Football Thoughts – the Wild Card Games

Posted in Sports - football, mostly by EloiSVM42 on January 22, 2022

I want to post this blog about the wild card round before the divisional round games this weekend.

I should begin these thoughts by reminding myself and others what a pathetically crappy division is/was the NFC East, and that I predicted the Dallas Cowboys would win the division but still be a bad football team.

Which brings me to the Dallas Cowboys’ loss to the San Francisco 49ers. The Cowboys were winners of the NFC East but pathetic losers in every other respect, including its one and done playoff game.

I don’t think there has ever been such a great disparity between the talent on an NFL team and its performance. Dallas’ roster is full of underperforming, overpaid players, or as Shannon Sharpe calls them: “bums.”

The Cowboys, the most penalized team in the NFL this year, added 14 more penalties in this game! And, though penalties are killers any time in a game, the Cowboys picked particularly disastrous times to have them. Penalties are a clear indicator of lack of discipline, which is a coaching issue.

It is incredibly hard to win a game in the NFL. In fact, it takes an entire organization, but the Cowboys will never have that unless and until Jerry Jones, the greatest sports franchise history in terms of net worth growth of a franchise, meddles in the football operations.

It’s said that Jones really, really wants to win another Super Bowl or two in his lifetime, but that’s not his top priority. Yes, he would like to win one, but he cares much more about massaging his ego. He calls all the shots, he has a radio show, and a tv one, I think, and he is the guy who gives post-game interviews rather than the head coach. He can’t get out of the way of his own team’s chances for success, and he wants it that way.

The Cowboys head coach, hand-picked by Jones, is a flat out disaster. As I write this, there are eight head coaching vacancies in the NFL and Dallas’ offensive and defensive coordinators are both being interviewed for some of those jobs. They are the last people I would have on my list.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had their way with the Philadelphia Eagles, 31-15. As a reminder how bad the NFC East is this year, the Dallas Cowboys beat the Eagles 51-26 the week before. But the important takeaway from this game is how far and hard the Eagles clawed to get into the playoffs with this team. Bottom line: they just got beat by a vastly superior team, but they are ascending and at least they can quit wondering if Jalen Hurts is their quarterback of the future. Answer: yes.

The Los Angeles Rams beat the Arizona Cardinals by more than three touchdowns, 34-11. The Cardinals’ situation is somewhat like that of Dallas, though without as much talent.

The Cardinals have a problematic organization, including serious coaching issues. (What does it say about an organization that hires a mediocre college coach to coach an NFL team?)

I wrote Arizona off when Hopkins went down for the season, and I was right. The Murray-Hopkins connection was really all the Cardinals had.

Arizona has a better quarterback than Dallas, but Murry was running for his life the entire game, again, because the offensive line is porous, and the defense is about as bad. Head coach Kingsbury can’t even spell the word defense, and his team lacks discipline as much as Dallas.

The Buffalo Bills beat the New England Patriots 47-17, a real ass-kicking, indicating that Bill Belichick has a lot of work to do to get back to the top. Buffalos quarterback Josh Allen was terrific.

The Kansas City Chiefs finally put the Pittsburgh Steelers out of their misery 42-21. But the Steelers had a nice little run to send Ben Roethlisberger into Hall of Fame retirement. I was happy for him.

I define a true champion as one who wins over a long period of time. Landry, Belichick, Brady, Manning, Le Braun James, John Wooten, that lot. And broadly speaking, it is the long time proven teams that are rising to the top in these playoffs.

But there is some young blood coming into the league, as usual. I give you, as an example, Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals, who outdueled the Raiders 26-19 in the playoff round. Burrow has come much farther much faster than I imagined, even given his stellar senior college season.

The team about which I am most curious in these playoffs, we have yet to see. The Tennessee Titans got the bye week, so we won’t see them until their game this week against the Bengals in Nashville.

I wrote the Titans off when Derek Henry went down, and in this case I was wrong. The Titans held it together, and they get Henry back for this game. He certainly won’t be in peak form, but it will be interesting to see what he can do.

So, the OU QU Amigos had a very bad wild card round. Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns didn’t even make the playoffs and is having off-season surgery on his shoulder. Murry and Hurts each took a beating.

I won’t bother making predictions about the divisional round games this weekend for a number of reasons, including that everyone else already has, and that we are going to know the answers to such speculations today and tomorrow. But I love NFL playoff football, because it features the best teams against each other, and everyone gives maximum effort because it’s win or go home.

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