As usual, Super Bowl is taking on circus feel
Off-field shenanigans are detracting from big week
PHOENIX — A historic Super Bowl is before us.
Next Sunday, Seattle goes for a second straight title, seeking to be the first team to repeat since the Patriots a decade ago. A victory, particularly a convincing one, would stamp the Seahawks as one of the great teams of the Super Bowl era.
Meanwhile, New England’s coach and quarterback chase a record-tying fourth Super Bowl ring.
Yet, as has been the custom this season, major distractions have taken focus away from the field.
As much as Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, Pete Carroll and Richard Sherman might want the spotlight to shine only on the game itself — and the potential achievements at hand — much of the buildup to the kickoff will be about anything but.
From the New England under-inflated balls saga to injuries for All-Pro defensive backs Sherman and Earl Thomas to Marshawn Lynch being fined yet again for his code of silence with the media, the 49th Super Bowl has taken on a circus atmosphere.
Which seems fitting given all that has gone wrong for the NFL off the field — even as pro football remains as popular as ever.
Just finding any comments about the matchup of the dynamic defence from Seattle and the potent offence from New England has been a chore. Everything else, it seems, has been in play.
Indeed, here’s how Seahawks All-Pro cornerback Sherman, recalling last year, describes the upcoming week:
“To us, it was just another week in the season, obviously. You’re with these guys 180 or 190 of the 365 days, so you get to spend a special week with them. You get to know their families a little better, because it’s not just them there, but it’s their families, their sons and daughters.
“A lot of times you don’t get to meet them during these weeks, we’re always at work from eight to six and everyone goes home. You get one day during training camp to meet people’s family, but that’s about it. So you have a good time getting to know people more.” Notice, no mention of football. Sherman does insist the left elbow he hurt in the NFC title game will be no factor.
“If I had to slap my brother, I’d be able to do it,” he said jokingly.
Not much light-hearted stuff coming from New England. Not much football talk, either.
Belichick, who can equal Chuck Noll’s four Super Bowl rings as a head coach, is grilled about the air pressure in a football, not about the pass pressure Seattle can bring on Brady.
Brady, in turn, gets cross-examined about the weight of the footballs, not about the weight of trying to reach Joe Montana/ Terry Bradshaw territory with a fourth Super Bowl triumph.
“Obviously I’d much rather be up here talking about the Seahawks and preparing for the Super Bowl, which we’ve been trying to do for the last few days,” he said.
As for Lynch, while it’s certain the Patriots are scheming how to slow down Beast Mode, the league is trying to figure out what to do with him on media day and beyond. Lynch was fined $20,000 Thursday for an obscene gesture in the NFC championship win over Green Bay.
In November, he was nailed for $50,000 for not adhering to the league media policy. Another $50,000 from 2013 that was withheld with the expectation he would co- operate in the future also was collected because, well, Lynch didn’t speak up when required to.
Some folks in the NFL offices must be wondering what else could happen to shift the focus from Patriots- Seahawks.
Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch is the silent type.