After beating the Cleveland Browns today, Mike Tomlin has his Pittsburgh Steelers sitting at 7-5. That 7-5 record is currently good enough for the Steelers to occupy the sixth spot in the AFC playoff picture.
Since becoming the head coach of the Steelers back in 2007, Tomlin has never finished a season with a losing record. Once again, Tomlin has his Steelers in position to finish with a winning record, needing just one more win this season to finish at least 8-8. If the Steelers do in fact finish this season with a winning record, it would mark the 13th straight season Tomlin’s Steelers have done so.
Although the Steelers are on track for their 13th straight winning season under Tomlin, this one has been a little different than most. To start off the season, the Steelers took a beating from the New England Patriots, losing 33-3. They then went on to lose their next two games to the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers.
By starting 0-3, the Pittsburgh Steelers had everyone thinking they were one of the worst teams in the NFL. It was fair to think so, as they lost starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for the season after their second game. More often than not, teams don’t do well when their starting quarterback goes down.
It certainly looked like the Steelers were doomed without their starting quarterback. With backup quarterback Mason Rudolph in, the Steelers got their first win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 4, but they then went on to lose to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 5, putting them at 1-4 through five weeks.
To make things even worse, Rudolph got hurt against the Ravens and was set to miss the next game, meaning the Steelers would have their third string quarterback in the game. Instead of refusing to quit and call the season a loss, Tomlin put together the perfect game plan for his third string quarterback, Devlin Hodges, to go in a beat the Los Angeles Chargers. It was with that win I knew the Steelers weren’t done just yet. The Chargers aren’t a great team this season, but how often do teams win games with their third string quarterbacks? Almost never.
Over the next three weeks, Tomlin led the Steelers to three straight wins over the Dolphins, Colts and Rams with Rudolph back in the lineup. However, he lost starting running back James Conner to injury for two of those games.
Then there was the first of two games between the Steelers and Browns. The Steelers lost this game, but it wasn’t just the game they lost. They also lost starting center Maurkice Pouncey for two games because of the fight that broke out in the final minute of the game.
After losing that game to the Browns, Tomlin has led the Steelers to two straight wins over the Bengals and Browns. Over these two games, things looked even worse for the Steelers going in. Against both the Bengals and Browns, the Steelers didn’t have starting wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. Starting running back James Conner was also out for those two games after returning for their first game against the Browns.
Then there’s the fact that Rudolph was benched against the Bengals for his horrible play. They won that game because Tomlin decided to put third string quarterback Devlin Hodges in for the second half. Hodges started the game against the Browns today, which resulted in a win.
So here’s a quick recap of what Tomlin has been working with, or more like without, to this point in the season:
10 games without starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger
Four games without starting running back James Conner
Two games without starting center Maurkice Pouncey
Two games without starting wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster
Two and a half games (benching) without backup quarterback Mason Rudolph
Tomlin has only had a full strength team in two games this season. Those were the first two games. Since then, Tomlin has had to deal with some sort of injury to a significant player every week, yet he’s led the Pittsburgh Steelers to a record of 7-3.
Regardless of if the Steelers end up making the playoffs or not, you have to admit that what Tomlin has been able to with this group of players is impressive.
I find it funny that just a season ago, there were rumors going around that Tomlin had lost control of the locker room. Many people wanted Tomlin out because of it. It’s pretty clear now that Tomlin never lost control of anything, he just had to deal with dramatic players such as Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell over the last couple of seasons, who did nothing but complain and be selfish regardless of results.
Remember, Tomlin is a Super Bowl winning coach. He’s also led the Steelers to a second Super Bowl appearance. It’s not every day a team has as many injuries to overcome as the Steelers have had this season, but it’s not every day you get a coach who can win with all those injuries either. If you don’t respect Tomlin already, start now, because he’s one of the best coaches in the NFL. Not many can do what he’s doing.
The Redskins have been able to put up a fight in a couple games this season, but when it comes down to it, they just can’t sustain that play for an entire game. The Vikings have been rolling and will continue that this week with a win over the Redskins.
Seahawks @ Falcons
Reports are that the Falcons are open to making some trades after a terrible start to their season. That has proven to be true so far, as they traded away receiver Mohamed Sanu. The Falcons got weaker, and now they take on a Seattle team looking to rebound after a tough loss. Wilson is still a leader in the MVP race, and will surely do everything he can for his team to earn a victory.
Chargers @ Bears
The Chargers just can’t seem to get it done. It’ll be tough to get it done against one of the best defensive teams in the NFL. After seeing the Chargers get dominated by tough defensive units this season, I have no doubt the Bears can do the same thing.
Giants @ Lions
Despite dropping two straight games, I believe the Lions are still one of the most competitive teams in the league right now. The Giants are still the Giants, even with the return of Saquon Barkley.
Jets @ Jaguars
The Jets got dominated by the Patriots last week, primarily because of the Patriots’ defense. The Jaguars have a very competitive defense, and I think we’ll see Sam Darnold make some more key mistakes.
Bengals @ Rams
The Bengals are in the race to be the worst team in the league this season. I’ll leave it at that.
Buccaneers @ Titans
I feel like the Titans have the perfect defense to pick off Jameis Winston a few times. If that happens, I see a second straight victory for them.
Eagles @ Bills
The Bills are good this season primarily because of their tough defense. Dallas’ defense gave the Eagles fits last week, and I can honestly see the Bills doing the same thing to them this week. The Eagles have been inconsistent this season though, so maybe we’ll see the competitive Eagles this week instead of the team that got dominated a week ago.
Broncos @ Colts
Jacoby Brissett has quietly been one of the better quarterbacks in the league this season. On the other side, Joe Flacco has been one of the most mediocre quarterbacks. I’ll take the better one.
Cardinals @ Saints
The Saints are at home against a rookie quarterback. Kyler Murray looks promising, but he doesn’t look getting a win at New Orleans promising just yet.
Panthers @ 49ers
The Panthers have been performing well lately, but they haven’t played a defense like the one the 49ers boast. Carolina will do some nice things, but the 49ers should continue their undefeated streak.
Raiders @ Texans
The Raiders got their trash kicked on defense last week against the Packers. They now play another team with the ability to score a lot of points. If the Raiders can even just slow down Watson and the Texans, they stand a chance. I don’t see that happening though.
Browns @ Patriots
There should be no question about the Patriots winning this game. Mayfield has thrown way too many interceptions this season, and the Patriots have a ton of interceptions. That doesn’t add up for the Browns.
Packers @ Chiefs (Sunday night)
This one is simple. No Patrick Mahomes against Aaron Rodgers spells bad news for the Chiefs.
Dolphins @ Steelers (Monday night)
The Steelers should get Mason Rudolph back for this game, which only makes them stronger offensively. In their last game, being strong on offense didn’t matter, as their defense dominated. I foresee their defense dominating once again, helping them earn another win.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the Bears and Packers face off in their first game of the season. It was just last season we saw the division rivals in a Week 1 matchup. The Bears held a 20-0 lead on the Packers with just over four minutes to go in the third quarter. What came next was Aaron Rodgers at his finest. Rodgers led the Packers back to a 24-23 victory.
Anything can happen when Aaron Rodgers is on the field. However, the Packers have a very different team than they had a season ago. Between coaching and player changes, this is a very different Packers team. Although the Bears made a few changes as well, they feature the NFL’s best defense from a season ago. Can the Packers come together with all their new pieces, or will the Bears’ defense get the best of them?
