Championship Sunday Live-Blog: NFC Championship

Since Tim decided to dub Championship Sunday the most exciting football day of the year (and since we’ll be too busy having fun during the Super Bowl), we felt it necessary to pull out all the stops with a live-blog. In case you missed, Tim, Josh, and John S already covered the AFC Championship Game. Now Josh is gone, but Tim and John S will bring you all the insight and action as the Saints host the Vikings…

 

10:27, JOHN S — Well, that was a pretty elaborate way to get a chalk Championship Sunday…YAWN.

10:25, TIM — The Favre joking aside, this is a gutwrenching loss for Vikings fans. Minnesota controlled most of the game but committed the turnovers (I mean, FIVE) that it had to avoid. The Vikings’ mistakes in this game were big ones: fumbles, interceptions, and inexplicable late-game playcalling by Brad Childress. I don’t exactly know how the pantheon of horrible losses shapes up for Minnesota, but this one has to be near the top (if below the ’98 NFC title game).

At the same time, I’m very happy to see the Saints in the Super Bowl.

10:22, TIM — My score prediction for this game? 31-27 Saints. Now it’s 3-to-2 in favor of me, Josh!

10:21, JOHN S — My brother (before Tim’s comment): “God clearly wants the last pass of Brett Favre’s career to be an Interception.”

10:19, TIM — And Brett Favre’s last pass was an interception in the NFC Championship Game.

Rich.

10:19, JOHN S — Remember when I said FGs wouldn’t decide this game? Forget that.

10:18, TIM — Saints’ personnel have the two most hilarious premature reactions to missed field goals in NFL history.

10:16, JOHN S — I agree that this game has been poorly officiated (and there seem to have been a high number of inadvertent flags, which seems amateurish), but I agreed with that call. If Leber doesn’t it push him down there, then I think Thomas could catch up to that.

10:13, TIM — That’s a really bad call on the Pass Interference. It was uncatchable and I don’t even think Leber caused Thomas to fall. Morelli and Co. have done nothing to change my conception of them today.

10:13, JOHN S — THAT was too soon.

10:12, TIM — And just in time, am I right?

10:11, JOHN S — No, I think the earthquake in Haiti gave us free rein on Katrina jokes.

10:09, TIM — If this is overturned, the Superdome is gonna get as ugly as it’s ever been.

Too soon?

10:07, TIM — For Minnesota: Get inside the 25

For New Orleans: Score a touchdown. I don’t trust Hartley at all.

10:06, JOHN S — So the question that comes up with every OT. At what point on the field do you send in the kicker, particularly given the rate of fumbles in this game?

10:06, JOHN S — Yeah, it looked to me like they got it, but if not, you should still go for it.

10:04, TIM — If this is short, I think you go for it. And I think you use play action; Minnesota has stuffed every third-and-short run.

10:02, TIM — No. 3 is pretty much the only way to justify using a first-round pick on either JaMarcus Russell or Kyle Boller.

10:01, JOHN S  — NFL OT ideas that would be better than sudden death:

  • A foot race between the two RBs
  • A field goal kicking contest
  • Which QB can throw farther?
  • Boxing match between the two coaches
  • Rock, paper, scissors
  • Let a SportsNation poll decide the winner!
  • Multiply each team’s total yards by the number on the jersey of their starting QB, then divide by the square root of number of fans each team has average in their home games up to that point
  • Just go by feel

10:00, TIM — Vikings lose Cedric Griffin on the kickoff. That’s big.

9:57, TIM — When is Chris Hansen gonna take out this Taco Bell guy for hitting on Denise?

9:56, JOHN S — The last time so much was riding on a coin toss, it was flipped by Anton Chigurh.

9:55, TIM — Morelli: “In essence it’s a brand-new game.”

Overtime should be four complete quarters.

9:54, TIM — Last two NFC Championships to go to overtime:

2007: Favre throws opening-possession INT, Green Bay loses.

1998: Minnesota blows game to Atlanta.

Vindication for both, or the perpetuation of a nightmare?

9:54, JOHN S — Who the hell was calling plays on that drive, Les Miles?

9:53, TIM — The Vikings actually caught a huge break that they called that penalty. Favre tried to call timeout, and if they grant him that timeout, it’s a second consecutive timeout, which is a 15-yard penalty–not five.

And all that’s moot.

9:52, JOHN S — Of course not, you get a 12-man in the huddle penalty to put you out of FG range, OBVS!

