The NFL's pick for Super Bowl ref surely hopes that no one knows his name on Monday.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
Are you burned out yet from Super Bowl hype?
Stay focused: It's the last chance of the work week to
make unaccountable projections to your co-workers and
Memorized 'em yet? Bucs coach Jon Gruden takes
on his old team ... Raiders offense vs. Bucs defense ... the Middleton-Sapp talk war ... Jerry Rice in his
fourth SB, Tim Brown in his first ... both QBs take winding
road to prominence ... Joe Jurevicius' family
concerns ... and about 50 more. Expect radical
revisions Monday; so much talk, and history doesn't
even bother remembering the build-up.
Prediction: Sticking with Monday's pick,
the Bucs win 27-24 thanks to defense, a spindly
kicker, just enough long pass plays, one officiating
dispute and the whim of a tossed coin. That's right,
you've seen this debacle coming: game goes to OT! Bucs
quickly hit a long field goal to win; Raiders never
get a chance on offense; forever known as "Coin-Flip
Super Bowl"; NFL humiliated into changing the
preposterous OT policy.
If Oakland's O gets it done against that Tampa
D, the spread-it-around philosophy will leave all the
MVP Riches for Gannon. If Tampa wins, why wouldn't MVP
go to someone on the dominant D (like Richard Dent in
XX or Ray Lewis two years ago)? Players on neglected
sides (Raiders D, Bucs O) have no mojo. Keep in mind
that fans account for 20 percent of MVP balloting -- so be sure to vote.
Prediction: Top three contenders for Raiders:
1) Rich Gannon (stats assured); 2) Jerry Rice
(nostalgia vote); 3) Jerry Porter (big-play
potential); Bucs: 1) Derrick Brooks (LB might even
score); 2) Brad Johnson (only if mistake-free); 3)
Anyone but Keyshawn (voter bias).
As usual, animals will be a dominant force. So
will celebrities; look for the Osbournes, Jackie Chan,
||"WORTH OBSESSING OVER 'TIL SUNDAY" EDITION
|CONVERSATION TOPICS THAT ARE IN PLAY:|
1. THE Match-Up: Say it again -- Oak 'O' vs. Tampa 'D'|
2. Coverage: Lynch, Rice to be miked up on-field. Cool!
3. Entertainment: Shania, Stefani, Beyonce
|CONVERSATION TOPICS THAT ARE SO OVER:|
1. Keyshawn: Says he's done talking to media; we'll see ...|
2. Speculation: That Raiders owner Al Davis is retiring
3. Picks: Easily made, but where's the accountability?
Nelson, new endorsement star Yao Ming and the
inimitable Florence Henderson. The dot-com ad count is
down to three, unsurprisingly. (Alas, there appears to
be no sequel to the "Catfight" beer ad.)
Prediction: There will be a ton of buzz
from one beer company's lead commercial, featuring a
ref played by an actual zebra. And a soda brand is
picking up the E-Trade "primates-are-always-funny"
ball and supposedly delivers with baboons. Stay
focused: A lot of the ads are running longer than
the usual 30 seconds.
How can the NFL top U2's brilliant halftime
performance from last year? They can't, so manage your
expectations from Shania Twain, No Doubt and Sting.
The pregame show includes the Goo Goo Dolls, Bonnie
Raitt, Santana, Michelle Branch and Beyonce. Throw in
patriotic singers Celine ("Canada ... oops,
America the Beautiful") Dion and the Dixie
Chicks singing the national anthem, and it's like the
producers figure everyone loves VH-1.
Prediction: Uh, did someone say
"Beyonce?" Meanwhile, Shania and No Doubt eye candy
Gwen Stefani are nice, but who else misses Britney?
Biggest problem attending an SB party:
Too many guests who not only don't care about the
game, but squeal about how they "love the
commercials!" ...during the commercials.
Mitigate your risk of missing anything: Arrive early
and stake out "the good chair" and make nice with
whoever asserts themselves as "Lord of the
Remote-Control Volume Button," then
passive-aggressively drown out squealers.
Prediction: Burned out on chips by
kickoff, overstuffed with Foreman burgers by the end
of the first quarter, bloated on, uh, beverages by
halftime. Second-wind in the fourth quarter, however.
After a 74-66 loss to Evansville last night, the wheels have fallen off the Blue Jays' bandwagon. For those jumping, watch your ankles!
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|NFL: SB Blitz|
|IN: SB Tip Sheet|
Now giving the Jags credit: Hiring Ravens personnel
guru James Harris as VP/Football Ops is a great
Vince Carter should help his team in games that count,
not risk further injury in an All-Star exhibition. Sit
out, get replaced by MJ ...
The NFL Players' Association supports changing the OT
policy ensuring fair-ups for both teams ...
Must-see TV: Pregame intros for MJ's last game in
Chicago tonight ...
No more Yankee-stacking: MLB will have bigger say in
naming of All-Star reserves ...
Little Earl Boykins deserves a spot as NBA All-Star
Jerry Springer is considering a run for U.S. Senate in
Ohio. Next week's episode: "Fading Celebrities and the
People Who Vote for Them" ...
Drop by to chat at 1:30 p.m. ET ...