Things we all learned this weekend:
- Peyton Manning and Rex Grossman haters can shut the hell up. The rap on both these guys was always a little overblown considering the position each of them was in. The Bears' ground game and D was so good that Grossman never needed to be more than a Ben Roethlisberger-type game manager; avoid the really stupid mistakes and the Bears would win. He has done that - and more - in these two playoff games. And Manning has always needed to completely carry his seemingly sleeping team through the playoffs, which is never a recipe for success. This time, blessed with a ground game if not a functioning defense, Manning put on a clinic in the second half of the game. I guess those comparisons with Alex Rodriguez (another player unfairly accused of choking - note to Yankees fans: you're losing in the playoffs because you have no pitching, not because of A-Rod) are going to stop for a while.
- Tom Brady does have nerves. He was throwing crap passes all day; that last one was just the next logical step. Bob Sanders almost had the same exact interception on the previous series.
- Apparently, the ball in Indy was greased or something. How else do you explain two offensive fumble recoveries for touchdowns - one for each team (the N.E. one being especially crazy) and numerous drops by the previously reliable Reche Caldwell and future hall-of-famer Marvin Harrison? And how else do you explain the Reggie Wayne toss-the-ball-to-yourself fumble/recovery on that last drive?
- I'm already sick of the Peyton Manning hype. I'm glad the Katrina hype will be gone. I'm going to get sick of the two-black-coaches hype. Seriously, we've reached the point in the NFL where I didn't notice the possibility until someone on TV pointed it out to me. And I think when someone pointed out that Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith were the first black coaches in the Super Bowl, my reaction was something like, "wait, Tony Dungy's black?" Black coaches are no longer remarkable in the NFL. In any other sport... that's a different story. All the hype just seems like the NFL engaging in a little diversity masturbation.
- Boy, Bob Bradley made the U.S. soccer team's offense wake up, didn't he? Can you remember any time under Arena when we scored three goals? Of course, it was against a Denmark team that made Justin Mapp look like Zidane, but it's still nice to see us beat up on a crap opponent with our second string. (Seriously, that Mapp run was freakin' awesome. The only reason Bornstein got the goal was because Mapp banked the ball off his leg. Anyone who hates soccer should be forced to watch that play until they give in. And Cooper's goal was pretty sweet too.) If Bradley can get Landon Donovan to wake up and start playing soccer instead of whatever the hell he's currently playing, he'll shed that "interim" label - and we'll all stop bitching about it.
- How the hell does Vandy's basketball team beat Alabama and Kentucky and lose to Appalachian State? The hallmark of the Stallings era seems to be playing up to strong opponents and playing down to weak ones. Like our football team, maybe. I'm predicting losses to the likes of Ole Miss and South Carolina, one win over Florida, followed by another first-round flameout in the SEC tournament and another one in the NIT. You heard it here first.