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  1. #1
    Prophet Guest

    PFT Ten-pack: The Wild Card Round

    POSTED 8:01 p.m. EST, January 8, 2006
    PFT TEN-PACK: THE WILD CARD ROUND
    pft.com

    We'll admit that we've taken a little time off with the whole ten-pack thing. It actually takes a lot of work . . . and we're actually kind of lazy.

    But now that all of the games count again, no motivation is required to prompt us to come up with ten takes from the four games played in the past two days.

    1. Shutout Like A Fox.

    The last time the Giants played a home game in the Meadowlands, Panthers coach John Fox was New York's defensive coordinator. On that day, the Giants pasted the Vikings -- 41 to zip -- for a berth in the Super Bowl.

    In the five seasons since, the Giants had played only one postseason game, at San Francisco three years ago.

    In the Giants' return to the Meadowlands for a playoff contest, Fox was on the opposing sideline. And the team coached by Fox pitched another shutout, 23 to nil.

    So in the Giants' last two playoff games at the Meadowlands, Fox's teams have won by a combined score of 64-0.

    And in the last three total playoff games played in Jersey, including the Jets' 2002 win over the Colts, the winning teams have scored a total of 105 points, and the losers haven't cracked the scoreboard.

    Back to the Giants, there's a certain karma, we believe, to the fact that the Giants played so poorly in a home playoff game, given that they picked up an extra home game during the regular season as a result of Hurricane Katrina. There wasn't much talk about the Giants' bonus game near the end of the season, but the fact that the team only had to pack the bags and go on the road seven times during the regular season easily could have made a difference in at least one game, and one game was the difference between winning the division (and getting a home playoff game), and being a wildcard.

    2. Jags Not Ready For The Playoffs.

    We're not prepared to suggest that Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio could soon find himself out of work, given that there were rumblings prior to the season that it was playoffs or else for the third-year head coach. But we wouldn't be shocked to start hearing rumors that the coach of the worst 12-4 team in NFL history is in a little hot water.

    And deservedly so. The Jags looked very bad on Saturday night in New England, and thoroughly unprepared for the realities of playoff football.

    It really didn't help the Jags that, since upsetting the Bengals and Steelers on back-to-back weekends in October, they played only one of 10 games against a team worth a crap (the Colts on December 11). The other nine games came against patsies: the Rams, Texans, Ravens, Titans, Cardinals, Browns, 49ers, Texans, Titans.

    And the Jags went 8-1 in those games, against teams with a combined final record of 39-105.

    Also, the outcome of the Jaguars' first playoff game since the 1999 AFC championship should send a loud message to the Colts, who faced two tough games this season against the team from Jacksonville. On Saturday night, the Patriots manhandled Indy's home-and-home rival; thus, that monkey Peyton Manning shook off of his neck bolts during the regular season could be back in a big way, if the Pats and Colts get together in the postseason.

    3. Taylor Won't Be Suspended For Next Week's Game.

    One of the biggest questions in the wake of Redskins safety Sean Taylor's ejection for putting a loogie in the face mask of a guy who knows a thing or two about antisocial behavior, Bucs running back Michael "Bumper Cars" Pittman, is whether the league will suspend Taylor for next week's showdown against the Seahawks.

    Though most think it's unlikely that the league would force Taylor out of a divisional playoff game, no one (to our knowledge) has pointed to the best piece of evidence in support of the conclusion that Taylor will play.

    In a playoff game against the Lions seven years ago, Redskins offensive lineman Tre' Johnson made contact with an official during a fight. Johnson was suspended for one game. But the suspension applied to the first game of the following regular season, not to the next playoff game.

    So look for the league to do the same thing here, if the ultimate decision is to suspend Taylor for doing something that plenty of women across the country would love to do to Pittman.

    4. Why Wasn't Taz Ejected, Too?

    We'd love to know where the line is as to unsportsmanlike conduct resulting in an ejection. In the case of Redskins safety Sean Taylor, spitting in the face of an opponent was enough to get him booted. In the case of Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, who blew a gasket after a play in the second quarter of Sunday's game at Cincy and thrust the ball toward a Bengals player, a flag was thrown onto the field -- but Polamalu was not thrown out of the game.

