Why the NFL's Best Team Won't Win the Super Bowl

Quotes of the Week

I

“It’s as drastic a change as anything I’ve seen since I’ve come back to the league. I’m not bellyaching. I’m really not. I just think these points of emphasis are having different consequences than the league thought they would. They are making calls on plays that have nothing to do with the play, sometimes way across the field from where the ball is. It’s a nice try, but it’s too much. There’s going to be a game decided in a crucial situation by one of these calls, and no one wants to see that.”

—Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, on the new officiating points the league is telling its officials to call.

II

“GET YOUR S— RIGHT!”

—Bills coach Doug Marrone, ripping into his team after player fights marred a second straight day of training camp work on Thursday. 

III

“Where have you gone, Spergon Wynn? A franchise turns its lonely eyes to you.”

—ESPN Cleveland’s Tony Grossi, after Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel took turns playing poorly while auditioning for the starting quarterback job last Monday in Washington. Spergon Wynn is one of the multitudes to have started, and failed, at quarterback for the Browns since their reincarnation in 1999. 

IV

“I am most proud of having never missed an assigned game, be it exhibition, regular season or playoffs, throughout my entire career. It really has been a great run.”

—NBA referee Dick Bavetta, who retired last week at 74. He reffed the most games of any official in NBA history—2,635 in the regular season and 270 in the playoffs—and not just by a little bit. He worked 501 more regular-season games than any other ref in league history.

V

“That kind of creeps me out a little bit.”

—Taney Dragons pitcher Mo’ne Davis, the first girl in Little League World Series history to throw a shutout, on adults asking her for her autograph. She graced the cover of Sports Illustrated last week. 

VI

“This is so stupid it’s appalling, and I hope that owner keeps fighting for it and never changes it, because the Redskins are part of an American football history, and it should never be anything but the Washington Redskins. That’s the way it is. It’s all the political correct idiots in America, that’s all it is. It’s got nothing to do with anything else.’’

—ESPN analyst and Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Ditka, on the controversy over the Washington team name, to the Redskins Historian website.

VII

“The league respectfully honored my request to not officiate Washington. I have quite a few friends who are Native Americans. And even if I didn’t have Native American friends, the name of the team is disrespectful.”

—Recently retired NFL referee Mike Carey, who revealed to the Washington Post that he requested in 2007 to be kept off Washington games because he opposed the team’s name. For the final seven years of his career, which ended after the 2013 season, he did not officiate a game involving the team.

Pretty extraordinary revelation. There are 17 crews, and I’ll be interested to see if any current referees will now make the same request that Carey did. My bet is that the league won’t allow an official, going forward, to dictate any terms about his assignments.

Stat of the Week

The Cardinals have to pay linebacker Daryl Washington $7 million of a $10 million option bonus the club exercised in March. Two months after the Cards exercised the option, Washington got suspended for the season for substance abuse.

Talk about an unfair part of the 2011 CBA. The bonus was deferred, but the team will end up paying 70 percent of it—and for a player they are likely never to employ again. Should the Cardinals have had suspicions about Washington? Yes. They should have, and did. But why should they pay $7 million to a player who isn’t playing—and he isn’t playing because he made a personal decision to use some substance he knew was banned by the league?

Factoids of the Week That May Interest Only Me

I

On consecutive snaps Saturday, Buffalo had a first-and-20, second-and-35, and third-and-40.

II

Patrick Peterson signed a five-year, $70 million contract extension on July 29, with a signing bonus of $15,361,000. The bonus came in a lump-sum check, not direct-deposited.

He has not cashed the bonus check yet.

He told me, “I just haven’t gotten around to it.”

III

Peyton Manning has averaged one intentional-grounding penalty for every two years he’s played in the NFL.

IV

In August 1966, 24-year-old Paul McCartney and the Beatles played their last concert as a group at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, an 11-song show.

In August 2014, 72-year-old Paul McCartney played the last concert and last event ever at Candlestick Park in Francisco, a 40-song show.

With age comes endurance, I guess.

