Football Follies: And then there were four


OK, so true aficionados of the college game (don’t worry, we’ll get to the pros) know that the action hasn’t ended with the BCS Championship Game.  For the real, card-carrying NCAA football dweeb, it’s not all over until the East-West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl have been played.

Some of us are old, and remember when these games were actually broadcast by the major networks.  Now they’re not even broadcast by ESPN.  To see the Shrine Game tomorrow, which kicks off at 4 PM Eastern in St. Petersburg, FL, you’ll need to have access to the NFL Network, which frankly is a Communist plot.  The team rosters can be found here.  Jerry Glanville is coaching for the East, and Romeo Crennel for the West.

The Reese’s Senior Bowl will be held in Mobile on the 25th, but we’ll cover it now since the pros will have that weekend off.  You’ll also need the NFL Network to see the bowl, which starts at 3 PM Central.  The rosters are here; the Atlanta Falcons’ coaching staff, led by Head Coach Mike Smith, will coach the North, and the Jacksonville Jaguars staff will coach the South, under Gus Bradley.  (Don’t miss North QB Logan Thomas of Virginia Tech, clocking in as the marquee-est player from a TOC Nation school in the post-bowl games.)

On to the main event: conference championship weekend in the NFL.  First of all, it would be some fun, huh, if there were no East-of-the-Mississippi teams in the first outdoor, cold-weather Super Bowl, hosted jointly by New York and New Jersey.  Am I right?  The Broncos can fix that for us, and the oddsquad is betting they will, by about 5.5.

Suddenly, they're the grizzled face of age.
Suddenly, they’re the grizzled face of age.


Pats and Broncs will take the field in the early game Sunday with a fantastic Denver weather forecast: 60-ish and no wind.  Can RB LeGarrette Blount carry the day for New England?  Good question; Blount, a 250-pound M1A2 Abrams tank, racked up the yards in the Patriots’ last two outings.  But those were against some of the lowest-ranked rushing defenses in the league (Bills and Colts).

The 7th-ranked Denver D’s stats against the rush are much better.  (They limited San Diego to a measly 65 rushing yards last week.)  They’re one of the lowest-ranked pass defenses out there, however, and will have their hands full with Brady and a healthy Amendola.

Obviously the Brady-Manning match-up will dominate the commentary on Sunday; for what it’s worth, New England’s defense has been no better than mid-pack against the pass.  In the epic come-from-behind win over Denver in November, however, they shut Manning down pretty effectively, holding him to 150 throwing yards, sacking him twice, and picking him off once.  So they can get it done.

If it weren’t New England coming in to play, the Denver point give would probably be even bigger.  But it is New England, and we can bet it’s any given Sunday to boot.

It will be interesting to see how much mention there is of Colorado’s new pot law.  We assume they won’t be bringing that up on air, during the game, at least not deliberately.  But of course that doesn’t stop the print media from getting all giggly about it.

The evening game will see San Francisco at Seattle to face off for the NFC title.  It’ll be colder in CenturyLink Stadium than it is in Denver, with a forecast of 49 and cloudy for the 3:30 PM Pacific kickoff.  Both teams play all the time in damp, bone-chilling weather anyway, so it shouldn’t be much of a factor.  (The fans will be able to keep warm with a smorgasbord of Seahawk Specials, because what’s football about, if not food?)

The latest-breaking news is that Seahawk receiver Percy Harvin will have to sit this one out, and K.J. Wright will be stepping in.  Meanwhile, if the AFC match features two of the NFL’s noblest old war horses behind center, the NFC match is all about the scrappy new breed.  Russell Wilson, 25, and Colin Kaepernick, 26, are agile, slippery; they’ll run on you, and then they’ll throw.

But both teams bring some of the best defenses in the NFL, from Seattle’s 28 picks and 44 sacks to the 49ers’ yards-allowed per rush of only 3.9, and their longest-allowed rush this season of 30 yards, easily the league record.  The teams are also some of the rushing-est in the league – ranked 3 and 4, and both racking up around 2200 yards on the season – although top rusher Frank Gore’s status is still iffy for the 49ers.

Should be quite a workout for everyone.  Seahawks give about 3 in the line at the moment, partly because the 49ers have whiffed in their last two outings to Seattle.

In related news, we are very sorry to report that Princess, the Super Bowl-picking camel, has passed away at her home in New Jersey.



20 thoughts on “Football Follies: And then there were four”

  1. Wow… what a yawn for a season, followed by an entire slate of playoffs past the Wild Card Round where I could care less if any team scored, won, or even showed up. The Pro Bowl might actually be more interesting than the Super Bowl this year.

    1. Every team is a small to medium market, regional appeal team. None have a national following. San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, and Boston… Sounds like a big Blue map of the Fruit and Nut section of the Democrat Party.

    2. Played in East Rutherford, New Christie (he’s having the state renamed because it suits his ego) in what looks to be the coldest winter in a good 20 years. The NFL is poorly run, brutally Politically Correct, and stubbornly venal… ruled by an absolute despot who mixes obsequiousness with arrogance in a passive aggressive control freak show that is slowly tearing the game apart. (Goodell is the worst commissioner, ever.)

    3. Prediction: Super Bowl Ends up being the Frisco Freaks against the Boston Cheats… Darth Hoodie is out to prove that he merely needs an obedient crew of athletes who will do exactly what he tells them to do, and keep their mouths shut about the details to win. His offense is a plug and play machine where all players are replaceable and flamboyant talent is forbidden.

    Who cares about the score? I’ll be doing something else on Super Bowl Sunday.

