Monday, January 20, 2014

Noted choke-artist reaches Super Bowl. Again.

Even before he put up club-record numbers in Denver's AFC Championship game win over New England, Peyton Manning was a lock for his fifth NFL Most Valuable Player Award,  but his season will be considered a failure unless Manning and the Broncos beat Seattle in the Super Bowl.  It's unfair, but that's always been the measure of Manning's legacy.  Four MVP awards, 10 All Pro nods and 13 Pro Bowl selections are consistently overshadowed by the fact that he has "only" one Super Bowl  ring (and yeah, he was the MVP in that game, too).  Manning might be the only guy in sports with nothing left to prove who still has something to prove, apparently.

Meanwhile, it would have been a nice gesture if Manning had yelled "Topeka", "Fargo" or "Council Bluffs" during some of his snap counts, just to reassure Middle America that he knows Omaha isn't the only city in the U.S. Midwest.

Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman's obnoxious outburst on live television at the end of the Seahawks' win over San Francisco should be required viewing for P.K. Subban's detractors.  Sherman's outrageous unprofessionalism and arrogance put Subban's perceived theatrics in their proper perspective.

Cue the shopworn media outrage over Saturday's line brawl in Vancouver, and the outrage is almost invariably limited to the media, because they need something to write and talk abut.  Find me one fan who left the arena or turned off the television in disgust when the Canucks and Calgary Flames sent out their respective goon squads for the opening faceoff, with predictable results.  I'm not endorsing the mayhem.  Just spare me the faux indignation and contrived hand-wringing.

Is it just me, or does Hockey Day in Canada get cornier every year, and have we at long last reached the point where Ron MacLean is officially more unhinged than Don Cherry?  Opening a 13-and-a-half hour broadcast with a sock on your head while wearing a kitchen apron and holding a pitchfork doesn't exactly set a credible tone.  The mundane anecdotes about smalltown Canadiana came across as dull and hoaky more than they fired the imagination.  The significant exception was Elliotte Friedman's tribute piece on the late Ace Bailey, which was sentimental without being maudlin, and only the latest demonstration that Friedman's elevation to MacLean's chair is overdue.

The liberal media's least favourite part of Hockey Day is when Cherry is unfailingly greeted by a standing ovation in whatever small or medium-sized community is hosting the event.  It's an unwelcome reminder to self-styled progressives in the big city that Cherry's old school values still carry a lot of clout in the Canadian heartland.

And in case you were wondering about how Joffrey Lupul got his name, his Dad's favourite TV show growing up was The Joffersons. 

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