Taking It to the House NFL Podcast – WCHE Interview 020711

In his weekly interview on the “Matt Lombardo Show” (1520 WCHE – West Chester, PA), NFL Insider Lloyd Vance breaks-down Super Bowl XLV

The 2010-11 NFL season was completed with a thrilling game in Super Bowl XLV as the Green Bay Packers (14-6) defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers (14-5) by a score of 31-25 in Arlington, Texas. The Packers win brought an NFL-record 13tth Championship to “Title Town”. 

NFL Insider Lloyd Vance makes his weekly appearance on the “Matt Lombardo Show” on 1520 WCHE – West Chester, PA including breaking down this year’s Super Bowl.

Advertisements

Green Bay Packers Win Super Bowl XLV

The 2010 NFL Season culminated with the Green Bay Packers returning the Lombardi Trophy back to Title Town after winning Super Bowl XLV

The 2010-11 NFL season was completed with a thrilling game in Super Bowl XLV as the Green Bay Packers (14-6) defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers (14-5) by a score of 31-25 in Arlington, Texas. The Packers win brought an NFL-record 13tth Championship to “Title Town”.  As the league’s smallest market team won their first championship in 14 years.  The Packers joined the 2005 Steelers as the only No. 6 seeds to win a Super Bowl and Mike McCarthy’s team also became the sixth Wild Card team to win a Super Bowl.  Plus the third team to do so after winning three road playoff games.

“The Dynasty Bowl”, as some had themed this game, started out looking like a “stinker” as the Packers built an early 21-3 halftime lead but the Steelers fought back to make it a game in a match-up two of the NFL’s most-storied franchises.  The whole thing was not over until Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s fourth-down throw over the middle to Mike Wallace fell incomplete with just under a minute to play.  After two victory-formation kneel-downs, the Packers, the NFL’s second oldest franchise, improved their league-best postseason record of 29-16 in 45 games.  As new legends Aaron Rodgers, Charles Woodson, and Clay Matthews will now walk with past Hall of Famers Vince Lombardi, Bart Starr, Paul Hornung, Reggie White and Willie Davis in brought another title to the “Frozen Tundra” playing surface at historic Lambeau Field.

With the threat of potential CBA-Armadegon and “No Football” after March 4th looming, you could sense that the NFL Universe wanted to see a great game and a high-level quarterback performance.  And Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers didn’t disappoint.  The game’s MVP brought the Lombardi Trophy back to it’s original stomping grounds as he completed 24 of 39 passes for 304 yards and three touchdowns with most importantly no interceptions for first NFL title since some guy named, Brett Favre, led the Packers to a championship in Super Bowl XXXI (January 26, 1997).

Conversely, Roethlisberger never really got it going as he lost his first Super Bowl in three tries.  Like any playoff game, the Super Bowl was won by Green Bay due to are usual keys — Strong Quarterback Play (i.e. Taking Care of the Football), Good Attacking Defense, a Balanced Offensive Attack based first in the Run, Sound Special Teams Play, and Limiting Penalties.  Of that list “turnovers” loomed most large in Super Bowl XLV.  Roethlisberger threw two costly interceptions that the Packers turned into 14 points and Pittsburgh continued their turnover misery with running back Rashard Mendenhall’s very costly fumble that led to 7 more points off turnovers for Green Bay.

Definitely congratulations are in order to the entire Packers’ organization including their players, coaches, front office, and staff.  Special kudos must also go to the architects of this team, head coach Mike McCarthy, GM Ted Thompson, and Personnel Head Mark Murphy.  Your team did the NFL proud by winning with persistence, grit, determination and a little magic.

Rodgers said after the game, “This a great group of men we’ve put together here.  Lot of character, been through a lot together. It’s just great to be able to share it with them.

Lloyd’s Leftovers

  • I thought the pre-game performance by Christina Aguilera was terrible as the former Pittsburgh home-girl set a bad tone for the Steelers by singing a choppy national anthem, including forgetting a lyric or two.
  • Everyone always wants to know the commercials that I liked and didn’t like. I just found it amazing that in our tough economy, about 28 advertisers paid over $3 million per 30-second spot. My number one has to be the “Budweiser: Singing Cowboys” ad (I like the tough guy cowboys singing an out-of-character Elton John’s Tiny Dancer) followed closely by the GM “Emimem” spot and the lovely Kim Kardashian’s ad where she breaks up with her trainer for Sketchers. A stinker was the Motorola Mobility ad taking a shot at Apple and the Ozzy Osbourne ad. You can watch all of the Super Bowl ads at YouTube.com/adblitz
  • The 14 minutes of the Black Eyed Peas’ halftime performance really lived up to the hype.  I really like the re-emergence of former Guns and Roses guitarist Slash as Fergie sang “Sweet Child of Mine”

Now that Super Bowl XLV is over, I can take a quick break.  Like most people, my NFL season is “suspsoed” to end with the Super Bowl.  But constant CBA talk, the NFL Combine (later in February into March), and the NFL Draft (in April, with the Carolina Panthers currently on the clock) are already here.

 

Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and Sports Journey Network , who is also an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

Super Bowl XLV Preview: Steelers – Packers

Red-Hot QB Aaron Rodgers will lead the Green Bay Packers versus the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV.  The Packers will be seeking an NFL-record 13th title

The 2010-11 NFL season will finish it’s oh-too-fast season with Super Bowl XLV in Arlington, Texas as the Pittsburgh Steelers (14-4) and Green Bay Packers (13-6) take center stage in the biggest game in sports. It will be interesting to see if Super Bowl XLV ends the ’10 season with a bang or a blowout, which seems to have happened way too much in Super Bowl history.  All week, the Dallas-Ft. Worth region has been covered in uncharacteristic ice, but you can expect the temperatures around the country and in Cowboys Stadium to be “hot” this Sunday. 

“Super Bowl Sunday” is America’s unofficial holiday filled with fellowship, trash talk, and of course eating.  Everywhere you turn, people are talking about the Steelers and Packers locking horns this Sunday.  Even my 80-year old plus grandmother, who usually is not in front of the television on Sunday’s watching NFL gridiron action, will be attending a Super Bowl party.  She and an expected record television audience of 106 Million plus viewers will be watching this Sunday as the Steelers and Packers take center stage.  But no matter how Super Bowl XLV ends, the 2010 NFL Season should be titled, “One Crazy Season”. 

