Archive for the ‘ NFL ’ Category

The Tainted Rule

Today, the National Football League passed a rule that changes the overtime format of the NFL Playoffs, pretty much giving it a college style type of overtime.

Bad idea. Bad rule. Everything about this is just spells bad.

The reason: Sudden-death overtime is what made the NFL what it is today. How you ask?

Read up on the 1958 NFL Championship. The Greatest Game Ever Played. This was the first sudden-death overtime game in NFL history. Nobody even heard of the term overtime, as most NFL games ended in ties after regulation, but with a championship on the line, there had to be a winner. This created the sudden death overtime format, which was implemented in the regular season in 1974. It was simple. First team score wins. If you want the ball, play defense, and get the ball, and prevent the other team from scoring.

As the game has shifted into more of the offensive side, it has been clear that the NFL wants to give both teams a chance. After a 28-4 vote by owners, the NFL is going to do the college-style OT for the playoffs, with the possibility of implenting this rule in the regular season for 2011. It’s understood that the game changes, but the history shouldn’t. Fans and teams have complained that they don’t get a chance, but the simplicity of it is. First team to score wins the game. The team that does not win the toss has proven to win the game (as in Karlos Dansby’s GW TD against Green Bay in the 2009 NFC Wild Card game).

Sudden death is what made the NFL what it is today. The owners need a refresher on its history.

Advertisements

Super Bowl XLIV Recap

The last game of the NFL season was last night (due to the Pro Bowl being the week before the Super Bowl) and it was Super Bowl XLIV. The favorite, the Indianapolis Colts have been there, done that, and was looking for their second championship in four years. The New Orleans Saints, the underdogs, were looking to cap an unbelievable season with their first ever world championship. To the recap.

New Orleans 31, Indianapolis 17- The resiliency. The passion. The love affair between a city and its football team was in full force. After many years of failure, the Saints are on top of the world as champions. Drew Brees tied a Super Bowl record by going 32-39 for 288 yards, and threw two touchdowns, and the New Orleans Saints claimed their first ever NFL Championship by beating the Indianapolis Colts 31-17, setting off what will be a month long celebration for the city of New Orleans with the Super Bowl victory and Mardi Gras. The Saints took risks and made bold chances, and they would all pay off in the end.

But it wasn’t easy.

The Colts got off to a fast start in the first quarter. After a Matt Stover field goal made it 3-0, Peyton Manning, who went 31-45 for 333 yards with a touchdown and an interception (to be discussed later), and engineered a 96 yard drive that ended with a touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon to make it 10-0, giving Indianapolis two scores on its first two drives. The Saints would get on the board in the second quarter with two Garrett Hartley field goals to cut the lead to 10-6 at halftime.

Then Brees went to work in the second half, but it took a bold move for the momentum to shift.

Saints’ head coach Sean Payton called for an onside kick to start the second half and the gamble paid off. Thomas Morstead’s kick was recovered by Chris Reis, and that set up Brees’ first touchdown of the game, a 16 yard pass to Pierre Thomas to give New Orleans their first lead of the game, 13-10. Manning responded by leading a drive which resulted in Joseph Addai’s four yard touchdown run that put Indianapolis up 17-13. After a Hartley field goal (his third of the game) cut the lead to 17-16, the momentum swung in the Saints’ favor again when Matt Stover’s 51 yard field goal went wide left.

New Orleans would take the lead for good when Brees found Jeremy Shockey for a two yard touchdown pass, and followed up with a two point conversion to make it 24-17. With one last chance, Peyton Manning engineered a drive, but was picked off by Tracy Porter, who took it back 74 yards to seal the victory for the Saints and set off a wild celebration on Bourbon Street and Biscayne Blvd., with many fans shouting “Who Dat” in the streets of New Orleans and Miami.

For the Saints and Drew Brees, it has been a match made in heaven. Signing on with the team in 2006, he has been the emotional leader and rebuilding the relationship between the Saints and the city of New Orleans, a Super Bowl victory gives this city the pride that it richly deserves. This isn’t your grandfather or your father’s Saints, where they were affectionately known as the ‘Aints. This team has reached an elite status, and now with the elite status means they are going to be the hunted, and not be the hunters anymore.

