Chuck Pagano is the new defensive coordinator for the Ravens. He's going to be a head coach eventually.
Mike Singletary will do well with the Vikings. It's a perfect place for him and his approach to the game. Doubt if he ever gets another head coaching job.
Apparently Tom Cable's firing is the culmination of a long standing rift between he and Al Davis. We're all shocked. Davis levied fines against Cable over lawsuits from alleged assaults against Cable's former girlfriend and assistant coach. I'm sure he will do his job well and help seattle improve their offensive line. If not, he can always kick their ass.
Roger Goodell reminds me of a politician. Posturing and fuming publicly for progress to be made in nfl labor negotiations, while the owners pull the strings.
The owners are going to get $4 billion this season from network tv contracts whether football is played or not. That's $125 million per franchise. The owners have the upper hand and the football union doesn't have a reputation of being formidable.
Heard this week that the ravens would consider the services of Plaxico Burress. I thought the Ravens already had free agent wide receivers that make a ton of cash and drop passes in critical situations. How about drafting one and developing him?
Josh McDaniels is the new offensive coordinator of the Rams. There is no doubt he can coordinate an elite offense. I expect Bradford and McDaniels to have plenty of success. Get some better receivers and the sky is the limit.
It's difficult to not root for Mike Tomlin. Not the Steelers necessarily, but Tomlin. His ascent to where his is now with a storied franchise like the Steelers is a great story. He's straight forward and doesn't have to make a fool of himself at the podium for his team to go out on the field and win games.
The Patriots have lost three straight playoff games. Proving what will never change in the NFL. Defense plays heavy in winning championships. I saw a lot of fans this season that thought they were posting something revolutionary by dimissing defense. Blinded by the anamoly that was the New Orleans Saints. The Patriot defense didn't play all that bad versus the Jets. However, the Jets defense played excellent versus the Patriots.
Concerns this week voiced by many players about the playing surface at Soldier Field is one of the reasons football is some ways is dying a slow, slow death. Gone are the days that a sloppy field added that little bit of extra character to the war of attrition we take in on Autumn and Winter Sundays. These days, pristine playing surfaces on our high definition tv's is typically what network television is most concerned with. Sloppy fields have now become sports radio fodder. It's beyond comprehension to me, that football fans actually find the time to complain about a muddy gridiron on a radio talk show. Obviously newer fans that probably wouldn't recognize football in it's true state.
It's find it fitting and actually refreshing that this week's two conference championship games are going to be played on what many consider the two worst fields in the entire NFL. The second most storied football stadium in America will be center stage. Actual grass and mud will be lodged in the facemasks of those that are lucky enough to meet mother earth head on and not crushed tires with a little black trail on a shiny green surface.
It's nearly perfect. Three of the remaining four teams in this years playoffs are old school NFL teams and two of those three have the most championships in the league as well. Green Bay has twelve, Chicago nine. Pittsburgh boasts six, which is one less than the New York Giants and two less than the Cleveland Browns. and yes, those championships count before the Super Bowl era began. The Packers, Bears and Steelers have combined for 256 seasons in the NFL. The Jets, as we all know were originally the New York Titans. Formed in 1960, the inaugural season of the AFL. That's 306 seasons of pro football legacy. This Sunday would only be perfectly perfect if the NFC title game were being played in the most storied stadium in not just football, but all of America. Lambeau Field. As it were, Soldier Field in the second city will suit me just fine.
names like Lambeau, Lombardi, Halas, Noll, Starr, Greene, Franco, Butkus, Sayers, Nitschke, Maynard, Namath, Lambert, Bradshaw, Blount, Hornung, Peyton, Singletary, Dowler, Taylor, Nagurski and on down the row. These are the names of a bygone era that fans should remember, whether you watched them play or not.
As a Bucs fan, watching old division foes like Green Bay and Chicago will make for an interesting and entertaining Sunday. Even though the old Central Division foes used the Buccaneers as a doormat for two decades, most of us still feel stronger ties to that division, rather than the lack luster of the current division. Two dome teams that were themselves used as doormats in the old western division along with the laughable history of the Carolina Panthers. If you're a fan of the game of football, it's difficult not to give respect to these franchises that are the cornerstones of the league. The Packers original name was Acme Packers and the Bears original name was the Decatur Staleys. George Halas purchased the team's rights for a mere $100.
The Bears and Packers have met 180 times in the regular season. Obviously, the longest grudge match in NFL history and will probably always be the longest in terms of games played. The longest rivalry between franchises actually belongs to the Chicago Bears and the Cardinals franchise, which is the only two remaining franchises from the NFL's inception. The Bears have the advantage with ninety-two victories to the Packers eighty-two and there have been six ties. Only once have these two teams met in the post season, which seems almost impossible. Both teams finished tied at 10-1 in the regular season, which lead to the first divisional playoff game in the NFL. The Bears defeated the Packers 33-14 at Wrigley Field, seven days after The Japanese Empire attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941. The Bears went on to defeat the New York Giants 37-9 in the NFL Championship Game.
This will be the Steelers fifteenth conference championship appearance and eleventh as host. They are 7-7 in Conference championship Games. all since 1972.
The Steelers have played the Jets only once in the playoffs. a 23-20 overtime victory in Pittsburgh on January 15th, 2005. Coincidentally, the Jets two touchdowns came from a punt returned for a touchdown and an 86 yard interception return for a touchdown. Two plays that will almost always lead to victory in playoff games. This will be the Jets fifth Conference Championship Game and second consecutive. They carry a 1-4 record in those games.
It's rare that a team is held under fifty yards rushing in a playoff game. Only 78 playoff games in the Super Bowl era has this happened and three of them were this past weekend. The Seahawks, Falcons and Ravens were all held under fifty yards. I see a dead bird trend there. The Buccaneers can lay claim to two of those games as well. Holding the Redskins to 46 yards in January of 2000 and the Eagles to 48 yards in December of 1979. Only ten teams have won a playoff game while rushing for fifty yards or less and the 2000 St. Louis Rams have the lowest rushing total of 31 yards and were victorious. The Rams beat the Vikings 49-37 in January of 2000.
This is the best weekend in pro football. Enjoy it.