Let’s get Gronk – Key Player Breakdown for Superbowl 2015

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Now you know a little about the coaches but they’re not really the ones you’ll be watching on Sunday and certainly not the ones bound to amuse us over the media parade that is this coming week. So let’s talk players.

Quarterbacks – Old Guard Vs. New Guard

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Tom Brady is quarterback Royalty. When you ask someone who doesn’t know football for the one name they know, they’ll give you his. But it wasn’t always so easy for him. Tom was the youngest child of 4, with three older sisters and those hair pulling sessions must have been more merciless than any line of scrimmage he’s seen since! But quite seriously at college he was hugely undervalued and when the draft came he was chosen a disappointing 199th overall in the 6th round. Analysts have since said that he was the greatest draft pick of all time.

Indianapolis Colts v New England Patriots

He struggled and worked his way into a starter position and eventually became the better half of the Brady/Belichick dynasty that has dominated football for the last decade. Brady has played his entire professional career with the Patriots and is in every sense of the word ‘a franchise player’ – he embodies the values that the franchise holds and is unflinchingly loyal. Thank goodness he looks good in Navy and Red – but honestly he’d probably look good in any colour. On top of his many football related achievements he has beaten out a bunch of other, very attractive men to become Glam Mags ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ for the second year in a row. On top of that he has three kids. A son from his beautiful ex girlfriend and a son and daughter from his supermodel wife Gisele Bundchen who by the way, nearly broke twitter with all her excited emojies after the AFC win.

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But Brady has been on top a long time. He’s hosted SNL, voiced himself on The Simpsons and Family Guy and most recently done this just laughable photo shoot. To me, that dog collar says – I’m here and that Dobermans not taking me anywhere! But the next two weeks will be tough for him. The Pats were just accused of deflating their footballs below regulation in the AFC championship game. They’re being investigated over the next few weeks and unfortunately, this is one scandal he’ll have a hard time passing off on his evil looking coach. Brady has admitted to preferring footballs with less air and it’s hard to believe that one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time wouldn’t notice that his football didn’t feel quite right or that someone else would mess with them.

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But what about Russell Wilson? This is Russell’s third year in the league so his resume couldn’t possibly measure up to Brady’s. It’s impressive but he’s not considered one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time…yet. Wilson was slighted in the draft, like Brady. He was picked in the third round and just like Brady, was not immediately made starter for the Seahawks. He competed against two other prospects in training camp and just barely came out on top. Pete Carroll took a huge chance with him. Other teams were afraid to even look at him because of his size. The average height for a quarterback in the NFL is 6’3 (Brady is 6’4), Russell is 5’11.

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But over the past three years he has proven himself both on and off the field. He took his team to their first Superbowl ever last year and won against Brady’s biggest rival. His charity work seems to take up as much time as football. He runs his own foundation helping youth in communities in need. Russell Investments donates $3000 every time he throws a touchdown. This year he started a campaign to talk about domestic abuse when the NFL was in desperate need to have that conversation AND he runs a passing academy in the off season, donating all the proceeds to a charity for Diabetes in honour of his father. Russell has a big heart and two very adorable great danes.

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I also just want to quickly address the possibility that Russell Wilson might be psychic. Firstly he claims that when he was 14 jesus appeared to him in a dream. But visions can happen to anyone. What about this quote he gave on the Thursday before the game, predicting the way the game went. ““It’s gonna come down to the fourth quarter. It may go to overtime. I’m expecting something great to happen, some amazing play to win the game, or amazing drive, or a back-and-forth two-minute drill.” Then when they were down, he told his offensive coordinator how they would win the game “”I told Darrell Bevell I was going to get the look I wanted, make the check we’d practiced and hit Jermaine [Kearse] for the winning touchdown.” AND THEN HE DID. All I’m saying is that I think we should consider this as a possibility.

