Commentary

Rankings: Junk in the Trunk TD Edition

Originally Published: February 6, 2012
By Greg Hardy | Page 2

Put your game-winning touchdown worries behind you in ESPN.com's Page 2 Power Rankings! Our formula combines the results of two surveys: a human poll concocted by ESPN Page 2's Greg Hardy and a scientifically calibrated poll generated by computer analysis. Unfortunately, our computer messed up our most important prop bet of all: how we figured it would screw up DVRing the Super Bowl for us. We put a thousand bucks down that our computer would only tape the pregame show instead of the actual game. Instead, we somehow have a marathon of "World's Strongest Man" competitions eating up 90 percent of the recording space. To the results!

1. Super Bowl bootylicious

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.5 9.6 19.1

Credentials: Sometimes an athlete's movements can offer all the grace, balance and artistry of world-class ballet. Then there's Ahmad Bradshaw's case, where he won the Super Bowl thanks to the earth's gravitational pull on his rear end. And you thought home videos of yourself climbing out of the bathtub when you were 3 years old are embarrassing enough in the family den. At least it's not going to be shown in slow-mo on ESPN Classic for the rest of eternity. Well, enjoy your Super Bowl victory while you can, Giants fans. Because we can envision a day sometime soon when commissioner Roger Goodell declares that scoring a touchdown with your butt is a finable offense. At least $25,000 per cheek. The NFL reputation of toning down celebrations has earned it the nickname of the "No Fun League." We're about to enter the "No Bun League."


2. Brady boo-hoo

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.5 9.3 18.8

Credentials: It's a tradition that a Super Bowl-winning QB will splurge on gifts for his offensive line as a deep-felt (and flashy) way to say thanks. But we're thinking that the Patriots wide receivers and tight ends need to chip in and buy something nice for Tom to turn that gorgeous frown upside down. And while they're at it, something expensive for Gisele Bundchen, too, before she storms in to Coach Belichick's next personnel meeting and starts demanding they clear house at wideout.


3. Eli's happy trails

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.9 8.3 17.2

Credentials: We'll leave it up to the numbers nerds to try to calculate where Li'l Manning stands in the Greatest QB Ever analysis. But there's one request we'd like to see processed by the ESPN Stats & Info department (@ESPNStatsInfo) when the workload reaches a lull again. After seeing Eli awarded a black-on-black 2012 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Convertible Centennial Edition for being named MVP, we're dying to know: Can you provide us a chart that lists Super Bowl MVP winners, the make and model of the car they were given, and the mileage that he actually drove the car in real life? And rank it from highest to lowest to asterisks for cars that were given to friends and well-wishers. We always wondered what happened to Dexter Jackson's 2003 Cadillac Escalade after the Bucs' Super Bowl win.


4. Halftime finger-pointing

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.7 7.2 14.9

Credentials: Centuries from now, Super Bowl halftime historians will study the millions of tweets that the earth's 2012 population provided as a second-by-second critique of Madonna's extravaganza to figure out if it was worth watching or not (personal note: armies of gladiators are always worth keeping an eye on; Cee Lo in a sparkly choir robe, not so much). But let's get this philosophical argument started before they think of it: M.I.A. has a lot to answer for after giving a live worldwide TV audience the middle finger. But if Madonna had kissed M.I.A.'s middle finger at just that moment, would it have diffused the situation or just make everyone lose their minds that much more?


5. Tour de France scandals

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.3 7.4 14.7

Credentials: In the span of a few days, the following two things happened: U.S. federal prosecutors dropped their investigation that seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong was into doping; and The Court of Arbitration for Sport stripped Alberto Contador (a former Armstrong teammate) of his 2010 Tour victory and banned him from cycling for two years because they found him guilty of doping. Contador's excuse? He ate tainted meat on one of his rest days during the race. Call us naive, but maybe here's the best way the Tour can save itself from further disgrace: For this year's race, hire Armstrong as Official Meat Tasters for the cyclists. That way, Armstrong can wave a flag if something tastes fishy when he ingests something he would never, ever have taken when he was an official competitor. And then after a few weeks of that he goes on a diet with a vigorous cycling exercise regimen. Public relations nightmare solved!


6. David Beckham

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
6.2 6.3 12.5

Credentials: The soccer star's sexy underwear commercial ranked 49th in popularity out of the 55 Super Bowl ads tracked in USA Today's Ad Meter survey. We're no ad wizards, but if you would have tested this with us beforehand, we'd have given two pointers: 1) Having Victoria Beckham in the ad as well would have boosted you at least 20 spots in the poll; and 2) Does the underwear come with free shin guards? It just seems natural that buying soccer underwear should result in shin guard swag too.


7. Boston vs. New York

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.4 5.2 10.6

Credentials: Chalk up another Big Apple win in the eternal "Curse of the Bambino" sweepstakes. Boston fans are taking this even worse than we've feared: They're boycotting Clint Eastwood's Chrysler commercial where he says, "Yeah, it's halftime in America. And, our second half is about to begin." Because Boston's sports fans are learning again that the second half only ends with utter heartbreak at their expense.


