Wakeup Call: A terrible thing -- Tebow's sad and Rex is furious

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Wakeup Call: A terrible thing -- Tebow's sad and Rex is furious

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Thursday, November 15:

BASEBALL
Jeffrey Loria -- the Marlins' owner, a.k.a., the most reviled man in American sport at the moment -- tells reporters if "you haven't figured out why Miami gutted its team yet, I'm not going to figure it out for you." Let's see, Jeff: You took taxpayers' money to build a stadium; told everyone you were going to put a contender in that stadium; then dumped all the big-name players you signed so that you dropped your payroll to 34 million, all the while raking in the dough from your public palace. What's to figure? (AP)
Ricky Nalasco's laissez-faire attitude about the whole thing probably stems from the belief that he's next. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

Your 2012 Cy Young Award winners: David Price . . . (NBC's Hardball Talk)

. . . and R.A. Dickey, the first knuckleballer to ever win a Cy Young. (Hardball Talk)

The MVP Awards will be announced tonight, and Nate Silver -- whose skills in analyzing the political winds made him the most accurate predictor of the last three elections -- goes back to his sabermetric roots and explains why Mike Trout should be the A.L. choice. (Hardball Talk)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
I can't imagine Deval Patrick publicly criticizing Bill Belichick's play-calling, but then again this is New England and not Alabama. (NBC's College Football Talk)

Tommy Tubervillle's getting a public reprimand from the Big 12 for his well-publicized confrontation with a graduate assistant on the sideline last weekend. (AP)

You're forgiven if you tuned in last night and thought Ball State and Ohio were playing basketball instead of football. (AP)

GOLF
No one -- not even Tiger Woods --met the PGA's strict guidelines for winning this year's Comback Player of the Year award. (AP)

HOCKEY
Bill Daly -- you know, Bettman's caporegime -- says the NHL is "done making proposals". How come, Bill? What's so tough about coming up with things you know the players will never accept? (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

Guess he wasn't kidding, though, because the two sides didn't communicate at all on Wednesday. (AP)

Count Mike Knuble as one of those who believes BettmanDalyJeremy Jacobs et al have a date in mind when they're finally going to get serious about the whole thing, and says the players are perfectly willing to wait until then. (CSN Washington)

PRO BASKETBALL
Perk vs. Zack Randolph was the heavyweight undercard to the Grizzlies-vs.-Thunder main event. (AP)

At last, the Pistons are off the schneid. (AP)
Steve Nash never thought he'd get the chance to play for Mike D'Antoni again, and he's thrilled to be wrong. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

PRO FOOTBALL
Tim Tebow says he felt "some frustration and I guess some sadness" at a Jets teammate -- unnamed, of course -- calling him "terrible". (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

As for Rex Ryan, he's neither frustrated nor sad. He's furious, and thinks that hiding behind anonymous quotes is "about as cowardly of a thing as there is." (AP)

It's looking like DeMarco Murray is good to go in Dallas. (AP)

Not Michael Vick in Philadelphia, though. (AP)

As for Jay Cutler in Chicago and Alex Smith in San Francisco . . . who knows? (AP)

No questions about Green Bay's Clay Matthews: He's out for Sunday's game in Detroit. (AP)

Remember when Tim Dobbins said he shouldn't be fined for the hit that caused Cutler's concussion because, he felt, the Bears' QB ran into him? The NFL disagreed, to the tune of 30,000. (AP)

Brady-Ryan marks rare case of NFL's top two quarterbacks meeting in Super Bowl

Brady-Ryan marks rare case of NFL's top two quarterbacks meeting in Super Bowl

For all the flack that Matt Ryan got heading into this season, he’s been a damn good quarterback. Is his career on the same level as Tom Brady’s? Of course not, but this regular season saw him stand as Brady’s peer, making him an MVP favorite.

One of Ryan’s biggest challengers for that hardware is the same man who stands in the way of him winning his first Super Bowl. Though he missed the first four games of the season due to suspension, Brady finished second in the league in passing yards per game and threw just two picks in 12 games while tossing 28 touchdowns.  

So Super Bowl LI will pin the quarterback with the best numbers overall (Ryan finished two touchdowns behind Aaron Rodgers for the league lead but threw for 516 more yards and had a higher completion percentage) against the quarterback with the best touchdown/interception ratio ever for a single season. 

In other words, this is a Super Bowl that puts what one could argue are the season’s two best quarterbacks each other. That’s pretty rare. 

Going back the last 25 years, there are four candidates for such meetings: Manning vs. Brees in Super Bowl XLIV, Favre and Elway in Super Bowl XXXII (this one is a stretch), Favre and Bledsoe in Super Bowl XXXI and Kelly and Rypien in Super Bowl XXVI.. 

