Month: January 2013 (Page 1 of 2)

Party Notes

Book-ending our vacation were L.’s first two birthday parties that were her own. She’d been to several parties over the years, but always because she was the third sister, not because it was the party of someone her age. So she was awfully excited about these two gatherings.

It was funny to watch her. As one of the two or three oldest kids in her class, and a third sister, she is one of the ringleaders for all class activities. When her class is outside before afternoon pickup, I always see her and two boys leading the charge for whatever the class is doing. She’ll yell, point towards something across the playground, take off, and soon the entire class is joining her on whatever quest she has conjured up.

At both parties she hung out with those two boys. She says hello to the girls and will play with them if they’re close. But she, D., and P. are inseparable. She was telling the truth when she told me that she was a tomboy over the holidays.

Making it funnier was how the moms of both boys asked me if L. would like to come play after school some day. Not the moms of one of the other girls, as was the case with both M. and C.. Nope, the boys want to hang out with L., and L. wants to hang out with the boys.

My other observation from the parties was how, with L.’s classmates, we’re suddenly the ‘older’ parents. At one of the parties a mom made a derisive comment about the music being played over the PA, which was admittedly bad 80s music. I started to defend it, then I realized I’m probably 10 years older than her. What was middle/high school music for me takes her back to preschool.

At the second party I did a quiet, informal survey of the other parents. Of the 20+ kids there, I’m guessing only a couple were within five years of me in age. The majority were 30-35. There was at least one mom who is likely still shy of her 30th birthday.

Age doesn’t really matter when you’re an adult and have a family. There was plenty to talk about with those parents. Our kids are in school together after all. It’s just a little weird to be on the high end of the parental age curve, rather than right in the heart of it as we are at St. P’s. And I couldn’t help but think the younger parents being closer to their 20s somehow makes their conversations different than when us 40-somethings get together.

Down With Disney

We haven’t taken a ton of family vacations over the years. But when we have we’ve always been fortunate to have safe travels and good times at our destination. Our luck held up once again and we had a fantastic time last week on our first (and still expected to be last) trip to Disney World. I’ll do my best to sum up the week without forcing you to read for half an hour.

We flew down Tuesday, leaving Indianapolis when it was a brisk 9°. We made it safely to Orlando1 and headed to our hotel, the Buena Vista Palace, right across from Downtown Disney. The hotel was a little older, giving off a bit of a 70s-80s vibe, but was in good shape and was sparsely occupied. We were a quick 15-minute bus ride from the Magic Kingdom and only had to cross the street for shopping and dining.

Wednesday we got up bright and early and arrived at the Magic Kingdom shortly after the gates opened at 9:00 am. The girls got First Visit buttons at the ticket window, which they loved, and then we took the monorail across to the park, which they also loved. OK, they pretty much loved everything about the next 72 hours.

We strolled down Main Street, USA, taking in all the images we had seen on TV for years. There was Cinderella’s Castle in front of us, so of course we snapped a few pictures. The girls had their heads on swivels looking for any characters that might be buzzing around that they could grab for autographs. We worked our way back to the new Fantasyland section of the park and hopped on our first ride, Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid. Ooohing and aaahing commenced.

We did a lot of research and picked last week knowing it was A) already a short week for M. and C. at school and B) would not be a busy week at the parks. We were right on with that second assumption. We didn’t have to wait more than 10 minutes for any ride or show over our three days at Disney. Our longest delay was for our shuttle bus Wednesday afternoon after one skipped our stop and we had to wait for 45 minutes rather than 15. It was sunny and in the low 70s, so if we had to wait it was the day to do it.

We spent about four hours at the park Wednesday. That night we went over to Downtown Disney for shopping and dinner, where the girls got their obligatory mouse ears.2 A very solid first day.

