Monday, January 15, 2007

Monday 01/15 A.M. Quickie:
NFL Gets Best-Case Scenario

The NFL couldn't have asked for a better or more compelling pair of conference championship games. In fact, I can't remember a better PAIR of games than the ones coming next week:

In the NFC, you have best turnaround story in the NFL of the year (and possibly ever) facing the best team in the conference this season.

Chicago has home-field advantage, the conference's best defensive player and its most controversial QB situation, and arguably the conference's most marquee franchise. The Saints have the conference's best offensive player and its top two rookies, along with the sympathy of every non-committed fan. Going on the road for the chance to make the Super Bowl -- after last season?! -- only reminds everyone of their permanent road-team status from a year ago.

Rooting interest analysis: Who ISN'T rooting for the Saints? (Cripes: To make the freaking SUPER BOWL? You'd have to be heartless... or a Bears fan.)

In the AFC, you simply have the NFL's greatest rivalry of the decade – even better because the game is at Indy, giving the Colts that extra level of advantage that will make any loss sting that much more.

It's very simple and so so so compelling: Either the Colts finally overcome their nemesis and finally make the Super Bowl or the Colts are bested again, adding to their epic inability to win the AFC, let alone an NFL championship.

Rooting interest analysis: Fans without a rooting interest in this game are in a bind: How can you not be rooting to see the Colts lose... again? But how can you actually want to see the Pats win... again? You could say that either result would provide you with some measure of schadenfreude, but both results also deliver quite a bit of pain, too. We'll put this up for debate over the course of the week.

Tom Brady, Pats kicker do it again: When Tom Brady and the Pats offense got the ball late in the 4th quarter down 8 points after that ridiculous McCree INT-fumble on what should have been a game-ending gaffe by Brady, who DIDN'T think he'd rally them for the TD to bring them within 6, then pull off the Gators-style trickery on the conversion to tie it? And then who DIDN'T think, if given the chance, Brady would plow down the field and set up the game-winning field goal? He's so damn predictable. So damn damn damn predictable.

Meanwhile, The Genius was right: Who needs Adam Vinatieri? Obviously, Stephen Gostkowski hasn't kicked a game-winning field goal in the Super Bowl (uh, a few times), but yesterday's game-winner on the road with a minute to go wasn't a bad start.

Marty Schottenheimer is the biggest loser in the history of NFL coaching. It's no longer a mockery; he has no business coaching a contender. Yesterday's loss is his worst yet.

I'd sooner fire him than have a coach who so consistently makes the playoffs, yet so consistently fails to win in the playoffs.

This year was the worst: He had the best and hottest team in the NFL. Home-field advantage. The league MVP. The best defensive player. An 8-point lead in the fourth quarter. And he choked... yet again.

If the Chargers have any aspirations of making the Super Bowl while their nucleus of stars is still intact, they need to fire Marty and find a coach who actually knows how to win in the playoffs.

As for the Bears win over the defending NFC champs? All I can say is that it affirms the argument that the team's MVP this season is/was... kicker Robbie Gould. That was a hell of a boot. I'll actually be in Chicago tomorrow through Thursday; I'll try to keep up the posting through the hysteria all around me.

NFL OT rule is the worst: People complain endlessly about the way that college football determines its champion.

But as wacked as that system is, for sheer ridiculousness, nothing tops the NFL's system of awarding its first (and often only) playoff possession based on... a coin flip.

In all of sports, there is no worse system that impacts a championship than the NFL's overtime rule for awarding possession, particularly when it happens in the playoffs.

I say this every year: The system won't change until the Super Bowl winner is decided by a coin flip. Only then, when the league is humiliated so universally, will the NFL go to a "fair-ups" OT system.

Cards hire Steelers' Whisenhunt: I'm not quite sure why the Steelers passed on him (or left him hanging for so many years as the presumptive in-house successor if/when Cowher left), but the Cards took advantage. Enjoy Russ Grimm, Steelers fans.

Don't forget to check out my eulogy for the cancelled "Quite Frankly" right below.

-- D.S.


Anonymous said...

All I have to say after that weekend of Football is WOW. I can not remember better games then these. Yes, some where sloppy, pats-chargers, but they where all close and all pretty much game down to the last minutes of the 4th quarter.

As a Patriots fan I still can not believe they actually won that game. If not for a couple of boneheaded plays as well as some curious coaching decision San Diego should of blown out the Patriots. But I guess that the story of a Schottienhemier coached team. Micheal Felger over at as a great story about this.

As for me of course I am rooting for the Patriots but I will be rooting for the Bears in the NFC just to have a shot at getting some revenge for the 1986 Superbowl.

Unknown said...

NFL OT the best system

I really like the NFL OT system and hate the college version. The reason is that in the NFL they keep playing football the same way they did for the previous 60 minutes. I hate shootouts in soccer and hockey because there is little resemblence to the rest of the game.

It has been shown that receiving the ball first by winning the coin flip doesn't really improve your chance of winning. Seattle won the coin flip and the Bears won the game yesterday. The reason is that the Bears kickoff team (not part of the college OT system) did their job. Then their defense did their job and then their punt return team and then their offense.

If a team wins the coin flip and returns the kick for a TD then I say too bad, they should have played better on kick returns. That is a fundamental part of the game.

Anonymous said...