Now, while Brady and Russell share a similar history, their public personas are very different. Brady is a team man, he says what he’s supposed to say when he’s supposed to say it and always appears in stoic control. He never does anything unexpected. Russell is a little different, he’s still mild mannered but his emotions tend to be a bit grander than Brady’s. He was weeping after the NFC championship game…..weeping! They’re both deserving of this cup, it’s a battle of the new kid cementing himself amongst the greats and the King trying to stay on top – And I think the dog collar thing is just a bit too much so I’m going with the oracle that is Russell Wilson.

But let’s talk defence 

Richard Sherman

Richard Sherman is a great man and the leader of Seattle’s incredible defence – the legion of Boom, known for their hard hits. Richard in particular is known for this trash talk and is the self proclaimed ‘best corner in the game’. The last time the Pats and Hawks faced off, he intercepted a throw from Brady and shouted “U mad bro” repeatedly in the QB’s direction. Later he posted a picture where he’s seen taunting Brady with the same caption – It went viral. Brady was noticeably ruffled and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him try something similar at the Superbowl. For all his talk it must be said that Marshawn puts the game first. He’s a passionate player and a powerhouse on the field. In the NFC championship game he hurt his elbow but stayed on the field, cradleing his injured arm and rallying his team. He claims the injury is minor and he’ll be back on the field Feb. 1st.

NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME, GREEN BAY PACKERS AT SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

But he’s not my favourite defensive player for the Hawks. That title belongs to Michael Bennett. If you watched the highlights or saw much of anything from the NFC game, you most likely saw a weeping Russell Wilson and large bearded man riding a bike around the stadium. Michael Bennett, overcome with excitement after the win, saw a police bike and promptly took it He has since said it was the best bike ride of his life “like the first time you make love…really good”. He defended his lap by saying that he was giving the people what they want – he was right. He’s undoubtedly one of the most amusing men in football. Journalists love talking to him because he always says something great. During the playoffs, when asked how he was dealing with the stress, he answered “Doing the exact same thing we always do: not having sex on Wednesday’s, watching Homeland, just chilling.”

And whatever you do make sure you’re ready for his notorious sack dance. He recently said that is was the most important sack dance in history because it caused a baby boom in Seattle so don’t be caught unawares: it’s that sexy. I’ll attach a link below but for those too fertile to watch it, I can tell you that he recently described it as “two angels dancing while chocolate is coming from the heavens.”

Derrick Coleman, Jake Kovalcik, Riley Kovalcik, Erin Kovalcik

Lastly for the Seahawks defence (although there are plenty more where that came from) I want to talk about Derrick Coleman. You may know him from a Duracell commercial that aired leading up to last years Superbowl. It’s arguably the greatest ad ever made and called attention to the largely unknown fact that Derrick Coleman is deaf. Quite honestly when I watch it I feel the need to immediately go out and buy Duracell batteries and I’m not the only one.

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After seeing the ad a 9 year old hearing impaired girl wrote a letter to Coleman saying that he inspired her. He wrote back and the whole thing became the cutest thing to happen in football, maybe ever. Riley Kovalcik, her twin sister and the whole family ended up getting VIP tickets to the Superbowl last year and hung out with Coleman for an hour on game day. Since, he has become an icon for kids everywhere with hearing impairments.

But the Patriots have a few players worth mentioning too!

Tavon Wilson, Darrelle Revis

Derelle Revis is also considered to be the greatest cornerback in football. Two years ago, he and Richard Sherman had a lengthy twitter battle regarding who the best really was, but don’t expect him to be bated this year. Bill Belichick likes his players to be reserved and tight lipped off the field and when he was recently asked about Sherman, he changed the subject right away. This is Revis’s first year with Patriots and his 8th year in the NFL but he’s never been to the Superbowl before so this is a big deal for him. His spot on the field is nicknamed Revis Island which can be defined by urban dictionary as ‘a place where NFL wide receivers frequently get lost’ and Urban Dictionary is no joke. He also has his own shoes – The Nike Zoom Revis and they’re pretty cool.

