Player Analysis: Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia

**Due to time constraints I will merely be reprinting my work from the CHTV Draft Guide for WRs and QBs. I wish I had more time to write up all my notes but such is the life of a part time freelancer. Thanks for your understanding.**

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Name: Aaron Murray

School: Georgia

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 207

40-Yard Dash: N/A due to injury

In a nutshell: Murray tore his ACL during the 2013 season and is still rehabbing. Incredibly productive against top-shelf SEC competition, Murray is a four-year starter in a pro-style offense. Height and build are concerns, as is durability. Height and low release point contribute to batted balls, as does his average arm. Murray does get rattled under pressure and has fallen apart in big games.

Vs. #7 Auburn: While not flawless, Murray played some incredible football against Auburn in a huge game. After scoring on a scramble to take the lead, Georgia fell behind and Murray had to bring the offense to the Auburn 20 in under 25 seconds. His final pass fell incomplete, but otherwise Murray came through when they needed him.

Player Analysis: Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU

**Due to time constraints I will merely be reprinting my work from the CHTV Draft Guide for WRs and QBs. I wish I had more time to write up all my notes but such is the life of a part time freelancer. Thanks for your understanding.**

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Name: Zach Mettenberger

School: LSU

Height: 6’5”

Weight: 224

40-Yard Dash: N/A due to injury

In a nutshell: Mettenberger did not participate in any Combine drills due to a torn MCL/ACL injury which happened in November, and he may not be ready for LSU’s pro day. When healthy, Mettenberger shows extremely good arm strength, comes out of a pro-style offense and being a pocket passer, may not see much degradation in his game coming off his knee injury. Also has some character questions.

Vs #9 Georgia: Mettenberger was accurate and poised, putting his team in the lead of a shootout with 4:14 left to go in the game. On the drive he threw four straight completions, including a nice 27-yard pass to put LSU in scoring position. Unfortunately he couldn’t repeat the deed and threw four incompletions to end the game.

Player Analysis: Bishop Sankey, RB, Washington

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Name: Bishop Sankey

Class: Junior
Height: 5’9”
Weight: 209 lbs.
School: Washington

Strengths: Looking at Sankey, there’s no one thing which stands out about him upon first glance, but pop in a game and he jumps off the screen. Sankey has great vision and does a fantastic job seeing—and then getting through—the hole at the line of scrimmage. He also does a great job setting up and following his blockers. Sankey is elusive in traffic, showing a good jump-cut. He also runs stronger than you’d expect in the interior, leaning forward and driving with his legs. Sankey shows good acceleration when he gets to the second level and his 4.49 speed is evident on tape. Sankey is also a three-down back—he can catch the ball well, and can get extra yards after a catch. He’s also a much better pass-blocker than you’d expect from his size and frame, and achieves success with technique rather than brute force.

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Weakness: Because of his size and frame, as well as the high number of carries he saw over his last two years, there are some concerns about his durability. Granted, he never missed a game and was a workhorse back for the Huskies, but long term, it’s fair to wonder how much he has left in the tank. Sankey also will expose the ball when running—specifically when he is trying to maintain balance. This can lead to turnovers and if he doesn’t change it, teams will go after the ball.

Intangibles: By all accounts, Sankey is a solid worker and good teammate. He has no off-the-field issues I’m aware of at this time.

Notes: Sankey is a very good all-around running back. There’s little to dislike about his game and while his upside isn’t as good as Tre Mason or Carlos Hyde’s you can build an argument that he could be ranked ahead of Ka’Deem Carey. The heavy workload is a concern, but it’s not so bad that he will collapse before his rookie contract is out and may even outlast that. This is assuming someone picks him as a lead, bell-cow back—something less common in today’s NFL. If part of a committee, Sankey could be productive for a very long time.


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Player Analysis: Tre Mason, RB, Auburn

image via Yahoo! Sports and USA Today Sports

Name: Tre Mason

Class: Junior
Height: 5’8”
Weight: 207 lbs.
School: Auburn

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Strengths: Mason has good burst off the snap, has the vision to read where the hole is and punches through it. He doesn’t waste any time in the backfield, doesn’t dance or hesitate—Mason just plants his foot and goes. That decisiveness along with his vision makes him hard to contain in the backfield and with his low pad level, he’s hard to tackle. When you do get a hand on him, Mason will spin out of the way. He’s not shy about contact, bringing a nice physical style to finish his runs, which also seems to translate to some very good pass blocking—a huge bonus for any rookie running back. Mason carried a heavy workload at Auburn without wearing down, so he could potentially do that at the pro level. He also showed good hands receiving out of the backfield, though saw limited use in that area. Mason is also a strong kickoff returner.

