Tag Archives: Super Bowl

NFL Buckeyes (2017, Conference Championship)

Before the games kicked off on the field, a Buckeye lived a dream. 3-time New England Patriots Super Bowl Champion Mike Vrabel was named head coach of the Tennessee Titans. Vrabel spent 4-seasons on the Houston Texans staff and was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2017. He also spent three seasons on Ohio State’s defensive staff as linebackers coach and defensive line coach from 2011-2013.

More good Buckeyes news, Cam Heyward of the Pittsburgh Steelers was named to the Pro Bowl team as an alternate. He was originally snubbed from the game after having a career season that earned him an All-Pro selection. The game will be played in Orlando, January 28th.

The Super Bowl LII matchup is set. The New England Patriots will face the Philadelphia Eagles in Minneapolis at U.S. Bank Stadium on February 4th. These two teams met back in Super XXXIX in Jacksonville after the 2004 season. The Pats won 24-21. This will be the sixth time in NFL history that teams have met for a second time.

The New England Patriots came back from down 10 in the fourth quarter to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 24-20 in the AFC Championship game.

The Eagles blew out the Minnesota Vikings 38-7 in the NFC Championship game with a strong performance from the defense. Safety Malcolm Jenkins recorded 3 tackles. This will be Jenkins second trip to the Super Bowl. He won with the New Orleans Saints at Super Bowl XLIV. 

Advertisements

The Oakland Raiders Mt. Rushmore

“Just win baby!” That’s all the Raiders have done in their 55 seasons as a Pro Football franchise. Photo Credit: Coliseum.com

“Just win baby!” That’s the slogan that has defined the Raiders organization since 1960, their first season of play. In 55 seasons, between Oakland and Los Angeles and back to Oakland again, the Raiders have won 444 games, 3 Super Bowls (XI, XV, XVIII), an AFL Championship (1967), 4 Conference championships, 15 Division titles, and made the playoffs 21 times.

The Raiders have produced 17 Hall of Famers who have done a majority of their work in the Silver and Black. Four of them I have chosen to represent the “Black Hole” on their Mount Rushmore.

CRITERIA:

  • No owners, unless they were also coaches, and their place on this list is based on their contributions as coach. No General Managers or Personnel executives. Just those who directly affected the games on Sunday. I will make a separate list for those contributors soon.  Just for the record, Al Davis will be on my Mount Rushmore for owners for what he did for the Civil Rights Movement by helping African-American players get opportunities in Pro Football, and by refusing to play in cities where black players weren’t allowed to stay at the same hotel as their white teammates. As well as his role in the AFL-NFL merger.
  • Key contributors to the team’s history and success, not just fan favorites or box office draws.
  • Can you tell the franchise’s story without them? If no, they’re on the list.

John Madden (1969-1978) is more than the guy who’s name is on the cover of a popular video game, and the guy who has one of the most recognizable voices in sports broadcasting. He is the Raiders all-time leader in coaching victories (103) and delivered on owner Al Davis’ mantra with an AFC Championship (1976) and a Super Bowl title (XI). In his 10 seasons as head coach of the Raiders, he never had a losing season and was the youngest to reach 100 victories while leading the team to 6 AFC Championship games (5 consecutive 1972-1977). His combined regular season and playoff record (112-39-7) is the second highest win percentage in NFL history. Madden had a winning record against revered Hall of Fame coaches Tom Landry, Don Shula, Chuck Noll and Bud Grant. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006.

Marcus Allen (1982-1992) his career with the organization ended bitterly with owner Al Davis, but Allen’s name is littered across the team’s record books. He is still the team’s all-time leader in rushing yards (8,545), rushing touchdowns (79) and second in total touchdowns (98). In 1982 he won NFL Rookie of the Year, and followed that up by winning NFL MVP and Offensive Player of the Year in 1985 will with the team. A 3-time All-Pro and 5-time Pro Bowl selection with the team, he led the Raider’s to Super Bowl XVIII where he was named the game’s most valuable player. Allen holds NFL records for most consecutives seasons with a rushing touchdown (16), multiple rushing touchdowns (16) and multiple touchdowns (16). He is the first player to ever gain 10,000 rushing yards and 5,000 receiving yards in a career. In 1999 he was ranked 72nd on The Sporting News list of the 100 Greatest Football Players, and in 2010 he was ranked 85th on NFL.com’s “100 Greatest Players” list. Allen was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2003.

