Many, myself included, believe that Mike McCarthy is the true Coach of the Year in the NFL after navigating an NFL season all the way to the summit of the football universe. It is difficult enough for any team in the NFL to get through a season and win a Super Bowl. Add to that the incredible injuries and difficult road culminating in knocking off the premiere franchise in the NFL today, and Mike McCarthy showed the world just how great of a head coach he is.
But perhaps the single best move by McCarthy wasn’t that he out-coached Mike Tomlin throughout the game, or that he called his own shot entering the week by saying that he had a great QB and that he intended to use him and rely on him to win the game for them. All week, McCarthy said that they rode on the back of Rodgers and that wasn’t going to change. Boy was he right. The Packers ran the ball an astounding 13 times! NO ONE… I mean no one, thought that either team would be able to win the game with less than 15 rushing attempts.
But the best thing McCarthy did happened the night before the game during his final meeting with his team before they went to sleep (or at least tried to sleep) the night before the biggest game of their lives. In an incredible show of confidence in himself and his team, Mike McCarthy brought in the ring fitters to size each and every person for their Super Bowl rings.
Some may think that’s arrogant or cocky and you may be right on some level, but guess what? It worked. The Packers came out from the start and looked loose, confident and certainly didn’t let the moment get the better of them. Even when the Steelers came roaring back and the Packers seemingly lost all momentum and were on the verge of losing control of the game, they stood strong and responded. Greg Jennings was even seen grabbing his ring finger after one of his 2 TD’s during the game.
Did McCarthy’s decision to fit his team for rings on Saturday night win the game for them? Of course not. But it shows you the culture and attitude of the team and that confidence carried forward on the field last night. After the massive injuries the Packers sustained during the game, including their defensive captain, Charles Woodson, and after the Steelers took their best shot and came back firing, it would’ve been very easy to let that game slip away.
The way Rodgers played last night, throughout the playoffs, and all season, I just hope McCarthy fit him for a championship belt as well.
Just a few short years ago Plaxico Burress was one of the heroes of the Super Bowl as he played a key role in helping the New York Football Giants derail the Patriots’ pursuit of perfection. As we know, Plaxico then had the unfortunate situation whereby he shot himself in the leg at a night club. Due to New York City’s strict gun laws, the star WR has been spending his time in prison.
According to reports by TMZ, Plaxico has “full TV privileges” and will be able to watch the Super Bowl in prison. Not a bad perk for inmates… I wonder if those inmates would be able to watch the Super Bowl if it wasn’t Plaxico Burress locked up along side them or if this is some special perk.
With Super Bowl XLV approaching (albeit not nearly fast enough), Cowboys Stadium aka “Jerry’s World” is getting quite a bit of attention. According to the Dallas Morning News, however, all the wrong kind of attention this morning.
They report that a suspicious package was thrown out of a vehicle near Cowboys Stadium and the stadium has since been on “lockdown”. Police and fire officials, as well as a SWAT Team, hazardous materials crew, and bomb squad were dispatched to the stadium just before 8 a.m.
According to the story, witnesses say that a package was thrown out of a moving car into the street between the stadium and a Wal-Mart and the package fell down a drain in the median. A bomb technician is said to be examining it and, for now, the nearby streets are closed and security around the area has been increased.
For everyone’s sake, we just hope this was a stupid prank and that nothing dangerous is going on. No one wants or needs any security threats surrounding the biggest sporting event in America.
Steelers rookie Center Maurkice Pouncey had an incredible first season in the NFL. Not only did he earn a Pro Bowl bid, but he helped to stabilize a shaky Steeler offensive line and is headed to the Super Bowl in his rookie season. Unfortunately for Pouncey and the Steelers, he went down with an apparent ankle injury during the AFC Championship game against the Jets. At the time, it was thought that he suffered a sprained ankle.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette, Pouncey also has a broken bone in his left ankle along with the high ankle sprain. This is a tremendous blow for the Steelers as he is now considered “highly doubtful” for Super Bowl XLV. Pouncey didn’t miss a game this season and despite going out in the first quarter of the AFC Championship game, the Steelers were hopeful that he would be able to recover during the 2 week layoff leading up to the Super Bowl.
