- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 4, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Once again, it’s time to check off some items on my “TIDU List” — Things I Don’t Understand:

• Why people watch so much Super Bowl programming.

Gathering around TVs with friends and strangers on Super Bowl Sunday is as common as fireworks on July 4. A record 114.4 million people — the largest audience in TV history — watched New England defeat Seattle. I get that. But ESPN said it aired 346 hours of NFL programming during the week and people spent 7 billion minutes viewing it.

That’s 13,628 years down the drain.

• How Malcolm Butler isn’t in a certain franchise’s commercial already.

Four years ago, the Patriots cornerback was working in a fast-food restaurant in his hometown of Vicksburg, Mississippi. Four days ago, he worked his way into Super Bowl lore, snagging a game-saving interception with 20 seconds left in the game. If his previous employer is smart, it will re-create the scene and give him the perfect line for a Disney World-type moment:

“I’m going to Popeyes!”

• What Bill Belichick was thinking with time running out.

Pete Carroll’s brain fart has been drawn and quartered. But the ill-advised call took Belichick off the hook for perhaps bungling New England’s best chance at a game-tying field goal. He was sitting on two timeouts with 20 seconds left when Butler saved the day. (Coincidentally, Belichick also butchered clock management against Baltimore in the divisional round).

He should send Carroll an anonymous gift.

• Why Lance Armstrong’s deceit would come as a surprise.

The disgraced cyclist isn’t the first driver who tried to pin an accident on a passenger. He’s just the first one who previously was stripped of seven Tour de France victories after more than a decade of lying to the world about using performance-enhancing drugs. Armstrong got his girlfriend to take the blame for a hit-and-run until her story fell apart.

Sounds like they’re perfect for each another.

• How Warren Sapp missed what happened to Greg Anthony.

In Washington to cover Maryland/Michigan State hoops last month, Anthony was arrested for soliciting a prostitute. CBS and Turner Sports subsequently suspended the broadcaster. In Phoenix to cover the Super Bowl last week, Sapp was arrested for soliciting and assaulting a prostitute. The NFL Network fired the Hall of Famer, whose broadcast career likely is over.

The poor sap should pay more attention to the news.

• Why Cleveland would count on Johnny Manziel and Josh Gordon.

The Browns’ would-be franchise quarterback and certified all-world wide receiver apparently have problems with substance abuse. That’s more important than reading defenses or beating press coverage. Being able to continue their young lives in a productive and positive fashion is the most crucial aspect of this story. The Browns want that, too. But they have other matters to consider as well.

Like finding someone to pitch and catch.

• How a Michigan/Ohio State revival could come at a better time.

The Wolverines fired its first salvo by hiring John Harbaugh. Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes responded by winning the national title. On Wednesday, the coaches squared off for National Signing Day. They’ll meet for the first time on Nov. 28, in Ann Arbor at The Big House. Early results should be trickling in by then.

Thankfully, they’ve given us something to talk about besides the SEC.

• Why more MMA fighters don’t routinely fail drug tests.

Anderson Silva is arguably the greatest mixed martial arts fighter of all time. After suffering a gruesome leg injury in December 2013 — snapping two bones during a kick — he returned to action last weekend at UFC 183 and defeated Nick Diaz via unanimous decision. But it turns out that Silva tested positive for steroids and Diaz tested positive for weed.

To enter the cage, I’d need both substances and more.

• How Mercury fans could be upset with Diana Taurasi.

She has played nonstop since 2004, overseas for seven figures and domestically for six figures. But for resting and skipping the upcoming WNBA season, she’ll get more from her Russian team than the $107,000 Phoenix would pay. She accepted the offer. “For 10 years, I have never had any significant time off,” she told espnW.

If anyone has earned a paid vacation, it’s the three-time WNBA champion.

• Why the judge took it easy on Jayson Werth.

Anyone who drives on the Beltway has seen idiots who think it’s the Daytona Speedway. The Nationals’ outfielder was one last summer, clocked at 105 mph. Sentenced to 10 days in jail, he appealed and got it cut in half. Even worse, he’s allowed to serve the time on weekends only, so he can continue training.

Werth would’ve learned a real lesson if the judge was a Phillies fan.

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