Tim Brown (1988-2003) had one of the most decorated careers in the game both in college and professionally. The 1987 Heisman Trophy Winner did not disappoint in Silver and Black. He is the team’s all-time leader in games (240) and seasons played (16), receptions (1,070), receiving yards (14,734), receiving touchdowns (99), total touchdowns (104), all-purpose yards (19,431), punt return yards (3,272) and punt returns for touchdowns (3).  He holds 8 NFL records. The 2015 Pro Football Hall of Famer could make the case for being the “Greatest Raider.” Hard to believe he wasn’t inducted on his first year eligible. I’m biased because I wore his jersey, number 81, in my first-year playing little league football for the Columbus (OH) Raiders in 1992.

Willie Brown (1967-1978) is remembered by most people under the age of 35 as the guy that was captured in the iconic NFL Films video intercepting a pass in Super Bowl XI and appeared to be running directly to the camera as he made his way to the end zone, for a then Super Bowl record 75-yard touchdown. Brown and the Raiders would go on to win that Super Bowl, he also was a member of the Raiders team that won the 1967 AFL Championship. A 2-time All-Pro and 2-time All-AFL selection with the team, he also was selected to 4 Pro Bowl’s and 3 AFL All-Star games. He finished his Raiders career tied for 1st in interceptions (39). He is a member of the AFL All-Time and NFL 1970’s All-Decade Teams. Brown was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1984, and in 1999 he was ranked 50th on The Sporting News’ list of the 100 Greatest Football Players. He was the highest player from the organization on the list. In 2010, NFL.com ranked him 66th on their “100 Greatest Players list.”

Raider Nation did I get it right? If not who would you have chosen? Jim Otto? Gene Upshaw? Jack Tatum? Ken Stabler? Or Howie Long? Let me know.

The Super Bowl Host Curse

The new football season brings new hope for 32 teams and their fans who believe this will be the year their team will add another Lombardi trophy to their case or in the case of thirteen teams, their first.

But I believe there is one fan base who shouldn’t get their hopes up to high, and it’s not the Cleveland Browns. It’s the San Francisco 49ers, the host team for the milestone Super Bowl 50.

In the history of the big game, teams that have hosted the Super Bowl are 0 and 30. And, since the 1993 season, when the NFL began playing the Super Bowl only at NFL stadiums, no host team has even played in the game.

Don’t believe in sports curses? Just look at the 2014 Arizona Cardinals, the most recent victim and host of Super Bowl XLIX.

The Cardinals lost their best defensive player and emotional team leader in defensive end Darnell Dockett for the season with a torn ACL in preseason. Sure the team went on to a league best start with a 9-1 record, losing their only game at defending AFC Champion Denver, no shame there. But, more key injuries kept coming. Quarterback Carson Palmer went down for the season with a season ending knee injury without being touched; his back up Drew Stanton, who was playing admirable in his absence, went down week 15 with a sprained MCL and ACL in his knee  and an infection from surgery kept him out of the playoffs. In all they used four quarterbacks, rookie Logan Thomas played a series at Denver and Ryan Lindley started in the playoff. Even though the Cardinals made the post season—which as you’ll read later hasn’t been easy for Super Bowl host teams—they lost 27-16 in an ugly turnover field game to the 7-8-1 Panthers.

The 49ers started the offseason ahead of the curse schedule. The constant conflict between head coach Jim Harbaugh and general manager Trent Baalke has been cited as to why Harbaugh left for Michigan to become the head coach at his struggling Alma Mater. All-Pro defensive cornerstones Patrick Willis and Justin Smith, along with Willis’ potential replacement, linebacker Chris Borland and offensive lineman Anthony Smith have retired. The franchise’s leading rusher Frank Gore and his Hall of Fame resume are now in Indianapolis with the Colts.

I could stop there, but, on August 6th, defensive end Aldon Smith was released by the team after being arrested on suspicion of DUI, hit and run, and vandalism.  There’s also this, they’ll be missing eight players who played over 600 snaps during the 2014 season. Mike Lupati, Perrish Cox, Chris Culliver, Michael Crabtree, Ray McDonald, Johnathan Martin along with the aforementioned Justin Smith and Frank Gore.

Meanwhile, starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who in the run to Super Bowl 47 looked like he was on the verge of redefining the position, has regressed worse than a new popular TV sitcom that gets cancelled before the end of its first season. I’m looking at you “Bad Judge” and “Mixology.”

I know you see the writing on the wall. No Super Bowl for you!

Still don’t believe this curse is real? Look at the result from just the past five host teams.

Super Bowl 48 hosts, the 2013 New York Giants and New York Jets. The Giants went 7-9 and began the season 0-6. The “G-Men” became the first team in NFL history to win a Super Bowl in year three of a five-year span, yet missed the playoffs the other four seasons. Adding insult to injury, two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning led the league in interceptions with 27 and added 7 fumbles.

The Jets went 8-8 and missed the Playoffs for the third consecutive season, this after competing in two consecutive AFC Championship games at the beginning of Rex Ryan’s tenure in 2009.

Super Bowl 47 hosts, the 2012 New Orleans Saints. “Bounty-gate”, the scandal from the 2009 season, was brought to light. Head coach Sean Payton, the architect of their high-powered offense that led to them to their only Super Bowl win at number XLIV, was suspended for the season for his role in the scandal. Veteran defensive leaders, defensive end Will Smith and linebacker Jonathan Vilma we’re suspended for significant time during the season. Anthony Hargrove and Scott Fujita, the other players suspended were already signed to other NFL teams. The end result, a 7-9 record and no playoffs.

Super Bowl 46 hosts, the 2011 Indianapolis Colts. Peyton Manning missed the entire season with a neck injury. It was the first time the “Sheriff” ever missed a game. Before that season he played in 227 consecutive games, second only to Brett Favre’s 297. I don’t need to say more, but I will. The team went on to have a 2-14 record, losing their first 13, and got the number one pick to select Andrew Luck. So, I guess it wasn’t all bad. One more thing, Peyton’s little brother won his second Super Bowl in Peyton’s house. That had to sting a little.

Super Bowl 45 hosts, the 2010 Dallas Cowboys. Year two in “Jerry’s World” was a step back. After winning the NFC East in the previous season, the Cowboys went 6-10 in 2010 and missed the playoffs. At one point they were 1-7, which led to the firing of head coach Wade Phillips and paved the way for the new man in charge Jason Garrett.

Super Bowl 44 hosts, the 2009 Miami Dolphins. The ‘Phins went 7-9 and missed the playoffs after going 11-5 and winning the AFC East title the season before.

Super Bowl 43 hosts, the 2008 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Buccaneers went 9-7 and missed the playoffs one season after winning the NFC South Division title. Head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Bruce Allen were surprisingly fired at the end of the season.

Super Bowl 42 hosts, the 2007 Arizona Cardinals. The Cards went 8-8 and missed the playoffs by one game. Two of their loses came to the 5-11 San Francisco 49ers. The Cardinals finished 2nd for the NFC West title. The injury bug hit them as well. 2006 Top 10 draft pick quarterback Matt Leinart, the team’s hope to be a franchise player, went down midseason with a fractured collarbone; the injury paved the way for former NFL and Super Bowl Most Valuable Player quarterback Kurt Warner’s career revival.

In a weird twist, the injury propelled the 2008 team to their first and only Super Bowl appearance the next season in Tampa Bay. They lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-23 in one of the most dramatic Super Bowl’s in recent history.

Want to know how a few of the other hosts fared?

SB VIII hosts: 1973 Houston Oilers finished 1-13 for the second consecutive season and missed the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season.

SB XVI hosts: 1981 Detroit Lions finished 8-8 and missed playoffs.

SB XVIII hosts: 1983 Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished 2-14, missed playoffs and lost quarterback Doug Williams to the USFL after team couldn’t come to terms on a contract. Williams later became the first African-American quarterback to win a Super Bowl and the MVP with Washington.

SB XXII hosts: 1987 San Diego Chargers finished 8-7 and missed the playoffs after starting the season 8-1. Hall of Fame cornerstones, quarterback Dan Fouts and tight end Kellen Winslow retired after the season.

SB XXV hosts: 1990 Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished 6-10 and missed playoffs after starting the season 4-2.

SB XXVI hosts: 1991 Minnesota Vikings finished 8-8 and missed playoffs. This was the season their first and second round picks were made by the Dallas Cowboys as part of the Herschel Walker trade in 1989. One pick was wide receiver Alvin Harper, who helped the Cowboys win two Super Bowl titles in the 1990’s. Vikings head coach Jerry Burns retired at the end of the season.

SB XXVIII hosts: 1993 Atlanta Falcons finished 6-10 and lost future Hall of Famer Deion Sanders to free agency.

SB XXX hosts: 1995 Arizona Cardinals finished 4-12 and missed playoffs after winning 8 games the previous season.

