AM Update: Jets fire Eric Mangini. And you have to wonder whether the decision to import Brett Favre ultimately did him in. Probably that, plus the wild one-year U-turn in Miami. (More expectedly, Romeo Crennel and Rod Marinelli were both fired, too.)
More: Great Freakonomics post about Favre and "deadweight loss" by Stephen Dubner.
So my pick for the Super Bowl is Pats over Cowboys.
Wait a second.... In the greatest holiday gift of all, both the Pats (with 11 wins!) and the Cowboys (controlling their own destiny) missed the NFL playoffs. It's a little absurd actually.
And it's a sign of just how powerful these two franchises are -- that their absence is the biggest story of the transition from the NFL's regular season to its playoff season.
That celebration leads today's SN column.
They even eclipse the truly Favrian end to Brett Favre's season -- and perhaps, if we're very lucky, his career: Three picks, including a pick-6 AND that typically idiotic Favre force to end any chance the Jets had of rallying late.
It's not all about schadenfreude: The Panthers look really good (is any RB as hot as DeAngelo Williams right now?); the Chargers fulfilled their epic 4-game comeback at the expense of the Broncos (any other coach besides Shanahan would be fired); the Colts are the hottest team in the league (usually a good candidate for hating...well, we can't have them all...).
And I'm ready to jinx a team by proclaiming them my pick to win the Super Bowl:
The Eagles, who will ride yesterday's momentum to a Giants-like run through the playoffs -- all on the road -- to a Super Bowl title over the Titans. It's been that kind of year for Philly fans.
It's a bit like that Seinfeld episode where George was up and Elaine was down: Boston was up and Philly was down, like, all decade. Now, Philly is up and Boston is down. (Although who, exactly, is Jerry's "Even Steven?")
No, this isn't an overreaction to my absurd mistake in picking the Phillies to lose in the MLB playoffs. Well, maybe a little...
Anyway, it's a loaded SN column today, and I hope you'll check it out here.
Now, get back to work and get ready for Northwestern-Missouri in the Alamo Bowl tonight. NU has this magical history of giving up absurdly prolific numbers to opposing offenses (ask Keyshawn Johnson or Peyton Manning or that Nebraska RB in 2000), and I expect nothing less from Chase Daniel and Mizzou -- one of the most impressive offenses in the country this season.
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend. Get ready for a week of looking back at 2008 and getting ready for 2009. The leading drama: Will I name 2008 the "Greatest. Sports Year. Ever."? That answer will be coming tomorrow.
(You'll notice that, for the first time since 2001, I did not file a "Night Before Xmas" poem; it is 50/50 that I will publish a "What's Hot/What's Not" list for the new year. I'd like to -- it's annually my favorite column of the year to write, and I haven't missed it since 2001.)