Since Kevin du Manoir already saw fit to write me a “ha, your prognosticating skills are about as good as your ability to wheel girls in high school!” MSN message about this weekend’s slate of games, I felt it necessary to write a quick entry in order to a, restore my prognosticating honour, and b, give all the haters a great, big “fuck you!” without resorting to simple perjoratives. With that…
- Washington would have covered but for one idiot kicker. Honestly, when you’re being paid millions of dollars to play a game, shouldn’t you be nailing 36-yard field goals as easily as if they were Mrs. Peirce? But John Hall didn’t, and in so doing cost me a lock. Or, well, “lock”.
- These aren’t your father’s Patriots. Back in late November, when the Patriots started reeling off a string of impressive results, everybody figured they’d simply been keeping a low profile in order to lull their opponents into a false sense of security. Certainly I thought so: in Neil Scilley’s infamous playoff pool I had the Patriots winning the Super Bowl. But yesterday’s game made it clear that these aren’t the same Patriots who won three of the last four NFL championships: during two pivotal moments in the game, the Patriots made the kind of mistakes you don’t normally associate with a Bill Bellichek team. Tom Brady’s interception, which Champ Bailey returned 101 yards before getting owned by Ben Watson on the half-yard line, was a total mental lapse; Troy Brown dropping a fair catch, meanwhile, was the sort of idiotic error I’ve grown accustomed to as a Minnesota Vikings fan, yet which Bellichek’s teams normally eschew. Having said that, all of it was set in motion by one of the most ridiculous officiating decisions in recent NFL playoff history…so maybe it was only half the Patriots’ fault.
- The Colts were a paper 13-3 team. At various points in the 2005 season, the Indianapolis Colts were hailed as one of the greatest teams in NFL history…yet heading into the playoffs, you still got the sense people weren’t fully comfortable backing them to win the Super Bowl. There were still too many questions about Peyton Manning’s championship credentials, still too much uncertainty about the effect that the last three weeks of the season (where the Colts had absolutely zero incentive to win, apart from the distinction of going undefeated) would have on their psyche. In retrospect, there were two ways of beating the 2005 Colts: by mercilessly blitzing Manning, then airing it out against their secondary. In retrospect, the Steelers were the ideal team to expose Indianapolis as frauds; sure, it took a bizzare series of events to sew this one up, but in the end the game was won when Pittsburgh scored fourteen points in the opening ten minutes. If I’ve learned anything about being a sports fan, it’s that when you’re getting into “well, if this happens, and then this, and then this, and then this…well, we’re almost tied!” scenarios, your team’s finished. Indy fans were going through those scenarios before half time.
- The Bears sucked. See? Mine and Jamie’s anti-Bears vitriol wasn’t completely irrational. I loved watching Jake Delhomme and Steve Smith annihilate “the greatest defence since the Monsters of the Midway”…I mean, Chicago knew exactly what the Panthers were going to be doing, and they still couldn’t stop it. The parallels between the 2005 Chicago Bears and the 2001 Chicago Bears couldn’t be more striking.
With that, I’m off to sleep. Word to yo mama, Alex.