Chiefs @ Jaguars
After missing the playoffs last season, the Jacksonville Jaguars aim to make it back this year. A win against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs would certainly place them in the playoff conversation early on. This offense should get back to its 2018 form because of a healthy Leonard Fournette. He’ll carry the load for this offense once again, but there are still question marks surrounding the passing game. Nick Foles is an upgrade at quarterback, but their doesn’t seem to be a number one receiver for this offense. If the offense can’t move the ball, they’ll have to rely on their defense, who didn’t get as much credit as they deserved last season.
Although the Jaguars have one of the best defensive units in the league, they’ll face a tough test against the electrifying offense of the Chiefs. With Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill, they’re already hard enough to stop. Now they’ve added Shady McCoy to the mix, as if they weren’t hard enough to stop already.
Falcons @ Vikings
The Vikings didn’t get what they were hoping for from quarterback Kirk Cousins last season. Now it’s time for Cousins to step up and prove he was worth the investment. Their offensive line should be better, and running back Dalvin Cook is back and healthy. This adds dynamics they didn’t have a season ago.
For the Falcons, they’ll be looking to regain their form defensively after suffering many significant injuries on that side of the ball last season. In 2017, they were a top eight defense, but they fell all the way to 25th last season. With a healthy team, can they regain their form defensively. We’re not worried about the offense.
Titans @ Browns
This is probably one of, if not the most anticipated Browns opener in the history of their franchise. Baker Mayfield looks to have a strong second season. They added Odell Beckham Jr. to their group of receivers. Their backfield is absolutely loaded. This defense is led by one of the best pass rushers in the league in Myles Garrett. Is this finally the year the Browns make it back to the playoffs. That’s been the talk all offseason. Now let’s see if they can back it up against the third best defense in the NFL last season.
We know what the Titans can do on defense, but questions remain about their offense. Can Derrick Henry pick up where he left off? He started off slow last season, but was one of the best runners in the league the second half of the season. They’ll need him to start off fast for this offense to get going. Then there’s Marcus Mariota. Can he finally take the next step? If he can, can he stay healthy long enough to take that step? We’ll see how they look against a Brown defense that should be much improved from a season ago.
Bills @ Jets
With McCoy no longer part of their offense, the Bills will lean more heavily on second year quarterback Josh Allen. Last season, Allen completed just 52.8% of his passes, throwing more interceptions than touchdowns in 12 games. If the Bills really are going to rely on Allen to carry this offense, they’re going to need much more from him than what they got a season ago.
The Jets also have a second year quarterback in Sam Darnold, who will also be relied upon to carry this team. Darnold was better than Allen last season, but not by much. He completed 57.7% of his passes. He did throw more touchdowns than interceptions, but not by much, throwing 17 touchdowns to his 15 picks. Look for the winner of this game to be the team who has the best second year quarterback. Will Allen or Darnold step up?
Ravens @ Dolphins
After trading away some of their best players recently, the Dolphins look to be in perfect tanking form. Maybe they know something we don’t. They do have Ryan FitzMagic as their quarterback, but if this Ravens defense is anything like it was a season ago, there’s a greater chance we’re going to see FitzTragic instead.
Lamar Jackson looked much improved in the preseason, but now it’s time to really put him to the test. After the Dolphins were second in the league in interceptions last season (21), we know their defense is no slouch. Will we see Jackson simply using his legs to make plays, or will he show us he’s made strides as a passer? This game will be a good first test for Jackson and his receivers.
Redskins @ Eagles
Case Keenum won the starting quarterback job over rookie Dwayne Haskins. How long can he keep it? He has a tough first test against the Philadelphia Eagles, who are looking to regain their title as the NFC East division champs. While how long Keenum can keep his starting job is the question for the Redskins, how long Carson Wentz can stay healthy for the Eagles is a question. We know Carson Wentz can play at a high level when he’s on the field, and we expect him to do so to start the season, but can he be there the entire year? We’ll keep an eye on him as the season goes on.
Although most people are picking the Eagles in this game, we can’t count out the Redskins. This team was leading the division before Alex Smith got hurt last season. With a solid quarterback once again, can the defense carry the load for this team? They look to be one of the best defensive units in the NFL this season.
Rams @ Panthers
After their offense was held in check by the Patriots in the Super Bowl, the Rams want to come out and prove they can bounce back. With a healthy Todd Gurley back and a recently paid Jared Goff, expect nothing less than what we saw from the Rams during the regular season last year. This was the second best scoring team in the league last season, and we expect them to be right there once again.
The Rams’ 20th ranked defense from a season ago remains the biggest question, but they have a great chance to get off on the right foot against Cam Newton and the Panthers. The Panthers can be good on offense, but it only seems to happen when Cam Newton is healthy. He’s coming back from an ankle injury during preseason. Will he be 100% come game time? We shall see.
Colts @ Chargers
Both teams are missing key players heading into this game. Andrew Luck recently retired, leaving the Colts a hole at the quarterback spot. However, the Colts are smart to have Jacoby Brissett as their backup. He’s an experienced guy who may be able to keep this offense afloat.
On the other hand, the Chargers are missing one of the better running backs in the league in Melvin Gordon. No progress has been made on a new deal, and Gordon will miss games until he gets what he wants.
Bengals @ Seahawks
Bengals star wide receiver A.J. Green isn’t playing in the season opener. It’s unfortunate, because injuries seem to be a very common problem for the Bengals recently. Green is their best player, and without him, can Andy Dalton get this offense going? It’ll be tough to do against a Seattle defense who ranked 11th in the league last season. This defense also added two dynamic pass rushers this offseason in Ezekiel Ansah and Jadeveon Clowney. Can the Bengals hold up along the offensive line long enough to give Dalton time to throw? Oh, and then there’s Russell Wilson, who’s one of the best quarterbacks in the league. He got paid this offseason, and he’ll continue showing us why this year.
Giants @ Cowboys
Feed Zeke! The Dallas Cowboys open their season at home against their division rivals. To make it even better, Ezekiel Elliott will be on the field after signing a six-year, $90 million contract to make him the NFL’s highest paid running back. This will also give us our first real look at a Dak Prescott who’s on a mission to prove he’s among the NFL’s best quarterbacks. Don’t forget about this defense. Last season they were the NFL’s sixth best defense, but they want more this year.
For the Giants, the play of Eli Manning will be closely monitored. He’s got rookie quarterback Daniel Jones breathing down his neck for the starting job, so he needs to perform well. Can he do it after the Giants got rid of their best receiver in Odell Beckham Jr.? Manning has Saquon Barkley in the backfield, but his worst performance came against the Cowboys last season. Can Dallas shut him down once again?
49ers @ Buccaneers
Is this the year the 49ers make their way back to relevance? Jimmy Garoppolo is back and ready to play at a high level. Can this team finally put things together under Kyle Shanahan? We’ll see how it all comes together.
The 49ers take on a team also wanting to put things together. With Bruce Arians now in Tampa Bay, will this be the year Jameis Winston finally takes the next step and lives up to his draft status? How far this team goes will all be dependent on how Winston progresses under Arians.
Lions @ Cardinals
The debut of the number one overall pick, Kyler Murray, is upon us! We finally get to see how Murray will adjust to the NFL game. He looked good at times during the preseason, but he also had some struggles. Can he put it all together against the Lions, or will it take him more time to get things going?
It’ll also be a challenge for Murray going against veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford. Although the Lions weren’t a great team last season, this will be their second year under Head Coach Matt Patricia. Will another offseason in his system change how this team performs?
