Stewing Over the Week Before The Super Bowl
No games this weekend so we’ll do some quick hits on the run up to the Super Bowl and other NFL goings on.
The Pro Bowl
Burner: So I guess there was one game this weekend. Sort of. The AFC beat the NFC 59-41 in a game where nobody hits, nobody blocks, nobody jumps, and the entire defense runs at half speed. I have a hard time thinking of a worse prosport for an All Star Game than the NFL. There are too many guys who need to work in concert with one another playing a game with too high a risk of injury for it to ever go well. Personally I’m in the camp that says name a team and don’t play the game. If the players are desperate to go to Hawaii on someone else’s dime, go ahead and send them and have them just do charity work and fundraising. Another acceptable option would be to play a 7 on 7 (no rushing) flag game, put all those linemen in hula skirts and have them be the cheerleaders, mic everyone up, and just have a laugh with it.
Kevin: I’m a fan of your idea re: the flag football. That’s something I would watch. The pro-bowl as is? Nope. I checked in for 2 seconds just to see what was going on and immediately switched it back to Diners, Drive-In’s and Dives. More entertaining and higher probability of bodily injury.
Dave: The Pro Bowl is terrible and no one watches. I’m a fan of any idea that changes it at all. If I had to guess, however, they’ll do nothing with it. They don’t need it to do well- everyone is already excited over watching the Super Bowl to care.
Burner: Having grown up just a couple of hours east of Indy, I find it absolutely hilarious that the game is being played there. Look, I’m all for ending south Florida’s rainy death grip on Super Bowl hosting, I think the New Jersey Super Bowl is a great step toward playing the Super Bowl in actual football conditions, I think the one after that should be in Chicago, and then Denver after that. Indianapolis is the worst of all worlds though, it’s far from any place that isn’t nowhere, it’s got no culture, it’s a bland bump in a state that stretches from industrial ruin to Kentucky. Seriously, the big selling point has been the tunnel system that’s keeping people from having to go outside. All that and Lucas Oil Field House is an indoor field that looks like it’s in a barn. How very apropos.
Kevin: A Superbowl in Chicago/Green Bay/Denver would be great, and hopefully that’s where we’re headed. But despite your hatred for Indy, it’s actually a really great place for a gigantic event like the Superbowl (or Final Four or Big Ten men’s football/basketball championships). There’s a decent amount of bars/restaurants for tourists, and the main selling point is the hotel accommodations and proximity to the stadium. There has been a constant praise for the city since they started hosting events there. So long as you get past having to deal with people from Indiana (or people that went to Indiana schools….ha!), I’m sure it would be fine.
Dave: I have to agree with Kevin here that Indy is actually a great town for a sporting event. The stadium is literally right downtown so you can walk straight from the bars to the stadium. “People from Indiana” are the exact same as people from Illinois. Coming from a town South of Chicago, I figured Kevin would know that already.
Burner: If you’re unfamiliar, this is where they cram all the various media, mostly local and international radio shows, and essentially create a centralized location for all the various preweek goings on. On the plus side, you can hear Stink and D-Mac (or whoever your local d-bags happen to be) interview some of the all time greats. On the negative side each of the interviews features a five minute plug for Johnsonville brats or p-90x or some other thing you could care less about.
Kevin: If I remember right it was last year that the biggest piece of news that came from this media event was the outrage over some Brazilian reporter wearing skimpy clothes. OUT.
Dave: I’m officially down to listening to 10 minutes of radio a day. Mike & Mike in the morning accompany me as I wake up and get dressed for work. My biggest issue with radio is what Burner brought up. It’s one, long, giant, terrible advertisement. Honestly, I worry that television may soon turn into this.
Burner: Patiots vs Giants. Boston vs New York. Since the Rams haven’t moved back to LA yet, these are literally the two cities I least want to succeed in football. Over exposed pretty boy, owner/sponsor of Uggs for men, winner of zero Super Bowls since he married a super model vs over exposed, over analysed little brother with an “oh poo!” face and an infuriating ability to convert third downs. A humorless, behooded, football genius with a penchant for big titted housewives and cheating vs a humorless, red faced, old school, field general with a penchant for shouting. Even their explayers are terrible, Cheap Shot Rodeny Harrison vs gap toothed Subway shill Michael Strahan. At least the last time these two met we could all root for the Giants to end the Patriots’ unbeaten streak, this time there’s nothing to root for.
Kevin: I’m hosting a Superbowl party this year, and since I despise pretty much everything about these two franchises, I will be paying more attention to the Puppy Bowl playing simultaneously on a second TV. Unfortunately, I have a feeling that this will be one of those all-time classics and we’ll get to hear about either Brady being the best QB ever or Eli being a hall-of-famer candidate. Shoot me now.
