Goodnight Football Season

Lights out Super Bowl! Ravens make final stand to beat Niners for NFL title – Yahoo! Sports.

Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Ray Lewis, head coach John Harbaugh (L), and owner Steve Bisciotti (R) celebrate after their team defeated the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game in New Orleans, Louisiana, February 3, 2013.  REUTERS/Jeff Haynes (UNITED STATES  - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Well another football season has come and gone. Now begins a somewhat slow sports news cycle until March Madness begins. To follow the lead of St. Louis Post Dispatch writer Bernie Miklasz  who does his random “Bernie Bytes”, I am going to go the same thing that I will give my initial thoughts, and revisit these ideas throughout the week.

Shannon Sharpe picked the 49ers to beat the Ravens during the pre-game show. I just couldn’t believe that he would pick against them.

The McDonald’s commercial with the player being presented with his All-American jersey that aired before the game had a neat message behind it. The kid finding out in the way he did that he was a “McDonald’s All-American” the way he did was a really cool and touching message. That part was really cool. Channeling my best Billy Madison I will just say the part I didn’t like is when the coach had his players eat McDonald’s. If you are a high school basketball coach the last thing that you want is for your players to be eating that garbage. I love that McDonald’s honors these players, but please, don’t ever take try to credit the “food” you serve as any type of benefit to them making it to where they are.

Good old “prop bets”  what better way for a guy to enhance his “entertainment value” with a few “milkshake” wagers on the big game. When some are feeling generous, they wager 50 milkshakes. You and your friends can wager all day long on these things. I kept a keen eyes on 6 things. The coin toss, what the first play would be, the over-under, the most popular commercial, how many interceptions, and the overall winner. Will report back on the milkshakes I will be collecting. Update… 3:42 Monday
I put 25 on the Ravens. Since they were the underdog, the odds weren’t in my favor, but it also paid more. I won 63 on that game alone. I correctly picked the coin flip (heads), the first play of the game (pass), and the over 47 1/2 points. I missed out on the over 1 1/2 interceptions in the game. I still have one pending waiting on USA Today’s final ratings meter on the best Super Bow Commercial. Being a homer I predicted the best commercial would come from AB.

The first 49er Quarterback to ever throw an interception in the Super Bowl was Colin Kapernick. How crazy of  a stat is that!

Wizard of Oz The commercial for the new version of the Wizard of Oz has me fired up. I loved the original movie, it aired once a year on CBS and we watched it every year. I cannot wait to see the modern version.

The Fake was the ultimate WTF moment of the Super Bowl. There has to be some sort of back story to why John tried that there. It could have cost him severely.

I missed “The Return”, as I was cleaning things up and getting the game back on. I personally hate when the returner return any kick in the end zone but this was what a real kick returner can do. Lightning flash.

Power outage during the Super Bowl? Congrats New Orleans for shanking the basics. No excuse for this happening during the Super Bowl.

John Harbaugh was hot following the delay. I cannot wait to hear what he was so upset about. The discussion was very animated. That was the only time in the game that he lost his cool.

With the lights going out in New Orleans, can the NFL top itself next year and have a blizzard in New York?

NFL=WWE… it is amazing sometimes how you can just read how a football game is going to go the same way we used to be able to pick up on how the WWE matches would go. It’s beginning to get eerie.

The handshake between the Harbaugh’s was great. All in all, it had to have been a great night for John grabbing bragging rights over his little brother.

Ray Lewis had all of his post game talks planned. He knew exactly what he was going to say and how he would say it.

Twitter was wildly entertaining to follow during the Super Bowl.

I cannot wait to see the epic QB Facebook smackoff that is upcoming. Update…3:54 Monday
Credit goes to http://www.profootballmock.com these guys do fantastic work. This stuff is hilarious!                     http://profootballmock.com/nfl-qbs-on-facebook-finally-elite/

Prediction time

Denver mayor injured, unable to do Ray Lewis dance

Denver mayor injured, unable to do Ray Lewis dance.

I have always found these bets between mayors, or governors, to be interesting, albeit corny. This one takes the cake though. The mayor of Denver Michael Hancock was set to pay up his losing end of the bet by doing the “Ray Lewis” dance when he came down with an injury. I thought mayors were supposed to play though the pain. What are the odds that Hancock is faking the injury hoping people will forget about it so he doesn’t have to do the dance?

Pretty good rendition of the Ray Lewis dance here

Come on Mayor Hancock. You can’t be put to shame by a light show. Step up your game

Follow up: Denver mayor finally pays up bet 1-29-13

http://deadspin.com/5980061/denver-mayor-finally-does-the-ray-lewis-dance

Peyton’s postseason problem

Peyton Manning is a superstar. Over 5,000 completions, almost 60,000 yards passing, 436 touchdown passes, all the while completing passes at 65% clip for his entire career. He’s a 4 time NFL Most Valuable player, a nine time pro-bowler, and holds multiple NFL records. He’s won a Super Bowl, and was the Super Bowl MVP is 2006. Manning will be in Canton almost certainly on the first ballot, and by the time that he does decide to retire will hold many of the NFL’s career passing records. With all of that being said why I am here today to explain why Peyton Manning may be overrated?

As good as Peyton Manning has been during the regular season, and as I mentioned he is one of the best to ever play the game, the playoffs are a different story. Manning’s career is becoming to be known as much for fizzing out in the postseason as it known for sizzling during the regular season. His career has followed a common theme, rip through the regular season and stumble in the postseason.  Bob Kravitz, a writer for the Indianapolis Star once said: “After a sample size of 19 games, it’s pretty clear: He’s a different quarterback in the playoffs. He’s a lesser quarterback in the playoffs. I don’t know if it’s paralysis by overanalysis or what, but after all these years, I still don’t trust him in a playoff game.”

