SBJ got back into the driver’s seat last week. Maybe it was because I gave him an A- and not an A on his midseason report card, but he went 5-1 in those free picks for you. You got to love that. This week, he has to make a very difficult decision. Does he predict that The Wayniac’s Texans pull of the Monday Night Miracle… or does he lose his job? Only one way to find out!
What Bill Belichick is to cheating the NFL, Pete Carroll is to getting away with the worst calls ever. I remember the Tuesday after the infamous Fail Mary I wrote on Facebook that I may never be able to watch football again. I had seen bad calls in football, but none at the very end of the game that so severely influenced the outcome. Then came K.J. Wright.
Finally! The moment we have all been waiting for is here. It’s the return of Wayniac Nation after a three week hiatus! Well, that and the NFL Playoffs are here, which I suppose is equally as exciting.
It was an unbelievable season in the NFL that came right down to the final play as heading into week 17 only the New England Patriots knew their fate. My poor, poor Texans barely missed out on the last playoff spot as Joe Flacco woke up in the fourth quarter and locked up the final playoff spot for the Ravens. While the Texans head home with a 9-7 record, I still think J.J. Watt should be the league’s Most Valuable Player and Bill O’Brien should get some votes for Coach of the Year, although Bruce Arians should walk away with the award.
So, what can we expect from the 2014 playoffs? As we have learned in the past by the performances of annoyingly, terrible teams (I’m looking at you Eli Manning and the New York Giants), it’s not always the best team that wins, but the hottest. This year, the best and the hottest may be the same team.
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!!!
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.
It’s unreal. You think you have an awesome blog in the works. You think, Nothing can make me angrier at sports than what I just witnessed. But then, as a sports blogger, you jump on Twitter and Facebook to see what the world is saying and BAM! I have a new topic. So, I am putting my post Brady/ Manning V rant on hold, because I feel it my duty to the sports world to talk about the NFLs newest bad boy.
As long as he isn’t playing my Texans, Richard Sherman is my favorite player in the NFL. In one night, this classless thug out of Compton made himself his own corporation. He was both blasted and praised on Twitter and Facebook, talked about on every sports network, and defended by sports bloggers across the nation in less than twelve hours. If you didn’t know who Richard Sherman was last night, you sure do now.
None of this is new for Sherman. He called Roddy White an easy matchup, told Revis to pick up his game, and labeled Harbaugh a bully. He tweets and texts opposing players, and whether you’re the back up wide receiver or Tom “The Golden Boy” Brady, he’s going to tell it how it is. He is the new Terrell Owens. Instead of OchoCinco, we now have DosCinco. And much like his predecessors, he has the walk to back all the talk. Love them or hate them, these are the players people remember. Ten years from now, more people will remember Randy Moss than James Lofton or Tim Brown because there is more entertaining sound bytes from Randy than those two ever had.
And there is nothing wrong with playing the game as the likes of Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson do. They are two of the best at what they do and simply let their play do the talking. Tom Brady is from the Bellichek camp and never talks, but that isn’t what makes him better than Ryan Leaf. People want controversy, it makes them orgasm to have the opportunity to have a focal point of their rage. Richard Sherman gave everyone that last night.
If you don’t know by now, Richard Sherman is absolutely brilliant. He was salutatorian in high school, had a rumored 1400 score on his SATs, and earned a Communications degree from Stanford. On top of that, he was recruited by a one Pete Carroll, current mentor to The Legion of Boom, and while in high school, Sherman made Carroll, the coach of our nation’s best (and probably dirtiest) program amid a 34 game winning streak, wait over two hours to interview so he could finish an AP course. Yet because of his “antics”, because of his “trash talk”, he was labeled a classless thug.
Why? Because he is from Compton? Because he is a dumb jock who couldn’t possibly know what he was talking about? Because instead of saying the same watered down “I tip my cap to the Niners but this is just one game” garbage we always hear, he called out a guy he totally took to school and shut down possibly the most over rated QB in football?
Let me tell you what Richard Sherman is. He is an entertainer. He brought some life back into a game that the higher ups and union are trying to take away. He is a shut down, lights out defender who plays the game hard and extremely well. Oh yea, he also happened to save that game and put the Seahawks in the Super Bowl, which has been an after thought to his words. So, all of you people hating on him, stereotyping him, and trying to bring him down are just fueling the fire. And, folks, I can’t wait to see what he does next.
That being said, I totally think it’s Peyton Manning’s year and the Seahawks won’t win the Super Bowl, but man, are we in for a great two weeks.
Maybe it’s because my idols are Howard Stern and Frank Sinatra. Maybe it’s because, like those two, I don’t know how to keep me thoughts to myself. But I think Richard Sherman is an alright dude. I need to cool off. Till next time, maybe I will actually have the chance to tell you about my thoughts on Brady and Manning.