• Zone Blitz- Leavy's Payback, Rivers of Dreams, Foles Gold, and Your Official Wild Card Thread



    From: Brian
    To: mikesteelnation1
    Subject: Zone Blitz: Wild Card
    Date: Tue, 31 Dec 2013 1:23 AM


    It’s playoff time, which means great joy for some, and great angst for others. This week, mikesteelnation1 is joining me for a gripefest…er…look-back at a wild week 17, and to take the first official look-ahead to next weekend’s wild card action.

    Early Game Madness
    Mike,

    Thanks for jumping in this week. Usually, week 17 is a week that we just want to move away from. But this may have been the craziest final week we’ve seen in 25 years. I know things didn’t end quite like we had hoped, but as strange as it sounds, yesterday was about as enjoyable day of football as I can ever remember.

    I was visiting family for the holiday, so I was able to spend the early part of yesterday smack in the middle of Steeler country, which was a nice change from the over-saturation of Ravens coverage I usually receive. We had the game on my parents TV, but I broke out my laptop and had 4 additional channels working on my own personal game mix. So I was keeping an eye on not only the Steelers game, but also the Jets-Dolphins, Bengals-Ravens, Colts-Jags (since the Panthers-Falcons game was on locally, which meant I couldn’t get it on my computer), and the Red Zone channel. It was completely nuts. I’m usually one that will focus entirely on the Steelers game, no matter the circumstances, but yesterday was clearly a unique day. It wasn’t easy, as my brain was on information-overload, but the constant action was amazing. With the Steelers game never in serious doubt, I was able to keep a bit more focus on the Jets and Bengals games in particular.

    I cannot begin to tell you how frustrating it must be to watch Andy Dalton on a weekly basis. He eventually settled down, and made a few nice plays, but that dude did everything in his power to keep the Ravens in that game. It was pretty clear from the beginning that Joe Flacco is nowhere near himself right now. Had he been healthy, then I think the Ravens probably find a way, but his knee is in worse shape than they’re letting on. Had he been healthy, the Ravens probably would have gone up by 10 or 14 early, and then it’s a completely different game. But they could never find a rhythm, settled for a couple of Justin Tucker FGs, and allowed Andy Dalton to settle in. The Bengals should have won that game by 30, but in the end, pulled away, helping to keep our still-slim hopes alive.

    This may sound crazy, but I think Rex Ryan deserves some coach of the year consideration. I have absolutely no idea how the Jets finished 8-8. Thankfully, “good” Geno Smith showed up (that term “good” is extremely relative). He made no real mistakes, and the Jets were able to control the clock, and eventually wear down the Dolphins. On defense, that Jets defensive line is nasty. Makes me extremely envious as a Steeler fan. Muhammad Wilkerson got snubbed from the pro bowl, but I think he’s one of the 5 best defensive players in the game. Sheldon Richardson is going to get serious consideration for Defensive ROY, and would get my vote over Kiko Alonso. The Jets secondary looks terrible, but the defensive front was able to wear down and frustrate Tannehill. Honestly, I thought the Dolphins looked like the better team, but they couldn’t finish drives, and got a little too pass-happy. Tannehill did not look ready for prime time, and eventually the Jets pulled away. The early games could not have gone more perfectly for us, and it set the stage for a crazy car ride home.


    Clutch Coaching
    I guess Aaron Rodgers is back, eh?

    The Bears had this game in their grasp. In the end, they were probably undone by their inability to get off to a fast start. By not taking advantage of some early opportunities, and putting their foot on the Packers’ throat, they let Rodgers work himself into the flow of the game, and eventually that killed them. If you had told me that the Bears would force Rodgers into a couple of early mistakes, and mostly contain Eddie Lacy, I’d have thought they’d win this game by double digits. But despite the Bears surprisingly holding Lacy to just over 3 YPC, James Starks was able to go for an additional 88 on just 11 carries, and Rodgers gradually morphed back into Aaron Rodgers throughout the game.

    But for all of that, the Bears had a late lead, and had the Packers against the ropes multiple times during that final drive. How many other coaches, with just under 5 minutes left on the clock, and sitting on their own 22, would have played it conservative and punted, even when only down 1, and with a defense that pretty clearly could not stop the opposing offense at that point in the game. It’s a shame that McCarthy made a “gutsy” call, when I’d simply call it the right call, but that’s exactly what his call was. Of course, the Packers apparently lobbied him into going for it on 4th down, but at least he had the stones to relent.

