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One Career Ends And Another Is Born: Super Bowl XLVII Storylines 0

Posted on February 05, 2013 by Andy Larmand
Ravens receiver Torrey Smith celebrates on the field of the Superdome following Super Bowl XLVII.

Ravens receiver Torrey Smith celebrates on the field of the Superdome following Super Bowl XLVII.

The good news? Super Bowl XLVII had just about everything one could have asked for in the final professional football game for 213 days. It featured a pair of brothers facing off against each other, an icon of a generation going out on top, an energizing rookie quarterback, a jaw-dropping halftime show, an intentional safety, a 108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and one 33-minute power outage. Not to mention a furious comeback in the second half that fell just short of making it the greatest Super Bowl ever played.

The bad news? It’s the final football game for 213 days. It was a great one though.

As always, we have a lot to get to in the last edition of the weekly NFL storylines being that this was the final game of the 2012-13 season. I’d just like to thank God for giving me the fingers to type this with. God is so great.

Joe Flacco, Super Bowl XLVII MVP, tied the all-time record with 11 touchdown passes in a single postseason in the first Super Bowl since 2002 without either Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger or Peyton Manning. Only he and Joe Montana have ever accomplished that. All five quarterbacks to ever throw eight-plus touchdowns and no interceptions in the playoffs have won the Super Bowl. Ray Lewis is going out on top if you haven’t heard. After 12 seasons, Lewis won his second career title. It is the longest span between titles by any player in NFL history. Baltimore has won four straight against the 49ers, outscoring them 103-50. San Francisco lost its first Super Bowl in their history and Baltimore improved to 8-1 all-time as the No. 4 seed in the playoffs. They also improved to 2-0 all-time in Super Bowls (won Super Bowl XXXV in 2000). When they won it all in 2000, they were the No. 4 seed as well and the last two Super Bowl champions have been the No. 4 seed in their respective conferences. The previous two meetings between these two teams featured a total of two touchdowns; this one had six.

Baltimore finished the regular season with a record of 10-6. In each of the last three seasons, the eventual Super Bowl champion finished the regular season with no better than 10 wins (Packers with 10 in 2010, Giants with nine last season). The NFC had won three straight Super Bowls before the Ravens win. The last AFC team to win a title before this was the Steelers in 2008. With 65 points being scored in the Super Bowl, the total from this postseason grew to 571, which broke the previous record of 530 set in 1995. No. 2 seeds had been 4-1 in their last five Super Bowl appearances before the 49ers’ loss. With Flacco winning MVP, six of the last seven Super Bowl MVP’s have been quarterbacks. Only Santonio Holmes in 2008 won the award as a non-quarterback. Baltimore became just the second team to ever win a championship after leading the league in penalty yards during the regular season (1974 Steelers). After 19.5 sacks in his first 13 games, Aldon Smith hasn’t recorded one since. In the Super Bowl, he had no sacks and made just two tackles. Six games are the longest he has ever gone without a sack.

No NFL team had ever even reached the Super Bowl after ranking 15th or worse in both total defense and total offense during the regular season. The Ravens were the first and they won it all. Flacco has no interceptions in his last 195 pass attempts. With a second-quarter interception of Colin Kaepernick, Ed Reed tied the all-time record with his ninth career postseason interception. Baltimore improved to 11-5 in road or neutral playoff games in their history, the best win percentage of any NFL franchise. The 49ers had 15 former first-round picks on their roster for the Super Bowl to the Ravens’ eight, but Baltimore beat them anyway. With his first-quarter TD catch, the fourth for him this postseason, Anquan Boldin tied the amount he had in the regular season. Kaepernick was able to set the record for the most rushing yards by a quarterback in a single postseason with 264. He came up just two yards shy of tying the all-time record for rushing yards by a quarterback in the Super Bowl as he finished with 62, but did have the longest ever TD run by a quarterback in the big game with his 15-yarder.

Read the rest of this entry →

NFL Classic Rewind: Steelers Send Cowher Out With Victory Over Bengals 10

Posted on December 01, 2011 by A.J. Foss

On January 21, 1992, 34-year-old Bill Cowher was hired as the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers after serving for three seasons as the defensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Cowher had the difficult task of replacing legendary head coach Chuck Noll, who complied over 200 victories and four Super Bowl championships in his 23-year tenure in Pittsburgh.

But the first-time head coach led the Steelers to an 11-5 record in his first season and the AFC Central Division title, the first time Pittsburgh had won more than 10 games since 1983 and first division title since 1984.

Then in his fourth season, Cowher took the Steelers to their first Super Bowl in 16 years as he directed Pittsburgh to Super Bowl XXX, only to fall short of the NFL championship as the Steelers were defeated by the Dallas Cowboys by the score of 27-17.

After three more losses in the AFC Championship Game, Cowher and the Steelers returned to the Super Bowl in 2005 after winning three postseason games on the road to advance to Super Bowl XL where they faced off with the Seattle Seahawks.

Thanks to a 75-yard touchdown run and a 43-yard touchdown pass from wide receiver Antawn Randle El to Hines Ward, the Steelers defeated Seattle 21-10 for the team’s first Vince Lombardi Trophy in 26 years and give Cowher the elusive Super Bowl title he had been seeking since he became the Pittsburgh head coach in 1992.