Steelers @ Patriots (Sunday night)
The reigning Super Bowl champs take on a Steelers team who has been trying to get past them for several seasons now. However, this Steelers team looks a little different, as now they no longer have Antonio Brown. We finally get to see how things will look with JuJu Smith-Schuster as Big Ben’s number one target, but they’ll need more than him to step up for this passing game to be effective. Who will step up for this offense?
There’s not much to worry about for the Patriots. They no longer have Rob Gronkowski, but we all know the Patriots are the best at using the strengths of the players they do have.
Texans @ Saints (Monday night)
After starting off the season 0-3 last year, the Houston Texans ended up winning their division and finishing 11-5. This year they’ll look to have a much better start, but it’ll be tough against the New Orleans Saints, especially with the Saints at home. However, the Texans feel like they’ve made some moves that can take them to the next level. Their biggest problem last season was their offensive line, as Deshaun Watson was sacked more than any other quarterback in the league. They’ve recently addressed that problem by trading for Laremy Tunsil. They hope he solidifies their offensive line. If they can fix that problem, they’re in good shape.
For the Saints, this season feels like a revenge tour of sorts. Not against the Texans, but against everyone standing in their way of a Super Bowl title. We all know they should have gone to the Super Bowl last season, but a blown no call stood in their way. This year they don’t care who it is, they plan on lighting them up. It will be a tough start against a Texans defense who ranked fourth in the NFL last season.
Broncos @ Raiders (Monday night)
We’ll finally get to see Antonio Brown take the field with the Oakland Raiders. What will he do to create attention for himself this time? We all know Brown has caused many distractions this offseason. How will that impact the Raiders on the field? I can’t help but think it’s going to cause problems. We’ll see how Brown reacts the first time Derek Carr doesn’t throw him the ball.
The Broncos don’t have an Antonio Brown level distraction, but they do have a new quarterback in Joe Flacco. Can Flacco take this offense to a new level this season? The defense of the Broncos was good last year, but their offense couldn’t do enough to help them out. With a defense that should be one of the best once again, can the offense give them enough help?
The 2019 NFL Scouting Combine starts tomorrow! That means we’re one step closer to the 2019 NFL Draft. Being closer to the NFL Draft can only mean one thing. An NFL Mock Draft! Who doesn’t love an NFL mock draft?
My first 2019 NFL Mock Draft comes before the combine, meaning my NFL mock draft picks are based on where teams view prospects as of right now, as well as team needs. Which player(s) will your favorite team land in the first-round this year?
Pre-Combine NFL mock draft
1. Arizona Cardinals: DE Nick Bosa, Ohio State
There’s a lot of speculation around the Cardinals ending the Josh Rosen experiment early to take QB Kyler Murray. It’s a real possibility that does happen, but I’m not sure it’ll be with the first overall pick. If the Cardinals are looking to draft Murray, they could trade down a few spots with teams who aren’t looking for a QB. For this NFL mock draft, the Cardinals are picking first. That means they’re going to, or at least should take the best player in the draft. That player is Nick Bosa.
2. San Fransisco 49ers: DT Quinnen Williams, Alabama
DT may not be the biggest need for the 49ers, but it’ll be extremely hard for them to pass on Quinnen Williams. Williams is more than just a DT. He can play all along the defensive line. It didn’t really matter where he played at Alabama, he dominated. The 49ers have the second pick, and should take the second best player in the draft.
3. New York Jets: DE Josh Allen, Kentucky
One of the biggest needs the Jets have this offseason comes along the offensive line. Sam Darnold needs more protection. The problem with that is, is there an offensive lineman in this class who’s worth taking at No. 3 overall? Most people would say no. With that being the case, the Jets can look to fill that need in a later round. With the third overall pick, they’ll choose to fill another need by getting one of the best pass rushers in the draft. The Jets weren’t horrible at pass rush last season, totaling 39.0 sacks on the season. However, they definitely need to get better on the edge with an elite pass rusher, as no player on their defense had more than 7.0 sacks this past season. Josh Allen is a big, explosive pass rusher who the Jets desperately need on their defensive line.
4. Oakland Raiders: DE Rashan Gary, Michigan
Oakland’s pass rush was almost non existent last season, recording a league low 13.0 sacks the entire season. Finding an edge rusher who can make an immediate impact for this defense should be their number one priority. With three first-round picks, I could see a possibility of Oakland moving up to land Nick Bosa, but this NFL mock draft doesn’t include trades. Regardless of if they stay put or move up, a DE will likely be their first selection. I also think Gary would make a nice addition next to former teammate Maurice Hurst.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: CB Greedy Williams, LSU
Greedy Williams has been highly ranked throughout the season, but many question some of his abilities. How he does at the combine will heavily determine where he’s drafted, but for now, we’ll keep him here. Williams sticks out because of his 6’3″, 183 lbs size. We all know how much teams are loving those bigger CBs in today’s NFL. Williams can help the Bucs fix one of their biggest problems from a season ago. In terms of pass defense, this team was bad. They gave up the seventh most passing yards per game last season. In addition to that, they allowed the highest passer rating to opposing QBs. Greedy Williams can instantly improve a pass defense that mightily struggled.
6. New York Giants: QB Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State
I know there’s some speculation about the Giants sticking with Eli Manning, but I think that’d be a mistake. If they do stick with Manning as the starter, it’s time to get a guy who can take over for him when they finally realize they’re not going anywhere with Eli. Dwayne Haskins is the top QB in this class, so the Giants should pull the trigger on him here.
Who really knows where Kyler Murray will go? He could go first overall. He could go in the later part of the first. I think a team with an early pick will see his potential and take him. If the Jaguars know what’s good for them, they’ll take a QB here. They could go with guys like Drew Lock or Daniel Jones, but I’m not sure they’re the right fit for the Jaguars. I’m also not sure they’re worth drafting this high. I believe Murray is the right fit for this team and is worth taking at this spot.
8. Detroit Lions: DE Clelin Ferrell, Clemson
There’s a good chance the Lions will be losing Ezekiel Ansah, who is their best pass rusher. That means they’ll have to find an elite pass rusher in the draft who can take his spot. That pass rusher is Clelin Ferrell. Ferrell was highly effective during his time with Clemson. I think he can come into the NFL and produce right away.
9. Buffalo Bills: OT Jawaan Taylor, Florida
There are many options for the Bills with this pick, but I think addressing the offensive line is the best one. They’ve got their so called franchise QB, although I don’t think that’s the case. Anyway, if they want Josh Allen to develop into who they think he can be, they need to protect him better. The Bills gave up 41 sacks last season. That’s too many for a young QB who struggles with accuracy. He needs protection and he needs it now.
10. Denver Broncos: WR Marquise Brown, Oklahoma
It looks like the Broncos are rolling with Joe Flacco this coming season. For Flacco to be effective in Denver, he needs to have weapons. After shipping DeMaryius Thomas away, that left the Broncos with Emmanuel Sanders and Courtland Sutton as the top two weapons. Sutton had a good rookie season and should continue to grow, but Sanders tore his achilles not too long ago. Even if he does return next season, he likely won’t be the same player. Having a big receiver in Sutton will be nice, but now they need a speed guy to take the top off the defense. Maybe Antonio Brown’s cousin Marquise Brown can be that guy.
11. Cincinnati Bengals: QB Drew Lock, Missouri
Cincinnati may continue to roll with Andy Dalton at QB, but I believe they should end the Dalton era and move on to someone else. I’m still not sure how I feel about Drew Lock as an NFL QB, but he’s thought of as one of the top QBs in the draft by many. With Haskins and Murray off the board in this NFL mock draft, Lock is the best QB option for the Bengals with the 11th pick.