  2. Well, at least The King will have tickets left for him at the gate in the Shrine
    I am an old time NFL guy. Give me a Y.A. Tittle or Sonny Jergensen QB’d team and I will watch.
    I will, of course, watch the thrilling and entertaining half-time show at the SB.
    Spring games a couple of months away. About 6.5 months until 2 a days. Is Feb 78 or 79 days this year?

    1. 78… but it will feel like 88… Less than a month for pitchers and catchers to report… of course that month is February… which as you have suggested is the longest month of the year..

      Yeah… I miss Bart Starr, Terry Bradshaw… Len Dawson… even Stabler and Fouts.. Even Johnny U and Automatic Otto..

      Damn Tom Landry… he’s name should go down in the annals of football history as the man who ruined offense by calling plays from the sideline.

      If I was commissioner, the first thing that I would do is ban the practice… NO DAMN RADIOS, NO wig wags, sign boards, or coaches with play sheets shouting into microphones to clueless robot quarterbacks.

      Rule #1 in League Fahvaag: All plays, formations, and activities must be called by the players on the field. Coaches are coaches, not players.



      1. Mighty, it is a pleasure to commiserate with you. Obama will probably take over as commish. Flag football. No hitting above or below the belt. Muslim Brotherhood teams get 5 downs. Explosive vests for the MB only during the 3rd period in OT.

  3. Oh, TMF, you’re no fun. I’m pretty tired of watching Super Bowls in which I don’t care about the teams too. But there are things you’ve just got to do, if you love your football.

    I have discovered that I am, once again, the last to know. (That’s my hashtag, BTW, #AlwaysLast2know. Inelegant and whiny, just the way I like ’em.) It turns out we now DO have the NFL Network in our channel lineup. Had it since September, apparently.

    It’s up at 1355, a channel block I have never once visited with the remote since moving into this home in 2003. If I had written and posted about the NFL Network before now, the creepy spy programs would have kicked it into overdrive weeks ago and started showing me pop-ups about it. You have to make things flash at me to get my attention.

    So, as you can imagine, I am happily ensconced watching the Shrine Game right now. East is up 3-0 on West. The guys look pretty ragged out there on the field, but it’s kind of sweet, actually, with the old-fashioned huddles and such, really looking drilled on the blocking assignments — not being able to play up-tempo and fast-breaking, as a true “team” can when it practices together all the time and prepares for a specific opponent each week.

    I actually agree, incidentally, that calling plays from the sidelines was — at the very least — not an unalloyed good for football. If it hadn’t been Landry, it would have been someone else, because it’s too obvious not to figure out and start doing.

    The military has a similar problem these days, with higher echelons being able to “see” a lot of what’s going on in a tactical situation — plus having a big-flick view the guy down in the trenches can’t necessarily see. The urge to micromanage is very strong. It’s not surprising that football couldn’t prevent it.

    1. I see your Shrine Bowl and raise the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. Playing in Carson , California even as I write.
      Roy Finch just had a nice run.

        1. Kewl. I’m kind of into my Shrine Game at this point, but I’ll be sure to cycle back to the NFLPA as soon as it’s over.

    1. I counted about 30. So long for now. Enjoy the balmy temps out there. 67 in OKC tomorrow. Dry here also. Hefner is going down fast.

      1. Thanks. Got up to around 82 today. Humidity 5% or so. Sorry to hear about Hefner. Not sure it ever rebounded from the recent drought.

        National goes up by 2 x TDs. Dick may not have to squeeze a tear for this one.

  4. Horsies are in… Peyton’s swan song? Do the Elway? Get the ring… go out on top before your body is left in a wheel chair, and your x-rays look like you have repeatedly been run over by an F-150.

    Waiting for the Seahags to completely fall apart. Russell Wilson is not making the playoff turn as well as he should be… It makes you wonder, since his last 5 games have been underinspired performances. That usually spells unannounced injury – like torn rotator cuffs, sprained rib cages and such…

    1. Wilson had enough. One exceptional scramble turned things around. But give credit to the Thirteenth Man — the Zebras should just decide to keep the game ball. Personal foul for linebacker going shoulder to shoulder with a receiver. A dangerous Seattle roughing the kicker was pled down to a five yard misdemeanor. Even the Seahawks fans saw the recovered fumble at the goal line, but not the Refs. Of course, as it turned out, that one did not change the result. The Niners made too many errors.

  5. So the Seachickens of Microsquash are going to show up in the big show to face Peyton and his Horsies…

    Well, it’ll probably be an interesting game. For someone… but probably not enough people to actually care who wins or loses.

    BTW – half the football world guessed that these would be the two teams facing off, by mid way through September. Which really isn’t a good thing. It means the league was just not that good this year.

    There were a few surprises.. The Chefs… The Bungles… even the Iggles looked like a football team… but there were far more disappointments…

    Gins, Skins, Boots, FalCan’ts, Day-Toi, Tehasians, well gee most of the rest of the league was just really pretty bad.

    The Pro Bowl looks like it’s going to be silly, and the Super Bowl will mean something to less than 5 million fans…

    Pitchers and Catchers report in less than a month.

    Tech has no offensive line coach – Grimes ran off to LSU… so I expect that Stinespring will rear his useless head to smite the offense, again this year for the Hokies…

    I fully expect the new coaching staff of the Skins to be a total Jim Zorn flop… Haslett’s defense was the bottom of the NFL barrel for three years.. the pictures the guy must have in his safe deposit box must be really really powerful ju-ju.

    The Gints are going to have to rebuild, and the Pack’s defense is so bad it might take years to fix.

    sigh… football is over. getting time to PLAY BALL!!

    Go Nats!!!

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