Eric Wickstrom

Seven Media Week Stories I Can Do Without

Created on Feb. 01, 2014 2:29 AM EST

This year’s Super Bowl is shaping up to be an all-time great match up and there’s been no shortage of storylines leading up to the game. Here’s a list of the ones I could live without.

1. Marshawn Lynch vs. The Media

So Lynch doesn’t want to talk to the media. Who cares? There’s a hundred other guys that would talk to them happily. Besides, the few sentences he did utter this week were mind-blowingly boring. Why did we need to force him to say them at all?  Not every athlete is Charles Barkley or Deion Sanders—guys that live for and thrive in the spotlight when a microphone is shoved in their faces. Most are meatheads who, if it weren’t for professional sport, would be working jobs heavy on manual labor and short on perks. Forcing these guys to speak to a pool of reporters does nothing for them, the reporters or the fans. Lynch gets paid to run the football not wax poetic on the state of world affairs. Leave him be!

2. Jonathan Martin vs. Richie Incognito

Why is this story breaking now? Because Jonathan Martin finally decided to break his months-long silence to sit down with Tony Dungy for an interview that would air Super Bowl week. Are you kidding me? This reminded me of when Alex Rodriguez decided to announce he was opting out of his Yankee contract during the World Series. That was a classless move by A-rod and this was an equally classless move by Martin. This week isn't about him, it's about the greatest teams in the league preparing for the biggest game of the year. Martin's pathetic attempt to steal the spotlight for his own selfish agenda is boderline pathetic. Tony Dungy's willingness to take part in this circus is also shameful.

The more I listen to Martin and the more the text messages between he and Richie Incognito are made public, the more I am finding myself firmly in the corner of Incognito. These guys were friends and Martin had a breakdown. He then chose to throw his friend under the bus in the hope of deflecting attention off of his own shortcomings. I can’t imagine I’m alone in this assessment and I won’t be mildly surprised if Incognito lands another job in the NFL before Martin does.

3. Warren Sapp vs. Michael Strahan

By most accounts, Warren Sapp is a class-A jerk. Numerous times over the years I've met and spoken to people that knew him personally or had second-hand accounts of his behavior over the years and its was never good. Never once did someone say to me, "let me tell you what a great guy Warren Sapp is," or "Warren Sapp did the nicest thing for this person." Never once. So when he opened his mouth this week to slam Michael Strahan's potential Hall of Fame induction I wasn't the least bit surprised. Once a jerk, always a jerk. 

Sapp is broke, desperate to keep his name in the spotlight and continue to be employed as an analyst. This is just the type of move I'd expect. The, "look at me," type of behavior that I'm sure he thinks will keep him relevant. Thankfully, I don't think it will. 

4. Peyton Manning’s Legacy

I currently have Manning at #4 on my list of all-time quarterbacks behind John Elway, Joe Montana and Tom Brady. Assuming he wins this Sunday, come Monday he will still be at #4 on my list. Montana and Brady will still have won more rings and Elway will have as many rings with two more Super Bowl appearances. Peyton is one of the top-5 quarterbacks of all time. That won’t change no matter what happens this weekend. However, he’d have to win this weekend and then get back to, and win, at least one more Super Bowl before I would reconsider his legacy as potentially being better than Elway’s, Montana’s or Brady’s.

5. Richard Sherman’s Mouth

I defended Richard Sherman in the immediate aftermath of his postgame shoutout to Michael Crabtree. I supported the idea that an athlete coming off such an emotional win just moments earlier has the right to lose their mind in the moments following the game. However, as the days went by and the Beats Audio commercials began to air, I started feeling as if I may have gotten played a little bit.  Richard Sherman is clearly a very smart man and the further away we got from the Erin Andrews interview the more it appeared that he orchestrated the entire event and the fallout from it. I understand the need to market oneself and maximize your earning potential off the field. I get that for defensive backs it’s particularly hard to break through and make a name for yourself publicily. And with all of that in mind I say, well played Richard Sherman! Now, please shut the hell up.

6. New Jersey vs. New York

People from New Jersey are feeling slighted because New York is getting all the attention the week and New Jersey is being ignored. Of course it is, it's New York and that's New Jersey! That's part of the deal. New Jersey is always second fiddle to New York. That's what gives people from New Jersey the massive chip on their shoulders. The one that makes them massive successes someday. The desire to one day have enough talent to make it in New York. 

Hell, I'm from New Jersey. I was born here and I'll most likely die here. But that's only because I can't afford to die in New York City.

7. The Weather

Early in the week I wrote I was hoping for two feet of snow. While this was a longshot, I honestly thought it was the one fool-proof way to enjoy Super Bowl Sunday this year. I honestly thought the weather was poised to make Seattle an overwhelming favorite. Now, a mere few days later, God has apparently revealed himself as a Broncos fan. The temperature will be in the high 30s at gametime with very limited wind. So, we can now stop talking about it right?

Peyton Manning should have little issue dealing with the elements. This is good for two reasons: One, the game should be played on a neutral field in regards to both location and weather; two, win or lose, the weather won’t be able to be used an excuse for Peyton Manning. It won’t be the entire narrative leading up to the game and I won’t have to listen to weeks and years of “If it was just a little warmer…” I will say, I would still love two feet of snow but this may be the better situation for everyone involved.

Super Bowl Prediction:

Denver 27, Seattle 20

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