Sunday the Green Bay Packer played the worst second half of football I have watched in my 50 plus years of viewing the NFL. The Packers were not defeated, they lost the game by coaching mistakes and players who failed to do their jobs. The Pack had a 16-0 lead at halftime as they dominated the Seahawks. Seattle backed into the Super Bowl as they made fools out of the Green Bay Packers.
A dropped pass on third down; a dropped interception; and a fumbled on-side kick began the Packers’ demise in the second half. Then they allowed Marshawn Lynch to run free for a touchdown. But that wasn’t the end. Russell Wilson was about to be sacked, threw up a ‘Hail Mary’ for a two point conversion, and no one knocked it down. Bad play and bad coaching gave the game away to the Seahawks. Dom Capers, Defensive Coordinator, and Shawn Slocum, Special Team’s Coach, should be fired immediately.
In the first half the Packers not only controlled the Seahawks’ offense, they nullified it. At the same time they advanced the ball with offense and defensive turnovers and demonstrated that they were the superior team. But wait! In the second half Green Bay waved the white flag and told the Seahawks that they didn’t want to go to the Super Bowl. Head Coach Mike McCarthy and quarterback Aaron Rodgers should be ashamed to be forced to play with other team members and coaches who lack the intensity and dedication to win a Super Bowl. Green Bay gave the game away in overtime 28-22.
Seattle was far less than impressive. Overrated quarterback Russell Wilson and the Seattle defense were ordinary or less than ordinary at times. Green Bay’s offense was not intimidated by Seattle’s daunted ‘12th man.’
The game was a travesty of Green Bay’s inability to play sixty minutes of football. Seattle did not win the game; they should write thank-you notes to Packers’ players and coaches for awarding them a trip to Glendale, Arizona. The only word to describe the Packers is suicidal.
The AFC Championship game began as an exhibition of an even lesser contest. Last week the Indianapolis Colts demolished the Broncos in Denver. This week the game was likely over at the end of the first quarter. After the Patriots surrendered their first possession of the first quarter, the Colts’ Josh Cribbs fumbled the punt and New England recovered the ball. The Pats never faulted. The score was 14-0 and New England was in complete control. The officials who are in the employ of the league and therefore the owners, protected Saint Tom Brady on a dubious roughing the passer call once again. Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft is a major supporter of Commissioner and dictator Roger Goodell. For over 10 years Brady has been protected by NFL officials. Politics are alive and well in the NFL. At halftime the Pats were given a 17-7 lead.
In the third quarter it was obvious that the Colts’ defense was incapable of repeating the effort they displayed against the Denver Broncos. With just over 10 minutes left in the third quarter the game was clearly in the control of New England with the score 24-7. When the Pats intercepted a pass later in the third quarter with just over three minutes remaining and the score was 31-7, I decided to watch reruns of ‘I Love Lucy;’ they were far more entertaining. The game remained in control of the Pats. The result culminated in the most disappointing Conference Championship Sunday I have watched in over 55 years of observing NFL football. As the fourth quarter began it was 38-7 in favor of the Patriots. I thought I was watching Thursday Night Football. The final was ridiculous; it was an embarrassment to the AFC and the NFL playoffs; it was as deplorable 45-7.
The elite ‘experts’ of the NFL label Brady, Manning, and Rodgers as the greatest quarterbacks of all time. This is an erroneous comparison. They may be some of the greats compared to quarterbacks in the 21st century, but they had none of the challenges of those in past decades.
In the 1950’s NFL players were required to play both offense and defense. A simple reality of fatigue prevented quarterbacks from maximum effort by their receivers. In addition defensive backs could make physical contact with an intended pass receiver as they ran their routes. Quarterbacks could be crushed by the defense without the provocation of a penalty under most circumstances required by the current overly protective rules of the League Office.
Sammy Baugh, Y A Tittle, Bart Starr, Johnny Unitas and others played under a far different set of rules. They were not protected from being physically abused by defensive linemen and secondary. It is unfair to compare the quarterbacks of modern football to those in the past who were not in the protection of current rules which makes them virtually untouchable.
Although today’s games were far from entertaining, Super Bowl XLVIII may be worse. The final score will likely be New England 35, Seattle 13.
By James Turnage