Thinking Out Loud: 3 Thoughts on Super Bowl 50

Writers spewed reactions immediately after Super Bowl 50, but I let things stew a bit. The outcome didn’t surprise me, so I didn’t have much to sort out. I also don’t care for sensationalized stories, so forgive me for taking time to jot down a few post-game thoughts.

  1. Peyton’s Place

manning

 

Peyton Manning played terribly. He reminded me of Joe Namath, the only time I saw Namath play. Namath went into a Monday Night game for the Rams, and looked like Great-Grandpa among boys. I had read all these stories \and thought, “THAT’S Joe Namath? The legendary Joe Namath?”

I texted a friend late in Super Bowl 50 and said, “Manning looks 100 years old.” My friend responded, “He looks like he’s aged 30 years since the first quarter.”

The Broncos won despite Manning’s limitations, and Peyton continued the long-standing tradition of a small group of quarterbacks hogging Super Bowl rings. Here’s the important insight: Manning was more important in that victory than most will recognize. Manning’s a great leader, and leadership doesn’t show up in the box score. Denver knew they could win with Peyton. You can’t overstate the importance of confidence in championship games.

The defense knew they could win with Peyton quarterbacking. That confidence erased questions during preparation (Do we have a chance? Do we have to play a mistake-free game?), and helped them overcome penalties and other mistakes during the game. When players don’t feel as though all the pressure is on them, players tend to play better and recover from mistakes quicker. We’ll get to the flip side of that coin in a second.

Neither quarterback played well. Manning, however, didn’t multiply his mistakes. The team believed in his leadership, even though he didn’t perform well. Like great major league pitchers, he learned to win without his best stuff.

 

 

2. Cam Now and Later

Cam

 

Many deem Cam Newton’s performance a failure. In truth, he couldn’t be expected to perform much better. His team completely relied on him and him alone to carry them to a Super Bowl win. Like I stated in the prediction, Ted Ginn Jr. wasn’t going to do it. Jonathan Stewart wasn’t going to do it.

Cam isn’t the leader Peyton is. When things went wrong, Cam let it go to his head. Mistakes multiplied. Desire and mental focus waned. His immaturity and lack of experience stood out like a farmer at a disco.

I don’t mean to criticize Cam Newton. Cam’s an amazing player. When I say he’s immature, I mean his composure isn’t more than what one could expect of a 26 year-old quarterback starting his first Super Bowl, his team’s chances solely riding on his abilities to make big plays. He cracked under the pressure.

You look, however, at how he’s committed himself in the past few years, the work and dedication he’s put in. I expect him to examine this Super Bowl, and let the pain drive him to improve his leadership and composure. That’s when you can truly judge his performance in SB 50.

The entire world, including Cam himself, knows he has the talent to win championships. Now, he needs to learn beyond making big plays in the playoffs, to winning those games even when he’s not playing well. He also needs to learn to overcome adversity in championship games.

Who else needed to learn leadership and how to win championships? LeBron James. LeBron really worked on those championship-level talents that go beyond athletic skills after the Heat lost in their first championship appearance. Cam needs better players around him to win at that level, but I expect him to follow James’ work ethic to improve. And if Cam improves his leadership, that will make everybody around him better, maybe taking some pressure off Cam to make all the plays. If this happens, Cam’s career arc could mimic LeBron’s.

3. CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME ROUTS

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I thought about the Panthers crushing the Cardinals. Then I remembered the 1990 Bills trouncing the Raiders and the 2000 Giants burying Minnesota. All three of those teams lost the Super Bowl.

The Panthers won by 34. I decided to look at teams that won conference championships by at least 28 points. Of the 6 NFC teams that won by at least 4 touchdowns, the 1991 Washington Redskins were the only one to win the Super Bowl. Two of four AFC teams won the Super Bowl after thrashing their conference championship opponent by at least 28 — the 1978 Steelers and 2014 Patriots. In the Steelers case, however, the Cowboys had won their game over the Rams 28-0 while the Steelers pounded the Oilers 34-5. So, if you take Super Bowl 13 out of the equation, the AFC is 1-2.

Overall, teams are 3-7 after winning a conference championship by at least 28. Remove 1978 from the picture, and we’re looking at 2-6. Next time the media fawns over a conference champion who wins 49-15, remind yourself that other than in 1978, when both teams won by 4 TDs, the only teams in history to win the Super Bowl after winning the conference championship by at least 28 points are the 2014 New England Patriots and the 1991 Washington Redskins.

