View Full Version : Worst Playoffs Ever?

01-25-2006, 10:34 AM
The worst playoffs ever?

Kevin Hench / FOXSports.com

Worst. Playoffs. Ever.

Steelers and Seahawks fans may disagree, but it's largely on account of the dominance of their teams that this postseason has been almost entirely devoid of drama. (Unless, of course, you count the edge-of-your-seat panic fans had to endure every time an official reached for his flag or went under the hood to review a play.)

The officiating has been dreadful. The matchups have been blah. And, worst of all, the games have been terrible.

Only two of the 10 playoff games played in '06 have been decided by seven points or less, and ironically one of those had last-minute suspense only because of a new all-time low achieved by a referee.

Pity poor Pete Morelli. Even though the Steelers survived his curious overrule of a clear Troy Polamalu interception, he still got accused of cheating by Joey Porter, had a rock thrown through his window and was cut adrift by the league office. (Authorities have still not detained a suspect in the rock-throwing incident, though it's safe to say the accuracy of the projectile exonerates scattershot playoff QBs Eli Manning, Rex Grossman and Mark Brunell.)

There was, however, a small contingent of NFL employees who were thrilled with all the blood-curdling invective being hurled at Morelli: the guys who officiated the Broncos-Patriots debacle and the Panthers-Bears game. In both of those games, critical, game-turning calls were blown, but nothing on the scale of a Morelli, as in, "He pulled a Morelli," or "The refs totally Morellied us."

In most NFL playoff years, the officials missing the delay-of-game penalty at the end of the Panthers-Bears game would be the most egregious mistake of the month. But that gaffe was easily trumped by the phantom pass interference call on the Patriots' Asante Samuel. (Interestingly, both of these games featured dubious calls on fumbles at the pylon, though after replay they got it right in the Panthers-Bears game.) As it turned out, all the missed calls in those two games that sandwiched the Steelers-Colts matchup were just so much bread around the real meaty mistakes made in Indy.

Perhaps we owe Morelli a debt of gratitude. If not for his seizure under the hood, we wouldn't have had a single compelling finish thus far in the playoffs.

Not only did eight of 10 games end as take-a-knee, kill-the-clock yawners, but most of the matchups were as boring at the outset as they became over 60 minutes.

Take Patriots-Jaguars in the first round. No animosity. No bitterness. No storylines. Everybody knew the Pats would win in a walk. The football cognoscenti, casual fans and hardcore gamblers all predicted a long night for the 12-win Jags. And sure enough, the Patriots methodically took Jacksonville apart in a 28-3 romp that was as boring as it was decisive. Only Benjamin Watson's remarkable catch-and-run stood out as remarkable. Even Willie McGinest's playoff record 4.5 sacks were kind of dull, given that most of them came in pin-your-ears-back garbage time.

In an NFC first-round matchup, the Redskins visited the Buccaneers in one of those games that was of much more interest to the teams' travel offices than to the average NFL fan. Would the Bucs be traveling to Chicago to get blown out the following week, or would the Skins be on their way to get stomped in Seattle? One thing was sure: the winner of this matchup was going to be one and done. As it turned out, the winner — Washington — finished with 124 total yards. Yes, it was one of the two competitive games in this postseason, but it was also totally forgettable.

So the Skins went to Seattle for the latest chapter in a rivalry that extends all the way back to … uh … October? Broadcasters often hype games by saying, "These teams do not like each other."

"These teams do not know each other," just doesn't generate the same excitement.

I guess it's hard to establish any real animosity between organizations when one was in the other conference while the other was winning Super Bowls. The game was a 20-10 dud that certainly would have been even more of a snoozer had Shaun Alexander not gone down with a concussion in the first quarter.

While the divisional matchups weren't all the NFL might have hoped for, at least they could look forward to the season-long-anticipated showdown in the AFC championship game between the Colts and Patriots. This would be the year that Peyton Manning finally exacted his revenge on the world champs and fellow cover boy Tom Brady.

But a funny thing — or rather two funny things — happened on the way to the dream matchup the league had so desperately wanted: both teams choked.

So we were left with an AFC title game featuring an underrated No. 6 seed against an overrated No. 2 seed in a game few outside Pittsburgh and Denver could get all that excited about.

The NFC title game matchup wasn't exactly one for the ages either. Unlike, say, Niners-Cowboys of the '90s, Seahawks-Panthers was not a battle of two storied franchises who played the entire season with one eye on each other, knowing they'd be forced to measure themselves against one another with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. The Panthers have existed for just over a decade, which is longer than the Seahawks have been in the NFC.

