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.
I don’t care about football, but I listened to everyone from you to Nikki Sixx, to morning DJs from Atlanta to New Orleans tell me that Manning was too old and Cam was the new Hotness.
First, I didn’t watch. But I didn’t buy it the “He’s tired and that Cam is so hot right now.” from them and honestly or from you. I have heard that song an dance about every older QB as they enter the twilight of their career. I hear this and I don’t care about football.
NEVER underestimate experience. You can throw that Tebow line all you want, but the bottom line is, Manning is a leader, and very good, very experienced leader. He knows his team, he knows his threats and he knows how to win.
And as you should learn, old age and treachery will always overcome youthful exuberance.
“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.”
I don’t see that as a problem. A “merely good” team can win it all if everyone pitches in their all. At their winningest, the Detroit Red Wings were never the kind of “elite” team that the Gretzky-era Oilers were, but when they won their first cup of the era in 1997 everyone was contributing. The defense was solid and they were getting key goals from people like Darren McCarty and even Joey Kocur for God’s sake.
I think we (as a whole) have become attached to anointing superheroes instead of leaders. Cam Newton was supposed to be a superhero, but once he was neutralized it was game over. Scotty Bowman came in and told Stevie Y that he should try to be less of a superhero and more of a leader, and it got him three Stanley Cups.
In many ways its great that we still prize individual achievement, but there are a great many things which still rely on teamwork. Teams who forget the latter eventually fall.
Steve Yzerman is one of the few athletes that I told my son to look up to. Maybe as talented as Gretsky, Lemieux and Messier and certainly tougher than Gretsky and Lemieux, whom the league protected. A class act all the way.
Remember Alan Iverson’s rant when he was suspended by Larry Brown (I think it was him) for missing practice?
When Yzerman had his last knee surgery, when they did an osteotomy to realigned his knee to use whatever cartilage he had left, the first time the procedure had been done on a professional athlete, one of the local Detroit reporters noticed Yzerman at a team practice. He hadn’t even yet started rehabbing the knee and was still on crutches. The reporter asked him what he was doing at practice. Yzerman’s reply, “I’m the captain of the team. What message would it send if I didn’t come to practice?”
How many rings does Alan Iverson have?
I partially agree. Iverson balled harder than anybody, and he was the toughest SOB in the league. I think that practice quote was largely taken out of context.
Also, AI took a Sixers team to the finals pretty much by himself and had the misfortune to run into Kobe and Shaq in their primes.
but there you go. A superhero will lose if he’s laden with a bunch of dead weight.
heck, look even at the “Bad Boys” era of the Detroit Pistons. Was there even one “superstar” on that team? I’d argue no. But they still went down to the wire with the (star-studded) Lakers in 1988 and took them down the next year.
Thomas, Dumars, and Rodman were all top 50 players in their primes.
Those Bad Boys teams are in the top 10 of best NBA teams of all time. I’d argue that three of the top five were in all in the mid-late 1980s. 85-86 Celtics, 86-87 Lakers, and 88-89 Pistons.
The other two would most likely be the 96-97 Bulls and the 15-16 Warriors when they win the title.
Iverson played the game a decade too soon. He’d murder the league right now.
If Byron Scott and Magic don’t get injured that year, the Pistons don’t win.
They won 2 titles, which year are you talking about?
It was a sweep. 4-0. The Pistons win either way. Maybe LA wins a couple games, but not four. The Pistons had added Aguire, Rodman had emerged, and everyone else was better.
And if Kareen doesn’t get the phantom call on Laimbeer the year before, the Pistons win three in a row.
Cheap shot on Iverson…more heart than 99% of professional athletes. And he has since admitted that he was immature, and that he honestly didn’t see at that time how his practicing could help the mediocre talent around him, though he since has come to understand that perhaps they might have been been able to contribute (marginally) more if he had worked out with them.
