Listen Man, That Right There Is A Good Contract Man

jon gruden

A lot has changed since Jon Gruden last coached in the NFL. iPhones have ridiculous, nonsensical adapters. Apparently you just swipe left and another picture comes up. And the Patriots are no longer a dynas….oh wait, that one hasn’t changed. But 1 thing remains constant: Raiders’ owner, Mark Davis’ freaky hairdo. I mean seriously, what is that thing?!

mark davis

 

 

 

 

Anyway….

Tuesday, Jon Gruden was introduced as the new Head Coach of the Oakland Raiders. This will be his 2nd stint with ‘Raider Nation’, as he was the head coach from 1998-2001. He went 38-26, including 2 trips to the postseason in his first tenure with the team. Hey opposing coaches, all you have to do is say “Tuck Rule”, and Gruden will cower into a corner somewhere.

In 2002, Gruden was traded to the Tampa Buccaneers, where he infamously beat his former team in Super Bowl XXXVII. Let’s fast forward to Tuesday….

Did you catch Jon Gruden’s introductory press conference???? You didn’t?! Ohhhhh boy.

You can check it out here. Watch the 1st 4 minutes, then come back so we can talk….

Does Mark Davis not make your skin crawl???? He looks like he’s 63 going on 6. And not the cute kind of 6. The creepy, no one hangs out with me kind of 6. He looked nervous. He took way more deep breaths than I’m comfortable with. And apparently, every woman in the Gruden family, is his biggest cheerleader. And then, there was the video montage. Ohhh the video montage. Was this supposed to give Raiders’ fans goosebumps?? Listen, I get that the Raiders want to return to their winning ways. They’ve only had 1 winning season in the past 15 years, and Jon Gruden was successful with the Raiders. But Davis is acting like the best coach in the history of sports is walking through the door.

Davis even went as far as saying, and I quote, “Raider Nation, this is a big effin’ deal!” Wow Mark. Just wow. In terms of dollars and cents, this is an enormous deal. In fact, Gruden’s 10-year, $100 Million contract makes him the highest paid coach in American professional sports history. And now, ‘Raider Nation’, the NFL, and the sports world will see if Gruden can live up to such expectations. I’m interested to see if Gruden, now 54, can adjust to the numerous rule changes that have taken place in his 9 years away from the sidelines.

 

Is this a good hire by the Oakland Raiders?? Will Jon Gruden win a Super Bowl in Oakland?? Post your thoughts in the comment section below. 

You can now find me on the Radio too. Download the TuneIn Radio App and search OWWR. I’ll be on live every Wednesday from 6:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M EST. I also broadcast every show on Facebook Live via my DaveTalksSports.com Facebook Page: http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports .

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like my page on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. You can also Subscribe to my YouTube Channel: DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading!! Now go tell all your friends!!

The NFL Playoffs Are Finally Here!!!!

kamara

After enduring 17 weeks of mediocrity, the real stuff is finally upon us. Saturday afternoon, the NFL Playoffs commence with Wild Card Weekend. Despite the large “spreads” in each of the 4 impending games, expect entertaining, competitive football. And if all 4 games turn into blowouts, it beats the hell out of shoveling snow….

Tennessee Titans (5) @ Kansas City Chiefs (4) – 4:20 P.M. EST on ESPN 

The Kansas City Chiefs’ season started on as high of a note as possible. They beat up the defending Super Bowl Champion, New England Patriots (42-27), in Foxborough, sending a message to the rest of the league. They started the season 5-0, and climbed to the top of the NFL Power Rankings. And then, the wheels started to fall off. They lost 6 of their next 7, including a loss to my wretched New York Jets. And then, the Chiefs flipped another switch, winning their final 4 games. You figure it out….

All you need to know about the Tennessee Titans is Marcus Mariota threw more interceptions (15) than touchdowns (13) this season. Also, Demarco Murray has been ruled out for this game. While the Chiefs aren’t a blow-you-out kind of offense, this is the 1 game that may get out of hand this weekend.

