NFL Conference Championship Sunday Trash Talk

It is early Saturday afternoon here in the comfy confines of Casa de Bmaz in the desert cactus patch. Snowly Shit is afflicting everywhere from the northeast to southeast. Bad. It is kind of sick, but I have been watching the news and fielding Twitter feeds from good friends in the afflicted area for 24 hours now. All from the comfort of 74º high days. Wearing a suit, I actually had to use the air conditioner in my cay yesterday afternoon. Don’t fret, in a few more months, it will be 110º here and they can all laugh at me.

Frankly, I would kill to be in the winter maelstrom in New York and Washington DC, just to experience it. With plenty of food and booze properly stocked up, along with backup power, of course. But I am here, and so many of you and other friends are there, and my heart and best wishes go out to you. There are conference championship games afoot, and hopefully all can enjoy them comfortably, wherever you are.

First up is the Patriots at Broncos. Peyton Manning versus Tom Brady. Yadda yadda yadda. But there are 10 other people on the field for each on offense and 11 on defense. Brady will not lose the game. Manning could given his old age infirmities, but I would be stunned if that were the case. The Pats, despite Belichick’s infamously worthless injury reports, seem to be pretty healthy. Especially so as to Edelman and Gronk, which mean everything to Brady. The Donkos, maybe a little less so because of DB Chris Harris’ shoulder. If he is weak opposite Aqib Talib, that will be an exploitable problem.

It would be pretty easy to take the Pats here, all things being equal. But things are never equal, especially in this kind of battle. There are two other factors that I think – think – may be key. First, the Broncos are home in Mile High. And that is a brutal place for any team to play, anytime. But it has been especially toxic for the otherwise invincible Patriots, Brady and Belichick. It is not that they have never won there, but it has been an uncommonly black hole.

Secondly, the Broncos, under Mike Shanahan, had the best head to head success against Belichick, Brady and the Pats of anybody. Gary Kubiak was the OC on most all of those matchups. Shanahan altered his offense against Belichick to have a balance two tight end set on offense to compensate and pitch up the Belichick tactic of overloading the weak side. This not only protected the QB, but facilitated the run game. Kubiak knows the tricks that Shanahan used to be so successful. I bet Kubiak draws off that. Is it enough?

I dunno, but if I was betting real money, it would be on the Pats and Brady. I think they want to see Roger Goodell at Super Bowl 50, and I think they will. Even the New York Times now recognizes that Goodell and the NFL were horse’s asses in Deflategate. Which I explained from the start, both on Twitter and here. Also, ESPN has a real problem with ignorant assholes. First it was Curt Schilling, then Chris Mortenson perpetuating the patent fraud of Deflategate, and now blithering idiot Danny Kanell who is literally calling for the Broncos to take Tom Brady out with dirty hits.

The second game is Cardinals at Panthers. I probably have too many emotions wrapped up in this one to be overly fair. The Cards versus Packers was tough for me. Cards versus Panthers, however, is beyond an easy call. The Panthers are very good, and Cam Newton has turned into one hell of a pro quarterback, but the Panthers are basically not that easy to like for me.And certainly not this weekend.

The quarterbacks, on paper, look to be nearly a draw. If there is any justice, they will seriously finish first and second in the league MVP voting. Newton should absolutely win, but Carson Palmer is an arguably close second. Palmer is a better read and throw guy, and arguably better passer, but Cam Newton has gotten very good at that and can run in ways that Palmer can’t dream of. Edge Newton and Panthers. But Palmer and the Cards have better receivers and packages to exploit them, by a light year. Huge edge to the Cards there. The battle of offenses will come down to which offensive line plays and protects better. Frankly, that is probably what the game comes down to as well.

Which leaves the defenses. Both are better than average on the defensive line. Carolina has a big advantage at linebacker, and Kuechly is simply killer. Despite Josh Norman, the Cards may, if they play well, have a slight advantage in the secondary. This would be a no brainer in the Cards’ favor if Tyrann Mathieu was on the field, but, alas, that is not to be.

