End Zone

Monday, February 6, 2017

The Morning After (Super Bowl LI)

Ryan congrats Brady after amazing comeback by Pats.
Woke up this morning, still in shock that Tom Brady & the New England Patriots came back from a 28-3 deficit to win Super Bowl LI... I then quickly shifted from what I was feeling to what a poor Atlanta Falcons fan in the state of Georgia is feeling like right now. When you look at how many sports championships the city of Boston has, compared to the lone one championship Atlanta has (1995 Atlanta Braves), it seems pretty unfair... but that is the life of sports, it can seem unfair, but the truth is there has to be a winner & there has to be a loser.

The game was looking like a blowout at 28-3, and through 3 quarters it was appearing that the big highlight of the game was Lady Gaga's halftime show. My friend Charles was on his phone, on NFL.com, placing his vote for Devonta Freeman of the Falcons, as Super Bowl MVP.

Throughout the game, I was texting my wife who was watching over her brother in the hospital, the scores, for awhile her responses were "F@#% Yes!" (I believe she actually hates the Patriots more than me) -- then as I started texting her 28-9, 28-12, she said she started feeling that annoying feeling that all of non-Patriot fans know all too well!

I remember at one point in the 3rd, when Brady through an incomplete, my friend said something on the lines of Brady being off -- I disagreed, take away the first quarter, his stats were starting to compile into something really good. I noticed that the Patriots have controlled the clock as well, but still even at 28-9, we were still laughing when that extra-point bounced off the uprights -- I said out loud "Wow, you know it's not their day, when they can't kick extra points!"

When the score became 28-12, I joked that all the Patriots need now, is 2 touchdowns & 2 two-point conversions... note to self, never joke about such things EVER again!

I said at half-time that the Falcons key was to never let up, although aggressive in some regrettable decisions that would come later, I felt they were not as aggressive everywhere else, they were not attacking like they were in the first two quarters... they should have been running it more & eating that clock up as well. I spoke about the Falcons at the half, to not let up, everyone at the party looked at me as if I had two heads, with one of them saying something "I think this game is over."

There was that part in me, was thinking "Yeah, dude it's over..." and then there was the realistic me thinking, I have seen them comeback time & time again in the regular seasons from 14-17 points down. So when it was 25 down, I'm thinking it's just one more extra play here & there from deficits they have come back from the past, but.... this will all be avoidable with the Falcons running the clock and 3rd quarter down.

When the Matt Ryan fumble happened, that's when I heard the trouble horn go off -- New England scored easily and the two-point conversion was flawless, a direct snap to the running back. I said to myself, if they accomplished that two-point conversion with such ease, the next one will be just as easy.

Now to the  Falcons' next-to-last drive of the 4th, in which Julio Jones made that excellent catch... it was like watching a horror story on what happened next. They didn't get much on a run after that, than an incomplete, then came a holding -- it was like the Falcons suddenly panicked.. a far cry from what we were watching in the 1st half.

When the Patriots got the ball back, and were down 28-20, I think myself & everyone in the room knew that suddenly New England was in the driver's seat; The Patriots committed two turnovers early on, and we know after watching the Pats all these years that they got all that out of their system already.

Also that Julian Edelman catch -- Are you frickin' kidding me?!

The Pats of course, tied the game up, and when they won the coin-flip for the very 1st overtime game in Super Bowl history -- we knew it was over. Watching the Pats storm downfield was disgusting, they did it with such ease, they executed it beautifully. The Falcons defender got a arm out to deflect the pass, when we saw the replay, he may have had a chance to pick that --- the very next play the Pats' White punched it into the end zone.

Now personally, I and everyone in the room, and probably across the nation DID NOT see that ball break the plank, but.... you know damn well, that the very next play the Pats would have got it done, so no debate there... like I said, they won the game when they won that coin-flip.

The greatest comeback in Super Bowl history was now complete, but was it the greatest game ever? This seemed to sprout like weeds on my Facebook feed, and I quickly (and confidently) can say...

NO

This game was not even the best game of THIS post-season, that belongs to the Dallas-Green Bay NFC Divisional Playoff Game that we experienced 3 weeks ago. Was it the greatest game in the minds of every Patriots fan ever? Yeah, Probably.

If I was to rank the Super Bowls quickly from the top of my head, they would go down as this... (from #10 to #1)...