Prediction: Chiefs 31, Titans 20  

Atlanta Falcons (6) @ Los Angeles Rams (3) – 8:15 P.M. EST on NBC

If going out in -2° is your thing, enjoy!! For the rest of the normal people out there, Saturday Night Football will keep you warm. Expect a high scoring affair between the ‘new look’ Rams and the defending NFC Champion, Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons have had a weird season. Some call it a Super Bowl Hangover. I call it regression to the mean. At no point throughout this season did I think the Falcons were a good team. Matt Ryan certainly didn’t play anywhere near his 2016 MVP level, and their backfield was littered with injuries all season.

We all saw what the Rams are capable of when they walloped the Seahawks 42-7 (Week 15). I don’t anticipate a whooping of those proportions, however, I do think they win handily. Todd Gurley will prove why he SHOULD be this season’s MVP.

Prediction: Rams 34, Falcons 27

To Sunday we go….

Buffalo Bills (6) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (3) – 1:05 P.M. EST on CBS

The Buffalo Bills are hoping to continue their celebration from Week 17. After not having made the playoffs since 1999, advancing to the Divisional Round, aka the get routed by the Patriots round, would be the overachievement of the century. With Lesean McCoy’s health in question, I see little chance of that happening.

The only way the Bills win this game is if Blake Bortles throws 3 interceptions and Lesean McCoy hits 100 yards rushing. Yes, Bortles is a walking interception, but I think the combination of the Jaguars’ defense and Leonard Fournette will ultimately be too much for the Bills too handle.

Prediction: Jaguars 23, Bills 17  

Carolina Panthers (5) @ New Orleans Saints (4) – 4:40 P.M. EST on FOX

3rd time’s the charm?? The Carolina Panthers certainly hope so. The New Orleans Saints swept the season series with the Panthers. Yes, Cam Newton’s ceiling is WAY higher than most, but this isn’t his year. His own team traded away his top receiver (Kelvin Benjamin). Greg Olsen hasn’t been right all year. And their usually strong secondary, isn’t what it used to be.

On the other side of the line of scrimmage, the Saints aren’t what they used to be either — in a good way. The Saints actually have a defense worth writing home about. I guess firing Rob Ryan was a good idea. WHO KNEW?! They have the best rushing attack in the NFL. And Drew Brees is still, well, Drew Brees.

Prediction: Saints 30, Panthers 24 

 

Who do you think will win this weekend?? Post your predictions in the comment section below.

You can now find me on the Radio too. Download the TuneIn Radio App and search OWWR. I’ll be on live every Wednesday from 6:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M EST. I also broadcast every show on Facebook Live via my DaveTalksSports.com Facebook Page: http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports .

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like my page on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. You can also Subscribe to my YouTube Channel: DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading!! Now go tell all your friends!!

The Bengals Enjoy Losing

Cincinnati Bengals v Houston Texans

Tanking; To deliberately lose games to ensure a higher draft pick. This is a highly controversial strategy that causes fans to root against their team in the short term in exchange for long term success. Some teams are good at it; the 2011 Indianapolis Colts (2-14). Others, not so much; the 2017 New York Jets (5-11). What if I told you there’s an NFL franchise PERMANENTLY tanking?? How do I become a fan of that team?!

The Cincinnati Bengals have no interest in winning. They don’t want to win playoff games. And they certainly don’t want to win a Super Bowl. Extending head coach, Marvin Lewis’ contract through the 2019 season, guarantees failure. It solidifies the Bengals’ position in ‘Tank-Mode’.

Marvin Lewis has been the head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals for 15 years. Go back, and read that again. Take your time. I’ll wait….

The craziest part is Lewis is the 2nd longest tenured head coach in the NFL (only to Bill Belichick).

During Lewis’ decade-and-a-half in Cincinnati, they’ve won ZERO playoff games. Yes, he’s made the playoffs 7 times (hosting 4 of those games), however, they came home empty handed every time. If I’m a Bengals’ fan, I’m not sure how every television set in my house isn’t broken. It’s not like this extension came after 2015 (when the Bengals won 12 games). No, no, this extension comes after 2 consecutive losing seasons. And reportedly, Bengals’ owner, Mike Brown, had to convince Lewis to stay. SAY WHAT?!

