My Super Bowl Prediction

NFL

This year has been interesting for me as a football fan. I was in the UK and didn’t watch either of the Conference Championship games, and I will be in Australia and probably not watching the Super Bowl tomorrow. So, I can’t really say that I’ve been studying and analyzing the teams at all.

That being said, two things jump out at me. First, what a story it would be for Peyton Manning to leave the NFL after winning a Super Bowl that no one thinks he can win. Isn’t that exactly the kind of story we watch sports to witness? Isn’t that the sort of ending we wish for all of our favorites? Wouldn’t that get play on every single network for days on end? Of course it would! 

But there’s something else that Denver reminds me of. They have that feel to them, of a true underdog who somehow keeps winning, who never looks dominant, but finds a way to just get by. The team we just assumed wouldn’t get this far, and yet here they are. Those are great stories too, until the run ends, and it usually ends abruptly and ugly. Think Notre Dame against Alabama in the National Championship, or countless other examples. 

It’s that feeling that leaves me thinking this is going to be a Panthers blowout. 

I hope I’m wrong, but….

Panthers 35-13 

Antonio Smith Being Investigated for Sexual Abuse

antonio smith photo

Photo by The Brit_2

At least that appears to be what the current investigation into the current Denver Bronco defensive lineman appears to be, from reports in the media.

While we are a far way from having any proof, or even a criminal charge, the description being reported certainly sounds familiar to anyone who has spent time looking into the facts about the sexual abuse of children, including the perpetrator being close to, or part of, the victims family, being in a position of respect within the family and the community, and convincing the victim of the “specialness” of their relationship and need for secrecy.

If this is true, it’s another black eye for the NFL in the wake of domestic violence and child abuse charges involving the physical abuse of girlfriends/wives and children. It will be interesting to see if as much media attention is focused on this case, as there isn’t a video to get upset about, and I do believe the media in general, and sports media in particular, are wholly unprepared to deal with sexual abuse as a topic. I fear it will either be sensationalized, due to the sexual aspect, or ignored, because of a squeamish audience. Neither of those would be a good thing.

The fact is, that statistically speaking, it’s estimated that anywhere from 10% of all children, to 1 in 4 girls, and 1 in 6 boys, are victims of sexual abuse. We would be foolish to think that any institution is immune to this. Certainly, I’ve read stories of professional athletes who have overcome abusive situations, including sexual abuse. We should not be surprised that there might be a few abusers in a group as large as this as well. We shouldn’t shy away from talking about it because it makes us squeamish. We should talk about it so that other victims and survivors know that they are not alone, and they are taken seriously.

I do know something about this. I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse myself.

If the investigation results in finding that Smith did, in fact, commit sexual abuse, I can only hope for two things:

1. That justice is served for his victim, and that they can be provided the help they need to overcome this.

2. That the media, and the NFL, can use this to promote awareness of childhood sexual abuse, of children of all genders, and to promote the resources that are available to both aid in the prevention of this tragedy, and also help survivors lead happy, successful lives despite of this trauma.

No one deserves to be the victim of a pedophile, but as long as we are out here, we also need to make it clear that being sexually abused as a child is not a life sentence as well.

Now, let’s see where this investigation goes, and what the NFL does in response.

Congrats Seattle!

I know everyone will make jokes and hurl plenty of blame at Peyton Manning, but at the end of the day, sometimes you have these kinds of games. It was a Super Bowl blowout in the tradition of SF-Denver, Chicago-NE, Dallas-Buffalo, OAK-Wash, Wash-Denver, and so on. The story was basically the same in all of those, and it was repeated tonight.

When you’re up against an aggressive, attacking, defense, and you fall behind early, the game can turn ugly real quick. If the game situation turns you into a one-dimensional offense, even with Peyton Manning running it, that defense is going to turn you over, force you into mistakes, and the rout will be on.

Throw in a special teams score, and some poor tackling in the second half by Denver’s defense, and you end up with a 43-8 score.

It happens. Unfortunately for the Broncos, and everyone hoping to watch a good game, it happened in the biggest game of the year.

So what were the best commercials? That’s worth discussing. Personally, I wasn’t overly impressed. There were a few cute ones, (Radio Shack, Doberhuahua, Full House reunion) but I didn’t see any that I thought we’d still be talking about for years to come. You?

Final Four in the NFL

So after a crazy season with all kinds of surprises, we end up with a very “chalkish” final four of Seattle, San Fran, Denver and New England.

Still, you couldn’t ask for a better set of games. Two division rivals who really don’t like each other playing in the craziness of Seattle, and on the other side, Brady vs. Manning again.

It might be predictable, but I’m sure the NFL and it’s TV partners won’t complain about those story lines!