Philly Fantasy Sports Top 10 Super Bowl XLVII Commercials

After the phenomenal Super Bowl XLVII with the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens, John Harbaugh and his quarterback Joe Flacco overcame the surge — and the 34-minute blackout at the Superdome — to win the game 34-31.  With the San Francisco 49ers mismanaging the clock and Colin Kaepernick‘s inability to run a two-minute drill effectively, the Ravens scraped one out in the final minutes of the game.  After all that commotion, the commercials were much the same.  Close to the second half, the real commercials decided to show up, and with that, these are Philly Fantasy Sports Top 10 selections for best Super Bowl XLVII commercials:

Oreo “Whisper Fight”

I enjoyed this one. Subtly funny.

M & M “Love Ballad”

What are friends for when you have friends like Ms. Chocolate

Taco Bell “Viva Young”

Not funny in a funny kind of way but charming in a Taco Bell kinda way.

Toyota RAV 4 “Wish Granted”

The Rock Milk “Morning Run”

Volkwagen “Get In. Get Happy.”

Minnesota people. Represent.  Not just about Harley Davidson motorcycles and bratwursts.

Bud Light “Journey”

I liked this one. Perhaps the voodoo dolls caused the power outage. Or not.

Deion Sanders NFL “Leon Sandcastle” 

Funny. Very funny. Kind of a jilt on Randy Moss, Terrell Owens and others.

Kia Motors “Hot Bots”

Kia Motors got double honors this Super Bowl.  I think the advertising people left Volkswagen and came here.

Kia Motors “Space Babies”

This one had lots of charm to it — and the babies faces were priceless as they rocketed to Earth.

This is Philly Fantasy Sports Top 10 commercials for Super Bowl XLVII.  What do you think?  Do you agree?

 

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NFC Divisional Playoffs: Top 10 Things We Learned

After the New York Giants impressive 37-20 win over the Green Bay Packers and the stunning 36-32 win by the San Francisco 49ers over the explosive offense of the New Orleans Saints, the NFC Divisional playoffs was where it was at.  The New York Giants are going to face the San Francisco 49ers at the NFC Championship game at Candlestick Park.  It will be a battle of defenses as the Giants are simply red-hot and the 49ers are simply consistent.  Both Tom Coughlin and Jim Harbaugh are conservative-minded coaches, and this next game will quite possibly be decided in the trenches.

Enough about that…now to the top 10 things that we learned:

  1. San Francisco 49ers Tight End Vernon Davis is Clutch.  He caught the touchdown passes from his quarterback Alex Smith when the team needed it the most.
  2. New Orleans Saints Drew Brees is Still Awesome (Despite the Loss). Let’s see…462 passing yards, 4 touchdowns and a 93.5 quarterback rating is impressive in their playoff game against the 49ers.
  3. New York Giants Eli Manning is Awesome.  He ended the game with 330 passing yards, 3 touchdowns, an interception and an impressive 114.5 quarterback rating.
  4. Green Bay Packers Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is One Dangerous Running Threat.  Even against the Giants defense,  he accumulated 66 yards on the ground.  In fact, he more than the Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw with 63 rushing yards.
  5. San Francisco Giants 49ers Running Back Frank Gore is a Beast. His 89 rushing yards marks him currently as fourth in the postseason.
  6. New Orleans Saints Wide Receiver Marques Colston is a Beast.  He ended the postseason as second in receiving yards with 256.  He is one dangerous wide receiver.
  7. San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Alex Smith is Impressive.  He had 299 passing yards, 3 touchdowns and a 103.2 quarterback rating in the game against the New Orleans Saints.
  8. Slow and Steady Wins the Game. Conservative-minded coaches in Giants Tom Coughlin and San Francisco 49ers Jim Harbaugh ultimately won with their slow-and-steady gameplay.
  9. Top-Ranked Offenses Count for Nothing. Despite having the New Orleans first-ranked offense and Green Bay Packers third-ranked offense during the regular season, they tanked when it counted.  Not good at all.
  10. Defense Wins Games. Despite all these broken offensive records in the postseason, the San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants defense stepped up when it counted.  It’s all a matter of timing…

