SUPER BOWL SUNDAY - 2022
NFL 2022 – TALLY SHEET
CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP WEEKEND = 1 – 1
WEEKLY OVERALL = 140 – 136 - 7
0/U = 1 – 1 O/U CUMULATIVE 66 – 64 – 1 = .508
SPECIALS 2 – 1 SPECIALS CUMULATIVE 45 – 36 – 1 = .555
GAME OF THE WEEK 11 – 9* LOCK OF THE WEEK 8 – 12 – 1
UPSET SPECIAL 15 – 5 O/U OF THE WEEK 11 - 10
PREMIUM PICKS CUMULATIVE 111 – 100 – 2 .526
I AIN’T SAYIN’…I’M JUST SAYIN…
Before we get into the game itself, there are a couple of things The Gairzo has to get off his chest before his head explodes…
Notes to Steeler Fans
I’ve lived in Denver, Texas, the Deep South, and the West Coast and have been a student of the game since I can remember remembering.
Steelers fans used to be the smartest fans in the league, and I’m not just saying that because I’m a diehard Pittsburgher.
When the Rooney’s hired Mike Tomlin, too many in Steeler Nation showed their true colors, or should I say “color”—as in various shades of White, (eyeholes included)....
Before the endless defensive posts denying any bias or racism flood my Face Book page, let’s keep it real about Mike Tomlin: Coach Tomlin has his warts,, making him worthy of pointed criticism:
· He doesn’t admit obvious blunders—many fewer than most fans think—regarding game management…
· In fact, Coach has trouble thinking he’s wrong in most aspects of the game…
· To many fans, Coach Tomlin is not consistent when it comes to disciplining players who clearly push the envelope of what is reasonable behavior—i.e Antonio Brown…
· He is too friendly with his players…
· He has made too many errors in the draft room…His picks are ranked a very average 16th since 2012 using ESPN’s analysis, found here:
My purpose here is not to defend The 15 –year Steelers coach, but to ascertain whether certain repeated raps on him are justified. Obviously, I think there are questionable motives for many of the harshest Tomlin complaints, and I can prove much of the vitriol is based on contrived myths about Tomlin.
Lombardi, Shula, Noll, The Cheater…How often have any of those legends admitted to a mistake? Noll disdained the media, as did Tom Landry. Inflated egos are part of a successful coach’s DNA. Instead of admitting he cheated, Bill Belichick wants us to believe he misinterpreted the rules regarding filming opponent’s signals.
But wait—isn’t he supposed to be a genius?
The game management issues—challenges, two-minute clock management--many Steelers fans bitch about are way over-blown. The 14 games where the clock management is, to omniscient fans, “correct,” dwarf the one or two games after which fans gleefully pounce on Tomlin’s perceived incompetence or stupidity. Truth is, reasonable minds can disagree on whether or not it is wiser to have 1:47 on the clock and 0-1 TO or 1:04 left with 1-2 TOs.
Fans forget—according to local beat writers—many challenges are initiated from the booth; the Coach is probably given a percentage of how likely the call is incorrect. Game circumstances usually dictate Tomlin’s, or any coach’s decision to drop the Red Flag.
DISCIPLINE? WE DON’T NEED NO STINKIN’ DISCIPLINE…
Look around the league; on every team there are 5-10 players who make more money than their coach. If any Steeler fan believes AB’s perks were not expressly approved by Art Deuce, then they haven’t been paying attention. What’s more, any coach would give a HOF caliber player like AB at least the length of rope Tomlin allowed before letting him go. Do you actually believe any coach would bench such an elite player for a playoff game?
Let’s briefly discuss more Tomlin myths know it all fanatics create:
COACH CLICHE’…Say all you want about Tomlin—he’s never uttered a cliché’ he didn’t create…Give him some respect for command of the language!
LOSES TOO MANY GAMES TO TEAMS HE SHOULD BEAT…I love this one and debunked it as bullshit in several columns since 2017.
Allow me to continue the tradition:
In 2014, Behind the Steel Curtain examined Tomlin’s record against teams who finished the season 4-12 or worse. Using BTSC’s criteria I extrapolated the analysis to 2020 and found Tomlin had lost a grand total of 8 games to such teams…Oh, and, at least half of those losses occurred from 2012 to 2014 when the Steelers sucked themselves!!!
TOMLIN HAS THE DEER IN THE HEADLIGHTS LOOK…Not used as much in the last few years—I’ll leave it to the readers to determine what it implies.
