Set the date. Sunday, February 2, 3:30 PM on FOX. Location? MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey. Let the prognostication begin.
Richard Sherman Is A Straight Bitch
Let me bring this in by making one thing clear: Richard Sherman is the best cornerback in the NFL. If all was right in the world, he’d be the Defensive Player of the Year this year, as he deserved. He played the game well and was at his best at the absolute summit of the season. Now, with the disclaimers out of the way, let’s get to the reality of the situation.
He’s a complete idiot and plays with the bravado of a guy that can’t believe he’s good. He can’t take his success like it SHOULD happen because, you know, he’s the best in the world at what he does. Instead, he turns the defining moment of his career and uses it as chance to show an amazingly low level of class that fits a backup punter over a guy that feels that he is the best in the world and just proved it. In the end, the game is the game. The kayfabe heel turn that Sherman is putting out is just a bigger part of the picture of what the Seahawks have represented all year, and is embodied by their leader: a team ready to cut corners and celebrate the fast track they’ve found. Sherman will beat his chest into the microphone, but then look for salvation when replied to face to face. That’s not manning up; that’s throwing a club punch and jumping behind the bouncer. With great power comes great responsibility, and the truth of the matter is that Sherman is, and forever will be, a man that is wearing a suit much bigger than he can fit from here on.
And Sherman is the most T-Mac of them all. — @cheapseatfan
Richard Sherman Sends Seattle To Super Bowl NYC
I, Eduardo Maisonet III, have no words for what transpired in the last 10 minutes of life. Richard Sherman’s deflection on a Colin Kaepernick pass intended for Michael Crabtree in the endzone turned into an interception for Malcolm Smith and a ticket to Super Bowl XLVIII in New York City. Here are some of the immediate reactions from our TSFJ contributors.
I have no idea how to feel about what Sherman just did. I know some will feeel great, some will hate it, but I really have no idea. Seahawks fans can no longer piss and moan about SB40. Denver beats Seattle by at least ten. — @asportsscribe
i don’t care what anybody says about what sherman said. you catch a player after a game like that, you gon get uncut raw. — Wordsworf A. Million (@Smooth_Orator) January 20, 2014
Richard Sherman is a straight up Bitch. Put this on the site too. Ill write a full piece called “Richard Sherman Is A Bitch”, and if we don’t publish it, I’ll only write baseball for the rest of my life. — @cheapseatfan
— Phillip Barnett (@imsohideouss) January 20, 2014
We don’t know what Crabtree was saying on the field. I’ve never seen Sherman that mad. Ugh. — @thetillshow
I’m out. — @revpaulrevere
Not the Finest Night for the Zebras
When the season began, I saw a few jokes about how the replacement officials from last fall were better than the “real” guys this season and sort of dismissed them. Officiating is tougher on the field than here on the couch, but as the season and now, playoffs have rolled on, the referees have been as bad as advertised in those jokes.
Then again, they are empowered or neutered by the rules given to them.
The inability to review what should have been a fumble recovery by Navarro Bowman underscores what’s been a long-time problem for the NFL. It usually waits for the postseason to fully realize how common sense is thrown out the window so that a rule book that leads to bizarre interpretations can lord over the game.
That, unfortunately, is how the NFL works. — @asportsscribe
That Navorro Bowman Play Makes Sick – On Several Levels
Navorrow Bowman is my favorite player in the NFL. He’s been my favorite player since his playing days at Penn State. That incredible and incredibly gruesome strip and recovery he made makes me sick … sick because of the resulting gruesome injury, sick that the referees could fuck up that call so badly and sick that the NFL rules in place prevent the right call from being made. Here’s hoping Bowman can make a full recovery and continue his incredibly awesome career, and here’s hoping the NFL stops with its idiotic rules and questionable referring. I’m so sick right now. — @revpaulrevere
GIF’d – Michael Bennett’s Strip Sack On Colin Kaepernick
Michael Bennett wrecks havoc on the Hairline Gawd Colin Kaepernick for the strip sack and fumble. Seattle recovers, but squanders an opportunity at the goal line. Oh, and if you’re wondering, we’ll not be showing that injury to Navorro Bowman. Go find that elsewhere. Seahawks 20, 49ers 17. — @edthesportsfan and @imsohideouss
GIF’d – All Jermaine Kearse Does Is Catch TD’s, Jim Harbaugh Is Angry
An insane game just keeps getting insaner. Seriously, every game I see Jermaine Kearse he ends up catching some absurd go-route for a touchdown. Oh, and Jim Harbaugh is feeling some kinda way about the referees right about now. Also, Pete Carroll’s happy. Seahawks 20, 49ers 17. — @edthesportsfan and @imsohideouss
GIF’d – Kam Chancellor Doesn’t Like Vernon Davis Much
Grown men are playing football in Seattle today. In the words of my former college roommate Jovan, Kam Chancellor just habeefed Vernon Davis. Oh, and Russell Wilson just threw a ridiculous 35-yard TD to Jermaine Kearse to give Seattle the lead. Seahawks 20, 49ers 17. — @edthesportsfan and @imsohideouss
GIF’d – Colin Kaepernick’s Insane Jump Pass TD to Anquan Boldin
Props to Daily Snark and GIFDSports for the animation, but Colin Kaepernick jump passes just might rule the nation. After this insane TD, Seattle’s Doug Baldwin ran a wind sprint to get the Seahawks into field goal range. 49ers 17, Seahawks 13. One quarter of football is left to be played to determine Super Bowl NYC. — @edthesportsfan
Noticing A Theme Here? San Francisco’s Front Seven Is Good
What is still the best front seven in the NFL is setting the tone here. The fumble to start the game. Bowman’s relentless pass rush. The edge obliteration by Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks. Glenn Dorsey and Ray McDonald making it tough for the Seahawks to push the line of scrimmage forward. Solid secondary play, save for two great grabs by Doug Baldwin.
