NFL Divisional Playoffs
- Brett Favre dipped into the Fountain of Youth at the right time; the not-so-elderly Green Bay Packers quarterback helped lead the way in a 42-20 win over the Seattle Seahawks. The Packers defense clamped down after they allowed the 'Hawks to score twice within the first five minutes, and the weather added to the home field advantage as well.
- Tom Brady and the New England Patriots continued their march to perfection, but had to fend off a wily Jacksonville Jaguars team to get a 31-20 win and a place in next Sunday's AFC title game. Brady completed all but two of his 28 passes, making his 92.9 completion percentage the highest in a playoff game in NFL history.
Just like this weekend last year, the Sunday games were all full of drama and intrigue:
- At that time, as you will recall, the San Diego Chargers were riled up after the Pats celebrated Nate Keading's missed game-winning field goal. In 2008, they looked to be a pushover for the Indianapolis Colts, and it looked as though a rout was on at halftime with the Colts ahead 10-7. The Bolts would've had the lead going into the locker room, but Antonio Cromartie's long interception return for a touchdown was called back because of a holding penalty, which drove Norv Turner out of his skull. Despite losing quarterback Phillip Rivers and star running back LaDainian Tomlinson to knee injuries, the Bolts hung on for a 28-24 upset thanks to backup QB Billy Volek's sneak into the end zone. Will hostilities resume in Foxboro next Sunday in time for the AFC championship game?
- The New York Giants had virtually everything going for them after last week's win at Tampa Bay. However, the Giants also looked to be slouches against the Dallas Cowboys in Big D. In the bigger of the two shootouts, Big Blue and the Pokes played near solid football – it would've been fully so hadn't the Cowboys had all those penalties. In fact, the only interception thrown by either Eli Manning or Tony Romo came near the end of the game, when R.W. McQuarters, subbing for the injured Aaron Ross, made Romo look like a pauper with an interception in the end zone. Terrell Owens, who told everyone to get their popcorn ready a few days before the game, wound up eating crow and crying crocodile tears in a 21-17 playoffs ouster.
Across the Pond
- Arsenal found itself in a tie with archrivals Manchester United after a 1-1 tie with Birmingham City. They would've kept the top spot hadn't it been for a late goal by Blues' Garry O'Connor.
- Chelsea, with new addition Nicolas Anelka on the squad, kept pace with a 2-1 win over London rival Tottenham Hostpur.
Setting the pick
- The past weekend saw two undefeated teams in NCAA men's basketball go down to their first defeat of the season. Four-ranked Washington State couldn't build off the momentum from their win over USC earlier in the week and wound up losing to the Trojans' crosstown rivals, UCLA, 81-74. Meanwhile, #13 Vanderbilt lost THEIR first game in a 79-73 double overtime loss to unranked Kentucky in Lexington. Speaking of the two schools, they will meet next Saturday in
- Jim Boeheim and Bob Huggins have done so much in their college basketball careers, except face each other. Huggins' West Virginia Mountaineers defeated Boeheim's Syracuse Orange, 81-61, in Morgantown on Sunday. Oddly enough, Morgantown was where Huggins was raised. Who says you can't go home again?
- Talk about a buzz! The New York Knicks, by all accounts, have been having a miserable year. Yet, when the crowd at Madison Square Garden cheered the Giants playoff victory, it provided a little pick-up as Zach Randolph scored 25 points in an 89-68 upset of the Detroit Pistons.
Odds and Sods
- There was news from Major League Baseball not involving the Mitchell Report over the weekend: The St. Louis Cardinals announced on Saturday that it would be trading embattled third baseman Scott Rolen to the Toronto Blue Jays for Troy Glaus. While it was hearsay on Saturday, the trade was made official before press time.
- Even though his father denied any rumors about it, Arkansas running back Darren McFadden will declare for the NFL Draft.
- Condolences to family, friends, and teammates of Johnny Podres. Born in Glens Falls, N.Y., Podres etched his name into Brooklyn Dodgers lore and legend with his complete game performance in Game 7 of the 1955 World Series, which gave Da Bums their first and only pennant during their time in Brooklyn. Podres passed on Sunday at age 75.
Tony Romo: Jessica Simpson wasn't at Texas Stadium on Sunday, so you've gotta feel like a genius for the Cabo trip, dont'cha?
A somewhat important announcement
After the Super Bowl, this reporter will be taking adding a week to his second annual February break. I just thought I'd announce this well in advance.
Until next week, as always, let's all be good sports...