Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Biggest X-Factor of Them All

First of all, if you haven't already done so, do me a favor and check out's ranking of all 80 Super Bowl teams. Not only is it fun from a nostalgia standpoint, but it also forced me to let Rex Grossman off the hook. That's right, Sexy, I'm man enough to admit it: No matter what happens in Miami, you're not likely to go down as the worst quarterback in Super Bowl history. Vince Ferragamo? David Woodley? Tony Eason? What in Pete Sampras is going on here? How on earth did those guys lead their respective teams to the title game?

20 Years Ago, the Bears Made Sure Rex Would Never be the Worst Super Bowl QB

A lot of it comes down to luck, my friends, which is something to keep in mind when you're placing a friendly wager on XLI. Look, there's a reason the prediction game is a 50/50 proposition (And, no, I'm not trying to make excuses for my only-slightly-above-average picks so far) and it has a lot less to do with parity than you might think. There's just no way to account for funny bounces and twists of fate; you know, those half-dozen plays which occur every contest that can swing the game either way.

To wit, take a look at the Colts' path to this year's Super Bowl. Before the playoffs even started, they received a HUGE break (in my opinion). In the fourth quarter of a tight game, Vince Young and the Titans suffered a complete collapse against the Patriots, ultimately costing Tennessee the AFC's final playoff bid and a first round match-up against Indy. Keep in mind, the Titans had played Indianapolis very tough in both regular season meetings, splitting the series one game apiece. Now sure, it's a stretch to assume the Titans would have gone into the RCA Dome and emerged victorious, but I guarantee they would have given the Colts a better game than Kansas City. And, of course, Indy was the beneficiary of multiple breaks in their games against Baltimore (Ray Lewis's deflections, anyone?) and New England (what if Troy Brown runs to the right spot, makes the catch and gives the Pats a clinching first down?).

Look, I'm not trying to rain on Indy's parade. You can play the "Ifs and buts" game with nearly every Super Bowl winner. The fact is, Indy and Chicago earned their shots and are deserving title game representatives. Just remember two things about the way luck effects this game (and the entire sports universe): 1.) The luck element means the best team doesn't always win. 2.) Luck's looming shadow means players, coaches and fans always need to appreciate the opportunity in front of them. Because no matter how stacked your team might be, you never know when they'll get this chance again. There are just too many things that can go wrong, especially in a league as brutal as the NFL.

Looks Like Someone Just Got Dumped by Lady Luck

Finally, it's time to introduce a special segment I'll creatively call the "Super Bowl Question of the Day". In truth, this idea was presented to me by my buddy, K-Knight, so I can't even take credit for the concept. Anyway, if you have any interesting football thoughts, questions or concerns, feel free to toss them my way. As the title suggests, I'd like to hit one every day until XLI arrives. By the way, I know I keep promising this, but I promise I'll get to basketball season soon. Anyway, on to today's question:

How would you rank the 4 RB's in the Superbowl?

Here's how I have them:
1. Thomas Jones
2. Joseph Addai
3. Cedric Benson
4. Dominic Rhodes

TJ, to me, is just a very solid all-around back. Addai and Benson are very close, but I'm giving the nod to the Colts' RB because he has an edge in versatility and also happens to be playing in the perfect system for him. Benson has the biggest upside of the three, but I can't rank him ahead of Addai right now. I do think he can be an excellent sledge-hammer back capable of some big seasons, but I need to see it first and I still have questions about his attitude. I know similar things were once said about Larry Johnson, but LJ had (and still has) more top-end, breakaway speed than Benson ever will. Rhodes is just a nice back-up. That's it.

No comments: