Sunday, January 11, 2004

They played like it was Canadian ball!

It's not often we can say that the NFL playoffs were entertaining, but this weekend brought out some exciting football. In fact if you didn't know better, you would have sworn it was just a regular ole CFL game. It's the kind of football we take for granted in Canada but rarely find in the US at playoff time. But there it was; Overtime nailbiters, field goal kicking finishes and teams marching up and down the field. You weren't really sure until the final gun who was going to win, it was just great to watch.

Must admit that I was disappointed to see Brett Favre's Packers go down to defeat. I actually thought he was on a mission this playoff season and was going to win it all with his team. But after 60 minutes of regular time we were treated to Overtime. The game turned on what appeared to be a receiver running the wrong pass route, leading to an interception sealing the fate of the Pack. It wasn't the finish that I expected but Donovan McNabb was full value for the win, taking the Eagles back down the field to set up the winning Field Goal. All through the game the commentators kept telling us how McNabb just didn't look good, but in the end it was his arm and ball management that got the Eagles into position to win. The poor guy just doesn't seem to get the respect he deserves. Then again when your critics include the likes of Rush Limbaugh, who cares what the critics think!

Earlier in the day it was Peyton Manning putting on a clinic as the Colts (formerly of Baltimore now the residents of Indianapolis) defeated the Chiefs in Kansas City. Manning seems to be the real deal, he has developed into one of the best passers in the league and can run the offence with ease. It's too bad he plays for the Colts because I really can't cheer for teams that are carpetbaggers. The Colts should never have left Baltimore, the Browns should never have left Cleveland, The Oilers (which became the Titans) should never have left Houston for Tennessee, etc, etc, you get the drift. So right off the bat I refuse to send my good wishes to the re-located teams. Too bad Peyton, you're a hell of a QB, but I'll be thinking of the Patriots come next weekend.

Speaking of which, the Patriots defeated the Titans on Saturday night in another barn burner of a game. That is about the only way to work a warm term into the conversation as it was played in frigid conditions. The cold weather did have an effect as it led to a few dropped passes and some very cold looking players and fans. You would have thought that the Titans were on the way to at least tying the game in the final minutes when they turned the ball over to the Pats, Brady ran out the clock and it's back home for the Colts next week. Bring the parka Peyton it might be a tad chilly on the coast..

The St. Louis Rams (formerly of LA) lost to the Panthers (again hooray for the carpetbagger teams getting knocked off) in a double over time thriller. Carolina scored a touchdown in the second overtime in front of a stunned crowd in St. Louis to bring to an end the 2003 season for the Rams. The Panthers win their first ever road playoff game and they couldn't have picked a better way to do it.

Of course with all four games this weekend being thrillers, one has to wonder about the odds of the next two games and then the Super Bowl being competitive. The NFL may have used up an entire season of excitement in one weekend, one hopes not but past history is on the side of the Blowouts.

However, a football fan will watch regardless of the progress of the game. So next week I'll look forward to the Colts losing to the Pats and I guess I'll take the Eagles over the Panthers (maybe McNabb will get some respect one of these days) and hope for the best.

Just hope some more of that CFL magic dust is hanging around, we take great finishes for granted in the CFL, would be nice to have the same thing happening in the BIG MONEY LEAGUE!

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