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azcentral sports' jay dieffenbach and dan bickley turn their attention from the super bowl to the final four, which will be held in glendale.

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following the final four, valley sports will enter a tenuous time.(p o: azcentral sports/usa today sports)

the patriots won the super bowl. fox finished second, with an estimated $509.6 million in advertising revenue, including an unexpected $20 million from commercials aired during the first overtime in 51 years. the bronze medal went to the cardinals, a team that celebrated larry fitzgerald’s return and his nfl man of the year award, along with kurt warner’s election to the pro football hall of fame.

one small problem:

in a twist befitting the current state of valley sports, warner’s shuttle bus driver in houston got lost on the way back to the el, circling the vicinity for 90 minutes before asking warner and his entire family to get out and walk.

warner’s wife was in heels. his small army of children were starving. the newly immortalized quarterback was forced to call an audible, spending $90 on a celebratory dinner at burger king.

"i had to walk and crawl during my hall of fame run," warner said. "so it's only fitting that i had to walk back to the el, and burgers and fries seemed like icing on the cake."

so where do we go from here?

bickley: golf gods are smiling on the phoenix open

we are nothing like boston, where giddy fans commemorated their latest triumph on tuesday, where a kid held a sign that read, “15 years old, 10 parades.” spoiled brat.

we are nothing like atlanta, a city that has screwed up the olympics and a 25-point lead in the super bowl. you don’t get over a loss like that, especially when your nfl team never touched the ball in overtime, and never trailed until the final play of the game.

nevertheless, we are in a very strange place.

the cubs will soon arrive in mesa for a five-week honeymoon. a handful of people will make a fortune from their victory lap around the cactus league. the emotionally unattached will grow very annoyed at the desert love-in. cubs fatigue is coming, just like the patriots fatigue that is sweeping the country. difference is, cubs fans expect you to love them while patriots fans don’t care what you think.

thankfully, the final four is coming to glendale. the local stage represents the greatest triumph possible for the university of arizona’s basketball program, offering a chance to win a national championship in arizona state’s backyard, capping a season where sean miller is the frontrunner for ncaa coach of the year.

boivin: upsets harbinger for wild final four?

unfortunately, such a triumph would barely resonate outside tucson and the arizona alumni living in the valley.

unlike the quirky and highly entertaining rich rodriguez, miller does not attempt to win over new fans in the valley. he is edgy, intense and combative. his bunker mentality and internal focus are keys to his five-star recruiting, but do nothing for the likability of the program. he would be wise to develop a presence here before march madness begins.

the final four also marks the end of the gravy train in glendale, a city that has hosted the crown jewels of american sports, from super bowls to the best games in college football. we will no longer have big events to buffer our identity and supplement our lack of playoff teams. that’s a frightening proposition.

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jay dieffenbach and dan bickley talk super bowl li. did the patriots win or did the falcons choke? which was the better catch, julio jones or julian edelman?

the diamondbacks, suns and coyotes have combined to miss the postseason for 15 consecutive seasons, a streak that won’t end anytime soon. meanwhile, two of our best players, the suns’ eric bledsoe and the diamondbacks’ zack greinke, might be on the trading block to expedite rebuilding efforts. and just as the coyotes’ core of young talent is starting to reap some results, winning four of their past six games, there are renewed concerns about their future in arizona.

in a tersely worded statement late last week, asu said it “has no intention of proceeding to sign a development agreement or an option to lease or any other agreement with the coyotes.” the language seems too strong for posturing, and mocks the optimism once displayed by coyotes ceo anthony leblanc over a shared facility.

the coyotes still have an ally in phoenix mayor greg stanton, who needs a co-tenant to sell taxpayers on a giant new arena for the suns. but the political climate is very tricky and very toxic. it will be harder than ever for our nhl team to leave a stadium specifically built for them in a glendale cotton field, even if the remote location is slowly killing the franchise.

bickley: kurt warner still serving arizona after all these years

“if the relationship between the coyotes and glendale is over, i’d like to have that team in downtown phoenix,” stanton said in mid-january, during the suns’ visit to mexico city. “we don’t need another new arena in our region. we have the perfect site in downtown phoenix.”

as if we didn’t have enough anxiety, stanton is also trying to navigate the current feud between the diamondbacks and maricopa county, where the baseball team is suing its partner, threatening to leave if the landlord won’t pay for necessary repairs.

“everyone needs to compromise,” stanton said. “the city of phoenix is ready, willing and able to be part of the solution. we’re not going to spend any taxpayer money, but you know what? downtown is , and there are some development opportunities that might help entice the team stay for an even longer period of time.

“we have too much to lose. the diamondbacks have too much to lose if they were to somehow leave downtown. the truth is nobody likes talking about public support for sports. politically it’s not very popular. but, darn it, it’s really important to our downtown that we keep these important ets in the heart of our city.”

it would be an easier sell if our teams could find a way back to the playoffs. and maybe we’ll all feel better when carson palmer gets around to announcing his return to football in 2017.

reach bickley at [email protected] or 602-444-8253. follow him on twitter.com/dan.bickley. listen to “bickley and marotta” weekdays from 12-2 p.m. on arizona sports 98.7 fm.

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