The Falcons lost yesterday. Sure, they won the game and will be playing next weekend at home against San Francisco, but they will lose against the 49ers. The fact that Matt Bryant hit a 49 yard field goal with just seconds to play is irrelevant. The fact that the Falcons took at 27-7 lead with 2:11 to play in the 3rd quarter, but then eventually had to march down the field with :31 seconds to play just to win, is all I needed to see.
Sure, I'm bitter that I had the Falcons yesterday (-2.5) and that those dirty birds dirtied me up, but in doing so, they provided me the clarity for whom I'm going to bet on next weekend.
There is a fine line between winners and losers in the NFL, and there is a reason that Mike Smith and Matt Ryan are (barely) 1-3 in post season play. See the 20 point lead blown with 17 minutes to play. See Matt Ryan's horrible interceptions (2), when he had only thrown 1 over the course of the final month of the season. See the Falcons special teams completely botching a play as simple as a kickoff while protecting a 2 point lead with 8 seconds to play.
Mike Shanahan is now 8 days removed from being crucified by the media for his decision to leave RG3 in the game. The sentiment- whether or not you were on the side of killing him, was that Shanahan made a mistake. And for the record, I disagreed with leaving RG3 in, but I understand the multiple factors involved in that "in the moment decision". So I'm certainly not going to, like radio guy Tom Joyner did, compare Shanahan to a slave owner.
Mike Shanahan has two Super Bowl rings, and took over an absolute disaster here in Washington barely three years ago. He just helped lead the Skins to their first Division Title in 13 years.
Denver head coach John Fox has a career .534 winning percentage and zero Super Bowl rings. He also doesn't trust one of the greatest Quarterbacks of all time to march his team into Field Goal range with :31 to play and two timeouts.
Denver defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio has a .333 win percentage as a head coach, yet put together a #2 ranked Denver defense this year, but when put on the national stage, at home, in a win or go home game, he and his defense threw up all over themselves.
Bill Belichick has a career win percentage that is north of .650. He also has been to the Super Bowl 5 times, and he and his Patriots have won the big game 3 different times. Do I need to say more?
Belichick also played Rob Gronkowski yesterday, for the first time since late November. Gronk broke his arm less than two months ago, while blocking on an extra point in what was a blowout (at the time) of Indy. My google searches on broken arm recovery produces a time table of anywhere between 6-8 weeks. Yesterday's game against Houston was about the 8 week mark.
Now the google search didn't advise on time to return, relative to running around an NFL football field against guys in different colored uniforms who want to kill you, but I'm sure a medical professional would advise against it. Nevertheless, Belichick had Gronk in the game, I'm sure Gronk willingly played, and unfortunately Gronk re-broke his arm in the 1st quarter of the Patriots victory.
Its a fine line between winning and losing, and some have it, and some don't. Belichick and his 3 titles will get no criticism for having a player back in the game whose arm most likely was not completely healed. Mike Shanahan and his two titles, was ripped by every arm chair quarterback in the DMV for allowing RG3 (another winner) to continue to play last Sunday. Its a fine line- that decision, and the criticism of him would've been considerably less if the Redskins had won that game.
I'd ask those critics to tell me where you draw the line. Is Gronk's arm not as important as Griffin's knee? Is the pinky that Ronnie Lott cut off some 30 years ago to continue playing, less of an issue than Gronk's arm or Griffin's knee? Did Bill Walsh and his staff get ripped for that- you know, allowing a person to remove part of his finger for the sake of the team and victory?
These guys are all winners.
I'd compare these critics and the response I wish Shanahan would've had last week to the media, to the way Col. Jessup responded to Lt. Kaffee.
"I have neither the time, nor the inclination to explain myself to a man that rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide and then questions the matter in which I provide it. I'd rather you just said thank you, and went on your way. Otherwise I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post, either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to...."
My point being, you arm chairs, you can't have it both ways.
Give me Walsh, Belichick, and Mike Shanahan's combined 8 rings, and I'll take my chances with them when it comes to making a "make or break" decision in the heat of the game. And then throw in a Joe Montana, a Tom Brady, and an RG3- and their attitude and drive with regard to winning. And you can have the John Foxs, Jack Del Rios, and Mike Smiths of the world.
How's that working out for you?
You can also hear @Sportsyack Mike on the NTNRadio network. @BTSportsRadio
Monday, January 14, 2013
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