I don't usually start things off with winners and losers here, but there were so many winners and losers on Sunday that I'm giving you a bonus winners and losers list (And just in case you're wondering, I do not get paid extra every time I mention the word "winners" or "losers" although it might seem like it based on that first paragraph).
The two biggest winners from Sunday were definitely:
1. CBS. It's Patrick Mahomes vs. Tom Brady in the Super Bowl and the Super Bowl is on CBS. I have a feeling there are going to be a lot of people watching this game, even if half of them are hate-watching Brady.
2. Tony Romo. Back on Nov. 29, Romo predicted that the the Chiefs and Buccaneers would meet in the Super Bowl. The thing that makes Romo's prediction so crazy is that Tampa Bay was 7-5 at the time and they didn't seem like a team that would get anywhere near the Super Bowl. To see a clip of Romo's prediction, be sure to click here.
I know what you're thinking and no, I didn't just list those two as the winners because I work here, but I'll admit that it didn't hurt.
As for the losers, I was going to put Matt LaFleur, but let's go with Bill Belichick, because LaFleur made our actual loser list below. As for Belichick, I hope he enjoys watching Brady in the Super Bowl.
Alright, we've got a lot to cover today, so let's get to the rundown. As always, here's your daily reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the newsletter. All you have to do is click here and then share the link.
SUPER BOWL LV COUNTDOWN CLOCK: 13 days until the big game.
1. Today's Show: Conference title game winners and losers
It's Monday, which can only mean one thing: I stayed up until 3 a.m. last night recording a podcast with Will Brinson and Ryan Wilson and this one was extra special, because not only did we podcast, but we also went live on YouTube, Periscope and Twitch during the fourth quarter of the Chiefs-Bills game so everyone could witness Brinson melting down in real time as he watched his bet on the second-half Under blow up in his face and let me just tell you that here is nothing quite like watching a bet blow up in Brinson's face.
One thing we do every week is hand out our weekly winners and losers from Sunday's action. For our winners this week, Wilson went with two former Steelers players while Brinson and I went with the two winning quarterbacks from Sunday.
- Winner: Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell. Usually, forcing your way off a team and sitting out an entire year doesn't work out in your favor, but somehow, it did work out for both Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell. The two former Steelers teammates will both be playing in the Super Bowl this year and since they're on opposite teams, one of them will definitely be finishing the season with a Super Bowl ring. What this clearly proves is that pouting and quitting on your team will always work out for you in the long run.
- Loser: Conservative play-callers. In news that won't surprise you, the two coaches who lost on Sunday had one big thing in common: They melted down on the big stage. Sean McDermott called for TWO field goals inside Kansas City's 10-yard line. You would think that McDermott knows that you're not going to beat the Chiefs by kicking field goals, but apparently, he was unaware of that fact. The other bad decision went to Matt LaFleur, which we'll cover in-depth later on.
- Winner: Tom Brady. Not only is he handsome, rich and married to a supermodel, but he also just made it to his 10th Super Bowl. Sometimes, life isn't fair, unless you're Tom Brady, then it always somehow ends up working out in your favor.
- Loser: People who sell folding tables in Buffalo. If the Bills had won on Sunday, everyone in Buffalo was ready to slam themselves through a folding table, but that win didn't come, which means the folding table vendors are going to lose out on a lot of sales.
- Winner: Patrick Mahomes. We spent all week talking about whether he would play in the AFC title game and then not only did he play, but he made a mockery of the Bills defense. Mahomes now becomes the first quarterback in NFL history to make the Super Bowl twice by age 25. Mahomes will also join Kurt Warner (1999, 2001), Tom Brady (2001, 2003), and Russell Wilson (2013, 2014) as the only quarterbacks to reach the Super Bowl twice in their first four seasons.
- Loser: Matt LaFleur. LaFleur had two options at the end of the game on Sunday: Let Aaron Rodgers go for it on fourth down or completely alienate his MVP quarterback by kicking a field goal. He chose the wrong option and it's what everyone is going to associate with his coaching career for the rest of time (unless he wins a Super Bowl some day, which probably isn't going to happen if he's making decisions like the one he made against Tampa Bay).
Not only did we list our winners and losers, but we also recapped both games from Sunday. If you want to listen -- and you definitely should -- you can click here.
2. Aaron Rodgers doesn't sound happy with the Packers
I've never coached an NFL team before, but let me just say that if I ever have an MVP quarterback and I'm trailing by eight points with less than 2:30 left to play in the most important game of the season and my two options are to give him the ball on fourth down or not give him the ball, I'M GIVING HIM THE BALL EVERY TIME.