    I also give credit to Mike McCoy for what truly was a gutsy call, in giving Eric Weddle the go-ahead to go with a fake punt from their own 27 early in OT. The merit of what should have been the result of that play can be debated, but either way, I like it when teams make gutsy calls like that.

    Gotta also give mad props to the Chiefs for the effort they put forth in an otherwise meaningless game. The backups came in and played hard. Reminded me of 2004, when the Steelers were 14-1 and had wrapped up the division, but were playing Buffalo to close the season. That season was Buffalo’s best team since their last playoff team in 1999, and with Bledsoe at QB, and playing at home, the Bills were a double digit favorite over a Steeler team poised to empty the bench. Tommy Maddox started in place of Big Ben (who was a rookie), and Brian St. Pierre even saw a few snaps. The Steelers played hard, and ultimately won the game 29-24, knocking the Bills out of the playoffs, and putting the Broncos in. The Chiefs gave it their best shot, and very nearly held on, if not for….


    …Bill Leavy’s Revenge
    I’m really not one to complain about officiating, and I’m not going to complain here. The Steelers did everything they could to miss out on this year’s playoffs. Just beat Tennessee at home, Minnesota in London, or Oakland on the road, and they wouldn’t have been relying upon the Chief backups. That fact alone has helped me to keep yesterday’s egregious officiating blunder(s) in perspective. But just as Bill Leavy did not hand the Steelers Super Bowl XL, they can’t rightly blame Leavy for leaving them out this year. Pittsburgh should have never been in that position.

    That said, the illegal defensive formation by San Diego on the missed FG was obvious. I also feel like it was obvious that forward progress was never stopped on the fake punt, and it should have been a fumble. But what frustrates me even more is that some coaches will never learn that it is not acceptable to settle for a FG of 40+ yards. I don’t care how good FG kickers are in this day and age, a 41 yarder is not a gimme, especially in a game-winning situation. Andy Reid had plenty of time to attempt to move the ball further up the field, and put the ball between the hashmarks. Instead, as soon as they got within Succop’s range, he stalled the offense, and as often happens, it came back to bite him. Add in the officials not being on the top of their game (again), and it was an incredibly frustrating end to a great day of football.

    I did not watch the late games live. I was traveling home from visiting my family, so my experience with those games was exclusively on the radio. And let me say, it was actually a lot of fun. I was flipping back and forth between Jeff Joniak, who’s the Bears’ PBP guy, and Josh Lewin, who calls games for the Chargers. Of course, by the time the 2nd half rolled around, the dial stuck much more on the Chargers’ game, but it was interesting to hear the emotion/frustration from the hometown viewpoint. Lewin and Hank Bauer were imploring the Chargers to not let the game slip away. Of course, there was no mention of the Chargers’ defensive alignment on the FG attempt, nor much explanation on the fake punt, but getting away from the same old drab national viewpoint was refreshing.


    The Tony Romoest Ending of All Time for This Week (Non Tony Romo Division)
    And the winner is… KYLE ORTON!!! Turns out Kyle Orton is the absolute perfect backup QB to Tony Romo afterall!



    From: mikesteelnation1
    To: Brian
    Subject: Zone Blitz: Wild Card
    Date: Tue, 31 Dec 2013 2:15 AM



    Is This Really Happening?
    You've spoken a lot more about the early games than I can. I was 100% embroiled at Heinz field, watching our Steelers destroy the Browns. That isn't surprising. With Ben, all we do is beat the browns. It was a foregone conclusion we would win for me.

    As such, I broke a rule I have. I ALWAYS leave my cell in the car. I didn't yesterday. I needed score updates, and even the live audio feed from the Bengals/Ravens, Jets/Phins games. Verizon wireless NFL network gave me that.

    We won as we should have, the Bengals won the game that no qb wanted to win and kept giving away (in the most romoist of ways), and gang green won for Sexy Rexy. BTW who would have ventured a guess the Pats would turn into a ground and pound with Legarrette Blount going off for nearly 200 yards?? That Indy would take their first 3 quarters team out of moth balls and be competitive before the 4th quarter/ and/ or get blown out as a result??

