In the beginning of college football season, powerhouse schools with national title aspirations schedule games against tiny universities. The powerhouse football school gets a warmup game to work out kinks. Basically, it’s a glorified practice. The tiny school, which gets obliterated in the football game, gets a boat load of cash.
The NFL’s first Super Wildcard weekend felt like that.
Except the fans didn’t win a thing.
The NFL raked in millions over the weekend, but the only reward for fans was terrible officiating, worse football, and a wasted weekend watching both.
Just ask Troy Aikman who pouted the entire Bucs-Eagles broadcast because CBS got his beloved Cowboys game. (With that being said, Joe Buck and Aikman definitely deserved to call the Cowboys-Niners game. But as an Eagles fan, I’m glad he had to watch that abomination of football.)
Here’s a recap of Super Wildcard weekend:
Cincinnati Bengals 26
Las Vegas Raiders 19
The Bengals tried to blow it against a bad Raiders team, but Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase are too good to let decades of Bengal terribleness bring them down. Boy, I wish it was Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers in the playoffs instead of Derek Carr.
Buffalo Bills 47
New England Patriots 17
Football looks hard without Tom Brady, Bill. Without Tom Brady, Belichick has had two mediocre seasons. He also ran the Browns out of the NFL in the nineties. Given the failure of his coaching tree, maybe Tom Brady was the main reason for New England’s dynasty. Sure, looks like it.
As for the Bills, well the Titans are in big, big trouble if they can’t get Henry going early. Because the Bills might be the most complete team in the NFL playoffs.
UPDATE: Totally got the playoff matchups wrong, which shows how invested I’ve been in the NFL product this season… (updated on 1/20/2022)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31
Philadelphia Eagles 15
The Eagles are bad. They didn’t deserve to be in the playoffs. Poor drafting, questionable coaching, and terrible QB doomed the Birds. If it wasn’t for garbage time touchdowns and playing bad football teams, the Eagles offense (and defense) would have been putrid.
Tom Brady’s ageless ability continues to defy logic. I hate watching it, but damn is it magical. If Brady repeats as Super Bowl champion, it might cement him as the Greatest Athlete of All-Time (regardless of sport). And something tells me, he’s going to win it all again. Especially if Leonard Fournette returns.
San Francisco 49ers 23
Dallas Cowboys 17
The Niners did everything they could to give that game to the Cowboys. Good thing the Cowboys are frauds. If the Niners clean it up, they can give the Packers a tough game. Too bad it’s nearly impossible to win in Lambeau in the playoffs. However, the Niners have done it before.
Kansas City Chiefs 42
Pittsburgh Steelers 21
The Chiefs found their mojo in the tune up game. There is nothing like playing a team that doesn’t deserve to be in the playoffs. Ben Roethlisberger should have retired three years ago. I can’t wait for the Bills-Chiefs AFC Championship Game.
Arizona Cardinals versus Los Angeles Rams
January 17, 2022, at 8:30 on ESPN
I don’t know who wins tonight, but does it matter? Whoever does gets the privilege of being eliminated by Tom Brady. I’m going with the Cardinals. For some reason, I feel like Matthew Stafford is going choke. Maybe that’s just the years of watching him play for the Detroit Lions warping my brain.
Final Thoughts on the NFL’s First-Ever Super Wildcard Weekend
Put on your tinfoil hats. It’s about to get weird.
One must wonder with all the bad officiating, the lack of full-time referees and the legalization of gambling (which the NFL endorses via countless advertisements) if “the fix is in” regarding NFL games. There were so many bad calls including Jeremy Booger and his crew being benched for the rest of the postseason. Jason Kelce committing more penalties in a game than he did all season. And the referees costing the Cowboys the game. (Sure, they weren’t great and that QB Draw was dumb, but the refs were atrocities. So much so, Cowboys fans pelted the refs with garbage as they walked off the field.)
Somehow, the officiating wasn’t even the worst part of Super Wildcard Weekend. The level of competition was lopsided. Sure, blowouts happen in any sport, but three out of five games were over early. The Cowboys and Niners game was only close because Kyle Shannan is a master choke artist. (I’m looking at you 28-7.) Alarming that in the first year of an extended season and playoff field, the actually play on the field suffered mightily.
Luckily, the NFL has fantasy football, sports betting, and even games shown on Nickelodeon (to indoctrinate children into the cult of football) to keep the National Football League entertaining. Because the actual product on the field is bad. And it has been getting quite diluted as of late. Thursday Night Games, limited contact practices, defenders taking out knees of offensive players, rule changes to increase scoring, international games, Saturday Night Special NFL games, and a revolving door of the same old white dudes playing musical chairs for head coaching jobs is hurting the NFL.
Maybe there is such thing as too much football.
But something tells me I’m gonna watch anyway.