Sorry, Jason Elam.  You don’t share the NFL record for the longest field goal anymore.  Your descendant, Matt Prater, holds it in his own right.  What Tom Dempsey first did in 1970 was finally eclipsed in 2013.  Prater nailed a 64-yarder this year to break the record by 36 inches.  But Elam was still one studly kicker.  He didn’t have the epic boots like Adam Vinatieri did that won playoff games and Super Bowls.  But he was still very good.  He steps into one and kicks it out of the stadium and all the way out to Colfax Avenue.

Ryan Allen has had a wonderful rookie season.  That is, up until the second quarter of Saturday night’s Divisional Playoff Game.

Yo, Ryan.  Kick the ball out of the end zone.  If the Colts had scored a touchdown, your coach would have made other parts of your body sore instead of your shoulder.

I like Dan Dierdorf.  He’s a good Michigan Man and a very nice voice to listen to.

But cover the ball at the three and try and hold the Colts to a field goal?  Have a good retirement, Dan, and Go Blue.

The 12th man in Seattle is beyond intimidating.

Would you say the same thing about Pete Carroll?

It’s hard to imagine a team giving away the chance to win on the road more than the New Orleans Saints did.  It started with that fumble by Mark Ingram and went downhill from there.

Let’s take it easy on Greg Schiano for a second.

Tampa Bay drafted Doug Martin.  He will make Buccaneer Nation happy for many years to come.

And he made LeGarrette Blount expendable.  Them’s the breaks.  Their loss is the Patriot gain.

I mean, could anyone on the Florida Gulf Coast have seen Blount’s last three games coming?


LeGarrette Blount could be a huge factor for the Patriots in Sunday’s AFC title game at Denver.
(USA TODAY Images)

Geek of the Week:  Jim Harbaugh needs some work on his personal self control.  The Vernon Davis touchdown late in the first half would have been reviewed anyway since it was inside two minutes in the half.  No need to run on the field, act like an imbecile and draw a 15-yard penalty.

That was some rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by Dr. Jesse McGuire in Charlotte.  If you know the trumpet, that was one awesome high G.

If you’re more scared of Cam Newton than Colin Kaepernick, we respectfully beg to differ.

Steve Smith is the one remaining Panther who played against the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVIII.  Ten seasons later, he still looks every bit the competitor he was in 2003.

That is going to be one awesome NFC Championship Game.  The 12th man versus that ferocious San Francisco defense.

The 49ers went into Atlanta and punched their ticket to the Super Bowl last year.  They can do the same thing this year.

It’s too bad that Panther fans had to wait five seasons for their next playoff team, get a great season from Newton, and then watch the season end in a one-and-done.

Back to school:  Nice job by UMass getting Mark Whipple to come back as head coach.  Beating Georgia Southern in 1998 is not the same thing as beating Ball State or Ohio University or Bowling Green.  But at least UMass might have done the one thing that will forestall cancellation of the football program in Amherst.

Peyton Manning had to win on Sunday.  Period.

Steeler fans were probably sitting at home, watching Philip Rivers and his team gag their way through three quarters, and seethe over the fact that Ben Roethlisberger couldn’t be out there to slice and dice that Bronco defense.

Nice rally at the end by the Chargers.  But giving up third down and 18 with the season on the line means that the right team won.

And that the losing team further indignified the Steelers.

That said, Pittsburgh needs to not go 0-4 next year.  But they know that.

Demaryius Thomas is the AFC equivalent of Anquan Boldin.

The Saints at least got their first ever road playoff win last week.  They needed three.  Too tall an order.  Dome sweet dome.  Not this year.

New Orleans will have finally recovered from their bounty scandal when they win their next Vince.

Remember him:  Craig Morton lost two Super Bowls as a starting quarterback.  He lost the turnover-filled Super Bowl V to the Colts in the rarely seen blue Dallas Cowboys jersey.  Seven years later, in the first great Denver Bronco season, Morton took on his former team with the Orange Crush Broncos and lost, 27-10 in Super Bowl XII.  Morton was the Dallas quarterback until Tom Landry realized he had the real deal in Roger Staubach.  In Denver, Morton was a beast in the AFC, as Denver rolled to the top seed in the 1977 playoffs.  They got to play defending Super Bowl champ Oakland at home and won to advance to Super Bowl XII.  But in that game, Staubach badly outplayed Morton, despite the Super Bowl MVPs being two guys (Harvey Martin, Randy White).  Those two guys brutalized Morton all game long, enabling Staubach to badly outplay him.

Now, time to wax poetic with our playoff prognostications in rhyme (thanks, Steve Sabol, for the first eight stanzas).

The 12th man is a Seahawk

Blustering in from Puget Sound

With a rollicking crowd, he bellows very loud

Screaming until your ears pound.

But the winter wind is a 49er

Scoring just for fun

They’ll knock Pete around and upside down

And laugh when they’ve conquered and won.

Like Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr

Peyton and Tom in the football pyre

Standing back to back with pistols in hand

Ten paces, turn and fire.

Faith can move mountains

But it cannot beat a quicker draw

This time, it’s Manning who fires first

And for the Patriots, maybe the last straw.