    3 of 4 down for the Steelers to get in!! Are you kidding me?? Is this ACTUALLY happening??

    Chiefs get in front, and stay mostly in front for most of the game, until their meltdown up 10. Then the missed fg (which should have drawn a flag and a re kick from 36 yards). Then the non-whistle phantom forward momentum call on the fake punt in OT. The only thing this ref crew didn't screw up was a flag on Harrison for a brutal hit that wasn't illegal, but looked like it was...
    Leavy officially paid back all Seahawks fans "perceived slights" with his calls in this game. He officially eliminated the only legit "dark horse" from the AFC field. The one the 'hawks fans draw so much ire from.


    If You Insist—WE’LL TAKE IT!
    Rodgers pass was entirely sublime. What a great football play-- a play that encapsulated entirely why it was such a GREAT play! FIRST time someone from the nfcn grabbed the division by the balls and tried to win it. We all saw weeks of what the emasculated Bears and the neutered Lions did to give the division away. It's only fitting the ONLY QB in that division who did what he was supposed to won the division in a moment that spoke to why EXACTLY he should have.


    Moving On...
    We now have our official playoff participants. While the Steelers got the ref screw job via the KC game to exclude them, we did enough to exclude ourselves prior. It's on us, and I'm not even disappointed. We own that, on to next year...

    It's officially the wild card round now. Let's discuss trends..

    One of the #1 seeds is going to get eliminated. Only once since 93 have both #1 seeds faced one another in the super bowl. Who is more likely to get punched out- the Broncos or the Seahawks?

    The Bengals always lose in the playoffs in the first round, is this year different? Why?

    Lately a wildcard team plays a significant part in the outcome of the superbowl, what team is most likely to play that role?

    Weather plays a significant part in this wild card round. How much does it actually affect game play?

    Nola plays in frigid Philly. The niners play on the frozen tundra. The chargers play in Cincy. Warm weather and dome teams are travelling to cold weather games...

    Only one game in a dome... And that game will depend on when the home team decides to begin playing.. from the whistle? After the half? In the 4th quarter??

    Lots of questions, I look forward to your answers.. what say you about this wild card round??



    From: Brian
    To: mikesteelnation1
    Subject: Zone Blitz: Wild Card
    Date: Tue, 31 Dec 2013 10:37 AM



    Bengals-Chargers
    For all that happened on Sunday, San Diego (Drink it in, it always goes down smooth) is probably the team that most deserved to emerge from the pack in the AFC. Of all the combatants for the 6 seed, they have the most impressive resume, winning 5 of their last 6, and finishing 5-2 against playoff teams, including wins over Indy, @ Philly, @ Denver, and @ KC. And the return-to-form of Philip Rivers has been vastly under-reported. If it weren't for Peyton Manning, Rivers would be getting a lot of run for league MVP. And while he's not officially coming back from injury (although it's now pretty clear that something was not right last year), I think he deserves the comeback player of the year award. Despite finishing only 13th in attempts, Rivers finished #1 in comp%, 5th in completions, 5th in yards, 4th in TDs, 2nd in Rating and YPA (among QBs who started more than 10 games), 3rd in QBR, and had a near 3/1 TD/INT ratio. All this while his leading receiver was a 3rd round rookie. Considering Rivers' playoff experience (this will be his 8th career playoff game), I do think the Chargers are a legitimate dark horse contender in the AFC.

    All that said, the Chargers have already been shut down once by Cincinnati this season, and that was despite the fact they were at home, and the Bengals are a much worse team on the road than they are at home. Andy Dalton, despite his efforts on Sunday, has played at a near-elite level at home, and the Bengals are 8-0 this year in Paul Brown Stadium. The Charger defense has been improving, but they're still relatively weak on the back end, and can be vulnerable to versatile RBs such as Gio Bernard. The Bengals have to be happy that they're out of that early Saturday time slot, and that they're not facing the Texans, who, let's face it, were a better team than the Bengals in each of the past couple seasons. I'm expecting AJ Green and Gio to each have a big day, as the Bengals get the playoff monkey off of their back. For this week, anyway.

