Posts Tagged ‘Superbowl’

I had already seen the jerseys and boots worn by some of the most incredible and unforgettable players in NFL history, and my jaw had hit the floor after I was about a metre away from the goddamn Superbowl trophy.

Couldn’t get any better right? Yes it could. The most untidy queue I had ever been part of wound its way around the Hall of Fame tent outside Wembley stadium to none other than a winners ring from every Superbowl ever played.

Despite being rushed through the exhibit and told I could not take any photographs I put my camera lens on close up focus and tried to snap as many rings as I could in about 30 seconds. The results were varied to say the least but I did manage to get some absolute crackers.

If you are reading this blog and I capture one of your team’s Superbowl rings I hope they bring a smile to your face….

Superbowl XLI

Superbowl 41 ring - won by Indianapolis Colts

Superbowl XLIII

This special Superbowl ring celebrates the Pittsburgh Steelers six wins, including earlier this year with this ring

Superbowl XVII

One for all you Washington Redskins fans the ring from their first Superbowl victory in 1983

Superbowl XXXIII

John Elway led the Denver Broncos to their second Superbowl in 1999 - this is the ring he won

Superbowl III

Joe Namath guaranteed this Superbowl win for the New York Jets in the 60s

Superbowl XXXV

This is a Baltimore Ravens Superbowl ring won in 2001

Superbowl XXXIV

Kurt Warner led the St Louis Rams to this Superbowl ring in 2000

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One day my wife and I will go to a Superbowl, but until then we will huddle round the tv in the living room with bottles of Budweiser, toffee popcorn, Doritos and dips, Peanut M&Ms and some Diet Pepsi just a metre away.

I have to admit that I did not think the NFL would actually trust the Great British public by bringing a real Superbowl trophy to the NFL International game in London last Sunday.

Well I was as wrong as Janet Jackson’s nipple jewellery as the NFL, with some help from a couple of not very burly minders, let the NFL tailgate party fans get within one metre of the Vince Lombardi trophy.

Seeing the shiny silver accolade, the dream realised, the ultimate prize, the single reason any man puts on pads in the NFL right in front of my very eyes was truly humbling.

Whilst I will never be able to lift the trophy above my head after 60 minutes of football, getting this close was a very special occasion, and one I will never forget.

Shall I try to grab the Superbowl trophy and make a dash for it?

DSC08647

I'm sure Vince Lombardi is perplexed that his trophy was in London

I can't wait to see #12 throw a bomb to #81
I can’t wait to see #12 throw a bomb to #81

Its now just under twenty-four hours until I park my rear in the gods of Wembley Stadium to witness two future Hall of Fame enshrinees have some fun beneath the giant arch and the drizzly London sky.

 
This will be my third year in a row attending a regular season NFL game at Wembley, having seen the New York Giants swim past the Miami Dolphins 13-10 (2007) and the New Orleans Saints outgun the San Diego Chargers 37-32 (2008).
 
It will be my 9th NFL game, having been present at six NFL pre-season games in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
 
Without doubt Tom Brady and Randy Moss are THE biggest names to come to Wembley in the three years of NFL International Series games.
 
Brady with his three Superbowl winners rings and two Superbowl MVP trophies and Moss with…. well bizarrely no Superbowl wins at all and only one appearance.
 
To any non-UK fans reading this and curious about the pre-game hype over on this side of the pond, I must say that it has barely registered a blip on the zeitgeist of contemporary popular culture.
 
There was quite a decent article about Brady in the Independent newspaper today – the writer James Corrigan managed to draft a whole page of text without mentioning William ‘the Fridge’ Perry. I did spot one mistake – he spelt Bernard Pollard, the Chiefs safety who knocked Brady out of the 2008 season, with an extra h Bernhard. Maybe Bernard thought he deserved the hard title for keeping the Patriots away from a fourth Vince Lombadi trophy.
 
Talking of Vince Lombardi trophies an email from the marketing bods at NFLUK said that every single Superbowl trophy will be at the official tailgate party – if that is really the case then that is simply amazing.
 
Maybe if no-one is looking Ill grab one of the three Redskins Superbowl trophies (XVII, XXII or XXVI) after all about the only trophy the Redskins will be adding to their display cabinet is ‘Worst offense in NFL history’.
 
Above all I love the fact the NFL is still committed to trying to expand the game around the world. I wonder how many NEW fans are going to Wembley tomorrow? I would be interested to see how many repeat offenders there will be attending?
 
Unfortunately one person who will not be making it three in a row in my Black Country pal Garry. Garry and his wife Heather had prepared a bar-b-q behind the stadium for my wife and I in 2007 and 2008. This time they are on a USA road trip. Gaz – the game simply wont be the same. That and the fact we will be pocket raped by Wembley Stadium catering services.
 
Lets hope the drizzle and the 0-6 Tampa Bay Buccaneers dont get in the way of some Brady to Moss fireworks.
Half a yard from a big payday - and I'n not talking a King Size peanut based snack bar
Half a yard from a big payday – and I’m not talking a King Size peanut based snack bar

I’m over it now, but it took me almost 48 hours to calm my hulk like rage following the Ben Roethlisberger touchdown that never was in Sunday’s Superbowl.

