Sick Stats that Will Blow your Mind Before the Big Game

Some might have mistaken me for a meteorologist that past week, because I have been on cloud nine since the Broncos beat the Pats. Defeating the Patriots always feels good, but when it secures your squad to a trip to their 8th Super Bowl – that’s pure, unadulterated joy.

Wifey and I experiencing pure, unadulterated joy.

Wifey and I displaying pure, unadulterated joy.

Eighth super bowl, that’s no joke, tied for the most appearances all –time. One of the many sick stats that I ingested during the course of the last week as I was an obsessive sponge for Broncos coverage.

So this musing has no flowery imagery or creative metaphors. Just sick stats that will BLOW YOUR MIND and hopefully GET YOU HYPED FOR THE BIG GAME.

First sick stat that should make all Broncos fans giddy. The Broncos own Tom Brady. There is no doubt Brady is phenomenal. Perhaps the best ever. But the Broncos are his kryptonite. He is 6-9 against the Broncos and 1-3 in the playoffs. The Broncos are the only team in the league Brady doesn’t have a winning record against.

Remember when the Broncos drove down the field and scored on their first possession in the AFC Championship? That was sick, and it was also the first time all season Manning threw a touchdown on his first drive. Crazy right?

Do you know what else is cray-cray? That Owen Daniels is the only receiver to catch a Manning touchdown pass at home this season. He has three, including the two that he had on Sunday. Blew my mind when I heard that one. Goes to show you that Manning has been underwhelming throwing the ball this year, but hey, we still love you buddy.

The Broncos D was stifling against Brady, who was not-so-terrific-Tom. Brady was 27 of 56 with two picks. That’s a 48 percent completion percentage. First time in his illustrious career he threw two INT’s and completed less than 50 percent of his passes. Sick.

Brady also got knocked down 23 times – an absurd number. The most knockdowns of ANY quarterback in the league ALL SEASON. Just four more Brady completions than times he got knocked on his tushie. Mind blowing.

Brady wasn’t the only Patriot hall of famer who had a crappy day. Their kicker, Stephen Gostkowski, is a baller. He had not missed an extra point since 2006, his rookie season. He had made a league record 523 in a row! Then he blew it! It ended having massive ramifications, because the Patriots had to go for two at the end of the game, and we all know had that ended up. Yes, the extra point was moved back this year, but he was perfect all season. Laces out Finkle.

This game was intensely close, just like pretty much every game for the Broncos this year. I have no nails left. The Broncos were 11-3 this season in games decided by seven points or fewer. You guessed it. The most so called barnburners in NFL history in one season. I thought it felt like the most stressful season of all time. That’s because it was.

But now it’s time for one more barnburner, we hope at least. Hey I’m bias, but I am also a realist, and I realize the Broncos have a reputation of getting blown out in Super Bowls. It’s sad, but true. The average score of their Super Bowl defeats? Broncos 12, Opponents 41. Another sick stat, but not good sick. That one is gross sick.

Here we come Super Bowl 50! Marinate on that one for a little bit. What an amazing, prolific, round number. You want to know another amazing round number? Manning has played in 26 post-season games. His record? It’s 13-13. We all are aware this could be the sheriff’s last shift. Let’s pretend it is.

It's almost go time.

If he loses, he would retire with a losing record in the playoffs, and be 1-3 in Super Bowls. That, tragically, would cement his legacy as perhaps the greatest regular season quarterback of all time, who is sub-par in the postseason. If he wins, he completes his career with a winning playoff record, and rides off into the sunset with two super Bowl titles. He would become the ONLY quarterback to take two teams to a Super Bowl title in the history of the league.

How is that for a sick stat that will BLOW YOUR MIND! Who is ready for the big game?! I know I am!

And So…We Meet Again.

It’s funny how life can change on a dime. A few weeks back, I sat in my seat at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, admiring the sun set majestically over the silhouette of the Rocky Mountains.

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It was a real life metaphor punctuated with iconic imagery, because it appeared as if the sun was setting not only on the Broncos chances of getting to a Super Bowl, but also on Peyton’s Manning’s career.