Personally I think the overtime should be handled like almost every other sport. Play another quarter, if it still tied after that keep going until you have a winner.

Anonymous said...

Lenny, I think you are incorrect in terms of no one expecting the Colts to win this Sunday. They are at home and playing the best defensively of any of the four remaining teams. That should and are the favorite to win on Sunday. And I also think you are going to see all the experts come out and pick the Colts.

Anonymous said...

Lt and the Chargers yesterday after the game proved to be sore losers. Did the Patriots go over the top, I am not sure because the cameras did not really show the Patriots celebration.

And you know what I would probably be a sore loser if I lost the way they did. I game they clearly should of won in a blow out they lost because of bad coaching, stupid mental mistakes and dumb turnovers.

Oh, I know this is going to sound nitpicky but how was that not a face mask penatly when Colvin intercepted the pass and LdT took him down with his hand in the Mask. Was it one of those it LdT he could not of done type things.

Anonymous said...

"Gator-style trickery?"

Come on. The Pats have been running that play for years. Notably in the Superbowl against Carolina. Faulk should get more pub for what he means to that team.

I missed the games Saturday for a wedding, but what about that hit on Reggie Bush, its on you tube. That was incredible.

Anonymous said...

Felger is a grat writer!!

" The Patriots did the things winners do. The Chargers did the things losers do. It’s why the Pats are on their way to Indianapolis for the AFC Championship Game.
And when the Pats’ thrilling, 24-21 divisional playoff win over the Chargers was in the books early last night, Rosevelt Colvin came off the field at Qualcomm Stadium with fire flying from his mouth.
“Shut the power off!” shrieked Colvin down a hallway to a group of Chargers players entering their locker room.
His voice echoed off the walls, and stadium security guards began to inch off their posts in anticipation of a Chargers player going at the Pats linebacker.
“It’s lights out!” continued Colvin, mocking the nickname of Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman. “See you next year, chumps!”
Despite all their prodigious individual talent, it’s hard to think of the Chargers as anything other than just that: chumps.
The Patriots are the exact opposite. They are resilient, tough and clutch, and in that respect San Diego was no match when it counted."

Brian in Oxford said...

yeah, no bitching about NFL overtime. Play a little defense, like the Bears did, and you can still win without the ball.

Maybe Dan's advocating an onsides kick to start OT because it's so unfair not to start with the ball. Teams shouldn't have to drive 80 yards! boo hoo! Quarterbacks should get credit for 7 touchdown passes because of extra overtimes! waaaaaah! Pardon me while I do Lights Out on your blog!!!


The Colts have won 2 in a row from the Pats, so I don't think it's like the Pats have their number anything like how people say they do.

Although, in '03 the Pats did win in Indy in a great 35-31, with a goal line stand at the end.

The question is, can Peyton REALLY have 3 clunkers in a row? And could they win with 3 clunkers in a row?

As for Bears-Saints....any outcome from Saints by 20 to Bears by 20 seems possible.

Anonymous said...

Colts favoured to win SuperBowl by Vegas oddsmakers and favoured by 3 to beat the Pats. Good stuff, I like the Pats as the underdog!!
When is the last time the Colts beat the Pats in the playoffs??

Anonymous said...

Outside of New England, no one wants to see the Patriots win again.

The Patriots didn't even try to beat the Colts in the regular season. Puh-leaze. That's why I'm starting to REALLY HATE the Patriots. They make a mockery of the regular season, they don't try to win every game, they don't try to break records, they don't have any fun.

It's about time someone knocked the golden boy out of a game the way that Brewski did to McNabb.

Few fans have a problem with the coin flip system. It made more sense when the rules favored defenses and running games, but it's still fair.

nep1293 said...

Let's give some props to Troy Brown. Without that heads-up play it's probable that Brady goes down with a Manning-esque look on his face.

Anonymous said...

That heads up play should never have happened. It was 4th down. The DB should have just knocked down the pass and let LT run out the clock.

Trey (formerly TF) said...

Colts fans, your defense pulled you out this weekend. Had they lost that game, it would have been another Manning choke. He looked horrible Saturday; good luck against the Pats.

Joe (Dayton)

Anonymous said...

You are correct that the play Troy Brown made should never of happen but that why the Chargers lost they are all indivduals try to make the indivdual big play and they look for the glory. Well looking for the glory cost them. If you heard the DB's reasoning for not going down or knocking the pass down it proves this point. I think I read the he said " I thought I could score on the pick and did not want to go down"

See thinking about himself and not what is best for the team and that is part the reason the Patriots always seemed to pull out the big games and people outside of New England do not like them.

People do not like the Patriots because they are not flashy, they do not go out and make the play for them selfs. They always think of the team and how to be champions.

Anonymous said...

Chris said "Everyone slurps them, including Nantz and Simms yesterday and I'm so tired of it. "

Are you kidding me? Simms and Nantz hate the Patriots and you could tell it from the Coverage. I think they had a hard time even saying the name Patriots.

Sheldiz said...

well, i'm offically out of teams to root for in the AFC... san diego was my last hope. no way in hell am i rooting for the colts or pats.

i guess its time to throw my energy into college basketball. not that my wildcats are doing anything interesting right now. maybe its time for me to start following the DC United. they seem to be pretty good. :)

Anonymous said...

Shawn Merriman: Cheater and Big Game Pansy.

Anonymous said...

Did Merriman even play yesterday? I know they talked about him a lot but never during a play.

Anonymous said...

Lights out on your blog!!!! Haaa. That was great Brian.

First, Merriman is a peice of shit, and I am glad the Patriots mocked him. Perhaps they should have mocked injecting steroids into their asses as well, because that stupid shit he does during a sack annoys the shit out of me almost as much as when Merton Hanks used to do the muppet dance.

Shanoff, just because you are a sentimental pussy does not mean the rest of us have to be. Sure, the Bears are my team, but I would STILL be going against the Saints if the Bears had gone 0-16. WHo the fuck wants Golden Boy Bush to win a ring? Ever thought of that one?

Personally, the OT is great. Shanoff just truly knows shit about the way sports should be played and rooted for. Keep exposing yourself Dan. You just look dumber and dumber by the day.

mattie said...

I'm rooting for the Saints, though don't know if the connection between their play and the Katrina aftermath is quite as clear-cut as Dan makes it (all his "no sentient being who's not a Bears fan could cheer against the Saints" stuff). New Orleans is an unbelievable mess from top to bottom...but I guess the Saints provide a good distraction. In any event, just for the team itself, this turn-around is an interesting and compelling story, and makes them, to me, worth rooting for.

As for the Chargers, I need SOMEONE to explain to me what the hell happened with those two Chargers time-outs, aside from Marty just being Marty. What was the point of that challenge?!?! And those penalties...yikes.

Next week, I'll be rooting for the Pats, because the schadenfreude's much stronger and more enjoyable with Peyton tanking once again. After that, I'll take the NFC champ for the Superbowl.

NFL overtime sucks, but college's rule is ABSURD. I think they're neck-and-neck if you're trying to determine the stupidest rule that could potentially decide the outcome of a key football game. Why not just play an extra 5, 10, or 15 minutes -- you know, an overtime -- and whoever's ahead at the end of that time period wins? Too simple and sensible?

Drake said...

The Chargers didn't lose because of Marty. They lost because they couldn't catch the football. Simply mechanics. And Marty is going to take the brunt of it.

As for the Colts D, let's not crown them just yet. They played against two horrible offenses. The Chiefs play calling was horrible and they have a sub par QB. And the Ravens O just blows. If Manning craps the bed again, Pats win easy.

As much as I hate to admit it, I think the Saints win in Chicago. The weather won't be that much of a factor. Remember Brees played his college ball at Purdue and the Bears can barely stop the pass without Brown and Harris.

Aitch said...

@ Chris (CT), I totally agree with what you are saying about bandwagon fans. I've been a Pats fan my whole life (really) and have watched through some very bad seasons. It annoys me when you see these "fans" who know nothing more about the team than a few key names. As much as I've enjoyed the Pats success over the last few years, that is the worst part of it. I can also understand why fans outside of New England don't want to see the Pats win again. No one likes to see the same team win over and over again, unless it is the team you root for. I'm anticipating a great game next week.

For all the talk before and during the game, Merriman really was a non-factor. I remember him hitting Brady once early in the game, then he was never really heard from again.

Marty's challenge of the interception turned fumble was just boneheaded. He was challenging that McCree was down by contact. Marty, he never even went down. That's an important detail that you kinda missed. Where was his guy in the booth to tell him to hang on to that red flag?

i gotta say that I am a big fan of LdT. I think he is a class act. In watching the game with some friends yesterday, we remarked that one of the things we like best about him is when he scores, he just flips the ball to the ref and goes to the sideline. No overblown celebrations, no disrespect to the other team. It makes it that much sadder that he feels the Pats were being disrespectful at the end of the game. From what I've read, the Chargers were yapping all game long, which is likely what triggered the Pats' reaction. But it's too bad the LdT will be remembered for losing his cool at the end of the game, cuz that is not what he is normally about.

Kevin said...

How did Marty choke in that game? Did he fumble that punt or catch a meaningless interception and then fumble it right back? Coaches get way too much blame when a team loses. The Chargers were the better team and would probably win seven out of ten times, but the fact that they didn't win this one doesn't automatically mean that the coach blew it.

Anonymous said...

LT lost his cool on the field which was bad enough but then at the Post Game newsconference after he should have cooled down some said Belichick
had "no class". He lost my total respect and He will get his next Season at Foxboro. LT is a loser and the worst crybaby I have ever seen in the NFL.

Anonymous said...

Oh LT is gonna score 40 TD's next year?? That was his career year and next year will be a torn ACL
or other injury after he appears on the cover of Madden!!!

Michael Moulton said...

Bad coaching was certainly one reason for the Chargers failure yesterday.

4 minutes to play, tie ballgame, LT has just rushed for 5 yards to set up 2nd & 5 (according to the NFL writeup-- CBS called it 2nd & 4).

The clock is running, you have the best RB in the league, all you need is to move down into field goal range and you are going to the AFC title game.

2nd down? Incomplete pass. 3rd down? Incomplete pass. You are now punting with 3:42 on the clock.

WHY DID THEY THROW THE BALL? Even if LT doesn't move the ball, you run another 80 seconds or so off the clock. And odds are he does move the ball-- his average was over 5ypc.

And let's not even discuss the idiotic stunt from the Eagles, punting the ball away with 1:56 remaining in a game they were losing. That was pathetic.

Natsfan74 said...

Could someone please tell me why Marty didn't run the ball more often then? He went out of his way to prove he wasn't a conservative coach in a game when being conservative would have won. Game tied, 3 minutes to play: first down -- run LdT for 6 up middle. 2nd and 4 -- throw deep. 3rd and 4 -- throw deep. What?

The Chargers threw more than they ran yesterday with an MVP in the backfield and a first year starter throwing the ball? That's why Bill is now 4-0 in the playoffs against MVPs - the other coaches outsmart themselves to be less predictable with an MVP on the field...

Anonymous said...

Both secondaries were yapping quite a bit. Overall, SD was yapping more.

Shawn Merriman's new nickname: Sound & Fury

Anonymous said...

Re: NFL v College OT.

Play out the extra quarter.

Drake said...

natsfan74 they had a balanced attack (32 passes, 33 runs). Again it wasn't play calling. If the players executed during the game they win big.

Lenny, have some fun with the Madden curse. It's pretty eerie that all the people that end up on the cover get hurt. Just saying...

Kevin said...

Is anybody else extremely disappointed with ESPN.Com's coverage of the NFL playoffs? There's a reporter-like story of each game, with a basic story of the game and a couple interviews, but no real analysis whatsoever. For the MLB playoffs, they had Keith Law and Rob Neyer breaking every part of every game down, and it was great. Why can't they get someone like that for the NFL?

In a related story, I completely agree with the sentiment that Marty was too aggressive and tried to prove he wasn't a "conservative" coach; there were a few drives where he should have handed off to LDT more (the drive before the Pats' game-winning FG, LDT ran for six yards on first down...and then Phillip Rivers throws the ball twice? There was plenty of time...). But John Clayton says the Chargers were playing "not to lose" and Martyball was at fault here. (link: What the hell? It looks like Clayton wrote that story before the game, then added a couple numbers and quotes to make it make sense (seriously).

Anonymous said...

Well I already San Diego is going down hard next year also. All these players saying I am going to do this because of the Patriots celebration. I am going to be more motivated when I play. Is part the reason San Diego lost? Indivduals do not win NFL football games. Individuals lose NFL games, Teams win NFl games

Kedro said...

To add a few numbers from this season (I think I got all of this year's OT games) to the OT thread:

Week 2: CAR@MIN
1st OT Poss: CAR - Winner: MIN
Week 2: NYG@PHI
1st OT Poss: NYG - Winner: NYG*
Week 2: KC@DEN
1st OT Poss: DEN - Winner: DEN
Week 4: JAX@WAS
1st OT Poss: WAS - Winner: WAS
Week 7: PIT@ATL
1st OT Poss: ATL - Winner: ATL
Week 13: KC@CLE
1st OT Poss: KC - Winner: CLE
Week 14: TEN@HOU
1st OT Poss: TEN - Winner: TEN
Week 15: TB@CHI
1st OT Poss: TB - Winner: CHI*
Week 16: WAS@STL
1st OT Poss: STL - Winner: STL*
Week 17: PIT@CIN
1st OT Poss: PIT - Winner: PIT
Week 17: SF@DEN
1st OT Poss: DEN - Winner: SF*
Week Playoffs 2: SEA@CHI
1st OT Poss: SEA - Winner: CHI

* indicates score was not on team's 1st OT possession.

Team that gets the ball first was 7-5 this year and only 5 of the 12 OT games were decided on the 1st possession. Hardly "automatic" or "decided by the coin flip".

Home teams in OT were 8-4, so that would have been a slightly better predictor of OT success than the coin flip.

I realize the sample size isn't that big, but I didn't have time to go back through past seasons.

Anonymous said...

King and Banks analysis:

Unknown said...

Damnit, Shanoff. I'm not heartless, but I'm not rooting for the Saints.

Chargers should have just kept feeding LDT the ball. He was rolling all game.

The Colts have a different attitude this time around...will it make a difference? I think it will. Colts in the SB.

Whisenhunt wants to air it out more. That's not Steelers football. He had the mindset for the job, but not the scheme imo.

Unknown said...

anyone else think patriots64 is manninghamheisman in a new name?

Like i've said before, the Pats were classless in victory. But its nothing new. I think they've been like that in every playoff game under the Belichick era.

(though, I do agree that Merriman's celebration is lame. your job is to get you get one and go nuts? The offensive tackle didn't celebrate when he pancaked you 4 in a row)

Brian in Oxford said...

1. I thought about the Pats perhaps mocking Merriman by pretending to shoot up at midfield, but they've signed Sauerbrun to punt for them, so there goes that idea.

2. If the first team with the ball in NFL overtime throws a pick returned for a TD, does their defense get the chance, too, against the other team's offense? That seems fair, especially if you're Baltimore or Chicago. I like the concept of another full quarter, but to ask players to play FOOTBALL for a full fifth quarter, 4 hours or more, really becomes potentially an injury landmine.

I find it amusing when people start screaming predicitions one way or the other, as though they can't wait to make themselves feel smart for guessing right. Jackie Macmullen at the Globe actually predicted 24-21 Pats. And Vinnie Iyer at the Sporting News got Saints 27-24 right on the number.

What does everyone think about Kumar being a terrorist on 24? He can't go to a hospital for the glass wound, but how about a run down to White Castle?