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And then there’s Brandon Browner who played for Seattle last year – this is his first time facing off against his former team. It’s also however his first Superbowl. He was suspended last year for violating the NFL’s performance enhancing drugs rules although from what I can tell, it was a claim from his time with the CFL. In an interview with The News Tribune he said “Those guys are like my brothers over there – they’re my best friends. But on the day, I’m trying to win. I’m headhunting.” He has been the only Patriot player (other than Brady) to come forward with his thoughts on Deflate Gate, coining the new and influential, trending hashtag – #inflatethis

So who’s got heart on Deffence – Seahawks

Offence

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The Hawks certainly have some players worth noting. The first is Marshawn Lynch and his infamous Beast Mode. You’ll hear a lot about him on press day because he’s a fan favourite, everyone will want to talk to him and he will try and skirt them all. In 2013 he was fined $50,000 by the NFL for failing to speak to the press. Seahawk fans raised that amount to pay the fine for him and forced the NFL to back down. In the end the NFL said that he had to donate the fan money and gave him a firm warning. This year, when he failed to comply again he was fined $100,000. He was also fined twice this year for unsportsmanlike conduct after grabbing his crotch post touchdown and another $10,000 for wearing ‘Skittles’ cleats on the field. Lynch has been eating Skittles during games since high school. For a while Seattle Fans threw Skittles on the field when he would score. This year an official deal was announced and during the Superbowl, Skittles will donate $10 000 to Lynch’s charity every time he scores a touchdown. But he isn’t all rosy. During his time with the NFL he’s been suspended for carrying a weapon, received a DUI and pled guilty to a hit and run.

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He did however get this Seahawk Grill made and it should be noted that while he doesn’t like talking to the press he’s the heart of the Seahawks offence and is idolized by his team mates.

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Luke Willson is the Seahawks Canadian Sensation. He’s in his second year but has only begun starting consistently this season, when another player was injured. He’s young but he has made some incredible plays this season – including a mind boggling catch in the NFC championship last Sunday when they needed it most. Sports writer Zito Mado said that “Luke Willson was the Luke Skywalker missile that destroyed the death star” and he also has great hair. Pete Carroll sees a lot of chemistry between Luke and Russell Wilson with Russell noting “It’s always nice to pass to another Wilson.”

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And then there’s Doug Baldwin who gives Richard Sherman and Michael Bennett a run for the Hawks Mr. Congeniality. Doug Baldwin can come off a little angry. He’s best known for his rants which usually all boil down to a common ‘Haters gonna Hate’ philosophy but he usually apologizes after he’s cooled down and had a popsicle. A few days after his most recent, angry rant after the NFC win, he spoke to the News Tribune saying ““All the frustrations I had in the entire course of that game and the entire course of the season came out…I don’t know, man. I’m just a fiery, passionate guy. I don’t try to ruffle feathers on purpose. Sometimes it just happens that way because of the mentality I have.” Baldwin also hosts a Youtube Channel called Fresh Files that is 50% confusing, 40% funny, 10% boring and certainly worth a look if you don’t have much else to do.

And the Patriots…

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If you’ve never heard of Gronk, then you are missing out. The Gronk is a frat boy, offensive beast for the Patriots and if you haven’t heard of him, you may have heard of his trademark touchdown ritual, Gronking. This is where he throws the ball down as hard as he can and gets a little crazy eyed. (links attached)  It’s very charming – the ladies just swoon. Earlier this week he actually claimed responsibility for the Patriots deflated footballs, saying that his sheer Gronking force had led to the deflation. It was very a noble admission and the ladies swooned once more.

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Gronk, also known as Rob Gronkowski will be a big player in the Superbowl and you’ll here his name thrown around a lot. Here are some things you might not know about him. He has his own cereal called ‘Gronk Flakes’, a sponsorship deal with Dunken Donuts and his very own party bus. He was on a reality TV show called the’ The Choice’ where he tried to find love AND he has a charity; the ‘Gronk Nation Youth Foundation’ – just try and say that three times fast. In conclusion – Gronk is great.

