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NFL “Slots” Notes

The 51st edition of the AFC/NFC slots/division round begins at Green Bay late Saturday afternoon in a redux of what actually was this round’s first ever game in 1967, when “G.B.” with a (9-4-1) record but at home defeated the (11-1-2) L.A. Rams (28-7).

I doubt very seriously another of those spoon fed, “given all” announcers with no sense of history, or for that matter, talent, Kevin Burkhardt, who gets to announce this “Sat,” would know that.

Maybe that is harsh criticism and though I truly believe it, only an opinion. However, how did Burkhardt become the #2 team lead announcer for Fox, without having done any and certainly not many games. He stood around and chimed in nonsense as essentially a side reporter on local telecasts of baseball and then he is in 4th slots telecast Saturday. In a world of problems for me, this situation does NOT help.  

The first AFC/NFC configuration “slots”/”div” round game matched a Baltimore team, the Colts and the Paul Brown coached Cincinnati Bengals.

Saturday night, a day shy of the exact 50 year anniversary of the Baltimore Colts’ Supe 5 win, another Baltimore team visits the Buffalo Bills in slot 2.

Last week, I and only I/me, cited the Bills had played the earlier or earliest playoff game 26 times in 28 possibilities. Make it 26of 29 as the Bills/Ravens is the later Saturday game.

On Sunday the whore league pushes the Sunday slot games back and the latter with 40 plus QB’s Brady and Brees into prime time. That makes me sick. Good night.

Next morning it is Cleveland/K.C. then T.B. vs New Orleans on Sunday. Among the 4 slots tilts, only G.B. vs the Rams have any playoffs history.

The Pack won the aforementioned 1967 NFL Western Conference playoff game, as cited above, the NFL’s first “quarter,” and went on to two more ‘offs wins and “titled” for the 5th time in 7 seasons, claiming such in Supe 2, their coach Vince Lombardi’s last game as Packers’ coach.

As the St. Louis Rams, they won a Sunday slots game, I believe the later one, in Pat Summerall’s last slots game (once we had “Super” (Pat Summerall), now it is Burkhardt and last week such as Levy, Tirico, and Eagle (I think twice, once on Nickolodeon, heaven help us), in 2001.

 

Tide’s Twelfth Title

The Alabama Crimson Tide claimed their twelfth clear college football title, putting forth an epic offensive effort, in ripping Ohio State (52-24) in a third straight lopsided title tilt.

Quarterback Mac Jones completed eighty percent of his 45 passing attempts, throwing 5 touchdown passes, three to Heisman Trophy winner, DeVonta Smith, who played less than a half, amassing 214 yards on his 12 receptions.

Najee Harris, the third member of the great offensive triumpharate (Smith and Jones, neither is an “alias,” being the others) ran for three scores, including a 1 yard run, that opened the scoring.

In winning Nick Saban’s 7th title, (6 with ‘Bama and a shared one with LSU) the Tide led (7-0), (14-7), (21-14), (21-17), (35-17) at the half, (38-17) and cruised by 28 over (the game total was 75 and a fraction, think those that make the lines are not sharp, obviously think again), over Ohio State, a 6th loss at least in a game in which victory would have meant an Ohio State crown since Rex Kern and Company beat Orenthal Simpson and USC to claim the ’68 title. (Clearly a “reg” win in the season finale vs Michigan in ’69, a Rose Bowl win vs Jim Plunkett and Stanford in ’70, the same Rose Bowl scenario vs UCLA in ’75 in what unfairly to Ohio State was a “reg” redux–still they were big faves–, and title game losses as the underdog and a pretty decisive one vs Florida in ’06, LSU in ’07 and last night vs ‘Bama).

To their credit Ohio State claimed/won the ’02 and ’14 crowns, as at least a one touchdown underdog, vs Miami Florida and Oregon respectively.

