Gridiron Outlook: Super Bowl, Cowboys, Texans and high school football

Super Bowl winning coach Brian Billick discusses football, San Antonio and the future use of XTECH shoulder pads.

Super Bowl winning coach Brian Billick has been an investor and ambassador of XTECH shoulder pads for the last 8 years. (Copyright 2021 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

SAN ANTONIO – The biggest Sunday of the year is less than a week away. And on that Sunday, some say, the best matchup in any Super Bowl will be held in Tampa, Florida.

But before the country watches the Kansas City Chiefs attempt to defend their title against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, KSAT 12 Sports got some insight on the big game from former Baltimore Ravens head coach and Super Bowl champion Brian Billick.

SUPER BOWL LV

Billick led the Ravens in 2000 to a 34-7 victory over the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV. Billick left the Ravens in 2007 but has been on numerous platforms since then sharing his wisdom on the current state of the NFL, including Sunday’s matchup between Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady.

“Both teams are capable of the big play and working it down the field as well,” said Billick to KSAT 12 Sports on Thursday. “I imagine both coaches would take that deal with the devil and say, ‘okay, lets make it a tied game going into the last series and my guy gets the last position.’ Both (head coaches) have confidence with their guy to get that done so I think it’s going to be a great game.”

“Never bet against Tom Brady,” added Billick when asked if he had a favorite to win. “But that is such a special group in Kansas City. They have such confidence no matter what happens. When bad things happen and they get behind, they’re okay with it because they come back from it. That’s a hard combination to beat.”

XTECH SHOULDER PADS

Safety is always a concern in the NFL. But safety is just not teaching players to avoid helmet-to-helmet hits and penalizing players who do not abide by those safety precautions.

That’s where state of the art technology steps in.

In this case, it’s XTECH shoulder pads, worn by 70% of the players in the NFL today. Billick is an original investor and has been a product ambassador for the American made products the last eight years.

“Soon we will be the number one shoulder pad provider in college football and that filters down to the high school level,” Billick said. “Pads had not changed in over 40 years. Now it’s cutting edge. XTECH is lightweight and flexible. It’s basically form-fitted pads and it’s allowed us to create a database because the pads are fitted to you based on age, height, weight, experience, position, injury history, etc. Once we get those measurements, we can give a very specific set of parameters to which pads and what combination of those the player actually needs.”

The XTECH pads can be ordered by individuals as well. You can find out more on their company website.

WHAT WILL WATSON DO WITH THE TEXANS

No one knows what will happen between quarterback Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans. Watson said he wants to be traded after his trust with team owner Cal McNair was broken due to McNair’s pick for general manager. The Texans newly hired head coach, David Culley, said he took this job knowing that Watson would be their starting quarterback.

This drama has caused never-before-seen criticism from the Houston media and many former Texans players have reached out on Twitter to encourage Watson to leave. Some of the team’s die-hard fans have decided to jump ship as well. The Texans headlines will only continue until the start of next season.

“The Texans need to sit down with the young man and show him the plan to go forward,” Billick said in regards to fixing things with Watson. “When you pay a player $156 million, he’s a partner, no matter what the contract says. He’s a brilliant young talent in this game and it’s hard for me to imagine him leaving. I hope they work this out.”

DAK AND THE DALLAS COWBOYS

The Cowboys season was done after just five weeks thanks to an awful ankle injury to Dak Prescott. Now the question is how will he play coming back from a compound fracture and dislocated right ankle? And will that injury affect whether he gets a new contract or gets another franchise tag this summer.

“The Cowboys will address the issues and do it in big fashion,” Billick said. “Dak will come back and it will be a bit of a transition; he’s going to have to work his way back into it. Mike McCarthy is an excellent coach and they’ll have to address some things via the draft and free agency in a year that the cap may come down a little bit. But hey, it’s the Dallas Cowboys, they’re usually up for it.”

THE FUTURE OF THE NFL

While the NFL never had to cancel a regular season game in the COVID stricken season in 2020, they did have to adjust to lost revenue from not having thousands of fans at each game. Most games were played in empty stadiums and when some fans were allowed inside, they were spread out to prevent any violation of social distancing rules. Those days could be over, in a sense, when the 2021 season begins.

“I think the NFL did a great job being an example for the rest of the country showing we can go back to work,” said Billick. “It wasn’t perfect but with the advancements of the vaccines, I’m hopefully we have the fans back in the stands next season.”

It’s too early to tell if attendance at football games will go back to normal this year or not. What could change in professional football is how teams go about handling team activities in the offseason.

“Because of what we have all been through during the pandemic, the offseason will change,” explained Billick. “OTA’s and training camp itself could change. The play this year was fantastic despite no organized team activities. I think the players and the players union will say, ‘hey, it worked pretty good this year, why do we have to have all these OTA’s, why do we have to have an arduous training camp?’ I think there’s a lot of discussion around that and we may see some permanent changes along that line.”

WILL SAN ANTONIO EVER GET AN NFL TEAM

Several weeks ago, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg continued to claim that the Alamo City will be home to an NFL team within ten years, a claim he made in 2018. So far, San Antonio has not been close to landing a team willing to relocate or an expansion franchise. The outbreak of the coronavirus and it’s damaging effect on the economy could keep San Antonio waiting even longer.

“There’s a number of cities that would enjoy hosting an NFL franchise,” Billick said. “San Antonio is one of them, Columbus, Ohio is another. There’s a number of large communities that could handle an NFL club.”

“Eventually the league will expand but not right now, there’s too much going on,” Billick added. “There’s too many revenue streams they would have to tap into (to make it work) and the owners only want to cut that up so many ways. Every city you look at has a NFL team nearby and you have to ask, ‘can they absorb a team?’ If anybody could, to me, Houston-San Antonio would be one.”

“Eventually it will happen (an expansion in the NFL) but it’s not on the horizon for awhile.”

Former Baltimore Ravens head coach and Super Bowl champion Brian Billick talked to KSAT 12 Sports on a number of subjects including XTECH shoulder pads, which are making their way to Texas high school football teams.

Daniel P. Villanueva has worked with KSAT 12 Sports for over 17 years and is an award-winning sports producer. To submit story ideas, email dvillanueva@ksat.com


About the Author:

Daniel P. Villanueva has been with KSAT 12 since 2003 and is the producer of our weekly sports show, "Instant Replay." Villanueva is a graduate of St. Mary's University and is a TAPB and Lone Star Emmy award winner.