So, what is the bottom line? Carolina is at home, which is always to be paid attention to. These are very clearly the two best teams in the NFC this year, and it is perfect they are playing for the Championship. I have no idea who wins, but they match up well against the Panthers and the two teams played in Carolina last year. But there is a hell of a difference between a healthy Arizona team with Carson Palmer at QB than a decimated Cards team with Ryan Lindley at QB. By the same token, Palmer and the Panthers are far better too. It is a tossup, but heart is very much with the Cardinals. Go #BirdGang

Alrighty then, that is a wrap for this Trash. Music, in honor of all the winter weather affecting the east is by the Bangles, with an incredibly awesome version of Hazy Shade of Winter. Rock and roll hootchicoos.

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.
100 replies
  1. jo6pac says:

    Go 9ers but then were are we going under chip?

    My picks are the opposite but then what hell do I know;)

    I just don’t want the cheaters in sb and amazing enough SF is getting ready for sb50 and the game is in santa clara. I’m confused why no one would not spend their time there or San Jose. Go figure;)

    • JohnT says:

      .
      But
      .
      Great America! ☺
      .
      Honestly, I went to a Sharks game in san Jose about ten years ago, and couldn’t find anywhere to go afterwards

  2. emptywheel says:

    Frankly, I think Tillman is a big loss, that somewhat counters Honey Badger, but I agree, he’s huge to lose.

    But SPIDEY FITZ. Who wants it bad.

    (And you know I think Cam is doing something wonderful this year.)

    I’m too buggy to talk about the Broncos, but I will add (bc I’m a Pats fan) that we all know (heh) that Hochuli doesn’t like the Pats…

  3. dakine01 says:

    Going with the Pats and Cards but this more heart than head picks.

    I do have to say to the Pats haterz, there are a lot of Pats fans who suffered long through the Sullivan years where even if there was a bit of daylight, rain soon followed. There’s a reason they’ve had the 1st overall pick 4 times over the years and not for nothing were they often known as the “Patsies.” /Harrumph Harrumph

  4. Ed Walker says:

    I don’t much care most of the time, but I kinda like the Panthers. Newton’s running is a real difference maker, and I think it makes a big difference in the way defenses operate.

  5. bloopie2 says:

    One crazy thing about professional sports is the short time frame that the athletes operate in. Someone like Johnny Manziel, if he doesn’t grow up really fast (faster than almost everyone else his age), will never have a career in his area of expertise. And then there’s the ones coming up behind you all the time. I wonder if Nick Foles is reading the articles about the Rams potentially drafting Paxton Lynch to learn under Foles. The athlete’s job requires not just doing good work, but also being better than all those others who come available every year. Do they have that sinking feeling in their gut, day after day, month after month, knowing that even doing their best might get them fired? I know I would, if my employer could bring in a new rising star in my field every few years and set him out to compete against me for my job.

  6. Avattoir says:

    This may have been posted here sometime over the past 6 weeks or so, but regardless: coming on a decade since the Trial of Libby, somehow I still gain comfort from knowing that this universe continues to generate empirical evidence that Ted Wells was, is, and probably shall remain for the balance of his professional life a total hack: http://tiny.cc/2i3g8x

  7. Jim White says:

    .
    I’m sincerely hoping that Old Fart Peyton has one last bit of magic left in him to send the Cheating Cheaters back to the detention study hall where they belong. While most of the attention is on the two QB’s, note that during the regular season, Denver’s defense gave up the least yards passing and was fourth in least points allowed.
    .
    In the other game, I’m probably pulling for bmaz’s Cardinals, but I’ve been pretty fond of Cam since he pulled things back together after being run out of Gainesville under bad circumstances.
    .
    Speaking of Gainesville, you’ve probably heard, but I couldn’t be prouder of our local police department. Officer Bobby White (no relation that I know of) got a call of kids being too loud while playing basketball in the street. His response makes you want to put him in charge of police attitudes across the globe:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUJY82svsog
    .
    Notice that at the end of the video, White says that he is likely to come back and probably would bring backup. Yesterday, amazing backup materialized:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=el4qyJFJmbI&feature=youtu.be
    .
    Have I mentioned that I love living in Gainesville?