College Title Tilt Tonight

In tonight’s college football title tilt, Alabama, whose coach Nick Saban is bidding to pass the legendary Paul “Bear” Bryant with a 6th ‘Bama crown (“they” list Bryant as having 6 crowns but even though I dislike Notre Dame intensely, largely because they were voted titles they did not deserve, ’73 was a season which culminated with Schenkel, Bud Wilkinson and Mr. Cosell in tuxedoes and Notre Dame 24 ‘Bama 23, thus one can not say ‘Bama won the ’73 crown. Bryant can be credited with and is with Associated Press titles in ’61, ’64, ’65, ’78 and ’79) is an eight point “fave” (as “Hockey Bob” said “eight, you get it, eight) vs Ohio State.

The teams are meeting for the 5th time, the most recent and only Ohio State win being the ’14 semi win, with Meyer “Urban’ing” a 3rd crown at Saban(o)’s expense (where is Gross,others and time gone by, having been wasted).

Alabama won the other three, it being the operative #, as 3rd ranked Alabama, under Bryant, (Joe Namath calls him “Coach Bryant”) (35-6)’d the Buckeyes (Ohio State), only to be vaulted by Notre Dame in the final polls, that in those days “determined” the mythical national title), whose quarterback was Joe Montana.

Alabama has 11 titles, 5 under both Bryant and Saban and one under Gene Stallings in ’92. All but the ’17 title won when Tua Tagovailoa threw a game ending, overtime touchdown to 2020 Heisman winner, DeVonta Smith (Sean “McDog” McDonough’s voice crackling call, followed mine and now I do not record.) just after which, Sean intoned “one freshman to another,” was won by Bama with either a Democrat in office as U.S. President (’61,’64,’65, ’78,’79 Kennedy first then Johnson and Carter twice each all 5 with “The Bear” as ‘Bama coach, then playing off “‘Bama,” four with the O”bama”/Saban(o) link in ’09,’11, ’12 and ’15) or with one having been elected and just days away from being inaugurated.

That ONE previous such instance was with a Democrat having been elected President, defeating a Republican incumbent, as is of course the case now, that in ’92, (W.J.Clinton elected and Gene Stallings, the Alabama coach).

The ’17 title, referenced above, is the only one of the 11 thus far and if Alabama, again an 8 point favorite, wins tonight, it will be the only one of 12, without a Democrat as either President or President Elect, as a Republican who does not deserve his name cited and actually deserves much worse, was in a shameful reality, yet another in this country’s annals, in office as U.S. President.

Ohio State’s three “clear” crowns were gained under three different coaches, Wayne Woodrow “Woody” Hayes in ’68, Jim Tressel with the virtually forgotten Maurice Clarett, in ’02 and  in ’14, when the Meyer coached Buckeyes followed their semi win vs ‘Bama, with another upset win, that vs Oregon in the first playoffs/title tilt.

NFL Update And Bills’ ‘offs Tilts Have Been Earlier Notes, Guaranteed Not Found Elsewhere

Yesterday, a three of three underdogs cover and two clear overs day (in doing Bills’ research, I read about the fine player, Tom Day, who died a day after his 65th birthday, after a life that included helping NFL players who “fell” and  transcending racial barriers), the Tom Brady (his teams are now (31-11) in ‘offs games, (9-1)when played on Saturday night–all but last night’s with New England, including the first Saturday night ‘offs game, in which Brady and Company both “tuck-ruled” and “Viniatieri’d” the Raiders en route to the first of 6 crowns, some 25 years after the Raiders, en route to the first of what was to be 3 titles in 8 seasons and none since,j “roughed the passer’d and Stabler’d them) led, 5 seed, visiting Bucs and field goal/dog, outright winning, Rams joined the Bills as game winners. Neither the Bills vs the Colts or the Bucs vs the “Wash” football team, covered the respective touchdown and “more than td,” point spreads.

Thus, if the 10 point fave Saints (the bettors are cashing those big fave teasers, one wonders for how long, although if “dumping the “whole game” occurs at all, surely it is less frequent in the ‘offs) prevail today vs the Bears (who but me, would cite they are playing around 4 P.M. Eastern Time on a Sunday, in the first year of an expanded (I call it prostituted, get me yet–I know this, lived it, but no longer love it, in fact, on some level, especially that involving the announcers, the concussions, the replays, the lack of proper ball location by defensive backs and plethora of military is good propoganda, despise it, wild card round, after doing so 30 years ago) then in next week’s slots/division round, Brady and the Bucs would visit New Orleans while the Rams would go to Green Bay. (If it manifests, even if it does not, my opinion on Brady’s intangibles and recall of the ’67 Western Conference ‘off, will be cited in the upcoming pre slots week).

