Incidental Punishment After The Ball Is Blown Dead
by Ernie Williams
All right fooseball fans. Time to strap in because it’s time for PLAYOFF FOOTBALL. All or nothing sudden death. No five game series, no seven game series, FUCK. THAT. SHIT. It’s one game. You either win and move on, or you lose and go home and work on your golf game.
This weekend is ‘Wildcard Weekend’ in the NFL Playoffs. And it… is… just, WILD. WILD! I’m telling you it’s nutty koo-koo crasyz.
Ok I might have gotten a little overboard there. Let’s (me) try to calm down a little.
There are 4 games this weekend, two division winners vs. two wildcard teams in each conference. The two teams with the best record in each conference get a bye week. That is their reward for earning the two best records during the regular season. While the lower seeded teams are slugging it out this weekend, the number one and two teams in each conference can sit back, rest and watch the lower seeded teams beat the poo out of each other.
Here are this weekend’s match-ups:
Saturday, Jan. 6:
Kansas City at Indianapolis: 4:30 pm, NBC:
This should be a good game. I’m sure most people are expecting the Colts to roll over the Chefs, but don’t be too sure. The Chefs had to fight their way into the playoffs and then hope for some help from other teams, Denver to be exact, who lost to San Fran in their final regular season game.
The Colts on the other hand, tailed off at the end of the season, though they won their last game vs. Miami. Frankly, I’m picking the Chiefs, and not just because I always pick against The Colts. The fact is, it’s the playoffs, and we all know, the playoffs for The Colts and Peyton Manning is equivalent to the clock striking midnight for Cinderella. Pumpkin time.
Dallas at Seattle: 8:00 pm, NBC:
Dallas had a chance to win the NFC East and they blew it, losing to lowly Detroit in the last game of the season, but they still made the playoffs as a Wildcard team. They are heading into a tough place to play up in Seattle. That being said, even though Seattle is a division winner, I think Dallas is actually the better team. Seattle plays in one of the weakest divisions in the entire NFL, while Dallas has played tough games against two playoff teams in the Philadelphia Eagles and The NY Giants. Even though the two teams have the same record at 9-7, I give the edge to Dallas.
Personally, I’m rooting for Seattle in this one. I can’t root for a team that is coached by Bill Parcells and also has Terrell Owens on it. That would be like rooting for The Russians in the movie ‘RED DAWN’. It’s just not right.
Sunday, Jan. 7:
N.Y. Jets at New England: 1:00 pm, CBS:
Ok, I’m not going to even try to pretend to be un-biased for this one. If you’ve read this column even one time, you know that I’m a hard core Patriots fan, so I’m not expecting anyone to take what I say about this game too seriously.
It should be a very good game between these two divisional rivals and the idiots in the press have been playing up the whole Pats / Jets ‘border war’ aspect of the game all week. I will tell you that I think these two teams are pretty evenly matched. After splitting their regular season games, both the players and the coaches know each other very well, not to mention the fact that Jets head coach Eric Mangini is just one year removed from his position as The Patriots defensive coordinator. This will be a game where each coach knows each others moves before they make it. It should be interesting to watch the chess match play out and I will probably need to be peeled off of the ceiling by the time it’s over.
The key to this game in my mind will be turnovers. The team that plays a clean game and does not give the ball away will have the best chance at winning. Field position will also be a big factor in this game (as it is in every football game, duh). Coaches often talk about hidden yards. These are the yards that are lost or gained depending on where a team gets the ball to start an offensive series. Obviously a team wants to start with the best field position possible.
One thing that has pissed me off about this game: all the ridiculous talk that has gone on about Pats head coach Bill Belichick and Jets head coach Eric Mangini and the handshake that took place after the end of the last Pats / Jets game, in which the Jets won at Foxboro. When the two coaches met in the middle of the field after the game was over, their handshake was, shall we say, less than enthusiastic... I heard one reporter state, ‘Just shake hands and don’t make a big story out of it’. Jackass, YOU and your fellow fools in the press are the ones making a big deal out of it. Anything to sell papers… Stupid media.
N.Y. Giants at Philadelphia: 4:30 pm, FOX
Teams with Bye Weeks:
AFC: Baltimore Ravens, San Diego Chargers
NFC: Chicago Bears, New Orleans Saints
In other NFL related stuff, some coaches have already gotten the ax while others have left (or given up, depending on your viewpoint) for other teams. Dennis Green is out after doing a pretty pathetic job out in Arizona, which posted 3 losing seasons while under his control. The team went 5-11 this season, but with a brand new stadium and a top 10 draft pick as their QB, expectations are higher than that. Arizona has been a losing team for a long time. It would be nice to see them climb out of the basement.
The Atlanta Falcons fired coach Jim Mora after they missed the playoffs. The Falcons are most likely looking for a coach that can take better advantage of Mike Vick’s scrambling / running around for his life skills at QB.
The Dolphins now former head coach, Nick Saban, gave up, I mean, resigned after only two years at the position. He is heading back to the college ranks and will take over as the head coach of Alabama. It will be interesting to see who Miami chooses to replace Saban.
On a final note, I want to pass on my feelings about how sorry I was to learn that 24 year old Denver cornerback Darrent Williams had been shot and killed on New Years Eve. Williams by all accounts was a great person and he had been a great player for The Broncos this past season. He had a bright future with a lot of good things in front of him. All I can say about this tragedy is that it is a terrible shame and a senseless waste of a young life.
Ok, have a good weekend everybody and enjoy the games. I will be a raving maniac on Sunday so you might see some interesting comments by me in the gameday thread. Feel free to check in and witness the insanity that could ensue.
Ernie will be glad to show you his states prisons if you are ever there.