12. Green Bay Packers: DE Montez Sweat, Mississippi State
The Packers could go multiple ways here, but I think their best bet is to go with an edge rusher. This team recorded 44.0 sacks last season, but there never seemed to be the constant edge pressure teams like to have at the position. I believe Montez Sweat can be just as good as the DEs predicted to go ahead of him. He can be a constant pressure to opposing QBs, which will help out the young secondary of the Packers in a big way.
13. Miami Dolphins: QB Daniel Jones, Duke
If the Dolphins haven’t realized that Ryan Tannehill isn’t going to take them anywhere by now, I don’t know when they will. Tannehill has always been destined to be a quality backup QB, but not a franchise QB. It’s time for the Dolphins to move on from him. It might be a bit of a stretch taking Daniel Jones 13th overall, so they could trade down, but again, this NFL mock draft doesn’t cover potential trades. However, if they feel like he or another QB still on the board can be their true franchise QB, they have to pull the trigger.
14. Atlanta Falcons: DT Ed Oliver, Houston
There’s a possibility DT Grady Jarrett could be gone this offseason. If that’s the case, that would be a huge blow to the Falcons on defense, meaning they’d need to find his replacement. If he stays, drafting another DT won’t hurt either. Ed Oliver is projected as one of the better players in this draft by many. Some have him top two. I’ve seen others rank him around this spot. We’ll have to wait and see how he tests to get a more accurate feel for where he’ll go. I believe he’ll do well and move way up in my next NFL mock draft. If he does land here, the Falcons would be getting a top notch player who can help this defense, regardless of if Grady Jarrett sticks around.
15. Washington Redskins: WR D.K. Metcalf, Ole Miss
The Washington Redskins have been looking for a number one receiver for a while now, so it makes perfect sense for them to target one of the top receivers in this draft. D.K. Metcalf has the size to be a dominant receiver in this league, especially in the red zone. I think his fellow Ole Miss receiver A.J. Brown might be a better prospect right now, but Metcalf definitely has the potential to be a great NFL receiver. With questions at QB, it would also make sense for them to target a top QB in this draft, but they’ll likely have to trade up to get the guy they want. In this NFL mock draft, all the first-round worthy QBs are already off the board.
16. Carolina Panthers: LB Devin White, LSU
The Carolina Panthers won’t be getting Thomas Davis back next year, which means they have a hole to fill at LB. Enter Devin White. White is a big, athletic LB who could step in and fill the open spot left by Davis from day one. There may be other needs the Panthers need to fill, but I think it’ll be too hard to pass on Devin White if he’s available here.
17. Cleveland Browns: CB Byron Murphy, Washington
There are several ways the Browns could go here. They could solidify their offensive line. They could choose to get a true number one WR for Baker Mayfield. Or they could choose to draft one of the best CBs in this draft and pair him with last year’s No. 4 overall pick, Denzel Ward. Ward played exceptionally well for the Browns last season, and it looks like he’s going to be a great CB for years to come. Now the Browns need to find a guy who can play alongside Ward for years to come. Byron Murphy has all the tools to be great CB in the NFL. The CB tandem of Ward and Murphy could be scary a couple years down the road.
18. Minnesota Vikings: OT Jonah Williams, Alabama
There’s no question in my mind what position the Vikings need to address in the first-round. That position is offensive line. It doesn’t matter if they go OT or G, they just need offensive line help. With no Gs really having the first-round pedigree in this class, OT looks like the choice. Jonah Williams is one of, if not the best OT in this draft class. He would instantly upgrade the Vikings’ offensive line, helping them protect their big investment in Kirk Cousins.
19. Tennessee Titans: WR N’Keal Harry, Arizona State
The Titans had a great defense last season, but their offense held them back. Derrick Henry didn’t get going until late in the season. Hopefully he can carry that over into next season, but even if he does, Marcus Mariota still needs more weapons. The Titans’ leading receiver last season was Corey Davis, who had 891 yards and four TDs. He improved a lot last season, and should continue to improve. Delanie Walker should be back at TE, but the Titans still need more, which is why I have them drafting a top WR in N’Keal Harry. He and Davis could be a scary duo down the road.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers: WR A.J. Brown, Ole Miss
If the Steelers really are parting ways with Antonio Brown, they’re going to need someone to fill his spot. Nobody is going to step right in and produce the way he did, but they need someone with potential to do so down the road. For now, JuJu Smith-Schuster is going to be the number one receiver. He had a great season, but will he be able to produce the same without Brown demanding so much attention? Pittsburgh needs to draft a receiver who can come in and take the pressure off JuJu.
21. Seattle Seahawks: DT Christian Wilkins, Clemson
Despite the Seahawks being very good defensively last season, the middle of their defensive line needs a little bit of work. They have some nice pieces on their defensive line, but they need more help. You can never have too many pass rushers. Christian Wilkins is a guy who can not only be an effective pass rusher on the inside, but a guy who can also make big plays against the run. He would help solidify the young defensive line the Seahawks have.
22. Baltimore Ravens: WR Riley Ridley, Georgia
John Brown led the Ravens in receiving last season, recording 715 yards and five TDs. In order for Lamar Jackson to develop as a passer, the Ravens have to surround him with receiving threats. Riley Ridley didn’t put up huge numbers in college, but he projects to be a better pro than college player. He has all the tools he needs to be an effective receiver. He may not produce right away, but he would provide Lamar Jackson with a young receiver to grow alongside of.
23. Houston Texans: OT Andre Dillard, Washington State
After allowing Deshaun Watson so be sacked more times than other QB last season, the Texans must make offensive line their priority in the first-round. Andre Dillard could step in right away and increase protection for the Texans’ franchise QB. Their line was so bad last season, I might even consider moving up in the draft to try and get one of the top two OTs if I were them. If they choose to stay put, Andre Dillard is another great OT prospect who should develop into a really solid NFL starter.
24. Oakland Raiders (From Chicago Bears): LB Devin Bush, Michigan
After getting Rashan Gary with the fourth pick, the Raiders will come right back to Michigan for their second selection in the first-round. Not only is this another selection of a Michigan player, but it’s a selection of another defender. Improving the pass rush will help the Raiders defensively, but they’ll need a lot more than that. This defense gave up the most points in the league last season. LB is also a need after getting rid of Khalil Mack. I’m not saying Devin Bush is Khalil Mack, but he is a solid LB with the tools teams want from the position. Bush may be a little undersized, but he makes up for it with his play. If he has a good performance at the NFL Combine, Bush could move up in my next NFL mock draft.
25. Philadelphia Eagles: RB Josh Jacobs, Alabama
Philadelphia is in need of an upgrade at the RB position this offseason. Jay Ajayi is coming off a torn ACL and is set to be a free agent. Darren Sproles missed a lot of last season and is also set to be a free agent. The Eagles still have Corey Clement, but he’s also coming off a knee injury. There’s not a guy on that roster right now who you could consider a true workhorse RB. Alabama RB Josh Jacobs is considered the top RB in this draft class. He has all the tools and skills a team could want from their workhorse RB. He should be able to provide Carson Wentz with the run game he needs to get back to his MVP form.
26. Indianapolis Colts: DE Jachai Polite, Florida
Indianapolis improved defensively throughout the course of the season, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t holes to fill. For this defense to take the next step, they have to get a more consistent pass rush. Last season they ranked 19th in sacks, totaling 38.0. If this defense is going to be taken seriously, they have to find a guy who can be their consistent pass rusher. Jachai Polite had 11.0 sacks last season. Before that, he had only recorded 4.0 sacks in two seasons. That’s why he’s ranked lower than the other top pass rushers, but you can see the potential and growth is there.
