Super Bowl Sex Trafficking Trash Talk 2014

Now that the super exciting Pro Bowl is over (shoot that thing and put us all out of its worthless misery), we are down to just one last football game. But it is a good one, with the top ranked team in each conference representing, and the best offense versus the best defense. And all that jazz.

And, really, what else is there to say about the game at this point? It has been the fascination of sports, general and entertainment media for two weeks of hype now. I could take you through the normal rundown on the teams, but why? My one real take is that the game boils down not to Denver’s offense or Seattle’s defense, but rather to Denver’s defense. Peyton and the Broncos will score some points no matter how well they are defended. The same cannot necessarily be said about the Seahawks. So, if the Broncos defense plays big, Denver wins. If not, they don’t.

Can’t wait to find out; will be one hell of an exciting game to watch. If you can’t wait and want a simulation, this Breaking Madden piece is pretty great.

So, let’s talk for a bit about the game itself in terms of what it means and does for the host city. Does hosting a Super Bowl mean as much to a city as is commonly claimed?

Here is a report on the effects of 2008 Super Bowl XLII on the greater Phoenix area by the Arizona State University WP Carey School of Business. The results claim:

Super Bowl festivities generated a record $500.6 million in direct and indirect spending by visiting fans and organizations, according to the newly released Super Bowl impact study produced by the W. P. Carey MBA Sports Business program.

The gross impact of a half billion dollars in the Arizona marketplace brings rejuvenation to an economy that has been weakened by a recession.

The ripple effect of return visits, family and company relocations, and word-of-mouth marketing nationally could equal or exceed the record Super Bowl spending in years to come.

That is in line with many of the claims that are commonly pitched for Super Bowls, but is that right?

Well, maybe not. There are a lot of demands on a host city, and they really add up. One of the best journalists out there writing on the intersection of sports and society is Travis Waldron, and he reported this on the eve of last year’s Super Bowl in New Orleans:

Those estimates, though, are likely fool’s gold, according to an assortment of academic research into the actual economic impact of Super Bowls and other major sporting events. When professors Victor Matheson and Robert Baade studied the economic impact of Super Bowls from 1973 to 1997, they found that the games boosted city economies by about $30 million, “roughly one-tenth the figures touted by the NFL” and an even smaller fraction of what New Orleans officials predict. A later Baade and Matheson study found that the economic impact of a Super Bowl is “on average one-quarter or less the magnitude of the most recent NFL estimates.”

Similarly, a 1999 paper from professor Philip Porter found that the Super Bowl had virtually no effect on a city’s economy. Research on other events New Orleans has hosted, including the men’s Final Four, is similar. When Baade and Matheson studied Final Fours, they found that the events tend “not to translate into any measurable benefits to the host cities.”

There are multiple reasons the estimates are often overstated. Impact estimates usually take into account how much money will be spent in the city during an event like the Super Bowl without examining how much potential spending will be lost because people don’t visit or leave the city to avoid the crowd — that is, the impact studies account for gross spending, but not net spending. And the estimates rarely include the additional cost of putting on the event, further distorting the disparity between gross and net spending figures.

Frankly, I find the Williams College study undergirding Travis’ argument far more persuasive than the happy face one put out here by ASU that is cited above. Still, even if the net impact is “only” 150-200 million dollars, that is a good thing for a city’s economy. And I don’t know what people going to the Super Bowl in cold weather place like New Jersey/New York are going to come away with, but I know for a fact that people that have come to the two held here have left gushing about their stay and promising to return. The best I can figure, hosting a Super Bowl is not nearly as lucrative for a city as advertised, but it is still a pretty positive thing.

BfUXOhNIUAAdJq0What about those “other costs” to cities a Super Bowl entails? There are a lot. Just the preparation and presentation of an official bid years ahead of time costs a small fortune. But once awarded, the demands made of the host city really start. Which is how I came to this issue today.

Yesterday I had a bit of a discussion on Twitter with Dave Zirin and Melissa Gira Grant about the “sex trafficking” aspect of the Super Bowl, which is currently a trending topic in the New York/New Jersey area because, inter alia, the stepped up prostitution enforcement. Here is a New York times op-ed dated yesterday on the topic:

No data actually support the notion that increased sex trafficking accompanies the Super Bowl. The Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women, a network of nongovernmental organizations, published a report in 2011 examining the record on sex trafficking related to World Cup soccer games, the Olympics and the Super Bowl. It found that, “despite massive media attention, law enforcement measures and efforts by prostitution abolitionist groups, there is no empirical evidence that trafficking for prostitution increases around large sporting events.”