SB XXXII hosts: 1997 San Diego Chargers finished 4-12, missed playoffs and had 4 less wins than the year before.

SB XXXIV hosts: 1999 Atlanta Falcons finished 5-11 just one season after making the Super Bowl.

SB XXXV hosts: 2000 Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished 10-6, but fell to the #5 seed after losing the NFC Central Title, and a first round bye in the final game of the season in overtime to the Green Bay Packers. The Bucs lost in NFC Wild Card round 21-3.

SB XXXVII hosts: 2002 San Diego Chargers finished 8-8 and missed playoffs after starting the season 4-0 and were 6-2 midseason.

SB XXXVIII hosts: 2003 Houston Texans finished 5-11 and missed playoffs.

SB XXXIX hosts: 2004 Jacksonville Jaguars finished 9-7 and missed playoffs.

SB XL hosts: 2005 Detroit Lions finished 5-11 and missed playoffs.

If the Niner fans are looking for any good omen to break this curse, they are the only franchise to play in a Super Bowl when it was played in their region. The 1984 49ers won Super Bowl XIX 38-16 over the Miami Dolphins at Stanford Stadium on the University of Stanford’s campus. The only other team to come close, the Los Angeles Rams lost Super Bowl XIV 19-31 to the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, rather than their home stadium the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

 

The Super Bowl Host Curse is REAL!

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/d90/35069605/files/2014/12/img_2952.png

I get that if you’re a fan of the Patriots you just want to keep celebrating your team winning its 4th Lombardi trophy until a new champ is crowned. But, as the 2015 NFL Free Agency period kickoffs, I’ll take this opportunity to look forward to Super Bowl 50. Why? Because I know who won’t be playing in or winning the game.

The San Francisco 49ers. You know why? Levi Stadium, their brand new home field, is the host of Super Bowl 50.

In the history of the big game, teams that have hosted the Super Bowl are 0 and 30. And, since the 1993 season, when the NFL began playing the Super Bowl only at NFL teams stadiums, no host team has even played in the game.

Don’t believe in sports curses? Just look at the 2014 Arizona Cardinals, the most recent victim and host of Super Bowl XLIX.

The Cardinals lost their best defensive player and emotional team leader in defensive end Darnell Dockett for the season with a torn ACL in preseason. Sure the team went on to a league best start with a 9-1 record, losing their only game at defending AFC Champion Denver, no shame there. But, more key injuries kept coming. Quarterback Carson Palmer went down for the season with a season ending knee injury without being touched; his back up Drew Stanton, who was playing admirable in his absence, went down week 15 with a sprained MCL and ACL in his knee, and an infection from surgery kept him out of the playoffs. In all they used four quarterbacks, rookie Logan Thomas–played a series at Denver–and Ryan Lindley started in the playoff. Even though the Cardinals made the post season—which as you’ll read later hasn’t been easy for Super Bowl host teams—they lost 27-16 in an ugly turnover field game to the 7-8-1 Panthers.

The 49ers are already ahead of schedule. The constant conflict between head coach Jim Harbaugh and general manager Trent Baalke has been cited as to why Harbaugh left for Michigan to become the head coach at his struggling Alma Mater. The new twists are the reports that All-Pro defensive cornerstones Patrick Willis and Justin Smith are unexpectedly preparing to retire (UPDATE 6/8/15: Patrick Willis, Justin Smith, Linebacker Chris Borland and Offensive lineman Anthony Smith have retired). Add to those loses franchise leading rusher Frank Gore, who is preparing to take his potential Hall of Fame resume elsewhere.

Meanwhile, franchise starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who in the run to Super Bowl 47 looked like he was on the verge of redefining the position, has regressed worse than a new popular TV sitcom that gets cancelled before the end of its first season. I’m looking at you “Bad Judge” and “Mixology.” Now there are rumors the team is exploring options to trade him.

Mix all that in with the fact we still haven’t seen All-Pro linebacker Navarro Bowman return from the ugly knee injury he suffered in the 2014 NFC Title game against Seattle and I’m not even going to get into the laundry list of free agents they’re expected to lose one of which is Kaepernick’s favorite target, wide receiver Michael Crabtree. I know you see the writing on the wall. No Super Bowl for you!

Still don’t believe this curse is real? look at the result from just the past five host teams.