27. Oakland Raiders (From Dallas Cowboys): CB Rock Ya-Sin, Temple
Now that the Raiders have taken care of their front seven with their first two picks, it’s time to take care of the back end of their defense. Oakland actually ranked 14th in passing yards allowed last season, which is good considering how bad this defense was, but it’s not good enough. Oakland needs a CB who can develop into a shut down guy. CB Rock Ya-Sin might not be well known because of where he played football, but NFL fans will soon know his name. He’s got great ball skills and natural instincts. His 6’2″, 190 lbs size will also be something he can use against bigger receivers in the NFL.
28. Los Angeles Chargers: OT Cody Ford, Oklahoma
The Chargers actually did pretty well along the offensive line last season, until late in the year. As the Chargers began to play some of the better defensive teams, it became more clear the offensive line needed some work. The LT position is in good shape right now, but the RT position could use an upgrade. In order for the Chargers to stay competitive, they have to keep Philip Rivers upright as much as possible.
29. Kansas City Chiefs: CB Deandre Baker, Georgia
The secondary for the Chiefs was absolutely terrible last season. Their defense totaled 52.0 sacks, which was tied for the most in the league, but even with the pressure put on opposing QBs, the secondary always let them down. Giving up the second most passing yards per game is not a good way to help out one of the best offense’s in the league. I’m not worried about the offense at all, but something has to be done about the secondary. Georgia CB Deandre Baker can help with that.
30. Green Bay Packers (From New Orleans Saints): TE T.J. Hockenson, Iowa
Packers fans might be pushing for a WR at this spot, but in this NFL mock draft, there’s not a guy left who’s worth taking here. Instead, the Packers will go another route in this NFL mock draft to give Aaron Rodgers a weapon. I know the Packers already have Jimmy Graham, but there’s nothing wrong with having two TEs who can make plays. T.J. Hockenson might not be as athletic as his Iowa teammate TE Noah Fant, but he’s more polished as a TE in the areas of receiving and blocking. He does both very well. I’m sure Aaron Rodgers could find creative ways to use him.
31. Los Angeles Rams: S Jonathan Abram, Mississippi State
There’s a good chance Lamarcus Joyner won’t be returning to this team next season. If that’s the case, they’ll need to find a replacement. Even if Joyner does return, it’s not like he had the greatest season last year. The Rams can use an upgrade at S regardless. Jonathan Abram is the top ranked S in the draft by many, so a team in need of a S, such as the Rams, would be wise to target him with their first pick.
32. New England Patriots: TE Noah Fant, Iowa
I can honestly see the Patriots trading out of this spot, but they’ll stay put for this NFL mock draft. With their selection, the Super Bowl champs get the other Iowa TE with the final pick in the first-round. Noah Fant may not be as polished all-around as T.J. Hockenson, but he’s a big bodied TE who’s a great receiving threat. With questions about the future of Rob Gronkowski, drafting a TE would be a good direction for the Patriots to go. If Gronk doesn’t stick around, they’ll have a potential replacement. If he does stick around, they’ll have another receiving threat for Brady. We’ve seen two TEs be heavily involved for the Patriots before and work out nicely on the field.
As is always the case after the NFL Scouting Combine, things will change based on how players perform, so keep an eye out for my second 2019 NFL Mock Draft shortly after the combine wraps up!
What did you think of your teams’ selection(s) in my first NFL mock draft of the season? Comment below who you’d have your team taking in an NFL mock draft below!
Le’Veon Bell will finally become a free agent! After watching their star RB sit out last season because of his contract, the Pittsburgh Steelers are moving on. Reports are that Bell will become a free agent after the Steelers say they won’t use any tags on him. Le’Veon Bell will soon be able to choose where he’d like to next play football.
As an RB who’s obviously demanding a lot of money, Bell’s options are somewhat limited on where he can go. Because of his high salary demand, many have cited the following list in reference to Bell’s name. Why? This list holds the names of the top 10 teams with the most cap space this offseason. Chances are, Le’Veon Bell’s next destination is somewhere on this list.
Just because these 10 teams have the most cap space, it doesn’t mean they’re necessarily the best landing spot for Le’Veon Bell. Not only is Bell wanting a high salary, he’s likely looking for a place where he can dominate carries, and more importantly, win football games. That limits the options on the above list. We’re going to break down this top 10 list, ultimately coming up with the best landing spot for Le’Veon Bell.
Round 1: Winning (Potential)
Of the list of top 10 teams with the most cap space, how many teams can really offer Le’Veon Bell a winning situation? The Colts, Texans, Seahawks and Cowboys were all in the playoffs this past season, so they automatically make it on to the next round.
Just because a team wasn’t in the playoffs last season, it doesn’t mean they can’t offer a winning situation. The Cleveland Browns were much improved this past season, and will likely continue their upward trend after a string a great moves last offseason. They’re an intriguing option, so we’ll move them on to round 2. The Jets only won four games a season ago, but Sam Darnold showed why he’s the next franchise QB for the Jets. They should be much improved next season, and Bell could help them get there, so we’ll include them too.
If I’m including the Jets, I have to include the 49ers. They were also 4-12 last season, but that was without their starting QB for most of the year. With Garoppolo back and some good moves this offseason, they should be much more competitive next season.
That leaves us with the Bills, Raiders and Bengals. Does anyone want to play for the Bills? No. Raiders? Definitely no. Bengals? I don’t think so. These three get eliminated, while seven teams move on in their quest to be the best landing spot for Le’Veon Bell.
Round 2: Bulk of the carries
We’ve got the Colts, Texans, Seahawks, Cowboys, Browns, Jets and 49ers left. Let’s get rid of some easy eliminations in this round. Which teams already have a featured RB?
Cowboys: Dallas has Ezekiel Elliott. I think Le’Veon Bell could fit in with this offense if used correctly, but he’s not going to want to share time with Zeke.
Browns: They’ve got a young RB in Nick Chubb. They also just signed RB Kareem Hunt. Not enough room for Bell in this backfield.
Texans: Lamar Miller and Alfred Blue make a pretty good combination. I don’t see room for Bell here.
Seahawks: Seattle has a 1,000 yard rusher in Chris Carson. They also have Mike Davis and Rashad Penny, who both ran for over 400 yards last season. Russell Wilson with Le’Veon Bell would be dangerous, but I don’t see it happening.
One could argue the Colts could be eliminated, but I’m not sure Marlon Mack is a true starting RB. I think he’s more of a really good backup. Four more teams have been eliminated, leaving us with the Colts, Jets and 49ers as the potential teams to be named the best landing spot for Le’Veon Bell.
Round 3: Best QB
The third and final round is too easy. The Colts have Andrew Luck, the Jets have Sam Darnold and the 49ers have Jimmy Garoppolo. Going back to round 1, I gave the Jets and 49ers a pass because of their potential to win, but that heavily depends on how well Darnold processes and how well Garoppolo comes back from his injury.
If Le’Veon Bell wants to play with the best QB available, picking the Colts is the easy choice. An Andrew Luck and Le’Veon Bell combination would be lethal. Throw in T.Y. Hilton and Eric Ebron. Don’t forget about Marlon Mack being the backup RB. That’s quite the combination.
The Indianapolis Colts are the best landing spot for Le’Veon Bell. They can give him everything he wants. They’ve got the most money to spend, a place where he can dominate carries, one of the best QBs in the league, and a place where he can win football games and have a real chance at competing for a Super Bowl title.
