Can he handle the pressure? That is the question about quarterback Colin Kaepernick. I talk to a lot of people, they say ‘we can get to him, we can get to him.’
That was the beginning of the uncensored three-minute advert for Beats by Dre, before his team bus arrives at the stadium and is pelted by bananas, urine-fecal bombs and even an entire cooler smashing the windshield – all by humanoid fans dressed in blue and lime green under depressing rainy skies. What city could that possibly be?
The ad first appeared in mid-December, even then a 49ers/Seahawks playoff game was inevitable.
Kevin Garnett is also featured in the campaign, as he listens to Skip Bayless saying his career is toast before heading to the arena. Considering he plays about 20 minutes a game these days, he would be flattered to see a fraction of the heat depicted coming at him in opposing arenas these days.
The ad campaign can be expanded to include the following.
LeBron James – It is late-May, and the Heat travel to Indianapolis for the Eastern Conference Finals. MSF writer/Pacers apologist Jonathan Washburn is the first to greet the King as the bus arrives at the arena.
Ryan Braun – Brewers team bus pulls up at Wrigley Field, and yuppie North-siders loaded on Budweisers hail syringes and ‘*’ signs on him.
Phil Mickelson – Ad starts with Phil listening to Jim Rome ranting that his resume will still never stack up with Tiger Woods, and that he likes to bet and is fat. He then arrives at the Ryder Cup in Scotland and is greeted by the Guinness drinking locals from the pub. Or it could be the Phoenix Open and his old ASU buddies mob him.
Random hockey enforcer – Team bus arrives in Boston or Toronto, which seem like rowdy enough venues. The biggest risk with visiting hockey players however are the female ‘groupies’ assembled at every port.
Ryan Howard – Turns on a Midwest Sports Fans podcast before leaving home, where a senior MSF contributor continues a years-long rant: “I don’t believe the continuing breathtaking propaganda I hear, that he is healthy for the first time since 2011, and will hit 35 home runs and drive in 110 RBIs with any protection in the lineup. He will be lucky to hit .225, you and I can outrun him in a footrace, and he will be out of MLB in two years!” Howard then hears it from his own fans upon arriving at the ballpark.
Jay Cutler – Green Bay Packers fans go absolutely nuts on the arrival of the Bears bus, complete with pictures of him in a sweater holding a kitten. The offensive line offers no protection, Cutler is sacked by the mob and injures his knee. Josh McCown starts the next six games, with the Bears going 5-1.
Aaron Rodgers – Enough of the lame SNL Bears skit. Let the 49ers fanbase loose on him before the Packers annual loss to their team. Now there is the real double check, remind him once and for all why he was passed over a decade ago.
Geno Smith – Tries to listen to his headphones on the plane before takeoff. Stewardess tears the phones off the $400 item to the floor. During takeoff, you are not allowed to tune out anything.
Now my picks for the week, after going 1-6-1 in the Divisional round including 0-4 on the over/unders. Even if you do not have a rooting interest, these are two of the more highly anticipated conference championships in quite some time.
Over/under listed in parenthesis.
New England Patriots +5.5 at Denver Broncos (56)
If this goes were to go according to the Vegas line, the result would be something like a 31-25 Broncos victory. Since my personal zip code is part of what the Broncos consider their territory, I actually thought about getting an end zone nosebleed seat for this game.
This may be the final installment of the Manning-Brady rivalry, which seems like it pre-dates the original Star Wars film.
Depending on what you believe out of the Bill Belichick camp, Tom Brady is going to drag himself off his death bed for this one. Cancer surviving official Tony Corrente has been given the assignment for this game as well.
It will be a very balmy 61 degrees and it is a 1 p.m. local start, so the game will be over before nightfall. Either Brady, or Manning is going to the Super Bowl. ATS PICK: Patriots and the under.
San Francisco 49ers +3.5 at Seattle Seahawks (39.5)
The 49ers have made it through frigid Green Bay and Carolina, but this is the ultimate battery acid Kool-Aid test. If the script plays anywhere near the 49ers last two visits up north, their season will go down in flames fast.
Gene Steratore draws the officiating assignment, during the regular season his crew was reportedly last making pass interference calls, but remember it is an “All-Star” crew for the postseason. Surprisingly Gene has never drawn a Super Bowl assignment, possibly due to his other job calling Big East/Big Ten basketball games on a near nightly basis. By Seattle standards, the forecast is fantastic: upper 40s with no precipitation. The elements will not be a factor.
Kaepernick can tune out the fans, but will he be able to face the music Sunday in Seattle. ATS PICK: Seahawks and the over