Sunday, January 16, 2011

Idle, Disorganized Thoughts on The Divisional Round

There are some things, no longer worth bitching about. The NFL is never - repeat - NEVER going to get rid of "Instant" Replay. And coaches are never going to stop making idiotic challenges. So with that, I'll let you figure out how I feel about the first play of the Ravens-Steelers game ending up with an excitement crushing 8 minute delay to look at a bad spot of about 15 yards.
With that, I'm out.

T.J. Houshmanzadeh was once upon a time, considered an "A-list" free agent at WR. Seattle bought that notion, paid him a lot of money, and quickly figured out he's just another in a long line of non-difference-making wideouts. For further reference, please see: Price, Peerless. Harper, Alvin. Moulds, Eric. Boston, David. Et, al.

Generally speaking, the more mouthy and cocky a wide receiver is, the better the chance that when a catch absolutely has to be made, he'll drop it.

Many teams, when defending a 3rd and very long, like to employ the old 3-man rush, 8-men in coverage scheme. The conventional wisdom is, at least you won't allow a wideout to "get behind" your secondary. Well, how did that work for Baltimore, Saturday? Personally, I would never rush fewer than 5 guys in these 3rd-and-long spots. If you can't cover 4 wideouts with 6 guys, you suck.

I know somebody who is a Cowboy fan, whose son is a 4 year old Packer fan. She was trying to explain to her son why "the Packers are in the playoffs and the Cowboys are not." I said: "Rationalizing Jerrah's destructive narcissism to a four year old is a tall task. Good luck."

I'm thinking long and hard about going to Chicago to try to see the NFC Championship. My agent, the fabulous Matt Miller is a native Chicagoan and of course, Bears fan. I am betting tickets will be 4-figures, easily. But in a way, this game might be a more epic experience than the Super Bowl. Home field advantage game. Cold, snow, rivalry. What do you think? If your team was already out of the playoffs, and you had a choice between this game, and the Super Bowl, which would you choose?

Fox sent its Kenny, Moose, and Goose crew to do the Bears-Seahawks. It's supposed #2 crew. Whatever. Sam Rosen and Tim Ryan are 10x better, IMHO.

Despite my recent criticism of the Fox dream team, Buck-Aikman and Oliver, I thought they had an outstanding broadcast Saturday night. Buck was finally alive and animated on all the big plays, and Aikman delivered some strong and good opinions.

Two weeks ago on The Sports Reporters on ESPN980 in Washington D.C., Mel Kiper opined that Aaron Rodgers "needs" to win a playoff game to validate himself as a great QB. I love Mel, but I hated that argument then, I hate it now, and I'll hate it the next time an NFL talking head uses it. For one, Rodgers actual playing career is just in it's adolescence. It's not like he has a long string of playoff chokes to his name. Also, last year, Rodgers put up 45 against Arizona in a loss. Hardly his fault! Finally, the body of work Rodgers has authored - both statistically, and to the trained football eye - has demonstrated just how good he already is. A mere playoff win, is just icing, it's not "validation."

Somebody I know, a mere 14.5 months ago, dared to stand on the crowded top steps entering Lambeau Field, holding a sign that read: "In Ted I Trust". With the Packers at just 5-5, the crowd thought this person was surely, a loose village idiot. Now, the Packers have a ridiculously deep, young, and talented team that has absorbed a crushing 17 players on IR this year, and just went through the #1 seed like Sherman through Atlanta.

Karmic timing is a beautiful thing. Just this week, Brett Favre's sister washed up in a Mississippi meth lab raid. Then Rodgers goes 31-36, 366 yards, 3 TDs, 1 rushing and a rating of 136.8. Can you imagine, if Favre was still with the Pack, having to deal with his personal family situation before this game, the media drama, and such?

In the span of just one week, we went from "it's Sarah Palin's fault" to the revelation that Jared Loughner was so whack-a-doo that he took photos of himself in a red g-string posing with his gun the night before his gutless, twisted, and psychotic act. In between, we learned he's a high school dropout, dope smoking, paranoid, live-at-home, community college student who doesn't read the newspaper, watch TV, or listen to talk radio. One week. Polls show the American public rejects overwhelmingly any notion that this was a political act. The mainstream media and the lunatic left need some serious mental counselling of their own.

What can we do, to entice somebody at Playboy to do a special edition "The Fake Bartenders of Those Miller Lite Ads". Please. Pretty, please.

The Seahawks, were who we thought they were. That is all.

Pete Carroll, down 28-0, with 1:57 left in the 3rd quarter, on 4th and 9 from the 12, decides to kick a field goal instead of go for it. Another example of how most NFL coaches, are purely emotional creatures, not logical ones.

With 13:22 to go, the Bears lead 28-3 and can/should, literally hand the ball off every single down, punt, play defense, and go home for hot chocolate and a berth in the NFC Championship game. Instead, Mike Martz calls a direct snap, wildcat-option play, in which (predictably) a running back throws an ill-advised pass that is intercepted. Why? Because that's what Mike Martz does. Just go with it.

The Redskins are 2-0 against the two NFC Championship teams, which should make our owner even more delusional about the relative strength of his own team. Hold your hats, once the league resumes free agency.

The Jets stunning win at the Patriots, has to go town as one of the all-time "walk your own talk" victories in not just NFL history, but sports history. It's not often that Tom Brady looks unsure, uncomfortable, and confused. I don't think I will ever be a Rex Ryan "fan" but my respect for what he did this week, is huge.


  1. For the love of god, can we keep fat Rex Ryan out of the Super Bowl please? I can't take another minute of this blow-hard. His father couldn't win a playoff game to save his life, but somehow his jackass son keeps squeaking in as a 6th seed and somehow makes the championship game 2 straight years.

