Archive for February, 2010

My Super Bowl XLIV program was fresh from Miami !

Just wanted to say a big thank you to a Vikings fan who was hoping to see Favre and Co play in Super Bowl XLIV, and instead had to go to Miami minus his beloved Purple People Eaters.

Scott Olson is a dear friend who is in my Action PC Football leagues, and is also the man that kindly picked me up a copy of the Super Bowl XLIV program from Miami itself.

Despite the disappointment of having to watch the New Orleans Saints lift the Super Bowl for the NFC Scott remembered to purchase a program for me.

I know Scott ended up having a good time in Miami, trust me it is very hard not to, but I am grateful that he grabbed me a sparkly covered program.

It only arrived today so I have only had a quick flick, but I have already read a great article about Super Bowl memorabilia, and discovered that Santonio Holmes gloves he wore to catch the winning touchdown in Super Bowl XLIII fetched $70,000 at auction.

Scott also added some local Minnesota newspaper sports supplements – they will be a great read as I commute on the train over the next few days.

Thanks again Scott and I hope for your sake that Favre comes back for one more try at the object on the front of the program above.

One way to combat the off-season blues - watching people play Madden

I recently upgraded to a bit of High Definition (HD) Sky TV, meaning better clarity for sports events, and stunning detail on some cool shows such as Lost and 24.

Whilst HD is not the greatest thing since sliced bread, getting it on Sky does mean a few extra channels that I had never watched (or even heard of).

One of the new HD channels I can now get is Rush HD (Sky Channel 452), a mix of extreme sports and computer game shows, including would you believe a whole 1 hour show a week devoted to the NFL Madden game.

Pubescent boys and young men looking like wannabe gangstas are pitted against each other to see who has the best XBOX 360 Madden skills.

The show airing at 11pm on a Friday night is certainly one for the Sky+ recording system, but as a fun thing to watch on a lazy Saturday morning/afternoon it can’t be beat.

The Madden Challenge is unfortunately using the Madden 2008 game, so most of the competitors, who had won regional heats across America to qualify for the televised stages, are either the New England Patriots (Randy Moss is scarily good on that version) or the San Diego Chargers (with a fully fit Ladanian Tomlinson and Cromartie at his career peak).

The host wears some pretty nasty shirts, which remind me of the ones Will Smith wore when he was in the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and the show has two fully grown men wearing those giant black headphones that commentators have when they are broadcasting live from a packed out stadium.

The young men competing are a mix of geeks and cocksure jocks, but watching the action is entertaining. The rules are not fully explained, but there is a mercy rule that if you have a lead of over 28 points I think you automatically win.

Above all it is a bit of a healthy break from the next two months worth of draft speculation, which even for the most avid fan, will get a bit tiresome by the time we hear analysis on Division II long snapper prospects.

As it says in the title of this post – anyone else watching this?

People seem to like searching for pictures of Super Bowl rings so I have searched my archives and added the four remaining pictures I took from the NFL Hall of Fame exhibition at the 2009 NFL International game held in London.

Enjoy……

The Kansas City Chiefs only Super Bowl win in 1969

The Bart Starr led Green Bay Packers won Superbowl II

The Cowboys won their second Super Bowl in the 1970s

This is Eli Mannings Super Bowl ring from the greatest upset in Super Bowl history

Broncos QB John Elway had a bad day at the office in Super Bowl XXIV

I was only 15 when the San Francisco 49ers pulled down the collective pants of the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXIV (1990).

I wasn’t legally allowed to bet, but I somehow convinced my mum to go into our local high-street bookmakers and put £5 on the 49ers winning the game by 35 points or more.

Made a small fortune that weekend, but more importantly the memory of Joe Montana clinically tearing apart the Broncos secondary was one I will never forget.

Anyone who witnessed the sub zero coolness of Montana in his previous three Super Bowl appearances would not have shown an iota of surprise as the team in orange were squashed like a bag of Jaffas in a juicer.

I’m sure this game in some small part influenced the decision to bring the Denver Broncos and the San Francisco 49ers to London to play in the fourth annual NFL International game in England.

These were two teams that in the 1980s would have inspired people from across the UK to find a home in their heart for the NFL, either as glory supporters (like the sheep over here in England that started supporting the Patriots after 2000), or as fans of the eternal underdog.

Anyone becoming (and staying to this day) a Broncos fan after seeing the guts it took John Elway and his team mates to embark upon another NFL season after being slaughtered in three Super Bowls in a four-year stretch, deserved total respect in my book.

