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AfricanMaster
1/17/2007     
Member Saints vs. Bears: the key matchups

By BARRY WILNER
AP Football Writer




When the Saints have the ball
CHICAGO (AP) -Matchups for the NFC championship game between the New Orleans Saints and Chicago Bears on Sunday at Soldier Field:

New Orleans led the NFL in total offense (391.5 yards per game) and passing offense (281.4) and also ranked first with 65 passing plays of 20 yards or longer. But the key to the Saints moving the ball against the Bears will be up the middle on the ground.

Deuce McAllister (26) comes off the first 100-yard rushing game in team playoff history with 143 and also scored twice against Philadelphia. His power, complemented by the dazzling moves and speed of rookie Reggie Bush (25), could be difficult for Chicago's suddenly patchy defense to handle. And if the Saints can move the ball on the ground, forcing one of Chicago's safeties to move close to the line of scrimmage, QB Drew Brees (9) can open up the passing game. He has plenty of weapons, too, in Bush, who set a rookie record with 88 catches this season, and wide receivers Marques Colston (12), Devery Henderson (19), Terrance Copper (18) and, if he's recovered from a groin injury, veteran Joe Horn (87).

The Bears have been damaged by season-ending injuries to two of their four best defenders, tackle Tommie Harris (91) and safety Mike Brown (30). Seattle moved well on the ground and in the air and pretty much neutralized All-Pro middle linebacker Brian Urlacher last week. The Saints have just as good an offensive line and a more diversified attack.

If Chicago can't get pressure on Brees from the front four, particularly Alex Brown (96), Adewale Ogunleye (93) and rookie Mark Anderson (97), or from Urlacher and OLB Lance Briggs (55), that could be very troublesome for the secondary. Although Ricky Manning Jr. (24) and Charles Tillman (33) make some big plays, they also are vulnerable to them. The rookie Colston could be most difficult to contain.

And don't forget Bush's game-breaking skills any time he touches the ball.

When the Bears have the ball
So much has been made of the range of QB Rex Grossman's (8) performances, from impressive to inept. While he doesn't have to carry Chicago's offense, Grossman needs to be functional. And if the Saints move the ball freely, he'll need to be much more.

Grossman doesn't measure up to Brees, and the Bears don't want him put in that position. So Thomas Jones (20) and Cedric Benson (32) must be successful against a rush defense that ranked 23rd and was vulnerable against Philadelphia RB Brian Westbrook last week.

If Chicago runs well, Grossman can pick his spots throwing to Muhsin Muhammad (87), Bernard Berrian (80) and Rashied Davis (81), who made the 30-yard OT catch that set up the winning field goal against Seattle.

New Orleans has a strong pass rush led by ends Will Smith (91), who had 10 1/2 sacks, and Charles Grant (94), who had a great game against Philadelphia. Along with blitzes from the linebackers or DBs, the Saints want to make Grossman uncomfortable, which can lead to turnovers, as the Seahawks proved.

A key for both offenses will be the weather. If it is windy or icy, that should help the Bears slow down New Orleans' passing. Then Chicago could concentrate on limiting McAllister and Bush with standout LBs Urlacher and Briggs.

Special teams
Devin Hester (23) has put the special in Chicago's return teams, and PK Robbie Gould (9) also is an All-Pro. Hester set an NFL record with six returns for touchdowns, and he had another one called back by penalty vs. Seattle. Saints P Steve Weatherford (7), who ran for a first down when he saw his punt was about to be blocked by the Eagles, needs to avoid Hester. Same thing on kickoffs.

Gould nailed a 49-yard field goal in overtime to beat the Seahawks. He made his first 24 tries this season before New England blocked a 45-yard attempt, and was good on 32-of-36 overall.

Bears punter Brad Maynard (4) is a veteran who understands directional punting, which is critical in Soldier Field. Weatherford could struggle with that.

While Hester is the star kick returner, the Saints are no slouches with Bush and Michael Lewis (84). Bush's first NFL touchdown came on a punt return, but Lewis handles most of the duties.

John Carney (3), a 17-year veteran, doesn't have as strong a leg as Gould, but he's accurate.

The key here will be how much Hester impacts the game.

Coaching
The two most recent AP Coach of the Year winners face off.

Sean Payton not only turned around the Saints' fortunes - they were 3-13 as nomads last season - but he and his team helped in the revival of their community after Hurricane Katrina. They have written an uplifting story on and off the field.

Payton's varied offense takes advantage of the specialized skills of everyone, from the spectacular Bush and Colston to the rebuilt line.

Lovie Smith of the Bears is a defensive specialist, but his offense under coordinator Ron Turner was impressive this season. His faith in Grossman will be tested again Sunday.

Smith needs to get his defense back to its dominating ways, and that might not be possible without Harris and Brown.

The NFC title game could provide a classic matchup of offensive innovator against defensive mastermind.

Intangibles
The Saints have so many. They've been uplifted by a city that, in turn, they are lifting up with their performances. Although they've never been this far in 40 years, it's unlikely the pressurized atmosphere of a championship game will overwhelm them after what they went through a year ago.

In Brees, they have an All-Pro quarterback and leader. Don't look for him to flinch Sunday.

New Orleans also has the right karma - voodoo, perhaps?

The Bears had a superb first 10 games, winning nine. They were good enough in the final six games to win four, but they no longer are intimidating.

But they will be at home and the elements could help them get to their first Super Bowl since the 1985 powerhouse won it all


Really, and who said it?
Post #785532 Back to top ▲
1/17/2007
  
AfricanMaster
Member
Saints vs. Bears: the key matchups

By BARRY WILNER
AP Football Writer




When the Saints have the ball
CHICAGO (AP) -Matchups for the NFC championship game between the New Orleans Saints and Chicago Bears on Sunday at Soldier Field:

New Orleans led the NFL in total offense (391.5 yards per game) and passing offense (281.4) and also ranked first with 65 passing plays of 20 yards or longer. But the key to the Saints moving the ball against the Bears will be up the middle on the ground.

Deuce McAllister (26) comes off the first 100-yard rushing game in team playoff history with 143 and also scored twice against Philadelphia. His power, complemented by the dazzling moves and speed of rookie Reggie Bush (25), could be difficult for Chicago's suddenly patchy defense to handle. And if the Saints can move the ball on the ground, forcing one of Chicago's safeties to move close to the line of scrimmage, QB Drew Brees (9) can open up the passing game. He has plenty of weapons, too, in Bush, who set a rookie record with 88 catches this season, and wide receivers Marques Colston (12), Devery Henderson (19), Terrance Copper (18) and, if he's recovered from a groin injury, veteran Joe Horn (87).

The Bears have been damaged by season-ending injuries to two of their four best defenders, tackle Tommie Harris (91) and safety Mike Brown (30). Seattle moved well on the ground and in the air and pretty much neutralized All-Pro middle linebacker Brian Urlacher last week. The Saints have just as good an offensive line and a more diversified attack.

If Chicago can't get pressure on Brees from the front four, particularly Alex Brown (96), Adewale Ogunleye (93) and rookie Mark Anderson (97), or from Urlacher and OLB Lance Briggs (55), that could be very troublesome for the secondary. Although Ricky Manning Jr. (24) and Charles Tillman (33) make some big plays, they also are vulnerable to them. The rookie Colston could be most difficult to contain.

And don't forget Bush's game-breaking skills any time he touches the ball.

When the Bears have the ball
So much has been made of the range of QB Rex Grossman's (8) performances, from impressive to inept. While he doesn't have to carry Chicago's offense, Grossman needs to be functional. And if the Saints move the ball freely, he'll need to be much more.

Grossman doesn't measure up to Brees, and the Bears don't want him put in that position. So Thomas Jones (20) and Cedric Benson (32) must be successful against a rush defense that ranked 23rd and was vulnerable against Philadelphia RB Brian Westbrook last week.

If Chicago runs well, Grossman can pick his spots throwing to Muhsin Muhammad (87), Bernard Berrian (80) and Rashied Davis (81), who made the 30-yard OT catch that set up the winning field goal against Seattle.

New Orleans has a strong pass rush led by ends Will Smith (91), who had 10 1/2 sacks, and Charles Grant (94), who had a great game against Philadelphia. Along with blitzes from the linebackers or DBs, the Saints want to make Grossman uncomfortable, which can lead to turnovers, as the Seahawks proved.

A key for both offenses will be the weather. If it is windy or icy, that should help the Bears slow down New Orleans' passing. Then Chicago could concentrate on limiting McAllister and Bush with standout LBs Urlacher and Briggs.

Special teams
Devin Hester (23) has put the special in Chicago's return teams, and PK Robbie Gould (9) also is an All-Pro. Hester set an NFL record with six returns for touchdowns, and he had another one called back by penalty vs. Seattle. Saints P Steve Weatherford (7), who ran for a first down when he saw his punt was about to be blocked by the Eagles, needs to avoid Hester. Same thing on kickoffs.

Gould nailed a 49-yard field goal in overtime to beat the Seahawks. He made his first 24 tries this season before New England blocked a 45-yard attempt, and was good on 32-of-36 overall.