Anonymous said...

cycledan said...

"Seattle won the coin flip and the Bears won the game yesterday. The reason is that the Bears kickoff team (not part of the college OT system) did their job. Then their defense did their job and then their punt return team and then their offense."

Exactly!!! I don't really understand why Dan chose now to vent about the OT system - if the Bears would have lost that game, then maybe you can argue. But as a Bears fan, I would have just said it was our own D's fault for not stopping them.

Anonymous said...

For the person who said there is no madden curse - Here some prrof to you being wrong

Garrison Hearst, Madden NFL '99

Garrison Hearst was the first athlete to appear on the cover of a Madden NFL game. He had a career season in 1998 but suffered a bad ankle break in the divisional playoffs against the Atlanta Falcons and would not play again until the 2002 season.

[edit] Barry Sanders and Dorsey Levens, Madden NFL 2000

The second NFL player to be on a Madden NFL cover was Barry Sanders in 1999, for Madden NFL 2000. He shared the cover with the then-customary picture of John Madden. However, a week before training camp began in 1999, Sanders abruptly retired - ending his career and leaving the Detroit Lions without their star running back of the previous 10 years. Sanders' part in the curse is debated because he is not pictured alone on the box, and he had willingly retired.

Dorsey Levens was featured on the 2000 cover that was released in PAL regions. After rushing for 1,034 yards in 1999, he gained only 224 yards from scrimmage in 2000. Ultimately, Levens was cut by the Green Bay Packers in 2001, and retired, as a Packer, in 2004, as a journeyman who had 1-season stints with the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants.

[edit] Eddie George, Madden NFL 2001

Eddie George, then of the Tennessee Titans, who graced the Madden NFL 2001 box, was the next 'cursed' player. After averaging 3.9 yards per carry in his first five seasons and rushing for over 1,300 yards in each one, he averaged only 3 yards per carry and rushed for career lows of 939 yards and 5 touchdowns in the 2001 season. For the rest of his career, he never averaged more than 3.4 yards per carry, but did rush for over 1,000 yards twice and scored 14 touchdowns in 2002.

[edit] Daunte Culpepper, Madden NFL 2002

Former Minnesota Vikings star quarterback Daunte Culpepper appeared on the Madden NFL 2002 cover, and the Vikings struggled to a 4-7 record until Culpepper was shelved with a season-ending knee injury.

[edit] Marshall Faulk, Madden NFL 2003

Running back Marshall Faulk of the St. Louis Rams, who was on the Madden NFL 2003 box, suffered an ankle injury, missing five games. He never broke through the 1,000 yards rushing mark for the rest of his career.

[edit] Michael Vick, Madden NFL 2004

Very shortly after Madden 2004 was released featuring Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick on the cover, Vick was injured during a preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens, suffering a fractured right fibula. Vick played in only the last 5 regular season games, finishing with just 585 yards passing and 4 touchdowns. The Atlanta Falcons missed the playoffs and were already out of contention by the time Vick returned from his injury. The "curse" forced the Atlanta Falcons to finish the season with a record of 5 wins and 11 losses, a stark contrast to the team's 9-6-1 record the season prior.

[edit] Ray Lewis, Madden NFL 2005

Madden 2005 featured Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens, the first defensive player ever to appear on the cover of a Madden game. He broke his wrist, an injury that kept him out of the last game of the regular season. It was also Lewis' first season without a single interception, after posting a career-high 6 the previous year - although admittedly, interceptions are a secondary statistic for linebackers (Lewis still finished amongst league leaders in tackles - a much more relevant statistic for linebackers). The Baltimore Ravens also failed to make the playoffs that season (2004), after winning their division the year before. Furthermore, in Week 6 the of the 2005 season, Ray Lewis' season was ended by an injury.

[edit] Donovan McNabb, Madden NFL '06

The Philadelphia Eagles' star quarterback Donovan McNabb was on the cover of Madden NFL 06. During the 2005 season, McNabb had a sports hernia that needed surgery, but attempted to play through the injury.[1] In the tenth game of the season, McNabb re-injured his groin, and after the game decided to end his season and have season-ending surgery for his sports hernia. [2] [3] Throughout the 2005 season, McNabb had had a highly-publicized feud with his teammate, wide receiver Terrell Owens.

In the subsequent 2006 season, McNabb suffered a torn right anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the 10th game of the season and was out for the remainder of the year.

[edit] Shaun Alexander, Madden NFL '07

Prior to the 2006 season, Alexander had never missed a full game in his entire seven-season NFL career. In the 2006 season, however, Madden NFL 07 cover-athlete and reigning NFL MVP Shaun Alexander of the Seattle Seahawks suffered a chipped bone in his left foot which he received during the first game of the season against the Detroit Lions. Alexander attempted to play through the injury, but was relatively ineffective. After the Seahawks third game, it was announced that his injury was worse than originally thought, and Alexander missed the next six games.[4] Alexander rushed for 896 yards (3.6 yards per carry) in the 2006 season, as opposed to 1880 yards (5.1 yards per carry) in the 2005 season. In addition, Alexander's record of most touchdowns per season lasted only one year, as his 2005 record was broken by Ladainian Tomlinson in 2006.

Anonymous said...

Please no "24" talk I have not had a chance to watch last nights espisode yet. Especially with Patriots Game ending at 8:20. Thank god for DVR.