Sure some will boast that their crystal ball registered this match-up in Super Bowl way back in September — hey what do I know… I picked a match-up of the Ravens over the Cowboys. But majority of folks probably were second-guessing both the NFC and AFC representative teams going into the season., especially around the quarterbacks in the game.  Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was mired in a rocky offseason that led to a 6-game suspension (reduced to 4 games) and Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, after a loss in his first playoff start in the 2009 Wildcard Round to the Cardinals, was still stuck in the lengthy shadow of former Green Bay legendary passer Brett Favre. But none the less, both teams and their quaterbacks continued on and now they are on the appex of winning the biggest trophy in team sports, the Lomabardi Trophy.

The majority of fans and media that I have talked to are more than happy and excited to see the two teams that will be meeting in the Big Game.  So expected or unexpected, this is the game that the parity-laden National Football League has handed us for Super Bowl Sunday 2011 (February 6th).  I for one am very excited to see this match-up of two of the NFL’s most-storied franchises and a good portion of the country is also excited as Super Bowl hype is at an all-time high. Especially with the threat of potential CBA-Armadegon and “No Football” after March 4th looming over the heads NFL Universe. ESPN Anlayst Tom Jackson said of the match-up, “We have two of the best teams in the league playing really good football, and we’re thinking that we’re ready to see a pretty darn good football game.”

Once the Conference Championships games were completed with the Steelers 24-19 win over the New York Jets and the Packers 21-14 win over the Chicago Bears, everyone tried to come up with a catchy Don King-esque box office selling theme for Super Bowl XLV.  Some slogans that I have heard bantered about have been “The Tradition Bowl”, “The Golden Game”, “The Dynasty Bowl”, “Lombardi vs. Lambert”, and many others.  But I am going with the “The NFL’s Royalty Rumble”  — BTW: Whatever happened to great titles like the “Thrilla in Manila” and the “Rumble in the Jungle”.   All of the current themes that I have pointed out all touch on the fact that the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packer are two of the NFL’s most revered and respected franchises.  Between them these two teams are draped in tradition and have combines for 19 NFL Championships including 9 Super Bowl titles.

National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell said of the match-up at his recent yearly Super Bowl press conference, “When you look at this match-up, you say ‘Pittsburgh Steelers’ and ‘Green Bay Packers,’ that’s football. There’s no doubt about it, that’s football”.  Goodell added, “These great organizations who have had so much success in the past, it represents the traditions of our game. The fans are tremendous in both of these communities. I lived in western Pennsylvania for five years and those fans, there aren’t any better fans than Steeler fans. Then you look at the Packer fans and they’re the same way. Tremendous passion, they support their team through thick and thin, and it means a lot to these communities. And they’re both national teams. This isn’t just about fans in western Pennsylvania or in Wisconsin, they have national followings, and I think that’s what’s so exciting for this country and our world, to look at this game and say, ‘Wow, that’s real football.’ This is fun. This is celebrating the game that I love and we all love and I think it’s going to be a terrific night.”

The Green Bay Packers are the NFL’s second oldest franchise and are a testament to how the league continuing to thrive in a small-market during the “Big Market” glitz of today’s  media bonanza society.  When you think of the Packers – all-tme record of 664-524-36 in regular season with a league-best postseason record of 28-16 in 44 games — names like Hall of Famers Vince Lombardi, Bart Starr, Paul Hornung, Reggie White and Willie Davis instantly come to mind along with that quarterback,No. 4, and the “Frozen Tundra” playing surface at historic Lambeau Field.  Though the Packers have not had the recent “Championship” success like Lombardi’s group from the 1960’s, a new generation of Green Bay players, led by quarterback Aaron Rodgers, have returned some swagger back to “Title Town”.  Green Bay will be returning to the Super Bowl for the first time since back-to-back appearances in Super Bowl XXXI (January 26, 1997) and XXXII (January 25, 1998).  And Green Bay will attempting to extend their league record NFL Championship number to 13.

The Steelers going back to their inception in 1933 were built by the late Art Rooney, one of the original patriarchs of the NFL, to be a franchise as tough as the blue collar City of Steel that they represent.  And now they are aiming to become the first NFL team in history to win seven Super Bowl titles.  The Steelers all-time record is 541-499-20 with a league-second-best postseason record 33-19 in fifty-one games and they will be making their eighth Super Bowl appearance, tying the Dallas Cowboys for the most all-time. Steelers chairman emeritus Dan Rooney said of the challenge of facing Green Bay in the Super Bowl, “We’re very similar organizations.  We’re similar in the way we operate.  We have great respect for the Packers and we always have.” And the connection continues as the Packers are the first No. 6 seed in the NFC to advance to the Super Bowl since the NFL instituted the current 12-team playoff format in 1990.  The only other No. 6 seed to play in the Super Bowl was the 2005 Steelers, who went on to win Super Bowl XL. 

Ironically Pittsburgh “Home Boy”, Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy, who grew-up in the town and was a former assistant coach for four seasons at the University of Pittsburgh, will be leading the opposition.  McCarthy (guided Packers to playoffs in 3 of last 4 seasons) said of facing his hometown team, “Pittsburgh is obviously a big part of who I am.  My family is still back there.  This is going to be a very unique experience for everybody.  I was a Pittsburgh Steelers fan growing up and they’re my second favorite team.  But we’re preparing to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in a football game and that’s what we need to stay focused on.  McCarthy added, “They’re an excellent football team, obviously.  They’ve had a lot of success.  They’re a veteran team and an experienced team.  They’ve been through this experience before and we have not.  We understand that.  But we’re going to stick to our approach and that’s the way we’re going to face it.  Our goal is to bring the Lombardi Trophy back home.”

So enough already with the continually beaten same-old-tired story that many are selling that one team belongs here and the other is just lucky No. 6 seed.  I believe like many Steelers players, who vividly remember last year’s shootout win over the Packers, that McCarthy’s team is a hungry bunch and that should be respected.  Remember that anything that could happen has happened in this crazy 2010 season where “Any Given Sunday” has rung true week in and week out.  Forget franchise histories, Super Bowl XLV should have the moniker, “The Battle of Teams That Do It the Right Way”.  Plain and simple it is a match-up of two teams that are models for NFL success.  However if I were the Steelers, I would do as Chuck D used to rap “Don’t Believe the Hype”, because the former 10-6 Wilcard Packers have been one of the NFL’s hottest teams since the playoffs started. The key for both remaining teams is focusing on their precious opportunity to win a Super Bowl and forgetting everything else that has transpired in the past 20 weeks leading up to the big game.  

