Time to Face the Change

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Superbowl Prop Bets

beyonceWe only have a few more days until Superbowl XLVII, which can only mean one thing: PROP BETS. For those of you who don’t know, props involve events that have to do with parts of the outcome of games (or events). For example you can bet on Ray Lewis to win the Superbowl MVP at 7/1 odds. Here’s where it gets fun, for the big game Vegas makes all sorts of crazy props, so I’m going to throw around a couple of my favorites. All lines courtesy of http://www.bovada.lv/.

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Congrats ESPN, You Have Your Harbaugh Super Bowl

Jim Harbaugh, John Harbaugh

Sometimes I can’t stand ESPN. Sure it’s the easiest access to sports, but the stories they choose to cover don’t make them much more than TMZ. Instead of stories about Justin Bieber smoking weed (sometimes you should be able to overdose on pot), it’s Manti Te’o, Tim Tebow, and LeBron James’ Decision. These are big sports stories and do need coverage, but they drive them into the ground. They talked about Tim Tebow so much that they ruined his career. He deserves a place in the NFL, but no team will take on the excessive media blitz for a backup QB.

The most recent “hard hitting” story was Chris Broussard saying that LeBron James will return to Cleveland when his contract with Miami is up. Why does this need reporting? The entire thing is based off of speculation and won’t even be a possibility until 2014, where I put money on him resigning with the Heat. If this is what they believe is hard hitting news, then they will eat up this Super Bowl between the Harbaugh brothers.

This is a good story, but with two weeks until Super Bowl XLVII you know Sportscenter will drive every backyard pickup game between Jim and John Harbaugh into your consciousness. What should be the focus of these features is how two brothers were groomed by their father and longtime Western Kentucky head coach Jack into being two of the best coaches in the NFL.

The two also took two somewhat question marks at QB and trusted them, which resulted in two great postseason performances in Joe Flacco and Colin Kaepernick. Flacco’s 8 TDs and 0 INTs have been overshadowed by the brother situation. It was just Week 15 and Flacco was getting grilled for a 98-yard interception for a TD. Now through his 5 seasons, he’s won the most games of any quarterback, gone 8-4 in the postseason, and will now appear in his first Super Bowl. Even though the man grows terrible mustaches, it’s hard not to argue that his near perfect AFC Championship Game puts him in the elite category.

Jim Harbaugh can take the majority of the credit for his team making the Super Bowl. The year before Harbaugh signed on to coach the 49ers they went 6-10. It took him one offseason to cultivate a 13-3 team that was one muffed punt return from making the Super Bowl last year. He crafted the best defense out of thin air and Patrick Willis, and made Alex Smith look like a capable QB. This year he knew the perfect time to hit the eject button on Smith and replace him with the much more talented Kaepernick.

Jim and John Harbaugh are great coaches and the fact that they are brothers makes for an interesting storyline for many years to come. However, over the next two weeks we will learn so much about the entire Harbaugh family that it will border on creepy. At least we won’t have to hear about the melodramatic story of the seasoned veteran going out on top after a Super Bowl victory. Nevermind, there’s two of those. Why do I feel like watching Days of Our Lives right now?

Matty Iced – When Will He Learn?

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Monkey off his back? Not quite.

That was last week. This week, that all-too-familiar monkey claws its way back up, and Matty Ice will yet again have to answer questions about his viability as a quarterback who can lead the Atlanta Falcons to the promised land. This year was arguable the Atlanta Falcon’s best team, led by the most dynamic 1-2 receiver duo in Roddy White and Julio Jones, and a dangerous rushing attack led by bowling ball Michael Turner and Jacquizz Rodgers. Rodgers may have had the most important limited role on any team – he carried the ball 94 times, didn’t fumble a single time, and averaged 3.9 YPC. As a number 2 back behind workhorse Michael Turner, his role in the offense was more important than anyone would have guessed at the beginning of the season.

However, I digress. This is about Matt Ryan. He knows that in the next few days, as he steps up to the podium for the 4th time after a playoff loss (although I will say, this could be the 3rd time he lost to the eventual Super Bowl Champion – I can’t penalize him for running into the steamroller that was the 2010-11 Green Bay Packers team), Ryan knows that virtually every question will be about his failures and whether or not he’s the right guy to lead a franchise seeking its first Super Bowl Title. Furthermore, questions will begin to arise relating to the Falcons’ potential move to $1 billion new stadium in 2017 and whether or not Matt Ryan could bring the Lombardi Trophy back to Atlanta before that happens. Arthur Blank knows how much a Super Bowl would boost his chances to get public support for the move while a perfectly fine Georgia Dome will be left in favor of a stadium with a retractable roof.

So what does $1 billion + a new stadium + 0 Super Bowls equal?

Pressure.

Matt Ryan needs to step up, plain and simple. Ryan will likely be getting a contract extension this upcoming offseason, probably worth much more than the quarterback should really command. His surrounding cast is better than many of the past Super Bowl winners have played with, and he’s lucky enough to have a real running game (something for which Aaron Rodgers would kill). Sure, Ryan picked up his first career postseason win, led the league in completion percentage, and threw 32 touchdowns as compared to 14 picks. If he gets his extension, there’s no doubt that it will be more than 2 or 3 years.

However, Arthur Blank, you need to ask yourself one thing: Is Matt Ryan really a franchise guy who will give you the best chance to win a Super Bowl in the next 5 years? Roddy White is 31 and isn’t going to get any younger (unless the Falcons take the $1 billion and put it towards a hot tub time machine…that’s actually not a bad idea). Arthur, this is your best shot.

Expect the deal to be done in the next few weeks, worth somewhere in the range of $100 million. Tonight, the 27 year old showed that he has a little way to come, throwing a key interception and fumbling a snap, but expect a title in the next 5 years. Matty Ice will learn, and one of these years, assholes like me won’t get to write articles questioning his viability as a franchise quarterback.

Until then, Matt Ryan…

Good luck.

-Z