    So why didn't the Tasmanian Devil not get pitched from the game under circumstances arguably similar to those that resulted in the ejection of the Tasmanian Turd?

    Must bodily fluids be involved in the unsportsmanlike conduct?

    And if throwing a punch can get a guy kicked out of a game, why doesn't throwing a football at a guy trigger the same result?

    We think the explanation here is that the offending player's general reputation drives the inherently discretionary decision as to whether he get ejected. Taylor is regarded as a punk and a thug, and Polamalu isn't.

    We're not saying that Polamalu wouldn't have been kicked out of the game if he had been caught spitting in the face of a Bengals player. But we have a feeling that Taylor likewise would have been pitched for throwing a ball at an opponent (or, as the case may be, for pulling a gun on him).

    5. Brokeback Broadcast Booth.

    A few weeks back, we poked a little fun at the decision of ABC's Al Michaels to wear a scarf over his suit jacket in the relative warmth and comfort of the broadcast booth. Specifically, we suggested that, if Michaels is moved to break out that combination in the future, he should merely paint his fingernails pink and write "It's Raining Men" in lipstick on his forehead.

    But there was Michaels again on Saturday night, with a scarf draped over his coat-and-tie attire. And this time he wasn't alone; "partner" John Madden also was wearing over his own jacket a scarf that was roughly the length of an entire roll of toilet paper.

    We're not suggesting that either man is, you know, a fruitcake. But if the Madden Cruiser's a-rockin', we sure as hell don't plan to go a-knockin'.

    6. Berman Has The Steve Young Disease.

    We've griped on several occasions this season regarding Steve Young's propensity to use ten-dollar words during ESPN's pregame show, which happens roughly as often as he nuzzles the crotch of Falcons quarterback Michael Vick.

    It now appears that Steve's "I'm smarter that everyone" tendencies have rubbed off on some of his partners, specifically including Chris Berman, who uttered the word "neophyte" on Sunday.

    So what does "neophyte" mean, Coach Madden?

    "I think it's a guy who paints his fingernails pink and writes 'It's Raining Men' on his forehead with lipstick."

    Or who wears a scarf over his clothes while indoors.

    7. Pats Got Their Wish.

    There were rampant rumors in league circles this week that the Patriots deliberately blew their regular-season finale against the Dolphins so that they would host the Jaguars, not the Steelers, in the first round of the playoffs.

    Conspiracy theorists point to two things -- the decision to allow Doug Flutie to attempt a drop kick for a key extra point and Matt Cassel's overthrown attempt on what would have been a game-tying two-point conversion with no time remaining.

    As to Flutie's extra-point try, a miss would have left the Pats down by six points with a little more than six minutes to play, and the field goal that the Fins picked up later in the quarter would have stretched the lead to nine -- too much to be caught with only one score.

    As to Cassel's incompletion, some think he was told to throw the ball away, in order to ensure that the Pats would face an easier opponent in the wild card round. Obviously, there's no way to prove that, and we're not saying that the speculation is true. But there are league insiders who definitely believe that that's what occurred.

    Given the differences in the performance of the Jaguars and the Steelers over the weekend, we also think it was a smart move, if it is indeed what occurred.

    8. Whisenhunt Earns A Few Interviews.

    Even though his predecessor is struggling in Buffalo as the head coach, Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt likely got himself a extra few sit-downs with a well-designed gadget play that put the Steelers up by 11 points late in the third quarter in Cincinnati. It started with a direct snap to receiver Antwaan Randle El. The former Indiana quarterback ran to the right and then threw a lateral across the field to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who then fired a touchdown pass to a wide open Cedrick Wilson.

    Whisenhunt previously had been mentioned as a possible candidate in Houston, Green Bay, and St. Louis. Other teams with vacancies now could be interested, given the manner in which the Steelers offense picked apart an otherwise solid Cincy defense. The continuation of the Steelers' season could hurt Whisenhunt's chances, however, since no assistant coach can be hired until his current team is done.

    And with offensive line coach Russ Grimm on the short list in Detroit, there's a chance that two members of the Steelers' offensive staff could be moving on as head coaches in 2006.

