Welcome to the Four Down Journey where Peyton Manning attempts to win the Lombardi trophy in his brother’s backyard; where Russell Wilson looks to become the second black QB to win a Super Bowl; where we don’t overanalyze the Richard Sherman topic; and where we support Marshawn Lynch because…well, he’s just ’bout that action.
Today we look to answer the Super Bowl questions from a different perspective.
What is the most important matchup for Super Bowl XLVIII?
I know you might be expecting me to say Peyton Manning versus Richard Sherman and the Seahawks secondary, & while I do think that it’s a very important factor of the game, it’s not the most important factor. This game, much like a lot of football games will come down to who will win in the trenches. In this case, it will be Seattle’s Defensive line led by Cliff Avril & Michael Bennett vs. Denver’s Offensive line led by Scarborough’s own Orlando Franklin. Seattle’s defensive levels has been flirting with some of the legendary defences that we’ve ever seen in the NFL, which we haven’t seen since the Ray Lewis led Baltimore Ravens team from 2000. However, the Broncos’ O-Line has kept Peyton Manning upright & clean all season. Peyton’s the best at picking teams apart, it doesn’t matter what kind of secondary is across the line from him…..as long as he has the time to throw. Much like Brady in this regard, you have to create a pass rush from the line in order to speed up his clock. If you blitz him, he will kill you. Send a secondary to blitz, he’ll find the open receiver before you’ll have the chance to hit him. Bennett & Avril did a great job in the NFC championship collapsing the pocket & getting Colin Kaepernick to turn the ball over 3 times in the 4th quarter. They will have to win that matchup in order to get real pressure on Manning. If not, it could be a long day for Seattle overall.
One rumor I’ve been hearing about is that they have signed DE Steve Lattimer to help them deal with Manning last week, but found out that it may not be a good idea to keep him after they told him he would be starting in New York…..
…..okay, maybe this didn’t happen. I’ll try to lay off the PED jokes. I won’t promise though.
Will there be a scandal that overshadows the Super Bowl?
In other words, will there be anything like the Eugene Robinson story or someone mentally snapping like Barrett Robbins on Saturday night? Hard to say. If you remember, Robinson (the starting free safety for the Atlanta Falcons) the night before Super Bowl 33, was arrested for picking up a prostitute who was posing as an undercover cop…..with his wife sleeping at the hotel. To make matters worse, he picked up the Bart Starr Award that same evening from the Athletes in Action Christian group for his community work & his high moral character. You couldn’t make this up. Of course John Elway picked on him immediately resulting in an 80-yard TD to Rod Smith that went sailing right over Robinson’s head, attributing to a 34-17 loss for the Falcons.
With Robbins (who was the Pro Bowl starting Center for the Oakland Raiders), he had a mental breakdown after not taking his depression medication and was so far gone that he reportedly told his wife he was in Tijuana partying & drinking, thinking the Raiders already won the Super Bowl. Losing your Pro-Bowl player hours before the game? Well, I think you know what happened next.
Being that we live in the social media culture right now, it would be extremely dumb to act foolish the night before the big game, but as we all know, athletes will do the dumbest things regardless on who has a smartphone around them. Although both teams are stationed in New Jersey for the week, Manhattan & Brooklyn and the whole “City That Never Sleeps” elements are literally across the Hudson. While I don’t think a scandal will happen this weekend, these crazy type of situations happen much more than you think. Don’t think these are the only two situations where drama unfolded behind the scenes during Super Bowl week, most teams just do a great job at keeping it under wraps. If something does happen though, it’s guaranteed to shut down Twitter.
Why does Marshawn Lynch have the problem?
Think about it. You are a person that doesn’t like to really speak to the media or grant much interviews; yet because of the NFL’s rules, you have to get microphones shoved in your face Super Bowl Tuesday & Wednesday to answer questions like, “Have you ever made it rain at a strip club?” & “What colored skittles taste the best?”. I understand part of an athletes job is to speak with the media, especially during the biggest event of the year, but to force someone to the tune of $100K for not speaking with reporters? Doesn’t he have the right to not speak if he doesn’t want to? He showed you all season that he doesn’t want to speak to the media, even taking the $50K fine at the end of the season. So now as a reporter, you’re mad that he doesn’t say much to you guys during a media scrum? He even said he’s only there so he doesn’t get fined.
