Sports Meme Power Rankings: Where Who Dat? Belongs To The Universe

Spencer Hall's Sports Meme Power Rankings list the top ten most-discussed sports stories on the internet and beyond each week. These are determined by a rigorous process that incorporates a complex formula involving none of your business.

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Sports Meme Power Rankings: Where Who Dat? Belongs To The Universe

1. STILL AT NUMBER ONE IN SLIGHTLY ADJUSTED FORM: THE [CORPORATE EVENT WHOSE NAME WOULD COST $450 TO TYPE HERE.]  If the NFL Playoffs were number one last week, they remain at number one in the form of the run-up to the Large Gridiron-Based Event, or the world's largest corporate junket surrounding a football game: the Super Bowl. We're not being too careful here: the NFL is attempting to order the cessation of the sales of even things as innocuous as "Who Dat?" merchandise, which is a shame because bad grammar belongs to everyone and is truly our most abundant natural resource as a nation. 

Wait, I'm sorry to impugn the grammar of Saints fans, especially you Master Chief WhoDat. Say whatever you like, because you frighten and fascinate me simultaneously. 

New-orleans-saints-fan_medium

This will not work, since Saints fans obey only the laws of gravity and bayou justice, and will print "Who Dat?" gear in Uncle Boudreaux's smoke-shack out in the swamp if they have to in order to properly represent their team. Indianapolis fans, meanwhile, are desperately waging a war with irony in the "WHO YA GOT?" battle this week between those arguing the relative merits of both cities. This argument is the only real game going on this week since no one's playing any football, and no the Pro Bowl does not count for so many very good reasons. The current score based on comment threads on the internet is "Irony 458, Indianapolis Colts fans -28." The arguments currently work out thusly, if you're interested in picking a city to root for based not on the actual players on the teams, but instead on loose cultural affiliations: 

New Orleans: Gastronomic wonderland, studded with striking colonial architecture found few other places in America,  prone to flooding and patches of extreme poverty. HOLY COW DID YOU SEE THAT RAT. Blessed with a long tradition of both homegrown and adopted literary and musical talent, and currently enjoying underdog status as a unique multicultural city on the comeback trail following the worst natural disaster in recent national history. Sometimes, people get naked in the streets for tiny balls of plastic.

Indianapolis: Proud of their shrimp cocktail. Clean, mostly. Much less likely to get shot in than New Orleans. Ample parking day and night. David Letterman got his start there as a weatherman, and sometimes gave humorous but fake updates...which angered people. Not exactly diverse. The favorite, and therefore not the beloved underdog. Brushes and flosses, takes the garbage out promptly, and likes a good night out at Applebees. 

So America, to review: you'll root for who you want to be (New Orleans) while rooting against who you actually are (Indianapolis). Next week! Exciting interviews on media day and that woman with the tight pants from Univision! AY PAPI! 

2. UP LIKE THE ASCENDING ANGEL ST. TIMOTHY:  TIM TEBOW IS BRETT FAVRE BUT WITH JESUS' PHONE NUMBER AND WITHOUT A VIABLE NFL CAREER. The Senior Bowl is this week in Mobile, Alabama, and Tim Tebow's reviews are in:

Todd McShay says! 

"He can’t play quarterback in the NFL, I’m convinced of it,’’ ESPN director of college scouting Todd McShay said. "From his delivery to his footwork to his accuracy, you have to absolutely strip him down and build him back up. And it’s too late.’’

Anonymous NFL scout who always pops up around this time of year says

"I actually don’t think he’s that hard to evaluate at all,’’ said a high-ranking college scout for an NFC team. "To me, he’s just not a very good quarterback prospect. Now, if you want to rework his mechanics, his release, try to improve his accuracy, then you see a guy with this big frame that can throw.

"He’s a big-time project, no doubt.’’

Tebow's posse--which this week includes his parents and a documentary maker following him through his transition from college to the NFL--should really learn the art of editing reviews, something Hollywood's been doing with flair for years. The review "Most abominable piece of cinema ever grunted out onto celluloid, and a real nightmare of an experience for any moviegoer" is a lot more flattering when you say "REVIEWER: a real...experience for any moviegoer."

For instance, McShay's quote would look much better like this: 

"...quarterback in the NFL...I’m convinced of it,’’ ESPN director of college scouting Todd McShay said. "From his delivery to his footwork to his accuracy, you have to..."

