RIP Axl Rotten
King of Some Young Guy
So as we all know, Super Bowl Week started off with a thing called Media Day. It’s where a bunch of asshole journalists prod NFL players like Spanish bullfighters.
This time last year, we were in the middle of a bloodbath of a Media Day involving the post –Deflategate New England Patriots and the birdshit-talking Seattle Seahawks. It was like a frickin' pro wrestling promo that lasted two weeks and eventually ended with a coin flip in front of 70,000 people.
This year’s Media Day was much different; led by, of course, Mr. Sunshine, Peyton Manning. Dude has been a class act his entire career, and this past Media Day was no different.
His consistent gushing praise of Cam Newton was what stuck out to me the most:
"There's no doubt in my mind he's going to be the MVP on Saturday night. What he's done in the short time being an NFL quarterback, he's been awesome. He's been awesome. That's the best word I can think of.
For whatever reason, I think that Peyton went in to this Media Day almost wanting to validate Newton in a torch-passing way. And I feel he did just that and then some. Total testament to the player, and man, Manning is.
But again, this is nothing new: He’s a player that has a tendency to put his opponents' and teammates' accomplishments on way higher of a pedestal than his own.
He also was trolled by Snoop Dogg with a Colorado stoner joke, and handled himself pretty well.
As for Cam Newton’s media week presence:
I’ll preface this by saying I love Cam Newton as a player. Anyone who reads this column on the regular knows that. His game has a lot of revolutionary attributes that he must be commended for. It’s also important to note that said revolutionary attributes are part of what makes him so polarizing amongst NFL fans. Change is never an easy thing to accept in the world of sports, especially when it pertains to how the game is naturally played. Newton’s style over time may ultimately catch such fire that literally all facets of the game can change with it.
I wasn’t pleased with the way Newton handled Media Day. It was a healthy combination of him saying dumb shit and acting annoyed with the procedure that peeved me.
As for me, this was the comment that irked me the most.
So let me get this straight:
Basically Cam Newton, a player with zero credentials, zero championships and, as of the Friday before the first Super Bowl he’s playing in, zero MVPs, is not only copacetic with putting himself in the same conversation as LeBron James, but suggests that LeBron should be compared to him?
Newton may have been joking on this comment, but at the same time I think Newton’s always been an “every joke has its truth” guy. He has a tendency to smile and laugh regardless of the topic, which makes his joking comments all the more real when said.
This is a horrible quality for one to have at the beginning stages of their career with not one chapter in this legacy written. Can you imagine if this guy gets injured, or losses a couple key players and has to start gritting every tooth to get to the playoffs, let alone the Super Bowl? A comment like this would seal his fate as a writhing-ass laughingstock for life.
It got people talking, though, which, at the end of the day, seems to be a defining characteristic of everything Cam Newton says. For that alone, I have a lot of respect for Newton, and realize ultimately he’s amazing for the game.
Favre and Away
Interesting Peyton Manning factoid to keep in mind during Sunday’s game:
PM has a career 199 wins. He is tied for the all-time record with one Brett Favre.
So, if we’re doing the math correctly, Manning can not only win the Super Bowl on Sunday, but can end the 2015-2016 season -- and his career if he chooses -- as the winningest QB of all time.
Trust me, even if Peyton Manning grasps the record, Tom Brady I’m sure won’t sleep until he takes it from him (he’s about 18 wins behind). But for Manning to literally go out on top of not only the league, but of all time, he simply has to win this one game and ride off.
As if this game needs any more drama.
Orange Is the New Annoying
The Super Bowl this year is held in Silicon Valley.
What are the odds that someone from that horrible show tweets a pic of them at the game with the hash tag #silconvalleymeetssilconvalley, or something stupid?
Currently, San Francisco lacks a football identity, which is baffling to me, considering they were playing this exact game a mere couple years ago and have several Super Bowl wins in their illustrious history. One thing's for sure, though: their MLB identity is red hot and something that is seemingly inescapable if you live in the Bay Area. Hence every backwards-ass sports fan in Frisco for wearing Giants gear to a bunch of pre-Super Bowl functions. I don’t know if this is a form of protest against the NFL in some shape or form cuz their NFL team currently sucks, but we get it San Francisco: you can’t wait till April gets here and you can come out of hiding.
(Attending Super Bowl 50)
I wouldn’t get too excited, Giants fans (Cubs).
Just take solace in the fact that a mere few weeks after the Super Bowl, Fuller House premieres on Netflix, and your God will reclaim his throne.
Also, the unspoken big winner in this: the Broncos, who will more than likely arrive to a sea-of-orange stadium like every one of their home games in Denver.
The French Are Assholes
It’s a Dumb & Dumber reference.
I’ve been to Canada a few times. Place rules.
However, there’s a French section in Canada where people really don’t seem to get what the fuck is going on. Celine Deon is from this area.
Case in point, this high-end French Canadian news show, equivalent to our Fox TV, reporting that the Florida Panthers hockey team will be playing the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50.
Hey, at least they got the number right.
It would have been cooler if they put this Bronco on the graphic instead
The newscast in question shouldn’t feel bad. Check out this Nigerian news article.
Apparently, this is actress Rose McGowan and artist Davey Detail, who announced their divorce yesterday.
“I don’t even know who you are anymore,” was the line thrown around the most. Cliché.
"Are You There, Local Suburban Bar. It’s Me, God."
Miller Lite. Miller Lite Tshirt Giveaway, Drake song, “We’re out of Miller Lite, drink this Budweiser,” “The owner is pissed.”
C.R.S. (Consumer Recreational Super Bowl)
OK, enough pussyfooting around. Time to talk about The Game.
