Sam: Hey, there was football today. Viqueens/Packers. It was insane, one team would score, then the other team would immediately score. Pack won in the end, so they clinch the NFC North. GOOD. I frelling hate the Vikes. I ended up watching the end of the game in the bar at PF Chang's in Boston, which was fun. I didn't think people would be out on Christmas Eve, but man, that place was packed.
The Hawaii Bowl was also on today (Hawaii won, 59-40, which is just a sick, sick score), but I think probably no one cares. Timmy Chang became the first college QB to throw for 17,000 career yards, though. Nice way for him to end his college tenure.
Raiders/Chiefs at 5 tomorrow (urgh, what a cruddy game) and Broncos/Titans at 8:30 (possibly worth watching). Then there's the usual Sunday stew, including a fun Bears/Lions matchup-- as someone on the Lions messageboard said, "Come one, come all! Watch the moveable object battle the resistable force for the right to NOT finish last in the NFC North!".
The other Sunday games are somewhat better. Ravens/Steelers has potential and should be a watcher. Chargers/Colts could also be interesting, although I'm not sure how good SD's defense is. Be nice to see Infinite Audibles lose one to the Cinderella team. Patriots/Jets is of course going to be a bit of a nail-biter. And hey, Miami's on national TV again! They get the 8:30 Sunday slot. Who knows, maybe they'll win again.
I'd like to say that the Eagles will slaughter the Rams on Monday, but how demoralized are they without TO? Unknown.
How awesome would it be if the Saints beat the Falcons this week? I don't know why I even care, but I'm just throwing that out there.
I assume the holidays are consuming you guys, but I continue the emails anyways. Because I am insane. Your inboxes love it.
Beth: I'm still flipping out about that Miami game. Any team that would lose
to the Miami Dolphins is probably not one that could beat the Steelers in an AFC Championship Game in which they do not have homefield advantage.
Mer: Hey ladies.
I've been in Boise the last week, and football watching time has been at a minimum. But yesterday I found myself with a ticket to the MPC Bowl game between Virginia and Fresno State on the Smurf Turf. Normally this would excite me about as much as an enema (I despise college football and couldn't care less about either of these teams), but our seats were amazing and the tickets were free - so going to the game was a no brainer.
Our seats were 23 rows up on the 50 yard line. The game started with a quick touchdown for each team, leaving Chris and I to assume that neither team boasted a very impressive defense. Their defenses eventually got it together, and that combined with a mismanaged offense and a few terrible calls left for a pretty long and uneventful game.
Until the very end.
At one point, Virginia led by a score of 21-7 and were controlling every aspect of the game. And then Fresno State tied the game at 28 with 11 seconds left in the 4th quarter. It hadn't seemed possible, but sure enough - we were headed to Overtime. There are loads of things I can say I hate about college football, but one thing they get right is Overtime. On the first possession, Virginia kicked a field goal. It was all in Fresno State's hands. Sure enough, in front of what ened up being a home crowd, they scored a touchdown on the very first down, giving them an upset win.
My first Bowl Game, and a very exciting one. I think I'll quit when I'm ahead.
As for my Eagles, I can't complain about their loss. They sat Westbrook and McNabb which makes me a happy girl. Sadly, their loss almost guarantees I will not win any money in my football pool.
Eh, I'll take a healthy team over a couple bucks.
I mean, a semi-healthy team.
Nope. not bitter. Not at all.
Beth:Me either...but every time I think about Richard Seymour's injury (and
the prognosis of 2-6 weeks) I feel like vomiting.
Sam: Hey hey. At least both your teams will be in the playoffs. Granted, the Pats being in makes me pretty happy, but I had SUCH high hopes for the Lions this year, and now... well. Hngh.
HOWEVER. May I bring to your attention JAN 1, 4:30 PM, ABC. IT IS THE ROSE BOWL. IT IS MICHIGAN VERSUS TEXAS. Texas is generally being picked to win, which doesn't make me feel very good, but you never know. You never know. Anything can happen in college ball, much more so than in the pros.
Mer: For the record, I still would put money on the pats winning the Super Bowl. But that's just me.
Go Michigan. I couldn't care less about college football, but living in Texas has prompted me to cheer for whoever is playing Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, or any of the other lame Texas area schools that are cult-like around here. It's frightening, really. I've never been a school spirit kind of girl.
Beth Well, girls. How do we feel now that the regular season is wrapped up?
Mer: I know I'll be alone in this opinion, but here I go anyway...
How do I feel now that the regular NFL season is history? I couldn't be happier.
This is the first time I can remember thinking, at the start of the playoffs, that I just don't care how everything unfolds. I blame the dullness of this current NFL season (or at least, my perceived dullness - we don't have to debate that again), another guaranteed playoff failure for my team, and my recent failure to become excited about anything other than the 2004 and 2005 Boston Red Sox.
Beth, you have all the reason in the world to care. No matter how boring the NFL was this year, your team may very well win another Super Bowl. Sam, you cheer for the Pats as well. I'm trying to be excited, but it's not working. Sure, the Eagles very well may battle their way to a Super Bowl (though there's a great chance they'll get upset early in the playoffs). But do I really think they'll win the whole damn thing? No. I don't think I'm being pessimistic or anything - I just think I'm being a realist. The Pats. The Steelers. Hell, the Colts. They are all playing better football than the Eagles right now. The AFC playoffs will be very exciting, and I'll definitely watch those three teams battle it out. But do I care who wins? Not at all.
Is it April yet?
