Monday, January 9, 2017

Four Stinkers and a trick play

If there are athletic contests that are so competitive and exciting that they are dubbed "games for the ages", then the games played this past weekend in the wild card round of the NFL playoffs were games for the dark ages. Four stinkers. Not one of the games was well played or closely contested.

The Texans beat the Raiders not because of any super skill, but because the Raiders were forced, because of injuries, to start a quarterback who had never started in an NFL game previously. They would have had as much luck with my Uncle Morris throwing passes.  The Steelers shredded the Dolphins who, themselves, were playing with a second string quarterback. Then the Giants laid a stink bomb of no small proportion when, incredibly, they gave up a "hail Mary" to a team, the Packers, that has been successful throwing these prayers. How the Giants allowed for that to happen, who knows.  Also, the Giants--the team my dad and I cheered for when I was a boy--could not catch a cold. Three dropped passes in the first half alone, two of which would have resulted in touchdowns.  And finally Seattle drubbed the Lions, a team that played less like lions and more like pussy cats.

Next week should be better.  My predictions are that three home teams will prevail. The Patriots will win in Foxboro defeating the visiting Texans, easily. The Dallas Cowboys will end the Packers--who have been playing over their heads.  The Kansas City Chiefs will shut the Steelers up and not a minute too soon. The Steelers were chippy in their win against the Dolphins and will not get away with their unnecessarily rough play next week on the road. The lone visiting team that will win are the Seahawks who will get by the overrated Falcons.

See me on Monday.

On a related note, I am reading a book now about professional football in the 50s.  I'll review it when I am done if I think it is worthy of my criticism, but am just a little over half way done now.  I just read a section which refers to a trick play the Giants ran during the last game of the 1958 season.  For some reason in baseball I can remember 1956 and beyond, but in football it is more like 1959 with some fuzzy recollections of 1958.  This particular 1958 play described in the book I have no recollection of whatsoever.   It was such a complicated play that I wished I could see it. The quarterback hands off to a running back who in turn hands off to another running back who pitches it back to the quarterback for a score.

I can remember doing some writing in the early 80s and to describe a section accurately,  I needed to see a tape of a baseball play. I wrote to WOR in New York; the sportscasters who announced that play; the pr director of the Mets (a Met player, Ron Swoboda, had made the play) and a number of other sources. I could not get a copy of the event.

Today, one minute after reading about the 1958 trick play in the book, I typed in some descriptors in You-tube and then instantly could see the trick play.  I must have spent a month in the '80s trying to get a tape of the spectacular catch by Ron Swoboda, and now 40 plus years later can see instantly, over and over, what took place in 1958.

Too bad the Dolphins, Giants, Raiders, and Lions did not look to You-tube prior to last weekend. They might have found some plays from 1958 that would have been useful.

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