People expect too much from the Superbowl. I thought it was rather exciting. Of course, if the Steelers had won, I would say otherwise.
If you didn’t like the commercials, I’m glad that you are the person that complains every year about the over-hyped ads not meeting expectations. I’m pretty sure that the level of comedy that people expect from commercials has officially become impossible to reach. But if you’re not a game watcher, you at least could have enjoyed Christina Aguilera’s un-American performance of The Star Spangled Banner, in which she butchered the words (yes, I know it seems impossible). And if that wasn’t pleasing enough, you could’ve been entertained by the Black Eyed Peas’ halftime show, accompanied by Usher, which, while quite aesthetically pleasing and impressive, was a vocal disaster both in terms of performance and technicality.
However, I thought the game was a great showcase of the Packers’ ability, on both sides of the ball. Their playoff performance showed how they came together in the second half of the season, and that they truly were the best team in football. Most notably, Aaron Rodgers established himself as a close comparison to Jesus, and clearly the quarterback of the future. Their entire offense was quite solid throughout the playoffs, including running backs James Starks, John Kuhn, and receivers Jordy Nelson, and of course Greg Jennings. They look like a team who should continue to have success for the next few years.
The Steelers, on the other hand, to many people’s liking, lost in a close one, just being stopped of scoring a game-winning touchdown with under a minute to go. As a 49ers fan, it’s easy to root against the Steelers because we don’t want their Super Bowl count to raise to high above ours. However, for neutral fans in this year’s superbowl, the deciding factor was in many cases the hate of Ben Roethlisberger. He’s a hatable guy as-is, constantly succeeding by having good receivers, a tremendous defense, and terrible all-around performances in which he has big plays at the right time. He’s the only quarterback that consistently throws for just over 100 yards and is applauded for such outings, and even considered an “elite quarterback.”
But if you didn’t already hate “Fat Ben,” his alleged sexual assault case, which was eventually dropped without verdict due to the cowardly NFL not wanting to have a major franchise lose face, would have done the trick this year. I would assume and hope that many females rooted for the Packers out of safety, in order to shield themselves from any celebratory rape that may occur.
But, don’t let the playoffs make us forget the exciting NFL season of 2010. Here were the top stories:
The return of Michael Vick: He did his time, he found god, and he became one of the best quarterbacks in the league. He still has the speed he had four years ago with the Falcons, but now he has established himself as an assassin with his arm as well. If you don’t like Vick, don’t let it be because of his dog fighting in the past. The guy truly has served the necessary time, and he has begged forgiveness from just about everyone possible. As much as I doubted him, both as a person and a quarterback, he surprised me in a major way in 2010. He truly had an MVP caliber season, not throwing an interception until week 12, and being the top quarterback in fantasy scoring, despite missing five games. If Vick can remain healthy, which is definitely not a sure thing because he is a running quarterback, people will be expecting huge things from him in the next few years.
The success of the Falcons: Young quarterback Matt Ryan led the Falcons to a 13-win season, good for first place in the NFC. Behind running back Michael Turner, receiver Roddy White, and a quietly solid defense, the Falcons managed to beat just about everyone who they played until their depressing loss to the Packers in their first playoff game. The Falcons should surely be a high-caliber team again in 2011.
The Patriots continued success: Once again, the Patriots managed to be, to the opinion of most, the best team, despite relying on absolute scrubs from day-to-day. Tom Brady was of course completely dominant, perhaps having his greatest season so far, and certainly made due with mediocre receivers, including #1 man Deion Branch. The team was carried by players whom, prior to this year, would not be recognized by even the most avid sports fans. Most notably, the running back duo of Danny Woodhead and BenJarvus Green-Ellis quietly became one of the best in the league. Green-Ellis scored the second-most rushing touchdowns in the NFL, and Danny Woodhead, all 5’7″ of him, was usually good for 100 all-purpose yards per game. I have been against the Patriots up until this year, when I discovered the beauty of players like Woodhead, Julian Edelman, and veteran scrub Alge Crumpler. Also, they managed to have a defense that consisted of just one player, Vince Wilfork. The defensive lineman was singlehandedly able to stuff just about every offense all year. The Patriots will continue to be one of the best teams in the league as long as they have Tom Brady, which is not an era that will end any time soon. We did see their season come to an unfortunate close in their highly hyped, highly trash-talked playoff loss to Rex Ryan’s Jets. But the dynasty of Tom Brady, who threw for 36 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions, will be back even stronger in 2011.