  8. What Constitution? says:

    OK world, you can have these playoffs — but next year you’re gonna have to deal with The Los Angeles Rams of Inglewood.

  9. Bay State Librul says:

    “I am the Alpha and the Omaha”

    No beta testing, but I’m predicating Omaha will be barked out 32 times.

  10. Ed Walker says:

    This in the New York Review of Books is a perfect example of the problem of NFL football. http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2016/02/11/the-collision-sport-on-trial/
    Even the people working on CTE are huge fans.

    I quit smoking cold turkey thirty years ago; this was more difficult. Of all the people I had come across during my research on football, Chris Borland was the one I admired most. I wanted to support him in every way I could, yet he had played and I had only watched and now I could not yet bring myself to stop watching, even though that made me feel less than virtuous. I was not alone with these conflicted impulses. Ann McKee, who had studied scores of diseased football brains at Boston University, acknowledged that she remained a fan. “I have, like, these two faces,” she told Almond as he was making his case against football. McKee grew up in Appleton, Wisconsin, a Packers fan like me. Among the artifacts in her office was a bobblehead doll of Aaron Rodgers.

    I was at a discussion group and the subject came up. The old guys like me are hooked. Neither of my kids cares.

  11. orionATL says:

    i like cam newton the athlete and leader. i didn’t like seeing him doing jumping jacks during 2nd half of last week’s game to get the crowd going. he can study photos.

    ever more disconcerting was panthers going in at half 31-0 and winning 31-24. panthers offensive and defensive coaches better adjust better today.

    i like arizona and love fitzgerald’s fire and grace. this, and what i wrote above, makes me a slight cards fan, but, as always, i follow rupert murdoch’s lead – i’m just too old to be a one-team man anymore (there’s so little time left :) )

  12. scribe says:

    Patsies. Not because I love them, but because I want them to have the chance to give King Roger the Clown two weeks of heartburn and the chance at the podium, where Kraft can ask King Roger whether he’s feeling a little deflated.
    .
    In reality, this game should be taking place in the snow of Foxboro under what I’m told are cloudless cerulean skies, windy and cold in the wake of an epic Nor’easter. None of this ”
    approaching 50″ degrees bullshit. It should be my Steelers at the Patsies. O’l Noodlearm is only here because Burfict is a filthy excuse for a football player, PacMan Jones a thug who should have been run out of the league after all his troubles in Tennessee, and Cincinnati is a shithole which gets the shitty losers it deserves. I’d live with my Steelers losing to the Pats because, all cheating allegations aside, they would have gotten a fair shot.
    .
    Fuck Cincinnati. Fuck Marvin Lewis. Fuck the Bungles. Fuck Burfict. Fuck PacMan Jones.
    .
    In case you were wondering, I don’t like losing, especially when the opponents whose behavior led to the loss were playing to injure, not win.
    .
    I don’t really care about the NFC game. I just want them to lose to the Cheaters so King Roger can appear on the podium at Levis’ stadium spitting up crow feathers.
    .
    And, in other news, I can finally get my morning shower now. The City-operated water system employees (good, union jobs) just left from the water main break down the street, which blew up sometime overnight and they just finished fixing. I’m told there was some discussion among the crew this morning, half of them wanting to take their time because Sunday means double-time and the other half wanting to finish in time to get home for this game. It seems the latter side won the discussion.
    .
    And for the union-busting Rethuglicans in the neighborhood who’ll carp about overpaid, lazy union parasites sucking at the public teat, they can go fuck themselves, too. They should go out in the cold – very cold, biting and windy – in the predawn darkness, bust through the snow and ice, suss out where the break is, bust through frozen ground and dig, work in a sodden trench* up to their knees or their asses in icy water, cutting pipe, fitting it, and fixing it. And remember mine was the second water main they fixed today. The first one, they started well before dawn, getting called out of their warm beds to do this hard, skilled work.
    .
    Have a glass of poisoned water, Governor Snyder.
    .

