Saturday, January 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Super Bowl thoughts: Big Easy, Cleveland, David Akers

1. The Big Easy has been the Big Snoozy when it comes to Super Bowls. Of the previous nine held in New Orleans, I would rank seven — maybe even eight — as bad games. Some were blowouts such as 55-10 (49ers over Broncos to end 1989) and 46-10 (Bears over Patriots to end 1985). Some were simply boring such as when the Cowboys beat the Dolphins 24-3 to end 1971 and the Broncos 27-10 to end 1977. Some were just train wrecks such as when the Steelers beat the Vikings 16-6 to end 1974. That might have been the most poorly played Super Bowl ever. They teams combined for 13 punts, 20 completed passes, four fumbles lost, three interceptions, a safety, blocked punt and missed extra point. The lone really good game in New Orleans? The Patriots beat the Rams 20-17 to end 2001 on Adam Vinatieri's last-second field goal — a game Rams running back Marshall Faulk now claims the Patriots cheated to win.

2. You wonder how the good folks of Cleveland feel about the Ravens being in the Super Bowl. I'm thinking only San Francisco will have a larger 49ers fan base than Cleveland. Since former owner Art Modell moved the Browns to Baltimore in 1996, the Ravens have won one Super Bowl, are about to play in another, claimed five division titles and made the playoffs nine times. The new Browns, who entered the league as an expansion franchise in 1999, have had two winning seasons, made the playoffs only once and do not have a postseason victory.

3. If the 49ers win, I hope David Akers kicks like a 60-yarder on the last play. Akers, 38, missed 13 kicks in the regular season, including two in overtime periods, and is 1-for-2 in the playoffs. Frankly, it's stunning he still has a job. Fans are down on him, and even the 49ers briefly lost faith. They brought in kickers for tryouts just before the playoffs and signed and have since released Billy Cundiff. It would be fun to see the 15-year veteran kick a Super Bowl winner then promptly retire as a legend.

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