Kaz’s Korner

Joe Kazmar – For The Record

Sunday night’s Super Bowl may not have been the most exciting or action-packed culmination to another National Football League season, but it did offer a reiteration of something I have been harping on for 50 years—games and division titles are won with good offense, but championships are garnered by teams that play great defense.

And for the second straight game, the Denver Broncos defense took away most of the running and passing lanes that had been open all season long for the Carolina Panthers.

Two weeks earlier the Bronco defense did the same thing to the high-and-mighty New England Patriots and upset them 20-18 by putting tremendous pressure on their quarterback Tom Brady, especially on the two-point conversion try with 12 seconds left in the game that led to an interception in the end zone.

Denver’s first-year defensive coordinator and Orange native Wade Phillips devised defensive schemes that led to Brady being hit by the Broncos 23 times and completely harassed him the entire game.

Phillips had to engineer a defensive scheme that would do the same thing to Carolina’s Most Valuable Player quarterback Cam Newton, who is a whole lot more mobile and at least 10 years younger than Brady.

The Denver defense did just that with outside linebackers Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware crashing in on almost every play, disrupting Newton’s timing and making him throw sooner than he was accustomed to.

Carolina, which rarely finds itself trailing on the scoreboard in the early going, was in a 10-0 hole with 6:27 still remaining in the initial period.

Things never got much better for the Panthers, either, as Newton was sacked six times—with 2 ½ of them registered to the games Most Valuable Player Von Miller—as Denver bucked the Las Vegas odds makers who had them losing by a touchdown and rolled to a somewhat easy 24-10 victory over the befuddled Panthers.

Miller was credited for creating a Newton fumble early in the game that rolled into the end zone and was recovered by Denver defensive end Malik Jackson, giving the Broncos a 7-0 lead they never relinquished.

Denver’s Hall of Fame-bound quarterback Peyton Manning, who very well could have played in his final NFL game, became the oldest winning quarterback in Super Bowl history at 39.

His boss, General Manager John Elway, held that mark when he was the winning quarterback over Atlanta 34-19 in Super Bowl XXXIII at age 37. The only difference is that Elway played well enough to earn the MVP Award.

I hope that the Houston Texans’ brass watched the presentation of the Lombardi Trophy to Denver Head Coach Gary Kubiak and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, both of whom were unceremoniously shown the door by owner Bob McNair and his new cadre of losers.

There’s an old adage that sometimes the owner needs to fire some of his non-productive players instead of the coaches. Denver was a perfect example of depending on obtaining several high-impact players who could help the team immediately rather than drafting untested rookies and picking up some free agent rejects that nobody else wants.

However, one of Denver’s new acquisitions—cornerback Aqib Talib—is a criminal wannabe with a No. 21 on his Broncos’ jersey.

The game was barely five minutes old and Talib already had been assessed two personal fouls and an offside penalty, which gave Carolina new sets of downs.

If NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell gets his way with the league’s competition committee, he recommended at his annual state of the league address Friday that a player who commits two personal fouls in the same game should be ejected after the second infraction.

What that means if that rule were in effect in Sunday’s Super Bowl is that Talib would have been gone when he was flagged for taunting after a play that would have required Carolina to punt. He was penalized just a couple of minutes earlier for tackling a Panthers player by his facemask.

Talib is a great defensive player that Elway should sit down and have a “Come To Jesus” talk with and put all his plusses and minuses in two separate columns. I guarantee you he hurts the team more than he helps it!!!

KWICKIES…Kane Harris, Hamshire Fannett’s athletic director and head football coach, announced his resignation Monday amid allegations he and his coaching staff overworked a few of his boys in athletic class to the point that some of them needed to be admitted to the hospital because of muscular trauma.

The Lamar Lady Cardinal basketball team has been on a roll lately and has evened their Southland Conference record at 6-6 after an impressive 59-49 victory over Incarnate Word Saturday in the Montagne Center. The Lady Cards are still working hard to even their overall record which jumped to 10-13 with the win.

But things haven’t been going so great for the Lamar men’s basketball team that fell into last place in the SLC standings after dropping a heart-breaker to Incarnate Word Saturday 74-71. The Redbirds stand at a dismal 2-9 in SLC action going into Monday night’s game against Abilene Christian at the Montagne Center.

The Houston Texans will play a Monday Night Football game against the Oakland Raiders on Nov. 21 in Mexico City. It will be considered a home game for the Raiders and will be televised by ESPN.

The Houston Texans’ defensive stalwart J.J. Watt made history Saturday night when he was voted the NFL Defensive Player of the Year, joining only New York Giants outside linebacker Lawrence Taylor as the only three-time winner of the prestigious award. The NFL Awards were announced on the NFL Honors Show. Carolina’s quarterback Cam Newton was named the league’s Most Valuable Player and Offensive Player of the Year. Kansas City’s Eric Berry was named Comeback Player of the Year, St. Louis’ running back Todd Gurley was the league’s offensive rookie and Kansas City’s Marcus Peters was the defensive rookie of the year. Carolina’s head coach Ron Rivera garnered Coach of the Year Award while Orange native Wade Phillips of Denver was named the NFL’s Top Assistant Coach. San Francisco wide receiver Anquan Boldin was named the NFL’s Man of the Year.

JUST BETWEEN US…One of my very favorite players on the PGA Tour– Rickie Fowler– made a huge tactical error on the 71st hole of last weekend’s Waste Management Phoenix Open Sunday when he had a two-shot lead. Instead of using a three-wood and laying up on the short 317-yard Par-4 hole, he pulled out his driver and smacked it 360 yards, over the green and into the water behind the putting surface and got a bogey-5 for his mistake. His playing partner Hidecki Matsuyama laid up and got a birdie to tie the match and send it into overtime. The fifth playoff hole happened to be No. 17 and this time Fowler pulled out his three wood but then yanked it into the lake. Matsuyama made a par and won the tournament, snatching it right out of the grasps of young Fowler. Matsuyama had his biggest payday ($1.17 million) while Fowler earned $702,000.