For the 43rd time, America is celebrating Super Bowl Sunday, an unofficial holiday of junk food, television marketing excess, the existence of Roman numerals, and football (or is it handegg?). And, for the 22nd time in my life, I have very little emotional investment in the game. Oh, sure, I’ve faked it before: I was rooting hard for the Packers in Super Bowl XXXII, but that never worked out. The Super Bowl was first serious business in The Smith Household when Stan-The-Man Humphries sent the San Diego Super Chargers up against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XXIX, during which Steve Young and Jerry Rice made history by turning an NFL team into meatwaffles for the first time. The other time, of course, is when the Carolina Panthers had their hearts broken by Adam Vinatieri and the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVIII, which was also a historic Super Bowl because no other game so far has had as many letters in its Roman numeral.
So today we get the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals. The Steelers are looking to start blinging out their other hand, while the Cardinals are benefiting from Kurt Warner’s innate ability to somehow will really bad franchises to victory. Of course, when I think of the Cardinals, I’m always reminded of Denny Green:
So who wins? The smart money says the Steelers, but the Cardinals have beaten the smart money three games in a row now. The stage has gotten bigger and the Cardinals have proven that the stage is not bigger than they are so far. Both teams are playing their best football right now, too — I suspect this game has the potential to be much better than most people expect. Prediction? I’m really on the fence here. I think I take Arizona in a colossal upset, which means the Steelers will likely win because I haven’t given them a chance all postseason. (One does have to wonder what the week off does to Arizona’s momentum, after all.) Enjoy the game, folks!
It’s so much fun to watch the game with tweets about the Chargers and Patriots on in the background. Lots of great fan reaction — it’s like watching the game with a bunch of friends, except my place won’t be trashed at the end of the game. :) Go Chargers!
In case you haven’t heard, all indications are that Tom Brady is done for the year. Last year, the Patriots talked about playing through the adversity of Spygate, etc — but they had all their players remain reasonably intact. The rush of air you feel? The rest of the AFC East breathing a sigh of relief. While the Belichick-era Patriots are resilient, losing their superstar quarterback may be too much. The Patriots are definitely more mortal now, and the division is completely up for grabs now.
Meanwhile, I watched my Chargers and the Panthers tangle to the last second, when a Jake Delhomme miracle throw was caught by Dante Rosario for a game-winning touchdown with no time left. Incredible! I hate seeing the Chargers lose, but losing to the Panthers is the only team I can accept them losing to. The Panthers haven’t looked this good in years. Having Steve Smith out may not necessarily be a bad thing for Delhomme; he spread the ball out to everybody. Delhomme always seems to lean on Smith when he’s in the game. The playcalling was very well-balanced (though going for it on fourth-and-1 on their second drive of the game was foolish), and the defense was as strong as ever.
This game is a gut-check for the Chargers, who need to strongly rethink their policy of leaving players out completely in preseason. Everybody was shaking off rust, and the regular season just isn’t the time for that. One silver lining: Philip Rivers looks as sharp as ever. His mobility was all there — it’s uncanny considering that less than seven months ago he had his ACL reconstructed. The Chargers will bounce back and will be fine; they needed this game to get a few things in check.
Looks to be a fun and wild year ahead; I’m really glad football’s back, especially after such a dismal baseball season.
Upset of the century. Wow. I’m pretty much speechless. Absolutely speechless.
Belichick’s arrogance finally caught up with him. On 4th and 13 in the 3rd quarter, instead of a 49-yard field goal try, he sent the offense onto the field to try to convert. They failed, and momentum stayed with the Giants. For such a “genius,” even this armchair quarterback knows that in games like this, you take the points that you can get. Had he gone for the field goal (and the try was successful, of course), we would be in overtime instead of the Lombardi Trophy presentation.
GREAT game, especially from a defensive standpoint. Whew.
For the second time this season, the Chargers fell victim to The Perfectriots. This is the second consecutive postseason loss for the Chargers against New England. Unlike last year’s loss, I felt a lot better about the loss today. The Chargers brought a much better, and dare I say it, more mature team to New England. The Chargers played as well as they could without LT and an injured Philip Rivers absolutely playing his guts out against a team that demoralized them earlier this season.
I do question why Billy Volek wasn’t brought in. Rivers had a tough time generating power behind his throws on his bad knees, and it showed, especially on an interception in the 2nd quarter. There’s something to be said about riding the horse that gets youu there, though.
