Billick: Wilson defies labels, critics to lead Seahawks
Five observations from Championship Sunday
1. I have been a strong advocate for reseeding the playoffs, but this year, the NFL got it right. The final four teams playing on Championship Weekend were the four best teams in football and now the two best teams will play in the Super Bowl.
With each earning a 13-3 record in the regular season, this Broncos-Seahawks Super Bowl will be the second since 1994 to feature the top seeds from each division and just the ninth such matchup since the NFL starting naming seeds in 1975.
2. Johnny Manziel’s case to become the first overall pick in April’s draft just got a whole lot stronger on Sunday.
Russell Wilson is about to become the league’s shortest quarterback to ever play on its biggest stage. At 5-foot-11, Wilson is an inch shorter than the likes of Len Dawson, Fran Tarkenton and most recently, Drew Brees.
His off-field antics aside, Manziel’s biggest question mark is his height. Well, he was just provided a very good counter-argument.
3. I once had a memorable rant about instant replay after our Ravens beat the Broncos by 20 points in 2003.
My rant came after a 20-point win in the regular season, so I can only imagine the frustration Jim Harbaugh was feeling on the 49ers’ sideline during the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship Game, in which his team was trailing by three points.
With 10 minutes remaining, NaVorro Bowman either intercepted a pass or recovered a fumble that should have resulted in a turnover, but the way the play was called on the field resulted in the play being ineligible for review.
Now if it had happened in the end zone, it would have been reviewable. What!?
Either use replay or don’t; just going halfway is nonsense. Had the 49ers not gotten a takeaway on the very next play, I’m sure we had have seen a similar rant from Harbaugh in his postgame press conference … but worse due to the circumstances.
4. Because of Wilson being the mobile quarterback that he is, he gets lumped in with the new-age quarterbacks like Cam Newton, RG3 and Colin Kaepernick, but the Seahawks are far from new age in the way they play the game.
Sure, Wilson gets out of the pocket and makes spectacular plays with his legs, but Seattle is a nod to the old-school mentality of the game. Run the ball and play great defense.
Denver on the other hand, with the completely immobile Peyton Manning, is much more new school with its high-scoring offense and a defense that just hangs on as long as it can.
This will be a fun dynamic to watch on Super Bowl Sunday
5. Speaking of which, is it possible to name Peyton Manning the defensive MVP for the Broncos on Sunday despite obviously never lining up on that side of the ball?
It is pretty easy to stop your opponent from scoring when they are never on the field. Manning held the ball for more than 35 minutes, including two drives that each ate up more than seven minutes on Sunday. In doing so, he limited the Patriots to about 15 fewer offensive snaps than their season average. That is at least two possessions, if not three, that Manning took away from Brady.