Weakness: Mason’s shorter than what teams look for in a prototypical back, but has enough mass to where durability isn’t a concern.

While he is fast, Mason only seems to have one speed so once he tops out, he isn’t adding more burst to get away from tacklers. We know he can catch the ball, but our ability to really examine that is limited because he just didn’t get used in the receiving game often enough to get a firm grasp on it.

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Mason has had some ball security issues the last two years and will need to take better care of the ball at the pro level. There might be some question about his potential effectiveness depending on where he lands because he may have benefited a bit from a very good offensive line and an up-tempo scheme which wore down defenses.

On the other hand, if he’s in a scheme which does that,  it’s going to be a strong fit.

Intangibles: Mason is reportedly a hard-working player and a pretty good guy but did have some off-the-field issues in 2013 (see below).

Notes: Even in a year where we know running backs will slide because of the decrease in relative value at the position, Mason wouldn’t have gone as high as, say Trent Richardson did a few years back. He might have snuck into the first round—and may yet because this is the draft and wackiness ensues—but he’s not what we used to see as an elite back. That’s not to say he won’t be very good though and I like what he brings to the table a lot.

Player Analysis: Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State

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Name: Carlos Hyde

Class: Senior
Height: 6’
Weight: 230 lbs.
School: Ohio State

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Strengths: Hyde is a big, thick, bruising running back who will lower his pads and hammer through a hole (or through someone blocking a hole). He keeps his legs churning after contact, shows great balance and footwork through trash and will stay on his feet even with tacklers trying to drag him down. Hyde has a real “can’t stop/won’t stop” attitude which makes him very effective in goal-line and short yardage situations. His brutal running style will wear a defensive front down, so he gets better as a game goes on. Hyde is also a lot quicker than he appears upon first glance and moves swiftly and with agility through small holes and traffic and will plant his foot and spring in another direction with speed. Hyde is also a solid receiver as well, showing soft hands. Finally, Hyde is an instinctive blocker

Weakness: Mason’s shorter than what teams look for in a prototypical back, but has enough mass to where durability isn’t a concern. While he is fast, Mason only seems to have one speed so once he tops out, he isn’t adding more burst to get away from tacklers. While we know he can catch the ball, our ability to really examine

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that is limited because he just didn’t get used in the receiving game often enough to get a firm grasp on it. Mason has had some ball security issues the last two years and will need to take better care of the ball at the pro level. There might be some question about his potential effectiveness depending on where he lands because he may have benefited a bit from a very good offensive line and an up-tempo scheme which wore down defenses.

On the other hand, if he’s in a scheme which does that—well that’s a strong fit.

Intangibles: By all accounts, Hyde is a good worker and teammate. He was suspended for three games (via in 2013 after an incident with a woman at a nightclub. The case was dropped but Urban Meyer still suspended him. He appeared to be remorseful and aware of what he cost his teammates and himself (via, and it sounds as though he learned from his mistake.

Notes: Hyde is a guy who could easily be a workhorse back at the Pro level, and he showed that when he was the first Urban Meyer back to total 1,000 yards in a season, despite missing three games. After pulling a hamstring at the combine, Hyde bounced back and performed well in some private workouts at the end of March. He breaks a lot of tackles and runs hard, which should translate to some nice games at the pro level.


Player Analysis: Ka’Deem Carey, RB, Arizona

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Name: Ka’Deem Carey

Class: Junior
Height: 5’9”
Weight: 207 lbs.
School: Arizona

Strengths: Carey had a very productive career as a Wildcat, even more impressive for the fact that he only got significant carries two of the three years he played. Possess great vision and can see a hole forming, then bursts to it and through it quickly. Carey can easily cut back across the grain and shows the ability to make sharp cuts and jump cuts with ease.

image via, photo by Mark J. Rebilas – USA Today Sports

Once past the line, Carey does an excellent job spinning off tacklers and breaking arm tackles as well. Carey runs with a punishing style and will run over tacklers when he needs to, wearing down defenses. It’s not easy to take him down and he keeps his legs pumping well after contact—especially when he is close to the first down marker. Keeps his pads level to deliver the big hit and finish a run.