Super Bowl 48 host, the 2013 New York Giants and New York Jets. The Giants went 7-9 and began the season 0-6. The G-Men became the first team in NFL history to win a Super Bowl in year three of a five-year span, yet missed the playoffs the other four seasons. Adding insult to injury, two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning led the league in interceptions with 27 and added 7 fumbles.

The Jets went 8-8 and missed the Playoffs for the third consecutive season, this after competing in two AFC Championship games in a row at the beginning of Rex Ryan’s tenure in 2009 and 2010.

Super Bowl 47 host, the 2012 New Orleans Saints. “Bounty-gate”, the scandal from the 2009 season, was brought to light. Head coach Sean Payton, the architect of their high-powered offense that led to them to their only Super Bowl win at number XLIV, was suspended for the season for his role in the scandal. Veteran defensive leaders defensive end Will Smith and linebacker Jonathan Vilma we’re suspend for significant time during the season. Anthony Hargrove and Scott Fujita, the other players suspended were already signed to other NFL teams. The end result, a 7-9 record and no playoffs.

Super Bowl 46 host, the 2011 Indianapolis Colts.  Peyton Manning missed the entire season with a neck injury. It was the first time the “Sheriff” ever missed a game. Before that season he played in 227 consecutive games, second only to Brett Favre’s 297. I don’t need to say more, but I will. The team went on to have a 2-14 record, losing their first 13, and got the number one pick to select Andrew Luck. So, I guess it wasn’t all bad. One more thing, Peyton’s little brother won his second Super Bowl in Peyton’s house. That had to sting a little.

Super Bowl 45, the 2010 Dallas Cowboys. Year two in “Jerry’s World” was a step back. After winning the NFC East in the previous season, the Cowboys went 6-10 in 2010 and missed the playoffs. At one point they were 1-7, which led to the firing of head coach Wade Phillips and paved the way for the new man in charge Jason Garrett.

Super Bowl 44 host, the 2009 Miami Dolphins. The ‘Phins went 7-9 and missed the playoffs after going 11-5 and winning the AFC East title the season before.

Super Bowl 43 host, the 2008 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Buccaneers went 9-7 and missed the playoffs one season after winning the NFC South Division title. Head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Bruce Allen were surprisingly fired at the end of the season.

Super Bowl 42 host, the 2007 Arizona Cardinals. The Cards went 8-8 and missed the playoffs by one game. Two of their loses came to the 5-11 San Francisco 49ers. The Cardinals finished 2nd for the NFC West title. The injury bug hit them as well. 2006 Top 10 draft pick quarterback Matt Leinart, the team’s hope to be a franchise player, went down midseason with a fractured collarbone; the injury paved the way for former NFL and Super Bowl Most Valuable Player quarterback Kurt Warner’s career revival.

In a weird twist, the injury propelled the 2008 team to their first and only Super Bowl appearance the next season in Tampa Bay. They lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-23 in one of the most dramatic Super Bowl’s in recent history.

Here’s a few more pieces of evidence to support my claim.

SB VIII Host: 1973 Houston Oilers finished 1-13 for the second consecutive season and missed the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season.

SB XVI Host: 1981 Detroit Lions finished 8-8 and missed playoffs.

SB XVIII Host: 1983 Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished 2-14, missed playoffs and lost quarterback Doug Williams to the USFL after team couldn’t come to terms on a contract. Williams later became the first African-American quarterback to win a Super Bowl and the MVP with Washington.

SB XXII Host: 1987 San Diego Chargers finished 8-7 and missed the playoffs after starting the season 8-1. Hall of Fame cornerstones in quarterback Dan Fouts and tight end Kellen Winslow retired after the season.

SB XXV Host: 1990 Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished 6-10 and missed playoffs after starting the season 4-2.

SB XXVI Host: 1991 Minnesota Vikings finished 8-8 and missed playoffs. This was the season their first and second round picks were made by the Dallas Cowboys as part of the Herschel Walker trade in 1989. One pick was wide receiver Alvin Harper, who helped the Cowboys win two Super Bowl titles in the 1990’s. Vikings head coach Jerry Burns retired at the end of the season.

SB XXVIII Host: 1993 Atlanta Falcons finished 6-10 and lost future Hall of Famer Deion Sanders to free agency.

SB XXX Host: 1995 Arizona Cardinals finished 4-12 and missed playoffs after winning 8 games the previous season.

SB XXXII Host: 1997 San Diego Chargers finished 4-12, missed playoffs and had four less wins than the year before.

SB XXXIV Host: 1999 Atlanta Falcons finished 5-11 just one season after making the Super Bowl.

