Saturday - Jan 16, 2021

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Observation Deck – Divisional Playoffs

What started out as a normal playoff weekend turned into a weekend for the ages. It also brought forth the glaring point that the officials still make mind-boggling decisions that change games.

In Denver, the Patriots were leading 3-0, in a defensive battle. After an uncharacteristic turnover at their own 40, New England came out to defend their goal. One pass later, the Broncos were on the one yard line based on what I can only term as an imaginary pass interference call. Denver punched it in from there, and the Pats summarily fumbled on the next kickoff giving the Broncos a 10-3 lead into halftime. Now, I am not big on the what ifs but I think this was more significant than the 100 yd interception later in the game. Up to that point, the Broncos had five drives that totaled 121 yards, 60 of those coming on one drive that they ended up turning it over on downs. If that ridiculous flag doesn’t get thrown, best case is 3-3 at halftime, probably still 3-0 since Denver was unable to move the ball consistently and had only 1:51 to go in the half. If we assume it is 3-0, the Patriots added a field goal on their first possession after Denver went for 5 yards and punted. Still with me? All things being equal the interception and TD make the score 7-6 Denver, not 17-6. I realize the Pats lost by two scores but I feel in a one point game going into the fourth the outcome could be different. Everyone is saying how well the Broncos played, but in my opinion the Patriots did everything to lose that game, including 5 turnovers, of which two were forced. Don’t misunderstand my message, all I am trying to say is that call had more to do with the game’s outcome then most people would give credit for, and it drives me crazy when the zebras change the game instead of the players.

Speaking of game changing plays, Peter Morelli needs to have cranial-rectal inversion surgery because his head at some point became permanently lodged in his ass. First, as the Steelers were driving Randle-El gets absolutely mugged on the play downfield and no call is made. This was not a judgment no-call, this was the definition of pass interference. Then, with the Steelers had fourth and inches to go, Alan Faneca moves, draws the defense offside, and they determined after a conference that no foul had been committed. What? If the offense and the defense move, there has to be a penalty on someone! Even if you assume that Faneca didn’t move (which he did) when the defense enters the neutral zone and causes the offense to move, that is encroachment. Regardless, no flag, just an insane stoppage of play and the game continues. Lastly, we come to the interception that was then wasn’t. This is the perfect example of how dreadful and inconsistent officiating is. First the NFL makes a statement saying that the call to overturn was the referee’s discretion, implying he made the correct call. Today they change they’re minds (after actually looking at the play I imagine) and say the play should have been upheld. Two good things came out of this call in retrospect. The first is the outcome was not changed and two was it made it the one of the most exciting and improbable endings in playoff history.

Quick Hits:

Steve Smith is an absolute monster. Every team has there star, and I don’t know how Chicago lost sight of him to the tune of 245 yards from scrimmage and 2 TDs.

Drew Henson is off to NFL Europe. Does anyone remember when Tom Brady backed him up at Michigan and never saw the field because Henson was too good?

I think the Steelers used up every last ounce of energy to beat the Colts. I have a feeling its going to be ugly next week in Denver.

I have a feeling the Bengals will be working with a new orthopedic surgeon after the misstatement about Carson Palmer’s knee. How does it go from career threatening to routine in 24 hours?

Jake Plummer and Matt Hasslebeck are playing the game of their careers on Sunday. Everyone is poised waiting for one or both of them to implode.

How in the hell did Ben Watson run down Champ Bailey?

Jerome Bettis probably needed an equipment change after he fumbled that ball. You figure out what he needed to change.

If the Superbowl ends up being Denver-Seattle, is anyone west of the Rockies going to care?

Karen Reed was arrested for selling phony SuperBowl tickets this week. If she needed tickets to sell, why didn’t she just call Mike Tice? Oh yeah, he got fired.

In what backwards world is Joe Vitt being considered for other head coaching jobs in front of Gary Kubiak and Ron Rivera?

On to championship week, thirty two has come down to four…

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