8. NBA punishment

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.2 4.8 10.0

Credentials: Lakers coach Mike Brown is being fined $25,000 and will be suspended for one game for bumping into a ref during an argument in the fourth quarter of Saturday's game in Utah. Minnesota forward Kevin Love is being suspended for two games without pay for stomping on the face of Houston's Luis Scola, which Love says was inadvertent. Fellas, fellas, let's try to prove we're professionals here. In the future, display your anger by keeping it classy, like simply giving your opponent the middle finger on national TV.


9. Golf karma

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.2 4.3 9.5

Credentials: Kyle Stanley, you lucky dog. Last week at Torrey Pines, you had a seven-stroke lead in the final round, but ended up in utter humiliation by losing on the second hole of a playoff. Yet you won your very next tournament at the Phoenix Open by sliding past Spencer Levin, who underwent a meltdown of his own. We wish we were in the interview tent with you afterward to ask, "So did you do something special this week to appease the Golf Gods, or do you think it's just a coincidence and the Golf Gods had nothing to do with it because they had already changed the channel and were watching the Super Bowl pregame show. Even we have a hard time believing the Golf Gods care what happens in a golf tournament on Super Bowl Sunday.".


10. Pro Bowl or bust

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.0 4.2 9.2

Credentials: NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is so fed up with the Hawaii showcase that he's threatening to pull the plug if the NFL Players Association can't think up ways to make it worth watching. Our gut instinct on punching up anything is to make it more interactive for the audience. So how about this as a way to move the needle: You keep the Pro Bowl voting same as it's been. You select the first-teamers and backups same as it's been. You fly everyone out to the islands same as it's been. The difference: You have Tim Tebow show up and play a variety of positions. And based on that audition, viewers can vote online for which position he should play for his new team when the Broncos trade him. That way the Tebow supporters can make their voices heard if he should stay at QB, and the Tebow haters have a constructive outlet for their armchair GMing. Mr. Goodell, this is such a great idea that we'll humbly accept as payment for it two roundtrip plane tickets to Honolulu.


11. College football scheduling

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.2 4.3 8.5

Credentials: In the Match.com-like world of arranging nonconference hookups, West Virginia announced over the weekend it will pay Florida State at least $350,000 to cancel its date in Tallahassee that was set for Sept. 8. For the Mountaineers, it's likely being done to make its new dates work as a Big 12 dance partner. The Seminoles now must scramble to find someone available for a dinner and a movie on late notice. Except most every team on BCSMatch.com already has plans. So FSU season ticket holders will likely be paying to see a lower-division opponent that was found among the Craigslist personals. Our prediction is just like any bad online date: Both parties will end up in silence spending much of the night text messaging and checking their phones for scores of other games going on at the same time. And in the unlikely event that they ever bump into each other again, they'll pretend the night never happened.


12. NFL lockout, R.I.P.

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.0 3.2 7.2

Credentials: As we close the books on another unforgettable NFL season, let's salute one last time all the problem solvers who avoided labor armageddon. It seems Jim Irsay and Peyton Manning are the only two people who don't think Super Bowl week is best when it culminates in a down-to-the-wire, final desperation heave instant classic as opposed to a millionaire player and a billionaire owner bickering in the media over the topic of who-owes-who-what. Players and owners owe fans gridiron magic; we owe you tweet-by-tweet breakdowns of whether Adriana Lima's Teleflora or Kia commercial was better.


13. Valentine's Day countdown

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
3.3 2.3 5.6

Credentials: Were you thinking of giving that Special Someone chocolates on Feb. 14, but are worried that it's too clichéd and impersonal? May we recommend a box of those tiny pastel-colored candy hearts with cuddly phrases painted on. You know, "Miss You," "Kiss Me," "I'm Yours." It shows you're an old-school romantic, but it's also a treat that's always been ahead of its time. Essentially, it's text messaging in candy form! Best part: At least the candy doesn't have auto-correct, and will save you the embarrassment of inadvertently texting something that will get you slapped in the mouth.


Also receiving votes
• New York football rivalries. With their fourth victory in the title game, the Giants have now won as many Super Bowls as the Buffalo Bills have lost in a row. Sorry to bring that up, residents of Orchard Park. But it probably hurts less if you keep track of such things in Roman numerals.

Never receiving votes
• Getting cut on the eve of the Super Bowl: One Patriots receiver who can't be blamed for dropping any of Brady's passes: Tiquan Underwood. That's because Belichick decided at the last minute he needed one more defensive lineman on the roster as opposed to a wideout, so he told Underwood on Saturday the only routes he'd be running on Sunday would be between his couch and the fridge for more mango salsa. As Gisele starts crossing off names of Patriots receivers from the Christmas card list, we hope she takes into account Tiquan's extenuating circumstances. Unless she decides on Dec. 24 that she needs to send that final card to someone else.

Greg Hardy is a Page 2 contributor. It's all pop culture all the time at Twitter.com/HardyVision.


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Greg Hardy is a Page 2 contributor. It's all pop culture all the time at Twitter.com/HardyVision.

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