  • #10) Super Bowl XXIII (San Francisco 20, Cincinnati 16) - The game itself was a snoozer for about 45 minutes or so, but it all ended with a beautiful drive by the calmest man on the planet in Joe Montana -- Joe Cool indeed "Hey is that John Candy?!
  • # 9) Super Bowl XXXVIII (New England 32, Carolina 29) - The game was low-scoring and quiet in first half as both teams were figuring each other out, then it became a shoot-out between the two teams' passing games -- back & forth, until Adam Vinatieri for the second time of his career, kicks a game-winning Super Bowl field goal for Patriots.
  • # 8) Super Bowl XLIX (New England 28, Seattle 24) - The game lived up to it's hype, and to the very last second, when Seattle head coach Pete Carroll did the unthinkable, and not ran the ball with 'sure thing' Marshawn Lynch to put the game away (Everyone in the stadium & nation were expecting him to have the ball). If there was ever a time, I felt that the winner should have an asterisk next to their name & a game where the team that lost, really coughed up one up -- it was this one! 
  • # 7) Super Bowl LI (New England 34, Atlanta 28) - The first-ever overtime in Super Bowl history, matched by biggest comeback history (25 pts down), all brought together by the greatest Super Bowl champ of all-time in Tom Brady. This game has the ability to move up this chart in time, as it all sinks in, but it's not the 'Greatest Game of All-Time'. 
  • # 6) It's a tie... Super Bowl X (Pittsburgh 21, Dallas 17) & Super Bowl XIII (Pittsburgh 35, Dallas 31) - Sure, I sort of cheated here, but it's two match-ups between two classic teams which featured many of the same players. It was tough to choose between the two, so I clumped them... between Lynn Swann's catch in X & XIII's drop by the "sickest man alive" Jackie Smith, both games had plenty of drama and still stand the test of time. 
  • # 5) Super Bowl XLIII (Pittsburgh 27, Arizona 23) - I remember that game having a bit of everything, in so many ways it feels like a duplicate to games such as XXXVIII (Pats-Panthers) & possibly that of my other choice (XLIX) -- plus great plays by Santonio Holmes & James Harrison.
  • # 4) Super Bowl XXV (N.Y. Giants 20, Buffalo 19) - First game decided on a field goal, Scott Norwood's name would echo across upstate New York in a negative way (Football's equivalent to Bill Buckner). The game was during a tough time for our country (Desert Storm) and Whitney Houston's National Anthem still reigns supreme!
  • # 3) Super Bowl XXXIV (St. Louis 23, Tennessee) - A magical season for both teams came down to a game that would literally would kickoff the close Super Bowls trend that we know today. This game came down to clutch tackle & a fierce comeback by the Titans; A very exciting time as the 'Greatest Show on Turf' Rams were led by Kurt Warner, who literally came out of nowhere -- one of the best feel-good stories ever in all-of-sports.
  • # 2) Super Bowl XXXII (Denver 31, Green Bay 24) - John Elway finally gets his, while Terrell Davis had a huge night. 
  • # 1) Super Bowl XLII (N.Y. Giants 17, New England 14) - Perfection stopped, by perfect script. Great defense, plenty of drama, all capped off with Eli Manning (somehow) escaping to connect pass to David Tyree (WHO?!)
At the last second I juggled XLIII to #5, bumped LI from #9 to #7, I feel a lot better about this list now, and although I have personal favorites like my Dallas Cowboys dominating the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVIII -- I needed to be as unbiased as possible. 

Now onto Tom Brady and why I think he will retire after all of this...
  • It's perfect: Go out on top of with unbelievable 25-pt comeback (31 unanswered points).
  • It's the perfect screw-you to Goodell; Banned for 4 games due to "Deflategate", march team back to Super Bowl, end on the highest note possible with first-ever Super Bowl overtime.
  • His body language, coach Bill Belichick's body language & the way they celebrated -- when Tom Brady crouched down on the field, and he had all those cameras taking pictures of the back of his jersey (facing up to cameras) it was like an iconic Michael Jordan moment to me.... I looked up at my friend, while watching this go down, and I said "He's going out on top, this is it, he's retiring"... My friend responds "I think you're right".
  • Re-watch those celebration moments New Englanders, you may exactly see what I am talking about.
  • He won his 5th Super Bowl, setting a record for QB's, passing Joe Montana, and has now officially won the best QB in Super Bowl history, if not the best QB ever... period.

These are my responses of the game, I'm sure I will get some flack on where this game stands in Super Bowl history or a debate if this is truly the end of Tom Brady, but seriously, what better way to go out?!


Saturday, January 28, 2017

League Leaders (Through Week 2)

Larry Fitzgerald, Carson Palmer & the 2015 Arizona Cardinals are 2-0 with a +27 scoring differential.

PASSING LEADERS












RUSHING LEADERS


This rushing list is loaded with Hall of Fame Running Backs: Emmitt Smith, Barry Sanders, Walter Payton, Marcus Allen, Marshall Faulk, Marion Motley, Thurman Thomas & Jim Taylor.

