With the owners’ lockout looming, NFL franchises need to come up with alternative solutions for the upcoming season. The 2011 Draft is just around the corner, and if the top college players start to back out, teams will have to look elsewhere to fill their rosters. This sudden turn of events doesn’t leave much time for scouting, so nearby, hometown talent will be at a premium. With that in mind, our good friend Shaggy Lewis presents to you his own literal mock draft, full of “players” who can sell tickets without all that pesky “talent” or “practice” that current NFL players demand. Picks 1-16 were made yesterday.
17. Oakland Raiders – Charlie Sheen: In a move so stupid only Al Davis can think it’s a good idea, Oakland will trade all of its 2012 draft picks to get its original first round pick back to pick Charlie Sheen, who will declare himself the king of the NFL and try to steal Tampa Bay’s pirate ship.
18. San Diego Chargers – Ron Burgundy: The Chargers’ confidence will rise and performance will fall as the “Anchorman” replaces all of the sideline Gatorade coolers with scotch.
19. New York Giants – Carl Brutananadilewski: After several disappointing Decembers, the Giants are sure the “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” character and mega Giants fan will bring full intensity to every game, using D cell batteries to his advantage when necessary.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Randy Savage: When the Macho Man gets his hands on that football this Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! at Week Thirteen, the madness will run wild as Savage drops a flying elbow from the goalpost. Ohhhh Yeahhh!!!!
21. Kansas City Chiefs –Walt Disney: I know this is a Goofy pick, but KC doesn’t have that Minnie famous people calling it home, Jasmine I’ve never heard of. I’ve Donald the research I could, some Pixar just harder than others. There’s Snow White or wrong answer, although Disney may help bolster the Chiefs’ Ariel attack.
22. Indianapolis Colts – Michael Jackson: Indy’s performance wasn’t Bad last year, but if they Wanna Be Startin’ Something and Beat It this season, they’re going to need a Thriller to Jam the offense and make plays. Also, Billie Jean.
23. Philadelphia Eagles – Kevin Bacon: Bacon will already be familiar with the Eagles’ offense, since Andy Reid coached Brett Favre, who played in 1994 against Dan Marino, who appeared in Bad Boyz II with Michael Shannon, who appeared in The Woodsman with Kevin Bacon.
24. New Orleans Saints – Billy the Exterminator: Billy will raise the football IQ of all of New Orleans’ newfound fans as he explains every play step by step, while simultaneously making Louisiana natives look as dumb as possible.
25. Seattle Seahawks – Bill Gates: Although Gates’ $3.71 billion dollar salary may exceed the salary cap, the Seahawks will have a definitive advantage with all of the light sabers and hover boards at their disposal.
26. Baltimore Ravens – Johnnie Cochran: The Ravens could use Cochran’s legal skills, as they have a history of signing players who have been accused of murder. Hear that, Vick haters? Donte Stallworth and Ray Lewis (allegedly) have killed humans.
27. Atlanta Falcons – Ludacris: If you think TO’s display on the Dallas logo in 2000 was poorly received, just wait to see what Ludacris plans to do at the Georgia Dome 50 yard line during field goal attempts.
28. New England Patriots – Peter Griffin: New England liked what it saw from the “Family Guy” during his brief stint at center in 2006, if only he leaves bringing cars on the field to his nephew Blake in Los Angeles.
29. Chicago Bears – Oprah Winfrey: Win or lose, every fan at every Bears game will find a free iPad and new car keys under their seats.
30. New York Jets – Shaquille O’Neal: O’Neal has all of the physical tools Coach Rex Ryan is looking for: size, strength, and size 23 feet.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers – Dennis Miller: The former Monday Night Football host is best suited for any position besides quarterback, as his drawn out play calls will turn into rants and cause infinite delay of game penalties.
32. Green Bay Packers – Chris Farley: With only the help of a single skinny teammate, Farley will eventually be able to shout, stumble and break things en route to an inevitable painful victory, every single time.
Today is part 1 of 2 where we discuss the unrecognized national holiday this weekend that is Super Bowl Sunday. Today, we’ll talk football and tomorrow we’ll discuss the other reason people tune in — commercials and marketing.
Super Bowl XLV: Sunday, Feb. 6 in Arlington, TX
Favorite: Packers by 3
How They Got Here: The Steelers (14-4) beat the Baltimore Ravens 31-24 in the divisional round before defeating the New York Jets in the AFC Championship game 24-19. The Packers (13-6) beat the Philadelphia Eagles 21-16 in the wild card round, then leveled the Atlanta Falcons in the divisional round 48-21, and won the NFC Championship by beating the Chicago Bears 21-14.
