New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady

Brett Davis/USA Today Sports

Thinking out loud: Super Bowl hype is ridiculous

John Rooke
February 01, 2019 - 3:34 pm

Thinking out loud…while wondering whatever happened to “Pick Boy” at Super Bowl Opening Night…

  • Tweet of the Week I, from @ChrisMCameron: “It’s been 93 days since a Boston sports team has won a championship. Sunday can’t come soon enough.”

 

  • But can we play it already?

 

  • Hype is ridiculous.  The leadup to the NFL’s Championship – aka the Super Bowl – is overhype.  Logistically, I get it.  But just play the game already.

 

  • Maybe I’m feeling this way because we’ve been through this before around here.  11 appearances, all told.  10 since my personal coverage (and employ, full disclosure) of this franchise began. 

 

  • Lucky?  Blessed?  Pretty damn good?  Yes.  Yes.  And Yes. 

 

  • From this viewpoint, if the Patriots can execute similarly to the way they operated against the Chiefs, all the offensive firepower in the NFL won’t beat them Sunday.

 

  • But like in all (big) games, execution is just that – you have to do it, to win it.  Can’t turn it over.  Can’t commit costly penalties that wipe out big plays, on both sides of the ball.

 

  • Not for nuthin,’ but I have a hard time believing the stage won’t be a bit oversized for some of the Rams – which means the Patriots and their experienced players need to ‘carpe diem’ right from the kickoff. 

 

  • Given the choice, just take the damn ball.

 

  • Listening to the players this week, Brady’s back.  Gronk probably isn’t.  And somewhat surprisingly, if New England wins, Devin McCourty might be gone, too. 

 

  • It won’t be nuclear winter in New England this upcoming offseason, but let’s just say the tide of change has already washed ashore.

 

  • Rookestradamus called this, by the way, months ago.  Along with the 11-5 record and the #2 AFC seed.  I’m paying attention.

 

  • Commissioner Goodell’s “State of the League” address was much ado about nothing.  Vague with solutions, passing off the buck to the teams or owners.  I don’t know about you, but I’d still like to see a leader command his troops.

 

  • This being said – coaches’ challenges will be extended to include certain penalties next season, like the one we saw in the NFC title game.  How do I know this?  Rookestradamus told me.

 

  • That, and the fact the NFL has always been more of a reactionary league when it comes to controversy or competitive issues.

 

  • Pittsburgh TV station KDKA captioned Tom Brady this week by calling him a “Known Cheater” when identifying him on screen.  Is this so-called #fakenews, or just an example of opinions running amok, and the truth-be-damned?

 

  • Partisanship, or do jackasses truly make a home in the Steel City?  Just asking.

 

  • What the heck is that around the neck of ESPN’s Josina Anderson?  The crown jewels?  Are we talking football, or beauty pageants?

 

  • C’mon.  Do you want to be taken seriously as a reporter, or dazzle us with your bling?  Do us all a favor and turn those things off before you go on air next time, please.

 

  • Most Super Bowl coverage is just time-filler-until-kickoff.  But like bugs-to-the-light, I’m drawn to it.  You?

 

  • Good piece in the ProJo from Kevin McNamara, however, on former LaSalle Academy and UMass quarterback Liam Coen, who is now an assistant receivers’ coach for the Los Angeles Rams.  He wore TB’s #12 while with the Minutemen, and now at age 32, he’s trying to beat him.

 

  • And he’s still nine years younger than Brady.  Think about that for just a sec.

 

  • Tweet of the Week II, from @Gil_Brandt: “Since Rams hired Sean McVay in 2017, they are tied for NFL's best win percentage (.750) and have league's top-scoring offense (31.4). Since Patriots hired Bill Belichick in 2000, they have NFL's highest win percentage (.740) and the No. 1 scoring offense (27.3).”

 

  • In the aftermath of yet another New England Super Bowl will be – Truck Day.  It’s Monday, leaving Fenway Park at 12 Noon and making a stop at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket before traveling onward to Fort Myers. 

 

  • One season ends, another begins.  That’s how we roll.

 

  • How did that saying go?  "Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these courageous couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."  Originally it was a Greek pronouncement during the war with the Persians around 500 B.C., later adapted by the US Postal Service and our mail carriers.

 

  • Those rounds weren’t made this week in Chicago and throughout much of the Midwest, however.  No mail delivery Wednesday however, where temperatures did not rise above minus-12 degrees.  As in below zero. 

