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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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There won’t be presents for everybody

Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett has been the go-to guy when the media wants the unburnished truth, including plenty of funny point-blank observations. (Associated Press)
Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett has been the go-to guy when the media wants the unburnished truth, including plenty of funny point-blank observations. (Associated Press)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • It's sort of like Christmas Eve, isn't it? Sort of. Yes, tomorrow is the Super Bowl, when the Seahawks will attempt to win another title. But, unlike Christmas, a present isn't guaranteed. It could just be a lump of coal. Read on.

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• And we're not even referring to the Hawks winning. We're talking about a good game. How often does that happen in the Super Bowl? Really, if you weren't a Seattle fan last season, the Super Bowl was a dud, not worth watching from the second-half kickoff on. By then the game was decided. Such a result again would excite those folks out there who are rooting for the Seahawks, but leave the rest of the nation cold. Or not. It's pretty obvious reading and listening there is not much love for the Patriots around the country. Fear maybe, but not love. After the debacle with the footballs in the AFC Championship, which just adds to the impression New England cheats, there isn't respect or admiration for the Pats either. But pick them to lose? Not many folks are doing that. They may hate the Patriots but they aren't going to bet against them. The oddsmakers installed Seattle as a slight favorite a couple of weeks ago, but the line quickly turned New England's way and has stayed there. The Pats are a one-point favorite and probably will be tomorrow as well. So the Hawks, the defending champions, have assumed the underdog role, albeit just slightly. The perception as America's team of destiny in this game, however, is a little more solid. It's easy to root against Bill Belichick. It's easy to root against whomever has been deflating the Pats' footballs. But it's harder to root against Tom Brady and his mates. The Patriot players are pretty bland, guys who rarely say anything untoward – about the only misstep that way leading up to the game came from former Seahawk Brandon Browner, who still probably has vestiges of Hawk-it is – and project a just-get-us-to-the-game image. If you have been reading the reports out of Phoenix, you would have thought the Hawks were the only team there. Heck, even Brady, Captain America, has retreated into the background as Marshawn Lynch and his band of merry brothers have taken over the microphones. But it really doesn't matter, does it? And it won't matter at all come tomorrow afternoon. There will be an hour of football. At the end of it, we will have an NFL champion. And America can go back to worrying about more important matters. If there are any. 

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• WSU: Jacob Thorpe took some time yesterday to look back at the California loss and then, this morning, put together his usual links-filled post. ... It's Saturday and ESPN.com's Pac-12 blog is still doing a football mailbag. ... The position WSU needs to improve the most? The secondary of course.

• Gonzaga: Jim Meehan also took some time yesterday to look back, though he was examining a victory over Portland. He also put together an advance of tonight's non-conference showdown with Memphis. ... St. Mary's is getting a big lift from a couple of Oregon kids.

• EWU: The Eastern football team shuffled its coaching staff yesterday, with head coach Beau Baldwin moving former defensive coordinator John Graham over to offense and making Jeff Schmedding the new d-coordinator, among other moves. Jim Allen has all the changes in this story. ... Vernon Adams is reportedly in Eugene today, trying to decide if he wants to become a Duck. The Oregonian examined how he might do.

• Whitworth: The Pirates began the second half of the Northwest Conference schedule with both the men and women winning. The men had to go overtime to get past Lewis & Clark, however, while the women won handily. Tom Clouse has both stories.

• Preps: It was a quiet night in the GSL, among both the girls and the boys. Greg Lee was in Liberty to cover the Lancers' 57-35 win over St. George's (pictured). ... We can also pass along a roundup of boys and girls action from around the area.

• Chiefs: The losing streak continued, mainly because the Chiefs are having trouble scoring. Chris Derrick has the story and a blog post on Spokane's latest shutout loss. ... Everett got back home and got back to winning. ... Medicine Hat went into Tri-City and won.

• Seahawks: As the hours tick down toward the game, the one thing the coaches want more than anything is no one gets hurt. It looks as if that wish may not be answered. Kam Chancellor tweaked something in his knee on the second-to-last play of the Friday session and had it wrapped as he left. He's listed as probable for Sunday. New England may be without center Bryan Stork, who is listed as questionable. ... John Blanchette's favorite player this week? Michael Bennett. ... The coaches didn't address that yesterday when they held a joint press conference, but they did express their admiration for each other. ... Pete Carroll once held the job Belichick has now, though it wasn't the same Pete Carroll back then. He probably wouldn't have been this accommodating, that's for sure. ... Roger Goodell also held a press conference yesterday, addressing the state of the NFL. He didn't answer many of the questions directly, was a bit snarky at times and left the podium still in a state of siege. Nice job. ... Speaking of guys who don't like to talk, could Lynch be voted the MVP? It would make for a very interesting postgame. And a lot more sales. ... This might be the funniest thing to come out of the week. ... The Hawks corners are all about the coverage boss. ... Seattle is interested in hosting a Super Bowl. Whether the city will ever get to do that remains to be seen. ... This is the right choice. ... The game may come down to this guy's right foot.

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• It's the day before. Tomorrow is the day. Make sure you stock up on all the snacks now. You don't want to be stuck opening a bag of Bugles tomorrow and calling it good. Until later ...



Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for spokesman.com. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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