Super Bowl LI


Today is bittersweet for the NFL. Even though this is the biggest game of the year, this is also the last game of the NFL season until the summer time. I do enjoy other sports that are active during the NFL offseason, but not having Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Football, and even fantasy football leaves an unreplaceable void. With that being said, let’s hope this game ends with a bang.

At 39 years old, Tom Brady is making his 7th trip to the Super Bowl. The New England Patriots have looked dominant the whole season, even with Brady being suspended the first 4 games of the regular season due to “Deflate-gate”. Even though New England has been without their superstar tight end Ron Gronkowski since November 13th, the additions of Chris Hogan, Martellus Bennett, and Michael Floyd have given the offense more depth. Already having Julian Edelman, LeGarrette Blount, Danny Amendola, and Dion Lewis, the New England Patriots have never lost a step.

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This season’s league MVP, Matt Ryan, has led his team to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1999. Ryan is the ringleader to this high-power offense, who was the highest scoring team in the NFL (33.8 points per game) 2nd in the NFL in total offense. Center Alex Mack has been the unsung hero of this offense. Atlanta arguably has the best 1-2 punch at running back with Devonta Freeman and Tevon Coleman. Atlanta finished top 5 in the NFL in rushing this season. The Atlanta Falcons have improved their wide receiver core by adding speedster Taylor Gabriel and possession receiver Mohamed Sanu. I forgot to mention that Atlanta already has arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL with Julio Jones.

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It’s kind of hard to bet against New England. They have had consistency at the coaching and quarterback positions between Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Also, those 2 individuals had plenty of experience in the Super Bowl. Their offense is good because of their versatility. Their defense has played well at times, but it’s not as consistent as their last Super Bowl appearance 2 years ago. I wouldn’t be surprised if New England wins today for these reasons alone. However, I believe Atlanta’s offense will be a problem. Once this offense gets rolling, it’s almost impossible to stop it (I think of it like a snowball running downhill). New England has never scored a touchdown in the first quarter of any Super Bowl. This will probably be the toughest offense New England has ever seen in the biggest game. As good as Malcolm Butler is, I don’t think he can stop Julio Jones by himself (if he is to cover him). Atlanta’s defense has stepped up in the playoffs, getting consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks. I’m officially going with the “underdog” tonight. I have the Atlanta Falcons defeating the New England Patriots 27-21.

JGOOD

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Hall Of Fame Debate: Michael Vick


Growing up, there were only a few NFL players that really caught my attention because of their impact on the game. Deion Sanders is my favorite cornerback to ever lace ’em up. Randy Moss is my favorite wide receiver to step foot on the gridiron. My love for the quarterback position started with Steve Young and Brett Farve. All of them have inspired me and are now in the Pro Football Hall of Fame (except Randy Moss).

Since the dawn of time, quarterbacks have been known to stay in the pocket and deliver the ball to their targets. Until the impact of Warren Moon, the quarterback position has been predominately caucasian. Over the last 25 years, we’ve seen more diversity at the quarterback position. Also in that course of time, we have witnessed the evolution of dual-threat quarterbacks. We went from a few like Randall Cunningham, Donovan McNabb, and Dante Culpepper to the likes of Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, Colin Kaepernick, Dak Prescott, Alex Smith, Tyrod Taylor, and more.

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The pivotal reason for the surge of dual-threat quarterbacks in the NFL today was the emergence of Michael Vick in 2001. The former Virgina Tech star was the most electrifying quarterback in the history of the NFL. The number one overall pick, who ran a 4.25 40-yard dash time at the NFL Draft Combine, was embarrassing opposing defenses with his legs with his speed, agility, acceleration, and elusive juke moves. Also, he is the greatest video game athlete of all-time (if you played Madden 2004, you know what I’m talking about).

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Michael Vick finished his career with 21,503 passing yards, 131 passing TDs, 6,109 rushing yards (most ever for a quarterback), 36 rushing touchdowns, and went to 4 Pro Bowls. The Atlanta Falcons lead the league in rushing from 2004-2006, spearheaded by Vick, Warrick Dunn, and T.J. Duckett. Michael Vick had his best success as an overall quarterback under Andy Reid with the Philadelphia Eagles, especially in 2010 (3,018 passing yards, 21 passing TDs, 6 INT, 676 rushing yards, 9 rushing TDs). Also, he had the greatest performance of his career that season in December against the New York Giants.

I’m not going to get into the dog fighting allegations again because it’s irrelevant at the moment (CLICK HERE to check it out), and he has had injuries that have derailed some of his progress as a player. However, I believe he deserves to be in the Hall Of Fame. His statistics as a quarterback are probably not Hall Of Fame worthy, but his impact and legacy, to me, are enough credentials to get him in. Do you think Michael Vick should get in?

JGOOD