Barstool Debate: Who is going to win — the Packers or the Falcons?

Atlanta Falcons Matt Ryan dumps a short pass off to running back Jason Snelling in the second quarter against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday December 19, 2010 at Qwest Field in Seattle. Ryan completed 20 of 35 passes for 174 yards and three touchdowns and one pass intercepted. The Falcons are going back to the playoffs after beating the Seahawks 34-18. (UPI /Jim Bryant)

Saturday marks a special day in my relationship with my co-worker Anthony Stalter. No, it’s not our anniversary or anything – my favorite team is the Green Bay Packers and he’s an Atlanta Falcons fan, so the fact that the two teams are squaring off in the playoffs is a pretty big deal in our world. In fact, since he lives in St. Louis and I live in Southern California, we’ve both agreed to purchase a 12-pack of Bud Select 55 (not a plug, but it could be!) and pretend that we’re splitting a case while watching the game together.

As I just tweeted, everything that happens today is just a preamble to Saturday’s game, so let’s talk a little trash as we try to run the clock out on the work week.

JP: First of all, let’s see who’s the bigger fan. I was born outside of Milwaukee and grew up loving the Packers, even when players like Lynn Dickey, Eddie Lee Ivory and Paul Ott Carruth were the big names (and an 8-8 record was a successful season). Then came Brett Favre (ironically via a trade with the Falcons) who was my favorite player for 16 freaking years before he retired his way to our arch-rival. Blood had been spilled. My autographed photo of Favre is sitting, face-down, in the garage, waiting for his inevitable “mea culpa” visit to Lambeau in a couple of years. What’s my point? I’m a fan of the Packers, not of any one player. Now, tell us how you became a fan of the Falcons…

AS: I grew up in Chicago so many people assume that I’m a Bears fan (why they would think that, I have no idea). But my folks are from New York so they had no loyalty to the home team. To my family’s disappointment, I didn’t become a Jets fan. When I was real young, I liked certain players instead of teams. But when I was 9, the first playoff game I remember watching from start to finish was the 1991 Wildcard matchup between the Saints and Falcons. When you’re a kid, you usually don’t focus on defensive players, but I was enamored with Deion Sanders. He was the most athletic player I had ever watched. Chris Miller also hit Michael Haynes on a 61-yard touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter, so that particular game was thrilling. I’ve been hooked on the Falcons ever since, even though it hasn’t been easy being a fan of theirs over the years. Up until last year, they never had back-to-back winning seasons so I’ve endured a lot of losing. From Jeff George to Jamal Anderson to Michael Vick (ugh, talk about highs and lows), they’ve put me through a lot. But just like you when it comes to the Packers JP, the Falcons will forever be my team. Since I have never lived in Atlanta, DirecTV’s “Sunday Ticket” is the world’s greatest invention. I never miss a snap of the Falcons’ games, even when I have to watch them again later so I can fulfill my responsibilities to TSR.

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Barstool Debate: Should the Packers trade for Marshawn Lynch?

Buffalo Bills' running back Marshawn Lynch runs for a 12-yard gain against Washington Redskins' safety Kareem Moore during the first quarter at FedEx Field in Washington on August 13, 2010.  UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom

Adam Schefter is the latest pundit to chime in on the Marshawn Lynch-to-the-Packers rumors.

Green Bay has to do something at running back, and I think the organization recognizes it. It knows it can’t rely on Brandon Jackson as its workhorse from now through the playoffs, assuming it makes them. Green Bay will continue looking for a trade, and Lynch makes as much sense as anybody. But the problem is, teams have been trying to pry away Lynch since the off-season and so far, Buffalo hasn’t budged.

This has been something of a hot topic of late, so I thought I’d enlist the help of our NFL guru, Anthony Stalter, and try to come to some sort of conclusion about whether or not the Packers should trade for Lynch.

JP: Anthony, these rumors have been out there for a while, and given Buffalo’s situation (sucky) and the fact that they have three pretty good running backs, it makes a lot of sense that they would move him for a draft pick to help their rebuilding process. Lynch is 24 years old, has a career 4.0 ypc, decent hands out of the backfield and has had several run-ins (hit and run, misdemeanor gun charge) with the police. Given the fact that the Broncos gave up a 4th rounder for Laurence Maroney, what type of draft pick is Lynch worth in your opinion?

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Barstool Debate: What’s the best way to revamp the NFL overtime system?

I was reading ESPN The Magazine today, and in their New Year, New Rules issue, Peter Keating suggests a few ways to improve the NFL’s rules for overtime.

I thought I’d pull in our NFL guru, Anthony Stalter, and kick a few of these around. I have a personal favorite that wasn’t on Keating’s list that we’ll discuss at the end.

