Tag Archives: NFL

Super Bowl LI Preview

super-bowl

Yes, it’s that time again. The biggest annual sporting event takes place tonight at the NRG Stadium in Houston. This year, the Conference champions decided are the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons. It promises to be a tight game. It also promises to be a big event.

IT’S SHOWTIME

I don’t need to go into the history of the Super Bowl this time around. I did that in last year’s Super Bowl blog. For those who want to read it, click here. Although this will be Super Bowl LI, its 50th anniversary was three weeks ago. But whatever. It’s time to get on with the show.

Stars of the Broadway musical Hamilton will sing America The Beautiful before the game. The Star Spangled Banner will be sung by country singer Luke Bryan. Former president and former first lady George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush will do the coin toss and Lady Gaga will do the half-time show.

Of course there are those one-of-a-kind Super Bowl ads. Ads will cost $5 million for a 30-second airing. Snickers will present a live commercial during the game. Nintendo will introduce its Nintendo Switch video game console. However an ad Budweiser planned on showing during the Super Bowl garnered controversy. It showcased Adolphus Busch immigrating to the U. S. and partnering with Eberhart Anheuser. Many people, especially conservatives, suspected this ad was a pot shot to Donald Trump and his recent restrictive immigration policies.

THE GAME

Yes, the match. The NRG Stadium in Houston is expected to seat 80,000 for the game. The game is expected to be witnessed on television by billions worldwide and have 38 different cameras around the stadium highlighting the players’ plays. For all its hype, the match features two top contenders: the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons.

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New England Patriots

The Patriots come in as the favorite for the Super Bowl. They had the best results in the whole of the NFL regular season with 14 wins and two losses. They also played excellently during the conference matches too. The Patriots are no strangers to the Super Bowl as they’ve won their AFC championship nine times including this year and won the Super Bowl four times before: the most recent being 2014.

This year the Patriots have shown a lot of consistency but it’s not without controversy. We all know about Tom Brady and ‘Deflategate.’ It would not surprise me if many want the Patriots to lose because of that. Tom Brady still ranks as one of the top quarterbacks of the NFL and he will be very tough for the Falcons and their defense to bring him down. However the Falcons have excelled in scoring so they will give the Patriots a good fight.

falcons

Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons are the underdogs. Not just because they don’t have the same win-loss stats as the Patriots but because previous games have exposed their weaknesses. They are the top team of the NFL in terms of scoring but they finished the regular season second in the NFC.

If there’s one thing, the Falcons really came back in the playoffs. They won their Divisional Final against the Seahawks whom they lost to in regular season and they played brilliantly in their Conference Final against the Green Bay Packers. The Super Bowl will prove to be an interesting rivalry as the Patriots have the better defense but the Falcons are the better team at scoring. Also New England may have Tom Brady but Atlanta has Matt Ryan. This year, Ryan set a Falcons single-game record for throwing 503 yards and four touchdowns while teammate Julio Jones caught a team-record 300 yards and a touchdown and a win against the Panthers. So the Falcons know how to arrive.

MY PREDICTION

Okay, one team has been to the Super Bowl many times while this is the second time for the other. One team played the best in the NFL in regular season and continues its brilliance. The other didn’t compare to the other in regular season but has played better than ever in the playoffs. In fact both teams performed brilliantly in their Conference Final wins.

So I predict the win to go to the New England Patriots. I predict the score to be 30-27 and I expect the Falcons to lead temporarily.

So there you have it. There’s my preview of Super Bowl LI. Kickoff to start at 5:30pm Texas time.

Super Bowl 50 Preview

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DISCLAIMER: Seeing all the hits made in the past week to my Super Bowl blog from last year prompted me to publish my pre-Super Bowl blog earlier than expected. Just to let you know my prediction could change in the days leading up to the Bowl.

