to all of us he was out there playing.

Jackie MacMullan unfurled a massive, MacMullanian profile of Kyrie Irving upon the Cavaliers’ visit (and loss) to Boston Wednesday. It’s a masterpiece of the form that gets little directly from Irving but more than plenty from everyone else. And though Irving wasn’t particularly useful in providing material (apparently), he comes off well.

This is a kid who thrives on being challenged, who wants to be different, who needs to feel like he’s doing everything he can. That wasn’t happening in Cleveland, and couldn’t so long as Perhaps The Greatest Of All Time was around. So Irving asked out.

There are so many good nuggets and such excellent canon-building in MacMullan’s piece that I implore you to go read it now (in the event you didn’t catch it when it dropped). This is a piece we’ll be referencing when discussing Irving and, by extension, LeBron James for decades.

The Giants didn’t play like they wanted to lie down for a better draft pick last week against the Eagles. That doesn’t mean they didn’t revert to their inept selves at the wrong time — or that they won’t go ahead and look as if they’re lying down in the desert this week. Such a coincidence that one of the final acts of an era of Giants football will play out on the field where they shocked the unbeaten Patriots in Super Bowl 42. The Cardinals are not good, but they’ll be good enough.

Russell Westbrook’s 26-11-10 triple-double on 52-percent shooting, and Steven Adams, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony’s 51 combined points weren’t enough to overcome the poor defensive effort.

In Seerat Sohi’s weekly SB Nation column, she highlighted how maddening Roberson is as one of the NBA’s best defensive players but worst offensive ones. But his deficiencies are masked to a degree in OKC, and as the numbers tell, his defense stands out. The Thunder are 20 points per 100 possessions better defensively with him on the court.

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