Super Bowl XLVIII: Who wins? Defense or League MVP

richard sherman and peyton manningOffense sales tickets, defense wins championships. Although regular seasons are often highlighted by big plays and high scoring affairs, the postseason has proven time and time again to be a totally different animals. Teams with high-powered offenses may have what it take to make it to Super Bowl, but history suggests that it has rarely proven to be enough to hoist the Lombardi Trophy in victory.

Only four Super Bowl winners were led by dynamic offenses (Ram 00′ Colts 07′ Saints 10′ Packers 11′). Although all four of these teams kevin dyson and london fletcherwere led by league MVPs they each had dynamic play makers on the defensive-side of the ball who made THE PLAY to seal the win ( London Fletcher, Rams 00′ Bob Sanders, Colts 07′  Tracy Porter, Saints 10′ & Clay Matthews 11‘).

History appears to be on the Seattle Seahawks side because of their dominant defense. Since the Legion of BoomSeahawks offense has been pedestrian at times their defense led by the Legion of Boom will be relied on heavily to slow down the potent record-setting Broncos offense, a task they are more than capable of doing.

But history also suggests that the Denver Broncos armed with a league MVP certainly possess the essential ingredient of past Super Bowl teams peyton manning aaron rodgers drew breeswho won without the luxury of having a dominant defense. Every team who has won a Super Bowl without a dominant defense were led by a Canton-bound league MVP quarterback, and Peyton Manning certainly fits that criteria to a tee.

When the clocks strikes zero and a champion is crowned history will repeat itself yet again. If the Seahawks win, the moniker defense wins championships will be affirmed. If the Broncos win, the league MVP Tyree catchCanton-bound quarterback exception will rain true as well, for the fifth time in 14 years.

How will Super Bowl XLVIII be remembered?  Birth of a dynasty or the end of an era. Each Super Bowl has highlights that we all remember where we were and what we were doing when we witnessed it. What dynamic play will we witness on Superbowl Sunday that we all will add to our ever growing sports highlight list? Stay tuned… I know I will.

 

 

Andy Dalton – the Next Great NFL Quarterback

Dalton improvementsIf a quarterback leads a franchise to three consecutive NFL Playoff appearance, he is often held in the highest esteem. After an 11-win season, Cincinnati Bengals fans should be showering Andy Dalton with praise and adulation not campaigning for him to exit stage right. Although pundits may appear to be justified in their stance fans from WHO DEY nation should be reminded of how putrid life was before Dalton, no playoff appearances and below .500 finishes.

For those who are calling for another quarterback, what better option do you have? The Washington Redskins Kirk Cousins no longer looks like a viable option after his struggles late in the season. New England Patriots Ryan Mallet is also unavailable considering the Brady era is almost near its end. And unless the Bengals unearth a late round gem, or sign Chicago Bears Josh McCown, the truth is Dalton gives you the best chance to win.

Despite the limited options, Dalton is far from a consolation prize. In his first 38 games nfl top quarterbacksDalton he has went to three consecutive postseasons which is something that NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and Peyton Manning cannot even boast. No one is calling for Detroit Lions Matthew Stafford or Atlanta Falcons Matt Ryan‘s job, two $100 million dollar quarterbacks who have only been to the playoffs once.

Dalton certainly has room to grow, and this will certainly be a make-or-break season for him, and the time to get better starts now. He has the tools and now he has the time to refine his craft by improving his mechanics and decision making.

Dallas Cowboys Tony Romo has grown accustomed to hearing folks calling for his Giovanni Bernard Fumblesjob, completely overlooking the numerous wins that came before the loss. Dalton has a bright future in the NFL, if Giovanni Bernard does not fumble the ball at the three or drop three balls then Dalton would be receiving the praise Luck and Kaepernick are receiving. Til then,  Andy Dalton is Tony Romo 2.0. What will he do for an encore? Stay tuned…I know I will. – A. Denmark

Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on GoogleListen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio  Subscribe to podcast

Road to the Super Bowl: Contenders will rise and pretenders will fall, who will be left standing #nflplayoffs

After nearly six months of NFL games the playoffs has arrived and all that remains are the serious contenders for the NFL title. Although there may still be a few more poser among the six teams remaining, at the end of the weekend their true colors will shine bright as only four teams will inch closer to representing their conference and ultimately celebrating a NFL championship in the Big Easy.

