Monday, January 25, 2010

NFL Championship Weekend

Odds and ends on the NFL's just concluded Championship Weekend...

  • We finally got a good game. Saints vs. Vikings was a bit sloppy to be a classic, but it was competetive all the way through, with some great plays as well as some really bad ones.
  • I've said before that Brett Favre is one of the most overrated great players in NFL history. I've said that no quarterback ever did more to keep both teams in the game. One play doesn't provide proof that either of those things is true, but it's hard to argue against either of them this morning.

    Look, the best QBs will sometimes throw bad picks. And there are a lot of things that cost the Vikings the game, including a very questionable (OK, BAD) pass interference call in overtime. That said, Favre did what he's done so many times before - he cost his team dearly because he was undisciplined and threw a ball that he should not have thrown. Scrambling to his right, throwing across his body into coverage. Had he run five yards and gone out of bounds, the Vikings would have lined up for a game-winning field goal with less than 10 seconds left in the game. But he didn't. He had a clear path to pick up that yardage and go to the sidelines, but he threw the ball into triple coverage instead, and the Saints picked it off. End of drive. End of game for the Vikings offense. End of season for Minnesota.

    Maybe they wouldn't have been there without him. But that's the essence of Brett Favre's career - lead his team to the brink of success, and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
  • Has there ever been a worse penalty than the Vikings' 12 men in the huddle? Coming out of a timeout? It moved them out of field-goal range and set up the Favre interception.
  • The Vikings put the ball on the ground six times, and lost three of them.
  • The overtime rule is just plain not fair. I know the arguments - defense and special teams are part of the game, those players get paid, too. And the team winning the toss only wins about 50% of the time. (I don't know that that's still true.) Those arguments would carry a lot more weight if you ever saw someone win an OT coin toss and choose to kick. But you don't. The advantage of having the ball first in a sudden-death period is a significant advantage, and everyone knows it.
  • I wanted the Saints to win, and I'm glad that they did, but they had a lot of help from a) the Vikings, b) the officials and c) the coin.
  • The AFC Championship game was painful in that there was no way both teams could lose. While it's always good to see the Jets lose, I would have derived more pleasure yesterday from a Colts' loss. Oh, well...
  • The Colts played very well after the two-minute warning of the first half. It took them a little bit of time and a couple of blown coverages to wake up, but once they did - well, the second half was not competitive.
  • For the Boston media Chicken Littles claiming that the Patriots dynasty is over, the Patriots were 1-2 against the two teams in the AFC Championship game, with the two losses coming on the road by 6 and 2 points, the loss to the Colts being a loss by mere inches resting on a questionable spot by an official. There's no reason whatsoever to think that they aren't going to be one of the top teams in the AFC again next year.


UPDATE: One more thing I meant to mention. The play on which Brett Favre's ankle was injured should have been flagged. He was hit below the waist from behind, in as dangerous a play as a DL could make in that situation. It was unacceptable, and I couldn't believe that it didn't get called - it should have.

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