Antipasto Estudio

Studying the NFL & Specifically the Super Bowl

Who Will Win the 2017 Super Bowl?

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Vegas’ Odds For An Odd Super Bowl 51 

It’s that time of the year again. What seems like just the other day that we watched the Denver Broncos take down the Carolina Panthers, it is time for a new Super Bowl, and out of that a new Super Bowl Champion. The greatest barometer for who will win comes from the city who makes it their lives to predict sporting events, Las Vegas. Let’s look at what teams Las Vegas is betting on as the Super Bowl 51 Champion come February.

In no particular order, since the NFL can change drastically every week, we have the Oakland Raiders. The hot hand of Derek Carr from Fresno State, and their combination of rejected athletes make for a compelling story that any casual fan can get behind. They have the 5th highest scoring offense in the league, and find themselves on top of a very tough AFC West division. The official Vegas odds are 16-1.

Next we have on the docket, the on again and off again offense of the Pittsburgh Steelers. With Le’Von Bell now putting up big numbers and off the injury list, Ben Rothesburger is putting up huge numbers. As anyone knows having an amazing Running Back is the key to putting together an amazing passing game. A passing game that, in the Steel City, is going to be headed by the amazing Antonio Brown. Vegas is putting this AFC at 15-1, provided they can all stay healthy.

In the NFC we have a team similar to the AFC’S Raiders, in the Dallas Cowboys. For years everyone thought that their coach Jason Gerrett would be fired. For years, everyone though that Tony Romo would be finally taken out of the game forever with an injury or replaced by a young rookie. Well after so many years we have the answer, Tony Romo is being benched for the hot hand that is Dak Prescott. This rookie hailing from Sulphur, Louisiana has teamed up with a running back rookie who is shattering records, Ezekiel Elliott. The two rookies are doing things that no one could believe from the Dallas Cowboys. Take for example the fact that 28.5 points per game, and are both in talks for MVP. Add in the all-pro level of their Sean Lee lead defense, and you have Vegas giving this team 11-2 odds.

Next in the NFC West we have the most dominant defense in this decade with the Seattle Seahawks. The secret to their success is a defense that keeps giving their opponents no chance to score, by leading the league with allowing only 17.2 points per meeting. That and with their offense coming alive more than ever, it’s hard for this reporter to not imagine them meeting the AFC darling in the Superbowl. Jimmy Graham is starting to finally play like his old NOLA self, and Russell Wilson is finally healed from his high ankle sprain. Vegas is giving this team the odds of 5-1.

From the cold New England tundra comes the white hot Patriots, lead by the angry Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, QB and coaching duo. Many people like to say this team is only as good as Tom Brady is playing, but they are forgetting that they went through 3 QBs during the first four weeks of the season due to a certain ball scandal, and only lost one game. Now you take the QB position and put in the greatest QB to ever play the game of football and now you have not only what Vegas is thinking is the most likely favorite for the Super Bowl 51 winner, but also this writer’s favorite. With Amendola, Gronk, Edleman, and now Chris Hogan coming online from their Wide Receiving core, along with the amazing running back committee of Lewis, Blount and White, Brady has an insane amount of targets. Oh and not to mention the towering eighth wonder of the world, Gronk, it’s impossible to not expect them to be holding the trophy in the end. Vegas is giving this powerhouse the odds of 13-5.

Teams That Won’t Win the Super Bowl Any Time Soon

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Despite all NFL franchises achieving some degree of success at some point in their existence, a select number of teams in the league today are showing no signs of life. The following are just a few of the NFL teams that wont be winning a Super Bowl anytime soon.

Cleveland Browns

Despite achieving a respectable amount of success during their first few decades of existence, the Cleveland Browns have fallen off the face of the earth over the past five or so seasons, establishing themselves as the laughing stock of the NFL in the process. With their last Super Bowl victory coming in 1964, the Browns haven’t made the playoffs since 2002, and have quite honestly struggled to win games in recent seasons. To complicate things, the Browns have been subject to further questions after the Johnny Manziel saga. The Browns are currently winless on the season, and would consider it a success to find the win column just once this year and avoid the dreaded 0-16 year.

