HOUSTON (AP): Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman are so interchangeable in the Atlanta Falcons backfield, Matt Ryan gets a little mixed up at times. “He doesn’t even know who’s in the game,” Coleman said, breaking into a huge smile. Quite a 1-2 punch, these two are. It really doesn’t matter who you put at “1” and who goes at “2.” Sure, Freeman is the starter, but there’s no drop-off or any reason to change things up when Coleman comes into the game, a back-and-forth arrangement that keeps both backs fresh and gives fits to opposing defences. But their relationship runs beyond the field. Far beyond it. “That’s my brother,” Freeman said in the lead-up to tomorrow’s Super Bowl against the New England Patriots . “When you see someone, you see that they want to be a part of something special, they’re working hard, they’re working their butts off, you have no reason but to love that person and have the utmost respect for that person.” They’ll savour it while they can, because chances are this won’t be a long-term partnership. They’ll be friends for life, that’s for sure, but the realities of the NFL with its salary cap and other devices that make it difficult to keep a team together will likely lead to a breakup in the not-too-distant future. Freeman, a fourth-round pick out of Florida State in 2014, already created a bit of a stir early in Super Bowl week by bringing up his desire for a new contract. He rushed for more than 1,000 yards and has been selected for the Pro Bowl each of the past two seasons. Not surprisingly, he wants to be paid like one of the league’s top backs. Then there’s Coleman, a third-round pick out of Indiana in 2015. Despite missing three games with an injury this season, he rushed for 520 yards and eight touchdowns. At some point, he’s going to deserve more money and probably a larger role in someone’s offence. “We’ve thought about this a lot,” Coleman said. “But that’s going to be my brother always, wherever we’re at.” In addition to combining for just short of 1,600 yards on the ground, they are nearly as dangerous in the passing game. Freeman had 54 catches for 462 yards and a couple of scores, while Coleman hauled in 31 passes for 421 yards and three TDs.
Though nothing is set in stone just yet, and for the most part it’s still a rumor, the news that Google is in talks with Twitch about an acquisition is one that should give you both great joy and great sadness.One of Google’s most important facets is YouTube. Everyone uses YouTube for something, often multiple times a day. The ease with which you can get lost in an ocean of videos that span your entire emotional spectrum is matched only by how simple it is to publish your video. YouTube’s publishing service brings in a considerable amount of money for both YouTube and uploaders, so much so that there are people in every walk of life who have turned into professional YouTubers. The only troubling thing about YouTube is that it doesn’t really seem to have any significant competition, save for Twitch.tv.Where YouTube has become a household name for online video, Twitch has done the same for live streaming. Gamers from all over the globe have turned Twitch into the only real destination to watch streaming games, to the point where the service is preferred for streaming global tournaments and competitions. For Google to want a piece of what Twitch has created for themselves makes a lot of sense, but instead it looks like they are going to get all of it by purchasing the company.It’s an incredibly lucrative market fueled by the perfect demographic and — especially now that the Xbox One and PS4 offer effortless turnkey streaming from the console — Twitch is the place people go to enjoy and broadcast their gaming. In a time where e-sports players are starting to see huge payouts for their performances, it’s a big deal for Twitch to stay on top. Unfortunately, the service occasionally struggles to handle the impressive load it is under. Its CEO is on record saying that they can’t keep up with the demand on the service, but that it was a good problem to have. The truth is, that’s only a good problem to have as long as you can catch back up.So far, Twitch has failed to do that. The service is routinely plagues by performance issues, delays of more than 60 seconds in streams and resolution drops to a pitiful 240p when the service can’t keep up. If Twitch was able to move in to the kind of backend YouTube had, it would remain the preferred medium for live game streaming and could create a rock-solid service to power this explosively popular form of entertainment.When it comes to why Google and Twitch would want to be in bed together, the picture couldn’t be clearer. In the long term, unfortunately, this is unlikely to be a good thing for the users.Perhaps the most significant part of this supposed acquisition is what happens after Twitch becomes part of Google. If no other company is capable of keeping up with YouTube and Twitch when they are separate entities, what chance would competitors have when the two join forces? If history has taught us anything, it’s that a lack of competition in the technology world causes stagnation and restriction. YouTube has had the ability to offer live streaming for quite a while now, and in fact their setup for live streaming things like games is quite good and is as easy to use as Twitch. YouTube has only itself to blame for Twitch blowing past them in this market, and it acknowledged this when YouTube Live finally became something everyone could use instead of being an account feature that had to be unlocked by showing YouTube that you wouldn’t use your powers for evil. By the time YouTube had unlocked the feature for everyone and released an API so the feature could be embedded into other products, Twitch had already partnered with Justin TV and become a big name in several gaming communities.On top of this, Twitch wasn’t plagued by the same copyright issues that YouTube struggled with. There was a time where gamers fled YouTube in droves because game companies started improperly using the copyright claim system to file complaints against those who gave bad reviews of games, and YouTube took way too long to respond to that situation. Compared to Twitch, a company that has repeatedly demonstrated that they are a nimble company capable of quickly responding to unfortunate situations, YouTube is Godzilla — slow, powerful, and extremely dangerous. It would be a terrible thing for Twitch to start behaving like YouTube, which is all too likely when they are part of the same beast.There’s no guarantees on anything in this situation right now, but it’s not hard to see how this purchase could happen and what the results of it would likely be. Obviously, if the purchase gets announced at all, there are regulatory bodies that have to respond. If Google wants Twitch, there’s a high likelihood that the purchase will happen. Google would be best served, at least initially, to continue letting Twitch operate as its own company. Once that happens though, for better or worse, Google will own a massive chunk of video on the internet today.