The Conference Championships Trash Talk

Sadly, this is our penultimate weekend of football here at the Wheelhouse. Down to two games, San Francisco versus Seattle and New England versus Denver. And, really, it is fitting, as these were probably the two best teams in their respective conferences when the season started, were throughout, and are now. So, we are where we are supposed to be.

Patriots at Broncos: While the NFC Championship features two new school mobile kids on the block, the AFC features two of the classic, and classiest, traditional pocket passers in NFL history. Any discussion of best ever quarterbacks has Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in it, irrespective of who you put at the top of the list. Personally, I have Joe Montana still at the top and think some older players, to wit Otto Graham and Bart Starr, are given far too short a shrift. But Brady and Manning have earned their spot in the discussion, and this is a real treat to be able to see them face off, yet again, in such an important playoff game.

The Patriots seem to have stabilized on defense, the Broncos seem to still be reeling from the loss of Von Miller. On paper, Denver has a significantly better defense, both against the pass and the rush. But paper doesn’t count for this game, and I think it is a draw on the D side of the ball. On the offensive side, both teams have been known to rely on their quarterbacks too much. But both have recently found, and relied on, their running game. LeGarrette Blount was a monster for the Pats last week, and Knowshon Moreno ate the Pats up earlier this year. You already know about the QB’s; they are a wash. There is one area where there is a difference though. Receivers. Bill Bel and Brady have been geniuses with what they have gotten out of rooks and scrubs, but Denver has serious ballers in Welker, Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas. That is a real edge. Then give the coaching edge to Bill Bel….and you end up with a pick em.

49ers at Seahawks: They may be newfangled, but both QB’s in the NFC Championship are superb, and, apparently, evenly matched too. But not so fast. Kaepernick has been rediscovering his groove down the stretch, and Russell Wilson has been looking a little shaky in the confidence (and performance) category. Edge to Kap. Niners also have far better receivers, with Anquan Boldin, Vernon Davis and Crabtee, than do the Squawks. Percy Harvin would have helped level that playing field, but he won’t be playing. Gore and Lynch are both studs, and thus a wash, but the QB and receivers are a huge plus for SF.

The defensive paper actually seems to favor the Niners but, again, toss the paper out the window. Seattle’s defense is bad ass, and they will have the 12th Man noise that comes with their home field. That is an edge. Coaching is a wash between Harbaugh and Carroll, but man do they completely dislike each other. The game is really probably another pick em, to slight favorite for the Niners; however, I am going to take a flyer on the Squawks. I don’t feel good about it, but there you have it.

Penalty Flag Department: Yeah, the hanky has to be thrown on Peyton Manning. Really? Bud Light? Get the fuck out! And, big ups to the Colorado craft brewers for calling him out on it.

Music is by by It’s A Beautiful Day, featuring Pattie Santos and David LaFlamme. A completely killer band out of the 60’s heyday of San Francisco. Shame they never hit it bigger and are mostly forgotten now, because they were really good. And to tie it all together, this song, White Bird, is a song about some melancholy times LaFlamme and his wife spent in Seattle. See, it all ties together for the NFC Championship Game!

Bmaz is a rather large saguaro cactus in the Southwestern Sonoran desert. A lover of the Constitution, law, family, sports, food and spirits. As you might imagine, a bit prickly occasionally. Bmaz has attended all three state universities in Arizona, with both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Arizona State University, and with significant post-graduate work (in physics and organic chemistry, go figure) at both the University of Colorado in Boulder and the University of Arizona. Married, with both a lovely child and a giant Sasquatch dog. Bmaz has been a participant on the internet since the early 2000’s, including active participation in the precursor to Emptywheel, The Next Hurrah. Formally joined the Emptywheel blog as an original contributing member at its founding in 2007. Bmaz grew up around politics, education, sports and, most significantly, cars; notably around Formula One racing and Concours de Elegance automobile restoration and showing. Currently lives in the Cactus Patch with his lovely wife and beast of a dog, and practices both criminal and civil trial law.
77 replies
  1. bmaz says:

    @JohnT: Heh, yeah I posted that Harbaugh buying khakis at Walmart photo on Twitter earlier this week. Man, the missus pimped him pretty good on that.

