Super Bowl XLVIII Pick & Analysis and the Pro Football Hall of Fame – NFLSunday, February 2, 2014 13:28
Breaking down Super Bowl XLVIII and what makes a true Pro Football Hall of Fame player.
NFL HALL OF FAME MIGHT SOON BECOME THE HALL OF SAPPS
Every year the Hall of Fame dilutes its cache, its cultural status by inducting men who may once have been very good, even great for a brief period, into a place supposedly reserved for the best of the best.
Every January, too many players and coaches who have accomplished notable feats in the league or contributed to its continued growth as an institution get a phone call from the selection committee informing them of their status as the newest HOF member—even if, upon further review, their records do not warrant that phone call.
Every time one of those calls is made to a man who does not truly deserve to be called the greatest of the great, the NFL Hall of Fame cheats those individuals who do deserve the once rare honor of induction.
Adding to that injustice, too many more-than-deserving NFL luminaries are annually shunned due to insipid reasons such as certain teams having too many players in Canton, there being a perceived logjam at a given position, or–my favorite–the player having had a bad relationship with the media
Why are the Pro Football Writers even involved in the selection process? Wouldn‘t a committee of game historians, a rotating contingent of media members and living HOFers give the process the sober consideration it deserves?
Does the NFL really want fans shaking their heads and asking these kinds of questions before the ultimate game of the year?
- How can the sixth most prolific running back of all time, a noted and consummate leader, almost impossible to stop when his teams needed a yard, not be in the HOF when eight players with less yards—many with less credentials—are enshrined?
- Why has it taken so long for Ray Guy—the best punter the game has ever seen—to warrant a Canton bust?
To any serious voter, HOF consideration should boil down to how much deliberation is required to make the case for any candidate.
Simply, if you have to debate beyond basic statistical criteria to remind people of a candidate’s stature when he played, then said player is not HOF worthy.
There is no debating who is the greatest of the great.
STRAHAN VS. SAPP…AND SANDERS
The best example of this year’s HOF class is Michael Strahan. Once I reviewed his stellar career there was no doubt Strahan warranted induction.
When I heard Warren Sapp insist Strahan just didn’t have the stats, I checked out Sapp’s record. It turns out, besides being a shameless self-promoter, an unbearable blowhard, and a second rate analyst, Sapp obviously can’t read.
If he had that skill, he would immediately exercise one of these two options: graciously request his bust be removed from Canton or forever shut up about who does or does not belong in the HOF—because Warren Carlos Sapp sure as hell doesn’t.
Take a look at Sapp’s and Strahan’s records side by side. You be the judge…
In every metric provided by ProFootballReference.com Sapp comes in with significantly lower numbers than Strahan.
- In his 13 year career Sapp averaged 2.89 tackles per game, if you include assists; solo = 2.21 per game.
- Strahan 3.95 & 3.08 tackles, respectively.
- Sapp averaged 7.42 sacks per year…Strahan 9.43
To put the disparity into athletically stark terms, Warren Sapp could only hold Michael Strahan’s jock strap if he had a palm full of stickum.
Sapp is the largest poster child for what ails the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The guy was a hell of a football player who was, at times, dominant and, for a short stretch across 1999 and 2000, perhaps the best at his position. But he never led the league in sacks and his current ranking of 35th most sacks in league history pales in comparison to Strahan at fifth best.
Sapp is the Deon Sanders of linemen: an immensely talented self-promoting big mouth who mooched his way into the HOF because he got a job in the media.
Sanders is widely regarded as a “great” kick & punt returner; he ranks 40th all time in total yards…67th in average punt return yardage behind luminaries like Jo-Jo Townsell and Tommy Vigorito—AND 208th in average kickoff return yardage!!!
Surely, Sanders must top the all-time interception list, given his reputation as the prototypical “shut down corner.”
Nope…Sanders comes in tied at 24th with Ty Law, 53 career picks.
(Googling “career passes defensed” yielded no results. We can only deduce the NFL did not begin to compile that statistic until very recently. However, to be fair, in his day Sanders was the most feared corner in the game; many quarterbacks wisely chose not to throw the ball anywhere near him.)
Don’t get me wrong, like Sapp, there is a legitimate case to be made for Sanders having a bust in the HOF, but the trend is undeniable.
- Very good, sometimes great players and/or coaches retire from the NFL…
- They begin a second career in the media…
- Via clever and slick self-promotion or maybe a savvy agent, the new media member carves out a niche in his new profession.
- The player- or coach-turned media darling gets love from his newfound and often star-crossed colleagues. An unobtrusive but persistent campaign for his Canton induction is launched on whatever NFL connected “show” the former NFL luminary currently graces.
Bill Parcells, Marv Levy and Warren Sapp played the game like Liberace played a Steinway. Next time you watch a pre-game show, note how the network guys subtly promote coaches like Tony Dungy, Bill Cowher or Jimmy Johnson.
Chad Johnson, Terrell Owens, and other loud mouths—with the help of their media mentors—are trying to parlay their natural charisma and impressive statistics into Canton Immortality.
Of course, such jock sniffing is in the media’s best interests.