SB XXXV Host: 2000 Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished 10-6, but fell to the #5 seed after losing the NFC Central Title and a first round bye in the final game of the season in overtime to the Green Bay Packers. The Bucs lost in NFC Wild Card round 21-3.

SB XXXVII Host: 2002 San Diego Chargers finished 8-8 and missed playoffs after starting the season 4-0 and were 6-2 midseason.

SB XXXVIII Host: 2003 Houston Texans finished 5-11 and missed playoffs.

SB XXXIX Host: 2004 Jacksonville Jaguars finished 9-7 and missed playoffs.

SB XL Host: 2005 Detroit Lions finished 5-11 and missed playoffs.

If the Niner fans are looking for any good omen to break this curse, they are the only franchise to play in a Super Bowl when it was hosted in their region. The 1984 49ers won Super Bowl XIX 38-16 over the Miami Dolphins at Stanford Stadium on the University of Stanford’s campus. The only other team to come close, the Los Angeles Rams lost Super Bowl XIV 19-31 to the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, rather than their home stadium the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

In case you missed it, according to Las Vegas odds makers, New England and Seattle are the favorites to meet again in Super Bowl 50 at the date of this post.

Greatest Super Bowl Ever? C’mon Man

IMG_3009

On ESPN’s NFL Live Monday, Herman Edwards, Jeff Saturday and Tim Hasselbeck all said its not an overreaction to call Super Bowl XLIX the best of all time. I’ll call them and other talking heads that are making this claim prisoners of the moment.

Super Bowl XLIX will be called many things, but “Greatest Super Bowl Ever”? There are a few other Super Bowls that are more memorable and deserve to be mentioned before Super Bowl XLIX. For those who may have forgot, here’s a few that would get my vote before the Patriots and Seahawks.

IMG_3010

Holmes catch sealed the Steelers 6th Lombardi Trophy, the most in NFL History.

Remember Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa? It took awhile for the major fireworks to go off, but with the Steelers up 10-7 headed into Halftime and Arizona on the verge of tying or taking the lead; Steelers Linebacker and NFL Defensive Player of the year, James Harrison intercepted Arizona Cardinals QB Kurt Warner and returned it a record 100 yards for a touchdown as time expired for the “greatest play in Super Bowl history.”

The fourth quarter is where this game was made. The Cardinals erased a 20-7 deficit with a safety and two Larry Fitzgerald touchdowns, the second a 64 yarder with with 2:37 left in the game to give them a 23-20 lead.

This game will be remembered for Ben Roethlisberger leading the Pittsburgh Steelers on a 78 yard drive that ended with a miraculous 6 yard touchdown catch by Santonio Holmes with 35 seconds left. The Steelers top ranked defense which had been shredded by Quarterback Kurt Warner and the Cardinals offense in the fourth quarter, still needed a Lamar Woodley sack-fumble at midfield to seal the victory.

IMG_3011

David Tyree’s 32 yard “helmet catch”, helped the Giants end New England’s undefeated season.

Another great candidate is Super Bowl XLII, also in Arizona. The 18-0 New England Patriots lost their bid to be the “Greatest Team of All-Time” when the New York Giants defense, led by future Hall of Famer Michael Strahan, smothered the Patriots high powered record setting offense to 14 points, 22 below their then NFL record 36.8 average (The 2007 New England Patriots set records for total points (589), 75 TDs and point differential at + 315).

Eli Manning led the Giants on two fourth quarter touchdown drives; the second with the help of the “helmet catch” by David Tyree and a 13 yard touchdown pass from Manning to Plaxico Burress with 35 seconds left to finish off the greatest upset in Super Bowl history.

IMG_3015

Super Bowl XXXVIII was the second win for the Pats off the foot of Vinatieri.

Super Bowl XXXVIII with the Patriots and the Carolina Panthers in Houston has been called the “Greatest Super Bowl of all time” by Sports Illustrated’s long time Senior NFL writer Peter King.

The teams combined for 868 yards and 61 points. The game began with a Super Bowl record 26:55 without a point, then both exploded late in the second quarter to combine for 24 points before halftime. Oh, speaking of halftime, that was the infamous “wardrobe malfunction” performance from Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake.

The teams combined for another record, 37 points in the fourth quarter capped off by a game winning 41 yard field goal by Adam Vinatieri with four seconds remaining. Both Tom Brady and Panthers QB Jake Delhomme threw for 300+ yards and 3 touchdowns.

