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NFL Championships: It’s time to put on your ‘big girl’ pants

January 25, 2014
By SHAUNNA DUNDER-HERSHBERGER - Times Leader Lifestyles Editor (sdunder@timesleaderonline.com) , Times Leader

Note to self: If you wish to watch the NFL championship games, it's probably a good idea not to tackle a home renovation project like, say, remodeling a bathroom. This was not hypothetical, as your future NFL commissioner and her husband called a late-week audible to redo the bathroom, including painting and laying a new floor.

Note to others: If you're planning to lay a new bathroom floor, this will require removal of the toilet. Your future commissioner is a germophobe. But the husband needed help, so touching the commode was necessary (through layers of gloves and clothes, of course). I was asked repeatedly if I had my "big girl pants on" because he needed muscle to move things, such as the porcelain throne. Hey, I can run with the big dogs, even if my arms aren't tatted up like Colin Kaepernick. So I helped lift that toilet like a champ, let me tell you. It was also at this moment that I made the mental note to be certain to hire plenty of people to do these sorts of thankless tasks when my reign of terror as NFL commissioner begins.

On the other hand, maybe it was good that I didn't get to see much of the AFC title game. It looked boring. Plus the sun was shining and it looked like the game was being played in late October. Sadly, I could still hear He-who-must-not-be-named clucking out his chicken song over the sound of the power drill in the bathroom. He's. That. Loud.

I realize that many of you may think I dislike He-who-must-not-be-named. That's not true. He's actually been one of my favorite players in the league for a long time. But I liked the Colts version better than the Broncos version. In Indianapolis, he was (insert his real name here, which I am forbidden to speak). In Denver, he's He-who-must-not-be-named. I could speak of him in a Colts uniform. I kinda like the Colts, mostly because the horseshoe helmets remind me of my Purple Riders alma mater. The Broncos, though.... blah. They annoy me. And yes, it DOES go back to the Browns - Broncos 80s showdowns, and yes I STILL loathe John Elway and of course I'm still BITTER, but at least I'm owning up to it.

That said, I can't exactly profess my love for the Seahawks. I like the defense and I like Russell Wilson. Pete Carroll, however, doesn't seem very trustworthy to me. Bailing out on USC just before sanctions came down in that Reggie Bush scandal.... makes me think he knew something. I am surprised though at how well Carroll is doing on his second NFL go-round, as his first stint with the Jets was anything but memorable.

But the Super Bowl does pit both conference number one seeds AND also features the top offense against the top defense. So really, it's the best-case-scenario for fans and for the NFL.

In a slightly related note, perhaps I sealed my own fate when I adopted such a ridiculous (but also accurate) nickname for Archie's son, He-who-must-not-be-named, because now he's playing through the very last game. I must admit, it's getting really annoying even with the copy and paste option on my computer, but I will persevere. I made a commitment, consarnit, and I'm sticking to it! So He-who-must-not-be-named it is. Sigh.

Also this weekend:

- Trash talk. It's what's for dinner.

Unless you've been living under a rock, you are probably aware of Richard Sherman's post-game rant about 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree. The NFL community has its panties in a bunch because, oh no, someone was talking smack on camera! You can't talk about other guys out there like that! Yeah, right. Do you realize what these guys say to one another on the field during the course of the game? Actually, I don't have a problem with Sherman's comments. What I do have a problem with, however, are those ridiculous interviews reporters try to get with players and coaches who are running off the field. Erin Andrews grabbed Sherman, who was still clearly emotionally fired up from his big play - an interception that sealed the win and a Super Bowl trip for the Seahawks. The play was barely two minutes old, and Sherman had a microphone shoved in his face. I mean, at least give him a moment to digest the play and take in what happened. I'm sure he'll be around during the post-game press conference. We should learn to expect these kind of responses in such emotionally-charged end game situations. That's why we always get the cookie-cutter coach/player responses. Winners: "This was a huge win for our guys." Losers: "We played hard and came up short." Sound familiar? So when someone like Sherman breaks the mold, everyone freaks out. Sherman has since apologized "for attacking an individual and taking attention away from the fantastic game by my teammates." I like how he never actually apologizes for what he said. Sneaky, that one.

- Belichick emotes in press conference. Heads explode from confusion.

Bill Belichick began his press conference by calling out former Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker and criticized his hit on New England's Aqib Talib, saying it was a "deliberate" attempt to take Talib out of the game. Welker was running a "rub" play, similar to a "pick" in basketball, where an offensive player blocks the path of the defender to an open shot or pass. Picks (or screens) are legal in basketball, but not in the NFL - unless they are done to look like accidental collisions or if the receiver is already touching the ball. Welker's pick looked anything but accidental, but it did not draw a penalty. Talib left the game. The play looked vicious, but it's a vicious game. Besides, perhaps I'd lend more credibility to Belichick's statement if the Patriots hadn't run the SAME PLAY earlier in the game, resulting in a Broncos player getting jacked up. The Patriots and Broncos run the most rub routes in the NFL. I'm pretty sure if the Patriots were on the giving end of that pick, they wouldn't even mention it.

- You can give it a bath, dress it up and put lipstick on it, but a pig is still a pig.

Did anyone happen to catch the Pro Bowl Draft on the NFL Network Tuesday and Wednesday nights? No? Guess what? You missed nothing. I will applaud those wily NFL marketing geniuses and their efforts to try to make this game a bit more exciting. After all, who doesn't like Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice? Let's make them team captains and "draft" players from the pool of the Pro Bowlers already voted in! It sort of reminded me of gym class dodge ball - "Ha ha! You're stuck with a guy who only made three Pro Bowls. We got the six-timer!" What could be more exciting than that? How about drying a section of paint on a bathroom wall with a hairdryer (hypothetically speaking, of course)? If you really want to watch this thing, or if you're into self-inflicted pain, then you can tune in to NBC tonight at 7:30.

And so, the stage is set for Super Bowl XLVIII at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday (on FOX) at MetLife Stadium. Accuweather's long-range forecast for East Rutherford, NJ currently calls for possible snow showers, with a high of 36 and a low of 26. C'mon, snow! A proper blizzard would show the NFL it needs to move the Super Bowl back to warm weather stadiums or domes, where a temper tantrum by Mother Nature will not cause either team a disadvantage.

Of course, it poured down rain in Miami when He-who-must-not-be-named won his first (and only) Super Bowl, so maybe a massive snowfall is in the cards!

I'll be back in two weeks, so until then, my friends, enjoy the Super Bowl!

 
 

 

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