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Notes of the Week

I

How did I miss the fact that Frontier Airlines charges $35 to bring a small carry-on suitcase onto the airplane? Happened to me the other day, Denver to San Diego. Frontier did tell me I could check the same bag for $25. Let’s see: $35 to schlep the bag myself and put it in the overhead, $25 to check it and pick it up in San Diego. Because I was in a rush once I landed, I paid the $35. I understand baggage fees, and I understand the concept of unbundling and paying for exactly what you use. But making travelers pay $35 to carry their own bags is a curious way to get repeat customers.

II

I noticed the drought in California. Hard not to. I had to do my laundry the other day in San Diego, and stopped by a Laundromat not far from the Chargers facility. Costs for a wash: $4.50. “It’s all water,” the caretaker of the place said. “It was $3.50 earlier this year.”

III

As the camp trip ends, I am pleased to report that my favorite hotel in the United States, the Arizona Biltmore, has trouble filling the place in August, when it’s regularly 105 degrees or so during the day. (This year it rained hard Thursday night and cooled off the Valley, and it was only about 85 on Friday morning.) The favorable rate allowed me to, in good conscience, stay at the Biltmore knowing I was being a good company traveler. Comparing rates in some of the other hotels on the trail with the groovy Biltmore:

Hotel Nightly Rate
Spring Hill Suites, Renton, Wash. $179
Westin, San Diego $179
Spring Hill Suites, Buford, Ga. $139
Towne Place Suites, Newark, Del. $139
Hampton Inn, Lewisburg, W.Va. $129
Arizona Biltmore, Phoenix $109
Howard Johnson Motor Lodge, Cleveland $80
 

Tweets of the Week

I

Longtime Eagles beat man Reuben Frank, as Twitter speculation swirled that the Rams should trade for Philadelphia’s number two quarterback, Mark Sanchez, in the wake of Sam Bradford’s torn ACL.

II

The ESPN.com Broncos reporter, on the confrontation between Denver quarterback Peyton Manning and Houston safety D.J. Swearinger after Swearinger concussed Wes Welker with a rough hit. Manning got 15 yards for taunting Swearinger.

After the game, Swearinger was asked what Manning said to him that prompted the 15-yard flag. According to the Denver Post‘s Mike Klis, Swearinger testified, “He said, ‘F me.’ ”

III

The ESPN.com Bills writer, during a Thursday camp practice. That portends trouble. 

IV

The Steelers beat man for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, a few hours after Pittsburgh running backs LeGarrette Blount and Le’Veon Bell were arrested and cited for marijuana possession; Bell was also charged with driving under the influence of marijuana.

V

The Cleveland Plain Dealer Browns writer, after Hoyer got the starting job.

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382 comments
GillesVaudois
GillesVaudois

A signing bonus is money gone when the player signs. Literally money just for the signature. If teams are in such hurry to give those away, that's because it makes financial sense somewhere. Why teams waste this much money on potential disasters, might have to do with executives not paying the money out of their own pocket. If they couldn't afford to make those mistakes, they wouldn't take the chance. Why a reporter would choose to blame the system, and go as far as to wonder why such a bonus should still be paid when the player fails afterwards, is the real mystery here.

MarshallLaFleur
MarshallLaFleur

Peter King needs to understand the difference between statistics and probabilities.  Also the mathematical law of Regression towards the mean.  These mathematical principles will show that the Seahawks are much more likely to win back to back super bowls, not less likely.

People have a tendency to see patterns where there are none that actually push them to think that the probabilities of something happening are going to stick with the way they have in the past.  That is actually backwards.  As things on one extreme, in this case not having back to back Superbowl wins, it is actually more likely that a future super bowl will have one.  This is the law of Regression towards the mean.  

This law can be easily demonstrated by the rolling of a standard 6 sided die.  Probability wise the average die roll is going to be 3.5  of course it is impossible to roll a 3.5 and it is just as likely to roll a 1 as it is to roll a 3.  If a d6 is rolled 3 times you could end up with a 4, 5, and 6.  Statistically it means that your average roll is a 5.  Probability wise your average roll is still going to be 3.5.  Odds are that the next 3 rolls are going to be lower than the current average of 5.  That doesn't mean that you can't roll a 5 or a 6 and continue to have a high statistic, it is just that the probabilities of it are lower and it is much more likely that the over all average roll is going to eventually even out.  

