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Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) embrace after the NFL Super Bowl 55 football game, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9. (AP Photo/Steve Luciano)

Super wrap

Before we get to the contest results, let's review some of the story lines of the last 36 hours after the big game, shall we? I think we shall.

First, here's today's A2 column that was a little more personal view than viewpoint that normal. But, after Super Sunday and running the car line Monday morning with all the traffic and buzz of (almost) a full week and (almost) all the kids back, gang, I felt as normal as I have in 11 months. Seriously. What's more normal than school drop-off traffic and Tom Brady winning the Super Bowl.

Second, and maybe J-Mac could offer some boots on the ground insight/perspective into this headline, but I got some thoughts on this one: " Tampa Mayor Jane Castor frustrated by massless partiers around the Super Bowl." That seems rather disingenuously convenient to me. Take a stand on the front end, because by hosting that many people — and cashing the checks that come with even a fraction of the normal Super Bowl influx — there was clearly going to be massless folks in and around town. Either stack extra security in those areas of concern and make people put on masks or be honest — even if it's more critical — and "we knew this was a strong likelihood because not enough people take this seriously enough." Because everyone from my 5-year-ld English bulldog Bo Jackson to the actual Bo Jackson had to know this was going to happen, and Tampa was more than willing to host this thing and understandably welcome the much-needed influx of dollars.

Third, to no one's surprise, the Bucs and the Chiefs are right there among the Vegas favorites to win next year's title too. The Chiefs are the favorites at +550 (bet $100 to win $550) with the Packers and the Bucs tied for second at +900. The two big questions on the field about the two teams that played Sunday are wildly different. While everyone thinks the Chiefs must address an offensive line that was exposed Sunday, the truth is that O-Line will get some reinforcements from starters recovering from injury and opting back in. The Chiefs' biggest area of need is in a linebacker room that is devoid of difference makers. The Bucs conversely were the best team in the league the last two months — an 8-0 finish capped with a Super Bowl is hard to debate — but a slew of difference-makers were in the final year of the contract. And as we have discussed, the Brady factor is real in terms of veterans taking less to play with the GOAT and have a chance to win it all every season, whether that GOAT is 25, 45 or 105. (Side note: Mike Evans has already said he will renegotiate his deal for less to keep some of those free agents in Tampa to run it back.)

Fourth, the streaker was a big Monday talking point. Here's more on the arrest. As for the interweb buzz circling that said streaker bet $50K on there being a streaker at the Super Bowl at sizable odds simply does not make sense. Unless he found some very small and isolated sports book out of the country, there's no way any of the big sites and sports books would let a personal and controllable wager — be it a streaker or a necktie or something someone can directly control — be more than around $1,000.

Fifth, and I am wrong plenty, but my questions about Patrick Mahomes getting a pass for Sunday's struggles have become a talking in the national narrative a day later. That said, the Next-Gen stats that Mahomes ran for 497 yards on his drop backs before throwing the ball or getting sacked. Another thing that should be asked about Mahomes is his needed growth in pre-snap diagnostics. Because the KC Gunslinger has all the tools — that 40-yard flip of the wrist, laid out horizontal 18 inches above the ground that hit his receiver in the facemark, may be the second best throw I've ever seen — but if they are not in the right play, it can get destroyed. Mahomes mentioned as much.  

Finally, even the Super Bowl has been kicked in the ratings in this downward spiral of TV sports during a pandemic that has robbed sports of atmosphere in almost every instance, and in some ways allowed casual sports fans to find other options. Yes, the blowout also hurt the numbers, which were released Tuesday. There were 96.4 million viewers across all of the CBS and NFL platforms, with less than 92 million watching CBS proper and a record of more than 5.7 million streaming across all outlets. It's the fewest numbers of viewers for the Super Bowl since 2007 when 93.18 million watched.  

 

Super contest

OK, contest results. Who's ready?

As always, if you have different numbers than mine, well, please send along. So until the end of BID-ness today, these results are unofficial.

The Super contest results are in.  

> Primary color of Jim Nantz' tie (Blue is the favorite): Pink — and unless anyone can show me Vegas or casino proof otherwise, because hunting on line has been fruitless, this is our answer;

> Length of the national anthem, over/under 120.5 seconds: Over, by a lot;

> Head or tails: Heads;

> Player to score the first TD: Rob Gronkowski;

> Longest play over/under 44.5 yards; Under;

> MVP: Brady;

> Spread, Chiefs minus-3.5: Bucs;

> Total yards combined, over/under 765.5: Under;

> Total points scored, over/under 56.5: Under.

Congrats Mike W., who only missed one and that was the tie color. Send me your address and your favorite area restaurant (if you are outside of Chatt-proper a national chain would be easier). And here's hoping you did more than this contest and decided to wet your beak on some of the legal sports betting offerings out there because you crushed it. (Especially the Gronk to score first, because that would have covered a slew of in-game bets.

Say what?

So football is over, now what. "War's over man, Werner dropped the big one."

"Over. Did you say over? Nothing is over until we decide it is. Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Heck no. And it ain't over now."

"Germans?"

"Forget it, he's rolling."

That's right, Bluto, nothing is over until we decide it is. And football is not over, because in the coming weeks the Football Championship Subdivison will fire up Spring college football. For real and for keeps

Well for most of the FCS, because more than two dozen teams have opted out. Here are the overviews of the various conferences from a Yahoo story last month. It's the nuts and bolts of this thing.