You hear that, Daniel Snyder? Trade eight picks, throw in $42 million in cash, and the St. Louis Rams will start to think about making Tebow to the 'Skins a sure thing. You want to pay us $48 million? Well, we certainly can't--wait, fifty or no deal. Fifty-three? Okay, you've got a deal, Dan.  

Tebow also gets the nod here this week due to his apperance in a commercial paid for by Focus on the Family, which made its way down the intelligence chain in terms of people who comment on it: first bloggers (natch), then mainstream media, then talk radio, and then The View. It's the food chain at work, and when Joy Behar gets to it you can be sure it's just a few strings of gristle clinging to a very chewed-up bone. Whatever happens with the ad, there remains the slim possibility that it will run next to an ad for a gay dating site featuring two dudes making out, and if that happens the universe will truly be in harmony. 

3. UP LIKE THE SPIRITS OF APPARENTLY NO ONE IN VANCOUVER: THE OLYMPICS ARE GOING TO SUCK. Speaking of Mancrunch.com: Johnny Weir has come under fire for his fur-lined outfits at the Olympics, and justifiably so because they are ILLEGALLY FIERCE. It's practically a violation of international law to be that fabulous, but the law comes second to style for Weir. Besides the good news that you get to watch your more homophobic friends squirm in their chairs as Weir attempts to further national glory with his flamboyant routines, the Olympics hasn't been rolling down hill with a lot of positive momentum. The weather's too warm, the budget is bloated beyond all reasonable expectations, and attitudes all around are nasty in the city where preparations are currently entering "crisis mode."  

The only positive signs so far: curling remains on schedule both to save the games singlehandedly, and to take over the world as the next great spectator sport. 

SAVE THE UNIVERSE, CURLING HERO:

4. UP WITH THE WOBBLY TRAJECTORY OF A GAME-KILLING INTERCEPTION: THE BRETT FAVRE PR DEATH STAR AND COUNTRY BEAR JAMBOREE OPENS UP ITS NEW WING THE WRANGLER JEANSSCHADENFREUDE-O-RAMA. 

Clock_groundhog_day_medium

[The oboe riff begins. You wake in your bed. "I Got You Babe" plays on the radio.] 

First D.J.: Okay, campers, rise and shine, and don't forget your booties 'cause it's cooooold out there today.

Second D.J.: It's coooold out there every day. What is this, Miami Beach?

First D.J.: Not hardly. That's where teams going to the Super Bowl are going.

Second D.J.: [mockingly] HEY-O! That's where Brett Favre isn't going. Did you see that interception to end the season? 

First D.J.: Yessss, I did. But you know, there's another reason why today is especially exciting.

Second D.J.: Especially cold?

First D.J.: Especially cold, okay, but the big question on everybody's lips...is Brett Favre going to retire?

Second D.J.: Do ya think Brett is gonna come out and see his shadow?

First D.J.: No, the first thing he'll see are two ESPN reporters stalking his every move and one in the studio talking about it seven hours a day, Bob! 

Second D.J.: Thats right, woodchuck-chuckers - it's...

[in unison]

First D.J.: GROUNDHOG DAY!

Second D.J.: GROUNDHOG DAY!

[You immediately consider creative and interesting ways to commit suicide and then realize you are a god. Not THE god, but a god.]

5. UP LIKE DOWN IN AUSTRALIA WHICH IS UP HEY GEOGRAPHY JOKES! THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN. The Aussie Open, due to its location upside down on the other side of the world, is taking place in the future. Do not be alarmed: though you will never see it live, you can watch simulcasts from this future on ESPN, because they have amazing people who did not drop college physics to watch Days of Our Lives like you did. 

Highlights thus far have included Andy Roddick and Rafa Nadal losing and bowing out due to injury, Venus Wiliams getting into a minor imbroglio over the color of her underwear, and an Australian fan wandering onto the court without so much as a peep from security. This comes after last week's marriage proposal to Nadal from a female fan and a heckler who quoted a bit from The Hangover that rhymes with "Paging Doctor Maggot," but consider the curve of behavior we're grading on and you'll agree that the Aussies are doing quite well, conduct-wise. 

6. UP LIKE OH REALLY NEVER MIND EVERYTHING THAT COULD GO HERE IS INAPPROPRIATE: GREG ODEN HAS GENITALS. Greg Oden learned that women sometimes don't know how to express their emotions, either. Like men, sometimes they lash out by calling names, or sometimes even being violent. Additionally, some may even send ill-advised pictures of you exposing yourself to them to the media at large, and that's awful because you're a pretty nice person who's sitting out a season due to another freak injury. 

No, we won't post any pictures, because this is a shameful invasion of Oden's privacy in the first place and I don't want to compound it by passing it along. And no, no commentary on the member itself for the same reasons. I may be a blogger, but I have some integrity. 

Now, without any explanation, a picture of Atlanta's Famous Peachtree Westin Hotel. 

Westin-peachtree-plaza-hotel_medium

7. UP LIKE THE OLD, MAJESTIC GRAY HAIR OF 2000ISH BRENDA WARNER: KURT WARNER IS OLD AND MAY NOT LIKE BEING HIT BY BIG ANGRY MEN ANYMORE. Kurt Warner may be retiring because he is tired of being hit by big angry 275 pound men. You rarely hear anyone say, "Wow, why are you retiring?" in the NFL, because outside of the case of Barry Sanders, no one ever leaves the NFL too early because playing in the NFL is so obviously painful that even the dumbest fan says, "Yeah, dude. That makes total sense." Conversely, you never hear people say "Wow, how'd you withstand 12 years of playing right field? Standing there must have been grueling." 


8. UP LIKE A BUZZER-BEATING SHOT FORM A NORMAL-SIZED MAN: DEVAN DOWNEY IS THE COOLER. Kentucky's hot streak met Devan Downey, and Downey applied ice to its inflamed joints and massaged it into a relaxing position of comfortable loss. Downey is now in the process of being introduced to the national press, who I'm sure will give him the respect he---

Screen_shot_2010-01-28_at_4

Oh, come on! Do you have to mention the man's height? 

Are we reverting to Depression-era sportswriting tropes here? Can't you say something like "DOWNEY IS AWESOME" without mentioning the man's lack of height? We don't need you to paint him as anymore of an underdog, since he already plays basketball for South Carolina in a game going up against the most successful basketball program in the history of the sport. WE GET IT.  

You don't have to type something like this: 

 

"Poor, short, stuttering social cripple Devan Downey, who also has a hard time talking to girls and a father who doesn't believe in him, somehow relied on his inner grit and the tender supporting love of Sandra Bullock to beat the big mean Kentucky Wildcats! Huzzah! In other news, FDR went for a walk through America yesterday and said it smelled like success (though for some reason no one took pictures)!" 

 

9. DOWN LIKE HIS CAREER LIVELIHOOD INDICATOR: GILBERT ARENAS IS SENTENCED...TO BEING SEXY! If "being sexy" is "a gun related felony," then this headline is accurate. The Arenas debacle is winding down with sentencing coming on March 26, the drop by his sponsor Adidas, and this week's suspension of Arenas for the season.  

10. DOWN LIKE DIVORCE ATTORNEY'S SMILES: TIGER IS IN SEX REHAB IN MISSISSIPPI. Or not, and who cares in a story that has to be as fatigued now as the man's very member itself must have been. We don't understand why a bored rich man with loose sexual ethics is necessarily "a sex addict." Sex addiction is real, but the best read on this still comes from Chris Jones' Esquire piece on Woods and its parallels with his brother's indiscretions. 
But it was all a façade, for both of them — not because they both pretended to stop being hounds, but because neither man was able to shed his tender geek heart. I don't think my brother or Woods ever managed to get over the idea women wanted to sleep with them. Despite their successes, despite the outward perfection of their lives, both of them still harbor a deep-seated, childhood insecurity that's only been made worse by middle-age vulnerability, by knee surgeries and receding hairlines. My brother and Woods both had affairs because they were looking for a validation that only sex with strangers gave them. That Woods's preference in road beef is, at best, medium-rare, just goes to show: In his mind, every time he made a new conquest, it was like the president of the chess club rocking the big-tittied cheerleader under the bleachers. Every hookup was another chance for him to prove to himself that he wasn't what he remembered he once was.

 

That was written over two months ago now, and it's still the truest-sounding read on the entire situation I can imagine. Oh, she's decided to keep Woods for the kids' sake, if you're into the kind of awful family drama that rips your guts out and gives them a nice browning on the grill of emotional trauma. Um...[joke goes here]

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