Where this goes in to play with football is that analysts, who know football quite well but statistics not so much, tend to adjust the probabilities to meet the historical statistics instead of expecting the statistics to line up more with probabilities.  Now to contradict myself slightly, this can in fact have a real effect on the game and that is because of the human factor.  Each player is a human and has emotions, expectations, and aspirations.  If a player on a team is told about the incorrect probabilities and buys in to them they may end up having an expectation to lose.  I think that has had an effect on some previous teams that they didn't expect to win the next superbowl because they already had a ring.  Inside their minds, psychologically, they set themselves up for failure and throw off the probabilities of another ring.  This brings me to why I think the Seahawks will be the one to end that trend.  You just can't get under their skin.  They have the determination and don't follow the post-superbowl curse myth that ESPN likes to throw around.  I'm not going to guarantee that the Seahawks will win the next Superbowl.  I'm just saying that probability wise they have the best chance of any NFL team and have the mentality to do so.

pauljfeeley
pauljfeeley

no stories on the Patriots?  this old dude has lost it

Divinewind
Divinewind

Most of you Hawk fans are basing everything on if the Seattle D stays healthy and remains the top D or a top three D in the league. Wilson is just average, so forget about the O opening up with him as QB. Seattle's O line which is very good and with the top flight run game intact Seattle can make a run of it again but if you are depending on the average Wilson....forget it! You will see soon enough what he is when the D weakens and Lynch is gone and the O line loses more players. Andrew Luck he isn't Seattle fan!

Zevhagadol
Zevhagadol

Vegas has Seahawks at 6-1 or 16.7%. Not far from the 15% someone posted based on history. 

Likely Seahawks will open up the offense; Carroll has signaled it; receivers look good, fast and a lot stronger than last year; Wilson has digested the second year, weathered a rough patch; he seems even better in the preseason. Imo Wilson is vastly underrated. I see a similarity to Brees' growth from 2005 to 2006 where he was turned loose.Brees went to a new team with a different approach. Carroll/Schneider have built a team capable of a different offense approach.


This is not your father's Seahawks. The Game Manger label will have been long forgotten after 2014 season. Hawks 2014 will be substantially different and better than Hawks 2013. I'd think they are 4-1 to repeat (is it re-Pete?)

rkrause63
rkrause63

I do have to say that it is interesting that the logic that seems to preclude Seattle from winning does not seem to have an affect on Denver in the media, even though a Superbowl loser winning the next year is considerably rarer than a repeat winner.  Plenty of picks for Denver but Seattle is destined to succomb to the repeat curse.  Irony at its finest. 

hunger
hunger

This is not analysis. This is just Peter picking some trivia (that we all already knew) to try to be original.  Peter, if you are not going to make your picks based on analysis, does that mean that you are just picking your teams out of a hat (or something else). You don't have to dig very far to see that most SB champs lose alot of their talent after players go search for the big paycheck. The Seattle situation is different because they are an improved team this year after already being dominant last year.

Obviously, anyone can get hurt, but why base your picks on that?

bcmarble
bcmarble

People that truly believe Seahawks will not repeat, are the same people that put all their hope into some vague statistic.  Team X has never beat Team Y in an outdoor stadium, in 40 deg temperature, in the central time zone, in the month of December, when the wind is blowing from the SW, when coming off a bye week.  When its never happened, people tend to think it never will, even when faced with reality.  Makes an interesting factoid, but its nothing Vegas would ever base their odds off of.

Jim21
Jim21

Good luck Seahawk fans. I watched them decimate the Bears in the 3rd preseason game and there was a noticeable difference in talent. The Bears have a good core of skill-position players on offense but the defense is all on the wrong side of 30 at too many critical positions. Also, the entire team is made up from FA acquisitions on one year deals. That says more about the late Jerry Angelo as GM than anything. 


The Seahawks are built from the ground up through the draft and have a nice core of young in-their-prime players that would seem to be together for quite a while. 


The Hawks are going to be a fun team to watch this year. 

Stuart Mesnik
Stuart Mesnik

Repeating is so difficult because every game the Super Bowl champ plays next year becomes mega important to each opponent. It's a way for each opponent to see how they measure up to the defending champ (almost like a mini playoff game each week). It's a very tough road.

scoutxx
scoutxx

The NFL's best team didn't win the Superbowl last year, so...

