I’m going to go ahead and say it. It was a boring game. While yes, we can rack it up to a defensive battle behind one of the best defenses ever to take the field, there were also a ton of mental errors by both quarterbacks.
A defensive battle is a lot like a no-hitter. You’re into it, but until it gets right up till the very end, you just want to speed through it and see if the pitcher — or in this case defense — can pull it off. The main difference is that the pitcher usually gets more run support from their offenses than that pitiful display last night.
I won’t lie, Wayniacs. This is my favorite piece of the year. One of the driving inspirations behind this blog was that group text I’ve told you about 100 times. The Thread. The Thread has changed over the years, it’s name has been altered and some of the members of the billion-text group message have come and gone, but every year come Super Bowl time, they lend me a few minutes of their time and make their annual Super Bowl predictions for my loyal viewing audience (which I am proud to announce has been setting record numbers every month).
This was a peculiar year in the NFL. Officiating hit an all time low. Injuries to he NFL’s biggest stars were at an all time high. No one on the planet knows what a catch is. And Roger Goodell continues to digress in what was once a strong presence in the commissioner’s office.
Oh yea, and there is going to be NFL football in LA.
Oh, and oh yea, the greatest rivalry in sports is about to write out its final chapter.
This week, SBJ is back with his picks. It’s the holiday time of year. While everyone needs a little bit thicker wallets this time of year, emotions always run high. Don’t understand? Well, here… I’ll let SBJ explain.
We learned a lot this weekend in the NFL. One thing we learned is that the once vaunted Baltimore Ravens defense is not what they used to be, even on their home turf. We already knew, but were unfortunately reminded, that Jamaal Charles is paper thin. Oh, and we also learned that no matter how much you make fun of Joe Flacco‘s contract, Matthew Stafford is getting benched while making his ludicrous amount of money. The Lions are in bad shape, and Stafford appears to be in a serious decline.
We also learned that there are some really, really good teams in the NFL this season. Six teams remained undefeated after this weekend. Which of the six are going to be there come January when the playoffs start?
I told you. The Dallas Cowboys are a joke. I told you they were two weeks ago when every one was on their junk as the best team in football, and I told you last week when they didn’t even crack my Top 5 teams in the NFL. They are a good team. But a good team led by Tony Romo would eventually crumble, as they did Monday night losing to the Colt McCoy-led Redskins. Please refrain from the injury excuse as well, because you know what? Brandon Weeden looked sharp in his fill-in time.
There are a ton of teams on bye this week. The Falcons and Lions get to rest after their trip across the pond. The upstart Bills are off, as are the Bears, Packers and Titans. That leaves 13 games on the slate for this week’s NFL action. Four of the five teams in the Wayniac Nation Power 5 (in order the Broncos, Cardinals, Patriots, Lions and Colts) will see action this week. So what should you pay closest attention to this week? Come on now, you know I got that answer for you!
What a week, folks. There was a lot going on even without football and baseball. Saban grabbed 19 of ESPNs top 50 recruits to form yet again, the top freshman class in the nation. A-Rod came to his senses and dropped the lawsuit, although I still think he’s a jerk and there is something more behind it. Syracuse beat Notre Dame to stay #UNDEFEATACUSE and remain #1 in the land. Lastly, over in Sochi, the most bizarre Olympics to date kicked off with the US, of course, capturing the first gold.
Despite all that, I still rather write about football. With the 2013 NFL season all wrapped up, one thing I learned it’s that I suck at projecting the Super Bowl! All I can say is Wow, tip my cap, and congratulate the Seattle Seahawks. They went out there and totally thrashed the greatest offense of all time. It was the most anticlimactic end to an otherwise exciting season, even worse than the infamous fade to black Sopranos ending. Seriously, the Seahawks had the lead for 59 minutes and 48 seconds. It was total domination.
Enough about Super Bowl XLVIII. It’s in the books. Now we reflect on what was. My Houston Texans were the most overhyped team in years. They were projected to be in the Super Bowl by a lot of experts. I watched every game, folks, and they were literally two or three plays away from an 0-16 season. In the end, Kubiak and his entire regime paid the price. Despite having to endure the worst season I’ve had to sit through as a Texan fan – and that says a lot people – there were a few tidbits I was able to take away from the ’13 season.