This weekend’s wild home playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens added yet another disappointing end to another typical Manning like season. Manning had an MVP like season in his first year with the Broncos. He threw for 4,659 yards with 37 touchdowns and a 105.8 quarterback rating. He led the Broncos to a 13-3 record which earned them home field advantage throughout the playoffs. As with many great Peyton Manning seasons, the postseason ended in disappointment. There is plenty of blame to go around in Denver after squandered the game away against the Ravens. John Fox can be blamed for a horrible game plan and bad clock management. I still have absolutely no idea why you wouldn’t try to get into Field Goal range in a tie game with 30 seconds left, and two timeouts left, when you have Peyton Manning under center. That was one of the strangest decisions that I have ever seen in an NFL game. If you can’t trust Manning there, who can you trust? Champ Bailey also deserves plenty of blame for getting burned badly twice by Torrey Smith for touchdowns. Smith actually torched him again later in the game but the ball was overthrown. Safety Rahim Moore deserves his fair share of the blame as well. 3rd down and 3  from their own 30 yard line with zero timeouts and 41 seconds left you absolutely CAN NOT let anyone get behind you. That was possibly the worst blown coverage that I have ever seen. There are plenty of available scapegoats in this game, but it always goes back to the quarterback. Peyton Manning didn’t lose this game (even though his 3 turnovers led to 17 points), but he did fail to pull the game out and win it.

Whether or not it’s fair, quarterbacks are defined by two things: numbers and wins. Quarterbacks get the credit whenever their team wins and the blame when their team loses. This type of credit and blame is even more magnified in the postseason. Simply put, Peyton Manning isn’t the same quarterback in the postseason as he is in the regular season. Even though throughout his career Manning has almost a 70% win percentage, he is only 9-11 during his career in the post season. His 11th loss this weekend tied him for most all-time with Brett Favre.  Think about this, of his eleven postseason losses, eight times his team was favored to win. Three of those times that they were favored they were favored by double digits. In his career he has also lost the first game of the playoffs an astonishing eight times! Five of those times were at home! In his 20 postseason games he has completed 63% of his passes for over 5,000 yards with 32 touchdowns and 21 interceptions good for an 88.4 quarterback rating. These aren’t terrible stats but there is clearly a difference between his regular season numbers. Completion percentage, QB rating, and yards per attempt are all lower in the postseason and his touchdown to interception ratio worsens dramatically when the playoffs begin. During 2006 when the Colts made their run to a Super Bowl Championship allowing Manning to finally “win the big one”, he didn’t play very well in that postseason at all. During the four game run to the World Championship he threw for three touchdowns and seven interceptions and only had a 70.5 ranking. That Super Bowl Championship has remained the only one that Manning has won even though he had it back to the Super Bowl a few years later only to lose to the New Orleans Saints.

It’s hard to explain why a player the caliber of Peyton Manning struggles in the postseason. I have heard countless theories about the dome in Indianapolis, the way his teams have been constructed, the coaching staffs that he has played for, and even the system that he plays in.  Whatever it is, his “big game” struggles go all of the way back to his college days at the University of Tennessee. He could never get over the hump in college by beating rival Florida which cost Tennessee SEC titles, and shots at the National Title. During his junior season at Tennessee he threw four picks against Florida at home in a 35-29 loss. His senior season they went into Gainesville undefeated but Manning threw two picks in a 33-20 loss to the Gators. Not many people will remember but Manning was actually benched during his last collegiate game. Tennessee was getting blown out in the Orange Bowl by Nebraska when Manning was benched after throwing his second interception of the game and he was replaced by Tee Martin. The following season after Manning graduated, Tee Martin led Tennessee to a National Title. In many of the NFL postseason games that he has lost, he has either played terribly, or made a fatal mistake late in the game such as Saturday’s overtime interception and the 74 yard pick six in the Super Bowl against the Saints that sealed the game. Whatever it is, it just seems to follow Peyton Manning in the postseason.

When Manning’s career is finished, and he takes his rightful place in Canton, people will try to quantify his greatness against the other greats that have played the quarterback position. I have heard many people say that they think that Peyton Manning is THE best quarterback of all-time. I totally disagree with that based on his body of work throughout his career in the postseason. That may not be fair, but the truly great ones consistently win the big games. Peyton Manning has not won the big game with enough consistency to be considered a top five all-time quarterback.

Zip

Unforgettable image of the weekend

peyton_manning_ray_lewis_locker_room-4_3_r536_c534

Of all of the images from this crazy, unforgettable, NFL Playoff weekend I think this image is my favorite. Two of the all-time greats together one last time . These two guys have been battling each other for AFC supremacy for more than a decade but have the ultimate respect for one  another. Classy move by Peyton Manning to wait around for nearly 2 hours after a bitter defeat to congratulate Ray Lewis on advancing in the postseason and on his impending retirement.

Divisional Can’t-Miss Play: Jacoby Jones 70-yard TD catch – NFL Videos

Divisional Can’t-Miss Play: Jacoby Jones 70-yard TD catch – NFL Videos.

Early nominee for play of the weekend (edit..play of the entire season, and one of the biggest in playoff history). Huge clutch play to send the game into overtime. I am not quite sure what the safety was doing.

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