    * OSHA regs – something Rethugs also hate – and union rules required them to use a trench box, which took a little extra time but ensured there would be no suit knocking at the door, or visiting a newly-minted widow at the hospital, to say her husband wouldn’t be coming home because the trench collapsed on him and they couldn’t get him out. Before going to law school I worked in construction – soils engineer – and I’ve gone down into trenches and caissons – boxed and not – riding the hook or the bucket. Checking the base of the excavation before ok-ing it for putting in the concrete. There is nothing more hair-raising than to know you’re well over your head underground with nothing holding those walls up and relying on the union equipment operator whose final exam before he gets his card requires successfully digging out a man trapped in a trench.

  13. orionATL says:

    i like the broncos and generally root for them. i like peyton manning. he’s a smart quaterback and he can throw. he may not be the best ever but he’s damned good. and this is sayonara swansong sunday for the old guy.

    as for the patriots i have never liked them (well maybe their first superbowl appearance decades ago). i hate the patriots like i hate the yankees. some teams are so disgustingly good for so long they don’t deserve support. they’re like little rich kids that never have to work for anything. still, the patriots are an impressive machine to watch.

  14. bloopie2 says:

    Why was the Pats receiver considered to be “down by contact” before he was speared? Someone tried to tackle him, unsuccessfully, then as a result he tumbled and eventually fell down, with no defender anywhere near. Is that considered “down by contact”?

  15. orionATL says:

    missed field goal – that’s what happens when you get your deflated qb footballs mixed up with kicker’s balls.

  16. scribe says:

    I’d be happy just to get the “edit” function, “italics”, “bold” and “blockquote” buttons back.

    • bmaz says:

      We knew about the weird semi nesting issue, are you saying you have no formatting buttons in either the text or visual mode? Cause they still come up for me. Will you check both modes and report back?

      • JohnT says:

        .
        I’ve never had formatting buttons. I’ve always had to use html tags for blockquote, bold, or italics
        .
        (fwiw, the smiley face in my comment up above, was from my tablet keyboard)

    • Peterr says:

      Amen!
      .
      No buttons at all here – just have to enter the formatting with html tags, and then remember to close them properly.

    • Peterr says:

      What are these modes of which you speak?
      .
      I come to the blog, I go down to the Comment box, and type in my thoughts (such as they are). There’s no place to choose a mode, no formatting buttons, no preview or edit, just a box to type in.
      .
      (And now the comment box appears *above* the boxes for name, email, and website. Weird.)

        • Peterr says:

          Nope.
          .
          That sounds like those are special buttons visible only to Those Who Write The Posts, not the common rabble that come and trash the joint in the comments.

          • Jim White says:

            .
            Are you able to log in before you comment? I think maybe the tool bars are available to people who log in, even as commenters. But I know there also have been problems with being able to log in…

            • Peterr says:

              No, no log in here. Or if I did log in long ago, I’ve forgotten it because the browser remembers who I am.

  17. scribe says:

    Come King Roger’s annual Honors List, Ed Hochuli will be finding a nice knighthood in his stocking. King Roger can only be pleased that Biebs and Cheatin’ Bill will be watching the game on TV. And King Roger rewards those who please him.

  18. orionATL says:

    well, manning said last week it was their defense that had carried them all yeat. as this game showed, that wasn’t just obligatory praise.

    • bloopie2 says:

      Their defensive line should all get game balls. And the Pats O line sucked – time after time someone fast would simply run around the end of the O line and head straight for Brady. What’s up with that? Still, a good, tough, well fought game. Looking forward to three more hours!

