Friday, January 17, 2014

A Football Filled With Hot Air Can't Explode Soon Enough

The most profound and sincere compliment I can pay Peyton Manning and Tom Brady is to say how much I still love watching them play despite how sick I am of reading or hearing about them. That I know they're even more sick of hearing about themselves is of little comfort.

Players for both the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots will spend today wishing it was already 1 p.m. Central Standard Time and they could the damn AFC Championship Game already. Fellas, you have nothing on me there.

Oh, forgive me. Did I say Broncos and Patriots? I should have used the team names most commonly cited by broadcasters "Tom Brady and the Patriots" and "Peyton Manning and the Broncos." The other 44 accomplished professional athletes on each side are relegated to a second billing lower in stature than that of Gladys Knight's Pips.

Hall of Famers they may be, but the sick emphasis placed on the two quarterbacks is a travesty of football perception and in addition, very dull. Tom and Peyton haven't exactly hid their lights under the ol' bushel basket the past 10 years. What on earth is there new to say about them until they play another game? Why make the hype rubble bounce yet again?

Of course I know why. Writing a column about Manning's "legacy," as Dan Shaughnessy did this morning, is easy to do. Lazy foolish things almost always are. As an economist once said of a rival theory "that's not even wrong." Legends are legends. Look up Johnny Unitas' record against Bart Starr. Consider that Jack Nicklaus bear Arnold Palmer more often than not. What an insult to an athlete to be compared to Wilt Chamberlain!

Back in Denver, I'm sure somebody wrote or babbled about Brady in relationship to Spygate. Same difference. Something has to fill space and time, and the lame but quick way out has an undeniable appeal to the hack soul.

I am rooting for a game Sunday in which Brady and Manning are each their almost incomparable selves and the final score is 49-48 or thereabouts. I do so because the pleasure I would take in those three hours is worth the pain of the hooey I know I'll endure after the final gun.

I'm still looking forward to the AFC Championship Game despite its very worst feature. No matter what, Jim Nantz and Phil Simms can't lose. They'll have a quarterback to describe with sycophantic drool come what may.


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