sports psychologist & clinical psychology

SUPER BOWL NOTEBOOK FOR SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 4

BuffaloBills.com – Feb 4, 2006 – Chris Palochko of SportsTicker – Troy Aikman took his place in history Saturday as part of the Class of 2006 for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

But while the former Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback had the ultimate honor bestowed upon him, former teammate Michael Irvin will have to wait to pass through the gates of Canton.

Irvin, the star wide receiver and main target for Aikman on their three Super Bowl-winning teams in the 1990s, was in his second year of Hall eligibility.

In his first year on the ballot, the five-time Pro Bowler made the list of six finalists but failed to garner the necessary 80 percent vote for induction.

Irvin, who battled off-the-field problems during his career and was arrested last November on a misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia, failed to make it to the list of finalists this year. He was eliminated when the list was reduced from 10 to six.

“I wouldn’t want to get into why he didn’t make it in,” said Aikman, who was elected in his first year of eligibility. “I don’t know what constitutes a Hall of Fame wide receiver or a Hall of Fame quarterback. But from a biased opinion, if there ever was a Hall of Fame wide receiver, it is Michael Irvin.”

It also was another disappointing Hall of Fame process for Art Monk, who was eligible for the sixth time. He was in the group of the first five eliminated along with defensive end L.C. Greenwood, guard Russ Grimm, the late Derrick Thomas and tackle Gary Zimmerman.

The former great of the Washington Redskins, Monk played for 16 seasons and retired after the 1995 campaign as the NFL’s all-time leader with 940 catches. The three-time Pro Bowler won three Super Bowls with Washington from 1980-93.

Also eliminated when the list was reduced from 10 to six were defensive end Claude Humphrey, guard Bob Kuechenberg and running back Thurman Thomas, who was eligible for the first time.

Joining Aikman as part of the Class of 2006 were the late Reggie White, linebacker Harry Carson, coach John Madden, quarterback Warren Moon and tackle Rayfield Wright.

Induction ceremonies will take place on August 6 in Canton, Ohio.

FINAL PREPARATIONS FOR SUPER BOWL XL: The Seattle Seahawks held a 30-minute walkthrough at Ford Field on Saturday morning. The Pittsburgh Steelers held a 20-minute walkthrough at the Pontiac Silverdome.

HOME-FIELD ADVANTAGE: The Steelers will wear their road white jerseys Sunday. But expect Ford Field to be at least 75 percent Steelers’ fans.

SPREAD: Underdogs have covered the past four Super Bowls and and six of the last 10 (with two pushes). Pittsburgh is a four-point favorite in Super Bowl XL.

SHRINK GIVES SEAHAWKS NOD: According to a “Football Shrink,” the Seahawks should defeat the Steelers in Super Bowl XL.

Dr. John F. Murray, the creator of the Mental Performance Index which quantifies the degree to which a team performs to perfection, has predicted a win by the Seahawks.

Murray breaks down NFL games, assigning point values on each play for “focused execution” and “pressure management.” Game totals range from 0 to 100 percentage points (perfection).

Some of Murray’s findings were that the Seahawks (.566) scored better than the Steelers (.530) in the playoffs, and held their opponents to a much lower MPI score (.436) than the Steelers (.478).

Murray also pointed out that the Seahawks were absolutely remarkable on defense, where they posted a .598 to .505 advantage over Pittsburgh. They also held a slight advantage on offense (.551 to .535) and total pressure (.624 to .564). However, the Steelers scored slightly higher in offensive pressure situations (.633 to .616) and were better in special teams play (.584 to .531).

The overall findings were that the Steelers are going to have to play a near-flawless game to win. And Murray’s predictions in the past have proved accurate.

The MPI accurately forecast the blowout win by Tampa Bay over Oakland three years ago and called for “extremely close games” the past two years. Two years ago, New England beat Carolina on a field goal in the final seconds and last season, New England defeated Philadelphia by a field goal.

AWARDS: New York Jets running back Curtis Martin on Saturday was named the winner of the 2006 Bart Starr Award.

The award honors exemplary character and leadership in the home, on the field, and in the community.

“Curtis Martin is an exceptional recipient because he embodies the criteria, showing compassion and dedication to those less fortunate,” Starr said.

WEATHER: Up to nine inches of snow could fall Saturday night. There also is snow in the forecast for Sunday morning.

Dr. John F. Murray is a sports psychologist and clinical psychologist providing sports psychology and counseling services based in Palm Beach, Florida.

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