The Golden State Warriors have just won the 2017 NBA Championship. Congrats to them. They pulled it off in just five games against a very good Cavs team led by superstar LeBron James. This is the Warriors second trophy in just three seasons (three straight finals trips) and from the looks of the roster, they should be highly competitive for years to come.
Just days before that, the Pittsburgh Penguins became back-to-back Stanley Cup champs after beating the Nashville Predators in six games. It was a hard fought series but the experience and leadership of Sidney Crosby was too much for a young Preds crew to overcome. That now makes five Stanley Cups for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Three since 2009. That’s dominance.
The 2016 sports season is finally over. All the hardware has been handed out and now we can finally look back and spot the trends. The data tells a simple story. The same jerks who always win, won again. In the four major professional sports (NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB), only the Chicago Cubs were not a recent champion of the 2016 winners (Patriots, Warriors, Penguins). What’s the deal? Why do we only ever see the same few organizations on the podium? It’s a drag to always see the same guys celebrating.
In football, the 2016 season ended with yet another New England Patriots Super Bowl victory. Yawn. Don’t get me wrong, the actual game was great and historic. Seeing the Pats climb back was a sports memory no one will soon forget but the overall outcome was boring. Brady wins his fifth ring in fifteen years. Give someone else a turn.
Thank God for the Chicago Cubs. If it wasn’t for them then we would be stuck watching sports re-runs of the same victory parades over and over again. The Cubbies made history and ended one hell of a drought. That’s a good story. That’s what we need. Redemption, the under dog, the cinderella story. Something new!
But baseball isn’t always the outlier. The San Francisco Giants have three World Series wins since 2010. Overall, the MLB seems more wide open than the other sports but maybe that’s just the perception. So what now? It’s clear that across sports there is an upper class of franchises and these teams are the ones that win the big games. What’s the lesson? Steal the model. Copy what’s working. Steal away their coaches and personnel. Change your culture. Whatever it takes.
As we enter the summer months where we only have MLB action to hold us over or as many call it, the dark days, we can only hope that this year will see some new faces on the Wheaties box.
The first reports after the big game were that superstar quarterback, Tom Brady, was missing the jersey he wore during his record setting fifth Super Bowl win. The story goes that after the Patriots’ insane comeback overtime win, Tom went to the locker room with the team. The guys changed out of their uniforms and donned their new champs t-shirts then returned to the field for the trophy ceremony. Brady claims that he left the prized jersey in his bag, at his locker. Later, Tom came back and could not find his number 12 uni.
Now, there are no security cameras in the locker rooms and the list of people with access to that area is decently long. Including, all 52 members of the roster, all the coaches, trainers and equipment personnel. Plus all the reporters and security once the locker room is open to the media. So we have lots of potential suspects.
Host city Houston stepped up and called in the Texas Rangers (not Chuck Norris, idiots) to help track down the jersey. Which some are already calling the greatest piece of sports memorabilia ever. With a theoretical price tag anywhere from $100,000-$500,000. But it’s not like you can just sell that thing anywhere. Brady joked in a Monday presser that if anyone sees it on eBay, let him know. That’s funny but not realistic. A sale like that will almost certainly land the seller in prison. That makes me think the thief had to have a high level buyer already in place. Hell, maybe they were even commissioned to steal the thing.
As the stolen jersey story spread, more news filtered in. Another report claims that much of the locker room gear was packed up and put on a truck bound for the Pats home facility. The truck was not throughly searched before it left the stadium leaving hope that the jersey is maybe in a box somewhere. Seems unlikely the most rare of rare sports gems is just laying around. Especially when you consider that something like this happened after New England’s Super Bowl win over Seattle two years ago. Yup, Brady’s jersey went “missing” then too. Looks like someone is starting a collection and I think I know the crew that might have pulled off the sports heist of the century.
That’s right, it was probably Billy, I mean Danny Ocean and his 10 best friends. They are one of the only teams that could pull something like this off. The time from when Brady took off the jersey to the moment it was found stolen was approximately 12 minutes. So you would need the coordinated efforts of a legit outfit to get away with this crime. And if they can break into Terry Benedict’s Las Vegas casino vault then they for sure can get into a fancy men’s room in Texas. But a good scam leaves no trail so maybe the jersey on truck is a fake so people stop looking for the real McCoy. Damn, so clever.
The only other scenario that seems likely is that Lady Gaga did it. Did you see her halftime show? She apparently can do anything. Plus we know she is a master of disguise so she probably dressed up as Rob Gronkowski, strolled into the locker room and scooped the jersey before she flew away on sparkle pony.
The only question remaining is, who is the buyer? That would be Vladimir Putin. He already has one of Patriots owner, Robert Kraft’s Super Bowl rings, why not complete the outfit. Story goes that back in 2005, Kraft was meeting Putin and he let him try on the ring and Putin never gave it back. The White House urged Kraft to let Putin keep the ring as a gift for the sake of foreign relations. So maybe stole is a harsh word, bullied is more appropriate. Either way, Putin has a ring and now maybe two of Tom’s Super Bowl jerseys. I think someone is playing a little fantasy touch football in the Winter Palace.
Keep an eye out for clues as the story develops. The truth is still maybe stranger than any of this. I sure hope so because it’s already a great piece of drama. Who knows? Maybe Tom will win a 6th Super Bowl, I bet he doesn’t take his jersey off then.