9:51, TIM — What is Minnesota doing on offense? Why are they content to try a 50+ yard field goal?

9:50, JOHN S — My brother: “Just for this game, they should use college overtime rules.” I completely agree.

9:49, TIM — Do you dare give Peterson the ball the rest of this drive?

9:49, JOHN S — I mean, who doesn’t love a guy named Zygi (or Ziggy)?

9:48, TIM — And he’s a big Giants fan. (Or he was, you know, before he bought the Vikings.)

9:48, JOHN S — I kind of want to root for Minnesota just because their owner is named Zygi Wilf.

9:47, TIM — I’m against that New Orleans timeout for the same reason I was against the one in the first half. And this time it hurts the Saints.

9:46, TIM — That commercial made me ponder how great it would be if George W. Bush became a video game pitchman.

9:45, JOHN S — I know this game is really close, so tangential comments should be kept to a minimum, but this is important: When did video game commercials become even cooler than movie trailers? This one for Mass Effect 2 is narrated by Martin Sheen! I cannot wait to not-play this game!

9:43, TIM — Yeah, is that Thomas Morstead or Orin Incandenza back there for the Saints?

9:43, JOHN S — The punt they got was really good. I’m predicting that this game ends like penultimate episode of Season Three of Friday Night Lights. If you get the reference, kudos.

9:42, TIM — Of course not, John, you give it back to Minnesota and wait for someone to fumble.

9:41, JOHN S — Do you go for it here?

9:37, TIM — This is turning into a pretty good game, right?

And Mike Tomlin would onsides this baby.

9:33, JOHN S — Wow, Peterson is impressive. His ability to not fumble the ball on every carry is stunning.

9:32, TIM — I want to point out also that we pride ourselves on being the NFC Championship Live Blog that DOESN’T make gratuitous references to Visanthe Shiancoe’s genitalia. There’s no link there for a reason.

9:31, JOHN S — Agreed. Despite embracing Instant Reply, we still fear overusing it too much. Don’t we WANT teams to challenge bad calls?

9:26, TIM — And a nitpick: The NFL should really change its rules on challenges from “Win both, get one back” to “Win one, get one back; win two, get two back.” If you challenge something and it’s overturned, you should keep the challenge. It just makes sense. You shouldn’t be penalized for refs making multiple bad calls against you.

9:24, TIM — This is a smart challenge: I don’t foresee New Orleans needing a timeout down the stretch of this taut, back-and-forth, one-possession game.

9:22, JOHN S — When do we find out that all these fumbles are part of an elaborate practical joke? Or that the Vikings are trying to get Childress fired? Or maybe this is some kind of karmic revenge on Brett Favre?

9:21, TIM — Do you think the Colts are watching this game and giggling to themselves?

9:20, TIM — Yeah, it’s why he’s the spokesman for Wrangler jeans, John.

9:19, JOHN S — What’s the deal with Favre’s jersey hanging out of his pants like a dress? Is it supposed to be part of his down-home, regular guy image? It just looks slovenly and classless.

9:14, TIM — I’d call out your use of Neville Chamberlain, but who am I countering with? Matt Ryan? I mean, he won that game.

9:13, JOHN S — This call is probably going to be overturned, which is huge for NO. You’re not going to win this game with field goals. Plus, there’s like a 50-50 chance the kicker would miss, since kickers have the intestinal fortitude of Neville Chamberlain.

9:09, JOHN S — When you play with Adrian Peterson, you’re bound to learn a few things…

9:07, TIM — Unbeknownst to either team, Craig “Ironhead” Heyward (rest in peace) lathered the footballs with Zest soap before the game.

9:06, JOHN S — Dr. Oz commercial: “Muscles are not just for football players.” REALLY? Oh fuck, I need to get to the gym!

9:05, TIM — Here’s how the legend can grow more: With a severe left ankle injury, nobody expected Brett Favre to pull off a 72-yard quarterback draw to give the Vikings the lead.

9:03, TIM — Let me correct myself: Every Vikings fan’s worst nightmare is still “Gary Anderson, to put Minnesota up 10…”.

9:02, TIM — And potentially racist given the racial breakdown at positions, right?

“Tarvaris Jackson has to be loosening up somewhere” = Every Vikings fan’s worst nightmare.

