Another part of the Super Bowl is how political this event be. Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Head Coach Bill Belichick, and quarterback Tom Brady are close to President Trump. During Opening Night tight end Martellus Bennett said that will not attend any White House visit if the Patriots win the Super Bowl. Because he doesn’t agree with Trump’s policies. Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Mohamed Sanu didn’t comment on Trump’s immigration policies. I hope the game will be the thing that people will be talking about in the next few days. Plus let us leave the politics of this because it is taking away the fun of this event.
It is the 2nd year that the NFL is having an opening night to start Super Bowl week. The Atlanta Falcons started first to have an hour-long media session. Head Coach Dan Quinn talked about starting his coaching career at William&Mary. Linebacker Vic Beasley Jr talked about the game plan and being consistent. Wide Receiver Mohamed Sanu refused about the Muslim travel ban by President Trump. Quarterback Matt Ryan talked about the opportunity playing in the Super Bowl. Wide Receiver Julio Jones talked how great the Super Bowl is for the city of Atlanta. He also had a backup plan of being a lawyer. Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan talked about the differences between a successful organization and one that is not. He talked about being the next Head Coach of the San Francisco 49ers, and John Lynch being named general manager. Safety Ricardo Allen talked about trying to win the game. Defensive End Dwight Freeney talked about playing soccer. At the end of the Falcons media session, both teams looked at the Vince Lombardi Trophy and the team captains, plus head coaches shook hands in a show of unity and sportsmanship.
After the X Ambassadors did a concert, the New England Patriots did their hour-long media session. Head Coach Bill Belichick talked about the great fan support of all of Boston sports teams. He talked about going to Phillips Academy and Wesleyan University, and his many mentors that helped him in his coaching career. He also complemented the Falcons organization and Matt Ryan performance during the season. Quarterback Tom Brady talked about the bond between a quarterback and wide receivers, especially with Julian Edelman. He also shed a tear talking about his dad. Edelman talked about dealing being drafted in the 7th round and playing in his 3rd Super Bowl. Linebacker Dont’a Hightower talked about how the Patriots overcame adversity to reach the Super Bowl. Defensive Back Devin McCourty talked about the contributions of defensive end Chris Long. Tight End Martellus Bennett talked about celebrating the AFC title game win over the Pittsburgh Steelers and wants to inspire kids to use their talents for creating things besides playing sports.
I have already look at the matchup for Super Bowl LI and it will be a close game. New England and Atlanta both have great offenses but after looking their defensive statistics the Patriots have the edge. It will be an exciting game with a lot of scoring. I am looking forward to the game and how each team will handle the hype of this event. The Super Bowl is no ordinary game because of the pre-game preparation. Then halftime is longer than a regular season game. Next week, I will look at everything and give my pick who will win and why.
With Brent Musburger retiring from doing play-by-play at the end of the month and has hosted major sporting events on TV and radio. I remember him from hosting the NFL Today for 15 years on CBS. Fans remember a segment when game picks were made by Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder. Snyder was a professional odds-maker who used to live in Las Vegas. Over the years Musburger had made a lot of gambling references. He has also gave his opinion on many issues. Whether talking about Oklahoma Joe Mixon and his domestic violence issue from 2014. Or talking about Alabama quarterback A.J Mccarron’s girlfriend Katherine Webb at the National Title game versus in January 2013. With the Raiders relocating to Las Vegas it is so hypocritical for the NFL to distance themselves from gambling. The odds for every game are in the newspapers, and there are so many prop bets for the Super Bowl that they discussed before the game. Musburger is starting a sports handicapping in Vegas with his family.
Ben Roethlisberger on his radio show on KDKA 93.7 (The FAN) talked about taking his time about next season. He has hinted about retirement and some fans are concerned about the future. He is frustrated about losing to the New England Patriots in the AFC Title game. I am not concerned about this retirement talk. Ben was sacked 17 times this past season and had knee surgery during the year. Maybe he needs some time off to relax his mind and body. He is not retiring and has some prime years left if the defense gets better in 2017. He has young receivers, plus if Martavis Bryant is reinstated the offense can be lethal. Don’t forget Le’veon Bell when he is healthy one of the best running backs in the league. Those reasons are why Ben Roethlisberger is not retiring.
The Steelers had to play a perfect game against the New England Patriots. They had two sacks of Tom Brady but didn’t force any turnovers. Give Brady credit for playing a great game. He threw for 384 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Steelers secondary could not stop Chris Hogan and Julian Edelman from making plays. Le’veon Bell had a grade 3 groin strain and the running game was affected severally. The Steelers converted only 1 red zone opportunity into a touchdown. Ben Roethlisberger had a great game throw for 314 yards and a touchdown to Cobi Hamilton late in the game. However, two turnovers gave the Patriots 14 points and that tipped the game in their favor. That spells a 36 to 17 victory for the Patriots ending the Steelers season. The Patriots will be in their record-breaking 9th Super Bowl. It will take place two weeks from tonight against the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI in Houston, Texas.
The Locker Room is the most sacred place in sports. Antonio Brown violated that space when he Facebook Live video Head Coach Mike Tomlin’s post game speech using profanity at the New England Patriots. The speech took place after the Steelers 18 to 16 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs last Sunday night. Brown will be disciplined internally by Tomlin and the Steelers. Plus he could get fined by the NFL for violating their social media policy.
Tomlin was very critical Brown during his press conference calling his actions selfish. This video was very selfish of Brown because it violated the trust of his teammates and the sanctuary of the locker room. With the AFC Championship, this Sunday night Brown has to have a great game to get this situation off the front page.
Here are my pick for the Championship games.
NFC: Green Bay beat Atlanta
AFC: Pittsburgh beat New England
In a game that was moved to Sunday night due to an ice storm, and a tough struggle vs the Kansas City Chiefs. The Steelers defense pressured Alex Smith and stopped the Chiefs running game. Special Teams stopped Tyreek Hill and Chris Boswell kicked a playoff record 6 field goals. Le’veon Bell rushed for 170 yards and set a new Steeler playoff record for rushing yards. Ben Roethlisberger threw for 224 yards and 1 interception. The offense controlled the ball but didn’t score a touchdown. However, they defeated the Chiefs 18 to 16. They can’t have that next Sunday night against the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game at Gillette Stadium with the kickoff at 6:40 P.M.
Mike Tomlin had dealt with all sort of criticism as the Head Coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Despite that he has won 103 regular season games, been in the playoffs 7 times in 10 seasons, 5 AFC North Titles, and one Super Bowl title. Fox broadcaster and Steelers HOF quarterback Terry Bradshaw called Tomlin a “cheerleader.” Sure Tomlin has been called out for being a player’s coach and not managing the clock well. He has also been called out for winning one playoff game since going to Super Bowl XLV. To be fair, his offensive stars have not played together until this afternoon 30 to 12 Wild Card victory over the Miami Dolphins. He is 3 wins away from winning his second Super Bowl title and that should quiet the critics.