FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 22: (FILE PHOTO) Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots celebrates with teammate Kevin Faulk #33 after defeating the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 22, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The New England Patriots defeated the Baltimore Ravens 20-23. The New York Giants are scheduled to play the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The two teams last met in the Super Bowl in 2008, where the Giants defeated the Patriots to win Super Bowl XLII. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Super Bowl week is underway, as the Patriots and Giants have arrived in Indianapolis, and the madness is already building. But here are a few stories that DON'T matter this week.
Well hey, look at that: it's Super Bowl week! Last week was our dreadful preview of what life's going to be like without football for the next six months, so we may as well enjoy this last taste of the NFL to the fullest. With that in mind, we're going to have a daily rundown of some of the biggest stories from Super Bowl week in Indianapolis.
To kick things off, let's just address a few meaningless storylines right off the bat. Every year the Super Bowl has a handful of inane stories that are bludgeoned into our heads by Tuesday of Super Bowl week, and then they somehow become more insufferable as the week goes on. It's like clockwork. If you're not careful, Super Bowl week can turn into one long orgy of stuff you already knew, and stuff you never cared about. So with that in mind, here's what you can tune out the rest of the week.
1. Explaining The Patriot Way
Take this, from Pro Football Talk:
What defines the Patriot Way?
"Just having mental toughness, everyone doing their job, and ignoring the noise," linebacker said. "It’s hammered in our head every day. If everyone does their job, we’ll be successful."
"If everyone does their job, we'll be successful." Yep, that's The Patriot Way for you.
I mean sure, that's literally what's said to every single team in every single sport at any level, but it means more coming from Bill Belichick, doesn't it? Just ignoring the noise, doing your job, bringin' your lunch pail to work every day, wearing thousand dollar jackets in your courtside seats, etc.
What really "defines the Patriot Way?" Having the best quarterback in football--even if he's a completely shameless prima donna--and the most brilliant coach of the past 25 years--even if he seems like the most miserable human being on earth. When you think of it like that, then yeah, The Patriot Way is a pretty unbelievable story. But take away Brady and Belichick, and see how far "everyone does their job" gets them.
So, REMINDER: "The Patriot Way" is real, it just doesn't mean what people think it means. There's no magic fairy dust that turned theinto a Super Bowl team; just a lot of really good players, and two first-ballot hall-of-famers as the catalysts for everything. If you want to talk about the Patriots' mystique and the rise of "team-first" football, you're really talking about and Bill Belichick, and how stupidly incredible they've been for the past 10 years. And that's what we should be talking about.
2. Is Eli Better Than Peyton?
To be fair, this will be a fun argument for years and years to come.is the ADD yin to his brother's OCD yang, and when it's all said and done, comparing the two careers should be fascinating. But not this week. If the win, then the discussion makes more sense.
Until then, do we really care how Eli measures up to Peyton right now? Do you think Eli cares this week? The debate's gonna happen regardless, but right now the entire conversation hinges on "If Eli wins this weekend..." How 'bout we just cross that bridge when we come to it?
Ah, the annual "Player who may not play but will definitely dominate headlines for 14 days."
Here's some #EXPERTANALYSIS of the situation: Rob Gronkowski's gonna play. If he doesn't play, the Patriots should be fine, sinceis pretty awesome too. But yeah, it's the Super Bowl, and if there's one player on either team most likely to blindly inject himself with whatever horse tranquilizers Belichick gives him before the big game, it's gotta be Gronk.
So, ankle boot or not, Gronkowski's gonna play. Let's move on.
4. "Oh God Indianapolis Is horrible!" ... OR ..."Wow Indianapolis is great!"
We know that Indianapolis is not South Beach, or L.A., or New Orleans. But that doesn't mean we need to hear columnists complain about it all week. You still get to go to Super Bowl parties full of beautiful models, free food and drinks, and superstar athletes. They could hold the Super Bowl in Nova Scotia and it'd still be an awesome week to be a part of ... for free.
At the same time... To the people who go in the other direction and pretend Indianapolis is "WONDERFUL", you're just as bad. It's still Indianapolis, so let's not pretend we're talking about Paris here.
Those on the outside look down on Indianapolis as a host because of the cold weather, no beach, no golf, etc. But if you know Indy, you know it has the chance to be the best Super Bowl ever.
"Sure these outsiders say she's not cute, she's not fun, and she's downright mean, but if you know her, you know she's outstanding wife material." Come on now, that's just insulting.
Basically, let's just all hope nobody dwells too much on Indianapolis--if they complain it's obnoxious, if they pretend Indy is an ideal host city, that's just dishonest. And for the record, all this could be avoided if they just held the Super Bowl in South Beach, L.A., and New Orleans every year. Every major sporting event in the world should rotate exclusively between those three cities.
5. Quotes Getting Taken Out Of Context
Yeah, stories like THAT. Because you know what Brady actually said? As he was leaving New England, he told a bunch of Patriots fans (via PFT):
"I wish I could take all you guys to Indy with us. We’re going down there, and we’re going down there for one reason. We’re going to give it our best and hopefully we have a lot more people at our party next weekend."
He even added "hopefully". There's nothing in there about an actual victory party; he's just telling Patriot fans that he wishes they could come with him. And he hopes they can celebrate next weekend.
This is the textbook Super Bowl quote that gets blown out of proportion, and then becomes a story that Brady has to address whether it makes sense or not. There will be more on Monday, and then again on Tuesday, and on and on. Maybe they'll even mention it on the NBC broadcast, and we can hear what Tony Dungy. AND IT'S ALL COMPLETE NONSENSE.
Which brings us to the final point...
6. People Complaining About Super Bowl Stories
Having said all that... We return to where we began. This is the last week of football we have for the next six months. Maybe it's all ridiculous and way, waaaaaaay over the top, but damnit, it's tradtion. Like Mardi Gras; you might as well go out with a bang before you give all this up for good.
Everybody knows that the media's going to be an over-the-top parody of itself all week. That's part of the tradition. This means that the only people more annoying than the media are the pretentious nitwits who thumb their nose at the whole spectacle. For instance, for every single pundit who bills this game as a "Rematch", there will be another who sneers and points out that the Patriots only have five starters back from the 2008 team. Whatever.
There's Brady, Belichick, Coughlin, Eli, a murderous defensive line for New York, a Pats offensive line with something to prove, and two fanbases that absolutely despise each other, largely because of 2008. It IS a rematch. Obviously the teams aren't exactly the same, but they both win doing the same things they did in 2008, and if you think the players and coaches aren't talking up the rematch angle every day this week, then you're insane. Besides, storylines like "REEEEEMATCH" are what makes sports fun. Just embrace it.
So anyway, here's the pledge for this week:
- We'll offer all the coverage you can handle.
- We'll do our best to stay away from the obvious, idiotic storylines (GRONK!)
- And otherwise, we'll just remember the golden rule behind all this: This is sports. On some level, it's supposed to be complete nonsense.
On that note, did you hear that Ochocino spent 30 grand on headphones this week?
The Boston Herald reports that Ochocinco dropped around $28,000 on Beats by Dre Headphones for every member of the team. The headphones, widely regarded as the best in the industry, were designed by rapper Dr. Dre. The version Ochocinco picked out for the team produce a "clean, yet forceful sound."
God bless Super Bowl Week. It only gets weirder from here.