Thursday was set to be our busiest day. The girls had brunch with the princesses at Epcot. S. and her step-mother took them to that while my father-in-law and I waited at the hotel. We met the ladies at the Animal Kingdom in the early afternoon. As we approached each other from opposite bus stops, M. and C. ran full speed towards us, screaming about how great every single minute of the brunch was. The princesses were awesome! They had the best eggs ever! The got autographs and pictures with all the princesses! There was a Mexican Donald Duck! You get the point.

We spent a few hours in Animal Kingdom, which was super cool as well. We took the Dinosaur ride, which was a little rough, very loud, and was apparently a little scary to one of the girls. When we exited the ride and walked by the screens with the images snapped of us during the ride, six of us were looking around at the dinos while M. sat with her arms gripping the safety rail and her head ducked beneath them. Apparently she sat like that the entire time. She got some courage later, though.

We went home for a few hours then headed back to the Magic Kingdom for the night time events. We barely made it in time for the Electrical Parade. After that we hung around for the nightly fireworks show, which was spectacular, of course. After that we ran into our only crowd issues of the week. Apparently everyone who goes to any of the parks during the day crams into the Magic Kingdom at night for the shows, and then tries to get out at the same time. It was like the entire crowd from a Colts game trying to get out of one exit gate at once. It was amazingly crowded and everyone was right on the verge of getting frustrated. But after a couple tense moments everyone started moving and we got out of the park surprisingly quickly.

We spent Friday in the Magic Kingdom again, knocking out Adventureland and Frontierland and finally riding the Tomorrowland Speedway cars. In Frontierland we took M. and C. on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster. We weren’t sure how they would do, but, keeping with the theme of the week, they loved it. It’s not a crazy coaster with loops and huge drops, but it’s a lot bigger than the dinky kids coasters they’ve gone on at the church festival around the corner each summer. As soon as we got off M. said she wanted to ride it again and again, and if she ever came back to Disney that would be the first thing she rode. So I guess it worked out ok. L. drove me on the Speedway and spent the entire time giving a running commentary on our status in the race, how we had to catch C. and S. in front of us, and how we were going to win the championship. She’s a funny kid.

We said goodbye to the parks and returned to the hotel to spend a little time in the pool before the sun set. There were three pools, but only one was heated. As nice as it was, it was not warm enough to be in an unheated pool. Fortunately there were mostly adults sitting in the sun and the warm pool had only a few kids in it, so the girls were able to splash around for a while. There was a small lake around the hotel, and the banks were full of all kinds of cool birds looking for fish and other critters to eat. The girls laughed and laughed when they saw a couple ducks sitting at the end of one of the pools.

The weather was perfect the entire time. It was a little chilly Wednesday morning, but each afternoon the temperature pushed well into the 70s. As I said, the crowds were completely tolerable. We were constantly thankful that our schedules allowed for us to go at a time when the parks weren’t overrun with families and the lines were crazy.

A friend asked if I had become a Disney convert. I wouldn’t go that far. I had a good time, and love that the girls loved it. They said that Thursday, with the princesses and safari and fireworks, was the best day of their lives. I was fascinated by the logistical miracle that is Disney. From the clever disguising of the lines to the easy access to everything that is important, it’s an amazing place just to look around and observe how it works. But we have no plans to go back. This trip was crazy fun, but S. and I agree that it’s a one-time thing and we have other places we want to visit as a family while the girls are still little.

  1. Well we did. We had a very tight connection in Atlanta and our bags did not make the second flight. It’s the first time I’ve ever arrived without my luggage. Fortunately they were on the next flight and delivered that evening. Which led to a strangely exciting five minutes, as KU beat K-State and moments later the phone rang announcing our bags were downstairs. Good times! 
  2. M. and L. got ears, that is. C. had some picked out then changed her mind and decided on a Minnie Mouse diary/notebook thing. We made sure she was sure she didn’t want ears, and she convinced us. The next night we found some ears that had been misplaced during the Electrical Parade and she got her ears after all. The best part was L. quickly pointing out that since C. got two things, she and M. got two things, too. She doesn’t miss a thing. 