TOO MUCH OF A PLAYERS COACH…The exact words to describe Lovie Smith, Tony Dungy, Jim Caldwell—more accurately, the comment means a Black players’ head coach.
TOMLIN HAS DRAFTED POORLY...Depending upon the criteria used, and the years/ time frame examined, Pittsburgh’s drafting ranks from the Top Five to the Top Ten—and, more recently, lower. According to the above ESPN post, in the last 10 years they are average at best…
THE STEELER WAY…
However, every reporter commenting on Tomlin’s contribution, analyzes the Steelers draft choices as “consensus” picks. Rooney, the GM and Tomlin rely on scouts and personnel people; beat writers often report that if Tomlin wants a certain player, he will get who he wants if the ranking/profile are within reason. The Steeler Way gives the head coach priority input—but nowhere near exclusive or final “say.”.
I’ll leave you with one stat from the ESPN site posted above in which the Steelers are ranked 16th—meaning painfully average or mediocre—in drafting using the following criteria:
Career Approximate Value Over Expected (CAVOE) of draft picks, 2012-2021: -9.2 16th
It only gets worse from there:
CAVOE from Day 3 draft picks (Rounds 4-7): -11.5, 25th
Then there is this little nugget:
Record from 2012-2021: 99-60-2, fifth
If that doesn’t tell every Steeler fan that Mike Tomlin, in the previous decade as head coach, has done dramatically better—5th best of 32 teams—with significantly less talent, then they are blatantly biased…
THROUGH A DIFFERENT LENS…
Inverse draft order...Trade deadline...Inverse waiver wire...Hard Salary cap and floor...Protecting QBs at all cost....Rules favoring offense & scoring....Limited full contact practice in season...Rotating bye week schedule...Iminent 18 game season ..
All of the above, to different degrees are elements--negotiated by NFLPA and owners--specifically designed to create a league with 32 8-8 teams.
Any fan, of any fan base --or any supposedly seasoned sportswriter, who does not see and acknowledge that fact, is delusional.
Don't believe me? Consider:
· Five of the six Wildcard games were won by very young QBS playing in their first contracts.
· Prescott signed his second contract in 2021, @ 126K guaranteed. In 2022, he beat grandpa Tommy, LJ, Justin Herbert and Tua--still under rookie contracts—and lost post-season to a very young 1st contract QB, as did Cousins and Geno Smith.
· The two teams with bye weeks also feature--wait for it--two QBs under rookie contracts.
· New England--never forget they are three-time documented cheaters,--AND Brady, for much of his career, took less than market value so the Cheater-in-Chief could retain quality players.
Compared to his peers, who don't cheat, Mike Tomlin is worth every dime ARJ is paying him. Tomlin has won more games against teams he shouldn’t beat than any coach in the league.
No other coach has taken taken more teams to the post season or its brink, who had no business being there.
WHAT IS THE NFL WAITING FOR?
Why does the NFL insist on the Kooky Kabuki of coach challenges?
Over the past few seasons we have seen more and more situations involving a call being overturned without a red flag being thrown—sometimes outside the final two minutes of a half or a game.
We have the technology. We have the need.
The NFL replay policy should be very simple:
The Designated Booth Referee(s), shall examine each play, play call, and/or subsequent actions pre or post play, and/or any in-game situation—and only via clear, obvious, and incontrovertible visual evidence, correct, adjust, or alter any call necessary. If such examination cannot be completed within the 40 seconds between plays, head coaches from either team may call time out. If the call is made in their favor, no time out will be charged.
Okay, it will take significant tweaking but the goal is to catch the “first punch thrown,” or the obvious DPI or hold or any other inarguable occurrence or infraction.
ANOTHER THOUGHT ON THE CHEATERS
The post-retirement glorification of Tom Brady is nauseating. The failure of the media to hold him and his scoundrel of a coach accountable for their cheating is a slap in the face to the NFL’s 31 other franchises
Any article about Tom Brady's dominance over any team that doesn't include several paragraphs noting he and Belichick are three time documented Cheaters does a disservice to reality...
AND YOU CALL YOURSELF A WRITER!
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Steelers beat scribe, Gerry Dulac dismissed a comment in his chat room regarding Belichick’s infamy, by positing that the benefits of such Cheating were "overrated."
...Having knowledge of an opponent’s defensive signals is not an undeniable competitive advantage?
Here’s a refresher:
From that site: "...the NFL revealed handwritten diagrams of Steelers defensive signals at New England headquarters, which according to ESPN included notes used in the 2001 AFC championship game, won by the Patriots, 24-17..."
