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Monday, January 9, 2012

Reader poll: *Now* who will win the Super Bowl?

Yesterday's Denver-Pittsburgh football game provided all kinds of thrills. And then there were eight teams left in the tournament.

In our poll last week regarding the Super Bowl winner, less than 10% of our voters chose teams that have now been eliminated. Where will their allegiance shift, and has anyone else changed their minds after seeing the wild card action?

Now that Wild Card Week is over, who do you think will win Super Bowl 46?
Houston Texans
New England Patriots
Denver Broncos
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Green Bay Packers free polls 

Comments (14)

Do you mean, has anyone been converted?

Who did Nostradamus pick to win the Super Bowl in 2012, btw?

There's no way you could argue that the Tim Tebow story has been underreported but one comedy angle isn't emphasized enough:

What's happening in Denver is like if a pilot named Tim had his flying skills questioned and the boss he had to go see about his future was Chuck Yeager. Or a ballet dancer is called a klutz who can't dance on a professional level and the person in charge - the boss - is Baryshnikov.

Isn't it hilarious that of all the GMs Tebow could have ended up with he gets John friggin' Elway? That's comedy gold.

I mean the pundits and fans are pressure enough, but it's tough to play a guitar solo when the big boss is Jimi Hendrix.

Careful, Bill. That's a bit much. But, hey, maybe Tebow will win a Super Bowl quicker than it took Elway to get one after getting to the AFC Championship Game four times before advancing to the Super Bowl. 1 more win and Tebow's in the AFC Championship Game. Lots of speculation about what Tom Brady whispered into Tebow's ear after the Patriots:

Tim Tebow: Credit John 3:16, John Elway and John Fox
By Cindy Boren

Elway's amazing record of 47 4th Quarter comebacks is his greatest legacy. And "The Drive" in Cleveland on January 17, 1987 was utterly superb and one of the greatest in NFL history. Alas, his overall Super Bowl record is one of the worst.

The Super Bowl Cling-Ons

These are quarterbacks who played in multiple Super Bowls and won at least one championship despite putting up pedestrian numbers. The quarterbacks on this list share something in common: They played for teams with dominant running games that could overcome their quarterback's inability to produce in the passing game. The best move these quarterbacks made was handing the ball off to a Super Bowl MVP running back. The Cling-Ons went 5-5 in Super Bowl play and their career Super Bowl passer ratings range from 57.1 to 72.7.


Overview: Elway has a reputation as a big-game gunslinger. The Cold, Hard Football Facts prove he was anything but a big-game player on Super Bowl Sunday. Elway threw at least 1 INT in all five of his Super Bowl appearances, including six in the three losses. His performance in Super Bowl XXIV, a 55-10 loss to San Francisco, was one of the worst by a quarterback in Super Bowl history (10 of 26, 108 yards, 0 TD, 2 INTs, 19.4 rating). With the arrival of Mike Shanahan as its coach, Denver became a team powered by the run and Elway rode the coattails of running back Terrell Davis to victory. The Broncos shed their cloak of vincibility with a 31-24 win over Green Bay in Super Bowl XXXII. Elway had his usual subpar Super Bowl passing performance (12 of 22 for 123 yards with 0 TDs, 1 INT), but MVP Davis rushed for 157 yards and a Super Bowl record 3 TDs. Elway pulled it all together in Super Bowl XXXIII, a 34-19 win over Atlanta. He passed for 336 yards in the final game of his career, earned MVP honors, erased a legacy of Super Bowl duds and rode off into the sunset one of the most celebrated players in league history. Denver rushed 75 times and passed 51 times in its two Super Bowl victories.

My take on Denver's win over Pittsburgh was the fact that Pittsburgh underestimated Tebow. It was one of those moments similar to Sarah Palin's first speech at the Republican National Convention after McCain announced her as his running mate. I think most people expected that she would come off as a moron and totally bomb, but you have to admit that she knows how to deliver a message, and her popularity in certain sectors soared thereafter. Tebow's passing numbers are horrible. In spite of the fact that he led his team to a truly inspiring win yesterday, I still think he has a limited future as an NFL QB until he learns how to throw a football. Maybe it was because the Steeler's defensive line was pretty much decimated by injury and barely put pressure on him (he had ALL DAY back there when he was making of those long passes, and that is extremely rare in the NFL these days) or their ancient old as dirt defensive coordinator just isn't up to the task of making mid-game adjustments in the secondary anymore, but the "Steel Curtain Defense" or whatever just didn't get the job done. I like Tebow as a person, and I wish him well, but one home playoff win against a team that was suffering injuries at every level needs to be considered in context. If they kick New England's butt next weekend I might come around a little.