It’s not my decision to make, but if I’m Le’Veon Bell, the Indianapolis Colts are the team I’m pushing to play for.
A little over a week removed from the Super Bowl, the NFL is proving there truly is no offseason. Though we’re well removed from match-up previews and making our picks, the NFL is still reeling from some major headlines that could have major implications on the 2019 season.
Kyler Murray all in on a career in the NFL
“I am firmly and fully committing my life and time to becoming an NFL quarterback.”
That tweet took the sports world by storm yesterday. We all knew Kyler Murray had declared for the NFL draft, but questions were still looming about his dedication to football and if he would still entertain the idea of playing baseball for the Oakland Athletics.
Murray strongly got his point across on Twitter yesterday, and in turn is making NFL teams entertain the idea of Murray being an NFL quarterback a little more seriously. I’m willing to bet that any team in the market for a quarterback in 2019 is probably putting together trade packages for each of the top five teams in this year’s draft to see if they can move up and snag the Heisman Trophy winner.
Would that happen? From the looks of things, no.
As of right now, the Cardinals are on the clock. There are a lot of inside sources hinting at the possibility Arizona’s new Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury might pull the plug on the Josh Rosen experiment after only one year. He’d then pull the trigger on picking Murray number one overall. He even hinted to it back in 2018 when he was still at Texas Tech.
Youtube video provided by NFL Scrimmage.
As you can tell, Kingsbury has been high on Murray for quite sometime. He probably never thought he would have the opportunity to do good on his word and draft Kyler first overall. Time to see if Kingsbury’s word is true. Arizona really has nothing to lose at all if they actually do trade Rosen away. They are in a complete rebuild and are going to be do what it takes to build around their young coach, in hopes to mimic the success the Rams have seen.
Kareem Hunt gets second chance
“If a person wants to better themselves, and be a better person, I am willing to give them a chance…after all the deep research I have done I believe he will be a better man today than he was yesterday”
That quote was from Cleveland’s General Manager John Dorsey at yesterdays press conference, held in response to the Browns’ signing of Kareem Hunt. Hunt was released by Kansas City back in November when TMZ released a video of him shoving and kicking a woman in a hotel lobby. Dorsey showed his soft side yesterday, as he stated he is a true believer in second chances. They determined that Hunt is in fact remorseful for what he had done, that he has sought out professional help and counseling and he is proving he wants to be a better man.
Though there wasn’t any rock solid proof Hunt is truly remorseful for what happened that night (that was indicated by Dorsey’s strategic dance around reporters questions), all signs are pointing to the Browns have bought in on helping Hunt. Though a place where people’s careers usually die, Cleveland has a rare opportunity to reignite the former Pro Bowl RBs career.
The next few months will be telling for Hunt. Actions always speak louder than words. Though Dorsey was yelling from the roof tops yesterday that Hunt was remorseful and will be a better man at the end of this, still responsibility lands on Hunt to show everyone that it is true.
Antonio Brown makes it official on Twitter that he wants out of Pittsburgh
The Pittsburgh Steeler’s are starting to look more like a soap opera than a football team. Last season it was the Le’Veon Bell situation, which by the way still needs to be resolved. And now this, a tweet from Antonio Brown giving his farewell to SteelerNation when he hasn’t even left yet. Bold move by a bold person.
It has been made public by Brown that he wants out of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh though is not making any sudden moves when it comes to dealing the All-Pro Wide Receiver. Brown still has three years left on his current contract (4 year 68 million dollar extension). Trading him puts the Steelers in a conundrum financially. If they were to trade Brown before June 1st of this year, Pittsburgh’s cap savings would be very minimal. Moving Brown after June 1st would save them about 12 million dollars in cap space, but would result in nearly 10 million dollars of dead money in 2020. Pittsburgh reportedly is asking for a first round pick on top of other incentives in exchange for Brown.
We do know the Steeler’s do take their dear sweet time when it comes to these types of decisions. I do expect to see a lot more tweets from Brown like the one we saw over the course of the offseason.
But now it’s time to see who the greatest of all-time really is. Who’s the greatest quarterback? How about greatest coach-QB duo? In the next set of articles, we will be telling you exactly that.
First, we will look into the coaches that helped these QBs become great. Just keep in mind that not all coaches or QBs are on their individual list, so you will have to return back on Sunday to find out who the greatest QB of all-time is.
Until then, let’s get right into the list of coaches and QBs. Know that not all duos won Super Bowl titles, but still deserve to be recognized.
10. Mike Shannahan and John Elway, Denver Broncos (1995-1998)
These two made the most of their four seasons together. Shannahan could possibly be the main, if not only reason Elway was able to win two Super Bowls. They moved on from a defensive-minded head coach in Wade Phillips to focus more on the offense and QB John Elway.
It’s not that the Broncos were bad with Philips, but after failing to win two previous Super Bowls and Elway getting older, their time was running out. In their four years together, they won back-to-back Super Bowls. Elway did whatever he had to to get the first one, including a helicopter spin late in the game.
9. Joe Gibbs and Doug Williams, Washington Redskins (1986-1989)
These two were also together for a short four seasons and had success early. They only managed to get one Super Bowl title, but that one was history making, as Williams became the first African-American quarterback to win a Super Bowl. He also picked up MVP honors in the game after battling back from injury.
Williams had the capability to win games, but it wasn’t until he came to Washington to Gibbs where he started get the wins. One of which was against John Elway’s Broncos in Super Bowl XXII. Gibbs coached the Redskins to three total championships. One before and one after Williams was with the team. Had Williams came earlier in his career, there is no saying how many titles the two could have won.
8. Jimmy Johnson and Troy Aikman, Dallas Cowboys (1989-1993)
The ’80s was full of greater QBs. That will explain why there’s several of them on here. However, Aikman was part of a transition into the ’90s. The short time he was with coach Johnson, they had a lot of success, as they won two titles in four years. Aikman also had the Hall of Fame running back Emmit Smith running wild with him and Johnson. Had they all stayed together for a longer time, they might have already had the franchises 6th title.
7. Marv Levy and Jim Kelly, Buffalo Bills (1986-1996)
This was a great duo, as they dominated their division by winning it six out of 10 years. They even won four conference championships to get them into the Super Bowl four times, but they came up short in each one. The one that has to hurt the most is the one against Bill Parcells’ New York Giants, as they had a chance to kick the game-winning field goal, but it was wide right off the foot of K Scott Norwood.
They just simply couldn’t find themselves on the winning side of a Super Bowl, but that shouldn’t discredit them as one of the top duos, because it’s never easy to win the big one.
6. Don Shula and Dan Marino, Miami Dolphins (1983-1995)
Speaking of winning the big one, or failure to do so, the Miami Dolphins of the ’80s had several chances to get there. They, like the Bills, won their division five times. What makes it interesting is that both the Bills and Dolphins were in the division then as they are now. They combined for 11 of the 13 divisional titles.
But the Super Bowl appearances and titles is not impressive. Despite having coach Shula and Dan Marino together for 12 years, the Dolphins only made it to one Super Bowl in which they lost. But the individual success of Marino himself had helped the Dolphins be successful. It wasn’t without the coaching of Shula to get him there.
5. Tom Landry and Roger Staubach, Dallas Cowboys (1969-1979)
The earlier stages of the the Super Bowl era featured a lot of the Dallas Cowboys and Roger Staubach. Staubach and coach Landry won several division championships in the 10 years they were together. At which time, they had made it to the Super Bowl five times, winning it twice. If Staubach hadn’t left for the military during the middle of his playing career, we might have been able to see more from this duo.