Impact Players: Steelers — QB Ben Roethlisberger, S Troy Polamalu, LB James Harrison
Packers — QB Aaron Rodgers, LB Clay Matthews, CB Tramon Williams
Review: It goes without saying that not many people had the Pittsburgh Steelers, a team that didn’t even make the playoffs last year with their starting quarterback coming off a sex scandal and 4-game suspension, and the Green Bay Packers, a team who came into the season with severe questions about their offensive line protecting their QB who had only two season earlier replaced a legend (Brett Favre), making it to Dallas this weekend. But here we are, with a 6-seed wild card team from the NFC that has the aura of defying the odds and a 2-seed from the AFC that many people feel got lucky because they didn’t have to play the New England Patriots.
The way these teams made it here are fairly similar: defense and clutch quarterback play. While many people will refuse to admit it, even the quarterbacks (Pittsburgh’s vilified Ben Roethlisberger and Green Bay’s sudden golden boy Aaron Rodgers) are similar in the way they’ve had to overcome difficulties this season — Roethlisberger faced sexual assault allegations filed by a young woman in Milledgeville, GA that resulted in a four-game suspension under the NFL’s personal conduct policy (not to mention a PR nightmare) and Rodgers faced public questions about his ability to inherit the Favre throne after struggling in his first season and being eliminated in the wild card round of last year’s playoffs.
Plus, the teams are two of the most storied in NFL history: the Packers building their legacy by winning the first two Super Bowls under Vince Lombardi and the Steelers winning the most Super Bowls in league history (6-1). The teams rely on a fast, physical defense to create turnovers and make big plays which brings back memories of glory days past. With all that take into account, it seems only fitting that these teams should eventually square off when it matters the most.
Who to Watch For: As for the Steelers, that’s easy. It all rests on the shoulders of their QB. He’s big, strong, mobile, and experienced having won two Super Bowls already (beating the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL and the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII). If Roethlisberger can stay upright and not make any mistakes, his defense should handle their end and he can have the comfort of no pressure to score.
For the Packers, the answer may surprise you…Tramon Williams. The Louisiana Tech walk-on made a name for himself this post season with three interceptions, one returned for a touchdown. He put on his big boy pants at the right time of the year and has got the attention of opposing quarterbacks, elite quarterbacks, to throw away from him. Look for Roethlisberger to test him and Williams to rise to the occasion.
Who should win: It’s the old adage of experience versus youth. The Steelers have 25 players on their roster who have played in the biggest game of them all, while the Packers have a mere 2. Both teams have proven they can blow out their opponents, withstand a comeback, and play against adversity. The real X-factor here is momentum. The Packers seem to have it, believing they’re a team of destiny while the Steelers seem nonchalant, almost entitled to be there.
Who WILL Win: In this scenario, I think swagger and experience overwhelms momentum and an underdog mindset. Look for the Steelers to win in a close, defensive game 21-13.
The NFL playoff picture is in focus after yesterday, with all seeds settled and matchups made.
Here’s how it breaks down:
1. New England Patriots (1st round bye and home field advantage) — AFC East Champions and best conference record
2. Pittsburgh Steelers (1st round bye) — AFC North Champions and second best conference record
3. Indianapolis Colts — AFC South Champions
4. Kansas City Chiefs — AFC West Champions
Wild Card Teams — Baltimore Ravens & New York Jets
1. Atlanta Falcons (1st round bye and home field advantage) — AFC South Champions and best conference record
2. Chicago Bears (1st round bye) — NFC North Champions and second best conference record
3. Philadelphia Eagles — NFC East Champions
4. Seattle Seahawks — NFC West Champions (only playoff team with a losing record)
Wild Card Teams: New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers
That means this weekend’s matchups follow thusly:
Jets vs. Colts
Ravens vs. Chiefs
Packers vs. Eagles
Saints vs. Seattle
We’re taking Colts, Chiefs, Eagles, and Saints
In round 2, the matchups would be:
Chiefs vs. Patriots
Colts vs. Steelers
Saints vs. Falcons
Eagles vs. Bears
We’ll take Pats, Steelers, Saints, and Bears.
We say the Conference Championship games are:
Steelers vs. Patriots
Saints vs. Bears
And for the all the marbles in Dallas, it will be……………..Chicago vs. New England. That means your world champions (even though no one else plays football as we know it in the world) are:
The New England Patriots
We don’t like it, but never doubt Tom Brady or Bill Belicheck.