When Long Held Beliefs Are Cast Aside

There’s no easy way to say this, so I’m just going to let it rip: we’re going to Disney World tomorrow.

I didn’t go when I was a kid. My parents were never in position to afford it when I was little. And I wasn’t ever into anything Disney. In fact, the contrarian streak in my personality could probably be traced back to my early loathing of Mickey and the rest of the Disney gang. And thus I figured there was no real reason to take my kids.

My stance has softened, though. We’ve been talking about taking this trip for about two years and the timing finally worked out right to do it now.1 As I mentioned two months ago, we let the girls know about the trip the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend. They were excited, but the anticipation of Christmas kept it in the backs of their minds. Once we got past the holidays, though, and we started putting stickers on the calendar to countdown the days until departure, things changed.

They’ve been in rare form the last 48 hours or so. If there’s a wall within their sight, odds are they’re bouncing off of it. Our patience has been tried many times, but it’s not like we can say, “If you don’t calm down, we’re not going to Disney on Tuesday.” I think even L. would see right through that. So we’re hoping they can chill just a bit and get through the next 28 hours or so until we arrive at our hotel without making us lose our minds.

We don’t have too many concrete plans. We have three days in the parks. We’ll probably spend most of that time in the Magic and Animal Kingdoms. The girls have a breakfast date with some princesses on Friday. My in-laws are joining us so we’ll have more adults than kids.

All our friends who have been keeping telling us what a great job everyone at Disney does making sure the kids have a great time. And even parents who were anti-Disney like me said they ended up having a great time. So I’m doing my best to approach with an open mind and make it a fun, memorable trip for all.

I don’t know if I’ll get a chance to update the blog or not while we’re away. If not, you know I’ll post a complete summary upon our return.

  1. In the process violating another soft parenting rule I’ve had: we’d never be the parents who take their kids out of school to travel for something fun. Yet here we are doing it. We’re reasonably sure this is a one-time thing, but don’t hold us to that. 

Wait, What???

So there I was, putting my final touches on my ode to Ben McLemore when a quick check of Twitter revealed that the sports news world was exploding. There have been some crazy sports stories over the years, hell even in the last couple weeks,1 but good freaking lord, this Manti Teo thing just blows them all away.

I pride myself in avoiding stories that are more celebrity gossip than real sports news but man, I am all in on this one! I have no idea where this is going, or if we’ll ever know the whole truth. But I’m along for the ride.

Twitter was an absolute goldmine in the aftermath. I lost count of how many times I burst out in laughter as the Tweets rolled through. Sometimes Twitter can be a pain, or the snark can go on too long. But in the 2-3 hours after the story broke, Twitter was great.

I didn’t go through and mark my favorites over the evening, but the one that keeps making me laugh was Ken Jennings’. I believe I’ve mentioned before ow surprisingly great the former Jeopardy champ is on Twitter. This Tweet was especially inspired, though.

WHOA. I am no longer the most famous Mormon to invent an always-suspiciously-absent “girlfriend” in college.

So it’s only Thursday and Lance Armstrong and Manti Te’o have provided historic lessons on how we need to be careful about buying into the myths that are built around athletes. I wonder what the hell will happen next.

  1. Lance, of course. And the Suzy Favor Hamilton story is pretty jacked up. 

Reporter’s Notebook

Some updates from the field.

My last three games, going back to the week of Christmas, have all been interesting and each related to the same school, IHS.

First I had their boys playing the #1 team in Class 3A. IHS fell behind 11-0 in the first 90 seconds and I was sure it was going to be just another blowout. IHS righted the ship, though, and got it down to four points before halftime. Their opponents extended again in the third quarter, but IHS got it back to three points. They were down five late in the game when their coach got T’d up and that ruined their last chance.1 They ended up losing by 15, but it felt closer and it was an easier game to write about that I first expected.