RobKnorr
RobKnorr

History is a horrible indicator of future results when it comes to predicting football games.

More accurate predictors are things such as strength of roster (starting talent as well as depth), strength of schedule, and strength of their opponents.


History actually has little to no predictive value whatsoever. 


Point is, if Peter King thinks that the Seahawks have the best team, then that is a MUCH better indicator of possible future results than history is.

How do (ostensibly intelligent) people not understand this?  

Wombat
Wombat

I would just like to say that if the odds of repeating a Super Bowl win is measured by the loyalty of the fan base the the Seahawks will win in a walk! Just reading this forum here shows me that Russell Wilson hasn't been this protected since he was in utero... 

PO'D in boca
PO'D in boca

Buffalo made a huge mistake with EJ and i said it from the day he was drafted as a die hard FSU fan and a lifelong Bills fan watched this kid all thru college there was nothing that made me say Wow, hes a good person and comes from a good family. the Bills tried to make a splash with the media hyping the ultra mobile QB's at the time i said it was a fad and still believe it being so the NFL you need to use your feet second, throw 1st, and somewhere in there have to be smart, now with that draft, RG3 is being challenged by Cousins, Andrew Luck a big mobile guy w smarts and big arm got his team to playoff twice, he will only get better when the line in front of him gets better than watch out.

EJ, has a decent line that has gotten better, he either needs to push the ball up field or sit on the sidelines and watch, we won games last year with a 3rd string QB.

take a page from SF's JH there is no job safe!!!


Maronne grow a set your also playing for your career here, stop coaching like a minor leaguer another hire i thought was a joke


only way we stay in news cause  JA Bon Jovi trying to move our team


a angry rant, i hope im wrong but another 8-8 year in the horizon 

DavidMessinger
DavidMessinger

Seattle is a team that is better than the 2013 and 2012 playoff teams in many ways and still have good depth ...whether they make it back to the SB, who knows a lot can happen over a season.  I will say this about Seattle after seeing them last year in training camp and following this year closely...they may actually have a pretty good O-Line this year...and better depth there...they have one of the best backup QB's in the league...and their receivers and RB's are better than last year...they still have really good special teams...and their D is still very good...even without Clemmons, Red, Clinton and Thurman...rather than concern themselves with the SB...they believe that every week is a championship opportunity...that approach payed dividend in 2013...I like the ROI in 2014 as well.

Chris P1
Chris P1

Well.....I don't know about that....I'm not saying that Seattle WILL repeat, but I wouldn't rule it out, either. A strong defense with a lot of good young players on the roster is a pretty good formula for success. Their division doesn't look to be as good as last year, either.

DavidGreene
DavidGreene

Picks:  New Orleans over Seattle in NFC Championship.  Denver over New England in AFC Championship.  Denver tops New Orleans by a TD in the Bowl.

djs425
djs425

@Divinewind At least know something about the Seahawks if you're gonna critique them. So you're a mind reader and we think that a Super Bowl happened just because the defense? No one said that. The D doesn't even need to be the top unit in the league and still be fantastic. And Wilson is "average" and the oline is "very good"? Sounds like this is more of your wishing well than anything. You have no basis to your dribble and obviously with the "great oline" and "average qb" line you have no grasp of what the Seahawks are really about

duckfan59
duckfan59

@Divinewind Just the fact that you're calling Wilson "average" demonstrates how clueless you are.

BigSchtick
BigSchtick

@Divinewind Another poster without a clue.

The offensive line is and has been average to below average.

Seattle D is two deep. They can and have survived injuries.

Wilson is average? What stat are you referring to? By the way his QB rating is 150 this preseason.

Lynch has two stellar back ups, one that many think will be a star.

Thanks for playing.

Divinewind
Divinewind

@Zevhagadol  Open up the offense? With Russell Wilson as your QB....surely you jest!