There are so, so many players that you can interview with interesting stories on both teams, just pick one. Knowshon Moreno has a very good story about his life & upbringing. So does Demaryius Thomas whose mother & grandmother were running the streets like Avon Barksdale & Stringer Bell growing up, & are watching Sunday’s Super Bowl from prison. But the biggest story so far this week is about trying to interview a person that doesn’t want to be spoken with. Seems like a complete waste of time to me, & I don’t blame Lynch for it either. With that said, his interview with Deion Sanders on Media Day was one of the greatest third-person/hood talk moments I’ve seen in a long time. I’ll at least thank him for that.
Craziest player background story this week?
Doesn’t Demaryuis Thomas have to win this in a landslide? His Mother AND Grandmother are serving prison sentences for moving cocaine like Tony Montana! His grandmother is serving double life in jail. Double LIFE!!! If he ever says that he wasn’t supposed to be in this position in his life right now, you need to believe it.
Who’s the most underrated players playing on Sunday?
Denver RB Knowshon Moreno. He’s had an unexpected great season (I’m sure all of his fantasy owners can attest to this) as the lead back for the Broncos. The one weak part of Seattle’s defence — IF you want to call any part of their defence weak — is that with the right RB & scheme, you can run the football on them. The Rams, Saints, even the Bucanneers had some success running the ball against them this season. With all the offensive weapons that the Broncos have (which includes Montee Ball sharing the rock in the second half of games lately), it could possibly leave some lanes open for him to get to. I’ll go as far as to say he could be my dark horse for the Super Bowl MVP if the Broncos win.
Seattle WR Percy Harvin. Seattle’s secret weapon. No one on Denver knows what he’s going to do. Neither does Seattle. Neither does Harvin. He only played 39 snaps all season in between getting concussed & rehabbing from hip surgery. Now he’ll be unleashed in the Super Bowl. With that said, in the Divisional playoff game against the Saints, you can see the impact he had on the few plays that he did touch the ball, & the fact that the Saints defence keyed in on him whenever he did get on the field. He is a big-play guy that you have to account for. Most likely, he won’t be on the field for the majority of the snaps, but having him in their offense adds a new wrinkle that could cause problems for the Broncos…..if he doesn’t get decapitated by an injury before the Super Bowl intros are over.
Is everyone okay with Richard Sherman now?
While I won’t rehash the whole Sherman narrative (as it’s been beaten to death in the last two weeks), it is kinda shameful that social media raked him through the coals for loudly saying that he was the best at his position. I disagreed more with him running up to Michael Crabtree, and slapping his butt right after the game-ending INT to say, “Nice game.” That was more of an asshole-ish move than anything he said to Erin Andrews. Also, I don’t like the fact that he didn’t cream his ankles in that Nike commercial. Everything else I’m pretty much okay with. They’re two rival teams that hate each other, you’re not going to get the most complimentary things said out of a player’s mouth about the other team minutes after the game is over. Let’s move on!
Why is there a Super Bowl in the Tri-State Area?
There’s a term for this reason, it’s called “Get money“. Roger Goodell and the rest of the NFL deciding to host one of the world’s biggest sporting event in such a major market. I mean, I get it. It’s a smart move, outside of Hollywood, all of the biggest talk shows & major TV networks have their offices in New York which leads to endless free promotion for the brand to the non-football public. Times Square has been turned into Super Bowl Blvd, and the overall intrigue of having a game in the New York area will have even more people than ever before watching it, specifically those who may not normally watch. However, the Super Bowl should never be played in a cold weather city unless it’s in a dome. You never want winter elements affecting the biggest game of the year. If it happens to be a blizzard, what then? Unlike the CFL, you have warm weather climate cities to avoid this. This game could have been played in Miami, San Diego, Houston, or in domed NFL cities such as Atlanta or Indianapolis. Shit, this game could have even been played in Pasedena, CA where the Rose Bowl resides, or Los Angeles (we’ll get to that one in a bit). With the amount of pressure on the players’ shoulders, trying to stay warm should not be another factor to be added to it. I’m hoping the game isn’t affected by the weather & thus far, the reports are the weather shouldn’t be too cold or windy. Having the Super Bowl in the Tri-State area may have benefitted the NFL in a lot of ways, but it doesn’t benefit the players who actually have to play on the field in the Meadowlands.
