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All Hail the Champions

Thrity-two teams started the season, became twelve, became eight, became four. After Sunday we are down to two. Congratulations to the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers, who will meet in two weeks in Super Bowl L.

I watched the championship games, of course. Not much to say about them.

The afternoon game was a blowout. Must have been very painful for Cardinals fans, and a romp in the park for Carolina fans. Though I did wonder at halftime when the Panthers were only up by 17 points; the preceding week they'd enjoyed a 31-0 lead over Seattle, yet barely hung on to win. But this week Carolina decided to show up for the second half as well. I really thought Arizona would give them more of a fight. Carson Palmer looked dreadful.

The morning game was exciting. Too exciting for my taste; until that two-point pass fell incomplete, I really feared that Brady and the Pats would pull it out. Denver's pass rush was amazing. I have never seen Brady smacked around so much, even in the two Super Bowls where the G-Men beat him. Evil Little Bill made a blunder by not kicking that field goal late in the fourth when he had the chance; in hindsight, that would have been the difference.

It is always great to see the Patriots lose. And I take some solace knowing that it was losing that game to the Jets that put the championship in Denver rather than New England. It would be have been an entirely different game in Foxboro.

Anyway, the Pats are going home, and the Broncos are going on. It would be wonderful if Eli's Big Brother could end his career with another ring... but I fear that is not likely to happen. The Panthers just look too tough.

We'll see. That's why they play the games.

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( 50 comments )
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Steven James
Jan. 26th, 2016 05:11 am (UTC)
Broncos pass rush will make Cam make mistakes. Peyton has enough in the tank for one more...one more!
dlgood
Jan. 26th, 2016 07:16 am (UTC)
Pressuring Brady is one thing. Pressuring Cam, who is mobile and has a healthy O-line is quite another. If I were a Broncos fan, I'd be worried...
Kevin Smith
Jan. 26th, 2016 05:24 am (UTC)
[Shudder] In Defense of "Evil Little Bill"
I'm not a fan of Bill Belichick, and I've disagreed with a lot of his 4th-and-1 calls in the past, but I think he was justified in this game. The way Denver was defending and running the ball, he couldn't be sure how many possessions he had left, so it made sense not to accept a score that would still leave the Patriots needing a touchdown.
grrm
Jan. 26th, 2016 05:25 am (UTC)
Re: [Shudder] In Defense of "Evil Little Bill"
Yes, but a touchdown alone would not suffice. He needed a touchdown AND either (1) a two-point conversion to tie, or (2) a field goal to win. If he had taken the FG there, the later touchdown to Gronk would have won for him.
rmwick
Jan. 26th, 2016 05:43 am (UTC)
This is the NFC's year
Ask yourself, 'Who gets more sacks: #1 defensive line chasing Cam Newton, or a #5 defensive line after ole man Manning.'

Panthers haven't played a D quite like Broncos, but they scored a sum 80 on Seattle and Arizona.

Broncos haven't played a combined run and pass offense like the Panthers' since the regular season Steelers...and Broncos lost.
bigbadbruin270
Jan. 26th, 2016 06:32 am (UTC)
Not the outcome I wanted.
As a Pats fan it's not the outcome I wanted. Hats off to Denver's D, it was the difference maker in the game. The game wasn't really a Brady/Manning match up, more of a battle of the two defenses. The Pats D played well, we were only down 17-6 at the half and they held Denver to 3 points in the second half. The offensive line was, for a lack of a better term, s**t. Brady had very little time to look downfield and he was hit 20 times and sacked 4 times.

Also the Jets win was rough (for me not you) but the failure to beat the damn Dolphins is what really ticked me off. It's the Dolphins for crying out loud! I can understand a loss to the Jets, they only missed the playoffs by one game and the Pats were diminished by injury's to key players during that game, but still... it's the Dolphins.

The Pats will be in the AFC Championship game next season, I have no doubt about that.
grrm
Jan. 26th, 2016 06:38 am (UTC)
Re: Not the outcome I wanted.
You Pats fans are greedy. You want a trophy every year.

Jets fans would settle for one every century.
Re: Not the outcome I wanted. - bigbadbruin270 - Jan. 26th, 2016 07:34 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Not the outcome I wanted. - Prom000 - Jan. 26th, 2016 12:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Not the outcome I wanted. - Andrew Firestone - Jan. 26th, 2016 04:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Not the outcome I wanted. - bigbadbruin270 - Jan. 27th, 2016 04:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Not the outcome I wanted. - salamon2 - Jan. 26th, 2016 04:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Not the outcome I wanted. - brianbrecker - Jan. 26th, 2016 08:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Not the outcome I wanted. - Megan Bowers - Jan. 26th, 2016 04:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Not the outcome I wanted. - Shawn Blagg - Jan. 27th, 2016 10:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
danny_of_sf
Jan. 26th, 2016 07:12 am (UTC)
Have to cheer on the Panthers
My 49ers have imploded, so I'm left to cheer for teams who have never won the Super Bowl. It helps that I've never been a fan of Payton, and I have disliked the Broncos since before Elway was the quarterback. Carolina looks fantastic on offense, so they may be able to handle the Broncos impressive defense. Good luck to Cam and the rest of the crew.

