Thursday, January 23, 2014
Behind The Scoreboard
Looks like Manning’s year
The conference championship games were played back to back on Sunday afternoon and evening with the AFC taking center stage first, airing on CBS and online (naturally). The NFC followed about three and half hours later on FOX. Not trying to slight other players in these important games, but all season long we have been hearing that this is the “year of the quarterback.”
And that estimation is not far from the truth. The two signal callers in the AFC game were heavyweights of the highest caliber. Admittedly, the Pats’ Brady has a couple more SB jewels than Denver’s Manning but none are after 2004. Giving the Patriots credit for their comeback win over the Broncos this season (I think it was on November 24), all experts agree that Manning has been awesome. But one has to bring numbers into the equation. The digits favored Brady, who had won 10 of the 14 previous meetings of the two field generals.
The coaches also figure into this. If the Pats had won, Bill Belichick would have tied Don Shula with the most AFC championships (eight). But, alas, it was not to be. After the Broncs punted once, Manning literally picked apart the Pats’ defense and put the horses into position to gallop into SB XLVIII.
Two more quarterbacks squared off in the second SB team-determining game, not quite heavyweights but no featherweights either. Just one or two years removed from the ingénue level, Colin Kaepernick (49ers) and Russell Wilson (Seahawks) were both hungry as hyenas to get into the biggest of games.
The Seahawks’ playground is the noisiest in the entire NFL. The decibel level reached 105-107 and that was before the kickoff. The stadium holds the record for the highest level at 167.7. Is the “12th man’s” impact really what lost the game for the 49ers?
From my chair, there was some loose play and some bad decisions and “shoddy” calls from the officials (I stop short of saying “sloppy”). I am not (and never have been) a 49ers fan but they could have won the game.
Will the 23-17 Seahawks’ victory have enough power to boost their stock into a winning chip on February 2? I say doubtful and I am still glued to the premise that this is Manning’s year.
I applaud Seattle for achieving a second appearance in the SB – not an easy feat for any team.
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