NFL Championships open thread

posted at 12:30 pm on January 22, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

What a surprisingly good playoff series we have had in the NFL this year!  Most of the games have been exciting, close-run affairs, and one even went (oh so briefly) into overtime.  Three of the four teams still alive in the post-season have won Super Bowl titles in the last eleven years, and one team — the New England Patriots — has played in four of those games, winning three of them.  Home teams have won almost all of the games, while the one team with the biggest perceived home-field advantage, the Green Bay Packers, ended up losing to a team that made two other Super Bowl appearances in that time, the New York Giants.

Today’s games will produce this year’s Super Bowl, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple of super games in the league championships.  Here are my picks:

  • Ravens at Patriots — The Baltimore Ravens have been two different teams this season — unbeatable at home but mediocre on the road.  The Patriots, on the other hand, only lost once at home and have been peaking toward the end of the season.  The weather will play against the Ravens, and the able but aging defense will have a tough time against Tom Brady and the New England offense.  The Patriots will go to their fifth Super Bowl in ten years with a 31-20 win over Baltimore.
  • Giants at 49ers — Eli Manning and the Giants are on a roll in the playoffs, dominating Atlanta at home and then Green Bay in Lambeau Field.  The 49ers barely beat the New Orleans Saints last week in a wild finish after having a 17-0 advantage over the Saints in the first quarter.  This one should be a shootout, and the 49ers have the home-field advantage, but something tells me that the Giants will play better ball control than the Saints did last week and prevail over the scrappy, big-heart San Francisco team.  Giants win 27-24.

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They’re going for the youth crowd eyeballs at the Super Bowl. Madonna is only 55!

jb34461 on January 22, 2012 at 4:19 PM

Which will keep alive my streak of not watching the halftime show for the Super Bowl.

predator on January 22, 2012 at 4:22 PM

They’re going for the youth crowd eyeballs at the Super Bowl. Madonna is only 55!

jb34461 on January 22, 2012 at 4:19 PM

I hear they’re planning on tearing a piece of clothing off her to reveal she’s a man.

Rovin on January 22, 2012 at 4:26 PM

Not that I’m happy about it. I don’t like either team.

predator on January 22, 2012 at 4:19 PM

Me neither. I was hoping for a 0 – 0 tie after OT. Maybe now a 35 – 35 tie after OT. Then they flip a coin for the winner and it lands on its edge.

jb34461 on January 22, 2012 at 4:26 PM

Rovin on January 22, 2012 at 4:26 PM

Oh please no……then that insufferable Dr Tesla will invade the thread.

jb34461 on January 22, 2012 at 4:29 PM

Me neither. I was hoping for a 0 – 0 tie after OT. Maybe now a 35 – 35 tie after OT. Then they flip a coin for the winner and it lands on its edge.

jb34461 on January 22, 2012 at 4:26 PM

They play OTs until there is a winner.

NotCoach on January 22, 2012 at 4:31 PM

So who are you Steelers fans rooting for in the AFC game?

The Ravens are your big rival. And most of you seem to hate the Pats. So I’m curious which is the lesser evil for you. :)

WannabeAnglican on January 22, 2012 at 4:12 PM

What I would like to know about the Steelers fans’ hatred of the Ravens is whether they single out individual team members for the hate, or is it the entire team?

As a Patriots fan I know that most of the Steelers fans primarily hate just 2 of the current Pats, namely the QB and the Coach. Most of the rest of the Pats players over the years have been more or less anonymous names, and haven’t really generated any reasons to get people mad at them.

Del Dolemonte on January 22, 2012 at 4:31 PM

Which will keep alive my streak of not watching the halftime show for the Super Bowl.

predator on January 22, 2012 at 4:22 PM

Thank you! I was beginning to believe that I was the only one refusing to watch that insufferable garbage!

Vntnrse on January 22, 2012 at 4:32 PM

Thank you! I was beginning to believe that I was the only one refusing to watch that insufferable garbage!

Vntnrse on January 22, 2012 at 4:32 PM

I honestly can’t recall if I’ve ever watched one. Maybe in the 70s. But back then I would have been too drunk to remember it.

predator on January 22, 2012 at 4:34 PM

Thank you! I was beginning to believe that I was the only one refusing to watch that insufferable garbage!

Vntnrse on January 22, 2012 at 4:32 PM

I don’t watch them either, but I think a lot of people watch them like it is a car accident. They can’t help rubber necking to see what kind if carnage there is.

NotCoach on January 22, 2012 at 4:35 PM

Halftime. Better check on the lasagna.

predator on January 22, 2012 at 4:35 PM

I’m outta here too……yardwork to do before the NY v SF game. I’ll log back in for that game.

jb34461 on January 22, 2012 at 4:42 PM

Boomer must be yeling at the game! His voice is cracking!!