Bears punter Brad Maynard (4) is a veteran who understands directional punting, which is critical in Soldier Field. Weatherford could struggle with that.

While Hester is the star kick returner, the Saints are no slouches with Bush and Michael Lewis (84). Bush's first NFL touchdown came on a punt return, but Lewis handles most of the duties.

John Carney (3), a 17-year veteran, doesn't have as strong a leg as Gould, but he's accurate.

The key here will be how much Hester impacts the game.

Coaching
The two most recent AP Coach of the Year winners face off.

Sean Payton not only turned around the Saints' fortunes - they were 3-13 as nomads last season - but he and his team helped in the revival of their community after Hurricane Katrina. They have written an uplifting story on and off the field.

Payton's varied offense takes advantage of the specialized skills of everyone, from the spectacular Bush and Colston to the rebuilt line.

Lovie Smith of the Bears is a defensive specialist, but his offense under coordinator Ron Turner was impressive this season. His faith in Grossman will be tested again Sunday.

Smith needs to get his defense back to its dominating ways, and that might not be possible without Harris and Brown.

The NFC title game could provide a classic matchup of offensive innovator against defensive mastermind.

Intangibles
The Saints have so many. They've been uplifted by a city that, in turn, they are lifting up with their performances. Although they've never been this far in 40 years, it's unlikely the pressurized atmosphere of a championship game will overwhelm them after what they went through a year ago.

In Brees, they have an All-Pro quarterback and leader. Don't look for him to flinch Sunday.

New Orleans also has the right karma - voodoo, perhaps?

The Bears had a superb first 10 games, winning nine. They were good enough in the final six games to win four, but they no longer are intimidating.

But they will be at home and the elements could help them get to their first Super Bowl since the 1985 powerhouse won it all


Really, and who said it?
Post #785532
AfricanMaster
1/20/2007     
Member Is it Sunday Yet?! Is it Sunday yet!? Come on I want to see the games!

Really, and who said it?
Post #785534 Back to top ▲
1/20/2007
  
AfricanMaster
Member
Is it Sunday Yet?! Is it Sunday yet!? Come on I want to see the games!

Really, and who said it?
Post #785534
AfricanMaster
1/20/2007     
Member People in Memphis will be rooting for Stephen Gostkowski.
Post #785537 Back to top ▲
1/20/2007
  
AfricanMaster
Member
People in Memphis will be rooting for Stephen Gostkowski.
Post #785537
AfricanMaster
1/21/2007     
Member Well the Saints had a tremendous season and the future looks bright. Chicago was just too dominant today.

Really, and who said it?
Post #785538 Back to top ▲
1/21/2007
  
AfricanMaster
Member
Well the Saints had a tremendous season and the future looks bright. Chicago was just too dominant today.

Really, and who said it?
Post #785538
AfricanMaster
1/22/2007     
Member This Game is crazy!!!!

Really, and who said it?
Post #785539 Back to top ▲
1/22/2007
  
AfricanMaster
Member
This Game is crazy!!!!

Really, and who said it?
Post #785539
AfricanMaster
1/22/2007     
Member Yeah!! The Colts did it. Finally got that monkey off their back.. lol

Really, and who said it?
Post #785541 Back to top ▲
1/22/2007
  
AfricanMaster
Member
Yeah!! The Colts did it. Finally got that monkey off their back.. lol

Really, and who said it?
Post #785541
AfricanMaster
1/22/2007     
Member OK,
There is only one game left. The Super Bowl.

Bears vs Colts..

Who you got?!

I am going with the COLTS!
Post #785542 Back to top ▲
1/22/2007
  
AfricanMaster
Member
OK,
There is only one game left. The Super Bowl.

Bears vs Colts..

Who you got?!

I am going with the COLTS!
Post #785542
Chang
1/23/2007     
Member I am pulling for the Colts, but I won't be upset if Lovie Smith gets a ring.

Post #785545 Back to top ▲
1/23/2007
  
Chang
Member
I am pulling for the Colts, but I won't be upset if Lovie Smith gets a ring.

Post #785545
AfricanMaster
1/23/2007     
Member Nick Saban sure screwed Miami bree..
Post #785547 Back to top ▲
1/23/2007
  
AfricanMaster
Member
Nick Saban sure screwed Miami bree..
Post #785547
AfricanMaster
1/23/2007     
Member No doubt, I see Cowher taking that position next year. I know they(Miami) hired someone else but I think they did that to buy some time..
Post #785549 Back to top ▲
1/23/2007
  
AfricanMaster
Member
No doubt, I see Cowher taking that position next year. I know they(Miami) hired someone else but I think they did that to buy some time..
Post #785549
AfricanMaster
1/24/2007     
Member By Pete Prisco
CBS SportsLine.com Senior Writer
Tell Pete your opinion!