Is there something I’m missing here?? Isn’t the point of professional sports to win championships?? And isn’t it evident Marvin Lewis is incapable of doing that?? So, how is it possible, in the day and age when coaches are typically given a 2-year leash, Marvin Lewis has survived 15 years of tanking????

Yes. Yes. Yes. I have absolutely no idea.    

Which brings me to the ultimate question: When is it acceptable to give up on your team?? When, as a fan, can you hang up the jersey permanently??

Loyalty is said to be the #1 attribute of any REAL fan. However, if the franchise you root for continuously exhibits irresponsible behavior, is it acceptable to leave them high and dry??

Today, if you’re a Cincinnati Bengals’ fan, feel free to jump ship. No one will kill you for it.

 

What do you think of Marvin Lewis’ contract extension?? Is it ever okay to give up on your team??

You can now find me on the Radio too. Download the TuneIn Radio App and search OWWR. I’ll be on live every Wednesday from 6:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M EST. I also broadcast every show on Facebook Live via my DaveTalksSports.com Facebook Page: http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports .

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like my page on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. You can also Subscribe to my YouTube Channel: DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading!! Now go tell all your friends!!

So Much For 16-0 Huh????

brady

Hey Tom, let me see your mad face….

 

I LOVE IT!!!!

Everyone in the world makes assumptions. Football fans assume the New England Patriots will win every game. It’s true. Everyday for the past 3 months, I’ve had to listen to “experts” tell me the Patriots could go 16-0 this season. How’s that workin’ out for ya?!?! 

Listen, the Patriots are a great franchise. They will be fine. They’ll still win the 12 games I predicted they’d win. Remember my AFC East Predictions?? But I must enjoy this moment. If you are like me, and fell asleep on the couch at halftime, you missed a thrilling game. Luckily, I DVR everything, so I was able to re-watch the Patriots “collapse”.

The Patriots gave up 21 points in the 4th quarter and lost 42-27.

Let’s start with some insane Patriots’ statistics to put this once-in-a-lifetime happening in perspective:

  • 42 points are the most a Bill Belichick coached Patriots’ team has ever given up — ever
  • Alex Smith became only the 2nd quarterback to post 350+ yards and 0 interceptions against the Patriots under Belichick (the other is Drew Brees)
  • The Patriots had won 9 consecutive home-openers
  • The Patriots gave up a record-setting 246 scrimmage yards to Chiefs’ running back, Kareem Hunt (a rookie record)
  • The Patriots had won 87 consecutive home games when leading at halftime

Yeah, love ’em or hate ’em, the Patriots are really really really good. That’s what makes the Kansas City Chiefs’ performance so impressive. Alex Smith did his best Aaron Rodgers impersonation (368 yards, 4 TD’s, and 0 INT’s). The aforementioned Kareem Hunt put on a show. After losing a fumble in his 1st NFL carry (he didn’t lose 1 in 4 years of college), Hunt was on a mission. He finished with 148 rushing yards and 1 TD and 5 catches for 98 yards and 2 TD’s. And we can’t forget the defense. The Chiefs’ defense held Tom Brady to 16 for 36 passing (44.4 completion %), just 267 yards, and NO TD’s. OH, and they sacked him 3 times.

Despite everyone thinking Bill Belichick is impervious to criticism, allow me to blame him for something. Woah, woah, easy now Dave. When the Patriots were up 7-0, and the Chiefs turned the ball over, Belichick decided to go for it on 4th and 1 on the Chiefs’ 10-yard line. THIS IS WRONG!! I don’t care who you are, or what you’re trying to do. In the 1st quarter, you continue to put points on the board. If Belichick chose to go up 10-0, rather than turn the ball over and downs (and gift-wrap some confidence for the Chiefs), this game may have ended differently.

Allow me to rewind to the Pre-Game:

After the Patriots put on an absolutely nauseating pre-game ceremony, the game looked like it could get out of hand in a hurry. Speaking of that ceremony, I’m wondering how many people actually threw up before they were able to change the channel….