Anonymous said...

I hope that whiner sore loser crybaby no class LT gets the Madden Cover. "Stay Classy"
Merriman also did his moronic dance after he hit Brady even though he still got the pass off. I am glad he and the other idiot Phillips got injured. Get a real coach and try again next year San Diegoans.

Anonymous said...

Off-topic. How come most of you people do not even have blogs? Did you register JUST to post on Shanoff's blog? That's friggin hilarious and the ultimate in suckery. And here are my predictions (provided reffing does not interfere):

Bears, 17, Saints 12.

Colts 35, Patriots 0.

They are bold and here is what will happen if the refs fuck it up.

Saints 10, Bears 7, when at the last second, the Saints miss the Field Goal, but the refs then pull a flag for unsportsmanlike conduct when one of the Bears players shouts "hooray" giving the Saints another kick.

Colts 28, Patriots 3. Even with the refs I think this is the one where Manning finally owns Tom Brady. I hope I am right.

SuperBowl. 17-14 Colts over Bears.

Drake said...


Curse or not, it's still pretty eerie.

TJ said...

I guess I'm heartless. I love this Saints team--have been rooting for them all season, but I'm not sure if I can root for them over the Bears this weekend. And I'm not sure why. Maybe it's an instinctive backlash against all the "you must root for the Saints" business, maybe it's the Rex Grossman factor, or maybe I just hate black people. I don't know. The Saints have been a great story, but... let's just say I won't be heartbroken if I don't have to sit through 2 full weeks of "Healing a City through Football" stories.

In the AFC game, why am I the only person who likes Payton Manning? Even though he's a Vol, I can't help but like him. And I would hate to see him actually finish his career as Dan Marino. I mean, really, if you were rooting for the Red Sox against the Yankees, shouldn't you be rooting for the Colts against the Pats? In all honesty, however, the NFL can't lose. It's either the Pats making their 4th Super Bowl in 6 years (an amazing story of continued excellence) or the Manning making his first Super Bowl with perhaps one of his weaker teams (another great story).

TJ said...

Everybody that keeps talking about "The Bear's got the ball back, what's Dan talking about?" You're missing the whole point!

Exactly. It's like the BCS. Just because it worked out in 2005 that we ended the regular season with 2 undefeated juggernauts doesn't mean the BCS works, as a system. A system can get the right answer even most the time and still be broken.

Ftrain said...

The best possible Super Bowl match-up: Saints-Colts.

Here's why. It has something for everyone.

For Saints Fans: Win or lose, the game will uplift the city's spirits.

For Manning haters: If he loses great, the haters are happy.If colts win, then Manning haters have one more reason to curse him.

For America (& casual viewers of SB): two compelling storylines: Saints and New Orleans inspirational story line OR Prodigal son of a football family finally fulfills destiny

I can't believe it. I actually agree with Dan about something. NFL OT does suck. Let them play another quarter.

Drake said...

We need to get somebody to ask players about the curse. Football is not only a violent sport, but a superstitious one. And as I'm sure you know for a curse to exist all that need to happen is for people to believe it.

Shanoff, make this happen!

Kevin said...

Right on, ftrain. Plus, both teams have unstoppable offenses and mediocre defenses. Who wouldn't love a 50-49 Super Bowl?

And why the hell wouldn't you believe in the Madden curse? It's more fun to believe in it than to not believe...

Anonymous said...

Being a Red Sox fan you can not help but believe that there are concidences that make you believe there could be a curse. Yes, Football is a violent game and yes people get hurt all the time but why does it seem like the players that apppear on the Madden Cover get hurt the season they are on the cover. Is it concidence, a curse or just bad luck? Some will believe it is a curse, some will believe it is just concedence and some will believe it is just bad luck and part of the game.

Gregg the Obscure said...

In the AFC, it's a shame both can't lose.

Colts - Peyton is as annoying as Marino was in his day, the sneak out of town was sleazy and besides, football doesn't belong indoors.

Pats - Trying hard to win the title of most annoying fan base in North America from the (largely overlapping) redsox.

In the NFC, it would be great to see the Saints get to their first SB, but it would also be fun to see the Bears in so Rex could be the first player from a losing team to get the MVP.

TJ said...

@ lenny:

you're a sports fan, but not even a little superstitious? really? how did this happen?

Ftrain said...

@ Lenny:

A quick Google search of the term "Prodigal Son" leads to a wikipedia entry.

The Prodigal Son, also known as the Lost Son is one of the best known parables of Jesus of Nazareth.

The story is found in Luke 15:11–32 of the New Testament of The Bible,... The Prodigal Son refers to a son who returns home after squandering his fortunes; and the term "prodigal son" has also passed into wider usage to mean a son or other dependent who does not live up to the expectations of those who have launched him or her into a life or career.

DOES NOT LIVE UP TO THE EXPECTATIONS-->sounds like Manning to me

For you, how about i replace prodigal with favored. Happy = )

Anonymous said...

I hate the Patriots, but I had no problem with them mocking Merriman. If you want to do your own special dance whenever you make a play, you better expect that the other team will do it back.

Example: look at all of the teams that mocked the Giants jump shots this year.

Act like you've done it before, or expect to be taunted by the opposing team.

Mikepcfl said...

