January 24, 2008
As The Ball Bounces: Conference Championships
BY: Bob George/BosSports.net
The old kicker. His last national broadcast was a Patriot win. For many years, Pat Summerall was the signature voice of CBS and later Fox, but he really was the signature voice of the NFL. Like Curt Gowdy in baseball, Howard Cosell in boxing, Dan Kelly in hockey, Keith Jackson in college football, and on a local level, Don Gillis in candlepin bowling, Summerall was the on-air personification of the sport. He was also a pretty good placekicker, too, kicking for ten seasons, the last four of them with the Giants. He was the Giant placekicker for the famous 1958 NFL Championship Game, his first season in Gotham. He led the league in made field goals in 1959 and led the league in extra points in 1961 with quite a bit fewer (46) than Stephen Gostkowski made in 2007. He went right to television after his retirement and the rest is history. He steps into one and lofts it to about the nine-yard line.
You can read all you want into Philip Rivers and his bum knee. We submit the following:
If Rivers' knee was really hurt, it must have been superficial.
No one with an ACL injury (San Diego newspapers said that his ACL was torn, remember) moves as easily as Rivers did on Sunday nor threw the ball as well as Rivers did.
Our conclusion: Norv Turner was playing fast and loose with the truth on injuries like Bill Belichick does.
And up until that decision to punt in the fourth quarter (to be fair, it was fourth and ten, and did you really expect Tom Brady and company to kill off the final 9:13?), Turner had done an outstanding coaching job.
Face it, Charger Nation. Marty Schottenheimer would not have gotten you past the Colts.
Unfortunately for San Diego, no one was or might have been lying about LaDainian Tomlinson or Antonio Gates.
Geeks of the week: All of you who thought Tom Coughlin was foolish to play the Patriots tough in Week 17.
A Manning will once again play in the Super Bowl.
Just don't play for Eli the video clip of Archie predicting a Patriot win.
As for Brett Favre, don't believe he is done unless someone else actually starts a game for the Packers next year.
A good reference is Michael Jordan and how many times he "retired". Some guys just don't take their boots off that easily, and some don't want to ever.
You never heard a stadium go so silent so quickly than you did Lambeau Field on Sunday after Laurence Tynes kicked the game winner.
Because everyone in those stands would have bet their Wisconsin dairy farms and every darned cow they own on a Packer win.
Losses hit all home fans hard. For Packer Nation, it was like taking a sledgehammer to their stomachs and swinging it with a force akin to John Henry driving those rail spikes.
Love all those articles about when this area used to be Giant country. This typewriter has already covered that subject on a couple of occasions, so we'll spare you.
And Yours Truly used to be one of those old Giant fans. When Allie Sherman was head coach, Fran Tarkenton was quarterback, Pete Gogolak was the kicker, Ron Johnson was the featured back, Homer Jones was the top wideout, John Mendenhall anchored the defensive line, and Carl "Spider" Lockhart patrolled the deep secondary, these were the guys who whetted the football appetites of western New England back in the days.
Back to school: How about Norm Chow, former assistant coach at USC, now heading up to Westwood to be one of Rick Neuheisel's lieutenants for the crosstown enemy. Never mind the Benedict Arnold factor, was this another guy who is better suited for the college game and not the pros?
Tell me Osi Umenyiora didn't call out Matt Light. We know he's good. We didn't know he was stupid.
Yes, Randy Moss has been silent. Lately. But put him in Phoenix, give him a roof in case it rains, and he may be silent no longer.
Nice to see Laurence Maroney getting his due props.
Ditto for Kevin Faulk.
One has to wonder what Tiki Barber is thinking about all this.
Not to mention Jeremy Shockey.
Can Eli Manning be shut down? The Patriots have just the man to do it, and the Giants know it well. A Giant defensive coordinator named Bill Belichick has a game plan in the Hall of Fame (Super Bowl XXV).
Oh, and ten years after Belichick's masterpiece, the Giants were smothered in the Super Bowl by maybe the second best one-season defensive team in league history, the Baltimore Ravens.
Patriots and Giants. This sure has come a long way from August 15, 1971, the first game in Schaefer Stadium history. We're sure the good people of Glendale, Arizona know a little bit about managing parking lots.
Remember him: He won two Vinces as Giants head coach. He then came to Foxborough and took your team to a Super Bowl before dumping you at the altar for the Jets job. Bob Kraft didn't hire this guy, someone else did. Now he's going to try and resurrect the Dolphins and make them relevant again. You may hate him for how he left the team in 1997. But at some point you have to find it within yourself to thank Bill Parcells for making the Patriots relevant starting in 1993. Kraft and Belichick have advanced the Patriots to the precipice of 19-0, but it was Parcells that got it going. If 1967 is what signaled the start of Red Sox baseball as we know it today, Parcells' arrival in 1993 did exactly the same thing to the Patriots. It was the genesis of what is now the greatest sports organization in this nation today. Just throw away your video copy of Super Bowl XXXI and toss the Tuna a thank you. It will come back to you a hundredfold.
For all the years that the Bidwill family in general and Bill in particular have been looked upon as buffoons, this Super Bowl is the crowning moment in the history of that family.
The Cardinals have been the dregs of the NFL for many years now, and Bidwill, who inherited the team from his father, has been mocked for many years as one of the worst owners in the league. Other than a freak 1998 playoff win at Dallas, this team has had nothing but mediocrity attached to its public perception, both in Phoenix and St. Louis.
Finally, the Bidwills did something right. They got this gleaming new University of Phoenix Stadium, and they got a Super Bowl for it. Already the stadium has hosted both the unforgettable 2007 Fiesta Bowl (that crazy 46-45 win by Idaho State over Oklahoma) and the 2007 BCS Championship.
Now, finally, the Bidwills join the Patriots and Giants on football's biggest stage. The two best teams in football come to their home and their crib. Greater Phoenix is a dynamite place, and it can thank the Bidwills for pulling this feat off.
Of course, one of these days Bidwill would like his Cardinals to be a contestant rather than a host. Until that day comes, he can sit back next Sunday on his Cardinal throne and finally feel like king of the mountain. You the non-Arizonian may never fully realize what a miracle it is to have the game in this new stadium. Greater Phoenix did host Super Bowl XXX (at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe), but Super Bowl XLII will blow that one away. This new stadium is the real deal.
19-0 would be stupendous. What Bidwill did already is.
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