WHAT WE LEARNED IN 2013
1. Bill Belicheck is a genius and the best coach in football.
If you believe that there is a correlation between Spygate and Belicheck’s ability to win a Super Bowl, I’ll have the Easter Bunny come pick you up and discuss how the Red Sox were held title-less for 86 years because of a fat, dead Babe Ruth. Look at his resume this millenium: 158 wins, double-digit wins 11 years in a row, 11 AFC East Titles, a 3-2 record over 5 Super Bowls, and an undefeated regular season campaign. It’s not even about the numbers with Belicheck, it’s how he has done it. In the early 2000s, before Brady was merely super human and not a football god, he ran a run first, defensive minded team. Then in 2007, he got new toys he never had before in Randy Moss and Wes Welker, and they went 16-0 as Brady unleashed himself through the air as one of the NFL’s most dominating QBs. This season, he lost his best WR in Welker. He lost the NFLs best TE to multiple injuries and his back-up TE to the penal system. Vereen was down for most of the year, and it seemed he lost a key defender each and every week. He still won 12 games and the AFC East, and he still was on the cusp of making it to the Super Bowl. Belicheck seems to get it done with any combination of players, any style of offense or defense, and as long as he has Brady, even as he begins to decline in talent, the Patriots are a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
2. Chip Kelly was better than advertised.
I assume many of you were like me. Entering 2013, I thought Kelly was another great college coach who thought he could change the NFL with his crazy schemes. Through 4 and a half games, the skeptics looked to be right. The Eagles started 1-3, but late in the 2nd quarter of game 5 against the Giants, Nick Foles replaced an injured Michael Vick and changed the Eagles season. They would go 9-3 with Foles at the helm and capture the NFC East title. Kelly helped make Foles the next big QB (2891 yards passing, 27 TD, 2 Int, and a league leading 119.2 QB rating over 10 and a half games). His offense helped return LeSean McCoy to stud-dom as he lead the league in both rushing (1607) and total yards (2146) with 11 combined TDs. The Eagles still have work to do, but Kelly has them going in the right direction.
3. The Dallas Cowboys are a joke.
I’m tired of hearing about these guys. Over the last 10 seasons, they are a mere 87-73 with 2 NFC East titles and a 1-3 playoff record. Compare that to the other team in Texas, the aforementioned under achieving Houston Texans. The Texans have the same amount of division titles and more playoff wins over the same amount of time, and until recently, they have mostly been an afterthought. It’s time the Cowboys are, too. Somehow, the Cowboys are always a “threat” for the NFC East even though they lose out on the last game of the season every year. Tony Romo is always on the verge of becoming and elite QB, but he simply is not. This team is good but needs changes from top to bottom.
4. Megatron… You have company.
Throughout Calvin Johnson’s tenure, there were many good WRs in the NFL. We have even watched quite a few future Hall of Famers like Andre Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald. None came close to the sheer talent that Calvin Johnson possesses… until now. Josh Gordon had a spectacular 2013 campaign. What is more remarkable? Was it that he led the league in receiving (1646 yards) in just his second season? Or was it that he did it despite missing the first two games of the season? No, it was that fact that he was the ONLY weapon on a terrible Cleveland Browns offense that provided Gordon with Brandon Weedon, Brian Hoyer, and Jason Campbell behind center. The debates have already begun in fantasy circles. Who is the best WR heading into 2014? It sure will be fun to find out.
