Denver’s Defense Does It and Peyton Goes Out On Top

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You can’t be mad. You can’t (unless of course you’re Cam Newton and his offensive line). Unfortunately, Cam was a sham, but it wasn’t all his fault. Not entirely. Denver’s dominant “D” punished the Panthers as Carolina’s “O” line looked like Swiss cheese. They just couldn’t keep Demarcus Ware and Von Miller, the Super Bowl MVP, off and away from the MVP of the NFL.

Peyton Manning wanted to make one thing perfectly clear when he arrived in the Golden Gate City for the golden anniversary of the Super Bowl: “Our defense is what got us here.” Two years ago, Manning brought along the league’s top offense — in fact, the highest-scoring team in NFL history — and things didn’t work out. This time, he’s tagging along with the league’s No. 1 defense.

The “Orange Rush” finished first in the NFL in sacks, yards per play, pass defense and total defense. But to earn their place atop or even alongside the ’85 Bears or ’00 Ravens, Denver’s fearsome front-seven and star-studded secondary did what few thought they could do: they corralled Cam Newton and beat up and beat down the favored Carolina Panthers.

So, congrats to Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. Now Peyton, who just won his 200th game, the most in NFL history, can ride off into that orange sunset with a second Super Bowl ring. Manning mustered an almost magical performance this season out of his 39-year-old body and that quick mind. And he deserves all of the accolades he can get. It wasn’t easy and sometimes it wasn’t pretty, but in the end, the old man got it done.

And I’m especially happy for Denver Coach Gary Kubiak. Kubiak is a first year coach who was fired by the Houston Texans mid-season in 2013. Winning the Super Bowl in your first year is not bad and not too shabby, either.

So we get another moral, mystical message and another spiritual, theological lesson from Denver and Manning and Coach Kubiak. Denver lost the Super Bowl two years ago in horrific fashion, and this year, they won going away. So it just goes to show ya: you can comeback from way back and you can turn it all the way around.

Super Bowl or Super Bust?

best-super-bowl-commercials

Is it me, or do this year’s Super Bowl commercials stink?  I mean I haven’t seen a really good one yet.  And I don’t know what’s worse, the game or the commercials. Cam is playing like bad spam, and Peyton hasn’t proven that he can win the game with his arm. For those of you who love defensive games, you must be in hog heaven. But for the rest of us who want to see some offense, COME ON!

Ok, so Cam still has a half to go, so let’s hope that the 2nd half commercials, and the game, are better that the first half. And for us late bloomers, isn’t that what we hope and hunger for too? We all pray and pine and yen and yearn for a better tomorrow. And we all hope that our end is better than our beginning and that our best is yet to come.

Can Cam Carry Carolina?

Cam Newton NFL Draft

So who ya got? Who are you picking to win Super Bowl 50? Peyton or Cam? The Broncos or Carolina? Defense or offense? For me, there are a plethora of plots and subplots in this year’s golden goose of a game, the 50th Super Bowl. But unlike any other Super Bowl, this one will be remembered and recalled and ruminated upon for years to come. And, the play of the quarterback, as always, is front and center stage.

And so the question is this: Can Cam carry Carolina?

As stated earlier in this blog and elsewhere, Cam is the hottest thing since sliced bread when it comes to the NFL. When it comes to gloating and floating and doting over the game that took ownership of a day of the week from the institutional church, Roger Goodell is no dumbbell. He may have missed it way right in 2015 with Brady and “Deflategate” and Goodell may have blown it way left in 2014 with the Ray Rice “Incident,” (https://godandsports.net/2014/09/18/roger-goodell-and-the-nfls-week-from-hell/)  but Goodell certainly can tell that Cam can be a bombshell and this William Tell can ignite a groundswell that can define and carry the entire NFL for years to come. And that’s the storyline of this Super Bowl in a nutshell.