Sam: On the one hand, I'm glad that the postseason is here. There's suddenly a much more reasonable number of games for me to follow each weekend, and I get to see the Pats at work.
On the other hand, I'm sad. The Lions showed SUCH promise going into this year... Joey finally had weapons to work with in Roy Williams and Charles Rogers, and the running game looked to get a shot of power in Kevin Jones. Of course, these being the Lions, Rogers had to go and rebreak his collar bone, Williams was in and out with injuries, and Jones only started opening it up consistently at the end of the year. We also lost a lot of games that we could have had if it weren't for freakish occurrences. Painful as they are to watch on occasion (OK, most occasions), I'm going to miss them. It's never fun knowing that your team's season is over while others continue.
I have nothing to say about the Dolphins, really. Better luck next year, I guess. In the end they showed that they can be a dangerous team. I think that if they can get a better offensive line, AJ Feeley could really be the answer for them.
And, just for the record, I HATE Texas. I HATE Vince Young. I HATE THAT FUCKING HOOK 'EM HORNS HAND SIGNAL. Everyone's calling this Rose Bowl an 'instant classic', which is lovely, really, but I hate being on the short end of a fantastically close game. Fucking Texas.
Beth: I can understand your ennui, Mer, and at the risk of making you want to punch me, I feel it to an extent, too. I know the Pats' record is nothing to look down upon, but neither is the Eagles'--and you don't feel too optimistic about them for reasons that are perfectly valid. Personally, I think the Pats are not necessarily as strong a contender as they might seem from having watched them play these past few weeks.
First of all, they really threw me for a little while after that Miami game. I know, oh, heavens, they *lost a game!!* but it wasn't the fact that they lost as the way that they lost and who they lost to that continues to bug the shit out of me and make me a little shakier when it comes to the playoffs. I mean...what has gotten us through is Tom Brady having that kind of magic about him, the way he always makes the play, always leads the drive, always gets the crucial score. Not just most of the time. ALWAYS. Aggravating as it was that they'd even let a pathetic, bottom-feeding team like Miami into the game, Brady was given the ball with an 11-point lead and a little less than four minutes remaining.
He blew it. Twice. Two times. Not just him, but our vaunted defense absolutely blew it.
Okay. Now we're down a point. Field goal wins it, 1:30 on the clock, Tommy gets handed the ball.
He's been in this exact position twice in the Super Bowl, and twice he has led the drive. Twice he's gotten the score, made the play. This time, not only did he fail to score, fail to win, but he threw an interception.
I mean, I'd really like to see a more "twilight zone" moment than the (then) 13-1 Patriots losing to the (then) 2-11 Dolphins. By one effing point. When Tom Brady was given the ball with 1:30 and a field goal could win it. It makes me feel like things are different this year, maybe, that Brady doesn't have the luck of the Irish behind him as much?
Or maybe it's the fact that, twice now, the Patriots have played atrociously against terrible, pathetic teams like Miami and San Francisco (and don't tell me the "any given Sunday" thing--this was completely uncalled for). Yesterday I was there, in person, when the Patriots got the ball three times in the first quarter against San Francisco and THREE TIMES threw it away--fumble, another fucking interception, punt. Then, San Francisco--the horrible San Francisco, the deplorable San Francisco, the disgraced San Francisco--scored first. And not just a field goal. A touchdown. It was 7-0 going into the second quarter, and fucking tied at seven for a completely nonsensical amount of time. The starters remained in for three quarters of a meaningless late-season game. Something is very wrong about that.
Meanwhile, the Steelers beat Buffalo handily, dashing their playoff hopes, while starting just their backups.
The Pats are going to have to be freaking PERFECT to beat the Steelers. Not just good, not just as good as they are, but absolutely the best they have ever, ever, EVER been. Not one mistake. They wouldn't have been able to get away with that first quarter yesterday against Miami, for fuck's sake, and now we're supposed to beat the
Steelers playing like that?
14-2 is a great record. 14-2 for back to back seasons is fabulous, and I wouldn't turn it down. But I think I'm only being realistic when I say that when you're 14-2, if someone else is 15-1, it still may just not be good enough.
Also, there are only three teams in history that have won back-to-back Super Bowls. I'm starting to see why.
Mer: I'll tell you what. I still wouldn't be surprised if the Pats won the SuperBowl. But last week, I stated that if the Steelers won their last game of the regular season playing only backups, I would pick them to win the SB.
I wasn't lying. That was impressive, no matter how poorly Buffalo played.
And I have to take back what I said before. I DO have one interest in one thing come playoff time...
I can't wait to see how badly Peyton Manning chokes.
Sam: Ha ha, YES! A Peyton Manning choke would make everything OK. I would love to see his weirdly distorted facial features crumpling up in barely-restrained anguish, while the announcers prattle happily on about how the Patriots are totally 'in his head'. If this makes me Yankee-fan-like, so be it. I think the whole Lions business more than makes up for it.
Beth: Seeing PM getting beaten is sweet. Seeing Mike Vanderjagt sent home
crying to his Momma like on Opening Day would be even sweeter.
Sam: As a quick note, the Lions signed Shaun Rogers to a 6 year, $46 million contract with a $15 million signing bonus, making him the highest-paid defensive tackle in the NFL. I like it. He should be the hightest-paid DT, since he's the best DT in the league. Big Baby's gonna be back for the Lions!
Exciting as that is, the football hot stove just can't compare in sheer drama with the baseball hot stove. At least, not insofar as I follow them.