Ten Memorable Moments of 2013

As part of the mourning process that takes place once the season ends, let’s think back to the good times. AKA, let’s actively practice avoidance. It’s fun!

These may not be the “best” moments of the 2013 season, but they are a few I’ll remember most.

10. Farewell to Tony

Tony Gonzalez had to retire at some point, but it’s a shame to see him go. What a career. If you are looking for a good read on Gonzalez, click on the link above. Excellent piece on MMQB.

9. Knowshon Moreno Waterfall Tears

Tears that leave you saying, “WHOA.” Did not know water could come out of someone’s face like that.

8. Mike Tomlin Joins the Action

I’m in the minority here, but I don’t think he did it on purpose. Mike Tomlin is a good guy.

7. The Snow Bowl

I was driving to Pennsylvania that day and heard that the game was pretty snowy, but it’s one of those You Have To See It To Believe It kind of scenes. It was pretty awesome as far as iconic football moments go, and pretty unawesome as far as actual football-playing goes.

6. Manning Returns to Indy

If the standing ovation Peyton received when he returned to Indy doesn’t make you well up with tears, you might not be human.

5. The Weirdest Touchdown

I still can’t believe the Boykin fumble touchdown really happened. It felt like finding out that your office is closed on a random holiday when you fully expected to work and now you have the day off. Which is to say, it was the best.

4. The Best Touchdown

Also the Never Say Never play of the year!

3. Tom Brady Left Hanging

This gets me every time. Tom Brady can get pretty much anything in the world…except a high five.

2. Patriots Comeback Win Against Denver

Or why I’m glad I didn’t go to bed at halftime.

1. Peyton

When I think about the 2013 season, I think the first thing that will come to mind is Peyton. What he did this year – to be 37, recovered from major surgery, playing his second year with a new team, and having one of the best seasons in quarterbacking history, if not the best season – was mind blowing. What happened on Sunday? Equally mind blowing. No one likes to see a good guy get beat like that. There will be a whole mixed bag of intense Peyton-related emotions when it comes to remembering 2013.

How about you guys? What will you remember from this season?

At the Water Cooler : Super Bowl 48

Seattle Seahawks vs. Denver Broncos (Seahawks won, 43-8)

Well…where to begin?

I always get concerned when Super Bowls are forecasted to be close because they tend not to play out that way. In this case, that was the understatement to beat all understatements.

It began oddly. Did we all catch the coin toss (no pun intended)? Let’s not talk about The Fur Coat (because, wow), but the coin toss reminded me of one of my favorite Friends episodes. “Somebody call it this time!”

And then it continued oddly, with a safety on the first play from scrimmage. A safety on the first play of a Super Bowl is probably a prop bet that made someone a LOT of money. A miscommunication between the center, Ramirez, and Manning led to 2 easy, early points for the Seahawks.

It was pretty much all downhill from there for the Broncos. Seattle scored three consecutive times – safety, field goal, field goal – for an 8-point lead that felt like an 800-point lead. At halftime, it was 22-0. 

And 12 seconds into the second half…it was 29-0.

It was safe to say the Broncos weren’t in Omaha anymore.

It’s kind of inexplicable what happened to the Broncos last night. While watching, I really felt like we were all having one big Super Bowl nightmare. We couldn’t really all be watching the complete and total collapse of the Denver Broncos, could we? It couldn’t possibly end like this for Manning after having the best season of any quarterback, ever, could it?

Yep. It sure did.

Save for the 8 points scored off of a touchdown and 2-point conversion, it really could not have gone worse for the Broncos. An awful way to end an incredible season.

The Seahawks, though? They were incredible when it mattered most. They forced a lot of mistakes by the Broncos. A well-deserved win by a frighteningly good defense and an offense that stepped up and played very well. We should probably get used to Seattle sticking around for awhile: they have the youngest roster in the NFL, with an average age of 26.4.

The Legion of Boom. The 12th Man. They’re all here to stay.

How was the Super Bowl for you all? Any moments that stood out?  Any happy Seahawks fans in the crowd?

At the Water Cooler : Conference Championship Sunday

Oh, gang. What a Championship Sunday we had!!! It’s one thing to have two games that are surrounded by legitimate anticipation; it’s completely another thing to have two games that live up to that anticipation. And in my book, both of the games did. Let’s dive right in.

AFC Championship

New England Patriots at Denver Broncos (Broncos won, 26-16)

Really, how can you not be excited for Peyton Manning? Answer me that. The guy has overcome so much just to play again, let alone play again at a record-setting level. He’s one of the good guys, a walk-in Hall of Famer, and it’s just good for football (and football fans!) to have him playing in another Super Bowl. Way to go, 18.

As far as the game goes… it was also all about 18. He had a brilliant game. Plus, the Broncos defense held their own against the Tom Brady and the Patriots, and that’s no easy feat. The Broncos deserve this trip to the Super Bowl in every way.

NFC Championship

San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks (Seahawks won, 23-17)

As predicted, this was a tight race between two division rivals, a hard-hitting game to say the least. The Niners dominated the first half, holding the Seahawks to a mere 3 points at the half. But the Seahawks came back in the second half and caught some breaks from the refs and are on their way to the Super Bowl.

Wondering what to expect on the blog between now and Super Bowl Sunday? Good question! We’ll start by wrapping up the 12 Posts of Playoffs this week, dive headfirst into a hardcore overview of the basics next week, and do a little Super Bowl preview in case you need a quick reference guide for the game. By the time February 2nd arrives you’ll be so full of football wisdom you won’t know what to do with yourself.

