Maybe it is because the last pro football game most weeks has been the most exciting that it causes me to comment on it...in this case, the final game of NFL week 16, on a very rare Tuesday evening, no less. Or, maybe it is just because I have a short memory. :-) Yet, the offering between the Vikings and Eagles was interesting for a number of reasons. Minnesota rookie QB, Joe Webb, had a standout performance as he led the Vikings to a 24-14 victory. The irony is that Webb looked like his competition, Michael Vick...and Vick, who made a number of mistakes, played like a rookie. With injured starter, Brett Favre, cheering him on, Webb played like a steely veteran...and may have earned himself a good look for being the starter for the Vikings next year. Yet, how to explain Vick? The Eagles will only go as far as he takes them. When he has played well, they usually win big, but...when he plays poorly, they struggle and lose, which was the case this week. And since sports tends to be the place where I offer unbiased opinions on my blog :-)...I have to say that I am always pleased when the Eagles lose.
The playoff picture solidified quite a bit, with the Eagles, Bears, Falcons and Saints making the show in the NFC, while the Packers can get in if they beat the Bears at Soldier Field...a daunting task. If the Packers lose, the Giants can get in with a win. If both Green Bay and New York lose, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can sneak in to the playoffs with a win. Meanwhile, the Rams and Seahawks will battle it out on Sunday evening for the sorry NFC West title in Seattle. In the AFC, the Patriots, Steelers, Ravens, Chiefs and Jets are all in. The Colts can get in with a win, but a loss by them and a Jaguars win will put Jacksonville in. So, as it is every year, there are always things to be sorted out in week 17...just another reason to love the NFL. Now, if they can only get that labor agreement hammered out for 2011 and beyond.
Tim Tebow fans can feel good about the Denver rookie QB's performance, as he led the Broncos to a come from behind win over the Houston Texans, 24-23. Speaking of the Texans, they have lost 8 of 9, and one has to wonder if coach Gary Kubiak's coaches seat can get any hotter(?). The Bears outlasted the Jets in a shootout 38-34, in a a game where both QBs, Jay Cutler and Mark Sanchez played well. Don't look now, but the Detriot Lions have won three in a row...which is news -- especially since they have won two in a row on the road, a place where the Lions have struggled for over a decade. The Saints kept fighting back from turnovers to take down the Falcons in Atlanta, 17-14. Don't hold your breath, though...these two teams could very well meet again in the playoffs in a few weeks. Finally, the 49ers bailed on the Mike Singletary experience as they fired their head coach after only a couple of seasons. I have always loved Singletary's passion for and commitment to, not only for the game of football, but also for the Lord. Singletary just didn't win enough games, as the Niners are only 5-10 this year, in a season where expectations started out high...a division title was expected. Singletary is a solid guy who will find another job, as a coordinator most likely, but...I just hate it that the 49ers brass believed that they had to make some sort of statement by firing him with one week left in the season. It was not a surprise that Singletary handled his dismissal with grace and class. Way to go, Mike.
P.S. A brief NCAA note...putting the University of Maryland football program on my "serious dislike" list for firing head coach, Ralph Friedgen, after an 8-4 season. Granted, he was 2-10 in 2010, but he has consistently been a winner in the several seasons he has been the head man for the Terrapins. Before Friedgen came on board, the Maryland football team had not had a winning season in many, many years. I am disturbed that more and more football programs are selling out on good coaches who may have winning records, but the allure of more $ with a big name new coach is driving them...'tis the way it is anymore, unfortunately. There will never be another JoePa.