Hi everyone. I wasn't at the big game last night but I'll be happy to lend whatever insight that I can. We'll also hit a few NFC North topics while we're at it, if that's OK. Let's get to it.
Kevin, When will we know whether Matt Birk is the winner of the NFL Man of the year award? Do they announce this during the Super Bowl or afterwards?
They announced to before the game and Kurt Warner from Arizona got it.
Why was the final play not reviewed?
I'm like most everyone else: I have no idea. My colleague Mike Sando quoted several Cardinals people as saying they thought it should have been reviewed. Throwing/fumbling calls are subjective sometimes, but considering the situation you would have thought it would be a no brainer. Especially considering the way Larry Fitzgerald jumps. If the Cardinals got one more play for a Hail Mary, they would have had at least a fighting chance.
Kevin, as someone who used to cover the Vikings full time, did that Holmes TD remind you of the Vikings vs Cardnals games in 2003 where Poole scored on the final play to knock the Vikings out of the playoffs? Seems like the Vikings finally got some pay back...
It was a bit reminiscent of the Nate Poole play. Although I doubt the Vikings feel any better about it.
Why are people saying that Holmes' game winning play was a catch when on replay you can clearly see the ball hit the ground? In NFL rules a player must maintain control of the ball and have there hand under the ball.
Brian, I don't think it hit the ground. Maybe you saw a different angle, but it looked like a good catch all the way around to me.
Hey Kevin love the blog, anyways how come there wasn't an excessive celebration penalty on the Steelers after Holmes scored, or Holmes being called for unsportsman like conduct for using the ball as a prop?
The latter suggestion, using the ball as a prop, is a finable offense but I don't think it can cause an unsportsmanlike penalty. As for excessive celebration, it's a judgment call. Considering the moment, maybe it wasn't excessive.
As others have noted in Chicago media, seeing what Holmes and Fitzgerald did for their respective teams really highlighted a major deficiency in the Bears' offense. Are they finally going to discuss signing a free agent receiver who isn't past their prime (i.e. Booker or Muhammad) or just not very good (i.e. Lloyd)?
From what I've seen and heard so far, it doesn't seem like it. Sorry.
here's my question--when Harrison was running for the goal--Fitzgerald was running after him--and Fitzgerald was out of bounds for about 30 yds while doing it--had he caught Harrison--what would have happened---thanks
If you're asking if it would have been a legal tackle, yes it would have. You can come from out of bounds to tackle someone. You can't come from out of bounds to make a catch. That's my understanding of the rules.
Will the NFL make a statement the James Harrison personal foul? I think he should have been ejected.
I don't know if there will be a statement released, but he should be fined. There were three or four hits too many on that play.
What have you heard on the QB front for the Vikings. I have heard everything from Cassell to McNabb. What is your take?
The Cassel rumors are starting and I don't know why. Maybe it's because there was a report in the Boston Globe recently that suggested Tom Brady's rehab is coming along well. I'd be surprised if the Vikings went after Cassel but I guess stranger things have happened.
Kevin, who do you think should've been MVP? Big Ben or Santonio? Both were deserving.
I'm fine with Holmes getting it. He stepped up in a very big way on the final drive, and the touchdown catch was much better than the throw.
is it all but a done deal for shack to be coming to the lions, kev? what do you think of the move?
I don't think there is a signed contract yet, but he is their choice. It's not a bad move. He'll be another set of trained eyes to give recommendations to Mayhew. I don't think that can hurt.
Steelers running game was anemic again, and unable to move on short yardage plays. Is an O Line overhaul needed, or should they go after a larry Johnson type of bruiser to get the short yards?
The Steelers made a big deal of mocking criticism of their offensive line, but there were times when the Cardinals just dominated them from a physical standpoint. Sorry, that's just the way it is. They definitely need a personnel upgrade at at least one guard position and probably both.
Kevin, correct me if I'm wrong but shouldn't Harrison have been ejected for throwing a punch and then throwing Francisco to the ground by his neck? I feel like if it would have been the regular season he'd have been tossed in a second. Thoughts?
I don't know if there is a hard-and-fast rule on when a guy should be penalized or thrown out. But my ears definitely perked up when John Madden said he should be thrown out. When Madden comes out with that harsh of an opinion, it means something.
am i the only person that heard Al say the booth automaticly looked at it and they didnt think a review was waranted
I don't know if he said that or not, but technically it's true. The booth determines all replays in the final two minutes, and if there was no review, it meant the people in the booth decided they didn't need one.
