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The Winter Olympics are just days away, which means it's time, America, to pull those brooms out of the garage and get sweeping. Curling is back!

Curling, the Olympic sport where competitors alternate sliding round stones down a sheet of ice to earn points for whoever gets closest to the middle of a large target area, took the world by storm four years ago during the Winter Games in Vancouver.

Curling has everything you would want in a winter Olympic sport. Every throw—is it a throw or a toss…or a push…a slide…? I should probably know this—provides drama, especially as the competitors near the completion of each end*.

(*A quick primer/reminder: Each match consists of 10 ends, which is similar to an inning in baseball. Teams alternate sliding eight rocks down the sheet to see which team finishes closest to the center. Every stone closer to the center than the opponents' nearest stone earns a point. The team with the most points after 10 ends wins.)

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We are just two weeks away from the start of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. Thousands of athletes, trainers and jingoistic supporters from around the world will descend on the glistening resort community in the southwest corner of Russia that borders the Black Sea, which leaves me wondering one thing...

What are you people, nuts?

The stories surrounding the Sochi Games are downright post-apocalyptic, from harrowing tales of terrorism and "black widows" to disheartening stories of a nationwide crackdown on homosexuality to ridiculously viral nonsense like bathroom stalls with multiple toilets.

Seriously, double toilets are the least of the concerns in Sochi, and that's the story that got the most attention online this week, distracting too many of us from freaking out about the suicide bombers on the loose. It's as scary as anyone can imagine.

It's so scary, in fact, that at least one Canadian journalist is happy about that region becoming the sporting equivalent of a military base during the Games. From Canada.com's Bruce Arthur:

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Stay up late. Wake up early. Do whatever you have to do to get in front of a television in the wee hours of Friday morning. Roger and Rafa are going at it again.

It was nearly 10 years ago—late March of 2004—when 22-year-old Roger Federer stood across the net from a teenage Spaniard named Rafael Nadal during the early rounds of the ATP Masters series in Miami. Federer was in the midst of one of the best years of his career, having won his first three tournaments, including the 2004 Australian Open, to start a season that year that featured 11 victories in 17 tournaments, three of which were majors.

Nadal was, in tennis terms, a nobody. The new kid on the block. Wait, is that guy wearing Capri pants?

Nadal beat Federer in straight sets that day in Miami, one of just six losses in 80 matches for Roger that calendar year.

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The Super Bowl is the most hyped sporting event in America, and the confluence of circumstances surrounding the game this year has created a potential for Super Bowl 48 to be the most hyped event in the league's history.

The game features the two best teams in football, with the best offense in forever going up against the best defense in some time.

The game has a Manning brother, and not just any Manning brother, but the one that moves the needle the most. The game has a villain; Richard Sherman made certain of that after his NFC Championship outburst.

The game is in the media capital of the world, if you haven't heard, and on top of that, there is a good chance it's going to be "football" weather outside.

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If Richard Sherman ever flames out in the NFL, wrestling promoters will be lining up around the block for his services.

The self-proclaimed best cornerback—best player?—in the game cut one of the greatest postgame promos you will ever see in his brief but memorable interview with Fox sideline reporter Erin Andrews after his Seattle Seahawks came from behind to beat the San Francisco 49ers Sunday night in the NFC Championship Game.

"Well, I'm the best corner in the game," a vociferous Sherman told Andrews.

Can't really argue there, as he has proven that he is one of the best at that position in quite some time. Plus, the guy did just come up with an amazing game-saving play to seal the victory—and a spot in the Super Bowl—for his team.

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Someone should take Percy Harvin's helmet away…forever. Someone should snap a photo of the Seattle wide receiver and print it 32 times to post outside every NFL stadium in America.


Harvin was removed twice from the Seahawks' NFC divisional round victory over New Orleans after taking a couple of wallops to the head, the second of which has put his availability for the NFC Championship Game in jeopardy.

I feel like at this point in his injury-riddled career, removing Harvin from the game—not a game, but the game—may be for his own good.

Harvin missed almost the entire regular season for Seattle after hip surgery, playing in just one game in November before eventually making it back for the playoffs. He was traded to the Seahawks in the offseason after playing in just nine games for Minnesota in 2012, as an ankle injury forced the Vikings to put him on injured reserve.

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Tell me if you've heard this already, but Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are playing in a football game this weekend. Yeah, I know, it feels like their involvement in the AFC Championship Game has been criminally underreported, but that's where they'll be, and the winner gets to take his team to the Super Bowl.

Despite not playing in the same division and not even facing each other all that much in the playoffs over their respective Hall of Fame careers, Brady and Manning might have one of the biggest personal rivalries in sports today.

Is it a rivalry? The two quarterbacks genuinely seem to like each other. At the very least, they respect the hell out of each other and never say an ill word publicly, which takes a bit of the sting out of any sports rivalry.

Contemporaries, sure, but rivals? You bet.

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This is a casual football fan's dream.

As sportswriters—heck, even just as fans of the game­—we all start the season by picking which two teams we think will get to the Super Bowl. Part of the decision is based on in-depth analysis, trends, matchups, coaching styles and good ol' fashioned football know-how. 

Part of the decision, to be honest, is usually based on which teams we want to cover. Let's face it, some teams just have a more interesting back story, and while that never—repeat never—makes one NFL team a more worthy champion than another, it does make the two weeks leading up to the title game that much more interesting. 

The Super Bowl has become such an enormous event that the actual playing of the game can become secondary to the buzz around it. 

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Eight teams are left with a chance to win the Super Bowl, and eight quarterbacks are charged this coming weekend with leading their teams one step closer to a crack at the title.

Is it that simple? Can the divisional round of the NFL playoffs be boiled down to the guys under center? Yes and no.

But mostly yes.

Certainly with all the schemes and reads and checks and packages and complexities of a modern football game, it's not as easy as a coach saying, "Hey Peyton/Tom/Philip/Andrew/Russell/Colin/Cam/Drew go out and win this game for us."

It's not that simple, but maybe it can be. This weekend—with eight quarterbacks who have been so critical to the success of their franchises this year—everything hinges on which ones will stand tall and which will falter under the playoff pressure. 

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Bob Costas, appearing Wednesday on the MLB Network, called it Hall of Fame purgatory. 

Maybe they can set aside a place in the vestibule of the Cooperstown shrine for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, unquestionably two of the greatest players ever to play baseball.

They could even put them on the floor, so people can wipe their feet on the game's recent history. Isn't that what the Baseball Writers Association of America is doing?

Neither Bonds nor Clemens will be making the trip to Cooperstown this summer—a hearty congratulations, by the way, to Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas, who all made the Hall in their first year on the ballot—leaving the BBWAA riding a collective high horse away from the time in the game's history they like to call The Steroid Era.