Watching Super Bowl 58 was painful. It was a grim reminder of what could have been if not for the Ravens inadequacies during the AFC Championship Game. More on that in a bit. But when all was said and done and the Chiefs completed their quest for a repeat, despite my loathing of the Chiefs in much the same way that I held disdain for Tom Brady’s Patriots, I had to tip my hat, had to respect their accomplishment.
“Greatness” is a label that is earned. It is the brass ring that teams yearn for; the driving force behind all of those hours in the weight room; the sweat on the practice field; the required attention in the classroom; and the prerequisite endurance in the cold tub. It’s a label that fans hope is applied to their team but when it fits best on another franchise, one that is despised, envy sets in, exacerbated as we watch the champions smoke their victory cigars.
— Drue Tranquill (@DTranquill) February 12, 2024
“They hate us ’cause they ain’t us!”
Some players just have that “it” factor. When the moment gets too big for some, a few, like Michael Jordan, like Reggie Jackson, like Tiger Woods, are bigger than the moment. And those who aren’t ready for it, those who can’t match the icy-veined calmness of these special athletes during critical times, will forever be looking up. They’ll forever regret those moments in time when they just couldn’t match the clutch excellence of the greats, like Patrick Mahomes.
Patrick Mahomes has started 96 games
the Chiefs have only lost 3 of them by more than one score
3 of 96
by far the best rate of we’ve seen in NFL history
including the playoffs, only 4 of 114
at his worst, competitive
at his best, unbeatable
we are witnessing the greatness pic.twitter.com/gWYRTqPEvz
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) February 12, 2024
Chris Jones played an outstanding game. It seemed like every time the Niners needed to make a key play, Jones wrecked it. Here are two of those plays for the pending unrestricted free agent.
Pay Chris Jones. pic.twitter.com/4rOd35c3L7
— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) February 12, 2024
Chris Jones unblocked with Aiyuk wide open pic.twitter.com/tEL1YChAEz
— Guy Haberman (@GuyHaberman) February 12, 2024
After the game, Jones had some complimentary things to say about the Ravens. That said, if you read between the lines, Jones’ words can be construed as a slight, backhanded knock on John Harbaugh and his staff. At least that’s the way I heard it…
Chris Jones on the Chiefs’ journey: “I think we faced the best team in the league in [the] Baltimore Ravens, hands down.”
(via NFL Network) pic.twitter.com/wWv74YhfbP
— Jonas Shaffer (@jonas_shaffer) February 12, 2024
The win, as tradition suggests, sets the Chiefs up to host the 2024 regular season opener. Among the teams that the Chiefs will host next season are the Baltimore Ravens. Isn’t this the kind of opener that the league covets, a repeat of the AFC Championship Game?
When Travis Kelce went after Chiefs head coach Andy Reid along the Kansas City sideline with the ferociousness of a rabid pit bull, the first thing that crossed my mind was, this dude is roided up! My second thought was, “what a f-ing asshole”.
I then wondered whether Reid would bench the d-bag but then I remembered that the Chiefs have no problems with criminals like Tyreek Hill and Kareem Hunt. Why would Kelce’s antics be any different?
TRAVIS KELCE JUST ASSAULTED ANDY REID GET THIS THUG OFF THE FIELD pic.twitter.com/yBDeeLLVwz
— Philly Sports Sufferer (@mccrystal_alex) February 12, 2024
Lastly, I thought of Taylor Swift – check that, I worried for Swift. I hope she never disparages the Beastie Boys.
“YOU GOTTA FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT TO PARTY”, dice Travis Kelce haciendo referencia una canción de los Beastie Boyspic.twitter.com/GV7vXINC15
— Sarah Yáñez-Richards (@SarahYanezR) February 12, 2024
Speaking of Swift, while I find the camera shots of her every time 87 touches the ball to be annoying, particularly with her phony facial expressions and mouth wide open like a sea lion before a feeding, I don’t blame her. She knows that she’s on camera and plays it up, but she’s not the one directing the cameras towards her. That responsibility is the broadcast producers, probably influenced by the commissioner’s office, to show the porcelain doll whenever possible. After all, according to MarketWatch News & Data, Swifties have generated $331M and counting for the Chiefs and the NFL.
— Sportskeeda Wrestling (@SKWrestling_) February 12, 2024
Do you think this couple will be together when the 2024 rolls around?
Immediately after the game while accepting their newest Lombardi, talk about a Chiefs three-peat surfaced and naturally, all of the bravado surfaced as well as talk of a Chiefs dynasty. With Mahomes, the Chiefs will always have a chance. That’s just what the greats do for teams. But it won’t be easy. Consider this Tweet from ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Chiefs’ key free agents this off-season: DT Chris Jones, CB L’Jarius Sneed, DE Mike Danna, LB Willie Gay Jr., OT Donovan Smith, RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB Jerick McKinnon, LB Drue Tranquill, S Mike Edwards, DT Derrick Nnadi, DT Tershawn Wharton, P Tommy Townsend, WR Mecole…
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 12, 2024
Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo seemed to craft a game plan for the 49ers that closely mirrored the plan he brought to Baltimore for the AFCCG. Shame on the 49ers for not being more prepared.
