*James Franco voice* “Looook at all ma sheeeeet!!!”


After the Seahawks won the Super Bowl 43-8!!!!!, there was no way I was leaving The Big Apple empty-handed.  Cuz unlike those Broncos fans who’ll be burning all their Super Bowl gear (among other things) after their loss, this is a moment that I’ll cherish forever…or at least until Seattle repeats next year.  In any case, I certainly purchased my share of merchandise, to say nothing of the freebies obtained at the stadium.  That’s right, attendees of the Super Bowl receive a gift bag–or a gift seat cushion, as it were.

156I actually bought this shirt at the Newark airport, where everything Super Bowl related was on sale Monday.  Those magnets only cost me a couple bucks–while that pint glass woulda been a lot cheaper had I picked it up at the airport instead of paying 20 bucks for it at Macy’s (roughly the same price as that program).

157This was one of the most popular items at Macy’s: the Super Bowl t-shirt with the full Seahawks roster on the back.  I actually had to scrounge through a rack of assorted items just to find one in my size!

158Funny story about the lanyard; I went to just about every merch stand on the 100 level of the stadium, and they didn’t have any.  I bought that one at the Newark airport the day after the game (it came with a pin, which is blocked in the shot).  The rubber band was a freebie I picked up at the security tent; the hat cost me 25 bucks or so at Macy’s.

159Ah, the aforementioned Super Bowl seat cushion full of stuff.  You’ve got a football-style hand pouch with three packs of hand-warmers, earmuffs, a game-day radio, faux leather coffee-cup holder, Super Bowl branded chapstick(!), a handkerchief, New Girl gloves (hey, I watch that show!), the light-up toque from the halftime show…and last but not least, a pack of tissues.  But not just any tissues–Puffs Plus with Lotion!  Cuz a nose in need deserves Puffs indeed, y’all!

(Of course, with game-day temperatures well above freezing, I didn’t actually use any of that stuff.  Not even the seat cushion–I wasn’t watching this one sitting down!)

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Well, that went beyond my wildest dreams…

43 to 8!?  43 to 8 — are you kidding me?  43 to 8!  Man, even as a diehard Seahawks fan, I would not have predicted such a result.  Hell, I personally had ‘em winning 28-13, in stark contrast to several of the so-called “experts” (aka paid TV hacks) who picked Denver.  You might as well hand in your Football Prognosticators of America membership cards now, boys.  You know who you are! :P

Anyways, after spending several hours in the Newark airport due to new-fallen snow, my brain’s a little mushy right now.  I’ll compose my thoughts over the next couple days, but in the meantime, since a picture’s worth a a thousand words, here are a few shots I took of the Seahawks’ victory celebration:




OK, so some of these were shot from the video board.  Unfortunately, everybody on the podium had their backs turned to me.



Case in point:


Confetti cannon… FIRE!



108Fun fact: I attended Pete Carroll’s first game as Seahawks coach.  (Still got the program to prove it!)


(Pretty sure that’s Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith with the trophy.)



Jermaine Kearse–he of the third quarter TD–livin’ it up:



Speaking of in-game heroes, there’s Percy Harvin leaving the field:


And while he’s hard to see through the media horde, that’s Marshawn Lynch in the red sweatsuit.  I take it he didn’t have much to say. ;)






I honestly have no idea who any of these people are:


This could be the best $1,500* I’ve ever spent…

001*OK, so maybe I paid a little bit more than the face value of this ticket…

Did you know that I’m going to the Super Bowl?  Did I mention that already?  Seeing as the near-perfect location coincided with a near-perfect Seahawks season, it really could not have worked out any better for me.  I mean, there are only three NFL cities that Porter flies to–and I don’t expect to see a Super Bowl in Boston or Chicago anytime soon.  Besides, Pats fans would probably drive up the prices…

On the other hand, with the prospect of playing an outdoor game in cold weather for the first time ever, Super Bowl XLVIII tickets were relatively easy to come by.  Although they started off at pretty ridiculous asking prices, the bids dropped by a grand in the span of a week, driven down by a couple consecutive days of polar vortex express on the East Coast.  It actually reached a point where I realized I could afford lower-level tickets–behind the end zone, but still!

No, I won’t divulge how much I actually paid for the above ducat, but I will say the full cost of the trip was substantially less than my annual bonus…which is none of your business, either. ;)

And suffice to say I won’t be blogging for the rest of the weekend.  You’ll get a full report on Monday though…and probably Tuesday, Wednesday…maybe even Thursday.  Until then:


New Super Bowl Prediction: Seahawks Win!

