Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Super Bowl 2014: Five storylines you'll love to hate long before kickoff
Have you heard?
The Super Bowl is outdoors this year. In a cold-weather state. In early February. And that means …
(cue the ominous music, please)
It could snow!
This might not only be the single most tired storyline for this Super Bowl, but for all XLVIII of them. Predicting the score is so 2013. Somebody should come up with a box game for the temperature at your party next Sunday – then you’d be really hip.
But the hand-wringing over the weather is to be expected. The Super Bowl is nothing if not an opportunity to beat any angle into a straight line, and in that spirit, here is our annual look at the five storylines you’ll be sick of long before kickoff:
1. Richard Sherman said “______________.”
We, the media, have 12 days to kill. That is a lot of newspapers and broadcast time, not to mention all that unfillable internet space. We could try to breakdown the game, with specific details about how Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning will attack that formidable Seahawks defense.
Or we could just put a microphone in front of Richard Sherman and wait until he says something.
And if he doesn’t say anything? Oh, that’ll be a headline, too: “Subdued Richard Sherman avoids trash talking during Thursday media session.” We, the media, apologize in advance. But 12 days is a lot of time to fill.
2. The dreaded L word.
Peyton Manning can cement his legacy as the greatest quarterback of his generation, and maybe any generation, with a victory. But with a loss … jeez, even Eli has two titles. What’s wrong with him?
You’d think there would be more nuance here, or at least an appreciation of what has been a remarkable season for the Broncos quarterback. But Super Bowl week is an opportunity for oversimplification, and Manning and the L word figure to be prominent victims of that.
3. Hey, that silver-haired guy on the Seahawks sideline sort of looks familiar.
Pete Carroll coached the Jets! This was before he took over the Seahawks in 2010, and before he turned Southern Cal into a powerhouse, and before he was an unsuccessful head coach in New England, and before a two-year stint as defensive coordinator with the 49ers.
Which is to say: This was a very long time ago.
He was there for one year, in 1994, and was let go when the team collapsed late in the season. Did Carroll learn some lessons from his experience with the Jets? Did they make him a better coach? Does he even remember that year, or does he look at his own resume and think, “Ohhhhh, that’s right. I coached there, too.”
The Super Bowl will be played the Jets’ home stadium, so get ready, because we’re about to find out.
Oh, it’ll be too easy. The few visitors who don’t forget the game actually will be played on this side of the Hudson will use the journey through the Lincoln Tunnel as a chance to recycle the old favorites. Here come the Jersey Jokes.
New Jersey is the Garden State? Yeah, right.
Hey, what exit? Har har har.
You’re not going to close the George Washington Bridge on the teams if they make you angry, are you?
Okay, the last one is pretty good. Still, be prepared to be a storyline … and, of course, a punch line.
5. Hey, has anyone seen a weather report?
This is New Jersey in the wintertime. Somehow, during its centuries of inhabitation, our state has managed to survive the precipitation that always comes this month. But this fact does not make for a catchy intro for the nightly news, does it? But this one …
Every weatherman will make a prediction, and then another one, and then another one. The doomsday scenarios will be offered. The plow drivers will be interviewed. And then Sunday will come and the world will discover what we have known all along.
We always survive the weather. Will we survive the weather storyline? That has yet to be determined.