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Championship Sunday Open Discussion

Championship Sunday Open Discussion
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

The Los Angeles Rams visit New Orleans to play the Saints for the NFC Championship and the George Halas Trophy at 3:05 p.m. EST. Then the New England Patriots head to Kansas City to face the Chiefs for the AFC Championship and the Lamar Hunt Trophy at 6:40 p.m. Winners meet in the Super Bowl two weeks later. Let's do this.


209 comments, Last at 22 Jan 2019, 5:38am

1 Re: Championship Sunday Open Discussion

I think the AFC game will be higher scoring than expected, while the NFC game will be lower scoring than expected.

AFC: Chiefs 35, Patriots 27

NFC: Saints 28, Rams 20

8 Re: Championship Sunday Open Discussion

Wow, the Saints dominated almost that entire half, but suddenly it's a three point game and LA gets the ball first after halftime.

20 Re: Championship Sunday Open Discussion

Letting players play is one thing. That should have been DPI, or, even 15 yards for helmet to helmet. That is surely the kind of thing, inside the final 2 minutes, that should be overturnable by league office replay officials.

24 Re: Championship Sunday Open Discussion

Yeah. I get that some things are judgment calls, and that certain penalties may be missed by an official who isn’t watching a particular player or doesn’t have the right angle, but that one...that’s the worst missed call I’ve ever seen. There needs to be a mechanism to correct something that egregious.

28 Re: Championship Sunday Open Discussion

Or an official who has money on the Rams.

I have no skin in this game, but that was WWE level stuff. That hit is probably a penalty under modern rules even if the WR had been carrying the ball. That no-call was SO bad that I have trouble ascribing it to stupidity, and am forced to seriously consider the possibility of malice.

32 Re: Championship Sunday Open Discussion

Don't think there's any need for that. The referees are incentivized to swallow their whistles in big moments because they don't want to be part of the story. Even in this game, you can see how it works. Yes, that blown call will be a big story, but a lot of the stuff that happened afterwards, such as that Brees pick, will be huge headlines. If they make a call and it's bad the other way (shouldn't have been called), they are the biggest headline.

44 Re: Championship Sunday Open Discussion

I'm not talking about that individual call, I'm talking about the general tendency to swallow the whistles in high leverage situations. Obviously they didn't want to blamed for flipping the outcome, which is likely what will happen today. But this was an extreme case. Usually the call is more borderline and the tendency to swallow whistles works out just fine for the refs.

56 Re: Championship Sunday Open Discussion

Sometimes, there's terrible calls (or no-calls) because the refs had limited vision on the play, or they realize they botched it but replay isn't conclusive, or a bad rule is correctly enforced. These things happen.

Then sometimes there's committing four different penalties with one flying leap at a receiver, along the sidelines, and not getting a flag. That's genuine Tim Donaghy level stuff.

171 Re: Championship Sunday Open Discussion

They could beef up the centralized HQ operation in the same way that soccer leagues do with VAR. Allow the retired official watching the replay feed to buzz for clear screw-ups that are obvious in real time. Only until the next play starts, so there's no room for micro analysis of frame by frame Zapruder film antics, but if anyone would overturn the call within five seconds, there should be that opportunity.

Of course, they'd have to beef up the payroll so that there is an authority watching the real time feeds rather than an intern.

23 Re: Championship Sunday Open Discussion

Now probably overtime. They are better than they used to be, but the OT rules are still pretty bad. You should never have an enormous swing in win percentage on a literal coin flip.

30 Re: Championship Sunday Open Discussion

Is it a big swing, though? Sure you lose the game if you allow a touchdown, but if you don't you now have the advantage of knowing what you need to win the game. Wouldn't shock me if that turned out to be a fair tradeoff...

I mean how often do teams score from their own 20?

35 Re: Championship Sunday Open Discussion

No way, except in a very defensive game. Remember, if the two teams exchange FGs, the team that got the ball still has the same enormous advantage of getting the ball first needing only a score to win. More importantly, while teams do score on drives from their own 25 fairly often, that's not the point. Even a low chance is huge because the other team never gets a chance to respond.

25 Re: Championship Sunday Open Discussion

I get not wanting to throw the flag that decides the championship game. But how about not wanting to NOT throw the flag that decides the championship game?

26 Re: Championship Sunday Open Discussion

This game should be over already.

Terrible job by the officials today. The no-call on the DPI was an extension of their policy all day to ignore penalties.

29 Re: Championship Sunday Open Discussion

WTH, what a weird pick. In the air I didn't think there was any chance the defender would have it since he was on his back. The pass had to go to exactly the right place for him to have a chance.

52 Re: Championship Sunday Open Discussion

Yeah. Doubly disappointing because it had been quite a fun game for the neutral until the referees really messed up. There were plenty of things that could have been called, but not sure any others that really must be called. Been watching this since the 80s and that would have been a pretty blatant DPI as long as I can remember.

49 Re: Championship Sunday Open Discussion

The CFL has had pass interference as a reviewable call for a number of years.

I've been expecting the NFL to follow suit for a while now. Wouldn't be surprised if after this game, it's introduced in the NFL in the next couple of years.

The PI - no PI calls are usually easier to assess on review than catch - no catch. Either the guy's early or he's not. Avoids both situations like today's game and phantom PI calls.