in a rodg we trustSix out of the head coaches remaining in this single elimination tournament are entering unchartered waters as they each attempt to build a legacy similar to one time Super Bowl Champion Packer Head Coach or four-time Super Bowl  winning Coach Belichick of the New England Patriots. Each of these franchises quarterbacks all have compelling stories: Peyton Manning’s (Denver Broncos) fused neck; Russell Wilson’s (Seattle Seahawks) small stature and 3rd draft selection; Colin Kaepernick (SF 49ers) youth and inexperience; Joe Flacco’s (Ravens) clutch gene missing an unaccountedbrady manning for; Aaron Rodgers (GB Packers) will his arm hold up to three games of 60+ passes due to a deficient  running game; Matt Schuab (Houston Texans) will he finally get the monkey off his back and shake off the bug of inconsistency; Matt Ryan (Falcons)will he finally win a game when it counts the most; and last but not least Tom Brady (NE Patriots) will he be forced into another shootout.

Although each of these quarterback will get their fare share of headlines this weekend do not be fooled by their gold boy looks and smiles because the outcomes of each of these games will ultimately won on the defensive side of the ball. The Green Bay Packers and the New England Patriots bend but don’t break defenses have been serviceable during the regular season but they both know that the playoffs is a different beast all its owntalib and johnson. Both former Super Bowl Champion teams will rely heavily on their secondary to produce turnovers. The Patriots corner back Aquib Talib will be left in man coverage against the Texans All-Pro wide receiver Andre Johnson. Green Bay’s Charles Woodson will certainly test the youth and inexperience of 49ers quarterback Kaepernick.

The Seahawks, 49ers, and Broncos each have a number of game breakers on the defensive side of the ballseahawks each team will certainly keep the offensive coordinator and the quarterback up the night before game day. The secondaries of the Seahawks and the 49ers play most games in man coverage which gives the defensive coordinator the luxury of blitzing at a high rate. The Broncos led by All-Pro linebacker Von Miller dominate the line of scrimmage giving opposing quarterbacks very little time in the pocket.

The Atlanta Falcons certainly have their fare share of talent on the defense including a stud at linebacker in Sean Witherspoon and free safety Will Moore in the secondary. Unlike their dirty bird defenseplay-off peers the Falcons often gets overlooked but this weekend they will have an opportunity to cast their embarrassing loses to cellar dwellers into the sea of forgetfulness. As the epic battle of titans grows near tune be sure you have your pop corn ready, because this weekend its going down and it promises to be a good one Also be sure to join me Saturday 1030 EST for my NFL Playoff Primer for this weekend’s games. Stay tuned… I know I will – A. Denmark.

Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

Listen to internet radio with eat drink sleep sportz on Blog Talk Radio

New England Patriot Dominance and NFC Parody – in search of a NFC King #superbowl

Parody in the NFL has become a widespread phenomenon that has infected the entire NFC. The only team that appears to be immune to its elixir are the New England Patriots who continue to widen the gap of dominance over their AFC counterparts. NFC division leaders New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers, and Atlanta Falcons have all been remarkably inconsistent all season suffering loses to unacceptable opponents and conference cellar dwellers.

The regular season is nearly over and no dominant team from the NFC has separated themselves from the packNFL Playoffs 2013 as a prohibitive favorite to represent the conference for the Super Bowl in New Orleans. Unlike the NFC teams the Patriots continue to stomp on the throat of their opponents and it would not be considered presumptuous for their fans to start booking flights and making hotel arrangements to Bourbon street for another shot at another Super Bowl.

As the playoff picture begins to become more clear fans and odds makers alike have no clue who will contend. At the start of the season the Green Bay Packers were projected to have the best chance to win another Superbowl.

Green Bay PackersAlthough the play of the Packers has been impressive at times, the Packers have failed to overcome the injury bug as well as produce a serviceable running game. Last week against the reigning Super Bowl Champion New York Giants they were thoroughly dominated as the G-men defensive line made life for Aaron Rodgers a nightmare.