If you want a quick refresher:
This is not just sour puke from a die-hard Steelers fan. I respect the game a hell of a lot mor than the New England brain trust The Belichick and Brady as GOATs BS is hackneyed tripe from lazy sportswriters who want to deny truth—and thereby maintain or expand access to the teams they cover.
Tom Brady, Lance Armstrong, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, etc. etc. etc… They are lucky to live in a society that bestows its highest status upon athletes—even the ones who dishonor the spirit of competition by Cheating to gain a competitive advantage.
I’m sick of it. We should all be sick of it.
OH YEAH, THE SUPER BOWL
Google the Super Bowl and you can get all the stats, trends, matchup info you need to make a well-informed bet.
Here’s the most important info to me—italicized stats and trends indicate a significant advantage:
· Points per Game… Both teams score 28.7/Game
KC allows 2.7 more PPG than the Eagles…
· Yards per Play Differential …The Chiefs gain .5 YPP more than the Eagles…Philadelphia allows .4 YPP less than KC…
· 3rd Down Conversion % KC ranks 2nd….Philly 4th…
· 3rd Down Conversion % Allowed KC = 39.76….Philly 38.11…
· The Eagles are superior on the ground…153 YPG, 4.6 YPR as opposed to 113.5 YPG and 4.6 YPR for the Chiefs..
· KC is better throwing the ball. #1 in YPG & YPP vs. 12th YPG and #3 in YPP for the Birds…
· Philly’s Sack Percentage is off the charts at 11.49%...The Chiefs were a respectable 5th at 8.15%...
· However, in percentage, Kansas City gave up the 2nd fewest sacks in the league—the Eagles were 21st…
· Philly takes the ball away significantly more, Gives it away significantly less and ranked 2nd in Turnover Margin to KC’s 13…
· Mahomes and Hurts ranked 6th and 7th respectfully in INT Percentage…
The Eagles run a “Quarters” defense which depending on team terminology, usually means they rush four and have four deep DBs
From Pro Football Focus:
“The cornerbacks can essentially play man-to-man on anything vertical outside the numbers while the safeties are free to jump deep crossers and routes up the seam…
So, what does this have to do with Mahomes? Quarters coverage has, at times, been his kryptonite. His 2021 results against it bear that out.
Mahomes' passing grade against Quarters in 2021 was just 60.8, the fourth-worst mark in the NFL among 34 quarterbacks who faced it at least 30 times.
His 2022 results tell a different story. This season, Mahomes carries an 80.3 passing grade against Quarters, fifth best in the NFL. The departure of speedster Tyreek Hill led to an adjustment period with the offense being less vertically oriented. The first five weeks of 2021 looked a lot like last season. But since Week 6, Mahomes carries an 84.9 passing grade against Quarters, second best in the NFL.
The above analysis is compelling.
No way the KC O-Line—even if they are considered one of the NFL’s premiere units--can completely negate a Philadelphia Defensive front that sacked QBs 70 times in 2022.
Andy Reid has had two weeks to prepare Mahomes to attack a defense the QB has very recently figured out. Mahomes is going to sprinkle in runs by McKinnon and Pachecko, and throw six-yard tosses to his receivers. KC will engineer several long drives, keep the Eagles offense on the sideline and control the game.
Even if Philadelphia matches touchdowns and keeps the game close, the Arrowheads have two factors exclusively in their favor—they are a team that has traveled this path twice before.
The Chiefs know what it takes to win—and lose—a Super Bowl.
Nick Sirianni’s Eagles are home grown and young; give Sirianni all due respect for a great year. At first glance their 7-1 record versus playoff teams is impressive, but it includes three cruise-control victories against the over-achieving G-Men, wins against the upstart Jaguars, Kirk Cousins’ Vikings, and last week’s rout against the QB crippled Niners in the NFCCG. Clearly, the best team they faced all year was the typically overrated Cowboys—who put a 40 bacon-burger on Sirriani’s vaunted “D” in Week 16.
The Chief’s 9-2 record against play-off teams includes nail biter losses to Cincy, and Buffalo, routs of Seattle, Brady’s Bucs and San Fran, two close wins against the plucky Bolts, and two victories against the Jags—culminating in another close AFCCG win against the Bengals.
The Chiefs have been through a tougher gauntlet.
We’ll take KC the 1.5 chalk and call the Over.
MVP PICK – Kansas City DT, Chris Jones