RECEIVING LEADERS


The 1995 Detroit Lions were an historic offense, and so far in this league, their offense is showing just that with the top 3 receivers in the entire league: Barry Sanders is a surprise at the top, followed by Herman Moore & Brett Perriman; Moore's 355 receiving yards (ranks 1st), while he ranks 2nd in TD receptions (3). Their Quarterback Scott Mitchell ranks 1st in passing yards with 700, while it's great that he has 4 TD passes, he also has 4 Interceptions.

By the way, here is a interesting article on how the 1995 Detroit Lions compare to the 1999 St. Louis Rams, by Bleacher Report. Moore & Perriman, by the way, became the NFL's first receiving duo with 100+ receptions in the same season.

DEFENSIVE LEADERS

KICKING / SCORING


TEAM DEFENSE & TEAM OFFENSE


Keep in mind, that the 1999 St. Louis Rams' stats are after one game. The team that is showing the best of both worlds (offense & defense) are the 1965 Green Bay Packers, outscoring their opponents (by average), 24-6.5; Another strong team -- The 1957 Detroit Lions, who are averaging 462.5 yards of total offense (19.0 ppg) compared to only allowing 244 yards per game on defense (15.0 ppg).


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Week 2 Remaining - Scoreboard

Rice was the difference maker against 2000 Ravens.

  • 2015 Arizona 21, 1990 Buffalo 17 : Carson Palmer (23-32, 272 yds & 118.2 rtg) was brilliant again, as the Cards hold off a late Frank Reich Bills comeback. Larry Fitzgerald had 10 catches, while the Cardinals' rushing game compiled for 134 rushing yards on 25 carries (Chris Johnson led Cards with 68 yds on 11 carries).
  • 1957 Detroit 28, 2003 Carolina 27 : Muhsin Muhammad's 5 catches for 131 yards & 2 TD's was not enough to keep Bobby Layne (13-23, 197 yds, 2 TD / 2 INT & 77.6 rtg) & the Lions tamed. Hopalong Cassidy led the Lions with 92 yards (64-long) on 11 carries & 2 TD's. 
  • 1988 San Francisco 21, Baltimore 10 : Baltimore surrendered 10-0 1st Qtr lead to 3 unanswered Jerry Rice TD's (8-yd TD run, 2 rec TD's). Joe Montana started the game (10-15, 104 yds & 108.8 rating), but got injured for remainder of game; Steve Young finished 13-24, 144 yds, TD & 86.1 rating. Baltimore lost Trent Dilfer for 5 weeks, while Tony Banks has already been out -- so that left the Ravens with Chris Redman. Shannon Sharpe was held to 1 catch for 8 yards. Ravens' only TD came off of a 88-yd punt-return TD by Jermaine Lewis.

CURRENT STANDINGS



WEEK 3 MATCH-UPS:
  • 1995 Detroit Lions (0-2) @ 2003 New England Patriots (1-1)
  • 1950 Cleveland Browns (1-1) @ 2003 Philadelphia Eagles (0-2)
  • 1975 Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) @ 2015 Arizona Cardinals (2-0)
  • 1965 Baltimore Colts (1-1) @ 1999 St. Louis Rams (1-0)
  • 1957 Detroit Lions (2-0) @ 1971 Miami Dolphins (0-1)
  • 1971 San Francisco 49'ers (0-2) @ 2000 Baltimore Ravens (0-2)
  • 1988 Cincinnati Bengals (1-1) @ 1986 New York Giants (1-1)
  • 2015 Carolina Panthers (2-0) @ 1965 Green Bay Packers (2-0)
  • 1988 San Francisco 49'ers (1-1) @ 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1)
  • 1990 Los Angeles Raiders (2-0) @ 1993 Dallas Cowboys (1-1)
  • 2015 Denver Broncos (1-1) @ 1990 Buffalo Bills (1-1)
  • 2003 Carolina Panthers (0-2) @ 1985 Chicago Bears (1-1)

The GAME of the WEEK will be between Cam Newton & the 2015 Carolina Panthers vs. Bart Starr & the 1965 Green Bay Packers -- which will guarantee one of these 2 teams to be 3-0 after 3 weeks; A few other teams have a chance to go 3-0 as well in the schedule.

1999 Rams Win in Shoot-out!

Faulk & the 'Greatest Show on Turf' roll past the Detroit Lions.

The 1999 St. Louis Rams, who had a 'bye' in the opening week of the schedule, showed no rust whatsoever, as their high-powered offense put up almost 60 points against the 1995 Detroit Lions

Marshall Faulk led the charge with 205 combined yards (127 yds rush / 78 yds rec) with 3 total touchdowns for the day -- you were golden, if you had him on your fantasy football team, folks!

