NAPC! Super bowl edition

Well, here we go everybody. We've reached the last meaningful game of the season, the SUPER BOWL. We've got a match-up that not many people outside of Bears and Colts fans would have predicted at the beginning of the season, and perhaps some more temperate fans wouldn't have believed back then either.

Now, I've been expecting the Colts to make it far since the beginning of the season, but I'll be the first to admit I didn't quite believe they could make it in until I saw them dismantle Baltimore. The Bears I figured would make it in to the playoffs due to an easy schedule, and then I expected them to get bounced by my Panthers. Well, as it turned out, my Panthers have been sitting at home for the past 30-odd days. I believe they could hang with the Bears or Colts at the moment though, naturally. But, I digress. We're faced with the prospect of a Colts or Bears Super Bowl Championship. Peyton Manning has had, statistically, a horrid postseason with 2 TDs and 6 INTs. However, no QB so far in the post season has really done that well. Passer Rating-wise, the best was, of all people, Tony Romo. Unfortunately for the Bears, though, defense wins championships. I say that because in the postseason defensive rankings, Chicago ranks a pedestrian 7th out of 12, whilst, you guessed it, Indy ranks #1, allowing only 229.7 yards a game compared to Chicago's 340.5 average. Only two teams, in fact, have averaged less than 300 yards allowed, Indianapolis and Baltimore. Baltimore, though, was still about 32 yards behind Indianapolis. Another key defensive statistic is 3rd down percentage…where Indianapolis trumps everyone else at an amazingly low 22.2% compared, again, to Chicago's 35.7%. Chicago has a points-allowed of 19.0 a game compared to Indy's 16.0 a game.

So now let's look at offense. On defense Indianapolis trumps Chicago, will it be the same on offense? In terms of yards per game, New Orleans is number one with 405.0 yards of offense on average. That's a lot of Mazda Miatas, folks…that car's like 5 feet long, and we're talking 81 times that. Of course, I'm willing to bet if Brian Urlacher tackled a Miata, the Miata would crumple. Then again, that could be said about a bike slamming into that tin can. Anyway, Brian Urlacher doesn't play offense. Indianapolis is #2, not surprisingly, with 383.7 yards a game. Now think about that for half a second…that is a 154-yard difference between what they dish out and what they receive. Not bad at all, I'd say. Here's Chicago, placing #3, surprisingly, with 355.5 yards a game offensively. And yes, that's only a 15-yard difference. I'm guessing the dominant Chicago defense hasn't been so dominant thus far. Geez, enough on the defense already, Robert! Back to offense, I know, right? Not that offense matters any in winning a championship. In terms of TOP Indy and Chicago are right next to each other with 34:01 for Indy and 34:00 for Chicago. But once again, Indianapolis just trumps everybody else on 3rd down percentage, with an astonishingly high 47.8% conversion rate, as opposed to Chi-town's lame old 30.6% rate. However, there is one key statistic on offense Chicago wins at, and that's points scored per game. Chicago is averaging 33 points a game, compared to Indianapolis' 25.3 points.

Summing up this highly fascinating overview of numbers, Indianapolis is better than Chicago in yards for, yards allowed, 3rd downs against, and 3rd downs for, and even with Chicago in TOP. All that said, Chicago scores more points and allows only a field goal more than Indianapolis. Perhaps this match-up is closer than it appears. Chicago is 7th in passing as opposed to Indy's 3rd, and in rushing Chicago is #1 as opposed to Indy's 5th. This, I believe, averages out to, amazingly, an absolutely even 4th each. Using the same formula, let's find out what their average defensive ranking is. In rushing defense, Indianapolis ranks #2 with Chicago right behind them at #3. Indianapolis is #2 against the pass, and Chicago drops down all the way to 10th against the pass. Guess that's what happens when you sign away Carolina's defensive back trash, right? That means that Indy's D is 2nd overall, with Chicago ranking in at 7th. With dead-even offenses and one team with a defense that's got that much of a lead over the other, I think we have to give Indianapolis the advantage here.

I've seen the Colts compared to Jimmie Johnson of NASCAR (which, just so you know, stands for Non-Athletic-Sport-Centered-Around-Rednecks, and I'm just joshing with all of my loyal readers, so don't be insulted) in that for years Jimmie's always been in the final but never able to take home the top billing, and he finally was able to do it in this past season of NASCAR. Sometimes you just know it is a certain team's time to shine. Chicago just seems to be randomly plucked out of a hat over in the NFC, since Carolina couldn't make it.

Don't get me wrong, I like Chicago okay, but I can't stand Rex Grossman. No way in heck I want that dude to win a Super Bowl this year. Now, if Grossman were to be pulled at halftime or something and Brian Griese or Kyle Orton came out to win the Super Bowl, I wouldn't be so upset about it. I also don't want to see Muhsin Muhammad win a Super Bowl without Carolina. Or without Jake Delhomme, who obviously made him into what he was. Every time I see a Chicago game Moose does nothing in it. What'd they pay him 10mil for again, blocking on the edge? Oh well. You might as well call this team the Chicago Panthers, since they keep stealing our players. Maybe they could be our farm team or something. Anyway, my pick's going to Indianapolis to win this game, giving the Manning family their first championship.

Now, as it's become a tradition here to always make a song reference during my column, I'm going to do a special parody of Brooks & Dunn's "How Long Gone" tune.

I keep thinking any minute Carolina will be coming on baby

I ain't seen nothing of ya in a month of Sundays

Tell me how long gone is football gonna be

All you said was it was the offseason and ya had to get goin'

Oh but I sure as heck wouldn't mind knowin'

Just how long gone are ya gonna be

How am I supposed to make any plans

When I still don't even understand

When my Panthers are gonna come back to me

Tell me please

How long gone are ya gonna be

Maybe I didn't pay just enough attention

But I do believe you failed to mention

Football only lasts from August to February

How long gone are ya gonna be

The phone ain't ringing

Cuz my football buds ain't calling me

I ain't been hearing good ole Eugene and Czoke

How long gone are ya gonna be

Well how am I supposed to make any plans

When I still don't even understand

When my Panthers are gonna come back to me

Tell me please

How long gone will ya be

Yeah how am I supposed to make any plans

When I still don't even understand

When you're gonna be on my home TV

Tell me please

How long gone are ya gonna be

Tell me please

How long gone….

Last week I went 2-0 in the Conference Championship Round (not posted due to Senior Bowl coverage) and am 6-4 overall on these playoffs. Good-bye everybody and see you next season!


Panther Insider Top Stories