And so we are given a rematch of a game that was so significant it aired on three networks – and ironically, said rematch will air on the one over-the-air broadcast partner frozen out of that televised trifecta of Dec. 29. If Fox wants to share the air, maybe the Dumont network could be revived for such a purpose.
NEW ENGLAND 21, SAN DIEGO 12
Perhaps it’s appropriate that the Patriots sealed their fourth Super Bowl trip of the decade and sixth in the last 22 years with a final score that was a palindrome. After all, any way one disseminates the unbeaten New England side – forwards, backwards, sideways, upside down – the conclusion is the same, one of greatness that until this year seemed unattainable.
But this game might have been their most unsightly to date, punctuated by three Tom Brady interceptions that all-but gift-wrapped the game to the visiting Chargers, who proceeded to return the gift by marching to four Nate Kaeding field goals and nothing more.
Thus created a game where the Chargers had more scores … but the Patriots had more points, thanks to a pair of Brady touchdown passes and a Laurence Maroney scoring run.
New England makes an opponent believe it must be perfect in order to win. Sunday, perfection wasn’t required from the Chargers … but an end-zone trip or two would have given them the chance to author end-game heroics similar to the ones they conjured seven days earlier at Indianapolis.
N.Y. GIANTS 23, GREEN BAY 20 (OT)
As Green Bay’s hardened followers hunkered down in the open-air meat locker that was Lambeau Field, it was their team that frozen
Victory was in their sights, and even seemed destined after Ryan Grant forced a fumble following a Brett Favre interception, allowing the Packers to continue marching towards a game-tying Mason Crosby field goal that seemed all the more impressive as Lawrence Tynes misfired on a pair of field-goal attempts in the final moments of regulation.
The coin toss went Green Bay’s way, but given its offensive struggles following Grant’s forced fumble, it seemed that they might have been better served by playing defense and working field position from that angle. At least that’s what the fellow sitting next to me at Bob Baumhower’s Wings Sports Grille in Daphne, Ala. and I agreed upon as Tynes kicked off to start overtime.
Moments later, those sentiments seemed prophetic.
For the Packers and their chilled, distraught supporters, Favre’s fateful overtime toss was hauntingly familiar, mimicking an equally optimistic pass that ended in a Philadelphia interception during the divisional playoffs three years ago.
That errant pass merely cost the Packers a shot at a championship.
Sunday’s robbed them of a title altogether.
… Talk to you Monday as Senior Bowl week gets under way; we’ll be at the practice that will NOT be covered by NFL Network. They’re canvassing the North team’s practice at Mobile’s Ladd-Peebles Stadium; we’ll be chronicling the South team’s doings at nearby Fairhope High School. We’ll have plenty of pictures, stories, blog entries and Broncos TV pieces for you this week, so join us if you have a few moments to share.
And rest in peace, Suzanne Pleshette. One of the true gems of television, The Bob Newhart Show, couldn’t have flourished without you.
Until later Monday, vaya con Dios from the chilly, windswept shore of Mobile Bay.