Lloyd’s Leftovers for Super Bowl XLV

Being #1 Seed is not what it used to be – Remember when attaining the No. 1 seed in your conference and home field advantage used to mean something back in the day.  But in today’s parity-laden NFL there are no guarantees to Super Bowl entry and this year is no different as the Patriots and Falcons were out in the divisional round.  Since 1990 only 20 of 40 number one seeds in the playoffs have made it to the Super Bowl with only 9 of those teams winning it all.  The last time two No. 1 seeds faced off was in Super Bowl XLIV (2010) with Indianapolis vs. New Orleans.

Not much Trash Talking at this Super Bowl – With the mutual respect between the Steelers and Packers there has not been the obligatory player trash talking. Remember in Super Bowl XL how then Seattle Seahawks tight end Jerramy Stevens made some comments about Steelers that got the dander up of then Steelers linebacker Joey Porter.  This time both teams were complimentary and guarded during media day interviews.  Too bad Porter is no longer on the Steelers, because he is always a good for a rousing soundbite. 

Still watch for everyone’s favorite Super Bowl Ads – Every year one of the bigger events of the Super Bowl is watching the ads.  Thirty-second spots during Super Bowl XLV were sold for $2.8-$3 million.  Of course the king of the advertisers, Budweiser, will be all over your television — exclusive beer advertiser for 23 years.  Bud earlier this postseason locked up its position as the only national beer advertiser in the Super Bowl through 2014. “We wouldn’t have done it if the payoff wasn’t there,” said Anheuser-Busch President Dave Peacock.  For everything to do with Super Bowl XLV’s Ads go to www.superbowl-ads.com

Media folks swapping more than stories – Former Super Bowl MVP’s, ESPN analyst Desmond Howard and former New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms, got into it over comments Howard made about Simms’ son.  For all of Twitter Nation to read, Howard tweeted that Simms said “he wanted 2 take a swing at me” while the two were at the NFL Experience fan festival in downtown Dallas.  Also there was a Philly Twitter Beef between Daily News Writer Paul Domowitch and Radio Personality Howard Eskin over some quotes

Tomlin going for some history — Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin, who guided the Steelers to victory in Super Bowl XLIII, can become the first head coach in NFL history to win two Super Bowls in his first four seasons.  He is also can become the youngest head coach in league annals to win two Super Bowl titles (38 years old).  And another milestone that no one is talking about –Thankfully – is that Tomlin could once again join NFL legend Tony Dungy as the only African-American head coaches to lead their team to a Super Bowl victory.  Of all the potential accomplishments surrounding Super Bowl XLV, Tomlin said “It’s special.  There are 32 teams that start this journey and there are only two left.  We are fortunate enough to be one of them.  It’s awesome.”

Pittsburgh Steelers (14-4) Vs. Green Bay Packers (13-6), Sunday 6:30 PM, FOX

Broadcasting Team: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Chris Myers (Field Reporter) and Pam Oliver (Field Reporter)

The AFC #2 seeded Pittsburgh Steelers and the NFC #6 seeded Green Bay Packers will square off in Super Bowl XLV in Cowboys Stadium and though this may have not been the match-up that everyone had hoped for, I fully expect a good game. 

 The big story going into Super Bowl XLV has been two “hot” quarterbacks squaring off with the Packers led by former Pro Bowler Aaron Rodgers and the Steelers going with Super Bowl XL and XLIII winner Ben Roethlisberger.  In the last meeting between these two teams (December 20, 2009), Roethlisberger (503 yards) and Aaron Rodgers (383) combined for 886 passing yards in the Steelers’ 37-36 win over the Packers.  It marked the highest passing yardage total in NFL history in a game that did not have an interception. 

But the story of the game to me is a classic match-up of the Steelers NFL top-ranked defense versus the Packers high-powered offense.  Though the usual line is “Defense Wins Championships”, you definitely have to go deeper into this match-up than to immediately dismiss the Packers and hand the Lombardi Trophy to the Steelers.  Like any playoff game, the Super Bowl will be won or lost with keys — Strong Quarterback Play (i.e. Taking Care of the Football), Good Attacking Defense, a Balanced Offensive Attack based first in the Run, Sound Special Teams Play, and Limiting Penalties.  So far in the playoffs the Steelers and Packers have lived by the keys mentioned especially running the football.  The Packers have even unveiled rookie James Starks and the Steelers after a year of passing the ball have rooted to their roots as RB Rashard Mendenhall has been running the rock.  The two teams have also lived off turnovers, which we know are instant game turners — turnover margin has been good to the Steelers (+17) and the Cardinals (+10) . 

The Packers are always looking for the big down-the-field play, so the Steelers must stay with their coverage assignments and get pressure on Rodgers. Conversely the Packers will need to continue to mix the run and pass to keep the Steelers attacking defense off-balance. The Steelers — just 14.5 points per game — have done a great job on defense so far this season.   But Rodgers when given time has weapons in receivers Gregg Jennings, Donald Driver and James Jones. 

The Steelers front seven led by former Defensive MVP James Harrison, stout nose tackle Casey Hampton, and probably the NFL’s most athletic linebacking crew (James Farrior, Lawrence Timmons, Lamarr Woodley, and Harrison) will need to get pressure so that big play safety Troy Polamulu (2010 NFL Defensive MVP) can make another game changing play.  Pressure is everything to the Steelers, but Jennings is capable of having a huge day so the Steelers will need 22 eyes on him at all times.   Watch for the Steelers’ veteran secondary led by cornerback Ike Taylor and unsung free safety Ryan Clark to help Polamulu in coverage.   The one thing LeBeau (king of the zone blitz) will need to guard against is getting too blitz happy against Rodgers.  As the young triggerman is very dangerous and can recognize defensive schemes and will audible when needed.  

