Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Daily Super Bowl Hype Meme: Das Boot

For an explanation of the Super Bowl Hype Meme of the Day, click here.

BRISTOL, Connecticut: By nearly any measure, former New York Times Review of Books editor and current ombudsman Le Anne Schreiber has had a remarkable journalistic career. Sadly, that career came to an abrupt end Tuesday night, when Ms. Schreiber passed away in her home in Connecticut while watching ESPN SportsCenter's coverage of Patriot quarterback Tom Brady's ankle injury. One witness attributes Ms. Schreiber's death to "her damn head exploding," though doctors are officially attributing the passing to "a rapid pressure change in Ms. Schreiber's intracranial cavity."

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The boot, the boot, oh my God, the freaking boot. For those who are still somehow blissfully unaware, Tom Brady was photographed on Monday wearing a protective boot/walking cast on his right foot. The photographs show him wearing the boot as he walks up a flight of stairs into his girlfriend Gisele Bundchen's place in Manhattan. Other photographs taken later that night show him walking without the boot, which was presumably removed at Gisele's in order to facilitate her licking whipped cream off of Tom's toes. End of story, right?

Any other week, absolutely. But during Super Bowl bye week, with baseball and college football gone, college basketball not really going yet, and the NHL and NBA in the boring middle of their regular-season slogs? Gold!

So SportsCenter reacted accordingly, eliciting the opinions of: (1 & 2) both anchormen; (3) ESPN analyst John Clayton; (4) Giants' defensive end Justin Tuck; (5) Brady's father; (6) an unnamed Brady teammate; (7) an official Patriots' spokesperson; and (8) ESPN analyst and former QB Ron Jaworski on the issue. Every single one of them said that the purported "injury" wasn't a big deal, and would have no impact on the game next week. After the first two people expressed that opinion, I was inclined to agree. Certainly no later than four guys in, I was convinced. Pontificators 5-8 caused my left eye to begin twitching, and were no doubt the cause of Ms. Schreiber's unfortunate demise.

Jaworksi needs to be singled out for special scrutiny here. Let me make clear at the outset that nobody on television knows more football than Jaws, and he is a generally a favorite of us here at the GRBG.

But during Jaws' segment, he gleefully admitted to having watched every New England offensive snap against San Diego at least 10 times in an effort to identify the moment the injury occurred. At no point was it explained why the hell it mattered when the injury occurred if it would have no impact on the Super Bowl. Regardless, Jaws carried on, running the film slower and slower, until he was finally able to find the precise instant that the second shot hit former Texas Governor John Connally. Also, Jaws thinks Brady rolled his ankle in the first quarter.

Honestly, mocking this is a little too easy, like shooting Super Bowl hype memes in a barrel. Even the ESPN guys seemed to realize the ridiculousness of their saturation coverage, but seemed powerless to stop it. Plus, a real injury to Brady would be a legitimate topic of discussion. So we'll take a little pity here and split the Meme Scale grade: 3 for the subject; 9.8 for the execution. I'm holding back on the perfect 10 only because these idiots have another week and and half to come up with something even worse.

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