Anyone know how to trade an owner?
Joseph Zufall
Jan. 29th, 2016 06:23 am (UTC)
Re: Have to cheer on the Panthers
I know about the feeling about the owner. However, even though we as a city did manage to get rid of a bad owner, I can give you any help. We are incredibly lucky that Jerry Richardson was good enough to take back the team from his sons. There has been a lot said about the man, for many reasons. I think he's got a good heart though... though maybe not physically. That dude is OLD. Rumor is that he has stipulated in his will that the team can only be sold to a owner that will keep it in Charlotte, and with a Superbowl, there's hope that someone will step up to that promise before the old man's time is up. He might be rough on the players union, but he's a man that the Carolinas will remember, and not in a "at least he wasn't Al Davis" sort of way.
Lindsay Travis
Jan. 26th, 2016 07:38 am (UTC)
I would love to see Peyton retire with a new ring, but I have to agree that it's unlikely. Watching him beat Tom Brady was pretty satisfying though. I'm just glad it isn't a Patriots v Panthers Superbowl, then I would have no one to root for. #GoHawks
Dellagala
Jan. 26th, 2016 08:43 am (UTC)
Patriotic curiosity
I like your post. Very accurate.
But I have one question: why do you say "It is always great to see the Patriots lose"??
I'm curious.
Tamara Harris
Jan. 27th, 2016 06:28 pm (UTC)
RE: Patriotic curiosity
He's a huge Jets fan :-) so he has a couple of reasons to like seeing the Pats lose.

Also, he hates BB or "Evil Little Bill" as he calls him. As a Jets fan he has the most reasons to despise BB.
green_isnt_easy
Jan. 26th, 2016 09:07 am (UTC)
Watching Von Miller work Brady like that really makes me think that the Jets would incredible with a good outside linebacker.
Chris Watson
Jan. 26th, 2016 10:00 am (UTC)
Would you like to write a story about sport George? The Peyton Manning story of a veteran going for gold one more time has been done often but I think sports stories are difficult to make believable. While watching a close game you never know how it will end but in movies the "good guy" always wins in the end.
grrm
Jan. 26th, 2016 06:48 pm (UTC)
I wrote a couple of SF football stories way way back at the beginning of my career. "Run To Starlight" and "The Last Super Bowl."

BTW, I predicted the last Super Bowl would be in 2014. Got that one wrong, I guess.
(no subject) - elefantaei - Jan. 26th, 2016 06:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - joshmst - Jan. 26th, 2016 07:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - Chris Watson - Jan. 26th, 2016 11:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
zoltan87
Jan. 26th, 2016 10:37 am (UTC)
As a pats fan this was a painful defeat, but Broncos deserved to win and if Peyton would win the Superbowl it would be a catharsis for him.

I've never seen Brady play in such a hurry, but he is still a hero for me and I can't wait to see the Superbowl. It would be nice thing to see Peyton career end up winning another ring as an underdog.

Zoltán from Hungary :)
sevastra82
Jan. 26th, 2016 03:42 pm (UTC)
Denver keeps drawing the short straw in recent Super Bowl appearances. A few years ago, they faced a buzzsaw Seattle that was at it's peak. Now this year, they have to face an equally good Carolina team that is playing with a level of swagger I haven't seen in quite some time. Denver got slaughtered a few years ago by that Seattle team, and I fear for them this Super Bowl may be very similar.

Looking at the game objectively...I just don't know how Denver is going to match Carolina's intensity, swagger, and momentum. They are playing some scary ball right now, and I just simply don't think Denver is going to be able to match or overcome it.
OberynMattell
Jan. 26th, 2016 04:19 pm (UTC)
Jesus...how did the Broncos D go from being shredded by noodle armed Roethlisberger sans all of his major weapons, to absolutely obliterating the Patriots. I know they have a very good D, but they seemed a little bit too "juiced" (pun intended). Plus I think the Broncos hacked into the Patriots tablets during the game and knocked them offline. LOL. Evil Little Bill might have gotten a taste of his own medicine in that game.
elefantaei
Jan. 26th, 2016 04:21 pm (UTC)
SB50
It should be a good game. Von Miller was Cam's kryptonite when they last played in 2012. But Cam is not the same QB he was then. He's the MVP now. Can he have an MVP sort of game? Or will the blitzing give him flashbacks. That's the matchup I'm excited to see.
guessingo
Jan. 26th, 2016 05:10 pm (UTC)
Peyton Manning bad in the playoffs or elevating a mediocre team?
Peyton Manning has not done too well in the playoffs most of the timing. I have been thinking that it may be the teams he is on. I think its likely that he elevated 'pretty good teams' to great regular season records, but when it came to playing the best teams in the playoffs the teams were not up to the challenge. If the one constant on all those 10 win seasons with 2 franchises is Manning and all the other personnel turns over... is it really Manning not being that good or Manning elevating the team?

I get the same vibe about Lebron James in basketball. He is 2-4 in the finals. The 2 Cleveland teams he took to the finals were not very good. Last year the 2nd and 3rd best players on the Cavaliers (both all stars) were injured and knocked out of the playoffs. It was Lebron and roleplayers. They managed to win 2 games in the final against a far superior team.

With Miami... The last finals trip where they lost, Dwayne Wade was injured and not his old self. Bosh is a good player (and great #3), but there wasn't alot else there. The first one they lost to a veteran Dallas Mavericks team that just played great.

joshmst
Jan. 26th, 2016 05:27 pm (UTC)
Miller vs. Newton
That's gonna be an interesting interaction. Miller is so fast, Newton so athletic, and both just have a motor that do not quit. Panthers are going to have a heck of a time handling a healthy Miller and Ware, but if there was a QB with the abilities to get out of those situations... it is Cam. His jumping throws seem to defy Newtonian physics.

Manning is going to have to have the game of his life to lead the Broncos to victory. Something along that Dallas game a couple years back. Receivers are going to have to make up for his lack of an arm anymore and their running game has to be on point. Hillman can't let a backward pass go over his head against the Panthers...

I think Panthers certainly have the overall advantage here, but hopefully this will be a better game than the Broncos/Seahawk matchup.
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