Even with this lack of evidence, the myth has taken hold through sheer force of repetition, playing on desires to rescue trafficking victims and appear tough on crime. Whether the game is in Dallas, Indianapolis or New Orleans, the pattern is the same: Each Super Bowl host state forms a trafficking task force to “respond” to the issue; the task force issues a foreboding statement; the National Football League pledges to work with local law enforcement to address trafficking; and news conference after news conference is held. The actual number of traffickers investigated or prosecuted hovers around zero.

The Super Bowl sex-trafficking hype isn’t just unfounded, though — it is actively harmful because it creates bad policy. In the days leading up to Sunday’s game, local law enforcement dedicated tremendous resources to targeting everyone engaged in prostitution. (emphasis added)

So, there you have it, the “Global Alliance” has said there is none, so there isn’t! Now the author of the NYT op-ed did not have the courtesy to link the actual report she was referring to, but it would appear to be this one and it, too, is pretty darn short and bereft of anything close to “empirical evidence”. So, we are back to anecdotal evidence.

It is not maybe an abundance, but I have some anecdotal evidence and experience on Super Bowls and their their host cities from two Super Bowls here and the preparation for the one on the direct horizon in Phoenix next year. That will be three in less than twenty years, which is not bad by host city parameters. Go figure: great stadiums, great weather, fourth biggest county in the US, great airport, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, and all the pretty things, why not?

For a lot of cities, the “why not” is because the NFL doesn’t think they and/or their facilities qualify. Here is a recent description from Seattle, who is contemplating making a bid on a Super Bowl in the future:

The NFL has a few requirements for any city that wants to host a Super Bowl. The league likes the stadium to seat at least 70,000 and the hosting city needs to have at least 25,000 hotel rooms. CenturyLink Field can be expanded to fit 72,000 and King County has 34,000 hotel rooms. Check and check.

The NFL also likes the average February temperature in the Super Bowl city to be above 50 degrees. Obviously, this year’s Super Bowl doesn’t have that, but this year’s Super Bowl is an experiment. Seattle doesn’t meet the weather threshold either, the average February temperature in the city is 44 degrees.

“If you decide to put in a bid and you don’t meet one requirement then you better knock it out of the park in another area,” Morton said.

That is really but the very tip of the iceberg for a viable bid to host a Super Bowl. Here are the actual NFL host bid specifications that were applicable in 1998 when Jacksonville was bidding. There are specific bid requirements for the stadium facility, available hotel rooms and facilities in the surrounding area, local transportation and telecommunication capacity and capability, available practice sites for the teams, government/police capability and anti-scalping laws, provisions for a separate “NFL Experience” event, provisions for staged Friday and Saturday Night parties, provisions for additional facilities, and provision for a separate “NFL Youth Education Town”.

Read through all the bid spec details. They are many and onerous. But there is a catchall for other things the NFL wants too:

These Bid Specifications do not specify all of the local assistance necessary to the successful staging of the Super Bowl Game. Additional assistance may be requested from or proposed to the Host Committees from time to time.

And that is where we get back to the sex trafficking bit where we started. Making a local public show of sex trafficking and merchandise/ticket fraud enforcement is something the NFL actively promotes and demands, whether the host city is Phoenix or New York. It may be demagoguery to a large extent but, by the same token, there is increased activity surrounding a Super Bowl of those vices.

It may be anecdotal, but from my sampling of the parties, resorts and bars in the East Phoenix, Scottsdale and Paradise Valley area during the two Super bowls that have been here, and that is the part of town I live in and where all the festivities are, there is absolutely an infusion of, shall we say, “out of town talent”. If you don’t see it, you simply are not hanging out in the right places.

Here is the thing though, while there is increased sex trade activity, the “right places” are not the kind of places the NFL is concerned about, nor are they the ones the local cops roust and police. This is not just my observation from a lot of time out on the town, it is what was stated to me by local detectives in the course of my representation of a prostitution defendant from the last Super Bowl here in 2008.

