The Super Bowl isn’t really for true fans of football. I know that may sound blasphemous, but it’s true.
Sure, we certainly enjoy the game and watching the two hottest teams (notice I intentionally did not say the two “best” teams”) fight it out for the right to be called Super Bowl Champion.
But we also know that the lead up to (and many times during) the game can be so excruciatingly painful that we can’t tolerate it.
ESPN (aka TMZ Sports), the NFL Network, CBS, and every other network with an advertising rooting interest in the game feels the need to drum up innocuous storyline after storyline.
Each one is more trivial than the last. They want to jam it down the throats of casual football fans everywhere so that the ratings go up and their reach of ads they paid insane amounts of money for pay off.
Meanwhile, you and I, are left to fight through the weeds and find the actual reasons why this game will be interesting. This list isn’t about those reasons.
Stop me if you’ve heard this already, but the two coaches in this upcoming Super Bowl are brothers. Move over Lennay Kekua, this is some REAL news! If we can get ESPN’s cacophony of Max Headroom-esque talking heads out of our minds for a second, we’d realize that aside from having a pretty cool Thanksgiving dinner conversation for the Harbaugh family, who else gives a crap?
Is it neat to think that out of all the football coaches out there, two who are siblings end up in the biggest game and go head to head? Sure it is. So was the fact that an extra bag of pretzels fell out of the vending machine at work today but I don’t expect live news coverage interviewing every one of my family members about it either.
Let’s face it. If the two brothers did NOT have the name Harbaugh to begin with, it’s likely that neither would have had the opportunity to break through the tightknit/inbred community of NFL coaches anyway. Let’s celebrate nepotism before we throw a parade for these guys.
Do you think the Human Resources department at the Livestrong Foundation threw a “retirement” party with a cake and balloons when the disgraced former racer recused himself from the Foundation? Me neither. And all he did was cheat in some bike races, lie for a decade, and ruin a few people’s lives with lawsuits all the while attacking their character.
Mr. Lewis on the other hand hid evidence from cops that were investigating a double murder that he was a suspect in, was convicted of obstruction of justice (largely because police couldn’t find crucial evidence to convict him of participating in the actual murders and he served up two others for the crime), lied about it for a decade, and acted sanctimonious ever since while those victims’ families are one family member short.
Lewis is unquestionably one of the greatest linebackers ever to play the game, even if he is somewhat of a liability on the field currently. As for his character, time sure must heal everything. I’m guessing the fond farewell tour for OJ Simpson and Rae Carruth won’t be far behind.
Asking Bill Parcells about his feelings on the latest trends in NFL schemes is like checking with Dr. James Naismith on his thoughts about the Miami Heat’s position-less roster. The game has evolved so much so that fans of teams with coaching openings that cry for the return of John Gruden or Bill Cowher are as outdated as the Wing-T.
The NFL certainly has its share of fads thanks to the lack of creativity in the coaching retreads’ copycat philosophies. What seems to be forgotten is that this evolution was a long time coming. The pistol / read option offense is merely the next generation of an unstoppable offense. The best athletes on the field are suddenly the quarterbacks. It used to be the running backs during the ground and pound, or wide receivers / defensive ends during the resurgence of the pass. Now when an offense has a guy who is bigger than an outside linebacker, as fast as a safety, and can throw the ball, they have what’s called a match-up problem for opposing defenses.
Successful college teams have long since perfected the read-option and pistol offense so it was only a matter of time before NFL offenses adapted. In typical copycat fashion, NFL teams everywhere will follow suit. The difference is that for teams that don’t have a Kaepernick, Newton, or RGIII, it will be a fad. For those that attempt to draft and shape their teams to reflect the future, it’s here to stay.
Forgive the obvious response, but doesn’t it depend on what you consider elite? We will be inundated with self-important shills like Phil Simms and smug unhappy little men like Merril Hoge waxing on for two weeks about whether or not Flacco now qualifies as an elite quarterback. Making a Super Bowl does not make a quarterback elite. Just ask fellow ESPN blowhard Trent Dilfer about that.
For the record, I think Flacco is a very good NFL quarterback. That doesn’t mean we should all get our panties in a bunch because he outplayed a 73 year-old Tom Brady. I consider elite to be someone you would take on your team over almost every other QB in the league. If you have Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, or Peyton Manning, you probably wouldn’t take anyone else over them. Same goes for Drew Brees and possibly Eli Manning. However, if you have Roethlisberger, Stafford, or Flacco, you would trade up for any of those other three guys in a heartbeat.
Many of you will probably disagree with my synopsis above and that’s fine. But just like common sense dictates you should never get into a bar fight with a guy who has cauliflower ear, common sense says we shouldn’t have some talking head schmucks jamming their definition of what a subjective classification like “elite” means.
Here’s one take: Harbaugh made a gutsy move against popular opinion by benching a veteran quarterback playing perhaps his best football in his career in favor of an unproven unorthodox rookie. If the move blew up in Harbaugh’s face and Kaepernick fell flat on his face, he would take all of the heat. The safer route would have been to ride out Smith and see where he took you, knowing full well if he didn’t get to the Super Bowl he could turn over the future of the team to Kaepernick next season.
Another man’s take could be that Harbaugh merely took the easy way out by playing the “hot hand” card and drew the ire of old school players and fans everywhere who still believe someone should never lose their job because of injury. These are the “woe is me – poor Alex Smith” campaign. Let’s remember Smith is in his 8th NFL season as a former 1st overall pick who initially had a $50 million rookie contract, followed by a one-year $5 million contract, and then the most recent 3-year $24 million contract. I don’t need a calculator to tell me that amounts to like, a lot of million (almost $80MM for the actuaries out there), all for a whopping 2 playoff games and a 53% playoff completion percentage. In other words, go find the world’s smallest violin for a guy who is one Ryan brother away from being Mark Sanchez.