9:01, JOHN S — Yeah, the most irritating thing about the overprotection of the QB is how it coddles a player based on position. It’s not OK for Brett Favre to hit the ground, but it’s ok for linemen to beat up on each other until their brains are turned to mush? This is practically a violation of the Equal Protection Clause.

9:00, TIM — Brett Favre isn’t havin’ fun out there.

8:56, TIM — That’s the right call on the personal foul, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good one. I understand protecting the quarterback on late-hit scenarios, but I don’t think you can ask defensive players to tackle quarterbacks fundamentally differently from the way they tackle other offensive guys. If it isn’t okay to piledrive Favre, it shouldn’t be okay to piledrive Peterson or Rice or Craig “Ironhead” Heyward (rest in peace).

8:55, JOHN S — And what I was really objecting to about the whole “defense wins championships” thing was the Rex Ryan-idea that a 9-7 team should be considered a legitimate Super Bowl favorite merely because of it’s defense. I guess it’s kind of a straw man, since the only one who agreed with this idea was Rex Ryan.

8:54, TIM — And they have Chester Taylor, one of the league’s best second-stringers, to bring in.

8:53, JOHN S — At what point does Minnesota bench Peterson?

8:52, TIM — How did Adrian Peterson get so good at recovering fumbles? Practice. A LOT of practice.

8:50, TIM — Right on, John. I believe this will be the first time in NFL history when defense will not win a championship.*

*Aren’t last year’s Steelers the ultimate rejoinder to that “Offense wins games, defense wins championships.” philosophy. Pittsburgh won many of its regular-season games with defense, but when it came time to win a championship, it was all Ben and Santonio.

8:49, TIM — Did Reynaud just field that ball at the two-yard line? He totally deserved that hit earlier.

8:49, JOHN S — One good thing about the Jets loss is that we can finally get rid of the whole “defense wins championships” crap. Neither the Saints nor the Vikings have a sack in this game; obviously, they are not too concerned with defense.

8:42, TIM — I’m not going to dignify that with a response.

And this is really shaping up into quite the matchup of former Giants’ tight ends.

8:41, JOHN S — Not to rehash old debates, but if kicker’s really couldn’t handle the pressure of the playoffs, wouldn’t we be seeing a lot more missed extra points?

8:39, TIM — Peterson really needs to gunken up that jersey some more.

8:38, JOHN S — Maybe Adrian Peterson has that Ahman Green sweat disorder? There’s got to be a reason why he can’t hold the ball.

8:37, TIM — And if Chris Johnson were Jeremetrius Johnson, he would have been drafted first overall and the NFL would have used a one-time special exemption to allow the Titans to play in this year’s playoffs.

8:35, JOHN S — Pierre Thomas went undrafted out of Illinois? How much of that is due to an anti-Pierre bias? If his name were “DeShaun” he probably would have gone to Ohio State and been drafted in the first round.

8:25, TIM — Not if I’m doing the Women’s College Basketball Live Blog!

(P.S. People who like women’s basketball talk about how fundamentally strong it is. In this Duke-Maryland game, at the under-12 timeout, it’s 8-3. There are more turnovers and missed free throws than points. Apparently things like “making layups and free throws” are no longer considered fundamentals.)

(I can’t wait for the all-white basketball league to expound this philosophy. Oh wait, it already did.)

8:24, JOHN S — With most people, I’d know that was a joke, but with you, I have to ask: Can you at least watch this one on commercials?

8:22, TIM — Looks like you’re on your own for the rest of this one, John. The Duke and Maryland women’s game just came on Fox Sports Net.

8:21, JOHN S — I’m not sure. I would blame Rome (and I will, because that guy deserves more blame in general) if people generally held the “E” like he does: “Reee-diculous.” But I think it’s just because the “re” prefix sound is more common than the “ri” sound. I can’t even think of another word that people often say that begins with the “ri” sound.

8:16, TIM — That would be the sportsmanlike thing to do.

8:15, JOHN S — Tim, I like your kneel-down strategy, but I can’t help but realize that the game would end in a tie. Unless, I guess, one team stuck with so steadfastly that it kneeled down in the end zone…

8:14, TIM — I’m happy you used the word “ridiculous,” because this is something I’ve been meaning to bring up in a live-blog for some time: I would say that the majority of people in my generation spells ridiculous with an “e,” as in “re-diculous.” I blame Jim Rome for this. Your thoughts?

8:13, JOHN S — Oh my god. This is getting ridiculous.

Also, Favre looked so distraught after that I actually laughed out loud. It’s always fun to watch old men suffer.

