Super Bowl Sunday Picks
Wow, how right was I? If only Brad Childress had listened to The Axis of Stevil Show on Saturday, he would have never sent the offense out on the field against the Saints when he got the turnover on the New Orleans ten yard line. He would have marched his special teams unit straight out there and taken the sure 3 and avoided the Brett "Middle Man" Favre and his offense turning over the ball and the Vikings would be headed to the Super Bowl. If you missed the show, you can hear it here. Here is what I said in my post about it.
On three occasions in this game, Dallas turned the ball over in field goal range. First on the 20, then on the 15, and finally on the 31. Had Minnesota just marched their kicker out there and attempted the field goal straight out the gate off of these turnovers, they would likely have netted 9 points off of them. Instead, they put the ball in the hands of Brett Farve who was able to turn a sure 9 points into 6. I guess that is amazing in it's own little way.
Now I know it wasn't Favre that turned the ball over here, but it was his offense. That having been said, let me take a moment to dispose of this notion that this game was somehow a fluke for Favre. I'm sick and tired of him being called one of the best quarterbacks in the league. Yea, you loved it when I ate the crow last week, so bear with me while I wash it down with a nice tall cold glass of Brett Favre Haterade.
A Giant Debacle
Date: Jan. 20, 2008 Score: Giants 23, Packers 20
On a frigid night in Green Bay and with a Super Bowl berth on the line, Favre faded badly in the second half of the NFC Championship game. He ended his Packer career with an ugly overtime interception to Corey Webster that the Giants converted into the game-winning field goal. Favre said good-bye to Green Bay looking old, cold, and indifferent.
Raped And Plundered
Date: Jan. 9, 2005 Score: Vikings 31, Packers 17
Minnesota visited Lambeau Field as a lightly regarded, 8-8 Wild Card team. The Packers were division champs on a late season roll. Favre responded with yet another playoff stinker, throwing four interceptions. The bad taste of this game carried over into a disastrous 2005 and led to the firing of coach Mike Sherman.
A Pack Of Birds
Date: Jan. 11, 2004 Score: Eagles 20, Packers 17
Favre led Green Bay to a first-quarter advantage in this NFC playoff contest, then seemingly disappeared for the rest of the game. Handed a chance to win in overtime, Favre heaved an ill-advised pass into the hands of Philly's Brian Dawkins. The Eagles converted the pick into the game-winning field goal.
Quoth The Falcon
Date: Jan. 4, 2003 Score: Falcons 27, Packers 7
As NFC North champs, the Packers were a big favorite going into this Wild Card matchup. Green Bay never got on track offensively, Atlanta jumped out to a big lead, and Favre killed any second half comeback attempt with poor play—a lost fumble and an interception in Green Bay's first home playoff loss in history.
Grab A Six Pick
Date: Jan. 21, 2002 Score: Rams 45, Packers 17
The hype for the "Brett Favre vs. Kurt Warner" showdown in the NFC playoffs was huge, but Favre delivered one of the worst postseason quarterback performances in history, tossing six interceptions with two returned for touchdowns.
Now, I am well aware that Brett Favre has passed Marino for all of the NFL Passing records. But understand the difference between a guy who sets records and a guy who compiles records. Despite holding all of the top passing records, Dan Marino is 8th (as of the start of the 2009 season) all time in interceptions with 252. He formerly held the record for most attempts, completions, touchdown passes, and more. The guy whose records he broke was one Fran Tarkenton, who is 5th on the all time interceptions list with 266. Brett Favre, the current holder of all of those records, is #1 on the all time interceptions list with 310. #2 isn't even close with 277. Brett Favre isn't a great quarterback who breaks records. Brett was a good quarterback who hangs around long enough to compile statistics that add up to a record.
I won't address the Brett Favre retirement issue as to speculate if he will stay or if he will go. I'm pretty sure he will schedule another cry baby press conference for the Super Bowl halftime show which will start with Brett in a purple prom dress and end in a make-out session with John Madden and yet another Super Sunday wardrobe malfunction as the two dream of retirement together. Then at some point, I'm sure we will get the reports that Brett has changed his mind. But I, personally, can't think of a better way for the second most over-rated quarterback in the history of the game to go out. 2nd, you ask? Yea, the very fact that anyone even loosely associated with an NFL franchise thought that Kordell Stewart could be a Quarterback makes him the all time most over-rated. Brett ain't far behind.
If Brett comes back, I'm sure we'll all get a few more good laughs as his fans take him seriously one more time. If he doesn't, what a fitting way for it all to end. Sure, Brett got knocked around. He got absolutely blasted by the Saint's defense. He got hit so hard that he wound up sitting on the training table trying to figure out if the team doctor was holding up 3 fingers or a pack of hot dogs. But that... check that. Nothing is an adequate excuse for that pass Brett threw at the end of the game. There was a rookie QB on the field Sunday, but he wasn't in New Orleans, and he was far more disciplined than that.
Some are pinning this loss on Brad Childress. To them I say, give me the game plan that gives 4 turnovers to the best offense in the NFL and comes away with the win. Yet with under 40 seconds in the game, that is where the Vikings were. A"do"able 56 yard field goal away from a trip to the Super Bowl in Miami. Brett Favre had the ball in his hands. He had the odds in his favor. He had to chose one of four options. 3 left you with a good chance to win, one did not. The numbers alone dictate that one has a 75% chance of selecting a winning option.
1. Snap the ball and take the knee. Not the best choice, but a 56 yard field goal is possible.
2. As he scrambled, throw the ball away. Once again, not the best, but you still have that 56 yard field goal attempt upcoming.
3. Scramble. There is a clear lane ahead of Brett. Even with his injured ankle, he is sure to get a minimum of 5 yards. This would set up a field goal attempt of between 46 and 51 yards.
4. As you scramble to your right, throw back across your body into the double coverage into the middle of the field.
3 acceptable choices, yet Brett goes with the 4th choice, which was a completely unacceptable decision. Against all odds, Brett Favre managed to snatch defeat from the hands of victory. Why? Because Brett always does. Can you find blame elsewhere? Of course. If Peterson doesn't fumble at the Saints ten... If Childress doesn't send 12 men into the huddle... all of these scenarios I recognize. Yet there was one, and only one point where it was make or break do or die. You didn't need a great pass. Heck, you didn't even need a pass. You didn't need a great run. Truth be told, you might not have even needed a run at all. You needed an average quarterback with marginal decision skills. What you had was Brett Favre. Hence, New Orleans goes to Miami to take on Indianapolis.
Never before have I seen a Championship round that presented such polar opposites. The Colts went up against the #1 defense in the league and slowly but surely picked it apart. Manning was unbelievable. He was nearly perfect reading and adjusting to that defense. New Orleans played exactly as poorly as a team can play while advancing. Given 5 turnovers, the Saints needed all of them to convert on a long field goal after a several close calls went their way to put them in position for said field goal. They were positively horrible. I don't see the Colts having much trouble with the Saints on their way to Mannings second ring. Indianapolis gets the win here no problem.
As for the Vikings and the Jets, let me say this. I am no Jets fan by any stretch of the imagination. I feel the need to applaud them on a great season. That having been said, let us face the fact that they overachieved and probably won't get nearly this far next year. For the Vikings, I was very impressed with their defense. Offensively, they are a pretty good team to. If they give up on this ridiculous notion that Brett Favre is the missing piece to the puzzle, they could well be on their way to the big game next year. If they rely on Brett again, look for another notorious Favre melt down to knock them out of the playoffs once again.