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Grip on Sports: The runup to the Super Bowl doesn’t hold the same interest this year

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) talks with two of his primary wide receivers Brandin Cooks (14) and Danny Amendola (80) before an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park, N.Y. The Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles are set to meet in Super Bowl 52 on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018, in Minneapolis. (Adrian Kraus / Associated Press)
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) talks with two of his primary wide receivers Brandin Cooks (14) and Danny Amendola (80) before an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park, N.Y. The Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles are set to meet in Super Bowl 52 on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018, in Minneapolis. (Adrian Kraus / Associated Press)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • It wasn’t a night for the weak. The rain was coming down. Hard. The wind was blowing. Hard. And it was hard to find anything on the TV last night that wasn’t Super Bowl related. Which doesn’t bode well for the rest of the week. Read on.

••••••••••

• It’s tough for me to muster much more than a “meh” concerning this year’s Super Bowl.

Sure, I appreciate Tom Brady’s excellence, the Patriots uncanny ability to keep winning, year after year, and Bill Belichick’s dominance. And, sure, I admire the plucky underdogs from Philadelphia, led by a backup quarterback and their defense of Destiny (Vaeao).

But it’s not a matchup that glues me to the television screen. Especially not in the days leading up to it.

I’m not really excited that Bill came off the plane wearing his dad’s old hat. Or that Tom is ticked about something said on the radio. Or that Nick Foles’ hair is a half-inch longer than it was a year ago. (Though I will say it looks great and I’m extremely jealous.)

Or that it’s colder than a gravediggers’ nose in Minneapolis. It’s late January for goodness sakes. It’s supposed to be cold and snowy in Minneapolis. Heck, there was a ‘60s song about it. (Though it’s remembered more about rain in Indianapolis, but that was more for marketing purposes.)

The Super Bowl is about everything except football until the game starts. And even then, most of America tunes in to say “dilly, dilly” and then zones out whenever the team New England is playing in this one has the ball.

The ratings will be great. I get that. It’s part of our culture these days. (No, I won’t get started about what that portends for our culture’s future. I do have a deadline.) It’s one of the few things that brings our nation together.

But during the week leading to the game? If Marshawn Lynch isn’t involved, then there really isn’t much reason to pay attention.

•••

WSU: As you may know, Theo Lawson is a voter in the Associated Press basketball poll. As such, he has unimagined power akin to that of Iron Man or Wonder Woman. Or maybe he just gets to explain himself every week. … Elsewhere in the Pac-12, others are AP voters as well. … Washington isn’t ranked but may be headed to the NCAAs. … So could Oregon, if it gets its act together. … Colorado just wants to get past Utah this week. … In football, it will always just be the L.A. Coliseum to me. … Utah is optimistic about next season. … Arizona is filling in its coaching staff.

Gonzaga: Believe it or not, the GU basketball program used to be something of a poor stepchild on campus. John Blanchette takes us back to those days with his column this morning on former coach Adrian Buoncristiani. It’s a great read. … The Zags moved up in the poll, but were also leapfrogged by WCC rival Saint Mary’s. Jim Meehan, who doesn’t vote, has a story. … The WCC may just as well keep the women’s player of the week trophy in Spokane. Jill Barta won her fifth of the season. Jim Allen has more. … Elsewhere in the WCC, Saint Mary’s ranking is its highest in a couple years.

EWU: Jake Wiley only spent one year in Cheney but it was a memorable one. And led to a memorable last few months for the Big Sky player of the year. Jim Allen delves into all that has happened to Wiley recently in this story. … Jim also has a story on the Eagle football team receiving a commitment from a prominent West Side athlete. … Bogdan Bliznyuk was the conference’s player of the week. … Around the Big Sky, Portland State can’t wait until its new arena is done.

Idaho: Mikayla Ferenz earned Big Sky player of the week honors.

Racing: Jerry Sneva, one of the famous Sneva brothers, died recently. Jim Price has his obituary.

Seahawks: Is there any way the Hawks can find someone who can really compete with Russell Wilson? … Michael Bennett has always found ways to make lots of folks uncomfortable. … Here’s one view on what Seattle should do with Earl Thomas.

Sounders: Seattle is looking to improve its midfield play.

•••       

• It was 53 degrees in Spokane yesterday. That’s warm for January. Heck, it’s warm for March. And, lest I forget, happy birthday Trim. It must be tough to turn 49 again. Until later …

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