You’re the Patriots. You win Super Bowls every other year. This isn’t new. So did you really need to have Mark Wahlberg drive half of the country to suicidal thoughts?? Did you really need to wheel your 5 Super Bowl Trophies onto the field?? “Hey everybody, come see how good I look!!” Did you really need to post the time and score of last year’s Super Bowl (ATL 28, NE 3 with 2:12 left in the 3rd quarter), just prior to your epic comeback, on every scoreboard in the stadium?? “Yes Frank, we know you had a good time. I think the whole town knows you had a good time.”

Now, as much as I’m reveling in this Patriots loss, I’ve been a Jets/NFL fan long enough to know what’s about to happen. Just like the time the Patriots lost 41-14 to the Chiefs (Week 4 of 2014), and everyone and their mother pronounced that the beginning of the end for Brady and the Patriots, something happened. And that something was the Patriots rattling off 7 straight wins, en route to a Super Bowl Championship.

Expect something eerily similar.

Man do I feel bad for Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints….

 

Did you enjoy this Patriots’ loss as much as I did?? What do you think their record will be for the season now?? Admit you were wrong, and then post your new prediction in the comment section below.

 

You can now find me on the Radio too. Download the TuneIn Radio App and search OWWR. I’ll be on live every Wednesday from 6:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M EST. I also broadcast every show on Facebook Live via my DaveTalksSports.com Facebook Page.

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like my page on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. You can also Subscribe to my YouTube Channel called DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading!! Now go tell all your friends!!

 

 

 

 

I’d Ask, But I Know You Are Ready For Some Football!!

Denver-Broncos-vs-Baltimore-Ravens-620x350

Your birthday? Nope. Your anniversary? Nah. That day you randomly find a $20 in your jacket that you haven’t worn in 3 months? Almost, but no. So what is the best day of the year? It is today; Opening Day of the NFL Season. It is the day you’ve been waiting for ever since the unbelievably annoying Ray Lewis hoisted The Lombardi Trophy over is head in February. Well, the wait is over. You can have a snickers bar and you can watch some football. You can finally see how your fantasy picks will pan out. And, you all have a reason to sit on the couch and do nothing. Enjoy what should undoubtedly be made a National Holiday.

The 2013 NFL Season kicks off tonight, Thursday September 5th, with the defending champion Baltimore Ravens taking on the Denver Broncos (I think we all remember what happened the last time these teams met). To say The Broncos will be looking for revenge would be an understatement. The Broncos enter the season with extremely high expectations. Some have them in or winning The Super Bowl this year thanks to the additions of Wes Welker and others. Even with their best defender, Von Miller, suspended for the first 4 games of the season they are still looked at as the favorites in the AFC. On the other hand, the defending champion Ravens enter the season with a handful of question marks. How do they replace Ray Lewis and Ed Reed? Will Joe Flacco live up to the astronomically high contract he was given last year? Can you really win with just 1 wide receiver? That last one was a joke, but seriously how are you going to win with Torrey Smith and me at wide receiver? Despite his impressive Super Bowl performance and his wonderful (haha) showing on Dancing With The Stars, Jacoby Jones is actually not very good at football. These are some of the questions that will certainly be answered once the season gets under way. You can catch tonight’s opening game on NBC at 8:30 P.M. Who do you like to win this game? I have Denver (at home) winning a relatively close game 24-17.

The rest of Week 1 will be played on Sunday and Monday. So, clear your schedules for the weekend, find that ass groove in the couch that has missed you so dearly, and lets get ready for some football. I am now ready to give you some of my thoughts and predictions on the upcoming season. Everyone has an opinion on their own favorite team and who they think will win, but football more than any other sport is incredibly unpredictable. Players get injured at a very high rate, and every year we seem to have a completely unknown player climb out of the woodwork and land right in the limelight. Nonetheless, lets make some predictions. I shall start with my favorite “team”, The New York Jets. Their team can be summed up in one word: Joke. They are a complete and utter joke. I see them winning 4 games at most, but most likely will only pull off 3 lucky victories. With that being said, I still believe it is not fair for ESPN to rank the Jets as the worst team in the NFL. That distinction clearly should be held by The Oakland Raiders (Chris Berman voice). Anyway, I see the Raiders, Jets, and Jaguars all being very very bad, and I wouldn’t be surprised if any of these teams wound up as the worst team in the league. And now, I will provide you with the Division winners, Wild Card teams, and Super Bowl Champion that will make up the 2013 playoffs.

