Now that we’ve all had a day to reflect upon the Super Bowl, it’s time to start turning the page and look forward to next year’s Super Bowl. What better way to do that than with a way-too-early list of the top-10 Super Bowl contenders for next season. Heading into the offseason, here are the top-10 picks to win next year’s Super Bowl:
10. New York Giants – After two straight bad seasons, Tom Coughlin’s Giants are due to bounce back and make another run at a Super Bowl. Keep in mind that they did win seven of their final 10 games in 2013, and that was without playing particularly well, so imagine what they can do if they get their act together. The G-Men have a lot of problems, but if they draft well and Eli Manning can have a bounce back season, Coughlin knows how to put his team in position to get to the playoffs, where they’ve had a lot of success in recent years.
9. New England – The Patriots need to get Tom Brady some help around him, but New England has some promising young talent on defense that should help take some pressure off Brady, who got the team to the AFC Championship Game this season, even without much help around him. If the Patriots can add some weapons on offense and round out their defense this offseason, the window to reach the Super Bowl is still open.
8. Chicago – The Chicago defense was dreadful last season, but even with that holding them back and the injury to Jay Cutler the Bears were one game away from the playoffs. Cutler is now signed long term and having Marc Trestman around should help make him better, and on top of that, he has two elite wide receivers to throw to in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. If the Bears can improve their defense to the point where it’s anywhere close to average, Cutler and his receivers could carry the team a long way.
7. Carolina – The Panthers had one of the top defenses in the NFL this year, and they should have one of the best in the league again next year. They also have a young quarterback that made huge strides in 2013 and should continue to get better. What Carolina needs is more experience, especially playing in big games, and they got some of that this season, despite losing their first playoff game. The Panthers still have a few good teams in the NFC to leap over, but they’re in good shape heading into 2014 and should be a contender once again.
6. Denver – Unless Peyton Manning retires, the Broncos should still be considered one of the top favorites in the AFC to reach the Super Bowl. Even though there’s a chance that they’ll lose both Knowshon Moreno and Eric Decker in free agency, they should get Ryan Clady and Dan Koppen back from injury on the offensive line, as well as Von Miller and several other key defensive players that missed important parts of the 2013 season due to injury. Denver’s drubbing in the Super Bowl won’t be easy to bounce back from, but they recovered from their painful loss to Baltimore the previous season, so they shouldn’t be deterred by the way their season ended.
5. New Orleans – The Saints faded late in the season, but Sean Payton and Drew Brees are still a winning combination. Whether New Orleans will be able to keep free agent tight end Jimmy Graham remains to be seen, but they don’t have any other free agents that are irreplaceable, so their roster is in good shape. Payton and Brees will find a way to put a lot of points on the board, even if they don’t have Graham, and that will ensure that the Saints remain a contending team in 2014.
4. Green Bay – Give Green Bay a healthy Aaron Rodgers for a full season and the Packers will certainly be a team capable of reaching the Super Bowl. They have some areas that need improvement, but a healthy Rodgers, a healthy Randall Cobb, and the reigning offensive rookie of the year at running back in Eddie Lacy will five the Packers quite a formidable offense, and put them in the Super Bowl conversation.
3. Indianapolis – If you saw Andrew Luck play this season, especially late in the year, you know that he’s just about ready to take that next step, leap frog Brady and Manning, and take his team to the Super Bowl. Luck ultimately adjusted to the absence of Reggie Wayne in the second half of the season, which bodes well moving forward, while the Colts have another offseason to re-make their defense and give Luck more support. If Luck can get a little more help around him, he has a chance to take Indianapolis to the Super Bowl.
2. Seattle – It’s always tough to repeat, but the Seahawks have the youngest roster in football, and obviously it’s a roster that’s brimming with confidence after winning this year’s Super Bowl. They don’t have to worry about losing many key players in free agency, they have a quarterback that they trust, and they could have a healthy Percy Harvin for the entire season, all of which gives Seattle a great chance to get back to the Super Bowl again next year.