I had £8 on Big Ben to score the first touchdown of the game on a run, and when he took off scrambling I saw the £’s flashing in front of my eyes as I got 33-1 odds on that event occurring.
I didn’t quite celebrate as I knew it was a close call, but the commentators in the London Sky Sports studio, which included former Cardinals QB Jay Schroeder, all agreed that Roethlisberger had crossed the line. See here for the play so you can make your own mind up.
Once I saw the red flag on the Raymond James Stadium field I had a bad feeling – but I also knew I could be time to celebrate.
When the ref reversed the call on the field I was gutted to say the least and I let out a few choice words in my living room.
On cold reflection two days later  his knee was down and it was a helluva tackle by Darnell Dockett, who could have been in the running for MVP had the Cardinals held on.
It was a superb game (aside from that play!) and I absolutely loved the momentum shifts, the Cardinals fightback and the way Santonio Holmes stepped up and said ‘I will take responsibility for us moving downfield’ (probably a bit more dramatically broadcast in the huddle).
Dominique Rogers-Cromartie had a fantastic rookie season, but he was picked on at the Superbowl, as was Cardinals safety Aaron Francisco. The Cardinals showed the world that they deserved to be in the big game, but the Steelers showed why the won their sixth title, by finding the very small flaws in the Cardinals defense.
This was a game for the ages, and in the end the better team just about won. Congratulations to the Steelers for title six, and a big round of applause to the Cardinals for making this game one that will not be forgotten in a hurry.
Big Ben I forgive you for falling short on that td run, but next time you take off in the first quarter of a Superbowl (and yes I do think he will be back again before his career is over) give it that extra little bit of effort please. For the sake of my wife’s sensitive ears. 
Anyone else lose money on the Super Bowl? Let the world know
I think Boldin will be the MVP

I think Boldin will be the MVP

It’s my favourite day of the year today. Better than my birthday, better than Christmas, even better than that feeling when you know you have just done your last shift at work before a two week break. It’s Superbowl Sunday.

It’s a day that is unlike any other as evey play on Superbowl Sunday becomes part of NFL folklore, every catch, every tackle, every kick, every block, all immortalised by the incredible people at NFL Films.

Over the past week here in England those who have a subscription to the Sky Sports satellite channels have had the privilege of watching every episode of  ‘America’s Game’.

Seeing the rags to riches tale of Kurt Warner in 1999, the dominating defenses of the ’85 Bears, the ’00 Ravens and the ’02 Buccaneers, along with the  legendary Dolphins, Steelers, Redskins, and Raiders teams (to name a few) of the past 40 years it makes you realise that this Sunday is more than just a game, it is a notch in the giant oak tree of history. A notch that is permanent, a notch that is there forever for all to see.

This game between the Arizona Cardinals and Pittsburgh Steelers sees one team that is historically a by-word for ineptitude, for losing and for afterthought against a team that boasts five Superbowl wins and five Superbowl trophies in their creaking trophy cabinet.

I think (as a neutral) I will have the same pre-game feelings as many of you out there. I want the Cardinals to win (I have even bet £10.00 on them to win by 7 to 12 points at 8-1) but I cannot look beyond the Steelers defense. The cliche is true ‘offense wins games – defense wins championships’. It’s true, and watching America’s Game just makes that statement bigger and bolder than ever.

I saw John Madden interviewed this week and he was asked for a prediction – he said no one predicts, we all just guess. I agree, and so for the record and so you can poke fun at me on Monday here are my guesses regarding Superbowl XLIII………..

Final Score – Cardinals 28-21 Steelers – I reckon Warner tosses three touchdowns (two to Boldin one to Edgarrin James) and Tim Hightower gets the Cardinals 4th. Ill go with a Roethlisberger run, a Hines Ward catch and a Heath Miller catch for the three Steelers touchdowns.

Game MVP – Anquan Boldin – Arizona Cardinals WR – (9 catches 111 yards 2 touchdowns)  My thought process behind Boldin is based on the fact that Fitzgerald will be the man who will have his #11 jersey followed around the Tampa Bay field like a sniper on a target. Boldin has had bad press for calling out his offensive coordinator, but we all know he has incredible hands and some pretty good speed. Boldin can get the MVP if the gameplan is aimed at getting him the ball, just like Deion Branch for the Patriots in Superbowl XXXIX (2005).

 Now lets see who you think will be MVP and why…………..

Timmy Smith (left) was so under the radar before Superbowl XXII that his blip did not register - 204 rushing yards later he became immortal

Timmy Smith (left) was so under the radar before Superbowl XXII that his blip did not register - 204 rushing yards later he became immortal

We all know that this is a game featuring two previos Superbowl winning quarterbacks (not sure how many times this has happened before  – maybe Superbowl XIII Roger Staubach v Terry Bradshaw) but we all like to root for players that have the potential to make the Superbowl the best game in their entire career that NOBODY would have predicted.

Examples of Superbowl ‘Under the Radar’ players who had amazing Superbowls include…..

