Never let the refs or a coin flip decide the game: An NFC Championship Story

January 25, 2010

Full disclosure – I missed the 2nd and 3rd quarters because I decided to drive my girlfriend back to Queens early because we had to run some errands in Manhattan on the way back to her place.  But let’s be honest here – I didn’t miss much.  The Vikings played a sloppy game and the Saints were out of sync (I’ll let you decide whether it was due to the Vikings and Leslie Frazier’s game plan (probably) or if the Saints were a bit overwhelmed by the moment (probably played a part as well.)

So instead of recapping a game that everyone either watched in its entirety, watched in part, or saw the highlights, I am going to take the time to address a few storylines that I am sure the media will be beating us over the head with today and tomorrow.

The referees did not cost the Vikings this game (re: the phantom pass interference on David Thomas.)

No one player lost the Vikings this game (i.e., Brett Favre, Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin, etc.)

A coin toss did not lose the Vikings this game.

And the overtime rules are just fine, thank you.

Here’s the deal: when I played football in high school we were forbidden from complaining about the referees or for worrying about things that were out of our control.  I was always taught that if you allowed a game to be decided by the refs or something like a coin toss, then that’s on you.  The Vikings had 60+ minutes to take care of business and they didn’t get it done.  In fact, it was remarkable that this game even made it to overtime considering they turned the ball over 5 times.  Refs will make bad calls.  Weird plays happen.  But, if you take care of business and even if the refs make a bad call, you should still end up on the winning side.

Further, to place the blame for a loss on a single play or a coin flip is ridiculous and diminishes the hundreds of other plays that happened over the course of a game.  Of course any single play can swing the outcome of a tightly contested match, but to try and play this game of isolating THE play that swung the game is a fool’s errand and misses the point.  Football is a team game and there will be many plays during the course of the game that do not go your way.  Good teams minimize the bad plays against them and exploit the other team’s breakdowns.

As for the overtime rule, I love the NFL’s overtime rule.  As a Packers’ fan I know first hand that winning the toss in OT does not guarantee victory or defeat (see Al Harris picking off Matt Hasselbeck, Corey Webster picking off Brett Favre, and Aaron Rodgers being “picked off” by the Cardinals in the first round this year.)  Further, defense and special teams are part of the game!  How about the Vikings make a play on special teams and not let Pierre Thomas return the overtime kickoff to the Saints’ 40?  How about the defense step up and make a play?  The trend over the last few years in the NFL has been to glorify offense and short change defense and special teams.  I think this is a travesty and this is why I love the NFL overtime rule: it emphasizes all three phases of the game.

Additionally, as I alluded to earlier, to claim that a coin flip decided the game totally diminishes the 60 minutes of football that preceded overtime.  There were plenty of opportunities for either team to handle their business in regulation.  Heck, if Favre had just tucked the ball and ran with it, chances are Ryan Longwell nails a 50 yarder for the win.  Games between teams as evenly matched as the Vikings and Saints are essentially sudden death matches anyway, with the team who has the ball last usually the one who wins.  In  fact, announcers say this all the time.  So why does everyone lose their minds over the overtime rules.  Isn’t it essentially luck that determines who ends up with the ball last in regulation of these types of contests?

Well now I am ranting so I’ll wrap this baby up.  My ultimate point is that no single play or event determines the outcome of a football game.  That might be the storyline the next day, but it’s false.  Plays count just as much in the first quarter as they do in the 4th quarter or in overtime.  The Vikings have no one to blame but themselves, as a TEAM, the same way my Packers had no one  to blame but themselves for spotting the Cardinals a 14 point lead in the first round.  To claim otherwise totally diminishes what else happened during the game.


A post-mortem (AFC Championship Edition)

January 25, 2010

New York was strikingly quiet at about 6 PM yesterday when the final seconds ticked off the game clock.  Mark Sanchez was still slinging passes down the field in a blatant attempt to pad stats and please the fans who thought the Jets were a sure bet to cover as 8.5 point underdogs, but it was clear – this game was over.  The clock reading 00:00 was merely a formality.

In retrospect, that the J-E-T-S would go on to lose this game was obvious at about with two minutes and eleven seconds left in the first half.  That’s when, after the Jets forced a turnover and took a totally improbable 17-6 lead, the real Peyton Manning took the field.

Peyton Manning has engineered drives in the last two minutes of the half this year and come away with 77 points.  For some perspective, writes Paul Kuharsky for, that’s as many points as the Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, and St. Louis Rams have scored in a half this season.  That statistic isn’t just a league leader – it’s flat out exceptional.  When the pressure’s on, Peyton Manning delivers.  So color me as less than surprised when he picks apart the best defense in the league on a drive that took less than a full minute.  58 seconds after getting the ball, Austin Collie was in the end zone, the dome was shaking, and a Jets fan sitting on the couch could only sigh as they ran a few meaningless plays to get them into the half. Deflated barely does justice to the feeling of watching Peyton Manning have his way with your team.

