MICHAEL EISEN: Fiction - Mannigham’s catch was great – obviously – but you can’t top the original. A lot of receivers somehow keep their feet inbounds with centimeters to spare on the sideline. Ever see another one secure a critical catch against his helmet as Tyree did?
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction - C’mon now, let’s not be silly. David Tyree’s catch had a far greater degree of difficulty than Mario Manningham’s and it isn’t really close. He had to jump and beat Rodney Harrison to the football, and then hold onto the ball with Harrison pulling at it and his arms on the way down. It was a fantastic catch.
DAN SALOMONE: Fact - To me, this conversation is – and will be for quite some time – about skill vs. luck. True, we’ve seen catches like Manningham’s before, while we may never again see what Tyree was able to do. Both have their places in history, but I’m going with skill. It erases all doubt. It leaves opponents with nothing to hang their hats on. There’s no “the Giants got lucky” with Manningham’s.
Lawrence Taylor will still be regarded as the best linebacker once Ray Lewis retires.
MICHAEL EISEN: Fact - but we’re dealing with apples and oranges. Taylor was an outside linebacker who revolutionized pass rushing. Lewis is an inside backer. His competition for best-ever inside backer includes Dick Butkus, Ray Nitschke, Willie Lanier, Jack Lambert and Mike Singletary.
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact - Lawrence Taylor might very well be the best defensive player in NFL history. I’m not even sure that Ray Lewis is the best middle linebacker of all time, though the case can be made that he is. Taylor revolutionized a position and was arguably the most dominant player of the decade that wasn’t a quarterback.
DAN SALOMONE: Fact - Unfortunately I was too young to fully appreciate Taylor in his day, but based off highlights, what former and current players say, rankings, Super Bowls, etc., there won’t be another LT. It has been easy for some to get caught up in the moment with Ray Lewis, especially if he walks off the field for the last time as a champion, but Taylor has the distinction of being in the conversation for best overall player, not just defensive.
New Orleans is the best Super Bowl host city.
MICHAEL EISEN: Fact - It’s a great party and big-event town and everything is within walking distance, including the stadium.
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction - I’m just going on second hand information, so feel free to put an asterisk next to this answer if you like. With the French Quarter and Bourbon Street, one would think New Orleans would be the perfect place to have a good time during Super Bowl week. Later in the week, however, the crowds become overwhelming and it becomes nearly impossible to navigate some of the best parts of the city. It was similar on Friday and Saturday night in Indianapolis, and the narrower streets of New Orleans will only exacerbate the problem.
DAN SALOMONE: Fiction - Last year in Indianapolis was the only Super Bowl I’ve been to, so I’m not an expert in this one. But Miami just seems like where it belongs -- like college football in Pasadena.
Eli and Peyton Manning winning back-to-back Super Bowls is a more impressive family feat than Jim and John Harbaugh coaching against each other in the same one.
MICHAEL EISEN: Sorry, can’t pick a winner in this one – it’s a tossup.
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact - At the end of the day, football is about the players, not the coaches. That’s why the back to back titles for the quarterbacks is a more impressive feat than the Harbaugh matchup. It takes a god given physical ability, along with hard work to be a championship level quarterback. To be a championship level coach has just as much to do with hard work, but much less natural ability is required. I go with the Mannings.
DAN SALOMONE: Fiction - There are a couple thousand players in the NFL but only 32 head coaches. True, there are only 32 starting quarterbacks at a given time and both Mannings were indeed Super Bowl MVP’s. But there’s something even more special about the probability of the Harbaughs going at it in the same game, a year after both were one win away.
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