8:12, TIM — The way these two teams handle the ball, I think both offenses should employ a University of Louisiana style kneel-down offense, most prominently used in the sports film, The Waterboy.

8:11, TIM — Yeah, I can’t think of another player picked second overall to be any worse.

8:10, JOHN S — I think that proves what I’ve always said: Reggie Bush is the worst draft-pick in NFL history.

8:08, TIM — And NOW Minnesota has TONS of time from the Saints’ 10-yard line. That might be the biggest play in either game today.

8:07, TIM — It worked out for them, bit I would not have called timeout there if I’m New Orleans. Let Minnesota run the clock down if it wants to and reduce the risk of the Vikings having enough time to score.

8:05, JOHN S — I disagree. It looked pretty clear to me. He had plenty of time to slow down/stop himself.

It does change the whole complexion of this drive, though, but I still think it’s a good call.

8:03, TIM — That’s potentially a HUGE penalty, and I don’t really agree with it. Reynaud muffed it and he hadn’t been touched yet, and I didn’t hear a whistle before he got hit.

8:00, JOHN S — All things considered, this game has been kind of low-scoring. This score is probably going to hold until the half.

7:59, TIM — Don’t you miss when domes could just be named after adjectives? The Astrodome! The Superdome! The Metrodome! The Saddledome! (That’s in Calgary, obvs.)(And “Saddle” is a noun, but bear with me.) Now they have to have boring corporate names. The Colts would be so much more intimidating if they played in the Neatodome or something.

7:57, TIM — I’m pretty sure Jeremy Shockey hasn’t been 100% healthy since the first half of Miami’s 38-14 Orange Bowl victory over Nebraska in January 2001.

7:55, TIM — My dad, unironically, before I saw what John S posted:

“That’s where Favre’s from? Mississippi?”

7:54, JOHN S — Eh, it didn’t matter.

On another note, is there anyone left in the world who doesn’t know that Brett Favre is from Mississippi?

7:53, TIM — Now, Minnesota would be wise to try to run some time off that clock and score the last points of the half.

7:52, JOHN S — Yeah, that’s probably right, but it still seems like if they score with like 4 minutes left, it’s going to be 21-21 at the half. But they do get the ball to start the half.

7:49, TIM — And six minutes is too long to hold it for New Orleans. They’re more likely to score, give up a score, and score again than waste all this time on one drive.

7:48, TIM — I really want to make fun of these Dan Jansen commercials, but seven-year-old Tim was so happy when he won that gold. And I, unlike John S, do not betray the sentimentality of my seven-year-old self.

7:47, JOHN S — Should the Saints try to slow it down so they can be the last team to score before halftime?

7:43, TIM — I demand metaphysical clarity from my football announcers, which is why no one will ever be better than Dan Dierdorf.

7:41, JOHN S — Yeah, Aikman’s conception of “total freedom” leaves a lot to be desired. Schopenhauer would not approve.

7:40, TIM — At least it’s not Michael C. Hall.

7:39, JOHN S — Who is doing the new baby voice on those E*TRADE commercials? It sounds familiar, but I’m not sure who it is, exactly.

7:38, TIM — And Aikman kept harping on Jared Allen’s “total freedom” in rushing the quarterback. But I imagine “total freedom” would entail an ability to rush unabated to the quarterback on every play, which would be fairly effective, I think.

7:37, JOHN S — Buck’s attempts at parallelism are pathetic. Doesn’t everyone technically “use his legs to get into position”?

7:35, TIM — Joe Buck was more excited for that TD pass than for the greatest football play of all time. Come ON.

7:33, TIM — Ben Leber has a better chance of being mauled by a grizzly bear and a polar bear on the same day than sticking with Reggie Bush on a post.

7:32, JOHN S — Wouldn’t NO’s chances to win the Super Bowl be much better if Shockey suffered a season-ending injury?

7:31, TIM — By the way, I can’t emphasize enough how happy I am that the Saints are wearing black with the gold pants. These are a top-10 look in the NFL, and the all-black leotard look is bottom-10. If only they could get all the gold to match…

7:30, TIM — College kids today are so lucky: They can get drunk and order IMPROVED Domino’s pizza.

7:29, JOHN S — Man, will there EVER be another first down in this game?

7:28, TIM — The final score of this game: 14-7.

7:26, TIM — And wait, now Jets is a trending topic on Twitter ahead of Vikings? Is Twitter on a two-hour time delay?

