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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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Dec. 30th, 2013 05:49 am (UTC)
:( My poor Redskins. It was a very sad season but I an not surprised.
John Muse
Dec. 30th, 2013 05:58 am (UTC)
I feel sick just thinking of the future with Jerry Jones. But at least we swept the Giants and Redskins this year!

Now I can only hope teams I don't like lose. This means the Eagles, 49ers, and Patriots.
Steve Prohut
Dec. 30th, 2013 06:21 am (UTC)
Hopefully, the Bears front office will wise up and run Chris Conte (the Bears' hapless safety) out of Chicago on a rail. You would think he was a sacrifice to R'hllor the way he got torched on his last play on the field (the game-winning touchdown). He is completely useless.
Dungeonmaster Jim
Dec. 30th, 2013 06:22 am (UTC)
Technically, the Pats are the older rival as they were a founding AFL team and the Dolphins were an expansion team.
Dec. 30th, 2013 06:23 am (UTC)
Yes, but the Pats were no good for most of their history. You can't hate a doormat.
(no subject) - firerosearien - Dec. 30th, 2013 09:24 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mickey2093 - Dec. 30th, 2013 03:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - Dungeonmaster Jim - Dec. 30th, 2013 06:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ext_1772478 - Dec. 30th, 2013 09:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - smofbabe - Dec. 30th, 2013 10:31 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - grrm - Dec. 30th, 2013 05:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - smofbabe - Dec. 30th, 2013 07:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jimmy Potter
Dec. 30th, 2013 07:03 am (UTC)
Oh, George, how you hate my beloved Patriots! I will not make any predictions, as they seem to always come true in the worst way... I sent you a fan email about 6 years ago wishing for a Pats vs Giants SB. All I will sayis that I hope the best team wins and that the Pats reveal themselvees to be that team. With love, Jim
Connor Donnelly
Dec. 30th, 2013 07:40 am (UTC)
Go Seahawks! George, what are your thoughts on Seattle's team this year? And if you had to pick the two Superbowl teams right now, who would they be?
Dec. 30th, 2013 05:11 pm (UTC)
Seattle v. Denver seems the likeliest scenario. But the playoffs seldom yield up the obvious teams. There will be upsets.
Miguel Barreira
Dec. 30th, 2013 09:09 am (UTC)
Hello Mr. Martin.

If I may ask, why are you so anti-Patriots?

PS: I support the lousy Vikings --'
Dec. 30th, 2013 09:23 am (UTC)
A few years ago on this very blog I said the Jets would be lucky to go 4-12. You thought there was no way that was possible, and yet, they went exactly 4-12 (fall 2007). This year I thought again the Jets would be lucky to go 4-12 -- and for once, a very, very rare once, I can say I am so glad I was wrong.
Dec. 30th, 2013 10:29 am (UTC)
*sigh* I guess it's a good trend that this year Dolphin fans at least had the delusion at one point that we could make the playoffs
Dec. 30th, 2013 03:52 pm (UTC)
The Dolphins actually had a damned good year, considering where they've been the last number of years, and considering all of the drama going on there - imagine how they'd have done if they'd been able to keep the players professional? Next year oughta be a great year for them - I know I'll be watching, even though I'm a Pats fan... (well - I grew up in New England, so that makes perfect sense, and I lived in Florida for the last 10 years - just moved back to NE this year, so my interest in the Dolphins comes naturally as well)
(no subject) - smofbabe - Dec. 30th, 2013 07:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jason Bryden
Dec. 30th, 2013 12:06 pm (UTC)
Poor Ravens
I was going to be all thankful for the win by the Jets, but my Ravens just couldn't overcome our struggles this year -_-
Tom Page
Dec. 30th, 2013 12:28 pm (UTC)
Best part about the giants win is that it assured that the pick the redskins sent to the Rams was at least a #2. That has to really sting redskin fans.
Dec. 30th, 2013 12:50 pm (UTC)
We Redskins fans thank you for putting us out of our misery. It was kind of depressing listening to Sonny Jurgensen beg for running plays on the radio calls in the hopes that it could come to a merciful ends sooner...

