Super Bowl XVIII aftermath
Published: Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 23:02
Demoralized. Heartbroken. Just downright gloomy. The state of the Broncos after getting stomped to the tune of 43-8 against the Seahawks, you assume? Incorrect. Rather, it’s how I’m feeling knowing this is the last NFL column I’ll write for The Daily Campus.
If I had a dollar for every time an old-timer warned me that four years in college moved at Godspeed, I would probably have the cash to pull a Floyd Mayweather and put up a couple million on various sporting events. (The old-timers were right, by the way.) And if these four great years at UConn have flown by quickly, the last two seasons covering the NFL for the school paper have seemingly ensued in the blink of an eye – also known as a Percy Harvin kickoff return to the house.
I want to thank everyone who has made this tenure possible for me, including: my two loving parents, who also happen to be my biggest supporters; my great group of friends both back in Jersey and here on campus, never hesitating to lay on the constructive criticism and disagree with my opinions; and guys like Tim Tebow, Chad Ochocinco and Mark Sanchez, who have provided me with more than enough material to use them as punch-lines and cause my devoted fan base to double over with laughter (not double over in the Sanchez “Butt Fumble” way).
For my sendoff, I will share with you five things I am absolutely positive of after watching the bloodbath that was Super Bowl XLVIII. As always, feedback is recommended and appreciated. It’s been a helluva ride serving as your NFL columnist but, as we’re all aware of, contracts do eventually run out. Wouldn’t you agree, Mr. Tebow?
Referring to Russell Wilson as “just another Alex Smith” is an unforgivable sin…This is not a knock on Smith as much as it is an endorsement of Wilson. Smith, who set a career-high in yards and touchdowns this season en route to his first Pro Bowl selection, constantly gets labeled as nothing more than a “game manager”– someone that plays fundamentally sound football, doesn’t turn the ball over and mostly defers to an elite running back. While Wilson has a top-tier running back in Marshawn Lynch and has thrown only 19 interceptions in 32 regular-season starts, his carving up of the Broncos in the Super Bowl served as the latest example that he is entering the realm of top-10 quarterbacks league wide. Wilson has a cannon for an arm (that’s the MLB draftee in him), and his heart is the size of the lines of people hanging around outside MetLife Stadium waiting for New Jersey Transit on Sunday night. It may be premature to throw Wilson into the Rodgers-Brady-Manning category, but keep in mind that neither the Packers, Patriots nor Broncos have anyone close to Lynch as a backfield option. Besides, the Seahawks are often leading by so much in the second half of games that Wilson needn’t do anything more than hand the rock off and attempt to kill clock (he ranked No. 22 among NFL quarterbacks in attempts, but No. 4 in yards per attempt). Against Denver, Wilson completed 72% of his throws, accumulating 206 yards and two touchdowns. Not only is Wilson a franchise quarterback, at age 25, he’s already a Super Bowl champion.
The Seahawks acquisition of Percy Harvin was officially validated on Sunday…
In March, the Seahawks surrendered three draft picks, one of which was a 2013 first-rounder, to acquire dynamic wide receiver Percy Harvin from the Vikings. Seattle had to wait nearly a full year for their transaction to pay off but, under the brightest of lights versus the Broncos, Harvin shone like the closest thing to a diamond. Undeniably, I told everyone that Harvin would have zero impact in the Super Bowl, seeing that the guy is prone to suffering a brutal migraine, concussion and broken bone in his lower body every time he gets touched – that, plus the fact he totaled one catch all season after coming back late from hip surgery. Well, it turns out that Denver ignored him to the extent that I did. Because as much as Harvin seriously does seem to get significantly injured whenever a defender touches him, the Broncos barely laid a finger on him all evening. On the Seahawks’ second play from scrimmage, they ran an end-around for Harvin that went for 30 yards and put Seattle deep in Denver territory. Harvin would add another 15-yard scamper before the first quarter came to a close (those 45 rushing yards were a game-high for either team). Then, to open up the second half, Harvin provided the dagger that knocked out any remaining wind that was left in Denver’s’ sails: an 87-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, one that was fielded off of one hop and put Harvin’s tantalizing combination of breakneck speed and explosiveness on full display. It gave Seattle a 29-0 lead, but more than that it gave Seahawks fans a dreamy picture of what to expect if Harvin were to stay healthy for an extended period of time. Even with a young receiving core, the offense would be virtually impossible to stop.