TOP OF THE TOWN ‑  The Seattle Storm’s Breanna Stewart rocked the region when she announced she would sign with the New York Liberty of the WNBA. It makes sense for her because, as I said a year ago, New York City is close to her hometown of Syracuse and if figured that is where she wanted to be. But it hurts me that I won’t be able to see one of the best, if not the best, player in the league. She plays full-out all the time, leading fast breaks, scoring jump shots and three-point shots. She and Sue Bird, who retired at the end of last season, were a dynamic dual. The 6-foot-4 Stewart was, and is, also a social bender who supports various causes, including fighting to have all the WNBA teams travel by charter planes. She advocates for many things, things I agree with. It will be tough not to hear her voice and see her lead the Storm to another league title. The Storm will be fighting an uphill battle to stat relevant against two franchises that have loaded up as super teams – Las Vegas Aces and the Liberty. The Storm was once a super team, but no more. They may still be good, but I fear not good enough. A player like Stewart comes along once in a generation. Now she is gone. … One thing is real clear, if it wasn’t clear before, but you need a franchise quarterback to consistently win in the NFL. They are the engines that move teams across the goal line. There aren’t many of them, either. There is a debate who is the best QB in the league. I have no doubt now that it is Patrick Mahomes. He is unflappable and can hurt you in so many different ways. Without him the Kansas City Chiefs are now Chiefs. On a bum leg – high ankle sprain – he rallied the Chiefs to victory over another franchise QB, Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC title clash and into another Super Bowl. This will be Mahomes third Super Bowl in the last five years. He may someday surpass Tom Brady, who retired the other day at age 45. Brady won seven Super Bowls in 10 tries, including 28-24 over Seattle in Super Bowl XIX in 2015 when Russell Wilson was intercepted in the end zone with 20 seconds left. Who will win this Super Bowl? I like the Philadelphia Eagles to beat the Chiefs and Mahomes. I won’t bet my house on it, though. Mahomes has a way of winning…. I think I have to back off a bit on my call for Mike Hopkins to be dismissed. His Washington Husky basketball team looks terrible one night and pretty darn good the next, even when they lose against a good team like UCLA.  I guess I’m more puzzled than anything about Hop. Is he a good coach, a bad coach, a good recruiter or a bad recruiter? How is he in game situations? And if he is fired, who would they get to replace him that would genuinely turn the program into a consistent winner? I have been in the Pacific Northwest long enough now to believe it’s tough to get the best coaches and players to come here. It’s, as one player once told me where he thought Seattle was, in Alaska. Go back East and ask somebody if they know where Seattle is. It might surprise you with the answer. It’s tough for the Mariners to get quality free agents to sign with them. We are too far away from the world as they know it – Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Boston, etc. Easterners will tell you they live where the action is. Seattle? Don’t they have fish, seals and Polar Bears?  Athletes, good ones, have massive egos. They have to have them to be good. The really, really good ones want to be seen and heard in New York City or Boston or Chicago, not in Wallingford, Shoreline or Rainier Valley. I spent my early years on the East Coast. It’s where most of the action was. Now that I have lived here for over 50 years, I love it here. But most of the good athletes want to market themselves in bigger markets where they can make a ton of off-field money. So for the Mariners to get a quality free agent to come here they have to overpay. And most likely that is why Hop can’t seem to secure a great D-1 basketball recruit. Given a choice between Seattle and, say, Ohio State, Alabama, Duke, North Carolina, LSU, it becomes a no-contest. Husky football lost a quarterback that had committed to them to sign with Ohio State. So it goes. That’s it for today. Stay safe.

Be well pal.

Be careful out there.

Have a great day.

You are loved.