  • Timmy Smith the Redskins running back who ran for 204 yards in Superbowl XXII (1988) against the Broncos. What isn’t so well known is that Smith went to prison in 2006 for trying to sell cocaine to an undercover policeman – unreal I know – see here Number 6.
  • Larry Brown the Cowboys cornerback who had two interceptions and an eventual MVP award in Superbowl XXX. What istn’t so well know is that Brown only had 14 career interceptions and has appeared in an episode of Married with Children – as himself.
  • Wide receivers Andre Coleman (San Diego Chargers) and Desmond Howard (Green Bay Packers) remarkably both have recorded 244 combined yards (rushing, receiving, returning) in the Superbowl (in separate games). Coleman’s achievement is even more special as he was a rookie when he took on the 49ers in Superbowl XXIX. Howard who was drafted by the Redskins and was a bust was immortalised forever when he returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown against the New England Patriots.

So no pressure there then for some players that will not be household names but could have their names etched in Superbowl granite for the next 43 years.

Here goes then – five players that could have mindblowing games but no-one is talking about them right now…..

  •  Mewelde Moore– Pittsburgh Steelers – running back – If Willie Parker has the bad fortune of getting injured again early in the game (bearing in mind he has missed 5 games this season already) Moore could get his opportunity on a global stage. Moore racked up over 1,100 total yards in 2008 and his versatility in rushing, catching and returning and as an everyman he could have a monster game if fate deals his hand.
  • JJ Arrington– Arizona Cardinals – running back – Arrington actually tops Moore with over 1,350 total yards in 2008. As a kick returner Arrington has taken two kick returns ‘to da house’ in his career, and as miracles do happen what is the odds of him taking one back against the Steelers of all people. He could also find himself unmarked in the red zone and catch a touchdown that may turn the game, just like Tim Hightowed did two weeks ago against the Eagles.
  • Neil Rackers– Arizona Cardinals – kicker – With the Pittsburgh Steelers bringing their #1 ranked defense to Florida the Cardinals could be struggling in the red-zone so we could get to some bizarre situation when it comes down to Rackers having the game of his life with potentially six converted field goals. No kicker will ever get a Superbowl MVP award, but racking up something crazy like 18 points would be unforgettable.
  • Jerheme Urban– Arizona Cardinals – wide receiver – With Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin being salivated over by the American media and Steve Breaston being a new member of the 1,000 yard club Urban, the Cards 4th wideout, could be the straw that breaks the Steelers pass defense. Urban has great hands and is a Wes Welker ‘Lite’. If he is left alone, or seen as an afterthought he could get 8 catches for 100 yards and maybe even a score. It’s unlikely, but we know that any given sunday is a cliche with real bite.
  • Nate Washington– Pittsburgh Steelers – wide receiver – Washington is a pure and simple game breaker. He can get a 70 yard touchdown or be swept away by a lockdown CB. As a 3rd WR he will be overlooked in some situations and get his chance to shine. I know Big Ben likes to throw him a few bones every game – normally monster bombs – this could simply be the stage when he makes two catches for 120 yards and two tds.

Anyone elsoe got any ‘under the radar’ picks for the Superbowl? Please post in the comments section of my blog – I will be facinated to read them……….

supab-owl

I love statistics and I love watching Super Bowls. 

It will in fact be my 23rd consecutive Superbowl that I will be viewing on tv in England.

To celebrate the game and to make the week leading up to the Superbowl a bit more personal to you all I would like you to post answers to twenty questions below in the comments section of this post.

Whilst I cannot promise a cash prize to the most accurate I will do an email interview with the winner and do a post devoted to your favourite NFL team.

So how do you play this quiz – Well it has 10 questions which can be answered YES or NO and then 10 questions which require either names or numbers. All questions are based on Superbowl XLIII between the Arizona Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Round 1 – The YES or NO round (1 point per correct answer)

1) Will Kurt Warner pass for over 250 yards?

2) Will Willie Parker gain over 100 yards rushing?

3) Will Larry Fitzgerald lead all players (both teams) in recieving yards?

4) Will Troy Polamanu get an interception?

5) Will Steelers TE Heath Miller get a touchdown?

6) Will either Kurt Warner or Ben Roethlisberger get a rushing touchdown?

7) Will there be over 50 points scored in total (by both teams combined) in the game?

8) Will Cardinals RB Tim Hightower score a touchdown?

 9) Will there be 5 or more sacks (by both teams combined) in the game?

10) Will there be a touchdown (of any type) of 50 yards or longer?

Round 2 – The Name round

11) Who will be the game MVP?

12) Who will be the leading rusher in the game?

13) Who will be the leading receiver in the game by yards?

14) Who will be the leading receiver in the game by catches?

15) Who if anyone will get two (or more) sacks? (you can answer nobody)

Round 3 – The number round

16) How many interceptions will be thrown in the game (total by both teams)?

17) How many total touchdowns will be scored (total by both teams)?

18) Which quarter will feature the most points scored (combined)?

19) How many players will record a sack?

20) What will be the length of the longest field goal kicked?

Good luck – I look forward to the entries below in the comments part of this blog post.