    Colts-Chiefs
    In the other AFC contest, I really like the Colts at home. Yes they played the Jags on Sunday, but that was one of the 4 games I was paying some attention to, and they were able to pretty much do whatever they wanted against a Jag team that has been much improved over the 2nd half of the season. Plus, the Colts are a team that has proven they can beat anybody, with wins at home over Denver and Seattle, and on the road against San Francisco and Kansas City. They destroyed the Chiefs just a few weeks ago, and I see no reason why this week will be any different. If you want a true dark horse candidate to emerge from the AFC and win the Super Bowl this year, the Colts are my pick.

    I Pity The Foles!
    Quick, raise your hand if you predicted that the NFL leader in QB Rating, YPA, TD%, and TD/INT ratio would be Nick Foles. Yes, the 2 INTs are a massive fluke, but we have to give him major credit for putting up the 3rd highest rating OF ALL TIME, and having 27 TDs, which is more than Matt Ryan in less than half the attempts. Foles will not be able to keep up this rate, but I do think he and Chip Kelly have a bright future together.

    New Orleans is the team headed to Philly, and as you mentioned, that means that a dome team is traveling to a stadium where the elements will play a factor. To be honest, I don't think the cold plays all that big a role in team performance, even for a dome or warm-weather team. We've all played out in the cold, and it really not all that much different than playing in warmer weather. However, the cold can have a psychological impact among individual players, as can any factor that causes them to lose complete focus on the task at hand. That's why I always prefer the guys who play sleeveless, because they appear to be the best at eliminating the cold from their minds.

    What I do think plays a big role is the wind. In snow or rain, the conditions of the field actually tend to play to an offensive advantage, since the offense is proactive, and knows where they're supposed to be on each play. Defenses are, by nature, reactive, making any potential footing issues more likely to impact that side of the ball. Of course, grip can be a concern in snowy or rainy conditions, and that's where a power running game can really excel. The grip factor also lends itself to being a benefit to QBs with bigger hands. But once that wind starts howling, QBs with a bigger arm, and tighter spiral are always the ones who are less impacted. Drew Brees is one of the smartest QBs of all-time in understanding his own limitations, and maximizing his strengths. But he's a QB who has always been susceptible to the weather. There's a reason he was deciding between Miami and New Orleans, and not Chicago when he was a FA in 2006. As of now, the weather doesn't look like it will be a major issue in Philly this weekend, with the major wind scheduled to pass through on Friday. Saturday night will be cold, but looks to be precipitation free with little-to-no wind. That should help Brees, but I really like the way the Eagles are playing right now. This is probably the most interesting game of the weekend, but I like Philly to hold serve at home.

    The Dark Horse
    The Niners traveling to the frozen tundra isn't really a concern for me at all. They're a power team that should be able to do pretty much whatever they want on the offensive side of the ball. On defense, I expect that they'll be able to make the Packers one-dimensional, which is dangerous considering that one dimension is Aaron Rodgers. But it's tough to think that Rodgers will be all-that sharp, despite his performance last week. I do like the Niners to go into Green Bay and come away with a big victory, setting the stage for a big matchup with Seattle.

    Of the Wild Card teams, San Francisco is the easy, and correct answer as to who will have an impact in the Super Bowl. Although from Wild Card weekend, the team I really like is Indianapolis. While the AFC looks weak, which sets up nicely for Peyton Manning to make his run, we've seen teams in the divisional round that are coming off a bye struggle to get their footing, especially in the first half. If Denver or Seattle lose, I think it will be in the divisional round. And while I think Seattle will be able to find a way to survive, Denver could be in for another early exit if Indy is staring them square in the face for that divisional matchup. If I'm Denver, despite the fact that they're divisional foes, I'd much rather see KC or SD make their way to Mile High, since Peyton always seems to destroy teams that he's overly familiar with.

    Well, I went way long with that reply, so it's time to pass things back over to you to close out this wild card edition of the Zone Blitz. Thanks for jumping in with your expertise this week, mike, and I look forward to reading your thoughts on the Wild Card weekend, as well as on some of those questions that you posed earlier. What team from this weekend do you find to be the most likely to emerge from the pack, and make a trip to the Super Bowl?



