What a terrific game . Football at it’s best. I am referring , of course, to the Arizona Cardinals-Philadelphia Eagles Game . It had everything a football fan could ask for. A potent Cardinals offense which looked as if it would run away with the game; a terrific comeback by the Eagles which saw them hold the Cardinals scoreless while they themselves racked up three quick TDs and a gritty , determined TD march by the Cardinals to ice the game. The game was competitive throughout and the second half was particularly riveting. I was rooting for the Cards and I’m happy , very happy, that they won but I have to applaud the Eagles for fighting back to take the lead after being down by 18 points and for the way in which they left everything on the field. Donovan McNabb has had some rough times this season and he has had his share of detractors but , after a shaky first half in which he sprayed the ball around, he settled down and played magnificently. Philly fans couldn’t ask anything more of him. In fact , I have to salute the Eagles for their sportsmanship; after the game, when they were shaking hands with the winning Cards, they actually were able to summon up some smiles– very difficult to do when your season has just ended one game short of the Super Bowl.
As far as the Cards are concerned, I’m happiest for Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald, both of whom played a heck of a game. One of the cameos during the game showed Warner, then a St. Louis Ram, waiting to go on the field at the 1999 SuperBowl and reflecting on the road that had led him there. Prior to sticking with the Rams, Warner had worked in a grocery store and played Arena football . What an unbelievable feeling it must have been . And now, almost 10 years later, he’s going back to the Super Bowl ! As for Larry Fitzgerald, he is an acrobatic receiver and a class act. Too many of today’s athletes are blase’ about the game and it was touching to see him get all choked up when being interviewed by Pam Oliver after the game.Quite a contrast to his fellow wide-out Anquan Boldin who threw a hissy fit on the sidelines apparently because he did not get enough touches . Boldin too is a terrific receiver and , early in the season, he took a hellacious hit during the Jets game. He showed great courage coming back from that frightening injury but, on this afternoon, there was no excuse for his behavior. No matter what spin is put on it, it was selfish and irresponsible on his part and I think that next season he will not be in a Cardinals uniform.
The Ravens -Steelers game too was a good one . I was happy to see the Steelers win but the game was not on a par with the Cards win over the Eagles. Terrific defense on both sides and plenty of suspense until Polamalu put the game away with his interception return for a TD but I don’t enjoy a good defense as much as a terrific offense. Some scary moments when RB Willis McGahee suffered that tremendous collision with S Ryan Clark. Glad to know fron today’s news that he is alright and has been released from hospital. Joe Flacco’s inexperience finally showed but kudos to him for a spectacular rookie season.
The SuperBowl oddsmakers have the Steelers as 7 point favorites but I think, I hope, the Cards have one more miracle in them and that they pull off an upset. In any case with their opportunistic offense going up against the Steel Curtain, it should be an entertaining game to watch. The Cards haven’t come up against a defense as good as the Steelers but then the Steelers haven’t had to go against an offense as good as the Cards are able to put on the field. Go Cards !!
Bye bye Steve Spagnuolo. As expected he took a head coaching job and the only question was where he would land. It was in St. Louis and the Rams have got themselves a good coach. The Giants have tipped Bill Sheridan , their LB coach , to succeed Spagnuolo, and here’s hoping he is able to replicate his success. The Giants have done well with their coaching choices in the past. Mike Nolan, John Fox and now Steve Spagnuolo were all good and went on to become head coaches elsewhere; the only dud was Tim Lewis. Incidentally, why is the job interview so important when it comes to selecting a head coach ? Spagnuolo was reportedly the front runner for the Jets job ( which has now gone to former Ravens defensive co-ordinator Rex Ryan) but bombed at the interview with Jets brass. I would have thought that performance, coaching style and personality had all been on display and that the interview would be a mere formality.
BTW, the Giants offensive co-ordinator , Kevin Gilbride, interviewed with the Raiders and may also be gone. He did a fair job with the Giants but I won’t be heartbroken if he leaves. The Giants offense of late had begun to look increasingly stodgy and it was not entirely due to the loss of Plaxico Burress. The Giants were not that much fun to watch this year as last.
Tubby, tubby coaches. It was disturbing to see Andy Reid on the sidelines and notice how unhealthy he looks with all those extra pounds. He is not the only one though he is one of the glaring examples of grossly overweight . Rex Ryan, the new Jets coach, is another and I could name quite a few more. I caught a quick glimpse of Steve Mariucci on one of the sports shows and I could barely recognise him. He used to be quite good looking when he was the 49ers head honcho. Not any more. Wonder what it is that makes these coaches balloon like that… the stress or the unhealthy diet ?