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A.F.C. Update

The Tennessee Titans, nee Houston Oilers journey to Houston, where as 10 plus point(s) favorites, they can wrap up their third AFC top seed perch, with a victory over the hometown Texans. The game will commence at 1 P.M. Eastern Time on Sunday.

In the late Saturday afternoon Denver high altitude, with home state Chris Fowler there as lead announcer, the K.C. Chiefs, who titled as the AFC “2” seed in ’19, something they did not do as the AFC “1” last season although they won the awarded home tilts to get to the Supe where they encountered a home Tampa Bay Bucs team, that routed them, look to clinch that and maybe more if Houston upsets Tennessee less than 24 hours later, with a win as 10 point “faves” vs the Broncos.

On Sunday in a moved to later tilt, the Buffalo Bills are overwhelming 17 point “faves” vs the Jets, as they bid to clinch the AFC East and at least a home wild card round ‘offs tilt.

Cincinnati (Bengals) are the current AFC “3” and likely will get no higher and quite possibly be the “4” which still gets them a home wild card round game. In it or in the very unlikely event they get the “1” seed and their next ‘offs tilt is a home slots/div. round game, Cincy will be hoping to end a 9 game ‘offs loss skein, with a home victory.

(10-6) New England is hoping for a reverse of 1966 when the Joe Namath led Jets upset them (they were the Boston Patriots at that time) giving the Buffalo Bills the AFL East crown. N.E. needs a late start win at Miami and a Jets shocking win at Buffalo, to “reverse ’66” and get the East crown.

Current 6 seed Indianapolis (Colts) are 16 point “faves” at Jacksonville vs the Jaguars, needing a win to gain an ‘offs spot for the third time in four seasons.

Finally in “Alfalfa” Michaels presumed last NBC Sunday Night Telecast, it would seem to be winner in/losing team in the game out, as the Chargers are 3 point faves vs the Raiders whose home and thus the game site is Las Vegas. What were the ODDS (appropriate word) of such an event transpiring even 5 years ago?!!

NFC Update

The (13-3) Green Bay Packers, playing on the exact 56 year anniversary of their 1965 “all the way,” NFL Championship Game (23-12) victory, vs the Cleveland Browns, in the great Jim Brown’s last game with Cleveland, matched their 1961 title game score, (they shutout the fine offensive team, New York Giants in that tilt at City Stadium, which was subsequently named Lambeau Field, where both the ’65 title tilt and last night’s games were played), winning (37-10) vs the “out of it,” (7-9) Minnesota Vikings, to clinch a second straight NFC “1” seed.

Last season, as was the case in 2019 when they lost AT the S.F. 49ers, the Pack (title winners 85, 60, 55 and 25 years ago and also in “same calendar” years 1965 and 2010) also lost the title tilt, that time at home, vs Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. (Brady has 7 titles, the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers has 1).

The likelihood of a “slots”/div round Pack/Bucs tilt decreased greatly yesterday, as first (12-4) and over in reg. TB/Brady “found” Cyril Grayson in the last minute to (-14) (27-24) the (4-12) Jets and then 6 point underdog, (11-5) Arizona (Cardinals) outrighted the Cowboys of Dallas, in a late afternoon Buck game.

L.A. (Rams) becomes the two seed, if they beat the “battling for the ‘offs,” 49ers (oh Curt Menefee, the Saints ‘offs chances were not and are not slim. However, falls to the “5” seed, if they lose and Arizona wins at home vs Seattle (Seahawks), in what could be Pete Carroll and/or Russell Wilson’s “Sea” tilt.

‘Zona is at least a “5,” while the Philly Eagles are also in the ‘offs and certainly why Dallas (they need not only a win but Rams and Bucs losses, so why not Brady and T.B. Saturday or another game?!) at Philly in a “flexed” Saturday night tilt/!

The Niners surely will be underdogs at the Rams while the Saints will be favored vs the Falcons. Since wins by the Rams and Saints would yield New Orleans ‘offs qualification. 