A solid receiver, Carey does a good job of getting upfield after the catch and shows some shiftiness in space.


Carey also does a good job pass-blocking, locating and sealing off blitzing defenders and delivering a big hit or cut-block.

He’s a three-down player, something teams will find very valuable.

Weakness: As nice as it is to see him run tough and deliver hits, he leaves himself open to big hits too often. He needs to run smarter or he could end up with some injury issues. While his frame is good, Carey is a bit shorter than ideal height for his position, and his legs appear to be a bit thin. His high number of carries in a short time might be a concern for some teams as he carried the ball 652 times in the past two seasons.

On the other hand, some teams may be more worried that he only has two years of experience as a starter.

While he can be elusive, he lacks breakaway speed or the extra gear needed to break a big run off. Carey also rarely faced stacked boxes as Arizona’s spread offense kept the defense out of the tackle box.

Intangibles: Carey has had some off-the-field issues—a quick google search for “Ka’Deem Carey” and “arrest”

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brings up numerous issues. He was suspended for the first game of the 2013 season (via Daniel Berk of the Arizona Daily Star)due to the amount of issues that off-season, the worst of which was a domestic violence charge against his ex-girlfriend which was later dropped according to James Kelley of Arizona’s student newspaper, the Daily Wildcat.

Still, you know teams will take along look at him and his past, asking a lot of pointed questions about that offseason in particular.

How he answers can go a long way towards securing a second or third round grade or dropping him down boards.

Notes:It’s hard to know what goes through the minds of a GM or team regarding things like Carey’s off-the-field issues but know that the teams know virtually everything about the players by now and if they have questions, they’ve asked them. A lot. It doesn’t mean they won’t miss on occasion *coughAaron Hernandezcough* but more often than not it gets done right. On the field, Carey is very talented and ultimately that will get him drafted as—in the NFL—talent wins out. I’m concerned about the repeated issues , however hopeful that given that it appears as if the issues were over one unfortunate offseason, that it was just that—a really bad offseason—and not reflective of a wider issue.

Edited to add: Was forwarded this interview by Zoltan Buday, a journalist who has a lot of good coaches interviews on his site, Here’s Buday’s interview with Carey’s position coach (and Wildcat offensive coordinator) Calvin Magee.

Player Analysis: Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State

Name: Derek Carr

Class: Senior
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 214 lbs.
School: Fresno State

Strengths: Carr is a very good all-around athlete, able to move well in and out of the pocket and generally move well when he needs to.  He has a tremendous arm, with the ability to throw deep as well as drive the ball with good velocity.  Carr has shown good accuracy and record-breaking production at Fresno State, despite having to adjust to a coaching and system change. He’s got solid mechanics, with pretty good technique during his delivery and the ability to get the ball out quickly.

Weakness: The problem with lauding Carr’s accuracy and production is that it came against sometimes sub-par teams in the Mountain West Conference. When he played against bigger teams, like USC in the 2013 Vegas Bowl, he wilts. Yes, the loss to USC (I would have also accepted the words “disaster” and “pummeling”) was one in which the whole team collapsed, but Carr himself looked overwhelmed. He struggled under pressure and had a hard time completing passes under fire. That’s a real concern considering USC’s defense wasn’t one of its best ever and the level of play in the NFL will be much fiercer. I didn’t walk away from the Senior Bowl excited either (more on that below), as I saw too many passes sail on him even when there was no pass-rush. When he’s blitzed, you can see him hurry throws, which result in some badly overthrown balls. He also has a tendency to stare down receivers at times. Carr played almost exclusively out of the shotgun, so he’ll need to adjust for that. He didn’t look terrible comfortable under center in Mobile and he’ll have to work on it, though that’s common for many quarterbacks these days. Carr also seems to struggle on deeper throws.