7:23, TIM — I would have gone for it.

7:22, JOHN S — Wow, a three-and-out. This game is effectively over.

7:21, JOHN S — Either way, this month is shaping up pretty well for atrocious movies.

7:20, TIM — And I’d like to apologize to Cop-Out for saying it might be the worst movie ever. I had forgotten about the existence of The Tooth Fairy, which is pretty inexcusable on my part.

7:19, TIM — Man, hearing “Sidney Rice” and “hook up” in the same sentence should be so much hotter.

7:17, JOHN S — In what quarter will this game’s first defensive stop occur? 3rd?

7:16, TIM — Yeah, Josh and I have called about the same number of things this year. Josh has one post about football, I’ve done roughly 23.

7:15, TIM — And isn’t Bobby McCray the same guy who laid out Kurt Warner last week? That guy loves hitting QBs.*

*When they don’t have the ball.

7:14, JOHN S — Did you? Well, you were bound to get something right eventually.

7:13, TIM — I believe I called this Bernard Berrian breakout game.

7:11, JOHN S — Are the Saints ever going to figure out how to stop Bernard Berrian in NFC Championship Games?

7:10, JOHN S — Hey, Morelli gives a shout-out to Unabated to the Quarterback!

7:06, TIM — From Pierre: And I tweeted that before the Thomas TD. What a day to be a Pierre.

7:05, TIM — Proof that our buddy Pierre is watching American football: He just tweeted, “This might be the greatest day for Pierres in NFL history.”

7:03, JOHN S — Wow, this has a chance to be the best day for NFL Pierres in a long time.

7:02, TIM — Pete Morelli??? That’s a crime! Pete Morelli is a terrible ref! If Mike Carey’s not doing the Super Bowl, heads will roll…

7:00, JOHN S — Is it fair of Aikman to say that Saints Pro Bowlers are “going to Miami”? Is there any chance that Pro Bowlers from either of these teams actually play?

6:57, TIM — Did Michael C. Hall (a.k.a. Dexter) just do the voice-over for that Dodge Charger commercial? What kind of demographic are you trying to reach with a serial killer voice-over? I feel like that car wants to secretly murder me.

6:55, TIM — Bad move by Minnesota: The Saints are 1-0 this postseason when allowing an opening-drive rushing touchdown.

6:53, JOHN S — Yeah, it’s probably some of that stuff the WR from Little Giants put on his hands to keep from dropping the ball. How else could Peterson have multiple carries without a fumble?

6:52, TIM — How come we haven’t had a full-on investigation into that gunk on Adrian Peterson’s jersey yet? Is it the Kenny Rogers gunk? And how is it legal?

6:50, TIM — Well, that’s what we all thought beforehand: Jim Kleinsasser is the X-factor in this game.

6:49, JOHN S — Yeah, not a very cerebral bunch, that team.

Also, Childress’ awkward interview is already invalidated, as his offense of “balance” doesn’t run the ball until 3 minutes into the drive.

6:48, TIM — Also, they already mentioned “Pants on the Ground” like three times in the pregame. And you know cultural references like that are all up Joe Buck’s alley.

When you look back at it, it’s pretty remarkable that those early-90s Cowboys teams featured guys who would become the top two analysts for a network’s game coverage. It’s strange for any team to claim that, but especially for THAT team. And I didn’t even read Jeff Pearlman’s book yet.

6:46, TIM — Chris Myers, King of Awkward Interviewers meet Brad Childress, King of Awkward Interviewees.

6:45, JOHN S — Yeah, I don’t have huge problems with Buck. He gives some of the most monotonous calls on some of the most exciting plays, and he gets worked up over things he really shouldn’t; he really is more suited to baseball.

Having Said That, I think the Buck/Aikman booth is pretty good, all things considered.

6:43, TIM — Where are you on the Joe Buck Spectrum, John? I feel like it runs from Utter Hatred to Mild Toleration, and that I’m a lot closer to MT than most people.

6:42, JOHN S — We’re going to try and avoid talking about Brett Favre too much in this game. We figure Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will do that enough for everyone.

6:40, JOHN S — Well, we’re back! And we are looking live at the Superdome, as Kris Allen belts the national anthem. How many American Idol references are we going to get in this game? Not to mention Jordin Sparks’ rendition in the last game.


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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Wey on January 24, 2010 at 6:45 PM

    fixin’ to show ’em???

    Reply

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