|02-07-2007, 08:52 AM||#1|
Draft Defense Early&Often
Join Date: Oct 2004
AFC dominance started with Broncos
Forget XLII; just say Super Bowl AFC
CONFERENCE'S NFL DOMINATION LIKELY TO CONTINUE NEXT YEAR
By Kirk Bohls
COX NEWS SERVICE
SoCals link: http://www.kentucky.com/mld/heraldle...s/16631851.htm
MIAMI - Terrell Davis ran circles around the Green Bay Packers for a Super Bowl-record three touchdowns in January 1998, to bring Denver its first NFL championship. In the process, the AFC's Broncos broke the NFC's 13-year Super Bowl stranglehold.
Mike Shanahan's Broncos won another Super Bowl the following year in quarterback John Elway's final game, and the AFC had started its own streak. Only Tampa Bay in 2003 and St. Louis in 2000 have interrupted the run: AFC teams have won four in a row and eight of the past 10 NFL titles.
Brace yourselves for more of the same.
On the heels of their impressive, 29-17, rain-sloshed victory over Chicago at a Dolphin Stadium more fit for sea life, Peyton Manning's Indianapolis Colts should be the favorites to repeat. That's assuming they re-sign free agents Dwight Freeney and Cato June to maul quarterbacks, and the vastly underrated Dominic Rhodes to supplement the talented Joseph Addai. Both of those running backs, in fact, could have taken home the MVP award that Manning added to his trophy case.
Manning was even asked at yesterday's news conference about a notion that he needed a second Super Bowl title to validate his legacy. Or an NBA title. He laughed at the idea and cheerily added, "Or maybe a Grammy."
We know he can dance, so singing is probably his next frontier.
Here are the top four teams for 2007: Colts, Chargers, Patriots and Bengals. Add a fifth, and I'll throw in the Saints.
"It's very difficult to repeat in this league," Colts Coach Tony Dungy said yesterday, announcing he will be back to try. "It's so competitive. Any little slippage won't allow you to get back to the top. I'm looking forward to defending this title, but we will be the hunted next year."
So almost a decade after the first Broncos title, the question remains: Will the NFC ever win the Super Bowl again?
The answer is yes. Someday. Maybe when Terrell Owens becomes our U.N. ambassador to Iran.
The best quarterbacks are in the AFC. Manning lives there. So does New England's Tom Brady, a sure-fire Hall of Famer. Carson Palmer could be a league MVP in Cincinnati, assuming his felonious teammates don't drag him down. They're all in their primes.
Ben Roethlisberger has already won a Super Bowl in Pittsburgh. Philip Rivers, the next Brett Favre, still has to overcome his coaching in San Diego. The tank is running low with Steve McNair, but he's got a lot of defensive help in Baltimore. Even Chad Pennington showed feistiness with the upstart Jets. That Young guy in Tennessee seems pretty good, too.
Other than the outstanding Drew Brees in New Orleans, the NFC is reduced mostly to a brilliant but injury-prone Donovan McNabb in Philadelphia, an erratic Matt Hasselbeck in Seattle and a brittle Marc Bulger in St. Louis. There are a lot more Rex Grossmans and Eli Mannings in that conference.
No wonder Favre is still putting off retirement. Who doesn't have a shot in the diluted NFC?
How about the NFL's best running backs? San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson is the league's No. 1 player. Larry Johnson is running strong in Kansas City. And you've got top-drawer running backs such as Rudi Johnson in Cincinnati, and young up-and-comers such as Laurence Maroney in New England, Addai in Indy, Willie Parker in Pittsburgh, Travis Henry in Tennessee and Ronnie Brown in Miami.
The AFC also has some of the league's most terrific coaches, starting with the guy in the hoodie, Bill Belichick.
Dungy proved he can take a team to the top. Cincinnati's Marvin Lewis is solid. They're calling him Eric Man-genius in New York. San Diego's Marty Schottenheimer knows how to win -- just not after December.
You want defense? Seven of the top 10 defenses in the league belong to the AFC.
Even the vanquished Chicago Bears stand a reasonable chance of returning to this game next year. Of course, Grossman would be wise to start throwing more passes to his own guys.
Some other NFC teams will be in the mix as well. The Saints were hardly a fluke and appear to be a team on the rise, with Brees, Deuce McAllister and so much young talent, such as Reggie Bush and Marques Colston.
Even the Dallas Cowboys could punch their ticket if Tony Romo keeps his mind on the field and their yet-to-be-named coach surrounds himself with a strong staff.
But the AFC still plays the best football. So don't be surprised if Manning is talking to the president again at this time next year.
|02-07-2007, 10:46 AM||#2|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: Dec 2002
"Maybe when Terrell Owens becomes our U.N. ambassador to Iran."
That's actually kind of a good idea--there's a certain kind of fit. They can be insane and Terrell can whine about it.
|02-07-2007, 01:06 PM||#3|
Join Date: Dec 2002
Here's a bit of irony. On the Fox animated show "King of the Hill", the lead
character, Hank Hill, didn't bother to watch the Super Bowl the year
the Broncos won the Super Bowl because "It will just be another NFC blow-out"
|02-07-2007, 03:15 PM||#4|
Who got Bunny Ears?
Join Date: Aug 2006
|02-07-2007, 03:18 PM||#5|
Persona Non Grata
Join Date: Jan 2003
The Broncos beating the Falcons in Super Bowl XXXIII on Fox was immediatly followed by the series premier of Family Guy.
It was a good night.