The opening Sunday of the 2013 NFL season is in the books. Half the teams in the league are undefeated, half are on pace to go 0-16.
It's common for fans and the media to overreact about the outcomes of a single week of games. In fact, it's so common that there is now a pushback to that very overreaction. "Week 1 means nothing! Only an idiot PANICS about a single NFL game."
Exactly, right? Maybe not. If you really look into things, Week 1 outcomes and the histories and identities of the teams that play go a very long way into determining who will win the Super Bowl. Consider:
Seven of the past nine Super Bowl winners won their season-opening game. That's a pretty strong precedent that can't just be ignored. So let's cross off all the Week 1 losers. Sorry Ravens, Steelers, Bills, Bengals, Browns, Vikings, Raiders, Falcons, Buccaneers, Panthers, Jaguars, Cardinals, Packers and Giants, but your season is done.
That leaves us with the Broncos, Titans, Patriots, Bears, Dolphins, Lions, Colts, Saints, Jets, Seahawks, Chiefs, Rams, 49ers and Cowboys as the only NFL teams with a shot at the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl winner is one of those teams! Still a wide-open field.
Although if you're a student of the game, you know that no team in 40 years has won the Super Bowl the year after losing the Super Bowl. So get rid of the 49ers.
It's also a fact no NFC West team has won the Super Bowl in 14 years. Goodbye Rams and Seahawks. And no AFC West team has won the Super Bowl in 15 years. Tough break, Broncos and Chiefs.
More than 20 years have passed since a rookie head coach won a Super Bowl (San Francisco's George Seifert in 1989-1990), meaning we can cross off Marc Trestman and the Chicago Bears.
And even the most casual football fan knows the sport is increasingly a young man's game. If fact, it's been more than 10 years since a quarterback older than 31 years of age has lifted the Lombardi Trophy (Tampa Bay's 34-year-old Brad Johnson in Super Bowl XXXVII). That spells the end for the Patriots, Saints and Cowboys.
Then there's the fact only three dome teams have won the Super Bowl in 47 years, and just two won it at an outdoor stadium, which is where this year's game will be -- in cold weather, no less. There go the Colts.
Of course, we can't forget about the teams that have never won a Super Bowl. That's a ton of history to overcome. Doubt it? Then why have these teams never overcome it? Adios, Titans and Lions.
Oh! And only one non-expansion team in more than 30 years -- the 1999-2000 Rams -- with a playoff drought of four years or more, which is what the Dolphins have going, was able to break that drought with a Super Bowl title. Goodbye, Dolphins.
What does that leave us?
The New York Jets.
The New . . . York . . . Jets.
We've determined that the New York Jets are the overwhelming favorites to win the Super Bowl. The New York Jets.
Hmm. I think I may have wasted everyone's time with this.
Quote of the Week
"I wasn't by any means going for his knees. He knows that." -- Ndamukong Suh, on his low block on Minnesota center John Sullivan, well behind the play, that resulted in a penalty and took a Detroit touchdown off the board
OK. No reason to doubt Suh, right? He's been caught before not being completely forthright with comments on his ultra-violence. Surely he wouldn't try to slip one by on us again. But, you know, maybe just for the sake of crossing tees and stomping on eyes, we should see if Sullivan had any comments on the play and if he was indeed sure that Suh wasn't "going for his knees."
Hmm. It seems like Sullivan, in fact, does NOT know that Suh "wasn't by any means going for his knees." But let's be careful calling Suh a liar. He may not have been going for Sullivan's knees. He may have just missed badly on a crotch shot attempt.
Stat of the Week
With another receiving touchdown on Sunday, Jordy Nelson now has 23 since the start of the 2011 season -- the most by any receiver in the NFL in that time. That's no small feat and it deserves to be appropriately recognized. From now on, when making your lazy evaluations of white receivers, compare them all to Nelson. It's time, America. Wes Welker's era is over.
Practice saying this a few times a day this week and by the weekend it should feel natural: "You know, [any white receiver's name, regardless of size, speed or style of play] really reminds me of a Jordy Nelson type."
Misleading Stat of the Week
The Baltimore Ravens dominated the time of possession in the NFL opener, holding the ball 7 minutes and 36 minutes longer than Denver had it. You have to start thinking that Baltimore just has Denver's number.
This Week's Horrible Fantasy Team That Crushed Your Team
Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens -- 34-for-62, 362 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT
Joique Bell, RB, Lions -- 92 total yards, 2 TD
Shane Vereen, RB, Patriots -- 159 total yards
Julian Edelman, WR, Patriots -- 7 catches, 79 yards, 2 TD
Brian Hartline, WR, Dolphins -- 9 catches, 114 yards, TD
Julius Thomas, TE, Broncos -- 5 catches, 110 yards, 2 TD
Photos of the Week
Press Conference Questions Someone Should Have Asked
Doug Marrone: "Does suffering a crushing come-from-ahead loss to the Patriots make you officially feel like you're the head coach of the Buffalo Bills?"
