A battle for legacies will take place this Sunday in Indianapolis as the Patriots and Giants square off in Super Bowl XLVI. Full breakdown of all Super Bowl scenarios as well as the hiring of Brian Johnson as Utah’s next Offensive Coordinator on today’s show with special guests Anthony Dinwoodey Morris and John Wells Stevens.
Could this NFL season be any better? Honestly, what else could we ask for? We have witnessed the greatest offensive explosion in league history with transcendent play from three Hall of Fame quarterbacks while watching the rebirth of a storied franchise under the direction of what once was a “#1 Pick” bust and an up-and-coming coach (49ers) and one of the most exciting and divisive stories in the history of sports (Tim Tebow). My goodness. In addition to a full breakdown of past, present, and future NFL Playoff games, I also spend some time on the College National Championship game, Tim Tebow’s future, the current state of the NBA, and I certainly take a poke at the tackiness of Hank Haney’s upcoming book on Tiger Woods.
There has been a great deal of talk about the quality of quarterback play in the NFL this year. Oddly enough, much of that chatter has revolved around a player that plays the game in a very unconventional way somewhat taking away from three quarterbacks that are having one of the best seasons in NFL history.
Tom Brady – 4,593 yards, 66.2% Comp (351-530), 35 TD, 11 INT, 106.7 RAT
Drew Brees – 4,780 yards, 71.5% Comp (417-583), 37 TD, 11 INT, 109.1 RAT
Aaron Rodgers – 4,360 yards, 68.1 Comp (322-473), 40 TD, 6 INT, 120.1 RAT
My goodness. All three players are having transcendent years, and all three players have a chance to (Brady and Brees will absolutely get it) shatter Dan Marino’s 27 year old passing record for yards in a season (5,084 yards). Brees could very well break it with 304 yards or more this Sunday with one more game to play, and Brady and Rodgers have a great chance to do so the last week of the season if everything continues as it already has.
Of these three players, Rodgers has certainly received the most attention because of his unbelievably hot start and the full year undefeated streak of his Green Bay Packers. Many have said for weeks that he has already earned the league MVP this season. It is hard for me to debate such a thing when you see the yardage he has amassed and his other-worldly TD:INT ratio, but don’t you think it’s important for us to reference the weapons they all have access to? Don’t you think it’s important for us to measure not just their quality of play, but also the value (Most VALUABLE Player…get it…VALUABLE is part of the name of the award…) they bring to their team?
Rodgers clearly has the best talent around him with Jennings, James Jones, Jordy Nelson, Donald Driver, Randall Cobb, and Jermichael Finley. The success Brees experiences mostly comes because of the comfort level he enjoys with his receiving corps because of how long they’ve played together. He does have a new and very good security blanket in Joey Graham as well. And Tom Brady continues to primarily throw to a 5’9″ (probably 4.7 sec 40 speed….maybe) receiver that isn’t beating anyone with his athleticism, an obviously lost a step Deion Branch and Chad Ochocinco, and two tight ends that most of the league overlooked because of their less than overwhelming physical skills.
I’m by no means saying that Brady deserves the MVP over Brees and Rodgers, but hasn’t he carried the heaviest load of the three quarterbacks this year (mediocre running backs, horrendous defense)? Isn’t he the most valuable player to his specific team right now? Hasn’t he done the most with the least? The Patriots continue to be the Miami Heat of the NFL…each week you can tell that the team across the ball from them has prepared especially hard to stop them. That game is their Super Bowl, but Tom Brady continues to come out and carve up any type of secondary or blitz packages you throw at him. Young and Montana had Rice. Manning had Harrison and Wayne. Brady has had….Wes Welker?
Regardless of who wins the MVP, there are three incredibly deserving players, and we know we have a must watch postseason ahead of us. Picture this…Packers v. Patriots on the turf in Indianapolis…could it get any better than that?
The Green Bay Packers fell to the lowly Kansas City Chiefs yesterday, and it was the best thing that has ever happened to them.