For those of you that live under a rock, this past Sunday was the Super Bowl. Now, obviously the Super Bowl is the biggest sports game of the year. Millions of people across the country get together, drink beer, eat wings and enjoy the game with friends. It’s just unfortunate that the winners of biggest sports game of the year are rewarded with such a mediocre trophy.
I’m not going to sit here and take anything away from Sunday night’s game (except that the commercials were TRASH). In all honesty, it might have been one of the greatest football games I’ve ever watched. Between the insane comeback, the Julio catch immediately followed by that Edelman catch, even that Gaga performance, Super Bowl LI was everything any of us could’ve asked for. Now, with that being said, the lack of a proper hardware to reward such a great game is a travesty.
The 1964 Maple Leafs sip victory from the greatest trophy in sports.
I like to think that the first Lombardi Trophy was a last minute thing. They probably forgot to buy a decent trophy and someone just decided to take a football, glue it on top of traffic cone and then spray paint the whole thing chrome. If that was the true story I might even be okay with it, but its not. Aside from holding it, touching it and kissing it there’s literally nothing you can do with it. Maybe use it as a paper weight when you have as many as the Pats do but that’s about it. You can’t drink a beer out of it, you can’t eat your morning cereal out of it, you can’t put a baby inside of it. There’s a new one every year so you don’t get your name etched into it for all of eternity, There is no Keeper of the Lombardi Trophy, whose sole job is to transport and protect the trophy. Guys on the winning team have no interest in spending a day with the Lombardi Trophy once they’ve won it. It’s just a lame football (fully inflated, mind you) perched up on a traffic cone and spray painted chrome. Nothing more, nothing less.
Lucky for us, the greatest trophy in all of sports isn’t awarded until June so we still have something to look forward to this summer.
The stage is all set for Super Bowl 51. Once again, the New England Patriots will head back to the biggest game in football with the hopes of adding even more to their wall of fame. While the Atlanta Falcons are only in their second SB ever and they are seeking their first win. I went 1-1 in the Conference Championship games. I had the Packers beating the Falcons but I’ll gladly take the loss in my silly picks record if it means Aaron Rodgers’ season is over. So far in the playoffs, my record is 7-3. Only one guess left. Let’s blend a pitcher of margaritas and dive into the NFL’s premiere event. Here is my pick for the Super Bowl.
New England Patriots vs Atlanta Falcons
As I’ve done all year, the picks are about who I think is going to win, not who I like. Those two things rarely line up. I don’t dislike New England, in fact I like Tom Brady but I’m just so tired of seeing them win. I’m rooting for Atlanta all the way, I very much hope they win. It’s better for the game if some new teams bring home the Lombardi Trophy.
I loved the way the Falcons dismantled the Packers. They did it so soundly and completely, it was a work of art. Matt Ryan to Julio Jones seems like the most dangerous combo around. Plus the way running backs Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman both catch and run, allows Atlanta to keep drives moving. Which normally leads to lots of points. The Falcons are an indoor team and they will enjoy the dome in Houston and look to keep up their blistering pace on offense. On defense, they have played some solid bend don’t break football and seem to generate enough turnovers to close out games. This is looking like it could be an epic Super Bowl 51.
On the New England side of the conversation, it’s just hard to bet against them. They are so modular and they do exactly what they need to. Every time. In many ways, Matt Ryan and company have copied some of the way the Pats move the chains. The use of the versatile backs to spread out the defense to later attack down field. Nothing super revolutionary, but these are squads executing it perfectly. Looking at the offensive roster, I’d give the talent edge to Atlanta but that doesn’t mean anything because Tom Brady can beat you with anyone. He’ll make WR Chris Hogan look like a Hall of Famer if he needs to.
Looking head-to-head, it seems fairly evenly matched. And if that’s the case then I have to say Patriots. They have the experience, they know what it takes to win a Super Bowl and if they get the ball at the end of the game, look for some vintage Brady as he leads his troops down for the game-winning score.
Winner: New England
Don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait for the big showdown in Houston but it always comes with just a hint of sadness. This is because I know the NFL season is over and football will go into hibernation until it’s time for the draft. So enjoy the Super Bowl and let’s pray it’s a close contest. Don’t forget the guacamole either.
The New England Patriots are heading back to yet another Super Bowl. Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and their band of misfits will play the Matt Ryan-led Atlant Falcons on Sunday, February 5th in Super Bowl LI. By now, everyone outside of New England and the extended fanbase has to be tired of seeing this team play for the Lombardi trophy. I know I am. But there’s one person out there who has to be more sickened by this than anyone else. And that person is NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell.
When Goodell handed all-century QB, Tom Brady a four-game suspension for under-inflated footballs it was clear that Goodell had it out for Brady. A ridiculously heavy-handed punishment for such a seemingly minor infraction to be sure. The entire deflategate scandal also cost the Patriots their 2016 first round and 2017 fourth round draft picks, making it clear that Goodell’s witch hunt also extended to the franchise. If it’s true that Goodell had made a point of harming the New England Patriots as an organization – and it seems clear that it was his intention – then he has to be furious at the fact that they are headed for the Super Bowl, despite being without their best player for the first quarter of the season.
It must make Goodell even more furious to know how badly the Patriots and their fans want to embarrass him. The NFL commissioner made it a point to avoid viewing a Patriots’ game in person during the NFL playoffs, opting instead to attend two games in a row at the Georgia Dome. And the fans in New England took note. Multiple times during the Patriots 36-17 thrashing of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship, the crowd in Foxborough called out the NFL commissioner by name with chants of “where’s Roger?” and “Roger,Roger.”
