Support Michael Silver's charity drive at www.ridewithsilver.com
I'm here to begin hyping up a scintillating showdown between fierce competitors that will culminate with a raucous celebration in South Florida next week – and no, this is not a reference to the Colts, Saints or Super Bowl XLIV.
Because of my ceaseless desire for excellence, Rain Man-esque driving abilities and penchant for shameless self-promotion, I've been invited to participate in the Audi Efficiency Challenge. On Thursday I'll fly to Washington, D.C., and be handed the keys to a clean-burning diesel sport utility vehicle, the Audi TDI Q7, and embark upon a journey to Miami that will not include many trips to the pumps.
Accompanying me will be my 180-pound, non-Samoan attorney, Dr. Ponzio. But unlike the late, great Raoul Duke and his trusty co-pilot, the only drug we'll be abusing is caffeine. We'll be up against a host of star-studded competitors, including last year's Super Bowl MVP, Santonio Holmes(notes); Miami Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne(notes); and ESPN.com's Bill Simmons.
To win this competition, you don't need to cross the finish line first (which is too bad, because I'll be the first driver out of the gate). Instead, you must complete the trip with the most fuel efficiency.
Whoever does this will receive a $20,000 first prize, and when the champion is unveiled on Friday, Feb. 5, at a lavish reception at the W Hotel in South Beach, I intend to be the one strutting up to the podium.
Best of all, I won't be pocketing the money. I'll donate my winnings to a pair of Type I diabetes-related charities which play noble roles in coping with and attempting to cure the condition that affects my 10-year-old son and as many as three million Americans.
Back in May 2008, I wrote about then-Broncos and current Bears quarterback Jay Cutler's(notes) life-changing diagnosis. He's one of numerous people in the NFL community who confront Type I-diabetes management on a daily and constant basis, including Lions coach Jim Schwartz, whose son, Christian, was diagnosed in December '07. John Madden, Herm Edwards and others also have insulin-dependent family members, and I'll proudly be soliciting their support.
With their help – and that of people like you – I'm hoping to raise even more money and awareness for the cause. I'll be accepting pledges online at my newly created website, ridewithsilver.com, between now and Super Sunday, and I hope you'll follow my progress via my Y! Sports columns; on Y! Sports video; on Mogotxt and Twitter; and on various radio, television and promotional platforms.
In the meantime, I'd love to hear your input on fuel efficiency, roadside attractions between D.C. and Miami and potential CD selections. Beginning Wednesday at noon Pacific time, I look forward to a Live Trippin' session that can propel me into the driver's seat, literally and figuratively, of that blessedly green vehicle waiting for me in the nation's capitol.
Oh, and we can also talk football – the Saints' ridiculous run of future Hall of Fame quarterbacking foes; the Colts' coach who gets no respect; Manning, Brees and Favre; and the ridiculousness that is the Pro Bowl.
As usual, we'll do this for a generous hour, but I'll have to cut things off at, you know, 15 minutes to Wapner.