New Orleans Saints vs. San Francisco 49ers: NFC Divisional Playoff Post-Game Analysis

This is a game of juggernauts — San Francisco 49ers fourth-ranked defense against the first-ranked quarterback in the 2011 postseason and second-ranked quarterback in terms of quarterback rating during  the regular season, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.  The New Orleans Saints, however, will have deal with sixth-ranked running back in total rushing yardage during the regular season, the 49ers Frank Gore and an improved Alex Smith under their new head coach Jim Harbaugh.  On the Saints side, however, we have head coach Sean Payton, the River City gambler on their 2009 path to the Super Bowl championship and in this year as well. To bring more class to this playoff game, Huey Lewis and the News sang the national anthem prior to the start of the game at Candlestick Park.

Now to the post-game analysis:

  • First series of Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints was quenched by Pierre Thomas’ fumble at the San Francisco 2-yard line at 8:57 into the first quarter.  The San Francisco 49ers demonstrated that their defense can bend but not break even under one of the potent offenses, but the Saints have demonstrated they can move down the field with relative ease.
  • The San Francisco 49ers defense finally hit paydirt as Drew Brees was sacked for a 11-yard loss by linebacker Aldon Smith at 3:29 in the first quarter.
  • With that, 49ers Alex Smith bomb one to his tight end Vernon Davis for a stunning 49-yard touchdown at 2:17 in the first quarter.  The 49ers take the lead 7-0, and Candlestick Park goes crazy.
  • Capitalizing on 49ers interception on Drew Brees by safety Dashon Goldson, Alex Smith spears one to his wide receiver Michael Crabtree from 4 yards out to lead the game 14-0.
  • With the Saints wideout Courtney Roby fumble on a kickoff return, San Francisco 49ers kicker David Akers booted an easy field goal to bring the lead yet again 17-0 at 14:17 in the second quarter.
  • After nearly a fourth — and fifth turnover, Drew Brees tossed a touchdown to tight end Jimmy Graham from 14 yards out at 9:37 in the second quarter.  The New Orleans Saints bring the score to 17-7.  The New Orleans Saints definitely needed this score to bring their confidence up after their prior three turnovers, including Drew Brees interception.
  • With 4:16 left in the second quarter, New Orleans Saints wideout Marques Colston gets a 25-yard touchdown to bring the score to 17-14.   Yet another Saints comeback after another slow start…well, almost…
  • Drew Brees gets another interception by the 49ers defense by cornerback Tarell Brown at the two minute warning.  Luckily, the 49ers could not capitalize on this turnover.
  • Yet another Saints turnover in the beginning of the second half…running back Darren Sproles fumbled on the New Orleans Saints 22-yard line.  The 49ers David Akers kicked an easy 41-yard field goal to bring their score up 20-14 at 10:39 in the third quarter.
  • After some interchange in the third quarter between the New Orleans Saints and the San Francisco 49ers, Saints kicker John Kasay kicked a field goal to bring the score within three at 13:13 in the fourth quarter.
  • After San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore broke for 42-yard run, kicker David Akers kicked yet another field goal to bring the score to  23-17 with 7:40 left in the game.
  • With a pass from Drew Brees, running back Darren Sproles broke through the secondary for a 44-yard touchdown and helped brought Saints the lead 24-23 with 4:11 left on the clock.
  • A surprising 28-yard quarterback rush by San Francisco 49ers Alex Smith with 2:18 on the clock.  Simply amazing.
  • Yet another amazing play as Drew Brees threw a 66-yard touchdown bomb to his tight end Jimmy Graham to bring the carry the lead 32-29 with 1:48 left in the game.
  • Another intense play as 49ers Alex Smith threw a 49-yard pass to his tight end Vernon Davis with 40 seconds left on the clock.  To top it off, Alex Smith threw a 14-yard touchdown reception to Vernon Davis to bring the score and the game win of 36-32 with 14 seconds left in the game.

