Friday, February 05, 2010

Super Bowl 44 Prediction Time

Tis the last morning in South Florida so let's knock out a few last items and do a show and get out of here. Good times, but you know, home sweet home is always better than wherever we go. Seriously.

I have the Colts winning this Super Bowl for a number of reasons, not the least of which boils down to what might be the greatest QB of our generation, Peyton Manning, under center. At first I tried to deny it, and then it became incredibly undeniable. He is awesome. He is the best. He is in control and happy to receive your blitz and then to burn it.

There are plenty of interesting elements to this game that can keep it extremely close, and if things go just right there is no reason the Saints cannot spring an upset, but it is really at your own peril to pick against Peyton Manning these days. I just refuse to do it given the way he is playing right now.


Honestly, my biggest question is wondering what this means to his overall legacy. Assuming he wins, is he all-time Top 5? Top 3?

2 fun facts from the last time the Colts played a Super Bowl in Miami just 3 years ago:

1. The last 5 #1 seeds to make the Super Bowl from the NFC have lost. Bears, Seahawks, Eagles, Rams and Giants.

The Saints are the #1 seed from the NFC.

2. In all four Super Bowls played in Dolphins/Joe Robbie Stadium the losing team has had a kickoff return for a TD. Bengals ('89) - Stanford Jennings; Chargers ('95) - Andre Coleman; Falcons ('99) - Tim Dwight; Bears ('07) - Devon Hester

Not sure what you would do with that 2nd one, except dazzle your friends.


By popular demand, The 1999 SI Feature on Peyton Manning that we reference all of the time. He is a football genius, but perhaps not the sharpest tool in life. Or, maybe it is just an awesome counter story in his portfolio.


Earlier in the week , we debated this incoming class for the hall of fame:

Here is who we have this year:


Player Pos. Team(s) Years
Tim Brown WR LA/Oak., TB 1988-04
Cris Carter WR Phil., Min., Mia 1987-02
Don Coryell Coach StL Cards, SD 1973-86
Roger Craig RB SF, LA Rai., Min. 1983-93
Dermonti Dawson C Pitt. 1988-00
Richard Dent DE Chi, SF, Ind., Phi 1983-97
Russ Grimm G Wash. 1981-91
Charles Haley DE-LB SF, Dallas 1986-99*
Rickey Jackson LB New Orl., SF 1981-95
Cortez Kennedy DT Seattle 1990-00
Dick LeBeau CB Detroit 1959-72
Floyd Little RB Denver 1967-75
John Randle DT Minn., Sea. 1990-03
Andre Reed WR Buff., Wash. 1985-00
Jerry Rice WR SF, Oak., Sea. 1985-04
Shannon Sharpe TE Den., Bal. 1990-03
Emmitt Smith RB Dallas, Ari. 1990-04

I am pretty sure that Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith are in. So, we have 2-4 more spots to roll with.

Lebeau and Little are Veteran committee selections so I think they generally have an excellent chance. So that leaves Tim Brown, Cris Carter, Andre Reed, Shannon Sharpe, Charles Haley, Richard Dent, and Don Coryell as the front runners to battle for the final 2 or 3 spots.

Last night, I had a chance to visit with the Goose, Rick Gosselin, and pick his brain extensively about the process and the Hall of Fame class, 2010.

First off, know that there are 44 voters (Blind Vote) and that it requires 36 or more votes to be inducted. "9 and you're dead" was the quote the Goose used. Must eclipse 80% to break on through to the other side.

He wrote earlier this week about the deep WR class, And his view that only Rice gets in this year :

Jerry Rice retired from the NFL as the game's all-time leading receiver. He figures to be the first wideout enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame on the first ballot since Steve Largent in 1995.

That was 15 years ago.

That's bad news for Tim Brown, Cris Carter and Andre Reed – the other three wide receivers in the finals for the Class of 2010. Canton has not enshrined two wideouts in the same class since Bobby Mitchell and Paul Warfield in 1983.

That was 27 years ago.

Like Largent and Rice, Art Monk retired as the NFL's career receiving leader. But he wasn't enshrined until his eighth year of eligibility. Lynn Swann waited 14 years, John Stallworth 10 and Don Maynard nine.

Bob Hayes waited 29 years after the clock started ticking on his eligibility for enshrinement, and Tommy McDonald waited 25. Both candidacies were rescued by the Hall of Fame's senior committee.

There are 20 wideouts in the Hall of Fame but there has been no rush to enshrine them.

The selection committee seems to be waiting to absorb the explosion of receiving statistics. When Largent went in, his 819 catches were an NFL record. He now ranks 20th.

There are six receivers with 1,000 career catches, including Rice, Carter and Brown. Four more wideouts could join them in the next two seasons. The committee is trying to sort out how much of that can be attributed to talent and how much to the changing style of the game.

Then, he wrote about Haley's chances on Tuesday :

The numbers have long been out of whack in Canton. There have been 214 men enshrined in the Hall of Fame in the game's modern era. More than half (50.9 percent) of them played on offense – but only 30.4 percent on defense and 18.2 percent coaches and contributors.

The NFL axiom is that defense wins championships, but it obviously doesn't get you inducted into Canton. There are 109 offensive players enshrined and only 65 defensive players. In fact, there are more offensive skills players – 68 quarterbacks, running backs and receivers – than all defensive players combined.

That disparity in numbers gives Haley reason for hope in his first trip as a finalist. A maximum of five modern-era candidates will be selected for the Class of 2010, and Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith already have claims on two of those spots.

But there has been a trend in recent years to close the gap between offense and defense in the Hall. The last two years marked the first time in history that back-to-back classes have featured more defensive enshrinees than offensive.

So I'm speculating that two of the remaining three spots in the Class of 2010 would go to defensive players. There are only five defensive candidates: pass rushers Haley and Richard Dent, tackles Cortez Kennedy and John Randle and linebacker Rickey Jackson.

As one candidate in a slate of 15, Haley would stand less than a 10 percent chance of being included in the Class of 2010. But as one candidate in a slate of five defenders, his chances could increase to 20 percent.

From all I have read, here are my picks for the 2010 Hall of Fame class (although there is always a shocker):

Jerry Rice
Emmitt Smith
Dick LeBeau - check his numbers. Remarkable CB.
Richard Dent
Shannon Sharpe
John Randle

I think Haley, Reed, Brown, and Chris Carter are also in eventually (Jackson, Dawson, and Coryell have me on the fence), but those 6 above are my ballot. Boy, I would love to have a ballot. I think that might be my biggest sports media aspiration.

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