Kicking off with thoughts on Super Bowl 48:
I don’t know if the record-setting Denver Broncos have the NFL’s all-time greatest offense, but I believe they have the all-time best passing offense under the current rules favoring the pass receivers over the defensive backs.
The Broncos obviously had the NFL’s best offense this season and the Seahawks obviously had the best defense. The old bromides – a great defense beats a great offense , and offense sells tickets but defense wins championships – don’t apply here. Because this is not a level playing field. The NFL wants more offense because most fans prefer shootouts over defensive duels and points drive TV . The more the merrier.
It was good to hear all the comparisons of the Denver Broncos-Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl 48 matchup to the Buffalo Bills (NFL’s top offense) vs. the New York Giants (NFL’s top defense) in Super Bowl 25. Those Bills deserved some love – 23 years after Scott Norwood’s wide-right missed field goal.
ESPN’s Bill Polian, GM of those Bills, this week dropped a piece of information that I’d never heard – Buffalo burned its last timeout in Super Bowl 25 when someone on the sidelines yelled “TIMEOUT” and QB Jim Kelly immediately complied. Polian didn’t reveal who it was, but said the culprit was not a coach. Using that timeout cost the Bills an opportunity to run another play before Norwood’s FG try. Polian said the Bills probably would’ve gained enough yards on that phantom play to put the ball in Norwood’s normal near-automatic range. Polian said Norwood from 47 yards was far from a sure thing.
The way I figure it, Denver would score a minimum of 30 points against Seattle in decent weather on a neutral field and the Seahawks aren’t likely to score more than 24 points against the Broncos on any sort of field in any kind of weather. My pick: Denver 35, Seattle 24.
If the Broncos win, quarterback Peyton Manning likely will be chosen game MVP and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he broke Kurt Warner’s record for yards passing in a Super Bowl (414 yards for St. Louis vs. Tennessee in Super Bowl; XXXIV).
Seattle’s Richard Sherman enters Sunday’s game as the most-watched defensive back in Super Bowl history. He welcomes the attention and he’ll have it. If the Seahawks win and the defensive unit is the difference, don’t be shocked if Sherman becomes the second cornerback to be Super Bowl MVP (joining Larry Brown of Dallas in Super Bowl XXX).
TWO HOT NAMES FOR BUFFALO’S NO. 9 OVERALL DRAFT PICK
Two names have surfaced as possible No. 9 picks of the Buffalo Bills in the 2014 NFL college draft: Auburn offensive tackle Greg Robinson and North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron.
Robinson would bolster the pass protection for EJ Manuel. Ebron would give Manuel a receiving threat in the middle of the field. Both would be immediate starters and upgrades at their positions.
TWO –BEST FRESHMEN IN THE SPORTLIGHT FOR SU VS. DUKE
The coaching showdown between Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski vs. Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim has grabbed most of the attention entering Saturday evening’s Blue Devils at Orange game, but Jabari Parker vs. Tyler Ennis also is intriguing.
One prominent college basketball analyst (Jeff Goodman of ESPN) this week rated Ennis the best freshman player in the nation and Parker No. 2. Jeff Borzello of CBSsports.com had them 1-2 in reverse order.
If one of those two players significantly outplays the other, his team likely will win.
Major League Baseball pitchers aren’t likely to use padded caps for protecting against being skulled by line drives until they look better than the model approved this week. Safety is good but the cap has to look good, too.
Keith Law of ESPN.Insider this week ranked Major League Baseball’s 30 farm systems. Minnesota was No. 2, behind only Houston (five straight No. 1 overall picks because the team has been so terrible): “The Twins have more high-end talent – I’m referring to players who have both high ceilings and also have a reasonable probability of getting close to those ceilings – than any other organization right now.”...Minnesota prospects on his Top 100 list: No. 1 CF Byron Buxton, No. 8 3B Miguel Sano, No. 49 CF/2B Eddie Rosario, No. 62 P Alex Meyer, No. 76 P Kohl Stewart. All but Stewart could be Red Wings this summer.
Andrew Albers this week was given his outright release by the Minnesota Twins so he could sign to play in South Korea this season. Albers, 28, was a huge surprise for Rochester last season. He was 11-5 with a 2.86 ERA before being promoted to Minnesota, where he was 2-5 with a 4.05 ERA in 10 starts.
Slugging third-base prospect Miguel Sano, a probable Red Wing at some time during the 2014 season, is the cover subject for Baseball’s America’s 2014 Prospect Handbook.
Here’s hoping Andre Reed finally is elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Saturday. It will be tough because 2 of the other 124 finalists also are wide receivers – Tim Brown and Marvin Harrison, and they have even better stats.
New York state will supply 25 athletes to the U.S. Winter and Paralympic Games, including Rochester’s Ryan Callahan, captain of the New York Rangers. Callahan is a potential free agent after this season and there is speculation that the Buffalo Sabres could be interested. I don’t blame them.
Long-time kicker Morten Andersen also is a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He’s the all-time leaders in points and games. He this week touted himself and punter Ray Guy for Canton, suggesting that kickers have been neglected in the voting. I believe Steve Tasker would be more-deserving than any kicker, representing all non-kicking special teams stars. Tasker is not a finalist this time around.
Warren Harper, a popular and productive forward for the Rochester Americans from 1983 through 1987, has died at age 50 after a long battle with brain cancer. In 297 games with the Amerks, he had 85 goals and 119 assists.
I apologize to the Buffalo 716ers of the Premier Basketball League for mocking their name. The new HarborCenter restaurant in Buffalo will be called “716.” I didn’t think it was that big a deal when it was Rochester’s area code. It’s obviously a much bigger deal in Buffalo.
There currently are four former Syracuse Orange players in the NBA: Carmelo Anthony (Knicks), Dion Waiters (Cleveland), Wesley Johnson (Los Angeles Lakers) and Michael Carter-Williams (Philadelphia). Scoop Jardine (Tulsa), James Sutherland (Los Angeles) and Arinze Onuaku (Canton) are in the NBA-D League. Several SU products are playing overseas, i8ncluding Donte’ Greene (China), Kris Joseph (France) Andy Rautins (Germany) and Brandon Triche (Italy). I have no idea where Fab Melo is.
Dan Marino this week said he would’ve thrown for 6,000 yards in a season in today’s NFL. Maybe. But he probably still wouldn’t win a Super Bowl if his team drafted only pass-protecting offensive linemen and neglected a running attack.
How about a REAL casino for Medley Centre? Finger Lakes and Batavia Downs are NOT casinos, they are slot machine emporiums. I believe a genuine casino in Greater Rochester would outdraw Finger Lakes and Batavia Downs combined, employ more people, pay more taxes and might even include a privately-financed performing arts center.