And both he and Larry Brown have said publicly that they both became better professionals and better persons as the result of the influence of the other.
And Bark is right, it was out of context, and especially out of the context of most of Philadelphia blaming Iverson for the Sixers’ problems, saying that his lack of practice was hurting the team. In reality, he was the only player that could or did help the team, and he never did anything less than give 110% every night, right to the buzzer, whether they were being blown out, or winning by twenty, or whatever…always came with everything he had, and never took off for a minute.
The team had multiple problems, and multiple things it needed to get better, and in that context Iverson asked the reporters “Practice?”, with all the things that were going on around the team, and we’re taking press conference time to talk about PRACTICE? Yeah, he said it a lot of times, but he was right to be incredulous about the morbid interest in just that one aspect, the only thing that most of the beat writers could understand or sell papers writing about.
And you think the Eagles are going to be a dumpster fire, Bark? They will be little more than a smoldering ashtray compared to the Phillies and even worse, the current Sixers. Hockey’s not much, either, though I’m not a fan and can’t speak with any authority. But the whole Philly sports team is unbelievable, especially for a so-called blue collar and sports town. But the Eagles will hold their own in the race to the bottom.
And don’t sleep on the Redskins…may not be their year yet, but at least Snider, the owner, has finally let some football guys start to build the team in a way that makes sense to football management. They could easily outdo the other, weaker sisters of the “NFL Least”.
And I say Rivera will get a lot out of the Panthers again this next year. So what if Newton is spoiled and/or immature. So are a lot of athletes, he just doesn’t hide it very well. But he still can play ball, and he still can make his teammates enjoy playing ball with him, and the coaching is above average. I just underestimated the power of the Broncos defense in SuperBowl L, er, 50.
The 2001-2002 Detroit Red Wings were more “elite” than nearly any professional hockey team, including the best Oiler’s team ever assembled.
The Wings had 10 future Hall of Famers that year, plus some barely near-misses.
Dominik Hasek, Brett Hull, Luc Robitaille, Chris Chelios, Sergei Fedorov, Igor Larionov, Nicklas Lidstrom, Brendan Shanahan, Steve Yzerman, Jiri Fischer, Tomas Holmstrom, and Pavel Datsyuk.
I stopped watching the video after 30 seconds; I couldn’t deal with the Yooper accent and uninteresting subject matter — combined — any longer.
I didn’t pay too much attention to the game this year, though it was nice to see Manning ride off into the sunset with a championship ring; history usually wins me over when my favorite teams don’t make it to the big dance.
It’ll be interesting to see what Seattle does now that Marshawn — quietly, as always — said goodbye to the field.
I think there was an incredible defensive story being played out on both sides in SB 50. It was proof positive that an elite defense can still shut down the talented young up and comer that everyone though was just going to run the ball every time he was rushed, or could handle himself in a shrinking pocket. To that, a good defense can even slow very experienced QBs who know how to read a defense and call audibles.
It wasn’t flashy, there were no incredible catches, or heroic drives, just a grinding defense that I found exciting it its own way if you knew where to look. I loved watching Cam get sacked over and over after everyone assured me he was going to slip through the pass rush.
The Pathers defense was nearly as interesting in that it broke down the Broncos just about every time the Broncos got within the 20 yard zone.
About the only memorable offensive plays were Manning’s 2 point conversion, and Cams two 40+ yard passes.
We are now at 10 of 12 Super Bowl wins for the teams with the number one rated defense. Cam Newton may actually come out a better QB experiencing what a real defense can do to his loads of talent.
It wasn’t all about the QB this time (at least on the field), and I personally was satisfied with that.
As a Broncos fan before Elway was traded to them by Manning’s former team’s ownership, it was as gratifying a win as their first championship. The old Orange Crush defense had nothing on this group. They hold the record for most wins in a season by 8 points or less. Much like a 1-0 World Series game 7, this was an exhibition for the football lovers, not the “fans”.