Shanoff's WUC: SB Media Day (or Media Daze?)

Today's Calls: Miami vs. Rain, Media Day vs. Media Daze, Joe Mauer vs. the Twins, Gilbert Arenas vs. the Washington Post, John Wall vs. John Calipari, NCAA 64 vs. NCAA 96, Scott McCarron vs. Phil Mickelson, Who Dat vs. the NFL and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: I love non-traditional media and find the NFL media to be WAY too stuffy, but I find myself agreeing with the prudes that Super Bowl Media Day has got to be the lamest day of the NFL season. ↵

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↵While mainstream reporters box each other out (and there is a very bitterness-engendering hierarchy that has the TV folks ahead of the print folks, and the "national" names ahead of the local ones) for the same quotes that every fan will see over and over again, non-sports media organizations do what they can to try to be funny. Or "funny." ↵

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↵It has become a Media Day tradition -- one that the NFL appears to have encouraged: The sexy foreign TV reporter that all the homely sports reporters ogle! The "hilarious" late-night TV sidekick who dresses like a player and fools some rube reporter! The inane questions! (Actually, most of those come from the "real" sports reporters.) ↵

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↵For fans who can't get enough, the NFL will put web-cams on every official player interview station -- it would be fun if the league allowed fans to submit questions (many would be better than what the reporters on the scene ask). And Twitter will ensure that the most notable notes and quotes are spread instantly and ubiquitously, run their course by sundown. ↵

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↵But if yesterday was a preview of the story lines you'll hear ad nauseum, today's Media Day is when those story lines are processed into the scrapple that will nourish us all for the week. ↵

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↵Oh, by the way: TSB is at the Super Bowl! ↵

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↵So about Dwight Freeney's ankle: ↵

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↵NCAA Tourney expansion to 96 a go? Even if it's not official, it sure seems like an inevitability. Let's go back and review why it's a good thing. ↵

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↵The irony of Dan Levy's tongue-in-cheek suggestion that the NCAA let ALL teams into the NCAA Tournament is that an "everyone-in" strategy IS the ideal. Apparently, DL hates* "Hoosiers," a story line that never could have happened unless Indiana had an "open, everyone-in" state tournament. By the way, the NCAA Tournament already is a defacto "everyone-in" tournament, because all the worst team in the worst conference has to do is win four straight games in its league tournament to nullify its entire resume and get an NCAA invitation. But instead of no one watching those games, by seeding every team together, all those Championship Week games become much more meaningful -- and interesting. ↵
↵(* - Dan, we kid because we love!) ↵

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↵Wall-Calipari feud? Hardly. Among other things, John Wall must know that if he just stays the course, he follows right along with other Cal one-and-dones, Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans, both of whom turned out to be the best players in the past two NBA draft classes. ↵

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↵Gilbert Arenas writes an op-ed apology: Very smart, because it continues the contrition that began last week with asking David Stern for the rest-of-the-season suspension. Arenas is going to make it very hard for the Wizards to void his contract, and making it about "teaching the kids" is the right thing to do, both for perception and as a matter of personal growth. The Wizards should embrace the efforts and work with him to restore his reputation -- it is in the best interests of the player, the team and the fans. ↵

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↵Joe Mauer: Deal or No Deal? No deal, apparently, even though a local TV station claimed there was -- likely setting Twins fans into a frenzy. Here's my prediction: A deal will happen between the Twins and Mauer ... eventually. (It's too depressing to think about the alternative: That Mauer won't re-sign and inevitably goes to the Yankees or Red Sox.) ↵

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↵NBA Talking Points: I'll bet Kobe would rather have won the game against the Grizzlies than become the Lakers' all-time scoring leader last night. (Of course, that's partly why he IS the Lakers' all-time scoring leader.) ↵

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↵CFB Offseason: Pitt to the Big Ten? If the school is interested, they're not talking about it. Probably a good strategy, given that the Big Ten could very easily end up going another way. (I really would lament Pitt leaving the Big East for hoops; worse than when BC bolted for the ACC.) ↵

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↵Recruiting: Tomorrow is National Signing Day, which has become one of the biggest -- if not the biggest -- single day of the college football season. I would expect coaches are sweating out these final 24 hours to keep their recruits' commitments. ↵

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↵NFL Offseason: Chris Johnson is right -- he does deserve to be the highest-paid RB in the league. ↵

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↵NFL Coaching Carousel: Mike Martz is the new O.C. of the Bears. Is this all part of the "no good assistant wanted to work for Lovie Smith because they all know he's a lame-duck" thing, or does Smith actually think Martz will produce a necessary turnaround in a single year? ↵

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↵Pro Bowl post-mortem: Now that the TV results are in, don't expect the Pro Bowl to change from its spot the week before the Super Bowl -- or even in the host city. The TV audience was up 39 percent over last year's game, which had arguably more stars and that "traditional" Hawaii location. ↵

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↵Media: Jon Miller wins the Frick Award, the highest honor a baseball media person can get. I grew up on Miller when he was the Orioles broadcaster, and among other affronts of Peter Angelos, letting Miller go was arguably the worst. ↵

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↵Golf "scandals": Scott McCarron -- who passes for intriguing in these non-Tiger dog days of golf -- says "I never called Phil Mickelson a cheater." Fair enough. But he did effectively say Phil was cheating, did he not? (Eh: The whole non-scandal means nothing.) ↵

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↵Marketing: "Who Dat?" has been rightfully restored to its place as a public trust. Totally buy the idea that people can't make T-shirts that say "Saints" or show the Saints logo. But they should be able to make shirts that say the phrase "Who dat?" Now, get printing? Sunday is only days away. ... ↵

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↵The Last Word: Groundhog Day. Only one of the greatest movies of all time. ↵

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↵Dan Shanoff writes The Wake-Up Call every weekday morning for SportingNews.com and blogs daily at DanShanoff.com. Got any comments, questions or feedback? Email Dan at shanofftsn-[at]-gmail-[dot]-com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/danshanoff. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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