Everyone in New England wants to see Roger Goodell suffer through having to hand the Super Bowl trophy over to the Patriots. And rightfully so. After all, he did put that franchise and their fans through months of hell while dealing with such a stupid scandal. Even better, if Goodell does end up having to hand over the championship trophy to the Patriots there’s a good chance that he will have to hand over the MVP trophy to Tom Brady himself. Wouldn’t that be sweet? I can just see the look on his stupid face right now.
Honestly, I hope that the Atlanta Falcons are able to pull out the victory in Houston. Their offense is down right amazing and as I said before, we’re all tired of seeing New England win all the time. But that high-flying Atlanta offense has yet to see a real test in the playoffs. The Seattle team they played at home is awful when playing on the road and the Packers team that they dismantled in the NFC Championship was deeply flawed on defense. This will be a whole new ball game for the Falcons and it won’t be clear if they are up the task until the big game gets underway.
Should the expected come to pass and New England wins Super Bowl LI, we can all take solace in the fact that no one will be more upset about it than Roger Goodell. As much as people dislike Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the Patriots, people dislike the commissioner more. So no matter who is rooting for who, we are all rooting to see Goodell squirm. And there’s a good chance that we will get to see it. The Patriots are going to the Super Bowl, and there’s no way Goodell can hide from that.
Hot damn. Things are really heating up. I went 3-1 in the Wild Card round pick and another 3-1 in the Divisional round. I’ll call that good not great. Like Jack and Coke level good. Either way, we are finally seeing some quality football. Let’s hope that continues in the Conference Championships. Let’s pour ourselves into both the AFC and NFC matchups for this installment of Blackout Bruno’s NFL Conference Championship picks.
Before I choose winners. Let’s take a shot. Of knowledge. The four remaining franchises are some of the most successful teams in history. If you minus the Falcons (who have only gone to one Super Bowl and they lost) the other three teams have a combined 14 Super Bowl wins in 21 appearances. Steelers have 6 wins and Packers and Pats both have 4. Chances are, some already super successful owner is adding to their trophy case. The rich get richer.
Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons
Matt Ryan has his squad in great position. They are playing inside, on their home turf, where they normally light up the scoreboard. Their defense is underrated but good at both getting pressure and taking the ball away. Plus Matty Ice was bounced out of the Divisional round by the Pack back in 2010 and you know he would love pay back the favor. On the other side, you have Aaron Rodgers. Give this dude an inch and he will burn you. I really want to see the Falcons win but somehow the Packers pull another win out of their cheesy asses.
Winner: Green Bay
Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots
I had the Chiefs playing here in my last set of picks. Bravo to the Steelers who won a tough game on the road. Pittsburgh has all the tools to beat New England but it is going to take their all. Perfect play in all three phases. That’s the only way to kill a monster. You have to be thorough and diligent. On the Pats end, they are the modular system where they become their enemy’s worst nightmare. Tom Brady will have his crew fired up and they win a thriller.
Winner: New England
The Super Bowl is in Houston. Very much neutral field. I can’t wait. I’ll be in New Orleans for the big game. Why? Because NOLA rules and you can drink in the street. This will be my third trip there in less than 12 months. Maybe I should buy a house in the city? If you are not natives of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin or New England then you should be rooting for Atlanta. Let someone else win for once.
Jim Carrey owned the 90s. Films like The Mask, Dumb and Dumber, Batman Forever, Cable Guy, Liar Liar, and The Truman Show were staples of the decade. But maybe the best of them was Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. It says ‘pet’ in the title but this flick is more NFL than anything else. Dan Marino, the Miami Dolphins, and their field goal-kicking mascot, Snowflake, round out the background of this laugh-riot. Let’s bust out the VHS and re-explore Ace Ventura, ScoreBoredSports style.
The mascot of the Miami Dolphins, a dolphin named Snowflake is kidnapped just before the Super Bowl. Jim Carrey’s character, Ace, is hired to find the fish (mammal) before the big game kicks off. Did we mention the dolphin kicks field goals? Yeah, so this is super important. It should be known that Ventura is an animal expert with a wicked sense of humor. So sit back and get ready to enjoy. Oh yeah, and Courteney Cox is there, too. She works for the football team.
The film has Marino in the Super Bowl which only ever happened once in 1985, and they lost. But Dan is one of the best QB’s ever, and he is pretty funny in the movie. Maybe he should do more film work, like his part in Bad Boys II. Late in the film, Marino gets kidnapped by the bad guys so he’ll miss the big game. Ace saves the day and gets Dan back for the second half of the Super Bowl. That would be a pretty amazing story if it were real.
This smooth-ass brother deserves his own segment. His character, Emilio, is the only person in the Miami Police Department that tolerates Ace. Tone Loc also has an original song in the movie. This guy does it all. But really it’s all about that deep voice. I hear it and I think about Loc’s hit “Wild Thing” or the movie FernGully: The Last Rainforest where he voices a cartoon lizard. It’s real gold from my childhood. Emphasis on hood. Reptile jokes aside, Emilio believes Ace when no one else will, and having a cool black friend is always good for your weird white protagonist.
I close out with Ace beating the crap out of the Philadelphia Eagles mascot during the Super Bowl. The mascot scares away a rare bird Ace has been trying to capture all movie. They start brawling, then the camera goes on Ace and they introduce him as “a lover of all animals” while he continues to wail on the eagle. Just perfect.
