— “We’re all in this together,” Clark Griswold tells his ready-to-bolt family members, right after their Christmas explodes into squirrel chasing, chainsaw-wielding chaos. “This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here!” I haven’t reached a Griswoldian level of panic yet, but I feel the vaguely gingerbread-scented pressure starting to build.
That sense of mid-December discomfort shows up every year, at least until I take a break from counting the remaining shopping days to remind myself that the next few days are about embracing the bedlam, wrapping your freakouts in brightly colored paper and seeing if you can make it to the weekend without someone stealing the Baby Tebow from your backyard Nativity scene.
The holidays are also about upholding traditions and, although I stopped believing in Santa Claus during the acid-washed jeans era, I still make an annual Wish List. This year, I'm mailing it to Mark Cuban.
So here’s what I’m hoping for, under the tree and on the next few calendar pages:
“I think there’s a lot of opportunity for the game to be completely different and have a completely different flavor from what the first game did,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said.
I hope he’s right, because their Nov. 5 field goal-fest tasted like anemic offenses (Cleveland Browns fans keep that one in their spice rack) and unfulfilled potential (And hello to you, St. Louis Rams). I begrudgingly admit these are the best two teams in the nation. LSU finished the regular season as the lone undefeated team, while Alabama’s one loss came at the hands of the Tigers, literally both hands of LSU cornerback Eric Reid, who made what became a game-saving interception.
So, like Saban, I’m expecting different ingredients when we’re served a second helping. I hope Tyrann Mathieu causes more Mayhem than the guy in Allstate’s commercials. I hope Trent Richardson builds on the promise he displayed during their initial meeting; he accounted for 126 of Bama’s 295 total yards. Most of all I hope that, since it hasn’t been saddled with the “Game of the Century” label, that’s what it turns out to be.
His pre-Patriots six-game win streak was impressive in its improbability, and with the Broncos lounging on top of the AFC West, he’ll rightly be remembered as one of the year’s top stories … but he’s not the only story. What about Cam Newton’s record-splintering rookie season? Or the Texans' first playoff berth? Or Peyton Manning’s inexplicable MVP (Most Valuable Paperweight?) honors from NFL Magazine.
“If you watched Sportscenter today, it was Tim Tebow, then something else, Tim Tebow then something else, and Tim Tebow then something else,” Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco complained last week.
I’m with him: more than ready for the networks to just say (Teb)No.
In the past two seasons, Harrison has collected over $125,000 in fines for leading with his helmet while tackling Mohammed Massaquoi, Josh Cribbs, Drew Brees and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Hitting Harrison in his Bank of America account obviously doesn't work as a deterrent.
Neither did his recent suspension. Harrison’s response to his one-game stay on the NFL’s Naughty list? To tweet “LOL!” immediately after the league announced their decision.
It’s one thing to embrace the role of the villain, to rock your Steeler-black helmet like you’re Liberty Freakin’ Valance wearing a black Stetson. But Harrison has crossed the line between attitude and arrogance and — at this point — it’s up to the league to step up and shove him back to the other side.
Until early December, Braun was a walking “Got Milk” ad, the kind of player who actually calls a fan brave enough to flash her phone number to the Miller Park crowd, one whose most disturbing off-field incident was wearing Affliction t-shirts.
Then came the positive test for performance enhancing drugs — in the form of elevated testosterone — and his gleaming white reputation has been dragged through the infield dirt. I want to give Braun the benefit of the doubt — that there’s a legit medical reason or there was a lab error — but that’s hard to do.
I'm giving my brain an "I'm With Stupid" shirt for making me believe that baseball had cleaned itself up. Or for making me believe, period. And those still-unexplained explanations against the reigning NL MVP make me feel more than a little queasy. This time, I just can’t blame the sushi.
Danica, please let us know whether you want to be known as a pioneer or a pinup. Because right now, it’s hard to take you seriously either way.
And, most of all, I want whoever swiped my Baby Tebow to bring him back. That manger’s too big without him.