Intangibles:  The biggest question about Carr, in my mind, is how he reacts to pressure and pressure situations. While he appears calm and poised in many games, he has struggled in bigger games. Now, as mentioned above, the bludgeoning by USC was a team-wide failure. If Fresno State doesn’t collapse early on defense, maybe USC’s defense  doesn’t have carte blanche to tee off on Carr and maybe he struggles less. On the other hand there are definitely times in other games where he was under pressure and definitely looked shaky.  Aside from that, all reports are that he is solid in the huddle and a smart quarterback who was able to weather changes in the program without freaking out. That may not seem like much, but for a young quarterback in the NFL, that’s a big deal—just ask Alex Smith.

Notes: A lot of folks came away from Mobile and the Senior Bowl saying Carr was the best quarterback there—and he was. Which was a lot like saying he was the best natural disaster.  That’s a bit harsh but I really just want to drive home the point that, save for Carr and Jimmy Garropolo, this was not a group where “being the best” should mean as much as you think. Once you take that grain of salt, combined with what you see on tape, a picture is painted of a decent quarterback whose ending value is balanced on his ability to improve. It’s what would keep me from drafting him in round one, or at least high is round one. That said, he’s a solid second round pick or a good pick for a team willing to get back into the late first. He has some issues, but the upside is there to become a solid NFL starter.

Player Analysis: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

Teddy Bridgewater has everything you need for a franchise quarterback.

Name: Teddy Bridgewater

Class: Junior
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 205 lbs.
School: Louisville

Strengths: Bridgewater is easily the most pro-ready prospect at the position as he comes out of a pro-style offense where he was very comfortable.  Scans the whole field and makes all is progressions, and on film repeatedly showed the ability to look off and fool the defense with his eyes before delivering the ball. Bridgewater gets the ball out quickly with good technique, and can fit the ball into tight windows or put it where only his receiver can make a play. Shows poise in the pocket and a willingness to stand and take a hit while delivering the ball, though is also very effective scrambling as well. Bridgewater delivered on numerous big drives when the team needed him to step up, though was let down by his defense more than once. Is absolutely deadly when facing blitzes and pressure and was very effective on third downs. Added weight and mass prior to the Combine in order to allay concerns about durability due to body type.

Weakness: Bridgewater has a solid release, but a lower-than-ideal release point, which can be corrected. While accurate on downfield throws, could improve both touch and ball placement, in part because he doesn’t have the best drive on the ball for downfield throws. Mobile but not spectacularly so, is not a true “dual-threat” quarterback. There are concerns about Bridgewater’s durability due to body-type and big hits he has taken in college.

Intangibles: There are some “concerns” among media and some analysts about his ability to lead, but nothing we see on tape leads one to believe he isn’t a good leader on the field. From all accounts he is a dedicated worker and knows his football, and loves to be around it. He appears to elevate the play of those around him by example, both on and off the field. Adding weight pre-Combine shows he is willing to work and improve, and has the dedication to make gains swiftly in areas he might be lacking.

Notes: While he’s the best quarterback in the class, Bridgewater has absolutely suffered a bit as folks pick him apart—as is the case for most top picks. Not competing in the Combine hurt him, at least from a media standpoint, though as numerous NFL people told me in Indianapolis (and guys like Pete Carroll said publicly) teams prefer to see these guys compete. While the film on Bridgewater is better than a guy like Blake Bortles, the UCF quarterback impressed people by competing whereas not doing anything hurts the perception of Bridgewater. More than a few people mention bad weather as a concern, but he played well against Southern Miss in heavy rain and has played in other inclement weather.

CHTV at the Senior Bowl: Day One Notes

(reprinted from – you can find the site here)

Notes photo IMG_4627_zps001eee8f.jpgNormally, Senior Bowl practices are divided in such a way to where you can see both the North squad and the South squad. One gets the morning and one gets the afternoon.

Mondays throw that aside because the morning is given over to the weigh-in and the evening is the dinner with the media, so the window for practice is shorter than usual.

They have one of the practices at the normal venue (Ladd Peebles Stadium, where the game is played) but ship the other team off to Fairhope Stadium, about a 30 minute drive from Mobile itself.

Once upon a time, these practices happened simultaneously, which meant you only saw one Monday practice. Now that Phil Savage (former scout, NFL GM, player personnel director and coach) is in charge, staggering these practices so you can catch most of both.