Watch for an improving Packers’ “D”, who were 2nd in total defense during the regular season. The Packer defense led by LB Clay Matthews Jr has thrived on forcing pressure and creating turnovers.  The Packers will need to get to Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, so that the he can’t get the ball to Hines Ward and game-changer Mike Wallace.  The Packers will also need to keep an eye on my X-factor, Steelers tight end Heath Miller.

“We’ve got a lot of talent on this team,” said Packers CB Charles Woodson.  He added, “Every week, it’s somebody else stepping up.  The guys on this team have been making plays week in and week out.  We have a ton of guys who can just make plays at any time and at any point in the game.  We know how hard it is to get to the Super Bowl.  You want to be able to get there and win it.  It’s all or nothing now.  Hopefully we can go down there and win it.”

LV’s Pick: Now that all of the hype and talk around Super Bowl XLV is almost finished our attentions can turn to Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.  The Steelers have been installed as a slight favorite, but I truly believe that the Packers will make this a game.  I expect the Steelers to dictate the pace of the game early with efficient passing by Big Ben, hard running by Mendenhall, and their attacking defense.  But Rodgers and Jennings will hook-up for a Super Bowl moment and they may even temporarily throw a scare into the Steelers.  But in the end, the Steelers Black-and-Gold nation will leave Dallas happy as the Steelers veterans from Super Bowl XL and XLIII will step up.  The Steelers add another one for their second hand and watch for Hines Ward, Heath Miller, and Troy Polamulu as the difference makers for P-Burgh. — Steelers 27, Packers 24 

 

 

Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and Sports Journey Network , who is also an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

2011 Pro Football Hall of Fame Predictions

When the names are announced for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2011 on Saturday February 5th , Taking It to the House believes that contributor Ed Sabol (NFL Films founder) will be on the list

Super Bowl XLV is right around the corner as the Steelers and Packers are preparing to do battle.  But one of the bigger events of Super Bowl week is almost upon us too, as the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2011 will be announced on Saturday, February 5th.  Being a historian of the game, I absolutely love the Pro Football Hall of Fame inductions each July.  But each year when the classes are announced at the Super Bowl the controversy soon follows.

I am sure their will be some cantankerous moments when the PHOF’s 44-member Selection Committee try to decide on the inductees. No matter the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s fraternity will grow beyond it’s current 253 members as at least four and up to seven worthy candidates will be selected to the PHOF from the list of 17 finalists.

The 2011 Pro Football Hall of Fame 17 finalists (15 Modern-Era and two Senior Nominees*) with their positions, teams, and years include:           

  • Jerome Bettis – Running Back – 1993-1995 LA/STL Rams, 1996-2005 Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Tim Brown – Wide Receiver/Kick Returner – 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Cris Carter – Wide Receiver – 1987-89 Philadelphia Eagles, 1990-2001 Minnesota Vikings, 2002 Miami Dolphins
  • Dermonti Dawson – Center – 1988-2000 Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Richard Dent – Defensive End – 1983-1993, 1995 Chicago Bears, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1996 Indianapolis Colts, 1997 Philadelphia Eagles
  • Chris Doleman – Defensive End – 1985-1993 & 1999 Minnesota Vikings, 1994-1995 Atlanta Falcons, 1997-1998 San Francisco 49ers,
  • Marshall Faulk – Running Back – 1994-1998 Indianapolis Colts, 1999-2005 St. Louis Rams
  • Charles Haley – Defensive End/Linebacker – 1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys
  • *Chris Hanburger – Linebacker – 1965-1978 Washington Redskins
  • Cortez Kennedy – Defensive Tackle – 1990-2000 Seattle Seahawks
  • Curtis Martin – Running Back – 1995-1997 New England Patriots, 1998 – 2005 New York Jets
  • Andre Reed – Wide Receiver – 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins
  • *Les Richter – Kicker, Middle Guard, Middle Linebacker —  1954-1962 LA Rams
  • Willie Roaf – Offensive Tackle – 1993–2005 New Orleans Saints
  • Ed Sabol – Contributor (NFL Films), who has been associated with the league since 1966
  • Deion Sanders – Cornerback, Return man, Wide Receiver –  1989-1993 Atlanta Falcons, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1995-1999 Dallas Cowboys, 2000 Washington Redskins, 2004-2005 Baltimore Ravens
  • Shannon Sharpe – Tight End – 1990-99, 2002-03 Denver Broncos, 2000-01 Baltimore Ravens

Alright here is my best guess at predicting whom will join the greatest sports fraternity of them all in my opinion.  To me all of the candidates are worthy and I believe that there even might be a couple of other guys missing from the list — checkout my Top 10 list of players deserving to be in the Hall of Fame for some of the players that I felt should be in Canton.  It will be interesting to see whom my fellow PFWA members vote-in when they get in the room.

1. Deion Sanders – This is a no-brainer.  Yes…Prime Time was a showboat, wasn’t a physical tackler, and rubs some fans the wrong way.  But there is no denying that this man defined a “Shutdown Corner”.  Sanders was a tremendous athlete that had track sprnter’s speed, a short memory, and the swagger of a rock star.  Say what you want, Deion backed it up on the field.  Even in his later years after coming out of retirement to play for the Baltimore Ravens, this 8-time Pro Bowler and 6-time First-Team All-Pro could match-up with any NFL receiver.  And don’t forget Prime maybe the NFL’s greatest punt returner too. He truly was “Too Legit, To Quit”!   Finished his career with 53 INTs including an NFL record 9 going to the house.

2. Marshall Faulk – This one is a layup too as none of the other RB’s up for selection this season could do so many things, so well on the football field.  Faulk was a running back, who could block, catch, and run with almost anyone in NFL History.  The former San Diego State star, who should have won the Heisman (but that is another story), was the engine that made Dick Vermeil’s Greatest Show on Turf offense go.  This 7-time Pro Bowler and 3-time First-Team All-Pro left the NFL with a league record 19,154 combined rushing and receiving yards (12,279 rushing and 6,875 receiving) .  A former Rookie of the Year, MVP and Super Bowl winner….Faulk is in.

