- The Washington Times - Monday, February 2, 2009

WEEKEND REWIND: IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Some sort of football game - If there was ever a question about whether the Super Bowl could transcend the country’s economic struggles, Super Bowl XLIII will serve as a prime example. For the first time, media press credentials for the Super Bowl dropped from the year before, and NBC took until five days before the game to sell out the coveted advertising spots. Both can partially be attributed to a matchup lacking in buzz, compared with last year’s Patriots-Giants hype machine. But here’s betting that as long as gambling is legal and Americans like parties, the Super Bowl will never lose its place as America’s most popular sporting event.

Rafael Nadal beats Roger Federer again - Hardcore tennis fans may have been the only ones to watch the Australian Open final, which started at 3:30 a.m. EST, but those who did saw a virtual rerun of their Wimbledon classic, minus only the classic fifth set. Federer couldn’t match Nadal in the final set, despite Nadal having to outlast Fernando Verdasco in the longest match in Australian Open history back in the semifinals. Fortunately for tennis fans, the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open finals take place at more television-friendly hours.

TWT FIVE: NFL OFFSEASON STORY LINES

1. Patriots’ quarterback situation - With Tom Brady coming off major knee surgery, does New England place the franchise tag on Matt Cassel or let him leave as a free agent?

2. New coaches in new places - So many coaches have either stepped down (Mike Holmgren, Tony Dungy), been fired (Mike Shanahan, Herm Edwards) or gotten fired and then re-hired (Eric Mangini).

3. Anquan Boldin’s future - Do the Cardinals keep the malcontent wide receiver (who is set to become a free agent) or move forward with Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston?

4. Ravens’ linebacker free agents - Ray Lewis, Bart Scott and Terrell Suggs are all on the market, and it may be next to impossible to keep all three.

5. The Brett Favre saga continues - Here’s hoping Favre retires before the NFL Draft and the world is spared another training camp of minute-by-minute Favre coverage.

HE SAID WHAT?

”We sort of got frustrated a little bit and said ‘darn’ and got two techs. I’m serious, I said ‘darn.’ I mean, I guess that’s not what you should say.” - Hornets guard Chris Paul

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