“There is nothing wrong with dedication and goals, but if you focus on yourself, all the lights fade away and you become a fleeting moment in life.”—Pete Maravich
Take the following any way you want. I’m not declaring a truth, but something I believe is the perception.
Baseball—though still beautiful—is what America was, but football is America now.
By perception, baseball is peace. Football is reality. It is the symbol of the day to day struggles and derailments. It provides a visual of what devotion, strength, and focus can achieve. Football preaches and reveals the truth of hard work overcoming talent.
That’s not the case in baseball. Work as hard as you want, but if you don’t have someone (or a few) who can throw a pitch with movement, you’re doomed.
I think this is why our senses are offended by the unending efforts to make football as safe as a walk around the block. That walk doesn’t represent life’s struggles.
Football, its collisions, its aches and pains, its triumphs, has life written all over it.
Baseball is peaceful and beautiful, indoor sports are entertainment, but football is our world. I believe that, and I’ll argue that as the unspoken perception of those who love it.
If I can grind, I have a chance in football—and life.
I wouldn’t say I liked seeing Brandon Staley leave the Rams for the Chargers HC job, but I think he’ll do well. I hate to lose him.
Along with all the clamor and outrage coming in the next few weeks about who did, didn’t, and deserves an NFL HC job. Make sure to put this in the stew.
If you’ve ever worked outside a bubble, ever had to interview people and make a decision—then you know this: Some people—perhaps extremely qualified—interview terribly. They’re just bad at it. And when you have a billion-dollar franchise on the line, it tends to make people nervous about hiring someone who interviews poorly.
Rams at Green Bay—Final Score: Packers 32, Rams 18
(Prediction: Green Bay 21, Rams 13.)
I’m not upset the Rams lost, although I was disappointed with the defense. I can appreciate that Aaron Donald wasn’t at full strength, but I expected a better showing from everyone else.
I’m not anti-Jared Goff, and I certainly don’t think he’s been a bust. But at this point, he looks like a decent backup quarterback. The book on him is in public domain–everyone has read it–and it doesn’t take much work to deliver a report on it.
On the positive–Cam Akers is a legit back, and Sean McVay is an excellent coach. The team never quit, but on January 16, 2021, the Green Bay Packers were better.
Voted Off The Island: Rams cornerback Troy Hill. Torched late, poor tackling. They’ll love him in Denver.
Baltimore at Buffalo—Final Score: Bills 17, Ravens 3
(Prediction: Buffalo 34, Baltimore 28.)
I doubt many will agree, but I thought Lamar Jackson did a great job before getting hurt in the second half. He made plays from the pocket and kept his eyes downfield when the easier thing would have been to take off and run.
So things can stay in proper perspective; I’m glad he threw the pick-six before going out. Because it would be wrong to assert the Bills won the game because Jackson was injured.
The pick-six certainly didn’t help, but when Jackson went out, the Bills were leading 17-3. The Buffalo defense did what wasn’t expected of it. Got pressure on the quarterback, made big plays and forced a Jackson turnover in the red zone.
I like Jackson—especially his efforts to improve continually—but I don’t think he’s great, yet…but he will be.
The Buffalo Bills are going to the Super Bowl. Can they do it in Arrowhead? As long as they have Josh Allen and a talented corps of receivers, they will contend.
Voted Off The Island: Ravens center, Patrick Mekari. His multiple bad snaps crushed the team and eventually put Jackson in the locker room.
Cleveland at Kansas City—Final Score: Chiefs 22, Browns 17
(Prediction: Kansas City 34, Cleveland 20.)
Baker Mayfield showed a lot, and Cleveland is a team on the right track. First time in the playoffs in forever, and they played an experienced NFL team that happened to be the defending champions. They lost, it hurts, but like the Bills last season and the Rams in 2017. They’ll be back.
As will Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The problem is Mahomes should never have been gone. The option call that moved Mahomes down the line in the third quarter—with an injured toe—was ridiculous.
The all-everything quarterback gets smacked, lands in concussion protocol, and no one says a word. No one calling the game (Jim Nantz & Tony Romo), no one in the CBS studio, the only place raising a question? Social Media.
Instead, Reid is labeled a genius for going for it late on fourth down. But it was either Reid or OC Eric Bieniemy who put Mahomes at risk, and neither should be praised.
On the other hand, I’m very happy for Mr. Chad Henne-Singiser. He stuck around, worked hard, stayed humble, and got his moment. Congrats.
Voted Off The Island: Chiefs kicker, Harrison Butker. The club has to keep Reid and Bieniemy around for the conference final. So bye-bye to the kicker that kept the game close and in doubt for so long.
Tampa Bay at New Orleans—Final Score: Buccaneers 30, Saints 20
(Prediction: Tampa Bay 38, New Orleans 30.)
I cannot believe there wasn’t a controversy at the end—some injustice for the Saints and their fans to holler about.
Instead, what happened was the cold fact of a pop-gun offense getting exposed on the big stage. It’s been like this the last few years, but each of the previous seasons ended with some perceived injustice to gobble up all the attention.
I’ve stated several times over the years: “Jared Cook giveth and Jared Cook taketh away.” He did not lose this game for the Saints. The quarterback did.
Last night in New Orleans, Drew Brees, their hero, clearly came up short in–what should be–the end of his career.
Also, it might have taken 18-weeks, but the signing of Leonard Fournette paid big dividends for Tampa. It also bought time to get Ronald Jones back. Towards the end, it was clear the Bucs had the running backs with the freshest legs.
Voted Off The Island: Saints quarterback, Drew Brees. Great career, and because he played in New Orleans under Sean Payton, he was bonused, at least, three extra-seasons.
New York at Boston: Knicks win—105-75
Since MLK Day is a centerpiece of the NBA (nothing wrong with that), and so many teams play on Monday, the league should have taken Sunday off. Especially with football going on. No one cared.
And I’m not talking about fans and viewers. I’m talking about the Knicks (6-8) and Celtics (8-4). The game was the epitome of what the sports fan thinks of rich-millionaire-athletes. They get paid, and they don’t care.
Look around the league–Clippers 129, Pacers 96–this happens regularly.
As Nets legend Buck Williams once said, “When you step between the line, the least you can do is give a hundred percent.”
Dallas at Milwaukee: Bucks win—112-109
Khris Middleton 25/6/6. Giannis makes the money, Middleton makes the plays.
Uneventful game, with lackluster performances, the Bucks (9-4) are blowing a great opportunity to take control of the East.
Did not know the Mavericks (6-5) had gold trim in their color scheme…Not too good, Chief.
New Orleans at Lakers: Lakers win—112-95
I saw the Lakers (11-3) for the first time in their Forum Blue & Gold…Since they play at Staples, can it still be called Forum Blue?
Pelicans (4-7)…It was refreshing to see Zion Williamson attack the rim on offense. No one does that.
Lakers have the best record in the league because they are the most consistent team in the league. They come to play every night. There are other teams with a lot of talent, but they just don’t come to play.
I believe that is why LeBron is the best player in the league. Lebron James comes to play every night.
NBA Games Seen: 34
The Dude abides…
1 Corinthians 2:6
Joe T. is the author of “Tangent Dreams: A High School Football Novel” … “Temple City & The Company of The Ages” … “The Dead Bug Tales” … “The Dark Norm” & “FaithViews for Storm Riders”…all five available through Amazon.com.
Follow Joe on Twitter @joet13b
MeWe: Joe Torosian