SUPER BOWL TIME – CAN WE GET TO THE GAME ALREADY?

01Feb14

I don’t know about you, but in my humble opinion, the worst time of the year for sports fans is the two weeks between the Conference Finals and the Super Bowl.

Why, you may ask?  Excellent question.  Thanks for asking!

The reason is we have to endure thirteen days of every reporter in the world, sports and otherwise, trying to sound savvy and interesting while desperately searching for the nearest camera or microphone.

As a result, we have to listen to them carrying on about absolutely meaningless dribble, instead of focusing on the real topic of the Super Bowl.

I mean, how long did we really need to hear about Richard Sherman’s rant after the Seahawks’ victory over the 49ers?  Was it stupid and immature to have done so?  Yes, it was.  But do you think he didn’t realize it within 30 minutes or less afterwards?  Not a chance.  And does it really diminish your opinion of his football skills?  Not if you actually know what you’re talking about.

And how come nobody is talking about the complete stupidity of the network big shots that made the call to send their beauty pageant “sideline reporter” over to stick a microphone in his face ten seconds after the final gun was fired?  I mean, we’re not talking about interviewing the quarterback, who is well-coached and very rehearsed in the art of communication, especially with the media.  We’re talking about one the most fierce warriors of the NFL’s secondary, a man that makes his living by physically abusing players that are trying to score on him.

In order to perform his job properly, he needs to be in the mindset of “I’m the meanest S.O.B. on the field and no one is good enough to beat me”!  You can’t expect him to be able to simply turn that off after three hours of battle, and instantly sound like a Stanford graduate (which he is).  Yet, all we heard for the next week and a half was the shock and amazement about his reaction to the stupid question.

Of course, this year’s Super Bowl reporting would be incomplete without the daily weather report and deep thoughts about the ramifications of snow falling on game day.

Seriously?  Snow at a football game?  What is this wide, wide world of sports coming to?  Does anyone remember this great game during the sixties and seventies?  Back then, football games in December and January were considered incomplete without a blizzard or two!

I understand that picking New Jersey to host a game on the first Sunday of February was a very risky decision, especially since there are so many indoor facilities that bid for every Super Bowl.  And I must admit, I wasn’t on board with the idea at all when the decision was first announced.

However, the closer we get to game time, the more I believe that it was a brilliant marketing move.  Why, you ask?  You keep asking great questions.  Keep it up!

The reason is very simple.  When was the last Super Bowl discussed by everyone before the game was even played.  I’m not talking about sports fans worldwide.  I’m talking about men, women, athletes, businessmen, former athletes, extreme anti-sports nuts, etc.

All of a sudden, the entire world has decided to tune in to the game, just in case the blizzard that everyone has been talking about occurs.  Something tells me that the cost for commercials went up about 25% this year!

But this didn’t stop the stupid news stories from coming out.  Earlier this week, a local sports radio team from the midday timeslot here in the Valley of the Sun, who have spent the past week in New York, decided to spend an hour discussing why warm weather cities and cities with indoor stadiums need to be concerned about losing future Super Bowls to cold weather, outdoor stadium cities.

I know, I know, but it gets better!

The reason they wasted our time with this conversation was the fact that they had been spending the past week in New York City, the greatest city in the world.  Anything they wanted to do was at their fingertips.  They went Broadway plays and were able to order any kind of food they wanted at all hours of the day or night.  And they never had to drive because they could walk everywhere.

Now take a moment or two to think about this.  Okay, now picture the Super Bowl in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  Do I really need to say any more?  Their reasoning that all cold weather, outdoor stadium cities would be attractive was because this time around, they were in New York City!

Like I said, can we get to the game already?

Last season, I was pretty proud of the fact that I had picked the Baltimore Ravens to win the Super Bowl before the season had started.  This season, my preseason pick for the Super Bowl was Seattle over Denver.  So, yeah, I’m feeling pretty good again.

But, unlike my preseason thoughts, where I believed Seattle would win it handily, I’m a bit nervous about the outcome of the game.

I know that sounds weird, since I changed my mind two weeks ago and picked the Patriots to upset the Broncos, even though I stayed with the Seahawks.

Everyone has been talking about Denver’s #1 offense taking on Seattle’s #1 defense.  And I agree that this matchup will be exciting.  But I don’t think the game will be decided in this matchup.  The real game changer will be on the other side.  Will Denver’s defense be able to stop Marshawn Lynch?  And, if so, will Seattle be able to control and move the ball through the air?

After all, Denver’s defensive strength is their ability to stop the run.  They only allowed 100 or more yards to a RB once this season.  Their weakness is their ability to stop the passing game.

Yet, as I’ve stated many times before, Mr. Lynch is no ordinary running back.  You don’t stop him, you only hope to contain him.  His ability to punish would-be tacklers makes him a very dangerous 4th quarter weapon, when the defense has become completely worn down.

I haven’t been able to turn on a single interview without hearing about how Russell Wilson has not been putting up the big passing numbers so far in the playoffs.  I can’t help but scratch my head and laugh when I hear this.

If you had Lynch on your team, and the opposition could not stop him, would you try to put up big passing numbers?  No, of course not.  You would pound it out on the ground with an occasional pass, chewing up the game clock and controlling the flow of the game.

So why are these experts worried because he hasn’t thrown for 300+ yards and three TDs in their two previous playoff victories?  Who knows…and who cares!

With all things considered – Manning, Wilson, Lynch, Moreno, Denver’s run defense, Seattle’s overall defense, two very talented kickers, two very good coaches, etc. – this should be nothing less than the best Super Bowl in recent history.

Who is going to win?  I could make arguments for both teams.  And I wouldn’t be surprised if either team wins.  The only surprise would be a lopsided victory.

But in the end, the combination of Lynch and Seattle’s defense will prove to be the difference.  I’m sticking with my preseason pick.

Seattle will win a nail biter over Denver 27-24, whether there is snow or sunshine!

Now, quit listening to the talking heads and enjoy the game!

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