4. Chuck Noll and Terry Bradshaw, Pittsburgh Steelers (1970-1983)
One of the teams that beat the Cowboys in the Super Bowl was this Steelers team. They did it twice in back-to-back seasons. In fact, the Steelers won it four times during Bradshaw and Noll’s time together. Both of which were back-to-back over a six year span.
They also won the division eight times, as they were one of the more dominant teams earlier in history. That explains why they are the only team to have a record six Super Bowl titles. Had Bradshaw thrown less interceptions, they could have been way ahead in number of titles, but with his mediocre play the Steelers still managed to have success.
3. Vince Lombardi and Bart Starr, Green Bay Packers (1959-1967)
The first ever Super Bowl winners have to be on the list, because without Lombardi, there wouldn’t be a Lombardi trophy. But that isn’t the only title they have. They won the first two Super Bowls and an additional five league championships.
If league titles counted back then, the Packers would have the most wins in terms of championships. Both Starr and Lombardi would be the most winningest coach-QB duo of all time. Let’s not forget about the fact that they won these seven titles in eight years of being together. They could easily be the No. 1 duo of all-time.
2. Bill Walsh and Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers (1979-1988)
Unfortunately for the Packers, Montana and Walsh came along 20 years later and helped change the way the game was played. If you were to compare the stats, you would see why. But we won’t get into that, because Montana had one of the best, if not the best wide receiver to pass the ball too. That is what helped the Niners be successful during all of the ’80s.
Remember when I told you the ’80s was full of great QBs? Montana might be the greatest from that decade, as he and coach Walsh won six division titles on their way to winning three Super Bowls together. Now, if it wasn’t such a stacked position back then, we might have seen him win even more Super Bowls.
1. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, New England Patriots (2000-present)
The best coach-QB duo has got to be these guys. When you look at where all the other QBs were drafted, their success would be a mirror image of that. Brady wasn’t a top QB in his draft class. In fact, he was drafted 199th overall by the Patriots, which made him the seventh QB drafted in that class.
But with Belichick, Brady looked like an elite quarterback. That has been something they continue to prove, as they have won 16 divisional titles and have made it to their ninth Super Bowl. As of now, they sit with five Super Bowl titles, looking to add their sixth, which will give them a tie with the Pittsburgh Steelers for most titles. Brady and Belichick will be the first coach-QB duo to get six titles together in the history of the NFL. There’s no question these two are the best pairing in NFL history. What they have done will never been done again.
With only 10 spots available for the top duos, there were bound to be some duos left off. That is where the honorable mentions come in.
Tony Dungy and Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts (2002-2008)
George Seifert and Steve Young, San Francisco 49ers (1989-1996)
Bill Parcells and Phil Simms, New York Giants (1983-1990)
Bud Grant and Fran Tarkenton, Minnesota Vikings (1972-1978)
Sean Payton and Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (2006- present)
Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia Eagles (1999-2009)
Will Brady and Belichick get their 6th title? Or will they be stuck at five and hoping for Brady to get one more before he turns 45 and retires?
We’ll talk more about Brady and some of these QBs in our next article the morning of Super Bowl LIII, but tell us if we got it right!
Where is your favorite coach-QB duo ranked? Are they in the top 10? Do you think they deserve to be there if they aren’t already? We’re interested in hearing your opinion, so don’t forget to comment below!
After taking the time to look back at some of the best Super Bowl moments for both the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots, we turned our attention to the best moments of their first Super Bowl match. As we prepare ourselves for another encounter between the two teams, we will look back at some of the greatest Super Bowl moments of all-time.
There are several different moments in the 53 year history we could call great. Narrowing it down to just 15 makes it even harder, but we at Fourth Quarter Sports have come together to make it the best we can. So let’s take a look at the top 15 Super Bowl moments of all-time.
15. Max McGee’s Touchdown, Super Bowl I
Many people may not think of this as one of the best moments in Super Bowl history, but most of us probably don’t even know who Max McGee is or what team he payed for. He played for the Green Bay Packers in the first ever Super Bowl. His touchdown was the first ever touchdown scored in a Super Bowl. It was a 37-yard pass from QB Bart Starr to open the game. The Packers never looked back.
What makes this moment more special, is that McGee wasn’t even suppose to play after he missed curfew. It’s not like he was the superstar WR on that team. He only caught four passes in the 1966 season. But on that day of Super Bowl I, he was the hero with seven receptions for 138 yards and two touchdowns, as the Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10.
14. Joe Namath’s Guarantee, Super Bowl III
How could you not put a moment like this on the list? This is known to be one of the greatest upsets in sports history. The best part about it was when quarterback Joe Namath publicly guaranteed a Jets victory. He walked off the field with one finger pointing to the sky as he did what he said he would do. Namath made the guarantee three days prior that the Jets would beat the Baltimore Colts. He did it with a balance of passing and running plays, as running back Matt Snell totaled 121 yards and a touchdown.
Namath and Jets had a 16-0 lead heading into the second half, where the Colts made the decision to change quarterbacks and go back to Johnny Unitas. He led them to a scoring drive. However, it was too late for Unitas and the Colts, as Namath and Jets won the game for the first time in the AFL after the Green Bay Packers won it the past two years in the NFL.
Hear more about how Namath felt after they won here.
13. Devin Hester returns opening kickoff against Colts, Super Bowl XLI
It was Super Bowl XLI when we saw the Chicago Bears against the Indianapolis Colts. It was also the first Super Bowl game that featured two African American head coaches (Bears’ Lovie Smith and Colts’ Tony Dungy), which means there is a historical fact to this moment as well. But this was likely the worst moment of the game for the Bears, as they lost to the Colts 29-17 after leading 17-3 at halftime. So why is Devin Hester on the list? Well, he did something that has never been done. That was taking the opening kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown. It went down in history as the fastest TD in the Super Bowl, scored in just 14 seconds.
Let’s keep in mind that Hester was just a rookie returner who led the league in both kickoff and punt returns with six total. This kick return was the first ever opening kickoff return for a TD in a Super Bowl. There were eight other guys who were able to return a kickoff for a TD in a Super Bowl, but none were as special as this one.
Riggins was known as “The Diesel” during his time in the NFL. It was moments like this that gave him the name. In the Redskins’ first ever Super Bowl, they were down to the Miami Dolphins 17-13 with 10 minutes left to play. They faced a 4th-and-1 situation on the Dolphins’ 43-yard line. Riggins ran over Dolphins DB Don McNeal for the decisive score that put the Redskins ahead for good. He was the workhorse for the Redskins’ first Super Bowl win, carrying the ball a record 38 times for 166 yards in a Super Bowl. The touchdown run at the moment was the longest run from scrimmage in the history of the Super Bowl.
11. Montana, 49ers win in Bill Walsh’s final NFL game, Super Bowl XXIII
If you thought the Niners were the team in the 80’s, you thought right. That was mostly because of the coach-QB duo of Bill Walsh and Joe Montana, who had a lot of success together, including three Super Bowl titles. This is the most memorable Super Bowl moment, because this was the last game Bill Walsh coached in the NFL.
This Super Bowl was the closest of the three they won together, and the second against the Cincinnati Bengals. This was a Niners team that was down 16-13 with three minutes remaining in the game. The ball was at their own 8-yard line. The Niners were not worried, as they had “Joe Cool” ready to lead the drive, which he did as they capped off a 92-yard drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass to WR John Taylor with 34 seconds remaining. That’s the way to end a coaching career. Let’s not forget that Montana and the Niners made it back to the Super Bowl without Walsh and crushed the Denver Broncos 55-10.