As for Cam, he has carried his team thus far. First of all, Cam can carry his own weight. He was drafted No. 1 and he wears No. 1 and he wants to be No. 1, but he will have to get past Peyton first. And if he loses, all of those records and stats and firsts and figures mean nothing. But if Carolina wins it all . . . Sure there might be next year, but next year will be easier to win again if they win right now.

Cam is carrying his team and his teammates and his conference and his city and his race and his religion and everything else that his haters want to dump on him. And he’s carrying them all, with grace. But how does he do it?

Warren Moon described how Cam is carrying all of this so, so well:

First, we had to prove we could play the position,” Moon said. “Then we had to face questions about our leadership abilities. Even when you look at the guys who played the position in my time — myself, Doug Williams, even a Randall Cunningham — we were all laid back. Now it’s more of a ‘me’ generation and you can show more of your personality. It used to be that you had to be more like a politician than a football player to be a black quarterback. Cam plays the game with his personality.

That’s it! That’s absolutely it. Cam is being HIMSELF. He’s playing the game with his personality. Yes many clam that Cam is a ham, but I beg to differ. If you or I had been through half of what this young man has been through, and he went through all of his stuff in the fishbowl of the public spotlight, we may have acted and reacted differently. Cam has set more records and run for more yards and scored more touchdowns and put up more points than you can shake a stick at. And that’s why winning the Super Bowl is so important for him. As if he hasn’t already validated himsellf.

 

So here’s to a great game. I like Peyton Manning. I do. And if he wins, I will be glad for him. Because this Super Bowl is really a “win win.” Cam or Peyton, both are so deserving and so admired and so well-liked that it’s hard not to root for both of them. So, as they say, may the best team, not necessarily the best quarterback, win.

Word To The Wise: Don’t Bet Against Brady

Brady SI Cover

Could we see this Sports Illustrated cover again this year? Don’t bet against it.

Some say that sports and life are polar opposites. In fact, sports and life are actually opposite sides of the same coin.  In both sports and life, there are some things that you thought would never happen and yet happen they do. In sports and in life, there are the improbable, implausible, almost impossible occurrences and incidents that no one, and I mean no one, could even dream up in a thousand years and yet “Voila!” – they appear and emerge and transpire right in front of our very eyes.

Such is the case with Tom Brady. He is headed for yet another AFC Championship Game, against his rival Peyton Manning, and perhaps the only thing that stands between him and another Super Bowl ring is a favorable coin flip or two.

Yes, Peyton Manning is the sentimental favorite. No, the New England Patriots aren’t as feared nor as favored as they used to be. Yes, Manning is playing at home in front of friendly fans. No, Brady isn’t superman or super human, but yet and still . . .

Brady has been protected by a stunning 37 different offensive line combinations this season. That’s unheard of. They have a patchwork lineup and a lot of unnamed and unheralded players, except for Rob “Gronk” Gronkowski, considered to be the best tight end in the game. And here’s another one for the books: Brady is the only member of the Patriots roster left from the 2005 Super Bowl Team. If there’s one constant in the Patriots puzzle, it’s Brady.

Sports science stipulates cohesion and consistency and comrade on any and every team. And yet, with all of the shuffling and shifting, the one constant with the Brady Bunch is, you guessed it, Brady. The Patriot Way is the Brady Way. Brady has won more than most. So it’s difficult, nay pert near impossible, to bet against Brady. So don’t do it. Don’t bet against Brady. Just don’t do it. You’ll thank me later.

Brady, the University of Michigan stud, was drafted by the Patriots in the sixth round (THE SIXTH ROUND!) of the 2000 NFL draft. In Brady’s 13 full seasons as a starter (he missed nearly all of 2008 with a torn ACL), the Patriots have earned six trips to the Super Bowl, winning four. Brady has won three Super Bowl MVP awards, two league MVP awards (2007, 2010), has been selected to eleven Pro Bowls, and has led the Patriots to more division titles than any other quarterback in NFL history, with thirteen. Brady is fifth on the all-time list for career passing yards and third for career touchdown passes. His career postseason record is 22–8; his playoff win total is the most in NFL history. Unbelievable.