A week later I had them again, this time for a noon game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the home court of the Indiana Pacers. I did a game downtown the first year I worked for the paper, but not again since. That first trip was a bigger deal, probably because it was on a Saturday instead of a Thursday, and the crowds were bigger. But it was cool to sit court side on an NBA court, even if it was just for a high school game.

IHS was again playing an undefeated team, although this time it was a Class A team. I won’t say the quality of play was the best, but it was a terrifically exciting game. It was tied after the first quarter, at halftime, and at the end of the third quarter. Both teams had four point leads in there, but never more than that. It was still tied after IHS’ opponents drilled a 3-pointer with three minutes and change to play. But IHS went on a convenient 13-0 run to both put the game away and write my story for me.

So that was the boys side. Last Thursday I had IHS’ girls team, which features the best player in the county, a girl who is headed to a smaller D1 school next year. It was a sloppy game without many obvious story lines. Well except for the best player.

She had 20 points at halftime. She was at 35 early in the fourth quarter. With IHS up big, I kept expecting her to get subbed out early. But her coach kept her in. She hit a three and then another two. I double-checked my math and sure enough, she was at 40 points even. My first 40-point game as a reporter.

After the game I asked her if she had ever scored 40 points before. Her eyes got big, she got a huge grin on her face, and she said, “Oh my gosh, really?” When I confirmed it she just said, “That’s awesome! Thanks for telling me, I had no idea.” She completely charmed me with her attitude, saying all the right things about not caring about stats, just wanting to make her team better, etc. But she didn’t do it in a bored, practiced manner that a surprising number of high school kids use. She was honest, happy, and even a little goofy.

She’s the first really good player I’ve seen play for all four years of her career. When she was a freshman she took that last second shot, not her senior teammate who is the all-time leading scorer in the county, as IHS nearly knocked off the three-time defending state champs in sectionals. I’ve seen her dominate on both ends of the court. I don’t know how good of a college player she’ll be because of her size (5’11”) but it’s been a lot of fun to watch her grow up the last four years.

Updating my Total Margin Factor for the year, the last two games erased the deficit my teams had dug in early December. It stands at +19 right now. That could take a hit tonight as I watch the ECHS girls play.

  1. Bad time for a T, but it was one of those that had been building for the entire game and he just pushed it too far in the heat of crunch time. 

Don’t Mess With Marx

This has been bouncing around for a week or so, thus some of you may have seen it. But it’s sooooo great. A Chicago culture blogger finds out what happens when you besmirch an 80s pop music sensation.

Would you say that to my face? Let’s find out. I’ll meet you anywhere in the city, any time. I don’t travel again until the end of the week. Let’s hash this out like men. Never heard of you in my life before, but between various columnist/radio friends and an array of people at NBC, I now know plenty about you. You don’t know anything about me. But you’re about to. This isn’t going away. Richard Marx

Peyton, Peyton, Peyton

As a friend we were out to dinner with Saturday texted to his friends as the afternoon stretched into evening, “I’ve seen this movie before.”

Straight up, the Denver Broncos’ shock, double overtime loss to the Ravens was not Peyton’s fault. Sure, he threw a couple bad picks and once again looked ordinary after an other-worldly regular season. But, as was often the case when the Colts shit the bed in the playoffs, the blame lay primarily with other Broncos. His teammates that couldn’t tackle, couldn’t defend the pass, couldn’t contain Ray Rice, and most shockingly, couldn’t follow the most basic rule of late-game defense were the biggest contributors to the Broncos epic egg laying.

But Peyton will get the blame, and this is another argument against him in the Greatest QB of All Time debate.

Here’s the thing: even when his teams have won, Peyton has rarely been as good in the playoffs as in the regular season. Even when he won the Super Bowl MVP, his stats were middling and it felt more like an award that was bestowed for past excellence than earned on the field in Miami.

