Three days before Super Bowl 50, it’s almost time to panic.
The Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos are in lock-tongue mode, and their coaches want it no other way. Gary Kubiak and Ron Rivera may be swell football guys and all, but they wouldn’t know a 72-point headline if it hit them on their clipboard. Don’t they know this is about entertainment?
Why, Cam Newton can’t even be sucked into the black quarterback thing any more.
“It’s not an issue. It’s an issue for you,” Newton told a devious reporter. “It’s bigger than race. It’s more so opening up a door for guys that don’t want to be labeled.”
C’mon, Super Cam, that’s the best you can do?
Where’s the dirt? Where are the insults? Won’t somebody, anybody say something incredibly dumb or off-the-wall? Otherwise, what’s left to talk about — the Coldplay news conference?
WHERE IS THE LOVE?: Colin Kaepernick reportedly wants to play with the New York Jets. The better question is, how many teams actually want the 49ers’ broken-down quarterback?
Not Brandon Marshall, the Jets’ top wide receiver. He prefers would-be free agent Ryan Fitzpatrick, who guided the team to a 10-6 record this season
“I don’t want Kaepernick,” Marshall said. “I think he’s good. My guy’s Fitz. It’s nothing against Kaepernick. I have my quarterback, so I’m good.”
Of course, this is the same person who once said Geno Smith was his guy.
The Niners will have something to say about this before April 1, when Kaepernick’s $14 million salary kicks in for next season. If it turns out his future isn’t in Santa Clara, the organization will want to get something in a trade, even if it’s just a one-day pass to Great America down the block.
NOT PEYTON’S PLACE: Meanwhile, there’s talk Manning could join the Rams in Los Angeles, where from John Unitas to Joe Namath, washed-up quarterbacks go to retire.
Seriously, have you seen Manning lately? The guy is a physical wreck. He threw nine touchdowns and 17 interceptions in the regular season for goshsakes. He’ll need hip replacement surgery at some point. Manning will ride off into the sunset on Sunday, win or lose.
But there’s always Johnny Manziel …
JUST SAYIN’: Lady Gaga will sing the national anthem on Super Sunday, which is all well and good, but it’s a damn shame there’s no place for the local legend Grace Slick in the Super Bowl lineup. At least Haute Living magazine is toasting a living football legend, Jim Brown, tonight at the St. Regis. Can’t forget the old-timers who enabled the whipper-snappers.
CRAZY LIKE A FOX: Jim Harbaugh climbed trees and took part in sleepovers to impress prospects, even brought in Tom Brady, Nature Boy Ric Flair and Derek Jeter for a National Signing Day spectacular Wednesday. Yeah, the guy is goofy, all right. So goofy that other coaches are sure to borrow a page from his recruiting manual before long.
Michigan scored a major coup when it signed defensive tackle Rashan Gary, widely considered the No. 1 recruit in the country. The Wolverines had been on his trail for two years.
“We wanted to do something different,” Harbaugh said of the celebration at sold-out Hill Auditorium. “We wanted to do something awesome. I think today did that. It was awesome with a capital A.”
According to one recruiting site, Michigan had the No. 5 class in the country, a jump from No. 37 a year ago, a fact not lost on coach Urban Meyer and rival Ohio State.
“You have to be aware of what your rival is doing at all times,” Meyer said. “You can’t be caught five years behind, and if something is out there — and I’m not going to name any schools — but there are some really good, creative ways of recruiting.
“I’m not talking about the craziness. I’m talking about things of substance.”
STANFORD GETS ITS MAN: Harbaugh didn’t get four-star quarterback K.J. Costello, a product of Santa Margarita Catholic High School in Coto de Caza, Calif. He chose Stanford over USC and Michigan.
“We got our pro-style style pocket passer in a quarterback who’s a good athlete,” said coach David Shaw, whose class was among the top 20 overall.
Stanford has been big on size in the Shaw era, and the latest haul was no different especially at tight end, wide receiver and in the offensive line.
“When you look at this class, you see what Stanford football is all about,” Shaw said.
JUST COME HOME, BABY: Marshawn Lynch has plans for a Beast Mode retail store in Oakland, which puts him one step closer to a gig with the Raiders next season. Provided that the Raiders still are in Oakland, of course.
Lynch will cut the ribbon and mumble a few words Friday, which has been proclaimed Beast Mode Day in his hometown.
KINGS OF JAM: Now the stunning news about the Warriors comes out. They were on the verge of a team revolt before interim Luke Walton stepped in and saved the season.
It seems that team nutritionists took sugar off the menu on flights, a decision that didn’t sit well with the players. That meant no peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches, an addiction for everyone from Stephen Curry to general manager Bob Myers.
So Walton complained and complained some more until PB&Js were no longer MIA.
“You gotta fight for your rights,” Walton said, per The Wall Street Journal. “If you believe in something, you gotta fight for it.”
Now everything’s just Skippy again.
“Cookies are gone. Soda’s gone. All that’s gone,” Walton said. “But the PB&Js are back.”
Just one more reason why Walton deserves to be Coach of the Year.
NINERS SEND MESSAGE: The pathetic 49ers can’t bully the Arizona Cardinals or Seattle Seahawks, but they sure can take down the Girl Scouts of Northern California.
Nearly 1,200 Girl Scouts had planned a sleep-over at Levi’s Stadium on May 14 as part of a rewards program. As told could happen beforehand, they got the ol’ heave-ho when the Niners found more money could made on a concert that day. The sad-sack organization agreed to move the event back one week and foot the bill, but it stood to make a few hundred thousand bucks more off the switcheroo while the kids and their parents were forced to change plans.
Hey, when you deal with CEO Jed York and his merry band of money-suckers, that’s the way the Girl Scout cookies crumble.
THE LIST: So drop-dead dominant are the Warriors that only three other NBA teams are better than 15-to-1 shots to win it all. The current championship odds for the contenders compared to those on Jan. 15 in parentheses:
Warriors: 1-1 (5-4)
Cleveland Cavaliers: 11-4 (11-4)
San Antonio Spurs: 11-4 (4-1)
Oklahoma City Thunder: 14-1 (8-1)
Los Angeles Clippers: 28-1 (16-1)
Toronto Raptors: 33-1 (50-1)
Chicago Bulls: 40-1 (25-1)
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