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December 29th, 2013

One Last Sweet Sunday

So the final Sunday of the NFL season has come and gone.

Considering that both of my teams were eliminated from the playoff hunt weeks (or months) ago, the ending was about as sweet as could possibly be expected.  The Jets and the Giants both won their closers.

Meaningless games, you say?  Well, yes and no.

The Jets game was not meaningless to the Dolphins, who could have gotten into the playoffs with a win.  The Dolphins are Gang Green's oldest rivals -- yes, the Patriots have been the bully boys of the AFC East for the past decade and a half, but the Fins were kicking sand in the Jets' faces for many decades before that, and thumped us solidly a few weeks ago when we still had a shot at the postseason, so it was satisfying to take them down with us.

Even better, the Jets announced that they are bringing Red Ryan back.  And damn well they should.  He's the best coach they have had since Parcells, and this season is a testament to his ability.  Before the season began, all the "power rankings" had the Jets listed as the worst team in the entire league.  They finished 8-8, with a rookie QB who was throwing almost as many INTs as... well, as  the other NY QB... and I doubt anyone but Rex could have pulled that off.

The Giants won too.  Over the Washington Redskins.  Or the Hapless Redskins, as some call them.

God, was that a dismal game.  Eli hurt his ankle and went out.  Probably good he has has a whole off season to recover.  The Giants D played well, the offense not so much, but that's been the story of the season.  Justin Tuck ended the season on a high note.  Terrific game.  Also, a young wideout named Jerrel Jernigan -- who has done little more than warm the bench during his first two seasons with the club -- continued his amazing end-of-season heroics, pretty much winning the game single-handed.  Since coming in for an injured Victor Cruz, Jernigan has played like... well, like Victor Cruz.  He's a keeper.  And next season, if Reuben Randal continues to improve and Hakeem Nicks comes back and recaptures his old form (not sure he will, on either count), the G-Men will have an elite and very dangerous receiving corps.  Now all they need is an offensive line to keep Eli from getting killed and give him time to throw... that has to be the big off-season priority, along with... oh, a running back, and a linebacker, and some young defensive backs.  The G-Men need more speed if they are going to keep up with Chip Kelly's fast-break Iggles in the years to come.

Speaking of the Iggles... congrats to them and their fans for their victory tonight.  Helluva game.  I thought you guys were going to blow it at the end there, until Kyle Orton channeled his inner Tony Romo and threw the game-losing INT.  Normally, of course, I hate the Eagles... but not half as much as I hate the Cowboys, so tonight I was with them all the way (next week, I'll be rooting for the Saints to take them down).  Actually, I feel sorry for Orton, who stepped in and played an incredible game.  Not many backup QBs are equal to the challenge.  You have to applaud the effort.  Jason Whitten played very well too.  I was yelling the same thing I yell every time the Giants play the Boys -- "why doesn't anyone ever cover Whitten!"  In the end, though, Dallas choked once again, and we all got to enjoy watching Jerry Jones get That Look on his face once more.

(There were some other great games and thrilling finishes today as well.   But I am glad I am not a Bears fan.  Ouch, that must have hurt).

And now the playoffs.

The teams I love are out of it, so I have no strong feelings on who I want to win the Super Bowl... so long as it is not the New England Patriots.  That's the last thing we have to look forward to this season: the defeat and elimination of Evil Little Bill.

Meanwhile... hey, when's the draft?

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George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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