Big game, no shame …..
As the big game is merely four days away and with the countdown clock clicking down hours, minutes and seconds to the NFL’s postseason showcase event of the Superbowl . The two teams in preparation have been the center of attention for an event through the usual media thrust, which has attracted the world’s press as well journalists not normally associated or known to cover the NFL and specifically the Superbowl. Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks will be viewed as the home team when they take to the field fend off the quest of the New England Patriots seeking to gain their fourth Superbowl victory in fourteen years and their sixth appearance in the event , all coached by Bill Belichick , who alongside quarterback Tom Brady will be seeking their fourth postseason victory and the raising of the Lombardi Trophy.
The NFL will know that their showcase event will be the most watched televised program nationally, with an estimated viewership exceeding 105 million viewers and a global audience in excess 1.4 billion watching this sport’s spectacle. With advertizing revenues exceeding $4 billion and major corporations willing to pay $4 million for a thirty-second slot , this averages $130,000 per second and most televised ads for the Superbowl are no longer than two minutes, it easy to understand why the Superbowl has become so lucrative for the league , as well as an economic impact worth tens of millions of dollars, national and worldwide exposure for the city staging the event. The University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale , Arizona will be the venue staging Sunday’s game , with Pete Carroll seeking to win the Seattle Seahawks’ second Superbowl and making a successful defense of the title they won with a great deal of ease last season in defeating the languid Denver Broncos with a lopsided 43-8 victory. last season
This season’s Superbowl provides us with two evenly matched teams, where both their defenses and offenses have proven to be extremely resilient. The opposing running backs LeGarrette Blount and Marshawn Lynch have had their fair share of success during this postseason, postseason with Blount being spectacular in New England’s 45-7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts where the running back claimed three touchdowns in the game.
For team owners Paul Allen, billionaire entrepreneur owner of the Seahawks and Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots this gives both of these high-profiled individuals a chance to make themselves visible to not only fans of the NFL but also the global recognition perhaps they would not be usually accustomed to , but it should be noted, Allen was one of the main driving forces behind the inception of software giant Microsoft , whereas Kraft, is the owner of The Kraft Group of Companies , a privately owned and held conglomerate. Bragging rights are on the line for both of these NFL franchise and where for the second time in two seasons we have the two best teams contesting the right to be called a Superbowl champion. With the word ” dynasty” being so often being thrown about to describe teams who have aspire to attaining success winning multiple titles within a specific time-frame, it must be said the Patriots and Seahawks are genuinely seeking to have their names placed among the elite of the NFL’s most successful franchises during the Superbowl era .
With Russell Wilson, now seeking to achieve what no other NFL quarterback with less than sixteen postseason games to their resume’ has been able to do, in winning a second Superbowl. It could be said the 2012 third round drafted quarterback is now well on his way to NFL immortality. Tom Brady for his part, his regular season and postseason resume’ speaks volumes as to what he has been able to achieve. A fourth Superbowl victory would place the famed Patriots’ quarterback alongside Hall of Fame inductees Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana , with four Lombardi Trophy wins to their name . With both of these quarterbacks likely to be at their very best, I believe this game could be one of the very best in recent NFL Playoff and Superbowl history !
Richard Sherman and his opposing counterpart Darrelle Revis will also be center-stage, as the Seahawks’ corner-back looks to justify his claim of being the best in the NFL, whereas the Patriots’ Revis, after his great season will simply be looking to aid his teammates in their historic quest.
The 2015 NFL Combine will provide teams and their coaching staffs with the opportunity to assess the college players who have declared their eligibility and looking to be a high draft prospect for the 2015 NFL Draft. With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-14) who have the top draft pick in this upcoming draft will be hard pressed to overlook the talents of Oregon (Ducks) quarterback Marcus Mariota the 2014 Heisman Trophy winner . The Buccaneers had a slew of woes, which cast a giant shadow of the course of the team’s regular season and obviously explained their dismal regular season record. Head coach Lovie Smith, his coaching staff and GM Jason Licht will be facing a tough decision, do they forgo Mariota, trade down and gain several additional picks or take a player who many believed to be the most dynamic in College Football during 2014 ? With neither Mike Glennon or Josh McCown being able to provide the Buccaneers will a passing game competitive enough to compete within the league and a defense which was simply mediocre at best , it has to be said the NFC South based franchise is caught between a rock and hard place .
