by TOM WEPPEL
NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
Heading into the home stretch of the regular season in the NFL, we are certainly seeing some separation from teams who are solid, sharp, and ready to contend for Super Bowl rights…and the teams that are down and out and ready to pack it in for the off-season.
If you look at the eight Divisions, you will see that five of the eight teams that are at the top are ahead of their opponents by at least three games…and four of those five are in the AFC! The Patriots, Texans, Broncos, and Ravens are all set and ready to get into the playoffs in the AFC…all four of them have done a formidable job in taking care of their respective business.
And in the NFC, it is the Falcons who continue to hold the best record, with the 49ers also playing very well, with only two losses this season. The East and North Divisions in the NFC are still too close to call for now, and it should be interesting to see how things evolve within those Divisions.
With all that said, do you think that is the way the NFL wants it to be? The League has always tried their best to create an even playing field for all 32 teams. Parity generates equal competition, which keeps NFL fans around the USA involved in all that is happening with their respective favorite teams. It makes for excitement, discussion, and fun for all teams each and every Sunday!
But when teams bow out and tank…like we are seeing in Philadelphia, Oakland, and a couple of other towns…many supporters decide they don’t want to waste their time following some lame performances and pathetic losses…like we saw Thanksgiving night in the Meadowlands by the Jets, in their loss to the Pats!
Watching games on Sundays (or Thursday or Sunday or Monday nights!), when you see empty sections of seats during games, like we have noticed recently, it makes things that much rougher for all those involved. If you don’t believe me, go to your local sports bar this weekend and check out the games that will be played in Oakland (when the Browns play the Raiders) and Kansas City (with the Panthers playing the Chiefs)! I PROMISE you it won’t be a pretty sight, by any means!
Nonetheless, there are some good teams coming out and playing their game, which makes things that much more exciting! Tom Brady and the Patriots, Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers, and a couple of others are showing everyone that the ‘sexier’ teams can make a huge difference in the postseason.
Believe me…fans would much rather see the Chicago Bears play the Patriots in the Super Bowl…as opposed to the Atlanta Falcons and the Houston Texans!
Should be fun to continue following the drama…
This weekend we will be seeing many of the major conferences play their Championship games, respectively…with the winners moving on to play in the BCS Bowl games.
That said, here is my initial…and perhaps only, thought…
Seriously…it seemed the games last weekend gave us one finalist for the BCS Championship, when Notre Dame was able to slide past the USC Trojans out in Los Angeles. And now, for all intents, it looks like the winner of the SEC Championship game between Alabama and Georgia, to be played on Saturday in Atlanta, will give us the second finalist.
If that is the case…and it looks like it would be damn hard to consider that as being incorrect…then you can be very insightful by realizing that every single game played for the rest of the season will be worthless!
And so, all the conference Championship games…and certainly every single one of the Bowl games…will carry zero significance whatsoever in the grand scheme of things. Having that one final game, to be played in Miami on January 7th, to determine the Champion, is certainly better than having things done the way they were there for a while…when it took a vote by pollsters, Media, coaches, and others…to figure out who should be thought of as the best team in college football. Especially when it seemed there was open-ended debate between two teams!
But now, my thinking is this is NOT the way the folks running these games want it all to be! Believe me…there was a time when games like the Rose Bowl, the Orange Bowl, or the Sugar Bowl had a lot of interest and significance, giving them that much more coverage and popularity nationwide. Now, that certainly is not the case! Those games being deemed BCS Bowl games doesn’t mean a thing.
The bottom line here is that the college football landscape is still basically in disarray, and will continue to operate as is, until a solid playoff system is put into place. The folks in charge of running the NCAA athletics are certainly close to having that figured out.
The sooner, the better…
This past week, some schools and Athletic programs decided to fire or release the respective Head Coaches of their football teams and programs. They obviously all felt like they should’ve gotten more this past season…in the form of game victories…then they received.
And so, within two or three days at the most, at least NINE Head Coaches got kicked out of their offices and off the sidelines! That includes schools such as Auburn (Gene Chizik), Tennessee (Derek Dooley), and N.C. State (Tom O’Brien).
For a very short period of time…say, maybe an hour or two in the afternoon…I was feeling bad for these guys when I heard their plight. That was, until I head most of them were receiving buyout amount in the hundreds of thousands of dollars! Some of them were gonna be getting cash for a couple of years!
That, my friends, is ridiculous!
I bring all this up because I want everyone to remember from now on…when you hear about a Head Coach getting fired for doing a bad job, just realize that guy is most likely set with some cash for a while…maybe until another opening becomes available, and that guy is considered to be the right person for the position…