5. The Seattle Seahawks 2013 defense is one of the greatest of all time.
Halfway through the third quarter of SB48, Jay Holloway turned to me and asked If you blogged that the 2013 Broncos team was the best offense ever, doesn’t this make the Seahawks the best defense ever? Well, Jay, they certainly have earned the right to be in the conversation. Let’s compare them to what many consider the top defenses of the Super Bowl Era:
1985 Bears: 4,135 yards allowed, 198 points allowed, 61 turnovers, 64 sacks, and 5 TDs 2000 Ravens: 3,967 YA, 165 PA, 58 TOs, 35 sacks, and 1 TD 2002 Bucs: 4,044 YA, 196 PA, 47 TOs, 43 sacks, and 5 TD 1974 Steel Curatin: 3,074 YA, 189 PA, 60 TOs, and 3 TDs
(sacks were not yet an official stat) 2013 Seahawks: 4,378 YA, 231 PA, 57 TOs, 43 sacks, 4 TDs
Their numbers are very comparable. The yards allowed and points allowed are inflated because, let’s face it, it’s a different NFL where offenses rule and defenses can’t hit. You could argue that makes their defense all the more remarkable. What can’t be denied is that the 4 teams listed above won their Super Bowls defeating Tony Eason/ Steve Grogan (Bears), Kerry Collins (Ravens), Rich Gannon (Bucs), and Fran Tarkenton (Steelers). The 2013 Seahawks completely dismantled Peyton Manning, one of the Top 5 QBs of all-time who just completed the single greatest season of all-time. Are they the greatest? Maybe, maybe not, but they are clearly now part of the argument.
Well, there you have it. The 2013 NFL season is officially wrapped up. It’s time to turn our attention to the NBA, college hoops, and the Olympics for a few weeks until the NFL Combine and Spring Training is under way. Until next time, GO ORANGE!!!
Happy Groundhog’s Day, folks! As my home base of Atlanta finally thaws out and returns to normalcy, that little fur ball Phil popped up and saw his shadow. On top of that, my SYRACUSE ORANGE BEAT DUKE AND ARE THE NUMBER ONE TEAM IN THE COUNTRY!!! If that all wasn’t enough, today, we get to watch the Super Bowl.
If you have followed my posts this week, you know my thoughts. But a quick recap wouldn’t hurt: Super Bowl in New York = bad idea and Broncos are your Super Bowl champs. This Super Bowl means so much to Peyton, and I think the heart of the warrior brings home the Lombardi Trophy to Denver.
Why does Peyton need to win this Super Bowl? It’s simple. In the NFL, more than any other sport, rings define greatness. Notice I used the plural form. You need multiple rings. In other sports, you can be considered elite without any rings. Take the NBA for example. Many consider that the top Power Forward to ever suit up is either Sir Charles or the Mailman. They have a combined 0 rings, but it’s forgivable because they played during the Jordan Era, and no one could win rings unless you joined the Bulls. Baseball is mostly about statistics. Cal Ripken has one ring and barely even made the playoffs during his career, but many consider him the greatest Short Stop ever. Tony Gwynn never won a ring at all and many baseball enthusiasts will argue he is the purest, most natural hitter of our lifetime. But in the NFL, it’s all about the bling.
Brett Favre will always be in the conversation for the best QB ever, but despite his records, despite his 3 MVPs, most people still think Brady and Montana surpass him. Why? One ring. Jim Kelly led his team to four straight Super Bowls, a feat that in this era of parity, we will never see again. But he didn’t win a single one and he has a hard time breaking a lot of people’s Top Ten. Poor Dan Marino would be the greatest QB ever if he could have just gotten a few Super Bowls. Drew Brees has some of the most insane numbers any QB has ever put up since he joined the Saints and he’s not even in the Top Ten conversation despite his statistics showing otherwise. Why? One ring. One ring is the same amount that Brad Johnson, Trent Dilfer, Jeff Hostetler, and Jim McMahon have. No offense to those guys, but they are not even in a top 50 conversation.
Two or more rings, though, and all these crazy conversations start. Is Eli Manning elite? Seriously? This guy has two good drives in his life and people start anointing him better than his brother. Come on, people. This is why Peyton Manning needs to win. If he holds up that trophy tonight, not only will one of my good friends, Jay Scott, be thrilled, but Peyton Manning will solidify himself as the Greatest Quarterback of All-Time. It can be supported by opinion, it can be supported by rings, and it can be supported by FACTS. Let’s look at the facts, folks, and stack him up against the other people in the Greatest QB ever argument.