I traveled to Fairhope, but was able to catch a lot of the other practice as well. But as I didn’t get a full look at the North practice Ladd Peebles, rather than cover each practice individually, I’m just going to give you my basic thoughts on players who stood out.

Before we get too into it though, one thing to keep in mind. This is Day One of practice. Especially for the skill position players, this is a tough day. Quarterbacks and wide receivers don’t know each other and that can often provide a skewed look at what they are capable of. We’ll get a much more accurate look at those players during Day Two and Day Three.

All that being said, I am not very excited by this group of quarterbacks.

Until last year, every time I have come to Mobile, some quarterback has “jumped out” at me. Once it was Colin Kaepernick, another time Russell Wilson.

It’s early but I just don’t see that guy here.

Eastern Illinois’ Jimmy Garoppolo showed off a cannon of an arm, but zero touch. He did everything at 110 percent. Handed the ball off hard, pitched it hard, threw it long hard, threw it short hard. He looked like he was trying to go through his receiver.

I’m all for a show of arm strength, but Garoppolo took it a bit far. You have to take something off your shorter passes, but the ball came out just as hot on a short route as it did on a long or intermediate pass. I want to see some touch on his throws before the end of the week. He could just be hyped up, especially coming off a very good Shrine Game. It happens, guys try to prove themselves a little too much on day one.

Sometimes it works out, as it did with Russell Wilson, who looked aggressive and exceptional during his first practice. Sometimes, it doesn’t work as well, as was the case today.

Fresno State’s Derek Carr looked solid at the South practice, showing overall solid mechanics and a smooth motion on his throws. He didn’t blow me away but he threw a nice ball.

I can’t say the same for David Fales, the San Jose State quarterback who didn’t seem to finish a throwing motion. It looked like his throw stopped early and whenever I saw that, his pass floated. His accuracy (and the float of his passes) went up drastically whenever he had to go long.

The North didn’t have anyone stand out positively, at least when I was watching. Tajh Boyd had accuracy issues, though he was probably the best of this group. I’m not sure I buy Tony Pauline’s comment that any team – including the Packers – think Boyd is ‘undraftable’ after a day of practice. Even after looking at his tape. Is he Teddy Bridgewater? No, but he’s not a disaster.

At least I won’t judge him that after one day. It sounds more like either 1) a team not in need of a quarterback downgrading a guy or 2) smoke and mirrors.

Pauline is good at parsing info, but I can’t buy undraftable based on today. It’s knee jerk reaction at its worst.

That said, I didn’t much like what I saw from Virginia tech’s Logan Thomas, whose day was summed up perfectly by CBS Sports’ Dane Brugler.

Consistency will be key for him the rest of the week.

Stephen Morris of Miami had the same issue. One minute a decent pass, the next a high overthrow.

The other group I watched closely was the South’s wide receivers.

 photo photo2_zps0d1fdb3d.jpgI felt like Texas wide receiver Mike Davis was solid as advertised. I saw him come off the line quickly, adjust to bad balls and make some nice leaping catches. He also did a good job of catching the ball away from his body. Far too many of the other receivers let the ball hit their chest, a good way to produce a bobble and drop.

He also showed very soft hands, which made it even easier to control the ball.

Jordan Matthews of Vanderbilt had an up and down day. He had more than a few drops, but he also had a beautiful leaping catch where he high-pointed the ball. If he can clean up his drops, he could have a great week.

At 5’8″, 179 pounds, I had concerns about Florida’s Solomon Patton. Would he get beat up at the line and overpowered by the secondary? At least for today, the answer was yes, sometimes. He was overpowered at the line a few times, but he also fought for the ball and used his hands as well to fight off the defender. He may find his rhythm as the week goes on.

Another smaller guy, Jalen Saunders from Oklahoma, had less success. He was repeatedly overpowered by the secondary and had a few drops on what should have been easy passes. He wasn’t happy about it, and gave himself penalty pushups. That’s great and all, but we need to see him improve this week and not just at pushups.