The first half was one of turnovers for the New Orleans Saints with two fumbles and two interceptions.  However, through the in-game adjustments by their head coach Sean Payton, the Saints made a comeback to 17-14.  The San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh brought their fourth-ranked defense overall to this playoff game.  Interestingly, none of the running backs on either side could establish rhythm as San Francisco 49ers dominant running back Frank Gore had only 32 rushing yards and the New Orleans Saints running backs Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory had a combination of 14 total rushing yards in this half.

The second half was a chess game as both offenses and defenses had problems establishing rhythm.  However, it was not until late third quarter through mid-fourth quarter, things starting getting interesting.  Field goals and touchdowns started happening.  With both quarterbacks relying on their tight ends to score touchdowns to contest the lead within the final few minutes of the game, San Francisco 49ers overcame the New Orleans Saints offensive juggernaut.

Now Alex Smith, their stellar running back Frank Gore, their clutch tight end Vernon Davis and their fourth-ranked defense will await their next opponent in the NFC Championship game.  Whether it’s the New York Giants or the Green Bay Packers, they will be tested, and they passed this test — barely.

2011 Philadelphia Eagles Regular Season Schedule: Game-By-Game Analysis

Despite the work stoppage still in effect in the NFL, the NFL has chosen to release regular season schedules for the teams, after their initial release of the schedules of pre-season games.  The Philadelphia Eagles will have a bumpy road ahead of them, even though the first half of the schedule is easier than the second half of the schedule after their bye in week 7.  Similar to their pre-season schedule, fair majority of their opponents will either have a dominating defense or powerful running back or a sordid combination of both which will test the Eagles on both sides of the ball.  Michael Vick will have  his health possibly tested in week 3 against the New York Giants, week 9 against the Chicago Bears, week 11 against the New York Giants again and especially week 15 against the New York Jets.  These defenses won’t bend easily to Michael Vick, much less break, with their blueprints from the New York Giants, the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers.

Now to the game-by-game analysis of the Philadelphia Eagles regular season:

Week 1: Philadelphia Eagles @ St. Louis Rams

This is an intriguing game as the Philadelphia Eagles will face the St. Louis Rams offense, led by budding quarterback Sam Bradford, and steady and sturdy running back Steven Jackson at home.  I imagine  Steven Jackson will be the primary force of the Rams offense against the Eagles in this game as he was ranked eighth last season in total rushing yardage at 1,241.  Don’t forget that the Rams, especially their defense,  plays particularly well at home who won five out of eight games at Edward Jones Dome last season.

Week 2: Philadelphia Eagles @ Atlanta Falcons

This is a tandem of one of the better developed quarterbacks Matt Ryan and one of the better running backs in the league, Michael Turner.  After the Eagles face the physical running of Steven Jackson, they will have to contend with the speed of Michael Turner.  Turner capped last season by ranking third in rushing yardage with 1,371 behind Houston Texans Arian Foster and Kansas City Chiefs Jamaal Charles.  Lastly, Matt Ryan had a fairly impressive 91.0 quarterback rating last season and with receiving threats in Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez, both could pose problems in the Eagles secondary.  Roddy White himself produced elite numbers last season as he had 1,389 receiving yards on 115 receptions and was ranked second overall.

Week 3: New York Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles

This game is a NFC East rivalry against an opponent that developed and refined the blueprint to stop against the revived Michael Vick last season.  This is also the same defense that crippled a number of quarterbacks in the opening weeks of the previous season before Commissioner Roger Goodell stepped in to limit the number of concussions and injuries.  The Giants still have the tandem running backs of Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs which produced the sixth-ranked overall rushing offense.  Ahmad Bradshaw, by himself, was ranked ninth last season in total rushing yardage with 1,235 yards on 4.5 yards per carry.  Let’s not forget these wide receivers of the Giants.  The receiving corps of Hakeem Nicks, Steve Smith and Mario Manningham are all threats down the field, although Nicks is the better of the three and getting better.