  2. dakine01 says:

    IABD was one of the best concerts I ever saw. They played EA Diddle Arena in Bowling Green, KY (opening for Free w/Paul Rodgers) and just put on a great show. LaFlamme tore the joint down with his playing. Free was way out performed that night

    But c’mon, are you really surprised about Peyton and Bud Light? I mean, he shills for ef’fin’ Papa Johns fer chris’sake

  3. rosalind says:

    Team Niners!!!

    (y’all have to fill me in on the details later, as in a moment of monumental brain freeze i agreed to a dinner that will put the second half of the niner/squawks game out of reach of real time enjoyment.)

    (fuck. oh well. Seattle is my 2nd choice, so bases are covered, i suppose)

  4. bmaz says:

    @dakine01: Man, never got to see It’s A Beautiful Day or Free, and I would kill to have seen both. Did see Bad Co. very early on, and they were kick ass and Rodgers an excellent front man.

  5. Peterr says:

    I was living in Wyoming when the Busch clan opened their Fort Collins, CO brewery, sticking it to the Coors family in what can only be described as a right wing vs righter wing battle of the beers. (I’ll let the Coors and Busch families fight it out as to which is to the right of the other.) Talk about a battle not worth fighting . . .

    Peyton ought to be ashamed of himself. Get a real beer.

    (In the interests of civility, we’ll leave all the Clydesdale jokes at the barn door.)

  6. CTuttle says:

    Time To Ride…! Go Broncs…! ;-)

    It’s Civil War in my household, with the Better Half being a Patsy fan…!

    I love the Niners, but, I think the Squawks will win…!

    Btw, did y’all see this FP article…? In Reversal, FBI Now Emphasizes Role in Law Enforcement

    “That has to be some kind of a record,” said Kel McClanahan, a Washington-based attorney who alerted FP to the original fact sheet revisions. “Doing this so quickly and so obviously cover your ass-y seems beneath them.”

  7. emptywheel says:

    @rosalind: I’m just glad I can decide who to root for after I know which AFC team will go. I think the Pats match up better against the Squawks than the Niners. And it’d be awfully fun watching Richard Sherman picking off Peyton in the Super Bowl. But I think I root for the Niners if the Broncos get in.

  8. emptywheel says:

    @masaccio: Yeah, I imagine he pissed off the local piss water drinkers in CO, as well as the great craft makers.

    Meanwhile I’m starting a rumor that he not only drinks Bud Light, but Bud Light Lime. Why not? This is for the AFC Championship.

  9. dakine01 says:

    @bmaz: EA Diddle had atrocious acoustics but there wasn’t a big crowd at this show and for once the sound was set up great. LaFlamme and Santos had the place rockin’.

    Never got a chance to see Bad Co though well remember when they first came out and telling friends, “You HAVE to listen to this new group!”

  10. Bay State Librul says:

    @emptywheel:

    The science of football

    Trash talk is the time to drink up and forget, for three glorious hours, the metadata of life.

    Today, life begins at 3PM when Brady and Belichick outplay and out maneuveur “Team Omaha”

    Okay, I inserted beer for wine, and am a fucking fanboy for the Pats

    A poet once said, “The whole universe is in a glass of beer.” We will probably never know in what sense he said that, for poets do not write to be understood. But it is true that if we look in glass of beer closely enough we see the entire universe. There are the things of physics: the twisting liquid which evaporates depending on the wind and weather, the reflections in the glass, and our imagination adds the atoms. The glass is a distillation of the earth’s rocks, and in its composition we see the secrets of the universe’s age, and the evolution of the stars. What strange array of chemicals are in the beer? How did they come to be? There are the ferments, the enzymes, the substrates, and the products. There in beer is found the great generalization: all life is fermentation. Nobody can discover the chemistry of beer without discovering the cause of much disease. How vivid is the claret, pressing its existence into the consciousness that watches it! If our small minds, for some convenience, divide this glass of beer, this universe, into parts — physics, biology, geology, astronomy, psychology, and so on — remember that nature does not know it! So let us put it all back together, not forgetting ultimately what it is for. Let us give one more final pleasure: drink it and forget it all! — Feynman

  11. jo6pac says:

    Great song thanks bmz I use to go to all of their concerts when they played in the Bay Area

    I’ll go with Denver by 10 in the first round and of course 9ers by 14 in the second round.

