The Smart pick is He Hate Me for MVP

February 01, 2004|by MARK KELLER

Does New England have the defense to shut down Stephen Davis and the Carolina running game?

Can Carolina's defense stand to be spread out by Tom Brady's five-wideout sets?

Honestly, I just cannot get interested in this Super Bowl at all, though I've tried. These have to be two of the most non-descript teams to play in the championship game in recent memory and there's been little to spark interest in the contest.

It will be a well-played game. It will be a close game. But I'm just not sure that it will be a very interesting game.

The last couple of years I've at least had a team or a couple of players to root against: Keyshawn Johnson, Warren Sapp, the Rams.


Those aren't even options this year with guys like Brady, Davis, Jake Delhomme and He Hate Me (Rod Smart). They're just too likeable.

In fact, I might have just found a reason for me to watch the game - to see if He Hate Me can run back a couple of kickoffs and win the MVP award.

Here's hoping.

Carolina 20, New England 16.

You have to feel for Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis.

Leonsis, a vice chairman for America Online, is having a rough year. AOL is losing subscribers, the Capitals are losing games and money and the Washington Wizards - of which Leonsis is a part-owner - are as horrendous as ever.

Then came last Sunday and Leonsis' attack on a fan holding a sign that read "Caps Hockey; AOL Stock - See A Pattern?"

Leonsis took umbrage and allegedly grabbed the fan around the neck and, a la "Monty Python's The Life Of Brian," threw him to the floor. Leonsis was fined $100,000 and suspended for one week by the NHL.

Leonsis truly is one of the nice guys in sports and is very passionate about his teams. Unfortunately, that passion got the best of him last Sunday.

He has apologized to the fan, who thankfully isn't seeking legal counsel.

Leonsis phoned Abe Pollin, who owns the Wizards, several days ago to apologize to his partner. Pollin told Leonsis he needs to learn to deal with criticism and frustration or get out of the business.

Certainly Pollin has plenty of experience in dealing with the frustrations of fielding a losing team.

Mark Keller is sports editor of The Herald-Mail. His column appears every Sunday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2332, or by e-mail at

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