57 Re: Championship Sunday Open Discussion

Honestly, all judgment calls should be reviewable. Some coaches don't like this (Exhibit A: Mike Tomlin) because it would slow the pace of the game, but they would still have to throw a challenge flag, and they only have 2 challenges, with 3 if they get the 2 others right, so the pace of the game wouldn't be seriously affected. Hell, you can challenge if the ball got tipped at the line, which nullifies all PI calls.

63 Re: Championship Sunday Open Discussion

Frankly, I'm of the opinion that the Refs should be able to review any play they're not sure of, and coaches should be able to challenge whatever they want until they run out of timeouts, and then get hit with a delay of game penalty if they're wrong on a challenge when they're out of timeouts.

Screw pace of game - obviously wrong calls are a much bigger problem.

55 Re: Championship Sunday Open Discussion

Who is announcing this KC-NE game? Is is Belichick's mother? One normally has to tune into the Hallmark channel to see devotionals this passionate.

61 Re: Championship Sunday Open Discussion

Nice job by the lineman there - terrible throw though - at least 5 feet short of where it should have been. Hopefully Brady gets that crap out of his system early.

66 Re: Championship Sunday Open Discussion

Well, guess my prediction was dead wrong. NE looks like a different team these last two weeks. KC defdnse looks terrible, and they're going to get tired quickly at this rate.

69 Re: Championship Sunday Open Discussion

When I look at any QB going backwards, I always HOPE that they get sacked for loss. This time, it happened, Mahomes knocked his team out of FG range, and just because a QB decided to run backwards and got sacked, I'm happy.

70 Re: Championship Sunday Open Discussion

Tom was pretty meh in that half. Apart from that, it felt like of the most complete halves of football I can recall from the Pats, and I've been watching since 1995 or so. Wow! Similar to the 2004 Divisional win over Indy, but that was at home...

71 Re: Championship Sunday Open Discussion

Total domination by the pats and only up 2 scores against the top offense of 2018. I think that gets erased pretty quickly in the second half.

72 Re: Championship Sunday Open Discussion

I might be proven 100% wrong in 2nd half but as stated (a # of times previously) I mentioned
this kid (said by media as the greatest) Mahomes would el-foldo & when I questioned
his abilities in a big game....well.... I was called every name in the book...even a racist.

I said he wouldn't be able to handle (or pre-read) the A and/or B gap blitzs & that would
show his inaccuracy, which, so far, it sure has.

We shall see in 2nd half but I stand by my previous statements (which are easily read in
past posts).....Mahomes handles a normal/prevent/even just a "usual" defense, but
once he has to make split second decisions, he'll overthrow/etc. & so far he's proven me

(now here comes the haters)

194 Re: Championship Sunday Open Discussion

funny tho ain't it...that (like Romo) I kinda was calling it right...( he never did
handle those blitz's-I said it'd happen & it did..Romo was calling plays ahead
of time on air)...but that becomes a "sjhtpost & nonsense"...even when right...btw,
while you are defending said QB.....the game is won if Mahomes had the sense to
NOT get sacked (3pt differential) in FG territory in first half...but hey, lets not start
wi/that...its raysist

also, 2nd half, they never did much, other than complete swing passes/screens and especially
*get penalties* in 2nd half...I stand by my posts and KC is doing the same....standing 'n
stayin home this SB because of this QB

In his defense he played hard & his OC *finally* gave him plays that were perfect
for A&B gap/zero blitz's (swing pass/screens) but he also didn't have the mental
dexterity to adjust/see it/pre-read most of the game, thus KC losing at home, when
it should've never lost...NE had a marginal defense at best

But all these *facts* don't matter to those who can't comprehend football 'n
just start stating things 'n playin the raysist card....never fails

77 Re: Championship Sunday Open Discussion

The heck, Hill?! Why you go backwards?! That, plus the flag means they are pinned way too close to the endzone.

79 Re: Championship Sunday Open Discussion

Mahomes really is exciting in a very unusual way. I guess this is what it must've felt like to watch young Brett Favre.

84 Re: Championship Sunday Open Discussion

So, they ignored their best extremely short yardage runner in Tom Brady with the QB Sneak and went with a base run. Neat.

106 Re: Championship Sunday Open Discussion

Because the front angle shows that his thumbs were outside the area of the football and it's only the side angle that shows his thumbs being close to the ball. I'm rooting against the pats but as much as I wanted that to stand at the time it looked to me pretty clear that there was space between the ball and his thumbs.

167 Re: Championship Sunday Open Discussion

Each angle showed it missing one hand, and possible touching the other. So between them it definitely missed both hands and only looked like it may have hit due to camera foreshortening.

I do think the patriots were pretty lucky to have the first challenged catch not overturned though. Not convinced the ground didn’t stop that one getting away as it pushed the ball more into the arm. But hard to overturn what was ruled on the field.

118 Re: Championship Sunday Open Discussion

That deep shot is such a terrible call. Even if you get it - big if - you're leaving Brady a lot of time.

Chiefs score quickly anyway, so pretty much moot.

119 Re: Championship Sunday Open Discussion

Wasn't there some talk last time KC and NE played that the Chiefs had scored a TD too quickly at the end of the game? While I think you always take a TD when you can get it, that might've just happened again.

125 Re: Championship Sunday Open Discussion

Here's a problem with a volcanic offense. At times, you are incapable of running a 4 minute offense the right way. You score too quickly for your own good.

133 Re: Championship Sunday Open Discussion

Remember that NFC Playoff game ... can't remember the round, probably Divisional ... SF vs. NO, Brees and Smith had a firefight with about a million changes of possession in the final minutes. This game has shades of that.