First off, it's good to be back writing The Skinny On Sports. I had a taken a brief hiatus due to some personal reasons, but it is great to be back writing the blog where it all started out.
This morning, sports fans across the country woke up somewhere between a food coma and a hangover. To make things worse, it's Monday, meaning they had to drag themselves to work while there bodies begged them to stay in bed, or by the toilet.
At work, it's no secret what the conversation topic of choice will be: Super Bowl XLIX.
Some will talk about the game and it's spectacular finish, some will talk about the halftime show. Most will talk about the commercials.
But for me, I won't be discussing any of those three things. I will forever remember Super Bowl XLIX for everything that happened before the game.
Just hours after the New England Patriots thumped the Indianapolis Colts to win the AFC Championship game and advance to the Super Bowl, "Deflategate," as it came to be known, was in full swing. The charge: the Patriots deflated footballs, thus giving them an unfair advantage in the game that they won by 35 points.
While the Patriots dealt with their own drama, the Seattle Seahawks polished off a dramatic come-from-behind victory over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game, but the true drama would come when one of their best players took the podium.
Throughout the season, Marshawn Lynch stole the show with the media despite not saying much more than a fragment of a sentence. Even though everyone knew his answers would be short, the media surrounded him at Super Bowl Media Day the Tuesday before the big game.
As he was bombarded with question after question, Lynch said nothing more than, "I'm just here not to get fined." Later in the week, he again stepped behind a microphone, but continued to frustrate any sports writer that desperately needed a quote from him to polish off a story about the upcoming game.
On Saturday night, I watched the thrilling UVA-Duke game and a promo for the Super Bowl came on scree. It made me realize that I wasn't at all excited for the game. Throughout the week, any and all media coverage was devoted to breaking down the Patriots' balls, and dissecting each and every word that Lynch said, or didn't say.
What was rarely discussed, however, was the matchup.
In years past, there's been drama surrounding the Super Bowl, but the primary topic of discussion around the office space, in the newspapers, on the television and on the Internet was the matchup between the two teams. Each and every angle was broken down in far too much detail right up until kickoff.
This year, it was far different. Rather than the matchup, it was the off-field drama that took center stage. It's unfortunate, really, as the game ended up providing one of the greatest finishes in Super Bowl history.
Despite the on-field clash that we were treated to, I'll forever remember Super Bowl XLIX as the one surrounded by scandal, rather than one with the fantastic finish.