From Day 1 of this season, the Pack has looked as good as any team in the history of football, but they started to show more and more holes as the season has progressed….bad running game, suspect offensive line, suspect passing D. We saw similar things down the stretch with the 2007 New England Patriots. They were smoking teams by multiple touchdowns, but after a near loss to the Ravens late in the year, teams started to figure out how to slow down their offense and put some points up on their slower, veteran defense. As they continued to win, you could feel the pressure mounting. Once you get to 18-0 and you’re in the Super Bowl, there’s no way that you can just treat it like it’s the “next game.” The Patriots ran into a buzz saw. The Giants had a phenomenal second half of the season, and the Patriots seemed tired and tight in that Super Bowl. They just didn’t look like the same team that put 50+ on the Bills in three quarters earlier in the season. They weren’t just trying to be the best team that year, they were playing to be the best team EVER, and it obviously got to them. If that Giants team and that Patriots team played ten times on a neutral field that year, the Pats probably win eight or nine times. They were that much better than everyone else, but a team can only take so much pressure before cracking.
We’ve seen this type of undefeated run a few other times in recent history…
2009 Indianapolis Colts – 14-0, lost last two games. Lost Super Bowl to New Orleans Saints.
1998 Denver Broncos – 13-0, lost two of their last three. Won Super Bowl.
2005 Indianapolis Colts – 13-0, lost two of their last three. Won Super Bowl.
2009 New Orleans Saints – 13-0, last three straight. Won Super Bowl.
2011 Green Bay Packers – 13-0, lost in Week 15…Super Bowl – TBD.
Do you see a pattern there? Every other team in this modern era that started the season 13-0 went on to win the Super Bowl. Would anyone care about the 72-10 Chicago Bulls if they had ended up losing in the Finals? We all know the answer to that question. As much as the regular season matters to these teams, I can assure you that Tom Brady would have loved to drop a game or two in the regular season in 2007 if it meant winning the Super Bowl that year.
There is something that happens psychologically and emotionally to these teams when perfection is at stake. As soon as that is off the table, teams have the time and the ability to play loose, just like they’re just another team that is part of the chase. They also have a chance to look internally to see what those teams did to beat them…what are their weaknesses, what are their strengths, what kind of gameplan works best. The Patriots played so well for so long in 2007 that they just kept doing the same thing knowing that it had worked so many times before, but like the Chiefs showed this last weekend, there are certain schemes and scenarios that can shut you down regardless of how much better your are than everyone else.
The Packers are the best team in football. As long as they can be healthy for the Super Bowl run they’ll be our world champions. And they’ll probably look back on this one week and realize how helpful it was for them to get healthy over the final three weeks, refocus on their gameplans, and remove all the pressure of playing for perfection.
John Wells Stevens lends his soothing voice to the program to discuss the glorious return of the NBA, the Packers quest to perfection, and the thrilling close to the college football season….and some brief commentary on the Robert Allenby v. Geoff Ogilvy upcoming cage match at Wrestle Mania.
Goodness gracious the NFL is having a great year. I feel like I can’t take my eyes off of a game even when the Jags, Chiefs, or Seahawks are involved. Anthony Dinwoodey Morris brings his unmatched expertise to discuss the NFL playoff picture, pick our favorite teams for the Super Bowl, and to discuss the tragic current state of the National Basketball Association.
As I sat down to think through who the five best teams in the NFL are today, the #1 team was super easy to decide upon. After that…not quite as clear…
1- Green Bay Packers (9-0) – This offense is filthy. The defense is good enough to make plays when plays need to be made. Their schedule down the stretch isn’t anything crazy (Tampa Bay, @Detroit, @NYG, Raiders, @Chiefs, Chicago, Detroit). They’ll handle TB and Detroit on the road, but at the Giants and the home game against the Bears are going to be tough. No question this is our Super Bowl favorite. And thank you for the thumbs up fist pound. Very refreshing.
