MONDAY'S DAILY FIVE
*Musings & Opinions*
1. ONE OF ALL-TIME GREAT SUPER BOWLS?
Super Bowl XLVII should without a doubt go down as one of the NFL's great Super Bowl's. It had just about everything from a thrilling 49er's comeback that just fell short.... sensational touchdown catch and 108 yard kickoff return from Jacoby Jones to electric quarterback play from Colin Kaepernick in the second half. The game really had me on the edge of my seat and when you even add the bad of the game such as the power outage and the questionable refereeing, Super Bowl XLVII will likely go down as one of the most memorable Super Bowls in history.
SOME POST-SUPER BOWL THOUGHTS:
*The most talented team didn't win as top to bottom the 49ers are the best team in football. But, what we saw Sunday night was the most composed team win.
*I'm in the corner that refs should call the Super Bowl in the 4th quarter, just like they would call the first quarter of a regular season game in week 2. Quarters 1-4 should be called the same and that was extremely disappointing. The way Super Bowl XLVII was called reminded me of an overtime NHL playoff game where they put the whistles away and let everything go. All of the fuss is on Jimmy Smith getting away with holding on the 49ers failed 4th and goal play in the endzone but how the refs failed to call the helmet to helmet hit by Smith on the previous third and goal play is just inexcusable as is the late hit on Joe Flacco in the 4th quarter out of bounds that wasn't called.
*Jim Harbaugh is a very good coach and has done great things in San Francisco getting that team to the NFC Championship game and Super Bowl in two years but his inexperience showed at times against his big brother who's accustomed to high pressure situations.
2. RAY LEWIS IS MENTALLY ILL
The antics from Ray Lewis, I always thought were just for show but this guy is mentally ill in the head and just absolutely insane. Some of his interviews from the Shannon Sharpe one (pre-game) about the Atlanta murder victims to him putting his hand on Jacoby Jones that he claims led to Jones scoring the kickoff return, I'm really at a loss of words. He really believes in all of this BS he's been blabbering about in that God was behind the Ravens winning and all that other BS he was talking about. He's just sick in the head.
3. FLACCO OVER BEN?
The discussion surrounding whether Joe Flacco's an "elite" quarterback is a discussion that's being overplayed. For me, the word "superstar" and "elite" is often overused by fans and pundits when categorizing players at the top of their respective positions. There's a big difference between a "star" player and a "superstar", yet so many players get labeled as a "superstar" or "elite" player. When I think of an elite quarterback, I think of a few select players like Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Peyton Manning. Flacco is not elite but there's not a lot of quarterbacks I'd take over him.
If I was starting a franchise with a five to seven year window, I would take both quarterbacks playing in yesterday's game, Colin Kaepernick and Joe Flacco over Ben Roethlisberger based mostly on the age factor. Kaepernick is 25 years old and Flacco just turned 28. Ben Roethlisberger turns 31 in March and his body has taken a lot of hits over the years.
However, if we're choosing a quarterback for just the 2013 season, I'm going with Ben Roethlisberger over Joe Flacco but I'm taking Colin Kaepernick over both Roethlisberger and Flacco without any hesitation. Kaepernick is that special of a quarterback.
4. STEELERS 18-1 ODDS
The Steelers have opened as 18-1 odds for Super Bowl XLVIII, the 10th best odds in the NFL. The Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens are tied for the 5th best odds at 14-1 behind New England, San Francisco, Denver and Green Bay.
Around here a hot topic is whether the Ravens or Steelers are in better shape going into 2013 season. Steelers fans will disagree, but I don't even think it's much of a discussion that on paper the Ravens are going to be in better shape, despite the losses they figure to endure.
On defense, the Ravens major contributors are much younger than the Steelers and statistically they weren't better than Pittsburgh but they were more of a clutch defense who provided big plays.
The Ravens only had two players on defense in their 30's who were major contributors in 2012; Ed Reed and Ray Lewis. Losing Reed to free agency is going to be a blow but he's not the player he use to be and losing Lewis on the field is going to be a blessing. He was brutal in the playoffs and was the worst player on the field.
The Ravens won the Super Bowl without two key players on defense in Lardarius Webb and Jameel McClain and both will be back next season and the Ravens should expect Courtney Upshaw to continue to get better and Terrell Suggs bounce back healthy. If the Ravens resign Paul Kruger, I like their defense over the Steelers defense who had Casey Hampton, Brett Keisel, Larry Foote, James Harrison, Troy Polamalu, Ryan Clark, and Ike Taylor among their 11 Major contributors on defense. All are 31 years old or older and there's no infusion of great young talent in the system.
On offense, Joe Flacco projects to have a superior group of playmakers around him than Ben Roethlisberger who will be losing Mike Wallace, his only game changing deep threat, while tight end Heath Miller is a long shot to open the season fully healthy and the talent at running back doesn't even compare to the Ravens combo of Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce.
5. WILL STEELERS OPEN SEASON IN BALTIMORE?
The NFL will surely look at the Steelers as a serious option to open the season in Baltimore in the Thursday night opener to kickoff the NFL season, but the Steelers should do what the Ravens did in 2009; Decline to play the Super Bowl champs on opening night.