Why haven’t the two best quarterbacks squared off in the Super Bowl more often? Because Brady and Peyton Manning played their entire careers in the same conference, silly. It’s taken other players entering their echelon to even set up such a scenario, and that’s why Brees’ Saints beating Manning’s Colts serves as the only example during Manning or Brady’s career. 

The strong performances of those who dominated the regular season have often carried over into their Super Bowl meetings, but not always. Drew Bledsoe and Jim Kelly (both throwing two touchdowns and four picks in Super Bowl losses) are examples of the wheels falling off in the final game. 

Here’s a breakdown of past occurrences. Note that all four of them saw the winning team score at least 30 points, something the Pats have done just once in Brady's four Super Bowl wins: 

Super Bowl XLIV: Brees vs. Manning

Brees led NFL with 34 touchdowns in regular season; Manning finished tied for second with 33

Final score: Saints 31, Colts 17

Brees: 32/39, 288 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Manning: 31/45, 333 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT

Brees completed a postseason in which he had no turnovers and did so in a nearly exactly average game for him that season, as e averaged 292.5 yards, 2.26 touchdowns and less than one interception per game in the regular season. The two quarterbacks also combined for just one sack. 
 
Super Bowl XXXII: Favre vs. Elway

Favre led NFL with 35 TDs in regular season, Elway finished second in TD/interception ratio

Final score: Broncos 31, Packers 24

Favre: 25/42, 256 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT, fumble lost 
Elway: 12/22, 123 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT

Again, this is the forced one because Jeff George (3,917 passing yards, 29 touchdowns, nine interceptions) had the better regular season than Elway (3,635 passing yards, 27 touchdowns, 11 picks). Elway may have been the winning quarterback, but he didn’t have anything to do with the win. Terrell Davis carried the Broncos, playing through a migraine and rushing for 157 yards with three touchdowns en route to Super Bowl MVP honors. 

Super Bowl XXXI: Favre vs. Bledsoe

Favre led NFL with 39 TDs, Bledsoe third with 27

Final Score: Packers 35, Patriots 21

Favre: 14/27, 246 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Bledsoe: 25/48, 253 yards, 2 TD, 4 INT

Both quarterbacks took five sacks in this game. For Bledsoe, it was the most he took all season. The game was the third four-pick performance of his NFL career. 

Super Bowl XXVI: Kelly vs. Rypien

Kelly led NFL with 33 TDs, Rypien second with 28

Final score: Redskins 37, Bills 24

Rypien: 18/33, 292 yards, 2 TD, INT
Kelly: 28/58, 275 yards, 2 TD, 4 INT, fumble lost

Turns out five turnovers (and being sacked four times) is not a recipe for winning the Super Bowl. Kelly’s 58 passes thrown set a Super Bowl record.
 

Dimitroff, Pioli the first Belichick defectors to lead new team to Super Bowl

Dimitroff, Pioli the first Belichick defectors to lead new team to Super Bowl

Working for the Patriots makes you attractive to other teams. Many have left, but Thomas Dimitroff and Scott Pioli are finally showing that major success can be attained in the process. 

Dimitroff and Pioli have built a team in Atlanta that will play for the franchise’s first Super Bowl title on Feb. 5. While many have been hired away from Bill Belichick's Patriots to lead other organizations, Dimitroff is the first of the defectors to get to the Super Bowl on his own. Adding an old friend in Pioli has played a part in that. 

Dimitroff served as New England’s director of college scouting from 2003 through 2007 before becoming Atlanta’s general manager in 2008. He hired Pioli in 2014 as an assistant GM after the longtime Patriots director and vice president of player personnel had a messy stint as the Chiefs’ GM. 

Executives and coaches (even Field Yates; yes, the fair-haired boy from the television) leaving the Patriots for better positions with other organizations has been common, but with the new positions have often come diminished success compared to New England. 

Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini, Bill O’Brien, Charlie Weis (in his brief return to the NFL in 2010) and Josh McDaniels make up the list of coordinators who have left winning with the Patriots to experience a dropoff without Brady and Belichick. John Robinson (Titans), Jason Licht (Buccaneers) and Bob Quinn (Lions) currently serve as GMs elsewhere, while former Pats secondary coach Joe Collier works with Dimitroff and Pioli as the Falcons’ director of pro personnel. 

It’s only fitting that Dimitroff and Pioli will have to go through Belichick in order to secure a title on their own. Winning without Belichick has proven hard enough for his former colleagues; winning against him will be even harder.