Where the Buccaneers seek to go in terms of their draft choices will be based upon the needs Lovie Smith and Jason Licht best fits the needs of the franchise. Several free agent players on the team’s roster will likely be jettisoned , as both the head coach and general manager seek to avail themselves of even more cap space for the upcoming season. With their being several marquee free agents looking for a big payday , Tampa may well seek to obtain to make a big splash in the free agency market by way of an acquisition. From this point forward , it will be interesting to see what rumors are likely to emanate from within the organization as they they seek to position themselves for the NFL Draft.
Jerry Jones may well have been satisfied with the fact the Dallas Cowboys won the NFC East and made the postseason for the first time since 2009. Yet, for all of the bravura by the lugubrious owner, this team still failed miserably. I can only surmise apathy remains the norm for a franchise and a fan-base, who believe it preordained that beyond a rite of passage, they are meant to be in the postseason each season. Tony Romo’s playoff record is simply one of the many reasons why the Cowboys are unlikely to win a Superbowl in the near future beyond the fact Jason Garrett is simply a lousy big-game head coach, especially during the postseason , never mind the regular season, when all is said to be on the line. Other than the Philadelphia Eagles’ , a team whose head coach Chip Kelly remains clueless when it comes to the fact that defense is needed when it actually comes to winning games. The the Cowboys were never seriously challenged within the division throughout the season, with the Eagles simply throwing away the opportunity to win the NFC East outright.
This off-season the biggest obstacle face Jerry Jones as the general manager of Dallas Cowboys , will be decision of retaining either DeMarco Murray or Dez Bryant , two of the primary reasons why the franchise was so successful this season by way of their record . Bryant and Murray as highly prized free agents at the running back and wide receiver positions will certainly be looking to be offered contracts commensurate with their standing in the NFL .
Having to make the decision between the choice of Bryant and Murray , will not be tough, even with the salary cap likely to exceed $156 million for 2015, it does not leave the Cowboys with a great deal of wiggle room, unless Tony Romo is willing to redo his contract and lower the sum of $27.7 million he is due in 2015 . It remains the only way Jerry Jones can retain both players, unless he is willing to jettison several members of the current roster he believes to be superfluous to the Cowboys’ needs. I would hazard a guess, Jones will keep his cards close to his chest , rather than letting on what his final decision is likely to be !
The fallout this off-season, with the customary managerial firings witnessed, should not have really come as a big surprise. Marc Trestman , Rex Ryan and Mike Smith were either complacent or simply did not do enough to motivate their respective teams . Just looking at the poor performances of the Chicago Bears, New York Jets and Atlanta Falcons provided us with enough of an indication how poor a season all three teams had during 2014.
The fallout this off-season, with the customary managerial firings witnessed, should not have really come as a big surprise. Marc Trestman , Rex Ryan and Mike Smith were either complacent or simply did not do enough to motivate their respective teams . Just looking at the poor performances of the Chicago Bears, New York Jets and Atlanta Falcons provided us with enough of an indication how poor a season all three teams had during 2014. Jay Cutler , Geno Smith and Matt Ryan , it could be said they led the NFL by way of their inconsistency over the course of the season.
While it seems highly unlikely the Bears , Falcons and Jets will pursue a quarterback in the NFL Draft or via free agency , one way or another these teams will have to address the issue and the reasons why, all three players failed so miserably, beyond looking at their respective salaries and value of their contracts . Former Bears’ GM Phil Emery must have been in a drunken stupor or was he was actually cajoled into making Jay Cutler among the highest paid players in the NFL with his seven-year $126.7 million deal ?
The more things are said to change , the more they tend to remain the same. Not much has changed for the Oakland Raiders over the past three seasons in terms of their play or seeking to improve their divisional record . Another season and yet another coaching change, with Jack Del Rio succeeding the departures of Tony Sparano and Dennis Allen who were at some point during 2014 season the head coaches of the Raiders. If the situation , which unraveled leading to a 4-12 season was not enough of a disaster , then consider the fact some fans of the franchise tried to suggest Derek Carr was the future of the Raiders in terms of having a quarterback who could lead this team. The Raiders proved to be no more of a challenge for their opponents during their season than their record would suggest. Those four victories if nothing else, simply suggested how mediocre this season just happened to be , without delving into the fact that neither Tony Sparano or Dennis Allen brought anything new to the table by way of their coaching acumen.