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NOTE: NFC TEAMS ARE 5-9 IN THE SUPER BOWL AFTER WINNING NFC CHAMPIONSHIP BY AT LEAST 20; AFC TEAMS ARE 3-4. IN 1972 AND 1978, BOTH TEAMS WON BY AT LEAST 20. SUBTRACT THOSE AND NFC IS 5-7, AFC 1-4. THE ONLY AFC TEAM TO WIN THE SUPER BOWL AFTER WINNING THE CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP BY 20 WHEN BOTH TEAMS DIDN’T ACCOMPLISH THAT IS THE 2014 NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS. THE 5 NFC TEAMS ARE THE 1984, 1988, AND 1989 SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS, THE 1985 CHICAGO BEARS, AND THE 1991 WASHINGTON REDSKINS.

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Thinking Out Loud: Super Bowl 50 Prediction

Super Bowl 50 presents a compelling matchup. Many people pick the Vegas-favored Carolina Panthers to win. Here are my two cents. Below are the factors I believe will most likely determine the outcome.

BRONCOS PASS RUSH VS CAM 

Denver’s pass rush did an outstanding job against Tom Brady. Will it be as effective against Cam Newton? Newton’s athleticism extends plays and provokes defensive nightmares. Will he be as effective against Denver?

When writing The Game before the Money, I asked Hall of Fame defensive end Jack Youngblood what he found effective against Roger Staubach. Jack said the key to limiting Roger was maintaining pass rush lane integrity.

The Broncos did that while rushing Brady, collapsing the pocket around him rather than forcing him to the outside. Von Miller or another linebacker would then be waiting around the line of scrimmage in the middle of the field, forcing Brady to hurry. A similar strategy could contain and frustrate Cam. If the Broncos do this, I think they’ll win.

For contrast, think of the Packers not staying in their rush lanes against San Francisco a couple of years ago in the Divisional Playoff. Colin Kaepernick ran all over the field. If Denver tries to over pressure Cam, forcing him outside of the pocket, I think Cam will have an outstanding day and make several big plays running.

Cam

THE BYE WEEK EFFECT

The Panthers offensive rolled like the Southern Railway through the NFC playoffs. What could slow them down? Perhaps a week off. That’s a week off featuring the heavy distractions Super Bowl week brings. Couple that with the Panthers post-bye week history under Ron Rivera, and that may spell T-R-O-U-B-L-E. Before this year, the Panthers were 0-5 coming off bye weeks under Rivera, and were outscored 125-46. That includes getting dumped by the 49ers in the 2013 playoffs.

Carolina seemed to vex that monkey by narrowly defeating Seattle both after their regular-season and post-season byes in 2015. The Panthers came from behind to win after a slow start in the regular season game, and almost came from ahead to lose after a dominating start in the playoffs.

If Carolina wins SB 50, I’ll be impressed enough to say the bye week doesn’t matter as much to them anymore. Until then, I find it a factor.

ONE MAN GANG

Football is the most team-driven sport of the major four, because you need all 11 people on the same page every play. Everybody needs to contribute. The Panthers are 90% Cam Newton on offense. He needs to play an exceptional game for them to win. Johnathon Stewart, Fozzy Whittiaker, and Ted Ginn Jr. are highly unlikely to carry the team on their shoulders should Cam be less than spectacular. In professional sports, rarely does a one-man gang win a championship. Indeed, I can’t think of a Super Bowl champion that fits that category. The only two championships that might fit that category would be the 1964 Browns with Jim Brown and back to the Sammy Baugh days in Washington. In the Browns case, Jim Brown didn’t have that great of a championship day, it was Frank Ryan‘s three touchdown passes to Gary Collins that did in the heavily-favored Colts.

Now, anything’s possible and there’s a first time for everything. Historically, Super Bowl 50 would be an exception to the one-man gang rule should the Panthers win. Really, it would be an exception in all major sports, as Kobe never did as well without Shaq, Lebron needed Wade and Bosh to win, and Oliver Kahn got Germany to the World Cup final, but couldn’t take home the hardware alone.