3. Shannon Sharpe – I can’t believe we are still having this conversation. This is a no-brainer, in my opinion.  This former lanky too slow receiver from Savannah State, who became one of the greatest tight ends ever, deserves to get into the Hall of Fame.  I know the loquacious Sharpe, who now works as a CBS analyst, can plead his own case for the Hall.  But his resume really speaks volumes with his 815 career receptions for 10,060 receiving yards and 62 touchdowns, which all were NFL career records for tight ends at the time of his retirement 5 years ago. The man longer known simply as Sterling’s little brother had a career that included 8 Pro Bowls, 3 Super Bowls rings (two Broncos and one with the Ravens) and 5 selections All-Pro.  Move over Mike Ditka and John Mackey as a new tight end joins your ranks.

4. Willie Roaf – If you needed to get 1-yard, running behind big Willie would be a good option.  This big physical offensive tackle, who defined the position in the 1990’s deserves to be in the PHOF.  Roaf was a massive man blessed with quick hands and good feet that cleared the way for running backs like Mario Bates, Ricky Williams, Deuce McAllister, and others.  This 11-time Pro Bowler and 3-time First-Team All-Pro was a quarterback’s best friend too as he held his own against NFL legends, like Reggie White. 

 5. Chris Hanburger – An old-school stay at home and make the tackle linebacker will finally get his due.  Hanburger is being nominated as a Seniors Committee candidate, but he should have been recognized a long time ago.  Played in a steady leadership type way throughout his distinguished 14-year career, all with the Washington Redskins.  He was the glue of George Allen’s great Over-the-Hill Gang defenses of the 1970’s.  Was an intregal part of Washington’s 1972 Super Bowl runner-up team.  This 9-time Pro Bowler & 4-time First-Team All-Pro finished with 19 INTs and 17 fumble recoveries in his career.

6. Ed Sabol – If you ever want to know where the history of the NFL lives, take a pilgrimage to Mount Larel, NJ . The patriarch of venerable organization, NFL Films, has been associated with the league since filming Super Bowl I back in 1966 and definitely deserves to be selected as a “contributor” into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.   Sabol and his son, Steve, have helped make the National Football League into a national media treasure with their breath-taking films that bring the heart  and soul of Pro Football to life.  It would be a travesty, if Ed Sabol does not get his day in the sun, this summer in Canton, Ohio.

7. Charles Haley – A dominating force at the defensive end position who won 5 Super Bowl rings.  Haley was a two-way end that quarterbacks feared and was equally stout against the run.  Though quiet off the field, this former small school find (James Madison) was a ferious game-breaker in getting to the quarterback and making big plays.  Though I still believe that Deacon Jones and Reggie White were the two greatest pass rushers of all time, Haley should join them as he was one of the greatest sack masters from the 1990’s. This 5-time Pro Bowler and 2-time First-Team All-Pro finished his distinguished career with 100.5 sacks and 26 forced fumbles.

 

Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and Sports Journey Network , who is also an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

Super Bowl XLV From a Beer Perspective

Well… it is almost “Super Bowl Sunday” with an expected record television audience of 106 million viewers tuning-in to watch the Steelers and Packers play for the NFL’s biggest prize. 

But before we head to breaking down the game, we have to take a detour around America’s Unofficial Holiday’s other favorite topic, beer.  Good Friend of the site, Bryan Kolesar of TheBrewLounge.com, weighs in with some tasty beer selections for this coming Super Bowl Sunday.

This year’s contenders play in States rich in both brewing history and the current craft brewing renaissance.

The Packers play only 120 miles north of sudsy Milwaukee, just a few more miles northeast from Madison’s craft brewing mecca, and in a stadium that pours beer from the highly sought after New Glarus Brewing Company.

In downtown Green Bay, the appropriately named Titletown Brewing Company serves up hearty Wisconsin fare of cheese curds, pan-fried walleye, and half-pound burgers alongside solid brews like Railyard Altbier, Johnny Blood Red Ale, Hopasaurus Rex IPA, and Kurty’s Hop Monster to keep the fans from becoming part of the Frozen Tundra.

While the Packers play geographically in the Midwest, Pittsburgh fans are much more East Coast in their attitude and passionate pursuit of their Steelers. Beer-wise, though, these city-regions are much more similar. Pittsburgh also enjoys a rich history of brewing and has experienced its own revival of good locally-made craft beer over the past twenty years. In and around Pittsburgh, great beer can be found in a former church, at a pub by a creek, in a vacant industrial building on the “other side of the tracks, in the hippest neighborhoods, and in a 150-year old historic former brewery.

With that bit of brief background aside, it’s on to the game and the beer you could be drinking. Following is a guide to help navigate your thirst through the minimum four-hour affair that most Super Bowl games and the parties that you might attend will span. The beer in your glass will largely depend upon your location and your taste for beer.

I’m a beer guy, a craft beer guy at that. So when it comes to non-craft/macro beer I’ll throw some suggestions out there, but I can’t make any promises! My recommendation is to look for the more interesting craft beers and save yourself the mind-numbing regret the next day.

Any of the beers listed in this piece will go well with football snacks like, Kelley’s Buffalo Chicken Dip, but LV or as you know him “NFL Writer Lloyd Vance” will have more on Super Bowl Recipes soon.

Pre-game: There’s no point in embarrassing yourself before the game begins. Therefore, pre-game beers should be relatively lower in alcohol to keep you out of trouble and arguments. Plus, if you are filling out last-minute pools, you’ll need a clear head.

in Green Bay: Pick up a fresh growler of Titletown Brewing’s Canadeo Gold (German-style Kölsch, 4.5% ABV), a low alcohol, mildly fruity beer named after Packer great, Tony Canadeo.

in Pittsburgh: Head to church, Church Brew Works that is, and grab a six-pack of crisp and refreshing Celestial Gold (German-style Pilsner, 4.1% ABV). Say a prayer for your Steelers while you’re there.

in Dallas for the game: Stop near the stadium in Arlington, Texas at BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse for a great tasting Brewhouse Blonde (German-style Kölsch, 4.7% ABV)

mostly anywhere in the U.S. (craft): This one from Sierra Nevada weighs in a bit heftier than the other pre-game selections here, but with the smooth maltiness of the Glissade (Helles Bock, 6.4% ABV) and the hop flavor undercurrent, it makes for a nice pre-game beer for those looking for just a little something extra to get the party started.

mostly anywhere in the U.S. (macro): Toast the brewing history of Wisconsin with a Miller Lite (American Light Lager, 4.2% ABV). It’s true that it’s less-filling and low in alcohol, but it lacks much in the way of flavor as well—which for many people, is just fine for the entire game.