Today, the NFL’s 50th Super Bowl will feature the Denver Broncos taking on the Carolina Panthers at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. And I’m on my way there.
12:45pm lobby call
Police escorts ride on motorcycles between cars, shutting off the flow of traffic so that we can get to the stadium in good time. We’ve been rehearsing on the field all week but security is super tight. Our badges can be held up to a scanner that lets you on to the field and other secured areas. Walking in past the first security checkpoint presents a crazy landscape of people: Paparazzi with huge cameras, Military personnel with AK-47s and ticketless fans with lawn chairs for the sidewalk.
Heading back towards my dressing room, the scenery settles. So much so that right outside the Queen’s dressing room, Jay-Z sits on a cement picnic table bobbing his head to the Fugees… “One time… Two times..”
I’m doing the Super Bowl. Again.
I am currently standing on the field. Seats are pretty empty, we’re still two hours ahead of kick off. I call my mom. “Turn on CBS. Can you see me? I can see their studio but it’s pretty far from me.”
This is my second Pepsi halftime show and is already a lot different. For one thing, it’s 75 and sunny. Far from the brisk 50 degrees we were thankful to get two years ago (earlier that week, New Jersey was only offering 12 degrees to rehearse in.) I’ve got my backpack, with a football and a sharpie at all times. Never know who you’re gonna run into. It’s a good thing I bought my ball days ago, this line at the NFL shop is crazy and they are out of footballs. We have an NFL escort that gets us in and out quick, much to the disdain of a Panthers fan.
It’s 2:01, kick off is 3:30 and I’m trying to get a few things done: football signed, see some of the game without a ticket and get some better pictures of the field. Gaga’s coming down the hall. I smile, she smiles. Saw someone I knew walking to the field to watch Lady Gaga sing – perfect. Jumped on the bandwagon and with the help of an escort, now I’m back on the field. There’s Olivia Munn, which means that… Yep, Aaron Rodgers right behind her.
They’re announcing MVPs from every Super Bowl. Of course everyone loves Joe Montana here. Brady walks out and the whole stadium boos. It’s 3:15. There goes Jerry Rice.
The teams come running out. Panthers first then Broncos. Didn’t dawn on me that I’m on the sideline, now right behind the Panthers bench. Behind me is James Harden and Trevor Ariza, in seats.
The crowd seems to be mostly orange with splotches of neon blue. They are chanting something intelligible but stop for a great arrangement of “America the Beautiful.”
Oh right, Gaga. She’s great, and the navy flies right over my head. As soon as that’s over, the sideline starts to scurry. I know I’m about to get kicked out. Rather than get kicked out of the stadium, I decide to quit while I’m ahead. Get to the tunnel and find a pocket to hide in, long enough to see the kickoff of Super Bowl 50. Security says I can’t stand there, so I watch the first Broncos play walking backward. Scan out.
I head back out of the stadium to my dressing room tent, cops are on watch and listening to the game on radios. I can hear cheering, something good must be happening. 3:45, or an hour ’til showtime.
I shuffle through Beyonce’s dance army as they rehearse and into our dressing room. I watch the game on a TV while getting dressed for the show: Versace leather shirt. Versace leather pants. Versace chains. Versace sunglasses. Tall black socks. Nike shoes. Broncos up 3-0, that must’ve been what I heard when I was walking. I had cut it close standing on the field and now I’m dressed just in time to head into stadium. Gotta be close to the end of the first quarter.
Walking through these halls in all leather commands a little bit of attention. In the stadium dressing room now, monitor engineer Ramone puts my “ears” on me (molded in ear headphones) and my head set mic. Add that to this black leather and I’m feeling pretty ’90s right about now. There’s a tv in the hallway. 10-0, Broncos. 4:48 in the first. Miles the Bronco and I snap a quick pic. Beyoncé rides up on a chariot golf cart to applause from her dancers. Now, we wait. Game’s on, stand around, practice dance moves. The hallway smells. I check my watch. It’s 4:20.
Everybody comes out for a group prayer.
Wait more. Time is slowing down.
Walk to the tunnel.
Wait in the tunnel. So much waiting.
This is the third time out on the field. Stage has been pushed together. We keep getting shuffled around because crowd is coming in and ground dancers are getting set. At this event, even the audience on the ground is cast, and everyone stands in the same spot every time. Which means I’ve been smiling at the same strangers in the same spot everyday at rehearsal. Coldplay and kids kick off the show and I have about 7 minutes to stand and take in the half time show. Pyro. Screaming. All I can do is look up at the stage, out to the 70,000 (?) people and in all directions to try and take in as much of this as I can. It’s a careful balance because I don’t want the only thought I remember to be “remember this moment.” I hand my cell phone to Andy (my friend and guitar tech) who offers to take pictures while we’re on stage.
Coldplay’s halfway through their 3rd song. Time to get set. I walk up onto the stage and it’s time for the muscle memory to take over. Just about anyone I can think of is more than likely looking at a TV screen right now. Mark Ronson scratches us in. This feels slow, that’s how you know your adrenaline is high. The rest of the performance is a flash and it’s over before you know it.
Doing these kind of events is like your birthday – you hear from everyone. Facebook is booming, Instagram is jamming, texts keep coming and Hi-Fives are flying. “How was it? Has anyone found a video yet?”
The hard work is over and seems to have paid off. Let’s check back into the checklist:
Get on the field for a little of the game – Check.