For Manning and the Colts, they got outplayed and the heart of the Saints was much stronger. One thing that the Colts never did was be overconfident. They were rattled at the onside kick, and the debate on if Manning made a bad throw could be made, but it was simply a good read by Tracy Porter, and a lack of defense by Reggie Wayne as a receiver. Manning could have cemented his legacy, but the destiny was in favor of the Saints. Congratulations New Orleans, you are the 2009 NFL World Champions! Who Dat!

NFL Divisional Playoff Recap

The Divisional Playoffs are over with, and we are now into the final four. Super Bowl trips to Miami will be on the line, and it is clear that three of the top four teams in the NFL showed up, and one team has gone back to their roots and decided to crash the party.

Arizona 14, New Orleans 45- All this talk about the Saints faltering was just that… talk. The Saints put on a show in their first ever game as the top seed in the NFC, and the magical run continued with Drew Brees picking apart the Arizona defense much like Aaron Rodgers did with the Green Bay Packers. The only difference in this game: The Saints had a defense to compliment the offense, and behind Brees’ three touchdown passes, and two Reggie Bush touchdowns (one run, one punt return). The Cardinals, the defending NFC East champions, appeared to have set the tone early for a shootout, scoring on the opening drive to go up 7-0, but the Saints responded with 21 unanswered points, and eventually outscored Arizona 45-7 the rest of the way. Arizona set a new NFL record for most points allowed in two playoff games (90), and it could be the end of a career for Kurt Warner, who according to a source, was retiring after the playoffs, but Warner will take time to think his decision through. The Saints will host the NFC Championship game, but against who?

Ravens 3, Colts 20- Peyton Manning went 30-44, for 246 yards, with two touchdowns, and the Colts defense shut down the rushing game of Ray Rice and Willis McGahee and also forced four turnovers as well. Manning threw touchdown passes to Austin Collie and Reggie Wayne in the first half to cruise to a 17-3 halftime lead. The Ravens, whose only scoring came from a Billy Cundiff field goal, just could not get anything going, and a season removed from being a game from the Super Bowl, they get handed their eighth straight loss to Indianpolis, and with the Colts’ victory, Manning got his first win after a bye-week. He was 0-3 coming into the playoffs after a week of rest in his career.

Dallas 3, Minnesota 34- Brett Favre’s revival continues. The opportunity to play for a championship and a Super Bowl was what he wanted, and he had possibly the best game of his career in the postseason. Favre threw four touchdowns (three to Sidney Rice), and the Vikings defense sacked Dallas QB Tony Romo six times and forced him into three turnovers, and Minnesota punched a ticket to New Orleans to face the Saints for the NFC Championship. Favre went 15-24 for 234 yards, but created a stir among the Cowboys, with a late touchdown score. Dallas LB Keith Brooking took exception for that Minnesota was running up the score on his team. Expect a great game in the Duel at the Dome for a trip to the Super Bowl between the Vikings and Saints.

NY Jets 17, San Diego 14- The party crashers have arrived in the form of Gang Green. The New York Jets’ rookies came of age and are maturing in the two short weeks of the playoffs. Shonn Greene ran for 128 yards, including a 53 yard TD run that proved to be the difference, and created yet another San Diego jolt in the team’s recent run. This game reminded the Charger fans of the 14-2 season that led to Marty Schottenheimer’s firing. Philip Rivers threw for 298 yards on 27-40 passing, but he threw a costly interception which led to his counterpart, rookie Mark Sanchez to find Dustin Keller for a 3 yd pass to put New York up 10-7. Greene’s run put New York up 17-7. The Chargers scored on a Rivers’ QB sneak, but the Jets sealed the victory on 4th & 1 to move on and punch their ticket to Indianapolis.

Check back Saturday for the Conference Championhship picks and who will be going to Miami for Super Bowl XLIV.

Divisional Playoff Thoughts

Wild Card Weekend over, the Divisional Playoffs begin this weekend. The top teams in both conferences will take the field, and the usual question comes about: rest or rust? Let’s go straight to the games.

