When I decided to count down the 22 most important players in Sunday’s Super Bowl, I didn’t imagine it was going to be all that hard. I mean, there are 44 total starters; picking half of them should be doable. Then I actually started.
Let me first explain what this list is actually supposed to represent. These aren’t the 22 best players in the Super Bowl or the 22 players I expect to make the biggest impact. This is my best attempt at figuring out which 22 players matter most, and that proved to be more difficult than I’d planned.
Even with some cheating (a few guys at similar positions are listed together, so actually there are 27 players. I'm not sorry), there are some notable omissions that I don’t feel great about. Jonathan Goodwin has been one of the best centers in football this year, but for the purposes of this list, he’s out. Not a single Ravens cornerback is listed, which isn’t to say that Corey Graham and Cary Williams won’t play a part; it’s to say that how San Francisco uses Michael Crabtree doesn’t make one side or area of the field more important than another. Dennis Pitta has been invaluable for the Ravens’ offense since Jim Caldwell took over, but I still think he’s been Joe Flacco’s third most important receiver in the playoffs. With all that in mind, here are the guys who actually did make the final cut.
Ephraim and I started off this week's show by discussing the Eagles relieving defensive coordinator Juan Castillo of his duties and whether any of Ephraim's old offensive line coaches ever could've made the move to the other side of the ball. That, of course, led to a conversation about competitive Uno, at which Ephraim is apparently very, very talented. From there, it was a talk about the possible end for Ray Lewis, the middle linebacker's legacy in football and what's set him apart during his historic 17-year career. Finally, we got to a topic whose absence from previous podcasts is pretty embarrassing on my part: the best linemen gifts Ephraim has ever received. Let's just say you never want Clinton Portis as your secret Santa.
For those who reside outside New York’s tristate area, I’d imagine Sunday’s NFC championship game was a pretty unsatisfying affair. When the most notable player in a game is a guy who muffed two punts and Alex Smith is busy being Alex Smith-y, nobody is having fun. Well, almost nobody.
For defensive-line junkies like me, Sunday night was quite the fix.