Who’s winning the Super Bowl?
As a 49ers fan — & I will try to say this without my stomach bubbling — I have to give respect to the Seahawks. The last two years they have shown themselves as a true force in the NFL, they have great players on both sides of the ball, they have a great coaching staff, & most importantly, I hate the fact that they are in the same division as my 49ers. It bothers me because they pretty much mirror each other in talent & depth, with their youth they’ll be around for a long time. And because of this rivalry, I can’t enjoy watching them play as much as I would like because their success directly impacts us. They had a phenomenal year, they were consistently the best team in the NFC, & they deserve to be at the Super Bowl this year……just so they can see Peyton Manning hoist his second Super Bowl trophy.
I’m not saying this with bias either, I really do feel like it is Manning’s time. After the season he’s had, all the accolades, the records broken, the 5th MVP trophy he’ll collect tonight, the stars are all set up for him to get it done. He hasn’t faced anything like the defence he will see across the line, but he is faced with some of the best weapons around him on offense that you can possibly have. The Broncos defense has been playing a lot better these last few weeks as well, led by Terrence “Pot Roast” Knighton, and I’m not confident that Seattle will be able to keep up with the Broncos is they score more than 20 points. Denver has enough to get the job done in what I hope will be a great game. They have to, for my sanity. Please.
Final Score: Broncos 31, Seattle 23
Back to Los Angeles for a minute. Someone in Los Angeles bought 60 acres of land. 60 acres! Should that be a big deal? I think so, and here’s why. The person who bought that plot of land is, Stan Kroenke. He owns multiple teams, like the Denver Nuggets and the Colorado Avalanche for starters. One of the other teams he owns is the St. Louis Rams. Guess what? The lease they have with Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis expires after next season. Could they be returning home? Hmmm….. The more the NFL revs up its hype-marketing machine so the whole world can know about the Super Bowl & leaking some of the Super Bowl commercials to drive up the anticipation, just know it’s hoping to also drive you away from stories like Dwight Harrison. A great read about his fight for his NFL pension. Sad really…….. Macklemore feels bad apparently that he beat out Kendrick Lamar for best hip hop album. Not bad enough to give it to Kendrick or to even unclaim it and channel his inner Garth Brooks. With that said, I won’t knock Macklemore & Ryan Lewis because I did not listen to all but one song off of their album The Heist, so I can’t judge. But seeing them in every major category including a performance where they were going to perform their song “Same Love” on same sex marriages and relationships (which included marrying 33 couples at the same time during their performance), I knew no one in those hip hop categories stood a chance that night. Not Kendrick, not Drake, not Hov, not anyone. Biggie & Tupac would have lost last Sunday too. History was going to be made that night, not that there’s anything wrong with that…… “Lay back, kick back……mind my bidness, stay in my own lane….. Game time though, I’ll be thurr”…….. Looks like Andrew Wiggins is slowly starting to pick it. It will be interesting to see if he can raise his level of play as it gets closer to the tournament. If so, he may still be the #1 pick overall in June that everyone expected him to grab coming into the season…… I don’t even know what to say about Kevin Durant, other than the fact that he’s the MVP of the NBA. So far. It’s really between him and LeBron who’s trying to become the 1st player in history to win 5 MVPs in 6 years. The problem for LeBron: No one has won three straight MVPs since Larry Bird did it in 1986. Either because of voter fatigue or another playing simply rising to the cream of the crop, it doesn’t happen anymore. With Durant keeping Oklahoma City atop the standings of the Western Conference without Westbrook, it doesn’t look good right now for LeBron to achieve this goal…… “That’s huge……Beast Mode…..loves…….and appreciate that. Yes Lord.”
Cal Cee // South Shore Ave
Safe and happy times for all at your Super Bowl parties and events tomorrow night. Just remember, if you’re drinking, no driving.