In the AFC East, I don’t see how any other team will come out of that division than The New England Patriots. Everyone can talk about how much better The Miami Dolphins will be, but I’m sorry Ryan Tannehill, I’m just not buying it. The AFC West is also a pretty easy division to figure out. The Denver Broncos will handily win this division. Most people are eager to hop on the Kansas City Chiefs bandwagon, but I’m also not prepared to do that either. Will they be in a hunt for the Wild Card with 3 games to go? It’s very possible, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if they were 4-9 by then either. Oh, they have Alex Smith? Well then, that changes everything, they’ll probably win The Super Bowl. What was I thinking? The AFC North and South are a little tougher to figure out, and will probably provide the playoffs with the other 4 teams in the AFC this year. The AFC North will be a tightly contested division, but I feel that The Cincinnati Bengals will prevail. I also believe that The Ravens, not The Steelers will land a Wild Card spot this year. The Steelers have no running game, and Big Ben just isn’t good enough to win without a good supporting cast and top 10 defense. The AFC South is a fun division and should also bring 2 playoff teams to the mix this year. The Indianapolis Colts will win this division behind the strong play of Andrew Luck (he is the real deal and will be the best 2nd year QB in the NFL this season). The Texans will land the other Wild Card spot this year.

    AFC Playoff Picture

1.) Denver Broncos
2.) New England Patriots
3.) Indianapolis Colts
4.) Cincinnati Bengals
5.) Baltimore Ravens
6.) Houston Texans

I envision The Denver Broncos beating The New England Patriots in the AFC Championship (and giving everyone that one last Peyton Vs. Tom showdown everyone was looking for last year).

As for the NFC, I see this as the much harder conference to predict. The NFC East by itself is like flipping a 4-sided coin. But, here goes nothing. In the NFC East, as much as I hate them and love watching them crumble under pressure, I see the Dallas Cowboys narrowly pulling out the division title this year. I think The New York Giants will be in the fight for a Wild Card spot all season but will fall just short of the playoffs yet again this season. The NFC West, which is seen as the strongest division in the NFL should definitely bring 2 teams to the playoffs this year. I have The San Francisco 49ers winning the division, and The Seattle Seahawks winning a Wild Card spot. The NFC North should be a battle between 2 long time rivals; The Packers and Da Bears. I see The Packers edging out the Bears for the Division while Jay Cutler will once again be watching the playoffs from home this season. Last, but certainly not least, there is my favorite division in football, The NFC South. This division should also produce 2 playoff teams this season. The Atlanta Falcons will once again win the division while the New Orleans Saints will land the final playoff spot this season.

    NFC Playoff Picture

1.) San Francisco
2.) Atlanta Falcons
3.) Green Bay Packers
4.) Dallas Cowboys
5.) Seattle Seahawks
6.) New Orleans Saints

Let me repeat how unpredictable the NFC is going to be this season. Don’t be surprised if the Wild Cards consist of The Bears, Redskins, Giants, or Redskins. However, based off my predictions, I see The San Francisco 49ers beating the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship in a rematch of last year. As for the Super Bowl, I see Peyton Manning prevailing to win his 2nd Lombardi Trophy, while Colin Kaepernick suffers his 2nd straight defeat in the Super Bowl. And that my friends, is how I see the NFL season playing out this year. It is a long road, and it all starts tonight. However it plays out, enjoy it!!

Please leave me your predictions for the upcoming NFL Season below in the comment section. Thank you.