  2. Man did Brady blow in that game. And what's with the lousy time management Belicheck!

  3. As a Saints fan, it was a beautiful thing to watch the Pack destroy blowhard Roddy White and the Falcons. Also, after the way we were treated at the 2007 Championship Game (I was there), I can't wait to see the Pack go Soldier Field and crush the Bears. As for the Jets. I am mildly amused by Rex's big mouth and antics. And who doesn't love seeing Belicheck and the Golden Boy get bitch slapped by a team that said "hey bitch, I'm coming to slap you"!

  4. Good stuff on the Divisional Round games, Czabe.

    But, how do the Tucson shootings factor in there?

    BTW: Loughner was a registered Republican.

  5. Czabe, I get your sentiment on the challenges, but if the refs would be held to a higher standard maybe it wouldn't be such an issue. In a game that was projected to have a 3 point spread and be a low scoring affair, how does Tomlin *NOT* challeng a spot that gives the Ravens 15 more yards. All thing being the same, if you move the Ravens first possession 15 yards further down the field, then it ends with an easy field goal attempt. Instead they punted, and the Steeler's drove and scored.

    Seems like the coach made the right call. It's just too bad he had to challenge something that was so f'ing obvious in the first place. Instead of saving a challenge for something like getting 2 feet down in the endzone or something.

    If the coach challenges and gets it right, he should be able to keep challenging... if the refs suck that bad, someone has to call them on it.

    We all hate the challenge system, but the real problem is that there has to be a challenge system in the first place. Sure the game is fast, maybe put another pair of eyes or two on the action? What's cheaper, enough high def cameras and video equipment to cover every angle on the field or paying 2 more guys per game and firing refs who get it wrong too often?

    Just saying...

  6. As I write this comment I sit about 5 miles from Tucson's "Ground Zero" of January 8.

    Last night 60 MINUTES looked at the shooting and the shooter. The "political vitriol" as a trigger/motive for this horrific incident was eliminated in very short order and in no uncertain terms.

    Two Secret Service profilers had interviewed 83 of thiese types of killers and said, basically, that virtually ALL these kinds of assassins/spree killers have a common trait. Namely, they are all really, deeply, mentally-disturbed loose cannons whose minds have lost all connection with reality. (Here's where humorists would insert " most liberal democrats", but that would be an unfair assumption akin to the one you tried so weakly to make so I'm not going to say that).

    MY source is 60 MINUTES and 2 Secret Service experts who've made a comprehensive study of the situation.

    YOUR source for it being politcally motivated is "He was a registered Republican".

    Uh-oh, better start rounding THEM up!

    You must be one of Keith Olbermann's prized staffers.

  7. The challenge problem is even worse this year. The refs are letting plays go with the proviso that any mistake can be fixed during replay. Until the situation Saturday night comes up where a coach is out of challenges before the players have hardly broken a sweat because the refs wouldn't make a call. Having said that, Tomlin doesn't have good instincts (or his assistants in the coaching box are incompetent) as far as when to challenge and when not.

    Unlike Harbaugh, who knowingly challenges an unchallengeable play just to interrupt the other team's no-huddle. Wonder if his brother suggested that strategy? Seems like RR got some coaching tips from the new 49'ers coach also. Lots of miraculous recoveries for the Jet defenders, but since it eliminated Tommy Tuck Rule out I'm OK with that.

  8. MY point was that, despite all the finger pointing, name-calling and other bashing going on about the shooter in Tucson (from all directions), he is an enigma, who, I pointed out, just happens to be a registered Repub. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Oh, that and I also wondered why it was inserted into a story supposedly about the Divisional Round.

    I DVR'd the 60 minutes, but couldn't watch it due the Missus and her ABC Sunday night. But, every indication is exactly what you'd seen from the SS.

  9. The life as a Packer fan in this great league has given me 3 repeat holidays to celebrate all over again.
    I stuffed my face with 3 appetizing games before the main course came out and I got to enjoy a WILD CARD victory for my green bay packers. I felt like I ate too much and somehow got away with it. Thanks Akers.
    Christmas and the gift opening was slated for 7:00 against the Falcons. Wow, I knew I wasnt on the naughty list but that was too much to handle. I think Ill savor some of those highlights for a couple of days.
    Now, I find out I got a date for New Years. The best date possible! The Chicago Bears. How amazing would it be to start the year sending home our hated, disgusting rival and reach the ULTIMATE GAME! Is this for real?
    P.S. Please get another segment on the Bob and Brian show they need all the help they can get

  10. Good comments Czabe -- I was saying during the Ravens-Steelers game that if there was a later call that needed 2b overturned the NFL would have "tweaked" their PLAYOFF CHALLENGE RULES, just like they OVER-reacted with the OT rules. I keep saying it but no one listens: Games can now end on a MIDFIELD STOP. Wouldn't that be a cool way to end a Stupor Bowl? Everyone would be like WTF was that?

    Related, I was surprised you didn't mention the bogus holding call(s) that hosed the Ravens and the inordinate # of flags in that game. Where was your boy Ed Hochuli this weekend?

    I have 2 say while I'm here that Dan Dierdorf is the WORST analyst in sports history. 'Member when the NFL had the "fan noise rule" for about 20 minutes 20 years ago? Dierdorf used to astutely say "they're getting loud again!" And NOT say it was a STUPID RULE. He made his money on MNF saying over and over "good call by the official." Mushnick takes him to the woodshed a bit in Monday's NY Post.

    As for your trip, if you get a chance to go to that black & blue game, do it! That's gonna be a monster classic.

    - Stike