Wild Wildcard Weekend
What an emotional weekend. Both 2010 Super Bowl teams are out. The team once talked about as being possible a 2011 Super Bowl contender, Mike Vick and the Eagles, are out. We all predicted this, right?
It was a tumultuous weekend around the NFL. It's the reason football fans love the game and the kind of uncertainty that peaks the curiosity of the casual observer.
The playoffs began with a game that was historic even before it began. The 7-9 Seattle Seahawks had the worst record of any team to reach the playoffs. Seattle was the home team in the playoffs expected to lose by the largest margin in history. This team earned a spot in the playoffs they didn't deserve, while teams with 10-6 records didn't make the playoffs. Right? Wrong. The Seahawks seemed to use all of the jokes and criticism as to fuel them. They defeated the reigning Super Bowl champs 41-36. The playoffs were off with a bang.I admit, I was thrilled to see the Saints knocked out so that I no longer had to endure all of the Super Bowl champs, "Who Dat" nonsense. Yes, I'm still bitter.
Next up was Saturday's prime time game, the Colts versus the New York Jets. Since the offseason, Jets coach Rex Ryan has spoken about wanting to beat Peyton Manning. All the more reason to not let it happen. Indy led at the half 7-0. The Colts regained the lead 16-14 with an Adam Vinatieri field goal with less than a minute left. It's too painful to recount details of the rest of the game, but in the last second of the game the Jets won the game by one point. The flashy, freaky Ryan got his wish. Still not sure how the universe, or the Colts defense, allowed this to happen.
AP - My poor, poor baby
The matchup I followed the least this weekend was Sunday's first game, the Baltimore Ravens versus the Kansas City Chiefs. The Ravens came off of a strong 12-4 regular season record and went in to Wildcard Weekend continuing their strength, winning over the a convincing Chiefs 31-7.
AP - Ravens' linebacker Ray Lewis, outside of the Old Spice commercials
Then, time for the game that I just knew would keep me from being totally heart broken this weekend. Green Bay v. Philadelphia. Yes, the Eagles were a mess in their last few regular season games, but with so much on the line, they were going to pull it together. The opening moments were a nightmare, with Mike Vick sacked on the opening drive. The Eagles were never able to get the lead and despite finally getting a touchdown and some momentum in the second half, a failed conversion attempt and an endzone interception of Vick's pass to Riley Cooper sealed the fate of the Eagles. The home advantage of the Linc wasn't enough to overcome Green Bay, who won 21-16.
As is the case for the Colts and the Eagles, the NFL season is essentially over for me. No one left to root for. Once I figure out who I will root against (aside from the Patriots, obviously) I will watch the remaining playoff games with casual interest. I'm sad that I won't get to feel the elation of a win for my teams, especially the kind that comes with a playoff victory. But that's part of the deal of sports: The joy, pain, and curveballs mimic life. It rarely turns out exactly the way you'd like, but you wouldn't miss the ride for the world.