Late Sunday night, as Peyton Manning walked to the locker room after the Indianapolis Colts beat the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game, he kept saying he had one more victory to go before he could really celebrate -- one more game before he could cement his legacy as one of the game's best quarterbacks ever.

This is what I said to him as he readies to face the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI:


Brian Urlacher's Bears face Peyton and Co. on the biggest stage in football. (US Presswire)
"Yeah, but it's against the NFC, so you have to like your chances."

Manning has owned the NFC the past three seasons in games that mattered. In 2004, he went 4-0 against the NFC, including beating the Bears 41-10. In 2005, he was 2-0 in games that mattered. He started the final two that season against the Cardinals and the Seahawks, but he played less than a quarter in each since the Colts had locked up everything.

That means he was 6-0 against the NFC heading into this season, and he went 3-1 in 2006. The only loss he suffered to an NFC team in a game that mattered in the past three seasons came against the Cowboys this season on the road. Manning and the Colts beat the Giants, Eagles and Redskins in the other three.

So why does Manning own the NFC? Colts coach Tony Dungy said a lot of it has to do with the way those teams defended him. Since they don't see the Colts on a regular basis like the Jaguars, Titans and Texans and some other AFC teams do, the NFC teams have had a tendency to blitz the heck out of Manning.

That's a mistake. He eats that alive.

In 2004, when he beat all the NFC North teams, he threw 19 touchdowns and one interception in those games. That's dominating. And all of those opponents came after him, using a lot of single-high safety.

If the Bears blitz him in the Super Bowl, Manning will have similar success. The AFC teams have played Manning with more seven-man fronts with zone behind it this season, making him work for his points.

Dungy said that has led to Manning becoming an even better player. Dungy and team president Bill Polian both said this has been Manning's best season, even if the numbers might not say so. That's high praise.

There's no reason to believe it won't continue in the Super Bowl, especially since the last time we checked the Bears were representing the NFC, a conference Manning has owned.

Here's a quick, early primer for Super Bowl XLI:

Mismatch
Bears kick returner Devin Hester vs. Colts kickoff coverage

The Colts had no answer for the Patriots' Ellis Hobbs, and Hester was the NFL's best return man during the regular season. Hobbs returned one kickoff 80 yards against the Colts, setting up one New England touchdown. Hester can do that and more. The Colts put some starters on their coverage teams in the playoffs, but they still got blocked against the Patriots. Some of that was because of low kicks by Adam Vinatieri. That will be killer against Hester.

Matchup we can't wait to see
Manning vs. Bears defense

The Chicago front seven is as aggressive as they come. But Manning is the best at the line of scrimmage identifying who is coming and from where. Much like the Ravens, the Bears will challenge his skills at the line of scrimmage.

Players on the spot
Colts: Manning. He is one game away from winning his first Super Bowl. Enough said.

Bears: Rex Grossman. He's not only matched against Manning, but he has so many people wondering if he can get the job done. Is he good enough to keep up if there is a shootout?

Player out of the spotlight who could be key
Colts: Rob Morris. Since he moved into the starting lineup ahead of Gilbert Gardner, the Colts have played the run much better. Morris, a former middle linebacker, is a big reason why as he plays the strong-side spot. He is a good run player, which the linebackers will have to be against the Bears.

Bears: John Tait. The left tackle has had a solid season, but he gets to face Dwight Freeney in the biggest game of all. Freeney is an explosive pass rusher who can change the game with one sack/fumble. Tait has to come up big for the Bears. He better hope the Bears don't fall behind.




Really, and who said it?
Post #785550 Back to top ▲
1/24/2007
  
AfricanMaster
Member
By Pete Prisco
CBS SportsLine.com Senior Writer
Tell Pete your opinion!




Late Sunday night, as Peyton Manning walked to the locker room after the Indianapolis Colts beat the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game, he kept saying he had one more victory to go before he could really celebrate -- one more game before he could cement his legacy as one of the game's best quarterbacks ever.

This is what I said to him as he readies to face the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI:


Brian Urlacher's Bears face Peyton and Co. on the biggest stage in football. (US Presswire)
"Yeah, but it's against the NFC, so you have to like your chances."

Manning has owned the NFC the past three seasons in games that mattered. In 2004, he went 4-0 against the NFC, including beating the Bears 41-10. In 2005, he was 2-0 in games that mattered. He started the final two that season against the Cardinals and the Seahawks, but he played less than a quarter in each since the Colts had locked up everything.