Get signatures from everyone we played with. Right… Sharpie in my pocket, everybody’s in the dressing room and I’m good to go. Two years ago when we did this the first time, I had the idea to buy a football and ask everyone I performed with to sign it. This year is the same, but lots of signatures to get. Managed to get just about everyone. Cool. This will go along with the football from 2014 and guitars from both performances in a home memorabilia installation from the heavens.
I head back to the hotel. My fiancé and I catch up on all of these stories and we head out to an after party. I got to meet and work with so many great people over the last few weeks and it is great to finally be able to just hang out and talk or share a drink. Hope everyone enjoyed the game and performances, this is another year I’ve had to watch them through replay and with good reason. Scan out.
The two Broncos teams that appeared in Super Bowl 50 and Super Bowl XLVIII may have had many of the same players, but they were very different teams. Two years ago Peyton Manning and the offense had one of the most prolific units in recent memory, and they got demolished in the Super Bowl, by a score of 43-8. The Seahawks team that put such a hurting on them boasted a stifling defense that brought down the hammer on the NFL’s most high-flying offense. It was a battle of number one vs number one, and defense won in a big way.
The Broncos’ executive vice president and general manager seemingly took note of that Seahawks defense because just two years later, they used a nasty, attacking defense to put a hurt on the Carolina Panthers. Super Bowl 50 was once again the battle of a top offense and a top defense and the result was the same. In football, as in life, you must always be adapting in order to survive. In just two years, John Elway transformed the entire identity of his franchise, from head coach down, in order to not only survive but thrive, and win the greatest prize in all of sports. Here’s how it went down….
Shoring up the Defense
Ward and Ware were two monster free agent pick ups.
After that crushing Super Bowl XLVIII defeat at the hands of the Seahawks defense, John Elway made it a point to fix the defense the following offseason. He added not one, but three, lynchpin type players to the Broncos defensive unit during free agency, in pass-rusher DeMarcus Ware, cornerback Aqib Talib, and safety TJ Ward. He also added first round cornerback Bradley Roby in the draft that year.
With an almost completely overhauled secondary and a potential hall of famer rushing opposing QBs along with a still improving but not-as-yet-godlike Von Miller, the Broncos had almost completely remade that part of their team. John Elway saw what the best teams in the league were doing in order to reach the next level and successfully emulated that. He should be given a ton of credit for the work he did in building that defense, but he wasn’t quite yet done with his overhaul of the team.
A New Coaching Regime
Gary Kubiak did it!
Following the Broncos 24-13 divisional round playoff loss to the Colts last year, John Elway and former head coach John Fox decided that it would be best for coach Fox and the Broncos to mutually part ways. Elway was clearly not pleased by another year without advancing past the divisional round (in three of four years in Denver they had lost in that round), and felt that he find someone else to take them over the top. What a ballsy move that was. John Fox had 46-18 record in his four seasons in Denver and had taken them to the playoffs every year, including a Super Bowl appearance! I, for one, thought that the move to fire John Fox was bat shit crazy, but I was wrong.
John Elway brought in his old pal from back in the day, Gary Kubiak. This was another move that left me scratching my head. I never really thought of Gary Kubiak as a bad coach, but I certainly didn’t see him as a Super Bowl winning head coach. He had a 61-64 regular season record and 2-2 playoff record in his previous NFL stint with the Texans, and never seemed to me to be someone who was able to get the most out of the talent on his team. I was wrong about that, my bad. With the help of new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips they turned this Denver Broncos team into a defensive powerhouse that took the pressure off of the offense and controlled games all season long.
A Change in Offensive Philosophy
By focusing on the run game, the Broncos minimized mistakes and let the defense take control.
It became clear in 2014 that the world would never get the Peyton Manning that they knew and loved back. The Peyton we were left with was a shadow of his former self. Years of injuries and normal wear and tear had left his arm strength severely inhibited, and that was not only obvious to opposing defenses but also to the untrained eyes of fans all over the world. In 2015 we watched Peyton Manning fall apart before us. He was still dealing with injuries as always but it was becoming obvious that he couldn’t play through it like a younger version of himself could. It was his worst statistical season since his rookie year and it seemed as though he was still trying to do too much with the limited physical abilities that years in the league had left him with.
In the third quarter of the Broncos week 10 loss the Chiefs, Manning was replaced by Brock Osweiler. He didn’t see the field again until he replaced Osweiler in the third quarter of the Broncos week 17 matchup. Peyton came in and led the team to a 27-20 victory against the Chargers, helping secure the top seed in the AFC playoffs. But this was not the same Peyton Manning. He had bought into the system and was no longer trying to do too much. By allowing the run game to become the focal point of the offense, Manning minimized the mistakes that had plagued him earlier in the season. As a result the defense became the standard bearer of the Broncos Super Bowl run and everything came together perfectly.
The Von Miller Effect
Every champion needs an x-factor and for the AFC Championship and Super Bowl the Broncos had Von Miller. Through those two games, he destroyed the opposition and was unblockable. Against New England and Carolina he racked up 11 tackles, 5 sacks, 2 pass defenses, an interception and 2 forced fumbles. The fumble he forced against Cam Newton in the Super Bowl was recovered for a touchdown and helped the Broncos grab momentum early on. He was the most versatile player on the field; he rushed the passer, played the run and covered tight ends and receivers in the pass game. There was no other player as deserving of winning the Super Bowl MVP Award and now the Broncos better pay him his due this offseason.
