Thursday, February 3, 2005

Super Bowl Preview, Part 3

Ok, since my first venture into the non-sports topics went off with no negative comments and a nice mention from "The Holywriter," and since there's no news coming out of J-ville except Freddie Mitchell's lunatic ranting... I think I'll lead off with non-sports stuff

The death of a great website.

One of my favorite websites died this week. The creative forces behind
Grudge Match, a website that pitted pop culture icons against each other with web surfers determining the outcome, has decided to hang it up. If you've never heard of the site, I'm sorry you missed out.

I used to look forward to each posting every other week for 2 reasons. First, the commentators were just laugh out loud hilarious in the way they trashed the competitors and each other. Second, some of the contests they had were hilarious. Among the matches they posted over their history were:
A hot air balloon race in between Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern, John Madden vs. The Fridge in an eating contest, a lawsuit between Microsoft and Disney, The French Army fighting English Soccer Hooligans after a World Cup match in France (this match was 6 years prior to the Iraq conflict and people were piling on on the French then!), and a road rally featuring Speed Racer, the Blues Brothers, and the Dukes of Hazzard.

Sadly after 10 years, they just ran out of creative ideas and decided to call it quits. Sad because it was a reminder of a simpler, more innocent time on the web when all you needed was an original idea, some HTML knowledge and a few scripts to put up a fun website.

Makes you wonder, in 10 years, how many of the bloggers of today will still be around?

Bitter, Bitter Longhorn Fan.

So national signing day came and went and Ryan Perriloux, the guy whom Texas really wanted and thought they had, suddenly changed his mind and went to LSU. Which meant for the first time since Mack Brown was UT head coach, Texas will not have a top-10 recruiting class.
Naturally, Longhorn Fan is bent. Longhorn Fan has called Bucky and Erin (and all the other local shows here in Austin) and said every nasty thing they can about Ryan Perriloux. All the local hosts have even had to cut off some people for cursing. I have never heard such vitriol in my life.

Please, Longhorn fan, give it a rest. You don't really know how good he is. You don't know if he's just all hype. None of that recruiting BS you paid for is accurate anyway. And finally, I know this may come as a shock to you, Longhorn Fan, but I'm gonna let you in on a little secret:

Not everyone wants to play football for Texas!

So please, get on with your lives.

Super Bowl Preview Part 3: The Little Things

Special Teams
Both teams have Pro Bowl caliber kickers in Adam Vinateri and David Akers. Neither team has a kick return unit or punt return unit that is spectacular or game-changing. What may make a difference in favor of New England, however, is that Philadelphia is handing over the punt return duties to Brian Westbrook, who hasn't fielded a punt during the playoff run. You can't change things like this before any big game, much less the Super Bowl. You run the risk of turnovers that way.
Edge: slightly to the Patriots because of the one substitution, otherwise it's even

Turnovers
Turnovers get their own category because they turn close games into blowouts and vice versa. I know it's cliche that you can't turn the ball over, but it's true. Remember Super Bowl XXX? Two turnovers by Larry Brown decided that game. Remember the Super Bowl two years ago? Turnovers made an evenly matched game a blowout.

So, the stat lines on each team:
Philadelphia - 27 takeaways, 16 giveaways, +11 turnover margin, 2nd in the NFC
New England - 30 takeaways, 20 giveaways, +10 turnover margin, 5th in the AFC

Hmm... Well, New England did force a lot of picks from Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger so I'm going with the Patriots on this one.
Edge: Patriots

Coaching
No one has been as good over the last 4 years as Bill Belichick. Andy Reid, though, has kept the Eagles consistently good over the past 4 years through free agent defections and roster turnover. Even though this is their first Super Bowl trip in 4 years, that has to count for something.
However, Reid seems to be trying to add new wrinkles at the last minute. If he's already made Westbrook the punt returner, what else is he going to try? Changing things at the last minute never works.
Gotta go with Belichick here. He's learned not to add anything new on Super Bowl Week.
Edge: Patriots

Tomorrow: Super Bowl Preview Part 4, and my pick.

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