 

  • The severe cold didn’t get us this time around, but the Mahaney Dome on the UMaine campus in Orono did collapse this past week thanks to a storm blowing through.  Ah, that winter life in the North.

 

  • It was warmer in Antarctica at the South Pole (-25 degrees) than it was in Fargo, ND (-31) and Minneapolis (-27) this week.  That’s nuts.

 

  • Better them than us, is all I’m sayin’.  Pass that suntan lotion, will ya?

 

  • Reminds me of the time the Friars traveled North of the Arctic Circle for a tournament in 1996, where the temperatures in Fairbanks, AK never got above -5 the entire week we were there.  Most of the time, it was 20-below zero. 

 

  • Your nose hairs froze when you went outside.  And it hurt to be out there for more than just a few minutes.  So naturally, we went out there.  And watched Derrick ‘Flight’ Brown ditch head-first into a snowbank while attempting to steer a dogsled.  You should have seen the look on Pete Gillen’s face.

 

  • You should have seen the look on Ed Cooley’s face after the officials refused to blow the whistle at the end of the Seton Hall game in Newark Wednesday night.  Friar fans, ask yourself a legitimate question – why do Big East officials never seem to give the Friars a correct call in crunch time?

 

  • Myles Powell was a “man” against Providence, single-handedly stopping the Pirates’ 4-game losing streak. But one man did a pretty good job slowing him down, freshman David Duke.  He should have been in a ‘box-and-1’ on him, perhaps. 

 

  • Onto (frozen) Chicago, where improved DePaul awaits Saturday afternoon.  But if you want a ‘must-win,’ this might be as good as any the rest of the way.  The need (and opportunity) to find a couple of road wins is slipping away.

 

  • TWITBE – Episode Four:  Features Providence’s Ed Cooley, who also will be coaching Team USA’s Pan Am Games team this summer, DePaul’s Max Strus and Big East Senior Associate Commissioner Stu Jackson, also a former Friar assistant coach.  Saturday AM, bright and early, on 103.7 FM, plus Saturday afternoon on Sirius, XM, and downloadable anytime on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, westwoodonesports.com and bigeast.com.

 

  • Villanova goes for a 9-0 Big East start this weekend, something they haven’t done in 10 years.  And they’ve won two national titles in the last three years. So much for rebuilding.

 

  • For my money, Marquette is still the team to beat.  They’ll get the chance to prove that in the next two weeks – and you can circle Feb. 9 against Villanova in Milwaukee as that chance.

 

  • Was that a 20-point lead URI blew the other night in Pittsburgh at Duquesne?  Ouch.  Friar fans can feel that pain – still stinging from blowing an 18-point lead to UMass, at home, in December.

 

  • What that win-turned-into-a-loss really means, is Rhody isn’t talented enough to turn on its offense when needed, so much like the Friars struggle with their own offense this season.  

 

  • Congrats to URI Associate Athletic Director John Vanner, retiring from the school after 41 years.  One of the truly nice guys in the college athletic field.  Thanks for your work and dedication, John.

 

  • It’s a reality-slap in the face for the Brown Bears, with two tough losses to open Ivy play against Yale.  If a playoff spot is still the goal for Mike Martin’s program, the start to reaching that goal must happen this weekend with a trip to Dartmouth and Harvard. 

 

  • Losses this weekend might bury the Bears before they even get started at home.  Tough way to begin play in the Ivies.  But if they’re really that good, they’ll find a way.

 

  • Holy Cross this week suspended long-time women’s basketball coach Bill Gibbons for the rest of this season, in his 34th year with 613 career wins.  There has been an investigation into a personnel matter, resulting in the suspension, says the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.  Assistant Ann McInerney takes over for the remainder of the year.

 

  • Big weekend last week for the 9th ranked Hockey Friars, with a two-game sweep over 8th ranked Northeastern.  That’ll help, a lot, in the Pairwise rankings that NCAA hockey uses to determine postseason worthiness. 

 

  • PC is 3-4-2 against Top 20 teams this season. A two-game home stand with Vermont is on tap at Schneider Arena on campus Friday and Saturday.

 

  • Tough week last week for PC’s women’s hockey team, losing two to 9th ranked Boston College.  On the road at Merrimack Friday, at home against UConn Saturday is the slate for this week.  This team needs to get a lead – they’re 13-1 when leading after two periods.

 

  • The early returns on sports betting in Rhode Island seem promising, with the state earning a cut of approximately $475K from December’s wagering.  The problem is, however, the state budget calls for what - $23.5 million in annual proceeds? 

 

  • Do the math – we’ll be about $17 million short.  Brilliant.  Get out and bet more, so we can make that bloated, Gov. Raimondo budget balanced! 

 

  • RI State Senator Frank Ciccone told WPRO’s Tara Granahan this week there is a proposal to allow mobile sports betting in Rhode Island.  The bill will be heard in committee next week.  Wanna bet it zooms through that hearing?  I’ll give it 1:5 odds.

 

  • My buddy “Big E” sez he saw his grandson digging a big hole out in his backyard, so naturally he asked him what he was doing.  “My goldfish died,” was his grandson’s reply.  “E” then told him, “well, that’s an awfully big hole for a little goldfish.”  His grandson answered with “well, that’s because he’s inside a big ol’ mean cat.”

 

  • Congratulations to the newest class of inductees into the newly-renamed Rhode Island Radio and Television Hall of Fame – with the Class of 2019 to include long-time WPRO newsman (and Brown PA voice) Bill Haberman, 92 PRO-FM’s Kim Zandy and the first TV inductees, Walter Cryan and Patrice Wood.  WJAR’s Art Lake, who passed away in 2009, will also be honored as a “Pioneer” in RI broadcasting.

 

  • The induction ceremony and banquet will take place on May 9th at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick, RI, and it will be open to the public.

 

  • One of the tired, trite and completely cliché-ish traditions of Super Bowl week is the annual Media Day, which has now been declared the Super Bowl’s “Opening Night” on Mondays the week before the kickoff.

 

  • Calling it a ‘circus’ would be a true understatement, with NFL Network now televising the proceedings, and the league also selling tickets to the public to watch said circus unfold.  Sure, I’ll fork out 50 bucks to watch a bunch of guys get interviewed by costumed, narcissistic clowns.  And you can’t hear anything, either, unless you enjoy the NFL Network feed blaring through the PA system. 

 

  • There’s a sucker born every minute?  10,000 suckers were apparently born this past Monday night in Atlanta.

 

  • As for regular media, it’s a ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ moment.  You go for fear of missing something big happening, or a player saying something weird or controversial.  What usually happens, however, is nothing.  A lot of trite, tired and clichéd comments from players (yes, Patriots too) who don’t want to say anything that can be misunderstood.  So they say little-to-nothing of substance.

 

  • In order to ask a question of any player up on a podium, a reporter has to fight his way through a throng of others – including the costumed-characters who rarely know the difference between a first down and a touchdown.  Screaming at the players to get your question(s) in hardly seems to make a difference.  Forget any meaningful reporting or story-telling.  It’s an exercise largely in frustration and futility.

 

  • But the NFL does not care.  Access for everyone.  Welcome to the Sh** Show. 

 

  • Pick Boy is an actor/character from the Nickelodeon TV network in costume tights, a mask and a cape, and he has been a regular interviewer in past Super Bowl Opening Nights, asking thoughtful, timely and insightful questions like ‘if you could be a tree, what kind of a tree would you be?’

 

  • Strange, but I didn’t see him there this year.  Shoot.  And you know what shoot really means, don’t you?  Sh** with two O’s.  Just like the entire night.  Let’s kick this thing off, for the love of the Football Gods, please? 

 

  • @MarkEdwardsPR tweeted at me this week: “How the Pats find players with that "X Factor" is mind boggling. And it always seems strange that most former Pats players aren't quite the same with other teams. Smart players in a great system makes the difference in NE!”

 

  • Mark – It’s a good point.  The players brought in, for the most part, have a buy-in to what the Patriots do as an organization within the locker room.  But once they have success, or once they decide they need a little more quid, they move on – and as you point out, not necessarily to bigger and better.  The ability to squeeze the good out of some players is a unique trait here, for sure.

 

  • Interested in having your questions on local Rhode Island sports (and yes, that includes the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics) answered in a somewhat timely fashion? Send ‘em to me! It’s your chance to “think out loud,” so send your questions, comments and local stories to jrooke@weei.com. We’ll share mailbag comments/Facebook posts/Tweets right here! Follow me on Twitter, @JRbroadcaster…and on Facebook, www.facebook.com/john.rooke ...

 

Don’t forget to tune into Providence’s 103.7 FM, every Saturday from 7:00-9:00 am for Southern New England Sports Saturday!  Call in at 401-737-1287 or text at 37937.

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