Tag Archives: winner

The History Of The Super Bowl MVP Award

Since it inception in 1967 the Super Bowl has been the game of the year.  The game that has the world watching in anticipation of the crowning of a Champion.  People  also looking for exciting play and the player of the game.  Every Super Bowl ever played has had an Most Valuable Player (MVP) in fact in 1978 Super Bowl XII had two of them, Dallas Cowboys defensive end Harvey Martin and defensive tackle Randy White.  The MVP Award is the one constant and a distinction that could be a ticket into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.

The Super Bowl MVP Trophy (Getty Images)

The Super Bowl MVP Trophy (Getty Images)

When you look at the history of the Super Bowl MVP Award the numbers and details of those numbers create an interesting legacy.  Forty-eight Super Bowls have been played and forty-nine players have had the honor of being named MVP of the game.  Nineteen of those MVP’s are now enshrined at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH.  Nine different positions have won the award at least once with the quarterback position having the most with twenty-six.  Running backs (7) and wide receivers (6) fall second and third respectively on the list of positions to win the award.

Two time Super Bowl MVP Bart Starr (Getty Images)

Two time Super Bowl MVP Bart Starr (Getty Images)

The first ever MVP was Bart Starr who led the Green Bay Packers to victory in Super Bowl I in 1967.  He would also be the first player to win the MVP more than once when he was crowned after Super Bowl II.  Only five players have won the MVP Award more than once and they are all quarterbacks.  San Francisco 49er legend Joe Montana holds the record with three.  He is followed by Starr, Terry Bradshaw, Tom Brady and Eli Manning who have all been honored twice.

Typically the MVP goes to someone on the winning team.  However in 1971 linebacker Chuck Howley who was on the losing Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl V won the game’s big honor.  That is the first and only time that scenario has occurred.

The four of the last five MVP’s have been quarterbacks.  The most recent MVP was Seattle Seahawks Linebacker Malcolm Smith.  Who will be next? Only time will tell but we don’t have to wait much longer because we are less than four days from Super Bowl XLIX in Phoenix, Aruzona.  So be on the look out for the next big play because it could come from the next Super Bowl MVP.

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Michael Jordan: The Flu Game

In 1997 Michael Jordan had already amassed a career of incredible highlights and amazing records.  He had won 4 NBA titles, awarded as the NBA’s MVP 4 times and named the NBA Finals MVP 4 times.  His legacy was already set to be considered one of the greatest basketball players of all times.  Up to that point he had many memorable moments.  The most notable was the game against the Cavaliers in the NBA Playoffs were he made “The Shot” in 1989.  One of the last memorable moments and possibly the biggest of his career came in the 1997 NBA Finals.

On June 11, 1997 the Chicago Bulls took on the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City, Utah.  It was Game 5 of the NBA Finals and the series was tied at 2-2.  The day before the game Michael Jordan became severely ill.  Jordan had a fever and was not able to keep any food down.  He was found in the fetal position by his trainer and was very fatigued.  Many who were close to the situation believed there was no way he would play the next day.

Michael Jordan during "The Flu Game"  (Gety Images"

Michael Jordan during “The Flu Game” (Gety Images”

When the game started Michael Jordan was visibly weak and pale in color.  The Bulls fell to an early 16-point deficit in the second quarter and with Jordan not feeling well were in a hole.  At halftime the score was 53-49 in favor of the Jazz. The third quarter found Jordan on the bench trying to rest and looking in even worse shape than he had at the beginning of the game.  When the fourth quarter began Jordan was back in the game and scored 15 of the Bulls 23 points in the final quarter of the game. The most dramatic plays of the game came in the final minute.  Jordan was able to make a 3-pointer to give the Bulls a 88-85 lead with just 25 seconds remaining in the game.  The next play was a dunk by Greg Ostertag of the Jazz which took the Bulls lead to only one point.  The Bulls were able to raise the score again with a dunk by Luc Longley.  With just a few seconds remaining and the Jazz down by 3 points John Stockton was fouled and was now at the free throw line.  He needed to make both free throws for the Jazz to be able to stay in the game.  When he missed the first free throw the game was sealed.  The Bulls had over come this daunting game and won by a score of 90-88.  Michael Jordan then collapsed into Scottie Pippen’s arms, this image would forever be considered the trademark picture for this game.  Jordan finished the game with 39 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists.

Scottie Pippen holding a weak Michael Jordan in the final seconds of "The Flu Game"  (Getty Images)

Scottie Pippen holding a weak Michael Jordan in the final seconds of “The Flu Game” (Getty Images)

The Bulls would go on to win Game 6 and their 5th NBA Title. It has been reported in later years that he did not have the flu but instead had food poisoning.  Regardless of that fact this game was an incredible show of strength and determination for Michael Jordan.  Jordan will be remembered long after his days on this earth and this game will be considered one of his best for all future generations who will read about him.