He is of average talent. Seattle's powerful D....good for better field position and a top flight RB with an excellent O line is the reason the Seahawks are a top notch team. We will see soon enough how average Wilson is when the D and O line weaken and Lynch is gone. (within two years)

Mech
Mech

@rkrause63 Seattle "dont get no" respect from the media. Thats ok we are used to that. The level of hypocrisy is a little high when I turn on the tv and they talk about (like you say) the good chance that Denver will be in the superbowl and completely ignore Seattle because (I guess) of the repeat curse. Seattle has only one Prime time appearance on tv this year and yet they are the champs. At the end of the season I will again hear how there is no stopping Manning and his award winning offense and again the Seahawks will blow them out.

duckfan59
duckfan59

@scoutxx Really? How do you figure? Who do yo think the "best team" was?
The Seahawks play in the best division in the NFL, only lost once at home all season and destroyed the Broncos in the Super Bowl by 35 points.

And, actually, the team that wins the Super Bowl is, by default, the "best team" since games are won on the field, not on paper or in fantasy football stat land.

Joebuckster
Joebuckster

@RobKnorr Actually, you're wrong. He's not talking about 'predicting football games' - he's talking about predicting the LAST football game of the season (and he's taking the field vs the incumbent). The best team in football (on paper) typically doesn't win the Super Bowl. It's all about match ups in the playoffs, unpredictable things happening, and injuries. How do you discount the fact that not a single Super Bowl champ in 8 years has even WON a playoff game?? Pretty compelling stuff, but ignore it if you like. 


You're not as intelligent as you think you are, but that's 'par for the course' for average intellects...

Buck2185
Buck2185

@Wombat  Especially since the loud mouthed, punk,POS Richard Sherman started buying his whole team Adderall.........

davidhd
davidhd

@Wombat well said, and you're exactly right. I am a Seahawks fan in the Seattle area, and I've never seen such enthusiasm. It's almost scary. 

nicolasgist
nicolasgist

@PO'D in boca Sorry buddy, but 8-8 would be a miracle for the Bills this year.  With an improving division, little talent on both sides of the ball, a bad QB, and a terrible OC (especially with how they use Spiller), I'm picking them as a bottom three team.  4-12 might be generous.

davidhd
davidhd

New Orleans would be lucky to duplicate the one score loss they suffered the last time they played Seattle. Seattle would have to play with Tarvaris Jackson at QB and Pete Carroll at CB to lose to the Saints.

duckfan59
duckfan59

@Divinewind @Zevhagadol This is just the partial resume of the "average" Russell Wilson:


NFL records and achievements
  • 2012 Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year
  • Most passing touchdowns in a season by a rookie (26, tied with Peyton Manning)
  • 2× Pro Bowl (2012, 2013)
  • Most passing yards in a playoff game by a rookie (385 yards)[87]
  • Most regular season wins by a quarterback in his first two seasons (24); most total wins in first two seasons (28, including playoffs)[88]
  • Super Bowl XLVIII Champion (2014)

AmishPacker
AmishPacker

@Mech @rkrause63 Actually, Mech, I'm not sure where you are getting your information from. Seattle has 4 prime-time games this year. Week 1 opener, Week 5 MNF, Thanksgiving night, and Week 16 SNF. You get plenty of respect. You guys are still listed as number 1 defense and a top 10 offense. Most analysts are picking you guys to repeat. So I'm not sure where the "we don't get no respect" (watch double negatives please) comes from.

If you mean respect, like respect the players, well you have arguably the most annoying fans in the league and your players talk a lot of smack before the game even starts (see your saints game last year where you just ran up to saints players and got in their face during warm-ups). You are kind of known as the dirtiest team in the NFL, you don't get the type of reputation idly.


Most fans of a team that just won a super bowl think their team is underrated and that they should be heralded as a dynasty and greatest all time immediately. They are usually wrong, as this article points out. But either way, if you are gonna complain about your teams attention, at least get your facts straight.

RobKnorr
RobKnorr

@Joebuckster @RobKnorr First, I am not sure why you felt that an ad hominem attack was called for, but, since I happen to know my I.Q. test score, I am exactly as intelligent as I think I am.


Second, he is in fact talking about predicting football games...do you not consider the "LAST football game of the season" a football game? I do!


I agree that it's all about the matchups in the playoffs, but apparently you fail to realize that, saying that supports MY point, which is that history has little to do with making future predictions about football games, but the strength of roster, schedule and opponent do.


