Friday is here and The Stack is ready to talk football (Super Bowl storyline #1) and more so let's get right to it and see what made "the stack" for today, Friday, January 25:
Super Bowl storyline #1
The Super Bowl is coming up fast and it is now time to start looking at some of the storylines for the upcoming game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens. There are intriguing storylines all around, but one stands above them all. That is the battle of the brothers, Harbaugh vs. Harbaugh. The Harbaugh Bowl. The Harbowl. Plenty is being made of brothers Jim Harbaugh (49ers) John Harbaugh (Ravens) going against each other in the Super Bowl, and as well there should be. Brothers have never gone against each other in a Super Bowl before. They've both been really successful (obviously!), but this year doesn't give the full picture. Jim, a very successful college coach at San Diego and Stanford, has in his first two seasons taken the 49ers to two NFC championship games and one Super Bowl.
Brother John may be able to one up him. In five seasons as Ravens head coach, John has gone 54-26 in the regular season and 8-4 in the playoffs. The Ravens have appeared now in three AFC championship games and this one Super Bowl. The Ravens have never finished worse than second in the AFC Norht. John has done a great job molding this team and developing Joe Flacco into one of the best quarterbacks in the league (more on him next week). He's definitely left his imprint on the Ravens.
Both brothers have pretty good personalities. Jim is definitely the more eccentric and hyper of the two it seems, watching him on the sidelines. He also is the one who gives the media more to talk about. Both coaches deserve to be here and their parents, Jack and Jackie Harbaugh, should be proud. Don't think they'll be watching the game from their basement in Wisconsin. They'll be down in New Orleans.
A lot was made of the first meeting last year on Thanksgiving when the two brothers met, a game in which John beat Jim as the Ravens beat the 49ers. Jim wants revenge, whether he says it or not. As much that was made about that game, more is being made of the rematch and rightfully so given the stage. This is the most hyped game involving coaches since Tony Dungy (Indianapolis) coached against Lovie Smith (Chicago) in Super Bowl XLI, because that was the first Super Bowl that African American head coaches were going against one another and one was going to win. This may top that, not in terms of importance, but in terms of hype. I really hope though that during the game, that the focus is on the teams and not on the coaches. It should and it will, but you know the cameras will be on John and Jim left and right, maybe on the parents as well. Let's not let this one very intriguing storyline overshadow this game, which should be a good one. This should be more about the teams and not the coaches though they've played a huge part in getting the teams here. It's going to be fun to watch.
Rob Ryan hired by Rams
While longer than five minutes, Rob Ryan has found work. Only a couple of weeks since he was fired as Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator, Ryan has agreed to be the St. Louis Rams' defensive coordinator. Great hire by the Rams. Their defese already has a ton of young talent. Ryan will have a lot of fun using the weapons he has to wreak havoc on opposing offenses. And considering the Rams are in the same division as the 49ers with Colin Kaepernick and the Seahawks with Russell Wilson, he'll need to be creative to stop them.
In other NFL coaching news, Steve Spagnuolo has been fired as New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator. The Saints defense was all-time bad this past season. While Spags perhaps should have gotten one more year, especially with the full coaching staff coming back, Sean Payton knew he had to do something coming back in his full coaching duties and he thought firing Spagnuolo was the right decision. Can't fault him for that. The Saints are reportedly now going to a 3-4 defense. Be interesting to see how that looks.
Brothers will reunite in Atlanta as the Braves completed a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks that sends outfielder Justin Upton and third baseman Chris Johnson to Atlanta for six players. Justin will now play alongside his brother B.J. and the two will form a formiddable one-two punch for the Braves. Both are very good players. The Braves I don't think have enough to overtake the Washington Nationals barring injuries, but they definitely have enough to make the playoffs and that's all that matters. Get in and anything can happen. The Braves should be fun to watch this year.
In hockey, the Dallas Stars have signed center Jamie Benn to a five-year $26.5 million deal. Benn was electing to play overseas until a new deal was reached. He's the number one center on the team and someone the Stars needed to get under contract ASAP. The signing will really help the Stars and their offense. Definitely makes them a better team.
Manti Te'o finally speaks
Finally, your Manti Te'o update and the interview he gave with Katie Couric in which she peppered him with questions, but Te'o never flinched on any of the questions except for one in which Couric asked if Te'o was gay. Te'o said no. He says he was the victim and he's sticking to it. Meanwhile, the lawyer for Ronaiah Tuiasosopo the mastermind behind this scheme, says it was his client who was the voice behind Lennay Kekua. He sounded like a real girl and duped Te'o pretty hard. More will come out on this story and we'll truly find out what happened and to what extent Te'o played along with it. The more we hear, the weirder it gets.
Finally, before I go, the New Orleans Hornets will have a new name next year...the Pelicans. Nothing scares me more than a Pelican. Teams will be terrified to go against them. Then again, get in a pelican's territory, and they get pretty angry. We'll have to see how this goes.
Oh and the NFL Pro Bowl is this Sunday. Check your local listings for the game on NBC. I'll take the AFC to win and there will be analysis on Monday. Players on both teams are saying they'll play hard. We'll have to wait and see. If not, the game could go bye-bye.
Coming up Monday: Super Bowl storyline #2, Pro Bowl thoughts and more from the weekend