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And then there’s Julian Edelman – the Patriot nice guy. He posted a video this week titled ‘Growing Pats’ in which heartwarming photos of Patriot players before they were great are played alongside the Growing Pains theme. It’s cute alright. He has a great chemistry with Tom Brady – not quite Gronk level, but still pretty good. Both he and Brady were overlooked in college and in the draft. Besides Gronk just can’t express his feelings like Edelman can – this week our boy Julian told reporters about Brady, “I truly love that man.” It’s worth noting that he’s a real babe and his dad has an absolutely killer stare.

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Over all, The Patriots have a killer offence but I’ll only talk about one more. In November a young, likable player named Jonas Grey played the game of his life. I won’t get into details (he rushed 200 yards in one game) but suffice it to say that Jonas Grey, who had been relatively unknown the week earlier, landed himself on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Two days after that his phone died during the night, his alarm didn’t go off and he did the one thing that a Patriot can never do. He missed practice. Bill Belichick has some pretty strict rules about lateness and just showing up in general, so to make a point he benched his new star running back. Since then Jonas has played minimally in 4 games and not played at all in 3. And that very same week the Patriots resigned the much less likable LaGarrette Blount who has mostly replaced Jonas. Jonas Grey being a smart fellow knows he’s a story this week and is doing his very best to avoid the media and keep his coach happy but it will be interesting to see if he’s given a chance on Sunday.

Who’s got heart on offence – I’m going for Pats. There’s just something about Gronk.

LINKS – Seattle

Marshawn Lynch Opens up in a Skittles Interview http://www.sbnation.com/lookit/2015/1/26/7919385/marshawn-lynch-happily-answers-questions-in-skittles-ad

A really great and serious Marshawn Lynch article http://espn.go.com/nfl/playoffs/2014/story/_/id/12232435/the-misunderstood-marshawn-lynch-why-seattle-seahawks-running-back-trust-media

The Onion pokes fun at Beast Mode http://www.theonion.com/articles/panicking-marshawn-lynch-unable-to-deactivate-beas,35147/

Richard Sherman meets a fan with a custom prosthetic leg http://www.sbnation.com/lookit/2015/1/27/7920939/richard-sherman-fan-prosthetic-leg-seahawks

Michael Bennetts Sack dance  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3l7729sPB_k

Derrick Coleman’s Duracell commercial https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JzQFA2hxyRQ

LINKS – Patriots

Edelman’s Growing Pats Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KY9BBjLOwQM

Derrell revis shoes http://www.nicekicks.com/tag/darrelle-revis-shoes/

Gronking https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETJykq-JTLc

Gronk/cat photo explanation http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/eye-on-football/24881285/bill-belichick-shows-rob-gronkowski-cat-photos-to-entire-team

Gronk party bus http://fansided.com/2015/01/18/patriots-rob-gronkowski-given-party-bus/

 

 

 

Who’s Got Heart? A Comparison of Coaches

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The Desert Bowl approaches!!! The Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots are vying to win themselves a cup on the biggest night in football and the annual question of which colour face paint to buy is looming in the distance.

I’ll tell you right now, you’re safe either way with Navy but over then next two weeks I’ll explain as concisely as possible all of the reasons why one team deserves your support and cheek space. Now before I begin, I must point out my incredible bias in this particular Superbowl. I really love the Seahawks! They’re very lovable and I’m going to tell you why but I also solemnly vow to dig up all the positivity I can muster for the Patriots. Let’s start with the Coaches.

Coaching Style – One Hundo Pete

There are three stereotypes of football coaches. The first is a large screaming man, reliving his football glory days, chewing tobacco, rubbing his championship ring and calling absolutely everyone ‘son’. The other is the kind they make movies about, the unorthodox guy that comes in and replaces guy #1. Think Matthew McConaughey in We are Marshall and the beloved Kyle Chandler as Coach Tayor in Friday Night Lights – This is the Pete Carroll type.

Then let your mind wander to type #3. The aging bachelor who will do anything to win because winning and the pile of money that comes along with it is all that they have and all that they want. Think Al Pacino in Any Given Sunday but with a winning streak. Here is Bill Belichick.

