NFL Weekend Recap: 5 Things I Think
Brad’s 5 Things
1- I think the officiating was an awful look for the NFL
When I take a step back and think about it, the rational me doesn’t believe that officials are crooked or that they consciously try to influence the outcome of the games they are assigned. It’s fun to call the Patriots cheaters and say they paid off the refs, but I don’t honestly believe there is a conspiracy out there to rig the games. You have to admit that the way things went yesterday doesn’t present a good appearance though. The Pats benefited from the whistle in several big spots, and only got called for one penalty. The last team to only get called for one penalty in a playoff game? The Patriots a few years ago. I get that the home team gets more of the whistle generally speaking. It’s probably linked to some deep psychological stuff within the minds of the players and officials in a hostile environment, but the way it went yesterday looked terrible. I’m just gonna leave a twitter search for “refs celebrate with Patriots” below and allow you to scroll as far as you like through the images, videos, and comments.
2- I think holding a lead against the Patriots is hard to do
Going back to why it’s tough to win on the road, it seems like the Patriots are just in everybody’s head. Teams get a lead and then they get tight. They change their approach or their execution slips or the cheating-ass refs bail them out. Oh wait, we already covered that. Ask yourself this question though: What time and score will it take for you to feel like the Eagles have the championship clinched? I think I would need Philly to be up by three touchdowns and have possession of the ball with about eight minutes left to declare the game safely in hand. Crazy stuff.
3- I think the “dome teams can’t win outside” stuff is dumb, but . . .
I have no clue how the Vikings’ meltdown was so thorough and epic, but they looked totally overwhelmed. It wasn’t that cold in Philly. Defense generally travels as does a running game. Certainly some of the Vikings players went to cold weather colleges and they obviously played outdoors several times this season. For me, a more believable narrative about the Vikes’ letdown relates to their emotional state. They blew a big lead against New Orleans then pulled off an absolute miracle and, after that miracle happened, they celebrated like they won the damn Super Bowl. Football is an emotional game and Minnesota just couldn’t come up with a road win in that spot. Happens to good teams sometimes.
The stadium in Detroit Lakes, MN where Adam Thielen played his college ball
4- I think the early Super Bowl line is right on
The line for the big game opened with the Pats as 5.5-point favorites and I don’t think anyone is particularly surprised. New England has gotten used to being the favorite and Philly has learned to embrace being a dog. The Pats and Iggles met in Super Bowl 39 and it was a competitive game. Terrell Owens rushed back from an ankle injury and played well, but Andy Reid, Donovan McNabb, and Co. were overmatched and lost by a Vinatieri field goal. I didn’t care for the Patriots in those days, but it’s transformed into hatred in the decade plus since. We’ll release our Super Bowl selections on Friday the 2nd, but I think it’s safe to say that we’re all rooting for the Iggles no matter who we pick.