The 1967 NFL Playoffs “The Ice Bowl And The First Real Post Season”

The National Football League’s 48th season began on September 17th, 1967.  It was the first season in the history of the NFL to have a playoff after the regular season had ended.  The previous 34 seasons had only included one post season game which was the championship game consisting of two teams with the best record (the NFL champion was the team with the best record during the first 12 seasons of the NFL). The NFL expanded to 16 teams with the newest being the New Orleans Saints.  This allowed for a post season that included a four team playoff for the championship.  The 1967 season paved the way for the current 12 team playoff structure.

The first game of the playoffs took place on December 23 and pitted the Los Angeles Rams against Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers.  The game was played at County Stadium in Milwaukee, WI.  The Rams drew first blood with the first touchdown of the game but would give up four consecutive touchdowns before the game was finished. The Packers would win by a score of 28-7.  With that win the Packers were on their way to the NFL Championship Game.

The second playoff game took place at the Cotton bowl in Dalls, TX on December 24th. The teams competing for a trip to the NFL Championship game were the Cleveland Browns and the Dallas Cowboys.  The Cowboys won the game in blowout fashion with the final score being 52-17.  With that win the Cowboys would advance to what would become one of the greatest games in NFL history.

The Packers Bart Starr's game winning QB sneak to win the "Ice Bowl" (Getty Images)

The Packers Bart Starr’s game winning QB sneak to win the “Ice Bowl” (Getty Images)

The NFL Championship Game was held at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, WI on December 31st.  The game was dubbed “The Ice Bowl” due to its game time temperature of -15 F, the wind chill was -48 F.  The Cowboys took on the Packers in this epic contest.  This game was a brutal and very close game that went into halftime with the Packers leading 14-10.  The Cowboys took the 17-14 lead with a 50-yard touchdown pass by running back Dan Reeves to wide receiver Lance Renzel in the 4th quarter.  But the biggest play of the game would be one of it last plays.  With just 4:50 remaining in the game the Packers quarterback Bart Starr led his team down the field, Starr would be the man that won the game for the Packers when he ran the ball into the end zone with just seconds remaining on the clock.  The final score was Packers 21 and the Cowboys 17.  To this day it is considered by many the greatest game and from what the players endured and the result on the field there is no arguing that.

The Packers would not only go down in history that year for winning the first ever NFL Playoffs but would also win another important game in their history.  Two weeks after the NFL Championship game the Packers played the American Football League Champions the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl II.  The Packers would be the victor in that contest as well and continued what is viewed now as a “Dynasty Team”.

The NFL took an important step in their history in 1967.  A step that has lead to some of the most iconic games in the sports history.  Who know the next great NFL Playoff game might be the next.

How Mike Ditka Stole Super Bowl Glory From Walter Payton

Walter Payton was one of the greatest running backs in the history of the National Football League.  He retired after the 1987 season with the Chicago Bears.  Payton finished his career with 110 rushing TD’s, 15 receiving TD’s and 16,726 rushing yards.  He was also on one of the best bears teams ever, the 1985 Chicago Bears.  The Bears won Super Bowl XX and cemented Payton’s place in the Hall Of Fame as a Super Bowl winner.  There however is one thing missing from his career.  Payton never scored during the only Super Bowl appearance and you might be suprised to find out it was no fault of his own.

Walter Payton in Superbowl XX. (Getty Images)

Walter Payton in Superbowl XX. (Getty Images)

When the season began Head Coach Mike Ditka was very high on his 1st draft pick William “the refrigerator” Perry.  Perry came into camp very unimpressive and was overweight at 380lbs.  The Defensive coach Buddy Ryan was not impressed by Perry and did not want to play him.  During the early part of the season Ditka got the idea to use Perry in offensive plays to block for Walter Payton.  Perry sometimes even rushed with the ball himself.  He was later put into the defense and played well.  During the season Perry became an offensive gimmick.  He was the funny fat guy that the fans cheered for.  Perry almost overshadowed the rest of the team in popularity.

William Perry (Getty Images)

William Perry (Getty Images)

The Bears made it through the season with a 15-1 record.  They plowed through the divisional and championship games to make it to Super Bowl XX in New Orleans.  Their challengers were the Cinderella team of that season,  the New England Patriots.  Nobody expected the Pats to make it as far as they did.  They were the underdogs going into the title game.  The Bears dominated the Pats on the defensive side of the ball.  The Offense of the Bears was stifled a bit, although the score tells a different story.  The Patriots based their defense around stopping Walter Payton.  They did just that, Payton was held to 66 yards on 22 carries.  Even with the lack of success Payton was still the Bears leading rusher in the game.