So, at least from my experience, the author of the New York Times op-ed, Kate Mogulescu, is both wrong…..and right. She is wrong because there is increased activity, but she is very right to claim that all the hype and media attention about it is bullshit. The real activity is where neither the NFL nor police, nor local government and business leaders, want disturbed. Because it is where the rich, pretty and powerful are. It is where the big money is. That is holy ground, and especially so during a Super Bowl. It is a class based double standard, but there it is, and it exists.

UPDATE: Marcy made a couple of points in comments that further, and quite well, flesh out my point about the hypocrisy of the yearly NFL bullshit hype on “sex trafficking”. I am going to put them here in the body of the post as well:

One of the problems with the whole “sex trafficking” discussion is the agency implied by the words used. There are sex workers. Many of them will travel to where there are lots of rich customers–that’s called capitalism. There are sex buyers. They are left entirely out of the agency and even further out of the criminalization of this discussion, yet without the buyers, there are not the workers.

Both of those things are very different from “sex trafficking,” which is a term law enforcement uses so that people will use the word “vice” to collapse the distinction between sex workers selling to sex buyers — which is a market prone to abuse but also a market that will always exist — and the more nefarious parts of the industry, which involve underage pimping and slavery and the like. That is the point of the people objecting to the use of the term. It is tried and true way for law enforcement to use the specter of child pimping and slavery to criminalize sex workers but not their customers.

You want to start putting the rich johns in busses and sending them to jail for the weekend so they can’t use their $2,000 tickets, do it. But until you do, that the framing of it is wrong.

One reason I put a great deal of stock in Melissa Gira Grant on this issue (aside from the fact that she has experience in the subject almost none of the people commenting on the subject have) is when I was trying to figure out why FBI’s “sex trafficking” numbers were so obviously flawed, when they boasted about the number of people they had saved. They would point to a few underage girls and claim a great deal of success and also provide a general number of all the other people “saved,” which they didn’t break out but which were very very clearly all female.

If anyone is talking about sex trafficking and yet can’t find a single man or boy “trafficked,” then the entire concept is broken. Melissa, who does track this stuff, confirmed my suspicions. Not only doesn’t the FBI consider men–whether selling to men or women–part of the trade, but it doesn’t consider boys needing to be saved.

You do the math. “Sex trafficking,” as used, does not include all the abusive parts of the sex trade, and it includes a lot of the sex trade that is not abusive.

Exactly. And exactly why I call the hype and hypocrisy of the NFL bullshit.

Okay, that is it for this season’s weekly Emptywheel Football Trash Talk. Until football starts up in earnest next fall, there will be periodic Trash, and certainly for the start of the Formula One circus and maybe March Madness. Until then, rock on people….and Go Broncos!

Bmaz is a rather large saguaro cactus in the Southwestern Sonoran desert. A lover of the Constitution, law, family, sports, food and spirits. As you might imagine, a bit prickly occasionally. Bmaz has attended all three state universities in Arizona, with both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Arizona State University, and with significant post-graduate work (in physics and organic chemistry, go figure) at both the University of Colorado in Boulder and the University of Arizona. Married, with both a lovely child and a giant Sasquatch dog. Bmaz has been a participant on the internet since the early 2000’s, including active participation in the precursor to Emptywheel, The Next Hurrah. Formally joined the Emptywheel blog as an original contributing member at its founding in 2007. Bmaz grew up around politics, education, sports and, most significantly, cars; notably around Formula One racing and Concours de Elegance automobile restoration and showing. Currently lives in the Cactus Patch with his lovely wife and beast of a dog, and practices both criminal and civil trial law.

94 replies
  1. rosalind says:

    Go Squawks!!

    and Roger Friedman, a celebrity gossip columnist who actually does interesting reports on celebrity non-profit tax charities & their annual IRS filings, wrote up a report on Roger Goddell and the “non-profit” NFL’s 2012 report, including this tidbit:

    “the NFL only made charitable donations equaling one-one hundredth of their annual income.”

    http://www.showbiz411.com/2014/01/21/nfl-commish-makes-29-5-mil-a-year-15-times-more-than-tax-free-org-gives-to-charity-more-than-ceos-of-ford-heinz-fedex

  2. emptywheel says:

    Two things:

    1) Williams is not a university. It’s a college.

