Brady vs. Manning; The Finale

Championship Sunday is only two days away and once again we’re privileged to another heavyweight fight between Tom Brady & Peyton Manning.  These two are the Magic + Bird of our era; displaying greatness and memorable moments within every match they’ve played.  However, this year’s game will be very different from all the rest; for one, this will be the final battle between the two [assuming Manning does the smart thing and retires at the end of the season] and secondly, the Patriots are facing a skill depleted Peyton Manning who is practically playing on one leg.

Anyone who’s watched [or listened to] Manning’s play this season will admit that he’s not what he used to be; not even close.  The old adage of Father Time being undefeated has once again proven true and it’s been very painful to watch.  Manning has never had a ‘strong’ arm (like Elway or Marino) but he’s always been able to get the ball where it needed to go with pinpoint accuracy.  Now when you watch him, his throws flutter and in some cases, are up for grabs to anyone in their vicinity.

Yes, Manning’s career is nearing it’s inevitable end; but will it end on the highest of highs or will he once again succumb to the playoff demons that have haunted him throughout his illustrious career?

Manning’s my favorite football player and I’ve followed his career since his rookie season.  Living in New England hasn’t been easy being one of the few [if not only] Manning fan in the area; especially given the unprecedented success that Brady and the Patriots have had against Manning along with the rest of the league.  Even still, I don’t regret my fandom for a second and I’m hoping [and praying] that Manning can turn the corner and defeat Brady one last time.

Unfortunately, I don’t see Manning being able to pull off the miracle and beat Brady this weekend.  As great as the Broncos defense is, you have to be able to score whenever you’re facing Brady; and I don’t think Manning’s going to be able to do that.  I hope like hell I’m wrong, but if last weekend’s game is any indication, the Broncos offense is going to have to rely heavily on a running game that has been anything but consistent; not to mention their facing the best coach in the league at taking away your best offensive weapon(s).  I’m taking the Patriots 21-17.

The Brady vs. Manning matchups (rooting interests aside) have been exciting to watch.  As football fans, we’ve had the opportunity to witness two of the best who have ever played, go head-to-head (so to speak); and it’s been an honor and a pleasure to go along for the ride.

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The 49ers Won Big By Hiring Chip Kelly

The San Francisco 49ers made a splash yesterday when they hired Chip Kelly as their new head coach.  Kelly was let go by the Philadelphia Eagles a few weeks ago after a disappointing year in which the team went 6-9 and missed the playoffs.  The 49ers made a great hire regardless of what many in the media want you to believe.

Kelly came to the NFL from college where he turned the pedestrian [at best] Oregon University football program into a national powerhouse.  He signed on as the Eagles head coach in 2013 following the team’s horrific 2012 season in which they won only four games.  Kelly made an immediate impact going 10-6 in his first two seasons, including a playoff appearance.  In January of 2015, Kelly became head of football operations and made significant changes to the roster; which was met with mixed reviews from Eagles fans and the mainstream media.  From that point on, it seemed like Kelly’s days in Philadelphia were numbered; and anything less than a playoff run would end with his dismissal.

When Kelly was fired by the Eagles, you would’ve thought he was the worst coach in the history of football given the reaction around the sports world.  Media members and fans were blowing up the national airways excoriating this man as fraud and a bust as an NFL head coach.  The popular opinion became that Kelly is only good at the college level and his offensive ‘genius’ doesn’t belong/work in the NFL.

Objectively speaking, if you’re a football fan and your team is looking for a new head coach, and you read the following resume’ on SportsCenter; are you really not going to consider this man as a qualified candidate?

College Coaching Record: 44-5, 2-2 in Bowl Games, 2x Pac-10 Coach of the Year  

NFL Coaching Record: 26-21 [10-6, 10-6, 6-9], Playoff Appearance, Turned a 4-12 team to a 10-6 playoff team in his first season.

It’s absurd that so many people have chosen try and negate everything that Kelly’s done in three years in the NFL.  While I think he made a mistake (that many have made before him) by taking on being the head of football operations, that doesn’t change the fact that he turned around a struggling franchise in one season.  The man made Nick Foles into a decent starting quarterback within his system; how’s Foles looking in St. Louis without Kelly’s tutelage?

The 49ers front office made the right call by hiring Chip Kelly.  Kelly’s offensive ‘genius’ is going to rejuvenate a putrid offense along with the team’s struggling starting quarterback.  Colin Kaepernick is going to have a fresh start next season and that’s in large part because he’s the best quarterback to fit Kelly’s offensive system.

Ignore all the ignorant mainstream sports media members out there; the San Francisco 49ers will be legitimate playoff contenders next season, and it will be because of their new head coach.