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DIARY OF A FANTASY VIRGIN: Super Bowl LI

We are finally here! Super Bowl LI has arrived and we are back to Roman Numerals. They must have read my Roman protest last year in this very article but I am thinking the NFL does not care about the Virginator and his articles one bit.  But since the Roman Numerals are back I will take what I can … here we go.

The first introductory paragraph that I must address is that there appears to be a difference between WR Julian Edelman and WR Julio Jones in the media and general perception. Their stats are comparable when you consider the TE for Atlanta is not Rob Gronkowski productive. Remember folks you “Rob Peter to pay Paul” in this business. Still they are comparable but yet you will hear time and time again that the Patriots WR is a system player.

I have very bad news for you. Every NFL team plays a system. You read me right. Every freaking NFL team plays a system. How they get to the system is through a process. So when coach Dan Quinn of the Atlanta Falcons says something about this being a normal game and we just have to get through the process he is talking about his system.

Here is even worse news – some systems are better than others. For example, all those teams that have never been to the Super Bowl, I have terrible news for you – your system is not as good as your opponents. Most teams try to “find” their system and implement a different coach/GM/location/etc. This leads to chaos and even more losing. That is until you have a winning system your chances are that you end up being either a flash in the pan (1985 Chicago Bears for Championship Teams) or a perennial loser (Cleveland Browns at 1-15 in 2017) or somewhere in between. All of these teams have a system. Note: The Bears Championship came before the salary cap era in 1994 so some would question the validity of even that team.  The moral of the story is that some systems work and some don’t.

So let us talk about the game.

All My Ex’s Live in Texas!

This year’s Super Bowl is in Houston Texas. By all accounts it has been a very protective atmosphere with police presence everywhere. The city has embraced the fans and everyone seems to be enjoying the festivities.

This is the first year in four that two drop back throw first QBs are in the game. That last game? 2012 and it was a match-up between Eli Manning & Tom Brady. Tom lost a close one in that game. How is it going to pan out?

As with every year I make the case for each team.

The Case For The Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons have a record of 11-5 and Atlanta has seemed to pull together at the right time. After a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on December 4th by just one point, they have reeled off six straight wins. This does make them the hottest team in the NFC and like all good Chili recipes, the Atlanta Falcons franchise has come together offensively and defensively at the right time.

Atlanta defeated the best teams all year in the NFC to get here. Those teams were the Seattle Seahawks which are always dangerous and the very hot Green Bay Packers in a rout making their path an marked achievement.

The team is led by QB Matt Ryan. He is known as Matty “Ice” and his prolific passing this year will most likely earn him an NFL MVP award. It always appears to be a QB these days and Matt Ryan was the best statistical QB this year.

The Atlanta Falcons had the 27th best defense in the league in points allowed at 25.4. They had the number 1 offense in the league in points with 33.8 a game. So they give up 25.5 and score 33.8. I see how this works.

The Atlanta Falcons back story is that they are a legitimate team. For coach Dan Quinn he is not intimidated by the opponent whoever they are. The Atlanta Falcons are for real, they have the best QB in Matt Ryan and the best WR in Julio Jones and although their defense is not all that pretty they will score and score and score again thank you very much.

As stated before, Dan Quinn is the coach of the Falcons and he hired an offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan who has his offense pumping on all cylinders.  Dan served under Pete Carroll as late as 2014. He was the defensive coach of the Seattle Seahawks so Kyle is his Yin to his yang. Defenses can win Super Bowls but his defense is young but fast and has been better and aggressive during the playoffs.

The Case For The New England Patriots

The New England Patriots have a record of 14-2. The Patriots had the best record in all of the NFL this year. Their only two losses came at home. One was to the Buffalo Bills while playing their 3rd string QB and the other was a very tactful and mistake filled game against the Seattle Seahawks.

The New England Patriots defeated the other best team in the AFC to get to this point in the Pittsburgh Steelers. Please note that the Atlanta Falcons may edge rush you but their defense is not that much different than the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The team is led by QB Tom Brady. This is his 7th Super Bowl. You read that correctly. There are not enough superlatives to describe how talented Tom Brady is when it comes to the NFL Quarterback position. He is 4-2 in Super Bowls and his two losses were to the New York Giants by a combined 7 points. Even though Tom Brady is 39 years old and “on the back nine” he is performing at a very high level.  Tom Brady wakes up every day and smiles. Every other QB in the NFL wakes up and smirks because they are not as talented as Tom Brady.

The New England Patriots had the best defense in the league in points allowed at 15.6. They had the number 3 offense in the league in points with 27.6 a game. So they seem to hold their opponent from scoring and then smoosh them with their offense.

The New England Patriots back story is very familiar. It is the whole “Us against the World” mentality. QB Tom Brady served a 4 game suspension at the beginning of the season and Tom seems to be trying to prove a point. The Patriots appear to be a team of players that could not play on other teams according to some. They have a collective mentality that is intimidating and refreshing at the same time. You have to respect a winner no matter how much they seem to be despised.

The coach of the New England Patriots is Bill Belichick. There are not enough superlatives to describe this coach as well. The QB and coach combination of Belichick and Brady have filled this article 6 of the last 15 years. I see the dominance and you have to acknowledge the 400 lb gorilla in the room.  Coach Bill can scheme around every other coach in the league.  Can his team pull it off?

The Verdict?

What happens when you get stopped a couple of times on defense and throw for 297 yards and still lose? You get a shocking loss just like December 4th to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Patriots get their first double digit Super Bowl victory.

Dear Diary

The Virginator would like to thank everyone for another great year. I appreciate all of your support and wish you the very best.

See you in August!

Have a safe Spring and Summer.

Master D.

Tim can now be reached at tdavoll@fantasysharks.com and welcomes your opinions on the Diary of a Fantasy Virgin Articles.

About Tim Davoll

Author of the Weekly Series "Diary of a Fantasy Virgin" since opening day of FantasySharks.com. That particular date? It was September 12, 2002 when my first article was published on this site. It has been a great ride ever since.