Super Cold XLVIII – Why in the world are we playing the Super Bowl in an outdoor stadium?

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It’s been the elephant in the room for months now. When people say that “The {Insert mediocre/bad team} are going to go all the way this year”, there’s been one lingering question… how will they do at Metlife Stadium in the frigid cold? Will they mess up because they’re a warm weather or dome team, be great because they live in Sumas, Washington, the northernmost point in the US, or be okay because they’re from some city that doesn’t have some huge weather difference. 

But it leads me to this question… why would they have it in New Jersey in the first place? There are a bunch of reasons not to have it there – the weather, the location, the fan experience, the soulless stadium, it’s NEW JERSEY – shouldn’t that be enough? The argument for this stadium may seem smart. “It’s the same as Indianapolis.” “It’s the NFL’s response to 9/11 to do something for New York” “It’ll be like the winter classic”. The first argument for Indianapolis is fine. However, there have been great chances for the NFL to do stuff like this. The NFL could’ve made a donation to some 9/11 fund of some sort. I’m not trying to be insensitive –  although it’ll be great for the city monetarily, it just won’t be a great experience for the fans (although seeing Wilson or Manning go short-sleeved would be really funny.)

Many have made the argument for it being like the Winter Classic. However, let’s compare them side by side. The Winter Classic is a minor event with little to no effect on the regular season or playoffs, and only happens once a year. The Super Bowl is america’s biggest sporting event, biggest monetary gain for the NFL, cold weather is not a rare occurrence, and the most important game of the year. There’s a difference there.

I love New York, and it’s one of the world’s greatest, if not the greatest city in the world. But putting the game in a dome or a warm weather city would make this easier for everybody.

 

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Why Bill Belichick is Coach of the Year

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Since the theme as of lately has seemed to be 2001, let’s have another flashback to then. That was the year the Patriots won their first Super Bowl with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick at the helm of the ship. Thirteen years later, the dynasty has remained.

But how have they remained at the top for so long if they have been around for so long? New tends to eventually wipe out the old in sports, and in life. However, this hasn’t happened yet. For the past two years, people have said that the reason the Pats were succeeding so late in time was because of Wes Welker, Vince Wilfork, Rob Gronkowski, Shane Vereen and Aaron Hernandez.

This offseason, Welker signed with the Broncos, Hernandez was arrested on murder charges, Vince Wilfork was injured early on, Shane Vereen played half the season, and Gronkowski played for 7 games with an injury, then promptly tore his ACL. This, was the end, surely, right? But no. It worked, and New England got the two seed this year.

So, how then? To fully understand, you have to go back to Bill Walsh’s creation of the West Coast offense, which was a system in which you can put anybody anywhere, and as long as they understood what to do, it consistently worked. And even though that’s been around since the eighties, nobody except Bill Walsh has truly used it any better.

But that’s a hard task for a coach. It really is. So to do what he does, even with the system, with what he has – a quarterback and an offensive line – he deserves that award more than anybody does.

Why I might be breaking up with the NFL

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You and I have sustained a long and successful relationship throughout my life. However, at this moment, I am seriously considering breaking up with you. Why?

First of all, you take and never give back .  Okay, some of that is a lie. But the only time I’m satisfied with you is when you’re at your peak in early february unless my team is there. The games are almost never satisfactory.

Second, so many people are so obsessed with you, I can’t take it – even you are. It’s like you think you’re the only sport in the world, and people believe you. SI is now in the middle of their NFL offseason preview (really?), My not top ten plays were taken by an interview at the combine, and now there’s talk of a major nfl event in every offseason month,

Third, your attention to injury is so small, I couldn’t measure it using the world’s tiniest ruler. You are appearing to do nothing about concussions after one has taken his own life due to brain damage, and so many former players are suing you. And yet you won’t change.

Fourth and finally, your games are like one giant ad. Games last three hours. That means when I watch a 3 hour game, 66.6% is ADS. That’s just nuts.

Sincerely,

The sports according to will team (me)

The death of recruiting day: One of the many things college football needs

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Recruiting

 

And they say baseball is annoying.

There is a day in February every year I simply cannot stand.  After the Super Bowl and before Spring Training, ESPN Home pages are cluttered with stuff like this.

Look, I get it. It’s great to watch people pick their team. But personally, I think there are a few things wrong with this picture.

First of all, millions of kids spend countless hours waiting and wishing, hoping to get into their perfect school, the one of their dreams. But these people somehow have the right to choose for themselves. That’s not how it works. How it works, is that going to that college is a privilege. They invite you. If you have a choice between multiple colleges, you decide at your kitchen table with your family. And when you get to pro level, the teams choose you. You can’t join a team because you said so.

Second, I don’t see why it needs to be this big of a deal. There is simply nothing much exciting about watching people choosing colleges. It’s next year’s team. You don’t need to announce where you’re going on National TV.

It just doesn’t add up for me. Watching kids pick colleges isn’t exciting nor is it fair. If the NCAA wants to make this sport more popular or just plain better, this part of the process should be eliminated. When a Harvard professor applies for tenure, its a reasonably large thing for the professor, college and the students. But, they pick, and we aren’t seeing that on front pages. That’s how it should be. Even though I hear the Harvard tenure process is quite tedious.

Just another edit to make in a game with some serious problems.

JOE COOL

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Ray Lewis has gone out a champion. But that’s not the image we’ll be seeing on sportscenter. Joe Flacco has lead his team to a super bowl win. He’s graduated from the quarterback who just couldn’t take his team all the way. The game was an incredible one with the power outage bringing the 49ers back to life, but somehow the Ravens held on.

