RIP Billy Packer

Billy Packer died last week.  I first became aware of him when I saw him play for Wake Forest back in the 1960s on a team anchored by Len Chappell.  He had a long career in broadcasting college basketball and was part of what I believe was the best announcing team for that sport ever.  Dick Enberg on play-by-play, Al McGuire and Billy Packer on color/analysis was as good as it got.

Rest in peace, Billy Packer…

The February 2023 version of the Super Bowl is set.  You can call it the Andy Reid Career Review or – if you prefer – the Kelce Family Reunion; the Eagles and the Chiefs will do the honors in a couple of weeks.  The two teams got there is completely different fashions yesterday.

  • The outcome of the Eagles/Niners game was all but decided in the first quarter when a sack-fumble on Niners’ QB Brock Purdy rendered the elbow on this throwing arm inoperative.
  • The outcome of the Chiefs/Bengals game went down to the wire and was decided on a field goal with less than 10 seconds left on the clock.

Back in December, I was exchanging Holiday Greetings with a friend; he and I traditionally attend a Super Bowl party hosted by a mutual friend.  He said that he would see me at the Super Bowl party; I said it would be the Eagles and the Chiefs with the score Eagles 45 and Chiefs 38.  He suggested the Eagles might win 41-33 – the same score that the Eagles posted in their win over the Pats five years ago.  My thought was:

  • Been there; done that.

The Niners had to press Josh Johnson into action when Purdy’s elbow was hurt in the first quarter.  Kevin Burkhardt said that this was Johnson’s 13th team in a 10-year NFL career.  [Aside:  Being with 13 teams in 10 years tells me he is not an NFL-caliber QB but that he is a positive element on an NFL roster.]  And by the way, Johnson has toiled in other pro football leagues with teams such as the Sacramento Mountain Lions and the LA Wildcats.  Then, the nail in the icing – – to mix metaphors here – – had Johnson exit the game with a concussion.

Having mentioned Kevin Burkhardt, let me say that I have become a big fan of the tandem of Burkhardt and Greg Olsen calling NFL games.  Last year, I thought Olsen was hyperactive and tended to over-sensationalize lots of good-not-great plays.  But he has mellowed, and I like the two of them as a pairing in the broadcast booth.  From what I have read, Tom Brady’s contact with FOX assures him that he will be the analyst on the network’s #1 broadcast team.  I am on record saying that I am not so sure Brady will be all that great as a TV commentator and I am sure that as Brady goes through whatever “learning curve” he will need, the FOX broadcast tandem will take a step back from where Burkhardt/Olsen is today.

In case you missed it, the Mayor of Cincinnati tweeted that perhaps Patrick Mahomes should take a paternity test to find out if Joe Burrow is his daddy.  Given that Burrow had beaten the Chiefs three straight times, that might have been a useful quip in a sports column or maybe as a Tweet by a comedian.  Coming from an elected official it was edgy to say the least; even playing on a bum ankle, Mahomes demonstrated there is no clear patriarchy when it comes to AFC quarterbacks.

Dan Daly is one of the preeminent NFL historians out there and his data mining skills are unmatched.  The Eagles and Niners were probably still in the locker room changing into street clothes when he offered up this stat:

“The last NFL team that lost a playoff game by 24+ points & threw 18 or fewer passes – – like the 49ers just did – – was the Giants in the 1941 title game vs. the Bears (37-9, 15 attempts).  Only other team in fact.”

In last week’s Football Friday, I suggested that the offensive play-calling by Kellen Moore had a part in the Cowboys’ loss to the Niners.  All I can say now is that someone in the Jones’ family must agree with that assessment because over the weekend it was announced that the Cowboys had fired Kellen Moore and that play-calling responsibilities will rest with head coach Mike McCarthy next season.  I tend to think that coach firings are more for show than for cause – – but this one feels like it was a right decision after the way the Cowboys bowed out of the playoffs this year.  At the same time, let me say, “Good luck, Coach McCarthy.”  If anything like what happened to the Cowboys last week happens again next season, you too could be job hunting next January.

Finally, since I mentioned the Mayor of Cincinnati earlier, let me close with this observation by Eugene McCarthy tying together football and politics:

“Being in politics is like being a football coach; you have to be smart enough to understand the game and dumb enough to think it’s important.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………



3 thoughts on “RIP Billy Packer”

  1. Harrison Butker, who kicked the winning FG for KC last night, did something very similar in 2014 when he kicked a 53-yard FG to tie Ga Tech with Georgia as time expired in a game Tech won in OT. That young man has ice water running through his veins.

    The word on Twitter is that he earned the KC owners his entire career salary.

    1. Doug:

      That kick was clutch indeed. However, I doubt that the KC owners would have had to resort to a payday loan had they lost said wager.

  2. NFL football is, in its simplest form, about peaking at the right time. A team that wins by 31 then 24 points is not to be trifled with.

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