1. San Francisco – After playing in three straight NFC Championship Games, one would think the 49ers are bound to win a Super Bowl at some point. They bring back one of the most talented rosters in football, and have a quarterback that might have one of the highest ceilings in the league. There isn’t much to separate Seattle from San Francisco at this point, except perhaps a little more motivation for the 49ers, which could give them the edge they need in 2014.
In a pre-Super Bowl interview, President Barack Obama and Fox News host Bill O’Reilly debated Obamacare, the attack in Benghazi and claims that the Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative political groups.
On Obamacare, President Obama declined to answer why he didn’t fire Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and argued that the website is now working the way it’s supposed to.
“I try to focus not on the fumbles but on the next play,” President Obama said.
O’Reilly also brought up the Benghazi attack, noting that many believe it was a terror attack.
“They believe it because folks like you are telling them that,” President Obama argued.
As for the IRS scandal, President Obama insisted that there was absolutely no corruption contributing to the IRS targeting of conservative groups. He argued that these details continue to surface because TV shows like Fox News keep promoting them.
President Obama quipped that O’Reilly had a long list of his presidential mistakes.
At the interview’s close, President Obama declined to predict whether the Denver Broncos or the Seattle Seahawks would win the Super Bowl.
The latest commercial from Coca-Cola, which features “America the Beautiful” sung in different languages, inspired controversy when it aired during the Super Bowl on Sunday night.
The ad featured a number of people of different nationalities singing the patriotic song.
“The only thing more beautiful than this country are the people who live here,” the Youtube caption reads.
The commercial includes a number of American faces, young, old, brown, white, in cowboy hats and hijabs. It even includes what are said to be the first gay parents depicted in a Super Bowl ad.
Despite the commercial being a cause for celebration of something beautiful, Internet users took to Twitter to condemn the ad.
“Nice to see that Coke likes to sing an American song in the terrorist’s language,” Tyler Wyckoff wrote. “Way to go Coke. You can leave America.”
Others, however, have supported the commercial and denounced criticizers.
“An interracial couple eating Cheerios and non-English speakers drinking Coke,” Bry Mac tweeted. “We're a Benghazi pizza commercial away from a Texas secession.”
A 9/11 truther stormed a Seattle Seahawks postgame press conference and interrupted Super Bowl XLVIII MVP Malcolm Smith’s media session.
New Jersey State Police arrested Matthew Mills, 30, for criminal trespassing Sunday night after he grabbed a microphone from Smith.
“Investigate 9/11,” Mills shouted. “9/11 was perpetrated by people within our own government.”
He was immediately pulled off the stage.
“All right? Is everybody alright?” continued Smith.
NFL officials nabbed the Brooklyn native and handed him over to state police.
While Mills had game credentials, his media affiliation remains unclear.
For the second year in a row, followers of Scientology carved out a time slot during the Super Bowl to promote their religion.
“Imagine science. And religion. Connecting,” the ad begins. “Imagine technology and spirituality combining.”
The dramatic voiceover also promised a higher state of existence through Scientology, while stock photo images of sunny weather and relaxed people flashed by.
The commercial, which many described as “creepy,” cost an estimated $8 million. There is little doubt that the Church of Scientology can cover the cost, unlike other religions.
As was the case last year, the ad was limited to a few regional markets like New York and Washington, D.C.
The commercial itself has been aired on Scientology’s Youtube channel since Jan. 8.
As Peyton Manning took two steps forward to yell out the play call, after he likely saw something in the defense he thought he could exploit, something he’s done thousands of times before, Denver center Manny Ramirez flung the ball in the air, whizzing past Manning’s head, much to his surprise and dismay. The ball hit the ground and continued to roll into the Denver end zone until running back Knowshon Moreno ultimately fell on it, giving the Seattle Seahawks two points and a lead they would not relinquish.