Actually, when February 3rd arrives you really won’t know what to do with yourself.

But let’s cross those off-season bridges when we come to them. For now, we have a GREAT Super Bowl to look forward to and lots of learnin’ to do before then! See you all tomorrow!

What To Know : Conference Championship Sunday

The Conference Championships are here…and let me tell you, I’m all kinds of freaking out. These matchups are unreal. Let’s just dive right in before I get too excited.

AFC Championship

Denver Broncos at New England Patriots (Sunday at 3pm EST)

Interesting fact of the day: Brady and Manning have met three times in the playoffs. Each time, the home team not only won, but won and went on to win the Super Bowl. That’s a pretty good deal. Brady has won twice, Manning once.

These teams have already met once this season. Remember the comeback to beat all comebacks back in November? The one in which the Patriots went into halftime shutout, down 24-0, and emerged victorious in a 34-31 win? We get to see that again, although probably a little bit different this time around. But then again, who knows!

It’s kind of poetic that Manning is going to have to defeat Brady to defeat his playoff demons as well. Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are walking football legends. They’ve been compared up and down a thousand times over, with Brady always being given the head-to-head edge (which he’s earned; he’s won 10 of the 14 times they’ve played each other).

Manning is having the season of a lifetime as the undisputed MVP. Brady is having the season of a lifetime of a completely different kind; he’s leading his team and getting the job done better than even before while having less than ever before.

THIS GAME. I just can’t take it!!! I’m so excited!

NFC Championship

San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks (Sunday at 6:30pm EST)

The game is like the little brother of the first game: two up-and-coming quarterbacks who could very easily find themselves in Brady or Manning-esque shoes a few years down the road.

This is also a repeat of a regular season matchup. Since the Niners and the Seahawks are in the same division they play twice a year; each team won their home game this year. The Seahawks, however, had the more convincing win by a landslide, beating the Niners 29-3 in Week 2. Seattle is a notoriously hostile environment, and in a championship game against a divisional rival?

We’ll probably feel the aftershocks over here on the east coast.

Have a GREAT Conference Championship weekend, everyone!!! It’s shaping up to be nothing short of amazing.

At the Water Cooler : Divisional Weekend

New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks (Seahawks won, 23-15)

This round was certainly much closer than the last round, but in the end, it was play calling and decision making (including this mind-boggling one to end the game) that sent the Saints home. Seattle doesn’t look as good offensively as they have in the past, but the Legion of Boom looks as good as ever.

Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots (Patriots won, 43-22)

I was completely convinced that the Colts were going to come back to win after scoring a touchdown to close the Pats’ lead to 7 in the 3rd quarter. But a third interception from Andrew Luck (though only 2 were really his fault) sealed the deal for New England. To add insult to injury, Tom Brady proved that he really can do everything.

San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers (49ers won, 23-10)

The Panthers undoing came by choosing to only score points in the 2nd quarter. At halftime, this was a competitive 13-10 game. But the wheels noticeably came off as the second half progressed. The Niners are now off to their 3rd conference championship game in three years. That’s incredible.

San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos (Broncos won, 24-17)

If you only watched this game in the final minutes of the 4th quarter you probably never would have guessed that the score was 17-0 just minutes before. True to form, the Chargers mounted a surprising comeback and seemed like they just might keep the good times rollin’ on their wild playoff ride. But it wasn’t to be, and as a result, we all get to see another edition of Brady v. Manning.

And all is as it should be.

Manning and the Broncos will travel to Brady and the Patriots for the AFC Championship next Sunday. We’ll chat more about that game on Friday, and the NFC game, too:  a Niners at Seahawks rematch in Seattle.

Oh. My. Word.

It’s going to be one amazing Conference Championship Sunday, people.

What to Know : Divisional Weekend

Divisional weekend of the playoffs has arrived! Here are a few things to note for each game.

New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks (Saturday at 4:35pm EST, FOX)

The Saints are hoping the second verse is not the same as the first. The Saints played a Monday nighter in Seattle earlier this season and were pounded in a 34-7 loss. This seems like an easy out: the Saints are notoriously bad on the road; the Seahawks are notoriously unbeatable at home. However, it’s the playoffs: notoriously unpredictable.

Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots (Saturday at 8:15pm EST, CBS)

Here’s a word to the wise: don’t turn this game off, no matter what the score is. In Week 12, the Patriots overcame a 24-point deficit to beat the Broncos. Last weekend, the Colts overcame a 28-point deficit to beat the Chiefs. So no matter what the scoreboard says, watch this one until the clock reads zero.

San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers (Sunday at 1:05pm EST, FOX)

The 49ers are one heck of a road team. But traveling to the east coast for an early game after playing in the arctic in a late game in Green Bay last weekend at the end of an already long season seems like a significant challenge. Both quarterbacks can run, both defenses are no joke. This should be a tough win for either team.

San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos (Sunday at 4:40pm EST, CBS)

If you’ve listened to any sports analysts over the past week you’ve probably heard that this game is an upset waiting to happen. I think that’s a little overstated; this is the same San Diego team that had a hard time beating the Chiefs second string all of two weeks ago. However, 6th seeds have done notoriously well in the playoffs in recent years. The Chargers do have all the makings of a miracle run, but the Broncos have Peyton Manning. I wouldn’t count him out just yet, regardless of his less-than-stellar playoff persona.