The Ravens have had a long and winding road to this one. It’s been tough with lots of criticism, injuries and wondering. But now that it’s over, you now have to start asking questions – how did Joe Flacco manage to do this? Just a little while ago, he was that quarterback who simply couldn’t finish. Now he ended up with an MVP trophy. He has become more and more confident, helping his game improve.

I’ll admit, I got the pick wrong. But that is the beauty of sports. It’s unpredictable and you can’t call anything until it happens. There are miracles. The 49ers were a better team all season, and the Ravens simply got hot.

They plowed through the 49ers during the first half, leaving them at 28-6 before the power outage before the 49ers rallied to bring it within 2 points. But Joe Flacco crossed the line from good to great to elite. He stayed cool and collected and took them down the field to put them 5 points up. The end came soon for the Niners.

Congratulations, Joe.

Welcome to the club.

The pregame hype was all about Lewis. But the game was all Flacco.

The pregame hype was all about Lewis. But the game was all Flacco.

Super Selection, Quarter by Quarter

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I promised I would do it! And with a mere five hours left in my time span, I have done it. So without any further ado, my Super Bowl pick.

QUARTER 1:
After a 3 and 1/2 hour long pre game dance and 4 and 1/2 hours crying on the field after the star spangled banner, Ray Lewis finally agrees to walk off the field to start the game with a kickoff to the 49ers. They get off to a fast start, hitting two or three long passes, but failure in the red zone leaves them with a field goal – 3-0 49ers. The Ravens get the ball for the first time, and it’s clear what their game plan is – Ray Rice. Rice continues to smash through the hole and Flacco hits Boldin for less than five yards for the touchdown, putting the Ravens up at 7-3. Colin Kapernick adds a whole other dimension to this game, and starts proving it in a no-huddle, run, pass or QB draw drive only taking two minutes to reach the end zone with a 15 yard Kapernick throw to Vernon Davis, in which he does the famous bible kiss. The Ravens will get it back but end up punting, giving the 49ers the first possession of…

QUARTER 2:
The 49ers, however fall to a three and out with a Lewis sack of Kapernick, which will be his only sack of the night. The Ravens will get 2 first downs, but not enough to extend the drive. The 49ers will take a long, methodical drive down the field, mostly with Frank Gore runs, ending in a field goal, putting the game score at 13-7. Flacco takes the Ravens to the 50 or so, but throws a pick and the 49ers take possesion at the Ravens’ 40. Akers takes a 55 yard try, but misses. The Ravens, however, do not squander their chance and put the game within 3 points, at 13-10 right before halftime.

During halftime, Beyonce will freeze up and break down – never to sing again, and the medics will prove she was a robot all along. A last gasp attempt of replacing her with Justin Bieber also doesn’t work, because he breaks down too.

QUARTER 3:

The Ravens receive the ball with a touchback. Flacco decides he needs to pick up the pace, and after three fifteen yard games, he bombs the ball to Smith for a 45 yard touchdown reception. 17-13 becomes the score. The 49ers pick up the ball at their own 30, but do literally nothing. The same happens for the rest of the quarter. Let’s hope there are some good ads that quarter.

QUARTER 4: The Ravens can’t squeeze out a touchdown or a field goal after going wide left from a 49 yard try. The 49ers end up punting. The Ravens punt, which looks hopeful for San Fran. But, coming up a yard short forces them to do the exact same thing. All the Ravens have to do is get one score, but they can’t. The 49ers get the ball with 2:30 to go. Kapernick fires one pass, then another, then Kapernick runs it through for the touchdown with 15 seconds to go. For the first time in Super Bowl history, there is

OVERTIME: The Ravens get the ball first and manage to put in a field goal. It’s just one defensive stop. Don’t let them score and they win. The Ravens force the 49ers to 4th and 6 at their own 30 yard line. Nobody is open. So after a miracle block from Frank Gore, Kapernick runs 35 yards for a first down and possession in Ravens territory. After Frank Gore runs for 2 first downs, it’s 1st and 10 at the Ravens 22. A 22 yard pass to Vernon Davis seals the deal.

Colin Kapernick and the 49ers walk off gloriously. The final score: 49ers, 27. Ravens, 23. Your super bowl MVP is Colin Kapernick.

And so begins the baseball waiting.

2 painful legacies, and only one victory

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It’s looked promising for the past two or three years. The promised land was close. The ship was sailing, and others recognized the threat. Last year, only a last second blow from an eastern force kept them from destiny. Now the only thing lying between them and destiny – is the brother.

This isn’t a story of David and Goliath. There is no “Real” favorite. While one team looks a bit stronger then the other, you can’t pick this game right away.

Jim Harbaugh and John Harbaugh grew up competitors. But I don’t think they ever got to this level of competition in the backyard. The parents will be watching, that’s for sure. I don’t think they’ll be picking sides.

Both the Ravens and 49ers came painfully close last year. And now, one is going to come even more painfully close – and fall.

I am very excited for the super bowl, even though my Patriots aren’t there. Kapernick will add a second dimension to it – the first non “Power arm” quarterback in the super bowl for quite a while.

For Ray Lewis, this is his swansong. A loss here would mean eternal pain for him later on – to come so close in that final season only to lose. This isn’t just his battle though – he’s a general in the battle of the defenses.

It will be a slugfest, no doubt. But this game will mean even more than usual for the coaches – they could win, but send their brother home with pain. However, I think they both don’t care about that yet. Last year hurt too much to be sympathizing for the other. Right now, I think all they care about – and maybe all they will ever care about – is replacing those 2012 memories with 2013 victories.

Sidenote: I will do more pieces on the Harbowl, and will be doing the same thing with my super bowl prediction as last year, 4 quarters, 4 posts, 4 days, all ending on Super Bowl Sunday.