Cardinals/Saints- If there was any indication that this game would be like the highest scoring playoff game in NFL history yesterday, the advantage would definitely go to New Orleans. The Saints are an explosive offensive team, but three straight losses to close out the season is not really a good look. You could say the Carolina loss was b/c of reserves, but New Orleans did lose to Dallas and Tampa Bay. Arizona is the dark horse of the NFC, and they can definitely pull off the upset, and it was pretty much shown that they can match the Saints point for point, and there is no better time to do it then the playoffs. Anquan Boldin is a game-time decision, but Steve Breaston and Early Doucet did elevate their games, and the Cardinals have a stronger running game. The advantage goes to Arizona.

Ravens/Colts- These two teams met earlier in the season in Baltimore, with Indianapolis winning 17-15. One thing about the Ravens is that they have a great defense and a great running game. And with the playoff disappointments (except for 2006) that Peyton Manning has had over the years, you could say that the Ravens have the chance to win this game. The difference is that the Colts defense is underappreciated, and very efficient themselves. Also, despite the playoff failures, it is hard to go against Peyton Manning. The advantage definitely goes to Indy at the Big Oil Drum. If the Ravens win, it won’t be a surprise

Cowboys/Vikings- The Cowboys are the hottest and healthiest team in the playoffs. They are clicking on all cylinders. They proved that in two destructions of the Philadelphia Eagles in two weeks. But the Vikings are in the noisiest venues in the NFL. The Metrodome is going to be rocking, and Minnesota is 8-0 in 2009 at the Mall of America Field at the HHH Metrodome. The Vikings will win this game if Adrian Peterson takes care of the football, and Brett Favre continues his efficiency and mission to win a Super Bowl. Flozell Adams will definitely have his hands full with Jared Allen, and you can’t forget about that Williams’ Wall on the run defense. Advantage to Minnesota, but like the other games, it can go either way.

Jets/Chargers- The Jets defense against one of the best offenses in the NFL. The Chargers have won 11 in a row, but have experienced more playoff failures than the Colts, and the Jets who weren’t even supposed to be in the playoffs, let alone the divisional round are proving they belong. Mark Sanchez is home, so expect him to play with a lot of inspiration for his family, and he will manage the game. If Vincent Jackson can do what a lot of wide receivers could not do this season, and solve the problem of Darrelle Revis, the Chargers should pull it off. Either way San Diego has too many weapons on both sides of the ball for the Jets to handle. The Jets run should end.

So the final picks: Cardinals over Saints, Colts over Ravens, Vikings over Cowboys, and Chargers over Jets. Be back next Saturday for the Conference Championship previews. Until then, enjoy the games!

TSX Rapid News (1/14)

Welcome back to TSX Rapid News, lets go into the top stories for the Afternoon so far.

– The Kansas City Chiefs? or the Kansas City Patriots? Former Patriots assistant now turned Chiefs GM Scott Pioli has hired former Cleveland Browns head coach Romeo Crennel as the defensive coordinator for Kansas City. This came a couple days after Pioli hired former Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis as the team’s offensive coordinator, taking the role away from head coach Todd Haley. Pioli, Weis, and Crennel all worked with each other in New England during their dynasty years of 2001-2004. With a young team that showed promise late in the season, Kansas City is looking to be a force to be reckoned with in the next decade. All by doing it the “Patriot Way”.

– Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin will undergo season-ending surgery on his knee and will be out for four months. Griffin, the #1 overall pick in this year’s NBA draft, injured his knee in the final preseason game against the New Orleans Hornets. He was targeting to make his debut Jan. 20th, but now with this news of surgery he will not. He will be a rookie next year.

– Lane Kiffin was introduced as the head coach of University of Southern California on Wednesday. Kiffin, who took the job after Pete Carroll left USC for the Seattle Seahawks as their head coach/executive vice president, went only 7-6 after one season at the University of Tennessee. The Volunteers who were really on the rise with recruiting, have had several players de-commit from the school upon the news that Kiffin was leaving Knoxville. Students were not happy either, forming a riot and burning team merchandise in protest of Lane’s departure.

– New York Mets center fielder Carlos Beltran will undergo knee surgery and will miss the first few weeks of the season. The surgery however, was not cleared by the Mets, and after injuries ravaged them to a 70-92 season a year ago, this is the last thing they needed. The Mets did say that Beltran’s osteoarthritis has worsened, and that surgery was need to clean the affected area. At least they do have Jason Bay now.