Who is in the argument? Brett Favre, based on rings is eliminated. Dan Marino, who was deprived of any rings, is also out. Bart Starr is hands down a Top Ten QB based on his winning pedigree, but he doesn’t have the numbers to compete, so cross him off. So, for me, that leaves Johnny Unitas, Tom Brady, Joe Montana, and John Elway in the hunt with Peyton for the best ever. Well, last night, while Syracuse was beating Duke to become number one in the land, Peyton took home his fifth MVP. That’s two more than anyone else has ever had and four less than the others in this conversation had combined (Unitas has 3, Montana has 3, Brady has 2, and Elway has 1).
Montana and Brady are in the argument because of how they played in the post season and especially the big game. So despite the fact that if Peyton wins his second ring tonight they will still have one more ring, I still think Peyton will best them. Why? In my opinion, all you need are rings. It doesn’t matter if it’s 2 or 3. Want proof? Terry Bradshaw has four rings and even a drunken Steeler fan knows he’s not the GOAT. So after that, we look at statistics, and Peyton dwarfs them all.
Manning: 64,964 yards at a 65.5% rate, 491 TDs, 219 Ints, 97 QB Rating
Elway: 51,485 yards at a 56.9% rate, 300 TDs, 226 Ints, 79.9% QB Rating
Brady: 49,159 yards at a 63.4% rate, 359 TDs, 134 Ints, 95.7 QB Rating
Montana: 40,551 yards at 63.2% rate, 273 TDs, 139 Ints, 92.3 QB Rating
Unitas: 40,239 yards at 54.6% rate, 290 TDs, 253 Ints, 78.2 QB Rating
(Johnny U only has one Super Bowl ring, but he has two pre-Super Bowl NFL Championships so he is allowed in the conversation)
You can see it’s not even close. If you do happen to be a statistics guy and want to argue Favre, you have a good case… right now. If Peyton’s neck is ok and he gets clearance to return, he will break Favre’s records. The only reason there is even a Greatest QB of All-Time conversation is because of Manning’s post season record and lack of rings. Tonight he can change all of that. Tonight he can cement himself as the greatest of all time.
Well, folks, it’s that time for me to cool off. Enjoy your Super Bowl parties and to my people in the service industry stuck working, make that money. Let’s go Broncos, and remember: CUSE IS NUMBER ONE!!!
For those of you that are unaware, this Sunday is Pooch’s birthday. He is one of my oldest friends, both in age (he’s one month older than me) and amount of time I have known him. What you are aware of, I’m sure, is that this Sunday is also Super Bowl XLVIII. The Peyton Manning led Broncos take on Richard Sherman’s Legion of Boom and the Seahawks for football supremacy. The question everyone wants to know the answer to is: Who will win?
The truth is, folks, I have no idea. No one does. When I was a kid and all the way throughout college, I remember the Super Bowl was terribly boring. Almost every time the team that was clearly better would not only win, but romp their opponent. Then, the millennium switched over, Tom Brady became a QB, the Patriots somehow beat the Rams, and the Super Bowls have been pretty great ever since. The Buccaneers have a ring. No one gave the 2007 Giants a chance, but they won. The Arizona Cardinals were mere seconds away from stealing a Super Bowl from the All-Time Winningest Super Bowl team. That’s the beauty of what the Super Bowl has become.
That being said, it sure is fun trying to predict the outcome. I invited the members of The Thread to chime in with their predictions to give you, dear reader, some variety. If you are unaware of whom The Thread is, scroll up top to my Shout Outs and read up. Go ahead, I will be right here waiting for you to get back.
Ok, so now that we are acquainted, let me give you the background. I wanted to have a few expert opinions to go along with mine. The easiest group to get, and get fast, was The Thread. The best part about these guys is knowing how to address a question, because if you ask the right question, the debate will last for three hours. So, once they all gave me their scores and MVPs, I asked them to tell me why they chose the outcomes they did in one sentence. Sure enough, hundreds of texts messages later, arguing about the weather, defenses, and Wes Welker, some interesting side bets were made. These side bets led to trash talking about our soccer teams, which led to more side bets. Then finally, I got the sentence I needed.
