The Riverfront Reporter

NFLAY Player Newsletter

Issue Three

ed Robert Crowther

Road to the Superbowl

Ravens – after finishing the season on a high with a defeat of divisional rivals Cincinnati, Baltimore were always favourites in the AFC wildcard against slumping Oakland. The game matched the predictions and the Ravens ran away with the game, scoring two first quarter touchdowns and never looking back. In the divisional round they came up against Indianapolis, a team who'd beaten them earlier in the season, but this time there was no stopping the Ravens. The defense played a great game, holding the Colts to just one yard per carry and eight first downs. The AFC Championship game brought them up against surprise contenders San Diego, this time Baltimore got themselves into a shootout. The Ravens' 'D' gave up 32 first downs and plenty of yardage but didn't allow many big plays and, crucially, came up with two interceptions. This was all the help the powerful Baltimore offense needed.

Panthers – the shock of seeing their perfect regular season slip from their grasp at the final hurdle was obviously not the impediment their NFC rivals might have hoped, the Panthers were simply scary in their divisional round matchup against Detroit – five hundred yards passing and a respectable defensive performance to boot. The NFC Championship game brought a chance for vengeance against San Francisco and Carolina didn't waste their opportunity. Two first quarter touchdowns proved to be a blow from which the 49ers wouldn't recover, although they scored 31 points they couldn't close the gap on the Panther's rampant offense.

Draft Review – Andy Crawley

The draft is my favourite part of the season: the time you get to rebuild your team after the ravages of retirements, reductions and step-losses. I hope the fickle finger of fate was kind to you, and you managed to fill those holes... Here are a few random thoughts on this year: purely subjective, since I don't know each team's situation.

Of 72 players drafted, 32 were on Defence, 40 on Offence (as with last year). The first round was a 50-50 split between the two. Only one team drafted all O (Falcons), and only one all D (Eagles), and the NFC-East all went for D in the first round. The NFC-West did the opposite (pure accident on my part: I wanted an OL...): surely not more offensive firepower from the Niners and Panthers! For my money, the winner in the draft was the Bengals, who picked up 8 points of players AND 10 LPs (and this from no. 23) followed by the Jags, Chiefs, Bears and Falcons. The Giants started well, but may be disappointed with getting a 1-value DB in the last round with two 2-values on the board when they picked. The Niners only picked up 5 points, but also a valuable 20 LPs. For the third year in a row, no PN or KK was drafted. I can't believe how quiet the FA list has been, and as a final thought, has anyone noticed that FA#145 has now spent 2 full seasons on the FA list? Time to retire or try the XFL,maybe? (He's not the only one, either...)

Good Luck for the coming season.

Player Profile


Neil Arthurton




Accounts Clerk (studying for the top job)

Marital Status

Living With (the lovely Lisa)

Gameplan Experience

About 4 years now in various leagues. (Getting better with age)

Favourite Team


Worst Team

D****R (Spit, Curse, Curse, Spit)


Watching most sports, play 5-a-side footy once a week, (huge Manchester City fan), was at Wembley for the 99 Playoff Final against Gillingham, worst & best day of my life, tears of despair & joy in the space of 10 minutes. also socialising, travelling (I have been to a NFL game myself), 99 season, in Tampa against d****r. The Bucs won 13-10 (I think), but the game wasn't decided until the final minute and the atmosphere around the stadium was amazing, even Lisa enjoyed it and she hates football, in all it's forms

Favourite Film (of 2000)

Scary Movie

Favourite Film (ever)

Terminator II

Favourite Music

80's, R'n'B and dance


Trying to get on "Who Wants to be a Millionaire", so I can retire, and spend my days "Gameplanning", and, to be alive when MANCHESTER CITY win the Premiership

Superbowl Preview

Panthers Pass Offense (1) vs Ravens Pass Defense (17)

Carolina were the best pass offense in the league by a long way, seventy yards per game separated them from their nearest rival, Indianapolis. Although Baltimore dealt with the Colts' passing game rather comfortably in the divisional round this is likely to be an entirely different story. The only bright spot for the Ravens is the Panthers' below average pass protection.

Panthers run offense (23) vs Ravens run defense (9)

Not likely to be a major factor, Carolina do sometimes run the ball effectively, as they proved in the NFC Championship game, but, as they proved in the Divisional Game, they are quite happy to go without. Baltimore should contain their ground game with little effort but it is not going to be the key to victory.

Ravens pass offense (12) vs Panthers pass defense (16)

The Baltimore passing game depends to a certain extent on establishing their running game, but ,as this is unlikely to be much of a problem (see below), they should be able to move the ball on the Carolina defense. The Panthers have depended on their excellent pass rush to make big plays and stop drives but they face one of the top pass protecting lines in the league. If Baltimore get time to throw I don't hold out much hope of the Carolina secondary stopping them.

Ravens run offense (4) vs Panthers run defense (15)

The Ravens' powerful ground game is the key to their offense, Carolina have a fairly average run defense which has had the benefit of facing teams playing catch-up for much of the season. If Baltimore keep the game close they could control possession and the clock with their rushing attack.


I've been saying all season (well, the second half of it anyway) that Carolina's defense makes them vulnerable. Having finally been proven right in week sixteen the Panthers have just rolled on in much the same style as previously, putting so many points on the board it doesn't really matter what their defense does. That passing offense is really something special, and Baltimore are not the team best equipped to slow it down. On the other hand the Ravens' offense is more than capable of exposing the defensive weaknesses of their opponents. I suspect the game will be something of a shootout (note the dry understatement...) and stamina could play an important part, that extra playoff game Baltimore have played could turn out to be crucial.

Prediction: Panthers by 3

Issue Three


2002 Season Superbowl