2- San Francisco 49ers (8-1) – An overtime loss against a good team away from being undefeated. Each week shows that they’re more of a complete team than we all expected. They came out this last week against the Giants planning to throw the ball, basically just to put a middle finger out there so everyone knows that they can do more than run Frank Gore 35 times per game. This team could beat the Packers in a cold game at Green Bay in the playoffs. Tough games against Baltimore and Pittsburgh remain, but they also get Arizona and St. Louis twice by season end. Expect a first round bye.
3- New Orleans Saints (7-3) – Let’s just pretend like the loss to the Rams didn’t happen. Other than that disaster, the Saints have proven to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Brees looks as good as ever, and his dynamic backfield of Ingram, Sproles, and Thomas makes them even more dangerous. Sean Payton always makes me feel like he knows something that no one else does. They’ll win the NFC South.
4- New England Patriots (6-3) – Everyone made a big fuss after the Pats lost two straight (reminder – they lost on the road to a great Steelers team, and a close one to a pretty good Giants team and a surging Eli Manning…did I just say that?), and their only other loss came in dramatic fashion against the Bills when the Bills weren’t playing like they are now (at least Fitzpatrick’s beard is disgusting/awesome). Here’s the deal, the Pats have maybe the easiest schedule in football down the stretch (Chiefs, @Eagles, Colts, @Redskins, @Broncos, Dolphins, Bills) and we know this team can beat any team when the chips are on the table. This is my pick to come out of the AFC.
5- Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3) – After a 2-2 start, the Steelers have proved that they are just as good as they were last year. Impressive wins against the Bengals and the Patriots sandwiched a tough close loss to the division rival Ravens. Big Ben is proving that he can throw the ball to win them games now (How about him doing a pretty solid job in cleaning up his image? The guy has been a saint since he made an idiot of himself.). If they get Mendenhall running the ball well, this is going to be a really tough team to beat. They’ll edge out Baltimore and Cincinnati for the AFC North crown.
On the fence – Bears (slowly starting to prove that they’re the real deal), Ravens (one week they look like they’re the best team in football, the next…they lose to the lowly Seahawks or Jags), Giants (they’ll be lucky to make the playoffs with the schedule they have left), Texans (Matt Leinart as the starting QB?)
Twelve games this weekend in the NFL were decided by 7 points or less (hint…there were 16 games). The season is off to an electric start and there are no signs of a slow down. Can Tom Brady throw for 6000 yards (all-time record – Dan Marino, 5084 yards)? Can the Lions and Bills keep this up? Should the Eagles be worried about their slow start? Who are the five best teams in the league today? Nate Stevens makes his first appearance on the show to answer these questions and to confirm who has the most athletic body in the NFL today.
How badly do you want to win your fantasy football league? I think we all would basically do anything to get that leg up on our friends and co-workers. There is something unbelievably satisfying about feeling like you “know” and “understand” football better than someone you see on a regular basis. I won my one and only fantasy football title 10 years ago this year. I still feel like that championship validates me as a sports fan…and a man. Anthony Dinwoodey Morris, maybe one of the greatest fantasy players of all time, shares with us all of his secrets to success….well….almost all of them.
After being asked if God loves football, Jason Street responded that “everybody loves football”…we got to see the truth of that statement this week. The NFL lockout is officially over and a flurry of activity has followed. Reggie Bush to Miami, Ochocinco and Haynesworth to New England, Kolb to Arizona, V. Young cut, and so much more in just a few short days.
The Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps rivalry is heating up for the 2012 Olympic Games, Bob Bradley was fired today from his post as the head of U.S. Soccer, and I’m 99% positive that Stevie Williams wears nothing underneath his white jumpsuit at the Masters.
I really needed to get a few big topics off my chest so I went with a solo show…The Company Men, Friday Night Lights, The Bachelor, Carmelo Anthony, Tom Brady’s hair, Miami Heat, and Lance Armstrong just to name a few…Enjoy!