It was hard to figure out what the Patriots were doing.
Were they playing to win? They did have something to play for, and it could cost them dearly. Facing a hostile AFC Title Game crowd in Denver and a rejuvenated Peyton Manning is not what the doctor ordered for New England, and it would have been so easy to avoid.
All New England had to do was defeat the cellar-swelling doormat of the AFC East, our beloved Dolphins. But something strange happened along the way. Miami won. I watched the game live and I re-watched it for analysis. It’s hard to pinpoint what New England was doing. All those third-and-longs, and they weren’t trying to pass. Stephen Jackson was doing well, and they benched him. Tom Brady figuring out what our defense was about to do, but then not changing the play. All of that was very peculiar.
It cost us a few draft spots, but it was enjoyable to beat them. And part of me wants to believe that New England played to win, which makes the victory more satisfying.
I don’t hate the Jets as much as some other Dolfans. I hate the Bills and Steelers and Pats far more. I was rooting for the Jets, and of course, they choked. Like clockwork, the Steelers made the playoffs. Somehow, the Rooney family finds a way to make it each year, whether it’s questionable calls, easy schedule (imagine getting to play the Browns TWICE a year! Thanks for the 2 free wins every year) or something else.
So next week, I see the Steelers winning easily in Cincy, and the Texans have zero chance against KC. That means the Steelers go to Denver and KC goes to Boston. I think KC comes down to earth against a well-rested and healthy New England team, and the Pats are in the AFC Title game. Again. It’s like it never stops.
But if the Pats beat Miami yesterday, then they’d have to face a dangerous and experienced Steeler team…the only team in the NFL who gets more “special treatment” than New England. The Steelers are dangerous, the Chiefs aren’t. I think Belichick knew this and handed us a few favors yesterday.
Did you see the stat yesterday about the Pat defense had only 22 penalties all year. 22!!! So when you play 16 games, you have to assume someone jumps offsides at least once a game, so that’s 16 penalties. That leaves only 6. SIX!! Are you kidding me?
Only 6 times combined times ALL YEAR did a referee see a Patriot hold someone or accidentally facemask someone hit a QB late…. I mean these are very very common penalties that occur many times per game… EXCEPT, apparently to New England. Seriously…the lack of penalties against the Patriots is truly laughable, and the league should be ashamed of itself for giving them such preference.
So the Dolphins have a new GM. Why? As I pointed out several times, Dennis Hickey made no huge blunders. He wasn’t even all that powerful. Why make a change in middle management? Makes no sense. The new guy will have no more power than Hickey did. If anything he’ll have less. Stephen Ross makes some baffling decisions, doesn’t he?
Now for our next head coach. Some of the rumors are intriguing, and the reaction of Dolfans is wide-ranging. Mike Shanahan is a name I hadn’t heard mentioned before, and I like this option. A championship coach with a good offensive mind inheriting some decent skill-position players on the Dolphins like Parker, Landry, Miller and Ajayi. I don’t know why anyone would be against Shanhan coaching us.
Some defensive coach from Detroit was mentioned too. Why? So we can have a marginal coach from a marginal team guiding us? No thanks.
Doug Marrone? Zzzzzzz
Gruden and Cowher? God, no please!
Mike Smith? Didn’t he have all those great Falcon playoff teams each year and do nothing with them?
The best part about all of this is that we have a sense of excitement and curiosity. We WILL have a new coach within a few weeks. Last year at this time, we had nothing to look forward to. We were stuck with Clueless Joe and we had to watch while the Bills and Jets received excellent Christmas gifts: great new coaches.
Now it’s our turn. Perhaps…