Thoughts on a wild weekend of football

December 5, 2012 

Driving Sunday, I found myself behind a red pickup truck with several magnets on its tailgate. On one side, an American flag and a troop ribbon. For balance, there was a Northside “N” and a Georgia “G” on the other. What a weekend that dude had, I thought. Talk about your highs and lows.

Indeed, it was an interesting weekend of football for most every football fan. Here’s a few of the moments that stood out in my mind.

• The Falcons started things off with a nail-biting win over arch-rival New Orleans on Thursday. By Sunday evening, Atlanta had clinched the NFC South Division. Matt Ryan, Mike Smith and all the Falcons have been belittled for their lack of playoff success -- they’re 0-3 as a collective group.

Think about that number. In his first four years in the league, Ryan is 0-3 in the playoffs -- for arguably one of the historically worst professional sports franchises ever. Besides, earning a first-round bye is a de facto playoff win in my book.

• Northside and Georgia played classic football games, the endings of which were eerily similar -- and yet completely different.

The Eagles were tested and succeeded. In the process, they made a deposit on confidence that will pay dividends down the road. To be able to say, “I know I can do this because I’ve done it before,” is extremely liberating. On the other hand, Georgia suffers lingering doubt and will be forever pestered by, “if only.”

• A pair of Tucker ball boys, maybe sons of members of the coaching staff, whooped and hollered with glee when they thought one of their guys made a game-saving interception in the final seconds. Rooting like 12-year-olds should. Moments later, after Northside scored the winning touchdown, real tears and heartbreak.

• The urgency with which bowls extended and universities accepted game invitations is out of control. One of the nation’s best mid-majors, Louisiana Tech, got shut out of the bowl season despite a 9-3 record.

• It’s nice to see the Kansas City Chiefs spearhead a fund for the orphaned daughter of one of the organization’s players after his alleged role in a murder-suicide. Sadly, I suspect a custody dispute will arise based more on a money grab than any genuine feeling for the infant.

• I finally set aside some time to watch Georgia Southern in its first-round playoff game but couldn’t find it. The Eagles won, however, so maybe this week.

• Despite kicking off well before prime time, the Alabama-Georgia game tied with the Nov. 24 USC-Notre Dame game for the best TV ratings of the season.

• Were this 1992 and an undefeated Notre Dame was preparing to play SEC champion Alabama in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, would anyone really not think it was for the national championship? In other words, we never needed a BCS, and we don’t need the college football playoff that’s coming down the road.

• I’ve always been a Mike Vick fan. I think his career is about over. He’s certainly out at Philadelphia, and I have serious reservations that he’ll be a fit with any other club.

• Speaking of Philadelphia, the Eagles’ kicker is a guy named Alex Henery, who wears No. 6. Shouldn’t he be Henery the Eighth?

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