And yeah, Rex did a great job with that Jets squad. No one had them going 8-8...
Dec. 30th, 2013 02:10 pm (UTC)
That's the best nickname for Belichick I've heard yet..... "Evil Little Bill." I might have to retire my use of Belicheat for that one. :-) The only coach I hate more than Belichick is Nick Saban (DOUCHE!) - yes I'm a Dolphins fan. The Patriots also have smarmy baby Brady too, so there's even more reason to hate them and wish them ill. I'd probably hate them just as much if they weren't in the same division as the Dolphins.

Congrats on the Jets win, even if they did keep the 'Phins out of the playoffs. It was more the giant choking sound coming from Miami that caused that...shut out by BUFFALO, of all things? Until next year.....
Dec. 30th, 2013 02:37 pm (UTC)
...so it was satisfying to take them down with us... and ...the defeat and elimination of Evil Little Bill... seem like pretty unsportsmanlike comments to me - do you also vote against candidates you don't like instead of for the candidates you think would do a better job? c'mon george - we're adults here...

Edited at 2013-12-30 02:47 pm (UTC)
Dec. 30th, 2013 05:13 pm (UTC)
Nah. We're football fans.
Dec. 30th, 2013 02:39 pm (UTC)
I'm just glad the Saints did so well yesterday. Then again, we were home. Nervous to see how we do on the road in our first playoff game.
Dec. 30th, 2013 03:08 pm (UTC)
I think I lost a few years of my life last night....
...watching the Eagles/Cowboys game. As an Eagles fan, I screamed like a little girl when Boykin got the INT.

I agree, George, that our hatred for the Cowboys is the one unifying factor of all the other fans of the NFC East. Come to think of it, the NFC EAST is much like Westeros. The Starks are the Eagles (they seem to do well, but never actually win anything), the Redskins are the Baratheons (lots of inner-family squabbling and turmoil) and the Giants are the Freys (they have one cranky guy in charge). The Lannisters are the Cowboys. Everyone hates them.
Dec. 30th, 2013 06:54 pm (UTC)
Re: I think I lost a few years of my life last night....
I agree with these analogies.

I'd be curious as to which teams in other divisions are Highgarden, or Dorne. Maybe the Lions are the night's watch because they're way up north... and the Vikings are the wildlings of course.
Dec. 30th, 2013 04:15 pm (UTC)
Both Pats and GRRM fan....
Jets v Miami was fun to watch.

I was happy to see them keep Ryan, seemed like a no-brainer with this season, but kept hearing analysts writing him off up to just last week...

Pats fan since 82 when they drafted Andre Tippett from Iowa. I was indoctrinated early. However, I've been a GRRM fan since 1996 - I think that more than makes up for it?

Dec. 30th, 2013 04:55 pm (UTC)
I'm glad that the Jets had a much better season than last year. My husband insists that Smith didn't do as well as Sanchez would have, and they won't be trading Sanchez to Jacksonville and that they'll bring him back to be a starter, but I think it remains to be seen. I think Sanchez would do better with a coach that doesn't coddle him. This will be an interesting off-season, once again.

I feel bad for Eli, but only moderately. He blew his playoff hopes so early this year he shouldn't even have been playing yesterday...
Mary Ellen Wofford
Dec. 30th, 2013 11:34 pm (UTC)
Really don't think we can use another lousy QB in Jacksonville. Personally, I'm hoping with our #3 pick in the draft we can get Teddy Bridgewater!
Dec. 30th, 2013 05:23 pm (UTC)
The draft was moved back to May this year. Im not sure why but I'm sure there is a financial motive
Dec. 31st, 2013 07:26 pm (UTC)
Mostly right
Anytime the nfl changes, it's usually about money. This year, Radio City Music Hall was booked for a show (Heart and Lights March 27 - May 4). The Commish is saying the May date will become permanent. One of the most common reasons given is that the league feels like the period between Mr. Irrelevant and the Hall of Fame Game is too long and fans lose interest(!). All I know is extending the horror of endless mock drafts and mindless draftnic analysis by 2 more weeks really pumps my nads.
Dec. 30th, 2013 06:00 pm (UTC)
So glad Rex is back
Hoping the Pats can revive that hot rivalry we had 3-4 years ago with the Jets.

Also looking forward to winning the Super Bowl in our enemies home stadium! :)
Dec. 30th, 2013 06:41 pm (UTC)
Jerrel Jernigan has indeed been a pleasant surprise. I was just about ready to label him Sinorice Moss 2.0. While he does play the slot and has some shiftiness, he doesn't remind me of Cruz so much as he does Percy Harvin or Randall Cobb--I can't put him on their level at this point, but he I think he could be that mold of player.