Nobody expected the Chargers to even have a chance against the Pats, and they came out and gave them quite a game. Sure, I’m bummed that the Chargers aren’t going to the Super Bowl, but at least they went out with dignity this time. I feel reasonably good about next season, too, given that most everybody is returning.
Norv Turner did a heck of a job, too. (Never thought I’d say THAT.). The regular season was turbulent but he helped get them together at the right time. That’s good coaching.
Less than a month to Spring Training…but for now, Go Pack Go.
Has Hell frozen over? Norv Turner’s Chargers are in the AFC Championship Game without LaDainian Tomlinson and with BILLY VOLEK at quarterback. What an amazing game, with amazing play from both the Colts and the Chargers. In the end, the Chargers out-muscled and out-hit the Colts to take the game and a date with the Patriots next week to determine the AFC bid to the Super Bowl. Continue reading →
After winning a playoff game for the first time since I was 9 (a game they didn’t have to play in last year), the San Diego (Super) Chargers head to the Room Temperature FieldTurf Tundra of the RCA Dome for a rematch with Peyton Manning and the Colts. Something tells me Manning won’t throw six interceptions this time, as he did in the Colts’ loss to the Chargers at Jack Murphy Qualcomm Stadium earlier this year. The Chargers always seem to give the Colts a game, so we’ll see how they respond. However, these Colts are much healthier — Dallas Clark and Marvin Harrison are back — than the Colts the Chargers faced earlier this year. Tough odds…my brain tells me the Colts will come out on top, but my heart says the Chargers can do this. (As it should.)
Yesterday’s games marked some of the best playoff football I had ever seen. The Lambeau Snow Globe (as it’s come to be called) will go down in the highlight reels for a long time. Ryan Grant did a marvelous job shaking off a very inauspicious start to the game (two fumbles lost) to become one of the top three single game rushers with 201 yards. And Brett Favre was just Brett Favre. What a revival for his career. I haven’t seen that guy so happy to play football in a long time.
And the Patriots…wow. Tom Brady played arguably the best game for a quarterback in NFL playoff history last night. He West-Coasted the Jaguars to death, absolutely shredding their D with a steady dose of short passes and Laurence Maroney runs. In the end, I don’t see how the Patriots DON’T run the table — but that’s why we play the games…
The New England Patriots have just completed the first undefeated 16-game regular season in NFL history. The Giants gave ’em a game for the first half, but the Patriots pulled away and really won it in the way that they do it — aggressive, always attacking, never relenting. Unbelievable. The Patriots won by forcing mistakes, like they have all year.
Unbelievable. Time will tell if they make it through the playoffs, but Brady is unflappable…it will take a titanic effort to topple the Patriots in the playoffs. But the AFC is an unbelievable conference — you never know. Any given Sunday (or Saturday), anything can happen.
But tonight is historic. I recorded it — glad I did. Amazing.
P.S. A note about the Giants: they came out and played a very aggressive first half, pressuring Brady and not making it easy for him. Eli Manning played some of his best football of the year. But where did it go wrong in the second half? What is it about the Patriots that brings about ridiculously bad clock management in NFC East teams? How do you burn almost a minute trying to get your guys to the line in the two minute drill? Those little things separate the wheat from the chaff. They won’t go far at all with a disaster like that when it counts. Expect Tom Coughlin to really ram the two-minute drill down his players’ throats as they prepare for their wild card game next weekend.
It’s nice to finally get some rain around here for a change. We need whatever we can get. The green and orange blobs — if they hold together (which doesn’t always happen) — will definitely soak us for a bit. And that’s OK — it’s more of an excuse to stay in and code and do stuff. :) Continue reading →
The Patriots had no business winning tonight. They had no answer for Willis McGahee. Their offensive line was no match for Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan’s overload schemes. The Ravens had Tom Brady dazed and confused (haha, how appropriate for ESPN’s Led Zeppelin theme they had going tonight) for 59 minutes. And in that last minute…chaos, self-destruction, disorder…put simply, the Ravens gave them the game. Stupidity like they exhibited at the end of that game — which they had won — gets coaches fired mid-season. I’ve never seen a kickoff from the receiving team’s 35 yard line before. Inexcusable. (And yet, what would people think if Kyle Boller’s ball landed two yards farther into Mark Clayton’s hands?)