Can you believe this will be the 50th Super Bowl? For some who are old enough to remember the first, it would be hard to believe. Nevertheless this American ritual will be having its 50th on Sunday February 7th at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. This year it’s the AFC’s Denver Broncos versus the NFC’s Carolina Panthers.

THE START OF AN AMERICAN TRADITION

1st Super Bowl

An image of play during the first ever Super Bowl where the Green Bay Packers (in green) beat the Kansas City Chiefs (in white) to become the first ever winners.

The Super Bowl actually came out of a league rivalry. The NFL began in 1920 but there was an AFL, the American Football League, that formed in 1960 and it provided some heated rivalry with the NFL. In 1966, a merger was worked out between the NFL and the AFL in which would take full effect in 1970. In the meantime, both league’s top teams would compete in a ‘World Championship’ event.

The first Super Bowl which was actually called the ‘First AFL-NFL World Championship Game’ was held on January 15, 1967 in Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The NFL team was the Green Bay Packers led by Vince Lombardi. The AFL team was the Kansas City Chiefs. NBC had the rights to broadcast NFL games while CBS had the rights to broadcast AFL games which meant both networks could show the first Super Bowl: the only Super Bowl which was telecasted by two networks at once.

There was a halftime show but it wasn’t the show as we know it. The show featured trumpeter Al Hirt with the marching bands of the University of Arizona and Grambling State University followed by the release of 300 pigeons and 10,000 balloons and a flying demonstration by the Bell Rocket Air Men. There was also pregame entertainment and performances after each quarter from the Los Angeles Rammettes. The game was held on a sunny day with 22º Celsius (or 73º Fahrenheit) weather and the game was won by the Packers 35-10. Interesting fact: the players of the winning team the Packers were each paid $15,000 and each player of the Chiefs were paid $7,500. Oh yeah, the cost of airing a 30-second commercial was $42,000.

Lombardi

Legendary Packers coach Vince Lombardi is congratulated after his team won the first ever Super Bowl. They’d win again next year.

Over time the Super Bowl would grow in both ratings and stature. The Packers’ win in the second Super Bowl, which would be the first Super Bowl by name, would add to the legend of coach Vince Lombardi. Ratings would grow considerably, the cost of airing a 30-second commercial would also grow hugely, marching band performances during the Halftime show would eventually be replaced over time first in 1976 by the ensemble Up With People–the first of four Super Bowl appearances for the ensemble– and would follow with performances by Disney, Michael Jackson, New Kids On The Block, Aerosmith and of course the infamous duo of Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake. The Super Bowl is now watched over 100 million Americans. In fact last year’s game amassed a record US audience of 114.4 million viewers. It’s even attracted viewers worldwide with a total worldwide audience of 160 million last year.

IT’S SHOWTIME

Okay. So what does this year’s Super Bowl have planned? For starters, let’s focus on the stadium. The host venue will be the Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, the home venue for the San Francisco 49ers and the newest stadium of the NFL. It took over two years of construction to complete at an expense of $2 billion. It has a regular capacity of 68,500 that can be expanded to 75,000 which will of course happen Super Bowl Sunday. As of press time, it has not been decided who will sing the national anthem.

Oh yes, the half-time show. Two months ago it was revealed that ‘multiple acts’ will perform in the show. Remember the alleged financial fiasco last year that led Coldplay and Rihanna from balking out of last year’s show? Well Coldplay agreed back in December to perform this year and be the headlining act. Two headlining acts from past Super Bowls Beyonce from Super Bowl XLVII and Bruno Mars from Super Bowl XLVIII, have been confirmed by Pepsi that they will also be performing.

AND NOW A WORD…

Yes, the Super Bowl ads. Every Super Bowl provides us with memorable ads like Mean Joe Greene’s Coke And A Smile, Apple’s 1984, McDonald’s Jordan/Bird hoops showdown, the Budweiser frogs, Mr. Old Spice and Volkswagen’s Darth Vader ad. Last year is most memorable for a commercial remembered for worse thanks to Nationwide Insurance. That commercial about the boy who died in the car accident sparked a social media outrage because most felt it interfered with their enjoyment. Nationwide responded they did the ad to start conversation.