That means he was 6-0 against the NFC heading into this season, and he went 3-1 in 2006. The only loss he suffered to an NFC team in a game that mattered in the past three seasons came against the Cowboys this season on the road. Manning and the Colts beat the Giants, Eagles and Redskins in the other three.

So why does Manning own the NFC? Colts coach Tony Dungy said a lot of it has to do with the way those teams defended him. Since they don't see the Colts on a regular basis like the Jaguars, Titans and Texans and some other AFC teams do, the NFC teams have had a tendency to blitz the heck out of Manning.

That's a mistake. He eats that alive.

In 2004, when he beat all the NFC North teams, he threw 19 touchdowns and one interception in those games. That's dominating. And all of those opponents came after him, using a lot of single-high safety.

If the Bears blitz him in the Super Bowl, Manning will have similar success. The AFC teams have played Manning with more seven-man fronts with zone behind it this season, making him work for his points.

Dungy said that has led to Manning becoming an even better player. Dungy and team president Bill Polian both said this has been Manning's best season, even if the numbers might not say so. That's high praise.

There's no reason to believe it won't continue in the Super Bowl, especially since the last time we checked the Bears were representing the NFC, a conference Manning has owned.

Here's a quick, early primer for Super Bowl XLI:

Mismatch
Bears kick returner Devin Hester vs. Colts kickoff coverage

The Colts had no answer for the Patriots' Ellis Hobbs, and Hester was the NFL's best return man during the regular season. Hobbs returned one kickoff 80 yards against the Colts, setting up one New England touchdown. Hester can do that and more. The Colts put some starters on their coverage teams in the playoffs, but they still got blocked against the Patriots. Some of that was because of low kicks by Adam Vinatieri. That will be killer against Hester.

Matchup we can't wait to see
Manning vs. Bears defense

The Chicago front seven is as aggressive as they come. But Manning is the best at the line of scrimmage identifying who is coming and from where. Much like the Ravens, the Bears will challenge his skills at the line of scrimmage.

Players on the spot
Colts: Manning. He is one game away from winning his first Super Bowl. Enough said.

Bears: Rex Grossman. He's not only matched against Manning, but he has so many people wondering if he can get the job done. Is he good enough to keep up if there is a shootout?

Player out of the spotlight who could be key
Colts: Rob Morris. Since he moved into the starting lineup ahead of Gilbert Gardner, the Colts have played the run much better. Morris, a former middle linebacker, is a big reason why as he plays the strong-side spot. He is a good run player, which the linebackers will have to be against the Bears.

Bears: John Tait. The left tackle has had a solid season, but he gets to face Dwight Freeney in the biggest game of all. Freeney is an explosive pass rusher who can change the game with one sack/fumble. Tait has to come up big for the Bears. He better hope the Bears don't fall behind.




Really, and who said it?
Post #785550
AfricanMaster
1/24/2007     
Member Ten Super Bowl storylines you'll be sick of hearing

Jan. 23, 2007
By Larry Dobrow
Special to CBS SportsLine.com



We, the media, are smarter than you.

We like to remind you of this often, whether by railing about Bert Blyleven's statistical worthiness for the Hall of Fame, assessing the societal decay accelerated by NBA players wearing baggy shorts, or serving as judge, jury, executioner, body-language interpreter, amateur urine analyst and tsk-tsking soccer mom in anything involving performance-enhancing substances.


Please, Chicago fans, just leave the 'Shuffle' at home.
We are your lifeline to the world of sports. We report, you decide (actually, it's more like we report, you go "baaa! baaa!").

Nowhere are our tendencies to pontificate, moralize and grandstand more pronounced than during the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl. It's our time to shine. You puny readers are starved for information and opinions and you have nothing else to do. What, like you're going to watch and/or comment about the NHL All-Star Game? Please.

The problem: There exists a finite number of things to write about during the Super Bowl buildup, which results in the same few stories being rehashed over and over. Frankly, we run the risk not just of boring you, but boring ourselves.

Hence from my almighty perch on Mt. Journalism, I've decided to let fly a thunderbolt of clarity. For those who want a jump on the next two weeks of storylines, here's what you'll be reading until opening kickoff. Read 'em now and ignore 'em later, is the general idea. The items are listed in order of potential for overload and/or excessive media sanctimony.

