Saturday, January 31, 2015

The FGR Super Bowl Preview

I can't say that I am overly enthusiastic about previewing a game between two of the least likeable teams in real and fictional sports history. If you were sending-out invitations to the Tournament of the Hated, the Patriots would definitely be on the "A" List along with the 1980 Soviet hockey team, the prison guards from the The Longest Yard (the original version), Christian Laettner's Duke Blue Devils, the German national soccer team in Victory and every Yankees and Red Sox team ever. The Seahawks don't warrant quite that level of detest but they certainly belong on the "B" List with teams like the mid 80's Celtics (I'm detecting a theme), the Italian cycling team from Breaking Away and any team coached by Nick Saban or Urban Meyer.

"Put Belichik on it. He's a
sneaky little shit just like you."
Alas, it's the Super Bowl so we have to give it its due. As we proceed with the analysis, we're going to assume that the cheating on both sides will cancel-out so we'll have a "fair" game kind of like your typical big city mayoral election where everyone is so shady that the overall playing field ends-up being somewhat level. (Also see anything involving the United States Olympic Committee).* On the other hand, don't count-out Bill Belichick a/k/a the Douglas C. Neidermeyer of the NFL as he may still have a few tricks up his sleeve.   

Let's see if we can tease-out a few factors in this game that have nothing to do with (a) how we expect certain players to perform or (b) the X's and O's because we really have no way of predicting (a) and I know next to nothing about (b). The Patriots have the edge at quarterback and coaching while the Seahawks have a better running game and defense but no one really knows if those edges will hold on Sunday and how much weight to give each one. However, here are a few things we do know:

(1) The majority of the current Seahawks just dominated the last Super Bowl proving that the moment was not too big for any of them. Meanwhile, the Patriots haven't been here since 2012 which doesn't seem that long ago until you consider that their leading rusher in that game was BenJarvus Green-Ellis and their leading receivers were Aaron Hernandez, Danny Woodhead and Deion Branch. Besides sharing the fact that all of those Patriots either played with or are an alleged murderer, they also share the fact that they are no longer Patriots. In all, the Patriots only return seven offensive and defensive starters from the team that played Giants in 2012. The Seahawks will start fifteen of the twenty-two players who won last year.

(2) Since they began playing the Super Bowl back in 1967, eleven teams have won it and then made it back the next year and those teams are 8-3 in their second trip which makes sense because (a) they had to be pretty damn good to win it the first time and (b) they are still basically intact from a roster standpoint (like this year's Seahawks).

At least we have the new 
Carl's Jr. ad to look forward to.
(3) The top ranked regular season scoring defense has played in the Super Bowl sixteen times since the merger and has won thirteen of them including Seattle (2014), Pittsburgh (2009), New England (2004), Tampa Bay (2003), Baltimore (2001), Green Bay (1997), N.Y. Giants (1991), Chicago (1986), San Francisco (1985), Washington (1983), Pittsburgh (1979), Miami (1974) and Miami again (1973). The three losers were Pittsburgh (2011) (to Aaron Rodgers) Denver (1990) (to Joe Montana) and Philadelphia (1981) (Jaws and the Eagles offense laid a major egg with 10 points).

So what we know is that defending champions are 8-3 and top ranked defenses are 13-3 in the Super Bowl. The Seahawks are both of those things and essentially this same defense throttled the highest scoring team in the history of the NFL last year. I kind of feel like Tom Hanks in Big because "I don't get it." Sure the Patriots are a solid team and Tom Brady will deservedly go down as one of the best quarterbacks ever but do we really think he's going to carve-up the Seahawks with that one dimensional passing game? I've heard Steve Young say on multiple occasions that the Seahawks defense just lines-up in front of you and says "try to beat us" because they have the personnel to do it. Sounds to me like a nightmare match-up for an offense that struggles to run the ball and relies on trickeration to get people open. It will give me no satisfaction to see Pete Carroll hoist another Lombardi Trophy but . . . . 

Seahawks - 27 . . . Patriots - 17.       


* Hey look which city was just selected by the USOC for its 2014 Olympic bid . . . BOSTON!!! Apparently the bribes weren't deflated. HEYOOOOOO!!!!!  

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