I think Peyton is the greatest quarterback in NFL history,1 if you look, at what he’s done from September to December over his career. His struggles, and his teams’ inability to win more than a single Super Bowl, make that debate a much more difficult choice between him, Joe Montana, John Elway, and Tom Brady.

That was some great game, though. We went out to dinner with a large group and the restaurant had TVs that are normally switched off turned on. So the men in our group gathered on one end of the table, staring at the big screen above us. I may have created a small scene when Jacoby Jones hauled in Joe Flacco’s desperation heave late in the fourth quarter. In my defense A) it was an epic play, one we’ll never forget and B) I was far from the only person in the room screaming. I may have just screamed the loudest.

There was a strange mood in the restaurant. Some people were clearly cheering for Peyton and the Broncos. Some were just watching a great game. There were a few scattered folks who were either pulling for the Ravens or perhaps against Peyton. As the game went longer and longer, and Peyton threw the interception many of us thought was inevitable, there were plenty of loud, derisive comments like my friend’s I mentioned above.

But, man, what a game.

I didn’t get to see all of the Colin Kaepernick show, but I saw enough. Maybe other people have already said this and I’ve just missed it, but what he’s doing is awfully reminiscent of what Tom Brady did in 2001 after Drew Bledsoe got hurt. There’s no reason for him to be playing this well, but he is. And the Niners just keep winning. Who knows if he can continue this through two more games this season, let alone over a long career. But the 49ers are suddenly sexy again, and between Kaepernick. RGIII, Russell Wilson, and Andrew Luck, there is a tremendous infusion of new QB blood into the league.

Aaron Rogers is in the same place Peyton is. Genius in the regular season, but post-season ruined by his defense.

I’ve been fighting a brutal cold, so when Atlanta went up 20 on Seattle, I decided to close my eyes for a while. Fortunately I opened them in time to see the final 5-6 minutes of that game. That was something else, too, although it didn’t have the same, classic feel the Baltimore-Denver game had.

Then New England had to ruin a perfect weekend and destroy the Texans. Could they at least have let Houston hang around until the fourth quarter before commencing with the behind whooping?

Which leaves us with two pretty interesting games next week. The smart picks seem to be San Francisco and New England. But Kaepernick’s youth remains a concern. And no matter how solid and boring the Pats are, theres a part of me that fears picking against the Ravens. I’d be perfectly fine with two more instant classics, regardless of who wins.

  1. Remember I’m not like the biggest Peyton fan in the world, either. I like him, but never loved him. 

Los Deportes

Lots of sports over the past few days. Some assorted thoughts.

The NFL playoffs were almost universally awful. Let’s hope the Divisional round is better.1 In Baltimore the Colts went down by a score that made sense, 24-9, but in a manner that did not. I hadn’t seen the Ravens play in over a month, so I still thought their defense was shitty. They’re not quite back to 2000 levels, but they’ve certainly improved, and were the difference in the game.

The Colts, arguably, moved the ball better than the Ravens. Until they got to the Baltimore 30, that is. Then they bogged down and had to settle for field goals. You just can not win a road playoff game when all you do is kick field goals.2 The Colts looked young. They made a few key errors, notably some dropped balls or slightly off passes late in the game. The Ravens defense found their mojo and put unrelenting pressure on Andrew Luck.

And, but, still, there the Colts were, down eight, driving as time got more and more precious in the fourth quarter. The Ravens held, Adam Vinatieri pushed a makable field goal, and the game was over.

It was a frustrating loss not because it ended the season, but because the Ravens were there for the taking. They turned the ball over. They couldn’t do much on offense other than just chuck the ball up and either hope Anquan Boldin grabbed it3 or they got a pass interference call. For as well as the defense played, the Colts were still getting scoring chances.

Next year, if the Colts return to the playoffs and win a game, the highlight film will no doubt start where the 2012 season ended: with the loss in Baltimore. This feels like a classic moment of growth for a team that is on the rise again.