Much to many people’s relief, Nationwide does not appear to back advertising this year. Advertising for a 30-second spot will come at the expense of $5 million. Surprisingly this will be the last year Anheuser-Busch will be advertising multiple ads during the game at a steep discount as part of their contract. This is also the tenth and last year Doritos will have their ‘Crash The Super Bowl’ contest to allow viewers to air their ads. The Pokemon Company will be airing an ad to celebrate their 20th anniversary and QuickBooks is sponsoring a contest to allow ten businesses to air their commercial during the game. Also expect a lot of movie companies to plug their upcoming releases.

THE LOW DOWNSuper Bowl 50

Now enough of the hype. Let’s get down to the game. One thing about this Super Bowl is that with it being the 50th, it will be known as Super Bowl 50 instead of Super Bowl L. Also with it being the 50th, the winning team will not only hold the Super Bowl all year but will also receive an honorary 18-karat gold-plated 50 weighing 66 lbs. The game will pit the AFC winner Denver Broncos against the NFC winner Carolina Panthers. So how do they fare?

Denver Broncos

The Broncos are no strangers to the Super Bowl. This Super Bowl makes them the fourth team ever to make a record eight Super Bowl appearances. They’ve only won twice, back-to-back in 1997 and 1998. Hey, there was a big long AFC dry-spell which the Broncos broke.

This year the Broncos were one of three teams in the AFC including the Cincinnati Bengals and the New England Patriots that had a 12 win-4 loss season this year. The Broncos came out on top because of less points conceded. The season started with a new head coach in Gary Kubiak and John Elway, who helped the Broncos win both Bowls, continuing as general manager. There were 15 departures and more than 30 signings and three trades and eight signed in the NFL draft.

The Broncos started their regular season on a stellar note winning their first seven games. Their only losses came against the Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers. During the AFC playoffs, they were able to avenge their loss to the Steelers by winning 23-16 and won the championship against the New England Patriots 20-18.

This has been an excellent year for the Broncos. No doubt about it Peyton Manning is still on even after a tear in his foot back in November and the defense is the admiration of the league. However I saw the AFC game and I saw both the Broncos and the Patriots commit a lot of fumbles and clumsy errors. I was tempted to think neither of them deserved to qualify for the Bowl. Whatever the situation, the Broncos will have to get their game on for the big day.

Carolina Panthers

While the Broncos know how to play in a Super Bowl, the Panthers are almost like rookies. They’ve only played in the Super Bowl once and it was back during Super Bowl XXXVIII where they lost to the Patriots. This year they deliver what could be their best team ever. Heck if there’s one team that could truly call this year their year, it’s the Panthers.  Winning their first thirteen games, they set an NFC record for best start of a season and one of only three teams in the NFL’s history to have a 13-0 start. Their only loss of their regular season games came from the Atlanta Falcons. On top of it, this was Cam Newton’s year as he became the first quarterback to throw 30 touchdowns and rush for 10 in a single season. As for playoffs, they faced a stiff challenge from the Seattle Seahawks but won 31-24. However it was their NFC Championship game where they really put on a show by beating the Arizona Cardinals 49-15.

If you saw that game against the Cardinals, you could tell that the Panthers were on fire. They committed few errors and delivered team play like no other team. On top of that Cam Newton looked like the player of the year. However they have not played the Denver Broncos so they might know what type of defense they have. As for Panthers’ defense, they faced a setback in Sunday’s game as Thomas Davis broke his arm. Even though he’s undergoing rehab and plans to play in the Super Bowl, it’s still a question if he’ll be healed in time to play.