    Time to do some things around the house to get ready.

  12. bmaz says:

    @ESPNStatsInfo: W/ a win today Bill Belichick (19-8) will match Tom Landry (20-16) for the most postseason wins by a coach in NFL history

  13. sluggahjells says:

    Sharper, what a buffoon he has become.

    Full previews from me a bit later in the day, but I will say a few things on first glance here:

    For the AFC Title Game: The Defenses are even, especially with the Broncos losing arguably the best slot/nickel corner in the league in the smart and underrated Chris Harris. His loss is an even bigger loss to the Broncos than Miller’s loss considering how great Philips was in the pass rush last week and how Harris gave them three quality corners with the fading legend Champ Bailey and Rogers-Cromartie

    More in a bit…

  14. sluggahjells says:

    No Kenbrell Thompkins for the Patriots, but Ryan Allen and Aaron Dobson are available. It is 60 degrees in Denver.

  15. sluggahjells says:

    The key X-factors for the AFC title game:

    http://www.twd4u.com/2014/01/twd-sunday-sports-threadafc-title-game.html

    For the Patriots, it’s this list- Aaron Dobson, Michael Hoomanawauni, Matthew Muligan, Shane Vereen, Jamie Collins, Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich, Ryan Allen, and Matthew Slater

    For the Broncos, it’s this list- Quentin Jammer, Sylvester Williams, Terrance Knigton, Wesley Woodyard, Danny Trevathan, Duke Ihenacho, Mike Adams, and Trindon Holliday

  16. sluggahjells says:

    And I have the Broncos winning 31-24 because of the thin air, though they are more susceptible to turnovers

    Of course Prater and Gostkowski are vital

  17. Kelly says:

    Reporting LIVE from Donkeytown:

    The whole town has a hush on it now, where from my place out on my porch (about 1.5 miles from downtown,and about 2 1/4 from Mile High, you can hear the game wafting from jillions of TV sets.

    #NotKidding.

  18. scribe says:

    Donkos D looks pretty good so far. We’ll see if Biebs figures them out or not. I mean, he went all the way down the depth chart to Matthew Mulligan in the last series.

  19. sluggahjells says:

    Harris already gone for the season and it was Rogers-Cromartie’s injury in the first game that turned that one around to the Patriots.

    They cannot lose him.

  20. Kelly says:

    Is this game important for some reason? My husband just made me fire up the little crock pot full of Little Smokies.

    Figure this must be big.

  21. bmaz says:

    @Kelly: The ability of the ORANGE CRUSH to completely consume Denver and surrounding areas is legendary. During the 77-78 winter break in college, I worked at Keystone/Copper Mountain as a peak season additional ski area personnel. Lotta wild ass stories about this that will wait for another, perhaps more personal, day.

    BUT, that was the first Broncos playoff run to the Super Bowl with Craig Morton at QB. Swear to god when those games were on, NOTHING else happened. Even the holiday ski slopes were vacant – from Keystone to Copper to A Basin To Vail. All empty and the restaurants and bars overflowing.

    IT WAS FUCKING INSANE.

    And that was the time and place I came to appreciate and love the Broncos and the dedication and wildness of their fans. They are truly awesome.

  22. Kelly says:

    @bmaz: It is quite amazing, that’s true.

    You know how like on Christmas Day, you go outside, and it’s noticeably quieter, and you hear less traffic noise, and so forth?

    Yeah, it’s like that today here.

  23. jo6pac says:

    Well Pat score then Denver has the ball for the rest of the quarter, Manning has had some long and time killing drives.

    Oh well quick 3 works also

    Go Horseys.

