The regular season has come and gone, leaving me simultaneously excited and depressed. On one hand, there is nothing quite like playoff football. But on the other hand it’s a bitter reminder that at some point soon I’m going to have to actually be an adult on Sundays. I might be forced to do laundry, or any other number of activities that doesn’t involve me throwing booze at my face and yelling at the television. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, the last week of the regular season yielded plenty of topics to overreact to.
Now seems like a pretty good time to mess with Texas
When Tony Romo took the field down by three with only a few minutes remaining on Sunday night, twitter came alive. It was being called the biggest drive by any quarterback for the entire season, and I couldn’t really argue. In the wake of Lebron James winning a title, there probably isn’t a mega talented star player in any sport that people doubt more than the embattled Dallas quarterback. I think the Redskins are the better story this year, but I found a small part of me rooting for Romo. I hate it when analysts and pundits act like just because an athlete hasn’t won a title yet, it is impossible that he will do so. But much like the people that have cheered him on for years, I was immediately let down by a back foot wounded duck interception.
Oh, and just to be clear, a much larger part of me was psyched about basking in the glow of another Jerry Jones failure.
The story all morning is going to be the Cowboys, but take some time to appreciate what this Redskins team did this year with a rookie quarterback running an offense that no one said would work in the NFL, and a rookie running back who only broke his team’s single season rushing record. Typically I would think the idea of the Redskins making a postseason run to be ridiculous, but this is not your average rookie quarterback and this is not your average scheme. Last night they captured the division with RGIII only needing to complete nine passes. Might be a long decade for the rest of the NFC East.
Chan Gailey, Romeo Crennel, Lovie Smith, Pat Shurmur, and Andy Reid were all fired on “Black Monday”. I don’t have a problem with most of these decisions, with the exception of Pat Shurmur who had his Browns team playing hard the last half of the season. I would have liked to see him get another shot, but when new ownership comes to town they generally like to put their stamp on the team quickly. There are probably more firings ahead (hint: dude’s name rhymes with Smorv Kurner), and one of those vacancies may very well be filled by Jon Gruden, but I wanted to take a second to talk about a few coaches that I think should have gotten the axe.
I believe Rex Ryan is a great defensive mind, and a very good coach, but his handling of the quarterback situation in New York was so shameful that if I owned the Jets I don’t know if I would be okay with him coaching another year. It takes a real fucked up situation for me to stick up for Tebow, but this is indeed that. Tim was a terrible practice player at Denver, and everyone knew it. So to trade for him and then not play him, even when your starter is playing historically terrible and has lost all confidence, simply because he isn’t impressing you in practice is idiotic. But here’s the thing, I don’t think Ryan is an idiot. He knows that if he stuck Tebow in late in some game and he rallied to win, everyone would wonder why he wasn’t put in sooner and Rex would look silly. And that’s why I think he should be fired. I believe he put his own ego before what might have been the good of the team. Did anyone seriously buy Ryan’s line about taking a look at McElroy for the sake of next season? Is that a man who is going to be the starting quarterback in a market as big as New York? No, no it’s not.
Another man that I think should be given his walking papers is Lions head coach Jim Schwartz, who is simply too volatile to coach a team this young. Whether it be the Harbaugh incident last year or the challenge flag debacle on Thanksgiving, he has shown multiple times that he has an incredibly difficult time controlling his own emotions, much less those of a 53 man roster. Matthew Stafford set an NFL record for pass attempts this season, and that stat alone tells you that there probably needs to be a philosophy change in Detroit. This was not a team that was losing by double digits the whole time, they were involved in many close games and were fairly effective running the ball at times…they just wouldn’t stick with it. But as I mentioned before, the X’s and O’s is not my biggest problem with Schwartz. I wonder how long Titus Young’s behavior problems went unchecked, and I wonder if a different coach would have saved that situation before it became cancerous.
Goodbye, bye week
The Packers and Texans both had a fairly straight forward task on Sunday: win the game and get a first round bye. They both failed.
Houston has lost three of its last four, and all three were games that I found baffling. There is no shame losing in New England, but when you get blown out the water and look like the expansion Texans of 2002 in what some of the players called “the biggest game in franchise history”…I’m going to be concerned. When you lay an egg at home against Minnesota with a chance to clinch homefield throughout…I’m going to be concerned. And when you fail to clinch homefield in week 17 against a team that literally has nothing to play for…yeah, still pretty concerned. For much of the season this seemed like the most complete team in pro football, but now they look like a shell shocked kid in a war movie. They should beat the Bengals next week, but beyond that I don’t think this team is going to make any waves.
The Packers loss against Minnesota is less troubling because at least on one side of the ball they looked spectacular. Aaron Rodgers isn’t going to lose too many shootouts to Christian Ponder in his career I would wager. I want to freak out about the defense, but they have been too good down the stretch for one game to bother me. The Packers are as healthy as they have been all season so the bye week is not as important as it would have seemed a few weeks ago, but with the parity in the league today having a week where you don’t have to risk being sent home by a weird bounce of the ball is always nice.
While he ultimately fell short, good for Adrian Peterson for admitting that breaking the single season rushing record was important to him, and good for Eric Dickerson for admitting that he didn’t want his own record broken. There are few things in life more nauseating than fake humility.
-Mark Sanchez finished 17 for 35 with 205 yards and one god awful pick six in the finale against Buffalo. In order for you to perform your job duties as poorly as he did this season, you would probably have to drive your car directly into your office and then run around peeing everywhere and clotheslining your co-workers.
-The Philadelphia Eagles attempted an onside kick to start the game in New York, which seemed like Andy Reid’s polite way of saying, “everyone can blow me”.
-Every time someone discussed a playoff scenario yesterday that involved the Chiefs beating the Broncos, someone should have walked onto the set and hit them with a mallet.
-The Giants missed the postseason, which will still prompt several members of the team to complain about the lack of respect they are getting on the playoff prediction shows.
-The Falcons played their starters for much of the game against the Bucs, and sustained a few injuries along the way. If you are freaking out about that, I hate you.
Stop back later this week for our end of the season awards. Have a happy New Year, everyone!