NFL in a rush for Super Bowl in cold weather city?


NFL in a rush for Super Bowl in cold weather city?

Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011
9:04 a.m.

By John Mullin

Dan Patrick said it: Would you want the Super Bowl played in these conditions?

And the lingering question after that is whether or not the NFL is going to be in any rush to award Super Bowls to weather-vulnerable cities (any come to mind?)

Flipping on The Dan Patrick Show and seeing Dan and his guys in parkas, sniffling and hunkering in an outdoor broadcast at Dallas, which is getting whacked with freezing rain and wind this is a first.

Daryl Johnston dropped by and didnt put in a vote for Super Bowls in this kind of weather.

Im not a fan of that, Johnston said. And he nailed the big concern: If this happened Thursday or Friday when people were traveling to the game, that would be a big problem.

Johnston recounted a chat with Brian Urlacher before the Seattle playoff game and said that Urlacher was leaning toward Troy Polamalu, then caught himself, saying, Of course, behind Julius Peppers.

Peppers (4th) and Urlacher (5th) lost out in voting for defensive player of the year, behind winner Polamalu for the Steelers, Green Bays Clay Matthews and Pittsburghs James Harrison. Hard to argue with the results. If you were having a pickup game and had first pick, for your defense, which would you take?

Best ever?

Dan veered into the debate over the greatest team in NFL history and his call was the 70s Pittsburgh Steelers, although he didnt clarify whether it was for one particular season or just overall.

No argument on the greatest overall. But the 85 Bears still command that honor for a single season. As John Madden said in doing the Forward for my book, The Rise and Self-Destruction of the Greatest Football Team in History, I coached against those Steelers teams; the Bears were better.

Good enough for me.

But Dan is spot-on about Terry Bradshaw never receiving proper credit among the all-time greats at quarterback. Bradshaw won four rings with those Steelers and suffers in the greatest debates because the rest of his team was so off-the-charts good.

You wonder if that is going to be the fate of Ben Roethlisberger, who is within sight on his third Super Bowl win and hasnt turned 29 yet.

Just a random thought here: The greatest quarterback of all time is one of Joe Montana, Otto Graham or Tom Brady.

But after them: Peyton Manning has won a Super Bowl and lost last years. Bradshaw won all four he reached and delivered winning plays in more than one. Roethlisberger plays his best in big games.

So youre in a Super Bowl and you have your choice of Bradshaw, Manning or Roethlisberger your call?

Remember, its a passer rating, not a quarterback rating. A quarterback is the sine qua non of a football team, and as good as Manning ishas been, how does he compare in the overall?

After the Big Three, the call here is easy: 1) Bradshaw; 2) Roethlisberger; 3) Manning.

John "Moon" Mullin is's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

Bears looking into Teryl Austin’s past for clues on how Lions will scheme vs. Matt Barkley

Bears looking into Teryl Austin’s past for clues on how Lions will scheme vs. Matt Barkley

The adage “play the man, not the board” seems somehow appropriate for what the Bears are doing to prepare for the Detroit Lions behind quarterback Matt Barkley.

“The man” is Detroit defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, and the Bears have been scouting him as well as his defenses, beyond just Bears games, beyond this season and last, taking in his 2014 Detroit season when Austin prepared defenses for Jay Cutler and Jimmy Clausen.

How did Austin scheme for rookie Carson Wentz when the Lions played (and beat) the Philadelphia Eagles? How did he structure is defense to stop a rookie Teddy Bridgewater when Detroit played Minnesota? (Not very well, apparently, since the Vikings won both games and scored 54 points combined in the two games).

While the John Fox Bears staff went against Austin’s Lions defense twice last year, Cutler was the Bears quarterback. When the Bears beat Austin and the Lions two months ago, it was with Brian Hoyer.

Now the Bears quarterback is Matt Barkley, who has fewer NFL games played (seven) than Cutler has NFL seasons (11), Hoyer (eight), too, for that matter.

“Different defensive coordinators attack young quarterbacks differently,” said offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains. “Some guys blitz, some guys play a bunch of zone. This group on defense there, they have a really good defensive coordinator, they're really smart, they do a bunch of stuff. On the back end, they run all the coverages.

“As a game, we'll have to make adjustments as the game goes and see what their plan to come out is early.”

Coaches and players may talk about how they prepare for a scheme irrespective of which opposing quarterback, running back, linebacker or whatever they will be facing. But in fact, preparations start with who is orchestrating the opponent’s offense or defense – play the man, not the board.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

A risk can be out-thinking yourself trying to anticipate what a coordinator will do. The first point, Loggains said, is to start with your own strengths.

“We definitely look at that,” Loggains said. “As you go in the league long and longer, you face these guys, you see them in crossover games. We always know how a guy attacks a rookie quarterback or attacks a young quarterback, a veteran, or, in Matt's case, a guy who hasn't played as much.”

Evaluations of Barkley’s performance will broaden, particularly now that he is on tape for defensive coordinators to scheme for and scout. And while they are watching Barkley, the Bears are watching them.

Bears Talk Podcast: Is there friction between John Fox and Vic Fangio?


Bears Talk Podcast: Is there friction between John Fox and Vic Fangio?

In the latest Bears Talk Podcast, Jim Miller joins Pat Boyle to discuss the friction between John Fox and Vic Fangio. And are there changes in store for the Bears coordinators?

Plus, Brian Urlacher and Mark Schanowski break down the play of rookie Leonard Floyd and find out which one of Urlacher’s former teammates Floyd reminds him of.

And don't miss a preview of Sunday’s NFC North clash with the Lions, who will be out for revenge.

Check out the latest edition of the Bears Talk Podcast here: