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Saturday, January 31: Bruce Smith, Hall of Fame Redskin?

Posted by Matt Terl on January 31, 2009 – 5:31 pm

Bruce Smith, NFL career sacks leader, was one of six players announced today as a 2009 inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Smith spent the vast majority of his nineteen year career with the Buffalo Bills, including all eleven of his Pro Bowl seasons, but he did finish up with four years as a Redskin, and it was during those four years that he took over as all-time sack leader.

In fact, I was surprised when I looked over Smith’s Redskins statistics. I remember him largely as a non-factor with the team, but he actually recorded 29 sacks here over his four years. Not the type of numbers that got him into the Hall, but also not Willie Mays stumbling around the outfield as a New York Met either.

So the question is this: obviously — and correctly — Smith is primarily thought of as a Buffalo Bill. But do you consider him a Washington Redskin as well?

Owner Daniel M. Snyder certainly seems to. Here’s the text of his statement after the announcement: Read more »

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Some Super Bowl Weekend Links

Posted by Matt Terl on January 30, 2009 – 4:19 pm

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Jason Taylor, Robe Model

Posted by Matt Terl on January 30, 2009 – 11:22 am

Jason Taylor’s many talents are common knowledge by now. Aside from being in the top twenty all-time in sacks, and aside from his experience on Dancing With The Stars, he’s also a Neutrogena spokesman, a magazine cover guy, a bit player in Jackass 2, and a calendar model.

In addition to those many talents — and, it should be noted, in addition to his charity work — he has also found the time to model the much-admired SportRobe.

Sure, it’s a strange number 99, not the Redskins 55 for which he’s so well known, but that’s very definitely an official Jason Taylor SportRobe. (Also, I hate the Dolphins’ aqua and orange color scheme as much today as I did 26 years ago during Super Bowl XVII.) I wonder if Taylor used these as cover-ups between shoots for that calendar.

If you’re interested, someone called “Redskins Fan Eric” models the Art Monk SportRobe after the jump.

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Friday, January 30: Today, 26 Years Ago

Posted by Matt Terl on January 30, 2009 – 10:23 am

26 years ago today at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, the Washington Redskins defeated the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl XVII. Many of today’s most passionate Redskins fans weren’t even born yet, but those who were probably remember where they watched the game, who they were with, what they were wearing, what food was served, and everything else.

What they might not remember, unless they were there, is that the temperature at kickoff was 61 degrees, and the wind was slight from the north. That Don Orr was the field judge, and that the attendance was 103,667.

I don’t remember those things either (although I do know from watching the highlights that the weather was good that day), but I know them because I just found in the files here at Redskins Park the detailed game summary produced by the teams’ stats crew.

These are still generated today, with updates handed out in the press box after each quarter and a complete booklet photocopied and distributed after the game, but they look a little slicker now.

Here are two pages of the game book from the preseason Hall of Fame game in Canton, just as an example. Read more »

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Some Redskins Thoughts on Super Ads

Posted by Matt Terl on January 29, 2009 – 4:59 pm

ALL of these commercials are vastly superior to Mean Joe, though. I don’t care what any of these people — OR any top ten lists — say.

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Thursday, January 29: Confirming What You Might Suspect

Posted by Matt Terl on January 29, 2009 – 1:02 pm

So there’s a sense of general agreement that the Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald is just about the best wide receiver in football right now, and that he and Anquan Boldin form the best receiving tandem in the league. Andrew Perloff of SI.com makes an important observation, though: neither of them is particularly fast.

If anyone still thinks the 40-yard dash is a crucial measurement of how a player will fare in the NFL, just watch the Cardinals receivers play on Sunday. Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin are among the top 10 wideouts in the league even though they couldn’t run a 4.5 coming out of college.

Like anything else that can be measured in numbers at the combine, the 40 is meaningless. Receivers have to do so much more than run a straight line.

“Meaningless” is probably a bit much, though. If you look at the top 40-yard dash times for the wide receivers in last year’s combine, you’ll see Eagles rookie star DeSean Jackson right there at the top, and Broncos breakout success Eddie Royal not too far below. So that’s two of the top rookie wideouts toward the top of the 40 times, more correlation than exists with the top performers in any of the other workouts. Read more »

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The Real MVP of Super Bowl XXII?

Posted by Matt Terl on January 28, 2009 – 4:51 pm

The MVP of Super Bowl XXII was Doug Williams, of course — and rightly so. All he did was shake off an injury (and a day-before-the-game root canal), put behind him an entire week’s worth of stupid questions about being the first black quarterback to start a Super Bowl, and lead his offense to one of the single greatest quarters of football ever played.

Here’s his statline for that quarter, just in case you’ve forgotten: 9 of 11 for 228 yards and FOUR touchdowns. In one quarter. So, yeah, he justifiably was the MVP.

But the SI.com article I linked to in the last post contained an interesting anecdote that deserves spotlighting. Apparently Nils Lofgren, guitarist for Bruce Springsteen’s E-Street Band, tells a story that argues suggesting that maybe Springsteen himself should’ve been the Redskins MVP:

Nils Lofgren has a rarity. He has a Bruce Springsteen football story. As Liz rightly points out, Springsteen is not a football fan. Baseball is his thing, even if he made that regrettable “speedball” word choice in his song Glory Days. Lofgren, though, remembers watching Super Bowl XXII with Bruce. They were at some party, Lofgren doesn’t even remember who hosted it. What he does remember is that it was Washington playing Denver, and everyone in the room except Nils was rooting for the Broncos. Nils grew up in Washington, and he remains a fanatical Redskins fan. He’s such a big football fan that, for years, he played the music for John Madden’s All-Madden Team show.

Well, you might remember, Denver led that Super Bowl 10-0 after the first quarter. Everyone was ripping Lofgren. They were all trying to get him to make bets. And then, all of a sudden, Bruce spoke up.

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The Debate on Super Bowl Halftime Shows

Posted by Matt Terl on January 28, 2009 – 3:38 pm

I walked into a bit of an argument today — or maybe heated conversation would be more accurate. Essentially, Kedric Golston and Lorenzo Alexander maintain that Mary J. Blige is just as well known as Bruce Springsteen. Not as popular, exactly, nor as successful, but possessing just as much name recognition. On the other side — the “Bruce Springsteen has sold over fifteen million records” side — were physical therapist Elliott Jermyn and Alex Buzbee.

What prompted the entire discussion was, of course, the fact that Bruce Springsteen is the scheduled Super Bowl halftime show. This fact has caused no end of discomfort for Springsteen’s fans, and I’m less than thrilled with the selection myself, although for completely different reasons.

Following on the heels of Tom Petty at last year’s game, this seems like an awful lot of Old White Guy classic rock two years in a row. On the other hand, I’m not sure that Mary J. Blige (or someone else of her stature) is going to keep people glued to their TVs.

Over at Shutdown Corner, Chris Chase counts down his top five all-time memorable Super Bowl halftime shows, and does a solid job of it. One of the ones he misses, though, seems to me to be the best model to follow: the Aerosmith/*NSync/Britney Spears/Mary J. Blige/Nelly performance from Super Bowl XXXV.

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Tecmo Bowl Disagrees With Madden

Posted by Matt Terl on January 28, 2009 – 2:32 pm

Well, if I’m going to point out the Madden preview of the Super Bowl, I should also give equal time to Jon Bois’s Tecmo Super Bowl version over at Mouthpiece Sports. This version of Video Super Bowl XLIII has the same final scores, but assigned to the opposite teams — that is, Arizona wins 28-24.

There’s no Play of the Game for this one (although Terelle Smith’s early recovery and return for a touchdown of a fumbled punt return would have to be a candidate), and there are no detailed statistics or faux-authentic game write-up. What there is instead is a fourteen minute video with a really good soundtrack.

At this rate, I’m going to be completely tired of watching these teams go head to head long before kickoff on Sunday.

http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docid=-8933620074797503630&hl=en&fs=true Read more »

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Steelers Win Video Super Bowl XLIII

Posted by Matt Terl on January 28, 2009 – 12:02 pm

Well, EA Sports has done their traditional annual Super Bowl preview simulation, and the Video Steelers win by the surprisingly close score of 28-24. Video Ben Roethlisberger gets the MVP award, but it certainly sounds like he stole it from Video Santonio Holmes.

In the third quarter, the Cardinals managed to close the gap to 21-14 and looked to have momentum swinging their direction. But when Holmes shook double coverage to catch a 17-yard touchdown over the middle of the field, he gave the Steelers a lead that would not be broken.

Holmes ended the play with an emphatic spike in the back of the end zone as he realized he was about to become immortalized as a Super Bowl legend.

I have one question about the whole thing, though — and it’s not how they know what Video Santonio is thinking during his end zone celebration: why is there no flash movie of the matchup online? Not the whole game, necessarily — even I couldn’t bring myself to watch that, I don’t think — but if you’re going to the trouble to provide statistics, a Play of the Game, and a 250 word game story, why not toss up a highlight reel as well? Am I really the only person who would be amused by that?

(UPDATE: Video after the jump; hat tip to The Sporting Blog.) Read more »

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