That goal line stand by the Cleveland Browns Sunday was incredible. It was awesome to see this team, and I can't help but cheer for them, come out of nowhere and capture a playoff spot with Dwayne Rudd capturing some measure of redemption with a big third down hit on Warrick Dunn to perserve the win. If there were more riding on the game than just a six seed in the playoffs, The Stand would go down in NFL folklore. But either way it was awesome to see.
Hearing the crowd at the Meadowlands erupt when the Pats beat the Dolphins was great. I knew then that not only would the Jets win the division and the Browns make the playoffs (plus it's always cool seeing the Dolphins get knocked out), but that the Bucs would be taking the first round bye.
Darrell Green's retirement is sad, and I wish more guys had the pride and loyalty that he always shows. I also wish he could have somehow scored a TD, as that would have been a great send off.
With the Giants getting in with a win over the Eagles, Jeremy Shockey has perhaps emerged. I know people had been talking about him for a few weeks already, but now could be his time to shine. We'll see how he follows up next year, since I don't see the Giants getting out of the first round against San Francisco.
New Orleans sucks, plain and simple. They lose to three losing teams, two of them in last place in their respective divisions, in the final three weeks, only needing to win one to secure a playoff berth, but they can't and as a result will be watching the playoffs at home. A loss to Carolina has to hurt under any circumstances, but with the Falcons losing to Cleveland, it is even worse. But hey, they finally held an oppponent to under 20 points!
Speaking of Atlanta, how did they cool off so quickly? I hope Vick finds the magic touch he seems to have lost since the second Tampa Bay game (week 14), because nothing would please me more (actually, some things would, but hyperbole is a useful tool) than a Packers loss, AT HOME, in the first round. The Falcons have proven they can hang with the Packers (the healthy Packers in week one, no less) in Green Bay, but they haven't proven they can handle the elements. We shall see.
Man, I love the NFL playoffs even more than I love the final three weks of the NFL regular season.
The Cleveland stand was awesome. But I still can't believe that the Falcons didn't try to run Vick on even ONE of their four attempts. The only thing I can think is that they were saving a Vick play for the 2-point conversion.
Another sad story from Week 17 was Emmitt Smith running for 13 yards yesterday. I hope that wasn't his final game with the Cowboys.
In some ways I agree; there's something sad about a career like Emmitt Smith's coming to an end in almost any way. But at the same time, 13 yards on 18 carries? He got his record. He'll ride the express train to immortality in Canton. Now is the time for Emmitt to step aside and let a young back develop (which he did, to an extent, this year).
But now Mr. Smith now has to make a personal decision as to whether he wants to stick around in a limited role and help groom his replacement, whether he wants to go somewhere else and try to wring one more good year out of his body, or whether he wants to retire and call it a career (and there would be NO shame in that).
Actually I'm an University of Illinois fan. The point of my last post was that the big time programs function essentially the same way now as they did then (with the exception of scholarships, Alabama can't have 125 players dressed on Saturday).