For 18 games this season, the Denver Broncos galloped up and down the field. A record setting offense led by a now five-time most-valuable player could not be stopped; opposing defenses could only hope to contain them. But in their 19th game of the season, on the biggest stage of all, the Broncos pulled up lame, as the offense that dominated every team put in front of them, finally met their match.
After 18 phenomenal weeks of football, it took just one play for Denver’s entire season to unravel; one play to stop the seemingly unstoppable Broncos dead in their tracks; and one play to turn the dream of a Super Bowl into a 60 minute long living nightmare. After an 18-game buildup that began in spectacular fashion and included several NFL records, making us believe there was no challenge the Broncos couldn’t rise up against and defeat, it only took one play for the Broncos to fall flat on their face; and once down, the Seahawks made sure they were never able to get back up.
The Broncos literally took offense to another level in 2013, breaking the NFL record for points scored. They had a set of skill players that couldn’t be covered and one of the most brilliant minds in football history pulling the strings at quarterback. Denver’s running backs and receivers out-performed opponents with their talent, while Peyton Manning out-smarted opponents with his intellectual mastery of football. But in the end, the Broncos failed at the most fundamental part of football, the snap of the ball, and it became their downfall.
Once down 2-0, the Broncos might as well have packed up and headed home. They would trail 5-0 before Manning would touched the ball for the first time, and it would eventually take them three full quarters until their first and only touchdown of the game, a meaningless consolation prize. While all of their snaps were practically flawless the rest of the game, one bad snap dashed their confidence and took them completely out of rhythm against a Seattle defense that was fast and physical, and ready to strike.
One bad snap threw the Broncos completely off their game, while Seattle’s ferocious pass rush and physical secondary made sure there was no getting back on track. Had the first snap of the game landed perfectly in Manning’s hands, would the Broncos have struggled to move the ball and score points against the Seattle defense? Absolutely, but the bad snap changed the complexion of the game before Manning could get his hands on the ball, and it crushed the confidence that was built up by 18 weeks of brilliance. That one play, the very first play of the game, turned Denver’s Super Bowl into a super bust.
Fox & Friends Sunday celebrated the Super Bowl this morning by sending female co-host Anna Kooiman to the on-set "kitchen" while co-hosts Tucker Carlson and Clayton Morris lounged a feet away in their self-described "mancave."
"While the mancave is perfect to watch the game, it's nothing without some great food and some great drinks," said Morris (video below).
"So basically, you're telling me the men are in the "mancave" and the lady gets stuck in the kitchen?" asked Kooiman, who was interviewing a guest chef.
"Yes," replied Morris.
"Actually, I've got the food, you guys relax over there," added Kooiman.
If you knock on wood, do a good luck dance or pray to God during a big football game, you’re not alone.
Half of Americans believe some type of supernatural force is in play during football games and other sporting events.
“Just ahead of the 2014 Super Bowl, 50 percent of sports fans see some aspect of the supernatural at play in sports, meaning they either pray to God to help their team, have thought their team was cursed at some point in time, or believe that God plays a role in determining the outcome of sporting events,” a survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute found.
The survey also found that football fans are also more likely to pray for their team, perform a pre-game or game-time ritual, or believe there’s a curse on their team than any other type of fan.
Twenty one percent of football fans have either a special ritual or a lucky item of clothing they associate with a big game, while another 22 percent say that God plays a role in which team wins the game.
Of course, not everyone thinks God cares whether the Seahawks or the Broncos win this year’s Super Bowl.
“No,” Rabbi Arthur Weiner of the Jewish Community Center of Paramus told NorthJersey.com. “We live in a world where we have a religious understanding that God cares about everything, but the truth is we don’t believe that this is the kind of thing God needs to or should be getting involved with.”
Former quarterback and current NFL Network analyst Kurt Warner, isn’t so sure where to draw the line between God and what God cares about.