1. Two black people coach the teams playing in Super Bowl XLI: Forget that they're both eminently qualified and, by all accounts, decent men who have done their jobs quite well over the last few weeks (um, except for that late Lovie Smith timeout against Seattle). Their skin color is the story, and anybody who suggests otherwise risks reducing the Super Bowl to an endeavor involving grown men and a ball. A bonus milk-chocolate replica Pulitzer goes to the first writer who attempts to link the first-black-coaches angle to other recent race/gender/ethnicity-related milestones, like Barack Obama's run for president or Nancy Pelosi's ascent to the post of House speaker.

2. Those two black people happen to be bestest buddies in the whole wide world: In perhaps the greatest display of selfless, unforced camaraderie since Ocean's Twelve, Smith attended the Chiefs-Colts clash -- a football coach, at a football game! -- to support his good pals Dungy and Herm Edwards. Here's hoping the evolution-of-a-friendship stories will contain many an anecdote about skimming rocks across the lake on lazy summer afternoons and singing Grease songs into hairbrushes at slumber parties.

3. The Manning family has finally won something that doesn't involve a deal to endorse Sugar Smacks:
Oh, sure, they hit the genetic lottery some time ago, and Peyton, Eli and Archie have all enjoyed more than their share of second-stage glories. All the same, we'll be hearing a lot about how Peyton has "made it over the hump," "gotten the monkey off his back" and "slain his cleft-chinned tormentor, Tom Brady."

The supremely likable Peyton -- who never misses a game and always represents his team and his sport with class -- was an easy Hall of Famer before he felled the Patriots ... and oh, are we going to hear about it. Me, I'd devote the space instead to the Colts' underrated and mostly anonymous offensive line (somebody's keeping Peyton upright, no?) and the unknown-outside-rotisserie-sports Dallas Clark.

Maybe we should just resolve to think of it this way: Even if Peyton blows it against the Bears, at least he gets upgraded from "loser like A-Rod" to "loser like Dan Marino."

4. Rex Grossman might be the bastard love child of Sean Salisbury and Rick Mirer, or he might be an OK quarterback going through a rough stretch:

Or maybe he's both -- gee, I wonder if Trent Dilfer is available for a quick consult. If you read a Rex-centric story that doesn't include the phrase "he must avoid mistakes on Sunday," you'll know it was written by a charlatan.

5. The 2006 Bears might not be quite as good as the 1985 Bears: In the many head-to-head comparisons to come, the 1985 version will get the nod on offense, defense, special teams, coaching, intangibles and propensity to inspire bowel-vacating fear in opposing quarterbacks. The 2006 team, however, will come out ahead in the all-important number of players with the last name of Brown (three, if you count injured safety Mike). Could Brian Urlacher have made himself useful -- maybe on passing downs -- in the famed 46 defense? That's one for Buddy Ryan to answer.

Here's an either/or question for you: The 2006 Bears or Ditka, on one leg, blindfolded and wearing a tunic, after eight beers? Gimme Ditka.

6. The Super Bowl marks a homecoming for [Insert player's name here]: [Player's name] grew up in Miami and played his high-school ball at [insert name of local high school]. While being interviewed at [insert name of local hangout and/or Joe's Stone Crab], [player] will note to the assembled media throng that he looks forward to "representin' [name of specific neighborhood]."

7. Super Bowl commercials cost a lot of dough, but are occasionally considered by non-sports fans to be more interesting than the game itself:
Yup. It will be pointed out that, by virtue of his appearance in a Nationwide ad, Kevin Federline officially enjoys more of a career than his ex-wife. Also, the cost of such ads -- a reported $2.6 million for 30 seconds of airtime alone, plus God knows how much more on production and such -- will be flogged in many a cultural-trend piece. By the way, roughly 3/192,764,287ths of CBS' ad loot will be diverted toward SportsLine.com editors and writers.

7a. The Super Bowl Shuffle 2007 boasts neither the swagger nor the rhythmic bombast of its 1985 predecessor: Still, I can't wait to hear the couplet that half-rhymes "Ogunleye" with "all the way."

8. Media Day is a total wankfest:

Because, see, there's about 3,000 guys with microphones and notepads, and they're all chasing the same stories. Of those 3,000, 2,925 will put pen to paper and note that nothing really gets said during Media Day. Hello, meta.

9. The Saints may not be in the big game, but the city of New Orleans is still pretty well screwed:

Excuse the editorializing. I doubt anyone will write that story -- it doesn't jell with the spirit of the occasion -- but it's worth remembering.

10. Colts = Red Sox; Patriots = Yankees:

Think Peyton as Pedro Martinez, Brady as Derek Jeter and the Colts' comeback from a 21-3 deficit as the Red Sox's resuscitation from a 3-0 black hole in the 2004 American League Championship Series. It doesn't take into effect the profound difference in the scope of the rivalries -- the Belichick Pats beat the Dungy Colts in the playoffs precisely twice, while the Yankees spent 80-odd years inserting various cylindrical-shaped objects into the orifices of Red Sox players and fans -- but for most of us, it'll do.