John Paulsen: All right, Anthony. Keating writes that there are three rules to overtime: 1) it “should preserve the essential character of a sport while moving games toward conclusive results,” 2) it should be fair, and 3) it should be fun. The current overtime system in the NFL isn’t fair, and I’d argue that it isn’t fun either. Although my beloved Packers lost in OT after winning the coin flip, 72% of teams that won the flip last season went on to win the game. That’s not fair. And if it’s not fair, then it’s not fun, either. Keating’s first suggestion is the divide-and-choose method. The winner of the coin toss picks the yard line at which the ball would be placed (say, the 25-yard line) and the other would decide who gets the ball. The first team to score wins the game. What do you think?

Anthony Stalter: I fail to see how this is a major improvement over the system that is currently in place. It still puts too much emphasis on a coin flip and besides, I think we’d see the ball being placed on the 20-yard line more times than not. A team wouldn’t want to start backed up to its own goal line and wouldn’t want another team to start close to midfield. So the ball would likely be placed at the 20 and thus, all you’re really doing is eliminating the kickoff. And if we were just eliminating the kickoff, teams would still want the ball first and therefore, hate winning the coin toss.

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Barstool Debate: Who’s better right now — Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers?

In the summer of 2008, the Green Bay Packers ended the Brett Favre era by trading him to the New York Jets. While some would argue that Favre ended the era himself by hemming and hawing about his retirement, the Packers ultimately made the decision to move on and hand the keys over to Aaron Rodgers.

With Monday night’s game only a few days away, it begs the question – are the Packers better off with Rodgers under center? To discuss this issue, I’m going to enlist the help of our lead NFL writer, Anthony Stalter.

JP: Anthony, if you’re an NFL GM and you think you have a Super Bowl caliber team, who would you rather have at quarterback this year – Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers?

AS: Injuries are a major concern with Favre compared to Rodgers, who is younger and can better withstand the rigors of a full season. I realize Favre has never missed a start in his career, but that doesn’t mean he’s always been healthy. Last year he played through biceps injury during the final month and it sunk the Jets’ season. I worry that Favre would suffer some kind of alignment during the season that would affect his play. On the other hand, while I wouldn’t worry about Rodgers’ durability, I know that Favre is a natural winner. I know that when the chips are down, he’s usually going to make a play to win the ball game and while Rodgers has shown flashes of that in his young career, he hasn’t proven that he can win on a consistent basis yet.

JP: You know I’m kind of a numbers guy, and it’s tough to argue with Rodgers’ statistical performance thus far. In 19 starts, Rodgers has averaged 250 passing yards and 1.68 pass TD per game (versus 0.68 INT per game). Conversely, in 274 starts, Favre is averaging 240 passing yards, 1.71 TD and 1.13 INT per game. Rodgers meets or beats Favre in every category and isn’t nearly as inclined to turn the ball over. Rodgers has already made a number of great plays in tough spots in his young career, but last season the Packer defense gave up several game-winning drives to the opposition. This year, Rodgers beat the Bears by hooking up with Greg Jennings for a perfectly thrown 50-yard touchdown (when the Packers were down two and facing a third-and-1 with just 1:18 to play). Favre is known for being clutch, but I think part of that comes from his longevity. When you’re around that long, you’re bound to have some memorable comebacks. Last week’s (amazing) pass to Greg Lewis was the first time that he threw for a game-winning TD with 0:10 or less remaining in the game.

For reasons you mentioned, if I’m heading into a season, I’d take Rodgers because he’s as talented and has a much better chance of staying healthy for a full season. But if I’m heading into the Super Bowl next week and I have my pick of the two, I’d probably go with Favre because he’s been there before and I know he won’t be overwhelmed by the moment.

AS: Right, it all depends on the situation. If we’re talking about the Super Bowl or even a playoff game, I’m going to want Favre (even despite his high number of postseason INTs) because he’s been there before. I know I can count on him not to be overwhelmed or succumb to the pressure and the magnitude of the moment. Rodgers simply doesn’t have enough experience at this point in his career to trust putting under center in a one-and-done game. We just don’t know how he would react because he’s never been there before. Brett has won a Super Bowl and has been to the postseason countless times before. There’s just no substitute for experience.

That said, if we’re at the beginning of the season and I have my choice, I’m going to take Rodgers. He’s more durable than Favre, has all the physical tools to succeed and should only progress as a passer with more experience. Once he learns how to adjust to how defenses are trying to stop him, he’s going to be a very good quarterback in this league for a long time. He has all the potential to succeed.

That’s our opinion…what’s yours? Feel free to vote in our poll to the right.

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