Maybe the 8-8 Broncos will meet the 9-7 Giants in the Super Bowl for a long-awaited rematch of one that Elway didn't win. Could set a tv ratings record with all the hubbub.

You can argue what John Elway did or didn't do, but that was the definitive rifle arm. He didn't have Marino's quick release or Montana's cool, but Elway's long passes were the to speak. He had the 40 or 50 yard rope like nobody else.

Tebow yesterday was a man possessed. Completely stoked, fearless, and in great game shape. I'd love to see him against Brees, who is also out of his mind right now.

Ben was a hurt bear -- still dangerous as hell, but only about 75% of what he once was, even with his ankle shot up Dr. Cook-style. He screwed up the last drive -- his unforced fumble killed it -- and his defensive secondary left him no chance for redemption.

I think what we seek out in sports is a suspension of reality and a chance to see a storybook script come to life. Yesterday Tebow delivered that. The stats are ridiculous: The only QB in NFL playoff history to have 3 pass plays over 50 yards. The highest yards per catch in NFL playoff history. Last week they wanted to crucify him. This week he turned Gatorade into wine.

Jack, I think you got most of it (Ben's receivers had a poor game as well) and Usual Kevin, partly, it was underestimation by the Steelers, but it wasn't age, U.K. -- of either the players or the coach in that game. Lebeau made the adjustments at halftime, and so did the defense in their second half performance -- remember, Denver was held to a field goal in the entire 2nd half.

Rather, it was more a combination of a coaching failure in underestimating Tebow -- Fox & Co. totally outfoxed Tomlin & Co. -- coupled with CB Ike Taylor having an uncharacteristically horrid, horrid game, while the Broncos were well-prepared and played inspired, focused football led by Tebow, with the talented Demaryius Thomas having the game of a lifetime at the right time. It was something quite fantastic to watch. Epitomized in the sensational first play call and execution in OT. Poetic. Very entertaining! And now legendary.

Overall, the box score reflected the closeness of the game, and the better team won in the end, they way the won in the beginning.

National Football League Game Summary
Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos

And Bill, you're quite right about Elway as rifleman. Hands down, the strongest arm in the NFL in the time between Bradshaw and Favre.

The best teams are moving on this week.

Btw, here's one excellent sports writer who foresaw the Broncos actually winning (though in a different way). A Pittsburgh guy, no less:

Steelers' favorite status against Denver has a flimsy feel
Thursday, January 05, 2012
By Gene Collier, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

...the Steelers' status as a clear favorite does nothing to erase their vulnerability.

One day in January 2006, the day after my conversation with the redheaded stranger, the sixth-seeded Steelers beat the Denver Broncos, 34-17, and on another day in January 2012, the Denver Broncos might flip the narrative entirely despite all manner of empirical evidence that says otherwise.


They can be had; you know it and I know it, and if there's still a redhead at some Denver airport rental car counter, she probably knows it, too.

Wow, I can't believe LSU was so unprepared tonight. They should have painted their sideline like a nightclub parking lot so they'd be ready to fight.

P.S.: Jack, the fumble by Roethlisberger was forced by that great penetration play and extension by Elvis Dumervil, who literally just got a finger on the ball. A game saver!

A finger doesn't "force" a fumble. Next you'll be telling me the wind was blowing. Ben dropped the ball. That put them out of field goal range and cost them the game.

I'm voting for the Giants out of loyalty and pure Hopium, but this weekend at Lambeau? I'm not truly hopeful, but I will root my ass off...

While Roethlisberger was not on guard enough, it was a great, striving play by Dumervil, Jack.

One finger "touch of death":

Roethlisberger has the strongest QB grip in the NFL. There was an article in the past week quoting a top defensive back on that in discussing the top QBs and the veteran DB is amazed how the guy can hang onto the ball.

Here's another from last January:

The Art of the Pump Fake


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