January 20, 2004
As The Ball Bounces: Conference Champs
BY: Bob George/BosSports.net
Nothing like an original. He kicked the game-winning field goal in overtime to lift a first-year expansion franchise named the Carolina Panthers to a 20-17 win at Foxborough Stadium in 1995. He could very well do the same to the Patriots a week from Sunday down in Houston. John Kasay is an original Panther, and a good one at that. Seeing him in the Big Show with a team he saw sprout, take shape and bloom will be most gratifying, unless he really does make a kick to beat the Patriots. The lefty booms one high and far out of the end zone.
The Patriots gave up 14 points to Tennessee. They gave up 14 points to Indianapolis. Carolina scored 14 points in beating Philadelphia on Sunday.
Wow. Maybe Don Cheadle should have made a commercial about the number 14.
And include someone named Steve Grogan somewhere in the spot.
Nice to see that when you mix Peyton Manning and Foxborough, nothing changes at all.
Here's what Indianapolis needs: Someone other than Dwight Freeney to play defense.
Here's what Philadelphia needs: Someone other than Donovan McNabb to play offense.
Just don't fire either coach.
Especially Andy Reid.
However gnarly Tedy Bruschi's injury may have looked Sunday night, he sure looked like he was feeling no pain during the trophy presentation.
Maybe the Colts thought he was faking.
Someone explain to Marcus "Mail me my ring, boys!" Pollard the meaning of "good defense", and to keep his yap shut for the next five years or so.
Todd Pinkston is no number one receiver.
Looks like Automatic Adam is back. Hmmm, must be January.
Troy Brown. Willie McGinest. Ty Law. Ted Johnson. Tedy Bruschi. Adam Vinatieri. Their third Super Bowl as Patriots. Can we make a t-shirt up for these guys?
Which further underscores what moved John Hannah to say "All these years are paid in full!" after the Patriots beat Miami in '85 to make it to Super Bowl XX. It was the end of Hannah's career, and it was his only Big Show. You never take this stuff for granted, and any trip to the Super Bowl could be your last.
If you ever get a first trip at all.
Geek of the Week: Show me your ring, Marcus.
The sad truth is that Philadelphia fans don't deserve any prosperity the Eagles may one day show them because they are simply the worst in all of pro sports.
And if you don't agree, ask anyone who played for the Billy Cunningham 76ers.
Or better yet, ask McNabb what he thought of the reaction when he was drafted.
Already, we have the key matchup for Super Bowl XXXVIII: Russ Hochstein versus Kris Jenkins. Here's hoping Bill Belichick isn't singing the Damien Woody Blues for the next two weeks.
Contrary to popular opinion, it is appropriate to think about Ty Law and his impending cap problems for the next two years.
Pay him in '04. Negotiate in '05. Simple.
Deion Sanders showed some rare intelligence at the end of Sunday's broadcast. He suggested that the Patriots root for the Eagles because they were one-dimensional and they could shut McNabb down. I could pull a Boomer Esiason and scream "Oh gosh, I'm gonna change my mind now!" but I won't.
Tony Dungy can't go on much longer with those schmucks on defense that he has. It has to be killing him.
East Boston's Jermaine Wiggins is back in the Super Bowl. Again' us, not fer us.
Back to school: An old Houston Cougar returns home on February 1st. Let us know when the party at Antowain Smith's house is.
Seems like every time Bob Kraft accepts a trophy, he reads a memorized, prepared speech. They always sound so eloquent: "I want to see all of you down in Houston! You fans are our inspiration!"
Unlike, say, raucous Red Auerbach: "Whatever happened to the LA dynasty? Here it is (pointing to the trophy)! It's right here! That's the dynasty!"
The rest of the NFL must be getting tired of listening to Kraft. Not us.
It's too bad the NFL probably prohibits Panther kickoff returner Rod Smart from wearing "He Hate Me" on the back of his uniform. Ah, the one lasting legacy of the XFL.
Here's a cut and dry plain fact: The Tennessee Titans are the second best team in the AFC.
Which makes you wonder how Indianapolis beat them twice this year.
Sooner or later, people will take notice of how many teams with winning records the Patriots have beaten this year, and finally wake up and smell the coffee.
The only thing which taints the Panther NFC Championship is this quandary: If the Eagles and the Rams were the top two seeds in the NFC, what the heck does that say about the rest of the NFC?
But make no mistake, the right NFC team made it to the Super Bowl.
One more coaching vacancy to go before we can breathe easier over Charlie and Romeo.
Remember him: The Panthers are heading to Houston. Home of the latest expansion team. And who is in charge of the Texans? The very same man who breathed life into the Panthers in 1995. Want to start up a new NFL franchise? Give Dom Capers a call. Foxborough simply wasn't his calling.
Besides, Bill Belichick turned out to be a pretty good get.
Mark Fields. Sam Mills. Two mighty brave Panthers. Keep those prayers and well wishes coming.
Is this it for Duce Staley in Philadelphia? They need to add good offensive players, not subtract them.
If someday all this perceived disrespect for the Patriots finally goes away, the brand new NFL Network will probably provide the impetus. This fledgling satellite entity cannot get enough of the Patriots right now.
Two weeks. They will go by like a snail crossing the street.
And eight United States are going to love every minute. Especially the two new kids on the block.
Welcome, Tar Heels and Palmettos, to Super Bowl Mania. Enjoy it, and we'll bet that this won't be your only taste of this stuff.
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