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

NFL Free Agency Continued (Day 2)

Day 1 of free agency in the NFL was just a warm-up for the real action.  Day 2 is where all the big moves came pouring in.  There were many big moves all across the NFL, but one clearly stood out amongst all the rest.  Wes Welker, the longtime Patriot signed with their AFC rival Denver Broncos.  This is a huge deal for the Denver Broncos.  Let’s take a quick peak at that receiving core and see the weapons Peyton Manning will have to work with this coming season.  He has Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker on the outside, and now Wes Welker will fill in the slot for Manning’s high powered offense.  Combine that with the Broncos good young defense and solid rushing attack, and you might see Peyton playing in Eli’s house come Super Bowl Sunday.  While I’m sure that Tom Brady is upset to lose such a dependable receiver in Wes Welker, the move they made Wednesday is not a bad replacement for Welker.  The New England Patriots signed Danny Amendola to their roster.  Danny Amendola is a younger version of Wes Welker and should fit nicely into the Patriots offense.  I think Amedola will actually improve with Brady’s help, assuming he can stay healthy.  The only concern with Amendola is that he is injury prone.  However, in New England being one of many options should keep him healthier longer, unlike in St. Louis where he was the only receiving option.  His workload with the Rams could have a lot to do with his prior injuries.  Another huge signing Wednesday was the former Miami Dolphin Reggie Bush signing with the Detroit Lions.  WOW, can’t you just see it now?  Megatron and Reggie Bush on the same field should be something special to watch in the Motor City.  Another running back on the move Wednesday was Rashard Mendenhall.  The former Pittsburgh Steeler was signed by the Arizona Cardinals.  When healthy Mendenhall is a very solid back that could help any team.  The Tampa Bay Buccaneers picked up a solid safety in former San Francisco 49er, Dashon Goldson.  And as if the Seattle Seahawks defense needed to get any better, they signed former defensive end and former Detroit Lion Cliff Avril.  This should strengthen their pass rush and bring more toughness to their defense.  One last defensive signing that took place on Wednesday was former Philadelphia Eagle Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie signed with the Denver Broncos.  Maybe this will keep the Broncos secondary from having any deep balls launched over their heads.  Ouch.  Too Soon?  Na, definitely not soon enough.  Ah yes, I almost forgot, the New York Football Jets.  What a train wreck they are.  The news regarding the Jets is not who they’ve signed.  It is the lack of signings by the Jets and the amount of players they’ve not re-signed and let walk out the door that is the concern.  Strong Safety Laron Landry has signed with the Indianapolis Colts and should give Andrew Luck some help on the other side of the ball.  He is a hard hitting safety that should bring the pain in the middle of the Colts secondary.  The Jets also let Shonne Green slip away, as he signed with the Tennessee Titans.  This move I’m not all that upset about because I never thought Green was good enough to be a featured back anyway, but they need to sign someone.

There are still some big names in limbo in free agency, that should get signed in before the weekend.  Some of those names are: Greg Jennings, James Harrison, Ed Reed, Bernard Pollard, Steven Jackson, and last but certainly not least Brian Urlacher.  All of these names have yet to find their final destinations for the upcoming season.  Hold on to your hats because this ride isn’t over yet.  You can check back tomorrow for the rest of the signings here @ DaveTalksSports.com.

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook athttp://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

Out of Darkness(Super Bowl Recap)

The Super Bowl was certainly worth the wait this year wasn’t it?  It had a little bit of everything.  There were offensive explosions, big plays, a little bit of controversy, and definitely a whole lot of drama.  Let me start by saying congratulations to The Baltimore Ravens for becoming Super Bowl Champions.  This was a team victory that took every member of the Ravens to bring the Lombardi Trophy to Baltimore.

