Authored by Jeff Risdon - 8th February, 2010 - 11:50 am
The season is now over, which means $.10 becomes half-priced. Because it?s the Super Bowl, you get a bonus penny this week!
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$.01--Congrats to the Saints for pulling it off and winning the Super Bowl! Two plays stand out in my mind, aside from the Tracy Porter INT/TD: the onside kick to start the second half, and Jonathan Vilma stoning Joseph Addai deep in the backfield on a delayed handoff on the Colts? subsequent drive. Great call by Sean Payton to take the risk and get the ball back with the onside kick, seizing momentum and showing his defense he believed they could hold up on a short field, if need be.
The Vilma play stands out because in my notes I had him essentially wearing goat ears for his awful first half. The middle linebacker was consistently late to the ball and couldn?t get away from blockers. He was a different player in the second half, and he set that tone early. The Colts never seriously tried to run the ball after that play, other than Addai?s tough-as-nails TD run. Some credit has to go to Gregg Williams for altering the scheme and seeing what worked and what didn?t work, but Vilma stepped up his play. I thought getting Malcolm Jenkins more playing time at corner made a positive difference too.
It took awhile, but the New Orleans season-long ability to force turnovers at just the right time kicked in once again. That?s a very delicate razor to walk upon, but they danced on the edge long enough to bring the city its first professional title. As a 30-something native of Cleveland (still waiting for our first title in any sport since Jim Brown retired!), I can only imagine the unadulterated joy the loyal fans of New Orleans are feeling after so many years of disappointment. Enjoy the revelry!
$.02--Every Super Bowl has a loser too, but this one has to hurt more for the Colts than the typical loss. They were rightly favored to win, and the methodical precision with which they dispatched opponents all season gave them the aura of invincibility. Judging from the Colts players? interviews this week, they certainly carried themselves with the confidence and professionalism of expecting to win by doing their business.
Fret not Colts fans, because as long as #18 is still behind center, your team is a legit title contender. This year was perhaps the most improbable, with their 32nd ranked running game, decidedly below-average special teams, and youthful, small secondary--not to mention a rookie head coach and some cosmetic staff changes. Every starter that you want to return will be back, and that young secondary is only going to improve. With Bill Polian still calling the personnel shots and Jim Caldwell proving he?s a very good coach, there is no reason the Colts can?t make it back next year. Not many recent super Bowl losers could make that claim straight-faced.
$.03--For many people the Super Bowl is all about the ads. Honestly I didn?t see too many that really did more than waste my time, though I did like two in particular. The Coke ad featuring ?The Simpsons? was quite well done, but my favorite was the ad for Career Builder with the play on ?casual Friday?. It should be noted I?m typing this wearing an old pair of basketball shorts and a 6-year old, $3 black tank top, which is fairly typical ?work? wear for me.
The Tim Tebow ad certainly wasn?t worth all the fuss. I thought the Doritos ads collectively tried too hard. I can?t stand to drink Bud Light so I have a somewhat negative predisposition against them and their ads, so I?ll leave them alone. I have never understood the whole Go Daddy hubbub, though I?m sure my friend Richard went straight to their website for more ?unrated? content. All in all a pretty nondescript year for the commercials on my first impressions.
$.04--The 2010 class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame was announced on Saturday, and it?s one heck of a deserving class. Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith were gimmies, but I applaud the voting committee for once again rewarding consistent greatness over a long career over short-term flashes with their other picks. Rickey Jackson is what DeMarcus Ware aspires to be, a lightning-quick OLB sack artist that could wreak havoc on the run too. He was one of my favorite players from his era and I worried that because he spent the bulk of his career toiling for Saints teams that never won in the playoffs, he would have trouble getting in the Hall. Dick Lebeau and Floyd Little were both great nominations by the veteran?s committee, and you?ll have a hard time arguing with anyone that Jon Randle or Russ Grimm don?t belong despite being interior linemen. I still think those commercials with Randle chasing chickens are among the best NFL player ads ever, and it effectively drew attention to his freakish quickness and agility for such a large man. See you in August in Canton!
1. Dwight Freeney at about 75% is still better than most. That bull rush he threw at Jermon Bushrod was amazing considering his balky ankle. Still think he?s too small and not strong enough, Mr. Kiper?
2. I?ve never been a fan of The Who, so I won?t comment on the music itself. I loved the stage and the sound clarity was excellent, but how could a legendary anti-establishment figure like Pete Townshend so obviously fake playing his guitar? He wasn?t within 6 inches of his strings for at least half his ?playing?. Boo!
3. I liked the call to go for it on 4th & goal by Sean Payton, but a slow-developing run was a bad choice. Get Reggie Bush isolated on a LB in space and sneak the tight end behind him, giving Drew Brees options.
4. It might very well just be me, but did anyone else think Jim Nantz and Phil Simms were a little off all night? I?m a fan of both but this was not their best effort.
5. Drew Brees handled himself with class in victory, but that was expected. Brees has been through a lot with this team, and the way he has held it together and represented the entire Gulf region deserves more respect and publicity.
$.06--First came the Shrine game, then the Senior Bowl, and the latest collegiate all-star game came this past week. The Texas vs. the Nation winners are listed below. I won?t list any losers because this game is comprised of players hoping to either get drafted at all or go from the late rounds to the middle rounds.
Jared Veldheer, T, Hillsdale--the D-II giant proved he?s technically sound and has the footwork to handle playing LT in the NFL. His lack of fire concerns some, and he needs to add base strength. I?ve seen him play in person 3 times over two seasons and he?s better than the similar Sebastian Vollmer was last year, and Vollmer went 2nd round to the Patriots.
Jonathan Crompton, QB, Tennessee--showing that his late-season surge for the Vols was no fluke, displayed great accuracy and mechanics all week long. Two separate personnel people told me Crompton was better than any of the QBs in Mobile for Senior Bowl week.
Ryan Perriloux, QB, Jacksonville State--nobody has ever doubted his physical skills, but he is proving he learned from his disgraceful exit from LSU and has matured. Accuracy remains an issue that will hold back his draft ceiling, but if you?re looking for a middle-round QB that could develop into a good starter, he?s your best bet.
Jeff Moturi, WR, UTEP--?ran picture-perfect routes all week? and ?loved how he set up moves and created space for himself?--two quotes from a GM noted for finding later-round gems. I applaud him for going by Jeff when that?s not his real first name. Now catch the ball better and you?ll be a 4th/5th rounder.
Missouri State TE Clay Harbor--drew several comparisons to Chris Cooley for his hands, toughness, and versatility. If he times well in workouts--speed is not his calling card--he could go as high as the 4th round.
Memphis RB Curtis Steele--?makes hard cuts at full speed? and ?he has some Ronnie Harmon to him?. For those who aren?t old enough, Harmon was a very good 3rd down back for a long time, noted for his receiving prowess and quickness.