Worst case scenario leaves the Panthers similar to the John Elway 1980s Broncos. You might say Carolina has a much better defense, but remember those Broncos had Karl Mecklenburg, arguably the best linebacker not named Lawrence Taylor in the mid-80s, along with an exceptional pass rush. Best case scenario has Cam playing his best, Ginn catching the ball when open (instead of letting it fall to the ground), and the Panthers somehow get a solid running game together. Bottom line, more things need to go exactly right for the Panthers than they do for the Broncos. I don’t want to forget Greg Olsen, but the Panthers need gamebreakers.

SUMMARY AND PREDICTION

manning

As we’ve stated before, for whatever reason most Super Bowls are won by quarterbacks with multiple Super Bowl wins. Peyton Manning would win his second Super Bowl, continuing the trend. Of course, Cam could win multiple championships in his career, but I think this aspect favors Denver.

Both teams have great defenses, but the Broncos have more experience in low scoring games like their playoff win against Pittsburgh. My hunch is this could be one of those type games. That also favors the Broncos.

Although Carolina has an explosive offense, they haven’t faced a defense like the Broncos. You might remember when Green Bay visited Denver this year. A blowout in the Broncos favor. I believe a similar game is possible. Not necessarily likely, but possible.

Therefore, I highly expect Denver to win. If Carolina manages to commit fewer than two turnovers, then I think they have a chance, especially if Denver gets loose with the ball. And we all know how Peyton Manning can turn the ball over in crucial situations in big games. If it’s close near the end, there’s a good chance Manning would throw a game-losing interception.

However, I expect Carolina to make at least two turnovers, and the Broncos won’t have to rely on Manning avoiding a terrible late-game decision. Most likely one of the teams will turn the ball over early, and I expect that to be Carolina.

Unless the Broncos give Carolina extra scoring chances with mistakes, I’m picking the Broncos.

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Best I Remember: Super Bowl Moments

As always, I’ll preface this segment by saying these are the best I personally remember as I type this column. I might be forgetting the obvious. Also, I’m too young to remember the Dolphins back-to-back wins and remember only part of the Steeler dynasty — SBs 13 and 14.

That said, I have watched 39 Super Bowls, starting with Super Bowl 11. My most vivid memory of that game was Raider defensive backs Jack Tatum and Skip Thomas hitting Vikings receiver Sammy White so hard that White’s helmet flew 10 yards downfield. Most impressive was that White held on to the ball. I don’t remember Willie Brown’s interception return (forgive me, I was 6 years old), otherwise that might have made this list.

As always, I won’t base this list on “That’s my favorite play because my team scored” kind of memories, but you sure can in the comments section! Let’s get to it!

The Top 10

10. Super Bowl 36Adam Vinatieri‘s winning field goal. The Rams came into the game heavy favorites to collect their second straight title. The Patriots led 17-3 after three quarters, a Ty Law interception return for a score being a huge early turning point. The Rams scorching offense tied the score with 1:37 to go in the game, putting the pressure on Tom Brady to deliver. His 5 completions set up a 48-yard field goal attempt, which Vinatieri nailed. I’m too young to remember Jim O’Brien‘s winning FG in Super Bowl 5, but I certainly remember Scott Norwood‘s miss in Super Bowl 25. Vinatieri’s kick was a yard longer than Norwood’s attempt, but AV had the advantage of kicking in the Superdome, without wind gusts to push the ball wide. Still a very exciting moment, as we all wondered if Super Bowl 36 would be the first to enter into overtime.

VINATIERI

9. Super Bowl 31Desmond Howard’s kickoff return. The Packers seemed like a team of destiny. Reggie White, the spiritual leader, and a then youngster from Mississippi name Brett Favre led the Green and Gold back to their glory days, putting together both the top offense and defense under a coaching staff that included a ridiculous amount of future head coaches. But it was Desmond Howard’s kickoff return that everyone remembers from that game, coming at a point when it looked like the Drew Bledsoe led Patriots might have a chance. Howard slammed the door shut and won MVP honors.

