The Sunday Papers: some of the week's best sportswriting

Why would you want to leave the warmth of your house?

The NFL's Super Bowl XLVII media day.
The NFL's Super Bowl XLVII media day.
Image: Mark Humphrey/AP/Press Association Images

1. “I am the straight man to Jim White and I have been told that I’m there to rein him in a little bit! He loves Deadline Day – as we all do – and he’s on his phone all the time during ad breaks because he’s got so many contacts. It’s so much fun working with him. It’s always a different day because the news room is buzzing and there’s an extra bit of spice because nobody knows what’s going to happen.”

Natalie Sawyer and the rest of the team take you behind-the-scenes of  Sky Sports News’ ‘Deadline Day’ coverage on Sky Sports.

2. “Sports Fan Me is candid, jaded, suspicious of everyone. Sports Fan Me repeatedly gets involved in arguments and e-mail chains centered on the question, “Do you think he’s cheating?” Sports Fan Me has Googled athletes’ heads and jawlines, studied their sizes, then mailed before/after pictures to friends with the subject heading, “CHECK THIS OUT.” Sports Fan Me has learned to trust his inner shit detector, to swiftly question any accomplishment that seems extraordinary or superhuman. Sports Fan Me hates that he feels this way, but he does, and there’s just no way around it.

ESPN Me sticks his head in the sand and doesn’t say anything.”

Bill Simmons wonders why, if they’re all so suspicious of athletic achievement, don’t sports journalists ask more questions on Grantland.

3. “When Hulk Hogan and André the Giant met in what is still considered the biggest wrestling match of all time, exaggeration was in the air. According to various contemporary reports, there were 95,000 people on hand at WrestleMania III to see the 7-foot-5, 525-pound André square off against the goldenboy Hulk Hogan, who stood 6-foot-8 and weighed 320 pounds and whose biceps measured 24 inches around. Probably the only number in that last sentence that’s unimpeachable is the III.”

In the week of the Royal Rumble, The Masked Man considers André the Giant’s legacy for Deadspin.

4. “If 2012 taught us anything, it’s that the current state of the men’s game is too unsettled to treat every major as a definitive statement of hierarchy. Bear with me on this, but the king in tennis mostly reigns because everyone else shares the intuition that he’s the king. The intuition builds until, for lack of a better metaphor, it becomes its own atmosphere. You know who’s the best, in a way that’s only partly dependent on rankings or even results.”

Brian Phillips looks at the state of men’s tennis in the wake of Novak Djokovic’s latest Grand Slam win on Grantland.

Gavin Cooney
Reports From Qatar

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5. Liberman removed his jacket and unpacked his worn prayer book. He unfurled his tefillin, small boxes holding prayers printed on parchment, and bound them to his left arm and his forehead with black leather straps. Then he prayed. During the service, a man walked over, politely interrupting Liberman’s meditation, asked how he was, and then, rather proudly, said: ‘We’re going to get tickets for one of your games. My kids, they are very excited.’”

Over the New York Times, Ben Strauss looks at how Aaron Liberman combines Orthodox Judaism with NCAA basketball.

6. “A cruel accusation is often lobbed at America’s soccer powers that be: How can a nation blessed with a diverse population of over 315 million have failed to produce a single Lionel Messi? Or, for that matter, a few more Clint Dempseys and Landon Donovans?”

Roger Bennett on the hunt for an American Messi on ESPN.

Anthony Pilkington’s Ireland debut in doubt as he limps off during Norwich’s game with QPR

About the author:

Steve O'Rourke

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