Vntnrse on January 22, 2012 at 4:42 PM

Hot Damn! ‘Zagna is lookin’ and smellin’ good! Yum!

predator on January 22, 2012 at 4:44 PM

Voter from WA State on January 22, 2012 at 4:43 PM

Seattle fan?

predator on January 22, 2012 at 4:45 PM

Thank you! I was beginning to believe that I was the only one refusing to watch that insufferable garbage!

Vntnrse on January 22, 2012 at 4:32 PM

I honestly can’t recall if I’ve ever watched one. Maybe in the 70s. But back then I would have been too drunk to remember it.

predator on January 22, 2012 at 4:34 PM

1972 halftime performers: Ella Fitzgerald, Carol Channing, Al Hirt & the USMC Drill Team.

1973: University of Michigan Marching Band & Woody Herman & Andy Williams.

1974: University of Texas Marching Band and Judy Mallett (Miss Texas 1973) on fiddle.

1975: Mercer Ellington & Grambling State University Marching Bands.

It goes downhill from there (Up With People, anyone?)

1987: George Burns, Mickey Rooney, Grambling State University Marching Bands, Disney characters.

1988: Chubby Checker, The Rockettes, 88 grand pianos, and the mighty CSUN Matador Wall of Sound.

1997: The Blues Brothers (Dan Aykroyd, John Goodman and James Belushi), ZZ Top, James Brown.

I must admit that I thought the later halftime shows with the Stones, Who, U2 and Tom Petty were great though.

Del Dolemonte on January 22, 2012 at 4:59 PM

That’s about the third pushing incident so far this game. Gotta feeling something’s going to break at some point in this game.

predator on January 22, 2012 at 4:59 PM

Indy fan here. But I’ve only been to one pro game in my life. 1970–Dallas at Philly. And the Philly fans were actually worse than the team.

predator on January 22, 2012 at 5:04 PM

I’d review that.

predator on January 22, 2012 at 5:09 PM

What am I saying? It’s a TD. They have to. *drink*

predator on January 22, 2012 at 5:10 PM

San Francisco Giants all the way. What does Joe Madona gave to do with it these days?

borntoraisehogs on January 22, 2012 at 5:12 PM

Wow! This game’s going to go down to who’s got the ball last.

Rovin on January 22, 2012 at 5:13 PM

San Francisco Giants all the way. What does Joe Madona gave to do with it these days?

borntoraisehogs on January 22, 2012 at 5:12 PM

Joe Biden says there’s no way the Mets can beat the Giants.

predator on January 22, 2012 at 5:15 PM

Patriots missed a couple of chances to recover that.

predator on January 22, 2012 at 5:16 PM

Maybe I don’t understand the rules but are offensive players allowed to drag the defender by the face mask into the endzone?

And are TV announcers allowed to pretend it never happened?

And why didn’t the Pats challenge Gronk’s “incomplete” pass in the first half?

The officials suck and the announcers are worse.

CW on January 22, 2012 at 5:16 PM

Huge.

NotCoach on January 22, 2012 at 5:16 PM

Fumble!

CyberCipher on January 22, 2012 at 5:16 PM

Harbaugh Super Bowl???

Keemo on January 22, 2012 at 5:17 PM

CW on January 22, 2012 at 5:16 PM

Football fan all my life and I have no answer to your first question. I don’t recall though ever seeing an offensive face mask penalty. A ball carrier can stiff arm a defender in the face. No idea if there are rules concerning grabbing the face mask.

NotCoach on January 22, 2012 at 5:18 PM

Can’t turn the ball over against a team this good.

Keemo on January 22, 2012 at 5:18 PM

Patriots defense comes through. Huge stop.

Keemo on January 22, 2012 at 5:20 PM

NE VERY lucky that they only got 3 out of that,

CyberCipher on January 22, 2012 at 5:20 PM

For a second there, I thought that FG was gonna go wide.

predator on January 22, 2012 at 5:20 PM

No idea if there are rules concerning grabbing the face mask.

NotCoach on January 22, 2012 at 5:18 PM

The best I can determine from some additional searching is that it is and always has been illegal for an offense player to grab and to twist the helmet. On the play in question there was no twisting but it sure seemed to go to a level that was unsafe. The NFL seems very inconsistent with their goal of safety in both the rules and the interpretation of the rules.

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/thehuddle/post/2011/08/nfl-to-broaden-enforcement-of-facemasking-rule/1

CW on January 22, 2012 at 5:28 PM

Short by two inches!!! Knee was down.