I loved the Twitter snark about Ray Lewis during the game. If you missed it, there were plenty of barbs about how Lewis is beloved by the football media, by fans in Baltimore, and really by many football fans across the country despite his involvement in two murders 13 years ago. If all you went by was the sports media, you would think Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Michael Vick, and Lance Armstrong were much, much worse people than Lewis is. I’ve never forgotten Lewis’ involvement in those murders, but I’ll admit I had lost the details of how much he was involved and allowed his play and personality to determine my opinion of him. It’s a weird world we live in.

We had a social engagement after the Colts game, so I didn’t get to watch the KU-Temple game live. I did follow the game on my phone though, especially when I looked down and saw a 12-point lead had turned into a five-point deficit midway through the second half. I went back and watched the last five minutes when I got home. That was a great way to finish off a very tough opponent. For all the talk of that being like a tournament game, it’s important to remember that the crowd, which sounded phenomenal, won’t be there during a March game in Indianapolis, LA, or Atlanta.4 But more about KU in a day or two.

On to the BCS Title game.

Gee, thanks, Notre Dame, for making it interesting. I had no rooting interest at all, never having liked either team. But when Alabama went up 21-0, I began pulling hard for them. I wanted an historic beat-down, something like 66-0, one of those Nebraska-KU scores from the early 80s. When they bogged down in the second quarter I lost interest and headed to bed at halftime.

Before and during the game I thought a lot about Nick Saban. He’s worked his way into the conversation as best college coach ever, and will probably not get serious consideration only because of his age (he’s not going to coach for another 20 years) and how much he’s moved around. Had he stayed and done this at Michigan State or LSU, or gotten to Alabama earlier in his career, and put together a long, 20-25 year stretch, I think he would retire as the best ever. The dude is a witch. He does things no one else can do, between getting the best players every winter and then getting them to play better than anyone else each fall. That’s harder to do than it sounds.

But what I thought about most is how it seems like he can never be happy. He’s job-hopped his entire career, most infamously jumping from a great LSU team to the Miami Dolphins then quickly fleeing back to the college game. There are always going to be rumors about him going back to the NFL because of his past, but as strong as the whispers are this year I think that means he’s at least put feelers out to NFL teams that he would listen to offers. Which I just don’t get.

Why would you leave the best job in college, in the heart of recruiting country, where you’re on national TV every week, and will always be in the hunt for a national championship, for a shitty NFL job? For a bigger challenge? Because you think you’re not a real coach until you’ve succeeded in the pros? Because the college game is boring? I suppose there are reasons, but going to a bottom-tier NFL team doesn’t seem like the way to do it. Now if a job with a good or up-and-coming NFL team came open, say the Colts or Packers or 49ers or some other team where you had a QB and a decent roster, then it would make more sense.

It’s one thing to be driven, to demand perfection and excellence, and to always be intense. Coach K is the most obvious college coach to compare Saban to. But I think Coach K at least takes a minute to enjoy life when his teams win. He’s flirted with the NBA a few times, but I feel like he’s always been comfortable with who he is and what he’s accomplished. I get the feeling that Saban is the exact opposite. He won’t enjoy a minute of this. He’s already thinking about finishing up recruiting, spring practice, and the first team on next fall’s schedule. He’s wondering if maybe he should talk to Cleveland or Philadelphia, if perhaps those jobs might be better tests for his skills. All that is what makes him great, but it also makes him weird and a little sad.

  1. I missed all of the Seattle-Washington game but it doesn’t sound like it was much better than the other three. 
  2. The obvious exception being the Colts’ 15-6 win over the Ravens seven years ago when Adam Vinatieri kicked five field goals. 
  3. Which he did a lot, and brilliantly, in the second half. 
  4. There’s a lot of basketball to be played, but I’m already dreading a KU-IU regional final in Indy. Or worse, KU coasts through the Big 12, IU gets beaten up in the Big 10, and they play in the Sweet 16 rather than Elite 8, with KU as the higher seed and IU as the local “underdog.” I think I’ll be very glad we’re already scheduled to be out-of-town that week should it come to pass. 