Stay tuned this tonight (early tomorrow AM) for TSX Rapid News: Late Edition.

NFL Wild Card Weekend Recap

The Playoffs are here! And it is time to get into the nitty gritty. Starting out with Wild Card weekend. TSX gave you a preview of all the teams, and the picks turned out to be not bad at all. Some great games Sat., and a Wild finish to one on Sunday.

Saturday Night:

NY Jets 24, Cincinnati 14- Mark Sanchez didn’t have the best rookie season, he did not have the heralded praise that say, Matt Ryan or Joe Flacco had a year ago, but he came of age in the big stage. Sanchez went 12-15 for 182 yards with a touchdown, finishing with a QB rating of 139.4, and Gang Green’s rushing game took care of the rest. Rookie Shonn Greene ran for 135 yards on 21 carries with a touchdown, and Thomas Jones added another one, and the Jets got their first playoff win since 2004 by beating the Cincinnati Bengals for the second week in a row 24-14. Two good things happened for Cincinnati from their meeting at the Meadowlands last week. They ran the ball well, which was led by Cedric Benson, who ran for 169 yards (Bengals playoff record) and a 47 yard touchdown run (longest run in Bengals playoff history), and they also scored. Carson Palmer threw a touchdown pass to Laveranues Coles to put the Bengals up early. Chad Ochocinco, who was shut out last week by Darrelle Revis, was a non-factor again, with only two catches for 28 yards. The Bengals just never looked like the same team that dominated the AFC North after the passing of teammate Chris Henry. The Jets move on, and quite possibly can be a dark horse in the playoffs.

Philadelphia 14, Dallas 34- In another rematch from Week 17, the Dallas Cowboys did something that they havent done in 4,760 days: win a playoff game. Tony Romo went 23-35 for 244 yards, and threw a couple of touchdowns, Tashard Choice and Felix Jones ran for touchdowns, and for the second week in a row (and third time this season), the Dallas Cowboys destroyed the Philadelphia Eagles, sending the Eagles packing for the eighth time in the decade. Wade Phillips and Tony Romo finally got their wins in the playoffs, after Phillips was 0-4 as a head coach, and Romo was 0-2 as a starting quarterback. The Cowboys winning ways in December finally carry over in January, where the last win was in the 1996 NFC Wild Card round, and it took 13 years to just get a win, and the Dallas defense forced fumbles, and made things difficult for Donovan McNabb and Mike Vick. Both QBs did throw for touchdowns, but while Vick tied the game, McNabb’s came after the Eagles were down 34-7. The Cowboys look like the hottest team in the NFC right now, but they have to travel to the Metrodome to take on Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings. Sidenote: The Cowboys won the Super Bowl in Texas Stadium’s first year (1971), and Cowboys Stadium opened in 2009.

Sunday Afternoon:

Baltimore 33, New England 14- The team of the previous decade got dismantled in the first five minutes of the game. The Baltimore Ravens, who came in with the best win percentage on the road for any NFL team, went into Gillette Stadium (a place where New England has never lost in), and put up a 24-point first quarter led by Ray Rice’s two touchdowns, and the Ravens cruised to a 33-14 victory over the once-invincible Patriots. Rice finished the day with 22 carries for 159 yards, and the Ravens stifling defense forced New England into four turnovers, and forcing boos to reign over the team that was so dominant that it was widely assumed that they could not be beat in the playoffs. The Ravens proved that on Sunday that they can be stopped and executed the game plan to perfection. The Ravens will now travel to Indianapolis to face the four-time MVP Peyton Manning and the Colts, sending the New York Jets to San Diego to face the Chargers.

