It wasn’t the most exciting Super Bowl ever. As a matter of fact, it really didn’t make the top 10 for me, which was disappointing considering the backstory. I had hoped, on one level, for the Pats to win so that both teams might meet one more time for a third, winner-takes-all match. As it was, the Giants showed that they are a deeper team with a better defense and that Eli Manning has long since overcome the comments on how he’s just a fair QB who’s gotten lucky as to where he’s gone. After all the articles and commentary about how defense doesn’t win championships, New York’s showed that while you don’t win a SB by yourself, the team with the better defense has a distinct advantage.
I made a few notes during the game on things that I thought might be of interest. The first was a tip of the chapeau to both teams on the composition of their lines and the way that they schemed their defenses. It was a chance to watch the various approaches of a 4-3 line on the Giants side (with appropriate hybrid fronts, just as the Patriots played off of theirs) and a 3-4 on the other, with Vince Wilfork seemingly having found the fountain of youth. He was a monster all playoff long, and I can’t stress enough that if you go back and watch his hand position, pad level, explosion and technique, you start to understand why he’s gotten better of late instead of weaker. He may not have the best stats in the league, but I’d go to war next to Chris Snee anytime and watching him fight with Vince Wilfork and the NE front seven is something that I’ll get a chance to go back and break down in still more detail, just for the fun of it.
The Gifted Young: Athlete An open letter from Kenny Powers to Tim Tebow
But the Gifted Young Athlete refuses to let the doubters $*&t in his Wheaties. To hell with science. The Gifted Young Athlete knows that he has something stronger. He has God on his side. So he presses on and keeps a good attitude, and every time he beats the odds in life he proves the experts wrong. Next thing you know, there are folks calling it a miracle. Maybe the Gifted Young Athlete is blessed by the Almighty, they say. Perhaps he really does have a f@#!ing angel on his shoulder.
And suddenly the experts don’t look like experts anymore. By now, our hero has upset a whole lot of people. There are those who simply don’t like the idea of a man being favored by God. They feel his special relationship with Jesus diminishes their own somehow. If Jesus loves the Gifted Young Athlete, what does he think of the rest of us? Bunch of a%$holes?
So the haters multiply, and soon the resentment reaches a boiling point. And that’s when the torches and pitchforks and long knives come out. Yes, the world is given a savior but they choose to crucify him instead. Who’d a thunk it? The same old f#$@in’ story.
Maybe that’s why Jesus likes us so much to begin with. He sees a little of himself in there.
America's Most Disliked Athletes
And for the ultimate 180 degree turnaround, look no further than Detroit Lions defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh. Just four months ago, Suh led Nielsen-EPoll’s survey of most liked players in the NFL. But his reputation took a sudden hit after a highly publicized stomping of a Green Bay Packer offensive guard during a nationally televised game on Thanksgiving Day. Suh got hit with a two-game suspension and bruised image.
“He went from being so popular to being a pariah in one season,” says Master. The good news for Suh is that he’s a young player who can shake off a mistake if he keeps it clean from now on.
Something tells me the last thing Ndamukong Suh thinks about in the morning is shaking off his image problem. Detroit loves this guy. He could murder Christian Ponder next season (and probably will) and it would not matter.
OCHOCINCO … NO MORE!
In the worst nickname-on-the-back-of-football-jerseys news since He Hate Me revealed that He Actually Fairly Indifferent Toward Me, New England Patriots wide receiver Chad Ochocinco, the man who wanted his nick on his back so badly he pulled an Ultimate Warrior and legally changed his name, will become Chad Johnson again soon.
Wonder if he'll have to pay the jersey companies anything. Then again, do they even bother making his jerseys anymore?
Ten-Point Stance: Peyton as a free agent still won't top Reggie circus
Look for Peyton Manning and Jim Irsay to meet within the next 48 hours—if they already haven’t done so secretly. Manning, I’m told, wanted some time to pass before meeting with Irsay so his brother could celebrate his championship in peace. Manning knows the minute he and Irsay meet, it’ll become public (mainly because Manning or his agent will leak their side of it).
Speaking of Peyton, everyone I speak to in the NFL—and I mean just about everyone—believes if Manning becomes a free agent, the Washington Redskins will sign him.
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Only a week after saying he'd be back with the Ravens in 2012, Ricky Williams announced his (second) retirement from the NFL yesterday; he attributed the decision to his own self-reflection after having received a text message from Bill Parcells which read, "Don't chase this thing too long. You can contribute in other ways."
