Thursday, January 16, 2014
Behind The Scoreboard
It would be entirely appropriate to paraphrase an aspect of Thomas Macaulay’s “Horatius At The Bridge” to describe the aftermath of Wildcard Week in the NFL.
Both of the conferences had sent up their tale of men. Out of the American came the New England Patriots of the East; Indianapolis Colts of the South; Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers from the West. The North’s candidate (Cincinnati), a Division clincher, had been kicked out by the Chargers.
Survivors from the National were the Carolina Panthers of the South; Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers from the West and New Orleans Saints, also from the South. Not unlike the Bengals, the North’s representative (Green Bay) was knocked out by the 49ers.
There were eight teams left to be combatants in Divisional Weekend, the prelude to the AFC and NFC Championships. The Seahawks versus New Orleans and Patriots against Colts were set for January 11 and it was clear that all were looking for tickets to the game identified by the funny (Roman) numerals XLVIII. Both of these contests were exciting and chock-full of hard hitting. These coaches were not looking for finesse. Commentators used the old standard terms of “smash mouth” and “hardnosed” football to describe the play.
Most oddsmakers gave the Saints little or no chance to escape the Emerald City with all of their hair. The Seahawks’ diehards call themselves the “12th man,” denoting the fan support which they try to impart to their team on game day. If rumors are true, some quarterbacks have shelled out some bucks to equip their teammates with special earplugs to downgrade the cacophonous din. Wonder what the Seahawks wear? You know how it went, Seattle went on and New Orleans went home.
Did any of us really think the Colts had that much of a chance in a shootout with New England?
Cam Newton and the Panthers took a lot of swagger into the game with San Francisco. But this was a first start for Cam and trying to stop a juggernaut which is a veritable veteran of these playoff wars takes some doing. He has my utmost admiration. Actually, his whole team does.
I am trying to contain all the emotions while waiting for the AFC game between Peyton Manning and the Broncos with Tom Brady and the Patriots. What? Me worry because the Broncos had to get past the Chargers? I had no doubt; however, I was a bit disappointed when a media person asked Peyton just what he was thinking of and the QB answered, “Getting my hands on a Bud.” I was hoping he would say “Kool-Aid.”
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