And so another cycle of the football season comes to an end; this is the Final Football Friday. Oscar Wilde observed:
“Everything is going to be fine in the end. If it is not fine, it is not the end.”
I must take issue with that observation. At least for a time, I will not see the absence of Football Friday as “fine”; assuming that I am still around and exchanging oxygen in the biosphere next August/September, Football Friday will return, but that does not mean that I will think things are just hunky-dory over the next several Fridays. Moreover, the players, coaches and fans of the losing team on Sunday will see the end of this NFL season and none of those people are going to think things are fine in the end.
So, let me get down to business today and review the results of the Six-Pack from two weeks ago:
- College = 0-0-0 Season Total = 20-12-0
- NFL = 1-2-0 Season Total = 25-29-3
- Money Line Parlay = 0-0 Season Total = 11-23
- Profit/Loss = 0 Season Total = +$408
College Football Commentary:
Recent reporting has it that the PAC-12 has narrowed its search fortwo teams to replace USC and UCLA once the two southern California schools head for the Big 10. According to CBSSports.com, the PAC-12 wants to welcome SMU and San Diego State to the PAC-12. My assessment of that state of affairs – – which I am going to assume is what is going to happen – – is that the two schools are being invited to join the conference for two very different reasons.
- SMU: The Mustangs’ campus is in Dallas, TX. I think that is the only reason the PAC-12 mavens want anything to do with SMU. The only major achievement of SMU football in the last 50 years or so is that it got the “Death Penalty” for cheating on recruitment and player benefits. However, with SMU in the conference, the PAC-12 gets to plant its flag in football-crazed Texas and it simultaneously expands the conference’s “national footprint”. And in that last point, the PAC-12 needs to realize that “national footprint” is not always an unalloyed benefit. Dallas is 800 miles from Boulder, CO which is easily the furthest east that the conference goes as of now. That will make for long trips for lots of teams in lots of sports – – and there is no guarantee that Texas fans will rally behind SMU and begin to give a fig about the PAC-12. That will be an interesting situation to watch…
- San Diego State: I think this one is an easy choice for the PAC-12. With the departure of USC and UCLA, the PAC-12 loses a toehold in the southern California area and there are lots of TV households there. The conference needs to show potential “broadcast partners” good ratings and lots of viewers – – so putting a team back in that big marketplace is – I believe – the primary reason for this invitation. Will it work? People in the PAC-12 better hope so.
About a month ago, Michigan suspended co-offensive coordinator, Matt Weiss while an investigation proceeded involving “unauthorized computer access”. No other details were given out by the school or the authorities; so, we had to wait until another shoe dropped. In the absence of any information, the imagination can run amok:
- Was the “unauthorized access” from someone outside the university?
- Was someone using a school computer to try to hack into another computer?
- Was someone using the Athletic Department computers to bet on Michigan football games?
- Was someone using a school computer for something awful like “kiddie porn”?
- And off one can go into a phantasm…
We still have no definitive answer(s) as to specific actions here, but we can surmise that whatever was alleged to have happened probably happened because the investigation is still continuing and the University of Michigan fired Matt Weiss. The only new reporting by CBSSports.com on this matter – – other than Weiss having been fired – – is a reference to an entry in the University’s “Daily Crime and Fire Log” which records:
“… fraudulent activity involving someone accessing university emails accounts without authorization,”
The real question in my mind now is more pragmatic than curious:
- Will the details and the findings of this investigation ever be revealed or is the firing of Matt Weiss the end of the line?
The last two weeks have been saturated with stale and overblown storyline reports about the game this weekend. This is Super Bowl LVII and somewhere someone has concocted 57 reasons why the Chiefs will win this game and then on the next day generated 57 reasons that the Eagles will prevail. The only real surprise to me is that Heinz Foods with their legendary “57 varieties” has not found a way to barge in here and dominate the NFL landscape.
Yes, this game will be the culmination of the 2022 NFL season and indeed the NFL season is the biggest deal of all in US sports. But the coverage is once again hugely overblown and obfuscates for some people that this is still at its core – – a freaking football game. It is not a cataclysmic event; it is not the rapture anticipated by many of the folks who will put the imminence of said rapture on hold for about 4 hours while they watch the game; it is a football game. It is a big deal in the world of professional football in the US to be sure; simultaneously, it is an event of no consequence in the world of people trying to dig their way out of devastating earthquakes in the Middle East today. As we all get ready to enjoy the biggest game of the season, please remember to keep it in perspective:
- It’s a football game, Folks!
Back in the 1970s, Duane Thomas was a running back for a bunch of NFL teams and for teams in the World Football League (RIP) and the CFL. In Super Bowl VI when the Cowboys soundly defeated the Dolphins, Thomas was voted the game’s MVP but since he had given the media the silent treatment for the entire season, the award was announced and given to Roger Staubach who finished a distant second in the actual voting. Thomas is 75 years old now and back in the 70s he posed a question that really needs to be reconsidered every once in a while – – when the NFL and the coverage of the NFL gets far too full of itself. Asked Duane Thomas:
“Why do they call [the Super Bowl] ‘the ultimate game’ if they are going to play another one next year?”
Whilst you ponder an explanation to Mr. Thomas, let me also point you to something that appeared in Dwight Perry’s column in the Seattle Times right after last year’s Super Bowl where the Rams became World Champs:
“The team that won the opening coin toss now has now lost the past eight Super Bowls.
“Where’s the public outcry over the unfairness of that?”
The answer to Professor Perry’s question is related to the answer that one ought to give to Professor Thomas’ question above. It is a football game; it is not a life-and-death situation; it should not be hyped or compared to a life-and-death situation; enjoy it for what it is…
If you have an abundance of spare time, you could have gone and checked this out for yourselves but if you were otherwise occupied with something really important such as perfecting your recipe for ice cubes, let me help out here by sparing you the research time just to let you know that:
- Eighteen of the last twenty-one Super Bowl winners wore white uniforms in the game.
- The Chiefs will be wearing white in this weekend’s game.
- The last time the Eagles were in the Super Bowl they won the game and wore green.
Make of that what you will…
There are folks who are into numerology – – the “study” of the relationship among numbers, patterns, sums and human events/behaviors. Practitioners of numerology believe that numbers “add nuance to astrological influences by providing clarification.” When I read that claim, an old disclaimer from ads for cars that stated their EPA highway mileage rating came to mind:
- “Your mileage may vary…”
Nonetheless, if I wanted to be an amateur numerology practitioner for this year’s Super Bowl showdown, I would focus on “The Number 2”:
- Andy Reid has been the coach of TWO NFL franchises in Super Bowl games.
- A Chief’s victory would give Andy Reid Super Bowl win number TWO.
- Four NFL coaches have coached a Super Bowl Game against an earlier employer and those coaches’ record is TWO and TWO.
- [Aside: Weeb Eubank and Jon Gruden defeated their previous teams in the Super Bowl while Dan Reeves and Pete Carroll lost to their previous teams.]
- Nick Sirianni has been coach of the Eagles for TWO seasons.
- When Doug Pederson led the Eagles to the Super Bowl, he had been the coach for TWO seasons.
- Jalen Hurts was selected in Round TWO of the NFL Draft.
- Jalen Hurts has been the starting QB for the Eagles for TWO seasons.
- The Eagles have been to the Super Bowl with TWO QBs who took over from Carson Wentz
Numerology tells me that the Eagles’ DB, Darius Slay who wears Number TWO and the Chiefs’ RB, Ronald Jones who also wears Number TWO should have important roles in game on Sunday. Moreover, players wearing Number TWENTY TWO could have pivotal roles in the game’s outcome.
If any of that happens, you heard it here first. If it does not come to pass, please ignore the above…
(Sun 6:30 ET) Chiefs vs. Eagles – 1 (50.5) : The spread opened as a pick ‘em game; then the line expanded to make the Eagles a 2.5-point favorite; in the last couple of days, the line has come down to a single point. The Total Line opened at 51 points; at first it expanded to 51.5 and now it too has eroded down to this level. For a normal regular season game, that line movement would probably not be worth a mention, but for Super Bowl game lines to have moved that much is unusual. And yet, here we are …
If you believe that football games are ‘won in the trenches”, you probably like the Eagles in this one. I think both the Eagles’ offensive and defensive lines match up better with their counterparts in this game. The Chiefs’ two advantages would appear to be at QB and at play-calling experience.
Back in December, I exchanged Holiday Greetings with a friend. He and I are guests every year at a Super Bowl party – – except when there is COVID in the air. He said he would see me at the party and asked for my prediction on the game. I said:
- Eagles 45 Chiefs 38
There were still 3 games left in the regular season when I said that and not a lot has happened to change my view drastically. So, that is my call for the game and that means I will take the Eagles to win and cover and for the game to go OVER.
Finally, at the end of this Final Football Friday, I feel it important to end on a happy note. And that brings to mind this comment by Orson Welles:
“If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.”
I’ll stop it here. Over and out.
But don’t get me wrong I love sports………