SUPER BOWL XXXI GREEN BAY 35, NEW ENGLAND 21 Jan. 26, 1997 at New Orleans P-C file photo for 10th Anniversary of Green Bay Packers Super Bowl Victory Howard run back during second half action Photo by Dan Powers

SUPER BOWL XXXI
GREEN BAY 35, NEW ENGLAND 21
Jan. 26, 1997 at New Orleans
P-C file photo for 10th Anniversary of Green Bay Packers Super Bowl Victory
Howard run back during second half action
Photo by Dan Powers

8. Super Bowl 43Santonio Holmes’ amazing catch. A crazy game that looked like a lock for the Steelers as Bruce Springsteen took the stage at halftime. Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald weren’t going away quietly, however, and that 20-7 Steeler lead with 8 minutes left in the game turned into a 23-20 Cardinals lead after two Fitzgerald touchdowns and a safety in 5 minutes. Ben Roethlisberger’s toughness willed the Black and Gold downfield in the closing moments. Santonio Holmes scored the game-winning touchdown with seconds left, a breathtaking catch that demonstrated exceptional concentration and balance in a most pressure-filled situation.

HolmesTD

7. Super Bowl 49Malcolm Butler’s interception. A lot of people criticize the play call, but the amount of preparation Butler put in to make that play – the film study, reading the formation – that’s what makes this play truly remarkable to me. For Butler, a rookie, to make that kind of a play with the Super Bowl on the line will always stand out in my mind far above whether the correct play was called. NFL football comes down to who executes best no matter what the play call, and Butler positioned himself based on his preparation. That’s a champion.

6. Super Bowl 17John Riggins‘ first down and more. Joe Gibbs beat Bill Belichick to the playbook punch. Gibbs went for it on fourth-and-one with just over 10 minutes left in the game, the Miami Dolphins leading his Washington Redskins 17-13. Miami founded its lead on two huge plays — a 76-yard David Woodley to Jimmy Cefalo touchdown and a 98-yard Fulton Walker kickoff return. The biggest play of the game belonged to Riggins, however, his 43-yard glorious scoring rumble on fourth down not only put Washington up for good, it paved Riggins’ way to Canton. If any Hall of Fame member had his career immortalized from one single play, it would be Riggins from this play.

5. Super Bowl 18Marcus Allen reverses field. Tables turned the next year as the Los Angeles Raiders pounded Riggins’ Redskins 38-9. One play after the Raiders ironically stuffed Riggins on a fourth-and-one, Allen donated his own epic moment in Super Bowl lore. The play seemed almost doomed from the start, as Jim Plunkett nearly bumped straight into Allen. Allen nearly ran straight into Washington linebacker Rich Milot, but Milot was too busy fighting off three Raider linemen. Allen then found himself trapped by two more defenders — Ken Coffey and Ted Liebenstein. Allen reversed field, squeezed through an opening up the middle, and raced for paydirt, out maneuvering a diving Neal Olkewicz and a sprinting Anthony Washington. Cliff Branch made a nice block on Anthony Washington at the end, and Allen’s magic permanently carved itself into the memories of everybody watching. Words can’t describe it like this video on the NFL’s website.

4. Super Bowl 13Rocky Bleier’s catch. Super Bowl 13 is the most exciting Super Bowl from start to finish that I remember. As the Steelers and Cowboys battled it out for Team of the 70s supremacy, the game produced a lifetime of memories. Thomas Henderson stripping the ball from Terry Bradshaw and Mike Hegman returned the fumble for a Cowboys touchdown. Franco Harris rushing up the middle for a key score, with Lynn Swann following shortly afterward with his own touchdown. The Swann touchdown followed a very controversial pass interference call against Cowboy Bennie Barnes, and of course there’s also the sure Cowboy touchdown that Hall of Fame tight end Jackie Smith dropped. The play that made the cover of Sports Illustrated, however, was a leaping Rocky Bleier collecting a late first-half touchdown that Rocky loves to point out “gave us a lead we never relinquished.” Rocky tells the story of his catch in The Game before the Money, noting that he fooled Cowboy linebacker D.D. Lewis into moving up toward the line of scrimmage before Rocky drifted back into the end zone for the score.

RockySBCatch

3. Super Bowl 34Mike Jones tackles Kevin Dyson. The Titans had tied the game at 16, as Al Del Greco‘s field goal soared between the uprights with just over 3 minutes left in the game. On the Rams first play of their next possession, quarterback Kurt Warner connected with Isaac Bruce for a 73-yard touchdown. The score and ensuing kickoff shaved over a minute off the clock, leaving Titans quarterback Steve McNair with only 1:48 to drive 88 yards. McNair completed 5 passes and the Rams committed 3 penalties, setting the Titans up on the Ram 25 with 5 seconds remaining. Everybody watching knew a fantastic finished awaited. McNair hit Dyson over the middle, and Jones made an outstanding open-field tackle one yard shy of the goal line. Between the Rams quick TD and the Titans final drive, Super Bowl 34 remains quite possibly the most exciting finish I can remember.

