February 4, 2014
One year ago today, I predicted that the Denver Broncos would be Super Bowl XLVIII champions. They almost proved me right. Congratulations to Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks for becoming world champions in New York on Sunday. But enough about that. Now, by process of elimination, let’s figure out who is going to win the next one in Arizona.
Only the New England Patriots have been to back-to-back Super Bowls since 1999. It won’t happen next year either. Count out Denver and Seattle.
No team has reached the Super Bowl when it was played on its home field. That eliminates the Arizona Cardinals.
It is widely known that if you are on the cover of the new Madden football game, you are destined for a poor season. I’m predicting they go with another fan vote that leads to a player from Indianapolis on the cover. Now that’s just bad Luck. Goodbye Colts.
A new curse?
Emmitt Smith, Hines Ward and Donald Driver are the three NFL players who have won Dancing With The Stars. All three played for teams who have made a habit of playing in Super Bowls. However, the Steelers, Cowboys and Packers have all failed to reach a Super Bowl since their player won the ballroom dancing competition. Curse or coincidence? I say curse. Goodbye Pittsburgh, Dallas and Green Bay.
It’s nearly impossible to have a team that hasn’t experienced a few wins in the playoffs run the table and bring home the Lombardi trophy. Carolina (last playoff win was in 2005), Cincinnati (last playoff win was in 1990), Kansas City (last playoff win was in 1993), and the New York Jets (last playoff win was in 2010) are off the list.
So that leaves the Baltimore Ravens, New Orleans Saints, San Diego Chargers, and San Francisco 49ers. The Ravens are trending in the wrong direction since they won the Super Bowl last year and the Chargers got hot and lucky at the end of this year but do not look like a true contender (finishing third in their own division). So will it be New Orleans or San Francisco? The NFC is too strong and too balanced for one team (the 49ers) to reach the conference championship game four years in a row. So I’m going with New Orleans to win Super Bowl XLIX. Place your bets now.
February 3, 2014
Seahawks Crush Broncos in Super Bowl: Quick, raise your hand if you saw that coming. Seattle winning the game wasn’t a huge surprise, but their 43-8 dominant performance over Denver was a shocker. The Broncos bumbled their way to a loss with four fumbles seemingly unable to do anything right and Seattle’s defense was the clear MVP. After a record-setting year, Peyton Manning will again wear the label of big game loser with a dud of a performance that included some errant throws, two interceptions, and a fumble. The game wasn’t all on Manning, but he’ll get the brunt of the blame for the team scoring a meager eight points after a record-setting season.
Psychics Predict Super Bowl: Not only psychics … psychic manatees. Ah, that makes a lot more sense.
Broncos vs. Seahawks … for Real!: Continuing the Super Bowl theme, Deadspin asks a very important question: Who would win a game between real broncos and real hawks?
David Stern Steps Down as NBA Commissioner: After 30 years as NBA Commissioner, David Stern is stepping down from his post as Deputy Adam Silver has been promoted to the job. Some players weren’t always fond of Stern using his authority to, at times, make unpopular decisions. However, what can’t be denied is the significant impact he leaves on the game. Under Stern, and with the backing of superstars such as Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson, the NBA took a significant step forward in the late 1980s. The league started promoting their individual stars much more and has had an amazing run under his watch. Stern leaves the sport in excellent shape, poised for more international growth as more and more players in different countries are playing while their fans are scooping up merchandise and watching games. Some will argue that the NBA doesn’t have the great personalities it once did, but in Lebron James, Kevin Durant, and other young stars, the league has a slew of players ready to move the game forward.
Lance Berkman Retires: Beaten down by injuries, Astros first baseman Lance Berkman announced his retirement from baseball last week. Berkman was a former six-time All-Star and also finished in the top five in MVP voting four times. Playing mostly with the Houston Astros, he hit 366 career home runs while batting .293. At 37, he could have potentially played a bit more, but the first baseman has battled injuries over the past two years, only playing a total of 105 games over that time. Berkman also won a World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011 – the same season in which he was named the National League’s Comeback Player of the Year.
Michael Young Retires: Also in retirement news, longtime infielder Michael Young announced he was done last week as well. Young was one of the sturdiest players of all time, never once landing on the disabled list in a career that spanned 14 seasons. Young, who played most of his career with the Texas Rangers, was also one of the top versatile infielders of his generation. Other infielders have played second, third, and shortstop as he did, but Young was one of the best at it. He had more power than most such players, slugging 185 home runs over his career. He also was a seven-time All-Star covering two positions, when he played primarily as a shortstop and third baseman. Young also was an All-Star Game MVP, won a batting title, and was awarded a Gold Glove as a shortstop. Few utility infielders had the type of success that he did.
Andrew Bynum Signs with Pacers: Oft-troubled center Andrew Bynum signed to play with the Indiana Pacers the rest of the season. Bynum has never been the same since leaving Los Angeles as part of the Dwight Howard trade. He suffered injury woes to his knees that never even allowed him to play for Philadelphia in 2012-13, then hobbled his way through 24 games with Cleveland before they traded him to the Chicago Bulls … who promptly released him to save salary costs. Based on all of that and the drama he brings, the move reeks of foolishness for a team competing to win a title. But if healthy, he’ll be a fine backup for Roy Hibbert. That, of course, is a Bynum-sized ‘if’.
