- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 7, 2007

There goes the Super Bowl, and here comes the dullest month of the year on the sports calendar.

We go from Peyton Manning’s compelling forehead to the Pro Bowl, the NBA All-Star Game, pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training and college basketball teams on the bubble.

To recap the eyes-glaze-over sports menu, the Pro Bowl is a glorified touch football exercise, so devoid of passion the players could wear leis instead of shoulder pads and not risk an injury.

The NBA All-Star Game is a collection of alley-oop passes gone astray.

Pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training is about as exciting as watching a manager chew and spit.

Sorry, but the bubble-induced anxiety of a sixth-place team from a major college basketball conference is overwrought.

You can have February. You can have it all, Valentine’s Day included.

February has the thankless distinction of being both the longest and shortest month. It takes too long to complete, even if there are only 28 days in it.

We go from the high of the Super Bowl to the low of Bode Miller, the train wreck from the 2006 Winter Games demonstrating he still knows how lose in a big way in the Alpine Skiing World Championship in Are, Sweden.

We go from the Super Bowl’s talking animals and endless array of vehicles that make you go wild to the Grizzlies vs. the Trail Blazers on Feb. 23.

We go from Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith to the Liverpool soccer team set to come under American ownership.

As the final seconds of the game came to a close, the countdown to the NCAA tournament next month began in earnest.

To be fair, the Super Bowl was less than stirring, thanks to a monsoon-like storm and Rex Grossman, who apparently is allowed to call only three types of passing plays, none of which work.

The most riveting drama came with the halftime appearance of Prince, formerly known as the artist formerly known as Prince who was able to complete his performance without having a dreaded wardrobe malfunction.

This is not to overlook the panty-showing performance of Fergie at a pre-Super Bowl party last week.

At least Manning’s commanding forehead is destined to become omnipresent in the months ahead after he earned the MVP award.

Manning is the rare football player who somehow has broken free from the anonymity of a helmet, perhaps because of a forehead that is equal to Jay Leno’s lantern jaw.

Manning’s forehead is the NFL’s most distinguishing feature since John Elway’s Mr. Ed-like teeth.

Manning has an everyman quality about him, plus the capacity to call five audibles, check off four of them and point out the mean linebacker standing across the line of scrimmage from him.

His securing a Super Bowl ring was the affirmation he needed to increase his Q rating and commercial ventures.

He could not win the big one until he won the big one, which is always how it goes.

The only bad part of the Super Bowl buildup is those commentators who feel obligated to comment on the excesses of the big game, as if the NFL is somehow supposed to eschew the lucrative encroachment of corporate America.

The NFL did not get where it is today by thinking small or spurning tie-ins worth millions of dollars. That is a marketing idea only a poorly dressed columnist could imagine.

At least one columnist was so pained by the incongruent sight of the wealthy and homeless in Miami that he gave a dollar bill to one of the needy.

The poor guy. It can’t be easy lugging around that much guilt.

Alas, it is all over now, except the Manning coronation on the airwaves.

So we on the East Coast are to left to shiver, with no relief in sight from Al Gore, the global-warming, sky-is-falling expert.

If it helps, there are 22 days to March.

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