How is this different than my old Super Bowl prediction, you ask?  Well, it’s all about the opponent.  Before the beginning of the playoffs, I had Seattle beating Carolina in the NFC championship and New England in the Big Game.  Meanwhile, I’d pegged Denver to lose to the Colts in the AFC semis.  Whoops!

To be fair, the Broncos never actually played the Colts; since the Cincinnati Bengals found yet another way to lose a playoff game, the younger horses were rerouted to Foxboro and promptly routed by the Patriots.  But in finally beating Tom Brady in a meaningful contest, Peyton Manning showed that he can occasionally win the big one in somewhat inclement climes.  On that note, it’s worth noting the five-day forecast foresees the mercury at kickoff at a balmy six degrees Celsius in the Meadowlands.  I can’t even remember the last time it was that warm in Toronto!  (But hey, it’s supposed to drop five degrees by the fourth quarter…)

Of course, most of the talk over the past couple weeks was about the weather; how it affects not just Peyton Manning, but lesser passers as well, while favouring defenses and the run game.  Need we be reminded that the Seahawks had the league’s best defense and finished fourth in rushing yards?  Like the old adage goes: “Defense wins championships,” and having Beast Mode as an insurance policy, well, I’d take that to the bank.

But then again, Denver does have the league’s top-scoring offense, averaging just under 38 points per game.  You’d hafta go back some 23 years to find the last time the league’s most unstoppable force met its most immovable object, to Super Bowl XXV.  In that game, the stingy New York Giants D held the potent Buffalo Bills attack to eight points under their season average…but still needed a kick to go wide right for the win.

On the other hand, recent results indicate that the Seahawks should own this game.  After all, they’ve outscored Denver 70-20 over the past two years–albeit in the preseason.  And hey, like I misquoted Jim Mora yesterday, “Preseason?  Don’t talk about preseason–you kidding me?  Preseason!?”  That being said, the first of those two wins was Russell Wilson’s coming-out party, as he earned the starting job with a 155-yard, two-TD performance in the second half.  Incidentally, that game was also Peyton Manning’s first as a Bronco.  His line?  16-for-23 with two INTs.

That being said, I don’t see this game as an August-style blowout.  But if Seattle puts pressure on the passer, locks down receivers and establishes the run game, they should cruise to a 28-13 win.  Hey Peyton–you’re not in Nebraska anymore!

Round-trip flight: $265. Hotel, two nights: $257.60. Super Bowl ticket: $?????

I’ve been saying it for several weeks now: if the Seattle Seahawks make it to Super Bowl XLVIII, I’ll be there.  And true to my word–and thanks to some sweet sales–I’ve almost fulfilled my part of the bargain.  At the very least, I will be in New York City for Super Bowl weekend…I just don’t have a ticket to the game yet.

Alas, it seems the football gods have smiled on me again.  With the Super Bowl being about an hour’s flight from The Centre of the Known Universe, the Hawks have fielded their best squad since the last time the game was played within spitting distance.  And hey, the Hawks were in that one too–but don’t get me started on Super Bowl XL!!!!!

Let’s just say that eight years is an awfully long time.  I certainly remember where I was back then; hell, I had only just moved to Toronto a few months beforehand.  I also clearly recall looking online for Super Bowl tickets, only to find that the absolute cheapest, bloodiest of the nosebleed seats were selling for about $1,500, which was triple my credit card limit at the time.  (Hey, what can I say? It was eight years ago!)  But now, if I saw any kind of seat on sale for 15-hundred–through a reputable online ticket broker, mind you–I’d snap it up in a heartbeat.  That is, unless somebody else saw it first.

Y’see, not only is inflation a bitch, but everything’s more expensive in New York City.  And since the Jets’ and Giants’ New York also includes East Rutherford, New Jersey, the latter still applies to MetLife Stadium.  Although prices have come down as selection has increased since oh, about a month ago, we’re still looking at just under $2,500 for the cheapest tickets on StubHub.  Maaaaan, that’s roughly the cost of a European vacation, or a small island off the coast of Nunavut!

Truth be told, I’d probably still pay that much to see the game–but not if I don’t have to.  As one ticketbroker (well, ticket-brokage aggregator, to be completely accurate) tells Forbes, “With two west coast teams and the current forecast of a possibility of storms around game day and temps in the low 20′s, I think this market will be extremely soft.”  Low 20’s?  What is that, -7 Celsius?  Sounds like warm Grey Cup weather to me!  Oh, and here’s the kicker: “With that said, I think this market could dip to $1,500 if not lower if demand is not high this week.”

