Ah, yes, the Super Bowl is here. Commercials, an insane halftime show that will hopefully be better than the yawn-inducing Coldplay performance from last year, and everyone outside of the BAWSTAHN area hoping that the Falcons can defeat the Patriots.
Also, there’s no more football for 6 months after Sunday. I’m not sure how I feel about that. Fortunately, there should be plenty of NFL stories to keep us all entertained until the addiction twitches subside and Professional Football Games are back on our televisions. To wit:
WHAT’S GOING ON IN ‘FRISCO? The 49ers have all but hired Kyle Shanahan to be their new head coach, which is in my opinion a good decision. He has had offensive success wherever he’s gone, and has coordinated an MVP season for Matt Ryan and a prolific offense in Atlanta. Hopefully, the dude gets to add “Super Bowl Champion” to his resume before he even goes anywhere. That is pretty cool.
But, the Niners have hired John Lynch to be their new General Manager. He has no ties to the franchise, and also has not previously served in any capacity in an NFL front office or scouting department. He has spent the last several years working on Fox NFL games as a color commentator.
The last time someone hired a GM with that resume, the Detroit Lions gave Matt Millen their GM job. While the dude did draft Matt Stafford and Megatron himself, Calvin Johnson, his tenure in Detroit is seen by a great many as a giant disaster, one that the Lions have spent several years trying to recover from.
I just think this is the latest in a long line of stupid decisions by the 49ers. They are on their fourth head coach in four years. They owe a ton of money to Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly. They shouldn’t have let Jim Harbaugh go anywhere, because the man has quickly turned Michigan back into a powerhouse (he, in my opinion, will be there for the rest of his career). The owner is a young guy playing with his parents’ money and he is clearly making boneheaded decisions.
This is a decision that is worse than the Cleveland Browns hiring a baseball sabermetrics guy and a lawyer to run their front office. This decision may be worse than the Lions hiring Matt Millen, or the Jaguars sticking with Gene “Small Schools are Best Schools” Smith. And the Niners are locked into six-year deals with both Lynch and Shanahan.
More power to them if it works out, I guess. With free agency and the draft in the coming months, we will see what happens. That is the first indicator of how things will go for this new regime out in San Francisco.
EXTEND CHUCK PAGANO. Chuck Pagano is a good coach that has been hampered by a bad General Manager for many years. Andrew Luck and TY Hilton were obvious picks but Ryan Grigson was unable to draft an offensive line to save his life. With the talent that was there before he got there, Pagano led the Colts to a couple of deep playoff appearances including a memorable game against Kansas City. I think he deserves a chance to work with the talent that the new GM will bring on.
None of the players who voiced their negative feelings about Grigson said anything about Pagano. It seems like Grigson was most of the problem. Now, if the Colts can fix their offensive line and add some pieces on defense, they should be able to find some success next season. It would be great if the AFC South were an actual race instead of some 16-game-long version of The Biggest Loser.
PUT BOSELLI IN THE HALL. It is pretty exciting to have a former player of the Jaguars so close to being inducted into the Hall of Fame. On Saturday evening, the finalists for the 2017 Hall will be announced. I believe that there is a significant possibility Tony Boselli will be one of those people, and that he deserves to be in it.
His career was cut short by injuries – Tom Coughlin didn’t protect him in the Texans expansion draft for this reason. He knew that Boselli was near the end of his career and injuries were taking a toll on his body. However, now, Coughlin says that Boselli is one of the best players he ever coached.
There are other people that played more than Boselli did, but Boselli gave up fewer sacks. He was selected to the Pro Bowl five years in a row. He went up against Bruce Smith and Derrick Thomas, both HOF defensive ends, and basically neutralized them. And the top offensive tackles of his era along with him (Orlando Pace, Walter Jones, Jonathan Ogden, and Willie Roof) are already in the hall.
I don’t have a say in the matter but I think it’s time. I hope he gets in.
THE AARON IT OUT HONORS
Saturday, the NFL will give out its yearly awards – MVP, Coach of the Year, and so forth. Here are three selections from me. I hope you agree, but you certainly don’t have to.
MVP – This should undoubtedly go to Matt Ryan, quarterback of the Falcons. The man has led the number one offense in the NFL this year. The only other candidate I can think of is Tom Brady, but the Pats were 3-1 without him. Give it to Ryan.
COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR – I believe that this should go to Le’Veon Bell, running back for the Steelers. He missed half of 2015 with knee ligament injuries and the other half with a substance abuse suspension. He then rose above it all, proving to himself, his teammates, and his coaches that he could be a contributor to the team. The Steelers do not take disciplinary problems lightly, and could have cut ties with him, but they gave him a chance, and he served as a critical piece of Pittsburgh’s offense this year.
COACH OF THE YEAR – I honestly believe that this should go to Head Coach Dan Quinn of the Atlanta Falcons. He led the team through a rocky midpoint of the season, and has all his players confident, ready to play, and ready to contribute. Although Julio Jones is an amazing player, there is not one piece of the team that they heavily rely on. Everyone can contribute, and it shows in the various ways that the Falcons have won games this year.
JAGUARS UPDATE – The Jags have filled out their coaching staff, and it is looking good. An intriguing hire is Scott Milanovich, a former CFL head coach who has come down to be the quarterbacks coach. I hope he can help with Bortles. And I love the hiring of Keenan McCardell as the wide receivers coach – I think he will do great in that role. Bring on free agency!
A COUPLE OF PROGRAMMING NOTES. Next week will bring my last “scheduled” weekly article for a while, since the season will be over. I say that because I will not try to write an article each week, but more likely either a short article on a subject sporadically, or an article congregating my opinion on several news stories every 7 or 10 days. We will see what happens. There will be plenty of news to come with the draft and free agency around the corner, so you can certainly expect AIO to continue through the spring and summer. I’m also working on a new article series that is coming soon. Thanks for reading and your support, and I’m so glad to be here for the long haul.
THE SUPER BOWL PICK
After the fireworks, the flyover, and Luke Bryan singing, there will be an NFL game that will have commercials and movie trailers spaced in-between plays, and also a weird lady singing things at halftime. In that NFL game, I expect that the Falcons will be able to out-perform the Patriots on offense. New England’s DC Matt Patricia is a good coordinator and Belichick is a solid game-planner, but there are too many pieces on that offense that are just plain good. Take away Julio, then Sanu will catch the ball. Stop the run, the Falcons can move the chains through the air. And I think the Falcons’ defense is more dominant than the Patriots’. We won’t know for sure until the game is over and we’re all regretting staying up that late on Sunday evening, but I think the Falcons have a solid and realistic chance of winning.
FALCONS 31 PATRIOTS 24