It’s funny about revisionist history – it’s sort of like how when wine ages or art ages…they just get better over time! It’s the same thing in sports – like Bill Cowher gets smarter every year he’s out of coaching…seriously! Every year he’s out of coaching. There were times in Pittsburgh where they wanted him out – John Gruden got wacked in Tampa, but when you leave – it’s sort of like life “remember the good times, not the bad” You try to remember the good times but if you remember the bad times, women would never have a second child…it hurts! We’d never buy and sell houses again, it’s a disaster, it’s a nightmare especially with the mortgage situation…it’s a mess! But we do.
So if you go look at last year’s NFL season – and the natural inclination is that you immediately think “Man, Green Bay dominated the world, I’ve never seen a team that good ever” Naw, not really…revisionist history. You go back to Green Bay last year – now Green Bay fans will say “well, we had a lot of injuries” I say, “Welcome to the NFL, have you looked at the New York Giants roster this morning? Or the Dallas Cowboys?” they are both an absolute mess right now. Offensive line and secondary for the Cowboys…they’re a mess! Houston Texans last year were a mess, everybody is hurt in the NFL…everybody!
Green Bay was banged up – they lost 3 of 4 games early in the year. At the end of the year, they lost 3 of their last 6 and eeked out a win over Chicago. Struggled 21-16 against Philadelphia in the 1st round of the playoffs because of David Ackers – who is generally a great field goal kicker, but if he hits a couple of field goals….Philadelphia beats Green Bay! Now we know that David Akers family was going through a very tough situation and his head wasn’t there – that’s not an excuse, that’s a reason. He had a young daughter going through some stuff and David later noted that “emotionally, I wasn’t there” I think we can all understand that.
But you go look tonight at the Saints and the Packers and then you go look at last year’s offensive stats, Saints were 6th and Packers were 9th. Passing…Saints 3rd, Packers 5th. Defense…Saints 4th, Packers 5th, same thing in pass defense. In rush defense, the Saints were better than the Packers. So, this revisionist history crap of “oh, they dominated the world…” Noo!! New Orleans was a better team, statistically speaking. You want to talk about a team who dominated the world? New England dominated the world last year – they beat Chicago in Chicago 36-7, Green Bay struggled against Chicago 3 times. They beat Miami 41-14, they hammered Pittsburgh 39 –26, beat the crap out of the Colts, hammered Detroit, beat my Jets 45-3, clobbered Chicago. They humiliated teams last year.
So revisionist history people will assert that Green Bay is great, but they were wobbly at several times last year, New England was really the team that owned the world. Now, if you go back and see what happened last year…do you know who ended up in the Superbowl last year? An injury riddled Packer team that got hot basically in the playoffs and a Pittsburgh team that struggled all regular season to beat the best teams. Pittsburgh beat up on a lot of average teams, but lost to Baltimore, then to the Saints, then to the Patriots, then lost to the Jets – all in the regular season with several of those at home.
So, who ended up in last year’s Superbowl? A team that, in the regular season, couldn’t beat the best teams on its schedule and that was injury riddled and didn’t really really click until their 2nd playoff game. So my feeling this year – I’ve always sort of had a belief that you’ve got to get the home bye, you want to stay healthy. So the key to the NFL is asking yourself these questions: Do you have a pro-bowl quarterback? If the answer is yes, you can win a Superbowl. Is he a pro-bowl level quarterback – so I’d say there are about 12 in the league right now. Then, how many pro-bowl quarterbacks do you face? If the number is low, you’re going to win a lot of games, you’re gonna win your division, you may get a bye – that’s one less playoff game you have to play, and the first one is at home.
My gut feeling is that Atlanta is going to end up in the Superbowl. It’s a tough early schedule: @ Chicago, Philadelphia and Green Bay. But they only face, all year, 4 pro bowl quarterbacks. Drew Brees twice, Aaron Rogers once and Michael Vick once, so I look at Atlanta’s schedule – in the middle of the season, if Peyton Manning doesn’t play, wow!! Carolina twice, Tennessee, Jacksonville, the Colts, Minnesota. That’s a lot of wins and a lot of those games are at home.
In the AFC, I kinda look at San Diego getting a bye because of the weak division, I look at my Jets but they’re not quite there, but I keep going back to Pittsburgh and New England! New England was the best team all year, they’ve upgraded at two soft spots – defensive line and wide receiver. So I think New England is slightly better than last year, the Jets will be slightly worse, Pittsburgh will be good, but Brady has always matched up well against the Steelers because they’re weak at corner, New England spreads the field as well as anybody in this league.
So my gut feeling is that it’s New England and Pittsburgh who are going to shoot it out for the AFC championship – I’d probably lean New England. In the NFC, its Atlanta and Green Bay, Atlanta – easier schedule, get’s the home game and they’ve upgraded on the defensive line and upgraded at wide receiver and it’s just hard to repeat winning in this league, it just doesn’t happen that often! So I kinda feel that Atlanta and England is your Superbowl match up – with Pittsburgh always capable of ending up there!