It's a given that all athletes are concerned about their speed, strength and endurance while playing in the Super Bowl, but all of them are very much aware that having their heads on straight that day will make or break them.
The outpouring support for Marshawn Lynch over the last few weeks stands in stark contrast to the way he was viewed earlier in his career as a Buffalo Bill. Then, and even following his trade to the Seattle Seahawks, Lynch was considered something of a pariah, unable to keep it together on and off the field.
In building a profile of someone likely to cheat, you might start by imagining an individual full of hubris who is driven to succeed by any means possible. Would this description fit anyone within the New England Patriots organization?
Of course Americans will watch the game. But who will we root for? Who are we supposed to cheer for when it is Lex Luthor going against the Joker? Maybe football needs a villain, but not two of them.
Half-baked in Boston...
The Washington team's inappropriate response is unfortunately consistent with the "playbook" that the Washington team and NFL continues to use to defend the offensive and harmful team name and logo of the Washington team.
Sadly, the world paid more attention to the pounds of pressure in a football rather than the much more important stories resulting from alleged acts of terrorism and murder.
The NFL missed the mark in many, many ways. But that doesn't mean they can't rectify those mistakes as they gear up for a new season. Moreover, the NFL inadvertently launched a national dialogue around domestic violence -- a dialogue that we all need to continue.
The Super Bowl is only days away, yet if you open the sports pages, there's not much real football being written about. The rancor surrounding the game sounds more like a scripted build-up to a WWE WrestleMania than the biggest game in legitimate American sports.
It's not surprising that at this time of year, even if it's just during the pre-game interviews, I like to take a few minutes to celebrate what may be America's greatest socialist institution, and the active system of redistribution that helps make it so great.
I was deeply troubled to discover that the NFL's approach to children is now the same as mega-corporations like Disney and McDonald's. The NFL not only wants children to "consume" its products (licensed merchandise and televised football), it wants to immerse kids in its brand 24/7.
Sportsmanship in its most pure form -- defined as "fair play, respect for opponents and polite behaviors by someone who is competing in a sport or other competition" -- can still be found.
On Sunday, Feb. 1, an actual football game will be played. With teams that have identical 14-4 records. A game that Las Vegas has declared about as even a match up as we've had in years, with a one-point spread.
Without fail, twice a year, I have a fond thought for a man I never had the pleasure of meeting. Those times: National Football League opening day and during the frenzy leading up to an American holiday called the Super Bowl.
This week we fans will stroll the streets, swap our favorite Seahawks superstitions, and snap "Twelfies." We'll nod and slap high-fives with neighbors; we'll chat stats as if we actually understand the cool language of numbers.