If you are a fan of the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday night was a tremendous night for you. If you root for the Denver Broncos, it was not so good. For everyone else, it was a mixed bag, I guess. If you are a fan of competitive football, it was a big pile of garbage. There were good moments, and certainly a number of good plays (made mostly by Seattle), but as a whole, despite the largest television audience of all time, I found this to be a snoozer and an embarrassing performance by what was supposed to be the NFL’s best offense. The Seahawks trounced the Broncos, 43-8.
I didn’t know that it was possible for the Super Bowl to become an even bigger spectacle and media event than it had become in recent years, yet having the game in the New York area (yes, New Jersey, we know the game was really in your charming state) made for hype at a level that I have never before seen. Much of the non-game focus centered around the possibility of bad weather, since the league decided to hold the event outside of the usual warm-weather cities or domed stadiums. It turns out that train and subway stations were much bigger problems, at least on game day itself. A number of people reportedly collapsed amid massive crowds at a variety of transportation sites. After the game, there were long delays at the train station outside the stadium, as thousands and thousands of people tried to get back to Manhattan and other transportation. As far as the weather goes, it was much warmer on Sunday than had been anticipated, but a big snowstorm hit the area in the hours after the game, causing many problems for people trying to travel out of the New York area.
The game itself had been billed as eventual Hall-of-Famer Peyton Manning and the very talented Broncos offense against the young, upstart Seahawks and their top-ranked defense. From the first offensive snap, which traveled over Manning’s shoulder and into the end zone for a safety, the Broncos looked totally lost. Manning threw two first-half interceptions and was constantly under pressure, while 25-year-old Russell Wilson led his team to a 22-0 halftime lead. Manning, while he has had an incredible career, did nothing to change my opinion of him as a guy who plays poorly in the biggest moments. Yes, he won a Super Bowl with the Indianapolis Colts in 2007, but that was far more due to the incredible Colts defense than it was to anything Manning did. If you want me to win a regular season game, I’ll take Manning on my team every time. For the Super Bowl, give me Tom Brady, Joe Montana, or a number of other guys. When the Seahawks returned the opening kickoff of the second half for a touchdown, any thought of a comeback was over and it was all about the (underwhelming) commercials.
Things actually got more interesting after the game, when some wacko spouting off something about 9/11 being caused by our own government grabbed the microphone away from game MVP Malcolm Smith, despite the huge amounts of money spent on security for the game. No one was hurt, but the NFL and the New Jersey State Police sure came out looking very bad. I guess it’s good that the guy didn’t make it out onto the field during the game. If he had, I am guessing the Broncos would have had trouble tackling him.
Bad sports, continued:
2) A soccer match in the Copa Del Ray tournament between Spanish teams Racing Santander and Real Sociedad was suspended after players from Racing Santander stopped playing as a protest against unpaid wages.
3) Two former NFL players made fools of themselves this week, continuing a feud that started early in the last decade. Warren Sapp, who has never known when to be quiet, stated that Michael Strahan, who was being considered for election to the NFL Hall of Fame (Sapp is already in), was not good enough to be selected. Strahan unwisely responded in kind, with some ridiculous words. The week ended with Sapp trying to patch things up, as he was going to have to face Strahan in person, as the former Giant was, in fact, selected to the Hall.
4) Not to be outdone by loudmouth Richard Sherman, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided to spout off himself this week, ripping Sherman in an interview published in the New York Post. What a bunch of nonsense. Guys, just shut up and play.
1) I have been torn about whether this belongs in Good Sports or Bad Sports. Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter has led an effort by his teammates to start the process of creating a union for college football players. It seems like this could lead us down a path that would dramatically change the sport, and not necessarily for the better, as far as the average fan goes. That said, so much money is made from this sport and so little of it benefits the players, that I have to support things that will allow that inequity to be addressed.
2) A college football player from a tiny school in Oregon has become the first in his sport to come out publicly as gay. The news splash is not what it would be if Conner Mertens played at Alabama, but it’s a start.
3) NASCAR had its Media Days last week, and it used them to announce dramatic changes to the Chase for the Sprint Cup, its version of playoffs. In order to more closely resemble traditional playoffs in other sports, the Chase will now eliminate teams as it goes, leaving just four drivers still championship-eligible going into the final race of the season, which becomes a winner-takes-all deal.
4) Super Bowl loss aside, Peyton Manning extended his NFL record for most MVP awards by winning his fifth on Saturday. He was a nearly-unanimous selection, with only one of the fifty voters choosing someone else (Tom Brady took that vote).
Bad sports, good sports appears every Monday
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