Awkward High Five Gif: 3…2…1…Go!
Centers Selected among All-Star Game Reserves: NBA centers Dwight Howard and Roy Hibbert were left off of the All-Star Game starting lineups in their respective conferences, but were two of the bench players chosen, among others. The NBA continues to make a mockery of its midseason classic by not making a center mandatory for inclusion on the starting team. The center position is deemphasized by some teams and many consider today’s game more guard-oriented. However, it makes little sense to declare an All-Star roster as essentially the best ‘team’ in a particular conference while leaving out one of the primary positions. After all, can you imagine an MLB All-Star team without a starting pitcher or a Pro Bowl squad without a quarterback?
NBA Fans Drop Ball … Again: This seems to be a regular routine, but fans again made a supreme gaffe in selecting Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant as an All-Star game starter. Bryant has played only six games, and not all that well, by the way. The future Hall of Famer struggled with his shot and averaged nearly six turnovers per contest in his few games this year in between injuries. Despite that (and the fact that Bryant won’t likely be ready to play by then, anyway), fans saw fit to vote for the superstar as a starter. I’ve always been for fan involvement, but when injured players who aren’t even fit to play in the game are selected, it makes it difficult to justify that fans should continue to have the privilege to vote. On some level, the vote is about fans getting to see who they want to play. On the other hand, though, players can even have incentives about being voted as an All-Star built into their contract. It isn’t exactly fair to take any financial reward or even just the satisfaction of starting an All-Star game from deserving players.
January 29, 2014
Super Bowl XLVIII promises to be historic. Take your pick, offense or defense. If you’re an old-soul and firmly believe that defense wins championships then you’re in the neon green corner with the Seattle Seahawks. If you’re a fan of the explosive modern-day offense then you’re in the bright orange corner with the Denver Broncos.
When the Seahawks and Broncos square-off on February 2, 2014 the gloves will come off. Seeing that the game is taking place in the media capital of the world only adds fuel to the fire. In the end, the NFL and its fans will be the real winner.
There’s a ton of stats floating out there surrounding this game but here is the only one you should be concerned with right now. This is the first time since the 1990 season that the No. 1 offense has faced the No. 1 defense in the Super Bowl. Last time around the defense of the New York Giants edged out the offense of the Buffalo Bills, 20-19 in Super Bowl XXV. The Broncos scored 606 points in the regular season while the Seahawks only allowed 231. Something has got to give—we’re in for a gem.
Let’s Dig into our Super Bowl XLVIII Bold Predictions
The First Quarter will end with the Broncos Leading, 7-0
This game will start slow due to nerves which is no surprise. With only four players total from both sides with Super Bowl experience plenty of men will be wide-eyed and amped with the opening whistle blows. Both teams will go three-and-out in their opening drive. On their second possession Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning will find wide receiver Demaryius Thomas for a 76-yard touchdown. Seahawks faithful everywhere will have sudden doubt about their highly-touted defense against the Broncos offense. Don’t fret—there’s plenty of ballgame left.
Seahawks Safety Earl Thomas Will Have a Game-Changing Sack in the Second Quarter
With the Broncos ahead 7-3 with 11:08 remaining in the second, Seahawks safety Earl Thomas will change the game. With fellow teammate Richard Sherman soaking up most of the attention, Thomas will have his time to shine. A strip-sack of Manning and recovery by Seattle will flip the script. After all, the Seahawks just kicked a field goal to get on the board. Forcing a turnover and recovering on their 32-yard line will give the Seahawks prime field position. Momentum will now in favor of the Seahawks.
Manning Will Throw for Less Than 250 Yards
Hey, Seattle’s secondary isn’t called the “Legion of Boom” for no reason, there’s a reason they’re feared. The have the No. 1 defense after all and look to make a statement shutting down one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time in the Super Bowl. Besides Manning’s bomb to D. Thomas in the first quarter, he’ll be quite silent. The Seattle defense will steal the show.
Manning’s Final Line: 18-for-28, 243 passing yards, 2 TDs
Marshawn Lynch Will Be MVP
Marshawn Lynch is a different type of running back. He has throwback toughness, game-breaking speed and just doesn’t stop. His nickname is the best in the business and he lives up to it. “Beast Mode” is no joke. He simply punishes his opponents and when they tire in the fourth quarter, he’s just getting started.
Things will be no different in Super Bowl XLVIII—Beast Mode will be out in full force. He’ll carry his team to victory. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson gets plenty of credit, but the team’s success begins and ends with Lynch. He will set the tone for his team on offense.
