Sport: The NFL Final Four, Finally

We have finally made it to Championship weekend in the NFL. On the NFC side, the Philadelphia Eagles are hosting the San Franscisco 49ers, and in the AFC, the Cincinnati Bengals are traveling to face the Kansas City Chiefs. Despite the NFL’s claim to parody, 3 of the 4 teams were in last year’s title games with Philadelphia the only newcomer. Yes, that salary cap sure keeps things competitive. Don’t you just love sports socialism. Just to get the perfunctory predictions out of the way, I think it will be the Bengals vs. the Eagles in Super Bowl. I considered the conference Championship games to be the last real football games of the season. The Super Bowl to me, is and always will be, a circus that sometimes affects the outcome of the game. I look at the true champions being crowned this week and whoever wins in that sideshow as a bonus victory. What other championship game in any sport is there, where people watch for the commercials and the halftime show, which is about twice as long as the normal halftime. The game almost becomes the most insignificant part of the day. I am not going to go through any type of analysis of the two games coming up or why I think the Bengals and Eagles will win. Today I am going to write about some interesting facts about the participants, which may give a little insight as to why the outcomes will be what they will be.

This will be Andy Reid’s 10th Conference Championship as a head coach. He has lost 6 of the previous Championship games with 4 of those being home games. Many people consider Reid an offensive genius. However, in 2 of those losses his team failed to score more than 10 points. In the last Super Bowl he coached, the Chiefs could only muster 9 points. To be able to take a team to 10 Conference Championship games is quite an accomplishment. For whatever reason it seems very difficult for Reid’s teams to get over the final hump. Nine Conference Championship games and one Super Bowl championship. Doesn’t seem like Reid is one to learn from his mistakes. Will this be his 7th Championship game loss or will he get over the hump this weekend with some new strategy. Thank God he won that one Super Bowl, or we would have an example of big game failures second to none.

What is it with this Joe Burrows guy? He is the epitome of consistency that is downright freaky. In his first full season, 2021, he completed 70.4% of his passes for 4611 yards, 34 TD’s and 14 INT’s. This past season he completed 68.3% of his passes for 4475 yards, 35TD’s and 12 INT’s. In 6 playoff games over the last 2 years, he has completed 68.1% of his passes for 1556 yards, 8 TD’s and 2 INT’s. In those 6 playoff games he has never thrown less that 32 passes and never more than 38. He has completed between 22 and 28 passes in all 6 games and in 3 of those games he completed 23 passes. Going into this Championship Game do you think he will do all right?

On the NFC side of things, we have 2 quarterbacks who are similar, in that for the NFL they are short, 6’1, have played against each other before, in the Big 12, and have had a lot of negative things said about their ability until this recent surge of success. To me, Jalen Hurts has proven that he is a top of the line NFL quarterback. Even though not tall he is a dynamic player who is a dual running and passing threat. This may seem like a small thing, but I like the way he gets ready to receive the ball from 7 yards behind the line of scrimmage. He is in a crouched position with one foot in front of the other. It just looks like he is ready to move and do some positive things to create some offense. On the other hand, Brock Purdy has started 7 games, and 6 of those were against mediocre to bad football teams. Last week against Dallas, some of his inexperienced showed, and if it wasn’t for a spectacular catch by the tight end and Dak Prescott being Dak Prescott in the playoffs, the 49ers could have easily lost at home to the Cowboys. Brock Purdy has two of the most dynamic players in the NFL in Christian McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel at his disposal. It will be interesting to see if Purdy can have a good game on the big stage, on the road.

I always look forward to Championship weekend in the NFL. Will I be surprised if both my picks lose on Sunday? No, I won’t be. Football is the only sport where one game decides the title. If that were true in the other 3 professional sports, there would be a completely different list of League Champions. Let’s face it, in one game anything can happen, and the NFL wants you to completely forget about that when it comes to Championship games. In my view the 3 quarterbacks and the Chiefs head coach will make this one, of the more memorable Championship weekends.

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