    9. Bengals Need to Keep Kitna.


    As the Bengals' dream season disintegrated into a full-blown nightmare on Sunday, backup quarterback Jon Kitna got a chance to show that he can still play starting quarterback in the NFL. With Kitna poised to become a free agent in March, his name could pop up on the list of teams looking for some new blood at the position (however, Kitna's second-half showing was far less impressive than his play in the first two quarters).

    But with Carson Palmer out of action for several months with a torn ACL, the Bengals need to have Kitna around to lead the offense through offseason workouts, and to possibly take the reins in training camp and during the preseason, if Palmer isn't ready to go.

    And that's where Palmer's relatively cap friendly contract could help the team find a way to pay Kitna. Still, if Kitna decides that he wants to be "the guy" somewhere else, he'll likely have a chance to do so -- by virtue of the very injury that underscored his importance to the Bengals.

    10. Caliendo Could Use A Salad Or Two.

    We love Frank Caliendo's segments on FOX's pregame shows, specifically his impressions. But the thing that makes his takes on John Madden and Andy Rooney so good is the same thing that makes his imitations of less, um, ample men like Robert DeNiro and George Bush harder to, well, stomach.

    Frank, you see, is a large man. Nothing wrong with that. But the whole time we were watching him on Sunday as DeNiro, we were distracted by the fact that Caliendo looks nothing like him.

    We know that plenty of guys have made plenty of money -- enabling them to buy plenty of cheeseburgers -- by sporting some extra chrome in the under belly and some extra junk in the trunk. John Belushi, John Goodman, Chris Farley, Horatio Sanz, etc., were laughing all the way to the deli (and/or the morgue) by virtue of the comedic value of being big.

    But Frank doesn't need to be fat to be funny. And if he chooses to stay that way, we recommend that he stick to the imitations of guys of similar girth.

  2. #2
    snowinapril's Avatar
    snowinapril is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: PFT Ten-pack: The Wild Card Round

    "Prophet" wrote:
    POSTED 8:01 p.m. EST, January 8, 2006
    PFT TEN-PACK: THE WILD CARD ROUND
    pft.com

    We'll admit that we've taken a little time off with the whole ten-pack thing. It actually takes a lot of work . . . and we're actually kind of lazy.

    But now that all of the games count again, no motivation is required to prompt us to come up with ten takes from the four games played in the past two days.

    1. Shutout Like A Fox.

    The last time the Giants played a home game in the Meadowlands, Panthers coach John Fox was New York's defensive coordinator. On that day, the Giants pasted the Vikings -- 41 to zip -- for a berth in the Super Bowl.

    In the five seasons since, the Giants had played only one postseason game, at San Francisco three years ago.

    In the Giants' return to the Meadowlands for a playoff contest, Fox was on the opposing sideline. And the team coached by Fox pitched another shutout, 23 to nil.

    So in the Giants' last two playoff games at the Meadowlands, Fox's teams have won by a combined score of 64-0.

    And in the last three total playoff games played in Jersey, including the Jets' 2002 win over the Colts, the winning teams have scored a total of 105 points, and the losers haven't cracked the scoreboard.

    Back to the Giants, there's a certain karma, we believe, to the fact that the Giants played so poorly in a home playoff game, given that they picked up an extra home game during the regular season as a result of Hurricane Katrina. There wasn't much talk about the Giants' bonus game near the end of the season, but the fact that the team only had to pack the bags and go on the road seven times during the regular season easily could have made a difference in at least one game, and one game was the difference between winning the division (and getting a home playoff game), and being a wildcard.
    You know I totally forgot about that. I thought I watch a decent amount of Football last week and I didn't here that mentioned about that advantage they had.

    Karma indeed.

    If they were like Earl, they would go down to LA and do some good deeds for the Saints to make up for the injustice. Also, they need to go to the team that they kept out of the playoffs and make it up to them also.

  3. #3
    snowinapril's Avatar
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    Re: PFT Ten-pack: The Wild Card Round

    "Prophet" wrote:
    POSTED 8:01 p.m. EST, January 8, 2006
    PFT TEN-PACK: THE WILD CARD ROUND
    pft.com



    4. Why Wasn't Taz Ejected, Too?

    We'd love to know where the line is as to unsportsmanlike conduct resulting in an ejection. In the case of Redskins safety Sean Taylor, spitting in the face of an opponent was enough to get him booted. In the case of Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, who blew a gasket after a play in the second quarter of Sunday's game at Cincy and thrust the ball toward a Bengals player, a flag was thrown onto the field -- but Polamalu was not thrown out of the game.

