You may have noticed that there was no "Friday Five" posted last week. That's because I planned on doing this type of post today - talking about, what else, the Super Bowl. And a big congratulations to the Green Bay Packers on their Super Bowl win. It was very much deserved - and really didn't surprise me one bit.
And the Super Bowl is where we start today's "Five."
1. Super Bowl XLV just accentuates what we already know. This is a quarterback driven league nowadays and you will simply not win a championship without a very good one. People always want to point to Brad Johnson and Trent Dilfer as examples of average (at best) quarterbacks with Super Bowl rings. But those are pretty much the only two since the early 90s who fit that category. Every other Super Bowl wining quarterback has been pretty damn good.
Take last night, for example. We had the 2nd and 5th rated defenses in the entire NFL. Note that the Steelers were also ranked number one in the entire NFL in yards allowed per pass attempt (6.3) while the Packers ranked 5th (6.5). All Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger did, though, was combine for 567 passing yards and five touchdowns. Rodgers, whose numbers would have been even better if not for a number of drops from his receivers, averaged a whopping 7.7 yards per attempt against this Pittsburgh defense.
Last night's game was basically the icing on the cake for me. Just look at the playoffs, for example. Six of the eight quarterbacks who started in the divisional round of the playoffs a few weeks ago were former first round picks. That's not a coincidence. Yes, you obviously need at least a decent defense and average running game. But the fact remains - this is a quarterback driven league and you will not win a championship without a very good one.
The Dolphins have got to identify who they feel is the best available quarterback this offseason and then do whatever it takes to get him (within reason, of course).
2. Enough of the "Dolphins beat the Packers" talk. They really aren't that close to being Super Bowl contenders. Actually, let me rephrase that. Using a victory over the eventual Super Bowl champions is not a good barometer for how close a team might be to winning a title of their own. In fact, the Dolphins have beaten (or have come close to beating) the eventual Super Bowl champs a number of times over the past 10 to 15 years.
Just last year, the Dolphins played both the Saints and Colts very tough, nearly knocking off both Super Bowl teams. In 2007, the Dolphins played the eventual champion Giants tough in London despite being the worst team in the organization's history. In 2006, the Dolphins beat the NFC champion Bears. The Dolphins beat the AFC champion Raiders in 2002. They beat the Super Bowl champion Ravens in 2000 and Broncos in 1998. They also knocked off the AFC champion Titans in 1999.
The point? Playing an eventual conference or Super Bowl champion team tough - and even beating them - means nothing in terms of how close a team is to winning a championship themselves. Because if it did mean anything, then one could say the Dolphins have been knocking on the door of their own title for over a decade now.
3. James Starks is more proof that you should not waste a first round pick on a running back. You can find running backs that you can win championships with in various ways. So why burn a high draft pick on a position that features players with short shelf lives and happen to be relatively easy to replace?
4. That halftime show was just terrible. I know it was an attempt to get an act on stage that was relevant to a majority of the people watching the game. But hip-hop just doesn't come across very well in live settings like that. In the future, can we at least get a halftime act that features actual instruments being played and not just some pre-produced music blaring out of speakers? Is a guitar and some drums too much to ask for?
5. Dolphins DE Kendall Langford probably summed up all of our thoughts last night watching the Packers celebrate. Moments after the game, Langford tweeted, "Wow that has to be an amazing feeling, I'm anxious to feel that feeling!!! #SuperBowlChamps." At this point, I wonder if we'll ever feel that feeling...