Chicago Bears become worst 11-5 team ever: Yes, the Bears did have a great defense, and some miracle wins throughout the season. However, not even Chicago residents would consider the Bears among the best teams in the league. Their value was best shown when they played the Packers in the NFC championship (which they only got to by beating the lowly Seahawks) as the two seed against a six seed, and were severe underdogs. Matt Forte had a solid season at running back, which was backed up by Chester Taylor, but no offense can be led by a quarterback as bad as Jay Cutler. Who knows, he may be a realistic pickup at some point in the 49ers organization, I hear they have been looking for another bad quarterback. But for now, he continues to bring down an otherwise solid team, and prevent them from reaching any potential they may have, while occasionally being praised by ESPN announcers when they have really run out of things to talk about.
Seattle Seahawks Overachieving: The NFC West proved to football that you don’t need to be good to be successful. The Seahawks were triumphant in this pathetic division, and became the first team to ever make the playoffs with a losing record, finishing the regular season at 7-9. Pete Carroll seemed to always be leading his team to be happy, which somewhat paid off. The reason I respect him as a coach is that he never actually thought his team was good, he just acted on the luck that he was given. Despite losing all 9 of their games by 15 points or more, the Seahawks had a heroic playoff win against the defending Super Bowl champion Saints, which was marked by Marshawn Lynch’s incredible 67 yard touchdown run, in which he broke eight tackles. Besides being a sure fan of the underdog, I loved that playoff game because of the humor in it, and the justice of the fact that Drew Brees ended his season on a heartbreak, after being idolized all year by America, and even making the Pro Bowl over Aaron Rodgers despite throwing hundreds of interceptions. Do not look for the Seahawks to do big things next year, but they could maybe pull off another division winner if the 49ers don’t manage to step up.
Newly emerging running backs: I already talked about the Patriot’s duo, and particularly Green-Ellis who had the second most rushing touchdowns. However, the real story at running back was the man who had the most rushing yards and touchdowns, and that is Arian Foster. His 231 rushing yard, 3 touchdown performance in week 1 seemed like one of the greatest flukes in our era, but he truly continued to be the most dominant running back in the NFL. I can’t promise he will match up to his 2010 numbers next year, but it truly was the breakout season for the young running back. We also had emergences from fast, young running backs Jamaal Charles and Darren McFadden, who both look to be big names for the future. The last emerging running back, my personal favorite, was Peyton Hillis. Despite being a fat, white dude, and playing for the Cleveland Browns, Hillis managed to be one of the most productive running backs all season. He did slow down at the end of the year, and there’s a chance he already hit his peak, but it was an impressive season nonetheless.
49ers forecast: Lastly, let’s look ahead to 2011 for our local 49ers. Jim Harbaugh seems like a great fit for coach of the team, but he can only be effective if he has a quarterback. I am embarrassed to say that I was pretty much the last person to keep faith in Alex Smith, even through his failures of 2010, including the “Smith disaster” when backup Troy Smith started over Alex Smith. Hopefully the 9ers will not look to the draft for a quarterback, as there are limited if any attractive options at that position. Instead, hopefully we will be able to get Kevin “Kev-Dogg” Kolb in a trade from the Eagles. Michael Vick is pretty much sure to re-sign with the Eagles in 2011, and if this is the case, Kolb will be looking to another team to be the starter. This looks like the 9ers best option at quarterback, so we should keep our fingers crossed. If not, another option for the 9ers could be Kyle Orton of the Broncos, who seemed to have his starting job taken from him by Tim Tebow. While Orton is certainly someone who can put up big fantasy numbers, due to his Broncos being behind week in and week out, he is not very impressive as an actual quarterback, and doesn’t seem like someone who would fit in well with Harbaugh’s West Coast Offense. If the quarterback dilemma can be settled, I would expect fairly big things from the 9ers, in comparison to the recent past, as our defense should remain to be solid. While I would never claim that the 49ers will be among the best teams in the NFL, I would expect that with even a league-average quarterback they should be able to beat out the measly competition in the NFC West and make the playoffs. However, we all know that they will win their first couple of games promisingly, and then proceed to lose many in a row, finish strong, and end with an 8-8 year. It’s inevitable.