    2) One of the problems with the whole “sex trafficking” discussion is the agency implied by the words used. There are sex workers. Many of them will travel to where there are lots of rich customers–that’s called capitalism. There are sex buyers. They are left entirely out of the agency and even further out of the criminalization of this discussion, yet without the buyers, there are not the workers.

    Both of those things are very different from “sex trafficking,” which is a term law enforcement uses so that people will use the word “vice” to collapse the distinction between sex workers selling to sex buyers — which is a market prone to abuse but also a market that will always exist — and the more nefarious parts of the industry, which involve underage pimping and slavery and the like. That is the point of the people objecting to the use of the term. It is tried and true way for law enforcement to use the specter of child pimping and slavery to criminalize sex workers but not their customers.

    You want to start putting the rich johns in busses and sending them to jail for the weekend so they can’t use their $2,000 tickets, do it. But until you do, that the framing of it is wrong.

  3. bmaz says:

    @emptywheel: 1) The slight of the Mighty Ephs has been corrected.

    2) That was pretty much my point. Neither the NFL nor the locals want any part of messing with the rich johns. That is why I called the hype bullshit. But it is bullshit hype that the NFL consistently causes to be trotted out in every host city and, at least here, even the detectives know and acknowledge the hypocrisy.

  4. emptywheel says:

    @emptywheel: Adding: One reason I put a great deal of stock in Melissa Gira Grant on this issue (aside from the fact that she has experience in the subject almost none of the people commenting on the subject have) is when I was trying to figure out why FBI’s “sex trafficking” numbers were so obviously flawed, when they boasted about the number of people they had saved. They would point to a few underage girls and claim a great deal of success and also provide a general number of all the other people “saved,” which they didn’t break out but which were very very clearly all female.

    If anyone is talking about sex trafficking and yet can’t find a single man or boy “trafficked,” then the entire concept is broken. Melissa, who does track this stuff, confirmed my suspicions. Not only doesn’t the FBI consider men–whether selling to men or women–part of the trade, but it doesn’t consider boys needing to be saved.

    You do the math. “Sex trafficking,” as used, does not include all the abusive parts of the sex trade, and it includes a lot of the sex trade that is not abusive.

  5. Bitter Angry Drunk says:

    Another reminder that whether it’s player safety, instant replay, charitable endeavors or its annual Super Bowl party, the NFL cares only about appearances. They are masters of doing the right things in the eyes of those who don’t look too closely.

    P.S., I expect the Seahawks to win, but I’m wrong all the time…

  6. emptywheel says:

    @bmaz: Right. I think the point Waldron and Gira Grant were making is that not calling out the larger bullshit meme contributes to the problem.

    My football wishes for the day include 1) Sherman shutting his detractors up with his on-field play to Manning’s detriment and 2) that if the Broncos win, it’s not because Not-Eddie-McCaffrey does it.

  7. Jim White says:

    Of course the Broncos will win. Since the Chinese arranged for this to be the Year of the Horse it is pre-ordained.

    My Gators are moving up the polls in roundball. Should be number two in tomorrow’s polls since the Mildcats couldn’t manage a win against the Weenies.

    And we are only two weeks away from Gator baseball. Even as we speak, I am maneuvering to stay home from the horse show in Georgia so I can go to the opening series.

  8. emptywheel says:

    @bmaz: It’s very disconcerting to me.

    Plus, I realize the game probably will be decided at Denver’s 3rd and 4th receiver spots.

  9. Bay State Librul says:

    @citizen92:

    Seattle 23 Denver 14

    I agree, call in Sherlock Holmes (emptywheel) for Jersey Fun

    Before the scandal

    “Mr. Wildstein has been a tireless advocate for New Jersey’s interests at the Port Authority,” Mr. Christie’s spokesman, Michael Drewniak, emailed at the time. “We are grateful for his commitment and dedication to the important work of the Port Authority and thank him for his service to the people of New Jersey and the region.”

    After the hijinks

    Christie describes Wildstein as “a loose cannon who was attacking Mr. Christie only in an effort to save himself and noted that he had been described in newspaper accounts in the past as “tumultuous” and someone “who made moves that were not productive.”

