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Around the Seawall: Richard Sherman's Media Day; Peyton Manning's Retirement; Scarlett Jo's Commercial
*While 'Around the Seawall' implies some level of Vancouver-only coverage, today's version of my weekly (make that 'occasional-and-when-convenient') sports segments is Seahawks, Seahawks, and more Seahawks. Because, hey, Super Bowls and the Pacific Northwest don't often collide, and I'd rather take advantage of the chance while I can...
Super Bowl Media Day
I've never been to a Super Bowl or its media week. I know I'm not alone on this.
So the week is a mixture of a few feelings. I like the dovetailing storylines as much as anyone, whether it's Randy Moss declaring that he's the greatest receiver of all time or whether it's Maria Menounos covering Rob Gronkowski like she'd cover Patrick Dempsey.
But I'm also jealous. I'm jealous as a person, because who wouldn't want to experience the Super Bowl or at the very least experience the culture, the circus, and the atmosphere surrounding it? (New Orleans, please get the game back. I'll show up for a week and I'll support your economy and your bars and your Treme and I won't even be able to attend the dance.)
And I'm jealous as a reporter, or a columnist, or a blogger, or whatever you are now if you have an IP address and a byline. A lot of people go to this game... the crew at Team 1040 goes to this game, and a few reporters from many of Canada's media envelopes go to this game, from Sportsnet to the National Post, seemingly just because they got lucky and they were in the office when the boss got his newsroom's ticket or two.
I have to live through the Tweets of Richard Sherman. I have to live through the second-hand excitement of the state only a few minutes from my front door. Then again, I can shower myself in potato chips on Sunday on someone else's couch. I get to watch the game from the comfort of a living room and with the rim of a beer on my lips. I get to take a long, warm shower the morning of and I can just enjoy the game because I can actually watch the game.
And I can cheer on my Seahawks without having to worry about whether I'm biased or not. (I am, and I won't be able to hide it.) So, I'll make lemonade, because I've got enough sugar.
Media Day was a blast! pic.twitter.com/5nNwtOQQmv— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) January 28, 2014
Scarlett Johansson's Super Bowl commercial for SodaStream was banned. Not because Scarlett Johansson is sexy, but because the ad raises a middle finger to Coke and Pepsi.
Pete Carroll Is A Hugger
Pete Carroll is known for his defensive prowess, his high energy level and a mantra of competition that keeps his players working hard.
He's also known for jubilant celebrations.
The Seattle Seahawks head coach can routinely be seen hugging and rejoicing with his players after a big play, whether it's on offense, defense or special teams.
"When the head guy's hugging you," Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner said, "you did something right."
Peyton Manning Ain't Retiring... Right?
It's an obvious question: Will Peyton Manning retire after this Super Bowl? Well, what if he wins the Super Bowl?
Okay, actually, it's really not obvious. It's just something we feel we have to ask, because it was only a year or two ago that we were wondering whether Peyton would even turn his neck again, nevermind leading his Broncos to two outstanding seasons and then a Super Bowl. Some people think he's the greatest pivot of all-time. I don't. Not yet. But I think it's incredible, and it makes me wonder, "Why would Peyton stop now? He's not declining, and if we think he's this good, he must think he's even better."
Turns out, Peyton is as cryptic about the whole thing as we are (Washington Post):
"I certainly had a career change two years ago with my injury, with changing teams, and so I truly have been kind of a one-year-at-a-time basis. So I really have no plans beyond this game, had no plans coming into this season beyond this year. I think that's the healthy way to approach kind of your career at this stage."
Gee, thanks for that.
Of course, I'm the sort of guy who'd be scared to even ask a guy like Peyton that question. How many times must he hear that? He's got to know it's on a ton of peoples' minds. It's the elephant in the room, but he's clearly not interested in discussing it. It would be like asking Mitt Romney about his Mormonism, not as a criticism but a topic. And it's a fair topic, one that people want to know about and are curious about, and they have a right to wonder.
But unlike Mitt, the elder Manning handled that question with what I'll call aplomb.
And he even tossed up a biscuit resembling a compliment to his boss, Mr. John Elway. (Is it bad that we consider Elway his boss and not the coach, John Fox, his boss?)