“It’s one of those tricky questions,” Warner, a devout Christian, said. “I believe God has your best interest in mind. How that correlates to winning and losing football games, I’m not fully sure.”
The survey by the nonpartisan, non-profit group based in Washington, D.C., asked 1,011 adults from Jan. 8 to Jan. 12.
Sources: Washington Times, NorthJersey.com
In addition to the metal detectors, TSA-like pat-downs and massive video surveillance at Super Bowl XLVIII, there will also be members of the US military and hidden snipers.
“If you have an active shooter or you have anyone who may have a bomb, snipers have a better angle then anyone who is on the ground to actually hit that target," Former FBI agent Jonathan Gilliam told My 9 NJ (video below).
"It’s an entire team that communicates," added Gilliam. "You have individuals who are at high altitudes inside the arena and then you have individuals that are on the ground moving in and around the crowd."
My 9 NJ also defended the snipers at Met Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. with this assurance: "The snipers will just be doing their job so fans can have an enjoyably safe experience."
According to CBS News, Super Bowl security also includes hundreds of US military, law enforcement and federal agencies. There will also be six thousand more personnel outside the stadium.
While CBS News touted the military presence, the news network failed to mention the Posse Comitatus Act, which does not allow the US Army to be used to enforce laws on US citizens except when "authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress."
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning has been the main focal point of Super Bowl week, and deservedly so. Manning is approaching the end of an incredible career that will undoubtedly put him in the Hall of Fame one day. He’s also going for his second Super Bowl championship, which many critics believe he needs in order to make a strong argument for being the best quarterback in NFL history, and with the uncertainty around his health and his future in football beyond this season, this could be Manning’s last chance to win a second Super Bowl. However, win or lose, Manning has already stated his case for being the best quarterback of all time, and it’s a strong case.
First, there are the numbers. For his career, Manning has thrown for nearly 65,000 yards; not including the postseason, and nearly 500 touchdown passes, again not including the postseason. He holds the record for the most touchdown passes, passing yards, and completions a quarterback has made in a single decade. He has the largest differential between touchdowns and interceptions of any quarterback in NFL history. His career passer rating is 97, good for second all time behind Aaron Rodgers. Manning has more 300-yard passing games than any other quarterback in NFL history. Just this season, he set the single-season record for both passing yards and touchdown passes. Also, Manning is one of three quarterbacks that has thrown seven touchdowns in a single game without also throwing an interception, doing so in this year’s season opener against the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.
Next, there are the accolades. He is a five-time MVP, which is more than any other player. He is a 13-time Pro Bowler, and seven times he’s been named the All-Pro first-team quarterback. Manning has been the AFC Offensive Player of the Year seven times. He has been a Pro-Bowl MVP, a Super-Bowl MVP, and won the 2012 NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award.
The statistics Manning has put up and the awards he’s won over the course of his career are nothing short of astonishing. But Manning is even better than his credentials would indicate. His intellectual mastery of the position is unmatched by any other quarterback in the history of the NFL, and is a unique trait that will be nearly impossible for any other quarterback to replicate, ever. Not only has Manning thrown a countless number of passes with pinpoint accuracy, but throughout his career he has shown an uncanny ability to outsmart opposing defenses win the play for his team before the ball is even snapped. No other quarterback has combined the physical talents of an elite quarterback with the brilliant mental acuity of the position the way Manning has.
Even if all the stats and awards didn’t exist, no quarterback has been more impressive to watch operate than Manning. No other quarterback has mastered the game of football the way Manning has. It’s nothing short of insane to think that Manning needs to win a second Super Bowl to be considered the greatest of all time; after all, teams win Super Bowls not individuals, which is why none of the accolades mentioned have anything to do with his team winning or losing. Whether or not the Broncos beat the Seahawks Sunday night should have little bearing on Manning’s legacy; it’s just one of hundreds of games Manning has played throughout his career. Win or lose, he’s already stated his case as the best quarterback of all time, and it’s a case that’s going to be tough to beat.