Gang, here's hoping the weather did not cause you too much worry and exactly zero pain or injury. If you can stay home (and log on and chat with the folks here at the warm, cozy and cuddly 5-at-10) well we highly recommend that.
We will be headed to the TFP compound later in the a.m., and hopefully the roads will be cleared. We also have Zac Brown tickets for tonight, and that seems like a long shot at this point. So it goes we guess.
From the "Talks too much" studios, stay warm and thirsty friends.
Super Bowl match-ups
We have a slew of prop bets to share later today. Or tomorrow. Or sometime before the kickoff. We'll get some prop bets out there before kickoff.
Hey, do we want to have a contest? We say yes. It will be the unofficial Eugene Robinson Super Bowl Proposition Bets contest. We'll post 7 prop bets with a tie-breaker and whomever gets the most right will win some UTC hoops tickets and some other stuff. Deal? Deal. The seven prop bets will be in the question section below. You can enter here or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Giddy-up.
Of all the match-ups out there — Sherman versus Manning; the Seattle running game against the Denver front seven; "Skittles" vs. "Pot Roast" (seriously); Coke and Pepsi vs. Soda Stream — here's the biggest one in the game: Denver in the red zone against Seattle's defense in the red zone.
Denver was the best team in football inside the opponents' 20, scoring TDs almost 73 percent of the time, and Peyton Manning had an eye-popping 120.7 passer rating in the red zone. Dude seldom makes mistakes and almost never makes red-zone mistakes.
Seattle allows TDs on less than 40 percent of opponents' trip into the red zone. It's the ultimate strength vs. strength. Money.
We also heard a staggering stat that could greatly benefit the Seahawks. In 10 playoff games, there have been a total seven defensive pass interference penalties called, and if they are going to let Richard Sherman and the Legion of Boom put their hands on the Denver receivers, well, advantage Seattle.
College players union
A slew of Northwestern University football players have filed paperwork with the National Labor Relations Board to start a union.
That will either be the total game-changer or nothing. There is no in between.
The group petitioning to be recognized as an official work group has the support of several nationally recognized unions, including the national steelworkers group, which does include steelers but does not include the Steelers.
Whether this is a giant leap into the unknown that could completely and totally change college sports in every facet or another day in January is unknown. (There will be more than a few folks who will point to the irony of this coming from Northwestern, a group of student-athletes who are getting a quarter-of-a-million-dollar education, which works to a better than $60,000 in compensation for their efforts.)
But here's the cut of the issue: If the players unionize and start making demands for better this or more of that, are they prepared to walk out/strike. In turn, if the demands reach statuses that colleges can't match, are they willing to lock out the players?
And whether the players or the schools are willing to do it on a Saturday in the fall.
NFL Hall of Fame
The finalists of this year's Hall of Fame will be voted on Saturday.
Here are the names:
Derrick Brooks, Tony Dungy, Marvin Harrison, Walter Jones, Michael Strahan, Charles Haley, Kevin Green, Andre Reed, Jerome Bettis, Tim Brown, John Lynch, Will Shields, Aeneas Williams, Morten Andersen and Eddie DeBartolo Jr. Of note: Ray Guy and Claude Humphrey were nominated by the veteran's committee.
Who's going to make it and who would you vote for?
We'll share our views around lunch. (Yes, we;re running short on time.)
This and that
— Do you know what Tiger Woods has become? He's become that family patriarch that tells the kids no matter if they are in Dalton heading to Atlanta or in Chattanooga heading to Atlanta, "we're about 30 minutes out." Despite being the season-opener at a course he has routinely dominated, Woods expressed confidence that "he's not far off" despite his 79 Saturday that forced him to miss the secondary cut. It's the same song and dance he offers after finishing anywhere from 4th to 14th to 40th at the major championships in the last five years. "Not that far off." Really? Not that far off of what, an 80.
— Reports from the various recruiting experts have Adoree' Jackson eliminating Tennessee in his decision process. Jackson is the No. 9-overall prospect in this recruiting cycle and is crazy talented. Still, even the most ardent anti-Orange folks will have a hard time bagging on the haul Butch Jones and Co. have assembled. They may have 99 problems but a recruit ain't one.
— If Teddy Williams and Roger Staubach are the picture-perfect images of guys that stepped down at the right time, stars leaving the games they loved on top, where does former defensive guru Monte Kiffin rank? Kiffin was considered the Tampa 2 teacher a decade ago, now failed stints working with his son and a disastrous year with the Cowboys have left Ole' Monte demoted to assistant head coach/defense after the Cowboys were DFL in the NFL in yards allowed and total defense. What kind of title is that? Assistant head coach/defense? Are we the official head coach/5-at-10? And if Monte struggles in his next role, is he going to put "Assistant head coach/coffee" on his next business card?
— Looking for something for the college football nut that already has everything? If they have a pet try something from Stadiumcribs.com.
— Tonight is a monster college basketball date for the Tennessee Vols, as TFP UT beat ace Downtown Patrick Brown shares with us here. UT is 12-7 overall and 3-3 in the SEC. They are three-games off the pace in the conference and tied for seventh in a very blah-tastic league. UT faces Ole Miss tonight, and there's a real chance Ole Miss could be right there in the mediocrity mosh pit of three or four teams believing they deserve the third or fourth SEC invite to the NCAA dance. If Tennessee falls tonight, well... we actually don't what to say there, which is saying something. This one feels like a must-win in a lot of ways.
— Doug McDermott has skills. That is all.
Gang, feel free to discuss any of the prop bets that tickle your fancy. You're more than welcome to weigh in on the NFL Hall of Fame candidates or if you think Tiger Woods is "30 minutes out."
If you need more, well, here are but two talking points:
Motley Crue has announced they retiring after this 72-stop tour is over. Yes, in some ways that's like the boneheaded TFP Sports Editor saying, you know what, we're going to retire in another 25-27 years, so there's that. Plus, no telling which one of these cats could break a hip or battle a "Bingo" addiction between now and 72 shows. Still, the Crue was boss for a big part of our formative years. Who's on your Rushmore of 1980s rock? Discuss.
Here are the Prop Bets for the unofficial Eugene Robinson Super Bowl Proposition Bets contest:
Guide — If it's an over/under that means you have to pick whether you think the final number will be above or below (over/under) the number Vegas set:
• Peyton Manning over/under passing yards at 289 yards.
• Renee Fleming, the opera lady singing the national anthem, has an over/under of 2 minutes and 25 seconds to sing the pregame song.
• The over/under on the longest touchdown in the game is 44 yards.
• LeBron James' total points (Saturday vs. the Knicks) is minus-5.5 over Seahawks total points
• Will any member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers be shirtless during the performance?
• Player who scores the first touchdown will have a jersey number above or below 79.5?
• Denver minus-3 over Seattle
TIE-BREAKER: Total points scored in the game (with Price is Right rules in effect so do not go over)
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 ...