How’s this one?!! In 28 possibilities, the Buffalo Bills have played the earlier and in yesterday’s, again in my opinion, prostituted case, earliest, of the weekend’s playoff tilts, an incredible 26 times. Some details follow.

Three such instances were the day before and involved 2 games, while the other 25 were same day comparisons of starting times, again all but yesterday’s, also involving 2 games.

In ’63, the Pats made the AFL Title tilt, winning the Eastern Conference, unscheduled ‘off, as the two teams finished tied in the “reg” standings, on Saturday December 28, 1963. It was the next day, in the other football tilt that weekend, that the Chicago Bears (14-10)’d the New York Giants, to win the NFL crown.

1964’s final weekend included the Bills winning at home vs the defending champion Chargers (then and for most of their largely futile seasons they were the San Diego Chargers, and they had whomped the Pats in the ’63 AFL title tilt, led by Keith Lincoln. In the ’64 game, football is violent, but even pacifist, perhaps coward, but not because I would not have gone to fight in a war, me decries some of the new rules which penalize even “breathing” on the opposing quarterback–Mike Stratton delivered a blow that knocked Mr. Lincoln out of the game. A few years later Lincoln was dealt to Buffalo for the aforementioned Tom Day. I noted some of Mr. Day’s off field contributions and “tangential/run on sentence” me, feels I would be remiss not reminding and never forgetting another Lincoln and in that case TRAGIC VIOLENCE are associated) the day before the Browns won their last crown, (27-0) vs the then Baltimore Colts, the franchise Buffalo “no covered”and “all teased” ( that includes the total that “fell” 51, with 50 and a fraction and 52 out there, but of course not me, NEVER me) yesterday.

One of the two times that the Bills played the later of the two ‘offs tilts on the same day, was their Billy Joe (not quite Billy Joel) led victory on another December 26th, that one in 1965.

Earlier that day, the Green Bay Packers (in a rare foray into the present, I think the upcoming Supe will match Green Bay and Buffalo and thought so for 5 dollars at 45 to 1, the fact it is so little and though this clearly could have been more without crossing a danger line and of course would have yielded “hedge” possibilities, it is more important to “control” regarding this now totally out there, no longer “sub” but culture (this is U.S. culture and we have the nerve to knock France, other than if they are rude or hateful) won (13-10) vs the Baltimore Colts, again the franchise now in Indianapolis, the Bills (27-24’d) yesterday as touchdown “faves,” en route to the first of what still is an unprecedented 3 straight NFL crowns gained with title game victories.

The last pre AFC/NFC configuration occurrence was in the first “merger season” of 1966. Then before Green Bay (34-27’d) Dallas in the so under rated ’66 NFL title tilt, this because the ’67 version is legendary (of course that fact did not preclude Joe Buck from saying the ’67 version was played in 1969. Exacerbating that ignominious for a sportscaster–face it the top assignment one- was it happened at a dinner honoring one of that ’67 game announcers, his father Jack. Maybe he was confused by the fact his namesake, a “Midnight Cowboy” character walked, as lyrics sung by Harry Neilson (“Everybody’s talking at me”) and that superb film, not the ’67 NFL title tilt, aka “The Ice Bowl” was in 1969), K.C. (Chiefs), the current NFL champions and the only team that would be favored vs either the Packers or Bills in a “within the conference” tilt in the upcoming week(s), gained entry to the first Supe, beating the Bills.

So pre AFC/NFC configuration, 3 of 4 Bills’ ‘offs tilts were earlier. After eventual Supe champion, Pittsburgh (Steelers), 6 or so point faves today vs Cleveland in a bid to visit Buffalo in next week’s “slots,” won at home vs Hertz “pitchman” Orenthal Simpson and the Bills in the earlier Sunday “div” game in ’74, the next Bills’ ‘offs tilt “produced” the second and only other “later day” start.