Week 4: San Francisco 49ers @ Philadelphia Eagles

With the new coach in Jim Harbaugh, formerly of the Stanford Cardinals, the San Fransisco 49ers could undergo a heavy overhaul in both offense and defense.  Perhaps Eagles fans might get a showing of former Eagles running back Brian Westbrook, but most likely not.  The Eagles will have to contend with a healthy running back in the name of Frank Gore.  Although he hasn’t been an elite rushing threat since ranking third overall in rushing yardage in 2006, there are still sea legs on this veteran running back. One of the primary issues with the 49ers will be their quarterback situation.  I imagine that sometime before the regular season starts, this situation will be resolved quite quickly with Jim Harbaugh as their new head coach.  He won’t make the same mistake as his predecessor, Mike Singletary.

Week 5: Philadelphia Eagles @ Buffalo Bills

This should be one of the Philadelphia Eagles easier games, but then again, this isn’t the same Buffalo Bills of the past.  They were competitive last season, and they won’t simply roll over.  Their defense was ranked third against the pass, but unfortunately, they were last in their division with a meager 4-12 record last season.  Their quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick found a potent wide receiver Steve Johnson who had two games against the stiffer defenses of  two notable opponents of the Baltimore Ravens and the Chicago Bears last season with 130+ yards and one against the disorganized Cincinnati Bengals.

Week 6: Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Redskins

This was the same opponent last season which Micheal Vick absolutely dominated with a score of 59-28 on November 15th.  It was an unforgettable night for the Eagles team and their fans.  However, things have changed. Their quarterback Donovan McNabb has been released, and former Chicago Bears quarterback Rex Grossman has taken over.  Although most of their offense and defense was ranked the bottom of last year, they found a glimmer of hope in their running back Ryan Torain.  Again, in this upcoming season, Ryan Torain may become a factor in Mike Shanahan’s offense.

Week 7: Bye Week

With this season going at full steam by now, Eagles quarterback Michael Vick has not endured any physical defenses aside from the New York Giants.  He should still be in good health, and Eagles coach Andy Reid shouldn’t have to resort to his backup, whoever he may be.  The Eagles record at this point should be 5-1 or at worst, 4-2.  In terms of injuries suffered during the Eagles pre-season, like every pre-season it seems, most of these players should have recovered at this time, and the Eagles should have a nearly healthy roster.  However, the second half of the schedule is not quite as easy as the first.

Week 8: Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles

This is the same defense last season that nearly perfected how to hinder Michael Vick.  However, the offense this time quite possibly won’t be led by Jon Kitna.  Instead, Tony Romo should be at the helm once again.  Despite his occasional flaws, on and off the field, he should perform much better than Jon Kitna.  With wide receiver Miles Austin and the Cowboys backfield of Marion Barber, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice blossoming, Jason Garrett’s offense will be one to contend with.  The Cowboys rushing defense performed admirably last season as it was ranked 12th.

Week 9: Chicago Bears @ Philadelphia Eagles

This may a potentially dangerous outing for Michael Vick as he faces the taut Chicago Bears defense led by Brian Urlacher.  After the criticism of their quarterback Jay Cutler for leaving their conference game last season due to an injury, Cutler performed above average with 3,274 yards passing, 23 touchdowns and a 86.3 quarterback rating.  Let’s not forget that Cutler does have his moments.  Last season, he beat the Eagles 31-26 in week 12 in a stunner of a game.  The Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz found their running back Matt Forte after half the season was over, and again, Forte should become a factor in establishing the run against the Eagles.

Week 10: Arizona Cardinals @ Philadelphia Eagles

This could potentially become an intriguing game should Kevin Kolb or maybe Donovan McNabb be traded to this team.  With their quarterback and backfield problems, their only shining star was wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.  Despite all these problems with the Cardinals, Larry Fitzgerald managed to ranked eighth in total receiving yards with 1,137.

Week 11: Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants

Like last season, it would be interesting to see if Michael Vick can pull another Miracle at the Meadowlands.  If the Eagles won the earlier game in week 3, I imagine the New York Giants could possibly win this one or vice versa.  After this game, Michael Vick could be hinting of potential injuries as this defense will remain unforgiving.

