Author: Ben Thomas

Ben Thomas is Sports Editor of The Slant, talk to him about anything you can kick, catch, hit or tackle
<strong></strong>Crowning Tom Brady as the greatest athlete is American exceptionalism, but there is truth to the hyperbole
Sport

Crowning Tom Brady as the greatest athlete is American exceptionalism, but there is truth to the hyperbole

    The most skin-crawling moment of every NFL season is, without fail, as the winners of the Super Bowl are announced unironically as “world champions”. American sports repeatedly make it their prerogative to universalise their champions for us, and for that – of course – we are eternally ungrateful. Why bother with the formalities of actual global competition when it can be kindly circumvented by the red, white and blue, a national anthem, a fly over and an overzealous commentator? Now, this isn’t to say that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers aren’t the best American football team in the world, they would clearly beat any other team from any other country. It’s just to suggest that crowning a world champion without a world championships is a painful and self-congratulatory charade. It is Ameri...
<strong></strong>The impossible inevitability of Super Bowl 55
Sport

The impossible inevitability of Super Bowl 55

  I’m taking revisionist liberties, I admit, but the road to Super Bowl 55 was an impossible inevitability; a perfect truth inaccessible all season-long, but which now feels so painfully and eternally obvious. That we were tempted to believe, even for a second, despite all that’s happened, in a reality in which the Kansas City Chiefs do not arrive in Tampa Bay on Sunday, feels almost blasphemous. It is easy to paint Patrick Mahomes as the miraculous and Tom Brady as the meticulous. The former with his ecstatic explosions of arm-strength, and the latter with his relentlessly methodical drives. But, what ultimately makes this match-up so intriguing is that Brady, thinking of championships rather than cliff-edges, remains entirely capable of the miraculous, shown by his long touchdown to Sc...
<strong></strong>City, Liverpool and the Premier League title race: never underestimate the power of winning
Sport

City, Liverpool and the Premier League title race: never underestimate the power of winning

In a world of spectrums, sports complies to a firm binary — the winner and the loser, the champion and the challenger, the bride and the bridesmaid. This is an open letter to the most dominant losers in sporting history: those who came as close to bending and blurring the binary as one could strive to, prior to having “failure’s” empty and harsh commiserations slap them squarely in the face. Catching the bouquet. For just a temporary moment on Sunday you might not have been naïve in believing that, at the culmination of a miraculous week brimmed with footballing resurrections, another blindsider was unfolding at opposite ends of the country in front of our split-screened, crossed-eyes. As Mane struck in the north, Brighton’s Glenn Murray staked his claim as the less than glamoro...
<strong></strong>Super Starmer, Brexit drama: Sir Keir at the University of Birmingham
UK Politics

Super Starmer, Brexit drama: Sir Keir at the University of Birmingham

Amongst all of the Brexit hoopla, Sir Keir Starmer arrived at the University of Birmingham last week in an attempt to bring some law and order to the political chaos — is the Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union ready to be the face of a new wave of Brexit politics? The ‘innocent’ woman formerly known as the dancing Maybot has day-by-day squeaked and clunked herself into the terrifying terminator currently threatening to tear the heart out of the United Kingdom as she seeks to satisfy the egotistical tin man that sits inside of her skull. Listen out for the ironic jeers as she proclaims “I’ll be back” upon hopping, skipping, and jumping onto her private jet in preparation for yet another adventure to Brussels. Then listen out for even further jeers as she returns...
The Great British Brexit ‘hokey cokey’
UK Politics

The Great British Brexit ‘hokey cokey’

We’ve done the ‘in and out’, we’ve completed the shaking about, and now it is time for the turning around — and yes, that is what it’s all about. I know, I know — surely not another one? There’ve been countless articles written on the British exit of the European Union. The public’s psyches have been saturated to the point of neurological explosion under the weight of ‘backstops’ and borders, amendments and second referendums, Boris and Brussels, May and madness. My sole intention is to explain the unfolding story of Brexit in simpler terms — for all of our sanities’ sakes. What are these simpler terms I hear you asking? The ‘hokey cokey’. It is the ‘hokey cokey’ that will provide us with clarity. Now, while I understand that the present introduction of every primary school’s defau...
<strong></strong>So long, Sir Andy
Sport

So long, Sir Andy

Where would British tennis be if not for one unassuming Scot. Andy Murray, over the course of his decade-spanning career, has double-handedly re-written the nations sporting history books. His fiery backhand, lung-busting endurance, and timely dulcet wisdom have mocked the pessimism of every sports fan who had given up on a sport that had failed to deliver much cheer this side of the Second World War. Delivering the first British male Wimbledon title since Fred Perry in 1936, and the first British Wimbledon title since Virginia Wade in 1977, there was a time when, amongst his superhuman side-to-side rallies of Wimbledon’s centre court, Murray appeared just as close to immortal as one man could get. An Olympic champion, a US Open champion, and now the conqueror of the hallowed lawns of...
The playoff pioneers: the rise of the black quarterback
Sport

The playoff pioneers: the rise of the black quarterback

The NFL Playoffs have opened sesame for another year. As we settle down in front of our television sets and tune into some American muscle it is easy to forget that for many of the players these moments are lifetimes in the making. Some have overcome more obstacles than others, none more so than Deshaun Watson, Dak Prescott, Russell Wilson, Lamar Jackson, and Patrick Mahomes — this is the story of the 2019 playoff pioneers. The NFL playoffs have arrived, and just in time. As the unwelcome January chill has begun to grip our proud little island, our American friends acquaintances are back to provide the winter warmth once more. Wildcard weekend may have slipped under some of our runny noses, as the magic of the FA Cup apparently takes priority over here. But for those that tuned in (...
The ghosts of Christmas past have been resurrected for Brexit
UK Politics

The ghosts of Christmas past have been resurrected for Brexit

I think it’s safe to say that Theresa May isn’t feeling very Christmassy, and while it would be a stretch to suggest that we might have a Scrooge on our hands, there has been recent and more frequent sightings of the ‘ghosts of political past’ ready to impart their wisdom on her — should we be listening? Truth or traitors? Familiar, yet aged, faces have been sprouting up throughout Brussels and elsewhere, with increasing frequency, as the deadline for Article 50 edges terrifyingly closer. Ex-Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Sir John Major have taken their defence of the EU and advocacy of a second referendum through the gears, with respective speeches in Belgium and Ireland, much to the dismay of Theresa who launched a seething attack on Blair. The current Prime Minister has suggeste...
Robert Who? Meet basketball's new 'Time Lord'.
Sport

Robert Who? Meet basketball's new 'Time Lord'.

Move over Doctor Who, the NBA has found the real ‘’Time Lord’’. Boston Celtics center, Robert Williams, has risen to social media and now basketball fame as his inability to keep track of the time has become the source of the most peculiar, but brilliant, internet-influenced branding success story. The emergence of the rookie Rookie Robert Williams hosted a ‘block party’ in Boston last Friday night, as he came off of the bench to demoralize flying Hawk after flying Hawk in a five-swat performance at the Garden against Atlanta. It has been an impressive run of games for Williams, who due to injuries and rotations has stepped into a larger role for the resurgent Celtics, who have been lacking a rim-protector of the seeming calibre that Williams has brought in his limited sample size...