Monday, January 9, 2012

NFL Playoffs -- Wildcard Week

It's no secret that I'm a Steelers fan, and in general, a fan of all things Pittsburgh and Sports. This city is an interesting place the day after a Steelers loss. I generally think that the city of Pittsburgh is WAY too in love with itself. We're constantly proud of perceived accomplishments, while perpetually sensitive to weaknesses and slights. Above all, we're dominated by an unending inferiority complex. We're not as big as Philadelphia, convinced that we're better than anything in Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, and. . . my goodness. . . Maryland. No part of Pittsburgh is more representative of this state of mind than our beloved Pittsburgh Steelers.

So days like today; a day after the Steelers were completely embarrassed by a quarterback on par with Mark Sanchez, a day after they failed to cash in two early redzone opportunities, a day after their #1 pass defense gave up 316 passing yards including a "ripping the heart from the fans chest" 80 yard bomb on the first play in overtime, a day after they ended their season on a loss in the postseason, are difficult to swallow.

But, that's exactly what we have to do.

The Broncos will play New England next weekend.

Some words about Tim Tebow, as this is a Christian blog:

  1. I'm happy for the guy. He played his tail off and deserved to win. Good for him
  2. I like the guy. How could I not like a missionary homeschooled kid who plays the game with class, poise, and a ton of heart, gives a tremendous amount of his money to those in need, and afterward points everyone to the God who gave him that talent to begin with? I praise God for men like Tim Tebow. Others, including other "Christian" athletes, ought to take notes.
  3. I don't think he's a very good QB. His throws are often wounded ducks. His footwork is completely wrong. He has the longest release I've ever seen. None of this is to say that he can't be effective. He can and has been effective. But, let's not put him on par with the Manning, Marino, etc. just yet.
  4. I'm cheering for him the rest of the way.

As for my beloved Steelers. . . well. . .

  • I didn't think they should have played Ben as he was CLEARLY not healthy. I love Ben as a QB and he showed me that I was wrong. Nonetheless, the injury effected the game.
  • Ike Taylor played terribly. Still one of the best CB's in the game. I hope he has a monster season next year and I'm not going to blame the game on him.

Ok, before I make my next point, I want to make it clear that the Steelers would have lost this game without any refs at all but. . .

  • SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE DONE ABOUT OFFICIATING IN THE NFL. Terrible calls were made on both sides of the ball in favor of both teams. I mean, for goodness sake, James Harrison should simply retire rather than be subjected to another season of being completely trashed by the refs. He is held on EVERY. SINGLE. PLAY. It is absolutely amazing that he ever gets to make any play at all. And when I say "held", I don't mean borderline calls. I'm talking being dragged down to the ground with a handful of his jersey, or wrapping your arms around his neck and pulling him down. It's ridiculous. It has to stop. And God forbid he ever touch a player with the ball. He pushed Tebow down yesterday AS (not after) he released the ball for a pass. They throw a flag. It's absurd and it takes away from one of the best games in the world.
  • The Steelers are way over the cap coming into next year. They also will draft later in the middle part of the draft. Interesting. It's going to be fun to watch how the best front office in football handles themselves.

(Let me digress for moment. . .

All in all, I'm settling in for a LONG sports season. The Pens are basically done. They have almost 15 top guys on the injury list, many are going to stay there for a while. They can't score and can't move the puck. They'll make the playoffs (because that's not a real acomplishment in the NHL) but won't go anywhere. Pitt is having a terrible year. The Pirates are frustrating. They signed Erik Bedard which is nice, but it doesn't put them over the top. Pedro Alverez is going to have to have a rebound career year and a lot of things are going to have to break for the Bucs to have any chance at a winning season. Not the playoffs, a winning season. That's where we're at for them. Good grief.)

Back to football:

  • The Texans beat the Bengals. The Bengals are going to be an up and coming team in the NFL, but they will never be more than a wildcard team as long as Marvin Lewis is their coach. The guy is terrible. He had no plan for the noise at Reliant Stadium, wasted his timeouts and challenges, and just plain didn't pay attention to the Texans pass rush. Of course the Texans have Arian Foster and that's almost unfair. Texans get the Ravens next weekend.

  • The Saints beat the Lions. Another terribly officiated game but even so, the Saints would have won. They're my pick to win the Super Bowl. Drew Brees is amazing. They play the 49ers next week.

  • The Falcons proved they were the worst of the playoff teams by not even showing up against the Giants. The Giants are sneaky good and will surprise the Packers next week with a competitive game. Unfortunately, at this point the Giants are playing guys who won stadium contests in their secondary and the Packers have a the best QB of this generation throwing to a top 5 receiving core.

By the way, 'Bama beats LSU tonight. . . just got a feeling.

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