The player, college, and NBA have suffered greatly in quality of play and players. And for every Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett there has been a conga line of lost causes, teens who toiled in Europe or Asia or worse once their hoop dreams melted into memory.
The NFL is considering a heavy tax on it, citing the fact that the gridiron is a workplace, and thus they can control the language and lexicon of its players. It’s probably the most delicate and toxic topic we’ll ever discuss in sports.
Even by the pro athlete’s subterranean standards, the Ray Rice video was shocking. He made no effort to heal or cradle or care for his unconscious fiancee.
Forever high on hubris, the sport is pondering extra games, playoff teams, and new franchises, perhaps in London or Los Angeles. And it feels like all are in the name of profit, not principle.
What will matter most? The fact that Seattle has no players with Super Bowl experience, or their youth and speed and top-ranked defense? Or will the game be won by Denver’s suddenly stout rush defense and Peyton Manning’s blessed right arm?
Everything is larger in New York, and Super Bowl Boulevard is no exception. It has the obscene, fun-house distortion you expect when a party is thrown in Times Square.
It’s not as toxic a topic as the New York/New Jersey border war, or as socially inflamed as the Richard Sherman saga. But, in a strictly sporting sense, it really is the topic du jour. If he wins Sunday’s Super Bowl, is Peyton Manning the greatest quarterback in NFL history?
In the days since his rant, Sherman has moonwalked from his outburst. Well, kinda. He didn’t apologize for humiliating Michael Crabtree, but insisted he was sorry for deflecting from his team.
No matter who has the edge Sunday, it seems the nation is rooting for Manning, because it’s been harder for him to win, because he’s not so pretty, because he’s considered one of us, because you get the sense that his aw-shucks, southern refrain is real.
My hands may be white from all the chalk I pick, you know there will be one supreme surprise this week. But where? Since we went 3-1 last week – losing with the wretched Bengals, like everyone else – let’s try our hand at the most heavenly weekend of a most horrible winter.