Shanoff's WUC: NYC's Super Bowl, Suns Bench

Today's Calls: Super Bowl vs. New York, Suns' bench strength vs. Suns' zone defense, Phil Jackson vs. Mikhail Prokhorov, Erin Andrews vs. Nicole Scherzinger, Celtics vs. Magic, Rays vs. Umps, Stephen Strasburg vs. Bryce Harper, U.S. vs. Czech Republic, Gordon Hayward vs. the NBA Draft, Michigan self-punishment vs. USC non-punishment, Barack Obama vs. John Wall and More. ↵

↵Jets fanThe Opening Pitch: Let's get the important detail out of the way first. When the Super Bowl comes to New York City in 2014, you can live in my cramped apartment for the week for $10,000. Lock it in now, because by then it'll only have gone up. ↵

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↵Really, I just want to settle the logjam between Mike Florio's argument against having the game in NYC and Mike Tunison's argument in favor. ↵

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↵The argument appears to pivot around game-time temperatures. I have two words for you: ↵

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↵"Ice Bowl." ↵

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↵It is the most glorified game in NFL history: The 1967 NFL Championship, fondly known as "The Ice Bowl." Extreme weather conditions for the game will only give it more cachet. ↵

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↵"But it might be cold" is just not a good excuse not to play the game in NYC — weatherniks conveniently forget that soggy debacle in Miami a couple years ago when the Colts beat the Bears. Bitter cold isn't worse than soaking wet. ↵

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↵Florio citing the NHL's ultra-successful "Winter Classic" is a point well-taken: Fans sitting outside in tough conditions was a big part of the game's appeal. ↵

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↵Fans who go to the Super Bowl will wear their frostbite injuries like a badge of honor. It will be cool to say "I was there." Fans at home will love the spectacle of swirling snow and whipping winds and frigid fans. ↵

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↵People are worried about harsh Super Bowl weather conditions? We should only be so lucky. ↵

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↵NBA: Suns shine in series-tying win over Lakers: This win was a fun one. Start with PHX's 54 bench points, which is as much of an anomaly as it gets in the NBA's world of truncated playoff rotations. ↵

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↵But then throw in the Suns' gimmicky zone defense, which gave the Lakers fits — it is satisfying to know that the same reason your under-talented team in the Sunday morning YMCA run can pull an upset can also work in the NBA. ↵

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↵Phil Jackson to the Bulls? Umm ... no. (And I wouldn't put too much stock in Jackson saying he wants to have a vodka with Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov.) ↵

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↵Celtics-Magic Game 5: No matter how we get there, Orlando being down 3-2 after five games is entirely different than being down 3-0 after three. The Magic will lose this series, but it would be nice if they made this series interesting, showing up at homeafter the duds of Games 1 and 2. ↵

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↵Erin Andrews finishes third on "Dancing With the Stars." For sports fans, this qualifies as an upset; I had her as a clear favorite heading into the season. Regardless, she has transcended sports and moved into general pop culture. Will her on-air career follow? ↵

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↵MLB Talking Points: The only way to beat the Rays, apparently, is to have an ump with a pretty liberal interpretation of the strike zone. ↵

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↵More MLB: ↵

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↵— Strasburg: Call-up next week? ↵

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↵— Draft: Harper obvious No. 1 choice ↵

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↵— You go, Milton Bradley! ↵

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↵— Injuries: Ethier back Sunday? ↵

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↵— San Diego's X-factor: Pitching ↵

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↵— Good analysis of Rangers debacle ↵

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↵— Tracking today: Roy Oswalt ↵

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↵Soccer: The U.S. lost to the Czech Republic last night in a warm-up before next month's World Cup. The good news: The U.S. scored 2 goals! The bad news: They allowed 4. Goals are tough to come by in the W.C. — giving them up so easily is a quick ticket to group-round elimination. ↵

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↵NFL Offseason: Do you like overtime reform? It won't be expanded from the playoffs into the regular season — at least not this year. That's a shame, for two reasons: (1) OT needs more widely applied reform, and (2) does the league really want to be testing new OT rules in the playoffs? That is a short-sighted idea. ↵

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↵Roethlisberger Watch: As we haven't heard of anything troubling related to Big Ben since his suspension, I suspect Roger Goodell's review this week will say that Ben is on the right track. Ben better keep it up. ↵

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↵NBA Draft: Gordon Hayward is the most intriguing player in the draft. In a terrific analysis, Mike DeCourcy argues Hayward should be ranked much higher on draft boards. I agree, and I see his stock only going up over the next month, to the point that he is, at minimum, a Lottery pick — and probably in the Top 10. ↵

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↵CFB Offseason: It's easy to mock Michigan for slapping itself on the wrist, but it's important to keep in mind that the violations were hardly egregious (no matter how much you dislike RichRod and want to see him twist). ↵

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↵Speaking of which: So where are those Reggie Bush sanctions for USC? (USC would be more than happy to punish itself. Or "punish.") ↵

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↵Best CFB Game Day Tradition: LSU rules. (What's yours?) ↵

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↵Media: Please welcome SportsGrid to the sports mediasphere. (Now go run and look up the ranking of your favorite athletes ... and sports-media folks. I'll help you: I'm ranked in the low 200s.) ↵

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↵The Last Word: "Wall is a terrific player. He’s got NBA speed, NBA body, great jump shot, unselfish, really impressive. There’s only upside for that kid." ↵
↵— President Obama, on John Wall. No. 44 had a lot to say about other things, too. (He picks the Lakers to win the NBA title.) ↵

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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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