This is not the Super Bowl preview article, and I won’t be doing any Pro Bowl preview article either. I was thinking about doing a really mean one as a snarky joke, but I think creating a whole separate hyperlink to discuss why we shouldn’t discuss something is kind of silly. I do think it’s humorous that McDonalds is sponsoring the Pro Bowl this year, as both of those things make me want to drop a deuce.
AFC (2:00 PM CST)
I really didn’t want to see the New York Jets win that game. I don’t think that it would have been good for the league and if you don’t believe me look at Mark Sanchez’ playoff statistics: http://nfl.fanhouse.com/players/mark-sanchez/9269?selectedTab=splitStats I don’t have a whole lot to say about the Jets other than they are great fundamental football team, which doesn’t always end up being sexy on TV. Overall it was a really successful season and they made it two weeks longer into the playoffs than their division rivals in New England, so this may be a signal that the balance of power in the AFC East is shifting. Not rapidly, but definitely moving in the Jets’ favor. Gutsy coach in a town that likes gutsy coaching. (See Bill Parcells) Young QB that will have plenty of ground options to ensure that he will never have to throw the ball 45 times. A game plan that will also ensure that he won’t have to throw the ball 45 times. And to top it all off, an incredible defensive unit that can put it down as long as they aren’t on the field too much.
Indianapolis making it to the Super Bowl doesn’t surprise me one bit. I was really worried there for a while though. At 3:30 PM CST the Super Bowl was shaping up to be awfully boring. But as always, Uncle Peyton came back and brought the house down. What an interesting year for the Colts. They lose their Hall of Fame head coach, start two rookie receivers and almost go through the whole season undefeated had Coach Caldwell not decided to pull the plug in Week 15. Then they do just enough to scrape by in their two playoffs games, and additionally don’t end up having to play the Chargers, Steelers, or Patriots who they’ve had problems with in past postseasons. I’m not saying they had it easy, because the NFL never makes the Colts’ schedule easy, but everything definitely lined up in a way that allowed them to just knock down the pins.
NFC (5:40 PM CST)
The Vikings are about exactly what they were made out to be, a team with several young offensive weapons and a first ballot Hall of Fame quarterback that was about one possession away from the Super Bowl. It’s nearly impossible to turn the ball over five times in a conference championship and win, and the Vikings almost did it. They had three more fumbles that were retrieved, but that’s an awful lot of times to put the football on the ground in a game like that. Inability to protect an aging quarterback ended up having some sort of effect if Favre’s press conference was any indication. Retired or not, I hope he remains healthy because what happened to him tonight could end up being the difference between becoming a vegetable and not becoming one. He got hit from every angle tonight. All in all, a sloppily played game and an abrupt end to a good season from a classy organization. The Minnesota Vikings will be back, but with who at the helm? The suspense is giving me blisters already. Not really though.
The New Orleans Saints proved that sometimes you can win ugly and still look dominant. Just when it seemed that they couldn’t convert a third down situation to save their lives they end up running into a team that couldn’t hang on to the football to save theirs. Brees didn’t even throw for 200 yards, but still had three touchdowns and a Super Bowl visit to show for it. They got a couple of calls thrown their way at the end, and even though you hate to see a game end under those circumstances I think they were probably the better team. They’re going to need to step up the pass coverage in two weeks otherwise they are going to get eaten alive. Lot of solid defensive play tonight from Jonathan Vilma. The Saints dropped a couple of sure interceptions (which they won’t be able to afford to do against the Colts) and the secondary did not play to the level that they are capable of playing. Hard to the core as always, not a dirty team but a gritty one. Congrats on their first SB appearance, and may it not be the last.
Today proved that sloppy football is still exciting football, and it doesn’t always have to be a team from a major market to draw interest in a professional football team. Indy and New Orleans both have rabid fan bases and that game is going to get high ratings. Big props to the Saints front office for making the moves to finally get themselves there as well. Should be a lot of good times to be had in the Bayou.
It was a pretty wild year and hopefully it will continue to be entertaining in the last game. Super Bowl related article forthcoming.