Sam (Jones) “You MADE THE” SHOTS, (Never “Too Long,” That Mattered Most (Johnny called them) Winning 10 Celtics’ Titles

Do any of us realize how great and clutch Sam Jones was as a Boston Celtics’ player?!

Mr. Jones, who died on 2021’s penultimate day, (just over a year after another great “Celtic Jones,” K.C. passed on Christmas Day 2020), was a member of 10 Boston Celtics’ title teams and a great, largely under rated player, far closer to the pantheon of all-time players, than just being a member of the 25, 50 and this year’s 75 anniversary NBA team.

You essentially, (so often it was my Philly and L.A. teams that could not quite do so) could not keep up with the Joneses and the great Bill Russell/Arnold “Red” Auerbach led Celtics, who won an incredible 11 NBA crowns in 13 seasons, including 8 in a row from (1959-1966).

Sam Jones was the man, hitting clutch shot after clutch shot (I read he had 5 of the 10 Celtics’ overtime points in their game 7 win, vs the so often denied L.A. Lakers in the ’62 NBA final and know of so many others first hand).

Yet I do not feel all that bad about them (maybe the one in #4 of the ’69 Final, when after the great Elgin Baylor, who died in 2021 and essentially never won it all, failed to inbound with L.A. up 1 point and (2-1) in the series and that gave Sam and the Celts a chance. Sam did not miss!! The series was even, the Celts won on Sam’s day, an afternoon Wide World of Sports ABC #6 telecast and then 2 days later on Monday night) and told Mr. Jones that, when I interviewed him at a B’nai B’rith sports dinner, in the spring of 1988.

“Yes you do feel bad” Sam “argued” as you ought to. That was competition and also class, as Sam Jones was gracious, friendly and informative as we talked of the great Celtics.

I read about Bob Cousy, alone on New Year’s Eve, taking the call that informed him Sam was gone. He thought of the still alive Tom “Satch” Sanders and the 11 time title winning, Bill Russell.

Alone also, I thought of what these men accomplished, winning and winning and perhaps the winning/bottom line could shed light for the many bigots, still roaming this ravaged earth.

See the Celtics, with a Jewish coach (Auerbach) often had an all Black men starting five to go along with great players, not that it matters, but were white. The team had a great bond and even they, face loneliness and the end. Few do so, having accomplished so much.

Sam epitomized that and in a better place he and his arch rival, Wilt Chamberlain can play again. It was great on earth, though all but one time “my” Wilt teams lost to Dad’s Celtics, and now more for fun (no stools allowed) Sam can shoot, Wilt can choose whether to go out and guard him and I laud Sam Jones’ greatness.

Click to view a nice piece about Sam. Is that real play by play on Sam’s aforementioned game winning shot in #4/’69 NBA final? I hope so but ….

 

 

Sam Jones, Boston Celtics, 1969.jpg

One of the all-time great players/great winners/great clutch players, comparable to one Yogi Berra, Sam Jones pictured above. 

 

It Is ALL SEC With Georgia (-2 and a fraction) vs Alabama

It will be Alabama vs Georgia, Nick Saban vs former assistant Kirby Smart as Alabama, seeking a 13th crown and 7th under Saban will meet Georgia, which won its only title for the1980 season.

The two teams will meet in the title game for the second time in 5 seasons.

I picked a drive in each game, first ‘Bama, a somewhat surprising 2 and a half point dog in the upcoming title tilt, going up (14-3) (Heisman winner, Bryce Young’s second of three TD passes, a 44 yard one to Brooks) at which point, which I declared them the winner and (6-1) in ‘offs semis and Georgia, going up (14-0) on a beautiful option pass touchdown (Kenny McIntosh to James Cook).

In similar fashion and I actually thought so at (7-0) ‘Dawgs, who were 7 plus point(s) faves, knew it was to be Ray Charles’ “Georgia’ and not Brook Benton’s “It’s A Rainy Night in Georgia.” 

By the way, in the 2017 title tilt in which ‘Bama “no covered” Georgia on Tua’s OT TD to Devonta Smith, I called it first and great as did McDonough on radio for that and still hopefully for the upcoming one and with the radio delay, it is a rare recording I can play.