A few other quick notes on positions I didn’t get to watch in depth:

  • Good friend and Denver radio host Cecil Lammy has been coming to Mobile since before it was trendy and is an incredibly sharp evaluator. So when he tells me to keep an eye on West Virginia running back Charles Sims, you know I’ll do it. I only got to see Sims briefly today but he impressed with his speed and vision.
  • I loved the pace with which the Jacksonville Jaguars practiced. It was intense and energetic but everyone was having fun. When we got the the North practice, shepherded by the Atlanta Falcons, the pace was laconic. And I might be wrong but it seemed as if they started special teams early and went a long time with it.
  • I watched some of the defensive line drills at Fairhope and came away impressed with a few guys. I loved the short, violent use of hands by Princeton’s (that’s right PRINCETON) Caraun Reid. He ran his drills through the tackling dummies fast and hard. I felt Arizona State’s Will Sutton also ran the drill well, though he seemed off balance once or twice. And Tennessee’s Dan McCullers seemed to struggle during the drill, standing too upright and not delivering powerful blows with his hands. I intend to spend more time with these guys over the next two days.

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So that’s all for Day One from Mobile, Alabama. I’ll be back tomorrow night (or Wednesday morning) with some thoughts and observations from both the North and South practices, as well as some quotes which I gathered during Monday’s Media night.

But Baby It’s Cold Outside: Why a Snowy Super Bowl isn’t the End of the World

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If you even casually watched any NFL games this weekend, you might have noticed we had some weather.

Of course, with weather (especially snow) comes endless amounts of complaining about the New York/New Jersey Super Bowl.

Because it’s outside and oh my you can’t have weather impact a Super Bowl.

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Let’s ignore the one in Miami which was played in a torrential downpour, because it ruins the narrative.

The biggest argument folks trot out when saying weather shouldn’t be a factor in a Super Bowl is that the two best teams should be able to play at 100 percent.

That they shouldn’t have to contend with things like weather because you want them to be able to do whatever they do best and have no outside forces impact that.

Let’s forget for a moment that part of winning a Super Bowl involves things like game planning and coaching. Let’s ignore the idea that if you knew there might be snow, you might have an alternate plan in place to negate or take advantage of it.

I mean, I get that if you throw the ball well, a blizzard puts a crimp in your plans. But knowing there is a chance it happens, a good coach – a Super Bowl winning coach – plans for it. Like all the injuries and other distractions which impact the game.

But again, let’s put that aside. You don’t want to have weather affect a Championship game. I hear you.

But here’s something you don’t realize.

It already has.

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And this is why a cold-weather or snowy football environment isn’t the end of the world. There’s a good chance at least one of the playoff games leading up to the Super Bowl was played in poor weather.

Which means some team had to adjust it’s strategy or didn’t and lost. Which means there is a good chance the best team lost because of weather.

Now you may feel like this is supporting your “no weather” argument, but it doesn’t.

Because unless you stick every playoff game in a dome, you will never, ever have an even playing field. Ever.

Weather and the environment will always play a factor.

And guess what? It hasn’t ruined a Super Bowl yet. At no point have you looked at the Super Bowl and said “Man, if only team X hadn’t played in the rain/snow/fog they’d be here instead of team Y. This blows”

You’ve accepted the fact that the two teams in the Super Bowl got there, forget how, and now play. They may not be the best two teams in the NFL or playoffs and quite often they aren’t.

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But the games are still great.

Despite the weather already impacting the playoffs and therefore, the Super Bowl.

And by the way, we keep talking about weather holding back a Peyton Manning or Drew Brees. How it’s unfair that snow might hamper their offense.

What about a team built for foul weather? What about Seattle or Carolina?

Why is it OK to make things favorable for some teams but not others?

I know the answer – it’s a passing league, we want passing.

But even in perfect weather we don’t always get it.

Why shouldn’t a team built for rough weather have the advantage?

And if it does – why is that a horrible thing?

The truth is, it isn’t. Football has always been an all-weather sport. It plays as well in the snow as it does in 75 degrees and still winds.

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Part of the greatness of football is overcoming the elements in your quest for success.

Maybe Thurston and Lovie Howell might not enjoy their $17,000 seats in the snow.

But I would, and a lot of fans would enjoy watching it in the comfort of their own homes.

Andrew Garda is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association. He is also a member of the fantasy football staff at and the NFL writer at You can follow him at @andrew_garda on Twitter.