The players have been locked away as Marshawn Lynch’s nightmare is over.
All media obligations are over and it’s all about the football game now.
The head coaches went through their final press conferences Friday morning, somehow filling up time by saying pretty much the same stuff they have been saying all week.
The week following the conference championship games are all about preparation. The talk is about the previous victory with an early look ahead to the next opponent.
Super Bowl week itself is about hype. Media Day is a prime example of how bizarre this event can be at times.
As we approach 48 hours until kickoff, the focus is solely on who will win on Sunday.
It is Seattle’s Legion of Boom against Denver’s versatile offense. An intriguing matchup with the usual litany of storylines.
The only big news left for the weekend is the Hall of Fame announcement on Saturday night. Former Bills WR Andre Reed is one of the 15 finalists again, but has a tough journey with many first- and second-time candidates who may block his way once again.
On Saturday, the NFL also will announce all of its awards such as MVP, Rookies of the Year, and Coach of the Year.
Peyton Manning should easily win his 5th MVP award, but the the other awards can go several ways.
One award I am very interested in is the Coach of the Year award.
Like MVP, the argument about what makes a candidate worthy can sometimes be just as interesting. When discussing MVP, people argue over what it actually means to be “most valuable” — is it most valuable to his or her own team or simply the best player being regarded as most valuable.
With a coach of the year candidate, how do you determine who did the best job? Is it the coach who did the most with less? Or is it the coach who had the best team and therefore had the most success?
Many times, the coach of the year is the person who guided the most surprisingly good team. That team expected to go 4-12 that ended up 10-6.
There is no right or wrong way to define an MVP or a Coach of the Year, but this year the NFL had several very worthy candidates that will be tough to decipher.
Andy Reid led a massive turnaround in Kansas City, which went from 2-14 to 11-5 and in the playoffs. Ron Rivera also led a renaissance in Carolina, which got off to an 0-2 and 1-3 start (remember when the Bills beat the Panthers, everyone?), but he got the ship righted and into the playoffs.
Page 2 of 2 - What about Bill Belichick? Sure, he has Tom Brady, but the Patriots suffered quite a few injuries and entered the season with a makeshift group of receivers and that team ended up in the AFC Championship game.
Chip Kelly got off to a slow start in Philadelphia but found Nick Foels and won the NFC East. Chuck Pagano had a full season of health, thankfully, and won the AFC South with the Colts, while Bruce Arians took an Arizona Cardinals team that has been floundering the past few years and won 10 games, including one in Seattle before narrowly missing out on the playoffs.
And what about these Super Bowl coaches? John Fox missed a month with heart surgery and Pete Carroll has had the Seahawks on a gradual upswing ever since he took over in 2010.
Of course, it is a regular season award that was voted on before the Super Bowl matchup was set, so Fox and Carroll would not get credit for reaching the Super Bowl in the actual voting.
If I had a vote, it would go to Andy Reid. The Chiefs did have about half-a-dozen Pro Bowlers last season despite winning only two games, so it is possible the team had far more talent than its record showed. However, the Chiefs were still very flawed and had the solid but unspectacular Alex Smith at quarterback.
The addition of Reid set the tone for a rebound season and Smith was the perfect guy to lead a run-oriented offense. Reid also had a history of being too pass-happy in Philadelphia but allowed Jamaal Charles to be the No. 1 weapon for Smith. I always thought Reid caught too much flack in Philadelphia for someone who won a lot of games, but just couldn’t quite get over the hump.
Paul Jannace is the sports editor of the Wellsville (N.Y.) Daily Reporter, a Gatehouse Media publication. He is covering his fourth Super Bowl and can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/pjscribe.