In the ‘Bama (13 half) (27-6) under (all 4 yesterday were “unders” as Owen survived), vs Cincinnati, ‘Bama running back, Brian Robinson ran for 200 plus yards.

Georgia was led by Stetson Bennett, who threw 3 touchdown passes.

College Football “Semis” Today

The college football semi-final games are today with top ranked and defending champion, Alabama, which is seeking an amazing 7th crown under current coach Nick Saban, a near two touchdown favorite vs upstart Cincinnati, in the first game, commencing around 4 P.M. Eastern Time.

At night, Georgia is a little more than a touchdown “choice” vs Michigan.

Both ‘Bama, that being the first of 5 crowns they won under legendary coach, Paul “Bear” Bryant (by the way, both Bryant and Saban with their plethora of crowns, if any coach does, are among the few who might deserve the acclaim John Madden received upon his death. Madden won but one title and you would have thought the Pope died. He was a good coach, who lost so many big games and won but one crown. That year when his Raiders finally beat Pittsburgh under their exponentially under publicized, (4-0) in Super Bowls, coach, Chuck Noll, Madden and the Raiders did so vs a depleted Steelers’ team in the AFC title game. That followed a “div” game win vs the Patriots that was frankly largely gained by a  truly questionable penalty on the Pats’ Ray “Sugar Bear” Hamilton) and Cincinnati, who did so in basketball, won crowns 60 years ago, in 1961.

Cincy did so, winning the first of two straight crowns under Ed Jucker, after their great player, Oscar Robertson had graduated and gone on to the NBA, where he had a great career.

Georgia’s lone football title was in 1980 while Michigan’s lone undisputed crown, was in “same calendar” 1948.

I do not think THEY want an all S.E.C. final between Alabama and Georgia for the second time in 5 seasons (Tua Tagovailoa’s heroics led Bama’s 2017 season, comeback title game win), thus since I believe, as most do, that Alabama will win vs Cincinnati, I predict an upset victory by Michigan, vs Georgia.

However, if Cincy somehow upsets ‘Bama, which would surprise, but not completely shock me, I then say Georgia wins and maybe even “covers” vs Michigan.

That scenario would produce a redux of an early day New Year’s Day bowl victory by Georgia vs Cincinnati on the first day of “too many died/are dying” (the emptiness continues, yet I will fight on, maybe doing less favors and doing for myself–my father would understand and so does my good, caring friend Jesse) 2021.

“Exact” Sunday December 26th Notes

Sunday December 26, 1976 as was the case with the same date in 2021 was a Sunday.

Then, exactly 45 years earlier, as was the case last Sunday, the L.A. Rams sojourned to Minnesota to play the Vikings in the earlier game. In ’76 the tilt in Minnesota was for the NFC Title and a berth in the 9th Super Bowl.

In ’76, largely due to L.A. coach Chuck Knox’ decision to “FG” at the Minne 1, compounded exponentially by Wally Hilgenberg’s block and Bobby Bryant’s TD return, the Vikings prevailed, only to lose to John Madden’s only Super Bowl appearance team, the Raiders. Madden died yesterday at age 85.

Last Sunday, the now (11-4) Rams moved a half game ahead of (10-5) Arizona in the NFC West, with a (30-23) win at (7-8) Minne.

The later game/AFC title tilt in ’76, finally produced a “Raiders’ under Madden” AFC title tilt win, a first in 3 such games vs the Chuck Noll coached Pittsburgh Steelers. “Pitts” played the tilt without Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier. Yet Pitts was nerarly a TD “fave” and it felt good to win a 100 dollar bet, on Oakland that day. Warren Bankston gathered in a TD pass from Ken Stabler, in that game.

Last Sunday on the 61 year anniversary of the Monday December 26, 1960 (then the NFL “respected” Christmas Day and moved the title tilt, which by the way was Vince Lombardi’s only post-season game loss to Monday) Philadelphia Eagles’ (17-13) win vs the Green Bay Packers—the now (8-7) Las Vegas Raiders won by that same score, in a late tilt vs the (7-8) Denver Broncos.