JonesDyson

2. Super Bowl 42 — How did David Tyree catch that? The Helmet Catch. I remember watching the replays, astounded that the ball didn’t hit the ground. I’m not usually one to trumpet the sensationalized freak plays, but the context in which this catch was made makes it ultra-special. The catch trashed the Patriots undefeated regular season, kept the 1972 Dolphins alive as the only undefeated team in the modern era, and Eli Manning was no longer just Peyton Manning‘s little brother. While most credit should be given to the Giants defensive line for bull rushing Tom Brady all night, the crazy catch became the most memorable moment.

Tyree

1. Super Bowl 23 — Montana to Taylor. The Bengals had an excellent team that year. I wasn’t surprised that they held their own against the 49ers, although I was very impressed they did so without defensive standout Tim Krumrie, who went down with a broken leg early in the game. Neither offense did much for most of that day. In fact, the first touchdown wasn’t scored until there were seconds left in the third quarter, and it was on Stanford Jennings‘ 93-yard kickoff return which gave the Bengals a 13-6 lead going into the final quarter. Joe Montana hit game MVP Jerry Rice for the game’s first offensive touchdown, tying it at 13 early in the fourth. Both offenses continued to struggle, but Boomer Esiason drove the Bengals to the 49er 22 for a go-ahead field goal. The drive shaved over 5 minutes off the clock, and left Montana with just 3:04 to drive 92 yards. After famously pointing out John Candy in the crowd, Montana completed 7 of 8 passes, the last one to John Taylor for the winning touchdown with just 34 seconds remaining. Joe Cool strikes again.

Taylor

Honorable Mention

Every Super Bowl has its defining its moments. Sometimes they happen early, like the Seahawks early safety in Super Bowl 48. When they happen in groups, during multiple spots, or at the end, those games tend to be the most memorable and exciting. Super Bowl 13 is a great example.

Other moments that almost made the list include John Stallworth‘s 73-yard touchdown in Super Bowl 14. That game was much closer than the 31-19 final indicates. The Rams led 19-17 in the fourth quarter before Stallworth’s score.

Clay Matthews slamming Rashard Mendenhall and forcing a critical fumble in Super Bowl 45 also stands out. The Cowboys defense smothering Jim Kelly near the goal line, forcing an interception returned for a touchdown was another defensive play that almost made the list.

Besides Howard’s kickoff return, the back-to-back kickoff returns for touchdowns in Super Bowl 35 by the Giants Ron Dixon and the Ravens Jermaine Lewis dashed excitement into a lackluster game. Chicago’s Devin Hester returning Super Bowl 41’s opening kickoff for a 92-yard touchdown also deserves special teams honors.

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Thinking Out Loud — The Super Bowl 50 Golden Team

In honor of Super Bowl 50, Pro Football Hall of Fame voters selected a Super Bowl Golden Team team this week. Like with the FWAA’s 75th Anniversary All-American team, picking and debating these teams can be a lot of fun.

Members of the Pittsburgh Steelers (8), Dallas Cowboys (4), Oakland Raiders (3), Green Bay Packers (3), and San Francisco 49ers (3) dominated the roster. The Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens, and New York Giants each placed one player. Additionally, two players (Charles Haley and Deion Sanders) who played in Super Bowls for both the Cowboys and 49ers earned spots. Adam Vinatieri, who played in Super Bowls for both the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts was named kicker.

Let’s look at who made the team, and then discuss what players could have been included.

