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Super Bowl Key Matchups

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The Super Bowl is almost here and it’s time to start breaking down the game.  To do that I’m looking at some key matchups that I’ll be watching closely on Sunday that will help determine who will raise the Lombardi Trophy.

Robert Mathis vs. Jon Stinchcomb

With Dwight Freeney looking unlikely to play, or at least not a full compliment on snaps, the attention shifts to other side of the line where Jon Stinchcomb will battle with Robert Mathis.  Mathis may play second fiddle to Freeney, but he is a man to be reckon with.  He was a Pro Bowler this year and has recorded 20 sacks over the past two years.  Stinchcomb was a Pro Bowler this year as well and this should be a great battle to watch.  The Saints may even decide to double Mathis because of the absence of Freneey.  Or if Stinchcomb can handle Mathis himself, they can send an extra receiver out on a pass and have four or five guys running routes instead of three or four.

Marques Colston vs Jacob Lacey

Expect the Saints to try and exploit this matchup as much as they can on Sunday.  Colston will look to rebound after coming off a poor NFC Championship Game, which saw him catch only one pass for 22 yards.  Lucky for him, he will be lining up against the undrafted Lacey.  Lacey has played admirably for an undrafted free agent, but this task is a tall order.  Colston will have a huge height advantage, 6-4 over Lacey’s 5-10 stature.  Playing against Braylon Edwards in the AFC Championship game Lacey was beaten for a 80 yard touchdown. Continue reading

Top 10 Super Bowl Plays

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Were kicking off Super Bowl Week with the top 10 plays of all time from previous Super Bowls.

This is just the start of a full week of coverage on the big game so come back every day to see something new.

We kick of the countdown with #10:

10. Leon Lett Showboats

Super Bowl XXVII: Dallas was routing Buffalo when Leon Lett recovered a fumble and was about to add to that lead.  Then seemingly out of nowhere, Don Beebe knocked the ball out of Lett’s hand just before he crossed the goal line and the ball goes out of bounds in the end zone resulting in a touch back.  The Bills still lost, but that play remains the best hustle play of all time.

9. Adam Vinatieri’s Clutch Kick

Super Bowl XXXVI: The Rams had just tied the game at 17 leaving the Patriots one last drive to try and win it.  Instead of taking their chances in overtime, like commentator John Madden recommended, the Patriots went for the win.  Tom Brady led the Pats down the field into Rams territory which set up a 48 yard field goal for Vinatieri.  Vinatieri split the uprights as time expired and the Pats celebrated their first of what would be three championships.

8. “70 Chip”

Super Bowl XVII: The Redskins are down 17-13 to the Dolphins with 10:10 remaining and are facing fourth and one the Dolphin’s 43 yard line.  Joe Gibbs decided to go for it and called “70 Chip,” the team’s bread and butter.  John Riggins took the hand off, broke free of Don McNeal and raced to the end zone.  The Redskins prevailed 27-17.

7. Marcus Allen’s Electrifying Run

Super Bowl XVIII: Allen took a pitch from quarterback Jim Plunkett and was met with a wave of Redskin defenders.  He then reversed fields and ran 74 yards for a touchdown.  The Raiders won 38-9 and Allen was named MVP running for 191 yards.

Continue reading

Senior Bowl Stock Watch

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The Senior Bowl marks the official start of draft season.  We’ve seen the first of many battles between Todd McShay and Mel Kiper on Sportscenter, which are sure to get even more heated as we get closer to the draft.

A side note here.  How much do you think Mel Kiper Todd McShay hate each other?  Every time they have a debate it turns into each of them yelling at each other like they just insulted the other one’s mom.  You can see the disgust on their faces as McShay just wants to scrub all that moose out of Kiper’s hair and Kiper is furious that this baby faced, little squirt is trying to and eventually going to take his job.  Personally, I love it.  It’s made the draft a lot more entertaining the past couple years.

Anyway, this past week, many of the nations top prospects took the field in Mobile, Alabama looking to up their draft stock.  Some players succeeded and some fell flat flat on their face.  Here’s a breakdown on how they fared:

Stock Up:

Myron Rolle, S, Florida State

If not for Tebow’s presence, Rolle may have been the story of the Senior Bowl.  The former Seminole was studying at Oxford this past year as a Rhodes Scholar, but you never would have know that by watching him.  He was in excellent shape and as the week progressed he started to get back into the groove of playing football.  The talented safety should go off the board in the first three rounds.

Brandon Graham, DE/OLB, Michigan

After measuring in at only 6-1, the week didn’t start off well for Graham.  Though when he stepped on the field, all seemed to be forgotten.  He showed gret pass rushing ability and could fit in either a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme.  In the actual game, Graham recorded two sacks and a forced fumble, earning him MVP.