I am aware of the history of recent champions failures to repeat, I am also aware that the biggest reason for that wasn't because of the added difficulty of repeating, but rather the fact that several of those teams weren't as good the following season as they had been previously. 


Bottom line is that, if you're going to say that the Seahawks are the most talented (best) team in football, then pick AGAINST that team just because of history, that is really terrible logic.

BigSchtick
BigSchtick

@Joebuckster @RobKnorr 

Hmm Joe, where does he mention the "field"? He said he is picking another team, just not the one he thinks is the best.

The best team typically doesn't win the super bowl?

You're not as intelligent as you think you are, but that's 'par for the course' for average intellects...

davidhd
davidhd

@Joebuckster @RobKnorr I agree with Rob, and so does Vegas. Just because there has been a trend of super bowl winners losing the next season, Peter goes illogical and says Seattle won't do it, right after listing the reasons why they should. Have the past 8 super bowl winners fielded an equally talented, possibly even better team the next year? Have the past 8 winners been coached by Pete Carroll, a guy who won multiple college titles and knows how to handle success? Have the past 8 teams been as young as Seattle, with a QB still improving, and with all of its pro bowl talent still in its prime?


Everybody wants to "pick the field" because Seattle repeating seems unlikely, but that isn't what Peter is doing. He's actually going to pick a team. ESPN picked Denver, largely for the same reason Peter might, and that's just as bad as picking Seattle, from a historical perspective. Super bowl losers are even more historically unsuccessful than winners, and Peyton Manning just showed us how great a super bowl QB he is, and Denver's supporting cast is full of holes, even after signing a CB and a LB that are pretty good. If you want history, look at the history of teams with top scoring defenses, top running games, and a roster full of pro bowl level talent on both sides of the ball. Those teams do pretty well. Seattle is fully equipped to make another run, and they're already playing better than they were at the end of last season, so go ahead and pick a lesser team based on history, but I'm taking Seattle to repeat. 

EdwardC.Cooper
EdwardC.Cooper

Impressive my man!(Or woman)? Anyhow… Awesome stats!

davidhd
davidhd

@RobKnorr @Joebuckster RobKnorr, you're the only guy making any sense on this page, and I appreciate having at least one other guy on here who understands basic reasoning. 

AmishPacker
AmishPacker

@davidhd @Joebuckster @RobKnorr I can see your point as to teams keeping their roster. But other super bowl teams have kept their rosters and still gotten no where the next year. The giants and the packers are the big ones that come to mind. Packers had a great super bowl run, no one could stop them. Then they kept the same roster next year and went 15-1. Lost at home to the giants, who ended up winning the whole thing. The giants that barely made the playoffs, but got hot at the right time and went to win the super bowl. Until last year, we had a very impressive streak where a wild card team made it to and sometimes won the super bowl. History is a very good indicator. No indicator should be singled out, but you can't discount it.

As far as Seattle being better than last year, I think that will be the case for Russel nad perhaps Harvin if he can stay healthy which would make Rice maybe valuable again, which he hasn't been since his days with Favre.  But otherwise, you guys lost way more talent than you brought in. Everyone you brought in is either a draft or an leftovers from another team like a Packers OL (if you need a packers released OL... things must be bad on your line). You kept msot of your key players but lost some big ones like Golden Tate (terrible receiver but good jump ball) Breno Giacomini, Red Bryant and Chris Clemons were monsters whom you lost, Clinton McDonald, Brandon Browner, and Walter Thurmond. You were talented enough on defense to survive some of those losses but that D-line is gonna rest a lot on Avril if it has a shot at being as dominant. I see a lot of teams taking advantage of this and going with the run on you as you do on others. You will still likely win the division and possibly 1st seed. But as or more dominant than last year? Sorry, I don't see it. Still one of the best teams though.

RobKnorr
RobKnorr

@davidhd @Joebuckster @RobKnorr Thank you davidhd, you perfectly restated my position.

Peter King's entire reasoning for picking against what he considers the best team is based on a logic fallacy.

BigSchtick
BigSchtick

@PhillyPenn You forgot to add "pal",  "Bro". Just curious if you have an original thought Philly.

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