The NFL has commercials featuring a man with an impossibly low voice saying, "If you want the NFL, then go to the NFL."
But where do you go if you don't want the NFL?
The sports blog Deadspin chronicled all 11 p.m. editions of Sportscenter from the period of Jan. 7-18 and found that in that stretch, 40.2 percent of the show's running time was devoted to the NFL, more than college basketball, college football, baseball and hockey combined.
In the space of 560 minutes, Tim Tebow was mentioned 154 times. Tebow was mentioned on the show more times than the words 'been,' 'then' and 'your.'
Sometimes you just want to run away from all the noise.
When I was in college, the Red Wings went on a run of remarkably agonizing playoff flops, which taught me that there's nothing more irritating than watching the lucky team that eliminated the Red Wings (2003 Anaheim Mighty Ducks, 2004 Calgary Flames, 2006 Edmonton Oilers) make a playoff run.
Michigan Tech at Minnesota Duluth
It's a tough assignment for Michigan Tech this weekend against the team that's No. 1 in the national, though now No. 2 in the WCHA after playing non-conference last weekend. Minnesota has a two-point lead, but UMD has two games in hand. The same home ice advantage UMD enjoyed at the old DECC hasn't made the jump to the new Amsoil Arena, as three of the Bulldogs' four losses are at home this season. That, and the Huskies solid (if fruitless) showing against UMD in December, leaves the door open a crack, but this weekend is just too much to ask.
The Verdict: UMD sweeps 5-3, 5-4
St. Cloud State vs. Minnesota
This is a very interesting home-and-home for both sets of Huskies. First, the ones playing, as St. Cloud is in the thick of the home-ice race and tied with Tech for seventh, a point out of the top half. Also, it's interesting for Tech. The Houghton Huskies have two games in hand on St. Cloud and sixth-place North Dakota. If SCSU gets nothing from this series, it will be behind the eight-ball in the home ice race and possibly in a desperate position when it visits Houghton in late February. Minnesota has a two-point lead over UMD at the top of the standings and is idle next week. The Gophers won't waste points here.
The Verdict: UMn sweeps 4-1, 4-3
Minnesota State at Bemidji State
On the flip side, not much on the line here. Bemidji, at 12 points, and MSU at nine, have all but lost contact with the five-team pack (Denver, UND, Tech, SCSU and Wisconsin) fighting for places five through nine. Ninth-place Wisconsin is four points clear, but does have two more games played, so Bemidji's got a glimmer of hope - until you see that the Beavers' next three series are at Nebraska-Omaha, vs. Colorado College and at Minnesota. It's dawn in Bemidji, but a false one.
The Verdict: BSU sweep 4-2, 5-3
Wisconsin at North Dakota
The Badgers took the maximum four points from Alaska Anchorage last weekend to get back into the race for home ice, but Wisconsin has only one road win in eight games, and that was at Minnesota State two weeks ago. The ____ have been pretty tough to stop in Grand Forks, having beaten Minnesota and Colorado College there already. Wisconsin gets nothing and won't like it, as a vital opportunity to move into the top half goes by the boards.
The Verdict: ND sweep 5-2, 6-4
Denver at Alaska-Anchorage
The fact that Denver has won at Boston College, beat Colorado College and tied Minnesota Duluth makes the fact that Denver has lost to Alabama-Huntsville that much more incomprehensible. That's the only reason I'd have to pick the Seawolves, who have lost seven of their last eight.
The Verdict: Denver sweep 6-3, 4-2
Last week: 4-5
For the season: 85-57-14
In this process, I developed something I call the "One-Round Rule," and it goes like this: When your team is eliminated from the postseason, I must 'sit out' the following round - no watching on TV, no reading, no interest.
This is not some odd form of live-action role playing, but rather an exercise in psychological health. Playoff heartbreak leads to surliness and bitterness and being unpleasant to be around. In the Stanley Cup Playoffs, that means as much as two weeks of being a jerk.
While fielding all sorts of caustic retribution from Lions fans enjoying the Packers' divisional disaster, I couldn't help but think that the one-round rule could be well-applied in this day and age.
People living in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, especially people whose glass houses got shattered a week ago. At the very least, you wouldn't want your plant foot to land on some sharp shard while in the process of the throw.
So, on Sunday, I resolved to ignore football, which in this day and age is something of a challenge.
Avoiding the pre-grame shows was easy: I participated in a men's chorus singing Finnish-language hymns for Heikinpiv. I even made the paper for it.
I don't know any Finnish, but I had fun with the umlauts and I hope my pronounciation (with the help of phonetically transcribed lyrics) was at least good enough to avoid international incident.
When I got home, I flipped on the TV, and as an act of defiance, changed it to MLB Network. They were talking about some of the greatest games of all-time, and I fell asleep. I enjoy falling asleep to MLB Network shows in hopes that some day the two activities will mix and I'll dream of hitting a home run for the Tigers in the World Series.
I wasn't in total media blackout mode, though. Seemed like a lot of folks were talking on Twitter about a missed field goal at Foxborough, but I missed the miss and didn't miss it.
All in all, it was a productive evening - did laundry, got a story started. Then, someone mentioned on Twitter that the Giants and 49ers were going to overtime.
Just when I?thought I?was out, they pull me back in.
Rules are important, and so is flexibility. After all, championship games or series are excepted from the one-round rule and so is playoff overtime.
Of course, the Giants won and earned a trip to the Super Bowl and the 2007 NFC Championship game (Brett Favre's last game as a Packer) was mentioned repeatedly in the 10 minutes I saw.
The game in two weeks won't be much easier to watch, but at least there will be funny commercials.
Meanwhile, I ended up staying up too late writing and slept poorly, a downward spiral started by a game I wasn't going to watch.
Let that be a lesson for you: Some principles must be stood on at all times. Even overtimes.
Brandon Veale can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/redveale. For this week's WCHA?picks, check out the Red Line on mininggazette.com.