Lower prices in NYC than in Detroit!?  Now that’s definitely a first.  Last time I checked, you could buy a house in the Motor City for about the cost of an appetizer at Le Cirque.  (Although to be fair, I hear their Chanterelle Risotto is to die for.  So’s that crack-shack in East Detroit–as in, you will die if you set foot anywhere near it, but I digress.)  Aaaaand that’s why I’m prepared to wait it out another week or so.  Why pay twice the price when you can get the same thing for much less?  Well, only in New York, I suppose. ;)

In any case, I will definitely say that if the Hawks beat the Broncos next Sunday, that ticket will be priceless to me.  You’re welcome, MasterCard.

Not sure the networks could’ve scripted a better conference championship Sunday…

Though I’ve been pretty active this weekend, there’s no denying that I’ve been waiting all day for loving you a Sunday night.  Before the playoffs started, I picked Seattle over New England in Super Bowl XLVIII, and we’re now just hours away from cementing that potential matchup.  Mind you, both of these marquee games could go either way…or not.

The AFC Championship features the two greatest quarterbacks in the game today–if not all-time–in a clash between the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos that surely has Dick Ebersol creaming his jeans.  (Wait, is he still alive?)  The Broncos had a slightly better record this season, not to mention the league’s leading offense, averaging almost 38 points per game.  But as the Buffalo Bills Daily (of all places!) points out, Peyton Manning is pretty much Tom Brady’s bitch.  In 14 career matchups, Brady has a 10-4 advantage, and has taken two out of three previous playoff games.  What’s more, Manning is pretty much the worst big-game QB since Jim Kelly (sorry, Bills fans).  Hell, his team almost blew a 17 point lead to the San Diego Chargers last week!  Brady 42, Manning 24.

The NFC Championship is the rubber match in one of the fiercest rivalries in football today.  These past two years, the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers have won 47 games between them, finished one-two in the NFC West, and each appeared in the playoffs.  Oh, and they also don’t like each other very much.  But you know what else has been constant since 2012?  The Niners absolutely, utterly, and overwhelmingly shitting the bed in Seattle.  We’re talking Ebola virus diarrhea here, to the tune of 42-13 and 29-3 Seahawks.  Maybe this time San Fran will manage to score a touchdown.  More than one?  I wouldn’t count on it.  35-7 Seahawks.

And on that note, it seems that the only Manhattan hotel with rooms under $100 for Super Bowl weekend is a gay-friendly lodging called The Out.  Which goes to show that Niners fans aren’t making plans for the big game, heh heh…

Cuz it’s that time of year when I pick the Seahawks to win the Super Bowl…

Of course this year, I can do so without having myself accused of being a true-blue, dyed-in-the-wool Hawks fan.  (For the record, I actually had them losing to Atlanta in the NFC semis last year.  So it’s my fault.  Sorry guys.)  I mean, call me, well, a true-blue, dyed-in-the-wool Hawks fan, but I don’t see any team in the NFC who can come into Seattle and beat ‘em at home this year.  Arizona just got lucky–oh, and that wasn’t an illegal block when Hasselbeck tried to make the tackle!  I digress, but that probably won’t be my last Super Bowl XL reference in this column.

In any case, it’s probably just as well that the Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t make the playoffs.  Hey, one last-second field-goal attempt a little further to the left, and they’re in the Wild Card.  But alas, while the middle of the AFC pack shit its collective britches down the stretch, said conference is pretty top-heavy, to the point where three or four teams have a decent shot.  That being said, the last time the Seahawks suited up at MetLife Stadium, they shut out the home side 23-0.  So clearly, they’re going to win Super Bowl XLVIII.  It’s just a matter of how they’re going to get there.  Read on to see how the rest of the playoffs play out.



Saints @ Eagles, January 4th:  Y’know, I can sorta see why NBC wanted to show this one in prime time.  Between them, these two teams averaged 53.5 points and 816.6 yards a game this season.  Dick Ebersol and company (wait, is that guy still alive?) are clearly anticipating a high-speed shootout, what with that Chip Kelly hurry-up offense and everything.  But wait, not so fast.  As anyone who isn’t, well, a true-black-and-gold, dyed-in-the-gumbo Saints fan knows, their team can’t win on the road.  As a matter of fact, they’ve never won an away playoff game, including that time when they were heavy favourites against the 7-9 NFC West champs.  This December alone, they lost to Carolina, St. Louis, and oh yeah, Seattle away from the dome–and Philly’s Lincoln Financial Field is definitely not a domed stadium.  Hell, on some weeks it more closely resembles a snowglobe.  Suffice to say the Saints should come up short…again.  28-17 Eagles.