Now if football movies aren’t your thing (you crazy kid) then let me explain further. You couldn’t ask for two more different coaches. Pete Carroll doesn’t coach in a typical sort of way. One of his players, the ever amusing Michael Bennett, recently described him as being “Like google man – he’s just laid back”.

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He throws big BBQ’s during training camp, takes his teams bowling and plans elaborate practical jokes often involving celebrities. He brings in rugby players to help with tackling and a goalkeeper from the US National Soccer team to help with kicking. His weekday practices are themed – Tell the Truth Mondays, Competition Tuesdays and Turnover Thursdays. In 2005 he was interviewed by Mens Vogue who described his personality as “a nine year old boy who’s having a very good christmas.”

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Seattle player Richard Sherman certainly doesn’t mind, saying “I don’t think anybody thought his system could work, It shows you can win with positivity, with having a great mindset. They say you have to be a hard coach to win in this league, but that’s not who he is. We love it.”

In an interview with Jim Trotter Pete says his coaching style “…basically comes down to taking care of the people in your program and making them the best they can be—not giving up on them and never failing to be there for them.” But I think his coaching style can be summed up better by Jefri Chadiha of ESPN who recently wrote “He seems capable of having more fun in one afternoon than most coaches have in an entire season.” and “he’s a man who ultimately wants to see the best come out of everybody, mainly because of how much joy he would take in seeing somebody else attain that level of success.”

Now Bill Belichick would never be called Joyful. This is his face post win.

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Although I should note that a few of his players have tried to tell the world that he can actually be quite funny – We’re waiting on proof. He’s certainly very stoney to the rest of us and he’s not throwing any BBQ’s either. He doesn’t like talking to the press and he’s not one for elaborate gestures – though one time he did bury a game ball with his team after a terrible loss. He scoffs at hints of emotion in football believing that winning comes down to hard work and diligence. He runs a very tight ship. More than one of his players have admitted being nervous around him.

But his approach does work. He is considered one of the greatest coaches of all time. He starts off each week with a quiz where a wrong answer is not taken lightly and he recruits players that come from notoriously disciplined programs because those are the ones that thrive in his incredibly tough and disciplined program. But that’s not to say he doesn’t occasionally lead with positivity. Kevin Faulk has spent his whole NFL career with Bill Belichick and insists that he gives praise. When asked for an example though he answers “No one would really understand it.”

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It’s worth noting that there are only three coaches in the NFL who act as Head Coach AND General Manager to their team. Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick are both on this list. This gives them huge amounts of control over all aspects of their team and is something that both of them wrote into their contracts as conditions upon being hired. I must say, it seems to be working for them.

So it’s really a matter of preference, they certainly both get the job done but In an annonymous ESPN survey 320 players were asked who was the coach in the league they would want to play for. Who do you think won? Pete Carroll received 72 votes claiming him 1st place in the poll. Bill tied for 5th with 22 votes. So I’ll let the players decide this round for us!

Before The Bowl – Pete

This is Pete Carroll’s third NFL team. He was considered a failure with both of his previous teams for using the same coaching style he uses now. When no NFL team would look at him for a head coaching position he took a year off and then decided to follow his volleyball playing daughter to USC where he was their 4th pick for head coach of the football team. Lucky for him the other three turned it down, because it was here that he found his stride. He drastically turned the program around becoming one of the most celebrated coaches in college football. After ten years he was finally offered the kind of coaching position he had been waiting for – the head coach and general manager of the Seattle Seahawks. He took it and after two unsuccessful seasons he took his team to the Superbowl last year and won them their first ever Superbowl title. He’d like to get them a second.

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Bill Belichick hit his stride with the New England Patriots after their owner fired Pete Carroll. That’s right, Bill Belichick replaced Pete Carroll and went on to be the winningest coach that the franchise has ever seen. That’s got to sting just a bit. This is his 15th year with the Pats and in that time he has taken the team to 5 Superbowls winning three of them. Since he became Head Coach the Patriots have become Football royalty, holding the record for most wins in a decade and dozen other accolades. Game of Thrones writer George R.R. Martin has said repeatedly that the Patriots are the Lannister’s of the NFL and Drew Karyshyn, a Star Wars video game writer has named Bill Belichick as most likely to become the Sith. So there.

