By Evan Troxel (Associate Editor of Sports Content)
To begin with, I have so much to say about the National Football League (NFL) for the 2010-2011 season so let’s get started!
I’d like to say Congratulations to the Green Bay Packers for defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers in this year’s Super Bowl. Personally, I didn’t cheer for the Steelers in their recent Super Bowl appearances against the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL and against the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII. This year was no different. I really hated this year’s Super Bowl matchup just because I hate both teams.
However, if you would have asked me which team I would have cheered for just based on their uniform colors (based on my all-time knowing about football experiences) I would have to say the Pittsburgh Steelers.
I will admit it probably was the most talked about Super Bowl and highly rated because if the Steelers would have won it would have been their seventh Vince Lombardi trophy. The Steelers already have the most Lombardi trophies of any team. On the other hand, the Vince Lombardi Trophy is named after the Packers long-time ago head coach. So it has some sentimental meaning for the Packers.
Like last year in the Super Bowl in which the Saints won, God couldn’t let the Steelers win. Why? Reason number one: The team names. In Green Bay the team name is derived from meat-packing. In other words, Green Bay packs up and the fans are usually prepared for game day. The Steelers mean that the people in Pittsburgh like to make steel. Oh yeah, and every time they have won the Super Bowl by less than ten points they pretty much have stolen a title from the opponent. God doesn’t want you taking things he wants you to be prepared.
Reason number two: Dave Dameshek! Who is Dave Dameshek? He is an NFL Fantasy Football analyst but personally I think he’s more known for this season’s edition of “The Shame Report” on NFL.com. My favorite “Shame Report” is the conference “Championship Shame Report.” To find the “Championship Shame Report” search for it and wait until Dave starts talking about Jay Cutler because it is hilarious. Check out about any “Shame Report” by searching for it on NFL.com.
Anyway, Dave was cheering for the Steelers throughout the playoffs. In his weekly season video of “The Shame Report” he shames people for doing things which are embarrassing. Other things he brings up are not so obvious.
He also gives away a “get out of shame free card.” He gave it to people who were affiliated with the Steelers’ opponent in the AFC playoffs. When the Steelers went up against the Baltimore Ravens he gave the card to Ray Lewis and when the Steelers played the New York Jets he gave the card to Rex Ryan. Before the Super Bowl he didn’t give the card to anyone from the Packers. Finally, every time he thinks he’ll be shamed the next week he gives himself the “get out of shame free card.”
Now to the “Shameful Stuff.” Dameshek at the end of one of his “shame reports” took the Steelers’ terrible towel, cursed the Packers, and threw the towel on the Packers logo in the end zone in Dallas (where the Super Bowl was held this year). Why would Dameshek do that? The Steelers’ only loss in Super Bowl history before Super Bowl XLV was to the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl XXX. Not to mention that the Cowboys recently got a new stadium. Anything that’s been connected to the Dallas Cowboys as far as the Super Bowl since the Cowboys beat the Steelers’ in Super Bowl XXX has been negative for the Steelers. Finally, the Cowboys and Steelers have had a Super Bowl rivalry going over the years.
But that wasn’t the only thing Dameshek did shamefully. Dameshek was also an instigator. He asked both the Steelers’ and Packers questions at Super Bowl media days. For example, he made up stuff (trash talk) that Ben Roethlisberger said (which Roethlisberger really didn’t really say) and asked the Packers a question or questions pertaining to that comment. I was totally convinced after these acts by Dameshek that the Packers definitely would win Super Bowl XLV.
I noticed that sportswriters on the Internet and in newspapers were picking the Packers to go (if not win) the Super Bowl for the 2010-2011 season. I wish the media/press sometimes would just be quiet and not have to spoil things for everybody (like they did this year). I honestly couldn’t see the Packers win this year’s Super Bowl if you would have asked me at the start of the season. When one looks at it they are the number one team to have been making the playoffs consistently the past few seasons in the National Football Conference (NFC).
Now, I am going to review this year’s playoffs. This year in the Wild Card round of the playoffs was interesting. To start with the American Football Conference (AFC) the Indianapolis Colts got beat by the New York Jets and the Kansas City Chiefs got beat by the Baltimore Ravens. In the National Football Conference (NFC), the Seattle Seahawks defeated the defending champion New Orleans Saints and the Green Bay Packers defeated the Philadelphia Eagles.
It’s a shame that the Colts didn’t think on fourth down on their last successful drive in the playoffs. I felt the successfully made field goal by Adam Vinatieri seemed alright. However, had the Colts gone for it on fourth down and successfully got a first down without attempting to kick a field goal I think they would have won the game and the Super Bowl. I also think in that game that yeah it may have seemed a stupid thing for the Colts to call a timeout and give the Jets more time to try and win but hey the Colts defense regrouped and still lost. People will be arguing forever in sports about when and when not to call a timeout. I do think calling a timeout defensively gives your team a chance to do something with the football offensively (when the offense does get it back).
I thought that it was stupid that the Seattle Seahawks got to go to the playoffs with a 7-9 record. This is everyone’s first real reminder of the NFL playoff format and why it is that way. The NFL tries to keep the football fan in mind so that people all over America have a de facto team (probably within a U.S. citizens’ regional area) if not a favorite team to cheer for at least through the Wild Card Round of the Playoffs. This season the Seattle Seahawks were the only team in the NFL playoffs west of Nebraska. That basically means that half the country could have been cheering for the Seahawks to win it all. If all the best teams by record got into the playoffs then half the country might not care or even be entertained by a future season of playoffs. Worse, someone will eventually come up with a reason to split the 2 conferences and combine them into one league so the best 12 teams in the NFL go to the playoffs every year (regardless of conference).
In the Divisional Round of the playoffs in the AFC, the New England Patriots got beat by the New York Jets and the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Baltimore Ravens. In the NFC, the Green Bay Packers defeated the Atlanta Falcons and the Chicago Bears defeated the Seattle Seahawks.
In the AFC Championship Game the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the New York Jets and the Green Bay Packers defeated the Chicago Bears in the NFC Championship Game. That’s how the Steelers and Packers got to the Super Bowl.
My favorite moment of the whole NFL season was a play in the fourth quarter of the Pro Bowl in which the center for the Cleveland Browns scored a touchdown for the AFC. That was sweet. This was a moment in which dreams do happen. Unfortunately, that probably will never happen again which is a real bummer. I don’t like when the defense doesn’t try in the Pro Bowl for either team. Maybe the normal offensive players should play defense and the defensive players should play on offense for their respective teams. That would be an exciting Pro Bowl. The NFC won the Pro Bowl again this year.
So I interviewed Hayden Flanders our new writer for the Yard Rake and here’s what he had to say about the NFL. I asked him how about his comments on Super Bowl XLV and he said, “I thought it was a very good game but it was not what I expected. The outcome wasn’t what I was hoping for. The Packers played well and wanted it more than the Steelers did.” I then asked him about replay and here’s what he had to say about that. “Overall I think instant replay is good.” He then said something like, “I wish the NFL would clearly define the catching rule and watch plays more closely.”
Next, I asked him about helmets. He said something like, “the players are targeted for making hits on other players. One targeted player is James Harrison.” Hayden did say this. “Football is a contact sport not people dancing in tu tus.”
Finally, Hayden also explained to me that quarterbacks have it easy to be protected and that some quarterbacks get penalties called on the opponent to help their team pick up a free 15 yards. I think the NFL should seriously look at some “bogus hits” on quarterbacks that don’t even injure them and others that do injure players (not just quarterbacks). For instance, I think helmet to helmet contact should be illegal if a defensive player (normally a cornerback or safety) does it purposefully through his actions.