Even though I publicly denounce it as sharply and defiantly as Seinfeld’s Mr. Lippman denounces his Judaism in hopes of scoring with Elaine (“The Serenity Now”), I’m frankly OK with the week off between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl.
The week off from football provides at once both a sneak peek and a reminder of what life is like without America’s Greatest Game. But as much as I miss the NFL, its absence isn’t all bad, as it frees up time to catch up on other news and happenings around the world.
Some of my favorite recent stories:
1. Diddy Sued For $1 Trillion, Blamed For 9/11. The best Onion headline not to appear in The Onion. You may laugh about the fact that some lawyer somewhere decided to take this case on, but look at it this way: If the case is successful, lawyer’s fees will probably amount to “100 zillions of dollars.” I’m hoping that this woman’s next target is Justin Bieber.
2. Glee‘s Ryan Murphy Being A Big Poopyhead. To be honest, I know little about Glee. I bought the first season of the hit show on Blu-Ray so I could see what I was missing, but I have been too busy enjoying the box set of It’s Garry Shandling’s Show to check it out. But the show’s creator, Ryan Murphy, has obvious problems with other artists not willing to kiss his show business rings. When Kings of Leon refused to allow their songs to be used in an episode, Mr. Murphy called the band “self-centered a**holes.” Mr. Murphy also referred to Slash from Guns ‘N Roses as “uneducated and quite stupid” when Guns N’ Roses wouldn’t license their music to the FOX show. Hey, Mr. Murphy, where is it written that artists need to feel obligated to help improve the quality of your show? I can’t blame Slash for not wanting an entire generation to immediately associate classics like “Mr. Brownstone” or “Paradise City” with a perky and impossibly cute high school choir. Sort of causes the songs to lose their edge.
3. Charlie Sheen Wants To Start Porn Family. Hey, CBS, cancel Two and a Half Men and give this guy a reality show. Now that I would watch.
4. Gorilla walks upright. Apparently he’s found that walking upright is faster than dragging your knuckles on the ground, and speed is important when trying to outrun Taco Bell workers from making so-called “seasoned beef” out of you.
But hey, there’s been plenty of NFL news this week, much of it related to the Championship Games and the Super Bowl. Here’s some of it broken down by day:
Monday: I already wrote my NFC Championship Game reaction Sunday night, but in that piece I didn’t really address the Jay Cutler mess. But to me the bottom line is this: When the going got tough, he got going. To the sidelines. With seemingly no need for medical attention. Now, I’m not going to argue that he wasn’t injured or that he isn’t “tough” (he was sacked an inordinate number of times early in the season before the Bears shored up their offensive line), but you don’t just take yourself out of the biggest game in your career. However, given how much more effective Caleb Haine was, Bears fans should not only be happy Cutler took himself out but should be seriously considering if Cutler – a decided non-leader in a position that needs to be filled by a leader – is worth the baggage (turnovers, attitude) he brings to the team. I can’t imagine any fan of any team, no matter how bad the QB situation is on that team – and there are some bad situations around the league – wanting Jay Cutler.
Tuesday: But for how much of a cancer Jay Cutler seemed on Sunday, he didn’t deserve to get beat up on Twitter by his NFL brethren. Nor did the Packers front office deserve the negative Twitter posts from disgruntled stars Jermichael Finley and Nick Barnett when it looked like they and the 14 other players on injured reserve would not be included in the team’s Super Bowl photo. But the Packers are a world-class organization and I knew as soon as this story broke that the team would find a way to correct the situation. (They did and the players will be included in the photo.) But just because the Packers are a class act doesn’t mean that they always employ class players. (Would you want Najeh Davenport to spend the night at your house?) Finley and Barnett should have shut the hell up. The Packers don’t need the distraction any more than they needed either player to get to the franchise’s fifth Super Bowl. Kudos to head coach Mike McCarthy for referring to the social media site as “the Twit-Tweeter,” implying rather bluntly that Finley and Barnett are a couple of upper-class twits.
Wednesday: President Obama can’t catch a break. Despite its continued improvement, only 45 percent of Americans approve of the way he’s handling the economy. He faces an uphill battle over health care, there is still no clear end to the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, and now he’s facing unrest in Egypt that threatens to send gas prices skyrocketing, which he will inevitably be blamed for. Oh, and his beloved Chicago Bears lost on Sunday. Then, on a visit to America’s Dairyland, he unwisely vowed revenge on the green and gold saying, “We will get you next year.” Hey, Obama, don’t you realize that just that statement alone probably cost you tons of support in 2012 from Wisconsinites who would vote Kim Kardashian for president if it somehow guaranteed a Packers Super Bowl victory? Given the timing of his visit, Obama’s team should have secured a popular former Packer great like Bart Starr, LeRoy Butler, or Brett Favre to join him on his trip. Eh, on second thought, maybe not Favre.
Thursday: Need more proof that the Packers had an incredible season? Some smart statistican figured out that not only had the Packers not trailed by any more than seven points all season, but it has been 48 years since a football team went wire-to-wire in such an impressive manner. (Oddly enough, it was the 1962 version of the usually-lowly Detroit Lions that could last claim that feat.) None of this will likely matter should the Packers not win the Super Bowl, but no matter what the outcome in Arlington, perhaps no other stat speaks more to the impressive season Green Bay has had. Or how crazy it is that this team almost missed the playoffs entirely.
Friday: The first bit of bad injury news for the Super Bowl, and surprisingly enough, it doesn’t concern the injury-ravaged Packers. Word has come out that due to a left ankle injury suffered in the victory over the Jets in the AFC Championship Game, the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to be without their Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey. While it’s not as sexy a story as if a so-called skill position player would miss the game, Pouncey is a crucial part of the Steelers’ pass protection and run-blocking schemes. In a close game like the Packers-Steelers matchup looks like it is shaping up to be, Pouncey’s loss could prove important.
See you back here next week with a review of the second week of pre-Super Bowl hype and a game prediction. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to read more about what Tracy Morgan said about Sarah Palin.
Have a good weekend.