Dexter McCluster, RB/WR

McCluster may not possess the size to be an every down back in the NFL as he’s  just a shade under 5-8, but he showed he can be a valuable weapon on any team.  He showed off his versatility lining up at running back, in the slot, and returning kicks.  The explosive back has vaulted himself up draft boards and may come off in the second round.

Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State

Wilson was the most impressive corner back down in Mobile.  He excelled in both press and off man coverage, shutting down any receiver that he guarded.  He isn’t the fastest corner back though, and his forty time at the combine will be a big determinant in where he ultimately goes.

Mike Iupati, G, Idaho

The question heading into last week was how Iupati would face against upper level competition.  Well, he erased the scouts doubt and then some.  He was dominant in line drills and showed the versatility to play multiple line positions.  He looks like a sure fire first rounder and could go in the top half.

Stock Down:

Tim Tebow

The most talked about player at the Senior Bowl had a week he’d like to forget.  It started out with strep throat and it didn’t get better from there.  He struggled taking snaps from under center and showed poor throwing mechanics including an elongated release.  He was mercifully ripped all week long by Todd McShay on Sportscenter.  His struggles continued in the game where he fumbled twice and threw for only 50 throws on 12 attempts, a 4.2 yards per attempt average. Continue reading

CBS Rejects Super Bowl Ad

CBS has rejected a Super Bowl ad, but it’s not the you think it’d be.

CBS has given the green light to a pro-life ad featuring Tim Tebow and his mother.

However, they nixed an ad by a the gay dating website mancrunch.com.  The ad features two men, whose hands touch in a chip which leads to them making out though they show no mouth to mouth contact.  The video is below:

Now, it doesn’t seem fair that CBS would air the Tebow ad, but not this one.

All I’m saying is that CBS should be consistent.  Either allow both ads to air or don’t allow either.  By airing one over the other they are are sending the wrong message.

NFL Pro Bowl is a Joke

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On the final day of this month, the NFL Pro Bowl will take place in Sun Life Stadium in Miami, exactly one week before the Super Bowl. It is the first time in the history of the League the Pro Bowl will be played before the championship game, and is also the first time the game has been played outside of Hawaii since 1979.

The change in game-time is an attempt by Commissioner Roger Goodell to strengthen the game, a typically unpopular and rarely watched event. The usual week-after-the-Super-Bowl date would have pitted the game against the NBA All-Star game, the Daytona 500, and the Winter Olympics.

While its current January 31st air-date does conflict with the 52nd Grammy Awards, the assumed target audiences aren’t likely to overlap to the same degree as the three major sports events in February would.

Regardless of the potential broadcasting conflicts, it is fairly obvious to all followers of the NFL that the true intention of the switch is to generate more fan interest in the least popular of sports all-star games.

The thing about all-star games is this; they’re stupid.

They’re worthless, meaningless displays of star-power void of any effort, rarely memorable, and heavily influenced by foolish fan voting.

The Pro Bowl, meanwhile, is the poorest of them all. It is the only major sport all-star game that takes place at the end of the season, rather than in the middle. It occurs at a time when the average fan has already mentally checked-out of football season, perhaps not even thinking about their team until, at the earliest, the NFL Draft in April.

So, in an attempt to peak interest (and simultaneously make more dollars) the NFL has moved its laughing stock of an all-star game to the week before the Super Bowl, hoping that since the season hasn’t officially ended yet, the fans will for some reason give a damn.

Commissioner Roger Goodell is making the incorrect assumption that since the game now takes place BEFORE the season concludes, fan interest will suddenly skyrocket. He believes the Pro Bowls lack of popularity can be changed simply by a week.

Forget for a second that the change in game-time prevents any pro-bowler from the Super Bowl teams to participate in the match. Forget that 14 pro-bowl worthy players are unable to accept the “honor” because their team is still alive. Forget that the Conference Championship losing coachs are also being restricted from accepting the privilege usually bestowed upon them.

Forget about the players. Forget about the coaches. Think about the fans.

For the fans of 30 teams, the 2009 season is over. Hopes, dreams, and optimism have all gone away. Even the fans of teams who took positive steps towards improvement this year are bitten by the reality that their beloved franchises won’t suit-up for anything meaningful till the start of September.

And yet here they are, all of our teams best players, running around, making big plays, laughing, smiling, joking around with each other, having a ball. It’s devastating to watch. Continue reading

Brett Favre Blows It, Throws Another Interception

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With the game in the hands of Brett Favre, the old gunslinger did what he does best: throwing it across his body into the middle of the field where it predictably intercepted.  The Saints ran out the clock, won the toss and Favre never touched the ball again.

But hey, he was just trying to make a play out there just like he did when he was kid growing up in Mississippi.

Unfortunately some fans didn’t take the interception that well.

This Vikings fan probably cried himself to sleep last night:

This guy isn’t even a Vikings fan.  He’s a Redskins fan, he had enough to be upset about this year, and even he couldn’t take it:

Continue reading

Divisional Round Wrap Up and Championship Game Picks

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The three home teams and the f**king Jets.