I wonder how many other fans have booked tickets to see the 49ers v Broncos at Wembley Stadium on Halloween 2010 will dust down their NFL memory archive and remember the day Montana, Rice, Craig and Rathman looked like school bullies who had not only stolen the Broncos players lunch money, but had them marched the down to the bank one by one and ordered them at gunpoint to withdraw all their cash and give it to the team in red and gold.

Who else remembers Super Bowl XXIV so fondly?

Is Ozzie a genius for signing Stallworth?

I think Ozzie Newsome is one of the best general managers in the NFL.

He drafts wisely and knows how to find talent amongst the frozen sea of mediocrity, but I have to put into question his latest personnel decision.

Hiring convicted drunk driver Donte Stallworth could turn out to be a move typical of a Russian chess master, but equally it could backfire like a chav’s pimped up Ford Fiesta with neon strip lighting and tinted windows.

Here are a few facts about WR Stallworth that you may or may not know;

– He has never started all 16 games in a season

– He has never reached 1,000 receiving yards in a season

– He has 101 receptions in the last 4 NFL seasons

– His best receiving TD output was just 7 in 2005

– The Ravens is Stallworth’s 5th team

– Stallworth has over 30,000 Twitter followers

Stallworth has always promised a lot but delivered little.

The Ravens are not the Bengals or the Raiders, homes to the outcasts, the lost souls, the proverbial un-dead stuck in transit, so the fact they took a gamble on Stallworth means they have spotted something that a whole bunch of other teams have not.

I am surprised how quickly Stallworth has been snapped up just days after he was reinstated to the NFL (and then immediately released by the Cleveland Browns).

$900,000 and a 1 year deal is by no means the biggest risk in the world taken by the Ravens, but I feel it will all end in tears.

The Ravens do need to upgrade their receiving corps, but this move is a little early, and a little surprising.

DO you think Stallworth will make the final cut come August? Can he be reborn or is this a bit of straw clutching by Mr Newsome?

I know how you feel Vince - its a bloody long NFL offseason

This picture of Vince Young (in his Texas Longhorn days) sums up my feeling right now.

It’s time for a case of the NFL offseason blues.

No games, no hits, no touchdowns, no pick six’s, no Vince Lombardi trophies being kissed, and no pigskins being thrust through the air like little brown missiles.

So what is there to do between now and August for a devoted NFL lover?

Here are some ideas to prevent the pain……

1) Buy Action PC Football (www.dksports.com) and join one of the many leagues that offer contemporary play or retro seasons. I am about to re-enact the 1983 season as the Washington Redskins.

2) Get bitten by the podcast bug. There are a whole load of NFL related podcasts available from iTunes. They include ESPN Around the Horn, ESPN Pardon the Interruption, ESPN Football Today (which has just gone from daily to weekly), The Audible and NFL Rants and Raves. A few weeks ago I also discovered the Tony Kornheiser radio show, Tony is much funnier, less shouty and talks about more than just football (topics such as his dying dog and snow !).

3) Play Goal Line Blitz – It is a free to join game where you create players and can eventually own your own team. Check this link to find out more; http://goallineblitz.com/game/signup.pl?ref=1622946



Super Bowl XLIV MVP Drew Brees 32 completions were all things of beauty

Say it loud and say it proud the New Orleans Saints are Super Bowl champions.

The Aints tag is gone forever, after the Saints scored 25 second half points against the favoured Indianapolis Colts.

Yes this is Louisiana’s time, and for owner Tom Benson it is a dream that has come true.

I loved Drew Brees coolness after going 10 points down in the first period, and I loved Tracey Porter’s pick six, but Sean Payton’s decision to go for that onside kick showed bigger balls than a man with a broken leg doing the Pamplona Bull Run.

Now Drew Brees will get the headlines but to me there was one guy who the New Orleans Saints owe a game ball to, special teams dynamo Chris Reis #39.

Reis recovered an early Courtney Roby kick return fumble and then was at the bottom of the Super Bowl’s biggest ever pile to recover that third quarter onside kick. He also got at least one special teams tackle that I can remember.

Chris Reis take a bow my friend you are a Super Bowl champion and you will soon be fitted for a ring with a Saints logo and probably the phrase ‘ Who dat’.

For the Saints the ‘Who dat’ tag is now gone forever – they are champions.

Time for bed for me here in England as it has just gone 3.00am.

PS – I did predict a Saints win and Brees to be MVP !!!