Back To Normal

We’re back at it. M. and C. returned to school today and L. will head back tomorrow.1 It was a pretty good break. I was worried that things would spiral out of control last week, when S. was back at work. The girls were cuh-ray-zee in the first couple days after Christmas and I wondered how they were going to tolerate another week cooped up in the house. But they regulated themselves nicely and we had a solid week. They even managed to sleep late almost every day. Most mornings I was up before all three of them, and I would often sleep until 7:30. Amazingly, they popped up this morning without any meltdowns or issues.

All three girls went to our friends the H’s house on Friday for a group sleepover. It was C. and L.’s first ever sleepover. From what we heard from Coach H Saturday morning, they didn’t sleep much but otherwise did pretty well. Apparently Mrs. H got stuck sleeping with L., but she knew what she was getting into when she invited L. to join the older girls!

S. and I had a pretty low-key night. We went out to dinner and ate at 7 instead of 5, which was nice. Then we came home to a completely empty house. It was weird. We could not remember the last time we didn’t have at least one girl in the house at night. It seriously may have been the last night before M. was born. We should have had a party or something.

With the girls back in school I guess that means 2013 has officially begun. We took the Christmas tree down earlier than normal this year, but still have a few decorations to get put away this week. And we are 15 days from Disney, so that should help January go by quickly. Which is nice, as I hate January. March Madness and baseball season can’t get here soon enough.

  1. Most of the public schools around here do not start again until tomorrow. We’re not getting the logic of that at all. Why do people need one more day when New Year’s Day was a week ago? 

Playoffs?!?! You Wanna Talk About Playoffs?!?!

I just realized as the owner of a blog that dabbles in sports discussions, I have to get some NFL playoffs predictions posted before the action begins tomorrow.

Wildcard Round

Houston over Cincinnati. Against another opponent, I would be tempted to pick against the sagging Texans. But the Bengals don’t have the juice to pull the upset and I think Houston might get their act together this week.

Green Bay over Minnesota. Rogers and company are going to be pissed after losing to the Vikings in the final seconds of last Sunday’s game.

Indianapolis over Baltimore. Picking purely with my heart, here. I think the Colts have a chance. I don’t think it’s that good of a chance, but a chance nonetheless. I fear the Ravens will gouge the Colts’ D early and then the D will overwhelm Luck as he tries to lead another comeback. But I’m still taking the Colts. Because you never know.

Seattle over Washington. Seattle is getting healthy, RGIII is still on the mend, and I think the Seahawks’ D is perfectly suited to containing him. Plus, I’ve picked against them constantly this year and they keep surprising me. Might as well jump on the bandwagon and ruin it for them.

Divisional Round

New England over Houston. I can see Foster running all over the Pats’ D. But I think Brady wins a shootout.

Denver over Indianapolis. Indianapolis fans have a week-long migraine leading up to this one. In the end, it’s not close. CBS revels in this game, which sets up next week’s dream match up. The post-game handshake between Luck and Manning becomes the most photographed moment of 2013.

Seattle over Atlanta. I want to believe in the Falcons. I just can’t the way they closed out the season.

San Francisco over Green Bay. If the Pack had a defense, they’d have a shot here. But I think the ‘Niners defense gives Rogers fits all day.

Conference Championships

Denver over New England. Manning struggles but the Broncos’ defense makes life equally miserable for Brady. A tight, tense affair won on a late field goal.

San Francisco over Seattle. Another ugly, D-fest.

Super Bowl

I thought about this one for quite a while.1 The ‘Niners have the better defense, but the Broncos aren’t slouches on that side of the ball. Denver clearly has the better offense, and by a bigger margin. I make my pick based on the size of those gaps.

Denver 22, San Francisco 13

  1. A solid 30 seconds. 
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