49ers @ Packers, January 5th: Speaking of snow, it’s supposed to be -15 Celsius in Green Bay this Sunday, with white stuff in the forecast the night before.  Lemme tell ya that I’ve walked to work these last two days in similar conditions, and it’s certainly not very pleasant.  Frankly, I thought my legs were gonna fall off…although, to be fair, I don’t have the chiseled physique of Colin Kaepernick.  Alas, San Fran is no strangers to the Pack in January–they put up 45 points in an NFC semi-final win last season.  That game wasn’t in Green Bay, but still.  As much as I want to pick the Pack (or anyone who’s ever playing against the Niners), I’m not so sure if Aaron Rodgers will be at his best, with just one start in the past two months heading into this one.  Did I mention that the Pack was just 4-3-1 at Lambeau this season?  Niners 24, Packers 14.


49ers @ Seahawks, January 11th: I hafta say, as a Hawks fan, this is the matchup I wanna see.  After all, in the last two years, Seattle has outscored San Fran 71-16 at CenturyLink Field.  Sure, the Niners have won a couple close, low-scoring contests at Candlestick in that timespan–but they’re not playing this one at Candlestick, are they? Seahawks 35, Niners 7!!!

Eagles @ Panthers, January 12th: As opposed to Philly’s first-round matchup, this one’s a case of unstoppable force meets immovable object, as the Eagles take their fourth-ranked offense down south to meet Carolina’s second-ranked D.  The two teams haven’t met yet this year, but keep in mind that the Panthers held the NFL’s second-best passing attack to just 13 points in a game that decided the NFC South just before Christmas.  The Eagles will hafta score a lot more than that to have a chance, and they haven’t faced too many tough road tests this season, the NFC Least being what it is.  Put it this way: the last time they faced a playoff-caliber team with a healthy starting quarterback away from home, they lost to Denver 52-20.  Now, Cam Newton’s no Peyton Manning, but unless he gets into a beach-football game during the bye week, he’ll be 100-per-cent healthy, which doesn’t bode well for Philly.  Panthers 25, Eagles 17.


Panthers @ Seahawks, January 19th: The old adage that defense wins championships will be put to the test in the NFC final, as Carolina (second in points, total yards and rushing yards allowed) travels to Seattle (first in points, total yards and passing yards allowed) for a showdown between the league’s two best defensive teams.  As a matter of fact, these two squads already squared off in 2013–and unsurprisingly, they combined for less than 20 points in the process.  Waaaaay back in Week One, the Hawks went down to Carolina and squeaked out a 12-7 snoozer with a fourth-quarter score.  Sure enough, the Carolina D held Beast Mode to just 43 yards on 17 carries, but Russell Wilson picked up the slack with 320 yards passing, hitting Jermaine Kearse with the late long bomb.  Cam Newton?  He threw for just 125 yards.  At home.  Did I mention this game’s at CenturyLink Field?  Seahawks 15, Panthers 12.



Chiefs @ Colts, January 4th: Hard to believe the Chiefs were once the NFL’s last unbeaten team in 2013.  Since entering their Week 10 bye at 9-0, they’ve lost five out of seven, with just a couple blowouts over the hopeless Redskins and hapless Raiders sandwiched between double-decker defeats to Denver, San Diego…and the Indianapolis Colts.  That’s right, KC hasn’t beaten a playoff-caliber team since Philly in Week Three.  And, oh yeah, Andrew Luck came into Arrowhead and beat ‘em… 23-7… with the mighty Griff Whalen leading the way in receiving.  Not only did they win that one, but the Colts also beat Denver, Seattle and San Francisco this season.  They’d be a Super Bowl dark horse if they had anyone who could hoof it out under Luck’s throws.  Colts 28-13.

