Two Way Street: Editors Aleck Ryner and Brian Friel Talk Super Bowl, Monta Ellis and Famous Athletes

“Half the editor, twice the emotion”

Who will win the Super Bowl?

Aleck: I think that the underdog Steelers will be taking home their third Vince Lombardi Trophy in the last five years. The Steelers have thrived as the underdog in their recent Super Bowl runs, and this year shouldn’t be any different. Ben Roethlisberger is a proven winner and is a consistent playmaker in pressure situations. So far, Aaron Rodgers has played well, but at this point I will take the guy who’s been there and done that, Roethlisberger. It could potentially be tough for the Steelers wide receivers to get open against the Packers talented secondary that includes Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams and undrafted rookie Sam Shields, who has played like a first round pick. However, I think the Steelers talented back Rashard Mendenhall could be the difference, and I expect a huge game from him. It could be a very intense game, but in the end I expect the Steelers to win by at least a touchdown, probably more. Steelers 28, Packers 17 in a surprisingly one-sided effort.

Brian: I’m jumping on the cheese head bandwagon on this one and going with the Packers. But while everyone has been raving about the showdown between Roethlisberger and Rodgers, I think that the real stars of the game will come from the defensive side of the ball. Both teams are known for their bruising brick wall defenders, most notably Pittsburgh’s sure-fire Hall of Famer Troy Polamalu and Green Bay’s defensive MVP candidate Clay Mathews, but I’m going to have to give the edge to the Packers. The loss of Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncy is a major blow for Pittsburgh as they begin preparations for Green Bay’s red-hot wrecking ball B.J. Raji. The 337-lb. mammoth has been a force to be reckoned with throughout the playoffs and has been called the key to the Packer’s defense by Steelers defensive coordinator Dick Lebeau. If Pittsburgh cannot find a way to slow down Raji, look for him to wreak havoc on Roethlisberger in the same way he rattled Chicago’s Jay Cutler. However I wouldn’t expect another pick six. Packers 21, Steelers 13. Book it.

Should Monta Ellis be an All-Star?

Aleck: This is easy, Monta Ellis is definitely deserving of an All-Star spot, even in the loaded Western Conference. Ellis is one of the most dynamic players in the league, capable of scoring from anywhere at any time. There was a point where Ellis could be handled by only taking away the drive, but those days are long gone, as Ellis has expanded his range and is now shooting a solid 37% from behind the arc and an outstanding 47% from the field. His once streaky mid-range jumper is seemingly automatic now. The big argument against Ellis seems to be his team’s record, which is absolutely ridiculous. The All-Star game is supposed to be an event that showcases all the league’s stars; the fact that Ellis is a member of a Warriors team that usually has trouble cracking .500 is really irrelevant. It is ridiculous that Manu Ginobli, who is averaging only 18 points per game and has worse stats across the board than Ellis, is given more credit just because he is on the Spurs. The team’s records should be kind of important, but definitely not the deciding factor.

Brian: Manu Ginobili? Are you kidding me? I would pick Monta Ellis over Ginobili any day. In my book, he’s an All-Star, hands down. Ellis, who is averaging 25.1 points per game, is by far one of the league’s most exciting and explosive players. He is currently sixth in the league in scoring and has dominated Sportscenter Top 10 highlight reels throughout the season. But what’s even more impressive is that he’s been able to do all this without a particularly strong supporting cast. Ellis’ misfortune of being on the erratic Warriors should help him the selection process, not hinder him. Despite having the misfortune of being a member of a sub .500 team, Ellis has shown that he has the ability to be a consistent playmaker. I would much rather watch an electric but winless Ellis in the All-Star game than a boring Ginobili who just happens to be a part of one of the best franchises in basketball. Ellis was robbed, he should have been an All-Star.

Who is the one pro athlete you would want to be?

Aleck: If I could be any professional athlete, I think I would want to be Giants pitcher Barry Zito. Some might ask why I would want to be a pitcher whose contract has been widely regarded as one of the worst in baseball history and who is constantly ridiculed by fans. Here’s my answer: Zito makes $18 million per year to basically watch Giants games from the dugout and pitch once every five days. I think it would be pretty fun to have a bunch of really famous athletes as friends and spit seeds and blow bubbles every day. It doesn’t really bother me that Zito will probably max out at about 12 wins for the rest of his career, because that just means he gets over $1 million for each win he receives. Even though Zito is clearly on the decline, he is definitely one of the best number five starters in baseball and I can definitely live with that. And hey, at least he won a Cy Young Award as well.

Brian: While the fame and fortune that come with achieving stardom in any of America’s big three sports is certainly enticing, I would choose to shun them and be surfing legend Kelly Slater. Despite receiving relatively little press, Slater may live one of the coolest lives possible. The man gets paid to travel all over the world just to chill with his bros and shred some gnar. Imagine getting flown to places like Australia, Argentina, South Africa, and Barbados in pursuit of an endless summer, and having the ability to completely destroy the competition wherever you go. Slater is a ten-time world champion and the only person to ever be awarded two perfect scores in a two-wave surfing event. I don’t even know how to surf, but how could you not want to be able to do what this guy can do? The man even has his own video game, Kelly Slater’s Pro Surfer, for crying out loud! And he also owns homes in Hawaii, California or Florida. What’s not to like?