In it, Dan Fouts, “went to” Ron Smith, Fouts he of the beard and no Supe “apps,” though I do like him and surely he was among the great passers, if not quarterbacks–the likely to retire and religious zealot, ex Charger player, Phillip Rivers, the Colts QB yesterday, is good, but nowhere near in that great category, and S.D. took out the Bills.

Since then and to wrap up this “run on/run on and worse,” the Bills have played in the earlier or earliest tilt of the day, (often weekend), 22 straight times.

Adding and almost done, in ’81, Buffalo won a Saturday wild card game at the Jets’ then Shea Stadium home, the day before Rob Carpenter led a Giants’ victory at Philly (imagine their 2 tilts next season, trust me by then other will headline and not the QB substitution perpetrated by the Eagles, though surely it will be publicized. Hopefully the teams will and it is not a stretch to say, will be part of a (much) better NFC East), in that weekend’s other wild card game.

As a vindictive father of a vanquished plagiaristic sportswriter,  (yet the latter lives in luxury, while said father’s actions contributed mightily to my plight, not vow, of “below the line” living), said– “if only I had put the effort into “other,” what I put into this c–p.

Therein lies a, if not the rub, as what was stated by Shakespeare to another Cassius (I love and admire Muhammad Ali and that, not Cassius is his name. Lighter note: Cassius Clay is also a pretty cool, surely alliterative name) is largely applicable, regarding me–something about fault, stars and ourselves.

Maybe I can implement the use of footnotes.

Wild Card Round Notes, I like Wikipedia, However, Let’s Start With Their Factual Error

In this post’s title, I indicate I like Wikipedia and refer to it quite a bit. That includes today’s research on the announcers for the NFL’s previous 150 wild card round games (THIRTY is an operative number as there were 30 such tilts from ’78-’89–2 each for 11 of those seasons and 8 in and after the strike marred 9 game, 1982 regular season and 30 seasons of 4 such games (’90-2019). Today I found a factual error. It follows below.

AFC: Houston Oilers 17, San Diego Chargers 14

This was the third postseason meeting between the Oilers and Chargers. San Diego won both meetings in consecutive years, including 10–3 in the 1961 AFL Championship Game.

This references the Houston Oilers (17-14) win was vs the Chargers in the lone AFC wild card game in 1979. That information as put forth by Wikipedia and shown above is correct.

However, it was the Houston Oilers, who won the 1961 AFL Championship Game by that correct (10-3) score.

Additionally, Houston prevailed in the first of what were to be 10 AFL Championship Games, also vs the then Los Angeles Chargers (paraphrasing what Mr. Springsteen sang in “Atlantic City,” franchise moves, at least in this case, “come back,” as the Chargers are now the L.A. Chargers again, having been such in their first season (1960). Thus Wikipedia was incorrect saying the Chargers won those first two AFL title tilts, when in fact Houston was victorious vs them.

Let’s try this one, clearly, today for the first time, each conference’s network “top” assigned announcer, Fox’s Joe Buck in his 19th such season and CBS’ Jim Nantz, in his 17th, will be heard and too often seen on those ridiculous in game, into the booth, one does it so they all copy, “shots”–in the first two games.

This will be just the second time in those 19 seasons, that Buck is on a Saturday wild card game, while Nantz will be on just his third.

 

NFC Update

The (13-3) Green Bay Packers are the NFC one seed and have its conference’s only bye, as there will be 3 wild card round games in each conference.

New Orleans (Saints) (12-4), are the two seed and about 10 point favorites vs the Chicago Bears, as the teams again meet in the first year of an expanded wild card round.

The Bears, as I recall nice “faves,” eased vs the Saints, in the fourth and final game of the expanded wild card round, thirty years ago in 1990.

Seattle’s Seahawks are slightly over 3 point favorites, as they clash with division rival L.A. (Rams) for the second time in 3 games, 2 weeks apart. Sea es el tres, (on the air Spanish is said in English as I typed in espanol without accents). The Rams are the six seed.

On Saturday night, a man named Brady will play in a Saturday night ‘offs tilt for a # equal to that of the people in those squares, (9th) time. (His New England teams were (7-2), (7-1) at home, this to be on the road. The lone road Saturday night tilt was a loss at Denver in the ’05 “slots”/division round. Brady and N.E. were ko’d in the ‘offs, 11 times while winning an incredible 6 NFL crowns. Thrice each Brady and N.E. lost at Denver and in the Supe. Four times they lost at home and were overcome at Indianapolis in the ’06 Title tilt. 

The “Brady Bunch” once went to Hawaii, this version (the T.B. Buccaneers) goes to Washington D.C., if it is still there after yesterday’s disgrace, (a man named Brady whose history standard (do not get me wrong he is an all-time great) has and will plummet, both re pig and his playing golf, with that pig) and are 8 to 10 point faves.

Another thing a “man named Brady” has done wrong is pal out with Jim Gray, whose attack on Pete Rose at an all-time honor ceremony, while nothing compared to yesterday, remains a true utter disgrace.

We all need to vent. In some of this, I did that.

It Cost Her/Us, the U.S. Dearly, but Hillary Rodham “Hit It Out,” Calling Trump Supporters Deplorable. It “Roosted” Today, in Washington D.C.

In my “little world,” I wrote that encouraged by a deranged lunatic, who was given half and foolishly thought he could not lose (oddly, when he tragically ascended here 4 years ago, he though for sure, he would lose), fringe element, ignorant, actually stupid, DEPLORABLE (it cost her dearly, but oh did Hillary Rodham “hit it out,” with that word, regarding these thugs) people? stormed the nation’s capitol/capital, in an act so sickening, as to make the drain (called by Paar and so far in the wrong direction of par) we already inhabited, a veritable paradise.

This is a horrible new low for this tragically gone wrong, “Land of Plenty” (of what I wonder).

Nobody but me reads that perhaps childish book,  however, maybe some of the many who are consumed by and in PREJUDICE/RACism, continually blaming people, whose ancestors were brought here in chains, for whom I always “looked the other way” (one, my father would still admire for his achievements, but condemn for such thinking, though sadly in this “money is almost all” country, would likely opt for me to give up my soul, rather than starve) will allow, that first by disputing a pretty decisive election result and then by all, but calling for violence, that Trump should be “25th Amendmented” out.

Of course the guy given so much has his appointed lackeys, thus that justice is unlikely.

However, he may not circumvent the justice of a New York court and let’s hope, as with his role model and writer of his “playbook,” Roy Cohn and yes Hitler respectively, that none of those horrible three escape(d) the real “final verdict.”

 

Many I spoke with call for a much worse fate for him on earth. I am not one of them, for that is to be of him.

Anyway enough, it became a sickening day.

Condolences To Mr. Scully

I certainly did not know that Sandi Scully, Vin’s wife had passed when I wrote what I wrote, just an hour ago, in my most recent post.

The other stuff is the other stuff and perhaps my bitterness lies in never finding what Vin and Sandi had together.

Indeed it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. I am glad Scully had happiness with Sandi and am even glad Kay apparently has found it with his wife.

I am just glad he did not find it with Karen (neither did I, out of my league) born on the day Mr. Frost spoke and the last one on which John F. Kennedy wore a hat.

Some Baseball Notes And Likely Bitter Opinions

Amidst the plethora of football posts here and the continual barrage of “Scully as God,” (It is not fair, who said life was fair?!!!–that I do not get a forum to talk about the great Sandy Koufax/Bob Hendley pitching duel of September 9, 1965, so perhaps, no likely I am bitter. Again Scully was great, but I do not feel anywhere near the greatest baseball broadcaster, certainly not in pure play by play, which is far important than the still important story telling, at which Scully excelled) some baseball and 2 innings from 2 different NLCS games with another great broadcaster (see I acknowledge Scully, Vin was great) Lindsey Nelson.

#2 of 1969 is at Atlanta on a late Sunday afternoon. Widowed a scant 19 months earlier, by another of this country’s senseless, violent, death causing, I believe quite possibly conspiratorial acts (talking civil rights was “allowed” but when Dr. King talked of poverty, the horrible inequity of wealth in this country that also affected and still does white (again I identify as human) people (I know, believe me!) as well as those with darker pigmentation plus his stance vs a tragic war—-who knows?!!), Mrs. Coretta Scott King threw out the ceremonial first pitch, exemplifying her “strength” in a different way, throwing it past Braves’ catcher, Bob Didier.

