by Scott Benson
I think my favorite of all the Steeler traditions is the one where they lose playoff games at home.
And so we’re off – two wild card playoff games under our belt with two more to come today. I am not going to get a damn thing done this weekend.
Which I’m okay with. My big task this weekend was to re-shovel the path to my oil tank. But at $3 a gallon, the oil companies ought to be able to hire a team of upstanding Blackwater contractors to blast a path to my tank with military-grade flamethrowers.
Anyway – as distasteful as it may be, I think we have to root for Jeff “Freddie Mercury” Fisher and the Tennessee Titans today. If they prevail, it would be a true win-win; another Chargers playoff collapse would certainly be as entertaining as another Steelers home playoff loss, and further, it would set up the Patriots to kneecap nemesis Fisher, a networked member of the NFL’s shadow government, next weekend.
My only concern is whether Fisher will be able to engineer a win without being able to arrange the outcome beforehand. Let’s see what the papers think this morning.
In the Globe, Jim McCabe has the story from Pittsburgh, where the Jaguars withstood a late rally to send the Steelers packing, and not for Glendale. Mike Reiss looks at Pocket Rocket Maurice Jones-Drew, the kind of guy who can beat you a ballgame all by himself, if you know what I’m saying. I’d just as soon not see him next Saturday night.
Joseph White of the AP recounts the Seahawks’ comeback win over the Redskins, who went as far as emotion would take them yesterday.
Looking to today’s games, Frank Dell’Apa has the Chargers getting ready for the Titans while thinking back to their playoff exit at the hands of the Pats last year. Fred Goodall of the AP has the Giants and Buccaneers trying to recapture the playoff magic they have been missing for most of this decade.
Oh, yeah, Tom Brady is the MVP. You mean he hasn’t won this award every year since 2001? Christoper Gasper has reaction from Foxborough. I’m going to start counting how many people refer to Brady as “Tommy” from now on – it’s quite a phenomenon, which I attribute to Randy Moss. Elsewhere, Amalie Benjamin looks at Stephen Gostkowski, who has quietly become the most efficient field goal kicker in Patriots history. Mike Reiss connects with Tampa tackle (and former BC stand-out) Jeremy Trueblood in today’s league notes.
Bob Ryan gets ready for college football’s National Championship game on Monday night by visiting with Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis, a player that draft-watching Pats fans already know intimately. Can you imagine the WWE face paint you’ll see at Gillette if the Pats can snare Laurinaitis with the seventh pick of the draft? Gotta support the team!
In the Herald, John Tomase says Brady is not only the 2007 MVP, he’s the greatest football player of all time. It’s unlikely you’ll find much disagreement in the Patriots locker room, as Jeff Horrigan attests. Tomase also looks at Dallas assistant head coach Tony Sparano, who made his bones at the University of New Haven. Word is Sparano is Bill Parcells’s choice as the next head coach of the Dolphins, and the New Haven Register says this morning its a done deal to be announced at the end of the playoffs. There’s also an interesting Bethel Johnson anecdote in there too.
Tomase finishes up with a grab bag of Quick Hits, including a look at Josh McDaniels withdrawing his name from consideration for head coaching opportunities in Atlanta and Baltimore.
In the ProJo, Shalise Manza Young says the real question is who didn’t vote for Brady as league MVP. SMY also looks at the Patriots preparing for their next playoff opponent by first focusing on themselves, with red-zone defense and tackling on the defense’s docket.
Douglas Flynn of the MetroWest Daily News says now that the playoffs are here, the Patriots’ perfect season is a thing of the past. In the Hartford Courant, David Heuschkel says the rewards for Tom Brady’s record setting season are now starting to roll in. Colleague Paul Doyle talks with Pats alumini Marv Cook, Stanley Morgan, Randy Vataha and Garin Veris, who all agree that the stability brought by Robert Kraft has been the key to this golden age of Patriots football.
From earlier in the week, Eric McHugh of the Quincy Patriot Ledger says Brady’s dream season just got better. On Friday, our buddy Chris Price had the Patriots looking back with appreciation at the playoff-like test the Giants gave them last Saturday night.
That’s it for now – enjoy day two of Wild Card Weekend, and stay tuned this week as PD gets ready for a huge home playoff game next Saturday night.