There's hype and there's ridiculous


Published: Thursday, January 24, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 24, 2008 at 12:15 a.m.

At the risk of the paparazzi storming my neighborhood, I feel it's important to make a confession.

I own a walking boot. It's in my garage next to the unused barbells and snapped-in-half putters.

Indeed, because I have worn a boot, I am listed as probable to watch the Super Bowl next Sunday. My father has been quoted by numerous media outlets as saying he expects me to watch the game.

“He'll be fine,” Bob Dooley said on 1090-The Scam. “He would tell me if he wasn't going to be able to watch the game. He's a tough guy. If he had to drag his foot to the couch he would do it.”

I know it's the Super Bowl and all, but come on. Tom Brady wears a boot while taking flowers to his girlfriend, who is a supermodel — which I am told is different from a regular model by about 12 pounds — and the news outlets go nuts.

In Boston, they brought on experts to analyze what the injury might be. On ESPN, they spent the first part of SportsCenter analyzing which play it might have been where Brady maybe kinda turned his ankle.

This breathless coverage of a minor ankle sprain tells you what a long two weeks it's going to be. But at least we were spared the Cowboys and Jessica Simpson or the Packers and all that Favre-love or a Manning vs. Manning game that would have absolutely sent you to the emergency room to have the hype removed from your ear canal.

Wait. Wait. The story just took a turn. We take you to Brick Tamland at Gillette Stadium with breaking news.

Brick: Thanks, Stormy. We are here in the parking lot outside the Patriots' headquarters where the Escalade owned by New England quarterback Tom Brady has been booted. That's right, a boot has been placed on his back right tire immobilizing his vehicle and making his Super Bowl appearance questionable. I'm going to bring in racing champion Jeff Gordon live from Daytona where he is preparing for the other Super Bowl and, Jeff, what does this boot mean for Tom Brady?

Jeff: Uh, he'll have to pay his ticket to get it off. I mean, it happens. What's the big deal?

Brick: But Jeff if he cannot remove this boot, is there a chance the Patriots will have to play the Super Bowl without Tom Brady?

Jeff: I think he can get another ride.

Brick: You heard it. He thinks Tom Brady can get another ride. So we have upgraded his status to probable. Back to you Stormy.

Sheesh. I think I'll go put my boot on.

Unlikely partners

Boston and Gainesville don't have a lot in common. Ours is a small town with lots of tall trees and sunshine where the people talk with funny accents. Boston is a big city with a lot of tall buildings and snow and where the people talk with funny accents. Gainesville gave the world Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Boston gave the world, well, Boston.

But there is one thing we share with the lobster-eaters.

We both rule.

Since the beginning of 2004, Boston teams have won four world championships in football and baseball and are playing for another next week. During the same time frame, Florida has won three national championships in football and basketball.

And Bill Belichick, Urban Meyer and Billy Donovan have become fast friends.

The two places also have something else in common — their fans carried a certain level of entitlement and arrogance with them even before they were successful.

The thing I admire about the Pats is that they have their stars but they also have guys who have figured out how to play roles. They'll take another team's reject and make him work.

But please don't call Belichick a genius. He's a great football coach, a brilliant motivator and a smart dude. If he was a genius, he'd be working on a cure for cancer.

Conference call

The SEC is certainly well-represented in the Super Bowl this year and not just because the quarterback for the NFC champs went to Ole Miss.

The Patriots have 13 SEC players on their roster and the Giants have eight. That means 21 players from SEC schools will be playing in Super Bowl XLII. See, I can add.

More proof. If the Patriots win, it will even it up all-time between the NFC and AFC at 21 each.

One final Super Bowl note — what do Mookie Moore, Tutan Reyes and Leif Larsen have in common? No, they weren't part of Janet Jackson's wardrobe crew. Nor were they all in the Up With People salute to global warming.

They were all drafted ahead of Tom Brady in 2000.

Coaches or cooks

Either UCLA is on the verge of something special or it is about to see a major soap opera. With the hiring of Norm Chow as offensive coordinator, the Bruins have three coaches who interviewed for the head coaching job.

Only one of them — Rick Neuheisel — was successful in getting the job. Interim coach Dewayne Walker stayed on as defensive coordinator.

“This is going to be an ego-less thing,” Neuheisel said.

Really? Didn't Chow leave Southern Cal in a squabble over play-calling responsibility with Pete Carroll? And isn't Neuheisel's ego legendary?

Walker won't be able to get a word in. But I will say this — those are three pretty bright football guys. It will be interesting.

Poll position

Did you see whose team is No. 2 in the first Baseball America poll released this week?

That would be the Arizona Wildcats under former Gator skipper Andy Lopez.

Word is he's loaded, especially in the pitching department and anyone who knows Lopez knows that is when his teams are the most dangerous.

UCLA is No. 1 in the poll and three SEC teams are in the top 25. Not surprisingly, none of them is named Florida.

Pat-pourri

Every time I watch Patrick Patterson play, I can't help but think how good Florida would be if he had chosen to be a Gator. He's a beast but he may set a school record for having his shot blocked. Kentucky has had 66 blocked this season. ... Florida is No. 1 in the latest rankings on Rivals.com's football recruiting board and if the Gator staff can hang on, that's two in a row. But remember that Ohio State has played in two straight national championship games without a class ranked in the top 10 in the last three years. ... Demario Bobo has put his name in the NFL Draft. Me neither. ... A lot of people believe Tiger Woods can win the Grand Slam this year because the courses are set up perfectly for him. The bad news for the rest of the Tour is that he is one of those people. I think the young players should take him into a back alley and, well, give him a gold watch. The reason they are playing for so much money now is because of Tiger being Tiger. ... Be safe.

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