Rovin on January 22, 2012 at 5:34 PM

He’s short.

predator on January 22, 2012 at 5:34 PM

Yes, there is such a thing as offensive face mask penalty.

Voter from WA State on January 22, 2012 at 5:26 PM

-
Good question and good answer.
How about “illegal use of hands”!
Football fans will be all over this missed call tomorrow – by the refs, announcers and replay booth. This reminds me of the Seahawk – Steeler Superbowl a few years ago. (As if you needed the reminder.)
-
Go “G-men”

diogenes on January 22, 2012 at 5:37 PM

That was awesome; well done Brady…

Keemo on January 22, 2012 at 5:37 PM

Short again, but not on 4th. Simi-gutsy call.

Rovin on January 22, 2012 at 5:37 PM

Starting with the Rose Bowl, this has been a real treat for a football fan. We have seen some great football games and this one is no exception.

Keemo on January 22, 2012 at 5:38 PM

Brady ran the TD!

Hell yeah!

haner on January 22, 2012 at 5:39 PM

There’s a drive killer.

predator on January 22, 2012 at 5:45 PM

Turn about is fare play baby… Interception and now it’s Brady time.

Keemo on January 22, 2012 at 5:45 PM

Ouch! INT—drive-killer. I can just see Eli throwing the same INT in this next game.

Rovin on January 22, 2012 at 5:46 PM

Brady got Greedy.

Del Dolemonte on January 22, 2012 at 5:47 PM

Wow

haner on January 22, 2012 at 5:48 PM

Brady time sucked!

Keemo on January 22, 2012 at 5:48 PM

Just WOW! Now that’s an INT! Talk about a roller coaster.

Rovin on January 22, 2012 at 5:49 PM

This is some football game!

Meanwhile, Twitter has been down for some time. Makes me wonder how they can handle the Super Bowl. They are getting a black eye today.

WannabeAnglican on January 22, 2012 at 5:52 PM

CW on January 22, 2012 at 5:28 PM

I think the problem with offensive face masks is that it is a judgement call by the refs. Since a ball carrier can stiff arm to the face it becomes a subjective ruling since a ref has determine if it is a stiff arm or face mask.

NotCoach on January 22, 2012 at 5:55 PM

Should have gone with the FG attempt

haner on January 22, 2012 at 5:56 PM

Wouldn’t it be bizarre if DEFENSE won it for the Patriots??

WannabeAnglican on January 22, 2012 at 5:56 PM

Ravens are truly not smart.

CW on January 22, 2012 at 5:57 PM

haner, Condiff is NOT reliable from that far out. In fact, he may not be reliable at all. The Cowboys ditched him for a reason.

WannabeAnglican on January 22, 2012 at 5:58 PM

WannabeAnglican on January 22, 2012 at 5:58 PM

I think I heard the announcer say he was 1-6 from 50+.

predator on January 22, 2012 at 6:01 PM

Ravens get one more shot.

predator on January 22, 2012 at 6:02 PM

WannabeAnglican on January 22, 2012 at 5:58 PM

I think I heard the announcer say he was 1-6 from 50+.

predator on January 22, 2012 at 6:01 PM

ar

Hard to believe teams as good as the Ravens and the Steelers have such lame kickers. I cannot believe there is not better talent out there.

CW on January 22, 2012 at 6:06 PM

OT?

predator on January 22, 2012 at 6:09 PM

Missed call Raven touchdown??????????????????????

diogenes on January 22, 2012 at 6:09 PM

Hmm. Seemed like a TD to me. He had control of the ball and both feet down.

NotCoach on January 22, 2012 at 6:09 PM

No Harbaugh Superbowl this year.

CyberCipher on January 22, 2012 at 6:10 PM

Wow.

NotCoach on January 22, 2012 at 6:10 PM

WOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!

Tim_CA on January 22, 2012 at 6:10 PM

Missed it!
Time to look for a job, Cundiff.

predator on January 22, 2012 at 6:10 PM

I thought the Ravens had the TD…. got two feet on the ground, but its over.

El_Terrible on January 22, 2012 at 6:10 PM

No good. Wow!

dont taze me bro on January 22, 2012 at 6:10 PM

Heartbreak Hotel

Rovin on January 22, 2012 at 6:10 PM

No good! You can’t miss a 32 yarder in that situation.

rbj on January 22, 2012 at 6:10 PM

*ahem* What did I say about Condiff?

His career is over . . . and it should be.

WannabeAnglican on January 22, 2012 at 6:10 PM

LOL

CW on January 22, 2012 at 6:10 PM

Great friggin’ game.

Tim_CA on January 22, 2012 at 6:11 PM

GO NFC!