Del Rio will assemble his own coaching staff , while having to deal with GM Reggie McKenzie and team owner Mark Davis have shown a propensity to make the most asinine of decisions concerning the player personnel for the franchise. There is likely to be another rash of “in-house cleaning” as McKenzie seeks to cut away the “dead weight” from the roster. There are more pieces to be found on the Raiders , than a patch-work quilt, but at least a quilt , is likely to have its uses . In the case of the Oakland Raiders, they were about as useful as a bucket filled with holes and used as a receptacle to hold water.
This NFL postseason has seen its fair share of controversy , highs and lows . Yet for all of the drama which has unfolded, we will still be drawn to the spectacle of the Superbowl. Whatever the outcome might be, the best the league can now hope for is a competitive game, rather than another blowout, as was the case in 2014.
Of the two teams participating in this season’s NFL showcase event, which franchise do you believe will prevail on Sunday evening ?
Picture and slideshow gallery.
(1) Russell Wilson (3) greets Tom Brady (12) of the New England Patriots after a game which took place at Century Link Field in Seattle, Washington , on 14th October , 2012 . Wilson engineered a come from behind win defeating the Patriots 24-23 on the day. The two teams will meet again this Sunday in Superbowl 49 , where the Seahawks will be looking to make a successful defense of the title they won in Superbowl 48 , defeating the Denver Broncos with ease in a lopsided victory . Seattle Times / Dean Ruiz .
(2) Tom Brady , left and Russell Wilson . The two quarterbacks will both be seeking a another win of the Superbowl, while possibly looking to add their name to the Superbowl MVP . Something of which Brady has done before as a player for the New England Patriots . Wilson was among the Seahawks’ nominees when his team won Superbowl 48 . AP Photo / Paul Brooks
(3) The opposing head coaches of Sunday’s big game are Bill Belichick , left, of the New England Patriots and Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks . Carroll preceded Belichick as the head coach of the Patriots where he spent three years in his capacity at the position of head coach of the AFC East based franchise. USA Today Sports/ Joe Nicholson
(4) Robert Kraft , billionaire and team owner of the New England Patriots. Kraft will be looking for the franchise to win their fourth Superbowl this upcoming Sunday , becoming only the third ownership group with such a distinction . The Rooney family, owners of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Bartolo’s of the San Francisco 49ers are the others with the honor of achieving the feat in question. AP Photo / David Murray
(5) Paul Allen , owner of the Seattle Seahawks and one of the wealthiest individuals in America and among the richest people in the world . Allen is often seen at the home games of the Seahawks played at Century Link Field in Seattle , Washington , where he is known to be extremely passionate about the franchise he owns . Getty Images North America / Bill Patterson
(6) Darrelle Revis (24) and Richard Sherman (25) , considered to be among the two best corner-backs currently playing in the NFL today , with both players being outstanding defensive players for their respective teams . Sherman will be looking to add a second Superbowl ring to his list of accomplishments , while Revis seeks the first of his career. Courtesy of ESPN .
(7) Teammates , Dez Bryant (88) and DeMarco Murray (29) of the Dallas Cowboys , had outstanding seasons for the franchise breaking single season records , while leading the Cowboys to their first playoff appearance since 2009 . Bryant and Murrary are free agents during the off-season and it is not known if Jerry Jones will be able to retain both players , signing them both to long-term contracts. The only possible way for the situation to work in the Cowboys’ favor would be a restructuring of Tony Romo’s contract where the player is due to receive $27.7 million for 2015 or the franchise cutting several other players from the roster thought to be superfluous to the team’s needs. A decision is likely to be made in the run-up to the NFL Draft . AP Photo / Chris Jones
(8) Jan 16, 2015; Alameda, CA, USA; Jack Del Rio (center) with Oakland Raiders’ general manager Reggie McKenzie (left) and owner Mark Davis at press conference to announce his hiring as Raiders’ head coach at the Raiders practice facility. Del-Rio becomes the franchise’s ninth head coach in the last eleven seasons . USA TODAY Sports/ Kirby Lee
(9) Dec 13, 2014; New York, NY, USA; (left to right) Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Amari Cooper and Wisconsin Badgers running back Melvin Gordon and Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota pose with the Heisman Trophy during the pre-announcement Heisman finalists press conference at the New York Marriott Marquis . All three collegiate players are likely to be first round draft picks in the 2015 NFL Draft . The question remains to be seen , who will become the number one overall pick in the first round. USA Today Sports / Brad Penner
List of NFL franchise owners
On this date in NFL history
The Lombardi Trophy .