23 January 2006

2005 Post-Season: Conference Championships

Two totally unprecedented things happened yesterday: a sixth-seed team beat the number 1, 2, and 3 seeds on the road to advance to the Super Bowl AND I got ALL my playoff predictions right!

It was a bad day for the Jakes, but a very good day for tall quarterbacks (check it out - Plummer and Delhomme are both 6' 2", Hasselbeck's 6' 4" and Roethlisberger's 6' 5"). Last year, at the end of the AFC Championship loss to Patriots, the Bus and Big Ben were "boo-hooing" (Bettis' words) on the sideline, and Roethlisberger asked the Bus to give him one more year, so Ben could get him to the Super Bowl. Somebody get me his email address - I want to ask him about next week's Powerball drawing.

Jake the Snake went back to being Jake the Mistake in the Mile High city. The Steelers played practically flawless football. They are just on fire. I don't even know what else to say. Let me turn it over to this week's guest columnist, Chef Spouse:

"See, I think the Steelers won because they scored MORE points than the Broncos. Conversely, the Broncos scored LESS points than the Steelers, which may have contributed to their loss."

Thanks, Chef Spouse. Penetrating analysis.

The Panthers, in the meantime, also on their third road game in a row, ran out of steam. The game was a LOT more lopsided than the 34-14 final score would indicate. The Panthers first TD should have been called back because there was a pretty obvious block in the back that created the hole Steve Smith ran through, and officials were throwing flags, and everyone including Steve Smith sort of let the play die out, only Smith did manage to get into the end zone before he stopped running, and then the officials inexplicably picked up the flags. (Speaking of, for maybe the first time this season, the officiating in both games wasn't egregiously bad.) And their second touchdown came because the Seahawks had forgotten that the game was still going on - they were all on their cell phones like: "Hey Mom! I'm waving to you! Can you see me on the sidelines? I'm wearing my NFC Champions hat and t-shirt! Woo-hoo!" Meanwhile, Mike Holmgren's all: "People! The game is not actually over yet! Hello? Anyone?" And you could see it in the Panthers' faces, too: "Do we really have to finish this mess? Couldn't we just forfeit right now and get to a bar? Does anybody have a flask?"

So it comes down to the Seahawks and the Steelers, and unless the Bus actually gets HIT by a bus in the next two weeks, there's no way it's not all Steelers. Yet another Eagle will get his Super Bowl ring somewhere else (I still miss you, Duce), and Bettis will get to wrap up an exceptional career with the biggest win of all. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

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