  19. bloopie2 says:

    The ever-significant NFL.com tells me that Cam Newton, at 6’5″ and 245, is bigger than most of the Cardinals defenders he is likely to see. Will be fun to see that play out.

    • bmaz says:

      And pretty much as fast as any of them too. Not having Tyrann Mathieu is really going to hurt against Newton. Marcy made a decent point above about Peanut Tillman, but that is really not close to the loss of the Honey Badger.

      • Jim White says:

        .
        Hindsight says that had BillBel chosen to kick a field goal on either of those first two times on fourth down in the fourth quarter in short field goal range, they wouldn’t have needed the two pointer.

  20. Bay State Librul says:

    Ouch. Ouch

    Feel sorry for Steve G

    If anything, we got the calls from the refs.

    Nobody to blame, just didn’t execute

    Bronco’s D was outstanding

    Just disappointed.

  21. sluggahjells says:

    Well, only fitting that Peyton can make this a great new ad:

    Beating Brady Still Feels So Good. #NewNationwidePeytonAd

  22. sluggahjells says:

    Cardinals as expected having Palmer be a sitting duck…….But he’s looked once again nervous in a game where he should feel relaxed in and with no pressure, unlike last week.

    • bmaz says:

      Yeah, cause it is all on Palmer and not how well the Panthers are playing. Jeebus you are a troll. “As expected”.

  23. sluggahjells says:

    Palmer never manipulated Coleman at all, as he read Palmer’s eyes all along, and another ugly moment from Carson Palmer. #AZvsCAR

  24. orionATL says:

    when the hell is cam newton gonna run. that’s when the defense breaks down. now he’s standing around and casually tossing balls like he was visiting the kids at the quaker day school.

  25. sluggahjells says:

    Yup, all on the Panthers playing well, that horrendous decision by Carson Palmer.

    Him and Tom Brady have been fooled easily today and made some awful decisions.

  26. bmaz says:

    I had no clue which team would win, but honestly thought the Cardinals were a tough matchup for Carolina. Far more so than the SeaHawks.
    .
    That is clearly not the case. AZ is off its game, but that doesn’t matter, they would still be losing. Credit where due to the Panthers. They are really good, and it is far more than just Cam.

    • orionATL says:

      arizona is a good team. they gotvery little to be ashamed of. their troubles are being forced by a great team – a real juggernaut. is there a really mediocre playef at any of the 22 positions on the panthers team?

  27. bloopie2 says:

    The Denver D line was great today, against a passer who is basically immobile. How will they do against a passer who runs better than (probably) any other quarterback ever?

  28. sluggahjells says:

    That’s the challenge for the Broncos bloopie2, since the Patriots had no threat of a run game whatsoever, and thought McDaniels could be clever enough to luck them into touchdowns. It did not work.

    Both Miller and Ware will have to work on a lot of read option.

  29. bloopie2 says:

    Well in case Palmer gets fired after this showing, my Cleveland team has a Johnny Manziel on offer. Hey, you never know.

  30. bmaz says:

    Aw, just is getting uglier by the minute. Riverboat Ron Rivera is now getting aggressive like Arians foully does. Sadly, an embarrassing performance by Arizona.
    .
    Ouch

    • bmaz says:

      More cheap ass trollery from our own interloping holier than thou sports dick. Thanks for everything Sluggah. And don’t worry, I will gladly come kick the shit out of your ass the next time you get your butt kicked over a full day of sports.

  31. sluggahjells says:

    Arians just put too much pressure on having Palmer dropback so deep against a top pass rush and it was inevitable. And Carson just showed that he has a lot of questions in his postseason play and has to weather through them for next year.

    • bmaz says:

      Just thankful that we can support such two bit, punk ass, cheap trollery as what big Sluggah serves us here at Emptywheel blog, worthy of his oh so precious, and self praising, presence. Thank you Jesus, Thank you Sluggah!

  32. orionATL says:

    joe gibbs, former washington redskins coach who won a few superbowls, taught me, as i sat on couches in the d. c. area, that the critical needs of a great team are a great offensive line and a great defensive line. they do not have to have a great quarterback. gibbs won super bowls with three different, competent but not great qb’s.