MY PREDICTION FOR THE WIN

This is not going to be easy. One’s experienced in Super Bowl play while one is more eager than ever. The Broncos have the top defense but the Panthers have the offensive edge. This could be a game where Peyton Manning ads to his legacy or the game where a new legend by the name of Cam Newton arrives. Sure, the Broncos won in clumsy fashion on Sunday while the Panthers were brilliant but that was one day. Super Bowl Sunday could tell a different story. So I will predict that Super Bowl 50 will be won by the Carolina Panthers 25-20. Plus it’s always a delight to see a team win a Super Bowl for the first time ever.

And there you have it. My thoughts on Super Bowl 50. Should be a delightful game. The entertainment both on the field and during commercial time should also be memorable and hopefully very entertaining. Both teams’ fates will be decided Sunday February 7th.

 

 

 

Super Bowl XLVIII Preview

Super Bowl
Super Bowl XLVIII is happening on Sunday the 2nd. It’s provided for some interesting humor but it will make for some serious play between two teams that night.
It’s a funny irony that this year’s Super Bowl is happening all the way on the East Coast but the two teams are way far west. It’s also a funny irony as posted out on some of my friend’s Facebook posts that both team come from states that legalized marijuana. Hence names like the Weed Bowl, the Bud Bowl and the Super Bong have come about.
THE EVENT
Without a doubt the Super Bowl is the biggest one-day hype-fest in the USA. This will be the first Super Bowl since Super Bowl X to be played outdoors on artificial turf. MetLife stadium in East Rutherford has a capacity of 82,500: the biggest in the NFL. A 30-second commercial costs $4 million and all ad spots were sold out two months ago. Fox will broadcast to the United States with CTV airing Fox’s broadcast to Canada. 45 countries will also have their own broadcast. Marching bands from Rutgers and Syracuse University are expected to open the pregame show. Queen Latifah is to follow singing ‘America The Beautiful’ with the New Jersey Youth Chorus. Renee Fleming will become the first opera singer ever to sing the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ at the Super Bowl.
There almost wasn’t half-time show since this is to be a Super Bowl held in cold weather and there was fear of blizzard conditions. Nevertheless Fox and the NFL said there will be a halftime show and they’re confident it will go well. Actually they shouldn’t worry since the hourly weather forecast for the game hours predict calm and partly cloudy skies with temperatures starting at 7 Celsius (45 Fahrenheit) and dropping to 4 (39). Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers are scheduled performers.
THE TWO CONTENDERS:
AFC: DENVER BRONCOS
Denver have won the Super Bowl twice back in 1997 & 1998 during their ‘Elway Era.’ The Broncos ended the last season losing the Super Bowl to the Baltimore Ravens. They hoped to win the Super Bowl this year but had a whack of obstacles to overcome. Firstly during the offseason, All-Line probacker Von Miller was suspended six games for violating the NFL’s drug policy. Several offensive linemen also sat out the beginning of the season with injuries. There were four departures and four new additions. Head Coach John Fox had a health scare and had heart surgery which caused him to miss four games and Jack Del Rio taking over in his absence.
The Broncos actually started slowly in exhibition play as they only won two of their four exhibition games. When the regular season officially began, it was another story. The team did excellently as they won thirteen of their sixteen regular season games to come out on top of the AFC. Along the way the team set new NFL records for most total points (606) and total touchdowns in a single season. And Peyton Manning set new records for passing touchdowns and passing yardage. Can you blame Sports Illustrated for naming him 2013’s Sportsman Of The Year?
The playoffs were also smooth sailing as they won the Divisional Championship against the San Diego chargers 24-17 and the Conference Championship against the New England Patriot 26-16. It’s good to see after all those obstacles, they finally made it to East Rutherford with the Super Bowl game against the Seahawks being their last hurdle remaining.
NFC: SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
This is their second time ever to the Super Bowl. Their first time ever was eight years ago where they faced the Pittsburgh Steelers and lost 21-10. Even before the season began, one NFL.com expert ranked the Seahawks as the most powerful team in the NFL. Nevertheless it was up to them to prove it.
Unlike the Broncos, the Seahawks didn’t have the discomfort of shockers, frequent trades and suspensions. Seattle did acquire ten new players: five through trades. Seattle won all four of their exhibition games including one against the Broncos. The regular season was excellent for them as they won thirteen of their sixteen games. The playoffs were also great for the Seahawks as they won their Divisional Championship against the New Orleans Saints 23-15 and the Conference Championship against the San Francisco 49ers 23-17. This is especially great for them because many at the beginning of the season gave San Fran better odds than Seattle to win the Super Bowl.
MY PREDICTION
Normally I’m better at making predictions for the CFL Grey Cup than I am for the Super Bowl. The reason is all CFL teams play against all the other teams at least twice in the regular season and it’s easier to make a prediction with the head-to-head data. It’s not the case in the NFL as if each team were to have at least one game against every other NFL team, all teams would have to play a total of 31 games. Wow, could they handle it?
This is not an easy prediction for anyone. Even Wikipedia states the favorite for this match to the Broncos by 2: the tightest favoring in 32 years.The two Super Bowl teams don’t always meet during the regular season each year. The Seahawks did play the Broncos and won 40-10 but it was an exhibition game back in August where Seattle was hosting. A lot can change in those five months since.
Both teams finished on top of their Conference with 13 wins and three losses. Both teams played the 49ers at least once in the season and had a loss to them. Denver may have set a scoring record this season but Seattle had the better defense allowing only 231 points scored on them.
Okay, enough of the saber metrics. I predict that the winner will be the Denver Broncos. I won’t hazard a guess on the final score but I believe it will be a close game with Denver’s win being by five points. This would make it the third win for the Broncos and the second Super Bowl win for Payton Manning.
So there you go. My preview and my prediction for Super Bowl XLVIII. Show begins tonight at 6:30 EST in MetLife Stadium. May the best team win!