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Bill has a better resume and this is his 6th Superbowl appearance but he hasn’t won this title in 5 years. This is only Pete’s second Superbowl appearance but he coached the reigning champions and overcame such adversity to get there that I think he can take this round too.

Side Line Style – It’s a Wash

Pete is always smiling, Bill is always frowning. Pete is a silver fox. Bill is balding. Pete has squeaky white shoes that have become a running joke on twitter but Bill looks great in a hood. I’ll let you decide this one. Twitter links attached.

http://network.yardbarker.com/nfl/article_external/the_sklar_brothers_riff_on_pete_carrolls_white_shoes/18117449?linksrc=story_team_seattle_seahawks_auto_module_head_18117449

AFC Championship - Baltimore Ravens v New England Patriots

Nerve– Bill

Pete Carroll was nicknamed Big Balls Pete at USC but honestly Bill Belichick is going to win this category. Before being named Head Coach of the Pats, he was named Head Coach of their biggest rival – the New York Jets. He held that position for exactly 1 day before resigning to a stunned press group and very stunned Jets staff. Then he promptly took the Pats up on their offer. He also seems to have no qualms about cheating. In the 2007 ‘Spygate’ incident he was fined $500 000 (the largest fine ever imposed on a coach) for illegally taping the defensive hand signals of the New York Jets. Just this Sunday the Pats were accused of deflating footballs in the AFC championship.

This isn’t to say that dear Pete hasn’t gotten into his fair share of trouble too, but he doesn’t do it in that same ‘Bull in a china store’ way that Bill does and I think we owe him this one. 

Off Field Personality – King Pete

I would love to say that Bill is an evil old man who dates cheerleaders half his age but the reality is that he isn’t evil at all. He grew up with football. His dad played for the Lions and later started coaching with the US Naval Academy Football Team – that’s where he learned how to breakdown game tapes and no doubt inherited some of his more militant tyle. In fact his dad came on as an advisor early on his career. He has three kids, all of whom are athletic and two of them coach in their own right. His son Steve works alongside his dad as an assistant coach to the Pats.

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And he’s not dating a cheerleader. He’s in a relationship with an age appropriate, seemingly lovely lady by the name of Linda Holliday who has a great sense of humour and seems to lighten up his stoney persona. In fact just last yeat there was a fun little rumour going around that he even named a play after her , after Brady shouted ‘Cougar, Cougar, Linda’ before a play. Oh – and he’s good friends with Jon Bon Jovi!

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So Bill is not evil but Pete is a bit of a saint. Pete is still married to his college sweetheart Glena and they have three kids as well, plus two adorable grandkids. Their son Nate works with the Seahawks as a Wide receiver coach. But what puts Pete a notch above is his charitable work. When he worked in California he was strongly impacted by the youth and gang violence he saw in low income neighbourhoods. He started a charity called ‘A better LA’ that aims to reduce youth and gang violence and provide better opportunities for the impoverished to succeed. When he moved to Seattle his work continued and he developed ‘A better Seattle’. He even has the headquarters in the Seahawks building so he can be around as much as possible and gets the players to help out and raise awareness at events. He doesn’t just donate, he takes a very active role in what they do and for that, he wins the off field category. Oh and he’s pretty close with Macklemore and Will Farrell.

If we were just looking at coaches, The Hawks would most likely have earned your support. BUT stay tuned for posts on key players and team overviews and find out Who’s got heart!

