The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

This past weekend the NFL held it’s divisional playoff games. For me it was interesting. I got to watch Saturday’s tilts on TV, but had to listen to Sunday’s games on the radio as I was traveling. We stopped soon enough to catch the end of the Saints-Vikings game on the tube.

Let me say that the games included a little bit of everything. That means things that make watching football great and other things that make me never want to watch again. Let’s start with the good.

Three of the four games were exciting as the outcome was not determined until late. The end of the Saints-Vikings game was incredible, but also ugly – as we will soon see. If you like close games, this was a great NFL weekend. As for the bad…

When I tuned in on Saturday, the first thing I saw was teams practicing choreographed touchdown celebrations. Seriously, I hate those things. They can only appeal to a two year old or a somewhat inebriated adult fan. Perhaps I have stumbled on to the reason they exist! I can appreciate the excitement when a team scores, but those celebrations are so childish. Whatever happened to the Barry Sanders school of celebrations. He scored on some scintillating runs, but simply handed the ball to the official and went back to the bench.

Note to NFL… bring back Barry’s celebrations.

The Steelers-Jaguars game was fun, but had one moment that drove me crazy. The Jags were up 21-7 and the Steelers were driving to close the gap late in the first half. Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger fumbles and the Jags Telvin Smith picks it up and runs 50 yards for a TD. The game might be over at that point had Smith not been flagged for taunting as he crossed the goal line. The short field gave the Steelers another opportunity to score closing the gap to 28-14 at halftime. I would have been furious with Smith if I was coaching. Why, WHY do players feel the need to act like idiots costing their team points along the way.

Again… see Barry Sanders.

The final play of the Saints-Vikings game was basically ugly. Ten seconds left, no time outs, the Vikings have no legitimate chance to overcome the Saints 24-23 lead or so it seemed. Case Keenum’s pass to Stefon Diggs along the sideline is complete and Saints defensive back Marcus Williams has to keep Diggs in bounds and the game is over.

He not only does he not keep him in bounds, he completely whiffs on a “so-called” tackle and Diggs goes 61 yards for a game winning TD. Watching Williams effort led me to think of two things. The first was that he was in on a fix which I decided was hopefully not possible. The next thing I thought about was Bill Buckner. This play could be the football equivalent of Buckner’s famed fielding miscue. Time will tell.

The view from my seat suggests that there was more good last weekend than bad, but I can also tell you that if I was not involved in fantasy football, I probably would not be watching at all. For then I would have to watch just to root for my own team and the Browns are just way to hard to watch!