Hello and welcome to another Wednesday of deep thoughts. After months of football, we are left with one final game to end the season. I am curious how many saw these two teams meeting back in August? I know that I certainly did not. For Arizona and New England fans, last weekend did not end as hoped. While I realize it is little consolation, your team was one of only four teams left playing. The old adage that defense wins championships proved once again to be very accurate. We were also reminded why teams so highly value players able to rush the QB. The difference in winning and losing for New England and Arizona was pressure on their QB. While Brady did an admirable job hanging in under extreme duress, Palmer did not fare quite so well, fumbling twice and throwing 4 interceptions.
As I have watched the Patriot great run, the one thing that has always impressed me is how well they adjust. A team may have success in the first half, but by the second half, Belichick usually has figured out a way to change the momentum of the game. Sunday, was different. Wade Phillips did a masterful job of keeping Brady and Belichick off balance. Phillips is known for his heavy emphasis on the blitz, averaging more than 40% during the season. Against the Patriots, the Broncos blitzed less than 20% of the time. In fact, Denver did much of their damage with a three man rush…but they were still able to frequently pressure Brady, hitting him more than 20 times. Critics will fault OC McDaniels and Belichick for being unable to dial up the right solution to Phillips scheme…but the truth is that New England simply did have the talent to defeat the Denver defense. The obvious answer to a three man front would be a strong running game. With a healthy Dion Lewis, the result of this game might well have been different. Denver did not change what they were doing because New England could not force them to do so.
What I will probably remember most about this game was watching Tom Brady, then Coach Belichick seeking out Peyton Manning to congratulate him. I think it is pretty clear to everyone that this season will be Manning’s last and to see the respect each had for the other was very telling for me. It is a reminder for me of what healthy competition should look like. Despite the obvious disappointment of losing, what Brady and Belichick did reflected the class of true champions. As fans, we sometimes become so embroiled in the games we watch that we forget that there is something more important than winning. Herm Edwards famously said that “we play to win the game”. While that is a very true statement, character is also revealed in how we win or lose.
After watching Carolina plow through the NFC, it is tough to imagine Denver being able to win the Super Bowl. In fact, after seeing what the Panthers did to Carson Palmer and his Cardinals…it is hard to not imagine a runaway win for Carolina. But, as we have seen before…if you can play defense, you have a chance. Earlier this week, BOB apologized for overlooking the greatness of Cam Newton. I have to admit to also being guilty of this as well. After seeing so many athletic QB’s struggle in the NFL, I assumed that Newton would be another Vince Young or RG3. Denver will have their hands full finding a way to slow down Newton. Phillips will have two weeks to come up with a game plan to stop Newton…he will need every day to find the right plan. While Carolina is not blessed with a ton talent at WRs, Cam Newton makes them much better. The one thing that Newton does not have is a ton of playoff experience. If Denver can find a way to keep Newton in the pocket while making him feel pressure, I think that they can coax a few interceptions. The trouble with this plan is that Carolina can and will run the ball. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. First we have to deal with the ridiculous week of hype that the media loves so much. I sure do wish the Super Bowl was next weekend.
Unless you are a troll and live under a bridge, you have heard talk about the Golden State Warriors threatening the Chicago Bulls all time win total. My son loves the flash of teams like Golden State and Cleveland, because of the talent of Stephen Curry and LeBron James. I get it, I was once young myself. I have been waiting for the Warriors to meet the defense and team play of the San Antonio to show everyone that Golden State was not all that. Well, they met Monday night and boy was I wrong. Not only did Golden State win, but they spanked the Spurs in a really ugly game for San Antonio. I must admit that Stephen Curry really opened my eyes. Seriously, the guy knocks down 30 footers like it is no big deal. Despite losing to the Warriors, Pop was his normal self He did not pull any punches, admitting that San Antonio simply could not deal with the speed of Golden State. Pop also dropped a damn funny quote on a group of media that must be really slow. Here is what Pop said:
You have to love Pop’s sense of humor, even if the media guys did not get it…I am sure that the folks in Cleveland felt the zinger.
I listened to a discussion on the MLB channel this week about raising the strike zone from the hollow of the knee to the top of the knee. This may not seem like a big deal for some, but I am wholeheartedly in favor of this change. The reality of this change would be the difference of a baseball. If you have a baseball handy, take it and put the top of the ball at the bottom of the hollow of your knee. See how far below the knee this is. By raising the umpire’s zone slightly, those low strikes that were too often called last year will be called balls (as they should). It is really tough to hit a pitch below the knees, but that is what hitters have been forced to try to do. With the concern about offense, I have a feeling that this will be a big help for scoring in the coming season. Now, if they can just figure out a way to shorten the season to 154 games, we will be good to go.
Did you hear about the dog that accidentally ran a half marathon? No? Seriously…this dog actually ran a half marathon and finished 7th. Here is the story:
Robert had this on facebook and I had to share. This must be the Johnny Monkey of goats!
Goats like the one above are best taken care of slowly over low heat!! South Texas cabrito! Yummy…
Do you happen to remember Cliff Robinson? Would you be surprised to learn that he has opened a hippie lettuce store called Uncle Spliffy? You just can’t make this stuff up:
I would be remiss if I did not take a moment to bid goodbye to Abe Vigoda. After years of false rumors of his passing, he finally said good bye this week at 94 years of age. Perhaps I am getting old, but I do not see TV like we had in the 70s…Abe’s character “Fish” brought may laughs to the old Barney Miller show. If there was ever a better theme song than Barney Miller, I don’t know what it was. I liked the funky groove so much, I went and bought the chart for our big band to play. RIP Abe…
That is all I have today, but I will leave you with a bit of Jack Handey:
“If life deals you lemons, why not go kill someone with the lemons (maybe by shoving them down his throat)”.
“I think my new thing will be to try to be a real happy guy. I’ll just walk around being real happy until some jerk says something stupid to me.”
Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a few deep thoughts of your own.