In what is probably going to be the most dissected call of the offseason, Packers coach Matt LaFleur decided to kick a field goal on fourth-and-goal from the 8-yard line in a game his team was trailing 31-23 (the field goal cut it to 31-26).
The analytics will tell you that it wasn't a horrible decision to kick the field goal, but what the analytics don't take into account is how much your starting quarterback is going to hate you for taking the ball out of his hands in a key situation.
After the loss, Rodgers indirectly threw his coach under the bus when asked his thoughts about the field goal.
"I didn't have a decision on that one," Rodgers said. "That wasn't my decision. (I) understand the thinking -- above two minutes with all of our timeouts -- but, yeah, that wasn't my decision."
That answer might not sound horrible, but if you click here, you can watch Rodgers' body language and see that he clearly wasn't happy.
The worst part for the Packers is that Rodgers didn't sound too enthusiastic about returning in 2021. When asked about his future, he sounded like someone who was fed up with a team that tried to push him out by drafting his replacement in the first-round of the 2020 NFL draft.
"I don't know," Rodgers said when asked where he goes from here. "I really don't know. There's a lot of unknowns going into this offseason now. I'm gonna have to take some time away, for sure, and just clear my head and just kinda see what's going on with everything. It's pretty tough right now, especially thinking about the guys that may or may not be here next year. That makes the finality of it all kind of you hit you like a ton of bricks."
Rodgers sounds like a guy who's going to demand a few changes from the Packers this offseason. You could say that Rodgers is just bitter about the loss, but after losing the NFC title game to the 49ers last season, Rodgers sounded much more excited about his future in Green Bay.
"This one will always be special," Rodgers said of the season after losing 37-20 to the 49ers. "Because it became fun again."
In 2019, football became fun again. In 2020, Rodgers doesn't sound like he knows if he even wants to return. Basically, what this all means is that it's going to be an interesting offseason in Green Bay.
3. Buccaneers first team ever to host the Super Bowl, but it almost didn't happen
The Super Bowl has existed for 54 years and in that time, no team has ever gotten to play the game in their home stadium, but that's going to change in 13 days when the Buccaneers get to play Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
The crazy thing about the Buccaneers becoming the first team to play a home Super Bowl is that this actually wouldn't be happening if not for some record-setting rainfall that hit southern California back in early 2017. Super Bowl LV was originally supposed to he held in Los Angeles, but the NFL had to change its plans after the Los Angeles area got hit with a ton of rain in the winter of 2016/2017. Due to the rain, the opening of SoFi Stadium got pushed back a year from 2019 to 2020.
Under NFL rules, a new stadium can't host a Super Bowl until it's been open for two full regular seasons, meaning the earliest SoFi Stadium would be allowed to host the Super Bowl was February 2022. Due to that fact, the NFL's owners voted in May 2017 to pull the old switcheroo with the Super Bowl: They decided to move Super Bowl LV to Tampa and give Los Angeles Super Bowl LVI, which was originally supposed to be at Raymond James Stadium.
The switch definitely ended up working out well for the NFL, because if the Super Bowl had been held in Los Angeles this year, there's a good chance that the state of California wouldn't have allowed any fans to attend. Not only did the 49ers have to leave California for their final three home games, but the Rose Bowl also had to be moved outside the state due to the pandemic. With the game in Tampa, the attendance is expected to be 22,000.
4. Crazy facts from the conference title games
It's hard to keep track of all the records that were broken over the weekend, but the good news for you is that I know someone who knows someone who keeps track of this type of stuff. Even though there were only two games, there were still plenty of highlights, so let's take a look at some of the craziest nuggets from the conference title games.
- Aaron Rodgers is now tied for the most losses ever in the conference title round. At 1-4, Rodgers joins Ken Stabler (1-4), Donovan McNabb (1-4) and Tom Brady (10-4). Of course, one of those is not like the others (Brady is 9-1 in conference title games when not facing Peyton Manning).
- Aaron Rodgers threw six interceptions during the 2020 season and three of them came in the second quarter of a game against the Buccaneers (Two in the regular season and one in the postseason).
- By beating the Packers, Tom Brady now has as many wins in the NFC title game as Drew Brees, Donovan McNabb, Steve Young, and Aaron Rodgers, who all have one.
- Tom Brady is just the second quarterback in NFL history to win both an AFC title game and an NFC title game as a starting quarterback. Brady joins Craig Morton, who did it with the Cowboys and Broncos. Brady is also just the fourth quarterback ever to lead multiple teams to the Super Bowl, joining Morton, Kurt Warner and Peyton Manning.