First Half: The first half is when we all stand the best chance of paying some level of attention to the television, if not for the game, then for the commercials. At this point, you’ll want a beer that tastes great, but not one that is too distracting with complex flavors. Plus, you’ll likely have a menagerie of flavors on your plate of food, so grab a beer with a little alcohol and some solid hop flavor to kick off the game and your team spirit.

in Green Bay: Stop in at Hinterland, a Green Bay brewpub since 1995 and now on the guest list at the White House for the Super Bowl, and grab a pint of the solid malt-driven Pale Ale (American Pale Ale, 5.5% ABV) that delivers a noticeable hit of bitter hops.

in Pittsburgh: Head to the UK-themed Piper’s Pub in the Southside neighborhood for a glass of the wonderfully malty and hoppy Victory HopDevil (American IPA, 6.7% ABV). Victory’s from Eagles country on the other side of the state, but in the world of beer, Steelers fans happily drink it too.

in Dallas for the game: At most better beer bars around the region, you should be able to find a beer from one of Austin’s newer breweries, Live Oak. Try an IPA (American IPA, 6.0% ABV).

mostly anywhere in the U.S. (craft): Brooklyn Brewery has been making the East India Pale Ale (6.9% ABV) for over 15 years and this pleasantly hoppy beer makes it a versatile winner alone or with food.

mostly anywhere in the U.S. (macro): Michelob makes a Pale Ale (5.5% ABV) and a Rye Pale Ale (5.9% ABV) worth seeking out for their pleasant hop bitterness.

Half Time Show: These mid-game displays are barely enjoyable for most people to watch. So, why not take this opportunity to grab a large 750ml bottle of special beer and share it amongst your group? This may be the last time before the game is over that you’ll have a chance to really focus on tasting your beer. If the desserts have been put out by this point, you may want to try a beer that accentuates the possibilities of fruit with beer.

in Green Bay: In Wisconsin, there may be no beer more celebrated for working with fruit than the wonderfully alternating sweet and tart cherry Wisconsin Belgian Red (4.0% ABV). There is over a pound of Door County Cherries in every bottle.

in Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh has several hot dog and beer-themed shops, one of the best known being D’s Six Pax and Dogz and its large beer cave from which to buy take-home beer. Find a bottle of Love Child (Belgian-style Tripel, 10.0% ABV) from northwestern Pennsylvania’s Voodoo Brewery and experience beer aged on tart cherries, raspberries, and passion fruit.

in Dallas for the game: Stop by Central Market, just north of Dallas, and pick up a Belgian beer, heavy on the cherries, like Kasteel Rouge (8.0% ABV).

mostly anywhere in the U.S. (craft): Try finding either Black and Blue (10.00% ABV and fermented with blackberries and blueberries) or Fort (18.0% ABV and brewed with raspberries) from Dogfish Head for a nearly unmatched fruit beer experience.

mostly anywhere in the U.S. (macro): No macro brewer is doing anything with fruit beers nearly as interesting as any of these other brewers just mentioned. However, if you can’t stray from the familiar brewer names, you might try Anheuser-Busch’s Wild Blue Blueberry Lager (8.0%). I can’t vouch for it, but I’ve heard a few people claim that it’s “okay”.

Second Half: At this point, the game is going one of two ways. It’s either competitive and enjoyable to watch or it’s becoming a lopsided blowout. You’re either really into the game or the party is really kicking into high gear and you’re looking to empty the cooler. The average point spread over the last ten Super Bowls has been ten points, with six of them being decided by a touchdown or less. So, you’re likely to be grabbing for another less complex and relatively lower alcohol beer to get you through to the end of the game.

in Green Bay: Sprecher beer is available in 23 states, but you’ll find it no where fresher than in Wisconsin. Try the delightfully rich and roasty Black Bavarian (Black Lager, 5.9% ABV).

in Pittsburgh: Penn Brewery is brewing in high gear again after some ownership shakeups over the past couple of years. Try their slightly sweet, slightly hoppy Penn Dark (Munich Dunkel Lager, 5.0% ABV) which tastes as good as ever.

in Dallas for the game: Shiner Bock, from Spoetzl Brewery in southern Texas, is available and widely recognized both in and out of Texas. Instead, while there, take the opportunity to try a less well-known Shiner 97 (Black Lager, 4.9% ABV).

mostly anywhere in the U.S. (craft): Sam Adams also makes a Black Lager-style beer, conveniently called Black Lager (4.9% ABV). It’s not as rich as the others listed here and is available across most of the U.S.

mostly anywhere in the U.S. (macro): Yuengling may not necessarily like to be  called a macro brewery, but the fact that they make a whole lot of beer available across nearly half the country makes them more macro than micro. But that doesn’t mean that their beers can’t be “craft-like”. Skip their Lager, and try their easy-drinking, but tasty and slightly chocolaty, Porter (4.7% ABV) and see if you agree.

Post-Game: After the game, you’re either getting ready for bed, heading out to drive home from the party, celebrating your team’s big win or soothing the pains from a tough loss. There are many different ways you could go here. Let’s assume that there’s no driving in your future and your team just won. You’re up for one last celebratory beer. You’ve likely drank many beers throughout the course of the night and your palate has taken quite a beating. Here are a few memorable beers to finish off the night.

 in Green Bay: If you head up to Green Bay from the south, be sure to stop around Madison or Milwaukee for four-packs of Ale Asylum’s Mercy (Belgian Strong Dark Ale, 9.5% ABV). This beer is packed with tremendous dark fruit flavors and a warming alcohol presence for those cold Green Bay nights.

in Pittsburgh: When in Pittsburgh and celebrating your team’s win, there may be no better place to be than in the Southside neighborhood favorite, Fat Heads, with a bottle of East End Gratitude (American-style Barleywine, 11.5% ABV).

in Dallas for the game: Stop by the Meddlesome Moth in Dallas’ Design District for a regional favorite, Real Ale Sisyphus (American-style Barleywine, 11.0% ABV)

mostly anywhere in the U.S. (craft): Stone Brewing recently blended its Arrogant Bastard, Oak-Aged Bastard, and Double Bastard to create an anniversary beer called Lukcy Basartd [sic] (American Strong Ale, 8.5% ABV). If you can’t find a bottle of this one-time release beer that brings about a mouthful of malt, hops, whiskey, and oak, just reach for any of the three component beers for an equally pleasing experience by themselves.

mostly anywhere in the U.S. (macro): I can’t bring myself to recommend a St. Ides or a Schlitz to you here just for the sake of a one-last end-of-night alcohol punch. Plus, there’s nothing that you could drink in this strong beer category that would go anywhere nearly as well with the possible food pairings that Mary is going to recommend as what I just listed.