What sounds better? “Joining us, former Steelers coach, Bill Cowher…” OR “Please welcome legendary Hall of Famer…”
Every time I hear Roger Goodell mention “protecting the Shield” or the NFL’s integrity, I keep thinking of guys like Dick Lebeau—the league leader in career interceptions upon his retirement, who had to wait 40 years for that coveted phone call, juxtaposed with Joe Willie Namath, who lost more games than he won, threw 47 more interceptions than touchdown, while compiling a career completion percentage of 50.1% and a QB rating of 65.5—and who received the call eight years after hanging them up…
Pundits insist Namath earned that call because he had the balls to predict a victory over Johnny U’s Colts—the same balls he offered to every actress on Broadway, and the same balls he stuffed into a pair of panty hose for an infamous magazine shoot.
The newspaper guys who gave Namath the nod in 1985 wanted to be him; every woman—to this day—wants to be with him.
I hope Warren Sapp isn’t dumb enough to argue he belongs in that Hall of Fame
FINAL 2013 TALLY AGAINST THE SPREAD (ATS)
We were very close to a good year until we went 3 – 13 in Week 17 and ended the year at a 51% clip, which means if we had bet the slate as we predicted every week we would have lost 60.00 to 80.00 bucks.
After our ultimately unsatisfying regular season tally, we were determined to show the world our expertise and doubled down on the NFL playoffs, betting parlays, round robins, and our Specials in an attempt to show then gangsters who was boss…
“How did that work out, your Gairzoness?’
After the Week 17 Massacre, we alluded to feeling like Sonny Corleone after his unfortunate “incident” in the Jones Beach Causeway booth.
After three weeks of NFL playoffs…Well, imagine how Sonny would feel after being eaten to the bone at by a gaggle of vultures…
REGULAR SEASON ATS RECORD = 127 – 120 – 9 .514
REGULAR SEASON SPECIALS = 38 – 46 – .440
GW = 11 – 5 – 1
LW = 6 – 12
US = 5 – 11 – 1
REGULAR SEASON O/U = 16 – 18 – 2
REGULAR SEASON PARLAY SPECIALS = 5 – 5
PLAYOFF (Specials/O/U for each game) RECORD = 7 – 12 – 1
PLAYOFF PICKS 4 -5 -1 O/U = 3 – 7
CUMULATIVE ATS RECORD 134 – 131 – 10 = .505
2013 CUMULATIVE O/U = 18 – 24 – 2
GAIRZO VS. CBS
Only Will Brinson was over .500—and these guys count pushes as wins.
Nobody else at the Eye Network came close to even. I spanked them all and that’s not bragging—just damning myself with the faintest of praise…
BOVADA ACCOUNT = —243.57
When we started wagering we began with a stake we could afford to lose: $400.00. During the NFL’s 20 weeks of football culminating in today’s Super Bowl we’ve lost a little over 12.00 per week.
Our strategy today is to bet it all and hope to break as close to even as possible…
SUPER BOWL XLVIII
Seattle Seahawks @ Denver Broncos -3 (48)
Fortunately we have a strong belief in the outcome of Super Bowl XLVII. It is the same approach we take to any big game. It is why Peyton Manning is under .500 in the playoffs. It is why the Patriots lost twice to Big Blue in the Super Bowl.
Consistently strong, stingy, punishing defense usually trumps legendary, record-breaking offense as the games get bigger.
They don’t get any bigger than the Super Bowl.
Let’s get something out of the way first: only three quarterbacks can make a legitimate claim to Greatest of All Time (GOAT)—Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Joe Montana. Graham, Marino, Staubach, Bradshaw, Aikmen, and Kelly are in the mix, but the top three are clear.
I choose Brady because when he was on, he was unstoppable, even if Jesus Christ in cleats roamed the opposing backfield.
Imagine Brady if he had Lynne Swann and John Stallworth for 8-10 years…Jerry Rice? Imagine Randy Moss as a Patriot for a decade instead of just three years…Marvin Harrison? Imagine Brady having behemoths like Decker and Thomas with whom to throw.
All that said, even if Manning folds like a cheap lawn chair at Met Life Stadium, he’s still in the top three and should serve as the best role model for any young gun who aspires to greatness.
However great Manning’s season has been, it is clear his arm strength has diminished. Don’t think the Legion of Boom hasn‘t noticed Manning’s deep balls, while incredibly accurate, have gotten less deep as 2013 unfolded. Don’t for one second believe Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas aren’t drooling over the game tapes showing the flutter balls sometimes quacking from Manning’s arm—on out routes no less.
Manning might get two, even three TD passes because Seattle’s secondary takes too many risks—but they might steal a pick six to make up for it.
Seattle will beat Manning the way Pittsburgh, New England and any other team beats him. Disguise coverage’s off his audibles, maul every receiver at the line and apply the most pressure with the fewest rushers.
The myth is that sacks are important against the Mannings and Bradys of the world. Nope, it’s pressure. Make the man move his feet and/or throw before he wants to and he becomes average pretty quickly.
Another myth is outside stunts or blitzing is the pressure that bothers Manning the most. Nope. Pocket passers twitch most when pressure comes up the middle or from inside games.
Seattle will bring all that defensively and I don’t think Manning will be able to overcome it.
Although Seattle earns the statistical edge in punt returns, Trindon Holiday is a legit threat on kickoffs–but both kickers are top ten in touchbacks.
However, Percy Harvin is a wild card and that could mean a long day for the Broncos’ punt return team.
The quiet elephant in the room is Marshawn Lynch. He’s a big game back and my pick for the MVP.
Top to bottom, Seattle has the most talent.
Russell Wilson only has to protect the ball. If he does, the ‘Hawks win by ten under the number.
SEATTLE 27, DENVER 16
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