Some experts thought Cowher would join running back Jerome Bettis in retirement after the Steelers’ championship, but Cowher returned to Pittsburgh for his 15th season, in hopes of leading the Steelers to a second straight Super Bowl title.

But the Steelers got off to a rough start as they lost six of their first eight games of the season for a 2-6 record and though they would win five of the next six games, the Steelers would not return to the postseason as they were eliminated from playoff contention after a Week 16 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

Following the loss to the Ravens, rumors began to swirl that the Steelers finale against the Cincinnati Bengals would be the final game of Cowher’s career as the head coach in Pittsburgh. Read the rest of this entry →

Biggest Winners and Losers (So Far) in the NFL Frenzy 11

Posted on July 28, 2011 by Dean Hybl

Sidney Rice will be going in a new direction as a member of the Seattle Seahawks.

We are just three days into the NFL’s high-end version of a swap meet, but it is already clear that some teams have money to burn and are burning it as quick as they can. It will, of course, be months before we can determine the real winners and losers from these last few days, but here are some of the players and teams that seem to have done well and others that have not fared as well so far.

Smiling All The Way To The Bank

Charles Johnson and DeAngelo Williams – Carolina Panthers – Typically one of the stingier teams in the NFL, the Carolina Panthers whipped out the check book to retain two of their top veterans.

Johnson, who is coming off an 11.5 sack season in 2010, was one of the more sought-after players in free agency, but the Panthers didn’t give him any chance to get away as they agreed to a six-year $72 million contract (with #32 million guaranteed) the first day they could talk.

Though he was limited to just six games and 361 yards rushing in 2010, the Panthers agreed to a five-year, $43 million contract ($21 million guaranteed) with Williams. If he is healthy, it is a great move because it gives the Panthers one of the better one-two punches in the league with Williams (1,515 yards rushing in 2008, 1,117 in 2009) and Jonathan Stewart (1,133 yards in 2009, 770 yards in 2010).

Sidney Rice – Seattle Seahawks – Like Williams, Sidney Rice missed much of the 2010 season due to injury and is now being rewarded with a huge contract (five-years for $41 million with $18 million guaranteed). If he is able to repeat the success he had with Minnesota in 2009 (83 catches, 1,312 yards), then the signing will be a good one for Seattle. However, given that in his other three NFL seasons Rice has only 63 catches for 817 yards, you have to wonder at least a little if his success was a result of playing with Brett Favre at the top of his game as much as it was Rice’s ability to be a long-term superstar.

Santonio Holmes – New York Jets – It seems to be a trend that players who didn’t play a full season in 2010 are receiving huge contracts to start 2011. However, unlike Williams and Rice, Santonio Holmes missed four games in 2010 not because of injuries, but because of off the field issues. The New York Jets obviously aren’t concerned about the past as they inked Holmes to a five-year, $50 million contract even though according to the NFL’s conduct policy he is one-strike away from missing an entire season. In just 12 games last season he caught 52 passes for 746 yards and six touchdowns and in 16 games in 2009 had 79 catches for 1,248 yards and 5 touchdowns while with Pittsburgh. Read the rest of this entry →

The Best Individual Performances in Super Bowl History: 30-21 0

Posted on February 02, 2011 by A.J. Foss

Santonio Holmes capped off an MVP performance with a game-winning grab in Super Bowl XLIII.

This is Part 3 of the 50 Greatest Individual Performances in Super Bowl History.

In today’s section, we take a look at performances 30 through 21:

30. Troy Aikman-Quarterback, Dallas Cowboys, XXVII

Aikman had the fourth highest-rated quarterback performance in Super Bowl history, a 140.7 rating, as he completed 22 of 30 passes for 273 yards and threw four touchdowns in the Cowboys’ 52-17 blowout of the Buffalo Bills.

Aikman also rushed for 28 yards, more than Bills running back Thurman Thomas who ran for only 19 yards.

29. Jack Lambert-Linebacker, Pittsburgh Steelers, XIV
The most memorable in Lambert’s Super Bowl career occurred in Super Bowl X when he threw Cowboys safety Cliff Harris after Harris taunted Steelers kicker Roy Gerela for missing a field goal.

However, his best performance came in Super Bowl XIV when Lambert made 14 tackles, 10 of them solo, and made an interception when the Los Angeles Rams were at the Pittsburgh 32-yard-line, to preserve a 24-19 lead which the Steelers increased following the interception to come away with a 31-19 win.

Lambert had 14 tackles in that Super Bowl X, but what makes this performance greater is fellow linebacker Jack Ham was injured and did not play against the Rams.

28. Kurt Warner-Quarterback, Arizona Cardinals, XLIII

Warner has the three highest passing totals in Super Bowl history, with his effort in Super Bowl XLIII for the Arizona Cardinals being the second highest as he threw for 377 yards on 31 of 43 passes and threw three touchdowns on the league’s best defense in 2008.

Down 20-7 in the fourth quarter, Warner completed 13 of 17 passes for 216 yards and two touchdowns as the Cardinals took a 23-20 lead with 2:47 to go when Warner found Larry Fitzgerald for a 64-yard touchdown.

However, the Cardinals gave up a touchdown and Warner fumbled the ball on their last offensive possession as Arizona fell to the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-23. Read the rest of this entry →

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