 The Brew Lounge’s prediction: I’ve seen games at both Heinz Field and Lambeau Stadium, drank beer in both of their cities, and interacted with both fan bases. While the Pittsburgh fans deserve every one of the well-earned Super Bowl Championships, there may not be a nicer fan base in the world of American professional sports than that of the Green Bay Packers.

 Therefore, while Super Bowl XLV should be an entertaining and competitive game, I’m pulling for the Packers to finally get the Brett Favre monkey off their back.

Wherever you are and however you choose to celebrate, The Brew Lounge wishes you a fun Sunday with friends and family watching the Big Game and enjoying great food and beverage.

  

Bryan Kolesar is the editor of The Brew Lounge, a website dedicated to bringing tidbits from around the World of Craft Beer

Taking It to the House NFL Podcast – WCHE Interview 020211

In his weekly interview on the “Matt Lombardo Show” (1520 WCHE – West Chester, PA), NFL Insider Lloyd Vance breaks-down the news surrounding Super Bowl XLV, including the Philadelphia Eagles surprise choice for Defensive Coordinator, former O-line Coach Juan Castille

After some great action in the 2010 NFL Playoffs first three rounds, Super Bowl XLV in Arlington Texas will take center stage with the Pittsburgh Steelers facing the Green Bay Packers. NFL Insider Lloyd Vance makes his weekly appearance on the “Matt Lombardo Show” on 1520 WCHE – West Chester, PA including breaking down this year’s Super Bowl Match-up featuring two of the league’s brightest quarterbacks (Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers)

2010-11 NFL Season Key Dates by Lloyd Vance

Taking It to the House’s 2010 NFL Season Key Dates, which you know are circled on many people’s football calendar (including Peter King)

Here is a list of key dates that I believe every football fan will need to know going into the 2010 NFL season.  I am sure every NFL talking head including Anthony Munoz, Peter King, Chris Berman, Fran Charles, Solomon Wilcots, and myself will have these dates circled on their calendars.

2010

Jan. 3: Clubs may begin signing free-agent players for the 2011 season.