Still, even coming out of the half, you had to feel relatively good as a Jets fan. Up by 4 on the road in the AFC Championship game with the best defense in football and a running game that exhausted opposing defenses.  A few long drives, playing field position and another score could’ve locked this game up.  That good feeling was put to rest when Shonn Greene, one of three breakout stars this post-season for the Jets and the team’s most dominant rusher, went out with a rib injury.  Thomas Jones is a solid runner who had an excellent year (1402 yards, 14 TD), but he’s been shy of contact during the playoffs and has a tendency to dance instead of just hitting the hole.  Greene gets yards after contact and is a pure North-South runner, which is exactly what was needed in the second half in order to keep drives alive.  With only a semi-healthy Jones, the Jets rushed for a paltry 86 yards (averaging only 3.0 yards per carry) and couldn’t sustain drives against a team that suddenly developed a killer instinct with the last drive in first half.

But there are no excuses, really. The Colts were the better team in the regular season and the better team now because they have the best player in football lining up under center. There’s a reason why QB17 is terrific – when the chips are in and everything is on the line, Peyton Manning drops the hammer.  It wasn’t a skill that he was born with, but one he developed over time. If Mark Sanchez can be 50% of the QB that Manning is right now, he’ll have had a heck of a career.

Jets fans have a lot to look forward to now. They have a rookie running back who has looked like the league’s next breakout rusher, a rookie head coach who instills confidence in his team with every word and enjoys the spotlight afforded to him by New York, and a rookie QB who is so excited to play the game that he looks like Shelley Duncan in the Yankee dugout.  They have the league’s best defensive player and a defensive team that lacks a pass rushing star but plays well together.  The Colts had too many weapons today, but the core of the Jets makes the future look bright.  Congratulations to the Indianapolis Colts on a fine regular season and AFC Championship.  The game against New Orleans in Miami in two weeks should be exceptional.

And so it begins…

January 22, 2010

Since my cohort has done such a wonderful job explaining the general idea of this blog, I figured I would tell you a bit about myself.

I am also a 26-year-old law student at New York Law School.  Born and raised in Staten Island, NY and a Bernard M. Baruch College graduate, I have spent my entire life living, working, playing, and going to school in NYC.  So of course I will be moving to Los Angeles in May after I graduate.  My decision to move out to LA with my girlfriend of six years came as a shock to many, but we both want to work in the entertainment industry (me as a lawyer/agent and her as an actress) so it just made sense.  You’ll see that my pop culture interests lean heavily towards film and television which makes my desire to work in entertainment law and my move to LA a natural fit.  In addition to movies and TV, I was an English Lit major and am an avid reader.  I read anything from the classics to books on legal philosophy to comic books (aka graphic novels.)  Yup, I’m sort of a comic book nerd (used to buy single issues but have transitioned to trade-waiting – comic book aficionados will understand what this means.)

Of course, I am also a huge sports nut.  My allegiances are as follows: New York Mets, Green Bay Packers, New York Knicks, New York Rangers, and Real Madrid.  I suppose I have natural biases when it comes to these teams, I like to believe that I am able set my biases aside and provide honest sports commentary.  My favorite sport is easily baseball but football isn’t far behind (played in high school – Back-2-Back CHSAA Varsity Champs!) I also follow the NBA fairly closely these days after my brother and a high school buddy of mine helped me re-discover my love for the NBA.  I don’t really follow the NHL other than the Rangers, but I will confess that my Ranger fandom has been subpar due to the time crunch of law school.  My Real Madrid fandom essentially parallels my Rangers fandom (can’t wait for the World Cup in 2010 though!)  I dip my toe into MMA (specifically UFC), boxing, and golf from time to time, I usually tune into the Summer and Winter Olympics when they come around, and I even glance at the X-Games if I am aware that it’s that time of the year.  So I guess you could say that I am a sports-man of all seasons.  Unfortunately, I am not a big college sports guy.  It’s just not my thing – chalk it up to going to a city school in Manhattan. However, I will tune in for March Madness and any Bowl Games that seem to be generating some buzz.

So there you have it – pretty much anything and everything is open for discussion, debate, and analysis.  Enjoy.

Welcome to the Wonderful World of Us

January 21, 2010

Helllllllllllllllllllllloooooooooo Cleveland!

(and New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Boston, or wherever you happen to be right at this very instant).

Welcome to 2Guys, a JD, and a Blog.  I’m just one of your hosts, and I’d like to think that this should be pretty fun experience all around.

I’m Adam Collyer.  A 26-year-old third year law student from New York.  Penn State graduate, Jersey born and raised, sports, politics and pop culture enthusiast, and (theoretically) all-around good guy.  I set up this space after my co-host and I thought it’d be a great idea to create a podcast called Two Guys, a JD and a Podcast.  It’s evolved into what you see right now.

I’d like to think of this blog as sort of a general store with a specialty section on sports.  Keith and I combined are well-versed in basically every popular domestic sport you can find (apologies to the WNBA).  Together, we’re pretty well versed in the NFL and Major League Baseball.  We diverge at the NBA (Keith) and college basketball (me).  Primarily, my sports interest focuses on college football, specifically the Football Bowl Subdivision or “big time” college football.  And in the interests of full disclosure, I’m clearly biased in my thinking toward Penn State, the Yankees and the New York Jets.

So come on in, take a look around, and hopefully we’ll be able to offer a unique perspective that you can’t find elsewhere.  Failing that, at least a perspective that’s entertaining.  Thanks for reading.

Hello world!

January 14, 2010

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