    • bmaz says:

      Yep. It is amazing how much the NFL has gotten away from that. The Cards have done better this year, but still have a ways to go on O-Line clearly. You have to build that through the draft for the larger part. Hope they and the Packers both do well on this in future drafts.

    • lefty665 says:

      Doug Williams was a great QB. I can still close my eyes and see those 4 long touchdown passes arching over the field in SBXXII.
      .
      No edit controls even after signing in. Anything intrusive in particular I need to allow in my browser?
      .
      I thought the ‘Skins just sucked when they played the Panthers, but the Cards didn’t look a lot better. Think Carolina’s just better than everyone else this year. Newton is what RG3 expected to wake up one morning as. Announcer said Brady got hit 20 times today along with 4 sacks. “Old ice bath it feels so good” – Manning’s next ‘singing’ commercial.

  33. sluggahjells says:

    And I’ll be back here to further #DabOnTheBMax more come Super Bowl talk post. Really was a great season for Carson Palmer until he went into Carson Falter. And not just trolling, but just the actual proper analysis.

    And could you leave Thomas Davis and Kawann Short in that Panthers defense preview. Just my dear heart hopes, JUST HOPES, they be properly included in the Super Bowl write up, unless a certain lawyer needs major proper assistance on that.

    Until then, a good, good night to you and Johnny McCain.

    • bmaz says:

      Of course you will be back Sluggah, because even though you have your own blog, “The Whole Delivery”, and have so had it for years, nobody ever goes there. Have you ever even had a comment? I bet not. So you come here to troll and act like you are some kind of big shit sports reporter lording your self inflated “knowledge” over everyone.
      .
      Like when you once tried to lord Formula One information over those of us here on this blog by relying on tweets from some two bit rap star, who knew a #F1 driver’s reality show girlfriend. Because that was some stunning “sports journalism” right there. Stick your McCain tripe where the sun doesn’t shine. You are a joke and a punk ass troll. Have a great day!

      • sluggahjells says:

        Oh wow, thanks for TWD getting a shoutout from you! Actually, I have had some comments on there while working in liberal media at the same time, where simple research that you laughably fail to do happens once more again, lol.

        And it’s so funny and ironic you say that considering that you are posting on Marcy’s blog instead of actually having your own blog, lol. And you’re still hating and race baiting on Lewis Hamilton. Next, it will be Serena Williams again. When will you learn ACLU lawyer? Never seen an ACLU lawyer act like he wants to work for the ACLJ instead, LOL.

        • bmaz says:

          You are a two bit cheap punk, and the next time you bring that type of crap, I will bounce you. If you want to join us here, we would love to have you, but then stop being a dick and a troll. You have called me a racist before, now you do again. Simply because I don’t like a couple of your personal sports heroes. That is simply unacceptable, totally ignorant and defamatory. It is also puerile. The next time you wander in here and pull that shit, will be your last.

  34. What Constitution? says:

    For all those who participated in yesterday’s efforts to identify and describe whatever technical glitches may or may not have been cropping up on the interface here, a fond toast to the immortal Guy Fleegman’s Layman’s Guide to Technology:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6zwALJ8TVk

    Good times, good times. Carry on.

  35. P J Evans says:

    In fresh trash talk, the family of Al Davis got turned down on their appeal of taxes owed:

    In Monday’s ruling, however, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the IRS’s breach of its settlement duty did not affect Davis’ legal obligation to pay taxes on his income.

    Davis could have challenged the accuracy of the IRS’s assessments, filed an administrative claim for a refund, or sought reimbursement for any expenses caused by the agency’s breach of its promise, but failed to do any of those things, the court said.

    “Instead, he threw a Hail Mary pass and sought a full refund. That pass falls incomplete,” Judge Andrew Hurwitz said in the 3-0 ruling.

Comments are closed.