Led by Eli these same New York Giants have also been remarkably inconsistent recently ending a 4-game no touchdown pass drought. Despite holding onto a slimColin Kaepernick San Francisco 49ers lead in the division over the resurgent Washington Redskins there chances of repeating and potentially missing the playoffs all seem like unsurprising outcomes. Their NFC Conference Championship foe the San Francisco 49ers are still breaking in quarterback Colin Kaepernick who has been both electrifying and riddled with mistakes all alike.

The Falcon continue to prove pundits right with two embarrassing loses to two teams with records below .500.Cam Newton Carolina Panthers Despite an 11-2 record has their ever been a team with such an impressive record that everyone presumes will make an early playoff exit like they have done in times past The last three Super Bowl winners were NFL wildcards which means teams like the dangerous Seattle Seahawks and the talented but inconsistent Chicago Bears may serve as more than just first round exits during the postseason.

As the season progresses the Patriots eventual crowning as AFC Champion seems like a certainty. However, history has shown us that the Super Bowl Super Bowl 48 New OrleansChampion may come from the NFC for the fourth time in five years. Although the Patriot’s eventual foe has yet to be determined their challenger promises to be compelling none the less. Will the Giants and Falcons shake the bug of inconsistency? Will the 49ers led by their unproven quarterback prove pundits wrong and return to the site of their last Super Bowl run in 1990? Stay tuned… I know I will – A. Denmark

The Return of the NFL Refs: How a win for the referees = a win for the NFL’s $25 Billion Dollar Empire

After the Hail Mary debacle on Monday Night between the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers the five month stalemate between the NFL and Referee’s Association was resolved in time for the Thursday Night game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Cleveland Browns, who had lost nine straight to the opposition.

The NFL referees returned to a standing ovation from NFL fans and hugs and slaps on the back from the Baltimore Raven and Cleveland Brown players. Many will believe that NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell conceded due to player safety, threats of boycotts by players, pressure from picketing fans or the urging of our Commander-in-Chief,President Barack Obama.

This could not be further from the truth, the real reason the commissioner and his billionaire pals decided to finally give in was because it was a great business decision. Lets first be clear that with either referee officiating the games that the NFL was never at a threat of losing a cent of the $25 Billion Dollars that it collects annually. As with any top Fortune 500 company how one is viewed matters very little especially since companies such as the NFL are only fueled and driven by opportunities to increase capital gain.

The miscues from the Monday Night Football game sparked a media storm that the NFL only received on Super Bowl Sundays.  Everyone from the avid fan to my nine-year old niece who does not even know what a touchdown is had an opinion regarding the referee’s blown call in Seattle. Every local new network around the country spewed their discontent with the replacement referees from Al Roker, the weather man on NBC’s Today Show to Bill O’Reilly on Fox New’s No Spin Zone. Others may mistakenly view such attention negatively but the NFL seized on this opportunity of being in the headlines and saw it as an opportunity to increase viewership and ultimately regain the $30 million dollars that they had agreed to in their negotiation with the NFL Referee’s Association.

In business one never passes on an opportunity to increase profits and the NFL is no different. Hall of Fame Quarterback Steve Young did not need his law degree from BYU to see that everything comes secondary to the opportunity to make few more million here or there. The game on Thursday Night posted record numbers nearly doubling what was initially projected with a total of 8 million viewers.

Tomorrow after you loosen your tie, take off your suit jacket or exchange your church blouse for a jersey consider how many more people will be tuning into the game, not out of interest but merely curiosity to see the return of the NFL referees. These new viewers are the true reason the NFL finally conceded.  More viewers means new fans which of course causes higher ratings that ultimately results in more money.

While most who watch do so for the joy and love of the game NFL owner watch it for different reasons but since it takes $107 million to run a NFL franchise each year can you really blame them? As you waive your terrible towels or put on your favorite NFL team jerseys stay tuned to the madness that is the NFL…I know I will – A. Denmark (@eatdrnkslpsprtz)

 

 

NFL Week 3 Observations: Return of Dominant Defenses and the Demise of the Elite Quarterbacks

At the beginning of the season teams like the New England Patriots and the Green Bay Packers graced the covers of endless magazines and were considered shoe-ins to play for the Lombardi Trophy. Fans in New Orleans believed that making Drew Brees the highest paid player in the NFL would ensure that the Saints would operate without a hitch and contend for another Super Bowl.

