The Stack is back on this Thursday after a day off and ready to start talking Super Bowl storylines, because you can never have enough Super Bowl coverage even though the Super Bowl is still about ten days away. Oh wait you can? Well we'll ease into it, but there are a couple of other stories to talk about as well so let's get right to it and see what made "the stack" for today, Thursday, January 23:
Yankees sign Tanaka
The New York Yankees won the bidding war for Japanese pitching ace Masahiro Tanaka and they are breaking the bank for him. You might say the Yankees are acting like well, the Yankees of old following the seven-year $155 million deal they gave Tanaka yesterday. Tanaka went virtually unhitable in Japan going 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in 2013. How that translates to the big leagues remains to be seen. Also, the pressure of playing in the Big Apple could be a little nervewracking. It's a bold move by the Yankees, but one that should immediately pay dividends by bolstering their pitching staff. The Yankees have doled out several big contracts this offseason besides Tanaka. They gave Jacoby Ellsbury $153 million to get him away from the Boston Red Sox, $100 million to Brian McCann and $45 million to Carlos Beltran. Will these moves equal a trip to the postseason, a place the Yankees didn't make the playoffs last year? Perhaps, they can only hope at least. If not, heads could roll and there will be a lot of people wondering if the Yankees are making smart moves or desperate moves and when they will go back to the dominant Yankees teams of old that the late George Steinbrenner oversaw. It will be very interesting.
Adrian Peterson's eventful day
Minnnesota Vikings running back Aadrian Peterson is the player his peers would most like to seee in the Super Bowl. That is the result of an ESPN survey of 320 anonymous players. It was close between Peterson and Tony Gonzalez, but Peterson has the edge. He has tremendous respect for the game and plays hard on every play as most of his peers know firsthand. Peterson came so close in 2009 when the Vikings lost a heartbreaker 31-28 in overtime against the eventual Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints. Wonder when or if he'll ever get a shot to go to the Super Bowl with the Vikings.
Peterson is also making news because of the fact that he needs surgery on his groin, an injury he dealt with for much of the second half of the season. He was beat up between the groin injury and a sprained foot. Cause for concern and panic in Minnesota? Doubtful. Given how Peterson came back after a torn ACL to win the MVP award last year, having surgery on his groin should only be able to help him regain his explosiveness. He'll have a new offensive coordinator next year in Norv Turner and things may change a little, but the best running back in the NFL should have few if any issues in his recovery from surgery.
Super Bowl storyline #1
Weather is certainly something everyone is talking about ahead of the Super Bowl, but we'll wait with that one. As the Super Bowl approaches, it seems like all anyone can talk about is Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman and his postgame antics against San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree. He said Wednesday he is not a thug and he's right. Thugs don't go to Stanford. Thugs don't become the NFL's best cornerback. He's said that he's sorry that what he said has taken away from his teammates accomplishments. You can debate whether what he did postgame was right or wrong. I think he was clearly caught up in the moment in his postgame interview with FOX's Erin Andrews. The adrenaline, the excitement, the fact that he made the play to help send Seattle to the Super Bowl, it was all there. No problem with what he said, just how he said it. If he said that Crabtree was a sorry wide receiver a little more calm and didn't keep hounding on the "mediocre" word, the media wouldn't be talking about him so much. He wouldn't have made national news, with channels like CNN, GMA on ABC and shows like that talking about him first thing on their shows. He wouldn't have blown up Twitter right after the NFC Championship game.
There is little doubt that Sherman is a polarizing figure in the game today. His jersey is in the top ten best selling jerseys in the NFL. When Seattle attends media day of Super Bowl week, Sherman will have a ton of reporters in front of him and he'll be asked some pretty odd questions in hopes of getting him to say something provoking. So say hello to the most dominating presence in this year's Super Bowl. No it's not Peyton Manning. It's Richard Sherman. He'll no doubt be ready for the game and to face Manning. Win or lose, the cameras will find him as will reporters looking for a comment from him. The spotlight is shining bright on Sherman, more so than he or probably the Seahawks would like. He's brought this in part on himself, but with media hounding and perhaps making a mountain out of a molehill on this topic, Sherman is being made into a villian. He is not a villian. He's a very good guy. Hopefully others will see that leading up the Super Bowl and the big game.
Coming up Friday: Reaction to top stories in sports plus, the perfect bracket and Super Bowl storyline #2.