At least Marty blowing another one took the national spotlight off the Raven's pathetic effort. But that was an ugly game. Thank God Jack Bauer is back to save the world or this would have been a complete wipeout.

Natsfan74 said...

Some of the greatest stories in sports are the superstitions. Take the curse of the (Billygoat, Bambino, Black Sox -- take your pick) or Wade Boggs eating chicken before every game or the Cubs/ Mets pitcher who brushed his teeth between innings. The superstitions make the game and the personalities fun.

My wife was in the bathroom for both OSU touchdowns but was in the living room for the rest of the game so it is her fault we couldn't score!

The Madden Curse has enough statistical evidence to support that it is a really strong coincidence that helps create a story about a game. I, for one, will continue to believe it.

Ftrain said...

@ Lenny,

Well, I've actually heard the term used in the context of not living up to expectations. Regardless, it's just semantics.

Yes, I agree with you. He has pass all expectations...expect winning the SB. Dare I say which is the ONLY expectation that matters to a player when he enters the NFL.

Don't get it twisted.I like Manning, I think he's awesome. All I'm saying that he finally gets to fulfills the ultimate expectation.
Hopefully he gets to do it this year (or someday).

Mikepcfl said...

Jack's going to kick some ass tonight, that's what's going to happen.

But as for the shock, I have no idea. It probably has something with Kumar doing something horrible.

Anonymous said...

Please no "24" talk I have not had a chance to watch last nights espisode yet. Especially with Patriots Game ending at 8:20. Thank god for DVR.

Anonymous said...

Please no "24" talk I have not had a chance to watch last nights espisode yet. Especially with Patriots Game ending at 8:20. Thank god for DVR.

Kevin said...

Has anyone seen the lines for next weekend's games? The Colts are giving 8, and the Bears are giving 3 to the Saints.

I would easily take the underdogs (Pats and Saints) in both games, even though I think the Colts are gonna win - you can't pass up on that many points. And who on earth do you know that would take the Bears -3, even if they are playing at home?

Anonymous said...

The Madden curse is simple statistics. Regression to the mean, or if you prefer, what goes up must come down.

In other words, to make the cover of Madden, you have to play really well, not get injured and have an exceptional year. In the NFL, it's really tough to have back to back good years, esp. if every defensive player is keying on you after staring at your face on their entertainment center for a couple months. So it looks like there's a "Madden curse" and before that was a "SI curse". It's not a curse, it's just the natural ebb and flow. After all, not even Belicheck and Brady have the same success every year.

For a really wacky OVERTIME idea, let's do a rugby-style mosh pit, and whoever gets possession of the ball out of that can keep it?

Anonymous said...

didn't the XFL have a race to the center of the field to determine possession instead of a coin flip?

Anonymous said...

On coaching:

I absolutely hold Marty to blame for the Chargers' loss. Not just the couple in-game bonehead decisions (covered adequately above), but for the character of the team, for which he is ultimately responsible. Guys losing their cool and getting stupid penalties; guys not knowing that when you muff a punt, you FALL ON IT, don't try to pick it up; DBs not knowing that on 4th down, you bat the ball down, don't catch it--yes, you can say that individual players made these mistakes, but when was the last time you saw a Patriot make a bonehead play like that? I'm not a Pats fan, but I have a huge amount of respect for their coaching staff and the way they get their team to do the little things right.

I think the Colts are a pretty well-coached team too, and I think playing at home and motivated gives them the mojo to knock off their rivals. Finally. Barely.

In the NFC, I'm taking the Saints over the Bears. It'll be cold, but they're the better team right now.

Anonymous said...

Actually if you can get the Patriots +8 take it and run. Even though the Actual line is the Colts -3. So if your booky or betting site is giving you 5 extra points get you bet in before he/she realizes there mistake.

Anonymous said...

see they made DVR or TIVO to make those decision easy. being a Patriots fan there is no way I was going to miss most of the 4th Quarter to change to 24 knowing that i was already recording 24. And i get the bonus of watching 24 without commercials.

Mikepcfl said...

The commercial break for 24 was perfectly timed to see the last minute of the game. I dont think anyone's given away any plot points though. Jack is obviously back and fighting terrorists. Nothing really shocking happened. But i do think this was Jack's coolest escape ever.

Anonymous said...

In response to all the talk about curses in sports - I am a diehard Philadelphia sports fan. Philadelphia is the only city in the country with 4 professional sports teams to go the longest between championships. I was 6 months old when the Sixers won in '83, so I've never been able to experience the joy of my teams winning a championship, and I have never felt bad for Cubs fans or pre-2004 Red Sox fans, because at least they had other teams in their city win championships. There has to be a curse on Philadelphia, because there is no other explanation. (Well, except terrible owners and inexplicable decision-making like punting on 4th and 15 with 1:56 left in the game.)

Drake said...

I really doubt it "changes everything". This is a fox TV show promo we're talking about. 24 or not.

My guess is Jack poses as a terrorist to save the country.

Brian in Oxford said...

if nothing else, you'd think he'd remember 4th and oh.....26?!

I watched the Pats and got updates from my wife watching 24 until the game ended.

Then I actually watched the NFL network postgame instead of the hula bowl. Deion calling out LdT, if you're classy, don't go telling people you're classy!

A little adam's apple pie for anyone?

Anonymous said...