Manning sat on the bench, or more specifically, stood on the sidelines. He was active, but a backup quarterback, something I never thought I would type. No awkward red spot on his forehead, because he had not put on a helmet during a game in over 6 weeks.

The Broncos, meanwhile, on the field, were a hot mess. With a chance to lock up home field advantage throughout the playoffs, they were choking away a game – at home – to the lowly San Diego Chargers. With a win, they would be the one seed. With a loss, the six seed.

Even with that massive difference in playoff seeding hanging in the balance, the Broncos were playing like fools. Dropping passes, fumbling the rock, throwing picks. They were playing so dumb and dumber, it appeared as if their PETS HEADS WERE FALLING OFF!

Five turnovers through three quarters?! Really?! I literally felt like bashing my face against a field goal post. Was it Osweiler’s fault they were about to lose to the Chargers and squander ideal playoff positioning? Debatable. He was playing descent and those around him were not pulling their weight.

But the vibe of the game was off kilter, and Coach Kubiak followed his gut. He went to the bullpen, called on the most qualified backup quarterback of all time, and thus invigorated an entire city.

And then one of the more surreal moments in my sports viewing life occurred. The sheriff, Peyton fricking Manning, playing back up quarterback for the first time since he wore huggies, strapped on his helmet, and trotted onto the field. There was a tangible groundswell of emotions, followed by a goose bump-rising, awe-inspiring, unforgettable standing ovation. The entire mood in the stadium shifted, like a tsunami of hope.

Manning not only led the Broncos to a resounding victory, but he resuscitated the Broncos playoff hopes by securing optimal playoff seeding. And on a touching personal level, he breathed life into his one final quest for another Super Bowl ring.

It’s like a script to a Disney movie. But it gets even better.

Post playoff win happy face.

Post playoff win happy face.

Two weeks later, with Manning at the helm, the Broncos inconsistent play once again kept Broncos country gnawing at their fingernails. But Denver still pulled off a gritty, ugly win over a banged up, steely Pittsburgh team.

With the victory, the Broncos advanced to the AFC championship game. And look whom they will be playing. The good old New England Patriots. It’s fitting really, and proves that destiny works in mysterious ways.

Manning vs. Brady. Again. For the 17th time. 17 TIMES?! A staggering number when you think about it.

We know Brady owns the upper hand and thus has more trophies in his case. He is 11-5 against Manning and has a far better overall playoff record. But Tom is only 1-2 in AFC Championship games against Peyton, a rare statistic that Brady does not own over Manning. In four playoff bouts, they are tied at 2 wins apiece.

Talk about a sick rubber match! It really is worth it to take a second, and reflect on the fact that this could be the last hurrah in a classic rivalry. The two best quarterbacks of their generation in perhaps one final clash of the titans.

Manning vs. Brady. Or is it Brady vs. Manning? Either way it rolls off the tongue, and this particular match-up of legends carries legendary consequences.

With a victory for Brady, Tom will further cement his legacy as the most successful field general of all time, advancing to his 7th Super Bowl.

With a victory for Manning, it would be his 4th trip to the big dance. But unlike Brady, Manning has led two different teams to the promise land, something no other person has ever done. Two with the Colts and it would be two with the Broncos.

19310_243bFitting that Manning has played for two teams with horses as their mascots. How appropriate would it be if he defeated his arch nemesis, and secured a chance to ride off into the sunset?

Manning could capture a chance to win perhaps the last game of his career, and retire a champion; a similar conclusion to the career to another famous Broncos quarterback you all might know.

And so…they meet again.

The Real Fight of the Century

I think we can all agree that the Mayweather-Pacquiao mega-fight was a mega-flop.

Fight of the Century? I think not. I’ve seen chess matches with more allure than that sorry excuse for a title fight.bayern-munich-barcelona-600x337

But there was another matchup of titans recently that did indeed live up to the hype. And it was in a sport, just like boxing, that’s not exactly American’s golden child.

I am talking about the semi-finals of the Champions league, which pits the best soccer teams on the planet in a super-tournament of all the elite teams from the elite leagues in Europe. Spanish giant Barcelona and German behemoth Bayern Munich are currently entrenched in the real fight of the century. Continue reading