Isn’t that cooler than just saying NFL Week 16? Admit it. You didn’t think I knew words like that. Now might be a good time to do fun with NFL Math where we discuss the various playoff permutations (see another big “P” word! – I got a million of them [Rodan thinking – “and you’re going to try to use them all, aren’t you? Next year I’m giving this column to Song-and-Dance Man”]) . So here we go —
Houston, New England and Denver have clinched divisions; Houston clinches first-round bye with either a win OR a loss by Denver or the Pats. Houston clinches home-field with win and Denver and Pats loss.
Denver clinches a bye with a win AND a Pats loss.
Ravens clinch division with win or with a tie AND Bengals loss. Will face wild card no matter what. Question is – who?
Colts clinch a spot with a win OR Steeler or Bengal loss
Bengals clinch playoff spot with win.
I think. There are a couple of good pretzel logics in the hunt by they involved this team wins plus a loss and a tie and this team gets lost on the interstate and doesn’t make it to the stadium. Many will be disappointed.
Falcons and Packers have clinched their divisions.
Atlanta has clinched the No. 1 seed with their win over Detroit last night. And mega congrats to Megatron for his “phantasmical” capture of the single season receiving record from Jerry Rice. Still – 26 years is a long time for a record!
49ers clinch division with win and first-round bye with Packers loss
Giants clinch playoff spot with 1) NYG win + CHI loss + MIN loss + DAL loss + WAS loss or tie OR 2) NYG win + CHI loss + MIN loss + WAS loss + DAL tie
You may want to grab a beer for this next one:
Seahawks clinch spot with (are you ready?) 1) SEA win OR 2) CHI loss + MIN loss + DAL loss or tie + WAS tie; 3) SEA tie + NYG loss + CHI loss or tie OR 4) SEA tie + NYG loss + MIN loss or tie OR 5) SEA tie + CHI loss or tie + MIN loss or tie OR 6) SEA tie + DAL loss + WAS loss + CHI loss or tie OR 7) SEA tie + DAL loss + WAS loss + MIN loss or tie OR 8) CHI loss + MIN loss + WAS loss (I blocked and copied that from the NFL website – let those overpaid sports writers do all the work)
Here are the matchups this week. As you can see from the above, several of these have real playoff repercussions (okay, not a “p” word but pretty good, huh? [Rodan – “I swear, whoever gave her that word-a-day calendar is gonna pay!” (looks accusingly at Speranza and M)]
Raiders @ Panthers
Saints @ Cowboys
Titans @ Packers
Vikings @ Texans
Patriots @ Jaguars
Colts @ Chiefs
Bills @ Dolphins
Chargers @ Jets
Redskins @ Eagles
Bengals @ Steelers
Rams @ Buccaneers
Browns @ Broncos
Bears @ Cardinals
Giants @ Ravens
49ers @ Seattle (I can only imagine the sobriety checkpoints going up around town tonight)
And Merry Christmas to all and to all at least one great touchdown pass thrown by your favorite quarterback.
It’s the 40th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception.
A split-second‘s worth of improvisational genius by Franco Harris turned around a game that was lost, a franchise that had gone nowhere for 40 years and the consciousness of a city just beginning to undergo seismic upheaval.
But for years, Harris never realized what it meant when he transformed an all-but-certain Terry Bradshaw incompletion 40 years ago Sunday into what is universally regarded as the greatest play in NFL history.
Even if that pass had ricocheted harmlessly off the Tartan Turf at Three Rivers Stadium and not into his outstretched hands just below the knees, Harris would have been a Hall of Famer and the greatest running back in Steelers history.
The Steelers probably would have won four Super Bowls in six years, still the greatest run in pro football history. And Pittsburgh‘s transformation from a big-shouldered city built upon heavy industry into one with a good head on its shoulders guiding an economy based upon health care, higher education, computer wizardry and banking would have taken place.
Franco Harris made the Immaculate Reception, but the Immaculate Reception, he said, did not make him.
“At the time, that play didn‘t hold any significance to me, none whatsoever,” Harris said. “It didn‘t even enter my mind. … I tell people that we really didn‘t reflect on it during that decade. It just wasn‘t at the top of your mind because we were doing so many other great things that it wasn‘t really part of much conversation.”
But anyone who saw the Immaculate Reception almost instantly recognized that they witnessed something astonishing. The late Steve Sabol, head of NFL Films, once said there wasn‘t another play like it in his library of hundreds of thousands of plays.
Physics tests performed at Carnegie Mellon University more than a decade ago and an unearthed NBC-TV video of the game — which shows the deflection more clearly than the much-viewed NFL Films version — point clearly to Tatum as the man who created the ricochet.
Many who were there said they never heard a noise like that in Three Rivers‘ 40-year-old history — the pent-up release of four decades of Steelers futility and frustration. The Steelers won, 13-7, and after assembling what is considered the greatest draft class in NFL history two years later, they began their Super Bowl run
If Tatum wasn’t such a head hunter and just broke up the pass, the game is over and the Raiders win. Too bad though. He, and the ‘Criminal Element’ Raiders, got exactly what they deserved.