The Steelers are publicly saying that he hasn’t been ruled out for the Super Bowl, but players have already indicated that he will likely not be able to play. According to the Post-Gazzette, Chris Kemoeatu told reporters earlier this week that Pouncey would not be playing in the Super Bowl. He then backed off those comments presumably after being talked to by Steelers brass.
For the Steelers, the biggest question beyond Big Ben’s suspension for the first 4 games of the season has always been if their O-line could hold up. They don’t have a strong line by NFL standards to begin with and they have suffered injuries which have caused them to shuffle players around all season. Despite the line’s inconsistency, the one anchor this season had been Pouncey. Losing him presents significant problems for the Steelers against Green Bay.
The first and “biggest” challenge is B.J. Raji. Raji is an underrated player at Nose Tackle for the Packers and even though he can take up space, he’s not the traditional “Space Eating” 3-4 NT like Gilbert Brown. Raji is athletic and can rush the passer and even drop back into coverage as we saw against the Bears. Raji is a handful for any NFL center, let alone a backup who has seen limited time this season.
Secondarily, the Packers have an extremely underrated defense and very complex blitz schemes. Dom Capers has transformed the Packers defense into one of the league’s best and Clay Matthews and company will present serious concerns for the Steelers offensive line. Pouncey is responsible for all the line calls and losing your starting Center who is the “quarterback of the o-line” is never a good thing. Obviously, Roethlisberger has a unique ability to get away from pressure, but the Steelers o-line’s ability to hold up against the Packers rush will play a huge part in this game.
Two weeks is a long time and medical staff’s can do an awful lot in that period of time. Ben Roethlisberger just recently played with a broken bone in his foot and it’s still possible that Pouncey will give it a go. Either way, even if he’s able to play, he will certainly be far from 100% and it will impact the game.
Now that the Super Bowl teams are set, Packers and Steelers fans are able to start buying tickets and grabbing up hotel rooms, if they haven’t already done so. Even though the Super Bowl has become mostly a corporate event rather than a pure football game for the fans, some fans still pay the exorbitant prices just to be a part of the spectacular experience.
The Super Bowl has long been associated with ridiculous prices from the actual tickets to the game, the hotel rooms, the commercial spots, the memorabilia, etc. I’m sure parking has not been cheap in previous Super Bowls, but I can honestly say that I’ve never heard of this type of price for game day parking.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that some parking lots close to Cowboys Stadium are asking nearly $1,000 for prime spots. They also indicated that those hotels I mentioned are going for roughly 4 times their normal value for the days leading up to the Super Bowl.
One parking lot, ParkWhiz has reportedly priced it’s reserve spots at $990 for spots that are officially listed at $140. But why are the prices so ridiculous? Other than the fact that it’s the Super Bowl and some people will spare no expense on this day, especially some of those corporate attendees, the official stadium parking is more than a mile away.
I don’t consider myself a lazy person and I don’t mind walking at all, but a mile away for official stadium parking is a bit ridiculous. Not nearly as ridiculous though, as the near $1,000 price tag on spots closer to the stadium.
So, let’s just price out what it would cost the average fan to go to the Super Bowl.
Airfare (Obviously, depends on where you’re flying from, but lets just say Ohio): $750 per person at the very least.
Hotel: According to this report, $75/night hotel rooms are going for $500.
Tickets: The cheapest tickets available per this report are $2,600 apiece ranging all the way up $16,000.
So not even counting meals, drinks, taxis, merchandise, etc. an average fan, getting the absolute bottom tier tickets, hotel, airfare and walking the mile to stadium is paying nearly $4,000 per person to attend the game.
And the NFL says this game is all about the fans? Please… I believe that about as much as I believe Goodell’s preachings on player safety.