IMG_3013

Vinatieri won Super Bowl XXXVI with a 48 yard field goal as time expired to give the Pats their first Super Bowl title. Courtesy: NY Daily News.

You could even choose Super Bowl XXXVI between the Patriots and the St. Louis Rams in New Orleans. This game set Tom Brady and the Patriots on their run of four Super Bowls victories out of six tries in 14 seasons. The Patriots forced the high powered Rams offense into two turnovers, including a pick six by defensive back Ty Law.

It took a last second field goal by Adam Viniteiri to finish off the “Greatest Show on Turf” as one of the most historic offenses in NFL History never returned to the Big Game.

IMG_3016

Kevin Dyson and the Tennessee Titans came 1 yard short of forcing the first overtime in Super Bowl history. Courtesy: The Tennesseean.

The most heart stopping definitely was Super Bowl XXXIV between the St. Louis Rams and the Tennessee Titans in Atlanta. The first half was a defensive struggle, with the “Greatest Show on Turf” only able to muster a 9-0 halftime lead on three field goals.

The Rams added a touchdown in the third quarter to take a 16 point lead. It appeared St. Louis relaxed and gave up two rushing touchdowns to Eddie George and a field goal as the Titans rallied to tie the score. It took a 73 yard touchdown pass from Kurt Warner to Isaac Bruce to regain the lead.

The iconic image from this game is Rams linebacker Mike Jones tackling the Titans Kevin Dyson at the 1 yard line as time expired to give the Rams the 23-16 win and avoid the first overtime game in Super Bowl history.

IMG_3017

Super Bowl XXV is still the only Super Bowl decided by 1 point.

Super Bowl XXV in Tampa—what is it about Tampa?—The New York Giants historic defense led by Lawrence Taylor, Carl Banks and a young Bill Belichick as the defensive coordinator stifled the NFL’s top scoring no huddle offense led by future Hall of Famer Jim Kelly of the Buffalo Bills.

The Giants offense played ball control and possessed the ball for a Super Bowl record 40:33. But, it still took a missed 47 yard field goal wide right by Scott Norwood to give New York the win. It’s still the only Super Bowl decided by 1 point.

IMG_3018

John Taylor caught the game winning touchdown pass with 34 seconds remaining. Courtesy: ESPN.com

Super Bowl XXIII between the San Fransisco 49ers and the Cincinnati Bengals is sure to get a large share of votes for Greatest Super Bowl ever.

The XXIII edition was the first to go into halftime tied. Both defenses were stellar yielding on 3 points each. The Bengals held a 13-6 lead going into the 4th quarter.

But the signature moment of this game was 49ers quarterback Joe Montana leading San Francisco on a 92 yard drive with 3:10 and capping it off with a touchdown pass to John Taylor on the skinny post with 34 seconds left for the win.

Don’t get me wrong Super Bowl XLIX was very good, but it will be known more for the “worse call ever” or the game that solidified Brady as the best quarterback ever. It may even be the game that ended a dynasty in the making depending on how Seattle responds going further. Only time will tell, but for now, let’s quit throwing that phase “greatest ever” around so loosely.

2014 NFL Season Predictions (blame Madden NFL 15 if I’m wrong)

IMG_1985.JPG

Let’s see what Madden thinks. Photo Courtesy: goodgamepro.com

The NFL Football season finally kicks off tonight when the defending World Champion Seattle Seahawks host the Green Bay Packers. But, there’s no need to bother watching the 2014 NFL season (I’m kidding I’m watching every game possible), I can tell you what’s going to happen a week before the season kickoffs, thanks to EA Sports newest edition of Madden NFL. Yes, you’re right, I’ve been on this game too much since it released midnight last Tuesday. But, these results came strictly from CPU Simulation. I didn’t play one game so as to not skew the results.

Oh, in case you were wondering about tonight’s “Fail Mary” rematch…..

IMG_3035.JPG

Green Bay Packers 22-Seattle Seahawks 25. Courtesy: EA Sports.

FYI, this exercise was done with injuries on and with the most recent roster update as of 9/3.