"Well, I know there's a number of players that have walked away as champions, and I'm sure that's a great feeling for those people. John Elway, Ray Lewis did it last year, Michael Strahan... In talking to Ray Lewis and in talking to John Elway, they couldn't play anymore. That was all they had to give. They truly left it all out there."
The Other Peyton Thing...
So, now that we're talking about Peyton Manning's retirement, does it mean we can finally stop talking about Peyton Manning's use of Omaha!
Boy, it doesn't take long for something to go from cute and possibly t-shirt worthy to just an old joke.
Marshawn Lynch Is A Big Deal
Quality writers and quality readers love Grantland. Sure, not everyone loves the mailbag-heavy rants by Bill Simmons or the adorable wanderlust-like stuff from Rembert Browne. And not everyone cares about Andy Greenwald's TV poetry or Sean McIndoe's hockey summaries. But you can certainly appreciate the site and you will certainly notice when they take on someone close to you.
And so, here's a snippet from stats master Bill Barnwell, in his column on Seattle's Skittle-fed running back, Marshawn Lynch:
"Marshawn Lynch occupies a weird, compelling space in the football world. More so than anybody else in the league, he's the guy I find non-football or casual football fans gravitating toward. He's your favorite basketball blogger's favorite football player. On a team known even within the outsize sphere of the NFL as one of the league's biggest and most bruising, Lynch stands out for not only making a fair number of defenders miss, but also for seeming to truly relish shaking tacklers off or running them over more than any other back in football. At the same time, he's a good-natured, downright goofy character with a legitimately funny TV reel, albeit a character with a troubling record of off-field incidents. Maybe what makes him so interesting is that contradiction: Lynch is both that Skittles-slurping folk hero and an old-school archetype being squeezed out of football: the workhorse franchise running back.
"Lynch's professional backstory and the path he has taken to the biggest game of his life are equally disjointed. His lows were lower and his burn was slower than most remember. Somehow, he's both a cautionary tale for investing too much in a running back and an argument that upper-echelon talent just needs the right spot to shine."
If you're not sure about the professional backstory that Barnwell is referring to, Lynch rose to stardom with the Buffalo Bills and brought them the same electricity and pounding play he has brought to Seattle. But he was effectively cast-off, written away as some sort of talented but only talented pariah.
He came to Seattle the way almost every Seahawk came to Seattle, prior to 2011. He was a misfit toy looking for a home.
That line of Barnwell's – "he's both a cautionary tale for investing too much in a running back and an argument that upper-echelon talent just needs the right spot to shine" – is spot-on. So, bravo, Bill.
The only thing, and to Buffalo's credit or at least to soften the sting they must feel, is that Lynch was no sure upper-echelon player when he was let go. He was a one-time star-to-be that turned into an ugly union.
To put it in a Vancouver Canucks fan's perspective, he was David Booth. Before Booth came to Vancouver. Now, imagine that trade worked out...
There is no timeliness to this next bit, but every once and a while, I like to toss on ESPN's just-excellent 30 for 30 about Southern Methodist University's flagrant and stupid disregard of NCAA rules during the Eighties.
It's fantastic, it's a little tragic, and it's most certainly absurd.
Oh, and it's got vintage Eric Dickerson highlights. I'll point you directly to this Ebay listing of his college jersey, because you'll be wondering how you get one after you YouTube him for a little bit.
Russell Wilson. ALL DAY.
Russell's a pretty cool guy. He's growing out his hair for good luck or something like it, he recently got the better of Colin Kaepernick in an Instagram comparison put together by an enterprising Seahawks fans, and now he's getting advice from his idol, fellow short stick and 2010 Super Bowl champion Drew Brees.
"We've been in communication over the past week, just about the experience," Wilson said when asked about Brees on Sunday after arriving in New Jersey for Super Bowl XLVIII. "Like I said, he knows I look up to him. He's a great individual and he was just talking about the experience, and it's no different. The biggest thing is taking care of all tickets and taking care of all family early in the week last week, which I was able to do last Monday and just focus on the game."
What's cooler: that Brees is giving Wilson a boost even though his Saints lost to Wilson's Seahawks just a few weeks ago, or that Brees won his first and only Super Bowl by beating the same Peyton Manning that Wilson will go up against in New York?
You know what? It's all pretty cool.