Some players aren’t pegged or don’t seem to have the potential to pan out and prosper. Yet someway somehow, they seemingly, consistently and continuously find a way to win. We might not like them but we sure do respect them. They give us patterns and paradigms to follow. Whatever happens, and in spite of who comes and despite who goes, there stand players like Tom Brady, like a stone wall. He’s endured derision and disdain from everyone from Roger Goodell to me in this blog. But like the Bible says, Brady is steadfast and unmovable. So, like him or lump him, just don’t bet against him.

So, like it or not, Brady gives us our Bible lesson for today:

Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

1 Corinthians 15:58, NIV

The Remarkable Return of Peyton Manning! (Another Reason to Watch the NFL Playoffs)

Peyton-Manning (1)Wow! Talk about comebacks and turnarounds.

Peyton Manning led Denver to 20 second-half points in his first action since Week 10 as Denver wrapped up the top seed as the AFC West champions. Manning took over for Brock Osweiler as Broncos QB in the third quarter for his first appearance since he was removed in Denver’s November 15th loss to the Chiefs. Manning came into the game after starter Osweiler was involved in five, count em’ – five turnovers, and won the game for Denver.

What a significant and sensational, incredible and improbable comeback. It just goes to show that nothing in life is as moving and as mesmerizing as an unsuspected and unpredicted comeback. Nothing. Peyton was counted out and left for dead and yet he was ready to play, and play on in the playoffs he will.

Who said sports wasn’t spiritual! Who said you can’t learn lessons and gain insight and acquire understanding from sports? In Peyton’s return today, once again we see Providence at work on the playing field. And to top it all off, Peyton turned 40 in November. Forty! He’s no spring chicken and yet he ran the offence like he’s still got some juice left in the tank. My, my, my.

Peyton ran the scout team in practice this past week and now he will lead the No. 1 Denver Broncos into the playoffs. Peyton’s attitude and fortitude are enviable. How many of us would have had the demeanor and decency and integrity and respectability that Manning displayed during this test of his faith? Dare I say few. And that’s a lesson worth teaching on and off the field.

Is It Time For Peyton Manning To Walk Away?

AP SUPER BOWL FOOTBALL S FBN USA NJ

The Question really is, “Who’s Up and Who’s Down?”

Who’s down? Try Dallas and Baltimore and Green Bay (they lost to Detroit!) and San Francisco and New Orleans and Chicago, and let’s not forget my beloved Eagles. And now Denver. All are perennial playoff powers, most of whom have been to or won Super Bowls in the past decade or two, and yet, neither of these teams may even make the playoffs.

And if the news weren’t bad enough, it gets worse for us old timers who love winners and want our old teams to keep winning. Tony Romo’s been down for seven games, and the Dallas “Cowgirls” are 0-7 without him. And they just lost 10-6 to Tampa Bay. Tampa Bay? And now Sam “Badford” is down. He’s hurt AGAIN. My man Tony Kornheiser called Bradford “an ace bandage waiting to happen.”  Ain’t that the truth. Can Philly win without him? Heck, they’re barely winning WITH him.

Who’s down? Peyton Manning is down. Way down. Peyton Manning had a bad game. He threw four – count ‘em — four interceptions yesterday on the way to being benched. He’s 39 years young, or old, and his skills seem to have deteriorated overnight. But it’s only one game, not a season or his whole career, right?

Peyton Manning is one of the best NFL QB’s ever. But the surpassing of Brett Favre as the NFL’s all-time passing leader is overshadowed by his four interceptions in the Broncos’ 29-13 loss to the Chiefs. Even though he just passed for more yards than any other QB ever, his future is far from decided at best and is fairly debatable at worst. And the question is, “is it time?”