THE THREAD’S SUPER BOWL XLVIII SUPER BOWL PREDICTIONS
SperrySeahawks win 29-20
Why: “A “struggling” Seattle defense put up 23 points against a Top 5 defense in the 49ers. A record setting Denver offense put up 26 points against a mediocre Talib-less Patriots defense. Combine this with weather expectations that favor Seattle’s number one overall defense, and you have a recipe for another Manning let down. Records are great, but they don’t get you rings. Just ask Marino how nice his records look next to Flacco’s ring.”
MVPs: Marshawn Lynch and Earl Thomas III
Saucy TBroncos win 26-17
Why: “Wes Welker will be the difference maker in Peyton’s 2nd Super Bowl win.” Saucy T also mentioned he thinks Peyton grabbing the second trophy will cement him as the best ever.
MVP: Knowshown Moreno
Nomi the GreekSeahawks win 24-20
Why: “In this era of ultimate offenses, an extremely cold weather Super Bowl with a very good chance of frozen precipitation is why the Seattle defense will win this fairly low scoring game.”
MVP: Marshawn Lynch
The Englishman27-13 Broncos
Why: “It’s about timing, and Sunday is Peyton’s time.”
MVP: Peyton Manning
Kid RobotBroncos 35-27
Why: “The legion of doom has 13 members, the Legion of Boom only has 4 members. Seattle needs to start recruiting more players to the Legion of Boom because Peyton will shred them alive, regardless of the weather. P.S. Eli gave his brother some tips about playing in MetLife Stadium… Peyton’s experience > Seattle’s arrogant D.”
MVP: Peyton Manning, 320 yards and 4 TDs
So, if my guys picks are correct, there is a slight edge to the Broncos. I know what you’re wondering, folks. What does The Wayniac think? Thing is, I agree with pretty much all of what they have said. So who will win Super Bowl XLVIII?
Why the Seahawks can win: The Legion of Boom and Marshawn Lynch.
They are arrogant, they are cocky, and they have Richard Sherman as their clear cut leader. The Seahawks defense is the best at what they do and have earned the swagger with which they strut. Sherman and Earl Thomas were both First Team All-Pro defensive backs and Kam Chancellor snuck in on Second Team secondary. While the front seven puts intense pressure on the QB, the Legion of Boom will cause turnovers, as evidenced by their league leading 28 picks.
On the other side of the ball is Beast Mode. There is no other player in the NFL who wants one yard more than Marshawn Lynch. Gaining those first downs will keep the Seahawks on the field and Peyton Manning off of it.
Throw in the weather conditions (now projecting at 19 degrees at kickoff) and you have pretty good conditions for a defensive, run-oriented team to dominate. Why the Broncos can win: Peyton Manning.
Defense wins championships, and in this championship bout we get to see the #1 defense in the NFL. The problem is, they are not just squaring off against the #1 offense this season, but arguably the best offense of all time, at least statistically speaking: 4 wide receivers with double digit touchdowns, a running back with 10 more on the ground and three through the air, and then there is Peyton Manning. We know his numbers by now. It was historical. I think there is some extra motivation behind Manning’s season. Saucy T hit it on the head. If Manning wins this Super Bowl, he has two rings, and in the NFL to be the “greatest” you have to have the hardware. Until now, Manning always knew that if they should lose in the playoffs, then there was always next year. He always made the playoffs. Now he’s older, and he is going for that neck scope. There may not be a tomorrow for #18. Imagine playing against a Peyton Manning that needs to win, a Peyton Manning with his back against the wall, a Peyton Manning who fears that this is it? That’s a scary thought. I think it gives the Broncos the edge. Throw the cold weather career stats out the window because this is a different breed of team. The WayniacBroncos win 21-17 Peyton Manning takes home the MVP.
Well, folks, I don’t need to cool down this week. I’m snowed in and everything inside 285 in Atlanta is a parking lot. Please be safe out there my fellow ATLiens. Hoping we all safely get through this.