    So why didn't the Tasmanian Devil not get pitched from the game under circumstances arguably similar to those that resulted in the ejection of the Tasmanian Turd?

    Must bodily fluids be involved in the unsportsmanlike conduct?

    And if throwing a punch can get a guy kicked out of a game, why doesn't throwing a football at a guy trigger the same result?

    We think the explanation here is that the offending player's general reputation drives the inherently discretionary decision as to whether he get ejected. Taylor is regarded as a punk and a thug, and Polamalu isn't.

    We're not saying that Polamalu wouldn't have been kicked out of the game if he had been caught spitting in the face of a Bengals player. But we have a feeling that Taylor likewise would have been pitched for throwing a ball at an opponent (or, as the case may be, for pulling a gun on him).
    I was wonering about this also. It seems like I have seen quite a few punches and jabs thrown lately with no ejections. I thought it was an automatic ejection for throwing a punch.

    Taylors opponent, threw a jab at him right in front of the ref.

    I saw a couple other too I just can't remember specifics.

  4. #4
    Prophet Guest

    Re: PFT Ten-pack: The Wild Card Round

    7. Pats Got Their Wish.

    There were rampant rumors in league circles this week that the Patriots deliberately blew their regular-season finale against the Dolphins so that they would host the Jaguars, not the Steelers, in the first round of the playoffs.

    Conspiracy theorists point to two things -- the decision to allow Doug Flutie to attempt a drop kick for a key extra point and Matt Cassel's overthrown attempt on what would have been a game-tying two-point conversion with no time remaining.

    As to Flutie's extra-point try, a miss would have left the Pats down by six points with a little more than six minutes to play, and the field goal that the Fins picked up later in the quarter would have stretched the lead to nine -- too much to be caught with only one score.

    As to Cassel's incompletion, some think he was told to throw the ball away, in order to ensure that the Pats would face an easier opponent in the wild card round. Obviously, there's no way to prove that, and we're not saying that the speculation is true. But there are league insiders who definitely believe that that's what occurred.

    Given the differences in the performance of the Jaguars and the Steelers over the weekend, we also think it was a smart move, if it is indeed what occurred.
    I wouldn't be surprised if this is true. Bellichick is too wise to admit it though. Why not set yourself up when you are in position to. He did't throw the game, but did give some peopel chances at doing some things that he woudn't have had the game had more meaning. Good choice.

    ===============================

    I'm surprised that the Vikings win in the meadowlands wasn't played down more in the days coming up to the wildcard game. The Jints got what they deserved.

  5. #5
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    Re: PFT Ten-pack: The Wild Card Round

    ROTFFLMMFAO!!!

    5. Brokeback Broadcast Booth.

    A few weeks back, we poked a little fun at the decision of ABC's Al Michaels to wear a scarf over his suit jacket in the relative warmth and comfort of the broadcast booth. Specifically, we suggested that, if Michaels is moved to break out that combination in the future, he should merely paint his fingernails pink and write "It's Raining Men" in lipstick on his forehead.

    But there was Michaels again on Saturday night, with a scarf draped over his coat-and-tie attire. And this time he wasn't alone; "partner" John Madden also was wearing over his own jacket a scarf that was roughly the length of an entire roll of toilet paper.

    We're not suggesting that either man is, you know, a fruitcake. But if the Madden Cruiser's a-rockin', we sure as hell don't plan to go a-knockin'.

    6. Berman Has The Steve Young Disease.

    We've griped on several occasions this season regarding Steve Young's propensity to use ten-dollar words during ESPN's pregame show, which happens roughly as often as he nuzzles the crotch of Falcons quarterback Michael Vick.

    It now appears that Steve's "I'm smarter that everyone" tendencies have rubbed off on some of his partners, specifically including Chris Berman, who uttered the word "neophyte" on Sunday.

    So what does "neophyte" mean, Coach Madden?

    "I think it's a guy who paints his fingernails pink and writes 'It's Raining Men' on his forehead with lipstick."

    Or who wears a scarf over his clothes while indoors.
    BANNED OR DEAD...I'LL TAKE EITHER ONE

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