Who’s up? For all you youngins’ out there, I’m sure you love Cam Newton and maybe even Andrew Luck and the kid from Cincy, Andy Dalton (whoever he is); but heck, Cincy is 8-0.

Quarterbacks win games. Period. Get a good QB, and you got something. Lose your QB to injury or deteriorating skills, and you got Dallas at 2-7, Philly now at 4-5, and Denver dropping their last 2; and the worst of it is this: Peyton may be done.

Quarterbacks are leaders. They lead by precept and example. They lead with their play and by what they say. As they go, so goes the team. So while you need a good coach, while you’re at it, get yourself a good, sound and solid quarterback.

Get someone in your corner and on your team and on your side who can call the right play at the right time. Because your “football” life is at stake. Get yourself a good quarterback; someone who can lead you and guide you and take you all the way. Your standing and status and reputation and successful operation may well depend on it.

RGIII Says He’s The Best Quarterback in the League. Seriously?

Reblogged From Chris Chase, “For The Win” – http://ftw.usatoday.com/

Jul 30, 2015; Richmond, VA, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III speaks to media after the morning walkthrough on day one of training camp at the Washington Redskins Bon Secours Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports ORG XMIT: USATSI-227802 ORIG FILE ID: 20150730_gav_sb4_003.jpg

“If it’s preseason it must be time for Robert Griffin III to utter meaningless quotes that are ridiculed for his complete lack of self-awareness. And (check your watch), it’s time.

Here was the Redskins quarterback, who should no longer be referred to as “RG3” because nicknames are for people who aren’t in quarterback battles with Kirk Cousins, speaking to Alex Parker of Washington’s ABC affiliate right before the ‘Skins broke camp (via DC Sports Bog):

I don’t feel like I have to come out here and show anybody anything or why I’m better than this guy or better than that guy. It’s more about going out and affirming that for me, I go out and I play, I know I’m the best quarterback on this team. I feel like I’m the best quarterback in the league and I have to go out and show that. Any athlete at any level, if they concede to someone else, they’re not a top competitor, they’re not trying to be the best that they can be. There’s guys in this league that have done way more than me. But, I still view myself as the best because that’s what I work toward every single day.

Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III kneels on the sideline during an NFL preseason football game against the Cleveland Browns, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard) ORG XMIT: OTK

So. Many. Thoughts. Let’s go in order.

  • If working hard at something every day made you the best in a given field, then Tim Tebow would have four Super Bowl rings, Jon Gruden would call games like John Madden and Chip Kelly would be a member of MENSA.
  • The reason you don’t have to “come out here and show anybody anything or why I’m better than this guy or better than that guy” is because you play on a team where the owner undermines the head coach and may or may not decree that you are the starter.
  • As for the “best quarterback in the league” comments — I mean, fine. Without self-belief, what are we? When you’re theoretically one of the 32 best people in the world at a given profession, you don’t get there by second-guessing yourself and thinking you’re inferior. Every NFL quarterback should think he’s the best quarterback in the league, even if, in a sober assessment, they’d know they really aren’t. But the problem with Griffin isn’t that he believes this, it’s that he says it out loud after three straight years of babbling nonsense at training camp that only serves as fodder for his likely failures. He doesn’t learn his lessons. If he can’t figure this out, maybe it’s not a surprise he panics and runs every time his first option is covered.
  • And you know what? Maybe it does matter that Griffin thinks he’s the best. He said he’s the best because he works for that every day. Shouldn’t he be working to be the best? But in his head, he already is, so he’s, what, sustaining his greatness? Maybe that’s semantics, but that’s why you don’t say anything during training camp. Be boring. Be Peyton Manning. Nothing good ever came out of tweeting, late nights at clubs or being open with the press in August. Or bucket hats with drawstrings, for that matter.”
  • And so the moral of the story is this: be humble. Meekness and modesty are mannerisms that should be maintained.  It’s just like the Good Book says:

 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.   1 Corinthians 10:12

 

Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall. Proverbs 16:18