The Super Bowl is set and it's the team America hates versus the team America ignores.
Seriously, Las Vegas took more preseason wagering money on the Cleveland Browns to hoist the Lombardi Trophy than the Atlanta Falcons. I only know two Falcons fans: my colleague at PRN Radio, Doug Rice, and my buddy Jim Gale.
That's not to say Atlanta isn't legit. Any team with Julio Jones, as well as a QB playing at the level of Matt Ryan, has a great chance. That said, it's going to come down to whether Atlanta can run the football. I love the Falcons’ offense, but I can't quit thinking about New England coach Bill Belichick with two weeks in the lab. I'll say New England wins it, 27-23.
The gloom of New England: Speaking of the Pats, I've had an epiphany as to why they're so easily disliked. Well, aside from both the ubiquitous storylines and wins over the last 15 years: weather. I know it sounds crazy, but think about this: When was the last time you watched a meaningful game in Foxboro that wasn't misty, foggy and damp? It's depressing!
It's bad enough that all their games seem to start once it’s already dark, but then I tune in to see a slop fest played in a soupy atmosphere?! It reminds me of hearing the “60 Minutes” theme Sunday nights in my high school days as my mom was sorting laundry and my dad was reminding me to finish my homework. I knew then that the weekend was over. Bah, humbug!
NASCAR needed to make changes: I saw the new NASCAR points rules and I'll say this: It's January and people are talking about NASCAR. Kudos for that. I flunked algebra and geometry, so it'll take me a while to sort it all out, but the idea of creating "races within a race" is pretty cool. In my opinion, it was also much needed.
We are a quick to tune out society. It's why soccer is in vogue to a lot of people – no action stoppage. The NFL takes too long to review its reviews, the last two minutes of an NBA game takes 14 restroom breaks and baseball moves at a snail's pace.
It's for that reason that I think NASCAR's biggest remaining challenge is one that I'm not sure how to avoid: cautions. While they become an interesting strategic factor to a race, they can also be the ultimate momentum killer. Caution flags are racing's Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. They're incredible when you crave and need one, but when you've had enough, you've had enough. Very little room in between.
The blurred lines of real news: Lots of talk lately about "fake news." As a member of the media, this is a touchy one for me. It's not that all media is "fake," it's that news that is falsified or embellished is now distributed through avenues labeled as media. Thus, it becomes a blurry line.
My caution to hyperbolic critiques is simple. I believe media coverage is one of the core pillars of democracy. A free press coverage of government creates a check system, and a universal distrust is a dangerous precedent. Perhaps this is the fault of carelessness within the industry. A carelessness within a society to allow for one word to be that which is the only trusted is dangerous. It's the kind of thing that empowers individuals over a society. Just my two cents.
Is more less or is less more? Sometimes I think less is more. That creates an interesting conundrum for the Verizon IndyCar Series when it comes to new aero kit packages. I respect the heritage and desire for innovation. Yet, I also get why some fans found aero kits to be cumbersome, confusing or simply extra culprits for extended cleanups to lengthen cautions periods. All that said, if a universal aero kit is the gateway to more engine manufacturers and series competition, I give it the green flag. Less is more, unless it’s participants in the sport. Then, more is great.