Before Super Bowl XLVIII, I ranked all of the prior Super Bowls from best to worst -- and the order won't really have to change after Sunday's game, which might have been the 48th-best. Actually, come to think of it, 49ers-Broncos in Super Bowl XXIV is still the worst I've ever seen, though not by much.
Hey, let's look at the bright side of the Super Blowout. The completion of the 2013 season gives us a chance to reassess each of the NFL's 32 teams. Where does everyone stand after all the coaching turnover? How will the various salary-cap situations play out?
Below, you'll see our thoughts. As always, feel free to share your take ... @HarrisonNFL is the place.
Let the dissension commence ...
(Note: Arrows reflect change in standings from the Power Rankings that were posted at the conclusion of the 2013 regular season.)
Of course, one of my tweeps did point out that the Comeback Player of the Year award might be more appropriately given to someone coming off a major injury rather than making it a youkindasuckedlastyearbutmanagedtoplaybetterthisyearsohere'sanaward kind of deal.
The most important decision for the front office, however, is whether to let go of veteran quarterback Mark Sanchez. Pretty much the only news you hear about him these days has to do with the $8.3 million the team could save against the cap by giving him the boot.
The man who eventually accepted the title -- Dennis Hickey -- must decide what to do with the contracts of several starters. Free agent-to-be Brent Grimes, who had an outstanding 2013, is a candidate for the franchise tag. We've also seen a lot of chatter about offensive tackle Branden Albert being a target in free agency. Hickey will have the cap space.
All that said, the Falcons are in great shape, which is why they get a bump in the rankings. They a) have few of their own pending free agents to sign, with none being potentially catastrophic departures; b) have an owner willing to spend; and c) have a certifiable franchise quarterback -- unlike most of the clubs below. Oh, and getting Julio Jones back in the mix sure won't hurt matters.
What's the right move at quarterback? Retaining Brian Hoyer on the cheap (he's set to earn $1.25 million) while using the cache of picks to get the young signal-caller they covet would seem to be the proper play. Of course, given the fact that the Browns want to establish a franchise quarterback, was Mike Pettine -- who cut his teeth as a defensive coordinator -- the correct choice for head coach? I'll let the Dawg Pound answer that one ... @HarrisonNFL.
Almost everyone I know wants Oakland to be effective this offseason and be competitive in 2014. This Raiders organization has had nary a winning season since 2002. Here's the thing: The league is, well, cooler when the Raiders are good. After patiently clearing out the team's finances over the past two years, GM Reggie McKenzie has the cash and the draft ammunition (starting with the fifth overall pick) necessary to implement his plan -- which hopefully starts with getting a quarterback and fortifying both the offensive and defensive lines.