We have a few days to break down the proper logistics of the NFL playoff matchups. In fact, we'll spend a huge chunk of the rest of the week on that.
Today, we are making a request. We do not make requests often or with light intentions. We are not as hard or as steadfast as The Godfather, of whom Tom Hagen famously said, "Mr. Corleone never asks a second favor once he's refused the first, understood?" No, we are making a request that we believe could be fun for this weekend and great for our town.
We all watched Peyton Manning manipulate the San Diego Chargers with his presnap routine that featured a slew of buzz words and city names. Whether they meant anything or were just dummy words -- or better yet, code names -- is only for Manning and the Denver Broncos offense to know. Still, the most common one Manning used was "Omaha."
By one count, Manning said the city known for steaks, insurance, the College World Series and Warren Buffet as many as 44 times. It was so common and clear, the word "Omaha" started trending on Twitter. It was such good publicity, the business folks and the chamber people in the Nebraska city sent Peyton a thank-you and even have contemplated whether they can afford him as a pitch man. (Hey, Omaha, if you have to ask, you can't afford it.)
So here's our request for Peyton -- er, Mr. Manning -- if you please.
Hey, Peyton, what about us? What about Chattanooga, a place where you spend a fair amount of time in the offseason? Heck what about the entire surrounding tri-state area?
This week, when you face arguably one of the biggest tests of your career, carrying with it what could very well be one of the lasting measuring sticks of your Hall of Fame career, walk up to the line of scrimmage, check New England's front seven and scream, "Chatta-NOOGA! Chatta-NOOGA!"
If they adjust, check to "OOL-Tewah! OOL-Tewah!" Think of the possibilities. The confusion of the Patriots would be off the charts. New England defensive end Chandler Jones is from upstate New York, for crying out loud. He'll spend the first quarter and a half thinking, "What in the world is an Ooltewah? And why is Manning talking about a Choo-Choo ... Run play. RUN PLAY!"
And even the most recognized and southern of the Patriots' defensive front -- outside linebacker Dont'a Hightower, the former Alabama star who is from Lewisburg, Tenn. -- would be perplexed and possibly start to wonder, "Is Manning making fun of me? Does this mean they are running at me, the Tennessee boy?"
Certainly you could add to your budding endorsement empire and go all multi-platform on us with "Papa John's -- better ingredients means better pizza" before each play, but frankly that's beneath you.
The city options are endless, Peyton, however, and never mind the tons of publicity for our little burg and all that we have going on. We know you know about our great minor league team and the ballpark and all, but have you heard about the climbing wall? And while you can't use "Lookouts" or "The Block" in your presnap cadence because of the possible double meanings, we highly recommend it the next time you go downtown.
In truth, you could cover all corners of the area with some decoys and some real audibles. You could walk to the line and scream a trio of our favorite mountains -- "Signal, Signal, Signal! ... Lookout, Lookout, Lookout! ... Raccoon, Raccoon!" -- and the Patriots would be mesmerized. Can't you see New England cornerback AqibTalib looking toward the line and saying, "Did he just say Raccoon?"
Heck, you could even mix in some actual hot routes or "Whitwell, Whitwell" could be a key for Wes Welker and "Dalton, Dalton" could be for Eric Decker.
Think about it, Peyton -- er, Mr. Manning -- this could be a win-win for all of us.
And we all know how bad you need that this weekend.
Contact Jay Greeson at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @jgreesontfp, and listen to him and David Paschall on "Press Row" weekdays 3-6 p.m. on ESPN 105.1 FM and in real time on timesfreepress.com.
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...
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