The matchup for Super Bowl XLVII (47) has been set: San Francisco 49ers vs Baltimore Ravens.
The 49ers were the NFC West Champion and was the #2 seed in the NFC. They reached the Super Bowl by first beating the Green Bay Packers, 45-31, where quarterback Colin Kaepernick ran wild and set a playoff rushing record for quarterbacks. In the NFC Championship Game, the 49ers went to Atlanta and was able to overcome Atlanta’s strong passing game in the first half to win, 28-24.
After an incredible day of Conference Championship games, the participants of Super Bowl 2012 have been determined: New York Giants vs New England Patriots, a rematch of Super Bowl 2008.
The Anaheim Ducks have just won the 2007 Stanley Cup!
For a long-suffering Southern California hockey fan like me, this has certainly been a very long wait. I’ve waited for this moment since McSorley’s illegal stick in 1993. Sure enough, since that time, the Kings never again made it to the Finals, and the Ducks made it once, in 2003, only to lose to the Devils in 7.
From the time the Ducks-Senators series was set, I thought this would be the year of the Ducks. The key reason was the opposing goalie — no disrespect to Senator’s goalie Emery, but the last two times a Southern California team made it to the Finals, the opposing goalies were Patrick Roy and Martin Brodeur, two future hall of famers, and as we all know, in the playoffs, defense and goaltending wins games. Sure enough, the Ducks won in part because of superior goaltending.
I must also give credit to Wayne Gretzky for the Ducks winning the Stanley Cup. Without Gretzky going to the Kings in 1988, the Ducks (and a host of other warm-weathered teams) would not even exist, let alone winning the Cup. I remember first hearing about the trade when I was driving on the freeway, and my first reaction was “The Kings will win a Stanley Cup!” Well, it still hasn’t happened for the Kings, but at least it happened to the Ducks.
The Indianapolis Colts have just won Super Bowl 41 by a score of 29-17. The game really wasn’t even that close, as the Colts controlled the pace of the game other than the opening kickoff. The fact Peyton Manning had a good game didn’t surprise me. What did surprise me was the Colts were able to get their running game going (that was one area I had thought the Bears would shut them down), and that the Bears offense, especially the passing game, was so ineffective. Watching Grossman play reminded me of Dieter Brock (for those of you who have seen Dieter Brock play, you know what I mean).
Are we seeing the beginning of a Colts dynasty? It’s a distinct possibility, as long as they are able to keep the core of their team. They have a very good offense and a good defense, so it’s a safe bet that they’ll be in the playoffs for the next several years. Once you are in the playoffs, anything is possible.
How about the Bears? One thing this game exposed is that they really need a quarterback. Of course, with that defense, they’ll be in most games. I still believe the Bears will be in the playoffs for the next several years as well, as NFC is currently in a down period, but unless they do something with the quarterback position, they won’t go too far in the playoffs.
The matchup for Super Bowl XLI is set, it’s Colts vs Bears. Right now, the Colts are favored by 7. However, I am picking the Bears to win.
The marquee matchup for this game is the Colts offense vs the Bears defense, Manning & Co. vs Urlacher & Co. The Colts offense, though one of the best in the league, can be slowed against good defenses, as evidenced in some of the late-season games as well as the Baltimore game. I look for the Colts to be able to pass on the Bears some, but unable to get the run game going.
On the other side of the ball, Chicago’s offense, especially its quarterback, Rex Grossman, has been much-maligned. The defense of the Colts, on the other hand, has not had a good regular season (though they have picked it up in the playoffs). The conventional wisdom says that the Bears will use the run predominantly during this game. I do expect, though, that the Bears will come out passing in the first series, because they know the Colts will be set up to stop the run initially. If the Bears have success with the passing game early, they will gain control of the game and be able to keep Manning & Co. on the sidelines.
One area the Bears have the advantage is the return game, where Devin Hester has returned 5 kicks for TD during the season. I look for at least one big play from Hester during this game.
One thing I haven’t heard mentioned is the University of Florida factor. The school has won the last NCAA basketball championship and the football championship, and that leads me to believe that Rex Grossman, who is a Florida graduate, will win this Super Bowl.
Bears 30, Colts 21.
David Beckham announced that he is joining Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy team after the current European season is over. My first reaction is that this is equal in magnitude when Wayne Gretzky was traded from Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings in 1988. There are several similarities: