Friday, January 20, 2006

The Forgotten Goat: Tony Dungy

Playoff Time has not been kind to Tony Dungy.

Well, the Colts can’t blame the Patriots any more now that a 38-10 regular season record over the last three seasons has resulted in zero Super Bowl appearances. They can’t blame slow turf, inclement weather or the coaching genius of Bill Belichick for that failure. They can’t even blame Peyton Manning who, understandably perhaps if not clandestinely, blamed the utter lack of pass protection from his offensive line.

Yes, the trend is to blame it all on the pitiable Manning legacy. (Dig deep to find another pair of brothers who have failed more miserably than Peyton and Eli in the postseason.) – Blame Archie, blame Eli and blame Peyton but this isn’t really scratching the surface of the Colts failure to capitalise on domefield advantage, perfect indoor weather and a fast track surface.

Yes, Peyton is 3-6 in the playoffs. But XX of those losses came with Tony Dungy coaching his team. No, it isn’t hard to kick a man when he’s down and the man who is down at the moment and upon whom the spotlight should be shown for yet another wretched and disappointing postseason performance is Tony Dungy, the head coach of the Colts and former head coach of the Tampa Bay Bucs.

Let's have a little peek at Mr Dungy's record in the post season:

In 1997, he led the Tampa Bay Bucs to a 10-6 record and a wild card berth. They were able to beat the mediocre Lions but lost in the next round to the eventual NFC Champion Packers, not so bad. Two and out.

1n 1999, after a year out of the postseason, the Bucs won the NFC Central with an 11-5 record, received a first round bye and hosted the Washington Redskins in the second round. The Bucs managed to defeat the Skins by a 14-13 margin but then lost to eventual World Champion St Louis Rams by a pithy 11-6 margin. Two and out.

In 2000, the Bucs managed to squeeze out a wildcard berth with a 10-6 record but lost in the cold of Philly in the first round by a 21-3 margin. One and out.

The next year they didn't make the playoffs and Tony was gone, off to the Indy Colts, who managed a wildcard spot in 2002 with a 10-6 record and were crushed by the Jets 41-0. One and out again.

In 2003, Indianapolis were more formidable, going 12-4 and winning the AFC South earning homefield advantage in the first round against the wild card Denver Broncos which resulted in a 41-10 victory. They even made it past the Chiefs in the next round by a 38-31 margin before being bounced by the Patriots, 24-14 in the AFC Title game, a tune that would ring familiar again.

In 2004, the Colts had an identical 12-4 record, hosting the Broncos again in the first round and winning, this time 49-24. Of course, the Pats bumped them off easily again by a 20-3 margin.

And of course we have this season, starting 13-0, earning homefield through the playoffs and what happens? One and out, poof.

So Manning's playoff record is one of persistent failure indeed but Tony Dungy was failing all on his own with a 2-4 record before Manning ever came along, not to mention that the Bucaneers team he left later went on to win the Super Bowl without him.

Goat, or Goat's concubine?


Other Random Views of the second round of the NFL Playoffs last weekend:

1. It was a weekend of rematches and among the four teams that had won games against their playoff opponents in the regular season, only the Broncos managed to repeat the feat in the postseason. So much for the valuation of previous meetings but hey, by that same token let’s be thankful we won’t have to witness something like a bloody Redskins at Chicago NFC Championship. The NFC has a bad enough reputation without this sort of travesty to further muddy the waters.

2. In Chicago, Carolina coach John Fox badly out-coached his second consecutive opponent, this time, a vaunted NFL Coach of the Year in the form of Lovie Smith one week after Giants star Tiki Barber blatantly and rightfully pointed the finger at his own coaching staff for a humiliating loss. Bears D Coach Ron Rivera a head coaching candidate? Not this week. How do you leave the NFL’s hottest receiver in single coverage when it clearly isn’t working? And why did the Bears, who bragged that they come off the plane rushing suddenly decide to out-Fox themselves by passing instead? With Rex Grossman operating the passing game? Pshaw. If that move didn’t have bonehead written all over it, I don’t what does.

3. Perhaps even more interesting than his performance in his last two postseason games are Steve Smith’s quotes of late:

On perfecting the Art of the Understatement:

“I’m just really utilizing my talents. They throw me the ball, my job is to catch it. If I don’t catch the ball, they will get somebody in here who will.”

And on being defended by his own mother:

“If you lined up my mama over there, I got to catch it over her, too,”

All that, not to mention his pole dance around the goal post last weekend…

4. As if appearing in two AFC title games in his only two seasons wasn’t enough, Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger can now add The Immaculate Tackle to his brief NFL CV. (note that in comparison, Carolina QB Jake Delhomme has “only” appeared in the NFC title game twice in three seasons and has zero miraculous tackles to his credit.) – what a far cry Roethlisberger is from Cowher’s mirthless and dreadful days of Slash.

5. How many times do you see a team lose the NFL MVP early in the game and give away three fumbles, yet still manage to win the game? Against a Joe Gibbs coached team no less? For their first playoff victory since the Reagan Administration?

6. It was mildly shocking that the traditional grind-it-out Steeler reputation gave way to a shockingly pass-happy 21-3 domination early in the game against the Colts. But it paled in comparison to the nearly unfathomable culmination, with the improbable Bettis fumble, the near 93 yard touchdown return of that fumble by a man who had been stabbed by his wife only the night before, Roethlisberger’s Immaculate ankle-grabbing Tackle and finally, Vanderjagt’s unmistakably muffed game-tying FG effort which went wider right than Pat Robertson.

It was the Immaculate Reception, the Music City Miracle and The Drive all wrapped up in one. Big Ben said it best: ”Once in a blue moon, Jerome fumbles. Once in a blue moon, I make a tackle. They just happened to be in the same game.”

And thus, Herm Edwards’ moment as most improbable game-winning touchdown return of a (Larry Csonka, no less!) fumble in the closing seconds of a game remains intact.

7. Bill Cowher has lost all four AFC Championships the Steelers hosted so perhaps this is a good omen to be playing in Denver instead. Ben Roethlisberger is now 25-4 as an NFL starter. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the disappointing and poorly coached Colts finished the season 1-3 after a 13-0 start.

8. How creepy is it for the Broncos that the Patriots lost due more to their own uncharacteristically sloppy play than to any outstanding performance by the Broncos? Sure that bristles readers in Denver but seriously – how big a genius is Bill Belichick if his Pats lost three fumbles and his Mr America QB overthrew receivers all afternoon every playoff game over the last two plus seasons? Let’s face it, if the Patriots had played last Saturday’s game like they’d played the last two seasons, in quiet perfection, then the Broncos would just be a punch line and Shanahan would have to be answering questions about why he can’t win a playoff game without John Elway.

Instead, Champ Bailey turns the game around with a 100 yard interception return that turned a probable Patriot touchdown and 3 point lead into an 11 point lead for the Broncos. That’s a 14 point difference. All the difference in the world.

Even more than New England’s 253 pound tight end Benjamin Watson maniacally sprinting cross field to smash into the unsuspecting Bailey on the 1 yard line causing a fumble. Even if it should have been a touchback.

My new all-time favourite special teams moment: Denver punter Todd Sauerbrun makes a jarring tackle on Ellis Hobbs hard enough to cause a fumble. Granted, Sauerbrun, given his rather large proportions, is not your father’s punter but it sure set the old punter stereotype on its head for a moment, didn’t it?

9. The two teams hosting championship games this weekend are a combined 18-0 at home this season. Yet, the two road teams are a collective 16-4 on the road this season, which is perhaps more amazing. All four remaining head coaches have led teams to the Super Bowl previously, Carolina coach John Fox most recently.

10. The Steelers and Panthers will both be fighting history to take three in a row on the road to the Super Bowl. Isn’t it almost unavoidable that one of those two teams will suddenly lose steam and tumble quickly?

AFC Championship - Pittsburgh at Denver

Among other things, this is the battle between the two winningest coaches in the NFL over the last decade.

It’s hard to ignore the blooming of Ben Roethlisberger as an elite QB. His only playoff loss to date is against the fabled Tom Brady and what will we be saying if he goes on to help the Steelers win the Super Bowl in only his second season?

How unusual is it that there are Two Jakes left in the NFL season and how weird would it be if they were both starting in the Super Bowl this year? I’d venture that it’s never happened in Super Bowl history. Once in a blue moon, as Big Ben might say.

Both teams are coming off emotional and perhaps equally unexpected victories and whilst the Steelers might be more physically exhausted having already played two playoff games on the road, both teams would likely be emotionally fatigued by the wildness and improbability of their respective victories.

What does Jerome Bettis do now with this miracle second chance to finish his career with a Super Bowl title? Does he ask Roethlisberger to score the winning touchdown on a quarterback sneak?

Revisiting the Clinton Portis for Champ Bailey trade, anyone? How you like me now?

Thanks in large part to all those Elway years, the Broncos are 6-1 all-time in AFC Championship games.

Not only that, but the Steelers have no cheerleaders. No cheerleaders. No chicks in hard hats and skimpy outfits inspiring the heroes on to victory. For shame. Hard to root for that.

Then again, it’s hard to root for Mike Shanahan’s blindingly bright upper front teeth which don’t look like they belong in a human mouth, so there you go.

Sad Day For the Lads On Sunday

They always say this game will come down to…something. Turnovers, special team play, mistakes and penalties, clock management, little red flags, little green men, the cumulative team body temperature, stool samples, nice guys finishing last, the number of chickens counted before they’ve hatched, quarterback zodiac signs, you name it.

It’s been noted that scientific study indicates it is better to have less exposure to high altitudes unless your body has more than a week to adjust to it. In other words, the Steelers are waiting until late in the week to go up to Denver.

Well, I’ve got a little secret for you: the game will come down to the final score.

I’m rooting for Pittsburgh primarily because I like Bill Cowher better than Mike Shanahan and I like Ben Roethlisberger better than Jake the Snake. I’d like to see the Steelers pound the Broncos into submission, rattle The Jake into a performance reminiscent of his former Arizona Cardinals self. I’d like to see Jerome Bettis get his last hurrah in the Super Bowl and I’d like to see a Steelers-Panthers Super Bowl.

But logic tells me the Broncos and their stinking Coors Lite brigade will not fail to disgust me by making this potentially exciting game a slow wearing down of Steeler resolve. A few chicks on their sidelines in hard hats and skimpy outfits might have helped.

Final Score:

Broncos 23
Steelers 10


NFC Championship - Carolina at Seattle

I confess, I’ll be rootin silly for the Carolina Panthers in this game. Steve Smith, recently anointed NFL coaching guru John Fox, a third string running back starting in place of the two injured guys who started before him and the nickname all combine to be sufficient incentives for rooting. Not only that, but the Panthers are the only team remaining out of my two preseason Super Bowl picks. The Jets bowed out after their season opening humiliation at the hands of the KC Chiefs.

But Mike Holmgren has proven, over a sometimes painfully long journey of post-Packer seasons, that he is a coaching talent to be reckoned with. This isn’t a spectacular team. Let’s face it, playing in a division tougher than the one they waltzed through the Seahawks wouldn’t have gained their 13 victories and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. And undoubtedly, beating the offensively Deadskins to get to the NFC finals is hardly a miraculous feat. But the Seahawks are here because in large part, of Mike Holmgren, maker of quality NFL Quarterbacks and Hasselbeck might prove yet to be one of them. Last week’s victory over the Redskins was more about Holmgren and home field and a weak opponent. It certainly wasn’t NFL MVP Shaun Alexander on the sidelines with a concussion.

Carolina is 8-2 on the road this year and 4-0 on the road under Fox in the postseason.

More importantly, “Cat” teams, as in Panthers, Jaguars, Lions and Bengals, are a combined 10-1 this season against “Bird” teams, as in Seahawks, Eagles, Cardinals, Falcons and Ravens. For that matter, why the hell are 9 NFL football teams named after cats and birds?! How fucking scary is a bird anyway, unless we’re watching a Hitchcock movie? Everyone knows how much cats like eating birds. If the Panthers were playing, say, the some team with a nickname like the Snarling, Rabid Giant Dogs, I’d say well, they haven’t got a chance. But lock them both up in a cage and 99 times out of 100, the Panther is going to eat the Seahawk.

And speaking of the importance of nicknames in deciding the outcomes of championship games, how do we classify a team like the Steelers? Are they considered a “Factory” team, like the Packers, for example? What about the omens buried in the Broncos nickname? Fuggetaboutit. We all saw how the Colts did last weekend. Horses are definitely out this season.

No, this game has weightier issues to ponder, like opposing quarterbacks with such meaty surnames as Hasselbeck and Delhomme.

Implausible Scenarios:

If Steve Smith’s receiving stats were to grow exponentially from his performances in the first two playoff games, he’d finish Sunday’s game with like, 28 receptions and 490 yards receiving and the Panthers probably win this game 59-3.

Smith’s td reception against the Bears on the second play of the game was even faster than Shawn Alexander’s TKO against the Redskins. Does this mean that if Shawn Alexander bursts for an 80 yard touchdown on the game’s first play from scrimmage then Steve Smith will break his leg running out onto the field during pregame introductions? Yes it does and that of course, would mean the Seahawks would win this one 31-10.


Fox is the new coaching genius in waiting now that Belichick is yesterday’s sandwich dropped into a kerbside rubbish bin and everybody knows that new coaching geniuses don’t lose to fat, walrus-like head coaches like Mike Holmgren.

Final Score:

Carolina 27 Seattle 13.

Ultimately, Seattle is closer to being Nike Town than Title Town.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Playoffs, Commercial Breaks and Expert Nattering

For the entirety of the NFL season the venerated and glassy eyed staff at Sports Amnesia have received their doses of NFL action in small dream-like quantities, fading in and out of consciousness between the hours of 1 and 4 in the morning every Sunday and Monday night.

This past weekend, although the Jacksonville @ New England match didn’t kick off until after 1 am locally, the other three playoff spots were decided in the relatively clear-headed hours of the late day and early, late mid evening and the first comment we have to make is that being awake for the NFL isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. Not yet anyway.

For starters, other than the Redskins-Bucs game, there weren’t more than a handful of compelling moments in the 240 minutes of playoff football and 575 minutes of playoff commercial hysteria (that’s the Sports Amnesia Unofficial Estimate.) After a slow starvation of bad MNF scheduling all season however, the hype machines of the American football networks, in particular, the ESPN feed, gave one the impression they were watching either the beginning or the end of civilisation which of course, we weren’t at all, just another demonstration of media getting in the way of reality.

The predictable pasting of the Jags by the Pats, the surprisingly apathetic and almost feminine fashion in which the Giants succumbed to the Panthers, the fall of Cincinnati’s Magic Boy before the brie and cranberry puffs and three mustard sausage appetisers had even been finished, and the offensive slowdown of the Skins-Bucs game, bore none of the apocalyptic hallmarks of the NFL postseason - snooze-fests one and all, especially disappointing for such a greatly anticipated weekend, especially disheartening given the hyperbolic drum beating of the American network lead-ins but most of all, an utter waste of time patched together through a disappointing myriad of seemingly incessant commercial breaks which reminds the staff here what a pleasure it is to watch 45 minutes of uninterrupted sport Saturday and Sunday afternoons in England when Europe’s commercial free, non-stop football matches are played.

Let’s count off a few of the insults, shall we?

1. The net yardage gained by the Redskins in the slobber knocker against the number one ranked defence of Tampa Bay, was the lowest by a team ever to win a playoff game. Sure, the broken forearm of Renaldo Wynn was graphic and exciting but with the exception of a Goat of The Year drop of a certain touchdown pass by Edell Shepherd in the 4th quarter end zone which would have tied the game for the Bucs and barring another fool-hearted and inexperienced interception by Chris Simms, probably would have earned them the win ultimately, this game was a battle of watching the game at hand whilst somehow drowning out the natterings of an ESPN broadcast team whose offensiveness bordered on criminal, particularly Joe Theisman, who has never been anyone’s favourite, and was undeniably wrong in his predictions and observations so often, you could almost set your watch by it. It’s frightening that this was arguably the best game of Wild Card Weekend.

2. I never thought the Bengals-Steelers game was going to be very exciting but when Carson Palmer went down with a destroyed knee in the Bengals’ first series, they might as well have waved the white flag and let everyone go home early. It would have saved us about 400 commercial breaks, sitting through painful episodes of John Kitna attempting to pick up the slack in Palmer’s absence and of course, watching the inevitable breakdown of the Bengals before their arch rivals.

3. Two playoff teams appeared to quit one half too early, the Giants and the Bengals – the Giants were so out-coached they don’t appear to have belonged in the post season at all. It tells you something about parity scheduling and the lack of talent in the rest of the league that the Giants not only made the playoffs but won their division to boot. And the Bengals at least had a good excuse having lost their franchise quarterback straight away but still, having fought hard in the first half not to let down, halftime appears to have brought the reality home that they weren’t going to advance, regardless of the home field advantage which proved useful in the end, only to the New England Patriots.

4. The overall lack of excitement other than prior to kickoff, in any of these matches. You hope that since it’s the postseason, every team is laying it out there, do or die, now or never, blablabla. Instead, the matches seemed to underscore importance of good head coaches and stiff defences.

5. How many times in NFL history have two brothers lost two wildcard games for two different teams on the same weekend like Ronde and Tiki Barber?

But with the field narrowed, a brief farewell to the Giants, Bucs, Jags and Bengals and the return of the true powerhouses of the season to the playoff fold, Sports Amnesia is painfully aware that in spite of a 4-0 mark for the Wildcard Weekend, this week’s matches might prove altogether too difficult to pinpoint.

For starters, every single game this weekend features a rematch. The Bears have already pasted the Panthers at home, the Skins nipped the Seahawks albeit at home, the Broncos trounced the Patriots in Denver and the Colts slashed and burned the Steelers in the Dome.

Last season all four divisional playoff games were rematches and each team which has lost the regular season also lost the playoff rematch. If that were to be the case this season, the AFC Championship would see Denver at Indy and the NFC Championship: Washington at Chicago. Hopefully, trends, like records, are made to be broken.

So you might imagine that this weekend’s matches are more a fait accompli than potentially memorable fixtures but with the weaker sisters left standing at the bus stop, these are all teams remaining who have enormously successful head coaches and will all be well prepared for the do or die moments ahead.

Carolina @ Chicago - John Fox and the Panthers, as I noted last week were in the Super Bowl only two seasons ago and if anything, appear stronger than they did that season. For the second week in a row their defence will be facing what amounts to an inexperienced QB (Rex Grossman, believe it or not, has only 7 career starts, fewer even than rookie QB Kyle Orton, whom he replaced, allegedly because he has more experience,) and an inexperienced team who will be just getting their post season feet wet.

Unlike the Jints before them, the Bears defence is not ailing in any way and in fact, are perhaps the most formidable defence this side of the Panthers. In their first meeting in Chicago the Bears sacked Carolina QB Delhomme 8 times. Clearly the addition of Foster to run wild and keep the Bears defence honest will be an advantage to the Panthers this time around and the fact that they were beaten so badly last time around will be a motivating factor for the Panthers.

This should be a low-scoring, smash-mouth sort of match up that might not look exciting on the telly but will be full of hard-hitting straight forward honest to god American football at its most brutal.

Panthers 10 Bears 7.

Pittsburgh @ Indianapolis - We can sum this one up neatly. No way does Bill Cowher, after going oh-for-his career on the road in the playoffs, suddenly reel off two playoff road victories in a row. Yes, the Steelers are hot. Yes, the Steelers defence is impressive. Yes, the Colts haven’t played a meaningful game since November and might be rusty. Yes, the Steelers aren’t likely to surrender an 80 yard touchdown pass on the game’s first play nor is Cowher likely to attempt another ill-conceived second half opening onside kick to surrender another easy touchdown to the league’s most powerful offence.

But Pittsburgh bears no resemblance to a team of destiny. Somehow, it’s difficult to imagine that the Colts won’t be jacked up playing at home, their first game since the death of their coach’s son, eager to prove themselves capable of living up to their season-long hype.

Colts 24 Steelers 9

New England @ Denver - This is bound to be the game of the weekend. With each passing week the Patriots begin to look more and more like the dominating team that won the last two Super Bowls. We all know Belichick has won his last 10 playoff games in a row, that Tom Brady has never lost and that the Broncos are 0-3 in the playoffs since John Elway retired.

(Interesting aside: Belichick and the other former Giant assistant coach in the playoffs, John Fox, are a combined 15-2 in the post season)

On the other hand, the Broncos lost only 3 games all season and two of those losses were by a total of 5 points so with a little luck, this team could have had as formidable a record as the Everybody Loves The Colts franchise.

The Broncos did a number on the Patriots earlier this season but we all know this is a different Patriots team altogether. And not only is this a different team but it hardly seems likely that after all this climbing and crawling back by the Patriots, the football gods are suddenly going to spoil this AFC Championship match for the ages by letting the Broncos or the Steelers squirt through in upsets.

Patriots 30, Broncos 26.

Washington @ Seattle - Did you know that the Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck was 9, and Shawn Alexander was 7 years old when the Seahawks last won a playoff game, December 22nd 1984?

Joe Gibbs is a hard man to defeat in the playoffs as his 18-5 career record in the post season attests to. In fact, when you look at the alleged coaching geniuses like Vince Lombardi, Bill Walsh, Jimmy Johnson Bill Belichick and Chuck Knoll, you’ll see that they all had Hall of Fame or future Hall of Fame QBs in Bart Starr, Joe Montana, Troy Aikman, Tom Brady and Terry Bradshaw respectively to lead these dynasties. Gibbs won three Super Bowls with three different QBs none of them even remotely Hall of Fame calibre. It makes you respect the Redskins chances, even if they aren’t favoured. Call it the Joe Gibbs Factor. Of course, there’s only so much one man, even a saviour, can do. The Redskin offence will not likely be as anaemic as it was against the Bucs last week, simply because the Seahawks defence is nothing to tremble in fear from. The Bucs were the number one ranked defence and it showed. The Seahawks will surrender points, even to a nearly crippled and overly fatigued Redskin offence.

The Skins are banged up, have been hurtling down this same do-or-die homestretch for almost two months now and at some point, whilst the motivation will be there, the ability to achieve the goal will not be. The Seahawks are my least favourite team still alive in the playoffs but they will advance at home, where they haven’t lost all season.

Seahawks 23, Skins 17 – and let’s home we’re wrong about this one.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Longhorns Spear Leaky Trojans and a New National Champion Is Born

The Trojans’ vaunted offensive juggernaut had a chance to clinch a third consecutive National Championship when it was 4th and 2 in Texas territory with a little over two minutes remaining and a five point lead.

Granted they were lining up against an equally vaunted defensive Longhorns side but with two All American linemen, three probable Top Ten NFL draft picks and two Heisman Trophy winners on their side, you’d have thought Pete Carroll was correct to go for it rather than try and punt the Horns deep in their own territory and force Vince Young to make an Elwayesque comeback. But apparently, he wasn’t.

After all, you don’t want your defence to lose the game when you’ve got the Greatest Offence In The History of the Universe on your side.

For the all yards and TDs and accolades for his superhuman clutch performance of Heisman Trophy revenge, Vince Young would not have gotten on the field for a final shot if the defence hadn’t gotten the ball back for him by stopping the Trojans on that 4th and 2 moment.

It’s college football at it’s zenith.


So at the time of writing, Jets coach Herm Edwards is a hair away from jumping to the Kansas City Chiefs.