Kyle Shanahan had 2 weeks to prepare for the Chiefs yet had few answers for Kansas City’s blitzes and at times did the same exact thing that Todd Monken and the Ravens did — ignore the running game.
CBS Analyst Tony Romo who is over-the-top annoying, kept going on and on about Shanahan’s brilliance as a play caller. Maybe he is, but clearly not when it counts the most. And to think that his team didn’t understand the unique overtime rules during the playoffs is really inexcusable.
Ummmm Kyle Shanahan anyone?!?!
I’m sure we’ll all say Harbs would have done the same but I’m not so sure since he’s such a stickler for understanding in-game rules at least. He’s not good at time management & challenges.
This is pretty bad though. https://t.co/izDmmWNOFg
— Dev Panchwagh (@devpanchwagh) February 12, 2024
Kyle Shanahan can’t escape the narrative. pic.twitter.com/QaK1UFwCYe
— JPAFootball (@jasrifootball) February 12, 2024
Super Bowl 59
SB 59 is 363 days away and the Crescent City will once again host the game. Maybe this time they’ll keep the lights on.
New Orleans is a unique town with plenty of character, but it’s such a cluster with so many people converging on what really isn’t all that big a town.
Last night while watching the game, we kicked around a few acts that might be considered for the halftime entertainment. We went through the list of those who have done it before and the trend towards pop stars v. rock bands. P!nk was suggested but it seems to me the obvious choice was staring us in the face every time Travis Kelce touched the ball or acted like an idiot alongside Jim Nantz.
years since winning a Super Bowl:
1 – Kansas City Chiefs
2 – Los Angeles Rams
3 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
5 – New England Patriots
6 – Philadelphia Eagles
8 – Denver Broncos
10 – Seattle Seahawks
11 – Baltimore Ravens
12 – New York Giants
13 – Green Bay Packers
14 – New…
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) February 11, 2024
So now that we’ve officially put a bow on the 2023 season, it’s on to the offseason that includes the NFL Combine; free agency and the new league year; the NFL Draft; the OTA’s and so on.
RSR’s Brian McFarland gets things rolling with his can’t miss 2024 Salary Cap Preview.
— Russell St. Report (@RussellStReport) February 12, 2024
73 days until the 2024 NFL Draft.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) February 12, 2024
The Bears are on the clock.
The Commanders have $80M+ cap space.
The Saints have -$80M+ cap space.
Deshaun Watson holds a $64M cap hit.
Chris Jones is a pending free agent.
And the 49ers are the SB LIX favorite.
Welcome to the NFL Offseason
— Spotrac (@spotrac) February 12, 2024
I’ve looked back on the struggles of John Harbaugh led teams during the playoffs since the departures of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. It’s not a pretty picture.
Let’s be honest, the 2012 team was very fortunate. Without 4th-and-29 in San Diego, the Ravens might not make the playoffs that season. Who among us didn’t think it was all over in Denver until the Mile High Miracle happened? How many of you thought that Dean Pees’ defense was going to complete the meltdown in SB 47 until the 49ers could only advance the ball 2 yards on four plays from the Ravens 7-yard line? And then in 2018, after Joe Flacco was injured during Week 9 and the Ravens fell to (4-5), how many thought that the 2018 season would be Harbaugh’s swan song until Lamar Jackson bailed him out?
Lamar has won two MVP’s. Harbaugh’s resume suggests that the Hall of Fame is a reality. Same for Lamar. But I have little confidence that either can get over the hump and win it all. They’re good, just not good enough until they feel the confetti, hoist the Lombardi and capture that ring. And I do have some mild concerns about Harbaugh and his ability to lead, stemming from the loss to the Chiefs. Let me explain.
You may recall back in October of 2016, then Baltimore Orioles’ skipper Buck Showalter brought in Ubaldo Jimenez in relief in the bottom of the 11th inning of a Wild Card playoff game against the Toronto Blue Jays with the score tied 2-2. There was one out and two on. Closer Zack Britton was warmed and ready to go. Britton was nearly unhittable with a cannonball sinker that could hit 97 mph and an ERA of 0.54. But Showalter opted for the inconsistent Jimenez whose first pitch to Edwin Encarnacion landed in the seats for a walkoff game winning 3-run long fly.
Orioles captain Adam Jones was furious and it is widely believed that Buck lost the team in large part due to his hideous decision to bring in Ubaldo. Over the course of the next two seasons, Showalter was 122-204, a winning percentage of .377.
Given Harbaugh’s “guidance” during the AFCCG and a team that to a man and to many outside observers, thought was the NFL’s best (including SB 58 Champ Chris Jones, above), I hope that John doesn’t experience what Buck felt back during the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
I hope one day they prove me wrong, all of them…Harbaugh, Lamar and Monken.
But until they do, I’ll simply view them as regular season warriors and postseason pacifists.
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