So yesterday was Wednesday at the Super Bowl, one day closer to the game, one more series of checklist items knocked off.
On Radio Row, traffic began to pick up with current and former players coming to town to
shill everything from jock itch cream to six inch subs provide thoughtful, energetic interviews like half the time. For the two teams, after Media Day on Tuesday, it was time for individual press sessions on Wednesday (more on this in a second).
And guess what? For the first time in like ten days, there was nothing new on the Deflate-Gate front! No science experiments, no demands for apologies, no crying Baltimore Ravens. NOTHING!! It was kind of nice.
So let's get you up to speed on what, aside from Deflate-Gate, has been a fairly drama free week of Super Bowl ramp-up hype.
1. Marshawn Lynch continues to dare the NFL to empty his bank account. So Marshawn Lynch gets threaded by the NFL with a massive fine (reports are anywhere from $250,000 to $500,000) if he doesn't cooperate with the media at Media Day, os he basically just gives the same one sentence answer ("I'm just here so I won't get fined.") over and over. Additionally, the NFL is looking into fining Lynch for wearing his unauthorized "Beast Mode" logo hat to Media Day. (Other players, most notably former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, have been fined $100,000 for similar transgressions at previous Super Bowls.) So on Wednesday, at his individual press conference (league mandated, of course), what did Lynch do? Naturally, he gave the same sentence answer to every question ("You know why I'm here.") while wearing a "Beast Mode" hat....
Marshawn Lynch does not give any shits.
2. Underrated storyline -- Patriots center Bryan Stork could play on Sunday. As actual game-effecting storyline here, the Patriots could have their center Bryan Stork back for Sunday's game. Stork was knocked out of the divisional round matchup with the Baltimore Ravens and then missed the AFC Title Game against the Indianapolis Colts with a knee injury. His absence didn;t come back to haunt the Patriots last Sunday, as LeGarrette Blount went for nearly 150 yards on the ground against the Colts beleaguered defensive front. However, the Seahawks ain't the Colts. Stork's return would give the Patriots a much needed boost in their efforts to run the football and keep the Seahawks off balance on Sunday.
3. Patriots and Seahawks chime in on Game of Thrones. The only thing that keeps Media Day remotely watchable, to me, are the random questions about pop culture and things outside of football whose answers humanize the players a little bit. Here, Clay Travis of FOX Sports (and founder of outkickthecoverage.com) asks several random players about the HBO TV show Game of Thrones, and one thing becomes very clear -- the "Red Wedding" episode does indeed scar even the toughest of grown men.
4. Ok, I lied there's one Deflate-Gate story from yesterday... If you're a former NFL player who has been off the grid for a while, to the extent that people are asking "Hey, yeah...what the hell happened to that guy?", one way to get back into the public consciousness is to comment on Deflate-Gate. Take former Bengals quarterback Jeff Blake, for example. I had no earthly clue that he was even still alive, yet there it was yesterday, a bullet point on the "HEADLINES" on ESPN.com, "Former QB Blake: 'Every team does it'". Apparently, Jeff Blake was on a radio show in Nashville yesterday and had this to say:
"I'm just going to let the cat of the bag, every team does it, every game, it has been since I played," Blake said. "'Cause when you take the balls out of the bag, they are rock hard. And you can't feel the ball as well. It's too hard. Everybody puts the pin in and lets just enough air out of the ball that you can feel it a little better. But it's not the point to where it's flat. So I don't know what the big deal is."
Not that Jeff Blake is Joe Montana or anything, but this is one more notch on my side of the argument which says that messing with the air pressure in the ball is common practice with a virtual zero effect on who the better team is that day. If the league starts policing this, it'll be the equivalent of the cops dishing out speeding tickets for going 56 in a 55.
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5. But the fact is that we may have a NEW "gate"...ALARM-GATE! Apparently, there is some chicanery afoot in an effort to make certain that the Patriots are VERY, VERY SLEEPY for their game on Sunday...
Another false fire alarm at Patriots hotel. That"s two in past three nights.
— Kimberly Jones (@KimJonesSports) January 29, 2015
Of course, there is roughly a 70 percent chance that the alarms are getting set off from LeGarrette Blount smoking weed in his room. Look within for the villain, Pats. Look within.