Interview: Daniel Kelly, Former Jets Scout, Talks About The Super Bowl

Daniel Kelly
We'd usually write a piece before the Super Bowl, with quick analysis and so on. However, why not having a professional talk about the up coming game.

We have already interviewed Mr. Kelly, click HERE to read, and, thus far, he's been one of the most inspirational correspondents. Also, make sure to check out Daniel's book - "Whatever It Takes" by clicking HERE.

Preparing for the Super Bowl
During my time in the league, the closest the Jets made it to the Super Bowl was when we made it to the AFC Title Game back in 1998 and it was "business and usual" around the building. If someone who knew nothing about football walked into our building, they would not have been able to tell if we were 4-12 or if we were one game away from going to the show. The saying around our building was, “Act like you’ve been there before.” With veteran coaches like Pete Carroll and John Fox, I can't imagine it being much different in terms of their preparation. They are going to do the same things to prepare for this game as they would for any other. 

There are two major differences however when it comes to the Super Bowl. First, there is an extra week to prepare, which teams obviously only experience once during the regular season with their bye weeks. The second difference is really the major difference and that’s the number of distractions reaches an absolute crescendo leading up to a game of this magnitude, which really makes this game different. Trying to keep focused becomes the challenge. 

Scouting
I can’t say scouting is any more or any less important for this game than any other game unless a scout can uncover some hidden tendency or pattern when doing the advance scouting work. 

Seahawks or Broncos
I’m going with the Seattle Seahawks and it’s because of their GM, John Schneider and guys like Russell Wilson, Russell Okung, Chris Maragos, Clint Gresham and Rocky Seto who have used their positions and platform to point the world towards Jesus Christ and I believe He is going to bless that. John Schneider himself is a tremendous man of God and the team he has built is a reflection of faith, especially when it comes to Russell Wilson. That’s how I believe he was able to see what he saw in Wilson in the first place. Wilson is a quarterback that has heard, “You can’t do this and you can’t do that” his whole life. When he came out of Wisconsin, the scouting consensus on Wilson was that “he was too small and he wouldn’t be able to see over his own linemen.” The year he came out, the world was a buzz about the likes of Andrew Luck and RGIII, yet, they’ll be consuming calories just like the rest of us and watching Russell Wilson playing in the Super Bowl. John Schneider was the one who saw something in Russell Wilson that everyone else missed. 

John Schneider was always good towards me during my time in the league and after I’ve been out. When my daughter, Bailey Hope was going through chemo he sent a big stuffed bear to the hospital for her and then in 2009 when I sent out a letter to everyone who is anyone in the NFL asking for a 2nd chance, John was the only person in the league who took the time to personally respond with a heart felt hand written card of encouragement that I still carry in my Bible to this day. 

It’s strength vs. strength with the #1 offense in the league led by the surgeon and technician, Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos vs. the #1 defense in the league with the Seattle Seahawks. Logic says that the defense is always reactive to the offense, especially in the NFL. Logic says that Peyton Manning will find all the “soft spots” in the Seahawks defense and he’ll pick ‘em apart. Logic says as ultra competitive as Peyton Manning is that he’ll want this one on his brother’s home turf in the absolute worst way. However, I think we can throw logic out the window this Sunday. In Mark 9:23, Jesus says “Everything is possible for one who believes.” It’s really a game of “want” vs. “faith.” Russell Wilson has emerged where Tim Tebow has left off and it’s for that reason I’m going with the Seahawks to pull it out in dramatic God-type fashion. 

Is there a pattern of "teams with a story" winning the Super Bowl? (e.g. Ray Lewis retiring, Manning's comeback)
That’s very astute of you to point out; you definitely have some “advance scouting” ability in you to be able to see that pattern! 

There is no question; Peyton Manning’s comeback has stunned the football world. It has shocked me. I never expected it. John Elway deserves the credit for having the vision to see this. Only an old gunslinger could see what he saw in Peyton Manning. 

Three years ago when he missed the entire season with the Colts there were reports he couldn’t even throw the ball 25 yards at practice when he tried to test out his arm strength late that season. I couldn’t believe it when they let go of a young playoff quarterback in Tim Tebow in favor of Manning. I told anyone who would listen that Manning, who’d had four previous neck surgeries, wouldn’t make it on the field past week #6. I said, he’d take one wicked blindside shot and he’d be done. I was wrong. Peyton Manning has proven me wrong his entire career. To see him come back and play at this level is incredible. 

In terms of patterns however, I think the Ravens winning the Super Bowl last season has more to do with God than it has to do with the Baltimore Ravens. In the Bible, God has one primary mission and that’s for people to be saved. Towards the end of last season, Ray Lewis suddenly exploded onto the scene and was extremely vocal about the redemption he’d found in Jesus Christ. Whoever is more vocal about the Gospel is the pattern I see developing at this time in world history. That’s my scouting report. 

Regular season recap
It was a very unexpected season, that’s what I’ll remember. I never expected the Patriots to cut Tim Tebow and I expected the Chicago Bears would sign him. I never expected teams like the Giants or 49ers to start slowly and then make such a push. I never expected the Redskins, Texans or Falcons to go into the tank and never come back. I never expected the Arizona Cardinals or San Diego Chargers to do as well as they did or the Kansas City Chiefs to turn it around so quickly. I guess that’s why they play the games as they say. I’ve said it before, it sure would be interesting to see all the pre season predictions by all the experts republished in February, because as I’ve pointed out, I sure didn’t see much of this unfolding the way it did. 


Check out Daniel's Radio Show "Whatever it takes" about the Super Bowl


Throwback

Daniel included an awesome handwritten card he received by the Seahawks GM, John Schneider, who sent it back in 2009 when he was still the Director of Football Operations with the Green Bay Packers, right before he became the GM of the Seahawks.


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