1) Let me be the last to say that there is absolutely no legitimate reason for a two-week layoff between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl. None whatsoever. It’s not as if the NFL needs the additional week to hype the game or to try to encourage more people to watch. They already had us at hello. Barring people who were scheduled to undergo surgery last Sunday, or those who were scheduled to perform such surgery, there is not a single individual who will watch the game this Sunday who wouldn’t have watched it last Sunday.
2) Here’s what the extra week gets us: an extra week of interviews we don’t really care about and insights that aren’t that insightful. It’s 100 players and half as many coaches talking about how committed they are to their teams, how winning the game will be the pinnacle of their careers, and how they are dedicating this game to their mother/father/high school coach/Porsche repairman. No one is stupid enough to tell us their game plans, and unless someone says something truly outrageous — and “guaranteeing” a victory stopped being outrageous after Joe Namath did it — there’s little we will read or hear this week that will mean anything. And that includes the piece you are reading at this very moment.
3) Here’s something else that the extra week off got us: unless you count watching the Pro Bowl, which you shouldn’t, we had no legitimate excuse not to do chores around the house last Sunday or to avoid going to see Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, a movie so execrable that even my wife turned to me and whispered, “Maybe we should be watching the Pro Bowl.” (Note to film makers: Don’t market a movie as “not being about September 11” when it not only is about September 11, but the only emotion in the whole movie comes when the towers collapse with one of the film’s characters inside. Oh, I was supposed to say “spoiler alert” first? Tough.)
4) The only person who arguably will benefit from the extra week off is Rob Gronkowski, who will have additional time to rest and rehabilitate his sprained ankle. Yes, other players get to rest and recover, too, and I’m sure they appreciate that, but “Rob Gronkowski’s Ankle” is getting so much attention now that you half expect it to be the first guest on Letterman tonight. David Letterman: “So how are you, Rob Gronkowski’s Ankle?” Rob Gronkowski’s Ankle: “I’d be better if I hadn’t just sat through Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Dave.”
5) You know who no one’s talking about? Aaron Hernandez, the Patriots’ other superb tight end. No, Hernandez’s ankle doesn’t have its own Twitter account like Rob Gronkowski’s Ankle presumably has. But if you don’t think the Patriots coaching staff is planning to put the ball in Hernandez’s hands more on Sunday, regardless of Gronkowski’s ankle, you’re wrong. (Rob Gronkowski’s Ankle: “I’m just happy to play on the same team as Hernandez. He always gives 110 percent.”)
6) And if you don’t think that the Patriots staff and Tom Brady are embarrassed by the team’s performance against the Ravens, or if you don’t think that will have any effect on their game plan or performance in the Super Bowl, you’re wrong about that, too. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady haven’t gotten to where they are — each is deservedly in the conversation for being the greatest of all time in his respective role — by being slackers or by not taking their jobs seriously. And both also have the same black mark on their careers that needs erasing — the Giants’ upset win in the Super Bowl four years ago, tainting an otherwise perfect Patriots season and the Super Bowl records for both Belichick and Brady. That’s what the Giants should be most concerned about — both Belichick and Brady have something to prove.
7) News flash! Rob Gronkowski’s Ankle has just signed a three-book deal with Simon & Schuster!
8) Just out of curiosity, the Patriots aren’t planning to put Julian Edelman on Hakeem Nicks, are they? In case you’ve forgotten, Edelman was covering Anquan Boldin during the critical minutes of the AFC Championship Game.
9) I’m looking for confirmation, but it appears that Rob Gronkowski’s Ankle is now dating Kim Kardashian. Here’s what Rob Gronkowski’s Ankle had to say: “She’s a great girl, but we’re just friends.” Just friends? Then what were the two of you doing together last night at Maxine’s Chicken and Waffles?
10) Yes, we all know that Eli Manning is Peyton Manning’s brother. And, yes, we all know that the Super Bowl is being played in Indianapolis, where Peyton Manning plays, in the stadium that may not have been built but for Peyton Manning’s success. And, yes, we know that Tom Brady is considered to be Peyton Manning’s biggest rival. But why do we have to keep reading about this? There is nothing interesting to be said on the subject. Other than this: Rob Gronkowski’s Ankle has just challenged Peyton Manning’s neck to a mixed martial arts match!
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