It only took the Broncos two years to return to the Super Bowl but when they did they were a totally different team. John Elway had a vision for the team he wanted to build and deserves a lot of credit, along with the player and coaches, for executing that vision and creating a champion.
Well damn, I was way off. I had the Carolina Panthers winning by 14 points in my picks but it was the Denver Broncos who came out two touchdowns ahead in Super Bowl 50. It wasn’t a barn burner but we got to see the best defenses in the league do their thing. Not one touchdown pass, but sacks, picks and turnovers became the new cheering points. It was actually kind of refreshing to watch old, bruising football, the traditional way. Here are some quick thoughts on the big game.
Cam Newton is still the man
There are a lot of haters out there and they pick apart everything the guy does. Cam didn’t have much to say to the press after the loss but I can understand. He was upset. He really wanted to win and he doesn’t want to answer a bunch of questions about it. Newton shook hands with other players after the game because he respects his opponents and that’s what I think is more important. This dude is a stud and he will be back in the Super Bowl soon and he will probably win it the next time. So don’t feel bad for him.
The Halftime Show
Some folks favorite part. Bruno Mars came in and rocked the place. That’s SBS writer Phred in the top right playing guitar. Yup, ScoreBoredSports reppin at the Super Bowl. I dig the outfits too. Can’t argue with black and gold. Then Beyonce arrived. Wow. B killed it. And she wore the hell out of that Michael Jackson looking number.
Oh yeah, Cold Play was there too. But let’s skip ahead to the second half action.
Peyton Manning gets his second ring
Peyton did just enough to help the team win. Mostly handing the ball to C.J. Anderson and throwing for a massive 141 yards. He did connect with Emmanuel Sanders six times for 83 critical yards. He now has as many rings as little brother Eli. And with that, balance is restored to the Manning household. Daddy Archie may even let Peyton carve the turkey this next Thanksgiving. All jokes aside, Peyton has had a great career. I’m sure the whole Manning squad will be enjoying this one for a long while. Free Papa Johns for everyone!
Von Miller and the defense
The MVP was all over the field and all over quarterback Cam Newton. His speed off the line is unstoppable. Miller made Brady’s life hell last game and he did the same thing here. There doesn’t seem to be a offensive tackle that can keep up. Von leads a brutal unit that has carried the Broncos all year. I was rooting for Carolina but it’s hard to be mad at guys like Miller and Ware. They really earned it. Hats off.
It was a good game, a we had an excellent party and I hope everyone enjoyed themselves. The only sad part is now football is over. But hey, only 79 days till the NFL Draft. April 28th can’t come soon enough.
The moment we have waited a year for is finally upon us. Today is Super Bowl 50, featuring the Caroline Panthers and Denver Broncos, and that means that we get to celebrate my favorite holiday. That’s right, I consider the Super Bowl my favorite holiday. Some people like Christmas, or Halloween or even Thanksgiving, but for me the Super Bowl has always been more fun and than all of those put together. You get food, excitement, surprises and sports, all in one commercially saturated, corporate sponsored package!
I’m especially excited for today’s game because of some of the great storylines we are going to get to see unfold before our eyes. First off, these are two of the top defenses in the league which means that this game should be a competitive one. The Panthers have annihilated the competition in these playoffs so far with stellar performances by their offense, defense and special teams. I have to believe that they are definitely the more well-rounded team, but one thing that the Broncos have on their side is that defensive line. They are straight up nasty and if Von Miller can explode off of the line like he did against the Patriots then I think he could have the single biggest impact of any player in the game.
Von Miller was all over Tom Brady in the AFC Championship Game.
Another great storyline of today’s Super Bowl 50 matchup is the battle of these two quarterbacks. The are both highly skilled players but they couldn’t come off any more different. On one side you have Cam Newton, who ended the regular season putting up some ridiculous stats and hasn’t slowed down in the playoffs. He was also awarded the NFL MVP Award yesterday, which really has to irk all those closet racists out there who call him a “thug” and a showoff for his celebrations and in-game swagger. That stuff really pisses me off because it’s kind of a double standard, especially when you consider that no one bats an eye at Aaron Rodgers’ dumb ass “discount double check” garbage, but all those people will have to eat crow if Cam pulls this one off.
Cam dab’d his was to Super Bowl 50.
Opposite the newly anointed MVP, is someone who represents the old guard in the NFL, future hall of famer, Peyton Manning. The former MVP, is a shadow of his former self these days, as he has lost considerable arm strength due to neck surgeries and injuries and was even benched for performance reasons earlier this season. It’s seem like during these playoffs has has really bought into coach Kubiak’s system though. He is no longer trying to play like his old self, but has accepted his limitations and because of that, the offense led by the running game has excelled. Although it is not yet official, it looks like this will be Peyton’s “last rodeo” and that makes him all the more dangerous, despite what his body has to say about it.
After the AFC Championship, Peyton Manning was overheard telling Bill Belichick that this might be his last rodeo.
This has the makings of an all time Super Bowl classic and these teams are about to put it all on the line as they battle each other in the biggest game in all of sports. So make sure you don’t blackout by halftime because this really is the best holiday and you don’t want to miss a second of it. Would you pass out before opening your presents on Christmas or before eating the turkey on Thanksgiving? Maybe if you were an idiot, but you’re not. So go get another plate of BBQ or a few more chicken wings and strap in, ‘cuz this year’s Super Bowl is about to be one wild ride.
