SPORTS w/The Jock 1-28-11

by Tom Weppel
We had two entertaining, exciting games last weekend, giving us the stalwart Packers and Steelers to play in Super Bowl XLV (45) . And so now…let the absolute MEDIA OVERLOAD of coverage begin!!!
Yes, we are about to simply get slammed with so much hype and sloppy fare, as both teams will be in Dallas this whole week, leading up to the Super Bowl. They will be there to get a little practice in, but they will also be there to be interviewed, from the coaches and the owners, right on down to the equipment guys and the trainers!
It is a complete mess…I promise you.
While there might be a few interesting tidbits of information we might be exposed to, for all intents, the interviews and stories that will emerge from this week will be a lot of pure, nonsensical CRAP! It will become a joke of a scene within a day or two…easily.
Obviously, that is what makes this game that much more of an event, than anything else! The other angle, though, is to realize that the players from both teams will be dealing with a lot of hype, completely different settings and schedules, and a break from the routine they had gotten so confident and comfortable with thru this whole season.
I guess the question really should be whether this game is overhyped! It seems everyone wants to get in on the action of the Super Bowl! It has become the ultimate ‘in’ game…where everyone wants to be able to say they were there and they hung out with so-and-so and did whatever.
A lot of people also fail to realize how many relatives and friends players have (or have had or are all of the sudden gaining!) during this time. All players get the ‘right’ to buy a certain number of tickets. After they get their allotment, then it’s a crap-shoot in trying to attain seats.
Don’t think that stops anybody and anybody from trying to get in touch with a player on one of the two teams to see if they have something for them. If they don’t, sour feelings end up becoming prevalent.
And so we’ll see how this week evolves, as we prepare to find out way too much information about the Packers and Steelers.

Having gone more than halfway thru the NBA regular season, we see the San Antonio Spurs having the best record in the NBA so far. In fact, they are the ONLY team in the league with less than ten losses.
That, my friends, is saying something.
Unfortunately, they haven’t received the most attention! That title essentially goes to the darlings of each Coast, namely the Miami Heat (East) and the L.A. Lakers (West). Granted, both of which have had rather intriguing seasons so far and are playing good ball. But it is quite obvious Miami and L.A. are the two sexy teams, with the star players, who are gathering all the attention and interest.
In the meantime, the Spurs keep kicking along. Thru 26 home games, they are 24-2, which is the best in the NBA. In addition, they are 15-5 on the road, again which is the best in the league. Their top trio of G Tony Parker, G Manu Ginobili, and F Tim Duncan plays effectively and soundly, having been together for a number of years. This season, they have a solid supporting cast, which includes F Richard Jefferson, C DeJaun Blair, and newcomer G Gary Neal.
Interestingly enough, it seems these Spurs don’t really need the spotlight and attention in order to feel recognition. They are fine with the Heat and Lakers taking up all the TV time. And while the best record in the NBA won’t win you the Championship, it certainly gives you home court advantage, which is always a good thing for the playoffs.

These two weeks of play, both on the Mens and Womens tournaments, have been variously interesting, to say the least. More and more, we are seeing what amounts to a United Nations summit, as the sport of tennis gathers more attention and play worldwide.
For the Mens Final, we will not have either Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal. Nadal got bounced in the Quarters, in part due to a thigh injury, while Federer lost to Novak Djokovic in the Semis. It has been a long, long time since this has been the case. In a way, it signals that there well could be a change in the tennis hierarchy. Federer has been so dominant for so long, fans have become expecting of him to be in the Finals for every Major event. Obviously that may not be the case, as Federer works into the twilight of his fantastic run.
In the meantime, this is the second consecutive year Nadal has become injured while playing in the Australian Open. Being in the best physical shape is paramount to success. Obviously, Rafael Nadal is finding this out. For him to continue on a path to winning multiple titles, he will have to figure out a process to stay sound and true within his own play and limits.
And while they both work out their kinks, look for Djokovic and Andy Murray to make more things happen on the Mens circuit.