Those words are courtesy of Rex Ryan.

And with that the final four is set.

It was another rather dull weekend of football with the only good game being the late Sunday afternoon affair once again.

But we still have the “best Sunday of football” to look forward too.  Hopefully it’s better than the “best weekend of football” was because I just might lose it if both games are blowouts and I have to suffer through countless AT&T commercials starring a rather pudgy Luke Wilson, whose still waiting to get the call to be in Legally Blond 3.

Before we talk about next weeks games we should look back at the week that was.

Saints 45 Cardinals 14

The loss for the Cardinals could be the last game Kurt Warner ever plays.  If he does hang them up – which it looks like he will – it will end one of the most interesting careers.  To go from stocking shelves to Super Bowl MVP to being benched and then back to the Super Bowl is quite an accomplishment.  He definitely deserves to be in the Hall of Fame and I might even call him a first ballot Hall of Famer.  He led two lowly franchises to Super Bowls, winning one, and owns a career 9-4 postseason record along with many other records.

The Cards will also likely trade Anquan Boldin after seeing that they have capable replacements in Steve Breaston and Early Doucet.  While his loss won’t sting as much as Warner’s, the Cards may come crashing back to earth next season led by Matt Leinart.

Hey 49ers, find a quarterback in the off season and pathch up some holes on the o-line and you should make the playoffs for the first time since 2002.

Colts 20 Ravens 3

One of the more boring playoff games in recent memory.  Even when it was still 3-3 in the second quarter, you still knew there was no way Baltimore was winning that game.  Their offense was dreadful and it was only a matter of time before Peyton made his move.

After this game the mood of the locker room was retirement as well as Derrick Mason expressed doubt about his future.  Hey, it looks like Baltimore and Arizona could make a deal.  How does a second rounder for Anquan Boldin sound?  Which teams says no?

Also somewhat surprisingly Ed Reed said he was 50-50 about coming back.  Don’t read too much into that as he was just frustrated over the loss.  Maybe if he stopped turning it over after he forces a turnover the Ravens might still be playing.

Minnesota 34 Dallas 3

What was suppose to be the game of the week turned into the biggest blowout of the weekend.  The Vikings harassed Tony Romo all game long never giving him a chance to make something happen.

Maybe things would have been different if he would have gotten some help from his $45 million receiver, Roy Williams, who was too busy counting his money to actually catch a pass.

I have to agree with Kieth Brooking to an extent for calling the Vikings out on running up the score.  I didn’t mind that they went for it so much, but the fact that they passed it didn’t sit well with me.  Just run the ball and see what happens.

Jets 17 Chargers 14

Those Jets just won’t go away.  They’re now only one game away from the Super Bowl, where they haven’t been since Joe Namath was under center.

The defense bended but never broke holding the Chargers to virtually no big plays.  Add in some great o-line play and the fresh legs of Shonn Greene and the Jets got themselves a victory.  I wonder if Eric Weddle has recovered after getting bowled over by Shonn Greene on his td run.

For the Chargers they have plenty of people to blame for yet another postseason failure.

Nate Kaeding missed as many field goals during the game (3) as he did all regular season.  If I’m the Chargers I’m hoping he pulls a Mike Vanderjact and calls out Phillip Rivers and Norv Turner at the Pro Bowl so I have an excuse to cut him.  Even if he doesn’t he’s still got to go.  I don’t care how good he’s been in the regular season the kid cant kick in the clutch and he’s clearly rattled now.  Vanderjact was never the same kicker after he missed that kick against the Steelers in the 2005 playoffs and Kaeding looks headed down the same path.

Then you have Norv Turner.  Where to start with him?  How about with sticking with an over the hill L.T. and completely ignoring Darren Sproles.  Then at the end of the first half he got a few carries and did something with them and you thought ok he’s got it now.  But this is Norv were talking about and Sproles was nowhere to be seen as L.T. continuously ran into the line of scrimmage and got stuffed.   There’s also the onside kick at the end of the game.  If you kick it deep, we’ll say the Jets get the ball at the 25.  They run three plays don’t have enough for the first and punt because of where they are on the field.  Then the Chargers get the ball at the 35 with a minute and change left only needing a field goal.

But hey, what does Norv Turner get for this mess you might ask?  Well, his punishment was a three year extension.  Are you serious San Diego?  Yeah, it’d be hard to fire him after the season they had, but you didn’t have to give him an extension.  Does anybody actually believe Norv can lead the Chargers to a Super Bow?  Don’t forget Bill Cowher, a Super Bowl winning coach, is a free agent just waiting a good job and would hop at the opportunity to go to San Diego.  Maybe next year Chargers fan, but probably not.

Now let’s take a look at the two conference championship games on Sunday.

New York Jets @ Indianapolis Colts Continue reading