Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What Have We Learned From The Conference Championship Games?

  1. The sportswriters busily canonizing Eli Manning are conveniently forgetting that, during the last five minutes of the game and overtime, he repeatedly spit the bit. It wasn't until the 49ers gift-wrapped the ballgame that he was able to seal the deal, somehow magically becoming "clutch" and "gritty" and "better than Payton" in the process. Without a generous assist from San Francisco's special teams, Eli's golfing this week instead of fielding questions about how legendary he is. But hey, it doesn't fit the narrative.
  2. If you can hold your kick returner up to your ear and hear the ocean, it's probably time to get another guy out there. Of any and all the mistakes Jim Harbaugh made, this is probably the least excusable. According to the Giants - who were aware that Kyle Williams had concussion issues and deliberately tried to ring his bell as a result - they could see that he was wobblier than Community's place on NBC's schedule. If they could see it, Harbaugh should have seen it, and replaced Williams with someone who, when asked what day it was, wouldn't answer "Shostakovich."
  3. Speaking of Kyle Williams, stay classy, Bay Area. Between the death threats you've been raining on the kid and Willie Brown's take on Elvis Grbac, you're out-Phillying Philly. And I say that as a guy who owns something once autographed by Marty Bystrom.
  4. Everyone inclined to blame no one but Billy Cundiff for the Ravens' loss should check the angle on the laces on that ball. Then, they should look up the physics of the knuckleball, especially the bits about uneven airflow. To quote Sports Illustrated,
    "When the kicker sees a flash of white facing him [on his approach]," says Frost, referring to the laces, "nothing good is going through his head."
  5. I'm still stunned the Ravens, instead of going to the end zone on 2nd and 3rd on that last series, didn't just bull forward and get the first down. They had a time out; they could reset their downs, used the time out, and been able to spike the ball to buy Cundiff enough time to get on the field properly.
  6. But hey, blaming kickers is fun, because they're not real football players. The guys who turned 3 New England turnovers into 6 whole points? Perfectly blameless. Except for Lee Evans.
  7. So, can we all agree that special teams are actually important now? Folks? Can I get an amen from somebody?
  8. Just remember, folks - the Giants were outscored during the regular season, and were fifteen minutes' worth of Mark Sanchez removing his keister from his cornhole away from staying home for the playoffs. (Eli, for the record, was 9-27 that game. Gritty.)
  9. As a professional game designer, I'm offended by the NFL's overtime rules. There's something about football and overtime that causes rules designers to channel their inner derpderpderp. College overtime rules are a cross between Dragonball Z and handing out participation awards during recess, and the NFL's aren't much better. Look, I'll make this very simple. You have a game. The rules work. If you have to go to overtime, all that needs to happen is that YOU KEEP PLAYING THE SAME GAME HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF PEOPLE ALREADY LOVE. There's no need to get cute, or tack on conditional rules. Just add a quarter, sell more beer and pretzels at the stadium, and let the best team win by playing football instead of pachinko, mm-kay?

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