OFFENSE

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QB – Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers

RB – Emmitt Smith, Dallas Cowboys

RB – Franco Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers

WR – Lynn Swann, Pittsburgh Steelers

WR – Jerry Rice, San Francisco 49ers

TE – Jay Novacek, Dallas Cowboys

OL – Mike Webster, Pittsburgh Steelers

OL – Forrest Gregg, Green Bay Packers

OL – Art Shell, Oakland Raiders

OL – Gene Upshaw, Oakland Raiders

OL – Larry Allen, Dallas Cowboys

DEFENSE

ReggieWhite

DL – Reggie White, Green Bay Packers

DL – Charles Haley, 49ers, Cowboys

DL – Joe Greene, Pittsburgh Steelers

DL – Randy White, Dallas Cowboys

LB – Lawrence Taylor, New York Giants

LB – Jack Ham, Pittsburgh Steelers

LB – Jack Lambert, Pittsburgh Steelers

LB – Ray Lewis, Baltimore Ravens

CB – Mel Blount, Pittsburgh Steelers

CB – Deion Sanders, 49ers, Cowboys

S – Jake Scott, Miami Dolphins

S – Ronnie Lott, San Francisco 49ers

SPECIAL TEAMS

VINATIERI

K – Adam Vinatieri, Patriots/Colts

P – Ray Guy, Oakland Raiders

KR – Desmond Howard, Green Bay Packers

COACH

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Chuck Noll

 

MY TWO CENTS

Overall, I think the voters did a pretty good job. Many of these players – Montana, Swann, White, and Lambert would have unquestionably made my ballot. A few players that would have made my ballot, however, were left off. There are so many ways to look at this, such as number of rings or great moments, that there really aren’t many right or wrong answers. I’ll take a leap give this my best shot from what I remember.

At running back, I’d likely have replaced Franco Harris with Larry Csonka. I’d also give some thought to either Timmy Smith or Ottis Anderson based on their great performances in a single Super Bowl. Smith owns the rushing record with a 204-yard day, and Anderson left the Buffalo Bills offense off the field for nearly a quarter. Marcus Allen and John Riggins certainly garner consideration for their epic moments. Franco had an awesome performance in Super Bowl 9, and owns the SB career rushing record, but when I think of the Steelers winning championships, I more think of their passing game and defense. Franco’s a deserving pick, but Csonka likely would have gotten my vote.

Larry Allen clearly is one of the top linemen of his era. But the voters might have forgotten that he only played in one Super Bowl – SB 30. People tend to group him in with all those stars who won 3 out of 4 championships, and I think that’s how Allen made this team. Dolphins Larry Little or Bob Kuechenberg would have gotten some consideration from me, as well as Joe Jacoby, Steve Wallace, Randy Cross, and Steeler Steve Furness. In the end, however, I probably would have picked Allen’s teammate Erik Williams.

Ronnie Lott played corner as much as safety, and from what I remember, Steve Atwater played a huge role in the Broncos winning SB 32. I’d likely give Atwater the nod. I would also likely replace Deion Sanders with either Herb Adderley or Ty Law.

At linebacker, Lawrence Taylor was an absolute beast on the field, but I don’t recall great SB moments from him. Rams linebacker Mike Jones saved a SB win tackling Titan Kevin Dyson on the 1-yard line in SB 34. He’d be on my short list. Clay Matthews also would get serious consideration for his forced fumble and overall great performance in SB 45. Ken Norton Jr. and Lee Roy Jordan would also top my list. Nick Buoniconti’s name likely would have been marked on my ballot, however. He anchored a Dolphin defense that yielded zero points in SB 7 (a Washington fumble recovery for a TD was their only points). In SB 8, that same defense shutout Minnesota until the fourth quarter. That’s 7 consecutive shutout quarters for the Dolphins.

No question Chuck Noll is one of the greatest coaches in the history of pro football. My choice for this team, however, would have been Vince Lombardi. After all, it’s the Lombardi Trophy that’s awarded every year. Noll, however, is a superb choice.

HONORABLE MENTION AND SUMMARY

The quarterback position finds many players deserving. Bart Starr, Terry Bradshaw, Troy Aikman, and Tom Brady all deserve the highest consideration. I agree with Montana, but Bradshaw and Starr are nearly equal in SB stature, in my opinion.

At tight end, who could forget Mark Bavaro’s SB toughness? I’d choose Novacek over him, but Bavaro scores high.

There really are too many running backs to name in addition to those listed above. For fun (and possibly more realism), a blocking back could’ve been named – Tom Rathman, Rocky Bleier, and Daryl Johnston are the first names in my mind.

The lack of Patriots on this team implies that voters don’t believe current championship teams match up with those from previous eras. Adam Vinatieri and Ray Lewis are the only players appearing after SB 32.

What do you think? How do current champions match up against the vintage Steelers, Packers, and 49ers? Who would you put on the Super Bowl Golden Team?

 

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