Week 12: New England Patriots @ Philadelphia Eagles

Not only will the Philadelphia Eagles be facing last season’s MVP New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, they will face the varied offense of BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead, Deion Branch and Wes Welker.  Although Michael Vick was in the running as last year’s MVP, this season will test whether he can remain consistent throughout the season.  If this game doesn’t show if Vick can demonstrate consistency,  Tom Brady will show him how.

Week 13: Philadelphia Eagles @ Seattle Seahawks

The Philadelphia Eagles first trip to the West Coast as they will face the Cinderella team of last season, the Seattle Seahawks.  With their veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and wide receiver Mike Williams, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll found ways to defeat the New Orleans Saints in their Wild Card game last season and remain somewhat competitive in their final loss against Chicago Bears in their divisional title game. Pete Carroll has shown he can will his team to win, and the Philadelphia Eagles could potentially face one dangerous and adaptive opponent.  Compounding the fact that the Eagles don’t fare well on the West Coast, this could play to the Seahawks advantage.

Week 14: Philadelphia Eagles @ Miami Dolphins

Another road game…but this time, a return to the East Coast against the Miami Dolphins.  With the entire offense in shambles, the Miami Dolphins offense wasn’t much of a threat.  Neither running back Ronnie Brown or Ricky Williams posed much of a threat like in previous seasons. However, the Dolphins defense was surprisingly effective.  They were ranked eighth against the pass and seventh against the rush last season.  Even if the Dolphins lose, I imagine that Michael Vick could be in for some jarring by the Dolphins defensive backs.

Week 15: New York Jets @ Philadelphia Eagles

New York Jets coach Rex Ryan’s defense was formidable last season.  It was ranked sixth against the pass and third against the rush.  The New York Jets defeated both the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots in the playoffs, but they could not defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC title game. Their rushing tandem of LaDanian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene produced an effective rush as they were ranked fourth overall in total rushing yardage.  Facing this defense may not be desirable as it will be stifling and physical for Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles offense.  Even the wide receiving threats of DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin may face considerable problems.

Week 16: Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys

The Eagles will face Jason Garrett’s Cowboys team again.  Again, I envision this game as a split.  With the Dallas Cowboys adapting to incoming blueprints from earlier games in the season with Michael Vick, this could be another long afternoon for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Week 17: Washington Redskins @ Philadelphia Eagles

With Mike Shanahan of the Washington Redskins still coaching, the Redskins team, however, will still remain mediocre without any potent offensive additions.  Not to discount the Redskins entirely, however, as Rex Grossman may show moments of brilliance, but whether at FedEx Field or Lincoln Financial Field, the Redskins can’t overcome their deficiencies.

2011 Season Forecast

I predict for this upcoming season a record 10-6 for the Philadelphia Eagles realistically.  Optimistically, they can possibly pull off a record of 11-5.  In either case, they should have a winning record and possibly enter the playoffs again.  Whether Michael Vick remains healthy through the end of the regular season, I remain tentative.  Lastly, given the parity in the league and the coaching changes in some of these teams, my prediction remains highly speculative and should be taken with a grain of salt.

Mike Singletary Joins Leslie Frazier on the Minnesota Vikings: Doing The Super Bowl Shuffle

Former head coach of the San Francisco 49ers Mike Singletary has found a new home as linebackers coach/assistant head coach to new head coach Leslie Frazier of the Minnesota Vikings.  This hasn’t been the best year for head coaches, as Mike Singletary was replaced by Jim Harbaugh for the 49ers and Brad Childress was replaced by Leslie Frazier for the Vikings.

While the Minnesota Vikings aren’t quite posed for the Super Bowl yet, another gear has been set in place.  Mike Singletary lacked the decision-making skills on the offensive side of the ball, as he was contending with both Alex Smith and Troy Smith as the 49ers quarterback.  His gambling with the quarterbacks, as well as dealing with injuries to tight end Vernon Davis and running back Frank Gore, showed his lack of offensively-minded strategies.  Singletary could not make the necessary adjustments on offense to win games.