You can point out Herm’s record as the Jets head coach as not being really good and not being really harmful. You can say his offence was dull, his postseason clock management harmful. You can say that losing Pennington was a blow the Jets could recover from easily next season, even with Edwards. After all, even Parcells’ Jets career went off the rails when Testaverde went down.

I think when he’s gone, sorry to see him go but the Jets have to start planning for the immediate future – offensive or defensive minded coach? Seems simple enough given the contrast in talent from one side to the other. Think Al Groh can be lured away from the University of Virginia? How about inducing Mike Ditka out of retirement? Paging Mr John Madden.

The Jets management have a pretty shite history when it comes to coaches flying to the coop before the end of their contracts. Parcells, Bellichick, Groh and now Edwards. What other team has that many voluntary departures from their head coaches?

There aren’t really any proven successful commodities available out there at the moment. The names I read are coaches with experience but no massive successes and assistance with no experience. The college coaches plan is a joke – so few are successful it isn’t worth speculating. Remember when the Cardinals brought Bud Wilkerson out of like a 50 year long deep freeze from college football and reinvented him as a 95 year old NFL coach? Or how about Steve Spurrier proving with the Redskins that college football is his ceiling?

Steve Mariucci? Didn’t he lead the ruin of the 49ers? How much magic did he have in Detroit? The one name I haven’t heard too often but might be intriguing is Greg Williams, defensive head coach of the Redskins. Granted, he led the Bills through several years of obscurity so just because he’s a hot defensive coach right now doesn’t mean he can cut it as the gaffer.

Ah, if only we could bring Charlie Weiss over from Notre Dame.

But we can’t. Not bloody likely now that he’s the campus guru.

There isn’t much to get excited about. Jim Haslett? Wow, bang up job leading disaster relief but the Jets aren’t quite that bad off yet.

It’s too bad Herm Edwards is leaving. There really isn’t much better out there at the moment.


The Results for the NFL Playoffs are in a few days early at Sports Amnesia. Our soothsayers have been hard at work conjuring visions of the following few weekends and here were the results:


Carolina @ NY Giants – Two seasons ago the Panthers surprised everyone not only by making it to the Super Bowl, but making a game of it against the Patriots. Manning II will one day prove his postseason mettle but this is only his second season and for now, there are more misses than hits. Tiki Barber is not going to be able to carry an entire team against a defence as formidable as that of Carolina’s. About the only thing in the Giants favour is playing at home but unless there’s a blizzard, don’t count on that making enough difference. Final score, Panthers 24, Giants 21.

Washington @ Tampa Bay - The primary factor to consider in this is that it wasn’t all that long ago the Bucs stole a game from the Redskins under somewhat controversial circumstances. The Redskins are going to be looking for payback on that one and are wholly unconvinced that they aren’t the better team. This is a Joe Gibbs coached team, let us not forget and it looks like, after a lot of starts and studders, his Jesus magic is taking hold of the team once more. Final score, Redskins 20 Tampa Bay 14.


Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati - Is it just me or does this look like a mismatch? This is an inexperienced Bengals side making their first foray into the postseason in years and their first opponent will be a bitter, physical and experienced Steelers team. The only thing the Bengals have going in their favour is Steelers coach Bill Cowher’s abysmal record coaching in the playoffs on the road. Still, I’m not sure playing in Cincinnati properly counts as on the road. Not when the Bengals run defence is simply not ready for the postseason. Final score, Steelers 28 Cincinnati 13.

Jacksonville @ New England - It would be the upset of the season if the Patriots don’t crush the Jags, simply put. Last season I made a meal out of picking against the Pats from the last few weeks of the season right on through to the Super Bowl. Silly me. So I’m trying reverse psychology this season – picking the Pats to win. The Pats may go down on the road against the Broncos or the Colts someday in the next month but it seems almost unfathomable that they will have clawed their way back to respectability only to lose at home in the first round against an offensively inadequate side like the Jags. Final score, Patriots 23 Jags 11

And let us not forget, when making massive wagers at your corner bookie’s, that it was Sports Amnesia who predicted in the back pages of obscurity, the score of the Rose Bowl as being Texas 36 USC 31.