10. John Elway “Helicopter” Spin, Super Bowl XXXII
Elway and the Broncos struggled to win Super Bowls. In fact, Elway had lost his first three Super Bowl appearances until this Super Bowl, where he pulled out all the stops to get his first Lombardi Trophy. It was Elway’s determination that helped the Broncos pull off this win against the defending Super Bowl champion Packers. Elway took us all on a thrill ride, as he gave us one of the most iconic moments in Super Bowl history.
The Broncos and Packers went back and forth all game, as the Broncos ultimately came out on top 31-24. It was the third quarter drive that was 13 plays and 92-yards that gave the Broncos the lead back in a tied game. One of those plays was an 8-yard scramble for a first down by Elway, in which he dove and got hit by multiple Packers defenders while spinning through the air like a Helicopter. The Broncos followed that up by getting a 1-yard touchdown run by running back Terrell Davis.
Want to watch Elway fly like a Helicopter? Look here!
9. Redskins’ Williams becomes first African American QB to win a Super Bowl, Super Bowl XXII
From one successful Broncos Super Bowl to one of the Elway losses. It was Super Bowl XXII when Elway and the Broncos built a quick 10-0 lead in the first quarter. But what would happen next is something that none of us would’ve predicted.
It was a second quarter full of touchdowns, five to be exact. All five were scored by the Washington Redskins and their QB Doug Williams. Williams and the Redskins scored 35 points in a quarter which was the most points ever in a single postseason quarter in NFL history at the time. The first touchdown was an 8-yard touchdown pass from Williams to Ricky Sanders, which tied a record for the longest pass in a Super Bowl game. Sanders and rookie running back Timmy Smith both set Super Bowl records: Sanders for receiving (193) and Smith for rushing (204).
Williams also made history, as he was the first African American QB to win the Super Bowl. He also put himself in the record books with all his success in that one game alone.
Watch this great performance by the Washington Redskins and Doug Williams here.
8. The Fridge’s TD, Super Bowl XX
Is your refrigerator running? Maybe you should want it too? That’s what the Chicago Bears did in Super Bowl XX against the New England Patriots. It was already a 34-3 lead with three minutes left in the third quarter, so why not have some fun? Bears coach Mike Dikta made the decision to go with his 300+ pound defensive linemen to run the ball for a 1-yard touchdown. That linemen was rookie William “The Refrigerator” Perry, who lived up to his first-round draft status. Perry became the first 300 pound guy to score a touchdown, and Bears Hall of Fame RB Walter Payton loved it.
It’s not everyday you can be sensational, unless your name is Lynn Swann and you played for the Pittsburgh Steelers in ’70s. In this Super Bowl, Swann earned MVP honors, as he played the best game of his career. In this game, he made two sensational catches. The first was a juggling catch while falling to the turf for a 53-yard gain, and the other catch was a score on a 64-yard touchdown. It would help the Steelers win their second consecutive Super Bowl, and first of two against the Cowboys.
When you’re down one point with 2:16 remaining, you have no real pressure on you besides getting into field goal range. That is actually what the Buffalo Bills QB did against the New York Giants, as they were down 20-19. Bills’ QB Jim Kelly marches the team down the field and gets to the Giants’ 29 with eight seconds left. What happened next was part of a long losing streak in the Super Bowl. The Bills had a losing streak in the Super Bowl that will always be remembered. This play is the worst of them all. Bills’ kicker Scott Norwood set up for a game-winning 47-yard field goal, but he misses wide right and their streak continued.
5. Desmond Howard’s 99-yard return, Super Bowl XXVII
In another Super Bowl the Patriots lost, it came down to the speed of one man. That man was Desmond Howard, as he stopped the Patriots momentum from completing a comeback. It was a late score by New England in the third quarter to close within 27-21. That was until Green Bay’s Desmond Howard returns the ensuing kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown in the Packers’ 35-21 win.
Howard was a nearly unstoppable force as a return specialist, like we saw from his college days. He led the NFL in punt return yardage and touchdowns in 1996, along with the Super Bowl MVP award when he finished with 244 total return yards.
4. James Harrison’s 100-yard pick six, Super Bowl XLIII
From a great kickoff return touchdown to an even greater interception returned for touchdown. It was a memorable Super Bowl for the Steelers, as they had two unforgettable plays to help them clinch their 6th Super Bowl (tied most in history). This play was the first one, where James Harrison grabbed an interception off of Arizona Cardinals QB Kurt Warner late in the first half to give them a 17-7 lead. He took the interception 100 yards for a touchdown with seconds remaining in the half. It was the longest play in Super Bowl before it was broken by Jacoby Jones’ 109-yard kickoff return touchdown in Super Bowl XLVII.
Watch the big boy run down the sideline for a score here.
3. Dolphins complete perfect season, Super Bowl VII
There is nothing like having a perfect season. There is only one team ever in the NFL who has won all their games. That team was the 1972 Miami Dolphins. The closest team to come to that was the 2010 New England Patriots with their 18-1 record. But the Dolphins were too good and had no worries about their record, besides ruining the chance to shut out the Washington Redskins in the Super Bowl. The only real mistake they made in the game was trying to make something out of an already broken play, when kicker Garo Yepremian attempted to throw a forward pass after a blocked kick and Redskins cornerback Mike Bass would get the team’s only touchdown of the game.
What the Dolphins complete their perfect season here.
2. Santonio Holmes goes toes in for the victory, Super Bowl XLIII
This is the second part of an amazing Super Bowl by the Steelers. As you previously read, Harrison made a clutch interception at the end of the first half to put the team ahead by 10 points. But after watching Kurt Warner ledd his team back, the Steelers found themselves down by three with little time left. That was just enough time for Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger to find WR Santonio Holmes in the end zone.
This final drive was all Holmes, as he had four catches for 73 yards. Despite being in tight coverage, Holmes catches the ball and somehow nabbed a game-winning touchdown pass on the tips of his toes, just barely staying in bounds with less than a minute left on the clock.
This was the Super Bowl the New England Patriots were supposed to be undefeated in, as they were up 14-10 late in the fourth quarter. It looked like things were going in that direction for the Patriots, until this happened…
New York Giants QB Eli Manning escapes two tackles and launches a pass down field on 3rd-and-five. Giants WR David Tyree jumped and pinned the ball against his helmet for a 32-yard catch that will go done in history as one of the greatest catches of all-time. But that wasn’t game-winner. The Patriots had one more chance to stop the Giants march, until four plays later when Manning connects with Plaxico Burress for the game-winning touchdown, as the Giants shock the previously undefeated New England Patriots.
As amazing as all these plays have been, there will certainly be many more plays left off. Some of which are in the honorable mentions find below.
Jacoby Jones’ 109-yard kickoff return touchdown – Super Bowl XLVII
Dyson 1-yard short against Rams – Super Bowl XXXIV
Malcom Butler’s goal line Interception- Super Bowl XLIX
Adam Vinatieri’s FG for Patriots first Super Bowl win – Super Bowl XXXVI
Others have yet to be determined. Going into this, I wanted to focus on some of the records and first ever moments that led to some plays making it in over others. I couldn’t ignore the first ever Super Bowl with Vince Lombardi as the coach. I mean, the title is named after him. What memorable moments will this year’s Super Bowl bring?
And also don’t forget to return this weekend for some more Super Bowl talk. Please share your thoughts about the top moments in Super Bowl history!