First up, your Division and Wild Card winners.
AFC North: Baltimore Ravens (11-5)
NFC North: Green Bay Packers (12-4)
AFC East: New England Patriots (13-3)
NFC East: Washington Redskins (11-4-1)
AFC South: Tennessee Titans (10-6)
NFC South: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5)
AFC West: San Diego Chargers (11-5)
NFC West: Seattle Seahawks (11-4-1)
AFC Wild Cards: Buffalo Bills (11-5) and Denver Broncos (9-7)
NFC Wild Cards: New Orleans Saints (11-5) and San Francisco 49ers (9-7)

IMG_1988.JPG

IMG_1989.JPG

2014 NFL Award Winners
NFL MVP: Green Bay Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers, Passer Rating of 87.5, throwing for 4,003 yards on 67% completed passes to go with 25 TDs to 15 INTs.

Defensive Rookies of the Year: Houston Texans’ DE Jadeveon Clowney (AFC) 75 tackles, 12 for losses, 9 sacks and 1 forced fumble; Green Bay Packers’ DB Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (NFC) 118 tackles, 7 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles.

Offensive Rookies of the Year: Buffalo Bills’ WR Sammy Watkins (AFC) 53 receptions for 650 yards and 5 TDs; San Francisco 49ers’ RB Carlos Hyde (NFC) 221 rushes for 575 yards and 8 TDs.

Offensive Player of the Year: New England Patriots’ QB Tom Brady (AFC) 91.8 Passer Rating with 3,592 yards passing with 20 TDs and only 7 interceptions on a 66% completion rate; Dallas Cowboys’ QB Tony Romo (NFC) 91.0 Passer Rating with 4,246 yards, 26 TDs to 11 interceptions on 65% completion rate.

Defensive Player of the Year: Denver Broncos’ LB Von Miller (AFC) 125 tackles, 22 for loss, 19 sacks, 1 interception and 1 forced fumble; Seattle Seahawks’ LB Bobby Wagner (NFC) 137 tackles, 6 interceptions and 1 forced fumble.

NFL Coach of the Year: Bill Belichick (13-3)

Some key injuries to point out that may have affected the season. The Redskins QB Robert Griffin III only played in 12 games after suffering a torn ACL, also Browns Johnny Manziel was limited to 11 games after suffering a broken jaw while the Colts Andrew Luck missed 3 games.

Other key injuries:
Denver Broncos RE DeMarcus Ware had a torn achilles that caused him to miss the final 4 games of the season plus the playoffs.
Cleveland Browns LB Carlos Dansby missed 8 due to a fractured knee cap.
San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Matthews, missed 10 games with a broken femur.
Kansas City Chief RB Jamaal Charles, missed 11 games with a fractured knee cap.
Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch, missed 3 games due to a broken tailbone.

2015 NFL Playoff Results:

Wild Card Round: The playoffs kicked off with a rematch of Baltimore’s “Miracle At Mile High” from the 2013 Playoffs. This time the game was in “Charm City” where the Ravens sent Peyton Manning and the Broncos home 29-0. Meanwhile in the other AFC matchup, the Bills got a taste of revenge over Titans from the “Music City” miracle of the 2000 NFL playoffs, 17-16.

The theme of rematches continued on the NFC side where the 49ers enacted revenge from last season’s playoff loss to the Seahawks by sending the defending champions home, 19-16. In the third battle of NFC South rivals, the Saints squeezed by the Bucs 27-24.

Divisional Round: In the AFC, The New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills squared off for the third time this season. The Patriots took this one 20-17. In the other Divisional matchup, the Baltimore Ravens knocked off the San Diego Changers 20-16 to set up a third matchup in four seasons in the Conference Championship game against the Patriots.

In the NFC, the 49ers defeated NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers and the Packers 33-18 on the frozen tundra, while the New Orleans Saints dismantled the RG III-less Redskins 38-20, setting up a matchup of contrasting styles between the 49ers ground and pound attack versus the aerial assault of the Saints.

Conference Championship Round:The New England Patriots got revenge over the Baltimore Ravens from their 2013 AFC Championship loss 23-20 and the San Francisco 49ers, playing in their fourth consecutive Conference Championship game, toppled Drew Bree’s and the Saints 27-13.

Super Bowl Champions: Just like Super Bowl 48, the NFC West dominated the show. In his return to the big game, Colin Kaepernick led the San Francisco 49ers to a 27-9 victory over Tom Brady’s Patriots. The vaunted 49ers D picked off Brady 3 times.

Super Bowl MVP: 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick

There you have it. Go ahead and bet on it, Just don’t call me if you lose. For the record, since the Madden series begin simulating the Super Bowl in 2004, the game has correctly predicted the Super Bowl Champion out seven out of ten times. So let’s sit back and see how correct my predictions are over the next six and a half months.