 

The AFC Championship – The Sith and the Jedi

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The question of who has more heart is not an easy one to answer, This coming Sunday we have two terribly exciting games to watch. The first will be an all star match up between The New England Patriots and the Denver Broncos at the Sports Authority Field at Mile High. This game is all about the intense Quarterback rivalry. Our second game is the Seattle Seahawks vs. The San Francisco 49er’s. I hope I don’t give my bias too much away when I elect to save my blurb on these two teams until after the games completion when Pete Carroll’s brilliant Seahawks will slaughter Jim Harbaugh’s snot nosed 49er’s. But back to game 1

The Question of the Underdog – Bronco’s

Of the two teams the Bronco’s are the underdog….but not by a long shot. The Patriots have been to the Superbowl 7 times, 5 of which were under their current Coach/QB combo. Out of these 5 trips, they have won 3 in the last ten years, setting innumerable records in the process. If the Patriots win this game they will be tied for the title of most Superbowl appearances by a team in the history of the NFL. The Bronco’s have been to the Superbowl 6 times but only won twice, in 1997 and 1998. If they win this Sunday, it will be their first Superbowl appearance since 1998 – 15 years! Meanwhile the Broncos have an operating budget of $31.7 million while the Patriots have an operating budget of $139.2 million. That is a difference of over $100 million that goes towards things like training facilities, player salaries and coach salaries. And speaking of coaches The Patriots have had the same coach for 13 years; a polarizing but undoubtedly brilliant man by the name of Bill Belichick.  In November the Bronco’s lost their Head Coach, Jim Fox to a valve replacement surgery. His role was being filled by their defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio but that’s a lot of change ups for a team in the post season.  On the other side of the gate, the game is being played at the Bronco’s home stadium. Lucky for them, they have one of the best home game advantages in the league, having never been shut out at home in over 400 games. Some say this can be credited to their altitude which is indeed a mile high above sea level.

Team Charisma – Tie game

In this category we certainly have reason to root for both teams. The Patriots have a fairly adorable touchdown ritual where ten men dressed as minute men fire a round of blanks from flintlock muskets in the end zone. It’s an oddly classy affair with the surely un-intended effect of sending the sulphur scented fumes over to the visiting teams bench. Whether or not you find this a flattering comparison. Game of Thrones writer George R.R. Martin has said that the Patriots are the Lannister’s of the NFL and Drew Karyshyn, a Star Wars video game writer has named Bill Belichick as most likely to become the Sith. While you may point out that both of these comparisons are to what some might call ‘evil’ characters, I would point out that in both cases they have a certain charm, and a definite ability to get what they want.

Oh…and their defensive coordinators name is Pepper Johnson…Great name.

The Broncos do some cute stuff too. They take great pride in selling out their stadium. Each game they read out the number of no shows in the stadium, who are subsequently booed. Also, their former stadium was unique by having steel floors. This caused a thunder sound to echo down from the top seats when fans would stomp their feet, possibly because of their enthusiasm and possibly because they were cold. In any case, when their new stadium was built the upper decks were built with steel floors to continue the tradition.

Oh…and their General Manager is a Hall of Fame quarterback who took the team to their only two Superbowl wins: a Mr. John Elway, who when he was drafted in the 1st round by the Colts in 1983, threatened to leave football and join the MLB unless he was traded to a short list of teams, one of which was the Bronco’s. He’s been with the team ever since.

Coaches Corner – Go Pats Go

After careful study of Bill Belichick I have come to think that ‘saucy’ is perhaps the best word him. Not in anything he says because public speaking is really not his forte but in his actions. For those of you who don’t know him I’ll do a quick review of some of his more brazen achievements. In 2000 he was given a head coaching position for the New York Jets. He accepted the position and the next day, moments before he was supposed to be introduced to the press, he quickly wrote out a sentence. “I resign as the Head Coach of the New York Jets.” He spent the next 30 minutes justifying his decision to a stunned press corp. He had held the position for 24 hours. Shortly afterwards it was announced that he would be the head coach of the Patriots where he would also act as General manager giving him near complete control over the team. The Patriots had to give up their first round draft pick to get him out of his contract with the Jets but it was probably worth it. 

Once in 2001 after a bad game against The Miami Dolphins, he held a funeral for the game ball in order to get the team to move forward. And in his pre-game speech before the 2005 Superbowl against the Eagles he made his team listen to the entire parade route that the Eagles would take should they win – street by street. He is the only NFL head coach that is not part of the NFL coaches association. Union camaraderie does not appear to be his thing. Spying is more his style, in 2007 he was fined $500,00o for taping a defensive practice of the New York Jets. 

