Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Grip on Sports: It’s Super Bowl Sunday, which means Tom Brady is starring on TV again

New England’s Tom Brady holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the Atlanta Falcons in overtime at the NFL Super Bowl 51 football game Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017, in Houston. The Patriots defeated the Falcons 34-28. At right is Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. (Darron Cummings / AP)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • Have anything super planned for today? Besides overeating, over-imbibing and over-the-top commercials I mean. Read on.


• Super Bowl Sunday is finally here. The end of the NFL season. The finale. Finished.

Will it end with a bang – brought to you by Nissan – or a Diet Pepsi-like whimper?

And, in another philosophical question, will it be like that tree in the forest, brought down by some chain saw whose manufacturer will go bankrupt after overspending on a Super Bowl commercial?

It could be just me, but there doesn’t seem to be as much buzz around this Super Bowl as in the recent past. Maybe it’s because it is in Minneapolis, and the outdoor activities that would usually catch my eye are limited to non-existent. Or maybe it’s because the two teams are from a galaxy far, far away. You know, the Northeast.

Or maybe it’s just Patriot fatigue.

Yes, Tom Brady has ascended to the top of Mt. Quarterback, climbing over Joe Montana and everyone else to don the mantle of the best of all time. And Bill Belichick is, sweatshirt and all, one of the greatest coaches in NFL history.

But there is just something missing. Maybe it’s our times, our ease with which we move on from one thing to the next and New England upsets that.

The Patriots are always there, year-in and year-out, among the best, if not the best, in the league.

And that doesn’t fit the narrative anymore. We like everything updated every week or two. The Pats are like the old flip phone that grandpa carries. It’s still working, sure, but it’s not nearly as cool as that new iPhone XVI or whatever.

Heck, the Patriots are retro enough to be better compared to a landline. With rotary dial.

But don’t put Brady, Belichick and the rest in a museum just yet. Even if they win today. As long as Tom doesn’t hit a wall, Robert Kraft’s pocketbook remains full and Nike keeps making gray hoodies, the organization will keep winning.

Isn’t that super?

• My favorite paragraph in today’s Spokesman sports section comes from John Blanchette. It concerned the Gonzaga game with BYU and the kerfuffle over missionary costumes.

“As it was, our reporters saw just one fan who showed up in white dress shirt and tie to test the new propriety. There was a guy in a ratty dog costume holding a sign that read, “Is this costume offensive to dogs?” So there are still isolated pockets on the Gonzaga campus willing to question authority and even good taste, and that’s what higher education is all about.”

That is all.


WSU: If you are suffering from Super Bowl overload, then there is a way to cleanse your palate before the game. The Cougars are hosting 25th-ranked Arizona State at 1 p.m. and Theo Lawson will be there to guide you to your seat. Well, maybe not. He will, however, have a game story when it’s over and today he previews the matchup with the Sun Devils. … The Cougars received another football commitment. … WSU’s announcement of Logan Tago’s award isn’t winning any national kudos.

Elsewhere in the Pac-12, we may be hearing Washington’s name called on Selection Sunday. The Huskies took a big step toward that by upsetting No. 9 Arizona on a last-second shot yesterday in Lorenzo Romar’s homecoming game. … UCLA also helped itself with a home win over USC, which just can’t seem to stand prosperity. … Oregon isn’t prospering after Stanford put a whipping on the Ducks in the Bay Area. … California finally picked up another conference victory, this one over Oregon State. … There is a bit more going on in the conference, as usual.

Gonzaga: It may have been atypical (at least recently) the Zags defeated BYU in the Kennel, but our coverage hasn’t changed. There is Jim Meehan’s analysis of how it happened and his three keys. There is John’s column on the Bulldogs becoming late-game stars. There are a couple stories from Whitney Ogden, from the Kennel Club to Silas Melson’s off night. There are Colin Mulvany’s photographs. There is the highlights’ package. And there is my TV Take. … The women just keep rolling, winning their 14th consecutive game, this one in Provo. … There is lots of coverage of the men’s matchup from Utah, including a couple of notebooks. … Around the WCC, San Diego came this close to helping out the Zags big time, but 13th-ranked Saint Mary’s held on 65-62 in San Diego. … Portland held off Loyola Marymount at home. … USF won a road game, at Santa Clara.

EWU: Portland State played like it was early in the season and handled Eastern rather easily in Portland. … Elsewhere in the Big Sky, Northern Arizona still has yet to win a conference home game. … Montana has yet to lose a conference game, anywhere, including North Dakota. … Northern Colorado handled Montana State. … Southern Utah rallied past Idaho State.

Idaho: The Vandals won at Sacramento State and are third in the Big Sky standings. … Jerry Kramer, the Sandpoint High and University of Idaho graduate, is finally a Pro Football Hall of Famer. He received the news yesterday.

Whitworth: Kyle Roach scored a career-high 39 points and the Pirates held off Lewis & Clark, 76-70 in Portland.

Preps: It’s postseason time in wrestling and Dave Nichols is locked in. He covered the district rounds yesterday. … The basketball regular season wrapped up last night and we have roundups from girls and boys action.

Seahawks: This Super Bowl would be more exciting if the Hawks were in it again, right? So how do they get there? … Jermaine Kearse almost had a Super Bowl moment for the ages. Oh, he made the incredible catch all right. But it was overshadowed by a play moments later.

Mariners: Ken Griffey Jr.’s bat is back.


• If I don’t watch the game today, will you folks hold it against me? I’m thinking of taking Kim to a quiet movie. Or to a romantic dinner. Or maybe on a scenic drive through the countryside. Will I have to forfeit my man card if I do? Yes? Darn, after I got it laminated at the UPS store and all. Until later …