Monday, January 18, 2010
Stop me if you've heard this before
Rookie coach, rookie quarterback, breakout rookie tailback and stout defense carries upstart team to two road wins and a surprise appearance in the AFC Championship Game. Each team beat a flawed division champion in the wild card round before knocking out a conference heavyweight.
Of course, the magic ride ended for the Ravens last year in a solid -re: near cover- effort at Pittsburgh, and the Jets face the daunting task of knocking off the generation's best quarterback at his home barn. The only edge the Jets can cling to is the looming sense of dread that accompanies the Indianapolis fans and team at every playoff game: the ghosts of the Steelers, Patriots & Chargers linger even in the new building, and the keeping-the-Jets-alive-in-Week-16 angle has to gnaw on the spirit of the team. But there's no disputing the talent levels of both teams, unless Rex Ryan can concoct more and more complex blitzes while Jim Caldwell stares into Bolivian during the week.
One note about the franchise-altering tilt in San Diego: is there any sport in America -cannot speak for football overseas, but maybe this applies- that features such a direct link between the temperament of the coach and performance of the team? A baseball manager writes a lineup and pulls a tired pitcher. A hockey coach yells for shift changes. A basketball coach can psych out his own players, but a five-on-five game can be controlled by superior talent. But the vibes of a football coach are directly transferred to his players on the field, and there's no doubt the Chargers played like Norv, an impatient playcaller who loses his cool and never seems to come up with right play at the right time.
Posted by Fred Coupon