Now, this is Bill Belichick’s final year on his contract, which would normally create an interesting tension but I don’t think he’s even remotely near the chopping block. His contract is sure to be extended.

 The Broncos coach is named John Fox and doesn’t strike me as a particularly interesting man. He and Belichick have faced off once before in the Superbowl, with Belichick taking the crown in 2003 when Fox was briefly the coach of the Panthers. He has had to leave the game this season after a cardiac valve replacement surgery. His defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio has been filling in and he is a slightly more interesting man. He has held the position of head coach before for the Jaguars and set an NFL record as longest tenured head coach without winning a division championship. Not the best record to have, but a record is a record I suppose. These playoffs have been a real chance for him to shine.

My favourite story about Jack is when he introduced a new coaching mantra to the Jaguars locker room in 2003. The mantra was ‘Keep Chopping Wood’ and he brought in a large stump and an axe so the players could really hammer in this metaphor. This was all going pretty well until the teams  punter seriously injured his non kicking foot, badly enough to keep him out the rest of the 2003 season. If that’s not pure blind, stupid heart, I don’t know what is.

 Interestingly enough all three coaches involved in this game were fined in 2012 for ‘berating replacement officials’ or grabbing a replacement officials arm in Bill’s case. So in the very least, it should be a passionate game on the sidelines

Quarterback – I heart Peyton

In the Quarterback department, I think the way is clear. These two incredibly successful men have faced off 14 times, with Tom Brady winning 10 of these. While Brady tends to soar under in the intense playoff pressure, Peyton seems to sink. Among his other career records Peyton Manning is tied with Brett Farve for most post season losses.

Tom Brady was largely ignored in college. Not recognized as the talent that he is now, he was a 6th round draft pick by the Patriots. This is the narrative that we have come to know; A young, determined, hard working boy defeats all mediocre expectations and becomes the worlds best known quarterback. Peyton Manning on the other hand was a star in college and a first round draft pick for the Colts. In fact everything was looking pretty wonderful for him until 2011. He even started a charity for disadvantaged youth called the ‘Peyback Foundation”. Get it? Anyway in 2011 he went in for a run of the mill surgery to alleviate some pain he was feeling in his neck and shoulder. The pain did not subside and shortly after he had to have another, much more serious surgery that led to him sitting out the rest of 2011 season. Previously he had never missed a game in the NFL. When the 2012 draft pick came around the Colts used their first pick to choose Andrew Luck as their new quarterback. Peyton Manning was let go from the team that he had led for 14 years. He was even gracious about it, saying that the Colts made the right decision. Lucky for him, the Bronco’s picked him up 13 days later so the sob story ends here.

In fact, there’s very little for either of them to sob about. They are both married to incredibly beautiful woman with lovely little families. They both make over 90 million a year and they both have hosted Saturday Night Live, which I think you’ll agree is the pinnacle of celebrity success. (Links are attached, but I think Peyton wins the funny award)

Also it should be said that while Star Wars writer Drew Karyshyn compared Bill Belichick to the Sith, he has named Peyton Manning as most likely to be a Jedi Knight. And it may have taken a while, but we all saw what happened there. Go Peyton Go.

So, who has more heart? While neither team is soul-less. I would strongly suggest for you to root for the Broncos. They need it more and if they pull it together, they have the skill to overthrow the comfortable Patriots. I’m going to ride this orange wave as long as it goes…or until they face the Seahawks.

Other Links E-online did a great explanation of the Brady/Manning Rivalry as explained by the ladies of ‘The Hill’s http://ca.eonline.com/news/500643/tom-brady-and-peyton-manning-s-rivalry-as-explained-by-the-hills-lauren-conrad-and-heidi-montag This is Bill Belichick dressed as a pirate and giving us a rare smile http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/30/bill-belichick-pirate-halloween-costume_n_4177824.html Here is Peyton’s United Way SNL video http://www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/80542965/ Here is (a rather bad quality video of) Tom Brady’s opening SNL monologue – You decide https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8vye8TFP0k