Being far enough removed from Super Bowl XLVIII today for the sting to be faded, I can now examine my theory of why my beloved Broncos lost. so. badly.
Note that this is based on my perception, and not statistics. Sometimes, women notice little things that aren't translated into facts.
But take a look.
My first clue that something was off was when I heard a pre-game announcer report (somewhere around 4:00) that he had seen many Seahawks out for pre-game warm ups, but few Broncos. When I heard that report, I panicked. Surely the Broncos weren't that confident to think they didn't even need to warm up.
Denver was favored- winning was nearly a given. They were favored by statistics and by the fans, after Richard Sherman opened his mouth.
After the game, it was admitted by the Broncos that they had not prepared enough. The problem was, who would have thought they needed that much preparation? No one, apparently
And now we have our problem. Big heads.
When we look back at the season, the veteran teams were the ones that didn't buckle under pressure. Denver was the king of that. If they had a bad play, they picked themselves right back up and got back on track. We might call that confident leadership, under the leadership of Peyton Manning.
I can't stand when quarterbacks get nervous and scurry all over the place. Let your offensive line do their jobs. Nervousness leads to mistakes - bad passes that are usually picked off.
The Patriots don't do that. Have you ever seen Tom Brady look nervous? And of course, Peyton was the king of steel nerves.
Younger guys get nervous. I love Colin Kaepernick, but he scurries a lot. His advantage is his athleticism. When he sees no options, he makes them himself. Still, a good defense will eventually stop him, which is why he has no ring yet.
But did you watch Geno Smith this year? I don't doubt he will grow into a decent QB for the Jets at this level, once he has built trust. Until then, he will need to work on having faith in his team.
It seems I have built a case for the veteran teams, haven't I? So why didn't the Broncos win? Why didn't they come back after that first botched snap?
Here's what I've noticed about all teams. Big wins tend to give big heads. And I'm pretty sure that's what happened in the Super Bowl.
The Seahawks came out of a game where they nearly lost the NFC championship to the 49ers. They had been down at their home field most of the game, and had the last pass not been intercepted, they would have lost. At their home field.
There's my point in action again. How could Seattle be down at home? It was the most dreaded field in the NFL this year. But perhaps their twelfeth man hadn't had enough practice either.
Denver, on the other hand, completely stomped all over New England. This was after New England had trampled Indy, who had just beaten the Chiefs in a very exciting game. Do you see the pattern?
As an Eagles fan, I have relied on this principle. (Because we have some pretty, uh confident, shall we say? players. <ahem> Desean) However, EVERY time we are embarrassed, we come back the next game. Or the next quarter. Whatever it takes. Do you remember the game we played after Denver this year? Neither do the Giants. I'm not sure they were even there.
It works the other way too. The next time we played the Giants, we actually lost to them, scaring us enough to trounce Oakland 49-20 in our first home win in over a year.
I thought Manning, Welker, Bailey and all the other long time pros were above the headiness. I thought they were immune to what people said about how good they were. They all said the right words about it being another game and not getting caught up, but in the end, they proved to be just as human as everyone else.
They also had one thing against them - something no one had told them. To their detriment, I had picked Denver as the winner of this year's Super Bowl. (For the record, I picked them after Week 1). And since everyone I told last year on Facebook forgot what I said, no one could warn the Broncos.
I haven't successfully picked a Super Bowl winner since 1985. Another blow out where defense took the title. Only that time, it was no surprise.
So watch out next year and be sure to ask me who I have jinxed.
T.C. Slonaker, Eagles fan
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