Also in a late tilt, the (11-4) K.C. Chiefs, seeking a second title in 3 seasons, a third straight Supe appearance and 4th straight “show up” in the AFC Title tilt, made it 8 straight wins and maintained their lead in the race for the AFC “1” seed, by ripping the (7-7-1) Steelers, whose quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, is likely nearing the end of a fine/2 titles career.

NFL Complaints, Comments And Update

Optimum nee Cablevision, a 41 years plus “way more negative than positive,” (yet I keep paying, as I am a terrible, lazy, ignorant consumer. The move is to switch, not by much, but it is the “move.” Ode to the late Mitchell “Moves” Baum, not the Seinfeld episode) “noted” it would “tv” the exponentially more important (football wise) Bills/Pats, rather than contracted, Jax/Jets. It was Jax/Jets (Howard said Jets “as”) and Buffalo is now (-800) to “div” (they once were -2300 and plus 280, as it fluctuates) after beating “Belichick’s Bunch.” Each team is (9-6) but Buffalo with home tilts vs Atlanta and the Jets remaining also has the tiebreaker if they win vs the Jets, in a game they could be as high as 17 point favorites.

Next, as for the second straight season I did not pay for “Red Zone,” NFL Network has well behind updates showing the action. That is bad enough, as they are way behind. Far worse, a la ESPN/AKA Frankenstein/The Monolith, they put up Raiders TD (7-0), even as they were showing each play in the drive.

All day I avoided sound, save the Cowboys/Wash opening, in which Cris Collinsworth said “If Dak (Dallas QB- Prescott) gets hot they could win it all.” What does that mean?!! What insight from a man, who is as phony as a $3.62 bill.

Now Moss just said re Dallas–“when they put it all together, they can win the whole thing.” Come on Mitch, you are an odds guy and a winner in betting, a true rarity. You can do better than that.

No Supe for given everything Joe Buck, however, he gets the penultimate game as it has alternated between AFC and NFC since the NFC had the later conference title tilt from ’88-’95. It is the NFC’s turn to have that tilt.

First and their magic number for the coveted 1 seed is 2, “vs” current “2” seed Dallas, Green Bay won the NFL crown in 4 previous 5/10 years. (Cue Butler’s on Tuckahoe Road a 5 and 10 store. Now dollar stores, that as of rip off 2022 times, ought to be called 1.69 stores). “G.B.”won it all 60 years ago (’61), 85 (Max McGee, I rooted vs those great Pack teams, but years later, love them. With Rodgers, a great, albeit with just 1 crown, I doubt I will ever feel fondly regarding them, despite Kenny and Walter “Mac” rooting for them) years ago in ’36, 55 years ago in ’66 and 25 years ago in ’96.

As GB’s survival/no cover at Baltimore ended, “Bucky Boo” talked of the first and upcoming Supes being in L.A. He cited the first Supe matched current and still current Conference 1’s, Green Bay and Kansas City.

Green Bay is (12-3), Dallas is (11-4) but the latter has the better conference record and thus would have the the 2 team and maybe any seeding tiebreaker advantage.

K.C. (they have won 8 straight and the “over K.C. 12 and a half wins, guy or gal” can win it, needing 10 straight wins. Beano would have had the under and then one win away, would have “gone the other way” and won big. Not so me and Beano, looking down from above, would repeat, perhaps to my father, called such a kind man, as the fact so many people were at his funeral attests, “he never learns.” Remember I bet small, so I am just letting off proverbial “steam.”).

Thus GB/KC in an L.A. based Supe, 55 years later? Certainly it is the lowest “odds vs” choice, however, those odds are still against it. Much more on this c-ap down the road, a place conference top seeds avoid.

NFL Shamefully On Christmas, 50 Years Later

Exactly 50 years ago, on Saturday December 25, 1971 there were two NFL division round games played. After that occurred, I believe it being the first Christmas Day NFL ACTION, (remember as Arnold Wexler of Gambler’s Anonymous asserted “without gambling, football would be soccer, in terms of popularity, which is not much in this country, so different in most of the rest of the planet) the NFL, I believe correctly, (and I am Jewish) decided not to have any more Christmas Day tilts.

Of course that has changed.

I have recalled the famed double overtime Miami Dolphins’ win at Kansas City in the later game exactly 50 years ago.

Sadly, an audio cassette of some of that day’s games including my father “calling” a play involving the Chiefs’ Wendell Hayes is gone.

My dad stated he believed it would finally be the Dallas Cowboys’ year after a play that all but wrapped up their earlier game victory at Minnesota vs the Vikings that day.

Then we had Jack Whitaker as the game announcer. Now it has all turned to an “s” word. SLUSH! You did not think I would …..

NFL Semis or Later, Notes

In this the upcoming 16th of 18 NFL “reg” weeks, teams (hopefully) will complete their 15th games, in this the first season, in which there are 17 games.

I will cite 4 semis rematches among games between this week’s opponents.

On Saturday night in Green Bay, on the same venerable Lambeau Field, so muddy nearly 56 years ago, when Paul Hornung, Bart Starr led the Pack to the first of what is still an unprecedented 3 straight NFL crowns, topping the Cleveland Browns (23-12) in Cleveland great, Jim Brown’s last game with the team, it is (11-3) and current NFC leader, Green Bay hosting (7-7) Cleveland in a redux of the aforementioned 1965 NFL title tilt. That, by the way, was the last pre Super Bowl season.

There are two rematches of not only past semis, but also of games played 2 weeks ago. In the far more important game, likely the AFC East title is on the line, as (9-5) New England (Patriots), which beat Buffalo (Bills), two weeks back and in an AFL unscheduled playoff/”semi” in 1963, is the home team vs the (8-6) Bills.

Two weeks ago, on a day “faves” rolled, almost certain NFC East winner, (10-4) Dallas (Cowboys) won at now (6-8) Washington (Football team, my first time putting that nickname in parentheses), covering as about 5 point favorites.

“Wash” won both title tilts, played 10 years apart in 1972 and 1982. The ’82 (strike) season tilt is the only one of the 102 Conference Title games NOT played on a Sunday. It was played on a Saturday with Pat “Super” Summerall doing television play by play.

In 3 straight “even year” seasons, the NFC title tilt matched teams playing each other this week. In both the 1974 and 1976 NFC title games, each played in Minnesota, the home team Vikings defeated the L.A. Rams to advance to their third and fourth Supes. As was the case in the first two, Minnesota never led and thus lost.

The Rams, back in L.A. are (10-4) while the Vikings enter the tilt with a (7-7) record.

Oh Kevin Seifert– Why Do You Not Grasp Simple Math?!!

Why blow a gasket?! The ineptitude goes on and on and is rewarded.

Kevin Seifert of ESPN.COM (By the way, though the Packers held off the Ravens (31-30) the all powerful monolith’s site stayed with Packers in control the whole time in its update of the tilt. Is not anybody there? How about just giving the details? No that is the antithesis of what this “Frankenstein” stands for. Its creed is to dress up vapid people to spout nonsense while an indifferent, pathetic public, one duped into no vaccines and worse, keeps tuning in!!) did it again.

He typed the following:

“The Cardinals’ downturn has also reopened the NFC West as at least an interesting possibility for the Rams. A win over the Seahawks would leave L.A. a game out with three left to play.”

Going into to tonight’s game at home vs Seattle (Seahawks) the Rams have a record of (9-4). The Cardinals of Arizona stand at (10-4).

I know at least for now or even if they do no matter what, Arizona has the tiebreaker advantage over the Rams. That means if the Rams win tonight, Arizona’s lead is a fraction of a game or to simplify a half game lead.

If the Rams win tonight and gain a game the rest of the way, they would win the division. Thus if the Rams win tonight, they would NOT be a game out as Seifert wrote, but a half game out.

I wonder what Seifert’s report card indicated. Yet he works while I …..