Monday, February 05, 2007

Supe's Done

Some not-so-Super impressions on The Bowl while it's still relatively fresh in my frozen mind on this frigid NYC morning. BTW, when it's this cold––and according to Yahoo Weather it's 9 degrees out there with a wind chill that makes it feel every bit of -5 below zero––you should only be allowed to refer to it as bitter or brutal cold.

The game was played in a steady, driving downpour with no letup from start to finish, yet there seemed to be no mud on the natural grass surface or on the players' uniforms. 'Splain that one to me ... Also explain how Devin Hester was a total non-factor in the return game after his brilliant opening-kickoff runback for a TD. In about an inch of space, the guy made two brilliant jukes in about a millisecond; he has moves on moves ... But that was it; Hester was invisible after that ... The 8 turnovers by both teams reminded me of Super Bowl V, the first Super Bowl I remember watching, where the Colts, then of Baltimore, combined with Dallas to commit 9 giveaways; it became known as the Blooper Bowl after some clever sportswriter came up with that catchy phrase. Watched that one at Chrys Nicholas' house with Robert Martinelli, whose behavior at that 1971 game was disturbing to say the least and a portent of things to come. Alas, that story will have to wait for another post, another time.

I thought it was a good game, not a great game, unless you're a Colts fan; then winning ugly was a beautiful thing ... But then the Super Bowl is rarely the best game of the postseason ... This year the best playoff game was probably New England 24, San Diego 21 ... Best thing about the game being over is the Cowboys are now a few days closer to naming a candidate––assuming the interview process ever gets wrapped up. Jerry Jones is meeting with two more candidates early this week and by Wednesday will name a head coach and defensive coordinator ... Looks like I gave the official kiss of death to Cedric Benson! My pick for Super Bowl MVP fumbled and then never returned after a vicious first quarter hit ... I got the score just about right but the teams backward. That happens sometimes when you're channeling numbers from the beyond; I had it 27-16 Bears, instead it turned out 29-17 Colts ... The Bears had their chances, despite being outplayed on both sides of the ball, down only 5 with the ball early in the fourth quarter, but Grossman killed any opportunity they had to win the thing with some ill-advised heaves ... Grossman picked a bad time to revert to bad form, costing his team dearly with his two fumbles and two picks.

The revealing stat line of the game is total number of plays run. At one point it was a staggering 63-23 in favor of the Colts; after three quarters it was 66-28, for the game 81-48. That's a lot of plays for an offense to run ... You blame the offense, sure, for not doing enough to keep the Colts off the field, but the defense takes its share of the blame for not getting the Colts off the field. You have to take away something if you're a good defense, and the Bears didn't stop the run (191 yards) or the pass (239 yards). That's how you lose.

The Colts offensive line dominated, keeping Manning clean and upright in the pocket. When that happens, and Manning gets into a rhythm, you're just not beating the Colts on that day ... Cowboys can say they beat the Super Bowl champs, handing them their first loss after a 9-0 start, but of course the Jaguars, Titans and even the lowly Texans can say the same thing this morning ... which goes to show it's all about peaking at the right time ... I was wrong on the Colts defense after being right about them earlier ... I called them underrated and quick after the Colts lost to Dallas in Week 10 when everyone else was saying they sucked, and then after their turnaround in the three playoff games, I went against my instincts and said there's no way they put up a fourth strong game ... But they did, holding the Bears to 10 points and 265 total yards after Hester's 92-yard kickoff return to start things off ... Their MLB #58 Gary Brackett was all over the field last night; the one-time Rutgers walk-on––smallish by today's standards at 5-11 and 235––was stout against the run, finishing with 8 tackles ... Bears' LB Lance Briggs, a free agent, finished with 13 tackles, and now becomes perhaps the key name going into the March signing period. Giants are reportedly very interested.

Even die-hard Bears fans probably would have trouble begrudging QB Peyton Manning his moment this morning. He played like a machine despite the rain, going 25-38 for 247 yards to win the MVP. Manning and head coach Tony Dungy exemplify that you can be classy and dignified and still win big in today's world of sports ... Manning is only 30 years old, despite being in the league for nine years. He may still have a few good years left, no! ... As long as Eli never hoists a Lombardi trophy, I'll be fine with the other Manning doing so once or twice more ... Look for even more Peyton Manning commercials, if that's even possible ... Did see a fumbled snap on an extra point attempt by the Colts, but whether it was due to the bad weather or a slippery K-Ball was tough to tell; turned out to a meaningless first quarter mistake; football, like life, is all about timing when it comes to screwing up ... One of life's mysteries that may interest only me.

Nice to see Mike Irvin take his rightful place in Canton. Yes, he can be a jerk, but he left a lot of himself on the field
and played the game the right way every time out ––all out. Irvin, who grew up one of 17 children in Fort Lauderdale, is the second Dallas Triplet to get in, with QB Troy Aikman enshrined last year and RB Emmitt Smith eligible to join him in 2010 ... How good was Irvin in his prime? Let's put it this way: no doubt Marvin Harrison has had a stellar career; he's a Hall of Fame lock. But would anyone in his right mind choose Harrison over Irvin for one big game? No, and it's not only perception. The numbers don't lie either ... I'll always remember Irvin's brilliant performance in the 38-28 playoff loss to the 49ers at muddy Candlestick in 1995. Let's not forget who was covering him that whole day when he set an NFC championship game record with 192 yards receiving. None other than Deion Sanders.


jimithegreek said...

game was bettern most, fumbles / turnovers probably due to weather..manning was bigtime grossman revert back? revert back from an editor!!!!! i'd like to see Big D go with some new blood for HC

WardensWorld said...

you got me there, greek. revert back is kind of like saying "also too," but i'm trying to be colloquial here on the blog, using the vernacular that the kids are using.
so you did the vegas thing for the bowl, sounds great; next time you get comps leave the wifey at home and take the warden!
i agree with the new blood thing, but not just for the sake of new blood; don't force it.