Not a true sixth seed

Join jaguars.com senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Bryan from Paterson, NJ:
I think Super Bowl XL was not as "Extra Large" as it was made out to be. Yes, the score was close throughout the game, yet both teams played sloppy football. Seattle refused to run the ball like they should've and the only way Pittsburgh could move the ball was through trickery. Defenses played well but I was expecting more from the game. Your thoughts on Super Bowl XL?

Vic: It wasn't a compelling game but when the Steelers' lead was trimmed to 14-10, the game was on and victory was there for the Seahawks to take. Your point about "trickery" is ridiculous. Willie Parker ran 75 yards – the longest run from scrimmage in Super Bowl history – on a dive play. That's trickery? Was the third-and-28 pass to Hines Ward trickery? Our expectation for the Super Bowl is that every game should be like the Carolina-New England game of two years ago. Most Super Bowls, in fact, have been much less entertaining than Sunday's. How about those Dallas-Buffalo beauties, or the Denver-Atlanta Super Bowl? Super Bowl III is one of the most celebrated games in Super Bowl history but, frankly, it was a bore.

Jack from Vancouver, BC:
What do you think of the officiating in the Super Bowl?

Vic: The Steelers got all of the breaks and I think that's what irritated people the most. It appeared as though the officials were picking on Seattle. The low-block penalty on Matt Hasselbeck was ridiculous. We had an example of that same call earlier in the season, in the Pittsburgh-Indianapolis Monday night game, and everybody said it was ridiculous then, too, but the same penalty was called this past Sunday, which goes to show you how serious the league is about protecting players' knees. The holding call that nullified the catch near the goal line got a lot of criticism. I don't think people would've complained if the pass had been completed to the 50-yard line or if the Seahawks were leading at the time. The call is being criticized because it nullified a play that would've made the game more entertaining. The one play that's being unfairly criticized, in my opinion, is the Darrell Jackson push-off. That was the right call. The official was standing right there and he saw it and TV saw it, too. In changing the direction of his route, Jackson reached out his arm and clearly pushed the defender in the opposite direction. You can clearly see the push interfering with the defender's ability to continue his coverage. What if the official hadn't made the call? What would be saying about that? As far as Ben Roethlisberger's touchdown run, I thought replay supported the call. How about those missed field goals? Were those the officials' fault? And Jerramy Stevens' drops or the interception Hasselbeck threw to Ike Taylor? Do the officials get the blame for those, too?

Fred from Jacksonville:
The picture you paint for the future of the league without a new CBA is very grim. So why aren't we hearing any of the national media outlets launching this story?

Vic: I think that's what we're going to see now. I think the football-writing media has done a poor job in detailing this situation to date. I think it should stop criticizing the officials' calls now and start taking a look at its own performance in covering an issue that is of critical importance to the game. We're talking about an issue that could begin sending shockwaves through the league in a little more than three weeks from now.

Anthony from Melbourne, FL:
You keep answering our questions about the free agents we like but who do you think the Jags will be paying the most attention to during free agency?

Vic: I gave you a name last week; Will Witherspoon of Carolina.

Chris from North Branford, Ontario:
The Jaguars schedule next year looks really hard. Most of the teams on it were in the playoffs or near them. What will be the Jaguars 2006 record?

Vic: I don't know what it'll be but whatever it is will be a true indicator of where the Jaguars rank among the elite teams in the league.

Howard from Homestead, FL:
Does seeing a number six seed win the Super Bowl change your mind about expanding the playoffs?

Vic: Absolutely not. Who else should we have added to the playoffs in the NFC? The Steelers were no number six seed and you know it. We learned all we needed to know about the Steelers when Bill Belichick maneuvered to avoid them. The Steelers were a one or two-seed team that happened to play four games last season without their quarterback.

Jaime from Jacksonville:
When the Super Bowl ended I noticed that Mike Holmgren never went to midfield to congratulate Bill Cowher. Am I right or did they just not show it on TV? If I am right that is probably the worst act of sportsmanship I have seen in quite some time from a head coach.

Vic: The field is a crowded place after the Super Bowl. I refuse to believe Mike Holmgren was snubbing Bill Cowher.

Joseph from Jacksonville:
Is it just me or was this year's Super Bowl extremely similar to the Jaguars playoff game against New England. Both teams were down a respectable 7-3 at halftime and both teams abandoned the run and lost for it. I think this is just more proof of how important establishing the run is.

Vic: I don't think Pittsburgh abandoned the run in the second half. The Steelers ran 13 times for 43 yards in the first half and 20 times for 138 yards in the second half. I thought Sunday's game was similar to last year's Super Bowl. The winner used the running game to pull away in the third quarter and the loser was guilty of bad clock management while attempting to rally.

Jonas from Jacksonville:
So much for win the turnover battle and win the game.

Vic: There are exceptions to every rule.

Mark from Wichita, KS:
I was wondering, do you believe Bettis is Hall of Fame material? You would think he would be, having the fifth-most rushing yards in NFL history and six Pro Bowls under his belt, but I just don't think he was a game-changer or a player who could put a team on his back and carry them all the way.

Vic: He'll be a first-ballot selection to the Hall of Fame; no doubt about it.

William from Jacksonville:
If you're on the two-yard line with the game on the line, do you give the ball to Jerome Bettis, Marcus Allen, John Riggins, Walter Payton or, to bring a name from way back, Sam "Bam" Cunningham?

Vic: I'm partial to Cunningham. He should've been born with wings. All of those guys, however, were sensational goal-line runners. It's a wonderful art form; the ability to cross a line that is being protected by 11 men.

Broc from Annamoriah, WV:
Can you give us a list of important dates coming up, and not CBA garbage? I realize it's important but it will get worked out. When can we expect teams to start dropping players and the franchise tags to come out?

Vic: Garbage, huh? I guess some people will never get it. All right, here are your dates: Feb. 9-23—Teams must declare on which of their players they wish to use "franchise" or "transition" tags. Feb. 23—Teams may begin cutting players. Feb. 22-28—The league's scouts and coaches meet in Indianapolis for the annual scouting combine. March 2—The deadline for making tenders to restricted free agents. The Jaguars' RFA players are Tony Gilbert, Cortez Hankton, Vince Manuwai, LaBrandon Toefield, Tracy White and George Wrighster. March 3—The first day of the league calendar year and the start of free agency and the trading period. Teams must be under the 2006 salary cap figure at midnight on March 3, which means teams can't trade players to make cap room. First, you get under the cap, then you can trade. The '06 salary cap is expected to be no less than $92 million; it was $85.5 million in '05. These Jaguars would become unrestricted free agents on March 3: Akin Ayodele, Deke Cooper, Terry Cousin, Greg Favors, Rob Meier, Mike Pearson, Ephraim Salaam, Marcellus Wiley, Jamie Winborn and Kenny Wright. March 20—The voluntary offseason conditioning program may begin. The Jaguars will delay the start of their program to early April, to give their players a longer rest to recover from last season and to extend the program nearer the start of training camp so as not to lose conditioning for training camp. The offseason conditioning program may run 14 weeks, not including rest weeks. April 21—The deadline for signing RFA players. April 29-30—NFL Draft. May 5-7—The Jaguars will conduct their post-draft mini-camp, which leads to the start of spring practices, known as Organized Team Activities (OTA). Teams are permitted to conduct 14, on-field, non-padded OTA sessions. June 1—This has always been one of the big dates of the offseason but chances are there won't be a June 1 rule this year. That'll be the case if owners and players do not agree to a CBA extension which, of course, we all know is garbage.

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