Kevin- I know this doesn't have to do with the Super Bowl, but just wanted to get your take on Richard Dent not making it into the HOF again this year. I don't disagree with any of this years picks, but Dent was just as much of a force on those Bears defenses as Singeltary and Hampton. Thanks.
Yes, and there have been four pass rushers who have gotten in over the past two years -- Fred Dean, Andre Tippett, Bruce Smith and Derrick Thomas. I think Dent is a Hall of Fame player, but I'm not on the voting committee. There are politics and balancing acts that none of us ever is privvy to. It's not a perfect system.
What will be the future outlook of the "Ref Bowl", and does the NFL care anymore of their quality of games?
Ha. I don't know whether to be happy that the Cardinals' first two replays were overturned or disappointed that the calls were missed both times. Not a good year for NFL referees.
Kevin! Good afternoon sir! For anyone who is crazy enough to say that yesterday was one of the best Super Bowl's ever needs to go back to January of 1986 and remember that a great game is based on defense and a run game! QB question. Should the Bears go out and get Chris Simms to compete with Orton? It doesn't seem the other options are any better and that move won't cost them much. Your thoughts?
Chris Simms is one of the names circulating, but I don't get the sense the Bears are looking for someone to compete with Orton. Seems like they just want someone to replace Grossman as the backup. Big-picture, they seem to be giving Orton one more year to prove he can hold down the position long-term. If he has a bad year, they move on. If he's good, they sign him to a long-term deal.
What would it take to get Boldin away from the Cards? He would look good in a Raiders uni....
I think a lot of people would like to get their hands on him. Let's start the bidding at a mid-level second-round pick.
Who do you think wil be more likely to get back to the super bowl next year?
I'd say Pittsburgh. The defensive nucleus and coaching staff is returning intact, apparently. The Cardinals don't know if they'll have Warner back next year.
We all know Tomlin was a defensive coach yet Lebeau seems to have free rein to run the. I know it will never happen but it makes me wish Childress would let go of the offense and hire a real coordinator... Martz & Billick still available?
Interesting way to ask the question. Tomlin and Childress definitely took different tacks in terms of scheme. Tomlin adopted what the Steelers had been doing, while Childress installed his own scheme without regard to the personnel the Vikings had. He's given OC Darrel Bevell more responsibility, but the scheme remains intact. I don't see him changing it now.
We're still mad about Kevin Curtis being tackled on fourth down before the ball even got there, but Hines Ward gets a call when the jersey was barely touched.
There is that. .... Man, I'm surprised how big of a topic the officials have begun. Seems pretty clear a lot of people think this was a poorly officiated game.
You've covered the NFL for a long time; do you consider yourself an 'expert' on football? Did you come in to the job with a strong knowledge base or was it learn on the fly?
"Long" is a relative term, I guess, Dave. I've been doing this for 9 years. I do not in any way consider myself an expert at football. There's the old adage about learning how much you don't know. I realize more things I don't know every year. The best you can hope for is to establish a good enough base that you know what questions to ask.
Hey Kevin, what do you think about the Favre rumors already starting here in the Twin Cities?!
Right now, they're just rumors. At this point, the only thing supporting them is the fact that Favre can't make a decision.
It's not just you, but it seems like draft picks are more valuable than diamonds. Since when did a player the calibur of Anquan Boldin become a mid-level 2nd round pick? He's a bonafide #1 WR on about 90% of NFL teams and that's all he's worth?
Yeah, and I'm not saying I agree with it. People tend to value potential more than reality, in this case the potential of what a second-round pick could bring versus the reality of what Boldin can do. Plus, I'm just saying to start the bidding there. The price tag could certainly go up from there.
The officiating was on par with the regular season. You just had more eyes watching this one game therefore more complaints.
Very fair way to look at it.
... or anywhere in the NFC North. The Jets would have to give up 3 1st round picks. Right?
Yes. But the scenario would be the Jets releasing him to get his cap number off their books, or simply because they don't want him. In that case, he would be free to sign with the Vikings, Bears or anyone else in the NFC North. The Jets would only have to give up the picks if they were to trade him while he remained under contract with them.
If you had to guess next years final standings in the NFC North, what would you say?
A bit too early for that. But check out the blog. I'm not a big fan of the strength of schedule stat, but the teams with the three "easiest" schedules in 2009 are all in the NFC North.
Seriously, it's pretty embarrassing your networks coverage of the non review, everyone (I can't believe this next thought will come from me) but Keyshawn Johnson of all people, has been completely exposed as frauds for not at least covering the controversy in a straight up manner regarding the end of that game!! My real point is to correct you, using the ball as a prop is automatically 15 yards, as it was explained to us Pats fans regarding ben Watson cradling it one TD this year...
