Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

February 2, 2013

Pitchers and catchers report in eight days

This Harbaugh thing hasn’t been what I thought it would be. Although, truth be told, I rarely follow the Super Bowl week hype because, even with my favorite team in the big game, it’s all just too much to digest. On top of that, who cares?

Sure, I know all that’s been reported about the final game and the wildlife excursions of Ray Lewis. I’ve heard and seen enough to know that if President Obama had a son ... He doesn’t. Moving on. And if I hear Mike Greenberg say “Jets”, or somebody question Joe Flacco’s value one more time, I am going to become ill. As the stadium broadcaster in “A League of Their Own” said, “Take me home and put me to bed! I have seen enough to know I have seen too much!”

 Just watch the game, man.

Having said that, from what I have allowed myself to take in, the reporting seems to be pretty balanced for both the Ravens and the 49ers, which kind of makes sense since the head coaches of the teams in this Super Bowl (just in case you hadn’t heard) are brothers.

Face it, entering Super Bowl week, that was the hype dynamic I feared most would come gushing out of my ears and eye sockets by Wednesday, but that hasn’t been the case.

Truth is, it really is a great story. It’s all just so feel-good, who couldn’t appreciate it? It’s, obviously, a family story, and who here among us isn’t a sucker for “Family Guy”? But it's also, at the risk of sounding Norman Rockwell or Frank Capra, an All-American story — a story of love, loyalty, family, football, hard work and reaping what you sow. That’s about as American as it gets.

So good for the Harbaughs. Who has it better than them? And may the better team win tonight, which, I’m afraid to say, is going to be Jim Harbaugh’s team, the 49ers.

I don’t say this because I was actually voted playoff shares by the Fort Hill Sentinels for picking Allegany to beat them twice, or because the Ravens should do the same thing for my picking them to lose five of their last eight games, including the last two in the playoffs. I say this because I believe the 49ers, not only are the better team, but, depending on their pass rush and their secondary, they just seem to have too much for the Ravens, no matter how driven the Ravens are, and no matter how well they have been playing of late.

I think it will be a close game, which, I figure, is why beleaguered veteran 49ers kicker David Akers keeps popping into my head. Randy Moss does, too, for that matter. Ever since he said he believed he was the greatest receiver of all time, and then just clammed up, it felt ominous from the Ravens’ side of things.

And by the way, if Randy Moss wants to believe he’s the greatest receiver in history, why is that a crime? If that’s what he needs to believe, so be it. Who died and made Jerry Rice the Mona Lisa anyway?

Of course Jerry Rice was one of the greatest receivers of all time, if not the greatest. But hair begins to grow on my knuckles (ears, eye sockets, knuckles ... I’m having a tough column) when I hear Rice may be “the greatest player of all time.”

Really? Tell that to Jim Brown. Or, better yet, tell that to Sam Huff, who spent a lifetime chasing and tackling Jim Brown.

Other than Super Bowl 3 being fixed, that is the major beef I have with the Super Bowl. Many would have us believe pro football didn’t exist before the Packers played the Chiefs on Jan. 15, 1967 in what was initially called the AFL–NFL World Championship Game.

Should the 49ers win Super Bowl 47 today, that would lead many of us to believe they will have tied the Steelers for the most NFL championships in history. No, it would tie the 49ers with the Steelers for the most Super Bowl wins.

The Green Bay Packers have won 13 NFL titles, four more than any other team, which is why Green Bay is known as Titletown.

And quarterbacks? Don’t get me started on quarterbacks. Tom Brady? Peyton Manning? The greatest quarterback ever? Please. For my money, the greatest modern-day quarterback has been Joe Montana, and I’d certainly put him in the all-time best conversation. But what of Sammy Baugh, who, along with Jim Brown, might have been one of the two best football players, period, to ever play the game?

Otto Graham? John Unitas? Bart Starr? Terry Bradshaw? Roger Staubach? Fran Tarkenton? John Elway? Sid Luckman, like Bradshaw and Montana, was the quarterback of four NFL championship teams — Bart Starr, five. But none of them ever go to the ESPYs, so they obviously didn’t exist.

Honestly, can you see any of the aforementioned men sliding to avoid a tackle, while at the same time trying to kick the would-be tackler in the, um ... heart of his baseball strike zone?

Of course, if any of them had, the NFL would have fined him $500 less than it fined a player for wearing his socks too low, right?

Today’s NFL is the single greatest entity in the history of mankind. This I know, for Trey Wingo tells me so.

By the way, Unitas was the best quarterback who ever lived.

Mike Burke is sports editor of the Cumberland Times-News. Write to him at mburke@times-news.com

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Support Canal classrooms with tax-deductible gift

    While your April 17 article (“Park Service opens Canal classrooms,” Page 1A) described this exciting program accurately, your readers may be wondering how they can help support this new educational opportunity for school children in Allegany County.

    April 18, 2014

  • Ivan Hall story brings back memories of a unique man

    I enjoyed Mike Sawyers’ Ivan Hall story. It was well written and brought back some wonderful memories of my Cumberland days and especially, an unique man.

    April 18, 2014

  • It’s a secret It’s a secret

    Could someone enlighten us about why not even the names of the two entities bidding on development of the Footer Dye Works building can be divulged?
    A Times-News article about the bids included an explanation from a lawyer for the attorney general’s office about the need to keep the names and other information secret at this time. Despite that, the logic of not divulging at least a little more information escapes us.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • What do we do about those who weren’t criminals after all?

    Now that Maryland has become the 17th state to (finally) decriminalize possession of marijuana, one could say that the legislature and governor should be patted on the back for doing the right thing.

    April 17, 2014

  • The first step The first step

    If all goes as planned, Frostburg State University will one day offer a doctorate in nursing, a physician’s assistant program and a new health sciences building on campus.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Translations differ, but the message is eternal

    This letter is in response to a recent letter titled “One cannot compromise on God’s word” (April 13 Times-News). I had previously written a letter titled “Why are compromises so difficult to achieve” (April 7).

    April 15, 2014

  • Closing the loopholes will help clear the regulatory waters

    After a decade of uncertainty over Clean Water Act jurisdiction following Supreme Court challenges in 2001 and 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers announced a forthcoming administrative rule to close enforcement loopholes, restoring protections to 20 million acres of wetlands, more than half the nation’s streams, and drinking water for 117 million Americans.

    April 15, 2014

  • The first step Remember where your freedom comes from before criticizing

    The deal at Fort Hood could have been avoided if it was caught in time.
    When you think a GI is not acting right, have him or her checked out before you put them back on duty and give them a weapon. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a serious and dangerous problem if it is not taken care of right away.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Where to look Where to look

    Drive anywhere in Maryland and it seems there is one highway construction project after another. While it is good to see our roads and bridges being upgraded, it can be nerve-wracking for anyone traveling a long distance.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Midterm elections give chance to return to American values

    A movement has been started by veterans of our armed forces to get out the vote in 2014. That includes Coast Guard and Merchant Marine personnel for those not familiar with the history of both and their sacrifice. This is no small special interest  group, but many millions of Americans who can have an enormous impact on the  outcome of the November election if they all respond.

    April 14, 2014