    The Reason:

    The memo listed five incidents as evidence, saying that “as a 16-year-old kid,” Mr. Wildstein had sued over a school board election; that he had been “publicly accused by his high school social studies teacher of deceptive behavior”; that he had a controversial tenure as mayor of Livingston, N.J.; that he had been an anonymous blogger; and that he “had a strange habit of registering web addresses for other people’s names without telling them

    The real reason: Christie is still a bully

  10. jo6pac says:

    @Jim White: Thanks Jim I feel better already knowing the Chinese have my bet covered;)

    On the sex thing EW you have right back in another one of my life’s I knew a few professionals that traveled from event to event. It didn’t matter were in the nation it was, they either had contacts in the cities they were on their way to or just did cold calling;) In their travel they found right wing religious and repug gathering to be the biggest $$$$$$ makers.

    On football, as a 9er fan Go Horses and Horses by 20.

  11. Starbuck says:

    @emptywheel:

    A point I have been concerned with for some time. Male prostitutes are clearly excepted from inclusion in any conversation I have had with prostitution sting folks. I suspect titillation as a factor.

    So far as the “Game” (Yawn, I’ll be out with my camera. Nobody to bother me!) both teams are there because they won. Best defense vs best offense. If both are perfect, the game would be a tie. 0-0. I probably won’t be but consider the aftermath of a 0-0 finish! However, it seems to me the best offense will win. Assuming the best is at it’s best tonight.

    Nod goes to Denver. (Ugh!)

  12. phred says:

    Ah the Super Bowl — the event that brings us all (or at least Star Trek, LOTR, Shakespeare, and cross-pond footballers) together! ; )

    Great pic bmaz, thanks for that ; )

    Go… oh dear, who cares, just grab some cheese and enjoy the game : )

  13. joanneleon says:

    @Jim White: Man, I forgot about that year of the horse thing.

    However, despite thousands of years of history, it might be in question this year, and it just so happens that this controversy also ties in with the subtheme of this week’s trash talk, so here’s the controversy (you have to click the twitter pic link since no embeds allowed here apparently):

    BBC News just had an absolutely awesome subtitle fail http://t.co/UV3UbgyoWx pic.twitter.com/l8peHung9U— BuzzFeed UK (@BuzzFeedUK) February 1, 2014

    Anyway, after a bit of indecision on loyalties (none really but one minor reason to favor the Broncos in past years) I’m for the Squawks. It was an easy choice, really. NFC like my Iggles, Christie took the Broncos, sluggahjells leans Squawks and I like underdogs.

  14. bmaz says:

    @Jim White: The Phoenix Open has the highest attendance of any golf tournament in the world. Every year. It is one hell of a wild party. I used to go every year, but it is just too hard any more.

  15. jo6pac says:

    bmz thanks for the FS tune and I think I’ll get myself a Meyers and watch the last of the hype before the game starts.

    nomolos—-What a wonderful idea, I think I’ll join you if I could just remember were I put it:)

  16. Peterr says:

    Cold beverages are cold, room temp beverages are room temp, ice is frozen, and all the snackable goodies are ready for the in-game grazing . . .

    7 layer bean dip
    crab & cheese stuffed shrooms
    little pigs in blankets
    meatballs in raspberry-mustard sauce
    assorted veggies and dips

    and for the post-game dessert, a kiwi-lime tart

    Yummmm!

    Now all we need is our guests, who are due shortly.

  17. Peterr says:

    The only thing hyped bigger than the sex trafficking angle (and I agree 100% with Marcy’s take on that) is the security angle.

    “We have our troops on the ground, in the air, and on the sea (you know there are marshes by the stadium, right?)! We are ready for anything! We’ve even got backups for the backups for the power supply, so no terrorists can stop this game!”

    *sigh*

    Roger Gooddell wants to say that the security for the Super Bowl is bigger than the security for a presidential inauguration. Everything about the Super Bowl is the Biggest, you know. Just ask him.

  18. Peterr says:

    @Peterr: Oh, and some bay scallop chowder. Can’t forget the bay scallop chowder!!

    (Yes, it’s cold here — 19 degrees and headed down. A lot. Then the snow and ice will come (on top of the 1/4 inch ice we had on Saturday morning), and then the temps will go down even further. They’re talking -11 F on Thursday. And that’s before the wind gets taken into account . . .)

