OK, we know the Green Bay Packers knocked off the Dallas Cowboys. A bit of an upset, but hey, while Da Boys had put up the best record in the NFC the Cheesers had been on a roll -- winning their last 7 in a row entering this game.
Idle thought: Love him or hate him, you have to give it up to Aaron Rodgers. This dude is most definitely the real deal when it comes to premier quarterbacks. A slam dunk first ballot Hall of Famer if he never wins another game.
But some dumb things happened in the above game and elsewhere during the playoffs.
With only 3 seconds left on the clock and the Packers lining up for a game-winning field goal attempt, the Cowboys called a time-out. This was presumably to "freeze" Green Bay place kicker Mason Crosby. It was dumb. Crosby's in his tenth year kicking for the Packers and such a long time professional veteran isn't going to be phased by waiting around for a few more seconds. The Packers snapped the ball, and the kick was up and good -- but it didn't count. Well OK, do over time. Had Crosby missed the second one to send the game into overtime, the Cowboys' decision would have looked pretty good. Crosby nailed it anyway -- game officially over.
But here's the thing. What if it had played out a different way? Crosby missed the original attempt but made the second one that actually counted? Head coach Jason Garrett and the Cowboys' "brain trust" would have looked like complete boneheads for calling the time-out in the first place. Good luck explaining THAT to the press.
Speaking of brain trust, the term is used quite loosely when it comes to the Cowboy coaching staff. Jason Garrett himself is in his 7th year at the helm and hasn't won squat in the playoffs (two measly victories), let alone getting anyway near a Super Bowl victory. And consider his coordinators. On the defensive side is one Rod Marinelli. You remember Rod. He was the Detroit Lions' head coach from 2006-2008 and put up a woeful 10-38 record before getting run out of town. Heading up the offense is one Scott Linehan. He had the same position with the same Lions a while back and was summarily fired -- in mid-season, no less because --
A. His schemes weren't imaginative enough, hence not enough scoring, or
B. The team couldn't or wouldn't execute plays properly, or
C. They constantly shot themselves in the foot with too many dumb penalties, which culminated in
D. Taking A, B, and C together, they collectively looked like the Keystone Kops after a long night slamming tequila shots running around.
These are the brains of the Cowboy operation? Wow. Sure, they have talented players, but plugging in a former Ivy Leaguer (Garrett/Princeton) and a couple guys that weren't good enough for the lowly Detroit Lions and expecting miracles is a lot to overcome. Or -- just plain dumb.
In another playoff game, the Steelers got by the Chiefs 18-16 in KC. Most expected this to be a close, hard fought contest, and it was. But another bonehead reared his not so pretty face. That would be #32 of the Chiefs, one Spencer Ware, a third year running back out of LSU. On a passing play, his job was to pick up a blitzing linebacker. Fair enough. Goes with the territory. But the FIRST thing he did was grab the backer's face mask and twist his head before contact was even made. Good grief, it didn't take an eagle-eyed official to spot such a blatant foul. Tweet, 15 yard penalty. Three years in the league and Ware still doesn't know any better than that? Bonehead indeed.
Hats off to the Atlanta Falcons for dispatching the Seattle Seahawks. Yours truly thought it would go the other way because Seattle had recent playoff success under their belts, including a couple trips to the Super Bowl (one win), while Atlanta typically chokes in the playoffs. But credit where credit is due.
Though they would never say it, you just know the Falcons were rooting for the Packers to upend the Cowboys. Because that happened, Atlanta gets to play at home for a berth in the Super Bowl. Had the Cowboys and their, ahem, brain trust prevailed the Falcons would have had to travel to Big D.
So now it will be Aaron Rodgers and Co., seeking their ninth straight win, against the high flying high scoring Matt Ryan and his Falcons.
Should be a dandy and fun to watch.
In the AFC, Pittsburgh has to travel to New England. It's mighty tough to pick against the Pats, especially at home. But if anybody can knock them off , it's likely the Steelers and their smash-mouth style of football. Another good match-up.
Best of all, between all four of these teams, there doesn't appear to be a dumb one in the bunch.