    From: mikesteelnation1
    To: Brian
    Subject: Zone Blitz: Wild Card
    Date: Wed, 1 Jan 2014 3:12 AM



    Well, uh, not much commentary for me to add here. You {kind of covered it} already, so I'll give my disagreements with said commentary, and my picks.

    Baby It's Cold Outside
    While I'll agree that wind and weather is much more significant in throwing warm weather/ dome teams off their mojo, I think you're discrediting what the cold does to warm weather people.. its NOT just psychological, it's physical as well.

    Having been born and raised as a Yankee, the cold didn't really bother me when I lived up north. I lived in it and my body was acclimated to it. Having lived in the gulf south for the better parts of a decade, my body is different. Below 65 degrees requires a jacket for me now. Below 40 is completely miserable. Below freezing doesn't really ever happen, if it did, southern folk wouldn't respond in a positive manner.

    3 teams whose players reside in cities that almost never see below freezing will be playing games below freezing this weekend. The ball is rock hard, and more slippery. Their bodies will be more tight and tense, and they will shiver more as a result of the temperature. All that plays a part. Some teams it will affect a good degree, some others not so much.

    Quick Picks
    What wild card team causes some noise? This is clearly San Fran. They are a power team, and playing in Lambeau isn't going to break them. On any given day they can beat the Hawks after they beat the Packers, which they will do this week. The Niners are built better to win on the tundra than Green Bay is. While Green Bay has found a running game, their defense is highly suspect, that can't be said about SF. The cold will play no factor to the detriment of the visiting team, it may even benefit them.
    SF 28-20 over the packers

    Will the Bengals finally win a playoff game? Absolutely! They already beat the chargers outside the comfy confines of Cincy where they regularly hang 30 burgers on almost everyone, even when Dalton isn't his best. The cold will play a factor.
    Cincy 31-20

    Foles and the Eagles offense is on fire. It may be a statistical anomaly, but those tend to bear out year to year, and much less game to game. The Eagles run the ball well, and the saints don't defend the run well.. the saints secondary has also been plagued with injury and poor play lately. The Saints D is only good when forcing turnovers. This Philly team doesn't do that. The cold will play a factor.
    Iggles 38-31.

    I have no concrete thoughts about the Colts vs Chiefs game. Both teams showed SOOOOO many different permutations as to how they are comported, it's nearly impossible to make a pick. I'll make one though… I'm picking the better QB.
    Indy 27-24 with a Luck drive with under 4 minutes to win.

    Final Thoughts
    Who's the first 1 seed to lose? Depends on this WC round, but my gut says it’s the Broncos and PM. His playoff record speaks to why I think that. I think Luck beats the Broncos in the divisional round.

    Who's the dark horse? None of the wild card winners sans the niners. They all lose this week. If Dalton decides to be dependable it could be the Bengals, if the Colts decide to actually play from the starting whistle it could be the Colts, if Foles continues his "Madden-like" performance it could be the Eagles. I can't pick a true "dark horse", outside of SF, and a 12-4 team (coming off a Super Bowl appearance) isn't exactly a dark horse. Just sayin...

    This week seems blaise', but it probably won't be..

    Regardless this week it's all but guaranteed one of the top seeds gets de-cleated next week. It's all but written in stone one of them does prior to getting in the conference championship round. Thanks for having me trumpet, I've enjoyed this convo. It's an honor to be your opponent!

    Comments 153 Comments
    1. iwatt's Avatar
      It was Cover Zero!!!! What the hell were our DBs thinking. Awesome throw by Rogers, and great chip block by Kuhn. But you have to stay with your guy!!

      But if nothing proved how good Urlacher was, this past season of safety play By Conte and Wright should. Always having mental lapses, taking the wrong gaps in run support, missing open field tackles.

      Urlacher's smarts and skills covered up a lot of fail by the Safeties.
    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      The Bears play call was man on the outside. Three of the four defenders played zone on the play. I don't think the confusion exists back there if Charles Tillman wasn't injured. Major Wright was the only guy to play man; and he got away with illegal contact on the play.

      Good stuff to start the week, fellas.
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar
      Outstanding effort. Brian killed as always and it is great to see Mike get some run on the front page.