Really, and who said it?

This message was edited by AfricanMaster on 1-24-07 @ 5:43 PM
Post #785551 Back to top ▲
1/24/2007
  
AfricanMaster
Member
Ten Super Bowl storylines you'll be sick of hearing

Jan. 23, 2007
By Larry Dobrow
Special to CBS SportsLine.com



We, the media, are smarter than you.

We like to remind you of this often, whether by railing about Bert Blyleven's statistical worthiness for the Hall of Fame, assessing the societal decay accelerated by NBA players wearing baggy shorts, or serving as judge, jury, executioner, body-language interpreter, amateur urine analyst and tsk-tsking soccer mom in anything involving performance-enhancing substances.


Please, Chicago fans, just leave the 'Shuffle' at home.
We are your lifeline to the world of sports. We report, you decide (actually, it's more like we report, you go "baaa! baaa!").

Nowhere are our tendencies to pontificate, moralize and grandstand more pronounced than during the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl. It's our time to shine. You puny readers are starved for information and opinions and you have nothing else to do. What, like you're going to watch and/or comment about the NHL All-Star Game? Please.

The problem: There exists a finite number of things to write about during the Super Bowl buildup, which results in the same few stories being rehashed over and over. Frankly, we run the risk not just of boring you, but boring ourselves.

Hence from my almighty perch on Mt. Journalism, I've decided to let fly a thunderbolt of clarity. For those who want a jump on the next two weeks of storylines, here's what you'll be reading until opening kickoff. Read 'em now and ignore 'em later, is the general idea. The items are listed in order of potential for overload and/or excessive media sanctimony.

1. Two black people coach the teams playing in Super Bowl XLI: Forget that they're both eminently qualified and, by all accounts, decent men who have done their jobs quite well over the last few weeks (um, except for that late Lovie Smith timeout against Seattle). Their skin color is the story, and anybody who suggests otherwise risks reducing the Super Bowl to an endeavor involving grown men and a ball. A bonus milk-chocolate replica Pulitzer goes to the first writer who attempts to link the first-black-coaches angle to other recent race/gender/ethnicity-related milestones, like Barack Obama's run for president or Nancy Pelosi's ascent to the post of House speaker.

2. Those two black people happen to be bestest buddies in the whole wide world: In perhaps the greatest display of selfless, unforced camaraderie since Ocean's Twelve, Smith attended the Chiefs-Colts clash -- a football coach, at a football game! -- to support his good pals Dungy and Herm Edwards. Here's hoping the evolution-of-a-friendship stories will contain many an anecdote about skimming rocks across the lake on lazy summer afternoons and singing Grease songs into hairbrushes at slumber parties.

3. The Manning family has finally won something that doesn't involve a deal to endorse Sugar Smacks:
Oh, sure, they hit the genetic lottery some time ago, and Peyton, Eli and Archie have all enjoyed more than their share of second-stage glories. All the same, we'll be hearing a lot about how Peyton has "made it over the hump," "gotten the monkey off his back" and "slain his cleft-chinned tormentor, Tom Brady."

The supremely likable Peyton -- who never misses a game and always represents his team and his sport with class -- was an easy Hall of Famer before he felled the Patriots ... and oh, are we going to hear about it. Me, I'd devote the space instead to the Colts' underrated and mostly anonymous offensive line (somebody's keeping Peyton upright, no?) and the unknown-outside-rotisserie-sports Dallas Clark.

Maybe we should just resolve to think of it this way: Even if Peyton blows it against the Bears, at least he gets upgraded from "loser like A-Rod" to "loser like Dan Marino."

4. Rex Grossman might be the bastard love child of Sean Salisbury and Rick Mirer, or he might be an OK quarterback going through a rough stretch:

Or maybe he's both -- gee, I wonder if Trent Dilfer is available for a quick consult. If you read a Rex-centric story that doesn't include the phrase "he must avoid mistakes on Sunday," you'll know it was written by a charlatan.

5. The 2006 Bears might not be quite as good as the 1985 Bears: In the many head-to-head comparisons to come, the 1985 version will get the nod on offense, defense, special teams, coaching, intangibles and propensity to inspire bowel-vacating fear in opposing quarterbacks. The 2006 team, however, will come out ahead in the all-important number of players with the last name of Brown (three, if you count injured safety Mike). Could Brian Urlacher have made himself useful -- maybe on passing downs -- in the famed 46 defense? That's one for Buddy Ryan to answer.