Now with the Vikings as linebackers coach/assistant head coach, he and Leslie Frazier will be capable of building a better defense overall.  However, Frazier has to deal with his quarterback situation in the off-season.  Both were teammates in the 1985 Chicago Bears team, and those Super Bowl Shuffle days aren’t gone quite yet. As long as Singletary concentrates on defense, the Leslie Frazier and the Minnesota Vikings should be able to concentrate on the offense.

Andrew Luck Stays at Stanford For Another Year: The Stanford Strategem, Part II

The Brain and the Brawn of Stanford Andrew Luck stays for one more year so he will be a senior, before entering the 2011 NFL Draft. Given the situation with the collective bargaining agreement in the NFL and whether it can be resolved in time before the 2011 Draft, it remains to be seen.  This may not be the most effective decision, but it was the most practical decision in the long term. This decision is coming from a Stanford student who should complete his architectural design degree by next season.  Very practical, but there is a bigger engine at work here perhaps.

Given that Jim Harbaugh has accepted the position as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, it would be given that Harbaugh still has plans for Andrew Luck, even as a senior.  Oliver Luck, his father and an athletic director at West Virginia, denied that the potential NFL lockout or being selected first by the Carolina Panthers did not influence his son’s decision, but I remain skeptical.

It’s an ultimate win-win decision made by Andrew Luck. First, it gives him to time to complete his education, which will be important after his NFL career comes to an end.  Second, it gives him time to consult with NFL quarterbacks, such as Indianapolis Colts Peyton Manning and the St. Louis Rams Sam Bradford.  He can get word on the drafts in 2011 and 2012 with their assistance.  Lastly, it gives him to consult with Jim Harbaugh and possibly connecting with the San Francisco 49ers in 2012 since most likely, Luck won’t remain first in the draft next season.  He should be able to remain competitive amongst the NCAA quarterbacks entering the draft still, and Harbaugh can trade, as necessary, as Luck’s standing comes into play in the draft. As I said in the previous article, Harbaugh will need a quarterback of his caliber in the stable, and with both Andrew Luck holding out for this year’s draft and the potential lockout occurring, it will give them both time to gameplan.  The only downsides of Luck’s plan are that he will be entering a potentially large pool in 2012, and his rookie wages may be cut.  Then again, most of the elite quarterbacks today weren’t originally selected first in the draft.

Jim Harbaugh Becomes Head Coach for the San Francisco 49ers: The Stanford Strategem, Part I

Coach Jim Harbaugh of Stanford University has selected to coach the San Francisco 49ers with a five-year, $25 million contract.  He was wooed by the Miami Dolphins, the Michigan Wolverines and talked with the Oakland Raiders.  But neither of these NCAA or NFL teams could appeal to him.  He made the decision to stay in California after Stanford’s win over Virginia Tech 40-12 with the assistance of premier NCAA quarterback Andrew Luck.  Harbaugh deemed the 49ers a “perfect competitive opportunity,” but he has his work cut out for him after Mike Singletary was released.  The 49ers underperformed this season with a 6-10 record, with the quarterback controversy and the underuse of their stars tight end Vernon Davis and running back Frank Gore.

However, in my opinion, Jim Harbaugh is calculating that a labor agreement won’t be made in March 2011. And with Andrew Luck staying for another year, it bides him time to still cater to Stanford and more importantly, to Andrew Luck.  And with Luck out of the draft this coming season, he may be gambling that Luck will be available next season as  a rookie for the 49ers.  With the talk with Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders, it may have been a move for potential trades in the upcoming season.  That would be a wise move, as Alex Smith will be in free agency next season.  All these options will require time to develop, and if the labor agreement fails, it will give him the time he needs to gameplan for the long-term.

Hopefully, 49ers owner Jed York won’t hold the high standards, similarly expected from Eric Mangini when he was the New York Jets.  Or when he was with the Cleveland Browns.  Jim Harbaugh made it clear that “losing is not an option.”  With the way the coaches were fired this season, it better not be.