Some things I learned during Super Bowl weekend:
• People appear to be comfortable wearing replica jerseys of sports teams for which they root. I just find that odd. I find it especially odd that they'll wear a jersey with somebody else's name on it. Even if my favorite team athlete, Magic Johnson (Muhammad Ali is my all-time favorite athlete), personally gave me his jersey, it would never cross my mind to wear it. I'd probably donate it to a Boys and Girls Club raffle or something. Different strokes, I guess.
I wouldn't even wear jerseys from teams I had played on. Not that I could. If I tried to wear one of my old college basketball uniforms, it would look like someone had squeezed a ham into a sausage casing.
• I'm glad I'm not a banker. I ran into a coaching friend at a Super Bowl gathering who is a banker in his main job; he used to use his profession as a pickup line. "Not that long ago, it was money (no pun intended)," he says. "You could say you were a banker or a financial planner, and it was a nice icebreaker. Now, that just causes ice to form. People tend to look at us like we're all crooks or something."
I don't think they're all crooks, but if the big ones ever get sent to prison, guys named Scar would brush by the child molesters to get at them.
• I'm somewhat dismayed that chicken wings have become so popular. Growing up in a large family, I kinda settled on the wing portion by default. Drumsticks were more fun; thighs were juicier; breast portions were meatier. But I learned early on that the coating-to-meat ratio was best with wings. I wanted to take that secret with me to the grave, and now that's gone, too.
• Kurt Warner is a baaaaaad man. I loved it when he came out of nowhere to lead my beloved Rams to a Super Bowl title. I like that he's a family man, down to earth and not a knucklehead like so many pro athletes these days. For him, at age 37, to lead this sorry-ass franchise to within a few seconds of a Super Bowl victory is amazing. And he looks like he's got a couple of great years left in him.
How would you like to be Matt Leinart? The guy wins the Heisman Trophy, gets drafted real high and is anointed as the savior of the hapless Phoenix team. He may never start another game for the Cardinals. He's this week's sports example of How I Turned a Million in Real Estate Into $100 Cash.
• The UA men's basketball team is worth supporting. After watching them dismantle the two Washington teams last week (including the then-first-place Huskies), I'm rooting hard for this team. Chase Budinger has shed his California cool; Jordan Hill has figured out that being tall and athletic is only good if one uses that particular talent set to squoosh the opposition like a bug; and someone rightly pointed out to Nic Wise that point guard is the most important position on any basketball team. Kyle Fogg is a ballplayer, and Zane Johnson is hitting big (if sometimes ill-timed) shots. There isn't a Hassan Adams in the bunch.
Interim head coach Russ Pennell is playing with house money and is coaching his butt off. In certain ways, his team has a mid-'80s Wildcats feel to it. That's a good thing.
• NFL referees could get offseason jobs as harem eunuchs. Anybody who has ever reffed football games knows you could probably call some kind of penalty on just about every play. There's just so much going on. So I'm not complaining about any game calls, but when Steelers defensive star James Harrison beat on a down Cardinals player for about an hour and a half, he should have been tossed. I don't care if it's the Super Bowl, and I don't care if he's a star. Do your damn job, lest the NFL become the NHL. We all know how popular pro hockey is.
• Games announcers are all too often overpaid and under-knowledgeable. When the Steelers scored early in the game (the TD was reversed on a replay), it was obvious that a Pittsburgh lineman had helped pull quarterback Ben Roethlisberger into the end zone. That's illegal, but not a word was said, not even by Master of the Obvious John Madden. They showed the replay over and over, but they apparently never noticed.
I had to run an errand during the second quarter, and I turned the game on in the car. The radio guy, commenting on Kurt Warner's disastrous last-second interception right before the half, said, "He shoulda went the other way." And they pay these people American money to talk like that.
• Jake "The Snake" Plummer lives down to his name. The former Arizona State, Denver Broncos and Arizona Cardinals quarterback said that Denver coach Mike Shanahan deserved to be fired, because "he couldn't relate to today's athletes." What, he didn't coddle the whiny little bitches? Tough break.
• Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin looks just like Omar Epps from House. And Cardinals Coach Ken Whisenhunt looks like every guy I've ever seen at a truck stop.