Ben's Babbles: Super Bowl can make or break reputations

February 4, 2012

This Sunday when the New England Patriots play the New York Giants in the Super Bowl, I'm sure I will be doing what I've done for practically every Super Bowl I can recall: Eating a ridiculous amount of food and enjoying some good company.

And also watching for the one guys who will either get a major book deal, or see his career go down in flames based on one game.

As a Dallas Cowboys bandwago fan growing up, two distinct things stood out for me after I watched the Dallas Cowboys dismantle the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XXX, and bear in mind I was still not fully developed as an intelligent sports fan yet.

My first thought was that Larry Brown must be really good to get so many interceptions off Steelers quarterback Neil O'Donnell.

As the Oakland Raiders found when they signed him to a ridiculously large contract the next season ... he really wasn't.

The second was that O'Donnell must have been pretty good if he got the Steelers to the Super Bowl. As I found out when I attempted to play as O'Donnell's new team, the New York Jets, in my very first copy of Madden football ... he really wasn't.

The "Big Game" has a way of skewing people's perception, for good or bad.

Adam Vineteri made his name as a clutch kicker through three games in two seasons when he first kicked the Patriots into a Super Bowl and won a pair of them on late field goals.

John Elway, despite being one of the NFL's all-time great quarterbacks, was thought of as coming up short somehow until he won two Super Bowls in the final two years of his career.

Same went for Peyton Manning, who had broken nearly every record in the book, but was seemingly stuck with the curse of Dan Marino as really good, but not the greatest, until he won a title.

On the other end of the spectrum some players from the Super Bowl have never been able to live up the hype, or get their one shining moment.

Larry Brown, for instance, flamed out after all his interceptions.

Desmond Howard, a stud as a college player, had a mediocre NFL career ... at least until returning a punt for a touchdown to clinch the Packers' win over the Patriots in 1997.

David Tyree came up with "the catch" which set up the Giants' winning drive the last time the Giants and Patriots met in a Super Bowl. A year later, he was out of the NFL.

Eli Manning was thought of as being an inferior quarterback to older brother Peyton. Then he beat the Patriots four years ago.

If he beats them again this weekend, he may assume the mantle of greatest Manning to play in the NFL, despite playing horribly for large portions of the season and his team just sneaking into the playoffs on the final day of the regular season.

So while I'm chowing-down on bacon-wrapped jalapeños stuffed with cream cheese, or scarfing some bean dip, I'm going to be keeping an eye out for the hero (or goat) who comes out of nowhere - the person for whom one game will define a career.

Just don't expect me to try and start a Madden franchise with them next year.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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