Marvin Lewis: "You just got out-coached by a guy who came from the Canadian Football League. Do you plan to apologize for embarrassing America?"
Reader Twitter Question of the Week
@DJGalloESPN Which team would turn down a Weeden for Gabbert trade?
— Machel (@trogdor42) September 8, 2013
Tough call. Weeden has shown maybe a bit more promise than Gabbert so far in their careers. But Weeden will turn 30 in a few weeks while Gabbert is still only 23. You have to think Gabbert, with six or seven more years of experience, would be better than Weeden. But why would an NFL team give Gabbert that much time? There would be no winner in this trade. The only winner here is Tim Tebow, because the longer guys like this remain in the NFL, the better the chances he gets a call one day.
Forced Sports/Pop Culture Reference in Hopes of Sounding Cool
Steelers' offensive coordinator Todd Haley is more clueless calling plays than Walt Jr. on "Breaking Bad" is about his parents' illegal activities. Am I right?
ELITE Quarterback of the Week
Is Sam Bradford ELITE?
Evidence for him: He's won a Heisman, he has his team in first place and he is on pace to go 19-0 with 4,784 yards and 32 touchdowns. Also, you can't spell SAMURAI without SAM.
Evidence against him: He has thrown an interception in every game this season, the Rams have never had even a .500 record since he's come to town and you can't spell FLOTSAM, the wreckage of a ship, without SAM.
SUPER IMPORTANT RG3 NEWS OF THE WEEK
In honor of Robert Griffin III playing in Week 1, adidas has released special socks emblazoned with the slogan "Play Like You Were Never Gone."
Interesting side note: Griffin played in Washington's last game of last season and will play in its first game of this season. So he was never gone. He didn't play during the offseason, just like absolutely every other player in the NFL. But, hey . . . colorful socks!
Five Things I Thought I Think You'd Think
1. I understand the safety reasons behind the NFL's new clear bags policy, but what are Jaguars fans supposed to do? If they want to put a bag on their heads, they'll still see the Jaguars perfectly. How awful.
2. There are those who have criticized Roger Goodell for not suspending Eagles head coach Chip Kelly for five games under the Terrelle Pryor precedent. "Where's the consistency?" they say. "How is it a grown man, a supposedly responsible adult in charge of a college program is not punished for his violations while a college kid can't play due to his? Why do coaches and owners continually get off easy while players get fined and suspended for everything?" Those complaints seem to have merit . . . if you don't use your brain. Think about it: Pryor couldn't play for just five games, whereas it is unlikely that Chip Kelly will EVER play in the NFL. Ouch. Consider the hammer brought down.
3. After one week on the job as the Raiders' starting quarterback, Pryor leads the NFL in rushing with 112 yards. Pryor grew up in Jeannette, Pa., a suburb of Pittsburgh. What does that have to do with his 112 yards? Nothing other than the fact the Steelers as a team haven't rushed for 100 yards since Week 11 of the 2012 season and they haven't had a 100-yard rusher since Week 9 of last year. Maybe it's time for Pittsburgh to try an offense featuring designed quarterback runs, which would be just a slight tweak from their current offense that features Ben Roethlisberger running for his life.
4. If that doesn't work for the Steelers, perhaps Mike Tomlin can look for other advice by checking his phone during games. He got a Twitter account during training camp and here are mentions Steelers fan left for @CoachTomlin while the Steelers were still on the field in Week 1:
@CoachTomlin disgusting performance! Your preparation needs addressed!
— That Dude 23 (@sisnbub23) September 8, 2013
— Michaels (@THEBDZA) September 8, 2013
@CoachTomlin why did you just use a timeout when you would have gotten a free one in 2 seconds?!
— Schuyler Smith (@Schuyler_Smith3) September 8, 2013
@CoachTomlin Coach. Put. Jarvis. In.
— Erik Kulick (@steelcityek) September 8, 2013
@CoachTomlin remember the scene n the basketball diaries where leo decaprio & mark wahlberg play a game trippin? the offense looks like that
— Adam Schaefer (@adam_schaef) September 8, 2013
@CoachTomlin Just unfollowed. I cant follow someone who I have no faith in.
— Jason (@kravon1) September 8, 2013
@CoachTomlin Welcome to Twitter.
— Casey Johnston (@CaseyR82) September 8, 2013
More NFL head coaches need to get on Twitter. There's lots of good advice out there.
5. How 'bout them Cowboys? Looks like the bandwagon is really picking up steam.