El_Terrible on January 22, 2012 at 6:11 PM

Sports talk 24/7 for the next week:

Was it a TD or not? Let’s hear the foam flecked rants from our callers on this!

NotCoach on January 22, 2012 at 6:12 PM

Good grief. How could he miss that?!! He’s done.

conservative pilgrim on January 22, 2012 at 6:13 PM

Well, he had the ball, and he got two feet on the ground, so that’s possession in the end zone… I thought it should have at least been reviewed, but there was no review.

El_Terrible on January 22, 2012 at 6:13 PM

Cundiff was the PRO BOWL kicker last year.

CW on January 22, 2012 at 6:13 PM

*ahem* What did I say about Condiff?

His career is over . . . and it should be.

WannabeAnglican on January 22, 2012 at 6:10 PM

Haha you’re right. But something tells me had he kicked that earlier FG, he would have tied the game.

haner on January 22, 2012 at 6:14 PM

Over to Fox for pre-game!

Tim_CA on January 22, 2012 at 6:14 PM

Wow, Flacco was better than Brady and the Ravens lost anyway. Go figure.

forest on January 22, 2012 at 6:15 PM

Norwood

p40tiger on January 22, 2012 at 6:15 PM

Great game. I’ll have another, please.

predator on January 22, 2012 at 6:16 PM

I thought that was a touchdown too. Strange there was no challenge.

haner on January 22, 2012 at 6:16 PM

Well, he had the ball, and he got two feet on the ground, so that’s possession in the end zone… I thought it should have at least been reviewed, but there was no review.

El_Terrible on January 22, 2012 at 6:13 PM

In “regular-speed”, I’ll bet they’re going to say he didn’t establish posession, but it was worth a look at the very least.

Rovin on January 22, 2012 at 6:17 PM

New England is going to have to do better than that effort to win the SB.

That Ravens guy dropping a TD will come back to haunt them as much as the missed FG.

Del Dolemonte on January 22, 2012 at 6:18 PM

I will enjoy Ravens fans whining. Music to my ears.

CW on January 22, 2012 at 6:18 PM

I thought that was a touchdown too. Strange there was no challenge.

haner on January 22, 2012 at 6:16 PM

Inside of two minutes, coaches can’t challenge. A review must be initiated from the official upstairs.

NotCoach on January 22, 2012 at 6:18 PM

I thought that was a touchdown too. Strange there was no challenge.

haner on January 22, 2012 at 6:16 PM

Nevermind, saw the replay, his feet were dancing like there was fire. Dumb.

haner on January 22, 2012 at 6:19 PM

Pro tip: Do not kick across your body unless you are trying to kick wide.

Also, didn’t the Ravens have one TO left? Should’ve hard-counted the Pats.

Christien on January 22, 2012 at 6:19 PM

>>with a 31-20 win over Baltimore.

Make that 23-20…going to overtime, no! Shanked field goal!
(Apologies to our Steelers friends for borrowing their song)
Here we go, Patriots, here we go
Brady’s goin’ to the Super Bowl!

Any word if Myra Kraft (RIP) helped to guide that ball away? :)
Sorry Bal’more.
Pats going to 7th SB, 5th since ’01

raccoonradio on January 22, 2012 at 6:20 PM

El_Terrible on January 22, 2012 at 6:13 PM

The NFL is not so different than the NCAA and NASCAR in their lame-brained decision making.

jb34461 on January 22, 2012 at 6:20 PM

Inside of two minutes, coaches can’t challenge. A review must be initiated from the official upstairs.

NotCoach on January 22, 2012 at 6:18 PM

Oops, I meant review.

haner on January 22, 2012 at 6:20 PM

Yikes, that was brutal.
Pats to SB on a bit of a gimme.
I’ll take it.

PaleoRider on January 22, 2012 at 6:21 PM

The way they call touchdown reception now, the dropped ball was not even close. You pretty much have to catch it, get feet down, establish continued possession – especially if the receiver is falling to the ground, and then maintain an unbroken chain of custody the whole way back to the official. Not even close to a touchdown.

He should have just caught the ball.

forest on January 22, 2012 at 6:22 PM

Wrong on my first pick, but was tough game to pick. However, I see San Fran walking away from the Giants.

NotCoach on January 22, 2012 at 6:22 PM

Wrong on my first pick, but was tough game to pick. However, I see San Fran walking away from the Giants.

NotCoach on January 22, 2012 at 6:22 PM

I hope you’re right

El_Terrible on January 22, 2012 at 6:23 PM

I like SF in this one.
Hopefully, lots of mud.

PaleoRider on January 22, 2012 at 6:23 PM

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