Dave: I can’t disagree with anything that’s been said. We’re all rooting for the meteor in the game. I honestly don’t know why I’m even bothering to watch the game. Thank god for gambling. Kevin, you better get a number of line cards going or I’m going to go home at half time.
Burner: NBC has the game this year so it’s Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth. Al Michaels is great, the last truly great play by play guy we have left. Collinsworth…Collinsworth I’m not such a fan of. I know he gets lots of love for being willing to criticize (listening Gruden?) but to my mind he too often says things that reinforce the narrative he’s already built in his head, often in the face of direct evidence to the contrary occurring right in front of him. Together they average out to a sold B, far superior to Sports Robot Joe Buck and Walking Head Injury Troy Aikman or Pheel Sims and Jim Nantz.
Kevin: I disagree about Collinsworth. I feel like he actually provides some insight that I can’t discover myself because 90% of the time he’s watching something in the play that I can’t see (they get the endzone feeds in the booth). I feel like Jaws/Gruden (admittedly two of the worst in the business) just regurgitate what I’m already thinking in my head. Jaws – “Tom Brady really can throw the ball with accuracy, especially when he’s given as much time as this line has given him so far tonight.” Gruden -“Calvin Johnson. Boy. He’s the best receiver I’ve ever seen. Talk about a man. That’s the kind of football player I want on my team.” Um, thanks? I mean yeah, Collinsworth isn’t perfect, but he and Michaels are easily the best in the business.
Dave: I totally agree that Al Michaels is the best in the business. Collinsworth is completely fine in my book too. This is really a best case scenario for announcers. Thank god it’s not Jaws and Gruden. We might have actually had to watch the Puppy Bowl in place of game.
Peyton Manning vs Jim Irsay
Burner: It seems pretty clear after this week’s back and forth that ol Pey Pey will not be back in Indianapolis next season. The only real questions are whether he’ll ever play football again and if so where. I suspect he’ll play again, given the developing acrimony I think he’ll have some of that Brett Favre revenge motivation to carry him forward, but if his neck is well and truly busted then all bets are off.
Kevin: I was pretty surprised they were airing their dirty laundry publically. You’d think after working with each other for Manning’s entire career they’d figure this stuff out behind closed doors. Kinda sad that the Manning era is over. Especially since he will probably start working for CBS and join their pre-game show. Ugh, can you imagine? Manning and Sharpe together on the same show? Again, shoot me now.
Dave: Yes, Peyton seems down in Indy. My guess is that he’s done for good. I just don’t see why Indy would be so willing to let him go otherwise. Also, I just can’t see Peyton going and playing for some also-ran. Remind me of this when he’s leading the Dolphins to a 13-3 record next year.
The St Louis Rams
Burner: Two bits of Rams news came out this week. The first was that the team will be playing three “home” games in London. The second is that team owner Stan Kroenke is trying to buy the LA Dodgers. Separately either of these things is little cause for concern, but together they seem to say that Kroenke’s Missouri roots will not be enough to keep the Rams in St Louis. Kroenke had to transfer ownership of the Denver Nuggets and Avalanche to his son to get around NFL ownership rules when he bought the Rams, if he’s trying to buy the Dodgers that would necessitate a Rams move more ownership transferring. On top of that playing one less home game a year over three years isn’t doing much to build the team’s fan base back up after a decade of futility. The team’s lease essentially expires in 2014 but word is that the London games also violate that lease, so things are still up in the air there, but I don’t have much hope for the Ram’s future in St Louis.
Dave: Man, yeah, they sound completely doomed. Fans are so powerless in this situation. It’s too bad they can’t organize and just not go to a single game from here on out. That would be great to see them playing for an empty stadium. Screw that guy.
The Bears New General Manager
Burner: The Chicago Bears have hired Phil Emery to be their new GM. Emery’s last job was director of college scouting with the Kansas City Chiefs. Poor, poor Bears fans. The Chiefs m.o. lately has been talented guys who are hurt all the time, nothing frustrating about that.
Kevin: What really bothers me about this hiring is that he’s basically Angelo part two. Yeah, he can say all he wants that he’s different and that he has a different system for evaluating players, but at the end of the day this guy was giving Angelo the information he needed to draft/sign shitty guys for like 3-4 years. And as you say, his record at KC isn’t exactly stellar. So the Bears didn’t clean house, they just painted the room a different color. Hopefully Bears fans are prepared to suck for a long while. In two seasons the entire defense will need to be replaced. Perfect timing for Cutler’s prime.
Dave: The depressing Bears situation is why I find myself less and less interested in the NFL every year and more and more interested in the NBA.