THE GRAPEVINE: Eli didn’t deserve SBXLII MVP

Lombardi's Way THE GRAPEVINE: Eli didn’t deserve SBXLII MVP

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You have to wonder if Gary Wichard and Rex Ryan are bosom buddies. Who is Gary Wichard? He’s the agent for soon to be unrestricted free agent Terrell Suggs. And the way that Ryan is gushing all over Suggs these days, you’d think that the Ravens defensive coordinator/assistant head coach has a vested interest in making Suggs a very wealthy man.

After agreeing to his new deal Rex Ryan compared his own signing to the hopeful signing of Suggs: "I would’ve gone in the opposite order. I would’ve given money to Suggs to keep and then thrown me a bone afterwards. … He’s a rare player and it’s a lot easier to win with him than it would be to play against him, that’s for sure."

I’m sure that Ozzie Newsome and Ravens’ cap guru Pat Moriarty just loved hearing that Rex. How about you stick to coaching, eh? Don’t some of the Ravens’ defenders already have an overblown sense of self-worth?

Interesting that Rex got the assistant head coach suffix added to his title. That sounds pretty important doesn’t it? As the defensive coordinator under Brian Billick, Rex would run practices on the rare occasion when Brian Billick couldn’t attend even though he wasn’t the assistant head coach under Billick. That distinction belonged to departed offensive line coach Chris Foerster. Talk about things that make you scratch your head…

Applying the tag of “assistant head coach” to a coach’s title enables a team to prevent that coach from leaving the club for a similar position (i.e. lateral move). So where did Billick think that Forester was going to go and for that matter why would he be so concerned if he did?

By the way, where has Brian Billick gone? He did show up on HBO and there have been reports that he’s been vacationing on a tropical island and that he’ll soon be hitting the slopes. Good for him. He’s doing what most Americans would do if they were paid $5mil/year to remain unemployed. No truth to the rumor that Billick’s special assistant Vic Fangio has been traveling with him to help Billick manage happy hour.

Fangio gets to keep that special assistant tag under new head coach John Harbaugh. Wait wasn’t Fangio supposed to be the guy that helped manage the game clock for Billick? If so let’s hope that his new responsibilities as Harbaugh’s assistant don’t have anything to do with wearing a watch.

Speaking of time, word is the NFL is going to London Time again during the ’08 season. The league seems hell bent on going international but word is that most of those friendly English blokes don’t give a rats you know what about “American Football.” To make matters worse, the league has tabbed the Saints as the “host” team to the visiting Chargers. Um last time I checked the New Orleans economy wasn’t exactly robust. You’d think they might throw the Crescent City a freakin’ bone instead of taking one away. Go figure…

The figures are in on Super Bowl XLIII odds and guess who the favorites are? Why none other than the team most of America rooted against this past Sunday – the New England Patriots who are listed at 5:2 followed by the Colts and Cowboys at 6:1, ,the Packers at 7:1 and then the Chargers and Jaguars at 10:1. Apparently the Giants despite being Super Bowl Champs are Dangerfield-like. They are listed at 12:1. Other notables: Steelers at 18:1; Browns 30:1; Bengals 38:1.

So where do the Ravens fall in line? The Ravens sit at a golden 50:1 just behind the powerhouse Arizona Cardinals (45:1). I guess Vegas isn’t too impressed yet with John Harbaugh.

I’ll tell you what impressed me – the passion and determination with which the Giants played on Sunday in SBXLII. Perhaps the Patriots arrogance helped to fuel the Giants’ inspired effort. According to Giants WR Amani Toomer (who by the way absolutely pushed off prior to his sideline toe tap on his Q2 38 yard reception) the Patriots tried to play mind games with the Giants during the game. “They were inviting us to their parties after the game”, said Toomer. “They showed us no respect.”

Gee and Adalius Thomas made the Patriots seem like choir boys compared to his chest thumping former teammates…

Staying with the topic of respect, it comes as no surprise that Bill Belichick shows little to no respect to the injury reports. His open arrogance towards compliance with the reports is a slap in the face to the league and the league does little about it. On this week’s injury report, the only name that appeared was that of Tom Brady, listed as probable with a shoulder injury – a rather common injury report entry throughout the ’07 season.

Yet CB Ellis Hobbs was not listed despite playing with an injured groin for the better part of two months. Don’t think that Hobbs was hurt? He is scheduled for surgery to repair what is being described as a sports hernia. Belichick might be described as a sports hemorrhoid.
And finally, while Eli Manning’s performance was valiant and courageous, he would not have received my vote for MVP (2 lollipop passes landed in the hands of Toomer and David Tyree). No, that distinction in my opinion belongs to Giants’ defensive end Justin Tuck who had 6 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 QB hurries and one forced fumble. The dominance of New England’s previously stout offensive line by the Giants defensive front was clearly the difference in the game and no one had a greater impact on that dominance than Tuck.
I bet Rex Ryan would agree…

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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24×7 Networks, LLC’s founder (the parent of and His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan and he hosts “The Fanimal” also heard on 105.7 The Fan, Saturdays from 8-9AM. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, The Godfather, Guinness, orange crushes, meatballs and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi.

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