Sports Medley: 2016 NFL Playoffs Round 2 11 Jan 15
by Tony Medley
I picked 3 out of 4 winners. But Cincinnati should have beaten
Pittsburgh and Minnesota should have beaten Seattle. I still would have
been 3 out of 4, but thatís the way it goes.
New England over Kansas City:
The Patriots have had so many injuries they are basically held together
by bailing wire and chewing gum. But they have talent and Tom Brady. The
week off allowed them much needed recuperation time. The Chiefs are
steady, have a very good defense and a plodding offense that doesnít
make a lot of mistakes. New Englandís defense is too good for them and
Iím going with Brady, who will be helped by the return of receiver
Arizona over Green Bay:
Green Bay played its best game of the year against Washington, but the
Redskins did not beat one team this year with a winning record. Iím not
thrilled with Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer, but their defense and
entire roster are better than Green Bay.
Seattle over Carolina:
Carolina had the weakest schedule one could imagine, only beating one
good team, Seattle, and that after trailing by two scores with only a
few minutes left in the game. Seattle was in the toughest division in
the NFL and had a brutal schedule. Despite a less than impressive
showing last week in which they looked as if they werenít there (forced
to call time out four times to avoid delay of game penalties!).
Thatís hard to believe in a playoff game. But they lucked out when
Minnesota missed a field goal shorter than a conversion on the last play
of the game. I still think they are the best team in football, even
without star running back Marshawn Lynch (actually, Seattleís record is
better this year with Lynch not in the lineup). This is the best game in
the playoffs, and pairs the two best teams in the NFL.
Denver over Pittsburgh:
Like Kansas City in ďOklahomaĒ the Steelers have gone about as fur as they
can go, especially if Ben Roethlisberger is injured and Antonio Brown
canít pass the concussion protocol, regardless of who plays quarterback
for Denver. Denverís defense will get them through. And they always have
the high altitude on their side because they are acclimated to it.
When you swim with sharks, you might get bitten:
The Bengalsí loss to the Steelers was due in large part to vicious,
stupid, selfish plays by Bengalsí Vontaze Burfict and Pacman Jones
resulting in penalties that cost them the game. Cincy had the game won
until Burfict almost decapitated Steelers star wide receiver Antonio
Brown after Ben Roethlisbergerís pass went incomplete, way over Brownís
head. All the other NFL teams passed on Burfict in the draft because of
his history as a violent person. But the Bengals drafted him. Heís the
one who put Steeler running back LeíVeon Bell out for the year, and
whoís sack of Ben a few plays earlier put him out of the game (I thought
it was intentional even before I saw a video of Burfict giving Ben a
knee in the shoulder after the play ended). His hit on Brown put Brown
in concussion protocol and could have killed him. Burfict should be
suspended for at least a year, if not for life, but donít hold your
breath. If the league doesnít take action, the Bengals should because it
cost them a place in the second round.
But thatís not all to criticize in this game. A second 15 yard penalty
was called on Pacman Jones for, apparently, either confronting the
Steelerís linebacker coach Joey Porter or bumping a ref, who immediately
threw another flag. Not to diminish the selfishness and stupidity of
Jones, if a flag were to be thrown it should have been against the
Steelers for illegally having a coach on the field abusing opponents,
but the ref put it on Jones and the Steelers had gained 30 yards putting
them in position for the game winning field goal. This is gross
incompetence by the officiating crew. Hereís what NFL Rule 13.1.2 says:
"Either or both team attendants and their helpers may enter the field to
attend their team during a team timeout by either team. No other
non-player may come on the field without the Referee's permission,
unless he is an incoming substitute (5-2-2).
During any team timeout, all
playing rules continue in force. Representatives of either team are
prohibited from entering the field unless they are incoming substitutes,
or team attendants or trainers entering to provide for the welfare of a
player, and any game-type activities are prohibited on the Field of
Head coaches arenít allowed on the field, much less an assistant.
Pittsburgh should have been given a 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct
penalty. So the NFL officials screwed up again! Itís not surprising that
these officious NFL referees would decide a playoff game with an
egotistical, illegal penalty; theyíve been doing it all year. This crew,
headed by Referee John Parry, let this game get out of hand, just as it
did in the previous meeting between the two teams and then overreacted
and decided the game. The correct ruling was to penalize Pittsburgh,
putting the ball back where it was before the penalty on Burfict.
Even if rule 13.1.2 didnít exist, with the game on the line, the
referees should not have been so quick with the flag. To give a team 30
penalty yards on one play in the last seconds of a game when the
opponent was out of field goal range at the beginning is intolerable.
Had the correct penalty been called on the Steelers they would have been
back where they started and the Bengals would have won. Parry and his
crew should be suspended or fired. But, as Iíve said many times before,
donít hold your breath.