10. Concussions and replacement refs and … oh, forget it. That was one of the best NFL weekends ever. A combined 276 points, 3,593 yards and two classic, illogical climaxes. Football has its faults, but it also just reminded us why it’s still the best sport on the planet.
9. Tom Brady is so good he can make a star out of Shane Vereen. The 2nd-round pick from California scored three touchdowns as New England’s third-string running back. Imagine Phillip Tanner with that kind of a day on that big of a stage.
8. I pity the poor souls on the other end of the headsets worn by Pete Carroll and John Fox. Their nervous, cocky, open-mouth gum-chomping must be a real joy to listen to for 3 ½ hours.
7. Don’t look now, but Peyton Manning is a 37-year-old with a 9-11 playoff record and only one Super Bowl win.
6. Falcons’ tight end Tony Gonzalez now has one playoff win in his 15 years in the NFL. Yet I’ve never heard him labeled a “choker.” Not once. Another example of how this town’s Tony is unfairly treated.
5. We’ve got computer-generated yellow lines. Robotic cameras than glide above the field and into the huddle. 360-degree, stop-action cameras. Animated robots. Speakers in helmets. Fake grass. 60-yard video boards. Even retractable roofs. Then why in the world can’t we come up with a better idea than the archaic chain gang? It’s part of football that hasn’t changed/advanced in 70 years. It seems nothing in the NFL is left to chance, except the arbitrary spotting of the ball. Which seems as if it’d be one of the easiest aspects to improve.
4. Quietly, Fox demoted its No. 2 broadcast team of Kenny Albert-Daryl Johnston-Tony Siragusa and leap-frogged it with Thom Brennaman-Brian Billick. Speaking of announcers, how the heck can CBS’ Phil Simms lose track of the score in crunch time? With the Texans down 13 to the Patriots and under a minute to play, Simms suggested Houston kick a field, try an onside kick and then throw a Hail Mary. Yeah? Convert all those and the Texans would’ve still been trailing by 3.
3. We’ll all breathlessly learn the Tampa 2 defense and Monte Kiffin’s coaching tree, but the NFL is all about offense. No losing team scored fewer than 28 points and the winners: 38, 45, 30 and 41. The Cowboys topped 30 only 4 times in 2012.
2. Collin Kaepernick is big and fast and accurate and elusive. But showing off his relatively slender biceps after touchdowns seems a tad silly. Nothing about his game is based on strength.
1. Rahim Moore = Nelson Cruz. Nursing a 7-point lead and with the Ravens at their own 30 with under a minute to play, Moore was one of three Broncos’ safeties. His only job: Nothing or no one gets behind you. Same as the Rangers’ outfielder in Game 6 of the 2010 World Series. Inexplicably, Moore misjudged Joe Flacco’s hopeful heave by a good three yards, allowing the ball and Jacoby Jones behind for him the game-tying touchdown Saturday night in Denver. You came blame the Broncos’ coaching staff for being too conservative and kneeling at the end of regulation with two timeouts and 31 seconds remaining, but Moore’s gaffe is Nellie-esque. Might have cost the Broncos a championship.
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