My father used to say that NFL games were fixed. Then and now I scoff at that, but sometimes I wonder.
Like Sunday, when Buffalo was so passive and so awful in a blowout 27-10 loss to Cincinnati. Maybe this is just me needing to adjust my expectations for teams as they coalesce or disintegrate over the course of a season. But it was stunning to see the Bills allow the Bengals to do whatever they wanted on offense for most of the game.
That Buffalo effort reminded me of what you see from teams that lose in a Super Bowl. They go out there like soup and beans. That’s why we have had so many blowout Super Bowls.
But the Bengals’ win guarantees I will have a dog in this year’s Super Bowl hunt. Either my Bengals will get in on the AFC side, or another of my favorites, Kansas City.
On the NFC side, I prefer San Francisco to win, but have nothing against Philadelphia. That should be a fun game to watch. I don’t see either of those teams lying down the way Buffalo did.
I like the way the games played out last weekend because the only two pretenders, the New York Giants and Jacksonville, were eliminated Saturday. That left us with the six best teams. It felt like a football feast, like a Thanksgiving spread, to be thoroughly enjoyed, except that Tony Romo was invited.
I’ve had a lot of fun skewering the Dallas Cowboys over the years, but you can’t do that this year and maintain intellectual honesty. They played well Sunday, much of the game without their biggest offensive weapon, and just lost, on the road, to a better team.
And get off Brett Maher already. Yes, he missed four extra points against Tampa the week before. But he is a great kicker, who got me 22 points one week in fantasy. I will have him back next year and Dallas should too.
But why is it so much fun to poke fun at Dallas? Think back to Sunday’s game. San Francisco and Dallas have both won five Super Bowls, none recently. You don’t hear people ripping the 49ers about losing playoff games.
I think it’s because of the expectations of the Dallas fan base. For most teams there are two or three seasons, pre-season and regular season for sure, maybe post-season.
For Dallas there are two seasons, hype season and excuse season.
One of the biggest takeaways of the postseason for me though, is how much fun it is to not be playing fantasy football; not having to worry about anybody’s hamstrings, or kickers missing extra points. It’s a joy and a relief to just see good, fun, close games. I have heard other fantasy players talk about this.
It’s also fun to see my wife, self-proclaimed silent partner in fantasy, be the one up and yelling at the screen during the Kansas City/Jacksonville game.
So there I was, in Jeannette’s hearing and for her sake, saying to Mahomes, “Oh just get the ball to whoever is open. Whatever works out best for the team” instead of begging him to get the ball to Travis Kelce, Jerick McKinnon and Isiah Pacheco, players on my various fantasy teams.
Who knew the NFL playoffs could be relaxing like classical music?
I’m also relaxed because none of the teams I can’t stand have made it this far. No Tampa, no New England, no Denver, Cleveland, Baltimore.
I’ve got a peaceful, easy feeling, like the Eagles’ song. (The band Eagles, not the Philly Eagles.)
One little matter I did overlook though. My speculations about Super Bowl pairings before the playoffs started landed on Minnesota vs Buffalo, mostly because both teams have lost four times on Super Sunday, without any wins (“Bills-Vikings Super Bowl Just has To Happen,” Jan. 11).
Well, if my Bengals make the big game but don’t win it this year, they will join Minnesota and Buffalo as winless four-time Super Bowlers.
Guess it wouldn’t be football if I had absolutely nothing to worry about. But even if that happens, Cincinnati will have a better Super Bowl record than never-been-there Cleveland.
As I have said, “Lord, I am not asking to live forever, just take me the Tuesday after the big Browns-Lions Super Bowl. That will be long enough.”
I do not participate in Fantasy Football, so I usually ignore your posts about the subject, but I am a football fan, and I watch most of the important games. My loyalties are pretty exclusively with the Kansas City Chiefs, as I have not traveled as much as you and have lived in Kansas for most of my life. I have nothing against the Bengals, but understandably, I am pulling for the Chiefs. My prediction, however, is the Bengals will beat the Chiefs AGAIN. The Bengals are looking rather unbeatable at present. I fervently hope I am wrong about that. I do think that Burroughs is a grandstanding, egotistical pompous showoff while Mahomes is much more genuine and modest. Pull for the Chiefs so Burroughs gets knocked down a peg or two!
Michael Byington, Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist
President of Kansas Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Inc.
Treasurer for Friends In Art of the American Council of the Blind
712 S. Kansas Avenue
Topeka, Kansas 66603
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