02 February 2007

Superbowl Nuggets

I figured that since my first post comes right before Superbowl Weekend, it would only be fitting to throw out a few interesting Superbowl notes.

- With all the talk about how good the Colts’ offense is, and how bad Rex Grossman is, few people have realized that both the Colts and the Bears have scored the same amount of points this season (slightly less than 27 points per game, good for second-best in the NFL). That being said, since the NFL is based on uneven schedules, I looked at the common opponents for the two teams. Both teams played all four AFC East Teams (Miami, New York, Buffalo and New England) and the New York Giants. The offensive outputs numbers over the common games look more like what you would expect, with the Colts scoring almost 28 points per game, compared to the Bears’ 23 points per game. Meanwhile, the Colts went 6-0 in the games (including a second New England victory in the playoffs), while the Bears went 3-2 (losses to Miami and New England).

- Congrats to Colts’ wide receiver Ricky Proehl who will be going to his fourth Superbowl since 2000. More impressive, is that he’s done it with three different teams (twice with the Rams, and once each with the Panthers and now the Colts), and has caught a touchdown pass in each of the three Superbowls he has played in. Have you ever noticed that there are a couple of veterans in professional sports who always seem to end up on championship teams as contributors (think Robert Horry or Steve Kerr)? Proehl only has three receptions this entire season (and none in the postseason), but who is to say that a Tony Dungy won’t get his 38 year old receiver (who is one of the few on his roster with Superbowl experience, let alone success) involved in the game?

- Finally, the Wonderlic test scores have been released for both the Colts and the Bears. For those of you who don’t know, the Wonderlic is a type of IQ test that has been used by the NFL prior to the draft for a years. To give you an idea, the average employed person (not just NFL players) scores about a 24 on the test (neurosurgeons average a 35). The average NFL player scores about a 20. Here is how the Bears and the Colts fared:

• Average test score for all 52 players: Bears, 22.50; Colts, 20.65.
• Average for all 53 players on the active roster: Bears (scores available for 46 players), 22.09; Colts (45 players), 21.47.
• Average for all 22 starters: Bears (21 players), 23.24; Colts (19 players), 21.42.
• Average for offensive starters: Bears (10 players), 24.6; Colts (10 players), 21.8.
• Average for defensive starters: Bears (11 players), 22.0; Colts (nine players), 21.0.

What does this all mean? Probably nothing. A lot of fuss was made when Vince Young reportedly scored a 6 on his Wonderlic, and he was as successful as any other rookie in the NFL this season. But, if they decide to break a late game tie with a test on advanced calculus, I would give the advantage to the Bears.

- Something else to look out for... last year's Superbowl was one of the worst officiated games in professional championship history - about four or five bad calls all went against the Seahawks. This year, Tony Corrente will referee his first Superbowl, and will do it with an "all-star" crew, albeit one that he has never worked with before. The fact that these guys don't get an opportunity to work together prior to the game is one of the major flaws with Superbowl officiating, and if something goes wrong this year, look for it to change. Also, umpire Carl Paganelli and back judge Perry Paganelli will become the first brothers to officiate together in a Superbowl.

- I guess that its time for my prediction. I think that Rex Grossman is actually a better quarterback than people give him credit for (which, considering the malice directed towards him, is not necessary a stretch to say). Grossman actually reminds me of a young Brett Favre, in both his ability to throw a deep ball and his willingness to take risks on the field. All that being said, even if Grossman has a great game, the Bears defense needs to find a way to stop the Colts’ offense. If Dallas Clark is healthy, I think he could join Jerry Rice as the only two players to have three 100-yard receiving games in one seasons’ playoffs. He could potentially be the difference maker, as I think the Colts go on to win, 28-17.