Here's an either/or question for you: The 2006 Bears or Ditka, on one leg, blindfolded and wearing a tunic, after eight beers? Gimme Ditka.

6. The Super Bowl marks a homecoming for [Insert player's name here]: [Player's name] grew up in Miami and played his high-school ball at [insert name of local high school]. While being interviewed at [insert name of local hangout and/or Joe's Stone Crab], [player] will note to the assembled media throng that he looks forward to "representin' [name of specific neighborhood]."

7. Super Bowl commercials cost a lot of dough, but are occasionally considered by non-sports fans to be more interesting than the game itself:
Yup. It will be pointed out that, by virtue of his appearance in a Nationwide ad, Kevin Federline officially enjoys more of a career than his ex-wife. Also, the cost of such ads -- a reported $2.6 million for 30 seconds of airtime alone, plus God knows how much more on production and such -- will be flogged in many a cultural-trend piece. By the way, roughly 3/192,764,287ths of CBS' ad loot will be diverted toward SportsLine.com editors and writers.

7a. The Super Bowl Shuffle 2007 boasts neither the swagger nor the rhythmic bombast of its 1985 predecessor: Still, I can't wait to hear the couplet that half-rhymes "Ogunleye" with "all the way."

8. Media Day is a total wankfest:

Because, see, there's about 3,000 guys with microphones and notepads, and they're all chasing the same stories. Of those 3,000, 2,925 will put pen to paper and note that nothing really gets said during Media Day. Hello, meta.

9. The Saints may not be in the big game, but the city of New Orleans is still pretty well screwed:

Excuse the editorializing. I doubt anyone will write that story -- it doesn't jell with the spirit of the occasion -- but it's worth remembering.

10. Colts = Red Sox; Patriots = Yankees:

Think Peyton as Pedro Martinez, Brady as Derek Jeter and the Colts' comeback from a 21-3 deficit as the Red Sox's resuscitation from a 3-0 black hole in the 2004 American League Championship Series. It doesn't take into effect the profound difference in the scope of the rivalries -- the Belichick Pats beat the Dungy Colts in the playoffs precisely twice, while the Yankees spent 80-odd years inserting various cylindrical-shaped objects into the orifices of Red Sox players and fans -- but for most of us, it'll do.


Really, and who said it?

This message was edited by AfricanMaster on 1-24-07 @ 5:43 PM
Post #785551
AfricanMaster
2/4/2007     
Member Finally the game!!

GO COLTS!!!!

Really, and who said it?
Post #785552 Back to top ▲
2/4/2007
  
AfricanMaster
Member
Finally the game!!

GO COLTS!!!!

Really, and who said it?
Post #785552
AfricanMaster
2/5/2007     
Member Congratulations to the Indianapolis Colts for Winning the Super Bowl!!.. Peyton Manning and Tony Dungy have silenced their critics in the same manner Bill Cowher did last year. The only person left to get that Monkey off his back (Who is still active in the NFL.) is Marty Schottenheimer. Next year is your year Marty.

Thanks to everyone who participated in this year’s message board and I will see everyone back here next year.

AM


Really, and who said it?

This message was edited by AfricanMaster on 2-5-07 @ 9:58 AM
Post #785553 Back to top ▲
2/5/2007
  
AfricanMaster
Member
Congratulations to the Indianapolis Colts for Winning the Super Bowl!!.. Peyton Manning and Tony Dungy have silenced their critics in the same manner Bill Cowher did last year. The only person left to get that Monkey off his back (Who is still active in the NFL.) is Marty Schottenheimer. Next year is your year Marty.

Thanks to everyone who participated in this year’s message board and I will see everyone back here next year.

AM


Really, and who said it?

This message was edited by AfricanMaster on 2-5-07 @ 9:58 AM
Post #785553
Chang
2/5/2007     
Member Now that was a good game. I finally called something right?? WOW!!!

I felt bad for Grossman, If he gets a teflon coating and some fine tuning, he'll be back to the big one with another franchise but Chicago will be hard on him. ( Fans not Team)
.

He did hand the Colt's the solidifying victory.



and for all Dungy had to deal with last year I am most happy for him.



Post #785554 Back to top ▲
2/5/2007
  
Chang
Member
Now that was a good game. I finally called something right?? WOW!!!

I felt bad for Grossman, If he gets a teflon coating and some fine tuning, he'll be back to the big one with another franchise but Chicago will be hard on him. ( Fans not Team)
.

He did hand the Colt's the solidifying victory.



and for all Dungy had to deal with last year I am most happy for him.



Post #785554
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