Super Bowl 50 is nearly upon us. All I can see in my head is Ace Ventura whispering those magic words that the game is almost here. I love it all: the food, the commercials, the half time show. And sometimes the game is even fun. Not two years ago though. Seattle killed Denver from the first snap. That was one the most lopsided contests I’ve seen in a while. Well maybe the Panthers ripping the Cardinals in the NFC Championship was close a second. Never send a bird to do a cat’s job. Back to the main event. What time is it Ace?
We have the epic showdown of the Denver Broncos versus the Carolina Panthers. A clash of new and old. Cam Newton versus Peyton Manning. The Panthers look solid and seem poised to bring a trophy back to Charlotte. And I like how the Panthers decided to let South Carolina also have a NFL team by cutting the word “North” from their name. That was sweet of them to include their weird little brother. One the other side, we have Peyton. Most would say the greater Manning even if he has less rings than his weird little brother, Eli. That can all change February 7th, 2016.
Going into the the big game, we have a three way tie with in the picks with Ryan, Treasure and yours truly. To ensure we don’t end tied, we have each writer also guess the final score. If we are still even, then closest score without going over will be named champ. Standard Price is Right rules. I have the Panthers winning big. I think Cam and the boys will be able to run and that will open up chunk plays through the air or scrambling when the pocket breaks down. Denver’s defense looked great against a one dimensional Patriots offense but that won’t be the same case against Carolina. If I win the playoff picks, I promise to take my girlfriend out to a fancy dinner. Doesn’t that sound nice. Go me!
Here is ScoreBoredSports staff picks for the Super Bowl:
Wow, everyone has the Panthers winning. I didn’t see that coming. I hope they win so we don’t all look like fools. More importantly, I hope they win by 14 points. Also, no one tell Peyton. It might crush him to find out that no one at SBS thinks he can win even with that killer defense.
We are now looking forward to the Conference Championship and that’s only a stone’s throw from the biggest game around: Super Bowl. Many will fill their favorite bar or restaurant while others will watch in solitude in their living room, but the coolest of your friends will be going to parties on Super Sunday. Now, if you have a buddy that always hosts a party then great. Ask what you can bring and take your shoes off at the door. But if you are like me, you are throwing the shindig and that can get a little tricky. So here is a guide to having one kick-ass Super Bowl party.
The bigger the better. I’m not normally in favor of the giant screen but you need it for the big game. Ideally, you get a projector and take up a whole wall. You need some good speakers too. This sounds expensive so open a credit card, get your stuff then return it Monday morning.
Seating is just as important. Don’t get lazy here. Pre set chairs, couches, bean bags, etc with good eye lines. Don’t assume everyone will figure it out come kickoff. Don’t make the rows too tight, you need easy access to re-up on snacks, drinks or for a bathroom break.
You may have the urge to pick one thing and make a theme of it but in my experiences it’s the variety you want. So go ahead and get pizza. But also get wings, BBQ, grill burgers and dogs, make a big salad, get all the chips you can find, maybe something awesome to dip those chips in. Like chili or cheese or salsa or hummus or Nutella.
Don’t forget the dessert. This can just be store bought cookies, mini cupcakes, something. Bake some brownies the night before and cut them into tiny pieces. The smaller the portion, the less guilty people feel about eating them. Even if they have eight.
Remember, anyone not watching the game will be hovering around the food. So try and situate the grub so lots of hands can get access to it. Don’t put everything in your tiny kitchen. Or all on one counter. Get some folding tables and spread that stuff out. And don’t hide your trash can. It may not look the prettiest but you want to make it clear where refuse is supposed to go. Recycling too.
Lots of beer. Cold, American beer. Something cheap and easily consumed. Like Coors Light. No place for that fancy, microbrew shit. If you aren’t going to spring for the keg then do cans. You will have lots of empties and you don’t want to deal with all that glass. Also, other drinks should be made in plastic solo cups. No glass, no breaks, no blood. Leave a sharpie on the bar and everyone can personalize their cup.
As far as the bar goes, keep it simple. Get base liquors like Vodka, Whiskey, Rum. Gin if you’re British. And then a few mixers. Soda, Tonic, Coke, Sprite. Get more than you need cause you may have guests that don’t drink all together. One sober dude can kill a whole 2 liter. I’m not really a big fan of Red Bull but when you have it, people drink it and it makes you look legit. Your friends will be like “damn, he bought the 24 pack!”
Non-football related activities. A good SB party will have more than a few non-sports fans. And that’s okay. Hell, it’s needed. And you need to have stuff for them to do. I suggest beer games like Pong or something like Washers, Bags (AKA Cornhole), Darts. Make sure these games are far enough away that they don’t interfere with anyone’s viewing pleasure. Please be carful with those darts. It’s also fun to make a small pool and bet on the score of the game or other similar wagers.
A clean bathroom with a locking door. Well stocked with toilet paper. And either matches or air freshener. No one wants to poop at another person’s house. But sometimes it needs to happen. Don’t punish your guests for it. Maybe throw a fun magazine in there or a Calvin and Hobbes book.
Follow these rules and you will be hall of fame status with all your homies. If you are in the Los Angeles area on February 7th, 2016 then you can see these teachings in action at the first ever ScoreBoredSports Super Bowl Bash. Or SBS SBB for short. More details to follow but free food, open bar, games and jokes provided by me. Warning, jokes cannot be turned off. It will be a guaranteed blast. So please wear your team gear, bring a friend and see how the big kids do it. It’s Super Bowl 50. Get hype.