Faulk, Torry Holt & Isaac Bruce all had 5 catches each, while Kurt Warner lit up the scoreboard with 17/24, 306 yards passing, 4 TD's & 152.8 QB rating; Scott Mitchell (373 yards) of the Lions did his best to keep up, although he also threw for 4 TD's, he also threw 4 picks to the Rams' defense.

Barry Sanders had 15 carries for 116 yards, while he also had 8 catches for 51 yards. Detroit's leading receiver ended up being Herman Moore 12 rec for 236 yards & 2 TD's; Moore now has 15 catches for 355 yards (23.7 avg) with 3 TD's this young season (2 games).

Week 3 Match-ups:
  • 1995 Detroit Lions (0-2) @ 2003 New England Patriots (1-1).
  • 1965 Baltimore Colts (1-1) @ 1999 St. Louis Rams (1-0).


Gault vs Gault (Raiders 28, Bears 27)

Gault wins regardless of outcome.

Willie Gault was in great shape regardless of the outcome in this one, his Raiders version slightly out-performed his Bears version. Raiders' Gault: 7 catches for 149 yards & 2 TD's, while the Bears' Gault had the longest TD of the day (70 yds), while making 6 catches for 126 yards. 

Bears suffered bad news in 2nd Quarter as Jim McMahon got injured, Dennis McKinnon (WR) got injured the next quarter; Both will miss the next 3 weeks.

Jay Schroeder played mistake-free football, while connecting 17/24, 289 yards & 3 TD passes (150.9 rating) -- while Steve Fuller had no answers 9/19 for 173 yards; Fuller did run for a 2nd Quarter TD, giving the Bears a brief 17-14 lead.

Marcus Allen was the game's leading rusher with 91 yards on 19 carries, including a late First Half TD, that gave Los Angeles, a 28-17 lead. Raiders' offense went quiet in 2nd half, as their defense did their best to keep the Raiders the lead, sealing a close-game victory.

Week 3 Match-ups:

  • 1990 Los Angeles Raiders (2-0) @ 1993 Dallas Cowboys (1-1).
  • 2003 Carolina Panthers (0-2) @ 1985 Chicago Bears (1-1).


Packs Defeat Cowpolks, 28-3


Vince Lombardi: All smiles (Hornung crouched in front).


The 1993 Dallas Cowboys couldn't get their passing game to go-along with their effective running game, while Bart Starr of the 1965 Green Bay Packers executed their offense, keeping Dallas' defense on their heels.

Starr made the big play when he needed to (12/21, 234 yds, TD) & kept the chains moving (23 first downs), finishing the day with a 112 QB rating... while Troy Aikman (11/23, 57.7 QB rating) of the Cowboys was held under a 100 yards passing (87). Aikman's safety valve, Jay Novacek was a no-show in this contest, catching only one ball for a negative 3 yards -- after a Week 1 performance that watched Novacek net nine catches.

Emmitt Smith was Dallas' only real weapon in this one, carrying the ball 14 times for 109 yards, while leading the boys with 4 receptions. The Pack had their usual two-man punch working in the running game with Jim Taylor (17-70) and Paul Hornung (14-55, 2 TD runs), which worked really well with Starr's passing game.

Emmitt is 2nd in rushing (192 yds) after 2003 Carolina's Stephen Davis (196 yds).

Boyd Dowler led Packers' receiving game with 6 catches for 90 yards.

What's Next?
  • 1990 Los Angeles Raiders (2-0) @ 1993 Dallas Cowboys (1-1).
  • 2015 Carolina Panthers (2-0) @ 1965 Green Bay Packers (2-0).



Steelers Quiet Colts, 13-0

Jack Ham recorded 2 sacks against the Colts.


The 1965 Baltimore Colts' offense sputtered at the wrong times against the 1975 Pittsburgh Steelers' "Steel Curtain" of a defense.

Johnny Unitas put up a pedestrian 74.1 QB rating of a performance, completing  18 of 34 passes for 228 yards passing, while the O-Line could not protect Unitas (5 sacks). Terry Bradshaw (115 yards passing) had a similar game (72.9 QB rating), but improved mightily compared to last week's 3 interception performance.

Rocky Bleier (17-78) led the Steelers' rushing attack, as the team combined for 39 carries for 153 yards on the ground. The Colts' rushing was less effective (16-57) & could not compliment the passing game, to give the Colts a better offensive flow.

What's Next?

  • 1965 Baltimore Colts (1-1) @ 1999 St. Louis Rams (1-0)
  • 1975 Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) @ 2015 Arizona Cardinals (2-0)