Thanks for that update, Greg.
I agree that the officiating was poor for BOTH sides..... Look, harrison and Woodley each got held at least 10 times, some were called some weren't.... but you can't really argue it, I didn't expect them to throw 15 holding flags, can't complain about the Ike taylor 15 yards, even if it was a little ticky-tack, even if it could have been offsetting for the card player comeing out from the sidelines, there were marginal calls made and missed on both sides, and blatant calls made on both sides, not at all one sided.
That's a fair way to look at it.
How much do you think the Chillster is bothered by his lack of success compared to Mike Tomlin?
I don't know if he's bothered by it. But the contrast largely speaks for itself. I'm sure Childress would argue he had a bigger rebuilding project, but Mike Tice and a few others might disagree.
What do you see the Vikings doing in the draft: OL, CB, reach for a QB to compete with me or something else?
I'll guess offensive line or cornerback over quarterback. If they take a quarterback, it will be in the later rounds. Just a hunch.
Who will be the QB for the Lions next year? Has there been talk at all as to FA's or drafting from the Lions front office?
No discussion whatsoever about it, except to say there is no connection between Daunte Culpepper and the hiring of offensive coordinator Scott Linehan. But it does seem like Jim Schwartz would like to draft a quarterback at some point. That person probably wouldn't play for them in 2009, however.
Speaking of Tomlin.... The dude is impressive in everyway, right? I'm really glad to see the entire country got a look at what Pitt. fans have known for 2 years now, clearly a great decidion by the Rooney Family.
I agree. I covered him for a year in Minnesota and he just has a way of communicating that seems genuine and trustworthy.
Who do you see as the possible top picks for the Lions, I Know Stafford, Andre Smith and other Tackles have been mentioned, but what about someone like a BJ Raji we have seen some man big defensive lineman become keys to the Defense not only helping the Dline but also makes your linebackers and DBs better?
Defensive line is arguably the Lions' biggest need, so I could see it. I wonder if they won't try to trade down if they determine the player they want could be drafted lower than No. 1.
Everyone seems to forget about me...I'll be more familiar with the playbook and teamates next year.
True. But I think everyone is going to need to see substantial improvement to consider you a possibility for 2009.
Kevin, you think the Cardinals would take Kelllen Winslow and a 4th or 5th round pick for Boldin?
Not sure about that. Kellen Winslow might have a long career ahead of him, but his injury history doesn't make him very valuable in a trade.
How big of a mistake are the Lions making by not going after a proven GM and hiring from within?Will these guys be able to admit the mistakes they have made and cut loose players that never should have been picked to begin with?
You've hit on one of the central issues of promoting from within. Will Mayhew, just by instinct, try to improve what he has? Or will he just start over? Just by human nature, it's likely to be the former. Is there enough to build on already? Not everyone thinks so.
Do you think in times like these (recession wise) that it is almost cripping to an organization if you miss on a top 5 pick (miss meaning now grabbing a franchise player because of the money you have to pay them)
I think it's going to be interesting to see how the economy affects all the major pro sports. There are a lot of reasons not to want to be in the top 5 of the draft, and now there is another.
How does Roy Williams get the Lions a 1, 3 and a 6(I believe) and bidding for Boldin only starts with a mid 2nd? I would think the bidding would start with the same package the lions got?
Fair point. Although I would point out the Cowboys felt compelled to give up the first and third because the Lions would have franchised Williams in the offseason. Arizona wouldn't have that opportunity.
Childress had a bigger rebuilding project? They were 9-7 the year before he took over
Just relaying to you what he has said publicly.
Bigger need for the Packers going into the offseason: offensive or defensive line?
Because of the switch to the 3-4, and the fact that they have at least two of their DL starters in-house, I would say offensive line. They've got to figure out right tackle with Tauscher rehabbing his knee, and they've got to decide how many more years Clifton has left.
Is there any chance Julius Peppers plays for the Panthers again?
Well, this wouldn't be the first time a player made a big request and then reversed his decision.
Hey kevin why is it the big ben is looked apon this great QB when up untill that last drive he look like the same sorry QB we seen in the last superbowl that they won?
In the big picture, being the starting quarterback on two Super Bowl-winning teams is pretty impressive. Only a few other players in the history of the league have done it.
Speaking of the bad economy, do you think the NFL will ever eliminate the blackout rule, with is forcing people to buy tickets to see the game when they are struggling just to keep their homes and put food on the table?