Tuck has made things really interesting--after putting up one of his best seasons, it's going to be hard to let him leave. I think he and Jon Beason need to be the top free agents priorities for the Giants, and Linval Joseph if there is cap room. Unless Nicks is willing to come back on a one-year "prove it" deal, I think the Giants have to let him walk. I love what he's done for the team in the past, but they can't shell out big bucks for someone who had a down year, no TDs, and appears to have lost a step.

And in the draft, OL, OL, OL. They have to rebuild that interior, and they need to ask themselves some tough questions about whether Will Beatty is really the long-term answer at left tackle. Boothe is a nice complementary player, but at this stage the only starter on the line I trust 100% is Justin Pugh.
Dec. 30th, 2013 08:13 pm (UTC)
Well, Snee is terrific... if he comes back from the injury.
(no subject) - douglascohen - Dec. 30th, 2013 09:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 30th, 2013 06:48 pm (UTC)
You and I are at odds, my friend! I will be rooting for our birds to take down the Saints next week, though it's probably gonna be too close for comfort. But at least we're aligned in our antagonism of Dallas.

I really don't know if the Eagles are just really, really lucky, or really, really good. A little of both I guess. Chip Kelly's kind of an enigma, but very much an outside-the-box thinking coach.
Ray Feighery
Dec. 30th, 2013 07:07 pm (UTC)
Both of my teams are in. Patriots (where I grew up) and Seahawks (lived in Seattle for almost 26 years).

I also think it will be Seattle and Denver but upsets can happen as you said.

You can always root for the 'Hawks George...afterall Seattle is sort of America's Winterfell! Northern most city, a few leagues from the Wall(US Border)which keeps out the Wildlings (Candians ;)

All joking aside it should be a good playoffs and the NFC championship will come through Seattle! :)
Dec. 30th, 2013 09:44 pm (UTC)
Being a 30 year old Bostonian, I will freely admit that the success of all our teams has turned even the most non-partisan fans against our teams....And Bill with his ridiculous demeanor while talking with the media tests my patience to the point that I sometimes hate him as well.

That being said, none of this would mean quite as much if every one of the major NY/NJ sports teams wasn't horrendous. Not only that but there is almost no reason to be optimistic that the trend will reverse itself in the near future. The Yankees continue to buy players over the age of 30 and sign them to contracts that keep them in pinstripes until their near 40...The Mets are the Mets....The Jets should just play the single wing at this point and hope the D scores all their points, the Giants could be good if they listened to their coach, the Nets and Knicks have successfully provided a blueprint on how not to run an NBA franchise, the Islanders are an AHL team, and the Rangers continue to underachieve.

Do I expect the Pats to win this year, no....You dont score enough TDs with receivers that all stand less than 5-10, and when you lose your top 2 defenders in the middle of the field that doesnt bode well for playoff success. However, Denver's D is almost as bad as Dallas's and none of the other teams really put the fear of death into you.

I fully expect an NFC team to win this one, and most likely that team is Seattle. They are easily the most well rounded team, and if Russell Wilson can be stingy with turning the the ball over then I cant see anyone beating that team.
Dec. 30th, 2013 11:43 pm (UTC)
Keeping Rex is the only realistic thing to do when it comes to the Jets. He singlehandedly held that team afloat this season and deserves another year. Im still not sold on Geno though yet, but with a season under his belt one can hope he progresses to become the cerebral qb some hoped he would be.

Coughlin deserves another run at possibly revamping the Giants next season. 2 Superbowls in 10 years should earn him the front offices's trust though one has to wonder how long his coaching fire will burn with those accomplishments already.

Lastly, but most disappointing was the officiating at the end of the chiefs game. Their inability to notice 7 guys illegally on one side of the ball not only failed to give Succop another try and 5 yards closer, but kept my beloved Steelers from the playoffs. You could also question why they blew the whistle when strip/run back occurred earlier as well in the waning minutes.

Jan. 5th, 2014 04:49 am (UTC)
Both games today were nail biters. The Colts barely won over the Chiefs, and my team, the Saints, narrowly beat the Iggles! On to Seattle next week!
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George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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