The first time Williams retired was just days before the start of Dolphins training camp in 2004, when it was rumored he had had a third positive drug test and would be ineligible for the season anyway. After coming out of retirement in 2005 and playing that season for the Dolphins, Williams had another positive drug test and was suspended for the 2006 season, which he instead spent in the CFL with the Toronto Argonauts. Williams returned to the Dolphins the next year but suffered a season-ending injury during his first game back.
(Note: This is the second in
an Epic a mini ten-part series on the Worst Moves of 2011; We'll also be doing a ten-part mini on the Ten Best Moves of 2011. If you want to see #10: Trading Jabar Gaffney, click here.)
Social media--it's all the rage. Like a moth to a flame (or an illiterate with an eye piercing to a bag of K2), corporations are flinging themselves headlong into the space with little thought of the results of their actions. The recent McDonald's Chicken McNuggets Twitter disaster is just one example.
The Denver Broncos' foray into social media, while not a meltdown of epic proportions, was certainly fraught with its share of missteps. And that's why John Elway's venture into Twitter is #9 on our list of the Ten Worst Moves of 2011.
After the regime of Josh McDaniels, in which nothing was given, contact was limited to only one Napoleonic figure, and misinformation was as highly prized as the real McCoy, the Broncos felt like social media was an opportunity to reconnect with fans and present a kinder, gentler organization. In fact, Jim Saccomano, Vice President of
Kool-Aid Public Relations, tweeted in September of 2011: "Level of availability to press by coach Fox, John Elway, and personnel people unmatched in recent Denver seasons."
That sounds downright neighborly. And you can hardly blame the Broncos. McDaniels might have been headed down the path of Scott Pioli for all we know, and with Brian Xanders so afraid to express his desire to draft Clay Matthews, he might have gone into a shell.
Tebow-verkill: This Has Got To Stop, ESPN
But this Tim Tebow obsession you seem to have is starting to take on a life of its own, and I think it’s high time you re-evaluated whether you’re going to stay “ESPN, The Worldwide Leader in Sports,” or if you’re going to change to “TSPN, The Tebow-wide Tebow in Tebow.”
I was informed that tonight, at 10:30 Eastern, a SportsCenter Special will air titled “Tim Tebow: Face To Face.” That’s right, folks. Tim Tebow hasn’t been relevant to the NFL for about a month now, but we’re getting a SportsCenter Special to watch him talk to a geriatric in a short skirt.
It’s low-hanging fruit, and I get that. But your constant haranguing of the Tim Tebow story needs to take a few steps back and take a breath.
Sam's not joking. This really is happening, and it's called SPORTSCENTER SPECIAL: FACE TO FACE WITH TIM TEBOW. The first two TebowCenter specials took place on December 2 and January 12 (an unbearable 36-day wait between episodes), so at least the Worldwide Leader is stepping up their coverage of Tim just when the country needs it most.
New Bears QB coach has ties to Cutler
Jay Cutler has had a strained relationship with offensive coaches for the Chicago Bears, but Tuesday’s hiring of Jeremy Bates as the team’s quarterbacks coach gives him someone he’s worked closely with in the past.
Bates worked with Cutler in Denver and he will serve under new offensive coordinator Mike Tice. Bates was out of the NFL durng the 2011 season after working as the offensive coordinator under Pete Carroll for the Seattle Seahawks for one season.
It was only a matter of time before this bromance lost its status as a long distance relationship. IAOFM has procured a transcript of the text messages exchanged between JB and Cutty:
Cutler: PRW LOL
Cutler: K LMIRL?
Cutler: K QB COACH?
Bates: LOL K
Cuter: OMG 4 REAL?
(Dictionary: WU=What Up; NMU=Not much, you; PRW=Parents Watching; LMIRL=Lets meet in real life; TDTM=Talk dirty to me)
NFL announces 2012 draft order
Here is the order in which teams will select from April 26-28.
Since the Panthers and Dolphins had the same winning percentage and strength of schedule marks, there will be a coin flip at the NFL Combine to determine the order in which they pick. Same goes for the Chiefs and Seahawks.
As we already knew, the Broncos will be picking 25th overall come April. The Raiders' next choice will be in the sixth round of the 2016 Draft.*
* Actually, Oakland has picks in the fifth and sixth rounds of the 2012 Draft, plus third-, fourth-, sixth-, and seventh-rounders in 2013. Good luck with that, Dennis Allen!