The commissioner said last week the rule will remain in place. It's a choice every individual is going to have to make. The teams could do their parts by controlling costs better.
The interception return for a TD was a gigantic play to close out the half. Did anyone catch video of why Boldin wasn't able himself to track down and tackle the Steeler instead of Breaston and Fitzgerald? Did he "Moss" it?
I didn't see it. Anyone?
One of the major ways to improve a bad team I have seen is to build to your stenght of your home stadium. Since you play there 8 times you will have an oppurtunity most like to grab 4 to 5 wins at home just by playing to its stength, example Miami getting a brusing team in the heat and a QB that can control the game, but doesnt have the arm (he doesnt need it cause of the warm temps). Do you see the lions doing this and the other losing teams?
In the case of the Lions, I don't because the new coach has already stated he won't build a dome team -- not when he has to play at Green Bay and at Chicago every year. I don't know if I agree with that. He'll still play at least nine games indoors every year, counting the Minnesota game. But in general, the best teams do well inside and outside.
Is it just a fluke that the top rated player in this years draft is WR and I'm not there to draft him for the Lions?
You've still got time to sweet-talk an owner into hiring you and grabbing Crabtree, I suppose.
Don't you think the Cardinals should have caught Harrison?? Especially with their speed and the fact Warner did hold him up
When he first caught the ball, my first thought was touchdown. When the offense is bunched up at the goal line on a quick play like that, it takes time to redirect and start chasing. Breaston and Fitzgerald caught up to him, the just couldn't get him down in time.
Unlike Shuandell, I'm glad to see Ben finally getting some love. He hasn't been a game manager since his 2nd season, and I'm pretty sure he's gotta be in the top 2 of active QBs you want on your side when you need a score in the 4th...
Yes, based on last night's performance. Maybe you take Brady over him with the game on the line, but that's about it.
Didnt see boldin but did see the massive block in the back no call.
I'll have to go back and check that out.
Were you aware last night was the 1st sporting event to ever have any controversial calls?
Yes, I've just been informed.
Is it time for the NFL Rules Committee to consider it a penalty when a ball carrier grabs a facemask? It happened last night where a Cardinals DB and the Steelers WR had each other by the facemask and the defensive player always gets called.
You're right, I remember that. An offensive player isn't supposed to be able to stiff-arm the face mask, but you never see it called. I was thinking the exact same thing when I saw it happen. The force the receiver used -- was it Holmes? -- was no less than what the DB used.
To answer the boldin question, one of the inside LB's, I think it was 52, catches up to Boldin and lays a nice block on him at about the 5
What do you think it would take for the Vikes to get Matt Hasselbeck in the offseason? Do you think that would be a good move? Thanks.
I absolutely think it would be a good move but would be surprised if the Seahawks really wanted to move him. Who would they replace him with? Their new offensive coordinator is Greg Knapp, a west-coast guy whose system should fit Hasselbeck well.
Why didn't Fitz lay down at the one on his TD catch? I would have.
Ha. Why? To use more time? Hard to imagine someone doing that, but I get your drift.
How many blocks in the back on that Harrison return? 1 block in the back...ha ha ha. 2 blocks in the back...ha ha ha. 3 blocks in the back...ha ha ha. I counted 3, do you know how many were flagged?
Zero. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. This answer brought to you by the letters "E," "S," "P," and "N."
To answer westbrook...because they weren't winning at the time. Westbrook did it with the lead.
Of course. Just having some fun.
To answer Steve, I don't think most people are annoyed by the controversy, i don't think there is nearly enough evidence to overturn that last play...My problem is not reviewing a controversial call in the last 5 second, anyone who says it wasn't close enough to review is being dishonest...I've said it before, it most likely is not conclusive but there is absolutely NO reason to not review it to get it right in the Super bowl...They spend 5 minutes reviewing far more obvious calls than that in games with 3--11 teams
I think we can all agree it wouldn't have been surprising for them to review.
Ok, let's get to one or two more here.
Great answer to The Count!
I've watched it recently. :)
Is Sullivan ready at center or are the vikes going to sign Birk for a year or two so he can keep grooming him along? Who might Minn. target via trade or free agency?
I don't know if Sullivan is ready because he's never been in an NFL game at center. But if the Vikings are interested in re-signing Birk, they haven't expressed it so far.
OK everyone, thanks so much. We'll chat with you soon.
Are you allowed to create your own, witty questions and post them (See: B. Westbrook and T. Count)? Or do they have to come from actual readers?
OK, one more just for fun. All of these questions are legitimate.