For starters, I won’t be watching it. I’ve decided to watch a random superhero show instead.
But if I WERE to watch it (you never know), I would think that the following are extremely important and will ultimately determine who hoists the Lombardi Trophy at about 12:15 a.m., after most of the “I got work tomorrow” people have fell asleep.
The first, and most important, match-up that will dictate the outcome of this game is the play of Peyton Manning vs. the play of Cam Newton.
Simply put, Cam must be contained in order for Denver to have a good shot at winning, and Peyton must be disrupted in order for Carolina to win easily.
This is a rightful analysis, even with arguably the best QB in the history of the game on the short end of said analysis.
Applying pressure and disrupting Manning in 2015 has lead to inceptions, fumbles and mental mistakes the likes of which we’ve never seen from him. It’s unfortunate that Manning is coincidentally facing the number-one defense at forcing turnovers this week. That will be their focus. It’s interesting: In 2006, Carolina coach Ron Rivera led my Chicago Bears to the Super Bowl to play Manning’s Indianapolis Colts. The 2006 Bears also focused on forcing turnovers. The difference is Peyton is 10 years older in this game, with a weaker arm, and a weaker offensive line. A game plan 10 years in the making may come to fruition.
But alas, there are two QBs that are playing in this game.
Make no mistake: it’s a lack of containing Cam Newton that has led to basically every team crumbling to the Panthers this season. Obviously, Cam gets positive yardage with his textbook scrambles and keeps the chains moving. It also doesn’t hurt that he is arguably the greatest QB one-man red zone threat in the history of the game. But let's not miss an important fact that will heavily come in to play this Sunday: A scrambling QB is the number one way to wear out a defense. The Broncos D, though the number-one-ranked D in football, is not infallible to being worn out. The longer they’re on the field, the less effective they will be. Now there are guys like Von Miller, who have young stud-like motors. Miller is so geared up right now, he looks as though he can play two games back to back and still have energy for a sudden death overtime. He had one of the greatest defensive playoff games from a linebacker I have ever seen two weeks ago against the Patriots. Amazing player!
Simply put, the Broncos D has to force Cam to beat them with his arm from the jump.
In order to do this, a tone needs to be set early by Denver. Basically, Cam cannot scramble for positive yards early. If he does, the D gets tired, bigger holes open up in the run game, the short sideline pass for sure opens up, and that’s essentially all Carolina would need. They’d eat up clock, keep their D rested, and force Manning to beat them in a shootout, which everyone believes may be impossible.
I hate to look at it this way, but it wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world for Denver to enlist a Hatchet Man early on in the game.
Basically someone, probably Von Miller, should hit Cam low, hard and late early on to rattle his legs. NOT KNOCK HIM OUT OF THE GAME, you a-holes. But rattle him. It will likely come at the price of a personal foul penalty, but it could do wonders for setting a tone that is necessary for Denver to have the entire game.
Denver forcing Carolina to air the ball out to beat them will actually put Denver at a huge advantage in this game, if executed properly.
This isn’t news, but Carolina have an extreme lack of viable receiving threats. I can’t remember the last time a Super Bowl team had such a lack of receiving depth in the big game. It might be the 2006 Chicago Bears, actually. The exception to this statement is Greg Olson. This has been a breakout year for Olson, arguably because Cam literally has to throw to him, and only him, for any downfield threat to exist. As one-dimensional as this game plan may be, it’s actually worked against several defenses this year.
This is truly the key match-up in this game: Can Carolina contain Olson’s production? I worry for Denver in this battle, much more than I do with them containing the ground game. Two weeks ago, they basically had their exact work cut out for them against the Patriots and had Rob Gronkowski torch them for 144 yards and a TD. The saving grace for Denver is the fact that they can live and learn from the Gronk fiasco and right the ship this week. Not to mention, as talented as Olson is, he is no Gronk. Again, make someone other than Olson beat you. Play clean and hard on him and he will be disrupted to the point of ineffectiveness that will force the ball to other areas of the field. Luckily for Denver, they have the personnel to do this. Safety TJ Ward is the key man in this containment. Him providing over the top help will be pivotal to Olson’s containment.
It’s those two things defensively that I think Denver must do to have a chance in this game.
It should be very refreshing for Carolina to just “do them” in this game. If they are able to, they will roll easily. All the pressure is on Denver to overachieve and play out of their comfort zone to have a chance at winning.
Historically, the team that can play loose has a massive advantage in games like this. Does experience mean anything? Sure. In that case, the Broncos get arguably their only nod. Besides that, they are basically inferior to the Carolina Panthers in pretty much every way going in to this game.
As of now, Denver is a 5.5 point underdog, with everyone thinking they’ll ultimately get smoked and we will witness a changing of the guard in the NFL.
My head agrees with said people at this point. But that said, don’t put it past Manning to have one of the smartest (not necessarily the most productive) games of his career this Sunday. If that happens, ALSO don’t be surprised if they’re able to claw out a win much like last week’s 20-18 win over the Pats.
I picked Denver at the beginning of the season to win the Super Bowl, so there’s no way I’m flip-flopping at this point.
I will say this: If Manning and the Broncos are able to pull off this win, we will witness something great: the bow on the package of an illustrious career that was riddled with countless adversity during its second half. He will be the oldest QB ever to start a Super Bowl at the age of 39 this Sunday. Even though it’s been heavily leaked already, I do believe that this will be Manning’s last game, win or lose. I also believe that if Manning wins this game, he will be hoisted on the shoulders of his defense like the closing scene in Rudy.
No player would be more deserving.
So all that said
See you guys next week for the season wrap-up.