Mike Ditka made two decisions during that game that haunt him to this day.  On the two opportunities where the Bears were close to the goal line and a rush for the touchdown seemed the best choice, Ditka chose William Perry and Quarterback Jim McMahon to make those TD’s.  The most disappointing TD for Walter Payton was the Perry rush for the TD.  Perry had been primarily a defensive player and a gimmicky running back.  For Payton not to be allowed to gain the glory of scoring a TD in the biggest game of his career is a complete disgrace.

Mike Ditka after Superbowl XX. (Getty Images)

Mike Ditka after Superbowl XX. (Getty Images)

Walter Payton was always a stand up man and until the day he died he never openly questioned Mike Ditka for not letting him run in a TD in the Super Bowl.  Ditka has come out in recent years an said if he could do it all over again he would have opted for Payton to get the Super Bowl glory.  While Ditka can own up to his mistakes he will never be able to give those moments to the great Walter Payton.

Two Wild Card Teams, Too Many!

This past off season Major League baseball did something they had not done since 1994. It changed it’s playoff structure by adding a new element.

Prior to 1995 there were just four teams involved in the post season. There was an Eastern and Western Champion in Both leagues who would play each other for the League Championship. Those two winners would go into the World Series and face off against the opposing leagues Champion. This had been the case since 1969.

The new system was enacted in 1994 but due to the strike shortened season it debuted in 1995.  The system worked with each league having three divisions.  Each division winner would go to the playoffs and the team with the best record that did not win a division would also go to the post season.  There have been five wild card teams that have won a World Series since MLB instituted the wild card.

In November the commissioner of MLB, Bud Selig announced that their would be a second wild card team for each league.  The two wild card teams would play each other in a one game playoff.  The winner will advance to the divisional round of the playoffs and face one of the divisional champions.  All that was added was basically one more game to each leagues playoff.  We will see the first wild card playoff game in less than two weeks from now.

The new system obviously adds something to the final month of the season.  More teams will be in the hunt for the post season with the additional wild card.  Those teams games will also be more exciting down the stretch when MLB can be boring at times.  It will also create a new buzz in the playoffs.  However there is a draw back.

The two wild card teams might actually be pretty far apart records wise.  The second wild card team will be given an opportunity for the playoffs they may not deserve. As of right now you have two teams at the top of the National League wild card race.  The Atlanta Braves and the St. Louis Cardinals.  The braves lead the Cardinals by 6 games.  If the playoffs were to start today the Cardinals would get a one game playoff opportunity with the Braves they should not have.

This new system seems nice right now but over time it will dilute the MLB post season.  One wild card team per league is just enough.  If you have too many non playoff worthy teams getting a shot in the playoffs it will spell disaster for MLB.  This is just another scheme by Selig to make more money off of the last month of the season and add more money to the post season television deals.  MLB should go back to the four team per league system before the post season become watered down.  As the old adage goes if it is not broke don’t fix it.

“Sunday Ready” Robert Griffin III Makes A Succesful Debut

It used to be that a new NFL quarterback had time to develop and flourish over multiple season, not anymore.  There are many teams each year that need solutions for their QB position woes.  They want it fast and the best way to go now is with a top ten QB, rather than the veteran back up or fallen starting QB.  It is easier to go with a new QB and take a chance at their future.  The old system of getting a veteran QB is going away because teams just don’t want to be stagnate anymore.  Players like Cam Newton have done great things to changes the way teams look at top pick QB’s.

RG3 celebrates his 88-yard TD pass.
(Getty Images)

 

In April the Washington Redskins went in the direction that most teams are going.  That direction is with a top pick QB to be the future of their franchise.  With the second pick in the first round of the NFL Draft the Redskins selected Robert Griffin III (RG3).  RG3 had an incredible final season at Baylor in 2011 and won the Heisman Trophy.  RG3 has drawn many comparisons to Cam Newton, in terms of both athleticism and potential.

On Sunday RG3 made his highly anticipated regular season debut.  He led his Redskins into New Orleans to face the Saints and one of the best QB’s in the league Drew Brees.  Griffin got off to a great start completing his first 7 passes for 123 yards.  One of those passes was an amazing 88 yard pass to Wide Receiver Pierre Garcon.  Garcon was able to make it into the end zone for Griffin’s 1st NFL touchdown pass, which came in the 1st quarter.  Griffin’s 2nd touchdown pass came in the second quarter, a 5 yard toss to Aldrick Robinson.  Going into half time the Redskins were beating the Saints by a score of 20-14.

In the second half of the game Griffin led the Redskins down the field in position for 3 made field goal attempts.  The Saints tried to comeback in the second half but with a just a field goal, two touchdown passes and a 2 point conversion it was just not enough.  The Redskins won the game by a score of 40-32.

Griffin had an outstanding debut with 320 yards passing, 42 yards rushing, 2 touchdown passes and no interceptions.  The Redskins might just be back in a big way.  Griffin met all the expectations of the Redskin fans and his team, can he keep it up?  That will be the fun thing to watch for this season.