Brief Blog: Super Bowl Prediction

I’ll admit I’m not an expert at American Football, but the Super Bowl XLVI is coming up. Sunday the 5th to be exact. The stage is in Indianapolis. The commercials costed the companies $3.5 million each time they will air them. The halftime show will be Madonna but the game is strictly an East Coast affair with the New England Patriots facing the New York Giants. Which team will take home the trophy? Let’s break them down:

NEW YORK GIANTS

Of all of the six NFC teams to qualify for the playoffs, the Giants had the weakest record and was the only qualifying team not to win at least ten games: nine wins and seven losses to be exact. Nevertheless each playoff game they’ve played, they’ve gotten stronger. First was winning their wildcard game against the Atlanta Falcons 24-2, then came their Divisional Playoff win against the Green Bay Packers 37-20, and then their overtime win of the NFC Championship against the 49ers 20-17. Will their rapid improvement reach its peak on Sunday or will the Super Bowl be where their luck finally runs out?

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

While the Giants had the worst regular season results of the NFC’s playoff qualifiers, the Patriots had the best of the AFC’s with thirteen wins and only three losses. They didn’t need to play a wildcard match and won their Divisional match against Denver easily 45-10. Their AFC Championship victory against the Baltimore Ravens was tighter: 23-20. So far they have predominantly been the strongest team overall this year. However there was one important regular season statistic: of the Patriots’ three losses, one was against the Giants 24-20. That would be the last game the Patriots would lose all season. Will they get revenge at the Super Bowl or will they succumb again?

MY PICK: Now for my prediction. I know I’ve based a lot of opinion here on statistics. One thing I learned from Moneyball is that sabermetrics aren’t always right in the end. For the game however, I strongly feel the Patriots will win. It will be a tight game during the first three quarters with the lead alternating at least three times but the Patriots will grab tight hold in the fourth and go on to win it. As for the score, I won’t hazard a guess on that. I’ll just stick to predicting the winner.

Anyways go out and buy your munchies this weekend. Super Bowl XLVI promises to be exciting: both the game and surrounding events. So may the best team win on Sunday.