Tom Agee, so instrumental in that year’s so called miracle title, hitless in game 1, singled to right leading off the game. Ron Reed, the Braves’ starter, an 18 game winner in the “reg,” and a la Dave DeBusschere, who within the year would help the NBA New York Knicks to the first of their only two titles, and was on both such teams, played in the NBA for the Detroit Pistons, is wild, walking both Wayne Garrett and Cleon Jones, who hit .340 in the “reg,” (his counterpart on the Braves, Rico Carty hit .342 but did not qualify for batting title considerations).

Reed, (in the Knicks’ vein, Willis Reed was a star on those teams), however, fanned both Art Shamsky and Ken Boswell. On what I think stayed a bad hop base hit as ruled by co official scorers and legendary writers back when people really read newspapers, Jack Lang and Wayne Minshew, by Ed Kranepool, the Mets grabbed the “wood” (1-0).

The temperature was 73 degrees (the Mets next appeared in post-season play in the pure, great no wild card days in 1973, winning the NLCS but as an 82 win team, were denied by the second of three straight World Series winning, Oakland A’s teams) after an 86 (the next Mets post season “app” resulted in the second of their two titles in 1986) degree temperature was recorded for game 1, a high scoring Mets (9-5) win in which neither Tom Seaver or Phil Niekro, each a 20 plus game winner that season and eventual Hall of Fame pitcher/player, who sadly died in fateful calendar year 2020.

Agee, who had not homered since he hit one off the Cubs’ Bill Hands, another fine pitcher, one we lost in 2017, in a big game, that featured a black cat, Randy Hundley jumping up and down and Jerry Koosman’s clutch pitching, followed a Reed walk to Koosman, with a 2 run blow to left, yielding a (3-0) Mets’ lead.

Later in this week, preceding a prostituted 6, up from 4, wild card round NFL games, some of the great Lindsey from game 4 of the 1973 NLCS.

The next day in game 5, Lindsey’s call of the Mets’ pennant clinching play and subsequent fans celebration is classic. Not so, in my opinion, Mr. Scully’s (working on the network with Bob Gibson, another great pitcher, we lost in 2020), who I believe channeled the “hard-ass-ness” of buddy Ronald Reagan (introduced as Reegan, at least once by Ed Sullivan) when he had a derogatory term for the fans.

Now that stuff (running on the field) is probably better off “dinosaurish,” however, Scully, while not as “Tefloned” as Reagan or even Frank Gifford, never the less has quite a bit.

Sorry for the “bitter” but unlike Scully, who at 90 plus, looks back at an extraordinary career, I will only have regrets. It is not Scully that is the problem, but the slew of incompetents, most notably Michael Kay, who “Fordhams” an alliance with Scully, that literally gives me nightmares. See I “rob” Kay in play by play ability. I did not work hard enough. I did not try hard enough, but as a person, who lived/ate/slept and breathed sports, it is literal hell to realize the juxtaposition that has Kay flourishing while I only lament.

A good gauge (Lindsey used the word on one of the two broadcasts I heard, unable to sleep, earlier today) is a so called friend, who creams regarding my failure. A Yankees fan, he says to me “even you are a better broadcaster than Kay” making Kay pretty darn bad! 

Mr. Scully was nice to me when I called him at the hotel, circa 1972 but dismissive “try the minor leagues” when I asked him for career help.

A great memory is Vin Scully saying to me, “your guy is good enough for me” when I told him Sandy Koufax was/is my favorite pitcher and who was best?

Also while Sandy was the best and my favorite, Scully’s best call was the last out of Don Drysdale’s 5th straight shutout, which was aided by a non hit batsman call when “Big D” appeared to have lost the shutout, hitting Dick Dietz.

Vin’s emphatic call of “Parker’s “gottt it” will always resonate. I hope it was included among Scully’s best calls in a special hosted by “for a long time” Yankees fans Bob Costas and Tom Verducci.

TV Notes: “In The Heat Of The Night”

‘In The Heat of the Night” is a great show and I will have more on its greatness in future posts. 

Today a television oddity, as both MeTV and WGN America will air season 4’s first episode, each commencing at 11 A.M. Eastern Time.

Let me go watch.