Just as I expected the Ravens jumped out to a lead, I just didn’t know they were going to grab that big of a lead.  Did anyone really expect them to dominate that much in the first half?  Now, I myself have underrated Joe Flacco up until this point.  I always thought he had a great arm, and physically he is built like your standard pocket passer.  However, I just never thought he was a guy who would take his game to the next level, and play as well as he did on the grandest of stages.  Boy did he ever, and prove all of his naysayers wrong in the process.  Joe Flacco in his 5th NFL season, outplayed 2 Canton bound QB’s on the road en route to his first Super Bowl appearance.  He played mistake free football throwing 11 TD’s to 0 INT’s in these playoffs.  His stellar play culminated in his first Super Bowl victory and the honors of being named Super Bowl XLVII’s MVP.  While Flacco continued to impress and quiet the critics, this was a team effort and we must give credit to all 53 men on the Ravens roster.  Flacco was the MVP of the game, but the two most crucial plays of the game were made by Jacoby Jones(a dazzling 56 yard receiving TD and a 108 yard kickoff return for a TD).  Anquan Boldin has played like a men possessed, matching his regular season TD total(4) in these playoffs.  The defense that everyone was calling too old to compete was able to contain Kaepernick when it mattered most.  Kaepernick did get his yards on the ground and a rushing TD, but it was the pressure applied from the outside that forced Kaepernick into traffic and caused rushed throws.  Once again the Ravens definitely outplayed their competition, but I saw the better team on paper(the 49ers) make numerous little mistakes throughout the entirety of the game; and that ultimately cost them.  Their long list of inexcusable mistakes began right from their first drive.  On the first play from scrimmage, Kaepernick threw a beautiful ball to Vernon Davis for a 20 yard gain.  On a delayed flag, it turns out that Davis was called for an illegal formation negating the completion and backing them up 5 yards.  This was a sign of things to come.  On the Ravens first possession, it appeared that the 49ers defense made a stop on a 3rd and 9, however Ahmad Brooks had jumped off-sides.  This gave the Ravens another shot at a much more manageable 3rd and 4.  What happened on the very next play?  You guessed it, a touchdown pass from Flacco to Boldin.

On to the 2nd quarter we go with a score of 7-3(Baltimore).  The 49ers started with the ball on their own 20 yard line.  Four plays and a quick two and half minutes later, they found themselves all the way down to the Baltimore 24 yard line, primed and ready to score.  On the very next play Lamichael James(doing his best Michael Vick impression), while attempting to turn a run for a loss into a small gain, FUMBLES THE BALL back to the Ravens.  They proceed to charge down the field and score another TD to make it 14-3.  At this point that score could easily be flipped had the 49ers taken care of the ball and avoided silly mental mistakes.  Now at the time I really hated the fake field goal try by the Ravens, and while I still don’t know if I would have done it, I only slightly dislike it after having time to think about it.  In hindsight it worked perfectly.  John Harbaugh kept the pressure on the great Kaepernick and challenged him to demonstrate his ability to overcome adversity in a 2-minute drill from his own 6 yard line.  He went 3 and out and gave the ball back to Baltimore with a short field.  You’ll never guess what happened next; oh wait yeah maybe you can, touchdown Flacco(am I sensing a theme here?).  I think you all know what happened next.  After what I thought was a pretty decent halftime show(we get it Beyonce, we think you’re hot, and you think you’re really really really really hot), Jacoby Jones returned the opening kickoff of the 2nd half 108 yards for a spectacular TD.  This made the score 28-3 and most of the sports world thought that was the nail in the coffin, but it wasn’t.

The 49ers came out for their first offensive possession in the 2nd half and what came next was exactly what everyone was expecting, right?  Eh probably not.  There was a power outage throughout the ENTIRE STADIUM.  This unprecedented turn of events caused a delay that lasted 34 minutes!!  This occurring on the biggest stage in the world is uncalled for, embarrassing, and down right inexcusable.  Needless to say I’m sure heads are rolling today.  Now all you conspiracy theorist out there can blame the power outage for the swing of momentum in the game, but the 49ers are way too talented to get blown out.  You are probably the same group of people blaming karma for Chris Culliver’s horrid performance last night.  For those of you who don’t know, Culliver is taking a great deal of flack for his anti-gay comments from media week.  Psssssst, Culliver isn’t very good, and the better Harbaugh knew that and took advantage of his opponents weakness.  Which brings me to my next point.  John Harbaugh clearly out-coached his little brother, Jim.  When it came to clock management, play calling, and overall scheme I found Jim to be outmatched in all areas.  Jim did give it his all though in pleading to the referees after Kaepernick’s 4th down try fell to the ground incomplete.  I’m not one to blame the referees for “costing” someone a game, but even my Grandma could see that was a hold.  The Ravens defender must have been childhood friends with Crabtree and really wanted to give him a huge; that’s all.  In retrospect the 49ers should only look at themselves for missed opportunities, not at the referees.