Philadelphia Eagles

Although the Eagles have proved to be much more of a Super Bowl threat than the Browns over the past 50 years, they still don’t show much potential to claim their first ring since 1960. With playoff appearances in 2010 and 2013, the Eagles were able to post records that were good enough to get them into the playoffs, but never really challenged the elite teams in the NFL. The future looks like it will depend on Carson Wentz and company to bring another ring, but at this point the roster is nowhere near built enough.

San Diego Chargers

A franchise that has only one Super Bowl appearance to its name, the San Diego Chargers certainly don’t look like anywhere near a contending team with an aging Phillip Rivers at quarterback and an astonishingly bad defense. A franchise that actually produced some competitive teams in the 1980s, the Chargers are a walking example of why sports in San Diego simply doesn’t work in the modern era. Perhaps a move from Qualcomm Stadium can work to move the team back in a positive direction. But until then, the Chargers will continue to play in front of an empty building and produce just a few wins a year.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Despite just 22 years in existence, the Jacksonville Jaguars have showed little to excite their hometown fans in south Florida. The highlight of over two decades of football has been one division championship, with just six overall playoff appearances. As of right now, the team relies on Blake Bortles and a host of mediocre wide receivers, which has typically been enough to muster up a couple wins per year over recent seasons. The Jaguars will need to either get lucky in the draft one of these years, or invest some money into a free agent which can bring some hope of a Super Bowl to Jacksonville.

Miami Dolphins

If you were to talk about the Miami Dolphins of ten or twenty years ago, then certainly a Super Bowl contending team would be the topic of conversation. Over its existence the franchise has experienced 22 playoff appearances and three super bowl victories. However, the Fins have only reached the postseason once since the 2002 season, and have posted mediocre to terrible records out of the AFC East for the last decade. To make matters even worse, they will continue to play the New England Patriots twice a season, a task that no team would ask for at this point.

Best NFL Quarterbacks Who Never Won a Super Bowl

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Hall of Fame quarterbacks yet never attained a ring 

There have been many quarterbacks that outperformed their peers in the National Football League but did not attain the pinnacle of winning a Super Bowl championship. This list gets a bit lighter when one pulls out the quarterbacks that have been inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame yet have not gained a NFL title. Of note, the focus will forever be placed upon Dan Marino of the Miami Dolphins, Jim Kelly of the Buffalo Bills, Warren Moon namely of the Houston Oilers and Minnesota Vikings, and Dan Fouts of the San Diego Chargers.

Dan Marino entered the NFL in 1983 after receiving All-American honors at the University of Pittsburgh. Although the last quarterback taken in the quarterback heavy 1983 draft, Marino led the Dolphins to a playoff spot in 10 of his 17 seasons. Most remember Marino for the loss the Dolphins suffered in Super Bowl XIX since it was the only instance in which Marino’s Dolphins played in the NFL championship. Although Marino and Dolphins were frequent participants in the playoffs, his career record was less than stellar at eight wins and 10 losses. His Hall of Fame induction was a no brainer as Marino was selected to the Pro Bowl on nine instances and was named the starter seven times. Marino stands fifth all time in career wins with 147 behind Favre, Manning, Brady, and Elway.

Jim Kelly was also part of the 1983 draft but chose instead to play in the United States Football League (USFL) for the Houston Gamblers. Kelly enjoyed two successful seasons prior to the disbandment of the league including a Most Valuable Player award, winning 23 of 36 games while throwing 83 touchdowns and nearly 10 thousand yards. In 1986, Kelly joined the Bills and led them to four trips to the Super Bowl and six divisional championships. Kelly participated in 11 seasons for Buffalo and successfully made the playoffs in eight. Although he did not win a Super Bowl, he was a part of a team that participated in three straight. His record with the Bills was 101 wins and 59 losses that included over 35,000 yards passing, 237 touchdown passes, and a QB rating of 84.4.

