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As The Ball Bounces: Divisional

Bob George
Bob George on Twitter
Jan 13, 2004 at 5:00am ET

Ask Toni Linhart what it was like to be a Baltimore Colt. The Colts lost the first five games of the 1979 season, the third of those being a 13-10 loss to Cleveland. Linhart missed three field goals in that game, including an easy one which would have tied it late in the contest. Owner Bob Irsay consoled Linhart after the game, saying that he would get a $10,000 bonus. What he got later that week was his release, and he wound up with the Jets that year before calling it quits. The Irsay name still darkens the Colt letterhead in the form of son Jim. Linhart remains better known as the kicker in perhaps the greatest post-Unitas era in Colt football, the 1975-78 period where Bert Jones led the Baltimore offense. The stout Austrian Linhart booms one, and it carries all the way back to the three-yard line.

Some Titans could do well to keep their yaps shut and stop embarrassing and demeaning their outstanding head coach.

To sum up the Tennessee tirades succinctly: Keith who? Zack who?

Zero punts? Sounds like two teams who won't be seeing a Vince this year.

For one pass play, Brett Favre morphed into his 1992 self.

Mike Martz is making it very clear that he is a great offensive coordinator and a lousy head coach.

Which begs the question: How about Lovie Smith as the new Rams head man?

Nice of the Patriots to lock up Romeo Crennel for three more years. Let's hope he sees that contract to its conclusion.

Someone needs to put a sign over Bill Belichick's office that reads "Peyton's Head".

If you think the Oakland Athletics have it bad in the postseason, Kansas City fans may beg to differ.

At least they can't blame it on Marty Schottenheimer.

You cannot deny that the Tennessee Titans were exactly as tough as advertised.

Sometime soon, Philadelphia needs to discover something called "consistency on offense".

You want to neutralize Packer cornerbacks Al Harris and Keith McKenzie? Go out there with barber clippers in your belt.

Geek of the week: Tough decision. Martz. Bulluck. We give it to Piller. Ignorance isn't always bliss. Sometimes it's just plain rancid.

Ignorance? Nah. Stupidity? That's more like it.

Priest Holmes: 24 carries, 176 yards. Even more reason to not worry too much about Indianapolis.

Adam Vinatieri nails a game-winning field goal in the playoffs, and all's right with the world.

By the way, Adam's field goal was good from 46 yards. It would not have been good from 47.

You all perhaps know who Julius Peppers is. Now, get to know Kris Jenkins, Brentson Buckner and Mike Rucker, and quick. If you still want to win a Vince, mind you.

Yikes. Stephen Davis gets hurt, and DeShawn Foster almost checks in with 100 rushing yards in his own right. Another one you need to acquaint yourself with quickly.

Someone tell CBS to can that camera angle behind the quarterback.

Thanks to the Eagles, who knocked off the one remaining team who could give the Patriots extreme problems in the postseason.

If you really pay careful attention to telecasts, it seems that only Armen Keteyian of CBS is "worthy" of getting a Belichick interview.

How'd he get that honor? Must be an Armenian connection, as Belichick's personal assistant is named Berj Najarian.

Going further, Keteyian was actually allowed inside the Patriot locker room at halftime. Now that's an honor that only goes to people like Jon Bon Jovi. We think.

Back to school: Nick Saban is staying put. Darn. Chicago may be saying, "Wherefore art thou, Romeo?" pretty soon.

Richard Seymour needs to keep his emotions and his temper in check. That roughing the passer is not the first time he has incurred stupid penalties of this sort.

Here's how really good the Patriots are: They beat Tennessee with their "B" defense, and the "B" defense still managed to make the big plays when it had to.

Ever seen a divisional weekend where both two seeds lost?

And if not for a heroic late comeback, Carolina, a three seed, would have hosted Green Bay for the NFC Championship.

And the winner would have been the football equivalent of the 1976 Phoenix Suns.

Moral of the story: A great big huzzah for the visiting teams this weekend, none of whom knuckled under to the supposed pressure of playing on the road.

A study of two frustrated coaches: Jeff Fisher's look of agony as the final seconds ticked off the clock. Dick Vermeil looking like he wanted to vomit near the end of the first half after a dropped pass and a missed chip shot field goal by, of all people, Morten Andersen.

Anyone surprised that Shannon Sharpe was so nice when talking about the Patriots on Saturday night? His days of calling the National Guard might be over.

A thousand cheers for the newest member of the AFC Pro Bowl squad: "Old Man Willie" McGinest. Old man? Yeow.

How could Kansas City's season come apart so dramatically?

With the Rams, it's not surprising, believe it or not. Just ask the head coach.

Remember him: ESPN really had something a few years back: commercials with Chris Berman and former Colt lineman Art Donovan. You can't watch an NFL Films feature on the Colts of the 1950s and not see him, nor can you avoid laughing at his every remark. Berman and Donovan? That combo was "can't miss", but nobody was smart enough to make those two work. Maybe someone can still do something, Donovan still can crack off funny statements with the best of them.

I mean, if Fox can still be pumping out their Best Damn Sports Show Period, ESPN perhaps blew a big chance here.

Let's have it cold in Foxborough on Sunday, but let's at least try and crack double digits.

That football catching drill that David Givens said he did last offseason? This year, it's Daniel Graham's turn.

How will next weekend turn out? Let's see…

Eagles will always soar to the highest of heights.

But we meant the band - Panthers have the night of all nights.

Manning is a definite co-MVP.

But the Patriots will head to Houston, you'll see.

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