Needless to say, I loved the morning game. I was rooting for the Ravens to win, but I won't pretend I ever expected anything like the whuppin' they put on the Patriots. It's always nice to see Evil Little Bill get elimimated, so we can be treated to another one of his mumbling monotone press briefings, where he says nothing at all. (Win or lose, I much prefer Rex, who shows signs of being an actual human being, with emotions and a sense of humor and everything). It would have been a much closer game if Welker had not been injured, doubtless (I actually kind of like Welker, though he killed the Jets the last time we played the Pats. It still baffles me why the Dolphins traded him to New England for a bag of old socks, just as it puzzles me why the Raiders would give Randy Moss to New England for one of EVil Bill's old sweatshirts. Must be some sort of evil power) -- but the way the Ravens were playing, they would still have won. Brady looked... dare one say it... mediocre.
The afternoon game was... ah... exciting. And unexpected. I really expected the Pack to handle the Cardinals easily. This is same stuff Arizona pulled last year : winning a sub-par division with such erratic and uninspired play that no one took them seriously, only to come alive suddenly in the post-season. Anyway, Warner played an amazing game. Rodgers was very good too, once he settled down, but those passing stats of Kurt's are mind-boggling. I have to give the Packers credit for an amazing comeback. They looked dead half a dozen times, but just kept kicking dirt off their faces and clawing back out of the grave. And the ending had as much irony as it did drama.
All in all, great football entertainment, though somewhere in the distance I can hear the wails of weeping cheeseheads. An all-time record for scoring in the post-season, I hear. From my point of view, the wrong team won. I guess the Pottsville Maroons will have to wait another week for their curse to kick in.
That being said, I have to take issue with the commentators who are called the Arizona/ Green Bay shootout a "great game." That it wasn't. Exciting, yes. Entertaining, definitely. Good football? No. Neither team brought a defense. Up and down the field, up and down, up and down, pitch and catch. On the rare occasion where a defender actually defended against a pass, he'd get flagged for illegal contact or pass interference. It was a basketball game, is what it was. The sad result for decades of fiddling with rules to give the offense every advantage. Myself, I think they've gone too far, and wish they'd go back, if not to the rules of 50s, at least to those of the 70s. Let the cornerbacks defend, goddamn it.
These rules changes make it almost impossible to compare players from different eras, at least by using stats. The stats for modern players are grossly inflated.
Anyway, the Cardinals go on, the Pack goes home, the Patriots are done... and now the Jets have to face the Chargers, while the Ravens get the Colts. On paper, the Jets don't have much chance against San Diego, but as this weekend's games have proved, anything can happen.
What would be really cool would be if the Jets and Ravens both won. Long odds, I know... but if it happened, Giants Stadium would host one more NFL game before being demolished. The AFC Championship. And wouldn't THAT be cool?
Hey, a boy can dream.