Lynch’s Final Line: 26 carries, 143 rushing yards, 2 rushing TDs, 2 receptions, 23 receiving yards, MVP
This will be one of the best Super Bowls we have ever witnessed. The Broncos will strike first, but the Seahawks will take a 10-7 lead into halftime. The second half will be a seesaw affair and one for the ages. This game will leave fans yearning for anything NFL and dreaming of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Seahawks 27, Broncos 21
January 22, 2014
330 NFL games are in the books. There’s just one game left (I’m not counting the Pro Bowl) and its the biggest of them all. In the two weeks we have to wait for the Super Bowl, we’ll learn more than we ever wanted to know about the teams, players, location and everything else. What we really care about is the game. Here’s 10 predictions for Super Bowl XLVIII.
1. The weather has been the story ever since the location of this game was announced years ago. Sure it will be cold and probably impact a lot of the festivities happening in the area, but it will be no big deal when it comes to the game itself.
2. One thing that we all look forward to during the Super Bowl is the commercials. There are always a couple of great ones but its getting harder and harder for them to live up to the hype. I expect this year’s batch of commercials to be a bit of a let down.
3. The halftime show will be the perfect time for a bathroom break. Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers? No thank you. But I will appreciate the chance to leave my seat for the bathroom, more food or any other reason without the worry that I’m going to miss anything worth watching.
4. Anytime the game is close, the losing side will have a couple of calls (or non-calls) to complain about. This year will be no different. And if history is to be our judge, look for the Seahawks to be the one’s with something to complain about (anyone remember Super Bowl XL?)
5. Richard Sherman has gotten all the attention since the conference championship games ended, but he won’t get much during the game. Peyton Manning will be looking for the weak spot in the Seattle defense and won’t throw many passes in Sherman’s direction.
6. Champ Bailey will make a game-changing play.
7. So will Marshawn Lynch.
8. Percy Harvin will not.
9. Neither will Wes Welker.
10. The Broncos rarely score less than 30. The Seahawks rarely allow more than 20. Let’s set the magic number at 25. If Peyton Manning can put up 25 points or more, the Broncos will win Super Bowl XLVII. The last time the No. 1 defense played the No. 1 offense in the Super Bowl was in 1990 when the Giants beat the Bills on a last-second field goal miss. Look for this game to come down to a field goal attempt in the final minute. Final score: Broncos 27, Seahawks 24.
January 21, 2014
Super Bowl set: The Super Bowl matchup has been decided with the Denver Broncos topping the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks defeating the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. Both teams were the best ones in their conferences all season and home field advantage paid off handsomely for each. The matchup in the NFL’s championship game is an intriguing one. On one hand, you’ve got the record-setting offense of the Broncos. On the other – an incredible defense in the Seattle Seahawks. And when you factor in that the Super Bowl will be played in a cold-weather climate with even a potential for some snow, it could be anybody’s game. You can really make a strong case for either team and that equals an attractive matchup for fans. For now, though, I’ll take the Broncos to win the big game.
Clayton Kershaw lands monster deal: The Los Angeles Dodgers made a huge splash in the offseason by signing star pitcher Clayton Kershaw to a $215 million, seven-year contract – the largest such deal for a pitcher in Major League Baseball history. Unlike the monster contracts given to players such as Albert Pujols and Robinson Cano, the Kershaw deal actually makes a little more sense. Those players will be significantly older when their contracts end, but at 25 now, Kershaw will only be 30 or 32 when he reaches his first year of free agency. I’ll never be convinced that giving a pitcher that kind of money is a great thing to do since he can only impact the team every five days. But if a team is going to do it, it’s wise to make the move when the player is still young as the Dodgers did. There’s a good chance that by the end of the contract, Kershaw is still among the league’s best pitchers if he remains healthy.
Serena Williams bounced in Australian Open: Top-seeded Serena Williams got her 2014 off to a dubious start by falling to Ana Ivanovic in the fourth round of the Australian Tennis Open, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3. Williams had never even dropped a set to Ivanovic before, let alone lost an entire match to her. The loss opens up the door for other players to claim the title – one that Williams had won five times before. Second-seeded Victoria Azarenka now becomes the clear favorite as she is still alive in the event and has won the last two Aussie Open titles.
Kevin Durant is good at basketball: In case you’ve not been following the NBA, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant has been on an incredible scoring streak. He put up 54 against the Golden State Warriors last week, and has now scored at least 30 points in seven straight games. The streak has upped Durant’s lead for the scoring title over Carmelo Anthony and he’s now averaging 30.6 points per game on the season.
NASCAR expansion: NASCAR is reportedly considering changes that could expand its championship to even more drivers. Currently at 12, there’s talk that the sport’s Chase for the Championship could be opened up to include 16 drivers. According to ESPN, there would then be a series of cuts in the 10-race Chase postseason. Expanding the field may water down things a bit, but it also gives more drivers a chance at the ultimate goal of a title, keeping a larger contingent of fans interested for a longer period of time. This may be oversimplifying it a little, but more fans involved equals better TV ratings equals more money.
Metrodome ‘deflated’: The Metrodome in Minneapolis was deflated for the final time this weekend. The historic stadium hosted two World Series for the Minnesota Twins and many other major sporting events including a Super Bowl, two Final Fours, and a Major League Baseball All-Star Game. The Vikings played their final game there this season and will play two seasons on the campus of the Minnesota Golden Gophers before moving into their new stadium in 2016.