But in the big picture, and I say this knowing that almost everyone involved with playing football in the spring is nothing close to pleased with this scenario. Not with the changes — football coaches view change the way Dr. Fauci views maskless minions. Not the schedules. Not the calendar, and certainly not the idea of playing a handful of games in the spring, resting players for three months and starting back up in August.

I get all of those, and understand them. But I offer this counter suggestion too.

I firmly believe the powers that be over the FCS should be completely open to making this the permanent schedule rather than the pandemic schedule.

And in the examination of this, consider the following:

> Will you be more likely to attend a UTC game since the Saturday sports competition is now SEC hoops rather than the SEC Saturdays?

> Could there be a much more affordable TV deal for the networks that have hunted for spring football unsuccessfully through the years?

> And if that proves to be true, wouldn't any TV deals for the SoCon, the Big Sky, the CAA and the rest of the FCS be better than the online ESPN3 and ESPN+ options that are currently there?

> And will they start putting betting lines on FCS games? Because while the coaches certainly do not care, and if they do they will not like it, sports lines on these games — especially in a football vacuum — will create more invested interest from the casual fan, which creates more TV interest in both directions?

> In the unknown college sports landscape in which I firmly believe the only money games left for the FCS teams will be in-state games and much more infrequent, what in terms of financial impact are you missing from the fall by playing FCS in the spring?  

> And who's to say that FCS teams couldn't schedule a trip to Knoxville, T-town or Athens for a cheaper rate and be the scrimmage opponent for the Spring Game?

Is the spring season ideal? Of course not.

But what exactly has been ideal in the last 11 months.

And in a college sports landscape that next-to-no-one can forecast considering the conditions and the unknown timetable of returning fans to the stands, every option must be explored.    

Thoughts?


 
This and that

— This was cool. Here's the video of the messages from his former coaches as Peyton Manning learned he was being inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame.

— Speaking of painful Super Bowl thoughts and coincidences, especially for those of us who pull for the Falcons, who famously blew a 28-3 lead over Tom Brady and the Pats. Well, Brady's salary in 2020 totaled up after postseason and stat bonuses: Yep, $28.3 million. Stupid Falcons. Stupid COVID.

— You know the rules. Here's TFP college football expert David S. Paschall — yes, like Truman, Paschall has not graduated up and deserves the middle initial; because as Henry Hill told us, "One day, one day some of the neighborhood kids carried my mother's groceries all the way home. You know why? It was out of respect." — on the Vols late-forming coaching staff. Don't know much about the hire from USC, but the addition of Kodi Burns, who was a QB-turned-WR and later the WR coach at Auburn, brings a Dickensian two-sided view. As the Tigers WR coach, he helped recruit and land star-studded prospects Anthony Schwartz, Seth Williams and Eli Stove, but that trio never reached the potential many projected. Especially Schwartz, who has a chance to blow every NFL scout away with his elite speed and could be one of those guys who skyrocket up the draft board. Seriously, Schwartz is going to threaten every 40 time record ever.  

— You know the rules, part II. Here's TFP ace sports columnist and college basketball guru Mark Wiedmer on the chances of these Vols to make a deep run into March, whatever March may look like. And, as usual on college hoops topics, I believe Weeds is 100 percent spot on. As we discussed Monday, this Vols bunch is middle-of-the-Mississippi River deep, and with a near-perfect blend of senior experience and youthful athleticism and exuberance.

— So, speaking of Dickens, there are two views on this story too. Apparently Kellyanne Conway's daughter is a budding singer of some renown and she will be on the upcoming season of American Idol. That this is controversial because of her parents is sad. That said, American Idol is far from what it used to be and you have to wonder if they are looking for a controversial lightning rod to generate some attention.

— More numbers that prove the mandatory $15 an hour number is too high (or as Fat Vader noted last week, too arbitrary) for our nation. According to the numbers, if the stated goal is to lift Americans out of poverty, the numbers simply do not compute. Doubling the minimum wage will help 900,000 Americans get out of poverty. That's a great thing. But at what cost? At the cost of more than 1.4 million jobs — which you have to think will likely push those 1.4 million toward the poverty line — and it will add more than $54 billion (with a 'b') to the deficit.

— This is an interesting intersection of sports and society. Some Utah Jazz superstars — and Utah is way better than most casual NBA fans realize — placed scrutiny on a Utah charter school that had previously allowed parents to opt-out their kids of a Black History Month curriculum. The Utah school has changed its policy but the backlash continues. Thoughts?

— Late addition. This is a great idea. Denver has added a mental health hotline for public calls that sent professionals rather than police to the incident. The details offer hope in a way to deal with these matters, and one that even this fiscal conservative can see the value of investing in. Shocker, right?

   

Today's questions

Lots to get to today, so True or false, it's Tuesday.

True or false, the Tag Team Geico commercial — 'Sprinkles' — is better than excellent.

True or false, Peyton had to believe he was a first-ballot Hall of Famer right? He had to know it.

True or false, you would take Bucs and Chiefs vs. the field to lift Lombardi this time next year.

True or false, FCS should explore every option about being a full-time spring league.

True or false, you are more likely to go to a UTC football game this spring than you would be in the fall (under acceptable/normal circumstances of course).

As for today, Feb. 9, well, it's 2-9. One more: True or false, John Smoltz is among the current Rushmore of the great-players-who-became-great-TV-analysts currently working today.

As for the rest, Michael B. Jordan is 34. Been a big fan since his early work on the great TV run of The Wire and Friday Night Lights.

Joe Pesci is 78 today. Did you know that Pesci is 5-foot-4? Pesci's Rushmore? Go.

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