    Gotta love nice hot soups!

  19. Peterr says:

    From Marcy:

    You want to start putting the rich johns in busses and sending them to jail for the weekend so they can’t use their $2,000 tickets, do it. But until you do, that the framing of it is wrong.

    I think this is forbidden in the bid specs. I think it is covered in that bit that bmaz quoted above:

    These Bid Specifications do not specify all of the local assistance necessary to the successful staging of the Super Bowl Game. Additional assistance may be requested from or proposed to the Host Committees from time to time.

    Local assistance probably includes assisting those rich gentlemen with more money than sense in keeping clear of anything that might inconvenience them, legally speaking.

  20. jo6pac says:

    @bmaz: Yep it is I hide it in a safe place and if I ever find that place again I’ll be soooo happy. It the same place my socks go I’m sure.

    Peterr food sounds great and I’ll be the guest no one knows:)

    I turned the hype on to early and just witness the worst thing I’ve ever seen on tb fuax noise and the American Constitution. I think it might have ruined the game for me.

  21. Peterr says:

    @jo6pac: You missed Obama’s interview with Bill O’Reilly, then.

    Be grateful. Be very grateful.

    (Best exchange . . . BILL: “Was your ‘if you like your insurance, you can keep it’ the biggest mistake of your presidency? OBAMA: “Bill, I’m sure you’ve got a very long list of my mistakes . . .”)

  22. sluggahjells says:

    The final preview, key matchups, and prediction from yours truly on who will win the Super Bowl:
    http://www.twd4u.com/2014/02/twd-sunday-super-bowl-thread-5-for-2214.html

    Prediction for me, as I thought these two teams would reach the ultimate destination at the start of the season, I think in a classic battle of two top defenses, since Denver’s defense is elite now too, 20-17 Seattle is my pick:

    http://www.twd4u.com/2014/02/twd-sunday-super-bowl-thread-5-for-2214.html

  23. Peterr says:

    Can we get opera singers to sing the national anthem at every sporting event? Unlike so many of the pop singers, Rene Fleming has a real voice.

  24. Rosalind says:

    @jo6pac: ending that abomination on a close up of Pat Tillman’s statue…I seriously don’t know how much more of this “show” I can take.

  25. scribe says:

    Most people were predicting a Seattle win, but not this kind of asskicking. Frickin’ Squawks are owning the line of scrimmage

  26. scribe says:

    @citizen92: Go back and read this comment (#24) http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2009/08/19/chris-christie-former-us-attorney-claims-hes-still-got-federal-prosecutors/#comment-182271 on that thread. And also go read how many of the commenters in that thread said, over 5 years ago, that Christie was toast.

    Keep in mind that that the supercession power the AG holds, discussed in that comment, is the reason the only prosecutions in NJ will be federal, if there are any prosecutions at all. If I were in the Assembly committee that is investigating, I would argue that none of the witnesses needs immunity from the State, given that their governor and AG will not prosecute them and they have no need to fear state prosecution at all.

    That fat fuck has more lives than a cat, and he isn’t toast until his career is smoking rubble.

  27. scribe says:

    @jo6pac: The way this game is going, Fox is going to have a hell of a lot of ad givebacks for the second half.

    Couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch.

  28. CTuttle says:

    I swear this is looking like the ass-whooping Montana handed to Elway and my Donkos in SB XXIV…! Well, at least Manning will be back next season…! ;-)

  29. jo6pac says:

    @CTuttle: Yes and as a 9er fan I’m glad the hawks didn’t get it. I think I might have been wrong on Horses by 20 do think? I’ll be suing the Chinese culture on Monday, anyone want to take the case:)

    Yep back to the drawing board for all top tier teams.

    bmz, F-1 was off to really bad day one in testing and it was amazing who got in some real time by day 4. Red Bull will be working 28/7 to recover. I was glad to see the red team turn in as many laps as they did. F-1 is next.

  30. guest says:

    Yikes, Patrick and Ian are somehow connected to superbowl sex trafficking? I guess if you have to ask, you can’t afford it. So I won’t. But to paraphrase Martha Plimpton in the movie Mosquito Coast, I’ll think about that when I’m in the bathroom.

