Well, I hope nobody made any bets on the Super Bowl based on my predictions. That’s two years in a row I’ve gotten it wrong. Oh, well.
Some random Bark thoughts about the game, the season, and what we can expect next season:
- The Kitten Bowl was much, much more entertaining.
- It is indisputable that Peyton Manning’s legacy is now firmly cemented as an all-time great because he’s got two rings. However, he is also indisputably the worst quarterback to ever win a Super Bowl—yes, worse than Trent Dilfer or Brad Johnson. It got so bad that Gary Kubiak decided that it was safer to run the ball on third-and-long—they were 1-for-14 on third down—and punt the ball than to trust Manning with a medium-depth throw. It was a weird combination of Tresselball and The Waterboy. He’s not an NFL quarterback at this point of his life, and that’s completely okay. In fact, there is some beauty to be seen in a man recognizing his shortcomings and not allowing them to take the entire team down around him. He realizes that he’s not an MVP-level performer like he used to be, and he only did what his team required him to do—which was basically staying out of the way of its ’85 Bears-like defense.
- Because of that, Manning simply cannot come back for another season. His noodle arm won’t get stronger. His neck won’t get healthier. He can’t do anything to add to his legacy, and he doesn’t need any more money. He’ll transition seamlessly to being a talking head on ESPN, and he’ll command just as much endorsement money as ever.
- Cam Newton is becoming a little bit like the POTUS—any criticism of him is being interpreted as racist, which is just plain silly. He acted like a complete clown at the press conference. You can make any societal comment you want, but calling Peyton Manning a class act and calling Newton the “Incredible Sulk” isn’t racist. It’s just true.
- It’s entirely possible that Denver will be better next year. Brock Osweiler proved to be more than serviceable in his time under center this year, and the defense should be back nearly intact. Wouldn’t that be something, if the Broncos were to repeat as champions with a different QB? Would that damage Manning’s legacy?
- Here’s a crazy thought—the Broncos could have won that Super Bowl with Tim Tebow at QB. They really could have. They might have been better with Tebow than with Manning, because Tebow would have posed a credible running threat.
- Neither of these teams feels particularly “great.” When Super Bowl champions are ranked from 1-50, it’s hard to see this Broncos team cracking the top half of the field. Imagine if the Panthers had won—we would have had an 18-1 team (a record matched only by those aformentioned Bears) that we all felt kinda “meh” about.
- I can just as easily see the Panthers going 15-1 or 14-2 next year as I can see them going 7-9 and getting their coach fired. Can’t you?
- Because of that, I don’t really see a prohibitive favorite going into next season. I think there will be a massive changing of the guard, especially in the AFC. That being said…
- Teams that look like complete dumpster fires for next season: Eagles, Falcons, Browns, Bears, 49ers, and Dolphins
- Teams that could get a lot better next year: Raiders, Jaguars, Titans, Bucs
- Bold predictions for division winners next year: AFC winners will be Oakland, Houston, Cincinnati, and Buffalo, with Denver and the Jets as wild cards. NFC winners will be Seattle, Tampa Bay, Minnesota, and Giants, with Packers and Panthers as wild cards.
- Bad news for teams that are drafting high this year: I don’t think there’s a single instant difference maker in the draft. There’s no great QB available, and I watched a lot of Joey Bosa this year, and he seemed incredibly blockable.
- Speaking of Bosa, how is it that there will likely be 4-5 Buckeyes drafted in the first round and as many as 12-14 drafted overall, and yet Ohio State couldn’t beat a Michigan State team with a backup QB? Meyer has proven to be a strong recruiter, but as a coach? Ehhh. His handling of the Barrett/Jones situation this year cost his team a title.
That’s it. I leave you with this completely unrelated video from a TTAC hater, mostly because it’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen.