Friday, February 8, 2013

Why your team didn't win the Super Bowl and the Dwight Howard saga

At the beginning of the football season, I predicted a San Francisco 49er/Pittsburgh Steeler Super Bowl, with the Steelers taking it home... close, but the Ravens, a Steelers clone, represented the AFC. During the course of the season, I changed my mind and when the playoffs started, I went with the Falcons/Broncos in the SB. My eyes played tricks on me. I drank too much offensive kool-aid. Like most of you, I got caught up in offensive excellence, while forgetting the principle to winning championships in all sports. DEFENSE WIN CHAMPIONSHIPS!!!

Flash backward: In 2004 the NFL made prominent rule changes that effected the landscape of the NFL. They wanted more offense, so they made significant changes to benefit the offense. Of course teams with great QB's like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning took advantage of it, flirting with undefeated regular seasons. As a matter of fact the last great NFL team in my opinion was the 2007 New England Patriots, who went undefeated in the regular season and still had a championship level defense from their previous Super Bowl victories. They dominated because they were able to take advantage of the offensive rule changes and keep the defense intact before suffering an upset at the hand of the Giants.

Back to present: The problem is that with an elite QB such as Brady, Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, GM's have invested all of their resources into running unstoppable offenses. Besides Manning last year, all of the other teams with elite QB's ranked in the bottom half defensively. In other words, they are built for the regular season. Think Phoenix Suns, circa Steve Nash, think the New York Yankees with an offensive juggernaut line-up but mediocre pitching. These teams can win any game in the regular season, but once the playoffs start. Defense, defense, defense.

Fast Forward: Sure if you have an elite QB you have a chance to win any game, Tom Brady went to the SB last year with an awful defense. At the very least you need solid offensive play and maybe even a quarterback to get hot and play like a top 5 QB ala Joe Flacco and Eli Manning, but you also need a defense to get some stops and right now Green Bay, New England, New Orleans can't get enough stops. The 49ers considered by some the best defense in the NFL still gave up 34 points in the SB, 24 in the NFC championship and 31 in the divisional playoffs. Yes, this is an offensive league and winning 13-10 Super Bowls is not the way to win but all that does is put more onus on getting defensive stops or create turnovers.

Ravens, Giants, Packers, Saints, Steelers, Giants, Colts, Steelers are the last 8 winners of the SB and they all had playmaking defenses. In that time span Brady, Manning and Drew Brees broke single season passing records, none won the SB that year. So before you ink your team on the Vince Lombardi trophy next year you better check on that defense... and that's on da fo real boo!!!

Randomest of thoughts:
Kobe Bryant calls out Dwight Howard, basically saying that he needs to play through his injury because he's all about winning championships. What he really meant was 'hey man if you're not on the court, who's gonna grab the rebounds from my 30 plus shots I'm gonna take every game' he's top ten for sure, but his leadership skills are 12th man!!! yes Dwight Howard has handled the media poorly and has been unprofessional at times, but before he got hurt he was arguably the 2nd best player in the game so if he's hurt then he's hurt all Kobe has done is insure that dwight howard will not be a Laker next year. Just wait and see, mmmm hmmm!!!

I've been bashing college hoops for awhile now, but I'm semi-back on the bandwagon. It's got some quality play across the board and the Big Ten has been an absolute monster league. Every game that doesn't involve, Nebraska, penn st. and northwestern is must see, trust me boo. I'm hoping the NBA and college hoops can carry me through the dog days of winter.

Lastly, I think the officiating in the Super Bowl was excellent. Let them play. The adage of don't let officials decide the game, players need to make plays is true but what is also true is that players need to be ALLOWED to make plays and for that reason a penalty should have been called on San Francisco's last offensive play.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Super Bowl Bets

Super Bowl Bets:
Coin toss (heads)
No points scored the 1st 6 minutes of the game
Joe Flacco over 1.5 touchdowns thrown
Tucker o 7.5 points scored
Tucker O 1.5 fg
Willis o 7.5 tackles
Ray Lewis o 11.5 tackles (lock)
Crabtree u 89.5 yds
Smith -17.5 over Crabtree yds
49ers u 27 points
Total u 48
Ravens + 4

Friday, February 1, 2013

How to decide where to watch the SB, Moss and of course the SB winner pick

The Greatest
Randy Moss recently said that he felt he was the greatest receiver ever, he would be wrong, but he isn't as far off as the numbers suggest. Sure Jerry Rice numbers are otherwordly, but no one had better Quarterbacks than Rice. Joe Montana, Steve Young and Rich Gannon, remember he also played with a decent but not great Jeff Garcia and the 49ers thought that Rice was washed up and let him go to Oakland, sound familiar? Remember when the Raiders let Moss go to the Patriots cause they deemed him washed up, but he wasn't was he? The next year all he had was the greatest season ever for a wide receiver. Aquality Quarterback is quintessential for consistent success from a wide receiver if you don't believe me ask Larry Fitzgerald. So no I don't agree with you Randy but I see where you're coming from.

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions
The Super Bowl is just 2 days away and maybe you're going thru your list of invitations of where you're gonna watch it. Well here's a rule of thumb sort of approach I've come up with to decide where you should watch the game:

If you have no real vested interest on the teams playing, or any money down on the game, then pick and choose where you want to go, maybe a SB party with some friends and then at halftime you go to a local bar. Basically you're just sharing your last moments of the football season with loved ones. It's like having a get together before you send your kid off to college, you know you'll see them again in a few months but you're still a little sad

If you want to buy football squares or do some friendly wagering then definitely go to a SB party, but make sure it's quality food; ask what's on the menu. If you're hearing things like tuna casserole or olive loaf sandwiches stay the fuck away. Listen out for pizza, wings/ribs, cookies and hard liquor. Those things are essential to get you thru the stupid questions that someone's wife will ask during the game. "Why do they only get 4 downs?" "How much is a field goal worth?' "Isn't it weird that both coaches have the same last name?' and you're like 'um, is there another tv'

You really want the team to lose and/or you have moderate money on the game. This should be watched with a few close friends that have the same vested interest in you. Find a home with the biggest TV, order some pizza's and judge the commercials to take the edge off the game

Your favorite team is in the SB or you have large sums of money wagered on the game, including proposition bets, like who will win the coin toss, how many 1st downs the Ravens will have, etc. Basically these are things that require your full attention, so I highly suggest that you watch this game alone or with someone that won't say much and preferably can take a punch.

The Game
The San Franciso 49ers match up very well with the Baltimore Ravens. I think the Niners are the most physical team in football. They are great at stopping the run and great at running the ball. Colin Kaepernick is the new prototype QB of the NFL. They have play making wide receivers and arguably the best to ever play the game (read the 1st paragraph mofo's) but I'm still picking the Ravens for 2 reasons. One I don't trust the Niners kicker David Akers. This game will have a lot of stalled drives and making field goals will be paramount in deciding who wins this game and no ifs, ands or buts about it, Akers has been shaky at best. Secondly, the big brother rule. This is both the Harbaugh's 1st ever SB, no way does the big brother lose to the little brother in this situation. Big brother's just always has the confidence that they can beat their younger sibling even if the youngest is the brightest or more talented. John is the oldest by a little more than a year so once you convert that into the margin of victory table, that should equate into a 3 point Raven victory after a David Akers missed field goal. Then we all will get to watch Ray Lewis ride off on a deer into the sunset.

Ravens 23- Niners 20