We saw a very good performance in Denver by their front seven a couple of hours ago, but with the much-discussed issues that the 49ers had in Seattle in the last two years, we’re seeing what’s probably the best defensive performance of the playoffs so far.
What’s helping is that the Niners’ offense has kept the vaunted Seattle secondary defending the run more than planned. The defense will keep humming so long as the offense keeps its foot on the gas. The more balance San Francisco offense provides – and they do start the half with the ball – the more the defense can gather itself to keep that pass rush going. — @asportsscribe
At The Half: 49ers 10, Seahawks 3, Jim Harbaugh Freakouts 1
At this point we’re just waiting with baited breath to see when Jim Harbaugh’s going to lose his mind on the sidelines. Sadly, the penalty that was erroneously called on San Francisco had absolutely zero impact on the game. All the better I guess, because it makes the Harbaugh freakout even more hilarious. — @edthesportsfan and @imsohideouss
GIF’d: Anthony Dixon Be Scorin’
Anthony Dixon’s touchdown gave San Francisco a 10-point lead, but Russell Hustle and Bustle Wilson drove the field and got the game competitive again. 49ers 10, Seahawks 3, Pam Oliver’s Hair still -1. — @edthesportsfan and @imsohideouss
GIF’d: RIP LaMichael James, Plus Other Musings
Paying Homage To The Realest Defenses In The World: If for no other reason, both defenses of these NFC contenders should be commended. We’re barely two quarters in, but it’s become obvious that the winner of this game will come down to which defense can endure the longest. The 49ers’ front 7 or the Seattle secondary is going to shine brighter than any quarterback on that field today, you can bet on that. — @easystylez
Joe Buck No Longer Annoys Me: Joe Buck has gotten a lot of flack over the years — some of it deserved and some of it not so much. Admittedly, I used to be among his most ardent critics, as I found his tone often condescending and his incessant talking annoying. But I gotta admit, Buck has annoyed me less and less the past few years when calling NFL games, and he’s done a damn fine job thus far with partner Troy Aikman — who I think it phenomenal in the booth — in this NFC Championship Game. So kudos, Joe Buck. You no longer annoy me. At least when calling football games. — @revpaulrevere
Pam Oliver’s Hair Needs To Be Taken Out Back And Shot
I have been one of the biggest defenders of Pam Oliver for the last 20 years, but this abomination is indefensible. Maybe Russell Wilson saw this monstrosity (along with Aldon Smith) and freaked the hell out. 49ers, 3. Seahawks, 0. Pam Oliver, -1. — @edthesportsfan
GIF’d: Tom Brady, Better Luck Next Year Buddy
Hat tip to @SBNationGIF for the GIF, as the New England Patriots magical season ends…because let’s be real, this team had no business making it this far. All hail Sir Thomas Brady, we’ll see you next year buddy. — @edthesportsfan
GIF’d: Shane Vereen Stuffed, Denver Heads To NYC
GIF’d: Peyton To Thomas, Demaryius Edition
Halftime Observations From The Rev And Clinkscales
The Champ Bailey Effect: Champ Bailey has barely played this season, having missed 11 games in the regular season and starting just three. The past four weeks, he’s slowly eased his way back into lineup, finally starting today with plans of playing a full game. You’d think Sir Thomas Brady would take his shots at the long-in-the-tooth, one-time great, particularly given his health issues this year. And yet, Brady spent the entire first half throwing at every Denver defensive back other than Champ, proving the old man can still take away one half of the field when he’s out there — at least through one half. Keep on eye on that in the second half. – @RevPaulRevere
The Broncos Front Seven Is Working: So, the kind folks on CBS aren’t going to talk about it much (save for a brief mention by Boomer Esiason), but the Broncos’ front seven has been very good thus far. The Indianapolis Colts’ run defense didn’t get off the bus last week against the Patriots, but even though New England tends to have differnt playbooks for different games, the anchors on the line aren’t even providing the running game any options.
Esiason said that he expected Brady to throw thirty+ times in the second half to open up the offense, but as Rev alluded to, does this mean that he tests Champ Bailey now? Or does he at least try the short yardage, wheel-type plays in place of the ineffective LeGarrette Blount? We shall see.
