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Playoffs and Layoffs: Black Monday for the NFL

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“It’s not whether you win or lose, but who gets the blame.” Blaine Nye

After 17 weeks, 256 games and 11,985 points scored the NFL regular season ended last night when Dallas Cowboys’ Quarterback Kyle Orton was intercepted by Brandon Boykin.  That pass ended the Cowboys playoff hopes and season and sent the Philadelphia Eagles to the playoffs as champions of the NFC East.

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It was an exciting end to the season. The season went down to the wire for the Eagles, the Green Bay Packers who came from behind to stun the Chicago Bears to take the NFC Central and the San Diego Chargers who swiped the last AFC Wild Card when Baltimore and Miami lost.

The playoffs are now set. The Wild Card round will feature the AFC South Champion Indianapolis Colts (11-5) play the number 5 Wild Card seed Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) and the AFC Central Champion Cincinnati Bengals (11-5) face off against the number six seed San Diego Chargers (9-7). In the NFC the Eagles (10-6) will square off against the number six seed New Orleans Saints (11-5) while the NFC Central Champion Green Bay Packers (9-7) will face number five seed the San Francisco 49ers (12-4). The AFC West Champion Denver Broncos (13-3)  AFC East Champion New England Patriots, NFC South Champion Carolina Panthers (12-4) NFC West Champion Seattle Seahawks have first round byes.

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Among the teams left out of the playoff picture from last season are last year’s Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Atlanta Falcons.

As good as some teams were some were very bad and with badness went pink slips. As legendary coach John McKay said of his Tampa Bay Buccaneers years ago: “We stunk. We blocked bad; we were terrible on defense and our kicking game made up for it by being absolutely horrible. I saw nothing that delighted me, we ran on the field fairly well.”

Kansas City Chiefs vs Washington Redskins

But the bigger news today are the firings of coaches. Since Sunday night five coaches had been fired. The pink slips started Sunday night with the Cleveland Browns (4-12) who fired first year head coach Rob Chudzinski, that moved surprised many observers. The firings began in earnest this morning when the Minnesota Vikings (5-10) fired Leslie Frazier, the 7-9 Detroit Lions fired 5th year coach Jim Schwartz after a late season collapse. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12) fired their Head Coach Greg Schiano and General Manager Mark Dominick. Lastly the controversy ridden Washington Redskins who finished a dismal season at 3-13 fired the highly paid Mike Shanahan despite still owing him another $7 million dollars. Washington owner Daniel Snyder will be looking for his 7th Head Coach since 1999.

Some player’s like Washington’s fullback Darrel Young blamed themselves for their coach’s demise. Young said “We failed a Hall of Fame coach. It was a lack of execution by the players this year.”

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Not counted among the Black Monday casualties was Houston Texan’s head coach Gary Kubiak who was fired December 6th. The Texans who had made the playoffs last year finished the season 2-14, the worst record in the league. The Texans had lost 11 games in a row after winning their first two of the season and had been pre-season favorites to get to the Super Bowl.

The Redskins and Texans were both so bad this year that John McKay’s statement on when the Buccaneers had lost their record setting 26th straight game: “Three or four plane crashes and we’re in the playoffs.”

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Other coaches could still be fired, rumors are swirling about a number of others but one who seems to be safe is Cowboy’s Head Coach Jason Garrett who still has the public backing of GM and Owner Jerry Jones. However it is expected that several assistants will be let go. Likewise Rex Ryan of the Jets has survived. Oakland Raiders Head Coach Dennis Allen could be gone soon, he has not been offered any contract extensions and finished with a 4-14 record in 2013. Rumors also swirl about Miami Dolphins Head Coach Joe Philbon after a disappointing fish to the season.

So things will be interesting both on and off the field for the next month.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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2012: A New Year Same Old Stuff

I really am glad that my Near Year resolution was simply to try to do better and not screw things up too badly.  If I had set the bar higher I would have already blown it after a quick trip to Wal-Mart to pick up a couple of things that Judy will need when I go back to North Carolina tomorrow.  I am not a fan of the place but buying the items that I needed there did same me at least 10 dollars on a $50 trip so I am willing to put up with a certain amount of pain and frustration but sometimes, no let’s say often I end up feeling like Doctor Jeckyll on a Mr Hyde day or like I would driving down route Michigan in Ramadi.  Judy says that my eyes flash when I am pissed so I’m sure that they were flashing daggers or maybe looking like those of a rabid wolf as the short trip unfolded.

It began in the parking lot when a lady cut me off for a parking space that I was waiting on with my signal even flashing to indicate that indeed the spot was mine. Unfortunately the idiots in the mini-van leaving the space managed to botch their exit blocking me and allowing this asshole to come across from another aisle to steal the spot as she talked on her cell phone. I exploded in a torrent of profanity questing not only her character but her parentage and sexual proclivities.  I then had to find another spot which I did while weaving in and out of people with death wishes blundering around the parking lot.  I would have loved to have an up-armored HUMMV with a turret gunner to clear the lot but Santa didn’t give me one this year.  The good humor continued inside the store as try as I might I couldn’t avoid the people that stood by as their kids screamed bloody murder, the noise from the big screen HDTVs and the ass that decided to take almost 40 items through the 20 item limit express checkout. He must have figured that I was glaring daggers at him because he gave me a dirty look and turned around in shame as his teenage son stood in front of the cashier. I personally think that fines should be assessed based on the decibel level of the kids and for the number of items that a person goes over the limit in an express line.

So if I had set too high of bar on my resolution I would have totally destroyed the resolution before sunset.  Thankfully the day was more like going hitless and having an argument with an umpire without getting tossed from the game.

So that being said the new year doesn’t seem a whole lot different than the old. The same problems that beset us in 2011 are still with us now as are the same sorry lot of world leaders and wannabe world leaders and the same teams that were expected to get to the playoffs are flailing and failing, not that I really care but the point is that things don’t change much just because the world’s chronometer clicks over.

There are people that interpret the ancient Mayan calendar in such a way that the world as we know it will end on December 21st, but a friend of mine who is kind of into that stuff says that they are wrong and that it was supposed to be like October a year ago.  I don’t believe it because I believe that this can only happen if the Chicago Cubs win the World Series and the Cleveland Browns win the Super Bowl in the same year. I used to believe that only the Cubs would need to win the World Series for Jesus to return, but although that would be cataclysmic it would not be the end. Like any good end times teacher I have revised my prediction. I now believe that the Browns would have to win the Super Bowl in the same year that the Cubs win the Series for the world as we know it to come to an end.  So even if the Cubs win the World Series this year the Mayans are wrong because the Browns can’t win the Super Bowl this year.  My critique of the Mayans is that they should have paid more attention and used a bigger rock to accommodate the Cubs and the Browns predilection to lose.

They also should have accounted for the unending election cycle in the United States, the current cycle which began in November 2008 has under a year left until the next cycle begins when the next President is elected. Boy won’t that be exciting?

Speaking of exciting we saw in the New Year in a quiet but nice way. We had dinner with some of our friends at Gordon Biersch Virginia Beach before going home to watch the classic comedy It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World.  It used to be shown on the broadcast networks every New Year’s Eve when I was a kid so in a way it was part of growing up. As far as laughs are concerned there are few films that can match this classic directed by Stanley Kramer and featuring almost every major comedian of the

Anyway, the new year is off to an inauspicious start and Lord knows what tomorrow will bring. All I can hope to do is not screw up my part too badly and that I don’t have to make any Wal-Mart runs soon.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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