In the end, the play of Flacco, Jones, Boldin, and the Baltimore defense proved to be too much for San Fransisco.  It’s not all bad news for San Fran though.  If you saw that Jell-O commercial you’d know that the city of San Fransisco is getting 10,000 free cups of Jell-O’s chocolate pudding from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. today.  So keep your heads up guys, you get to have pudding today!!  In all seriousness, the 49ers should take the positives from last nights game.  I know it’s heartbreaking to be that close to victory and then have it snatched from you at the last moment.  However, this was a great experience for a young team led by a great young quarterback.  From what I’ve seen from Colin Kaepernick I believe that the sky is the limit for him and his squad.  Don’t be surprised if you see the 49ers being fitted for rings a year from now.  Finally, let us all be thankful there will be another NFL season next year, so Ray Lewis definitely doesn’t get the last word.

Oo Yea I almost forgot….The Super Bowl

Does anybody else hate the fact that we have to wait an extra week for the Super Bowl? Personally, I hate it. Now I know this will never change because god forbid we take money out of anyone’s wallet. That would be a crime. But, from a fans perspective it really irks me that we have football every Sunday for 20 weeks in a row, and then before the most important game of the year we decide to take a week off. The only thing in sports worse than this is the time they take off before the College Football National “Championship”. Now I get why they take the week off. It helps set the stage by building up the anticipation for the game, the players get to have time with their families and friends in a different city every year, and the NFL gets to grab its share of the prize through player appearances and media week. Also, the host city boosts its economy while the NFL is in town. With all that being said, I still wish they would do away with the circus that is media week.

Lets move past the things we can not change. However, I do think the week off has an effect on the outcome of the game. The Ravens have been riding this wave of “destiny” as some would call it. When people say that Ray Lewis is destined to win this Super Bowl in his last season, I say they are carrying momentum through the playoffs. Most of this momentum is due to getting injured players back at the right time and Joe Flacco playing out of his mind right now doesn’t exactly hurt either. In my opinion the week off definitely favors the 49ers. It gives some of the injured 49ers a chance to get healthy, most notably Justin Smith. And it could possibly slow the Baltimore train that steamrolled its way through New England(which feels like a month ago not a week ago). Now am I saying that I want the Ravens to win and it’s an unfair advantage for them to have an extra week off? No not at all. I actually want the 49ers to win, due to my slight dislike of Ray “I didn’t do it” Lewis. What the Ravens need to do to win this game is try to be the more physical team. That is not an easy task when playing San Francisco. If you have watched them play this year you’d know that Navorro Bowman, Patrick Willis, and Aldon Smith are beasts on the football field. So, lets assume that the 49ers are going to be the more physical team on Sunday. How else can the Ravens win this football game without divine intervention? Well, a heavy dose of Ray Rice would be a nice start, but that will only be effective if Joe Flacco starts the game by taking deep shots down the field. This will stretch the field, keep the 49ers secondary honest, and prevent them from creeping towards the line on running plays. Once a nice balance of run and pass has been established that should allow an opportunity for them to go play action to Torrey Smith or Anquan Boldin throughout the game. This game plan should allow the Ravens to regain their momentum they’ve been carrying the past couple of weeks. While I believe this will work in the first half and the Ravens should jump out to an early lead, I don’t see them sustaining their offensive attack. Ultimately, I think the outcome of this game will come down to the team that is more physical and whichever QB plays better. I’m not going to lie, I’ve been waiting for Colin Kaepernick to make a huge “rookie” mistake that will cost his team a game. It just hasn’t happened yet, and I’m not about to pick this game for it to start. I think he’ll play mistake free football and manage the game as he has done since he took the reigns of this machine 10 weeks ago. I see this being a close game where the Ravens jump out to an early lead. However, in the end I see the 49ers controlling the time of possession and just playing too physical a brand of football for the Ravens to withstand. Sorry Ray, your “path” ends in New Orleans. You’ll have only your own shortcomings to thank for losing this game. My prediction for this game is 27-23(San Francisco). Enjoy the game!