For my final pre-Super Bowl themed blog entry, I wanted to discuss some of the more amusing storylines heading into the game. Granted, the brother vs. brother dynamic is awesome, the Ray Lewis “last ride” is enthralling, and Colin Kaepernick’s shooting rise to the top is headline worthy, but let’s look at a few others:
1. We need to talk about it: Ray Lewis vs. the PEDs
Ray Lewis is not Mark McGuire, Barry Bonds, or Sammy Sosa; the thoughts of him and PEDs never came into play until yesterday, when the world, including the Baltimore Ravens, was blindsided by the story that a clinic in south Florida had administered drug regiments, including banned substances, to multiple players in multiple sports.
Let’s look at the facts: Ray Lewis never tested positive for PEDs. A comeback would be that Lance Armstrong never did either, but that’s not fair. Lewis was assured to be a first ballot Hall of Famer before his comeback tour this season, so why would he use and jeopardize all that, especially knowing that the media would find it eventually.
Also look at the source: I recognize that the Miami New Times is not a tabloid, and I have no doubt that they did a thorough investigation. However, the only major source, as of this moment, is the guy who runs the Sports for Alternatives to Steroids clinic, and he’s running his mouth left and right; barring concrete evidence, I’ll take the story with a grain of salt.
2. Alex Smith: the high road
Despite being benched, Alex Smith is still a classy guy. He has worked with Kaepernick and the team, and may very well get a Super Bowl ring for his cumulative efforts this season. He may also be traded in the off-season, in which case he may not only bolster another team, but the Niners as well.
I hope that he has a remarkable time in New Orleans and a successful career, wherever that may go. I feel like he doesn’t get enough credit for being such a class act through all this.
3. Roger Goodell in New Orleans
Commissioner Roger Goodell is not the most liked man in New Orleans; he probably has a lower approval rating there than their mayor who was arrested on corruption charges. However, all this talk about his personal safety is nonsense; the city of New Orleans has historically hosted the Super Bowl once every five to seven years, and if the citizenry there is smart, they are not going to jeopardize that by causing trouble to the man who, whether or not he has the actual authority to so, can prevent them from ever getting another Super Bowl.
Seriously, think about it: if someone attacks Goodell, in two or there years time, when New Orleans is bidding to host another Super Bowl, the owners and the commissioner will remember what happened last time, which would sink the bid the first time, give them serious pause the second and third, and be a serious roadblock every time after. Worse, it would give every other sports league pause as well, and could effect the overall reputation of New Orleans.
The reason for this is that any such incident would not be viewed as justified: unless you are radical over the Saints bounty scandal, most people view the scandal as water under the bridge, passing through, done and done; there is nothing to avenge, there is nothing to fight for on that front anymore. The suspensions have been served or vacated, the fines have been paid, the lawsuits settled; fickle American attention spans won’t have sympathy for fans who want to avenge their team over something that is widely viewed as over.
4. Joe Flacco does not want to play in next year’s Super Bowl
Joe Flacco blasted the idea of a cold weather Super Bowl, which is surprising: most guys want to play in back-to-back Super Bowls. Seriously, dude: don’t knock the setting; be a professional, and play the game. If you don’t like the idea of playing in the cold, get out of the league, go! Seriously, there’s the door.
The most arrogant thing about Flacco’s comments is that he either believes that he is speaking on behalf of other players who don’t want to talk about it, or he believes he’ll be playing it next year’s Super Bowl, and in either case it’s not good. The NFLPA would have objected if they thought the game was unsafe and shouldn’t be played there. Other players have kept quiet because they know better than to knock the city that could potentially be hosting them this time next year.
Finally, I feel compelled to repeat my previous arguments on the topic: (1) conference championship games are played the weather of the home team, which includes snow, rain, slush, or sunshine, whichever is applicable. The Super Bowl is just another championship game. (2) The Super Bowl will always sell out, and be heavily watched. (3) The NFL is doing right by the Jets and Giants for building a new stadium; after all the major incentive to build a new stadium is the NFL’s stated policy that they try to direct Super Bowls to new stadiums, and (4) a real professional deals with the environment they are placed in, and doesn’t complain.
Final, final thought: Super Bowl L
In 2016, the NFL will play Super Bowl L; for those of you who don’t understand roman numerals, and I don’t hold that against anyone, it will be the fiftieth Super Bowl.
Now, normally people wouldn’t care about a Super Bowl three years off; the bidding process hasn’t started yet, and especially now, there isn’t too much reason to look forward to it. However, I offer the following reason to do just that: for the fiftieth anniversary of the Super Bowl, there is talk of holding it in the host city of Super Bowl I (or technically the AFL-NFL World Championship Game, retroactively renamed Super Bowl I), which is Los Angeles, which at last glance does not have an NFL team.
Now, LA has been trying to get an NFL team since the Rams and Raiders both departed in 1994. I am a proponent of LA hosting a Super Bowl, since it is the biggest metropolitan area in the United States without an NFL team, and recognize the significance of Super Bowl L. While I am hesitant about a team moving there, thus potentially giving us a repeat of other ugly team moves across the decades (Cleveland ’95 for example), LA is deserving of a team, but a Super Bowl would likewise sound nice.
As to particulars, I have no idea, and no clue: those are for people who care more, and until I’m being paid to work on this project (and yes I am available and willing), I don’t care that much. The overall idea sounds good, though. LA shouldn’t push for Super Bowl XLIX (or 49), but make a strong, hard push for Super Bowl L, on the grounds of the historical significance. It would be a nice moment.