Happy MLK Day everyone.
I come to you today to talk about the NFC and AFC title games yesterday. First off, both games were exciting. That is not to say that they were good, great or well played. They were both fun. But, both games had some serious issues, that are making me dislike the NFL more and more.
In the first game, Saints and Rams, there were mistakes made by both teams, poor play calling, star players not stepping up, but most importantly, a horrific missed call that changed the game completely. The mistakes made by the Rams in the first quarter, and pretty much all of the first half, were bad. Goff's interception was horrendous, Todd Gurley couldn't catch the ball and their defense was a sieve. The Saints did their part to keep it close though. They couldn't really capitalize on the turnovers, they only scored 13 points in the quarter, when it could have, or should have, been 21, Drew Brees was awful, Michael Thomas was held in check and Mark Ingram couldn't run. The only Saints player that looked prepared was Alvin Kamara. Sean Payton's game plan was shit too. He couldn't move the ball at will like he did last time they played. Sean McVay wasn't much better. His offense was very blah and bland. For these 2 offenses to only combine for 49 points, that was a shock. With all that said, there is one thing we should be talking about.
That missed pass interference was atrocious.
The defender even admitted that he was interfering, saying he was just trying to stop a TD. For the refs to swallow their whistles in that moment, in New Orleans, when it could have iced the game, that was terrible. If I were a Saints fan today, I would be so irritated. The officials in football have gotten worse every year, and that no call was how bad they have truly become. Officials seem to think the fans are there to watch them and not the players, and when they had a chance to do something right, to make the correct call, they absolutely blew it. There was an official right there, there was one behind the play, both of them had 4 eyes on the play, and none of them blew their whistle or threw their flag. This completely changed the complexion of the game. The Saints had to settle for a field goal, the Rams tied it up, then won in overtime.
Instead of the narrative being that Drew Brees is going to the Super Bowl at 40, Sean Payton is still a great offensive mind and Alvin Kamara's star is going to continue to shine, we are stuck having to hear about how Sean McVay is an "offensive genius" for 2 weeks now. And he did nothing to prove that. Goff was bad, Gurley was unplayable, the only receiver that showed up was Brandin Cooks, the Rams did not deserve that game. It was one of the worst no calls I've ever seen, and it totally changed this game. This is one of the few times that one single call truly changed the outcome of a game. I feel bad for Saints fans.
As for the AFC title game, it had one good quarter, that was it. The Patriots came out and decided to just run the ball, to keep it out of the Chiefs explosive offense's hands. And it worked. They dominated the ball and the game for a half. Even with Tom Brady looking a bit off, the Patriots were riding a 2 TD lead going into half.
Then things started to open up a bit. The Chiefs got the ball and scored right away. Patrick Mahomes looked more comfortable. The Chiefs were starting to stop the run. The Patriots did tack on a field goal, but the Chiefs went down and scored again to cut it to 3 with a quarter left.
But, and it wasn't as bad as the Saints game, the refs started to get involved. First off, Julian Edelmann touched that football. There is no denying it. Both of his thumbs touched the ball. But since he is on the Patriots, the refs, of course, gave him the benefit and said he didn't touch it. Brady did throw a pick though, and the chiefs turned it into a TD to take the lead. But no worries, the Chiefs defense regressed and couldn't stop the Patriots pass attack. They went right down the field and scored to take the lead. But so did the Chiefs. It was an exercise in defensive futility.
Just when I thought the Chiefs had the game in hand, going up 4 with about three minutes left, the Patriots, and the refs, changed all that. The roughing the passer call on the Chiefs was horrendous. That D tackle did not even touch Brady, maybe grazed his jersey, but since it caused him to overthrow the ball, the refs couldn't get their flags out fast enough. Then, Chris Hogan, who clearly dropped the ball, was given a gift when the review said he did catch it. If he caught that ball, then how did Dez Bryant and Calvin Johnson not catch the ball? Do you think it might be because they don't have Patriots written on their jerseys? I sure do.
Regardless of all this though, even after the Patriots scored, Mahomes and the Chiefs kicked a field goal to tie the game and send it to OT. This is where we get the dumbass NFL version of overtime. The fact that Mahomes and the Chiefs offense didn't even get to touch the ball is a crime. Sure, they should have stopped one of those third down plays, but give the offense a chance. The NFL needs to switch their rules. I do not like the newer rule of, if the team scores a TD the game is over. That is so unfair to the other team's offense. Just think if the NFL adopted the college football overtime rules. It would have been magical. As fun as that fourth quarter was, we could have gotten that times ten, if they played college overtime. Imagine the back and forth. But nope, the NFL is stupid and archaic and just way too stuck in their ways.
After watching these 2 games it was clear to me that the NFL clearly wanted the young hot shot team from LA to play the old, dynasty on the east coast. They really wanted the McVay-Belichek showdown. They want what they suspect to be the next dynasty playing the current dynasty.
I usually enjoy the Super Bowl regardless of who's playing. This year, I couldn't care less. I am so sick of watching the Patriots play, and I don't care about the Rams, and they shouldn't be there. The refs gave them that game. This Super Bowl, and all the stuff leading up to it, will be insufferable and boring. I'm already sick of all the stories that will come. I'm already tired of the "passing of the torch" stories that will be written and told. I'm over it. I'll watch the game because I am a football junkie, but that doesn't mean I won't complain about it, because it is going to be unbearable. I'd rather the Cubs win the World Series, or the Lakers win the NBA championship, than watch this Rams team lose to this Patriots team. It is some rough stuff.
Congratulations NFL, you got the matchup you wanted, and all it took was your terrible overtime rules and a horrendous, atrocious, disgusting and terrible no call. Oof magoof.
Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. He loves hearing all the ESPN guys cover for the league and say that any game does not come down to one play. Here’s the facts, the NFC championship did get decided by one terrible call. Congrats on your continued idiocy NFL.
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