But as uninspired as the matchups were, the games were worse. Sometimes two teams with brief histories in a new city and no history between them can produce an epic playoff game (as the St. Louis Rams and Tennessee Titans did in Super Bowl XXXIV.) This was not the case in Seattle on Sunday.

With the Panthers down to their fourth-string tailback and Steve Smith blanketed by what looked like an entire Secret Service detail, Carolina couldn't move the ball at all. The Seahawks, meanwhile, mixed the pinpoint passing of Matt Hasselbeck and power running of Alexander to remove all doubt in this one on the second play of the second quarter when they made it 17-0.

Earlier, the Steelers had done the same thing to the Broncos, pushing them around as they built a 24-3 halftime lead before cruising to a 34-17 victory. Denver rallied to within 10 points in the fourth quarter, but neither loser on Sunday had the ball with a chance to tie in the final 47:47 of either conference title game. Now that's some boring football.

Not since the NFL went to the 12-team playoff format in 1990 have we seen more thoroughly non-competitive games. And even the most exhilarating finish in the 2006 playoffs came after Pittsburgh had totally dominated Indy for 55 minutes. All in all, if you count the last five minutes of Steelers-Colts, a couple minutes from Bucs-Skins and maybe another two from Panthers-Bears, there were about nine total minutes of compelling fourth-quarter action in three weeks of playoff football.

Bad officiating, sterile matchups, one-sided games ... worst playoffs ever.

01-25-2006, 10:53 AM
There's always next year.:D

01-25-2006, 11:39 AM
It was the worst I have watched. SB may be the same?

01-25-2006, 11:48 AM
Posted this in another thread...
__________________________________________________ ______________

I have seen many of you state that this SB will suck (worst ever some have sad), and will be a ratings disaster... Are you really serious? Why would this SB be any worse from a competitive and ratings perspective than:

- Pats & Panthers
- Bucs & Raiders
- Ravens & Giants
- Rams & Titans

The Steelers are one of the most celebrated and recognized brands in the NFL! Seattle marched through the playoffs and regular season. This should actually be a geat game and will garner extremely respectable ratings!

01-25-2006, 11:49 AM
Define respectable...

01-25-2006, 11:52 AM
Well KJ, I am not a media expert, but I would guess that this Super Bowl will grab a rating equivalant to any of the games I listed above, if not higher... Is that respectable? Don't know... do you?

01-25-2006, 12:00 PM
I think the media outlets are so fixated on the ratings, they don't ralize that people who like football will watch no matter what. It's the fringe fans that tune out if the game is not appealing to them. I'm sure the ratings will go up while the Stones are playing!

17 Hart of the Team
01-25-2006, 12:17 PM
If the weather is bad around the nation people will watch regardless of the teams involved.

01-25-2006, 12:18 PM
I am a fan of The Rolling Stones, but I think they should have chosen an American act to perform during the biggest American sporting event of the year.

01-25-2006, 12:18 PM
do people in DET have televisions?

01-25-2006, 12:20 PM
What if the cards where the steelers though then this would be the best playoffs ever....

01-25-2006, 12:23 PM
What if the cards where the steelers though then this would be the best playoffs ever....

Then you would have seen this thread on the steelers board.

01-25-2006, 12:36 PM
What if the cards where the steelers though then this would be the best playoffs ever.... What if the outboard motor went out the bank by the wheel at the base of the pickup.

06-04-2006, 09:56 PM
I certainly liked the playoffs :redtowel:

Mibrilane #56
06-04-2006, 10:24 PM
Reaching back four plus months to resurrect threads, especially by people with fewer than 10 posts, should be an automatic banning situation. Who's with me on this?

06-08-2006, 06:28 AM
:bowdown: Yeah, sure the Steelers loved the playoffs, but every message board in America, old and new, is not about the Steelers, believe it or not.

Still, that Super Bowl was a one and done for the Steelers, so enjoy your borrowed glory while it lasts; you'll find it's a lot more precious when you actually have to earn it. Gloating about it, meanwhile, only demonstrates to the entire country, one message board at a time, how out of touch you are with the fact that nobody respects your team's dubious accomplishment. But I must be careful, lest I'm also guilty of Steeling this long-since dead discussion. Go Hawks, go Cardinals, it's gonna be a great year in the NFC West!