  31. Peterr says:

    @CTuttle: 30 seconds after that play, the phone rang in our house. It was a robo call from the school district . . . no school tomorrow, because there’s still a bunch of ice on the roads.

    The cheers from Teh Kid were deafening.

  32. JohnT says:

    Just gotta say, on one hand this hurt because the Niners were the best team at the end of the year, and would’ve been playing, if not for three turnovers in the 4th quarter of the NFC championship game (not blaming Kaep, bc they’re better with him). On the other hand, there’s a bit of solace in Seattle winning, because the Niners were the best team

    Hope that doesn’t read like I’m biased against Seattle. Because I think I said a few times before the season and early in the season that I thought the Seahawks had the best roster in the NFL. Can’t remember if I said they’d win the Superbowl, but I did say they had the most talented team

  33. bmaz says:

    @JohnT: Well, if that is the measure, then you’d have to put the Cardinals ahead of the Niners because they actually did beat Seattle in Seattle. So the Cards are the best team!

    I’d say Seattle pretty clearly established themselves as the unquestioned best team and champion. And their players are young and signed. They are going to be good for a while.

  34. Citizen92 says:

    @scribe: Your comments from the 2009 e-mail were spot on. Christie and his staff have apparently used the NJ Attorney General “trump card” to shut down at least one investigation of an ally (see Ben Barlyn case.- http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/11/nyregion/43-count-indictment-of-a-christie-ally-quashed.html?_r=0).

    I was somewhat surprised to learn that in NJ the county sheriff basically runs the county loclup and nothing more.

    As for potential prosecution,, you’re right too. The Governor was likely a good student during Rove’s tenure of manipulation of the US Attorneys and then the power to prosecute. If the State Legislature finds criminality, then they bring it to Christie’s AG, right? And the AG conveniently declines to prosecute? So the Feds are the final line of defense. Bat again, more problems, in the form of a US Attorney’s office that may still have some Christie allies from his day as “top dog.”

    Should have taken him at his word back in 2009. He clearly states he had files on those in NJ who he couldn’t prosecute as US Attorney (dang burden of proof) but who he would go after usuing other means once he got his hands I’m the levers of state power. Well here we are.

    This episode has also uncovered a remarkable network of political interconnectedness. Who would have thought that David Wildstein would have cultivated so many journalists back in his anonymous days. And what on earth does he have on Bill Baroni?

  35. JTIDAHO says:

    sigh, just like the good old days – Denver getting blown out. As a Denver native, I remember all of them: Dallas 27 Denver 10 (XII), Giants 39 Denver 20 (XXI), Redskins 42 Denver 10 (XXII), 49ers 55 Denver 10 (XXIV). sigh.

  36. Bay State Librul says:

    @Citizen92:

    It’s all about real estate development capital gains.
    The Rockefeller Group, parcels of lucrative land wheeling and dealing….

    Will Bridget be the Scooter?

  37. emptywheel says:

    @Peterr: When you get to see Manning-Lemon-Sucking-Face at the 12th second of the game (and then again at the 12th second of the second half) it’s a good game.

    Anyway, I had fun, dunno what everyone was complaining about.

  38. JohnT says:

    @emptywheel: Yea, Harvin has talent. Dunno what his problem was with the Vikings. I do really like what the Vikings got back in the the trade though

    @emptywheel: I bet at least some of the people who’ve worked on the cables have been Seals

  39. bmaz says:

    @JohnT: Problem with the Vikings? The ‘Ole Gunslinger LOVED Percy. The rest of them, other than Jared Allen didn’t count.

    And, dammit Janet, the Vikes SHOULD have been the NFC Super Bowl team that year!

  40. nomolos says:

    @bmaz:
    Bmaz just for you.

    It’s the legacy thing
    The super bowl ring
    Not yards per game
    In the season

    It’s winning it all
    Not wins in the Fall
    Nor touchdowns given
    without reason

    Now Manning’s not bad
    Nor was his Dad
    Though his brother
    is better, no doubt

    But none of them touch
    The best in the clutch
    The man with the rings
    that count

    Tom Brady’s the one
    when all’s said and done
    His legacy safe
    and secure

    And after the game
    In the Hall of Fame
    Counting rings
    Tom will have more

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