When sports aren't the game anymore

This photo shows the crowd on Super Bowl This photo shows the crowd on Super Bowl Boulevard in Times Square on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014. Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

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Ellis Henican Newsday columnist Ellis Henican

Henican is a columnist for Newsday. He also is a political analyst at the Fox News Channel and ...

The Super Bowl is really the Ad Bowl.

The Winter Olympics are mainly an excuse for debating terrorism and gay rights.

The juiced-up A-Rod may finally be done.

Will sports ever just be sports again? Please don't hold your breath, sports fans!

There once was a time when the games were played entirely on the field. The spectators watched or they didn't. Then everyone went home.

That was before sports became such a business and such a cultural force. Now, the chatter on the sidelines threatens to completely drown out the action in the game.

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It may well be that by the final whistle tonight, the main thing we'll remember from Super Bowl XLVIII will be the chilly New Jersey temperatures, Richard Sherman's psyche-out rant and Derrick Coleman's hard-of-hearing Duracell ad. Certainly, if Super Bowl history is any guide, we shouldn't expect an on-field nail-biter. A month from now, who will still remember which teams played?

It's the same old story all across the sports world. Contract fights, medical debates, drug habits, endorsement deals -- they're what pass for the real games now. Sometimes, they're even more fun.

Really, where would the pre-Olympic coverage be if we weren't debating suicide bombers and Vladimir Putin's homophobia? The lugers might actually get the attention they deserve.

SUPERSIZED

1. The Stub-Hub Ticket Bowl

2. The Second-Set-of-Long-Johns Bowl

3. The Just-Some-Teams-from-the-West Bowl

4. The Bridge-to-New-Jersey-Is-Open Bowl

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5. The Aren't-You-Glad-You're-Watching-on-TV Bowl

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LONG ISLANDER OF THE WEEK: KEITH CAPUTO

 

A diagnosis of Down syndrome doesn't have to be a life-ender. No one could possibly achieve more living -- or do more hands-on good -- than Keith Caputo of Center Moriches. Helping to lead the Moriches Community Center. Raising funds for Santa's Workshop at the holidays. Pitching in whenever anything needs to be done. The eternally upbeat 33-year-old took big inspiration from his close friend, Moriches' late coach Anthony Parlato. Keith lives by one powerful rule: "Help Someone Today" -- despite (or is it because of?) his Down syndrome. "Anthony really does put a smile on everyone's faces," says his mom, personal assistant, taxi driver and PR rep, Cassy Caputo. "And I'm not just saying that because he's my son. Ask anyone around here."

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