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Super Bowl Open Thread

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Update [2007-2-5 0:23:8 by royalsreview]: According to "buddyball" Joel's Star Spangled Banner clocked in at 1:36. Congrats to everyone who had the under. And congrats to Francis Scott Key, one of the great one-hit wonders and media creations (the story about when he wrote it, etc.) of all-time, who's passionate defense of slavery will be remembered by all...

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The Bears ARE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE!!

If anyone wants to talk about the game, during the game, I should be around.

Totally Meaningless Royals Review Super Bowl Pick

I'm rooting for the Colts, so therefore I think the Bears are going to win.
Rex Grossman just wins: Bears 28, Colts 24

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Speaking of football, Bob Ryan at the Boston Globe has an interesting take on the sport:

Bob Ryan excerpted from the Boston Globe, September 13, 2006:

Pro sports are all grown-up enterprises, but there's none tougher or more hard-hearted than football. It brings to mind the Sausage Factory Syndrome. You know what I'm talking about. They say that if you enjoy eating sausages, don't bother inquiring about how they make them. It will make you into an instant vegan.
I say that if you're a big fan of pro football, just plop yourself into your seat at the stadium or in front of your set when the game starts and don't think about what it took for those players to get on the field. This is the worst combination in sport: a brutal body-sacrifice game run by people who have become desensitized to the weekly carnage.

Q. How did you come up with the sausage analogy for football?

A. Because it was perfectly logical to me. There are untold millions of my fellow Americans who sit down on Sunday or Monday night and enjoy what I call a thinly-disguised barbaric exercise - who don't care to think about what it takes to get these people on the field - players sacrificing their bodies and routinely doing things other athletes would question and the judgments coaches make. Many times I've met football coaches I like at the high school or college level and I ask them "Why do you choose to do this for a living - this game is so demeaning and you have to suspend so much humanity to do this - there are better games than this - why would a person of intellect and humanity choose to make a life in football?" Most people don't think about this. So when I call pro football a sausage factory I'm calling attention to a truly barbaric exercise.

Q. How do you personally justify covering football?

A. I've said many times that for me baseball and basketball are fun and I love them - and football is a business. Even though I grew up with it and can enjoy a good game based on my accumulated knowledge of history and as a lover of sports drama, which it has to some degree though not to the degree of other sports, and it produces a wonderful atmosphere with large numbers of people in these stadiums and I can enjoy that and I am looking forward to the Ohio State-Michigan game which I can't deny - but if football were declared illegal in the next five minutes it wouldn't bother me.

I can be a hypocrite in that regard. Invariably we have to be hypocrites in this business. Look at big-time college sports - you know what a farce it is but we still embrace the pageantry and competition - but if you look at it closely it has nothing to do with higher education.

Q. Can you reconcile this?

A. You have to - if you're too troubled by it you can't work. I can deal with it. I go through this exercise at the Final Four - and I've written this - the time to complain about the folly and illogical nature of college sports is over - once you get to the Final Four. I love it - I love the competition - college basketball and baseball are in my DNA. We're covering sports - no sense getting high and mighty about it - how self-righteous should we get? We're just talking about sports.

If I were drawing a line I would rather draw it at the barbaric nature of football - that would be my choice. We're forced to compromise in sports. Now if you can find a sport relatively untainted - great - but in my world I deal with sports that have these complications.

The rest of that interview is posted at Sports Media Guide, which I highly recommend reading sometime. Ryan's one of my favorite writers, when he's on, he really hits higher notes than just about anyone else. Plus, he has a great since of timing.

Take his description of the post-game presser following the Grady Little/Pedro Game 7 against the Yankees:

The press conference following the game was surreal. Grady was asked two questions, the first being, why did you leave Pedro in, and the second being, what was said on the mound? Then there was silence. League PR representative Phyllis Merhige said, "Any more questions for Grady?" Now, remember, this was a seventh game of an American League Championship Series decided by a walkoff homer, and, not only that, but the seventh game of a Yankee-Red Sox series to conclude a spectacular 26-game confrontation, and not one person wanted his thoughts on any of that. All anyone wanted to do was hear him explain why he left Pedro in the game.

"Doesn't anyone have any more questions?" Merhige pleaded. "Grady was nice enough to walk all the way down here."

Total deafening silence.

Grady rose from his chair and left the room. In 35 years of professional sportswriting, I have never seen anything like it.

He is finished. John W. Henry and Larry Lucchino are very PR- and image-conscious. Do you think they wish to be known as the complete fools who didn't know enough to get rid of the man perceived by an entire sports-loving nation to be the Village Idiot? Do you think Grady Little can show his face in this town again, under any circumstances? Do you think they can afford to have this maligned and reviled figure as the public face of Red Sox baseball?

Grady Little has become the managerial Buckner. [Boston Globe, Oct 18 2003]

Anyway, that ended up being alot more Bob Ryan talk than I expected... Football time!