Chargers @ Bengals, January 5th: Speaking of dark horses, the Chargers did not look like they were going to make the playoffs just a couple weeks back.  It took back-to-back losses by both Baltimore and Miami–not to mention a last-second field goal attempt wide right–for them to even get here.  Mind you, they also won their last four games, including a 27-20 Thursday night showdown at Denver, so they’re coming in hot.  But welcome to chilly Cincinnati, where the mercury rises to 2 degrees Celsius at kickoff–with a 100, that’s right, 100 per cent chance of precipitation.  By the way, the Bengals are a perfect 8-0 at home, and they’re also the last team to beat the Bolts this season, holding the Chargers to just 10 points in sunny San Diego.  Philip Rivers and co might as well book those return tickets already.  Bengals 20, Chargers 10.


Bengals @ Patriots, January 11th: Andy Dalton, meet Tom Brady.  You’d have met him last year, too, had your team not lost to the Texans.  As of Jan 4th, Cincy hasn’t won a playoff game under Marvin Lewis, and Dalton, he of the career 48 passer rating, 0 TDs and 4 INTs in the postseason, has played a pretty big part in that.  (My guess is he throws for 223, 1 TD and 2 picks in their win over the Chargers.)  On the other hand, Mr. Brady, there, he’s won a few playoff games…not to mention Super Bowls.  Nice meeting you.  38-14 Patriots.

Colts @ Broncos, January 12th: Back in Week Seven, Andrew Luck and the Colts shocked the world.  What was meant to be a showdown between Peyton Manning and his successor–on Peyton Manning Day, no less–turned into a 33-17 rout through three quarters before Manning (and the refs) made it interesting in the fourth.  Nevertheless, the second-year pivot outscored the surefire Hall of Famer 4 TDs to 3 (including one rushing) and didn’t throw an interception nor fumble the football in a 39-33 win.  Granted, that was with a healthy Reggie Wayne and Darrius Heyward-Bey, but hey, if Wes Welker even suits up for Denver, he won’t be the picture of perfect health, either.  Of course, the biggest difference is that this one’s an away game, but the Colts have also won some big ones at KC and San Fran this season.  And besides, Denver gives up 25 points per game.  Of course, they score a lot more, too.  But I still think Indy gets Lucky again–with a little help from playoff legend Adam Vinatieri.  30-28 Colts.


Colts @ Patriots, January 19th: Let me just go out and say it:  Yes, Tom Brady is a giant douchenozzle, and the Patriots are the perfect picture of douchenozzlery.  But every year, they seem to finish right up there in the standings, and every year, they make it deep into the playoffs.  Call it destiny, call it fate, call it Bill Belichick stealing signals from the other sideline…but they get the job done.  On the other hand, if Andrew Luck is going to be the next Peyton Manning, then he’s still got several seasons of heartbreaking playoff losses to go before he finally wins the big one.  This time, in snowy Foxboro, a tuck-rule call goes in Brady’s favour while a crew of illegal aliens shovels enough snow during the stoppage to clear a path for Stephen Gostkowski’s game-winning FG.  Patriots 23, Colts 20. Aliens $5/hr.

Which brings us to…


Patriots vs. Seahawks @ MetLife Stadium, February 2nd: This one continues this decade’s trend of superlative Super Bowls with another game for the ages.  (At least I hope so, as I’m about thisclose to buying an overpriced ticket.)  The Seahawks get on the board first with a field-goal, before Brady tosses a dart to Amendola halfway through the first quarter.  But the Hawks answer back with a 24-yard pass across the middle from Super Bowl MVP Russell Wilson to Doug Baldwin, and lead 10-7 after the first quarter.  However, New England battles back with 10 points in the second to go into halftime with a 17-10 lead.

The SeaFence steps up in the second half, holding the Pats to just a field goal in the third, and another three points in the fourth.  But Wilson struggles to move the ball until there’s nine-and-a-half minutes to play, when he orchestrates a five-play, 71-yard drive that takes just two minutes off the clock, bringing the score to 23-17.  The teams exchange punts until Seattle gets the ball back with 2:38 remaining.  Wilson scrambles for nine before the two-minute warning, then Lynch gets stuffed for a two-yard gain.

But with 1:27 on the clock, In Russ We Trust drops back and hits PERCY MUTHAFUCKIN’ HARVIN, who’s been saving himself for the Super Bowl, with a 46-yard TD pass.  I knew we traded for him for a reason!

With 1:18 left, the SeaFence holds the Brady Bunch to a four-and-out, and hangs on for a 24-23 victory.  Ladies and gentlemen, your Super Bowl XLVIII champs…


(OK, so maybe what I described sounds awfully similar to Seattle’s Week Six win over the Pats in 2012, but man, that was one heckuva game, wasn’t it? ;) )