New storylines emerge every week. Some are reasonable, most are not. "The Week in Overreactions" focuses on the latter. Those items that offer a cursory "How do you do?" as they blow past reality straight for THIS IS THE MOST AMAZING THING EVER! We're here to keep everything in perspective. Questions, comments, casserole ideas? Hit us up on Twitter at @ryanwilson_07.
'Inclement weather makes for terrible football'
This has been a talking point for some time now, exacerbated by the fact that this season's Super Bowl will take place at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. The criticism usually goes something like this: "The game becomes sloppy, unfair, low-scoring, unwatchable and very, very unpleasant for folks who forked over their hard-earned dollars to view the spectacle and pageantry of a Super Bowl in person."
The reality boils down to the last part of the previous sentence -- that fans don't want to deal with the elements, they just want to watch the game in the comfy, climate-controlled environs of a domed stadium. And perhaps that holds for some of them, but we're guessing they're a vocal minority. If not before Sunday's slate of games, then certainly after it.
Of the nine early matchups in Week 14, eight were played in conditions that ranged from freezing to snowstorms. All were exciting, high scoring and save the Chiefs' beatdown of the Redskins, close heading into the fourth quarter. And isn't that exactly what we want in a Super Bowl?
The snow didn't hamper the experience, it amplified it.
Seriously, HOW CAN YOU NOT LOVE THIS!?
Or this, this and this?
And even a little of this (hey, if the football resembles what we saw Sunday, it'll be worth it):
As for the contention that the weather affects the players, here's how former Steelers running back and current ESPN NFL analyst Merril Hoge explained it Monday.
"Having played in some conditions like we saw [Sunday], the first thing I've always believed is that you have to embrace it," Hoge said on NFL Primetime. "I'm watching LeSean McCoy and what was impressive watching him is that he never got his feet outside his pads.
"Even though he's a dynamic cutter, he stayed over his feet and was able to make good cuts when everybody else got out of position. And he didn't try to do anything too fancy when he got into the open field, he kept his feet under his shoulder pads and he obviously adapted and embraced the conditions."
So please stop whining about the weather. It's 2013. Advances in cold-weather gear can have you sweating in your frozen-solid plastic stadium seat. Or you can just deal with it like people have been doing for decades.
And if your argument is some form of, "But this is THE MOST IMPORTANT GAME OF THE YEAR, it shouldn't be decided by weather I don't like," we would point out that every season, some pretty important playoff games take place in freezing weather.
Did you see Tom Coughlin bellyaching about his face freezing off after the Giants beat the Packers in the NFC Championship Game back in January 2008? No? Us either.
So if you have designs on going to the Super Bowl but don't like cold weather, he's a pro tip: Stay home. It'll be much easier to tweet your complaints with unfrozen fingers.
And this isn't solely a message to fans. We're also talking to the media, a notoriously fickle bunch that has been known to grouse if the air conditioning in the press box requires a jacket and the free food isn't easily accessible.
(And this isn't about the tailgaiting ban or the transportation restrictions. We didn't see tailgaiting in Indianapolis or New Orleans in the past two Super Bowls, and the no limos and taxis rule is to keep the area around MetLife Stadium from becoming an even bigger parking lot. We get that and don't have a probelm with it, though we imagine high-rollers not used to taking public transportation will feel differently. And let's be honest, Roger Goodell ain't riding the bus to the Super Bowl.)
Put another way: This isn't about you. If you go into the game understanding that -- and with a winter coat (need suggestions? You're welcome) -- you might actually enjoy yourself.
Peyton Manning, cold-weather QB, part II
Last week in this space we looked at how Peyton Manning actually performed in cold weather. The talking heads had spent plenty of time weighing in with anecdotal evidence and the bottom line was always the same: Peyton is pretty bad when the temperature dips below 40 degrees.
Turns out, that's not true; Manning has been average in cold weather, which just seems bad when compared to how productive he usually is.
Well, after Sunday's performance against the Titans -- 397 passing yards, four touchdowns -- in temperatures that were in the teens at kickoff, the national narrative has done a 180. Now Manning is awesome in cold weather, as evidenced by the 51-28 thrashing he put on a hapless Tennessee team. And this is where we pump the brakes on that bandwagon.
Look, Manning is, without question, a first-ballot Hall of Famer and even at 37 still one of the NFL's best quarterbacks. But he whipped up on a defense that ranked 17th in the NFL (before Sunday's game). And it's not like Tennessee has the best cold-weather record, either. In their two previous games played in freezing conditions, the Titans were outscored 89-21 in losses to the Packers and Chiefs. And then there was that unforgettable 59-0 drubbing in the snow by the Patriots back in 2009.
Our point: Manning was impressive Sunday, but it's one cold-weather data point. Probably worth keeping that in mind.
Still, we love his comments after the game. "Whoever wrote that narrative [that I can't play in cold weather] can shove that where the sun don't shine," he said in that folksy, Andy Griffith way you can't not appreciate.
'Steelers were this close to winning!' (Updated)
We're referring to quite possibly the greatest play of the season ... if not for a few things, least of which was Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown stepping out of bounds at the 13-yard line as time expired Sunday on what would have been the game-winning touchdown play.
Except that even if Brown had managed to remain inbounds, all scoring plays are reviewed, and there's the little matter of Ben Roethlisberger's forward lateral (which is illegal) that sent Brown scurrying down the sidelines.
UPDATE, 6:00 p.m. ET: So, yeah. Turns out, the NFL has since announced that Roethlisberger's lateral was just that -- a lateral and legal. Which means that if Brown hadn't stepped out of bounds, the Steelers would have won.
Maybe the most interesting thing to come of this is that after my boss tweeted out the image above, 99 percent of the people who responded agreed that either a) it was a legal play or b) there wouldn't have been enough evidence to overturn the ruling on the field.
Frankly, we were stunned, mostly because had Brown remained inbounds and the play had been ruled a touchdown, the conspiracy theory backlash might have broken Twitter.
(Here's what we originally wrote, before the league ruled it a legal play: "And while that would have been great for Pittsburgh's ever-dwindling playoff hopes, it would have set off a crap storm, the likes of which we haven't seen since ... well, last week when coach Mike Tomlin tried to slow dance with Jacoby Jones.")
Of course, it doesn't matter; The Steelers lost and to paraphrase Casey Hampton, the season's a wrap.
Upside: The latest example that I was wrong about something, so there's that.