However in only a short time the NFL has dealt its fans one harsh reality, that an unpredictable season awaits and the popular picks to win it all may struggle to even make playoffs. Last season was truly an exceptional one but the record-breaking offensive outputs are unlikely to be repeated EVER again. After being victimized by these potent offenses defensive coordinators around the league have had an entire off-season to prepare for the rigors of a long NFL season.

So far this season the NFL’s so-called elite quarterbacks (Brees, Manning, Brady, and Rodgers) have all struggled to adapt to the new wrinkles defenses have installed to beat them. The New Orleans Saints sit at 0-3 and so far this season Drew Brees has made a number of game changing decisions like the safety or the costly interception which cost the Saints the game against perennial doormat the Kansas City Chiefs.

Not to be out done, the two other 19 million dollar men Peyton Manning and Tom Brady have become shadows of themselves, their play on the gridiron is not matching the names on the back of their jerseys. For the first time in his thirteen year career Peyton Manning admitted being lost and confused when he attempted to explain his three interceptions to a stunned media room. Tom Brady was also at a loss for words when asked to explain the plight of the New England Patriots who with a loss next week may fall below .500 for the first time in nearly seven years.

Last night there were many times when NFL MVP Aaron Rodger also looked lost against the Seattle Seahawks, failing to read defenses quickly enough resulting in a NFL record 8 sacks in the first half. After nearly five years of offensive dominance by these elite quarterbacks it appears a new generation of defensive masterminds have arisen and made these future Hall of Famers finally look human.

Although there are still many more games left to play the revival of elite defenses is no mirage and the chess match which will occur throughout the season will truly be one to marvel at. A $19 million dollar quarterback used to guarantee you of a playoff run, we shall see if these old guys will have any new tricks. Are we witnessing a new era or the careers of these elite quarterbacks in decline, in 17 weeks we will know for sure. Stay tuned… I know I will – A. Denmark (@eatdrnkslpsprtz)

Tim Tebow: Where Art Thou??

This past season we were witnesses to Tebowmania everyone from the sisters in the chapel to the stay at home mom with three kids; all over the world everyone had an opinion about the young quarterback who wore his faith on his sleeve. As the victories continued to mount the Tebow following grew and became a hot topic on shows like the View, a skit on Saturday Night Live, and his likeness even made the front page of Newsweek Magazine. Tebow inspired millions with his play and made many doubters believers with his now legendary performance in the  AFC Division Playoffs victory against my Pittsburgh Steelers.

 

However this week, we were each given a reality check, although Tebow inspired many with his exploits his inconsistent play and horrible mechanics led to the Denver Broncos front office questioning his long-term future with the franchise. Despite the wins, his poor footwork and dismal accuracy did not sit well with the Denver Broncos. Although Tebow led the Broncos to the AFC West Division title, winning in the NFL ‘the Tebow way’ simply was not enough.

With the Manning Sweepstakes now coming to an end another quarterback’s professional future now comes into question. What is Tim Tebow’s trade value? Where will he end up? After the Manning news conference and after he holds up the Broncos jersey with Elway and Coach John Fox, the questions about Tebow’s future landing spot will become the topic of widespread conversation.

Throughout his career Tim Tebow has overcome adversity, frequently making doubters believers but what happens next? The most high-profile third-string quarterback in history is without a home, and does not appear to have a landing spot where a starting quarterback job awaits him. Tim Tebow has been in the league for three years and has improved very little as a quarterback, in a time of instant gratification where coaches rarely finish out their contracts, no one can afford to wait for him to develop.  Last year Cam Newton and Andy Dalton were pro bowlers in their first year and the bar has been set high and the expectation for young quarterback has changed, they are now expected to produce immediately.

Although it is unlikely that Tim Tebow will be jobless for long, the fate of his career will be dictated by the team that decides to take a flier on him. If he wishes to remain in the league long-term I am hopeful that he will decline any offer to go to any team in Florida and settle for a back up job with an organization with a solid quarterback coach.Tebow has a bright future, and in the weeks to come we will soon find out if that future will include a long career in the National Football League.

Best Landing Spots for Tebow in the World According to Denmark:

1. New England Patriots 2. Green Bay Packers 3. Buffalo Bills 4. Pittsburgh Steelers

Stay Tuned… – A.Denmark (@Eatdrnkslpsprtz)