  24. bmaz says:

    May not be Seattle, but Mile High is gonna be a tough environment in which to pull out a 2+ touchdown comeback.

  25. jo6pac says:

    @bmaz: It’s over and now on to the game I’ve been waiting for. No east coast team in show time.

    More wood in the fireplace—check
    Refresh Meyers—check
    Home grown stuffed bell peppers defrosting for dinner—check

    On we go. Go 9ers

  26. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Whoa. Manning is shilling for Bud Light? yeeesh.

    It’s a safe bet the beer distributors and restauranteurs are among the biggest Squawk fans.

    Meanwhile, in a truly weird ‘Seattle moment’, the Guardian’s liveblog for the Seattle/49er game has a “Jesus is better than the Super Bowl” video, in which Mars Hill minister Mark Driscoll interviews some of the Seahawks about why Jesus is better than football. And since several of my delightful neighbors are deep into the Mars Hill community, now I know why some of them have been decked out in 12th man shirts… (Mars Hill is a huuuuge church/community in the Seattle area. Huge.)

    (FWIW: some of those same neighbors will join us in attending the wedding of our other delightful neighbors, Mike and Rick next month. I gather these kinds of weddings don’t occur in 49er or Bronco territory…?)

    12th Man will prevail. Seattle will have a minor earthquake when the Seahawks win.

  27. jo6pac says:

    as a 9er fan have pointed out how much I hate troy & buck.

    7 just what was needed.

    I hope big Mike is OK

  28. bmaz says:

    @jo6pac: I had to let my wife go on the dog walk without me, because she wanted to go WAY further than my couch based TV viewing demographic found appropriate.

  29. scribe says:

    Watching the Faux team at half, thinking to myself: “Jimmy Johnson would never do that halftime show if the game was being played in Philly.”

  30. valley girl says:

    @JohnT:

    Hey, just wanted to thank you for giving the link so I can watch FB on my computer. Long time ago, but thanks again.

  31. valley girl says:

    @JohnT:

    Yep, gotta be very careful about what you click on. As in “do not click on anything”. Thankfully, first time I used it I set up a restore point on my computer so that I could undo my stupidity.

    But, no TV here, so it’s a great resource.

    Oh, I didn’t know there were different channels.

  32. Peterr says:

    Between the story of Goodell deciding to sit outdoors amongst the hoi polloi at the Super Bowl and not in a private party box, and the ads featuring the NFL Super Bowl ticket giveaway contest winners, it sure seems like the NFL is trying like made to make it seem like football is still a “we’re just a bunch of ordinary folks, playing for crowds of ordinary folks” kind of thing.

    That’s a hard sell, given the ticket prices for ordinary games, let alone playoffs and the Super Bowl. Still, Roger and the Boys are giving it a good shot . . .

  33. bmaz says:

    @Peterr: I went to Super Bowl XXX over 25 years ago, and none of that shit was even close to applicable even then.

    Total marketing show all the way. Now, it is even worse.

  34. Bay State Librul says:

    The Onion peels one off

    BOSTON—Searching for some silver lining in his team’s 26-16 loss in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game, 32-year-old Patriots fan Daniel Lowery reportedly attempted to rationalize his deep, utterly consuming sadness by claiming New England would have an improved pick at the 2014 NFL Draft. “You know, we probably wouldn’t have beaten the 49ers or Seahawks in the Super Bowl anyway, so it’s better to go out now and then move up a few spots with our first-round pick in May,” said Lowery, reportedly trying his utmost to mitigate his sweeping disappointment and heartbreak at his team coming up just short of a Super Bowl appearance. “One or two spots in the first round can really make a huge difference. Plus, we already have a great foundation, so if we can just get healthy next year and pick up a solid rookie, we can make a real run at the Super Bowl next season.” In a desperate effort to mask his extreme, inescapable despair, Lowery then confirmed his hopes that the loss would give the Patriots a better chance of landing star Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley

  35. scribe says:

    I’m hearing that Patsies fans everywhere are going around with their eyes and ears covered, so as to not perceive the closing of the window of opportunity.

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