Archive for the ‘Super Bowl XLVIII’ Category

russell Wilson again

A pretty predictable thing often happens when a good though not great quarterback signs a major contract. People lose their damn minds.

Most recently that happened with Jay Cutler earlier this fall when the pending free agent at the time agreed to a seven-year extension worth $126 million, $54 million of which is guaranteed. The subject of the ire and pitch fork slinging was the length, which proved yet again the football-watching public at large still doesn’t grasp that only one number matters if you want to know how much an NFL player is getting paid, and it’s the guaranteed number. A day or two later we learned the deal was, in reality, a three-year commitment for…$54 million.

But I digress (slightly). The other number that really matters for team building and structuring purposes in the salary cap era is the cap hit. Sticking with the Cutler example, even if the commitment is manageable in terms of length, and even if the guaranteed money is in line with current market value, at $22.5 million next year he still represents a rather daunting cap hit. Over the first three years of his contract (again, the part that matters), Cutler will average a cap hit of $18 million.

Russell Wilson’s cap hit next year? Oh, that’s just a cool $817,302, after he made only $526,217 during a Super Bowl season, which is the NFL equivalent of paying a quarterback in apples (old ones too). Remember those numbers and the one that follows in 2015 ($953,519), because the two-year window provided by Wilson’s highly affordable rookie contract offers unique financial flexibility from the quarterback position, all because Seahawks general manager John Schneider waited on drafting his golden arm, and nailed it in the third round.

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manning face2

Before we begin here, I’d like you to do something, but then come back (please come back?). Go over to the Google machine, and punch in this simple search: “Peyton Manning legacy”. As of this writing, that produces 43,100,000 results.

In the wake of a 43-8 trouncing Sunday night in Super Bowl XLVIII, that’s what the masses want to talk about. This will shock you, but the conversation is usually polarizing in either direction. There are those who think he’s still among the all-time greats, and that when we discuss said greatness at the quarterback position, his name always belongs in the same sentence alongside the likes of Joe Montana and Johnny Unitas. Then there are others who cite Super Bowl jewelry as their ultimate signifier of success, noting that Manning has only one ring while the true legendary quarterbacks in league history have at minimum enough rings to occupy two fingers.

The discussion of Manning’s legacy dominated the two-week buildup prior to the Super Bowl, and now given not only the outcome but also the supremely lopsided score, intermittently throughout the offseason we’ll reach for the same conversation as a safety net when boredom sets in. On a fundamental level, it’s a classic sports discussion in which we’re sitting in the great imaginary sports bar in our mind (or a real one, that works too), and these questions are essentially being asked and an answer is attempted: what has Player X accomplished? How did his play compare to that of his peers? And how did it compare to his predecessors?

But I have a more important question: what is a legacy, and how does it work?

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carroll gator2

Last night many of you lost money on many stupid things. Since losing money is very much a part of the Super Bowl experience, let’s take a look back at the 22 absurd props I spent an unhealthy amount of time analyzing (yes, analyzing) last week, and a few of the most notable, ridiculous, and profitable outcomes.

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pete carroll2

When I woke up (late) this morning, I was angry, or at least angrier than I am most mornings.

Usually the day after the Super Bowl is a hangover both literally and figuratively, with the latter a product of becoming deeply engrossed in a league and a game that’s so intense over such a short period of time. For four short months we’re gifted regular-season football, giving us the glorious routine of molding a couch groove while consuming both unhealthy foods and gridiron awesomeness for nine hours each Sunday. Then in January that intensifies with the playoffs, when ideally the higher quality of competition produces even better games each weekend, feeding our pleasure sensors.

You see where this is supposed to conclude. In theory and in hope, the Super Bowl is designed as the ultimate showcase, and that was even more true yesterday when the league’s top offense and top defense were set for a donnybrook. But no, instead the Seattle Seahawks had a 22-0 lead by halftime over the Denver Broncos, which eventually ended in a 35-point win.

The day after the Super Bowl is always hollow enough with the abrupt end of that routine and the football tunnel vision, and the knowledge that it won’t return for seven months. But it’s that much more difficult to handle today after the steaming pile of manure we were given last night.

Just how bad was it? I tossed out many a number last night/early this morning, but here’s some more numerical sadness, greatness, and weirdness, depending on your perspective (I’ll stick with sadness).

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carroll dunk2

For two weeks, we expected a historic clash, the sort not seen since the Montagues and Capulets bloodied swords, or when we were told that this is, in fact, Sparta. For two weeks we wondered if Richard Sherman would be tested, we wondered if Marshawn Lynch could contend with a man they call Pot Roast, and we wondered how the Seahawks would possibly cover Julius Thomas.

For two weeks we marveled over our great luck at having been granted a Super Bowl between the top offense and the top defense this year, only the sixth time in the modern era such a meeting has happened. We kept wondering about everything, because that’s all we could do when assumptions seemed not just impossible, but unwise. How could we accurately predict a game that would be won by such a razor thin margin?

We couldn’t, and it wasn’t.

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hawks fans2

I can’t accurately express my joy right now through words, so let’s try this…

The greatest day of our lives this week is finally here, everyone. The top defense against the top offense, Richard Sherman against Peyton Manning, Bruno Mars against his popsicle microphone, and Bruno Mars’ hair against winter. It’s all happening, and all you have to do now is make sure the five pounds of guacamole are ready for consumption at 6:30 ET before taking the necessary precautions against double dippers.

Around these parts we’ve been analyzing everything surrounding this game for two weeks. That’s ranged from real analysis examining how the X’s will conquer the O’s, to that time I spent three hours of my life researching ways to beat every conceivable prop out there. Frankly, there’s little left to say at this point, and it’s time to play a damn football game.

Well, there is this one small matter: it’s prediction time. Our betting guru Rob Pizzola already fired off his pick and guided you in your money making adventures, and I explored three ways the Broncos could win, and three ways the Seahawks could win. So while not to repeat too much, I’ll tweak that format just slightly to a more definitive hot take.

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harvin again2

I did this same exercise with the Broncos back on Thursday, and it’s a way for me to organize some final thoughts before making a prediction that’s sure to fail tomorrow (Rob Pizzola already did that…the prediction part, not the failure part yet).

The more I think about this game, and read about this game, and write about this game, I keep coming back to two simple yet fundamental facts: moving the ball with any consistency through the air against the Seahawks is impossible, and the pass defenses Peyton Manning has torched this season have been of a significantly lesser caliber.

Let’s go exploring.

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