Media Day itself now dwarfs football talk

The Daily Dan for Wednesday, January 30, 2014

Wednesday Whip-Around:


Media Day is the moment when Super Bowl week takes a turn from hype to football.  Only it’s strictly symbolic.  And that’s because Media Day really has nothing to do with football.  The annual gabfest when thousands of reporters of all shapes and sizes query players about everything from their NFL legacies to their favorite color has grown so big that the event has become the story.  In other words the main headline from Tuesday was that Media Day had happened as opposed to anything a player or coach said.  This has been the case for years now, but the final piece of proof—or evidence if you prefer—was the offering of tickets just to get in and watch.


So what did we learn from Media Day 2014? We learned that Peyton Manning is about as well-spoken as he is proficient throwing a football.  We learned that Marshawn Lynch had no interest in the event, for which he stayed six of the required 60 minutes.  And we learned that Richard Sherman is smarter than most of us think.  Having successfully injected himself into the heart of the storyline at the conclusion of the NFC Championship Game, he deferred to his teammates in front of the masses at Prudential Center.


At the first Super Bowl, and yes we know it was not called that, Chiefs players posted at their beds and the head coach, Hank Stram, greeted reporters in the hotel lobby and directed them to the appropriate rooms.  Forty-seven years later an Austrian reporter showed up dressed as Mozart—and interviewed Waldo.  Yup, this is what the biggest one-day sporting event in the world produced for its so-called media day.


There is a football game scheduled for Sunday though and it is a doozy if you’re trying to break down the Xs and Os.  Whether Sherman is ranting or deferring, he is an outstanding cornerback who can blanket almost any wide receiver in the league.  The Broncos though, look to have too many weapons to apply strict, man coverage, though it would surprise few if they tried it out.


The trump card might be the rush ends, Chris Clemons and Red Bryant.  Both can get to the quarterback and history has shown us the ticket to beating Peyton Manning is to get his feet moving.  Pressure from both sides could be the way to do it.  It is a fine line though.  Manning is a maestro at mixing up his snap counts and once he has the ball he gets it out as quickly as any quarterback who has ever lived.


I believe, as most do, that the game will be decided when the Broncos have the ball.  Either they will score enough to win or they won’t.  I expect the Seahawks to score but not run it up.  Their quarterback Russell Wilson could not be more different from Manning, but he’s as wily as they come and can beat teams with his arm or legs.  Lynch may not have been much for talking at Media Day, but he can play, and he’s among the best there is at keeping his run going after contact.


But the Broncos are good enough to score 40 points against anyone, and the Seahawks are capable of limiting any team to less than 15.  That’s what makes this Super Bowl so interesting.  Even if Media Day had nothing to do with the actual game.

Other thoughts, news, happenings, and tid-bits

Tennis:  Rafael Nadal is expected to travel to Argentina where he is scheduled to play in Buenos Aires.  Nadal played their only once, in 2005, where he lost to Gaston Gaudio in the quarterfinals.  He injured his back in his Australian Open final loss to Stanislas Wawrinka and is home resting in Spain.


NBA:  The Celtics fell to 0-6 with Rajon Rondo after a blowout loss to the Knicks in New York on Tuesday.  The 114-88 final was short of the game-high 35-point lead the Knicks had while the Celtics never put their noses in front.  Rondo sat out one game since returning from ACL surgery and the Celtics won it over the Wizards in overtime.  In reality though they were freefalling before Rondo got there.  Once 13-17 the Cs have dropped 15 of 17 to sir 15-32.


NBA:  The Spurs lost in Houston on Tuesday and are now 0-3 against the Rockets this season.  They are also 1-7 against the combination of the Thunder, Trail Blazers, Clippers, Pacers, and Heat.

Stats Corner

NHL:  Philip Varone scored his 1st NHL goal Tuesday night in the Sabres’ loss to the Capitals.  Originally a 5th Round pick by the Sharks, the 23-year old Varone was in his 4th NHL games and five days removed from his debut.


NHL:  The Predators called up Colton Sissons and the 20-year delivered an assist for his first NHL point.  The 50th pick in the 2012 draft (2nd Round) was leading the AHL Milwaukee Wave in scoring at the time of his call-up.


NHL:  Barry Trotz has passed Billy Reay with 543 career regular season wins, making the only coach in Predators’ history 14th on the all-time list.  Reay coached the Maple Leafs for two seasons and then spent 14 with the Blackhawks leading them to finals appearances in 1965, 1971, and 1973 where they lost each time to the Canadiens.

The Archive
1/27: Wawrinka wins Aussie Open
1/28: Charting older dirt routers
1/29: Media Day overwhelms, underwhelms
1/30: Mickelson will play
1/31: Super Bowl highlights weekend
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