- Tom Brady threw three touchdown passes against the Packers, giving him seven for the postseason. That's notable, because he now holds the Buccaneers' franchise record for most playoff touchdown passes. This is not just a single-season record, this is the career record. Reminder: This is Brady's first season with the team.
- Tyreek Hill's 172 receiving yards against the Bills set the Chiefs' franchise record for most receiving yards in a playoff game.
- Travis Kelce had his fifth postseason game with 100 or more receiving yards on Sunday night, which is the most by a tight end in NFL history. .
- Travis Kelce's 13 receptions was the most ever in a conference title game. It was also tied for the most ever by a tight end in a playoff game. Kelce tied former Chargers tight end Kellen Winslow Sr. (1981 Divisional) and former Broncos tight end Shannon Sharpe (1993 Wild Card).
- Josh Allen now has three postseason games with 250 or more passing yards and 50 or more rushing yards, which is an NFL record.
Hopefully you can use these facts to impress your friends this week.
5. Early odds for Super Bowl LV
When it comes to the Super Bowl, the oddsmakers definitely didn't waste any time releasing the point spread on Sunday. As a matter of fact, I'm 90% sure the first official point spread for Super Bowl LV came out at some point during the third quarter of the AFC title game when it became pretty clear that the Buffalo Bills weren't going to win. That was good news for me because instead of watching the Bills get blown out, I got to stare at the point spread for 45 minutes to try and decide how I'm going to bet this game. With that in mind, here are the early odds (If you want a deeper dive into the odds, be sure to click here).
Sunday, February 7
(5) Buccaneers vs. (1) Chiefs in Tampa, 6:30 p.m. ET (CBS)
Opening line: Chiefs, -3.5
Current line: Chiefs, -3
This game will mark Tom Brady's 10th Super Bowl appearance and for just the second time ever, his team is an underdog. The last time Brady was an underdog in the big game came all the way back in 2001 when the Rams were favored by 14 against the Patriots and I think we all know how that turned out (If you don't know how it turned out, the Patriots won 20-17). I hate betting against Brady and apparently, a lot of people feel the same way, because most of the early money has been on the Buccaneers, which pushed the spread down a half-point over the first 24 hours of betting.
6. NFL Draft order almost set: Top 30 picks are locked in
With the Bills and Packers now eliminated from the playoffs, that means they can start doing what the other 28 teams in the NFL have already started doing and that's planning for the draft. Although the Bills and Packers both finished 13-3 this year, Green Bay will get the higher pick because the tiebreaker is strength of schedule. In the playoffs, the team with the more difficult strength of schedule wins the tiebreaker, but in the draft, the team with the easier strength of schedule gets it and in this case, that's the Packers.
With that in mind, here is the official order for the top 30 spots:
1. Jaguars (1-15)
2. Jets (2-14)
3. Dolphins (4-12) (via Texans)
4. Falcons (4-12)
5. Bengals (4-11-1)
6. Eagles (4-11-1)
7. Lions (5-11)
8. Panthers (5-11)
9. Broncos (5-11)
10. Cowboys (6-10)
11. Giants (6-10)
12. 49ers (6-10)
13. Chargers (7-9)
14. Vikings (7-9)
15. Patriots (7-9)
16. Cardinals (8-8)
17. Raiders (8-8)
18. Dolphins (10-6)
19. Washington (7-9)
20. Bears (8-8)
21. Colts (11-5)
22. Titans (11-5)
23. Jets (via Seahawks)
24. Steelers (11-5)
25. Jaguars (via Rams)
26. Browns (11-5)
27. Ravens (11-5)
28. Saints (12-4)
29. Packers (13-3)
30. Bills (13-3)
The draft order will be officially set following Super Bowl LV with the winner picking 32nd and the loser picking 31st.
7. The Kicker!
I'm kind of sad that the Bills lost on Sunday, but that's only because I won't be able to watch Tyler Bass kick anymore this season. When it comes to the playoffs, rookie kickers are usually good at one thing and that's melting down. However, that wasn't the case for Bass, who was arguably the best player on the field for the Bills in the AFC title game.
In the loss to the Chiefs, Bass hit two field goals from 51 yards out, which was impressive for two reasons. First, it gave him the longest playoff field goal in the history of Arrowhead Stadium. Before Sunday, no kicker had ever hit a field goal longer than 50 yards and Bass did it TWICE. Those two kicks made him just the sixth player in NFL postseason history to make multiple field goals of 50 or more yards in a playoff game. Also, when you combine those two kicks with his 54-yarder against the Colts in the wild-card round, Bass became the first kicker in NFL HISTORY to make make three field goals of of 50 or more yards in a single postseason.
I also made some history over the weekend by eating 11 taquitos in one sitting. See you guys Tuesday!