By now I can only assume that everyone else outside of New England is as tired as I am of seeing the Patriots win. It’s like, c’mon guys we get it, you’re the great dynasty of our generation and have arguably the best quarterback in the history of the game, but why don’t you give someone else a chance to win for once? We all know that won’t happen because Brady and Belichick are Sith Lords, and Sith Lords aren’t accustomed to ceding power to the forces of good.
In all seriousness, this team is ridiculous on just about every level. The reigning Super Bowl Champions beat the Kansas City Chiefs yesterday in a game that was not as close as the final 27-20 score indicated, and advanced to their fifth straight AFC Championship Game. That’s right, five straight. That ties the record for consecutive conference championship appearances. And if they can beat the Broncos or Steelers next week, which seems highly likely if you ask me, then they will go to their seventh Super Bowl in the last fourteen years.
The Chiefs were outplayed and overmatched on Saturday
That’s just gross. Give it a rest guys. There are plenty of other teams out there who have never won a NFL Championship. Why not let someone else in on the fun? Winning is fun right? I wouldn’t know, I’m a Lions fan. It looks like a lot of fun when you do it. EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR.
Maybe even let the Browns win something for once. They might be the one other franchise that is as maligned as my beloved Lions. Like us, they’ve never won the big game, or even been to it for that matter. Both the franchises have been around since before the Super Bowl even existed and somehow have never gone to one. How is that even possible? The only other teams that haven’t been to Super Bowl are the Houston Texans and the Jacksonville Jaguars, and those franchises have only been around for 39 years combined. The Browns and Lions? They have brought shame to their fans for a combined 156 years. Sure they won some championships back in the pre-Super Bowl, caveman era of pro football but that doesn’t matter anymore. Come February 8th, 50 Super Bowls will have gone by without the Lions or Browns making an appearance.
How many championship trophies does one man need?
So I beg you, New England Patriots, please just let someone else win for once. I know it’s hard when you have a sick defense, a living god at the QB position, a human touchdown machine at tight end and the best coaching in the NFL, but aren’t you tired of winning yet? It’s got to be getting a little old. So if you can find it in your cold, dead, New England hearts to share the wealth a little bit, the rest of the football loving world would really appreciate it. Until then I’ll just sit here in my den of shame and be happy that the Packers lost.
Do you hate your fans? Build a dome. The sun/cold can straight up ruin a game. Tickets, parking, concession, all that ain’t cheap. You’re killing me already. So it’s $200 dollars to sit in discomfort for 3 hours? Are you trying to make me go to Buffalo Wild Wings? Owners, if you are drawing plans for a new home then think of us, the fans. You say you love us, if that’s true then put a roof on it.
I appreciate the old gridiron nonsense of yesteryear but this is a new game. It’s built for speed and scoring. The rules committee saw to that. So we all need to adjust. And that includes the majority shareholders. There are some great outdoor stadiums and I’m not saying to tear them down, but if we have a chance to create a new one then I think we really have to consider the experience we are providing. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the Super Bowl is normally held somewhere warm or at an arena with a dome. The league knows they don’t want to punish the people who can afford a ticket for the big game. I mean would you pay $5,000 to sit outside at Lambeau in February? The only outdoor/cold Super Bowl host I can think of was in 2014 at the new (at the time) Giants/Jets’ home (in New Jersey) MetLife Stadium.
Minnesota is building a new dome and they will host the 2018 Super Bowl
Climate change is real. I know that might me hard to hear (or read) but it is the truth. The winters are going to be worse. And that’s when we have our playoffs, so we need to head indoors. Build a real roof and let’s climate control our Sundays. I know some fans will read this and say “I tough it out for my team” and I love that spirit but we know fans are crazy and will do insane things for the team. I’m just saying it shouldn’t have to be something we “tough out,” not anymore. Not in the billion dollar NFL era. Stadiums have fancy foods, craft beers on tap, huge HD jumbotrons and outrageous StubHub prices. None of that pairs well with thermal underwear and two sets of gloves, so you don’t get frostbite.
Looking around the NFL, the divisions that all have outdoor facilities are the AFC North (Baltimore, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh) the AFC East (Buffalo, Miami, New York Jets, New England) and the AFC West (Denver, Kansas City, Oakland, San Diego) while the NFC divisions all have at least one indoor arena. The Arizona Cardinals have a very cool home at the University of Phoenix Stadium because the roof is retractable and has a roll-in natural grass playing surface. This is the modern engineering we need. The folks in the desert know that their weather is mostly great but they wanted the flexibility to shut the roof and crank the AC. Hats off to that. And lord knows we need it, fellow SBS staffer Michael got heat stroke outside tailgating once and would have died if not for the cool, indoor conditions.
Pull up to the scene with my ceiling missing
We’ve had some great times in some cold ass games, the Brady “tuck rule” versus Oakland in the snow or famous “Ice Bowl” AKA the 1967 NFL Championship game where Lombardi’s Packers edged the Cowboys in -15 degree temperatures. But it’s time to warm up to the new reality. The game is becoming a premium viewing experience and dealing with weather is for farmers. I’m proud to say the Lions have always rocked a dome (Ford Field, Pontiac Silverdome) in my lifetime. It’s the one thing that the organization has done right. Now we just need some cheerleaders and then maybe we can win a playoff game, but that’s another topic altogether.
So NFL owners, please hear my totally original words: if you build it, they will come. And you can charge more and they will pay.