      Thanks, fellas and Happy New Year.
    1. Trumpetbdw's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Sullivan View Post
      Outstanding effort. Brian killed as always and it is great to see Mike get some run on the front page. Thanks, fellas and Happy New Year.
      Thanks Big man. Happy New Year to you as well, and to all of our FP family.
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar
      Now that the Texans have successfully pooped the bed for Ted, it appears they get Christmas in May.

      Bridgewater is reportedly coming to the big league.

      http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nfl-sh...2813--nfl.html
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      The first two quarterbacks likely to be taken in the NFL draft are guys who really shouldn't be taking NFL-type hits. Both have slight builds and need more bulk. It will be interesting to see if the teams which select them make an effort to protect them.
    1. tubbs1518's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by wxwax View Post
      The first two quarterbacks likely to be taken in the NFL draft are guys who really shouldn't be taking NFL-type hits. Both have slight builds and need more bulk. It will be interesting to see if the teams which select them make an effort to protect them.
      That is a ridiculous thought. Bridgewater is able to take a hit as well as needed. WR's that are much smaller than him take big hits all the time and come out alright. It's not like he weighs 150 pounds or has brittle bones.
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by tubbs1518 View Post
      That is a ridiculous thought. Bridgewater is able to take a hit as well as needed. WR's that are much smaller than him take big hits all the time and come out alright. It's not like he weighs 150 pounds or has brittle bones.
      Happy New Year to you too! Guess I should be ashamed of mentioning that it's a topic of discussion with commentators.

      Three of the four wildcard games are having trouble selling all their tickets.

      Cincinnati, to no-one's surprise. But also Indianapolis and Green Bay. It's supposed to be brutally cold in Green Bay. What's Indy's excuse?
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar
      Lovie Smith appears to be headed to Tampa Bay.

      http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com...back-to-tampa/
    1. mikesteelnation1's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by tubbs1518 View Post
      That is a ridiculous thought. Bridgewater is able to take a hit as well as needed. WR's that are much smaller than him take big hits all the time and come out alright. It's not like he weighs 150 pounds or has brittle bones.
      Thinking its a ridiculous thought and using how smallish wr's handle the hits is equally ridiculous. In the pros most wrs touch the ball less than 5 times a game. The qb?? Around SIXTY! That's the equivalent of comparing apples to suitcases.

      When discussing long, lean qbs and how they hold up behind a bad line, use long lean high draft pick qbs behind bad lines. Even ones who are mobile.

      I understand why you attempted the comparison that you did. There are no long lean qbs who were high draft picks that did well behind a garbage line I can rememeber. Most high pick college qbs who fit that "type" fall into the David Carr bucket here. They don't usually do well..

      The ones who have done well behind a bad line are generally huge, or big but mobile (Rodgers)..

      Thinking this long and lean crop of qbs will be "just fine" taking more hits than wrs get targets is plain silly. Only bortles is over 220lbs. Most are closer to 210. Those hits lead to the shell shock that can be tied to many promising 1st rd draft picks that couldn't get past the ridiculously high number of hits they sustain. This is especially evident in lesser mobile qbs, like Bridgewater and Carr.

      They rely on their pocket passing skills, they aren't runners.(except manziel) That skill is immediately downgraded entering the NFL. They have no idea what they are seeing. That leads to sacks. The speed of the game picks up quite considerably, they struggle to scan the field and go through their reads. That leads to sacks behind a decent line, it leads to a catastrophic number of sacks behind a bad one.

      Sorry, but wax fired out a legit criticism of the top qbs, to which you replied in the super affirmative using a super poor example to disprove his concerns. While there could be meat to what you said in reply, you posted no reason that anyone who's the type of fan who comes here should believe with any credibility.

      You went all draft board with no regard for how the game gets played.. sorry but your opinion shades super heavy to your draft opinions..

      Not to bust your bubble, but anyone who values league trends over draft hubbub sill agree.. these qbs in this draft are mighty slim!!! Just sayin!!
    1. Trumpetbdw's Avatar
      While I'll agree that wind and weather is much more significant in throwing warm weather/ dome teams off their mojo, I think you're discrediting what the cold does to warm weather people.. its NOT just psychological, it's physical as well.