Seattle hasn't won a sports championship since the late 70's and people in Philly are complaining?!?! To top it off, that champion is on the verge of moving to OKC!

Anonymous said...

You guys suck, if any of you had asked not to talk about 24 or any other TV show I would of honored your request.

Unknown said...'re a christian, so you think everything happens for a reason...well..that reason is..THE MADDEN CURSE!!!!!!

(also, everything happens for a reason implies fate..which is a pagan idea. tsk. ;) )

Drake said...

Then Lenny, how do you know that Madden isn't a tool of the lord to test the resolve of players gracing it's cover?

Call it a plan or a curse.

"The LORD will send on you curses, confusion and rebuke in everything you put your hand to, until you are destroyed and come to sudden ruin because of the evil you have done in forsaking him." Deuteronomy 28:20

Anonymous said...

Lenny, if you want to talk about 24 then go to a fucking Fox forum or some shit. Don't get mad when someone asks you not to spoil it. Other people have lives. Personally, mine is too busy to waste on a show, but you guys have at it.

And Tim, the Saints are playing better than the Bears? Need I remind you they last got their asses handed to them by the Redskins? . . . AT HOME. The Bears last loss was to a .500 team at least. I swear, I have never read so many stupid things in a response column.

Shaggy said...

Rumor has Andy Reid might be headed to San Diego...

Natsfan74 said...

OK. The important question is can history hold form, or is the lack of expectations going to finally help Peyton get over the hump.

Tom Brady has never lost in a dome, and his record on turf is so good I am surprised NE didn't install it sooner.

Peyton has always had championship expectations on him in college and pro football. Maybe this year, when no one expected them to win any playoff games, let alone three, he might get into the SB.

New topic: Debate...

Allen Wedge said...

Being from New Orleans, just wanted to say that most people here don't agree with Dan's (and most of the U.S. media's) principle about rooting for the Saints as "Americas Team".

People feel like it'd be great for the Saints to win because the city apparently "needs" this because of the hurricane. Too bad that doesn't make sense.

Yes winning has been great for the city, downtown is really alive and I can't possibly imagine what it would be like if we won the Superbowl just 2 weeks out of Mardi Gras. BUT Don't become a Saints fan because of Katrina, thats just plain stupid, and it still makes you a bandwagoner. If you feel bad about the hurricane then instead donate to any of the many charities out here or come down and do work to help rebuild.

HOWEVER if you are a sports fan you probably realize the reason New Orleans fans want this Superbowl so bad is not the hurricane, its the past 40 years of suck. Until this past weekend in the history of the Saints, we've more or less sucked. We've never made it this far. This past weekend was only our 2nd shot EVER at the Divisional Round in those 40 years!

Don't cheer for us for some lame "they deserve it" idea in your head about the hurricane, do it if you like some players we have or if you like underdogs cause we're basically the underdog of the past half century.

p.s. possible overlooked humorous media if colts vs saints Superbowl.
be prepared now for numerous Archie Manning interviews where they make him pick between his son, and the team he played for and has done radio and TV for (and the city he lives in).

Anonymous said...

Lenny, like I said, its a sports column. Fellate Jack Bauer elsewhere. Don't be such a fragile sensitive douche. Oh BOY! Other blogs. I bet you pee standing up too!! WOWEE!

Allen Wedge said...

double p.s. Vegas odds on Saints Superbowl winners before season started 250 to 1.... anybody had the balls to take that bet?

Anonymous said...

ndyanksfan05, I am here to impress no one. And I DO watch TV, but dedicating my life and every conversation to a fictional show is pretty lame in my book. But obviously if you consider posting somewhere as a measure of coolness, then you need to resort your priorities. There are plenty of people on here with great comments and wonderful blogs. Clearly you feel the need to defend ineptitude though so keep at it.

anyhow, I feel Shanoff's writing has become to self-indulgent and sentimental. Someone need to find his balls and mail them back to him/

Anonymous said...

Personally, I live in New England and I don't want the Pats to win again.

Something about Bob Kraft sticking it to us here in Connecticut years ago...

Drake said...


I couldn't agree with you more. To many people take scripture out of context. That chapter actually deals with disobeying God. But I couldn't resist.

Bird, relax. We're all killing time like everyone else on the web.

cmfost, sorry brotha, we didn't really give anything away.

Unknown said...

If you want to talk historical context and bible...then actually look up when it was written..edited for political gain..etc. etc.

oops.sports blog..sorry.

Big D said...

Boy am I jumping in late. The downside of spending five days in Orlando for a conference - you actually have to attend the conference.

That, plus my fingers still haven't recovered from yesterday's epic typing session. Nor have my knees from jumping up and down on a cement slab floor multiple times during the Pats' game.

I'm not in any frame of mind to search through 130+ comments right now (I've been drinking, just a bit), so if I duplicate someone else's thoughts, I apologize.

The NFL got exactly what it needed - the two best teams in the NFC, and the two most recognizeable teams in the AFC. No matter the outcome, the NFL will get a marketable matchup. Either it's Peyton vs. His Hometown, Peyton vs. back-to-back great defenses, The Patriots vs. America, or the Twenty-year anniversary of Pats/Bears.

As I said in a previous comment, although I would not enjoy a Super Bowl Shuffle "Redux", anything that brings more Refrigerator Perry into my life is OK by me.

And with that, I'm passing out on my lopsided hotel bed.