Green Bay 45, Arizona 51 (F/OT) The highest scoring game in NFL playoff history with two teams. A man on his last hurrah, against a man playing in his first playoff game. How does it end? On defense. Karlos Dansby returned an Aaron Rodgers fumble 17 yards for a touchdown and gave the Arizona Cardinals a dramatic 51-45 win over the Green Bay Packers. Kurt Warner, who, according to sources will retire after the playoffs, started his last hurrah by going 29-33 for 379 yards and five touchdowns, and Arizona jumped out to a 31-10 lead. The Packers bounced back and responded with Rodgers, bringing his team back to tie the game at 38. After trading points and a missed field goal by Neil Rackers, Rodgers and the Packers won the toss in overtime, and after a penalty, Michael Adams forced a fumble and the ball bounced off Rodgers’ foot, and into the hands of Dansby, sealing the win and setting off a wild celebration. No shame though in Rodgers’ performance, going 28-42 for 422 yards and 4 touchdowns, and he ran for one as well. The Cardinals now go to New Orleans, and with the way the Saints score points and this game, it could potentially be a shootout. Arizona is now 3-0 in postseason games at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Stay tuned to TSX for the Divisional Playoff Thoughts and Previews and Picks. Keep it locked here!

Wild Card Weekend Thoughts

The NFL Playoffs start Saturday when the New York Jets travel to the Jungle in Cincinnati to take on the Bengals, followed by part three of the 2009 chapter of the Eagles/Cowboys rivalry, which has been dominated by Dallas this season. The action continues Sunday when the Ravens take on the Patriots, followed by the Packers and the Cardinals.

Jets/Bengals- The Jets dominated the Bengals in their meeting a week ago, even when the Bengals first team was in the game for most of the first half, the Jets cruised, holding Carson Palmer to 1/11 passing for 0 yards. However, Bengals leading rusher Cedric Benson did not play, and that COULD make a difference. But the Jets have the #1 defense in the NFL, the #1 rushing attack in the NFL, and they have the right tools to win this game. However, this is the playoffs, and it is too hard to go against the Cincinnati Bengals. Cincinnati is a resilient bunch, and they will make this a game, and they will pull off the victory in a hard fought game. Bengals win.

Eagles/Cowboys- One thing in sports that should be put into consideration (just consideration). It is hard to beat a team three straight times in one year. The Eagles will not let the Cowboys beat them three straight times. There is too much pride in that team to let Dallas roll over them three straight times. However, if they want that to happen, they have to find a way to get DeSean Jackson going. In the two games this season, Jackson has been shut down, only having five catches for 76 yards in two games this season. Dallas dominated Philadelphia in the second game, and they have found the right chemistry at the right time, and it vaulted them from a road game to a home playoff game at Jerry’s Palace. With all the good things going their way, Dallas will win a much more competitive game and beat Philly for a third time.

Ravens/Patriots: The Ravens have the highest winning percentage on the road against teams in the playoffs (.714, 5-2 record). With the devastating injury to Wes Welker, the Ravens defense will force the Patriots running game, and secondary receivers to beat them. Joe Flacco has a year of playoff experience under his belt, and if the Ravens want to win, they need ball control, and they also need Mark Clayton to actually CATCH the ball if it’s thrown to him late in the game. New England is going to have to be disciplined in the run game to stop the two headed monster of Willis McGahee and Ray Rice, and although there won’t be no Hiram Eugene moments in this game, the Ravens will win this game, simply by wearing down the defense and take advantage of Welker’s absence.

Packers/Cardinals: Throw out the two games these two have played. The first game was a preseason game, and the second game, the Cardinals did not even play their starters the whole time due to Minnesota winning against the Giants. Green Bay wanted to show Arizona that they meant business regardless. Arizona is in a similar spot they were in last year regarding the run to the Super Bowl a year ago. The Packers think the Cardinals took them lightly last game, but it appears that after the dominant win, it could be the other way around. If Anquan Boldin can not go, Steve Breaston knows how to step up, and give Kurt Warner a good second option. Warner knows how to use all of his receivers and make things happen on offense. The Cards have a better running game which makes things easier for Warner to do his thing. The Packers are impressive, and Aaron Rodgers is ready for the big time. He can get the ball down the field, and is a great scrambler when the play breaks down. This game will be a lot closer, but unlike Dallas over Philadelphia, Arizona will prevail over Green Bay, and might just make another similar run to the Super Bowl as they did a year ago. Do not sleep on the Cardinals.

So the final picks: Cincinnati, Dallas, Baltimore, and Arizona. Be back next Friday for the Divisional Playoff preview. Sat. recaps on Sunday, Sunday recaps on Monday. Enjoy the Wild Card games everyone!