Meanwhile, I’m going to get some cookies. I’m hungry. — @asportsscribe
GIF’d: Peyton To Tamme
7 Cool Things To Know Before Patriots vs. Broncos Kicks Off
As Sir Thomas Brady and Peyton “Slinkyneck” Manning prepare to face off in the AFC Championship, it’s interesting to look back at how historically we’ve come to this place. Pete Volk from SB Nation put together some interesting facts and stats in preparation for today’s battle in Denver that’s worth your attention:
ONE: At a combined 74.3 years old, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady combine for the oldest combined age for opposing starting quarterbacks in a conference title game.
TWO: If the Patriots win, Bill Belichick would tie Tom Landry as the coach with the most NFL playoff wins (20), while Tom Brady would set the record for most Super Bowl reached by a quarterback (six).
THREE: With a win, Belichick would also tie Don Shula as head coaches with the most Super Bowl berths in NFL history, with his sixth.
FOUR: As a team, the Patriots would tie the Cowboys and the Steelers with the most Super Bowl appearances in NFL history, with eight if they win the game.
FIVE: If the Broncos win, they would tie the Patriots and possibly the 49ers (depending on the outcome of the NFC Championship Game) for the third-most Super Bowl appearances in league history, with seven.
SIX: If the Broncos lose, it will be the 12th time Manning has lost to Belichick. No other coach has defeated the quarterback more than five times.
SEVEN: If Denver wins, Peyton Manning will become the fourth quarterback in NFL history to lead the league in passing yards and touchdowns and lead his team to the Super Bowl, joining Dan Marino (1984), Kurt Warner (2001) and Brady (2007).
On a more personal note, I feel like making a prediction. I think Peyton Manning loses to Bill Belicheat for a 13th time. Patriots 44, Broncos 42. Sir Thomas Brady will make his 6th Super Bowl appearance in the most unlikeliest of fashions. This is all just a wild guess by the way because I have no idea what I’m talking about. – @edthesportsfan
Richard Sherman On Sports Science Is Pretty Freaking Awesome
“COME ON! You’re looking like a baby giraffe!”
TSFJ’s Justin Tinsley told the world a long time ago that everyone should be a member of the Richard Sherman fan club, and if his 10 reasons weren’t enough, then maybe this presentation by ESPN’s Jon Brenkus on Sports Science might win you over.
Yes, we all know the man is a physical marvel and a defensive wizard when it comes to covering wide receivers, but when he called ole buddy a baby giraffe I damn near died.
Kickoff to Patriots vs. Broncos is less than a hour away. Can’t wait. – @edthesportsfan
Here’s Your Mandatory Pre-Game Reading Material
Mirrored Images In The NFL On Conference Championship Sunday [via @RevPaulRevere] It’s almost alarming at how much the combatants this championship weekend mirror their opponents. And that should only make for more memorable and intense games. Here’s hoping both can live up to the hype.
The NFC Championship And The 50 Cent ‘Beef’ Quotes It Embodies [via @JustinTinsley] “I can’t say that I can resolve a situation or a beef with somebody. I can’t stand this n*gga. You understand what I’m saying? This ain’t WWF. It’s not like I just got rap beef with this n*gga. I don’t like this lil’ n*gga … for pretending so much. It makes me sick.” Vulgar language notwithstanding, perhaps no quote accurately assesses the level of animosity and degradation the city of Seattle plays host to Sunday than the one above. There’s no love lost between the ‘Hawks and Niners because love never existed in the first place. Instead, all that remains is a trip to the Super Bowl and ending their arch rival’s season while doing so.
Tom Brady, Peyton Manning And The Match-up Made In Heaven [via @Mtrible] There are few unalienable rights that come with gridiron fan membership. One of them is the necessity to have an opinion on Brady or Manning. You can like one more than the other or dislike both with an idea of which is superior. It’s inescapable from the moment the fantasy draft kicks off to the final whistle of the season. Someone must be better than the other. Someone must be less worthy of the crown.
Conference Championship Sunday Is Finally Here
In essence, this is really it guys. This is the last real Sunday that matters in the lives of football fans everywhere. Yes, there’s the Pro Bowl thing that’s happening next week, and the only reason I want to watch it is to see if Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice actually decide to suit up and play. Oh yeah, there’s this other thing called the Super Bowl that’s happening in two weeks, but that game is as much about the spectacle moreso than the game itself. This is the last Sunday that is really all about just the football.
Manning vs. Brady. Russell vs. Kaepernick. The best wide receiver trio in the NFL vs. the grittiest, guttiest, scrapiest wide receiver trio in the NFL. A defensive depth chart filled with goons vs. a defensive depth chart filled with savages.
Denver vs. New England. Seattle vs. San Francisco. Like Bart Scott said so eloquently to Sal Paolantonio, “Can’t Wait!”
The TSFJ family will be in full effect this Sunday, so feel free to take a seat with us and hang out in the open thread. The comments section will be lively, and this post will be regularly updated with the latest and greatest happenings that take place during the day. As you’ll see below, here’s the full TV schedule for Conference Championship Sunday.
– New England Patriots at Denver Broncos, 3 p.m. ET. Airs on CBS.
– San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks, 6:30 p.m. ET. Airs on FOX.