The Andrew Preview: Superbowl XLV

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Jeff Fisher is leaving the Tennessee Titans after sixteen years as the team's head coach.

1. Last Thursday, Jeff Fisher resigned from the Tennessee Titans after sixteen seasons as the team’s head coach. It was believed that Fisher and QB Vince Young could not coexist in the organization, but with Titans’ owner Bud Adams announcing that Young would not be back in Tennessee, it was widely expected that Fisher would return. Then, Fisher, who had been with the Titans since the team was located in Houston, surprised the league by announce he would not come back for the last year of his contract as Tennessee’s head coach. He will reportedly receive an 8 million dollar settlement buyout. Rumors suggest that part of the departure had to do with Fisher losing two valued assistants in Check Cecil who was fired and Jim Washburn who was hired by the Philadelphia Eagles. Fisher leaves the Titans with a 142-120 record in the regular season and a 5-6 record in the playoffs for the team under his tenure.

2. The Associated Press selected New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick as the 2010 Coach of the Year. This is the third time that Belichick has won the award, having been voted the league’s best coach in 2007 and 2003 as well. With this third win, Belichick is behind only Don Shula, who won the award a record four times. Belichick received thirty out of fifty votes to win, with the second place finisher, Tampa Bay’s Raheem Morris, receiving 11 ½ votes. With a prolific offense and rebuilt defense, he managed to coach the Patriots to a league best 14-2 record this season, that included wins over the Steelers, Packers, Bears, and Jets.

3. Steelers LB James Harrison unleashed more criticism for the NFL in the lead up to the Super Bowl. On Tuesday, Harrison facetiously suggested that he could use pillows to soften his hits on ball-carriers. Then, on Wednesday before the Steelers’ practice, Harrison questioned the NFL’s commitment to player safety, and pointed to the owner’s push for an 18-game regular season as proof of his position. Harrison said that, “It’s not about player safety. It’s about making money.” Harrison noted that Steelers’ owner Dan Rooney had spoken out against the idea of an 18-game season and that “He’s the most respected voice, I believe. He came out and said it, exactly what it was, what it is.” He also said that the NFL’s efforts toward player safety were “a show.” Harrison was fined earlier in the season for his big hits on opposing players.

Registering For The Draft

Here is the current order for the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft.

1. Carolina (2-14)
2. Denver (4-12)
3. Buffalo (4-12)
4. Cincinnati (4-12)
5. Arizona (5-11)
6. Cleveland (5-11)
7. San Francisco (6-10)
8. Tennessee (6-10)
9. Dallas (6-10)
10. Washington (6-10)
11. Houston (6-10)
12. Minnesota (6-10)
13. Detroit (6-10)
14. St. Louis (7-9)
15. Miami (7-9)
16. Jacksonville (8-8)
17. New England (14-2) — from Oakland
18. San Diego (9-7)
19. New York Giants (10-6)
20. Tampa Bay (10-6)
21. Kansas City (10-6)
22. Indianapolis (10-6)
23. Philadelphia (10-6)
24. New Orleans (11-5)
25. Seattle (7-9)
26. Baltimore (12-4)
27. Atlanta (13-3)
28. New England (14-2)
29. Chicago (11-5)
30. New York Jets (11-5)
31. Green Bay (10-6)*
32. Pittsburgh (12-4)*

* Final draft position depends on the outcome of the Superbowl.
One Big Match Up

1. Pittsburgh vs. Green Bay, 6:30 P.M. EST on FOX, in Arlington, TX – Two of the most storied franchises in the history of the NFL will meet in football’s biggest game this year. The Packers trace their lineage back to 1919, and they have nine NFL Championships and three additional Super Bowl victories going into this year’s championship game. For their part, the Pittsburgh Steelers were founded in 1933 and have won a league-record six Super Bowls as a franchise.  Now, in Arlington, Texas, two of the oldest and most decorated teams in the league will match up with a chance to hoist the Lombardi Trophy as World Champions.

The Steelers take on the Packers in Arlington, Texas at Superbowl XLV.

The Pittsburgh Steelers pulled ahead to a big lead early in the 2011 AFC Championship game, and held firm against a late rally by the Jets to punch their ticket to Super Bowl XLV. Unlike the week prior against the Ravens where the team’s fortunes looked bleak at halftime, the Steelers went into the locker room at the halfway mark with a dominating 24-3 lead. The Jets mounted a furious comeback in the second half, but a goal line stand from James Harrison and the Pittsburgh D effectively shut down Rex Ryan’s team, and Pittsburgh secured the 24-19 victory over New York. One more win would give the Steelers their third Super Bowl in just six years, and it would put QB Ben Roethlisberger in elite company. Only four other quarterbacks in NFL history have won at least three superbowls: Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana, Troy Aikman, and Tom Brady. With Big Ben leading an offense that features standouts like Rashard Mendenhall and Heath Miller, and a defense that features blistering hitters like James Harrison and Troy Polamalu, expect Mike Tomlin’s boys to put up quite a fight on the NFL’s biggest stage.

Meanwhile, the Green Bay Packers have taken on and defeated division champions in every game they’ve played for the last four weeks. Their latest victim, a repeat customer, was the Chicago Bears who fell at home to the Packers 21-14. Aaron Rodgers threw for 244 yards, ran in a score, and even made a touchdown-saving tackle to send the Pack into the Super Bowl for the first time since 1998. With that strong performance, the Packers are currently three-point favorites for the Big Game and why not? Green Bay has not been down by more than a touchdown this entire season. With Aaron Rodgers under center and weapons like the explosive Greg Jennings catching passes and the workman-like James Starks getting the hard yards, the offense has been putting up big numbers. With a defense that boasts talents like lineman B.J. Raji, who returned an interception for a touchdown in the NFC Championship game and Cameron Wake who has been sacking quarterbacks all season, every offensive that has faced Mike McCarthy’s Green Bay squad has had their hands full. We have two stellar teams with long histories vying for the NFL Championship this Sunday. It should be a hell of a game.

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