      Having been born and raised as a Yankee, the cold didn't really bother me when I lived up north. I lived in it and my body was acclimated to it. Having lived in the gulf south for the better parts of a decade, my body is different. Below 65 degrees requires a jacket for me now. Below 40 is completely miserable. Below freezing doesn't really ever happen, if it did, southern folk wouldn't respond in a positive manner.
      The cold does impact warm weather people. That I cannot dispute. However, that's not a physical thing, it's COMPLETELY psychological. As soon as it gets cold, it's nearly impossible to block it out of your mind. Cold weather teams have experience in blocking it out, while warm weather teams do not, which is why it's a psychological disadvantage.

      Not to nitpick, but you mentioned the psychological impact, but never once mentioned anything that's actually physical. But I will agree that if you break a leg, or tear the groin off the bone, or something, it's much more pleasant to do that in warmth than in bitter cold.

      Just sayin'...
    1. Wordsworth's Avatar
      I think Lovie's personality and defensive acumen is well suited to Tampa's roster, and they should see an immediate improvement in the culture and success of the team. I am a bit surprised that he didn't want the Detroit job, as his name was heavily linked to it and they have a more playoff ready assembly of talent.
    1. mkocs6's Avatar
      By the way, I kind of hope this holds, at least in a place or two. Money talks and it might make the NFL reconsider, even if only slightly, some of their policies.
    1. Wordsworth's Avatar
      They should reconsider their blackout policies as well as the going rate for the in-stadium experience. As discussed in the related thread, the gameday experience is severely lacking, and increasingly unable to rival the comfort and accessibility viewers have at home.
    1. mkocs6's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Wordsworth View Post
      They should reconsider their blackout policies as well as the going rate for the in-stadium experience. As discussed in the related thread, the gameday experience is severely lacking, and increasingly unable to rival the comfort and accessibility viewers have at home.
      To be honest, it has to happen somewhere other than Cincinnati. Whether it's fair or not, the NFL will be able to say, 'Oh, that just happens there.' If it happened in Green Bay, it will be difficult to ignore. Indianapolis's stadium only seats 62,000 people and it's a dome, so while the city isn't exactly famous for its passion for football it would still be fairly hard to explain.

      Maybe this stuff just happens if you've hosted a lot (or at least a decent number) of home playoff games recently, as each of these teams has?
    1. Wordsworth's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by mkocs6 View Post
      Maybe this stuff just happens if you've hosted a lot (or at least a decent number) of home playoff games recently, as each of these teams has?
      That never stopped teams from selling out in the past. I think it's just a sign of the times, and how much better watching from home is than going to an overpriced game.
    1. iwatt's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Wordsworth View Post
      That never stopped teams from selling out in the past. I think it's just a sign of the times, and how much better watching from home is than going to an overpriced game.
      Excatly. also, add the fact that going to a game means not watching the other one because your caught in traffic. {Plus people have gone soft.}

      But Lambeaus not full... that's just wrong.
    1. Bengals1181's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by mkocs6 View Post
      To be honest, it has to happen somewhere other than Cincinnati. Whether it's fair or not, the NFL will be able to say, 'Oh, that just happens there.' If it happened in Green Bay, it will be difficult to ignore. Indianapolis's stadium only seats 62,000 people and it's a dome, so while the city isn't exactly famous for its passion for football it would still be fairly hard to explain.

      Maybe this stuff just happens if you've hosted a lot (or at least a decent number) of home playoff games recently, as each of these teams has?
      it has everything to do with the prices. Indy has sold out 137 of their last 138 home games, but there having such a struggle now? Green Bay has one of the best fan bases in the country, and they're struggling.

      Specifically for the Bengals, their cheapest tickets are twice as much in the playoffs as they are in the regular season. The average colts playoff ticket is 20% more expensive than it is in the regular season.

      The NFL is overplaying its hand, and that's the big issue going on right now. There were only 2 blackouts in the NFL this season (out of 256 games) and now suddenly 3 of the 4 playoff games this weekend may get blacked out? That's a pricing issue.


      (btw, the way its looking, all 3 games in question are likely to be declared sellouts tomorrow).
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar
      I thought the Lions not selling out a playoff game against the Packers was bad. At least they were trying to fill an 80,000 seat stadium.
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar
      There is no question in my mind that this is a pricing issue. The only place I don't buy that for is GB. With a 30 year waiting list (or whatever it is today), you would think that game would have sold out in minutes.