  • February 4 – The first opportunity for clubs to designate franchise and transition players.
  • February 25 — Deadline for clubs to designate franchise and transition players.
  • February 24 – March 2 — NFL Scouting Combine, Indianapolis, Indiana – The NFL’s annual pro prospect poking and prodding event
  • March 4 — Deadline for submission of qualifying offers by clubs to their restricted free agents (fewer than 6 years of free agency credit) whose contracts have expired and to whom they desire to retain a right of first refusal/compensation
  • March 4 — Deadline for clubs to submit offer of minimum salary to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with fewer than three seasons of free agency credit whose contracts have expired.
  • March 4 — Expiration date of all player contracts due to expire in 2010
  • March 5 — Veteran free agency signing and trading periods begin
  • March 21-24 — NFL Annual Meeting, Orlando, Florida
  • April 15 — Signing period ends for restricted free agents.  After this date, unsigned restricted free agents (i.e. Have not signed their “tender”) can only sign with their own team.  Usually this is the day that players sign their “tenders” to secure a good salary for the upcoming season or to work out an extension.
  • April 20 – 2010 NFL Schedule was released on this date (schedule maker Howard Katz)
  • April 21 — Deadline for old club to exercise right of first refusal to restricted free agents.
  • April 22-24 — NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
  • April 30 – June 25 – Various Rookie Camps and OTAs (voluntary and mandatory) for all NFL teams
  • May 24-26 — NFL Spring Meeting, Dallas, Texas
  • June 1 — Deadline for old clubs to send tender to unsigned unrestricted free agents to receive exclusive negotiating rights for rest of season if player is not signed by another club by July 22.
  • June 1 — Deadline for old clubs to send tender to unsigned restricted free agents or to extend qualifying offer to retain exclusive negotiating rights.
  • June 1 — Usually a big “cut” day in the NFL.  But without a salary cap in 2011, unneeded veterans can be cut at any time this year without ramifications.  So this date doesn’t have the significance as in years past.
  • June 15 — Deadline for old clubs to withdraw original qualifying offer to unsigned restricted free agents and still retain exclusive negotiating rights by substituting the tender with an offer of 110 percent of the unsigned player’s previous year’s salary.
  • June 27 – June 30 — NFL Rookie Symposium, Carlsbad, California. This is the yearly NFL freshman basic skills prep course
  • July 15 — NFL Supplemental Draft – The NFL’s “special” draft for players wishing to enter the NFL for a number of reasons (Academics, Family Obligations, etc) that missed the main NFL Draft in April.  If a team elects to use a supplemental draft pick on one of the eligible prospects, that team will give up its pick in the same round in next April’s draft (2011).
  • July 15– The last day for “Franchised” players to sign a long-term deal with their teams otherwise they will have to play under the terms of their 1-year franchised deals. 
  • July 22 — Signing period ends at 4:00 PM ET for unrestricted free agents who received a tender.  This means that a player unhappy with the contract tendered to him can either sign the deal or holdout. Once the deadline passes, franchise players can sign only one-year deals with their current teams.
  • July 25 — NFL Training Camps “officially” open with the Buffalo Bills reporting to St. John Fisher College in Pittsford, NY.  The last teams to report on August 3rd will be the Colts, Jaguars, Panthers, and Seahawks.
  • August 7 – Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2010 Enshrinement Ceremonies.  The newest class of enshrinees (RB Emmitt Smith, OT Russ Grimm, WR Jerry Rice, OLB/DE Rickey Jackson, RB Floyd Little, CB Dick LeBeau, and DT John Randle) will be formally inducted into the PHOF in a ceremony held at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio.
  • August 8 – Pro Football Hall of Fame Game featuring the Dallas Cowboys vs. Cincinnati Bengals – NBC, 8pm ET.  The NFL’s 2010 season kicks off with the preseason opener featuring at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio.
  • August 12-16 — First preseason weekend with featured match-ups: Thursday, August 12 – Carolina Panthers at Baltimore Ravens – ESPN, 8pm ET; Monday, August 16 – New York Giants at New York Jets – ESPN, 8pm ET
  • August 19-23 – Second preseason weekend with featured match-ups: Thursday, August 19 – New England Patriots at Atlanta Falcons – FOX, 8pm ET; Friday, August 20 – Philadelphia Eagles at Cincinnati Bengals – FOX, 8pm ET; Sunday, August 22 – Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers – NBC, 8pm ET; Monday, August 23 – Arizona Cardinals at Tennessee Titans – ESPN, 8pm ET
  • Aug. 20-23 – After a 1-year hiatus the arena football league is back and the 2010 AFL season will culminate with the playing of the 2010 ArenaBowl Championship game (NFL Network) 
  •  August 26-30 – Third preseason weekend with featured match-ups: Thursday, August 26 – Indianapolis Colts at Green Bay Packers – ESPN, 8pm ET; Friday, August 27 – San Diego Chargers at New Orleans Saints – CBS, 8pm ET; Saturday, August 28 – Dallas Cowboys at Houston Texans – CBS, 8pm ET; Sunday, August 29 – Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos – FOX, 8pm ET
  • August 31 — Roster cutdown to maximum of 75 players. 
  • September 2 – The NFL preseason ends as every team playing their fourth preseason game on Thursday night with featured match-ups: NY Jets at Philadelphia Eagles – ETN, 7:30 PM ET; New England Patriots at NY Giants – 7 PM EST; and San Diego Chargers at SF 49ers – 10 PM EST
  • September 4 — Roster cutdown to maximum of 53 players.
  • September 6 — NFL teams can sign up to 8 players to their practice squad.
  • September 9-13 — 2010 Kickoff Weekend. For the seventh consecutive season the Super Bowl champion will open the slate as the champion New Orleans Saints hosting the Minnesota Vikings on Sept. 9 at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC.  The Sunday night (9/12) primetime game will feature a division match-up as the Dallas Cowboys host the Washington Redskins (NBC, 8:30 p.m. ET). On Monday, Sept. 13, ESPN will host a “Monday Night Football” doubleheader with the first game being Baltimore Ravens at NY Jets (7:00 p.m. ET) and MNF nightcap San Diego Chargers at the Kansas City Chiefs (10:15 p.m. ET)
  • September 19 – The Manning Bowl as Eli Manning leads the NY Giants into Lucas Oil Stadium for a showdown against older brother Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts (8:30 PM ET on NBC)
  • October 3– QB Donovan McNabb leads the Washington Redskins into Lincoln Financial Field  to take on his old team, the Philadelphia Eagles (4:15 pm. ET – FOX)
  • October 11-14 — NFL Fall Meeting, Boston, Massachusetts.
  • October 17 – 2009 NFL Playoff revenge game as the Dallas Cowboys visit the Minnesota Vikings (4:15 PM ET on FOX)
  • October 19 — NFL Trade Deadline @ 4 PM EST – This is the last chance for teams to grab players from other teams via a trade, but don’t hold your breath.
  • October 31 – Regular season NFL football returns to London, England for the 4th year in a row at Wembley Stadium in London as the San Francisco 49ers “host” the Denver Broncos at 1 PM EST (5:00 p.m. UK). The game will be broadcast on CBS in the United States and on Sky Sports and BBC in the United Kingdom
  • November 7 – The NFL returns to Toronto, Canada with the Buffalo Bills hosting the Chicago Bears at 1:00 PM on FOX
  • November 15 – Players on NFL teams’ Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list must be activated by Week 10.  If they are not moved off the list, they must be removed from the team’s active roster to injured reserve or being released.
  • November 16 – Deadline for clubs to sign drafted players. If player remains unsigned after this date, he is prohibited from playing in the NFL in 2010.
  • November 21 – The annual meeting between the NFL’s most decorated quarterbacks (Peyton Manning and Tom Brady) as the Indianapolis Colts visit the New England Patriots (4:15 PM EST – CBS)
  • November 25 – NFL Thanksgiving Day Games:  New England Patriots at the Detroit Lions (CBS, 12:30 p.m. ET), New Orleans Saints at the Dallas Cowboys (Fox, 4:15 PM ET); Cincinnati Bengals at the NY Jets (NFL Network, 8:20 p.m. ET)
  • November 26/27 – The second season of the United Football League (UFL) will conclude with the playing of the league’s championship game (Versus).  After the UFL’s champion is crowned, the league’s free agents are free to sign with NFL teams for their late season push.
  • November  28 — The Canadian Football League (CFL) season will commence with the playing of the 98th Grey Cup game in Commonwealth Stadium – Edmonton, Alberta (TSN)
  • December 9 – Big AFC South showdown on NFL Network Thursday Night Football as the Indianapolis Colts travel to Tennessee to face Vince Young and the Titans (NFL Network, 8:20 p.m. ET)
  • December 25 – A Christmas Day special game as the Dallas Cowboys travel to the desert to face the Arizona Cardinals (NFL Network, 7:20 p.m. ET)

2011

  • January 2 – The 2010 NFL Regular Season ends with the league scheduling 16 divisional games (all on Sunday) in hopes that teams will shy away from “resting” players.  One of the bigger games should be ARI @ SF  Candlestick Park FOX, 4:15 PM
  • January 3 – NFL teams may begin signing free-agent players for the 2011 season.
  • January 8-9 — Wild Card Weekend (NBC, CBS, and FOX)
  • January 9 – NFL Assistant coaches under contract to playoff teams that have Wild Card Weekend byes may interview for head coaching positions through the conclusion of wild card games.
  • January 15 -16 — Divisional Playoffs (CBS and FOX)
  • January 23 — AFC and NFC Championship Games (CBS and FOX)
  • January 29 – College Football’s Top Senior football players culminate a week of training by playing in the 2011 Senior Bowl at 3PM on NFL Network (Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, AL)
  • January 30  — NFL Pro Bowl with AFC All-Stars vs. NFC All-Stars in Honolulu, Hawaii (FOX)
  • February 6  — Super Bowl XLV in Arlington, Texas  (FOX)

 

 

Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and Sports Journey Network , who is also an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)