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  1. #1
    josdin00's Avatar
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    NFC Championship or SFC Championship?

    Pat Williams:
    34 tackles, 10 assists, 2 sacks, 3 passes defended, and 2 forced fumbles.
    Kevin Williams:
    22 tackles, 8 assists, 6 sacks, 7 passes defended, and 1 forced fumble.
    Charles Grant (now on injured reserve):
    31 tackels, 13 assists, 5.5 sacks, 2 passes defended, and 1 forced fumble.
    Will Smith:
    36 tackles, 13 assists, 13 sacks, 3 passes defended, 1 interception, and 3 forced fumbles
    Some of you already know where this is going, and have figured out what the 'S' in SFC stands for.

    Others of you haven't given much thought to the 'S' since some time around the end of the pre-season.

    With the Saints and Vikings set to meet in the NFC Championship on Sunday, I have to wonder: How much did the federal and state courts' rulings in the Starcaps case affect the NFL landscape this year?

    For those of you who don't remember, the federal court decided that the NFL was right in suspending the players mentioned above, that all the claims they brought about the banned substance not being listed on the Starcaps label, etc... didn't matter.

    But wait! The federal court also ruled that Minnesota state may not allow the NFL to punish Pat and Kevin in this case, so the Minnesota court should decide that issue before the suspensions are enforced.

    The commish decided, in a bout of fairness (I've heard there's a vaccine for that), that if they couldn't punish Pat and Kevin, then they probably shouldn't punish Charles and Will.

    So now the two teams most directly affected by all the legal loop-holes and arguments are meeting up to decide who represents the NFC in the Superbowl. How would it have been different if those players had not played in the first four games this year?

    Both teams went undefeated in their first four games.

    The Vikings opened with two solid games against the Browns and Lions. I think they still would have won those two games. They barely eeeked out a win against San Francisco in week three. That could have easily been a loss. Especially since Pat and Kevin were involved in 4 of the 6 tackles on the 49ers last two drives, which were both 3-and-outs. An extra first down on either of those drives, and the Vikings wouldn't have had time for that great Farve-to-Lewis(who?) comeback victory. The fourth game was against the Packers, whom the Vikings beat because they were able to pressure Aaron Rodgers all game long, sacking him 8 times.

    If the Vikings went 3-1 (losing to the 49ers) in those games, they would have finished with the same record as the Packers, though they still would have won the division based on tie-breakers. However, they would not have gotten the second seed in the playoffs. If they had gone 2-2, they would have finished at 10-6, behind the 12-4 Packers, and would have been a wild-card team. In either case, we would not have been at home for the divisional round, and it would have been a much tougher route to the NFC championship.

    The Saints had four solid wins versus the Lions, Eagles, Bills and Jets. I don't remember those games real well, except that the Jets were hanging with the Saints for a while in their game. The Saints finished the year at 13-3, and if they had lost one or two of those games, they could have very easily fell out of the #1 slot, possibly down to #3, though they would have won the division.

    Of course, all of this is heavily hypothetical (emphasis on the p[strike]a[/strike]othetic), but ever since it looked like the Saints and the Vikings would be 1-2 in the playoffs, I've had that nagging thought at the back of my mind, wondering just what would have happened if those four players hadn't been allowed to play at the start of this year.

  2. #2
    Prophet's Avatar
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    Re:NFC Championship or SFC Championship?

    I was wondering that too. I guess we can keep on wondering.
    Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. Mark Twain

  3. #3
    snowinapril's Avatar
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    Re: NFC Championship or SFC Championship?

    Good post by a thinking man!

    Does the Mn Judge get a complimentary SB ring from either team if they win. I hope does! The owner should buy him a duplicate.

  4. #4
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    Re: NFC Championship or SFC Championship?

    Overall, it is hard to tell what kind of impact it would have had, but in game four against the Jets Grant had his best game of the year (and in my opinion his only decent game) with 5 tackles and 2 sacks, while Will Smith had 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble.

    On a related note, most Saints fans seriously feel we have a better line now that Grant is gone.
    Saints Fan Since 1967

  5. #5
    Obidan's Avatar
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    Re: NFC Championship or SFC Championship?

    Good topic, josdin. I had not really given much thought to the bullet we dodged by the commissioner tying Smith and Grant's case with the Williams' cases in Minnesota. That was indeed a stroke of good fortune for the Saints.

    As Guido pointed out, Grant may have had his best game this year against the Jets. But the two combined for 6.5 sacks and one INT in both the Bills and Jets games (games 3 & 4). Both games were closer than the fianl score indicated as well.

    Who knows what the outcome could have been if all of those guys would have been suspended for those first four games.

    On a side note, Saints backup interior lineman Jamar Nesbitt opted to take the four game suspension in 2008. By doing that it appears he got screwed out of four game checks.
    Dan
    SaintsReport.com

  6. #6
    josdin00's Avatar
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    Re: NFC Championship or SFC Championship?

    Obidan wrote:
    On a side note, Saints backup interior lineman Jamar Nesbitt opted to take the four game suspension in 2008. By doing that it appears he got screwed out of four game checks.
    He may have gotten screwed out of four game checks, but he also doesn't have this still hanging over his head once the Saints start their offseason on Monday. There is something to be said for that.

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