Warren Moon did not initially get the opportunity to play in the National Football League so he improved upon his skills in the Canadian Football League for six years on the Edmonton Eskimos where his team’s won five Grey Cups. In the ten post season games he participated in, Moon’s Eskimos won nine of them while he passed for 144 touchdowns and for more than 21,000 yards. Further success followed Moon to Houston and Minnesota where he was named to the Pro Bowl on nine of his 13 seasons. All in, Moon threw for over 49,000 yards while starting for the “run and shoot” Oilers and deep throwing Minnesota Vikings. Moon played in nine Pro Bowls and in 1991, he joined Dan Fouts and Dan Marino as the only quarterbacks to throw for over 4,000 yards in back to back seasons.

Dan Fouts played in San Diego for his entire 15 year career. Although he was drafted in the third round of the draft, Fouts was a six time Pro-Bowl selection. This includes breaking the National Football League pass yardage record for three consecutive seasons from 1979 to 1981. Although he was not able to win in two American Football Championships to advance into the Super Bowl, Fouts passed for over 43,000 yards and threw 254 touchdown passes. Although none of the four received a Super Bowl ring, one can argue that these four quarterbacks rank in the top 10 of all time.

Top 5 Individual Performances in Super Bowl History

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The Super Bowl is one of the biggest events of the year, so naturally it makes sense for players to get nervous beforehand and not perform as well. That being said, there are those who perform their absolute best in the spotlight, and in this list I’m going to examine each of their accomplishments.

5.) To start of the list, let’s take a look at Von Miller’s astounding performance in Super Bowl 50. Von Miller anchored what was perhaps the greatest defense since the 2000 Ravens. Miller has 2.5 sacks, and 6 total tackles. Two of those sacks were strip sacks, and ultimately led to a total of 15 points for the Broncos. Without Miller on defense, it’s quite possible that Came Newton could’ve had a successful game, ultimately resulting in Peyton Manning not obtaining his second ring.

4.) Phil Simms may not be a top 5 all time quarterback, but he certainly performed like one in Super Bowl XXI. He posted the highest quarterback rating in Super Bowl history (150.9), a record that still stands today. He completed 22 of 25 touchdowns, three of which were for touchdowns.

3.) In Super Bowl XXIII, Jerry Rice went absolutely insane. The phenomenal receiver hauled in 11 receptions for an astounding 215 yards, a Super Bowl record. Rice has had his share of amazing Super Bowl performances, but this one has earned a spot on this list. He made a crucial touchdown grab in the fourth quarter to help tie the game. Rice is one of the all time greats, and this Super Bowl is a prime example of why.

2.) Joe Montana is arguably the greatest quarterback of all time, and he demonstrated why in Super Bowl XXIV. Montana threw for 297 yards and 5 touchdowns, a Super Bowl record at the time, in a crushing rout of the Denver Broncos. Montana had four incredible Super Bowls, but while the others may have been more contested than this one, he didn’t shine quite as statistically bright. He will always be remembered for his late game heroics against the Bengals, but he won’t be forgotten by spectators of Super Bowl XXIV anytime soon. Montana’s record 5 touchdowns in the Super Bowl displayed just how dominant he was in his era. After all, he was dueling against a Broncos team led by fellow Hall of Fame member John Elway. On that day however, no one thought that Elway would end up in the hall of fame, as Montana made the entire Broncos squad look pathetic.

1.) While Montana had an amazing performance in Super Bowl XXIV, it doesn’t quite match up to the legendary game that his backup had in Super Bowl XXIX. Before Steve Young emerged as an elite quarterback, he was just the backup quarterback for the 49ers. When Montana got injured and was traded away, many 49ers fans didn’t even want Young to start, they wanted their old quarterback to return. As a result, Young faced scrutiny throughout his career and lived in Joe Montana’s enormous shadow. It’s because of this that Super Bowl XXIV is absolutely vital to Steve Young’s legacy. Young went in knowing that his predecessor had been successful in previous Super Bowls, setting numerous records and making defenses look helpless. In response, Young absolutely obliterated the opposition on that day. Throwing for 325 yards and a new Super Bowl record 6 touchdown passes. He led the 49ers to a 49-26 win over the Chargers, earning the franchise’s fifth Super Bowl. In the process, Young also broke his predecessor’s record for touchdown passes in a Super Bowl.